Daily Current Affairs for UPSC – 22nd August 2023

GS 1

Why Shimla is crumbling

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/2023-08-21/th_delhi/articleGLBBL4UHR-3981160.ece

Context: Heavy rainfall causes havoc in Himachal Pradesh, particularly Shimla.

Relevance: GS 1 Geographical phenomenon

Climate Change Impact on the Region

  • IPCC report predicts increased extreme climate events and altered rainfall patterns in the Himalayas and coastal areas.
  • Development strategies for Himalayan region should prioritize climate resilience over unguided infrastructure expansion.

Inadequate Climate-Smart Infrastructure Development in Shimla

  • Shimla’s infrastructure development lacks climate-smart planning.
  • Summer Hill temple and water supply system constructed within a gorge.
  • Houses in Krishnanagar built atop water springs, making them disaster-prone.
  • Structures near water sources become vulnerable to disasters.
  • Over 25 major springs and 100 water bauris in Shimla.

Transformation of Building Strategies and Impact

  • After the 1990s, shift in building strategies due to reinforced cement concrete.
  • New Shimla region transformed from paddy cultivation to human settlements, encroaching on water bodies.
  • Two major projects built atop waterways, vulnerable during monsoon.

Challenges in Urban Planning and Governance

  • Shimla has been governed by an interim development plan since 1979.
  • Planning overseen by the town and country planning department instead of elected city government.
  • Lack of democratic oversight, reliance on computer-simulated plans from consultancy firms.

Shimla Development Plan (SDP) and Climate Action

  • SDP, pending before the Supreme Court, lacks a climate action plan.
  • SDP focuses on urban spaces but neglects climate-related challenges.

Importance of Zonal and Sub-Zonal Planning

  • Need for zonal and sub-zonal planning in Shimla due to unique geographical features.
  • Zones and sub-zones must be defined based on geological data and studies.
  • Floor area ratio determined by geological and structural foundations.

Balancing Urban Development and Geological Preservation

  • Zoning strategy guides settlement expansion.
  • Robust rock foundations allow vertical expansion.
  • Aim to preserve geological features while allowing urban growth.

Initiating Comprehensive Water Contouring

  • Utilize satellite imagery and community participation for water contouring.
  • Shimla’s citizens should advocate for sustainable development.


  • Need for climate-smart development in Shimla to combat climate-induced disasters.
  • Geological data and community involvement crucial for balanced growth.
  • Citizens should champion sustainable development practices.

Caste violence by teenagers is symptomatic of a deep-rooted malaise

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/2023-08-21/th_delhi/articleGLBBL4UIJ-3981153.ece

Context: Recent brutal incident in Nanguneri, Tamil Nadu, highlights assaults on hope and deep-seated caste issues.

Relevance: GS Paper – 1 Poverty and Developmental Issues

Failure of Hope in Caste-Ridden Society

  • The Nanguneri incident involves Dalit siblings attacked by caste Hindu schoolmates.
  • Demonstrates the failure of hope for marginalised communities.
  • Incidents of conflict in the deep south of Tamil Nadu fueled by historical oppression of Dalits.

Continued Caste Hostility and Seeding Caste Pride

  • Caste-based hatred persists across generations.
  • Caste threads used to distinguish Dalit children in schools.
  • Caste colors used to mark territories in villages.
  • Frequent violent clashes and youth recruitment by political/caste groups.

Continued Caste Hostility and Seeding Caste Pride

  • Caste-based hatred persists across generations.
  • Caste threads used to distinguish Dalit children in schools.
  • Caste colors used to mark territories in villages.
  • Frequent violent clashes and youth recruitment by political/caste groups.

Challenges to the Dravidian Model

  • Dravidian Model inspired by Periyar aimed at countering caste hegemony and promoting inclusion.
  • Implementation of the model inconsistent.
  • Band-aid solutions for caste conflicts without addressing root causes.

Steps Towards Resolution

  • Government establishes a commission to address caste differences among students.
  • Caste-based violence erodes hope for a better future.
  • The Nanguneri incident calls for a wake-up call to address deep-rooted caste issues.
  • Need to prioritize efforts to eliminate caste hierarchies, restore peace, and promote equality.

GS 2

Criminal law Bills renaming is needless meddling

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/2023-08-21/th_delhi/articleGLBBL4UIH-3981154.ece

Context: The article discusses recently introduced Bills in Parliament that have names unfamiliar to a large portion of the population.

Relevance: GS Paper – 2 Constitutional Amendments

Linguistic Framework and Constitutional Concerns

  • India’s legal system designates English as the official language for legislative texts.
  • Bills’ content is primarily in English, but their titles are in Hindi, potentially conflicting with Article 348 of the Constitution.

Cultural Identity and Language

  • India’s linguistic diversity is closely tied to its cultural identity.
  • Creation of states along linguistic lines underscores language’s significance in regional identity.
  • The use of Hindi names may be seen as imposing the culture of the majority on linguistic minorities.

Hindi Privileging and Majoritarianism

  • Recent trends highlight attempts to elevate Hindi to the status of a “national language.”
  • Such efforts could be interpreted as favoring the linguistic majority, conflicting with ideals of diversity and inclusivity.
  • The privileging of Hindi’s prevalence disregards the unique identities of other languages.

Legal Implications and Precision

  • English serves as the language of law in India’s judicial system.
  • Legal proceedings, precedents, and judgments rely on the clarity and precision of English.
  • Incorporating complex Hindi terms in Bill names might compromise legal efficacy.

Balancing Diversity and Legal Clarity

  • Striking a balance between linguistic diversity and legal precision is essential.
  • Reflecting the nation’s linguistic variety in the names of Bills would respect India’s pluralistic identity.
  • Parliamentary Committees play a vital role in addressing linguistic considerations during legislation.


The ongoing discourse on Bill naming underscores the intricate interplay between language, culture, and law. Maintaining a harmonious balance between linguistic identity and legal efficacy remains crucial as India evolves in the modern world.

The Katchatheevu controversy

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/2023-08-21/th_delhi/articleGLBBL4UND-3981167.ece

Context: The revival of the Katchatheevu debate by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. K. Stalin has rekindled discussions regarding the uninhabited islet’s ownership and its significance for fishermen in the region.

Relevance: GS 2 International Relations

Historical Background

  • Katchatheevu is a barren islet located around 14 nautical miles off Rameswaram.
  • In 1974, Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi of India and Sirim R.D. Bandaranaike of Sri Lanka signed an agreement to define the boundary between the two countries.
  • The boundary, “in conformity with historical evidence, legal international principles and precedents,” placed Katchatheevu just one mile off the west coast of Sri Lanka.

Significance of Katchatheevu

  • Fishermen from both countries traditionally used the islet for fishing.
  • A 1976 supplemental pact specified that fishermen needed express permission to fish in the waters surrounding Katchatheevu.

Debate Over Retrieval

  • Tamil Nadu’s political parties and fishermen view retrieving Katchatheevu as a solution to fishermen crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line illegally.
  • However, fishermen in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province contend that this would exacerbate issues related to Indian fishermen’s impact on their territorial waters.

Historical Dispute and Negotiations

  • Sri Lanka claimed sovereignty over Katchatheevu due to its occupation by the Portuguese from 1505 to 1658 CE.
  • India argued that the islet was historically under the jurisdiction of the Raja of Ramnad (Ramanathapuram).
  • The decision to transfer Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka in 1974 sparked opposition, with claims that the decision was made without public or parliamentary consent.

Renewed Attention

  • The issue resurfaced in 1991 when then Chief Minister Jayalalithaa demanded its retrieval, later modifying her stance to seek a lease.
  • Over the past 15 years, both Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi approached the Supreme Court on the matter.

Central Government’s Stance

  • In 2013, the Union government stated that the question of retrieval did not arise as India did not cede any territory to Sri Lanka.
  • The government argued that Katchatheevu’s status was addressed through the 1974 and 1976 agreements.
  • As of December 2022, the Centre noted that the islet lies on the Sri Lankan side of the India-Sri Lanka International Maritime Boundary Line.

SC judgment delivered four decades ago counters President’s Rule in J&K

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/2023-08-21/th_delhi/articleGLBBL4UH6-3981175.ece

Context: A 42-year-old one-paragraph judgment delivered by a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court has become a focal point of contention in the current debate surrounding Jammu and Kashmir’s constitutional situation.

Relevance: GS -2 Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

The judgment, involving former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, challenges the government’s argument that the imposition of President’s Rule was justified due to the “breakdown of constitutional machinery” in the region.

Context and Verdict

  • The case centers on the principle that when a State’s Legislative Assembly is dissolved by its Governor and the Governor subsequently assumes the State’s powers, invoking Article 356’s “failure of constitutional machinery” becomes untenable.
  • This verdict, presented during the challenge to Article 370’s repeal, questions the government’s stance.

Jammu and Kashmir Scenario

  • The Governor of Jammu and Kashmir dissolved the State Legislative Assembly in November 2018.
  • President’s Rule under Article 356 followed in December 2018, and this sequence aligns with the principles outlined in the 1971 judgment.

GS 3

Luna 25, Russia’s first lunar mission in 47 years, crashes into the moon

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/2023-08-21/th_delhi/articleGLBBL4UF5-3981201.ece

Context: Russia’s Luna 25 spacecraft crashed into the moon due to an uncontrollable orbit.

Relevance: GS -3 Space

Impact and Ramifications

  • Marks Russia’s first lunar mission since 1976.
  • Only the Soviet Union, U.S., and China have achieved successful moon landings.
  • Moon’s south pole region holds potential for vital resources like frozen water and rocket fuel.
  • Scientific exploration hindered by Luna 25’s failure, including India’s Chandrayaan 3 mission.

Chandrayaan 3 Mission

  • India’s Chandrayaan 3 mission launched on July 14.
  • Also targeting the moon’s south pole area for exploration.
  • Scheduled powered descent of the lander on August 23 evening.

Russia’s Diminishing Space Power

  • Luna 25 failure reflects Russia’s declining status in space exploration.
  • Previously led the world by launching the first satellite and human into Earth’s orbit.

Historical Context and Challenges

  • Russia’s space plans disrupted over the past three decades.
  • Chaotic aftermath of the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991.
  • Complications from the ill-fated Fobos-Grunt mission to a Mars moon in 2011.

Focus on Luna 25

  • Russia eventually settled on Luna 25 for exploring the lunar south pole.
  • Recent failure raises questions about Russia’s space capabilities and planning procedures.


  • Luna 25’s failure serves as a reminder of Russia’s dwindling space prowess.
  • Highlights complexities and uncertainties in space exploration.
  • Collaborative efforts and continued innovation essential for scientific discoveries beyond Earth.

What is RBI’s new pilot for frictionless credit?

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/2023-08-21/th_delhi/articleGLBBL4UNB-3981168.ece

Context: RBI initiated a pilot programme to assess the feasibility and functionality of the ‘Public Tech Platform for Frictionless Credit.’

Relevance: GS 3 Economy

Purpose and Need for the Platform

  • Credit appraisal, a pre-disbursal process, is essential for evaluating borrowers’ repayment capacity and adherence to credit agreements.
  • Required data is dispersed across various entities, causing hindrances in frictionless lending.
  • The platform seeks to consolidate required data in one place, facilitating timely and seamless lending.

Pilot Programme Initiation

  • The RBI introduced a pilot project for digitalizing Kisan Credit Card (KCC) loans under ₹1.6 lakh in September 2022.
  • Ongoing in specific districts of Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, and Maharashtra.
  • Enabling paperless and hassle-free lending, including doorstep disbursement without paperwork.

Expansion and Implementation

  • The Public Tech Platform is built upon ongoing programmes’ learnings and extends its scope to all digital loans.
  • Developed by the RBI’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Reserve Bank Innovation Hub (RBIH).
  • Envisages an open architecture, open APIs, and standards for seamless connectivity among financial sector players.

Scope of the Platform

  • Collaboration with select banks to encompass dairy loans, MSME loans (without collateral), personal loans, and home loans.
  • Integration with services like Aadhar e-KYC, Aadhar e-signing, land records, satellite data, PAN validation, account aggregation, milk pouring data, and property search data.

Benefits and Implications

  • Enhanced access to information allows for fact-based and swift credit assessments.
  • Expanded credit availability to borrowers with good credit history, reducing the cost of accessing capital.
  • Formal credit application often involves multiple visits and documentation, leading to higher operational costs.
  • RBI’s survey indicated farm loan processing took 2-4 weeks and cost about 6% of the loan value.
  • The lending platform aims for cost reduction, quicker disbursement, and scalability.


  • RBI’s initiative addresses the challenges of fragmented data in the lending process.
  • Intends to revolutionize credit appraisal, streamline lending, and boost economic investment.
  • Expected to contribute to efficient and accessible credit delivery, benefiting both lenders and borrowers.

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