La Excellence IAS Academy

The Supreme Court wants authorities to act tough on incitement to violence, and hate speech

Syllabus: GS-II

Subject: Governance;

Tags: Government Policies & Interventions#HateSpeech#SupremeCourtWarning.#HateCRimes.

Context: The Supreme Court of India emphasizes that incitement to violence and hate speech is not permissible.


  1. Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh police, along with local administrations, are directed to closely monitor public events organized by Hindu Janajagruti Samiti and BJP MLA T. Raja Singh.
  2. The monitoring is ordered for seven days, starting from January 19, in Yavatmal and Raipur.The court instructs District Magistrates and Superintendents of Police to investigate allegations of hate speech.
  3. The court suggests the installation of CCTV cameras, if necessary, to identify perpetrators in case of violence or hate speech.
  4. The directive is in response to an application by Shaheen Abdulla, represented by Kapil Sibal and Nizam Pasha, urging the withdrawal of permissions for the events.
  5. The court acknowledges past interventions against hate speech but questions why they are viewed negatively, expressing concern about the future.
  6. In 2022, the court criticized the prevailing climate of hate in the country and directed authorities to register cases against hate speech offenders.
  7. In 2018, the court condemned hate crimes and emphasized the state’s duty to protect citizens’ lives.
    About Hate Crimes:

    Hate crimes encompass violent or abusive actions directed at individuals or groups based on factors such as religion, caste, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or other defining characteristics. These offenses typically involve acts of violence, intimidation, or threats and target those perceived as different or marginalized.

    Indian legal frameworks do not clearly define hate crimes, and their diverse manifestations make it challenging to establish a standardized definition. However, hate speeches fall under the purview of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), specifically Sections 153A, 153B, 295A, 298, 505(1), and 505(2).

Source: The Hindu

Red Sea route crisis: The Commerce Ministry asks DFS to maintain credit flow to exporters.

Syllabus: GS-II;

Subject: International Relations/Economic Development

Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors.

Context: Commerce Ministry addresses Red Sea disruptions, and urges DFS to maintain credit for exporters; concerns rise after military strikes in Yemen.

Issue: Red Sea Disruptions.


  • Commerce Ministry instructs DFS to maintain credit flow to exporters amid Red Sea route disruptions.
  • Concerns arise after US and UK military strikes in Yemen impact shipping in the Red Sea.
  • Freight rates to Europe double due to security tension in the Red Sea region.
  • Consignments facing delays, impacting low-value product shipments like agriculture and textiles to Europe.
  • Government instructs Export Credit Guarantee Corporation not to raise insurance premiums amid rising shipping costs.


Red Sea disruptions impact on India:

  • 80% of exports to Europe affected, especially low-value goods.
  • Commerce Ministry urges credit flow to stabilize exporter finances.
  • Rerouted shipments via Cape of Good Hope increase time and cost.
  • Doubled freight rates strain exporter finances, affecting competitiveness.
  • Economic losses possible, impacting sectors dependent on timely exports.
  • Rising tensions contribute to oil price increases, affecting India’s energy costs.
  • Diplomatic efforts are needed for shipping route security and economic stability.
  • ECGC instructed not to raise insurance premiums to ease the financial burden on exporters.
  • Continuous monitoring is essential for flexible strategies amid uncertainties.

Way Forward:

The continuous monitoring, adapting logistics to alternative routes, and exploring diplomatic solutions to mitigate disruptions in the Red Sea region.

Source: Indian Express

Govt proposes repealing Indian Stamp Act, seeks public input on draft Bill

Syllabus: GS-III

Subject: Governance

Topic: Government policies and interventions.

Context: Indian govt proposes repealing the outdated Stamp Act, of 1899, introducing the modern ‘Indian Stamp Bill, 2023’; seeks public input within 30 days.

Issue: Indian Stamp Act.


  1. A draft ‘Indian Stamp Bill, 2023’ is introduced to modernize the stamp duty regime in the country.
  2. The Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance, invites public suggestions on the draft bill within 30 days.
  3. The existing Indian Stamp Act, of 1899, governed stamp duties levied by the central government but collected by individual states.
  4. Stamp duties are collected by states as per Article 268 of the Constitution.
  5. The draft bill covers various documents, including bills of exchange, cheques, promissory notes, bills of lading, letters of credit, policies of insurance, transfer of shares, debentures, proxies, and receipts.
  6. Stamp duties on specified documents are levied by the Union, while other stamp duties are imposed and collected by the states.
  7.  The Indian Stamp Act, of 1899, has undergone amendments but contains redundant/inoperative provisions, necessitating the need for more contemporary legislation.


Indian Stamp Act, 1899

The Indian Stamp Act 1899 raises government revenue. It governs stamp duty collection, legitimizing documents. Collected stamp duty proceeds are assigned to respective states. States mandate using purchased stamps for local instruments. Stamp duty, a state subject, varies, often based on market value. Parliament can legislate and set rates for certain documents nationwide. Parliament-set rates apply nationwide for specific documents. States have the authority to set stamp duties for other documents.


Conclusion: The government’s move to replace the outdated Stamp Act demonstrates a commitment to modernizing regulations, and seeking public feedback for transparency and inclusivity.


Source: Indian Express

Most rural kids 14-18 can’t do Class 3 math, and over 25% can’t read: ASER 2023

Syllabus: GS-III;

Subject: Social Justice;

Topic: Issues relating to the development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education.

Tags: #ASER2023#DigitalLiteracy#STEM#VocationalTraining#Educational Enrollment.

Context: Rural Indian youth struggle with basic skills; ASER 2023 finds that 25% can’t read, and 56.7% can’t solve simple division.

Issue: ASER Report.


Highlights of the Report:

  • Conducted in 28 districts across 26 states, involving 34,745 students.
  • Assessed foundational reading, arithmetic abilities, and digital awareness.
  • More than half (50%) of 14-18 year-olds in rural India struggle with basic three-digit division, typically taught in Class 3-4.
  1. Reading Skills:
  • 5% of the surveyed youth could not read a Class 2-level textbook in their regional language.
  • 7% struggled to read sentences in English.
  • 5% of those who could read did not understand the meaning.
  1. Mathematics Challenges:
  • 7% of students could not solve a simple 3-digit by 1-digit division problem.
  1. Application of Skills:
  • Only around 45% could calculate the number of hours a child slept based on bedtime and waking time.
  • In measuring an object with a ruler, 85% were correct at the ‘0’ mark, but only 40% gave the right answer when the object was moved.
  1. Gender Disparities:
  • Boys generally outperformed girls in basic numeracy and reading skills.
  • For example, 45% of boys could divide compared to 41.8% of girls.
  1. Educational Enrollment:
  • Despite poor foundational skills, 86.8% of youth aged 14-18 are enrolled in educational institutions.
  • This challenges the concern that older children might drop out during the pandemic.
  1. Stream Preferences:
  • 7% of youth were enrolled in Arts/Humanities, 31.7% in STEM, and 9.4% in Commerce. More males (36.3%) enrolled in STEM than females (28.1%).
  1. Technology Access:
  • 89% of surveyed youth had smartphones in their households, and 92% knew how to use them. Indicates a significant shift in technology adoption, especially during the pandemic.


Emphasizes the need for foundational learning and life skills for both academic advancement and daily life. Urges attention to quality education to harness India’s demographic dividend for economic growth.


Source: Indian Express

Daily Editorials

Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo interview: ‘India’s policy frame is not focused on inequality’

Source: Indian Express

Subject: Economy

Topic: Poverty, Inequality

Issue: Measure of poverty, employability, inequality, health, education

Why in news: Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, who won the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics for their work using Randomized Controlled Trials to evaluate social policies


Key points on poverty in India

  • Methodology to measure poverty:
  • In the absence of proper data on consumption it is better to use data such as infant mortality, maternal mortality etc. including data from NFHS (National Family Health Survey) to measure poverty.
  • Efficacy of government schemes:
  • NREGA (National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) is working well as there are good evaluations showing that it worked and that it reduced poverty.
  • However the same can not be said about other schemes such as PM Awas Yojana, PM Kishan because it’s not clear who exactly getting them;
  • Inequality in India:
  • In India while economic inequality might have been limited, there were vast social inequalities through caste and class.
  • The current political system is more responsive to social inequalities, but the assessment of overall improvement is complex.
  • Other forms of inequality are often overlooked, such as the lack of amenities for poor children, including spaces to play and green areas.
  • The shift in power dynamics from rural landlords to urban businessmen adds complexity to the evaluation of whether abuses have increased or decreased.
  • Inequality is a mechanism reflecting the lack of social mobility. Access to quality education, especially in the public school system, is crucial for social mobility.
  •  Education and employability:
  • There is a need to focus relentlessly on the basics and ensure that every child learns these basics.
  • Pedagogy plays a crucial role in employability. Traditional, top-down pedagogical approaches that suppress curiosity and critical thinking can have damaging effects on students’ ability to adapt in the workforce.
  • Encouraging children to think independently and problem-solve on their own can significantly improve exam pass rates
  • Youth’s inclination towards government job:
  • The obsession with government jobs in India is counterproductive.
  • The focus on preparing for government exams consumes valuable time and hampers employability, as individuals may spend years attempting to secure a government job.
  • Employability issues are not just about skills but also about attitudes. Distorted attitudes, particularly the preference for government jobs, contribute to challenges in the workforce.
  • Training programs may not yield the desired outcomes if individuals trained for specific jobs continue to prioritize government jobs, leading to a mismatch between skills acquired and job preferences.
  • Addressing Expectations for government job
  • The government can consider expanding the number of people it employs while offering transitional mechanisms.
  • Individuals could take a job, and retention would be based on performance, creating a tenure-like system.
  • Rethinking the shape of the government is crucial, with a focus on having more young people in government, allowing them to start their careers, and later transition to other opportunities.
  •  Addressing Stunting and Wasting in Children:
  • Unlike primary education, there isn’t a single solution to address issues of stunting and wasting in children.
  • Experiments, like adding a second ICDS worker focused on nutrition in Tamil Nadu, have shown some positive impact, but they were expensive and not scaled up.
  • There is a lack of clear solutions, and more learning is needed in this area. Political consensus exists for scaling up effective interventions if identified.
  • Protein consumption in India is remarkably low, contributing to malnutrition issues.
  • Lack of awareness about proper nutrition, especially protein consumption, is a challenge.
  • Communicating the importance of a balanced diet, including protein-rich foods, is crucial.
  • Traditional dietary habits may need to be addressed, and awareness campaigns, similar to a sitcom promoting iron-fortified salt in Bihar, can be effective.
  • Resource Allocation for Health and Education:
  • India’s budget allocation for health is globally on the low side, emphasizing the need for increased investment in this sector.
  • In education, India’s per capita budget allocation is around the median level. The concern lies in the allocation toward elite institutions versus schools, indicating distortions in resource distribution.
  • Building institutions for social mobility in education is crucial to address long-term issues and prevent a crisis where a significant portion of the population feels left behind with limited job opportunities.


Source: Indian Express

Expert Explains: ASER’s 2023 survey results show gaps in learning; tech access is an avenue beyond schools

Source: Indian Express

Subject: Social Issues

Topic: Social Sector- education

Issue: ASER 2023 ‘Beyond Basics’ survey

Why in news: The 2023 survey focused on 14-to-18-year-old children in rural India, specifically on their ability to apply reading and math skills to everyday situations, and their aspirations.


  • Since 2005, the NGO Pratham’s Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) has been recording trends in school enrollment, attendance, and reading and arithmetic abilities among children ages 6-14 years in rural areas of the country.

More about the survey: ASER 2023 ‘Beyond Basics’ survey

  • It was carried out among 34,745 young respondents in 28 rural districts in 26 states, including two districts each in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
  • The 2023 survey focused on an older group of 14-to-18-year-old children.
  • The survey specifically focus on their ability to apply reading and math skills to everyday situations, and their aspirations.
  • It also sought to capture their access to digital technology, and whether they possess the skills to use it.
  • It had four broad buckets to measure — activity, aspiration, awareness in general, and ability

Key findings:

  • Diverse Activities:
  • Many children in the 14-18 age group are engaged in multiple activities, including work, often for their parents.
  • Approximately 30% of respondents are already working, but when asked about their aspirations, they express a desire for different career paths.
  • Importance of Basic Skills:
  •  Basic skills in reading and math are crucial for everyday tasks.
  •  Around 25% of children in this age group struggle to read a Standard II-level text fluently in their regional language,
  •  In addition, more than half face challenges with division problems expected in Std III or IV.
  • Gender Disparities:
  •  Girls outperform boys in reading fluency, while boys fare better in both arithmetic and English reading.
  • However, more than 90% of both boys and girls can use smartphones, but boys have greater ownership and access.
  • Digital Proficiency:
  • While most respondents can use basic smartphone functions, there is a gap in in-depth usage.
  •  Boys tend to outperform girls in digital tasks.
  •  Two-thirds of smartphone users reported using it for education-related activities, indicating the potential for digital learning avenues.
  • Enrollment Gap vs. Digital Access:
  •  While the enrollment gap between boys and girls has narrowed, there is still a disparity in digital access. Boys have greater ownership and access to smartphones.
  • Utilizing School as a Platform:
  • Schools serve as a platform to reach a significant portion of the age group.
  •  The information obtained through school enrollment can be used to enhance various components beyond traditional classroom learning.
  • Subject Choices in Higher Classes:
  • The majority of respondents in Class 11 or higher are studying humanities-related subjects, reflecting the availability of subjects in their villages.
  • This poses questions about their prospects in a job market that emphasizes STEM knowledge.
  • Flexibility in Education:
  • The New Education Policy of 2020 allows for more flexibility, enabling students to explore alternative learning opportunities.
  • There is a need for greater flexibility in the education system to cater to diverse interests and subjects not offered locally.

Source: Indian Express

Where do China-Taiwan relations stand? | Explained

Source: Indian Express

Subject: International Relation

Topic: Global issues

Issue: China Taiwan relation, Presidential election in Taiwan

Why in news: Recent presidential election in Taiwan and shrinkage of diplomatic space for Taiwan


More about the news:

  • Recently Taiwan concluded its democratic elections in January.
  • It resulted in the election of Lai Ching-te of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) as the new President.
  • Despite the DPP’s win, Nauru, a small island nation, announced a shift in diplomatic relations from Taipei to Beijing,
  • This shows continuity of a pattern observed during the previous term of President Tsai Ing-wen.

China’s strategy and shrinkage of diplomatic space for Taiwan

  • China has consistently lured smaller nations with promises of financial investment and infrastructure development.
  • This has resulted in a reduction in the number of countries recognizing Taiwan, which currently stands at 11, down from 22 in 2016.
  • The DPP is perceived as a pro-independence party and thus the pressure from Beijing and the pace at which Taiwan has been losing allies is increasing.
  • This is also because Taiwan is unable to match China’s deep pockets.

Key points about status of China and Taiwan ties:

  1. A) 1992 Consensus:
  • The main point of contention in China-Taiwan relations is the refusal of Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen to accept the ‘1992 consensus.’
  • This consensus acknowledges the principle of ‘one China’ and was agreed upon between the Kuomintang (KMT, pro status-quo party) and the Communist Party of China (CPC).
  1. B) Taiwanese Consensus:
  • President Tsai has publicly stated that the ‘1992 consensus’ goes against the ‘Taiwanese consensus.’
  • This reflects a divergence in views between the political leadership in Taiwan and the historical agreement reached in 1992.
  1. C) Taiwanisation:
  • There is a rise in ‘Taiwanisation’ among the younger generation in Taiwan.
  • This generation does not feel a strong historical affinity with China and identifies primarily as Taiwanese.
  • Growing up in a democratic political environment, they do not share the historical narratives of a united China.
  1. D) Aggressiveness under Xi Jinping:
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping has intensified aggressiveness towards Taiwan.
  • The rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and the reunification of Taiwan are significant goals for Xi,
  • Xi has consistently expressed displeasure towards the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Taiwan due to its pro-independence stance.
  1. E) New Year’s Address by Xi:
  • In his New Year’s address, President Xi remarked that reunification with Taiwan is “inevitable” and emphasized that Taiwan is a “sacred territory.”
  • However, the electoral victory of the DPP indicates that the Taiwanese people are not in a hurry for reunification.

Democracy in Taiwan:

  • Taiwan conducted its first democratic elections in 1996, marking a significant milestone in its political history.
  • Since 1996, Taiwan’s democracy has strengthened and become more regularized.
  • The island has held subsequent elections, solidifying its commitment to democratic governance.
  • Taiwan’s democracy challenges the notion propagated by the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) that it is the only viable political option for the Chinese people.


  • Despite the DPP’s electoral victory under President Lai Ching-te, Taiwan’s future path is anticipated to be more challenging.
  • The pressure from China, especially given its discontent with the DPP’s pro-independence stance, is likely to intensify.
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping has denied setting a specific timeline for the ultimate reunification of Taiwan with China.
  • President Lai Ching-te will need to navigate adeptly through various diplomatic challenges.


Source: Indian Express

A search for deterrence in the Red Sea

Source: The Hindu

Subject: International Relation

Topic: Global Issues

Issue: Security issue in Red sea

Why in news: The Houthis appear to be taking advantage of the lack of a coordinated response in ensuring maritime security


More about the news:

  • Houthi rebels in Yemen have responded to Israeli attacks and the bombing of Gaza by targeting merchant shipping using the Red Sea route.
  • The attacks involve the use of drones and anti-ship ballistic missiles (ASBMS).
  • There have been attempts to board or actual boarding of ships, including the hijacking of the Galaxy Leader using a helicopter.
  • The diverse methods and weaponry used by the Houthis suggest the presence of various assets at their disposal, reflecting the type of training and capabilities they have acquired.
  • The United States had previously removed the Houthis from its terror listing, despite warnings from Saudi Arabia.
  • However, in a new development, the U.S. will consider the Houthis a specially designated global terrorist group from mid-February.
  • The new designation could have significant consequences, including blocking the Houthis’ access to the global financial system and implementing other measures aimed at curbing their activities.

The key issues that are arising:

  • The impact on global trade though sea routes and regional stability.
  • The issue of interoperability of different forces and delayed response highlight that the present concern may turn into a threat such as piracy.
  • The Houthis could use hijacked ship as mother ships to launch and the presence of hostages onboard would limit any hard power response to neutralize the threat.
  • State support to Houthis makes things more complicated, which in this case points to Iran, and perhaps China.
  • The supply of ASBMS, directly or indirectly, points to China, which also raises the issue of missile technology proliferation.

Response to such attacks:

  • Operation Prosperity Guardian, launched by the U.S. under the Combined Maritime Force’s (CMF) Combined Task Force 153, has received a tepid response from allies and strategic partners.
  • Out of the initially mentioned nine nations in the operation, three NATO allies of the U.S. – France, Italy, and Spain – have declined to participate and are operating independently.
  • Only Bahrain, among West Asian nations, is part of the operation.
  • Saudi Arabia has not joined the operation, potentially to avoid negative impacts on ongoing negotiations to end the war in Yemen and recent efforts to improve relations with Iran.
  • The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and India, despite being associated with CMF, are also operating independently.
  • Reasons include concerns about supporting Israel and, in India’s case, maintaining relations with Iran despite the halt in oil imports due to U.S. insistence.
  • Even close U.S. allies like Japan and Australia have not yet joined the operation, indicating broader divisions within like-minded nations that support freedom of navigation and maritime security.


  • The Houthis are capitalizing on the divisions among international allies and questioning the status of the U.S. as a global dominant nation.
  • Similar to dealing with piracy, addressing the Houthi threat requires ground-based solutions.
  • The attacks carried out by the U.S. and the U.K. demonstrate the importance of on-the-ground operations to counter the Houthi insurgency.
  • While targeting launchers is a tactical approach, there is a need to address the root cause by stopping the supply of weaponry to the Houthis.
  • Yemen’s situation is distinct from conflicts in Libya, Iraq, or Afghanistan, with broader global implications.
  • The complexity of the Yemen conflict demands careful consideration of actions due to the significant stakes involved.
  • The current situation does not appear to be under control, and there is a risk of further deterioration.
  • Urgent actions are required to define an achievable and accepted end state.
  • There is a need to assess further actions to prevent a state-on-state confrontation and to avoid legitimizing the Houthis as a state actor.
  • It is crucial to prevent Yemen from turning into a battleground similar to Lebanon.
  • The potential for regional destabilization and spillover effects must be carefully managed.

Source: The Hindu

Regional turmoil: On the West Asia situation

Source: The Hindu

Subject: International Relation

Topic:  India and its neighborhood

Issue: Regional tension in West Asia

Why in news: West Asia needs a new security equilibrium with the Palestine issue at the center


Extension of the war on Gaza

  • The conflict has expanded to involve Israel, Hamas, Hezbollah, Iranian commanders, and militias in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.
  • Israel has conducted targeted strikes in Lebanon and Syria, resulting in exchanges of fire between Hezbollah and Israeli troops in southern Lebanon.
  • Iran-backed militias in Syria and Iraq have targeted U.S. forces. The Houthis in Yemen have turned the Red Sea into a battlefield.
  • The S. has conducted airstrikes in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, aiming to retaliate against Shia militias.
  • In response to chaos and instability, Sunni Islamist militants attacked Iran, resulting in the death of at least 100 people.
  • Iran claims to have destroyed an Israeli intelligence outpost in Iraq’s Kurdistan and targeted training camps of Sunni Islamists in Syria and Pakistan through airstrikes.

Impact on international law:

  • The situation is characterized by regional anarchy, with countries resorting to unilateral military actions to address perceived security challenges.
  • Countries involved are disregarding international laws, undermining established norms that uphold the idea of sovereignty a bedrock of the international system.
  • Nations are taking independent and unilateral military measures without broader consensus or adherence to international agreements, contributing to the breakdown of established diplomatic channels.
  • The disregard for international norms and the pursuit of unilateral military strategies create challenges for regional stability, potentially leading to a prolonged and intensified conflict.

Recent attempt of stability before October 7 crisis:

  • Just before the October 7 attack, the Middle East was relatively quieter, with positive developments like the
  • Abraham Accords,
  • Closer Saudi-Israel ties,
  • Decreased tensions in Iraq,
  • Improved relations between Gulf Arabs and Iran,
  • In addition, a holding ceasefire in Yemen.

Key issues involved in recent crisis:

  • The longstanding crisis of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories was largely overlooked.
  • The October 7 Hamas attack and Israel’s subsequent offensive in Gaza have brought the Palestinian issue back to the forefront, possibly triggering the most significant security crisis in the region since 1967.
  • The participation of non-state actors and the absence of a clear off-ramp make the situation more complex.


  • Despite a 100-day conflict with Hamas, Israel has achieved little in Gaza.
  • The Houthis, having survived seven years of Saudi bombing, appear undeterred by U.S. strikes.
  • Iran, while wanting to showcase strength, faces inherent weaknesses, adding an element of unpredictability to the situation.
  • The traditional regional order, anchored by the U.S.’s dominant presence, is now in tatters.
  • West Asia needs a new security equilibrium, emphasizing the necessity of an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.
  • Achieving peace between Israel and the Palestinians could serve as a foundation for broader regional security talks involving key stakeholders like Israel, Arab nations, Iran, the U.S., and their respective allies and proxies.


Source: The Hindu