Daily Prelims Newsletter for upsc 20 May 2022

Daily Prelims Newsletter For UPSC
| RaghukulCS

20 May 2022-Friday

Table Of Contents

Table of Contents

OBC Quota in Local Body Elections

Why in the news?

  • The Supreme Court (SC) has allowed Madhya Pradesh to offer reservation to Other Backward Classes (OBC) in Local Body Elections, overturning an earlier order that had halted the quotas due to a lack of data.
  • Local bodies in Madhya Pradesh currently have quotas only for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and women.
  • This is the first time a state administration has passed the triple test formula stipulated by the Supreme Court in the context of ensuring OBC reservation in local body elections.
  • Previously, the Supreme Court agreed to recall its December 2021 judgement, which blocked 27 percent quota for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in local body elections, while hearing a petition from the Maharashtra government.

What is the context?

  • In 2021, the Supreme Court abolished OBC quotas in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh local body elections, while the Odisha high court overturned a similar action in the state because it failed the triple test.
  • The Triple-Test Formula, established by the Supreme Court in 2010 and later reaffirmed in March 2021, required states to appoint a commission, collect quantifiable community data, and allocate reservation to them in local bodies in such a way that the total reservation in each seat does not exceed 50%.

What is the decision?

  • The Supreme Court asked the state to notify the OBC seats, recognising the recommendations of Madhya Pradesh’s three-member OBC panel created in 2021.
  • This commission estimated the state’s OBC population to be 48% and allowed for variable amounts of reserve throughout each municipal seat, up to a maximum of 35%.
  • The Supreme Court allowed the Madhya Pradesh State Election Commission to notify the election schedule for the respective local bodies while keeping in mind the state government’s delimitation notifications.

What was the Supreme Court’s decision in 2010?

  • The five-judge Constitution Bench decision in K. Krishnamurthy (Dr.) v. Union of India (2010), in which the Supreme Court interpreted Articles 243D(6) and 243T(6), which permit reservation by enactment of law for backward classes in panchayat and municipal bodies, to hold that barriers to political participation are not the same as barriers to education and employment.
  • However, reservation may be desirable for creating a level playing field, as mandated by the aforementioned Articles, which provide a separate constitutional basis for reservation, as opposed to what is envisioned under Article 15 (4) and Article 16 (4), which form the basis for reservation in education and employment.
  • Though reserving for local entities is acceptable, the Supreme Court stated that it is subject to empirical evidence of backwardness in relation to local bodies as determined by the three tests.

What exactly is a local government?

  • Local Self Government is the administration of local affairs by local bodies chosen by the people.
  • Local self-government encompasses both rural and urban administration.
  • It is the third branch of government.
  • Local governments are divided into two types: Panchayats in rural areas and Municipalities in metropolitan areas.

Seoul Declaration on Forests

Why in the news?

  • The Seoul Declaration was recently accepted during the XV World Forestry Congress in Seoul, South Korea.
  • The Declaration was signed by 141 countries.
  • The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization previously published the State of the World’s Forests 2022 (SOFO 2022). (FAO).

What is the World Forestry Congress all about?

  • It takes place every six years.
  • This year’s congress, hosted by the Republic of Korea and co-organized with FAO, was Asia’s second.
  • In 1978, Indonesia held the inaugural Asian Congress.
  • The Congress has served as a forum for open debate of the sector’s key concerns and future directions.
  • The theme for 2022 is “Building a Green, Healthy, and Resilient Society.”


  • To create a new vision – a new way of thinking and acting – for the future of forests and forestry in all levels of sustainable development.
  • Investing in forests and forestry benefits people and their livelihoods, particularly the rural poor, young, and women.
  • As a result, this is an investment in sustainable development and the achievement of the SDGs by 2030.

What are the Declaration’s main points?

Demands for Joint Responsibility:
  • The declaration asks institutions, sectors, and stakeholders to share and integrate responsibility for forests.
  • It was emphasised that forests transcend political, social, and environmental boundaries, and that they are critical for biodiversity as well as the carbon, water, and energy cycles on a global basis.
Investment in Forests: 

Global investment in forest and landscape restoration must triple by 2030 in order to satisfy internationally agreed-upon objectives and targets for repairing degraded land.

One of the important messages from Congress was the significance of transitioning to a circular bioeconomy and achieving carbon neutrality.

The Declaration advocated for innovative green financing structures to boost investment in forest protection, restoration, and sustainable usage, as well as highlighting the promise of sustainably produced wood as a renewable, recyclable, and adaptable material.

Steps to Prevent Future Pandemics:

  • Healthy, productive forests must also be preserved in order to lessen the risk of future pandemics and to give other important advantages to human physical and mental health.
  • The Declaration emphasised the importance of continuing to develop and utilise new innovative technologies and procedures to enable evidence-based forest and landscape decision-making.

What are the XV World Forestry Congress’s other highlights?

  • Other initiatives launched at the Congress to increase international involvement and cooperation.
  • Assuring Forest Futures Through Integrated Risk Management (AFFIRM) Mechanism:
  • AFFIRM intends to create integrated risk management plans that other nations can utilise as models, as well as a methodology that will allow countries to better undertake disturbance risk assessments and give a better knowledge of forest hazards and forest-related risks.
  • The Initiative for Sustaining an Abundance of Forest Ecosystems (SAFE)

The Platform for REDD+ Capacity Building: REDD+ is a framework developed by the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to guide activities in the forest sector that reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, as well as sustainable forest management and the conservation and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries.

What are India’s Major Forest Initiatives?

Green India National Mission:

It is one of the eight Missions established under the National Climate Change Action Plan (NAPCC).

It was established in February 2014 with the goal of protecting our country’s biological resources and associated livelihoods from the threat of adverse climate change, as well as to recognise the critical role of forestry in ecological sustainability, biodiversity conservation, and food, water, and livelihood security.

National Afforestation Programme (NAP):
  • This programme has been in place since 2000 to reforest damaged forest lands.
  • The Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change is in charge of carrying it out (MoEFCC).

Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA Funds): Established in 2016, 90% of the fund will be distributed to states, with the remaining 10% kept by the Centre.

The funds can be used for catchment area treatment, assisted natural generation, forest management, wildlife protection and management, village relocation from protected areas, managing human-wildlife conflicts, training and awareness generation, supply of wood saving devices, and other related activities.

Desertification National Action Programme:
  • It was created in 2001 to address the growing problem of desertification and to take necessary response.
  • The MoEFCC is in charge of carrying it out.
  • Forest Fire Prevention and Management Scheme (FFPM): This is the only government sponsored programme dedicated especially to assisting states in dealing with forest fires.

The Kanheri Caves

Why in the news?

On the occasion of Buddha Purnima, the Ministry of Tourism recently unveiled the amenities at Kanheri Caves.

What exactly are the Kanheri Caves?

  • The Kanheri Caves are a collection of caves and rock-cut monuments on Mumbai’s western suburbs. The caves are located amid the Sanjay Gandhi National Park’s woodlands.
  • Kanheri is derived from the Prakrit word ‘Kanhagiri,’ and appears in the Nasik inscription of Satavahana ruler Vasisthiputra Pulumavi.
  • Kanheri has been mentioned in the travelogues of international visitors.
  • Kanheri was first mentioned by Fa-Hein, who visited India between 399 and 411 CE, and was thereafter mentioned by several other travellers.
  • The Kanheri caves have around 110 separate rock-cut monolithic excavations, making it one of the country’s largest single excavations.
  • The size and scope of excavations, as well as the numerous water cisterns, epigraphs, one of the oldest dams, a stupa burial gallery, and a superb rainwater harvesting system, attest to its popularity as a monastic and pilgrim centre.

These excavations were mostly conducted during the Hinayana period of Buddhism, although there are also numerous examples of Mahayana style architecture and a few printings of the Vajrayana order.

Kanheri prospered thanks to the patronage of Satavahana, Traikutakas, Vakatakas, and Silaharas, as well as donations from the region’s affluent merchants.

  • The Kanheri caves are significant because they reveal evidence of evolution and our past.
  • The architectural and engineering marvels of heritage sites such as Kanheri caves and Ajanta Ellora caves demonstrate people’s knowledge of art, engineering, management, building, patience, and tenacity at the time.
  • Many such monuments were constructed more than a century ago.
  • Its significance is enhanced by the fact that it is the only location where a continuous growth of Buddhist faith and construction can be seen as an unbroken legacy from the 2nd century CE to the 9th century CE.

What is the difference between Hinayana and Mahayana?

  • Literally, “smaller vehicle,” also known as “abandoned car” or “faulty vehicle.” It adheres to Buddha’s original teachings or the Doctrine of the Elders.
  • It rejects idol worship and seeks individual redemption through self-discipline and meditation.
  • The Hinayana sect includes Theravada.
  • This Buddhist group believes in the divinity of Buddha and idol worship.
  • It began in northern India and Kashmir before spreading east into Central Asia, East Asia, and parts of Southeast Asia.
  • Mantras are important to Mahayana.
  • Its central tenet was the potential of global emancipation from suffering for all beings. That is why this sect is known as Mahayana (The Great Vehicle).
  • Its principles are likewise founded on the existence of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas who exemplify Buddha nature. It enables salvation by faith and dedication to Buddha.

Other’s News

Hyperloop Hub:

  • The fifth method of transportation is the hyperloop.
  • Hyperloop is developing a device that uses magnetic levitation in low-pressure tubes to move people and things at aeroplane speeds.
  • Team Avishkar of IIT Madras has proposed a Hyperloop model.
  • It has a peak speed of more than 1,200 km/h.
  • The team is at the forefront of Hyperloop Tube research in India and has already patented a revolutionary and cost-effective tube design.
  • The Ministry of Railways has now approved money for IIT Madras to participate in a joint initiative on Hyperloop technology worth Rs 8.34 crore.
  • Hyperloop is an appealing concept for Indian Railways due to its low energy requirements and commitment to carbon neutrality.
  • At IIT Madras, the team hopes to construct the world’s largest student-developed Hyperloop testing facility.
  • It hopes to finish building this 500-meter-long facility at Discovery Campus this year.
  • A Hyperloop technology centre of excellence will be established at IIT Madras as part of the project.
  • The overall goal is to develop and validate Hyperloop technology-based transportation systems and subsystems in-house.

The Centre and the states have equal authority to enact GST legislation.

  • In relation to GST, the Supreme Court made the following observations.
  • Article 246A empowers the states to enact GST legislation.
  • It considers the Union and the states to be “equal units.”
  • As a result, both the Union government and the states have equal and complementary legislative authority over the Goods and Services Tax (GST)
  • There are no provisions in the Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 (GST Act) that address circumstances where laws enacted by the Centre and states conflict.
  • It is the GST Council’s responsibility to counsel them appropriately in cases of repugnancy.
  • However, the GST Council’s recommendations are not binding on the Centre, and it maintains that its proposals are just persuasive.
  • GST council must collaborate to reach a workable solution.
Share on print
Print PDF

Share With Your Friends

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp

Leave a Reply