20 Dec 2023 : Daily Current Affairs

Daily Current Affairs


1. Karnataka to reduce burden of school bags by 50%.

Topic: GS2 – Social Justice – Education

UPSC Significance: Textbook reduction initiative reflects education policy evolution, addressing school bag burdens, and enhancing learning environments for students.
  • The Karnataka government aims to alleviate the school bag burden by halving textbooks for classes I to X from 2024-25.
  • Recommendations include weight checks, content guidelines, and a committee-issued report for this initiative, influenced by a 2019 study.

Initiative to Reduce School Bag Weight:

  • Karnataka government to cut 50% of textbooks for students in classes I to X from the academic year 2024-25.
  • Instead of providing all textbooks at once, students will receive two books per year (SA-1 and SA-2).
School Bag Overload: A Holistic Look.
Heavyweight Issues:

  • Physical strain: Excessive weight leads to musculoskeletal problems, posture issues, and fatigue.
  • Academic impact: Back pain and discomfort can hinder concentration and learning.
  • Unequal burden: Smaller children struggle with heavier bags, impacting their well-being and engagement.
  • Psychological stress: Anxiety and frustration around carrying heavy loads can affect mental health.
  • Environmental concerns: Production and transport of unnecessary textbooks add to the eco-footprint.

Lighter Solutions:

  • Curriculum review: Streamline content, prioritize digital versions, and avoid repetitive paper materials.
  • Digital tools: Integrate e-readers, online platforms, and learning apps to reduce physical load.
  • Locker systems: Provide secure storage at school for non-essential books and equipment.
  • Timetables and schedules: Optimize daily schedules to minimize the number of books needed each day.
  • Encourage awareness: Educate students, parents, and teachers about the negative impacts of heavy bags.
  • Promote alternative activities: Invest in sports, arts, and extracurriculars to balance academic workload.

Moving Forward:

  • Collaborative approach: Involve educators, parents, policymakers, and health professionals in finding solutions.
  • Research and innovation: Explore digital educational resources and ergonomic bag designs.
  • Prioritize well-being: Emphasize holistic childhood development, balancing academic needs with physical and mental health.
PYQ: Professor Amartya Sen has advocated important reforms in the realms of primary education and primary health care. What are your suggestions to improve their status and performance? (UPSC CSE (M) GS-2 2016) (200 words/12.5 m)

2. Women MPs of BJP seek more time to discuss criminal law Bills.

Topic: GS2 – Indian Polity

Undiscussed bills weaken public scrutiny, erode democratic values, and threaten quality of legislation. UPSC frequently ask questions about understanding and safeguarding these pillars of good governance.
  • Union Home Minister Amit Shah introduces three Bills replacing British-era laws in Lok Sabha.
  • Opposition mostly absent. BJP MPs request more time. Ravi Shankar Prasad criticizes opposition.
  • Bills focus on digitization, protection for senior citizens. Concerns raised about potential misuse of certain provisions.

 More Information on the news:

  • Lok Sabha discusses three Bills introduced by Union Home Minister Amit Shah to replace British-era criminal laws.
  • Bills include Bharatiya Nyaya (Second) Sanhita, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha (Second) Sanhita, and Bharatiya Sakshya (Second) Bill, 2023.
  • Bills aim to replace Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure, and Indian Evidence Act.
  • Opposition members mostly absent during the discussion.
  • BJP women MPs request adequate time to discuss Bills addressing crimes against women and children.
  • Some BJP MPs express concern about time allocation for their speeches.
Lack of Discussion in Parliament: A Holistic View

  • Rushed legislation: Bills passed without adequate debate, leaving gaps and vulnerabilities.
  • Weakened oversight: Limited discussion hinders scrutiny and exposes potential flaws.
  • Erosion of transparency: Public excluded from crucial debates on laws impacting them.
  • Undermined legitimacy: Parliament loses its role as a platform for public discourse.
  • Politicization of process: Disruptions and boycotts overshadow substantive discussions.


  • Decreased accountability: Government less answerable to citizens for flawed legislation.
  • Substandard laws: Legislation prone to errors, ambiguity, and unintended consequences.
  • Impediment to good governance: Rush decisions hinder long-term planning and sustainable development.
  • Public distrust: Disengagement and cynicism towards parliamentary processes.
  • Erosion of democratic values: Undermines principles of open debate and citizen participation.


  • Enforce time limits for debate: Ensure adequate time for discussion while preventing excessive delays.
  • Standardized procedures: Define clear rules and protocols for respectful and effective debate.
  • Encourage pre-legislative consultations: Seek public and expert input before drafting bills.
  • Transparency and accessibility: Live telecast, transcripts, and summaries of debates for public awareness.
  • Strengthen committees: Empower parliamentary committees to scrutinize bills in detail.
  • Discourage disruptions: Develop mechanisms to address disagreements without stalling proceedings.
  • Promote ethical conduct: Uphold principles of respectful dialogue and constructive criticism.
Practice Question: Parliamentary debates are the cornerstone of a healthy democracy. However, in recent years, there has been a decline in the quality and quantity of discussions on bills introduced in Parliament. Critically analyze the reasons for this decline and suggest measures to improve the quality and effectiveness of parliamentary debates. (250 words/15 m)

3. Netanyahu calls Modi to discuss maritime threat in Red Sea.

Topic: GS2 – International Relations – Bilateral Relations.

UPSC Significance: India monitors Red Sea maritime security, engages in global initiatives, reflecting strategic concerns and diplomatic roles.

  • PM Modi discusses maritime security threats in the Red Sea with Israel’s PM Netanyahu amid Houthi actions.
  • India monitors, supports peace, and humanitarian aid.
  • US launches Operation Prosperity Guardian; calls for UN action against Houthi rebels.

Additional information on this news:

  • PM Modi and Israel’s PM Netanyahu discuss rising threats to maritime security in the Red Sea.
  • Concerns arise due to Houthi militants’ actions in Yemen, prompting a Pentagon-led international mission.
  • Modi highlights India’s stand for peace, stability, and humanitarian assistance in the region.
  • Israeli side initiates the conversation; Modi and Jaishankar engage with regional stakeholders.
  • Attacks by Houthi rebels in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait affect shipping; major companies avoid the area.
  • U.S. announces Operation Prosperity Guardian, a multinational security initiative, involving several countries.
  • UN Security Council urged to take action against Houthi militants by the United States.


  • The Red Sea’s unique strategic, environmental, and economic significance demands a holistic approach.
  • Investing in sustainable deelopment, regional cooperation, and environmental protection is crucial for securing its future.
  • The Red Sea can serve as a bridge between continents and cultures, fostering a prosperous and sustainable region for all.
Red Sea: A Global Crossroads

Strategic importance:

  • Maritime nexus: Connects Europe, Africa, and Asia via Suez Canal, a vital global trade artery.
  • Geopolitical hotspot: Location between volatile regions fuels military presence and potential for conflict.
  • Energy corridor: Transporting oil and gas, impacting global energy markets and security.
  • Migration route: Gateway for African migrants seeking opportunities in Europe, raising humanitarian concerns.

Environmental significance:

  • Unique biodiversity: Rich marine ecosystem with high endemism, vulnerable to pollution and climate change.
  • Coral reefs: Home to diverse coral reefs facing threats from warming waters and overfishing.
  • Desalination potential: Source of valuable fresh water for arid regions through desalination technology.
  • Climate change impact: Warming and acidification threaten marine life and coastal communities.

Economic potential:

  • Trade and tourism: Suez Canal generates revenues, while Red Sea beaches attract tourists, boosting local economies.
  • Resource extraction: Mineral and gas exploration potential along coasts and seabed.
  • Sustainable development: Investments in renewable energy and ecotourism offer long-term economic benefits.
  • Connecting continents: Potential for transcontinental infrastructure projects like bridges and pipelines.

Challenges and opportunities:

  • Maritime security: Piracy, terrorism, and illegal trafficking require international cooperation.
  • Sustainable management: Balancing economic development with environmental protection.
  • Climate change adaptation: Protecting ecosystems and building resilient coastal communities.
  • Regional cooperation: Collaboration among Red Sea nations on shared challenges and opportunities.
PYQ: Discuss the challenges posed by piracy to maritime security in the Indian Ocean region. Suggest measures to address these challenges, both bilaterally and multilaterally.. (UPSC CSE (M) GS-3 2015) (200 words/12.5 m)
Practice Question: Analyze the Red Sea’s strategic, environmental, and economic significance in the global context. Suggest one concrete policy initiative to safeguard its future (150 words/10 m)


4. States can borrow an extra ₹2 lakh crore this fiscal year.

Topic: GS3 – Indian Economy – Government budgeting.
UPSC Significance: States’ additional borrowings signify fiscal policies, financial reforms, and adherence to sector-specific recommendations for economic growth – all are areas of interest for UPSC. 
  • States may access ₹2.04 lakh crore in additional borrowings; 22 states allowed ₹61,000 crore extra, linked to power sector reforms.

More information on this news:

  • Finance Ministry suggests states may access ₹2.04 lakh crore in additional borrowings beyond net limits.
  • 22 states allowed ₹61,000 crore extra borrowing, meeting criteria, including pension liabilities coverage.
  • States eligible for over ₹1.43 lakh crore based on Ministry of Power recommendations.
  • Linked to Fifteenth Finance Commission’s incentive for power sector reforms, enhancing operational and economic efficiency at the state level.


  • Enhanced state borrowing capacities reflect financial flexibility, incentivized reforms, and a focus on addressing sector-specific challenges for growth.

5. Telecommunications Bill, 2023: A Comprehensive Overview

Topic: GS2 – Polity

This topic is relevant for both prelims and mains as it covers a range of topics, including governance, legal aspects, economic reforms, national security, ethics, and global perspectives. 

  • India’s regulatory framework for the telecommunications sector is to be modernised with the introduction of the telecoms Bill, 2023 in the Lok Sabha.
  • In order to reflect the significant developments in the telecom industry over the past few years, the proposed legislation aims to replace outdated colonial-era regulations such The Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, The Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933, and The Telegraph Wires (Unlawful Possession) Act, 1950.

Regulatory Mechanism Changes:

  • The bill’s main features include streamlining licencing procedures, making spectrum allotment more transparent, and enforcing strict user verification guidelines.
  • A single authorization process will replace the current licencing system, which consists of more than 100 different kinds of licences, registrations, and permissions.
  • The bill raises doubts concerning its relevance to Internet-based services such as WhatsApp, Signal, and Telegram, and addresses concerns around interception rules for communication over telecom networks.

Spectrum Assignment and Management:

  • The bill permits administrative spectrum allocation for some industries, including police, defence, metro rail, community radio, and railroads, although it retains auctions as the preferred form of frequency assignment.
  • The government may reclaim unused spectrum, but organisations that give it up won’t be compensated.
  • The law also establishes tiered dispute resolution procedures and a voluntary disclosure mechanism for inaccuracies.
  • User Authentication and Privacy Concerns:
  • In order to combat fraud, entities are required to conduct user biometric authentication, which has raised worries about possible privacy violations.
  • In times of public emergency or for the sake of public safety, the bill gives the government the authority to seek interception, disclosure, and suspension powers through authorised officers.

National Security and Control:

  • In the event of a national emergency or a war, the bill gives the central government the power to assume command and management of telecommunications services and networks.
  • Though national security considerations still apply, it exempts press correspondence intended for publication in India and those of accredited correspondents from interception.

Allocation vs. Auction of Spectrum:

  • In accordance with international standards, the law introduces administrative allocation for satellite broadband services.
  • Businesses like Amazon’s Kuiper, Elon Musk’s Starlink, and Bharti Airtel’s OneWeb may profit from this choice.
  • The law strikes a balance between international norms and industry preferences as it negotiates the protracted discussion over spectrum assignment techniques.

Internet Services Regulation:

  • The current bill has a more expansive definition than the 2022 draft, which specifically classified internet communication services as telecommunications services.
  • The measure leaves leeway for the regulation of internet platforms by requiring permission for telecom services and networks.
  • Because “telecommunication” and “messages” are still defined broadly, industry and civil society are concerned that regulations may be overreaching.


  • India’s telecom laws have been completely rewritten with the Telecommunications Bill, 2023, which addresses issues with user authentication, spectrum management, complex licencing, and national security.
  • But the bill’s wide definitions and possible regulation of Internet-based communication platforms make one wonder how to strike a balance between technology progress and regulatory control.
About Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI):
  • About: It is a statutory body established under the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997.
  • Mandate: To regulate telecom services, including fixation/revision of tariffs for telecom services previously vested in the Central Government.
  • TDSAT: The TRAI Act 1997 was amended to establish a Telecommunications Dispute Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) to take over the adjudicatory and dispute functions from TRAI.

Indian Telegraph Act, 1885:

  • It governs the use of telegraphs in India.
  • It empowers the government to take possession of telegraphs, regulate the use of telegraphs, and intercept messages in certain circumstances.

Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933:

  • It regulates the possession of wireless telegraphy apparatus.
  • Telegraph Wires (Unlawful Possession) Act, 1950:
  • It regulates the possession of telegraph wires and provides for the punishment of the offense of unlawful possessions. 
PYQ: The aim of Information Technology Agreements (ITAs) is to lower all taxes and tariffs on information technology products by signatories to zero. What impact would such agreements have on India’s interests? (UPSC CSE (M) GS-2 2014) (150 words/10 m)
Practice Question: The Telecommunications Bill, 2023, proposes significant reforms in India’s regulatory framework for the telecommunications sector. Discuss the key provisions of the bill and their potential implications on governance, economic development, and individual rights. (150 words/10 m)

6. Allahabad High Court Dismisses Petitions on Gyanvapi Mosque: Key Developments and Legal Dimensions

Topic: GS1 – Art and Culture, GS2- Polity

This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains as it involves legal, historical, religious, and constitutional aspects

  • The Allahabad High Court has dismissed five petitions by the UP Sunni Central Waqf Board and the Gyanvapi Mosque Committee, asserting that a 1991 suit over the Varanasi mosque is not barred under the Places of Worship Act.
  • The case will now be transferred to the Varanasi Civil Judge’s court, with a directive to expedite proceedings within six months.
  • This decision carries significant legal implications for the longstanding dispute and emphasizes the need for expeditious resolution.

Background and Original Title Suit of 1991:

  • The 1991 lawsuit challenged the maintainability of the initial complaint under the Places of Worship Act, focusing on the Gyanvapi mosque, which lies next to the Kashi Vishwanath temple.
  • This lawsuit, which was brought on behalf of the God Adi Vishweshwar, is similar to the Ayodhya case in that it raises significant issues regarding the site’s religious significance.
  • The lawsuit was first deemed to be forbidden under the 1991 Act by the trial court, but other legal actions, such as appeals and amendments, resulted in a stay of the proceedings.
  • Revival of the Suit and Legal Arguments:
  • The Hindu side contended that the stay in the Gyanvapi case had expired, citing a 2018 Supreme Court ruling about automatic vacation of stays after six months.
  • This was disputed by the Muslim side, which resulted in the latest ruling by the Allahabad High Court.
  • This resuscitation provides opportunities for reexamination and decision-making based on the case’s merits, underscoring the significance of legal interpretations and procedural factors in determining how disputes develop.

Claims and Counterarguments:

  • The 1991 lawsuit claims that the Muslim community has illegally occupied the Gyanvapi premises, asserting the property rights of Lord Vishweshwar and Hindus.
  • The appeal requests that the buildings be taken over and that the Muslim occupants be evicted.
  • On the other hand, the Muslim perspective argues that the Places of Worship Act, 1991 prohibits conversion and upholds the religious significance of locations as of August 15, 1947.
  • They contend that since the mosque has been used by Muslims for worship since 1947, any changes to its layout would be illegal under the Act.


  • The Gyanvapi mosque dispute will be decided by the Varanasi Civil Judge’s court after the Allahabad High Court dismissed these petitions.
  • This case serves as a focal point for discussions on religious harmony, legal precedent, and the delicate balance between faith and the rule of law because of its legal complexities, historical claims, and constitutional significance. 
Places of Worship Act, 1991
  • In this legal conflict, the Places of Worship Act, 1991, is crucial.
  • As of August 15, 1947, it forbids the conversion of places of worship and requires them to preserve their religious identity.
  • The Act functions within the parameters of the constitution and aims to avoid disputes related to the conversion of places of worship.
Practice Question: Evaluate the role of the judiciary in the resolution of religious disputes in India, with a focus on the recent legal developments in the Gyanvapi Mosque case. (150 words/10 m)

7. Extending Protections: Legislative Amendments and Urban Governance in Delhi

Topic: GS2 – Polity and Governance

This topic is not much relevant in the context of Prelims but more for Mains in the context of Legislation and Policy Framework and Socio-economic Impact

  • The Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Act, 2006 was passed by the UPA government in reaction to a sealing campaign launched in 2006 by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi against unapproved projects.
  • This act provided a one-year period of protection for specific categories of unapproved constructions.
  • This protection was annually extended until 2011 by subsequent revisions. Protection was provided for three years, until December 31, 2014, by the National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Second Act, which was adopted in 2011.
  • Three amendments, each lasting an additional three years, have been made since then by the NDA government.

Details of the Latest Amendment:

  • Both Houses of Parliament have approved the most current revision, which is referred to as The National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Second (revision) Bill, 2023.
  • By swapping out the year 2023 for 2026, it adds an extra three years to the protection against punitive measures like demolitions and sealing, concluding on December 31, 2026.
  • Unauthorised structures are covered by the amendment through June 1, 2014.

Objectives and Reasons for the Amendment:

  • The Act’s statement of objects and reasons states that the extension is thought to be required in order to organise the relocation and rehabilitation of residents in a number of different categories, such as slums, unapproved colonies, urban villages, and farmhouses with constructions that exceed allowable bounds.
  • It notes that development control standards for these colonies were notified in March 2022, and that the process of granting ownership rights to residents of unapproved colonies which was started by The NCT of Delhi (Recognition of Property Rights of Residents in Unauthorised Colonies) Act, 2019 is still ongoing.

Challenges and Future Prospects:

  • Even if the protection has been prolonged, it is unclear how long the current situation will last and whether another extension will take place in 2026.
  • The Covid-19 pandemic has caused delays in the process of granting ownership rights, according to Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Puri.
  • Approximately 40–50 lakh people are living in unapproved colonies.
  • The fact that there have only been 4 lakh registrations thus far highlights the urgency of stepping up efforts.
  • Currently in its final stages, the draft Master Plan Delhi-2041 is planned to offer comprehensive development regulations upon announcement for unapproved colonies, slums, etc.


  • The decision to extend protections for Delhi’s slum dwellers, hawkers, and residents of unapproved colonies until 2026 is indicative of a sustained commitment to protect these vulnerable groups.
  • Nevertheless, difficulties continue to arise in finishing the ownership rights conferral process, including delays brought on by the COVID-19 epidemic.
  • The next Master Plan Delhi-2041 is anticipated to introduce additional clarification about development regulations for unapproved colonies, indicating a changing urban planning environment in the nation’s capital.
  • The longevity of these protections after 2026 and the need for continued attempts to resolve the housing and regularisation problems encountered by the impacted population are still open questions.
Practice Question: Discuss the challenges and policy considerations associated with the regularization of unauthorized colonies in urban areas. (150 words/10 m)

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