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Q.1 Which of the following is/are not the federal
features of the Indian Constitution?
1. The Constitution is written and not easily
2. Equal representation of all states in Rajya Sabha
3. State governments derive authority from the
Select the correct answer code:
a) 1, 2
b) 2, 3
c) 1, 3
d) 1, 2, 3
Solution: b)

Q.2 Consider the following statements regarding Five
Year Plans in India.
1. The duration of plan holiday was from 1966 to
2. “Garibi Hatao” slogan was given during Fourth
Five Year Plan.
3. Third Five Year Plan was based on the P.C.
Mahalanobis Model.
Which of the above statements is/are correct?
a) 1, 2
b) 2, 3
c) 1 only
d) 1, 2, 3
Solution: a)

Q.3 Consider the following statements about Kalighat
1. The theme of these paintings were mostly
mythological characters that later evolved to
other secular and contemporary themes.
2. The brushwork on these paintings are deemed
by experts as deft, seamless, flowing and one of
the smoothest art forms in India.
Which of the above statements is/are correct?
a) 1 only
b) 2 only
c) Both
d) None
Solution: d)



The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2020, allowing a “willing” woman to be a surrogate mother and proposing that the Bill would benefit widows and divorced women besides infertile Indian couples.

The Cabinet approved the Bill after incorporating the recommendations of a Rajya Sabha Select Committee.

The 15 major changes suggested by the 23-member committee to the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019, also included deleting the definition of “infertility” as the inability to conceive after five years of unprotected intercourse on the ground that it was too long a period for a couple to wait for a child.

“The Bill is aimed at banning commercial surrogacy and allowing altruistic surrogacy,” said Mr. Javadekar.

Union Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Irani added that only Indian couples can opt for surrogacy in the country.

The Bill proposes to regulate surrogacy by establishing a National Surrogacy Board and State Surrogacy Boards and appropriate authorities in the States and Union Territories respectively. The proposed insurance cover for a surrogate mother has now been increased to 36 months from 16 months earlier.

DEFINITION: The Bill defines surrogacy as a practice where a woman gives birth to a child for an intending couple with the intention to hand over the child after the birth to the intending couple.
AIM OF THE BILL: Regulation of surrogacy: The Bill prohibits commercial surrogacy, but allows altruistic surrogacy.


ALTRUISTIC SURROGACY involves no monetary compensation to the surrogate mother other than the medical expenses and insurance coverage during the pregnancy.

COMMERCIAL SURROGACY includes surrogacy or its related procedures undertaken for a monetary benefit or reward (in cash or kind) exceeding the basic medical expenses and insurance coverage.



Looking at the mounds at the Harappan site of Rakhigarhi, where locals dry cow dung cakes and dump garbage, there is little to show the thousands of years of history beneath. But the Centre is moving ahead with its plan to develop the site as a tourist hub and set up a museum, and this has got residents in two villages in Haryana’s Hisar district — Rakhi Khas and Rakhi Shahpur — known as Rakhigarhi worried.

After Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the government’s plan to fund five on-site museums, including the under-construction museum initiated by the Haryana government at Rakhigarhi, in her Budget speech on February 1, there is excitement and concern here. The Archaeological Survey of India has started planning the project. Union Tourism and Culture Minister Prahlad Singh Patel visited the site on Sunday and spoke to villagers about their concerns.

The ASI has been able to get under its control just 83.5 acres of the 350-hectare site that spans 11 mounds, after first taking over the site in 1996, due to encroachments and pending court cases, said ASI Chandigarh Circle Superintending Archaeologist Zulfeqar Ali. The site is under ASI protection.



  • Rakhigarhi is the largest Harappan site in the Indian subcontinent.
    • Other large sites of Harappan civilization on Indian sub-continent are Harappa, Mohenjodaro and Ganveriwala in Pakistan and Dholavira (Gujarat) in India.
  • At Rakhigarhi, the excavations are being done to trace its beginnings and to study its gradual evolution from 6000 BCE (Pre-Harappan phase) to 2500 BCE.
    • The site was excavated by Amarendra Nath of ASI.

Major Findings at the Site


  • The archaeological excavations revealed the mature Harappan phase represented by planned township having mud-brick as well as burnt-brick houses with a proper drainage system.

Seals and Pottery

  • cylindrical seal with 5 Harappan characters on one side and a symbol of an alligator on the other is an important find from this site.
  • The ceramic industry represented by red ware, which included dish-on-stand, vase, perforated jar among others.

Other Antiquities

  • Blades; terracotta and shell bangles, beads of semi precious stones, and copper objects; animal figurines, toy cart frame and wheel of terracotta; bone points; inscribed steatite seals and sealings.

Rituals and Burials

  • Animal sacrificial pit lined with mud-brick and triangular and circular fire altars on the mud floor have also been excavated that signifies the ritual system of Harappans.
  • The excavations have yielded a few extended burials, which certainly belong to a very late stage, maybe the medieval times.

Recent findings

  • Recently, a study of DNA from skeletal remains excavated from the Harappan cemetery at Rakhigarhi found that the people in the Harappan Civilization have an independent origin.
  • This study negates the theory of the Harappans having Steppe pastoral or ancient Iranian farmer ancestry.

The Southern Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has ordered the constitution of a joint committee to take water samples from Bengaluru’s Ulsoor lake and neighbouring areas to ascertain whether the lake is being polluted owing to illegal activity.

It also tasked the panel with carrying out an analysis of the water in the lake.

The water analysis should include not only Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD), Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) limit, but also the Total Coliforms and Faecal Coliforms and also the presence of any heavy metals like Arsenic, Phosphorus, etc., which are likely to affect the human health and, if such things are found, suggest the remedial measures required to restore the water quality in that area,” the Bench ruled

Biochemical oxygen demand: It is the amount of oxygen required by bacteria to carry out the decomposition of the organic matter present in a certain volume of a sample of water. It gives us an idea of the amount of organic matter present in water. Lesser the BOD in water, the more clean it would be. Clean water would have BOD value of less than 5 ppm, whereas highly polluted water would have a BOD value of 17 ppm or more.

CHEMICAL OXYGEN DEMAND:  COD is a measurement of the oxygen required to oxidize soluble and particulate organic matter in water.


National Green Tribunal was formed under the National Green Tribunal Act of 2010. Act was enacted under the India’s constitutional provision of Article 21 which assures the citizens of India the right to healthy environment.

Tribunal has been created for effective and expeditious disposal of the cases relating to environmental protection and giving relief and compensation for damages to persons and property and for matters connected therewith and incidental thereto.

Tribunal is mandated to make endeavour for disposal of applications or appeals filing within 6 months of the filing of the same.

Chairman of the tribunal must be a serving or retired Chief Justice of a High Court or judge of the Supreme Court of India. 

The tribunal shall not be bound by the procedure laid under the Code of Civil Procedure 1908 but shall be guided by the principles of natural justice. 

New Delhi is the principle place of sitting of the tribunal and Bhopal, Pune, Kolkatta and Chennai are other four places of sitting of the tribunal.

Present NGT Chairperson is Justice (Retired) Adarsh Kumar Goel.



India on Wednesday sent a heavy lift military transport aircraft to the COVID-19-hit Wuhan in China. The Indian Air Force’s (IAF) C-17 Globemaster III aircraft carried 15 tonnes of medical supplies and will bring back around 120 citizens and five infants while flying back on Thursday.

Apart from the Indian nationals, the flight is also expected to bring back citizens of neighbouring countries. An Indian based in Wuhan said the Indian Embassy in Beijing had asked the citizens to remain ready for evacuation and the official process was underway till late Wednesday evening.

Meanwhile, the Union Health Ministry on Wednesday issued an additional travel advisory stating that Indians should refrain from non-essential travel to Republic of Korea (South Korea), Iran and Italy. “People coming from Republic of Korea, Iran and Italy or having such travel history since 10th February 2020 may be quarantined for 14 days on arrival to India,” noted the release.


  • Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
  • Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.


Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.


Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:

  1. the air by coughing and sneezing.
  2. close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands.
  3. touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands.
  4. rarely, fecal contamination


President Donald Trump’s India visit can easily be cleaved into two separate parts: the symbolism of the joint rally with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with their obvious personal rapport, and the actual bilateral outcomes of their Delhi meeting.


President Donald Trump’s India visit can easily be cleaved into two separate parts: the symbolism of the joint rally with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with their obvious personal rapport, and the actual bilateral outcomes of their Delhi meeting.

Mr. Modi in turn complimented Mr. Trump for his leadership, and thanked Mr. Trump’s family for what he described as a historic visit that will open a new phase.


In contrast, the visit’s concrete outcomes were not as dramatic or historical as the Trump-Modi rally images were. Although the External Affairs Ministry had said at least five MoUs would be ready for signing, the three made ready were two on health care, and one Letter of Cooperation on LNG pipeline infrastructure.

There were a few major deals signed around the visit as well, and at least two that had been expected could not be completed — the conversion of an MoU for Petronet to invest in American gas company Tellurian into an agreement, as well as a commercial agreement for Westinghouse to build six nuclear reactors in Andhra Pradesh.

The agreement signed for defence purchases worth $3-billion, including American helicopters, has led to both sides signalling more cooperation in defence, military exercises and technology sharing.

And while the two leaders shared strong language in references aimed at China’s hegemony in the South China Sea as well as the Belt and Road Initiative, they did not broach the next steps in the Indo-Pacific partnership including possible militarisation as well as joint funding to counter the challenge from Chinese loans in the region.


More immediately, with the political backing of both leaders, negotiators must move towards the much anticipated yet elusive trade deal.


Through the 21st century, it will likely reflect a consensus that the world’s largest and oldest democracies held fast to a steady upward trajectory in their mutual engagement by capitalising on synergies and adroitly sidestepping roadblocks.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to India this week has catalysed progress on outcomes in trade, defence, security and energy cooperation even as it has implicitly set parameters on how far either Mr. Trump or Prime Minister Narendra Modi will go to publicly or privately challenge each other’s governments on areas where they have faced criticism from other quarters.


For the best part of 20 years now, India has been a policy subject of bipartisan consensus in the U.S. government, including the White House and Congress. Yet, even as the extant polarisation of public opinion was further embittered through the election campaign and first term of Mr. Trump, a section of U.S. Democrats, traditionally seen as being the party whose support for India ran deeper, began to splinter away from the mainstream on this subject.

From presidential nomination frontrunner Bernie Sanders, who said in recent days, “Instead of selling $3 billion in weapons to enrich Raytheon, Boeing and Lockheed, the U.S. should be partnering with India to fight climate change,” to Pramila Jayapal, Indian-American Congresswoman from Washington state, who was denied a meeting with Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar for criticising India’s violation of minorities’ right to religious freedom, there is a growing disenchantment with several major policy planks of the second Modi government, including its Kashmir policy and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, or the CAA, and the National Register of Citizens.


Mr. Trump’s sharp focus on reducing the U.S.’s trade deficits with major trading partners, including India, has made for a bumpy ride in South Block over the past few years. In an escalating tariff war, Washington first slapped duties on Indian – and global – steel and aluminium in 2018, then pulled India out of its Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) in June 2019. Unsurprisingly, India responded with counter-tariffs and now U.S. dairy and medical device exporters are feeling the pain. With the White House recently reclassifying India as a “developed country” to deny it any concessions on trade subsidy investigations, and with United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer cancelling a visit planned around the summit meeting, it appears unlikely that India will be returned to GSP or that even a limited trade deal might be announced any time soon.



The new Accord signed by the All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU), United Bodo People’s Organisation and all the four factions of the insurgent outfit- National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB) with Delhi and Dispur on January 27 promises more legislative, executive and administrative autonomy under the Sixth Schedule to Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) and expansion of the BTC territory in lieu of statehood. The Bodoland Territorial Area District (BTAD), the autonomous region governed by BTC, will be known as Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR) after demarcation of the augmented territory.

The previous Bodo Accord signed by the erstwhile insurgent outfit, Bodo Liberation Tigers (BLT) with Delhi and Dispur on February 10, 2003 led to creation of the BTC as a new experiment of territorial autonomy under the Sixth Schedule. However, the constitutionally mandated legislative power of the BTC has been reduced to a farce as the Assam Governor has not given assent to any of the legislations passed by the BTC Legislative Assembly.

Bodo groups have suspended their statehood movement, but the new Bodo Accord has triggered the intensification of the movement for Kamatapur State by organisations of the Koch-Rajbongshi community. The territory of the demanded Kamatapur State overlaps with the present BTAD, proposed BTR and demanded Bodoland. Clamour for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status by the Koch-Rajbongshis, Adivasis and several other non-ST communities has also grown.

Deeper ethnic faultlines in an ethno-centric power sharing model will become exposed when the Koch-Rajbongshis and the Adivasis are granted ST status, as promised by the Modi government. For, the reservation of seats of BTC is for the STs and not exclusively for the Bodos. The new accord has no clear answer to such critical questions.

The new accord promises to appoint a commission by the Assam government to look into the demands for inclusion of villages with ST majority and contiguous to the BTAD, and exclusion of villages which are contiguous to non-Sixth Schedule areas and have majority non-ST population. However, the core area of the BTAD will continue to have many villages with majority non-ST population which were included for contiguity.

Euphoria among the Bodos over the accord is also fast evaporating with efforts to unite all the four factions of NDFB having turned futile; the factions are divided in two camps: one group with the present ruling party of BTC-Bodoland People’s Front (BPF), an ally of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in Assam and one group siding with the opposition party, the United Peoples Party Liberal backed by the ABSU. The new accord will be the pivot of political mobilisation in the BTAD during the forthcoming BTC elections due in April.

A shift in the political equilibrium in the BTC resulting from a likely expansion of the ST list in Assam has the potential to keep the Bodos out of power in the BTC and push Bodo organisations to reviving their homeland demand.

Peace will continue to be fragile in Assam’s Bodo heartland until an all-inclusive power sharing and governance model is evolved under the provisions of the Sixth Schedule.



Former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein has been convicted of two felony sex crimes and potentially faces 29 years in prison. His New York courtroom trial, during which six women testified that he assaulted them, was a touchstone for the global #MeToo movement and for holding powerful, wealthy men accountable for the sexual harassment and assault of women.

Matters were complicated by some of the survivors acknowledging having had consensual sex with him after being attacked by him, which gave the defence opportunities to argue that the women had wanted to further their careers. However the survivors, including a production assistant who said he had forced her to have sex in 2006, and a former actress who said he had raped her at a hotel in 2013, said that he was a predator whose premeditated actions included not only the attacks on the survivors but also attempts to leverage his power over their professional lives to buy their silence.


The #MeToo movement was kicked off in 2006 by activist Tarana Burke as a battle against traumatic, widespread and under-reported incidents of assault on women, in many — but not all — cases in the workplace.

While it began in Hollywood and mostly in the U.S., it spread like wildfire and reverberated through India too.


If anything, the Weinstein conviction and the #MeToo movement have unearthed the seamy workplace culture of sexual abuse and harassment. Regardless of the shape that the movement now takes, that very act of shining a light on a dark social reality has given pause for thought to a generation of men who might have earlier adopted a more cavalier attitude about consent.



A significant outcome of the controversy surrounding the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) report of November 2019 on drinking water status is that the issue of water quality has got politically prioritised.

BIS released report for 21 major Indian cities, in keeping with the objectives of the ‘Jal Jeevan Mission’, which aims to provide safe piped water to all households by 2024.


India is on the throes of a severe water crisis, not only because of a gradual reduction in per capita availability of water due to a rising population, but also because of rising and unchecked pollution in the country’s rivers and water bodies, a fact which is mostly overlooked in the deliberations on water resources management.

As per published estimates of the Central Pollution Control Board, the country has a treatment capacity of only about 30% of sewage generated in the major cities, not to talk of other urban and rural areas where the sewage finds its way to local water bodies or rivers without treatment.

A 2018 Report of the NITI Aayog has observed that currently 600 million Indians face high to extreme water stress and about two lakh people die every year due to inadequate access to safe water. The crisis is only going to get worse. By 2030, the country’s water demand is projected to be twice the available supply, implying severe water scarcity for hundreds of millions of people.


It is not only the untreated sewage water and industrial effluents, but also the solid wastes and construction material discharged by individuals, companies and municipal bodies that have caused the suffocation of the Yamuna. Also, floodplains have been encroached upon by settlements. Hence, ensuring supply of quality drinking water is not only expensive, it also needs improvement in governance. It needs technical knowledge on measurement and regulation of water quality. It is not the fault of the DJB or the Delhi government alone that they have not been able to ensure 100% supply of quality water to the citizens of Delhi, considering the constraints they face, especially those concerning the water resources management and laws in the country.


We must appreciate that the Jal Jeevan Mission, even if it has not been so far structured, conceptualised and funded adequately, has begun the important work of gathering information on the scale and scope of the problem and making it available in an open and transparent manner. The best outcome is that the competitive politics of the Delhi election has ensured a political debate on water quality.


The Armed Forces are called in by the civil power when public security is in “manifest danger” from an unlawful assembly which is refusing to disperse despite the efforts of police forces.

The procedure for use of Armed Forces to disperse a mob bent on violence is provided in Sections 130 to 132 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) of 1973. The Defence Service Regulations also act as an extensive guide to procedure for calling in the Armed Forces and also how they should operate while on duty, especially if they have to use fire power to restore peace.

Chapter 10 of the CrPC under the title ‘Maintenance of Public Order and Tranquillity’ provide the step-by-step process for calling in the Armed Forces for help. The first provision in the chapter, Section 129, deals with the dispersal of a violent mob using civil forces.

However, if this happen to fail, Section 130 steps in. The provision empowers the “Executive Magistrate of the highest rank,” in situations of gravest danger to public security, to write to “any officer-in-command of any group of persons belonging to the Armed Forces to disperse the assembly with the help of the Armed Forces under his command.” Rioters can also be arrested or confined in order to either disperse the mob or punish them in accordance with the law.

The provision allows the Armed Forces officer-in-command concerned to comply with the Magistrate’s requisition for aid in a manner “as he thinks fit.” But in dispersing the unlawful assembly and restoring calm, the Armed Forces should use as “little force” as possible and causing as “little injury to person and property as may be consistent with dispersing the assembly and arresting and detaining such persons.”

Section 131 considers a situation in which the Executive Magistrate is somehow incommunicado and the riot situation is full-blown. In such cases, “any commissioner or gazetted officer of the Armed Forces may disperse the unlawful assembly with the help of the Armed Forces under his command.” But the officer has to comply with the instructions of the Magistrate once communication is established with the latter.

Section 132 protects the officers and members of the Armed Forces from prosecution for acts done in good faith in the course of their duties to contain the riot.

The Defence Service Regulations specifies that requisition for help from the civilian power to the Armed Forces officer should either be in writing or by telegram. The Forces should immediately come to the aid of the civil power for maintenance of law and order.

The strength and composition of the force, the amount of ammunition, arms and equipment to be taken and the manner of carrying out the operations are matters for the Armed Forces alone.



The government will soon kick-start the process of revamping the nearly 20-year old Information Technology Act, 2000, with an aim to bring it in tune with the technological advancements with a focus on stronger framework to deal with cybercrimes, Minister for Electronics and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Wednesday.

An expert committee will be set up with members from the government as well as the industry for discussion on the new IT Act.

Mr. Prasad said that the new Act will also factor-in larger issues, including Supreme Court’s judgment on privacy.

Noting that cyber issues have not been adequately responded to in the present IT Act, the Minister said the government may even look at including a separate chapter on cyber issues in the revamped Act.


  • AIM- to provide legal infrastructure for e-commerce in India.
  • The Information Technology Act, 2000 also aims to provide for the legal framework so that legal sanctity is accorded to all electronic records and other activities carried out by electronic means. The Act states that unless otherwise agreed, an acceptance of contract may be expressed by electronic means of communication and the same shall have legal validity and enforceability. Some highlights of the Act are listed below:
  • Chapter II deals with Use of Digital Signature to authenticate an electronic record.
  • Chapter-III of the Act details about Electronic Governance and provides inter alia amongst others that where any law provides that information or any other matter shall be made available in an electronic form; and accessible so as to be usable for a subsequent reference.
  • Chapter-IV of the said Act gives a scheme for Regulation of Certifying Authorities. The Act recognizes the need for recognizing foreign Certifying Authorities and it further details the various provisions for the issue of license to issue Digital Signature Certificates.
  • Chapter-IX of the said Act talks about penalties and adjudication for various offences. The penalties compensation not exceeding Rs.1,00,00,000 to affected persons. The Act talks of appointment of any officers not below the rank of a Director to the Government of India or an equivalent officer of state government as an Adjudicating Officer who shall adjudicate whether any person has made a contravention of any of the provisions of the said Act or rules framed there under. The said Adjudicating Officer has been given the powers of a Civil Court.
  • Chapter-X of the Act talks of the establishment of the Cyber Regulations Appellate Tribunal, which shall be an appellate body where appeals against the orders passed by the Adjudicating Officers, shall be preferred.
  • Chapter-XI of the Act talks about various offences and the said offences shall be investigated only by a Police Officer not below the rank of the Deputy Superintendent of Police. These offences include tampering with computer source documents, publishing of information, which is obscene in electronic form, and hacking.
  • The Act also provides for the constitution of the Cyber Regulations Advisory Committee, which shall advice the government as regards any rules, or for any other purpose connected with the said act. The said Act also proposes to amend the Indian Penal Code, 1860, the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, The Bankers’ Books Evidence Act, 1891, The Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 to make them in tune with the provision of IT Act.



The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved the setting up of a National Technical Textiles Mission at an total outlay of ₹1,480 Crore.

The aim is to position the country as a global leader in technical textiles and increase the use of technical textiles in the domestic market.

The Mission will be implemented for four years from 2020-2021 and will have four components, a release said.

The first component will focus on research and development and innovation and will have an outlay of ₹1,000 crore. The research will be at both, fibre level and application-based in geo, agro, medical, sports and mobile textiles and development of bio-degradable technical textiles.

The second component will be for promotion and development of market for technical textiles.

The third component will focus on export promotion so that technical textile exports from the country reach from the ₹14,000 crore now to ₹20,000 crore by 2021-2022 and ensure 10% average growth every year till the Mission ends.

The last component will be on education, training and skill development.


Five-time Grand Slam winner Maria Sharapova, one of the world’s most recognisable sportswomen, on Wednesday announced her retirement at the age of 32.

“Tennis – I’m saying goodbye,” Sharapova said in an article for Vogue and Vanity Fair magazines.

“After 28 years and five Grand Slam titles, though, I’m ready to scale another mountain – to compete on a different type of terrain.”



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