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Today's current affairs UPSC 8 June 2024 from The Hindu and Indian Express

The Centre is Notional, the States are Real Entities

General Studies Paper: GS-II (Polity and Governance)

UPSC Optional Subject: Public Administration

Essay Topic: Federalism in India

Key Points:

  • Election Results and Federalism:

  • 2024 general election results indicate stronger regional party representation.

  • Regional parties' success suggests a shift towards greater federalism.

  • Centre-State Relations:

  • Persistent complaints from states about stepmotherly treatment by the Centre.

  • Issues raised include inadequate transfers of resources, treatment of opposition-ruled states, and financial support.

  • Supreme Court and Federalism:

  • Supreme Court has expressed concerns over Centre-State relations and the need for amicable solutions.

  • Introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST) in 2017 showcased federal tensions.

  • State Autonomy:

  • Diverse needs among states highlight the requirement for greater state autonomy.

  • States need the ability to address unique regional issues without excessive central interference.

  • Financial Concerns:

  • States' dependency on the Centre for financial resources, including taxes and grants.

  • Need for a more equitable distribution of resources among states, particularly favoring poorer states.

  • Inter-State Disparities:

  • Disparities among states in terms of development and resources.

  • Richer states have more resources to invest, creating a wider gap with poorer states.

  • 16th Finance Commission:

  • Tasked with addressing these financial disparities.

  • Recent recommendations to shift more financial autonomy to states.

  • Challenges to Federalism:

  • Increased regional representation in Parliament could lead to stronger demands for state autonomy.

  • Persistent issues of corruption and inefficiency in both Centre and state governments need addressing for effective federalism.


India's federal structure has always been a point of contention, with varying degrees of centralization and state autonomy throughout its history. The introduction of GST in 2017 was a major step towards financial integration but also highlighted tensions between the Centre and states. The 16th Finance Commission's ongoing efforts aim to address these disparities and promote a more balanced federal structure. The 2024 election results reflect a growing regional influence that could redefine Centre-State relations and promote stronger federalism.

Previous Years' UPSC Prelims Questions:

  1. Question: Which one of the following Articles of the Indian Constitution provides that ‘It shall be the duty of the Union to protect every State against external aggression and internal disturbance’?: Answer: (d) Article 355 Solution:

  • (a) Article 215

  • (b) Article 275

  • (c) Article 325

  • (d) Article 355

  1. Question: The Finance Commission is constituted by the President under Article: Answer: (a) Article 280 Solution:

  • (a) 280

  • (b) 282

  • (c) 289

  • (d) 285

The NEET Controversy

General Studies Paper: GS-II (Polity and Governance), GS-III (Education)

UPSC Optional Subject: Public Administration

Essay Topic: Challenges in the Indian Education System

  • Introduction and Overview:

  • NEET UG 2024 results were published by the National Testing Agency (NTA).

  • Controversy due to a large number of candidates scoring 720/720 and many scoring 718 or 719.

  • Legal Petitions and Examination Issues:

  • Multiple petitions filed in High Courts against the results.

  • Allegations of paper leaks and irregularities.

  • Supreme Court's involvement in hearing related petitions.

  • Examination Details:

  • Around 2.4 million candidates took the exam.

  • Examination conducted in 5,711 centres, with significant participation from outside India.

  • 108,409 MBBS seats across 700+ medical colleges.

  • Specific Cases of Controversy:

  • 67 candidates scoring perfectly.

  • Detailed statistics on toppers and repeaters from previous years.

  • Claims of “grace marks” given to older students.

  • Incident of 718, 719 Scores:

  • NTA explanation on the validity of scores, stating no error in the question paper.

  • Complaints about allocation of examination centres and technical difficulties.

  • Allegations of Paper Leak:

  • Bihar police and other authorities investigating cases of impersonation and cheating.

  • NTA’s denial of any wrongdoing and defense of the examination process.

  • NTA’s Response:

  • Statements on maintaining integrity and fairness.

  • Early declaration of results and addressing grievances promptly.

  • Assertions that any issues were isolated and did not affect overall fairness.


The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) is a pivotal examination for admission to undergraduate medical courses in India. Over the years, it has faced numerous controversies related to fairness, paper leaks, and technical glitches. The 2024 NEET exam has been particularly contentious, with record numbers of perfect scores raising suspicions. Legal battles have ensued, and the involvement of the Supreme Court underscores the gravity of the issues. The NTA, responsible for conducting the exam, has been defending its processes while investigating allegations. This controversy highlights the ongoing challenges in maintaining the integrity of high-stakes examinations in India.

RBI's Aspirational Goals for Capital Account Liberalisation, Globalisation of Rupee, and Digital Payments

General Studies Paper: GS-III (Economy)

UPSC Optional Subject: Economics

Essay Topic: Economic Reforms and Globalisation

Key Points:

  • Capital Account Liberalisation and Internationalisation of Rupee:

  • RBI aims to facilitate cross-border transactions in INR and enhance accessibility of rupee accounts to non-residents and foreign corporations.

  • Establishment of a calibrated approach towards liberalising Non-Resident Deposits and inward investments by Multi-National Corporations (MNCs) and India Inc.

  • Short-term recommendations to ease internationalisation of the rupee by the RBI working group headed by RBI Executive Director Radha Shyam Ratho.

  • Plans to address fiscal consolidation, inflation control, low level of non-performing assets (NPAs), current account deficit, and strengthening financial markets.

  • Globalisation of Digital Payment Systems:

  • RBI’s agenda includes plans for the internationalisation of India's Payment Systems (UPI, RTGS, NEFT).

  • Developing a standardised approach for expanding these systems globally, including integration with other countries' payment systems.

  • Emphasis on digital rupee and Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).

  • Economic and Financial Sector Reforms:

  • Recommendations for balancing price stability and economic growth from an Emerging Market Economy (EME) perspective.

  • Refinement in monetary policy communication and dealing with climate change risks.

  • Support for investments in the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) and GIFT City.

  • Impact of US Federal Reserve Decisions:

  • RBI follows the principle of 'follow the Fed', with adjustments based on local economic conditions.

  • On-Secure Retail Loans:

  • Concerns over the growth of unsecured retail loans and dependency on short-term funding.


The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has been pivotal in steering India's economic policies and reforms since its establishment in 1935. In recent years, the focus has been on liberalising the capital account and integrating the Indian economy more deeply with global financial markets. This involves easing restrictions on cross-border transactions, making the rupee more accessible to non-residents, and pushing for international recognition of India's payment systems. These steps are part of a broader agenda to enhance India’s financial stability, promote economic growth, and respond to global financial dynamics.

Previous Years' UPSC Prelims Questions:

  1. Question: Consider the following statements about the Reserve Bank of India (RBI): Which of the statements given above is/are correct? Answer: (d) 1, 2 and 3

  • It regulates the issue of banknotes.

  • It acts as the banker to the government.

  • It manages foreign exchange.

  1. Question: Which of the following is not a tool of the Reserve Bank of India for controlling credit in India? Answer: (d) Public Debt Act

  • (a) Open Market Operations

  • (b) Variable Reserve Requirements

  • (c) Statutory Liquidity Ratio

  • (d) Public Debt Act

Remoulding the Global Plastics Treaty

General Studies Paper: GS-III (Environment)

UPSC Optional Subject: Environmental Science

Essay Topic: Environmental Pollution and Sustainable Development

Key Points:

  • Plastic Waste Statistics:

  • Global plastic waste production was 353 million tonnes in 2019.

  • Only 9% was recycled, 50% sent to landfills, 19% incinerated, and 22% disposed of in uncontrolled sites.

  • 85% of recycled plastic is handled by informal recycling workers (IRWs).

  • Role of Informal Sector:

  • IRWs collect, sort, and recycle materials, reducing municipal waste management costs.

  • Their work reduces plastic content in landfills and greenhouse gas emissions.

  • IRWs face risks such as privatisation of waste management and exclusion from Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) norms.

  • Need for Recognition:

  • IRWs are crucial but often overlooked and vulnerable.

  • Strategies to reduce plastic pollution must involve IRWs to ensure effective waste management.

  • Global Plastics Treaty:

  • Aim to establish a legally binding agreement to reduce plastic pollution.

  • International Negotiating Committee (INC) established in 2021.

  • Ongoing negotiations include significant participation from IRWs via the International Alliance of Waste Pickers (IAWP).

  • India's Position:

  • Advocates for approaches enhancing repair, reuse, refill, and recycling.

  • Emphasises the importance of informal waste pickers in discussions and solutions.

  • Promotes country-specific strategies and sustainable futures by incorporating IRWs.

  • Final Considerations:

  • Ensuring social justice and equity for IRWs in the Global Plastics Treaty.

  • Integrating IRWs' perspectives and protecting their livelihoods in the new legal framework.


Plastic pollution has become a significant global issue due to its environmental impact and contribution to climate change. Informal recycling workers play a crucial role in managing plastic waste, particularly in developing countries. However, their contributions are often undervalued and they face numerous challenges. The Global Plastics Treaty seeks to address these issues by establishing a legally binding framework that includes the perspectives and rights of IRWs. This treaty is part of broader international efforts to promote sustainable waste management and reduce environmental pollution.

  • Question: Concerning ‘Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)’, consider the following statements: Which of the statements given above is/are correct? Answer: (c) Both 1 and 2 Solution:

  • It is a policy approach under which producers are given a significant responsibility for the treatment or disposal of post-consumer products.

  • The producer’s responsibility for a product is extended to the post-consumer stage of a product’s life cycle.

  • Question: Consider the following statements: Which of the statements given above is/are correct? Answer: (c) Both 1 and 2 Solution:

  • The Global Environment Facility (GEF) serves as a financial mechanism for 'Convention on Biological Diversity' and 'United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change'.

  • GEF funds are available to developing countries and countries with economies in transition to meet the objectives of the international environmental conventions.


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