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10th January 2023

A step towards fighting corruption


In a Judgement, the Neeraj Dutta v. State (Govt. of NCT of Delhi), the Supreme Court came down heavily on corruption among public servants in the country and lowered the bar for the quantum of evidence required to convict persons charged with corruption.

So, let us assess the country’s scenario and work against corruption.

About the Judicial Interventions against corruption:
  • The Supreme Court in its step against the lack of evidence against the corruption activities has reformed saying that;
    • The question is whether in the absence of evidence of complainant/direct or primary evidence of demand of illegal gratification is it not permissible to draw an inferential deduction of culpability/guilt of a public servant under Section 7 and Section 13(1)(d) read with Section 13(2) of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 based on other evidence adduced by the prosecution.

The Steps against corruption:

  • There are two aspects to the fight against corruption:
    • The severity of the law and its application; and
    • The strength of public opinion would help carry forward the campaign for a clean public life.
  • Both are equally important if we are to rid the country of the weakest link in a burgeoning bureaucracy.

Why do we need to consider corruption as a crime against the state?

  • Corruption has a direct impact on the validity of human rights, largely because of two reasons.
  • Corruption deprives societies of important resources that could be used for basic needs, such as public health, education, infrastructure, or security.
  • Corruption has direct damaging consequences in general on the functioning of state institutions, and in particular on the administration of justice.
  • The quality of public service rendered by corrupt public servants is in direct correlation to the corrupt practices adopted by them. Therefore, the public, who are recipients of these services, also become victims.
  • Corruption eats into the heart of democracy, and nations struggle to function efficiently or prosper at an economic level. It harms poor people more than others, stifles economic growth, and diverts desperately needed funds from education, healthcare, and other public services. This is definitely a crime against democracy, humanity, and the state.

What is the Impact of corruption?

  • On People and Public Life:
    • Lack of Quality in Services
    • Lack of Proper Justice
    • Poor Health and Hygiene
    • Failure of Genuine Research
  • On Society:
    • Disregard for Officials
    • Lack of Respect for Rulers
    • Lack of Faith and Trust in Governments

Ethics Laws: Codes of Ethics & Codes of Conduct

  • The codes of ethics set out broad high-level principles such as Integrity, Accountability, Responsibility, Trustworthiness, etc., but give little attention to how these principles are to be applied in specific circumstances.
  • By contrast, Codes of Conduct usually set out specific standards of conduct expected in a range of realistic circumstances, representing a particular organization’s preferred or required interpretation of the core values or principles which are seen as important to its work.

The practice of Administrative Ethics:

  • Administrative Ethics implies applying general moral rules to specific spheres of human relations, that is to say, administrative relations. Some of the most important areas of applied ethics today concern the ethics of administration.
  • Some of them are unethical and the task of administrative ethics is to make a clear distinction between right and wrong standards and values. The following are the initials to ensure the practice of administrative ethics:
  • Faith and determination towards the pursuit of excellence of service in their professional activities.
  • Infusion of Ethics into Politics
  • Relations between Citizens and Personnel to Create Favourable Opinions towards Public Services
  • Need for Character Building
  • Impartiality
  • Political Neutrality

Specific strategies to curtail the instances of Administrative Malpractices:

  • Effective laws require public servants to give reasons for their official decisions.
  • Management approaches encourage all public officials and civil servants to deal positively with corruption and unethical practice when they encounter them.
  • Whistle-blower’ protection law to protect appropriate 'public interest disclosures of wrongdoing by officials;
  • Ethics audits to identify risks to the integrity of the most important processes;
  • New Human Resource Management strategies(which link, for example, ethical performance with entry and advancement, and ethical ‘under-performance’ with disciplinary processes), merit-based promotion and recruitment, antidiscrimination protections;
  • Application of ethical management principles, the proper use of official power, the requirements of professional responsibility, and
  • Effective external and internal complaint and redress procedures.

Municipal corporations in India are gasping for funds


As per the Study titled ‘Report on Municipal finances’, the combined budget of Municipal corporations of India is much less than the Central and State government, released by RBI for Urban local bodies in the country. 

Details of the Report:

  • About: The Report compiles and analyses the budgetary data for 201 municipal corporations (MCs) across all States.
  • Key highlights:
    • It stated that how municipal corporations are dependent on fund transfers from Central and state governments and their earnings are limited.
    • The allocation of its revenue goes into the department’s salaries, pension and emoluments.
    • 70% of the revenue generated goes for such expenditures and capital expenditures.
    • The tax revenue of the municipal bodies is less and expenditure is more.
    • Government transfers to these bodies have increased and thus limited their autonomy.
  • The fund crunches:
    • As estimated by RBI, the revenue of the Municipal body was about 0.61% of the GDP for the year 2019-20.
    • The estimates were done considering tax revenue, non-tax revenue and transfers.
  • Issues identified:
    • Dependence on Property tax
    • Increasing population density and Urbanisation
  • Global comparisons:
    • Property tax exploitation in India due to devaluation remains very less; the collection of taxes is also less than in OECD countries.
    • The GDP for Urban local bodies is about 7% for Brazil and 6% for South Africa.

Need for an alternate mode of finance:

  • Many of the civic bodies are financially weak and suffering from a resource crunch.
  • There is also the need to ramp up infrastructure in cities.
  • Local bodies in India are among the weakest globally, as they don’t have enough autonomy to:
    • levy taxes
    • grant exemptions
    • borrow funds
  • It makes them dependent on bank loans or federal and state governments for resources.
  • Municipal revenues are dominated by property tax collections and the devolution of taxes.

About Municipal Bonds:

  • A municipal bond (muni) is a debt security issued by a state, municipality, or county to finance its capital expenditures, including the construction of highways, bridges, or schools.
  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI)’s detailed guidelines for the issue and listing of municipal bonds in March 2015.
  • Uses:
  • Through muni bonds, a municipal corporation raises money from individuals or institutions and promises to pay a specified amount of interest, and returns the principal amount on a specific maturity date.

Suggestions by the Central Bank:

  • Levying a tax on residents to pay bondholders
  • Backing the bonds, by earnings from particular projects
  • Working out a hybrid mechanism where revenues are used to service the debt.
  • Pool Financing: Common bond is issued by several municipal bodies to keep costs in check.

Women in construction, real estate sector earn less than males: Report


According to a report that highlights gender inequality, informal women workers in ‘Indian construction and real estate sector’ earn 30-40 per cent less than male workers.

Highlights of the report:

  • The report released was named 'Pink Collar Skilling: Unleashing the Women's Power in the Real Estate Sector'.
  • Released by: Consulting firm Primus Partners and World Trade Center.
  • Key points:
    • Of the total people employed in this industry only 12 per cent are women.
    • In the domestic construction and real estate sector, which employs 57 million workers, 50 million of the people employed are men, and only 7 million are women.
    • The informal women workers engaged in construction in India earn 30-40 per cent less than their male counterparts.
    • India has only 2 per cent of women executives in construction companies against the UK's 14 per cent and the US's 7 per cent.
    • In the real estate sector, there are a negligible number of women in managerial roles.
    • Only 1-2 per cent of women reach top-level management positions in this industry.
    • In India, 47.6 per cent of licensed architects are women, with a gender pay gap of 15 per cent in the field.


  • Preferred to do unskilled work: Women are mainly employed in the lowest paying and most hazardous tasks (like lifting heavy loads), including brick kiln workers, quarry workers, slab pouring, stone shaping, load carriers, and assistants.
  • Less paid for more risky work: The jobs which are labour intensive, cause health hazards and are not well paying are preferred for women.

The gender pay gap in India:

  • Gender inequality is one of the oldest and most pervasive forms of inequality in the world and as a result, the social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have been far from gender-neutral.
  • As per Inequality Report 2022, while women represent about 50 per cent of the population, they earn only about one-third of the labour income for it.
  • WEF’s Global Gender Gap Report 2021 places India amongst the countries with the largest Gender Gaps in Economic participation and opportunity.
  • Female Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR) has declined from 27 % in 2010 to 22 % in 2020.
  • Though ‘women’ come from varying socio-economic, cultural, and geographical backgrounds, the pandemic disrupted an already skewed ratio in educational opportunities, access to finance, wage disparities, and other social constraints for them demographically.

Recent Findings regarding gender inequality-

Though gender inequality is an old phenomenon, the recent findings regarding gender inequality in India can be seen from the following points-

  • More time spent on unpaid work: As per reports, women spend almost twice as much time providing unpaid care work such as cleaning, cooking, providing care to the elderly, fetching water, childcare, etc.
  • Labour Market scarring- It is a concept used by ‘Global Gender Gap Report 2021’ in which temporary limitation of in-person work has caused permanent and long-lasting effects on women’s chances at decent employment in future.
  • “State of Working India” report- According to the report, the imposition of lockdowns has disproportionately affected the feminised sectors, such as the care economy and the gig economy. Only 19 per cent of women were able to continue their employment while a vast 47 per cent faced a job loss permanently.
  • South Asia is hardest hit due to the prevailing social and cultural norms around women’s work, aggravated by several other factors.

Challenges in bridging gender inequality-

Though there is a need to bridge gender inequality, there are several challenges that act as restraints in this direction. Some factors are deeply rooted in Indian society and many are recent challenges. These can be seen as-

  • Social challenges-
    • The social norm of gendered differentiation of labour, thus, makes it harder for women to enter and remain in the labour market. Women are trained in care activities and cooking skills whereas men are trained in economic activities.
    • The conundrum of unpaid care work is only increasing in India given the shrinking family sizes and resulting time poverty faced disproportionately by women.
    • Women are, thus, under the “double burden” of performing paid and unpaid labour
    • Women are considered subordinate to men due to the patriarchal nature of Indian society.
    • Most women are socially and economically dependent on men.
  • Economic challenges-
    • Most women are offered work in the informal sector, which categorically provides no protection from labour laws, or social benefits like pension paid sick leave or maternity leave.
    • There also exists an income difference between men and women in almost every sector.
    • Factors such as harassment and violence in public spaces or during commutes to the workspace further affect working conditions for women.
    • The Deloitte Global Survey suggests LGBT+ women are much more likely to have experienced jokes of a sexual nature in the workplace.
  • Political reasons-
    • Lack of political intention in bridging gender inequality. For instance, the proposed laws for women's reservation in state and union legislatures are pending.
    • Despite the presence of the provision of gender budgeting, there is a lack of regular evaluation of laws, rules and schemes.
    • Less awareness among women about government schemes and measures.


Causes of increasing human-animal conflict


In the latest information came of wild elephant attacks in Kerala, a daily worker, was attacked by a rouge elephant at Sulthan Bathery town adjacent to the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary.

  • This has caught the attention of increasing instances of Human-wildlife conflicts, especially near forests.
  • Around the world, human-wildlife conflict (HWC) challenges people and wildlife, leading to a decrease in people’s tolerance for conservation efforts and contributing to multiple factors that drive species to extinction
  • HWC is a significant threat to conservation, livelihoods, and myriad other concerns and should be addressed at a scale equal to its importance.
  • By allocating adequate resources and forming wide-ranging partnerships, we can move towards long-term coexistence that benefits both people and wildlife.

Data on human-elephant conflict

  • In India, data from the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change indicates that over 500 elephants were killed between 2014-2015 and 2018-2019, mostly due to human-elephant conflict.
  • During the same period, 2,361 people were killed as a result of conflict with elephants.

What drives Human-Wildlife Conflict (HWC)?

  • HWC results from a variety of ecological and anthropogenic drivers that exert pressures on landscapes where humans and wildlife share space.
  • Ecological drivers include seasonal changes, natural calamities, and animals’ life cycles, as well as the movement patterns of animals
  • Anthropogenic drivers, such as habitat loss, changes in land use, livestock management, expansion of agricultural practices, climate change, resource extraction, infrastructure development, and urbanisation
  • Each negative impact emerges from a complex web of interactions between drivers, making it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to view the effect of one driver in isolation
  • For instance, if forests are cleared for settlements or agriculture, or roads are cut into previously inaccessible areas, habitat loss and fragmentation result, forcing wildlife and people into closer proximity to each other.

The IUCN SSC Human-Wildlife Conflict Task Force:

  • The IUCN SSC Human-Wildlife Conflict Task Force (HWCTF) is a global advisory group and think tank.
  • It aims to support professionals working on HWC by providing interdisciplinary guidance, resources, and capacity building.
  • The IUCN established the HWCTF to foster connections between policymakers, scientists, and communities and to assimilate knowledge and capacity for HWC management across IUCN members and the wider conservation community.

Elements of Human-Wildlife conflict management:

  • Understanding the conflict: Research all aspects of the conflict profile to understand the context for conflict in any given situation (hotspot mapping, community attitudes, spatial and temporal characteristics, etc.)
  • Mitigation: Reducing the impacts of HWC after it occurs (compensation, insurance, alternative livelihoods, etc.)
  • Response: Addressing an ongoing HWC incident (response teams, reporting mechanisms, standard operating procedures, etc.)
  • Prevention: Stopping or preventing HWC before it occurs (fences, early detection tools, safe working environments, etc.)
  • Policy: Enabling HWC management through protocols, principles, provisions, and measures stipulated in the legislation and undertaken by authorities (international and national law, national and local HWC management plans, spatial plans, etc.)
  • Monitoring: Measuring the performance and effectiveness of HWC management interventions over time (data collection, information sharing, adaptive management, etc.)

Short News Article

History (GS-I)

Who was Fatima Sheikh?

Recently, 192nd birth anniversary of Fatima Sheikh has been observed on 9th January which was Celebrated by Google doodle.


  • Fatima Sheikh was a pioneering teacher, anti-caste activist, proponent of girls’ education, and social reformer in 19th century Maharashtra.
  • Along with Savitribai and Jyotirao Phule, she started the first girls’ school in the country, in spite of loud, threatening opposition. 

Her contributions:

  • In 1848, Savitribai, Fatima and Jyotirao opened the first school for girls inside the premises of Fatima’s home in Pune.
  • Savitribai and Fatima took on the work of teaching a small group of girls.
  • Other schools for Dalits and women followed, with Fatima and Savitribai going to individual families across the town in attempts to persuade them into enrolling their children.

Polity and Governance (GS-II)

India, U.K sign and exchange letters for Young Professionals Scheme

The governments of India and the U.K. marked Pravasi Bharatiya Divas on January 9, 2023, and signed the Young Professionals Scheme.

About the scheme:

  • The agreement will permit up to 3,000 of their degree-holding citizens aged between 18 and 30 to live and work in each other’s countries for a period of two years.
  • The scheme was announced in November, 2022 at the G20 summit in Bali.
  • The scheme will commence in early 2023. Both India and UK will allow young professionals in their Countries to hold degree programs.
  • India is the first country to benefit from such a scheme, highlighting the strength of the UK-India Migration and Mobility Partnership agreed upon last year.
  • Objective: The Young Professionals Programme is a recruitment initiative aiming to improve geographical representation, and promote gender parity in the Organization at the international level.

Environment (GS-III)

U.N. says ozone layer slowly healing, hole to mend by 2066

Earth’s protective ozone layer is slowly but noticeably healing at a pace that would fully mend the hole over Antarctica in about 43 years, a new U.N. report says.

About the study:

  • As per the report, in the upper stratosphere and in the ozone hole is getting better.
  • A few years ago, emissions of one of the banned chemicals, chlorofluorocarbon-11 (CFC-11), stopped shrinking and were rising.
  • A third generation of those chemicals, called HFC, was banned a few years ago helped against the heat-trapping of greenhouse gas.
    • The new report says that the ban would avoid 0.5 to 0.9 degrees (0.3 to 0.5 degrees Celsius) of additional warming.
  • The report also warned that efforts to artificially cool the planet by putting aerosols into the atmosphere to reflect the sunlight would thin the ozone layer by as much as 20% in Antarctica.

Science and Technology (GS-III)

Global Science for Global Wellbeing' to be theme of National Science Day 2023

At the launch of the theme event of National Science Day 2023, science and Technology minister has mentioned that India has a global role and rising visibility in the international arena of science.

About the event:

  • National Science Day is celebrated every year on February 28 to commemorate the discovery of the ‘Raman Effect’.
  • Theme: ‘Global Science for Global Wellbeing’.

When National Science Day was first celebrated?

  • In 1986, the National Council for Science and Technology Communication (NCSTC) asked the Government of India to designate 28 February as National Science Day which the then Govt. of India accepted and declared the day as National Science Day in 1986.
  • The first National Science Day was celebrated on February 28, 1987.


Glimmer of hope


  • The Petitioners are looking for an authoritative ruling legalising same-sex marriage as the Supreme Court has transferred to itself petitions pending in several High Courts.

The Welcome move by SC:

  • Supreme Court’s directives for the Central Government:  A Bench of Chief Justices and other two judges Justices asked the Centre to file its reply to all the petitions on the issue by February 15 for legalising same-sex marriages in India.
  • The dilemma for inclusion: The question of whether it will be brought within the ambit of the Special Marriage Act of 1954, which allows civil marriage for couples who cannot marry under their personal law. 
  • Avoid discrimination: Article 16 tells that, Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to find a family.
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