Debate on India’s Declining Poverty Rate:

Claim of Declining Poverty Rate:

  • NITIAayog CEO, V.R. Subrahmanyam, asserts that less than 5% of Indians now

live below the poverty line.

  • Based on Household Consumption Expenditure Survey (HCES), 2022-23.
  • Highlights significant reduction from 5% in 2011-12 to around 2% in 2022-23.



Definition of Poverty Line and Need for Revision:

  • Poverty line defined by Tendulkar poverty line, adjusted for inflation, and World Bank’s poverty line of $2.15 per



  • SurjitBhalla argues for raising the poverty line, given the considerable decrease in poverty
  • JayatiGhosh critiques the inadequacy of the current poverty line, citing lack of conceptual basis and absence of official declaration by the



Discrepancy in Survey Data and Wage Growth:

  • Survey indicates a rise in consumption expenditure but critics question the corresponding increase in real wage growth.
  • Bhalla points to data from the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) showing growth in real wages, especially for agricultural
  • Ghoshcontests the claim, citing studies indicating minimal growth in real wages and increased unpaid family helpers in



Reliability of Government Data:

  • Debate over the credibility of government data arises, with concerns about politicization and selective
  • Ghosh highlights instances of delayed release of reports and alleged suppression of critical audit
  • Bhallacounters by questioning the quality of private sector data, particularly regarding female labour force participation



Nutrition and Poverty Alleviation:

  • Discussion extends to the importance of nutrition in poverty
  • Ghoshreferences a UN report stating that a majority of the Indian population cannot

afford a minimum nutritious diet.

  • Bhalla emphasizes a shift from calorie consumption-based indicators to absolute income levels for defining


  • Despite claims of declining poverty rates, discrepancies in data interpretation and concerns about data reliability
  • Both experts stress the need for a more nuanced approach to poverty measurement

and policy formulation, taking into account factors beyond consumption expenditure.

Implementation of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019: A Deepening Debate



Notification of CAA Rules:

  • Four years post the passing of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019, theMinistry of Home Affairs (MHA) has finally notified the rules for its implementation on March
  • The law aims to fast-track citizenship for undocumented immigrants from six non-Muslim communities from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and



Implications and Concerns:

  • TheCAA, in conjunction with the  proposed National Register of Indian Citizens

(NRIC), has raised concerns about potentially disproportionately affecting Muslims

  • The CAA could undermine the Assam Accord of 1985, particularly challenging theprescribed cutoff date for identifying



Supreme Court’s Response:

  • TheSupreme Court has termed the CAA a “benign piece of legislation” and refused to

stay its operation in previous hearings.

  • Finalhearings on the case began on December 6, 2022, but subsequent developments remain



Challenges and Petitions:

  • Several petitioners have sought a stay on the newly notified rules, arguing that theyundermine the tiered scrutiny process and preempt the Supreme Court’s final
  • The challenge to Section 6A of the Citizenship Act, which determines the cutoff datefor identifying foreigners in Assam, is closely tied to the fate of the



Significance of Section 6A Challenge:

  • The validity of Section 6A, which establishes the cutoff date for identifying foreigners n Assam, will impact the fate of the
  • AConstitution Bench is deliberating on the matter, with the outcome potentially

influencing the implementation of the CAA.



About Citizenship Amendment Act 2019

The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) of 2019 aims to grant citizenship to undocumented immigrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan belonging to specific religious communities. Recently, the Ministry of Home Affairs notified the CAA Rules, 2024, to implement the Act, which has faced criticism over its alleged violation of the fundamental right to equality enshrined in Article 14 of the Constitution.



Key Features of the CAA, 2019:

  • The amendment makes illegal migrants from Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and

Christian communities eligible for Indian citizenship, excluding Muslims.

  • Eligible migrants entering India on or before December 31, 2014, are not considered illegal immigrants, providing a path to citizenship
  • Residency requirement for citizenship by naturalization is reduced from 11 years to 6 years for these communities
  • Certain tribal areas and states regulated by the “Inner Line” permit are exempted from the Act’s
  • The Act grants citizenship from the date of entry into India and closes legal proceedings against such



Arguments in Support of CAA:

  • The Act addresses the persecution faced by religious minorities in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh, providing them with dignity and rights in
  • It aligns with India’s civilizational ethos of providing refuge to persecuted
  • Differentiation based on religion is deemed reasonable to accommodate persecuted religious
  • The Act is seen as a deterrent to illegal immigration and infiltration from designated Muslim-majority



Criticism on CAA, 2019:

  • Critics argue that the Act is discriminatory and violates the secular principles

enshrined in the Constitution

  • Selective inclusion of religious minorities and the exclusionary nature of the Act raise concerns about equality and non-discrimination.
  • Differentiatingmigrants based on entry dates lacks rationale and is deemed
  • The Act grants excessive discretionary powers to the government, raising concerns about potential



Impacts and Implications of CAA, 2019:

  • The Act has sparked debates on religious lines and raised concerns about social

polarization and communal tensions.

  • Major global bodies and democracies have criticized the Act for violating international conventions on human
  • Widespread protests against the Act, some turning violent, have been witnessed across the
  • Concerns about the Act’s compatibility with the Assam Accord 1985 and its implications on native citizens’ rights and demographics have been
  • The Act has become a major federalism issue, with multiple states opposing its implementation on constitutional



Legal Challenges and Supreme Court’s Consideration:

  • Petitions challenging the constitutionality of the CAA are being considered by theSupreme Court, citing concerns over religious discrimination and immigration implementation
  • The main argument is that using religion as a criterion for citizenship violates Article 14 of the Indian Constitution.



Synchronizing Elections

Proposal by the Ram Nath Kovind Committee

  • Set an ‘Appointed Date’ via Presidential notification after the first sitting of the Lok Sabha post-general
  • This date marks the beginning of a new electoral


  • State Assemblies formed after this date and beforethe completion of the Lok Sabha’s term would conclude before the subsequent general
  • Aims to enable simultaneous elections to the LokSabha and all State



Fresh Elections

  • New Lok Sabha elections can be held in case of ahung House or a no-confidence
  • Tenure limited to the unexpired term of the previous full term.



Constitutional Amendments

  1. Amendments Proposed

    • Recommendations to amend Article 83 and Article172 of the
    • These amendments do not require ratification by the

2. Additional Amendments

    •  Proposal to amend Article 324A and Article
    •  Enable simultaneous elections in panchayats and
    • Allow the Election Commission to prepare a common electoral roll and voter ID cards.



Reduction of Burden

  1. Rationale

  • Addressing the burden of frequent elections on various
  • Includes the government, businesses, workers, courts, political parties, candidates, and civil



2. Committee’s Aim

  • Develop a legally tenable mechanism to restore the cycle of simultaneous



Support and Opposition

  1. PoliticalParties
  • Support:32 out of 47 political parties responded
  • Includes support from the BJP and the National People’s



2. Opposition

  • 15 political parties opposed the
  • Reasons for opposition not specified in the provided




Cotton Candy Ban due to Rhodamine-B Contamination

Tamil Nadu’s Ban

  • Implemented on February 17 after confirmation of Rhodamine-B presence in cotton candy
  • Rhodamine-Bis an industrial dye harmful to



Subsequent Actions

  • Karnatakabanned harmful colouring agents in cotton candy and “Gobi Manchurian”.
  • Andhra Pradesh started analyzing samples for



Impact of Rhodamine-B on Health Explanation by Experts

  • Meenakshi Bajaj highlights Rhodamine-B’s use in various industries, including
  • PrasadEswaran emphasizes its routine use in coloured foods, posing health

Health Concerns

  • Long-term consumption can lead to allergies, irritation, and respiratory
  • Rhodamine-B is associated with cell death, cerebellum and brainstem damage, and increased cancer

Severity of Health Risks

  • Rhodamine-Bis deemed toxic and carcinogenic, causing various health
  • Eswaran warns of potential cancer development due to Rhodamine-B ingestion.



Approved Food Colors by FSSAI

Safe Alternatives

  • FSSAIapproves certain food colors and flavors as safe for
  • Includes natural options like caramel, saffron, and turmeric, as well as artificial ones like carotenoids and various color



List of Approved Colors

Caramel, Riboflavin, Saffron, Annatto, Curcumin, Carotene, Beta-carotene, Ponceau 4R, Carmoisine, Erythrosine, Tartrazine, Sunset Yellow FCF, Indigo Carmine, Brilliant Blue FCF, and Fast Green FCF are among the approved food colors.