27 Jan 2024 : Daily Current Affairs

Daily Current Affairs


1. SC, ST and OBC students’ registry in higher education rose by 18.1% in 5 yrs: Survey

Topic: GS2 – Social Justice- Education 

This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains in the context of Understanding the dynamics of higher education enrollment, especially for marginalized communities. 

  • According to the latest all-India survey on higher education, there has been a noteworthy surge in the proportion of students from marginalised communities—scheduled castes (SC), scheduled tribes (ST), and other backward castes (OBC).
  • The data from the Ministry of Education reveals that between the academic years 2017-18 and 2021-22, the overall growth in the number of students from these communities enrolled in higher educational institutes was 18.1%, exceeding the national average.

Striking Growth by Category:

  • Breaking down the growth further, the SC category experienced a significant increase of 25.43%, while the ST category saw the highest surge at 41.6%.
  • OBC student enrollment also rose by a substantial 27.3%.
  • This positive trend indicates a concerted effort to improve access to higher education for these historically underrepresented communities.

Notable Gender Inclusivity:

  • The data further highlights commendable progress in gender inclusivity within the ST category.
  • Since 2014-15, there has been an impressive 80.1% increase in female ST students’ enrollment, with an addition of 7.5 lakh.
  • This suggests a concerted effort to bridge gender gaps within marginalized communities.

Overall Enrollment Trends

  • Five years ago, when the overall enrollment was 3.66 crore, marginalized communities accounted for 52.8 lakh students. Fast forward to 2021-22, and this number has risen to 66.22 lakh.
  • The ST students’ enrollment increased from 19.13 lakh in 2017-18 to 27.1 lakh in 2021-22, while the OBC category saw a rise from 12.83 lakh to 16.33 lakh during the same period.
  • However, despite these positive trends, the Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) in higher education for the 18–23 age group in India remains at 28.4%.

Divergent Trends for Muslim Community

  • In contrast to the overall positive trends, the data shows a different narrative for the Muslim community.
  • The enrollment of Muslim students in 2021-22 was 21.1 lakh, indicating a modest 14.7% increase over a five-year period, from 18.4 lakh in 2017-18 to 19.22 lakh in 2020-21.
  • This suggests that more targeted efforts may be needed to address the specific challenges faced by the Muslim community in accessing higher education.


  • The survey reflects an encouraging increase in the representation of marginalized communities in higher education, especially for SC, ST, and OBC categories.
  • However, it also underscores the need for continued efforts to ensure inclusivity for all communities, including those facing specific challenges like the Muslim community.

PYQ: Discuss the main objectives of Population Education and point out the measures to achieve them in India in detail. (250 words/15m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-1 2021)
Practice Question: Discuss the implications of the recent all-India survey on higher education enrollment, focusing on the significant rise in representation of marginalized communities. (150 words/10 m)

2. India and France Forge Defense Roadmap, Strengthen Bilateral Ties Across Space, Healthcare, and Innovation

Topic: GS2 – International Relations- Bilateral Relations 

This topic is not much relevant in the context of Prelims but more for Mains in the context of Indo- French relations. 

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron announced the adoption of a roadmap on Defence Industrial Cooperation during their recent talks in India.
  • The roadmap is designed to enhance collaboration in co-design, co-development, and co-production within the defence industrial sector.
  • It encompasses various domains, including air and space technology, maritime tech, underwater domain awareness, land warfare, robotics, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, and cyber defence.

Strategic Partnership Milestones:

  • The Defence and security collaboration between India and France has been a pivotal aspect of their strategic partnership, established on January 26, 1998.
  • The announcement coincides with the 25th-anniversary celebrations of this strategic partnership, initiated during then French President Jacques Chirac’s visit as the Chief Guest for Republic Day celebrations.

Focus on Defence Production:

  • Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra highlighted the primary focus of the conversation, emphasizing the building of defence supply chains between the two countries.
  • The aim is not only to meet India’s defence needs but also to contribute to the security partnership with other nations.
  • The discussions centered on defence production.

Broad Collaboration Areas

  • Beyond defence, both nations agreed on a roadmap for space and a pact between Tata and Airbus for manufacturing H-125 single-engine helicopters.
  • Cooperation in healthcare, including education, training, research, and the use of AI, was also discussed.
  • The year 2026 was designated as the year of India-France innovation, marked by the announcement of a Young Professionals scheme for individuals aged 18 to 35.

Space Cooperation and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)

  • An MoU was signed between New Space India Ltd and France’s Arianespace to collaborate on satellite launches.
  • The cooperation in space will encompass space situational awareness, collision avoidance, earth monitoring, communications and broadcasting, and satellite launching services.

International and Regional Discussions

  • In addition to bilateral matters, Modi and Macron engaged in discussions on international issues, including the conflict in Gaza, terrorism, humanitarian aid, and the evolving security situation in the Red Sea.
  • The leaders exchanged perspectives on potential disruptions and challenges in the region.

Growing Indo-Pacific Component

  • The partnership, rooted in shared values of strategic autonomy, sovereignty, and a commitment to democratic principles, has evolved to include a robust Indo-Pacific component.
  • The officials noted the increasing salience of the partnership in the complex geopolitical environment and the pursuit of respective national ambitions.
PYQ: What can France learn from the Indian Constitution’s approach to secularism? (150 words/10m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-2 2019)
Practice Question: Examine the strategic dimensions of the Defence Industrial Cooperation roadmap adopted by India and France during the recent talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Emmanuel Macron. (200 words/12.5 m)

3. ASI Unveils Report Confirming Hindu Temple Beneath Gyanvapi Mosque: Legal Implications and Ongoing Litigation

Topic: GS1 – Indian Culture- Indian Heritage sites, GS2- Polity

This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains in the context of the importance of the Archaeological Survey of India’s findings on the Gyanvapi Mosque. 

  • The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) submitted a sealed report to the Varanasi district court, revealing that the Gyanvapi mosque was constructed above a pre-existing Hindu temple with specific structural details.

Significance in Litigation:

  • The report holds importance in the ongoing legal dispute over the Kashi Vishwanath temple-Gyanvapi mosque complex.
  • However, its significance lies in its status as expert evidence, subject to contestation in court, similar to the Babri Masjid-Ram janmabhoomi case.

Expert Opinion and Witness Testimonies:

  • The 800-odd-page ASI report is expected to undergo scrutiny, with both parties presenting witnesses, including historians, archaeologists, epigraphists, and those with religious knowledge.
  • The Babri Masjid-Ramjanmabhoomi case serves as a precedent where ASI findings were interpreted differently by opposing sides.

Court’s Determination:

  • The court’s role will be crucial in determining the reliability of the ASI report and assessing the implications of a Hindu temple’s existence on the religious character of the mosque as of August 15, 1947.
  • The court must navigate through expert testimonies and evidentiary standards in reaching a decision.

Comparisons with Babri Masjid-Ramjanmabhoomi Case:

  • The Babri Masjid-Ramjanmabhoomi case demonstrated that a title finding cannot solely rely on archaeological findings.
  • The court emphasized the need for settled legal principles and evidentiary standards in civil trials, casting doubt on the conclusive role of archaeological evidence.

Way Forward and Legal Challenges:

  • The preliminary issue of maintainability, considering the Places of Worship Act, 1991, will be crucial.
  • The Act declares that the religious character of a place of worship remains unchanged as of August 15, 1947.
  • Challenges to the maintainability of the suit rest on the fate of this Act, currently pending constitutional challenges.

Potential Legal Shifts:

  • If the Places of Worship Act is struck down or revised, the relevance of the ASI report could change significantly.
  • The 2019 Ayodhya judgment upheld the Act as a constitutional commitment to secularism.
  • Any alteration in the Act might impact the legal landscape surrounding the ASI report’s significance.


  • The ASI report adds a historical dimension to the legal discourse surrounding the Kashi Vishwanath temple-Gyanvapi mosque complex, with its implications contingent on the court’s determination and potential changes in relevant legislation.

Practice Question: Discuss the implications of the Archaeological Survey of India’s recent findings on the Gyanvapi Mosque, revealing a pre-existing Hindu temple beneath it. (150 words/10 m)

4. ASI’s Unveiling of Hindu Temple Beneath Gyanvapi Mosque Sparks Historical Controversy and Cultural Debate

Topic: GS1 – History- Significant events

This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains in the context of Understanding the intricacies of historical events, political motivations, and their impact on cultural heritage

  • The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has concluded, based on scientific studies, observations, and textual evidence, that a large Hindu temple existed prior to the construction of the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi.
  • This revelation aligns with ample historical documentation supporting the existence of the pre-existing structure.

Aurangzeb’s Farmaan:

  • The mosque is believed to have been erected on the ruins of a temple adjacent to the Kashi Vishwanath temple.
  • The destruction of this temple is attributed to the 1669 farmaan (decree) issued by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, who sought to demolish schools and temples of non-Muslims in a broader attack on Hinduism.

Historical Accounts:

  • Saqi Mustaid Khan’s Maasir-i-Alamgiri, a Persian chronicle, is a primary source highlighting Aurangzeb’s zeal to establish Islam by ordering the destruction of Hindu temples.
  • Historians such as Jadunath Sarkar and S.A.A. Rizvi provided interpretations of these events, emphasizing Aurangzeb’s departure from Akbar’s policy of coexistence.

Political Motives and Rebellion:

  • Historian Richard Eaton suggests that Aurangzeb’s farmaan was targeted at institutions where specific teachings took place, citing concerns about Brahman misbelievers spreading their ideas.
  • There are theories linking the destruction of the Kashi temple to Chhatrapati Shivaji’s escape from Mughal custody, provoking Aurangzeb to order its demolition as retribution.

Temple Destruction as Punishment:

  • Aurangzeb’s changing perception of temples as centers spreading subversive ideas led to the destruction of longstanding Hindu temples as a measure of punishment and warning.
  • Local conflicts and suspicions of aiding Shivaji’s escape further fueled the emperor’s decision.

Gyanvapi Mosque Construction:

  • The Gyanvapi mosque likely came up in the 1670s or ’80s, with a portion of the ruined temple’s wall incorporated into the building.
  • Unlike the Shahi Eidgah built over the destroyed Mathura temple, the patron of the Gyanvapi mosque remains unknown, and it does not find mention in Mughal court documents.

Present-Day Kashi Vishwanath Temple:

  • The present-day Kashi Vishwanath temple, constructed next to the mosque, was built by Queen Ahilyabai Holkar in the 18th century.
  • The entire historical narrative surrounding the Gyanvapi mosque adds layers to the ongoing debates about India’s cultural and religious heritage.


  • The ASI’s findings bring historical context to the controversies surrounding the Gyanvapi Mosque, shedding light on Aurangzeb’s actions, political motivations, and the subsequent construction of the mosque.
  • These revelations contribute to a broader understanding of India’s complex historical landscape.

Practice Question: Examine the Archaeological Survey of India’s recent findings on the Gyanvapi Mosque, revealing a pre-existing Hindu temple beneath it. Analyze the historical, cultural, and religious implications of this discovery, considering Aurangzeb’s farmaan and the subsequent construction of the mosque. (250 words/15 m)

5. India-France defence ties take a leap.

Topic: GS2 – International Relations – Bilateral Relations

India and France sign defence industrial roadmap, emphasizing collaboration on production and co-development. Relevant for UPSC in strategic partnership context.

  • India and France announce a “defence industrial roadmap” for collaboration on defence production, co-design, and co-development of military hardware.
  • Agreements include a defence-space partnership, Airbus-Tata helicopter joint venture, and collaborations in energy, digital health, agriculture, and education. No progress on pending mega defence deals.

What is in the news?
India-France Defence Industrial Roadmap:

  • India and France announce a “defence industrial road map” for cooperation in defence production.
  • Emphasis on future collaboration in co-design, co-development, and co-production of military hardware.
  • Aim to build defence supply chains for fulfilling the needs of both countries and contributing to security partnerships.

Defence-Space Partnership:

  • Introduction of a new agreement on defence-space partnership.
  • Collaboration on “space situational awareness” and coordination on satellite launches.

Other Collaborations:

  • Additional agreements on partnerships in energy, digital health, agriculture, and education.
  • Agreement on a joint venture between Airbus and Tata for the local manufacture of helicopters.
  • Focus on enhancing cooperation in various sectors beyond defence.

Pending Mega Defence Deals:

  • No announcement on the progress of government-to-government deals on fighter jets, engines, and submarines.
  • Mega deals, including 26 Rafale-M fighter jets and three Scorpene-class submarines, in the cost negotiation phase.

Visa Restrictions and Press Freedom:

  • French government raises concerns about press visa restrictions and a potential deportation of a French journalist.
  • Foreign correspondents in India issue a letter of protest, highlighting increased visa restrictions and appealing for support for a free press.

Strengthening India-France Ties:

  • Visit by French President Emmanuel Macron strengthens bilateral ties.
  • Macron’s acceptance of Republic Day invitation contributes to the relationship.
  • Multiple agreements and collaborations demonstrate the depth of the strategic partnership.

Overall Impact:

  • The comprehensive roadmap and agreements indicate a commitment to broadening and deepening the India-France strategic partnership.
  • The relation between both nations focus on defence, space, and various sectors reflects a multidimensional collaboration. 

PYQ: What can France learn from the Indian constitution’s approach to secularism? (150 words/10m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-2 2019)
Practice Question: Discuss the significance of the recently announced India-France defence industrial roadmap in fostering strategic collaboration and addressing security concerns. (150 words/10 m)

6. Israel must take measures to prevent genocidal acts in Gaza and permit aid: ICJ

Topic: GS2 – International Relations – Important International institutions

Relevant for UPSC as it involves the International Court of Justice ruling on Israel-Gaza crisis, addressing humanitarian and security concerns.

  • The UN’s top court, the International Court of Justice, rules that Israel must prevent genocidal acts in Gaza, allow humanitarian aid, but stops short of calling for a ceasefire.
  • The decision follows South Africa’s accusation of breaching the UN Genocide Convention.

Additional information on this news:
UN Court’s Decision on Gaza Crisis:

  • The International Court of Justice (ICJ) rules that Israel must prevent genocidal acts in Gaza and allow humanitarian aid.
  • The decision, in response to South Africa’s accusation of breaching the UN Genocide Convention, falls short of calling for a ceasefire.

Emergency Measures and Humanitarian Assistance:

  • ICJ issues emergency measures, requiring Israel to take immediate actions to prevent genocidal acts.
  • Urges Israel to facilitate the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian aid in Gaza.

South Africa’s Allegations:

  • South Africa accuses Israel of committing “genocidal” acts aiming at the destruction of the Palestinian group.
  • Israel rejects the charges, emphasizing self-defense after Hamas attacks on October 7. 

Israeli Response and Court’s Ruling:

  • Israel dismisses the case, calling it a “grossly distorted story.”
  • The court acknowledges Israel’s steps to help civilians but deems them insufficient to protect Palestinian rights.

Public Reaction and Protests:

  • Hundreds of protesters on both sides gather outside the court.
  • South Africa contends that a ceasefire is necessary for delivering humanitarian aid, while Israel denies genocidal acts.

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Statement:

  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejects the charges as false and outrageous.
  • Emphasizes Israel’s actions in self-defense and its efforts to alleviate civilian suffering. 

More about International Court of Justice
  • The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN) and is located in The Hague, Netherlands.
  • Established in 1945, the ICJ settles legal disputes between states and gives advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by the UN General Assembly, Security Council, or other specialized agencies and organizations.
  • The Court is composed of 15 judges elected by the UN General Assembly and the Security Council, serving nine-year terms with no reelection.
  • Its jurisdiction covers a wide range of international legal issues, including boundary disputes, human rights violations, and interpretation of treaties.
  • The ICJ operates based on the principles of consent, meaning that states must agree to submit to its jurisdiction for a case to be heard.
  • The Court’s decisions are binding and are aimed at promoting peaceful resolution of international conflicts through legal means. 

7. India at 2047: what does it take to make the nation rich, improve quality of life?

Topic: GS3 – Indian Economy – Inclusive growth

UPSC candidates benefit from insights on India’s economic trajectory, governance challenges, and human capital development for holistic preparation.

  • The article discusses India’s path to becoming a wealthy nation by 2047, examining divergent views on the government’s economic management, measuring development through per capita income.
  • The article emphasises the importance of inclusive growth, public goods, and policy changes for human capital and women’s workforce participation.

 Perceptions on Government’s Economic Management:

  • Two schools of thought exist regarding the government’s economic management.
  • The government highlights welfare programs, capital expenditure, digital payments, housing, sanitation schemes, and reforms like GST.
  • Critics raise concerns about unemployment, malnourishment, fiscal deficit, declining investment rate, social disharmony, and data revision.

Measuring Economic Development:

  • Montek Singh Ahluwalia emphasizes that per capita income is a crucial criterion for measuring economic development.
  • Advocates for inclusive growth and development of public goods, emphasizing the role of a caring government over market forces.

Challenges and Growth Rate:

  • Ahluwalia identifies challenges for India’s consistent growth rate of 8.5%, including changing geopolitics, technological changes, and Center-State relations.
  • N. Ninan compares India’s growth to South Asian countries’ rapid growth and Western countries’ medium growth over a longer period.
  • India’s per capita income increase is less than three-fold in the past 24 years, compared to China’s 5.3 times.

Quality of Life as Wealth Determinant:

  • Ninan argues that the quality of life, encompassing healthcare, clean air, education, jobs, personal safety, and housing affordability, should determine wealth.
  • India’s performance slightly better than China’s in these aspects.

Policy Changes for Human Capital:

  • Sanjay Kaul suggests policy changes focusing on human capital, such as prioritizing district hospitals over national institutes and encouraging women’s workforce participation.

Definition of Wealthy Nation:

  • Professor Jayati Ghosh defines a wealthy nation as one that provides basic needs and the possibility of a decent and dignified life, challenging the sole reliance on per capita income as a measurement.

Concerns about Growth Pattern:

  • Ghosh highlights the need for a different growth pattern in India, where real wages haven’t increased despite high growth rates over the past decade.
  • Emphasizes the real failure lies in the majority’s conditions not improving.

Women’s Economic Potential:

  • Ghosh points out the economic potential wasted with only 18% of women in India in paid employment.
  • Suggests a need for a shift in growth patterns to address this issue.


  • In conclusion, the article provides a comprehensive overview of India’s economic journey, governance challenges, and the imperative for inclusive growth and human capital development.

PYQ: Despite Consistent experience of High growth, India still goes with the lowest indicators of human development. Examine the issues that make balanced and inclusive development elusive. (150 words/10m ) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-2 2019)
Practice Question: Discuss the key determinants of India’s path to economic prosperity by 2047, considering divergent opinions on government management, per capita income, and the imperative for inclusive growth and human capital development. (250 words/15 m)

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