Daily News Analysis 14 April 2023

Table of Contents



  • The goal of building a popular Dalit agenda

Facts for Prelims

  • Birth Anniversary of B R Ambedkar
  • Preventive detention law
  • Goods exports grew 6%, imports 16.5% this fiscal


The goal of building a popular Dalit agenda



Modern liberal ideas, capitalist development, and democratic churning have empowered Dalits as a recognized social and political force. However, Ambedkar\’s vision to elevate them as an independent religious community or as the dominant political force remains unfulfilled.

Key Highlights

  • Government\’s adoption of neo-liberal economic policies may undermine social justice safeguards for marginalised communities.
  • Hindutva ideology sees Dalit assertion as a challenge to cultural nationalism, posing a threat to the movement.
  • Increased surveillance and threats have led to the weakening of the Dalit socio-political movement, leaving it powerless today.


Ambedkar\’s vision for the integration of marginalised social groups into democratic processes:

  • Constitutional principles to allow untouchable castes to raise grievances and challenge the social elite leadership
  • Job reservation and Dalit representation in legislative bodies to induce substantive democratisation of political power
  • Dalits to become influential shareholders in modern institutions

Ambedkar\’s vision for the democratisation of non-political public spaces and cultivation of a sensitive public culture:

  • Democratisation of educational institutions, media, culture, and art industries to allow Dalits to play an effective role as entitled citizens
  • Effective measures to punish offenders who practised caste or community-based discrimination
  • Cultivation of a sensitive public culture to reduce fear of social discrimination and harassment

Ambedkar\’s vision for reducing the dependency of Dalits on the state and elevating them as natural leaders of historically deprived groups:

  • Dalits to escape the burdened social identity by converting to Buddhism
  • Reduction of dependency on the state
  • Dalits to become natural leaders of historically deprived groups.


Dalit Intervention in the Public Sphere:

  • Demand for social dignity, independent cultural rights and political power
  • Affirmative action policies have allowed for significant Dalit middle-class emergence
  • The Bahujan Samaj Party gained support from the Dalit middle class
  • Various sections within the Dalits have not shown sincere attachment to the social justice movement

Assertive and Independent Alternative:

  • Dalits have introduced themselves as an assertive and independent alternative
  • Ambedkar\’s statues and celebration of Constitution Day showcase Dalits\’ elevated sense of equality and dignity in public life
  • Dalits have democratised the public sphere and introduced themselves as proponents of alternative cultural values

Marginalisation in Electoral Battles:

  • Dalits have witnessed growing marginalisation in electoral battles
  • The decline of the BSP has derailed the possibility of national governance under Dalit-Bahujan leadership
  • The BJP claims to represent the interests of worst-off Dalit-Bahujan castes
  • Impressive mobilisations by Dalits in Maharashtra, Bihar, Telangana, and Tamil Nadu have limited capacity to overturn the domination of nationalist parties, especially the BJP juggernaut at the Centre.

The Current State of Dalit Activism

  • Despite significant progress, conventional caste and class relationships have not been reformed, leading to growing instances of caste-based violence and discrimination
  • Marginalisation of Dalit participation is still prevalent in modern institutions such as universities, the judiciary, media, and cultural industries
  • The need for a popular Dalit agenda that mobilises vulnerable and marginalised communities for greater emancipation is essential.

The Unaddressed Issues of Dalit Emancipation

  • Growing political marginalisation and under-representation of Dalits in institutions of power
  • The need for freedom from the grasp of Brahmanical casteism, which still plagues the Indian society
  • The call for a rethinking of the current strategies and building a new Dalit agenda that addresses the substantive issues of the community.


Birth Anniversary of B R Ambedkar



B R Ambedkar\’s 132st birth anniversary was celebrated on April 14, 2023. He was a scholar, author, jurist, economist, orator, and polyglot, and known for his contributions to social reform and comparative religions.

About B R Ambedkar’s  Ji


  • Babasaheb Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar was born in 1891 in Mhow, Central Province (now Madhya Pradesh).

Brief Profile:

  • Known as the Father of the Indian Constitution and India\’s first Law Minister.
  • Chairman of the Drafting Committee for the new Constitution.
  • A well-known statesman who fought for the rights of the Dalits and other socially backward classes.


  • Led the Mahad Satyagraha in March 1927 against Hindus opposing the decision of the Municipal Board.
  • Participated in all three Round Table Conferences.
  • Signed the Poona pact with Mahatma Gandhi in 1932, abandoning the idea of separate electorates for depressed classes.
  • His ideas before the Hilton Young Commission served as the foundation of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

Election and Designation:

  • Elected to the Bombay Legislative Assembly as a legislator (MLA) in 1936.
  • Appointed to the Executive Council of Viceroy as a Labour member in 1942.
  • Became Minister of Law in the first Cabinet of independent India in 1947.

Shift to Buddhism:

  • Resigned from the cabinet in 1951 over differences on the Hindu Code Bill.
  • Converted to Buddhism and passed away on 6th December 1956 (Mahaparinirvan Diwas).
  • Chaitya Bhoomi is a memorial to B R Ambedkar in Mumbai.
  • Awarded India\’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, in 1990.

Ambedkar\’s Views on Caste and Political Empowerment

  • Unlike Gandhi, Dr. Ambedkar rejected the caste system itself, not just untouchability.
  • He believed that the reformism advocated by upper caste Hindus was inadequate.
  • Ambedkar argued that the oppressed must reject their condition and oppression as divinely ordained for any revolt against the caste system to be possible.
  • His political program emphasized lower castes obtaining political power.
  • Ambedkar believed that lower castes needed to have political power to remove their grievances.
  • He suggested separate electorates as a form of affirmative action to empower lower castes.
  • Ambedkar\’s ideas were radical for his time, and he remains an important figure in India\’s fight against caste discrimination.

Ambedkar’s views on caste

  • Ambedkar rejected the institution of caste and held more radical views than Gandhi.
  • He believed that contemporary upper caste Hindu reformism was inadequate to undo centuries of discrimination.
  • According to Ambedkar, the oppressed themselves must reject their condition and oppression as being divinely ordained to have a chance at any revolt against the caste system.
  • Ambedkar\’s views on caste were more radical and emphasized the need for rejecting the caste system entirely rather than just abolishing untouchability.


Ambedkar’s arguments for separate electorates

  • Ambedkar saw the depressed classes as a distinct and separate group from Hindus who could not obtain political power without special political machinery.
  • He advocated for separate electorates with double vote, one for SCs to vote for an SC candidate and the other for SCs to vote in the general electorate.
  • He initially rejected communal electorates but later realized that joint electorates would do little to challenge lower castes\’ subservient position.
  • He felt joint electorates enabled the majority to influence the election of SC representatives and disabled them from defending their interests against the tyranny of the majority.
  • Ambedkar\’s position on separate electorates evolved over time as he worked towards empowering lower castes.


Preventive detention law



Recently, the supreme court said that preventive detention laws in India are a colonial legacy with great potential to be abused and must be used only in the rarest of rare cases.

Preventive Detention Law:

Types of Detention

Preventive Detention:

  • It is the detention of a person on a mere reasonable apprehension of him doing an activity dangerous to public order and security.
  • Here, the person is confined in custody without undergoing a trial.

Punitive Detention :

  • Detention as punishment for a committed crime
  • Takes place after the commission of an offence or an attempt has been made.

Constitutional Provisions:

  • Article 22 of the Indian Constitution protects against arrest and detention in certain cases
  • Article 22(1) allows an arrested person the right to consult and be defended by a legal practitioner
  • Article 22(4) states that preventive detention cannot exceed three months without an advisory board\’s report or parliamentary law
  • The 44th Amendment Act of 1978 reduced the period of detention without an advisory board\’s opinion from three to two months
  • Parliament has the exclusive power to enact laws for preventive detention related to defence, foreign affairs, or security of India under Entry 9 of List I
  • Both Parliament and State Legislature have powers to enact laws for preventive detention related to public order or essential supplies or services under Entry 3 of List III

Legal Provisions:

  • The Preventive Detention Act, 1950 allows detention on grounds of defence, foreign affairs, or state security
  • Section 151 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 allows preventive detention on the suspicion of wrongdoing

Important judicial pronouncements in context of Preventive detention

  • AK Gopalan Vs State of Madras (1950): Court gave a green flag to Preventive Detention Act because of presence of explicit provisions of Article 22(5).
  • ShibbanLal v. State of Uttar Pradesh: SC stated that a courtroom isn\’t even competent to enquire into reality or in any case of the facts which are referenced as grounds of detainment.

Shambhu Nath Shankar Vs State of West Bengal: Although concept of Preventive detention in itself is draconian and infringes fundamental rights, sometimes it is necessary for state to take such extreme steps to maintain security of country.


Goods exports grew 6%, imports 16.5% this fiscal



India\’s goods exports fell by 13.9% to $38.38 billion in March, while imports declined by 7.9% to $58.11 billion. Total goods exports for 2022-23 increased by 6.03% to $447.46 billion, but imports surged by a higher 16.5% to $714 billion.

Key Highlights

  • Goods trade deficit rose almost 40% to over $266 billion in 2022-23
  • Total trade deficit for the year is estimated to be $122 billion, 46% higher than the previous year\’s gap
  • Using services exports estimates, India surpassed its target to hit $770.18 billion, which is $94 billion higher than last year\’s exports
  • Services exports grew by 13.84% to an estimated $322.72 billion.

India\’s Top Export Items

  • Petroleum exports increased by 27% to $94.5 billion and now account for 21.1% of total exports.
  • Electronics goods rose by 7.9% to $23.6 billion.
  • Rice, chemicals, and drugs and pharmaceuticals registered insignificant growth.
  • Engineering goods declined 5.1% to $107 billion, bringing down their share in total exports from 26.6% to 23.9%.
  • Non-oil exports contracted 0.5%, and goods shipments were 2.8% lower than 2021-22 if electronics exports were excluded.

Further slowdown likely:

  • External demand slowdown and moderation in global commodity prices hurt non-oil exports
  • Deeper contraction in merchandise exports in 2023-24 could affect manufacturing output and GDP growth
  • Negative growth in important segments like engineering and gems and jewellery
  • Appreciating tendency of the Rupee may weaken currency advantage for exporters, while imports may continue to put pressure on the deficit if oil prices harden.

Russian imports surge:

  • India\’s imports from Russia grew almost 370% to over $46 billion in 2022-23, due to discounted oil shipments.
  • Russia became India\’s fourth-largest import source nation, with a share of 6.5% in imports.
  • China\’s share of goods imports dipped to 13.8%, but imports from the country still grew 4.2% to reach $98.5 billion last year.
  • Indian exports to China fell 28% to just $15.3 billion, and Indian shipments to China now account for just 3.4% of total exports.

Coal, oil imports up:

  • Petroleum imports increased by about 30% to nearly $210 billion in 2022-23.
  • Coal imports grew at a faster pace of 57% to touch almost $50 billion.
  • Gold imports fell around 24% to $35 billion due to the surge in global prices and the weaker Rupee.
  • The USA remained India\’s top export destination, followed by UAE, while Netherlands emerged as the third-largest goods buyer with a share of 4.7% in exports.
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