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Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Exam – 11 September 2020


  1. SC: No ‘extraordinary situation’ for Maratha Quota
  2. Not Speaker’s job to appoint a Deputy Speaker
  3. FCRA registration to Golden Temple
  4. Immunity factor boosts Ginger, turmeric exports
  5. GDP shrinking, Govt. may borrow more
  6. Indian, Chinese Foreign Ministers meet Face-to-Face


Focus: GS-II Social Justice, Governance

Why in news?

The Supreme Court bench said that No ‘extraordinary situation’ is shown by Maharashtra Government to go beyond 50% ceiling while referring to a larger bench certain questions arising out of a challenge to the Maratha reservation law.


  • Pointing out that any departure from the 50 per cent ceiling rule for reservation was permissible only in “extraordinary situations”, the Supreme Court has said that it is of the “prima facie opinion that the State of Maharashtra has not shown any extraordinary situation for providing reservations to Marathas in excess of 50 per cent”.
  • The court said that it raises a “substantial question of law” on interpretation of Articles 338-B and 342-A, inserted by Constitution (102nd Amendment) Act, 2018.
  • The 102nd amendment deals with the constitutional status of the National Commission for Backward Classes.
  • Article 338B deals with the structure, duties and powers of the Commission while 342-A speaks about the power of the President to notify a class as Socially and Educationally Backward (SEBC) and the power of Parliament to alter the central SEBC list.
  • The court disagreed with the argument that the matter be referred to a larger bench to settle the question of breach of the 50 per cent ceiling, but it agreed to refer on the question of the 102nd amendment.
  • The Supreme Court said that in the Indra Sawhney case it was held that reservations should not exceed 50 per cent except in certain extraordinary situations” and that extreme caution has to be exercised and a special case must be made out for this.

Situation of Marathas

  • The Marathas are a politically dominant community who make up 32% of Maharashtra’s population.
  • They have historically been identified as a ‘warrior’ caste with large landholdings.
  • Eleven of the state’s 19 chief ministers so far have been Marathas.
  • While division of land and agrarian problems over the years have led to a decline of prosperity among middle- and lower middle-class Marathas, the community still plays an important role in the rural economy.

Indra Sawhney Case

Regarding cap on reservation quota

  • The Supreme Court in the Indra Sawhney vs Union of India had ruled that the total number of reserved seats/places/positions cannot exceed 50% of what is available, and that under the constitutional scheme of reservation, economic backwardness alone could not be a criterion.
  • While 50% shall be the rule, it is necessary not to put out of consideration certain extraordinary situations inherent in the great diversity of this country and the people.
  • It might happen that in far-flung and remote areas the population inhabiting those areas might, on account of their being out of the main stream of national life and in view of conditions peculiar to and characteristic to them, need to be treated in a different way, some relaxation in this strict rule may become imperative.
  • In doing so, extreme caution is to be exercised and a special case made out.

Regarding Promotions

  • On June 17, 1995, Parliament, acting in its constituent capacity, adopted the seventy-seventh amendment by which clause (4A) was inserted into Article 16 to enable reservation to be made in promotion for SCs and STs.
  • The validity of the 77th and 85th amendments to the Constitution and of the legislation enacted in pursuance of those amendments was challenged before the Supreme Court in the Nagaraj case.
  • In its landmark 1992 decision in Indra Sawhney vs Union of India, the Supreme Court had held that reservations under Article 16(4) could only be provided at the time of entry into government service but not in matters of promotion.
  • It added that the principle would operate only prospectively and not affect promotions already made and that reservation already provided in promotions shall continue in operation for a period of five years from the date of the judgment.

It also ruled that the creamy layer can be and must be excluded.

  • Upholding the validity of Article 16 (4A), the court then said that it is an enabling provision. “The State is not bound to make reservation for the SCs and STs in promotions.
  • But, if it seeks to do so, it must collect quantifiable data on three facets — the backwardness of the class; the inadequacy of the representation of that class in public employment; and the general efficiency of service as mandated by Article 335 would not be affected”.
  • The court ruled that the constitutional amendments do not abrogate the fundamentals of equality.

Click Here to read more about Maratha Reservation case taken up recently

-Source: Indian Express, Times of India


Focus: GS-II Governance

Why in news?

  • Lok Sabha Speaker said that if there is a provision for the post of Deputy Speaker in the Lok Sabha, then it was only obvious that there should be one, but it was not the Speaker’s job to appoint one, and that the Deputy Speaker was chosen by the house.
  • The position of the Deputy Speaker has been vacant for the over 15 months as of September 2020.
  • The Rajya Sabha, meanwhile, has already commenced the procedure to elect the Deputy Chairman for the upper council.

Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha

  • The Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha is the vice-presiding officer of the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Parliament of India.
  • They act as the presiding officer in case of leave or absence caused by death or illness of the Speaker of the Lok Sabha.
  • It is by Convention that position of Deputy Speaker is offered to opposition party in India.
  • The Deputy Speaker is elected in the first meeting of the Lok Sabha after the General elections for a term of 5 years from amongst the members of the Lok Sabha.
  • They hold office until either they cease to be a member of the Lok Sabha or they resign.
  • They can be removed from office by a resolution passed in the Lok Sabha by an effective majority of its members.
  • Since the Deputy Speaker is accountable for the Lok Sabha, the elimination is done by the effective majority in Lok Sabha only.

Powers and Functions of Deputy Speaker

  • In case of the absence of the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker presides over the sessions of the Lok Sabha and conducts the business in the house.
  • He decides whether a bill is a money bill or a non-money bill.
  • The Deputy Speaker while acting as the Speaker maintains discipline and decorum in the house and can punish a member for unruly behaviour by suspending him/her.
  • They permit the moving of various kinds of motions and resolutions like the motion of no confidence, motion of adjournment, motion of censure and calling attention notice.

-Source: The Hindu


Focus: GS-II Governance

Why in news?

  • The Union Home Ministry has granted Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) registration to the famous Gurdwara Harmandir Sahib, or the Golden Temple, in Amritsar, enabling it to receive foreign donations.
  • Any association, non-government organisation (NGO) or registered society requires FCRA registration to receive foreign donations for specified purposes.
  • In the present case, the foreign contribution can be used by the Sikh shrine for activities such as providing financial assistance to the poor, medical assistance to the needy and organise langars (free community kitchens).

Click Here to read more about Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA)

Golden temple

  • Sri Harmandir Sahib, also known as Sri Darbar Sahib or Golden Temple, (on account of its scenic beauty and golden coating), situated in Amritsar (Punjab), is the most sacred temple for Sikhs. This temple propagates Sikhism’s message of tolerance and acceptance through its architecture that has incorporated symbols from other religions.
  • Guru Arjan Sahib got its foundation laid by a Muslim saint Hazrat Mian Mir ji of Lahore in December 1588.
  • Guru Sahib made it accessible to every person without any distinction based on caste, creed, sex and religion.
  • Golden Temple, the holiest shrine for Sikhs in Amritsar, attracts approximately seven million tourists in a month.
  • It is gold-plated and almost 430 years old.
  • Its architecture represents a unique harmony between the Muslim and the Hindu way of construction work and this is considered as one of the best architectural specimens of the world.
  • It is often quoted that this architecture has created an independent Sikh school of architecture in the history of art in India.

-Source: The Hindu


Focus: GS-III Agriculture

Why in news?

The pandemic appears to have added a new sheen to the export of spices considered to boost physical immunity.


  • Export of the spices like ginger, turmeric, coriander and cumin has shown a sizable increase during April-July 2020.
  • The increased demand is seen in big markets like the USA and Europe, and India had emerged as the largest exporter of spices in the world, ready to meet the increased demand.
  • Spices export business crossed the US$3 billion-mark during 2019-20 for the first time with 10% growth in value even though the overall exports from the country showed a decrease of 5% for the whole of 2019-20.
  • The spice which showed the most promise in 2019-20 was ginger, which registered an increase of 178% in volume of exports and 129% in value.

-Source: The Hindu


Focus: GS-III Indian Economy

Why in news?

Crisil Research said India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would shrink 9% in FY21, wider than its May 2020 estimate of a 5% contraction.

Revenue shortfalls in India, the major economy hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, are likely to force the Centre to borrow more, but it will only consider monetising its deficit as a last resort.


  • This rate of fall has not been seen since the 1950s.
  • If the pandemic were to peak out in September-October, GDP growth could move into mildly positive territory towards the end of the current FY.
  • Borrowing plans for the second half of the financial year, will be reviewed by government and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) officials.
  • RBI could ease liquidity through open market operations to keep yields in check while helping the government to raise borrowing, already targeted at a record ₹12 lakh crore.
  • RBI has pumped in over ₹11 lakh crore of liquidity into the market, helping to keep 10-year bond yields below 6% even as the government decided to borrow 70% more than last year as a result of the pandemic.

-Source: The Hindu


Focus: GS-II International Relations

Why in news?

Indian External Affairs Minister and Chinese Foreign Minister held their first face-to-face meeting in Moscow to discuss the long standoff at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, which has seen violent clashes and even gunfire for the first time since 1975.


  • The meeting took place after the completion of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Council’s Foreign Minister’s meeting as well as a Russia-India-China trilateral meeting that both Ministers attended.
  • Both India and China are in regular touch through diplomatic and military channels to resolve the situation, and this was the consensus when the two Defence Ministers met.
  • China has amassed more troops and occupied ridges in the Finger area of Pangong Tso although Indian troops are holding on to dominant positions on the South Bank.
  • Earlier the two ministers had taken part in an extended lunch with Russian Foreign Minister as part of the Russia-India-China trilateral.
  • Russia has consistently encouraged dialogue between Delhi and Beijing, particularly at the tensest moments of the crisis.

Click Here to read more about the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

Click Here to read more about the Russia-India-China (RIC) Trilateral

-Source: The Hindu

October 2023