Daily Current Affairs 14 March 2024- Top News Of The Day

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Daily Current Affairs 14 March 2024- Top News Of The Day

1. SC will consider a request to add CJI to the EC selection panel.

Topic: GS2 – Indian Polity – Constitutional Bodies  
GS2 – Indian Polity –  Judiciary
This subject is significant to UPSC because it touches on issues of governance and the constitutional framework as well as electoral integrity.

– Amidst apprehensions regarding possible Executive advantage, the Supreme Court decided to expeditiously consider a plea regarding the appointment of two Election Commissioners.

Additional information on this news:

  • Following Arun Goel’s abrupt resignation, the Supreme Court decided to take an urgent case involving the appointment of two Election Commissioners to the Election Commission of India (ECI).
  • In its plea, the NGO Association for Democratic Reforms urged that the new law be put on hold and that, in accordance with a previous Supreme Court ruling, the Chief Justice of India (CJI) be included in the selection committee.
  • The Executive’s power to designate ECs has drawn criticism because it may provide them an unfair advantage and compromise the integrity of free and fair elections.
  • The previous ruling by the Supreme Court highlighted the necessity of impartiality and independence in EC appointments; however, the government passed a new law that changed the makeup of the selection committee.
  • The NGO emphasised that in order to preserve a robust democracy, it is critical to shield the Election Commission from executive or political meddling.
  • Given the crucial role the Election Commission plays in guaranteeing free and fair elections and mediating conflicts between political parties, it would be imprudent to leave openings for Election Commissioners in light of the impending elections.

Change in process for appointments of Election Commissioners
The Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Office and Terms of Office) Bill, 2023, has altered the procedures for the appointment of election commissioners.

– Eligibility: Those who hold or have held a position equivalent to that of Secretary to the Government of India are eligible to serve as Chief Election Commissioners (CECs) and other Election Commissioners (ECs).
– Search Committee: The Minister of Law and Justice appoints a search committee, whose job it is to gather a list of five qualified applicants for the selection committee to review.
– The Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, and a Union Cabinet Minister the Prime Minister designates make up the selection committee. Candidates for the President’s appointment are suggested by this committee.
– Appointment: The selection committee’s recommendation informs the President’s appointment of the CEC and ECs.
– It is significant that the Chief Justice of India is not involved in the selection process, which is a departure from the previous procedure put in place in the Anoop Baranwal case.

Importance of insulating the Election Commission from political or executive interference
– Preservation of Democracy: Maintaining the integrity and fairness of electoral processes, which are essential to sustaining democracy, is ensured by shielding the Election Commission from executive or political influence.
– Neutrality and Impartiality: The Election Commission’s neutrality and impartiality may be jeopardised by political or executive intervention, which may favour some parties or candidates over others.
– Public Trust and Confidence: Ensuring that votes are counted fairly and accurately is made possible by maintaining independence, which contributes to the public’s belief in the electoral system.
– Preventing Manipulation: By limiting undue influence that could skew election results, independence lowers the possibility of electoral fraud or manipulation.
– Effective Oversight: Free from outside influences or prejudices, an impartial Election Commission can effectively supervise all aspects of the electoral process, including voter registration, campaigning, polling, and counting.
– Legal Compliance: Preventing political meddling guarantees that the Election Commission follows the law, respecting the fundamental values of the constitution, and defending the rights of candidates and voters.
– International Reputation: By showcasing a dedication to democratic principles and fair electoral procedures, a politically independent Election Commission improves the nation’s standing abroad.

PYQ: What obstacles does the Indian Election Commission face in ensuring the credibility of Indian elections in the wake of the recent controversy surrounding the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs)? (150 words, 10 seconds) (UPSC GS-2 2018 CSE (M))
Practice Question: Talk about the effects of recent modifications to the Election Commissioners’ appointment procedure on the Election Commission’s independence and objectivity. (Fifteen marks, 250 words)

2. The decline of Russian dominance in India’s arms imports

Topic: GS2 – Governance – Government policies GS2 –  International Relations 
The subject is important to UPSC because it captures changes in defence spending, strategic alliances, and international geopolitics.

– The article emphasises how India has become the world’s top arms importer, with increased imports from France and the United States and decreased reliance on Russian weaponry.

 Additional information on this news:

  • Reduced Dependency on Russia: Over the past 15 years, India has greatly decreased its reliance on Russia as its main arms supplier, with Russia’s share of India’s imports of weapons falling from 76% to 36%.
  • Enhanced Imports from the U.S. and France: Over the past few years, there has been a significant increase in the U.S. and French share of arms imports, with the U.S.’s share rising from 8% to 13% and France’s share rising from 0.9% to 33%.
  • India Tops Global Arms Imports: From 2014–18 to 2019–23, India’s share of global arms imports increased from 9.1% to 9.8%, making it the largest arms importer in the world, overtaking Saudi Arabia.
  • Changes in the Global Arms Trade: The United States has strengthened its position by increasing its share from 34% to 42%, while Russia has lost ground as a major arms exporter, with its share falling from 21% to 11% between 2014–18 and 2019–23.
  • Trends in Arms Orders: Russia is India’s top supplier of missiles, followed by the United States, Israel, and France. Missiles make up the majority of India’s arms orders. Other common orders are for engines, armoured vehicles, and aircraft, which are frequently supplied by South Africa, France, Russia, and the United States.

Potential reasons for decline of Russian dominance in India’s Imports
– Diversification Strategy: In order to lessen its reliance on any one supplier, including Russia, India is diversifying the weapons it imports.
– Expanding Defence Sector: India’s initiatives to build a domestic defence sector are reducing dependency on imports, particularly Russian weaponry.
– Technological Requirements: India is looking for more sophisticated capabilities and technology, not just from Russian arms manufacturers.
– Geopolitical Realignment: India is exploring arms deals with a wider range of nations as a result of shifting geopolitical dynamics, which could lead to a reduction in its reliance on Russia.
– Russian arms imports have decreased as a result of India’s defence procurement strategy, which places a higher priority on cost and quality than historical ties.
– Strategic Alliances: India is reducing its dependency on Russian weapons by fortifying defence alliances with nations like the US, Israel, and France.
– Growing Self-Reliance: Russia is among the imports that are being reduced overall as a result of India’s drive for self-reliance in defence manufacturing.
– Diplomatic Relations: Changes in India-Russian relations may have an impact on defence acquisition choices, which could lessen the import dominance of Russian weaponry.

PYQ: What advantage do defence deals between the US and India have over those between the US and Russia? Talk about the stability of the Indo-Pacific region. (15 minutes, 250 words) (UPSC GS-2 2020 CSE (M))
Practice Question: What aspects of India’s defence procurement strategy are not being dominated by Russian arms imports anymore? (Fifteen marks, 250 words)

3. Regarding judges and officials entering politics

Topic: GS2 – Governance – Important aspects of governance – Transparency and accountability 
In light of India’s democratic ideals, constitutional propriety, and ethics of governance, the subject is vital to UPSC.

– The news reports on the controversy surrounding retired judges and high-ranking officials’ joining political parties, proposing a cooling-off period for such involvement.


  • The topic of independent constitutional authorities and senior government officials joining political parties after leaving office has come up again in light of the recent resignations of a senior IPS officer and a judge from the Calcutta High Court.

Constitutional Restrictions:

  • The government’s several branches are guaranteed checks and balances by the Constitution.
  • It is the fixed tenure, financial autonomy, and stringent removal procedures that ensure the independence of independent bodies such as the Election Commission, Public Service Commission, and CAG.
  • A Supreme Court judge is only permitted to practise law before the Supreme Court or other High Courts in India after leaving office.
  • In order to prevent favouritism towards the ruling government, similar restrictions also apply to members of the Public Service Commission, the CAG, and judges of the High Court.

Political Posts:

  • There are no limitations on participating in politics, running for office, or holding nominated positions, in contrast to constitutional positions.
  • Former Chief Election Commissioners becoming ministers, retired Chief Justices being nominated to the Rajya Sabha or appointed as governors, and Supreme Court judges running for office are historical examples.

Recommendations and Legal Landscape:

  • The government rejected the Election Commission’s 2012 recommendation that retired bureaucrats wait a certain amount of time before entering politics in light of legal advice.
  • The Supreme Court’s 2022 decision to reject a petition for a law of this kind emphasised that the legislature has the authority to determine the length of the cooling-off period.

Desirability of a Cooling-off Period:

  • The right of citizens to run for office is upheld by democracy, but there are reservations regarding independence and impartiality while serving.
  • There are prohibitions on taking private employment after retirement, but it might not be in line with democratic ideals to place comparable limitations on running for office.
  • A cooling-off period of at least two years for joining political parties after retirement could improve public trust and lessen accusations of favouritism while balancing legal principles with public perception.


  • A cooling-off period for retired officials to join political parties could allay worries about quid pro quo and preserve the integrity of independent constitutional authorities while striking a balance with democratic principles and the need for public trust.

Practice Question: Talk about the importance and possible repercussions of putting in place a cooling-off period for retired judges and other high-ranking officials to join political parties. (Fifteen marks, 250 words)

4. Surpassing theoretical solar cell capacity constraints

Topic: GS3 – Science and Technology – Development & their applications 
Important for UPSC in terms of technological constraints, advancements in renewable energy, and international solar power sustainability initiatives.

– The Shockley-Queisser limit in photovoltaics, which specifies the maximum efficiency of solar cells, is a theoretical concept that is discussed in the news along with ways to exceed it.

Additional information on this news:Photovoltaics Overview:

  • In photovoltaics, light energy is converted into electrical energy by means of solar cells, which are composed of semiconducting materials such as silicon.
  • Electrons in the valence band of semiconductors are excited by sunlight to move into the conduction band, creating holes that combine to form electron-hole pairs, which are the charge carriers in semiconductors.

Shockley-Queisser Limit:

  • represents a solar cell’s maximum efficiency before thermalization (roughly 30%) and transparency loss (roughly 25%).
  • This limit, which is named for the physicists Hans-Joachim Queisser and William Shockley, sets a limit on the maximum efficiency of conventional solar cells, which is currently approximately one-third of incident solar energy.

Efficiency Constraints and Research:

  • Photons with less energy than required for electron excitation or photons with more energy than necessary that cause heating cannot be used by solar cells.
  • Carrier multiplication, which allows a photon to produce multiple electron-hole pairs, and hot carrier extraction, which absorbs high-energy photons and then releases them as heat, are two ways to go beyond the limit.

Challenges and Future Prospects:

  • Extending the Shockley-Queisser limit has been studied, but real-world application is still difficult.
  • Young Hee Lee, a physicist, proposes that hot carrier extraction and carrier multiplication are viable strategies for raising solar cell efficiency.

PYQ: What causes can be blamed for the recent sharp decline in solar energy tariffs and equipment costs? What effects does the trend have on companies that produce thermal power and the associated sector? (12.5 m/200 words) (2015, UPSSC CSE (M) GS-3)
Practice Question: What is the Shockley-Queisser limit in photovoltaics? Discuss its significance and challenges in achieving higher solar cell efficiency.  (150 Words /10 marks)

5. The US will propose a groundbreaking UN resolution calling for universal access to AI.

Topic: GS2 – International Relations – Important International institutions, agencies and fora.
Important for UPSC in terms of technology diplomacy, global governance, and utilising AI to accomplish sustainable development objectives.

– The story emphasises how the US took the lead in drafting the first AI resolution for the UN, emphasising global consensus, accessibility, and safety.

Additional information on this news:

  • In an effort to guarantee AI’s global accessibility, safety, and security, the US is leading the first UN resolution on the subject.
  • The resolution prioritises equitable participation in AI discussions and capabilities for all countries in an effort to close the digital divide.
  • It recognises the need for international agreement on safe and reliable governance of AI given its rapid advancement.
  • The resolution aims to set guidelines for AI development and application while controlling related risks, even though it is not legally binding.
  • It urges regulatory frameworks to ensure AI benefits without compromising human rights, which is in line with the UN’s 2030 development goals.
  • In order to emphasise the significance of international collaboration in AI governance, the European Union and other countries are also developing AI regulations.

Need for Artificial Intelligence (AI) regulations
Need for AI Regulations:
– Reduce Risks: AI has the potential to reinforce data biases, which could result in unfair decisions about loan approvals or employment applications. Rules can promote equity and guard against harm.
– Accountability & Transparency: Complex AI algorithms are frequently “black boxes,” making it challenging to comprehend how they make decisions. Laws have the power to encourage explainability and make developers answerable for unexpected outcomes.
– Data collection is a major component of AI systems, which raises privacy concerns regarding possible misuse of personal information and individual privacy. Rules can clearly define user rights and protect data.

Challenges in Implementing Regulations:
– Quick Evolution: Since artificial intelligence is a rapidly developing field, it is challenging for regulations to keep up with the most recent advancements and possible hazards.
– Global Environment: AI is developed and used internationally. It is important but difficult to create a uniform set of international regulations.
– Innovation Stabilisation: Excessively stringent regulations may inhibit creativity and impede the advantageous uses of artificial intelligence.

Way Forward:
– Risk-based Approach: Put your attention on controlling high-risk domains first, such as the management of critical infrastructure or autonomous weapons.
– Collaboration: To address ethical issues and identify common ground, promote candid communication between the public, developers, and policymakers.
– Regulatory Sandboxes: Establish safe spaces where artificial intelligence can be developed and tested while being supervised by the government, encouraging creativity within a secure framework.

PYQ: Explain what artificial intelligence (AI) is. How is clinical diagnosis aided by AI? Do you think that using Al in healthcare poses a threat to an individual’s privacy? (150 words, 10 seconds) (CSE (M) GS-3 2023) UPSC
Practice Question: What are the goals and implications of the United States-led first United Nations resolution on artificial intelligence? (10 marks, 150 words)

6. PM creates a portal for underrepresented groups

Topic: GS2 – Governance – Government Policies /Initiatives – Interventions for development in various sectors
The topic emphasises government programmes aimed at empowering the socioeconomic class, which is pertinent to UPSC’s comprehension of inclusive development policies.

– The story describes Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s virtual launch of the PM-SURAJ portal, which offers credit support to business owners from underprivileged social groups.

Additional information on this news:

  • The Pradhan Mantri Samajik Utthan evam Rozgar Adharit Jankalyan (PM-SURAJ) portal was virtually launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • The portal’s goal is to help entrepreneurs from underprivileged social groups get credit.
  • It demonstrates the government’s dedication to giving the poor justice and dignity.
  • One lakh beneficiaries from Scheduled Castes, Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes, Other Backward Classes, and Safai Karamcharis received credit worth about ₹720 crore.
  • The portal acts as a one-stop shop for submitting applications for and keeping track of the status of any loans and credit programmes accessible to underprivileged groups.
  • The objective of this initiative is to enable underprivileged communities to engage more effectively in India’s economic growth and development.

PYQ: What is the Pradhan Mantri Samajik Utthan evam Rozgar Adharit Jankalyan (PM-SURAJ) portal’s main purpose and features?

(10 marks, 150 words)


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