Today UPSC Current Affairs: Explained in 6 Points

GS Paper 1

Six, Eight, Nine and Ten Degree Channels

Context: The Indian Navy recently commissioned INS Jatayuat Minicoy island, its second base in Lakshadweep after INS Dweeprakshak in Kavaratti.

Later, the Navy commissioned its first MH-60R multi-role helicopter squadron INAS 334 ‘Seahawks’ at Kochi, a major capability boost for its rotary fleet and its anti-submarine warfare capabilities.

INS Jatayuis the beginning of a phased expansion plan to strengthen India’s surveillance and security posture in the strategically located islands close to the Nine Degree channel and critical sea lanes of communication.


·         Prelims: Locations in Geography

·         Mains: Salient features of World’s Physical Geography


Six Degree Channel
  • The Great Channel in the Indian Ocean separates Great Nicobar Island of India and Aceh Province of Indonesia.
  • It is located at six degrees north of equator and is popularly referred to as the ‘Six Degree Channel’.
  • The width of the Great Channel is 163 Km (88 nautical miles) between Indira Point in Great Nicobar and Rondo Island of Indonesia’s Aceh Province.
  • A deep and clear channel, it is suitable for navigation by large merchant vessels.
  • Three major sea routes of the Indian Ocean originating from or destined to the Cape of Good Hope, the Gulf of Aden and the Straits of Hormuz converge in the Great Channel.
    • Due to convergence of sea routes, shipping density in the Great Channel remains high which enhances its potential vulnerability for disruption.
  • The Great Channel is located at the western edge of the Malacca Strait.
    • The strategic significance of Malacca Strait lies in providing shortest maritime connectivity between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific.
    • While there exist other connectivity channels viz. Sunda, Lombok and Ombai-Wetar straits, these routes have significant time and cost implications due to longer distances of voyage.
  • Any disruption in the Great Channel implies potential closure of the Malacca Strait for maritime trade.
    • These attributes make the Great Channel a choke point of strategic significance.
Eight Degree Channel
  • The Minicoy Island is the second largest and southern-most island of Lakshadweep.
  • The closest land to Minicoy is Thuraakunu Island in the Republic of the Maldives about 100 km to the south across the Vangaaru Channel.
  • The maritime boundary between the Maldives and India runs through the Eight Degree Channel.
  • It is so named as it lies on the 8degreeline of Latitude, north of the equator.
Nine Degree Channel
  • It lies between Minicoy Island to the South and Suheli Par and Kalpeni Island to the North.
Ten Degree Channel

Andaman Islands and Nicobar Islands

  • The Ten Degree Channel is a channel that separates the Andaman Islands and Nicobar Islands from each other in the Bay of Bengal.
  • Ten degrees Channel, which lies between Little Andaman Island and the Car Nicobar, is approximately 150 km wide, running essentially along an east-west orientation.
  • It is so named as it lies on the 10-degree line of latitude, north of the equator.
    • The entire group of islands in Arabian Sea (Lakshadweep) is also broadly divided by the Ten Degree Channel, north of which is the Amini Island and to the south of the Canannore Island.

Daily News Analysis: Simultaneous Elections, El Niño, Red Sea Crisis & More

GS Paper 2

Fifth and Sixth Schedules: A Comparison

Context: The people of Ladakh are demanding the inclusion of the Union Territory under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.

The Sixth Schedule of India’s Constitution protects tribal populations and provides autonomy to communities to frame laws on land, public health, agriculture, etc.


·         Prelims: Indian Polity

·         Mains: Important Aspects of Governance


  • According to the Census 2011, out of the total population of Ladakh nearly 80% are tribals. The Union Territory has a majority Buddhist population, with a sizeable Muslim population in Kargil.
  • Ladakh was previously protected under Article 370, but the Indian government’s revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status removed the provisions for Ladakh as well. Ladakh became a Union Territory.
  • In August, 2019, the special status of former State of Jammu & Kashmir under Article 370 was revoked by the Parliament, and the State was bifurcated into two Union Territories — J&K and Ladakh, the latter without a Legislative Assembly.
  • Notably, no region outside the Northeast has been included in the Sixth Schedule.
    • In fact, even in Manipur, which has predominantly tribal populations in some places, the autonomous councils are not included in the Sixth Schedule.
    • Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh, which are totally tribal, are also not in the Sixth Schedule.
  • For tribal areas in the rest of the country, there is the Fifth Schedule in the Constitution of India.
Special System of Administration for Scheduled Areas and Tribal Areas
  • When the Constitution was adopted, it envisaged for the creation of a grass-root level administrative mechanism for the administration of Scheduled Areas and Tribal Areas in different parts of the country.
  • In doing so, the provisions of the Fifth and Sixth Schedules were incorporated in order to protect the aspirations of the people of the areas and simultaneously assimilate them into the mainstream of the country.
  • Article 244 in Part X of the Indian Constitution envisages a special system of administration of areas notified as “Scheduled Areas” and “Tribal Areas”.
  • According to Article 244(1), the provisions of the Fifth Schedule applies to the administration and control of the Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes in any states other than the four North-Eastern states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.
  • Whereas, as per Article 244(2), the tribal-dominated areas in the four States of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram are to be administered separately under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
  • Under Article 244 and the Sixth Schedule, these areas are specified as “Tribal Areas” which are technically different from the “Scheduled Areas” under the Fifth Schedule.
    • Thus, the Fifth and Sixth Schedules of the Constitution have special provisions related to the administration and control of such areas declared as “Scheduled Areas” and “Tribal Areas” respectively.
  • Besides, Article 275(1) of the Constitution also guarantees funds to both the Fifth and Sixth Scheduled Areas from the Consolidated Fund of India as grants-in-aid for the purpose of promoting the welfare of the Scheduled Tribes or raising the level of administration of the Scheduled and Tribal Areas.
The Fifth Schedule
  • Under Article 244(1) of the Constitution, the provisions of the Fifth Schedule applies to the administration and control of the Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes in any state other than the State of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram.
  • The principal objective of these specific provisions is to protect the interests and rights of the tribals in their land, habitat and economy; and to preserve the communities customs and tradition and to ensure a faster socio-economic development in the “Scheduled Areas”.
  • The President is the authority to declare any area as a Scheduled Area or renounce a Scheduled Area or part of a Scheduled Area as a non-Scheduled Area in consultation with the Governor of the concerned State.
  • Under the provisions of the Fifth Schedule, the Governors of the States having Scheduled Areas are empowered to exercise extensive power and functions to discharge for the administration and control of the Scheduled Areas.
    • The Governor is authorised to direct the State government by public notification not to apply any Act of Parliament or of the State Legislature to a Scheduled Areas or apply it subject to exceptions or modifications.
    • The Fifth Schedule assigns special responsibilities to the Governors for ensuring peace and good governance in the Scheduled Areas.
Criteria for the Scheduled Area
  • The criteria for the declaration of any area as a Scheduled Area under the Fifth Schedule are:
    • a) Preponderance of tribal population,
    • b) Compactness and reasonable size of the area,
    • c) Under-developed nature of the area, and
    • d) Marked disparity in the economic standard of the people.
Tribes Advisory Council
  • Each state having Scheduled Areas has the constitutional obligation to constitute a Tribes Advisory Council.
  • The President may also direct any state having Scheduled Tribes but not Scheduled Areas to create a Tribes Advisory Council.
  • The primary duty of the Tribes Advisory Council is to advise the State Government on matters related to the welfare and advancement of Scheduled Tribes in the state or on any matter which may have been referred to them by the Governor.

The Sixth Schedule

  • Considering the distinct life and outlook of the tribals in the North-East, the Constituent Assembly recognised the necessity of a separate administrative structure for the tribals in the region.
  • Therefore, under Article 244(2) of the Constitution, the Sixth Schedule makes special arrangement for the administration of Tribal Areas in the States of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura.
  • One of the most important provisions of the Sixth Schedule is that the tribal areas are to be administered as Autonomous Districts and Autonomous Regions.
  • Under the provision of the Sixth Schedule, the Governor of the State determines the area or areas as administrative units of the Autonomous Districts and Autonomous Regions.
  • The Sixth Schedule has provision for the creation of Autonomous District Councils, and Regional Councils endowed with certain legislative, executive, judicial and financial powers.
    • However, the administrative powers and functions of these District Council and Regional Council differ from State to State.
  • Each Autonomous District shall have a District Council consisting of not more than thirty members, out of which four are nominated by the Governor while the rest are elected on the basis of adult franchise (the newly added Bodoland Territorial Council is an exception; it can have up to forty-six members).
Fifth Schedule Vs Sixth Schedule
  • Although both the areas under the Fifth and Sixth Schedule are inhabited by the tribals specified as “Scheduled Tribes”, the Constitution of India categorises them differently viz. “Scheduled Areas” under the Fifth Schedule and “Tribal Areas” in the case of the Sixth Schedule.
  • While provisions under the Fifth Schedule envisage the creation of Tribes Advisory Councils, the Sixth Schedule provides for Autonomous District Councils or Regional Councils as institutional mechanisms for the administration of their respective areas.
  • Tribal Advisory Councils under the Fifth Schedule are the creation of the State Legislature, whereas, District Councils or Regional Councils under the Sixth Schedule are the product of the Constitution, drawing all their powers and functions from the Constitution itself.
  • District Councils under the Sixth Schedule enjoy extensive powers, including executive, legislative and judicial powers, all derived from the Constitution.
    • On the other hand, under the Fifth Schedule, the Tribes Advisory Councils being the creation of the Legislative Assembly of the States have limited powers which are mostly executive in nature.
    • Unlike the provisions of the Sixth Schedule, legislative, judicial, and financial powers are denied to the Fifth Scheduled Areas.
  • In financial matters also the Sixth Schedule empowers the District and Regional Councils to mobilise resources. They are authorized to levy and collect land revenue and taxes within their respective jurisdiction.
    • Unlike them, the Tribes Advisory Councils established under the provision of the Fifth Schedule are not given the financial power for preparing budget for themselves.
  • There is no mentioning of sources of income or of grant-in-aid in the Fifth Schedule provisions.
    • However, since District Council or Tribes Advisory Councils are created by the State Government, it is the moral duty of the State Governments to give financial assistances to the Councils.
  • Again, regarding delegation of power, the Sixth Schedule provides a long list of items on which the District and Regional Councils could exercise its power.
    • Whereas, the powers and functions which are to be delegated to the Tribes Advisory Councils in the Fifth Scheduled Areas are minimal and primarily decided by the State Cabinet.

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Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA): Structure and Mandate

Context: The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA), in an advisory issued here on Wednesday, warned manufacturers, advertisers, publishers, social media platforms, and broadcasters against advertisements promoting illegal activities such as betting and gambling.


·         Prelims: Indian Polity and Governance

·         Mains: Statutory, Regulatory and various Quasi-judicial Bodies


  • The central government has set up a Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.
  • CCPA is a regulatory body to deal with matters related to violation of consumer rights, unfair trade practices, and misleading advertisements.
  • CCPA can prohibit the endorser of a misleading advertisement from endorsing that particular product or service for a period of up to one year.
  • CCPA has powers for conducting search and seizure under the relevant provisions of the CrPC (Code of Criminal Procedure),1973.
Functions of the Authority
  • inquiring into violations of consumer rights, investigating and launching prosecution at the appropriate forum;
  • passing orders to recall goods or withdraw services that are hazardous, reimbursement of the price paid, and discontinuation of the unfair trade practices, as defined in the Act;
  • issuing directions to the concerned trader/ manufacturer/ endorser/ advertiser/ publisher to either discontinue a false or misleading advertisement, or modify it;
  • imposing penalties;
  • issuing safety notices to consumers against unsafe goods and services.
  • recommend adoption of international covenants and best international practices on consumer rights
  • issue necessary guidelines to prevent unfair trade practices and protect consumers’ interest.

GS Paper 3

Participatory Notes (P-Notes): Benefits and Issues

Context: Investments through participatory notes (p-notes) in Indian markets declined in January due to cautious foreign investor behaviour amid high valuations.


·         Prelims: Capital Market

·         Mains: Indian Economy and relating issues


  • Foreign investments making way into the Indian markets can enter in two ways:
    • Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)
    • Foreign Institutional Investment (FII)

Foreign investments

  • India as a developing economy, require these foreign investments for the economy to grow and also bring more industries and capital into the country.
    • However, these investments do not have easy entry in the Indian markets because of statutory regulations in India.
  • Much of these regulations are put by SEBI on FDIs, but very few on FIIs. FII means an entity established or incorporated outside India which proposes to make investment in India.
    • FIIs are also known as foreign portfolio investments (FPIs).
    • FIIs can invest quick money in Indian market for short-term.
    • Since the investment is short term, there are fewer rules and regulations that these FIIs need to follow.
  • P-notes as an instrument gained popularity as Foreign Institutional Investments (FIIs) so the investor can trade with all the anonymity and avoid going through a big registration process.
    • P-notes are for people who stay outside India and wish to invest in the Indian market without having to go through the registration process.
    • All the dividends and capital gains earned on these securities are transferred to the investor’s account.
  • Participatory notes (P-notes) are issued by registered foreign portfolio investors (FPIs)/ foreign institutional investors (FIIs) to overseas investors who wish to be a part of the Indian stock market without registering themselves directly after going through a due diligence process.
  • P-note investments in Indian markets can be in equity, debt, hybrid securities or derivatives.
  • FPIs which issue Offshore Derivative Instruments (ODIs), also known as Participatory Notes (PNs), are required to submit the details of their ODI/PN activity to Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) in the prescribed format on monthly basis.
  • ODIs/ PNs can be issued only to those entities which are regulated by the appropriate regulatory authority in the countries of their incorporation, after compliance with “Know Your Client” (KYC) norms.
  • Resident Indians/NRIs or the entities which are beneficially owned by Resident Indians/NRIs cannot subscribe to Offshore Derivative Instruments.
  • In a recent development, in 2017, SEBI banned FPIs from issuing Participatory Notes for investing in equity derivatives.
    • At the same time, FPIs can issue PNs to overseas investors if the equity derivatives investments are used for hedging the equity shares held by them.
    • This means that a foreign investor can make investment in equity derivatives only if he purchases an equal value of shares in the cash segment.
Advantages of Participatory Notes
  • P-Notes can be easily exchanged internationally.
  • They are attractive because investors may hold positions in Indian markets discreetly, and hedge funds may operate secretly.
  • Some companies invest in participatory notes to take benefit of tax regulations in specific nations.
What is the Controversy Behind Participatory Notes?
  • A major defect of the P-Notes as instruments to make investment in Indian shares is that it hides the identity of the investor.
  • A considerable portion of PNs is used by wealthy individuals who use it as a mechanism to channelize black money kept in foreign countries to India.
  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has no authority over participatory note trading.
Why is It Difficult to Ban P-Notes?
  • The union government, which has the final say in foreign investment rules, appears to be reluctant to impose a full ban on PN, because of a fear that the stock markets would fall, and there would be a flight of capital.
  • Indian economy runs a current account deficit and needs foreign investment to bridge the gap in savings.

Facts for Prelims

Rayleigh Scattering Criterion

  • Computers denote data in bits — the famous 0s and 1s — using semiconductors. These are small physical devices that store these values and perform mathematical operations on them. The sum of all these operations is what allows the computer to compute.
  • The world has powerful computers almost everywhere around us thanks to a technology called semiconductor lithography — the science of printing intricate circuits with extreme precision.
  • The smallest feature size that can be moulded on the silicon wafer is governed by a physics principle called the Rayleigh scattering criterion.
  • According to this criterion, the size of the feature to be projected on the wafer is proportional to the wavelength of light used and inversely proportional to the aperture of the lens that collects light before projecting it onto the wafer.

India’s first underwater Metro train

  • The Prime Minister of India inaugurated Kolkata Metro’s Esplanade-Howrah Maidan section, which passes below the mighty Hooghly river through the country’s first underwater transportation tunnel.
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