Today's Headlines

Today's Headlines - 11 December 2022

Horizontal Reservation cleared by Uttarakhand

GS Paper - 2 (Polity)

The Uttarakhand Assembly passed a Bill to provide 30 per cent horizontal reservation to local women in state government services. This comes weeks after the Supreme Court lifted an Uttarakhand High Court stay on a 2006 order of the government, providing the same benefit. The Uttarakhand Public Services (Horizontal Reservation for Women) Bill, 2022 has now been sent for the Governor’s signature.

What is horizontal reservation?

  1. In December 2020, the Supreme Court clarified the position of the law on the interplay of vertical and horizontal reservations.
  2. A decision by a two-judge Bench in the case of Saurav Yadav versus State of Uttar Pradesh dealt with issues arising from the way different classes of reservation were to be applied in the selection process to fill posts of constables in the state.
  3. In simple terms, while a vertical reservation applies separately for each of the groups specified under the law, the horizontal quota is always applied separately to each vertical category, and not across the board.
  4. Reservation for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes is referred to as vertical reservation.
  5. Horizontal reservation refers to the equal opportunity provided to other categories of beneficiaries such as womenveterans, the transgender community, and individuals with disabilities, cutting through the vertical categories.
  6. For example, if women have 50 per cent horizontal quota, then half of the selected candidates will have to necessarily be women in each vertical quota category — i.e., half of all selected SC candidates will have to be women, half of the unreserved or general category will have to be women, and so on.

 What does Bill say?

  1. In the Bill’s statement of objects and reasons, the government says that due to Uttarakhand’s geographical structure, people living in remote areas lead a difficult lifeespecially the women.
  2. Because of this, their standard of living is below the women of other states. Also, women have very little representation in the state’s public services.
  3. The Bill proposes to plug these gapsby providing women with 30 per cent horizontal reservation in public services and posts, in addition to the existing quotas applicable in the state. The beneficiaries need to be women with a domicile certificate of Uttarakhand.

First woman IOA president

GS Paper - 1 (Personality)

Ushering in a new era in the country's sports administration, the legendary P T Usha was on 10 December 2022 elected as the first woman president of Indian Olympic Association (IOA). The elections were held under the supervision of Supreme Court-appointed retired SC judge L Nageswara Rao. The polls were originally due to be held in December 2021.


  1. The 58-year-old Usha, a multiple Asian Games gold medallist and fourth place finisher in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics 400m hurdles final, was declared unopposed for the top post in the polls.
  2. Usha's anointment to the top post was a foregone conclusion late last month after she emerged as the lone candidate for the top post.
  3. Nobody was willing to fight against Usha, who was nominated to the Rajya Sabha by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in July.
  4. Usha, fondly known as the 'Payyoli Express', had nominated her as a Rajya Sabha member in July.
  5. She also became the first Olympian and first international medallist to head the IOA in its 95-year-old history, adding another feather in her cap after dominating Indian and Asian athletics for two decades before retiring in 2000 with a bagful of international medals.
  6. Usha is the first sportsperson to have represented the country and also become IOA chief since Maharaja Yadavindra Singh, who played a Test match in 1934. Singh was the third IOA president who held office from 1938 to 1960.
  7. At least five of the 14 executive council members (including IOC member in India, Nita Ambani), are former sports persons, which is unprecedented in the IOA history.

IUCN Red List – 2022

GS Paper -3 (Environment)

According to the latest update to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List unveiled during the COP15 biodiversity conference in Canada, White-cheeked Dancing FrogAndaman Smooth hound shark and Yellow Himalayan Fritillary are among 29 new species assessed in India that are under threat. The latest update warns of threats including illegal and unsustainable fishing, pollution, climate change and diseases destroying sea species such as the Andaman Smoothhound shark.


  1. The IUCN Red List is a critical indicator of the health of the state of the world’s biodiversity.
  2. It provides information about the global extinction risk status of species—and is a key tool to help define and inform conservation targets.
  3. Over 15,000 scientists and experts from around the world are part of the IUCN Commission.
  4. They found 1,355 of over 9,472 species of plants, animals, and fungi across India’s land, freshwater, and seas assessed for the Red List are considered to be under threat, classed as critically endangered, endangered, or vulnerable to extinction.
  5. According to the data shared by IUCN239 new species analysed in India have entered the list. Of these, 29 are threatened.

White-Cheeked Dancing Frog (Micrixalus candidus)

  1. It has entered the Red List as endangered, is only known from a small range with an extent of occurrence of 167 square kilometers (in the Western Ghats of Karnatakaa biodiversity hotspot, is considered to be uncommon.
  2. Its habitat is threatened by the conversion of forest to areca nut and coffee plantations.

Andaman Smooth hound (Mustelus andamanensis)

  1. It has been included in the Red List as Vulnerable. This recently described shark is found in the Andaman Sea in the Eastern Indian Ocean off the coast of Myanmar, Thailand, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  2. It is subject to fishing pressure across its spatial and depth range. Due to growing demand for fish and fish meat is a major reason. This new species is currently only known from the Andaman Sea and endemic to India.

Yellow Himalayan Fritillary plant (Fritillaria cirrhosa):

  1. It has been included in the Red List as Vulnerable, is mostly found in the Himalayas. It occurs in Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan.
  2. According to data, in the Indian Himalayas, the species is threatened due to unorganised harvest, over-extraction, unsustainable and premature harvesting of bulbs, coupled with illegal hidden markets.
  3. It is harvested and traded with a new trade name i.e., ‘Janglilehsun’ probably to disguise common Allium species, the species is facing tremendous decline in wild populations due to its illegal harvesting and trade in Himachal Pradesh.

ILO declaration on Freedom of Speech

GS Paper -2 (International Relations)

The 17th Asia and the Pacific Regional Meeting of the International Labour Organisation (APRM of ILO) set ten-point priorities of national action for the member countries to deal with the issue of dwindling wages of workers, inflation and unemployment. The “Singapore Declaration”, which was adopted in Singapore by the delegates representing governments, employers and workers’ governments, employers and workers in the regions.



  1. It agreed that social dialogue is essential to address labour market challenges and finding solutions in crisis situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters, and economic uncertainty.
  2. It recognised that strong and representative organisations of workers and employers play an important role in building and sustaining inclusive societies and are fundamental to achieving social justice and decent work.
  3. It urged the governments to ensure labour protection for all through the promotion of freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining throughout the regions, including for workers in vulnerable situations and workers in the informal economy.
  4. It called for closing gender gaps in the world of work through measures that increase women’s labour force participation, promote equal pay for work of equal value, balance work and responsibilities, and promote women’s leadership.
  5. To pursue collective and determined efforts to promote and accelerate a smooth and sustained transition from the informal to formal economy, guided by the Transition from the Informal to the Formal Economy Recommendation, 2015 (No. 204 of the ILO recommendations).
  6. It guarantees universal access to comprehensive, adequate and sustainable social protection for all, with a particular focus on extending protection to workers in the informal economy.



  1. ILO is the only tripartite U.N. agencysince 1919.
  2. It brings together governments, employers and workers of 187 Member States,to set labour standardsdevelop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all women and men.

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