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May 11 @ 7:00 am - 11:30 pm



The MCC is a set of guidelines framed by the Election Commission of India (ECI) to ensure fair, peaceful, and civilized elections in the country. 

Free and fair elections are integral to the Indian Constitution. Article 324 grants plenary powers to the ECI to enforce MCC and maintain the purity of the electoral process. 

Key Provisions of MCC: 

  • Avoiding Divisive Activities: Political parties and candidates are prohibited from engaging in activities that exacerbate existing differences or create communal hatred among different groups, whether religious, linguistic, or caste-based. 
  • Criticism Limitation: Criticism of other parties should be restricted to their policies and programs, with no room for unverified allegations or distortions. 
  • No Appeal to Communal Feelings: Parties are barred from making appeals to caste or communal sentiments to secure votes. 
  • Anti-Corruption Measures: Corruption and offenses under election law by parties or candidates are strictly prohibited. 

Enforcement and Action by ECI: 

  • Non-Legally Binding: Although not legally enforceable, MCC violations are addressed by the ECI. 
  • Complaint Mechanism: Aggrieved parties can file complaints with the ECI, which has the authority to intervene. 
  • Symbols Order: The ECI can suspend or withdraw recognition of a party, affecting its ability to use its  
  • Deterrent Measures: Actions such as suspending campaign activities for violators can serve as deterrents, although recent history suggests less decisive action than in the past. 

Challenges and Recommendations: 

  • Deterioration of Election Culture: Elections have become battlegrounds where adversaries are treated as enemies, moving away from the civil and democratic exercise envisioned. 
  • Religious Polarization: Politicians often exploit religion, despite statutory prohibitions, to divide society, necessitating serious attention from the ECI. 
  • Ministers violating their oath by making communally charged speeches during campaigns should face consequences, potentially through criminal proceedings under Section 125 of the Representation of People Act 1951. 
  • Judicial Role: The Supreme Court can direct the ECI to initiate criminal proceedings against violators and enforce stricter measures to maintain the purity of elections. 

Judicial Intervention: 

  • Role of Apex Court: The Supreme Court can instruct the Election Commission to initiate criminal proceedings under relevant laws, such as Section 125 of the Representation of People Act 1951, against Ministers who violate their oaths. 
  • Purity of Elections: Upholding the purity of elections is paramount, with the judiciary emphasizing the need to not only eliminate corrupt practices but also prevent actions that sow division and hatred among citizens. 
  • ECI’s Powers: The Election Commission holds significant authority to address such violations promptly and effectively, utilizing its powers as mandated by the Constitution. 


The Model Code of Conduct (MCC) serves as a set of guidelines and principles for political parties and candidates during elections. It is developed through consensus among political parties, binding them to adhere to its provisions both in letter and spirit. 

Enforcement and Operational Period: 

  • Authority of the Election Commission: The Election Commission of India is tasked with enforcing the MCC, ensuring compliance from political parties in power and contesting candidates. This authority is derived from Article 324 of the Constitution of India. 
  • Duration: The MCC comes into effect upon the announcement of the election schedule by the Election Commission and remains operational until the conclusion of the electoral process. 


  • National Elections: During general elections to the Lok Sabha, the MCC applies across the entire country, ensuring uniformity in electoral conduct. 
  • State Elections: Similarly, during general elections to the Legislative Assembly of a state, the MCC is applicable throughout the entire state, ensuring consistency in electoral standards. 
  • Bye-Elections: In the case of bye-elections, the MCC is limited in its applicability to the specific constituency where the bye-election is being held, focusing enforcement efforts on the immediate electoral area. 

Issues Pertaining to MCC: 

  • Lack of legal enforceability raises concerns about effectiveness. 
  • Emergence of new electoral malpractices through technology and social media. 
  • Weak response and delayed action by the Election Commission. 
  • Inability to disqualify candidates or deregister political parties for violations. 

Reforms for Effective MCC Functioning: 

  • Make MCC legally binding under Representation of the People Act. 
  • Implement MCC provisions through existing legal frameworks. 
  • Consider Law Commission recommendation to ban government-sponsored advertisements before elections. 

Multiple choice question: 

  1. Which of the following best describes the purpose of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) during elections?
  1. It is a legally binding code enforced by the judiciary. 
  1. It is a set of voluntary guidelines for fair conduct during election campaigns. 
  1. It mandates specific actions for political parties and candidates. 
  1. It ensures free and fair elections by preventing corrupt practices and maintaining ethical conduct. 



Incorrect. The Model Code of Conduct (MCC) is not legally binding and is not enforced by the judiciary. 

Incorrect. While the MCC is a set of guidelines, it is not voluntary but expected to be followed by political parties and candidates during elections. 

Incorrect. The MCC does not mandate specific actions but outlines general principles for fair conduct during election campaigns. 

Correct. The MCC aims to ensure free and fair elections by preventing corrupt practices and maintaining ethical conduct among political parties and candidates. 



The winds of change are blowing across the Middle East. Long-standing tensions are forcing a reassessment of alliances, with potential for a US-Saudi defence pact and Israeli-Arab peace deals. This complex dance will significantly impact India’s strategic partnerships in the region. 

US-Saudi Mutual Defence Treaty and Middle East Dynamics: 

  • The US aims to establish a mutual defence treaty with Saudi Arabia and assist Israel in its conflicts with Hamas and Iran. 
  • Conditions for the treaty include US control over Saudi’s civilian nuclear program and Saudi’s commitment to retaining the US dollar for oil pricing. 
  • Normalization of Saudi-Israel relations is crucial, contingent on Israel’s actions in Gaza and the West Bank. 
  • Potential benefits for US President Biden include signalling American presence in the Middle East and aiding his re-election bid. 

India’s Engagement with Saudi Arabia: 

  • India sees opportunities in a US-Saudi pact and peace between Israel and its regional counterparts. 
  • Over the past decade, India has fostered ties with Saudi Arabia, especially under Crown Prince MBS’s reforms. 
  • Bilateral trade valued at $52.76 billion in 2022-23, with energy cooperation as a key aspect. 

India’s Engagement with Saudi Arabia: 

  • Major Saudi investment groups like ARAMCO, SABIC, ZAMIL, E-holidays, and Al Batterjee Group have invested in India. 
  • Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has invested around $4.6 billion in Indian startups such as Delhivery, FirstCry, Grofers, Ola, OYO, Paytm, and PolicyBazaar. 
  • The Indian community in Saudi Arabia, numbering over 2.4 million, serves as a vital link between the two nations, with their contributions widely respected in the kingdom. 

India-Israel Relations: 

  • Bilateral ties have strengthened significantly, focusing on defense, security, innovation, agriculture, and water sectors. 
  • Trade volumes have surged from $200 million in 1992 to $10.7 billion (excluding defence) in 2022-23, with India as Israel’s second-largest trading partner in Asia. 
  • Israel is a major supplier of defence equipment and high-tech communication systems to India, contributing to the innovation ecosystem, such as smart irrigation systems. 

Challenges and Opportunities: 

  • Strengthened strategic partnerships allow India to separate domestic politics from its foreign policy in the Middle East. 
  • Challenges include the October 7, 2023, terrorist attacks by Hamas in Israel, posing difficulties for India’s diplomatic strategy. 
  • India seeks a durable peace in the Middle East, welcoming a stronger American presence in the region. 

The Middle East’s Significance for India 

The Middle East is crucial for India’s foreign policy due to its political, economic, and strategic dimensions.  

  • Location: Acts as a bridge between Asia, Africa, and Europe, controlling major trade routes. 
  • Cradle of Civilization: Birthplace of major religions like Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. 
  • Energy Security: Major source of oil and natural gas imports for India (62% of crude oil in Oct 2023). 

Other Important Aspects 

  • Indian Diaspora: Large Indian population in the Middle East contributes significantly through remittances. 
  • Defence Cooperation: Partnerships with Oman and UAE for maritime security (e.g., access to Port Duqm). 
  • Pakistan’s Involvement: India seeks to counter Pakistan’s influence in the region. 

Challenges in India-Middle East Relations 

  • China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI): Seen as a potential threat (String of Pearls) encircling India. 
  • Regional Instability: Proxy wars, internal security issues (Yemen, Iraq, Syria) hinder political stability. 
  • Terrorism: A major threat to the entire region. 
  • Balancing Relations: Geopolitical tensions make it difficult to balance ties with all countries (e.g., Israel vs. Palestine). 

India’s Approach to the Middle East 

  • Look West Policy: Aims to fulfil national interests without getting entangled in regional politics. 
  • India-UAE CEPA (2022): Boosts bilateral trade relations. 
  • India-Arab Cooperation Forum (2014): Promotes annual ministerial engagements. 
  • Investments: Saudi Arabia’s investment in Reliance Industries (Jio) exemplifies growing economic ties. 
  • Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC): Engagement with this political and economic alliance strengthens regional cooperation. 

Multiple choice question: 

  1. The Euphrates and Tigris rivers are major rivers in the Middle East. Which of the following countries does NOT border at least one of these rivers?
  1. Iraq 
  1. Syria 
  1. Turkey 
  1. Iran 



  • Iraq: Borders both the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. 
  • Syria: Borders the Euphrates River along a small stretch in its eastern region. 
  • Iran: Borders the Tigris River along its western border. 
  • Turkey: While the Euphrates and Tigris rivers originate in the mountains of eastern Turkey, Turkey itself is located upstream from these rivers and doesn’t directly border them within its territory. 

Therefore, only Turkey doesn’t share a border with at least one of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. 



New Space India Ltd (NSIL), the commercial arm of the Department of Space in India, is looking for private companies to build their LVM3 launch vehicle. 

LVM3 is India’s largest launch vehicle and was previously used for missions to the Moon (Chandrayaan-2 and 3) and placing satellites in high orbits. 

LVM3 Capabilities 

LVM3 can be used for various missions, including escape from Earth’s orbit, geosynchronous orbit placement (satellites move with Earth’s rotation at 35,000 km), and deploying multiple satellites in low Earth orbit. 

Commercial Success 

  • NSIL successfully launched multiple satellites for internet provider OneWeb in 2022 and 2023 using LVM3. 
  • This marked the first time LVM3 deployed multiple satellites and placed them in different orbits during a single mission. 

Indian SpaceTech Sector on the Rise 

  • Indian SpaceTech companies have secured $62 million in funding so far in 2023, a 60% increase compared to the same period in 2022  
  • Companies like Skyroot are leading the way with the launch of Vikram-S, India’s first privately built rocket. This achievement aims to revolutionize satellite launches. 

Policy Push for Private Participation 

The Indian Space Policy 2023 has been a game-changer. It: 

  • Lays down regulations for private companies to participate in space missions. 
  • Provides clear guidelines for operations of key organizations: 
  • NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) – ISRO’s commercial arm. 

Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe). 

  • Opportunities for Private Space Companies 
  • The new policy opens doors for private companies to Offer satellite communication services. 
  • Operate mission control centres. Launch their own satellites. 
  • Establish and run private remote sensing services. 
  • Undertake space safety projects. 
  • Engage in the retrieval of resources from asteroids or space. 

Current Market Size and Strengths 

  • Market Value: A respectable ₹6,700 crore ($8.4 billion), showcasing a well-established space industry. 
  • Global Presence: Holds a 2% share of the global space economy, highlighting its international relevance. 
  • Revenue Streams: Earns significant income by launching satellites for Europe and America. 
  • Domestic Market: Strong domestic demand with a value of ₹6,400 crore ($8.1 billion). 

Future Growth Potential 

  • Projected Market Boom: The Indian space economy is expected to reach a staggering ₹35,200 crore ($44 billion) by 2033, reflecting a potential fivefold increase. 
  • Global Ambitions: Aims to capture an impressive 8% share of the global space economy by 2033. 

Rise of the Private Sector 

  • Global Ranking: Currently ranks 6th globally with 3.6% of the world’s space-tech companies, showcasing a thriving private space industry. 
  • International Comparison: While lagging behind the US (56.4%), India is ahead of major players like the UK (6.5%), Canada (5.3%), China (4.7%), and Germany (4.1%). 
  • Surge in Private Companies: Over 100 active space companies established since 2012, indicating a dynamic and growing private sector. 

Pros and Cons of Privatizing Space Exploration 


  • Reduced Exploration Costs: Private companies like SpaceX are driving innovation and using advanced technology to bring down launch costs and turnaround times. 
  • Space Tourism: Companies like Blue Origin are developing reusable rockets for space tourism, opening up space travel to paying customers. 
  • Access to Space Resources: Countries like Luxembourg are creating legal frameworks to allow private companies to mine resources in space. 


  • Regulation Challenges: Regulating private space activities can be complex and time-consuming, leading to delays and discouraging investment. 
  • Environmental Impact: Increased launches from private companies can lead to more spacecraft emissions, potentially affecting the climate. 
  • Space Debris: More launches raise the risk of collisions and create orbital debris, posing a threat to satellites and spacecraft like the International Space Station. 

Multiple choice question: 

  1. Which of the following statements is/are correct about Geosynchronous Satellite (GEO) orbit?
  1. It is a polar orbit inclined at an angle of 90° to the equator. 
  1. A satellite in this orbit appears stationary from a specific point on the equator. 
  1. It is used for communication purposes. 
  1. Both (b) and (c) 



  • Incorrect: A polar orbit is inclined at nearly 90 degrees to the equator, meaning the satellite travels over the North and South Poles. Geosynchronous satellites orbit around the equator. 
  • Correct: A key feature of a Geosynchronous orbit is that a satellite in this orbit appears stationary from a specific point on the equator. This makes them ideal for communication purposes as antennas on Earth don’t need to track the satellite’s movement. 
  • Correct: Because geosynchronous satellites appear fixed in the sky, they are widely used for communication purposes like satellite TV and telecommunications. 



The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has recently requested the Chief Secretary of Assam to furnish information regarding officials responsible for permitting construction activities, including the establishment of polling stations and schools, within the Sonai Rupai Wildlife Sanctuary 

About Sonai Rupai Wildlife Sanctuary 

Situated in Assam’s Sonitpur district, Sonai Rupai Wildlife Sanctuary nestles in the north-western foothills of the Great Himalayan Range, covering roughly 200 sq km. 

  • Establishment: Designated as a sanctuary in 1998, it’s a protected area aimed at conserving its diverse flora and fauna. 
  • Climate: The sanctuary experiences a sub-tropical climate, characterized by hot, humid summers with heavy rainfall. The Burhidihing River flows through, with the Namchang River from Arunachal Pradesh merging into it. 
  • Flora: Dominated by evergreen forests, the sanctuary also features grasslands. The lush vegetation provides habitats for various wildlife species. 
  • Fauna: Home to diverse wildlife, including elephants, Indian bison, deer, one-horned rhinoceros, leopards, and tigers. Rare species of cats also inhabit the area. 
  • Avifauna: Sonai Rupai is a haven for birdwatchers, hosting endangered species like the White Winged Wood Duck. Common birds include Woodpeckers, Hill Mynas, Indian Rollers, Nightjars, and Horned Owls. 
  • Concerns: Recent construction activities within the sanctuary have raised environmental concerns, prompting the National Green Tribunal to seek details from Assam’s Chief Secretary regarding those responsible. 



NGT directed UPPCB to submit an additional report on Hindon River pollution and actions taken against offending municipal bodies within two weeks. 

About Hindon River: 

  • Origin: Originates from lower Shivalik ranges in Saharanpur District of Uttar Pradesh. 
  • Course: Flows through Western Uttar Pradesh for 400 km before joining Yamuna River in Noida. 
  • Tributaries: Main tributaries include Kali (West) River and Krishni River. 
  • Pollution: Hindon is severely polluted due to untreated urban, agricultural, and industrial waste, making it one of the most polluted stretches in the Ganga basin. 
  • Status: Declared ‘dead’ and ‘unfit’ for bathing by CPCB in 2015. 

What is NGT? 

  • Establishment: Set up under National Green Tribunal Act 2010. 
  • Mandate: Ensures effective disposal of environmental protection and conservation cases within six months. 
  • Composition: Includes Chairperson, Judicial Members, and Expert Members. 
  • Locations: Principal sitting in New Delhi, with four other locations across India. 
  • Jurisdiction: Not bound by Civil Procedure Code, operates on principles of natural justice, and has appellate jurisdiction. 



Maillard reaction is a chemical process that happens when amino acids (from proteins) and sugars are heated in food. This process influences the taste, smell, and texture of foods. 


  • Browning Mechanism: Maillard reaction is a type of non-enzymatic browning, meaning it changes food colour without enzyme involvement. 
  • Chemical Steps: When heated, sugars and proteins combine to form an unstable compound called Schiff base through a condensation reaction. 
  • Formation of Intermediates: Schiff base rearranges and dehydrates to create various intermediate compounds, contributing to Flavors and aromas in food. 
  • Production of Stable Compounds: Some intermediates undergo further rearrangement to form stable products, which serve as precursors for melanoidins, responsible for food’s brown colour. 
  • Melanoidins Formation: These stable compounds undergo additional changes like condensation and polymerization, resulting in the formation of melanoidins, giving food its distinct brown colour. 
  • Factors Influencing Reaction: The rate and extent of Maillard reaction depend on factors like temperature, acidity, moisture content, and types/concentrations of proteins and sugars in food. 
  • Temperature: Optimal temperature range for Maillard reaction is 110-170°C. Higher temperatures can lead to burning and bitter Flavors. 
  • Acidity and Moisture: Acidic conditions and presence of water can inhibit the reaction. 
  • Practical Observations: Foods brown faster at higher temperatures; dry foods like bread crusts can develop a deep brown colour during baking due to Maillard reaction. 



Ludhiana’s Punjab Agricultural University has introduced Trichoderma asperellum as a biocontrol agent to tackle foot rot disease in Basmati rice varieties. This agent has been registered with the Central Insecticides Board and Registration Committee (CIBRC). 

Foot Rot Disease:  

  • It’s a fungal disease affecting Basmati rice, particularly during the seedling stage and even after transplantation if infected seedlings are used.  
  • The fungus Fusarium verticillioides causes it, spreading through the plant’s roots and affecting the stem base, causing yellowing, elongation, drying, and eventual death of the seedlings. 

Current Treatment:  

  • Traditionally, Trichoderma harzianum and chemical fungicides like Sprint 75 WS (carbendazim + mancozeb) are used before sowing and transplantation.  
  • However, chemical treatments can harm soil and potentially harm consumers due to toxic residues. 

Trichoderma asperellum: It’s a biocontrol agent, offering a non-chemical alternative to traditional pesticides. It helps manage foot rot disease without causing harm to the environment or consumers. 

Benefits: Using Trichoderma asperellum reduces reliance on harmful chemicals, promotes sustainable agriculture, and ensures safer rice production for consumers. 



The Batagay Crater, also known as the “gateway to the underworld,” is a significant feature in Russia’s Far East, located in the Sakha Republic. It’s recognized as the world’s largest permafrost crater. 

  • Discovery: The crater, or megaslump, was first identified in 1991 through satellite images after a section of the hillside collapsed in the Yana Uplands of northern Yakutia, Russia. 
  • Formation: Scientists attribute the crater’s formation to the melting of permafrost, which has been frozen since the Quaternary Ice Age around 2.58 million years ago. 
  • Permafrost: Permafrost refers to ground that remains continuously frozen at or below 32°F (0°C) for at least two consecutive years. 

Global Distribution:  

  • Permafrost is predominantly found in regions with high mountains and in Earth’s higher latitudes, particularly near the North and South Poles. 
  • It covers substantial areas of the Earth, with almost a quarter of the land area in the Northern Hemisphere having permafrost underneath. 

Impacts of Melting:  

  • The growing Batagay Crater highlights the consequences of permafrost thawing, which can lead to land subsidence, release of greenhouse gases like methane, and disruptions to infrastructure and ecosystems. 


May 11
7:00 am - 11:30 pm
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