23 March 2024 : Daily Current Affairs

Daily Current Affairs

23-March -2024- Top News of the Day

1. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Arrested in Excise Policy Case: Allegations of Conspiracy and Corruption Surface

Topic: GS2 – Governance – Important aspects of governance: Transparency and accountability.

This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains as this case delves into issues of governance, accountability, and ethical conduct of public officials, which are crucial aspects of governance.


  • Arvind Kejriwal, the Chief Minister of Delhi, was arrested in connection with the excise policy case and remanded to the Enforcement Directorate’s custody until March 28.
  • This marked the first instance of a serving Chief Minister in India being arrested, highlighting the gravity of the situation.
  • Despite challenging the arrest in the Supreme Court, Kejriwal withdrew the plea before it could be taken up, underscoring the legal complexities surrounding the case.
More about the news:

Allegations Against Kejriwal:

  • The Enforcement Directorate accused Kejriwal of being the central figure and key conspirator in the Delhi excise scam. He was allegedly involved in orchestrating favorable treatment for certain individuals and demanding kickbacks from liquor businessmen in exchange for favors.
  • Additionally, Kejriwal was implicated in the use of proceeds of crime during the Goa election campaign of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), further complicating the allegations against him.

Connection with the ‘South Group’:

  • According to the ED, Kejriwal played a direct role in formulating the excise policy, particularly to benefit the so-called ‘South Group.’
  • This group allegedly received undue favors and paid significant sums to AAP leaders, including Kejriwal, in exchange for preferential treatment in the liquor business.
  • The involvement of prominent figures like K Kavitha, daughter of former Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, adds complexity to the case.

Legal Arguments and Defense:

  • During the court proceedings, Kejriwal’s legal counsel argued against his arrest, citing static and frozen facts that lacked substantial evidence.
  • Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi highlighted the absence of incriminating material against Kejriwal, emphasizing that the case relied heavily on the statements of co-accused and approvers, whose credibility was questionable.

Implications and Ongoing Investigation:

  • Kejriwal’s arrest and the allegations against him have significant implications for political accountability and governance in Delhi.
  • The ongoing investigation underscores the need for transparency and integrity in policymaking processes.
  • The case highlights the challenges of corruption and malfeasance within the political sphere, necessitating thorough scrutiny and legal proceedings to uphold the rule of law.


  • The arrest and allegations against Arvind Kejriwal in the excise policy case represent a critical juncture in India’s political landscape, raising pertinent questions about accountability, transparency, and ethical governance at the highest levels of authority.
Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22


  • Also known as the new liquor policy, the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22 was implemented on November 17, 2021.
  • It changed how liquor was sold in the city — with the government withdrawing from the business and allowing only private operators to run liquor shops.
  • The main aim was to improve customer experience and stop black marketing.
  • However, after the whole controversy around the new excise policy, Delhi reverted to the old excise regime.
  • Key features of the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22
  • Under the new policy, the city was divided into 32 zones inviting firms to bid on the zones. Instead of individual licences, bidding was done zone-by-zone.
  • Also, licenses for 849 retail vends were issued through open bidding by the Excise department in
  • Under the old liquor policy, Delhi had 864 liquor shops, including 475 run by the four government agencies, and 389 were private.
  • For the first time, shops were allowed to offer discounts to retail customers and reduced the number of dry days to three from 21.
  • The new policy also had a provision for home delivery of liquor. It even proposed lowering the drinking age from 25 to 21.
  • It also suggested the opening of shops till 3 am. However, these were not implemented.
  • The controversy surrounding Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22
  • Before the implementation, the policy had first to be examined by the Chief Secretary (CS) of Delhi.
  • The CS allegedly found procedural lapses and irregularities in the new policy.
  • Allegations made in the report
  •  In the report, Delhi Deputy CM Sisodia, who heads the excise department, was accused of making changes to the excise policy without the approval of the L-G.
  • The report said arbitrary and unilateral decisions taken by then Delhi Deputy CM had resulted in financial losses to the exchequer, estimated at more than Rs 580 crore.
  • It alleged that kickbacks were received by the Delhi government and its leaders from owners and operators of alcohol businesses for preferential treatment.
  • These kickbacks were used to influence the Assembly elections held in Punjab and Goa in early 2022.
  • Matter referred to CBI
  • This report was referred to the CBI, and which led to the arrest of the then Delhi Dy CM Manish Sisodia.
  • 14 others were also made accused in its FIR, including AAP communications in-charge Vijay Nair.
  • ED Comes into picture
  • Two cases, one by CBI and one on alleged money laundering being investigated by ED, have been registered in relation to the excise policy.
  • The ED told a court that the alleged proceeds of crime amounted to more than Rs 292 crore, and that it was necessary to establish the modus operandi.
  • It alleged that the “scam” was to give the wholesale liquor business to private entities and fix a 12% margin, for a 6% kickback.
  • It also alleged that AAP leaders received kickbacks to the tune of Rs 100 crore from a group of individuals identified as the South Group.


PYQ: In the light of the Satyam Scandal (2009), discuss the changes brought in corporate governance to ensure transparency, accountability. (200 words/12.5m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-2 2015)
Practice Question:  Discuss the significance of Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest in connection with the excise policy case and its implications for governance, accountability, and transparency in India’s political landscape. (250 words/15 m)

2. Reviving Tradition: The Timeless Artistry of Gulaal Gota Making in Jaipur

Topic: Important topic for Prelims

This topic is relevant for Prelims as this topic provides insights into the traditional art forms and cultural practices of India.


  • As Holi festivities commence across India, the unique tradition of hurling balloons filled with colored water is juxtaposed with an age-old practice in certain parts of Rajasthan’s Jaipur known as the ‘gulaal gota’.
  • This tradition, dating back approximately 400 years, holds historical significance and cultural value for the local community.
More about the news:

Description of Gulaal Gota:

  • The gulaal gota is a small ball crafted from lac, a resinous substance derived from specific insects, and filled with dry colors known as gulaal.
  • Weighing around 20 grams when filled, these balls burst upon impact, enveloping individuals in vibrant hues of gulaal.
  • The intricate process of making gulaal gotas involves boiling lac, shaping it into spherical forms, and then filling them with gulaal before sealing them with lac.

Procurement of Raw Materials:

  • The raw material for gulaal gotas primarily comes from Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, where lac is sourced from female scale insects.
  • This process, although essential for creating lac resin, raises ethical and environmental concerns due to the significant number of insects sacrificed for its production.
  • Additionally, gulaal is purchased from the market to fill the lac balls.

Historical Roots and Cultural Significance:

  • The tradition of crafting gulaal gotas is deeply intertwined with Jaipur’s history and heritage.
  • Muslim lac artisans, known as Manihaars, learned the craft from Hindu lac makers upon settling in the region centuries ago.
  • The patronage of Jaipur’s founder, Sawai Jai Singh II, further elevated the status of lac artisans, who were honored with a dedicated lane in the Tripoliya Bazaar named ‘Manihaaronka Raasta’.
  • This tradition of gulaal gota making has been cherished over generations, with royal families actively participating in and promoting the practice during Holi festivities.

Economic Sustainability and Challenges:

  • While gulaal gotas hold cultural significance, sustaining this traditional craft poses economic challenges for artisans.
  • The seasonal nature of gulaal gota production necessitates alternative sources of income, with lac bangle making serving as the primary livelihood for many artisans.
  • However, the rise of cheap, chemical-based bangles in Jaipur has threatened the demand for original lac bangles, affecting the artisans’ income and the preservation of their craft.

Future Prospects and Preservation Efforts:

  • Despite economic challenges, artisans continue to showcase their craft globally, receiving recognition and appreciation from dignitaries such as Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • Efforts to safeguard this tradition include the pursuit of a Geographical Indication (GI) tag, which can enhance awareness and protect the uniqueness of gulaal gota making.
  • Additionally, government initiatives, such as providing artisan cards, aim to support traditional craftsmen and sustain their livelihoods amidst evolving market dynamics.


  • The tradition of gulaal gota making stands as a testament to Jaipur’s rich cultural heritage and artistic prowess.
  • While artisans face economic uncertainties and modern challenges, their resilience and determination to preserve this ancient craft offer hope for its continued legacy and cultural significance in the years to come.


PYQ: 2018 UPSC CSE Prelims:

Consider the following pairs: (2018)

Tradition                                    State

1. Chapchar Kut festival       Mizoram

2. Khongjom Parba Ballad   Manipur

3. Thang-Ta dance                 Sikkim

Which of the pairs given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 1 and 2 only

(c) 3 only

(d) 2 and 3 only

Answer: (b)

3. Bhutan’s King Honors Prime Minister Modi, Praises India’s Leadership and Bilateral Relations

Topic: GS2 – International Relations – India and It’s neighbourhood

This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains in the context of understanding India’s relations with neighboring countries, such as Bhutan.


  • Bhutan’s King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership, describing it as “extraordinary and exemplary.”
  • According to the King, Modi’s leadership qualities include compassion, vision, competence, and a deep commitment to serving the nation and its people.
  • The King emphasized the significance of having a great leader for national progress and prosperity, highlighting Modi’s role in leading India toward a bright future, which is closely intertwined with Bhutan’s own prospects.
More about the news:

The Award Ceremony and Bilateral Meetings:

  • Prime Minister Modi was honored with Bhutan’s highest civilian decoration, the Order of the Druk Gyalpo, during his visit to Thimphu.
  • This accolade, the first of its kind bestowed upon a foreign leader, underscored the depth of bilateral relations between India and Bhutan.
  • Bilateral discussions covered various sectors such as renewable energy, agriculture, youth exchange, and tourism, aimed at further enhancing cooperation between the two nations.

Recognition of India’s Assistance and Generosity:

  • The King of Bhutan acknowledged India’s pivotal role in managing the COVID-19 pandemic and praised Modi’s personal efforts in providing timely vaccines to Bhutan.
  • He emphasized the significance of India’s success for the entire neighborhood, reflecting on the deep sense of gratitude and friendship shared by the people of Bhutan towards India.
  • The award presented to Modi symbolized Bhutan’s appreciation for India’s unwavering support and friendship during challenging times.

Prime Minister Modi’s Leadership and Global Influence:

  • The award citation hailed Modi as an outstanding embodiment of national, regional, and global leadership, recognizing his transformative efforts in propelling India towards technological innovation and economic growth.
  • Modi’s leadership, characterized by the “Neighborhood First” policy, has not only strengthened ties within South Asia but also enhanced India’s moral authority and global influence.
  • The exchange of MoUs and signing of pacts in various fields further underscored the commitment to deepening bilateral cooperation and mutual prosperity between India and Bhutan.
What is the Significance of Bhutan for India?

Strategic Importance:

  • Bhutan shares its borders with India and China, and its strategic location makes it an important buffer state for India’s security interests.
  • India has provided Bhutan with assistance in areas such as defence, infrastructure, and communication, which has helped to maintain Bhutan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
  • India has helped Bhutan build and maintain its border infrastructure, such as roads and bridges, to strengthen its defence capabilities and ensure its territorial integrity.
  • In 2017, during the Doklam standoff between India and China, Bhutan played a crucial role in allowing Indian troops to enter its territory to resist Chinese incursions.
  • Economic Importance:
  • India is Bhutan’s largest trading partner and Bhutan’s major export destination.
  • Bhutan’s hydropower potential is a significant source of revenue for the country, and India has been instrumental in assisting Bhutan in developing its hydropower projects.
  • Cultural Importance:
  • Bhutan and India share strong cultural ties, as both countries are predominantly Buddhist.
  • India has assisted Bhutan in preserving its cultural heritage, and many Bhutanese students come to India for higher education.
  • Environmental Importance:
  • Bhutan is one of the few countries in the world that has pledged to remain carbon-neutral, and India has been a key partner in helping Bhutan achieve this goal.
  • India has provided assistance to Bhutan in areas such as Renewable energy, forest conservation, and sustainable tourism.


Practice Question:  Mention the significance of the recent felicitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Bhutan’s highest civilian decoration by Bhutan’s King. Discuss how this event reflects upon India-Bhutan bilateral relations and its implications for regional diplomacy and India’s leadership in the global arena. (250 words/15 m)

4. ASI Commences Survey of Bhojshala Temple/Mosque Complex in Madhya Pradesh Amid Legal and Religious Sensitivities

Topic: GS1 – History- Indian Culture – Architecture.

This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains in the context of knowing facts about the Bhojshala complex which  has historical and cultural significance, with its dual identity as both a Hindu temple and a Muslim mosque.


  • A team from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has initiated a survey of the Bhojshala temple/Kamal Maula mosque complex in Madhya Pradesh’s tribal-dominated Dhar district.
  • This development follows a directive from the Madhya Pradesh High Court, necessitating a comprehensive survey of the premises within a stipulated timeframe.
More about the news:

Legal Mandate and Judicial Response:

  • The survey initiative stems from a Madhya Pradesh High Court order issued on March 11, mandating the ASI to conduct a detailed survey of the complex within six weeks.
  • The court emphasized the need to demystify and clarify the nature and character of the site.

Religious Significance and Arrangements:

  • The Bhojshala complex holds religious significance for both Hindus and Muslims.
  • Hindus revere it as a temple dedicated to Goddess Vagdevi (Saraswati), while Muslims regard it as the site of the Kamal Maula mosque.
  • An existing arrangement since 2003 allows Hindus to perform puja on Tuesdays and Muslims to offer namaz on Fridays.


  • This topic highlights the commencement of the ASI survey at the Bhojshala temple/Kamal Maula mosque complex, underscoring the legal and religious, aspects associated with the initiative.
What is the Bhojshala Temple-Kamal Maula Mosque Complex?


  • The Bhojshala Temple-Kamal Maula Mosque complex was originally a temple of goddess Sarasvati built by Parawara King Bhoja in 11th Century AD.
  • The mosque is built using structural members of the temple. The monument also retains some slabs inscribed with Sanskrit and Prakrit literary works.
  • Noted as a great patron of art and literature, King Bhoja is said to have established a school, now known as Bhojashala.
  • Under an agreement with the ASI, Hindus perform puja in the temple every Tuesday, and Muslims offer Namaz every Friday.
  • Dispute:
  • The controversy revolves around the original status of the site as a temple.
  • The petitioner cites an ASI report claiming that the original Bhojshala and Vagdevi temples were demolished to build a mosque. A survey was requested to determine the actual history of the site.
  • One respondent challenged the suit’s maintainability, citing the principle of res judicata (a thing adjudged), noting a similar petition was dismissed by the High Court’s Principal Bench in 2003.
  • High Court’s Order:
  • The court noted that the temple’s character remains mysterious until determined. All parties agree on the need to clarify the monument’s nature, a task assigned to the ASI under the Monument Act, 1958.
  • The court mandated the ASI to promptly conduct a comprehensive scientific survey, excavation, and investigation using advanced methods like GPR-GPS and carbon dating, encompassing not only the site but also its 50-meter peripheral ring area.


PYQ: Indian philosophy and tradition played a significant role in conceiving and shaping the monuments and their art in India. Discuss. (250 words/15m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-1 2020)
Practice Question:  Discuss the significance and implications of the Archaeological Survey of India’s survey at the Bhojshala temple/Kamal Maula mosque complex in Madhya Pradesh’s Dhar district. Analyze the historical, cultural, legal, and social aspects associated with this complex, considering its dual identity as both a Hindu temple and a Muslim mosque. (250 words/15 m)

5. India to double assistance to Bhutan to ₹10,000 crore over five years, says Modi

Topic: GS2 – International Relations

Important for UPSC as it reflects India’s diplomatic relations, foreign aid to Bhutan, and strategic engagement with neighbouring countries.

●  The news highlights India’s decision to double assistance to Bhutan.

●  Prime Minister Modi’s receipt of Bhutan’s highest honour, and enhanced bilateral cooperation.


Additional information on this news:

  • India pledges to double assistance to Bhutan from ₹5,000 crore to ₹10,000 crore over five years.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi receives Bhutan’s highest honour, ‘Order of the Druk Gyalpo’, acknowledging India’s role in managing the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Seven agreements signed between India and Bhutan covering energy, food safety, sports, research, and space collaboration.
  • Modi emphasises enhancing connectivity, infrastructure, trade, and energy sectors, including plans for a new airport, rail links, and waterways navigation.
  • Support pledged for Bhutan’s ‘Gelephu Mindfulness City’ project, indicating its inclusion in India’s assistance.
  • Modi’s visit includes meetings with Bhutanese leaders, emphasising close bilateral ties and mutual support for development.
India – Bhutan Relations
Importance for India:

●  Strategic Importance: Bhutan serves as a buffer state between India and China, providing a strategic advantage to India in terms of security.

Economic Cooperation: India is Bhutan’s largest trading partner and provides significant economic assistance, contributing to Bhutan’s development.

●  Cultural and People-to-People Ties: India and Bhutan share deep cultural and historical ties, fostering goodwill and understanding between the two nations.

● Hydroelectric Power: India benefits from Bhutan’s hydroelectric power projects, which contribute to India’s energy security and help meet its growing energy demands.

Importance for Bhutan:

●  Security: Bhutan benefits from India’s security umbrella, which helps maintain stability and sovereignty in the region.

● Economic Development: India’s assistance in various sectors such as infrastructure, healthcare, and education supports Bhutan’s economic growth and development.

●  Hydropower Export: Bhutan earns revenue from exporting surplus hydropower to India, which contributes significantly to its economy.

●  Capacity Building: India’s support in capacity building and skill development enhances Bhutanese human resources and administrative capabilities.


● Border Disputes: The unresolved border issues between Bhutan and China pose a challenge to both countries and require delicate handling.

●  Dependency Concerns: Bhutan’s heavy reliance on India for economic and security assistance raises concerns about dependency and sovereignty.

Environmental Concerns: Hydroelectric projects in Bhutan, while economically beneficial, raise environmental concerns such as deforestation and habitat destruction.

●  Balancing Relations: Bhutan needs to balance its relations with India and China while safeguarding its own inter and sovereignty.

Way Forward:

● Strengthen Bilateral Ties: Both countries should continue to strengthen their bilateral relations through increased cooperation in various sectors.

●  Address Border Issues: India and Bhutan should work towards resolving border disputes with China through dialogue and diplomatic channels.

●  Economic Diversification: Bhutan should focus on diversifying its economy to reduce dependency on a single partner and promote sustainable development.

● Environmental Conservation: Both countries should collaborate on sustainable development practices and ensure the environmental impact of projects is minimized.

●  Enhance People-to-People Ties: Promoting cultural exchanges and people-to-people interactions will further deepen the bond between India and Bhutan.

Practice Question:  Discuss the significance of India’s increased assistance to Bhutan and its implications for bilateral relations.  (150 Words /10 marks)

6. Can Arvind Kejriwal continue to be CM while in custody?

Topic: GS2 – Indian Polity

From a UPSC perspective, understanding the legal and moral implications of public office holders facing judicial custody is crucial.

●       The news concerns the debate over whether Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal can continue in office while in judicial custody, citing legal and moral considerations.

 Additional information on this news:

  • Recent events have raised questions about whether Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal can continue in his position after being remanded in judicial custody.
  • Previous judgments in various courts have emphasized the importance of constitutional morality, good governance, and trust in holding public office.
  • A recent case in the Madras High Court, S. Ramachandran versus V. Senthilbalaji, addressed whether a Minister accused of financial scandal can continue in office while in custody.
  • The court referred to a 2014 Supreme Court judgment emphasizing constitutional morality, good governance, and constitutional trust as essential norms for holding public office.
  • Practical difficulties of being a Minister while in custody were discussed, such as the inability to perform duties and concerns about receiving a salary without fulfilling responsibilities.
  • While the accused Minister did not suffer complete disqualification under the law, the court acknowledged citizens’ expectations of high moral standards from those in power.
  • The High Court stressed that political compulsion should not outweigh public morality, the need for clean governance, and constitutional principles.
What are the implications of arrest for the Chief Minister?
Legal and Constitutional Concerns:

●  Raises questions about the CM’s eligibility to hold office while facing serious criminal charges.

●   May lead to legal challenges regarding the CM’s ability to discharge duties effectively.

Impact on Governance:

●   Disruption of administrative functions due to the absence of the CM’s leadership.

●   Potential paralysis in decision-making processes and implementation of government policies.

Political Ramifications:

●   Diminished public confidence in the government’s integrity and ability to govern effectively.

●  May create a power vacuum within the ruling party, leading to internal strife and instability.

Image and Perception:

●  Damage to the CM’s personal and political reputation, regardless of eventual legal outcomes.

●  Negative perception of the government’s credibility and commitment to ethical governance.

Legal Proceedings:

●  Requirement for the CM to attend court hearings and legal proceedings, affecting availability for official duties.

●  Possibility of the CM being placed under judicial custody, limiting freedom of movement and ability to govern.

Can a person remain Chief Minister while in custody?
Legal Ambiguity:

●  No explicit constitutional provision barring a CM from holding office while in custody.

●   Decision may vary based on state laws and legal interpretations.

Practical Challenges:

●  Difficulty in fulfilling official duties while incarcerated, such as attending meetings and signing documents.

●  Potential conflicts of interest and ethical considerations in governing from a jail cell.

Public Perception:

● Public scrutiny and pressure may force the CM to step down voluntarily to uphold ethical standards and preserve the government’s integrity.

●  Continued tenure while in custody could lead to protests and demands for resignation.

Legal Precedents:

●   Examination of past cases and judicial rulings to determine the course of action regarding the CM’s status.

●  Courts may intervene to ensure governance continuity or mandate resignation based on legal interpretations and public interest.

Practice Question:  Discuss the implications of a Chief Minister’s arrest on governance and examine the feasibility of their continued tenure while in custody. (250 Words /15 marks)

7. HC says Uttar Pradesh Madrasa Education Act ‘unconstitutional’

Topic: GS2 – Indian Polity – Judiciary, GS2 – Indian Polity – Indian Constitution –  Features

The Allahabad High Court ruling on the Uttar Pradesh Madrasa Education Act highlights secularism and education reforms, crucial for UPSC.

●   The Allahabad High Court declares the Uttar Pradesh Madrasa Education Act unconstitutional, emphasizing the need for secular, modern education for all children.


Additional information on this news:

  • The Allahabad High Court declared the Uttar Pradesh Madrasa Education Act, 2004 unconstitutional.
  • The Act was deemed to violate principles of secularism by establishing a board specifically for religious education.
  • The court emphasized that the state must provide secular education to all children up to the age of 18.
  • It stated that providing different types of education based on religion is a violation of secularism, a fundamental aspect of the Constitution.
  • The court rejected the argument that traditional education with nominal fees fulfilled the state’s duty, emphasizing the need for modern, universal education.
  • It directed the government to integrate students from madrasas into regular schools recognized by the Primary Education Board and High School/Intermediate Education Board of Uttar Pradesh.
  • The court highlighted the importance of modern education in preparing children for a brighter future and advancing the nation.
  • The judgment aimed to prevent societal division along religious lines and promote inclusive education.
Indian State and Secularism – a fundamental aspect of the Constitution:
● Constitutional Mandate: Secularism is enshrined in the Preamble of the Indian Constitution, emphasizing the establishment of a secular state.

●  Equality of all Religions: The Constitution ensures equality before the law for individuals of all religions, devoid of any discrimination.

● Freedom of Religion: Citizens have the right to practice, profess, and propagate any religion of their choice.

State Neutrality: The Indian state is expected to maintain equidistance from all religions, not favouring or discriminating against any particular faith.

●  Non-Interference in Religious Affairs: The state is prohibited from interfering in the religious practices of its citizens unless necessary to uphold public order, morality, or health.

●  Safeguarding Minority Rights: Secularism in India also entails protecting the rights of religious minorities from any form of oppression or discrimination.

●   Promotion of Scientific Temper: The Constitution encourages the promotion of scientific temper, rational thinking, and humanism, thereby fostering a spirit of secularism.

● Separation of Religion and State: The Indian state operates independently from religious institutions, ensuring governance based on constitutional principles rather than religious doctrines.

●  Inclusive Governance: Secularism promotes inclusivity in governance, ensuring representation and participation of individuals from diverse religious backgrounds.

●  Secular Institutions: Indian institutions such as the judiciary are tasked with upholding secular values, ensuring that laws and policies adhere to principles of equality and neutrality.

PYQ: How the Indian concept of secularism is different from the western model of secularism? Discuss. (150 words/10m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-1 2018)
Practice Question:  Discuss the role of secularism in Indian governance and its significance in upholding constitutional principles. (250 Words /15 marks)

8. A turf war with the wild.

Topic: GS3 – Environment and Ecology – Environmental pollution and degradation
This news underscores the need for effective wildlife management strategies and inter-state collaboration, relevant for UPSC environment-related topics.
●       The news highlights escalating human-wildlife conflicts in Kerala, particularly involving elephants, prompting the state’s declaration of such incidents as a State-specific disaster.

Human-Elephant Conflict in Kerala’s Forests
Incident Description:

  • On March 5, Rajan, a 70-year-old tribal chieftain, and his wife ventured into Vazhachal Forest Division to collect Marottikkuru seeds.
  • They encountered an elephant, which fatally attacked Rajan’s wife, Valsala, despite his efforts to escape.

Human-Wildlife Conflict in Kerala:

  • Kerala’s forest-dwelling communities, like the Kadars, often rely on forest produce, leading to frequent encounters with wildlife.
  • The Vazhachal Forest Division hosts rich biodiversity, providing sustenance to tribal communities through various resources.

Escalating Conflict:

  • Incidents of human-wildlife conflict, particularly involving elephants, have been on the rise in Kerala.
  • The State’s dense forest cover and proximity of settlements to wildlife habitats contribute to increased conflicts.

Government Response:

  • Kerala declared human-animal conflict a State-specific disaster in March, recognizing its severity.
  • Responsibility for managing such conflicts now lies with the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA).
  • The government formed a committee headed by the Chief Minister to address the issue, with the Chief Wildlife Warden as the nodal officer.

Mitigation Measures:

  • Neighbourhood groups will aid in surveillance of forest fringes to alert people about wildlife presence.
  • Volunteer groups, including wildlife enthusiasts, will support the government’s efforts.
  • Additional forest watchers will be recruited, and rapid response teams equipped with necessary tools will be established.

Inter-State Collaboration:

  • An inter-State coordination committee involving Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu aims to tackle conflicts through joint efforts.
  • Collaboration includes sharing intelligence and resources to address human-wildlife conflicts along state borders.

Other Wildlife Involved:

  • Besides elephants, tigers, leopards, wild gaurs, wild boars, and monkeys also contribute to conflicts.
  • Instances of attacks by various wildlife species highlight the multifaceted nature of human-wildlife interactions.

Root Causes:

  • Degradation of forests, invasive plant species, and habitat fragmentation exacerbate conflicts.
  • Human activities such as waste dumping and expansion of settlements near forests attract wildlife to human habitations.

Community Perspectives:

  • Tribal communities emphasize the need for forest conservation and restoration to mitigate conflicts.
  • They advocate for replanting indigenous species, removing invasive plants, and raising awareness about responsible tourism.


  • Effective management of human-wildlife conflicts requires a multi-level institutional framework and community participation.
  • Addressing root causes like habitat degradation and promoting coexistence between humans and wildlife are crucial for long-term solutions.
Practice Question:  Discuss the challenges and strategies for mitigating human-wildlife conflicts, with emphasis on inter-state cooperation. (150 Words /10 marks)

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