La Excellence IAS Academy

Jaishankar discusses bilateral ties with Singapore PM, senior Ministers.

Syllabus: GS-II, Subject: International Relations, Topic: India’s relations with other nations, Issue: India-Singapore.

Context: External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar visited Singapore to strengthen bilateral ties and discuss regional issues.


  • Relations trace back to the Chola dynasty.
  • India’s economic reforms in the 1990s and its Look East policy paved the way for collaboration, including the 2005 Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA).
  • Elevated to a Strategic Partnership in 2015.

5-S Plank:

  • Scale up Trade & Investment.
  • Speed up Connectivity.
  • Smart Cities and Urban Rejuvenation.
  • Skill development.

Source: The Hindu

Daily Editorials

1.29 by 2050: impact of India’s falling fertility rate

Syllabus: GS-I, Subject: Society and Social Justice, Topic: Population and associated issues, Issue: Declining fertility rate

Context: Lancet study and prediction on India’s total fertility rate (TFR).


  • Total fertility rate (TFR) refers to the average number of children that would be born to a woman if she were to live to the end of her reproductive age.
  • Replacement level fertility refers to the total fertility rate at which a population exactly replaces itself from one generation to the next, without migration, typically TFR of around 2.1.


  • India’s total fertility rate (TFR) is dipping to 1.29 by 2050, far lower than the replacement rate.
  • From around 2 children per woman in 1950, the TFR has dipped to approximately 1.91 in 2024.
  • The global TFR has also been declining, by 2050, 155 out of 204 countries will be below the replacement level.
  • Implications:
    • Shrinking Workforce: A TFR below the replacement rate can lead to a shrinking working-age population in the long run.
    • Dependency Ratio: As the elderly population grows relative to the working-age population, the dependency ratio increases.
    • This means fewer working people are supporting more dependents, potentially impacting social services and healthcare systems.

Source: Indian Express

ASI to remove 18 ‘untraceable’ monuments from its list of protected sites

Syllabus: GS-I, Subject: History-Art and Culture, Topic: Art and architecture, Issue: ASI

Context: ASI intends to remove 18 monuments from its protected list as they are deemed “untraceable” and lack national importance.

Key Highlights:

  • ASI has invoked the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958 (AMASR Act) to delist the 18 monuments.
  • Delisting of the monuments means the central agency won’t have any onus to protect them.
  • Activities related to construction and urbanisation in the area can be carried out in a regular manner.

Prelims Connect: (Institutions in news)

Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)

●        Established in 1861 by Alexander Cunningham.

●        Main objective is to maintain archaeological sites, ancient monuments, and national heritage remains.

●        Headquarters: New Delhi

●        Operates under the Union Ministry of Culture.

●        Functions:

➢    Regulates all archaeological activities

➢    Oversees the implementation of the Antiquities and Art Treasure Act, 1972.

Source: Indian Express

State govt. can’t alone decide on changing exam pattern: HC

Syllabus: GS-II, Subject: Society and Social Justice, Topic: Social Sector – Education, Issue: Education

Context: The High Court of Karnataka rules that the state government can’t unilaterally change exam patterns for classes 5, 8, 9, and 11.

Key points:

  • The court emphasized the need for prior consultation with stakeholders before implementing changes.
  • Holding exams without a policy for student expulsion contradicts RTE Act, 2009.

Prelims Connect(Acts/Policies):

Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009

●        Right to free and compulsory education for children aged 6 to 14.

●        Free education until completion, regardless of age.

●        No expulsion until completion of elementary education.

●        Mandatory pupil-teacher ratio compliance for schools.

●        Prohibition of teachers giving private tuition or non-teaching duties.

Source: The Hindu

Why Pakistan’s ‘piracy’ of Indian basmati rice varieties is concerning

Syllabus: GS-III, Subject: Science & Technology, Topic: Intellectual Property Rights, Issue: Basmati varieties

Context: Illegal cultivation of IARI’s improved basmati rice varieties in Pakistan.

Key issues:

  • Pakistan’s Super Basmati variety, similar to IARI’s PB-1, has helped it gain a significant share in the EU-UK market.
  • Poses a threat to India’s market dominance.
  • India faces challenges in West Asian markets due to Pakistan’s adoption of IARI varieties and parboiling technology.


  • India can address the issue through its Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act 2001 and Seeds Act
  • Raising intellectual property rights violations in bilateral and WTO forums.
Prelims Connect( Specialty of IARI bred Basmati varieties)

●       Have shorter plant heights, higher yields, and shorter maturity periods compared to traditional tall basmati varieties.

●       Examples : PB-1,PB-1121,PB-6 and PB-1509

Source: Indian Express

The Bhutan Model

Syllabus: GS-II, Subject: International Relations, Topic: India and its neighbourhood, Issue: India-Bhutan relation

Context: Prime Minister’s recent visit to Bhutan.

Growing presence of China in India’s neighbourhood:

  • China’s economic rise has enabled it to contest India’s primacy in South Asia, posing challenges to India’s influence in the region.
  • Bhutan is strategically vital for India due to its proximity to the Siliguri Corridor.
  • China’s pressure on Bhutan for a favourable border settlement and equal bilateral relations with India has strained Delhi-Thimphu ties.


  • India now acknowledges China’s growing challenge in South Asia and aims to deepen economic and security cooperation with its neighbours.
  • Success in Bhutan could serve as a model for improving India’s relations with other neighbouring

Source: Indian Express

WTO’s existential crisis

Syllabus: GS-II, Subject: International Relations, Topic: International institutions, agencies and fora, Issue: World Trade Organization(WTO)

Context: 13th biennial ministerial meeting of WTO ended without significant accomplishment.

Issues in WTO:

  • WTO rules challenge countries’ right to implement Public Stockholding (PSH) programs for food distribution.
  • Outdated criteria for price support assessment hinder effective PSH programs.
  • Industrialised nations’ subsidies to overcapacity and over-fishing (OCOF) in shipping fleets remain unregulated.
  • The WTO’s Dispute Settlement Mechanism (DSM) crisis persists, with the US blocking Appellate Body member appointments since 2019.


  • US strategy involves de-judicialising trade multilateralism to weaken bodies like the WTO’s dispute settlement.
  • De-judicialisation aims to reclaim decision-making power from international courts.

Source: Indian Express

Uneven field

Syllabus: GS-III, Subject: Economy, Topic: Growth and Development, Inclusion, Issue: Inequality

Context: A new working paper “Income and Wealth Inequality in India, 1922-2023: The Rise of the Billionaire Raj”released by the World Inequality Lab.

Key findings:

  • In 2022-23,6% of national income went to the top 1%, highest since 1922.
  • India’s top 1% income share ranks among the highest globally.
  • Wealth inequality is also alarming, with the top 1% holding 40.1% of wealth.


Super taxes on billionaires and restructuring tax schedules.

Source: Indian Express

What is the district election management plan?

Syllabus: GS-II, Subject: Polity, Topic: Elections and RPA, Issue: Election System

District Election Management Plan (DEMP):

  • Prepared at least six months before the tentative poll day.
  • Involves collaborative efforts from election officials, administrative authorities, law enforcement agencies, and engagement with political parties and media.

Elements of DEMP include:

  • A district profile, strategies for polling station accessibility, SVEEP.


  • Includes plans for election personnel planning, training, welfare, and deployment,material management.

Source: The Hindu

On campaigning in the name of religion

Syllabus: GS-II, Subject: Polity, Topic: Elections and RPA, Issue: Election Process

Context: Political parties filed complaint regarding use of religion during campaign

Provisions to restrict use of religion in politics:

  • Section 123(3) of the RP Act bans appeals based on religion, race, caste, community, or language in elections.
  • Section 123(3A) condemns attempts by candidates to incite enmity or hatred among citizens on these grounds during elections.
  • The Model code of conduct mandates parties and candidates to avoid actions exacerbating differences or causing tension between communities.
  • It prohibits appeals to caste or communal feelings for votes and bans the use of places of worship for election propaganda.
  • The Supreme Court has ruled that candidates can’t seek votes based on their or voters’ religion.
+1 advantage for mains(Case law)

Abhiram Singh vs. C. D. Commachen (2017)

●       The majority view provided a ‘purposive interpretation’ to Section 123(3)and  declared that any appeal in the name of religion of the voters as a corrupt electoral practice.

●       Constitutional ethos forbids the mixing of religious considerations with the secular functions of the State.

●       Purposive interpretation is a method used to understand the meaning of a text,(laws and constitutions) by focusing on its intended purpose.

●       Goes beyond the literal meaning of the words and considers the objective behind the text.

Source: The Hindu

Understanding what the right to equality promises

Syllabus: GS-II, Subject: Polity, Topic: Right issues, Issue: Fundamental Rights

Context: The Citizenship (Amendment) Act-2019 has been challenged in Supreme Court on the grounds of violation of Article 14.

Reasonable classification test:

  • It is a legal concept used to assess the fairness and validity of laws or government actions that differentiate between groups of people.
  • It ensures that such classifications are not arbitrary and promote equal treatment under the law.
  • The Home Ministry argues that CAA-2019 fits the reasonable classification as it grants citizenship to persecuted minorities from neighbouring

Concerns with application of reasonable test

  • Discrimination based on religion contradicts secularism and may not be adequately addressed by the classification test.
  • A comprehensive re-understanding of the right to equality is needed, involving radical redevelopment of existing tests.
+1 advantage for mains(case law)

●       In Charanjit Lal Chowdhury v. Union of India (1950), the Court allowed the legislature to recognize degrees of harm and restrict cases based on clearest harm.

Source: The Hindu