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Page No.

India at Olympics

Page No.


Cauvery Water Dispute

Designed by:
Chandan Kumar Raja

Page No.

Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill and Surrogacy Bill

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Disha for Timely Implementation of Schemes

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Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2016

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India at Olympics

The Olympic Games are
considered the world's foremost
sports competition with more than
200 nations participating. Both
summer and winter olympics games
are organised after the gap of four
years with a gap of two years
between each other. History of
olympics starts with the famous games
at ancient capital of Greece, Olympia.
These games were very important in
Greece between the 8th century BC
to the 4th century AD. Majority of the
Games during the ancient Greece
were related to running, fighting etc.
From 4th century AD till 1894 Games
were conducted in disorganised
manner in various parts of the world.
Baron Pierre de Coubertin founded
the International Olympic Committee
(IOC) in 1894. The IOC is the
governing body of the Olympic
Movement, with the Olympic Charter
defining its structure and authority.
The first modern Olympics were held
in Athens, Greece, in 1896. Baron
Pierre de Coubertin was the man
responsible for these modern
olympic games.
There are various differences

between the modern and ancient

olympic games. Ancient olympics
had very fewer athletes as compared
to modern olympics. Modern
olympics has many more games as
compare to ancient olympics.
Ancient olympics used to host horse
riding and modern olympics has
swimming, cycling etc. In Ancient
Olympics winner of the games was
awarded an Olive wreath while in
Modern Olympics winners are given
medals, namely, Gold; Silver and
Bronze. Olympic torch was
originated during ancient olympic
games which is still continued in
modern olympic games. However
torch run is introduced in the modern
olympic games. This run starts from
the Athens till the city which is hosting
the Olympics. Torch is carried by the
past olympians with in any country.
The evolution of the Olympic
Movement during the 20th and 21st
centuries has resulted in several
changes to the Olympic Games.
Some of these adjustments include
the creation of the Winter Olympic
Games for ice and winter sports, the
Paralympic Games for athletes with a

disability, and the Youth Olympic

Games for teenage athletes. The IOC
has had to adapt to a variety of
technological advancements. The
growing importance of mass media
created the issue of corporate
sponsorship and commercialisation
of the Games. World wars led to the
cancellation of the 1916, 1940, and
1944 Games. Large boycotts during
the Cold War limited participation in
the 1980 and 1984 Games.
India at Olympics
India first participated at the
Olympic Games in 1900, with a lone
athlete (Norman Pritchard) winning
two medals- both silver- in athletics.
The nation first sent a team to the
Summer Olympic Games in 1920,
and has participated in every
Summer Games since then. India has
also competed at several Winter
Olympic Games beginning in 1964.
Indian athletes have won a total of 28
medals so far, all at the Summer
Games. For a period of time, India
national field hockey team was
dominant in Olympic competition,

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India at Olympics
winning eleven medals in twelve
Olympics between 1920 and 1980.
The run included 8 gold medals total
and six successive gold medals from
The Indian Performance at the
Olympics has seen improvement in
the past decade,however Rio 2016
was a disappointment considering
the hopes the nation had garnered
looking at our athletes performance
in World Cups or Other Top Tier
global Tournaments. The Indian
Olympic Association sent the nation's
largest ever delegation (a total of 117
athletes; 34 larger than their previous
record of 83 athletes in 2012) in
Summer Olympic history. India won
only two medals with one silver medal
in Badminton by P.V. Sindhu and
Other by Sakshi malik in wrestling.
Most of our athletes at Rio 2016
performed way below their optimal
potential and many had near misses
too,which can be attributed to
nervousness,lack of big stage nerves
and inability to acclimatize to foreign
weather ( specifically for archery and
shooting ). Government of India has
constituted a Task Force to prepare
a comprehensive action plan for
effective participation of Indian
sports persons in the next three
Olympic games 2020, 2024 and 2028.
The Task Force will prepare overall

strategy for sports facility, training,

selection procedure and other
related matters. The Task Force will
comprise of members who are in
house experts as well as those from
outside. Prime Minister Narendra
Modi asked states to set up similar
panels as "lot more" needs to be done
to improve India's performance in
There are some inherent
problems which persists in India for
the poor performance of the sports.
Some of them are mentioned below:
India lacks is a program to
unearth at the grassroots level.
In a number of successful
sporting nations, players begin
practicing sport well before
they are into high-school.
Funding available to the
athletes is well below the
global standard.
Coaching and Infrastructure:
India doesnt have world class
coaches for a number of sports
which arent pursued too much
in our country. The same
applies to the training facilities
and infrastructure.
Co-Operation from federations
and their efficiency : It is
extremely essential that the
National Federations of all the
sports co-ordinate with and

ensure that their athletes

experience no trouble with
their training,travelling and
participation in tournaments.
Targeting Specific Sports :
India must have 34 focus
sports in which we should
invest heavily to reap the
results. According to the
current scenario,the three
and Boxing.
After the poor performance of
great Britain in the 1996 Atlanta
Olympics, where GB won only one
gold medal, Goverment has taken the
issue seriously and government have
put in susatained efforts for the
success. In the last four years alone,
the government and the national
lottery have awarded UK Sport, the
nations high performance sports
agency, 274 million of funds to
channel into summer Olympic sports
and athletes. A further 72 million has
gone towards summer Paralympic
sports.And fast forward to 2016,they
won an unprecedented 67 medals
,with 27 golds. Similarly India can also
achieve success with sustained effort
performance in Olympics.

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Cauvery Water Dispute


Sharing of water of the cauvery
river has been a source of dispute
between the state of Karnataka and
Tamil Nadu for some time. The
genesis of this conflict rests in two
agreements in 1892 and 1924
between the erstwhile Madras
Presidency and Princely State of
Mysore. The British controlled both
Mysore and Madras for a short period
in the middle of the 19th century.
During their regime, numerous plans
were drawn up for the utilization of
the Kaveri waters by both states.
However, the drought and
subsequent famine in the mid-1870s
put a hold on the implementation of
these plans. The plans were revived
by Mysore in 1881, by which time
Mysore was back in the hands of the
Mysore kings, while present day Tamil
Nadu continued to remain a part of
the Madras Presidency. Mysore's
plans to revive the irrigation projects
met with resistance from the Madras
Presidency. Mysore state made a
representation to the Madras
Presidency then British government;
as a result of which eventually the
Agreement of 1892 was signed.

Things came to a head in 1910

when Mysore, came up with a plan to
construct a dam at Kannambadi
village to hold up to 41.5 TMC of
water. The dam was planned to be
built in two stages. Madras however,
refused to give its consent for this
move as it had its own plans to build
a storage dam at Mettur with a
capacity of 80 TMC. After a reference
to the Government of India,
permission was accorded to Mysore,
but for a reduced storage of 11TMC.
Then British Government of India
referred the matter to arbitration. The
cauvery dispute thus had come up
for arbitration for the first time. Sir H
D Griffin was appointed arbitrator
and M. Nethersole was made the
Assessor. They entered into
proceedings on 16 July 1913 and the
Award was given on 12 May 1914.
The award upheld the earlier
decision of the Government of India
and allowed Mysore to go ahead with
the construction of the dam up to 11
TMC. Madras appealed against the
award and negotiations continued.
Eventually an agreement was arrived

at in 1924 and a couple of minor

agreements were also signed in 1929
and 1933. The 1924 agreement was
set to lapse after a run of 50 years.
This problem between two
states increased after the Indian
reorganisation of Indian states on the
linguistic lines, one more state Kerala
came into existence who shared the
cauvery river basin along with the
union terrritory of puduchery.
The 802 kilometres (498 mi)
Cauvery river has 44,000 km2 basin
area in Tamil Nadu and 32,000 km2
basin area in Karnataka. Karnataka
contains that agreements were in
favour of Tamil nadu and Karnataka
wants to renegotiate the terms of
settlements. Tamil Nadu on the other
hand says that it has developed a long
stretch of land based upon the
existing pattern of water usage of the
cauvery. Tamil Nadu says any change
in the pattern of water distribution
will affect the livelihood of millions
of the farmers in the state. Both the
states negotiated for sharing of the
water for decades without any
success then the Union government

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Cauvery Water Dispute

set up a tribunal to look into the matter
of cauvery dispute.
The Cauvery Water Disputes
Tribunal (CWDT) was constituted by
the Government of India on 2nd June
1990 to adjudicate the water dispute
regarding inter-state river Cauvery
and the river valley thereof. The
Tribunal had passed an Interim Order
in June, 1991 and further Clarificatory
Orders on the Interim Order in April,
1992 and December, 1995. The
Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal has
submitted its reports and decision to
Government on 2007. The party
states and the Central Govt. have
sought clarification and guidelines
under Section 5(3) of the Act. Under
the provisions of Section 6A of the
ISWD Act, 1956, the Central
Government has notified a Scheme
(implementation of the Order of 1991
and all subsequent Related Orders of
the Tribunal) Scheme, 1998,
consisting of Cauvery River Authority
(CRA) and Cauvery Monitoring
Committee (CMC). The Cauvery
River Authority consists of the Prime
Minister as Chairperson and Chief
Ministers of the basin States as
members. The Cauvery Monitoring
Committee on the other hand, was
an expert body which consisted of
engineers, technocrats and other
officers who would take stock of the
'ground realities' and report to the
government. The Monitoring
Committee consists of Secretary,
MOWR as Chairperson, Chief
Secretaries and Chief Engineers of
the basin States as Members and
Chairman, Central Water Commission

as Member. The Authority is required

to give effect to the implementation
of the Interim Order dated 25th June
1991 of the Tribunal and its related
subsequent orders.
Cauvery water disputes tribunal
after looking into all the agreements
and issues of the cauvery made
following observations and passed an
order for the sharing of the cauvery
water. Tribunal in its award said "The
Agreements of the years 1892 and
1924 which were executed between
the then Governments of Mysore and
Madras cannot be held to be invalid,
specially after a lapse of about more
than 110 and 80 years respectively.
Before the execution of the two
agreements, there was full
consultation between the then
Governments of Madras and Mysore.
However, the agreement of 1924
provides for review of some of the
clauses after 1974. The Tribunal
hereby determines that the utilisable
quantum of waters of the Cauvery at
Lower Coleroon Anicut site on the
basis of 50% dependability to be 740
thousand million cubic feet-TMC
(20,954 M.cu.m.)."
The Tribunal ordered that the
waters of the river Cauvery be
allocated in three States of Kerala,
Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and U.T.
of Pondicherry for their beneficial
uses as mentioned hereunder:i) The State of Kerala - 30 TMC
ii) The State of Karnataka - 270
iii) The State of Tamil Nadu - 419
iv) U.T. of Pondicherry - 7 TMC
Total 726 TMC

In addition, we reserve some

quantity of water for (i) environmental
protection and (ii) inevitable
escapages into the sea as under:- i)
Quantity reserved for environmental
protection. - 10 TMC ii) Quantity
determined for inevitable escapages
into the sea.- 4 TMC
The dispute however, did not
end there, as all four states decided
to file review petitions seeking
clarifications and possible
renegotiation of the order. Supreme
court has original exclusive
jurisdiction to hear the disputes
between the two or more states.
However Articles 262 of the
constitution says that :
(1) Parliament may by law provide
for the adjudication of any
dispute or complaint with
respect to the use, distribution
or control of the waters of, in
any inter-State river or river
(2) Notwithstanding anything in
this Constitution, Parliament
may, by law, provide that
neither the Supreme Court nor
any other court shall exercise
jurisdiction in respect of any
such dispute or complaint as is
referred to in clause (1)
Based of Article 262 Parliament
came up with The Inter-State Water
Disputes Act, 1956. Act make it
mandatory on the union government
that it shall refer the dispute to a
Tribunal. Jurisdiction of the Supreme
Court and other courts in respect of
the dispute referred to the Tribunal
is barred.

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Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill and Surrogacy Bill


The Maternity Benefit Act,
1961, protects the employment of
women during the time of maternity
and entitles them of a full paid
absence from work to take care for
the child. The amendment bill seeks
to increase maternity leave to 26
weeks in all establishments, including
private sector. The act is applicable
to all establishments employing 10 or
more persons. The bill also provides
12 weeks leave for commissioning
and adopting mothers and makes it
mandatory to provide creche facility
for establishment where the number
of workers is 50 and above. While
there is already a provision of 26week or 6-month maternity leave for
the government employees, most
private sector firms offer maximum
three months of such leave. Besides,
these benefits are not provided at all
in many smaller establishments.
In order to look into all these
issues Union Cabinet, chaired by the
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi,
has given its ex-post facto approval
for amendments to the Maternity
Benefit Act, 1961 by introducing the
Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill,

2016 in Parliament. The act is

applicable to all establishments
employing 10 or more persons. The
amendments will help 1.8 million
(approx.) women workforce in
organised sector.
The amendments to Maternity
Benefit Act, 1961 are as follows:
Increase Maternity Benefit from
12 weeks to 26 weeks for two
surviving children and 12
weeks for more than two
12 weeks Maternity Benefit to
a 'Commissioning mother' and
'Adopting mother'.
Facilitate'Work from home'.
Mandatory provision of Creche
in respect of establishment
having 50 or more employees.
Maternal care to the Child
during early childhood - crucial for
growth and development of the
child. The 44th, 45th and 46th Indian
Labour Conference recommended
enhancement of Maternity Benefits
to 24 weeks. Ministry of Women &
Child Development proposed to
enhance Maternity Benefit to 8

Surrogacy Bill
India has emerged as a
surrogacy hub for couples from
different countries and there have
been reported incidents concerning
unethical practices, exploitation of
surrogate mothers, abandonment of
children born out of surrogacy and
rackets of intermediaries importing
human embryos and gametes.
Widespread condemnation of
commercial surrogacy prevalent in
India has also been regularly
published in different print-and
electronic media since last few years
highlighting the need to prohibit
commercial surrogacy and allow
ethical altruistic surrogacy. The 228th
report of the Law Commission of India
has also recommended for
prohibiting commercial surrogacy
and allowing ethical altruistic
surrogacy to the needy Indian
citizens by enacting a suitable
The Union Cabinet chaired by
the Prime Minister Shri Narendra
Modi has given its approval for
introduction of the "Surrogacy

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Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill and Surrogacy Bill

(Regulation) Bill, 2016". The Bill will
regulate surrogacy in India by
establishing National Surrogacy
Board at the central level and State
Surrogacy Boards and Appropriate
Authorities in the State and Union
Territories. The legislation will ensure
effective regulation of surrogacy,
prohibit commercial surrogacy and
allow ethical surrogacy to the needy
infertile couples.
All infertile Indian married
couple who want to avail ethical
surrogacy will be benefited.

Further the rights of surrogate

mother and children born out
of surrogacy will be protected.
Commercial surrogacy will be
prohibited including sale and
purchase of human embryo and
gametes, ethical surrogacy to
the needy infertile couples will
be allowed on fulfilment of
certain conditions and for
specific purposes.
It will control the unethical
practices in surrogacy, prevent
commercialization of surrogacy

and will prohibit potential

exploitation of surrogate
mothers and children born
through surrogacy.
The proposed legislation, while
covering an important area is framed
in such a manner that it ensures
effective regulation but does not add
much vertically to the current
regulatory structure already in place
at the central as well as states.

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National Issues

SC quashed the acquisition of
land in Singur

The Supreme Court quashed

the CPI (M)-led West Bengal
governments acquisition of
997 acres of agricultural land
for industry captain Tata
Motors Nano small car
plant in Singur.
Judgement said though it is
completely understandable
for the government to acquire
land to set up industrial units,
the brunt of development
should not be borne by the
weakest sections of the
The judgment questions the
former CPI(M) governments
acquisition of the land over
the objections raised by
farmers and even proceeding
to install equipment and
factory machinery.
The issue led to an electoral
victory for the Mamata
Banerjee government, which
went on to enact the Singur
Land Rehabilitation and
Development Act in 2011 to
re-claim the land from the
Election Commission issued
directions for use of an
integrated violet sketch pen

The Election Commission

issued directions for use of
an integrated violet sketch
pen of approved design,

manufactured by a particular
firm, in future Rajya Sabha
and Legislative Council polls.
The decision comes over two
months after votes of 12
Congress legislators marked
using a wrong pen were
declared invalid in Rajya
Sabha polls in Haryana.
In its order, the Election
Commission said: integrated
violet sketch pen of specific
design and manufactured by
a particular firm, both
approved by the Election
Commission of India, shall be
used in all future elections.
Hundreds of tonnes of gold
could be recovered from old
electronic devices now

Hundreds of tonnes of gold

could be recovered from old
electronic devices such as
smartphones, TV sets and
computers each year, thanks
to a simple chemical method
developed by researchers.
extracting gold from old
gadgets are inefficient and
can be hazardous to health,
as they often use toxic
chemicals such as cyanide,
researchers said.
Electrical waste including
televisions and computers
is thought to contain as much
as seven per cent of all the
worlds gold, a key
component of the printed

circuit boards found inside

electrical devices.
Improving how the precious
metal is recovered from
discarded electronic devices
could help reduce the
environmental impact of gold
mining and cut carbon
dioxide emissions.
They developed a simple
extraction method that does
not use toxic chemicals and
effectively than current
The finding could help
salvage some of the
estimated 300 tonnes of gold
used in electronics each
year, researchers said.
The findings could aid the
development of methods for
large-scale recovery of gold
and other precious metals
from waste electronics,
researchers said.

Enemy property ordinance

approved by the cabinet

The Union Cabinet gave post

facto approval to the
ordinance, a first in the
independent parliamentary
history of the country,
promulgated by President
Pranab Mukherjee to amend
the Enemy Property Act.
Since the government could
not get the required
parliamentary approval in
the just-concluded session,
PM Modi invoked Rule 12 of

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National Issues
business and transactions to
seek re-promulgation of the
ordinance by the President.
The amended provisions are
to guard against claims of
succession or transfer of
properties left by people
who migrated to Pakistan and
China after the wars in 1965
and 1962.
Thanks to the amended
version now, once a
property is deemed as enemy
property, no claims of
classification of the enemy
changes in due course of
In the last two years,
questions have been raised
on the frequent recourse of
the Modi government to the
ordinance route and whether
the President should have
assented to all the
governments for issue of
Unions across India go on strike

All trade unions, except

Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh
(BMS), have joined hands to
make the national bandh on
Friday a success.
Condemning the government
for making a mockery of
their main demand of
minimum wages, the union
leaders have pledged to take
up a sustained agitation till
the demands are met.
The union leaders have been
addressing gate-meetings at
major industrial units since
the last couple of days to
create awareness among the
workers on their demands.

The government has agreed

for Rs. 9,100 per month,
which is not acceptable. The
minimum wage per day now
is Rs. 307, and the
government has increased it
by Rs. 43 to make it Rs. 350.

Reliance Jio comes up with free

voice calls and free roaming

Reliance Industries Chairman

Mukesh Ambani threw down
the gauntlet to rival telecom
operators by announcing
lifetime free voice calls and
free roaming, and data plans
priced at an average of Rs.50
per GB.
RIL customers will also enjoy
free data till the end of 2016.
The era of paying for voice
calls is ending, Mr. Ambani
said at the companys annual
general meeting.
interrupted by repeated
rounds of applause from the
As part of the introductory
offer, users will have access
to unlimited LTE data and
national voice, video and
messaging services free of
cost up to December 31.
Indias space capacity of 34
working satellites is not

Indias space capacity of 34

working satellites is barely
half of what the country
needs and is severely limited
to meet increasing demands
from the Centre, States and
businesses, Chairman of the
ISRO, said.
ISRO plans to put 1218

satellites in space each year

to meet this demand and also
wants to be free to pursue
higher technologies.
Domestic industry should
urgently step in to make
vehicles, he told a gathering
of Indian and overseas space
supplies companies.
observation and navigation
can connect people, tell
fisher folk where to find fish;
forecast crop yields, locate
people or places; and help
governments govern and plan
Today, over 60 Central
departments compared to
15 departments until recently
and all State governments
were demanding satellitebased
While industry already
supplied small systems and
components for spacecraft
and rockets, he said this was
not adequate.
ISRO was working out ways
for itself, its commercial arm
Antrix Corporation and
industry to provide practical
At least three of ISROs
overseas counterparts have
possibilities to be pursued
jointly with India.
The Swiss Space Centre
which has earlier launched a
tiny satellite on the PSLV has
discussed with ISRO the
possibility of jointly sending
a small space craft to clear
space debris.

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National Issues
Six more small commercial
customers are slated to be
launched this month-end
along with the ocean data
gleaning Scattsat-1.
Odisha became the 16th State to
ratify the constitutional
amendment for GST

Odisha became the 16th

constitutional amendment
that will pave the way for the
roll-out of the Goods &
Services Tax (GST).
Ratified now by more than
half the 29 States, the
amendment requires only the
Presidents assent which,
it is expected, to receive
expeditiously before the
Centre can notify it.
Following the notification of
the Constitutional (122nd
Amendment) Act, 2014, no
State will be able to remain
outside the GST regime.
Upon its notification, all
States will lose the powers
to levy and collect valueadded tax.
This will be regardless of
whether a State has ratified
the amendment or not.
Further, to receive a share in
the revenue collected from
the GST, a State will have to
pass the model GST laws.
Even States such as Tamil
Nadu where the ruling All
India Anna Dravida Munnetra
opposing the GST in its
participating in the ongoing
discussions for thrashing out
the GSTs roll-out.

After the notification, the

Centre and the States will
immediately move to set up
the proposed GST Council.
Union Finance Minister Arun
Jaitley had earlier indicated
Committee of State Finance
Ministers itself is likely to be
made the Council.
While the committee is
headed by West Bengal
Finance Minister Amit Mitra,
the council is expected to be
chaired by the Union Finance
Earlier, starting with Assam,
Maharashtra, Haryana, Bihar,
Gujarat, Telangana, Madhya
Pradesh, Delhi, Mizoram,
Nagaland, Sikkim and Goa
ratified the amendment.
Climate change could be easy to
implement than earlier deals

Climate change treaties have

been notoriously hard to
implement in the past, but
the Paris Agreement, signed
at the United Nations Climate
Change Conference last year,
could be a different story.
Thats according to U.S.
Special Envoy for Climate
Change Dr. Jonathan Pershing
who says that the will of
countries, such as India and
the United States, to expedite
change could see the
agreement come into force as
early as this year.
The group was formed to
review progress made in the
bilateral relationship on
climate resilience, air
quality, forestry, capacity

building and clean energy,

and to discuss opportunities
for future collaboration in
shared climate priorities.
The meetings between the
two governments, he said,
focused on how the two
interactions in terms of
experts travelling each way
for fellowships.
He highlighted that the talks
looked at the question of
climate resilience in a new
In the area of resilience, Mr.
Pershing said, discussions
were held about water,
agriculture, food, energy
systems, and the focus once
again was on the kind of
expertise each side can
contribute to the other.
Muslim Personal Law Board
says SC has no authority to
decide on triple talaq

Noting that a religion cannot

be reformed out of its
existence or identity, the All
India Muslim Personal Law
Board challenged the
Supreme Courts initiative to
judicially examine Islamic
personal laws relating to
marriage and divorce.
The apex Muslim law body
of the country accused the
Supreme Court of trying to
indulge in judicial legislation
in the name of socially
reforming Islamic practices
of marriage and divorce.
It said the practices depicted
in the Holy Koran are out of
bounds for the Supreme
The AIMPLB claimed that

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National Issues
personal laws of marriage
and divorce are outside the
purview of the fundamental
rights of the Indian
Constitution, and Article 44.
It envisages a Uniform Civil
Code, is only a directive
principle of State policy and
not enforceable.
Global greenhouse gas (GHG)
emissions of G20 countries are
continuing to increase

Global greenhouse gas

(GHG) emissions of G20
countries are continuing to
increase, a report from
Climate Transparency, an
open global consortium, has
shown ahead of the 2016 G20
Hangzhou summit to be held
in China.
Between 1990 and 2013, the
absolute carbon dioxide
emissions of G20 countries,
which account for threefourths of global CO{2}emissions, went up by 56
per cent, the report shows.
India received a medium
rating with good scores for
renewables in total primary
energy supply (TPES) and
climate policy, but poor
scores in carbon intensity,
share of coal in TPES and
electricity emissions.
The worst overall performers
were Australia, Argentina,
Japan, Russia, Saudi Arabia
and South Africa.
The carbon intensity of the
energy sector was found
increasing, due to the strong
and continuing role that coal
Of all the G20 member-

states, Australia, Canada,

Saudi Arabia and the United
States stand out with by far
the highest per capita energyrelated CO{-2}emissions.
Saudi Arabia, South Korea
and Japan still show an
increase over the five-year
period 2008-2013.
Argentina and South Africa
have declining per capita
emissions, as with the EU and
its big member-states
Germany, France, Italy and
the U.K., the report notes.
Chinas per capita emissions
were found to be above the
G20 average: at 38%, with
China having the highest
economic growth rate
between 2008 and 2013.
The coal share of China,
India, South Africa and
Turkey will remain clearly
above the maximum 2C
benchmark in the time period
until 2030, the report notes.
To be in line with a 2Ccompatible trajectory by
2035, G20 countries face an
investment gap of almost $
340 billion/year in the power
Though plugging the gap
requires an increase in green
governments provided, on
average, almost $ 70 billion
in subsidies for fossil fuel
production between 2013 and
2014, the report points out.
This was despite G20 leaders
pledging to phase out
inefficient fossil fuel
subsidies in 2009. The report
also points out that reducing
fossil fuel subsidies could
theoretically create fiscal

space for more international

climate finance.
Canonisation of Mother Teresa
do be done in the Vatican

The canonisation of Mother

Teresa in the Vatican will be
marked by India with the
release of a commemorative
postage stamp.
India Post will on the day
issue a souvenir sheet on
Mother Teresa, acclaimed the
world over for her work
among the poor.
The stamp will be available
for sale on the e-post office
India Post released, in
Kolkata, a special postal and
numismatic cover on the
Roman Catholic nun.
West Bengal Chief Minister
Mamata Banerjee left for
Rome to attend Mother
Pope Francis proclaimed
Mother Teresa of Kolkata a

Pope Francis proclaimed

Mother Teresa of Kolkata a
saint, hailing her as the
personification of maternal
love and a powerful
advocate for the poor.
We may have some
difficulty in calling her Saint
Teresa, the pontiff said. Her
Holiness is so near to us, so
tender and so fruitful that we
continue to spontaneously
call her Mother.
The unscripted comments
came at a canonisation mass
attended by 100,000 pilgrims,
including 13 heads of state or

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government and hundreds of
sari-clad nuns from Teresas
order, the Missionaries of
India and China must be
sensitive to each others
concerns says PM

India and China must be

sensitive to each others
concerns, Prime Minister
Narendra Modi told Chinese
President Xi Jinping, when
the two leaders met on the
sidelines of the G-20 summit.
Mr. Modi raised several
terrorism emerging from
the area covered by the
China-Pakistan Economic
Corridor the $46 billion
connectivity project that
India has objected to.
In response, President Xi is
understood to have said that
China is willing to work
with India to maintain their
hard-won sound relations
Justice Chalameswar questions
transparency in collegium

Justice Jasti Chelameswar

said he took the stand solely
for the cause of transparency
and was not fighting for any
personal gain.
As a Collegium member and
the lone dissenting judge on
the Constitution Bench which
scrapped the National
Commission (NJAC) law and
upheld the two-decades-old

Collegium system of judges

appointing judges.
His letter revealed that even
certain members of the
Collegium were themselves
unaware of the basis on
which judicial appointments
were made.
The judiciary should evolve
a procedure for bringing in
appointments after having
governments arguments and
rescinded a parliamentary
law on NJAC, Justice
Chelameswar said.
The Centre may toughen its
stand against separatist leaders
in Jammu and Kashmir

The Centre may toughen its

stand against separatist
leaders in Jammu and
Kashmir, and security forces
are expected to be given a
larger role in the Valley.
The government has decided
to step up crackdowns
stonewalling the return of
normalcy in the Valley, which
has been under curfew almost
continuously for the past 60
Home Minister Rajnath Singh
met Prime Minister Narendra
Modi and informed him of the
"One thing is clear, we have
engaged with the people
there and it might have a
long-term impact. Now, the
short-term goal is to reopen
markets and schools and
bring normalcy to the State",
Govt. said.

ISROs GSLV-F05 rocket

carrying the INSAT-3DR to be

The 29-hour countdown for

the launch of Indian Space
(ISRO)s GSLV-F05 rocket,
carrying the INSAT-3DR
advanced weather satellite,
is scheduled to commence
on 7th sept.
The rocket, with the
indigenously developed
cryogenic upper stage as its
fourth stage, would place the
satellite, weighing 2,211-kg in
the Geostationary Transfer
Orbit (GTO).
GSLV-F05 would be the tenth
GSLV flight.
On being placed in the
intended orbit, INSAT-3DR
propulsion system to reach
its final geosynchronous
orbital home and will be
stationed at 74 deg East
longitude, ISRO said.
The advanced weather
satelliteis expected to
provide a variety of
meteorological services to
the country.
Terrorists and insurgents are
getting public support in some
parts of the country

Terrorists and insurgents are

getting public support in
some parts of the country and
unless this is stopped, India
will continue to get hit by
acts of terrorism, a report
prepared by the elite counterterror force NSG has said.
The analytical report on
recent bombing incidents in

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the country also raised
concern over the possible
leakage and use of ordnance
factory-made explosives by
terror outfits.
Until and unless the public
support to anti-national
elements stops, the acts of
terrorism will continue.
Sincere efforts are required
to mitigate the IED menace.
A Whole of Nation effort is
the way ahead to keep the
citizens of the country safe,
the report said.
Railway introduced flexifare
scheme on selected trains

The Railways introduced the

surge pricing system on the
Rajdhani, Duronto and
Shatabdi trains with effect
from September 9.
Under the new flexi fare
system, usually followed by
airlines, the base fare of
tickets will increase with the
rising demand.
The base fares will increase
10 per cent with every 10 per
cent of berths sold, the
Railway Ministry said.
Fares can go up to a
maximum of 1.5 times the
original base fare.
While the first 10 per cent of
the seats will be sold at the
normal fare, the base fare
will increase by 10 per cent
with every 10 per cent of
berths sold.
Once half the tickets are sold,
the rest will be sold at 1.5
times higher base fares for
2S, sleeper and 2AC coaches,
and 1.4 times higher for 3AC

Supreme court says first

information report needs to be
published within 24 hrs

exempted from publication
FIRs in certain cases. These
include cases of insurgency,
child abuse, sexual offences
and terrorism.
The FIRs registered in these
categories would continue to
be away from the public eye
owing to issues of privacy
and national interest.
The court agreed to a
submission by the Centre,
that the list of such sensitive
cases should be illustrative
and not exhaustive.
The decision to not post the
FIRs in such cases would be
taken by a police officer not
below the rank of a Deputy
Superintendent of Police or
the District Magistrate, who
need to communicate it to
the jurisdictional magistrate.
In case of complaint against
such non-publication of FIRs,
the Superintendent of Police
in rural areas and Police
Commissioner in metros, will
form a committee of three
officers, which will decide
on the complaint in three
In areas where Internet
access is limited, the Bench
extended the deadline for
publishing the FIR on
websites to 48 hours, which
can still further be stretched
to a maximum of 72 hours.
Accused persons cannot take
advantage of delay in
uploading of FIRs and seek
anticipatory bail on that

ground, the court specified.

The Delhi HC in its judgment
on December 6, 2010, had
upheld the right of the
accused to get copies of FIRs
even before the local
Magistrate ordered the
police to do so under Section
207 of the Code of Criminal
Andhar Pradesh to get special

It was suspense unlimited for

the Andhra media contingent,
which had been camping
outside the room of Union
Finance Minister, as the
promised press briefing on
the subject kept getting
As things stand, A.P. wont
get special status, a promise
made by the UPA led by
Manmohan Singh and
subsequently made an
electoral promise by the
Telugu Desam-BJP combine.
It is likely that the
announcement would be
some kind of a special
package Indications are the
delay is on account of the
within the Modi government
and consultations with Mr.
Chandrababu Naidu.
In a 2015, a report of the
Accountant-General of India
had said that the residuary
State is entitled to a payment
of Rs. 14,423 crore as
compensation for the
revenue loss it experienced
due to the bifurcation.
The Accountant-General has
submitted his report to Niti
Aayog which will take a final

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National Issues
reimbursement to the State.
The bifurcation of Andhra
impacted resource flow,
economic development and
the levels of publicly
provided services for the two
new States.
At the centre of this
bifurcation is the capital city
of Hyderabad, which has
been declared common
capital of the two States for
10 years. However, its
revenues will go to
PM stepped up attack on

Stepping up his attack on

Pakistan, Prime Minister
Narendra Modi said there
was one country in our
produces and exports
terror, and urged the
international community to
isolate and sanction this
Earlier, addressing the 14th
ASEAN-India Summit here,
Mr. Modi expressed deep
concern at the rising export
of terror, in an apparent
reference to Pakistan, saying
it is a common security threat
to the region.
He also noted that growing
radicalism through the
ideology of hatred and
spread of extreme violence
are the other security threats.
The time has come to isolate
and sanction this instigator,
he said.
His remarks directed at
Pakistan come just three days

after his address to G20

leaders at Hangzhou where
he had said one single
nation in South Asia was
spreading the agents of
The vector-borne Zika virus
poses a public health threat to

The vector-borne Zika virus,

which has triggered a health
alert in Latin America and
Singapore, poses a public
health threat to Kerala, health
experts have said.
The virus poses a risk for
pregnant women since it is
linked to children being born
with abnormally small head
and brain development.
Conditions for its spread in
the State may be conducive,
as there is a large travelling
The Health Department is
putting together a strategy to
pre-empt the virus. However,
many factors could thwart
With a high volume of
travellers arriving from
international airports, it
would be next to impossible
to keep this massive group
under surveillance for over
14 days.
Immigration authorities have
not cooperated to collect the
names and contact numbers
of travellers coming into the
State from Zika-affected
countries, the official said.

transmission of Zika virus
has been established in
Singapore (which has
reported over 290 cases of
Zika so far and many of those
tested positive should
perception for Kerala.
ISRO is preparing for a mission
to Venus or asteroid

The ISRO is mulling over

missions to Venus or an
asteroid and is under
discussions for these, apart
from a second mission to
Mars, ISRO Chairman A.S.
Kiran Kumar said.
ISRO also has a number of
launches in the coming years
including the Chandrayaan-2
and a joint mission with
NASA, Mr. Kumar told a
press conference.
Following the successful
launch of GSLV-F05, Mr.
Kiran Kumar said ISRO plans
to launch at least two GSLV
Mark II missions every year.
The indigenous cryogenic
upper stage has settled into
a system today.
ISRO was developing another
engine, C-25, that will be
twice as powerful as the
current one.
M.H. govt facing criticism from
the Centre for failing to use
funds for smart cities

The Maharashtra government

is facing criticism from the
Centre for failing to use funds
meant to create smart cities
under Prime Minister
Narendra Modis flagship
Smart Cities Mission (SCM).

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Development Department
(UDD) has rapped the State
government for failing to
spend a single rupee three
months after the first
instalment of Rs. 436 crore
was released for the projects
at Pune and Solapur.
The UDD has demanded
measures and an action taken
report (ATR) in the next
seven days.
The Pune plan also aims to
monitor movement of buses
with the help of vehicle
tracking system, making
transport safer by installing
panic buttons and CCTV
surveillance in buses, and
Wi-Fi in 510 buses.
The Solapur draft plan talks
infrastructure by installing
electronic water meters,
identifying water leakages,
and use of renewable
resources of energy.
The Centre has proposed to
construct smart cities on
certain parameters, including
water supply, sanitation, and
digital connectivity, among
SC to look into Gujrat govt.
upper caste reservation

Supreme Court gave relief to

numerous students who were
admitted under the Gujarat
governments 10 per cent
reservation policy for
However, the Bench clarified
the State shall not make any

attempts to revive the quota

law by implementing it in the
The Gujarat High Court
Unreserved Economically
Weaker Sections Ordinance,
2016, meant to quell the
powerful Patidar community
agitations for quota in the
State, after declaring it as
Issuing notice on the appeal
filed by the Gujarat
government against the HC
judgment, the Bench agreed
to list the case, which would
eventually take a decision on
further referring it to a fivejudge Constitution Bench.
The Gujarat government has
contended that the High Court
did not consider that the 10
per cent quota was based on
reasonable classification
and not reservation per se.
The State argued that though
the term reservation was
used in the ordinance, the
leeway allowed to the poor
among the upper castes
should be included as a
classification within the 50
per cent ceiling on quotas.

Union govt sought the views of

citizens on holding
simultaneous elections

The Union government has

sought the views of citizens
on holding simultaneous
elections to the Lok Sabha
and the State Assemblies,
following a debate sparked
by statements made by the
Prime Minister and the
On the MyGov web portal, a

discussion was started on

Wednesday. It outlines five
issues that could be
considered for formulating a
view on the subject. October
15 is the last date for
The MyGov Discussion
invites suggestions on five
indicative questions: (1) Is it
simultaneous elections? What
are the pros and cons?
(2) If simultaneous elections
are held, then for the first time
what happens to assemblies
whose scheduled tenure
either ends before or after the
proposed date of holding
(3) Should the term of Lok
Sabha and assemblies be
(4) What would happen if byelections are necessary
between terms?
(5) What happens in case the
ruling party or coalition
loses majority in between
term, either in Lok Sabha or
in State assemblies?
Simultaneous elections will
enforcement of the Model
Code of Conduct (MCC), a
set of legally binding dos and
donts for the Union/State
parties and candidates.
It has been a subject of
debate, particularly the merit
of its enforcement from the
date of announcement rather
than the date of notification
of the poll schedule, and its
adverse impact on effective
The MyGov discussion refers

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comments on September 5,
saying that with some
election or the other
throughout the year, normal
activities of the government
come to a standstill because
of the MCC.
Ministry of External Affairs
assigning Ministry's specific
countries to engage with

governments commitment to
reach out to all countries
worldwide, the Ministry of
External Affairs has issued
letters to various Ministers
assigning them dozens of
specific countries to engage
In a letter, External Affairs
Minister Sushma Swaraj said,
By 2016-end, we will not
leave any country where
Indian Ministers have not
The Ministry had identified
68 countries which had not
witnessed Ministerial-level
visits from India.
In case a Minister has some
personal work or is
interested in visiting certain
places in those countries, the
same will be included in
their schedule.
India wins Gold and Bronze at

Two of Indias athletes

ThangaveluMariyappan (21)
of Tamil Nadu and Varun
Singh Bhati of Noida
scripted history by winning
the gold and bronze medals
respectively in the mens high
jump T-42 event at the

Paralympics in Rio.
While Mariyappan jumped
1.89 metres, Bhati registered
a personal best of 1.86
Chief Minister Jayalalithaa
announcing a reward of Rs.
2 crore to the first Indian to
win a gold medal in the high
jump event in Paralympics.
At the age of five when he
was on the way to school. A
bus had run over his right leg,
crushing it below the knee,
leaving him with a permanent
disability. As a child, he was
fond of volleyball.
President says India requires
people who can work for the

Observing that the 21st

century is witnessing chaos
and strife of a very virulent
nature, President Pranab
Mukherjee said the country
required men and women,
who would work tirelessly
and selflessly, even at the
peril of their lives.
More than ever before, India
requires young men and
women to take up the
challenge of navigation
through troubled waters and
work tirelessly and selflessly
even at the peril of their lives
in the service of our Mother
land, the President said.
The countrys security
challenges apparently went
much beyond conventional
borders and conventional
threats, including a sizeable
diaspora, to protection in
unstable regions, energy
Mukherjee said.

\The cadets who became

officers in the Army on the
completion of their training
at the Academy have come
from various walks of life.
SC to hear Karnataka Govts
plea for Cauvery water sharing

The Supreme Court will open

on a holiday to hear the
Karnataka governments plea
to modify an order directing
it to share Cauvery water
with distressed neighbour
Tamil Nadu.
Turmoil and public unrest
happened in the State after
the Supreme Court order on
September 5 to release
15,000 cusecs of Cauvery
water to Tamil Nadu.
Karnataka said 66,000 cusecs
had already been released
between September 5 and 10
to Tamil Nadu as a goodwill
It said the water was for
storage purposes in Tamil
Nadu while Karnataka was
reeling under a drinking
water crisis.
The apex court had ordered
Karnataka to release 15,000
cusecs for 10 days to feed its
parched agricultural lands in
the interests of justice.
NITI Aayog submitted report to
PMO for road map for
elimination of poverty

A task force headed by NITI

Aayog Vice-Chairman Arvind
Panagariya to prepare a road
map for elimination of
poverty has submitted its
report to the Prime Ministers
It has suggested setting up of

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a committee to identify
people below the poverty
line (BPL).
The task force, which
included NITI Aayog member
Development, Housing and
Urban Poverty Alleviation,
participation from the States
in defining the BPL
Task force was not mandated
to work on fixing the poverty
line. Its terms of reference
included developing a
working definition of poverty
and coordinating and
developing synergy with
Central Ministries and State
government task forces.
According to the discussion
paper on poverty, official
measures are based on the
Tendulkar poverty line. But
the line is not without its
share of controversies, with
many terming it being too
This has prompted the
previous government to
appoint the Rangarajan
Committee, which has
recommended higher rural
and urban poverty lines.
considering four options for
tracking the poor. First,
continue with the Tendulkar
poverty line.Second, switch
to the Rangarajan or other
higher rural and urban
poverty lines.
Third, track progress over
time of the bottom 30 per
cent of the population and

last, track progress along

specific components of
poverty such as nutrition,
housing, drinking water,
sanitation, electricity and
Third and fourth options can
complement measurement of
poverty using a poverty line,
the paper suggested, adding
that they could not be a
substitute for it.
IAS officers Urge Govt to review
Prevention of Corruption Act
and CrPC

A delegation of the Central

IAS Officers Association
called on Minister of State in
the PMO and urged the
government to review some
of the provisions of the
Prevention of Corruption Act,
1988, and the Criminal
Procedure Code, 1973.
It will ensure that honest and
sincere officers are not
made scapegoats for bona
fide decisions taken in
public interest.
The meeting came against the
backdrop of the recent
suspension of a senior officer
in the Home Ministry
following the renewal of
Regulation Act licence to
Islamic preacher Zakir
Naiks Islamic Research
Foundation (IRF).
The association requested the
Centre to immediately
revoke his suspension.
Union Cabinet approved the
setting up of the GST Council
and its Secretariat

The Union Cabinet approved

the setting up of the Goods

& Services Tax (GST) Council
and its Secretariat.
The Empowered Committee
of State Finance Ministers on
the GST could cease to be the
forum at which the
discussions between the
Centre and States would take
place, the Centre said after
announcing the creation of
the Council.
The Empowered Committee
is headed by Amit Mitra,
Finance Minister of West
Bengal, a State that is yet to
ratify the constitutional
amendment enabling the rollout of the GST.
Each State is to nominate as
a voting member a minister,
who may or may not be
holding the finance or the
taxation portfolios.
The Centre will have two
representatives on the
Council: the Union Finance
Minister will chair it and
Union Minister of State incharge of Revenue, will be a

Bengaluru and parts of

Karnataka were gripped by
large scale violence

As Bengaluru and parts of

Karnataka were gripped by
large scale violence and
arson, one person died and
two were injured in police
Mobs set vehicles on fire and
attacked businesses with
Tamil names after the
Supreme Court ordered that
Cauvery water continue to
flow to Tamil Nadu.
Soon after the court declined

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to accept Karnatakas appeal
to freeze its September 5
order on release of water,
hundreds of protesters took
to Bengalurus streets,
burning vehicles with Tamil
Nadu registration numbers.
Prohibitory orders under
Section 144 were imposed in
Bengaluru and Mysuru, areas
around four reservoirs in the
Pandavapura in Mandya
The Centre approved the
enhancing of buffer stock of

The Centre approved the

enhancing of buffer stock of
pulses to 20 lakh tonnes so
as to stabilise the prices and
encourage farmers to scale
up production.
The government said the
specific variety of pulses and
their quantities for the buffer
stock would be decided on
the price and the availability.
The release of pulses from the
subsequent year will be
based on the prevailing pulse
[production] scenario as well
as the buffer stock position.
The requisite funds for this
operation will be provided
to the price stabilisation fund
scheme (PSFMC) of the
To create the buffer stock,
domestic procurement would
be done by the Food
Corporation of India, the
Federation of India and Small

Farmers Agriculture-Business
Law commission chairman
differs from SC Judge

In a view different from the

highest judiciarys call for
more judges to trim
pendency, Law Commission
of India Chairman and former
Supreme Court judge Justice
Balbir Singh Chauhan said
working judges, and not
increasing strength of judges.
Increasing the sanctioned
strength of judges will not
solve the problem. We need
working judges. Liberty has
become more important.
Workload has increased
because of an increase in
awareness among the public
and education. He said
There has been an expansion
of liberty and courts are
bound by the publics faith in
the judiciary, Justice
Chauhan, Chairman of the
21st Law Commission said.
His view comes at a time
when the Supreme Court has
Commission to file a report
within a year on whether it
is permissible to rid the apex
court of routine appeals
crowding the court.
Justice Chauhans views
come at a time when Chief
Justice of India T.S. Thakur
has called for over 70,000
more judges to be appointed
to courts all over the country
to clear the backlog.
This is when the present
vacancies in the High Courts
number over 480 when the
sanctioned strength is 1079.

The Supreme Court has itself

three vacancies in a total
sanctioned strength of 31
Asked whether an amended
Bill of the National Judicial
Appointments Commission
(NJAC) may be a way out of
perceived between the
highest judiciary and the
government over the drafting
of the Memorandum of
Democracy is a collective
opinion. Nobody has
primacy. There should be a
collective effort. You cannot
say we are the most
important, he said.
The October 16, 2015
judgment, which revived the
Collegium, was based on
primacy of judiciary in
judicial appointments.
On the Supreme Courts
reference in July 2016 to
review provisions of the
Advocates Act to curb
misconduct among lawyers,
he said the judiciary wants
more teeth to control
lawyers misconduct.

M.H. govt decided to make

loans on projects run by WSHGs

Even as big businesses

continue to default on
payments, the Maharashtra
government is reposing its
faith in women-run self-help
groups (WSHGs).
The State government has
decided to make loans on
approximate 78,000 WSHGs

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National Issues

interest-free. The move is

likely to aid expansion of the
WSHGs and enhance their
capacity for entrepreneurial
A proposal to increase the
governments share from the
current 50 per cent of the
interest towards loans to 100
per cent will be tabled at the
next Cabinet meeting by
Rural Development and
Pankaja Munde.
As per the proposal, the
repayment ratio of the
WSHGs is high, therefore the
interest-free loan scheme be
extended to encourage
entrepreneurs and promote
different projects in small
scale industrial sector.
The government is expanding
loans to SHGs that are
meeting its ten-point criteria,
but was traditionally directly
subsidising in cash.
The announcement of interest
free loan was first made by
Ms. Munde and Chief Minister
Devendra Fadnavis at Nagpur
a few months back.
The idea, in the long run, is
to promote women-oriented
businesses, and introduce
government branding and

Countries first hotline to curb


The country's first-ever

hotline to curb sexual abuse
of children through the
Internet and to remove child
pornographic content online

is set to be unveiled next

Aarambh Initiative, a
network of organisations and
individuals working on child
protection in the country, has
collaborated with the U.K.based Internet Watch
Foundation,which is the most
removing child pornography.
The hotline in India will be
hosted on aarambhindia.org
and will enable users to
report child sexual abuse
images and videos in a safe
and anonymous environment.
While the hotline will
initially be in English and
Hindi, it will be available in
22 regional languages.
India again rebuffed UN
OHCHRs reference to Jammu
and Kashmir

In another sharp rebuff to the

UN High Commissioner for
Human Rights reference to
Jammu and Kashmir, India
said it was concerned at the
persisting ambiguities in
the UN bodys governance.
India also asserted the
violence in the State was
choreographed from across
the border.
India also emphasised that it
has shared evidence of
terrorists who came across
the border with instructions
to target the security forces
by mingling with protesting
crowds and using them as
human shields.
India in its statement said,
We have noted the reference
in the High Commissioners
statement to the situation in

the Indian State of Jammu and

Prime Minister NarendraModi
will celebrate his 66th birthday
with tribals in Limkheda

NarendraModi will celebrate
his 66th birthday with tribals
in Limkheda and the
differently-abled in Navsari
after meeting his mother in
Gandhinagar on Saturday.
This will be Mr. Modis
second visit to Gujarat in
three weeks. Earlier, he was
in the State to open the first
phase of an ambitious
irrigation scheme in the
water-starved Narmada
Meanwhile, the State BJP unit
has announced that it would
hold health check-up, blood
donation and awareness
camps on the occasion of the
Prime Ministers birthday.
Centre counters SCs reason for
vacancies in the courts

The High Courts have, by and

large, delayed starting the
judicial appointments. The
delay on the High Courts
part is not just a case of
months, but these are fiveyear and six-year vacancies,
MukulRohatgi submitted
before a Bench.
With this, the Centre
countered Chief Justice
Thakurs threat that the
Supreme Court would be
forced to take judicial
notice of the governments
lack of interest in seeing a
robust judiciary.

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National Issues
Chief Justice Thakur bluntly
asked the government
whether it was trying to bring
the entire judicial institution
to a grinding halt by sitting
on recommendations of the
Supreme Court Collegium on
appointment and transfer of
judges to High Courts.
The apex court ordered the
Centre to furnish a complete
report on the status of 74
names the Collegium had
recommended for High Court
Attorney-General hinted that
the Chief Justice of India
should look within the
institution and not the
government to discover the
root cause of delayed
judicial appointments.
Numbers of vacancies in the
High Courts have mounted to
485 over 45 per cent of the
total sanctioned strength of
The process of judicial
appointments to the High
Court is kick-started by High
Court Collegiums, which
shortlists the names for
judgeship and forwards them
to the Centre.
The latter refers the list to the
Supreme Court Collegium,
which makes the final
selection and returns it to the
government for the necessary
background checks.
India is likely to offer Nepal
help in building an east-west
railway line

India is likely to offer Nepals

new Prime Minister help in
building an east-west railway
line and better access to its

ports on his first visit this

week, as it tries to regain
ground lost recently to China.
Pusp Kumar Dahal, or
Prachanda, a former Maoist
rebel commander, has
chosen New Delhi as his first
foreign stop, seeking to
rebalance ties that chilled
Nepal has yet to complete a
political transition after a
decade-long insurgency and
weeks of deadly street
protests that brought down
the monarchy nearly a
decade ago.
constitution is still a source
of rancour for southern plains
people who mounted a fivemonth border blockade that
ended earlier this year.
The countrys last government
said the fuel and trade
embargo had the tacit
backing of India a charge
New Delhi has denied.
An Indian railway official
said the project that runs
parallel to Nepals 1,030 km
east-west highway has been
talked about in the past, but
that the two countries are
now discussing financial

PM Modi celebrated his 66th

birthday with tribals in central

Prime Minister Narendra

Modi celebrated his 66th
birthday with tribals in
central Gujarat, where he
announced several irrigation
schemes, and he distributed
assistive devices and kits to

over 11000 specially abled

In the tribal district of Dahod,
the Prime Minister announced
several water supply and lift
irrigation projects worth Rs
4800 crore under the Gujarat
government's Vanbandhu
Kalyan Yojna.
In Navsari, the Prime Minister
distributed kits and assistive
devices such as wheelchairs
and hearing aids to specially
abled persons.
According to Mr Modi,
previous governments held
only 57 camps for divyangs
while the NDA government
held 4,000 in only two years.
Niti Aayog will start ranking

Niti Aayog will start ranking

States on outcomes in social
sectors such as healthcare,
water and education from
next month.
"If 39 per cent of the
population is stunted and
nutrition is poor, you cant
move up the ladder and will
lose the advantage of a young
demographic, Mr. Kant said.
The Centres think tank is
finalising new indices to
track the States performance
on parameters pertaining to
education, water and health
"India has done a lot on
access to education, but
quality of education is
extremely poor. Our Class V
student is not able to do
addition and subtraction.
Our Class II students cant
read their mother tongue, he

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National Issues
UN says August equalled July as
the hottest month in modern

August equalled July as the

hottest month in modern
times, the UNs weather
agency said, warning that
extraordinary temperatures
were set to become the new
Meteorological Organisation
(WMO) also forecast that
2016 will prove to be the
warmest year on Earth over
137 years of record-keeping.
It is looking likely that 2016
will (be) the hottest year on
record, surpassing the
incredible temperatures
witnessed in 2015.
The average temperature last
month was 0.16 degrees
warmer than the previous
hottest August, which was in
2014. Last month was also
0.98 degrees warmer than the
average August temperature
from 1950-1980, the WMO
PM and Home Minister terms
terrorist attack in Uri as

Prime Minister Narendra

Modi termed terrorist strike
on the Army unit in Uri a
cowardly terror attack.
I assure the nation that those
behind this despicable attack
will not go unpunished, he
Hours after the attack, Home
Minister Rajnath Singh
blamed Pakistan and called
it a terrorist state which
should be identified and

Mr. Singh, who postponed his
Russia and U.S. trips in the
wake of the attack, also
apprised the PM of the twohour-long security review
meeting at his residence.
Defence Minister Manohar
Parrikar said the supreme
sacrifice of 17 brave
soldiers, who were martyred
in the deadly Uri attack will
not go in vain as he instructed
the Army to take firm action
against those responsible.
Mr Parrikar also visited the
injured soldiers at the
hospital in Srinagar and
instructed the authorities to
provide best possible
Defence sources said that 35 soldiers have also been
airlifted to the Army
Research and Referral
Chief Minister Mehbooba
Mufti said the attack was
aimed at triggering fresh
violence and creating a warlike situation in the region.
Experts say India has wide
range of options against

India has a wide range of

options for a measured and
effective response to the
attack in Uri, veteran
diplomats and experts said.
They said India was left with
no option but to retaliate,
heightening the possibility of
an imminent escalation of
Pakistan is isolated within
SAARC, as three members of
the regional group have

accused it of sponsoring
Afghanistan, Bangladesh and
Islamabad of sponsoring
terrorism that ISI continues to
generate, irrespective of the
condition of the bilateral ties
with India.
Such attacks take place
irrespective of the ties being
response therefore has to be
forcefully enunciated, said
G. Parthasarathy, former
High Commissioner of India
to Pakistan.
The attack in Uri, close to the
Line of Control (LoC),
revived memories of the
Kaluchak attack of 2002
which claimed at least 31
lives. Mr. Parthasarathy said
the government could
consider a mix of diplomatic
and multilateral response.
Diplomats said a major
challenge in crafting a
suitable response to Pakistan
was its ability to use its
nuclear umbrella as a shield
for unconventional warfare
with India.
Former Foreign Secretary
Kanwal Sibal said the Indian
should introspect about how
the militants succeeded in
attacking the base eight
months after the Pathankot
air base attack.
India will, however, have to
watch out, Dr. Stobdan said,
for the presence of Chinese
nationals in PoK who are
employed to build the China
Pakistan Economic Corridor

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National Issues
The attack in Uri has come as
Pakistan Prime Minister
Nawaz Sharif left for the
annual meeting of the heads
of governments at the U.N.
General Assembly, where
India and Pakistan are likely
to counter each other on the
terror issue.
During the 33rd session of the
UNHRC, India had accused
Pakistan of being the global
epicentre of terrorism.
Niti aayog oppose to the idea of
special category status

The Centre was almost

prepared to grant the Special
Category Status (SCS) to
Andhra Pradesh but two
factors dissuaded it from
going ahead clamour from
nine more States for the same
tag and NITI Aayog ruling out
the possibility.
Granting SCS to AP would
have taken the sting out of
Opposition criticism and
earned the NDA, including
TDP, a lot of goodwill from
the people of the State.
The Minister asserted that the
class of SCS would cease to
Commission report.
Quoting from its report, he
said it took into account
disabilities arising out of
constraints unique to each
state to arrive at expenditure
needs and recommended
filling of resource gaps
mainly through increased tax
Where devolution was not
able to cover the assessed
gap, it had recommended

post-devolution grants for

revenue deficit and the
Centre has agreed to take
that responsibility in the case
of AP spread over five years.
SC body slashed the quantum of
Cauvery water that Karnataka
is required to release

empowered by the Supreme
Court, has slashed by three
fourths the quantum of
Cauvery water that Karnataka
is required to release
September 21 and September
However the body has failed
to get Karnataka and Tamil
Nadu closer to a lasting
solution over the watersharing dispute.
Karnataka and Tamil Nadu
are expected to approach the
Supreme Court to seek fresh
The Cauvery Supervisory
Committee (CSC) on Monday
ordered Karnataka to release
3,000 cubic feet of water per
second (cusecs) for the rest
of the month.\
The decision on the quantum
of release arrived at after
calculating water availability
in the river, monsoon
performance, agricultural
requirements in both States,
was rejected by both States.
The supervisory committee,
at its previous meeting on
September 12, had failed to
arrive at any decision for
information on water

Government stepped up
diplomatic offensive against

A day after the attack on an

Army base in Uri, the
government stepped up a
diplomatic offensive against
Pakistan to have it declared
a global terrorist state, and
Army said it reserved the
right to respond at the time
and place of its choosing.
UN should take up this issue
in a serious manner because
terrorism is an enemy of
humanity. Pakistan has
become an epicentre of
terrorism; its high time that
United Nations comes
forward to declare Pakistan
a terrorist state said the
While the U.S. has designated
Iran, Syria and Sudan as
state sponsors of terror, the
U.N. designates entities and
not states.
After the U.S. and U.K.s
statements of condemnation,
France, Canada, Russia and
statements supporting India,
even as France and China
called for talks between
India and Pakistan on the
Kashmir dispute.
The government plans to raise
the issue of cross-border
terror at the U.N. when
External Affairs Minister
Sushma Swaraj addresses the
General Assembly on
September 26.
Among the options being
discussed are targeted
strikes on terror camps and
targeting of Pakistani posts

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National Issues
along the LoC which allow
terror groups to infiltrate into
Jammu and Kashmir.
However, defence officials
are understood to have
indicated that a swift strike
may be unfeasible, and could
cause civilian casualties.
installations across J&K have
been put on high alert with
personnel being told not to
venture out to civilian areas.
Intelligence inputs have
indicated that there could be
more terrorists who have
infiltrated in recent days.
Lancet report points to high no.
of maternal deaths in India

The latest Lancet series on

maternal health reveals that
nearly one quarter of babies
worldwide are still delivered
in the absence of a skilled
birth attendant.
Further, one-third of the total
maternal deaths in 2015
happened in India, where
45,000 mothers died during
pregnancy or childbirth
while Nigeria shouldered the
maximum burden of 58,000
maternal deaths.
Each year, about 210 million
women become pregnant
and about 140 million
The Lancet has published a
new series of papers on
maternal health which reveal
that while progress has been
made in reducing maternal
differences remain at
international and national

While facility and skilled

birth attendant deliveries are
increasing in many lowincome countries, the
authors say that phrases such
as skilled birth attendant
and emergency obstetric
care can mask poor quality
Additionally, many birth
resources such as water,
sanitation and electricity.
In high-income countries,
rates of maternal mortality
are decreasing but there is
still wide variation at
national and international
For instance, in the U.S., the
maternal mortality ratio is 14
per 1,00,000 live births
compared to 4 per 1,00,000
in Sweden.
The sub-Saharan African
region accounted for an
estimated 66% (2,01,000) of
global maternal deaths,
followed by southern Asia at
22% (66,000 deaths).
However, the authors warn
that not all care is evidencebased, and improved
surveillance is needed to
understand the causes of
maternal deaths when they
do occur.

Govt releases list of 27 new

smart cities

Prime Minister Narendra

constituency Varanasi has
made its way to the list of 27
new smart cities announced
by the Urban Development
Varanasi is one of the three

cities, others being Agra and

Kanpur, from Uttar Pradesh
which goes to the polls next
year, which are part of the
list of new smart cities.
The 27 cities, including
Madurai, were selected after
three rounds of competition,
with the total number
selected under Smart City
Mission standing at 60.
Govt said the new 27 smart
cities proposed projects
worth Rs. 66,883 crore under
Smart City Mission, including
Rs. 42,524 crore under areabased development and
technology-based pan-city
With five cities, Maharashtra
has the highest number of
cities on the list. The 27 new
cities are from 12 States,
including four each from
Tamil Nadu and Karnataka,
three from Uttar Pradesh and
two each from Punjab and
Rajasthan. Nagaland and
Sikkim have made it to the
list for the first time.
Amritsar topped the list of 27
new smart cities chosen
among 63 total cities.
Eight other cities of pilgrim
and tourism importance that
have made it to the third list
are Ujjain, Tirupati, Nashik,
Madurai, Thanjavur and
Ajmer, apart from Agra and
The implementation of Smart
City Mission is now spread
over 27 States and Union
The nine States and Union
Territories that are yet to
enter the implementation

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National Issues
phase are Uttarakhand,
Lakshadweep, Daman and
Diu and Dadra, Nagar and
Each of these cities will
receive a Central assistance
of Rs. 200 crore in the first
year and Rs. 100 crore over
the three subsequent financial
years, and the State Govts
and urban local bodies will
contribution of Rs. 500 crore.
The Centre plans to transform
100 cities by 2019-20 by
providing Rs. 48,000 crore in
financial support over five
Supreme Court directed
Karnataka to release 6000
cusecs of Cauvery water per

The Supreme Court directed

Karnataka to release 6000
cusecs of Cauvery water per
day to neighbouring Tamil
A Bench led by Justice Dipak
Misra directed Karnataka to
release this amount from its
reservoirs for the period
between September 21 to
September 27, the next date
of hearing in the Supreme
Despite objections by senior
advocate Fali Nariman for
Karnataka that the State was
in dire need of drinking
water, the Bench doubled the
quantum ordered to be
released by the Cauvery
Supervisory Committee

barely 24 hours ago.

The court order was a severe
blow to Karnataka, which
began the hearing by
Committees order to release
3000 cusecs to Tamil Nadu
till September 30.
The order has also impacted
its challenge to the Cauvery
Water Disputes Tribunal
verdict in 2007 by directing
the Centre to set up the
Cauvery Management Board
within four weeks.
The setting up of the Board,
envisaged by the tribunal,
was put on hold due to
Karnatakas litigation.

Indias first inter-State river

interlinking project got a goahead from NBWL

Indias first inter-State river

interlinking project was
given a go-ahead by the
National Board for Wildlife
(NBWL).This would be the
first time that a river project
will be located within a tiger
The Rs. 10,000-crore KenBetwa project will irrigate
Bundelkhand region but, in
the process, also submerge
about 10 per cent of the
Panna Tiger Reserve in
Madhya Pradesh, feted as a
model tiger-conservation
The main feature of the
project is a 230-km long
canal and a series of barrages
and dams connecting the Ken
and Betwa rivers that will
irrigate 3.5 lakh hectares in
Madhya Pradesh and 14,000

hectares of Uttar Pradesh, in

The key projects are the
Makodia and Dhaudhan
dams, the latter expected to
be 77 m high and
responsible for submerging
5,803 hectares of tiger habitat
in the Panna tiger reserve.
According to the NBWL,
6,221 hectares 4,141 of
which is core forest and
located inside the reserve
will be inundated when, and
if, the proposed reservoir is
filled to the brim.
A key point of contention
between wildlife experts
associated with the impact
proponents in the Water
Resources Ministry was
whether the height of the
Daudhan dam could be
reduced to limit the water
overflow .
The Ken Betwa project is
divided into two phases and
these clearances are only
valid for the 1st phase. The
wildlife clearance will pave
the way for the forest
clearance and environment
clearance process.

Single Budget from next year

With the ambition of putting

an end to the populism, the
Union Cabinet has decided to
bring the curtains down on
the 92-year-old tradition of
presenting a separate Rail
It has been decided to merge
the Rail Budget and the
General Budget. Railway
Minister will not present
budget for the year 2017-18.

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National Issues
Instead, Finance Minister will
present a unified budget.
The decision, taken on the
recommendation of a NITI
Aayog committee headed by
its member Bibek Debroy,
reflects the decrease over
time in the relative size of the
Rail Budget compared to
components in the General
Budget, such as defence and
roads & highways.
Reform was intended to
deglamorise the Railways
portfolio and discourage the
leveraging of the Rail Budget
for handing out largesse to
vote banks.
Decisions like that are
commercially crucial but
especially fare hikes would
now become routine ones
taken any time during the
course of a year without as
much public glare, said an
Govt made significant changes
to the National Mission for
Clean Ganga

The Union Cabinet has

approved changes allowing
the National Mission for
Clean Ganga to fine those
responsible for polluting the
river. Earlier this power was
vested solely with the Central
Pollution Control Board.
The Rs. 20,000-crore National
Mission for Clean Ganga
(NMCG) is among the
flagship initiatives of the
government and though at
least 230 projects have been
sanctioned this year there is
very little progress on the

The bulk of the river cleaning
projects involve setting up of
sewage treatment plants,
installing trash skimmers and
beautifying the ghats.
The NMCG has been a
registered society since 2012
and its role is largely to fund
projects to implementing
organisations. It didnt have
legal powers to tackle
various threats or issue
directions to polluters.
The NMCG, which now has
the status of an Authority, will
have a two-tier management
structure with a governing
council to be chaired by a
Director General. There will
India said Pakistans campaign
had failed

campaign to highlight
Kashmir at the United
Nations had failed even as
Govt stopped short of giving
a definite answer on Prime
Minister Narendra Modis
plans to attend the November
SAARC summit in Islamabad.
Uncertainty continued over
Mr. Modis presence at
SAARC as India held
Afghanistan and the U.S., and
pushed Pakistan to shut down
the infrastructure of terrorism
affecting South Asia and the
SAARC stands for regional
cooperation which is
underpinned by peace and
stability. The biggest threat
to peace and stability we all

know is terrorism.
Squarely addressing this will
benefit the entire region and
also strengthen regional
Indias stand on solidarity
among terror victims came
after Prime Minister Nawaz
Sharif described slain Hizbul
BurhanWani as a young
leader in his UNGA speech.
India had rebutted it by
saying that the Pakistani
leader had used the highest
podium of the U.N. to
glorify terrorism.
The India-Afghan common
approach to regional
terrorism was also boosted
by the India-U.S.-Afghanistan
trilateral that was held on the
sidelines of the UNGA on
September 21 in New York.
The trilateral covered peace
and reconciliation and the
Grain production likely to touch
record figure in this Kharif

Indias grain production in

the ongoing kharif (2016-17)
season is likely to be a
record high 135.03 million
tonnes, with an improved
output of rice and pulses,
thanks to a good monsoon.
We are likely to achieve an
all-time high grain production
which could be nearly four
million tonnes more than the
previous record, Agriculture
Minister Radha Mohan Singh
India achieved a record
kharif production of 131.27

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National Issues
million tonnes during 201112. The production for 201516 stood at 124.01 million
Govt agreed to give permit to 10
hydro electric projects

The Ministry of Environment,

Forest and Climate Change
has agreed to consider the
States request and permit
the 10 hydro electric projects
(HEPs) of less than 25MW
capacity of a total combined
capacity of 82.3 MW.
However, the Ministry has
said that cumulative impact
assessment study of the
Bhagirathi Basin must be
carried out for it to decide
whether the 10 projects were
According to the Central
government notification of
December 18, 2012, a 100kilometre stretch of the river
Bhagirathi from Gaumukh to
Uttarkashi, feeding an area of
4,179.59 sqkm, was to be
declared eco-sensitive.
The notification mentions that
HEPs of only upto 2 MW can
be built in the notified area.
The State government had
sought amendments in the
incorporate HEPs of upto 25
MW capacity in it.
According to the State
government data on the
Bhagirathi river, 16 HEPs
with a capacity of 1,743 MW
are in various stages of
In a meeting held with
officials on August 31 in New
Delhi, State government

officials discussed the

problems arising from the
ESZ notification of 2012,
which included the HEPs.
The Ministry has also asked
the Uttarakhand government
to initiate a carrying capacity
analysis for a Bhagirathi
River Basin Cumulative
Impact Assessment Study for
establishment of HEPs.
Lakhs of private hospital nurses
to get benefits

Lakhs of ill-paid and overworked nurses in private

hospitals and nursing homes
can at last hold their heads
The Central government has
instructed the States and
Union Territories to frame
laws to ensure that nurses
hospitals and nursing homes
enjoy working conditions on
a par with government
The definitive move from the
government marks a major
victory for private nurses
who have waged a prolonged
legal battle in the Supreme
Court for basic human and
work rights from their
The Centres move was
triggered by a scathing report
from a committee set up
by the Union Ministry of
Health and Family Welfare as
per a Supreme Court order
that working conditions and
pay of nurses in private
hospitals were really
The apex court, on a batch
of petitions from nurses

bodies led by Trained Nurses

Association of India, had
ordered that the Committees
recommendations be made
into law either by the Centre
or the States.
The Centre wants the new law
to ensure that nurses working
in private hospitals with over
200 beds should be given a
salary on par with that drawn
by State government nurses
of the corresponding grade.
In private hospitals with
more than 100 beds, nurses
should be paid a salary not
less than 10 per cent in
comparison of the salary of
State government nurses of
similar grade.
In case of private hospitals
with number of beds ranging
between 50 and 100, the
salary of nurses should not
be less than 25 per cent of
that drawn by government
nurses of the same grade.
The salary given to private
nurses should not be less
than Rs. 20,000 per month in
any case even for nurses
working with hospitals with
less than 50 beds.

Apex court to listen the Maggi


The Supreme Court has

agreed to hear a plea by
Nestle India for permission
to destroy over 500 tonnes of
recalled stock of Maggi
noodles past their expiry
A Bench of Justices Dipak
Misra and C. Nagappan will
hear the petition on
September 30, while asking
the Food Safety and

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National Issues
Standards Authority of India
(FSSAI) to file its response by
that time.
Nestle said huge quantities of
noodles are stored in 39
locations all over the
country. Over 38,000 tonnes
incinerated as of September
1, 2015 following the due
process agreed with the food
Continuing to store massive
quantities of noodles past
their shelf life may prove to
be a hazard to health.
But the FSSAI counsel
submitted that the destruction
of stocks can also be
construed as destruction of
evidence, especially when
the matter is pending in the
apex court.
PM talked directly to the people
of Pakistan

Prime Minister Narendra

Modi s first public speech
after the terror attack in Uri
did not disappoint in the
sharpness of its message to
He invoked the people of
Pakistan in a direct dialogue,
urging them to fight common
socioeconomic ills that alict
both neighbours, while
warning that country's
leadership that any threat to
India's security will be
strongly met.
Speaking at a well-attended
public meeting on the
Saturday on the sidelines of
the BJP national council
meet, Mr. Modi also accused
Pakistan Prime Minister

Nawaz Sharif of reading from

a script prepared by
terrorists at the United
Nations General Assembly
last week, in his serenade to
Kashmir .
Balochistan speech at the Red
Fort on August 15, Mr. Modi
reminded Pakistan of its own
internal strife in Sindh,
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and
The rally, held on the first day
of the national council
meeting, was expected to
contain a strong message to
Pakistan and address the
outrage both in the country
and Sangh cadre.
PMO intervenes on rail tariff
regulator issue

The Prime Ministers Office

has asked the Railways to
apply the brakes on its
ambitious fast track plan to
set up an independent
regulator for freight and
passenger tariffs
The PMO has asked the
Ministry to follow the
legislative route to create the
regulator rather than push it
through an executive order.
The Ministry had proposed
Rail Development Authority
by issuing a notification
through an executive order
and subsequently strengthen
its powers through the
legislative process, in a bid
to bypass possible hurdles in
After decision to merge the
rail Budget with the general
Budget, Railway Minister had
cited setting up of an

independent regulator to
determine tarif as per the
market demand as the
topmost priority for the
The legislative route may be
a major setback for the
Railways on this front, as it
was banking on creating the
independent regulator this
year in order to perk up its
financial performance in the
first half of this fiscal year.
India concluded deal of Rafale
fighter aircraft

The conclusion of the deal for

36 Rafale fighter jets is
awelcome step to augment
the capabilities of the Indian
Air Force but the number is
too small for logistical and
operational reasons.
They also agreed that until
India can build its own
aircraft, the increasing
diversity in the fleet cannot
be addressed, another cause
of concern for the IAF.
India and France signed the
Agreement (IGA), ending
negotiations for the direct
purchase which began after
PM Modi announced the
direct purchase in April 2015.
The deal, interestingly, does
not have an optional clause,
which means the IAF will
have just two squadrons in
The deal for 36 aircraft is
valued at 7.87 bn or about
Rs. 1,630 crore per plane and
it included the spares,
weapons, maintenance and
performance guarantee for

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National Issues
five years.
The average cost of the basic
aircraft is 91 million or
about Rs. 680 crore and the
36 jets include 28 single and
eight trainer variants.
Government is weighing
extreme diplomatic actions
against Pakistan

In an indication that the

government was weighing
extreme diplomatic actions
against Pakistan, Prime
Minister Narendra Modi is
expected to chair a meeting
on the Indus Waters Treaty
The IWT between India and
Pakistan was sealed in 1960.
The IWT, brokered by the
World Bank, was signed
between the then Prime
Minister Jawaharlal Nehru
and his Pakistani counterpart
General Ayub Khan.
The meeting that the Prime
Minister will chair would
have representatives from the
Water Resources and
External Affairs Ministries.
The meeting comes in the
wake of Mr. Modis first
public speech post-Uri
attacks in Kozhikode. Mr.
government would take
measures to isolate Pakistan
PM again said that terrorists
will be punished

Prime Minister Narendra

perpetrators of the Uri terror
attack would be punished
and the Army did not speak
but exhibited its valour.

I pay tributes to our 18

soldiers who lost their lives
in the Uri attack. This
cowardly act was enough to
shake the country. It has not
only left the people mourning
but has also infuriated them."
"The loss of our soldiers is a
national loss, and therefore I
would like to reiterate that the
guilty would be punished,
he said in his Mann Ki Baat
radio programme.
Mr. Modi said he reposed
faith in the Army. We have
faith in our Army. With their
courage, they will defeat any
attempt at such conspiracies.
Our Army doesnt speak but
with their actions they show
their valour, he said.
He said the Kashmiri people
started moving on the path of
peace and wanted normality
to return as they identified
the anti-national forces.
medallists at the Rio
Paralympics, Mr. Modi said
the government was working
towards development of
Stressing the cleanliness
drive under Swachh Bharat
Mission, Mr. Modi said:
Swachh Bharat Mission was
started two years ago this
day, and today I can
confidently say the people
are more cautious about
Mr. Modi urged the youth to
come up with new start-ups
based on the concept of
Waste to Wealth, so that
revenue models could be
associated with cleanliness.
He asked the people to buy

Khadi products on Gandhi

Jayanti to support the poor.
He also hailed the people for
supporting his call to give up
their LPG subsidy.
Ratification of climate deal on
2nd October

India will ratify its U.N.

climate change commitments
next month to mark Mahatma
Gandhis birth anniversary
and as a tribute to Deendayal
Upadhyaya, Prime Minister
Narendra Modi announced.
On October 2, we will ratify
it. Mahatma Gandhis life
perhaps left the least carbon
footprint on earth. We follow
his ideals and India will play
its part in ratifying the Paris
agreement, Mr Modi told.
The announcement comes a
day before External Affairs
Minister Sushma Swaraj is
expected to speak at the U.N.
General Assembly.
welcomed by the US
government that said it was
Govt mulls over Indus water

Declaring that blood and

water cannot flow together,
Prime Minister Narendra
Modi held a meeting of
officials from the Water
Resources and EAM to
discuss the governments
options on the India-Pakistan
Indus Waters Treaty.
While the meeting decided to
suspend further water talks
and increase the utilisation of
rivers flowing through

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National Issues
Jammu and Kashmir to
maximise Indias share, there
was no decision on either
reviewing or abrogating the
1960 treaty.
The government decided to
suspend talks on the
Commission, the dispute
redressal mechanism that has
met 112 times, until terror
comes to an end.
According to Article VIII of
the Indus Waters Treaty, the
Commission must meet once
a year, alternately in India
and Pakistan. The last
meeting was held in July
According to the sources, the
Prime Minister held the
meeting as things have been
difficult with Pakistan,
adding that, hence, this was
the appropriate time to
review arrangements under
the Indus Waters Treaty
Ankit Kawatra gets UN acclaim

Troubled to see the amount

of food being wasted in the
big, fat Indian weddings,
management graduate Ankit
Kawatra came up with the
solution to redistribute it
among the hungry.
Mr. Kawatra, who left his
corporate job to start
Feeding India, is among the
17 people selected for the
inaugural class of U.N. Young
Leaders for Sustainable
Development Goals for his
The young leaders were
selected by the U.N. from

nominations from 186

He established his own
NGO, Feeding India, which
now claims to have fed 1
million meals with a network
of 2,000 volunteers across 28
cities in the country.
They work towards solving
hunger and malnutrition in
India by redistributing excess
food from weddings,
banquets and households.
Army is recalibrating its
techniques around LOC

The Army has recalibrated its

tactics along the LoC over
the past few days and has
achieved a dynamic
allowing it to exercise
various military options at
a short notice, defence
sources said.
They said the Army is in high
operational readiness, a
development following the
Uri attack in which 18
soldiers were killed.
Troop positions along the
LoC have been reinforced and
gun positions moved.
Pakistan has closed its
airspace over Pak-occupied
Kashmir without giving any
India to boycott Islamabad
SAARC meet

Stepping up diplomacy
pressure on Pakistan, India
said, In the prevailing
government is unable to
participate in the November
SAARC summit in Islamabad.

The decision on cancelling

Indian participation was
taken even as discussions
continued about steps such
as reviewing the MFN status
for Pakistan following the Uri
Afghanistan, Bangladesh and
Bhutan are also likely to stay
away from the Islamabad
unprecedented as this is the
first time that India has
cancelled participation in the
regional groups summit
meeting because of actions
that it blames on Pakistanbased elements.
The tough step had been
under consideration since the
Uri attack, the second such
cross border strike in nine
months after the January 2
Pathankot airbase strike.
India had earlier accepted
Pakistans invitation for the
summit in March during a
ministerial meeting held in
Earlier in the day, India
summoned Pakistan High
Commissioner to firm up its
case on the Uri attack. The
envoy was summoned for the
second time since the
September 18 attack.
Mr. Awan also identified one
of the slain attackers as one
Hafiz Ahmed from Dharbang,
Muzaffarabad and disclosed
that two handlers for the raid
were Mohammed Kabir Awan
and Basharat.
apprehended on September
23, opposite Pakistans
Sialkot sector, one Pakistani

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National Issues
national named Abdul
Qayoom who confessed that
he underwent three weeks of
training with the Lashkar-eTaiba.
The Prime Ministers Office
has called for a meeting on
Thursday on Most Favoured
Nation status-related issues.
The meeting, which is part of
the diplomatic measures to
target Pakistan for its alleged
role in Uri, will be attended
by officials from the
Ministries of External Affairs
and Commerce.
India had granted the MFN
status to Pakistan in 1996 as
part of its commitments on
joining the World Trade
India has still not taken any
decision on Indus water treaty

India has not yet taken a

decision to suspend but was
in the process of reviewing
its decision to stay on in the
Indus Commission.
Indias Indus Commissioner
P.K. Saxena is in Washington
to discuss with World Bank
officials Indias position on
the Kishenganga hydropower project, an older
dispute going on with
Pakistan over building a runof-the-river project.
India would pursue in
mission mode its plans to
ramp up hydroelectric
power projects and utilise to
the fullest what was due to
it under the water-sharing
agreements under the pact.
completing hydro-power

projects and expanding

irrigation in Jammu and
Kashmir by about 50 per
Declaring that blood and
water cannot flow together,
Prime Minister Modi on
Monday held a meeting of
senior officials from the
Water Resources and
External Affairs Ministries
and the PMO to discuss the
governments options on the
Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh
best performers in Swachh
Bharat Mission

Sikkim and Himachal

Pradesh have the maximum
percentage of villages that
are Open Defecation Free
according to the criteria of
the Swachh Bharat Mission.
While the northeastern State
scores a hundred per cent, as
per the current tally,
Himachal Pradesh scores
55.95 per cent.
Other better performing
States with village-level
achievements are Haryana
and Meghalaya with just over
41 per cent each, Gujarat
(37.58 per cent), Maharashtra
Chhattisgarh (24.91 per cent)
and Rajasthan (23.83 per
Kerala, which leads in
overall household toilet
coverage as per Swachh
Bharat surveys, is in the list
with only 19.92 per cent,
indicating that declarations
play a role in the overall
Besides these, the other

States identified by the

Mission trail the rest with
lower coverage. The total
number of districts declared
ODF in the country stand at
For purposes of assessing
performance, the Swachh
Bharat Mission considers
both individual household
latrine coverage and ODF.
Three cities in Karnataka
coastal Mangaluru, Udupi
and Mysuru have been
declared open defecation
free this week in the survey
conducted among 75 cities
across the country under
Mysuru scored again, after it
topped the list of clean
cities for two consecutive
years. A recent survey of 476
cities had also declared
Mangaluru the third cleanest
in India.
After Indias snub to SAARC
summit, it is likely to be

The SAARC summit of 2016

will be cancelled. The
confirmation from Nepal, the
current SAARC Chair, came
hours after Bangladesh,
Bhutan and Afghanistan
decided, like India, to stay
away from the summit
scheduled for November in
Nepal had not taken any
decision as it is the SAARC
Chair and will have to follow
proper official procedure
before announcing the
The leaders of India,

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National Issues

Bangladesh, Bhutan and

Afghanistan do not want to
share the dais with Pakistan
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
India argued that the SAARC
rules are clear that the
summit meeting cannot be
held if one member
Like India that cited crossborder terrorist attacks in the
region as a reason for
boycotting the summit,
Bangladesh, Bhutan and
Afghanistan too expressed
similar concerns in their
official notes to Kathmandu.
The cancellation will be
unprecedented as four
terrorism , interference
and imposed violence
while withdrawing from the
In the past, summits were
postponed after quiet
consultation but this time,
major members of the
regional grouping openly
cited terrorism emanating
from Pakistan as the reason
for non-participation.

Govt is thinking about plan of

SAARC minus Pakistan

India is going ahead with its

plan for SAARC minus
Pakistan instead. The fact
that India did not pull out
alone but that Afghanistan,
Bangladesh and Bhutan also
did so, citing the same
reason, was a significant step
in that direction for the
Motor vehicle movement
agreement, railway linkages,
and the SAARC satellite

programme for which all

SAARC countries apart from
Pakistan have signed up.
With Afghanistan, which
cannot be accessed by land,
the two governments have
discussed a separate air
corridor for cargo.
A bigger articulation of that
vision is expected in midOctober, when India hosts
the BIMSTEC outreach
summit on the sidelines of the
BRICS summit in Goa.
The initiative for Bangladesh,
India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka,
Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal
is expected to see proposals
on transport as well as
electricity and broadband
Another grouping of India,
Maldives, Nepal, and Sri
Lanka met for the South Asia
Sub-regional Economic
programme in Delhi to
release the first SASEC
Operational Plan 2016-2025.
SASECs lead financier, Asian
Development Bank (ADB),
has already approved about
40 infrastructure and IT
projects worth about $7.7
Indias push for a South Asian
isolation of Pakistan is also
driven by the fact that it
received less than expected
support on the world stage
and at the UN General
Comprehensive Convention
on International Terror
However, Pakistan continues

to receive support from

several other countries
outside of the SAARC, most
notably China, and also has
a new relationship with
Russia that conducted its first
ever military exercises in
Pakistan just days after the Uri
Iran too sent four naval
warships to the Karachi port
to participate in a Passage
exercise (PASSEX) this week.
Union cabinet gave go ahead for
Paris climate deal

The Union Cabinet gave the

go-ahead for ratifying the
Paris climate deal on October
2, in line with Prime Minister
announcement at the BJPs
national executive meeting.
Post-ratification, India will
have to conform to the
United Nations-brokered
agreement to ensure that
global temperatures do not
rise more than 2 degrees
Celsius above the preindustrial levels.
The country will have to
provide continuously a
detailed inventory of its
emissions to the U.N.
ensure that its growth
trajectory is significantly
reliant on clean energy.
The ratification requires India
to submit a document giving
details of its action plan,
called the Nationally
Determined Contributions, to
the U.N. Secretary General.
The Environment Ministry is
still in the process of
receiving sector-wise plans

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National Issues
from various arms of
government and industry on
how its commitments are to
be met.
There are two conditions for
the Paris treaty to come into
effect from 2020 at least
55 countries have to accept
and ratify it and at least as
many countries responsible
for at least 55 per cent of the
worlds pollution must be
As of September 28, 61
countries had ratified it and
47.79 per cent of the
pollution target had been
With India, which is
responsible for 5.8 per cent
of global greenhouse gas
emissions, ratifying the deal,
the Paris agreement would
still be short of the 55 per
cent target. The European
Union has indicated that it
will ratify the deal before
October 7.
Indian commandos conducted
surgical strikes on PoK terror
launch pads

The Indian Army announced

that it had carried out strikes
on eight terror launch pads,
in a night long operation
across the Line of Control in
Pakistan-occupied Kashmir,
which, officials claimed,
exacted casualties in the
double digits.
The operation to hit terrorist
bases in a pre-emptive
counterstrike were given the
go-ahead a week ago, days
after the attack on the Uri
army base in which 19 Indian
soldiers were killed.

The strikes were in locations

spread over 200 kilometres,
and were carried out by Para
Special Forces and 'Ghatak'
platoons of the local units.
Army started with artillery
fire at a few locations
including along the LoC at
Uri. As the Pakistani troops
focussed on retaliating,
Indian commandos crawled
across to the predetermined
spots across the LoC.
The Army strike is a testimony
that the LoC is back to being
the preferred route by
Pakistans Inter-Service
Intelligence and the Army to
push militants into Indian
In the past three years,
officials recorded most of the
infiltration attempts and
ceasefire violations along the
197-km International Border,
which runs along Jammu
In 2013, there was massive
displacement of Jammus
villagers along the border.
From November 2015,
however, the focus shifted
back to the LoC and this year
alone, the Army has thwarted
more than 20 attempts.
The Border Security Force
(BSF) guards the 2,308-km
border with Pakistan, running
from Gujarat to Jammu.
In Jammu, 192 km of the
border, which is referred to
as a working boundary by
Pakistan, is manned by the
BSF, while the remaining 8
km is secured by the Army.

The LoC is entirely secured

by the Army.
The first surveillance aircraft
carrying the first Indian
AEW&CS is to be inducted

The first of the two small

surveillance aircraft carrying
the first Indian airborne early
warning system is slated to
be inducted into the Air
Force in about two months,
it is reliably learnt.
The DRDO has fitted its own
airborne early warning and
control system (AEW & CS)
on a modified Embraer ERJ
145 aircraft imported from
The AEW & CS is basically a
sharp-seeing and listening
radar that can look out deep
across enemy territory for
any incoming threat without
itself crossing over.
The second aircraft is going
through the initial trials and
is likely to join the first one
around mid-2017 at the
Bhisiana Air Force Station in
Bathinda, Punjab, close to the
northern borders.
The DRDOs Bengaluru-based
Centre for Airborne Systems
(CABS) is the nodal agency
for the design, integration
and testing of the Indian early
warning systems on the
Work on the twin Rs. 2,000crore surveillance aircraft
project started after the first
customised plane reached
CABS in July 2012 from Sao

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International Issues

Dilma Rousseff was stripped of
the Brazils presidency

Brazils Dilma Rousseff was

stripped of the countrys
presidency in a Senate
impeachment vote, ending 13
years of Leftist rule in Latin
Americas biggest economy.
Ms. Rousseff (68) was
convicted by 61 of the 81
manipulating the national
budget. The vote, passing the
needed two-thirds majority,
meant she was immediately
removed from office.
President, holed up in the
presidential palace on the
outskirts of the capital
Brasilia with close aides, was
expected to make a statement
soon after the vote.
Her Vice-President-turnedbitter-political-enemy,
Michel Temer, was to be
sworn as her replacement
Ms. Rousseff, from the leftist
Workers Party, is accused of
taking illegal state loans to
patch budget holes in 2014,
masking the countrys
problems as it slid into its
deepest recession in
China will provide at least 8
submarines to Pakistan

Pakistan will acquire at least

eight modified diesel-electric
attack submarines from

China by 2028 in a nearly $5

billion agreement, said to be
the biggest arms export deal
for Beijing.
China is expected to extend
a long term loan to Pakistan
at a low interest rate to cover
the cost of the project, the
report said.
It has not officially been
confirmed what type of
submarines will be supplied
to the Pakistan Navy by the
China Shipbuilding Trading
Company (CSTC).
The first four submarines are
expected to be delivered by
the end of 2023 while the
remaining four will be
assembled in Karachi by
China is Pakistans biggest
supplier of military hardware
and the two jointly
manufacture J-17 Thunder
Pakistans submarine fleet
comprises five Agostas of
which one Hamza (Khalid
Class) was indigenously
commissioned in 2008.

The Australian court asks

newspaper to provide leaked
data to shipbuilder DCNS

confirmed its preliminary
decision made earlier this
week asking The Australian
newspaper to provide all
leaked data of Scorpene to

the French shipbuilder DCNS

and to stop publishing any
more details.
The paper, which has already
published on its website
after the first decision of the
court, will provide the DCNS
with the documents in its
possession and is prohibited
additional document.
confidentiality of information
and communication was a
matter of utmost importance,
the DCNS said, It welcomes
this decision of the court.
In parallel to this action, the
DCNS filed a complaint
against unknown persons for
breach of trust, receiving the
proceeds of an offence and
aiding and abetting before
the Paris Public Prosecutor,
it added.
Over 22,000 pages of top
capabilities of six highly
advanced submarines being
built for the Indian Navy in
Mumbai, in collaboration
with the French company,
have been leaked.

Belt and Road initiative to be

followed by a World Land

Chinas Belt and Road

connectivity initiative, which
bears a strong imprint of the
Eurasian Land Corridor

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International Issues

should be followed by a
World Land Bridge that will
link North America with the
New Silk Road.
World Land Bridge is the
natural sequel to the
Eurasian Land Bridge, the
mega-connectivity initiative
to revive the ancient Silk
Road in all its dimensions,
including its lost cultural and
civilisational attributes.
Siberia in Russia can be
connected with Alaska, if we
build an undersea tunnel
across the Bering Strait. That
would lay the foundation for
a World Land Bridge.
Better coordination among
the leaders of Brazil, Russia,
India, China and South Africa
(BRICS) within the G20framework, to achieve farreaching results.
Energy committee of the
BRICS must embark on a
crash programme to
develop thermonuclear
fusion, to achieve long-term
energy security, and reduce
pressure on finite resources.
When the Soviet Union
collapsed in 1991, the most
obvious thing was to enlarge
connectivity by establishing
development corridors
linking the population and
industry centres of Europe
with those of Asia.

PM Modi balances between US

and China

PM Narendra Modi praised

U.S. President Barack Obama
for his leadership of the G20 and asserted that the
grouping in the future would

succeed if it pursued a
collective, coordinated and
target-oriented approach.
Mr. Modi had held talks with
Chinese President Xi Jinping,
widely seen as an effort to
reboot ties between New
Delhi and Beijing.
India aimed to improve its
financial system, boost
investment and create a pool
of human capital in the
Mr. Modi also held talks with
Saudi Arabias Deputy-Crown
Prince Mohammad Bin
Salman Al-Saud, where he
singled out maritime trade,
infrastructure and low-cost
housing among the items for
joint collaboration between
New Delhi and Riyadh.
The World Health Organisation
declared Sri Lanka to be

declared Sri Lanka to be
malaria-free, after certifying
that the life-threatening
disease had been completely
eliminated here.
Sri Lankas achievement is
truly remarkable. In the mid20th century, it was among
the most malaria-affected
countries, but now it is
Sri Lankas road to
elimination had not been
easy. It demanded wellcalibrated,
For instance, after cases of
malaria soared in Sri Lanka

in the 1970s and 80s, the

country revised its strategy,
intensively targeting the
parasite in addition to
targeting the mosquito.
Sri Lanka has, despite the
protracted civil war that
ravaged the country, set high
standards in public health
and sanitation in South Asia.
India is in the control phase
with regard to malaria, but is
working to reach preelimination by 2017 and to
thereafter, says a 2015 WHO
Israel and Palestine agreed for

Russias Foreign Ministry

announced that the Israeli
and the Palestinian leaders
have agreed in principle to
meet in Moscow for talks in
what the Russians hope will
relaunch the Mideast peace
process after a more than
two-year break.
But the wide gaps between
Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu and
Mahmoud Abbas left it
uncertain if or when the
meeting will take place, and
raised doubts about whether
they would make any
After years of taking a back
seat to the U.S., Russia has
increasingly sought to take a
leadership role in the region.
Announcement in Moscow
indicates that Russia is
pushing forward with its
attempt to become a peace

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International Issues
Agreement reached for truce in

The United States and Russia

working in lockstep against
the Islamic State group and
al-Qaedas affiliate in Syria.
A rejuvenated truce that will
compel President Bashar alAssads air and ground
forces to pull back. New
flows of badly needed
humanitarian aid.
U.S. Secretary of State John
Kerry and Russian Foreign
Minister Sergey Lavrov
capped another marathon
meeting in Geneva to present
their latest ambitious push to
end Syrias devastating and
complex war.
The potential breakthrough
deal, which launches a
nationwide cessation of
hostilities, will hinge on
compliance by Mr. Assads
Russian-backed forces and
U.S.-supported rebel groups,
plus key powers such as
Turkey, Iran and Saudi
The ultimate hope is to
silence the Syrian guns so that
the long-stalled peace
mediation can resume
between Mr. Assads envoys
and representatives of the
opposition, while the two
world powers focus on
battling jihadists.
The U.S. and Russia Now, are
also lining up in an
unexpected new military
partnership targeting the IS
The military deal would go

into effect after both sides

abide by the truce for a week
and allow unimpeded
humanitarian deliveries.
Then, the U.S. and Russia
would begin intelligence
sharing and targeting
Russia to join forces with China
in South China Sea

China and Russia will hold

joint naval exercises in the
South China Sea (SCS),
message to the United States
and its allies that Beijing has
a powerful partner in waters
riven by rival territorial
The show of strength will be
showcased during the eightday Navy drill in the South
China Sea off southern
The exercises follow a spike
in tensions after an
arbitration court in The
Hague rejected Chinas
claims in the SCS, and
slammed it for causing
environmental damage there.
China has rejected the ruling
in a government white paper
that was released in the
aftermath of the Award.
Joint Sea-2016, will feature
submarines, fixed-wing
helicopters marine corps and
equipment from both navies.
Most of the Chinese
participants will come from
the Nanhai Fleet under the
Peoples Liberation Army

Navy (PLAN).
The two sides will undertake
defence, rescue, and antisubmarine operations, in
addition to joint island
seizing and other activities.
The United States marks the
15th anniversary of the 9/11

The United States marks the

15th anniversary of the 9/11
attacks with solemn services
to commemorate the victims
of the deadliest terror strikes
on U.S. soil, which changed
the world forever.
Nearly 3,000 people were
killed on September 11, 2001
when 19 al-Qaeda suicide
bombers hijacked four
passenger jets, crashing them
into the Twin Towers in New
York, the Pentagon in
Washington and a field in
Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
The names of the dead were
to be read out in a
remembrance service at
Ground Zero in New York on
the site of the rebuilt World
Trade Center, and President
Barack Obama was to
address a ceremony at the
Both the presidential
candidates were expected to
attend the New York
Held at the September 11
memorial, the service was to
pause six times -- to mark the
moments when each of the
two planes hit, when each
tower fell, as well as the
attack on the Pentagon and
Flight 93 that crashed in

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International Issues

China-Pakistan Economic
Corridor (CPEC) is generating
a vigorous internal debate
The China-Pakistan Economic
Corridor (CPEC) is generating
a vigorous internal debate,
pitting those who advocate a
less reliance on the project
against who view the
undertaking as a cornerstone
of security of the One Belt
One Road initiative.
The Pakistani media also
underscored the difficulties
that are being encountered in
Pakistans Dawn newspaper
reported that the Chinese
side has said Islamabad
should formally rope in the
Army to ensure smooth
execution of the project.
It added that China wanted
the establishment of a
separate ministry or authority
that would focus exclusively
on the CPEC.
Some say that China was now
Pakistans internal dynamics
to shore up the CPEC project.

China wants the BRICS

grouping to acquire a larger
security dimension

China has signalled that it

wants the Brazil-Russia-IndiaChina-South Africa (BRICS)
grouping to acquire a larger
security dimension.
Meeting of the national
security advisers of the five
emerging countries will
happen in New Delhi. The
National Security Adviser
AjitDoval would be hosting
the meeting that starts on

Participants will discuss
counter-terrorism, cybersecurity, energy security,
situation in West Asia and
North Africa as well as other
international and regional
issues of common interest.
BRICS countries are expected
to converge on a common
approach of battling the
Islamic State, in its breeding
grounds in Syria, Iraq and its
permeation in other parts of
the world including South
Asia and Chinas Xinjiang
Terrorism emanating from the
Afghanistan-Pakistan zone is
also expected to be high on
the agenda.
The Moscow-Beijing dialogue
coincided with the ongoing
joint naval exercises by the
two countries in the South
China Sea.
Sino-Indian ties appear to
following talks between
NarendraModi and Chinese
President Xi Jinping on the
sidelines of the G-20 summit
in Hangzhou earlier this
Yazidi woman, survivor of the
Islamic State (IS), appointed UN
Goodwill Ambassador

A young Iraqi woman, who

survived trafficking at the
hands of the Islamic State
(IS), has been appointed a
United Nations Goodwill
Ambassador for the dignity of
Nadia Murad Basee Taha

(23), a Nobel Peace Prize

nominee, is the Goodwill
Ambassador for the Dignity
of Survivors of Human
Trafficking of the UN Office
on Drugs and Crime.
The appointment marks the
first time a survivor of
atrocities is bestowed with
this distinction.
Ms. Murad had briefed the UN
Security Council in its firstever session on human
trafficking in December last
year. She described being
rounded up with fellow
Yazidis in Iraq in 2014.
A relentless advocate for
victims, Ms. Murad was
recently named one of Time
magazines 100 Most
Influential People of 2016.
Islamic State (IS) loses territory
in Iraq and Syria

As the Islamic State (IS) loses

territory in Iraq and Syria,
U.S. and other Western
officials say they are bracing
for large numbers of battletested terrorist fighters to flee
the conflict and prepare
attacks after returning home.
Even top IS leaders
acknowledge the inevitable
collapse of their declared
caliphate, and they appear to
be shifting to a new strategy
that threatens Europe on
multiple fronts: with cells
developed in Europe over
the past two years, with
returning fighters, and with
followers who heed the ISs
call to carry out attacks.
Many of the attacks
conducted in Western
Europe and the U.S. over the

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International Issues
past six months underline the
reality that returning fighters
would be just one element in
the ISs larger strategy to
remain relevant after losing
territorial control.
Battles to seize Raqqa and
Mosul could be well under
way within the next two or
three months, flushing out
thousands of foreign fighters
and forcing them to make
hard choices.
The United Nations suspended
all aid convoys in Syria

suspended all aid convoys in
Syria, the day after a deadly
airstrike on trucks loaded
with crucial supplies of food
and medicine. The airstrike
came after the Syrian military
had declared an end to a
seven-day partial cease-fire.
Stephen OBrien, the head of
the U.N. agency that
coordinates aid, said in a
statement that the attack
would amount to a war
crime if it were found to have
targeted humanitarian aid
The airstrike came as workers
were unloading aid. It killed
a senior official of the Syrian
Arab Red Crescent and some
civilians, but initial reports
that 14 people had died
could not be confirmed.
Repeated strikes by aircraft
destroyed 18 of 31 trucks that
the U.N. said had been
clearly marked as a
humanitarian convoy.
The trucks were carrying
wheat flour, 9 tonnes of
medicine and winter clothing

for about 78,000 people.

The attack came shortly after
the Syrian army had
announced that the partial
cease-fire was over and
including airstrikes on rebelheld parts of the city of
The landmark Paris agreement
on climate change moved closer
to reality

agreement on climate change
moved closer to reality after
31 countries joined during
the United Nations General
UN Secretary-General Ban Kimoon voiced confidence that
the accord, through which
countries commit to take
action to stem the planets
rising temperatures, would
come into force by the end
of the year.
The accord requires all
countries to devise plans to
achieve the goal of keeping
the rise of temperatures
within two degrees Celsius
(3.6 Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels.
The countries that joined the
accord included Latin
American powerhouses
Argentina, Brazil and Mexico
as well as major fossil fuel
powers Brunei and the United
Arab Emirates.
To come into force, the Paris
agreement needs ratification
from 55 countries that
account for at least 55 per
cent of the planets
greenhouse gas emissions.

A total of 60 countries have

joined the Paris accord,
meeting the threshold. But
they account for just less than
48 per cent of emissions,
according to UN figures.
G4 united for reforms in United

India, Germany, Japan and

Brazil will continue to push
for comprehensive reform of
the UN Security Council,
Foreign Ministers of the four
countries who met on the
Assembly resolved.
India was represented by
Minister of State for External
Afairs M.J. Akbar.
The Group of 4 (G4) wants
permanent membership of
the Security Council for
themselves, and wide and
far-reaching reform of the
More than 70 years after the
founding of the UN, the
Security Council also has to
adapt in order to cope with
the ever growing global
challenges, a joint statement
by the four countries said.
China hosts world's largest
radio telescope

The worlds largest radio

telescope began searching
for signals from stars and
galaxies and, perhaps,
extraterrestrial life n a project
demonstrating Chinas rising
ambitions in space and its
pursuit of international
scientific prestige.
Beijing has poured billions
into such ambitious scientific
projects as well as its

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International Issues

programme, which saw the
launch of Chinas second
space station earlier this
Measuring 500-meters in
diameter, the radio telescope
is nestled in a natural basin
within a stunning landscape
of lush green karst
formations in southern
Guizhou Province.
It took five years and $180
million to complete and
surpasses that of the 300meter Arecibo Observatory
in Puerto Rico, a dish used
in research on stars that led
to a Nobel Prize.
FAST would search for
gravitational waves, detect
radio emissions from stars
and galaxies and listen for
extraterrestrial life.
Installation of the 4,450panel structure, nicknamed
Tianyan, or the Eye of
Heaven, started in 2011 and
was completed in July.
The telescope requires a
radio silence within a five-km
radius, resulting in the
relocation of more than 8,000
people from their homes in
eight villages to make way
for the facility.

Japan warned China against

expanding its military activity

Japans top government

spokesman warned China
against expanding its
military activity to the skies
over disputed East China Sea
islands after eight Chinese
war-planes flew near the area
over the weekend.

Chief Cabinet Secretary

Yoshihide Suga said that
Japan scrambled at least one
fighter jet after the planes
passed over the Miyako
Strait on Sunday, east of the
Senkaku islands.
Mr. Suga acknowledged that
the flights might be part of an
exercise, but said that Japan
would respond firmly to any
violation of Japanese
India and Sri Lanka keen to
sign Economic and
Technological Cooperation

India will invest $2 billion in

Sri Lanka in the next threefour years, Commerce and
NirmalaSitharaman said on
Ms. Sitharaman, who was
here for talks on the
Economic and Technological
Cooperation Agreement
(ETCA), called on Prime
M i n i s t e r
RanilWickremesinghe and
later met senior Ministers to
discuss the terms of the
The ETCA initiative follows
unfruitful negotiations,
spanning nearly a decade, on
a Comprehensive Economic
neighbours. India and Sri
Lanka already have a Free
Trade Agreement since 1998.
Both New Delhi and Colombo
are keen on signing the ETCA,
though there is considerable
opposition to it within Sri

Lanka, coming both from a

section of medical and IT
professionals, and from trade
The second round of
negotiations on the ETCA is
scheduled to take place in
New Delhi on September 29
and 30.
Jeffrey DeLaurentis to become
first US Ambassador to Cuba in
50 years

The United States has tapped

Americas top diplomat in
Havana, to become the first
official Ambassador to Cuba
in five decades.
Mr. Obama and Cuban
President Raul Castro
announced a thaw in
relations in December 2014.
The two countries restored
full diplomatic relations in
July 2015.
Since then, Washington and
Havana have taken onceunthinkable steps to mend
ties after more than half a
century of enmity.
Mr. Obama has visited Cuba
and relaxed portions of the
U.S. embargo imposed since
1962. Mr. DeLaurentis is
already in Havana and
previously worked in Bogota
and at the United Nations.
But his nomination, which
requires Senate confirmation,
is likely to face stiff
opposition in Congress,
where Cuban-American
lawmakers have sought to
garner local support by
opposing Mr. Obamas

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India & The World


Prime Minister Narendra Modi
heads to Southeast Asia and
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
heads to Southeast Asia and
China to participate in a series
of bilateral and multilateral
The eastern outreach is
important in view of the July 12
declaration of the Permanent
Court of Arbitration challenging
Chinas territorial and maritime
claims in the South China Sea
region, the heart of Southeast
The outreach will begin on
September 2 with Mr. Modi
leaving for Vietnam before
proceeding to Hangzhou in
China for the G-20 summit.
The trip to Vietnam will highlight
growing strategic convergence
between the two sides, which
includes the possibility of India
transferring BrahMos missiles to
Parallel to security and strategic
partnership, India and Vietnam
are cultural partners and the
bilateral agenda will include
archaeological support to
Vietnam to safeguard the Cham
temples of the country.
Vietnam is a significant partner
of India as it is the countrycoordinator of India in ASEAN.
delegation will then move to
Hangzhou in China which is the
venue of the 2016 G 20 summit.
The delegation for G 20 will
include Foreign Secretary S.

Jaishankar and the Indian sherpa

for G20, NITI Aayog ViceChairman Arvind Panagariya.
The Obama-Modi dialogue will
be the first since both sides
signed the landmark Logistics
Exchange Memorandum of
Mr. Modi will return to the
region on September 7 to
attend the 14th India-ASEAN
summit and the 11th East Asian
Summit which will be held in
Vientiane, Lao PDR.
India summons Pakistan High
Commissioner Abdul Basit
Pakistan High Commissioner
Abdul Basit was summoned to
the Ministry of External Affairs
and told that Islamabad should
let Indian diplomats posted in
Pakistan work without
Meeting Mr. Basit, Sujata Mehta,
Secretary (West) took up the
issue of discourtesy to Indian
envoy Gautam Bambawale in
The incident of discourtesy
involved the Karachi Chamber
of Commerce where a speech
on India-Pakistan trade ties by
Mr. Bambawale was cancelled
barely an hour before the event
was to take place on Tuesday.
A senior diplomatic source
based in the High Commission
of Pakistan in Delhi, said that Mr.
Bambawales visit to Karachi was
a privilege granted to him which
turned controversial after his
comments during the event.

India-Japan pledged for ties in

areas of counter-terrorism, civil
nuclear cooperation
India and Japan pledged to
strengthen ties in the key areas
of counter-terrorism, civil
nuclear cooperation, trade and
investment as Prime Minister
Narendra Modi held talks with
his Japanese counterpart
Shinzo Abe.
Mr. Modi, conveyed his
condolences to Abe for the
Japanese lives lost in the recent
terror attack in Bangladesh
when 22 people were killed
after Islamist militants stormed
a cafe popular with foreigners.
Mr. Abe said Japan was not
going to succumb to terrorism
and expressed the desire to
further strengthen cooperation
with India in the area of counterterrorism.
The two leaders discussed
further strengthening and
diversification of trade and
investment ties.
Prime Minister Modi noted that
Japan had technology and
innovation while India had the
power of youth and a huge
The India-Japan partnership
could, therefore, produce
global products and be a winwin partnership for both, Mr.
Modi said.
The two leaders discussed the
upcoming Japanese industrial
parks in India and the
cooperation in the area of ship

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India & The World

They also reviewed the progress
in the India-Japan Civil Nuclear
negotiations and the highspeed rail project, Mr. Swarup
Premier Abe recalled that 2017
will mark the 60th anniversary
of the Japan-India cultural
agreement. He hoped to see
more Indian tourists visiting
PM says ASEAN is important to
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
told the ASEAN-India Summit
that the regional grouping was
central to Indias Act East
He expressed hope that
ASEAN would continue to lead
and remain central to efforts
aimed at greater regional
integration and cooperation.
He said that in the face of
growing traditional and nontraditional challenges, political
cooperation has emerged as
key in relations.
Speaking at the parallel East
Asia Summit, the Prime Minister
welcomed the adoption of a
statement on non-proliferation
and said India remained
committed to strengthening its
He said India was committed to
supporting the realisation of
Regional Comprehensive
Economic Partnership (RCEP).
Nepal will seek to start a new
chapter with India prioritising
infrastructure development
Nepal will seek to start a new
chapter with India prioritising
infrastructure development in a
bid to overcome the impact of


the 2015 earthquake and

Talks on the Pancheshwar dam
hydroelectricity power project
were on track. He is likely to firm
up the schedule and
agreements before Prime
Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal
Prachanda arrives in New Delhi
on September 15 for a four-day
Apart from the dam, the Hulaki
road project, construction of
cross border railways and
building new skill development
centres in Nepal are also likely
to feature in the discussions
between Mr. Mahat and his
counterpart Sushma Swaraj.
Following the new constitution,
Nepals Madhesi population
started an agitation which
turned into a blockade on IndiaNepal border. Prime Minister Oli
had blamed India for the
blockade, triggering a
diplomatic spat.
Exchange of tariff concessions
under the Asia Pacific Trade
The Union Cabinet approved a
move for exchange of tariff
concessions under the Asia
Pacific Trade Agreement
(APTA), towards expanding
trade ties with five nations in the
region, including China.
Since this is a preferential trade
agreement, the basket of items
as well as extent of tariff
concessions are enlarged
during the trade negotiating
rounds from time to time. Till
date, three rounds of trade
negotiations had taken place.
India is likely to benefit from
offers of China and South Korea
for duty concessions in sectors

including textiles, chemicals

and iron and steel, according to
government sources.
Indian industry had not gained
much from APTA so far,
especially in textiles.
India in return has offered duty
concessions on rail rolling stock,
nuclear reactors and fissile
material to boost the Make In
India initiative.
India said Terrorism is the
grossest violation of Human
Terrorism is the grossest
violation of human rights, said
India, lashing out at the UN High
Commissioner for Human Rights
ZeidRaad Al Hussein for his
criticism of action by Indian
forces in Jammu and Kashmir.
In his opening statement at the
Human Rights Council in
Genevas annual session,. Zeid
Al Hussein called for an
independent, impartial and
international mission into
reports of use of excessive force
against the civilian population.
He also said that while Pakistan
had responded to the HRCs
request to send the team,
agreeing to its visit to Pakistan
Occupied Kashmir in tandem
with a mission to Jammu and
Kashmir, India had yet to
respond formally.
The Indian state of Jammu and
Kashmir is part of a pluralistic
and secular democracy, where
freedoms are guaranteed by an
independent judiciary, an
active media and a vibrant civil
In contrast, Pakistan-occupied
Kashmir is administered by a
deep state and has become a
hub for the global export of
terror, MEA spokesperson said.

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UN body in Geneva and India
to spill over into the UN General
Assembly in New York later this
month, where External Affairs
Minister Sushma Swaraj hopes
to make a tough intervention on
terrorism on September 26.
Meanwhile, welcoming the
statement by the High
Commissioner for Human Rights,
Pakistans ministry of foreign
affairs (MOFA) also urged
India to make a formal response
to the UN body.
Pakistan has escalated the
diplomatic war over Kashmir
since the killing of Hizbul
BurhanWani sparked a series of
protests and violence in the
valley, that has left more than 76
dead and hundreds injured.
However, India said the
demand for an external
mission had been dismissed by
the all-party conference that
sent a delegation to Jammu and
Baswan committee report on
changes in the Civil services
exam referred to Govt
The Union Public Service
Commission (UPSC) has referred
the report of the Baswan
committee that has suggested
changes in the civil services
exam pattern to the government
for final decision.
The UPSC had constituted the
expert committee under the
chairmanship of former Human
Secretary B.S. Baswan in August
last year.
The panel had submitted its
report to the UPSC last month
and it has been sent to the
Department of Personnel and
Training for a final decision.

The panel is understood to

have recommended reduction
in the upper age limit of 32 years
for candidates.
Fantasy epic Game of Thrones
made history at Emmy
Fantasy epic Game of Thrones
made television history at the
68th Emmys on Sunday,
becoming the most decorated
fictional show since the awards
began nearly seven decades
The HBO series picked up 12
Emmys, televisions equivalent
of the Oscars: nine awards in
technical categories and three
top prizes at the glitzy ceremony
in Los Angeles.
That gives it a total haul over the
years of 38, overtaking the
record of 37 won by longrunning comedy Frasier .
Non Allignment movement
summit ends in Venezuela
The Non-Aligned Movement
(NAM) wrapped up a summit
in Venezuela with an expression
of support for its embattled host,
President Nicolas Maduro, and
scathing attacks on U.S.
interventionism around the
The 120-member group issued
a statement at the end of the
two-day meeting calling for
peace, urging world powers not
to meddle in other countries
affairs and voicing concern over
violence in Syria, Iraq and the
Palestinian Territories.
Founded 55 years ago to give a
greater voice to countries
squeezed in the power struggle
between the United States and
Soviet Union, the Non-Aligned
Movement has struggled to stay
relevant since the end of the

Cold War.
Just a handful of heads of state
or government attended the
summit on the Caribbean island
of Margarita, though organisers
did not say exactly how many.
But it was a key diplomatic
encounter for Mr. Maduro, who
has been left increasingly
isolated as Venezuelas oildependent economy has
skidded into crisis amid a
collapse in global crude prices,
fuelling calls for his ouster.
Venezuela took over the
rotating presidency of the NonAligned Movement from Iran at
the meeting.
It will hold it for the next three
years. Mr. Maduro looks keen to
recast the group as a bulwark
against interventionism and
neo-colonialism, analysts say.
India reminds Pakistan about
its 2004 promise
India asked Pakistan to end the
persistent and growing
violation of its 2004
undertaking not to let its
territory be used by terrorists,
even the government is serious
about punishing perpetrators of
attack on the Uri Army camp.
The attack in Uri only
underlines the fact that the
infrastructure of terrorism in
Pakistan remains active. We
demand that Pakistan lives up
to its public commitment to
refrain from supporting and
sponsoring terrorism against
India, the Ministry of External
Affairs said.
If the Government of Pakistan
wishes to investigate these
cross-border attacks, India is
ready to provide finger prints
and DNA samples of terrorists
killed in the Uri and Poonch

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India & The World

spokesperson said.


No. of Baloch activists staying in

Europe could approach India to
seek asylum
A number of Baloch activists
and leaders staying in Europe
could approach India to seek
asylum if the host countries tried
to deport them to Pakistan,
leader of the Free Balochistan
Mr. Marri is the second major
Baloch leader after Mr. Bugti to
declare his intention to seek
asylum in India.
In 2015, Free Balochistan
Movement reached out to India
to seek support and appointed
a Baloch residing in Delhi as its
Mr. Marri said India should
consider providing educational
opportunities for Baloch
activists as many of them have
been denied education in
Pakistan due to their political

Sushma Swaraj addresses

United Nations General
India took its campaign to
diplomatically isolate Pakistan to
the United Nations, with
External Affairs Minister Sushma
Swaraj asking the world


community to hold to account

countries that nurture, peddle
and export terrorism.
A unified global strategy can
defeat terrorism, and if any
nation refuses to join this global
strategy, then we must isolate
it, she said, speaking in Hindi.
Countering Pakistan Prime
Minister Nawaz Sharif, who
accused India of human rights
violations while speaking at the
U.N. last week, Ms. Swaraj
sought to turn the tables on
The brutality against the Baloch
people represents the worst
form of state oppression, she
said, referring to the ethnic
minority in Pakistan.
The Minister elaborated on how
Indias positions converged
with the global concerns on
three issues terrorism, climate
change and the U.N.
Sustainable Development
Her narrative also explains at
least partly Indias decision
to ratify the Paris climate pact,
in an abrupt turnaround from its
recent position that the national
process for ratification was still
in progress.
Ms. Swaraj reiterated PM
announcement on Sunday that
India will ratify the pact on

October 2, the birth anniversary

of Mahatma Gandhi.
External Affairs Minister Sushma
Swaraj mentioned the name of
alleged Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)
terrorist Bahadur Ali arrested in
Kashmir two months ago, as a
living proof of cross-border
terrorism from Pakistan.
China says its trying to decrease
the tension between India and
China signalled that it was
actively engaged in defusing
tensions between India and
Pakistan, using multiple
channels, to prevent a spillover
of friction between New Delhi
and Islamabad in the region.
China said: Beijing maintains
contacts at different levels with
both India and Pakistan. China
is friendly neighbour to India
and Pakistan. China hopes that
both the countries could
properly deal with their
differences through dialogue.
Chinas Deputy Foreign Minister
Liu Zhenmin told Pakistans
special envoy to China for
Kashmir that Beijing hopes that
Pakistan and India will
strengthen channels for
dialogue, appropriately handle
any differences, improve
bilateral relations.

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First quarter saw decline in
GDP growth
Indias Gross Domestic Product
(GDP) growth slowed to 7.1 per
cent in the first quarter of this
financial year, with private
consumption still the mainstay
of the expansion.
GDP growth stood at 7.9 per
cent in the fourth quarter
(January-March) of the previous
financial year and at 7.5 per
cent in Q1 of 2015-16.
The slowdown in the first
quarter of this year was mainly
driven by a slowdown in
mining, construction and
agriculture sectors.
The construction sector grew at
only 1.5 per cent in Q1 of 201617 compared with 5.6 per cent
in the same quarter of the
previous year.
The mining sector saw a
contraction of 0.4 per cent in
Q1 of 2016-17 compared with
a strong growth of 8.5 per cent
in April-June last year.
In agriculture, the effect of a
better monsoon will be
reflected more in the next
quarter rather than in April-June.
The sector grew at 1.8 per cent
in the period under review
compared with 2.6 in the same
quarter of the previous year.
Another concern is to do with
the imbalance between private
consumption and capital
formation, with the former being
the main bolster for growth.
expenditure grew 6.8 per cent

in the first quarter, slightly slower

than the 6.9 per cent in the year
earlier period.
Union Cabinet approval for
permanent residency status to
all foreign investors
The Union Cabinet approved a
scheme to grant permanent
residency status (PRS) to all
foreign investors, except those
from Pakistan, subject to the
relevant conditions.
The PRS will be granted for a
period of 10 years with multiple
entry, the Centre added.
In order to avail this scheme, the
foreign investor will have to
invest a minimum of Rs.10 crore
to be brought within 18 months
or Rs.25 crore to be brought
within 36 months
The Cabinet also gave its expost facto approval for the FDI
policy amendments which
opened up FDI norms for
almost all sectors including food
manufacturing, defence,
broadcasting, pharmaceuticals,
civil aviation etc.
The Cabinet also gave its
approval to create a Project
Development Fund (PDF) with
a corpus of Rs.500 Crore for
catalysing Indian economic
presence in Cambodia, Laos,
Myanmar and Vietnam.
The Cabinet Committee on
Economic Affairs approved a
Rs.1,145 crore project at
Mormugao Port for the
redevelopment of berths on
public private partnership

(PPP) mode.
Scheme to promote electric and
hybrid vehicles will help save
The Centres scheme to
promote electric and hybrid
vehicles in the country will help
save fuel worth Rs.60,000 crore.
The environment is one of the
biggest concerns for the (auto)
sector. Govt has therefore
allocated Rs. 14,000 crore for
the FAME scheme for
promoting hybrid and electric
mobility which will save
Rs.60,000 crore fuel.
In April 2015, to promote ecofriendly
government unveiled the FAME
India, offering incentives on
electric and hybrid vehicles of
up to Rs.29,000 for bikes and
Rs.1.38 lakh for cars.
The scheme is part of the
National Electric Mobility
Mission Plan
Chief Economic Advisor says
India will grow between 8-10%
Despite registering the slowest
growth rate in the last six
quarters in April-June period,
India has the potential to sustain
8 to 10 per cent growth rate
during the next two to three
years, said Arvind Subramanian,
Chief Economic Advisor.
If we continue to do all the
things the government is doing
and if world economy picks up
a little bit as it did in 2000, then
the growth rate would even

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clock double-digit in next two

to three years.
Where would this growth come
from? China has been growing
at 10.5 per cent for last 25 years.
India, since mid-1970 or 1980,
has been growing at 6 per cent,
which is not bad.
Till 1980, we were growing at 3
per cent which is called Hindu
rate of growth. After that we
have grown at significantly
higher rate. But, it is well below
the growth rate of China.
According to the renowned
economist, in the long run, the
development will depend its
political stability.
For India, on the other hand, the
process of normalisation is going
to involve much faster growth
Dr. Subramanian batted for one
price for one product in the
market and expanding the
scope of the direct benefit
transfer model for achieving
faster growth.

Indian manufacturing activity

rose to a 13-month-high
Indian manufacturing activity
rose to a 13-month-high in
August, driven by a pickup in
both foreign and domestic
demand, according to a private
sector survey.
The Nikkei India Manufacturing
Purchasing Managers Index
came in at 52.6 in August, up
from 51.8 in July.
A reading over 50 implies
expansion, while one below 50
suggests a contraction.
Higher consumption in August,
along with an expected
increase over the next few
months, is likely to bolster GDP

growth in the next quarter,

analysts said.
The expansion comes at a time
when the first quarter of this
financial year saw a 9.1 per cent
growth in manufacturing.
Apart from this, new business
inflows grew at their fastest
pace since December 2014,
according to the report.
India will tread a cautious
middle path on excess capacity
in steel
India will tread a cautious
middle path when a simmering
battle over global ramifications
of excess capacity in steel takes
centre-stage at the G-20 Summit
in China.
The U.S. has already mounted
pressure on China to drastically
reduce its steel capacity,
claiming that the dumping of
the commodity in various
countries has been hurting steel
producers across the world.
India will, however, play a lowprofile role in the discussions on
the topic as it is aware of the
growing needs of its user
industries which currently
depend on a mix of imported
and locally-made steel to meet
their requirements.
The U.S. at the G20 Summit will
seek discussions on the reasons
for excess capacity in steel as
well as reforms & regulations in
the global steel industry,
including in China.
For India, it will be a Catch-22
as it is not only the third largest
steel producing nation, but was
also among the top 10 steel
importers in 2015.
This means, the interests of local
producers and user industries
will have to be kept in mind
while taking a stance, the

sources said.
Besides, the Centre wants more
foreign investment in India,
including in the steel sector, as
part of the Make In India
initiative aimed at boosting local
manufacturing and exports.
It was also decided that the G20
steelmaking economies will
participate in the OECD Steel
Committee meeting slated for
September 8-9, 2016 to tackle
the issue.
To counter a surge in cheap
imports of steel, which was
hurting local steel makers, India
had taken measures including
anti-dumping duty, safeguard
duty and Minimum Import Price.
India had also brought out an
order banning the manufacture
and distribution of stainless
steel products that do not
comply with the the Bureau of
Indian Standards mark.
Maharashtra ranked highest in
broad measure of Ease of Doing
Maharashtra ranked highest
according to a broad measure
of Ease of Doing Business (EDB)
in Indian states announced at
the Lee Kuan Yew School of
Public Policy here.
The new gauge has given 21
major states entirely different
ranks when compared with the
only other previous measure of
this sort, the World Banks Ease
of Doing Business Index.
The latest measure produced
by the Asian Competitiveness
Institute (ACI) extends the
definition of ease of doing
business beyond the core
measure of business friendliness
that the Bank had focussed on
for successive years.
The EDB report, which was

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shared, ranked Maharashtra,
Gujarat, Delhi, Goa and Andhra
Pradesh as the top five states
respectively, whereas these
states were ranked 8, 1, 15, 19
and 2 by the Bank.
The ACIs EDB Index includes
81 indicators that include
Business Friendliness (40 per
cent weight), Attractiveness to
Investors (40 per cent) and
Competitive Policies (20 per
It also balances hard data from
each state with the results of
surveys undertaken amongst
investors, government officials
and academic experts in this
Except Maharashtra and
Gujarat, ranked 1 and 2
respectively, the ranks of all
other states in the study
improved through this

Govt to come up with scheme to

provide mobile phone access to
over 55,000 villages
The government will soon unveil
a new scheme to provide
mobile phone access to over
55,000 villages, particularly
those in border states and in the
Himalayan region, to push
forward its flagship Digital India
The USOF, which is maintained
by the government, was formed
to help fund projects to boost
connectivity in rural areas.
The money for this fund comes
through a Universal Access
Levy, charged from the
telecom operators as a
percentage of various licenses
fees being paid by them.
Under the scheme, the villages
have been divided into
Himalayan regions such as

Uttrakhand and Himachal
Pradesh; and the second set
will be those states which share
borders with other nations..
Another scheme funded by
the USOF to connect Left
wing extremism (LWE)affected areas in ten identified
states in on the verge of
completion. Together, these
will help take forward the Digital
India drive.
As on date, the total available
fund in USOF is more than
Rs.47,411.56 crore.
The total collection since the
scheme was started in 2002-03
stands at about Rs.78,587.31
crore, while total amount
disbursed for various initiatives
to boost rural connectivity is
about Rs.31,175.75 crore,
according to government data.
As per official data about 4,700
villages in Himalayan States
(Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal
Pradesh and Uttarakhand), and
2,138 villages in Border States
(Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab and
Haryana) are not yet
The Centre is also in middle of
executing the Bharat Net
project which aims to connect
all of Indias households,
particularly in rural areas,
through broadband by 2017.

Urjit Patel to take charge of RBI

Urjit Patel, the new Governor of
RBI has his immediate task cut
out finishing the unfinished
agenda of his predecessor on
completing deep surgery of
banks and winning the war on
Dr. Patel scripted a new
framework for fighting price

rise, which earned him the

informal title of inflation warrior.
However, it is the deep surgery
ordered by Dr. Rajan to clean
the balance sheets of banks that
may pose greater challenges for
Dr. Patel.
A number of corporate leaders
and bankers who have
previously worked with Dr. Patel
said he was expected to show
much better understanding of
the problems companies and
banks are facing due to the
central banks AQR directive.
As compared to September
2013, both domestic and
external conditions are
comparatively favourable.
The rupee has stabilised though
there could be a period of
volatility once the foreign
currency deposits (that were
raised in 2013 to stabilise the
rupee) start to flow out later this
The outflows could be a nonevent, Dr. Rajan had said and
his belief is mainly due to the
healthy foreign exchange
reserves which are at $366.78
billion as compared with $274.8
billion three years ago.

China may soon grant market

access to India's non-basmati
rice exports
China may soon grant market
access to India's non-basmati
rice exports, acceding to a longpending request from New
The Centre had repeatedly
taken up the issue of the
countrys ballooning goods
trade deficit with China
India had demanded market
access for products including

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pharmaceuticals and several

fruits & vegetables among
Indias goods trade deficit with
China has surged from $1.1
billion in 2003-04 to $52.7
billion in 2015-16.
Beijing has been denying
market access to India's nonbasmati rice claiming that the
item had failed to meet Chinese
norms on quality, health and
China was the worlds largest
rice importer in 2015-16
followed by Saudi Arabia and
To export to countries
including China, it is mandatory
for Indian rice exporters to be
registered with the NPPO.
NPPO is the Indian government
body in charge for inspecting
these mills and granting
certificates on plant health for
export purposes.
Agricultural & Processed Food
Products Export Development
Authority (APEDA) under the
Indian commerce ministry is also
involved in the process.
Trade sources said there are
reports of rice (basmati & nonbasmati) exports from India to
China happening through Hong
Kong and Thailand.
In 2015-16, India exported 6.2
million tonnes of non-basmati
rice worth Rs.15,000 crore, he

G20 leaders resolved to combat

a populist backlash against
global trade
G20 leaders resolved to combat
a populist backlash against
global trade, and highlight the
benefits it has brought
including lifting millions out of
poverty, IMFs Christine Lagarde

Ms. Lagarde said that the
benefits of free trade in terms
of lifting productivity and
hauling them out of poverty
were being drowned out by the
chorus of opposition.
There was a determination
around the room to better
identify the benefits of trade in
order to respond to the easy
populist backlash against
India's production of summersown pulses is likely to surge to
a record high
India's production of summersown pulses is likely to surge to
a record high this year, dragging
down prices of the protein-rich
food grains after last year's sharp
rally that prompted farmers to
increase area under cultivation.
Higher output by the world's
top consumer and importer of
pulses could help Asia's No.3
economy rein in its headline
inflation that hit a near two-year
high in July on double-digit
annual increases in prices of
sugar, vegetables and pulses.
Estimated India's output of
summer-sown pulses at a record
7.8 million tonnes this year, up
40 percent from a year ago. The
government has not yet issued
an official forecast.
The price of pulses - such as
green, black and red gram - hit
record highs earlier this year
after back-to-back droughts
curbed output in 2015.
But in the past few weeks,
prices have softened with
ample rains prompting farmers
to cultivate more.
India's area under summersown pulses reached a record
14.2 million hectares, up 33 per

cent from a year ago, with the

market already reflecting the
expected bumper supplies.
Canada hopeful of reaching
agreement to supply more
Uranium to India
Canada was hopeful of reaching
agreement to supply energyhungry and fast-growing India
with more uranium than the
3,000 metric tonnes that has
already been agreed upon.
During Prime Minister Narendra
Modis visit to Canada, a pact
was inked for Canadas Cameco
to supply India 3,000 metric
tonnes of uranium over five
years at an estimated cost of
$254 million.
Asked about the possibility of
more uranium supplies, Mr.Carr
said it depended on the
continuing conversations and
bilateral negotiations between
Canadian business leaders and
Indian officials.
Canada and India are among the
21 Mission Innovation partners
who have committed to
investments in clean technology
research and development and
stimulating private sector
investment in clean technology.
Citing the fall in oil prices, he
said it was an opportunity for
countries to prepare for a
transition from fossil fuels to
renewable energy.
India has signed a MoU with
Greece to allow unlimited
number of flights
memorandum of understanding
(MoU) with Greece to allow
unlimited number of flights into
each others countries.
Greece will become the first

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country with an open sky

arrangement under India's new
civil aviation policy.
Under the new civil aviation
policy, India plans to enter into
open sky air service
agreements (ASA) with SAARC
countries and with countries
beyond 5,000 km radius from
Countries sign ASAs through
bilateral negotiations to decide
on the number of flights that
airlines can fly into each others
countries. Under the open sky
pact, there is no restriction on
flights or seats.
India will allow airlines from
Greece to operate unlimited
flights to six Indian metropolitan
airports. However, Indian
carriers can fly to Greece
without any such restriction.
India has an open sky
agreement with the U.S. and a
near open sky agreement with
the U.K. under which there are
certain limitations on the
number of flights that can be
operated at the Mumbai and
Delhi Airports.
Major domestic airlines such as
IndiGo, Jet Airways and
complained over nonavailability of commercially and
operationally feasible slots for
them at the Dubai Airport.
India will invest $6 billion for
building and modernising the
airport infrastructure in the next
five years.

Municipal bonds to be made

more popular
Municipal bonds are yet to take
off in India even as the Centre
and the Securities and
Exchange Board of India (SEBI)
are working towards creating

more awareness.
According to government
statistics, a cumulative amount
of Rs.1,750 crore has been
raised through municipal bonds
in India while South Africa saw
$1.8 billion being raised through
such bonds in a single quarter
Incidentally, $304 billion was
raised in the U.S. through
municipal bonds in just one
single year.
Easy availability of government
funds could also be a constraint.
Lack of a secondary market for
the trading of such bonds was
another hindrance.
The capital market regulator
announced regulatory norms for
issuance of municipal bonds in
July 2015 but after that there has
been no such bond issue. The
last municipal bond issued was
in 2010.
Rating agency CARE estimates
that large municipalities in India
could raise Rs.1,000 to Rs.1,500
crore every year through
municipal bond issues.
The SEBI chairman added that
regulatory bodies for pension
funds and insurance should also
take a proactive stance and
allow their regulated entities to
invest in municipal bonds.
The SEBI chairman also said that
investors look for transparency
and clarity while investing in any
securities and municipal bodies
will have to review the manner
in which books of accounts are
Members of the National
Pension System will have
different options
Members of the National
Pension System can soon opt for
higher investments in equities as

well as park a part of their

retirement savings in new asset
These classes will include real
estate and infrastructure
investment trusts, mortgagebacked securities and
alternative investment funds
registered with the stock market
Non-government members of
the National Pension System
(NPS) can soon opt for two new
investment strategies based on
life-cycle planning that would
allow them to invest as much as
75 per cent of their savings in
equities at the age of 35 years.
Presently, the highest equity
exposure allowed for NPS
subscribers is 50 per cent of
their corpus.
Similarly, for those with a
conservative outlook to
investing, a new life-cycle fund
with equity allocation of 25 per
cent at the age of 35 years is
being introduced.

Rueters poll says Inflation

likely to fall down
Lower food prices likely cooled
India's inflation rate in August,
a Reuters poll showed, but
probably not by enough to give
the central bank scope to ease
monetary policy again anytime
Official data on the consumer
price index is due to be
released at on Monday.
The median forecast from the
Reuters poll of 27 economists
pegs it at 5.50 percent for
August, down from 6.07
percent in July.
The lower number is still above
the Reserve Bank of India's
March 2017 inflation target of 5
percent and, if realised, would

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be the fifth straight month that
annual price rises stayed above
that mark.
The Reserve Bank of India has
chopped 150 basis points off
its benchmark interest rate
since January 2015.
Railways financial performance
to improve after surge pricing
The Indian Railways' decision to
experiment with surge pricing
for passengers on its premium
Rajdhani, Duronto and Shatabdi
trains could have been
triggered by its financial
performance in the first half of
this financial year.
The Railways' revenues were
12.65 per cent lower than its
Budget target of Rs.73,713
crore for April-August this year,
official documents showed.
The total number of passengers
carried by the Indian Railways
in this period remained almost
stagnant at 343 crore a 0.34
per cent rise from year ago
However, the primary reason
behind a fall in gross earnings is
attributed to its freight that
accounts for almost 65 per cent
of Railways revenues.
The freight earnings dropped
9.68 per cent from Rs.45,370
crore in April-August 2015 to
Rs.40,980 crore over the same
period this year.
The Indian Railways runs around
12,000 trains with 22 million
passengers and operates 8,000
trains to ferry around 3 million
tonnes of freight per day.
The Railways has introduced
surge pricing, whereby fares
will increase with every 10 per
cent of the tickets sold in
Rajdhani, Duronto and Shatabdi

It will translate into a 30-40 per

cent fare hike in such premium
trains and may fetch Indian
Railways Rs.1,000 crore every
Government cracking down on
vendors indulging in
The government may be able to
prune its massive public
procurement expenditure, as a
departments are cracking down
on vendors indulging in
cartelisation and collusive
expenditure accounts for
around 30 per cent of Indias
gross domestic product.
In the health sector, 26 per cent
of the budget is for
government agencies become
alert and ensure better
competition in the bidding
process, they costs could wipe
out the fiscal deficit of the
The cement companies,
including ACC, India Cements
and J.K. Cements, used the
platform provided by CMA and
shared details relating to prices,
capacity utilisation, production
and dispatch and thereby
restricted production and
supplies in the market.
CCI also found the cement
companies to be acting in
concert in fixing prices of
The Commission has disposed
of over 80 per cent of the 750
anti-trust cases it has been
entrusted with in its seven years
of existence and is also
examining if a mechanism can
be devised to halt probes.

Other countries in the BRICS

are opposed to Chinese free
trade proposal
India and three others in the
BRICS bloc Brazil, Russia and
South Africa have coldshouldered China's attempt to
bring to the negotiating table a
proposal for a Free Trade
Agreement (FTA) between the
five major emerging economies.
While Beijings proposal for a
'BRICS FTA' is aimed at
boosting trade ties in the
grouping through binding
commitments on eliminating
tariffs, BRICS members barring
China are not keen on such a
Their apprehensions about the
plan include the fear that it
could lead to a surge in imports
of Chinese goods into their
territory in turn, hurting local
The development comes amid
hectic preparations for the
BRICS Trade Ministers Meeting
on October 13 and the first
BRICS Trade Fair from October
12 to 14 (both in Delhi) as well
as the Eighth BRICS Summit (to
be held in Goa) on October 1516.
There will only be a framework
cooperation agreement on
matters related to small and
medium enterprises, services
sector and Intellectual Property
Rights (IPR).
BRICS members will also
consider evolving mechanisms
for single window clearance as
well as to speedily resolve nontariff barriers that are hurting
India said it is already
participating in negotiations on
the Regional Comprehensive

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Economic Partnership (or RCEP,
a proposed mega-regional FTA
between the 16 Asia-Pacific
nations including India and
New Delhi also raised concerns
regarding a widening goods
trade deficit with China. Indias
goods trade deficit with China
has escalated from $1.1 billion
in 2003-04 to $52.7 billion in
2015-16, according to Indian
government statistics.
The forthcoming BRICS Trade
Ministers Meeting would look at
a cooperation agreement for an
exchange of services trade
data, in addition to discussions
on the proposed BRICS Visa.
Singapore exchange to exit from
Bombay Stock exchange
Singapore Exchange, along
with some of the other top
shareholders of BSE like Atticus
Mauritius, Caldwell India
Holdings Inc, Acacia Banyan
Partners and GKFF Ventures
plan to sell their shares in the
forthcoming IPO of the
While Singapore Exchange
holds a 4.7 per cent stake in
BSE, Quantum (M) Ltd and
Atticus Mauritius both have 3.7
per cent stake each.
institutional investors like State
Bank of India (SBI) and Life
Insurance Corporation of India
(LIC) have chosen not to sell any
shares as part of the public
Both the entities hold 4.7 per
cent each in BSE, which was
established in 1875 and is the
oldest stock exchange in Asia.
BSE would become the
second exchange in India to be
listed after Multi Commodity

Exchange of India (MCX).

BSEs bigger rival the National
Stock Exchange (NSE) has also
initiated the process to get
BSE and NSE compete with
each other in almost all the
segments of capital markets.
BSE has a larger share in the
SME space.

Union Cabinet is likely to take

up in its next meeting the
constitution of the GST Council
Following the Presidents assent
to constitutional amendment
enabling the roll-out of the
Goods & Services Tax (GST),
Indias move to introduce the
new indirect tax is all set to
enter a crucial stage.
The Union Cabinet is likely to
take up in its next meeting on
Monday the constitution of the
GST Council.
This constitutional body, to be
headed by the Union Finance
Minister and comprising State
Finance Ministers, will decide
the rates at which the GST will
be levied and collected and
have to be paid across the
country by consumers.
Opposition parties says the
standard GST rate should be
kept below the 18 per centmark, the States are keen to fix
it at a higher level, closer to 20
per cent, to protect revenue
The Council, likely to be in
place before the end of
September, will also have to
finalise the number of slabs the
GST will be pegged at for
different categories of goods
and services.
Besides the standard rate, there
could be a lower rate for wage
goods consumed by the poor

and another one for demerit or

luxury goods, also called sin
The GST Council will have to
decide if it would be politically
feasible to tax the service at the
standard GST rate, which could
be 18 per cent or even higher.
Before the Council is set up, the
Empowered Committee of
State Finance Ministers is likely
to meet to thrash out these and
two other crucial issues for
determining the GST rates.
Issues like list of goods, such as
food grains, to be made exempt
from the new tax and the
threshold level below which
sellers will be exempt from
charging the GST, a tax on
States would like to see the GST
rate closer to 20 per cent as they
are concerned about revenue
collections after the transition.
Several states have expressed
their worries over the
calculations of the revenue
neutral rate for the GST.
A government committee
under Chief Economic Advisor
Arvind Subramanian had given
recommended that the
standard rate for the GST should
be about 18 per cent.
The calculations, they have
found, underestimate the
current indirect tax collections
revenue by nearly Rs.7 lakh

New set of criterias for

recapitalisation of State-owned
State-owned banks looking
forward to the next round of
capital infusion will need to
fulfil a new set of criteria,
including credit recovery, as

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the Finance Ministry has revised

the recapitalisation norms.
The second tranche of capital
allocation for the current fiscal
would be based on cost of
operations as well as recovery
and quality of credit on the basis
of risk weighted assets.
Only those lenders that fulfil the
criteria post third quarter
(October-December) results of
the current fiscal will be eligible
for the second round of
The money was allocated last
fiscal on the twin principles of
ensuring 7.5 per cent Common
Equity Tier 1 (CET 1) at the end
of the 2016 and growth capital
to five major banks.
The government in July had
announced the first round of
capital infusion of Rs.22,915
crore for 13 banks.
The first tranche was
announced with the objective
to enhance their lending
operations and enable them to
raise more money from the
Out of the Rs.22,915 crore, State
Bank of India (SBI) was
provided Rs.7,575 crore
followed by Indian Overseas
Bank (Rs.3,101 crore) and
Punjab National Bank (Rs.2,816
The capital infusion exercise for
the current fiscal is based on an
assessment of need as per the
compounded annual growth
rate (CAGR) of credit growth for
the last five years.
Finance Minister in his Budget
speech had proposed to
allocate Rs.25,000 crore
towards recapitalisation of PSU

Indias industrial output and


Inflation slowed
Indias industrial output slowed
drastically led by a decline in
manufacturing and an almost 30
per cent contraction in capital
goods production, signalling a
slump in investments.
Retail inflation on the other
hand slowed significantly,
spurring expectations that the
Reserve Bank of India (RBI)
would likely reduce interest
rates later this year to support
economic growth.
The Index of Industrial
Production (IIP) contracted 2.4
per cent in July, compared with
a growth of two per cent in June,
mainly on account of weakness
in manufacturing, which
contracted 3.4 per cent.
Inflation based on the
Consumer Price Index (CPI)
was 5.05 per cent in August,
slower than 6.07 per cent in
July, according to official data.
The slowdown in industrial
activity comes at a time when
the April-June GDP growth rate
eased to a 15-month low. Within
the CPI, the food category
witnessed an inflation rate of 5.8
per cent in August, down from
the blistering 8 per cent seen in
The electricity sector grew 1.6
per cent in July, lower than 8.3
per cent in June, while the
mining sector grew 0.8 per cent,
down from 5.3 per cent.
However, there are problems
with relying on the IIP as an
economic metric, owing to its
dated base year and its variance
from the present methodology
for calculating economic
Centres indirect tax collections

increased more than 27 per

The Centres indirect tax
collections increased more than
27 per cent in the April-August
2016 period, helped by a 49 per
cent jump in excise receipts,
according to data released by
the Ministry of Finance.
The government also reported
a 15 per cent increase in direct
tax collections.
Till August 2016, 22.3 per cent
of the Budget Estimates of
direct taxes for financial year
2016-17 has been achieved.
The increase in tax collection,
however, may not be enough to
help the government meet its
fiscal deficit target since the
target this year is even stricter
than that of last fiscal.
A separate government
statement said indirect tax
collections up to August stood
at Rs.3.36 lakh crore, 27.5 per
cent higher than the amount
collected during the yearearlier period.
Within direct tax, the
government said that corporate
tax refunds during April
August amounting to
Rs.77,080 crore, up 22.2 per
cent from the same period last
The Centre will likely increase
capital expenditure after the
monsoon, and the 7th Pay
Commission impact would also
begin to kick in, leading to a
challenging fiscal deficit
In indirect tax, central excise
collections stood at Rs.1.53 lakh
crore during April-August, up
49 per cent from the year earlier
period. Service tax collections

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witnessing an annual increase of
23.2 per cent.
Customs duty collections were
up 5.7 per cent at Rs.90,448
Big foreign retail chains and
food brandsare eyeing an entry
in the Indian market
Big retail chains and food
brands from the U.K., Italy and
Brazil are eyeing an entry in the
Indian market after the
government opened up foreign
investments up to 100 per cent
in processing, marketing and
retailing of food made in India.
The minister said that she would
also be visiting Italy on
September 29 at the invitation
of the Italian government to
meet food producers and
retailers who have evinced
interest in investing in India.
Indias food economy is
growing at a faster rate than the
economy and our food and
grocery market is the sixth
largest in the world. The average
Indian spends about 40% of
their wallet on food.
Apart from Walmart, which is
evaluating the countrys new
FDI norms for food retail, some
large firms from Brazil have also
expressed eagerness to foray
into the Indian market.
The ministry has decided to
hold a World Food Summit in
2017 on the sidelines of the
Vibrant Gujarat summit, where
big food retailers, processors,
logistics, packaging companies
as well as farmer-producer
organisations would be invited.
The Food Processing Ministry is
arguing for keeping processed
food products in the exempt
category of goods under the
proposed Goods and Services

Tax regime to replace the

present indirect tax levies.
Jio may not be as successful as
Billionaire Mukesh Ambanis
target of achieving more than
100 million customers for
Reliance Jio in the shortest
possible time may remain a
distant dream as the country has
only about 75 million fourthgeneration-enabled handsets.
With sales of about 3-4 million
4G handsets a month, India is
likely to have 150 million 4G
handset users by March 2018
and Jios target of adding a
million subscribers a day seems
an uphill task.
Jio is now acquiring about five
lakh subscribers a day and has a
subscriber base of more than
five million.
Moodys Investors Service
expects Jio to achieve its 100
million subscriber target only by
March 2018, while Morgan
Stanley believes that Jio could
have up to 40 million subscribers
by end of the current fiscal year.
Market leader Bharti Airtel has
so far not been able to convert
five per cent of its total 251
million-odd subscribers or 12.5
million to migrate to 4G platform.
Moodys senior research officer
Vikas Halan didnt expect
Reliance Jio to be EBIT positive
before 2020 as the success of
Jio depends on increased
penetration of 4G devices and
change in data consumption
patterns in the country.

Govt. to discuss the proposed

labour code on wages and the
Small Factories Bill
A group of central ministers led
by Finance Minister ArunJaitley

will meet Thursday to discuss

the proposed labour code on
wages and the Small Factories
Bill, barely two weeks after
trade unions led a nationwide
Mr. Dattatreya said the code on
wages will be taken up for
discussion in the winter session
of Parliament to be held later this
The central trade unions went
on a one-day nationwide strike
on September 2 to press for
their charter of demands that
include higher minimum wages,
pensions, social security for
unorganised workers, and to
oppose labour reforms.
The proposed labour code on
wages empowers the Centre to
fix a minimum wage applicable
across all sectors in all states. At
present, while the Centre can
fix a minimum wage level only
for central public sector units,
States can fix their own
minimum wage for workers in
private factories.
The draft code, which
combines four Central laws
the Minimum Wages Act, 1948,
the Payment of Wages Act,
1936, the Payment of Bonus
Act, 1965 and the Equal
Remuneration Act, 1976, also
streamlines the definition of
The Small Factories Bill has
been proposed as a separate set
of labour laws for factories with
less than 40 workers.
Mr. Dattatreya also said the
Industrial Relations Bill, which
makes it easier for companies to
retrench workers, has been sent
to the Union Cabinet for its
It will allow companies with staff
of 300 to retrench workers

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permission, up from the present
requirement of up to 100
Manufacturing sector leads WPI
to a two-year high of 3.74 per
Wholesale price inflation
accelerated to a two-year high
of 3.74 per cent in August,
driven mainly by a gradual
increase in manufacturing
sector prices.
While inflation as measured by
the Wholesale Price Index
accelerated from the 3.55 per
cent seen in July, consumer
price inflation for the period
slowed by a percentage point
to come in at 5.05 per cent in
Looking ahead, the expert view
is while increasing consumer
demand and more purchasing
power in consumers hands will
push manufacturing inflation
higher, good monsoon and
increased sowing will dampen
food prices.
Inflation in primary articles
category slowed to 7.5 per cent
in August from the 9.4 per cent
seen in the previous month.
Within this, while food inflation
slowed to 8.23 per cent, that of
the non-food category came in
at 8.44 per cent in August from
9.5 per cent in July.
Inflation in the fuel and power
segment of the WPI came in at
1.6 per cent in August
compared to a contraction of
one per cent seen in July.
However, easing food prices
may be offset by an upward
movement in the manufacturing
Govt is working to meet the

April 2017 deadline for GST

The government is working
overtime to meet the stiff April
2017 deadline for rolling out the
Goods and Service Tax (GST)
regime and it remains a
challenge, Cabinet Secretary
P.K. Sinha said.
The government has been
working overtime recently and
has taken some path-breaking
steps in making governance
responsive, participatory and
accountable, he said.
In fact, I can even say a silent
revolution is under way as we
move towards a completely
digital architecture towards
governance in all fields.
The government is thinking of
various measures to promote
cargo transport on waterways,
cargo movement has already
begun on the national waterway
from Varanasi to Howrah and is
proving to be more costefficient that road and rail.
Addition of new railway lines
and electrification has been
expedited and passenger
traffic is growing at more than
20 per cent in the civil aviation
sector, giving the Railways stiff
Finance Ministry moves to fill
SAARC Development Fund posts
Ahead of the SAARC Summit in
Islamabad, it is business as usual
for the regional grouping.
Union Finance Ministry has
posted a call for applications for
economy, infrastructure and
social development posts in the
umbrella financial mechanism
for the regions projects and
programmes, the SAARC
Development Fund.

The openings include the jobs

of the Directors of the Funds
three funding windows: Social,
Economic and Infrastructure.
They will be located in the
Funds Secretariat in Thimphu,
The Funds Economic and
Infrastructure windows are in
the process of being
operationalised. Bankable
projects for lending in the
region are under evaluation.
The Economic Window is
expected to extend funding to
non-infrastructural projects
related to areas such as trade
and industrial development and
Under the Social window, the
Fund is already implementing
ten regional projects.
The focus of most of these
projects is on poverty
alleviation, education; health;
human resources development;
support to the disadvantaged;
funding needs of communities,
mirco-enterprises and rural
infrastructure development.
The Infrastructure Window will
finance projects in areas such
t r a n s p o r t a t i o n ,
environment, tourism and other
infrastructure sectors.
The programme was expected
to result in greenhouse gases
emission mitigation of around
5.5 million tons of CO2equivalent annually and 5,700
million KWh of energy savings
during 2012-2015.
Finance minister says Fiscal
Responsibility and Budget
Management Act is important
Governments need to balance
their political impulse towards

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populism and the need for

management, Union Finance
Minister Arun Jaitley said.
Highlighting the importance of
the FRBM Act and its related
targets in ensuring this, Mr.
Jaitely said: One of the reasons
why the FRBM targets in India
were statutorily brought in was
really because, in public life and
politics, there was always a
conflict between populism and
financial discipline.
The government in May
announced the constitution of
a panel to review the FRBM Act
of 2003, as outlined by Mr.
Jaitley in his Budget speech.
The panel will also look into the
possibility of replacing absolute
fiscal deficit targets with a
target range.
Mr. Jaitley went on to exhort
those present, as well as all
participants of the economy
such as individuals, private
governments, to borrow
These comments come a day
after Mr. Jaitley reviewed the
performance of the public
sector banks and highlighted
the high levels of nonperforming assets in these
Mr. Jaitley said the NPA issue
was entirely a product of poor
fiscal foresight.

India's current account moved

in to surplus in the April-June
India's current account moved
in to surplus in the April-June
quarter of the current fiscal year,
after a gap of 9 years, a senior
Finance Ministry official

Slow growth in imports,

reflecting the persisting
weakness in investment
sentiment, tipped the account,
he explained. The current
account was in surplus last in the
January-March quarter in the
year 2007.
The official data for the current
account position during the
April-June quarter is scheduled
for release by the Reserve Bank
of India (RBI) later this month.
A surplus is expected to bolster
the rupee, which could render
India's already subdued
exports less competitive.
Exports to the U.S., India's
largest export destination, fell
1.1 per cent in April-July 2016
against the corresponding
quarter in the previous year. In
the same period, imports from
China, the largest exporter to
India, fell 7.4 per cent.
The report projected a broadly
balanced current account in the
July-September quarter. The
forecast follows the release of
the August trade data.
Remaining almost unchanged
in the last three months, India's
trade deficit reached $7.7
billion in August, significantly
lower than the average monthly
trade deficit of $9.9 billion seen
in the last fiscal year.
A current account in deficit
reflects that the imports of
goods, services and investment
incomes into the economy
outstripped the value of its
The factory inspection system
needs a complete overhaul says
The factory inspection system
needs a complete overhaul to
bring India among the top 50

countries in terms of ease of

doing business in the next two
years, according to the
Confederation of Indian
Industry (CII).
India is currently placed at 130
out of 189 countries in the ease
of doing business rankings.
The white paper noted that a
manufacturing company in India
has to comply with around 70
laws and regulations. Most of the
inspections conducted are
related to environment or labour
law compliances.
Apart from multiple inspections,
a company has to file around
100 returns every year, it said.
CII has also observed variations
in inspections conducted on
small factories across the
CII called for an integrated
inspection system and
highlighted the need for
inculcating a risk-based
approach in the inspection
system which will rationalise the
number of inspections and
weed out the redundancy and
It said a portal could be created
for automatically updating
invoices related to excise, sales
tax, customs and the like by
SMEs and that this could be
used by regulators and
inspectors in lieu of physically
visiting the factory premises.
It also urged the central
government to encourage the
states to pursue a process for
simplification of labour laws and

Indias external debt stand at

$485.6 billion
Indias external debt at the end
of March 2016 stood at $485.6
billion, up 2.2 per cent from

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over its level at over end-March
2015, largely driven by the
increase in long-term external
debt, particularly NRI deposits.
At end-March 2016, long-term
external debt was $402.2
billion, showing an increase of
3.3 per cent over the level of
2015. Long-term external debt
accounted for 82.8 per cent of
total external debt at endMarch 2016 as compared to
82.0 % at 2015.
In contrast, short-term external
debt declined by 2.5 per cent
from $84.7 billion at end-March
2015 to $83.4 billion at endMarch 2016.
Of total external debt, the
governments share stood at
18.9 per cent or $93.4 billion at
end-March 2016 compared to
18.8 per cent ($89.7 billion) at
March 2015.
The Centre has notified the
Bharat Stage (BS)-VI emission
The Centre has notified the
Bharat Stage (BS)-VI emission
standards for two-wheelers and
four-wheelers from April 2020
across the country.
With this, the government has
decided to skip the BS-V
emission standards and move
directly to BS-VI from the BS-IV
norms currently being followed
in various cities.
Automobile makers have urged
the government to make
available the testing BS-VI
compliant fuel a year sooner
across the country.
Oil companies will be investing
more than Rs.60,000 crore
towards BS-VI fuels. BS-VI is the
Indian equivalent of the EuroVI norms. At present, BS-IV
norms are being followed in

over 30 cities while the rest of

the country followBS-III norms.
The government had earlier
planned to implement BS-V
norms from 2020 and BS-VI
norms from 2022. However, it
decided to skip BS-V norms and
advance the implementation of
BS-VI norms following the
Supreme Courts intervention.

India's banking system is

moving past the worst says
India's banking system is moving
past the worst of its asset quality
slump, according to Moodys
Investors Service which also
said while the number of bad
quality loans may still increase,
the pace will start slowing.
This outlook is based on the
companys analysis of five key
environment, asset risk and
capital (stable), funding and
liquidity, profitability and
government support.
The asset quality indicator still
remains a problem but the
picture is getting better on
account, said the report.
Asian Development Bank
approved $631 million for
Indias first coastal industrial
Asian Development Bank has
approved $631 million for
building Indias first coastal
industrial corridor between
Visakhapatnam and Chennai.
The fund will help develop the
first key 800-km section of the
planned 2,500-km East Coast
Economic Corridor expected to
spur development on Indias
eastern coast and enable
seamless trade links with other

parts of South and Southeast

The total cost of the project is
$846 million and work on it is
expected to be over by 2031.
The remaining $215 million
would be funded by the
Andhra Pradesh government.
ADBs loans and grants
comprise a $500 million twotranche facility to build key
infrastructure and a $125 million
two-tranche loan to help in
industrial policies and business
By 2025, annual industrial
output along the corridor will
increase fourfold to $64 billion
from about $16 billion in 2015
if investment opportunities are
maximized over the coming 10
The Centre is keen to encourage
manufacturing to create jobs for
a labour force that is growing
by about 12 million each year.

Govt looking to give boost to

tourism sector
The government is looking to
woo foreign and domestic
investments to fund 700
tourism-related projects
requiring over Rs.50,000 crore
during the three-day Incredible
India summit set to kick off on
The summit, organised in
association with CII, is the first
such tourism investors summit
to be held in India. It will be
inaugurated by Finance Minister
Arun Jaitley.
States roped in knowledge
partners such as KPMG to
identify these projects, which
included amusement parks and
The thrust remained on
hospitality as there wasneed for

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about two lakh hotel rooms to
cater to higher demand from
foreign and domestic tourists.
The Centre has notified the
scrapping of toll tax collections
on small road
The Centre has notified the
scrapping of toll tax collections
on small road stretches and
bridges developed at a cost of
less than Rs.100 crore.
The initiative is based on the
recommendations of a
committee constituted by the
Centre to examine and
recommend the minimum
eligibility criteria for charging
toll fees.
At present, the Central
government has the power to
exempt any section of a national
highway, permanent bridge,
bypass or tunnel from toll tax,
according to the National Old
Highways Fee (Determination
of Rates and Collection) Rules
All road projects, standalone
structures and road stretches in
which the project construction
cost is less than Rs.100 crore and
old bridges for which residual
recoverable project cost is less
than Rs.100 crore will be
exempted from toll tax
However, the project cost will
not include cost of preconstruction activity, utility
shifting and land acquisition, the
ministry added in the
The move follows policies
adopted by governments in
BJP-ruled states to exempt toll
taxes on some state highways.
Recently, Gujarat exempted
car, jeep and van category
vehicles and state transport

buses from tolls on state

highways beginning August 15.
As a result, nine public private
partnership (PPP) projects were
impacted and the government
had vowed to compensate
private developers for the
revenue loss through monthly
Last year, Maharashtra had
scrapped 12 toll plazas across
the State and exempted small
vehicles and State transport
buses from having to pay at 53
other toll points.

Indias CAD narrowed in the

first quarter
Indias current account deficit
(CAD) narrowed in the first
quarter of the financial year to
$300 million as compared with
$6.1 billion in the year-earlier
period. The deficit sharank to
0.1 per cent of GDP in the
period, as compared with 1.2
per cent.
On the basis of balance of
imports declined sharply by
11.5 per cent as compared
with merchandise exports,
which fell 2.1 per cent, leading
to a lower trade deficit in Q1 of
Net services receipts declined
on a year-on-year basis, largely
due to a fall in net earnings on
account of travel, financial
services and other business
Net foreign direct investment
also moderated to $4.1 billion
in Q1 of 2016-17 from $10
billion a year earlier and $8.8
billion in the preceding threemonth period.
Higher repayments under
borrowings led to a net outflow

under loans to India in Q1 as

against net borrowings in the
same period last year.
Portfolio investments recorded
a net inflow of $2.1 billion in Q1
of 2016-17 as against a marginal
outflow in the corresponding
period of last year.
Portfolio investment recorded
an outflow of $1.5 billion in the
preceding quarter, primarily
reflecting net inflow in the
equity component.
Accretion to non-resident
Indian (NRI) deposits, which
were $1.4 billion, moderated
from both a year earlier as well
as the previous quarter.
The balance of payments
posted a surplus of $7 billion for
the April-June quarter, a
decline from the $11.4 billion
surplus recorded a year earlier.

Govt named external nominees

to MPC
The Centre named three
economics as the external
appointees on the monetary
policy committee (MPC) that
will work with the Reserve Bank
of Indias three members to
decide interest rates.
The RBI is represented on the
MPC by Governor Urjit Patel,
Deputy Governor in-charge of
monetary policy R. Gandhi, and
M.D. Patra, the executive
director who was nominated by
the RBI board.
The three external members
PamiDua, Chetan Ghate and
Ravindra Dholakia will have a
fixed four year term, which is
The RBI will set interest rates
according to the majority view
of the six-member MPC, with the
Governor having the casting

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vote in case of a tie.
The MPC will be responsible for
ensuring inflation based on the
Consumer Price Index is
contained within a range of 2
per cent to 6 per cent, a target
announced as part of the new
monetary policy framework
agreed to by the Centre and the
Previously, decisions were
taken by the RBI Governor. The
move to inflation targeting and
committee based rate-setting
were part of changes
recommended by former
Governor Raghuram Rajan and
then Deputy Governor Dr. Patel.
Chetan Ghate is the only
member of the Technical
Advisory Committee on
Monetary Policy who becomes
a member of the MPC, and is
therefore familiar with the RBIs
policy making process.
Dr. Ghate, who is a professor at
the Indian Statistical Institute,
Delhi, is a macroeconomist with
a research focus on economic
growth, fluctuations, economic
development, and monetary
and fiscal policy in developing
and emerging market.
To boost exports Govt. revamps
Merchandise Exports from India
Commerce ministry extended
support to certain new products
and enhanced the rate of
incentives for some other under
the reward programme called
Merchandise Exports from India
Scheme (MEIS).
With this the total number of
items covered under the
scheme has been increased
from 5,012 to 7,103, an official


statement said.
The total government support
extended under the scheme
has been enhanced from the
present Rs 22,000 crore to Rs
23,500 crore per annum, it
The major highlights of the
support include addition of
2901 products in the scheme.
These include several items of
traditional medicines, marine
products, dried onion,
processed cereal products and
value added items of plastics,
leather articles and suitcases.
The rate of incentives of 575
product items falling under 11
products categories have been
Revocation of Most favoured
nation tag from Pak will be
The Centre is not considering
any proposal to withdraw the
Most Favoured Nation (MFN)
status accorded to Pakistan as
even without the move the level
of bilateral trade is very low.
The MFN status was accorded
in 1996 as per Indias
commitments as a member of
the World Trade Organisation
According to the MFN
principle of the WTOs General
Agreement on Tarifs and Trade
to which India is a signatory/
contracting party each of the
WTO member countries should
treat all the other members
equally as most favoured
trading partners.
According to the WTO, though
the term MFN suggests
special treatment, it actually
means non-discrimination.
In the wake of the deadly attack
on Indian soldiers in Uri, an

incident for which India is

holding Pakistan responsible,
there have been calls in India
for tough action against its
neighbour, including the
revocation of the MFN status.
Bilateral trade between the two
South Asian neighbours was just
$2.6 billion in 2015-16 which
represented a minuscule 0.4
per cent of Indias overall goods
trade worth $643.3 billion in the
same year.
The MFN concept is an integral
part of the WTO agreements and
is among the principles forming
the foundation of the
multilateral trading system.
As per the WTO, whenever a
country brings down a trade
barrier or liberalises a sector.
Government has ruled out any
extension to deadline for
disclosure on black money
Government has ruled out any
extension to the September 30
deadline for filing income
disclosure under the black
money compliance window.
Under the IDS, people can
disclose their undeclared
prosecution. The scheme,
which was launched on June 1
to uncover black money, closes
on September 30.
Those disclosing assets under
the IDS will have to pay 45 per
cent tax plus penalty.
Also the payments can be made
in three instalments till
September 2017.
Incredible India Investors
Summit gets big investment
Five states Gujarat, Rajasthan,
Karnataka, Uttarakhand and
Chattisgarh signed 86 MoUs
worth close to Rs.15,000 crore

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during the recently concluded

Incredible India Investors
Gujarat leads the tally with
signed pacts worth nearly
Rs.9,000 crore, followed by
Karnataka (Rs.2,600 crore),
Rajasthan (Rs.1,000 crore),
Uttarakhand (Rs.500 crore) and
Chhattisgarh (Rs.12 crore),
according to an official
The summit was organised by
the Ministry of Tourism in
partnership with industry body
CII and the Tourism Finance
Corporation of India.
The three-day summit was
aimed at inviting investments
from foreign and domestic
players to fund 700 tourismrelated projects from 29 states
requiring over Rs.50,000 crore.
Invest India, which is a not-forprofit joint venture between the
DIPP, Ministry of Commerce and
Industry, state governments and
FICCI, has shown interest in
setting up the investment desk,
which will be a unit under
Ministry of Tourism.
Foreign tourist arrivals in June
2016, grew 7.3 per cent to 5.50
lakh as compared with 5.12 lakh
during the month of June, 2015.
For the January-June period of
2016, 41.86 lakh visited India
registering a growth of 8.9 per
cent compared with the same
period the previous year.

Government to block content of

child sexual abuse
In an attempt to protect
children from sexual abuse
online, the government will
soon issue an advisory to
Internet Service Providers,
asking them to filter and block
related objectionable images,

videos as well as text.

In compliance with the
provision of the (IT) Act
websites/portals and ISPs
technological tools to block/
disable any such child sexual
abuse images, videos and text
available on the Internet,
according to a draft.
Government had banned more
than 850 sites citing the
Supreme Courts directions to
address the menace of
pornography, especially child
However, the move did not go
down well with a majority of
users who took to social media
to criticise it.
The Centre later clarified that
the move was temporary and it
was planning a long-term policy
to tackle online child sexual
The ministry is also planning
CBSE curriculum targeted at
children in the age range of 810 years, on cyber-bullying and
as to how children should
navigate the Internet.
New date for budget
presentation to be 1st feb
The Finance Ministry has settled
on February 1 as the new date
for the presentation of the
Union Budget.
The Cabinet had last week
approved the merger of the
railway budget with the general
budget and had given an inprinciple nod for presenting the
Budget earlier than February 28.
The idea behind bringing
forward the Budget date,
according to the government,
is so that ministries and state
governments can begin
disbursing funds from the

beginning of the financial year.

At the moment, with the Budget
being presented at the end of
February, several processes,
including the vote on account,
result in states being able to
disburse funds only by late May.
Advancing the Budget date will
allow them to release funds by
The decision to change the
correspondingly the dates of
the Budget session of
Parliament, does not require
Parliamentary approval.
The government is also reported
to be in talks with the Election
Commission to make sure that
the presentation of the Budget
does not clash with the
assembly elections in States
Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur.
The Cabinet had also approved
the removal of the Plan and
Non-Plan distinction in
something Finance Minister
Arun Jaitley had proposed in his
Budget speech this year.
India has risen rapidly among
all countries in the global
competitive stakes
India has risen rapidly among all
countries in the global
competitive stakes by climbing
16 notches to the 39th position
during the past year in the
WEFs Global Competitiveness
According to the World
Economic Forums latest Global
Competitiveness Report this
marks the biggest scale of
competitiveness among all
countries and is the second
year in a row India has gone up

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16 ranks in the WEF index.
It suggests that improvements
in institutions and infrastructure
have increased overall
competitiveness along with
recent reforms such as opening
the economy to foreign
investors and increasing
transparency in the financial
Indias competitiveness has
improved, particularly in goods
market efficiency, business
sophistication and innovation,
while lower oil prices and
improved monetary and fiscal
policies have made the
economy not only stable,
According to executives
polled for the report, Indias tax
regulations, corruption, tax rates
and poor public health are the
most problematic factors for
doing business.
The report added that the
labour market rigidities and the
presence of large, public
enterprises especially in the
utilities and financial sector
make the economy less
While India is the only South
Asian economy in the top half
of the rankings, Sri Lanka
surprisingly ranks ahead of it in
technological readiness one
of twelve pillars on which
countries are rated.
Indias unemployment rate at
five-year high
Jobless economic growth
continues to haunt India's
youth, with the countrys
unemployment rate rising to a
five-year high of five per cent in
2015-16, according to the latest
annual household survey on
employment conducted by
Labour Bureau.

Indias economy grew 7.1 per

cent in the first quarter of 201516, slowing from 7.9 per cent a
year earlier.
The countrys unemployment
rate, as measured by the Bureau,
stood at 4.9 per cent in 201314, 4.7 per cent in 2012-13 and
3.8 per cent in 2011-12.
Female job seekers were the
worst hit as the pace of
unemployment rose sharply to
8.7 per cent in 2015-16
compared to 7.7 per cent in
2013-14, data from the Fifth
While unemployment rate in
rural areas rose to 5.1 per cent
in 2015-16 from 4.7 per cent in
2013-14, it declined to 4.9 per
cent from 5.5 per cent in urban
areas during the same period.
The annual survey also showed
that 47.8 per cent of the
surveyed population was
reported to be employed in
2015-16 compared with 49.9 %
two years earlier when the
previous survey was conducted
by the Labour Bureau.
Fewer households benefited
from various employment
schemes of the government in
2015-16, the survey showed.
For instance, the benefits of
Mahatma Gandhi National Rural
Employment Guarantee Act
scheme were availed by 21.9
per cent households compared
to 24.1 per cent households in
CBEC gets nod for Project
The Cabinet Committee on
Economic Affairs has approved
a Rs.2,256 crore outlay for
Project SAKSHAM, an initiative

under CBEC to bolster the

information technology network
for the new GST regime that the
government intends to roll out.
CBECs IT systems need to
integrate with the GSTN for
processing of registration,
payment and returns data sent
by GSTN systems to CBEC, as
well as act as a front-end for
other modules like audit, appeal
and investigation.
There is no overlap in the GSTrelated systems of CBEC and
Union Ministry of Road
Transport and Highways will
invite bids from foreign funds
Union Ministry of Road Transport
and Highways will invite bids
from foreign pension funds for
recycling of brownfield
projects to raise funds, a senior
official said.
The Cabinet has approved the
proposal last month. There is a
need for model concessional
agreement after which the
Request For Proposal (RFP) will
be finalised.
The process involves handing
over of 75-odd brownfield road
projects across the country to
these foreign funds for a
concession period of 30 years,
he told reporters.
During this period, the foreign
funds would collect toll as per
law and maintain them while
ownership would not be
The government was expected
to garner Rs.50,000 crore which
would be given upfront by the
fund managers and would be
then ploughed back in creating
other new road assets.

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Science & Technology


New method to fight
Chinese scientists have claimed
to have converted sand into
fertile soil using a new method
which they hope will be useful
to fight desertification.
A team of researchers from
Chongqing Jiaotong University
has developed a paste made of
plant cellulose that, when
added to sand, helps it retain
water, nutrients and air.
The plants in the sandy test plot
needed about the same amount
of water as those grown in
regular soil, but required less
fertilizer and bore higher yields,
according to estimates by
Since 2013, scientists have
been experimenting with
outdoor cultivation at two sites
with areas of approximately 550
and 420 square metres in
Chongqing, where scientists
simulated desert landform
Global warming is spreading
disease among animals and
Global warming is making the
oceans sicker than ever before,
spreading disease among
animals and humans and
threatening food security across
the planet.
The findings, based on peerreviewed research, were
compiled by 80 scientists from
12 countries, experts said at the
International Union for

Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

World Conservation Congress in
The report, Explaining Ocean
Warming, is the most
systematic study we have ever
consequence of this warming
on the ocean, co-lead author
Dan Laffoley said.
The worlds waters have
absorbed more than 93 per cent
of the enhanced heating from
climate change since the 1970s,
curbing the heat felt on land but
drastically altering the rhythm of
life in the ocean, he said.
The study included every major
marine ecosystem, containing
everything from microbes to
whales, including the deep
The higher temperatures will
probably change the sex ratio
of turtles in the future because
females are more likely to be
born in warmer temperatures.
The heat also means microbes
dominate larger areas of the

Success of GSLV mission makes

ISRO ready for the Chandrayan2 mission
Chandrayaan-2 is now clear.
The significance of the
Geosynchronous Satellite
Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F05)
missions success is that the
rocket is now more than
qualified to put Chandrayaan-2
into orbit.

The interfaces between GSLVMk II and Chandrayaan-2 have

already been finalised,
according to officials in the
Indian Space Research
Organisation (ISRO).\
A GSLV-Mk II vehicle will put
Chandrayaan-2 with a lander
and a rover into orbit in the first
quarter of 2018. It will be a
totally indigenous mission the
vehicle, the spacecraft, the
lander and the rover are all made
in India.
The lander will have a
throttleable engine for
performing a soft landing and
four sites have been short-listed
for this. After it touches down
on a flat surface on the moon,
the 25-kg rover which is a
kind of a toy car will emerge
from it.
It will have six wheels, made of
aluminium, to move about on the
lunar soil. The wheels will
interact in such a way that the
rover does not sink.
The rover will move at a speed
of two cm a second. Its lifetime
on the moon is 14 earth days; it
will have two payloads for
analysing the soils chemical
Astronomers have found a
magnetar that spins much
slower than the slowest known
Astronomers have found
evidence of a magnetar
magnetised neutron star that
spins much slower than the
slowest of its kind known until
now, which spin around once

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every 10 seconds.
The magnetar 1E 1613 at the
centre of RCW 103, the remains
of a supernova explosion
located about 9,000 light years
from Earth rotates once every
24,000 seconds (6.67 hours),
the researchers found.
These exotic objects possess
the most powerful magnetic
fields in the universe trillions
of times that observed on the
Sun and can erupt with
enormous amounts of energy.
New data from trio of highenergy telescopes, and archival
data from Chandra, Swift and
European Space Agencys
XMM-Newton confirmed that
1E 1613 has the properties of a
magnetar, making it only the
30th known.
Rotation of once every 6.67
hours, much slower than the
slowest magnetars known until
now, which spin around once
every 10 seconds.
This would make it the slowest
spinning neutron star ever
detected, the researchers
Astronomers expect that a
single neutron star will spin
quickly after its birth in the
supernova explosion and will
then slow down over time as it
loses energy.
GSAT-11, Indias advanced and
heaviest communication
spacecraft to date to be
GSAT-11, Indias advanced and
heaviest communication
spacecraft to date at 5,700 kg,
is to be launched early next year
on the European Ariane launch
The high-throughput satellite
with its multi-spot beam

coverage of the country will be

far superior to the older
generation three-tonne INSAT/
GSAT spacecraft.
GSAT-11 is designed to
generate a bandwidth of more
than 12 gbps primarily for users
of Internet driven services,
VSAT operations and rural
Globally many operators are
putting up such high
throughput satellites for
commercial use while ISRO is
working on putting up five such
in the near future.
This would be the first
spacecraft to be integrated on
ISROs new i-6k platform. The
INSAT/GSATs have not
exceeded 3,400 kg; the last
heaviest was GSAT-10
launched in 2012.
Also, ISROs newly readied
medium-lift launcher can only
lift satellites up to 2,000 kg.
Arianespace quoted its
Chairman and CEO Stphane
Isral announcing the GSAT-11
contract along with five other
global launch orders.

PSLV satellite launcher will

place its passengers in two
different orbits
On September 26, the PSLV
satellite launcher will for the first
time place its multiple
passengers in two different
orbits. The flight is also
significant as it will last two hours
and 15 minutes, making it the
PSLVs longest ever.
Three Indian and five foreign
commercial spacecraft will ride
in it together. Only the main
passenger, ISROs 370-kg
Scatsat-1 ocean and weather
tracker, will get off first at a
slightly higher orbit at around

700 km.
The remaining smaller satellites,
weighing between 5 kg and
110 kg, will be ejected at
around 600 km but after
about two hours.
ISRO had tested this new
techique during a PSLV flight in
June this year. It then said the
added versatility of reaching
satellites to different orbits will
enlarge its customer base:
sometimes, different launch
customers need to reach their
satellites to different orbits or
distances from Earth.
The PSLV has so far launched
39 remote-sensing satellites of
Chandrayaan-1 of 2008 and the
Mars mission of 2013-14.
It has also orbited 74 foreign
commercial and university
satellites in a global trend where
the demand for its category of
launch services is increasing.
Pluto may contain an ocean
spanning over 100 km
Pluto may contain an ocean
spanning over 100 km in
thickness beneath its icy
surface, with a salt content
similar to that of the Dead Sea
on Earth, a new study suggests.
Ever since NASAs New
Horizons spacecraft flew by
Pluto last year, evidence has
been mounting that the dwarf
planet may have a liquid ocean
beneath its icy shell.
The study finds a high likelihood
that there is more than 100 km
layer of liquid water beneath
Plutos surface.
The research also offers a
significant clue about the
composition of that putative
ocean, suggesting that it likely
has a salt content which is similar

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Science & Technology

to that of the Dead Sea.
The basin appears to have been
created by an impact, likely by
an object 200 kilometres across
or larger.
The story of how the basin
relates to Plutos putative ocean
starts with its position on the
planet relative to Plutos largest
moon, Charon.
As Charons gravity pulls on
proportionally more on areas of
higher mass, which would tilt
the planet until Sputnik Planum
became aligned with the tidal
Water is denser than ice. If there
were a layer of liquid water
beneath Plutos ice shell, it may
have welled up following the
Sputnik Planum impact, evening
out the craters mass.
ISRO puts satellites in two diff
Pushing forward the scope of
its workhorse rocket PSLV,
Indian Space Research
Organisation (ISRO) launched
a total of eight satellites in two
different orbits.
Besides the weather satellite
SCATSAT-1, two satellites
PRATAM and PISAT from Indian
institutions, from Algeria
(ALSAT1N, 1B and 2B), from
Canada (NLS-19) and the
United States (Pathfinder-1)
were launched in the longest
PSLV mission.
Earlier, ISRO was using separate
rockets to launch satellites in
different orbits and for the first
time ISRO launched satellites in
two different orbits in a single
About 17 minutes after it took
off from the First Launch Pad of
the Satish Dhawan Space

Centre here at 9.12 a.m., the

rocket placed SCATSAT-1 (371
kg) in the polar sun synchronous
orbit at an altitude of 725 km.
Green house gases have to
come down for planet to cool
Our planet may grow intolerably
hot even if greenhouse gases in
the atmosphere remain at
current levels, according to the
reconstruction of surface
Stabilisation at todays
greenhouse gas levels may
already commit Earth to an
eventual total warming of five
degrees Celsius over the next
few millennia," said a study in
the journal Nature .
This was the middle of a
predicted warming range of 3
C (5.4 F) to 7 C (12.6). Even 3 C
would, in the long-run, unleash
a maelstrom of climate change
impacts, it said.
The U.N.s Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change said
concentrations of the main
greenhouse gas CO2 over
400 parts per million (ppm)
would, over the next century,
temperatures 2 to 2.4 C above
3D-printed material helps bones
A cheap and easy method to
make synthetic bone material
has been shown to stimulate
new bone growth when
implanted in the spines of rats
and a monkeys skull,
researchers said.

Human trials using the

biomaterial, called HyperElastic Bone [HB], could begin
in the next five years, according
to the research team from
Northwestern University.
Its biological effects in the
outcomes we observed directly
were quite astounding.
The material is made mostly of
a ceramic, which contains
mineral found in teeth and
bones, and polymer, both of
which are used in the clinic,
said the study in Science
Translational Medicine.
Rosetta spacecraft to switch off
after 12 years
Europes Rosetta spacecraft,
due to switch off on Friday after
a 12-year odyssey, carried
eleven scientific instruments to
sniff and photograph a comet
from all angles.
After arriving in orbit around
67P/ChuryumovGerasimenko, it launched
Philae, a separate lander, which
itself had 10 hi-tech gadgets,
including cameras, X-ray scans,
radio wave probes and a drill
that never deployed.
Together, the robot explorers
understanding of comets of
which there are billions
believed to be leftovers from
the birth of our Solar System
some 4.6 billion years ago.
The comet was formed in a
young, outer part of our Solar
System that was much less
densely packed with bodies
than previously thought.
This affects our understanding
of planetary formation, thought
to have happened when ice
and dust debris, swirling
around in a proto-planetary disk

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Science & Technology

around an infant Sun, collided
and stuck together, growing
bigger and bigger over time.
The comets surface was
another surprise. It was less
fluffy and much harder than
expected, which contributed
to Philae bouncing several times
after its harpoons failed to fire
on landing.
The comet had much less water
ice than thought, was littered
with pebbles and rocks ranging


in size from a few centimetres

across to five metres, and
pocked with deep craters.
The surface is rendered superdark and non-reflective by a thin
layer of dust.
Scientists were astonished to
find oxygen molecules in the
gassy halo around the comet,
and said they appeared to be
older than our Solar System.
67P has organic molecules,
many different ones

including amino acids, which

are the building blocks of life as
we know it.
This discovery supports the
hypothesis that comets may very
well have helped spark life on
Earth by delivering organic
materials when they slammed
into a young planet that was
basically molten iron.
Water, on the other hand, is
unlikely to have come from
comets of 67P's type, the
mission found.

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Javelin thrower
DevendraJhajharia scripted
DevendraJhajharia scripted
history by becoming the first
Indian to clinch two gold
medals at the Paralympics after
he broke his own world record
to clinch top honours at the
ongoing Games.
Competing in the F46 category,
the 36-year-old, who won at the
2004 Athens Games, threw the

javelin to a distance of 63.97m

and bettered his 62.15m
achieved in Athens.
Jhajharia, won gold (2013) and
silver (2015) at the International
Paralympic Committees World
Championships with record
throws and a silver at the 2014
Asian Para Games.
The Rajasthan-born Jhajharia
had lost his left hand when he
was electrocuted while
climbing a tree as an eight-yearold. Jhajharia was given the
theArjuna Award in 2004 and

conferred the Padma Shri in

2012, the first Paralympian to
receive the honour.
Currently ranked third in the
world, Jhajharia has swelled
Indias medal tally at Rio to four
medals two golds, one silver
and a bronze.
DevendraJhajharia for the
historic and well-deserved Gold
at the #Paralympics. We are very
proud of him. #Rio2016, Prime

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Selected Articles from Various Newspapers & Journals


What it means to be
independent (The Hindu)
The independence that we
celebrate today was won by the
Indian people through a prolonged
and hard struggle of epic dimensions,
a larger-than-life battle in which
ordinary men and women performed
heroic roles. It was the culmination
of a revolutionary movement which
forced the rulers of an empire on
which the sun never set to surrender
power to their subjects whom they
had exploited for over two centuries.
It heralded the beginning of the end
of colonialism, a process still called
decolonisation by Western academia,
to give it the appearance of a
voluntary withdrawal. India was the
first colony to throw off the imperial
yoke, and its example inspired other
countries in Asia and Africa, and by
the early 1960s, most countries had
become independent. The Indian
national movement had supported
the struggle of all colonised people,
and after Independence the new
Indian state under Jawaharlal Nehrus
leadership continued to do so. The
non-aligned movement was part of
this effort to give the newly
opportunity to keep out of the Cold
War and the two power blocs and
assert their independent voice
without having to parrot the views of
a hegemon.
witnessed in India in recent times is
not the nationalism of our freedom
struggle. It misuses nationalism,
which has a positive connotation in
the minds and hearts of the Indian
people, to polarise, to divide, and to

suppress individual freedoms. How

can this be the genuine article? Our
nationalism is meant to unite, to
harmonise, to guarantee freedom of
speech, freedom of the press,
freedom of association. I particularly
want to draw attention to the issue of
civil liberties, as this is one of the
strongest elements in the legacy of
the freedom struggle which is under
grave threat today. Witness the
reckless use of Section 124-A to
charge students with sedition, with
vigilantes attacking even journalists
inside law courts, with books being
withdrawn and pulped, with
Ministers attempting to terrorise
dissenting intellectuals by labelling
them as intellectual terrorists, with
gau rakshaks physically attacking
those who they think are flouting their
diktats, especially if they belong to
the Dalit or minority communities.
These attacks on freedom of
expression, of movement, on
freedom to eat and earn your
livelihood, bring home to us the
urgent necessity of resisting these
attacks, and that can only be done
by defending civil liberties, by
defending this legacy as an integral
part of our nationalism, and by
declaring these attacks as antinational.
Much before the formation of
the Indian National Congress or other
nationalist organisations, nationalist
ideas were expressed and spread
through the medium of the press, and
that too mostly the Indian language
or vernacular press. Most of these
were papers started by middle class
people of nationalist leanings who
invested their lifes savings and often

their family jewellery in this

enterprise. Incensed by the highly
critical tone adopted by the press
against the administration for their
inhuman attitude towards the victims
of the famine of 1876-77, the Viceroy,
Lord Lytton, decided to strike hard.
A draconian law aimed at the Indian
language newspapers was planned
in secrecy and passed in a single
sitting of the Imperial Legislative
Council. The infamous Vernacular
Press Act 1878, provided for the
confiscation of the printing press,
paper, and other materials of a
newspaper if the government
thought that it was publishing
seditious material.
It was well known that the
newspaper that had most raised the
hackles of the government was the
Amrita Bazar Patrika , published by
the brothers Sisir Ghosh and Motilal
Ghosh from Calcutta in Bengali and
English, and the plan was to take
action against it under the new Act.
Imagine the state of British
officialdom when they woke up the
morning after the passing of the Act
to find that the Amrita Bazar Patrika
had converted itself overnight into a
purely English language newspaper,
thus placing itself outside the purview
of the Act.
Strong protests broke out
against the new Act all over the
country. The press itself played a
leading part in this campaign. The first
big demonstration on a matter of
public importance was held at the
Town Hall in Calcutta. It is a matter of
great significance that the nationalist
forces, even before they were
formally organised, won a major
victory, and that too on the issue of

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Selected Articles from Various Newspapers & Journals

civil liberties. In 1881, in deference
to strong public opinion, the Viceroy
Lord Ripon repealed the Vernacular
Press Act. So this legacy is almost a
century and four decades old!
A few years later, in 1883,
Surendranath Banerjea, one of the
founders of the movement for
independence, was sent to jail for two
months for contempt of court for an
editorial he wrote in his newspaper,
the Bengalee , criticising a judgment
of the Calcutta High Court in sharp
terms. This was seen by political India
as an attack on civil liberties. In
Calcutta, there was a complete hartal
in the Indian part of the city. Students
demonstrations outside the high
court turned violent and stones were
thrown at the police and windows
smashed. Among the demonstrators
was a future Vice-Chancellor of
Calcutta University, Ashutosh
Mukherjee. Demonstrations and
meetings in support of Banerjea were
held in cities as far away as Lahore,
Agra, Amritsar, and Poona. In Calcutta
were held many open air mass
meetings, a form of protest and
expression that was to become the
staple and defining feature of the
Indian struggle for freedom.
In 1922, Mahatma Gandhi was
also tried under the same Section
124-A for sedition for articles he
wrote in Young India , and the judge
told him he was giving him the same
punishment that was given to
Lokmanya Tilak: six years of
imprisonment, but not in exile. The
struggle for civil liberties thus entailed
much suffering and sacrifice, many
suffered long jail terms, others lost
their lifes savings, their families paid
the cost; the legacy is thereby a
precious and hallowed one. A legacy
which we cannot allow to be whittled
away, as on its defence rests our

ability to defend the humane,

pluralistic and egalitarian legacy of
Indian nationalism.
I conclude with quotes from
Gandhiji and Nehru which
demonstrate their profound
understanding that freedom cannot
be diluted. Gandhiji said: Liberty of
speech means that it is unassailed
even when the speech hurts. Liberty
of the press can be said to be truly
respected only when the press can
comment in the severest terms upon
and even misrepresent matters...
Freedom of association is truly
respected when assemblies of
people can discuss even
revolutionary projects. And: Civil
liberty, consistent with the
observance of non-violence is the first
step towards Swaraj. It is the breath
of political and social life, it is the
foundation of freedom. There is no
room here for dilution or compromise.
It is the water of life.
End the judicial logjam (The
Frustration in the higher
echelons of the judiciary appears to
be consolidating into anger. Poignant
appeals have morphed into indignant
warnings. The delay in filling up
vacancies in the countrys badly
understaffed higher judiciary has
reached a flashpoint. When the Chief
Justice of India, T.S. Thakur, made an
emotional appeal to Prime Minister
Narendra Modi in April to rescue the
judicial system from its enormous
work burden and chronic shortage
of hands, it was hoped the executive
would galvanise itself and expedite
the process of appointing more
judges, at least in the high courts. As
it turns out, Justice Thakurs appeal
has not had the desired effect, and
he has now hardened his stand to the

point of issuing an overt warning of

judicial intervention in what would
normally be an administrative matter.
The situation is so grim that he has
said the government is now
attempting to bring the judiciary to a
grinding halt. With 478 posts out of
a sanctioned strength of 1,079 high
court judges lying vacant an
unacceptable 44.3 per cent the
CJIs frustration is understandable.
Justice Thakurs revelation that a list
of 74 names sent by the collegium
for appointment as high court judges
has been stuck in the corridors of
power since January would suggest
government indifference. The logjam
the Chief Justice mentions is an
inescapable reality, and the
government owes an explanation, if
there is any, for its tardiness.
However, one must ask whether
the impasse is only about shortage of
hands and the burgeoning docket. Is
the real reason some specific issue
on which the judiciary and the
disagreement? It is known that the
government wants to incorporate in
the memorandum of procedure for
appointment of judges the power to
reject recommendations from the
collegium on the ground of national
interest, whereas the judiciary
opposes such a veto clause. It is
equally possible that there is no
particular reason, and it is just that the
lumbering government machinery
has been misunderstood. Whether or
not there is an underlying cause, it is
the NDA governments duty to dispel
the impression that it is deliberately
going slow or that it is indirectly giving
vent to its own frustration after its plan
to establish a National Judicial
Appointments Commission was
thwarted by the court. The situation
is not yet out of hand. Practical

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solutions can be found if the two
branches come together. In a matter
that requires a good deal of
consultation and cooperation, this
incipient confrontation must not be
allowed to grow, for that would be as
injurious to the public interest as the
current crisis facing the judicial
system is.
Answering Pakistans
provocations (The Hindu)
Prime Ministers have often used
the Independence Day speech to
answer threats and provocations from
Pakistan. Atal Bihari Vajpayee
famously addressed Pakistanis
directly from the ramparts of Red Fort
in 1999 when he called on them to
realise the folly of the Kargil war and
of terrorism being fomented in camps
on their soil. During Manmohan
Singhs tenure, the August 15 speech
frequently contained references to
Pakistans policy of promoting
terrorism in Kashmir. Even so,
Narendra Modis reference to
Balochistan marks a first, and
deliberate, shift in Indias consistent
policy of refraining from commenting
on the internal affairs of another
country, even as he referred to
Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and
Gilgit-Baltistan, which India claims as
its own. Mr. Modis comments,
following up his vow to the all-party
meeting on Kashmir to draw
international attention to Pakistans
atrocities in Balochistan, came after
a series of provocations from Pakistan
over Kashmir. In the past few weeks,
Pakistans government has wilfully
abandoned all diplomatic niceties to
advocate international intervention in
Kashmir. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif
has led the way, writing to UN
organisations, decreeing a black
day across Pakistan to honour slain
Hizbul Mujahideen commander

Burhan Wani, and giving wanted

terrorist leaders, such as Hafiz Saeed,
a free run to hold protest rallies against
India. The atmosphere was visibly
vitiated by the Pakistan governments
shabby treatment in Islamabad of
Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who
faced protests during a SAARC meet
earlier this month. Pakistans High
Commissioner to Delhi, Abdul Basit,
escalated matters by dedicating
Pakistans Independence Day, on
August 14, to fighting jihad in
In comparison to this lengthy
list, Mr. Modis taunt appears mild.
Yet, by raising the Balochistan issue,
he may have given in to the
provocations in a manner Islamabad
would have wanted, and thereby
deflected Indias very real concerns
over Pakistani actions in Kashmir. It
gives rise to the perception that rather
than being two countries with very
different track records on terrorism,
India and Pakistan are instead bound
in a tit-for-tat exchange. Moreover,
that India intends to raise
Balochistans freedom struggle, much
the way Pakistan invokes Kashmir. The
truth is that raising the issue of
Balochistan will not solve Indias
domestic challenge in Jammu and
Kashmir, of failing to humanely control
the protests over the past month. Nor
will it change Pakistans consistent
instigation of violence in J&K. The
current war of words sets back hopes
for the bilateral talks Mr. Modi and Mr.
Sharif had sought to restart. And
equally, it takes India and Pakistan
further away from the task Mr. Modi
referred to on Independence Day:
that of tackling the common enemy
of poverty.
The Beijing balancing act
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang
Yis August 11-13 visit to India was

closely watched for clues on the

current state of India-China relations
and the outlook going forward. There
are two forthcoming multilateral
summits, the G-20 summit hosted by
China in September and the BRICS
summit hosted by India in November.
Neither country would like the summit
it is hosting to be overshadowed by
bilateral differences. Therefore, at
the very least, both need to downplay
their differences and seek to create
a positive ambience for the
forthcoming summits in whose
success each has a stake as host
country. Mr. Wangs visit does appear
to have achieved that.
On the vexed issue of Chinas
opposition to Indias membership of
the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG),
it was agreed that a focussed
dialogue take place between the
Indian Joint Secretary dealing with
disarmament and international
security and Chinas Director-General
of Arms Control and Disarmament. On
other issues having a bearing on
bilateral relations, another
mechanism has been established
between the Indian Foreign
Secretary and his Chinese
counterpart, Vice Foreign Minister
Zhang Yesui. This appears to be in
addition to the existing annual
Strategic Dialogue at the Foreign
Secretary level and the regular
Special Representatives dialogue
which, in the past, has gone beyond
the mandate of border negotiations.
China is faced with a complex
and deteriorating political and
security situation in its Asia-Pacific
periphery. The categorical and
entirely negative arbitration award
against China over its claim to the
South China Sea handed in July
by a tribunal constituted under the
provisions of the UN Convention on

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the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is a
major setback for Beijing. Its relations
with ASEAN (Association of
Southeast Asian Nations) are now
under unprecedented strain. To add
to its woes, the deployment of the
THAAD anti-missile defence system
by the U.S. in South Korea has led to
a worsening of relations with a
neighbour with which China has, over
the years, assiduously nurtured close
political, economic, commercial and
even cultural relations.
There is anxiety that India may
move closer to the U.S. and
participate in security arrangements
more directly challenging China in the
South China Sea. Beijing has
cautioned that India should avoid
getting entangled in the South
China Sea issue, but there is also an
expectation that it will continue to
adhere to its stated policy of strategic
autonomy. In fact, Indias reaction to
the tribunal award has been
measured, calling for utmost respect
for the UNCLOS but also stressing the
need for resolving differences
through peaceful dialogue. It is
reported that Mr. Wang did not raise
the South China Sea issue in Delhi.
This appears to confirm the view that
Chinas current preoccupation is to
prevent India from escalating its
stand on this issue. China expects that
at the forthcoming G-20 summit at
Hangzhou, the U.S. and its western
allies and Japan may raise the South
China Sea issue and embarrass the
host country. Indias role could prove
to be significant in this regard.
In dealing with China, India has
to be conscious of the fact that in
terms of both economic and military
capabilities, the asymmetry between
the two countries continues to
expand. Chinas economy is five
times as large as Indias and even with

slower rates of growth China will be

adding more muscle from a larger
base while India will have to grow
much faster over a longer period of
time to begin to narrow the gap.
There are only two ways to deal with
this power asymmetry; one is to
acquire and deploy capabilities
which will make any aggressive
military move by China a risky
proposition. The other is to enmesh
oneself more tightly in the U.S.-led
countervailing coalition targeting
China. The latter does run counter to
Indias view of itself as an
independent power but there is a
steady creep in that direction.
In terms of developing
asymmetrical capabilities, my sense
is that we are not quite there and
remain vulnerable. This vulnerability
increases if there is a coordinated
move by China and Pakistan. In
previous India-Pakistan wars, post1962, China supported Pakistan
politically and with supplies but
refrained from attacking India across
the border. This reassuring pattern of
behaviour needs to be under our
constant review and assessment.
Chinas willingness to stand alone in
blocking Indias membership of the
NSG on behalf of Pakistan, and in
shielding it from international
pressures consequent upon its use of
cross-border terrorism as an
instrument of state policy against
India, point to an enhanced strategic
role for Pakistan in Chinese regional
and global calculations.
The setting for managing IndiaChina relations has become more
complex and risky. Over the past
several years, leaders of both
countries have seen it in their mutual
interest to keep relations on an even
keel despite their essentially
adversarial nature. A careful balance

has been maintained between the

competitive and cooperative
components of the relationship. This
has just got much harder to deliver.
Thailands new Constitution
(The Hindu)
The struggle to define the terms
of Thailands democracy has been
viscerally fought over the past decade
and a half, and it is far from clear
whether the countrys popular
approval of a new Constitution will
seal it. The military-backed
government of Prayuth Chan-ocha
says the vote, in a referendum,
supporting the military-backed
Constitution sets the stage for an
election in end-2017. But the
contents of the Constitution as well
as the circumstances of the
referendum do not encourage the
hope that Thailands next
government will be decided by
popular mandate. The country has
been ruled by its traditionally
powerful generals since 2014, when
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra
was ousted from office, ending years
of jostling between political parties
owing allegiance to her brother
Thaksin Shinawatra, a business tycoon
now in exile, and forces grouped
around the royal palace. The
Shinawatras have, since 2001, won a
majority in every election, given their
devoted voter base in the north and
among poorer Thais across the
country. The so-called Bangkok
establishment, made up of the
middle and upper classes that
coalesced around the palacejudiciary-military-bureaucracy, has
held all along that the Shinawatras
won a mandate for their allegedly
corrupt regime with populist
giveaways, such as easy credit and
healthcare benefits to the rural

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masses. The Bangkok elites say
Thailand needs a guiding hand to see
that its elected legislature sticks to
clean, visionary governance. The new
Constitution promises just that: a
military-appointed senate that will
virtually have the power to appoint a
Prime Minister of its choice and hold
the government to a 20-year
development programme.
The overriding intent of the
Constitution seems to be to prevent
power from slipping into the hands
of the Shinawatras and their proxies
each time an election is held. The
referendum was held in curious
circumstances with the so-called
Referendum Act practically
disallowing any debate on the text.
The generals may appear confident
of pulling off a controlled democracy,
but they are working along an anxious
timeline and may have felt compelled
to overplay their hand. Thailands
king, the long-serving Bhumibol
Adulyadej, has been ailing, and their
concern is that his successor may not
be the force he has been in giving
the military and the Bangkok elites a
dominant hand. They would like to
have a new system in place to take
the fight away from the Red Shirts,
supporters of the Shinawatras, who
have shown their ability to determine
the outcome of every popular
election since 2001. Going by past
standoffs involving the Red Shirts,
especially the Bangkok protests of
2010, it may be too soon to count on
the referendum to deliver a truce.
Time for a National Water
Commission (The Hindu)
The CWC (set up in 1945) and
CGWB (set up in 1971) were created
in an era when India faced a very
different set of challenges. Then it
was crucial to create irrigation

capacity to ensure food selfsufficiency. But today the challenge

is different. At huge cost (around
Rs.400,000 crore) we have created
113 million hectares of irrigation
potential. But is this water reaching
the farmers? No. As the Chief Minister
of Maharashtra has said, the State has
40 per cent of the countrys large
dams, but 82 per cent area of the
state is rainfed. Till the time you dont
give water to a farmers fields, you
cant save him from suicide. We
pushed large dams, not irrigation. But
this has to change. Our report is trying
to address this challenge.
We also highlight the fact that
groundwater is the main source of
water in India. This means we cannot
go on endlessly drilling for
groundwater through tubewells,
which is what CGWB has promoted
thus far. This has actually aggravated
Indias groundwater crisis, as water
tables fall and water quality declines,
with arsenic, fluoride and even
uranium entering our drinking water.
One, we must take a multidisciplinary
view of water. We require
professionals from disciplines other
than just engineering and
hydrogeology. Two, we need to
adopt the participatory approach to
water management that has been
successfully tried all over the world,
as also in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and
Andhra Pradesh. Three, we must view
groundwater and surface water in an
integrated, holistic manner. CWC and
CGWB cannot continue to work in
their current independent, isolated
fashion. The one issue that really
highlights the need to unify CWC and
CGWB is the drying up of Indias
peninsular rivers, the single most
important cause of which is overextraction of groundwater.
If river rejuvenation is the key

national mandate of the Ministry of

Water Resources, then this cannot
happen without hydrologists and
hydrogeologists working together,
along with social scientists,
agronomists and other stakeholders.
Four, we need to focus on river basins
which must form the fundamental
units for management of water. We
have carefully studied the regional
presence (or absence) of the CWC
and CGWB and proposed a way
forward whereby the NWC is present
in all major river basins of India. The
Central Water Commission has
opposed the NWC on the grounds
that several reform measures are
already in place. Are you throwing
the baby out with the bathwater?
I think this kind of fundamental
change takes time to be fully
understood and get actualised in
policy. In actual fact, professionals
involved in CWC and CGWB will get
an even better chance to improve
their technical capabilities and career
prospects within the NWC. As a
Committee, we took great care to get
views of States on board. We have
suggested that appraisal must
become a demand-based exercise,
done through a partnership between
the Central and State governments,
as also institutions of national repute.
This is a key part of the reform we are
proposing. We are not for a monolithic
NWC. The NWC will be a knowledge
institution providing solutions to
water problems faced by State
governments, farmers and other
stakeholders, on demand, in a truly
user-friendly manner.
Our report contains a summary
of all the scholarly work available on
interlinking of rivers (ILR). This work
demolishes the engineering myth that
water must not be allowed to flow
wastefully into the sea. Scientists

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fear that the humongous ILR project
could even endanger the integrity of
Indias monsoon cycle, which
depends crucially on fresh river water
flowing into the sea. However, our
report is not centrally concerned
with this question and is not really into
the pro- versus anti-big dam debate.
It is much more concerned with the
challenge of ensuring that the water
stored in dams, present or future,
actually reaches the farmers. This is
low-hanging fruit that can give us an
increase of millions of hectares of
irrigated area at much less than the
cost of the ILR and in much less time,
avoiding all inter-State conflicts, land
acquisition problems, as also
corruption that has become a big
issue in irrigation projects over the
A permanent address for the
greatest show on earth? (The
Another Olympic Games are
drawing to a close, their wake
turbulent with euphoria and
despondency. Not unlike the
universe of athletes, who spend years
in painfully rigorous preparation for
terrifyingly elusive medals, the losses
arising from the Rio spectacle far
outnumber winnings for Brazil, a
developing nation with a recessionary
economy left with a $20 billion bill
by some estimates. Before Rio, the
British tried to spin an afterglow for
the London Games, but their numbers
were widely questioned. In Circus
Maximus: The Economic Gamble
Behind Hosting the Olympics and the
World Cup , Andrew Zimbalist, a
professor of economics, documents
case studies to find no net economic
gains for the countries that have
played host to the Olympics or the
World Cup and points to the
indefensible costs paid by poor and

middle income groups of these

nations for such exhibits of excess.
Surely, there is a way out?
The proposal of a permanent
address for the Olympics is as old as
the Games themselves. In fact, back
in 1896, when the first modern
Olympics were held, Greeces King
George suggested situating the
Games in Athens permanently, and
the American delegation supported
him, but Baron Pierre de Coubertin,
the French educator and founder of
the International Olympic Committee
(IOC), demurred. In Olympic
Memoirs , a frank first-person account
of what it took to cobble together
support for the physical and
philosophic origins of the Games as
we know them now, he objected to
Athens ... acting as host every four
years to this flattering and profitable
influx of visitors.
This session saw 78 delegates
from nine countries (France, Belgium,
Great Britain and Ireland, Greece,
Italy, Russia, Spain, Sweden and the
U.S.) representing 37 sports
organisations. Note that the rest of the
world, possibly because vast swathes
of it remained colonised at the time,
was conspicuously absent. Largely
responsible for persuading
recalcitrant local sporting bodies
under powerful imperialist
dispensations to give up their
individualistic outlook for a grand
vision of universal sporting
excellence (he authored the swifter,
higher, stronger motto as well), de
Coubertin did, however, have a
stated belief in racial equality. Yet,
not coincidentally, after the Second
World War the Olympics have mostly
been hosted by developed or nondemocratic states.
The last time the idea found
genuine currency was in 1980, when

reports emerged that the IOC was

considering a 1,250-acre span of land
south-west of ancient Olympia, in the
Peloponnese peninsula, which
Greece was willing to offer as a site
with extra-terrestrial rights and a
neutral identity like, say, Vatican City.
A five-man committee was to have
presented its top secret review at
the IOCs Baden-Baden meeting of
1981, and Lord Killanin, the Irish peer
then heading the IOC, was quoted as
saying that the earliest year by which
such a venue could come to fruition
was 1988. It never did.
A permanent venue for the
Olympics is not an original idea but
its execution calls for a sustained
groundswell of popular support that
translates into a formal campaign, the
leadership of which would require
endless stamina and political acumen
to prevail. It is the deficit of
consensus, and the will to find it,
which seems more insurmountable
than acting upon a logical solution to
a massive and recurrent problem that
needs one imperatively.
Keep a watch on food inflation
(The Hindu)
The latest inflation readings
based on the Wholesale Price Index
and the Consumer Price Index are a
cause for concern. While the annual
gain in wholesale prices hit a 23-month
high of 3.55 per cent in July, retail
inflation quickened past the Centres
new Monetary Policy Frameworks
upper limit for tolerance to 6.07 per
cent. Food costs a key component
in both indices were the main
culprit. Inflation in the food category
of the CPI accelerated to 8 per cent,
and in the case of the WPI surged to
a 31-month high of 11.8 per cent.
Some economists and the Reserve
Bank of India have pointed to the

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forecast of normal rainfall this year,
and the improvement in sowing on
the back of the steady progress of
the monsoon, as clear indicators that
the outlook for supply can only
improve going forward. It would,
however, be worthwhile to consider
some of the risks attached to these
assumptions. For one, any beneficial
predominantly agrarian rural
economy is bound to result in an
uptick in rural wages, and by
consumption pressures. According
to a January 2016 International
Monetary Fund working paper on
Understanding Indias Food
Inflation: the Role of Demand and
Supply Factors, rising real rural
incomes have had the largest impact
on food inflation. This is particularly
so as the large weight on food in
household expenditure has meant
that robust real income growth has
tended to translate into substantial
demand-side pressures that far
outpace the supply-side gains. This
stickiness of food costs can
undermine the steady gains in the
fight against price gains, a battle that
must be fought since inflation
ultimately ends up being a tax on the
Challenges before Urjit Patel
(The Hindu)
The decision to pick Reserve
Bank of India Deputy Governor Urjit
Patel as the successor to outgoing
Governor Raghuram Rajan is a clear
affirmation of the Centres
commitment to ensure policy
continuity at the central bank. That
the man chosen for the top job at the
RBI is a person who helped formulate
crucial changes in the monetary
framework, including the decision to
target a specified inflation level as the

primary remit of the bank, reflects the

administrations focus on making
price stability central to its economic
agenda. Prime Minister Narendra
Modi recently reiterated his backing
for the 4 per cent retail inflation
target, at a time when the Consumer
Price Index-based measure had
accelerated to 6.07 per cent. The
Centres choice of the Yale economist
who has earned a reputation as a
fiscal conservative with a hardline
stance on inflation, is in line with that
thinking. Dr. Patel will need little time
to settle in, given his insider
credentials and experience in
working with officials at the Finance
Ministry. But as in all such transitions,
there will also be substantive change.
Known at the RBI headquarters as
someone who largely keeps his own
counsel and prefers a low-profile and
discreet working style, Dr. Patel is
unlikely to grab headlines as
frequently as his plain-speaking
predecessor has done. And that is
another factor that must have
weighed in his favour.
The first among many
challenges that the new Governor will
face will be the changed
circumstances of monetary policy
formulation. When Dr. Patel chairs the
first meetings of the Monetary Policy
Committee the six-member panel
that is expected to start deciding
interest rates from the October 4
policy announcement onwards it
will be interesting and instructive to
see how he helms the committee
approach to rate-setting. As the head
of the banking regulator, Dr. Patel also
inherits the ongoing clean-up of bank
balance sheets. Unclogging the
credit pipeline by helping resolve the
build-up of stressed assets with the
countrys lenders and thereby
improving monetary transmission are

tasks that Dr. Rajan will now leave

unfinished. Investors and markets
alike will be keenly watching his
successors approach to expediting
the process, especially given Dr.
Patels past stress on fiscal restraint.
His wide-ranging experience he
has played roles at multilateral
lending institutions and diverse
industries, including a stint in
advising on business development
strategy at Reliance Industries
ought to stand him in good stead
while dealing with the complexities
of regulating the markets, the financial
services industry and payments
systems at a time of rapid
technological change and disruption.
Dr. Patel will also have his task cut out
in managing and future-proofing key
cadres at the central bank itself.
Should mayors be directly
elected? (The Hindu)
Each time an Indian city is hit
by a major urban crisis, we hear
exasperated queries about why our
cities are so dysfunctional. While
there are multiple reasons for Indias
urban woes, one of the underlying
problems is the absence of powerful
and politically accountable
leadership in the city. Our cities have
a weak and fragmented institutional
architecture in which multiple
agencies with different bosses pull
the strings of city administration.
Understandably, the most touted
urban governance reform is that of
having a directly elected Mayor.
Recent reports indicate that Prime
Minister Narendra Modi is keen on this
reform and has asked the Urban
Development Ministry to consider
ways of introducing it.
The passage of the 74th
Constitution Amendment in 1992
resulted in Urban Local Bodies (ULBs)

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Nagar Panchayats, Municipal
Councils and Municipal Corporations
becoming a constitutionally
recognised institution of selfgovernment. However, it did not
prescribe the manner of election,
tenure or powers of the Mayors/
Chairpersons of ULBs. Mr. Tharoors
bill seeks to alter this. It mandates the
direct election of the Mayor, fixes the
Mayors term to be coterminous with
that of the municipality, and makes
the Mayor the executive head of the
Vesting the executive powers
of the municipality with the Mayor
would be a very positive move. Most
Indian cities still follow the
Commissionerate system of municipal
administration, a British legacy, in
which the State governmentappointed Commissioner is the
executive head of the city while the
Mayor has a largely ceremonial role.
This is an anomaly. In a democracy,
executive power should vest with a
person or a body that is
However, this does not necessitate
the Mayor to be directly elected.
After all, we do not directly elect the
Prime Minster or the Chief Minister.
Still they enjoy wide powers and are
democratically accountable. Mayors
do not enjoy similar powers not
because they are not directly
elected, but because State
governments exercise enormous
control over ULBs politically,
administratively and financially.
A fundamental issue with a
directly elected Mayor is that instead
of enabling efficiency, it might
actually result in gridlock in
administration, especially when the
Mayor and the majority of elected
members of the city council are from
different political parties. Notably, Mr.

Tharoors bill gives the Mayor veto

powers over some of the councils
resolutions and also lets the Mayor
nominate members of the Mayor-inCouncil and vest it with powers.
Essentially, it centralises power in the
hands of the Mayor and his nominees
and creates a political executive
which neither enjoys the support of
the elected council nor needs its
acquiescence for taking decisions.
A more fundamental question to
consider is this: even if a directly
elected mayoral system is a relatively
good reform, should it be made
mandatory for all municipalities under
the Constitution? India is one of the
few countries where the powers of
the local government are laid out in
the federal Constitution. However,
local government is still under List II
of the Seventh Schedule of the
Constitution. Hence only the State is
empowered to make laws on this
subject. In such a federal system,
constitutional provisions should only
lay down the broad institutional
framework for local governments. But
since States are often reluctant to
devolve functions to local
government, it makes sense to
mandate such devolution in the
Constitution. However, the
Constitution may not be the ideal
instrument for prescribing the manner
in which the head of a local
government is elected.
More cities should perhaps
institute a directly elected mayor. But
making it the only way through which
Mayors can be elected limits the
options of cities and States. Perhaps
Mr. Tharoor should first make efforts
to have it introduced in
constituency, before attempting to
institute it in ULBs across India. An
empowered political executive for

the city can be achieved in multiple

ways, including a directly elected
mayor. When the U.K. sought to
reform local governments, a directly
elected mayor was only one of the
three options given to the local
governments. Indias stagnating
urban governance system needs
major reform, but it shouldnt be
driven by using a sledgehammer.
Creating an empowered and
accountable political executive for
cities is important, but a directly
elected mayor should be a political
option, not a constitutional decree.
Needed: Scientific flood
management (The Hindu)
Indias vulnerability to severe
flooding during the monsoon is
spectacularly demonstrated year
after year, with the season invariably
ending in significant loss of life and
property. One research study for the
period 1978-2006 based on official
data reports that there were 2,443
flood events that led to the death of
nearly 45,000 people and caused
economic losses of $16 billion. The
same story is playing out this year too.
Residents of five States are currently
struggling to cope with the effects of
intense rainfall. Many of those lucky
to have been rescued owe it to the
National Disaster Response Force, but
such response systems naturally have
limited efficacy in predominantly
rural States such as Bihar. What stands
out in the annual cycle of floods is
the generally tardy pace of
preparation for rescue and relief.
Capacity-building to handle
catastrophic weather events is poor,
and serious attention is not given to
setting up relief camps, creating crisisproof health infrastructure and
stockpiling dry rations and
medicines. The collapse of systems

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in acute conditions is undoubtedly a
reflection of the lack of robust regular
services that could be upgraded for
emergencies. This is particularly true
of health facilities in Bihar, Uttar
Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. There
are cascading outcomes of infections
and the absence of care for pregnant
women. These challenges require to
be met in emergency mode.
An integrated approach to
managing floods requires a sound
understanding of the patterns that
rivers such as the Ganga and its
tributaries display during the
understanding of the problem
generally relies not so much on
advanced techniques such as
mapping based on satellite imagery
and Geographic Information
Systems, but on ground-level surveys
and anecdotal reporting. In Bihars
case, the shifting patterns and
breaches of the Kosi have added to
the complexity of the problem, which
requires a deeper understanding of
the areas most at risk which is
essential in creating a defensive
infrastructure. The Kosi itself poses a
danger to vast parts of the State as its
embankments are no match for the
fury of floodwaters. Chief Minister
Nitish Kumars demand that the
Farakka Barrage itself be removed to
allow the Ganga to flow freely comes
in the wake of steady silting of the
river and its tributaries, raising the risk
of annual flooding. These are not new
problems and the quest for solutions
such as dams, relief canals and
barrages dates back more than a
century along the Kosis course. The
impoverishing annual losses should
lead to a more integrated view of the
problem, drawing upon technologies
to both mitigate flooding and provide
rescue and relief.

The new war on piracy (The

Internet users in India, many of
whom routinely use torrent sites to
access a range of entertainment and
other content, are understandably
worried about the new punitive
rhetoric that underlies the warning.
It may therefore be useful to unpack
what the law actually says on the point
and also examine the impulse behind
this rhetorical shift within the logic of
copyright enforcement. Sec. 63 of
the Copyright Act, which deals with
the offence of infringement, provides
that any person who knowingly
infringes copyright or abets in the
infringement of the same may be
punished with imprisonment
(minimum of six months and
extendable to three years) and fined
up to Rs.2 lakh. The new warning
seems to have accounted for inflation
and arbitrarily extended the fine
amount to Rs.3 lakh, but that is only
one part of its disingenuity. What the
warning does is to conflate all the
provisions and flatten them as though
they all deal with a singular thing
called infringement.
It is important to remember that
the provision of the Act itself
distinguishes between commercial
and personal infringement and it
provides that where any infringement
has not been made in the course of
trade or business, the court may
impose a term for less than six months
and a fine of less than Rs.5,000. Sec.
63-A deals with repeat offences and
provides for a higher fine and
imprisonment term for someone who
has already been convicted for an
offence under Sec. 63. Sec. 65 deals
with the possession of plates for the
purposes of making infringing copies,
a term inherited from print piracy

which deals with mass reproductions

of material such as bestsellers. And
finally Sec. 65-A deals with the
circumvention of technological
measures for protecting copyright or
what is popularly known as digital
rights management with the intention
of infringing rights. And even within
this provision there are a number of
exceptions provided where
someone may legitimately circumvent
a measure for technological
The question of copyright and
the appropriateness of a model that
treats intangibles as property has
been seriously questioned both in
terms of its normative basis as well as
in terms of its efficacy. Rather than
just seeing media piracy as a legal or
a moral problem, it would be more
accurate to see it as a global pricing
problem. High prices for media
goods, low incomes, and cheap
digital technologies are the main
ingredients of global media piracy.
Media piracy arises when market
failures meet increasingly cheap and
information transmission. Does this
pose a problem to owners of
copyright? Of course it does, but
there is nothing new about that. Every
technological advancement starting
from the print revolution has
transformed the ways we access
knowledge and culture and
innovations in technology have also
been accompanied by innovations in
business models. Thus while the
introduction of VHS and video
cassettes were predicted to be the
death of the film industry, what
happened instead was the creation
of a new business model of home
entertainment. In the Indian context,
Moser Baer recognised this with their

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introduction of low-priced DVDs
which competed with the pirate
markets. So assuming that the desire
for low-cost entertainment is not
going to disappear, the options are
either a rethink of the business
models or to rely on penal laws to
protect any older business model.
It is also important to
understand the dynamics of media
markets in emerging markets, and the
harms of piracy should not be treated
as settled question, but one that
needs more debate. Studies have
shown that the perceived harms of
copyright infringement may be
overstated and the presumption that
every download equals a lost sale is
just not true. In a global comparative
study of media piracy in emerging
economies it was found that there
was no correlation between the
commercial success of a film and the
number of times that it had been
downloaded, and it was indeed the
case that the films which were
downloaded the most were also the
most successful ones at the box
office. The new warnings and the
panic it seeks to create are
counterproductive for all parties
consumers, governments and
copyright interests that drive the
enforcement agenda, and there is a
need to frame the debate within a
larger structural understanding of the
complex dynamics of the costs
imposed by more stringent
enforcement of copyright.
The history of technology and
cultural production is a contested
history in which new technologies
disrupt existing power relations,
redistribute the means of cultural
production and redefine questions of
access. The war against piracy
addresses only one axis of the debate
and as with all wars which are being

lost, you hope to win by heightening

the rhetorical stakes. Perhaps this illinformed and misguided set of
warnings should be taken not just as
a moment in which we panic but one
in which we collectively raise larger
questions and challenge the logic of
stronger penalising of knowledge
offences. We are, after all, from the
country which produced the most
subtle text of literal and moral wars
the Mahabharata in which
Ekalavya, when denied a privileged
education, created the first pirated
copy of Dronacharya to educate
himself. Ekalavya paid a terrible price
the cutting of his thumb but
there are still millions who bleed as a
Citizenship without bias (The
On July 19, 2016, the
government introduced a Bill to
amend certain provisions of the
Citizenship Act, 1955. The Bill has
now been referred to the joint select
committee of Parliament. The object
of the proposed Bill is to enable
Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis
and Christians who have fled to India
from Pakistan, Afghanistan and
Bangladesh without valid travel
documents, or those whose valid
documents have expired in recent
years, to acquire Indian citizenship
by the process of naturalisation.
Under the Bill, such persons shall not
be treated as illegal immigrants for the
purpose of the Citizenship Act. In
another amendment, the aggregate
period of residential qualification for
the process of citizenship by
naturalisation of such persons is
proposed to be reduced from 11
years to six years. A large number of
people who would otherwise be
illegal immigrants can now heave a

sigh of relief if the Bill goes through

as they would be eligible to become
citizens of the country.
The Citizenship (Amendment)
Bill, 2016, owes its genesis to the
assurance given by the Prime Minister
that Hindus from these three
countries who have sought asylum in
India would be conferred Indian
citizenship. But since singling out
discriminatory, the Bill has extended
the right to acquire citizenship to
other religious minorities living in the
three countries. The Bill, when
passed, would be of immense
benefit to the Chakmas and Hajongs
of Bangladesh displaced because of
the construction of the Kaptai Dam
who have been refugees for nearly
65 years. The Supreme Court in
Committee for C.R. of C.A.P. v. State
of Arunachal Pradesh directed the
Government of India and Arunachal
Pradesh to grant citizenship to
eligible persons from these
communities and to protect their life
and liberty and further prohibited
discrimination against them.
Though India has not enacted a
national refugee law, the three
principles underlying Indias
treatment of refugees was spelt out
in Parliament by Jawaharlal Nehru in
1959 with reference to Tibetan
refugees. They include: refugees will
be accorded a humane welcome; the
refugee issue is a bilateral issue; and
the refugees should return to their
homeland once normalcy returns
there. The proposed Bill recognises
and protects the rights of refugees
and represents a welcome change in
Indias refugee policy. But it would
have been appropriate if the Bill had
used the term persecuted
minorities instead of listing out nonMuslim minorities in three countries.

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To give an example, the Ahmadiyyas
are not considered Muslims in
Pakistan and are subject to many acts
of discrimination. Other groups
include members of the Rohingyas,
who being Muslims are subjected to
discrimination in Myanmar and have
fled to India. Such a gesture would
also have been in conformity with the
spirit of religious and linguistic rights
of minorities guaranteed under our
Constitution. Unfortunately the Bill
does not take note of the refugees in
India from among the Muslim
community who have fled due to
persecution and singles them out on
the basis of religion, thereby being
Yet another disappointing
feature of the Bill is that it does not
provide citizenship to the people of
Indian origin from Sri Lanka who fled
to Tamil Nadu as refugees following
the communal holocaust in July 1983.
The Indian Tamils, or Malaiha (hill
country) Tamils as they like to be
called, are descendants of
indentured workers who were taken
by the British colonialists in the 19th
and 20th centuries to provide the
much-needed labour for the
development of tea plantations. The
British gave an assurance that the
Indian workers would enjoy the same
rights and privileges accorded to the
Sinhalese and the Sri Lankan Tamils.
But soon after independence, by a
legislative enactment the Indian
Tamils were discriminated and
rendered stateless. In the protracted
negotiations that took place between
New Delhi and Colombo on the
thorny issue of stateless people,
Nehru maintained that except for
those who voluntarily opted for
Indian citizenship, the rest were the
responsibility of Sri Lanka (then
Ceylon). Sri Lanka, on the other hand,

argued that only those who fulfilled

the strict qualifications prescribed for
citizenship would be conferred
citizenship, and the rest were Indias
According to informed sources,
there are nearly 30,000 Malaiha
Tamils in the refugee camps
scattered throughout Tamil Nadu.
They have absolutely no moorings in
Sri Lanka. Their children have
intermarried with the local people
and are well integrated into Tamil
society. The young have availed of
educational facilities, but are unable
to get jobs commensurate to their
qualifications because they are not
Indian citizens. The refugees in
Kottapattu camp, near Tiruchi, with
whom we interacted, told us: Come
what may, we will not go back to Sri
All these refugees qualify for
Indian citizenship by registration
under Article 5 of the Citizenship Act
of 1955. However their plea for
citizenship has been negated citing
a Central government circular that Sri
Lankan refugees are not entitled for
communication dated November 21,
2007 to the Special Commissioner for
Rehabilitation, the Secretary to the
Government of Tamil Nadu
mentioned that there are strict
instructions from the Government of
India not to entertain applications
of Sri Lankan refugees for the grant of
Indian citizenship. We submit, in the
light of recent developments, the
above-mentioned circular of the
Central government must be
immediately withdrawn.
Protecting Good Samaritans
(The Hindu)
Among the reasons for Indias
unacceptably high rate of road

accident fatalities is the inability to

get timely medical treatment for
victims. Official statistics put the
number of people who died on the
roads in 2015 at 1,46,000. It is
reckoned that a larger percentage of
them could have been saved had
emergency medical treatment been
provided immediately. In a report in
2006, the Law Commission estimated
that 50 per cent of accident victims
would have survived had they got
medical attention within an hour. A
major impediment to victims
obtaining timely help is the fear
among bystanders that they could be
embroiled in a police investigation or
be subjected to harassment due to
the legal procedures involved if they
chipped in to provide first-aid, ferry
the injured to hospital or even call for
medical or police assistance. This is
why a Good Samaritan legal
protection is vital. Parliament has not
enacted such a law, but thanks to the
Supreme Court and a campaign by
voluntary organisations, the Centre
notified guidelines last year for the
protection of those who help
accident victims. In January 2016, a
Standard Operating Procedure to
make these guidelines work was
introduced. Now, the Union Road
Transport Ministry has added a
significant clause under which a Good
Samaritans affidavit will have the
legal force of a statement. If a
statement is required, it should be
recorded in a single examination. This
is applicable only to those who want
to be witnesses, for the guidelines say
the police should not compel them
to disclose their particulars or to be
Since many accidents take
place along highways, access to the
nearest medical facility is not always
easy. A factor that discourages

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bystanders from coming forward to
take victims to a hospital is the fear
that they would be made to pay
admission costs in a hospital or
detained there for long hours. A year
ago, the Union Health Ministry
directed hospitals that they should
not detain those who bring accident
victims for admission. They should not
be required to pay for admission or
registration, or asked intrusive
questions beyond basic particulars
such as names and addresses. Though
such guidelines and simplified
procedures are welcome, much more
needs to be done to encourage
people to get involved in the rescue
of accident victims. So far, only a few
State governments have adopted the
Good Samaritan guidelines. All States
must get actively involved in their
implementation. For it is from the
regional domain that those who deal
with such situations the police,
doctors, transport officials and
magistrates are drawn. A good deal
of sensitisation is needed, and it may
help if State governments drew up
their own set of rules so that they
become committed stakeholders in
the cause.
How to win medals in Olympics
(The Hindu)
One more Olympics has gone
by. A total of 974 medals were won
by 87 countries; 54 countries won at
least one Gold. The U.S. flew home
with the best medal tally of all time
for that country with 121 medals.
Notwithstanding the individual
brilliance and the face-saving medals
of P.V. Sindhu and Sakshi Malik,
Indias performance is the poorest
among all big countries. The final
medals tally by country tells all sorts
of stories. The top 22 countries
those with a double-digit medals tally
with a minimum of three gold medals

took home a total of 702 medals,

or 72 per cent of all medals. The top
ten suggests that only the established
West (the U.S., Great Britain,
Germany, France, Italy and Australia)
along with Russia, Japan and South
Korea will continue to dominate. The
emergence of China is explained as
you know the Chinese can dictate
anything, so they are not
comparable. It is often implied that
wealth and size are the reasons for
the success of these countries. They
have the facilities and programmes
in place. They are bound to win. So
goes the argument and acceptance.
This logic should be probed
further. Olympics medals are won by
people between the ages of 15 to
29, with a few exceptions on either
side of this age band. I looked at the
number of medal wins in relation to
the population in the age group 15
to 29 in each country, for which data
is available. This was juxtaposed with
the medals won, to calculate the
numbers of medals won per lakh of
population in this age group. The
story changes dramatically. The
graphic shows the medals won per
one lakh of population in the 15-29
age group, for the same 22 countries.
Tiny New Zealand (total population
4.6 million) emerges on top, with 1.8
medals per one lakh in the relevant
age group, followed by Jamaica with
1.57 medals and Croatia with 1.43
medals. New Zealand won an
astonishing 18 medals and has mostly
gone unheralded, overshadowed by
the enjoyable theatrics of Usain Bolt
and others. These countries are not
the richest, they do not have size and
muscle, their small size restricts the
depth of internal competition, they
dont have superior sports
administrators or the best of facilities.
So what gives?

Investigating the Scorpene leak

(The Hindu)
How much our security has
been compromised by the leak of
thousands of pages of confidential
documents related to the Scorpene
submarines, under production in
Mazagon Dock Ltd., must be seriously
investigated. This must be done in a
manner that is free from bureaucratic
compromise or turf-protective
tactics. The leak came to light when
The Australian newspaper claimed it
had accessed 22,400 pages of
documents detailing technical
specifications of the 1,500-tonne
submarine. The documents contain
details of combat and stealth
capabilities, such as the frequencies
at which they would gather
intelligence and their noise levels at
various speeds. Information on diving
depths, range and endurance are also
in the documents, suspected to have
been taken out of DCNS, the French
company that designed the
submarines. According to The
Australian , the documents contain
magnetic, electromagnetic and
infrared data as also specifications of
the submarines torpedo launch
system and combat system. Till the
investigation is complete, it would be
foolhardy to hazard the magnitude of
the setback. But it may calm anxieties
if there is a joint parliamentary probe,
informed by a bipartisan spirit, to
supplement an expert inquiry.
The leaked data pertain to the
six Scorpene submarines that India
bought from the French under a deal
signed in 2005. Worth more than
$3.75 billion at the time, it was Indias
biggest military purchase, to provide
a powerful, secretive underwater
capability. The Scorpenes are to be
the mainstay of Indias conventional

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sub-surface fleet in the next couple
of decades. A submarine, by nature,
is the most silent and potent weapon
platform that a military has, the
foremost being the SSBN, or a
submarine that can launch ballistic
nuclear missiles. It is in such SSBNs
that countries place their secondstrike capability to fire a nuclear
missile when under nuclear attack. In
a battlefield with intrusive
conventional submarines can stay
underwater for weeks, sneak close to
the enemy shoreline, keep a quiet
watch on ship movement, and carry
out surprise attacks. Besides visual
sighting, there are challenging and
complex ways to look for a submarine,
and to identify it as friend or foe.
Most of these characteristics of
Scorpene submarines seem to be part
of the leaked documents. On the face
of it, this would be documentation
worth years of difficult and complex
adversaries. The initial response of
the Ministry of Defence and the naval
headquarters has been far too
defensive. They must expedite the
inquiry to also determine the source
of the leak, and whether there has
been a breach at the original
equipment manufacturers end
and if so, fix liability.
Reinventing the wheel in
Kashmir (The Hindu)
After 50 days of curfew in the
Kashmir Valley, the Central and State
governments finally appear to be
coming together on how to engage
with the conflict and all the
stakeholders involved. Home Minister
Rajnath Singhs visits to Srinagar
appear to have, at least temporarily,
calmed the air. A panel set up by the
government is now looking at

alternatives to the pellet guns used

by the security forces: they have
proved to be unacceptably lethal,
and should have been abandoned
already. An all-party delegation is
expected to visit Srinagar in an
attempt to reach out to people and
kick-start a political dialogue. The
process of normalcy can only begin
once the restrictive curfew is lifted
but the government cannot sit
back and wait for calm; it needs to
foster it. While Prime Minister
Narendra Modi underlined the gravity
of the situation and sought to reach
out by saying that each person who
dies in the Valley is one of our
people, there needs to be an
actionable checklist to demonstrate
the sincerity of the outreach. It is
perhaps for all these reasons that after
her meeting with Mr. Modi, Jammu
and Kashmir Chief Minister
Mehbooba Mufti called for the next
step, a three-pronged action plan that
would include talks with Pakistan and
with the separatist leaders, many of
whom are currently in prison.
While all of these steps are
welcome and necessary, the
government must recognise that they
only address the violence, and not
the deeper problem of alienation in
Kashmir. They are but leaves out of
the playbook used in 2008 and 2010,
to bring the Valley back from the
edge after street protests: visits to
Srinagar by senior national leaders
and all-party delegations, words of
restraint for security forces, and
words of empathy to Kashmiris. In the
current round of violence, Mr. Modi
must do better than reinvent the
wheel. To chart a new course, he and
Ms. Mufti must work on a sustained
plan for dialogue in the State, even
as he builds a consensus on how to
deal with Pakistan. Pakistan Prime

Minister Nawaz Sharifs grand

diplomatic plans to internationalise
the Kashmir issue may be unlikely to
meet with much success on the
international stage, and will probably
be countered at the UN with Indias
new pitch for Pakistan to vacate all
of Kashmir. But such grandstanding
hardly addresses the real issues at
hand. The bilateral stand-off should
not blunt the internal dialogue. What
is important right now is not what
India does outside its borders, but
inside them, in a carefully considered,
positive and sustained manner. For,
the absence of violence is not peace;
it is merely an enabling condition for
the pursuit of lasting peace.
Surrogates are workers, not
wombs (The Hindu)
Commercial surrogacy is not
new and has been inducing anxiety
commodification aspect repulses
some, while others are troubled by
its potential to be utterly exploitative
of women. In recent years this anxiety
reached panic levels after the
technology and the related industry
spread to the so-called developing
world and the wombs started
belonging to women in India,
Thailand, Nepal, Cambodia and
Mexico. A predictable policy
solution is to thus prohibit it. My
decade-long research on this
industry, however, suggests that
there is an urgent need to revisit the
frames for understanding the
practice, so as to avoid misplaced
policy outcomes. Instead of the
immorality or commodification frame
that views surrogacy as an unnatural
vice and the surrogate mothers as
ultimate victims, the current empirical
reality demands an updated
analytical frame. Once the industry is

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systematically studied, we realise that
surrogacy in a country like India has
characteristics not unlike other
gendered and informal labour
markets in India.
Unarguably, the limited range
of womens alternative economic
opportunities makes us question the
voluntary nature of this labour. But
unless we want to argue that the
existence of inequality makes all
economic choices moot, denying
Indian women this particular choice
seems misplaced. It also does not fit
with the logic applied to other kinds
of labour markets, where our
concerns about inequality and
exploitation push us to demand
changes and protections for workers,
not a ban on the activity involved.
Instead of dismissing this industry as
inherently oppressive and the
women involved as mere subjects of
this oppressive structure, it makes
sense to recognise that while some
are coerced into surrogacy by their
families and brokers, others weigh out
their options and negotiate with their
families in order to participate in this
comprehensively and sensitively
evaluate these multiple realities can
we effectively move towards a
discussion of appropriate policies.
Most critically, for any policy to
actually address the exploitative
conditions, what is critical is for us to
view the surrogates as workers, and
not as wombs, national resources or
voiceless victims, so that they are the
ones facilitating and participating in
dialogues, and not just being
discussed or being saved by an
anxious patriarchal state.
Whatever be our stance on
surrogacy, I have previously
cautioned against an outright ban on
surrogacy as it would be to push this

industry underground, or shift it to

another country, increasing the
vulnerability of women even more.
We need not go that far for proof but
just peer over the Indian borders into
Nepal. In 2013, the previous
governments stipulations banning
gay surrogacy pushed all such cases
to Nepal. The earthquake in Nepal
brought media attention to the
scandal of gay Israeli men allegedly
abandoning the Indian surrogates
and evacuating only their children.
What was not discussed was how the
ban on gay surrogacy had pushed the
Indian surrogates to shift to
The government, however,
remains in the nave belief that all
dilemmas will be resolved and the
vulnerable will get back their rights
as soon as we keep the unmarried,
gays, and foreigners out of the
industry, and, of course, do away with
payment. By defining as legitimate
the needs and rights of only
heterosexual married couples, this
Bill is a clear indication of the current
governments understanding of
families and parenting. External
Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj also
said that in the absence of close
relatives, couple are free to adopt.
Why this selective imposition of the
morality of adoption on only those
who do not fit the heteronormative
ethics of the state?
Finally, as per the Bill,
commissioning parents will only be
allowed to meet medical expenses
of their altruistic surrogate mothers;
no other payments can be made. Take
a pause here to examine the altruistic
ethic and what it means for women
in the sphere of reproduction.
Endorsing altruistic surrogacy over its
commercial avatar is a formal
declaration that women are obliged

to be (reproductive) gift-givers, and

need no compensation for loss of
livelihood and the immense
emotional and bodily labour of
gestation involved in surrogacy. And
what if a close female relative, a sister
or a sister-in-law does not want to be
selfless? Will there be no shaming or
penalty for that? Can we really
convince ourselves that the coercion
of a contract or the inducement of
money is greater than the coercion
of (patriarchal) family ties, especially
in a country like ours?
ISROs scramjet on course (The
The Indian Space Research
Organisation joined an elite club
when, on Sunday, it successfully
launched a rocket using a scramjet
engine that was developed
indigenously. This is ISROs first major
step towards developing an air
breathing propulsion system. The
scramjet engine functioned for
around six seconds. There are many
reasons why the use of a scramjet
engine is so attractive. A scramjet
engine uses oxygen present in the
atmospheric air to burn the hydrogen
fuel. As a result, the amount of oxygen
required to be carried on board
would be reduced considerably as
atmospheric oxygen is utilised to burn
the fuel in the first stage. In general,
propellant accounts for nearly 85 per
cent of the weight of a rocket, and
oxygen accounts for nearly 60 per
cent of the weight of the propellant.
Scramjet-powered rockets also have
several times greater thrust compared
with rockets powered by liquid fuel
or even cryogenic fuel. Since about
half of the propellant is required for
the first stage to achieve the required
velocity, a rocket using a scramjet
engine would be significantly lighter

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and smaller and, therefore, cheaper.
Alternatively, rockets fired by
scramjet engines will be able to carry
more payload.
Sundays test flight, which
attained six times the speed of sound
(Mach 6) and was able to achieve
ignition and maintain stable
combustion even at such high
velocity for about six seconds, is a
big technological achievement. This
is akin to lighting a matchstick in a
hurricane condition and sustaining
the flame for six seconds. The air
intake mechanism and fuel injection
systems were also successfully
demonstrated during the maiden test
flight. Since it relies on oxygen
present in the atmosphere, the
trajectories of scramjet enginepowered rockets are vastly different
from conventional ones rockets
with scramjet engines should remain
in the atmosphere for a longer period
than normal rockets. Typically,
scramjet rockets climb to a certain
altitude and remain in the atmosphere
for as long as possible to achieve the
required velocity. It will take many
years before a commercial rocket
powered by a scramjet engine takes
to the sky as there are several
challenges to be overcome. One
challenge will be to test the engine
at higher Mach speeds and prolong
the period of combustion. Since the
scramjet comes into play only when
the rocket goes beyond Mach 5, an
engine that initially works at subsonic
speed (as a ramjet) and later as a
scramjet has to be developed. But as
in the case of the successful test flight
of a reusable vehicle, the first
experimental flight using a scramjet
engine is a technological
demonstration of ISROs capability
and will go a long way in redefining
its position as one of the leading

space agencies in the world.

The neighbours concern (The
There has long been the view
that we as Indians should avoid
introversion when it comes to dealing
with the world and the problems that
challenge us. K.M. Panikkar, one of
our earliest modern strategic thinkers,
was dismissive about pacifism in
Indian thought, saying that while
Ahimsa was a great creed, the Hindu
theory at all times was one of active
assertion of the right, if necessary
through the force of arms. Wake, be
thyself, scourge thy foes was the
teaching of Krishna in the Gita. Indian
freedom, in his words, could be
achieved and upheld only by firmly
deciding to shoulder our share at all
costs in the active defence of the
areas necessary for our security.
The Prime Ministers words
were carefully articulated. This was
no one-off impulse. New Delhi offers
a vantage position for a highresolution view of the lamentable
state of affairs in Pakistan-occupied
Kashmir (PoK) and in the province of
Balochistan. The world must wake to
the realisation that even as Pakistan
knocks on international portals to
complain about the human rights of
Indian citizens in the Kashmir Valley,
it seeks to avoid focus on, and
camouflages, the erasing of the
identities and the gross violations of
human rights of the inhabitants of
Gilgit and Baltistan, and of the Baloch
Gilgit-Baltistan offers a classic
example of a region, part of Jammu
and Kashmir, now torn away from its
mother node, whose disenfranchised
people are essentially prevented from
expressing their Kashmiriyat and live
in a cul-de-sac determined by

Islamabad, prevented from any

contact with fellow Kashmiris across
the Line of Control. Family and trade
links with Jammu and Kashmir,
including Ladakh, have been severed
completely, thanks to actions of the
Pakistani state. Terrorist attacks on top
of sectarian clashes have affected the
area in recent years. An economic
crisis has compounded problems in
the region. Residents have no
bargaining power or wherewithal to
generate their own resources. Many
reports state that the improvement of
the Gilgit-Baltistan section of the
Karakoram Highway linking Chinese
Xinjiang with PoK has been entrusted
to Chinese defence and security
It is largely lost in the stalemated
discourse on Kashmir that the
Constitution of India recognises the
people of Gilgit-Baltistan as its
citizens. In the words of Senge
Hasnan Sering, who campaigns in
exile for the rights of the residents of
Gilgit-Baltistan, the statement by the
Prime Minister on Independence Day,
sends a clear message: GilgitBaltistan, Jammu, Ladakh and Kashmir
are all equal stakeholders and the
issue cannot be solved by focusing
on Kashmir alone. And then, there is
the case of Balochistan, one India has
largely shied away from mentioning
previously in its diplomatic forays
about the state of India-Pakistan
relations. Mr. Modis reference to
Balochistan was also a calculated
move designed to cause a stir in both
Pakistan and China. A Chinese
scholar, Hu Shisheng, in a recent
interview to this newspaper said it
signals a watershed moment in
Indias policy towards Pakistan in the
future. The same scholar is sceptical,
however, about the advisability of the
move, saying it could be disastrous

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for relations between Pakistan and
India, and importantly, between
China and India. Scholar Hu referred
in this context to Chinas emphasis
on the China-Pakistan Economic
determination to make the corridor a
success story.
The ill health of the nation (The
The National Health Accounts
data for 2013-14 present fresh
evidence that India continues to have
a non-serious approach to the
provision of universal health
coverage to all its citizens. Indias
health system is one of the most
privatised in the world, poorly
regulated and accessible only to
those with income levels well above
the average. All these attributes are,
once again, strongly borne out by the
NHA data, which lay bare the
extremely low government spending
on health which, at 1.15 per cent of
GDP, compares poorly with even SubSaharan Africa. There, World
Development Indicators say, the
corresponding figure was 2.9 per
cent six years ago. The share of State
governments, which are largely
responsible for provision of health
care, in government health
expenditure is estimated at 0.75 per
cent of GDP. Evidently, a health
policy that fails to pool the financial
risk of illness at the population level
results in impoverishing payments
made out of personal funds and
the NHA figures confirm that despite
rising government revenues, the bulk
of Indian health spending, a
staggering 64.2 per cent of health
expenditure, is met by households
out-of-pocket. That such OOP
expenses declined by five
percentage points over a decade is

encouraging, but this is insignificant

in comparison with the achievement
in, say, Thailand, where 75 per cent
of the population was brought under
UHC in just one year.
If the NDA government intends
to pursue its promise of universal
health assurance in earnest, and
wants to make up for two lost
decades of reform, it has to act
decisively. Raising government
expenditure on health, in
conjunction with the States, should
form the basis of policy change; the
road map for this was proposed by
the Planning Commissions High Level
Expert Group in 2011. Remedial
policies in two key areas can quickly
scale up to reduce the OOP burden
on households. One is to put in place
a centralised system for procurement
of essential drugs, relying mainly on
quality generics and distributing
them through the State government
system. The other is to arrive at the
cost of all medical procedures for
different classes of hospitals, laying
down standards and forming
regulatory authorities at the State and
district levels under law to enforce
the rules. It was estimated by the
Planning Commission group, for
instance, that spending 0.5 per cent
of GDP (compared to 0.1 per cent
spent by the public health system)
could ensure the availability of
essential medicines free of cost to all
Indians. Regulatory controls would
automatically lead to a reduction in
costs, and curbing of unethical and
corrupt practices by hospitals and
diagnostics centres. It should then be
easier to quickly extend free health
insurance to more classes of people,
such as senior citizens, children and
the disabled, and achieve universal
coverage early.

The LEMOA embrace (The

The signing of the Logistics
Exchange Memorandum of
Agreement (LEMOA) during
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikars
visit to Washington is a significant step
forward for India and the U.S. The
agreement, which comes after more
than a decade of negotiations, puts
an automatic approvals process in
place for the two militaries to share
each others bases for various
operations. These include port visits,
joint exercises, joint training, and
humanitarian assistance and disaster
relief efforts; other uses are to be
discussed on a case-by-case basis.
The agreement will aid the sort of
operations India has undertaken to
rescue stranded Indians in conflict
zones. Further, as the Indian military
continues to expand its role to aid in
disaster relief, as it did during the
2004 tsunami, it will benefit from
easier access to Americas network
of military bases around the world.
The pact will also enhance the
militarys capability to be an
expeditionary force, at a time when
Indian interests are distributed
around the world with major
investments planned both onshore
and offshore in oilfields. The U.S., too,
has required the help of India, as it
did when emergency planes were
refuelled in Delhi during the Nepal
earthquake relief operation. As India
and the U.S. explore plans for
maritime cooperation in the AsiaPacific as a part of the joint vision
statement, LEMOA is going to add
LEMOA is not without its
drawbacks, however, as is evident
from the fact that it took so many years
to agree upon. Even after the Centre

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had cleared the foundational
agreement, as it is known, it took
several months and at least four highlevel meetings to finalise the text. A
major reason for this was that although
India embarked on closer defence
ties with the U.S. years ago, there was
no consensus or support within the
establishment for an alliance of any
kind, which the LEMOA had come to
symbolise. As Mr. Parrikar pointed out
during his joint appearance with U.S.
Defence Secretary Ashton Carter, the
finally negotiated text has nothing to
do with setting up U.S. bases in India,
and there is no obligation on either
side to carry out any joint activity. Mr.
Parrikar also mentioned a need to
explain to the people the import of
the agreement by bringing it into the
public domain before the
government considers discussions on
the other foundational agreements
the U.S. is keen to draw India into.
The caution from Mr. Parrikar shows a
nuanced understanding of the
benefits and reservations about the
Centres latest move, which is a
welcome trend.
Advance the Budget (The
Fifteen years after the timing of
the Union Budget was advanced by
six hours from 5 p.m. on the last
working day of February, the Centre
is contemplating unveiling it a month
or more ahead. This may appear to
be a superfluous shift to some, but it
could significantly alter governance
outcomes if managed well. As of now,
though the Budget is tabled before
the commencement of a new
financial year in April, its provisions
often do not become the law of the
land till some time in May, when
Parliament passes the Finance Bill. So
whether it is a new social sector


scheme, a highway project for which

the Finance Minister has allocated
funds, or simply the transfer of funds
to States, there is little action till, say,
June. Official expenditure data
confirm that spending remains
particularly low in the first two
months of the financial year. There is
a spike in the last two quarters not
just because ministries scramble to
exhaust their allocated funds, but also
because, for instance, the onset of
the monsoon season in June makes it
difficult to execute infrastructure
projects in the second quarter.
Effectively, proposed annual capital
expenditure is rushed through from
October to March rather than through
the year, creating a tardy and bumpy
transmission mechanism for any
intended stimulus.
This now assumes greater
importance especially since in the
past two years public investment has
been the governments mantra to
revive growth, and is likely to remain
the key determinant of the
economys direction for a while.
Whether presented in the end of
December or in January, a budget
endorsed by Parliament by the end
of March could allow ministries, State
governments and businesses to get
down to implementation as soon as
the year begins and plan their
spending based on the requirement
for a project rather than weather
exigencies. There is, of course, the
challenge that the government may
lack enough data about the state of
the economy by January, be it tax
collections or GDP numbers. So the
Chief Economic Advisers team will
have to grapple with tighter deadlines
to put together the Economic Survey
with less data at its disposal. Then
again, the February 28 Budget also
relies on revised estimates. And while

Finance Ministry mandarins may find

themselves pressed for time if Finance
Minister Arun Jaitley manages to
move to an earlier Budget in 2017,
the Goods and Services Tax rollout
deadline of April 2017 would mean
much less work for them at least on
the indirect taxes side of the Budget
document. Around 51 per cent of
the 738 promises in the UPAs 10 full
Budgets remained works in progress
(that is, unmet) by the time the next
Budget was presented. If switching
the Budget presentation date can
turn this around, it would be well
worth it.
Outwards to Africa (The Hindu)
New Delhis Vigyan Bhavan will
host leading health researchers and
policymakers from Africa and India
on September 1-3. This India-Africa
Health Sciences Meet (IAHSM) is a
follow-up of the India-Africa Summit
in October 2015, at which Prime
Minister Narendra Modi announced
Indias intent to partner Africa. To
accomplish this, he proposed a $100million India-Africa Development
Fund, a $10-million Health Fund and
50,000 scholarships for African
students to study in India.
Africa and India together cover
about a quarter of the worlds land
area, support over a third of its
population and harbour about half of
its disease burden. Infectious
diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria,
HIV/AIDS, childhood diarrhoea and
respiratory infections remain big
challenges. However, both regions
are witnessing a shift towards noncommunicable diseases such as
diabetes, cardiovascular disease,
mental illness, etc. Africa and India
also share an important asset in their
young populations, about half of
which is below 25 years of age and

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aspires to have the knowledge and
technical skills to participate in their
economic growth. Science and
technology is increasingly seen as the
centrepiece of development and
should provide these young people
the tools to tackle not just health and
well-being, but other important
challenges such as energy, climate
change, food, water and sanitation as
Despite significant challenges,
both regions spend less than 1 per
cent of their GDP on S&T and are
home to low numbers of researchers.
Against the U.S. and Europe, which
have 2,640 and 1,990 researchers per
million of the population,
respectively, India and Africa have
only 137 and 70. Not surprisingly,
each contributes only about 2 per
cent to the global knowledge pool.
While Africa is quite diverse, the
numbers show poor capacity in the
health sector, especially human
resource. It has a very low density of
physicians and nurses, which stand
at 2.7 and 12.4 per 10,000 people,
respectively, against a world average
of 13.9 and 28.6. This is also reflected
in hospital beds and specialised
medical equipment. Even though its
own health indices are nothing to be
proud of, Indias engagement with
Africa is growing at a rapid pace in
the sunrise sector of health care.
Besides the private sector,
Government of India initiatives such
as Focus Africa, Team-9 Initiative
and Pan-African e-Network Project
have a significant investment on
health care. The telemedicine
initiative has enabled a number of
super-specialty hospitals in India to
be connected with physicians in
Africa, impacting not just health
tourism in India, but also capacity
building in Africa through continuing

medical education (CME) credits.

In 2014 India exported
medicines worth $3.5 billion to Africa
and the foreign direct investment
(FDI) by Indian pharmaceutical
companies in Africa was $67.4
million. Affordable anti-retroviral
drugs from India have been
instrumental in containing Africas
HIV/AIDS epidemic. India is also a
frequent destination for Africans
seeking specialised treatment for
cancer and other ailments. In 2013
about 14 per cent of African visitors
arriving in India came for medical
treatment. With India aspiring to be a
knowledge economy and a global
power, it must also use health
research and innovation to improve
peoples lives at home and overseas.
Some key partnerships to build
capacity, support health research and
promote innovation have developed
between international funders and
either Africa or India. These African
and Indian programmes should learn
from each other and together build
partnerships. A useful trend with
international funders now is to
recognise the value of local decisionmaking and management. This will
positively impact the partnerships.
The Indian pharmaceutical
industrys outward FDI to trade ratio
for Africa being low, there is ample
scope for this sector to invest in
Africa. For an aspiring global power,
the India story will mean more if
Make in India is extended to Make
with Africa. The Health Science Meet
this week should discuss the
challenges and partnerships for
investment mechanisms, alignment of
the regulatory frameworks and how
best to leverage the funds
announced by Mr. Modi last year. The

meet should also discuss research

capacity in the two regions and
identify strengths, weaknesses and
potential partnerships. Disease
priorities and areas of research focus
should be outlined for future
Indias Look Africa policy can
be a game changer if it also becomes
an engine for knowledge generation
and innovation. The India-Africa
Health Fund should be used to build
capacity by training African healthcare workers and researchers in
Indian hospitals and research
laboratories. Some of the 50,000
scholarships over the next five years
should also be used to train African
students in basic, clinical and public
health research at Indian universities
and institutes. Capacity building,
biomedical research and innovation
should become central themes for
discussion at the IAHSM. This will
make the partnership sustainable and
Our compromised ecological
security (The Hindu)
Good governance was the
cornerstone of the National
Democratic Alliance governments
poll promises. While there is an effort
to deliver this in many sectors, the
functioning of the Ministry of
Environment, Forest and Climate
Change (MoEF) is at odds with its
mandate. While it has been
periodically expressing its
commitment to forest conservation,
the reality is, the Ministry has been
bending over backwards to meet the
demands of development,
compromising Indias ecological
security. Since 2011, it has
consistently ignored the Supreme
Courts direction on the appointment
of a national regulator for enforcing

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environmental conditions and to
impose penalties.
An objective analysis reveals
that the MoEF has turned into a virtual
project-clearing house. In March
2015 it operationalised the online
single-window clearance system. A
computer scan of the online
clearance document reveals that the
words reject and rejection are
nowhere to be found. What this
implies is obvious and ominous. The
National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) is
a crucial statutory committee
consisting of 47 members chaired by
the Prime Minister. Its mandate is to
promote conservation of wildlife and
Protected Areas (PAs). The Wildlife
(Protection) Act specifies that the
NBWL (not the government) may, at
its discretion, constitute a 10member standing committee chaired
by the Environment Minister. The
travesty is that the standing
committee has already met eight
times even before a meeting of the
NBWL. It has assumed all powers of
the NBWL and is operating
independently. This has serious
consequences for wildlife.
The Wildlife (Protection) Act
unambiguously mandates that there
shall be no destruction or diversion
of habitat unless it is for the
management of wildlife. Yet, not a
single decision to divert wildlife
habitat has been backed by credible
reasons as to how it benefits wildlife
or substantial mitigation measures.
Another worrisome indicator on
unbridled clearances is the strategy
of diluting regulations through a slew
of circulars/guidelines. On July 4,
2014, based on representations from
the Ministries of Mines and Coal to
relax existing guidelines for
prospecting of minerals, the MoEF

exempted the requirement of

compensatory afforestation and
payment of Net Present Value based
on the logic that prospecting involves
use of forest land for a very short
period and is likely to only induce a
temporary change. This ignores the
fact that such prospecting is an
obvious precursor to mining in forests.
Even the insistence on site inspection
for construction of new roads/paths
involving 40 hectares was diluted and
made applicable only if the area
exceeded 100 hectares.
More recently, the Ministry of
Mines drew the attention of the
MoEF to the Mines and Minerals
(Development & Regulation)
Amendment Ordinance, 2015,
promulgated on January 12, 2015, by
which all mining leases would be for
a period of 50 years. Based on this,
the MoEF on April 1, 2015 diluted
the guidelines allowing extension of
even existing mining leases on forest
land from 30 to 50 years. This has been
done in spite of the fact that Section
2 of the Forest (Conservation) Act
applies for diversion of forest land
notwithstanding anything contained
in any other law.
These dilutions have greatly
contributed to fast-track clearances
of nearly 50,000 hectares of forest
land between June 2014 and April
2016 of which mining alone
accounts for almost 30 per cent
that will now go on for 50 years
without any further clearances.
Tenets of good governance demand
that the MoEF stop the
haemorrhaging flow of circulars
diluting various regulations.
The most crucial governance
challenge for the Ministry is how to
balance development imperatives
without compromising on ecological
security. However, ensuring ease of

doing business appears to have

become its main business, which is
tantamount to abdication of its
constitutional and legal duty. The
Ministry needs to abandon archaic
ideas like compensatory afforestation
which will at best raise ecologically
worthless tree plantations that are
nothing more than a fig leaf for
diverting more natural forests. What
is required is knowledge-driven plans
to resolve competing demands.
The road to genuine reform
(The Hindu)
The Chief Justice of Indias (CJI)
high-octane laments about vacancies
caused due to the stand-off between
the judiciary and government in
appointing judges has brought a
renewed focus to delays in the
judicial system. The CJI holds
vacancies responsible for creating
delays, bringing justice delivery to a
grinding halt for several litigants. By
all accounts, the judicial system is
painfully slow as of December 31,
2015, 51.2 per cent of all cases
pending in the subordinate courts
have been pending for more than two
years and 7.5 per cent for more than
10 years; in the high courts the
corresponding figures are 68 per cent
and 19.22 per cent. This is
unacceptable for any state that
promises the rule of law to its citizens.
At the same time, to view the standoff on judicial appointments and the
consequent vacancies that are
created through the lens of judicial
delays is to miss the wood for the
First, it is essential to clarify the
contours of this stand-off the
government and the collegium have
been unable to agree on a
Memorandum of Procedure for
appointment of judges for the better

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part of this year. Second, the
government has neither cleared nor
returned the files sent by the
collegium regarding several high
court appointments and transfers,
unlike Supreme Court appointments
and some transfers which were
cleared earlier this year. According
to the apex courts own publication,
as of May 2016, there were 2
vacancies in the Supreme Court (out
of 31 sanctioned posts) and 432
vacancies in the high courts (out of
1,065 sanctioned posts). This
constituted a vacancy rate of 6.45 per
cent and 40.5 per cent, respectively.
These figures point towards two
fundamental propositions: first, high
vacancies are not solely caused by
the stand-off they are endemic to
the higher judiciary. Second, even if
the current impasse between the
executive and judiciary were to end,
vacancies would not be even
substantially filled, let alone delays
being significantly reduced. This is
because vacancies are a product of
a systemic lack of incentives for
persons of high quality and integrity
to take up judgeships. Judicial pay is
poor, pensions are poorer. Further,
the collegium which selects judges
and elevates them to the Supreme
Court is a closed brotherhood. As
former Supreme Court judge Justice
Ruma Pal has noted, A chance
remark, a rumour or even third-hand
information may be sufficient to damn
a judges prospects. Contrariwise a
personal friendship or unspoken
At the same time, vacancies are
not the sole reason for debilitating
judicial delays. Delay in the judiciary
is a multifaceted problem which
differs also from court to court, State
to State. However amongst some

common factors is the pressing

concern that law, as laid down by the
Supreme Court and high courts in a
large number of areas, is unclear and
inconsistent. This necessitates
constant and overlapping appeals
clogging the system. While disposing
such cases, very rarely are timelines
followed. In the recently enacted
Commercial Courts Act, 2015, strict
timelines as well as case management
provisions have been carefully
incorporated. Unfortunately, similar
provisions in the Code of Civil
Procedure have been held by the
Supreme Court to not bind the
inherent discretion of courts to
extend time or grant repeated
In the same vein, the potential
for alternative dispute resolution
(ADR) methods, such as arbitration,
to reduce judicial delays has not
been explored owing to the constant
interference of courts. Constant
interference has not been limited to
ADR but is endemic. A recent study
found that the Supreme Court admits
41 per cent of all cases filed before it
for hearing, a staggering number for
the highest constitutional court of a
country. It is little surprise that litigants
take a chance before the higher
judiciary since securing an admission
is often perceived as a game of
roulette. This is especially so since the
quality of justice, particularly in the
lower judiciary, is often perceived as
unsatisfactory. These factors are
merely illustrative of the multifaceted
nature of delays. They are however
united by a common thread that,
unlike filling of vacancies, they are all
within the remit of the judiciarys selfcorrection.
The first suggestion appears
unobjectionable. In the NJAC
judgment, some judges advert to a

similar committee; its importance in

order to ensure accountability and
citizen participation cannot be
disregarded. The collegiums
objections to such a proposal, if true,
are perplexing and should be made
public. As far as a national security
veto is concerned, the judges are
rightly concerned about national
security (or national interest)
becoming a fig leaf for state
unaccountability, a blunt instrument
used to end all requirement for further
explanation. Given this possibility,
rather than national security being a
ground for veto, a healthy convention
should be adopted by the collegium
that ordinarily a rejection by the
government on these grounds will be
heeded, provided they are
subjectively satisfied.
Second, a combination of the
secrecy of the process and the
apparent hostility between the
judiciary and government means that
a document that was designed to
ensure real reform has descended
into a plaything of the powerful, with
neither side showing any genuine
desire for change. Substantive
proposals such as transparently
outlining a zone of consideration,
setting up a process for nominating
and interviewing candidates,
outlining criteria for appointment,
clarifying the importance of seniority,
presenting an annual report of
candidates considered, interviewed,
appointed and rejected and many
others, suggested by scores of civil
society representatives, are gathering
dust. The only way to break this
impasse and ensure that a kernel of
reform is salvaged from the interstices
of a power struggle is to make all future
Memorandum of Procedure public.
This will transparently demonstrate

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how substantive reform is being
effected or stalled and serve as a
precursor to infusing a culture of
appointments. Otherwise, the
country will suffer the consequences
of a bitter power struggle where
whoever wins, the cause of justice
for the people of India loses.
From dissent to disapproval
(The Hindu)
History shows that principled
dissent often leads to reform. Justice
J. Chelameswar has acted on his
famous dissent. After disagreeing
with the majority on a Constitution
Bench that struck down the law
enacted to establish a National
Judicial Appointments Commission,
the judge, who is part of the fivemember Supreme Court collegium,
has opted to keep out of its
proceedings. In a letter to the Chief
Justice, he is understood to have
raised the issue of lack of
transparency in the collegiums
functioning. His position is consistent
with his dissenting judgment, in
which he had spoken elaborately on
the ills of the system. He had
articulated his view that the
executive cannot be shut out of
judicial appointments, and that
according primacy to the judiciary in
the matter of appointments is not the
only way to preserve its
independence. Of course, Mr.
Chelameswars latest missive is
fraught with serious consequences.
It has brought the focus again on the
manner in which the judiciary
functions on its administrative side. It
may further delay the finalisation of
the collegiums view on the
Memorandum of Procedure (MoP)
for appointment and transfer of
judges. With over 480 vacancies in


the high courts and three in the

Supreme Court, differences within
the collegium may delay
appointments, leading to significant
alterations in the tenure and
promotion prospects of judges and
Chief Justices. Mr. Chelameswars
boycott is undoubtedly based on
principle; however, it raises the
question whether he is not bound to
be part of the collegium system as
long as it is in force.
Irrespective of the serious
reservations about the verdict in the
NJAC case, the collegium system is
here to stay. A fresh and transparent
procedure for appointments was to
be worked out by the executive. The
Centre has sent its draft MoP, but it
appears the collegium is reluctant to
approve some of the clauses. The fact
that the exact nature of the
differences between them is not
known only strengthens Mr.
Chelameswars point about opacity.
The revision process should not be
kept under wraps. Public interest,
especially the principle of judicial
independence, will be better served
if the procedure under preparation
is thrown open to a debate. The
judiciary showed the way forward by
asking the Centre to prepare a revised
memorandum. It should also end the
impasse by taking an early call on
firming up the procedure. In the light
of a clear admission by the majority
of judges in the NJAC case of the
need for infusion of transparency, it
will be welcome if Mr. Chelameswars
position strengthens the support for
reforming it.
The gap between rich and poor
States (The Hindu)
In 1960, the average person in
West Bengal earned Rs.390 per
annum; the average person in Tamil

Nadu earned Rs.330. But in 2014, the

average Bengali earned Rs.80,000
while the average Tamilian earned
Rs.1,36,000. Tamil Nadu went from
being the fourth poorest among these
12 States in 1960 to the second
richest in 2014. The southern States
of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka
have climbed up rapidly while West
Bengal and Rajasthan have dropped
down the order of the richest large
States. Most of these States started at
roughly the same levels of per capita
GDP in 1960. In five decades, some
have outperformed the rest, leading
to a dramatic reshuffle of their
The more intriguing aspect is
the levels and trends of disparity
among them. In 1960, the top three
States were 1.7 times richer than the
bottom three. By 2014, this gap had
almost doubled, with the top three
States being 3 times richer than the
bottom three. The richest (per capita
GDP) State in 1960, Maharashtra, was
twice as rich as the then poorest
State, Bihar. In 2014, the richest state,
Kerala, was four times richer than the
still poorest state of Bihar. This gap of
four times between the richest and
the poorest large State in India is
among the highest in the world. A
similar ratio in other federal polities
such as the U.S., European Union and
China is between two and three times.
Our convergence analysis shows that
this economic disparity among States
is only widening and not narrowing.
India is the only large country in the
world today that is experiencing an
economic divergence among its
States and not convergence, as
economic theory would posit.
It is clear that the economic
outperformance of some of these
States is a function of their politics
and policies over decades or the

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maturation of democracy, as Ms.
Jayalalithaa put it. While it is tempting
to attribute explanations for this
outperformance, it is very difficult to
prove any. At best, it can be
attributed to a complex interplay of
politics, leadership, policies, human
capital, and some luck. Whatever be
the reasons, it is quite evident that
the priorities of a more prosperous
State will be quite different from
those that are still very poor. Indias
cultural and political diversity is a
well-entrenched fact. It is time to
accept its economic diversity too. In
fact, cultural diversity is what hinders
free labour mobility across States.
While average income in Tamil Nadu
may be four times higher than in Bihar,
it is still not easy for a Hindi-speaking,
roti-eating Bihari to move to Tamilspeaking, rice-eating Tamil Nadu for
a job. Amid such economic disparity
among States with varying future
needs and priorities, a Delhi-based
one-size-fits-all policy regime for all
of India is entirely anachronistic.
While Ms. Jayalalithaa may have
denied any fissiparous intent in her
demand for more freedom, the
struggles of the European Union in
balancing common market policies
for economically diverse nations
should serve as a gentle reminder for
an even more diverse India.
Realising energy sector targets
(The Hindu)
Mr. Modi was able to get 24x7
electricity to nearly all villages in
Gujarat in two and a half years. The
targets set for power, coal, and
renewable energy show the same
determined approach: set up 175
gigawatt (GW) of renewable
capacity by 2022 and increase
domestic coal production to 1,500
million tonnes (MT) by 2020 from
612.4 MT in 2014-15, the period

during which India imported around

210 MT of coal. Are these targets for
coal and renewable energy
consistent? How are we to achieve
175 GW of renewable capacity by
2022? If 175 GW of renewable
capacity comes on line, do we need
1,500 MT of coal?
The domestic coal production
target of 1,500 MT is to be realised in
this manner: 1,000 MT by Coal India
Limited, 100 MT by Singareni
Collieries Company Limited, and 400
MT by captive and private producers.
175 GW of renewable capacity will
generate 350 billion kWh of electricity
per year as a renewable power plant
operates for around 2,000 hours a
year. A coal-based plant uses 0.6 kg
of coal for generating 1 kWh of
electricity. Thus 175 GW of renewable
capacity will reduce coal demand by
350 x 0.6 billion kg of coal, namely,
210 MT of coal. Imported coal has a
calorie content of 6,000 kcal/kg
compared to domestic coals calorie
content of 4,000 kcal/kg.
The total coal consumption in
India in 2014-15, accounting for the
50 per cent higher calorie content of
210 MT of imported coal, was 924
MT of domestic coal equivalent. In
2010-11, it was 622 MT of domestic
coal equivalent giving a compound
growth rate of 10.4 per cent over
2010-11 to 2014-15. If the economy
picks up as it is expected to at this
rate, the coal demand in 2020 will
grow to 1,675 MT of domestic coal.
By 2020 we can have 140 GW of
renewable capacity if the 175 GW by
2022 target is to be realised. Then
the coal requirement it would
replace would be around 170 MT.
This would suggest that we will need
1,500 MT of domestic coal
production if we want to eliminate
imports by 2020.

The next question is whether

we can have 175 GW of renewable
capacity by 2022. We have used three
measures to encourage renewable
power: feed-in tariff (FIT), renewable
portfolio obligation (RPO) and
accelerated depreciation allowance.
Under FIT, a fixed tariff is guaranteed
to the power producer for a certain
number of years. For him or her, this
is desirable as it ensures assured
income that eliminates market risk
and he or she is able to raise finance
easily. In the solar mission launched
in 2009, when I was Member of the
Planning Commission in charge of
energy, we had ensured that FIT does
not compromise the incentive to cut
down costs and that competition
prevails by requiring reverse bidding
for the FIT. Thus firms were asked to
bid for the FIT they would need to
generate solar power. In the first
bidding, where the expected level
of FIT was Rs.15/kWhr, the lowest bid
came to Rs.13.5/kWhr. In subsequent
bids it has come down lower and
lower and now a recent bid for a 70
MW project at the Bhadla Solar Park
in Rajasthan asked for an FIT of
Rs.4.34 per kWhr.
Under the RPO, an electricity
distribution company (DISCOM) is
required to purchase a certain
percentage of its total distributed
electricity from renewable sources.
The price that a renewable power
producer will receive is determined
by the market. Thus there is also
incentive to supply electricity at
completive rates. However, this
creates uncertainty of revenue for the
power producers, and banks are
reluctant to finance them. The way
out is to guarantee a certain minimum
price to be paid to a renewable
power producer. Also, for RPO to be
effective, it should be enforced. This

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would require that a DISCOM that
does not meet its RPO obligation is
made to pay a sufficiently high fine
for the extent of the shortfall. If
properly implemented, RPO will
ensure that the renewable electricity
generated will have a market and will
be paid for.
The Ministry of New and
Renewable Energy (MNRE) has
recently announced consultation
guidelines for long-term RPO
trajectory. The guidelines stipulate
separate RPO for solar and non-solar
electricity. The guidelines prescribe
that 2.75 per cent, 4.75 per cent and
6.75 per cent has to be solar energy
for 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19,
respectively. The shares of non-solar
energy such as wind, biomass, and
small hydro for these years are to be
8.75 per cent, 9.50 per cent, and
10.25 per cent, respectively. While
the Central government has issued
these guidelines, electricity is a State
subject and some States are not
happy with the guidelines. States
which do not have renewable
potential feel that they would have
to bear a higher burden for the
renewable target. If West Bengal has
to import renewable electricity from
Tamil Nadu or Rajasthan, it will have
to bear a higher burden or
transmission charges.
The Centre has said that no
transmission charge would be levied
on renewable power. While this
would allay the concerns of States, it
will create a distortion in the location
of renewable plants just as freight
equalisation of coal and steel created
distortion in the past in the location
of industries. Many manufacturing
industries that would have been
located in Bihar were located in
western India, far away from the
source of the raw material. The

success of the RPO scheme will

depend on the specification of a floor
price and effective enforcement by
States. The Centre needs to create
some mechanism to incentivise States
to enforce the RPOs. The Centre
could provide money from the coal
cess revenue to States depending on
the extent to which they meet the
RPO targets.
Obamas last sally for a safer
world (The Hindu)
Mr. Obamas speech in April
2009 at the Hradcany Square in
Prague electrified the world when he
announced that as the only nuclear
power to have used a nuclear
weapon, the United States has a
moral responsibility to act and
pledged Americas commitment to
seek the peace and security of a world
without nuclear weapons. He
promised that to put an end to Cold
War thinking, we (U.S.) will reduce
the role of nuclear weapons in our
national security strategy and urge
others to do the same. The citation
for his Nobel Peace Prize later in 2009
praised his vision of and work for a
world without nuclear weapons.
Seven years later, President
Obamas nuclear record is a mixed
one. The Nuclear Posture Review
(NPR) issued the following year (the
U.S. undertakes an NPR roughly once
a decade) referred to the objectives
of reducing the role of U.S. nuclear
weapons in national security strategy
while maintaining strategic
deterrence and stability at reduced
nuclear force levels. The Nuclear
Weapons Employment Strategy that
followed in 2013 stated that the U.S.
would only consider the use of
nuclear of nuclear weapons in
extreme circumstances to defend the
vital interests of the United States or

its allies and partners. The Defence

Department was directed to
strengthen non-nuclear capabilities
and reduce the role of nuclear
weapons in deterring non-nuclear
Negotiations with Russia led to
the New START Treaty coming into
force in February 2011 which limits
U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals to
(intercontinental ballistic missiles),
SLBMs (submarine-launched ballistic
missiles) and heavy bombers and
1,550 deployed nuclear warheads.
Follow-on negotiations stalled
thereafter and the New START will
lapse in 2021, unless extended by a
five-year period. Mr. Obama also
launched the cycle of Nuclear
Security Summits in 2010 to highlight
the threats posed by terrorists seeking
nuclear materials. This concluded
earlier this year with the Washington
summit. The nuclear deal with Iran
has been praised generally though it
has faced criticism from the U.S.s
regional allies, Israel and Saudi
Arabia. Described as an executive
agreement, it has not been
submitted for approval to the
Congress where it would have faced
Republican opposition.
One of Mr. Obamas boldest
decisions was to visit Hiroshima
earlier this year, becoming the first
serving U.S. President to do so, 71
years after the city was destroyed by
the first nuclear bomb. Bypassing the
debate about whether his speech
would be seen as an apology, he
called upon countries that possess
nuclear weapons to have the
courage to escape the logic of fear
and pursue a world without them.
Yet these achievements fall far short
of the promises of the Prague speech.
The CTBT (Comprehensive Nuclear-

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Test-Ban Treaty) ratification, which
Mr. Obama had promised to push
through vigorously, continues to
languish. The Nuclear Security
Summits created the buzz normally
associated with summitry but
remained content with shared best
practices and voluntarily announced
Considering that the U.S.
accounts for more than 45 per cent
of the worlds nuclear arsenal, enjoys
overwhelming superiority in
conventional capabilities and a
significant technological advantage
in cyber and space capabilities, less
dependence on nuclear weapons is
not going to diminish its security.
Further, a U.S. lead in this regard will
create a push for other nuclear
weapon states to follow, generating
momentum for a global nuclear
restraint regime.
The nuclear taboo has held
since 1945 and no country wants to
see it violated. Since it is not possible
to wish away the existing nuclear
arsenals, the only way forward is
greater nuclear restraint, which is
what the NFU does. In a vibrant
democracy like the U.S., a public
articulation of an NFU will provide a
changed backdrop to its nuclear
strategy, posture, deployment and
employment guidance. Further, it can
permit the U.S. to question the need
for tactical nuclear weapons or even
vulnerable ICBMs that are maintained
on high alert. Moreover, other nuclear
weapon states will find it impossible
not to respond. Voluntary
declarations, followed by a collective
NFU, would become a realisable
objective. In 1945, the U.S. shaped
the first nuclear age with Hiroshima
and Nagasaki. Today, President
Obama has the opportunity to shape
the 21st century second nuclear age

by launching the moral revolution

that he promised in Hiroshima. It
could become his defining legacy.
Sri Lanka conquers malaria
(The Hindu)
Sri Lanka has become malariafree. On September 5, the World
Health Organisation officially
recognised this huge public health
achievement. The WHO certifies a
country so when the chain of local
transmission is interrupted for at least
three consecutive years; the last
reported case was in October 2012.
With no local transmission reported,
Sri Lankas priority since October
2012 has been to prevent its return
from outside, particularly from
malaria-endemic countries such as
India. There were 95, 49 and 36 cases
reported in 2013, 2014 and 2015
respectively, all contracted outside
Sri Lanka. In a commendable
initiative, Sri Lanka adopted a twopronged strategy of targeting both
vector and parasite, undertaking
active detection of cases and
residual parasite carriers by screening
populations irrespective of whether
malaria symptoms were present. Early
detection and treatment of
asymptomatic parasite carriers, who
serve as reservoirs of infection, played
a crucial role in interrupting the chain.
While this was achieved by means of
house visits and by starting mobile
clinics in high-transmission areas, realtime monitoring through effective
surveillance systems, community
awareness and mobilisation also
played their role. The public sector
and the private sector were oriented
to the common goal of eliminating
malaria by enhancing case
notification and achieving 100 per
cent detection and confirmation
through tests. Sri Lanka expanded the

coverage of long-lasting insecticidetreated bed nets to protect high-risk

populations, and used multiple
methods to reduce mosquito
Sri Lanka was close to
eliminating malaria in 1963, when it
reported just 17 cases. But a
premature lowering of the guard and
growing resistance to DDT led to
rising incidence in the 1980s. The
precise reasons for the failure of the
eradication programme were not
clear. Some of the major challenges
the country had to face before it
interrupted local transmission were
the Plasmodium falciparum parasite
becoming resistant to the
chloroquine drug, behavioural
changes in the vector, asymptomatic
carriers and vector reintroduction.
But the tide turned from 2000 when
a steady reduction in the number of
cases was recorded. Sri Lanka joins
the ranks of 34 countries that have
been certified malaria-free since the
1960s. The Maldives was certified so
in 2015; Argentina and Kyrgyzstan
may soon be. Eradication of the
disease in India remains a challenge,
but it could learn some lessons from
Sri Lanka even if the scale and
complexity of the task is significantly
ISRO makes India proud again
The Indian Space Research
Organisation (ISRO) crossed an
important milestone with the
successful launch of weather satellite
INSAT-3DR using a Geosynchronous
Satellite Launch Vehicle equipped
with the indigenous cryogenic upper
stage. The successful launch marks a
departure from the long history of
failures with the GSLV; except for the
first, every launch of the Polar Satellite
Launch Vehicle (PSLV), the

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workhorse of ISRO, has been a
success. That September 8 launch
marks the third consecutive success;
the fact that it is the first operational
flight by the GSLV carrying the
indigenous cryogenic upper stage is
confirmation that India now belongs
to the elite club of countries that have
mastered the cryogenic technology.
Maintaining structural and thermal
integrity of the engine at very high
temperatures during combustion just
a few centimetres away from 250
C, a temperature at which materials
behave very differently, is a huge
challenge. Likewise, igniting a
cryogenic fuel and sustaining the
combustion for a prolonged period
is a daunting task. The Thursday
launch had fully utilised the maximum
payload carrying capacity of the
GSLV-Mk II by carrying the heaviest
satellite (2,211 kg) ever from Indian
soil. This became possible only
because the cryogenic upper stage
was used. Unlike solid and liquid
propellants, the specific impulse or
thrust provided by a cryogenic rocket
stage is much higher and is therefore
more efficient to carry heavier
A first step to wholesome
Last week the Supreme Court
of India made it mandatory for the
police to upload within 48 hours a
First Information Report (FIR) drawn
up by it suo motu or on a complaint.
Aimed principally at protecting the


accused who may come to know that

he figures in an FIR, but has no idea
of the allegations which formed its
basis, this order is also a shot in the
arm for activists who want to protect
citizens from State harassment on
flimsy grounds. In this momentous
order, Youth Bar Association of India
v Union of India and others , Justices
Dipak Misra and C. Nagappan laid
down several guidelines which could
help to promote transparency and
curb arbitrariness in police work.
In writing its order, the court
demonstrated an intense application
of mind in respect of two issues: the
need to protect national security, as
well as the privacy of a citizen; and
the technical feasibility of
implementing its directive that FIRs
should be uploaded within 48 hours
of their registration. According to the
order, there will be exemption from
the directive when the alleged
offence is sensitive, such as sexual
violence or one in which there is an
angle of national security, insurgency
or terrorism. We endorse this
exception, because we are living in
times when both privacy and terror
issues matter greatly.
One principal negative
response to the order points to
existing modest police resources,
especially in the rural areas, that could
hinder easy implementation of the
court directive. Many police stations,
especially those in remote areas, may
have a computer, but may not

necessarily be connected to the

Web. Taking cognisance of this
logistical problem, the court permits
the latitude of extending the
deadline for uploading FIRs from 24
to 48 hours, or even to 72 hours,
under special circumstances arising
from the remote location of a police
station. Such relaxation of the time
limit for uploading would be related
only to connectivity difficulties, and
nothing else.
Talking to officers across
regions, we however found a
measure of cynicism on the
practicalities of implementing the
apex courts order. We are not
surprised at this, because every time
courts have sought to curb police
arbitrariness by clamping restrictions
on the day-to-day routine, there has
been furtive resentment. This is why
we strongly believe that we should
not permit any sabotage of the latest
court order. We should work towards
building public opinion which
would demand implementation of
the directive both in letter and in
spirit. For genuine adherence to what
the court has laid down here, and in
several other instances, we need the
stakeholders the executive,
policemen and the lay public to
not flinch from their basic duty of
wholeheartedly welcoming what the
court has said and spreading the
message as widely as possible.
Without this happening, we do not
see any prospect of the directive
being followed strictly.

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Disha for Timely Implementation of Schemes


Central schemes are very

important for the growth and
development of the country.
Schemes like MGNREGA, NRHM,
UDAY etc. help the people of the
country in getting a better services
and better life. MGNREGA is creating
assets for the benefit of rural people
in India. Similarly Pradhan Mantri
Gram Sadak yojana has created lot of
roads in rural India which linked rural
India with markets and provided
economic and other benefits to rural
India. However there are various
problems associated with the
implementation of the central
schemes. Problems like too many
central schemes has been resolved
by the government by reducingthe
number of CS. However the biggest
problem assosiated with the CS is the
untimely implementation. Prime
Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi
launched his ambitious multipurpose and multi-modal platform
PRAGATI (Pro-Active Governance
And Timely Implementation).
PRAGATI is a unique integrating and
interactive platform. The platform is
aimed at addressing common mans

grievances, and simultaneously

monitoring and reviewing important
programmes and projects of the
Government of India as well as
projects flagged by State
Recently in order to solve the
problem of timely implementation
and coordination government has
come up with Disha. The Centre
announced the formation of District
Development Coordination and
Monitoring Committee (DDCMC) to
be named Disha for effective
development coordination of almost
all the programmes of Central
Government, whether it is for
infrastructure development or Social
and human resource development.
The main purpose of this committee
is to coordinate with Central and
State and local Panchayat
Governments, for successful and
timely implementation of the
schemes. Efforts will be made to
ensure the participation of peoples
representative at all levels in it and
successful implementation of flagship
programme of central government.
DDCMC supercedes the District

Vigilance & Monitoring Committee

currently mandated by Ministry of
Rural Development and the new
committee will be known as Disha.
The meetings of the committee
should be held once in every Quarter
(Third Saturdays of April, July,
October and February) and this has
been made mandatory.
There are various important
programmes which are covered
under the Disha. Important among
them are mentioned below:
Mahatma Gandhi National Rural
Deen Dayal Antordaya Yojna NRLM
Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak
Yojana (PMGSY)
National Social Assistance
Programme (NSAP)
Swachh Bharat Mission
Gramin (SBM- G)
Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai
Yojna (PMKSY) Intregrated
Watershed Management
Programme (IWMP)
Digital India Land Record
Modernisation Programme

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Disha for Timely Implementation of Schemes

Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana
(Housing for All - Urban)
Smart City Mission
Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima
Yojana (PMFBY)
Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas
Digital India Public Internet
Access Programme providing
Common Service Centre in
each Gram Panchayat
Composition of the committee
will see representation from all the
teirs of government. The Chairperson
of the committee will be the senior
most Member of Parliament (Lok
Sabha) elected from the district,
nominated by the Ministry of Rural
Development. The other Members of
Parliament (Lok Sabha) representing
the district will be designated as CoChairpersons. One MP (Rajya Sabha)
representing the State and exercising
option to be associated with the
district level Committee of that district
(on first come basis) will be
designated as Co-Chairperson. All
Members of the State Legislative
Assembly elected from the district,
All Mayors / the Chairpersons of


Municipalities, chairperson of the Zilla

Panchayat, Five elected heads of
Gram Panchayat including two
women, One representative each of
SC, ST and Women to be nominated
by the Chairperson will be among
other members of the committee.
The Member Secretary of disha
should be the District Collector /
District Magistrate/ Deputy
Commissioner except in cases where
specific exemption has been given
by the Union Government.
The terms of references of the
committee will include:
Ensure that all programmes are
implemented in accordance
with the Guidelines.
Look into complaints/alleged
irregularities received in
respect of the implementation
of the programmes, including
complaints of wrong selection
misappropriation / diversion of
funds and recommend followup action.
The Committee should have
the authority to summon and
inspect any record for this

The Committee may refer any

matter for enquiry to the District
Collector/CEO of the Zilla
Panchayat/Project Director of
DRDA (or Poverty Alleviation
Unit) or suggest suitable action
to be taken in accordance with
the rules which should be
acted upon by him within 30
Closely review the flow of
funds including the funds
allocated, funds released by
both Centre and the State,
utilization and unspent
balances under each Scheme.
This is underlined that the
recommendations of the previous
meeting should be the first agenda
item for the next meeting. Follow up
action on recommendations of the
DDCMCs should be initiated within
30 days of the meeting. The Member
Secretary should ensure that
meeting notice, agenda notes and
proceedings of meetings are
uploaded on the website of the
Ministry of Rural Development and
also the website of the State.

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Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2016


Road safety is a multi-sectoral
and multi-dimensional subject. It
includes orderly development and
management of roads, provision of
safer vehicles, and a comprehensive
response to accidents. It relies on
modern traffic management systems
and practices, improved safety
standards in design, construction,
operation and maintenance of roads,
and production and maintenance of
safer vehicles. Owing to unsafe
conditions on roads, the rate of
accidents in India has been high.
According to WHO statistics for
2002, out of about 11.8 lakh road
accident deaths across the world,
84,674 deaths were reported from
India alone. In the year 2004, the
number of road accident deaths in
India increased to 92,618. A study
undertaken by the Planning
Commission in 2002 estimated the
social cost of road accidents in India
at about 3 per cent of GDP.
Considering the gravity of the
situation, there is consensus that
concerted measures are necessary
for reducing this high level of
accident deaths and injuries through

improved safety measures and traffic

Road safety in the country is
managed by the Government at the
Central and State levels supported by
efforts of academia and the private
sector including industry and nongovernmental organisations (NGOs).
Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport
and Highways in the Government of
India is the administrative ministry
responsible for road safety efforts in
the country. National Road Safety
Council (NRSC), headed by the
Union Minister for Road Transport and
Highways is the apex advisory body
on road safety. It includes the
Ministers in-charge of Transport in the
State Governments and various
official and non-official members. The
Transport Development Council
(TDC) chaired by the Union Minister
of Transport, with the Union Ministers
of Commerce, Industry, Railways and
Member in-charge of Transport in
Planning Commission as members is
a high level forum for the formulation
of common policies for the
development of road transport. It also
includes all the Lt. Governors/Chief

Commissioners of union territories

and all Ministers in charge of Transport
in the state governments. The Motor
Vehicles Act of 1988 states that each
State should have a Road Safety
Council (SRSC) headed by the
Minister incharge of Transport for the
state government on the lines of the
National Road Safety Council.
Recently the Union Cabinet has
given its approval for Motor Vehicle
(Amendment) Bill 2016. The
Amendment aims to improve the
problems assosiated with the road
accidents. Every year 5 lakh road
accidents are reported in the country
in which 1.5 lakh people lose their
lives. Government is committed to
reduce the accidents and fatalities
by 50% in five years. To address the
issue of road safety, a draft Road
Transport & Safety Bill was prepared
soon after NDA Government came to
power. However, most of the States
have expressed reservations. To
address the issue of road safety and
to improve the facilitation of the
citizens while dealing with transport
departments, Ministry of Road
Transport & Highways constituted a

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Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2016

Group of Transport Ministers (GoM)
of the States.
The GoM
recommended that to address the
pressing issue of road safety and
improving transport scenario,
Government should immediately
bring amendments to the present
Motor Vehicle Act.
In the present Motor Vehicle
Act, there are 223 Sections out of
which the Bill aims to amend 68
sections whereas Chapters 10 has
been deleted and a Chapter 11 is
being replaced with new provisions
to simplify third party insurance
claims and settlement process. The
important provisions include increase
in compensation for Hit & Run cases
from Rs. 25000 to Rs. 2 lakhs. It also
has provision for payment of
compensation upto Rs 10 lakh in road
accidents fatalities. The Bill also
proposes insertion of 28 new
sections. The amendments mainly
focus on issues relating to improving
road safety, citizens facilitation while
dealing with the Transport
Department. Strengthening rural
transport, last mile connectivity and
public transport, automation and
computerization and enabling online
The Bill propose to improve the
transport scenario in the
country by permitting the
States to grant exemptions in
Stage carriage and contract
carriage permits for promoting
rural transport, public
transport, last mile connectivity
convenience and road safety.
The Bill proposes that the State
Government can specify a
multiplier, not less than one and
not greater than ten, to be


applied to each fine under this

Act and such modified fine.
The bill proposes that the State
Government can regulate the
activities in a public place of
pedestrians and such means of
The Bill proposes offences
committed by Juveniles. The
Guardian / owner shall be
deemed to be guilty in cases
of offences by the Juveniles
and Juvenile to be tried under
JJ Act. Registration of Motor
Vehicle to be cancelled
To improve the registration
process for new vehicles,
registration at the end of the
dealer is being enabled and
restrictions have been imposed
on temporary registration.
In the area of road safety, bill
proposes to increase penalties
to act as deterrent against
traffic violations.
Stricter provisions are being
proposed in respect of
offences like juvenile driving,
drunken driving, driving
without licence, dangerous
overloading etc.
The Bill also proposes to
mandate the automated fitness
testing for the transport
vehicles with effect from 1st
October 2018. This would
reduce corruption in the
Transport Department while
improving the road worthiness
of the vehicle.
The penalties are also
proposed for deliberate
environmental regulations as
well as body builders and spare

part suppliers.
To help the road accident
victims, Good Samaritan
incorporated in the Bill.
To facilitate transport solutions
for Divyang, the bottlenecks
have been removed in respect
of grant of driving licenses as
well as alterations in the
vehicles to make it fit for use of
Improving delivery of services
to the stakeholders using eGovernance is one of the major
focuses of this Bill. This include
enabling online learning licenses,
increasing validity period for driving
licenses, doing away with the
requirements of educational
qualifications for transport licenses
are some of the features. Stricter
provisions for helmets have been
introduced along with provisions for
electronic detection of violations. To
bring harmony of the registration and
licensing process, it is proposed to
create National Register for Driving
Licence and National Register for
Vehicle registration through Vahan
& Sarathi platforms. This will
facilitate uniformity of the process
across the country. The process for
testing and certification for
automobiles is proposed to be
regulated more effectively. The
testing agencies issuing automobile
approvals have been brought under
the ambit of the Act. The driving
training process has been
strengthened enabling faster
issuance of transport licenses. This
will help in reducing the shortage of
commercial drivers in the country.

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