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Table of Contents:


GS Paper 1:

1. Commission to Examine Sub Categorization of other Backward Classes.


GS Paper 2:

1. Democracy Index 2019.

2. Certificates of Competency of Seafarers.


GS Paper 3:

1. EAO (East Asian Observatory).

2. Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC).

3. Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property.

4. What is a Blue Corner notice?


Facts for Prelims:

1. Vyom Mitra.

2. Reciting preamble is compulsory in Maharashtra.


GS Paper  : 1


Topics covered: Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.

Commission to Examine Sub Categorization of other Backward Classes

What to study?

For prelims and mains: Need for Sub Categorization, significance, issues involved and what can be done?

Context: Cabinet approves Extension of term of the commission constituted under Article 340 of the constitution to examine the issue of Sub-categorization within other Backward Classes in the Central List.


Article 14 of the Constitution guarantees equality before the law.

  • That means un-equals cannot be treated equally. Measures are required to be taken for the upliftment of un-equals to bring them on par with the advanced classes.

Sub- categorisation:

In view of this, the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) proposed the sub-categorisation of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) back in 2015.

In October 2017, President Ram Nath Kovind, in exercise of the powers conferred by Article 340 of the Constitution, appointed a commission to examine the issue of sub-categorisation of OBCs, chaired by retired Justice G. Rohini, to ensure social justice in an efficient manner by prioritising the Extremely Backward Classes (EBCs).

Need for subcategorization:

Sub categorization of the OBCs will ensure that the more backward among the OBC communities can also access the benefits of reservation for educational institutions and government jobs.

At present, there is no sub-categorisation and 27% reservation is a monolithic entity.

Significance of this move:

This decision, taken on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, reinforces, in the spirit of his teachings, the Government’s efforts to achieve greater social justice and inclusion for all, and specifically members of the Other Backward Classes.


The decision to set up a commission to examine the issue of sub-categorisation of the Other Backward Classes speaks to the long years of failure in effectively preventing large sections of the creamy layer from taking advantage of the quota system to the detriment of the poorer sections among their own caste groups.

In effect, the Union government is now seeking to ensure a more equitable distribution of reservation benefits by further differentiating caste groups coming under backward classes on the basis of their levels of social and economic backwardness.

Sources: pib.


GS Paper  : 2


Topics Covered: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate. Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

Democracy Index 2019

What to study?

For Prelims: Democracy Index 2019- features and performance of various countries, what is a flawed democracy?

For Mains: Concerns expressed over India and measures needed to improve.

ContextDemocracy Index 2019 has been released.

The report ranks 165 independent states and two territories, covering almost the entire population of the world.

About the index:

It is released annually by The Economist Intelligence Unit.

It provides a snapshot of the state of world democracy for 165 independent states and two territories.

 The Index is based on five categories:

  1. Electoral process and pluralism.
  2. Civil liberties.
  3. Functioning of government.
  4. Political participation.
  5. Political culture.


Based on their scores on 60 indicators within these categories, each country is then itself classified as one of four types of regime: full democracy; flawed democracy; hybrid regime; and authoritarian regime.

Performance of India:

In 2019, India slipped 10 places to 51st position.

It is placed in the “flawed democracy” category, which also includes Bangladesh (5.88).

 Its score, down from from 7.23 in 2018 to 6.90 in 2019, is its lowest ever since the Democracy Index was begun in 2006.


On the CAA, the report says, “The new citizenship law has enraged the large Muslim population, stoked communal tensions and generated large protests in major cities.”

What caused democratic regression in India?

As per the report, erosion of civil liberties in the country is main reason.

The report mentioned the stripping of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status with the repeal of Articles 370 and 35A, the various security measures that followed the bifurcation of the state including restriction of Internet access, and the exclusion of 1.9 million people from the final NRC (National Register of Citizens) in Assam.

Rankings of various other countries:

  1. Norway (top-ranked with 9.87) is counted as a “full democracy”.
  2. Following Norway at the top of the rankings are Iceland (9.58), Sweden (9.39) and New Zealand (9.26).
  3. Other “full democracies” include Germany, the United Kingdom and France.
  4. The United States, with a score of 7.96 is a “flawed democracy”, in the same category as India.
  5. In 2019, the average global score fell from 5.48 in 2018 to 5.44, the worst result since 2006.
  6. China (2.26) and North Korea (bottom-ranked with 1.08) are categorised as “authoritarian regimes”.
  7. Pakistan, with a score of 4.25, is categorised as a “hybrid democracy”.
  8. The report describes the year in Asia as one filled with “drama and tumult,” with Hong Kong being the epicentre of protest in the continent.

Sources: the Hindu.


Topics Covered: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

Mutual Recognition of Certificates of Competency of Seafarers

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: STCW convention, features, significance and implications.

Context: Cabinet approves Model MoU with foreign countries for unilateral/bilateral recognition of Certificates of Competency of seafarers.

This is in pursuant to Regulation  1/10 of International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) for Seafarers.


  1. It will facilitate unilateral recognition by another country of the certificates issued by the Directorate General of Shipping to Indian seafarers, without seeking similar recognition by India of the certificates issued by that country.
  2. Indian Seafarers, therefore, will be eligible to be placed on ships under the flag of that country for employment, thus leading to increased employment opportunities.
  3. The bilateral MoU would make the seafarers of both the countries to be eligible for employment on ships of either party based on the certificates so recognized.  India being a seafarer supplying nation with large pool of trained seafarers will stand to be benefitted.

About STCW convention:

The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watch keeping for Seafarers (or STCW), 1978 sets qualification standards for masters, officers and watch personnel on seagoing merchant ships.

  • STCW was adopted in 1978 by conference at the International Maritime Organization (IMO)in London, and entered into force in 1984.
  • The 1978 STCW Convention was the first to establish basic requirements on training, certification and watchkeeping for seafarers on an international level.
  • The Convention prescribes minimum standards relating to training, certification and watchkeeping for seafarers which countries are obliged to meet or exceed.
  • One important feature of the Convention is that it applies to ships of non-party States when visiting ports of States which are Parties to the Convention.
  • The Manila amendments to the STCW Convention and Code were adopted on 25 June 2010, marking a major revision of the STCW Convention and Code.

Sources: pib.


GS Paper  : 3


Topics Covered: Awareness in Space.

EAO (East Asian Observatory)

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: EAO- objectives, significance and the need for.

Context: India is in preliminary discussions to be a part of the East Asian Observatories Consortium of eight countries committed to build large telescopes and pool resources.

About EAO (East Asian Observatory):

Formed  by EACOA (East Asian Core Observatories Association) for the purpose of pursuing joint projects in astronomy within the East Asian region.

  • The intention of EAO is to build and operate facilities, which will enhance and leverage existing and planned regional facilities.
  • It will also raise funding and to build an observatory staff, separate from that of the EACOA institutions.
  • The EAO is chartered as a non-profit Hawaii corporation.
  • Its first task is to assume the operation of the James Clerk Maxwell Submillimetre Telescope (JCMT) on the summit of Maunakea, Hawai`i.
  • It consists of China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea as full members and Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia as ‘observers’.

Implications for India:

Having India join the group could mean the establishment of new kinds of telescopes — one proposed being in Tibet — that could aid the observation of new black holes and throw light on cosmic phenomena.

Sources: the Hindu.


Topics Covered: Conservation and pollution related issues.

Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC)

What to study?

For Prelims: About HCFC- 141 b- uses and environmental concerns.

For Mains: Significance of the move and other measures necessary.

Context: India has successfully achieved the complete phase out of hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC)-141 b, claims the ministry of environment, forest and climate change.

 About HCFC- 141 b:

  • It is a chemical used by foam manufacturers.
  • It is used mainly as a blowing agent in the production of rigid polyurethane (PU) foams.
  • It is one of the most potent ozone depleting chemical after Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).


On 31 December 2019, as part of the move towards environment friendly technologies, the ministry of environment, forest and climate change (MoEFCC) also brought out a Gazette notification prohibiting the issuance of import licence for HCFC-141b from 1 January 2020 under Ozone Depleting Substances (Regulation and Control) Amendment Rules, 2019 issued under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.


Nearly, 50% of the consumption of ozone depleting chemicals in the country was attributable to HCFC-141 b in the foam sector.

India has now emerged as one among the few countries globally and a pioneer in some cases in the use of technologies, which are non-Ozone Depleting and have a low Global Warming Potential (GWP).

Montreal Protocol:

The complete phase out of HCFC 141 b from the country in foam sector is among the first at this scale in Article 5 parties (developing countries) under the Montreal Protocol.

Benefits of this move:

The phase out of HCFC-141b from the country has twin environmental benefits, viz, assisting the healing of the stratospheric ozone layer, and towards climate change mitigation due to transitioning of foam manufacturing enterprises at this scale under HPMP to low global warming potential alternative technologies.

What are HCFCs?

Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) are a large group of compounds, whose structure is very close to that of Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), but including one or more hydrogen atoms.

  1. Under normal conditions, HCFCs are gases or liquids which evaporate easily. They are generally fairly stable and unreactive.
  2. HCFCs do not usually dissolve in water, but do dissolve in organic (carbon-containing) solvents.
  3. HCFCs are chemically similar to Hydrobromofluorocarbons (HBFCs), Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and Halons and therefore display some similar properties, though they are much less stable and persistent.
  4. HCFCs are also part of a group of chemicals known as the volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

How might it affect the environment?

HCFCs are unlikely to have any impact on the environment in the immediate vicinity of their release.

  1. As VOCs, they may be slightly involved in reactions to produce ozone, which can cause damage to plants and materials on a local scale.
  2. At a global level however, releases of HCFCs have serious environmental consequences. Although not as stable and therefore not so persistent in the atmosphere as CFCs, HBFCs or Halons, they can still end up in the higher atmopshere (stratosphere) where they can destroy the ozone layer, thus reducing the protection it offers the earth from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
  3. HCFCs also contribute to Global Warming (through “the Greenhouse Effect”). Although the amounts emitted are relatively small, they have a powerful warming effect (a very high “Global Warming Potential”).

 Sources: the Hindu.


Topics Covered: IP related issues.

Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Paris Convention- overview, KVIC- objectives.

Context: Khadi Village Industries Corporation is eyeing international trademark for ‘khadi’ under the Paris Convention for protection of industrial property.

Why? To prevent any product from masquerading as ‘khadi’ nationally or globally.
How is it presently protected?

The Regulations issued in 2013 by the ministry of micro, small and medium enterprises, empower KVIC to grant ‘Khadi Mark’ registration and take royalties from any producer using the Khadi mark.
About Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property:
It is a multilateral treaty dealing with the protection of industrial property in the widest sense.

Administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
Article 6 of the Paris Convention of 1883 protects armorial bearings, flags and other State symbols of the States part to the convention, including official signs, and hallmarks indicating control and warranty adopted by them.
As of January 2019, the Convention has 177 contracting member countries.

Sources: pib.


Topics Covered: Security agencies, role and mandate.

What is a Blue Corner notice?

What to study?

For Prelims and mains: Composition, objectives and functions of Interpol, various notices.

Context: Interpol has issued a Blue Corner notice to help locate fugitive self-styled godman Nithyananda, weeks after the Gujarat Police sought the agency’s intervention for this. Nithyananda fled India last year amid allegations of rape and sexual abuse.

What is a Interpol notice?

Notices are international requests for cooperation or alerts allowing police in member countries to share critical crime-related information.

There are seven types of notices — Red Notice, Yellow Notice, Blue Notice, Black Notice, Green Notice, Orange Notice, and Purple Notice.

What is blue notice?

Issued to “collect additional information about a person’s identity, location or activities in relation to a crime.”

What is Interpol?

The International Criminal Police Organisation, or Interpol, is a 194-member intergovernmental organisation.

Headquartered in Lyon, France.

Formed in 1923 as the International Criminal Police Commission, and started calling itself Interpol in 1956.

Interpol’s declared global policing goals include countering terrorism, promoting border integrity worldwide, protection of vulnerable communities, providing a secure cyberspace for people and businesses, curbing illicit markets, supporting environment security, and promoting global integrity.

India joined the organisation in 1949.

What is the Interpol General Assembly?

It is Interpol’s supreme governing body, and comprises representatives from all its member countries.

It meets annually for a session lasting approximately four days, to vote on activities and policy.

Each country is represented by one or more delegates at the Assembly, who are typically chiefs of law enforcement agencies.

The Assembly also elects the members of the Interpol Executive Committee, the governing body which “provides guidance and direction in between sessions of the Assembly”.


Sources: Indian Express.


Facts for Prelims:


Vyom Mitra:

It is ISRO’s first woman astronaut.

  • It will be used for an unmanned flight of ISRO’s GSLV III rocket in December 2020, which, along with a second unmanned flight in July 2021.
  • Vyommitra, equipped with a head, two arms and a torso, is built to mimic crew activity inside the crew module of Gaganyaan.
  • Functions: Attaining launch and orbital postures, responding to the environment, generating warnings, replacing carbon dioxide canisters, operating switches, monitoring of the crew module, receiving voice commands, responding via speech (bilingual).


Reciting preamble is compulsory in Maharashtra:

Maharashtra government has made it compulsory to recite the Preamble to the Constitution in all schools starting January 26. 

  • The objective is to instil values such as justice, freedom and equality enshrined in the Constitution.
  • The government has also asked the schools to put up a plaque or board with the Preamble and asked schools to hold quizzes, essay, drawing, slogan, poster competitions based on the Constitution.