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Today's UPSC Current affairs 14 June 2024 from The Hindu and Indian express

Do Coalition Governments Slow Down the Economic Reforms Agenda?

  • General Studies Paper II: Polity and Governance - Role of coalition governments.

  • General Studies Paper III: Economic Reforms and Policies.

  • Optional Subject: Political Science and International Relations - Dynamics of coalition politics.

  • Essay Topics: Role of coalition governments in policy-making, Challenges in economic reforms in coalition setups.


K.K. Kailash (KKK)

Sanjay Ruparelia (SR)

Do coalition governments end up making too many policy concessions?

- Single-party governments are often seen as superior, but this is a misconception.- Coalition governments can make more concessions but are not necessarily less effective.Historical evidence shows many successful coalition governments worldwide.

- Economic growth requires reforms, often seen as needing strong, decisive leadership. <br> - Coalition dynamics can slow down reforms due to the need to accommodate various interests. <br> - Examples: NDA under Vajpayee and UPA under Manmohan Singh dealt with coalition challenges.

Have coalitions performed worse than single-party governments in the past?

- History shows mixed outcomes; no clear evidence that coalitions perform worse.

- Janata Party government had mixed results. <br> - United Front government and subsequent Vajpayee-led NDA made significant reforms despite being coalitions.

Has the state of Centre-State relations in the era of coalitions affected reform outcomes?

- Division of taxes between Centre and States is crucial. <br> - GST reflects Centre-State tensions, needing better coordination for reforms.

- State governments have substantial power to influence reforms. <br> - Examples: Different states' responses to GST and other reforms.

The NDA's Future and Its Coalition Stability

- Current political spectrum impacts reform efficiency. <br> - Decision-making and policy implementation depend on coalition dynamics.

- BJP's need for allies remains crucial. <br> - Stability of coalitions is uncertain, impacting long-term reforms.

  • Historical Context:

  • India's political landscape has frequently seen coalition governments, especially from the late 1990s.

  • Coalition governments have both successes and failures in terms of economic reforms, often influenced by the necessity of accommodating various political interests.

  • Examples and References:

  • NDA under Vajpayee (1999-2004): Introduced significant economic reforms despite coalition pressures.

  • UPA under Manmohan Singh (2004-2014): Managed coalition dynamics with varying success in implementing reforms.


  1. "Do coalition governments slow down the economic reforms agenda?"

  • Analyze this statement with examples from Indian political history.

  • Discuss the pros and cons of coalition governments in the context of policy implementation.

Model Answer Structure:


  • Briefly introduce the concept of coalition governments and their historical presence in India.


  • Historical Context: Key examples from NDA and UPA regimes.

  • Pros and Cons: Analyze both sides with specific examples.

  • Centre-State Relations: How coalitions influence federal dynamics.

  • Current Scenario: NDA's approach under Modi and coalition challenges.


  • Summarize the overall impact of coalition governments on economic reforms.

  • Suggest measures for improving policy implementation in coalition scenarios.

  • Forward-looking conclusion on the future of coalition politics in India.

China's 'Grey-zone' Warfare Tactics Against Taiwan

General Studies Paper

  • GS Paper II: International Relations

UPSC Optional Subject

  • Political Science and International Relations

Essay Topics

  • International Relations and Diplomacy

  • Security and Strategic Issues



  • Taiwan's New Leadership: Since the new Taiwanese president, Lai Ching-te, assumed office, China's response to his "pro-independence" and "secessionist" statements has become a focal point.

  • China's Approach: Transitioning from direct military confrontation to sophisticated "grey-zone" tactics, China aims to frustrate Taiwan through sustained measures.

China's Actions

  • Military Drills: PLA conducts drills to simulate invasion scenarios and demonstrate military capabilities.

  • Example: PLA ETC Weibo released a 3D animation showing land-and-sea-based ballistic missile launchers targeting Taipei and Kaohsiung.

  • Information Warfare: PLA ETC's use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and strategic flights for surveillance and intimidation.

  • Propaganda: UAVs also drop ideological leaflets on Taiwanese territory.

  • Example: Drones dropped boxes with simplified Chinese fliers stating Taiwan independence is a "dead end."

  • Psychological Warfare: Regular ideological narratives to influence Taiwanese public opinion.

  • Example: Internet circulation of videos depicting Taiwanese sovereignty as unattainable.

Political and Economic Measures

  • Suspension of Trade Benefits:

  • Example: Unilateral suspension of preferential tax rates for chemical imports from Taiwan in response to secessionist rhetoric.

  • Economic Coercion: Leveraging cross-strait trade and business interdependence.

  • Example: Suspension of specific trade agreements like the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA).

Ideological and Psychological Campaigns

  • Narratives: Promoting the idea that Taiwanese independence is futile.

  • Example: Flyers warning against sacrificing lives for independence.

  • Online Propaganda: Videos and social media campaigns to demoralize pro-independence supporters.

  • Example: Circulation of videos showing PLA capabilities and ideological messages.

The Gist

  • Coercive Measures: Combination of military simulations, UAV operations, economic sanctions, and propaganda.

  • Response to Taiwan’s Policies: Retaliation against pro-independence statements and policies by President Lai.


China's "grey-zone" tactics refer to actions that fall below the threshold of armed conflict but aim to achieve strategic objectives.

These tactics have gained prominence in recent years as China seeks to assert its influence over Taiwan without triggering a direct military confrontation. The approach includes a mix of military drills, economic sanctions, and psychological operations designed to weaken Taiwan's resolve and portray any move towards independence as futile. This strategy reflects China's broader geopolitical ambitions and its efforts to reshape the regional power balance in its favor. The increased use of UAVs and sophisticated propaganda illustrates the evolving nature of modern warfare, where information and psychological impact play crucial roles alongside traditional military power.

Red Fort Case: Standards for Awarding Death & President's 'Mercy' Power

General Studies Paper

  • GS Paper II: Polity and Governance

UPSC Optional Subject

  • Law

Essay Topics

  • Judicial Activism and Judicial Restraint

  • Capital Punishment and Human Rights



  • President's Decision: President Droupadi Murmu rejected the mercy petition of Mohammed Arif, a Pakistani national sentenced to death for the 2000 Red Fort attack, which killed three people, including two Army jawans.

  • Arif's Legal Battle: Arif exhausted his appeals in the Delhi High Court and Supreme Court, with a trial court order from October 2005 upheld. He may still challenge the President's decision.

Standards in Death Sentence Cases

  • Supreme Court Rulings:

  • 1980 Bachan Singh vs. State of Punjab: Established the "rarest of rare" doctrine for death penalty cases, emphasizing that it should not be awarded if other options are "unquestionably foreclosed" and all mitigating circumstances considered.

  • Subsequent Reaffirmations: This standard has been reaffirmed in several decisions over the years.

The Red Fort Attack and Arif's Arrest

  • Incident: On December 22, 2000, Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists attacked the Red Fort, killing two Army jawans and a civilian guard.

  • Arif's Capture: Following a breakthrough, Arif was arrested on December 25, 2000, with his wife. He provided crucial information leading to further arrests and charges.

Arif's Legal Proceedings

  • Trial and Sentencing:

  • Delhi High Court (2007): Upheld the trial court's death sentence.

  • Supreme Court (2011): Rejected Arif's appeal.

  • Review Petitions: Filed multiple review petitions, all rejected, with the latest being in November 2022.

  • Mercy Petition: Rejected by President Murmu on May 27, 2023.

President's Mercy Power

  • Article 72 of the Constitution: Grants the President the power to pardon, remit, or commute sentences in certain cases.

  • 262nd Law Commission Report (2015): Recommended the abolition of the death penalty except for terrorism-related offenses.

  • Judicial Precedents: The Supreme Court has commuted death sentences in cases of inordinate delay (e.g., Shatrughan Chauhan vs. State of U.P. 2014, Gurmeet Singh's case).

Possible Future Developments

  • Further Legal Challenges: Arif can challenge the rejection of his mercy petition based on procedural grounds, such as the non-consideration of relevant material or political bias.

  • Prolonged Incarceration: Arif has been in custody for over 23 years, including 19 years on death row.

Background Information

The Red Fort attack on December 22, 2000, by Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists marked a significant terrorist incident in India's history. The attackers infiltrated the historic monument, resulting in the deaths of Army personnel and a civilian guard. Mohammed Arif, a Pakistani national, was arrested shortly after the attack and was later convicted and sentenced to death. His case has undergone extensive judicial scrutiny, with multiple appeals and review petitions being rejected by higher courts, including the Supreme Court. President Droupadi Murmu's recent rejection of his mercy petition aligns with the rigorous standards set by Indian jurisprudence for capital punishment cases. The "rarest of rare" doctrine remains a cornerstone in the judicial assessment of death penalty cases, balancing the gravity of the crime against potential mitigating factors. The case continues to highlight the complexities and sensitivities involved in administering capital punishment and the exercise of executive clemency powers in India.

UPSC Mains Question Practice

  1. Question: Discuss the role of the President’s mercy power under Article 72 of the Indian Constitution and its implications on the judicial process. (GS Paper II, 2016)

Model Answer

Discuss the role of the President’s mercy power under Article 72 of the Indian Constitution and its implications on the judicial process.


Article 72 of the Indian Constitution confers the President with the power to grant pardons, reprieves, respites, or remissions of punishment, and to suspend, remit or commute sentences. This power is a crucial aspect of the executive's role in the criminal justice system, aimed at tempering justice with mercy.


  • Constitutional Provision:

  • Scope and Authority: The President's power extends to all cases where the punishment or sentence is by a court-martial, a case involving the laws relating to the Union's executive power, or a death sentence.

  • Judicial Interpretation: The Supreme Court has clarified that the exercise of this power should not be arbitrary or capricious and is subject to judicial review on limited grounds.

  • Judicial Oversight:

  • Grounds for Challenge: The mercy power can be challenged if there is a failure to consider relevant material, exercise of power on political grounds, or absence of application of mind.

  • Notable Cases: In cases like Shatrughan Chauhan vs. State of U.P., the court has commuted death sentences due to undue delays in deciding mercy petitions, emphasizing the humane administration of justice.

  • Balancing Justice and Mercy:

  • Rationale: The mercy power acts as a safeguard against judicial fallibility and provides a final check to prevent miscarriage of justice.

  • Case Studies: The commutation of death sentences in cases involving prolonged delays and consideration of post-conviction conduct illustrates the balancing act between retributive justice and humanitarian considerations.

  • Recent Trends and Recommendations:

  • Law Commission's Recommendations: The 262nd Law Commission Report recommended the abolition of the death penalty for non-terrorism-related offenses, suggesting a more restrained use of capital punishment.

  • Evolving Jurisprudence: Judicial pronouncements have increasingly emphasized the importance of considering mitigating factors and ensuring that the mercy power is exercised judiciously.


The President’s mercy power under Article 72 is a vital constitutional provision that underscores the humane aspect of the criminal justice system. While it provides a mechanism for correcting judicial errors and mitigating harsh punishments, its exercise must be guided by principles of fairness, justice, and rationality. The evolving judicial approach and recommendations for its judicious use reflect the dynamic interplay between law and compassion in the administration of justice in India.


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