Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Current Affairs – 12th September 2023



Today’s Topics List:

  1. Morocco Earthquake – How & Why?

  2. Simultaneous Elections – Implications

  3. Gresham Law:

  4. Pico flare jets:




Morocco Earthquake – How & Why?

    • To the recent Morocco earthquake, the US Geological Survey reported that the epicentre of the earthquake was roughly 18.5 km below the Earth’s surface, though Morocco’s own seismic agency pegged the depth at 11 km.
    • According to experts, such quakes are generally more dangerous as they carry more energy when they emerge to the surface when compared to quakes that occur deeper underneath the surface. While deeper quakes do indeed spread farther as seismic waves move radially upwards to the surface, they lose energy while travelling greater distances.

Why Earthquake occurred?

  • While seismicity rates are indeed lower in the region, making earthquakes rarer, they are not completely unheard of.
  • It occurred due to the northward convergence of the African plate with respect to the Eurasian plate along a complex plate boundary
  • The earthquake resulted from a geological phenomenon called a “reverse fault,” which occurs when tectonic plates collide, causing the Earth’s crust to rise up.
  • USGS attributed that the it is an oblique-reverse faulting at shallow depth within the Moroccan High Atlas Mountain range

What is a Fault?

  • A fault is a fracture or zone of fractures between two blocks of rock.
    • Faults allow the blocks to move relative to each other, causing earthquakes if the movement occurs rapidly.
    • During a quake, the rock on one side of the fault suddenly slips with respect to the other.

Types of Faults:

  • Scientists use the angle of the fault with respect to the surface (known as the dip) and the direction of the slip along the fault to classify faults.
  • Dip-slip faults
    • Faults which move along the direction of the dip plane are dip-slip faults
  • Strike-slip faults
    • Faults which move horizontally are known as strike-slip faults.
  • Oblique-slip faults
    • Oblique-slip faults show characteristics of both dip-slip and strike-slip faults.
    • The term ‘reverse’ refers to a situation where the upper block, above the fault plane, moves up and over the lower block.
    • This type of faulting is common in areas of compression — when one tectonic plate is converging into another.

Notable earthquakes in past

  • The 1960 quake, known as the Agadir earthquake, took place in coastal western Morocco.

Morocco Quake vs Turkey Quake

  • The massive February earthquake in Turkey had horizontal movement, because the country is shifting to the West, moving towards Greece. There was a horizontal sliding of the tectonic plates.
  • But in Morocco, there was a convergence between Africa and Eurasia or Iberia, the Spanish part, and overlapping faults, Philippe Vernant.




Simultaneous Elections – Implications


  • The Union government has constituted a committee headed by former President Ramnath Kovind to explore the possibility of conducting simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha, the Legislative Assemblies, municipalities, and panchayats

What are simultaneous elections?

  • Simultaneous elections, also known as synchronized elections or concurrent elections, refer to the practice of holding multiple elections for different levels of government, such as national, state, and local elections, on the same day or during the same electoral cycle.
    • This approach contrasts with staggered elections, where these different elections are held at different times.

Potential Benefits

  • It reduces the massive expenditure that is currently incurred for the conduct of separate elections
  • Reduces the policy paralysis that results from the imposition of the Model Code of Conduct during election time
  • Reduces the impact on delivery of essential services
  • Reduce voter fatigue and limits all elections to a single season
  • No duplication of fundraising
  • Deployment of many police personnel and para-military forces can be curtailed
  • Reduces burden on crucial manpower that is deployed during election time
  • Enables the government to concentrate on governance once the elections are over
  • As the country witnessed a “mini-general election” every alternate year, it is good to have simultaneous elections for the health of either of our Central and State governments, or of our polity.
  • The frequency with which governments must announce freebies can be cut down though it can’t be stopped
  • Horse trading by elected representatives can be reduced by and large.


  • Complexity in exercising in real terms
  • Challenge in altering the tenure of the Lok Sabha or state Assembly to allow simultaneous polls is the constitutionally fixed limit of a five-year term.
  • Articles 83(2) and 172(1) of the Constitution fixes a term of “five years” and “no longer” for the Lok Sabha and Assemblies respectively.
  • Many critics view that it would benefit the nationally dominant party at the cost of regional players
  • Careful planning and coordination is difficult in the process
  • Its implementation will require the allocation of massive financial and administrative resources.

Challenge in Federalism

  • If any of the governments were to collapse before completing its term then the state legislatures are left alone and even the central government could fall.
  • So, it is a complex task to align the life of a state Assembly with the life of Parliament
  • This idea weakens federal structure and increase the conflict of interest between the Centre and states.
  • Simultaneous elections would require changes to the laws governing local body elections to align them with the new election cycle. –
    • Challenging decentralized system of governance in local body elections
    • Various issues concerning these three tiers could be subsumed under just one mandate for the voter.
    • This would militate against federalism and the very structure of three tier governance.
    • It requires constitutional amendments, legal changes, and political consensus, which is a complex and lengthy process. For Example:
  • Amendments to the Constitution, the Representation of the People Act 1951, and the Rules of Procedure of Lok Sabha and state Assemblies
  • Provisions relating to the terms of elected bodies
  • Amendments to anti-defection laws to prevent legislators from switching parties in line with the election cycle
    • The number of cases in courts at different levels (national, state and local) may increase during elections, thereby affecting the judicial process.
    • Convincing all political stakeholders to agree on the necessary legal changes is a significant hurdle.

History of Simultaneous elections in India:

  • Lok Sabha and state legislatures went to polls together in 1952 and 1957, with the Congress initially comfortably placed all over the country.
  • But this was first broken in Kerala, in July 1959, when the Centre invoked Article 356 of the Constitution to dismiss the ministry headed by E M S Namboodiri pad of the Communist Party, which had assumed power after elections in April 1957. This was followed by state elections in February 1960.

Idea of Simultaneous elections

  • The idea of simultaneous elections, or “One Nation, One Election”, was first formally proposed by the Election Commission of India in its 1983 report. The commission suggested that conducting simultaneous Lok Sabha (parliamentary) and state legislative assembly elections could reduce the frequency and associated costs of elections.
  • The Law Commission headed by Justice B P Jeevan Reddy, in its 170th Report in May 1999, stated, “We must go back to the situation where the elections to Lok Sabha and all the Legislative Assemblies are held at once”.
  • Most recently, the Centre has constituted a committee under the chairmanship of Former President Ram Nath Kovind to study the electoral process in India.

Way forward

  • In 2018, Law commission headed by Justice B S Chauhan suggested replacing the “no-confidence motion” with a “constructive vote of no-confidence” through appropriate amendments — constructive vote of no-confidence – a government may only be removed if there is confidence in an alternative government.
  • The concept has both supporters and detractors, and its feasibility and desirability remain a matter of political discussion and debate in India.




Gresham Law:


  • This law came into play during the recent Sri Lankan Economic crisis, during which the central Bank of Sri Lanka fixed the exchange rate between the Sri Lankan rupee and the U.S. dollar.

What is the law?

  • Gresham’s law refers to the dictum that “Bad money drives out Good”.
    • It comes into play when the exchange rate between two moneys or currencies is fixed by the government at a certain ratio that is different from the market exchange rate.
    • Such price fixing causes the undervalued currency — that is, the currency whose price is fixed at a level below the market rate — to go out of circulation.
    • The overvalued currency, on the other hand, remains in circulation but it does not find enough buyers.

Origin of the term and about it:

  • Gresham’s law is named after English financier Thomas Gresham who advised the English monarchy on financial matters. 
  • The law applies not just to paper currency but commodity currencies and other goods as well.
    • Whenever the price of a commodity is fixed arbitrarily such that it becomes undervalued when compared to the market exchange rate, this causes the commodity to disappear from the formal market. 
    • The only way to get hold of an undervalued commodity in such cases would be through the black market.
    • Sometimes, countries can even witness the outflow of certain goods through their borders when they are forcibly undervalued by governments.

How it plays out?

  • Whenever a government fixes the exchange rate (or price) of a commodity money (such as gold and silver coins) far below than the market price of the commodity backing them.
    • They may even melt such commodity money to derive pure gold and silver that they can sell at the market price, which is higher than the rate fixed by the government.
  • However, it holds true only when the exchange rate between currencies is fixed under law by the government and the law is implemented effectively by authorities.
    • In the absence of any government decree fixing the exchange rate between currencies, it is good money that eventually drives bad money out of the market and not the other way round.
  • When the exchange rate between currencies is not fixed and people have the choice to freely choose between currencies, people gradually stop using currencies that they consider to be of poor quality and adopt currencies that are found to be of better quality.
    • This phenomenon wherein “good money drives out bad” is called Thiers’ law (named after French politician Adolphe Thiers) and it is seen as a complement to Gresham’s law
    • The rise of private cryptocurrencies in recent years has been cited by many analysts as an example of good money issued by private money producers driving out bad money issued by governments.
  • When the price of a currency is fixed by the government at a level below the market exchange rate, the currency’s supply drops while demand for the currency rises.
    • Thus a price cap can lead to a currency shortage with demand for the currency outpacing supply.

What happened in the Case of Sri Lanka:

  • the Sri Lankan central bank fixed the exchange rate between the Sri Lankan rupee and the U.S. dollar.
    • “The Central Bank of Sri Lanka, at a certain point, mandated that the price of the U.S. dollar in terms of the Sri Lankan rupee should not rise beyond 200 rupees per dollar even though rates in the black market suggested that the U.S. dollar should sell for far more than 200 rupees”.
    • people were banned from paying more than 200 Sri Lankan rupees for a dollar, thus causing the rupee to be overvalued and the U.S. dollar to be undervalued when compared to the market exchange rate. 
    • This caused the supply of dollars in the market to fall and the U.S. dollar to be gradually driven out of the formal foreign exchange market. 
    • People who wanted U.S. dollars to purchase foreign goods then had to purchase dollars from the black market by paying far more than 200 Sri Lankan rupees for each U.S. dollar

Gresham’s law

Thiers’ law

“Bad money drives out Good”

“Good money drives out bad”




Pico flare jets:

    • They are small jets of charged particles that were being expelled in intermittent fashion from the outer regions of the sun’s outer atmosphere
    • ‘Pico flarejets’ could be a source of the solar wind, which have important effects on the solar system at large as well as on the earth’s magnetic field

Origin of the name

  • ‘Pico’ is an order of magnitude that denotes 10^­12, or one trillionth of a unit.
  • The researchers name these jets from the sun thus because they carried approximately one-trillionth as much energy as the largest flares that the sun is believed to be able to produce

Solar Wind:

  • A solar wind is a high­speed stream of charged particles from the sun.
  • The exact origin of Solar winds remains unclear.
  • Scientists only know that coronal holes are source regions for the solar wind.
  • Coronal holes are transient parts of the sun’s corona, or the outermost portion of its atmosphere, where the atmosphere is relative less dense and cooler, and from where the sun’s magnetic field extends into space.

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