Daily Mains Newsletter For UPSC
| RaghukulCS

22 FEB 2021


Mains Value Addition

Mains Analysis

Topic No

Topic Name



Navigating the storm: On the Fifteenth Finance Commission.

 The Hindu


Voice votes as constitutional subterfuge.

The Hindu


Demonizing freedom to love in New India will contribute to growing suicide toll of young people

Indian Express


What is Carbon Watch— India’s 1st app to assess one’s carbon footprint

Indian Express

Mains Value Addition

Kerala sanctions 9 crores rupees for 48 Smart Anganwadis

Syllabus –

GS-3: S&T developments and everyday applications & effects; Awareness in fields of IT, Space, Computers, Robotics, Nanotech, Biotech, IPR issues

Analysis: –

  • The Kerala Govt sanctions an amount of 9 crores rupees for setting up ’48 smart Anganwadis’.  the conventional anganwadis will be converted into “smart” structures and they will have better amenities.
  • The development will be constructed under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS).
  • The ‘smart anganwadis’ will play an important role in caring for childhood with more child-friendly facilities so that the mental and physical development of children could be made.

Prakash Javadekar inaugurates Atal Paryavaran Bhavan in Lakshadweep

Syllabus –

GS-3: Environmental conservation; Environmental pollution and degradation; Environmental Impact Assessment

Analysis: –

  • On 19th February 2021, Prakash Javadekar made inauguration the Atal Paryavaran Bhavan at Lakshadweep during his four-day official visit.
  • He also became part of meetings with Secretaries of various departments in Lakshadweep administration and as well as joined official programmes at Suheli, Kadmat and Bangaram islands.

Indian navy joins PASSEX Exercise in Arabian Sea with Indonesian Navy

Syllabus –

  GS-3: Security forces & agencies (mandate); Role of External State & Non-State actors in creating internal security challenges

Analysis: –

  • On 18th February 2021, the Indian navy and Indonesia navy have conducted a military exercise named Passage Exercise (PASSEX) in the Arabian sea.
  • The main purpose of this Exercise was to aims to boost operational interoperability and overall cooperation among them.
  • prior to this, the Indian Navy joined in maritime exercises in the last few months with a number of countries, including Japan, Russia, Australia and the US.

Mains Analysis

Navigating the storm: On the Fifteenth Finance Commission.

Why in News: –

A balanced between Union and States, the cover visual of the Fifteenth Finance Commission’s report for the period 2021-22 to 2025-26 over various grants.


 GS-2: Devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

GS-3: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

  • The Centre has accepted much of the Commission’s broad recommendations, including giving States a 41% share of the divisible pool of taxes and revenue deficit grants of nearly Rs.2.95-lakh crore for 17 States over the next five years.
  • To highlight the Commission’s endeavour to maintain an equitable approach at a time when the Centre and States are facing unprecedented revenue stress and fiscal demands.

15th Finance Commission:

  • The Finance Commission (FC) is a constitutional body that determines the method and formula for distributing the tax proceeds between the Centre and states, and among the states as per the constitutional arrangement.
  • The Finance Commission (FC) is commissions periodically constituted by the President of India under Article 280 of the Indian Constitution to define the financial relations between the central government of India and the individual state governments.
  • The 15th Finance Commission was constituted by the President of India in November 2017, under the chairmanship of NK Singh. Its recommendations will cover a period of five years from the year 2021-22 to 2025-26.

Recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission for 2021-26

  1. The 15th Finance Commission (Chair: Mr. N. K. Singh) has submitted two reports.   Key recommendations of the Commission include:
  2. The criteria for distribution of central taxes among states for 2021-26 period is same as that for 2020-21. 
  3. The Commission has recommended grants from the centre to states and local bodies worth Rs 10.3 lakh crore for the 2021-26 period.    
  4. These include: (i) revenue deficit grants to 17 states, (ii) grants to urban and rural local bodies, (iii) disaster management grants, (iv) grants for eight sectors including health, education, and agriculture, and (v) certain state-specific grants.
  5. The Commission suggested that the Centre bring down fiscal deficit to 4% of GDP by 2025-26.    
  6. It recommended the fiscal deficit limit (as % of GSDP) for states to be: (i) 4% in 2021-22, (ii) 3.5% in 2022-23, and (iii) 3% during 2023-26.
  7. A dedicated non-lapsable fund called the Modernisation Fund for Defence and Internal Security (MFDIS) will be constituted.
  8. to primarily bridge the gap between budgetary requirements and allocation for capital outlay in defence and internal security.  
  9. The fund will have an estimated corpus of Rs 2,38,354 crore over the five years (2021-26).  
  10. Of this, Rs 1,53,354 crore will be transferred from the Consolidated Fund of India.  
  11. Rest of the amount will be generated from measures such as disinvestment of defence PSUs and monetisation of defence lands.

Grants recommended by the 15th Finance Commission:

  • The Terms of Reference of the Finance Commission require it to recommend grants-in-aid to the States. 
  • These grants include:

(i) revenue deficit grants,

(ii) grants to local bodies, and

(iii) disaster management grants.

  • 14 states are estimated to face a revenue deficit post-devolution. 
  • To make up for this deficit, the Commission has recommended revenue deficit grants worth Rs 74,341 crore to these 14 states
  • The Commission has recommended a total of Rs 90,000 crore for grants to the local bodies in 2020-21.
  • These grants will be made available to all three tiers of Panchayat- village, block, and district.
  • To promote local-level mitigation activities, the Commission has recommended the setting up of National and State Disaster Management Funds.
  •  Recommended grants for the State Disaster Risk Management Fund are Rs 28,983 crore, while the allocation for the National Disaster Risk Management Fund is Rs 12,390 crore.
  • The Commission has recommended a grant of Rs 7,375 crore for nutrition in 2020-21. 
  •  Sectors for which sector-specific grants will be provided in the final report include: (i) nutrition, (ii) health, (iii) pre-primary education, (iv) judiciary, and (v) railways. 

 Centre-state wishes:

  1. It is up to the Centre now to ensure that States do not feel short-changed from the new fiscal framework, given their frayed ties over GST compensation dues.
  2.  States have also been steadily losing out, given the Centre’s penchant to raise more cesses and surcharges that do not have to be shared.
  3.  This Budget has seen an encore with the agriculture infrastructure development cess. One wishes the Commission had at least noted its displeasure on this practice.

Way Forward

  • If the Centre committed to recondition of 15th Finance Commission, it might help attain the balance envisaged by the Centre-state planning, which is needed to drive the country onto a double-engine growth trajectory from the current nadir.
  • Fifteenth Finance Commission (FFC) has recommended grants of Rs 4, 36,361 crore from the Union government to local governments for 2021-26. May helpful because Local governments are the closest to the people at the grassroots level. 

Question: –

Assess the Finance Commission’s endeavour to maintain an equitable financial approach at a time when the Centre and States are facing unprecedented revenue stress and fiscal demands. What are the recommendations of finance commission for 2021-26?

Voice votes as constitutional subterfuge.

Why in News: –

The Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill were passed by the State’s Legislative Council on Monday, February 8.


GS-2: powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.

GS-2: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.

  • Karnataka fallows an uncannily similar process was followed to pass the controversial farm laws (by the Rajya Sabha) in September 2020.
  •  The government seemed to lack a majority to pass the bills in the Upper House, instead of a division vote, a voice vote was deemed to be adequate by the Deputy Speaker of the House.
  • In both cases, the pandemonium in the House caused by heated interventions by the Opposition was used as a pretext to resort to a voice vote.
  •  In the last few months, while there has been extensive discussion of the farm laws, they have largely been about the merits of the laws and the need for reforms in the agrarian sector.

The legislative concerns: –

  • The legislative process followed for these laws did away with actual voting in the Upper House has not been given the prominence it deserves.
  •  The government has repeatedly invoked the multiple consultations around these laws over the years to justify them.
  • The pieces of legislation were passed without an actual legislative majority voting for them does not seem pivotal.
  • These two sets of laws passed with a voice vote seem like a new template for bypassing the constitutionally envisaged legislative process.
  •  Once bills were tabled in the legislature, the governments insisted on the Bills not being referred to the legislative committees in either case, even though the Opposition repeatedly raised the demand.
  • The law was passed by the legislative Council despite the lack of a majority.
  • Instead of having a division vote based on actual voting as is usual and as the Opposition members had demanded, the presiding officer just declared the Bill passed by voice vote without any division, is concern.

The Money Bill ruse:

  1. A Money Bill (Article 110 for Center & Article 198 for state of the Indian Constitution) only is introduced in Lok Sabha/ Legislative assembly, on the recommendation of the President. It must be passed in Lok Sabha/ Legislative assembly by a simple majority of all members present and voting.
  2.  Following this, it may be sent to the Rajya Sabha for its recommendations, which Lok Sabha/ Legislative assembly may reject if it chooses to.  If such recommendations are not given within 14 days, it will be deemed to be passed by Parliament.
  3. The voice vote subterfuge supplements the other technique repeatedly deployed over the last few years to bypass the Upper House of Parliament the Money Bill route, utilised increasingly in instances even where the laws concerned would not easily fit within that definition.

 Supreme Court Vs Money Bill:

  1. The Aadhaar Bill and other controversial laws such as those pertaining to electoral bonds, retrospective validation of foreign political contributions and the overhaul of the legal regime relating to tribunals have also been carried out through the
  2. majority of the Supreme Court called such use of the Money Bill as nothing less than “a fraud on the constitution” A later constitutional Bench of the Court has since noted the problem with the majority position and has referred the issue of interpreting the Money Bill provision to a larger Bench.

 The Rajya Sabha’s role:

  • The Rajya Sabha holds the potential of a somewhat different legislative relation to the executive, making a robust separation of powers possible.
  • The increasing use of the Money Bill route was defended by the then Leader of the Rajya Sabha when he deplored the repeated questioning by the indirectly elected Rajya Sabha of the wisdom of the directly elected Lok Sabha.
  • The Lok Sabha is seen as directly representing the will of the people, and the Rajya Sabha as standing in its way.
  • Since democracy itself is seen purely in terms of parliamentary majority in the Lower House, the countervailing function of the Upper House is rarely seen as legitimate.
  • The notorious Emergency-era 42nd Constitutional Amendment could not be repealed in toto by the post-Emergency Janata regime because the Congress continued to have a strong presence in the Rajya Sabha.
  •  The Rajiv Gandhi government’s proposed 64th Constitutional Amendment Bill on Panchayati Raj was narrowly defeated in the Rajya Sabha, even though it enjoyed the highest ever majority in Lok Sabha.
  • But neither of these governments resorted to constitutional subterfuge or attacked the Rajya Sabha’s.
  • The Rajya Sabha is undoubtedly imperfect, partly because of constitutional design and undesirable practices.

 The significance of bicameralism:

  1. This bicameral system distributes power within two houses that check and balance one another rather than concentrating authority in a single body.
  2. The virtues of bicameralism, especially when the two Houses are chosen by different processes of representation and elected on a different schedule.
  3. The very questioning of the monopoly of the Lower House to represent the ‘people’ makes bicameralism desirable, he argues.
  4.  The Rajya Sabha membership is determined by elections to State Assemblies leads to a different principle of representation, often allowing different factors to prevail than those in the Lok Sabha elections.
  5. In India, the second chamber’s performance of such a role becomes particularly important as it offers the opportunity for a second legislative scrutiny.
  6.  The other merit of bicameralism for Waldron is especially significant in a Westminster system like India, where the Lower House is dominated by the executive.

 Why the legislative concerns are important?

  1. The malaise that allows such legislative humiliation to be tolerated in India runs even deeper, evident in the contempt for the legislature that has been shown by the executive in this country since the mid-1970s.
  2. In U.K, the British Prime Minister was being taken to task on ‘Prime Minister’s Questions’ every Wednesday in the House of Commons even during the pandemic,
  3. Parliament in India was not even convened until it became necessary and that too after suspending Question Hour.
  4. The legislature’s role in India is seen as only to pass legislation the faster the better.

 Way Forward: –

  • In India where judicial procedure is perceived as an obstacle to justice by judges themselves, it should not surprise us that legislators view legislative procedure as dispensable so that laws can be enacted by hook or by crook.
  • bicameral system is a government style with two separate divisions within the legislative branch of government, it means the law made by have more rectification, correctness and according to law of land. 

Question: –

To enhance the quality of democracy in India the second chamber’s performance is important as it offers the opportunity for a second legislative scrutiny. What are the suggested reforms in legislative process and how far are they significant to make democracy successful?

Demonizing freedom to love in New India will contribute to growing suicide toll of young people

Why in News: –The recent passage of the so-called ‘love jihad’ laws in three states of the country, represents a new and daunting challenge to love in India.

Syllabus: – GS-2:  Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

GS-1: Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.

GS-4:  Behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.

  • Generally, youngsters who love each other prefer to die than bow to the structural oppression and violence which have kept us divided for millennia.
  • These divisions are so profound that the virtual absence of marriage between castes and communities has left indelible signatures on the genetic footprint of over a billion people.
  • Path-breaking research on the genetic ancestry of Indians demonstrates that while there was plenty of mixing going on from the earliest days of human settlements on this soil.
  • This suddenly came to a halt about 2,000 years ago when the caste system became solidified.


  1. To the casual observer, India is the most amazing experiment in multiculturalism in the world, far grander and much older than the European Union or the countries created by European settlers after murdering most of the indigenous peoples.
  2. It is a land which scores of populations with distinct identities, languages and customs call home, a land which effortlessly assimilated its invaders to enrich its melting pot, a mind-bogglingly diverse country trying, while still a work in progress, to achieve an audacious civilisational feat.
  3. And yet, history teaches us that this diversity is only skin-deep for we have studiously prohibited loving across caste and religion for two millennia.

The Social Concerns

  1. No other society has been so rigidly stratified for as long a period in the history of human civilisation.
  2. Those who dared to love across the forbidden boundaries of caste and community faced not only being ostracised by their own families but death at their hands.
  3. If there is one marker of Indian exceptionalism that is without parallel, it is the cruel history of division of our own people, first by caste and then, by religion.
  4. Two thousand years of division is a formidable burden of history for young lovers to contend with, and despite generations of vigorous efforts towards social reform, the vast majority of marriages in India continue to be governed by these ancient, primitive, rules.

 Challenges ahead: –

  1. In recent times is the dramatic social change that has accompanied urbanisation, education and economic liberalisation, transforming the hopes and aspirations of young people.
  2. This torrent of freedom is further fuelled by unprecedented access to mass and digital media, which beams the lives and opportunities of others into the privacy of your phone in an instant.
  3. The fundamentally human need to pursue love, once forbidden beyond the confines of a marriage arranged so as to be acceptable to a family trapped in the cage of orthodoxy, was let loose.

Self-appointed custodians of morality and ethnic purity:

  1. The recent passage of the so-called “love jihad” laws in three states of the country, imposing harsh penalties on “forced conversions” under the pretext of marriage, represents a new and daunting challenge to love in India.
  2. At its core, the intent appears to be to instil fear in the outcast community of our times and, in doing so, it joins the long lineage of similar legislation which sought to protect the supposed racial purity of the dominant community, in particular its women, who apparently have no agency to resist the wily men from the other side.
  3. Those who champion these chilling laws are not only building on our own home-grown vintage record of denying the freedom to love but also in the notorious footsteps of Nazi Germany, which criminalised marriage between Jews and “Aryans”, and white supremacists, who debarred marriage between blacks and whites in the US and South Africa.

 Consequences of the laws: –

  • India’s youth are in despair and angry at the growing loss of freedoms and poisons seeping through an increasingly fragmented society.
  • Suicide has been the leading cause of death in young people for the better part of a decade.
  • The government reports that more than twoamounting to over 90,000 deaths, an increase of 4 per cent from the previous year.
  • Many of these suicides are precipitated by the loss of hope or rage at a perceived injustice or failure to realise a dream.
  • The terrorising of young people advocating for causes as diverse as climate change, environmental protection, inequality or the farmer’s protests will undoubtedly add more fuel to the fire of despair.
  • Young people died because they were marooned in a society that refused to let them live the life of their choice and crushed their desire to enjoy the most basic freedom of all — to pursue a cause or person they were passionate about.
  • The uphill struggle for young Indians to love just got a lot steeper.
  • As judges decide on the multitude of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the “love jihad” laws or the charges of sedition against young Indians pursuing dreams of a more just and sustainable country.
  • It is hoped they will pause for a moment and reflect on their own youth, when challenging oppression and championing progressive ideas was the essence of life.
  • If nothing else, it is hoped they will note that demonising the freedom to love will contribute to the growing suicide toll of young people in India.


  1. Constitutional institutions, especially the judiciary, need to be on guard and pro-active in this regard.
  2. Legislation must be based on basic principles of human values and balance betweenthe fundamental rights and DPSP.
  3. To regulate forced conversionsis not to strike at the very freedom of conscience that citizens possess.
  4. The Supreme Court has decided andexamines the constitutional validity and conditionality of the laws.
  5. Legislator must declare the right of Parliament to abridge or take away Fundamental Rights. 
  6. Judiciary may action against whom / who takes away Fundamental Rights by a constituted Parliament even though an amendment of the Constitution can be declared void.
  7. Administrator may implement law vary carefully and avoid to make controversy

 Way forward:

  • The present government has a great role to play here. It does not need such distractions, even for political mileage. The ruling party is firmly in the saddle and can continue its popularity with development and progress.
  • Let us hope and trust that we can together reaffirm Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas” without any biases.
  • The Nation, of ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas(‘Together, for everyone’s growth, with everyone’s trust’) must shed its many distractions that now grossly impinge on the values and rights of Indians.
  • Try to developed religious tolerance in approach and in action.
  • Constitutionally Indiamost remains a democratic sovereign republic where all religions are of equal status.

 Question: –

“Love Jihad is assuming new identities and associational forms. Those who dared to love across the forbidden boundaries of caste and community are being ostracised by their own families.” Comment.

What is Carbon Watch— India’s 1st app to assess one’s carbon footprint.

Why in News: –

Chandigarh became the first state or Union Territory in India to launch Carbon Watch, a mobile application to assess the carbon footprint of an individual.


 GS 3: Conservation, environment

  • Chandigarh became the first state or Union Territory in India to launch Carbon Watch, a mobile application to assess the carbon footprint of an individual.
  • Although the app can be accessed by everyone, it has specific options for the residents of Chandigarh to compile a detail study.
  • The application can be downloaded through a QR code in Android supported smart cell phones.
  • Carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gases-especially carbon dioxide-released into the atmosphere by a particular human activity.

Working of the Carbon Watch app?

  • As a person downloads the application, they will need to fill details in four parts- Water, Energy, Waste Generation and Transport (Vehicular movement).
  • In the category of Water, the person will be required to inform about the consumption of water.
  • In the Energy category, the details regarding the electricity units consumed every month at the house, monthly bill etc and usage of solar energy will have to be furnished.
  • In the Waste category, the individual will need to inform about the waste generation on their part and their family.
  • In the transport section, the individual will have to inform about the mode of transport used by them- four wheeler, two-wheeler or bicycle.
  • With the mentioned information, the mobile application will automatically calculate the carbon footprint of the individual.
  • The application will also provide information such as the national and world average of the emission, and the individual’s level of emission generation.

Objective of the application:

  1. Making the people Climate-Smart Citizens while making them capable of accessing their carbon footprint, along with providing them with steps to reduce it, is the motive behind the application.
  2. The mobile application is open for anybody. A man residing in Mumbai can also download it.
  3. The person will be inform about their carbon emission.
  4. The application will help in making a strategy for Chandigarh.
  5. It will help in analysing the average ratio of Chandigarh in the national and world emission.
  6. The individuals will need to fill the pin code of their address in the app.

Environmentalsolutions offered by the mobile application?

  • The mobile application will suggest methods to reduce the carbon footprints.
  • The application will suggest ways as per the information furnished by the individuals.
  • For instance, if a person feeds in the app that they travel only in four-wheelers, the app will advise them to reduce their travel in four-wheelers and use bicycles occasionally.
  • Moreover, in the option of Energy, the app will inform the individuals about the use of solar energy.
  • The app focuses on individuals’ actions and calculates carbon footprint on the basis of Transport, Energy, Waste and Water consumption.
  • It also suggests remedial actions and sensitises people about their lifestyle emissions, their impact and possible countermeasures to mitigate the same.

Chandigarh in the view of emission generation

  1. Although Chandigarh is one of the green cities, which has achieved the surplus 45 per cent green cover instead of the set target of 33 per cent.
  2. It still stands among 112 Indian cities identified as Non-Attainment Cities, for not meeting the prescribed standards of air quality.

Way forward:

  1. The Chandigarh has recorded a high concentration of PM 10- (particulate matters with diameter of 10 microns or less) and PM2.5 (particulate matters less than 2.5 microns)-form of air pollution, which is considered most serious.
  2. An aim to improve air quality in the cities, air purifier tower, Carbon Watch App and real time monitoring, surveillance and Real Time solution must be stated by other government also as Indian city’s witness many forms of air pollution.
  3. Growth in industrial production and urban transport has led to poor air quality in many Indian cities and industrial clusters.
  4. Of the 20 cities in the world with the worst air pollution, 12 are in India, need for legislative action and Imposition of carbon tax as a corrective action.

Question: –

Critically analyse how the mobile applications and IOT technology can provide the solutions for Environmental problems?

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