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CURRENT AFFAIRS
JANUARY 2014
TABLE OF CONTENTS
POLITY
.................................................................................................................................................. 4
Jains granted minority status
.........................................................................................................................................................
....... 4
Capital Punishment
.........................................................................................................................................................
........................... 5
SC commutes death sentence for 15
........................................................................................................................................................................................ 5
Execution of Bhullar stayed by SC
............................................................................................................................................................................................. 5
Presidents power to grant mercy
.............................................................................................................................................................................................. 6
Rights of a Death convict
............................................................................................................................................................................................................... 6
Judicial Reforms
.........................................................................................................................................................
.................................. 6
SCto Cut down on holidays
........................................................................................................................................................... ................................................ 6
SC sets a Special Bench for Criminal Appeals
................................................................................................................................................................ ...... 7
SC on Dikshitars right to manage temple
....................................................................................................................................... 7
SC on DNA tests
.........................................................................................................................................................
................................... 7
New framework for TV
ratings..............................................................................................................................................
............... 7
New guidelines for phone interception
............................................................................................................................................. 8
Tribunals under new Companies Act
................................................................................................................................................. 9
LS need not be dissolved before poll announcement
............................................................................................................... 10
Googles proposal for voter registration tool rejected
........................................................................................................... 10
Telangana Bill
.........................................................................................................................................................
.................................. 11
Karbi Anglong clashes
.........................................................................................................................................................
.................. 11
ECONOMY
.......................................................................................................................................... 12
Indian Economy
.........................................................................................................................................................
............................... 12
RBI raises repo
rate........................................................................................................................................................................................................................12
GDP growth likely to be revised upward
.............................................................................................................................................................................12
World Bank Growth forecast
.....................................................................................................................................................................................................13
RBI eases norms for gold dore imports
................................................................................................................................................................................13
External debt
drops........................................................................................................................ ................................................................................................13
FDI related Issues
.........................................................................................................................................................
............................ 14
Liberalization of FDI policy indicated
.......................................................................................................................................................................... .........14
India to seek FDI in rail network
.............................................................................................................................................................................................14
FDI in existing pharma units
.....................................................................................................................................................................................................15
FDI in retail
........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................16
FDI in farm land
...............................................................................................................................................................................................................................16
RBI moves to curb black money
........................................................................................................................................................
17
Report of Committee on Financial Benchmarks
........................................................................................................................ 17
RBI panel on credit access to all
.......................................................................................................................................................
18
Panel to review governance of bank boards
............................................................................................................................... 19
Depositor Education and Awareness Fund
.................................................................................................................................. 19
RBI standardises gold loan norms
................................................................................................................................................... 19
RBI panel suggests 4 % CPI inflation target
............................................................................................................................... 20
Retrospective Taxation
.........................................................................................................................................................
................ 21
Land Acquisition Act 2013 comes into effect
.............................................................................................................................. 21
MGNREGS to include rural sanitation
............................................................................................................................................ 22
Sahara Pariwar Issue
.........................................................................................................................................................
.................... 23
Innovation fund set up to help MSMEs
........................................................................................................................................... 24
Indian Leather Development Programme
................................................................................................................................... 24
Uniform tax rate for foreign portfolio investors
....................................................................................................................... 25
Oil and Gas related issues
.........................................................................................................................................................
............ 26
New natural gas pricing guidelines notified
......................................................................................................................................................................26
Kelkar committee on production sharing model
.............................................................................................................................................................26
LPG cap hiked to 12; no cash transfers
.................................................................................................................................................................................27
LPG portability launched
.............................................................................................................................................................................................................27
Tilaiya project of R-Power
.........................................................................................................................................................
.......... 27

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Ultra Mega Power Projects (UMPP)
.......................................................................................................................................................................................28
Cabinet committee on Investment
..........................................................................................................................................................................................28
Changes to Mega Power Policy
.........................................................................................................................................................
. 29
One nation, one grid
.........................................................................................................................................................
...................... 29
SOCIAL ISSUES
................................................................................................................................. 31
National Youth Policy-2014
.........................................................................................................................................................
....... 31
SC on Quota in super-specialty posts
.............................................................................................................................................. 31
SC on fresh interpretation of term juvenile
............................................................................................................................... 31
SC not to review judgment against homosexuality
.................................................................................................................. 32
SAMARTH
2014.................................................................................................................................................
........................................ 32
EDUCATION
............................................................................................................................................................................................. 33
Scheme for establishment of new medical colleges
................................................................................................................. 33
UNESCO reporton Education For All
.............................................................................................................................................. 33
ASER Survey Report
.........................................................................................................................................................
....................... 34
HEALTH
................................................................................................................................................................................................... 35
Organs transplant Act notified
.........................................................................................................................................................
. 35
Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK)
........................................................................................................................ 35
Multi-sectoral Nutrition Programme
............................................................................................................................................. 36
Polio-free India- 3rd Straight year
.................................................................................................................................................... 36
Fungal infections
.........................................................................................................................................................
............................. 36
Mission to cut neonatal deaths
.........................................................................................................................................................
. 37
Third line therapy for HIV patients
................................................................................................................................................. 37
ENVIRONMENT
............................................................................................................................... 39
HC on National Green Tribunal
.........................................................................................................................................................
39
SC on National Green Regulator
.......................................................................................................................................................
39
Sethusamudram project
.........................................................................................................................................................
.............. 40
INDIA AND WORLD
........................................................................................................................ 41
Italian Marines case
.........................................................................................................................................................
...................... 41
Know India Programme
.........................................................................................................................................................
........... 41
Maldives: GMR airport project Issue
............................................................................................................................................... 42
SCIENCE & TECH
............................................................................................................................. 43
Diabetic testing kits
.........................................................................................................................................................
....................... 43
ALSO IN NEWS
................................................................................................................................. 44
Posthumous Ashok Chakra for Greyhounds Inspector
........................................................................................................... 44
Assam for local time
.........................................................................................................................................................
...................... 44

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POLITY
JAINS GRANTED MINORITY STATUS
The Union Cabinet decided to accord minority status to Jains but the decision would be subject to the
outcome of pending cases on the issue.
If the court cases are settled in favour of the Jains, the community would become the sixth designated
minority community of the country.
As per the Cabinet note, Jains would be included as a minority under Section 2(c) of the National
Commission for Minorities (NCM) Act (NCM), 1992.
Article 30(1) of the Constitution of India gives linguistic and religious minorities a fundamental
right to
establish and administer educational institutions of their choice. The National Commission for Minority
Educational Institutions Act (for short the Act) has been enacted to safeguard the educational rights of
the
minorities enshrined in Article 30(1) of the Constitution.
It has been held by the Eleven Judges Bench of the Supreme Court in T.M.A. Pai Foundation vs.
State of
Karnataka (2002) that a minority, whether linguistic or religious, is determinable only by reference to
demography of the State and not by taking into consideration the population of the country as a whole.
In 2005, the Supreme Court of India in Bal Patil Judgement case, declined to issue a writ of
Mandamus towards granting Jains the status of a religious minority throughout India. The Court
however
left it to the respective states to decide on the minority status of Jain religion.
WHAT MINORITY STATUS WILL MEAN FOR JAINS?
Tenants dwelling in prime properties of Jain temples for years may have to vacate these;
Government interference in institutions and trusts of the community will cease to exist;
There will be 50 per cent reservation for Jain
students in colleges run by the community:
Jain students whose familys annual income
goes up to Rs. 4.5 lakh are eligible for
Centrally-sponsored scholarships, with
national minority status accorded by Union
government.
The community, which comprises only a
fraction of Indias population, now stands at a
par with five other minority communities
Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists and
Parsis. It will avail of exclusive schemes run by
the ministry of minority affairs.
Besides, Jains can teach culture and religion
in their institutions and seek government
funding for land.
JAINS IN INDIA:
There are about five million Jains in India, mostly in Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat,
Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.
Though 11 states have given the minority community status, for the past six decades, Jains have been
demanding the Union government, too, do so. After many twists, turns and legal hurdles, the move was
finally cleared by the Union cabinet. The literacy rate among Jains is about 90 per cent.
One should not confuse the issue of minority status with that of reservation in jobs and education
institutes
such as IITs (Indian Institutes of Technology) and IIMs (Indian Institutes of Management). The latter is
only
for people who fall under the categories of scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and Other Backward
Classes.
Jains are financially sound and most of them are out of these categories.

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CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
SC COMMUTES DEATH SENTENCE FOR 15
In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court in Shatrughan Chauhan & Anr. Versus Union of
India & Ors
held that unexplained and inordinate delay in deciding mercy plea of death row convicts will be a valid
ground for commutation of their death penalty to life imprisonment.
In the process the Court declared its own judgment in Devender Pal Bhullar as per incuriam (delivered
out of
error or ignorance) and granted relief to 15 petitioners including 4 aides of Veerappan. The principle
that is
reaffirmed is that be they terrorists or murderers, their fundamental rights are not extinguished upon
conviction.
Undue, inordinate and unreasonable delay in execution of death sentence does certainly
attribute to
torture which indeed is in violation of Article 21 and thereby entails as the ground for commutation
of
sentence. These grounds are applicable to all types of cases including the offences under TADA.
IMPLICATIONS
It removes all lingering doubts about the rule against undue delay;
It overturns the exception carved out in Devendar Pal Singh Bhullar (2013) for offences involving
terrorism;
It reminds jail authorities of the bar on keeping death row convicts in solitary confinement before the
rejection of their mercy pleas;
It lists mental illnesses and solitary confinement as new grounds for commutation.
It mandates legal aid for convicts in drafting mercy petitions and exploring judicial remedies.
It is necessary that the copies of relevant documents should be furnished to the prisoner within a
week by
the prison authorities to assist in making mercy petition and petitioning the courts.
Prison authorities have to facilitate and allow a final meeting between the prisoner and his family and
friends prior to his execution.
There should be a minimum period of 14 days between the receipt of a written communication
rejecting
the mercy petition by the convict and the scheduled date of execution.
EXECUTION OF BHULLAR STAYED BY SC
A Supreme Court bench stayed the execution of Khalistan Liberation Force militant Devinder Pal Singh
Bhullar, who is on a death row after being convicted in the 1993 Delhi bomb blast case and agreed to
review
its judgment by which it had rejected Bullars plea to commute his death sentence to life term.
The four-judge bench of the apex court also issued notice to the Centre and Delhi government on a
curative
petition filed by Bhullars wife Navneet Kaur.
Bhullar who is allegedly been suffering from a mental illness and is undergoing treatment at the
Institute of
Human Behavior and Allied Sciences (IHBAS), has been asked by the apex court to file a medical report
within a week on his health condition.
BHULLAR CASE SO FAR
In Devender Pal Singh Bhullar v. State Of N.C.T. Of Delhi, the convict had appealed to the
President for
clemency in 2003. The President, after a lapse of over eight years, dismissed his mercy plea in 2011.
Bhullar had sought commutation of his death penalty to life sentence by the Supreme Court on the
ground
that there was inordinate delay by the President over his plea for clemency.
A two Judge Bench by an order dated 12th April 2013 dismissed his plea holding that long delay as one
of
the grounds for commutation of the sentence of death into life imprisonment cannot be invoked in
cases
where a person is convicted for offence under TADA or similar statutes.
Two weeks later in Mahendra Nath Das v. Union of India the same bench held that the convicts
death
sentence could be commuted to life imprisonment because much of the inordinate delay of 12 years in
the
rejection of his mercy petition by the President was unexplained, and therefore, inexcusable.

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However, Bhullars case got a new direction, with the larger bench verdict clarifying on 23rd January
2014,
that unexplained and undue delay in deciding a mercy plea, as well as mental illness of a condemned
prisoner, were satisfactory grounds to commute the death sentence.
Last week, Senior Advocate K T S Tulsi, appearing for Bhullars wife, mentioned the matter and
pleaded the
court to direct his medical examination since he was suffering from mental illness. The court willingly
agreed to rush the hearing.
PRESIDENTS POWER TO GRANT MERCY
In India, the deaths sentence is awarded in the rarest of rare cases and the punishment must be
approved
by the Supreme Court, after which a convict can appeal to Indias president for clemency.
Article 72 of the Indian Constitution does confer on the President the power to grant mercy, but
in the
exercise of these powers, the President is not supposed to act on his or her own judgment but is
mandated
to act in accordance with the aid and advice of the Government in terms of Article 74 of the
Constitution.
The President, under the Constitution, can return a recommendation to the government for
reconsideration
only once; if the government resubmits it then it is binding on the President. The only thing he/she can
do is
to keep it pending for inordinate time period as no time limit has been prescribed for the same.
However, the President cannot act on the advice of a Home Minister who is no longer in office,
especially if
the advice is to reject a mercy petition. So when a new Home Minister takes office the President
requests
the MHA to re-examine the merits of mercy pleas pending in his Secretariat.
RIGHTS OF A DEATH CONVICT
A convict sentenced to death has a constitutional right to petition the President for relief against his
sentence, and the consideration of his petition is not an act of grace or mercy by the President but a
necessary relief provided by the Constitution.
Even after rejection of the mercy petition by the President, the convict can approach a writ court for
commutation of the death sentence on the ground of supervening events, if available, and challenge the
rejection of the mercy petition.
The right to seek commutation of a death sentence on the grounds of inordinate delay in disposing
mercy
petitions has been granted by the Supreme Courts five-judge Constitution Bench in Triveniben vs State
of
Gujarat in 1989.
Earlier it was in Triveni Ben v. State of Gujarat a constitution bench held that that undue long
delay in
execution of the sentence of death will entitle the condemned person to approach this Court under
Article
32.
The Court will only examine the nature of delay caused and circumstances that ensued after sentence
was
finally confirmed by the judicial process and will have no jurisdiction to reopen the conclusions reached
by
the court while finally maintaining the sentence of death.
Court, however, may consider the question of inordinate delay in the light of all circumstances of the
case
to decide whether the execution of sentence should be carried out or should be altered into
imprisonment
for life. No fixed period of delay could be held to make the sentence of death inexecutable.
JUDICIAL REFORMS
SCTO CUT DOWN ON HOLIDAYS
The apex court which still follows the British legacy of two-month summer vacation, has decided to
lessen
holidays to reduce the pendency list of the nation.
The current provisions of the Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Act, 1958, for
the
number of years a judge puts in the service, he is entitled to certain days of leave on full salary, certain
other offs on half salary, and some more days off on one quarter salary.
Apart from the apex courts holidays and vacations, the individual judges are also entitled to their own
quota of leave.

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There are more than 65,000 cases in arrear this year. The Delhi High Court had calculated that 464
years
would be required to clear the arrears with the present strength of the judges in the high court
SC SETS A SPECIAL BENCH FOR CRIMINAL APPEALS
The Chief Justice of India, through a Supreme Court notification has ensured a creation of Special
Regular
Bench for Criminal Appeals to hear cases pending since 1999 involving interpretation of important
question
of law.
Supreme Court stands as a criminal appellate body deriving its powers from article 124, 132-136 of the
Constitution. Various laws like the criminal procedure code and other special laws also envision the Apex
Court to be the final appellate body.
This power of appeal that the court exercises is a limited one. And yet lately the Supreme Court has
been
functioning more like an appellate body rather than deciding matters of constitutional importance, with
such matters being less than 1% of the cases disposed.
There have been various attempts to create special benches to ensure speedy disposal of cases. Last
year
witnessed the creation of special Supreme Court benches for women and children, those awaiting death
row and also a special constitutional bench.
SC ON DIKSHITARS RIGHT TO MANAGE TEMPLE
The Supreme Court quashed the Tamil Nadu Governments February 2009 order appointing an
Executive
Officer to manage the affairs and properties of the Chidambaram Natarajar temple.
A Bench of Justices upheld, that the right of the Dikshitars to manage the temple could not be taken
away
by the government.
The Bench accepted the contention of Podu Dikshitars that they were a religious denomination as per
Article 26 of the Constitution, which guarantees right to establish and maintain
institutions for religious
purposes.
Justice Chauhan pointed out that the right to manage the temple by the Dikshitars had been
recognised by
the Supreme Court in its judgment in 1952 and it could not be taken away.
The Bench faulted the Madras High Court for re-opening the issue of whether Podu Dikshitars were a
religious denomination or not, even after the matter had been res judicata (already been decided).
On the State governments contention that it had a right to interfere when there was
mismanagement, the
Bench said such interference could only be for a short period.
SC ON DNA TESTS
A Supreme Court bench held DNA test as the accurate proof in a dispute over the parenthood of a
child.
The Supreme Court held the proof based on scientific advancement must prevail over the definite
proof
envisioned under law and said it was correct to determine the parenthood of a person through a DNA
test.
It stressed that the result of DNA test was said to be scientifically accurate and it could not force a man
to
bear the fatherhood of a child when the scientific reports prove to the contrary.
THE PARENTAL TEST
DNA Paternity test examines certain loci (regions) on the chromosome. Comparing the DNA sequence
of a
child to that of an alleged father can show if the childs DNA was derived from that man or not.
When possible, the mother should also be included in the testing, since she can provide additional
genetic
information and simplify the testing process. But paternity can still be checked without the mothers
DNA.
The fathers identity is confirmed before the baby is born with prenatal testing.
NEW FRAMEWORK FOR TV RATINGS
The Union Cabinet cleared a comprehensive regulatory framework proposed by the Information &
Broadcasting Ministry (I&B) for television rating agencies that includes procedures for registration,
eligibility

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norms, limits on cross-holdings, methodology for audience measurement, sale and use of ratings and a
complaint redress mechanism.
The issue has been under review for several years now with questions being asked about the accuracy
of
Television Rating Points (TRPs) on the basis of which the visual media seeks advertisements and their
rates.
As per the new guidelines, which come into effect from the date of notification, all rating agencies,
including
the existing ones, will have to obtain registration from the I&B Ministry.
No single company or legal entity can either directly, or through its associates/interconnect
undertakings,
have substantial equity holding (10 per cent or more of paid-up equity) in both rating agencies and
broadcasters/advertisers/advertising agencies.
Ratings have to be technology-neutral and should capture data across multiple viewing platforms
including
cable television, direct-to-home television and terrestrial television.
The guidelines also stipulate sample size for rating. To begin with, six months from the date of
notification
the minimum panel size should be 20,000.
The panel size has to increase by 10,000 annually till it reaches 50,000. Secrecy and privacy of the
panel
homes has to be maintained.
Besides an effective complaint redress system with a toll free number, the rating companies have to
set up
an internal audit mechanism to get its entire methodology audited internally on a quarterly-basis and
through an independent auditor annually.
All audit reports have to be put on the website of the rating agency with the government and the TRAI
reserving the right to audit their systems and procedures.
There are also punitive provisions, including cancellation of registration and forfeiture of bank
guarantees
up to Rs. 1 crore, in the case of non-compliance.
TELEVISION RATING POINT (TRP)
Television Rating Point (TRP) is a tool provided to judge which programmes are viewed the most. This
gives
us an index of the choice of the people and also the popularity of a particular channel.
For calculation purpose, a device is attached to the TV set in a few thousand viewers' houses for
judging
purpose. These numbers are treated as sample from the overall TV owners in different geographical and
demographic sectors.
The device is called as People's Meter. It records the time and the programme that a viewer watches
on a
particular day. Then, the average is taken for a 30-day period which gives the viewership status for a
particular channel.
NEW GUIDELINES FOR PHONE INTERCEPTION
Note This issue contains detailed guidelines issued by the govt., which may not be asked directly in
exam. However, they
are important for understandingof procedure in such cases.
The Union government has announced a fresh set of procedures for interception of telephones -
Standard
Operating Procedures (SOP) for Lawful Interception and Monitoring of Telecom Service Providers (TSP).
According to the norms, requests would include interception and monitoring under the Indian
Telegraph
Act, 1885, for voice, SMS, GPRS, MMS, Video and VoIP calls.
Additionally, authorised security agencies can seek information under Section 92 of the Criminal
Procedure
Code (CrPC) of call records (CDRs), home and roaming network, CDR by tower location and by
calling/called
number, location details of target number within home or roaming network, and so on.
One specification detailed in the section Validation of Interception Request is that only the Chief
Nodal
Officer of a telecom company can provide interception if the order is issued by the Secretary to the
Government of India in the Home Ministry, in case of Government of India, or a Secretary to the State
Government in charge of Home Department, in case of State Government. In unavoidable
circumstances,
such orders can be issued by an officer not below the rank of Joint Secretary to the GOI who has been
fully
authorised by the Union Home Secretary or the State Home Secretary.
Interception is subject to eight checks before monitoring is allowed. These include receiving the
request in
a sealed envelope, ensuring the delivery of interception by an officer not below the rank of sub-
inspector
of police or equivalent.

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Any inquiry process could, under the new SOP, check whether the request was in original and
addressed to
the Nodal Officer and from which designated security agency it came from.
The SOP mandates that, any request received by telephone, SMS and fax, should not be accepted
under
any circumstances. This would mean that the government concerned would have to produce an
original
copy of its request that bears the Union/State Secretarys order number with date, or an order and
date
by an officer of the rank of Joint Secretary who has been duly authorised. Non-compliance with the
provisions can result in prosecution as per the law of the land.
The SOP require that records pertaining to such interception, such as letter and envelope, intercept
form
and internal interception request form should be destroyed within 2 months of discontinuance of
interception of such messages.
If, however, it is a case of emergent request where Home Ministry Order for approval was not
conveyed to
the telecom company, then the telecom company cannot destroy such records until the Home Ministry
order is conveyed or a list of such numbers is provided to the concerned Home Secretary intimating this
fact.
An inquiry could seek to find out whether an acknowledgement was sent within 2 hours of the receipt
of
the [interception] request, to the requesting agency confirming that the request has been complied
with,
from the mobile operator.
The date and time of the actual provisioning of target in the TSP network should be mentioned, too.
Apart from the nine Central agencies namely, the IB, the NCB, the DE, the CBDT, the DRI, the CBI,
the NIA,
RAW and the Defence Ministry State Directors-General of Police and the Commissioner of Police in
Delhi,
are authorised to request intercepts.
GUJARAT-BASED SNOOPING SCANDAL
Significantly, this comes after the Central government set up a commission to inquire into the Gujarat-
based
snooping scandal.
The confusion in the case of the Gujarat-based snooping case, over whether the Union Home
Secretarys
permission is required to intercept a subscriber roaming out of the State stands clarified. According to
the
new SOP document, the interception order of the State Home Secretary in which the subscriber is
registered should be honoured by the State in which the subscriber is roaming. In effect, no new order
from a second State that may be involved, or from the Union Home Secretary, is needed. However,
evidence under the new SOP will need to be provided to the effect that a formal request was made to
the
other State for interception while roaming.
Any inquiry process will eventually boil down to whether or not the entire paper trail, both internal
and
between the government and telecom operators with appropriate internal justification and full
compliance
existed prior to interception.
TRIBUNALS UNDER NEW COMPANIES ACT
WHY IN NEWS ?
The Supreme Court asked the Centre to reply on a petition, which sought to declare as ultra vires of
the
Constitution some of the provisions of the new Companies Act.
These provisions of the new Companies Act are related to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT)
and
the Appellate Tribunal.
CRITICISM
The aim of these provisions is to provide post retirement employment to several civil servants with the
alleged purpose of creating a specialized tribunal dealing with corporate laws.
According to the associations petition, the structure of the present tribunal is such, that no advocate
or
chartered accountant would prefer to be elected as a member, as there are degrading conditions in the
draft rules for the chairperson and members of the tribunal.

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The association, in its plea expressed the immediate need to strike down Chapter XXVII of the
Companies
Act, 2013, as it would abolish the independence of the judiciary and continue with the evil practice of
creating tribunals in the place of the high courts and convert them into departments of the respective
ministries.
The Supreme Court has constantly emphasized for the need to separate the tribunals from executive
and
political interference and influence.
The petition stated the danger of the judiciary being replaced by a multitude of quasi-judicial tribunals,
which function as departments of various ministries.
LS NEED NOT BE DISSOLVED BEFORE POLL ANNOUNCEMENT
As the Election Commission is gearing up its machinery for holding elections to the 16th Lok Sabha
during
April-May 2014, in at least seven phases, it is stated that dissolution of the existing 15th Lok Sabha is not
necessary prior to poll announcement.
The present Lok Sabha has term till May 31 and the new House has to be constituted before that.
PAST PRACTICE
The Vajpayee government, which wanted to have an early poll in 2004, recommended dissolution of
the
13th Lok Sabha with effect from February 6, 2004 itself though the House had term till October 19 of
that
year.
The present Manmohan Singh government, during its earlier rule in 2004-2009, had recommended
dissolution of the 14th Lok Sabha only after poll results were declared in the third week of May 2009.
Prior to the dissolution of the Lok Sabha, both the NDA and the UPA-I governments had reconvened
Parliament, which was not prorogued then but had only been adjourned sine die after the winter
session, to
pass the vote on account and the interim railway budget so that the administration could be run for
a
few months until the next government presented the full-fledged general/railway budgets.
The House can be reconvened after the Parliamentary Affairs Ministry sends a request to the Lok
Sabha
Speaker and the Rajya Sabha Chairman and at least two days notice is required to be given to members.
Both the Houses of Parliament were adjourned sine die on December 18 after a brief winter session.
DISSOLUTION OF THE LOKSABHA
"Dissolution" of the House means the end of the life of the Lok Sabha either by an order made by the
President under article 85 (2) (b) of the Constitution or on the expiration of the period of five years from
the
date appointed for its first meeting.
Dissolution puts an end to the representative character of the individuals who at the time compose
the Lok
Sabha.
GOOGLES PROPOSAL FOR VOTER REGISTRATION TOOL REJECTED
The Election Commission turned down the proposal of the U.S. based internet search engine Google to
have
an electoral look up services for citizens.
Google made a presentation to the Commission for electoral look up services for citizens to help in its
efforts for better electoral information services. However, after due consideration, the Commission has
decided not to pursue the proposal any further.
The Googles presentation was about changing the way users access their electoral information, that
is
publicly available, which would make their experience simpler, faster and consistent through a national
online look-up tool.
No private information changes hands this is all about making public information thats already on
the
Web more useful to the public, claimed Google.
Google had already helped governments of some countries to make their public election information
more
accessible to voters.

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However, the defence experts and the intelligence agencies are too worried about the growing clout
of
Google and its explicit American connections in view of the U.S. National Security Agencys snooping
activities in India.
Earlier in another case, an FIR had been lodged with the approval of the Government of India by the
Surveyor-General of India in Delhi against the security violations by Google India private limited relating
to
national map restriction policy by asking users to add information about their local area for its online
map
services. In 2011, police in Bangalore ordered Google to suspend a Street View service over security
concerns, three weeks after the company started collecting images from the city.
TELANGANA BILL
WHY IN NEWS?
Andhra Pradesh legislature rejected the Telangana bill by voice vote, capping days of acrimonious
drama
and embarrassing Congress, but posing no real hurdle in the way of creation of the new state. [For
detailed
provisions of this bill, please refer to the current affairs notes of Dec, 2013]
Dominated by Seemandhra MLAs, numbering 160 in the house with an effective strength of 279,
including
the speaker and the chief minister, the assembly discarded the Centre-backed AP Reorganisation Bill
2013,
on which no division was taken.
The House while rejecting the AP Reorganisation Bill, 2013, resolves to request the Honourable
President of
India not to recommend it for introduction in Parliament as the Bill seeks to bifurcate the state of
Andhra
Pradesh without any reason/basis and without arriving at a consensus, in utter disregard to the linguistic
and cultural homogeneity and economic and administrative viability of both regions.
The Bill, which seeks to create a separate state of Telangana, was referred to the legislature by the
President under Article 3 of the Constitution for eliciting its views and it is not incumbent upon the
Centre
to go by the opinion of the legislature.
KARBI ANGLONG CLASHES
The Karbi and Rengma Naga tribes have been taking shelter in relief camps after they were forced to
leave
their homes due to violent clashes between the ethnic insurgent Karbi Peoples Liberation Tigers (KPLT)
and
the Rengma Naga Hills Protection Force (RNHPF).
BACKGROUND
The KPLT is a breakaway faction of the ethnic insurgent Karbi Longri N.C. Hills Liberation Front (KLNLF).
The KLNLF is demanding a separate State comprising two hill districts Kabri Anglong and Dima
Hasao and
is now engaged in talks with the Centre and the State government.
When the KLNLF signed the Suspension of Operation agreement with the Centre and the Assam
government, about 20 cadres of the outfit parted ways and formed the KPLT in 2010.
The KPLT has been demanding the creation of a Hemprek Kanthim (self-ruled homeland) for the Karbi
people.
The KLNLF was a breakaway faction of the erstwhile insurgent outfit United Peoples Democratic
Solidarity.
The RNHPF was formed in 2012 for protection of the Rengma Nagas from KPLT attacks. The outfit has
been
demanding the creation of a regional council for the Rengma Nagas of Karbi Anglong.

12
ECONOMY
INDIAN ECONOMY
RBI RAISES REPO RATE
Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan raised the key repo rate, choosing once again to
confound
expectations while renewing focus on inflation as also the threat stemming from the weakening of the
rupee amid a selloff that has rippled through emerging markets.
The repo rate, at which banks borrow short-term money from RBI, was raised by 25 basis points, or
0.25
percentage point, to 8 per cent.
The reverse repo, at which RBI borrows from banks, was raised 25 basis points to 7 per cent.
The marginal standing facility, the penal rate of interest for banks, was raised 25 basis points to 9 per
cent
to maintain the corridor.
Indian bonds, stocks and the rupee fell after the rate hike but soon recovered most losses on the back
of the
dovish statement. The benchmark 10-year bond yield which rose as much as 9 basis points following the
hike, retreated entirely to continue trading down 5 bps on the day at 8.72 per cent.
The cash reserve ratio was unchanged at 4 per cent.
WORLD TRENDS AT THE SAME TIME
RBI's decision came amid worldwide market turmoil sparked by fears of the US scaling back its
stimulus
programmes more sharply than expected, concerns that the Chinese economy may falter and a
devaluation
of Argentina's peso raising the prospect of a contagion effect.
Turkey's lira fell for 10 days in a row before the central bank stepped in to call a meeting on the issue,
leading to the currency recovering on expectations that the country's central bank will raise rates
effectively.
RBIS REASONS
Tighter policy action aimed at puncturing the inflation balloon will help revive growth, although
industry has
been pushing for the opposite.
There is enough liquidity in the system, so there will be no immediate increase in deposit and lending
rates.
Banks have seen huge inflows in the form of FCNR deposits and they are looking at opportunities at
deploying those funds.
There was also a warning that If RBI wants to knock out core inflation, the policy rate will likely have to
be
hiked further.
It is noted that bringing down inflation to a low and stable level that monetary policy can contribute to
reviving consumption and investment in a sustainable way.
GDP GROWTH LIKELY TO BE REVISED UPWARD
India set to declare that the slowdown in the economy has been overstated owing to faulty official
data.
It will soon peg the advanced estimate for gross domestic product (GDP) growth during the current
financial
year at 5 per cent.
For the last two financial years, the previous estimates will be revised upwards to 7 per cent-plus for
2011-
12 and between 5.5 per cent and 6 per cent for 2012-13 by the end of this month.
India remains one of the fast growing large economies of the world and it has grown at
o 8.6 per cent in 2009-10
o 9.3 per cent in 2010-11
o 6.2 per cent in 2011-12.
GDP growth during the first six months of the current fiscal was 4.6 per cent. For the whole years
growth
rate to be 5 per cent, the rate during October 2013-March 2014 will have to be 5.4 per cent.

13
The First Revised Estimate for 2011-12 GDP growth rate of 6.2 per cent is being revised to more than 7
per
cent as faulty data had earlier underestimated industrial output by about 7 percentage points.
WORLD BANK GROWTH FORECAST
The global economy is estimated to expand at 3.2% this year from 2.4% in 2013, with growth picking
up in
developing countries and high-income economies, the World Bank said. However, it lowered its India
expectations to 6.2% from an earlier estimate of 6.5%
Growth prospects, however, remain vulnerable to US tapering, the global lender said in its semi-
annual
Global Economic Prospects report.
Global GDP growth is expected to stabilise at 3.4% and 3.5% in 2015 and 2016, respectively, the World
Bank
said.
WHAT IT HOLDS FOR INDIA?
The development bank's flagship publication, Global Economic Prospects, expects the economy to
expand
6.2% in 2014-15, after hitting a 11-year low of 4.8% in the current year, down from last year's 5%.
Growth in India will be led by recovery in global demand and an increase in domestic investment, but
warned that these forecasts faced downside risks from the general election in a few months that could
potentially undermine the sustained revival of business confidence and investment.
Lack of progress in reducing supply-side constraints (particularly in the electricity, infrastructure and
agricultural sectors) could also pose significant downside risk to the outlook.
The withdrawal of the US Federal Reserve's stimulus programme isn't likely to have too much of an
impact
on investment in India.
RBI EASES NORMS FOR GOLD DORE IMPORTS
The Reserve Bank partly eased restrictions on import of gold dore by allowing refineries to import 15
per
cent of their gross annual requirement in first two months and remaining as per export performance.
Subsequent to this, the quantum of gold dore to be imported should be determined lot-wise on the
basis of
export performance.
The central bank further said before the next import, not more than 80 per cent should be allowed to
be
sold domestically. The dore so imported shall be refined and shall be released based on FIFO basis
following
20:80 principle.
BACKGROUND
Amid widening Current Account Deficit and sliding rupee, the both RBI and Government had imposed
curbs
on gold imports.
In August, the RBI had imposed curbs on gold imports and linked it with exports. Accordingly, 20 per
cent, of
every lot of gold imported had to be exclusively made available for exports and the balance (80 per cent)
for
domestic use.
Under FIFO methodology, the oldest entry, or bottom of the stack, is processed first.
A dor bar is a semi-pure alloy of gold and silver, usually created at the site of a mine. It is then
transported
to a refinery for further purification.
EXTERNAL DEBT DROPS
The cover provided to Indias total external debt stock by foreign exchange reserves dropped from 73
per
cent at end-March to 69.3 per cent at end-September. The total external debt stock stood at $400.3
billion
at end-September, or $9 million less than that at end-March, as per official data.
Of the total, 19.3 per cent or $77.3 billion was sovereign external debt. It has come down from $81.7
billion
at end-March. Component-wise, the share of commercial borrowings stood highest at 32.3 per cent of
total

14
external debt, followed by non-resident Indians deposits (18.8 per cent) and multilateral debt (13.1 per
cent).
The long-term debt was 76.3 per cent or $305.5 billion and the balance short-term. The share of
dollardenominated
debt continued to be the highest in the external debt stock at 60.7 per cent, followed by the
rupee (20.9 per cent) and other currencies.
The ratio of concessional debt to total external debt was 11.5 per cent at end-September 2013 as
compared
to 11.4 per cent at end-March 2013.
The rupees depreciation against the dollar resulted in a change of $10.9 billion in the valuation of the
debt
stock, and thus causing the decline. Excluding the valuation effect, the external debt would have been
higher at $411.2 billion.
The prudent external debt management policy of the Government of India has helped in containing
rise in
external debt and maintaining a comfortable external debt position.
DEFINITIONS
External debt is the portion of a country's debt that was borrowed from foreign lenders including
commercial banks, governments or international financial institutions. These loans, including interest,
must
usually be paid in the currency in which the loan was made.
In order to earn the needed currency, the borowing country may sell and export goods to the lender's
country. The infamous 'debt crisis' occurs when some weak economy is unable to do so, or can only do
it at
unacceptably high social and environmental costs.
An external commercial borrowing (ECB) is an instrument used to facilitate the access to foreign
money by
Indian corporations and PSUs.
ECBs include commercial bank loans, buyers' credit, suppliers' credit, securitised instruments such as
floating rate notes and fixed rate bonds etc., credit from official export credit agencies and commercial
borrowings from the private sector window of multilateral financial Institutions.
ECBs cannot be used for investment in stock market or speculation in real estate.
FDI RELATED ISSUES
LIBERALIZATION OF FDI POLICY INDICATED
The Government indicated further liberalisation of the FDI (foreign direct investment) policy in the
coming
weeks to attract foreign investments into the country.
Last year, the Government has relaxed foreign direct investment (FDI) norms in several sectors such as
telecom, defence, PSU oil refineries, commodity bourses, power exchanges and stock exchanges.
It is now working to relax FDI norms in railways and construction activities. During April-October this
fiscal,
India attracted FDI worth $12.6 billion, a decline of 15 per cent over the same period last year.
With these further liberalizations a greater push for the development of industrial corridors across the
country is expected.
The work will commence shortly for establishment of the first few cities along the Delhi- Mumbai
Industrial
Corridor (DMIC). The $90-billion DMIC project is aimed at creating mega industrial infrastructure along
the
Delhi-Mumbai Rail Freight Corridor, which is under implementation.
Japan is providing financial and technical aid for the project, which will cover seven states totalling
1,483
km.
INDIA TO SEEK FDI IN RAIL NETWORK
India will soon invite foreign businesses to help expand its once-mighty but now outdated railways, in
a
move that would mark the opening up of one of the countrys last great state-controlled industries.
Foreign investors will be allowed to fully own new services in suburban areas, high-speed tracks, and
connections to ports, mines and power installations.
Existing passenger and freight network operations will not be open to foreign investors under the
initiative,
which seeks to ease bottlenecks that slow travel on the worlds fourth-largest rail system.

15
The plan is to allow 100 per cent foreign direct investment in suburban corridors, high-speed train
systems,
freight line projects implemented through public-private partnership.
Established under British colonial rule, India's vast train network has been overtaken by China's rapid
rail
expansion over the past two decades.
Indian train travel is very cheap, and transports some 25 million passengers daily. Freight charges are
pegged far higher to subsidize the passenger services, driving much cargo transport onto clogged roads.
The reform, which does not need parliamentary approval, has been agreed by the railways, industry
and
finance ministries, and has been submitted for consideration by the Cabinet, which could sign off on it as
soon as possible.
ANALYSIS
India has opened industries including retail, civil aviation, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications and
defence to foreign investors in recent years, with the goal of improving the nation's finances and driving
economic growth.
The liberalisation has had mixed results, with supermarkets especially complaining that red tape,
politics
and corruption make it difficult to do business in India.
FDI inflows during the April-October period were down 15 percent from a year earlier at $12.6 billion,
despite the opening of new sectors.
The involvement of foreign firms in the main rail network is currently restricted to exporting rolling
stock,
signalling systems and engines to Indian Railways, a state-run behemoth that employs around 1.4
million
people.
Trade unions and many political parties oppose allowing foreign investment in railways, and Chinese
participation in particular could raise suspicion in security circles.
India, which fought a brief war with China in 1962, is cautious about its growing role in the Indian
economy.
In the past, the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has backed off liberalisation policies
in the
face of public and political opposition.
In October, India rejected bids from two Chinese companies CSR Corp and China CNR Corp (601299.SS)
to
set up locomotive plants under the public-private partnership model.
Current policy only allows direct foreign investment in urban metro projects.
Any investors in building track will still have to overcome the administrative hurdles such as project
approvals and land disputes that meant investment by private Indian companies in railways has not met
government goals.
In the five-year period to April 2012, the railways only saw 4 percent of $16 billion investment
targeted
through public-private partnerships.
General Electric Co (GE.N), the world's largest maker of diesel locomotives, said it would prefer a
publicprivate
partnership to make locomotives with Indian Railways for new projects, but despite a lot of
discussion, "progress has been very slow".
GE, which has operated in India since 1902 and it has submitted a formal proposal to manufacture
locomotives in India and was also trying to sell its train signalling and speed control products for various
subway projects around the nation.
FDI IN EXISTING PHARMA UNITS
Government decided to retain the policy of allowing 100 per cent foreign investment in the existing
pharma
firms, brushing aside concerns about non- availability of affordable drugs in view of MNCs takeovers.
It has asked for a reduction in the FDI cap to 49 per cent from 100 per cent in rare or critical pharma
verticals.
The government cleared the Rs 5,168-crore deal of the US-based Mylan Inc for acquiring Bangalore-
based
pharma firm Agila Specialties, a subsidiary of Strides Arcolab.
In 2008, Japanese firm Daiichi Sankyo had bought out the country's largest drug maker Ranbaxy for
$4.6
billion. US-based Abbot Laboratories had acquired Piramal Health Care's domestic business for $3.7
billion.
India permits 100 per cent FDI in pharma through automatic approval route in the greenfield, or new
projects.

16
DIPP NORMS AND ANALYSIS
The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) said however that as far as the contentious
issue
of non- compete clause is concerned, the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) will take a
view on it
on case-by-case basis.
The freshly issued press note has restricted use of non-compete clauses in both Greenfield and
Brownfield
projects.
The DIPP had earlier proposed stringent norms to tighten the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy
for the
sector.
The continuous acquisition of Indian pharma companies will severely impact availability and
affordability of
generic medicines in the country.
DIPP had said that over 96 per cent of the total FDI in the sector between April 2012 and April 2013
has
come into the brownfield pharma, or existing projects and companies.
NON-COMPETE CLAUSE
The non-compete clause is a standard feature of mergers-acquisitions. This clause restricts a party
from
competing with a business after termination of employment or completion of a business sale for a fixed
time.
When Abbott Laboratories acquired Piramal Healthcares domestic formulations business, it signed an
8
year non-compete agreement. This agreement prohibited promoters of Piramal Health care to enter
into
similar business for 8 years.
This duration of fixed period can be different from one agreement to another. It is not necessarily 8
years
for all non-compete agreements
FDI IN RETAIL
Why in News?
The Centre has rejected the Delhi governments proposed de-notification of FDI in the State.
After FDI in retail was notified by the Ministry in a State, the powers to de-notify it were with the
Centre,
and not with the State government.
De-notifying the FDI policy in Delhi, for it will send out a wrong signal to foreign investors that India is
an
unpredictable banana republic .
States will be given an option to decide if they would like FDI in retail. Once they say yes and the
Industry
Ministry notifies it, there can be no reversals.
As the Shops and Establishments Act empowers the Delhi government to regulate retailers, the
sources
said, the Delhi government could bar them from certain parts of the city. But, even under this Act, they
may
not be able to block FDI in retail as a State governments regulations cannot discriminate between
foreign
and domestic investors .
The previous Delhi government has approved FDI in Delhi. But the Aam Aadmi Party government had
decided to de-notify FDI in retail.
FDI IN FARM LAND
The UPA Government has formed a three-member Cabinet committee to examine the possibility of
opening
up agricultural land to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), following a Union Urban Development (UD)
Ministry
proposal on letting foreign realtors buy agricultural land.
At present, FDI is banned in farm land. Further, Indian banking rules disallow loans for the purchase of
farm
land even for domestic investors except in the case of large-sized projects to safeguard against
speculative land acquisition and hoarding.
The UD Ministrys argument is that as farm land is already being acquired for township development,
permitting FDI will only help raise more funds for the purpose. Real estate developers will, in any case,
be
applying for land use change after acquiring farm land, the Ministry has said.

17
When the proposal was put forth by the UD Ministry, the department of industrial policy and
promotion
(DIPP) declined to comment and said the decision rests with the Reserve Bank of India.
There were concerns from other Ministries over relaxation of norms, so the Cabinet has decided that a
three-member sub-committee will take a call on the issue.
RBI MOVES TO CURB BLACK MONEY
In a move that is likely to hit currency hoarders and counterfeiters, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has
decided to withdraw from circulation all currency notes issued prior to 2005.
From April 1, the public will be required to approach banks for exchanging these notes. Banks will
provide
exchange facility for these notes until further communication, the RBI said, clarifying that notes issued
before 2005 would continue to be legal tender.
The public can easily identify the notes to be withdrawn as the notes issued before 2005 do not have
on
them the year of printing on the reverse side.
From July 1, however, those wanting to exchange more than 10 pieces of 500 and 1000 rupee notes in
a
bank where they do not have an account will have to provide proof of residence and identity. The RBIs
move will have the effect of flushing out black money, according to bankers.
The RBI announcement would leave currency hoarders with no option but to liquidate their
unaccounted
holdings by spending or exchanging them. The move is a well thought out exercise by the RBI to capture
the
``money flows into the system and also help flush out counterfeit notes.
Notes issued after 2005 have added security features that make counterfeiting difficult.
Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan sought to quell fears over the decision to withdraw
all pre-
2005 currency notes from April 1, 2014, saying the RBI notification was not aimed at demonetisation.
Assuring the people that such currency notes would continue to be legal tender.
It is only that the pre-2005 currency notes can be easily forged, while the new currency notes being
printed
now have more security features.
REPORT OF COMMITTEE ON FINANCIAL BENCHMARKS
A Committee on Financial Benchmarks, headed by Reserve Bank of India Executive Director P. Vijaya
Bhaskar, has suggested increased role for the apex bank for the oversight of the benchmark setting
process.
The committee was set up in the aftermath of revelations regarding manipulations of several key
global
benchmark rates, namely, LIBOR, EURIBOR and TIBOR.
KEY RECOMMENDATIONS
The committee has recommended a change in the way of determining the money market benchmarks
so as
to remove any possible scope for manipulation.
The report provides an in-depth analysis of the existing benchmark-setting methodology and
governance
framework of the major rupee interest rate and foreign exchange benchmarks.
The report, has recommended several measures/principles to be followed to strengthen the
benchmark
quality, setting methodology and governance framework of the benchmark administrators, calculation
agents and submitters.
Building on the cross-country experiences, the Report provides an in-depth analysis of the existing
benchmark setting methodology and governance framework of the major Indian Rupee interest rate
benchmarks and foreign exchange benchmarks.
While the existing system was found generally satisfactory, the Report recommends several
measures/principles to be followed to strengthen the benchmark quality, setting methodology and
governance framework of the Benchmark Administrators, Calculation Agents and Submitters.
The Report reviews the existing regulatory powers of RBI over the financial benchmarks and
recommends
suitable amendments of the RBI Act, as a long term measure, to explicitly empower RBI to determine
policy
With regard to benchmarks used in Money, G-sec, Credit and Foreign Exchange markets in India and to
issue binding directions to all the agencies involved in the benchmark setting.

18
Pending the amendments, the Report recommends appropriate regulatory and supervisory framework
to
be put in place by RBI for the above financial benchmarks under its existing statutory powers.
The committee feels that the RBI could entrust the administration functions of the rupee interest rate
and
foreign exchange benchmarks to the Fixed Income Money Market and Derivatives Association
(FIMMDA)
and the Foreign Exchange Dealers' Association of India (FEDAI), respectively.
It has also favoured the setting up of an internal expert group to conduct periodic on-site inspection of
the
benchmark administrators and calculation agents, and also monitor their activities through an off-site
monitoring system.
RBI PANEL ON CREDIT ACCESS TO ALL
A committee on comprehensive financial services for small businesses and low-income
households, set up
by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), has suggested that each low-income household and small business
should be provided with convenient access to formally regulated lenders who have the ability to assess
and
meet their credit needs and offer a full-range of suitable credit products at an affordable price.
The committee, headed by Nachiket Mor, Central Board Member of the RBI, submitted its report.
The
committee has set January 1, 2016, as the deadline.
According to the report, each district and every significant sector (and sub-sector) of the economy
would
have a credit to GDP ratio of at least 10 per cent. This ratio would increase every year by 10 per cent.
The committee was hopeful that by January 1, 2016, each district would have a total deposits and
investments to GDP ratio of at least 15 per cent.
The committee felt that everyone should have access to a range of insurance and risk management
products at reasonable charges by January 1, 2016. This will allow them to manage risks related to
commodity price movements, longevity, disability, and death of human beings, death of livestock,
rainfall
and damage to property.
Each district should have a total term life insurance sum assured to GDP ratio of at least 30 per cent.
This
ratio should increase every year by 12.5 per cent with the goal of reaching 80 per cent by January 1,
2020.
Every resident should be issued a Universal Electronic Bank Account (UEBA) automatically at the time
of
receiving his/her Aadhaar number.
The committee said an instruction to open the bank
account should be initiated by Unique Identification
Authority of India (UIDAI) upon issuance of an Aadhaar
number to an individual over the age of 18.
On priority sector, the committee recommended
adjusted priority sector lending target of 50 per cent
against the current requirement of 40 per cent with
sectoral and regional weightage based on the level of
difficulty in lending. It also recommended risks and
liquidity transfers through markets.
On definition of non-banking finance companies
(NBFCs), the committee favoured two categories: one
for core investment companies and another for all other
NBFCs.
It advocated regulatory convergence between banks
and NBFCs based on the principle of neutrality with
regard to classification of non-performing assets and the
Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets
and Enforcement of Security Interest (SARFAESI) Act,
2002 eligibility.
The committee suggested the creation of a state finance
regulatory commission (SFRC). All the existing State
Government-level regulators could be merged into it.

19
PANEL TO REVIEW GOVERNANCE OF BANK BOARDS
The Reserve Bank of India constituted an expert committee to review governance of boards of banks
under
the chairmanship of P. J. Nayak, former Chairman and CEO of Axis Bank.
The Committee is expected to submit its report within three months from the date of its first meeting.
The committee would review the regulatory compliance requirements of banks boards in India, and
judge
what could be rationalised and where requirements needed to be enhanced.
WHY IS THIS PANEL NECESSARY?
The review is long overdue because the norms for bank boards in India were formed when a set of
banks
were nationalized and last nationalization took place in 1980.
The banking agenda itself has changed It is time to change the scheme of nomination to a bank board
because the business now involves different products and different kinds of people who are well-versed
with technology.
The other terms of reference of the committee would be to analyse the representation on banks
boards to
see whether the boards have the appropriate mix of capabilities and the necessary independence to
govern
the institution, and to investigate possible conflicts of interest in board representation, including
among
owner representatives and regulators.
It would also examine board compensation guidelines, and any other issue relevant to the functioning
of
banks boards and the governance they exercise.
DEPOSITOR EDUCATION AND AWARENESS FUND
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), said that it would establish a fund to be called Depositor Education
and
Awareness Fund, which would comprise unclaimed funds of depositors.
Pursuant to the amendment of The Banking Laws (Amendment) Act, 2012, Section 26A has been
inserted in
the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, that empowers the Reserve Bank to establish a fund called Depositor
Education and Awareness Fund .
REASONS BEHIND CREATING THE FUND
The Fund will be created by taking over inoperative deposit accounts which have not been claimed or
operated for ten years or more or any deposit or any amount remaining unclaimed for more than 10
years
within three months from the expiry of the period of ten years.
The Fund would be utilised for promotion of depositors interest and for such other purposes which
may be
necessary for the promotion of depositors interests as specified by the Reserve Bank from time to time.
The depositor would, however, be entitled to claim from the bank his deposit or operate his account
after
the expiry of ten years, even after the unclaimed deposit funds have been transferred to the Fund.
The bank would be liable to pay the deposit amount to the depositor and claim refund of such amount
from
the Fund.
The banking company has paid outstanding amount or allowed operation of such account or deposit,
such
banking company may apply for refund of such amount in such manner as may be specified by the
authority
or committee.
The Reserve Bank shall appoint a team, to administer the Fund, and to maintain separate accounts and
other relevant records in relation to the Fund in such forms as may be specified by the Reserve Bank.
It shall be competent for the authority or committee to spend moneys out of the Fund for carrying out
the
objects for which the Fund has been established.
RBI STANDARDISES GOLD LOAN NORMS
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), said that it had been decided to prescribe a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio
of not
exceeding 75 per cent for banks lending against gold jewellery, including bullet-repayment loans against
pledge of gold jewellery.

20
Henceforth loans sanctioned by banks should not exceed 75 per cent of the value of gold ornaments
and
jewellery.
It has been decided that gold jewellery accepted as security / collateral will have to be valued at the
average
of the closing price of 22 carat gold for the preceding 30 days as quoted by the India Bullion and
Jewellers
Association Ltd.
The RBI had raised loan to value ratio to 75 per cent from 60 per cent. This was in view of moderation
in the
growth of gold loan portfolios of non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) in the recent past.
If the gold is of purity less than 22 carats, the bank should translate the collateral into 22 carat and
value the
exact grams of the collateral. In other words, jewellery of lower purity of gold shall be valued
proportionately.
The central bank reiterated that banks should continue to observe necessary and usual safeguards,
and also
have a suitable policy for lending against gold jewellery with the approval of their boards of directors.
OWNERSHIP
In view of the fact that it may not be possible for borrowers to produce receipts establishing
ownership,
especially when the jewellery has been inherited.
The RBI clarified that the ownership verification need not necessarily be through original receipts for
the
jewellery pledged.
For verification, a suitable document could be
prepared to explain how the ownership was
determined, particularly in cases where the gold
jewellery pledged by a borrower at any one time or
cumulatively on loan outstanding is more than 20
gm.
NBFCs have been directed to put in place an explicit
policy in this regard.
PURITY
The RBI emphasised that the need to give a
certificate on the purity of gold cannot be dispensed
with.
The certified purity shall be applied for determining
the maximum permissible loan and the reserve price
for auction.
The NBFCs can, however, include suitable caveats to
protect themselves against disputes on redemption.
This would standardise the valuation, and make it
more transparent to the borrower.
RBI PANEL SUGGESTS 4 % CPI INFLATION TARGET
An expert committee headed by Urjit R. Patel, Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India,
appointed to
examine the current monetary policy framework of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has
suggested that the
apex bank should adopt the new CPI (consumer price index) as the measure of the nominal anchor for
policy communication. The nominal anchor or the target for inflation should be set at 4 per cent with a
band
of +/- 2 per cent around it.
The nominal anchor should be defined in terms of headline CPI inflation, which closely reflects the cost
of
living and influences inflation expectations relative to other available metrics.
This target should be set in the frame of a two-year horizon that is consistent with the need to balance
the
output costs of disinflation against the speed of entrenchment of credibility in policy commitment.
Given the current elevated level of CPI inflation, it recommended a 12-month target of 8 per cent and
24-
month target of 6 per cent, before the inflation target is formally adopted.

21
The committee asked the Central Government to ensure that the fiscal deficit as a ratio to GDP (gross
domestic product) is brought down to 3.0 per cent by 2016-17.
MONETARY POLICY COMMITTEE
The Patel panel felt that the monetary policy decision-making should be vested with a monetary policy
committee (MPC).
It went on to recommend that the Governor of the RBI should be the Chairman of the MPC. It felt that
the
Deputy Governor in-charge of monetary policy could be the Vice-Chairman. The Executive Director in
charge
of monetary policy could be its member. It could have two external members.
The term of office of the MPC could be three years, without prospect of renewal.
Minutes of the proceedings of the MPC will be released with a lag of two weeks from the date of the
meeting.
CONCERNS
It is premature to use the Consumer Price Index (CPI) as anchor since the data had imperfections.
Inflation targeting was done in countries which had more stable kind of pricing. In India, it may be
difficult
to do that kind of targeting because that level of stability is not yet achieved in the prices where we can
curb certain volatilities or volatility in certain periods through a very specific targeting.
Some experts believe the panel recommendation for adopting monetary policy, which is centred on
inflation, will be a shift from traditional policymaking, and will also bring RBI policy calibration closer to
the
international practises.
If the RBI accepts the recommendations of the Urjit Patel committee, interest rates are unlikely to
come
down in 2014-15.
RETROSPECTIVE TAXATION
The Central Government is yet to decide on the retrospective taxation issue.
The government has accepted most of the recommendations on General Anti-Avoidance Rules (GAAR)
suggested by the panel chaired by him. But the government is yet to accept the issue on retrospective
taxation
Since India followed the source-based taxation rule, it was imperative that transfer of shares of a
company
abroad with assets in India be taxed, like what happened in the Vodafone and IBM cases.
Giving a retrospective effect will send wrong signals to investors and cause uncertainty. It should be in
the
rarest of rare cases.
The government was working on a resolution which would be applicable to all companies facing this
problem.
The government was also planning to include Controlled Foreign Companies (CFCs) within the Direct
Taxes
Code (DTC) where Indian subsidiaries were operating abroad in low-tax jurisdictions. Also, thinly
capitalised
companies, having more debt than equity, would be brought under GAAR.
GAAR would not be used as a tax generation tool, but to prevent erosion of the tax base by avoidance
and
that the DTC and the GST were likely to be introduced in 2014-15 fiscal.
LAND ACQUISITION ACT 2013 COMES INTO EFFECT
The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement
Act,
2013, commonly referred to as the Land Acquisition Act, came into effect from January 1, 2014.
The new legislation will guide all land acquisitions of central and state governments, bringing in stricter
norms and increasing landowners compensation significantly.
The historic Act to replace a 120-year-old legislation and provide just and fair compensation to farmers
was
passed by both Houses of Parliament and received the Presidential assent on September 27, 2013.
[For detailed provisions of this act, please refer to the Current Affairs August, 2013 notes]

22
PROVISIONS
The law replaces the Land Acquisition Act of 1894 by establishing new rules for compensation
as well as
resettlement and rehabilitation.
The developers will need the consent of up to 80 per cent of people whose land is acquired for
private
projects and of 70 per cent of the landowners in the case of public-private partnership projects.
It also provides for compensation as high as four times more than the existing practice in rural
areas and
two times in urban areas.
State governments will have to set up at least six bodies, including the state-level Land Acquisition
Rehabilitation and Resettlement Authority, to hear disputes arising out of projects where land
acquisition
has been initiated by the state or its agencies.
Further, the state governments should take immediate steps to create and establish the State Social
Impact
Assessment Unit, the office of the Commissioner Rehabilitation and Resettlement, and the State Level
Monitoring Committee.
MGNREGS TO INCLUDE RURAL SANITATION
India is the world's largest open air lavatory with over 620 million people practising open defecation in
the
country.
Seeking to address this persisting problem, the government has widened the scope of its flagship
Mahatma
Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) to include works relating to rural
sanitation in collaboration with the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyaan (NBA).
This interlinking is aimed at strengthening the base of rural livelihood and creating durable assets in
rural
areas and infrastructure at a village level.
It shall accelerate sanitation coverage in rural areas to provide privacy and dignity particularly to
women.
The payment shall be based on the actual value of work done, subject to the overall outflow from
MGNREGS funds limited to Rs. 10,000 per Individual Household latrine (IHHL) including the wage rate
and
material cost. Any expenditure over and above this amount shall be there beneficiary contribution.
The design and specifications shall continue to be laid down by the Ministry of Drinking Water and
Sanitation.

23
The data of such IHHLs shall be shared with implementing agencies to ensure no further incentive is
paid
from NBA funds. This will demarcate toilets taken up under NBA in convergence with MGNREGS and
independently of the scheme.
For all works taken up by the Gram Panchayats, including the rural sanitation works taken up based on
the
above guidelines, the cost of the material component including the wages of the skilled and semi-skilled
workers shall not exceed forty per cent at the Gram Panchayat level.
SAHARA PARIWAR ISSUE
The Supreme Court has once again reproached the Sahara Pariwar, as the group likes to be called, for
its
endless machinations aimed at flouting its orders.
The court stated that it was not helpless in taking further action and might ask the CBI and the
Registrar
of Companies to probe the sources of funds.
An earlier order barring the promoter Subroto Roy and a few of his associates from leaving the country
will
remain.
The specific issue now has been Saharas continued stonewalling of the courts order to disclose the
source
of the nearly Rs. 23,000 crore with which it had claimed to have made refunds to a very large number of
investors in its controversial optionally fully convertible debentures (OFCD).
BACKGROUND
What is the case all about?
Between 2008 and 2011, two unlisted Sahara group companies (SCSCL and SHICL) raised around Rs
18,000
Cr issuing OFCDs (Optionally Fully Convertible Debentures) to roughly 30 million shareholders. In 2011,
SEBI
ordered the group to refund this money to investors with 15% annual interest. This order was upheld by
the
Supreme Court.
Why did SEBI ask Sahara to refund the money?
SEBI asked Sahara to refund investors because it felt Sahara was raising money in violation of capital
raising
norms and certain sections of the Companies Act.
SEBI found that under the garb of an OFCD the company was running an extensive para-banking
activity
without conforming to regulatory disclosures and investor protection norms pertaining to public issues.
What did Sahara do?
Sahara challenged SEBIs order saying the capital markets regulator did not have any jurisdiction over
the
group companies since they were not listed.
The court dismissed Saharas petition, also hauling it up for not complying with its orders.
What orders did Sahara not comply with?
The court directed Sahara to furnish details of the OFCDs it had issued including subscriptions and
refunds
within 10 days and submit these to SEBI.
It also gave Sahara 90 days to deposit roughly Rs 24,000 Cr. SEBI which was given powers to freeze
Saharas
accounts, attach properties etc.
Sahara has repeatedly missed deadlines to comply with the Supreme Courts orders.
It claims the total money due is only Rs. 5,200 Cr, as the balance amount has already been repaid. SEBI
meanwhile, told the court that while it had begun the refund process; it couldnt trace many of Saharas
investors as details submitted by Sahara were not in the prescribed format, with addresses and other
details
missing in some cases.
Optionally fully convertible debentures (OFCD)
Debentures are debt instruments issued by company to raise capital. Optionally fully convertible
debentures have option to convert the value of debenture to shares after maturity of debenture. The
ratio
of conversion is decided by the issuer. Upon conversion the investor enjoys same status as ordinary
shareholders of the company.

24
INNOVATION FUND SET UP TO HELP MSMES
The National Innovation Council
(NInC) and the Ministry of MSME,
announced the creation of India
Inclusive Innovation Fund (IIIF), a
fund that seeks to help small
entrepreneurs and innovators
turn their ideas into reality.
The fund was conceived as a
unique concept that seeks to
combine innovation and the
dynamism of enterprise to solve
the problems of citizens at the
base of the economic pyramid in
India.
Lack of capital has been one of
the major reasons why ventures and entrepreneurs seeking to address the needs at the base of the
economic pyramid have failed to take off, with IIIF seeking to address exactly this gap. At least 50 per
cent
of its investments initially would be to enterprises that fall in the MSME stage.
The IIIF would also partner the entire ecosystem in this space, including incubators, angel groups, and
also
public research and development programmes and laboratories to support the commercialisation and
deployment of socially relevant innovative technologies and solutions.
ABOUT THE FUND
The fund is the brainchild of the National Innovation Council (NInC)
The fund will be registered under SEBIs Alternative Investment Fund Category I guidelines.
It will have an initial corpus of Rs. 500 crore, with the Ministry of MSME committing to Rs. 100 crore.
The
balance will come from banks, insurance companies, and overseas financial and development
institutions.
The funds eventual aim is to expand the corpus to Rs. 5,000 crore over the next 24 months.
The fund would invest in innovative ventures that were scalable, sustainable and, therefore,
profitable.
However, it would also address the social needs of less privileged citizens in areas such as healthcare,
food,
nutrition, agriculture and education.
The tenure of this joint venture fund is 9 years.
The government would not be involved in the day to day operations of the fund, and it would be
entrusted
to an Asset Management Company.
CHALLENGES AHEAD
There are three big challenges the fund -- which aims to promote businesses that target the bottom of
the
pyramid and have a social hue -- faces:
How to attract non-government capital,
How to draw fund managers from the private sector while paying below-market salaries,
How to negotiate the pitfalls of transitioning to a new government.
INDIAN LEATHER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME
The government approved the Indian Leather Development Programme (ILDP), entailing
expenditure of
about Rs.990 crore, for implementation during the XII Plan (2012-17) for the overall development of the
sector.
Six sub-schemes are being proposed for continuation from the XI Plan for implementation during the
XII
Plan.

25
The schemes are:
o Integrated development of leather sector,
o Human resource development
o Support to artisan
o Leather technology innovation and environmental issues
o Mega leather cluster and establishment of institutional institutes.
o Around two lakh unemployed persons would be provided placement linked skill development
training
under the HRD sub-scheme. Skill upgradation of existing employees and training to trainers would also
be provided.
o Thirty thousand artisans would be covered through the common facilitating centre support,
marketing
linkages, micro finance and by forming Self Help Group for enhancing their skill and income.
o It also envisages infrastructure support in the form of mega leather clusters, establishing
infrastructure
and pilot projects for environment protection, establishment of two new branches of Footwear Design
and Development Institute (FDDI) and providing assistance for modernization and technology
upgradation of leather units.
Implementation of ILDP would provide trained manpower to the industry and assistance to overcome
the
constraints of infrastructure in the industry besides efforts for addressing environmental concerns. The
objective of the scheme is overall development of the leather sector.
UNIFORM TAX RATE FOR FOREIGN PORTFOLIO INVESTORS
SEBI has issued a new set of regulations governing institutional and non-institutional foreign investors
investing in the Indian capital market, bringing them under the collective umbrella of foreign portfolio
investors.
The new FPI rules are based on the Chandrasekhar Committees recommendations for
simplifying and
unifying the entry norms for all types of foreign investors who wish to invest in listed Indian securities.
FPIs have been segregated into three categories under the new regulations, based on their perceived
risk
profile.
o Government and government-related investors fall under Category-I,
o regulated entities like mutual funds, banks and portfolio managers under Category-II,
o Unregulated persons or entities such as individuals, corporates and trusts under Category-III.
Based on risk, these categories will entail progressively more stringent KYC norms.
Besides, the new class would be given a permanent registration, as against the current practice of
granting
approvals for one year or five years to the overseas entities seeking to invest in Indian markets.
Licencing and registration of FPIs will be done by domestic depository participants on behalf of SEBI,
thereby simplifying the process and reducing the time taken.
SEBI has introduced minor changes in the new rules, such as the definition of a broad-based fund
and how
investment limits are to be monitored by FIIs at an investor group level.
SEBI has doubled the investment limit for a single QFI in an Indian company from the current 5 per
cent of
paid-up capital of the company to 10 per cent. It has also doubled the investment limit for multiple QFIs
in a
company from the current 10 per cent of paid-up capital to 24 per cent or the prescribed sector cap.
The CBDT recently notified that FPIs will be considered as FIIs for Indian tax purposes. As such, FPIs will
be
eligible for the same concessional tax rates afforded to FIIs and sub-accounts in India.
IMPLICATIONS
Rollout of the FPI regulations will cancel the existing FII regulations (applicable to institutional
investors,
such as mutual funds, pension funds, banks and insurance companies), as well as the Qualified Foreign
Investor (QFI) regulations (for non-institutional investors such as individuals, corporates, trusts and
family
offices).
FPIs can invest in the same types securities that FIIs are currently allowed to, including listed equities,
mutual fund units, G-Secs/T-Bills, corporate debt and Indian depository receipts. The investment limits
applicable to FIIs will remain in force.

26
But the regulations do not allow FPIs to invest in unlisted securities, as was permitted under the earlier
rules.
The new rules significantly benefit non-institutional foreign investors, who were previously barred
from
direct investment in listed securities, putting them on par with FIIs. QFIs are now allowed to invest in
various additional securities such as derivatives and IDRs.
Furthermore, QFIs will now be able to issue investment instructions directly to their stockbrokers, as
opposed to the previous time-consuming practice of routing them through qualified depository
participants.
NRIs till now, who could invest through the portfolio investment scheme for investing in Indian
securities or
the QFI route, will be forced to come under the portfolio investment scheme only, which is not as
flexible.
OIL AND GAS RELATED ISSUES
NEW NATURAL GAS PRICING GUIDELINES NOTIFIED
The Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry, notified a new natural gas pricing guidelines under the
Rangarajan
Committee formula that will lead to almost doubling of prices for all domestically-produced gas,
including
conventional, shale, coal bed methane (CBM), from the present price of $4.2 mbtu starting April .
The notification said gas from April will be priced at an average price of liquefied natural gas (LNG)
imports
into India and benchmark global gas rates.
This formula will be applicable till March 31, 2019. The new rates will change every quarter, based on
the
12-month average of global rates and LNG import price with a lag of one quarter.
The guidelines shall also be applicable for natural gas produced by ONGC/OIL from their nominated
fields.
IMPLICATIONS FOR RIL
Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) will get the benefit of the new gas price for its existing fields like MA
in the
KG D6 block and new/upcoming ones like R-Series and satellite in the KG Basin block and the ones in
North
East Coast block NEC-25.
However, for the D1&D3 gas fields in KG-D6 block, it will have to submit a bank guarantee to cover its
liability if the charges of hoarding gas by deliberately producing less during last three years are proved
by
independent observers or an arbitrator.
In respect of D1 and D3 gas discoveries of Block KG-DWN-98/3, these guidelines shall be applicable
subject
to submission of bank guarantees in the manner to be notified separately.
The bank guarantee will be encashed if it is proved that the company hoarded gas or deliberately
suppressed production at the main D1&D3 fields in the Eastern offshore KG-D6 block since 2010-11.
Experts estimate that price of gas from April will be around $8 to 8.4 mbtu during 2014-15 as against
the
current rate of $4.2 per mbtu.
KELKAR COMMITTEE ON PRODUCTION SHARING MODEL
The Vijay Kelkar Committee has favoured retaining the production sharing contract (PSC) system for
the oil
and gas exploration sector in the country.
The Ministry has proposed to put before national and international delegates the profile of these oil
and gas
blocks likely to be auctioned under the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) round X.
The government has stated that it will issue the notice of bids under the revenue sharing regime next
month only after the Cabinet grants its approval, the Kelkar Committee report is likely to further create
confusion.
ANALYSIS
The committee, dwells on issues such as shifting to an open acreage regime, setting up a data
repository,
administering signed contracts, and strengthening the Directorate-General of Hydrocarbons (DGH). The
second part of the report is likely to be submitted next month.

27
The Kelkar Committee, had favoured the production sharing model for deep-sea exploration because
guarantees for the recovery of all sunk costs were important to attract oil majors with proprietary
technology.
Under the present regime, oil companies can recover all costs of successful and unsuccessful wells

from sales of oil and gas before sharing profit with the government.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had criticised the PSC regime on grounds that it
encouraged
companies to increase capital expenditure and delay the governments share.
The Rangarajan panel had last year suggested moving to a revenue sharing regime that required
companies
to state upfront the quantum of oil or gas they would share with the government from the first day of
production.
The Kelkar panelfavours the revenue sharing model for shallow and on-land blocks that are less
costintensive
than deep-sea exploration.
It also reportedly calls for moving to an open acreage regime where companies can pick exploration
areas
through the year rather than wait for periodic auctions that offer areas identified by the government.
To facilitate this, the panel has called for setting up a National Data Repository (NDR).
LPG CAP HIKED TO 12; NO CASH TRANSFERS
The Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs raised the quota of LPG cylinders from nine to 12.
It also decided to put on hold the Direct Benefit Transfer for LPG (DBTL) under which consumers
receive
subsidy in cash.
Every household will get one cylinder each in February and March in addition to the quota of nine.
From
April, they will be entitled to 12 cylinders, one a month at subsidised rates.
The rise in quota would result in an extra outgo of Rs.5,000 crore annually toward subsidy
The increase in LPG cylinder quota is termed by few as misdirected subsidies because the move
would
end up benefiting people who could afford to pay market rates.
ABOUT DBTL
Direct Benefit Transfer for LPG consumer (DBTL) is the scheme aimed to improve the subsidy
administration
of LPG across the country. As per this scheme an LPG consumer will get his/her cylinder at full market
price
and the differential between subsidized price and full market price i.e. the subsidy will be transferred to
his/her bank account. Following are the key features of this scheme:
Under this scheme, all LPG consumers will start receiving their LPG cylinders at full market price and
will get
their subsidy directly in their bank accounts upto a capped limit of LPG cylinder.
LPG PORTABILITY LAUNCHED
Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister, announced the launch of the portability of LPG connection
scheme
across 480 districts of the country covering all the oil marketing companies (OMCs) and distributors
which
have multiple LPG distributors of various ratings.
No Transfer fee or additional security deposit will be charged for transfer of connection under the
portability scheme.
With the launch of this new initiative, consumers can now switch to the distributor of his choice within
a
cluster of LPG distributors in the vicinity.
This measure will bring great relief to those LPG consumers who are either unhappy with the services
of
their current distributor or want to move to an LPG distributor closer to their place of residence.
TILAIYA PROJECT OF R-POWER
The Cabinet Committee on Investment has cleared Reliance Powers 4000 MW ultra mega power
project at
Tilaiya in Jharkand, advising Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) to take necessary steps to treat
it at
par with Central Government undertaking project for the purpose of rules for compensatory
afforestation.

28
Under the clearance given by CCI headed by Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, Reliance Power may
not
have to provide non-forest land to compensate for the loss of forest land acquired for the proposed
plant.
The plant will now be on a par with the other public sector projects and therefore would be exempted
from
providing compensatory afforestation for the loss of forest land. At present, only central government or
public sector undertakings have exemption from the obligation to provide non-forest land.
THE CCI asked MoEF to issue necessary clarification immediately to the Forest Department of
Jharkhand
that Tilaiya UMPP and related mines for use of 19.44 metric tonne per annum as indicated in the project
information report may be treated at par with Central Government projects so that balance land for the
power plant could be transferred immediately to the developer.
The Cabinet note states that the developer, in addition to cost of compensatory afforestation on
double the
diverted forest land, be also asked to deposit the cost of land required for the above compensatory
afforestation.
Tilaiya UMPP is to be executed by a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), Jharkhand Integrated Power Ltd,
which
was handed over to Reliance Power in January 2009 by Power Finance Corporation the nodal agency
for
UMPPs.
Tilaiya would be the fourth UMPP to be awarded to a developer after Sasan (Madhya Pradesh),
Krishnapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) and Mundra UMPP in Gujarat.
ULTRA MEGA POWER PROJECTS (UMPP)
Ultra Mega Power Projects (UMPP) are a series of ambitious power projects planned by the
Government of
India.
With India being a country of chronic power deficits, the Government of India has planned to provide
"power for all" by the end of the Eleventh Five-Year Plan (20072012).
This would entail the creation of an additional capacity of at least 100,000 MW by 2012. Ultra Mega
Power
projects, each with a capacity of 4000 MW or above, are being developed with the aim of bridging this
gap.
The first UMPP, developed by Tata Power at Mundra, Gujarat has been commissioned and contributes
4,000 MW in power to the northern grid.
CABINET COMMITTEE ON INVESTMENT
The Cabinet cleared setting up of the Cabinet Committee on Investment for fast tracking decision on
big
projects. Prime Minister will head these super investment bodies which will fast track clearances for
mega
projects.
The proposed body will not be a substitute for the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB).
The functions of the Committee are as under:
o (i) to identify key projects required to be implemented on a time-bound basis, involving investment
of
Rs 1000 cr or more, or any other critical projects, as may be specified by the Committee, in sectors such
as infrastructure, manufacturing, etc.
o (ii) to prescribe time limits for issue of requisite approvals and clearances by the
Ministries/Departments concerned in respect of projects in identified sectors.
o (iii) to monitor the progress of identified projects including the time prescribed/taken to obtain each
approval each approval/clearance and delays.
o (iv) to review implementation of projects, that have been delayed beyond the stipulated timeframe,
including issues causing delay in grant of clearance/approvals.
o (v) to review the procedures followed by Ministries/Departments to grant/refuse approvals and
clearances.
o (vi) to take decision regarding grant/refusal of approval/clearance of specific projects that are unduly
delayed , if deemed necessary.
o (vii) to consider and decide measures required for expeditiously granting/refusing
approvals/clearances
in identified sectors including simplification of rules/procedures followed by the respective
Ministries/Departments for decision making.
o (viii) to require statutory authorities to discharge functions and exercise powers under the relevant
law/regulation within the prescribed time frames for promoting investment and economic growth.

29
CHANGES TO MEGA POWER POLICY
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) relaxed the criteria for power generation projects
to
qualify as mega power projects. This will qualify 15 additional projects for the benefits under the mega
power project policy.
The Mega Power Policy allows thermal power projects of 1,000 MW and above capacity and hydro
power
projects of 500 MW and above to import equipment duty-free. The fiscal benefits also include a tax
holiday
for 10 years.
Earlier, developers had to tie up 85% of a projects installed capacity with states through competitive
bidding. Also, 15% of electricity had to be tied up in an open sale. With the host states where these 15
projects are located demanding that 35% of the electricity be allotted to them, the developers were
unable
to meet the 85% competitive bid criteria.
Now with the new changes, the developer must tie up at least 65 per cent of the installed capacity
through
competitive bidding. The balance 35 per cent of the installed capacity should be through the regulated
tariff
according to the host States policy.
A total of 25 such projects were given provisional mega power status. They had furnished bank
guarantees
of the value of the duty exemption they are eligible for with the customs authorities.
These bank guarantees could only be released if they are able to meet the 85% criteria. Now with the
relaxation to 65% they will become eligible to claim these fiscal benefits.
Another relaxation concerns the rule under which the capacity through competitive bidding had to be
tied
up within three years. With no states calling for bids for entering into power purchase pacts, developers
were unable to qualify for the mega power project status. This period has now been extended to five
years.
The decision extends a lifeline to long-stuck power projects with a combined capacity of 33,000
megawatts
(MW). The unlocked capacities are set to improve power availability and ensure cash flows to these
projects, bringing relief to banks and financial institutions that have extended loans to them.
The clearance follows the governments move to integrate the power-deficient Southern grid with the
national grid, creating for the first time a single grid for the nation.
BACKGROUND
The mega Power Policy was introduced in November 1995 for providing impetus to development of
large
size power projects in the country and derive benefit from economies of scale.
The cabinet committee on economic affairs has approved amendments in the Mega Power Policy 2009
for
provisional mega power projects. The objective is to increase power availability to boost overall growth
of
the country and also ensure that consumers are reasonably charged for electricity supplied.
Investor interest in the sector suffered a setback due to the economic slowdown, high borrowing
costs,
delays in land acquisition and environmental clearances, and fuel shortages, which have caused power
plants to operate below capacity.
ONE NATION, ONE GRID
The integration of the southern power grid with the national grid fulfils a long-felt need of consumers
and
state electricity utilities in the South.
The integration was achieved when the Power Grid Corporation of India commissioned a 765-kilovolt
transmission line between Raichur and Solapur on New Years Day, five months ahead of schedule.
The 208-circuit-km-long transmission line and 765- and 400-KV substations at Raichur and Sholapur
have
been commissioned five months ahead of the contracted schedule.
The southern grid is the third largest in terms of power consumption amongst the five regional grids
and is
perennially starved of power.
ANALYSIS
The absence of synchronous connectivity with the national grid meant that the southern states could
not
take advantage of surplus power available in other regions.

30
The southern grid has asynchronous connections with the other grids that enable transmission of high
voltage direct current. But this is a cumbersome and inefficient way to transmit power and the capacity
is
limited.
The completion of the commissioning process of the Raichur-Solapur line will synchronise the
southern grid
with the others in a single frequency and allow seamless transmission across the country; it will be a
truly
one-nation-one-grid that will have 232 giga watts of installed capacity at its disposal.
The national grid will help southern states, especially Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, which
are
facing huge shortages, lift surplus power from other regions.
In the absence of a national grid, these states were paying exorbitantly high prices for buying
electricity
from the open market because of uncertainty about power evacuation due to congestion in the
transmission network.
The Indian power system is operating through five regional grids and a Pan-India synchronous grid was
envisaged for optimal utilisation of the generation resources in the country.
Till now, four regional grids -- northern, eastern, western and north-eastern -- were connected
synchronously and the southern region was connected to the other four grids via HVDC links.
EVOLUTION OF NATIONAL GRID
Grid management on regional basis started in sixties.
Initially, State grids were inter-connected to form regional grid and India was demarcated into 5
regions
namely Northern, Eastern, Western, North Eastern and Southern region.
In October 1991 North Eastern and Eastern grids were connected.
In March 2003 WR and ER-NER were interconnected.
August 2006 North and East grids were interconnected thereby 4 regional grids Northern, Eastern,
Western
and North Eastern grids are synchronously connected forming central grid operating at one frequency.
On 31st December 2013, Southern Region was connected to Central Grid in Synchronous mode with
the
commissioning of 765kV Raichur-Solapur Transmission line thereby achieving 'ONE NATION'-'ONE
GRID'-
'ONE FREQUENCY'

31
SOCIAL ISSUES
NATIONAL YOUTH POLICY-2014
The Union Cabinet gave its approval for introduction of the National Youth Policy-2014 (NYP-2014),
replacing NYP-2003 currently in force.
The vision of NYP-2014 is to empower youth to achieve their full potential, and through them enable
India
to find its rightful place in the community of nations.
The Policy identifies five well-defined objectives and 11 priority areas and suggests policy interventions
in
each priority area.
The priority areas are education, skill development and employment, entrepreneurship, health and
healthy
lifestyle, sports, promotion of social values, community engagement, participation in politics and
governance, youth engagement, inclusion and social justice.
It will cover the entire country catering the needs of all youth in the age-group of 15-29 years, which
constitutes 27.5 per cent of the population according to Census-2011, that is about 33 crore persons.It
will
replace NYP-2003, to take care of developments since 2003 and future policy imperatives.
The NYP-2014 proposes broad policy interventions for the youth consistent with the 12thPlan
priorities and
does not propose any specific programme/ scheme, having financial implications. All concerned
Ministries/
Department would be requested to bring focus on youth issues within the framework of their plans/
programmes/ schemes etc.
SC ON QUOTA IN SUPER-SPECIALTY POSTS
A five-judge bench of Supreme Court favored the Centre in taking a call on providing reservation in
appointment for faculty posts in specialty and super specialty posts in medical colleges including the All
India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
SC held that it is for the Central Government to take a decision as to whether there should be
reservation in
specialty and super specialty posts.
Seeking review of a Constitution Bench judgment which had said it cannot take a view contrary to the
one
expressed in 1992 by a nine-judge bench in the Indra Sawhney case, also known as the Mandal case,
that
there could be no compromise with merit at super specialty stage; the apex court was moved by the
Centre.
The Bench impressed upon the Central and State Governments to take appropriate steps in
accordance with
the views expressed in Indra Sawhneys case and in this case, as also the other decisions referred to
above,
keeping in mind the provisions of Article 335 (claims of SC/ST to service and posts) of the Constitution.
The verdict was pronounced by the apex court on the plea of the Faculty Association of AIIMS against
a
Delhi High Court judgment, wherein the argument of the Association was that there cannot be any
reservation for faculty posts to specialty and super specialty faculty courses in AIIMS.
AIIMS took a contrary stand and the Centre had requested that the reservation be given to SC/STs and
Backward classes candidates in appointment to assistant professors and other senior posts in specialty
and
super specialty courses.
SC ON FRESH INTERPRETATION OF TERM JUVENILE
The Supreme Court has reserved its verdict on the two petitions filed by BJP leader Subramanian
Swamy
and parents of the victim of the December 16 gangrape, challenging the constitutional validity of the
Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000, which sought fresh interpretation of the
term
juvenile in the statute and leaving it to the criminal court, instead of Juvenile Justice Board, to
determine
the juvenility of an offender in heinous crimes.
According to the victims father, the verdict delivered by the Juvenile Justice Board on August 31, 2013
was
not acceptable to the family and therefore they filed the petitions, challenging the Act, as there is no
other
authority, which they can approach for such relief.

32
A direction to declare unconstitutional and void the Juvenile Justice Act was also sought by him, to the
extent it puts a complete prohibition on the power of the criminal courts to try a juvenile offender for
offences committed under the Indian Penal Code.
The bench had concluded the arguments on behalf of Swamy who sought fresh interpretation of the
term
juvenile in the statute, saying the Act provides for a restrictive interpretation of the term juvenile that
a
person below the age of 18 years is a minor.
It violates the United Nations Convention for the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and Beijing Rules on the
issue,
which says the presumption of the age of criminal responsibility, be fixed while bearing in mind the
mental
and intellectual maturity of the offender.
SC NOT TO REVIEW JUDGMENT AGAINST HOMOSEXUALITY
In a major setback to gay rights activists, the Supreme Court declined to review its December 11
judgment,
holding that homosexuality or unnatural sex between two consenting adults was illegal. [For details of
this
issue, please refer to the current affairs notes of Dec, 2013.]
A Bench of Justices H. L. Dattu and S.J. Mukhopadhaya held that this provision (Section 377 of the IPC)
did
not suffer from any constitutional infirmity and said there were no grounds to interfere with the order.
On December 11, 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that gay sex was an offence irrespective of age and
consent, overturning the July 2009 Delhi High Court verdict that found Section 377 to be violative of
Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the constitution.
While setting aside the July 2, 2009 judgement of the Delhi High Court, the apex court had held that
Section
377 (unnatural sexual offences) of the IPC does not suffer from the vice of unconstitutionality and that
the
declaration made by the high court is legally unsustainable and threw the ball into Parliament's court for
amending law.
WAY AHEAD
Two options are now available before the government and the LGBT community to have the law
overturned: the legal remedy of filing a curative petition in the Supreme Court, arguing the question of
the
constitutionality of IPC Section 377; and seeking the parliamentary route to amend the law.
The curative petition has to be certified by a senior advocate and is then circulated to the three senior
most
judges and the judges who delivered the impugned judgement. After the curative petition is given to
these
judges, it will be heard only if majority of the judges decide that matter needs urgent hearing.
A curative petition can be filed if the SC dismisses a review petition. In this the petitioner is allowed to
specifically point out the grounds which had been pointed out in the review petition filed earlier.
SECTION 377
Under Section 377, voluntary carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or
animal is punishable with imprisonment from 10 years to life.
Section 377 is a relic from the colonial age, introduced in the 1860s, and criminalises any kind of sexual
act
that is not peno-vaginal, including anal and oral sex
The act, under section 377, is a non-bailable cognizable offence. Which means the police can break
into any
house and pick up a couple they suspect of being homosexuals under the claim of preventing a criminal
activity. Since it is a non-bailable offence, getting the person out will depend on the wish and attitude of
a
judge.
SAMARTH 2014
SAMARTH 2014: Celebrating Diversity is a national festival for showcasing the abilities of Persons with
Disabilities (PwDs) is being organized by the Department of Disability Affairs under the Ministry of Social
Justice and Empowerment.
Among the many commitments, a major one is building capacity among people with disabilities and
raising
awareness about disability issues. SAMARTH is an important step in this direction.

33
The objectives of organizing Samarth are to showcase the abilities and potential of PwDs; create
awareness
about their rights and entitlements; and provide PwDs and those working for them an opportunity for
an
interface with each other.
EDUCATION
SCHEME FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF NEW MEDICAL COLLEGES
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the proposal of the Ministry of Health and
Family
Welfare relating to the Centrally sponsored scheme for establishment of new medical colleges attached
with existing district/referral hospitals.
The approval is for establishment of 58 new medical colleges by upgradation of existing district
hospitals in
deficient states with intake capacity of 100 MBBS seats in each medical college. This will result in an
increase of about 5800 seats.
The funding pattern will be 90:10 by Central and State Governments respectively for North Eastern
States
and special category States and in the ratio of 75:25 for other States.
The total cost of establishment of the one medical college is approximately about Rs.189 crore. The
distance
between the district/referral hospital and the medical college shall be within 10 kms and on two pieces
of
land.
UNESCO REPORTON EDUCATION FOR ALL
The latest Education For All Global Monitoring Report (GMR) released worldwide by the UNESCO
acknowledges the headway made by India in improving access to education but the countrys
population of
illiterate adults has been identified as the drag factor.
India currently has the largest population of illiterate adults in the world with 287 million. This is 37
per cent
of the global total. While Indias literacy rate rose from 48 per cent in 1991 to 63 per cent in 2006,
population growth cancelled the gains so there was no change in the number of illiterate adults, the
report stated.
There are better tidings for India at the pre-primary and primary level. India features among the
countries
likely to achieve the pre-primary enrolment target of at least 70 per cent by 2015 along with countries
like
Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and United Kingdom.
India is in the top bracket of countries likely to achieve a primary enrolment target of at least 95 per
cent by
2015.
This league includes Australia, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand,
Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom and United States.
However, the report questions the quality of education; placing India among the 21 countries facing an
extensive learning crisis.
Part of the learning crisis has been attributed to the ambitious curriculum drawn out for children in
India;
including disadvantaged learners. Indias curriculum outpaces what pupils can realistically learn and
achieve in the time given.
According to the report, India, despite spending a considerable amount on education has reduced its
expenditure on education from 13 per cent of the entire government budget in 1999 to 10 per cent in
2010.
EDUCATION FOR ALL
Fourteen years ago, education ministers from 164 countries, representatives of the civil society
organizations and of leading international organizations including UN agencies and World Bank met in
Dakar
Senegal and set six goals for Education For All making a collective commitment to rapidly expand
education
for children, youth and adults by the year 2015.
Every year an independent team produces a Global Monitoring Report that aims to inform and
influence
governments, international organizations and civil societies to sustain commitments to achieve the EFA
Goals. The Report is published by UNESCO. Each report focuses on a specific theme.
The six goals are:

34
o Expanding and improving comprehensive early childhood care and education, especially for the most
vulnerable and disadvantaged children;
o Ensuring that by 2015 all children, particularly girls, children in difficult circumstances have access to,
and complete, free and compulsory primary education of good quality;
o Ensuring that the learning needs of all young people and adults are met through equitable access to
appropriate learning and life-skills programmes;
o Achieving a 50 per cent improvement in levels of adult literacy by 2015;
o Eliminating gender disparities in primary and secondary education by 2005, and achieving gender
equality in education by 2015;
o Improving all aspects of the quality of education and ensuring excellence of all so that recognized and
measurable learning outcomes are achieved by all.
ASER SURVEY REPORT
Pratham's ninth Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) shows that school education in rural India is
a
mixed bag of improving parameters like enrolment and compliance to Right to Education norms but
declining learning outcomes.
ASER said over 96% of all rural children in the age group of 6 to 14 were going to school.
There was
further good news as proportion of girls in the age group of 11 to 14 not enrolled in schools dropped
from 6% in 2012 to 5.5% in 2013.
Though ASER pointed to poor learning level of children, there was almost negligible increase in
enrolment in private schools; 29% in 2013 to 28.3% in 2012. There were wide variations in private
school
enrolment, ASER said. But the prevalence of private tuition was on the rise across India.
Since last year there has been no significant improvement in childrens ability to read; children are
struggling with basic arithmetic. This is definitely worrisome and the long-term effects on the
nation
would be disastrous.
But what is new and must be taken seriously by the government is that rural private school
enrolment
rose by 29% in 2013. In fact, after the RTE law was passed, the pace of enrolment in private schools
quickened. Three factors could be responsible for it: migration, improvement in household income and
the aspiration to send children to English-medium schools even if they are not really up to the
mark and the failure of government schools to deliver.
Considering that tax-payers fork out a 2% education cess, its not very heartening to hear that
much of
that money has been not of any help to the children who need it the most.
ABOUT ASER AND ITS SURVEY
Aser is the largest annual household survey of children in rural India that focuses on the status of
schooling and basic learning.
Facilitated by Pratham, an NGO, in each rural district, The Aser survey is conducted by local
organisations
and institutions.
In 2013, Aser covered 550 districts and close to 16,000 villages; 3.3 lakh households and six lakh
children
in the age group of 3-16 years.

35
HEALTH
ORGANS TRANSPLANT ACT NOTIFIED
The government has notified the Transplantation of Human Organs (Amendment) Act, 2011 that
allows
swapping of organs and widens the donor pool by including grandparents and grandchildren in the list.
However, rules of the amended law are yet to be notified, without which the Act cannot be
implemented.
The Act, which has come into effect in Goa, Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal, Delhi and all Union
Territories
from January 10, also provides for the establishment of a National Human Organs and Tissues Removal
and
Storage Network, and development and maintenance of a national registry of recipients of organ
transplants.
Importantly, it prescribes stringent punishments for commercial dealing in human organs and
contravention
of any provisions of the law.
Since health is a State subject, the government had to wait until some States passed this Central Act
before
notifying it. The Act received Presidential assent in September 2011. The remaining States will have to
pass
the Act in their respective Assemblies.
SALIENT FEATURES:
The Act regulates the removal, storage and transplantation of human organs for therapeutic purposes,
and
prevents commercial dealing in human organs.
It enables a surgeon or a physician and an anaesthetist to be included on the medical board in the
event of
non-availability of a neurosurgeon or a neurologist to certify brain death;
makes it mandatory for the ICU/Treating Medical Staff to request relatives of a brain-dead patient for
organ
donation;
provides for the establishment of a National Human Organs and Tissues Removal and Storage Network
and empowers the Union government to prescribe the composition of authorisation committees that
grants
approvals for donating organs.
RASHTRIYA KISHOR SWASTHYA KARYAKRAM (RKSK)
Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare launched the Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram
(RKSK).
The programme will comprehensively address the health needs of the 243 million adolescents, who
account
for over 21% of the countrys population.
The programme introduces community based interventions through peer educators, and is
underpinned by
collaborations with other Ministries and State governments, knowledge partners and more research.
India is home to 243 million adolescents (10-19 years), accounting for 21.4% of the country's
population. In
order to enable adolescents to fulfil their potential, substantive investments must be made for their
education, health, development and other areas.
To guide the implementation of this programme, MoHFW in collaboration with UNFPA has developed
a
National Adolescent Health Strategy.
The programme is an effort to move away from a doctor-driven effort towards a holistic and
participative
programme. The RKSK recognizes that all adolescents need attention even before the occurrence of any
disease or problem, and in order to make informed decisions and choices.
The RKSK programme defines an adolescent as a person within 10-19 years of age, in urban and rural
areas,
includes both girls and boys, married and unmarried, poor and affluent, whether they are in school or
out of
school.
The programme emphasis six Cs- coverage, content, communication, counselling, clinics and
convergence.
The active use of new technologies and social media platforms will form an integral part of the
programme
to reach the adolescents in their own spaces, with strategic partnerships with communities and peers.

36
MULTI-SECTORAL NUTRITION PROGRAMME
The Centre has finally approved the Multi-sectoral Nutrition Programme to address the problems of
maternal and child under-nutrition in the country.
The programme, recommended by the Prime Ministers National Council on Indias Nutrition
Challenges in
2010, will be implemented in 200 high-burden districts in two phases.
It will be a Centrally Sponsored Scheme under the National Nutrition Mission, with the Centre-
State cost
sharing ratio 90:10 for all components in the north-eastern States and special category States, and 75:25
for
the other States and the Union Territories.
The first phase will begin in 100 districts in 2013-14, and the rest will be covered in the second in 2014-
15.
The National Mission Steering Group and the Empowered Programme Committee constituted for
Integrated
Child Development Services (ICDS) Mission will be the highest administrative and technical bodies for
ensuring effective planning, implementation, monitoring and supervision.
The programme will bring in
o Strong nutrition focus in various sectoral plans and provide gap-filling support to key nutrition-related
intervention targets
o Contribute to the prevention of and reduction in child under-nutrition (underweight prevalence in
children under three)
o Reduction in the levels of anemia among children, adolescent girls and women.
o It will also work for the establishment of State and District Nutrition Councils.
o Prevention and reduction in child under-nutrition (underweight prevalence in children under 3 years
of
age)
o Reduction in levels of anemia among young children, adolescent girls and women.
POLIO-FREE INDIA- 3RD STRAIGHT YEAR
On 13th January, 2014, India completed three years without reporting any case of polio.
It is only the second time in the history that a disease is being eliminated in India through
immunisation
after small pox in May 1980.
However, officially the World Health Organisation (WHO) will certify India as polio-free on February 11
after
the last of random samples picked up would be tested.
Indias being declared polio-free is particularly important because it was the only country in the South
East
Asian region with polio cases.
Once India is declared polio-free, the entire WHO region would also become polio free. The WHO on
February 24, 2012 removed India from the list of countries with active endemic wild polio transmission.
India carried a large burden of polio disease but has made impressive progress in the past 35 months.
The number of polio cases came down from 741 in 2009 to 42 in 2010 and just one in 2011 from
West
Bengal.
No polio case has been reported in the country since then.
India won the war against polio through intense Pulse Polio Immunisation under the Global Polio
Eradication Initiative in 1988 under which over 17 crore children were vaccinated in each round of
vaccination with the help of 24 lakh vaccinators.
FUNGAL INFECTIONS
Fungal infections kill close to 1.3 million people globally every year, matching the mortality rate of
AIDS,
cancer, malaria and tuberculosis, and also cause blindness to 300 million people annually.
A million farmers get blind due to fungal keratitis in India, 17-30 million suffer from asthma and 1.7-4.7
million suffer from allergic asthma, also caused by fungal infections.
The magnitude of the problem is particularly serious in India because of overcrowding in hospitals,
malnutrition and unhygienic tropical environs.
The majority of our clinicians are poorly trained to recognise and manage these infections;

37
Most microbiology laboratories across the country lack even basic infrastructure and training to
provide
diagnostic support or monitor antifungal resistance and most antifungal drugs remain prohibitively
expensive.
From the limited data available in India, among the three major fungal infections in hospitals, the
prevalence of candidemia (300-500 cases per year) at any tertiary care institute (with 1,500 beds) is
more
than what obtains in the whole of Australia.
Unhygienic handling by healthcare staff causes invasive candidemia and the infection flows right up to
the
blood stream.
INTERVENTION STEPS
With a view to addressing these issues, international experts have come together and launched two
initiatives -
Leading International Fungal Education (LIFE) and Global Action Fund for Fungal
Infections (GAFFI) to
improve fungal infections outcomes in patients through awareness and education and access to
appropriate
antifungal therapies.
Up to 60 per cent of invasive infections, majority of which can be prevented with timely diagnosis and
appropriate treatment, eventually kill a patient.
MISSION TO CUT NEONATAL DEATHS
Kerala has an enviably low infant mortality rate (IMR)at 12 deaths among children less than one year
of age
per 1,000 live births.; it is far below Indias average of 42. Yet, for years, the southern State has been
unable
to reduce the mortality rate further to a single-digit figure to become comparable with the developed
countries.
Kerala has always been at the forefront in setting the benchmark for almost all the health indices. It
therefore comes as no surprise that the State has initiated steps to further beat down IMR.
Hence a pilot project is set to begin in 25 hospitals, including five private hospitals, to lower the
neonatal
mortality rate by 30 per cent in 24 months.
It is planning a targeted approach to tackle the four major causal factors: prematurity, congenital
anomalies, sepsis and birth asphyxia for neonatal deaths.
Pre-term births (between 24 and 37 weeks of gestation) combined with low birth weight account for
the
lions share of about 35 per cent of neonatal mortality in Kerala. India has the highest number 3.5
million
of pre-term births in the world.
Aside from improving the nutritional status of pregnant mothers, and keeping their blood pressure
and
diabetes under check, delaying pre-term labour through medical intervention and administration of two
doses of steroid before delivery greatly improve neonatal survival.
The steroid improves the three major parameters that are essential for survival: lung maturity,
preventing
hemorrhage of brain blood vessels and avoiding intestinal problems due to immaturity.
While sterile hospital conditions can prevent sepsis (9.3 per cent), the importance of the mothers
genital
hygiene is often missed or overlooked.
Vaginal and urinary tract infections are quite likely to cause pre-term labour and sepsis.
Mortality due to birth asphyxia in Kerala is 8 per cent. Improving the quality of care during the delivery
process, including by preventing prolonged labour, can further cut birth asphyxia mortality.
THIRD LINE THERAPY FOR HIV PATIENTS
The Centre will soon include Third Line therapy for persons living with HIV in the governments Anti-
Retroviral Treatment programme.
Third line drugs are said to be the only succor for HIV-affected who have become resistant to second
line
drugs.
At present, patients requiring third line treatment are forced to go to the private sector for treatment.
The government would have to identify the number of patients who need such treatment before it can
place orders for the medicines and formulate a budget .

38
It is expected that the third line treatment will be included in next years budget.
WHAT IS ART?
Anti-retroviral therapy (ART) is a treatment for HIV/AIDS. It does not cure the disease; rather, it aims
to
increase life expectancy reduce opportunistic infections, and may potentially reduce the likelihood that
an
infected individual transmits the virus to another.
A successful ART program requires all of the following:
o Diagnosis. It means for testing individuals to identify those in need of treatment. In the case of
ART,
diagnosis consists of more than merely testing an individual for HIV/AIDS. This is because when the
disease is far enough along, the toxicity of the drugs may outweigh the benefits of starting treatment.
o Distribution. A method for distributing the drugs to those who need them.
o Drugs. Antiretroviral drugs can be costly.
o Patient adherence to drug regimen. ART consists of a relatively complex drug regimen to which
patients must strictly adhere. And because ART does not cure HIV/AIDS, patients must adhere to the
regimen as long as they remain alive.
o Monitoring of the patient's response to treatment. ART may cause negative side effects in a
patient.
In addition, laboratory monitoring may be needed for purposes of noticing decreased efficacy or the
development of resistance.

39
ENVIRONMENT
HC ON NATIONAL GREEN TRIBUNAL
Clipping the wings of the southern bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), which has been taking
suo
motu cognizance of issues at will and issuing directions, the Madras high court has restrained the
forum
from initiating proceedings on its own.
NGT is not a substitute for high court in all respects. It is also noted that the tribunal has to function
within
the parameters laid down by the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010. It should act within the four corners
of
the statute, said the judgement.
Provisions of the Civil Procedure Code are extended to the tribunal only for a very limited purpose. It
is
true that the tribunal is given power to regulate its own procedure and it is not bound by the strict rules
of
evidence. However, that would not convert the tribunal into a high court, to initiate suo motu
proceedings.
The bench, citing the SC rulings, said while courts were entrusted with the inherent power for
administration of justice in general, tribunals are established under a statute and are meant to
adjudicate
disputes arising under the particular legislation.
NATIONAL GREEN TRIBUNAL
The National Green Tribunal has been established on 2010 under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010
for
effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of
forests
and other natural resources including enforcement of any legal right relating to environment and giving
relief and compensation for damages to persons and property
It is a specialized body equipped with the necessary expertise to handle environmental disputes
involving
multi-disciplinary issues.
The Tribunal shall not be bound by the procedure laid down under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908,
but
shall be guided by principles of natural justice.
The Tribunal's dedicated jurisdiction in environmental matters shall provide speedy environmental
justice
and help reduce the burden of litigation in the higher courts.
The Tribunal is mandated to make and endeavour for disposal of applications or appeals finally within
6
months of filing of the same.
New Delhi is the Principal Place of Sitting of the Tribunal and Bhopal, Pune, Kolkata and Chennai are
the
other 4 place of sitting of the Tribunal.
SC ON NATIONAL GREEN REGULATOR
Three Judge Bench of the Supreme Court directed the Union of India to appoint a green Regulator with
its
offices in as many states as possible rejecting the objection of Ministry of Environment and Forests
(MoEF).
The Centre had informed the court that there was no need for setting up of a green regulator to
oversee
matters related to environmental clearances and had pleaded for modification of its order for setting up
such a body.
The bench made it clear that the clearances under the Forest Act would be granted by
the MoEF but the
regulator will see the implementation of the Forest Policy of 1998.
The apex court directed that the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification of 2006 would now
be
dealt directly by the National Regulator for every project.
In 2011 the court adjudicated to appoint a national regulator for appraising projects, enforcing
environmental conditions for approvals and to impose penalties on polluters. The petition was filed by
MoEF in the aftermath of this order, to reverse the same.
However, the Centre stated that an authority to supervise and facilitate implementation of the
National
Forest Policy, 1998 will be constituted.

40
SETHUSAMUDRAM PROJECT
The Tamil Nadu government has reiterated that the Supreme Court should direct the Centre not to
implement the Sethusamudram project, given that the Gulf of Mannar and surrounding areas are
extremely
eco-fragile, and the economic values of the project are questionable.
In its response to the Centres affidavit that it wanted to implement the project in the original
alignment
that cuts through Ram Setu, Tamil Nadu said ecological threats would be irreversible and could not be
assessed in monetary terms.
The Centre had made it clear that it did not accept the recommendations of an expert committee,
headed
by Rajendra K. Pachauri. The expert panel said neither alignment 4A (a route suggested by the court as
an
alternative to the original alignment No. 6) nor alignment 6 (which will cut through Ram Setu)met the
benchmark Internal Rate Return of 12% for the range of scenarios examined. It said it would be difficult
to
rule out oil spills, even with stringent measures. In conclusion, the Pachauri committee has found the
project unviable both from the economic as well as the ecological angles.
Tamil Nadu said that since the Pachauri Committee had rightly concluded that the project was
unviable, its
report should be accepted and the project scrapped. It also wanted Adams Bridge/Ram Setu declared a
national monument to forbear the Centre from carrying out any activity which might affect it.

41
INDIA AND WORLD
ITALIAN MARINES CASE
WHY IN NEWS?
The National Investigation Agency(NIA) is yet to get a response from the Union Home Ministry on a
report
seeking sanction for prosecution of the two Italian marines, who have been accused of gunning down
two
Kerala fishermen in February 2012, under the Provisions of the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against
Safety
of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Act (SUA)that prescribes death penalty.
Earlier, the Supreme Court had handed over the probe to the NIA which has post investigations and
examination of the witnesses in the case proposed prosecution of the two marines, Massimiliano
Latorre
and Salvatore Girone, under the SUA.
ISSUE
The Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against Safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms on
Continental
Shelf Act (SUA) provisions pertaining to acts causing death prescribe capital punishment for the
offender,
but the Indian government has in the past ruled out death penalty for the accused marines.
The Home Ministry is likely to either reject NIAs request for prosecution sanction or treat the deaths
not as
a scheduled offence.
Earlier, the home ministry sought clarifications from MEA regarding the assurance given to Italy early
last
year that the marines would not attract death penalty.
When the two Italian marines had refused to return to India in January 2013 after being allowed to
briefly
visit Italy to cast their vote, India had prevailed upon Rome to send them back based on "clarifications"
that
the accused would not face death penalty as the case did not fall in the "rarest of rare category".
The marines sought a direction that they be tried only under the Maritime Zone law, the Indian Penal
Code,
and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and not under the anti-terrorism provisions of
the
SUA Act.
Italy has opposed invoking the maritime law.
IMPLICATIONS
The Enrica Lexie case has soured relations between India and Italy. Italian foreign minister Giulio
Terzi quit
in March after his government returned the marines to India for trial, saying he was stepping down to
protect the "honour of the country, of the armed forces, and Italian diplomacy".
If India's government decides to use the legislation, it would go against its earlier assurances that the
men
would not face the gallows, seriously testing New Delhi's ties with both Rome and the European Union.
Another sore point between the two countries is a scrapped 560-million-euro helicopter contract
between
India and AgustaWestland, a unit of Italy's state-owned and cash-strapped defense giant Finmeccanica.
India canceled the contract on New Year's Day over accusations that AgustaWestland executives paid
bribes
to land the deal, charges the company denies. The two parties have agreed to arbitration over the deal.
The president of the European Commission has said the issue of the Italian marines in India may have
an
impact on the European Union-India relations and will be assessed carefully.
KNOW INDIA PROGRAMME
The Government has introduced a programme named Know India Programme for young persons of
Overseas Indians with a view to provide them an exposure to the country of their origin so that they can
understand it better and more intimately.
Under the Programme, 20 young persons of Indian origin in the age group of 18 to 24 from different
countries visit India extensively every year, which will provide them an opportunity to have a deeper
insight
into Indian people and society.

42
Know India Programme of the Ministry is a three-week orientation programme for dpora youth
conducted with a view to promote awareness on different facets of life in India and the progress made
by
the country in various fields e.g. economic, industrial, education, Science & Technology, Communication
&
Information Technology, culture.
KIP provide a unique forum for students & young professionals of Indian origin to visit India, share
their
views, expectations & experiences and to develop closer bonds with the contemporary India. 4-5 such
programmes are conducted every year in partnership with one or two State Governments.
MALDIVES: GMR AIRPORT PROJECT ISSUE
Maldives is in talks with GMR, whose over $500 million Male airport project was scrapped, for an out
of
court settlement and not through arbitration, said Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen.
However, he appeared to rule out the Indian infrastructure giants comeback in the Male airport
project,
saying it was a highly politicised case in Maldives.
President Yameen was in his first visit to India after the November election in his country. Prime
Minister
Manmohan Singh during the talks requested the Maldives government to "amicably settle the issue of
the
Male International Airport".
BACKGROUND
The GMRs project worth over USD 500 million was scrapped unilaterally 14 months back by the
Maldivian
Government which was then headed by Mohamed Waheed after a lot of domestic political pressure to
do
so.
The contract was for modernising the Male Ibrahim Nasir International Airport. GMR took the
Maldivian
Government to court to fight its decision of cancelling the contract.
The contract stipulates that any arbitration between the two parties has to be settled in Singapore.
After
losing this battle, the group is now fighting another legal battle on the amount that it should be paid as
compensation for the cancelled contract.
The GMR Group has interests in roads, energy and airports. It is present in Turkey, South Africa,
Indonesia
and Singapore and operates assets worth about $5 billion (over Rs 22,000 crore). Assets worth about $6
billion are under construction.
The Male International Airport was the groups second project in modernising an international airport,
the
first being in Turkey where it modernised Istanbuls Sabiha Gocken airport.
Domestically, the Group has built the Hyderabad airport but is perhaps best known for modernising
the
Delhi airports Terminal 3 in record time.

43
SCIENCE & TECH
DIABETIC TESTING KITS
The Health Ministry launched indigenous, affordable testing kits, bringing relief to millions of diabetics
who spend a substantial amount of their earnings on testing their blood glucose level.
The launching of two kinds of glucometers and testing strips will make mass screening and detection
feasible.
The glucometers will now cost between Rs. 500 and 1,000 as against the price of Rs. 1,000-2,500 for
the
imported instrument. Each glucostrip will cost between Rs. 2 and Rs. 4, down from Rs. 18-35.
The diabetes screening system and test strips have been developed by the Indian Institute of
Technology
Mumbai called Suchek and the Birla Institute of Technology, Hyderabad known as QuickcheQ with
funding from the Indian Council of Medical Research.
These will be manufactured by Biosense Technologies and will be available in the open market in the
next six months.
BACKGROUND
India has an estimated 65 million people with diabetes with a prevalence rate of 6 per cent.
There are 77 million with pre-diabetes in whom, if altered glucose levels are detected early, the onset
of
actual diabetes can be postponed for several years with dietary and lifestyle changes.
India had already launched a screening programme for diabetes and pre-diabetes in 100 districts
which
indicated prevalence in the same range.
It is estimated that the people with diabetes will cross 100 million in the next 10-15 years unless major
steps involving government and people together are taken.
In India, it is no longer a disease of the rich but has started affecting the middle class, the lower class,
and even youth and children.

44
ALSO IN NEWS
POSTHUMOUS ASHOK CHAKRA FOR GREYHOUNDS INSPECTOR
K. Prasad Babu, a Greyhounds Inspector who laid down his life combating Maoists in the Andhra
Pradesh-Chhattisgarh border region last April was awarded the highest peace time gallantry award,
Ashok Chakra, on the occasion of Republic Day.
BACKGROUND
After Independence, India constituted its own Gallantry awards when it turned a Republic in 1950.
Following the British pattern of awards, the Indian system incorporated a three-tier system.Foremost
in
precedence the Param Vir Chakra, followed by the Maha Vir Chakra and the Vir Chakra, all given for
gallantry on the battlefield.
At the same time, there were the Awards granted for bravery and courage away from the battle front,
The Ashoka Chakra, Kirti Chakra and the Shaurya Chakra, These awards can be made to any member of
the armed forces as well as civilians in the war effort or during peacetime.
A Seperate range of decorations were instituted for Service and Leadership during wartime, These
were
the Vishist Seva Medals which were also awarded during peacetime for distinguished service, to remove
confusion between both, In 1981, the Yudh Seva Medals were instituted.
ASSAM FOR LOCAL TIME
Assam Chief Minister said his government was contemplating the introduction of local time for the
State,
which would be one hour ahead of the Indian Standard Time.
Tea gardens in Assam followed Garden Time which was set by advancing the clock by one hour
ahead
of the IST. The Garden Time was introduced by British tea planters to capitalise on daylight. The
system was no longer in practice.
WHY LOCAL TIME?
Most of the tea gardens still followed the practice of early working hours.
Local time would help the State save energy as the working hours would be advanced by an hour to
make use of the daylight.
It would help the seven north-eastern States.
Despite the two-hour times lag in sunrise between the eastern most and the western most corners,
the
country continued to follow a single, undifferentiated time zone.
DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME
Daylight Saving Time often referred to as "Summer Time", "DST" or "Daylight Savings Time" is a way
of
making better use of the daylight in the evenings by setting the clocks forward one hour during the
longer days of summer, and back again in the fall.
Saving time begins in the northern hemisphere between MarchApril and ends between September
November. Standard time begins in the northern hemisphere between SeptemberNovember and ends
between MarchApril
WHY OBSERVE DST?
Many countries observe DST, and many do not. Many countries use DST to make better use of the
daylight in the evenings.
Many people believe that DST could be linked to fewer road accidents and injuries.
The extra hour of daylight in the evening is said to give children more social time and can boost the
tourism industry because it increases the amount of outdoor activities.

45
DST is also used to save energy and reduce artificial light needed during the evening hours clocks
are
set one hour ahead during the spring, and one hour back to standard time in the autumn.
Many studies disagree about DST's energy savings and while some studies show a positive outcome,
others do not.
It is difficult to predict what will happen with Daylight Saving Time in the future. The daylight saving
date
in many countries may change from time to time due to special events or conditions.

1
CURRENT AFFAIRS
FEBRUARY 2014







2
TABLE OF CONTENTS
POLITY
.................................................................................................................................................. 5
The Whistle Blowers Protection Bill,
2011...................................................................................................................................... 5
Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill,
2014........................................... 6
The Andhra Pradesh ReorganisationBill, 2014
............................................................................................................................ 7
Article 3
.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 8
Special Category Status
.................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 8
Prevention of Communal Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill, 2014
...................................................... 9
Judicial Reforms
.........................................................................................................................................................
.................................. 9
Appointment of Judges
............................................................................................................................................................................... .................................... 9
JudicialAccountability Bill
............................................................................................................................................................................................. ..............10
Freedom of
Speech............................................................................................................................................
....................................... 10
SC refers Euthanasia to Constitutional Bench
............................................................................................................................ 11
SC on Capital Punishment
.........................................................................................................................................................
........... 12
SC on Child Adoption by Minorities
................................................................................................................................................. 12
HC on National e-Mail Policy
.........................................................................................................................................................
..... 13
Public Participation in Law Making
............................................................................................................................................... 13
Setting up of CoalRegulator
.........................................................................................................................................................
....... 14
Police Complaint Authority
.........................................................................................................................................................
........ 14
Undertrial Prisoners
.........................................................................................................................................................
...................... 15
News Related to Elections
.........................................................................................................................................................
........... 15
Seeking Vote on Religious Ground
..........................................................................................................................................................................................15
Guidelines on Parties Manifestos
...........................................................................................................................................................................................15
A Big Jump in Electoral Size
.............................................................................................................................................. .........................................................16
Indias Missing Women and Elections
................................................................................................................................................................ ...................16
ECONOMY
.......................................................................................................................................... 17
Indian Economy
.........................................................................................................................................................
............................... 17
CSO Estimates for financial year 2013
..................................................................................................................................................................................17
LPG Subsidy
.........................................................................................................................................................
....................................... 17
Spectrum Auction
.........................................................................................................................................................
........................... 18
NELP-X
.........................................................................................................................................................
................................................. 18
Micro Finance Institutions (Development and Regulation) Bill, 2012
........................................................................... 19
Draft Report on Enabling PKI in Payment System Applications
....................................................................................... 19
Guidelines to deal with distressed assets
...................................................................................................................................... 20
RBI changes loan rate formula
.........................................................................................................................................................
. 21
FATF money laundering
.........................................................................................................................................................
.............. 21
Housing start up index (HSUI)
.........................................................................................................................................................
.. 22
FDI in Farmland
.........................................................................................................................................................
.............................. 22
National Policy for Farmers, 2007
..........................................................................................................................................................................................23
NSSOs 68th Round Highlights on Unemployment
..................................................................................................................... 24
The Global Employment Trends Report 2014
............................................................................................................................ 25
Empowerment Line
.........................................................................................................................................................
........................ 25
SOCIAL ISSUES
................................................................................................................................. 26
The Rights of Persons With Disabilities Bill, 2014
.................................................................................................................... 26
Discrimination against Northeast People
.................................................................................................................................... 27
HLC on Status of Women in
India.................................................................................................................................................
.... 27
Benefits toSenior Citizens
.........................................................................................................................................................
............ 28
Conditions of Juvenile Homes
.........................................................................................................................................................
.... 28
HEALTH
................................................................................................................................................................................................... 29
Indian Pharma sector
.........................................................................................................................................................
................... 29
Steps to Fight AIDS
.........................................................................................................................................................
......................... 30

3
Human Immunodeficiency Virus Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2014
...........................30
AIIMS under PMSSY
.........................................................................................................................................................
....................... 30
ENVIRONMENT
............................................................................................................................... 31
Field Trials of GM Food Crops
.........................................................................................................................................................
... 31
Water Crisis across the World
.........................................................................................................................................................
.. 32
Green Energy Corridor
.........................................................................................................................................................
................. 33
Dams onSiang River
.........................................................................................................................................................
....................... 33
Environmental Performance Index
................................................................................................................................................. 33
INDIA AND WORLD
........................................................................................................................ 35
India Japan
.........................................................................................................................................................
..................................... 35
India South Korea
.........................................................................................................................................................
....................... 35
India Saudi Arabia
.........................................................................................................................................................
...................... 36
Visit of Saudi Arabias Prince to India
...................................................................................................................................................................................36
Labour Cooperation Agreement
......................................................................................................................................................... .....................................36
India Pakistan
.........................................................................................................................................................
................................ 37
Commerce Ministers Meet
..........................................................................................................................................................................................................37
Trade across
LOC.............................................................................................................................................................................................................................38
India China
.........................................................................................................................................................
..................................... 38
Year of friendly exchange
............................................................................................................................................................................................................38
Meetings on border issues
..........................................................................................................................................................................................................39
India Sri Lanka
.........................................................................................................................................................
............................. 39
India Maldives
.........................................................................................................................................................
............................... 40
India Germany
.........................................................................................................................................................
.............................. 40
India Italy
.........................................................................................................................................................
........................................ 41
India USA
.........................................................................................................................................................
......................................... 41
India Bahrain
.........................................................................................................................................................
................................ 42
India Canada
.........................................................................................................................................................
................................. 42
India Iran
.........................................................................................................................................................
........................................ 43
India Venezuela
.........................................................................................................................................................
............................ 43
India UAE
.........................................................................................................................................................
........................................ 43
India Azerbaijan
.........................................................................................................................................................
.......................... 44
India - Kyrgyz Republic
.........................................................................................................................................................
................ 44
India Oman
.........................................................................................................................................................
..................................... 44
India Fiji
.........................................................................................................................................................
........................................... 45
BCIM Trade Corridor
.........................................................................................................................................................
..................... 45
Visa on Arrival in India
.........................................................................................................................................................
................ 46
WORLD AFFAIRS
............................................................................................................................ 47
Ukraine Crisis
.........................................................................................................................................................
.................................... 47
Events in Bangladesh
.........................................................................................................................................................
.................... 48
Elections in Bangladesh
............................................................................................................................................................................................. ..................48
Bangladesh War Crimes Tribunal
...........................................................................................................................................................................................49
Death Sentence to Paresh Barua
.................................................................................................................. ............................................................................49
Events in Pakistan
.........................................................................................................................................................
.......................... 49
Talks with TTP
..................................................................................................................................................................................................................................49
Relations with China
......................................................................................................................................................................................................................49
Pervez Musharraf to face trial on treason charges
.........................................................................................................................................................50
Events in China
.........................................................................................................................................................
................................. 50
South China Sea air
zone.............................................................................................................................................................................................................. 50
Maritime Silk Road initiative
.....................................................................................................................................................................................................51
China-SriLanka Relations
............................................................................................................................................................................................................51
War Crimes in Sri Lanka
.........................................................................................................................................................
.............. 51
US to press Sri Lanka on war crimes allegations at UNHRC
.......................................................................................................................................51

4
Probe into war crimes in sri lanka
.................................................................................................................................. ........................................................51
Events in United States
.........................................................................................................................................................
................. 52
Janet Yellen to head US Federal Reserve
.............................................................................................................................................................................52
US Germany No Spying Talks
.................................................................................................................................................................................................52
John Kerry pushes for Israel Palestine Peace Talks
.......................................................................................................................................................52
Syria Issue
.........................................................................................................................................................
........................................... 53
Geneva II Conference
.....................................................................................................................................................................................................................53
Second Round of Geneva II
........................................................................................................................................... ..............................................................53
Friends of Syria
Meet.......................................................................................................................................................................... ...........................................54
P5 +1 and Iran
.........................................................................................................................................................
.................................. 54
Latvia joins Eurozone
.........................................................................................................................................................
................... 55
Afghanistan likely to join the WTO
.................................................................................................................................................. 55
Egypt Issue
.........................................................................................................................................................
......................................... 55
Egypts new constitution
.......................................................................................................................................................... ...................................................55
Mohd. MorsI Trials
....................................................................................................................................................................................... ..................................55
Political developments
.................................................................................................................................................................................................... .............56
Elections round the world
.........................................................................................................................................................
........... 56
Nepal
.....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................56
South Africa
........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................57
Afghanistan
........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................57
Italy
........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................57
Madagascar
........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................57
Tunisia
..................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................58
Mt. Kelud volcano erupts
.........................................................................................................................................................
............. 58
Central African Republic dilemma for France
............................................................................................................................ 58
ALSO IN NEWS
................................................................................................................................. 59
Saching Ramesh Tendulkar
.........................................................................................................................................................
....... 59
Prof. C.N.R.
Rao..................................................................................................................................................
........................................ 59
Satya Nadella
.........................................................................................................................................................
.................................... 59

5
POLITY
THE WHISTLE BLOWERS PROTECTION BILL, 2011
The Whistle Blowers Protection Bill, 2011 was passed by the Parliament.
Whistleblowing is the act of disclosing information by an employee or any stakeholder about an illegal
or
unethical conduct within an organisation.
The bill aims to balance the need to protect honest officials from undue harassment with protecting
persons making a public interest disclosure.
IMPORTANT PROVISIONS
The Bill seeks to protect whistleblowers, i.e. persons making a public interest disclosure related to an
act of
corruption, misuse of power, or criminal offence by a public servant.
It seeks to establish a mechanism to register complaints on any allegations of corruption or wilful
misuse of
power against a public servant.
Any public servant or any other person including a non-governmental organization can file complaint
Penalties for knowingly making false complaints.
SAFEGUARDS
It provides safeguards against victimisation of the person who makes the complaint.
The Vigilance Commission shall not disclose the identity of the complainant except to the head of the
department if he deems it necessary.
If the Vigilance Commission decides that a complainant ora witness or a person assisting an inquiry
needs
protection, it shall issue directions to the concerned government authorities to protect such persons.
EXEMPTS
Disclosure of proceedings of the Cabinet if it is likely to affect the sovereignty of India, security of the
state,
friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency or morality.
Armed forces and intelligence agencies. However, on the recommendation of parliament standing
committee, government deleted this exemption from the bill that is now in Rajya Sabha.
PROCEDURE
The Vigilance Commission has to verify the identity of the complainant, and then conceal his identity
(unless
the complainant has revealed it to any other authority). Then it shall decide whether the matter needs
to be
investigated based on the disclosure or after making discreet inquiries. If it decides to investigate, it shall
seek an explanation from the head of the concerned organisation.
After conducting the inquiry, if the Vigilance Commission feels that the complaint is frivolous or there
is no
sufficient ground to proceed, it shall close the matter. If the inquiry substantiates allegation of
corruption or
misuse of power, it shall recommend certain measures to the public authority (anybody falling within
the
jurisdiction of the Vigilance Commission). Measures include initiating proceedings against the concerned
public servant, taking steps to redress the loss to the government, and recommending criminal
proceedings
to the appropriate authority
CRITICISM
Every complaint has to include the identity of the complainant. It is in contrary to the
recommendations
made by 2nd ARC and also by Law commission. In UK, USA and Canada, anonymous complaints are also
accepted.
The CVC was designated to receive public interest disclosures since 2004 through a government
resolution. There have been only a few hundred complaints every year. The provisions of the Bill are

6
similar to that of the resolution. Therefore, it is unlikely that the number of complaints will differ
significantly.
The power of the CVC is limited to making recommendations. Also it does not have any power to
impose
penalties.
The Bill has a limited definition of disclosure and does not define victimisation. Other countries such as
US,
UK, and Canada define disclosure more widely and define victimisation.
Cases older than 7 years are not entertained
RECOMMENDATIONS OF PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE
The Bill should cover members of the Council of Ministers, the Judiciary (including higher judiciary) and
regulatory authorities.
Wrongful gain accrued to any third party should be included in definition of disclosure
There should be a foolproof mechanism to ensure that the identity of the complainant is not
compromised.
Anonymous complaints have supporting documents that substantiates the claims may be investigated.
Undue burden should not be placed on the complainant to provide proof to substantiate his case. As
long as
he is able to make out a prima facie case, the Vigilance Commissioner should follow up on the case.
There is a high chance of non-compliance of orders of the CVC. Therefore, an effective mechanism
needs to
be chalked out to ensure that the orders of the CVC are complied with and stringent action may be
taken
for non-compliance.
FAMOUS CASES
Satyendra Dubey - noble cause of exposing corruption in highway construction.
Sanjiv Chaturvedi Indian Forest Service of Haryana cadre. He has exposed various scams. Central
government has supported the cause of officer by negating various steps taken by state government
against
him. State government has given him continuously zero performance rating which would impact his
promotion in service.
Manjunath Shanmugam, an IIM graduate gave his life to the country while trying to expose the
corruption in
petroleum marketing.
Shehla Masood, a 38-year-old businesswoman in Bhopal, used public documents obtained under
Indias
Right to Information Act to expose local political corruption after she kept losing on government
contracts.
STREET VENDORS (PROTECTION OF LIVELIHOOD AND REGULATION OF
STREET
VENDING) BILL, 2014
Parliament passed the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill,
2014,
which later received the assent of President of India.
The Bill aims to protect the livelihood rights of street vendors as well as regulate street vending
through
demarcation of vending zones, conditions for and restrictions on street vending.
Street Vendors have been defined to include any person engaged in vending of articles, goods, food
etc or
offering services to the general public in a street lane, side walk, footpath, pavement, public park, or any
other public or private area. It includes hawkers, peddlers, and squatters.
The Bill states that the minimum age of a street vendor has to be 14 years.
Any person intending to take street vending should register with the Town Vending Committee
(TVC).
TVC would be constituted in each local authority for implementing its provisions, survey of all existing
street
vendors and subsequent surveys once every five years and issuing certificate of vending to all
street
vendors identified in the survey, giving preference to SCs, STs, OBCs, women, persons with
disabilities and
minorities.
The Bill empowers the TVC to cancel or suspend the vending certificate. This may be done if the
vendor has
breached the conditions of street vending either under the Bill or under the street vending scheme.
An appeal can be made to the local authority against the decision of the TVC. The appeal shall be with
respect to (a) decision regarding the grant of registration; or (b) cancellation/suspension of the vending
certificate.

7
A penalty may be imposed on the street vendors if the vendor:
o Does not have a vending certificate; or
o Vends beyond the designated zone or specified timings; or
o Contravenes the vending certificate.
A maximum penalty of Rs 2000 may be imposed on the street vendor.
The Bill requires every local authority to frame a street vending plan. The plan has to be reframed
every five
years. The plan shall determine the vending zones as (a) restriction-free vending zones; (b) restricted
vending zones; and (c) no-vending zones. The plan should also take into account that the areas available
for
street vending is reasonable, does not lead to overcrowding and is consistent with natural markets.
The Bill empowers the local authority to relocate street vendors. The authority may do so, of the street
vendors are causing a public nuisance or obstructing the movement of the public. A registered street
vendor
who has been relocated shall be entitled to new site for vending.
The appropriate government may provide for credit, insurance and other welfare schemes for the
street
vendors.
ANALYSIS
Considering the significant contribution made by street vendors to the urban society, and to enable
them to
earn a decent livelihood through creation of conditions for decent work, without causing obstruction to
the
public and to reflect the spirit of the Constitution of India on the right of citizens to equal protection
before
the law as well as their right to practice any profession, occupation, trade or business, the Government
of
India has revised the National Policy on Urban Street Vendors in 2009 and subsequently introduced a bill
in
the parliament.
Bill was drafted under entries 20 (economic and social planning), 23 (social security and social
insurance;
employment and unemployment), and 24 (welfare of labour including conditions of work, provident
funds,
employers liability, workmens compensation, invalidity and old age pensions and maternity benefits) of
List
III of the Constitution. The Bill provides for protection of livelihoods rights, social security of street
vendors,
regulation of urban street vending in the country and for matters connected therewith or incidental
thereto.
With passage of law, some 10 million of the most industrious workers of the country have gained
formal
recognition.
Currently, street vending is regulated under municipal laws enacted by state legislatures. Parliaments
competence to legislate on this issue depends on whether the Bill is interpreted as substantively
addressing
rights and obligations of street vendors (Concurrent List) or relating to municipal zoning (State List).
The Bill does not specify principles to be followed by governments in issuing vending certificates,
allocating
vending zones and the number of vendors per zone. Absence of such norms could defeat the purpose of
enacting a law to ensure uniformity in the legal framework.
The standing committee suggested reconsidering the non-inclusion of railway lands in the bill.
Mobile vendors should be provided more than one certificate.
Local authority has been given power to determine the vending zone. Bill does not specify that local
authority consult TVC and other stakeholders in this process.
THE ANDHRA PRADESH REORGANISATIONBILL, 2014
The bill has been passed by the Parliament which provides for the reorganisation of the state of
Andhra
Pradesh. It creates two states, namely Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
The bill envisages Hyderabad as the common capital. The Andhra Pradesh Governor will be Governor
for
both successor States of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
The common capital includes the existing area notified as Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation.
Centre
shall form expert committee to suggest a new capital of Andhra Pradesh within 45 days.
The Centre will set up an apex council for the supervision of Krishna and Godavari rivers on water
sharing.
25 Lok Sabha seats to be allocated to residuary Andhra Pradesh and 17 Lok Sabha seats to Telangana.
Residuary Andhra Pradesh will get 175 Legislative Assembly seats and Telangana 119.

8
Existing admission quotas in all government or private, aided or unaided institutions of higher,
technical and
medical education shall continue for 10 years during which common admission process shall continue.
The Polavaram Irrigation Project will be declared as a national project and the Centre will take under
its
control the regulation and development and the Tungabhadra Board will continue to monitor the
release of
water to high level canal, low level canal and Rajolibanda diversion scheme.
The High Court at Hyderabad will be common for both States till a separate High Court is set up for
residuary Andhra Pradesh.
Any dispute, regarding financial assets and liabilities, shall be settled through mutual agreement failing
which by the Centres order on the advice of the Comptroller and Auditor General.
All properties situated outside existing Andhra Pradesh will be apportioned between the successor
States
on the basis of population ratio.
Greyhound and OCTOPUS forces of the existing Andhra Pradesh will be distributed after seeking
opinions
from the personnel and each of these forces.
The award made by the 13th Finance Commission to the existing State of Andhra Pradesh will be
apportioned between the successor States by the Centre on the basis of population and other
parameters.
The residual state is to get special category status for the purpose of central assistance and its
backward
regions will be eligible for a special development package.
The Union government has put in place an action plan to develop major Tier II and III cities/towns in
Seemandhra region as specialised mini-capitals. The action plan submitted to the Group of
Ministers and
Centre recommends developing Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Ongole, Tirupati, Chittoor, Kakinada and
Anantapur as specialised hubs or mini-capitals. Visakhapatnam may turn into the fisheries and sea-food
hub. Kakinada will become the focal point in the development of petrochemical industries. Tirupati or
Chittoor are in the reckoning to turn into agro-based and food-processing hubs etc.
Criticism
o Special powers given to the Governor under the proposed Act are in contravention of the
provisions of the constitution as law and order is a state subject.
ARTICLE 3
The bill has been decisively rejected by the Andhra Pradesh legislature. This is the first time that an
amendment Bill been rejected by the State legislature for formation of a new state.
Article 3 of the Constitution vests Parliament with the power to form a new State, provided that the
Bill
creating such a State is introduced on the recommendation of the President and he has referred it to the
legislature of the affected State for expressing its views thereon. Article 3 merely gives State
Assemblies a
consultative role their views are not binding on Parliament in any way. Therefore, the formation of a
new
state is solely the prerogative of the government of India.
The current proviso to Article 3 was introduced by the Constitution (Fifth Amendment) Act, 1955.
Before
this amendment, the President could only introduce an Amendment Bill in Parliament after referring it
to
the State legislatures concerned for their views. This was a time-consuming process, allowing States to
vacillate in responding, thereby frustrating the efforts of the government of India. This amendment was
necessary to lay the groundwork for the smooth passage of the States Reorganisation Commission
Report.
SPECIAL CATEGORY STATUS
Centre has decided to give special category status to residual Andhra Pradesh.
Criteria for Special category states is decided by National Development Council (NDC) and any state
must
fulfill following conditions:
o hilly and difficult terrain
o low population density and/or sizable share of tribal population
o strategic location along borders with neighbouring countries
o economic and infrastructural backwardness
o Non-viable nature of State finances.
Currently, 11 states enjoy special category status which includes northeastern states including
Sikkim,
Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand.

9
Residual Seemandhra state after bifurcation would be 12th state to enjoy this status.
The Central assistance to states enjoying special category status is 90 per cent.
Various other states such as Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand and Rajasthan are demanding special category
status
from long time.
PREVENTION OF COMMUNAL VIOLENCE (ACCESS TO JUSTICE AND
REPARATIONS) BILL, 2014
It was introduced in Rajya Sabha but was deferred on the very first day of last session of the 15th Lok
Sabha
The Bill defines communal violence to include any act of series of acts, whether spontaneous or
planned,
resulting in injury or harm to the person or property knowingly directed against any person by virtue of
his
or her religious or linguistic identity.
Dereliction of duty will invite a punishment with imprisonment ranging from two years to five years
and
breach of command with imprisonment of up to 10 years.
Earlier the power of intervention of the Center in event of riots was unilateral, that is, central could
send
paramilitary forces without consulting the state governments. This has been amended and now the
State
governments will have discretion in deciding whether the assistance of the Center is needed or not.
The new bill makes bureaucrats and public servants accountable for any acts of commission and
omission
while handling communal violence. However bureaucrats who refuse to obey unlawful orders of their
superiors during communal situations cannot be held responsible for willful neglect of duty.
The Bill provide compensation of 7 lakh rupees to the next kin of those killed in communal violence, 5
lakh
rupees for rape, 3 lakh rupees to 5 lakh rupees for disability and 2 lakh rupees for grievous injury.
JUDICIAL REFORMS
APPOINTMENT OF JUDGES
WHY IN NEWS?
The Supreme Courts collegium withdrew from the law ministry the names of 12 persons
recommended by
the collegium for elevation as judges of the Madras High Court.
In the present case, it was alleged that there is lack of transparency in the selection process. But many
argue that the real issue lies in the casteism. It cannot be a coincident where certain castes are not at all
represented in the Madras High Court.
ANALYSIS
The Supreme Courts proposal to create a forum to address the grievances of lawyers on judicial
appointments is a small step towards greater transparency in the functioning of the collegiums.
The SC, notably, withdrew its nomination and returned the list to the Madras HC. But its reason for
doing so
that the Madras HC had a new chief justice and therefore the list had to be considered afresh skirts
the real problem of lack of accountability in judicial collegiums.
The collegium system a creation of the SC itself comprises the chief justice and the senior-most
judges
of a high court or the SC and is not answerable to any constitutional functionary for its decisions.
A judicial appointments commission is in the works, but it is unclear when Parliament will legislate it
into
existence by way of a constitutional amendment. The proposed commission, which would replace the
collegiums, would still have some discretion in the appointment process.
Meanwhile, till the commission is institutionalised, the apex court should nudge the appointments
process
towards greater transparency. The SC could prescribe eligibility criteria for selection to the higher
judiciary,
beyond the basic requirements in the Constitution. It could exhort high courts to make the shortlist of
candidates public. The SC could disclose why it has chosen to nominate judges from the short list to the
Union government.

10
The appointment process should also take on board diversity concerns. Higher courts will indeed invite
criticism upon disclosing the rationale behind judicial appointments but that would arguably be a small
price
to pay to shore up public confidence in the judiciary while retaining its independence.
JUDICIALACCOUNTABILITY BILL
The bill has been lapsed, but still the bill constitutes one of the important Judicial Reforms. The Bill
seeks to:
o Lay down judicial standards
o Provide for the accountability of judges
o Establish mechanisms for investigating individual complaints for misbehaviour or incapacity of a
judge
of the Supreme Court or High Courts.
o Also provides a mechanism for the removal of judges.
The procedure of removal of judges is presently regulated by the Judges (Inquiry) Act,1968. The Bill
seeks to
repeal the Act.
The Bill requires judges to practise universally accepted values of judicial life such as allowing family
members who are members of the Bar to use the judges residence for professional work, hearing or
deciding matters in which a member of the judges family or relative or friend is concerned, declare their
assets and liabilities etc.
The Bill establishes two authorities to investigate complaints against judges. The Two authorities are:
o National Judicial Oversight Committee; and
o Scrutiny Panel.
Initial complaints will be made to the Oversight Committee, and they will be referred to the Scrutiny
Panel.
Frivolous or vexatious complaints may be penalised by the Oversight Committee
If the charges against a judge are proved, the Oversight Committee may recommend that judicial work
shall
not be assigned to the judge. It may also issue advisories and warnings if it feels that the charges proved
do
not warrant the removal of the judge. If the Committee feels that the charges proved merit the removal
of
the judge, it shall request the judge to resign voluntarily, and if he fails to do so, (b) advise the president
to
proceed with the removal of the judge. In such a case, the President shall refer the matter to
Parliament.
The Bill exempts documents and records of proceedings related to a complaint from the purview of
the
Right to Information Act, 2005. The reports of the investigation committee and the order of the
Oversight
Committee shall be made public.
EXISTING MECHANISM
There is an In-House procedure to deal with complaints against judges of the Supreme Court and the
High
Courts. Complaints received by the Chief Justice of India are examined and ultimately if it is found that a
deeper probe is required into allegations, a three-member committee is constituted for a fact-finding
inquiry.
If the committee reports that the misconduct disclosed is so serious as to call for initiation of
proceedings
for removal of the judge concerned, the Chief Justice of India may advise the judge concerned to resign
or
seek voluntary retirement or withdraw himself from judicial work, and the government may be
intimated
that this has been done since allegations are so serious as to warrant initiation of proceedings for
removal
of the judge concerned. A copy of the report is furnished to the judge concerned.
Subordinate judiciary is under the control of respective High Court. Different High Courts have, over
the
years, evolved procedures for exercising control over the subordinate courts.
FREEDOM OF SPEECH
WHY IN NEWS?
Penguin India withdraw American Indologist Wendy Donigers book The Hindus: An Alternative History
from
the Indian market following an out-of-court settlement with Delhi-based complainants.

11
ANALYSIS
The Indian law makes it a criminal rather than civil offence to publish a book that offends any group of
citizens, a law that jeopardises the physical safety of any publisher, no matter how ludicrous the
accusation
brought against a book.
Penguin India says that Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) makes it difficult for any Indian
publisher to uphold international standards of free expression. 295A section talks about deliberate and
malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious
beliefs.
Section 295A was not part Indian Penal Code of 1860 in its original form. It was added much later in
1927.
The debates on the proposed amendment in the assembly make it abundantly clear that the provision
was
viewed as a somewhat retrograde step. It was argued that amendment is a death-blow to religious and
historical research.
The petitioner had argued that the book was inaccurate, presenting a shallow, distorted, non-serious
presentation of Hinduism filled with heresies. Ultimately it was about lowering of Hindu culture and
cultural identity.
However, protestors are criticized on picking up isolated passages in the book that can be twisted into
controversies rather than genuine concern for cultural integrity.
It would be failure of democracy if whimsical decisions of the majority are allowed to override the
most
fundamental rights enjoyed by the citizens.
One sided information, disinformation, misinformation and non-information, all equally create an
uninformed citizenry which makes democracy a farce. Freedom of speech and expression includes the
right
to impart and receive information which includes freedom to hold opinions. After all, critical arguments
have always broadened the scope of the religion.
OTHER SIMILAR CASES
The Salman Rushdie affair for his novel, The Satanic Verses became the most important free speech
controversy of modern times. And yet, except where there were state bans, Penguin refused to
withdraw
the book. This previous stand of Penguin is in complete contrast to current stand of Penguin India.
The Maharashtra government banned Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India.
More recently, cartoon depictions of B.R. Ambedkar had to be withdrawn from NCERT text-books.
Bloomsbury Indias decision to withdraw The Descent of Air India book after a complaint for
defamation
filed by Mr. Praful Patel.
SC REFERS EUTHANASIA TO CONSTITUTIONAL BENCH
A five-judge constitutional bench would decide whether dying with dignity a fundamental right for
terminally ill patients or not.
According to one argument a terminally ill person should be given the right to refuse the life support
system
when a medical expert says she/he has reached a point of no return.
The SC referred to an earlier Constitution Bench judgment which, in the Gian Kaur case, did not
express
any binding view on the subject of euthanasia; rather it reiterated that the legislature would be the
appropriate authority to bring change.
Though that judgment said the right to live with dignity under Article 21 was inclusive of the right to
die
with dignity, it did not arrive at a conclusion on the validity of euthanasia, be it active or passive.
The only judgment that holds the field with regard to euthanasia in India is the ruling in the Aruna
Shanbaug
case (2011), which upholds the validity of passive euthanasia and lays down an elaborate procedure for
executing the same on the wrong premise that the Constitution Bench in Gian Kaur had upheld the
same.
The Bench said that in view of the inconsistent opinions rendered in the Aruna Shanbaug case and the
important question of law involved, it was extremely important to have a clear enunciation of the law.

12
SC ON CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
[Please also refer to the Current Affairs notes of January 2014, for the news related to the SC judgment
on Capital
Punishment.]
ANALYSIS
The commutations of death sentences, in Shatrughan Chauhan v. Union of India, were primarily
ordered on
grounds of delays by the President in disposing of petitions filed by felons praying for mercy. Supreme
Court
held that to execute a person who has been kept on death row for years on end with no answer to his or
her plea for clemency is an act of torture that violates the prisoners fundamental right to life.
The Supreme Court ruled that inordinate delay or mental illness constituted supervening
circumstances
requiring the President or the Governor to exercise their constitutional duty in grating pardon under
article
72 or 161. When they fail to do so, it becomes incumbent upon the Court to intervene in the interests of
preserving the due process of law.
The legal issue at stake in Chauhan was simple: are the powers of pardon vested in the President and
the
Governors under Articles 72 and 161 of the Constitution amenable to judicial review? The Court held
that
these powers carried with them a concomitant constitutional duty for the authorities exercising the
powers
to conform to due process. Therefore, in exceptional cases, where the authority concerned may have
abdicated its responsibility in acting contrary to requirements of due process, its decisions would be
amenable to judicial scrutiny. The judgment emphasises the need for accountability in exercising
constitutionally enshrined powers in a responsible manner.
This case also makes the important point that an inordinate and inexplicable delay in execution would
preclude carrying out the sentence even in cases where the convict in question had committed an
offence
of terrorism. In so deciding, the Court has overruled its own recent decision in Devender Singh Bhullar
v.
State of NCT Delhi. In Bhullar, decided in May 2013, a two-judge bench had ruled that a delay in
disposing of
a mercy petition was, by itself, insufficient ground for commuting the sentence of those convicted to
death
under anti-terrorism statutes.
In correcting this anomaly, Chauhan reiterates a long-standing constitutional value: the Constitution
demands that the state treats all those subject to its powers as having equal status; when there is no
constitutional basis for differentiating between convicts found guilty of offences such as murder and
convicts found guilty of terrorism offences, any delay in execution is to be treated equally, as a violation
of
due process, irrespective of the offence committed.
As the Court rightly held in Chauhan, the right to life and personal liberty guaranteed by Article 21
includes
within it a right to be treated with a certain dignity, even if you are a convict on the death row. Article 21

which now by interpretive design recognises a right to due process is applicable not merely to you,
me
and every other average citizen, but also to those condemned to the gallows. Any inordinate,
unexplained
delay in determining the merits of a mercy petition filed by a convict on the death row would be an
infraction of that right.
It is easy to wonder why the most brutal of men and women deserve the protection of the law; but
when
due process is disregarded for monstrous criminals, it also becomes simpler to disregard it for the rest of
us.
SC ON CHILD ADOPTION BY MINORITIES
The Supreme Court said that religious minorities have legal right to adopt children, even if it
contradicts
personal laws, under Juvenile Justice (care and Protection of Children) act, 2000.
The Supreme Court has affirmed that under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act
amended in 2006, adopted children have the same rights, privileges and responsibilities as biological
children, and Indian citizens of any religion can legally adopt them.
So far, Muslims, Christians, Parsis and Jews were allowed to be guardians, not legal parents, and their
children could not inherit property.
The judgment has clarified that personal laws cannot override civil laws and the rights they guarantee.
Personal beliefs and faiths, though must be honoured, cannot dictate the operation of the provisions of
an
enabling statute, said Supreme Court.

13
It is seen as a step towards uniform civil court which is mentioned under article 44 of Directive
Principles of
State Policy (DPSP).
Apart from pressing for formal rights, there is also a need to stress on internal reforms.
HC ON NATIONAL E-MAIL POLICY
The Delhi High Court has pulled up the Central Government for its alleged failure to frame a national e-
mail
policy for online communication of official records.
The continuous use of private e-mail ids like Yahoo and Google, which have servers outside the
country, by
government departments is in violation of the Public Records Act, 1993.
The Act prohibits sending of official records outside the country by exchanging communication of
official
records through private e-mail service providers.
In August 2013, Government announced that the national e-mail policy would be released to protect
privacy of email users in India.
PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IN LAW MAKING
Cabinet Secretary-led committee recently took decision to institutionalise public participation in the
lawmaking
process. This will apply not only to legislation, but also the rules and regulations that will govern the
act, the administrative working manuals.
The decision requires every Central government department to publicise the details of a proposed
legislation on the Internet and other media before being introduced in Parliament.
Under the decision, draft bills must be accompanied with an explanatory note outlining the essential
provisions of the bill and its impact on the environment and lives of affected people.
The public must then be given at least 30 days to comment.
Following publication, these comments are to be submitted to the relevant parliamentary standing
committee examining the bill.
ANALYSIS
It is uncontroversial that pre-legislative scrutiny enhances democratic governance. It has been done in
a
number of other countries well accustomed to transparent legislative processes.
Right to Information act, Sexual harassment at workplace bill, the model police act and the land
acquisition
bill are being recent example of public participation in law-making process.
Common sense dictates that people who are potentially affected by a proposed legislation whether
adversely or favourably should be able to have a say in the law-making process at an early stage.
Appropriate subject matter experts should also have an opportunity to inform and refine draft bills.
Especially in a country as diverse as India, transparent and inclusive law-making is more likely to reflect
the
will of the people.
That said, while India has seen some good examples, often the only forum for inputs for legislation is
behind
the closed doors of a parliamentary committee.
Too often, laws are made in haste to please a particular interest group or as knee-jerk reactions to
public
outcry, without the balance of competing views.
Too often, the impact on the lives of the vulnerable is thrown out of the window.
Public participation in law making would take India from a representative democracy to a
participatory,
deliberative democracy.
However, the mode of consultation must be made well-known, and the instruments for consultation
will
have to go beyond the Internet and electronic media. Needless to say, in a country where Internet
penetration and literacy rates are low, publicising information through written and electronic means will
effectively shut out a large per cent of the population.

14
KERALAS EXAMPLE
A robust model of pre-legislative consultation was carried out by Kerala in relation to police legislation
in
2011. Draft bill was placed on Kerala polices website with proper feedback channels available via email
etc.
Suggestions were incorporated into the draft.
Different groups were allowed to consult MLAs on the contents of the Bill
The 19-member Select Committee, headed by the then Home Minister and comprising MLAs from
almost
every party, decided to tour the State and hold district-wide town hall meetings.
Town hall meetings were held in all 14 districts of the State. At least 400-500 people attended every
meeting.
Notices were placed in leading newspapers publicising the committee, its visit and its mandate.
Result was that the select committee suggested 790 amendments to the original Bill introduced in the
House and in the end 240 amendments many based on publics feedback were accepted and passed
in
the legislature.
SETTING UP OF COALREGULATOR
Centre has decided to set up a coal regulator through executive order.
Coal regulatory authority (CRA) bill is still pending in the parliament. Regulator would act as a
substitute for
statutory authority.
Without a legislative mandate, the regulatory body will simply serve as an advisor to PSUs in the coal
sector.
Coal India Limited would still have the final say in important decisions like pricing as well as the
allocation of
coal blocks
The regulator will be empowered to specify principles and methodology for determination of price of
raw
coal and washed coal and any other by-product generated during washing.
It would also regulate methods for testing for declaration of grades or quality of coal, specify
procedure for
automatic coal sampling and adjudicate upon disputes between parties besides monitoring closure of
mines
and approval of mining plans.
The regulator will have no decisive role in the cancellation or suspension of mining licences.
Having a regulatory authority in this field could bring in much-needed checks and balances in the
process of
determining the sale of a scarce and valuable national resource. But if its recommendations have no
legal
bearing on executive decisions, the coal regulator will not have any tangible effect on arbitrary or
corrupt
practices.
POLICE COMPLAINT AUTHORITY
WHY IN NEWS?
Maharashtra is planning to come up with a police complaint authority (PCA).
ANALYSIS OF PCA
Ideally, the PCA should be a powerful body of independent people able to help the police weed out
bad
individuals and bad practices, and to help the public trust the police.
PCAs are already in existence in 11 States/UTs. They face following challenges:
o Fractured mandates
o Improper compositions appointments are made from serving or retired police or civil
administration.
o Inadequate staffing
o Few financial resource
o Little investigating capacity
o Non-cooperation and outright defiance from the police
Police officers have strong resistance to such bodies. They argue that there is already an internal
mechanism as well as human rights commissions, anti-corruption bodies and courts to which the police

15
must answer. The police must not be demoralised by yet another bodys finger pointing. Outside
agencies
interfere with the polices disciplinary function. No one understands the pressures under which the
police
work.
On contrary, crime is on the rise in every state. Public satisfaction levels with policing have also
dropped
steadily. Death and violence in custody, corruption and connections with malefactors and mafia abound,
and rapes by police personnel are on rise continuously.
Strong accountable machinery is required in India as it exist world over. It is because the police have
the
power to take away life and liberty, and to use coercive force.
PCAs at the state and district levels create local spaces for peoples complaints. They are not forced to
go to
distant, already overburdened bodies like the human rights commissions or the courts with their
achingly
slow process.
UNDERTRIAL PRISONERS
Indian jails are full of undertrial prisoners. Alone in Tihar jail of Delhi, around 75 per cent inmates are
undertrial.
Under section 436A CrPC an amendment in the CrPC Amendment Act 2005 an undertrial, other
than
someone accused of an offence for which the death penalty is prescribed, has to be released if he/she
has
been in detention for more than half the prescribed period of imprisonment.
Tihar Jail authorities have started identifying those who have served their half or more than half term
but
are still lodged in the complex.
NEWS RELATED TO ELECTIONS
SEEKING VOTE ON RELIGIOUS GROUND
A seven-judge Bench of the Supreme Court will pass a ruling on the interpretation of Section 123 (3) of
the
Representation of the People Act, deciding on whether an appeal for vote in the name of religion will
come
within the ambit of corrupt practice.
Section 123 (3) of the Representation of the People Act defines corrupt practice as the appeal by a
candidate or his agent or by any other person with the consent of a candidate or his election agent to
vote
or refrain from voting for any person on the ground of his religion, race, caste, community or language
or
the use of, or appeal to religious symbols or the use of, or appeal to, national symbols, such as the
national
flag or the national emblem, for the furtherance of the prospects of the election of that candidate or for
prejudicially affecting the election of any candidate.
In elections in Maharashtra after the 1992-93 Mumbai riots, Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshihad
promised
to turn Maharashtra into Indias first Hindu State. The Bombay High Court nullified Mr. Joshis election
as by
seeking vote in the name of religion he violated the constitutional commitment to secularism.
However, the former Chief Justice of India, J.S. Verma, heading a three-judge Bench of the apex court,
overturned the High Court verdict.
Subsequently, a five-judge Bench also held that a candidate would not be guilty of a corrupt practice if
he/she appealed to persons to vote or not to vote on grounds of religion as long as it was not his/her
religion.
GUIDELINES ON PARTIES MANIFESTOS
Supreme Court has directed the election commission of India to ask political parties to explain the
rationale
behind the promises
The Supreme Court said that though promises made in manifestos could not be construed as corrupt
practices as per law, the distribution of freebies of any kind influences all people. It would be helpful
in
creating a level-playing field before elections.
Subsequently, the Election Commission has issued fresh, comprehensive guidelines for political parties
on
their conduct and manifestos, cautioning them against making tall promises because in reality
distribution

16
of freebies of any kind influences all people and shakes the root of free and fair elections to a large
degree.
Parties manifestos, as per the election commissions direction, must reflect the rationale for the
promises
and broadly indicate the ways and means of meeting the financial requirements.
A BIG JUMP IN ELECTORAL SIZE
Indias electorate for the upcoming general election will be 81.5 crore which is almost five times what
it was
when India first voted, over 60 years ago.
The EC has added nearly 10 crore new voters to the rolls between 2009 and 2014, one of the largest-
ever
such increases between two elections.
Over 52 per cent of the electorate is male, an electoral sex ratio that has remained unchanged over
time. It
has skewed a little towards men in the last decade.
Around 98 per cent people of age 18 or above are there in the electoral list.
Election commission has performed a rigorous exercise of identifying what populations were being
excluded
and then focused our efforts on enrolling them.
INDIAS MISSING WOMEN AND ELECTIONS
According to an estimate, more than 65 million women (approximately 20 per cent of the female
electorate) are missing in India and, therefore, these elections reveal the preferences (or the will) of a
population that is artificially skewed against women.
The phrase missing women was coined by Amartya Sen when he showed that in parts of the
developing
world, the ratio of women to men in the population is suspiciously low. He estimated that more than
100
million women were missing due to gender discrimination.
In the last 50 years of Indian democracy, the absolute number of missing women has increased
fourfold
from 15 million to 65 million. As a percentage of the female electorate, missing women have gone up
significantly from 13 per cent to approximately 20 per cent. Hence, fewer female voters will voice
their
opinions through elections. Political decisions which are based on election outcomes therefore
underrepresent
the female population. They are not a true reflection of the female policy preferences.
India remains one of worst performers with a rank of 133 out of 146 countries in the Gender Inequality
Index (GII) which captures the loss in achievement within a country due to gender inequality and is
based on
measures of health, labour force participation and empowerment.

17
ECONOMY
INDIAN ECONOMY
CSO ESTIMATES FOR FINANCIAL YEAR 2013
Year GDP Growth
2012-13 (Final data) 4.5% (revised down from earlier
advanced estimates of 5%)
2013-14 (Advanced estimates) 4.9%
GDP =1.7 trillion US dollars.
Per capita income = 75,500 rupees.
Sector-wise growth:
o Agriculture and Allied activities sector = 4.6% (against 1.4 per cent last fiscal.)
o Manufacturing sector = - 0.2% (contraction )
o Mining sector = - 1.9% ( contraction)
o Services sector (including finance, insurance, real estate and business services) = 11.2 per cent
(compared with 10.9 per cent in 2012-13)
o Electricity, gas and water production = 6 per cent(up from 2.3 per cent)
Other Miscellaneous observations:
Decrease in:
o Household savings
o Corporate savings
o gross fixed capital formation (GFCF)
Increase in:
o Cost of energy has increased
o Reason for the same: Stalled Coal Mining projects owing to lack of clearances which has led to a
spurt in import of coal. Also, rise in Imported coal prices owing to export country local reasons
(flood in Australia)
ANALYSIS
In 2012-13, the economy grew at 4.5 per cent, the lowest in a decade.
Since the growth during April-September 2013 was 4.6 per cent, a full-year CSO estimate of 4.9 per
cent
implies that the economy is expected to grow at just under 5.4 per cent during the second half of 2013-
14
It shows the worst may be over and the economy will bounce back in the second half of the current
fiscal.
LPG SUBSIDY
The Cabinet approved raising the quota of subsidised LPG to 12 cylinders annually from 9. Also it
decided to
put on hold linking the Aadhaar platform to the subsidy scheme.
Direct Benefit Transfer for LPG (DBTL) scheme, where consumers in as many as get 289 districts in 18
states
get the subsidy amount in their bank accounts so that they could buy cooking gas at market rate, has
been
put on hold.
Raising the LPG quota will cost Rs. 5,000 crore in additional subsidy annually.
ANALYSIS
Arguments against DBT (LPG)
o Logistic problems
o DBT requires three mandatory things:
Aadhar number

18
LPG connection number
Bank account number
o Problem is that not everyone has all or any of the three numbers with them at the same time.
For example according to Census 2011, only 54% rural and 67% urban families have bank
accounts
o Legal Problems
Supreme Court said Aadhar card is not mandatory to claim benefits under government
schemes.
Arguments against increasing the limit from 9 cylinders to 12 cylinders
o Goes against the logic of benefiting common man
o Sample this: According to statistics, ~90% families can survive with 9 cylinders per year. Only
bigger families or commercial enterprises would need 12 or more cylinders.
o Also, This will increase black marketing activity as this will lead to diversion of excess cylinders
from households to commercial enterprises
o Further, cancelling DBT plan would lead to continued leakage of funds
o Imprudent consumption would be another as a result of freebie in form of subsidy.
SPECTRUM AUCTION
Second generation (2G) spectrum auction in 900 MHz and 1,800 MHz airwaves ended after 68 rounds
of
bidding.
Rs.61, 162.22 crore were reaped in by the government.
Total spectrum on offer was 46 MHz in 900 MHz band (only Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata) and 385 MHz
in
1,800 MHz band (all 22 circles) simultaneously.
ANALYSIS
Concerns have been raised vis-a-vis:
The impact of the auctions on the National Telecom Policy (NTP) 2012 objectives especially related to
rural
penetration, broadband for all, internet access, etc.
It remains to be seen if the operators will have the financial resources to invest in networks and
marketing
after bearing the high spectrum costs
Impact of the spectrum price will pass on to tariff in the future. If the input price goes upwards that
will
naturally mean there will be upward pressure on the tariff rates, which the consumers will be expected
to
pay.
NELP-X
46 blocks were to be put for offering in NELP-X. However, they were delayed owing to Gujarat
government
withdrawing clearance for the nine areas falling in the state that were part of the offerings under NELP-X
These blocks are made up of 17 on land areas, 15 shallow water and 14 deep sea blocks. Of the 17 on
land
blocks, nine are in Gujarat.
This was to be the first auction round in two years.
NELP-X is to be done under the Uniform Licensing Policy regime -explorers can look for all kinds of
resources
- oil, gas, coal-bed methane or shale, without having to get separate license for each work
The auctions were being done according to Rangarajan Committee recommendation
The Committee had recommended Revenue Sharing Model, wherein Contractor needs to start sharing
profit with government as per productions immediately. It doesnt matter when his investment is
recovered.
ANALYSIS
What the Gujarat State Govt. wants:
o Gujarat wants a share of revenues that the Centre will earn from the oil and gas produced.

19
o This share of the Centres revenue is additional to the royalty at the rate of 12.5 per cent of price
realised on sale of crude oil and 10 per cent for natural gas that currently flows to the state
government.
However it doesnt stand the test of legality:
o As per the Constitution of India, Union government owns all the hydrocarbon resources in India
(both offshore and inland)
o Hence only union can auction the exploration rights to private companies.
o This is done by New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP). Total nine rounds since 1999.
MICRO FINANCE INSTITUTIONS (DEVELOPMENT AND REGULATION) BILL, 2012
Parliaments standing committee on finance is going to reject this bill. However these were the main
provisions of the bill -
The Bill seeks to provide a statutory framework to regulate and develop the micro finance industry.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) shall regulate the micro finance sector; it may set an upper limit on the
lending rate and margins of Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs).
MFIs are defined as organisations providing micro credit facilities up to Rs 5 lakh, thrift collection
services,
pension or insurance services, or remittance services.
The Bill provides for the creation of councils and committees at central, state and district level to
monitor
the sector.
The Bill provides for a Micro Finance Development Fund managed by RBI; proceeds from this fund can
be
used for loans, refinance or investment to MFIs.
The Bill requires the RBI to create a grievance redressal mechanism.
CRITICISM
Not strong enough to curb the menace of private money lenders.
There are major contradiction between the statement of objects and the title of the Bill. While the
former
provides for promotion, development, regulation and orderly growth of MFIs, the latter is confined to
their
development and regulation.
Using the Malegam committees findings, one can say that insistence of guarantee or security on
borrowings will go against the poor borrowers.
Also, by not defining terms such as financial inclusion, micro finance and poor households, the Bill
indicated
lack of focus on facilitating financial inclusion
Against the federal principles
Doesnt help in financial inclusion
Gives supervisory powers to RBI but RBI already overburned with so many things. Therefore,
Microfinance
matter should be completely handed over to SIDBI or NABARD.
DRAFT REPORT ON ENABLING PKI IN PAYMENT SYSTEM APPLICATIONS
A draft technical report on making payment system effective was released by Reserve Bank of India
recently.
Objective of PKI system is to ensure a safe, secure, efficient, robust and sound payment system in the
country.
Salient points of the Report:
Report brings out few statistics about current prevalence of PKI in the financial system:
For the year 2012-13:
o The non-PKI enabled payment system like clearing of MICR/Non MICR, electronic credit system,
credit card and debit cards contributed to 75 percent, which in value terms is only 6.3 percent.
o The payment systems enabled on non-PKI, MICR clearing and non-MICR clearing contributed to
37 percent and 10 percent in volume terms and 69 percent and 25 percent in value terms.
The report in its highlights has also included security features in existing payment system applications
and
feasibility in implementing PKI in all payments system applications.

20
The Group has also recommended that banks may carry out in phases PKI implementation for
authentication and transaction verification.
The report has also mentioned that the issuing banks will also have to convert the older credit or debit
cards
with the magstripe into EVM chip and pin-enabled ones.
WHAT IS PKI?
Public-key cryptography is a cryptographic technique that enables users to securely communicate on
an
insecure public network, and reliably verify the identity of a user via digital signatures.
A public-key infrastructure (PKI) is a system for the creation, storage, and distribution of digital
certificates which are used to verify that a particular public key belongs to a certain entity. The PKI
creates
digital certificates which map public keys to entities, securely stores these certificates in a central
repository
and revokes them if needed.
A PKI consists of:
o A certificate authority (CA) that both issues and verifies the digital certificates
o A registration authority which verifies the identity of users requesting information from the CA
o A central directoryi.e., a secure location in which to store and index keys
o A certificate management system
o A certificate policy
Public Key Infrastructure enabled electronic payment systems that has been introduced by the RBI are
o RTGS
o NEFT
o CBLO
o FOREX Clearing
o Government Securities Clearing
o Cheque Truncation System (CTS)
The systems of payment are subjected to various financial risks like
o Credit risk
o Liquidity risk
o Systemic risk
o Operational risk
o Legal risk
The need to recognise the security and safety to be robust was needed following the increase in the
adoption of electronic payment products and delivery channels for transactional needs.
GUIDELINES TO DEAL WITH DISTRESSED ASSETS
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued guidelines for revitalizing distressed assets
Salient points of the guidelines:
Before a loan account turns into a NPA, banks are required to identify incipient stress in the account
by
creating three sub-categories under the Special Mention Account (SMA1) category. SMA Sub-categories.
o SMA-0: Account will fall in this category if the Principal or interest payment not overdue for
more than 30 days but account showing signs of incipient stress.
o SMA-1: If the Principal or interest payment overdue between 31-60 days
o SMA-2: If the Principal or interest payment overdue between 61-90 days
RBI to set up a Central Repository of Information on Large Credits (CRILC) to collect, store, and
disseminate
credit data to lenders
The RBI suggested infusion of more equity into their companies by promoters and transfer of their
holdings
to a security trustee or an escrow arrangement till the turnaround of the company.
Forming of Joint Lenders Forum (JLF)
o Banks are advised that as soon as an account is reported by any of the lenders to CRILC as SMA-
2, they should mandatorily form a committee to be called Joint Lenders Forum (JLF) if the
aggregate exposure (AE) of lenders in that account is 1000 million rupees and above.

21
o The Indian Banks Association (IBA) would prepare a master JLF agreement and operational
guidelines for JLF which could be adopted by all lenders.
o While JLF formation and subsequent corrective actions would be mandatory in accounts having
AE of 100 crore rupees and above, in other cases also the lenders would have to monitor the
asset quality closely and take corrective action for effective resolution as deemed appropriate.
Adoption of Corrective Action Plan (CAP)
For accounts with AE of 500 crore rupees and above, the techno-economic viability study and
restructuring
package would have to be subjected to an evaluation by an independent evaluation committee (IEC)
o The IEC would be required to give its recommendation in these cases to the JLF within 30 days.
o Thereafter, considering the views of IEC, if the JLF decided to go ahead with the restructuring,
the restructuring package, including all terms and conditions as mutually agreed upon between
the lenders and the borrower, would have to be approved by all the lenders and communicated
to the borrower within next 15 days for implementation.
RBI CHANGES LOAN RATE FORMULA
In 2014 Raghuram Rajan has come up with a new formula for MFI-loan rates. Methodology for
calculating
rate is
First we need to arrive at two figures: A and B
o A = Cost of fund (i.e. how much did it cost to the MFI, to arrange that loan money) plus margin
(12%)
o B = Average base rate of five largest commercial banks (like SBI, ICICI etc) multiplied with 2.75%
The minimum amidst A and B would give the final rate
It will be equal to the Maximum interest rate, an MFI can charge on his borrower.
System will be effective from FY14 (i.e. 1st April, 2014.)
BACKGROUND
Till 2010, very high interest rates were charged by microfinance companies.
Many poor in Andhra commit suicide because of Microfinance loan-recovery agents.
Then RBI creates new category under NBFC: NBFC-MFI
Therein RBI ordered that MFI cannot have more than 12% profit margin on their loan products.
BENEFITS FROM THE CHANGE
The new norm will bring in dynamic pricing that reflect the true cost of funds.
The benefit of reduction in costs will have to be passed on to the customer.
FATF MONEY LAUNDERING
5 countries have been reported under the Report which tracked instances where diamond prices were
overvalued for purposes of laundering and suspected financing:
o Israel, Belgium, Canada, US and India
Its mainly done through over-valuation of diamonds. These are then shipped at a value that is tens of
millions of USD higher than the real value.
Reason for Diamond Industry being prone to it:
o level of manipulation which may be done through the diamond trade is due to its specific
characteristics, such as the very high value and the lack of known and stable prices which allow
for the manipulation of price
o The report said as there were no set standards of diamond pricing in the country and as a result
agents were overvaluing the costly and prized gemstones
The report also puts forth its findings which comprises enhancement of regulatory mechanism to
combat
and control laundering and financial crimes in this trade worldwide.

22
HOUSING START UP INDEX (HSUI)
Housing start up index is a joint initiative by RBI and National Sample Survey Organisation.
It would be an indicator of volume of construction in the housing sector during a certain period
It would be covering 27 cities across the country.
Its a first-of-its-kind initiative in the country
To measure housing growth in various cities of India. It found that
o Housing declined in big cities like Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore
o But, showing growth in small cities like Dehradun, Bhopal and Hubli.
ANALYSIS
Housing sector contributes ~10% GDP.
It will help both the private and government sector in assessing the economic activities in the region. It
will
also benefit consumers and promoters.
It is critical indicator of economic growth relating to various sectors such as banking, mortgage, labour,
steel, cement and paint.
Internationally, only six developed countries Canada, USA, Japan, France, Australia and New
Zealand
are having housing start up index on a regular basis and India has become the seventh country to have
such
an exercise.
Such trends are useful indicators of the pattern of development in our country, which is turn helps
policy
makers and administrators understand the future focus and thrust areas not only in terms of housing
provision, but all the associated infrastructure and civic amenities required.
FDI IN FARMLAND
[Please also refer to the January 2014 current affairs notes, for the news related to this issue]
ANALYSIS
Currently, Foreign Exchange Management Act regulations prohibit the use of FDI funds to buy
farmland.
However, real estate companies have tried to bypass these restrictions.
The Ministry of Urban Development now wants to ease these restrictions, and the government has
constituted a three-member Cabinet committee to consider Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in
agricultural
land bought for real estate purposes.
The reasoning behind this move is that 100 per cent FDI is already permitted in developing townships,
housing and other infrastructure projects. Hence, it would be only logical to extend it and allow the
purchase of agricultural land for construction purposes.
The other arguments are that restrictions create bottlenecks and delay projects, and that buying of
agricultural land on the outskirts of a city is inevitable and necessary.
On the face of it, relaxing FDI norms may appear to be a rational step, but in the absence of a clear-cut
land
use policy and plans, it will hasten unrestricted acquisition and unplanned conversion of farmland and
lead
to hoarding of land.
In 2013, the Ministry of Rural Development published a draft National Land Utilisation Policy. It
convincingly
argued that the shrinkage of per capita ownership of agricultural land and the demand to produce more
food necessitates the protection of fertile land.
The National Policy for Farmers, announced in 2007, insisted that the government conserve productive
land
and allow any change in use only under exceptional circumstances.
These two policies make no distinction between foreign and local investment.
The government has not acted on a recommendation to revive land use boards, which could provide
guidelines to State governments. Nor has it implemented the idea of delineating and integrating land
utilisation zones under the development plans.

23
These measures are necessary to map the availability of land and coordinate demands for it. It is
imperative
to correct any institutional deficiencies and strengthen local level land-management plans to ensure an
orderly process of urban development and prevent detrimental effects on agriculture and environment.
NATIONAL POLICY FOR FARMERS, 2007
Human Dimension: Focus to be on the economic well-being of the farmers than just on production and
productivity and this is to be the principal determinant of Farmers policy.
Definition of Farmers: Expanded to include all categories of persons engaged in the sector so that they
can
be extended the benefits of the Policy.
Asset Reforms: To ensure that every man and woman, particularly the poor, in villages either
possesses or
have access to a productive asset.
Income Per Unit of Water: The concept of maximizing yield and income per unit of water would be
adopted
in all crop production programmes, stress on awareness and efficiency of water use.
Drought Code, Flood Code and Good Weather Code: To be introduced in drought prone areas, flood
prone
areas and in arid areas respectively so as to maximize the benefits of monsoon and to be prepared for
likely
contingencies.
Use of Technology: New technologies which can help enhance productivity per unit of land and water
are
needed. Biotechnology, information and communication technology (ICT), renewable energy
technology,
space applications and nano-technology to provide opportunities for launching an Evergreen
Revolution
capable of improving productivity in perpetuity without harming the ecology.
National Agricultural Bio-security System: To be set up to organize a coordinated agricultural bio-
security
programme.
Inputs and services-Soil Health: Good quality seeds, disease free planting material, including in-vitro
cultured propagules and Soil health enhancement hold the key to raising small farm productivity. Every
farm family to be issued with a Soil Health Passbook.
Support Services for women: When women work in fields and forests the whole day, they need
appropriate
support services like crches, child care centers and adequate nutrition.
Credit & Insurance: Credit counseling centers to be established where severely indebted farmers can
be
provided a debt rescue package to help them out of debt trap. Need for both credit and insurance
literacy in
villages, Gyan Chaupals to help in the task.
Setting up of Farm Schools in the fields of outstanding farmers to promote farmer to farmer learning
and to
strengthen extension services.
Gyan Chaupals to be established in as many villages as possible to harness the help of Information and
Communication Technology.
A comprehensive National Social Security Scheme for the farmers for ensuring livelihood security by
taking
care of insurance needs on account of illness, old age, etc.
Minimum Support Price (MSP) mechanisms to be implemented effectively across the country so as to
ensure remunerative prices for agricultural produce.
Market Intervention Scheme to be strengthened to respond speedily to exigencies, specific crops to be
identified.
Community Foodgrain Banks: To be promoted to help in the marketing of unutilized crops.
Single National Market: To develop a Single National Market by relaxing internal restrictions and
controls.
Expanding Food Security Basket to include nutritious crops like bajra, jowar, ragi and millets mostly
grown in
dryland farming areas.
Farmers of the future: Farmers may adopt cooperative farming, create service cooperatives, undertake
group farming through self-help groups, establish small holders estates, adopt contract farming and
create
farmers companies. This is expected to increase productivity, efficiency of small farmers and would
create
multiple livelihood opportunities through crop livestock integrated farming systems as well as agro
processing.
A Cabinet Committee on Food Security is to be constituted.

24
NSSOS 68TH ROUND HIGHLIGHTS ON UNEMPLOYMENT
The recently released Employment and Unemployment Situation in India report of the NSS 68th round
(2011-12) highlights some sobering facts.
Labour force participation rate decreased for rural males by 1 per cent between 1993-94 and 2011-12
and
increased by a meagre 2 per cent for urban males.
Womens participation rates declined across both rural and urban areas.
The unemployment rate among the youth (15 to 29 years) is significantly higher 5 and 8 per cent
for
rural and urban males respectively than the overall rate
Unemployment among educated youth 8.1 and 11.7 per cent for rural and urban males
respectively
is even higher.
ANALYSIS
India adds one million people to its working-age population every month. Labour force participation is
around 58 per cent this means, of every 10 lakh persons between the age of 15 and 59, only 5.8 lakh
will
actually seek a job every month. Rest would be studying or working at home. With these numbers, India
is
required to create 51 million jobs by 2018-19.
Creating tens of millions of jobs, especially in non-agricultural sector will be a stiff task for
policymakers with
current rate of growth.
If India is unable to generate the required number of new jobs, its much-vaunted demographic
dividend will
morph into its bugbear.
Indias growth prospects as well as its ability to translate growth into employment have been curbed in
recent years. According to a CRISIL study, 52 million jobs were added in last seven years. Compare to
that,
only 38 million jobs can be added between 2011-12 and 2018-19 in non-agricultural sector.
Aggravating the slowdown is the sharp decline in the employment elasticity of the GDP. It is
defined as the
percentage increase in employment for every percentage point increase in the GDP. The number
deteriorated sharply to 0.38 per cent between 2004-05 and 2011-12, from 0.52 per cent in the five
preceding years, for the non-agricultural sector.
Two factors were responsible for this jobless nature of growth.
The growth in the GDP has been driven by the services sector, which is less labour-intensive - finance,
real
estate and business services, including information technology and information technology enabled
services. In 2011-12, these services, which account for 19 per cent of the GDP, employed only 3 per cent
of
the workforce. These sectors grew at over 11 per cent per year.
Labour-intensive services such as health, education and recreation services grew at less than 7 per
cent. The
ability of labour-intensive sectors such as manufacturing to absorb workers has declined considerably.
Inflexible labour laws and increasing automation have resulted in the large-scale substitution of labour
by
capital.
Government is required to arrest the pace of decline in employment elasticity apart from pushing for
growth. It will have to raise the labour dependency of the manufacturing sector by simplifying labour
laws
and encouraging the growth of labour-intensive industries such as textiles, gems and jewellery,
handicrafts
and food processing.
There is an emerging export opportunity in some of these low-cost/ labour-intensive sectors, such as
textiles, as wages in China rise and businesses there start exiting these segments. Bangladesh is a good
example of its low-cost structure and developed its textile sector.
Government should also focus on developing the health and education sectors. This will not only
create jobs
as they are labour-intensive services, but also raise Indias growth potential by making the workforce
healthy, skilled and educated
There is a need to focus on physical infrastructure and the construction sector. This sector not only has
high
employment elasticity but can also absorb low-skilled labour from the agricultural sector.
Construction has the highest employment elasticity among non-agricultural sectors. More than 65 per
cent
of the labour force used in construction is unskilled or semi-skilled a key characteristic of people
coming
out of agriculture. A fast-growing construction sector can therefore create significant employment
opportunities for low-skilled surplus labour in agriculture.

25
Other roadblocks to employment generation that lie in areas such as infrastructure, finance and the
myriad
interactions of the state with firms are need to be removed.
Millions of small and medium-sized firms across the country need to be encouraged to grow, to be
part of
the organised sector, access formal finance and adopt modern technologies.
Power, water, roads, ports and airports are all of vital importance to the growth of firms. The growth
of
firms translates into the growth of employment in an economy, and not just of large manufacturing
firms.
THE GLOBAL EMPLOYMENT TRENDS REPORT 2014
The ILO report on The Global Employment Trends 2014 says that 1 million young people join the ranks
of
the jobless in 2013. It is mainly due to continued impact of the 2007-08 financial and economic crises.
The ILO report says that employment will continue to expand at a slower pace than the labour force,
resulting in a shortfall of some two million jobs annually over the next five years.
One comparison in the report is instructive where monetary stimulus in the aftermath of the crisis
induced
aggregate demand, a rising share of the additional liquidity has not been feeding into the real economy.
The 13.1 per cent rate of unemployment in the 15-24 years age-group globally is more than twice that
among the adult population. This is concerning India where people below 25 years of age constitute
more
than 50 per cent of the population.
EMPOWERMENT LINE
It measure the minimum economic cost for a household to fulfill eight most basic needs - food, health
care,
education, sanitation, water, housing, fuel, and social security and others that included
entertainment
and clothing.
It is developed by a global research organization McKinsey Global Institute (MGI).
680 million Indians or 56 per cent of the population falls under this empowerment line. It is nearly 1.5
times
the number of people that Indias official poverty line classifies as poor.
Empowerment line comes out as average Rs. 1,544 per capita per month.

26
SOCIAL ISSUES
THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES BILL, 2014
The bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha in this session and will be pending for the next Lok Sabha.
[Please
also refer to the Current Affairs notes for December 2013 for the provisions of this bill.]
The Bill expands the definition of disabilities to include 19 physical and mental disabilities as opposed
to
seven under the 1995 Persons with Disabilities Act. The definition of disability in the Bill is a big
departure:
it means all long-term physical, mental, intellectual and sensory impairments which, in interaction with
barriers in the environment, hinder persons effective participation in society on an equal basis.
It provides for a 5 per cent reservation in government jobs and reservation in higher educational
institutions
from existing 3 per cent.
Penal provisions to ensure accountability for law enforcement a lacuna in the current law could
potentially bridge the gap between professed intentions and practice.
CRITICISM
The critics says that the Bill is regressive and retrograde, and does not adopt the United Nations
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability (UNCRPD) in its true spirit, which India ratified in
2007
Section 109 of the Bill provided that its provisions shall be in addition to, and not in derogation of, the
provisions of any other law in force, which effectively meant that all laws which actively discriminated
against persons with disabilities remained untouched. This violates the U.N. convention to take all
appropriate measures, including legislation, to modify or abolish laws, regulations, customs and
practices
that constituted such discrimination.
According to the UNCRPD, state parties are to grant an unconditional right to equality and
nondiscrimination
to all persons with disabilities, on a par with others. In this Bill, the Right of Equality is
curtailed under Section 3(3), which says the right against discrimination exists unless it can be shown
that
the impugned act or omission is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. The terms
proportionate means and legitimate aim, are highly subjective and can perpetuate discrimination.
The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act,
1995
(PWD act) which is currently in force, defines a person with disability as someone who has 40 per cent or
more of any of the seven enumerated disabilities blindness, low vision, hearing impairment,
locomotor
disability, mental illness, mental retardation and leprosy. It leaves people with disabilities at the mercy
of
the state because they have to obtain a disability certificate verifying that they are more than 40 per
cent
disabled. The new RPD bill unfortunately reproduces this medical model of disability in its definition.
The world over, most progressive laws have adopted definitions of disability that stem from social
models
that define it as any long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairment, which in interaction
with various other barriers may hinder participation in society on an equal footing with others. The bill
adopts this definition selectively for clauses related to non-discrimination but where positive
benefits
are involved, such as reservation in education and employment, a medical definition of benchmark
disabilities is used. The bill has expanded the number of benchmark disabilities from seven to 18 and
has
retained the 40 per cent requirement.
The Bill does not provide for reservation of jobs in the private sector. Though parliamentary
committee
recommended job reservation in both public and private establishments. Presently, even the 3 per cent
reservation in public sector jobs is not being implemented. Increasing it to 5 per cent is merely lip
service.
Recognition of legal capacity of persons with disabilities, a major feature of the UN convention on
Rights of
persons with Disabilities is diluted.
Sections of the most vulnerable groups, children and women with disabilities are missing.
The bill denies people with psychosocial disabilities the right to make their own life decisions, by
permitting
plenary guardianship
The bill allows discrimination on grounds of disability if it is appropriate to achieve a legitimate aim
There are gaps in identification and recognition of jobs. Bill runs counter to the Supreme Courts own
decision by returning to the concept of identified posts for reservation in employment.

27
DISCRIMINATION AGAINST NORTHEAST PEOPLE
WHY IN NEWS?
Nido Tania, the 19-year-old boy from Arunachal Pradesh, died after being attacked allegedly by
shopkeepers
at Lajpat Nagar, Delhi.
ANALYSIS
Such incidents bring into sharp focus the fact that racist and discriminatory attitudes are rampant.
While racism occasionally manifests itself in the form of hate crime it is felt most acutely as an
everyday
phenomenon in the form of snideness, smirks
Such incidents create genuine apprehension in their minds that their lives would not be protected in
other
parts of the country.
Discrimination takes place in various forms such as landlords refusing accommodation, shopkeepers
refusing
service, abuses hurled on the streets, a rigid distance maintained by older inhabitants of the city.
Lack of assimilation is a threat to cultural integrity.
Poor awareness of the cultural heritage and unique identity of Northeastern States makes people in
North
India discriminate against peoples belonging to these states.
The cultural ignorance and prejudices have always existed in India - all South Indians are Madrasis
and
those living north of the Vindhyas are clubbed Punjabis.
Most often, northeastern people have to prove their identity that they are Indian too. Many times,
these
people are confused with Tibetans residing in Indian cities.
There is a need to move from the idea of northeast just a territory of India to the people who inhabit
it.
WAY FORWARD
The Union government, constituted a committee under the chairmanship of M.P. Bezbaruah, a retired
officer, to look into the problems faced by people from the northeast living in other parts of the country,
especially in metropolitan cities, and suggest remedial measures. Mandated to examine various kinds of
concerns, including those of security, the committee will examine the causes behind the violence and
discrimination against people from the Northeast. It would suggest measures and legal remedies to be
taken
by the government.
The Delhi High Court directed the Delhi police to take on deputation police officers belonging to the
Northeast to act as an interface with the people of that region staying in the Capital.
The Delhi police announced the constitution of a Special Cell to monitor cases involving residents of
northeast.
The Delhi police should recruit more people of northeast origin at lower constabulary level.
The police, for one, must show zero tolerance for incidents of hate crime, and be prompt in registering
complaints as well as taking action against the accused.
Mainstream celebrities can also being roped in to spread awareness on the issue.
There is a need of more state support such as state bhawans, counseling centres.
The Centre should give their culture a place in the NCERT syllabus. Apart from it, space should be
created in
the media, and showing their unique culture through events etc.
There is a need to sensitize the police and localities, especially where these people have larger
population.
There is lack of educational and economic opportunities in the northeast region that forces youth to
migrate
to other parts of the India. There is a need to develop the regional economically and link it with rest of
the
country and neighbouring countries also.
HLC ON STATUS OF WOMEN IN INDIA
The government had in February 2012 set up a High Level Committee to undertake a comprehensive
study
to understand the status of women and evolve appropriate policy interventions based on a
contemporary
assessment of womens needs.

28
The 14-member committee, headed by Pam Rajput, submitted report in Feb, 2014 with the following
recommendations -
50 per cent reservation for women in all decision-making bodies and an overhaul of the criminal
justice
system to ensure justice for women.
A separate panel be appointed by the government to study the status of Muslim women in the country
Upgrade the Minister of Women and Child Development to Cabinet rank would reflect the
governments
concern on womens issues.
The Parliamentary Committee on the Empowerment of Women must examine the gender implications
of all
proposed legislation
The National Commission for Women, as an apex body responsible for and answerable to 50 per cent
of the
population, must go beyond reactive interventions to fulfill the proactive mandate of studying,
recommending and influencing policies, laws, programmes and budgets to ensure full benefits to the
stakeholders.
BENEFITS TOSENIOR CITIZENS
The population of senior citizens is expected to rise to 12.4 per cent by 2026 against 7.5 per cent in
2001.
The standing committee of Parliament suggested following benefits to senior citizens.
o Special concessions for destitute widow and widowers who enter into matrimonial alliance after
60 years
o raising the retirement age from 60 to 65 years
o tax exemptions.
o setting up a directorate of employment and rehabilitation for senior citizens.
o the senior citizens should get a pension of at least Rs. 1,000 per month.
o old-age homes be set up in all districts.
CONDITIONS OF JUVENILE HOMES
There are no proper rooms but only long dormitories. This leads to mixing up of all kind of offenders,
as
they all end up staying in a single room. Ideally, the serious offenders should be kept separate from the
first-timers.
There is no space for recreation for juveniles lodged in these homes. They need to engage in positive
activities like sports and vocational activities to keep their mind off from crime
Guidelines of Juvenile Justice Board are not followed fully. As per the board guidelines, the inmates
need
to be educated, taught to stay hygienic, imparted professional skills and should be given good food.

29
HEALTH
INDIAN PHARMA SECTOR
US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Margaret Hamburg came to India for inspection
purposes of:
o Ranbaxy, Wockhardt and other pharma companies.
o Spices processing companies in Kochi.
US FDA has already banned production in Ranbaxys factory in Toansa, Punjab.
They have turned down Ranbaxy Laboratories' plea to allow drugmakers to continue exporting from
banned manufacturing facilities while they take remedial measures to rectify the issues
Ranbaxy had last year paid a $500-million fine in the US and pleaded guilty to charges of falsifying data
and
distributing 'adulterated' drugs, as part of a settlement with US authorities.
Ranbaxy is not the only Indian drugmaker to invite the censure of the FDA. Many facilities of other
Indian
drug firms such as Wockhardt, Strides Arcolab and RPG Life Sciences have been red-flagged by the US
regulator for violations last year and Indian drugmakers accounted for over half of the warning letters
issued by it in 2013.
In response to the FDAs monitoring of Indian firms, the Central Drugs Standards Control Organisation
(CDSCO) fought for the right to check manufacturing facilities abroad, apparently to make sure that
drugs
coming into India meet quality standards.
INDIAN STAND
US is settling scores for reasons both within and outside pharma sector:
o Outside pharma sector - US wants to retaliate for the Devyani Khobragade issue.
o Within Pharma sector - US Pharma sector is lobbying against the Pharma sector-
India is the largest producer generic drugs.
Were second largest drug supplier to US and Canada
India is a major supplier of low cost medicines for Cancer, AIDS and Malaria to Africa and
Latin America which has resulted into profit losses which was hitherto windfall for US
companies.
Data suggests that this is not mere routine exercise. This is a sharp spike compared to preceding years,
and
FDA is increasing its workforce as well as upping its vigilance in India, the second-largest exporter of
generic
drugs to the US.
USA STAND
As per FDA Commissioner, Inspections are routine part of our regulatory process. So what happens in
India, is consistent with what happens within the US and throughout the world
ANALYSIS
While India does have economic interests in the success of this $15 billion export industry, it needs
solid
regulation to ensure this success is sustainable.
CDSCO had not been much successful in its functioning a parliamentary standing committee on
health in
last year laid out the remarkable chaos in domestic drug regulation, even in terms of granting licences.
Manufacturing laxity aside, it found that many drugs were being marketed before being put through
the
required clinical trials and drugs banned in other markets were available here. Regulatory dossiers were
missing for several drugs, and in many cases, approvals were granted by non-technical staff. Expert
testimonials were suspiciously similar in many cases. State issued licences operated in their own orbit,
and
these authorisations were not sent back to the central regulator. [Please refer to the Current Affairs
notes of
September, 2013 for more details about this issue.]

30
The Centre has moved a new drugs and cosmetics amendment bill, which conceives of a professionally
managed Central Drugs Authority like the FDA, to swallow the existing CDSCO. [Please refer to the
Current
Affairs notes of July, 2013 and September, 2013 for more details about this bill.]
But it will take more than surprise inspections to change this regulatory culture it will involve
breaking
the collusion between certifiers and companies, and more than anything, it will require greater
investment.
The US FDA has a strength of some 14,000 people, while the Indian regulator had 327 in 2012. While
the
pharma industry is exploding, and the CDSCOs workload is growing by 20 per cent every year, it lacks
the
staff and infrastructure, advisors and independent testing labs to do its job. That needs to change first, if
we
want to see a regulatory overhaul.
STEPS TO FIGHT AIDS
India launched third-line drug therapy, sometimes called salvage or rescue therapy, for people living
with
HIV/AIDS and extended free anti-retroviral therapy (ART) to more of them by revising the eligibility
norm.
[Please refer to the current affairs notes of January, 2013 for more details about ART.]
The third-line therapy is prescribed for people who have limited drug options left after the failure of
at
least two drug regimens and with evidence of HIV resistance to at least one drug in each line or the
latter
cause alone. The highly expensive therapy will be provided free.
For receiving free ART, the minimum CD4-count limit had been reduced from 500 to 350. The count is
a
measure of the viral load.
HUMAN IMMUNODEFICIENCY VIRUS ACQUIRED IMMUNE DEFICIENCY
SYNDROME
(PREVENTION AND CONTROL) BILL, 2014
Human Immunodeficiency Virus Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Bill,
2014,
introduced in Rajya Sabha, seeks to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and protect the human rights of
people
living with it.
The Bill seeks to prohibit any kind of discrimination against the infected person for instance, denial
or
termination of employment or occupation, unfair treatment, denial of access to any sector and forcible
HIV
testing.
At present, India is estimated to have 2.39 million people living with HIV/AIDS.
AIIMS UNDER PMSSY
Rishikesh AIIMS becomes functional and is the first among the six AIIMS established under the
Pradhan
Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) to start.
The PMSSY scheme was approved in March 2006.
PMSSY aims at correcting the imbalances in the availability of affordable healthcare facilities in the
different
parts of the country in general, and augmenting facilities for quality medical education in the under-
served
States in particular - Bihar (Patna), Chhattisgarh (Raipur), Madhya Pradesh (Bhopal), Orissa
(Bhubaneswar),
Rajasthan (Jodhpur) and Uttaranchal (Rishikesh).
These States have been identified on the basis of various socio-economic indicators like human
development index, literacy rate, population below poverty line and per capital income and health
indicators like population to bed ratio etc.
13 existing medical institutions spread over 10 States will also be upgraded
In the second phase of PMSSY, the Government has approved the setting up of two more AIIMS-like
institutions, one each in the States of West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh and upgradation of six medical
college
institutions.
Third phase includes only upgradation of various existing medical institutions.

31
ENVIRONMENT
FIELD TRIALS OF GM FOOD CROPS
WHY IN NEWS?
The Environment and Forests ministry has approved field trials of GM food crops on a conditional
basis.
These include consent from the statutory appraisal committee i.e. Genetic Engineering Appraisal
Committee
(GEAC), and from respective state governments.
The ministrys decision was based on the approval by GEAC in March 2013 to allow about 200
successful
gene modification trials. Only those were approved which GEAC had sanctioned and which had been
pending decision for almost a year.
The decision would allow field trials of many varieties, including in rice, wheat, maize, castor and
cotton.
Earlier the ministry had taken the view that it was not prudent to go ahead with the trials while the
Supreme Court was hearing a case on the subject of field trials and the regulatory regime for GM
technology in India. However, now the ministry says that the apex court had not explicitly ordered any
stay
against clearing field trials while the case went on.
OPINION
In technologies which share benefits and risks, it is important to have regulatory mechanisms which
can
help to analyse risks and benefits in an impartial and professionally competent manner.
The government had introduced a Biotechnology Regulatory Authority Bill in Parliament.
Unfortunately, the
validity of this Bill has now expired with the conclusion of the 15th Lok Sabha.
Earlier, the Agricultural Biotechnology Committee (2004) had recommended a Parliament approved
regulatory agency as well as the necessary infrastructure for conducting all India coordinated trials with
genetically modified organisms (GMO).
There must be a trial and safety assessment system which answers the concerns of anti-GMO
nongovernmental
organisations.
As agriculture is a state subject, State agricultural universities and State departments of agriculture
should
be involved in the design and implementation of field trials. It takes nearly 10 years time for a new
variety
to be ready for recommendation to farmers. Therefore, speed is of the essence in organising field trials
and
getting reliable data on risks and benefits.
The present moratorium on field trials with recombinant DNA material is a handicap as well as a
disincentive in harnessing the benefits of the wide array of transgenic material available with various
research organisations and universities. Many of the GMOs in the breeders assembly line have excellent
qualities for resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses as well as improved nutrition. Much of this work has
been done in institutions committed to public good. Also, much of the work has been done by young
scientists, discouraged now because of the lack of a clear official signal on the future of genetic
modification.
There is need for a pan-India political support to promote genetic engineering research. Every research
institution should have a project selection committee to examine whether recombinant DNA technology
is
necessary to achieve the desired breeding goal. In many cases, marker assisted selection would be
adequate
for developing a variety with the necessary characters. Recombinant DNA technology should be resorted
to
only when there is no other way of achieving the desired objective.
Translational research needs greater attention for converting scientific know-how into farmers do-
how.
Krishi Vigyan Kendras should have the capability of offering scientifically credible advice to farmers on
GMOs. Media resource centres should be set up to give up-to-date scientific information to media
representatives. Village knowledge centres should be utilised for spreading correct information on
GMOs.
There is a need to set up two committees on the public understanding of science and the political
understanding of science on the pattern of such committees set up by the Royal Society of London.

32
Countries like the United States have effective regulatory mechanisms supported by scientific
infrastructure. It is time that we also have a professionally managed and coordinated efficient regulatory
mechanism.
WATER CRISIS ACROSS THE WORLD
WHY IN NEWS?
California currently is reeling under its worst drought in modern times.
OPINION
The struggle for water is exacerbating impacts on the earths ecosystems. Degradation of water
resources
has resulted in aquatic ecosystems losing half their biodiversity since just the mid-1970s.
Groundwater depletion, for its part, is affecting natural stream-flows, groundwater-fed wetlands and
lakes,
and related ecosystems.
If resources like water are degraded and depleted, environmental refugees will follow. Sana'a city in
Yemen
risks becoming the first capital city to run out of water. If Bangladesh bears the main impact of Chinas
damming of the Brahmaputra, the resulting exodus of thirsty refugees will compound Indias security
challenges. Internal resource conflicts are often camouflaged as civil wars. Sudans Darfur conflict, for
example, arose from water and grassland scarcity.
The United Nations in 2010 recognised access to safe, affordable water and sanitation as a human
right. Yet
the reality remains stark: More than half of the global population currently lives under water stress a
figure projected to increase to two-thirds during the next decade.
The risks of overt conflicts over water are increasing. Water wars in a political and economic sense are
already being waged in several regions, including by building dams on international rivers and by
resorting
to coercive diplomacy to prevent such construction. Examples include Chinas frenetic upstream dam
building in its borderlands and downriver Egypts threats of military reprisals against the ongoing
Ethiopian
construction of a large dam on the Blue Nile.
A report reflecting the joint judgment of U.S. intelligence agencies has warned that the use of water as
a
weapon of war or a tool of terrorism would become more likely in the next decade.
Decisions in many countries on where to set up new manufacturing or energy plants are increasingly
being
constrained by inadequate local water availability. Where availability is already low, a decision to
establish a
new plant often triggers local protests because it is likely to spur greater competition over scarce water
resources. One such example is the POSCO steel plant in Odisha.
The seriously water-stressed economies, stretching from South Korea and India to Iran and Egypt, are
paying a high price for their water problems. The yearly global economic losses from water shortages
are
conservatively estimated at $260 billion.
Water is a renewable but finite resource. But the human population has doubled since 1970 alone,
while
the global economy has grown even faster.
Major increases in water demand, however, are being driven not merely by economic and
demographic
growth but also by energy, manufacturing, and food-production needs to meet rising human-
consumption
levels. Lifestyle changes, for example, have spurred increasing per capita water consumption in the form
of
industrial and agricultural products.
Globally, consumption growth is the single biggest driver of water stress. Rising incomes, for example,
have
promoted changing diets, especially a greater intake of meat, whose production is notoriously
waterintensive.
The only silver lining for Indias dismal water situation is the fact that its per capita meat consumption
remains the lowest in the world, with a large segment of its population vegetarian.
Compounding the diet-change impacts on the global water situation is the increasing body mass index
(BMI)
of humans in recent decades, with the prevalence of obesity doubling since the 1980s. Heavier citizens
make heavier demands on natural resources, especially water and energy. They also cause much greater
greenhouse-gas emissions through their bigger food and transport needs.

33
This background helps explain why water is becoming the worlds next major security and economic
challenge. Averting water wars demands rules-based cooperation, water sharing and dispute-settlement
mechanisms. However, most of the worlds transnational basins lack any cooperative arrangement, and
there is still no international water law in force.
Looking ahead, water shortages are not only going to intensify and spread, but users also will have to
increasingly pay more for their water supply.
This double whammy can be mitigated only by smart water management and sustainable use of scarce
water resources. New and emerging technologies ought to be leveraged to innovatively manage
resources
and develop non-traditional supply sources, including through public-private partnerships. Water, food
and
energy must be integrated in a holistic policy framework.
Addressing this core problem holds the key to dealing with other challenges because of waters
nexuses
with global warming, energy shortages, stresses on food supply, population pressures, pollution,
environmental degradation, global epidemics and natural disasters. Effective water management can
help
transform economies and power security.
GREEN ENERGY CORRIDOR
Green energy corridor project is to facilitate the flow of renewable energy into the national grid.
Project is
aimed at synchronising electricity produced from renewable sources, such as solar and wind, with
conventional power stations in the grid.
Currently, the grid faces difficulty in absorbing renewable electricity because of varying voltage and
supply.
The project would be split into intra- and inter-State. At present (2013), India has 27,541.71 MW of
installed
renewable capacity excluding hydro power stations.
India is planning to set up green energy corridor with the technical as well as financial cooperation of
Germany who is leader in renewable energy.
After having decided to shun nuclear power, Germany developed expertise in renewable energy. More
importantly, it was able to transport this energy from southern Germany to the northern parts with
minimum transmission loss.
This is something Germany will seek to bring to India through a financial-technical agreement that is at
an
advanced stage of discussion.
DAMS ONSIANG RIVER
A report commissioned by the Central Water Commission has recommended scrapping of 15 of the 44
dams
planned across the Siang river in Arunachal Pradesh.
Report argues that the proposed 44 dams, meant to establish a capacity of 18,293 MW, will affect the
river
ecology and biodiversity and the region all the way down to Assam.
Cumulatively, the projects will impact more than 500 km of river stretch. More than 18,000 hectares of
forests will be impacted.
The report only asks for the smaller capacity dams, with a total capacity of 473.5 MW, to be done
away
with.
The report suggests for free stretches/tributaries, no further hydropower projects should be
planned/allotted in the entire Siang basin even if they are small (less than 25 MW).
ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE INDEX
India has been ranked 155 out of 178 countries on the 2014 Environmental Performance Index (EPI)
released
by the Yale University.
Despite an improvement in overall performance, India comes out worst among other emerging
economies,
including China, in efforts to address environmental challenges, with dramatic declines on air quality.
India ranks worst among other emerging economies including, China, which ranks 118th, Brazil, at
77th,
Russia, at 73rd, and South Africa at 72nd.
Switzerland, Luxembourg, Australia, Singapore and Czech Republic round out the top five positions of
the
Index.

34
The EPI ranks how well countries perform on high priority environmental issues in two broad policy
areas:
protection of human health from environmental harm and protection of ecosystems. Within these two
policy
objectives, the EPI scores country performance in nine issue areas comprising 20 indicators. Indicators in
the
EPI measure how close countries are to meeting internationally established targets or, in the absence of
agreed targets, how they compare relative to the best performing countries.

35
INDIA AND WORLD
INDIA JAPAN
Japanese Prime Minister Mr. Shinzo Abe was the Chief Guest at the Republic Day celebrations this
year. His
visit, together with the visit of the Emperor and Empress of Japan to India in December, exemplifies the
momentum in the Indo-Japan strategic and global partnership.
The summit meeting between the Prime Ministers of India and Japan reflected the efforts towards
forging
closer security, political and defence ties. However, the talks between Manmohan Singh and Shinzo Abe
also
reflected the existing gaps on the nuclear issue.
In regards to nuclear deal, India and Japan are in negotiations on whether to keep the termination
clause in
the main text of the proposed civil nuclear cooperation agreement or in the annexure. The clause allows
the
proposed deal to be terminated if either side conducts a nuclear test. The deal is important as many
critical
equipments for the newly built nuclear plants by Areva are to be imported from Japan and any delay in
deal
will delay the setting up of the nuclear plants.
The two countries signed eight pacts, including power generation, culture, education and tourism, of
which
half were connected with Japanese aid to India which reflects that soft loans and outright grants will
continue
to remain an integral component of Tokyos strategy of reaching out to New Delhi.
Japan also promised for more aid out of which 70 per cent,of about 200 billion yen, will go for
implementing
phase-III of the Delhi Metro project.
On the defence side, the two countries decided to make joint naval exercises a permanent feature.
India had
earlier invited Japan to join the Indo-U.S Malabar series in 2007 but the presence of Japan and Australia
in
the Malabar series had fuelled protests at home and from China leading to the dropping of the duo from
subsequent chapters.
Japan has also offered to sell hi-tech US-2 amphibious aircraft to India. This is the first time Japan has
offered
to sell a plane which has military uses as well.
The two countries have decided to hold politico-security consultations on a regular basis besides
stepping up
the pace of meetings between the Defence Ministers.
Japan has also lowered non-tariff barriers to import of shrimps that will help Indian fishermen.
Visa regime have been relaxed by both sides to increase people to people contact and in that effort,
the
Japanese Overseas Cooperation Volunteer scheme would be expanded to uncovered sectors.
The countries have also signed an agreement for promoting tourism between the two countries and
improvement in the civil aviation links. [Also refer to December 2013 Current Affairs notes for a
detailed
analysis of India-Japan relationships.]
INDIA SOUTH KOREA
South Korean President Park Geun-hye visited India on a four day state visit, accompanied by a high
level
delegation which included the foreign, trade, ICT and science ministers.
The talks between the leaders concentrated on three elements as a common vision: stronger high
level
political cooperation, open economic and trade environment and deeper cultural understanding.
India and South Korea have signed nine pacts which are aimed at imparting forward momentum to
their
bilateral ties that have seen intensification over the past four years.
These pacts included agreements in the field of defence, space co-operation, science and technology,
cultural
exchange programs, MoU on establishment of Nalanda University, co-operation in field of Information
and
Communication Technology, MoU between Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (Cert-In) and
Korea
Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Center (Krcert/Cc) in the field of cyber security.
During the talks, India assured that work on the Indias single largest FDI project (approx 12 billion
dollars)
Posco steel plant in Odisha would start in the coming weeks. Not much progress could be achieved in
past
few years due to several factors like environmental clearance, delay in land procurement and popular
protest.

36
The bilateral trade between India and South Korea has amounted to over $18 billion in 2012, with a
favourable balance for South Korea. In order to offset this imbalance, India needs to explore ways to
increase
exports in the field of pharmaceutical and IT industries.
The two countries have signed the Agreement on the Protection of Classified Military Information,
which
would boost defence engagement and take it beyond the purchase of South Korean defence
equipments.
There is proposal for exploring the possibility of setting up a Korean Industrial Park in India.
The two sides have also announced the conclusion of negotiations for revision of the existing Double
Taxation
Avoidance Convention which will also provide with new ideas for deepening economic collaborations.
They
have also agreed to establish a Joint Trade and Investment Promotion Committee at the cabinet level.
In the field of Science and Technology, both countries have decided to build on the experience of
working on
many practical projects financed through a $10 million Joint Fund by inking a MoU on Joint Applied
Research.
Indian Government has also decided to extend a tourist visa on arrival facility to South Korean
nationals.
Indias growing emphasis on its Look East Policy and South Koreas New Asia Diplomatic Initiative
has
helped elevate the relationship between the two countries to that of strategic partnership.
INDIA SAUDI ARABIA
VISIT OF SAUDI ARABIAS PRINCE TO INDIA
Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud, the crown prince to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, visited India
with the
deputy- prime minister and the defence minster of Saudi Arabia.
During the visit, India and Saudi Arabia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Defense
Cooperation on Wednesday in New Delhi. The MoU will allow exchange of defense-related information,
military training and education as well as cooperation in areas varying from hydrography and security to
logistics.
Meanwhile, Indian and Saudi companies signed four agreements to jointly promote and facilitate
investments
and trade.
During the meeting, the leaders pointed out that the two countries have taken a number of steps to
promote
bilateral investments, but taxation issue remains one of the major hurdles. Steps have been taken to
explore
the possibilities of easing the regulations.
It has also been decided that the Indian labour force will be roped in for the Haramain High Speed
Railway
project Saudi Arabias plan to connect the two cities by high speed trains. The rails for the tracks will
also
be supplied by Indian companies.
The cornerstone of the strategic partnership between India and Saudi Arabia has been the 2010
Riyadh
Declaration. Signed between King Abdullah and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the declaration
set
forth a roadmap for a closer Saudi-Indian bilateral relationship. The Riyadh Declaration built on the 2006
Delhi Declaration which was signed during King Abdullahs trip to New Delhi. The Delhi Declaration was
the
first major bilateral interaction between India and Saudi Arabia; both sides acknowledged it to herald a
new
era in Indo-Saudi ties.
Saudi Arabia is the 4th largest trading partner for India: The value of the two-way trade between the
two
countries in 2012-13 exceeded USD 43.78 billion and USD 32.7 billion during April November 2013. The
import of crude oil by India forms a major component of bilateral trade with Saudi Arabia being Indias
largest
supplier of crude oil, accounting for almost one-fifth of its needs.
For Saudi Arabia, India is the 5th largest market for its exports, accounting for 8.3% of its global exports.
In
terms of imports by Saudi Arabia, India ranks 7th and is source of around 3.4% of Saudi Arabias total
imports.
LABOUR COOPERATION AGREEMENT
India has signed a labour cooperation agreement with Saudi Arabia that would cover about a quarter
of the
28 lakh Indian expatriates working there. It is also seen as a stepping stone for a more comprehensive
pact
covering all Indian workers in the Gulf Kingdom.
The Agreement on Labour Cooperation for Domestic Service Workers Recruitment was inked by
Overseas
Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi and Saudi Arabian Labour Minister Adel bin Mohammed Fakeih. The
agreement will be monitored by a committee of senior officials.

37
Salient Features of the Agreement are:
o It aims to protect the right of both the employers and domestic service workers and regulate the
contractual relation between them.
o It endeavors to control recruitment costs in both countries.
o It ensures authenticity and implementation of employment contract between the employer and the
domestic workers and provides for legal measures against recruitment agencies in violation of the
laws of either country.
o It ensures that recruitment agencies and the employer shall not charge or deduct from the salary of
the domestic worker any cost attendant to his/her recruitment and deployment and makes sure that
recruitment agencies and the employer do not impose any kind of unauthorized salary deduction.
o It works towards fostering a harmonious relationship between the employer and the domestic
workers.
o It endeavors to establish a mechanism to provide 24 hours assistance to the domestic sector workers.
o It facilitates the issuance of exit visas for the repatriation of domestic sector workers upon contract
completion or in any emergency situation or as the need arises.
o A standard employment contract would be finalized that would provide minimum wage, working
hours, paid holidays and dispute settlement mechanism.
Saudi Arabia had passed the Nitaqt law last year which had severely curtailed the job opportunities for
Indian
working the country. But later after negotiations, out of 28 lakh expatriates, about 1.41 lakh Indians had
to
return home especially from Kerala.
Recently, Union Finance Minister Shri P. Chidambaram visited Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to co-chair the
10th
India-Saudi Arabia Joint Commission Meeting. The two countries decided to work towards strengthening
of
cooperation in accordance with the Delhi Declaration and Riyadh Declaration.
In the meeting, the two sides reviewed the progress in various sectors including Trade and Investment;
Oil
and Gas; Pharmaceuticals, Higher Education; Civil Aviation; Tourism and Media and Culture; Security
Affairs;
Information and Communication Technology, Vocational and Technical Training; Textiles, Engineering
Affairs,
Health & Family Welfare; Agriculture Research and SMEs.
The bilateral trade between India and Saudi Arabia stood at US $ 43 billion in 2013 and the two sides
aimed
to double the trade within the next five years.
During the Joint Commission Meeting, the Indian side proposed cooperation in (i) Development of IT
Parks;
(ii) Development of Telemedicine network, similar to the Pan-African project, in knowledge sharing,
consulting in super specialty Medicare from premium Indian hospitals; and (iii) Promotion of Indian ICT
products and services. Both sides also decided to explore the possibility of setting up of a Business SME
Task
Force to come up with concrete suggestions to promote SME cooperation. Both sides also discussed the
proposal of Saudi Council of Engineers exchange information and experience with the Indian side on (i)
Accreditation System for engineers; (ii) Training and development of engineers; (iii) Licensing of
engineering
and consultation offices; and (iv) Engineering Arbitration and disputes solving.
INDIA PAKISTAN
COMMERCE MINISTERS MEET
There is a growing consensus in India and Pakistan that a healthy relation is must for peace and
progress of
both the countries.
Amidst the fragility of relationships, both countries are still committed to move on a fast track at least
on
matters of commerce.
The commerce ministers of India and Pakistan met in New Delhi and took important decisions to
establish
normal trading relations and undertake liberalisation and facilitation measures. Important decisions
among
these were
o To keep the Wagah-Attari border functional round the clock,
o To introduce containerisation of cargo and
o To provide Non-Discriminatory Market Access on a reciprocal basis to each other.
The provisions of Non-Discriminatory Market Access (NDMA) are seen as a measure to overcome the
psychological barrier associated with the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status.

38
The trade volume between the two countries has reached the figure of $2.5 billion. Pakistans major
exports
to India include fresh fruit, cotton, cement, copper waste, gypsum, ferrous waste of iron and steel,
woven
cotton fabric, electro medical apparatus, raw hides and skins, leather and inorganic chemicals etc.
However,
the total share of Pakistans exports to India is just 1.4 percent.
The two countries have decided to expedite the process of giving bank licenses so that Indian and
Pakistani
banks to operate in the other country to facilitate trade.
They have also decided to organize the meetings of the technical working groups of customs, railways,
banking, standards organizations and energy.
TRADE ACROSS LOC
India and Pakistan have agreed to resume trade across the Line of Control (LoC) after the issue was
resolved
by the officials from foreign ministries of the two countries. Trade across the LoC was disrupted last
month
after officials recovered 110packets of brown sugar from a truck coming from Pakistan occupied
Kashmir at
Salamabad Trade Centre.
After the arrest, trade across the LoC was suspended from Uri and Poonch. About 48 trucks were
stranded
on the Indian side while 27 Indian trucks were held back, as Pakistan demanded that the driver be
handed
over so that the case could be investigated. It was argued that the driver could not be arrested given the
terms of the trade and the fact that he enjoyed diplomatic immunity.
At the session of the Joint Working Group on Cross-LoC Confidence Building Measures (CBMs), the two
sides
discussed the streamlining of standard operating procedures and introduction of scanners, and a
suggestion
that all stakeholders should be present at the loading and unloading points. The introduction of banking
facilities was also suggested as it would help in easing the trade, which is now conducted on barter
basis.
The bus service between the two sides of Kashmir had been resumed earlier on humanitarian grounds
to
avoid inconvenience to the people, even as the standoff continued.
Cross-LoC trade had began in 2008 through Salamabad in Uri and Chakan-da-Bagh in Poonch district
with
two trade facilitation centers and is an important part of CBMs for the two country. For the CBM to work
there is a need to ensure the smooth flow of goods and also create an atmosphere conducive to the
building
of trust. If trucks and people from either side are treated with suspicion, it defeats the very purpose of a
confidence building measure. Scanning the goods and initiating a joint mechanism to check them at
crossing
points, as has been proposed during the meeting of the JWG, would help.
India is likely to press for permits for people from either side for religious tourism besides opening up
of
Gilgit -Skardu and Jammu-Sialkote roads for greater people-to-people contacts and giving a boost to
trade.
It is also proposed that India and Pakistan will sign an agreement in March 2014 to open bank
branches in
Mumbai and Karachi. The much-awaited banking links will give a boost to trade and commerce.
Official trade between India and Pakistan has crossed $2.6 billion. Indias exports to Pakistan are $2.1
billion
while Pakistans exports to India are just $500 million. The bilateral trade has recorded a net increase of
$410 million from April 2012 to March 2013, up 20%. Pakistans exports to India grew 28% while Indian
exports to Pakistan increased 19% during this period. Both countries have repeatedly pledged to remove
non-tarrif barriers which are hampering trade. Pakistan has so far given Indian the Most Favoured
Nation
status and pledged to work towards freer trade.
INDIA CHINA
YEAR OF FRIENDLY EXCHANGE
The Year 2014 has been designated by the Governments of India and China as the Year of Friendly
Exchanges. The Vice President of India Shri M. Hamid Ansari launched the India-China Year of Friendly
Exchanges at a function in New Delhi.
The programme aims to forge a closer and stronger relationship between India and China.
There are plans to highlight Indian culture in China through a programme entitled Glimpses of India.
The programme also aims to encourage the Chinese companies to establish production and supply
chains in
India which will link the two economies. This will also ensure a more balanced trade between our two
sides.
Another idea, being looked at carefully is of a dedicated Chinese Industrial Park in India.

39
The prior task for both China and India is to develop the economy and improve peoples living standard. Both
sides
should explore complementary cooperation in the major fields of infrastructure, construction, manufacturing,
service,
IT, telecommunication, investment, pharmaceutical and industrial parks.
In the year 2013, Indias trade deficit with its largest trading partner China has reached a humongous $ 31.42
billion as
the bilateral trade fell by 1.5% in 2013, recording a declining trend for the second consecutive year.
Chinese exports to India rose slightly to stand at $ 48.44 billion for the 2013, whereas Indian exports to China
decreased
by around 10% to $ 17 billion, causing a trade deficit of $ 31.42 billion to India.
Both the countries have set a trade target of $100 billion to be achieved by 2015.
Besides, there was an agreement on the fact that India and China must throw their doors wide open for people-
topeople
contacts as a meeting of minds would help build solid and friendly bilateral ties.
To introduce Chinese language in the middle schools in India. Recently, 22 Chinese teachers have come to teach
at
selected C.B.S.E. schools across the length and breadth of our country.
MEETINGS ON BORDER ISSUES
The Fifth Meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border
Affairs reviewed recent developments in the India-China border areas especially in the Western Sector.
The
meeting held in New Delhi aimed at resolving operational issues on the border, especially when troops
come
face to face with each other in areas claimed by both countries.
Consultation and Coordination Mechanism Working Group was established two years ago with the aim
of
improving communication and addressing on-the-ground issues along the border.
Implementation of the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA), additional confidence building
measures and further steps for maintaining peace and tranquility were also discussed. The BDCA was
signed
late last year and attempts were made to enhance coordination and iron out possibilities of
misunderstanding between the armies along the disputed Line of Actual Control.
In an another India-China meeting - the 17th Round of India China Special Representatives (SR) Talks
between the Indian delegation led by National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon and the Chinese
delegation by State Councilor (and former Foreign Minister) Yang Jiechi, there were discussions to settle
the
entire boundary issue through consultations. There were also discussions on bilateral, regional and
international issues of mutual interests.
The boundary question was among the three sensitive issues as far as India-China relations are
concerned.
The other two are the issue of trans-border rivers and China-Pakistan relations.
Besides, India and China are poised to begin a bilateral dialogue on maritime security, one of the most
highprofile
subject areas in the growing Asian rivalry. Both governments believe the common maritime interests,
such as the uninterrupted supply of hydrocarbons for both countries' energy security, outweigh any
naval
rivalry.
INDIA SRI LANKA
Sri Lanka has decided to open a new consulate in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. It is expected to play a
'crucial'
role in repairing bilateral ties due to the growing bonhomie between Sri Lanka and China. The consulate
is
slated to start functioning from the middle of next month.
As of now, only Russia and the Maldives have consulates in Thiruvananthapuram.
The International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) in the Palk Bay has been turned into a sensitive and
volatile
space in recent times. There have been cases of pelting of stones at a boat carrying Indian fishermen
injuring
20 of them on December 22, 2013 by Sri Lankan Navy and detention of 25 fishermen on January 3, 2014.
Colombo views the act as not only being illegal but depriving them of their marine wealth and also
causing
damage to the coral reefs in the region. The frequent arrests of Tamil fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy
for
maritime violations have been a bone of contention between the centre and the state and have also
threatened to strain India-Sri Lanka relations.
Later, India and Sri Lanka have decided to immediately free all fishermen in their respective custodies
and to
release their vessels. The agreement was worked out after a meeting between agriculture minister
Sharad
Pawar and Sri Lankan minister of fisheries and aquatic resources Rajitha Senaratne.
India has launched the third phase of the housing project in Sri Lanka by expanding the category of
beneficiaries to include Indian origin Tamils who are settled in the central part of the country as
plantation

40
laborers. The second phase was completed with successful construction of 10 thousand houses in the
North
and Eastern parts of the country for the internally displaced people who were affected by the civil war.
The Indian Housing project for constructing 50 thousand houses is the single largest full grant
assistance
programme of Indian government anywhere in the world. Under the beneficiary driven model, 2 lakh 55
thousand rupees are transferred to the selected beneficiaries and the construction is done by
internationally
chosen agencies who work under the supervision of the beneficiary themselves. The beneficiaries are
selected on basis of clearly laid down criteria in consultation with the government of Sri Lanka.
INDIA MALDIVES
Maldivian President Mr. Abdulla Yameen visited New Delhi and held talks with the Indian Prime
Minister Mr.
Manmohan Singh. This was the first visit to India of the newly elected president after the November
election.
Three MoUs have been signed between the two countries of which two are related to health and
human
resource development and one on the diplomatic front.
The two countries have also agreed to "amicably resolve" all differences, including over cancellation of
Indian
company GMR's contract to run Male International Airport. The previous government of President
Mohammed Waheed had cancelled the $500 million contract with GMR for the airport in December
2012,
leading to strain in ties.
India also extended a standby credit facility of $25 million to the Maldives for imports from India and
agreed
to meet the requirement of petroleum products in the island nation. Agreements have been made to
boost
security and maritime cooperation, people-to-people contacts and air connectivity.
Both sides also agreed to address visa and consular concerns. India has agreed to allow visa-free entry
for
people from the Maldives for medical purposes and removal of the restriction on re-entry within two
months,
which the Maldives president expressed appreciation of.
India has been concerned over the growing proximity between Maldives and China in a number of
strategic
areas including on security issues. But Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen tried to pacify India by
describing
the island nation's relationship with China as "very close" but that with India are "far more precious".
The two leaders have agreed on initiatives to strengthen bilateral defence and security cooperation
through
training, supply of equipment, capacity building, joint patrolling and aerial and maritime surveillance.
They
decided to deepen trilateral maritime security ties with Sri Lanka.
INDIA GERMANY
German President Joachim Gauck paid six-day state visit to India in February 2014. He was
accompanied by a
high-level delegation, including ministers, members of Parliament and business leaders.
The president of India, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, said that India-Germany strategic partnership is based
on
shared values and India considers Germany as a long standing and good friend.
Germany is the most important economic partner of India in Europe. In 2012 bilateral trade between
India
and Germany was Euro 17.5 billion. But there is much more potential to enhance commerce between
the
two countries.
The German president led threads of discussions on the setting up a green energy corridor in India.
Earlier,
Dr. Manmohan Singh and Dr. Merkel had described cooperation in renewable energy as a major focus of
bilateral cooperation.
In a joint statement, the two leaders had said that: The integration and evacuation of renewable
energy
into their respective national grids plays a pivotal role with major technological and physical challenges.
To
support India in addressing these challenges, the German government expresses its intention to assist
the
establishment of Green Energy Corridors in India through technical as well as financial development
cooperation. Germany will seek to bring this technology to India through a financial-technical
agreement of
Euros 1 billion. The discussions related to the matter are in advanced stage.
India and Germany also signed two umbrella agreements for financial and technical co-operation,
under
Indo German bilateral Development Cooperation framework. The Umbrella Agreements were signed by
Finance Minister P Chidambaram and German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and
Development
Gerd Mueller.

41
The Umbrella Agreement on Financial Cooperation pertains to concessional loans from Government of
Germany for nine projects namely Himalaya Hydropower Programme (HPPCL), Green Energy Corridors,
Promotional Programme for Energy Efficient New Residential Housing-II (NHB), Energy Efficiency in
Thermal
Power Plants (WBPDCL), Affordable Housing Programme (NHB), New Approaches in Microfinance and
Microenterprise Finance (SIDBI), Missing Middle Programme (SIDBI), Madhya Pradesh Urban Sanitation
and
Environment Programme and Himachal Pradesh Forest Ecosystems Climate Proofing Project. The
Umbrella
Agreement for technical cooperation pertains to thirteen projects in Energy, Environment and
Sustainable
economic development sectors.
Energy, Environment and Sustainable Economic Development are priority sectors under bilateral
development cooperation between India and Germany, which now spans over a period of more than
fifty
years.
INDIA ITALY
Italy has recalled its Ambassador to India, Mr. Daniele Mancini, for consultation, in an escalation of the
diplomatic row over the prosecution of two marines, Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre,
charged
with shooting dead fishermen off the Kerala coast in 2012.
Daniele Mancini was ordered to return home immediately for consultations after the Supreme Court
of India
adjourned hearings on the case by a week on 18th February a delay Rome said displays Indias
obvious
incapacity to manage the situation.
Basant Gupta, Indias ambassador to Rome, was also summoned to the Foreign Office, and formally
conveyed Foreign Minister Emma Bonino concerns.
Earlier, Italy had warned India over a move to invoke anti-piracy law against its marines.
The government of Italy said that a move to prosecute Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre
under the
Suppression of Unlawful Acts (SUA) maritime security law was "absolutely disproportionate and
incomprehensible".
Italy had also approached the European Union to pressurize India to deal with the matter quickly. Jose
Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, said: This issue has also a bearing on the
global fight against piracy, to which the European Union is strongly committed. But the European Union
is
opposed to the use of the death penalty in all cases and under any circumstances. It would bring about
negative consequences in relations with Italy and the European Union.
The two Italian marines Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre are facing trial for murder in
India.
The two were detained in February 2012 when they shot dead two Indian fishermen while guarding an
Italian oil tanker off Kerala, mistaking the fishermen for pirates.
The legal process has been delayed, initially on the question of jurisdiction and later on whether the
Centre
should allow the National Investigation Agency to proceed against the marines under the Suppression of
Unlawful Acts against Safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Act, 2002

which prescribes the death penalty for those causing death during an act of violence against any ship or
vessel.
INDIA USA
India US relations have witnessed a spike in tensions over a World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute
pertaining to Indias National Solar Mission (NSM).
US complained that the domestic content requirements [in NSM Phase II] discriminate against U.S.
exports
by requiring solar power developers to use Indian-manufactured equipment instead of U.S. equipment.
They
refer to these requirements as unfair and militated against WTO rules.
If the matter is not resolved through such consultations within 60 days of the request, the U.S. might
ask the
WTO to establish a dispute settlement panel.
It is the second time in a year that Washington has sought a consultation at the WTO - the first stage in
a
dispute process that can lead to sanctions - over India's Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission.
Meanwhile, New Delhi has said that there is clear evidence of 13 U.S. states which follow equally
restrictive
policies against India.

42
The ongoing trade spat between the two allies follows the recent arrest and strip search of a female
Indian
diplomat in New York in connection with visa fraud charges. The arrest sparked fury in India, prompted
retaliatory measures against U.S. diplomats there and plunged U.S.-India relations to their lowest point
since
India tested a nuclear device in 1998.
There are 14 past or current WTO cases between India and the United States, whose bilateral trade in
goods
measured $63.7 billion last year
To worsen the situation, The Office of the US Trade Representative - the body which regulates US
trade in
the world - held a hearing on 24 February to consider calls to put India on a watch list of worst offenders
for
alleged violations of American patents. It has accused the country of "rampant piracy and
counterfeiting" to
benefit its own industries. There is a deepening economic spat over cheap drugs and pirated software
made
in India.
India is also concerned about the proposed visa immigration overhaul which could tighten visa rules on
hightech
firms. The Senate bill, while increasing the overall number of H-1B visas available, would hike fees and
restrict additional H-1B visas for companies considered dependent on such foreign workers. The move
came
after complaints by US companies and labor groups that Indian tech firms bring in their own, lower-paid
employees rather than hiring Americans.
INDIA BAHRAIN
India and Bahrain have signed three agreements to expand cooperation in key areas, including trade
and
business. The agreements were signed in the presence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and King
Hamad
bin Isa Al Khalifa.
The leaders reviewed bilateral trade, and agreed to boost economic cooperation in diverse sectors.
Bahrain
has been seeking investments from Indian firms in various sectors.
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between India and Bahrain covered the following areas:
o To strengthen bilateral cooperation through institutional exchanges particularly through exchange of
youth and sports teams in various disciplines.
o On the establishment of a High-level joint commission for bilateral cooperation to replace the
Joint Committee for Technical and Economic Cooperation established in 1981. The High Joint
Commission, to be chaired by the Foreign Ministers, will serve as an umbrella framework for all
cooperation between the two countries.
o Another MoU signed between the Foreign Service Institute and the Diplomatic Institute of Bahrains
Ministry of Foreign Affairs to promote cooperation between the two organizations.
King's visit to India was meant to re-affirm Bahrain's interest to boost its deep-rooted ties with India
which
boasts of a strong economy and a great number of investors who can take advantage of Bahrain's
strategic
location and investment incentives to enter the USD 1.5 trillion Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) market.
Bahrain is an important trading partner for India with non-oil bilateral trade in 2012-13 exceeding USD
1.3
billion.
INDIA CANADA
Canadian Governor General Mr. David Johnston came to India on a week-long state visit from February
22 to
March 2. He was joined by parliamentarians and an accompanying delegation of Canadians who would
enhance business, academic, cultural and people-to-people ties with their Indian counterparts.
Both the countries are committed to strengthening our partnership and co-operation and signed 3
pacts for
cooperation in health sector, audio-visual co-production and skill development. These pacts includedo
In the field of health, The Grand Challenges Canada and Department of Biotechnology will work together
to address the global health challenges especially for women and child health care. It was signed by Dr.
T.S. Rao, Senior Advisor to Department of Biotechnology and Peter Singer, CEO of Grand Challenges
Canada.
o The secretary of information and broadcasting, Mr. Bimal Julka and Mr. Stewart Beck (High
Commissioner of Canada to India) signed an agreement on the audio visual cooperation. This MoU will
enable Indian and Canadian film producers to utilize a platform for collaboration on various facets of
film

43
making. The agreement is expected to deepen the engagement between the critical sectors of the film
industries of both countries there by, providing a new chapter of collaboration.
o In field of skill development, the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) from India and
Association of Canadian Community College (ACCC) from Canada will work in skill development segment
and to have best practices in training, transnational standards, and certification, which will go a long way
in creating a workforce that, can serve global needs.
Mr. David Johnston also inaugurated an office of the Consulate General of Canada in Bangalore. The
office
will house a Visa and Immigration Service point serving the entire south India. The Consulate Generals
office
in Bangalore, which will be third one in India apart from the offices functioning in Mumbai and
Chandigarh.
Earlier in September 2013, the Nuclear Cooperation Agreement between India and Canada came into
force.
Under this agreement, companies in both countries can export controlled nuclear materials, equipment
and
technology for peaceful purposes.
INDIA IRAN
His Excellency Dr. Mohammad Javad Zarif, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran
visited
India from February 27-28, 2014. There were discussions with the External Affairs Minister Salman
Khurshid
on a range of bilateral, regional and international issues.
Talks covered discussions on regional and international issues including developments in Afghanistan,
combating violence and extremism, as well as the expansions of trade and economic ties with India.
Besides, there were discussions on Irans crude oil exports. India has significantly reduced its imports
from
Iran since the West imposed harsh economic sanctions on Tehran over its controversial nuclear drive in
2012.
India is scheduled to conduct a dry run study in March 2014 on International North-South Transport
Corridor
(INSTC), through Nhava Sheva (Mumbai)- Bandar Abbas (Iran)- Tehran-Bandar Anzali (Iran)-Astrakhan
(Russia).
INDIA VENEZUELA
India and Venezuela signed a programme on cultural exchanges in the fields of publication, film and
media,
image and space arts, stage and music arts. The programme will last for three years and will be renewed
automatically thereafter.
The programme was signed by the Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Government of India, Shri Ravindra
Singh
and Minister of State for the Promotion of Cultural Economy, Ministry of Peoples Power for Culture,
Venezuela Mr Javier Sarabia after delegation level talks between the two countries.
According to the Programme of Cultural Exchange both the countries have decided to promote the
exchange
of bilingual publications (traditional and contemporary stories). There will be participation of the
Republic of
India in the Venezuelas International Book Fair on a reciprocal basis. It was decided to encourage the
participation of Venezuelan and Indian poets and writers in the literature festivals organized by both
countries. It has been decided to publish an issue of the magazine Actualidades (a CELARG
publication) on
the Republic of India or on Indian writers.
There will also be exchanges between theatre groups, film makers and representatives from both
countries,
among other things.
INDIA UAE
India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have signed an agreement to enhance cooperation in
renewable
energy, especially in the areas of solar and wind power.
Both the countries have also agreed to form a Joint Working Group for better coordination through
joint
research on subjects of mutual interest, exchange and training of scientific and technical personnel,
exchange
of available scientific and technologies information and data.
India and the UAE had recently signed the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement
(BIPPA).

44
INDIA AZERBAIJAN
Meeting of India-Azerbaijan Intergovernmental Commission on Trade and Economic, Science and
Technology
Cooperation took place in New Delhi on February 24-25, 2014.
India and Azerbaijan propose to constitute a joint working group in the field of hydrocarbon. Both the
sides
agreed to explore opportunities for participation in renewable energy sector, energy efficiency and
various
upcoming projects in oil and gas, petro-chemicals, pipelines, etc. in Azerbaijan or India or third countries
in
collaboration or joint venture. India showed keen interest in acquiring stakes into producing assets in
Azerbaijan.
The National Hydroelectric Power Corporation Ltd has expressed interest in the development of hydro
power plant in Azerbaijan. Besides, India has also assured Azerbaijan of easier access of Pharma
products in
Azerbaijan. It was also assured that the issues relating to registration and re-registration of Indian
Pharma
products by the Ministry of Health, Azerbaijan, will also be looked into.
Both sides reiterated there is potential to cooperate with each other in various sectors of trade like
investment, transport, energy, fertilizers, financial services, aviation, tourism, culture, pharmaceuticals,
health, agriculture & animal products, information and communication technology, chemicals, science,
education, visa & consular matters etc.
India will also undertake a pilot project in March 2014 on International North-South Transport
Corridor,
through Nhava Sheva (Mumbai)-Bandar Abbas (Iran)- Tehran-Bandar Anzali (Iran)-
Astrakhan(Russia).During
the meeting, both side reviewed the status of the construction of Gazvin-Rasht-Astara (Iran)-Astara
(Azerbaijan) railway route for connecting the railway lines of International North-South Transport
Corridor.
India also called for investment in the field of hotel industry tourism and infrastructural development
as
India allows 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in hospitality sector on automated basis.
The total trade between India and Azerbaijan rose from $ 565.98 million in 2011-12 to $ 608.55 million
in
2012-13.
INDIA - KYRGYZ REPUBLIC
The Foreign Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic, Mr. Erlan Abdyldaev paid the state visit to India on 13-15
February, 2014 at the invitation of Shri Salman Khurshid, External Affairs Minister of India. The ministers
reviewed the significant progress made in the bilateral relations and noted common positions on current
international and regional issues.
After the talks, the sides exchanged documents operationalizing a bilateral treaty on mutual legal
assistance
in criminal matters an exchange of instrument of ratification and an agreement on visa free travel for
diplomatic, official and service passport holders.
The sides agreed to intensify parliamentary exchanges in this context and the Indian side welcomed
the
proposed visit of a Kyrgyz Parliamentary delegation to India later this year.
Both countries observed that trade levels were well below potential and agreed to take steps to
stimulate
bilateral trade. They also noted the scope of cooperation in mining, pharmaceuticals, textiles and
garment
industries, transport and communication, education, health and tourism, as priority sectors for
promoting
bilateral investment.
The Indian side expressed appreciation at the visit of a Kyrgyz cultural troupe to India and emphasised
the
importance of bilateral cultural exchanges. The sides also discussed cooperation in film making and the
Kyrgyz side proposed joint theatrical production of the epic 'Manas'.
INDIA OMAN
His Excellency Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs, Sultanate of
Oman
paid an official visit to India on February 28, 2014 to discuss bilateral, regional and other issues of
mutual
interest.
The two countries held dialogues on security matters and aimed at conducting regular Naval and Air
exercises.

45
There are more than 1500 Indo-Omani joint ventures with the total investment of more than USD 7
billion.
However, there is scope for enhancement of bilateral trade, which is approximately USD 5 billion per
annum.
India also discussed the possibility of reviving a project for a deep sea pipeline connecting Oman and
Iran to
India. The pipeline would be mutually advantageous for Iran and India, with the former having a massive
surplus of gas and the latter having high energy needs. Iran-Oman-India pipeline would source its gas
from
Iran's South Pars oil and gas fields located in the Arabian Gulf. The pipeline would be 1,400 kilometers
long
and could transfer 31 million cubic meters of gas per day to India. It is proposed that even Turkmenistan
and
Azerbaijan energy can feed the pipeline for an ever-growing Indian market.
Oman had invested $90 million on this project over a decade ago, but it got no traction then. But now,
the
technology has come of age, with pipelines being built under the Mediterranean Sea from Algeria to
Italy,
and under the Black Sea from Russia to Germany. Abdullah suggested the pipeline could transport gas
from
Iran.
Indias close and friendly relationship with Oman is based on historical people to people contacts.
Oman is
an important trading partner of India in the Gulf with two- way trade exceeding US$4.6 billion in 2012-
13.
India has been the topmost destination for Omani non-oil exports. Our two-way bilateral investments
have
reached over US$7.5 billion.
The contribution of over 700,000 strong vibrant Indian community in the progress and development of
Oman is well acknowledged and appreciated.
INDIA FIJI
Mr. Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Fiji, came for a
state
visit to India from 10 12 February for the biennial India-Fiji Foreign Office Consultations.
During the ministerial meeting, there were wide ranging discussions on bilateral, regional and
international
issues of common interests to the two countries. Minister Kubuabola provided an update on the political
developments in Fiji in its preparations for democratic elections that will take place by September and
also
discussed the positive reforms that Government has put in place since in came into power in its efforts
to
build a better Fiji for all. The two sides commented on their common interest and expressed that Fijis
commitment to its bilateral relations with India as a long-term one, which is underpinned by historical
cultural ties and enriched through good understanding and mutual respect.
The two countries signed three MOUs on renewed development cooperation, water resource
management
and trade measurements and standards, which would foster greater cooperation between the two
governments in these respective areas.
Besides, there were discussions related to improving trade and relations in the fields of sugar industry,
youth
and sports, reciprocal visa on arrival arrangements, capacity building programs, and modern
technological
advances in agricultural productivity, defence, Barefoot College for women and pharmaceuticals.
India had signed a Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) with the Government of Republic of
Fiji for
the avoidance of double taxation and for the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on
income in
January 2014. The negotiations for the DTAA between both the countries were completed in 2011. The
DTAA
will provide tax stability to the residents of India and Fiji and facilitate mutual economic cooperation as
well
as stimulate the flow of investment, technology and services between India and Fiji. It also incorporates
provisions for an effective exchange of information and assistance in collection of taxes between tax
authorities of the two countries including exchange of banking information. There are provisions of
incorporating anti-abuse provisions to ensure that the benefits of the Agreement are availed of only by
the
residents of the two countries and to prevent any abuse of treaty.
BCIM TRADE CORRIDOR
India, China, Bangladesh and Myanmar held the first ever official-level discussions on the ambitious
BCIM
economic corridor to link India and China with Bangladesh and Myanmar. The meeting was held in
China.
The economic advantages of the BCIM trade corridor are to move towards an approach to numerous
markets
in Southeast Asia with improvement of transportation infrastructure and creation of industrial zones.

46
Currently, the four nations have raised an ambitious proposal that included developing multi-modal
transport, such as road, rail, waterways and airways, joint power projects, telecommunication networks,
etc.
Over the next six months, each country would come up with a joint study report proposing concrete
projects
and financing modalities before the next meeting of the four nations in June this year in Bangladesh.
The corridor, it was agreed, will run from Kunming to Kolkata, linking Mandalay in Myanmar as well as
Dhaka
and Chittagong in Bangladesh.
VISA ON ARRIVAL IN INDIA
The Government of India approved the plan to extend visa-on-arrival facility to almost all countries
(180
countries) barring a handful categorized as sensitive due to the security risk they pose. Pakistan,
Sudan,
Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Sri Lanka and Somalia are eight countries that have been kept out of the
list.
At present, India extends visa-on-arrival facility to 11 countries including New Zealand, Japan and
Vietnam.
The new facility is expected to be function from the next tourist session beginning October.
The model, likely to be put in place, will do away with the need to visit an Indian mission but will
require
tourists to make an online application before their departure. The Bureau of Immigration will set up a
website for this and upon submission of an application, it will email an electronic visa/travel
authorization
within 2-3 days, allowing the tourist to enter India and also facilitate easier verification at airports.
The electronic visa-on-arrival would be available at 26 major airports in India and would be valid for 30
days
from the date of the tourist's arrival in India.
As per the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, December 2013, Indias rank in the World Tourism
Receipts
during 2012 was 16th and rank in international tourist arrivals was 41. The rank of India was 7th among
Asia
& the Pacific Region in terms of tourism receipts during 2012.


WORLD AFFAIRS
UKRAINE CRISIS
The ongoing crisis in Ukraine is one of the most serious crisis the world has faced in recent years. The
confrontation between President Viktor Yanukovych and the growing popular protest movement has
lurched
back and forth since late November, with violent episodes punctuated by truces, talks and attempts at
mediation.
The original cause for the protests, i.e. the suspension of talks on an association with the EU, became
less
and less important with time. Demands that the EU negotiations be reinstated and the closer
relationship
with Russia, which the president had embraced, be repudiated were eclipsed by an insistence that the
president and all his people step down and the corrupt, coercive and quasi-criminal system through
which
they were said to be ruling be dismantled.
The death of many protestors in Kiev, followed by a crackdown on so-called terrorism across the
country and
allegations that a coup was under way, had caused irreparable damage and had taken the Ukrainian
government, the formal opposition and the protest movement beyond the point of no return.
A look at the timeline of the event
o 2010: Victor Yanukovych is elected as president of Ukraine with 48.95 per cent of the vote. He
overturns a government dominated by factions from the pro-Western "Orange Revolution" of 2004,
who had proved quarrelsome and ineffective in office.
o November 21, 2013: At a summit in Lithuania, Mr Yanukovych unexpectedly abandons plans to
sign
a long-awaited trade deal with Brussels, which would have put Ukraine firmly in Europe's orbit. It
triggers widespread protests, amid claims that Russia put pressure on Mr. Yanukovych, prompting
pro-European opposition groups to call for protests.
o December 1, 2013: After a week of smaller demonstrations, a crowd of up to 500,000 gathers on
Independence Square in Kiev, setting up camp and building barricades.
o December 17, 2013:President Viktor Yanukovych travels to Moscow, where he secures a $17
billion
bailout deal and a huge price cut for Russian gas. Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, says that
Moscow will buy $15 bn of Ukrainian bonds, in what is widely seen as a blandishment for Ukraine to
remain in the Kremlin's sphere of influence.
o January 19, 2014: Dozens are wounded in bloody clashes between police and protesters in Kiev
after
200,000 defy new restrictions on protests.
o January 25, 2014: Mr. Yanukovych offers opposition leaders Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Vitali Klitschko
entry to the government, but they decline.
o January 28, 2104: Prime Minister Mykola Azarov resigns, parliament scraps the anti-protest laws.
o January 29, 2014: Parliament passes an amnesty bill, but the opposition rejects its conditions
o February 2, 2014: Mr. Yatsenyuk and Mr. Klitschko call for international mediation and Western
financial aid in front of more than 60,000 demonstrators in Kiev.
o February 3, 2014: The EU says that it is mulling, alongside Washington and the IMF, economic
assistance, but only once Kiev embarks on political reforms.
o February 7, 2104: Mr Yanukovych meets his ally, Russian president Vladimir Putin, on the sidelines
of the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.
o February 14, 2014: All 234 protesters who have been arrested since December are released but
charges against them remain.
o February 16, 2014: Protesters evacuate Kiev city hall after occupying the building since December
1,
along with other public buildings in the regions. A day later arrested protesters are granted amnesty.
o February 18, 2014: At least 26 people, including 10 policeman, are killed in the bloodiest day of
clashes in nearly three months of protests. Protesters take back control of Kiev's city hall. Riot police
encircle Independence Square, where some 25,000 protesters remain after the expiry of a
ultimatum from security forces demanding calm be restored.
o February 19, 2014: President Viktor Yanukovych agrees to a "truce" with opposition leaders and a
start to negotiations to prevent further bloodshed. Opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk announces
that a planned raid of Independence Square will not take place. EU leaders call an emergency
meeting expected to consider laying sanctions.

48
o February 21, 2014: Mr. Yanukovych and opposition leaders sign a deal aimed at ending the
bloodshed. The deal calls for presidential elections by December, the formation of a national unity
government and constitutional changes to reduce the president's powers.
o February 22, 2014: Ukrainian politicians vote to remove Mr. Yanukovych from power. Opposition
leader Yulia Timoshenko freed from jail.Ukrainian parliament elects Oleksander Turchinov as its
interim speaker.
o February 24, 2014: Ukraine issues an arrest warrant for Mr. Yanukovych and launches a probe into
the "mass murder" of protestors in Kiev.
o February 26, 2014: Russian president Vladimir Putin orders an urgent drill to test the combat
readiness of the nation's armed forces in the western Russia. This includes army, navy and air force
troops. Moscow grants Mr Yanukovych refuge
o March 1, 2014: Mr. Putin asks the Russian parliament to approve the use of military force in
Ukraine,
which the parliament grants. US president Barack Obama warns Russia "there will be costs" for any
military intervention in Ukraine.
OPINION
The result is a deepening of the crisis that will affect not only the fate of Ukraine, but that of Russia,
the
European Union and the United States. Early elections might represent a way out, but it is hard to
imagine
the regime, having chosen the path of repression, making such a concession.
At stake for Russia is Mr. Putin's credibility, and that of his own system, not so very different in some
respects from Mr. Yanukovych. Although there is much Russian popular support for him on the Ukraine
issue, this might well erode if the situation there slipped into wider violence or even into something akin
to
civil war.
At stake for the EU, already weakened by the euro crisis and by its own internal divisions, is its weight
in
international affairs and in its own continent.
At stake for the United States is its already prickly relationship with Russia. That has implications for
arms
control and for American diplomacy on Syria and Iran. Co-operation between America and Russia has
slipped
badly, but what remains is still a requirement for an orderly world.
EVENTS IN BANGLADESH
ELECTIONS IN BANGLADESH
Sheikh Hasina was sworn as the Prime Minister of Bangladesh for the second time in succession on
January,
12, 2014 after the January 5 elections.
This was the 10th general election to be held in the 42 years of Bangladesh history.
Elections were held for only 147 constituencies out of the 300 seats for the Bangladesh Jatiyo Sangsad
The
Bangladesh Parliament of which 153 seats have returned winners without contest.
Awami League won two-third majority in the elections which were held amid massive violence and
boycott by
the opposition parties.
The Khaleda Zia-led opposition alliance had called a 48-hour fresh back-to-back countrywide hartal
from
Monday to demand Sundays general elections be scrapped.
There were many incidents of opposition activists setting on fire as many as 100 polling stations. The
voter
turnout was considerably lower due to fear factor among voters with estimates of the turnout just 22-
30% of
the voting population.
Most of the attacks took place in the minority dominated villages where Hindus, in particular, were
targeted
by the majority. Bangladesh Government has decided to setup special tribunals under an anti-terror law
to
punish the perpetrators of violence aimed at the minority community.
While India has backed the poll, there has been very little support in international arena. The United
States,
United Kingdom, Australia and European Union has called for another poll at the earliest.


BANGLADESH WAR CRIMES TRIBUNAL
In what seems to be a desperate move to conclude business, the International War Crimes Tribunal
has
convicted yet another member of opposition party for crimes against humanity, killing and genocide
committed during 1971 war of independence.
Abdul Alim, an octogenarian politician and former minister is the eighth such person to be so
convicted.
The International Crimes Tribunal was set up in December 2008 after Awami League won the
elections. By
2012, nine leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami were indicted as suspects and the first person convicted was Abul
Kalam Azad (Bachchu), tried in absentia as he had left the country; he was sentenced to death in January
2013.
DEATH SENTENCE TO PARESH BARUA
Paresh Barua, chief of the breakaway United Liberation Front of Asom faction, was awarded death
penalty in
connection with an arms haul in 2004.
Investigations revealed that the weapons were manufactured in China and were being shipped to the
ULFA.
Police had seized 10 trucks carrying weapons and ammunition from the state-owned Chittagong Urea
Fertilizer Ltd.
EVENTS IN PAKISTAN
TALKS WITH TTP
The Pakistan government has decided to hold peace talks with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) with
two
teams being nominated to chart a roadmap for talks.
The move to hold talks came as a surprise when the Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, named a team to
begin
dialogue with the militants, who have been waging a violent insurgency since 2007.The TTP has said in
the
past that it opposes democracy and wants Islamic sharia law imposed throughout Pakistan, while the
government has stressed the country's constitution must remain paramount.
The government team consists of senior journalists Irfan Siddiqui and Rahimullah Yusufzai, former
diplomat
Rustam Shah Mohmand and retired major Mohammad Aamir, formerly of the Inter Services Intelligence
agency.The Taliban side includes Maulana Sami-ul-Haq, a hardliner cleric known in the west as the
"Father of
the Taliban", as well as the chief cleric of Islamabad's Red Mosque and two other religious party leaders.
The
TTP had asked cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan to be part of their team but he declined.
The TTP had proposed the following fifteen points for keeping the peace talks going. These are- The
points
are: Stop drone attacks Introduce Sharia law in courts Introduce Islamic system of education in both
public and private educational institutions Free Pakistani and foreign Taliban captured in jails
Restoration
and remuneration for damage to property during drone attacks Hand over control of tribal areas to
local
forces Withdrawal of army from tribal areas and close down check posts All criminal allegations held
against the Taliban to be dropped Prisoners from both sides to be released Equal rights for all, poor
and
rich Families of drone attack victims to be offered jobs End interest based banking system Stop
supporting the US on the war on terror Replace the democratic system of governance with Islamic
system
Break all relations with the US.
However, Pakistani negotiators had to cancel the meetings in Mid-February with the Taliban after the
insurgents claimed they had killed 23 soldiers kidnapped by them in 2010, dealing a severe blow to the
fledgling peace process. On the other hand, the TTP has lamented that on the one hand the government
has
initiated the process of talks, while on the other it has continued to target TTP members.
RELATIONS WITH CHINA

50
Pakistan and China have signed an agreement of early harvest projects in the economic corridor
during the
Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain visit to Beijing. Under the agreement, Beijing will provide more
than
$20 billion for projects to generate over 20,000MW of electricity and other crucial infrastructure
projects.
The talks focused on a new China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. The projects will include the Karakoram
Highway up to Islamabad, Karachi-Lahore Motorway, new Gwadar Airport and economic zones. Besides,
China has also agreed to finance projects in Pakistan in energy, transport, and rail and road links.
Oil and gas pipelines are also part of the economic corridor over the long run, which is expected to
provide a
much-needed boost to economic activities in insurgency-hit Baluchistan.
China has completed constructing one of its longest tunnels which will help it build a rail link with
Pakistan.
The completed tunnel runs 22.24 km in the mountainous Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and will
reduce
the distance between Turpan with Korla in southern Xinjiang by 122 km. At present the distance
between
these two points on the Nanjiang Railway is 334 km. It has also announced plans for building the world's
longest undersea tunnel measuring 123 km to link two major cities.
However, Chinese firms are still cautious about the investment deals in Pakistan due to terror activities
in
these regions.
PERVEZ MUSHARRAF TO FACE TRIAL ON TREASON CHARGES
Pervez Musharraf has been charged with treason. The treason charges relate to his decision in 2007 to
suspend the constitution and impose emergency rule. He also faces separate charges of murder and
restricting the judiciary.
He is the first Pakistani former military ruler to face trial for treason. If found guilty, he could be
sentenced to
death or life in prison. Mr. Musharraf, 70, denies the charges and says all the accusations against him
are
politically motivated.
However, his lawyers have said that Musharraf cannot get a fair trial in Pakistan because of his history
of
disputes with the judiciary and the involvement of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif whom he once
overthrew in
a coup.
The trial opened on December 24 but was immediately suspended after Musharraf did not appear
because a
bag of explosives was found on his route to the court.
However, Musharraf has not appeared in court on medical grounds till now.
EVENTS IN CHINA
SOUTH CHINA SEA AIR ZONE
News from the Chinese territory shook the world when news came out of establishing a new air
defence
zone in South China Sea. The disclosure was enough to provoke Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia,
Brunei
and Taiwan, all of whom claim sovereignty over parts or all of the disputed territory, which includes
hundreds of islands, cays, shoals and reefs.
However, China later said that there was no need for such a zone in the South China Sea, where China,
Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines and Taiwan all have competing claims.
In November, China established its first Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) over parts of the East
China
Sea, amid an increasingly tense stand-off with Japan over the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku islands.
An Air Defence Identification Zone is a defined area in international airspace within which countries
monitor
and track aircraft heading towards their territory.
The setting up of the ADIZ heightened tensions with Japan, as it overlapped with Japans zone and
included
the disputed islands. China at the time defended the move, pointing out that Japan had established its
own
ADIZ in 1969.
China-Japan relations have soured over the past year over the disputed islands, and issues relating to
wartime history and the Japanese occupation of China during the Second World War. China was
especially
angered by a visit by the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the controversial Yasukuni war shrine
a
memorial for Japanese who died during the war that also enshrines 14 Class-A war criminals which
was
the first by a Japanese leader in seven years. The rising tensions with Japan have coincided with an
apparent

51
diplomatic outreach by China to other Asian countries. [Also refer to the November 2013 Current
Affairs
notes for more details about this issue.]
MARITIME SILK ROAD INITIATIVE
China has taken a new initiative to build a Maritime Silk Road which it says is aimed at improving
connectivity and trade among Asian nations through the sea on the lines of ancient Silk Route.
China has also invited India to be part of this new initiative.
The Maritime Sea Route (MSR) was mooted last year with countries of Southeast Asia by President Xi
Jinping
during his visit to Indonesia and Malaysia where he stated that the MSR would help turn the "Golden
Decade" between China and Southeast Asian Countries into "Diamond Decade".
Simultaneously, China also worked to revive the ancient Silk Route which existed 2,000 years to with a
host
of Central Asian states. Besides MSR, China has proposed the Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar
(BCIM)
corridor to improve trade and businesses among all the four countries.
Under the new scenario, New Delhi is likely to be torn between two competing ideasone is working
together with China in the maritime domain and the other is the long-standing goal of limiting Beijings
influence in the Indian Ocean.
CHINA-SRILANKA RELATIONS
China plans to take forward plans to boost maritime connectivity with Sri Lanka, where it is already
building
a major port project, with both countries agreeing to deepen their economic links and sign a landmark
Free
Trade Agreement (FTA).
China is now the biggest provider of loans to Sri Lanka, overtaking countries such as India and Japan
that had
earlier been the largest source of financing for infrastructure projects.
China has been among the most vocal backers of the Sri Lankan government amid increasing
international
criticism of the post-war reconciliation process and the human rights situation. It has continuously
opposed
any move against Sri Lanka in the UNHRC.
The growing relations between China and Sri Lanka are a concern for India as India wants to keep Sri
Lanka
under its sphere of influence.
WAR CRIMES IN SRI LANKA
US TO PRESS SRI LANKA ON WAR CRIMES ALLEGATIONS AT UNHRC
The United States has said that it will sponsor a resolution at the U.N. Human Rights Council
(UNHRC)which
could call for an international investigation into allegations of war crimes during the island nation's civil
conflict.
Meanwhile Sri Lanka has tried to persuade US administration that it is on a path toward national
reconciliation, nearly five years after crushing a quarter-century rebellion by ethnic Tamil fighters.
A U.N. report previously said that as many as 40,000 Tamil civilians died, mostly in government
attacks, but
Sri Lanka denies such a high toll and has repeatedly denied it deliberately targeted civilians.
The Sri Lankan government is planning to move a counter resolution at the UNHRC in March this year
to
probe possible human rights violations, crimes against humanity and possible war crimes since 1975.
In order to avoid hurting Tamil sentiment ahead of elections, the Indian government has refused to
commit
Sri Lanka any support against a US-sponsored UN resolution accusing its military of committing war
crimes. At
the same time, New Delhi also wants to keep Colombo as an ally amid the Chinese making inroads into
Sri
Lanka.
PROBE INTO WAR CRIMES IN SRI LANKA
The United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay has called for an international probe into
war
crimes committed in Sri Lanka during the final stages of its ethnic conflict. In her report the Sri Lankan
government recently, she had recommended for setting up of an international inquiry mechanism to
further

52
investigate the alleged violations of international human rights and humanitarian law and monitor any
domestic accountability process.
The report also reiterates concerns about the continuing trend of attacks on freedom of expression,
peaceful
assembly and association; rising levels of religious intolerance; and continued militarization.
She has set a March 2014-deadline for the government to engage in a credible national inquiry into
reported
cases of violations of international human rights and humanitarian law failing which the international
community would establish its own inquiry mechanism.
The report also says that the Sri Lankan government has taken no significant steps to implement the
recommendations on accountability of its own Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission.
The Sri Lankan government has not yet officially responded to the report.
The Human Rights Watch (HRW) has also backed the UN rights chiefs recommendation for an
international
inquiry into alleged war crimes committed in Sri Lanka during the final phase of battle with the LTTE.
EVENTS IN UNITED STATES
JANET YELLEN TO HEAD US FEDERAL RESERVE
Janet Yellen was confirmed as next head of the US Federal Reserve by the US senate to succeed
outgoing Fed
chairman Ben Bernanke who has served for 8 years.
She would be the first woman to lead the central bank in its 100 year history.
She was nominated by U.S. President Barack Obama for the post in October and would be the first
Democrat
to serve the job since 1987.
US GERMANY NO SPYING TALKS
In August, 2013, US and Germany had announced to negotiate a deal not to spy on each other after
revelations about the US' National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance.
This was compounded by allegations the US had monitored Merkel's mobile phone and European
interest in
the claims of the former NSA intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, who has temporary asylum in
Moscow.
Amidst the reports that the talks are going no-where, the interior minister of Germany claimed that
the talks
are progressing.
It was the attempt by both countries to restore the relations between the nations which were at all
time low
due to the spying revelations.
JOHN KERRY PUSHES FOR ISRAEL PALESTINE PEACE TALKS
John Kerry, US Secretary of State, has held talks with Israel and Palestine to establish fixed, defined
parameters for a permanent peace deal held at the beginning of the new year.
Amidst the attempt to establish peace, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accused
Palestine of
helping to incite violence by recent spate of terrorist attacks.
The meeting is aimed at establishing a framework that would act as a guideline for reaching a full
peace
treaty between Israel and Palestine in April, in which Israel would exist peacefully alongside a new
Palestinian
state; as aimed by the two-state solution.
However, no significant outcomes could come out from the talks held in January.

53
SYRIA ISSUE
GENEVA II CONFERENCE
Geneva II international conference was held to find a political solution to the conflict in Syria, which
begun in
Switzerland on 22nd January, 2014. Its main aim was to discuss how to implement the Geneva
Communiqu
of 30 June 2012, to end the war, and start a process toward a New Syrian republic
It was in May 2013 when US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
agreed
for the first time to try to "bring both sides to the table" to end the bloodshed.
Talks were held amidst the Syrian government announcement that it would not hand over power to
anyone
during the talks.
Iran, a crucial ally of Syrian President Assad, was also invited to join the start of the Geneva II
conference
which was accepted by Iran with an aim to be part of the solution to the Syrian crisis. However, the
invitation
was later withdrawn by UN after the Syrian opposition threatened to boycott the conference if
President Iran
took part.
The first round of talks ended on 31 January without yielding any tangible result. The second round of
negotiations is scheduled to take place on 10-15 February 2014.
SECOND ROUND OF GENEVA II
The second round of Geneva II peace talks continued in February 2014 with the warring sides blaming
each
other for escalating violence and difficulties. The talks were initiated by the U.N. and Arab League
mediator
Lakhdar Brahimi.
Meanwhile, Russia has accused the West of trying to derail the Syria peace talks and revert to the
military
scenario of regime change in the violence-torn country. Russia has also opposed a Western-backed draft
resolution in the U.N. Security Council on the humanitarian crisis in Syria as absolutely one-sided and
detached from reality. Over the past two years Russia has blocked three Western-backed resolutions
censuring the Syrian government.
The conflict will soon enter its fourth year on March 15; it has so far killed 136,000 people and
displaced over
two million amid atrocities by all involved.
The Syrian situation has been called a proxy war involving the West, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar on the
opposition side, and Russia and Iran plus the Hezbollah on the regimes side, but certain opposition
leaders
resent being used thus, and government officials speak of being treated like vassals by Iran, Russia, and
the
Hezbollah. In addition, the al Qaeda-linked faction, the Islamic State of Iraq and al Shams (ISIS), holds the
provincial capital of Rakka in central Syria, and serves a purpose both for Damascus, which tells the West
that
if the government fell al Qaeda would win, and for the SNC, which submerges its internal differences to
fight
ISIS.
In a landmark decision, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has passed a unanimous resolution
on the
delivery of humanitarian aid to Syria the decision flowing from a consensus that the government and
the
armed opposition would be held responsible for providing relief to the people entangled in the bloody
conflict. The UNSC called for an immediate end to all forms of violence in the country and strongly
condemned the rise of al-Qaeda-affiliated terror. The resolution was backed by Russia when the
resolution
was passed without fixing responsibility on either side.
Also to make the matters worse, Moscow has warned Riyadh not to try and change the balance of
power in
Syria, by supplying Pakistan-made shoulder-fired anti-aircraft weapons to the armed opposition.
The only glimmer of hope in all this is that since October 2013, opposition and government members
have
been meeting privately at the Chteau de Bossey in Switzerland. As the United States and Russia will
almost
certainly back any agreement they reach, it is imperative that those involved continue talking and that
all
others stay away.

54
FRIENDS OF SYRIA MEET
Foreign ministers of The Friends of Syria met in Paris. The Group of Friends of the Syrian People, or
Friends
of Syria, is an international collective meeting outside the UN Security Council over the Syrian crisis.
Started
by then French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the group by this time includes eleven core members with the
US,
Britain, France, Germany, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia among them.
It supported the Geneva II Conference and stated that the only way for a political solution to end the
Syrian
war is for peace talks in Geneva to take place.
The core group also urged the National Coalition to respond positively to the invitation to set up the
Syrian
opposition delegation sent by the UN Secretary General and come to table for talk on the issue.
As per the joint statement, the core group concluded that Removing Assad from Syria for the future
has now
been clearly established in a unanimous decision adopted by the group without the possibility for
ambiguity.
P5 +1 AND IRAN
Iran has halted its most sensitive nuclear program under a preliminary deal with world superpowers
(P5+1
country) by completing the dilution process for 20 percent enriched uranium.
This action of Iran will bring some relief from economic sanctions imposed on the Islamic republic from
the
west. As per the official reports, Iran would receive the first $550 million installment of a total of $4.2
billion
in frozen overseas funds on or around February 1. It will be followed by two payments in March, two
more in
April, one in May, one in June and the last $550 million payment on or around July 20.
Iran will be able to resume trade in petrochemicals, gold and other prestigious metals.
United States has asked Iran to include its ballistic missile programme within the ambit of the ongoing
nuclear
dialogue, signaling a tussle between the two countries to draw maximum political advantage out of the
talks.
However, Iran has rejected any such claim and has said that ballistic missile program shall not be
discussed
during Tehrans nuclear dialogue.
A nuclear deal, signed in November 2013, resulted in the commencement of a dialogue between Iran
and its
interlocutors United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany which envisions lifting of all
sanctions against Tehran within six months, provided it could be verifiably ascertained that Iran was not
in
pursuit of atomic weapons.
Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reached a seven-point agreement entailing
practical
steps that Tehran would undertake prior to May 15 deadline, in order to build confidence about its
nuclear
intentions.
The deal includes plan to increase transparency, including a pledge by Iran to provide information and
explanations for the Agency to assess Irans stated need or application for the development of Exploding
Bridge Wire detonators.
Besides, talks in Vienna have also begun between Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N
.Security
Council plus Germany (P5+1 member). The Vienna talks between Iran and the E3/EU+3 group, acting for
the
P5+1, have reached a constructive conclusion. The parties had identified all the issues necessary for a
longterm
deal and have agreed on the framework for a comprehensive and final agreement. The next round of
talks is to start on March 17, in Vienna.
Under the interim agreement, Iran will stop producing uranium enriched to nearly 20 per cent, will
dilute half
the stockpile it has already enriched to the same level, and will continue converting the rest to a form
unsuitable for further enrichment. In addition, Tehran will not enrich uranium in about half the
centrifuges at
Natanz and three quarters of those at Fordo. It will manufacture equipment only to repair existing
machines,
and will put the Arak heavy-water reactor on indefinite hold. It will not build any more enrichment
facilities.
Furthermore, the International Atomic Energy Agency will be able to inspect Natanz and Fordo on a daily
basis, and the Arak reactor at least on a monthly basis.
On the other side, the western countries in particular have undertaken not to impose further nuclear-
related
sanctions if Iran fulfils its Vienna commitments; they will also pay Iran a total of $4.2 billion in oil
revenues,
allow Iran to resume exporting precious metals, suspend sanctions on Irans petrochemical exports, and
permit the Islamic Republic to import goods and services for automobile manufacturing plants. In
addition,
they will maintain their current levels of crude oil imports from Iran, and will allow Irans civil airlines to

55
acquire spare parts and services.[Please also refer to the November 2013 Current Affairs, for more
details
about this issue.]
LATVIA JOINS EUROZONE
Latvia becomes the 18th country to adopt Euro as its currency.
The people bade farewell to their old currency Lats, which was first introduced in 1922.
The Lats was the fourth-highest-valued currency unit after the Kuwaiti dinar, Bahraini dinar, and the
Omani
rial at end of circulation.
A two week transition period during which the Lats was in circulation along with the euro ended on 14
January 2014.
The transition leaves Lithuania as the lone Baltic nation still outside the currency bloc.
Apart from Lithuania, which is expected to join Euro in 2015, the prospect of Euro zone into the rest of
the
bloc of 28 countries is extremely remote.
The transition was not smooth as half the population opposes the third currency switch in just over
two
decades, fearing price hikes and infuriated by the draconian austerity cuts made to get the country into
the
club.
AFGHANISTAN LIKELY TO JOIN THE WTO
Officials at the Ministry of Commerce and Industries of the Afghan Government have announced that
preparations for Afghanistan to join the World Trade Organization (WTO) are in final stage and in next
three
months, Afghanistan will be a member of WTO.
In order to be member of WTO, Afghanistan must need to sign bilateral trade agreements with the EU,
Turkey and Taiwan, out of the eight negotiating members of World Trade Organization.
If Afghanistan becomes a member of the World Trade Organization, the trade, commerce and
investment in
the country is likely to go up in coming years.
Currently 160 nations of the world are members of the WTO.
But economic analysts have maintained that the yield of membership in the WTO will ultimately come
down
to the economic management of the government and the quality improvement of Afghan products
EGYPT ISSUE
EGYPTS NEW CONSTITUTION
The Egyptian Constitution of 2014 was passed in a referendum in January 2014.The constitution took
effect
after the results were announced on 18 January 2014.
The proposed new Egyptian constitution has been backed by 98.1% of people who voted in a
referendum.
The draft constitution replaces one introduced by Islamist President Mohammed Morsi before he was
ousted.
Under the newly proposed draft:
o The president may serve two four-year terms and can be impeached by parliament.
o Islam remains the state religion - but freedom of belief is absolute, giving some protection to
minorities.
o The state guarantees "equality between men and women".
o Parties may not be formed based on "religion, race, gender or geography".
o Military to appoint defence minister for next eight years.
The document also guarantees an absolute freedom of expression that is subject to broad exceptions.
MOHD. MORSI TRIALS
Mohd. Morsi, Egypts first freely elected president faces charges of inciting his supporters to kill 10
protesters demonstrating near the presidential palace on December 10, 2012. The trial was scheduled to
be
held in February.

56
But the trial got delayed because despite a heavy security presence outside court, a lawyer
representing
Morsi was mobbed by anti-Morsi protesters as he arrived. The defence lawyers have staged a walk out
since
then.
Also, Morsi's legal team was angered by the use of a soundproof glass cage installed in the dock to
contain
the former leader and his co-defendants. Mr. Morsi was not able to listen to the court proceedings as a
consequence of being kept inside the soundproof chamber.
Besides, other charges are:
o Conspiring with foreign organisations to commit terrorist acts, with prosecutors accusing Mr. Morsi
of forming an alliance with the Palestinian militant group Hamas and Lebanon's Hezbollah
o Murdering prison officers in a jailbreak in 2011 during the uprising against the then-President Hosni
Mubarak
o Insulting the judiciary
Besides, Prosecutors have also accused deposed president Mohamed Morsi of leaking state secrets to
Irans
Revolutionary Guards as part of a plot to destabilise Egypt.
POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS
Interim President Adly Mansour has issued a decree on January 26 stating that presidential elections
could
get started as early as mid-February and no later than April 18, following the approval of the country's
newly-amended constitution.
Meanwhile Egypt's Defence Minister, Field Marshal Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has said he will run in the
presidential elections. With no obvious candidates so far competing in the race, Sisis chances of
becoming
the countrys next president are high.If he wins, he will be the sixth general to rule Egypt, with Morsi
being
the only civilian to have filled the post.
In a strange turn of events, Russias President Vladimir Putin has made a startling intervention in
Egypts
political turmoil by backing Abdel el-Sisi for the presidency, even before an election has even been
declared.
The declaration came during the 2+ 2 meeting between Russia and Egypt held in Moscow.
Ties between Russia and Egypt appeared visibly on the upswing, after the United States announced
that it
was holding back on the delivery of the $1.3 billion annual military aid to Cairo following Mr. Morsi exit.
The
talks are also significant as they are being pursued in the backdrop of Moscows deep engagement with
the
government in Syria, which is in the cross-hairs of the U.S. and its Gulf allies.
In order to run for president, El-Sisi would need to resign from his position as head of the armed
forces, and
the associated role of minister of defence, as police and military personnel are forbidden from running
for
office in the Egyptian law.
ELECTIONS ROUND THE WORLD
NEPAL
The Nepali Congress (NC) and the Communist Party of Nepal (CPN-UML) signed a seven-point
agreement
which has paved the way for Mr. Sushil Koirala as the new Prime Minister. The Nepali Congress
president,
who was the only candidate, secured 405 of 553 MPs' votes, after the Communist Party of Nepal (UML)
agreed to back him.
The new prime minister takes over from Chief Justice Khilraj Regmi, who has led a caretaker
government
since March last year.
As per the agreement between the two parties, there would be no election for the post of President
and
Vice-President for now.
The government is scheduled to prepare the draft of the Constitution in six months and promulgate in
a
year.

57
SOUTH AFRICA
General elections in South Africa are set to take place on 7th May, 2014.The electoral term of the
present
government will come to an end on 22ndApril, 2014.
The elections mark the 20th anniversary of the end of the white minority rule in South Africa.
It is expected that the African National Congress (ANC) is likely to easily extend its two-decade rule,
despite
rising discontent among its poverty-stricken grassroots supporters.
However, there is growing dissent considering the fact that unemployment in South Africa is running
at
around 25 percent and growth in Africa's biggest economy has slowed sharply to about 2 percent in
2013,
disrupted by the global slowdown and labor unrest.
AFGHANISTAN
Presidential elections in Afghanistan are scheduled to be held on 5thApril 2014. Current president Mr.
Hamid
Karzai will not be able to run for the post due to term limits.
The elections are also significant as they take in the year when the international security forces are
planning
to leave the country by the year end.
After the scrutiny of the nominations, 11 candidates are in contention for the post.
Presidential candidates in Afghanistan began two months of campaigning starting in February.
The Taliban have rejected the April 5 election and have already stepped up attacks to sabotage it. The
militants will also be looking to capitalize if the vote is marred by rigging and feuding between rivals
seeking
to replace President Hamid Karzai.
It is observed that while Afghanistan has no majority community, ethnic Pashtuns are considered the
largest
community and ethnicity will play a big role in deciding the next president.
There are two types of candidates: technocrats and former warlords. Each has weaknesses as well as
strengths. On the one hand, technocrats may be far more motivated to improve Afghanistan's corrupt
and
ineffective government, but they may have a harder time implementing policies because of their weak
power base. On the other hand, former warlords have widespread and complex networks, giving them
far
more capacity to implement policy than technocrats have.
ITALY
Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta has submitted his resignation after his Democratic Party backed a
call for
a new administration. Mr. Matteo Renzi, who was elected party leader in December, has been
nominated as
the new prime minister of the country.
At 39, Mr. Renzi will be Italys youngest-ever prime minister, a refreshing change from the countrys
usual
tired gerontocrats. He is an energetic and forceful outsider who is not tainted by long association with
the
discredited Italian political class.
Renzi espouses market-friendly policies like reducing public spending and taxes, cutting red tape and
easing
firing restrictions. He has also said that while pursuing structural reforms Italy should allow its budget
deficit
to exceed European Union limits. He is backed by a large part of Italy's industrial and financial elite,
though
he has no experience of national government.
He has moved fast to try to broker a cross-party deal on a reform of electoral rules blamed for Italy's
chronic
political instability.
MADAGASCAR
Hery Rajaonarimampianina was declared President of Madagascar following elections to restore
democracy
on the island nation.
The elections were held on December 20, 2013 after four years when Mr. Rajoelina seized power in
the 2009
coup. The results were declared on January 18, 2014.
Proxy candidates ran in the vote, after the two rivals were prevented from running under international
pressure. Hery Rajaonarimampianina was the former Finance Minister backed by Andry Rajoelina.

58
The coup brought political instability to the tropical island off East Africa and saw foreign aid slashed
and the
economy nosedive.
TUNISIA
Elections are scheduled in Tunisia in 2014 and Tunisias Constitutional Assembly has appointed a new
commission to oversee elections in 2014, paving the way for the resignation of the current Islamist
prime
minister.
The Tunisian assembly is also in final stage of approving a new constitution.
Tunisias Islamist Prime Minister Ali Larayedh stepped down 9th January, upholding a pledge aimed at
breaking a political stalemate and paving the way for new elections in the country where the Arab
Spring
began.
Tunisia is approaching the third anniversary of the overthrow of longtime despotic leader Zine al
Abidine ben
Ali, an uprising that triggered a series of regional revolts against longtime authoritarian leaders,
including
Egypts Hosni Mubarak.
Power has been handed over to a technocrat administration under caretaker prime minister, Mehdi
Jomaa, that will assume stewardship until new elections later this year.
The change of government was the last piece of a negotiated transition to resolve five months of
political
deadlock after the assassination of the leftist politician Mohamed Brahmi in July.
MT. KELUD VOLCANO ERUPTS
More than 76,000 people fled their homes and flights were grounded across most of Indonesia's
densely
populated island of Java after the eruption of the volcano Mt. Kelud. The volcanic eruption sent a huge
plume of ash and sand upto 17 km (10 miles) into the air.
Mount Kelud is one of 130 active volcanoes in Indonesia which sits along the "Ring of Fire" volcanic
belt
around the shores of the Pacific Ocean.
The volcano last erupted in 1990, killing dozens of people. A powerful eruption in 1919 killed around
5,000
people.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC DILEMMA FOR FRANCE
After the French intervention in the civil war in the Central African Republic (CAR) in December, 2013,
France
now faces an increasingly difficult predicament. It entered the war under the United Nations authority.
France now faces several constraints, such as local conditions, French public reluctance to commit
more
troops, and the unwillingness of the European Union and the United States to help.
These conditions are making it more likely that CAR will collapse into what a U.N. official has called
ethnicreligious
cleansing, even though the country has no history of religious strife. Half of CARs 4.6 million
people are Christians, and 15 per cent, or about 700,000, are Muslims.
The fighting has taken at least 2,000 lives and displaced about a million people, many of whom are
barely
surviving in terrible conditions; 80,000 Muslims have reportedly fled the north to Chad and the east to
Cameroon.
The concerns are raised that the failure of political will in France, the EU, and the United States could
make
CAR yet another target for what could well be externally-funded Islamist extremists.
Besides, the aid agencies in the Central African Republic have another moral dilemma - should they
evacuate
endangered Muslims to safer areas, or encourage them to stay put? If they get involved in evacuations,
they
risk being accused of complicity with ethnic or religious "cleansing." But the alternative might be letting
civilians fall victim to large-scale massacres.

59
ALSO IN NEWS
SACHING RAMESH TENDULKAR
He received bharata ratna. He is the first sportsperson and sitting Rajya Sabha MP to receive the
highest
civilian award.
PROF. C.N.R. RAO
He is the third scientist after C.V. Raman and A.P.J. Abdul Kalam to receive the prestigious bharata
ratna
award. His contribution is recognized by most major scientific academics across the world by way of
memberships and fellowships and numerous national and international awards.
SATYA NADELLA
Indian-born technocrat was appointed as CEO of Microsoft. He is known to be strong in
technology. Previously, he was executive vice president of Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise group.






2
TABLE OF CONTENTS
POLITY
.................................................................................................................................................. 5
Election related news
.........................................................................................................................................................
....................... 5
Poll expenditure ceiling raised
................................................................................................................................................................................................... 5
No restriction on opinion polls
................................................................................................................................................................................................... 5
Model code of conduct and social media
............................................................................................................................................................................... 5
Multi-Agency grid to curb use of black money in elections
.......................................................................................................................................... 7
Loan defaulters should be disqualified from contesting
................................................................................................................................................ 7
Law Commission on Electoral
Reforms.................................................................................................................................................................................. 7
Candidates can file e-affidavits
................................................................................................................................................................................................... 8
Forfeiture of Deposit not a detterent for contesting
elections............................................................................................................... ..................... 8
Paper audit trail systems (VVPAT)
........................................................................................................................................................................................... 9
Live webcasting of elections
........................................................................................................................................................................................................ 9
Defence personnel to vote as general voters: SC
............................................................................................................................................................... 9
Court judgments and rulings
.........................................................................................................................................................
..... 10
Aadhar no longer mandatory for availing benefits
.........................................................................................................................................................10
Plea on fresh interpretation of term juvenile dismissed
...........................................................................................................................................10
passport details cant be disclosed to third Party
...........................................................................................................................................................11
Politicians indulging in hate speeches
..................................................................................................................................................................................11
Parole not an absolute right
.............................................................................................................................................................................. .........................12
Shakti Mills Case and Speedy Trials
.......................................................................................................................................................................................12
One rank one pension for Retired HC JUdges: SC
............................................................................................................................................................13
Lokpal appointment put on hold
......................................................................................................................................................
13
Is promulgation of ordinances acceptable?
................................................................................................................................. 13
Challenges after creation of Telangana
........................................................................................................................................ 14
Action against NGOs failing to file returns
.................................................................................................................................. 15
Sedition charges against Kashmiri students withdrawn
...................................................................................................... 15
Judicial Reforms
.........................................................................................................................................................
............................... 15
Recommendation of collegium is not subject to judicial review
..............................................................................................................................15
High courts to get 25% more
judges......................................................................................................................................................................................15
Human Rights Issues
.........................................................................................................................................................
..................... 16
Working of Human rights commissions
...............................................................................................................................................................................16
Amnesty India asks party heads on Human Rights issues
..........................................................................................................................................16
Capital Punishment
.........................................................................................................................................................
........................ 17
Mercy petition beyond judicial review?
...............................................................................................................................................................................17
Amnesty International: Annual review of death penalty
.............................................................................................................................................17
Civil Services Reforms
.........................................................................................................................................................
................... 17
Cooling off period for retired civil servants?
.....................................................................................................................................................................17
Panel suggests reduced training period for
................................................................................................................................................. ..............18
ECONOMY
.......................................................................................................................................... 19
Indian Economy
.........................................................................................................................................................
............................... 19
Current Account Deficit Sharply Contracted
.....................................................................................................................................................................19
GDP Growth
................................................................................................................................................................................ .......................................................19
Inflation Eases To A Nine Month Low
.................................................................................................................................................................. .................20
Fiscal Deficit Exceeds Revised Budget Estimates
............................................................................................................................................................21
Policy Initiatives By Reserve Bank Of India
................................................................................................................................. 21
Deadline For Exchanging Pre 2005 Notes
...........................................................................................................................................................................21
OTC Derivative Reforms
..............................................................................................................................................................................................................22
RBI Still To Adopt Inflation Targeting
........................................................................................................................................ ...........................................22
New Class Of Registered Foreign Portfolio Investor
......................................................................................................................................................23
CERC Revised Tariff Guidelines
.........................................................................................................................................................
. 24
Canada Based Bitcoin Bank Closes
.................................................................................................................................................. 24
United Bank Issue Of NPA Or Corporate
Governance.......................................................................................................... 24
First Corporate Bond Default In China
.......................................................................................................................................... 25
Goldman Sachs Launches CPSE-ETF Traded Funds
................................................................................................................ 26

3
Norms Tightened To Prevent Money Laundering - SEBI
....................................................................................................... 27
President Repromulgates SEBI Ordinance
................................................................................................................................... 27
EU To Ban Indian Mangoes, Vegetables
........................................................................................................................................ 27
SREI To Roll Out White Label ATMS
.............................................................................................................................................. 28
Government Sets Up Tax Admin Reform
Commission............................................................................................................. 28
EPFO To Provide Permanent Number
............................................................................................................................................ 29
India Human Development Survey
.................................................................................................................................................. 29
Toll Tax
.........................................................................................................................................................
................................................ 30
SOCIAL ISSUES
................................................................................................................................. 31
Assistance to Disabled Persons Scheme (ADIP)
......................................................................................................................... 31
Women Issues
.........................................................................................................................................................
................................... 31
Gender Scorecard
.......................................................................................................................................................... ..................................................................31
Successes of government policies
.......................................................................................................................................................... .................................31
Major Challenges
.............................................................................................................................................................................................................................32
Social inclusion
.........................................................................................................................................................
................................ 32
Gap between Muslims and rest of population closing Down
.....................................................................................................................................32
An inclusive growth policy
.........................................................................................................................................................................................................33
SC directions on Manual scavenging act
..............................................................................................................................................................................33
Human Development Indices improving in BIMARU states
.......................................................................................................................................33
Work days for tribals under MGNREGA Increased
................................................................................................................... 34
HEALTH
................................................................................................................................................................................................... 35
Maulana Azad sehat scheme
.........................................................................................................................................................
..... 35
Ban on Analgin revoked
.........................................................................................................................................................
............... 35
India officially declared polio free
................................................................................................................................................... 35
Challenge of Injectable Polio Vaccine (IPV)
........................................................................................................................................................................36
India begins mandatory OPV for travelers
.........................................................................................................................................................................36
The growing menace of TB in India
................................................................................................................................................ 37
Putting a curb on sale of over the counter antibiotics
........................................................................................................... 38
Zero AIDS discrimination day launched
........................................................................................................................................ 38
U & Me against dengue
.........................................................................................................................................................
................. 39
All party manifesto on heatlh
.........................................................................................................................................................
.... 39
ENVIRONMENT
............................................................................................................................... 41
India Rhino vision 2020 and trimming of horn
......................................................................................................................... 41
WHO on Air pollution
.........................................................................................................................................................
.................... 42
How do Indian cities fair on Outdoor pollution?
.............................................................................................................................................................42
Delhi has the Worst Air Quality across India
.....................................................................................................................................................................42
Road To Urban Future
..................................................................................................................................................................................................................43
GM food crop field trials reapproved
.............................................................................................................................................. 43
IPCC report on climate change
.........................................................................................................................................................
. 45
R-22
.........................................................................................................................................................
....................................................... 45
HC on Harmful effects of pesticides
................................................................................................................................................. 45
Dissection of animals in university labs
banned........................................................................................................................ 46
Himalayan park nominated for heritage status
........................................................................................................................ 46
Tiger reserves on high alert against CD disease
........................................................................................................................ 46
Gibbons translocated to arunachals mehao century
............................................................................................................. 46
Pygmy Hog in Manas National Park
............................................................................................................................................... 46
INDIA AND WORLD
........................................................................................................................ 47
India Sri Lanka
.........................................................................................................................................................
............................. 47
Sri Lanka Human Rights Violation Issues
............................................................................................................................................................................47
Opinion on Indias abstention on human rights vote on Sri Lanka
.........................................................................................................................48
India China
.........................................................................................................................................................
..................................... 48
Increasing Maritime rivalry in the Indian Ocean
.............................................................................................................................................................49

4
India USA
.........................................................................................................................................................
......................................... 49
India Australia
.........................................................................................................................................................
.............................. 50
India Bhutan
.........................................................................................................................................................
.................................. 50
India Israel
.........................................................................................................................................................
..................................... 51
India- BIMSTEC
.........................................................................................................................................................
................................ 51
WORLD AFFAIRS
............................................................................................................................ 53
Ukraine Crisis
.........................................................................................................................................................
.................................... 53
Why is Crimea so important for Russia?
..............................................................................................................................................................................53
Impact of the Ukraine crisis on INDIA and the world
...................................................................................................................................................54
2014 Nuclear Security Summit
.........................................................................................................................................................
. 54
2nd Round of Iran Nuclear Talks
.....................................................................................................................................................
55
Malaysias MH370 went missing
.......................................................................................................................................................
55
MH370: Indias Wake Up Call
....................................................................................................................................................................................................55
Events in USA
.........................................................................................................................................................
.................................... 56
USA to cede some control over internet
..............................................................................................................................................................................56
Obama unveils NSA reform plan
..............................................................................................................................................................................................56
Events in Egypt
.........................................................................................................................................................
................................. 57
Seychelles, Mauritius to join Indian Ocean Maritime Security Group
............................................................................. 57
Turkish ban on social networking sites
......................................................................................................................................... 57
Nigerias northern challenge
.........................................................................................................................................................
..... 58
Elections round the world
.........................................................................................................................................................
........... 58
North Korea
.......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................58
Maldives
...............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................59
SCIENCE & TECH
............................................................................................................................. 60
Infrasound
.........................................................................................................................................................
.......................................... 60
ADSL Modem Cyber Security Issue
............................................................................................................................................... 61
Aerosols
.........................................................................................................................................................
............................................... 62
Geo-Synchronous Satellite Launce Vehicle MARK III
.......................................................................................................... 62
Scientific Fraud
.........................................................................................................................................................
................................ 63
Web Based Gis Tool To Gauge Solar Potential
........................................................................................................................... 63
U.S. To Cede Internet Oversight
.........................................................................................................................................................
64
ICANN Suspends Closed Generic Top Level Domain Bids
...................................................................................................... 65
Led Zing Bails
.........................................................................................................................................................
.................................... 66
Space Debris And Related Aspects Cooperative Research Centre
.................................................................................. 66
Whipple
Shield...............................................................................................................................................
............................................ 67
Dendroid..........................................................................................................................................
............................................................. 67
India-Based Neutrino Observatory (INO)
..................................................................................................................................... 67
Was Dark Matter Observed In Kolar Gold Fields ?
..........................................................................................................................................................69
Intergrowth-21st Project
.........................................................................................................................................................
............ 69
Mono Rail @ Mumbai
.........................................................................................................................................................
................... 70

5
POLITY
ELECTION RELATED NEWS
POLL EXPENDITURE CEILING RAISED
The Union Cabinet agreed to the Election Commissions suggestion that the ceiling on poll expenditure
be
raised.
The government amended Rule 90 of the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961, increasing the ceiling for Lok
Sabha
poll to Rs.70 lakh per candidate from the existing Rs.40 lakh, and for the Assembly poll to Rs.28 lakh
from
Rs.16 lakh.
This increase is applicable only in the bigger States.
For Assembly elections, the new ceiling in Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram,
Nagaland,
Sikkim, Tripura and Puducherry is Rs.20 lakh.
ANALYSIS
This hike has come in as a relief to many candidates contesting the 2014 general elections. Increase in
the
number of electors and polling stations, and increase in the cost inflation index were some of the
reasons cited
for hiking the expenditure ceiling. Given such rampant inflation this reform was necessary but greater
reforms
are needed in ensuring the transparency in funding of political parties in the country.
NO RESTRICTION ON OPINION POLLS
Barring the limited period of 48 hours before end of polling in each phase, EC announced that there
would be
no ban on opinion polls
EC clarified that it has no powers to ban opinion polls, and that it was for the government to act on its
longstanding
proposal to disallow dissemination of poll surveys from the date of notification of the election
BACKGROUND
As per existing norms, there are restrictions on broadcasting of opinion poll results during 48 hours
prior to
the end of polling.
EC had recently made a fresh appeal to the government to ban opinion polls after a news channel
claimed
that nearly 11 opinion poll companies, secretly approached by it during a sting operation, were willing to
tweak their poll projections, purportedly for a fee. The EC wrote to the law ministry noting how its stand
that opinion polls could be misused had been vindicated and sought an immediate ban on opinion polls
during elections.
Unlike opinion polls, exit polls will be banned until half an hour after the end of last phase of polling.
This
means that results of exit polls cannot be publicized in both print and electronic media until 5.30 pm on
May 12.
An election exit poll is a poll of voters taken immediately after they have exited the polling stations.
Unlike
an opinion poll, which asks whom the voter plans to vote for or some similar formulation, an exit poll
asks
whom the voter actually voted for.
MODEL CODE OF CONDUCT AND SOCIAL MEDIA
The Election Commission has directed content managers of social networking sites (twitter, facebook
etc.) to
ensure that the content displayed by parties/individuals is not unlawful or malicious or violative of the
model
code of conduct
The EC has issued detailed guidelines for political advertisements that include obtaining certification
for
contents before putting them in the public domain. They (social networking sites) have to take
precertification
from Media Certification and Monitoring Committees at the district and State level.

6
It has also issued guidelines with respect to the phenomena of paid news. The networking sites have
been
asked to maintain expenditure incurred by political parties and individual candidates.
All legal provisions for the electronic media on the paid news and political advertisements will apply to
the
campaigns on the social media as well.
ANALYSIS
With the ever growing phenomena of Social Media it became very important to frame guidelines for
social
networking sites. Hitherto, Media Certification and Monitoring Committee (MCMC) tracked the print
and
the electronic media, but tracking the social media was very complex job, and outside its ambit. The new
rules put the onus on the social media networking sites on posting of uncertified advertisements. This
step
would ensure effective implementation of the MCC even in the fast moving technology era.
But critics doubt extent of ECs jurisdiction over the entire Internet, much of which doesnt even come
under Indian jurisdiction. Social networks are platforms, and millions of messages are posted on them
every
day. To do active scrutiny of user generated content is not just practically impossible, but also has issues
regarding freedom of expression. As per the critics of these new rules, the problem for the EC is that it
views the Internet as a media publication, and not a means of communication but as per
them it is both.
BACKGROUND
The model code of conduct (MCC), is a set of legally binding dos and donts to the Union/State
governments, political parties and candidates, which is operational with immediate effect with the
announcement of general election schedule by the Election Commission.
This is in keeping with Article 324 of the Constitution, which gives the Election Commission the power
to
supervise elections to the Parliament and state legislature.
It was in 1991 that the Election Commission under T.N. Seshan first codified the MCC on the basis of
an
agreement with political parties.
MCC is NOT legally binding and several quarters have advocated for making it legally enforceable.
Election Commission on the other hand has argued against making the MCC legally binding; stating
that
elections must be completed within a relatively short time (close to 45 days), and judicial proceedings
typically take longer, therefore it is not feasible to make it enforceable by law.
RESTRICTIONS POSED BY THE MCC
The MCC ensures that the Ministers shall not combine their official visit with electioneering work and
shall not
make use of the official machinery during the electioneering work; issue advertisements at the cost of
the public
exchequer for partisan coverage of political news to further the prospects of the party in power;
announce any
financial grants in any form; make any promise of construction of roads, provision of drinking water
facilities;
there shall be a total ban on the transfer of all officers/officials connected with the conduct of the
election.
However, the Election Commissions decision to implement it from the date of announcement of the
poll
schedule has been a matter of contention.
VIEWS AGAINST MODEL CODE OF CONDUCT
Political parties have been arguing that the MCC should come into force only from the date of
notification,
particularly if a multiphase election tends to be long. For instance, in the general elections 2014, the gap
between the date of announcement and notification for the first phase is nine days. The gap stretches to
43
days in the case of the last phase.
Due to enforcement of model code of conduct during elections, besides contestants, common man
have to
face a lot of problems. After the Election Commission imposes the Model Code of Conduct, no new
projects
can be announced as it might be done to woo voters, a lot of development work remain pending besides
other restrictions.

7
VIEWS IN FAVOR OF MODEL CODE OF CONDUCT
Election Commission has time and again re-iterated that the model code is an instrument to ensure
that the
level-playing field is not disturbed during the course of elections.
EC claims that its main aim is to ensure that the ruling party, either at the Centre or in the states, does
not
misuse its official position to gain an unfair advantage in an election.
MULTI-AGENCY GRID TO CURB USE OF BLACK MONEY IN ELECTIONS
In order to curb the use of black money in elections, the Election Commission of India has created a
multiagency
grid of revenue and security intelligence agencies to regularly update it about suspected financial
movements
A board of senior officials drawn from ten financial and security intelligence departments such as
Income Tax
intelligence and investigations, Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), Directorate of Revenue Intelligence,
Central
Economic Intelligence Bureau, Narcotics Control Bureau, BSF, CISF etc would meet twice a week at the
EC
headquarters to share information.
EC has also asked these agencies to compile their respective information in a standard format so that
the poll
panel is updated about the use of illegal money and other inducements in the polls.
A comprehensive report prepared after these meetings would be shared with the respective Chief
Electoral
Offices of various states and Union Territories.
Apart from above , the intelligence wings of the Border Security Force will keep an eye on movement
of cash,
fake currency and drugs from across the Pakistan and Bangladesh borders while the same would be
done by
the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) along the Nepal and Bhutan borders
LOAN DEFAULTERS SHOULD BE DISQUALIFIED FROM CONTESTING
The All India Bank Employees Association has sought the immediate intervention of Chief Election
Commissioner to disqualify top loan defaulters from entering the elections
The top 50 defaulters owed the banks more than Rs. 40,000 crore. Among them were a sitting MP, a
Union
Minister and two Padma Shri awardees, who together needed to repay over Rs.7,800 crore.
The banks have been demanding that willful default be declared a criminal offence for a long time.
LAW COMMISSION ON ELECTORAL REFORMS
Law Commission (headed by Justice A.P Shah) has recommended disqualification of politicians from
contesting elections once charges are framed against them in the court.
It has also suggested an enhanced sentence of two years under the Representation of the People Act,
1951,
for filing of false affidavits by politicians and disqualification on such conviction.
It has also recommended for an expedited trial through day-to-day hearing and conclusion within a
year for
charges framed against sitting MPs and MLAs. The Supreme Court has acted on this matter and
directed the
lower courts to complete the trial within a year of framing charges. Also the Trial courts
would be liable to
give explanation to the High Courts if the trial was not completed within a year. But this
period can be
extended if the reason given by trial court is accepted by the Chief J ustice of the
concerned High Court.
It has suggested that a gap of one week be introduced between the last date for filing of nomination
papers
and the date of scrutiny, to give adequate time for filing of objections.
ANALYSIS
Disqualification on conviction has proved to be incapable of curbing the growing criminalisation of
politics
because of long delays in trials and rare convictions
Against the existing legal provision of disqualification upon conviction in a criminal case, the
disqualification
at the stage of charging, if accompanied by substantial attendant legal safeguards to prevent misuse,
has a
significant potential for curbing the spread of criminalisation of politics.

8
Disqualification should take place at framing of charges, as at such time the case has undergone
adequate
levels of judicial scrutiny
Even though merely filing of the police report would not be appropriate stage to introduce
disqualification
because of lack of sufficient application of judicial mind at this point.
Fundamental Right: Right to speedy trial is fundamental right under article 21 of constitution when
seen
from the perspective of the under trials languishing in jails.
Not time bound: Criminal Procedure Code does not prescribe a time limit for winding up the trial but
Section
309 makes it clear that once examination of witness begins it shall proceed on a day-to-day basis until all
witnesses are examined. This has not been followed however
CANDIDATES CAN FILE E-AFFIDAVITS
For the first time in the electoral history of the nation, candidates would have an option of e-filing of
affidavits in the polls
According to procedures notified by the EC, after filing the affidavit online, a candidate has to provide
the
Returning Officer an attested hard copy.
What are Affidavits?
The mandatory affidavits (Form 26) to be submitted at time of filing of nomination papers includes
information
on the candidate's details of assets (including movable and immovable properties), properties and
accounts
name in a foreign land, liabilities of the candidate, name of the spouse and dependents, educational
qualifications criminal antecedents, if any.
FORFEITURE OF DEPOSIT NOT A DETTERENT FOR CONTESTING ELECTIONS
As per the Election Commission of India Rules, if the candidate fails to get a minimum of one-sixth of
the total
valid votes polled, the deposit goes to the treasury.
In First Lok Sabha Elections in 1951-52, almost 40% candidates forfeited their deposits. Since then,
almost all
Lok Sabha Elections witnessed northward trend of lost deposits.
Even in 2009 around 85% of candidates lost their deposits, this clearly shows that forfeiture of
deposits does
not act as a deterrent for contesting elections.
In contrast candidates from national parties seem to have done well on this front. In first General
Elections in
1951-52, 28% candidates lost their deposits. In 1977 only 9% candidates lost their deposits.
Yet, this trend too has shown a decline with around 48% candidates losing their deposits in 2009
general
elections.
ANALYSIS
Critics argue that the deposit amount itself is not large enough to dissuade the non-serious
candidates from
contesting the elections.
As per the ECI rules, all candidates except those from Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes
(STs) will
have to deposit Rs 25,000 while filing nominations. The deposit for SC/ST is Rs 12,500.
Perhaps, a reason why 1996 saw the largest number of candidates can be attributed to the security
deposit of
a meagre 500 rupees.
Several reasons can be cited for such huge number of non-serious candidates:
o a) In earlier days getting an out of turn telephone connection was what prompted many to file
nomination to contest elections. Even today a good proportion of candidates may be looking for
whatever privileges they may get as contestants.
o b) Many a times these people are also set up by a party candidate just to cut into his opponent's
vote bank.
o c) In some cases people with names similar to the main candidates are also fielded conveniently
as dummy candidates to confuse the voters
As has been noticed the major problem of losing election deposit is with the independent candidates,
there
have been several suggestions regarding the same.

9
In 2001, a Union law ministry panel on electoral reforms recommended that the security deposit
be doubled
progressively at every attempt for those Independent candidates who fail to win and still keep
contesting
every election.
The panel also recommended if any Independent candidate fails to get at least 5 percent of the total
number
of votes cast in his/her constituency, he/she should not be allowed to contest as an independent
candidate
for the same office again at least for six years.
It also recommended that any Independent candidate who loses an election to the same office thrice
successively should be permanently debarred from that office.
Moreover, the panel suggested that an Independent candidate should be nominated by at least 20
elected
members of panchayats, municipalities or other local bodies spread out in a majority of the
electoral districts
in his constituency.
PAPER AUDIT TRAIL SYSTEMS (VVPAT)
Paper trail system was experimented with in two assembly constituencies in Nagaland and Mizoram.
Induced
by experimentation, ECI has ordered for the supply of 20,000 such machines.
WHAT IS VVPAT?
VVPAT stands for voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) systems. Under this system, when a voter
presses a
button on the electronic voting machine to select the candidate he wants to vote for, a slip of paper
bearing the
name and symbol of the party will briefly appear for about 10 seconds, after which it will fall into a
secure box,
thus maintaining a paper trail of all the votes cast. A VVPAT allows voters the possibility to verify that
their votes
are cast as intended and can serve as an additional barrier to changing or destroying votes.
LIVE WEBCASTING OF ELECTIONS
EC has asked all Chief Electoral Officers (CEOs) to make arrangements for live webcasting of polling in
as
many polling stations as possible.
The purpose behind webcasting is to allow the citizens to detect violations of rules and alert the
authorities
It should also be publicized that if any person notices any violation of rules and procedures on the
webcast,
he/she can make a complaint to the Returning Officer/Observer
EC has instructed its officers across India to use facilities including YouTube and You Stream for free
real-time
telecast of all the nine phases of elections
A link will also be available on respective CEOs websites to view voting live.
The commission has warned that cameras for webcasting, video recording and still photography must
be so
placed that secrecy of voting is not violated in any manner.
DEFENCE PERSONNEL TO VOTE AS GENERAL VOTERS: SC
Supreme Court directed the Election Commission to allow those serving in peace areas to exercise
their
franchise in the Lok Sabha elections. Election Commission had made a statement that those service
personnel
who have not made declaration till now to cast vote through postal ballot "may register themselves as
'General Voters' in respect of constituencies where election process has not yet commenced".
The court questioned the move of EC to allow these personnel to only vote through postal ballot which
in
essence takes away their right to vote.
BACKGROUND
Defence personnel can vote in their native home Constituency as per two methods. First, they can use
postal
ballot to exercise their vote. But there is a need to streamline the system of postal ballot as servicemen
have
often complained that they fail to get the ballot on time, denying them the opportunity to exercise their
right.
Secondly, they can invoke the provision of Proxy voting (nominating another person to vote on their
behalf, after
filling a form). Additionally, they can vote in constituency of their posting only if they have been posted
there for
more than 3 years.

10
ANALYSIS
The government contends that there are areas in Jammu and Kashmir and in the North-East where
defence
personnel outnumber the local population. Allowing them to cast votes in the constituency of their
posting
would change the entire demography of the constituency and give the soldiers a deciding vote over the
locals. It
could also result in giving out details of their deployment. But given the fact that if the EC desires 100 %
polling,
it should not support any activity that deprives a person his right to vote. Also, as per experts it is not
only the
armed forces personnel but also their families who are posted outside their hometowns and are
currently
unable to cast their votes, thereby being deprived of their right to participate in the election process of
the
country.
COURT JUDGMENTS AND RULINGS
AADHAR NO LONGER MANDATORY FOR AVAILING BENEFITS
The Supreme Court directed the Centre to immediately withdraw all notifications making Aadhaar
cards
mandatory for availing benefits under social security schemes
The court also restrained the UIDAI from sharing biometric or any other data of the Aadhaar card
holder with
any agency without the express consent of the card holder.
It directed that no citizen should be denied any benefits simply because he/she doesnt possess an
Aadhaar
Card.
ANALYSIS
Despite the earlier orders directing the Centre not to insist on Aadhaar cards, several complaints were
received
that the authorities were insisting on Aadhaar cards for providing benefits. The right to privacy is one of
the basic
human right of an individual and the UIDAI should not violate this right of the citizens, sharing the
biometric
information with any investigating agencies would endanger the fundamental rights of the citizens.
FLIPSIDE OF AADHAR
One of the features of the UID, was that benefits of government schemes would be linked to its 12-digit
number,
making it easier for people to open and access bank accounts, secure loans and get payments of the
work
through MGNREGA. But acquiring loans has been easier said than done for the people living on margins
of
society. Only those with land are given loans and MNREGA payments through the Aadhar card are
barely
important for villagers, as they work as labourers in farms all year around.
PLEA ON FRESH INTERPRETATION OF TERM JUVENILE DISMISSED
Supreme Court dismissed pleas seeking fresh interpretation of the term juvenile mentioned in the
law and
leaving it to the criminal court, instead of Juvenile Justice Board, to determine the juvenility of an
offender in
heinous crimes
As per the court the age limit of 18 years fixed for not trying a person in criminal court is a valid
parameter
based on research worldwide.
BACKGROUND
Parents of the December 16 gangrape victim, challenged the constitutional validity of the Juvenile
Justice
(Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000and seek to void the JJA to the extent it puts a blanket ban on
the
power of the criminal courts to try a juvenile offender for offences committed under IPC
Victims parents had pleaded for sending the juvenile convict in the brutal gangrape and murder case
to face
trial in regular court.
The Act provided for a straitjacket interpretation of the term juvenile that a person below the age
of 18
years was a minor and it was in violation of the United Nations Convention for the Rights of the Child
(UNCRC) and Beijing Rules on the issue.

11
The UNCRC and Beijing Rules say the presumption of the age of criminal responsibility be fixed while
bearing in mind the mental and intellectual maturity of the offender.
PASSPORT DETAILS CANT BE DISCLOSED TO THIRD PARTY
The Delhi High Court has held that Passport information, just like the Permanent Account Number of
an
individual, is personal information and cannot be disclosed to a third party under the Right to
Information
(RTI) Act.
It held that if the passport number of a third party is furnished to an applicant, it can be misused. For
instance, if the applicant were to lodge a report with the police that a passport bearing a particular
number is
lost, the Passport Authority would automatically revoke the same without knowledge of the person
involved.
BACKGROUND
High Court has overturned the order of the Central Information Commission (CIC) directing the MEA to
provide copies of passports of third parties along with their birth certificates, educational qualifications
and
identity proofs to certain applicants under the RTI Act.
The CIC had held that the information is not personal and that citizens right to information is to be
given
primacy over their right to privacy.
The CIC noted that given our dismal record of mis-governance and rampant corruption which colludes
to
deny citizens their essential rights and dignity, it is in the fitness of things that the citizens right to
information is given greater primacy with regard to privacy.
The Court, however, held that the CIC neither examined the issue of larger public interest nor
considered
Section 11 of the RTI Act, which mandates that views of third party whose information has been sought
needs to be invited and considered in such cases before deciding whether to disclose the information or
not.
POLITICIANS INDULGING IN HATE SPEECHES
The apex court has directed the law enforcement agencies to book the leaders those who give inciteful
speeches based on religion, caste or ethnicity.
Supreme Court has also directed the Law commission to look into legal possibility of derecognizing a
political
party if its members indulge in hate speeches. The law commission has been asked to make
recommendations in this regards to the parliament for suitable amendments to law.
The court asked the Law commission to define as to what should constitute a hate speech
The court refused to jump the gun and frame the guidelines in the matter citing the legislature as the
competent authority on the matter.
ANALYSIS
The Constitution places reasonable restrictions on free speech, and sections of the penal code and the
CrPC
forbid words, written or spoken, that promote ill-will between religious, racial, linguistic, regional, caste
groups or communities, there is no specific detail in any statute on what kind of speech crosses the line.
This
attempt to bound the limits of hate speech is significant.
Speech can have violent, tragic effects, and hate speech legislation exists in most free societies,
including the
UK, Canada, Germany, Denmark and Australia
Given how diverse and unequal India is, laws that prohibit abuse of vulnerable groups are necessary
but
the problem is that these laws are used to suppress any unwelcome opinion, criticism, even scholarship
and
humour at times
It is not that there is lack of laws regarding the matter but the root of the problem is that there exists a
lack of
effective implementation. In such a case both the civil society and the executive have to ensure the
implementation of the existing legislative regime.
The Supreme Court has taken the right step by refusing to frame the guidelines and by showing
required
amount of judicial restraint and respecting the separation of powers.

12
PAROLE NOT AN ABSOLUTE RIGHT
A bench of Bombay High Court has rejected the petition that seeked to challenge that rule that
restricts a
person for applying for parole within a year of having previously availed a parole period.
As per the court, these restrictions were neither unreasonable nor unjustified. The right to be released
on
parole is not an absolute right and these restrictions do not entirely take away the entitlement of a
prisoner
to be released on parole.
According to the previous rules, a prisoner would have been allowed to apply for parole twice a year.
Every
time, he could be granted 90 days (30 days at a time, and two extensions thereafter, based on merit).
This
means that every year, he could remain out of prison for a staggering 180 days. But now, according to
the
amendment which has been upheld by the court, he will be able to apply for parole only once a year
The Bombay High Court, observed that the rampant misuse of the previous provisions led the
government to
amend the rules.
BACKGROUND
The issue around misuse of Parole came into focus after Sanjay Dutt was granted parole leave thrice in
the same
year. According to prison rules of different states parole conditions have been clearly defined but they
are often
manipulated by politicians and other powerful personalities to get leave from prison. Maharashtra
Government
introduced amendments against these provisions in 2012.
SHAKTI MILLS CASE AND SPEEDY TRIALS
The verdict in Shakti Mills case, sentencing four convicts to life terms for the gang rape of a telephone
operator in the abandoned mill compound eight months ago, should be praised for meting out speedy
justice
as well as for imposing the maximum punishment available in law under the recently amended and
strengthened penal provisions.
Shakti Mills case presented an opportunity to to the judiciary to make use of the provision for
enhanced
punishment provided through amendments in the penal provisions relating to sexual violence after the
Nirbhaya case.
The judge has sentenced the four convicts under Section 376D, which deals with gang rape, to the
maximum
punishment of imprisonment for the remainder of their natural life.
The prosecutor has demanded capital punishment in the second incident involving the photo-
journalist. He
invoked Section 376E, which provides for the death penalty for repeat offenders for the crime of rape.
Section 376E was added to the statute books through Criminal Law Amendment Act 2013.
BACKGROUND
There was much shock and anger when a photo-journalist was sexually assaulted by a group of
youngsters,
including a juvenile, on August 22 last year. The fact that she went to the police immediately
encouraged
another woman, a telephone operator, to come forward and disclose that she too had been gang-raped
some
weeks earlier at the same spot.
ANALYSIS
There is a fair degree of certainty now that timely complaints and disclosures would help the police to
undertake a proper investigation, while public opinion and activism keep the issue alive so that the case
is not
derailed at the trial stage.
As the Shakti Mills trials demonstrate, the way forward is in fostering trust in the system of criminal
administration by efficient investigation and speedy trials.

13
ONE RANK ONE PENSION FOR RETIRED HC JUDGES: SC
The court ordered that irrespective of the source from where the Judges are drawn (from among
district
judges or from among lawyers), they must be paid the same pension just as they have been paid same
salaries and allowances and perks as serving Judges.
As per the court differential salaries/pensions for Judges drawn from different sources is highly
discriminatory and breach of Article 14 of the Constitution
ANALYSIS
Currently judges from subordinate judiciary with lesser years of work get more salary when compared
to
judges drawn from the bar with more years behind them.
When persons who occupied the Constitutional Office of High Court Judge retire, there should not be
any
discrimination with regard to the fixation of their pension.
Such an exercise dissuades capable and proficient lawyers from joining the judiciary. When pensions
are
meager because of the shorter service, lawyers who attain distinction in the profession may not,
because of
this anomaly, accept the office of Judgeship. When capable lawyers do not show inclination towards
Judgeship, the quality of justice declines.
LOKPAL APPOINTMENT PUT ON HOLD
The Union government has put on hold its move to appoint the first Lokpal, following allegations of a
flawed
selection procedure.
It has also been reported that the rules framed under the Lokpal Act would be amended appropriately
to
ensure that the selection was fair and there was no criticism from any quarter.
BACKGROUND
In a writ petition, an NGO, had challenged in the Supreme Court the Lokpal selection procedure.
The rules framed by the government with regard to the Lokpal selection process requires a search
panel of
eight which will shortlist candidates who will be considered by the selection panel headed by the Prime
Minister.
The search committee shall prepare a panel of persons to be considered by the selection committee
for
appointment of the Chairperson and Members of the Lokpal, from amongst the list of persons provided
by
the Central Government, as per experts this directly runs counter to the very object of having an
independent
Lokpal and the provisions of the said Act.
The objective of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) was perhaps to lighten the load of
the
selection committee. This was unexceptionable, but only to an extent.
Justice K.T. Thomas and senior advocate Fali Nariman opted out of the search committee, finding fault
with
the selection process. One of the reasons could have been clerical nature of work involved.
IS PROMULGATION OF ORDINANCES ACCEPTABLE?
BACKGROUND
Over its five year term, the 15th Lok Sabha was disrupted frequently and witnessed a decline in time
spent on
legislation and oversight of the government. The 15th Lok Sabha passed 179 Bills of the 328 to be
considered
and passed during its five year tenure. This is the least number of Bills passed by a full five year term Lok
Sabha.
In such a case there have been rising demands from all quarters for promulgation of ordinances on
legislations
that have generated desired consensus outside the parliament.
VIEWS IN FAVOUR OF PROMULGATION OF ORDINANCES
One of the major reasons for using the ordinance provision with caution is to make sure the
government does
not use it to impose a law that Parliament may have disapproved of. The ordinance as a short route has
therefore often been criticised, for bypassing Parliament. In this case it does not. On the contrary, it
takes

14
already deliberated and examined Bills on which a consensus has been reached, but is marred by
Parliaments
failure to legislate.
The amount of loss in terms of effort, money and time is huge in case of legislations with consensus
getting
scrapped. If such legislations would have been passed they would have benefitted the entire society and
saved on some precious resources too.
The provision of Article 123 of the Constitution states that ordinances can be passed when
Parliament is not
in session and circumstances exist which render it necessary for him (the President) to take immediate
action. Given the fact that parliament has been almost non-functional in last few years, it would not be
wrong for the President to use these provisions to bring in laws on which there was a clear consensus.
With
the last session of the 15th Lok Sabha having ended, a total of 68 Bills will lapse. These include some of
most
important legislations like Womens Reservation Bill, Direct Taxes Code, Micro Finance Bill, Judicial
Standards
and Accountability Bill and the Bill enabling the introduction of Goods and Services Tax.
The case of Grievance Redressal Bill: Within the Parliament and outside, the Grievance
Redressal law had the
greatest support. It went through every process of consultation including full discussion in the Standing
Committee. All of Parliament included this as a part of the sense of the house resolution a solemn
assurance from Parliament that along with the Lokpal, a Grievance Redressal Bill would be passed with
urgency. Members across parties called upon the government to pass the Grievance Redressal law
without
which they pointed out that the passage of the Lokpal would be incomplete. Not passing these
consensus
Bills amounts to a betrayal of the people.
Article 123 must be seen as a recourse open to people just as much as it is open to the government of
the
day. Therefore, to project this only in political terms as we approach an election is unfair to the justified
demands of people waiting for legal recourse. Not passing a law in a matter like Grievance Redress is a
huge
loss to uncountable citizens, many lives and an entire generation.
Promulgation is not a permanent measure rather it is a temporary one as an ordinance is necessarily
subject
to parliamentary approval. If an ordinance is promulgated right now it would give a chance to the
citizens to
use the provisions and point out any possible shortcomings in the legislation.
Passing an ordinance in this case does not subvert the parliamentary process. In an incremental
process of
building law and subordinate legislation, this would only be one tentative step forward.
CHALLENGES AFTER CREATION OF TELANGANA
Even though the 29th State of Indian Union, Telangana would come into existence on 2nd June, there are
several
challenges that face the state.
Employment Opportunities: The active participation of the students community in the agitation
and the
series of suicides for the cause of a separate State were out of a belief that once Telangana is formed,
there
will be jobs for everyone. But the employment opportunities look very faint in the government sector
and
lack of employable skills means low employability in the private sector too. The new government must
start
skill development centres so that the youngsters can hone their skills and get jobs. Else, this same
segment
will get disillusioned and will begin agitating again.
Division of resources: The State has been divided but there is no clarity on the division of its
apparatus. With
many important sectors being kept in the common list, there is ambiguity over how water bodies,
educational institutions and corporations will be divided. The biggest challenge for political parties thus
would be to arrive at a formula which is agreeable to all the parties involved.
Irrigation facilities: One of the biggest concerns of the people is the creation of irrigation facilities.
With river
water boards being made common for the two States, there are bound to be disputes. Even as the two
States
make claims for their share of water, what Telangana can do is revive tank irrigation.
Meeting high expectations: The biggest problem that Telangana will face will be meeting
expectations in the
areas of housing, uninterrupted power supply, and irrigation facilities for all. These aspirations reached
their
pinnacle as the movement reached its conclusion with politicians from across the board projecting
creation of
a new state as a means to end all the problems.

15
ACTION AGAINST NGOS FAILING TO FILE RETURNS
Union Home Ministry has taken action against about 19,000 non-government organisations which did
not file
returns within the stipulated time period.
Only 2% of more than 2 million NGOs operating in the country were registered under the Foreign
Contribution (Regulation) Act up to March 31, 2012.
These registered NGOs reported a foreign contribution of close to Rs. 11,000 crore
While Rs.945.77 crore of foreign grants were meant for rural development, Rs.929.22 crore was
received for
the welfare of children and Rs.824 crore for construction and maintenance of educational institutions.
SEDITION CHARGES AGAINST KASHMIRI STUDENTS WITHDRAWN
A group of Kashmiri students at a private college in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, were booked for sedition
after
they cheered Pakistan during a cricket match that India lost
67 students of the Swami Vivekanand Subharti University were suspended for celebrating Pakistan's
victory in
the Asia Cup match.
ANALYSIS
Sedition law has been misused several times before in the past but the action of the Meerut police in
booking
a group of students from Jammu and Kashmir on a charge of sedition beats all previous instances of the
misuse of the penal provision
The apparent crime committed by the students was that they cheered for the Pakistani Cricket team.
The
charge of sedition under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code was dropped, but only after the strong
outrage evoked by this irrational act.
Reckless use of the provisions of sedition for expression of views that may be considered anti-patriotic
to
some is something which is completely against the ethos of Indian democracy.
The Supreme Court has made it clear that it cannot be invoked unless there is actual incitement to
violence
and intention to cause disorder, and that merely using words that indicate disaffection against the
government cannot be termed sedition.
The police officers need to develop a better understanding of this provision and interpret it more
liberally
before taking any such actions in future.
JUDICIAL REFORMS
RECOMMENDATION OF COLLEGIUM IS NOT SUBJECT TO JUDICIAL REVIEW
As per a latest SC ruling suitability of a candidate for appointment as judge of a High Court cannot be
questioned because the recommendation of its collegium is not subject to any judicial review.
According to the court Judicial review is permissible only of assessment of eligibility, and not of
suitability.
HIGH COURTS TO GET 25% MORE JUDGES
The Central Government has increased the strength of judges in all the High Courts by 25% in an
attempt to
clear the backlog of cases in courts.
At present there are 250 vacancies in High Courts and 206 new vacancies have to be filled in the view
of
proposed increase.
ANALYSIS
Even though this is a well-intended step and seeks to increase the strength of judges, lack of suitable
candidates
is the bigger problem. There is no doubt that we need to increase the strength of judges but
commensurate
steps have to be taken to attract young and proficient lawyers towards judiciary. Current working
conditions and
pay structure are not conducive enough to attract the best talent in the country towards judiciary.

16
HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUES
WORKING OF HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSIONS
Under pressure from countries and businesses wanting to engage with India as it opened its doors to
the
market economy, the idea of setting up commissions was first mooted in 1992.
Subsequently, the National Human Rights Commission (and State Human Rights Commissions) was
established as per the provisions of Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 (PHRA), broadly applying the
Paris
Principles laid down by the UN Commission on Human Rights and the UN General Assembly
Though these institutions were government-sponsored and government-funded, there was a feeling
that
their citizen-centric functions would steer them towards their goals that is to provide redress to
marginalized
citizens of the country.
But in reality, these national and state level institutions have failed to deliver. A recently released
report documents the work of five commissions and reveals serious shortcomings. A social audit on
state
human rights commissions by Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) last year also throws light on their
institutional and infrastructural problems.
Accessibility: Report notes that the offices of these commissions are mostly located amidst
government
offices in state capitals or bigger cities far removed from the districts where their presence is more
required.
Many of the commissions were also found to be faulting on their public disclosures. A large number of
them
did not bother to update their websites or uplink annual reports
Heavy Government Patronage: Independence of these institutions is under severe compromise
as they
heavily depend for their funds on government bodies. Instead of being answerable to an independent
authority as laid out in the Paris Principles, they report to the Ministry of Home Affairs. At the national
level,
the Ministry is also in-charge of the police, immigration, laws for terrorism and insurgency, security and
communal harmony. The complaints made to the commission by stakeholders most often deal with
these
very authorities. There has been no recorded evidence of the National Human Rights Commission
(NHRC) or
the State Human Rights Commissions (SHRCs) taking suitable action against the government of the day
or of
moving a court to action.
Appointments: Their independent functioning is further affected by the way appointments of
chairpersons
and members of the commissions are made, which is often according to the whims and fancies of the
government of the day. These institutions are often a parking ground for retired judges or civil servants
who
are appointed instead of persons with professional experience and track records in particular fields
Funding: Budgetary allocations vary drastically from state to state. National Commission for Women
with a
nation-wide mandate received a budget of over one crore in 2010-11, while the Madhya Pradesh State
Womens Commission received the same amount in 2009-10. A detailed analysis of budgetary provisions
revealed that most of the funds were spent in running offices, paying salaries and meeting
administrative
expenses. The actual mandate of the commission utilised a very limited proportion of the funds.
Lack of trained staff: It was found that in most cases, the staff of the commissions comprised
largely of
peons, drivers and assistants. Specialists who can deliver on the mandate of the particular commission
were
conspicuous by their absence.
AMNESTY INDIA ASKS PARTY HEADS ON HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUES
Amnesty International India has asked the declared and probable prime ministerial candidates of
various
political parties to clarify their positions on key human rights issues ahead of the General Elections 2014.
Named as 14 for 2014, Amnestys Campaign asks candidates to state their positions on issues
including
police reforms, marital rape, under trial detention, impunity for armed forces, land acquisition,
decriminalization of homosexuality, and freedom of expression
The 14 for 2014 human rights charter calls on political parties to incorporate 14 key human rights
issues in
their election manifestos.
The organization has also launched a website, www.14for2014.com. Those who want to support the
campaign, by pledging to vote for candidates who commit to upholding human rights, can give a missed
call
to a designated number.

17
CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
MERCY PETITION BEYOND JUDICIAL REVIEW?
The Supreme court dismissed the Central Governments plea for the review of the order which the
court had
passed in January 2014.
The January order had cited the unexplained and inordinate delay in deciding the mercy petition as a
ground
for commutation of death sentence to life imprisonment. The Home ministry had opposed this order.
As per the court, there can be no distinction of an accused who is convicted under the terror Law such
POTA
or a normal criminal law for seeking commutation of death sentence to life imprisonment on the
grounds of
inordinate or unreasonable delay.
The Central Government came down heavily on the court judgment saying that the Presidents
decision in
disposing of a mercy petition was beyond judicial review.
Exercising power under Article 72/161 to consider and dispose of mercy petitions of convicts is a
constitutional obligation on the part of the President and the Governor and not a mere prerogative and
such
a decision would be subject to judicial review. If the convict files a mercy petition to the
Governor/President,
it is incumbent on the authorities to dispose of the same expeditiously Supreme Court had observed
back in
January. [Please refer to the Current Affairs Notes of January 2014 and February 2014, for
details and analysis
of this judgment.]
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: ANNUAL REVIEW OF DEATH PENALTY
Indian President rejected the mercy petitions of 18 prisoners on death row in 2013, the highest
number of
rejections by any President in the last 25 years, worldwide.
It has raised concerns about the fairness of Afzal Gurus trial, noting that he did not receive legal
representation of his choice or a lawyer with adequate experience at the trial stage
In India 72 new death sentences were imposed throughout the year and at least 400 people were
believed to
be on death row at the end of the year
In 2013 there was an increase of 15% in death penalties inspite of a global trend towards the abolition
of the
death sentence. This pattern was disrupted by a sharp increase in the number of executions in Iran (369)
and
Iraq (169).
China executed more people than any other country last year. Although Chinese authorities treat
official
execution statistics as a state secret, Amnesty International estimates thousands are killed under the
death
penalty every year, more than the rest of the world combined.
The use of the death penalty has declined in the last 20 years, and the number of countries enforcing
the
death penalty has fallen from 37 in 1993 to 22 last year
No executions were carried out in Europe and Central Asia - marking the first time since 2009.
USA is the only country to have carried out executions in the Americas, although the numbers fell by
four
between 2012 and 2013 that saw 39 executions.
CIVIL SERVICES REFORMS
COOLING OFF PERIOD FOR RETIRED CIVIL SERVANTS?
Of late, many retired civil servants joined political parties as a first step towards participating in active
politics.
It is a positive development, as infusion of administrative expertise in political parties can theoretically
lead to
more balanced policies and better governance
REASONS BEHIND SUCH TRENDS
With better healthcare, retiring government servants do not consider themselves to be old or tired.
Used to
working between 10 to 12 hours a day, they want to be actively engaged
Some civil servants are actually interested in politics, and join a party as soon as they have an offer

18
Others want to join a political party hoping to get important government posts
THE DEBATE ON COOLING-OFF PERIOD
A retired civil servant is unlikely to be welcomed by middle- and lower-level party functionaries who
feel that
while they have spent years serving the party, retired civil servants are inducted laterally at senior
positions.
This and many other reasons such as lack of astute political skills lead to civil servants being sidelined by
their
respective political parties.
Some former civil servants try to achieve prominence by revealing secret and confidential facts, which
they
got to know while in active service. This is most reprehensible and must be discouraged by all political
parties.
It not only demeans the civil servant but also the party he has joined.
This has led to debates on whether there should be a cooling-off period for civil servants before they
join a
political party after retirement.
Experts feel that such restrictions would be infructuous, as ex-civil servants would not formally join the
party
and could yet actively work for the same. Moreover, once a civil servant retires, he has every right to
express
his political views and join any political party he wants.
Critics of cooling-off period argue that any such restriction whether by way of services rules or by way
of an
amendment of the Election laws may not stand the test of valid classification under Article 14 of the
Constitution of India
On the other side proponents argue that the right to contest an election is a statutory right and not a
Fundamental right. Hence any such restriction in service rules would be quite reasonable and justifiable
and
certainly will not be in contravention of the provisions laid down under Article 14 of the Constitution of
India
Proponents further contend that several reports have been received in the past that some
government
servants acted for the furtherance of prospects or interests of a political party while in government
service
and just before or after the election, joined the party on retirement or leaving the service. Neutrality of
such
officers during election process is suspected and conduct of free and fair election by them or by their
immediate sub-ordinates is affected adversely.
PANEL SUGGESTS REDUCED TRAINING PERIOD FOR
A Committee constituted by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has recommended that
the
total training period for officers be brought down from two years (103 weeks) to one-and-a-half years
(75
weeks)
Kiran Aggarwal Committee, has recommended reducing the district training from the current 54 weeks
to 33
weeks
ANALYSIS
Recent batches of officers have complained about the relatively sub-optimal effectiveness of
attachments in
the district and the relatively higher utility of independent charges for on-the-job learning. Given the
rising
median age of officer trainees (around 28 years), the training duration must be reduced as many enter
service with significant work experience and less potential years of service. One can also argue that any
reduction in training or probation period would be welcomed by state governments given the general
shortage
of junior-level officers. Additionally it would also allow longer tenure of officers as SDMs.

19
ECONOMY
INDIAN ECONOMY
CURRENT ACCOUNT DEFICIT SHARPLY CONTRACTED
Indias current account deficit narrowed to a four-year low in the fiscal
third quarter, aided by a decline in gold imports and revival of exports.
The deficit was at 0.9% of gross domestic product (GDP) in the three
months ended 31 December
The current account, an important measure of economic health, is the
sum of the balance of trade (goods and services exports less imports),
net income from abroad and net current transfers.
REASONS FOR NARROWING OF THE DEFICIT
Narrowing of the deficit was helped by curbs placed on gold imports by the government, which raised
taxes on purchases of the metal overseas,
A revival of exports after a prolonged slowdown has also contributed in reducing pressure on the
rupee,
which has recovered to around 61-62 per dollar level after falling to an all-time low of 68.85 in August.
Indias trade deficit in the October-December quarter fell to $33.2 billion in the third quarter of 2013-
14
from $58.4 billion a year ago.
While exports rose 7.5% to $79.8 billion riding on good growth in exports of engineering goods,
readymade garments, iron ore, marine products and chemicals, imports declined by 14.8% to $112.9
billion due to the decline in gold imports
Imports of the precious metal fell sharply to $3.1 billion from $17.8 billion, as high customs duty
lessened demand.
The government had in the past one year progressively raised the import duty on gold to 10% to
control
the spiralling current account deficit and ease the pressure on rupee. The central bank also put curbs on
banks on loans against gold coins.
This quarter, capital inflows were able to finance the deficit. While net foreign direct investment
inflow
was at $6.1 billion, portfolio investment was at $ 2.4 billion in the quarter.
The full-year current account deficit should be around 2% of GDP, or at $35-37 billion said one of the
economist, while Current account deficit for 2012-13 was at a record 4.8% of GDP.
Two other areas of concern are that iron ore exports are still restricted while coal imports have
increased dramatically, aggravating the trade deficit.
These are structural problems, and as long as they exist the external economy will remain vulnerable.
Any pick-up in growth would see a rise in imports, and export performance needs to remain robust.
GDP GROWTH
The economy grew by 4.7 per cent in the quarter ending December, which was slightly better than the
average of 4.6 per cent clocked during the first half of the year (April-September 2013).
For the seventh successive quarter, GDP growth has been below 5 per cent.
Finance Minister in his recent budget speech expected economic growth during the second half of the
year to be at least 5.2 per cent. That now seems a stupendous task given the slackness in the third
quarter.
The CSOs advance estimates for 2013-14 released earlier of 4.9 per cent growth certainly does not
look
to be an underestimate as some government officials have been claiming.

20
ANALYSIS
A closer look at the third quarter data reveals some well-entrenched weaknesses in specific sectors.
The investment scenario remains weak notwithstanding recent efforts by the government to fast-track
certain large projects.
There is an expected measure of uncertainty in decision-making ahead of the elections.
Both mining and manufacturing declined in the three-month period. They have been weak throughout
this year.
Policy logjam and environmental and judicial activism have impacted adversely on mining output and
this has had major negative consequences for the current account of the balance of payments.
The outlook for the near future is not bright. Eight core industries which have more than one-third
weight in the Index of Industrial Production, an important lead indicator, grew by just 1.6 per cent in
January compared with 2.1 per cent in December.
Exports are growing but at a slower pace during the three months up to January.
Agriculture has done reasonably well while services, driven mainly by one sub-sector, personal
community and social services which is a proxy for government spending picked up in the October-
December quarter.
INFLATION EASES TO A NINE MONTH LOW
Inflation measured by the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) eased to a nine-month low in February.
WPI inflation slowed to 4.68% last month from 5.05% in January, data showed, reinforcing evidence of
a
downtrend in prices.
Inflation based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), a measure now targeted by RBI, too, decelerated
for
the third month in a row to 8.1% in February, a two-year low.
ANALYSIS
The data suggested that the tight monetary stance maintained by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is
helping quell price pressures and reinforcing calls for the central bank to shift its sights to spurring
growth.
The fall in WPI inflation for the third consecutive month was mainly on account of easing food prices.
The new data closely follow the faster-than-expected moderation in retail inflation based on the
consumer price index (CPI inflation), which fell for a third consecutive month to a 25-month low of 8.10
per cent in February
Food price inflation dropped to 8.12% from 8.8% in January, mainly on account of easing vegetable
prices. Vegetable price inflation slowed to 4% from a peak of 98% in November.
Since Raghuram Rajan took charge as governor of RBI in September, the central bank has raised its
policy
rate thrice, each time by a quarter of a percentage point, to dampen inflationary pressures.
Analysts, however, said that RBI is likely to maintain the status quo on rates till it makes an assessment
of the impact of the monsoon on farm output.
The India Meteorological Department is yet to make its monsoon forecast amid concerns that El
Nioa
weather phenomenon that affects rainfall patternscould disrupt the annual monsoon.
High retail inflation perversely affects the poor and is bound to have an impact on the ruling coalitions
electoral prospects.
Despite the decline in February, inflation remains a big worry for the government which has had very
little to cheer from recent economic data.
Persistently high inflation limits policy options to encourage growth, such as through a cut in interest
rates.

21
FISCAL DEFICIT EXCEEDS REVISED BUDGET ESTIMATES
The fiscal deficit in the 10 months through January, 2014, has overshot revised estimates of Rs.5.24
lakh
crore for this fiscal provided in the interim Budget.
According to the data released by the Controller General of Accounts (CGA), the fiscal deficit during
April-January 2013-14 worked out to be Rs.5.32 lakh crore or 101.6 per cent of the revised
estimates.
As per the CGA data, the revenue deficit during the 10-month period through January was Rs.3.79 lakh
crore or 102.3 per cent of the revised estimate.
The government had in the Budget for 2013-14 proposed to bring down the fiscal deficit to 4.8 per
cent
of GDP or Rs.5.42 lakh crore. This figure, however, was revised downwards in the interim Budget to
Rs.5.24 lakh crore or 4.6 per cent of the GDP.
ANALYSIS
With actual figures for February and March yet to come, it would be difficult for the government to
restrict the fiscal deficit, which is a reflection of governments market borrowings to revised level.
If revenue collections dont grow at a much faster pace in the last two months of the financial year
(February and March), fiscal deficit as a percentage of the gross domestic product might overshoot
To meet Revised Estimate (RE) projections, the government is pinning its hopes on the fourth and last
installment of advance tax collections, to be paid in March.
To rein in the deficit at the projected level, the government might have to compress Plan expenditure
further after it was slashed by about Rs 80,000 crore in the RE. This could affect growth ahead of
the
general elections in May-April.
According to economists, it is difficult to meet the RE but the fiscal deficit is unlikely to exceed the
projections made in the Budget Estimate 4.8 per cent. Last year, the fiscal deficit was controlled at 4.9
per cent.
For the next financial year, the fiscal deficit is pegged at 4.1 per cent of the GDP, one percentage point
lower than targeted in a fiscal consolidation map, even as the government cut excise duties to spur
manufacturing, particularly the production of consumer durable goods, which fell for 13th month in a
row in December.
POLICY INITIATIVES BY RESERVE BANK OF INDIA
DEADLINE FOR EXCHANGING PRE 2005 NOTES
The Reserve Bank granted an additional nine months for the public to exchange currency notes printed
before 2005, including Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 denominations, and set a deadline of January 1, 2015.
RBI has also advised banks to facilitate the exchange of these notes for full value and without causing
any inconvenience whatsoever to the public, the central bank said in a release.
It clarified that the public can continue to freely use these notes for transactions and can
unhesitatingly receive these notes in payment as all such notes remain legal tender.
A majority of such notes have already been withdrawn through the banks and only a limited number
of
notes remain with the public the RBI said.
The apex bank said it will monitor and review the withdrawal and exchange process so that the public
is
not inconvenienced in any manner.
Reserve Bank Governor Raghuram Rajan had earlier said the withdrawal was not an attempt at
demonetisation, nor had it anything to do with the forthcoming general elections.
The RBI on had earlier said it would withdraw from circulation all pre-2005 currency notes from April 1
and the public was advised to approach banks to exchange such notes
[For more details on this issue, please refer to the Current Affairs notes of January 2014 ]

22
OTC DERIVATIVE REFORMS
In response to the financial crisis that began in 2007, the G-20 initiated a series of reforms designed to
strengthen the regulation and oversight of the financial system and tasked the Financial Stability Board
(FSB) with coordinating the reforms and assessing their implementation.
An important aspect of these reforms is a commitment to enhance the regulation of Over the Counter
(OTC) derivatives market so as to improve transparency, mitigate systemic risk and protect against
market abuse.
In India, the OTC derivative products were introduced in a phased manner, particularly keeping in view
the hedging needs of the real sector.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has initiated steps for adoption of the G-20 / FSB reforms, and
reasonable progress has been made in implementing the OTC derivative reform measures in India.
In order to guide the process of implementation of the key reform measures being undertaken by FSB,
an Implementation Group on OTC Derivatives Market Reforms was constituted on the directions of the
Sub Committee of the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC).
ANALYSIS
The Reserve Bank said India is fully committed to bring in reforms in the overthecounter (OTC)
derivatives markets, but its pace and nature will depend on the domestic market conditions.
The reform agenda consists of standardisation, central clearing, exchange or electronic platform
trading,
margining and reporting of OTC derivatives transactions to trade repositories.
The group recommended the proportion of the market that is standardised should be substantially
increased in order to further G20s goals of increased central clearing and trading on organised
platforms.
To implement the G20 commitment effectively, it is necessary to specify the factors that should be
taken into account when determining whether a derivative contract is standardised and therefore
suitable for clearing, it said.
The report said the roadmap for implementation of reform measures with regard to OTC derivatives
has
been worked out with timelines extending up to March 2015.
As some of the milestones are dependent on exogenous variables like improvement in liquidity, there
is
a possibility the timelines may be revised, the report said.
TERMS USED
Over the counter - A security traded in some context other than on a formal exchange such as the
NYSE,
BSE etc. The phrase "over-the-counter" can be used to refer to stocks that trade via a dealer network as
opposed to on a centralized exchange. It also refers to debt securities and other financial instruments
such as derivatives, which are traded through a dealer network.
Over the Counter Derivative - A type of financial derivative that has its transaction directly
negotiated
between two parties rather than through an exchange.
RBI STILL TO ADOPT INFLATION TARGETING
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan said that the central bank was yet to take a
decision on Urjit Patel committee report which had suggested an inflation target and was still in
discussion with the government on the subject.
While reiterating his preference for CPI, Dr. Rajan said that probably we should focus more on CPI
than
wholesale price index (WPI) because CPI is what actually the common man sees and based on many
decisions including wage decisions.
Further, he said that there was a need to bring down CPI and a reasonable path to bring it down
overtime whatever level it ultimately comes down to.

23
A path to bring it down is 8 per cent by the end of this year and 6 per cent at the end of
two years,
he added.
Dr. Rajan also felt that, across the world, it had been experienced that allowing inflation to rise does
have costs and does not have benefits.
He warned Higher and higher level of inflation feed on each other and the ultimate is hyper inflation.
Hyper inflation has social conflict because middle-class savings get wiped out. It is not where we want to
go. Moderate rate of inflation do not necessarily translate into hyper-inflation, but we need to be
careful.
Rajan also debunked the growth-inflation trade-off saying the long run trade-off between growth and
inflation doesn't exist.
However, he said that continued inflation fighting could inflict a cost on growth in the short-run. In
the
short run, there may be a cost to bringing down inflation in terms of growth. But in the long-run,
bringing down inflation is a good thing and helps sustainable growth.
The Deputy Governor of the RBI Urjit Patel had submitted, in January last, a report of the expert
committee to revise and strengthen the monetary policy framework, suggesting the central bank to
move to an inflation target, with an aim to eventually bring down consumer price index (CPI) inflation to
4 per cent with a 2 per cent band on either side.
[For more details on this issue, please refer to the Current Affairs notes of January 2014 ]
NEW CLASS OF REGISTERED FOREIGN PORTFOLIO INVESTOR
RBI has eased the registration guidelines & operating framework for foreign portfolio investments to
attract inflows.
The investors registered with Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), Foreign Institutional
Investor
(FII) and Qualified Foreign Investor (QFI) will be subsumed under Registered Foreign Portfolio Investor
(RFPI).
RFPI may trade shares and convertible debentures of Indian companies and the one offered to public
in
relevant SEBI guidelines.
Such investors can acquire shares or convertible debentures in any bid for, or acquisition of, securities
to
offer for disinvestment of shares made by the Central Government or any State government.
They can invest in government securities and corporate debt subject to limits set by RBI & SEBI.
Investments made by FII/QFI with regulations prior to registration as RFPI will continue to be valid and
taken into account for computing aggregate limit specified.
Investors are permitted to trade in all exchange-traded derivative contracts, subject to SEBI specified
position limits.
Cash offered by RFPI or foreign sovereign securities with AAA rating or corporate bonds or domestic
government securitiesmay be offered as collateral to recognised stock exchanges for their transactions
in cash as well as derivative segment of the market.
TERMS USED
QFI QUALIFIED FOREIGN INVESTOR shall mean a person who fulfils the following criteria:
o Resident in a country that is a member of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) or a member of a
group which is a member of FATF (here member of FATF does not mean an Associate member of
FATF)
o Resident in a country that is a signatory to IOSCOs MMOU (Appendix A Signatories) or a
signatory of a bilateral MOU with SEBI:

24
CERC REVISED TARIFF GUIDELINES
WHY IN NEWS?
As per the new norms, notified by the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) on February 21,
there
are key changes with regard to tax and calculation of incentives for thermal power plants.
ANALYSIS
The revised tariff norms will have a negative impact on the margins of state-owned utilities such as
NTPC, Power Grid and NHPC according to S&P
CERC, in its final guidelines for tariff fixation, has shifted the incentive structure to plant load factor
(PLF)
from plant availability factor (PAF) for the period FY14-FY19.
The regulator has also maintained the base return on equity on transmission systems at 15.5 per cent,
which is much lower than 18-20 per cent sought by companies.
According to S&P, NTPCs EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) is likely
to decline 10-12 per cent and net income to fall under the new tariff structure-all else being equal.
Nevertheless, the regulator has introduced stricter operational parameters for incentives through
higher benchmark PLF for NHPC and higher benchmark PAF for Power Grid. These revisions could reduce
the companies EBITDA by less than 5 per cent.
CANADA BASED BITCOIN BANK CLOSES
A Canada-based bank specializing in bitcoins says it has closed after computer hackers stole its digital
currency.
The closure of the Flexcoin bank comes just a week after the collapse of Mt. Gox, a major bitcoin
exchange. The Japan-based Mt. Gox also linked its demise to an electronic heist.
The twin failures of Mt. Gox and Flexcoin will likely raise more doubts about bitcoins ability to
establish
itself as an alternative currency.
Flexcoin says 896 bitcoins were stolen from its online vault. That translates into a loss of about
$600,000,
based on bitcoins current trading value.
Unlike banks dealing in government-backed currencies, Flexcoins losses arent covered by deposit
insurance. The Alberta, Canada, bank says it cant recover from the setback.
Bitcoins that Flexcoin kept offline, or in cold storage, remain secure, according to the bank.
The Mt. Gox collapse represents a far bigger blow to bitcoins credibility. That downfall wiped out
about
750,000 bitcoins, or about 6 percent of the currencys total circulation.
Mt. Gox has filed for bankruptcy protections while it sifts through its financial mess.
Supporters are touting the five-year-old currency as a way to lower transaction fees by cutting out
banks
and payment processors that collect billions of dollars annually by serving as financial middlemen.
UNITED BANK ISSUE OF NPA OR CORPORATE GOVERNANCE
WHY IN NEWS?
Sharp rise in NPA of the United Bank from Rs 2,901 crore in December 2012 to Rs 8,546 crore in
December 2013.(three times)
Resignation of its chairman Archana Bhargava in February.
CORE ISSUE
In the UBIs case, while the full picture will be known after some time, it appears that the core of its
problems relates to not classifying a large number of small loans as NPAs.

25
More intriguing is the explanation some other loans were reported as non-performing assets when, in
fact, they should not be classified as such.
Certain top officials of UBI have faulted the software, which, according to them, was responsible for
the
misreporting of loans.
Infosys, which has developed this software, has strongly countered the argument, saying that a
number
of banks have been using it for a long time without a glitch.
FINANCIAL CAUSES
The basic cause might be some reckless lending culture, which led to bad loans and unacceptably high
levels of NPAs.
Government influence cannot obviously be ruled out.
Further, it is reported that UBI has been the designated nodal agency for many socio-economic
programmes in eastern India nothing wrong in that except that it calls for special skills in supervision
and follow up, which it seemingly did not have. Also, in those schemes, there is a much bigger scope of
government/politicians influencing the credit decisions.
No single major defaulter Kingfisher or Deccan Chronicle Holdings has emerged although it is not
clear whether UBI has a small exposure on these high profile entities.
Large corporate defaults so common even with much better-run PSBs would distract attention
from what appears to be a collective failure of the UBIs top management.
CONCLUSION
The on-going economic slowdown has been blamed for the proliferation of NPAs not only in UBI, but
also in much bigger and better-run banks such as SBI.
If the slowdown persists, the stress on their balance sheets will naturally increase.
The government, as the majority stakeholder, has quite a task on hand not only in getting UBI back on
its
feet but also in sprucing up all public sector banks image, which has received quite a hit recently .
FIRST CORPORATE BOND DEFAULT IN CHINA
WHY IN NEWS?
Chinese authorities allowed the countrys first corporate bond default (Chaori Solar Energy), inflicting
losses on small investors in a painful step toward making its financial system more market-oriented.
In Chinas whole $1.5-trillion publicly traded corporate-debt market, no company has ever defaulted.
ANALYSIS
The default of Shanghai Chaori Solar Energy on its 1-billion-yuan ($163-million) bond might help speed
the pace of market reform.
Letting this default happen could be a massive deal for a couple of reasons.
For one, a default will force the market to start pricing in risk
Until now, high-profile investment products on the brink of default have all been bailed out at the 11th
hour. Its not surprising that people assume that someonebanks or the governmentwill recoup their
losses.
The governments move to finally allow corporate default is a crucial move toward letting the market
dictate interest rates, which is one of its key reform goals.
Financial analysts have expressed concern about rising Chinese corporate debt.
Some companies also face pressure due to government efforts to reduce production capacity in
industries in which supply exceeds demand, such as steel, cement and aluminium. That glut of supply
has depressed prices, sometimes below production cost, causing heavy losses and in some cases forcing
companies into bankruptcy.

26
Small investors who want a better return than the low interest rates paid by Chinas state-owned
banks
have flocked to corporate bonds and higher-risk investments such as securities backed by packages of
credit card and other debt.
Though some see such a move is to develop a healthy credit market, many other analysts worry it
could
be a sign of a wave of defaults to come.
Bank of America analysts wrote in a recent note that the default could be "China's Bear Stearns
moment".
GOLDMAN SACHS LAUNCHES CPSE-ETF TRADED FUNDS
The CPSE ETF (Central Public Sector Enterprises,
Exchange traded fund), an open-ended Index Exchange
Traded Scheme, would be listed on the exchanges in the
form of an Exchange Traded Fund (ETF), which tracks the
central public sector enterprises (CPSE) index.
Through this fund, investors can invest in 10
Maharatnas, Navratnas and Miniratnas at a discount of 5
per cent on the Reference Market Price of the
underlying shares of CPSE Index, which will be offered to
the CPSE ETF by the Government.
The CPSE index today has ten stocks, chosen on three
criteria a 55 per cent Government holding, a 4 per
cent dividend yield, seven-year dividend paying record
and a free float market cap of 1,000 crore or more.
Retail individual investors can invest a minimum of
Rs.5,000 and in multiples of Re.1 thereafter up to
Rs.200,000. The entry and exit load is nil.
The CPSE index is hugely tilted towards the energy
sector, with ONGC constituting 26% of the index.
WHY IT HAS BEEN A HIT?
Predictably, CPSE ETFs substantial collection came purely because of near-term incentives that the
government made possible.
The fund offered investors an instant discount as the government agreed to sell its shares to the fund
at
a 5% discount to market price.
For investors in the initial offering, there is also the promise of a loyalty bonus of one share for every
15
shares held.
This is in addition to the tax savings under RGESS.
The fund has been a hit with strong collections both from institutional and retail investors, with
nearly
40% coming from the former.
NEGATIVE ASPECTS
While the government benefits from the scheme as it has an additional channel to offload its shares at
a
time when investors are becoming increasingly demanding and having taken the bait, creating these
artificial incentives is fraught with complications.
Institutional investors are savvy and may understand how to time entry and exit, but retail investors
run
the risk of losing the plot completely.
The top stock ONGC has a heavy 26 per cent weight in the portfolio. With no representation from
defensives and a portfolio heavily tilted towards policy-heavy, cyclical stocks, stocks in the ETF are
inexpensive, but can prove quite volatile and vulnerable to economic cycles.
No active management: An ETF passively tracks an index and its performance depends entirely on the
index. Therefore, if the companies making up this ETF flag on financial or stock price performance, the

27
fund cannot get rid of them. In contrast, there are actively managed PSU funds such as the Religare
Invesco PSU Fund, Sundaram PSU Opportunities, SBI PSU and Baroda Pioneer Opportunities. Their fund
managers will select the best PSU stocks and keep changing the portfolio with shifting prospects.
The product may not see sustained interest once the incentives with the initial offer are no longer
available. That had better be the case because if the scheme becomes a norm, it will only distort
markets.
NORMS TIGHTENED TO PREVENT MONEY LAUNDERING - SEBI
To combat possible tax evasion by Americans through Indian entities, the Securities and Exchange
Board
of India (SEBI) planned to issue the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) compliance
norms in
the fiscal year 2014-15.
For the implementation of the FATCA, the US government is required to sign Inter-Government
Agreement (IGA) with various countries, including India, where American individuals and companies
may hold accounts and other assets. Till now, the USA has signed IGAs with 22 countries viz. the
UK, Switzerland, etc.
Currently, the negotiations are going on between the India and US for an IGA to be signed
between the
two countries under the FATCA.
Purpose of FATCA: To check and impose withholding tax on illicit activities of some wealthy
individuals
who use offshore accounts to evade millions of dollars in taxes.
Once this new Act and the Indo-US IGA come into effect, all financial institutions in India would need
to
carry out a detailed due diligence on all their clients and report details of their US clients to the US tax
department (Internal Revenue Service).
Any non-compliance of the FATCA provisions would result in penal withholding of 30% of the total
USsource
income of such financial institutions.
SEBI would examine the applicability of the FATCA provisions to all market intermediaries regulated by
the capital markets regulator. It was examined by SEBI in coordination with the Ministry of Finance.
Note: FATCA became a law in 2010, the final regulations were issued for it in January 2013 and it is set
to
come into effect from 1 July 2014, after signing of IGAs with different countries.
PRESIDENT REPROMULGATES SEBI ORDINANCE
President Pranab Mukherjee cleared the re-promulgation of the SEBI Ordinance that provides
powers
for SEBI Chairman to authorize Investigating Authority or any other officer of the regulator to conduct
search and seizure under the SEBI Act and crack down on Ponzi schemes.
SEBI ordinance Securities Laws (Amendment) Bill 2013
Purpose: To arm the regulator with more stringent powers comes in wake of thousands of duped
investors reportedly taking to the streets in Siliguri (West Bengal) protesting the proliferation of chit
fund companies there and the Rs 2,000-crore Sardhaachit fund scam.
SEBI can regulate any money pooling scheme worth Rs 100 crore or more and attach assets in cases of
non-compliance and its Chairman can order search and seizure operations.
Empowers the market watchdog to seek information, such as telephone call data records, from any
persons or entities in respect to any securities transaction being investigated by it.
Note: The SEBI ordinance lapsed on January 15, has been re-promulgated for the third time as the
Parliament could not pass the Securities Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2013, in the winter session.
EU TO BAN INDIAN MANGOES, VEGETABLES
On March 26 the European Union Standing Committee on Plant Health slapped a ban on Indian
mangoes
after it had allegedly found pests in 207 consignments of fresh produce imported from India last year.
The ban covers mangoes, aubergines, the taro plant and two types of gourd. These represent less than
5
per cent of the blocs fresh fruit and vegetable imports from India, according to the European
Commission.

28
The ban, agreed by a committee of experts representing member states, is to be reviewed by the end
of
2015.
In exporting mangoes, Andhra Pradesh stands second after Maharashtra among the mango-producing
states in the country. Of all the varieties, the Banginapalli variety has a good acceptance in the
international market.
IMPACT
The only alternative option to farmers and traders alike is to sell them off in the domestic market at a
lower price.
Though one cannot tell certainly whether the prices in the domestic market will shoot up or not, but
there is no possibility of prices rising
The produce required for exports should be of high quality that requires great efforts by the farmers,
but
there is also a risk factor involved here. To get the kind of quality accepted in the Europe, a farmer has
to pluck about half of the fruits at the flowering stage. This naturally reduces the produce and he can get
good profit only if it is accepted overseas. But, with this kind of international issues, a farmer is always at
a risk,
GOVERNMENTS REACTION
India will be challenging the European Unions move to ban exports of fresh mangoes and four other
vegetables.
The Government will take up the issue of the ban strongly at the India-EU SPS-TBT (Sanitary and
Phytosanitary and Technical Barriers to Trade) working group meeting scheduled in Brussels.
Further, a government official reiterated that We see the ban purely as a trade restricting measure.
Since India has already assured the EU that its improved SPS certification system will be in place from
April 1, there is no justification behind the ban.
SREI TO ROLL OUT WHITE LABEL ATMS
Srei Infrastructure Finance, engaged in infrastructure financing, is planning to start roll-out of its while
label ATMs (WLAs) between July and September starting with a pilot of 200 Tier-III towns in Uttar
Pradesh and Bihar.
Srei plans to launch the service in Tier-II to Tier-V towns in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, West Bengal,
Assam and Tamil Nadu.
The RBI authorisation allows Srei to set up a minimum of 9,000 WLAs in the next three years in rural
India.
Sahaj e-Village Limited is a Srei initiative with a focus on rural India. It has offices in Assam, Bihar,
Odisha,
Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal and is seen as one of the largest implementers of ICT-based
projects in India, providing a distribution network for government, private and social sectors to deliver
their services.
The company said that WLAs would operate on a revenue-sharing model with the stakeholders,
including the clearing service providers and Sahaj.
White Label ATM - Non-bank entities that intend setting up, owning and operating ATMs
GOVERNMENT SETS UP TAX ADMIN REFORM COMMISSION
Purpose - Bringing in more credibility among tax payers and to streamline income tax procedures
Chairman Parthasarathi Shome
Members - Ex-Chairman of two tax boards, former Chief Financial Officer from IT service provider
Tata
Consultancy Services and an Ex-Vice President for Taxation from the Murugappa Group. Comprising
both
officials from public and private sector.
Further, Mr. Shome clarified that in the commission, we are not focusing on tax policy, legislation but
focus is on the rules and features and structural reforms in tax administration.

29
He also said that one of the reasons for setting up the Commission was to bring in more transparency
in
the tax department and in the collection of taxes as a certain amount of "distrust" emerged between
the
tax department and the tax payers.
EPFO TO PROVIDE PERMANENT NUMBER
The Employees Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) will provide permanent account numbers to its
over five crore subscribers from October, 2014.
EPFO is a statutory body of the Government of India under the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
It administers a compulsory contributory Provident Fund Scheme, Pension Scheme and an
Insurance Scheme.
Permanent or Universal Account Number (UAN)
Purpose: To provide great relief to those workers in organized sector who frequently change jobs,
particularly, in the construction sector.
It will facilitate subscribers to avoid filing Provident Fund (PF) account transfer claims on changing jobs.
Subscriber would not be issued new PF account number on joining new employer.
The UAN would be one account number which would be allotted to a subscriber for various schemes
run
by the EPFO for his or her entire service period with different employers.
The roadmap for implementing the UAN programme will be prepared by Centre for Development
of
Advanced Computing (C-DAC).
Benefit: UAN will help to reduce the workload of the EPFO to a great extent as it receives over 12
lakh
claims for transfer of PF account on changing of jobs by its subscribers.
INDIA HUMAN DEVELOPMENT SURVEY
Employment in agriculture has fallen sharply over the last seven years and a combination of farm-
oriented
and non-farm work is now the most common form of rural employment
Findings on employment show that the fall in agricultural employment documented in the 2011
Census as
well is much larger than what was previously believed. In 2004-05, half of all rural men and 83 per
cent of
rural women worked only on farms, making it the most common type of rural employment. However,
exclusive farm-oriented work is still the most prevalent form of employment among rural women,
engaging
66 per cent
Non-Farm work: Non-farm work is now a bigger employer for rural men in Punjab, Haryana, Assam,
northeastern
States, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The same is true for rural women as well in the two southern States.
Women workforce participation dwindling: Fall in the participation of women in the workforce
from 47
per cent women aged 15-59 in 2004-05 to 43.7 per cent in 2011-12. The participation rate, which
considers
all those employed or looking for work, for men is 78.9 per cent and 77.2 per cent in 2004-05 and 2011-
12
respectively
Growing Wages: Wages have grown exponentially over the last decade. The daily agricultural labour
wage
has nearly tripled for men in the last seven years, while the non-agricultural wage has more than
doubled.
The wages of women workers, though still much less that male workers, have grown similarly.
BACKGROUND TO IHDS
The National Council for Applied Economic Research (NCAER) conducts the India Human Development
Survey
(IHDS), the largest household survey in India after the government's Nation Sample Survey Organisation
(NSSO)
surveys, and the NCAER is the only independent body that conducts such large-sample panel surveys.
The survey
covers economic data on income and expenditure, development data on education and health, and
sociological
data on caste, gender and religion The NCAER team covered 42,000 households across the country, 83
per cent
of which were surveyed for the last round of the IHDS in 2004-05.

30
TOLL TAX
WHY IN NEWS?
Toll plazas were attacked across Maharashtra after diktat from Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS)
chief to
his party men to vandalise toll booths and thrash anyone asking them to pay toll tax
9 billion dollar worth of projects has already been undertaken under BOT (toll type) PPP. This amounts
to
more than 50% of all the projects underway for National Highways (important from Paper 3 perspective)
ANALYSIS
Arguments against banning Toll plazas/Tax
Utilitarian Argument: Important for development of Roadways sector.
India desperately needs newer roads and improvements to existing roads because world-class roads
can
bring in development by enabling trade to move faster, helping in safer and quicker movement of
people.
A study by the International Food Policy Research Institute found that for every Rs 10 lakh spent on
roads,
124 people escaped poverty and that every rupee spent on rural roads yielded more than Rs 5 in
additional
agricultural output. A perfect example is the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, a toll road that has brought
much
faster development to Pune and the Mumbai-Pune corridor
With coming of The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation
and
Resettlement Act 2013 into force, the new law would require road developers to pay higher levels of
compensation. This might take the road development business further downhill which thus has to be
compensated externally through toll tax like measures.
Current state of Indian roads demand further incentivizing of PPP rather than scuttling the growth of
PPP in
Roadways sector.
An ICRA Research report in November 2013 paints a gloomy picture: "(The) road sector continued to
face
headwinds in the form of execution impediments, financing constraints, slowdown in traffic and
stressed
financial position of the developers. Several projects have faced delays in execution mainly on account
of
delayed land acquisition, removal of encroachments, shifting of utilities, receipt of approvals and
environment clearances, etc. As a result, the execution in National Highways Authority of India (NHAI)
projects witnessed a decline in the first 4 months of the current financial year. Many projects which
were
awarded over the last two years had been facing difficulty in achieving financial closure due to
aggressive
bidding, uncertainty on land acquisition, pending approvals and increased risk aversion of banks, etc. As
of
August 2013, financial closure was not achieved for 32 road projects." As it is, toll collections have been
down with the economic downturn. Out of 17 stretches put on auction by the NHAI recently, response
was
received for 14 as of 13 December, 2013 and NHAI stood to receive 4 percent less overall because only 6
of
the 14 stretches received higher offers as compared to the preceding year.
Argument in favour of banning Toll tax
Toll roads are not maintained well despite toll collections, besides being right in demanding greater
transparency in toll receipts and project costs so that private companies who are hand in glove with
politicians don't collect more than what is mandated and make huge profits.
They have been deliberately showing lesser profits so as to retain the roads for more time, thus
maximising
their overall gains.
Economic loss due to malfunctioning toll plazas
It is ironic and shocking that due to delays at checkpoints, highway toll plazas cost the economy
around 20
times their annual tax collections.
A study by IIM-Kolkata and the Transport Corporation of India estimates the costs at a scandalous Rs
87,000
crore a year, far higher than the Centre's toll collections of Rs 4,364 crore in 2009-10.
The finding, based on surveys of operation efficiency at 17 transportation trunk routes, calls for speedy
introduction of foolproof electronic tolling to avoid lengthy queues and delays at manual checkposts.
Also required is governance reform to put paid to such practices as overloading, the rates for which
can
apparently be negotiated at will. The study finds that the length of time at toll points adds up to Rs
27,000
crore nationally. And the extra fuel spent on slowing down and stopping at checkpoints amount to an
additional Rs 60,000 crore.

31
SOCIAL ISSUES
ASSISTANCE TO DISABLED PERSONS SCHEME (ADIP)
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved revised benefits under the Scheme of
Assistance to
Disabled Persons for Purchase/Fitting of Aids/Appliances (ADIP)
The income eligibility ceiling for 100 per cent concession, from the existing Rs. 6,500 per month, has
been
enhanced to Rs. 15,000 per month and for a 50 per cent concession from Rs. 15,001 to Rs. 20,000 per
month.
User-friendly mobile phones will be provided once in five years to visually-challenged students of age
18
years and above.
Laptop and Braille Note Taker will be given to school-going disabled students (Class 10 and above),
once in 10
years.
WOMEN ISSUES
GENDER SCORECARD
India Human Development Survey has released a Gender Scorecard which covers the nature of
gender
relations in India. Barring a few bright spots such as declining gap in school enrolment between girls and
boys
the rest of the story paints a gloomy picture.
In 2005, among children aged between 6-14 years, 88 per cent of girls and 92 per cent of boys entered
school. By 2012, the percentage for both sexes rose to 96 per cent.
India has made progress in child marriage, with 48% of women over 25 reporting in 2011-12 that they
were
married before the age of 18 as opposed to 60% in 2004-5.
But, the list of negatives is long. Strict patriarchal norms govern the movement of women (18 per cent
dont
even go to a Kirana shop), how much input they are allowed in household decisions vital to themselves
and
their children (only 25 per cent have the final authority on what to do when they are sick).
41% of women had no say in their marriage and just 18% knew their husbands before marriage, a
statistic
that has not improved.
60% of women including 59% of forward caste Hindus and 83% of Muslim women practised some
form of
`purdah' or `ghunghat'.
The average Indian family gives over Rs. 30,000 in cash as dowry and 40% admitted to giving large
items like
TVs and cars as dowry. The practice of giving large items as dowry was most common among forward
caste
Hindus and lowest among Muslims
Sex ratio too has been declining at an alarming rate, Census 2001 recorded only 927 girls between the
ages 0-
6 compared to 1,000 boys. This ratio dropped to 919 in 2011.
During years of rapid economic growth, womens employment has steadily declined. Womens work
participation rates for those between the ages 15-59 dropped from 58 to 54 per cent for rural women
and
from 23 to 20 per cent for urban women between 2005 and 2012.
Women remain concentrated in the agricultural sector. In 2005, 73 per cent of the rural men did any
agricultural work; by 2012 this number fell to 65 per cent. In contrast, the decline for women has been
smaller, from 91 per cent to 86 percent.
SUCCESSES OF GOVERNMENT POLICIES
JSSY which provides for institutional deliveries helped raise the rate of institutional deliveries from
50% in
2005 to 70% in 2012.
The proportion of women with their name on a bank account has risen from 18 per cent to a
whopping 38
per cent in these seven years.
44 per cent of the beneficiaries under MGNREGA are women whereas originally envisaged were 33%

32
MAJOR CHALLENGES
World Bank estimated that over the last two decades, around 2.5 lakh girls were killed in India each year
because of their sex .When infant and child mortality are driven by biology, fewer girls die than boys,
but the
third National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3) found that the post neonatal mortality rate for Indian girls
is
21/1000, compared with 15 for boys. For the age group 1-4 years, the child mortality rate for girls, at
23/1000,
is 61 per cent higher than for boys, at 14. This reflects a deep entrenched b against the girls in our
country.
Women have been indoctrinated to believe that their security depends on good behaviour, as mandated
by
men. There is plenty they ails the women in India today. Some issues have been highlighted below:
Poor Conviction rate: Section 312 to 317 of IPC list punishments for causing miscarriage, injuring
unborn
child, preventing child from being born, causing it to die after birth or abandoning it before 12 years. But
conviction rate is very poor in such cases.
Disempowered: More than 40% children suffer from malnutrition and chances for malnutrition are
higher if
the mothers are uneducated, undernourished.
Socialisation of violence against women: Inferior treatment meted out to girls/mothers moulds
psyche of
brothers/sons who learn to internalize the lower position/preference of women NCRB reports that in
2012
there were 24,923 cases of rape registered. In 98 per cent of the cases, the victims knew the offenders.
This is
a logical outcome of a nurturing process in which boys grow up believing, from what they see in their
families, that women exist only to satisfy the needs of men.
Marriage at lower age is a source of increased risk of adverse reproduction and health
consequences
Open defecation: Poses security risk to women i.e. chances of abduction and rape. Lack of toilets
either
through IAY or in schools has hampered sanitation and education targets. Complaints to the NHRC show
how
many women are abducted or raped when they go out into the fields at night.
Acts of Criminal Violence: Through trafficking, women stuck in conflict zones, being ostracised and
persecuted for inter-caste/class marriages, dowry, wife beating and needless hysterectomies through
RSBY.
Infectivity of government schemes and policies: Only about one per cent of households have
registered their
daughters for the girl-child schemes that provide cash incentives for the survival and education of girls.
On
the other hand large schemes suffer from operational difficulties; the demand for hospital-based
deliveries
has fast outpaced the ability of government hospitals to deliver reasonable quality care.
Reporting of crimes against women -Sexual violence affects as many as 27.5 million women in
India, though
only one per cent of the victims report the crime to police. Low reporting of sexual violence might in
part be
because marital rape is not a crime in India. In past year, increases in reported rape cases have been
attributed to better support for victim disclosure, but actual rape incidence might be increasing.
SOCIAL INCLUSION
GAP BETWEEN MUSLIMS AND REST OF POPULATION CLOSING DOWN
The Sachar committee which analysed socio-economic status of Muslims in the country in 1990s had
given a
verdict that Muslims were doing much worse than the average population of the country.
Recent findings of IHDS have shown that this gap between the Muslims and the rest of the population
has
closed down in last two decades reflecting their improving condition. Muslims fare better than
Scheduled
Castes and Scheduled Tribes on most social indicators. The SCs and STs remain, in this sense, the most
marginalised of social groups in Indian society.
The average for Muslim underweight children (48.3 per cent) (1998-99), the Sachar report noted,
was worse
than the all-India average (47 per cent). However, from 1999-2005 muslims witnessed a drop of 6.5 %
when
compared to a drop of 4.5% for the national average.
The literacy rate for Muslims had climbed to 72 per cent, only 3 points below that for India . The
difference
between the national average and the Muslim average in literacy rates in rural areas was 6 percentage
points
and in urban areas 10 percentage points in 2001. Both fell to 3.5 percentage points and 8.5 percentage
points
respectively.

33
However, an issue of concern should be that per capita consumption expenditure for Muslims in urban
areas
has been diverging from the rest of urban India, even though in rural India, it has kept pace with the rest
of
India.
AN INCLUSIVE GROWTH POLICY
Thanks to the inclusive growth policy, and social sector programs such as MGNREGA, JSY and NRHM
etc. real
per capita income has seen growth.
Inclusiveness of the economic growth can be assessed by looking at growth differential across Urban
and
Rural Households; Socio-religious Households.
Some of the points worth noting in this regard are :
Cause Unknown: Rise in expenditure and consequent decline in poverty though the exact cause
i.e.
govt. welfare programs or general improved participation in economic growth is not known
Income Growth: Average real household income growth has been higher across Rural than Urban
areas,
even as non-primary activities have been the focal point of government schemes.
Disadvantaged Better Off: Highest growth in median per capita income has been for Dalits and
OBCs
Income Inequality up: Income inequality, represented by Gini coefficient has gone up slightly to 55
from
53
SC DIRECTIONS ON MANUAL SCAVENGING ACT
The apex court has directed all the States and UTs to implement the prohibition of Employment as
Manual
Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013.
The court deprecated the practice of manually removing night soil with bare hands, brooms or metal
scrappers.
The court directed that for sewer deaths, entering sewer lines without safety gears should be made a
crime
even in emergency situations. Also, for such a death, compensation of Rs. 10 lac should be given to the
family
of the dead.
Railways should take time-bound strategy to end manual scavenging on the tracks
Safai karamchari women should be provided support for dignified livelihood in accordance with their
choice
of livelihood schemes [For details and provisions of the Manual Scavenging Act, students should
refer the
September 2013 issue of Vision ]
BACKGROUND
This ruling of the apex court comes in the light of Manual Scavenging Act 2013 which was passed by the
parliament in September 2013. Yet, most of the states have not implemented the provisions of act
which makes
the act of manual scavenging a crime. Dry latrines have not only continued to exist till date in several
States, but
have increased to 96 lakh and are still being cleaned manually by scavengers belonging to the Scheduled
Castes.
To add to it the Indian Railways are the biggest employers of manual scavengers in the country which
causes
social discrimination and several health hazards.
HUMAN DEVELOPMENT INDICES IMPROVING IN BIMARU STATES
As per the latest data from human development indicators across the poorer States with a high
concentration
of marginalized groups are catching up with the national average
The eight poorer States Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar
Pradesh
and Uttarakhand are home to nearly 48 per cent of all the SCs, 52 per cent of all the STs and 44 per
cent of
all Muslims in the country
Delhi, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab among the best performing States in human
development indicators
Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Odisha are the worst performers.
Muslims have done well when compared to other socially disadvantaged groups such as the SCs and
STs

34
Impact of Good governance on HD indicators is clearly reflected in the data. For instance, the SCs and
the
OBCs in Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala are better off than the upper castes in Bihar,
Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh in terms of various health indicators.
Similarly, the SCs in Delhi and Kerala have higher literacy rates than the upper castes in Bihar and
Rajasthan.
Muslims in Jammu & Kashmir and A.P. are better than Hindus not only in their own States but also in
Uttar
Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Gujarat in terms of some health outcomes
WORK DAYS FOR TRIBALS UNDER MGNREGA INCREASED
Cabinet increased the number of workdays under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment
Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) from 100 to 150 for those who have received land rights under the Forest
Rights
Act, 2006
A caveat associated is that they should have no other private land and should have already completed
100
days of work under the scheme in that financial year.
To distinguish this category from regular MGNREGA workers, they will be given a job card of a
different color.
This move would benefit around 14 lakh individual out whom eight lakh individuals are from the States
of
Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa.
ANALYSIS
The new initiative would have several advantages: It would not only help counter left wing extremism
but it will
also help in increasing the green cover in forests. Additionally, the government hopes this measure will
stop
migration, revive degraded forest lands and prevent these families from being exploited by Naxalites.

35
HEALTH
MAULANA AZAD SEHAT SCHEME
Sehat Card would be issued to every student of the Institution financially aided by Maulana Azad
Education
Foundation
Preventive Health Check-up Camps would be organized by the Institute twice in a year, through
Government/Private Hospitals/Nursing Home
All findings of the Preventive Health Checkups will be entered in the Sehat Card of the student by the
Doctors
In exceptional and deserving cases for serious ailments, the poor students belonging to notified
minorities
would be provided financial assistance for treatment in Government/Recognized Hospitals
Serious ailments of Kidney, Heart, Liver, Cancer and Brain or any other life threatening diseases
including
Knee surgery and Spinal surgery would be covered
BAN ON ANALGIN REVOKED
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has lifted the ban on pain-killer and anti-pyretic drug Analgin
and all
formulations containing analgin.
The drug can now be sold with a warning in India, but it is banned in most parts of the world.
It was banned in June last year by the Drugs Technical Advisory Board due to fears of risk to human
lives, and
since there were alternative drugs available
INDIA OFFICIALLY DECLARED POLIO FREE
South-East Asia Region, home to a quarter of the worlds population was recently certified polio-free.
Not only is this the fourth of the sixth regions globally to be declared polio free but now more than
80% of
global population is free from the scourge of this deadly disease
India was presented with the official certification for its polio free status as there have been no
reported
cases of polio in last three years in the country.
INDIAS ACHIEVEMENT APPLAUDABLE
India started on its journey to eradicate polio 19 years ago in 1995, when the disease used to cripple
more than
50,000 children in the country every year. This achievement had been possible with resolute will at the
highest
levels, technological innovations like the indigenous bivalent polio vaccine, adequate domestic financial
resources and close monitoring of polio programme, with which immunization levels soared to 99 per
cent
coverage and India achieved polio eradication. A 2.3-million strong team of polio volunteers and
150,000
supervisors worked day and night to reach every child.
MORE CHALLENGES LIE AHEAD
More than 120 countries currently use only OPV or Oral Polio Vaccines which would be phased out
eventually.
These countries will introduce a dose of IPV (inactivated polio vaccine)by the end of 2015 as part of their
commitment to the global polio endgame plan which aims to ensure a polio-free world by 2018. The oral
vaccine, which is cheap and easily administered, uses live but weakened forms of the poliovirus (vaccine
derived). But the live vaccine viruses can at times become harmful again. Vaccine-derived viruses can
gain the
ability to transmit within communities and even pass from one country to another. Such circulating
vaccinederived
polioviruses (cVDPV) have created havoc across the world since 2000. Polio cases worldwide during
2013 recorded an 82 per cent increase over the previous year. Although the polio-endemic countries of
Afghanistan and Nigeria more than halved the number of polio cases last year, Pakistan registered a 60
per cent
increase. The virus has reappeared in countries that had been free of it. Viruses from Pakistan have
surfaced in
the Middle East, and those from Nigeria produced a resurgence of polio in the Horn of Africa. This may
not stop
here and virus may find its way back into many more countries across the globe.

36
A meeting has been called of the Emergency Committee under the International Health Regulations to
advice on
measures to reduce the risk of further international spread. One such step could be the compulsory
vaccination
of travellers from polio-infected areas. India recently made it mandatory that those coming from
countries with
polio produce a certificate of vaccination with an oral polio vaccine. As long as the virus circulates in any
part of
the world, all countries free of it need to be alert and stop it from getting back in their territory.
CHALLENGE OF INJECTABLE POLIO VACCINE (IPV)
For India, which has successfully kept naturally-occurring wild polioviruses at bay for three whole
years, a
new challenge looms.
India is among 140 countries that rely on the oral polio vaccine (OPV). These countries have now been
asked
to introduce an injectable inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) into their routine childhood
immunisation
programme by the end of next year.
The oral vaccine, which is cheap and easily administered, uses live but weakened forms of the
poliovirus.
But the live vaccine viruses can occasionally revert to virulence.
Vaccine-derived viruses can gain the ability to transmit within communities and even pass from
one country
to another. Such circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses (cVDPV) have struck over 700
children since the
year 2000, producing outbreaks in several countries, including Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nigeria and
Somalia.
More than 95 per cent of the cVPDV cases in recent years have been of the type 2 strain (the
poliovirus has
three strains, types 1, 2 and 3). Polio caused by a wild type 2 virus was, on the other hand, last seen
15 years
back.
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), which coordinates the global fight again polio, therefore
wants
to stop all use of OPV that contains the type 2 vaccine strain.
Trivalent OPV, with all three types of vaccine strains, is to be replaced by bivalent OPV with only
type 1 and
type 3 vaccine strains.
But before making that switch, the GPEI has asked all countries using trivalent OPV to introduce at
least one
dose of the injectable IPV vaccine into their routine immunisation programme. IPV, which is more
expensive,
uses killed forms of the three types of wild viruses and carries no risk of reversion to
virulence.
This vaccine would provide protection against any type 2 vaccine-derived viruses lingering in the
environment.
But for IPV to be effectively deployed, routine immunisation coverage has to be improved.
Lessons from India's success in polio eradication are being used to enhance routine immunisation and
reach
under-served communities. This includes drawing up comprehensive micro-plans for routine
immunisation, intensively training frontline health workers who will carry out vaccinations and putting
in
place monitoring systems so that corrective measures can be taken when needed.
INDIA BEGINS MANDATORY OPV FOR TRAVELERS
Since March 1, administration of oral polio vaccine (OPV) six weeks before departure has become
mandatory
for all India-bound travelers from seven countries where polio cases are still being reported:
Afghanistan,
Ethiopia, Syria, Kenya, Somalia, Nigeria and Pakistan.
Indians headed for these countries will also be administered the vaccine.
The health ministry stated that the new preventive measure has been initiated as per the
recommendations
of the national and international expert bodies and the guidelines of the World Health Organisation.
India has not reported any case of polio for over three years. However, the risk of importation persists
as
Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria continue to be polio-endemic. Six countries were re-infected in 2013
and
there were major polio outbreaks in the Horn of Africa and the Middle East.
In May 2013, the India Expert Advisory Group on Polio Eradication recommended that the country
promote
the current WHO immunization recommendations for travelers to and from polio-endemic or infected
areas.
India has set up continuous immunisation posts along the borders with Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh,
Myanmar and Bhutan. This year their number went up to 102, with nearly 4.2 million children
immunised in
the past two years.

37
India has declared that any case of poliovirus will be treated as an emergency. Emergency
preparedness and
response capacity are being reviewed on an-ongoing basis.
THE GROWING MENACE OF TB IN INDIA
Of the estimated 9 million TB cases across the world, 3 million do not get the care they need and are
missing or
unaccounted for in the public health system. Of these 1 million are in India. A number of TB cases and
deaths go
unnoticed because of misdiagnosis, inappropriate treatment and lack of access to care. Some of the
flaws in the
current delivery system are:
Lack of Flexibility: Under Revised National TB Control Program (RNTCP), the caregiver becomes
entirely
responsible for ensuring the patient takes drugs and completes treatment Current program does not
give the
patient a right to choose a provider - important given cases of stigmatisation of TB patients by
community
and health care providers.
Inadequate Social and Nutritional Support especially during the tenure of the treatment to
avoid drop-out
rate.
Structural Issues: TB delivery though a vertical mechanism - not integrated into primary health care
services
rendered by public health system. Most patients thus prefer private providers as first POCs even as
RNTCP
provides free diagnostic and treatment
Poor quality in the private sector: More than 60 per cent of patients choose a provider from the
private
sector. But since the private sector is unregulated patients get no protection against inaccurate testing
or
irrational prescriptions. Poor administration of drugs along with irrational prescriptions and unregulated
sale
of anti-TB drugs over the counter lead to the transmission of drug-resistant TB.
SOLUTIONS GOING AHEAD
Engaging the private sector: Private sector manages 60% of Indias TB patients, its effective
engagement and
participation is therefore crucial to the success of TB control in India. Deficit of mutual trust, shortage of
human resources and pre-occupance of DOTS program manager are some of the reasons for poor
engagement and regulation of private sector in TB control. The private sector often uses inaccurate and
expensive TB diagnostic tests. While inaccurate diagnosis can lead to increased infection and patient
suffering, escalating costs have a debilitating effect on families, pushing them into a vicious cycle of
poverty.
There also exist well-documented cases where private practitioners prescribe inappropriate drug
regimens.
Additionally, treatment adherence is a major issue patients often stop their treatment or take
medication
in an irregular manner due to high costs or lack of monitoring.
Indias anti-TB programme has in the past floated public private partnership (PPP) schemes, but these
have
not had the necessary impact, perhaps because of insufficient benefits and incentives for the
private sector.
We need to create an effective and workable relationship between the public and private sectors. A
platform
that combines many of these are the government of Indias recently issued Standards of TB Care in India
(STCI). The STCI has been developed by the Central TB Division and dovetails with World Health
Organisation
and International Standards for TB Care endorsed recommendations
The PPP strategy should include a system for accreditation of private facilities that offer the best
standards of
care. There will have to be stricter regulation of the sale of anti-TB drugs.
Banning Serology Testing: Although the public sector offers free TB care services, its primary tool
of diagnosis
all these years, sputum microscopy, missed half of all TB cases. Delayed detection impacts treatment
outcomes, and contributes to continuing disease transmission. Serology-based testing for TB should be
banned and mandatory notification of TB cases made compulsory. There are several WHO
recommended
diagnostic techniques, such as Gene Xpert and other indigenously manufactured kits that provide quick
and
accurate TB diagnosis.
Infection Control and Nutrition: TB is an air borne disease and it spreads quickly in close, densely
knit spaces.
In the absence of ventilated housing, providing patients and families with sufficient information on
preventive strategies can help contain the infection. Also, there is a need to introduce a provision for
nutritional supplements to all TB patients. Quality of nutrition has a significant impact on improved
treatment
outcomes. Since the majority of TB patients belong to vulnerable sections of society, a nutritional
supplement
or financial incentive would go a long way in the battle against TB.

38
Regulating sale of Anti-TB drugs: If left untreated a tuberculosis patient can infect 10-15 more
people every
year which makes it a public health imperative to find, diagnose, treat and cure every patient. Keeping
the
above in mind, it is critical to arrest the irrational sale and use of anti-tuberculosis drugs. A latest
government
notification in this regards has been discussed below.
Societal action necessary: TB could affect anyone, irrespective of social or economic status as it
spreads
through the air we breathe. We need opinion leaders, concerned citizens and public figures to become
champions in the fight against TB. Unless a concerted societal action is intimated against TB the fight
would
remain incomplete.
TUBERCULOSIS AND CHILDREN
As per a study One million children aged below 15 years are annually diseased with tuberculosis across
the
world. The new estimates are twice the number of children thought to have tuberculosis in 2010 and
thrice
the number of children who were actually diagnosed that year.
The number of children who were diseased with multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) in 2010, was
about
32,000.
But even this huge number may be an underestimate because of faulty diagnostic techniques used
across the
world.
More reliable estimates of drug-sensitive and drug-resistant TB are essential for several reasons,
prioritizing
governments efforts to diagnose and treat more children with TB being the most important one.
PUTTING A CURB ON SALE OF OVER THE COUNTER ANTIBIOTICS
The Union Health Ministry has notified amendments to the Drugs and Cosmetic Act, 1940, in which a
Schedule-H1 has been included. March onwards these 46 antibiotics, that include anti-TB medicines too,
are
sold only upon presenting a valid prescription from a medical professional. Government needs to be
congratulated for this long overdue measure which will curb irrational sale and use of drugs.
All tertiary health care facilities are expected to have in-hospital antibiotic monitoring facilities by the
yearend,
and all secondary and primary health centres will have an antibiotic policy in place at the end of two
years
According to the notification, the pharmacy has to keep a copy of the medical prescription and record
details
such as name of patient, doctor, among others. A mandatory warning in a red box will also have to be
printed
on the label of these listed 46 drugs, violation of which can result in prosecution as per the Drugs and
Cosmetics Act, 1940
WHAT IS SCHEDULE H1?
Schedule H 1 is a class of prescription drugs in India appearing as an appendix to the Drugs and
Cosmetics rules
introduced in 1945.These are drugs which cannot be purchased over the counter without the
prescription of a
qualified doctor.
IMPACT OF SUCH A MOVE?
The measure rolled out by the Government will certainly curb irrational use of anti-TB medicines, and
will have a
pronounced and positive impact on public health.
ZERO AIDS DISCRIMINATION DAY LAUNCHED
Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) launched its Zero Discrimination Day in Beijing,
China, to
support the people infected by HIV/AIDS.
The motto of launch is to call the people everywhere to promote equal rights for AIDS victims and
celebrate
everyones right to live a full life with dignity no matter what they look like, where they come from or
whom
they love.

39
U & ME AGAINST DENGUE
To eradicate dengue, a multi-pronged campaign was launched across six Indian cities with public-
private
partnership.
As part of the two-month long campaign fumigation drive, neem plantation and cleanliness drive
would be
launched in phases to combat the spread of Dengue.
More than 65,000 school children and 85,000 households would be involved in the campaign.
ALL PARTY MANIFESTO ON HEATLH
Several civil society groups have sought a law to facilitate universal access to quality and comprehensive health
care. These
groups want the major political parties to include such issues as a part of their manifesto.
NEED FOR A HEALTH MANIFESTO
Health has been given a very low priority on manifestos of political parties for the General Elections
2014.
Problems such as the threat of communicable diseases, chronic diseases such as the diabetes,
hypertension
and heart ailments continue to plague our country but ironically, health does not feature high on
priority list
for political parties, even though it is the central pillar of a nations development and productivity.
Citizens have high expectations from the government on health issues which would go beyond the
limited
scope of existing national programmes.
Long-term goals in healthcare transformation require a timeline that surely goes beyond the life of one
Lok
Sabha. The Centre and States also have to work in unison, regardless of which parties are in power. An
allparty
commitment to broad tenets is therefore absolutely essential to ensure focus, consistency, speed and
accountability
CURRENT SITUATION
National Rural Health Mission has laid down strong fundamentals. More than 8,00,000 ASHAs, 33,000
nurses,
14,000 paramedics, 8,000 doctors and 3,000 specialists have been inducted; over 20,000 facilities have
been
constructed; and over 20,000 ambulances have been deployed.
Medical graduate seats have increased by 55 per cent and postgraduate seats by 75 per cent.
Thanks to Janani Suraksha Yojana 12 to 13 crore women are now delivering in government facilities
and more
than 6 lakh newborn babies are receiving care in neonatal care nurseries in district hospitals each year.
Polio has been eliminated from the face of the country.
The Infant mortality rate (IMR) has declined from 68 to 42 per 1000 live births between 2000 and
2012.
UNIVERSAL HEALTH COVERAGE
Twelfth Plan strategy envisages Universal Health Coverage (UHC) as the long-term goal which
guarantees
cashless access to a defined package of quality health services to all citizens. Such a system that has
been in
existence for long in developed countries such as Germany, the U.K., Canada, Japan, Australia, New
Zealand, has
now been embraced by middle-income countries such as Thailand, Mexico and Brazil. To ensure the
success and
implementation of UHC both public and private sector would have to make The High-Level Expert Group
(HLEG)
on UHC, envisioned a National Health System wherein a strong public sector leads the design and
delivery of
UHC, drawing on support from the private sector in a well-regulated framework. It is estimated that UHC
would
require public spending on healthcare to the tune of 3.0 per cent of the GDP or more. It is high time now
that the
entire political leadership of the country expresses its support both in letter and reality to the program.
DEMANDS RAISED BY SOCIAL ACTIVISTS, EXPERTS
First, political parties should commit to the goal of achieving UHC in the country by the year 2025, and
develop a clear roadmap thereof by mid-2015.
Second, public spending on health should be raised from a meagre 1.04 per cent of the GDP in the
Eleventh
Plan Plan to 3 per cent by 2020, and 4 per cent by 2025.

40
Third, all essential drugs, including anti-cancer agents, should be made available free to all citizens in
3-4
years.
Fourth, standards of care including clinical guidelines, applicable to both the public and the private
sectors,
should be developed and enforced in the next five years.
Fifth, equity must be ensured in the provision of health services across districts, communities and
gender.

41
ENVIRONMENT
INDIA RHINO VISION 2020 AND TRIMMING OF HORN
The one horned Rhino is among the worlds' most endangered species.
For years, rhinos have been widely slaughtered for their horn, a prized ingredient in traditional Asian
medicines. Destruction of their habitat over the years, has brought the rhinos to the brink of extinction.
The species once existed across the entire northern part of the Indian subcontinent, along the Indus,
Ganges and Brahmaputra River basins, from Pakistan to the Indian-Burmese border, including parts of
Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan, and also may have existed in Myanmar, southern China, and Indochina
PROGRAM DETAILS
Indian Rhino Vision (IRV) 2020 is a partnership the Assam Forest Department, the Bodoland Territorial
Council, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the International Rhino Foundation (IRF), and the US
Fish
and Wildlife Service.
The goal is to attain a wild population of at least 3,000 greater one-horned rhinos in the Indian state of
Assam - spread over seven protected areas - by the year 2020. For this population would have to
increase at
a rate of 3% annually
The horns of rhinos that stray outside protected areas, or rhinos that need to be trans located, should
be
trimmed
As per the Chief Conservator of Forests the trimmed horns will grow back to their original size in four
to five
months again. There will be no damage to internal organs of the animals nor will it lower their
attraction.
This action of trimming will also protect them from the poachers, who hunt them just to take away
their
horns.
The forest department has solicited the views of public before proceeding any further on this issue.
ANALYSIS
An expert committee has been constituted by the State to consider the feasibility and necessity of de-
horning
rhinos, in a move to save them. Unlike the African rhino, the Indian rhino has a single horn. This horn is
made of
keratin and if cut in a way that includes the skull, it will not grow back. If cut in a manner which excludes
the skull
it is likely to regrow.
An exercise in futility :But critics argue that poachers would kill the rhino anyway, if not out of lure
of money,
then out of vengeance, as was observed in countries of Africa where de-horning was carried out as an
exercise to
prevent poaching. Even in India poachers have killed female rhinos for their horns, even though they
have horns
significantly smaller than those of males. In essence, poachers kill the rhino irrespective of the size of
the horn
or its presence. They also argue that this exercise would further endanger the lives of rhinos in
protected areas
as they would be more sought after this exercise.
Impact on Rhinos life: Another important question surrounding the de-horning of the Rhino is its
impact on the
normal life of a rhino. Field observations confirm that successful males are also those who have large
horns, and
the horn has been seen as used in foraging for food. Dehorning rhinos may or may not stem poaching of
rhinos.
But it may set a precedent for similar such exercises, which are seen as a management tool, but have
unknown
impacts on the actual life and ecology of the animal.
The proposal to de-horn is considered by many as complete admission of defeat, and that too, to
unregulated
forces. These are forces which we should not buckle to, for reasons both logical and ethical. The answers
as per
them lie in demonstrating seriousness in solving the actual problem: through higher conviction rates for
poaching cases, enforcement, vigilance and carrying forward the commitment the Assam government
has
already shown.
Civil society organizations have urged the government to take proactive measures including intelligence
gathering and combat training to forest guards and range officers manning Kaziranga and other rhino-
bearing
national parks and sanctuaries.

42
WHO ON AIR POLLUTION
As per latest estimates released by WHO, air pollution has emerged as the world's single largest
environmental health risk, having caused seven million deaths in 2012 80% of which were from heart
attacks and stroke.
WHO recently categorized outdoor air pollution caused by car exhausts, power stations,
emissions from
agriculture and industry as well as heating in people's homes as a Group 1 carcinogenic, a cancer
causing
agent in the same category as tobacco smoke, UV radiation and plutonium
After analysing the risk factors, WHO estimated that indoor air pollution was linked to 4.3 million
deaths in
2012 in households cooking over coal, wood and biomass stoves
Regionally, low- and middle-income countries in the WHO South-East Asia and Western Pacific Regions
had
the largest air pollution-related burden in 2012, with a total of 3.3 million deaths linked to indoor air
pollution and 2.6 million deaths related to outdoor air pollution
Poor women and children pay a heavy price from indoor air pollution since they spend more time at
home
breathing in smoke and soot from leaky coal and wood cook stoves
HOW DO INDIAN CITIES FAIR ON OUTDOOR POLLUTION?
The Central Pollution Control Board has listed more than 70 cities that have violated ambient air quality
standards. Places such as Delhi and Ludhiana have unacceptable levels of PM (particulate matter) 198
and 259
micrograms per cubic metre respectively. Mitigation efforts till now have been limited to improving the
fuel
efficiency of vehicles. There is no doubt that enhancing emission norms is necessary, but it is equally
important
to increase the use of public transport. Delhi is a very important example of the same. The Environment
Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority for the Delhi region, in a recent report, stated that all gains
made by
converting buses and three-wheelers to Compressed Natural Gas have been lost to a rapid increase in
the
number of private vehicles. The level of particulate matter has increased substantially over the years.
Though various urban policies have stated that public transport is a priority, in reality, investments have
not
matched the words. Share of public transport has steadily declined in the large cities. It is only in recent
years
that State governments are trying to increase transport options by building metro rail networks. This
alone may
not deliver. Integrating city functions with transport plans and encouraging non-motorised transport
such as
cycling are also critical. The future of Indian cities is inevitably tied to the improvement of public
transport
system.
DELHI HAS THE WORST AIR QUALITY ACROSS INDIA
The Capital has been listed as the worst performer across the country with respect to the presence of
alarmingly high level of Particulate Matter up to 10 micrometer in size (PM10) concentration.
This exposes residents here to a host of diseases including respiratory disease, chronic obstructive
pulmonary disorder and lung cancer
Introduction of the Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) in 2004 was the last major intervention to deal
with
poor air quality in the Capital. Since then the regulatory and policy mechanisms in Delhi have been
unable to keep up with the growth in vehicular population and construction activity in the city. These
are
the primary causes of poor air quality, in addition to industrial emissions.
Also, according to a recently released Environmental Performance Index study, India officially
has the
worst air pollution beating China, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh. It ranks last on
ambient air quality
of all 170 plus countries surveyed.

43
ROAD TO URBAN FUTURE
PARIS EXAMPLE
Smog wrapped the city and air pollution increased beyond safe limits. Pollutants, particularly
particulate
matter measuring less than 10 micrometre in diameter reached unsafe levels of 180 micrograms per
cubic metre, against the WHOs permissible limit of 50 micrograms per cubic metre (24-hour
mean).
Though bad weather contributed to this high concentration, the principal cause, as is often the case,
was
increased fuel emission.
STEPS TAKEN BY AUTHORITIES
The city authorities had to take drastic steps to reduce pollution since prolonged inhaling of particulate
matter would cause respiratory diseases, lung cancer and cardiovascular ailments.
They imposed restrictions on the use of cars, permitting vehicles with odd and even number plates to
ply
only on alternate dates and encouraging shared use of cars.
People were allowed to use buses, Metro rail and other public transport, besides shared bicycles, free
of
charge during weekends.
The reasoning was that restrictions and incentives would encourage commuters to shift to public
transport, thus reducing pollution.
Initial reports indicated that these measures worked, and congestion had come down by 60 per cent.
Free use of public transport cost the city about $5.5 million a day, but considering the public-health
interest it was a necessary investment.
LESSON FOR INDIAN CITIES
The Central Pollution Control Board has listed more than 70 cities that have violated ambient air
quality
standards. Places such as Delhi and Ludhiana have unacceptable levels of PM{-1}{-0} 198 and 259
micrograms per cubic metre respectively.
Mitigation efforts thus far have been limited to improving the fuel efficiency of vehicles. Enhancing
emission norms is necessary, but equally critical is the need to increase the use of public
transport.
The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority for the Delhi region, in a recent report,
stated that all gains made by converting buses and three-wheelers to Compressed Natural
Gas have
been lost to a rapid increase in the number of private vehicles. The level of particulate matter
has
increased substantially over the years.
Though various urban policies have stated that public transport is a priority, on the ground,
investments
have not matched intentions.
The modal share of public transport has steadily declined in the large cities. It is only in recent years
that
State governments are trying to increase transport options by building metro rail networks.
Integrating city functions with transport plans and encouraging non-motorised
transport such as
cycling are also critical. The future of Indian cities is inextricably tied to the improvement of public
transport.
GM FOOD CROP FIELD TRIALS REAPPROVED
Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), reapproved Field trials for ten varieties of GM food
and
other crops. These included field trials for rice, wheat, maize, cotton and sorghum.
Companies applied for revalidation after their earlier permits lapsed following opposition from state
governments. The confined field trials (called Phase-II trial) would take place in bigger areas as
compared
to previous tests in a very small tract of land during Phase-I.
The re-approval would have to be first approved by the Union Environment and Forests Minister
(which is
almost a certainty as explained below) and then the promoter companies would have to go back to the
States for a final nod as agriculture is a State subject under constitutional provisions.

44
BACKGROUND
The move to go ahead with GM technology especially food crops has been a subject of hot debate
among
the scientific community and evoked concerns among civil society groups. It had also created divisions in
the
government the Agriculture Ministry, the department of Biotechnology on one side (supporting it)
and the
Environment Ministry (opposing it) on the other. This decision to allow field trials of genetically modified
food
crops marks a major shift in official policy on a highly contentious issue.
The trials were held up last year after former Environment Minister had refused to approve the GEAC
decision
and wrote to the Prime Minister saying field trials were not feasible as the issue was pending in the
Supreme
Court. But current environment minister has taken a stand, that the apex court had not explicitly
ordered any
stay against clearing field trials and has held a decision taken by a statutory body pending cannot be
kept
pending and has therefore shown support on the matter.
ANALYSIS
Criticism from Parliamentary Committee: This decision of environment ministry has come under
severe criticism
from the parliamentary committee on agriculture. The committee suggested that any test should not be
undertaken till the Centre puts in place all regulatory, monitoring, oversight and surveillance structure.
Environment minister on the other hand has held that field trials are necessary to generate biosafety
data.
NOC from States: Even as the GEAC prepares to take environment ministers mandate, it is also clear
that the
last word has not yet been said on the contentious issue. Experts visualise a long and rough road ahead
before
GM food on Indian tables becomes a reality. A key point here is clearance by the state government. A
noobjection
certificate (NoC) will have to be procured from states where the trials are to be conducted. States like
Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Odisha, Karnataka and Kerala, which
have
opposed field trials in the past, are unlikely to change their stance.
In favour of GM crops: GM food is a complex issue, with valid arguments on both the sides. Along
with
environment concerns is also the fact that agriculture in India, where population is growing by leaps and
bounds,
is heavily dependent on the vagaries of monsoon. Therefore, new innovations and safe technologies in
agriculture are required. To achieve a zero hunger challenge of the United Nations by 2025, we must
double the
small farm productivity. Such an increase will be possible only through the intelligent and intensive
application of
new technologies such as biotechnology
Views against GM Crops: From the farmers perspective, there is fear of commercial monopolies in
agriculture
wherever GM crops are linked to intellectual property rights or commercial contracts, restrictions on
use and
the prospect of litigation come into play. This is an important dimension in India, which has a large
number of
small farms. Moreover, the GM foods industry claims transgenic plant varieties are safe on the one
hand, but
fiercely opposes labelling of products as such leaving several questions unanswered. There is a growing
body of
scientific evidence on adverse impacts of GM crops on human health, environment and farm livelihoods.
Recent
experiences of Monsantos GM rice and GM wheat from field trials contaminating the grain supply chain
in the
USA is a case in point.
Way ahead: The key questions that must be answered while considering grant of permission for GM
crop
production is their impact on health and the environment; the farming community must also be given a
hearing.
Scientific assessments must be independent of the supporters of GM agriculture, especially commercial
entities.
What this implies is the great importance attached with regulatory mechanisms before permission is
granted for
work outside laboratories. It is equally vital that in a country with a diverse agricultural heritage,
traditional seed
varieties are not wiped out by monoculture.

45
IPCC REPORT ON CLIMATE CHANGE
CONCERNS RAISED BY THE REPORT
The report has warned that the increasing magnitude of global warning will have severe, pervasive and
irreversible impact on the climate
The report says that heaviest rainfall in 200 years, and floods and gales experienced in Britain this year
are
a sign of things to come
Two types of extreme events are going to occur more frequently extreme precipitation and heat
waves.
It has outlined the impact of warming on the seas as well as on the freshwater systems. As per the
report
oceans will become more acidic, which threatens the coral and other species that rely on them.
Fisheries will also be affected, with ocean chemistry thrown off balance by climate change. Some fish
in the
tropics could become extinct.
Crop yields would fall by 2 per cent a decade and affect all the parts of world. The Mediterranean will
have
severe problems with water scarcity which will impact on food. Some parts of Africa could have declines
of
50 per cent [in crop yields] as soon as 2020.
Due to sea level rise throughout the century and beyond, coastal and low-lying areas will increasingly
experience adverse impacts such as coastal erosion and flooding.
The biggest potential risk, however, is of a number of those scenarios unfolding at the same time,
leading to
conflicts and wars, or turning regional problem into a global crisis
IS THE WORLD PREPARED?
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group II believes that the world is
unprepared for
risks from a changing climate. As per experts if we act boldly and cut climate pollution faster major
threats to
human security can still be avoided and vital ocean systems, forests and species protected. One thing
that IPCC
has come up with is the importance of adaptation and mitigation choices because this is the only way
the globe
might be able to reduce risks of climate change. Report also finds that governments if they act now
can help
protect populations from those risks, the earlier the global powers act, the better.
R-22
Directorate of revenue Intelligence has seized a record over 2.4 lakh kg of ozone-depleting restricted
refrigeration gas R-22, which was being smuggled into the country.
R-22 is used for air-conditioning applications, residential as well as process chillers and industrial
refrigerant
plants.
Smuggling of such ozone depleting substances (ODS), reduces the incentives for users to shift to
alternative
technologies using ozone-and climate-friendly refrigerants and hence is a matter of concern.
DRI has been awarded the prestigious ECA Ozone Protection Award for Customs & Enforcement
Officers
(3rd Edition) by UN Environment Programme (UNEP)
Ozone Depleting Substances (Regulation) Rules, 2000 regulates and restricts the import and export of
ODS.
HC ON HARMFUL EFFECTS OF PESTICIDES
Delhi High Court directed the Delhi Government and the Union Agriculture Ministry to launch an
awareness
campaign about the harmful effects of pesticide residue in fruits and vegetable in the Capital and across
the
country respectively.
The focus of the campaign should be wholesale mandis, malls, cinema halls, retails fruit and vegetable
bazaars in colonies and other public places.
ANALYSIS
Such a step was required given the exorbitant use of pesticides in the country. The amount of pesticides
used in
India was up to 750 times the European standards. These pesticides cause headache, affect fertility and
damage
kidneys and liver. Of five internationally banned pesticides, traces of four were found in fruits and
vegetables in
India.

46
DISSECTION OF ANIMALS IN UNIVERSITY LABS BANNED
Dissecting any living thing in a zoology or life science class to study muscular movement or a beating
heart
will soon be a thing of the past.
In zoological parlance a live animal will include even cockroaches and earthworms
HIMALAYAN PARK NOMINATED FOR HERITAGE STATUS
The Great Himalayan National Park in Himachal has been nominated for UNESCOs world heritage site
It is located on the Western Part of the Himalayan Mountains in the Kullu District and is known for its
biodiversity.
It has more than 25 forest types, 800 kinds of plants and is home to more than 180 bird species
This site, included in the tentative list in 2009, was submitted for UNESCOs consideration last year.
But the
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which evaluated it for UNESCO, did not
recommend
the park for World Heritage status.
WORLD HERITAGE STATUS
Conferring the World Heritage status is a three-step process. Countries first create an inventory of
potential
monuments and natural sites and include them in the Tentative List. From this, they select a few sites
and
nominate them for final inscription, every year. UNESCO appoints advisory committees to evaluate the
nominations.
TIGER RESERVES ON HIGH ALERT AGAINST CD DISEASE
The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has issued a most urgent advisory to all tiger
reserves
on the need to take effective steps, to prevent the likely outbreak of Canine Distemper (CD) disease
among
tigers and other feline animals
The disease is primarily carried from dogs to tigers, and unvaccinated dogs are said to be the domain
reservoir for virus infection in tigers.
Threats to tiger population from Canine Distemper virus (CDV) infection was now widely recognised
and
addressed in countries such as Indonesia and Bangladesh
GIBBONS TRANSLOCATED TO ARUNACHALS MEHAO CENTURY
Due to lack of contiguous forests, the gibbons were forced to stray on the ground and their survival
was in
danger.
Capture and translocation are the only hope for the long term welfare of these gibbons. They now
have the
chance to live in a suitable habitat that is important for the conservation of the species.
Gibbons are seen in tropical and sub-tropical rain forests from northeast India to Indonesia, including
the
islands of Sumatra, Borneo and Java.
PYGMY HOG IN MANAS NATIONAL PARK
Assam Forest Department has detected an estimated 21 nests of the critically-endangered pygmy hog
in the
Manas National Park
Pygmy hog is the smallest and rarest wild pig. Pygmy hog are Schedule I species. Schedule I and
Schedule II
species are given absolute protection under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and offences against them
attract heavy penalties
Manas is known to be the last remaining wild habitat of the pygmy hog in the world.


INDIA AND WORLD
INDIA SRI LANKA
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met Sri Lankas President Mahinda Rajapaksa on the sidelines of
BIMSTEC.
It was the first meeting between the two leaders since 2012, when India voted against Sri Lanka at the
United Nations Human Rights Council.
The meeting took place hours after five nations moved a resolution in Geneva requesting Office of
High
Commissioner for human rights to investigate violations by both the parties during Sri Lankas war
against
the LTTE. The resolution was sponsored by United Kingdom, United States, Mauritius, Macedonia and
Montenegro.
The draft welcomes High Commissioner Navi Pillays call for credible international probe in the
absence of
tangible results from national process. India in 2012 and 2013, voted in favour of resolution holding Sri
Lanka
accountable for war crimes.
India also highlightened the need for demilitarization in the Jaffna peninsula. In response, Sri Lanka
said that
it has already scaled back troops from a war-time peak of 1,75,000, and has promised a further
drawdown
after de-mining and reconstruction operations are completed. It also requests the Tamil parties in Sri
Lanka
to engage with Parliament on the devolution of powers to the Northern and Eastern Provinces as the
Tamil
engagement is critical to building consensus among Sri Lankan parties on devolution.
Meanwhile, India has also asked Sri Lanka to release the Indian fishermen detained for poaching and
violating the international territorial waters. Earlier, the second round of talks between fisherman of
Tamil
Nadu and Sri Lanka were stalled on the issue of releasing the captured fishermen and their confiscated
boats.
SRI LANKA HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION ISSUES
The 25th session of the UN Human Rights Council took up The Report of the OHCHR on promoting
reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka on March 26, 2014.
The draft resolution submitted by the United States was forceful as it incorporated several new
aspects: it
included Human Rights in its title, elaborating upon the attacks on minorities and dwelling on the
importance of transitional justice and reparation policy. It asked the Sri Lankan government to broaden
the
scope of its national action plan based on its reconciliation commission, the LLRC.
The resolution asked the High Commissioner to assess the progress toward accountability and
reconciliation, to monitor relevant national processes, and to investigate alleged violations and abuses
of
human rights and related crimes by both parties in Sri Lanka. The resolution called for implementation
of
the recommendations contained in the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission
(LLRC),
including those pertaining to missing people, detainees, reduction of high security zones, return of
private
land by the military and withdrawal of security forces from the civilian domain in the Northern Province.
These are new mandates, and move up from the oral update that was given in the last session. And,
from
encouraging Sri Lanka to cooperate with the High Commissioner, the resolution steps up the tone and
calls upon Sri Lanka to do so.
Meanwhile, a new video clip was released by British public-service television broadcaster Channel 4
which
accused the Sri Lankan armed forces of having an underlying culture of systematic brutality and sexual
violence. The disturbing visuals show Sinhala-speaking, uniformed men apparently celebrating over
bodies
that the report identifies as those of female Tiger fighters.
The resolution was adopted by the council when 23 countries voted in favour of the resolution, 12
voted
against and 12 abstained from voting. The vote required a simple majority from the council's members.
Sri Lanka, however, has rejected the US-led call for accountability and sternly rejected Pillay's report,
calling
it bed, inaccurate and amounting to "needless interference" in the country's affairs.

48
In a move that will please Colombo, India joined the 12 countries that abstained from voting on a UN
Human
Rights Council resolution in Geneva. India said that the resolution ignored the recent efforts at
reconciliation
done by Sri Lanka in the predominantly Tamil north, including holding of elections. This was for the first
time
since 2009 that India abstained from voting on the resolution - "Promoting reconciliation, accountability
and
human rights in Sri Lanka".
OPINION ON INDIAS ABSTENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS VOTE ON SRI LANKA
Indias decision to abstain from voting on the U.S.-backed resolution in Geneva has evoked mixed
response
in Sri Lanka.
India while defending its decision to abstain argued against the intrusive nature of the resolution,
said it
was concerned that the resolution had the potential to hinder the efforts of the country rather than
contribute constructively to its efforts, and inadvertently complicate the situation.
India was in the limelight at the 25th session of the HRC. It had unconditionally backed Sri Lanka in the
2009
session, soon after the end of the war. It went to the other extreme and voted against Sri Lanka in 2012
and
2013. In fact, in 2013 it even worked to make the language of the resolution harsher. The same
conditions as
in 2013 exist now: elections to the Northern provincial council were held in September 2012. The Tamil
Nadu
factor that had influenced Indias vote the last time round seems to have lost steam with the Congress
and
the DMK parting ways.
By voting twice against Sri Lanka in the past years, India had already antagonised the majority Sinhala
community. With India abstaining this time, the northern Tamils seem to have lost faith in India. Not
many
believe anything will change for Tamils in Sri Lanka if the OHCHR carries out the investigation. An
intrusive
investigation has so far not yielded genuine reconciliation and a life of dignity and self-respect for
people
anywhere. Sri Lanka cant be any different.
There is another opinion that Indias abstention on the U.S.-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka in
the
United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) was also aimed at neutralizing the influence of China,
which,
is looking for a toehold in the Indian Ocean.
Although the Sri Lankan government claims that attempts to set up an international inquiry in Sri
Lanka
come exclusively from the west, and represent a form of imperialism; the biggest issue Sri Lanka faces is
a
systemic lack of respect for the rights of its citizens, particularly but not exclusively its minority
citizens.
The approach should be that although post-conflict processes do take time, but what matters most is
getting
on the right path. Nearly five years after the war ended, the situation appears to be getting worse, not
better.
INDIA CHINA
Chinas President Xi Jinping has expressed his desire to visit India later this year on what would be his
first
trip to the country after taking over last year. The proposed visit is being framed by officials as signalling
Beijings intent to take ties forward with the new dispensation in New Delhi that will be in place after
the Lok
Sabha elections.
India and China signed a memorandum of understanding on IT cooperation at the 3rd Strategic
Economic
Dialogue. The officials said that it was a formal recognition from the Chinese government to promote
Indian
software companies, which have largely struggled to obtain contracts from Chinese state-run
companies.
India has asked China to expand market access for software and pharmaceutical companies, and to
take
steps to narrow the record $35 billion trade deficit which the experts recommend is not sustainable.
India
also sought Chinese support in substantially raising the speed on three rail corridors and in developing
modern stations.
On the lines of improving Indo-China relations, India also plans to hold a Glimpses of India
celebration in
12 Chinese cities in the months ahead to mark the year of exchanges and to widen people-to-people
engagement. India has also begun the process of liberalizing the visa regime for the Chinese nationals.


China has also supported the newly elected government headed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina
when
many Western countries called for fresh elections. China wants to initiate opportunities for cooperation,
especially in building the Sonadia deep sea port, power plant construction and river tunnel. This raised
many
eyebrows in India; however China made it clear that the China-Bangladesh relationship would not be at
the
cost of Bangladesh-India relations.
Meanwhile, Veteran Australian journalist Neville Maxwell took Indian media by storm when he chose
to
make public parts of the classified 1962 Sino-Indian war report. He said that his aim was to rid Indian
opinion of the delusion that the war had been the result of an unprovoked Chinese aggression and to
expose mistakes made by Jawaharlal Nehru that forced the war on China. However, Mr. Maxwells
conclusions that China was all the while focused on peaceful settlement and that India was to blame
entirely
for the war have been questioned by other scholars.
INCREASING MARITIME RIVALRY IN THE INDIAN OCEAN
India and China are both getting enhancing their naval potentials with an aim to control the
international
waters in the India Ocean. The search for the debris of the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 (MH370
aircraft) served to demonstrate the new capabilities of the navies of Asia - navies that have been fast
modernizing at a time of record increases in military spending across the region.
The search for MH370 is undoubtedly an entirely humanitarian exercise, and one that has become
unprecedented both in scale and in terms of international cooperation - a dozen countries, including
several
embroiled in maritime disputes over the South China Sea, have put aside their spats as they have
willingly
followed Malaysia's lead in the search for the Boeing. India turned down the Chinese offer to search its
own
backyard, and replied to the formal request by detailing its extensive search efforts under way in the
Indian
Ocean, including the deployment of four naval warships and the new P-8I aircraft, all demonstrating the
capabilities of the Indian Navy.
China's People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) had initially deployed eight vessels to scour the South
China
Sea; but later the focus turned over to the waters of Indian Ocean.
Experts believe that while the long-running boundary dispute across the Himalayas has remained at
the
focus of attention for most observers, the fast-expanding engagement - and encounters - between their
navies as they spread their presence across the Indian and Pacific Oceans has sometimes been ignored.
As
China under Xi Jinping is paying more attention to going west and as India looks east, there will be
more
interactions in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
China's dependence on the Indian Ocean region is continuing to grow, for energy imports from the
Gulf,
resources from Africa, and trade with Europe. Since December 2008, China has been involved in Gulf of
Aden
anti-piracy operations. Earlier this year, the PLAN held its first-ever major exercise in the Lombok Strait
in the
southern Indian Ocean. This year, President Xi Jinping also launched a new "maritime silk road" initiative
aimed at boosting trade links and maritime engagement with littoral countries in the Indian and Pacific
Oceans. With China's maritime presence in the Indian Ocean set to expand along with its economic
interests,
the question for India - and its strategic community is how to direct their engagement with this new
reality.
INDIA USA
The Indo-US energy dialogue took place in March 2014 as the two sides discussed ways to strengthen
cooperation in the field of energy and promote trade and sound regulatory frameworks to deliver
energy
solutions for sustainable growth.
New Delhi expected to seek a waiver from Washington to enable investments in its upstream oil and
gas
sector, during India-U.S. energy dialogue. Besides, there were discussions on the little-known aspect of
U.S.
policies that still stand in the way of finalising Indias investment decisions in the U.S. upstream oil and
gas
sector, including in shale gas. This pertains to Indian oil investments and operations in countries such as
Sudan that were sanctioned by the U.S. Indian companies had recently signed an off-take agreement
with a
U.S. company for the supply of 3.5 million metric tonnes of LNG per annum.

50
On the political front, this is the first ministerial visit from the U.S. after the logjam in bilateral ties
caused by
the arrest and handcuffing of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade last December in New York.
Meanwhile,
Devyani was re-indicted by the court; after another US court had quashed the first indictment of
Khobragade
on the ground that she had diplomatic immunity. As far as India is concerned, the case has no merit and
now
that Khobragade has returned back, the court in the US has no jurisdiction in India over her and the
government will therefore no longer engage on this case in the US legal system.
Another bone of contention in Indo- US ties is the proposed U.S. immigration reforms that are aimed
at
reducing dependency on skilled non-immigrant workers to safeguard American jobs. It is estimated that
if
these reforms are taken forward and passed it would weaken the mutually understanding between the
countries and cost Indian information technology and the services industry a whopping $118 billion loss.
In another turn of events, the US ambassador to India, Nancy Powell, submitted her resignation to
President
Obama. The resignation came under the speculations that Powell would be replaced with a political
appointee as an attempt by the Obama administration to clean the state with India.
The United States sees India as a natural ally on a range of issues and a potential counterbalance to
China in
Asia. In 2010, President Barack Obama declared that the U.S.-Indian relationship would be "one of the
defining partnerships of the 21st century. But trade relations were deteriorating even before the
diplomatic
row and in India's eyes, Powell's tenure never recovered from Khobragade's treatment. India took
retaliatory
measures against the U.S. embassy, including removing the ambassador's exemption from airport
security
searches
INDIA AUSTRALIA
The Australian High Commissioner in India, Mr. Patrick Suckling, has said that trade relations between
India
and Australia have been growing steadily and with the "right mindsets" they can be enhanced further.
Besides, the negotiations between India and Australia on civil nuclear cooperation have made good
progress.
The two countries have also set target of doubling the volume of trade between both the countries to
40
billion AUD by 2015. India is Australias ninth-largest trading partner, with two-way trade valued at
$16.6
billion during 2013. India is Australias fourth largest export market ($11.4 billion in 2013). The total
Indian
investment in Australia had risen to $9.97 billion at the end of 2013.
Negotiations on the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement are going on but the final
decision
will be taken by the new government in New Delhi.
Australia has also shown interest in a two-way student exchange programme and hopes its New
Colombo
Plan that enables Australian students study in Asian universities would lead to Australian students
studying
and working in India.
INDIA BHUTAN
India has pledged to provide Rs 8.5 billion to Bhutan for its 11th Five Year Plan, helping the landlocked
country to implement major projects that will improve the livelihood of its people.
The decision in this regard was taken at the first meeting of the Small Development Project Committee
(SDP)
for the 11th Five Year Plan, comprising representatives from the Royal Government of Bhutan and two
from
the Embassy of India in Bhutan.
During the meeting, the Committee approved 59 projects amounting to over Rs 1.8 billion. 39 projects
are to
be implemented by local governments and 20 by central agencies. It also decided on the formats to be
adopted for project formulation, implementation, reporting and assessment.
The meeting was co-chaired by the Director of the Department of Bilateral Affairs, Ministry of Foreign
Affairs
and the Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of India, Thimphu. The next meeting of the Committee
will
be held in September this year.

51
INDIA ISRAEL
India and Israel have signed a number of agreements on cooperation in legal assistance and public and
homeland security. The pacts are part of the ongoing efforts by both countries in the war against terror
and
are based on the shared determination to protect citizens, assets and interests.
Both the countries signed three pacts to strengthen the efforts in the war against terror and beef up
bilateral
security relations. The pacts include Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty in Criminal Matters, Agreement on
Protection of Classified Material and Agreement on Cooperation in Homeland and Public Security.
Besides, Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh participated in discussions on ongoing defence projects
between India
and Israel and ways of further strengthening military ties during his four-day visit.
Israel is one of the major suppliers of weapon systems to the Indian armed forces including critical
equipment such as assault rifles for the Special Forces. Israel has been building strong military-to-
military
relations with India in recent years and has emerged as the second largest defence supplier to India
behind
only Russia in the last decade-and-a-half.
INDIA- BIMSTEC
During the third BIMSTEC summit, leaders from the seven-nation BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for
Multi-
Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) vowed to jointly combat the growing threat of terrorism,
transnational crimes and drug trafficking and agreed to intensify efforts to enhance connectivity and
cooperation in areas like trade, energy and environment. The summit was held in the capital city of Nay
Pyi
Taw, Myanmar.
In the summit declaration issued, the member nations recognized the threat that terrorism poses to
peace,
stability and economic progress and agreed for closer cooperation in combating all forms of terrorism
and
transnational crimes and called for expediting the ratification for entry into force of the BIMSTEC
Convention
on Cooperation in Combating International Terrorism, Transnational Organized Crime and Illicit Drug
Trafficking and also for the early signing of the BIMSTEC Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal
Matters.
In the meet, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that the permanent secretariat, being developed in
Dhaka, will be an important milestone in the evolution of the group. He iterated the fact that
connectivity
physical and digital is the key to that vision and can be a driver of cooperation and integration in the
region. India has working with BIMSTEC members to improve physical connectivity through various
projects
such as the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway, the Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport
Project,
the Asian Highway Network, the ASEAN Master Plan for Connectivity and others. Besides, India will soon
launch a direct shipping line to Myanmar that will enhance our regions growing maritime links.
Mr. Singh also highlighted that trade and economic co-operation should be high on the priority list and
we
should aim for an early conclusion of the BIMSTEC Free Trade Agreement for trade in goods and extend
it to
investment and services.
A Framework Agreement for BIMSTEC Free Trade Area was signed in Phuket, Thailand in February,
2004,
which commits the parties to negotiate FTAs in goods, services and investments.
India also aimed at promoting tourism which can serve as a powerful source of economic
developments and
a bridge between people and cultures. India has also proposed to declare 2015 as a Year of BIMSTEC
Tourism.
Mr. Singh also called for deepening our cooperation in areas that are critical for development in each
of our
countries, such as agriculture, rural development, public health, technology, human resource
development
and others.
The members also signed Memorandum of Association (MoA) on the establishment of a BIMSTEC
centre for
weather and climate. The document aims to establish the weather and climate centre in India which will
promote cooperation in identified areas of fundamental and applied scientific research in weather
prediction
and climate modeling and capacity building in weather and climate research.

52
Another Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the establishment of the BIMSTEC Cultural
Industries
Commission (BCIC) and BIMSTEC Cultural Industries Observatory (BCIO). The objective of this MoU is to
set
up Observatory in Bhutan, which will serve as a repository for information on cultural industries,
disseminate
such information and facilitate its access by the member countries.
Resolutions were taken by BIMSTEC members to
o Enhance cooperation in environmental protection and sustainable development.
o Enhance cooperation in the field of agriculture, including crops, livestock and horticulture besides
fisheries.
o Finalize an agreement on trade in goods by 2014 with intent to promote regional commerce
o Conclude the Agreement on Services and Investments
o Work on agreements on dispute settlement and cooperation in customs matters under the Free
Trade Area framework.
o Devise a framework for establishment of the BIMSTEC Technology Transfer Facility.
o Increase cooperation in expanding the skill and technology base of member countries.
BIMSTEC is an expression of Indias Look East policy of 1990s, coinciding with Thailands Look West
policy.
The seven members India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar, Nepal and Bhutan - bring
together
over 20 per cent of the world population, which is about 1.5 billion, and a GDP of over USD 2.5 trillion.
BIMSTEC provides the link between SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) and
ASEAN
(Association for Southeast Asian Nations), between South and Southeast Asia. It seeks to promote
cooperation in the Bay of Bengal region bringing the northeastern region of India onto the centre stage.

53
WORLD AFFAIRS
UKRAINE CRISIS
The political crisis in Ukraine continued over the past month with tension heightened over the
sovereignty of
Crimean peninsula.
In a referendum which took place in Crimea, 96.8% people voted for joining Russian Federation as
Crimean
parliament formally declared independence; the referendum was declared illegal by most of the world.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree recognising Crimea as a sovereign
state,
paving the way for it to be absorbed into Russia. Crimea was taken over by pro-Russian gunmen in late
February. The incursion came after President Viktor Yanukovych fled to Russia following months of
street
protests.
Russia has compared the move by Crimean parliament to the independence declaration of Kosovo in
2008
and the reunification of Germany in 1990 but, in reality, this is the first time that one European nation
has
seized territory from another since the end of World War II.
Criticizing the Russian step, the EU and US have published separate lists of sanctions involving travel
bans
and asset freezes against both Russian and Ukrainian government officials and MPs.
WHY IS CRIMEA SO IMPORTANT FOR RUSSIA?
The region, a peninsula on the Black Sea coast of Ukraine, is of political and strategic significance to
both
Russia and Ukraine. The majority of Crimea's 2.3 million populations identify themselves as ethnic
Russians
and speak Russian - a legacy of Russia's 200-year involvement in the region.

Russia's Black Sea Fleet has its historic base in the Crimean coastal city of Sevastopol - a continuing
source of
tension. After Ukraine gained independence, a leasing agreement was drawn up to allow the fleet to
continue operating from there.
In 2010, this lease was extended to 2042 in exchange for Russia supplying discounted natural gas.
Frictions between Ukraine and Russia escalated dramatically in November last year after the then pro-
Moscow President Viktor Yanukovych abandoned an EU deal in favour of stronger ties with Russia.
Russian gas pipelines to Europe pass through Ukraine and Europe depends largely upon these supplies
- a
fact made abundantly clear in 2006 when Russia briefly cut supplies, sparking alarm in Western Europe.

54
IMPACT OF THE UKRAINE CRISIS ON INDIA AND THE WORLD
India has signed 2 defense deals with Ukrainian companies in December 2012 when ousted Ukrainian
President Viktor Yanukovych visited India. The current status of those contracts is a worry for India.
The Russian President Vladimir Putin, in the meantime, has praised India and China for their response
on the
Crimean issue. It is a strange time when Russia is looking for partners. In reality, China only abstained
during
the U.N. Security Council vote on Crimea, and India was merely muted in its criticism. In principle,
neither
China nor India can provide Russia with the kind of technology and investment from which the country
has
benefited through its economic relationships with the West.
World leaders meet at a hastily arranged G7 meeting, in The Hague; have moved to isolate Russia
further
over its seizure of Crimea. Russia been suspended from the G8, and a summit scheduled to be held in
Sochi
has been moved to Brussels.
The economic pain from this tit for tat of sanctions will be, in particular, inflicted to the EU. Because of
the
interconnections between all economies and financial markets, mutual economic sanctions could drive a
still
fragile world economy to a financial crash.
China has rightly warned that drastic economic sanctions against Russia, and Russias subsequent
retaliation
could make the global economy spiral into chaos.
The Ukraine affair has cemented Berlin's leadership role in Europe. Germany is already the dominant
economic power, calling the shots in the euro zone crisis, and Chancellor Angela Merkel has become
Europe's main interlocutor with Putin. Besides, the European Union has been reunited, at least for now,
by
the return of a common external threat. This may have helped EU leaders overcome some long-running
disputes.
2014 NUCLEAR SECURITY SUMMIT
The 2014 Nuclear Security Summit was a summit held in The Hague, the Netherlands. It was the third
edition
of the conference, succeeding the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit. The 2014 summit was attended by 58
world leaders (5 of which from observing international organizations).
The main goal of the conference was generally to improve international cooperation and more
specifically to
assess which of the objectives that were set at the previous summits in Washington, D.C. and Seoul had
not
been accomplished in the previous four years and proposing ways of achieving them.
The Nuclear Security Summit aimed to prevent nuclear terrorism by:
o Reducing the amount of dangerous nuclear material in the world - especially Highly Enriched
Uranium (HEU);
o Improving the security of all nuclear material and radioactive source and;
o Improving international cooperation.
Although nuclear terrorism and its prevention by reducing and securing nuclear supplies are officially
the
main topic, the Ukraine crisis overshadowed the talks. The event formed the backdrop for an emergency
meeting of G7 leaders on Russias annexation of Crimea earlier in March 2014.
New guidelines issued by the Nuclear Security Summit 2014 includedo
Reduce the amount of dangerous nuclear material (highly enriched uranium and plutonium) in the
world that terrorists could use to make a nuclear weapon.
o Improve the security of radioactive material (including low-enriched uranium) that can be used to
make a dirty bomb.
o Improve the international exchange of information and international cooperation.
o Keep the quantities of nuclear material as low as possible and to reduce them where possible.
Countries that use highly enriched uranium or plutonium as fuel for power generation will limit the
quantity involved as much as they can.
o Also covers other radioactive materials viz. low-enriched uranium, cobalt-60, strontium-90 and
caesium-137. These materials have useful applications in hospitals industry, research and can also be
used with ordinary explosives to make a dirty bomb.
The next Nuclear Security Summit will be in 2016, hosted by the United States. During the summit in
The
Hague, both Washington and Chicago were mentioned as locations.

55
2ND ROUND OF IRAN NUCLEAR TALKS
Iran and the six global powers embarked on a new round of nuclear talks in Vienna in March 2014,
which is
expected to yield progress, without achieving a breakthrough for a comprehensive nuclear deal;
although
both parties described the talks as useful and substantive.
It included discussions of Irans uranium enrichment program, the construction of a heavy water
reactor at
Arak that could be used to make plutonium into a fissile material, civilian cooperation on nuclear power
and
sanctions.
The talks, which started on Jan. 20 and are expected to last until July 20, are aimed at reaching a
permanent
agreement intended to ensure that Iran cannot develop a nuclear weapon and that if it continued to
have a
nuclear program, it would be for exclusively peaceful purposes.
Iran and the Western powers agreed in November in Geneva on a six-month schedule for concluding a
permanent agreement. For the time being the West has offered Iran limited relief from sanctions in
exchange for diluting the uranium it has enriched down to 3.5 percent from nearly 20 percent. Iran has
been
diluting its stock, according to the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy
Agency. That move is viewed by nuclear experts as a demonstration of Irans seriousness about trying to
reach a long-term agreement.
Enrichment is at the heart of the disagreement between the two sides about Irans program. Iran
insists that
its enrichment is for peaceful purposes, but intelligence from Western countries and unanswered
questions
about Irans program from the atomic agency have raised questions about whether Iran has been
honest
about its intentions.
MALAYSIAS MH370 WENT MISSING
Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, with 239 passengers on board, was scheduled to fly from the
Malaysian
capital, Kuala Lumpur, to Beijing in China on Saturday March 8.
It disappeared from civilian radar screens about an hour into the scheduled six-hour flight. At the time
it was
120 nautical miles off the town of Kota Bharu, on Malaysia's east coast.
On March 15, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said investigators believed someone on board had
deliberately turned off its communications systems and diverted it well west of its planned flight path.
The
planes systems were gradually switched off and it then flew westwards over Malaysia before turning to
the
northwest.
On March 24, Mr. Najib announced that Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 is assumed to have crashed
into the
southern Indian Ocean, with no survivors. New satellite data from UK Company Inmarsat showed the
plane
flew along the southern search corridor and the flight "ended in the southern Indian Ocean".
Since Mr. Najib's announcement that the plane had crashed in the southern Indian Ocean there have
been
numerous sightings of objects floating in the ocean. But none of the objects have proved to have any
connection to the missing flight, and no wreckage has been found.
MH370: INDIAS WAKE UP CALL
The surreal disappearance of Malaysia Airlines MH370 is a good occasion for Indians to start thinking
about
what might happen if we are ever compelled to live those nightmares.
Though the prospect of a terrorist group acquiring nuclear weapons or radiological assets remains
small,
Indian nuclear installations remain at risk from aircraft used as weapons. Though newer nuclear reactors
have double-domed concrete structures, in theory capable of withstanding a direct hit, there are
obvious
reasons to avoid testing the engineering in the real world. In the wake of 9/11, New Delhi promulgated
nofly
regulations around several nuclear facilities. However, the scholars find that the rules have not been
implemented strictly.
It isnt only nuclear installations that are at risk. There have, government sources say, been repeated
restricted air space violations over New Delhi, each a potential threat to critical targets like Parliament,
defence and intelligence complexes.

56
Currently India does not have a central command centre, where military, intelligence and civilian
officials can
observe and liaise on real time threats and take a decision when needed. In emergencies, power rests
with the Crisis Management Group, chaired by the Cabinet Secretary. This mechanism allows for
effective
decision-making after a crisis but is useless when there are minutes, not hours, to take a call. Thus, an
emergency crisis management system should be studied.
Besides, on the naval front, 72 per cent of the fast patrol vessels (FPVs)/inshore patrol vessels (IPVs),
47 per
cent of the advanced offshore patrol vessels (AOPVs) and 37 per cent of interceptor boats (IBs) are
either on
extended life or their extended life have expired. It recorded that 36 of 50 coastal police outposts
remained
non-functional, since no police were posted there.
In order to make the everyday lives of Indians safer, Indias security system must do better. The
resources
needed to combat future terrorism need to be improved. Although efforts have been made in form of
training of police & local administration; these efforts are too little.
EVENTS IN USA
USA TO CEDE SOME CONTROL OVER INTERNET
The United States will give up its role overseeing the system of Web addresses and domain names that
form
the basic plumbing of the Internet, turning it over in 2015 to an international group whose structure and
administration will be determined during the next year.
Since the dawn of the Internet, the United States has been responsible for assigning the numbers that
form
Internet addresses, the .com, .gov and .org labels that correspond to those numbers, and for the vast
database that links the two and makes sure Internet traffic goes to the right place.
The function has been subcontracted since 1998 to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and
Numbers (ICANN), an international non-profit organisation, with the expectation that the United States
would eventually step back from its role.
But that transition has taken on a new urgency in the past year because of revelations that the U.S.
intelligence community, particularly the National Security Agency (NSA), has been intercepting Internet
traffic as part of its global spying efforts.
While other countries have called for the United States to turn over the keys to the system, many
businesses, dependent on the smooth functioning of the Internet for their livelihood, have expressed
concern about what form the new organisation will take.
With its statement that no government-led organisation would take over ICANN, the United States also
made clear that the International Telecommunication Union, a United Nations affiliate that oversees
global
telephone traffic, would not be allowed to take over Internet governance.
OBAMA UNVEILS NSA REFORM PLAN
President Barack Obama put forward a plan to end bulk collection of telephone records, aiming to
defuse a
controversy over the governments sweeping surveillance activities on millions of Americans.
In measures taken in response to a global outcry over the National Security Agencys eavesdropping
programs, Mr. Obama said telephone companies would be required to hold data for the same length of
time
they currently do, while allowing government agencies to access it with court approval, though
exceptions
could be made in cases of national security emergencies.
Mr. Obama said his plan, which needs congressional approval, would still allow the government to
conduct
surveillance to thwart terrorist attacks but it would make changes to address the publics privacy
concerns.
There is a plan in the House of Commons which would allow government agencies to obtain records
from
phone companies without prior approval from the special court that oversees the Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Act. The court would review the records acquisition later.
The general idea of ending government storage of metadata appears to have bipartisan support.
Under both
plans, phone companies would in some way be compelled to provide metadata, including incoming and
outgoing phone numbers and call times, in a readily usable form. The phone companies say they will
want to
study the details of what they will be compelled to do.

57
EVENTS IN EGYPT
Egypts judges have risked new international outrage after handing down the death penalty to 529
people
accused of rioting in a mass two-day trial condemned as violating legal norms. The judge, in the central
Egyptian city of Minya, brought the case to a close after just two sessions to sentence to death 529
supporters of Mohamed Morsi for the murder of a single police officer. The defendants were arrested
last
August during a wave of unrest in which supporters of the former president react violently to the
clearance
of a pro-Morsi sit-in in Cairo during which more than 900 people were killed.
Legal experts say it is likely to be overturned on appeal, rejected by the Grand Mufti, to whom all
death
penalties are referred, or commuted by the president - not least because of the international
consequences
of such an event.
Egypt currently has qualified backing for its so-called road-map to democracy from the United States
and
Britain, despite last years overthrow of the countrys elected president, Mohammed Morsi, of the
Muslim
Brotherhood.
Meanwhile, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the general who ousted Egypt's first freely elected leader, declared his
candidacy for a presidential election after resigning from the Egyptian military. He is expected to easily
win
the elections. Sisi toppled Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood last July after mass protests
against
his rule and has emerged as the most influential figure in an interim administration that has governed
since
then.
A Sisi presidency would mark a return to the days when Egypt was led by men from the military, a
pattern
briefly interrupted by Morsi's one year in office after his 2012 victory in Egypt's first democratic
presidential
election. Among his supporters, Sisi is wildly popular. Many see him as the kind of strong man needed to
stabilize a country in crisis. But he is reviled by the Islamist opposition as the mastermind of a coup
against a
freely elected leader.
SEYCHELLES, MAURITIUS TO JOIN INDIAN OCEAN MARITIME SECURITY
GROUP
With an eye on China, India moved to expand the Indian Ocean Maritime Influence by announcing that
Mauritius and Seychelles have expressed an interest in joining the trilateral maritime security
cooperation
arrangement among India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives known as IO-3.
Should they join, it would mean the consolidation of an Indian maritime domain awareness network in
the
island states of the Indian Ocean region (IOR) where India has historically had influence.
Established in October 2011, the Trilateral Meeting on Maritime Security Co-operation features
regular
meetings at the National Security Advisor level. It seeks to improve joint responses to criminal activity,
instances of pollution and environmental disasters, and search-and-rescue operations, through
coordinated
training, exercises and information-sharing.
It has now reached a state of preparedness from where it is capable of responding to illegal activity
such as
piracy. By training people to work together, the trilateral has also built up capacity in responding to
search
and rescue and oil spills. Sri Lanka and India have also expanded their joint naval exercises to include
Maldives.
India would like to have a similar system to share information about activity in the Bay of Bengal as
well.
TURKISH BAN ON SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES
Turkey restricted access to Twitter hours after Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoan, threatened to
"root
out" the social media networks where wiretapped recordings have been leaked, damaging the
government's
reputation ahead of local elections.
The government statement cited four court orders as the basis for blocking the site, where some users
in
recent weeks have posted voice recordings and documents purportedly showing evidence of corruption
among Erdoan's inner circle. It said that action had been taken against Twitter as a "protection
measure".
But Turkish telecoms watchdog BTK said on Friday that the ban came after complaints were made by
citizens
that the social media platform was breaching privacy. According to reports, the watchdog had previously
asked Twitter to remove some content but Twitter had failed to do so, hence the watchdog declared to
ban
the social networking site in the country.

58
Meanwhile, Turkey's ban on Twitter ahead of the elections brought a furious reaction at home and
abroad
on Friday, with users of the social networking service denouncing the move as a "digital coup".
As the potentially damaging leaks continued to flood the internet, the government further decided to
block
access to You Tube. The PMs office claimed that the voice recordings posted to YouTube created
'national
security issue' and the block is a precautionary administrative measure.
NIGERIAS NORTHERN CHALLENGE
The atrocities committed by Boko Haram, when the faction attacked sleeping school children at Buni
Yadi in
Nigeria, had completely shocked the country as well as
the international community.
The word Boko Haram means western education is
sinful in Hausa, and since the school murders, the
federal government has closed five federal secondary
schools in three northern states; the pupils have been
offered alternatives. The violence continues, with at
least 650 already killed this year; northeastern Nigeria
is in a state of civil war.
It is, however, far from clear whether the federal
government has done all it can. The Nigerian military, consistently a large presence in African Union (AU)
operations, has had little impact; locals accuse the army of serious abuses of power, including summary
executions, and of delaying interventions when terrorists attack villages.
Secondly, rampant corruption has severely weakened most public institutions; the Central Bank head,
Lamido Sanusi, was suspended after accusing the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Company
(NNPC) of failing to account for $20 billion in oil revenues. Furthermore, the countrys northeastern
regions
have been badly neglected, and Boko Haram sees the Muslim majority there as being ripe for
indoctrination.
Yet Abuja seems not to be using all available resources, such as AU leverage.
People are forced to flee their homes are dispersed throughout Nigeria and in neighboring countries,
where
they face serious problems in accessing food, water, shelter, and other basic rights. The need of the
hour is
that Nigeria and its neighbors particularly Cameroon, Chad, and Niger should work together to
assess the
needs of the displaced and ensure the provision of adequate humanitarian assistance.
ELECTIONS ROUND THE WORLD
NORTH KOREA
North Koreas supreme leader Kim Jong Un was elected to the highest legislative body without a single
dissenting vote against in his district on a 100% turnout. There was no one else on the ballot.
North Koreans went to the polls on 9th March, 2104 to approve the new roster of deputies for the
supreme
peoples assembly, the countrys legislature. The vote, more of a political ritual than an election by
Western
standards, is generally held once every five years.
Each of the 687 districts had only one candidate running for office, with electors required to write only
"Yes"
or "No" on the ballot paper. Observers say the candidate list is an opportunity to see who is in or out of
favour with the leadership.
This is first time the election had been held since Kim inherited power after the death of his father, Kim
Jong
Il, in 2011.
The supreme peoples assembly usually meets only rarely, often only once a year. In practice it has
little
power and when it is not in session, its work is done by a smaller and more powerful body called the
presidium.

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MALDIVES
The Maldives held parliamentary elections on 22nd March, 2014 on schedule, despite worries about the
ability of the resort island's turmoil-hit elections commission to stage the ballot successfully.
Private watchdog Transparency Maldives said the opening of the poll was "smooth, transparent and
welladministered"
and the government declared the vote had gone off peacefully; while the US has led
international concern voiced over judicial interference in independent institutions in the Maldives.
There were doubts over the ability of the election commission to hold the election when the head of
the
Elections Commission, Mr. Fuwad Thoufeeq, and his deputy were dismissed on 9th March for
"disobeying" a
court order to adjourn part of last year's presidential election eventually won in November by Yameen.
A total of 302 candidates contested the 85 seats in parliament, but the executive president, who is
directly
elected by the people, has wide powers in the country of 330,000 Sunni Muslims.

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SCIENCE & TECH
INFRASOUND
WHY IN NEWS?
Infrasound would be used to check for an explosion on the missing Malaysian plane if there was a
monitoring station nearby, or the explosion is at a level or at high altitude that it could be detected.
BACKGROUND
Acoustic waves with very low frequencies that are inaudible to the human ear are called infrasound.
Infrasound is produced by a variety of natural and man-made sources exploding volcanoes,
earthquakes, meteors, storms and auroras in the natural world; nuclear, mining and large chemical
explosions, as well as aircraft and rocket launches in the man-made arena.
The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO) uses infrasound or infrasonic
sensors to monitor the earth mainly for atmospheric nuclear explosions.
ONE OF FOUR TECHNOLOGIES USED
Infrasound monitoring is one of the four technologies used by the International Monitoring System
(IMS)
to verify compliance with the nuclear test ban treaty.
The CTBTO said the construction of infrasound monitoring stations has contributed to a revival of
scientific interest in this technology.
There are seismic sensors for whats occurring underground while hydrophones listen for underwater
events.
For the atmosphere, there are ultra-sensitive nuclide detectors which are designed to pick up the
tiniest
amount of nuclear radiation.
And then there are infrasound detectors. In a dramatic demonstration of their global monitoring
networks ability to hear what humans cant, the CTBTO has posted infrasound of the asteroid which
exploded over Russia last year on the Internet.
Not the sound of the meteors explosion, but of it tearing through the atmosphere before it became a
fireball raining molten rock on the Ural Mountains.
The IMS infrasound network is the only global monitoring network of its kind and when it is fully
operational it will consist of 60 stations situated strategically in 35 countries around the world, the
CTBTO said.
It did not list the countries and completed stations.
PING
Why in news? - MH370 incident you keep hearing about last "ping"
A utility to determine whether a specific IP address is accessible.
It works by sending a packet to the specified address and waiting for a reply. PING is used primarily to
troubleshoot Internet connections.
There are many freeware and shareware Ping utilities available for personal computers.
It is often believed that "Ping" is an abbreviation for Packet Internet Groper, but Ping's author has
stated
that the name comes from the sound that a sonar makes.

61
ADSL MODEM CYBER SECURITY ISSUE
A new set of guidelines for ISPs by Department of Telecommunications (DoT)
WHY NEW GUIDELINES?
Amid growing threats of cyber attacks and hacking of websites, all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to
adopt new security measures for those using fixed-line broadband.
The hackers have been exploiting vulnerabilities in the ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line)
modems
those normally installed by broadband service providers at homes and offices to implant malware
and manipulate data.
GUIDELINES
A new set of guidelines for ISPs that must be implemented by May this year to ensure security of
almost
1.5 crore fixed-line broadband users are as following:
All ISPs to assist customers to change the password, including by physical visits. The ADSL modems
are
presently supplied by vendors with default set up of user ID and password as admin. The default
password needs to be changed to a strong password by customer at the time of installation of modem
to
avoid unauthorised access to modem. The ISP executive visiting customer for installation of modem
should ensure this.
The protocol ports in ADSL modem on WAN side [for example, FTP, TELNET, SSH, HTTP, SNMP, CWMP,
UPnP] be disabled. These ports may be used by the hackers to enter into the ADSL modem to
misuse/compromise the ADSL modems by way of implanting the malware, changing the DNS entries in
the modem.
The ISPs have been asked to devise a mechanism to upgrade the firmware of the ADSL modems
remotely by ISPs. For this, the ISPs need to have separate login password, which is not possible in the
present system of ADSL modem design.
The DoT has asked the ISPs to tell their customers to check their online daily usage, and if any
unexpected high usage of data is noticed, they may bring it to the notice of the ISP concerned.
Customers should also be advised to switch off their modem when not in use.
IMPACT
Implementation of these new security measures by all ISPs would go a long way in making Indian
Internet users secure from hacking, besides creating awareness about how to tackle such vulnerabilities
of the world wide web.
Beside this we need to ask the ISPs to adopt all best practices available globally to make our Internet
users more secure and all stakeholders i.e. government, the industry as well as users will have to work
jointly to make our cyber world secure.
ADSL MODEM
Short for asymmetric digital subscriber line, ADSL is a type of DSL broadband communication
technology
used for connecting to the Internet.
ADSL supports data rates of from 1.5 to 9 Mbps when receiving data (known as the downstream rate)
from 16 to 640 Kbps when sending data (known as the upstream rate).

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AEROSOLS
Study finds correlation between rainfall in India and aerosol levels over W. Asia
Monsoon rains over India could increase if
desertification leads to more dust from
West Asia and North Africa swirling into the
air, suggests a research report being
published in Nature Geoscience.
There has been growing interest in
examining how fine particles in the
atmosphere, known as aerosols, affect the
climate.
Analysing observational data, report found
that monsoon rainfall during June, July and
August over central India was strongly
correlated with aerosol levels over West
Asia, North Africa and the Arabian Sea.
The scientists turned to a global climate
model, the Community Atmosphere Model
(CAM5), to simulate what effect different
types of aerosols would have on the
monsoon.
When dust was removed altogether, the
correlations between the central Indian rains and West Asian aerosol levels disappeared.
The simulations also showed that when West Asian dust levels dropped, rains over central India
decreased within a week.
LOW PRESSURE BAND AND MONSOON:
The dust acted by absorbing radiation from the sun and heating the atmosphere. High levels of dust
over
West Asia and North Africa lowered atmospheric pressure in land regions to the north and west of the
Arabian Sea, the scientists said.
That low-pressure band strengthened moisture-laden winds that fed the Indian monsoon.
Thus, the expected expansion of desert and arid regions under global warming could enhance dust
transport from the deserts of the Middle East and North Africa to the Asian monsoon regions, further
enhancing monsoon rainfall.
GEO-SYNCHRONOUS SATELLITE LAUNCE VEHICLE MARK III
India took the first step towards the lift off of the experimental mission of its gigantic Geo-
synchronous
Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III
The significance of the mission is that it will be a forerunner to India sending its astronauts to space.
For, the GSLV-Mk III in this flight will carry a crew capsule without astronauts. The capsule will return
to
earth with the help of parachutes. The mission will take place in June or first week of July.The
Indian Space Research Organisation calls its mission to send Indian astronauts to space the Human
Space Flight (HSF) programme.
The crew capsule will weigh 3.5 tonnes. It will carry no astronauts. It was a replica of the crew module
that would be put into orbit in a real mission. It will be an experimental mission.
The rocket will do a sub-orbital flight, that is, reach an altitude of less than 100 km.
GSLV-Mk III is the muscular sibling of GSLV-Mk II which has an indigenous cryogenic engine. GSLV-
Mk
III can put a communication satellite weighing four tonnes into geo-synchronous transfer orbit or a 10-
tonne satellite into low-earth orbit.

63
SCIENTIFIC FRAUD
WHY IN NEWS?
Supreme Court of South Korea upheld its 2010 ruling, Hwang Woo Suk, the notorious stem cell
researcher from the Seoul National University in South Korea, will serve a suspended jail term of
oneand-
a-half years for embezzlement and violation of the countrys bioethics law that came into effect in
January 2005.
BACKGROUND
Hwang shot into international fame for two landmark papers published in February 2004 and May
2005 in the journal Science.
The first one was for cloning 30 human embryos and for deriving a human embryonic stem-cell
line
from one of them,
The second was for creating 11 human embryonic stem-cell lines from the skin cells of individual
patients.
FRAUD
It soon became evident that Hwang had committed one of the biggest scientific frauds in recent times
by
indulging in all kinds of unethical measures like
o image manipulation,
o rampant data falsification and fabrication,
o gross misrepresentation of facts,
o purchasing eggs for research, and
o forcing junior members in the same lab to donate eggs.
There were acts of outright fraud as well embezzlement of nearly $3 million and making
applications
for research funds based on fabricated data.
WEB BASED GIS TOOL TO GAUGE SOLAR POTENTIAL
The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) has unveiled the first-ever cloud based open-source Web-
GIS
tool for estimating rooftop solar power potential for Indian solar cities.
The main objective of this initiative is to develop a high performing and flexible Web-GIS tool to
estimate
the rooftop solar power potential for Indian cities. The web-GIS tool will be launched in Chandigarh
followed by other cities.
OPEN SOURCE
In production and development, open source as a development model promotes
o Universal access via free license to a product's design or blueprint, and
o universal redistribution of that design or blueprint, including subsequent improvements to it by
anyone.
In simpler terms suppose a given software is open source then you don't need to buy its license (Like
Windows OS if you use genuine software). Also you can find bugs in the software and share it with the
development community. Bug fixes will be incorporated in future releases of the software.

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WHAT IS GIS
A geographic information system (GIS) integrates hardware, software, and data for capturing,
managing,
analyzing, and displaying all forms of geographically referenced information.
GIS allows us to view, understand, question, interpret, and visualize data in many ways that reveal
relationships, patterns, and trends in the form of maps, globes, reports, and charts.
A GIS helps you answer questions and solve problems by looking at your data in a way that is quickly
understood and easily shared.
U.S. TO CEDE INTERNET OVERSIGHT
The United States will give up its role overseeing the system of Web addresses and domain names that
form
the basic plumbing of the Internet, turning it over in 2015 to an international group whose structure and
administration will be determined during the next year, government officials said on Friday
Since the dawn of the Internet, the United States has been responsible for assigning the numbers that
form
Internet addresses, the .com, .gov and .org labels that correspond to those numbers, and for the vast
database that links the two and makes sure Internet traffic goes to the right place.
The function has been subcontracted since 1998 to the Internet Corporation for Assigned
Names and
Numbers (), an international non-profit organisation, with the expectation that the United States
would
eventually step back from its role.
But that transition has taken on a new urgency in the past year because of revelations that the U.S.
intelligence community, particularly the National Security Agency (NSA), has been intercepting Internet
traffic as part of its global spying efforts.
Many businesses, dependent on the smooth functioning of the Internet for their livelihood, have
expressed
concern about what form the new organisation will take.
United States will not accept a proposal that replaces it with a government-led or intergovernmental
organisation.
The Commerce Department also laid out principles that must govern any new body, including
o maintaining the openness of the Internet and
o Maintaining its security and stability.
United States also made clear that the International Telecommunication Union, a United Nations
affiliate
that oversees global telephone traffic, would not be allowed to take over Internet governance. That was
an
issue last year at an ITU conference in Dubai.
ICANN
Short for Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, a nonprofit organization that has
assumed the
responsibility for IP address space allocation, protocol parameter assignment, domain name system
management and root server system management functions previously performed under U.S.
Government
contract.
IP ADRESS
IP address is short for Internet Protocol (IP) address.
An IP address is an identifier for a computer or device on a TCP/IP network. Networks using the TCP/IP
protocol route messages based on the IP address of the destination.
An IP address consists of 32 bits
The Two Parts of an IP Address:
o One identifying the network and
o One identifying the node, or host.

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PROTOCOL
An agreed-upon format for transmitting data between two devices. The protocol determines the
following:
o The type of error checking to be used
o Data compression method, if any
o How the sending device will indicate that it has finished sending a message
o How the receiving device will indicate that it has received a message
DOMAIN NAME
Domain names are used to identify one or more IP addresses. For example, the domain name
microsoft.com represents about a dozen IP addresses.
Domain names are used in URLs to identify particular Web pages. For example, in the URL
http://www.pcwebopedia.com/index.html, the domain name is pcwebopedia.com.
Every domain name has a suffix that indicates which top level domain (TLD) it belongs to. There are
only
a limited number of such domains. For example:
o gov - Government agencies
o edu - Educational institutions
o org - Organizations (nonprofit)
o mil - Military
o com - commercial business
o net - Network organizations
o ca - Canada
o th Thailand
Because the Internet is based on IP addresses, not domain names, every Web server requires a
Domain
Name System (DNS) server to translate domain names into IP addresses.
INTERNATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATION UNION
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), originally the International Telegraph Union, is a
specialized agency of the United Nations that is responsible for issues that concern information and
communication technologies
ITU, based in Geneva, Switzerland, is a member of the United Nations Development Group.
ICANN SUSPENDS CLOSED GENERIC TOP LEVEL DOMAIN BIDS
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Numbers and Names (ICANN) has put on hold a controversial
decision to allot closed generic Top Level Domains (gTLD) to applicants.
Governments and activists had feared that allotting such generic domains would lead to a global
corporate monopoly over the World Wide Web, by claiming exclusive rights for domains such as .book
or
.beauty.
Last week, a newly reconstituted gTLD committee paid heed to the objections raised by ICANNs
Governmental Advisory Committee, which had in April pointed out several problems in the process of
handing out gTLDs under a single registrant business model.
This differs from the regular business model for TLD names like .com or .org where the domains
names
are then resold to other users in an open market on first come, first served basis.
Under the single registrant model, companies like Amazon and Google could own exclusively .book or
.cloud, both generic name strings, thus paving the way for monopolistic branding.
In April, the Government Advisory Committee of ICANN met in Beijing and prepared what was called
as
Beijing Communiqu in which it had raised, among other things, objections over applications for the
generic TLDs .islam or .halal.

66
It raised fears that the applicants did not have community backing.
It also requested ICANN to not proceed beyond initial assessment for the bids for domains such as
.shenzen, .date, .spa and a few others.
TLD
The right-most label in a domain name (e.g. www.icann.org) is referred to as its "top-level
domain"(TLD).
TLDs with two letters have been established for over 240 countries and external territories and are
referred to as "country-code" TLDs or "ccTLDs."
TLDs with three or more characters are referred to as "generic" TLDs, or "gTLDs."
The responsibility for operating each gTLD (including maintaining a registry of the domain names
within
the gTLD) is delegated to a particular organization. These organizations are referred to as "registry
operators" or "sponsors."
TYPES OF GENERIC TLDS
Generally speaking, an unsponsored gTLD Registry operates under policies established by the global
Internet community directly through the ICANN process. .biz, .com, .info, .name, .net, .org, and .pro are
unsponsored gTLDs.
A sponsored gTLD (sometimes called an sTLD) is a specialized gTLD that has a sponsor representing a
specific community that is served by the gTLD.
The sponsor thus carries out delegated policy-formulation responsibilities over many matters
concerning
the gTLD. .aero, .cat, .coop, .jobs, .mobi, .museum, and .travel are sponsored gTLDs.
Entities wishing to register domain names in a sponsored gTLD will be required to meet certain
eligibility
requirements.
LED ZING BAILS
The International Cricket Council (ICC) approved the use of LED (Light Emitting Diode) zing bails in One-
Day Internationals (ODIS) and Twent20 Internationals from October 1, 2013.
The technology can now be seen used in the ongoing ICC World T20 2014 tournament as well.
For fans around the world, it is fascinating to see the bails (powered by low voltage batteries) light up
the moment they are off the stumps, meanwhile sending a radio signal to the stumps that also emit
bright light.
ANALYSIS
The approval came as a step towards further technological advancement in the sport, and also the fact
that it brought more attraction with people in the stadium and those watching matches on television.
Fans keep anxiously waiting for the bails to get dislodged to see what the newest development is.
However, the LED zing bails have their own share of controversies.
SPACE DEBRIS AND RELATED ASPECTS COOPERATIVE RESEARCH CENTRE
WHY IN NEWS?
The Australian National University had gathered $60 million in state grants and private investment for
a Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), an observatory which will target space junk. And then it will build
lasers to zap them like the Death Star.

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the CRC has the relatively modest ambition of dislodging junk from orbit and into atmospheric re-
entry.
If they time re-entry over the night side of the planet, they can guarantee free stratospheric fireworks
displays to light up the lives of generations to come.
BACKGROUND
Ever since the space race began, misfiring rocketry and misconceived missions have strewn Low
Earth
Orbit with about three lakh pieces of junk, aggregating to thousands of tonnes of metal and ceramic.
They range in size from burnt-out rocket engines to tiny nuts and bolts. But since they are whizzing
about at the speed of rifle bullets, size doesnt matter. A half-inch screw could puncture the hull of a
spacecraft, or even the space faring dreams of humanity.
Space junk has been recognised as a hazard.
Space debris, also known as orbital debris, space junk, and space waste, is the collection of defunct
objects in orbit around Earth. This includes everything from spent rocket stages, old satellites, fragments
from disintegration, erosion, and collisions. Since orbits overlap with new spacecraft, debris may collide
with operational spacecraft.
Impacts of these particles cause erosive damage
Damage can be reduced with "Whipple shield", which, for example, protects some parts of the
International Space Station. However, not all parts of a spacecraft may be protected in this manner, e.g.
solar panels and optical devices (such as telescopes, or star trackers), and these components are subject
to constant wear by debris and micrometeoroids.
WHIPPLE SHIELD
The Whipple Shield is the first spacecraft shield ever implemented. It was introduced by Fred Whipple
back in the 1940s, and is still in use today.
Simply, it consists of placing a sacrificial bumper, usually aluminum, in front of the spacecraft, thus
allowing it to absorb the initial impact.
The Whipple bumper shocks the projectile and creates a debris cloud containing smaller, less lethal,
bumper and projectile fragments. The full force of the debris cloud is diluted over a larger area on the
spacecraft rearwall.
DENDROID
Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) has issued an alert asking all Android
smartphone
users to beware of a deadly virus Dendroid,
Dendroid is a malicious application through which an attacker can completely compromise the
affected smartphone and control it remotely.
A malicious toolkit called Dendroid is being used to create Trojanised applications that infects
Androidbased
smartphones.
The malware is created by modifying the required permissions by any clean APK (Android Application
Package) with Dendroid RAT functionality that allows detailed management of the infected devices.
The attack toolkit can delete all call logs, open web pages, dial any number, record calls and audio,
intercept SMS, upload images and video to remote location and open applications.
INDIA-BASED NEUTRINO OBSERVATORY (INO)
India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) slated to come up near Theni district in Tamil Nadu, by 2020.
According to the 12th Five Year Plan report released in October 2011, it will be built at a cost of
Rs.1,323.77 crore, borne by the Departments of Atomic Energy (DAE) and Science & Technology (DST).
By 2012, these government agencies, with the help of 26 participating institutions, were able to obtain
environmental clearance, and approvals from the Planning Commission and the Atomic Energy

68
Commission. Any substantial flow of capital will happen only with Cabinet approval, which has still not
been given after more than a year.
IF DELAY PERSISTS
The Indian scientific community will face greater difficulty in securing future projects involving foreign
collaborators because we cant deliver on time.
Worse still, bright
Indian minds that
have ideas to test
will prioritise foreign
research labs over
local facilities.
China : second major
neutrino research
laboratory the
Jiangmen
Underground
Neutrino
Observatory (JUNO),
to be completed at a
cost of $350 million
(Rs. 2,100 crore) by
2020.
Tension for India's
Physicist - Both
project's date of
completion is same
and once ready, both
INO and JUNO will
pursue a common
goal in fundamental physics. Should China face fewer roadblocks than India does, our neighbour could
even beat us to some seminal discovery.
LESSONS FROM THE PAST
In the 1960s, a neutrino observatory located at the Kolar Gold Fields in Karnataka became one of the
worlds first experiments to observe neutrinos in the Earths atmosphere, produced as a by-product of
cosmic rays colliding with its upper strata.
However, the laboratory was shut in the 1990s because the mines were being closed.
However, Japanese physicist Masatoshi Koshiba and collaborators built on this observation with a
larger
neutrino detector in Japan, and went on to make a discovery that (jointly) won him the Nobel Prize for
Physics in 2002.
If Indian physicists had been able to keep the Kolar mines open, by now we could have been on par
with
Japan, which hosts the world-renowned Super-Kamiokande neutrino observatory involving more than
900 engineers.
BACKGROUND
Neutrinos are colloquially called ghost particles because
o They travel at almost the speed of light,
o They hardly interact with matter, and
o They are very light.
Therefore, trapping and measuring a neutrino requires extremely sensitive equipment shielded from
interfering radiation.

69
There are three kinds, or flavours, of neutrinos, designated 1, 2 and 3. Each flavour is known to
spontaneously transform into the other, a process called oscillation that is characteristic of particles
that
have mass.
However, physicists have been unable to measure their masses. What they have been able to
accomplish is find their difference.
Of late, interest has grown in the mass of neutrino-3 with respect to the other two, which is what INO
and JUNO
will study. Together, these detectors will join the already operating Hyper-Kamiokande in Japan and the
NOvA in
the U.S.
WAS DARK MATTER OBSERVED IN KOLAR GOLD FIELDS ?
The handful of unusual events observed in the underground experiments at the Kolar Gold Field (KGF)
mines during the 1960-70s and the 1980s, which have remained unexplained to this day, may have been
due to the decays of hitherto unseen Dark Matter (DM) particles.
The postulate of DM was put forward to account for the extreme velocities with which galaxies and
clusters of galaxies are observed to be rotating, that the gravity generated by their observable matter
alone cannot explain.
At such speeds they should have been torn apart long ago. It is believed that something that cannot be
seen directly with light (electromagnetic radiation, in general) and hence the name is providing
that extra mass, generating the extra gravity, needed to hold them together.
DM dominates the matter in the universe, outweighing all the visible matter by nearly six times,
but its
existence can be inferred only from the gravitational effect it seems to have on visible matter.
Though existence of DM is now accepted, and it is all around us with varying densities, its nature has
remained a mystery and various candidate DM particles have been proposed.
INTERGROWTH-21ST PROJECT
An international research effort called the "Intergrowth-21st Project", or the "International Fetal and
Newborn Growth Consortium for the 21st Century"
Supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
PURPOSE
The primary purpose of the project is to "develop new 'prescriptive' standards describing normal
foetal
growth, preterm growth and newborn nutritional status in eight geographically diverse populations, and
to relate these standards to neonatal health risk".
METHODOLOGY
To implement this apparently straightforward goal turns out to be a monumental task, since it involves
equalising the nutritional and health status of all mothers participating.
This is needed to capture any residual differences in foetal development that might be associated with
genetic or racial type.
Accordingly, prenatal progress from conception to birth was monitored at eight clinical centres around
the world.
At each of these centres, exactly the same monitoring and measurement tools were used.
The findings of this multi-year effort are now emerging and were presented at the conference in
advance of their official release.

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RESULTS
Crucially, the findings indicate that there is no systematic difference in foetal development by ethnic
or
racial type. To put it more formally, variations within populations exceeded variations across
populations.
IMPLICATIONS
This brings us back to the tall Dutch, and thereby to India. It is indeed the case that the Dutch are the
nation with the greatest average height in Europe.
As would be consistent with the Intergrowth findings (but confirmed by other, prior research), this is
not
primarily because of differences in genetic stock - but is rather attributable to systematic,
multigenerational
investment in female empowerment and maternal health.
Healthy mothers produce healthy babies, and healthy babies are less susceptible to chronic diseases
(such as obesity and diabetes) as well as being more capable of realising their full cognitive capabilities.
Further, for in addition to their record height, the Dutch also lead Unicef's rankings across the rich
countries as being the most child-friendly.
Accounting for this outcome is more difficult, but according to sociologists and social psychologists, it
seems embedded in the value system of Dutch society.
A small nation on a river delta (the Rhine) subject to many of the same natural perils as, say,
Bangladesh,
has propelled itself to being one of the wealthiest members of the European Union with enviable social
indicators, largely through success in social organisation.
IMPLICATIONS FOR INDIA
First, if Intergrowth becomes widely accepted, we will no longer be able to use the excuse that low
average birth weight, or subsequent stunting, is the result of genetic predisposition.
Second, while concentration on prenatal and neo-natal health can yield extremely high social return, it
cannot substitute for babies who have already come into the world with low birth weight.
Third, it is not valid to argue that these problems can only be resolved as we get richer. The opposite is
more likely to be the case.
CONCLUSION
None of this is to deny the long-standing efforts of the Indian government through schemes such as
the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) to address issues of prenatal care, food
supplementation and early childhood monitoring.
But the deeper issue raised by Dutch success is how far such official efforts can succeed in the absence
of supportive social attitudes and the political will they engender.
The fundamental challenge is to change social perceptions and norms. That is an effort that has to
involve society as a whole, as the example of the Dutch confirms.
MONO RAIL @ MUMBAI
The 8.8-km-long line between Wadala and Chembur was inaugurated recently. Salient Features of the
project:
Would cover 25 stations
o These are some of the thickly-populated areas which are not adequately serviced by the regular
Western Railway, Central Railway and its Harbour Line.
It would be the second longest corridor on the world monorail map.
The monorail is Mumbais first public transport system post-independence
o citys first mode of mass transport, the suburban railway network that is used by 75 lakh people
every day, began operations 160 years ago. The first train ran between Bori Bunder and Thane on
April 16, 1853.

71
o The erstwhile Bombay Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) introduced trams and buses as
alternative modes of mass transport in 1874 and 1926, respectively
WHATS MONORAIL?
Monorail is a transport system that runs on single rail as against metro rail that runs on 2 rails like all
other trains
all over the world. The single rail is its only support system and it runs on a beam high up in the air as
against
metro rail that runs like a conventional train but on an independent track.
HOW IS IT DIFFERENT FROM METRO?
The track on which the rail runs is narrower than the train itself and this is the major point of
differentiation with the metro rail.
Also, it runs on a single rain unlike metro rail which runs on two rails much like conventional railway
system
ANALYSIS
Positives
It is estimated that over 11 million people travel by public transport daily, of which more than 60 per
cent commute by the suburban railway networks. They require a better mode of transportation to reach
their destination.
Monorail will be the feeder service to connect the mass transport systems, like the existing suburban
railway network.
Also, It will easily move through the citys narrow corridors taking tight turns, saving much of the travel
time and decongesting road traffic to a great extent.
The routes being linked through major areas in the city are set to benefit commuters who travel long
distances.
It will help control pollution
o Monorail follows the lines of green transportation, as its Coaches move on rubber tyres on
concrete beams, creating less noise and vibration during operation, and is powered by electric
motors which are silent, efficient and clean. It is estimated to save approximately 200 tonnes of
CO2 a day in Mumbai.
Limitations
The monorail may not be further extended by the MMRDA, as it may prove inadequate for Mumbai's
population density.
Also, foreign consultants have suggested a Metro or LRT system over a monorail for many Indian cities,
including Mumbai and Bangalore.






2
TABLE OF CONTENTS
POLITY
.................................................................................................................................................. 4
Election related news
.........................................................................................................................................................
....................... 4
Detailed guidelines to monitor poll expenses
............................................................................................................................................................ ......... 4
Helpline for voters in Haryana
................................................................................................................................................................................................... 4
Higher voter turnout anticipated in 2014 elections
........................................................................................................................................................ 4
Accuracy of Electoral Rolls
........................................................................................................................................................................................................... 5
EC warns Media over opinion Polls
.......................................................................................................................................................................................... 5
First Past the Post System of Elections (FPTP)- Fallacies
............................................................................................................................................. 5
Supreme Court judgments
.........................................................................................................................................................
............. 6
Reprieve for Bhullar
........................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 6
CAG to audit private
sector........................................................................................................................................................................................................... 7
SC on dissolution of assembly in Delhi
................................................................................................................................................................................... 8
SC panel on road safety
.................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 8
SC panel on political Advts by governments
........................................................................................................................................................................ 9
Adopt scientific methods in crime detection: SC
............................................................................................................................................................... 9
Nothing despicable in students cleaning toilets: High Court
....................................................................................................................................... 9
Judicial Reforms
.........................................................................................................................................................
............................... 10
Appointments of judges
...............................................................................................................................................................................................................10
A case for judicial activism
.........................................................................................................................................................................................................11
Lack of whistleblowers protection regime in India
................................................................................................................. 11
Saranda Action Plan
.........................................................................................................................................................
...................... 12
ECONOMY
.......................................................................................................................................... 13
Indian Economy
.........................................................................................................................................................
............................... 13
ADB pegs GDP growth rate for 2014-15 at 5.5 %
............................................................................................................................................................13
Indias growth likely to recover to 5.4 % in 2014: IMF
................................................................................................................................................13
Growth in Industrial Production contracts 1.9 % in February
.................................................................................................................................14
Policy directives by RBI
.........................................................................................................................................................
................ 14
Bi-monthly monetary policy review by RBI - highlights
..............................................................................................................................................14
Implementing Urjit Patel Committees Recommendations
........................................................................................................................................15
Two new banks - IDFC AND BANDHAN gets in principle nod
..................................................................................................................................15
Rating for housing projects National Housing Board
......................................................................................................... 16
SEBI pitches for teaching capital markets to school students
............................................................................................ 17
EPFO to allot universal numbers by Oct 15
................................................................................................................................. 17
WTO on Global trade
.........................................................................................................................................................
..................... 17
Fiscal deficit control makes higher growth challenging
....................................................................................................... 18
SOCIAL ISSUES
................................................................................................................................. 19
Voting rights for the disabled
.........................................................................................................................................................
.... 19
Curative petition against section 377 judgement
..................................................................................................................... 19
Legal recognition for transgenders
................................................................................................................................................. 20
Analysis of Govt. Services
.........................................................................................................................................................
............. 20
Reporting of child abuse cases
.........................................................................................................................................................
.. 21
HEALTH
................................................................................................................................................................................................... 23
Rotavirus Vaccine 116e
.........................................................................................................................................................
............ 23
Havoc of MERS
.........................................................................................................................................................
................................. 23
Reality of cancer in india
.........................................................................................................................................................
............. 24
Threats from
Malaria.............................................................................................................................................
................................ 24
Alarming rise in cases of liver diseases
.......................................................................................................................................... 25
Campaign to promote rational use of antibiotics
..................................................................................................................... 25
Partnership to counter Pediatric TB
............................................................................................................................................... 25
ENVIRONMENT
............................................................................................................................... 27
Ban on mining iron ore in Goa lifted
............................................................................................................................................... 27

3
Longed bill vultures sighted in
nilgiris...........................................................................................................................................
27
Stop whaling in antarctic: ICJ to japan
.......................................................................................................................................... 28
Japan's biggest online retailer ends whale meat sales
..................................................................................................................................................28
15 Indian Birds among Globally endangered
............................................................................................................................. 28
Global warming worsening hunger
globally............................................................................................................................... 29
Indian deltas are sinking
.........................................................................................................................................................
............. 29
Solar capacity in india crosses 25,000 MW
................................................................................................................................. 29
Earth day celebrated
.........................................................................................................................................................
..................... 29
INDIA AND WORLD
........................................................................................................................ 30
India proposes global 'no-first-use' convention on N-weapons
......................................................................................... 30
India china
.........................................................................................................................................................
...................................... 30
6th Round of Indo- China Strategic Dialogue
......................................................................................................................................................................30
India china naval exercise
...........................................................................................................................................................................................................31
Chinas Visa policy casts a shadow on youth exchange
................................................................................................................................................31
Ratan Tata appointed board member of China backed boao forum
......................................................................................................................32
India USA
.........................................................................................................................................................
......................................... 33
India concludes pact with US on tax evasion under FATCA
.......................................................................................................................................33
READ (Read-Engage-Achieve-Dream): Indio-US alliance to improve reading skills at Indian Schools
................................................34
India Russia Afghanistan Synergy
............................................................................................................................................ 34
Pakistan for resumption of dialogue with india
........................................................................................................................ 35
US - Japan India Trilateral Co-operation
.................................................................................................................................. 35
India leads Global Remittances
.........................................................................................................................................................
36
Indian peacekeepers injured in attack on US base in South Sudan
.................................................................................. 36
On social development index, India ranks 102
........................................................................................................................... 37
Asia Pacific navies sign maritime communication agreement
.......................................................................................... 37
European Union bans Indian Alphanso mangoes, veggies
................................................................................................... 38
Indias first ambassador to Indian mission to Asean and east asia summit
................................................................. 38
WORLD AFFAIRS
............................................................................................................................ 38
Reviving the Maritime Silk Route
.....................................................................................................................................................
38
Opinion - Chinas Maritime Silk Route vs Americas Pivot
..........................................................................................................................................39
Israel Palestine issue
.........................................................................................................................................................
..................... 40
Ukraine crisis
.........................................................................................................................................................
.................................... 40
US created 'Cuban Twitter' to stir unrest
..................................................................................................................................... 41
Flight MH370 Accident Probe
.........................................................................................................................................................
... 42
Bluefin-21 Submarine
...................................................................................................................................................................................................................42
South Korea Ferry Disaster
.........................................................................................................................................................
........ 43
Boko haram kidnaps school girls in Nigeria
............................................................................................................................... 43
Alleged Morsi supporters sentenced to death in Egypt
.......................................................................................................... 44
US and phillipines sign ten year defence pact
............................................................................................................................ 44
SCIENCE & TECH
............................................................................................................................. 46
IRNSS-1B
.........................................................................................................................................................
............................................. 46
The Heartbleed bug Internet Security Vulnerability
........................................................................................................... 46
Urban heat islands dot Delhi
.........................................................................................................................................................
..... 48
Stem Cells Cloned From Human Skin
.............................................................................................................................................. 48

4
POLITY
ELECTION RELATED NEWS
DETAILED GUIDELINES TO MONITOR POLL EXPENSES
ECI has issued the Election Expenditure Monitoring (ECM) Compendium with detailed instructions
Such a compendium is issued before every elections.
ECM compendium, deals with matters ranging from maintenance of accounts by each candidate,
training of
election agents on expenditure monitoring, maintenance of registers, appointment of election
expenditure
observers for each constituency and preparation of daily activity reports by flying squads on seizure of
cash
and so on.
TRAVEL EXPENSES OF STAR CAMPAIGNERS
The travel expenses of star campaigners of political parties are exempt under Explanation (1) to
Section 77 of
the Representation of the People Act, 1951,
Under no circumstances will expenses incurred by a star campaigner towards the use of helicopters be
added
to the candidates account, whether the candidate shares the dais with the star campaigner or not.
As per a SC judgment, the ECI had issued instructions that any expenditure incurred by a political party
which
promotes the prospects of a particular candidate shall be accounted for by such candidate.
While candidates have a ceiling on campaign expenditure, political parties as a whole do not have any
such
ceiling.
The responsibility lies with the candidate to prove that the expenditure incurred is not to be
accounted for by
him/her and be treated as that for general party propaganda
HELPLINE FOR VOTERS IN HARYANA
Haryana election department has set up telephone based, web-based and SMS based helplines at HQ
and
district level to help the voters to seek poll related information such as address of polling station, their
name
in voting list etc.
Previous experience have shown that many people do not exercise their franchise only because they
are not
sure about their names in the electoral rolls or not aware of the booth number and location.
The helplines would make such people come out and cast their votes.
HIGHER VOTER TURNOUT ANTICIPATED IN 2014 ELECTIONS
Experts believe that 2014 elections could witness significantly increased voter turnout when compared
to
earlier years
They cite the higher voter turnout in recent assembly elections as an indication for the same
Goa, Rajasthan, Gujarat, UP registered more than 10% increase in voter turnout in assembly elections
In Bihar, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu voter turnout increased by 7-8%
ANALYSIS
Several factors can be cited for higher voter turnout in elections. Post Mandal commission
participation of
voters from lower social and economic order has increased drastically. Previously electoral participation
was
dominated by the people from upper castes and the upper and middle class. Rise of regional parties and
their strong use of mobilizing practices for particular castes has also played a huge role.
One of the reasons for increased voter turnout in assembly elections is the increased participation of
women in elections. In some of the states women have outnumbered the men, for example in 2010
Bihar
election 3.4 % more women voted than men. In 2012, Goa elections 6% more women turned out for
elections than men.

5
Increased voter turnout is also determined by the urban voters. Traditionally urban voters have always
voted in lesser number when compared to rural voters. But in recent times a trend has been noticed for
increased participation of the urban voters in elections. In addition to the above, youth also hold an
important key as far as increased voter turnouts are concerned.
ACCURACY OF ELECTORAL ROLLS
In recently conducted 2014 elections, several lakh names of voters were missing from the electoral
rolls
mainly from Mumbai.
This has raised questions about the efficiency of the process of periodic electoral rolls revision,
inclusion of
new voters, and voter enrollment drives conducted regularly
ECI has actively taken support of technology to improve the enrollment process in electoral rolls since
the
1990s
In 1993 not only initiated the issue of Electors Photo Identity Cards (EPIC), but also followed it up with
computerization of the entire electoral rolls in a phased manner.
In April this year the ECI launched a national-level online electoral roll search that could be used by
voters
even from their smartphones to search their names on the rolls.
Inspite of all these measures electoral rolls continue to be inaccurate, serving as a reminder that
technology
cannot substitute for care, verification and proper supervision of the process.
Increasing urbanization has resulted in huge number of people shifting base frequently which
demands a lot
of precautions
WAY AHEAD
The process of inclusion and deletion has to be decentralised at the ward level
Changes made by authorised officials should be linked to a real-time database that can quickly reflect
these
change
Address-change verification processes could also be made citizen-friendly
EC WARNS MEDIA OVER OPINION POLLS
ECI has asked all media organisations not to publish opinion polls which are exit polls for all practical
purposes
Some of the media houses broadcasted opinion polls that published results of some of the Lok Sabha
constituencies where voting had already taken place, in effect, making them exit polls.
As per the ECI, telecast by certain television channels and publishing of the same by some newspapers
amounts to violation of Section 126A of RP Act, 1951.
WHAT IS SECTION 126 A OF RP ACT, 1961?
It prohibits publication and dissemination of results of exit poll.
It says that no person shall conduct any exit poll and publish or publicise by means of the print or
electronic
media or disseminate in any other manner, whatsoever the result of any exit poll during such period.
The prohibited period refers to as the period commencing from the beginning of the hours fixed for
poll on
the first day of poll and continuing till half an hour after closing of the polling in all the states and union
territories.
FIRST PAST THE POST SYSTEM OF ELECTIONS (FPTP)- FALLACIES
WHAT IS FPTP?
FPTP voting takes place in single-member constituencies
To vote under FPTP, the voter simply puts a cross in a box next to one candidate. The candidate with
the most
votes in the constituency wins. All other votes count for nothing.

6
This is the system which is followed in India for General Elections of Lok Sabha and state elections.
DEMERITS OF FPTP
In FPTP at times, elected representatives hardly enjoy consent of even half the voters.
It does not ensure proportional representation of all the groups in parliament. For example, Dalits in
India are
17 per cent but being in the minority in every constituency, one of them would never get elected
independently in the FPTP system; not even from the so-called reserved constituencies.
In the FPTP system, once the elections are over, there is no motivation for debate in Parliament on
policy
content.
High Barrier Points in Elections
o In India Peoples choices are restricted to the candidates put up by political parties, and to some
independent. This results in the same set of people getting elected election after election without any
evidence of performance.
o Entry barriers in Indian politics are very high, for example the official expenditure allowed for a
candidate for the Lok Sabha election is Rs.70 lakh that only mainstream political parties can afford. The
actual numbers are way beyond this figure.
Results in Corruption
o Now given the kind of investment which is required in elections, and given there is no legitimate
return
on investment it inevitably results in corruption.
o In the 15th Lok Sabha election, there were 1,249 crore pati candidates, of whom over 300 reached
Parliament.
o The crime record closely correlates with their riches, and both exist across parties.
ALTERNATIVES TO FPTP?
An alternative to FPTP is the Proportional Representation (PR) system, which is followed in most
European
democracies.
Even though there are many practical variants of the PR system, essentially it entails voting for parties
or
social groups (rather than for individuals), that get representation in proportion to their share of votes.
ADVANTAGES OF PR SYSTEM
In the case of Dalits (as mentioned above) The PR system would assure them their share in Parliament
and
legislatures and may even create a centripetal force to expand their constituency.
There would be no cut-throat competition as every interest group would be reasonably assured of its
share of
representation. The competition would then shift to the ring of Parliament to shape the policies in the
interests of the majority of the people.
The intense competition of the FPTP elections leading to huge resource expenditure and consequent
rise of
corruption would also be eliminated in the PR system.
Most importantly, in the context of India, it would curb the vile motives in the ruling classes to divide
people
on the lines of caste and community.
Theoretical fallacy in the FPTP elections that the elected representatives hardly enjoy consent of even
half
the voters is overcome in the PR system
There would not be any need for the reserved constituencies for Dalits and hence even the Dalit tag,
thereby
eliminating the salience of castes from politics
SUPREME COURT JUDGMENTS
REPRIEVE FOR BHULLAR
Condemned to death thrice in the past, Bhullar has now obtained a final reprieve from the Supreme
Court. SC
has commuted Bhullars death sentence to life.
Bhullar was convicted of killing nine persons and wounding 17 others in a car bomb attack in Delhi in
1993.

7
REASONS CITED FOR COMMUTATION
There was an unexplained delay of eight years in disposing of his mercy petition.
He suffers from mental illness.
Both these grounds figure among the supervening circumstances for commutation listed by the
Supreme
Court in January in Shatrughan Chauhan vs Union of India.
DID THE COURT OVERSTEP ITS CONSTITUTIONAL POWER?
Critics argue that Supreme Court overstepped its constitutional power and duty and exercised the
sovereign
power of clemency, which it never possessed and thus infringed on the separation of powers as stated
in the
constitution.
In January this year, in the matter of Judicial review of Pardon power, the Supreme court in
Shatrughan
Chauhan & Anr. vs Union Of India & Ors. overstepped its constitutional power and duty and exercised
the
sovereign power of clemency, which it never possessed. The three-judge Bench, in its unprecedented
authority, commuted a sentence of death to life for 15 persons on the singular ground of delay.
The decision in the Shatrughan Chauhan case has been widely and wrongly heralded as a decision in
support
of human rights, while squarely forgetting the Judiciarys infringement of the cardinal principles of
separation
of powers. The Judiciary cannot revolt against the Constitution, but only on its behalf.
Our Constitution is our act of revolution and the Judiciary its protector. Today when the same Judiciary
oversteps its limits, it is indispensable that the decision is corrected, reviewed and reversed by a larger
Bench.
CAG TO AUDIT PRIVATE SECTOR
The Supreme Court has ruled that the Comptroller and Auditor General of India can audit private
telecom
firms that share their revenues with the government.
As per court such a scrutiny is crucial for ensuring the government got its legitimate share for
allowing
private telecom operators to use the valuable natural resource
As per experts it would have an implication for other industries like power, mining, roadway etc in
which
private companies either share revenues with the government or partner it under the PPP model
Court observed that while dealing with a natural resource belonging to the people of country, it has to
give a
purposive interpretation to Article 149 of the Constitution and the Trai rules.
Article 149 of the Constitution deals with the duties and powers of CAG.
ANALYSIS
The ruling in one go has extended the reach of the CAG from government and public sector companies
to any
entity that may be using a public resource in its business and sharing revenue with the government.
The principle behind the ruling is that when the Executive deals with natural resources, such as
spectrum,
which belong to the people, Parliament should know how the nations wealth has been dealt with.
Given the number of scams that have been unearthed with respect to natural resources in last few
years, this
ruling is a welcome change.
Also, companies that use public resources have a responsibility to bear, and if they play true and fair
they
have nothing to fear from an audit.
CAG audit may create unnecessary work for the private companies but if the government and the CAG
can
assure no harassment, there would be no cause to protest against the audit itself, as industry
associations are
now doing.
At the same time, it would be a really challenging task for CAG to deploy resources to carry out such
audits in
a time bound manner.
The governments and regulators should use the CAG only when serious wrongdoings are suspected by
a
player otherwise long drawn process of CAG may drive away investments from the sector.

8
SC ON DISSOLUTION OF ASSEMBLY IN DELHI
A Bench of SC said that it could not impose any opinion on when the Lt. Governor or the President
should
take a call on the dissolution of Delhi assembly.
The Court has also clarified that there is no fetter or impediment to the President exercising his
power to
revoke or vary his earlier order with respect to proclamation imposing Presidents Rule in Delhi.
BACKGROUND
Aam Aadmi Party government resigned in February, but the Lt. Governor did not accept the outgoing
regimes recommendation to dissolve the House.
The Assembly was kept under suspended animation.
Supreme Court, in S.R. Bommai vs. Union of India, had ruled that the legislature could be dissolved
only after
the Proclamation imposing Presidents Rule receives the approval of both Houses of Parliament.
Even though both the houses approved the Proclamation, the Assembly continued to remain
suspended.
Aam Aadmi Party, had filed a plea challenging the keeping of the Assembly in suspended animation
ANALYSIS
Supreme Court has wisely refrained from giving any direction to the constitutional authority to follow
a
particular course of action.
Because none can guarantee a decisive verdict after elections, with any one party winning a majority.
The absence of a representative government is a real concern. And therefore it is an issue that
requires a
political solution.
SC PANEL ON ROAD SAFETY
SC has appointed a three member panel to monitor implementation of road safety measures,
including
emergency medical help to accident victims and to make the States accountable for any inaction or
lapse.
The court noted that it is the duty of the Central and State governments to ensure the availability of
safe
roads worthy of traffic.
The court directed all state governments and various central ministries involved in various road safety
issues
to submit their first report to the committee in three months indicating the state of implementation of
all
laws pertaining to licensing, certification of fitness of vehicles, passenger/weight carrying capacity, use
of
road safety devices, adherence to road user norms add deployment of adequate manpower for
enforcement
of existing provisions of law.
ROAD ACCIDENTS A CONCERN IN INDIA
Rapid motorisation and fast-paced economic activity over several years has resulted in increasing road
accidents.
As per a report one accident takes place in the country every minute and one person dies in an
accident every
four minutes.
It has economic implications also as by some estimates, 3 per cent of GDP is lost in a year due to the
carnage.
Unsafe transport, including services operated by government agencies, are a major part of the
problem but
State governments involved have shown little sense of accountability.
WAY AHEAD
Sundar Committee constituted by the Centre in 2007 recommended for the creation of an apex
agency.
This agency was supposed assess all aspects of road safety, and to address the lacuna in scientific
accident
investigation.
But nothing was implemented on ground.

9
National Transport Development Policy Committee headed by Rakesh Mohan suggested that national,
state
and local-level institutions be set up, with responsibility to address the issue of safety.
There is an urgent need to form these committees, and appoint professionals to them.
They must be empowered to upgrade driver-licensing practices, road systems, public lighting and
signage.
There is a need to overhaul the process of accident investigation. CCTVs can come in handy in this
process.
High cost of treatment at private hospitals affect access to good trauma care for accident victims.
Central and
State governments must thus provide treatment at proximate institutions for free of cost.
SC PANEL ON POLITICAL ADVTS BY GOVERNMENTS
Supreme Court has set up a panel to frame comprehensive guidelines to help end the abuse of public
ads for
political mileage.
This panel would study best practices around the world and submit recommendations to the court in
three
months.
Based on the recommendations, SC will issue substantive guidelines to be followed by the central
and state
governments and their agencies such as the Directorate of Advertising.
Petitioners had highlighted numerous full-page advertisements in newspapers and repeated ads on TV
by
governments and their agencies, which projected political personalities and proclaimed the
achievements of
the ruling party at the expense of the public exchequer.
ANALYSIS
There is a need to distinguish between the advertisements that are part of government messaging and
daily
business and advertisements that are politically motivated.
Several countries such as Australia and Canada have developed guidelines to prevent abuse of public
money
by way of such advertisements, the same can be done in India too.
ADOPT SCIENTIFIC METHODS IN CRIME DETECTION: SC
Supreme Court has asked investigating agencies to adopt scientific methods in crime detection to save
the
judicial system from low conviction rates
ANALYSIS
Emergence of new types of crimes and their level of sophistication have made traditional methods and
tools
outdated and therefore there is a need to adopt innovative and creative methods.
Reliable, trustworthy, credible witnesses to the crime seldom come forward to depose before the
court and
even hardened criminals get away from the clutches of the law.
Even reliable witnesses for the prosecution turn hostile due to intimidation, fear and a host of other
reasons.
Investigating agency has, therefore, to look for other ways and means to improve the quality of
investigation,
which can only be through the collection of scientific evidence
NOTHING DESPICABLE IN STUDENTS CLEANING TOILETS: HIGH COURT
Madras High Court has directed in its judgment that there is nothing despicable in making students
clean
toilets used by them in schools as it would only inculcate value system and fulfil the dream of Mahatma
Gandhi
PIL was filed by a group of citizens accusing government schools of making students to clean toilets.
The judges pointed out that societys outlook towards cleaning of toilets was one of the reasons for
the birth
of caste system in the country.
They also pointed out that Mahatma Gandhi had advocated cleaning of toilets as one of the means to
get rid
of the caste system besides stripping every individual of his/her ego.

10
JUDICIAL REFORMS
APPOINTMENTS OF JUDGES
Both the major national parties have given ample importance to the fair appointment of judges in
their
respective manifestos.
The Constitution (One Hundred And Twentieth Amendment) Bill 2013 was passed by the Rajya Sabha
on
September 5, 2013. It seeks to replace the current collegium system of appointment of judges with a
Judicial
Appointment Commission(JAC).
The Bill gives JAC the powers to appoint judges to the Supreme Court and the High Court
Bill does not define who the members of the JAC are but leaves this for Parliament to determine in an
ordinary Statute.
This accompanying Bill, known as the JAC Bill 2013, provides that JAC will comprise six members, i.e.
the Chief
Justice of India, two most senior judges of the Supreme Court, the Law Minister and two eminent
persons.
The two eminent persons are supposed to be appointed by a collegium comprising the Prime Minister,
the
leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Chief Justice of India
As per the bill, the composition of JAC is in the hands of Parliament. To change the composition, an
ordinary
bill is enough which is more flexible than an amendment of the Constitution. Several experts have
criticized
the bill over this particular lacuna.
EXAMPLE OF UK
In the U.K., the candidates for Judicial Office in courts up to and including High Court level, Tribunals in
England and Wales are selected by JAC.
The JAC is an executive non-departmental public body sponsored by the Ministry of Justice.
Membership is drawn from the judiciary, the legal profession, non-legally qualified judicial office-
holders and
the public
The Selection by JAC for High Courts, Tribunals is based on merit through fair and open competition.
The selection process starts when JAC receives a vacancy request from Her Majestys Courts and
Tribunals
Service or the Ministry of Justice. Thereafter, it advertises all selection exercises on its website and in
the
email newsletter. The applications are submitted to JAC electronically.
Thereafter, the process of shortlisting commences. Candidates are required to identify referees they
know
personally and professionally. Shortlisted candidates are invited for a selection day for a panel interview,
role
play interview and presentation, etc.
The technique of situational questioning is also adopted which involves questions concerning a
hypothetical
situation based on challenging, real-life, job-related occurrences and asks the candidate how they would
handle the problem.
JAC also carries out consultation as part of each selection exercise as required by the Constitutional
Reform
Act 2005. For High Court selection, the Lord Chief Justice and one other person are consulted.
Financial, criminal and professional background checks are carried out.
Thereafter, commissioners make the final decision on which candidates to recommend to the
appropriate
authority for appointment.
ANALYSIS
In the present system of appointments to High Court Judges in India, unless the Chief Justice of the
High
Court concerned or any other senior judge of the High Court recommends the name of a particular
practising
lawyer, there is no way to get included in the list of prospective candidates.
This system is perceived to be discriminatory because it is inherently impossible for the collegium
judges to
personally know everything about all the eligible practising members of the Bar.
The procedure of selection of High Court judges by inviting applications through notifications which is
followed in the United Kingdom may well be adopted in India so that transparency in the appointment is
achieved, eliminating the charge of discrimination

11
The appointment process in UK is not only clearer but more accountable and worth emulating in India.
A CASE FOR JUDICIAL ACTIVISM
WHY THE DEBATE?
Indian judiciary has come under severe criticism for toing the line in last few months
interventions/decision in the imprisoning Sahara chief in SEBI-Sahara dispute; the IPL betting case;
Section
377 case; and the status of transgenders have evoked a mixed response
HISTORY OF JUDICIAL ACTIVISM IN INDIA
After playing a largely interpretative role in the 1950s and 1960s, the Supreme Court, starting from
the
1970s played the role of a crusader against the excesses of legislative and executive action
Some of the examples being inventing the basic structure doctrine, bringing constitutional
amendments
under the judicial scanner and widening the scope of the right to life and liberty.
The Bandhua Mukhti Morcha v. Union of India was the case, where the concept of Public Interest
Litigation
(PIL) was introduced and the locus standi requirement was diluted.
ARGUMENTS AGAINST JUDICIAL ACTIVISM
The most common argument against excessive judicial intervention is that judicial activism results in
upsetting the balance of power between the executive, legislature and the judiciary.
Critics also argue that empowering judges to decide on policy issues amounts to disrespecting the
democratically elected representatives
ARGUMENTS FOR JUDICIAL ACTIVISM
But interventions by judiciary would have been unnecessary had the legislature and executive been
dispensing off their duty properly
Also arguments by critics assumes that judicial intervention means that judges have the final say on
the policy
issue. The judges can, however, promote decision making relating to policy issues without being the
ultimate
decision maker.
JUDICIAL ACTIVISM WITH JUDICIAL RESTRAINT
It is possible for courts to monitor actions of the other limbs of democracy without actually stepping
into
their shoes.
Proponents argue that the judiciary should not create policies to enforce rights but must require the
government to draft its own policy and submit it along with a timetable for execution.
The finalisation of this plan must be only after the judiciary has heard objections from other interested
parties.
Once such a policy is framed by a legislature/ executive, it is to be interfered with by the judiciary in a
very
restrictive manner, using the principle of deference.
Principle of Deference: According to this principle, the judiciary, while evaluating executive/
legislative action
(or inaction), should modify the policy framed only when the reasons provided are not reasonable. A
court
should merely see whether the reasons provided by the executive justify its decision, not whether the
court
would have reached the same decision. This standard should be applied not only when a policy is tested
before the courts but also by courts to see if inaction is justified.
Judicial activism, keeping in view the ideals of democracy, is necessary to ensure that unheard voices
are not
buried by more influential and vocal voices.
LACK OF WHISTLEBLOWERS PROTECTION REGIME IN INDIA
It is not acceptable that India lacks a strong whistle-blower protection law, which is not consistent with
good
business and governance.
Several whistle-blowers have been murdered in recent years.

12
In 2003, Satyendra Dubey was killed for exposing financial irregularities in the Golden Quadrilateral
highway
construction project in Bihar
In 2010 Satish Shetty was murdered for making a police complaint alleging massive irregularities
when an
infrastructure company had connived with government officials to purchase land in villages along the
Pune-
Mumbai Expressway.
EXPERIENCE OF SUCH LAWS IN OTHER COUNTRIES
Whistle-blower protection laws incentivise integrity to help detect and deter unethical business
practices and
fraud.
Such laws are really successful in other countries, In the U.S alone, the False Claims Act (FCA) has
returned to
the government more than $40 billion in penalties.
Under the FCA (USA), a private person can sue a company on behalf of the federal government in what
is
called a qui tam suit.
If the federal government collects a settlement or court judgment because of the information
provided by the
qui tam plaintiff, the government is required to pay a portion of the recovery to the plaintiff.
These laws place pressure on companies that are engaged in unethical practices to respect the law,
commit
to compliance, and not retaliate against whistle-blowers and prevent the crime rather than penalize
them.
RANBAXY CASE
In 2013, pharmaceutical company Ranbaxy pleaded guilty to seven crimes committed for drug
manufacturing
fraud and agreed to pay up an unprecedented $500 million in fines.
Dinesh Thakur, a former Director at Ranbaxy emerged victorious in the case as he used the provisions
of FCA
He was forced to resign in 2005 after he brought to companys notice fraudulent practices but
thereafter
worked with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in exposing widespread false, fictitious, and
fraudulent statements made to regulators resulting in substandard and unapproved drugs
This has resulted the increased number of inspectors allocated to India and China from four in 2009 to
nearly
15 at present.
It has also aided in the identification of other problems at other Indian companies.
It has also lead to opening of a direct line of communication with the Indian regulator, the Drug
Controller
General Of India and the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization in New Delhi
These changes would also benefit Indian consumers, who are entitled to the same safe and high-
quality drugs
as those sold in any other nation.
WHISTLEBLOWERS PROTECTION BILL 2011
In 2010 the Lok Sabha passed the Whistleblowers Protection Bill currently languishing in the Upper
House of
Parliament.
The Bill has been widely criticised as providing insufficient protection to whistle-blowers.
It does not regulate private sector and State governments.
Further, it has critical flaws, such as not admitting anonymous complaints and insufficiently penalising
officials who retaliate against whistle-blowers.
SARANDA ACTION PLAN
The Saranda forest area, which holds a quarter of Indias iron ore and is home to Ho and Birhor
Adivasi,
Communist rebels established several training camps in these dense sal forest, bordering Odisha.
In 2011, the paramilitary forces launched a massive operation called Operation Anaconda to flush out
Maoists.
Ministry of Rural Development launched a Rs. 250-crore Saranda Development Plan to bring in
development
and to consolidate the governments hold on the area
Some of the schemes and strategies adopted included Indira Awas Yojana, MNREGA, Forest Rights Act
2006,
PMGSY etc

13
ECONOMY
INDIAN ECONOMY
ADB PEGS GDP GROWTH RATE FOR 2014-15 AT 5.5 %
Constraints The Indian economy, Asian Development Bank (ADB) said, has remained constrained
by slow
industrial growth, contracting manufacturing output, weak investment and a reduction in private
consumption.
Growth forecast - Indias GDP is poised to accelerate to 5.5 per cent in 2014-15 on the back of
improved
performance in industry and services but it may take some time for the country to reach its potential
growth rate, says an Asian Development Bank (ADB) report.
Current Outlook - Indian economy, according to Central Statistical Office (CSO), is estimated to
record a
growth rate of 4.9 per cent in 2013-14, up from decades low of 4.5 per cent posted in the previous
financial
year
The report further said that the current account deficit (CAD) is estimated to have narrowed sharply to
2.2
per cent of GDP in 2013-14, from 4.7 per cent a year earlier.
The recent deceleration of economic growth in India appears to have bottomed out, but the economy
will
not reach its potential until remaining structural bottlenecks are overcome, said the ADB Outlook 2014
report
Future estimates - The growth is expected to rise further to 6.0 per cent in 2015-16 as the recovery
in
advanced economies will bolster external demand and government actions are likely to remove some
structural bottlenecks impeding industry and investment, says the ADB report.
Steps for recovery - Sustained economic recovery will have to be led by improved investment and
consumption, ADB report said.
It said the progress by the Cabinet Committee on Investment in resolving delays in several large
infrastructure projects is likely to provide traction in raising investment.
Moreover, it added, companies will be looking to see if actions are taken to improve the investment
climate
and improved global growth prospects bolster external demand.
INDIAS GROWTH LIKELY TO RECOVER TO 5.4 % IN 2014: IMF
Current expectations - Indias growth is expected to recover from 4.4 per cent in 2013 to 5.4 per
cent in
2014, supported by slightly stronger global growth, improving export competitiveness and
implementation
of recently approved investment projects, according to the latest edition of the World Economic
Outlook
by IMF.
Reasons attributed for change - A pick-up in exports in recent months and measures to curb
gold imports
have contributed to lowering the current account deficit. Further, Policy measures to bolster capital
flows
have further helped reduce external vulnerabilities, the IMF said.
Challenges - Consumer price inflation is expected to remain an important challenge, but should
continue
to move onto a downward trajectory, the IMF report said.
Futuristic projections - The outlook projected Indias growth rate to increase to 6.4 per cent in
2015.
Policy initiatives required - Priorities should include market-based pricing of natural resources to
boost
investment, addressing delays in the implementation of infrastructure projects, improving policy
frameworks in the power and mining sectors, reforming the extensive network of subsidies, and
securing
passage of the new goods and services tax to underpin medium term fiscal consolidation.
Pan-Asian Outlook - For Asia as a whole, growth is expected to accelerate modestly, from 5.2 per
cent in
2013 to about 5.5 per cent in 2014 and 2015. The improved outlook in advanced economies, alongside
more competitive exchange rates in some cases, will help boost exports, it said, adding that domestic
demand will continue to be supported by strong labour markets and still-buoyant credit growth.
Global Outlook - Buoyed by recovery in advanced economies, including the U.S., the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) said global activity strengthened during the second-half of 2013 and is expected to
improve further in 2014-15.

14
A major impulse to global growth has come from the U.S., whose economy grew at 3.25 per cent in
the
second-half of 2013, stronger than expected.
In the stressed euro area economies, however, growth is projected to remain weak and fragile as high
debt
and financial fragmentation hold back domestic demand.
In Japan, fiscal consolidation in 2014-15 is projected to result in some growth moderation.
Conclusion - Growth in emerging market economies is projected to pick-up only modestly. These
economies
are adjusting to a more difficult external financial environment in which international investors are more
sensitive to policy weakness and vulnerabilities given prospects for better growth and monetary policy
normalisation in some advanced economies.
GROWTH IN INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION CONTRACTS 1.9 % IN FEBRUARY
Why important - Manufacturing sector pulls down growth bellying hopes of a recovery
Statistics - Factory output as measured by the IIP had started to decline in October 2013, when it
had
contracted 1.2 percent. The trend continued till December.
Cumulative growth in the 11-month period April 2013 - February 2014 stood at (-) 0.1 percent against
positive growth of 0.9 percent in the corresponding period of the previous year
Manufacturing, which is 80 percent of total IIP, has contracted -3.7 percent while sectors outside
manufacturing, i.e. mining and electricity, have seen 1.4 percent and 11.5 percent growth, respectively.
Reasons - The weak industrial output performance continues mainly on account of poor consumer
demand.
High inflation and unaffordable interest rates on EMIs have dented the consumer sentiment.
Continuing lacklustre manufacturing performance, especially in capital goods, dragged industrial
production
to negative growth of 1.9 percent
Impact -Weak consumer demand and lack of investment shows the recovery may be more difficult
than
generally believed.
POLICY DIRECTIVES BY RBI
BI-MONTHLY MONETARY POLICY REVIEW BY RBI - HIGHLIGHTS
Policy rate unchanged at 8% in the central banks first bi-monthly credit policy.
Reverse Repo Rate (RRR) under the LAF unchanged at 7.0%
Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) rate unchanged at 9.0%
Bank Rate unchaged at 9.0%
Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) of scheduled banks unchanged at 4.0% of the Net Demand and Time Liability
(NDTL);
Increase in liquidity provided under 7-day and 14-day term repos from 0.5% of NDTL to 0.75%
Reduction in liquidity provided under overnight Repos under the LAF from 0.5% of bank-wise NDTL to
0.25%
with immediate effect.
ANALYSIS
The policy clearly highlighted the view that the worst may not be over on the inflation front.
RBI said it is appropriate to hold the policy rate for now, to allow recent policy rate hikes to kick into
the
economy, besides suggesting that rates may not be hiked further in the near term if the economy
continued
along the disinflationary glide path.
Economists said RBI will hold rates only if retail inflation sticks to a roadmap recently suggested by an
expert
panel headed by RBI deputy governor Urjit Patel8% by January 2015 and 6% by January 2016
enduring a
host of potential risks.
These include the performance of the monsoon, the impact of the El Nino weather phenomenon and
uncertainty over the setting of minimum support prices for agricultural commodities and administered
prices of fuel, fertilizer and electricity.

15
The central bank also said that it would look through the base effect on inflation, suggesting that RBI
would not be satisfied with a statistical fall in the headline inflation rate.
High inflation during the June-November 2013 period will lead to a high base effect and hence a lower
yearon-
year inflation rate during the corresponding months of 2014.
IMPLEMENTING URJIT PATEL COMMITTEES RECOMMENDATIONS
The RBI has gone ahead and started implementing key portions of the Urjit Patel committees
recommendations.
By choosing the Consumer Price Index (CPI) as the metric of inflation and adopting a glide path of
gradual
disinflation over this year and next, RBI is taking steps to make policy more predictable and transparent.
Earlier, RBI had given more weightage to Wholesale Price Index (WPI) than CPI as the key measure of
inflation for all policy purposes.
This also includes explicit recognition of the glide path for disinflation, transition to a bi-monthly
monetary
policy cycle, progressive reduction in access to overnight liquidity at the fixed repo rate, and a
corresponding increase in access to liquidity through term repos, and introduction of longer-tenor term
repos as well as, going forward, term reverse repos.
Inflation Indexed Bonds - To expand investor demand for inflation-indexed bonds, RBI said, design
changes,
improving their attractiveness to the general public are being worked out.
Inclusion and customer protection - To enlarge the banking correspondent (BC) base, RBI said that the
inclusion of new entities, as well as a relaxation of existing distance restrictions, was being considered.
The RBI Governor further said that banks should not levy penal charges for non-maintenance of
minimum
balance in ordinary savings bank account and inoperative accounts, but instead curtail the services
accorded to those accounts until the balance is restored. The RBI would frame comprehensive
consumer
protection regulations based on domestic experience and global best practices.
TWO NEW BANKS - IDFC AND BANDHAN GETS IN PRINCIPLE NOD
The RBI granted in principle approval to IDFC and BANDHAN to setup banks, while also considering the
application of Post Bank of India, after consultations with the Government of India.
It was convinced that these entities would be able to do justice to the central banks declared slogan of
financial inclusion.
Further, While the RBI has been conservative in granting in-principle approval to only two applicants
in this
round, what is very heartening to note is the stated outlook to review the guidelines and make this a
regular
process moving towards an on-tap policy, including differentiated licences,
TIMELINE ON BANK LICENSING IN INDIA
1947-1969: Following a spate of mergers and amalgamations, the number of commercial banks in the
country decreased from 640 in 1947 to 85 in 1969.
July, 1969: 14 major commercial banks were nationalised with the basic objective of ensuring credit
flow to
priority sectors of the economy.
April, 1980: Six more commercial banks were nationalised.
January, 1993: Reserve Bank of India (RBI) released guidelines for licensing of new banks in the private
sector. 10 new banks were formed on the basis of these guidelines. These were Global Trust Bank, ICICI
Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, Bank of Punjab, IndusInd Bank, Centurion Bank, IDBI Bank, Times Bank and
Development Credit Bank.
January, 2001: RBI revised the guidelines for new bank licences. Two new banks Kotak Mahindra
Bank and
YES Bank were formed.
February 26, 2010: Former finance minister and now president Pranab Mukherjee announces in his
budget
speech (for 2010-11) that companies and business houses will be allowed to set up new banks.
August 11, 2010: RBI releases discussion paper on entry of new banks in the private sector.
February 22, 2013: RBI releases guidelines for licensing of new banks.

16
July 1, 2013: Last date for submitting applications for new banking licence. RBI discloses names of 26
applicants for new banking licence two of them drop out while one new player gets added to the list
later.
September 4, 2013: RBI governor Raghuram Rajan announces setting up of a committee headed by
Bimal
Jalan to screen the applications.
April 2, 2014: RBI grants in-principle approval to IDFC and Bandhan Financial Services to set up banks.
The
in-principle approval will be valid for 18 months.
QUALIFYING CRITERIA
Promoter groups should have sound credentials and integrity, financial health, successful track record
of
running a business for at least 10 years
They should never be under the scanner of any regulator, enforcement and investigative agencies.
To own a bank, they also needed to set up wholly-owned non-operative financial holding companies
(NOFHCs), to be registered as a non-banking financial company with RBI.
It was also made clear that the NOFHC and the bank should not have any exposure to the promoter
group;
The bank cannot invest in the equity or debt capital instruments of any financial entities held by
NOFHC;
The board of the bank should have a majority of independent directors.
The promoters were to list their shares on stock exchanges within three years of starting operations
and
bring down stake to 15% in 12 years.
ANALYSIS
New Policy - The RBI has reiterated that the new bank licences will be an on-tap process from here on
and
guidelines for the same will be issued soon.
Emerging competition - The process of gradual entry of banks over a period of time would smoothen
out
future competition in the sector and also reduce risks of failure of new banks
The governments rationale for new bank licences has been to extend the geographical coverage of
organised finance and to promote financial literacy and inclusion
BACKGROUND
Bandhan- is well-established in rural parts of Eastern India. It essentially caters to the
entrepreneurial /
bankable masses by extending them credit via joint liability group (JLG) model. Whereas other typical
corporate banks find it difficult to make rural branches profitable, Bandhan should be able to leverage
its
rural presence effectively,
IDFC limited was setup by the government in 1997 to cater to infrastructure financing needs of the
country.
RATING FOR HOUSING PROJECTS NATIONAL HOUSING BOARD
The National Housing Bank said it will soon come up with a rating for housing projects in association
with
banks, to help buyers make informed decisions.
We have sought RBI nod to launch the NHB-IBA rating for real estate projects. The ratings wont be
mandatory for all, said NHB chairman and managing director.
Using the rating ranging from 1-7 (seven being the best one) for a project, a buyer can make a more
informed decision and go for the best project.
The rating will be given by one of the registered rating agencies and be made public.
Aspects like financial details, legal issues like land titles, track-record of the builders, approvals
received by
the project and repayments made to financiers among others will be considered while arriving at the
rating.

17
SEBI PITCHES FOR TEACHING CAPITAL MARKETS TO SCHOOL STUDENTS
Market watchdog Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has suggested the inclusion of
additional
financial concepts related to capital markets in school syllabus to broaden the horizon of students keen
to
pursue finance as a subject after passing out school.
Inclusion of financial concepts and a different approach of introducing such concepts shall be duly
considered when the process of revising the syllabus and textbooks will be done by CBSE in 2014-15
As part of its efforts to spread financial awareness, Sebi has been inviting students from schools,
colleges
and professional institutes interested in learning about the market regulator and its role since February
2011.
It is proposed to increase the number of such visits with new areas of catchment in terms of
institutions
even at the regional and local offices.
For spreading financial literacy among more students, Sebi said the process of initiating National
Financial
Literacy Assessment Test (NFLAT) has been started and will be completed by August.
The test is part of Sebis National Strategy for Financial Education drafting, which was initiated in
2011-12
and has now been finalised.
EPFO TO ALLOT UNIVERSAL NUMBERS BY OCT 15
Retirement fund body EPFO will provide permanent or universal account numbers (UAN) on the
pattern of
core banking services to its over five crore active subscribers by October 15 this year.
Universal Account Number - The UAN would be one account number which would be allotted to a
subscriber for various schemes run by the EPFO for his entire service period with different employers
Positives - The UAN will facilitate subscribers in avoiding filing of PF transfer claims on changing jobs.
It is expected to provide great relief to those workers in organised sector who frequently change jobs,
particularly, in construction sector.
The UAN will help reduce the workload of the EPFO to a great extent as it receives over 12 lakh claims
annually for transfer of PF account on changing of jobs by its subscribers.
The EPFO has engaged C-DAC for preparing a roadmap for implementing the UAN programme for its
subscribers.
Background- The Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) is the premier research
and
development organisation under the Ministry of Communications & Information Technology for carrying
out R&D in IT, Electronics and associated areas.
WTO ON GLOBAL TRADE
Forecast - Global trade is expected to increase by 4.7 per cent in 2014, better than the average of 2.2
per
cent in the past two years, on the back of projected improvements in the developed economies, the
World
Trade Organisation (WTO) said.
The world trade growth is projected to accelerate to 5.3 per cent in 2015 as against the past two years
of
2012 and 2013 were growth has averaged only 2.2 per cent.
Analysis - Although the 2014 forecast of 4.7 per cent is more than double the 2.1 per cent increase
of last
year, it remains below the 20-year average of 5.3 per cent.
Reason for slow growth - A combination of flat import demand in developed economies (0.2 per cent)
and
moderate import growth in developing economies (4.4 per cent).
On the export side, both developed and developing economies only managed to record small, positive
increases (1.5 per cent for developed economies and 3.3 per cent for developing economies).
Conclusion Though the trade forecast for 2014 is premised on an assumption of 3 percent growth
in world
GDP growth at market exchange rates, while the forecast for 2015 assumes output growth of 3.1
percent,
volatility is likely to be a defining feature of 2014 as monetary policy in developed economies becomes
less
accommodative.
Further, Concluding the Doha round would provide a strong foundation for trade in the future, and a
powerful stimulus in todays slow growth environment.

18
FISCAL DEFICIT CONTROL MAKES HIGHER GROWTH CHALLENGING
(An analysis of the impact of governments effort to reign in fiscal deficit by expenditure cuts)
The governments effort to narrow fiscal deficit since last two years by expenditure cuts has resulted in
lower productive spending.
A reduced fiscal deficit-to-GDP ratio in FY14, for the second year in a row, has come at the cost of
lower
productive spending, whose effects could be felt in the years to come since the governments
productive
spending has a multiplier impact on the economy in subsequent years.
The 13th Finance Commission had last year set a capital expenditure-to-GDP target of 4.5 per cent by
FY15,
however, the report said the ratio for FY14 was 1.7 per cent and the same is budgeted for FY15.
Even if revenue grants provided by the government for capital creation to the States are added to the
Centres capital expenditure, the governments total budgeted spending for productive purposes will
only
be 2.8 per cent in FY15.
In the last two years, productive spending which is capital expenditure and the revenue grants for
capital
creation in critical areas such as public infrastructure, education and health care has been lower than
budgeted by nearly Rs. 1.8 trillion.
In terms of per person spending, the government only spent an incremental Rs. 110 on productive
spending, while it spent an additional over Rs. 1,900 per person on other expenditure over the last two
financial years.
STEPS TO BE TAKEN
The government which could limit fiscal deficit within the target, either by raising revenues or by
cutting
spending must aim to reverse this trend and raise the governments productive spending.
While large part of the current expenditure is sticky salaries, pensions, and interest payments
cutting
unproductive spending on subsidies, mainly on fuels such as kerosene and liquefied petroleum gas,
would
be necessary.
This will have to be supplemented through tax reforms such as GST, which will improve the
governments
revenue position and fund higher capital spending. Therein lies the challenge for the next government.

19
SOCIAL ISSUES
VOTING RIGHTS FOR THE DISABLED
Recent estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO) and others put Indias disabled population
at
more than 80 million person.
Yet, numerous hurdles prevent voters with disabilities from full participation in the electoral process.
Some of them are: lack of access ramps and unavailability of voting mechanism for the hearing or sight
impaired; lack of accessible campaign material.
ISSUE OF UNSOUNDNESS OF MIND
Article 326 provides an overarching framework, comprising qualifications and disqualifications for
being a
voter in the general and assembly elections. It enshrines the value of universal adult suffrage and states
that
every person who is a citizen of India and of legal age has the right to vote, with a few exceptions.
One such exception is unsoundness of mind. Additionally, the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951
(RP
Act) provides the procedural framework for elections in India and similarly disqualifies a person from
being
registered to vote if he or she is of unsound mind, and is found to be so by a competent court.
However, the term unsoundness of mind is vague and undefined and there is no objective criterion
laid
down to guide the competent court in determining what constitutes unsoundness of mind.
Even if a persons disability in no way interferes with his ability to understand the positions of
candidates and
to make a choice, he can be deprived of the right to vote under this legal framework.
SECRECY OF VOTE
As per the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 Voters with disabilities are often allowed to take a
companion,
with them, who is usually a family member, or a voting facility presiding officer, clerk, or agent, to
physically
assist them in voting.
This essentially deprives the disabled the power of secret ballot.
Section 128 of the RP Act provides for the Maintenance of secrecy of voting and stipulates that no
other
elector should be allowed inside when an elector is inside the voting compartment.
The provision for the disabled is considered outdated by many and considered as one stemming from
a
charity model of understanding disability and not from a rights-based model.
WAY AHEAD
There is a need to scrap the unsoundness of mind exception, and tying any voter registration
disqualification to the lack of specific cognitive abilities in making an informed electoral choice only
when
declared so by a competent court. (As done in the USA)
We should also pursue the use of assistive and new technologies that would make voting accessible
for
persons with disabilities, to ensure secrecy and independence in voting
Need to make building entrances, rooms, voting tables and Electronic Voting Machines (EVM)
accessible
would do away with voters with disabilities needing assistance.
CURATIVE PETITION AGAINST SECTION 377 JUDGEMENT
Gay activists and the Naz Foundation moved the Supreme Court with a curative petition, seeking to
correct its
judgment which upheld the validity of Section 377 of the IPC
BACKGROUND
Section 377 criminalizes sex between homosexuals
Delhi High Court had held that Section 377 of the IPC violated Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the
Constitution.

20
But the Supreme court in December, 2013 set aside this ruling and upheld the validity of this Section
The court had held that minuscule fraction of population cant claim fundamental rights
ANALYSIS
Delhi High Court had held clearly that dignity, autonomy and privacy were part of the right to life and
personal liberty under Article 21. But the Supreme Court did not give a single reason why that article
was not
violated by the criminalisation of gay sex.
Article 145(3) requires that a minimum number of five judges sit to decide any substantial question of
law
relating to the interpretation of the Constitution. The court ought to do this strictly.
Also, misuse of Section 377 is one of the principal forms of discrimination against the transgender
community. Till the time this section in not declared unconstitutional, transgenders would continue to
witness discrimination inspite of Supreme Courts latest judgment.
Constitutional protection ought to be made available to a particular group regardless of its size.
The verdict on the transgender community now provides one more reason why Section 377 ought to
be
amended to de-criminalise gay sex
LEGAL RECOGNITION FOR TRANSGENDERS
Supreme Court in its landmark judgment has recognized the transgender community as a third gender
along
with male and female.
By virtue of this verdict, all identity documents, including a birth certificate, passport, ration card and
driving
licence would recognise the third gender, earlier such rights were not available to transgenders.
It has also directed the Centre and States to take steps to treat them as socially and educationally
backward
classes and extend reservation for admission in educational institutions and for public appointments
The Centre and State governments would also provide medical care to transgenders in hospitals and
provide
separate public toilets.
It directed the Centre and State governments to operate separate HIV Sero-surveillance Centres as
transgenders faced several sexual health issue
By ending the gender binary, the Court has opened the discussion on the rights of marriage, adoption
and
inheritance for the transgender community.
ANALYSIS
The recognition of transgenders as a third gender is not a social or medical issue but a human rights
issue.
Our society often ridicules and abuses the transgender community and in public places like railway
stations,
bus stands, schools, workplaces, malls, theatres, hospitals, they are sidelined and treated as
untouchables,
The transgender people, as a whole, face multiple forms of oppression in our country especially in
healthcare, employment and education.
The time has come for us to provide a dignified life to transgenders. All this can be achieved if a
beginning is
made with the recognition of transgenders as the third gender.
By doing so, the court has not only upheld the rule of law but also advanced justice to the class, so far
deprived of their legitimate natural and constitutional rights.
ANALYSIS OF GOVT. SERVICES
Outcomes using data from the India Human Development Survey (IHDS) of 2004-05 and 2011-12
paints a
picture of striking dissonance between government programmes and experiences at the ground level.
Some
of them have been discussed below.
RIGHT TO EDUCATION
The implementation of the RTE should, in theory, lead to higher enrolment in government schools and
better
educational outcomes.

21
But the results are ironically different.
Private school enrolment increased from 28 to 35 per cent between 2005 and 2012 for children of 6-
14 years,
even before poor students in private schools were reimbursed.
A small decline was noted in reading and writing skills among children of 8-11 years.
While 54 per cent of children could read a simple paragraph in 2005, there was a decline to 52 per
cent in
2011. Same was the case with basic arithmetic too.
But unfortunately, government schools witnessed a decline as large as 5% in some cases.
NRHM
NRHM is supposed to strengthen preventive and curative care, particularly in rural areas and in States
with
poor health infrastructure such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh.
However, a very small proportion of the Indian population relies on public facilities. About 70 per cent
of
patients visit private providers.
Ironically the greatest increase in the use of private services is in high-focus large States like U.P.,
Bihar,
Rajasthan, M.P. and Orissa. (As high as 5%)
LEARNINGS FROM JANANI SURAKASHA YOJANA
JSY has on the other hand has been a success and led to a striking increase in hospital deliveries.
This increase is greatest in large focus States. Here the hospital delivery rate has jumped from 25 per
cent to
56 per cent between 2005 and 2012.
Most of this improvement is in government hospitals from 14 per cent to 40 per cent.
This success may be due to the efforts made by medical personnel in response to cash incentives they
receive, and the fact that hurdles to hospital delivery like transportation have received consideration in
programme design.
Experience from this program suggests that focussing on smarter organisation of public services that
aligns
with provider incentives, and enhances efficiency, offers potential.
PRIVATE VS PUBLIC
When asked in 2012 about their confidence in government and private schools and medical facilities,
53 per
cent of the respondents expressed confidence in government schools compared to 72 per cent for
private
school
There is no reason to believe that private doctors and teachers are more qualified than government
doctors
and teachers.
Typically government recruitment standards are more stringent about training and qualifications while
there
is little control over the private sector
REASONS FOR DISENCHANTMENT WITH GOVERNMENT SERVICES?
Parents and patients feel disrespected by government service providers and may find they get better
service
if they pay.
Government facilities are often irregular in their opening times and teacher and doctor absenteeism
adds to
the disenchantment.
The IHDS found that children are scolded and physically punished in both government and private
schools
and therefore classroom environment is not friendly and supportive.
REPORTING OF CHILD ABUSE CASES
Indian Medical Association (IMA), has joined hands with United Nations International Childrens Fund
(UNICEF) to sensitize doctors on the issue of reporting child abuse cases.
The programmes include sessions on how to identify cases of child abuse, workshops and an
information
booklet.

22
Children are subjected to abuse even within institutional set-ups, including schools, despite the ban on
corporal punishment
53% of children in country have reported one of more form of sexual abuse
65% of school going children reported facing corporal punishment
ANALYSIS
It is a step in the right direction as everyone in society has the responsibility to ensure care and
protection of
children
Doctors across the country are seeing an alarming rise in the number of child abuse cases.
Most of the times doctors are not sure of the correct questions to ask in the case, how to document
and
collect evidence, reassure the child/parents and then the procedure to inform the correct authorities to
take
action in the matter.
Such an initiative would identify and report abuse as early as possible to ensure that the child remains
safe.

23
HEALTH
ROTAVIRUS VACCINE 116E
Vaccine 116E is an indigenously developed rotavirus vaccine
During recently conducted trials, it had 56.4 per cent efficacy in preventing severe rotavirus
gastroenteritis in
infants during their first year of life.
Vaccine, would be made available to the government at not more than $1 a dose, is expected to be
licensed
shortly.
Efficacy would further shoot up when widespread immunity is achieved through sustained vaccination
of a
majority of infants.
In a nutshell, the vaccine is envisaged to revolutionize the fight against rotavirus.
WHAT IS ROTAVIRUS?
Rotavirus is the most common cause of severe diarrhea among infants and young children.
In India alone, the disease annually kills over 100,000 children below the age of one (one-fourth of
global
deaths).
The majority of instances of the disease caused by the virus occurs during the first two years of age.
STEPS THAT CAN BE COMPLEMENTED BY THE GOVERNMENT
Government should quickly include it in the national immunisation programme.
There is a compelling need to improve social infrastructure in order to control other pathogen-caused
diseases like cholera.
Government should adopt the same model to develop drugs for other neglected tropical diseases.
HAVOC OF MERS
WHAT IS MERS?
In September 2012, an Egyptian doctor at a Saudi Arabian hospital isolated a new human virus in
samples
taken from a man who had died of pneumonia and kidney failure
The virus came to be known as the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV).
Till last month 200 cases of people infected by the virus were reported to the World Health
Organisation,
with 85 deaths
MERS virus does not easily spread from one person to another but has high fatality rate.
VIRUS SPREADING ITS FANG
There has been a spurt in infections since last month, with 53 more cases and eight additional deaths
being
reported to the WHO
The vast majority of all cases have occurred in the Middle East, with Saudi Arabia accounting for a
large
proportion of them
Asia recently reported its first cases and the first death from the virus.
India and especially states like Kerala need to be watchful given the large number of travelers to and
from the
region
Central and State governments should put in place well thought-out plans for testing and surveillance
as well
as for dealing with any cases that turn up.
At the same time, all the hospitals need to be ready to handle patients who have the virus

24
REALITY OF CANCER IN INDIA
One million new cases of different cancers are diagnosed every year in the country
Around 600,000 to 700,000 people were killed in 2012.
Nearly 40 per cent of all cancers were due to tobacco
Men were the most affected by tobacco, with the commonest cancers being those of the lung and of
the lip
and oral cavity
In the case of women, breast cancer is the most common, followed by cervical cancer
Indias cancer burden is projected to increase to 1.7 million by 2035. Mortality will double to 1.2
million a
year by 2035.
ANALYSIS
All this reflects the failure of the government in implementing tough measures to counter the tobacco
companies devious ways of luring young minds
Changed lifestyle is one of the major reasons for the increase in breast cancer incidence.
Rural areas have recorded one-third of the total breast cancer cases in urban areas and the big metros
have
higher numbers than non-metro cities.
The three pillars of reducing the mortality are prevention, early detection and more effective
treatment.
Action on first two has been lackadaisical and even treatment is not available easily.
Detection rates are poor: More cancer registries are needed to cover a greater percentage of the
population.
Those in place today cover less than 10 per cent of Indias population.
India has only one oncologist per 5000 population, even the distribution is skewed as south and
western parts
have 60% of cancer facilities.
THREATS FROM MALARIA
GAINS MADE IN FIGHT AGAINST MALARIA
Global efforts to control and eliminate malaria have saved an estimated 3.3 million lives.
Between 2000 and 2012, malaria mortality rates have been reduced by 42 per cent and the incidence
of
malaria has decreased by 25 per cent globally.
Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, Nepal, and Sri Lanka reduced the
incidence
of malaria cases by more than 75 per cent from 2000 to 2012.
India is expected to decrease malaria incidence by 50-75 per cent by 2015.
Sri Lanka is in the elimination phase; the country has had no indigenous cases since November 2012,
down
from 2,03,000 cases in 2000.
Despite several positives, three out of four people are at risk of malaria in the South-East Asia region
WHOs South-East Asia Region comprises 11 member-states: Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Democratic
Peoples
Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Timor-Leste.
YET THREATS LOOM LARGE
The gains in malaria control could be reversed due to increasing parasite resistance to drugs, mosquito
resistance to insecticides and re-transmission in places where the disease has been eliminated.
The emergence of artemisinin resistance in Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam threatens the
global
achievements in malaria control and elimination.
Another danger is that the Anopheles mosquitoes, which carry malaria parasites, are increasingly
becoming
resistant to insecticides.
WHAT IS ARTEMISININ ?
Artemisinin-based combination treatment (ACT) is currently the first line treatment for the most lethal type of
malaria,
Plasmodium falciparum.

25
ENGAGING THE PRIVATE SECTOR IN FIGHT AGAINST MALARIA
There is a need for involvement of all sectors of society in the fight against malaria if our gains are to
be
sustained and scaled-up in hard-to-reach communities
There are numerous examples of private sector involvement such as From Papua New Guinea to
Myanmar,
investments by Oil Search Limited and Moattama Gas Transportation Company respectively have help
drive
down malaria burden
Involvement of private sector not only helps expand markets but also increase access to life-saving
interventions
WAY AHEAD
Funding needs to be increased for diagnostics, drugs, insecticide-treated mosquito nets, and research
and
response to drug and insecticide resistance
There is a need to empower communities to protect themselves
Investments are needed to develop new tools, to conduct operational research to address bottlenecks
in
malaria-control programmes
ALARMING RISE IN CASES OF LIVER DISEASES
As per health experts India may become the world capital of liver diseases by 2025
Some of the reasons for increasing cases of fatty liver diseases are urbanization and changes linked
with it like
sedentary lifestyle, consumption of fattening food, uncontrolled blood sugar, obesity, smoking and high
alcohol intake.
These factors also increase the risk of Non Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH), often called as silent liver
disease
It resembles alcoholic liver disease but occurs in people who drink little or no alcohol.
The major feature in NASH is fat in the liver, along with inflammation and damage.
It can lead to death if not treated in time and could also develop into cancers
It is found in all age groups but more common in 40-49 years of age
CAMPAIGN TO PROMOTE RATIONAL USE OF ANTIBIOTICS
Despite governmental checks and prohibition of over-the-counter sale of antibiotics several chemists
continue to sell them
Self-medication with antibiotics is now a growing trend among the general population
This is a source of concern especially with larger number of antibiotic-resistant cases being reported.
IMA has therefore proposed to aggressively target doctors to ensure that they dont over-prescribe
antibiotics
A nation-wide campaign would be launched which will include workshops, talks and a pledge on
rational use
of antibiotics
It is aimed specifically at telling the doctors to not over-prescribe antibiotics, to ensure that patients
arent
encouraged to self-medicate
PARTNERSHIP TO COUNTER PEDIATRIC TB
Child TB Division of the Ministry of Health have partnered with Indian Academy of Paediatrics (IAP) to
train
the doctors and disseminate information on the updated guidelines [published last year] for diagnosis
and
management of paediatric TB.
This initiative if successful is likely to result in more children with TB being correctly diagnosed on time
and
managed.
In time to come, children in India with paediatric TB will stand a better chance of being diagnosed
early and
treated without much delay.

26
PROBLEMS WITH PEDIATRIC TB
According to the WHO, 10-20 per cent of all TB cases occur in children in high-burden countries like
India.
Unfortunately, only seven per cent (84,000 cases) of childhood TB cases were diagnosed in 2011.
Doctors are not fully trained to correctly suspect and diagnose paediatric TB on time, and manage the
disease.
Children under five years of age have difficulty in producing sputum, the most basic sample required
for
bacteriological confirmation of the disease.
WHO has approved contact tracing of children below five years in households where an adult has been
recently diagnosed with active pulmonary TB disease.
But in reality, awareness about contact screening of such children and its implementation is sub-
optimal.

27
ENVIRONMENT
BAN ON MINING IRON ORE IN GOA LIFTED
The Supreme Court has lifted the ban on mining iron ore in Goa, but put an annual cap of 20 million
tonnes
on excavation.
Court has also directed for adequate monitoring (by State Department of Mines and Geology and the
State
Pollution Control Board) of its impact on different ecological and environmental parameters, which will
also
help the expert committee in its future appraisal.
Also, the lessees who benefit the most from mining must contribute 10 per cent of their sale proceeds
to the
Goan Iron Ore Permanent Fund for sustainable mining.
No mining would be allowed within one km of national parks boundaries
Workers hit by stay in some areas would be paid 50% of wages
It directed the Centre to notify eco-sensitive zones around national parks and sanctuaries within six
months.
BACKGROUND
Following a report by Justice MB Shah Commission SC had banned mining, transportation and export
of iron
ore in Goa last October because of alleged irregularities in the process
In November, court allowed e-auctioning of the extracted iron ore lying un used in Goa
ANALYSIS
The decision by the court is a welcome step as Goa heavily depended on iron ore mining for revenue
as well
as employment
A ban to protect the environment would have seriously affected the livelihood of nearly 1.5 lakh
people in the
State who were employed in the industry
Verdict is a testimony to the fact that the problem with mining is not the activity itself; rather, it is
illegal and
unregulated mining that needs curbed
Mining in areas outside the lease territory and under-reporting production were some of the reasons
that led
to protests and consequent ban on mining.
State government has now been permitted to grant fresh leases as per its own policy, whether by
auction or
other means and it is their responsibility now to make a transparent policy
If the government wants a well regulated mining policy that is environmentally sustainable is not a
difficult
goal to achieve.
LONGED BILL VULTURES SIGHTED IN NILGIRIS
Wildlife officials and volunteers of an NGO have sighted five long-billed vultures in the north-eastern
slopes
of the Nilgiris.
These vultures have been fast disspearing from the ecological landscape of Nilgiris in the past.
Diclofenac, an anti-inflammatory drug used for both animals and humans, poses a major threat to the
survival of vultures.
LONG BILLED VULTURES
Long-billed vultures are found only in the north-eastern slopes of the Nilgiris.
White-backed, King and Egyptian vultures are the other three species found in the Nilgiris and the
Moyar
valley, its adjoining area.
Huge cattle population is found in the Nilgiris and its surrounding areas. This could be one of the
reasons
the vultures thrive here.

28
WHAT ARE VULTURE RESTAURANTS?
A new concept that aims to augment the population of the scavenging birds, which help keep the
environment clean by feeding on carrion.
It has been successfully running in a small place in Punjab.
This concept has attracted four vulture species, including the Griffon Vulture and the Himalayan
Vulture, in
large numbers at Dhar Kalan in Punjab
Dead cattle that have died a natural death are collected from a village and fed to vultures.
A veterinary conducts a post-mortem to unearth whether it died naturally or due to poison. Only if the
cattle died naturally then it is fed to vultures.
STOP WHALING IN ANTARCTIC: ICJ TO JAPAN
International Court of Justice (ICJ) has asked Japan to stop its whaling programme in the Antarctic
Gangetic
dolphin
Japan catches about 1,000 whales each year in the region for what it calls scientific research
But, in May 2010 Australia filed a case, arguing that Japans programme is actually commercial whaling
in
disguise
Japan had failed to demonstrate that the slaughter was of any scientific value
Japan launched its scientific whaling programme after the International Whaling Commission
banned
commercial whaling in 1986.
Courts decision is considered legally binding, and Japan said it would abide by the courts ruling
The verdict in the Hague, however, did not cover whale meat sales in Japan, which are legal, or the
countrys slaughter of a smaller number of whales in the north-west Pacific and in its own coastal waters
JAPAN'S BIGGEST ONLINE RETAILER ENDS WHALE MEAT SALES
The Japanese online retailer Rakuten is to end all online sales of whale and dolphin meat by the end of
April
after the international court of justice ordered Japan to immediately halt its annual whale hunts in the
southern ocean.
The decision by Rakuten comes soon after the UK-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA)
exposed
the company as the worlds biggest online retailer of whale products and elephant ivory.
Rakuten confirmed that it had asked sellers to cancel sales of whale meat products on its website in
accordance with the ICJ ruling. However, the ruling explicitly did not cover whale meat sales in Japan,
which
are legal, or the countrys slaughter of a smaller number of whales in the north-west Pacific and in its
own
coastal waters.
It is the first time the Antarctic hunt, during which harpoon vessels target almost 1,000 mainly minke
whales,
has been cancelled in more than a quarter of a century. Japan launched its scientific whaling
programme
after the International Whaling Commission banned commercial whaling in 1986.
Many of the whale products originated from species that have been protected since the 1986
moratorium.
Rakutens sales ban covers not only the mammals meat but also skin, bone and other products.
15 INDIAN BIRDS AMONG GLOBALLY ENDANGERED
As per a study fifteen Indian bird species are part of a list of avians which are evolutionarily distinct
and
globally endangered
These birds are Bengal Florican, Lesser Florican, Great Indian Bustard, Sociable Lapwing, Jerdons
Courser,
Spoon-billed Sandpiper, Siberian Crane , White-bellied Heron, Wood Snipe, Masked Finfoot, Christmas
Island Frigatebird.

29
GLOBAL WARMING WORSENING HUNGER GLOBALLY
A United Nations scientific panel has said that global warming is making the job of feeding the world
harder
and more expensive.
Panel has claimed that a warmer world will trigger hotspots of hunger among the worlds poorest
people,
and put the crunch on Western delights like fine wine and robust coffee.
Food prices are likely to go up somewhere in a wide range of three per cent to 84 percent by 2050 just
because of climate change.
ANALYSIS
World is facing the spectre of reduced yields in some of the key crops that feed humanity due to global
warming as several reports in past have suggested that climate change hurts food production
Even though heat and carbon dioxide are often considered good for plants, the overall effect of
various
aspects of man-made warming is that it will reduce food production
In the past too several years the scientific literature has been overwhelming in showing that climate
change
hurts food production
INDIAN DELTAS ARE SINKING
This has been claimed by an American professor and sea level rise has not been cited as the reason
Rather, building up of dams that starve the deltas of sediments, groundwater mining and artificial
courses
for rivers are the major reasons.
Among all the deltas, Krishna delta is the worst affected one because of the presence of large dams
In Ganga delta, ground water mining was cited as the prominent reason for the sinking
SOLAR CAPACITY IN INDIA CROSSES 25,000 MW
Total grid-connected solar capacity, commissioned under the National Solar Mission, crossed the
2,500-MW
mark and stood at 2,632 MW
Gujarat (916 MW) topped the cumulative capacity table, followed by Rajasthan (730 MW), Madhya
Pradesh
(347 MW) and Maharashtra (249 MW), among others.
Solar energy has become a very attractive option in the recent past especially due to rise in prices of
diesel.
As diesel serves as a backup power option, given the frequent power cuts, solar power can serve as a
useful
alternative to diesel.
EARTH DAY CELEBRATED
Various institutions and individuals hosted multiple events across the Capital and other parts of the
country
to celebrate the Earth Day-2014, on April 22
They seek to create awareness on the need to save the earth from ecological degradation
Conservationist Mike Pandey also screened films on the Gangetic dolphin, which is on the brink of
extinction
Gangetic dolphin is found not only in the Ganges but also in rivers like the Ghagra and the Surju.
Unfortunately, they are being killed and the meat sold at an extremely cheap price.

30
INDIA AND WORLD
INDIA PROPOSES GLOBAL 'NO-FIRST-USE' CONVENTION ON N-WEAPONS
Pitching for a nuclear weapon free world, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has proposed a global
convention for 'no-first-use' of atomic arsenal to make the world a safer place.
Speaking at an IDSA seminar on "A Nuclear Free World: From Conception to Reality", the PM
proposed that if
all states possessing nuclear weapons recognise that the nuclear weapons are only for deterrence and
are
prepared to declare it, we can quickly move to the establishment of global no-first use norm. In many
ways
this can open the ways to gradual reduction and finally elimination through a nuclear weapon
convention.
Such a convention would require necessary verification. It would also require political measures to
ensure
the stability is maintained at the level as nuclear arsenal approaches zero.
He also said that it is important to reduce the importance of nuclear weapons. However, this cannot be
done
by a single nation, but requires a multilateral agreement.
Despite being a nuclear weapon state, India remains convinced that a nuclear weapon-free world
would
enhance our security. Consequently, our nuclear doctrine lays emphasise on a credible minimum
deterrent
and a no-first use policy. The doctrine reiterates India's continued commitment to the goal of
nuclearweapon-
free world. He also said as a "responsible nuclear weapon state that remains committed to
nonproliferation,
India supports the idea of a nuclear-weapon-free world because we believe that it enhances
not just India's security, but also global security."
The proposed convention can open the way to gradual reduction and finally elimination through a
nuclear
weapons convention.
While spelling out the dangers of the nuclear power and the need to control the use of atomic
weapons,
Singh also highlighted the benefits of nuclear energy. The Prime Minister noted that by 2032, India
intends
to produce 62,000 MW of electricity through nuclear power.
INDIA CHINA
6TH ROUND OF INDO- CHINA STRATEGIC DIALOGUE
Top diplomats from India and China participated in the sixth Strategic Dialogue, held in Beijing, to take
stock
of the status of bilateral relations and explore new initiatives to improve ties as well as expanding
cooperation on common regional challenges such as the situation in Afghanistan. Foreign secretary
Sujatha
Singh co-chaired the talks with her Chinese counterpart vice foreign minister Liu Zhenmin.
The two sides reviewed the entire range of bilateral relations, including plans for leadership-level visits
in
the second half of this Year of India-China Friendly Exchanges.
According to the statement of the ministry of foreign affairs of the Peoples Republic of China, China is
willing to work with India to keep the momentum of high-level contacts and exchanges of visits, to
enhance
strategic mutual trust, to expand practical cooperation and friendly exchanges, to strengthen the
strategic
communication and coordination on major international and regional issues, and to control and handle
differences in a proper way so as to promote the China-India strategic cooperative partnership to anew
step.
A host of issues including mutual concerns over stability in Afghanistan in the backdrop of the US plans
to
withdraw its troops from there besides India's over USD 35 billion trade deficits with China was
expected to
figure in the dialogue. Like India, China too is concerned over the return of Taliban and al-Qaida which
could
have a destabilizing effect on its Muslim Uygur Xinjiang province which is experiencing a spat of terrorist
attacks. India was expected to flag its concerns once again on USD 35 billion annual trade deficits and
see
major opening for IT and pharmaceutical products in Chinese markets besides investments from China.
Mrs. Singh along with her Chinese interlocutors also finalized plans to hold the year long Glimpses of
India
festival all over China. The Indian embassy has also drawn out an ambitious plan to hold events
showcasing
India's cultural prowess besides business and investment opportunities as part of year of friendly
exchanges
initiative being observed this year.

31
INDIA CHINA NAVAL EXERCISE
India decided to send the naval stealth frigate INS Shivalik to participate in an international fleet
review and
maritime exercise hosted by the Chinese Navy on April 23 - an exercise that has acquired particular
diplomatic significance with the United States declining to join the review after Japan was excluded from
the
event.
China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy hosted the review and exercise in the northeastern port
of
Qingdao, the headquarters of its North Sea fleet, as it prepares to mark its 65th anniversary with great
fanfare.
With India and Pakistan taking part, the review and exercise will also provide a rare instance of both
countries jointly taking part in a naval exercise.
The fleet review and maritime exercise will take place along with the annual meeting of the Western
Pacific
Naval Symposium (WPNS) a U.S.-established grouping of 20 countries, including Australia, Canada,
Russia,
Japan, South Korea and China, and three observers - India, Bangladesh and Mexico.
The international fleet review and exercises on April 23 and 24 have, however, acquired diplomatic
colour
after the PLA Navy declined to invite Japan. China invited Japan's Navy chief to attend the WPNS, but
the
PLAN decided to exclude Japan from the international fleet review and exercise, to which a number of
other
countries were invited.
By pulling out of the fleet review and exercise, the U.S. has signaled its support to Japan, although
both
countries will attend the WPNS.
Chinese officials said the six-day-long stay of Shivalik would also help build trust between two
countries that
have rapidly developing navies with an increasingly wide presence across the Indian and Pacific oceans.
China has invested billions in building a modern blue-water Navy, but is still taking tentative steps in
spreading its presence, only starting to venture more deeply into the Indian and Pacific Oceans beyond
the
South and East China Seas. In February, a three-ship flotilla of the PLAN for the first time held a 5-day
exercise in the Lombok Strait near Indonesia in the Indian Ocean. The PLAN has also held more than a
dozen
drills near the Gulf of Aden, along sea routes crucial to Chinas energy security.
As more Chinese ships sail west and Indian ships sail east, both countries have used this weeks
exercise to
stress their intent to ensure they will deepen mutual trust to address any insecurities. To that end, both
countries have also discussed holding another round of maritime exercises later this year. The bilateral
exercise is likely to coincide with the India-U.S. Malabar maritime exercise, which may also involve Japan
for
the first time in seven years, and ease any anxieties China may have had about Indias strategic
intentions.
CHINAS VISA POLICY CASTS A SHADOW ON YOUTH EXCHANGE
Chinese embassy said that it is in communication with India about arranging the visit of a youth
delegation
to Beijing in May 2014, which has been cast in doubt over the Chinese governments continuing policy of
issuing stapled visas to residents of Arunachal Pradesh.
The Indian Youth Affairs Ministry has, according to recent reports in New Delhi, conveyed its concern
to the
Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) after the Chinese Embassy reportedly asked the Ministry to not
include
youth from Arunachal Pradesh in the delegation.
With both the countries deciding to mark 2014 as a year of friendly exchanges, cancelling the visit is
likely
to cast a cloud on diplomatic ties.
At the same time, sending a delegation without representation from Arunachal Pradesh will be seen,
as the
Youth Affairs Minister reportedly suggested in a letter to the MEA, as acquiescing to Chinas position.
Chinas
policy of issuing stapled visas has emerged as an annual sticking point that has recently complicated
youth
and sports exchanges. China claims around 90,000 sq. km in Arunachal Pradesh, while according to
India, it is
illegally occupying 38,000 sq km in Aksai Chin in the western sector. China maintains that its stapled visa
policy for Arunachal Pradesh, in place since around 2010, is consistent with its policy for all disputed
areas.

32
RATAN TATA APPOINTED BOARD MEMBER OF CHINA BACKED BOAO FORUM
Ratan Tata, the doyen of Indian industry, was on Thursday inducted as a member of the Board of Boao
Forum for Asia (BFA), a rare distinction for an Indian in the Chinese government-backed influential body.
This is the first time a senior Indian business leader was accorded the distinction. It is also recognition
for
Tatas as a global conglomerate.
The 15-member Board of BFA included former Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, former
Malaysian
Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badwai, former Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong and former
prime
minister of France Jean-Pierre Raffarin besides former US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.
BFA was formed in 2001 on the lines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Every year
top
world's political and business leaders gather at Boao to brain storm on global political and economic
issues.
The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce (FICCI) is an ordinary member of the forum.
Ratan Tata's nomination to the board of the BFA is seen as part of China's efforts to push closer ties
with
India.
According to Mr. Ratan Tata, Indian companies have generally failed to take advantages of the
technologies
and opportunities offered by the China market. He also spoke glowingly of the record of Chinese
companies
in going global, drawing parallels with his own experience. He identified automobile company Chery and
telecom giants Huawei and ZTE as three Chinese companies he was most impressed by.
ANALYSIS OF INDIA CHINA TRADE REALTIONS
In case of trade relations, the bilateral trade has seen a downward trend since 2011, with 2013
registering a
1.5% decline. The current trade deficit with China stands at $ 31.42bn. The leadership of both the
countries
have set an ambitious target of $100 billion to be achieved by 2015- which looks implausible now.
Alarming levels of deficit and the rising imports from China has cast a shadow on the once flourishing
trade.
Chinas predatory trade practices which include a mulish refusal to allow free flow of its currency making
its
exports advantageous; low wages; local tax incentives and aggressively subsidizing domestic players- all
make the current trade between these two countries unsustainable. Besides, Indian exporters are
routinely
confronted with market access issues in China.
It would be difficult to sustain good trade relations between the two countries unless some concrete
steps
are taken by both the sides to bridge the growing deficit. This is a problem that India is grappling not
only
with China but with several of its trading partners including Indonesia and a few other ASEAN countries.
There are quite a few reasons for the growing deficit with China.
Indias economic growth has seen a shift from agriculture to the services sector over the years. The
software
services and IT enabled services exports, in particular, has been one sector where India has not only had
a
competitive edge globally, but also as against China. However, this golden industry faces restrictions in
the
Chinese market with the countrys increasing focus on developing its service industry in an attempt to
create
more employment for its youth. The International Data Corporation says that China, with a 10% share of
global software developers, is already ahead of India which has 9.8% of the world share. The threat is
notably serious because China is wooing Indian investment to help set-up its own software services
industry.
While Indian software and services industry exports are focused on the developed markets, and the
industry
as such does not face a slowdown; India needs to eye the Chinese software industry to arrest the
fastwidening
trade deficit with China. Further, there is a need to build on the value chain in software services.
The farm sector and agro-processing industry also face limited access in Chinese market, continuing
the
Chinese trend to allow limited access in the higher-value sectors. In the past, China has banned several
agricultural exports from India, including Basmati exports without providing sufficient scientific evidence
as
is required under the Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures.
The Pharmaceuticals and auto component exporters confront similar issues in China. Thus nearly all
the
sectors in which India enjoys a comfortable and comparative advantage are routinely subjected to non-
trade
barriers in China.
Apart from market-access issues and Chinas unfair trade practices, Indias own set of structural
hurdlessome
of which are deep-rooted- and productivity gap with China are to be blamed for the ballooning trade
deficit with China. This is because in defiance of the 159 anti-dumping cases against China since 1992,
the

33
largest among foreign nations, across a broad spectrum of sectors- steel, pharmaceuticals, consumer
goods,
etc- trade deficit looms large. Indias manufacturing industry relies on inexpensive and skilled labour,
and the
manufactured products are cost-effective; yet the competitiveness is not maintained owing to low
labour
productivity. On one hand, the business regulatory environment is quite cumbersome; on the other the
infrastructural bottlenecks and inflexible and archaic labour laws make it worse for the growth of
manufacturing sector.
Besides, India hasnt even been able to make the best of its comparative advantage with China. For
instance,
even after the lifting of the ban on Basmati exports, India has failed to tap the under-exploited Chinese
market. India faces tough competition from rival Pakistan, which continues to rule the worlds largest
rice
market with its price competitiveness. Raw materials like iron ore, bauxite and cotton which make up
bulk of
Indias exports to resource-hungry China have also continued to post a downward trend owing to mining
bans in Karnataka and Goa by the Supreme Court. Before the bans, India was the largest exporter of
steelmaking raw-materials to China- a slot replaced by Australia and Brazil; while iron-ore remains
Chinas
top import commodity. A sharp decline in their exports in the last two years has pulled down Indias
overall
exports to China by about 25%. For a country rich in mineral resources, caps on production and exports
greatly minimize the scope of sustainable capitalization of these resources.
During his visit to India last year, the Chinese Premier Li Keqianq promised to address Indias concerns
by
opening up the market, and proposed to step up investments in India by establishing Chinese
investment
parks. But while China honors its tardy commitments, India must look to diversify its trade basket,
especially
in labour-intensive sectors such as textiles, as China battles rising labour costs and unfavourable
demographics, challenging its low-cost manufacturing advantage. But more importantly, while the
tradediversification
process is still in its gestation period, India must look at the areas where it enjoys a
comfortable competitive edge- skill intensive sectors like IT and pharmaceuticals which make the perfect
use
of Indias intellectual capital; agro-processing; raw materials and intermediate products- and thus
improve
the productivity gap. Bridging the trade deficit with China would go a long way not only in sustaining the
trade relations but also help in enhancing them.
INDIA USA
INDIA CONCLUDES PACT WITH US ON TAX EVASION UNDER FATCA
India has concluded an in substance agreement with the US to combat possible tax evasion by
Americans
through Indian financial entities.
The in substance agreement with India under Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) was
concluded
on April 11, the US Treasury said.
India will provide information available with Indian financial institutions on offshore accounts or assets
of
Americans or their entities. However, for now, the US will not provide India information on Indian
entities,
though it will exchange information on accounts of Indians. The US will give information on foreign
accounts
of Indian individuals, but not entities. They have assured us of full reciprocity at the earliest. The matter
will
be reviewed in 2016. The US has been widely criticized for using pressure tactics to secure information
from
other countries, without reciprocity.
Market regulator SEBI plans to issue guidelines for market intermediaries in this regard these fiscal,
sources
said.
The US said India has consented to Model 1 Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) under FATCA. As
per
Model 1, financial entities will be required to report information on US account holders to the US IRS
(internal revenue service) through CBDT.
The FATCA requires the US government to sign IGAs with various countries, including India, where
American
individuals and companies may hold accounts and other assets. Other regulators like RBI are also
expected
to issue guidelines to ensure compliance of FATCA.
Signing of IGA coupled with regulatory measures from SEBI would be helpful for Indian financial
institutions
and corporates to better comply with this significant legislation.
While FATCA became a law way back in 2010, the final regulations were issued for it in January 2013
and it is
set to come into effect from July 1, 2014 after signing of IGAs with different countries.
The law aims to check and impose withholding tax on illicit activities of some wealthy individuals who
use
offshore accounts to evade millions of dollars in taxes.

34
A noncompliance with FATCA entails 30 per cent withholding tax on certain US source payments
The US Treasury had released two formats of the IGA Model 1 and Model 2. In Model 2, financial
institutions will report information directly to the US IRS rather than their local jurisdictions.
READ (READ-ENGAGE-ACHIEVE-DREAM): INDIO-US ALLIANCE TO IMPROVE
READING
SKILLS AT INDIAN SCHOOLS
United States and India have launched a reading initiative named READ (Read-Engage-Achieve-Dream)
Alliance. This initiative has been launched with an aim to improve the reading skills of millions of
primary
school-aged children in India, which seeks to discover and test reading solutions.
READ Alliance initiative is a partnership programme of 3.2 million US dollars between the US Agency
for
International Development (USAID) and the Indian Center for Knowledge Societies (CKS).
The day of the launch of initiative saw an expert panel discussion and reading exhibition. During this
event,
the synopsis of CKSs 7 Steps to Reading report was also released. The 7 Steps to Reading report
provides a
plan for improving the reading abilities of Indias children.
INDIA RUSSIA AFGHANISTAN SYNERGY
Ahead of NATO troops downsizing their presence in Afghanistan, India has firmed up a far-reaching
deal with
Russia to supply arms to the troubled country under which New Delhi will pay for the military
equipment
that will be sourced from Moscow.
Under this historic deal, Russia will supply its own defense equipment to Afghanistan and India will
pick the
tab. The deal, which had been under intense negotiations for the past few months, was clinched after a
highlevel
Indian team made a quiet trip to Moscow in February and stitched up the loose ends even as Russia
was bracing for the challenge in Ukraine. It is reported that the first order under the deal is already
reported.
India, through the strategic partnership with Afghanistan, is committed to provide arms and
ammunition to
strengthen the Afghan National Army. The arrangement with Moscow allows New Delhi to fulfill this
commitment, an issue on which Kabul has been sending reminders including detailed lists of its
requirements.
The issue was debated at length on various occasions in the Cabinet Committee on Security, which
eventually arrived at two conclusions that India will have no troop presence in Afghanistan; and that
India
will not provide small arms even though some are manufactured domestically. The logic behind the
second
decision was to avoid a situation where any India-marked small arms make their way into Kashmir or to
the
hinterland through terrorist outfits. While Russia may separately supply its own range of Kalashnikovs,
the
Indian financing will largely focus on artillery guns, air support in the form of choppers and even
armoured
vehicles, including tanks.
A range of non-lethal items could also make it to the list depending on the nature of the requirement.
Also
part of the arrangement is an exercise to refit some old Russian-made equipment lying with Afghanistan
for
years, sources said, adding that a survey of such equipment has been carried out.
As of now, the Afghan National Army (ANA) is a predominantly infantry force as the US, sources said,
limited
its access to long-range guns largely due to Pakistani concerns. But over the past of couple of years,
Afghanistan has been pressuring countries such as India and Russia to properly equip the ANA if it has to
repel Taliban offensives on its own.
On the training front, the Indian position remains the same. While trying to meet Afghan demands for
more
seats here, the government is still against setting up any facility in Afghanistan and posting instructors
there.
Sources pointed out that any such move may also invite strong Pakistani protests.
Besides, India has also held preliminary conversations with China on jointly improving the connectivity
infrastructure in Afghanistans mining belt so that the resources can be better exploited. Both countries
already have interests in specific mining projects and are looking to expand their presence, which would
aid
Afghanistans economy.

35
PAKISTAN FOR RESUMPTION OF DIALOGUE WITH INDIA
According to the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Pakistan looks forward to the
resumption
of dialogue with India so that people of this region can benefit from economic cooperation.
At the weekly media briefing, she said in response to questions that We have a framework with India
which
has an eight point agenda. This process has been disrupted for the last three years. We believe that to
have
sustainable and durable peace, we need to address all the issues and disputes ...
But Pakistan has put on hold the grant of Non Discriminatory Market Access (NDMA) status to India.
The
Pakistani bureaucracy is of the view that Pakistan should follow its principled policy with consistency to
ensure its credibility. Pakistan cited the example of India-China relations saying both the neighbouring
countries have border dispute but had opened up bilateral trade, which has increased multifold from
$400
million to $75 billion over the few years.
Earlier, a maiden meeting of Pakistan-India Parliamentary Friendship Group (PFG) was held in the
National
Assembly on April 2. The Convener underscored the importance of parliamentary friendship groups in
promoting the parliamentary diplomacy and desiring the parliamentarians to play an effective role in
strengthening bilateral ties between the two countries.
A large number of members participated in the meeting and contributed much towards devising ways
and
means to normalize relationship between the two close neighbors so that through peace and prosperity
achieved by continuing dialogue process may bear fruit for the entire region. The consultative process
also
included an extensive briefing from the relevant ministries on the current status of ongoing efforts for
improving relations between the two countries and increasing trade volume by involving all
stakeholders in
the common economic development of people in Pakistan and India and dissemination of its results to
the
rest of Asia region.
US - JAPAN INDIA TRILATERAL CO-OPERATION
As part of their shared objectives of promoting peace and economic prosperity in the Asia-Pacific, the
US and
Japan have decided to strengthen trilateral cooperation with countries like India, Australia and South
Korea.
This includes cooperation in the area of maritime security in the Indian Ocean and Western Pacific, the
development of an Indo-Pacific economic connectivity corridor among the countries in the region to
enhance regional connectivity, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
Both the countries agreed to strengthen trilateral cooperation in the areas of
o Maritime security in the Indian Ocean and Western Pacific
o Development of an Indo-Pacific economic connectivity corridor among the countries in the region to
enhance regional connectivity
o Humanitarian assistance and disaster relief
The Joint Statement highlights are:
o It recognised that the US-Japan cooperation is essential in managing and responding to longstanding
and emerging threats and challenges in Asia and around the world.
o It also highlighted the need to actively engage in promoting security of women and empowerment
across the world. The US and Japan are actively supporting the UN Women Safe Cities Programme in
New Delhi.
o The Delhi initiative is a part of the UN Womens Safe Cities Free of Violence against Women global
programme, which aims at preventing sexual violence in urban public spaces through strategic
alliances with communities, service providers and safety official while empowering women and girls.
o The US and Japan will work together to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue, support Middle East peace
efforts, contribute to Afghan reconstruction, and improve the situation in Syria, including through
the disposal of its chemical stockpiles.
o United States and Japan recognised that China can play an important role in addressing all of these
challenges, and both countries reaffirm their interest in building a productive and constructive
relationship with China.

36
INDIA LEADS GLOBAL REMITTANCES
Remittances have become a major component of the balance of payments of nations. India led the
chart of
remittance flows, receiving USD 70 billion last year (2013), followed by China with USD 60 billion and the
Philippines with USD 25 billion.
he World Bank's latest issue of the Migration and Development Brief, said international migrants from
developing countries are expected to send USD 436 billion in remittances to their home countries this
year
(2014). In 2014, remittance flows to developing countries will see an increase of 7.8 percent over the
2013
volume of USD 404 billion, rising to USD 516 billion in 2016.
India leads global remittances in the year 2013 with a whopping $70 billion, of which $65 billion were
earned
from the country's flagship software services exports.
Global remittances, including those to high-income countries, are estimated at $581 billion this year,
from
$542 billion in 2013, rising to $681 billion in 2016, the report said.
There is no doubt that these flows act as an antidote to poverty and promote prosperity. Remittances
and
migration data are also barometers of global peace and turmoil and this is what makes World Bank's
KNOMAD initiative to organise, analyse, and make available these data so important. The World Bank
also
said that the depreciation of the Indian rupee during 2013 appears to have attracted inflows through a
surge
in the deposits of non-resident Indians rather than remittances.
The bank said growth in remittances to the South Asia region has slowed, rising by a modest 2.3 per
cent to
$111 billion in 2013, compared with an average annual increase of more than 13 per cent during the
previous three years.
The slowdown was driven by a marginal increase in India of 1.7 per cent in 2013, and a decline in
Bangladesh
of 2.4 per cent, the bank said.
INDIAN PEACEKEEPERS INJURED IN ATTACK ON US BASE IN SOUTH SUDAN
Two Indian peacekeepers have been injured in a deadly and unprovoked attack by a mob of armed
men on
civilians sheltering inside a UN base in the war-ravaged town of Bor in South Sudan.
The Indian peacekeepers were protecting about 5000 internally displaced persons, who had taken
shelter at
the UN base in Bor, the capital of Jonglei state, when the well-armed members of the Dinka ethnic
group
yesterday attacked the base in the worlds newest nation.
The assailants came under the guise of peaceful demonstrators intending to present a petition to
the UN
Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
The two Indian peacekeepers sustained injuries repelling the mob. Dozens of internally displaced
persons
were wounded in the attack. At least 15 attackers were killed and there were reports of 40 civilian
casualties.
The Indian side stressed that it is continuing to call on the powerful Security Council to ensure a
political
settlement to the dispute in the worlds youngest nation and to ensure that innocent civilians are not
exposed to such dangers.
Indian soldiers continue to provide shelter and critical medical assistance to displaced civilians in the
midst
of escalating violence in South Sudan.
In an attack in April last year, five Indian UNMISS peacekeepers were killed when they were ambushed
by
about 200 attackers near Jonglei State.
The mission called on the authorities and forces to protect all civilians, to ensure that the inviolability
of UN
premises is protected, and to take effective measures to prevent a recurrence of such attacks.
The violence that has swept South Sudan since midDecember 2013 has left thousands dead and
forced
around a million people to flee their homes after fighting broke out in the capital, Juba, between
soldiers
loyal to President Salva Kiir and forces who sided with former vice-president Riek Machar.
The violence has forced more than 1 million people in South Sudan to flee their homes. The planting
season
is under way but few are farming.
Four months into the conflict, UNMISS is hosting some 67,000 civilians at its bases.

37
ON SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT INDEX, INDIA RANKS 102
India ranks 102nd among the 132 countries on the Social Progress Index, a measure of human
wellbeing that
goes beyond traditional economic measures such as GDP or per capita income.
Of the BRICS countries Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa only India ranked lower than
the
100th position on the list of the Social Progress Index 2014 compiled by US-based non-profit group
Social
Progress Imperative. China was next lowest of the five, in the 90th position, and Brazil was the highest,
at
46th.
The Social Progress Index (SPI) rates 132 countries on more than 50 indicators, including health,
sanitation,
shelter, personal safety, access to information, sustainability, tolerance and inclusion and access to
education. The SPI asks questions such as whether a country can satisfy its people's basic needs and
whether
it has the infrastructure and capacity to allow its citizens to improve the quality of their lives and reach
their
full potential.
Using measures of access to basic human needs such as food and shelter and of equality of
opportunity such
as education and personal freedom, the index aims to measure quality of life throughout the globe.
Last year the first Social Progress Index ranked 50 countries. This year, its ranking includes 132
countries
around the world.
New Zealand tops the list followed by Switzerland, Iceland and Netherlands. Chad ranks the lowest in
the
index.
India ranks 102nd on social progress with challenges across all three dimensions with particularly low
scores
on shelter (39.77) in the basic human needs dimension, access to information (39.87) in the foundations
of
wellbeing dimension, and tolerance and inclusion (21.54) in the opportunity dimension.
The basic human needs dimension comprise parameters of nutrition and basic medical care, water and
sanitation, shelter and personal safety.
The foundations of wellbeing includes parameters of access to basic knowledge, information and
communications, health and wellness and ecosystem sustainability, while opportunity dimension
includes
personal rights, freedom and choice, tolerance and inclusion and access to education.
Central and South Asia trails all regions but Sub-Saharan Africa in terms of overall index performance.
The
top performers for the region are Sri Lanka (85th), Kazakhstan (86th) and Mongolia (89th). The worst
performance belongs to Pakistan, which is ranked 124th.
ASIA PACIFIC NAVIES SIGN MARITIME COMMUNICATION AGREEMENT
India and 21 other countries today adopted an agreement aimed at ensuring that miscommunication
between naval vessels does not develop into conflict in the Pacific Ocean.
Naval chiefs of several countries attended the biennial conference of the Western Pacific Naval
Symposium
(WPNS) which took place in the eastern Chinese port of Qingdao.
The meeting agreed to work to prevent miscommunication between naval vessels that could result in
hostilities in the Pacific Ocean which is increasingly becoming a centre of conflict due to escalating
disputes
between China and its neighbours including Japan and some of the ASEAN nations over disputed islands
in
the East and South China Sea.
The agreement outlines how naval ships should communicate and maneuver when they unexpectedly
come
into contact in sea lanes surrounding China, Japan and Southeast Asia.
The 21-member WPNS which includes the US, China, Japan, the Philippines and Malaysia who have
strategic
interests in the Western Pacific region unanimously approved the framework.
The WPNS was established in 1987 with goals to promote cooperation between the navies of its
member
countries, strengthen mutual understanding and trust, and jointly safeguard regional maritime security.
It
comprises navies whose countries border the Pacific Ocean region.
The WPNS now has 21 member states, including Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China,
France,
Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Republic of Korea,
Russia, Singapore, Thailand, Tonga, the US and Vietnam with India as an observer.

38
EUROPEAN UNION BANS INDIAN ALPHANSO MANGOES, VEGGIES
The 28-member European Union has temporarily banned the import of Alphonso mangoes, the king of
fruits,
and four vegetables from India from May 1, sparking protests from the Indian community, lawmakers
and
traders.
The recent decision by the groupings Standing Committee on Plant Health came after 207
consignments of
fruits and vegetables from India imported into the EU in 2013 were found to be contaminated by pests
such
as fruit flies and other quarantine pests.
The temporary ban, proposed by the European Commission, includes mangoes, eggplant, the taro
plant,
bitter gourd and snake gourd, and prohibits the import to tackle the significant shortcomings in the
sanitary
certification system of such products exported to the EU.
Though the prohibited commodities represent less than 5 per cent of the total fresh fruits and
vegetables
imported into the EU from India, the potential introduction of new pests could pose a threat to EU
agriculture and production.
UKs DEFRA (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) that is backing the ban said it
was
necessary due to pests which could threaten the countrys GBP 321 million salad crop industry of
tomato
and cucumber.
The UK imports nearly 16 million mangoes from India and the market for the fruit is worth nearly GBP
6
million a year. A revision of the ban will take place before December 31, 2015.
Meanwhile New Delhi has asked the European Union to lift a ban on Indian mangoes, as the country
has
already addressed the issue cited by the 28-nation bloc in a clampdown on shipments from next month.
Although Europe is not a major market for Indian mangoes, any ban typically weighs on prices, hitting
farmers' incomes. The Middle East buys 80 percent of mango exports from India, the world's biggest
producer of the fruit, accounting for about half of global output.
INDIAS FIRST AMBASSADOR TO INDIAN MISSION TO ASEAN AND EAST ASIA
SUMMIT
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Wednesday, appointed Suresh K. Reddy as the first
Ambassador to
the separate Indian Mission to ASEAN and East Asia Summit.
The move is seen as growing Indian interest in ASEAN and other South Asian nations.
While India has focused on ASEAN for the past couple of decades, its waffling presence and a refusal to
clarify its stand on crucial issues that are important for ASEAN have created the impression that it is not
a
power to be depended on. But in the past couple of years, PM Manmohan Singh has personally
spearheaded
India's outreach to southeast and east Asia.
At the heart of India's ASEAN initiative is connectivity and trade. At the recent Delhi Dialogue,
commerce
minister Anand Sharma pointed to the importance of connectivity and technology in the India-ASEAN
partnership.
ASEAN and India have entered into a regional economic comprehensive partnership resulting in trade
worth
$80 billion. "However, more can be achieved by having faith in the structures and the institutional
mechanisms that have been put in place," the PM had said.
The northeastern states have been billed as the gateway to ASEAN, and India has invited Japanese
investment to develop the infrastructure in these areas. The government believes it is imperative to
establish connectivity between the northeast and the rest of India to create connectivity between India
and
ASEAN countries.
WORLD AFFAIRS
REVIVING THE MARITIME SILK ROUTE

39
The Maritime Silk Route emphasises on improving connectivity but more importantly, it aspires to
improve
Chinas geo-strategic position in the world. It is seen as an effort to reshape the countrys global posture
in a
bold and creative way, a key element of which is to build up an economic system through external
cooperation.
Undoubtedly, the proposal of reviving the Maritime Silk Route (MSR) demonstrates this innovative
approach. Indeed, the success of the MSR initiative will be consequential to regional stability and global
peace. It is little wonder then that this proposal has attracted enormous interests among policy makers
and
scholars.
The thrust on reviving the ancient maritime route is the first global strategy for enhancing trade and
fostering peace, proposed by the new Chinese leaders. The MSR inherits the ancient metaphor of
friendly
philosophy from the old Silk Route to build the new one.
It emphasises on improving connectivity with Southeast Asia, South Asia, West Asia and even Africa, by
building a network of port cities along the Silk Route, linking the economic hinterland in China. More
importantly, it aspires to improve Chinas geo-strategic position in the world.
The MSR could be an attempt to counter the string of pearls argument. Chinas acrimonious
relations with
some states in Southeast Asia due to maritime disputes have created complex circumstances for itself in
building better relations with its neighbours. Through their vision of re-energising the MSR, Chinese
leaders
aim to impart a new lease of life to Chinas peripheral policy and diffuse the tension.
Chinese leaders want to re-assure their commitment to the path of peaceful development,
emphasising that
a stronger China will add to the force for world peace and the positive energy for friendship, and will
present development opportunities to Asia and the world, rather than posing a threat.
The new leaders put forward the 2+7 formula of cooperation consensus on two issues:
deepening
strategic trust and exploring neighbourly friendship, and economic development based on mutual
benefits
and win-win outcomes. They also put forward seven proposals signing the China-ASEAN good
neighbour
treaty; more effective use of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area and intensive Regional Comprehensive
Economic Partnership negotiations; acceleration of joint infrastructure projects; stronger regional
financial
and risk-prevention cooperation; closer maritime cooperation; enhanced collaboration on security; and
more intensive people-to-people contacts along with increased cultural, scientific and environmental
protection cooperation.
China aims to accelerate the establishment of an Asian Infrastructural Investment Bank, which could
provide
a strong investment and financing platform for multimodal connectivity, like building high-speed rail,
ports,
airports, within related countries. Meanwhile, in order to get a wider support, China may consider
establishing the bank headquarters in one of the capitals along the MSR, possibly Jakarta, Bangkok,
Singapore and other countries deemed friendly.
OPINION - CHINAS MARITIME SILK ROUTE VS AMERICAS PIVOT
Amid the irresistible shift from the West to the East, Beijing is concerned with the U.S. pivot to the
Asia-
Pacific region.
U.S. President Barack Obamas recent Asian tour is intended to revitalize his moribund pivot to Asia.
The
strategic initiative is still alive despite the inevitable pull of events in the Middle East and Europe is
attributable to Chinas claims over disputed islands.
This has opened the door for a stronger U.S. military presence in Asia while negotiations on the Trans-
Pacific
Partnership (TPP), which excludes China, provides some balancing weight on the economic front even if
Congress has denied a fast-track approval process that would have facilitated an accord.
A sharp decline in transport costs along the contemporary maritime silk route allowed all countries in
the
region, regardless of their size and technological sophistication, to benefit from specialization and
economies of scale by producing components rather than complete products. This is the major reason
why
East Asia has performed so well relative to the rest of the world. With rising labor costs in China, many
ASEAN economies now stand to gain from future outsourcing of production. This makes it easier for
China to
be seen as an opportunity rather than a threat to these South Asian neighbours.
While the negotiating process remains closed, enough intelligence has seeped out to suggest that
there is a
sharp separation between the U.S., which is driving the process, and the other TPP participants on many
of

40
the major issues. This is especially striking regarding positions on intellectual property rights, investment
guidelines, environment and rules of origin.
Relative to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which would likely be more
open to
accommodating economic diversity and keen to protect the workings of the production sharing
network,
vast differences in development levels among TPP members mean that the less advanced may be
harmed by
actions that could impede technology transfers while the more integrated may see the competitive
advantages derived from production sharing networks eroded by restrictive rules of origin. This will
lower
the benefits that some studies have estimated will accrue to East Asian participants in the TPP.
Shifts in the pattern of capital flows will also affect economic relationships as China moves from being
largely
an absorber of funds to also a major provider. Some predict that within a decade as much as a hundred
billion dollars will be leaving China annually in the form of direct investment and portfolio flows, with
much
of it targeted to Asia. This will help to make the renminbi a global currency. Moreover, Chinas structural
trade deficits within East Asia make it logical to use the renminbi as a regional currency to settle trade
balances before it begins playing a meaningful role in the rest of the world.
ISRAEL PALESTINE ISSUE
US Secretary of State John Kerry has met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to salvage stalled
negotiations with the Palestinians.
The negotiations appeared to be on the brink of collapse when Israel failed to press ahead with a
promised
release of several dozen Palestinian prisoners. Israel wanted assurances the Palestinians would not
abandon
the talks, aimed at ending the decades-old Middle East conflict, when an initial deadline for an accord
expires on April 29. The deal would not include a freeze on construction in Jewish settlements in the
West
Bank as the Palestinians have demanded but would envisage Israel committing to show great restraint
and
not issue new housing tenders.
Meanwhile, Israel hit back hard following an agreement on Palestinian unity by suspending already
faltering
peace negotiations just days before the expiry of a deadline for the US-brokered process.
The Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, accused the western-backed Palestinian president,
Mahmoud Abbas, of forming an alliance with Hamas, which he called "a terrorist organisation that calls
for
the destruction of Israel" and hinted at further retaliatory measures
Netanyahu's comments followed the announcement of a unity agreement between Abbas' Fatah
movement
the dominant group in the PLO and which governs parts of the West Bank and Hamas, which controls
the
Gaza Strip. The US and EU also classify Hamas whose name means the Islamic Resistance Movement
as a
terrorist group, but may review their policies in the light of the unity deal.
The decision to suspend talks is a blow to the US secretary of state, John Kerry, who has spent almost
nine
months trying to coax Israelis and Palestinians into an agreement about the conflict's most contentious
issues.
The US has rejected criticism that it helped provide Israel with an exit route from ailing Palestinian
peace
talks, insisting there is still a slim chance of bringing the two sides back to negotiations
But important differences still separate the two sides: the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) has
recognised Israel and seeks a two-state solution to the conflict. It co-operates on security with Israel
arresting Hamas activists. Hamas refuses to recognise Israel though it is prepared for a long-term truce.
It
has observed a ceasefire in Gaza. It is hostile to the idea of a two-state solution though sometimes
ambiguous about it.
UKRAINE CRISIS
NATO decided to suspend "all practical civilian and military cooperation" with Russia because of its
annexation of Crimea, saying it has seen no sign that Moscow was withdrawing troops from the
Ukrainian
border.
Besides there were also discussions on ways to boost NATO's military presence in formerly communist
central and Eastern Europe to reassure allies worried by Russia's moves.
Also the leaders of G7 major economies have agreed to intensify sanctions against Russia over the
Ukraine
crisis. The British prime minister, David Cameron, the US president, Barack Obama, the French prime

41
minister, Franois Hollande, the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and counterparts from Italy, Japan,
and
Canada expressed "deep concern at the continued efforts by separatists backed by Russia to destabilise
eastern Ukraine". They praised the "restraint" of the government in Kiev and the efforts it had made to
implement the agreement struck in Geneva earlier this month.
In contrast, Moscow had taken "no concrete actions in support of the Geneva accord" and had not
condemned pro-Russia militants or urged them to leave buildings they have been occupying".
In another step to put pressure on Russian counterparts, the European Union imposed sanctions
related to
the crisis in Ukraine on another 15 people, bringing the total number targeted to 48. The EU said the
people
are collectively responsible for actions that "undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty
and
independence of Ukraine."
In order to boost crisis hit Ukraine, The International Monetary Fund board has approved a two-year,
$17
billion US loan package for cash-strapped Ukraine as it seeks to regain stability following Russia's
annexation
of Crimea.
The IMF aid pledged in March will allow the immediate disbursement of $3.2 billion US to Kyiv. It was
hinged
on economic reforms in Ukraine, including raising taxes, freezing the minimum wage and raising energy
prices all steps that could hit households hard and strain the interim government's tenuous hold