Everything You Need To Know About

7 May 2024 : Daily Current Affairs

1. SC to urgently hear petitions on Uttarakhand forest fires

(Source – The Hindu, Section – News, Page – 4)

Topic: GS2 – Indian Polity – Judiciary

GS3 – Environment – Environmental pollution and degradation

●  The Supreme Court has agreed to urgently hear petitions regarding Uttarakhand forest fires, with petitioners alleging 90% are man-made.

Reports detail over 900 fire incidents in six months, prompting the government to deploy NDRF and Indian Air Force assets, while also considering cloud seeding techniques with IIT Roorkee.

 Analysis of the news:

  • The Supreme Court has agreed to urgently hear petitions on Uttarakhand forest fires on Wednesday, with petitioners claiming 90% of the blazes were man-made.
  • The Uttarakhand government has sought permission to file a status report by the next hearing and will be represented by its Deputy Advocate-General.
  • Reports indicate over 900 incidents of fires in the past six months, damaging at least 1,100 hectares of forest land.
  • 351 cases related to man-made forest fires were registered, involving 59 named individuals and 290 unidentified suspects.
  • Uttarakhand recorded 20 fresh cases of forest fire on Monday, with one death reported.
  • With the incidents of forest fires increasing every day, the government announced strict action, including invoking the Gangster Act against repeat offenders and booking them under property damage recovery laws.
  • Coordination with IIT Roorkee for cloud seeding experiments to induce rainfall to control fires is underway to control forest fires.
Forest fires in India
 Forest fires in India:

Approximately 36% of India’s forests are prone to frequent fires.

●  4% of the country’s forest cover is extremely prone to fire, while 6% is very highly fire-prone.

●  States in northeastern India show the highest tendency for forest fires.

● Forest fires are prevalent in western Maharashtra, southern Chhattisgarh, central Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Karnataka.

Causes include man-made activities like deliberate fires (for grass growth, poaching), carelessness, farming-related activities, and friction of electricity cables with dry leaves.


●  Human Activities: Clearing land for agriculture, logging, and irresponsible disposal of cigarette butts contribute to forest fires.

●  Climate Change: Rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns create drier conditions, increasing fire risk.

Lack of Awareness: Ignorance about fire prevention and inadequate fire management practices exacerbate the problem.

Forest Mismanagement: Poor forest management practices, such as lack of controlled burns and firebreaks, contribute to fire spread.

Way Forward:

●  Preventive Measures: Implement strict regulations on land use and enforce fire prevention measures.

Public Awareness: Educate communities on responsible forest practices and fire safety measures.

Early Detection Systems: Invest in advanced technology for early detection of fires to enable prompt response.

Capacity Building: Train firefighters and equip them with necessary resources to combat fires effectively.

Collaboration: Foster cooperation between government agencies, local communities, and NGOs to address the issue collectively.

Sustainable Forest Management: Adopt sustainable forestry practices to reduce fire risk and maintain ecosystem health.

PYQ: Examine the status of forest resources of India and its resultant impact on climate change. (250 words/15m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-1 2020)
Practice Question:  Discuss the socio-economic and environmental implications of the increasing incidences of forest fires in India. Suggest comprehensive measures for effective prevention, management, and mitigation strategies to address this growing challenge. (150 Words /10 marks)

2. Amid row over fake video, EC warns parties against misuse of AI-based tools

(Source – The Hindu, Section – News, Page – 6)

Topic: GS2 – Indian Polity

●  The Election Commission of India instructs political parties to responsibly use social media in elections, warning against misinformation and deep fakes.

●  Parties must remove offensive content within three hours from notification, adhere to legal frameworks, and report violations to platforms and the Grievance Appellate Committee.

 Analysis of the news:

  • The Election Commission of India (ECI) has issued directives to political parties regarding the responsible and ethical use of social media during election campaigning to ensure fair competition.
  • Parties must adhere to existing legal provisions, including the Information Technology Act, 2000, the Indian Penal Code, and the Representation of People Act, 1950 and 1951, as well as the Model Code of Conduct.
  • They are specifically warned against the use of AI-based tools to create deep fakes and dissemination of misinformation.
What Are Deep Fakes?
Deep fakes are synthetic media created using artificial intelligence techniques.

● They involve manipulating audio, images, or videos to make it appear as if someone said or did something they didn’t.

Deep fakes can convincingly depict people doing or saying things that never happened.

They often involve faceswapping or voice cloning technology to create realistic but fake content.

Deep fakes raise concerns about misinformation, as they can be used to spread false information or manipulate public opinion.

● They also pose challenges for detecting and combating fake content online.


  • Prohibited actions include circulating false or misleading information, derogatory content towards women, using children in campaigns, and depicting violence or harm to animals.
  • Parties must promptly remove any such content within three hours of being notified, take action against responsible individuals within their party, report unlawful information and fake accounts to platforms, and escalate persistent issues to the Grievance Appellate Committee under the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.
How social media can affect elections?

●  Increased Voter Engagement: Social media platforms encourage political discussion and engagement among voters, leading to increased awareness and participation in elections.

Accessibility: Social media provides a platform for political candidates to reach a wide audience at relatively low costs, levelling the playing field for candidates with limited resources.

Transparency: Social media allows for greater transparency in political campaigns, as candidates can directly communicate their platforms and policies to voters without intermediaries.

Real-Time Updates: Voters can receive real-time updates on campaign events, debates, and news through social media, enabling them to make informed decisions.

Community Building: Social media fosters online communities of like-minded individuals, allowing voters to connect with others who share their political views and mobilise support for specific candidates or causes.


Misinformation: Social media platforms can be used to spread false or misleading information, influencing voter perceptions and undermining the integrity of elections.

Polarisation: Echo chambers on social media can reinforce existing biases and polarise political discourse, leading to increased divisiveness and hostility among voters.

Foreign Interference: Hostile actors may exploit social media to spread disinformation or interfere in elections, posing threats to electoral integrity and democratic processes.

Privacy Concerns: Social media users’ personal data may be harvested and exploited for targeted political advertising without their consent, raising concerns about privacy and manipulation.

Algorithmic Bias: Social media algorithms may prioritise sensational or divisive content, amplifying extreme viewpoints and suppressing moderate voices, exacerbating polarisation and undermining democracy.

PYQ: Use of Internet and social media by non-state actors for subversive activities is a major concern. How have these have misused in the recent past? Suggest effective guidelines to curb the above threat. (200 words/12.5m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-3 2016)
Practice Question:  Discuss the potential impact of social media on electoral processes, highlighting its role in shaping public opinion, political discourse, and voter behaviour. Assess the challenges posed by misinformation, deep fakes, and polarising content, and suggest measures to ensure the integrity and fairness of elections in the digital age. (250 Words /15 marks)


3. What is carbon farming?

 (Source – The Hindu, Section – Text, Page – 10)

Topic: GS3 – Agriculture

●  The news discusses integration of regenerative agricultural practices in carbon farming as it holds promise for mitigating climate change and improving soil health in India.

Despite challenges such as limited awareness and policy support, promoting carbon farming is crucial for sustainable agricultural development and addressing climate-related challenges.

 Introduction: Understanding Carbon Farming

  • Carbon farming integrates regenerative agricultural practices to enhance carbon storage in agricultural landscapes while mitigating climate change.
  • It encompasses techniques like rotational grazing, agroforestry, conservation agriculture, and integrated nutrient management to improve soil health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Benefits and Implementation of Carbon Farming

  • Carbon farming techniques, including agroforestry and conservation agriculture, enhance soil health and organic content, particularly in regions with suitable climatic conditions.
  • Livestock management strategies, such as rotational grazing and optimized feed quality, reduce methane emissions and increase carbon storage in pasture lands.
  • Despite its potential benefits, effectiveness varies based on factors like geographical location, soil type, water availability, and farm size.

Challenges in Implementing Carbon Farming

  • Limited water availability in hot and dry regions hinders plant growth and restricts carbon sequestration potential.
  • Financial constraints, especially for small-scale farmers in developing countries like India, pose challenges in adopting sustainable land management practices.
  • Selecting appropriate plant species for carbon sequestration and addressing technological barriers are additional hurdles.

Global Initiatives and Carbon Farming Schemes

  • Carbon trading initiatives like the Chicago Climate Exchange and Australia’s Carbon Farming Initiative incentivize carbon mitigation activities in agriculture.
  • The ‘4 per 1000’ initiative and Kenya’s Agricultural Carbon Project highlight the potential of carbon farming in addressing climate mitigation and adaptation challenges.
  • Grassroots initiatives in India demonstrate the viability of organic farming to sequester carbon, with potential economic benefits and opportunities for additional income through carbon credit systems.

Opportunities and Challenges in India

  • India’s extensive agricultural land, particularly in regions like the Indo-Gangetic plains, is suitable for adopting carbon farming practices.
  • However, challenges such as limited awareness, inadequate policy support, and technological barriers need to be addressed to scale up carbon farming.
  • Despite challenges, promoting carbon farming in India is crucial for mitigating climate change, improving soil health, enhancing biodiversity, and creating economic opportunities.

Conclusion: Realizing the Potential of Carbon Farming in India

  • Carbon farming offers a sustainable strategy for mitigating climate change and enhancing food security in India.
  • Addressing challenges like limited awareness and policy support is essential to scale up carbon farming and realize its full potential.
  • By promoting carbon farming, India can mitigate climate change, improve soil health, and create economic opportunities for farmers.

Q.1 What is Integrated Farming System? How is it helpful to small and marginal farmers in India? (250 words/15m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-3 2022)

Q.2 How far is the Integrated Farming System (IFS) helpful in sustaining agricultural production? (150 words/10m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-3 2019)

Practice Question:  Discuss the concept of carbon farming and its potential to mitigate climate change while enhancing agricultural sustainability in India. Evaluate the challenges hindering its widespread adoption and suggest strategies to promote its implementation. (250 Words /15 marks)


4. Understanding the science behind magnetic resonance imaging

(Source – The Hindu, Section – Text, Page – 11)

Topic: GS3 – Science and Technology

●  Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) revolutionised medical diagnostics by providing non-invasive imaging of soft tissues within the human body.

● Developed in the early 1970s, MRI techniques were refined by Paul Lauterbur and Peter Mansfield, leading to their Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2003.

● MRI scans are crucial for diagnosing various conditions, from cancers to neurological disorders, despite challenges like cost and patient discomfort.

 Understanding Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a non-invasive diagnostic procedure used to obtain images of soft tissues within the body.
  • Non-invasive imaging refers to a set of medical techniques that enable healthcare providers to visualize internal structures, organs, and functions without the need for surgery or invasive procedures.
  • It is widely employed to image various body parts such as the brain, cardiovascular system, spinal cord, joints, muscles, liver, arteries, etc.
  • MRI is particularly valuable in diagnosing and treating cancers, neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s, dementia, epilepsy, stroke, and in functional MRI to understand brain activity.

Principles of MRI

  • MRI utilises the magnetic properties of hydrogen atoms in the body to generate images.
  • The MRI machine consists of a powerful superconducting magnet, a radiofrequency pulse emitter, and a detector.
  • The superconducting magnet produces a strong magnetic field around the body, aligning hydrogen atoms in the tissue.
  • A radiofrequency pulse is emitted, causing the ‘excited’ hydrogen atoms to emit energy, which is detected and converted into images.

Advantages of MRI

  • MRI offers high-resolution images with the ability to scan specific portions of the body.
  • It can capture images from various angles and in small increments, providing detailed insights into tissue structures.
  • Different tissues can be differentiated based on their relaxation times, and contrast agents can enhance tissue visibility.
  • MRI scans are safe with no known long-term harmful effects, although their impact on pregnant women is not extensively studied.

Disadvantages of MRI

  • MRI machines are expensive to acquire and maintain, leading to high diagnostic costs for patients.
  • Patients undergoing MRI scans are required to lie still for extended periods, causing discomfort and potential image distortion if movement occurs.
  • The energy-intensive nature of maintaining the superconducting magnet setup contributes to operational costs.
  • The switching of heavy currents in the machine produces loud noises, adding to patient discomfort during scans.

Conclusion: Balancing Advantages and Challenges of MRI

  • MRI is a valuable diagnostic tool for imaging soft tissues in the body, aiding in the diagnosis and treatment of various medical conditions.
  • While it offers high-resolution images and safety, MRI poses challenges such as high costs, patient discomfort, and operational complexities.
  • Efforts to address these challenges are essential to ensure widespread access to MRI technology and optimize its benefits in modern medical diagnostics.
Practice Question:  Discuss the significance of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) in modern medical diagnostics and the challenges associated with its widespread adoption. (150 Words /10 marks)

5. Debating Religion-Based Reservation: Constitutional Complexities and Social Implications in India’s Election Season

(Source: Indian Express; Section: Explained; Page: 13)

Topic: GS2 – Governance – Government policies – Interventions for development in various sectors

GS2 – Polity

  • In the midst of election season in India, debates are raging over fundamental constitutional questions regarding reservation policies, particularly concerning religion-based reservation.
  • This analysis delves into the intricacies of reservation policies in India, focusing on the inclusion of Muslims and the constitutional implications of religion-based reservation.
Analysis of the News:

Reservation & Constitution:

  • The Constitution of India emphasizes equity over formal equality, recognizing the need for special provisions to address historical inequalities.
  • Affirmative action, enshrined in Articles 15(4) and 16(4), allows for special provisions for socially and educationally backward classes, including Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs), and Other Backward Classes (OBCs).
  • However, the Constitution prohibits discrimination solely on the basis of religion, alongside other grounds like caste, sex, race, and place of birth.

Inclusion of Muslims in Reservation Policies:

  • The inclusion of Muslims in reservation policies has been a contentious issue.
  • While some argue that reservation for Muslim castes is based on backwardness rather than religion, others question whether religion-based reservation is compatible with India’s secular ethos.
  • Various states, including Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana, have implemented reservation policies for Muslims within the OBC quota, citing backwardness as the basis.

Legal Challenges and Constitutional Considerations:

  • Legal challenges have arisen regarding the constitutionality of reservation policies for Muslims.
  • Courts have grappled with questions of social backwardness and the heterogeneity of Muslim communities.
  • While some decisions have upheld reservation policies, others have struck them down on the grounds of proper identification of backwardness and adherence to constitutional principles.

Alternative Proposals and National Perspectives:

  • Alternative proposals, such as the Sachar Committee and Misra Committee recommendations, have advocated for reservation for minorities, including Muslims.
  • However, implementation has faced hurdles, including legal and political challenges.
  • Moreover, constitutional provisions like Article 341 limit the inclusion of certain religious communities within SCs, raising questions about the scope of religion-based reservation.


  • The debate over religion-based reservation in India is multifaceted, involving constitutional, legal, and social considerations.
  • While reservation policies aim to address historical inequalities, questions remain about their compatibility with secular principles and the need for proper identification of backwardness.
  • As India grapples with these complex issues, the evolution of reservation policies will continue to shape the country’s socio-political landscape.
What are the Arguments Related to Religion-based Reservation in India?
Arguments in Favour of Religion-Based Reservations in India:
  • Socio-Economic Backwardness: According to the Sachar Committee Report, Muslims in India lag behind other communities in terms of socio-economic indicators such as education, employment, and income. Reservations can help in bridging this gap.
  • Constitutional Mandate: The Indian Constitution provides for affirmative action for socially and educationally backward classes irrespective of the religious and cultural denomination.
  •  Ensuring Adequate Representation: Reservations can ensure adequate representation of underrepresented religious groups in employment, education, and other fields.
Arguments Against Religion-Based Reservations in India:
  • Secularism: Critics argue that providing reservations based on religion goes against the principle of secularism enshrined in the Indian Constitution, which advocates equal treatment of all religions by the state.
  • Undermining National Unity: Religion-based reservations could undermine national unity as it could lead to resentment and division among different communities.
  • Economic Criteria: Reservations should be based solely on economic criteria rather than religion, to ensure that benefits reach those who are truly economically disadvantaged, irrespective of their religion.
  • Administrative Challenges: Implementing reservations based on religion could pose administrative challenges, such as determining the criteria for identifying beneficiaries and preventing misuse of the system.


PYQ: Whether National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSCJ) can enforce the implementation of constitutional reservation for the Scheduled Castes in the religious minority institutions? Examine. (150 words/10m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-2 2018)
Practice Question:  Discuss the debate surrounding religion-based reservation policies. Analyze the constitutional considerations and social implications of including Muslims in reservation quotas. (250 words/15 m)


6. India’s Services Sector Witnesses Strong Growth Despite Easing Pace in April: HSBC Survey

(Source: Indian Express; Section: Economy; Page: 15)

Topic: GS3 – Indian Economy – Inclusive growth

  • The article discusses the performance of India’s services sector in April, highlighting a slight easing in growth but still maintaining strong momentum.
  • It emphasizes factors driving growth, employment trends, price pressures, and optimism among service providers regarding future business activity.
Analysis of the News:

Strong Growth in Services Sector:

  • In April, India’s services sector witnessed a slight easing in growth, with the HSBC India Services Business Activity Index falling from 61.2 in March to 60.8 in April.
  • However, this still represents one of the strongest growth rates seen in nearly 14 years. The growth in output and new business remained sharp, highlighting favorable economic conditions and robust demand.

What is the Service Sector in India?

  • The service sector is also known as the tertiary sector.
  • It is one of the three sectors of the economy, the other two being the primary sector (which includes agriculture, forestry, mining, and fishing) and the secondary sector (which involves manufacturing and construction).

What are the Examples of the Service Sector?

  • Retail and Wholesale Trade: This includes selling products to consumers (retail) and distributing products to retailers (wholesale).
  • Hospitality and Tourism: Services related to hotels, restaurants, travel agencies, and tourism destinations.
  • Finance and Banking: Services provided by banks, insurance companies, investment firms, and other financial institutions.
  • Healthcare: Medical services, hospitals, clinics, and healthcare professionals.
  • Education: Educational institutions, teachers, and educational support services.
  • Information Technology and Software: Software development, IT consulting, and tech support.
  • Entertainment and Media: Film, television, music, publishing, and digital media.
  • Professional Services: Legal, accounting, consulting, and other professional services.
  • Transportation and Logistics: Services related to the movement of goods and people, such as shipping, logistics, and transportation companies.
  • Government Services: Public administration, law enforcement, and regulatory

Drivers of Growth:

  • Survey attributed the upturn in output to favorable economic conditions, strength in demand, and rising intakes of new work.
  • The expansion in service activity was supported by a further rise in new orders, particularly driven by buoyant domestic demand.
  • Additionally, firms noted new business gains from various parts of the world, contributing to the second-quickest upturn in international sales since September 2014.

Employment Trends:

  • Despite the overall positive growth trajectory, the job creation rate in the services sector witnessed a marginal deceleration compared to the end of the previous fiscal year.
  • While some service providers showed an increased appetite for new hires in response to rising inflows of new business, many companies indicated that existing payroll numbers were sufficient for current requirements.

Price Pressures and Margins:

  • Wage pressures and higher food prices led to an increase in cost burdens for service firms.
  • Although input costs rose sharply, the rate of increase was slower than in March.
  • However, firms faced squeezed margins as only a portion of the price rise was passed on to clients through output charges.

Optimism and Outlook

  • Confidence among service providers regarding the year-ahead outlook for business activity improved to a three-month high.
  • Factors such as marketing efforts, efficiency gains, competitive pricing strategies, and predictions of favorable demand conditions boosted optimism among surveyed firms.
  • This positive sentiment suggests a hopeful outlook for the services sector in the coming months.


  • Overall, while the growth rate in India’s services sector eased slightly in April, it remained robust, reflecting favorable economic conditions and strong demand.
  • Despite challenges such as rising input costs and margin pressures, optimism among service providers regarding future business activity indicates a positive trajectory for the sector in the near term.
Challenges Faced by the Service Sector in India
The service sector in India, while a key driver of economic growth and employment, faces several challenges.

  • Regulatory Complexity: Complex and frequently changing regulations can create hurdles for businesses in the service sector.
  • Infrastructure Constraints: Inadequate infrastructure, such as transportation and logistics, can hinder the efficient delivery of services.
  • Skilled Labor Shortages: While India produces a large number of graduates and skilled professionals, there can be a disconnect between the skills possessed by the workforce and the demands of certain service sectors.
  • Technology Adoption: While India has made significant progress in the IT and software services sector, many other service industries lag behind in adopting technology for efficiency and competitiveness. Digital transformation is essential in today’s global service environment.
  • Data Privacy and Security: In the digital age, concerns about data privacy and security have become more pronounced. Service providers must navigate complex data protection laws and ensure the safe handling of customer data.


PYQ: The need for cooperation among various service sector has been an inherent component of development discourse. Partnership bridges bring the gap among the sectors. It also sets in motion a culture of ‘Collaboration’ and ‘team spirit’. In the light of statements above examine India’s Development process. (250 words/15m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-2 2019)
Practice Question:  Discuss the recent performance of India’s services sector. Highlight the key factors influencing growth, employment trends, and price pressures in the sector. (250 words/15 m)


7. Boeing’s Starliner Mission: A Significant Step in Commercial Space Transportation

(Source: Indian Express; Section: Explained; Page: 13)

Topic: GS3 – Science & Technology – Space

  • Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft is set to embark on its first crewed test flight, marking a significant milestone in space exploration.
  • Scheduled to launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the mission aims to transport NASA astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).
Analysis of the News:

Overview of Boeing’s Starliner:

  • Boeing’s Starliner, officially known as CST-100, is a crew capsule designed for space transportation.
  • It comprises two modules: the crew module and the service module.
  • The crew module accommodates up to seven astronauts but will be modified for four astronauts and cargo for trips to the ISS.
  • The service module, non-reusable, provides essential functions like electricity, propulsion, and thermal control.

Mission Objective:

  • The primary goal of the mission is to evaluate Starliner’s performance with a crew onboard.
  • Crew members will manually test flying the spacecraft and assess various onboard systems such as life-support, navigation, and cargo movement.
  • Additionally, the mission aims to test the new lightweight spacesuits worn by the astronauts.

Boeing’s Journey:

  • Boeing’s journey with the Starliner has been marred by delays and technical challenges.
  • The spacecraft’s first uncrewed flight faced multiple setbacks, including software and hardware failures.
  • Over 80 fixes were implemented before a successful uncrewed flight was achieved.
  • Subsequent issues with thrusters, cooling systems, wiring, and parachutes further delayed the launch of the first crewed flight.

Significance of the Mission:

  • The success of the mission holds significance for both NASA and Boeing.
  • For NASA, approval of Starliner for routine flights to and from the ISS would provide a second option besides SpaceX.
  • For Boeing, the mission is crucial for rebuilding its reputation, particularly amid safety concerns in its airline business.
  • The successful completion of objectives would mark a significant achievement for Boeing’s space program.


  • Boeing’s Starliner mission represents a significant step forward in commercial space transportation.
  • Despite challenges along the way, the mission underscores the importance of collaboration between private companies and space agencies in advancing space exploration efforts.
International Space Station (ISS)
  • It is a habitable artificial satellite – the single largest man-made structure in low earth orbit. Its first component was launched into orbit in 1998.
  • It circles the Earth in roughly 92 minutes and completes 15.5 orbits per day
  • The ISS programme is a joint project between five participating space agencies: NASA (United States), Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japan), ESA (Europe), and CSA (Canada) but its ownership and use has been established by intergovernmental treaties and agreements.
  • It serves as a microgravity and space environment research laboratory in which crew members conduct experiments in biology, human biology, physics, astronomy, meteorology, and other fields.
  • Continuous presence at ISS has resulted in the longest continuous human presence in low earth orbit.
  • It is expected to operate until 2030.


Practice Question:  Discuss the significance of Boeing’s Starliner mission in the context of commercial space transportation and its implications for both NASA and Boeing. Evaluate the challenges faced by Boeing in the development of Starliner and analyze the potential impact of the mission’s success on the future of space exploration endeavors. (250 words/15 m)


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