A) Science and Technology/Defence/Space

  1. Hyperloop Transportation System and Magnetic Levitation (livemint)

  • Context: Avishkar Hyperloop, the student team from the Centre For Innovation (CFI) at IIT Madras, was the only Asian team to enter the final of the “SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition 2019” held in Los Angeles in July 2020.
  • Avishkar Hyperloop is working on an indigenous design and development for building the first-ever self-propelled, completely autonomous Hyperloop Pod in India.


  • Hyperloop is a new technology wherein vacuum tubes are used to transport people and cargo at a very high speed.
  • The technology is yet to be commercially launched and the Pune-Mumbai hyperloop project could be one of the first few projects globally.
  • Once passengers or cargo is loaded into the hyperloop vehicle, it accelerates through electric propulsion and floats above the track using magnetic levitation to reach the destination.
  • It glides at airline speeds for long distances due to ultra-low aerodynamic drag and is thus called revolutionary technology.

Hyperloop Transportation System

  • It is a transportation system where a pod-like vehicle is propelled through a near-vacuum (not total vacuum) tube connecting places at speeds matching that of an aircraft.
  • The hyperloop concept is a brainchild of Tesla founder Elon Musk.
  • The hyperloop system is being designed to transport both passengers and freight.
  • Passengers or cargo are loaded into the hyperloop vehicle and accelerate gradually via electric propulsion through a low-pressure tube.
  • The vehicle floats above the track using magnetic levitation and glides at airline speeds for long distances due to ultra-low aerodynamic drag.

How is a hyperloop different from high-speed trains?

  • There are four key differences.
  • It’s faster, as in two to three times faster than the fastest high-speed rail.
  • It’s on-demand and direct. Trains follow a schedule and typically have multiple stops. Hyperloop leaves when you’re ready to go, and pods can depart up to several times per minute and can transport passengers and cargo direct to their destination with no stops along the way.
  • It’s environmentally friendly, with a smaller environmental impact, more efficient energy consumption and no direct emissions or noise.
  • It’s less expensive and different technology.

How much energy does a hyperloop use?

  • Virgin Hyperloop One is more efficient than high-speed modes of transportation.
  • High-speed rail and traditional maglev trains require power along the entire track, Virgin Hyperloop One only requires energy to a portion of the track.
  • Specific energy use will be dependent upon system requirements and the terrain.

How does the motor and propulsion system work?

  • Hyperloop vehicles are propelled using a linear electric motor, which is a straightened-out version of a conventional rotary motor.
  • A conventional electric motor has two primary parts: a stator (the part that stays still) and a rotor (the part that moves or rotates).
  • When voltage is applied to the stator it makes the rotor spin and do the work of, say, spinning a power drill.
  • A proprietary linear electric motor has the same two main parts, however, the rotor doesn’t rotate but instead moves in a straight line along the length of the stator.
  • In the Virgin Hyperloop One system, the stators are mounted to the tube, the rotor is mounted to the pod, and the pod straddles the stators as it accelerates down the tube.

G- force

  • G-force refers to a unit based on the Earth’s gravity: the constant, invisible pull that keeps us from floating off into space.
  • G-force is used to describe the acceleration of an object relative to Earth’s gravity, where Earth gravity = 1 G.
  • Assuming you are sitting at a desk or standing on solid ground right now, you are in a 1 G environment; Earth’s standard force of gravity (G) is pushing against you as it normally does.
  • A car that accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 5 seconds exerts a force of about 1/2 of a G on its occupants. Fighter pilots can experience forces greater than 7 Gs during extreme maneuvers. Impact forces can be much higher, though they last only a brief moment. Collisions between football players can exceed 150 Gs.
  • Humans are able to bear localized g-forces in the 100s of g’s for a split second, such as a slap on the face. But continued g-forces above about 10 g can lead to permanent injury and are deadly.
  • It has been seen that there is significant disparity among individuals on the tolerance to g-force. Generally, accelerations beyond 100 g are lethal even if momentary.
  • G-force can vary on different planets or celestial bodies. A body having a bigger mass will produce a higher gravitational field, thus resulting in higher g-forces. For example, the g-force on the Moon is about 1/6 g, and on Mars it is about 1/3 g.

The direction of g and G

  • The force of gravity on Earth, g, always points down, towards the center of the planet. However, arbitrary G forces can point in any direction: up, down, side to side or at an angle.

Magnetic Levitation

  • Magnetic fields are actively excluded from superconductors (Meissner effect).
  • If a small magnet is brought near a superconductor, it will be repelled because induced supercurrents will produce mirror images of each pole.
  • If a small permanent magnet is placed above a superconductor, it can be levitated by this repulsive force.
  • Levitation currents in the superconductor produce effective magnetic poles that repel and support the magnet.
  • High speed is just one major benefit of maglev trains.
  • Because the trains rarely (if ever) touch the track, there’s far less noise and vibration than typical, earth-shaking trains.
  • Less vibration and friction results in fewer mechanical breakdowns, meaning that maglev trains are less likely to encounter weather-related delays.
  • The big difference between a maglev train and a conventional train is that maglev trains do not have an engine — at least not the kind of engine used to pull typical train cars along steel tracks.
  • The engine for maglev trains is rather inconspicuous. Instead of using fossil fuels, the magnetic field created by the electrified coils in the guideway walls and the track combine to propel the train.
  • If you’ve ever played with magnets, you know that opposite poles attract and like poles repel each other. This is the basic principle behind electromagnetic propulsion.
  1. Global climate events and variations in Indian Summer Monsoon (ISM) (PIB)

  • Global climatic events like the Roman Warm PeriodMedieval Climate Anomaly, and the Little Ice Agemay have had significant impacts on India’s landscape, vegetation, and socio-economic growth, with abrupt shifts in the Indian Summer Monsoon (ISM) coinciding with these climatic events.
  • A new study by the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG),an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India, shows wet monsoon conditions in the North-Western Himalaya between 1200 and 550 BCE. This condition prevailed till 450 AD, coinciding with the Roman Warm Period (RWP).
  • It was followed by reduced precipitation and a weak ISM till 950 AD and then strengthened during the Medieval Climate Anomaly(MCA) between 950 and 1350 AD.
  • During theLittle Ice Age, there was a pronounced reduction in monsoon precipitation
  • The study carried out with lake sediments from Rewalsar Lake, a freshwater lake from Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh, could resolve the long debate among scientists about whether such events were local or global.
  1. New formula to help estimate the mass of Black Hole (PIB)

  • A new study has suggested a formula that can help probe black holes.
  • Black holes (BH) cannot be observed directly, but their presence can be detected by the huge amount of energy that is liberated through temporary accumulation of matter outside the BH, before it dives into the BH, a process called accretion.
  • Scientists have found the formula that can assess the spectrum emitted from the accretion discs around black holes.
  • Spectra of accretion discs can help estimate the mass of the black hole.
  • They found that with the increase of the mass supply to the central BH, the accretion disc becomes brighter and more high energy photons are emitted.
  • In other words, matter around a massive BH will produce a lot of photons in the low energy and high energy band, but around a smaller BH, it will emit predominantly in the X-rays.
  1. Extreme-UV (EUV) light and AUDFs01 galaxy (PIB)

  • India’s first multi-wavelength satellite, AstroSat, has detected extreme-UV (EUV) light from a galaxy, called AUDFs01, 9.3 billion light-years away from Earth.
  • At the time, our universe was forming stars at its peak rate.
  • A collaboration of researchers from different countries under a project funded by Indo-French Centre for the Promotion of Advanced Research (CEFIPRA) delved into how galaxies like AUDFs01 grow their stellar mass when the first stars and galaxies became visible.
  • Stellar mass is a phrase that is used by astronomers to describe the mass of a star.
  • The multi-wavelength satellite AstroSat, which was launched in September 2015, by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has five unique X-ray and ultraviolet telescopes working in tandem and has onboard the Ultra-Violet Imaging Telescope (UVIT).
  • The redshift gap from 0.4 to 2.5 remained barren until the wide-field Ultra-Violet Imaging Telescope (UVIT) onboard AstroSat made its first discovery of AUDFs01 at redshift 1.42.
  • AUDFs01 is the first example of a leaking galaxy with clumpy morphology. This galaxy has four clumps and, perhaps, typical of star-forming galaxies in this redshift range.


  • Redshift is the displacement of the spectrum of an astronomical object toward longer (red) wavelengths.
  • It is generally attributed to the Doppler effect, a change in wavelength that results when a given source of waves (e.g., light or radio waves) and an observer are in rapid motion with respect to each other.
  • The American astronomer Edwin Powell Hubble reported in 1929 that the distant galaxies were receding from the Milky Way system, in which Earth is located, and that their redshifts increase proportionally with their increasing distance.
  • This generalization became the basis for what is called Hubble’s law, which correlates the recessional velocity of a galaxy with its distance from Earth.
  • That is to say, the greater the redshift manifested by light emanating from such an object, the greater the distance of the object and the larger its recessional velocity (see also Hubble’s constant).
  • This law of redshifts has been confirmed by subsequent research and provides the cornerstone of modern relativistic cosmological theories that postulate that the universe is expanding.
  • Since the early 1960s astronomers have discovered cosmic objects known as quasars that exhibit larger redshifts than any of the remotest galaxies previously observed.
  • The extremely large redshifts of various quasars suggest that they are moving away from Earth at tremendous velocities (i.e., approximately 90 percent the speed of light) and thereby constitute some of the most distant objects in the universe.

 B) Economy

5)Fiscal deficit and other economy-related terms (TH)

  • Context: India’s fiscal deficit soared to 109% of the Budget target in just the first five months of the year.
  • Budget 2020-21 had set a fiscal deficit target of 3.5% of GDP.
  • India recorded a surplus of $19.8 billion (3.9% of GDP) in its current account balance in the first quarter of FY21.
  • The surplus in the current account in the first quarter of 2020-21 was on account of a sharp contraction in trade deficit to $10 billion due to a steeper decline in merchandise imports relative to exports on a year-on-year basis.
  • The current account surplus in Q1 was well above the expectations, as the fall in remittances was remarkably muted, despite the adverse economic conditions globally amid the ongoing pandemic.
  • Gross Fiscal Deficits defined as the excess of total expenditure of the government over the total non-debt creating receipts.
  • Net fiscal deficit can be arrived at by deducting net domestic lending from gross fiscal deficit.
  • Revenue deficit arises when the government’s actual net receipts is lower than the projected receipts.
  • Revenue deficit signifies that the government’s own earning is insufficient to meet normal functioning of government departments and provision of services.
  • An increase in the ratio of revenue deficit to gross fiscal deficit indicates an increase in the utilization of borrowed funds for revenue purposes.
  • It indicates increase in liabilities of the Central Government without increase in the assets of that Government.
  • The difference between fiscal deficit and revenue deficit is the government’s capital expenditure.
  • Effective Revenue Deficit
  • In the 2012-13 budget, the concept of effective revenue deficit was introduced that excluded grants for the creation of capital assets from the conventional revenue deficit.
  • Effective Revenue Deficit is the difference between revenue deficit and grants for creation of capital assets.
  • Grants for creation of capital assets are defined as “the grants-in-aid given by the Central Government to the State Governments, constitutional authorities or bodies, autonomous bodies and other scheme implementing agencies for creation of capital assets which are owned by the said entities”.
  • The concept of effective revenue deficit has been suggested by the Rangarajan Committee on Public Expenditure.
  • It is aimed to deduct the money used out of borrowing to finance capital expenditure.
  • The concept has been introduced to ascertain the actual deficit in the revenue account after adjusting for the expenditure of capital nature.
  • Focusing on this will help in reducing the consumptive component of revenue deficit and create space for increased capital spending.
  • Trade deficit: A nation has a trade deficit if the total value of goods and services it imports is greater than the total value of those it exports.
  • Primary Deficit: It is the difference between the current year’s fiscal deficit (total income – total expenditure of the government) and the interest paid on the borrowings of the previous year.
  • Primary Deficit = Fiscal Deficit (Total expenditure – Total income of the government) – Interest payments (of previous borrowings).
  • Fiscal deficit is also defined as the difference between the total expenditure of the government and its total income.
  • What does Primary Deficit indicate? Primary deficit is measured to know the amount of borrowing that the government can utilize, excluding the interest payments.
  • A decrease in primary deficit shows progress towards fiscal health.
  • Note that the difference between the primary deficit and fiscal deficit reflects the amount of interest payment on public debt generated in the past.
  • Hence, when the primary deficit is zero, the fiscal deficit becomes equal to the interest payment. This means that the government has resorted to borrowings just to pay off the interest payments. Further, nothing is added to the existing loan.
  • Budget Deficit and Monetized Deficit are the deficits on the basis of financing.
  • Fiscal Deficit, Primary Deficit, Revenue Deficit and Effective Revenue Deficit are the deficits on the basis of type of transactions.
  • Factor income: It is determined by subtracting income made by citizens of a country on their foreign investments from income earned by foreigners on their investments within the country.
  • Current/Financial transfers: They include interest earnings, foreign remittances, donations, aids and grants, official assistance, pensions etc.
  • Current account deficit/balance: trade deficit + factor income + financial transfers OR
  • CAD/CAB = (X−M) + (NY+NCT) where:
  • X = Exports of goods and services
  • M=Imports of goods and services
  • NY=Net income abroad
  • NCT=Net current transfers
  • Balance of payments: The balance of payments is the sum of all transactions between a nation and all of its international trading partners.

Fiscal expansion

  • Fiscal expansion is generally defined as an increase in economic spending owing to actions taken by the government.
  • Expansionary fiscal policy can also lead to inflation because of the higher demand in the economy.
  • A general increase in overall spending can cause the cash flow leaving the country to increase as consumers and the government both purchase more. This increases the debit side of the balance of payments.
  • Fiscal expansion generally worsens the Inflation and Balance of payments.

 C) Schemes/Policies/Initiatives/Social Issues

6)The ideal weight of Indian men, women redefined (TH)

  • Context: The ICMR-National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) has redefined the ideal or reference Indian adult man and woman with regard to age to 19-39 years instead of 20-39 years.


  • The body weight has been put at 65 kg for men and 55 kg for women while earlier, it was 60 kg and 50 kg respectively, which are a decade-old.
  • In the ‘Recommended Dietary Allowances’ and ‘Nutrient Requirements’ report prepared by NIN, the city-based nodal agency for recommending dietary allowances and nutrient requirements for Indians, includes Estimated Average Requirements (EARs) and Tolerable Upper Limits of nutrients for the first time.

Dietary intake

  • Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) are daily dietary nutrient intake levels which would be sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all healthy individuals while EARs are the average daily nutrient intake levels of the population.
  • The cereal-legume-milk composition of the diet for a moderately active man has been improved to 3:1:2.5 as compared to the earlier 11:1:3 within a given low cost window to meet daily protein requirements.
  • Visible fat intake for sedentary, moderate and heavy activity has been set at 25 gm, 30 gm and 40 gm a day for adult man and 20 gm, 25 gm and 30 gm a day for adult women as against the single level recommended earlier.
  • For the first time, fiber based on energy intake was recommended and the level of about 40 gm/2000 kcal has been considered as safe intake.
  • For carbohydrates, the EAR has been set at 100 gm/day for ages 1 and above with a RDA of 130 gm/day.
  • With regard to sodium due to emerging concerns on the prevalence of hypertension a safe intake of 2000 mg/day which amounts to 5 gm/day of salt is recommended; while intake of 3,510 mg/day is recommended for potassium.

National Institute of Nutrition (NIN)

  • National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) was founded by Sir Robert McCarrison in the year 1918 as ‘Beri-Beri’ Enquiry Unit in a single room laboratory at the Pasteur Institute, Coonoor, Tamil Nadu.
  • Within a short span of seven years, this unit blossomed into a “Deficiency Disease Enquiry” and later in 1928, emerged as full-fledged “Nutrition Research Laboratories” (NRL) with Dr. McCarrison as its first Director.
  • It was shifted to Hyderabad in 1958. At the time of its golden jubilee in 1969, it was renamed as National Institute of Nutrition (NIN).


  • To identify various dietary and nutrition problems prevalent among different segments of the population in the country.
  • To evolve effective methods of management and prevention of nutritional problems.
  • To conduct operational research connected with the planning and implementation of national nutrition programs.
  • Periodic Assessment of Nutrient intakes, Health and Nutrition status of the population for optimal health, and assist the Government and regulatory bodies in policymaking
  • Establishment of Dietary Reference Intake values, Recommended Dietary allowances, Dietary guidelines for Indian population; and assessment of Nutrient Composition of Foods
  • Identify various nutrition deficiency disorders prevalent among different segments of the population
  • Conduct surveys and study the risk factors of NCDs through multidisciplinary research
  • Identify and study food and environmental safety challenges for providing scientific input for policy and regulation.
  1. Ambedkar Social Innovation & Incubation Mission (ASIIM) (PIB)

  • Union Ministry for Social Justice and Empowerment has launched the “Ambedkar Social Innovation and Incubation Mission (ASIIM) under Venture Capital Fund for SCs” to promote innovation and enterprise among SC students, with special preference to Divyangs, studying in higher educational institutions.
  • Under the “Ambedkar Social Innovation Incubation Mission (ASIIM)” initiative, 1,000 SC youth would be identified in the next 4 years with start-up ideas through the Technology Business Incubators (TBIs) in various higher educational institutions.
  • The Ministry of Social Justice had launched the Venture Capital Fund for SCs (VCF-SC) in 2014-15 with a view to developing entrepreneurship amongst the SC/Divyang youth and to enable them to become ‘job-givers’.
  • The objective of this fund is to provide concessional finance to the entities of the SC entrepreneurs.
  1. Vaishvik Bhartiya Vaigyanik (VAIBHAV) Summit (PIB)

  • The VAIBHAV Summit is a global virtual summit of overseas and resident Indian Researchers and Academicians and is being organized from 2nd October to 31st October 2020.
  • The aim of the summit is to bring Indian origin luminaries in academic institutes and R&D organizations across the world and resident counterparts on a single platform to debate upon collaboration mechanisms to strengthen academic and S&T base in India for global development.
  1. Kumhar Sashaktikaran Program (PIB)

  • Context: It is an initiative of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) for the empowerment of potter’s community in the remotest of locations in the country.


Target beneficiaries

  • The program reaches out to the potters in some selected States:P., M.P., Maharashtra, J&K, Haryana, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Assam, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Telangana and Bihar.

Benefits provided

  • Training for advanced pottery products;
  • Latest, new technology pottery equipment like the electric Chaak; and
  • Market linkages and visibility through KVIC exhibitions.
  1.  National Programme for Health Care of Elderly (PIB)

  • Context: Union Health Minister has launched Decade of Healthy Ageing (2020-2030) on International Day for Older Persons.
  • He also spoke about the National Programme for the Health Care for the Elderly (NPHCE) which is aimed to deliver comprehensive, affordable and quality geriatric care services at primary and secondary levels.
  • Every year 1st October is celebrated as the International Day of Older Persons, as declared by United Nations.


  • The National Programme for the Health Care for the Elderly (NPHCE) is an articulation of the International and national commitments of the Government as envisaged under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), National Policy on Older Persons (NPOP) adopted by the Government of India in 1999 & Section 20 of “The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007” dealing with provisions for medical care of Senior Citizen.
  • It was launched in 2010.
  • The programme is State oriented and basic thrust of the programme is to provide dedicated health care facilities to the senior citizens (>60 year of age) at various level of primary health care.
  • Its aim is to provide Free, Specialized health care facilities exclusively for the elderly people through the State health delivery system.
  • It is being implemented by DIRECTORATE GENERAL OF HEALTH SERVICES, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare


  • To provide accessible, affordable, and high-quality long-term, comprehensive and dedicated care services to an Ageing population;
  • Creating a new “architecture” for Ageing;
  • To build a framework to create an enabling environment for “a Society for all Ages”;
  • To promote the concept of Active and Healthy Ageing;
  • To promote convergence with National Rural Health Mission, AYUSH and other line departments like Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
  1. Mega Food Park Scheme (PIB)

  • Context: Kerala’s first and nation’s twentieth mega food park (KINFRA Mega Food Park) in Palakkad district of Kerala was virtually inaugurated today by the Union Minister for Food Processing Industries.


  • Mega Food Parks is a scheme of the Ministry of Food Processing Industries.
  • One of their aims is to increase processing of perishables from 6% to 20% and to increase India’s Share in global food trade.
  • With a view to promoting investment in Mega Food Park, Ministry of Finance has covered Food Park including Mega Food Park under the Infrastructure category.
  • Under the Scheme, Government of India provides financial assistance upto Rs. 00 Crore per Mega Food Park project.
  • The primary objective of the Scheme is to provide modern infrastructure facilities for the food processing along the value chain from the farm to the market with a cluster-based approach based on a hub and spokesmodel.
  • It includes creation of infrastructure for primary processing and storage near the farm in the form of Primary Processing Centres (PPCs) and Collection Centres (CCs) and common facilities and enabling infrastructure like roads, electricity, water, ETP facilities etc. at Central Processing Centre (CPC).
  • These PPCs and CCs act as aggregation and storage points to feed raw material to the food processing units located in the CPC.
  • Food Processing being capital incentive activity, common facilities are created at Central Processing Centre (CPC) to be used by the processing units on hire basis.
  • The Mega Food Park project is implemented by a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) which is a Body Corporate registered under the Companies Act.
  • However, State Government, State Government entities and Cooperatives are not required to form a separate SPV for the implementation of the Mega Food Park project.

Other Mega Food Parks in India:

  • Srini Mega Food Park, Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh.
  • Godavari Mega Aqua Park, West Godavari, Andhra Pradesh.
  • North East Mega Food Park, Nalbari, Assam.
  • Gujarat Agro Mega Food Park, Surat, Gujarat.
  • Cremica mega Food park, Una, Himachal Pradesh.
  • Integrated Mega Food Park, Tumkur, Karnataka.
  • Indus Mega Food Park, Khargoan, Madhya Pradesh.
  • Avantee Mega Food Park, Dewas, Madhya Pradesh.
  • Paithan Mega Food Park, Aurangabad, Maharashtra.
  • Satara Mega Food Park, Satara, Maharashtra.
  • Zoram Mega Food Park, Kolasib, Mizoram.
  • MITS Mega Food Park, Rayagada, Odisha.
  • International Mega Food Park, Fazilka, Punjab.
  • Greentech Mega Food park, Ajmer, Rajasthan.
  • Smart Agro Mega Food Park, Nizamabad, Telangana.
  • Tripura Mega Food Park, West Tripura, Tripura.
  • Patanjali Food and Herbal Park, Haridwar, Uttarakhand.
  • Himalayan Mega Food Park, Udham Singh Nagar, Uttarakhand.
  • Jangipur Bengal Mega Food Park, Murshidabad, West Bengal.

 D) International Relations

12)Germany, Uighur Muslims and One Country, Two Systems (TH)

  • Context: Germany, which country currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, accused China of “poor and cruel treatment” of minorities and underlined deep concerns over the crackdown on dissent in Hong Kong.


  • Germany did not name the minorities bearing the brunt of poor treatment but activists have accused China over the mass internment of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang.
  • More than one million ethnic Uighurs and other minorities have been herded into internment camps to undergo political indoctrination, according to rights groups and experts.
  • China insists the camps are training centres aimed at providing education to reduce the allure of Islamic radicalism.
  • Beijing is also under fire over a security law it imposed on Hong Kong in June that radically increased its control over the financial hub and led to a brutal crackdown on dissent.
  • Hong Kong was guaranteed autonomy under the One Country, Two Systems” deal agreed ahead of its 1997 handover from Britain.
  • But critics say the security law, imposed following months of large and often violent protests calling for greater democratic freedoms and police accountability, spells the end of the agreement.
  • Who are the Uighurs?
  • The Uighurs are mostly Muslims, and number about 11 million in western China’s Xinjiang region.
  • They see themselves as culturally and ethnically close to Central Asian nations, and their language is similar to Turkish.
  • But in recent decades, there’s been a mass migration of Han Chinese (China’s ethnic majority) to Xinjiang, and the Uighurs feel their culture and livelihoods are under threat.
  • Where is Xinjiang?
  • It’s in the far west of China, and is the country’s biggest region.
  • As an autonomous area, it – in theory at least – has a degree of self-governance away from Beijing.
  • Uighur Muslims make up under half the region’s roughly 26 million people.
  • What’s happening to people in Xinjiang?
  • Human Rights Watch says Uighur people in particular are subject to intense surveillance and are made to give DNA and biometric samples.
  • Those with relatives in 26 “sensitive” countries have reportedly been rounded up, and up to a million detained.
  • Rights groups say people in camps are made to learn Mandarin Chinese and criticise or renounce their faith.

One Country, Two Systems

  • Hong Kong returned to China under a one country, two systems formula that allows it to keep freedoms not enjoyed on the mainland, like the freedom to protest and an independent legal system, hence the anger at the extradition Bill and perceived creeping influence by Beijing.
  • “One country, two systems” is a constitutional principle formulated by Deng Xiaoping, the Paramount Leader of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), for the reunification of China during the early 1980s.
  • Deng’s plan was to unify China and Taiwan under the One Country Two Systems policy. He promised high autonomy to Taiwan. China’s nationalist government, which was defeated in a civil war by the communists in 1949, had been exiled to Taiwan.
  • Under Deng’s plan, the island could follow its capitalist economic system, run a separate administration and keep its own army but under Chinese sovereignty. Taiwan, however, rejected the Communist Party’s offer.
  • The idea of two systems in one country resurfaced when Beijing started talks with Britain and Portugal, who were running Hong Kong and Macau, respectively.
  • The British had taken control of Hong Kong in 1842 after the First Opium War. Macau, on the other side, had been ruled by the Portuguese from 1557. They started withdrawing troops in the mid-1970s.
  • It was suggested that there would be only one China, but distinct Chinese regions such as Hong Kong and Macau could retain their own economic and administrative systems, while the rest of the PRC (or simply “China”) uses the socialism with Chinese characteristics system.
  • Under the principle, each of the two regions could continue to have its own governmental system, legal, economic and financial affairs, including trade relations with foreign countries.

 E) Polity/Bills/Acts/Judgments

13)Model Code of Conduct (MCC) (PIB)

  • Context: The schedule for holding General Election to the State Legislative Assembly of Bihar 2020 has been announced.


Model Code of Conduct (MCC) 

  • Article 324 of the Constitution mandates the Commission to hold free and fair elections to the Parliament and the State Legislatures.
  • The MCC is a set of guidelines issued by the Election Commission to regulate political parties and candidates prior to elections, to ensure free and fair elections.
  • The MCC is operational from the date that the election schedule is announced till the date that results are announced.
  • However, the Commission can’t make its announcement more than three weeks ahead of issuing the formal notification of elections.
  • It was also agreed that the inauguration of any completed or new project would be done by civil servants, so that the MCC did not hurt the public interest.
  • Kerala was the first state to adopt a code of conduct for elections.
  • The Election Commission decided to emulate Kerala’s example and circulate the draft among all recognized parties and state governments for the Lok Sabha elections of 1962. However, it was only in 1974, just before the mid-term general elections, that the EC released a formal Model Code of Conduct.
  • The MCC contains eight provisions dealing with general conduct, meetings, processions, polling day, polling booths, observers, party in power, and election manifestos.
  • The MCC is not enforceable by law. However, certain provisions of the MCC may be enforced through invoking corresponding provisions in other statutes such as the Indian Penal Code, 1860, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, and Representation of the People Act, 1951.
  • The MCC is not a part of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and the Commission usually uses moral sanction to get political parties and candidates to fall in line.
  • At the time of the Lok Sabha elections, both the Union and state governments are covered under the MCC.

What is permitted and what is not under the MCC for the party in power?

  • The MCC forbids ministers (of state and central governments) from using official machinery for election work and from combining official visits with electioneering.
  • Advertisements extolling the work of the incumbent government using public money are to be avoided.
  • The government cannot announce any financial grants, promise construction of roads or other facilities, and make any ad hoc appointments in government or public undertaking during the time the Code is in force.
  • Ministers cannot enter any polling station or counting centre except in their capacity as a voter or a candidate.
  • However, the Code does not stand in the way of ongoing schemes of development work or welfare, relief and rehabilitation measures meant for people suffering from drought, floods, and other natural calamities. However, the EC forbids the use of these works for election propaganda.

Is social media covered under the MCC?

  • The Election Commission has taken the view that the MCC will also apply to content posted by political parties and candidates on the Internet, including on social media sites.
  • In 2013, the Commission laid down guidelines to regulate the use of social media by parties and candidates. Candidates have to provide their email address and details of accounts on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc., and add the expenditure on advertisements posted on social media to their overall expenditure for the election.

But how does the EC enforce the MCC without statutory backing?

  • The ECI can issue a notice to a politician or a party for alleged breach of the MCC either on its own, or on the basis of a complaint by another party or individual.
  • Once a notice is issued, the person or party must reply in writing — either accepting fault and tendering an unconditional apology, or rebutting the allegation.
  • In the latter case, if the person or party is found guilty subsequently, he/it can attract a written censure from the ECI — something that many see as a mere slap on the wrist.

Section 126/126A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951

  • Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 prohibits displaying any election matter by means, inter alia, of television or similar apparatus, during the period of 48 hours before the hour fixed for conclusion of poll in a constituency.
  • “Election matter” has been defined as any matter intended or calculated to influence or affect the result of an election.
  • Violation of the aforesaid provisions of Section 126 is punishable with imprisonment up to a period of two years, or with fine or both.
  • During elections, there are sometimes allegations of violation of the provisions of the above Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 by TV channels in the telecast of their panel discussions/debates and other news and current affairs programs.
  • The Commission once again reiterates that the TV/Radio channels and cable networks/internet website/social media platforms should ensure that the contents of the programmes telecast/broadcast/ displayed by them during the period of 48 hours referred to in Section 126 do not contain any material, including views/appeals by panelists/participants that may be construed as promoting/ prejudicing the prospect of any particular party or candidate(s) or influencing/ affecting the result of the election.
  • This shall, among other things include display of any opinion poll and of standard debates, analysis, visuals and sound-bytes.
  • Section 126A of the R.P. Act 1951 prohibits conduct of Exit poll and dissemination of its results during the hour fixed for the commencement of poll and half an hour after the time fixed for close of poll in both the States.

Source-The Hindu, PIB, IE and Others

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