What's New :

4th January 2023

How the Earth’s tilt creates short and cold January days?


Above the equator, winter officially begins in December, but in many areas, January is when it really takes hold which is mainly due to the earth’s tilt and it seems to be different for different locations on earth.

About the earth’s axial tilt:
  • Earth's axial tilt (also known as the obliquity of the ecliptic) is about 5 degrees.
  • Due to this axial tilt, the sun shines on different latitudes at different angles throughout the year.
  • The earth's spin axis is tilted with respect to its orbital plane.
  • This is what causes the seasons. When the earth's axis points towards the sun, it is summer for that hemisphere. When the earth's axis points away, winter can be expected.

How does the Earth’s orbit influence our daylight and temperatures?

  • As the Earth orbits the sun, it spins around an axis from the North Pole to the South Pole.
  • During the 24 hours that it takes for the Earth to rotate once around its axis, every point on its surface faces toward the Sun for part of the time and away from it for part of the time. This is what causes daily changes in sunlight and temperature.
  • There are two other important factors:
    • First, the Earth is round, although it’s not a perfect sphere.
    • Second, its axis is tilted about 23.5 degrees relative to its path around the Sun.
  • As a result, light falls directly on its equator but strikes the North and South poles at angles.
  • When one of the poles points more toward the Sun than the other pole, that half of the planet gets more sunlight than the other half, and it’s summer in that hemisphere.
  • When that pole tilts away from the Sun, that half of the Earth gets less sunlight and it’s winter there.

What happens on earth due to the tilt?

  • Existence of seasons: As the Earth orbits the Sun, sunlight strikes the surface at varying angles because of the planet’s tilt. This creates seasons.
  • The four seasons can be determined by the solstices (the point of maximum axial tilt toward or away from the Sun) and the equinoxes (when the direction of tilt and the Sun are perpendicular).
  • In the northern hemisphere, the winter solstice occurs around December 21st, the summer solstice around June 21st, the spring equinox around March 20th, and the autumnal equinox on or about September 22nd or 23rd.
  • In the southern hemisphere, the situation is reversed, with the summer and winter solstices exchanged and the spring and autumnal equinox dates swapped.
  • Changes in Wind directions: As the Earth rotates; air circulates around it in the atmosphere. Mostly, in the northern hemisphere, the air comes from the Arctic region which is comparably cold.
  • Distribution of Sunlight:
    • At Poles: Seasonal changes are the most dramatic at the poles, where the changes in light are the most extreme. During the summer, a pole receives 24 hours of sunlight and the Sun never sets. In the winter, the Sun never rises at all.
    • At the Equator: At the equator, which gets consistent direct sunlight, there’s very little change in day length or temperature year-round. People, who live in high and middle latitudes, closer to the poles, can have very different ideas about seasons from those who live in the tropics.

Why January is too cold?

  • Due to less solar radiation falling on the earth’s surface: Earth’s surface constantly absorbs energy from the Sun and stores it as heat. It also emits heat back into space.
  • Whether the surface is warming or cooling depends on the balance between how much solar radiation the planet is absorbing and how much it is radiating away.

New MoEFCC notification on fly ash includes solar, wind power plants for reclamation


In a new notification, the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) clarified the compliance dates for the complete utilisation of fly ash for thermal power plants (TPP) and the areas where fly ash is stored can also be reclaimed by setting up solar and wind power plants, along with plantations.

About the notification:
  • It stated that adding solar and wind power plants will exempt TPPs from fly ash utilisation.
  • It has also extended the time for utilisation to three years from a year starting April 1, 2022.

The thermal power plants are mandated to use fly ash bricks waste from Thermal Power Plants (TPPs) and reduce greenhouse emissions by reducing dependency on red bricks that use topsoil and pollute the environment.

What is Fly ash?

  • Fly ash is a particulate material produced from the combustion of coal in thermal power plants.
  • Fly ash finds its potential in wastewater treatment owing to its chemical composition and its physical properties such as surface area, porosity, and particle size distribution.
  • Fly ash acts as a good neutralizer due to its alkaline nature.

Why it is a cause of concern?

  • Huge production of fly ash is leading to its disposal problems and hence methods are being studied for its use/disposal.
  • Many researchers have used fly ashes as adsorbents for wastewater or air pollutants control.

How it is managed by Thermal power plants?

  • Used for reclamation of degraded land: Fly ash (FA), a coal combustion residue of thermal power stations—has been recognized as a soil ameliorator throughout the world.
    • It contains essential plant micro- and macronutrients and unique physicochemical properties.
    • Besides, several hazardous substances, such as metal (loid) s, organic pollutants, and radioactive elements, are present in Fly Ash.
    • FA disposal on land leads to unwanted changes in soil systems, including contamination with hazardous pollutants.
    • The practical value of FA application in the land offers extensive chances in soil systems, mainly for nutrient supplementation, pH correction, and ameliorating soil physical conditions.

In general, nitrogen and organic carbon are absent in FA.

  • For making brick: Fly ash brick (FAB) is composed primarily of a mixture of FA and lime which gains strength via the pozzolanic reaction between the materials to produce hydration products.
  • FAB could also be cured in an autoclave or via steam curing to accelerate the strength gain.

Hate speech denies right to dignity


The Public functionaries and other persons of influence, and celebrities, having regard to their reach, real or apparent and the authority and impact they wield on the public, owe a duty to the citizenry at large to be more responsible and restrained in their speech.

About the freedom of speech:
  • India does not have a formal legal framework for dealing with hate speech.
  • India prohibits hate speech through several sections of the Indian Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure, and other laws which put limitations on the freedom of expression.
  • Constitutionally, Article 19 gives all citizens the right to freedom of speech and expression but the said freedom of expression is subject to "reasonable restrictions" for preserving inter alia "public order, decency or morality".

The extent of free speech available to public functionaries:

  • Speech must be exercised with consciousness: Every citizen of India must consciously be restrained in speech, and exercise the right to freedom of speech and expression under Article 19(1) (a) only in the sense that it was intended by the framers of the Constitution, to be exercised.
  • Freedom of speech vs. right to dignity: The content of Article 19(1)(a) which does not vest with citizens unbridled liberty to utter statements which are vitriolic, derogatory, unwarranted, have no redeeming purpose and which, in no way amount to the communication of ideas.

What comes under hate speech?

  • There is no international legal definition of hate speech, and the notion of what constitutes "hateful" speech is debatable.
  • Hate speech is defined as any form of communication, whether spoken, written, or physical, that criticizes or discriminates against a person or a group based on their religion, ethnicity, nationality, race, colour, descent, gender, or other identity factors.

Legal Provisions of Hate Speech in India:

  • Responsible speech is the essence of the liberty granted under Article 21 of the Constitution.
  • Article 19(2)of the Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and expression to all citizens of India.
  • Hate speech has not been defined in any law in India. However, legal provisions in certain legislations prohibit select forms of speech as an exception to freedom of speech.

Legislations around Hate speech:

The Indian Penal Code, 1860 (hereinafter IPC);

  • Section 124A IPC penalises sedition
  • Section 153A IPC penalises ‘promotion of enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony’.
  • Section 153B IPC penalises ‘imputations, and assertions prejudicial to national integration.
  • Section 295A IPC penalises ‘deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs’.
  • Section 298 IPC penalises ‘uttering, words, etc., with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person’.
  • Section 505(1) and (2) IPC penalises the publication or circulation of any statement, rumour or report causing public mischief and enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes

Concerns associated:

  • Misuse of Laws: Lower conviction rates for these provisions indicate that the process where a police officer can arrest without a warrant is often the punishment.
  • Violation of free speech: Critics have pointed out that these laws are intended for the state to step in and restore “public order” rather than protect free speech.
  • Vague terms in the law: The broad, vague terms in the laws are often invoked in their misuse.
  • Old-aged Laws: Section 295A lies in the communally charged atmosphere of North India in the 1920s.

Way forward:

  • Section 295A was passed in a different societal paradigm but as society has changed the law needs to change as well. If the law still reflects the ghosts of the past then there is no need for that law.
  • Section 295A needs to change to accommodate both religious sentiments and freedom of expression in a harmonious manner.
  • Rights of the individual need to be given the same importance as the right of the community. 


Home Ministry order on Ladakh Committee is vague, say members


A few members from the high-powered committee, constituted by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) have held the notification by Ladakh committee as vague and does not address their demand for inclusion under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.

Background of the issue:

  • Separation from J&K: On August 5, 2019, the former State of Jammu & Kashmir was bifurcated into two Union Territories — Jammu & Kashmir, and Ladakh, the latter without a Legislative Assembly.
  • Demand of UT: Buddhist-dominated Leh district had long demanded UT status because it felt neglected by the erstwhile state government, which was dominated by politicians from Kashmir and Jammu.
  • Demand for inclusion in Sixth Schedule: Since then, the civil society and political groups in Ladakh have been demanding inclusion under the sixth schedule of the Constitution to protect the land, employment, and cultural identity of Ladakh.

About the committee:

  • It is a 17-member committee that includes Ladakh Lieutenant Governor.
  • It was constituted to discuss measures:
    • to protect the region’s unique culture and language.
    • for inclusive development and employment generation in the region
    • issues related to the empowerment of Ladakh Autonomous Hill District Councils of Leh and Kargil.

What is the sixth schedule?

  • The Sixth Schedule under Article 244 provides for the formation of autonomous administrative divisions — Autonomous District Councils (ADCs) — that have some legislative, judicial, and administrative autonomy within a state.
  • The Sixth Schedule applies to the Northeastern states of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram (three Councils each), and Tripura (one Council).
    • The schedule protects tribal populations providing autonomy to the communities through the creation of autonomous development councils which can frame laws on land, public health, and agriculture.
  • The Sixth Schedule entails constitutional safeguards for tribal areas; nearly 80% of Ladakh’s population is tribal, according to the Census 2011.

Need of Inclusion in Sixth Schedule:

  • The changed domicile policy in Jammu and Kashmir has raised fears in the region about its own land, employment, demography, and cultural identity.
  • The UT has two Hill councils in Leh and Kargil, but neither is under the Sixth Schedule.
  • Their powers are limited to the collection of some local taxes such as parking fees and allotment and use of land vested by the Centre.

Difficulty Behind Ladakh’s Inclusion:

  • Ladakh’s inclusion in the Sixth Schedule would be difficult. The Constitution is very clear, the Sixth Schedule is for the Northeast.
    • For tribal areas in the rest of the country, there is the Fifth Schedule.
    • 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.
  • However, it remains the prerogative of the government, it can, if it so decides, bring a Bill to amend the Constitution for this purpose.

No need for extra curbs on the free speech of Ministers: SC


The Supreme Court has ruled that a government cannot be held responsible for remarks made by its ministers even if the statement relates to affairs of the state.


More about the news:

  • Supreme Court's five judges Constitution Bench in a 4:1 majority has held that:
  • Additional restrictions, not found in Article 19(2), cannot be imposed on the exercise of the right to free speech under Article 19(1)(a) of the Minister.
  • The grounds mentioned in Article 19(2) for restricting free speech are exhaustive.

Majority verdict:

  • The Court by a 4:1 majority added that statements made by the Minister, even if traceable to any affairs of state or protecting the govt, cannot be attributed vicariously to the govt even applying the principle of collective responsibility.

Dissenting Opinion:

  • In case a Minister makes disparaging statements in his "official capacity", then such statements can be vicariously attributed to the government.
  • Only if the statements of the Ministers are stray remarks not consistent with a stand of govt then it would be treated as a personal remark.
  • It is for parliament in its wisdom to enact a law to restrain public functionaries from making disparaging remarks against fellow citizens bearing in mind 19(1)(a) and 19(2).

What is Collective Responsibility?

  • Collective responsibility refers to a constitutional convention in parliamentary systems that requires cabinet members to openly support all governmental decisions taken in Cabinet, even if they do not agree with them privately.
  • It has long been a guiding precept of India's parliamentary government.
  • Collective responsibility implies that council ministers can make decisions for their own departments.
  • It also implies that they are held accountable to the parliament in the event of any repercussions.
  • The Principle of Collective Responsibility is the cornerstone of the Parliamentary form of government.
  • Collective accountability is seen as a factor that ensures that central government ministers are held accountable for the repercussions of their actions and charges.
  • The crucial articles that guarantee ministers have individual decision-making ability are Article 75 (3) and Article 164 (3).
  • There are two basic components to collective responsibility.
    • The first is the notion that ministers should be able to conduct open and honest conversations before reaching a consensus, and that these deliberations should be kept private.
    • Second, once a cabinet position has been agreed upon, all ministers are required to follow it and vote with the government or resign from their positions

Article 19(1)(a):

  • Freedom of speech and expression, provides every citizen with the right to express one’s views, opinions, beliefs, and convictions freely by word of mouth, writing, printing, picturing, or in any other manner.

Article 19(2):

  • It confers the right on the State to impose reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the freedom of speech and expression on the grounds of:
    • Sovereignty and integrity of India,
    • Security of the state,
    • Friendly relations with foreign states,
    • Public order, decency, or morality,
    • Contempt of court, defamation, and incitement to an offense.
  • Justice Ramasubramanian Observation: In a country like ours, where there is a multi­party system and where coalition governments are often formed, it is not possible at all times for a Prime Minister/Chief Minister to take the whip whenever a statement is made by someone in the Council of Ministers.

Preventing animal cruelty is a duty of the state


A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court of India will soon deliver its verdict on the validity of Tamil Nadu’s law permitting the practice of jallikattu in the State.

About Jallikattu:
  • A tradition over 2,000 years old, Jallikattu is a competitive sport as well as an event to honour bull owners who rear them for mating.
  • It is a violent sport in which contestants try to tame a bull for a prize; if they fail, the bull owner wins the prize.

Importance in Tamil Culture:

  • Jallikattu is considered a traditional way for the peasant community to preserve their pure-breed native bulls.
  • At a time when cattle breeding is often an artificial process, conservationists and peasants argue that Jallikattu is a way to protect these male animals which are otherwise used only for meat if not for ploughing.

Legal Interventions on Jallikattu:

  • In 2011, the Centre added bulls to the list of animals whose training and exhibition are prohibited.
  • In 2014, in Animal Welfare Board of India v. A. Nagaraja, a two-judge Bench of the Supreme Court declared jallikattu illegitimate.
  • Since then, Tamil Nadu has made efforts to resurrect the sport’s legality.
  • In A. Nagaraja, the court had held that jallikatu, in and by itself, amounted to a violation of the existing provisions of the PCA Act, and the fundamental duty contained in Article 51A(g).
  • Article 51A(g) requires citizens “to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers, and wildlife, and to have compassion for living creatures.”
    • The court held, that the effect of this violation, had a direct bearing on the right to life contained in Article 21.

Current Legal Position on Jallikattu:

  • The state government has legalized these events, which have been challenged in court.
  • In 2018, the Supreme Court referred the Jallikattu case to a Constitution Bench, where it is pending now.

Conflict to be Resolved:

  • Whether the Jallikattu tradition can be protected as a cultural right of the people of Tamil Nadu is a fundamental right.
  • Article 29 (1) against the Rights of animals.
  • Article 29 (1) mandates that “any section of the citizens residing in the territory of India or any part thereof having a distinct language, script or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same”.

Position in Other States for Similar Sports:

  • Karnataka too passed a law to save a similar sport, called ‘Kambala’.
  • Except in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, where bull-taming and racing continue to be organized, these sports remain banned in all other states including Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, and Maharashtra due to the 2014 ban order from the Supreme Court.

Animal rights and safety:

  • None of the guarantees contained in Part III of the Constitution, which deals with fundamental rights, are explicitly conferred on animals.
  • Therefore, when efforts to legislate on animal welfare were first made, it came from a more elementary ethical precept that it was morally wrong to inflict unnecessary pain and suffering on animals.
  • It was with this vision in mind that Parliament enacted the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCA Act), in 1960.

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCA Act), 1960:

  • It discusses different forms of cruelty, exceptions, and killing of a suffering animal in case any cruelty has been committed against it, so as to relieve it from further suffering.
  • This Act provides punishment for causing unnecessary cruelty and suffering to animals. The Act defines animals and different forms of animals.

Shortcomings of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCA Act), 1960:

  • While it criminalizes several types of actions that cause cruelty to animals, it exempts, for example, from its coverage the use of animals for experiments with a view to securing medical advancement.


It is crucial for India to embrace multi-domain operations


  • The threat from the technical advancement of China has brought the concept of multi-domain operations (MDO) to the focus.

Understanding multi-domain operations

  • Multi-domain operations (MDO): It comprises operations conducted across multiple domains and contested spaces through the convergence of capabilities with operational and/or tactical predicaments.
  • What does it mean: This means having a common operating picture across all domains which forms the basis to decide the best tool to address a given task. The best-positioned and capable operator of any service can act across any domain.

MDO Architecture & C3 Structure

  • Understanding MDO and C3: This architecture uses any sensor and the best-positioned shooter to accomplish objectives; it requires the command, control, and communication (C3) structure well in place.
  • How will it work: MDO and its C3 structure would have inputs from all sensors to come up with an optimum engagement solution using artificial intelligence.
  • Three Essential Features: All sensors must have the ability to be hosted on MDO architecture; executors must be able to receive inputs from the MDO C3 structure; and distributed control in case of communication disruption.
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QUIZ - 4th January 2023

Mains Question:

Question: Explain Earth’s axial tilt and its impacts on earth’s atmosphere. How earth’s axial tilt is responsible for longer nights and shorter day time during winters in Northern Hemisphere?

Question Mapping

  • Subject: Geography (GS-III)
    • Sub-topic:  Important Geophysical phenomena of Earth


  • Introductionwith explaining the earth’s tilt, its shape and rotation on its axis.
  • Explain the current tilt of Earth’s axis causes seasons on earth varying for Northern and southern hemisphere.
  • Here explain the impact of this tilt on the duration of day and night of Earth.
  • Conclude with the overall effect of change in duration of day and night on vegetation and humans at different locations on earth.

Verifying, please be patient.

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