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26th March 2024 (13 Topics)

26th March 2024

QUIZ - 26th March 2024

5 Questions

5 Minutes


India’s total fertility rate (TFR) is projected to decline to 1.29 children per woman by 2050 and slip further to 1.04 by 2100, according to a recent study by Lancet on global fertility rates.

Key-findings of the Lancet Study

  • The study suggests that India’s TFR, or the average number of children born to a woman, has been seeing a decline over the last century, with the fertility rate falling from 6.18 children per woman in 1950 to a projected 1.29 children per woman by 2050. 
  • The study stated that India has already fallen below the replacement level of fertility, required for a population to exactly replace one generation with another.
  • In 2021, India’s TFR was at 1.91 children per woman, below the necessary replacement fertility level of 2.1. 
  • The decline in TFR is in line with global trends, stating that its estimates forecast a decline in fertility rates all around the globe, over the coming century.

1: Dimension-Reasons behind the fall in the fertility rate

  • Delayed marriages: With the delay in the age of marriage, the average age of first pregnancy has dropped from the mid-20’s to mid to late 30’s.  
  • Women’s workforce participation: An increase in female literacy and women’s workforce participation leads to busy lifestyles in urban areas and high stress jobs. It leads people to not consider having children at all.
  • Other factors: The decline in fertility rates is also influenced by factors such as extreme shifts in the global distribution of live births due to:
    • improved female education
    • increasing usage of modern contraception methods

2: Dimension-Implications for the Economy

  • Imbalance: Such a trend will pose challenges such as an ageing population, labour force shortages, and potential social imbalances due to gender preferences in the country. 
  • Burdened economy: The plummeting fertility rate in developed or high-income countries may result in an ageing population, burdening national health insurance, social security programmes, and healthcare infrastructure.
  • Political instability and security difficulties: While the declining fertility rates might appear as a green signal for the environment, the uneven concentration of live births can lead to tense situations across the globe.

3: Dimension-Required Measures

  • Economic policies that stimulate growth and job creation, alongside social security and pension reforms are essential in adapting to and mitigating the impacts of declining fertility rates.
  • Higher male engagement in household activities: For women to be able to manage careers with motherhood, it would be crucial for men to take greater responsibility for household and care work.

Fact Box: Replacement Level

  • For a population to remain stable, a TFR of 2.1 children per woman is required, known as the replacement level.
  • When the fertility rate falls below the replacement level, populations begin to shrink. In India, the replacement level is 2.1. 


India is preparing to replace the minimum wage with living wage by 2025 and has sought technical assistance from the International Labour Organization (ILO) to create a framework for estimating and operationalising these.

1: Dimension- Issues in India’s Minimum Wage Rate

  • Disparities among states: In India, the disparity in minimum wage rates across states poses a challenge for foreign companies seeking to establish offices or facilities within the country.
    • Unlike implementing a uniform national standard, each state in India sets its minimum wage, contributing to complexities for businesses navigating the diverse regulatory landscape.
  • Ineffective implementation of Acts: The minimum wage regulation fell under the jurisdiction of the Minimum Wages Act of 1948. Although India notified the Code on Wages Act in 2019, trying to replace four labor regulations, including the Payment of Wages Act of 1936, the Payment of Bonus Act of 1965, and the Equal Remuneration Act of 1976, in addition to the Minimum Wages Act of 1948, the Code on Wages Act has not been implemented since notification.
  • Type of employment: Of the nearly 500 million strong workforce, most of them are employed with the unorganised sector, this segment falls outside the purview of scrutiny. As a result of which, in many cases even the conditions of a minimum wage are not met.

2: Dimension- Significance of the Shift and Multidimensional Approach

  • Integrating health, education, and living standards into the calculation of living wages strengthens India’s national poverty assessment framework that employs multidimensional indicators.
  • There is need for a comprehensive evaluation encompassing economic, social, and demographic factors to determine an equitable living wage standard tailored to the nation’s development trajectory.
  • With over 500 million workers in India’s labor force, the transition to living wages represents a monumental step towards socioeconomic equality and sustainable growth.

Fact Box

About Living Wage

  •  According to ILO, a living wage level is deemed essential to ensure workers and their families can maintain a decent standard of living, considering the specific circumstances of each country.
  • A living wage is calculated based on the work performed during regular working hours, adhering to the organization's principles for estimating such wages.

About Minimum Wage

  • Minimum wage in simpler terms is the stipulated lower base of compensation that an employer is supposed to pay the employee.
  • Here the primary unit is the amount accrued in an hour.
  • An employer cannot make a payment below that mark.

Fair Wage

  • Fair Wage comes after minimum wage, it lies between the minimum wage and the living wage.
  • It surpasses the minimum threshold yet falls below what's required for a living standard.
  • While the minimum wage sets the baseline, the upper boundary of a fair wage is determined by the industry's financial capability to compensate.


Activists from Kodagu have urged the state government to put an end to the large-scale commercialization of land in the Cauvery River catchment area, noting that the rampant land use change has affected the water inflow to the river.


About Kaveri River

  • Kaveri River, sacred river of southern India.
  • It rises on Brahmagiri Hill of the Western Ghats in southwestern Karnataka state, flows in a southeasterly direction for 475 miles (765 km) through the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, and descends the Eastern Ghats in a series of great falls.
  • Before emptying into the Bay of Bengal south of Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu, the river breaks into a large number of distributaries forming a wide delta called the “garden of southern India.”
  • Known to devout Hindus as Daksina Ganga (“Ganges of the South”), the Kaveri River is celebrated for its scenery and sanctity in Tamil literature, and its entire course is considered holy ground.


The European Union is investigating Apple, Google, and Meta for potential violations of the new Digital Markets Act, which aims to curb the power of big tech companies and create a more level playing field for smaller businesses.


About Digital Markets Act (DMA)

  • The DMA is a groundbreaking European law aiming to prevent large online platforms that connect consumers with content, goods, and services from abusing their market power.
  • The DMA aims to ensure contestable and fair markets in the digital sector.
  • It regulates gatekeepers, which are large digital platforms that provide an important gateway between business users and consumers, whose position can grant them the power to create a bottleneck in the digital economy.
  • The European Commission believes that keeping the big internet companies in check can lead to more competition and choice, greater innovation, better quality, and lower prices.


China has introduced a new heavyweight in its aerial arsenal, the Z-20 attack helicopter, surpassing the capabilities of its predecessors, the Z-10 and Z-19, with a robust 10-tonne capacity.


  • The strategic addition of the Z-20, which is now being referred to as the Z-21 for its attack configuration, is viewed by military analysts as a crucial element in potential conflicts involving Taiwan or India.
  • Objective: to conduct close air support and airborne anti-armor missions.
  • Z-20 attack helicopter shares the characteristics of three aircraft: the American AH-64, the Russian Mi-28 attack helicopters, and the Z-20 medium utility helicopter.
  • Need of Z-20: The PLA currently employs both the Z-19 light attack/reconnaissance and the Z-10 medium attack helicopters in the attack helicopter role, but both lack the necessary firepower for them to fulfill the role.
  • The Z-19 and Z-10 are comparable to the OH-58 Kiowa and the AH-1Z helicopters, which are considered reconnaissance and light attack helicopters, respectively.


Marking a significant milestone for the Navy in three decades, India simultaneously deployed 11 conventional submarines for operations.

Conventional Submarines in India

  • Currently, India operates 16 conventional submarines, including five Kalvari-class (French Scorpene), four HDWs Shishumar-class (German Type-209) and seven Sindhugosh-class (Russian Kilo) submarines. An additional Scorpene class (Kalvari-class submarine) is still to be commissioned. 
  • Operational Availability:
    • Scorpene class: The Scorpene submarines are brand new, hence, their availability ratio is much higher.
    • HDWs (German): The German HDWs are the most reliable and high on performance. These submarines will last another 10-15 years.
    • Kilo-class (Russian): The Kilos are very good but their availability ratio is down. Also, they have undergone upgrades. Most of them were commissioned in the 1980s and one of them has already been decommissioned.


The Supreme Court has recently appointed an expert committee to look into the preservation of the Great Indian Bustard which is "non-negotiable" and "need for sustainable development in the context of meeting the international commitments of the country towards promoting renewable sources of energy.


About Great Indian Bustard

  • The Great Indian Bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps), is a bustard native to the Indian subcontinent. Bustards are large terrestrial birds found in dry grasslands and steppe regions. It is also known as the Indian Bustard; it is among the heaviest of flying birds in existence.
  • It is the State bird of Rajasthan and is considered India’s most critically endangered bird.
  • It is considered the flagship grassland speciesrepresenting the health of the grassland ecology.
  • Latest survey shows the number of GIB reached alarmingly to 150 including 25 GIBs in captive government’s breeding centre.
  • Protection Status:
    • International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List: Critically Endangered
    • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES): Appendix I
    • Convention on Migratory Species (CMS):Appendix I
    • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule 1
  • Factors led to these birds to the verge of extinction: Low birth rate, poaching, predation, ecological factors, frequent collisions with overhead power transmission lines and habitat destruction are some of the causes that have pushed these birds to the verge of extinction.


Researchers have named a new species of deep-sea isopod discovered off the Kollam coast after the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).


  • The tiny fish-parasitic crustacean, belonging to the genus Brucethoa, was recovered from the base of the gill cavity of the Spinyjaw greeneye, a marine fish.
  • The new species has been named Brucethoa isroin honour of the Indian space agency’s successful space missions, including the recent successful lunar mission titled Chandrayaan-3.
  • Brucethoa isro adds to the biodiversity of marine life in the Kollam coastal region.

Fact Box

Isopods are an order of invertebrates (animals without backbones) that belong to the greater crustacean group of animals, which includes crabs and shrimp.


Researchers unveiled two previously unknown species (Binturong and Small-clawed otter) within the dense forests of Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve. 


  • Binturong (Arctictis binturong):
    • The binturong, also known as the bearcat, is a mammal indigenous to South and Southeast Asia.
    • This elusive creature, known for its nocturnal behaviour and preference for arboreal habitats, is rarely encountered.
    • It is particularly scarce within its range, with its distribution in India limited to the Northeast.
    • Classified as a vulnerable species by the IUCN due to dwindling numbers, the binturong faces significant threats to its survival.
  • Small-clawed otter (Aonyx cinereus):
    • The small-clawed otter, recognised as the smallest otter species globally, boasts a widespread distribution that stretches from India across South and Southeast Asia to southern China.
    • This unique otter species is adapted to a variety of aquatic habitats, including rivers, streams, lakes, and wetlands, where they forage for fish, crustaceans, and other aquatic prey.
    • The species is included in Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 and is classified as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.

Fact Box: Kaziranga National Park

  • Location: Spread over Golaghat and Nagaon districts of Assam Kaziranga National Park lies at the edge of eastern Himalayas.
  • Origin: The park owes its existence to the conservation efforts of Mary Curzon and her husband Lord Curzon, then Viceroy of India.
  • It became a reserve forest in 1904 primarily to protect the declining population of Rhinos.
  • Assam National Park Act was passed by the Assam Government in 1968, declaring Kaziranga a designated national park with an area of 430 sq km.
  • Central Government recognized it as a national park in 1974.
  • Kaziranga National Park got the status of a tiger reserve in 2006
  • Kaziranga National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • The Kaziranga National Park in Assam is home to the threatened one-horned Rhino. 
  • Other important species: Wild Asiatic Water Buffalo and Eastern Swamp Deer, leopards, Royal Bengal Tigers, two of the largest snakes in the world (the Reticulated Python and Rock Python), King Cobra (the longest venomous snake in the world)





Conventional submarines

  • Conventional submarines are propelled by electric motors powered by batteries which are charged by diesel generators on board.


IUCN Red List

  • The International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species, also known as the IUCN Red List or Red Data Book, founded in 1964, is an inventory of the global conservation status and extinction risk of biological species.


Total fertility rate

  • Total fertility rate represents the number of children that would be born to a woman if she were to live to the end of her childbearing years and bear children in accordance with age-specific fertility rates of the specified year.


Vulnerable (VU)

  • Vulnerable (VU), a category containing those species that possess a very high risk of extinction as a result of rapid population declines of 30 to more than 50 percent over the previous 10 years (or three generations), a current population size of fewer than 1,000 individuals, or other factors


Renowned Carnatic musician T.M. Krishna has been awarded the prestigious Sangita Kalanidhi award by The Music Academy, Madras, sparking a polarized debate within the music community due to his dual role as an artist and activist.

Artistic Innovation and Activism:

  • Challenging orthodoxies:M. Krishna's artistry is marked by a blend of tradition and innovation, challenging orthodoxies while staying rooted in classical Carnatic music.
  • Inclusivity and social justice: As an activist, Krishna amplifies the voices of marginalized communities, challenging societal norms and advocating for inclusivity and social justice.
  • Traditional mix: His performances are characterized by a mix of traditional compositions and unconventional choices, provoking both admiration and controversy.

Reactions and Polarization:

  • Divide: The awarding of the Sangita Kalanidhi to Krishna has ignited a polarized response within the music community, with divisions along ideological and political lines.
  • Different versions: Some musicians and enthusiasts support Krishna's activism, seeing it as a necessary evolution of the art form, while others criticize him for allegedly politicizing classical music.
  • Societal division: The controversy highlights deeper societal divisions, including debates over caste, religion, and political ideology, reflecting broader tensions within Indian society.

The Role of the Artiste:

  • Role of artist in society: The debate surrounding Krishna's award underscores broader questions about the role of the artist in society and the intersection between art and activism.
  • Need to address issues: While some argue for the autonomy of art from politics, others advocate for artists to use their platform to address social issues and effect change.
  • Balance: Ultimately, the challenge lies in finding a balance between artistic expression and social responsibility, recognizing that art has the power to both reflect and shape society.
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Amidst the overshadowing conflict in Gaza and the subsequent strain on regional political dynamics in the Persian Gulf, the first anniversary of the China-mediated peace accord between Saudi Arabia and Iran in March 2023 went relatively unnoticed. The diplomatic focus and international attention remain captivated by the ongoing war in Gaza, underscoring the entanglement of various global actors and their vested interests in the region.

China's Mediation Efforts:

  • Positive portrayal of Xi Jinping's effort: Chinese President Xi Jinping's efforts to facilitate détente between Saudi Arabia and Iran are portrayed positively in China's state-controlled media, emphasizing China's advocacy for peace in the Middle East.
  • Endorsement of an international mediation organization: China endorses the establishment of an international mediation organization, backed by countries like Algeria, Pakistan, and Sudan, aiming to leverage its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to enhance its geopolitical influence.
  • Cautious approach in regional conflicts: Despite its absence from the Red Sea crisis and cautious approach, China's involvement in regional mediation reflects its strategic interest in safeguarding its economic interests while projecting an image of a responsible international actor.

Geopolitical Aims and Challenges:

  • Positioning as an alternative to Western interventionism: China seeks to position itself as an alternative to Western interventionism in the Middle East, aspiring to increase its geopolitical weight and challenge long-standing American influence.
  • Selective support for the Palestinian cause: However, China's selective support for the Palestinian cause and its reluctance to condemn Hamas demonstrate challenges in its mediation diplomacy and navigating complex regional dynamics.
  • Challenges in mediation diplomacy: China's cautious approach and limited involvement in high-stake conflicts reflect its risk-averse strategy and the absence of viable alternatives to Western-centric policies in the region.

China's Role as a Utilitarian Superpower:

  • Displacement of American hegemony: China's approach to regional mediation underscores its aspirations to displace American hegemony without fully committing to replace it, positioning itself as a 'soft hegemon' rather than an assertive superpower.
  • Perception of hollow mediation efforts: Despite its economic clout and strategic interests, China's mediation efforts are perceived as hollow, lacking substantive solutions to longstanding geopolitical flashpoints such as the Israel-Palestine conflict.
  • Utilitarian status as a superpower: China's role in the Middle East highlights its utilitarian status as a superpower, where it remains a hedging option for regional actors while grappling with challenges in offering viable alternatives to Western-centric policies.
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The Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019, has been notified and faces a legal challenge in the Supreme Court on grounds of violating Article 14 of the Constitution, which guarantees equality.

Classification Test:

  • Reasonable classification: The classical 'reasonable classification' test is used to judge violations of equality, assessing whether a clear distinction exists between classes and if it serves a legitimate governmental objective.
  • Exclusion: While the CAA's classification based on persecuted minorities from geographically connected nations may seem legally sound, concerns arise due to exclusions and the religious basis of discrimination.
  • Fail to capture the true essence of equality: The classification test, imported from the U.S., has become integral to equality jurisprudence but may not adequately address concerns of arbitrary exclusion based on religion.

Requirement for Comprehensive Understanding:

  • Re-understanding of equality: There's a need for a comprehensive re-understanding of equality under Article 14, beyond the traditional 'treating equals equally and unequals unequally' approach.
  • Opportunity to redefine: The Court should delve deeper into the state's justifications for exclusions and actively engage with values inherent in Article 14 to ensure constitutional promises are upheld.
  • Robust constitutionalism: By scrutinizing the Act's provisions against constitutional principles, the Court can ensure a clear distinction between inviolable rights and the criteria used to assess their infringement.
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