Daily Mains Newsletter For UPSC
| RaghukulCS

29 May 2021


Mains Value Addition

Mains Analysis

Topic No

Topic Name



Democracy at stake in Nepal

The Hindu


Why edible oils are Costlier

Indian Express

Mains Value Addition

Dowry deaths | Supreme Court widens scope of Section 304-B

Syllabus–GS 1: Role of women and women’s organization

Analysis: –

  • The Supreme Court indicated in a judgment on Friday that a straitjacket and literal interpretation of a penal provision on dowry death may have blunted the battle against the “long-standing social evil”.
  • Dowry deaths accounted for 40% to 50% homicides in the country for almost a decade from 1999 to 2018.
  • The judgment pronounced by a three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana called dowry harassment a “pestiferous” crime where women are subjected to cruelty by “covetous” husbands and in-laws.
  • In 2019 alone, 7,115 cases of dowry death were registered under Section 304-B of the Indian Penal Code.
  • Courts have often opted for a strict and narrow reading of the provision, which was one of the many legal initiatives introduced against dowry.
  • Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana, who authored the judgment, said courts should instead interpret Section 304-B liberally while keeping in mind the law’s intention to punish dowry and bride-burning.
  • According to Section 304-B, to make out a case of dowry death, a woman should have died of burns or other bodily injuries or “otherwise than under normal circumstances” within seven years of her marriage.
  • She should have suffered cruelty or harassment from her husband or in-laws “soon before her death” in connection with demand for dowry.
  • The judgment also raised concern about the casual way in which trial courts examined accused persons in dowry death cases under Section 313 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

Reasoned order must for granting protection from arrest while rejecting anticipatory bail: SC

Syllabus – GS 2: Structure, organization and functioning of the Judiciary

Analysis: –

  • Courts in “extraordinary circumstances” have the discretion to grant protection from arrest to accused even while denying them anticipatory bail, but the power cannot be exercised in an untrammelled manner, and the order will have to be a reasoned one, the Supreme Court ruled on Friday.
  • “We cannot be oblivious to the circumstances that courts are faced with…while dealing with anticipatory bail applications.
  • Even when the court is not inclined to grant anticipatory bail to an accused, there may be circumstances where the High Court is of the opinion that it is necessary to protect the person apprehending arrest for some time, due to exceptional circumstances, until they surrender before the trial court,” a bench of Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Aniruddha Bose said.
  • For example, the bench said, “the applicant may plead protection for some time as he/she is the primary caregiver or breadwinner of his/her family members, and needs to make arrangements for them.
  • In such extraordinary circumstances, when a strict case for grant of anticipatory bail is not made out, and rather the investigating authority has made out a case for custodial investigation, it cannot be stated that the High Court has no power to ensure justice.

Mains Analysis

Democracy at Stake in Nepal

Why in News?

The new rules i.e., Information Technology Rules, 2021 being implemented by govt. go against landmark judicial precedents upholding key rights.

Syllabus— GS 2: International Relations


Political crisis in Nepal: –

  • The repeated dissolution of Parliament, from last December to May this year, is a manifestation of the power struggle between political parties and leaders in Nepal.
  • It is a dangerous game plan by national and international forces to dismantle the federal republican democratic Constitution and restore the old Hindu monarchical state.
  • It is really anachronistic that the so-called Marxist-Leninist party headed by Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli is in collusion with Hindu monarchical forces in Nepal and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in India.
  • A section of the Janata Samajbadi Party (JSP) led by Mahanta Thakur and Rajendra Mahato have been lured or forced to join hands with Mr. Oli, who is notorious for his anti-Madhesh tirade till the other day.

Indian stand and its implications: –

  • India is being seen backing an autocratic and unconstitutional regime, surviving in ‘caretaker mode’ with the connivance of Nepal’s President Bidya Devi Bhandari and Mr. Oli.
  • In helping an unpopular and illegitimate regime in Kathmandu, the game-plan seems to be to derail the Constitution and plunge the country into endless crisis.
  • But these steps will not be helpful to any of the states.
  • Statement by India’s External Affairs Ministry, that “political developments in Nepal are the country’s internal matters” did not help too in changing the popular perception.
  • There should be a trade-off between the developmental aspirations of Nepal and the strategic concerns of India, in the light of changing geopolitical dynamics in the Himalayan region.
  • India should do course correction and should not throw its weight behind an autocratic regime; it must reassure all who care for the peace and the prosperity of Nepal by reposing faith in Nepal’s democracy and due processes.
  • India should start to fill the gap between promises made and delivery and also hasten vaccine delivery to Nepal as promised.

What India should be concerned about: –

  • If the objective is to scrap the present Constitution to undo the Kalapani-Limpiadhura map episode, why throw the baby out with the bathwater?
  • The India-Nepal boundary issue can be resolved through serious political dialogue.
  • There should be a trade-off between the developmental aspirations of Nepal and the strategic concerns of India, in the light of changing geopolitical dynamics in the Himalayan region.
  • India should do course correction and should not throw its weight behind an autocratic regime; it must reassure all who care for the peace and the prosperity of Nepal by reposing faith in Nepal’s democracy and due processes.
  • Also, India must fulfil the promises it made for COVID-19 vaccines to Nepal. The glaring gap between the promises made and delivery has been a big disappointment; people should never be kept in lurch like this.

Challenges: –

  • Opposition alliance in Nepal filed a petition in the Supreme Court last week demanding that the Nepali Congress’s Sher Bahadur Deuba be declared the new Prime Minister and the House of Representatives be reinstated.
  • Representing the Opposition alliance, Mr. Deuba had presented the signatures of 149 lawmakers to prove that he commanded the majority to lead a new government in this crisis phase.
  • Oli wanted be appointed as Prime Minister, while technically still being the Prime Minister, falsely claiming to have the backing of 153 lawmakers.
  • For the manner in which Ms. Bhandari has acted to keep Mr. Oli in power and undermining her constitutional role as the president she might face, impeachment.
  • Bhandari and Mr. Oli are two prominent figures who have consistently disrespected and abused the President’s high office for their shared political gains — and made it subservient to the executive whims and fancies.
  • Oli plans to drive Nepal to the brink of a constitutional crisis, stay as an authoritarian caretaker Prime Minister with President, and force the country into elections when even the next moment is uncertain.

Possible Solutions: –

  • The author suggests that Nepal should avail its true development potential — and stop being a ‘theatre of the absurd’ and hosting the harmful advances of neighbours involved in geostrategic rivalries”.
  • On domestic front, an increased focus should be on homework, instead of leveraging on vulnerabilities and the making of unruly partners.
  • In a functional democracy, statecraft is not supposed to be altruistic till it relies on progressive policy and governance — with an aim to augment the mission of ‘greater common good’.
  • The task remains unfinished till the people-centric priorities are not driving the political agenda and action.

Way Forward: –

  • Nepal should protect its democracy that is now at stake because of actions by political opportunists like Mr. Oli. However, an accomplished democracy like Nepal will rise again.
  • For sure, the road ahead is not easy and it is going to be one of struggle. If the Opposition alliance makes a resolve and fights back, it is likely that the new republic will gain in the long term.The big powers should take note of this.

Question: –

The repeated dissolution of Parliament, is not just a manifestation of the power struggle between political parties and leaders but also dangerous for the federal republican democratic Constitution. Discuss in the light of political crisis in Nepal and its impact on India.

Why edible oils are Costlier

Why in News?

Edible oil prices have risen sharply in recent months.

Syllabus—GS3: Issues related to Agriculture & Agricultural Income


Rise in Price of edible oils: –

  • The prices of six edible oils — groundnut oil, mustard oil, vanaspati, soya oil, sunflower oil and palm oil — have risen between 20% and 56% at all-India levels in the last one year, data on the Department of Consumer Affairs website show.
  • The retail price of mustard oil (packed) has increased by 44% to Rs 171 per kg on May 28 this year, from Rs 118 per kg on the same date last year.
  • The prices of soya oil and sunflower oil, too, have increased more than 50% since last year.
  • In fact, the monthly average retail prices of all six edible oils soared to an 11-year high in May 2021.

Consumption of Indian oil in India: –

  • According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, the per capita availability of vegetable oils in the country has been in the range of 19.10 kg to 19.80 kg per annum during the last five years.
  • Between 1993-94 and 2004-05, monthly per capita consumption of edible oils increased from 0.37 kg to 0.48 kg in rural areas, and from 0.56 kg to 0.66 kg in urban areas.
  • By 2011-12, it had risen further to 0.67 kg in rural areas and 0.85 kg in urban areas.
  • Although comparable figures are not available beyond that, a steady rise in the per capita availability of vegetable oils, through domestic sources as well as imports, indicates that demand has continued to rise.

Domestic Production and Import: –

  • According to the Agriculture Ministry, the demand for vegetable oils has been in the range of 23.48–25.92 million tonnes between 2015-16 and 2019-20.
  • However, domestic supply in this period has been much lower, in the range of 8.63–10.65 million tonnes.


  • In 2019-20, domestic availability of edible oils from both primary sources (oilseeds like mustard, groundnut etc.) and secondary sources (such as coconut, oil palm, rice bran oil, cotton seed) was only 10.65 million tonnes against the total domestic demand of 24 million tonnes — a gap of over 13 million tonnes.
  • Thus, India depends on imports to meet its demand. In 2019-20, the country imported about 13.35 million tonnes of edible oils worth Rs 61,559 crore, or about 56% of the demand.
  • This mainly comprised palm (7 million tonnes), soyabean (3.5 millon tonnes) and sunflower (2.5 million tonnes).
  • The major sources of these imports are Argentina and Brazil for soyabeen oil; Indonesia and Malaysia palm oil; and Ukraine and Argentina again for sunflower oil.

Reasons behind the prices rise: –

  1. The increase in domestic prices is basically a reflection of international prices, because India meets 56% of its domestic demand through imports.
  2. In the international market, prices of edible oils have jumped sharply in recent months due to various factors.
  3. The price of crude palm oil was quoted at 3,890 ringgit per tonne on May 25, compared to 2,281 ringgit a year ago.
  4. At the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT), the closing price of soyabean for July delivery was at $559.51 per tonne on May 24, as against $306.16 at this time last year.
  5. The prices of soyabean at CBOT and of Malaysian palm oil determine the prices Indian consumers pay for edible oil.
  • Even the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) price index (2014-2016=100) for vegetable oils, an indicator of movement of edible oil prices in the international market, has soared to 162 in April this year, compared to 81 in April last year.

Why Are International prices rising?

  1. Shift in Basket: -One of the reasons is the thrust on making biofuel from vegetable oil.There is a shifting of edible oils from food basket to fuel basket.
  2. Thrust on making Renewable fuels: -There has been a thrust on making renewable fuel from soyabean oil in the US, Brazil and other countries.
  3. High global demand: -Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the global demand for edible oils has been high.
  4. Other factors include
    1. buying by China,
    2. labour issues in Malaysia,
    3. the impact of La Niña on palm and soya producing areas
    4. export duties on crude palm oil in Indonesia and Malaysia.
  5. Reduced Supply: –
    1. Lower than-expected planting intentions
    2. accounts of below-average temperatures and dry conditions in parts of USA’s main soya growing regions.
  6. Lower yields: – Argentina’s production outlook is conditioned by reports of lower-than-anticipated yields owing to prolonged dryness.

Question: –

Discuss the reasons behind the rise of edible oil prices in international market. Enlist its consequences on rise of edible oil in India.

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