Today's Headlines

Today's Headlines - 21 December 2022

Effects of ban alcohol on Indian states

GS Paper - 3 (Economy)

The official death toll from the latest hooch tragedy in “dry” Bihar has mounted to 38. Critics have claimed that one of the reasons behind the tragedy is the state’s prohibition policy, with an official ban on alcohol leading to a thriving underground economy where such spurious alcohol is produced and sold.

How the Indian constitution views alcohol

  1. One of the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) mentions that “in particular, the State shall endeavour to bring about prohibition of the consumption except for medicinal purposes of intoxicating drinks and of drugs which are injurious to health.”
  2. While DPSPs are not in themselves legally enforceable, they set goals that the state should aspire towards to establish conditions under which citizens can lead a good life.
  3. Thus, alcohol is seen by the Constitution and by extension, the Indian state, as an undesirable evil that needs to be regulated.
  4. However, according to the Seventh Schedule of the Constitutionalcohol is a state subject, i.e. state legislatures have the right and responsibility to draft laws regarding it, including “the production, manufacture, possession, transport, purchase and sale of intoxicating liquors.”
  5. Thus, laws regarding alcohol differ from state to state, falling in the whole spectrum between prohibition and private sale.

Why do all states not have prohibition?

  1. While the Constitution sets prohibition on alcohol as a goal, for most states, it is very difficult to declare a ban on alcohol.
  2. This is primarily because liquor revenues are not easy to ignore and have consistently contributed a large share of state governments’ revenue.
  3. For instance, in Maharashtra, state liquor revenues amounted to Rs 11,000 crore in April 2020 (during the nationwide Covid lockdown), compared with Rs 17,000 crore in March.
  4. The state government attributed much of this drop to the closure of liquor stores, later categorising them as an essential service, in part due to the industry’s contribution to tax revenues.


India jumped in scientific publications ranking

GS Paper - 3 (Science and Technology)

India has jumped to the third position in the global ranking in scientific publications, science and technology (S&T) minister Jitendra Singh informed.


  1. At a meeting, the minister said that as per the National Science Foundation's 'Science & Engineering Indicators 2022' report of the US, India's position globally in scientific publications has improved from seventh in 2010 to third in 2020.
  2. He also said that India's scholarly output increased from 60,555 papers in 2010 to 1, 49,213 papers in 2020, as per the report.
  3. India now ranked third in terms of number of PhDs in science and engineering. He was also apprised of the fact that the number of patents granted to Indian scientists at the India Patent Office during the past three years has also increased from 2,511 in 2018-19 to 4,003 in 2019-20 and 5,629 in 2020-21.
  4. India's research performance in science and technology has improved significantly over the past few years, which is visible through a large amount of scientific knowledge in terms of research publications and innovations contributing to overall development.
  5. The government has taken several steps to boost the science and technology sector which includes a successive increase in allocations for Scientific Departments, incentivizing investment by the private sector to increase their share in GERD, improving the ease of doing business in the Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) activities; introducing flexible tools for public procurement; creating avenues for collaborative STI funding through portfolio-based funding mechanisms such as Public-Private-Partnerships and other innovative hybrid funding mechanisms.


  1. The National Science Foundation is an independent agency of the United States government that supports fundamental research and education in all the non-medical fields of science and engineering.
  2. As per the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2022 brought out by World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), India’s GII ranking has also improved significantly from 81st in 2014 to 40th in 2022.


EU deal on major carbon market reform

GS Paper -3 (Environment)

EU member States and parliamentarians announced an agreement for a major reform to the bloc's carbon market, the central plank of its ambitions to reduce emissions and invest in climate-friendly technologies. According to the European Parliament, the deal aims to accelerate emissions cuts, phase out free allowances to industries and target fuel emissions from the building and road transport sectors.

Objectives of the deal

  1. The Emission trading Scheme (ETS) was created in 2005 and applies to around 40% of EU emissions. It allows electricity producers and industries with high energy demands such as steel and cement to purchase "free allowances" to cover their carbon emissions under a "polluter pays" principle.
  2. The commission first proposed the carbon market reform in July 2021 as part of plans to reduce the bloc's greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared with 1990 levels.
  3. The quotas are designed to decrease over time to encourage them to emit less and invest in greener technologies as part of the European Union's ultimate aim of achieving carbon neutrality.
  4. The deal means emissions in the ETS sectors are to be cut by 62% by 2030 based on 2005 levels, up from a previous goal of 43%. Concerned industries must cut their emissions by that amount.
  5. Funds from this second market will go to a "Social Climate Fund" designed to help vulnerable households and businesses weather the energy price crisis.

What are Carbon Markets

  1. They are trading systems in which carbon credits are sold and bought. 
  2. One tradable carbon credit equals one tonne of carbon dioxide or the equivalent amount of a different greenhouse gas reduced, sequestered or avoided.

Types of carbon markets:

There are broadly two types of carbon markets: compliance and voluntary. 

  1. Compliance markets are created as a result of any national, regional and/or international policy or regulatory requirement.
  2. Voluntary carbon markets – national and international – refer to the issuance, buying and selling of carbon credits, on a voluntary basis.

What are some examples?

  1. Emissions Trading Systems (ETS) operating on a “cap-and-trade” principle, regulated businesses – or countries, as in the case of the European Union’s ETS – are issued emission/pollution permits, or allowances by governments (which add up to a total maximum, or capped, amount).  
  2. Last year, China launched the world’s largest ETS, estimated to cover around one-seventh of global carbon emissionsfrom the burning of fossil-fuels.
  3. The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), adopted under the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, is another well-known example of an international compliance market. 


Tawang and confrontation with China

GS Paper -2 (International Relations)

The Tawang sector in Arunachal Pradesh, where the clashes between Indian and Chinese soldiers took place, has long been a theatre for contentious border scuffles. It was in the Tawang sector that the 1962 India-China war first began. It was also the last place where the ceasefire was implemented.

About Tawang:

  1. The population here consists mainly of Monpas, adherents of Tibetan Buddhism with a distinct local ethnic identity.
  2. The Tawangpas, as they call themselves, are the only Indians who have lived under foreign occupation (in 1962) after gaining Independence from colonial rule.
  3. The Arunachal border has seen increased military activity since the 2020 Ladakh standoff. Like in eastern Ladakh, the border areas in the Tawang sector too have seen a strengthening of border infrastructure.
  4. The Chinese action in Tawang comes as the Se La Tunnel, meant for providing the Indian security forces an all-weather road to Tawang, is scheduled to be ready early next year.


The historical backdrop 

  1. As part of the 1914 Simla Agreement, in which a linear boundary, the McMahon Line, was created, the Tibetan rulers signed over control of Tawang to British India as they were seeking British support to offset a Chinese threat.
  2. The Lonchen Shatra, being Tibetan, understood the sensitivity of the Tawang transfer and suggested that the district should be taken over by British India ‘quickly and tactfully’.
  3. The British became embroiled in World War I in Europe, and so the matter was set aside. It was not, however, completely forgotten.

After Independence

  1. As the war in Europe came to a close and India moved towards independence, the British Government of India managed to exert control over areas south of Se La, the massif that separates the Tawang valley from the rest of the Monpa belt to its south. 
  2. Hampered by the partition of India and the work of assimilation of princely states, the new Indian Government did not immediately enter Tawang and the decision was taken only after the Chinese government declared the 1914 Shimla Convention null and void in November 1949.
  3. Sixty years on, the settled populations of Tawang continue to echo his words, although the sounds are muffled by the threat of once again being caught in an India-China conflict.

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