INDIAN POLITY AND CONSTITUTION
1. THE CONSTITUTION DAY
THE CONTEXT: On this day 73 years ago, the Constitution of India was adopted, coming into effect on January 26, 1950. Since 2015, the day has been observed as Constitution Day, or ‘Samvidhan Diwas’.
- The Constituent Assembly took two years, 11 months and 17 days to draft the Constitution for Independent India. During this period, it held 11 sessions covering 165 days, and its members submitted around 7,600 amendments to the draft Constitution.
- It was for good reasons that the drafting of India’s Constitution was such a mammoth exercise — it was to determine how a newly independent, newly dismembered nation would define and govern itself. As the exercise went on, many questions were raised about the Constitution, including over its approach to federalism, to the protection of minorities’ rights, and over the fact that it had borrowed heavily from other Constitutions around the world.
- Dr BR Ambedkar, the Constitution’s chief architect, addressed the criticism in his speech on November 4, 1948, when introducing the Draft Constitution in the Constituent Assembly. Here are his responses on four issues: on the draft Constitution being ‘unoriginal’, over its treatment of minorities, over it not representing the “ancient polity of India”; and on its approach to fundamental rights.
Few Interesting facts:
- The present-day Constitution of India was drafted by the then Chairman of the drafting committee, Dr B. R Ambedkar, B.N Rau (the Constitutional advisor to the Constituent Assembly), and Surendranath Mukherjee (the Chief Draftsman of the Constituent Assembly). The powers vested in the Constitution that was drafted were that it superseded the Government of India Act of 1935 and the Indian Independence Act of 1947.
- According to the preamble, the Constitution of India pursues the resolution taken as an oath to constitute India into a “Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic”. Sovereignty means supreme and ultimate power. The objectives of the preamble are to secure justice, liberty, and equality for all citizens. The signatories to the Constitution included Jawaharlal Nehru, Vallabhai Patel, and Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, including 284 constituent assembly members.
- The Chief Advisor of the Constitution was Sir Benegal Narsing Rau, an ICS who was the first Indian judge of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and President of the United Nations Security Council. Sir Rau had prepared the initial draft of the Constitution. Dr B. R Ambedkar acknowledged the contributions of Sir Rau in his speech on November 25, 1949.
Who decorated the original version of the Constitution?
Beohar Rammanohar Sinha and Nandalal Bose and artists from Shantiniketan.
Who was the calligrapher of the Constitution?
Prem Behari Narain Raizada.
SOCIAL ISSUES AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
2. MULTIDIMENSIONAL INTEGRATED STABILISATION MISSION IN MALI (MINUSMA)
THE CONTEXT: India has decided to send a utility helicopter unit to the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). Bangladesh and Pakistan will each send an armed helicopter unit to this operation.
What is MINUSMA?
- The Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) is a United Nations peacekeeping mission that was set up in 2013 by the UNSC to stabilize the western African country after the 2012 Tuareg rebellion.
- This mission was set up to assist in the political processes of Mali and undertake numerous security-related tasks within the conflict-hit country. It is tasked with supporting the transitional authorities of Mali in achieving the political stabilization and implementing the transitional roadmap.
- In 2014, the UNSC expanded the scope of the mission to ensure security for the citizens, supporting national political dialogue and reconciliation, assisting in the re-establishment of state authority, and protecting human rights in the country.
What are the challenges faced by the mission?
- Since its launch, MINUSMA has become the most dangerous peacekeeping mission of the UN. It has caused the deaths of 292 peacekeepers till date. Besides MINUSMA, there are two other international peace operations in Mali. These are the EU’s EUCAP Sahel Mali and EUTM Mali missions.
- Several countries are currently pulling out of the MINUSMA because of the high fatality rate. France and Egypt have completed their troop withdrawal in the early 2022. Germany announced that it will be withdrawing its 595 personal by May 2023. Britain is also planning to pull out its 249 personnel from this mission. Ivory Coast has also announced the withdrawal of its 898 personnel after the current deployment ends because of its dispute with the Mali government over the arrest of its personnel who went on a mission not related to the United Nations.
What is India’s role in MINUSMA?
- India currently does not have troops deployed with MINUSMA. However, 18 Indians worked with it as of September this year. It is currently planning on deploying a utility helicopter unit that will provide assistance in early warning and rapid response to protect civilians.
3. WORLD INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY INDICATORS 2022
THE CONTEXT: The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) recently released the World Intellectual Property Indicators 2022.
What is the World Intellectual Property Indicators?
The World Intellectual Property Indicators (WIPI) is an authoritative report that provides an overview of activities in areas of patents, utility models, trademarks, industrial designs, microorganisms, plant variety protection, geographical indications and creative economy. It is released every year by WIPO. The WIPI 2022 compiled the data from around 150 national and regional intellectual property offices across the globe.
What are the key findings of the World Intellectual Property Indicators 2022?
- In 2021, around 3.4 million patent applications were filed across the world. This is a 3.6 per cent increase from the previous year.
- The top two countries with highest number of patent filings are India and China.
- Local patenting activities in the US, Japan and Germany have declined in 2021.
- The European Patent Office (EPO) and South Africa made significant contributions to the overall growth of patents.
- India received 61,573 patent applications last year, an increase from 56,771 in 2020.
- Almost 43 per cent of the Indian patent applications are local and filed by resident applicants. Some 18.5 per cent of total published applications in the country are related to pharmaceuticals.
- According to this report, 57.3 per cent of the patent applications filed in India were by non-residents. The share of non-resident applications is very high in countries like Australia (90.8%), Canada (87.3%), the EPO (55.6%), the United States (55.7%), Brazil (80.7%), Indonesia (84.1%), Mexico (93.1%) and Singapore (86.1%).
- India recorded a 16.5 per cent growth in patent grants in 2021. However, the percentage of the pending patent applications has increased to 91.5 percent during the same period.
- India also witnessed a 6.7 per cent increase in the filing of the number of trademark applications. About 42.4 per cent of non-resident trademark filing in Indian offices were from the US, China and Germany.
- China, the US, the EU, India and the UK accounted for some 65 per cent of the worldwide trademark filings.
THE PRELIMS PERSPECTIVE
4. WHAT IS PROJECT 22220?
THE CONTEXT: Russia recently launched a nuclear-powered icebreaker named Yakutia at Baltic Shipyard in St. Petersburg. It is the fourth icebreaker to be developed under Project 22220.
About Project 22220
- Project 22220 is a series of nuclear-powered icebreakers developed by Russia.
- This project’s icebreaker is 173.3 meters long and 34 meters broad with a 33,500-tonne displacement.
- These nuclear-powered icebreakers are currently the most powerful and the largest in the world.
- Their purpose is to provide year-round navigation in the western part of the Arctic. They can escort ships on the Northern Sea Route.
- These icebreakers’ dual-draft design allows them to navigate in ice and in polar river deltas. They are the core of Russia’s civil icebreaker fleet.
- As of November 2022, three Project 22220 icebreakers are in service. These are Arktika, Sibir and Ural. Arktika – the lead ship of this series – was delivered in 2020.
- Yakutiya is the fourth in this series. The fifth, named Chukotka, has been laid out at the Baltic Shipyard.
- The sixth and seventh vessels of this series are currently at the planning stage.
- These ships will replace the nuclear-powered icebreakers of Projects 10520 and 10580, which are at the end of their service lives or at the brink of being phased out.
What is North Sea Route?
- According to Russia, the North Sea Route is a shipping lane stretching from the Kara Sea to the Pacific Ocean. It runs along the Russian Arctic coast from the Kara Gates strait situated in between the Barents Sea and the Kara Sea, along Siberia to the Bering Strait. It has several alternative passages and routes between Novaya Zemlya and the Bering Strait.
- This route is expected to provide Russia numerous strategic and commercial advantages. For instance, the shipping journey via this route will reduce the distance between Shanghai and Netherlands’ Rotterdam – the largest commercial port of Europe – by almost 22 per cent. This route will bring down the transportation cost by 30 to 40 per cent.
5. 200TH CONSECUTIVE LAUNCH OF RH200
THE CONTEXT: ISRO successfully made the 200th consecutive launch of the multipurpose sounding rocket RH200 from Thiruvananthapuram’s Thumba coast.
What is RH200?
- RH200, which is capable of climbing to a height of 70 km, is a two-stage multipurpose sounding rocket capable of carrying scientific payloads into space.
- The 200 in the name denotes the diameter of the rocket in millimetre.
- This 3.5-meter tall rocket belongs to the Rohini rocket family. It is used by ISRO for atmospheric studies.
- The first and second stages of this rocket are powered by solid motors.
- This rocket is currently playing a major role in providing a flexible platform for experiments and testing of new technologies.
- Initially, it used polyvinyl chloride (PVC)-based propellant. The first RH200 to use the new propellant based on hydroxyl-terminated Polybutadiene (HTPB) was launched successfully from the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) in 2020.
What is a sounding rocket?
- A sounding rocket, which is sometimes known as a research rocket or suborbital rocket, is an instrument-carrying rocket that is capable of taking measurements and performing scientific experiments during its sub-orbital flight. It is used to launch instruments from 48 to 145 km altitude from the Earth’s surface.
About India’s sounding rockets
- The first sounding rocket to be launched in India was American Nike-Apache. This historic launch happened on November 21, 1963. Following this, two-stage rockets imported from Russia (M-100) and France (Centaure) were launched.
- Rohini RH-75 – the first indigenously developed sounding rocket – was launched by ISRO in 1967. Since then, these rockets have been launched from both the TERLS and the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota. In 1975, all of ISRO’s sounding rocket activities came under the purview of the Rohini Sounding Rocket (RSR) Programme.
Currently, the RH-200, RH-300-Mk-II and RH-560-Mk-III are operational. They can carry payloads ranging from 8 to 100 kg and an apogee range of 80 to 475 km.
THE PRELIMS PRACTICE QUESTION
QUESTION OF THE DAY
Q1. Consider the following statements:
- Surcharge is the additional tax levied on overall income of individual or company.
- Cess is levied for raising the revenue for specific purpose.
- The Constitution of India grants the power to the Union government only to raise revenue by levying cess.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
a) 1 and 2 only
b) 2 and 3 only
c) 3 only
d) 1, 2 and 3
- A surcharge (or additional charge) is essentially a tax levied on a tax. It is calculated on payable tax, not on income generated. So a surcharge of, say, 10 per cent on an existing tax rate of 30 per cent effectively raises the total tax rate to 33%.
- Cess is a form of tax and an additional levy by the Central Government to raise funds for specific purposes. E.g. GST Compensation Cess, Coal cess etc.
- The Constitution of India grants the power to the Union government only to raise revenue by levying cess.