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18th March 2024 (11 Topics)

18th March 2024

QUIZ - 18th March 2024

5 Questions

5 Minutes


Kerala will soon challenge the legality of President Droupadi Murmu withholding her assent for the Bills that were passed by the Kerala Legislature before the Supreme Court. The President had withheld assent to Kerala University Laws Bill 2022, University Law Amendment Bill, 2022, and the University Law Amendment Bill, 2021 from the seven Bills that were referred to her.

1: Dimension-Significance of the move

  • The problem of delay in according assent to Bills passed by the legislature is a burning issue that confronts Indian polity.
  • The unusual move of the Kerala Government will open doors for a Constitutional debate on the scope of a judicial review of the decisions of the President of India.
  • The State would contend that the legality of the President’s decisions and the factors that influenced it can be judicially reviewed.
  • The State plans to bring up the issue before the Supreme Court. The state would argue:
    • Governor should not have referred the Bills to the President as its subject matters were confined to the State List of the Constitution where the State has powers to legislate.
    • None of the Bills were in conflict with any Central legislation.
    • The Bills did not belong to the special categories for which prior Presidential assent was required, sources pointed out.

2: Dimension-Impact of the Delay

  • Political implications: The object of every legislation is public good, which is defeated by delay. Delay may also have political implications for the party in power in the State.
  • Unfulfilled objectives: By such delay, fulfilment of laudable objectives sought to be achieved by the legislation gets delayed or even be defeated.
  • Affected Centre-State Relations: The Union is not affected by such delay or inaction. It is the interests of the State that are jeopardized. Centre-State relations may also be adversely affected.

Fact Box: Assent to the Bill

  • When a Bill passed by both Houses of the Legislature is presented to the Governor for his assent, he is empowered under Article 200 of the Constitution to exercise any of four alternatives —
    • to give assent
    • withhold assent
    • return the Bill to the Legislative Assembly for reconsideration
    • reserve it for the consideration of the President
  • The President may either give or withhold his assent to a Money Bill. A Money Bill cannot be returned to the House by the President for reconsideration.
  • Also, the President is bound to give his assent to Constitution Amendment Bill passed by Parliament by the prescribed special majority and, where necessary, ratified by the requisite number of State Legislatures.
  • However, no timeline has been outlined for the President to decide on the outcome of a Bill. There is, however, a time period of six months prescribed for the State Assembly to reconsider a Bill if the President decides to refer it back to the House.


In a recent study, researchers analysed more than 500 future emissions scenarios the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessed in its latest reports. The study found that across all 556 scenarios, income, energy-use, and emissions disparities between developed and developing countries are projected to continue up to 2050.

1: Dimension- Significance of ‘Equity’

  • The principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities are enshrined in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
  • These principles recognise that while tackling climate change requires global action, richer countries are better placed to shoulder bigger climate action responsibilities than poorer ones.
  • By viewing climate action solely through the lens of global-level technical and economic feasibility, mitigation pathways often run counter to equity principles.
  • Equity in this sense would imply that developed regions need to accelerate towards net negative emissions and make the remaining carbon budget available to other less developed regions. However, the scenarios project precisely the
  • Thus, the construction of IPCC scenarios will need to be both equitable and environmentally sound.

2: Dimension-Equities in IPCC Report

  • The study assessed 556 scenarios in IPCC’s AR6 report and found they project that per-capita GDP across Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, West Asia and the rest of Asia, which together constitute 60% of the world’s population, will be below the global average even in 2050.
  • They spotted similar inequities between the Global North and the Global South vis-à-vis the consumption of goods and services and both energy and fossil fuel consumption.
  • The scenarios were also found to project higher carbon sequestration from land-based carbon sinks (like forests) and higher deployment of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies in developing countries compared to developed ones.
  • Thus, poorer countries would bear the burden of both mitigation action and carbon dioxide removal and CCS.


Children of the Lisu and Singpho communities in Arunachal Pradesh and Assam are named according to the order they are born in the family, incorporating numbers into their names.


About the Numbering Tradition

  • Numbering names is a tradition in Lisu and Singpho communities.
  • Lisu boys and girls have separate sets of numbered names to indicate the order of their birth.
  • The eldest girl in a family has Ana in her name, and the ones after her are called Angyi, Acha, Ado, Achhi, Ata, Akhu, Agu, Aju, and Apshi, for a tenth daughter.

Lisu and Singpho communities

  • The Lisus belong to the Tibeto-Burman family and inhabit the contiguous hilly regions of Arunachal Pradesh, China, Myanmar, and Thailand. They number about 5,000 in India.
  • The Singphos is an ethnic group inhabiting 27 countries, including China’s Yunnan province. In India, they mostly inhabit the Changlang and Namsai districts of Arunachal Pradesh, and the Tinsukia district of Assam.
  • The Lisus and Singphos have similar usage of numbers in their names, probably because they belong to the Wunpong group, which has four more communities in the Kachin State of Myanmar.


The President has appointed Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu, both retired IAS officers, as Election Commissioners (ECs) to fill up two vacancies in the three-member Election Commission of India under the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Act, 2023.

The new Selection Process

  • The CEC and ECs are appointed by the President of Indiaon the recommendation of a selection committee.
  • Selection Committee: In terms of the new law, the two ECs were selected by a three-member Selection Committee, comprising
    • Prime Minister (Narendra Modi)
    • Union Home Minister (Amit Shah)
    • Leader of the largest party in the Opposition (Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury)
  • Eligibility criteria: Eligibility for the posts includes holding (or having held) a post equivalent to the Secretary to the central government. The CEC and ECs must:
    • be persons of integrity,
    • have knowledge and experience in the management and conduct of elections, and
    • be or have been Secretary (or equivalent) to the government
  • Term and reappointment: Members of the Election Commission hold office for six years, or until they attain the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier. 
    • Members of the Commission cannot be re-appointed. If an EC is appointed as a CEC, the overall period of the term may not be more than six years.


India accounts for 17% of all diabetes patients in the world. To combat this huge percentage of non-communicable disease burden requires prevention and early detection. One of the most commonly-used tests to diagnose pre-diabetes and diabetes, is the haemoglobin A1C (HbA1C) test.


About haemoglobin A1C (HbA1C) test

  • Sugar enters bloodstream from the food. The sugar, or glucose, attaches to the haemoglobin in red blood cells.
  • Haemoglobin is a protein that transports oxygen to all the cells of the body.
  • Everybody has some sugar attached to their haemoglobin. Those with pre-diabetes and diabetes, however, have more.
  • The HbA1C test measures the percentage of red blood cells that have sugar-coated, or glycated, haemoglobin.

Data Box:

  • India is estimated to have 10.13 crore people with diabetes, and another 13.6 crore people who are pre-diabetic.
  • This apart, over 35% of Indians suffer from hypertension and nearly 40% from abdominal obesity, both of which are risk factors for diabetes.


Researchers have put together a new camera with the ability to view the world like animals do. The device can even reveal what colours different animals see in motion.


  • Organisms with the ability to see have two or more eyes that capture light reflected by different surfaces in their surroundings and turn it into visual cues.
  • But while all eyes have this common purpose, the specialised cells that respond to the light, called photoreceptors, are unique to each animal. For instance,
    • Human eyes can only detect wavelengths of light between 380 and 700 nanometres (nm); this is the visible range.
    • Honey bees and many birdson the other hand can also ‘see’ ultraviolet light (10-400 nm).
  • Animals use colours to intimidate their predators, entice mates or conceal themselves. Detecting variations in colours is thus essential to an animal’s survival.
  • Animals have evolved to develop highly sensitive photoreceptors that can detect light of ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths; many even notice polarised light as part of their Umwelt.
    • Umwelt is the biological systems that make a specific system of meaning-making and communication possible.


Researchers at Google DeepMind have developed an AI, a Scalable Instructable Multiworld Agent, or SIMA, which can play nine different video games and virtual environments it hasn’t seen before using just the video feed from the game.

What is SIMA?

  • SIMA, a versatile AI agent capable of following natural language instructions across a wide range of 3D virtual environments, from bespoke research settings to complex commercial video games.
  • This research marks the first time an AI system has demonstrated the ability to ground language in perception and action at such a broad scale.





Assent to Bills

Assent to Bills is the process by which the President of India gives approval to a bill that the legislature has passed.



Diabetes is a condition that happens when blood sugar (glucose) is too high. It develops when pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin or any at all, or when the body isn’t responding to the effects of insulin properly.


Foreign portfolio investment (FPI)

Foreign portfolio investment (FPI) is securities and other assets passively held by foreign investors, allowing individuals to invest overseas.


Money Bill

A money bill is a specific type of financial legislation that exclusively deals with matters related to taxes, government revenues, or expenditures. It can be introduced only in the Lok Sabha (the lower house of the Parliament) and not in the Rajya Sabha (the upper house).


Multispectral photography

Multispectral photography, also known as multispectral imaging (MSI), is a technique that captures images of an object in different bands of the light spectrum, beyond what humans can see.


State list

The state list of the Indian constitution includes subjects that are of interest to the local and the state. Public health, Police, Forest, Health and so on are some of the subjects included in the state list of the Indian Constitution.


Three years after the military coup in Myanmar in 2021, the situation in the country remains dire, with ongoing conflict, displacement of millions, and suppression of independent media.

The Situation on the Ground:

  • Suppression of media: Following the coup, independent media outlets in Myanmar faced severe repression, leading to the exodus of journalists seeking refuge in neighboring countries.
  • Security threats: The conflict has not only affected Myanmar citizens but also destabilized the entire region, posing security threats and humanitarian challenges to neighboring countries.
  • Collapse of rule of law in Myanmar has given rise to increased criminal activities, further exacerbating the challenges faced by both Myanmar and its neighboring countries.

ASEAN's Struggle for Stability:

  • ASEAN’s role: International stakeholders, including the United States, the United Nations, and the European Union, have looked to ASEAN to play a leading role in resolving the conflict in Myanmar.
  • Constant escalation: Despite ASEAN's efforts, including a five-point consensus, the conflict has escalated over the past three years, with the emergence of numerous resistance groups.
  • Comprehensive approach: The failure to achieve substantive progress in resolving the conflict underscores the need for a comprehensive approach focused on achieving democratic governance in Myanmar and ensuring stability in the region.

The Independent Media's Resilience:

  • Ground reporting: Despite facing violence and intimidation, Myanmar's independent media continues to report on the ground, operating primarily from neighboring countries.
  • Independent Press Council: Efforts are underway to establish an Independent Press Council to counter the state-controlled Myanmar Press Council and uphold press freedom.
  • Peace: As policymakers grapple with finding a solution to the conflict, it is crucial to prioritize support for independent media and the aspirations of the Myanmar people for a peaceful, stable, and democratic post-junta Myanmar.
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Pakistan's political landscape sees Shehbaz Sharif, leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), becoming Prime Minister in a coalition government with the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), amid allegations of military interference and electoral manipulation.

The Military's Interference:

  • Allegations of military interference in Pakistan's electoral process have sparked widespread anger, with accusations that the army-backed prime ministerial candidate, Shehbaz Sharif, was selected rather than elected.
  • Significant concerns: Despite previous instances of military interference in politics, the recent election manipulation has raised significant concerns both domestically and internationally.
  • Cycle of political instability: The military's intervention not only undermines democratic principles but also perpetuates a cycle of political instability and weak civilian governance in Pakistan, posing challenges for regional stability in South Asia.

The Military's Strategic Benefits:

  • Pliant leader & easy control: Such selection benefits the military by ensuring a pliant leader who is less likely to challenge their authority and maintains ties with key international partners, including Western countries, China, and Saudi Arabia.
  • Curtailed citizens’ rights: It leads to increased repression of dissent, targeting journalists, activists, and minority communities, exacerbating human rights abuses and curtailing freedom of expression.
  • Loss for the People: Ultimately, the military's interference not only undermines democratic governance but also infringes upon the rights and freedoms of the Pakistani people, perpetuating a cycle of authoritarianism and repression.
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The rapid advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AI) models has sparked discussions about its potential impact on human progress, especially with the looming possibility of Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) that could mimic human capabilities.

AI and Electoral Landscape:

  • Consideration: The upcoming general elections in India, along with those scheduled in numerous other countries, highlight the need to consider the influence of AI on electoral dynamics.
  • Opportunities and challenges: Technological advancements in AI, particularly Generative AI, present both opportunities and challenges in the electoral process, raising concerns about its potential impact.
  • Tackling AI 'Determinism': The proliferation of AI technologies facilitates the spread of disinformation and misinformation (hyper-realistic Deep Fakes), posing a significant challenge in electoral contexts.

India's Handling of AI:

  • Dual challenge: As a digitally advanced nation, India faces the dual challenge of harnessing the benefits of AI while remaining vigilant against its potential disruptions.
  • Preventive measures: While awareness of AI's disruptive nature is essential, democracies need to implement measures to prevent AI-driven tactics from distorting electoral processes and influencing voter behavior.
  • Responsible behaviour: India's expertise in digital technologies positions it uniquely to navigate the complexities of AI, but policymakers must tread carefully to ensure AI's responsible and beneficial integration into society.
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