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Current Affairs 19 October 2023


  1. Supreme Court to Consider Challenge Regarding Classification of Bills as Money Bills
  2. China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
  3. Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA)
  4. Quantum Engine
  5. Lymphatic Filariasis
  6. Muthuvan tribe
  7. RISC-V technology

Supreme Court to Consider Challenge Regarding Classification of Bills as Money Bills


A seven-judge Bench of the Supreme Court of India, led by the Chief Justice of India, addresses a request for priority to a reference concerning the manner in which the Centre got crucial amendments passed in the Parliament as Money Bills.


GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Money Bill: Definition and Constitutional Basis
  2. Contested Amendments Passed as Money Bills
  3. Implications of the Larger Bench

Money Bill: Definition and Constitutional Basis

  • Definition: A Money Bill is a type of financial legislation that exclusively deals with matters related to revenue, taxation, government expenditures, and borrowing.
  • Constitutional Basis:
    • Article 110(1) specifies that a Bill is considered a Money Bill if it pertains to matters outlined in Article 110(1)(a) to (g), including taxation, government borrowing, and appropriation of funds from the Consolidated Fund of India.
    • Article 110(1)(g) extends this definition to include “any matter incidental to any of the matters specified in Articles 110(1)(a)-(f).”
  • Speaker’s Decision: According to Article 110(3) of the Constitution, if there is a question about whether a Bill qualifies as a Money Bill or not, the Speaker of the House of the People (Lok Sabha) has the final say on the matter.
  • Money Bills must be introduced in the Lok Sabha and cannot be introduced in the Rajya Sabha (the upper house of Parliament).
  • While the Rajya Sabha can make recommendations on a Money Bill, it does not possess the authority to amend or reject it.
  • The President can either accept or reject a Money Bill but cannot return it for reconsideration.
  • There is no provision for a Joint sitting of both houses to resolve disagreements on Money Bills.

Contested Amendments Passed as Money Bills

Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) Amendments:
  • Amendments to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) from 2015 onwards granted the Enforcement Directorate extensive powers, such as arrest and search authority.
  • The controversy surrounds the passage of these amendments as Money Bills, raising concerns about their legality and constitutionality.
  • Legal experts and petitioners question whether these substantial changes should have followed the regular legislative process involving both houses of Parliament.
Finance Act of 2017:
  • The Finance Act of 2017 was designated and passed as a Money Bill, sparking concerns about the proper utilization of this legislative procedure.
  • Allegations emerged that the Act aimed to modify appointments to 19 significant judicial tribunals, including the National Green Tribunal and Central Administrative Tribunal.
  • Accusations were made that categorizing the 2017 Act as a Money Bill was a deliberate effort to expand executive control over these tribunals.
  • The Act’s passage coincided with changes that significantly reduced the qualifications and experience required for staffing these crucial judicial bodies.
Aadhaar Act, 2016:
  • In 2018, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the government, validating the Aadhaar Act as a legitimate Money Bill under Article 110 of the Constitution.
  • The government’s argument was based on subsidies distributed through Aadhaar flowing from the Consolidated Fund of India, justifying the Act’s categorization as a Money Bill.
  • This decision raised legal and procedural questions as Money Bills are the exclusive domain of the Lok Sabha and limit the influence of the Rajya Sabha.
  • Recently, the Chief Justice of India called for a more comprehensive review of these issues.

Implications of the Larger Bench:

  • Clarity on Constitutionality: The larger bench’s decision will provide clarity on the constitutionality of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), the Aadhaar Act, and the Tribunal reforms.
  • Categorization as Money Bills: It will determine whether these laws were accurately categorized as money bills or if they were used to bypass scrutiny in the Rajya Sabha.
  • Legal Soundness: The resolution will clarify whether these classifications were legally valid or strategic maneuvers to evade oversight.
  • Judicial Scrutiny: The discussions within the larger bench may also shed light on the extent of judicial scrutiny that can be applied to the Speaker’s determinations when classifying bills as money bills.

-Source: The Hindu

China’s Ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)


China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is celebrating its 10th anniversary. This colossal project, in 2013, aims to reshape global trade and infrastructure development.


GS II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
  2. India’s Stance on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
  3. Issues Concerning the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)

  • The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a comprehensive development strategy launched in 2013 with the goal of enhancing global connectivity and cooperation.
  • Initially named ‘One Belt, One Road,’ it was later rebranded as the BRI to emphasize inclusivity and openness rather than Chinese dominance.
Components of BRI:
  • The BRI consists of two primary components:
    • Silk Road Economic Belt: This focuses on improving overland transportation routes, infrastructure, and trade links across Eurasia.
    • Maritime Silk Road: Emphasizes maritime connections, including ports, shipping routes, and maritime infrastructure projects, extending from the South China Sea through Indo-China, Southeast Asia, the Indian Ocean, and reaching Africa and Europe.
  • The primary objective of the BRI is to enhance international connectivity by improving infrastructure, trade, and economic cooperation.
  • It encompasses a wide range of projects, including the development of railways, ports, highways, and energy infrastructure.
Geographic Corridors:
  • The land-based Silk Road Economic Belt includes six key development corridors:
    • China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)
    • New Eurasian Land Bridge Economic Corridor
    • China-Indochina Peninsula Economic Corridor
    • China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor
    • China-Central Asia-West Asia Economic Corridor
    • China-Myanmar Economic Corridor
Economic Impact:
  • Participation in the BRI has led to increased trade and investments with China for the involved countries.
  • Trade with BRI partners experienced an annual growth rate of 6.4%, reaching USD 19.1 trillion between 2013 and 2022.

India’s Stance on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)

Opposition Based on Sovereignty and Transparency:

  • India opposes the BRI project primarily due to concerns related to sovereignty and transparency.
  • India chose to boycott BRI summits organized by China in 2017 and 2019 and refrained from endorsing BRI joint statements issued by the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

Objection to CPEC and PoK:

  • India’s primary objection to the BRI is the inclusion of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which traverses through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), a territory claimed by India.
  • India asserts that PoK is an integral part of its territory.

Call for International Norms and Financial Sustainability:

  • India emphasizes the need for BRI projects to adhere to international norms, uphold the rule of law, and ensure financial sustainability.
  • India is concerned about the potential creation of debt traps, as well as environmental and social risks for the countries hosting BRI projects.

Promotion of Alternative Initiatives:

  • Instead of participating in the BRI, India has been actively promoting alternative connectivity initiatives.
  • One such initiative is the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII), a G7 effort aimed at funding infrastructure projects in developing nations.

Issues Concerning the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)

Debt Sustainability and Transparency:

  • One of the primary issues associated with the BRI is the debt sustainability and transparency of its projects, especially in countries with weak governance, high corruption, and low credit ratings.
  • Accusations of “debt-trap diplomacy” have arisen, with critics suggesting that countries like Sri Lanka and Zambia, unable to repay BRI-related loans, have faced pressure to surrender strategic assets or make political concessions.

Decentralized and Bilateral Nature:

  • The BRI consists of primarily bilateral projects rather than a centralized, multilateral initiative. This decentralized approach can lead to coordination and governance challenges.
  • Unlike initiatives like the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the BRI lacks a centralized governing structure, making collective issue resolution challenging.

Geopolitical Rivalries and Disputes:

  • Geopolitical rivalries and disputes, such as the India-China border dispute, have had repercussions on the implementation of BRI projects in certain regions.
  • Political tensions can undermine the progress of the initiative, affecting project timelines and outcomes.

Environmental and Social Impacts:

  • BRI infrastructure development projects have faced criticism regarding their potential environmental and social impacts.
  • The challenge is to ensure that BRI projects prioritize environmental sustainability and consider the well-being of local communities.

Geopolitical Concerns and Influence:

  • The BRI has raised geopolitical concerns, especially regarding China’s growing influence and control over critical infrastructure in partner countries.
  • These concerns have led some countries to reevaluate their participation in the initiative and seek to balance their interests.

-Source: Indian Express

Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA


Recent data from the Ministry of Home Affairs has revealed a concerning trend related to the registration of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA), 2010 in India.

  • The data suggests that NGOs are not accurately depicting their operational areas in their FCRA registrations and are involved in activities that deviate from their stated objectives.

GS-II: Polity and Governance (Government Policies & Interventions, Non-Governmental Organisations -NGOs), GS-III: Indian Economy (External Sector, Mobilization of Resources)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is the FCRA?
  2. Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010
  3. Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Act, 2020
  4. Issues Related to FCRA
  5. Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in India

What is the FCRA?

  • The FCRA was enacted during the Emergency in 1976 amid apprehensions that foreign powers were interfering in India’s affairs by pumping money into the country through independent organisations.
  • These concerns were, in fact, even older — they had been expressed in Parliament as early as in 1969.
  • The law sought to regulate foreign donations to individuals and associations so that they functioned “in a manner consistent with the values of a sovereign democratic republic”.

Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010

The Foreign Contribution (regulation) Act, 2010 is a consolidating act whose scope is to regulate the acceptance and utilisation of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality by certain individuals or associations or companies and to prohibit acceptance and utilisation of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality for any activities detrimental to the national interest and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Key Points regarding FCRA
  • Foreign funding of voluntary organizations in India is regulated under FCRA act and is implemented by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • The FCRA regulates the receipt of funding from sources outside of India to NGOs working in India.
  • It prohibits the receipt of foreign contribution “for any activities detrimental to the national interest”.
  • The Act held that the government can refuse permission if it believes that the donation to the NGO will adversely affect “public interest” or the “economic interest of the state”. However, there is no clear guidance on what constitutes “public interest”.
  • The Acts ensures that the recipients of foreign contributions adhere to the stated purpose for which such contribution has been obtained.
  • Under the Act, organisations require to register themselves every five years.

Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Act, 2020

  • The Act bars public servants from receiving foreign contributions. Public servant includes any person who is in service or pay of the government, or remunerated by the government for the performance of any public duty.
  • The Act prohibits the transfer of foreign contribution to any other person not registered to accept foreign contributions.
  • The Act makes Aadhaar number mandatory for all office bearers, directors or key functionaries of a person receiving foreign contribution, as an identification document.
  • The Act states that foreign contribution must be received only in an account designated by the bank as FCRA account in such branches of the State Bank of India, New Delhi.
  • The Act proposes that not more than 20% of the total foreign funds received could be defrayed for administrative expenses. In FCRA 2010 the limit was 50%.
  • The Act allows the central government to permit a person to surrender their registration certificate.

Issues Related to FCRA

  • The Act also held that the government can refuse permission if it believes that the donation to the NGO will adversely affect “public interest” or the “economic interest of the state” – however, there is no clear guidance on what constitutes “public interest”.
  • By allowing only some political groups to receive foreign donations and disallowing some others, can induce biases in favour of the government. NGOs need to tread carefully when they criticise the regime, knowing that too much criticism could cost their survival. FCRA norms can reduce critical voices by declaring them to be against the public interest – Hence, it can be said that FCRA restrictions have serious consequences on both the rights to free speech and freedom of association under Articles 19(1)(a) and 19(1)(c) of the Constitution.
  • In 2016, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association undertook a legal analysis of the FCRA and stated that restrictions in the name of “public interest” and “economic interest” failed the test of “legitimate restrictions” as they were too vague and gave the state excessive discretionary powers to apply the provision in an arbitrary manner.

Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in India

  • Worldwide, the term ‘NGO’ is used to describe a body that is neither part of a government nor a conventional for-profit business organisation.
  • NGOs are groups of ordinary citizens that are involved in a wide range of activities that may have charitable, social, political, religious or other interests.
  • In India, NGOs can be registered under a plethora of Acts such as the Indian Societies Registration Act, 1860, Religious Endowments Act,1863, Indian Trusts Act, etc.
  • India has possibly the largest number of active NGOs in the world.
  • Ministries such as Health and Family Welfare, Human Resource Department, etc., provide funding to NGOs, but only a handful of NGOs get hefty government funds.
  • NGOs also receive funds from abroad, if they are registered with the Home Ministry under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA). There are more than 22,500 FCRA-registered NGOs.
  • Registered NGOs can receive foreign contribution under five purposes — social, educational, religious, economic and cultural.

-Source: The Hindu

Quantum Engine


Researchers have made a groundbreaking discovery by developing a quantum engine, referred to as the ‘Pauli engine,’ which can convert the energy difference between two quantum states of a group of atoms into useful work.


GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Quantum States
  2. Quantum Engine
  3. Conclusion

Quantum States:

  • A quantum state is a mathematical description that characterizes the physical properties of a quantum system.
  • In the realm of quantum mechanics, which deals with the behavior of matter and energy at the smallest scales, quantum states offer a complete specification of a system’s properties. This includes characteristics such as position, momentum, energy, spin, and various other observable quantities.
  • Quantum phenomena often challenge classical intuition and our conventional understanding of the physical world.
  • One intriguing phenomenon in quantum mechanics relates to the distinction between two types of quantum particles: bosons and fermions. Bosons are particles responsible for mediating forces between other particles, while fermions are the building blocks of matter.
  • An essential distinction is that bosons can occupy the same quantum state without limitation, while fermions must adhere to the Pauli exclusion principle, which prohibits multiple fermions from being in the same quantum state.
  • At low temperatures, bosons and fermions exhibit contrasting behaviors due to the difference in how they occupy energy levels.

Quantum Engine:

  • The quantum engine, often referred to as Pauli’s engine, is built upon the unique characteristics of bosons and fermions.
  • This quantum engine comprises a gas of lithium-6 atoms confined within an optical and magnetic trap.
  • The behavior of this gas can be adjusted to mimic bosonic or fermionic characteristics by manipulating the surrounding magnetic field strength.
  • This adaptability arises from the atoms’ capability to form pairs, giving rise to bosonic molecules or dissociate into individual fermionic atoms depending on the magnetic field’s strength.
  • The engine operates through a four-step cycle that capitalizes on the energy difference between bosons and fermions.
  • This quantum engine opens up new avenues for exploring quantum thermodynamics and its potential applications in various fields of physics.
  • In summary, quantum states provide a mathematical description of quantum systems, while quantum engines leverage the unique properties of bosons and fermions to convert energy differences into useful work, with potential implications for various areas of physics.


  • Quantum engine, although currently in the proof-of-concept stage, holds promise for various applications.
  • One such potential application is in the field of quantum computing, where the engine could play a vital role in cooling the particles essential for quantum computer operation.
  • Quantum computers demand extremely low temperatures to function effectively, and the quantum engine has the potential to serve as a cooling mechanism for these particles, akin to how an air conditioner cools a room.
  • This innovative technology represents an exciting development in the quest for efficient quantum computing solutions.

-Source: The Hindu

Lymphatic Filariasis


According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Lao People’s Democratic Republic becomes second country in 2023 after Bangladesh to eliminate lymphatic filariasis.


GS II: Health

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Lymphatic Filariasis
  2. Drug Treatment

About Lymphatic Filariasis

  • LF, also known as elephantiasis, is a neglected tropical disease (NTD) that is considered the second most disabling disease after mental health.
  • It affects the lymphatic system, leading to abnormal enlargement of body parts, causing pain, severe disability, and social stigma.
  • The lymphatic system is a network of vessels and specialized tissues essential for maintaining overall fluid balance and health of organs and limbs and is a major component of the body’s immune defense system.
  • Lymphatic filariasis is a vector-borne disease caused by infection with nematode (roundworm) parasites of the family Filarioidea, with three main types of thread-like filarial worms: Wuchereria Bancrofti (90% of cases), Brugia Malayi (most of the remainder of cases), and Brugia Timori.

Drug Treatment:

  • To accelerate the global elimination of lymphatic filariasis, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a treatment plan known as IDA, which involves administering a combination of ivermectin, diethylcarbamazine citrate, and albendazole for two consecutive years.
  • This is because the adult worm’s life span is only four years, so administering the drugs for two consecutive years will ensure that the worms die naturally without causing any harm to the person.

-Source: Indian Express

Muthuvan Tribe


According to the Tamil Nadu Forest Department, Muthuvan tribe will be part of Nilgiri Tahr conservation project.


GS II: Vulnerable Sections

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. The Muthuvan Tribe
  2. Project Tahr

The Muthuvan Tribe:

  • Habitat: Reside in the border hill forests of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
  • Dialects: Speak different dialects known as Malayalam Muthuvan and Pandi Muthuvan.
  • Religion: Practice animism and spirit worship, along with reverence for forest deities.
  • Ancestral Beliefs: Believe that their forebears were the first inhabitants of the hill forests.
  • Wildlife Coexistence: Known for their harmonious coexistence with wildlife, thanks to traditional knowledge.
  • Kani System: Govern themselves using a unique system where a ‘Kani’ leads each village.
  • Traditional Medicine: Proficient in traditional medicine, which is highly effective and passed down through generations.
  • Occupation: Primarily engage in agriculture, cultivating products like ragi, cardamom, and lemongrass.

Project Tahr:

  • Objective: The Tamil Nadu government aims to gain a better understanding of the Nilgiri Tahr population through surveys and radio telemetry studies.
  • Reintroduction: Plan to reintroduce Tahrs to their historical habitat.
  • Threat Mitigation: Address immediate threats to their population.
  • Awareness: Raise public awareness about this species.
  • Duration: The project is set to run for a five-year period from 2022 to 2027.

-Source: The Hindu

RISC-V Technology


Recently, chip designer Qualcomm said that it is partnering with Alphabet’s Google to make wearable devices like smartwatches using chips based on RISC-V technology.


GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About RISC-V Technology
  2. How RISC-V Works
  3. Benefits of RISC-V

About RISC-V Technology:

  • Pronunciation: Known as “risk five,” it is an open-source technology.
  • Open-Source ISA: RISC-V is an open-source Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) designed for creating custom processors suitable for various applications.
  • RISC Generation: Considered as the fifth generation of processors, following the principles of Reduced Instruction Set Computer (RISC) architecture.
  • Origin: Began as a project at UC Berkeley, with the aim to develop an open-source computer system based on RISC principles.
  • Evolution: Initially intended for academic purposes, it is now managed by RISC-V International.

How RISC-V Works:

  • Open Standard: RISC-V is defined by member companies of RISC-V International, a global nonprofit organization responsible for the ISA.
  • Collaborative Innovation: Through collaboration, member companies contribute to processor innovation, fostering design flexibility.
  • Core Instructions: Features a concise set of instructions that underpin all software design within the architecture.
  • Customization: Allows designers to tailor and construct processors tailored to specific applications.

Benefits of RISC-V:

  • Open Standard: Facilitates industry-wide collaboration and innovation.
  • Transparency: The entire RISC-V architecture is accessible in the public domain, eliminating the possibility of hidden elements.
  • Applications: RISC-V finds utility in a variety of domains, including wearables, industrial applications, IoT, home appliances, smartphones, automotive systems, high-performance computing (HPC), and data centers.

-Source: The Hindu

December 2023