10 Feb 2024 : Daily Current Affairs

Daily Current Affairs

10-February-2024- Top News of the Day

1. Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly Passes Uniform Civil Code Bill, 2024: Addressing Polygamy and Standardizing Personal Laws

Topic: GS2 – Polity – Indian Constitution – Significant Provisions

GS1 – Society – Social Empowerment

This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains in the context of understanding the implications of such legislation, including its impact on different religious communities and its alignment with constitutional principles.
It also talks about the complexities surrounding polygamy, including its implications for gender equality, women’s rights, and social cohesion.
  • The Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly passed the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) Bill, 2024, after a two-day discussion, aiming to establish uniformity in personal laws governing matters such as marriage, divorce, and inheritance across communities in the state, excluding tribals.
  • Notably, the bill extends the rule of monogamy to the Muslim community, requiring that neither party has a living spouse at the time of marriage.
  • This provision aligns with the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 but differs from previous Muslim personal law, which permitted men to have up to four wives.

More about the news:
Challenges in Data Collection on Polygamy:

  • Despite the necessity for accurate data on polygamy, obtaining reliable information presents challenges. Government data primarily come from the decadal census and the National Family Health Survey (NFHS), both with limitations.
  • The census infers polygamy incidence from the disparity between married men and women, potentially skewed by factors such as men working abroad. However, the most recent census dates back to 2011.
  • In contrast, NFHS directly asks women about their husbands’ additional wives but samples only a small portion of households.
  • The last comprehensive government study on polygamy was conducted in 1974, indicating a significant gap in recent data.

Census and NFHS Findings on Polygamy:

  • According to the 2011 census, there were 65.71 lakh more married women than men in India, suggesting polygamy or male migration as potential explanations.
  • Hindus, constituting the largest proportion of the population, exhibited the highest gap between married men and women, followed by Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, and Buddhists.
  • However, when considering the share of each community in the total population, Muslims and Christians reported the greatest disparities.
  • NFHS-5 data revealed variations in polygamy prevalence among religious groups, with Christians reporting the highest incidence (2.1%), followed by Muslims (1.9%), and Hindus (1.3%).
  • Scheduled Tribes reported the highest incidence at 2.4%. A June 2022 study by the International Institute of Population Sciences (IIPS) analyzing NFHS data from 2005-06 to 2019-21 showed a decline in polygynous marriages from 1.9% to 1.4% among the total population.
  • Buddhists experienced the most significant decrease, with polygyny dropping from 3.8% to 1.3%, marking a 65.79% decline.


  • The passage of the Uniform Civil Code Bill in Uttarakhand marks a significant step towards standardizing personal laws in the state.
  • However, challenges persist in accurately gauging the prevalence of polygamy due to data limitations.
  • The latest findings from the census and NFHS underscore variations in polygamy incidence across religious and tribal communities, with recent trends indicating a decline in polygynous marriages among the general population.
What is the Impact of Polygamy on Indian Society and the Constitutional Standpoint?
  • Polygamy has a significant impact on Indian society and has been debated for its validity from a constitutional standpoint, particularly in relation to religions such as Islam and Hinduism.
  • India is a secular state, where no religion is considered superior or subordinate to another, and each religion is treated equally under the law.
  • The Indian Constitution guarantees fundamental rights to all citizens, and any legislation that conflicts with these rights is deemed unconstitutional.
  • Article 13 of the Constitution specifies that any law that contravenes Part III of the Constitution is invalid.
  • In R.C. Cooper v. Union of India (1970), the SC observed that the theoretical approach that the component and construct of state intervention ascertain the severity of the safeguard that an underprivileged group may purport is incompatible with the constitutional provision, which aims to provide the ordinary citizen with the broadest possible safeguards of his fundamental rights.
  • Article 14 of the Constitution guarantees equal treatment and protection under the law to every individual within the territory of India.
  • The state is prohibited from discriminating against any person based on their religion, ethnicity, gender, or place of birth, according to Article 15(1) of the Constitution
PYQ: Customs and traditions suppress reason leading to obscurantism. Do you agree?  (250 words/15m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-1 2020)
Practice Question:  Evaluate the challenges in collecting accurate data on polygamy and its prevalence, and analyze the limitations of existing data sources such as the census and National Family Health Survey (NFHS)
(250 words/15 m)

2. Bharat Ratna conferred on Former Prime Ministers Narasimha Rao, Charan Singh and Agricultural Scientist MS Swaminathan

Topic: Important topics for Prelims

  • Former prime ministers P.V. Narasimha Rao and Charan Singh, along with scientist M.S. Swaminathan will be awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honor.
  • The awards recognize their monumental contributions to India’s development and prosperity.

More about the news:
PV Narasimha Rao: The Architect of India’s Economic Reforms

  • The late PV Narasimha Rao served as the ninth Prime Minister of India from 1991-1996. He is widely credited as the architect of India’s economic liberalization in the 1990s.
  • Rao adopted policies that opened the Indian economy to global markets by dismantling the license-permit raj system. His visionary leadership and reforms ended the ‘License Raj’ and paved the way for foreign investments into India.
  • Rao fostered a new era of economic development that laid a solid foundation for India’s future economic growth and prosperity.
  • Rao pursued pragmatic foreign policy, boosting ties with US and Israel while stabilizing relations with China and Pakistan. Forged ‘Look East‘ policy with ASEAN nations.

Chaudhary Charan Singh: A Staunch Advocate for Farmers’ Rights

  • Former Prime Minister Chaudhary Charan Singh is being honoured with the Bharat Ratna award posthumously for his unwavering commitment and invaluable contributions to the welfare of farmers in India.
  • Singh served as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh twice and held several important portfolios at the national level, including Finance Minister and Home Minister.
  • However, he is best remembered as a champion of farmers’ rights and interests. Throughout his prolific political career, Charan Singh strongly advocated for the rights and welfare of the farmers.
  • He was instrumental in implementing several pioneering initiatives for agriculture reforms and farmer prosperity. His birth anniversary is celebrated as Kisan Diwas or National Farmers Day.
  • His dedicated efforts for ensuring fair prices, timely loan waivers, and income security for farmers earned him widespread popularity among the farming communities across North India.

MS Swaminathan: The Father of India’s Green Revolution

  • Renowned agricultural scientist M.S. Swaminathan has been honored with India’s highest civilian award for his instrumental role in pioneering the Green Revolution in India.
  • In the 1960s, Swaminathan implemented new technology and innovations in agriculture that transformed India’s food security situation. His introduction of high-yielding seeds, modern irrigation techniques, and optimal use of fertilizers led to a remarkable increase in crop productivity.
  • This averted the frequent famines and acute food shortage at that time. Swaminathan’s research and fieldwork made India self-sufficient in food grain production within a few years.
  • For his monumental contributions that made India food secure, he earned the title ‘Father of Green Revolution’. Swaminathan dedicated his life to agricultural advancement by promoting environmentally sustainable practices. As a scientist, he helped modernize Indian agriculture and mentored countless students.

3. National Aerospace Laboratory (NAL) Achieves Milestone with Successful Test of Solar-Powered Pseudosatellite

Topic: GS3 – Science & Technology – Achievements of Indian S&T; Indigenization of technology

This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains in the context of knowing significant technological advancement in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capabilities.

  • The National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) in Bengaluru has achieved a significant milestone by conducting the first successful test of a solar-powered “pseudosatellite,” a high-altitude unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) known as a HAPS.
  • This innovation promises to enhance India’s surveillance and monitoring capabilities along its borders, offering advantages similar to satellites but at a fraction of the cost.

More about the news:
Capabilities and Advantages of HAPS:

  • The HAPS can operate at altitudes of 18-20km, nearly double that of commercial airplanes, and can sustain flight for months or even years due to its solar power generation capabilities.
  • Unlike satellites, which require costly rocket launches to reach space, the HAPS can operate at a much lower cost while providing similar functionalities.
  • This breakthrough technology places India among a select group of countries exploring the potential of HAPS for various applications.

Successful Test Flight and Future Plans:

  • The recent test flight, conducted in Karnataka’s Challakere testing range, saw a scaled-down prototype remain airborne for approximately eight and a half hours, reaching an altitude of about 3km.
  • While this achievement marks a significant milestone in HAPS development, further tests are planned to ensure its readiness for industrial production.
  • The next step involves a 24-hour flight to test the entire power generation sequence, including solar cells and batteries.
  • NAL aims for deployment by 2027.

Rationale and Applications:

  • The development of HAPS technology stems from the need for continuous surveillance of border areas, particularly following events like the Doklam standoff in 2017.
  • Battery-powered UAVs have limitations in endurance, while satellites in low-earth orbits may not provide constant monitoring.
  • Solar-powered UAVs offer a more viable solution for long-endurance missions, with potential applications in disaster response and communication networks in remote areas.

Global Developments and Collaborations:

  • Countries such as China, South Korea, and the UK are also investing in the development of solar-powered UAVs, reflecting the global interest in this technology.
  • Private companies, including those in India, are actively involved in HAPS development, leveraging initiatives such as the Innovation of Defence Excellence.
  • Collaboration between government research institutions like NAL and private entities is crucial for advancing HAPS technology and its practical applications.

Future Outlook and Industrial Collaboration:

  • While NAL focuses on technology development and prototyping, the actual manufacturing and deployment of HAPS will involve collaboration with industry partners.
  • The successful test flight represents a significant step towards realizing the potential of HAPS technology for enhancing surveillance capabilities, disaster response, and communication networks in remote areas.
National Aerospace Laboratories
  • It is India’s first largest and only government aerospace R&D laboratory in the country’s civilian sector.
  • It was established by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) at Delhi in 1959 and its headquarters was later moved to Bangalore in 1960.
PYQ: The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) by our adversaries across the borders to ferry arms/ammunitions, drugs, etc., is a serious threat to the internal security. Comment on the measures being taken to tackle this threat.  (150 words/10m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-3 2023)
Practice Question:  Evaluate the potential of HAPS technology in bolstering India’s surveillance and monitoring capabilities along its borders, highlighting its advantages over traditional UAVs and satellites. (250 words/15 m)


4. EC Reports Record Voter Registration Ahead of Lok Sabha Elections: Nearly 97 Crore Enrolled, Significant Surge in Youth Participation

Topic: GS2 – Polity – Elections

This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains in the context of knowing issues of social inclusion and equity.
  • The Election Commission (EC) announced that nearly 97 crore individuals are registered to vote in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, with approximately 1.85 crore falling within the 18-19 age group.
  • The total number of registered voters stands at 96.88 crores, reflecting a 6% increase compared to the 2019 figures.
  • Notably, the number of electors in the 18-19 age group has seen a significant surge, rising by 23.3% to 1.85 crore from 1.5 crore in 2019.

More about the news:
Demographic Breakdown and Age Distribution:

  • Among the registered voters, 7 crores are male, 47.1 crores are female, and 48,044 are third gender electors.
  • The 20-29 age group constitutes 20.38% of the electorate, with 1.86 crore electors aged above 80 years and 2.38 lakh electors aged above 100 years.
  • Additionally, there are 35 lakh registered voters with disabilities (PwD). The overall electors-to-population ratio stands at 66.76%.

Gender Ratio and New Voter Enrollment:

  • The electoral roll’s gender ratio has improved to 948 in 2024 compared to 940 in 2023 and 928 in 2019.
  • More women have enrolled as new electors compared to men, indicating a positive trend in women’s participation in the electoral process.
  • Over 2.63 crore new electors have been added to the electoral rolls, with female enrollees surpassing male enrollees by over 15%.

Impact of Electoral Roll Revision and Special Summary Revision 2024 (SSR 2024):

  • The EC conducted intensive Special Summary Revision 2024 (SSR 2024) exercises, resulting in the publication of electoral rolls across all states and union territories with reference to January 1, 2024, as the qualifying date.
  • This revision process included updating the electoral rolls in Jammu and Kashmir and Assam following constituency delimitation.


  • The significant increase in the number of registered voters, particularly in the 18-19 age group, underscores the growing participation of young individuals in shaping the democratic process.
  • The EC’s efforts in conducting revision exercises and ensuring inclusive voter registration reflect its commitment to fostering a robust and representative electoral system across India.

Practice Question:  Analyze the demographic trends revealed by the voter registration data, with a focus on the increase in youth participation and gender representation. Evaluate the implications of this trend for Indian democracy, electoral governance, and political participation. (250 words/15 m)

5. Can Preamble be amended keeping date intact, asks SC

Topic: GS2 – Indian Polity – Indian Constitution – Amendments

UPSC candidates need to understand constitutional amendments’ intricacies, including Preamble changes, for legal and governance awareness.
  • Supreme Court questions whether the Preamble of the Indian Constitution could be amended without changing its adoption date.

 Additional information on this news:

  • The Supreme Court questioned if the Preamble of the Indian Constitution could be amended without changing its adoption date of November 26, 1949.
  • The Preamble was amended in December 1976 during the Emergency, adding the words ‘socialist’ and ‘secular’ and replacing “unity of the nation” with “unity and integrity of the nation.”
  • Justice Dipankar Datta asked if the Preamble could have been changed while keeping the original adoption date intact.
  • The petition, filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, seeks to remove the words ‘socialist’ and ‘secular’ from the Preamble.
  • The court will hear further arguments in the week commencing April 29, 2024.

Amendability of Preamble in Constitution
  • The Preamble is amendable under Article 368, like other Constitutional provisions.
  • However, Amending the Preamble cannot violate the “basic structure” of the Constitution, outlined in the landmark Kesavananda Bharati case (1973).
  • Only amended once: In 1976, during the Emergency, the 42nd Amendment added “Socialist” and “Secular” and changed “unity of the nation” to “unity and integrity of the nation.”
  • High bar for amendment: Requires a special majority – majority of total membership and at least two-thirds of members present and voting in both Houses of Parliament.
  • Debate continues: Whether specific elements within the Preamble (e.g., “democratic” or “secular”) are inherently part of the basic structure, making them unamendable.
PYQ: Discuss each Adjective attached to the word ‘Republic’ in the preamble. Are they defendable in the present circumstances stances? (200 words/12.5m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-2 2016)
Practice Question:  Examine the constitutional implications and significance of the 1976 amendment to the Preamble during the Emergency period.
(150 words/10 m)

6. ‘SC turned down need for regional Benches at this stage’

Topic: GS2 – Indian Polity – Judiciary

UPSC aspirants should grasp the constitutional and administrative aspects of regional Supreme Court Benches for legal awareness.
  • Union Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal informs Lok Sabha: No immediate need for regional Supreme Court Benches, contradicting recent reports.

 Additional information on this news:

  • Union Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal states Supreme Court clarified no need for regional Benches currently.
  • Minister notes the regional Bench proposal is a Parliamentary Standing Committee recommendation.
  • The statement contradicts recent reports claiming government acceptance of the Committee’s recommendations.
  • The clarification holds significance amid discussions on the establishment of regional Supreme Court Benches.
Regional benches of Supreme Court

  • Constitutionality: Article 130 mandates the Supreme Court to sit in Delhi unless designated otherwise by the Chief Justice with Presidential approval. This raises questions about the need for a constitutional amendment.
  • Selection of locations: Choosing fair and representative locations without regional bias poses a challenge.
  • Workload distribution: Ensuring efficient allocation of cases between regional benches and the main court is crucial.
  • Judge allocation: Selecting and assigning qualified judges to regional benches needs careful consideration.
  • Infrastructure and funding: Establishing and maintaining proper infrastructure and adequate funding for regional benches requires planning.


  • Accessibility to justice: Regional benches could improve access to justice by reducing travel and financial burdens for litigants.
  • Reduced case backlog: Sharing the caseload could potentially help clear the Supreme Court’s backlog, which stands at over 70,000 cases.
  • Regional representation: Having benches dispersed across the country could foster a better understanding of regional concerns and legal issues.
  • Decentralization: This could contribute to decentralization of the judiciary and potentially reduce Delhi-centricity.

The debate on establishing regional benches is complex, with both potential benefits and challenges. Careful consideration and planning are essential for successful implementation.

Practice Question:  Critically examine the arguments for and against establishing regional benches of the Supreme Court in India. (150 words/10 m)

7. Centre accounts for 60% of India’s debt, Kerala tells Supreme Court

Topic: GS2 – Indian Polity – Functions & responsibilities of the Union & the States – Federal structure.

UPSC aspirants should understand fiscal federalism dynamics, state-central relations, and economic policy implications for comprehensive governance knowledge.
  • Kerala counters Centre, stating it holds 60% of India’s debt.
  • Kerala accuses interference by Centre in state finances, cites fiscal mismanagement by Central Government, and warns of risks.

 Additional information on this news:

  • Kerala informs Supreme Court: Union government holds about 60% of India’s total debt.
  • Response to Centre’s accusation of Kerala being one of the financially unhealthy states.
  • Kerala claims it constitutes only 1.70-1.75% of the total debt for 2019-2023.
  • Original suit filed by Kerala accuses Centre of undue interference in state affairs.
  • Kerala alleges Centre’s policies lead to states’ financial distress and excessive borrowing.
  • Kerala points to the Union’s poor record in managing its own debt and warns of fiscal risk.
  • Kerala asserts Union did not adhere to Finance Commission recommendations, borrowing ₹11.80 lakh crore in 2023-2024.
  • Mentions Centre’s introduction of an “escape clause” in 2018 to breach fiscal limits.
  • Dispute highlights the financial dynamics between states and the Union, raising concerns over economic stability.

Central and State Debt in India
Central Government:

  • Overall debt: Around 81% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2022-23, declining from 88% in 2020-21.
  • Composition: 92% internal, 8% external.
  • Management: Aiming for fiscal consolidation & reducing deficit below 4.5% of GDP by 2025-26.

State Governments:

  • Combined debt: 27.6% of GSDP (Gross State Domestic Product) projected for 2023-24.
  • Variation: States like Arunachal Pradesh, Punjab, Nagaland have high debt-to-GDP ratios exceeding 35%.
  • Concerns: High debt burdens limit spending on key areas like infrastructure, health, and education.


  • Improvement at the Center: Recent years have seen a positive trend in reducing central government debt.
  • Challenges at the State level: Several states face high debt burdens demanding stricter fiscal management.
  • Continuous monitoring: Sustainable debt levels are crucial for both central and state governments to ensure economic stability and development.
PYQ: How have the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission of India enabled the States to improve their fiscal position? (150 words/10m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-2 2021)
Practice Question:  Critically analyze the current state of central and state government debt in India, examining its trends, potential risks, and strategies for sustainable management within the context of fiscal federalism.
(250 words/15 m)

8. U.S.-China tussle, warships in Indian Ocean dominate IOC conference.

Topic: GS2 – International Relations – Regional and Global Grouping
UPSC candidates should grasp the geopolitical challenges in the Indian Ocean, understanding regional cooperation and strategic concerns for governance.
  • Sri Lankan President expresses concerns on Indian Ocean militarization, as Indian Ocean Conference discusses regional cooperation and great power rivalry.

 Additional information on this news:

  • Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe expresses concerns about the militarization of the Indian Ocean and great power rivalry.
  • Indian Ocean Conference in Perth discusses regional cooperation for Indian Ocean Rim and littoral states.
  • External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar addresses challenges to international rule of law, implicitly referring to China’s actions.
  • Wickremesinghe notes increasing naval presence by major countries, highlighting the complexity for smaller states in navigating great power rivalry.
  • The conference, organized by the India Foundation, includes foreign ministers and officials from various regional countries.
  • Australia’s Foreign Minister Penny Wong emphasizes sovereign choices regarding decisions on stability in the region.
  • The Indian Ocean’s significance is highlighted, with over 70% of the world’s container trade and 80% of energy trade passing through the region.
  • Concerns over the militarization of the Indian Ocean dominate discussions at the conference.
  • Australia hosts the conference, emphasizing the shifting global power axis to the Indian Ocean region.

Militarization of Indian Ocean
Key Players:

  • Major Powers: US, China, India with significant naval presence and ambitions.
  • Regional Players: Pakistan, Iran, Indonesia, Australia with vested interests and growing capabilities.


  • Geopolitical Competition: Superpower rivalry, regional tensions, vying for influence.
  • Economic Interests: Securing strategic trade routes, accessing energy resources.
  • Maritime Security Concerns: Piracy, terrorism, illegal fishing necessitate robust response.


  • Escalation Risks: Miscalculations, accidents, or tensions could spiral into conflict.
  • Environmental Impact: Increased military activity poses threats to marine ecosystems.
  • Arms Race: Unchecked buildup fuels regional instability and distrust.


  • Regional Cooperation: Collaborative efforts on maritime security, resource management, disaster relief.
  • Confidence-Building Measures: Transparency, dialogue, and joint exercises to reduce tensions.
  • International Norms: Upholding UNCLOS principles for peaceful uses of the ocean.

Way Forward:

  • Sustainable Development: Balancing security needs with responsible resource utilization.
  • Inclusive Dialogue: Incorporating diverse regional voices in shaping the future of the Indian Ocean.
  • Peaceful Coexistence: Recognizing shared interests and fostering collaborative solutions.
Practice Question:  Analyze the drivers of Indian Ocean militarization, its security & environmental risks, and suggest measures for regional cooperation and a peaceful future. (150 words/10 m)

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