1. Polity: rights issues
    1. Right to enemy property
    2. Right to clean desi daaru
    3. Religious rights
    4. Rights issues: Misc.
    5. Separation of Powers: Jallikattu
    6. ULB and professional tax
  2. History: Lala Lajpat Rai- 150th Birth Anniversary
  3. History and Culture: Misc
  4. Diplomacy and international relations
    1. PBD and MOIA MEA
    2. Terrorism and Security
    3. Security Forces- Maroon Berets
    4. Human trafficking: Swaraksha Caravan
    5. Arms Race
    6. Obama’s Presidential years

Here are the notable news items from history, Polity and diplomatic front from 2016, January week2.

Polity: rights issues

Right to enemy property

  • During the Indo-Pak war of 1965 and 1971, some Indians migrated to Pakistan. So, Union Government took over their property.
  • The Tashkent Declaration mandated that both sides will return such properties to each other but later Pak.Government disposed all such properties in their possession. So, we have no moral obligations to return property of those ‘enemies’.
  • Now, President has issued ordinance to Enemy Property Act, 1968.  to ensure that enemy property vested in the Custodian remain so and they do not revert back to the enemy

Right to clean desi daaru

  • In Kerala’s law,  if a toddy shop owner is found with brew with >8.1% ethyl alcohol,  then he can be jailed.
  • Because welfare state has to ensure all customers get clean and healthy desi beverages. (DPSP?!!)
  • Counter argument: not possible to scientifically monitor fermentation process, so such arbitrary quality norm will hurt toddy-shops and their sustainable livelihood.

Religious rights

Temple Entry for Women
  • Kerala’s Sabarimala shrine restricts the entry of women. Petition in SC because such ban violates ban Art.14 (equality before law) and 25 and 26 (freedom of religion) of the Constitution.
  • Counter argument: A temple is not a public museum or a picnic centre where the right to congregate is unrestricted.  It has certain unwritten rules and traditions being followed for centuries.
Right to dress
  • Earlier Madurai Bench of Madras HC had notified dress code for male, female and kids in temples funded by TN state government. But lot of opposition.
  • Now Madras HC stayed that order, because “Not only beauty, even obscenity lies in the eyes of the beholder.”

Rights issues: Misc.

  • Child borne out of rape of a mentally unstable woman, who used to beg for alms in SC/ST colony- Court orders government to give him SC caste certificate.
  • In Sarkari banks, there is no rule for reservation in promotion in Class-A (Class-I) Officer post. Supreme court asks them to consider giving reservation here.
Right to name airports after Rajiv Gandhi/Din Dayal
  • Punjab and Haryana governments want Chandigarh airport to be named after their respective iconic leaders, and Union Government can’t afford to lose vote bank in either state.
  • So, Union government is considering a proposal to name all airports in the country after their respective cities and not personalities.
Right to education
  • HRD ministry had setup Committee under T.S.R. Subramanian to revise education policy.
  • But leading educationists and coaching walla unhappy because TSR not consulting them.
Protection of children
  • Petition filed in SC about rising number of child-rapes. SC asks Government to prepare separate law.
  • But SC refuses to issue a mandamus to punish criminals raping children.
Right to anonymity after theft
  • Girl steals phone in a DU college and the college issues a circular naming her as thief.
  • Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) unhappy because of this naming and shaming exercise but college maintains it’ll deter other students from similar acts.

Separation of Powers: Jallikattu

In recent mains, we see atleast one question coming from the “separation of Powers” topic under General Studies Mains paper2. So, let’s see what’s new controversy in this topic?

  • Jallikattu is Tamil Nadu’s traditional bull-taming sport, ahead of the Pongal festival.
  • As per A.L. Basham’s book, ‘The Wonder that is India’- “though Tamil literature gives no evidence of bullfight as a test of manhood, the bullfight had certainly some ritual significance.”
  • 2011: Environment ministry’s notification banned bulltaming and bull racing, after SC judgement
  • 2016: MoEF had lifted the ban on Jallikattu and bullock cart race to appease the rural voters in Tamilnadu and Maharashtra respectively but SC stayed MoEF’s notification.
  • Although Government can issue ordinance to counter SC directive, but it’ll legislative usurpation of Judicial power.
  • Besides, Under Art.32, any citizen can again approach SC against such law, because executive has no arbitrary right to promulgate ordinances.

ULB and professional tax

  • Constitution Article 276: State or local governments can impose taxes on professionals up to Rs.2,500 per person annually.
  • Kolkata and many muni. Corporate collect it. Now South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) also thinking the same, to increase revenue resources.
  • 14th Finance commission under Y.V.Reddy, has recommended increasing this ceiling so municipal bodies have more revenue resources.

History: Lala Lajpat Rai- 150th Birth Anniversary

Lala Lajpat Rai

The Trio of Lal Bal and Pal

Lala Lajpat Rai-150th Birth Anniversary completed in 2015 (he was born on 28/01/1865). Given UPSC’s recent trend of asking about topics one year past its expiry date- topic becomes important for CSE-2016.

Birth and death
  • Birth:  28th January 1865 at a small village of Dhudike in district Ferozepur, Punjab.
  • Death: Simon Commission protest in Lahore on 30th October 1928, he was injured in Lathi charge and succumbed to severe injuries on 17th November 1928.
Thoughts “There is no life without freedom and there is no Freedom without ‘Swarajya’ or self –government.

  • influenced by the Arya Samaj  founder Swami Dayanand Saraswati, and Associated with Hindu Mahasabha
  • Fought against Untouchability and other social evils.
  • Opposed the Partition of Bengal and led the extremist wing of the Congress along with Bipin Chandra Pal and Bal Gangadhar Tilak (trio known as Lal-Bal –Pal.)
  • Opposed Punjab Colonization Bill along with Ajit Singh (uncle of Shaheed Bhagat Singh). For this he was deported without trial to Mandalay, Burma
  • Supported Gandhi’s Non-cooperation with the British. At Nagpur congress session (1920)
  • 1928: he moved the resolution in the Central Legislative Assembly refusing co-operation with the Simon Commission as the latter had no Indian member
  • 1920: Calcutta Congress (Special) Session President
  • 1926: Member of Swaraj Party (but resigned in same year)
  • 1926: Dy. Leader of Central Legislative Assembly.
Travel To US, Japan and England
Nickname Punjab Kesari- (Lion of Punjab), for protesting against Rowallat Act
Author & editor Books/journals written by freedom fights are important for MCQs- we see re-emergence of this trend in UPSC with recently conducted APFC/EPFO exam 2016.

  • Biography of Swami Dayanand Saraswati (1899)
  • book on the history of Arya Samaj (1915).
  • England’s Debt to India: India, The Problems Of National Education In India
  • Swaraj and Social Change
  • The United States of America: A Hindu’s impressions and a study
  • three English weeklies, The Regenerator of Aryavarta (1883); The Panjabee(1904) and The people (1925)
  • an Urdu weekly Deshopkarak(1883)
  • an Urdu daily Bande Mataram(1920).
Founder of
  • DAV School at Lahore with Mahatma Hans Raj, 1886.
  • Punjab National Bank along with Lala Harkishan Lal at Lahore (1894)
  • Lakshmi Insurance Company
  • Punjab Shiksha Sangh(1911)
  • Radha Kishan High School at Jagraon (1913).
  • Tilak School of Politics (1920), Lahore
  • Quami Vidyapeeth  (1921), Lahore
  • Servants of People Society (1921)

History and Culture: Misc

  1. Raagam: 24×7 radio satellite channel -airing Carnatic and Hindustani music,  by Prasar Bharati. Can be watched on TV also. Will be launched from 26th January 2016.
  2. Culture ministry’s CCRT is doing ‘Cultural Mapping of India’ with help of NIC. The data will be used for providing grant-in-aid and pensions to artisans.
  3. 15th Jan is Army Day. This year, following martial dances /performance will be highlighted: ‘Lezim’ from Maharashtra and ‘Chang Dance’ from Rajasthan and Dhawa- Infantry Soldier’s bayonet training drill.

Diplomacy and international relations


  1. On January 9, 1915 Gandhi returned from S.Africa hence we celebrate it as Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas (PBD).
  2. 2016: First limited edition of Pravasi Bhartiya Divas- organized by Ministry of External Affairs (MEA)  [because overseas affairs ministry is merged with it]/ Since 2015, Government decided to hold PBD conference on biennial basis.
  3. So next full fledged conference, in 2017.
  4. 2016: only limited scale celebration @Delhi. Notable dignitary- Priti Patel, MoS for Employment, United Kingdom. Notable proposal- giving Adhar Card to NRIs (and even OCIs)
  5. Ministry of Overseas Indian Afairs merged with MEA to avoid duplication of work and increase MEA’s efficiency.

Terrorism and Security

  1. Pak Army attacked Indian consulate; Afghan police believes that attackers on Indian consulate @Marar-e-Sharif were Pakistani soldiers and officers, given the special tactics used by them.
  2. Pakistan detains Jaish-e-Mohd. founder Masood Azhar for questioning about Pathankot airbase terrorist attack. Circle of life/ terrorism complete. Earlier Pakis attacked Indian consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif, now ISIS attacks Pak consulate in Afghanistan.
  3. In 2015-December, ‘Heart of Asia’ conference @Islamabad for financial aid to Afghanistan.  2016-Jan; Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States began talks to revive the Afghan peace process. But Talibans not invited since their leader Mullah Mohammad Omar had been dead for more than two years, and no clear leadership has emerged. But to make their presence felt, Talibans increased attack frequency in recent weeks and took over Helmand province- nearly all of World’s heroin comes from the poppy cultivate here.

Security Forces- Maroon Berets

Maroon Beret Special forces parachute regiment

  • Maroon Berets: These are the Parachute Regiment soldiers setup before independence and participated in the Second World War.
  • Last year, they eliminated terrorist camps in Myanmar.
  • Unlike regular Army soldiers, this Parachute Regiment soldiers are equipped with Israeli Tavor-M assault rifles, Galil sniper rifles, M4A1 carbines, and Beretta and Uzi pistols.
  • They are known as “Maroon Berets” because of their characteristic maroon caps. Experts believe if they were used in Pathankot airbase operation, it’d have ended quickly with minimal casualties.

Human trafficking: Swaraksha Caravan

  • Swaraksha caravan campaign for raising awareness on human trafficking in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.
  • The undivided Andhra Pradesh contributes the second largest share in human trafficking network in India.
  • This campaign is funded by United States Consulate.

Arms Race

  • US Arms Export Control Act requires the president to notify US Congress before selling military equipment to another Government. Obama wants to sell F-16 jets to Pak, but Congress doesn’t seem happy.
  • China to have 4 defense arms – army, navy, airforce and PLA Rocket Force (PRF)- to look after its conventional and nuclear missiles, which can employed on land, sea and air. While Russia and USA cutting down their nuke missiles under arms control agreements, they don’t apply to China.
  • B61 Model 12: New US missile system that can deliver small sized nuclear warheads. Russia angry, because smaller yields and better targeting can make the arms more tempting to use. So, instead of ‘deterrent’,  US may feel tempted to use them first.

Obama’s Presidential years

Legacy of President Barack Obama

Negative Positive
  1. Failed to clean Ukraine, Syria, Palestine crisis.
  2. Tension increased with China, Russia.
  3. Libya turned into mess, after death of Col. Gaddafi
  4. Racial riots in Ferguson after police killed a black man.
  5. Inability to control the “right to bear arm”, rising gun violence.
  1. Eliminated Osama Bin Laden
  2. détente with Iran (stopping hostility)
  3. revived diplomatic ties with Cuba.
  4. Strengthened ties with India
  5. American troop withdrawal from Afghanistan
  6. Trans Pacific partnership (TPP)- from American point of view.
  7. Obamacare

Obama’s 4 points for Future of USA

  • Middle class should get opportunities
  • Combating climate change combat
  • protecting Americans on foreign soil without military intervention
  • stopping anti-minority agenda in US politics;

Next part: Science tech and environment related developments from January week2, 2016.