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9, 2016
Support small enterprises to boost Indias exports: President
Details :

Why in news?
President Pranab Mukherjee said that Centre needs to ensure that Indias exporters,
particularly those in the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) segment, are
adequately supported through appropriate policy interventions to help them tide
over the present downturn.


Indias exports had contracted in 20 of the 21 months till August this year.
The only exception was the month of June 2016, when it expanded 1.27 per
Exports are important to maintain good Balance of Payments (BoP) and
balanced foreign exchange reserves (Forex).
A weak global demand has adversely impacted Indias exports.
Reviving exports in a scenario of sluggish demand worldwide will remain a
serious challenge for India.
To promote exports, Center usually runs schemes like credit-guarantee
schemes for the exporters/traders so that they can easily access credit.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce had recently
recommended ECGC to play a greater role in export promotion.
To put the country back on a high export growth path, the President also
advised the Centre to follow the recommendations and strengthen Indias
institutional credit guarantee framework (including ECGC) in the trade sector.
State-owned ECGC (Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India Limited)
promotes exports by improving the competitiveness of the Indian exporters
through credit risk insurance covers (usually, insurance for bank loans in case
exporter is not able to repay the banks) and related services.
The ECGC has been insuring banks whose share is almost 70 per cent of the
export credit disbursed in the country. The cover offered by the ECGC at

various stages of lending bring a certain degree of comfort for banks in

todays uncertain times.
Exporters usually face many uncertainties, like in global economy (fall in
demand), geopolitical uncertainties (like Brexit, disturbances in West Asia
and North Africa), currency fluctuations etc.
So export credit insurance and guarantees in the spectrum of trade financing
are of critical importance.
India also needs to support its SME exporters as they have the potential for
accelerated growth. But at the same time, it is considered a high-risk venture
by commercial lenders. So, government back agencies like ECGC are even
more important for the SME sector exports.
President said we must overcome by this improving the competitiveness of the
domestic industry through better infrastructure, credit facilities and regulation.
He suggested examples of several developed countries have consciously
introduced special concessions and stimulus packages to manage the present

Note to students: This article contains some useful points for any mains questions
on how government can support exporters (including SMEs) in this difficult time.
Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam
Subject : Economics
News Source : The Hindu
SC frames issues to decide in Neyyar river dispute
Details :

Why in news?
The Supreme Court framed the issues to be heard in the Neyyar river water dispute
between neighbouring States Kerala and Tamil Nadu.


The Neyyar River is a river of south-western India in the Western Ghats. It

flows from the Agastya Mala (also known as Agastyarkoodam) hills in
of Thiruvananthapuram District of Kerala state into the Arabian Sea.
Neyyar Dam is built on this river in Kerala for irrigation.
One canal of Neyyar flows to western districts of Tamil Nadu.
There is a long pending case between Kerala and Tamil Nadu on the sharing
of water from this river and the Supreme Court agreed to hear on several
disputed issues.
The court will decide whether the supply of water to Tamil Nadu by Kerala
since 1965 was only a gesture of good will or a legal obligation imposed
under State Re-organisation Act, 1956.
The court agreed to hear both States on whether the stoppage of water by
Kerala in 2004 was an unlawful variation of the Neyyar Irrigation Project
protected under the 1956 Act.
Other important issue which would be considered by the apex court would be
whether domestic supply of water in Kerala has a first charge (priority) over
the claims of Tamil Nadu for water under the Neyyar Irrigation project.
Court would also look into some technical questions on the Stage II of the

Neyyar Dam location on the map:

Note to students:
Just keep this issue in the back of the mind. Don't go into details of specific sections
of the 1956 Act, for now. We will get more clarity as the arguments proceed. We
will keep the portal updated as and when more clarity on specifics of the case
occurs and append all the posts together.
Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam
Subject : Polity & Governance
News Source : The Hindu
The politics of perceptions Editorial 9th Nov'16 The Hindu

Details :
The politics of perceptions
The context
It is intuitive to think that poverty and declining economic conditions lead to
public discontent.
But in India Human Development Survey (IHDS), it was found that in addition to
objective economic conditions, subjective feeling of deprivation also plays a role in
evaluation of ones economic condition and generating discontent.
India and Pakistan a contrast
India and Pakistan saw a similar decline in poverty in the last decade but more
Indians felt that their economic condition is improving than Pakistanis.
This could not be explained by awareness of relative poverty due to greater income
inequality in Pakistan because inequality in Pakistan and India was similar, with
Indian inequality being marginally higher.
Role of perceptions
This contrast can be explained by perceptions.
The sense of economic deprivation is closely linked to the social and political
A well governed society creates a sense of security which is as important as
economic advancement.
Findings of IHDS
Bad governance and unfair treatment influence feeling of economic
Governance and social policies play an important role in enhancing or diminishing
feelings of economic insecurity.
Physical insecurity feeds a feeling of economic insecurity.

Good public service delivery creates a feeling of economic prosperity.

A sense of fairness in economic outcomes also influences perceptions of
More trust in political institutions leads to a favourable perception of ones
economic progress.
These findings dont mean that perceptions, rather than actual economic change,
determine feeling of deprivation.
But actual impact of economic changes depends upon the aforementioned factors.
These results suggest that prosperity, good governance as well as focus on fairness,
rather than electoral promises and doles, are likely to electoral rewards.
Therefore, politicians must focus on inclusive growth with good governance.
The survey also reveals that majority of the population holds an unfavourable
opinion of political institutions. Efforts should be made to increase this confidence.
GS 4 (Attitude)
Related question
Individual feeling of economic progress depends upon objective economic
outcomes as well as subjective factors. Explain with illustrations.
Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam
Subject : Editorial Analysis
News Source : The Hindu
Keep birth database to curb female foeticide
Details :

The News:

The Supreme Court issued a slew of directions to clamp down on the crime of
female foeticide, including maintenance of an all-India database of new borns
to curb female foeticide.
The Bench passed 16 directions to ensure immediate and effective
implementation of the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques
(Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act and the Rules framed there under.
The court passed the verdict while disposing of a PIL by NGO Voluntary
Health Association of Punjab urging it to intervene in the matter in view of
decreasing number of girls-boys ratio in the country.

What SC bench said:

Female child is entitled to enjoy equal rights that a male child is allowed to
When a female foetus is destroyed through artificial means, which is legally
impermissible, the dignity of life of a woman to be born is extinguished. It
corrodes the human values.
All the States and the Union Territories in India shall maintain a centralised
database of civil registration records from all registration units so that
information can be made available from the website regarding the number of
boys and girls being born.
The information shall be displayed on the website shall contain birth
information for each district, municipality, corporation or gram panchayat so
that a visual comparison of boys and girls born can be immediately seen.
SC also directed that States and Union Territories, which do not have any
incentive schemes for the girl child, shall frame the same.
If there has been violation of any of the provisions of the Act or the Rules,
proper action has to be taken by the authorities under the Act so that the
legally inapposite acts are immediately curbed.
The courts dealing with such complaints shall be fast tracked and the
concerned High Courts shall issue appropriate directions.
The Chief Justices of all the High Courts shall constitute a Committee of three
judges to periodically oversee the progress of these cases.


In India a most brutal form of killing females takes place regularly, even
before they have the opportunity to be born.
Females not only face inequality in this culture, they are even denied the right
to be born.
Female feticide is the selective abortion of female foetuses.
While abortion is legal in India, it is a crime to abort a pregnancy solely
because the fetus is female.
Prenatal sex detection technologies have been misused, allowing the selective
abortions of female offspring to proliferate.

Gender Inequality:

Gender equality is far from established in India.

Attacks and assaults on a womans identity, personality, body and dignity
have become common.
The modern assault on women today which is more organized and more
technologically advanced, is disallowing their very presence preventing
them from coming into existence.
The sex of the foetus is determined through medical tests and if the foetus is
female, it is aborted.
There have been numerous cases of aborted and abandoned foetuses found
floating in rivers, wrapped in jute bags, in garbage bins, and in farms.
This selective killing is the modern day Holocaust and is simply depriving
women of the most basic human right i.e. the right to life.
This is fuelled and propelled by greed for money, misconceptions, evils in
societies, and mind-sets that cant even be termed traditional and they make
absolutely no sense.

History of female foeticide:

Although female infanticide has long been committed in India, foeticide is a

relatively new practice, emerging concurrently with the advent of
technological advancements in prenatal sex determination on a large scale in
the 1990s.

The origins of female foeticide in India can be traced back to the 1970s.
Abortion was not unknown then and laws against abortion had already been
written by the British.
In 1970s, family planning was making its way inroads and it was widely
accepted that the roots to many major social and economic issues India was
facing at the time was due to its growing population.
The preference for a male child was predominant in families, but the common
practice then was for the woman to conceive till she got a male child. This
practice was seen as a threat and the cause for the growing population.
As a solution to this, government hospitals started aborting female foetuses.
This would result in the couple getting the male child they wanted, and not
needing to have any female children in the process.
However, the pace increased by the late-1980s and the early 1990s when
ultrasound techniques gained popularity in India.
In 1994 the Indian government passed the Preconception and Prenatal
Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, making sex-selective abortion illegal.
Now, with the advancement in technologies and development of easier and
cheaper techniques, female foeticide had spread throughout India and sex
determination tests became a very common practice during pregnancy.

Reasons of Female Foeticide:

Female foeticide is an unethical act has been practiced from old age due to some
cultural norms and socio-economic policies. Following are the reasons of female
foeticide in the Indian society:

The important reason of female foeticide is the preference of male child over
girl child because son is the main source of income however girls are wrongly
believed to be consumer. There is a misconception in the society that boys are
always there to look after their parents and girls will be married and settled in
other family.
Old custom of dowry system in India has put a big challenge before parents
which is the main reason to avoid girl child by the parents.
Low status of women in the male dominated Indian society.
Parents consider that boys would carry their name ahead in the society
however girls are only to handle households.
Legalization of abortion in India is another big reason for the illegal sex
determination and termination of girl baby.

Technological advancement in the health sector has given fire to the female

There are three laws that need to be looked into:
1. Law regarding dowry:

It is the major cause for female foeticide as family thinks that girl child is an
economic burden for the family., one concerning sex selection, and finally,
one about abortion.
The Act defines dowry as any property or valuable security given or agreed to
be given either directly or indirectly by one party to a marriage to the other
party to the marriage and includes cash, property or valuable security offered
as precondition to the marriage.
Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act (1961) states that a person shall be
deemed guilty if he/ she demands any dowry, directly or indirectly, from the
parents or other relatives or guardians of a bride or bridegroom.
The dowry law has been criticized by mens rights activists stating that the
law is gender biased, and includes presumption of guilt (of the husband) and
vague definitions of dowry and stridhan.

2.Sex selection:

It is covered under the Pre-Conception & Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques

Act, 2002. Originally, there was a Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques
(Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1994 but due to the prevalence of
pre-conception diagnosis a newer law was put in order.
The PC & PNDT Act states that no place or doctor is authorized to conduct
pre-natal diagnostic techniques except for the purpose of detection of one or
more of:

chromosomal abnormalities;

genetic metabolic diseases;


sex-linked genetic diseases;

congenital anomalies;

It also states that no person including the person conducting pre-natal

diagnostic procedures shall communicate to the pregnant woman concerned or
her relatives or any other person the sex of the foetus by words, signs or in
any other manner and no person shall, by whatever means, cause or allow to
be caused selection of sex before or after conception.
It has been claimed that the PC&PNDT Act focusses solely on
ultrasonography as a technique for sex-selection, and newer technologies like
amniocentesis and biopsy.

Law regarding abortion:

The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971, legalizes abortion

under certain conditions.
It states that pregnancy can be terminated by at least one registered medical
practitioner (if the length of the pregnancy does not exceed 12 weeks) and by
at least two registered medical practitioners (if the length of the pregnancy is
between 12 and 20 weeks) who are of the opinion, formed in good faith that:

1. The continuation of the pregnancy shall expose the woman to risk to her life
or of grave physical or mental health. This includes women subjected to rape,
and pregnancy induced by the failure of any contraceptive device or technique
used by a married couple.
2. There is substantial risk that if the child is born s/he shall suffer from severe
physical or mental abnormalities
3. Pregnancies that can be terminated also include those in minors (under-18) or
lunatics with the permission of a guardian.

The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act has been said to legalize

abortion but not present it as a right for women. The twenty week limit (for
abortion) has been criticized, stating that the sex of the foetus can be
determined easily from the 12th week onwards.

There is no absolute definition to the phrase, severe physical and mental

health risks, and that the opinion lies with the physician, illegal abortions
arent very difficult to carry out.

This homicidal practice is not just a social evil but also dangerous for the future of
coming generations.
More important than making laws or giving more teeth to the existing laws is the
implementation of the laws. The laws have been passed fine, but the reason sex
determination and illegal abortions still take place is the improper and inadequate
implementation of the law.

NOTE: Female foeticide can be asked as essay question or in mains GS.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam
Subject : Social Issues
News Source : The Hindu
Rs. 500, Rs. 1000 currency notes no longer legal tender
Details :
Why in news?
Starting today, Rs. 500, Rs. 1000 currency notes currently in circulation will no
longer be legal tender.

New notes:
New 500 and 2000 rupees notes will be in circulation from tomorrow. The new Rs.
500 note will feature the Red Fort and the new Rs. 2,000 note will feature


500 and 1000 rupee notes ceased to be legal tender from today.
Prime Minister said the decision was taken to root out the menace of black
money and corruption.
Notes of 100, 50, 20, 10, five, two and one rupee remain legal tender and will
be unaffected by the decision.
Existing Rs. 500 or Rs. 1000 notes can be deposited in an individuals bank or
post office accounts between November 10 and December 30.
The Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes hoarded by anti-national and anti-social
elements will become just worthless pieces of paper.
The Reserve Bank of India will issue new Rs. 500 and Rs. 2,000 notes starting
from November 10.
Secrecy was essential for this action. It is only during PM's speech that
various agencies like banks, post offices, railways, hospitals and others are
being informed.
Or else, those with black money would have made necessary arrangements.
This is also expected to result in a reduction of inflation as conspicuous
consumption will come down.
To minimise the difficulties of citizens in the coming days, several steps are
being taken by the government.
It is yet another effort to fight black money and corruption.
In the last two and a half years, the government has brought into the open
nearly Rs. 1,25,000 crore rupees of black money belonging to the corrupt.

Some of the moves made by the current government to tackle black money:

(Source: http://www.narendramodi.in/category/infographics )

Evils of corruption

Corruption and black money weaken the efforts to remove poverty.

India was ranked close to 100 in the global corruption perceptions ranking two
years back. In spite of many steps taken since then, we have only been able to
reach a ranking of 76 now.
This shows the extent to which corruption and black money have spread their

Certain sections of society for their selfish interest have ignored the poor and
cornered benefits.
Some people have misused their office for personal gain.
This move is also necessitated to reduce the magnitude of cash in circulation.
The magnitude of cash in circulation is directly linked to the level of
The misuse of cash has led to artificial increase in the cost of goods and
services like houses, land, higher education, health care and so on.
Inflation becomes worse through the deployment of cash earned in corrupt
It has a direct effect on the purchasing power of the poor and the middle class.
This honest person suffers the most.
Honest citizens back the fight against corruption, black money, benami
property, terrorism and counterfeiting.
Role of black money in elections has been a concern for a long time and this
move will help curb it.
High circulation of cash also strengthens the hawala trade, which is directly
connected to black money and illegal trade in weapons.
The move will also put an end to the forged currency notes that fund
terrorism. Enemies from across the border run operations using fake currency
Government said an element of surprise was essential to stop terrorists and
drug cartels in their tracks.

Appeal by the Prime Minister:

It has been a matter of concern for all of us that corruption and black money
tend to be accepted as part of life.
This type of thinking has afflicted our politics, our administration and our
society like an infestation of termites. None of our public institutions is free
from these termites.
In a countrys history, there come moments when every person feels he too
should be part of that moment, that he too should make his contribution to the
countrys progress.
We now again have an opportunity where every citizen can join this
mahayajna against the ills of corruption, black money and fake notes.
Let us ignore the temporary hardship.

Join the nation and extend your hand in this Imandaari ka Utsav, this
Pramanikta ka Parv, this celebration of integrity, this festival of credibility.
Let us enable coming generations to live their lives with dignity.
Let us fight corruption and black money.
Let us ensure that the nations wealth benefits the poor.
Let us enable law-abiding citizens to get their due share.

Note to students: PM's quotes were directly posted above. Some statements might
be useful to quote in essays or occasionally in the GS answers.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Miscellaneous
News Source : The Hindu
Britain PM Theresa May's visit to India
Details :

Why in news?
British Prime Minister Theresa May visited India, with an agenda to enhance IndoU.K. ties in the key areas of trade, investment, defence and security.

Key Issues:

India has asked the United Kingdom to return 57 fugitives (those wanted by
law), including liquor baron Vijay Mallya, and members of some Sikh
extremist groups.
A list of wanted individuals was handed over to May's delegation.

Visa Issues:

India and Britain failed to reach a consensus on how to deal with outstanding
visa issues as Ms. May refused to commit to an unconditional increase in visas
for Indian professionals.
Before dealing with new visas, May wants to step up the speed and volume of
returns of Indians with no right to remain in the U.K (Illegal immigrants or
those with expired visas).
But Ministry of External Affairs said that verification of nationality of
returnees to India is a difficult process.
India also took up Britains curbs on visas for studies through complex
processes and visa restrictions.
However, Theresa May has offered a first of its kind frequent traveller
scheme for Indians travelling to Britain for business that will speed up their
entry into Britain.
(Note: This is for businessmen. The visa issues are for professionals, that is,
those who wants to go to Britain for employment.)
Under the scheme, Indian nationals who frequently come to the U.K. and
contribute to growth in both countries will face a significantly easier entry
Commerce Minister Ms. Sitharaman wasn't impressed with Britain's handling
of visa issues. She quipped, it seems that the U.K. is mainly interested in
greater market access for its goods in India and in getting investments from
India but not in attracting talented Indian services professionals and students.

Rebooting India-Britain relations:

May said that the U.K. is committed to free trade and keen to take the bilateral
relationship with India beyond the taken for granted approach adopted by
her predecessors.
Stronger trade and investment ties between India and the U.K. need not wait
for Britains exit from the European Union.
However, a formal free trade pact or investment treaty can only be completed
after Brexit procedures are complete.

Bilateral Totalisation (Social security taxation)

A Bilateral Totalisation Agreement (BTA) ensures that the tax charged for
the exclusive purpose of social security in one country is excluded from
taxation in other countries.

For example, A BTA between US and India would ensure that Indians
working in USA who are subjected to the social security tax (also known as
the OASDI - Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance) are not taxed for
Provident Funds (which is similar to OASDI) under the Indian system. It
would also ensure that the charges paid by Indians as OASDI are refunded to
them as soon as their visa period gets over.
India has social security agreements like BTAs with US, Sweden, Belgium
There is no India-U.K. totalisation agreement.
It means that the Indian companies, including from the IT sector, have to shell
out huge amounts to the U.K. Government towards social security, with no
benefit (as the Indian employees do not stay on in the U.K.) or prospects of
India raised the issue of the lack of a bilateral totalisation (or social security)
agreement with the U.K. to do away with dual social security taxation.

Services TFA

In another important development, the U.K. extended support to Indias

proposal for a Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) for Services at the World
Trade Organisation (WTO).
Its aims include streamlining procedures for global services trade.
It also aims for recognition at the WTO-level for services as a tradable item by
establishing a framework -- for clarity on definitions and for settlement of
The current TFA negotiated at WTO contains provisions for expediting the
movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit. It is
only for good and not services.


The meeting between PM Modi and Ms. May focused on greater cooperation
to counter illegal activities and greater terrorism.

Other matters:

India and the U.K. also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) each
on sharing of best practices on ease of doing business and on Intellectual
Property Rights.

CEO Forum

The India-U.K. CEO Forum, an group of business leaders from both the
countries, proposed the setting up of an Advanced Material & Manufacturing
Technology Centre in India.
The focus would be on primary applications in the Defence and Aerospace
sector in India.
Once established, the centre will be at the forefront of the Make in India and
Skill India programmes.

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-2

Subject : International Relation
News Source : The Hindu
Nov. 8, 2016
COP7 meet kicks off amidst protests
Details :
The News:

The Seventh Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP7) to the WHO
Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) began at India
Expo Mart Ltd., Greater Noida.
Tobacco use kills around 6 million people a year globally, with nearly a
million deaths in India alone.
Last year India has implemented guidelines according to which 85% area of
cigarette packets should have pictorial warnings.
India also has a Juvenile Justice Act which makes sale of tobacco products to
minors punishable with 7 years of rigorous imprisonment.

What is the protest?

Nearly 500 farmers from tobacco growing countries were detained by the
Noida police for protesting outside the conference venue.
The farmers were demanding that the conference organizers allow them to
participate in the meeting as an important stakeholder.
Protesting under the banner of Federation of All India Farmers Association
(FAIFA), the farmers called the COP7 an "undemocratic" negotiation and a
"non-inclusive and non-transparent" process.
Farmers demanded equally remunerative alternative crop options for all
tobacco growers across the globe.

Indias challenges:

India will be pushing for stricter control on smokeless tobacco.

The conference is pitting Indian government against $11 billion tobacco
The tobacco industry has expressed concern about the unhindered access to
tobacco control activists and NGOs to the conference. According to industry
lobby, the activist groups are pressurizing India to take decisions that are not
in favour of industry and tobacco farming.
India has to comply with the convention guidelines without harming the
domestic industry and interests of farmers.

About Framework Convention on Tobacco Control:

The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) is the

first international treaty negotiated under the auspices of WHO.
It was adopted by the World Health Assembly in May 2003 and entered into
force in 2005.
There are currently 180 Parties to the Convention. The Conference of the
Parties (COP) is the governing body of the WHO FCTC and is comprised of
all Parties to the Convention.
It has become one of the most rapidly and widely embraced treaties in United
Nations history.

The WHO FCTC was developed in response to the globalization of the

tobacco epidemic and is an evidence-based treaty that reaffirms the right of all
people to the highest standard of health.
The Convention represents a milestone for the promotion of public health and
provides new legal dimensions for international health cooperation.

It aims to tackle some of the causes of that epidemic, including complex factors
with cross-border effects, such as trade liberalization and direct foreign investment,
tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship beyond national borders, and illicit
trade in tobacco products.

The objective of this Convention and its protocols is to protect present and future
generations from the devastating health, social, environmental and economic
consequences of tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke by providing
a framework for tobacco control measures to be implemented by the Parties at the
national, regional and international levels in order to reduce continually and
substantially the prevalence of tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke.

Protocol and guidelines

The first Protocol to the WHO FCTC, the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in
Tobacco Products, was adopted at COP5, held in November 2012 in Seoul,
Republic of Korea, following several rounds of negotiations by the Parties.
The Protocol builds on the WHO FCTC in the fight against illicit trade, and is
a new international treaty in its own right
Parties have also adopted, by consensus, the guidelines for implementation of
key provisions of the WHO FCTC. The guidelines assist Parties in meeting
their legal obligations under the WHO FCTC, with recommended actions that
elaborate on the provisions of the Convention. They were developed through
intergovernmental processes, and adopted by the Parties at sessions of the

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Social Issues
News Source : The Hindu
Precap: India-United Kingdom Relationship
Details :

India and the United Kingdom share close and friendly ties.
The bilateral relationship that was upgraded to a strategic partnership in 2004
was further strengthened with the visit of British Prime Minister Cameron to
India in 2010 during which the foundation for Enhanced Partnership for the
Future was laid.

Institutionalised dialogues:

India and UK have a number of bilateral dialogue mechanisms in place,

covering a wide spectrum of areas including political, trade, education,
science & technology, defence etc.

Inter-Parliamentary Contacts:

The Parliaments of India and the UK have close relations. There is an AllParty Parliamentary Group on relations with India. Parliamentary exchanges
have also taken place under the banner of the Commonwealth Parliamentary


UK is among Indias major trading partners and during the year 2014-15, UK
ranked 18th in the list of Indias top 25 trading partners.
Indias main exports to the UK are garments and textiles, machinery and
instruments, petroleum products, footwear and leather, manufactures of

metals, gems and jewellery, engineering goods, transport equipment and parts,
spices, drugs & pharmaceuticals and marine products.
The main imports from the UK to India are machinery and equipment, ores
and metal scraps, precious and semiprecious stones, silver, metals, aircrafts
parts, beverages and spirits, machinery, engineering goods, and other
professional instruments other than electronics, non-ferrous metals and

Economic Dialogue:

Bilateral mechanisms like India-UK Economic & Financial Dialogue (EFD)

and India-UK Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO) form the basis
of institutional engagements between the two countries.
JETCO delegations meet annually under the leadership of the Minister of
Commerce and Industry (CIM) and the Secretary of State for Business,
Innovation and Skills (BIS), alternately in Delhi and London. The 10th
JETCO meeting was held in 2015 in London which witnessed both industry
and Government stakeholders coming together for productive discussions in
three Working Groups constituted on the themes of Education & Skill
Development, Smart Cities and Technological Collaboration, Advanced
Manufacturing and Engineering.
The India-UK Economic and Financial Dialogue (EFD) was officially
established in February 2005 through signing of an agreement between
Finance Ministers of the two countries to strengthen the financial and
economic relationship between India and the UK. The Dialogue covered
discussions on Global Economic Challenges, Macroeconomic Risks and
Policy Responses, Infrastructure Finance and Financial Services.
UK Government agreed to support the delivery of major infrastructure
projects in India across key sectors including smart cities, renewable energy
and railways, all of which are vital for Indias future economic growth.
In the last India-UK Financial Partnership (IUKFP) meeting held in London in
2015, it was decided that the Partnership would focus on the following workstreams - Development of Corporate Bond Market, Mutual sharing of
expertise on Financial Sectors and Market Regulations (with an initial focus
on Indias Insolvency Regulation), Pensions, Infrastructure Funding, Financial
inclusion, Internationalization of the Rupee, Cross-border Provision of
Financial and Insurance Services.


Over the last 10 years, the relationship has grown substantially with the
introduction of bilateral mechanisms such as the India-UK Education Forum
UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI), Joint Working Group
on Education, Newton Bhabha Fund and Scholarship schemes. 2016 is the
UK-India year of Education, Research and Innovation.

Indian Students:

UK has traditionally been a favourite destination for international students.

Management, computing, engineering, media studies, art and design are the
preferred courses of the Indian students.
2016 was announced as the UK-India Year of Education Research and
Innovation with the aim to celebrate the achievements between the two
countries to date, take stock and use this campaign to plan the
transformational future of the important partnership for the next decade.

Global Initiative of Academic Network (GIAN):

It is a new network in Higher Education aimed at tapping the talent pool of

eminent scientists and academicians, internationally to encourage their
engagement with the Institutes of Higher Education in India, so as to augment
the countrys existing academic resources, accelerate the pace of quality
reform, and elevate Indias scientific and technological capacity to global

Cultural Linkages:

Cultural linkages between India and UK are deep and extensive, arising out of
shared history between the two countries. There has been a gradual
mainstreaming of Indian culture and absorption of Indian cuisine, cinema,
languages, religion, philosophy, performing arts, etc.

The Nehru Centre is the cultural wing of the High Commission of India in UK
was established in 1992 and is currently one of ICCRs flagship cultural
centres abroad.
UK-India Year of Culture will be organised in 2017 to celebrate deep cultural
ties and mark the 70th anniversary of Indian Independence.

PM's 2015 UK visit:

o Prime Ministers visit to UK from 12-14 November, 2015 took the
relationship between the largest and the oldest democracies to new
o Both Prime Ministers resolved to hold biennial PM-level Summits to
advance the partnership and agreed on a new Defence and International
Security Partnership aimed to intensify cooperation on defence and
security, including cyber security, counter-terrorism and maritime
o They also endorsed a Joint Statement on Energy and Climate Change
and issued a Statement of Intent to scale up bilateral cooperation to a
global partnership for development cooperation in third countries.
o Government of India announced its intention to issue the first
Government-backed Rupee Bond in London.
o It was decided to establish a fast-track mechanism to facilitate UKs
investments into India and to set up an India-UK Partnership fund under
the National Infrastructure Investment Fund (NIIF) to facilitate global
investments through the City of London for Indian infrastructure
o UK has announced its interest in partnering with India in the
development of Smart Cities in Indore, Pune and Amravati.

Note: The details about May Theresa's visit will be covered in following days. This
article is for the basic overview of India-UK Relationship.
Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam
Subject : International Relation
News Source : None

No change in stand on Indias NSG bid, says China

Details :
Why in news?
Ahead of this weeks Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) meet in Vienna, China said
there was no change in its stand on Indias NSG membership bid.


China says it would consider India's NSG membership bid only after rules for
the entry of non-Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT) countries are finalised by
the elite group.
India and Pakistan, which have applied for NSG membership, have not signed
the NPT.
China wants to seek a solution that applies to all non-NPT countries and then
we will discuss the specific application of the relevant non-NPT country


Signed in 1968, The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons,

commonly known as the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT, is an
international treaty.
The three pillars of the NPT are nuclear disarmament, nonproliferation, and
peaceful (civilian) uses of nuclear energy.
The Treaty entered into force in 1970. (In October 1964, China conducted its
first nuclear test, making it the fifth nuclear-armed state.)
The treaty recognizes only five states as nuclear-weapon states: the United
States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and China (also the
five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council).
NPT commits states possessing nuclear weapons to negotiate in good faith
toward halting the arms race and the complete elimination of nuclear
The Treaty stipulates that non-nuclear-weapon states will not seek to acquire
nuclear weapons, and will accept International Atomic Energy Agency
safeguards on their nuclear activities, while nuclear weapon states commit not
to transfer nuclear weapons to other states.

The states that have nuclear weapons, but are not recognized by NPT as
nuclear-weapon states: India, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea.
Four UN member states have never joined the
NPT: India, Israel, Pakistan and South Sudan (while North Korea joined but
withdrew in 2003).
India argues that the NPT creates a club of "nuclear haves" and a larger group
of "nuclear have-nots" by restricting the legal possession of nuclear weapons
to those states that tested them before 1967, but the treaty never explains on
what ethical grounds such a distinction is valid.
Thus, though India essentially follows all the rules and objectives of NPT, it
doesn't want to sign the treaty based on principled stand.
Signing of the treaty means India wouldn't be recognized as a nuclear state
and hence holding the nuclear weapons will be illegal.
India cannot give up nuclear weapons because it will become vulnerable, with
China and Pakistan as its neighbours.

India's efforts to join NSG:

In 2008, US accepted India's request for admission into NSG though it is not a
signatory of NPT.
This is because of India's stellar nonproliferation record.
India, with the help of USA, has since then been trying to convince other NSG
members for admission.
NSG rules stipulate that only NPT signatories can join NSG. This can be
overcome only if all the members agree.
After India explained its stand, most of the countries have accepted to admit
But China doesn't want India to be a member as it will derive many benefits.
So, China brings up the case of Pakistan's admission into NSG.
But none of the countries are willing to admit Pakistan due to it's poor record
and unstable state of affairs in Pakistan.
By putting India and Pakistan in the same bracket (i.e., those who didn't sign
NPT) China successfully managed to prevent India from joining NSG.
China now wants NSG to come up with rules for the entry of non-Nuclear
Proliferation Treaty (NPT) countries into NSG.
China says it wants to seek a solution that applies to all non-NPT countries
and then we will discuss the specific application of the relevant non-NPT

Summary of NSG from an earlier post in the portal:


More comprehensive information on NSG can be found in this earlier post on

the portal:

About the New Agenda Coalition (NAC):

This group wants the nuclear-weapon countries to work towards completely disarm,
as per the demands of NPT. More on that here:

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : International Relation
News Source : The Hindu
Kerala favours entry for women at Sabarimala
Details :
Why in news?
In the Supreme Court, the Kerala government said it was in favour of womens
entry into the Sabarimala temple and declared that its doors should be thrown open
to women of all ages.


Women devotees aged 10-50 are prohibited from entering Sabarimala.

Travancore Devaswom Board manages the affairs of the famous Sabarimala
The previous government was in favour of the restrictions on women's entry.
They declared that the restriction had been in place from time immemorial
and was a part of the temples unique 'pratishta sangalp' or idol concept of the
It reasoned that since the presiding deity, Lord Ayyappa, was a celibate or
Naisthik Brahmachari, even the slightest deviation caused by the presence
of young women on the temple premises was undesirable.
The Supreme Court is hearing a 10-year old PIL filed by Indian Young
Lawyers' Association challenging age old practice of temple banning entry of
women belonging to 10-50 year age group.
The court had said that it would take a decision only on the basis of
constitutional provisions, and without being influenced by the age old

Another relevant post here:

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam
Subject : Social Issues
News Source : The Hindu
Linking food and nutrition security Editorial 8th Oct'16 The Hindu
Details :
Linking food and nutrition security
The National Food Security Act (NFSA) was passed in 2013 and it was expected
to be fully implemented across India by July 2016.

But as of now, only 5 states Punjab, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and

Rajasthan have fully implemented its provisions and some other states like Delhi,
Bihar, Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka have partially implemented its provisions.
When fully implemented, the Act will ensure food security and enhance nutritional
status of 720 million people.
Preliminary surveys
Preliminary surveys undertaken in some of these States have revealed positive
outcomes like administrative reforms, significant increase in the number of
households having ration cards, and improvement in the distribution and
consumption of food through fair price shops.
Food and nutritional security in NFSA
Though the two concepts are interlinked, nutritional security has a wider
connotation as it includes adequate intake of various macro and micro nutrients,
healthcare and environmental factors.
NFSA tries to address nutritional security also but factors such as poor quality of
food which lack micro nutrients and no diet diversity, unhygienic storage conditions
of storage may undermine the efforts.
But there are also positive features such as provision of free daily meals for
children and maternity benefits which can combat under-nutrition (calorie
deficiency) and malnutrition (protein deficiency).
The Odisha study
A study was conducted in Koraput and Bolangir in the KBK (most backward)
region and Nayagarh in the non-KBK region in Odisha. While KBK districts follow
a universal PDS, non-KBK districts have a targeted one.
There is high prevalence of under-nutrition and malnutrition in the selected
districts with 50 % of the population malnourished and 43 % undernourished for all
the districts together. These rates are relatively higher (nearly 68 %) among the
Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) households
One third of the monthly per capita consumption of rice (staple food) for all
beneficiaries and about 74 % for AAY households is sourced from the PDS.

The contribution of PDS to energy intake among AAY households is double (60
%) than other beneficiaries.
Reforms initiated in Odisha
These outcomes have been made possible due to reforms initiated by the
government like:
1.abolition of private procurement and storage system
2.a greater role for public agencies in controlling diversion of foodgrain from the
godown to the millers
3.proper recording of procurement, storage and distribution of grains across the
4.distribution of food through self-help groups and gram panchayats and its regular
monitoring at the block and ward levels
Replicating Odisha
The reforms initiated by the Odisha government should be replicated in States that
are yet to fully implement the NFSA.
They should focus on dietary diversification to ensure appropriate nutritional
intake and should include coarse cereals and pulses in the PDS.
This will improve the nutritional status of the AAY households who have a greater
access to PDS but the problem of undernourishment is more serious among them.
The implementation of the NFSA across the country should be accelerated with
States in a mission mode.
The States must work on digitisation of ration cards, computerisation of offtake
and delivery of foodgrains, and effective monitoring of fair price shops.
This will bring in greater transparency in the system and would go a long way
towards raising the nutritional status of Indians.

GS 2 (Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and
States and the performance of these schemes;Issues relating to poverty and hunger.)
GS 3 (Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping)
Related question
Evaluate the effectiveness of the NFSA in addressing food and nutritional security.
How nutritional security is different from food security?

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Editorial Analysis
News Source : The Hindu
Nov. 7, 2016
Blood test to detect drug-resistant TB
Details :
The Research:

Researchers have identified two microRNA biomarkers present in serum

samples that could be used for TB diagnosis and TB disease prognosis.
It could be used both for drug-sensitive pulmonary TB and multi-drugresistant TB (MDR-TB) patients.
The use of these biomarkers may speed up the diagnosis of MDR-TB.
In India, mostly the patients are first started on drug-sensitive TB drugs and if
they do not show any improvement even after a couple of months then MDRTB is suspected.
The blood-based TB diagnosis using these biomarkers has great advantages: A
good number of adults and children are unable to give sputum samples. So
diagnosis of pulmonary TB in these cases is difficult.

About Biomarkers:

In medicine, biomarkers are compounds isolated from serum, urine, or other

fluids that can be used as an indicator of the presence or severity of a
particular disease state.
Biomarkers can also be used to assess the effectiveness of particular therapies.
By using easily obtained and assayed biomarkers to monitor a patient's
reaction to a particular drug, it is possible to determine whether treatment is
effective for that individual.
This information can be used for early detection of adverse drug response.

Biomarkers are of various types:

Particular proteins or peptides: e.g., prostate-specific antigen as an indicator of

increased risk for prostate cancer.
Antibodies: e.g., anti-citrullinated protein antibodies for rheumatoid arthritis.
Cell types: e.g., white blood cell counts in infection or cancer.
Metabolites: e.g., phenylalanine in urine of newborns with phenylketonuria
Lipids: e.g., cholesterol and other lipid levels in cardiovascular disease.
Hormones: e.g., thyroid stimulating hormone in Hashimoto's Disease
Enzyme levels: e.g., various hepatic enzymes for liver cancer.


To assess physiological states such as blood pressure or fever or imaging

studies of particular organs or organ systems.
A biomarker can also be a substance introduced into a patient to assess how
internal organ systems are functioning, such as radioactive iodine used to
measure thyroid function.
Ultimately, biomarkers can be used to detect a change in the physiological
state of a patient that correlates with the risk or progression of a disease or
with the susceptibility of a disease to a given treatment.

Note: Biomarkers can be asked as a direct question in prelims or as a short note in


Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Science & Tech
News Source : The Hindu
At CoP 22, India will highlight climate impact on Himalayas
Details :
The News:
India will host a special side event during the UN Climate Change Conference at
Marrakech, Morocco.
The Himalayas provide water to 1.3 billion people in Asia but have been
inadequately represented over the past three decades in climate change discussions.
The Himalayas are warming faster than the global average yet they are not yet in
The Hindu Kush region was represented at UNFCCC by the Nepal-based
International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development.

Climate Change impact on Himalayas:

The impacts of climate change in the Himalayas are real. Melting glaciers, erratic
and unpredictable weather conditions, changing rainfall patterns and increasing
temperatures are impacting on the people and wildlife of the region.

A global hotspot
The Himalayas is one of the world's most sensitive hotspots to global climate
The situation is predicted to intensify in coming years with dire and far-reaching
impacts on food, water and energy security.

The Water Towers of Asia

The Himalayan glaciers are the water towers of Asia and are the source of
many of the world's great rivers: The Yangtze, the Ganges, the Indus and the
Climate change in the Himalayas poses a serious threat to the source of these
great rivers with serious impacts on biodiversity and species loss.
Vulnerable nations must therefore move rapidly to build resilience to these
impacts and adapt to the changing climate.


A significant threat posed by climate change in the Himalayas is the continual

formation of a large number of glacial lakes.
The lakes consist of vast quantities of glacial melt water held in place by
natural dams of stone and rubble.
The enhanced rate at which the snow and ice is melting means that the water
accumulating in these lakes is increasing rapidly and if the natural rubble
dams holding back the waters break, a tsunami of water, mud, ice, and stone
will sweep down the valleys.

Such events can have devastating consequences to infrastructure and local

communities, washing away roads, bridges, houses, people, livestock and
One example is Lake Imja, a high altitude glacial lake near Mount Everest in
the Himalayas, Nepal. The continued glacial melt, bad weather, a landslide, or
a seismic event (common in the area) could at any moment trigger the
bursting of its swollen waters; releasing a violent 'Glacial Lake Outburst
Flood' (GLOF).

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-3

Subject : Environment & Ecology
News Source : The Hindu
Trains to clock 160 kmph on way to Delhi from Mumbai, Howrah
Details :
The News:

Under Mission Raftaar, the Railways has undertaken an exercise of reducing

journey time on the Delhi-Howrah and Delhi-Mumbai routes by increasing the
speed of trains up to 160 km per hour.
The 1,400-km-long Delhi-Howrah and the 1,500-km-long Delhi-Mumbai rail
corridors are among the two major busy routes of the Golden Quadrilateral of
Indian Railways.
Strengthening of the track, upgrading of signalling system and fencing off
vulnerable sections along the route are to be undertaken to ensure the speed on
the two busy corridors.

Transformation of Indian Railways through Avataran - seven Mission mode

The transformation of Railways would require its reorientation with an entirely
different level of effectiveness. To make the functioning of railways more efficient,
the following seven missions were announced in Railway Budget, 2016-17:

Mission 25 Tonne: It aims to increase revenue by augmenting carrying

capacity. To achieve this, 10-20% freight loading will be done through 25tonne axle-load wagons in 2016-17.
Mission Zero Accident: It comprises of two sub missions:

1. Elimination of unmanned level crossings: The goal is to eliminate all

unmanned level crossings on Broad Gauge in the next 3-4 years t. It will
reduce deaths due to accidents.
2. TCAS (Train Collision Avoidance System): An indigenous technology has
been developed to equip High Density Network with TCAS in the next 3
years. This will prevent head on collisions.

Mission PACE (Procurement and Consumption Efficiency): This mission

aims to improve our procurement and consumption practices. It will introduce
a culture of optimum usage by adopting practices such as Vendor Managed
Inventory, direct procurement, new procedures for identification and disposal
of scrap.
Mission Raftaar: It targets doubling of average speeds of freights trains and
increasing the average speed of superfast mail/express trains by 25 kmph in
the next 5 years. It will complement Mission 25 Tonne to increase throughput
of the railway system.
Mission Hundred: This mission will commission at least a hundred sidings in
the next 2 years.

(A siding, in rail terminology, is a low-speed track section distinct from a running

line or through route such as a main line or branch line or spur. Sidings may be used
for marshalling, stabling, storing, loading and unloading vehicles.)

Mission beyond book-keeping: It will establish an accounting system where

outcomes can be tracked to inputs.
Mission Capacity Utilisation: It proposes to prepare a blueprint for making
full use of the huge new capacity that will be created through two Dedicated
Freight Corridors between Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Kolkata scheduled to be
commissioned by 2019.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Polity & Governance

News Source : The Hindu

Army launches School Chalo operation in South Kashmir
Details :
Why in news?
In Kashmir, Army is now focusing on another operation 'School Chalo', under
which it identifies areas and provides students with free coaching and make them
participate in extra-curricular activities.


Through interaction with the locals, the army learnt that they were worried
about the studies of their children. At the same time, they were also anxious
about their security. So, Army came up with plan for providing education to

[Note to students: This is a good example of administration engaging the

locals (participatory
governance) in understanding their problems and then
providing relevant solutions.]

Educational institutions remaining closed for about five months now and over
30 schools being burnt down over the past weeks in the Kashmir valley.
Because of this, the School Chalo programme is increasingly becoming
popular in the Valley.
Army is identifying teachers in localities and urging them to hold classes in
schools or community houses to impart education to children.
Besides being an army officer, I am a father of two children. So here I
approached the issue as a father and not as an Army officer and ensured that
these children should hold books in their hands, rather than a stone, Major
General Ashok Narula said.

[Note to students: This is a good example for empathy and compassion for
Paper-IV. Could also
help in creative solutions in case studies on conflict

Using a local slogan Chyem ne zaroorat Daulat-o-ubab, Faqat Gochum

School te Kitab (I dont need money and fame, I need books and school), the

Army try to convince the parents to send their wards to makeshift dwellings
to study.
[Note to students: This is again a good example of persuasion for Paper-IV.
Using slogans that
people can immediately identify with, you can appeal to
their emotions.]

Army officers cited the performance of 292 students who were studying in the
Army Goodwill School at Pahalgam who were being taught by well qualified
teachers. These activities were also the reasons given to parents in other
localities to convince them to send in their children.

[Note to students: This is again a good example of persuasion for Paper-IV.

By citing examples of
success stories, you can make cognitive appeals to
persuade for change.]

Taking a cue from this operation, far off in Rainpora, a village located in
remote South Kashmir, the troops finally managed to convince parents to send
their wards to study and two local teachers to impart them education.
[Note to students: You see? It works :-) ]

We are trained for a situation and collapse of an education system is also a

situation that needs to dealt. Army has risen to the occasion and will ensure
that the children are imparted with education, Col. Yadav said.

[Note to students:Excellent example of capacity building,

in general, and conflict situations in particular.]

for governance

Citing the example of Army Goodwill School at Pahalgam, Gen: Narula said:
For the students of the only fully residential school in the Valley which has
been running classes from 6th to 12th class, Kitab ke Dushman are Kashmir
ke Dushman (enemies of books are enemies of Kashmir).

[Note to students: This is again an excellent example of appealing to

students' emotions and
beliefsto bring about change in their values. This
will help in bringing about a change in the
attitude of the students towards
education (and also those who oppose it) and thus have a long
term impact.
Bringing about a change in the values is the best way to bring about

The army has also started Naujawan Club where children and youth get a
chance to display their talent in sports. The point is to keep them away from
anti-social elements and I am glad that many come here to play all sorts of
games or access the Internet to know about the rest of world.

[Note to students: In such situations, it is good to provide alternate options to

engage the youth
and children to prevent them from becoming apathetic
and antipathetic to the administration.
Even if a few are able to
get opportunities to fame through their talent (like IPL, Kabaddi
Singing contests etc) they can be an inspiration to a large number of

Note: Students are advised to read this with the concepts taught in the Ethics class.

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-4

Subject : Miscellaneous
News Source : The Hindu
Gazing at a longer horizon Editorial 7th Nov'16 The Hindu
Details :
Gazing at a longer horizon
The context
Indias foreign and security policy seems to be driven by tactical (short term)
considerations rather than any strategic (long term) thinking.
The energetic foreign policy has failed to deliver in terms of tangible outcomes
and is marked by inconsistency and lack of follow-up measures.
All this points towards lack of a long term vision of nations interests.
Pre-occupied with South Asia

Despite its global ambitions, India behaves like it is confined to South Asian
geopolitical space.
Increasing diplomatic and political confrontation with Pakistan will further restrict
India to South Asia.
Growing tensions with China will also prompt it to try to restrain India within
South Asian geopolitical space.
Highlighting the human rights violations in Baluchistan will increase this
confinement and waste the diplomatic energy limited by very few diplomats.
Even as India is finding itself increasingly restrained in South Asia, its influence in
the region is declining due to rising economic and military power of China.
Terror-fixated foreign policy
Indias single minded diplomatic focus on Pakistan-backed terrorism displays a
tactical approach to foreign policy.
It compromises Indias long term national interests as New Delhis concerns are
far greater than just terrorism and terror is not the most important strategic and
existential threat.
It had also put strain on already complicated ties with China.
More important issues like governance and institutional reforms, FDI, economic
diplomacy and forging global partnerships have taken a backseat.
It has also led to internationalization of the Kashmir issue which India had always
tried to avoid.
Lastly, this focus on terrorism wont be able to deliver any visible outcomes.
Messy alliance behavior
New Delhis foreign policy engagements in general and alliance choices in
particular seems impulsive than well-thought-out.
New Delhis relationship with Washington, especially after signing the LEMOA is
a clear departure from its traditional policy of not getting into military alliances and

maintaining strategic autonomy. While LEMOA is not a military alliance it is very

similar to it.
Such a close military relationship with a declining power can undermine Indias
ability to protect its interests in the regions shifting balances of power.
Indias efforts at counterbalancing China, especially through Vietnam, may not
serve their purpose as Vietnam might not want to get into an open squabble with
Absence of long-term vision
Long-term strategic thinking requires solid intellectual foundations and freedom
from short term political expediencies, institutional coordination and follow-up
But there are no signs that this is happening.
This has led to a lack of focus and prioritization of goals and objectives.
Benefits of a grand strategic vision
In the absence of grand strategic guidance security and foreign policy related
issues are dealt with ad hoc measures and missing the larger context.
If there is a grand strategic vision in place, institutions will learn to refer to them
and adjust their policies accordingly. This will lead to a lot more coherence in
security and foreign policy.
Way forward
Long-term strategic thinking must drive nations security and foreign policy. For
this. India must not restrain its policies to South Asia and Pakistan-backed
New Delhi should stay away from forming alliances and chart strategic
partnerships with various powers through sustained and mature negotiations.
The Government should regularly set up highly specialised groups to generate
policy reports and perspective planning for policymakers.

There should be structures within the government (over and above the regular
bureaucratic apparatuses) tasked with grand strategic thinking in a purposeful
manner, whose inputs are then taken on board.
India should also frame a comprehensive national security doctrine.
A national security doctrine which is framed after broad based political
consultation, careful scenario building and net assessment by experts can prevent
the unnecessary politicisation of national security issues.
GS 2 (International relations)
GS 3 (Security)
Related question
Do you think that Indias foreign and security policy seems to be driven by tactical
considerations rather than any strategic thinking? Justify your answer. Also discuss
the need for a national security doctrine embedded in a grand strategic vision.
Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam
Subject : Editorial Analysis
News Source : The Hindu
Personality of the day: C.V. Raman
Details :

Dr. C.V. Raman was one of the greatest scientists of India, who was awarded
the 1930 Nobel Prize in physics for his work on the scattering of light and for
the discovery of the Raman Effect, which is named after him.
Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman was born on November 7, 1888 in the city of
Trichinopoly, Madras Presidency, British India.
India celebrates National Science day on 28th February every year to
commemorate Ramans discovery.
In 1998, the American Chemical Society and Indian Association for the
Cultivation of Science recognised Raman's discovery as an International
Historic Chemical Landmark.


During his initial years he joined Indian Finance Services.

In 1917, he was offered the professor of Physics at the Calcutta University.
After 15 years he shifted to Bangalore and became the Director of the Indian
Institute of Science, where two years later he continued as a professor of
In 1947, the new Government of Independent India appointed him as the first
National Professor.


His earliest researches were in optics and acoustics. These two fields of
investigation to which he has dedicated his entire career were carried out
while he was a student.
The Raman Effect was demonstrated by him in 1928.
Professor C V Raman was also the first to investigate the harmonic nature of
the sound of the Indian drums such as the tabla and the mridanga.

Raman Effect:

The Raman Effect was a demonstration of the Collision effect of light

bullets (Photons) passing through a transparent medium, whether solid, liquid
or gaseous.
When light meets particles that are smaller than the light's wavelength, the
light spreads in different directions. This occurs, for example, when light
packets - photons - encounter molecules in a gas. In 1928 Venkata Raman
discovered that a small portion of the scattered light acquires other
wavelengths than that of the original light. This is because some of the
incoming photons' energy can be transferred to a molecule, giving it a higher
level of energy.

Fingerprint for molecules:

C. V. Raman discovered that when light interacts with a molecule the light
can donate a small amount of energy to the molecule. As a result of this, the
light changes its color and the molecule vibrates. The change of color can act
as a fingerprint for the molecule.
Today Raman spectroscopy, which relies on these fingerprints, is used in
laboratories all over the world to identify molecules and to analyze living cells
and tissues to detect diseases such as cancer.


He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society early in his career (1924) and
knighted in 1929.
In 1922 he published his work on the "Molecular Diffraction of Light", the
first of a series of investigations with his collaborators which ultimately led to
his discovery, on the 28th of February, 1928, of the radiation effect which
bears his name ("A new radiation", Indian J. Phys., 2 (1928) 387), and which
gained him the 1930 Nobel Prize in Physics.
In 1941 he was awarded the Franklin Medal.
He was also conferred the hishest title of Bharat Ratna in 1954.
Raman was also awarded the Lenin Peace Prize in 1957.

Note: Questions on famous personalities can be asked in Prelims and Mains.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam
Subject : Miscellaneous
News Source : None
Nov. 6, 2016
Waterways project nod by December sought
Details :
The News:

Union Shipping Ministry will now seek Cabinet approval for the Jal Marg
Vikas project, under which National Waterways-1 is being implemented.
The Ministry is also planning a first issue of infrastructure bonds to fund this
World Bank-aided project.

About Jal Marg Vikas Project:

The Jal Marg Vikas (National Waterway-1) project envisages to develop a

fairway with 3 meters depth between Allahabad to Haldia covering a distance

of 1620 kms at an estimated cost of Rs. 4200 crore to be completed in six

National Waterway-1 (NW-1) is a waterway passing through Uttar Pradesh,
Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, potentially serving the major cities of
Haldia, Howrah, Kolkata, Bhagalpur, Patna, Ghazipur, Varanasi, Allahabad
and their industrial hinterlands including several industries located along the
Ganga basin.
For implementation of the Jal Marg Vikas Project, technical assistance and
investment support is being provided by the World Bank.
The central government has designated the Inland Waterway Authority of
India as the implementing agency.
The project would enable commercial navigation of at least 1500 ton vessels.
The development of NW-1 would result in a viable supplementary mode of
transport and huge quantities of cargo can be transported.

For basics on waterways, refer the following link.


Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Economics
News Source : The Hindu
NPCL, A.P. govt. to elicit peoples views on N-plant
Details :
What's the news?

The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCL) and the Andhra
Pradesh government will conduct public hearing in Kovvada village.
The objective is to get the opinion of the people on the social impact survey
conducted recently.

The survey is mandatory to obtain clearance from the Ministry of

Environment for Forests for the establishment of Indias biggest atomic power
plant in Ranasthalam mandal of Srikakulam district.

About Kovvada Nuclear Plant:

Kovvada Nuclear Plant is a proposed light water nuclear power reactor to be

set up at Kovvada in Srikakulam district.
The plan is to build six 1000 MW light water nuclear power reactors at
The proposal received opposition from people in Srikakulam as well as
neighbouring districts over the environmental hazards of reactor and effect on
human health in case of any accident.

Light Water Reactors:

The LWRs are cooled and moderated using ordinary water.

They tend to be simpler and cheaper to build than other types of nuclear
reactors, due to which they make up the majority of civil nuclear reactors as
well as naval propulsion reactors in service across the world.
Light water reactors are thermal reactors which use thermal neutrons to
sustain the chain reaction. In general, LWRs are divided into two categories:

1. Pressurized water reactors (PWR): Pressurized water reactors use a reactor

pressure vessel (RPV) to contain the nuclear fuel, moderator, control rods and
coolant. They are cooled and moderated by high-pressure liquid water.
2. Boiling water reactors: They are cooled and moderated by water like a PWR,
but at a lower pressure which allows the water to boil inside the pressure
vessel producing the steam that runs turbines.

LWRs (such as pressurised water reactors and boiling water reactors) use
enriched uranium as fuel and ordinary water as both the moderator and
coolant. Whereas the heavy water-based Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors
(PHWRs) use natural Uranium as fuel.
Of Indias current installed nuclear power capacity of 4,780 MWe, a total of
4,160 MWe is based on the indigenous PHWR technology and 620 MW on
foreign technical cooperation using LWR technology.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Science & Tech
News Source : The Hindu
Steel industry asks Govt not to levy anti dumping duty on Met Coke
Details :
Why in news?
The Indian Steel Association has asked the government not to impose any anti
dumping duty on Metallurgical Coke (Met Coke) fearing cost escalation of their


Metallurgical Coke (Met Coke) is one of the most important and critical raw
material for the steel industry.
The steel industry has specific requirements from the coal it uses, with regard
to ash content, phosphorus, sulphur and moisture.
Indian Met Coke producers are unable to supply the raw material in the
specification required by the steel industry.
This is because the quality of coal India has is unsuitable for steel industry
(but good enough for thermal power plants etc.).
That's the reason, Indian steel industry imports the Met Coke despite large
reserves of coal in India.
Last year, Indian Met Coke producers complained that some foreign countries
are "dumping" Met Coke in India.
So, the Ministry of Commerce had last year initiated "anti-dumping"
investigation on import of low ash Met Coke from Australia and China.
This has resulted in the sharp increase in the price (nearly tripled) of this key
raw material.
Recently, the Ministry of Commerce had recently recommended a $25 per
tonne levy on such imports and sent to Finance ministry for approval.
A levy of anti dumping duty on coke will thus increase the costs for the steel
The imposition of any anti dumping duty may result in increase the cost of
finished steel by Rs 700 to Rs 1500 per tonne.

The Indian steel industry is currently passing through challenging times.

Large imports from countries like Japan, South Korea, Russia and China at
very competitive prices are causing damage to the domestic steel industry.
Steel industry says that measures like anti-dumping duties on inputs for steel
industry will further damage this sector.

Students may refer to dumping and anti-dumping concepts already explained in

this earlier post on the portal:
Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam
Subject : Economics
News Source : The Hindu
Experts concerned over Surrogacy Bill restrictions
Details :
Why in news?
Some legal experts say that the proposed Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016 will not
stand the test of constitutional rights.


Some legal experts believe the restrictions on surrogacy proposed in the bill
violate the basic rights of privacy and fundamental rights of reproductive
They say the right to life inherently includes the right of reproductive
autonomy, which includes the right to procreation and parenthood. This
should not be controlled by the State. It is for the individuals to decide.
The most controversial part in the bill is that overseas Indians, foreigners,
unmarried couples, single parents, live-in partners and gay couples are barred
from commissioning surrogacy.

Only a close married blood relative, who herself is already mother of a child
and is not an NRI or a foreigner, can be a surrogate mother.
Once the bill becomes as act and comes into force, they say most parents
wanting a family by way of surrogacy will not have any options.
Rather than making harsh restrictions, some say that the surrogacy industry
can be better regulated to prevent exploitation of surrogate mothers.

Note to students: The points here may be used for "cons" while discussing pros
and cons of the new bill. The pros can be picked up from the bill itself.

Surrogacy Bill details have already been covered earlier on the portal. Students may
refer to these links:
Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-2
Subject : Polity & Governance
News Source : The Hindu
Nov. 5, 2016
A.P. tops in energy efficiency
Details :
The News:

The World Bank has ranked Andhra Pradesh as number one in Energy
Efficiency Implementation Readiness, followed by Rajasthan, Karnataka and
The ranking figures in a study report of the World Bank titled: Indias State
Level Energy Efficiency Implementation Readiness.

According to World Bank the index-based evaluation will benchmark the

readiness of Indian States for energy efficiency implementation and will
reveal critical deficits or barriers.
Effective implementation of energy efficiency and energy conservation
activities of the State, Annual Energy Savings in a span of two years with
adoption of emerging LED technology in domestic and urban street lighting
sectors pushed the state to number one.

About Readiness for Investment in Sustainable Energy (RISE)

Readiness for Investment in Sustainable Energy (RISE), developed by the

World Bank Group, is a suite of indicators that assesses the legal and
regulatory environment for investment in sustainable energy.
It establishes a framework for better depicting the national enabling
environment to attract investment into sustainable energy.
RISE supports the achievement of the objectives of the Sustainable Energy for
All (SE4ALL) initiative.
RISE focuses on the enabling environment as a determinant of investment.
Many factors influence investment, including market conditions,
macroeconomic stability, resource endowments, and financial environment,
but RISE is limited to the policy and regulatory aspect to attract investors.
RISE will provide a global reference point that will support decision-making
for governments and inform country-level interventions under SE4ALL.
It will provide a first-order snapshot of what exists in a country and point to
good practices across nations that could foster an enabling environment for
sustainable energy.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Environment & Ecology
News Source : The Hindu
Legal tangle hits Ecuador Dhruv deal
Details :
The News:

India began exports of its indigenous Dhruv helicopters in 2009 to Ecuador.

Now, Ecuador is planning to sell off three remaining helicopters, after four
crashed. Of the four helicopters that crashed, two had been attributed to pilot
error, one was due to a mechanical failure while the reason for the fourth
crash is not clear.
Following this the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has now moved a
local court.
HAL was responsible for the maintenance of the choppers for 24 months after
which Ecuadorean personnel, who had been trained by HAL, were expected to
take over.
HAL had offered free maintenance beyond the contractual obligations but
Ecuador wanted more.


The indigenously designed and developed Advanced Light Helicopter (ALHDHRUV) is a twin engine, multi-role, multi-mission new generation
It is designed to meet the requirement of both military and civil operators.
Military variants of the helicopter are developed for the Indian Armed Forces.
Dhruv was first exported to Nepal and Israel.
The major variants of Dhruv are classified as Dhruv Mk I, MK II, MK III &
Mk IV. The major features of them are furnished below:

Major Systems
ALH Mk. I - TM-333-2B2 engine
ALH Mk. II - TM-333-2B2 engine

Utility roles of
Defence Services
suited for high
altitude operations

ALH Mk.III - Shakti engine



- Obstacle Avoidance System

Roles of Dhruv

weapons &

Passenger / Commuter Role

VIP Travel
Causality Evacuation

Armed variant for

Attack, Close Air
Support and High

Under Slung Load

Rapid Deployment of Forces
Logistic Air Support
Search and Rescue

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Defence & Security
News Source : The Hindu
Mcr-1 isolated in India, a further chapter in antibiotic resistance
Details :

Indian researchers have isolated a strain of E.Coli bacteria carrying a new

gene (mcr -1) which was described previously as truly pan-drug resistant.
It is resistant to the last mile antibiotic the human race currently has access to
i.e. colistin.
It is not self limiting, and can spread in the community.
Whenever an antibiotic is used/overused/ misused, resistance develops. A mix
of bacteria enters the sewage, contaminates drinking water and enters the gut
of a healthy individual, making him/her resistant to those bugs. This resistance
moves from one level to another. Mcr-1 is therefore, inevitable.
It was first identified in China. The gene has since been discovered in
livestock, water, meat and vegetables for human consumption in several
countries, and in humans infected with E.coli.
Mcr-1 has now also been found living in the gut of healthy humans.

Antibiotic crisis

Colistin has been available since 1959 to treat infections caused by Gramnegative bacteria - A category including the food-poisoning germs E-coli and
Salmonella and Acinetobacter which can cause pneumonia or serious blood
and wound infections.
Colistin was abandoned for human use in the 1980s due to high kidney
toxicity but is widely used in livestock farming, especially in China.

As bacteria have started to develop resistance to other modern drugs, colistin

had to be brought back as a treatment of last resort in hospitals and clinics.

Why is it scary?

It is scary because water treatment can't eliminate these bacteria or these genes
After treatment, this water directly goes to the environmental water and
people use this water for many things which means there is a circulation.

About Antibiotic Resistance:

What is antibiotic resistance?

Antibiotic resistance occurs when an antibiotic has lost its ability to

effectively control or kill bacterial growth.
The bacteria are "resistant" and continue to multiply in the presence of
therapeutic levels of an antibiotic.
Bacterias can collect multiple resistance traits over time and become resistant
to many different families of antibiotics

Why do bacteria become resistant to antibiotics?

Antibiotic resistance is a natural phenomenon.

When an antibiotic is used, bacteria that can resist that antibiotic have a
greater chance of survival than those that are "susceptible."
Susceptible bacteria are killed resulting in a selective pressure for the survival
of resistant strains of bacteria.
The current higher-levels of antibiotic-resistant bacteria are attributed to the
overuse and abuse of antibiotics.
In some countries and over the internet antibiotics can be purchased without a
doctor's prescription. Patients sometimes take antibiotics unnecessarily to treat
viral illnesses like the common cold.

How do bacteria become resistant?

Some bacteria are naturally resistant to certain types of antibiotics.
However, bacteria may also become resistant in two ways:
1)By a genetic mutation:

Mutations are rare spontaneous changes of the bacteria's genetic material.

Some mutations enable the bacteria to produce potent chemicals (enzymes)
that inactivate antibiotics, while other mutations eliminate the cell target that
the antibiotic attacks.

2) By acquiring resistance from another bacterium:

Bacteria can acquire antibiotic resistance genes from other bacteria by

undergoing a simple mating process called "conjugation where bacteria can
transfer genetic material, including genes encoding resistance to antibiotics
from one bacterium to another.
Viruses are another mechanism for passing resistance traits between bacteria.
The resistance traits from one bacterium are packaged into the head portion of
the virus. The virus then injects the resistance traits into any new bacteria it

How does antibiotic resistance spread?

Genetically, antibiotic resistance spreads through bacteria populations both
"vertically," when new generations inherit antibiotic resistance genes, and
"horizontally," when bacteria share or exchange sections of genetic material with
other bacteria.

Can bacteria lose their antibiotic resistance?

Yes, antibiotic resistance traits can be lost, but this reverse process occurs more

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Science & Tech
News Source : The Hindu
Global conservation team visits Odishas Bhitarkanika park
Details :
The news:
A two-member technical evaluation mission team of International Union for
Conservation of Nature (IUCN), deputed by UNESCO, visited the Bhitarkanika
National Park.


The Odisha government had submitted a dossier recommending to UNESCO

that the park be declared a World Heritage Site.
The visit is to perform field assessment of the unique mangrove ecosystem of
the park and its rich flora and fauna.

The biodiversity, ecosystem and local human habitation and socio-economic

condition of locals and their dependence on forest produce will be assessed.
The team also interacted with local residents living on the fringes of the forest
If declared a World Heritage Site, it will enable the park to get more funding
from the government and international agencies and will also attract more

About Bhitarkanika:

Bhitarkanika is formed from two Odia words Bhitar' meaning interior and
'Kanika' meaning that which is extraordinarily beautiful.
Bhitarkanika is a vibrant eco-system lying in the estuarine region of
Brahmani- Baitarani rivers.
The area is intersected by a network of creeks with Bay of Bengal on the East.
The regions between the meandering creeks and rivers, houses the second
largest viable mangrove eco-system of India.
The region has rich biological diversity which includes mangrove forests,
rivers, creeks, estuaries, back water, accreted land and mud flats.
Bhitarkanika is a unique ecosystem, highly dynamic and at the same time
By 1970s, due to heavy influx of outsiders and large scale encroachment on
forest land for agriculture, mangrove forests were heavily destroyed and
So, Orissa government started conservation efforts.
In 1998, an area of 145 sq. km, the core area of Bhitarkanika forests was
declared as Bhitarkanika National Park for conservation and management.
The national park presently figures in the listed of protected wetlands under
the Ramsar Convention.

The World Heritage Convention:

The convention is a global instrument for the identification, protection and

preservation of cultural (man-made) and natural heritage.

IT was adopted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural

Organisation (UNESCO) General Conference in 1972. The Convention came
into force in 1975.
It aims to promote cooperation among nations to protect heritage around the
world that is of such outstanding universal value that its conservation is
important for current and future generations.
It encourages countries to nominate sites within their national territory for
inclusion on the World Heritage List.
It encourages them to establish management plans and set up reporting
systems on the state of conservation of their World Heritage sites;
It helps through technical assistance, training and emergency assistance (for
heritage sites in immediate danger).
It also encourages participation of the local population in the preservation of
their cultural and natural heritage.
In India, there are presently 35 World Heritage Sites. Out of these, 27 are
cultural sites, 7 are natural sites and Khangchendzonga National Park was
declared mixed site in 2016.

Recently Declared sites are:


Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara (Nalanda University) at Nalanda,

Bihar (2016)
The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an Outstanding Contribution to the
Modern Movement (2016).
Rani-ki-Vav (the Queens Stepwell) at Patan, Gujarat (2014).


Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area (2014)

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Environment & Ecology

News Source : The Hindu

CSO to provide GDP advance estimates by January
Details :
Why in news?
The Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) has agreed to provide its advance
estimates of GDP growth by the first week of January to facilitate early presentation
of the Union Budget.


Usually GDP advance estimates are provided in the first week of February.
This year, the CSO has agreed to give us this figure in the first week of
Government uses these estimates in making of the budget.
On the back of improved farm sector output, the economy is expected to show
higher growth this year than the 7.6 per cent GDP growth in 2015-16.

New GDP Methodology:

New methodology was adopted to bring our GDP estimates in line with the
international best practices.
Under the old method, GDP was calculated at factor cost. Presently, there will
be gross value added (GVA) at basic prices.
The difference between the two is that indirect production taxes and subsidies
are included in GVA at basic prices.
GDP at factor cost represents what a producer gets from the activity. Taxes on
production or subsidies provided for production were not included.
For arriving at the new gross value added (GVA) at basic prices, production
taxes, such as property tax, are added and subsidies by government are
subtracted from GDP at factor cost.
The new GDP is then calculated by summing the Gross Value Added (GVA)
per institutional sector (Agricultural sector, Irrigation, Livestock products,
Manufacturing, etc).

In the new way of calculating, GDP is calculated at market prices, while

sectoral numbers - agriculture, industry and services - are given in basic
The new GDP is calculated at Market prices. So, product taxes (Sales tax etc)
are added and subsidies are subtracted.

Please read this with the discussions done in the economy class and class notes for
greater understanding.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Economics
News Source : The Hindu
Ominous curb on media freedom Editorial 5th Nov'16 The Hindu
Details :
Ominous curb on media freedom
The issue
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has ordered that television news
channel NDTV India be taken off air for 24 hours.
It is a serious violation of media freedom and amounts to imposing restrictions on
journalistic content.
The decision
The decision is related to the telecast of the terrorist attack on the Pathankot Air
Force base in January.
After an inquiry by an inter-ministerial committee, it was found that the channel
aired sensitive information that compromised the safety of military personnel and

Channels defence
The channel argued that
1.It disclosed nothing that was not published or aired by other media outlets,
2.Its reportage was largely based on official briefings,
3.It was done in a responsible manner.
Shortcomings in the decision making
After the 26/11 attacks, it has been realized that there is need for restrained and
responsible coverage of anti-terrorism operations.
The News Broadcasting Standards Authority, set up by the News Broadcasters
Association, has come up with a set of rules.
The Ministry could have either approached the authority or formed an independent
panel to look into the issue.
But it has invoked a rule that imposes a blanket ban on all live coverage of any
anti-terrorist operation until it ends and cited statutory provisions that empower the
government to regulate or prohibit the transmission of TV programmes. There is no
mention of any provision for appeal.
Taking a channel off air will lead to self-censorship by other news channels.
Way forward
Irresponsible reporting should be penalized but the penalty should not be decided
by the government.
Such a decision should be made by independent forum.
Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam
Subject : Editorial Analysis
News Source : The Hindu
Piecing together an encounter Editorial 5th Nov'16 The Hindu

Details :
Piecing together an encounter
Recently, 8 members of banned outfit Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI)
escaped Bhopal jail and were later gunned down in an encounter with the Police.
Questions are being asked about the genuineness of the encounter after some video
and audio clips related to it surfaced.
This has raised a debate which has legal, administrative, intellectual and political
dimensions and has a bearing on the nations internal security policy.
Lesson to learn
There is need to strengthen the lowest rung of national security architecture i.e. the
police stations and prisons. This means putting proper procedures in place and
following them rigorously. For a proactive approach to national security, such
trivial matters must also be paid close attention.
Polices defense
The chief of Anti-terrorism squad has argued that the police was legally
empowered to kill the fugitives even though they were unarmed.
Section 46 (2) and (3) of the Criminal Procedure Code says that if and when a
person forcibly resists the endeavour to arrest him, police may use all means
necessary to effect the arrest, including causing the death of a person if he is
accused of an offence punishable with death or imprisonment for life.
However, the judgment of the police officer on the spot should be called up for
review either in an inquiry or a judicial proceeding.
Handling the pressure
When there is loss of lives justice demands that there be an inquiry to ascertain the
But, those conducting inquiries are not familiar with the pressures under which
police officers in the field function.

There are certain occasions when passions run high, especially when a police
officer has been killed.
The problem of the officer in charge is to ensure compliance with law in a heavily
charged atmosphere, which cannot be understood by those who have not been in the
field under conditions of immense pressure.
In an internal security situation, one has to abide by the law of the land, which
limits the extent or the scope of the reaction.
Way forward
The government should empower the police with suitable legislations to take
strong action against terrorism.
People conducting inquiries into the police encounters with terrorists must be
sensitized about the conditions under which police operates in the field. This will
ensure that morale of police officers is not affected.
Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam
Subject : Editorial Analysis
News Source : The Hindu
Nov. 4, 2016
Council fixes 4-level GST rate structure
Details :
The News:

GST Council has finalised a multiple-slab rate structure including the cess for
the new indirect tax. The quantum of cess will depend on the current rate of
The Goods and Services Tax (GST) will be levied at multiple rates ranging
from 0 per cent to 28 per cent.

The rate structure would be:

There will be a zero tax rate in which several items which approximately
constitute 50 per cent of the CPI basket, including food grains would be
included. It would be zero-rated so that its impact in terms of inflationary
pressure on common people is the least.
The lowest slab of 5 per cent will be for items of common consumption which
are used by most of the people.
There would be two standard rates of 12 per cent and 18 per cent for the bulk
of the goods and services. This includes fast-moving consumer goods.
The highest slab of 28 per cent will include white goods and all those items on
which the current rate of incidence varies from 30-31 per cent.


The principle for determining the rate on each item will be to levy and collect
the GST at the rate slab closest to the current tax incidence on it.
Most services are expected to become costlier as the ones being taxed
currently at the rate of 15 per cent are likely to be put in the 18-per cent slab.
Ultra luxuries, demerit and sin goods will attract a cess for a period of five
years on top of the 28 per cent GST.


A cess is a tax that is levied by the government to raise funds for a specific
A cess is also different from the usual taxes such as personal income tax,
excise duty and customs duty as all the taxes collected by the government
usually go into the Consolidated Fund of India (CFI). But the collections from
a cess are required to be kept outside of the CFI to be spent only on the
specific purpose for which it was levied.
The GST will subsume the multitude of cesses currently in place, including
the Swachh Bharat Cess, the Krishi Kalyan Cess and the Education Cess.
Only the Clean Environment Cess is being retained.
On the expiry of the five-year period the cess will not be collected.
The Council will review annually the tax revenue raised from the cess that
will fund compensations from the Centre to States for losses arising out of the
transition to the GST.
The Centre has given guarantee to States for making up for the losses for a
period of five years.

GST on Gold:
The Council did not take a call on the GST rate on gold. GST rate on gold will be
finalised after the fitting to the approved rates structure of all items is completed
and there is some idea of revenue projections.

Industry voices concern over GST rate complexity, cess uncertainity

The Concerns:

The main issues of concern seem to be the complexity by the multiple rates of
5 per cent, 12 per cent, 18 per cent, and 28 per cent and the uncertainty about
the additional cess that will be levied on luxury goods and tobacco products.
While the goods will have a multiple rate structure there is no clarity is
provided on rates applicable to services.
The uncertainty on rates for gold is not warranted as gold is a key determinant
of the rate structure.
The cess needs to be levied only at the final product and total tax including
cess on demerit goods should be kept within the present overall indirect tax

incidence. According to some experts, the levy of cess could have been
avoided as it is a clear distortion to the GST scheme.
There might be some functional problems regarding the time companies will
take to comply with the new tax rules.
The government must move quickly to classify which goods fall under which

For Basics on GST Council:

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam
Subject : Economics
News Source : The Hindu
Food Security Act implemented
Details :
The News:
Kerala and Tamil Nadu have also rolled out the NFSA from November and with
this the Act has been implemented in all the States and Union Territories.

National Food Security Act:

Objective of the act is to provide for food and nutritional security by ensuring
access to adequate quantity of quality food at affordable prices.
The Act provides for coverage of upto 75% of the rural population and upto
50% of the urban population for receiving subsidized foodgrains under
Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS), thus covering about two-thirds
of the population.
The eligible persons will be entitled to receive 5 Kgs of foodgrains per person
per month at subsidised prices of Rs. 3/2/1 per Kg for rice/wheat/coarse

The Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) households which constitute the poorest
of the poor will continue to receive 35 Kgs of foodgrains per household per
In case of non-supply of entitled foodgrains or meals, the beneficiaries will
receive food security allowance.
The Act also contains provisions for setting up of grievance redressal
mechanism at the District and State levels. Separate provisions have also been
made in the Act for ensuring transparency and accountability.

Salient Features:

Coverage and entitlement under Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS)

: Upto 75% of the rural population and 50% of the urban population will be
covered under TPDS, with uniform entitlement of 5 kg per person per month.
State-wise coverage : Corresponding to the all India coverage of 75% and
50% in the rural and urban areas, State-wise coverage will be determined by
the Central Government by using the NSS Household Consumption Survey
data for 2011-12.
Subsidised prices under TPDS and their revision : Foodgrains under TPDS
will be made available at subsidised prices of Rs. 3/2/1 per kg for rice, wheat
and coarse grains.
Identification of Households : Within the coverage under TPDS determined
for each State the work of identification of eligible households is to be done
by States/UTs.
Nutritional Support to women and children : Pregnant women and lactating
mothers and children in the age group of 6 months to 14 years will be entitled
to meals as per prescribed nutritional norms under Integrated Child
Development Services (ICDS) and Mid-Day Meal (MDM) schemes. Higher
nutritional norms have been prescribed for malnourished children upto 6 years
of age.
Maternity Benefit : Pregnant women and lactating mothers will also be
entitled to receive maternity benefit of not less than Rs. 6,000.
Women Empowerment : Eldest woman of the household of age 18 years or
above to be the head of the household for the purpose of issuing of ration

Grievance Redressal Mechanism : Grievance redressal mechanism at the

District and State levels. States will have the flexibility to use the existing
machinery or set up separate mechanism.
Cost of intra-State transportation & handling of foodgrains and FPS Dealers'
margin : Central Government will provide assistance to States in meeting the
expenditure incurred by them on transportation of foodgrains within the State,
its handling and FPS dealers margin as per norms to be devised for this
Transparency and Accountability : Provisions have been made for disclosure
of records relating to PDS, social audits and setting up of Vigilance
Committees in order to ensure transparency and accountability.
Food Security Allowance : Provision for food security allowance to entitled
beneficiaries in case of non-supply of entitled foodgrains or meals.
Penalty : Provision for penalty on public servant or authority, to be imposed
by the State Food Commission, in case of failure to comply with the relief
recommended by the District Grievance Redressal Officer.

Steps for better targetting:

In a significant step towards better targeting and leakage-free distribution of
foodgrains, direct benefit transfer is being carried out in two different modes:
1. In the first mode, food subsidy is being transferred in cash into the bank
account of beneficiaries who then have the choice to buy foodgrains from the
open market. This has been started in UTs of Chandigarh, Puducherry and
urban areas of Dadra & Nagar Haveli.
2. The second mode involves automation of fair price shops, for distribution of
foodgrains through an electronic point of sale (e-PoS) device which
authenticates beneficiaries at the time of distribution and also electronically
captures the quantum of foodgrains distributed to the family.
For smooth functioning of PDS, State Governments are also being provided Central
assistance for meeting expenditure of intra-State transportation & handling of
foodgrains and fair price shop dealers margin. The assistance for fair price shops
dealers margin also contains a component of assistance for installation and
operation of Pos devices at fair price shops.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Polity & Governance
News Source : The Hindu
President Mukherjee arrives in Nepal on 3 day visit
Details :
President Pranab Mukherjee is in Nepal on a three-day state visit - in the first
presidential visit from India in 18 years. The last Indian President to visit Nepal
was K.R. Narayanan in 1998.

News from the visit:

President began his three-day visit with meetings with his Nepal President
Bidhya Devi Bhandari and Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda.
He will conduct a special puja at Pashupati Nath temple, the revered Hindu
Mukherjee will also address the concluding function of a Nepal-India
The President will also interact with leaders of political parties, including the
agitating Madhes-based leaders.
The visit is also an opportunity for Nepali leaders, including those from
agitating Madhes-based parties, to seek moral support for their demands,
including the amendment of the new Constitution.

India-Nepal relations:

India is Nepal's only major gateway to the world. Nepal's only true access to
the sea and for trade with other countries is through India.
Nepal's border with China is mountainous and is very long way from the sea
for trade with other countries.
In terms of security, Nepal forms a strategic buffer between India and Tibetan
region of China.

Nepal share a border with five Indian States Sikkim, West Bengal, Bihar,
Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
Nepal share a unique relationship of friendship and cooperation.
India and Nepal share open borders. That is, Nepalese don't need a visa to
enter India.
The India-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1950 forms the bedrock of
the special relations that exist between India and Nepal.
Under the provisions of this Treaty, the Nepalese citizens have enjoyed great
advantages in India, with facilities and opportunities at par with Indian
Nearly 6 million Nepali citizens live and work in India.
Around 6 lakh Indians are living/domiciled in Nepal. These include
businessmen and traders who have been living in Nepal for a long time,
professionals, labourers etc.
The bilateral trade accounted for 66% of Nepals total external trade in 201314.
The main items of exports from India to Nepal are petroleum products, motor
vehicles, machinery, medicines, coal, cement, chemicals etc.
The main items of exports from Nepal to India are polyester yarn, textiles,
packaged juice, cardamom, shoes and sandals etc.
Indian firms are the biggest investors in Nepal, accounting for about 38.3% of
Nepals total approved foreign direct investments.
Government of India provides substantial financial and technical development
assistance to Nepal.
Indias contribution to the development of human resources in Nepal has been
one of the major aspects of bilateral cooperation. GOI provides around 3000
scholarships/seats annually to Nepali nationals for various courses.
The Government of India initiatives to promote people-to-people contacts.
India and Nepal have signed three sister-city agreements for twinning of
Kathmandu-Varanasi, LumbiniBodhgaya and Janakpur-Ayodhya.

Nepal Constitution:

The demand for a new constitution was raised by Maoists rebels, who waged a
10-year civil war which ended with a 2006 peace deal.
A constituent assembly was elected two years later in 2008, leading to the
abolition of the 240-year-old monarchy.

But the assembly failed to draw up a new constitution.

A new assembly elected in 2013 is once more dominated by the traditional
In September 2015, Nepal finally drafted a new constitution.
In eastern Terai the so-called Madhesi communities, ethnically and socially
close to Indians just across the border, complain they have always faced
discrimination and lack of acceptance by the Nepalese state.
It led to many protests especially in the the Madhes region bordering Bihar.
They want the constitution to be amended to meet their demands.
This made India also concerned and India asked Nepal to take care of their
demands also.

Related Questions:
UPSC Prelims,2016

Community sometimes mentioned in the news : In the affairs of

: Bangladesh


: Nepal

3.Rohingya : Myanmar
Which of the pairs given above is/are correctly matched?
A.1 and 2
B.2 only
C.2 and 3
D.3 only

Answer: C

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : International Relation
News Source : The Hindu
NASA builds telescope 100 times powerful than Hubble
Details :

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has

successfully completed building the largest space telescope that is 100 times
powerful than the Hubble Space Telescope.
The telescope will be launched on an Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana in
October of 2018.
The telescope is named as James Webb Space Telescope. JWST was formerly
known as the "Next Generation Space Telescope" (NGST). It was renamed in
Sept. 2002 after a former NASA administrator, James Webb
It is a joint project of the NASA, the European Space Agency and the
Canadian Space Agency.
Unlike with Hubble, astronauts wont be able to reach the JWST to fix a
problem after it launches. The telescope will be stationed too far away for
them to reach, about 930,000 miles from Earth.
Once it is in position, though, together the James Webb and Hubble will give
scientists an unprecedented view of the universe.
It will study every phase in the history of our Universe, ranging from the first
luminous glows after the Big Bang, to the formation of solar systems capable
of supporting life on planets like Earth, to the evolution of our own Solar
The observations it makes will not only help scientists understand the origins
of the universe, but also search for signs of life on faraway planets.
The space telescope will provide images of the first galaxies ever formed and
explore planets around distant stars.
The Webb telescopes infrared cameras are so sensitive that it needs to be
shielded from the rays of the Sun. A five-layer sunshield of the size of a tennis
court will prevent the heat from interfering with the telescopes infrared

The layers work together to reduce the temperatures between the hot and cold
sides of the observatory by about 298 degrees Celsius. Each successive layer
of the sunshield, made of kapton, is cooler than the one below.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Science & Tech
News Source : The Hindu
Voter has right to know candidates qualification: SC
Details :
Whats the case:

The verdict came on two cross appeals filed by Mairembam Prithviraj alias
Prithviraj Singh and Pukhrem Sharatchandra Singh against each other
challenging the judgment of the High Court of Manipur.
Both of them contested the Manipur Legislative Assembly elections from the
Moirang constituency. While Mairembam won, his election was declared void
by the High Court of Manipur. Mairembam, in his nomination papers had
declared that he was a Masters in Business Administration which turned out
be false.

What SC said:

Every voter has a fundamental right to know the educational qualification of a

There is a duty cast on the candidates to give correct information about their
educational qualifications.
Any false declaration on this count can warrant rejection of nomination
It is also clear from the provisions of the Representation of the People Act
1951, Rules and Form 26 that there is a duty cast on the candidates to give
correct information about their educational qualifications
The bench also allowed the plea of the losing candidate that now he be
declared winner as the election of the returned candidate has been declared


A voter is first citizen of this country and apart from statutory rights he is
having fundamental rights conferred by the Constitution.
Members of a democratic society should be sufficiently informed so that they
may cast their votes intelligently in favour of persons who are to govern them.
Right to vote would be meaningless unless the citizens are well informed
about the antecedents of a candidate.
Exposure to public gaze and scrutiny is one of the surest means to cleanse our
democratic governing system and to have competent legislatures.

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-2

Subject : Polity & Governance
News Source : The Hindu
Brexit as an opportunity Editorial 4th Nov'16 The Hindu
Details :
Brexit as an opportunity
British Prime Ministers Theresa Mays is scheduled to visit during the India-U.K.
Tech Summit.
This will be her first to a non-European Union (EU) country and comes in the
backdrop of Britains eventual exit for the EU.
The visit should be used to address the concerns of Indian and International
industry over Brexit.
India Inc. and Brexit
There are many Indian companies in UK and many more are planning to invest

Some of these like Tata Steel are big employers and some others are growing
The impact of Brexit on these Indian businesses in the U.K. is not very clear.
Indian companies operate in a variety of sectors from pharmaceuticals to the
creative industries, manufacturing and financial services. So the impact of Brexit on
them will be very similar to that on U.K. businesses.
There is uncertainty about whether there will be a hard Brexit (a situation where
Britain leaves the EU and the single market entirely and then have a relationship
based - at least initially - on World Trade Organization rules) or a soft Brexit
(where the UK retains some form of membership of the European Union single
market in return for a degree of free movement).
Indian companies are already in the process of gaining the necessary licences and
other factors needed to operate in Europe, should the need for separate ones arise.
Concerns of different sectors
The automobile sector is not only dependent on a cross-European supply chain but
also exports much of its product to the continental Europe. The British Government
has pledged for a tariff-free relationship for the sector and provide as much support
for the industry as it was able to without breaching tough EU aid rules.
The steel sector is heavily dependent on the EU as around half of its steel exports
annually go to the continent. It is also dependent on coordinated action with the EU
for imposing anti-dumping tariffs on Chinese products.
The pharmaceutical sector will be deeply affected by the future location of
London-headquartered European Medical Agency under a hard Brexit. It could
impact their access to European registration for their drugs.
The IT sector will be significantly impacted and on a number of levels. The
sector will be affected by declining pound which would impact the profitability of
existing contracts. The IT sector moves skilled workers across the EU from London
headquarters and presently there is uncertainty over the free movement of people
across the EU.
The outsourcing industry will be negatively impacted as declining pound will
reduce the need for outsourcing.

The firms which are attracted by the U.K. with specific conditions for its design
and technology, will not be affected much. But those who use Britain as a launching
pad for European operations will be affected.
Way forward
The British PM must use the visit as a chance to provide reassurances for industry
not just from India but across the world which is concerned about the direction of
Brexit negotiations.
There should be more clarity on the direction of negotiations and the Government
must not follow a sector-by-sector approach to reassurances which can increase
complexity of the business environment.
GS 2 (International relations)
Related question
How will the direction of Brexit negotiations impact Indian businesses in Britain?

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Editorial Analysis
News Source : The Hindu
Nov. 3, 2016
Smog causes distress to urban wildlife
Details :
The News:

The smog that has engulfed the Capital since Diwali is causing distress to
Delhiites and countless animals.

A peacock was rescued that suffered serious injuries after hitting a window
because of low visibility due to smog.
Peacocks are often sighted in residential areas near forested regions.The
peacock ( Pavo cristasus) is protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife
Protection Act, 1972.


The word "smog" is an amalgam of the words "smoke" and "fog."

Smog is produced by a set of complex photochemical reactions involving
volatile organic compounds (VOCs), nitrogen oxides and sunlight. Groundlevel ozone is the main constituent of smog.
Ozone can be beneficial or harmful, depending on its location. Ozone in the
stratosphere acts as a barrier that protects human health and the environment
from excessive amounts of solar radiation.
On the other hand, ground-level ozone trapped near the ground by heat
inversions or other weather conditions causes the respiratory distress and
burning eyes associated with smog.
Ironically, smog is often more severe farther away from the sources of
pollution, because the chemical reactions that cause smog take place in the
atmosphere while pollutants are drifting on the wind.
Smog in Delhi is primarily due to high vehicular and industrial emissions,
construction work and crop burning in adjoining states.

Coal: Coal fires used to heat individual buildings or in a power-producing plant,
can emit significant clouds of smoke that contributes to smog. Coal was the main
culprit of 1952 London smog that was responsible for morbidity and mortality in
thousands of people.
Transportation emissions: Traffic emissions such as from trucks, buses, and
automobiles also contribute.

The major culprits from transportation sources are carbon monoxide (CO),
nitrogen oxides (NO and NOx), volatile organic compounds, sulfur dioxide
and hydrocarbons.
These molecules react with sunlight, heat, ammonia, moisture, and other
compounds to form the noxious vapors, ground level ozone and particles that
comprise smog.

Photochemical smog: Photochemical smog is the chemical reaction of sunlight,

nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds in the atmosphere which leaves
airborne particles and ground-level ozone.

Natural causes: An erupting volcano can also emit high levels of sulphur dioxide
along with a large quantity of particulate matter both of which are key components
to the creation of smog. However, the smog created as a result of a volcanic
eruption is known as vog to distinguish it as a natural occurrence.

Smog and Temperature Inversion:

Temperature inversion layers (also called as thermal inversions or just

inversion layers) are areas where the normal decrease in air temperature with
increasing altitude is reversed and air above the ground is warmer than the air
below it.
Inversion layers block atmospheric flow which causes the air over an area
experiencing an inversion to become stable.
During an inversion episode, temperatures increase with increasing altitude.
The warm inversion layer then acts as a cap and stops atmospheric mixing.
This is why inversion layers are called stable air masses.
Areas with heavy pollution are prone to unhealthy air and an increase in smog
when an inversion is present because they trap pollutants at ground level
instead of circulating them away.
This happens because the warmer air layer sits over a city and prevents the
normal mixing of cooler, denser air. The air instead becomes still and over
time the lack of mixing causes pollutants to become trapped under the
inversion, developing significant amounts of smog.

Health Hazards of Smog:

Burning of eyes, throat and irritation to mucous membranes.

Shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing.
Asthma attack, chest pain, increased risk of respiratory disease.
Increased risk of heart attacks.
Chronic exposure can cause malignancy.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Environment & Ecology
News Source : The Hindu
Researchers aim to scoop out marine oil spills
Details :
Why in news?
A compound (gelator) developed by researchers at the Indian Institute of Science
Education and Research (IISER) Thiruvananthapuram may soon make recovering
marine oil spills become simple, efficient and cost-effective.

Key points:

The scientists produced compounds (gelators) that selectively congeal (to

solidify, usually into gel like substance) oil from an oil-water mixture.
This makes it possible to clear the oil spilled into the seas and oceans.
The gelators are in a powder form and can be easily applied over oil-water
mixture and do not cause any environmental damage.
The gelator molecule is partly hydrophobic (repels and does not absorb water)
and partly hydrophilic (strong tendency to mix with water).
While the hydrophobic part is responsible for its diffusion into the oil layer,
the hydrophilic part helps in forming gelly like substance.
The gel formed is strong enough to be scooped out.
Further work is to make strong gel out of all types of oils, including crude oil.

Oil Spills:

An oil spill is the release of a liquid petroleum hydrocarbon into the

environment, especially marine areas, due to human activity, and is a form of
Oil spills may be due to

* Releases of crude oil from tankers, offshore platforms, drilling rigs and wells
* Spills of refined petroleum products (such as gasoline, diesel) and heavier fuels
used by large ships etc

Cleanup and recovery from an oil spill is difficult and lengthy process.

Human Impact:

An oil spill represents an immediate fire hazard

Resultant air pollution causes respiratory distress
When it happens on land, spilled oil can also contaminate drinking water
The workers that are brought on board to clean up the spill face tremendous
health problems.

Environmental effects:

As oil spill, it floats on water and prevents sunlight to pass through it which
makes it difficult for plants and sea animals to survive.
The toxicity can cause massive loss of species that live in the sea.
In lot of cases, the oil simply chokes the animals to death.
The animals can become blind due to repeated exposure to the oil.
Animals who rely on scent to find their babies or mothers cannot due to the
strong scent of the oil.
Oil spill penetrates into the plumage and fur of birds. It breaks down the
insulating capabilities of feathers, makes them heavier that affects ability to
fly and kill them via poisoning or hypothermia.


Bioremediation: use of microorganisms or biological agents to break down or

remove oil
Dispersants can be used to dissipate and dilute
Skimming: removing floating material from the surface of a liquid
Solidifying: cleaning up oil spills by changing the physical state of spilled oil
from liquid to a solid, semi-solid or a rubber-like material that floats on water.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Environment & Ecology
News Source : The Hindu
Faster security clearances on anvil for foreign investors, to help FDI flow
Details :
Why in news?
The Industry and Home Affairs Ministries are working to expedite the grant of
security clearances for foreign investors.


Security clearances for foreign investors often delay or even impede inflows
of foreign direct investment as well as mergers and acquisitions.
Even in July, MHA has asked the intelligence agencies to give security
clearance for FDI projects in one month. In the event of any delay, the reasons
for the same would have to be recorded in writing by the agency.
DIPP's view is that if security clearance doesnt come within a particular time,
it should be presumed that there is nothing wrong and clearance should be
deemed to have been given.
All clearances, including those of Home Ministry, should be time-bound and
fast tracked.
This will boost investor's confidence by creating certainty, efficiency and aids
ease of doing business in India.
Apart from faster security clearances, DIPP also wants to make tax refunds by
the States faster and more efficient.

Foreign Investment Clearances:

Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) in Ministry of

Commerce & Industry plays the key role in formulation of FDI policy, FDI
promotion and facilitation. DIPP is driving the Make in India initiative.
DIPP's policies and guidelines form the bases of the FIPB decisions.
Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), in the Ministry of Finance, is an
inter-ministerial body, responsible for processing of FDI proposals and
making recommendations for Government approval.
The Minister of Finance who is in-charge of FIPB would consider the
recommendations of FIPB on proposals with total foreign equity inflow up to
Rs. 3000 crore.
The recommendations of FIPB on proposals with total foreign equity inflow
of more than Rs. 3000 crore would be placed for consideration of Cabinet
Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA).
The security vetting (examination) of FDI proposals in strategic sectors like
aviation, telecom etc is done by the home ministry through background checks
on the foreign investor.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Economics
News Source : The Hindu
On parallel tracks Editorial 3rd Nov'16 The Hindu
Details :
On parallel tracks
India is witnessing increasing contractualization of workforce is fueling labor
unrest. Contract workers earn less than permanent workers and have no job
In a significant judgment, the Supreme Court ruled that contract workers should
get the same pay as permanent workers and that denial of equal pay for equal work
amounted to exploitative enslavement and is a violation of human dignity.
Though the verdict was for workers employed by the government, it is relevant
forlabour in both the public and private sector.
No change
One would expect that the verdict will have an immediate and positive impact on
contract workers.
But this is unlikely to happen because contract workers are not organized
(unionized)and therefore dont have access to collective bargaining.
Membership of trade unions
Trade unions typically have only permanent workers as members as contract
workers are not treated as employees of the employer in question as their salaries
are paid by the labour contractor.
But this does not disqualify a contract worker from being a member of a factorys
union because as per the Trade Unions Act, 1926, any worker who works in a
factory can join a union of that factory.

Recently, the Gurgaon District Court ruled that any workman employed by a
factory was eligible to participate in union activities.
But no union gives membership and voting rights to contract workers.
Workers believe that forming a union that also includes contract workers will
provoke hostile reactions from the management.
Managements also refuse to discuss with trade unions any issues concerning
contract workers.
Contract workers stay away from union activities because due to their inherent job
insecurity, they fear summary termination.
Permanent workers dont want to extend union membership to contract workers
because they fear being outnumbered by them.
Legal operating framework
Contract labour was initially employed only for non-production work but soon,
they began to be increasingly employed in production as well.
In response to workers protest, the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition)
Act, 1970 (CL Act) was enacted.
Ironically, the CL Act, which was supposed to abolish contract labour, offered a
legal operating framework to labour contractors.
The CL Act introduced a distinction between an employer and a principal
employer which expanded contractualisation.
Before the CL Act, temporary and permanent workers could bargain with the
employer and negotiate as members of the same union.
The CL ACT prohibits the employment of contract labour for core production.
But labour contractors evade this requirement through sham contracts in which a
worker is shown as having been hired for a cleaning job but is actually engaged in
production work.

Way forward
Indias contract workers remain both heavily exploited and largely un-unionised,
with the lack of unionisation and exploitation reinforcing each other.
Indias labour movement should find a way to unionise contract workers and
reconcile the interests of permanent workers with that to contract workers.
Legislations and judicial pronouncements may not change things much on the
The answers to problems of contract labourers is labour movement and
GS 2 (Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and
States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and
Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections)
GS 3 (Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources,
growth, development and employment)
Related question
Indias contract workers remain both heavily exploited and largely un-unionised,
with the lack of unionisation and exploitation reinforcing each other. Critically
examine the reasons for lack of unionization among contract labour. Also suggest
measures to improve condition of contract labour.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Editorial Analysis
News Source : The Hindu
Centre moots registry to vet geospatial data
Details :
Why in news?

The government is developing a national data registry (NDR) that will require all
agencies state, private and academic that collect and store geospatial data to
provide details of the data they store.

What is geospatial data?

Geospatial data or geographic information is the data or information that

identifies the geographic location of physical objects, such as natural or
constructed features.
Spatial data is usually stored as coordinates (lat, long) and topology, and is
data that can be mapped.
For example, Google maps, Zomato, Ola, ISRO's Bhuvan etc have geospatial

Summary of article:

The national data registry (NDR) will be a meta-data repository, that is, it
will not hold the actual geospatial data but will only inform about the nature
of the data a service provider has (Like a library catalogue that informs on
which section has what books).
Department of Science and Technology (DST) is the nodal coordinating
agency for NDR.
The registry would help users locate the right agencies to source information.
Officials at the Survey of India would vet the registry for accuracy and see
whether it contains information that contravenes national security.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Polity & Governance
News Source : The Hindu
IFFI to screen films for disabled children
Details :

Why in news?
The 47th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) from November 20 to 28 will
screen three films for specially-abled children through special audio-described
technology under the Accessible India Campaign (Sugamaya Bharat Abhiyan).


International Film Festival of India (IFFI) will be co-hosted by Goa

goevrnment's Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG) and Ministry of
Information and Broadcasting (MIB).
The festival will offer a variety of films from all over the world with different
types of story lines and new talents.
It will also promote new talent, tourism and enrich film lovers with new trends
in cinema.
The festival will offer film screenings and will also serve as a skill-building
opportunity for youngsters who can learn from renowned film personalities.
The I&B Ministry has mooted a new initiative to create a Film Promotion
Fund to promote Indian cinema in international film festivals.

Definition of Disability in India

Persons with Disability Act, 1995 defines Disability under seven categories:
blindness, low vision, leprosy-cured, hearing impairment, loco motor disability,
mental retardation and mental illness. According to 2001 Census there are
2.21% disabled in India.

Issues around Disability in India

Disability is not being measured properly in India.

Most of the censuses that are conducted for various purposes do not measure
The ones that have measured have used different definitions for disability.
Thus making comparisons difficult.

Use of different definitions makes someone disabled in one census and not
disabled in another.
India looks at disability from medical or pathological angle only.
Most developed countries look disability from social angle and highlight
institutional and social arrangements that are preventing those with
impairments from leading normal lives.
Census depends on self-reporting of disability. This may leave out mental
disability and at times even physical disability.
Also there is lack of Institutional and Infrastructural Support for the disabled
in India.

Accessible India Campaign (Sugamaya Bharat Abhiyan)

Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) has

launched Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan) as a nationwide Campaign for achieving universal accessibility for Persons with
Disabilities (PwDs).
Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan Aims to enable persons with disabilities to gain
universal access, equal opportunity for development, independent living and
participation in an inclusive society in all aspects of life.
The campaign has been drafted by Union Ministry of Social Justice &
Empowerment in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with
Disabilities (UNCRPD) to which India is a signatory.

It has the following three important components :

Part A: Built Environment Accessibility
Objective 1 :Enhancing the proportion of accessible government buildings.

Part B: Transportation System Accessibility

Objective 2 : Enhancing proportion of accessible airports

Objective 3 : Enhancing the proportion of accessible railway stations

Objective 4 : Enhancing the proportion of accessible Public Transport

Part C: Information and Communication Eco-System Accessibility

Objective 5 : Enhancing proportion of accessible and usable public documents and
websites that meet internationally recognized accessibility standards
Objective 6: Enhancing the pool of sign language interpreters
Objective 7: Enhancing the proportion of daily captioning and sign-language
interpretation of public television news programmes

Targets set by the campaign:

Envisages making all railway stations of A1, A & B categories and the
international airports in the country fully accessible to the disabled.
It seeks to convert at least 10% of government owned public transport carriers
in the country fully accessible carriers for disabled persons by March 2018.
Meet at least 50% for issuing all public documents by the Central and State
Governments to meet accessibility standards for persons with disabilities by
March 2018.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Polity & Governance
News Source : The Hindu
Nov. 2, 2016
Lesser wages for equal work is violation of human dignity: SC
Details :
The News:
What SC said:

According to SC the denial of equal pay for equal work to daily wagers,
temporary, casual and contractual employees is exploitative enslavement,
and they should be paid at par with regular employees doing the same job as
The classification resulting in disparity and denial of the principle of equal
pay for equal work is an oppressive conduct by employers which is in
contrary to the ideal of a Welfare State.
An employee engaged for the same work cannot be paid less than another who
performs the same duties and responsibilities. Such an action is demeaning
and strikes the foundation of human dignity.
Cultural Rights of 1966, which states that any act of paying less wages as
compared to others similarly situated, constitutes an act of exploitative
enslavement, emerging out of a domineering position.

Involuntary subjugation

The discrimination in pay also affects the human dignity of an employee and
forces him to surrender against his will i.e. Involuntary subjugation.
India is also a signatory to Article 7 of the International Covenant on
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966 and paying less wages as
compared to others similarly situated constitutes an act of exploitative

Directive Principles of State Policy and Concept of Welfare State:

The Directive Principles of State Policy is guidelines to the central and state
governments of India that are to be kept in mind while framing laws and
They are enumerated in part IV of the constitution of India.
The principles have been inspired by the Constitution of Ireland.
These provisions are not enforceable by any court but the principles laid down
therein are considered fundamental in the governance of the country.
The directive principles lay down certain economic & social policies to be
pursued by the various governments in India and are the instruments of
instructions in the governance of the country.

DPSP relate to social justice, economic welfare, foreign policy, and legal and
administrative matters.
It is by enacting directive principles of state policy in part IV of the
constitution that we endeavored to create a welfare state.
Article 39 of Indian Constitution embodies the precepts of national movement
thus: the state shall strive to promote the welfare of the people by securing
and protecting as effectively as it may, a social order in which justice, social,
economic and political, shall inform all the institutions of the national life.
The state shall, in particular, direct its policy towards securing:

1. That the citizens, men and women equally, have the right to an adequate
means to livelihood.
2. That the ownership and control of the material resources of the community are
so distributed as best to sub serve the common good.
3. That the operation of the economic system does not result in the concentration
of wealth and means of production to the common detriment.
4. That there is equal pay for equal work for both men and women.
5. That the health and strength of workers, men and women, and the tender age
of children are not abused and that citizens are not forced by economic
necessity to enter avocations unsuited by their age or strength.
6. Those children are given opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy
manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity and childhood and youth are
protected against exploitation and against moral abandonment.

Equal pay for Equal work is thus a Constitutional goal and is fundamental
in establishing welfare state.
Also based on rulings of courts pertaining to interpretation of Articles from
the Constitution of India, In a landmark case, Randhir Singh v. Union of
India, the court held that although equal pay for equal work is not regarded as
a fundamental right, it is a constitutional goal as per the provisions of Articles
14, 16 and 39(c). Article 14 of the Constitution of India provides citizens with
the right to equality before law. Under Article 16, a person is entitled to
equality of opportunity in matters of public employment.
In the above mentioned case, the court held that the principle of equal pay for
equal work can be enforced by courts in cases of unequal pay scales based on
unreasonable classifications.

Temporary employment is thus regarded as unreasonable by SC. If the amount of
work done by a temporary employee is equal to its permanent counterpart then
he/she should not be denied of equal pay as it amounts to discrimination and is
against the concept of equality and human dignity.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Polity & Governance
News Source : The Hindu
India, Nepal to decide on open skies
Details :
What is the news:

India will hold bilateral talks with Nepal under its new civil aviation policy to
allow unlimited flight services with SAARC countries.
As a part of our new civil aviation policy, the Centre had written to all
countries with which India has a bilateral air services agreement informing
them about the plans to open up skies.
India had inked a memorandum of understanding with Greece for open skies,
allowing airlines from Greece to operate unlimited flights to six Indian
metropolitan airports.
Countries sign Air Service Agreements through bilateral negotiations to
decide on the number of flights that airlines can fly into each others

Open Skies:

The concept of Open Skies has its origin in the Chicago Convention of 1944
which was held towards the end of World War II and was intended to prepare
a framework within which civil air transport could develop.

Open sky refers to an agreement between two countries to allow any number
of airlines to fly from either of them without any restriction or with minimum
Its primary objectives are:

1. To liberalize the rules for international aviation markets and minimize

government intervention.
2. To adjust the regime under which military and other state-based flights may
be permitted.

For open skies to become effective Air Transport Agreement must be

concluded between two or more nations:

1. Bilateral Air Transport Agreement: A bilateral air transport agreement is a

contract to liberalize aviation services (usually commercial civil aviation)
between two contracting states. A bilateral air services agreement allows the
airlines of both states to launch commercial flights that cover the transport of
passengers and cargoes of both countries.
2. Multilateral Air Transport Agreement: A multilateral air services
agreement involves more than two contracting states.

India and Open Sky Agreements:

India has open sky agreements with US without restriction, with some
restrictions with UK, a limited open-sky with ASEAN and bilateral
agreements with more than 100 countries.
Open sky policy in National Civil Aviation Policy 2016 The National Civil
Aviation Policy 2016 has proposed to remove all restrictions on number of
flights to and from destinations in SAARC and a radius beyond 5000Kms.
The government would enter into Open Sky agreement with SAARC
countries and countries with territory located entirely beyond a 5000 km
radius from New Delhi.
The government has also restricted this to a few airports to protect the
domestic airlines.


More flight choice will bring down the cost of air travel.
Increase in competition will provide better services to the customers.
It will also give boost to tourism and trade.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : International Relation
News Source : The Hindu
Mystery behind birth of Saturns rings solved
Details :
What researchers said:

The giant planets in our solar system have very diverse rings.
Observations show that Saturns rings are made of more than 95 per cent icy
particles, while the rings of Uranus and Neptune are darker and may have
higher rock content.
Planetary rings that surround Saturn, Neptune and Uranus were formed four
billion years ago when large objects passed very close to planets and got
It is thought that thousands of Pluto-sized objects from the Kuiper belt existed
beyond Neptune.
According to researchers these large objects passed close to the giant planets
and were destroyed by their tidal force during the Late Heavy Bombardment.

Kuiper Belt:

The Kuiper Belt is a disc-shaped region beyond Neptune that extends from
about 30 to 55 astronomical units (compared to Earth which is one
astronomical unit, or AU, from the sun).
The region is probably populated with hundreds of thousands of icy bodies
larger than 100 km (62 miles) across and an estimated trillion or more comets.

Dwarf planet Pluto may be the best known of the larger objects in the Kuiper
Belt. Comets from the Kuiper Belt take less than 200 years to orbit the sun.
Objects in the Kuiper Belt are presumed to be remnants from the formation of
the solar system about 4.6 billion years ago.
The first of these bodies, which astronomers call Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs),
came to light in 1992.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Science & Tech
News Source : The Hindu
Winking at the States Editorial 2nd Nov'16 The Hindu
Details :
Winking at the States
The Central government wanted to amend the Right to Fair Compensation and
Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, as it
was deemed restrictive for its policies such as Make in India, but was unable to do
so in the face of public opposition.
So, the government is encouraging States to draft and pass their own laws for land
acquisition and get them approved by the Centre.
Following this,states like Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Telangana have
amended their laws or working in that direction.
Three concerns
As per the doctrine of occupied field under Article 254(1) of the Constitution, if
there exists a Central law on a concurrent subject, then a State law cannot override
However, Article 254(2) provides that if a State law receives presidential assent
after due consideration, then it can apply in contravention to the Central law in that
particular State.

This provision is used to permit States to pass land acquisition laws in conflict with
the 2013 Act and it gives rise to three grave jurisprudential concerns.
1)Doctrine of colourable legislation
Article 254(2) intends to bring in changes to Central laws if there are genuine
difficulties in implementing them in a particular State due to its special conditions.
It doesnt intend to weaken inconvenient central laws.
The 2013 law is constitutionally sound and enjoys widespread public support.
If the Central Government tries to weaken the 2013 law by using Article 254(2), it
falls under the doctrine of colourable legislation as what the government cannot do
directly, it cannot do indirectly.
Therefore, it can be struck down by the judiciary.
2)Presidential assent
The Supreme Court in a landmark Constitution Bench decision in Kaiser-I-Hind
Pvt. Ltd. v. National Textile Corporation (2002) held, in relation to Article 254(2),
there should be active application of mind by the President.
Constitutional scholar Durga Das Basu also supports this interpretation.
Therefore it is clear that the President must act deliberately and consciously and
not merely on the advice of the Council of Ministers.
The President must examine if compelling reasons exists to sanction significant
deviations from the 2013 law.
The Supreme Court in the Kaiser-i-Hind case, has made it clear that Presidential
assent under Article 254(2) is also open to judicial review on the ground that
whether there was thorough reflection and conscious application of mind by the
President or not.
3) Undermining Parliament
If States are allowed to dilute inconvenient Central laws on subjects of Concurrent
list as they deem fit, it defeats the very purpose of having a Concurrent list and
undermines the Parliament.

Here distinction must be made between Parliament and the Central government.
The Central Government wishes to dilute the 2013 law which is an Act of
Therefore it is breaching the provisions of Article 254(1) which give supremacy to
laws made by Parliament unless States have a genuine necessity to deviate.
Way forward
The Centres use of Article 254(2) can be successfully challenged in the Courts.
This will lead to uncertainty in policy and unnecessary delays.
Therefore, if there are deficiencies in the 2013 law, they should be addressed by
bringing about consensus among all the stakeholders and not by exploiting
constitutional loopholes.
GS 2 (polity)
Related questions
The Central governments approach to Land acquisition and labour laws is not
without legal infirmities. Comment.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Editorial Analysis
News Source : The Hindu
Nov. 1, 2016
A.P., Telangana top in ease of doing business
Details :
What is the news?

Andhra Pradesh and Telengana have jointly topped the 2016 all-India
State/Union Territory-wise Ease of Doing Business rankings.
The rankings are based on a 340-point business reform action plan and their
implementation by the States.
The 340 reform areas are broadly under categories including construction
permit, environmental and labour registration, obtaining electricity
connection, online tax-return filing, inspection reform, access to information
and transparency, single window, land availability and commercial dispute
The World Bank and Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP),
Ministry of Commerce was involved in the process of reviewing the evidence
submitted by states/UTs regarding implementation of reforms for the
While last year only seven States had implemented over 50 per cent of the
total reform points and no State had an implementation percentage of over 75
per cent, this year 17 States crossed the 50 per cent implementation mark and
16 states had an implementation percentage of over 75 per cent.
The national implementation average stands at 48.93 per cent. This
demonstrates the great progress made by States this year.
Four of the seven states with the lowest income levels in India have found a
place in the top ten ranks. These states include Chhattisgarh (fourth rank),
Madhya Pradesh (fifth), Jharkhand (seventh) and Rajasthan (eighth).
The top ten ranks in 2016 included Andhra Pradesh & Telengana (98.78 per
cent each implementation rate), followed by Gujarat (98.21 per cent),
Chhattisgarh (97.32 per cent), Madhya Pradesh (97.01 per cent), Haryana
(96.95 per cent), Jharkhand (96.57 per cent), Rajasthan (96.43 per cent),
Uttarakhand (96.13 per cent) and Maharashtra (92.86 per cent).
The categorisation of states according to implementation percentage:

1. The Leaders Category: These states have an implementation percentage of 90100 percent, include the top ten ranked states and Odisha and Punjab (91.07
2. The Aspiring Leaders: They have an implementation rate of 70-90 percent and
include Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Bihar.
3. The acceleration required category: This category includes Himachal
Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Delhi with an implementation rate between 40 to
4. The jump start needed category: This is the category with an
implementation percentage of 0-40 percent and include Kerala, Goa, Tripura,

Daman and Diu, Assam, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Puducherry, Nagaland,
Manipur, Mizoram, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir,
Chandigarh, Meghalaya , Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and Lakshadweep.

About State ease of doing business index:

In 2014, the Prime Minister of India requested the World Bank Group to
support Indias efforts to enhance Indias competitiveness and increase
manufactured exports.
Taking cue from World Banks Ease of doing business index, DIPP then
decided to start a similar initiative to promote competitiveness among states.
The DIPP hosted website for states to update their performance on 340 preidentified parameters on a real-time basis and prepared a report card on the
The parameters are assessed by both World Bank and DIPP.
Stakeholders, including companies or individuals also gave feedback on the
portal about the improvements made by states on each of those parameters.
Digitised land records at local municipality offices, land banks' availability for
industrial use, time taken in giving power connections to manufacturing units,
hours of power supply, and the provision for e-filing for commercial disputes
at district courts were a few parameters among the 340 identified.
The DIPP hopes the entire effort will help India's investment climate and
improve its ranking in the World Bank's report.

There is a healthy competition among States on ease of doing business. This

exercise is an important aspect in the government's agenda to transform India.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Economics
News Source : The Hindu
Core sector growth at 5% in September
Details :
The News:

Indias core sectors grew by 5 per cent overall in September.

The growth in the Index of Eight Core Industries in September was much
stronger than the 3.2 per cent growth seen in August.
The growth is driven mainly by strong growth in the steel and petroleum
products sectors.
The steel and cement sectors are the two major ones linked with
infrastructure. So, the growth seen in these two sectors can be linked to the
government push in roads and railways.
The overall energy component of the Index of Eight Core Industries
represented by the coal, crude oil, and natural gas sectors has contracted in

About Index of Eight Core Industries:

The Eight Core Industries are Electricity, steel, refinery products, crude oil,
coal, cement, natural gas and fertilisers.
The compilation of monthly Index of Eight Core Industries (base: 2004-05) is
done and released by Office of Economic Advisor, DIPP, Ministry of
Commerce and Industry.

The Eight Core Industries comprise nearly 38% of the weight of items
included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) which is released by
Central Statistical Office.
The combined Index of Eight Core Industries stands at 176.1 in September,
2016, which was 5.0 % higher compared to the index of September, 2015. Its
cumulative growth during April to September, 2016-17 was 4.6 %.

1. Coal: Coal production (weight: 4.38 %) declined by 5.8 % in September,

2016 over September, 2015. The contracted coal production partially reflects
the oversupply in the markets and is likely to remain lackluster in the coming
2. Crude Oil: Crude Oil production (weight: 5.22 %) declined by 4.1 % in
September, 2016 over September, 2015. The price of crude oil is
internationally low, and if the cost of production is higher than this, then it
makes sense for domestic producers to not produce crude at this time.
3. Natural Gas: The Natural Gas production (weight: 1.71 %) declined by 5.5 %
in September, 2016 over September, 2015.
4. Refinery Products: Petroleum Refinery production (weight: 5.94%)
increased by 9.3 % in September, 2016 over September, 2015.
5. Fertilizers: Fertilizer production (weight: 1.25%) increased by 2.0 % in
September, 2016 over September, 2015.
6. Steel (Alloy + Non-Alloy): Steel production (weight: 6.68%) increased by
16.3 % in September, 2016 over September, 2015. With steel, earlier there
was dumping by China that was affecting the sector. But the minimum import
price (MIP) has helped to achieve double digits growth.
7. Cement: Cement production (weight: 2.41%) increased by 5.5 % in
September, 2016 over September, 2015.
8. Electricity: Electricity generation (weight: 10.32%) increased by 2.2 % in
September, 2016 over September, 2015.

Related Questions:
Question: In India, in the overall Index of Industrial Production, the Indices of
Eight Core Industries have a combined weight of 37-90%. Which of the following
are among those Eight Core Industries? (UPSC, Prelims 2012)

3.Natural gas
4.Refinery products
Select the correct answer using the codes given below :
(a) 1 and 5 only
(b) 2, 3 and 4 only
(c) 1, 2, 3 and 4 only
(d) 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
Solution: (c)

Question: In the Index of Eight Core Industries, which one of the following is
given the highest weight? (UPSC Prelims, 2015)
(a) Coal Production
(b) Electricity generation
(c) Fertilizer Production
(d) Steel Production

Solution: (b)

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Economics

News Source : The Hindu

300 million children breathe toxic air
Details :
The News:
According to report released by UNICEF:

Two-hundred and twenty million children in South Asia region including

India are among nearly 300 million globally which are currently living in
areas where outdoor air pollution exceeds international guidelines by at least
six times.
The study titled Clear the Air for Children is based on satellite imagery and
has categorised the affected areas based on the quantum of particulate matter,
ranging from 10 to 60 g/m3 (the amount of micrograms of ultra-fine
particulate matter per cubic metre of air that constitutes a long term hazard).
The World Health Organisation annual limit for PM 2.5 is 10 g/m3.
Many of these children are already disadvantaged by poverty and deprivation.
Some are already at heightened risk from conflicts, crises and the intensifying
effects of climate change.
Every year, nearly 600,000 children under the age of five die from diseases
caused or exacerbated by the effects of indoor and outdoor air pollution.
Globally, air pollution affects children in low-income and middle-income
countries more.
More than 60 per cent of the population in India continue to use solid fuels in
household cooking, contributing to over 100,000 child deaths associated with
indoor air pollution in 2012.

Fine Particles, Particulate Matter 2.5:

Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is an air pollutant that is a concern for

people's health when levels in air are high.
PM2.5 are tiny particles in the air that reduce visibility and cause the air to
appear hazy when levels are elevated.
Outdoor PM2.5 levels are most likely to be elevated on days with little or no
wind or air mixing.

What is Particulate Matter 2.5 (PM2.5)?

The term fine particles, or particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5), refers to tiny
particles or droplets in the air that are two and one half microns or less in
Outdoor air levels of fine particles increase during periods of stagnant air
(very little wind and air mixing), when the particles are not carried away by
wind, or when winds bring polluted air into the state from sources outside the
state. In general, as the levels of PM2.5 in outdoor air increase, the air appears
hazy and visibility is reduced.

Where does PM2.5 come from?

There are outdoor and indoor sources of fine particles.

Outside, fine particles primarily come from car, truck, bus and off-road
vehicle (e.g., construction equipment, snowmobile, locomotive) exhausts,
other operations that involve the burning of fuels such as wood, heating oil or
coal and natural sources such as forest and grass fires. Fine particles also form
from the reaction of gases or droplets in the atmosphere from sources such as
power plants. As fine particles can be carried long distances from their source,
events such as wildfires or volcanic eruptions can raise fine particle
concentrations hundreds of miles from the event.
Some indoor sources of fine particles are tobacco smoke, cooking (e.g.,
frying, sauting, and broiling), burning candles or oil lamps, and operating
fireplaces and fuel-burning space heaters (e.g., kerosene heaters).

How can PM2.5 affect health?

Particles in the PM2.5 size range are able to travel deeply into the respiratory
tract, reaching the lungs.
Exposure to fine particles can cause short-term health effects such as eye,
nose, throat and lung irritation, coughing, sneezing, runny nose and shortness
of breath.

Studies also suggest that long term exposure to fine particulate matter may be
associated with increased rates of chronic bronchitis, asthma, reduced lung
function and increased mortality from lung cancer and heart disease.
People with breathing and heart problems, children and the elderly may be
particularly sensitive to PM2.5.
Chronic exposure to high pollution is associated with an increased risk of
miscarriage and early labor in pregnant women and low birth weight.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Environment & Ecology
News Source : The Hindu
The pivot through Kabul Editorial 1st Nov'16 The Hindu
Details :

The pivot through Kabul

Afghanistan, under President Hamid Karzai, had asked India to supply a range of
military equipment but India dragged its feet due to fear of provoking Pakistan.
But President Ashraf Ghanisoutreach to Pakistan and peace overtures to
Talibanmade any military cooperation between New Delhi and Kabul difficult and
But after Presidents Ghanis failed experiments with Pakistan and Taliban,
Afghanistan is looking back at India and the question of arms has come back on the
India had already donated some transport and attack helicopters and there may be
plans to supply artillery, trucks and even light armoured vehicles.
Will this change anything?
Even though the Afghan National Security Forces have made important progress
against Islamic State, they have suffered serious reverses against Taliban despite
foreign support.
At the strategic level, arms cannot compensate for failure of leadership in the
police, army and at the political level. They may, at best, make a marginal
But their real purpose is to serve as political signals of support, aiding Mr. Ghanis
tilt back towards New Delhi and ensuring that India left out of the four-nation
Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) on peace talks comprising Afghanistan,
Pakistan, China, and the U.S. retains influence over the direction of the conflict.
Broader trend
Indias supply of arms to Afghanistan points to a broader trend of projection of
national power through arms export.
India is well positioned to become a net provider of security in the immediate
region and beyond but New Delhi has emphasised soft security missions, like
disaster relief and evacuation, rather than full military missions.

Arms sales and donations provide a middle ground.

India is a small player in this game but its clout is growing.
Indian arms exports doubled by value from 2012-13 to 2014-15 to over $200
Most of these have been spares and minor equipment but India has also exported
patrol boats, maritime patrol aircraft, radar, armoured vehicles, anti-tank weapons,
and helicopters.
India directly operates some of these assets, notably part of the coastal surveillance
radar chain unfolding across the Seychelles, Mauritius, Maldives, and Sri Lanka.
There are also talks of export of BRAHMOS missiles, Light Combat Helicopter
and LCA Tejas. . This would be extremely consequential and all of these platforms
would affect the military balance in a significant way.
Indias growing arms footprint in Afghanistan points to an important future aspect
of its regional power projection.
Rewards and risks
Arms generate revenue but more importantly they can also transform the balance
of power, cement alliances, and provide influence during crises and wars.
But there are also risks associated with it. Arms can be looted or even turned on
their provider, especially where regimes change suddenly. Arms can also fuel
conflicts, reducing the incentive on one side or another to negotiate with
Way forward
Arms export can be an important tool to project Indias military power as India
adopts a more assertive military policy.
But supply of arms should be done under a well-defined policy with clear focus on
the outcomes to be achieved through it.
GS 3 (International relations)

Related question
Indias incremental arms supply to Afghanistan points to a broader trend of using
arms export to project national power. Elaborate. Discuss pros and cons of this

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Editorial Analysis
News Source : The Hindu
Oct. 29, 2016
India must ready itself to implement TFA
Details :
What is the news?

The views were expressed by the chairman of the National Committee on

Trade Facilitation (NCTF), during its first meeting. The NCTF is a mandatory
requirement under the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation.
There is a need for the trade ecosystem to increasingly become growthoriented.
India must prepare itself to implement the commitments under the Trade
Facilitation Agreement (TFA).
The significant areas of the TFA are: simplification of procedures, reduction
in time and cost, augmentation of infrastructure and greater use of technology.

Trade facilitation

Traders from both developing and developed countries have long pointed to
the vast amount of red tape that still exists in moving goods across borders,
and which poses a particular burden on small and medium-sized enterprises.

In December 2013, WTO members concluded negotiations on a Trade

Facilitation Agreement at the Bali Ministerial Conference, as part of a wider
Bali Package.
The Trade Facilitation Agreement will enter into force once two-thirds of
members have completed their domestic ratification process.
The TFA was the first Agreement concluded at the WTO by all of its


The Trade Facilitation Agreement contains provisions for expediting the

movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit.
It also sets out measures for effective cooperation between customs and other
appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues.
It further contains provisions for technical assistance and capacity building in
this area.
The Agreement will help improve transparency, increase possibilities to
participate in global value chains, and reduce the scope for corruption.

Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility:

The WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility (TFAF or the Facility) was created
at the request of developing and least-developed country (LDC) Members to help
ensure that they receive the assistance they need to reap the full benefits of the
Trade Facilitation Agreement and to support the ultimate goal of full
implementation of this new Agreement by all Members.

India and TFA:

India has ratified Trade Facilitation Agreement of WTO and instrument of

Acceptance for Trade Facilitation Agreement was handed over to WTO in
April, 2016.
India is 76th WTO member to accept TFA.
The objectives under TFA are in consonance with Indias Ease of doing
business initiative.
India is looking forward to reap benefits from international trade.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Economics
News Source : The Hindu
Range of BrahMos to be doubled

Details :
The News:

In 2016, as India became a member of the MTCR, India and Russia are now
planning to jointly develop a new generation of Brahmos missiles with 600
km-plus range and an ability to hit protected targets with pinpoint accuracy.
India and Russia have agreed to double the range of the BrahMos supersonic
cruise missile that the two produce together.
Earlier, India was denied access to the missile technology with range over 300
km as it was not a member state.
BrahMos, which is one of its kind, has already been deployed by the Army
and the Navy in anti-ship and precision strike roles respectively. The air
version is at present undergoing testing.


It is a joint venture between the Russian Federation's NPO Mashinostroeyenia

and India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
The missile is named after two rivers, the Brahmaputra and the Moskva.
BrahMos is two-staged missile with solid propellant booster engine as its first
stage which brings it to supersonic speed.
The liquid ramjet or second stage takes the missile closer to 3 Mach speed in
cruise phase.
The missile flight range of up to 290 kms.
It operates on fire and forget principle.
Its cruising altitude could be up to 15 kms.
It can carry conventional warhead of 200-300 kgs.

About MTCR:

The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) is an informal and

voluntary partnership among 35 countries to prevent the proliferation of
missile and unmanned aerial vehicle technology capable of carrying a 500
kg payload for at least 300 km.
The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) was established in
April 1987 by the G7 countries: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan,
Great Britain, and the United States.
India applied for the membership in 2014, and became a member on June
2016. India is the newest member of MTCR with consensus of the current
34 nations.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Defence & Security
News Source : The Hindu
New strain in India-China ties
Details :

Why in news?
After Indian government said that it will allow Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama
to visit Arunachal Pradesh (which China claims is part of southern Tibet), China
warned India that this will damage bilateral relations and the peace and stability of
border areas.

About the conflict:

Government says that Dalai Lama is a guest of India and was free to travel
across the country, including Arunachal Pradesh.
China claims around 90,000 square kilometres of Arunachal Pradesh. It
describes the area as "disputed territory and brazenly calls it "Southern
China sees Arunachal as part of Tibet based on some historical connections
though China itself has never controlled Arunachal Pradesh.
China also dislikes Dalai Lama as he is the leader of the Tibet. Tibet was
annexed by China in the 1950s.
China is able to politically control Tibet region but not able to win the hearts
of Tibetans.
Tibet is also geographically, strategically and spiritually important for Indian
as Tibets Kailash-Mansarover, a mountain-and-lake duo is sacred to four
faiths: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Tibets indigenous religion, Bon.
Several major rivers, including the Indus, the Brahmaputra, the Sutlej and the
Karnali, originate around this holy duo.

Dalai Lama:

The Dalai Lama is a monk of the Gelug or "Yellow Hat" school of Tibetan
Buddhism, the newest of the schools of Tibetan Buddhism. The present Dalai
Lama is the 14th.
From 1642 until the 1950s, the Dalai Lamas headed the Tibetan government
in Lhasa which governed all or most of the Tibetan plateau.
In 1951, the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government were forced to accept
the Agreement for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet by which it became
formally a part of China.
Following the failed 1959 Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule, the 14th
Dalai Lama sought refuge in India.
The Dalai Lama has since lived in exile in Dharamshala, in the state of
Himachal Pradesh. From here, he runs the Tibetan Government in Exile with
the goal of restoring freedom and happiness in Tibet.
China doesn't recognise the Tibetan Government in Exile and blames Dalai
Lama for conspiring against China and encouraging rebellion in Tibet against

India providing refuge has created huge amount of tension between China and


Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh holds special significance in the BuddhistTibetan tradition as the Dalai Lama had reached here when he left Tibet in
Tawang is the home to the 328-year-old Galden Namgey Lhatse Monastery.
This is Tibetan Buddhism's biggest monastery after the Potala Palace in
This monastery is one of the biggest in Asia and its affairs have been run in
accordance with the Dalai Lamas instructions since 1970s.
Tawang is also strategically important. It offers the shortest route between
Tibet and Indias Brahmaputra Valley. There is a fear that Beijings control
over Arunachal and Tawang in particular would make it extremely easy for
Chinese forces to enter India.


Due to some diplomatic blunders, the spotlight these days is on Chinas Tibetlinked claim to Arunachal, rather than on Tibets status itself.
India needs to redirect issue towards the status of Tibet as part of China itself.

Chinas hydro-engineering projects in Tibet are another reminder that Tibet

India must regain leverage over the Tibet issue.
India should emphasize that its acceptance of Chinas claim over Tibet hinged
on a grant of genuine autonomy to that region.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : International Relation
News Source : The Hindu
Oct. 28, 2016
Reviving a vanishing folk art form in Bengal
Details :
What is the news?

The traditional Bengal art of alpana, invoking Gods with finger-painted motifs,
is now all but lost.
The brush strokes of acrylic paint or printed plastic stickers of the traditional
art have taken its place in most of the houses and the myriad community pujamandaps.
Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage under its cultural heritage
programme, has joined hands with the Daricha Foundation, which also works
to revive tribal and folk arts, to give alpana a fresh lease of life.
INTACH is now exploring whether it can be made into a source of revenue for
girls from underprivileged sections.
Although there is little awareness about alpana among the youth of West
Bengal, it has generated interest among people across the seas who see in it a
unique art form.

About Alpana:

The word Alpana is derived from the Sanskrit alimpana, which means 'to
plaster' or 'to coat with'.
Alpana is the Bengal folk art where colorful motifs are drawn on auspicious
It is adorned on the walls and floors of houses.
The motifs are ritualistic images from mythology and scriptures.
In the art, finger is the brush and a paste comprising mainly rice powder is the
Traditionally, green from leaves and red from sindoor is used as colors.
Alpana is intrinsically linked with religious austerity (called brotos or vrat)
practised by women of mostly rural West Bengal for the well-being of the

Related Question:
UPSC Prelims, 2015
Question: Kalamkari painting refers to
(a) a hand-painted cotton textile in South India

(b) a handmade drawing on bamboo handicrafts in North-East India

(e) a block-painted woollen cloth in Western Himalayan region of India
(d) a hand-painted decorative silk cloth in North-Western India

Solution: a)

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : History & Culture
News Source : The Hindu
Hyderabad keeps business-friendly tag
Details :
What is the News?

Hyderabad has maintained its record in the ease of doing business by securing
first place in two parameters enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency
in the latest report released by the World Bank.
The World Bank report measuring business regulations, has surveyed 17 cities
across the country in terms of starting a business, dealing with construction
permits, registering property, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing
contracts and resolving insolvency.
The City of Pearls was ranked number two, next to Ludhiana, in terms of
overall ease of doing business.

Indias ranking in the World Banks annual Doing Business survey:

India moved up only one position in the IFC ease of doing business rankings.
The Doing Business 2017 report showed that India was placed 130th among
190 countries
Out of 10 parameters, Indias ranking this year improved in two, remained
unchanged in three and worsened in five.

The government was expecting at least a 10-spot jump on the back of several
ease of doing business measures taken in the past two years.

Our Report Card:

This is the first time Indias absolute score, that measures the gap between
India and the global best practice, has improved for two consecutive yearsto
55.27 in 2017 from 53.93 last year. Additionally, Indias distance to frontier
score improved on 6 out of 10 indicators, showing India is increasingly
progressing towards best practice.
India made the sharpest jump in getting electricity, with its rank jumping 44
spots to 26.
India made getting electricity faster and cheaper by streamlining the process
of getting a new commercial electricity connection.
Indias rank also improved in the enforcing contracts parameter by 6 spots
to 172.
India made enforcing contracts easier by creating dedicated divisions to
resolve commercial cases.
Though Indias ranking in paying taxes deteriorated by 15 spots to 172, the
World Bank said India made paying taxes easier by introducing an electronic
system for paying employee state insurance contributions.
Indias ranking in trading across borders also fell by 10 spots to 143 though
the World Bank recognized Indias reforms in making imports and exports
easier through the launch of the ICEGATE portal and simplifying border and
documentary procedures.
India moved up nine spots in the criteria of starting a business to 155 in 2016
from 164 last year and its ranking for dealing with construction permits also
moved up one spot to 183.
In segments such as protecting minority investors, registering property,
trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency, Indias
rankings remained the same as last year.
However, in the area of protecting minority interests of shareholders, India is
ranked at eight, its best ranking across all parameters.
The government has announced its plans to resolve insolvency issues and
enforcing contracts through legislations such as the bankruptcy law and public
contracts dispute resolution bill areas where it is languishing in the overall
Ease of Doing Business rankings.

What Next?

The World Bank has not recognized as many as 12 reform measures carried
out by the government.
Government of India says it will continue its engagement with the World
Bank and address their concerns to include these reforms in next years doing
business report.
Also once the government implements the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code
by the year end and the goods and services tax (GST) comes into force by
April next year, Indias ranking will significantly improve.
World Bank has said taht the experience of implementing reforms based on
doing business data has demonstrated to the government the significance of
establishing clear stakeholder feedback mechanisms to close the gaps between
policy formulation and implementation
It, however, recognized reforms by India in four areas: getting electricity,
enforcing contracts, paying taxes and trading across borders.
The World Bank, does not take into account government notifications of
reforms, basing the rankings instead on field surveys and interviews with
corporate lawyers and company executives.
Therefore the government will soon appoint an external agency and launch a
portal for round-the-clock feedback from users on the policy steps launched
by the government.

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-3

Subject : Economics
News Source : The Hindu
Centres nod for new pact on trade with Bhutan
Details :
What is the News?

The Cabinet has approved a new agreement on trade, commerce and transit
between India and Bhutan.
The pact provides for a free trade regime between two countries, and duty free
transit of Bhutanese merchandise for trade with third countries.
As per the pact, bilateral trade between the two countries will continue to be
transacted in Indian Rupees and Bhutanese Ngultrums.

Bilateral Trades:

The bilateral trade relations between India and Bhutan are governed by the
'Agreement on Trade, Commerce and Transit' between the Government of
India and Bhutan.
The agreement was renewed in July 2006 for a period of ten years.
The validity of the agreement was extended, with effect from July 29, 2016,
for a period of one year or till the new agreement comes into force, through
exchange of diplomatic notes.
The bilateral trade had grown by 55 per cent year-on-year in FY16 to $750
million, with Indias exports increasing 40.4 per cent to $469 million, while
imports from Bhutan rose 87 per cent to $281 million.

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-2

Subject : International Relation
News Source : The Hindu
Degree screening goes digital
Details :
What is the news?

The government has given approval for establishment of a National Academic

Depository (NAD) where all academic degrees, certificates and awards would
be digitally available for verification.
The measure would be implemented with this administrative decision only
and it would not require the introduction of a Bill.
Academic institutions would be directed to upload and authenticate all
documents in digital form.
NAD will verify academic awards online on the same day of request initiated
by any authorised user.
NAD shall maintain the authenticity, integrity and confidentiality of its
It will also train and facilitate academic institutions/boards/ eligibility
assessment bodies to efficiently lodge academic awards in the database.
Once such a system will be in place, fake degrees would become a thing of the
NSDL Database Management Limited (NDML) and CDSL Ventures Limited
(CVL), wholly-owned subsidiaries of the Depositories registered under the

Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Act, 1992, would operationalise

the NAD.

About NAD:

"National Academic Depository (NAD)" is an initiative of Ministry of Human

Resources Development, Government of India (MHRD).
NAD is a Unique, Innovative and Progressive step towards achieving Digital
enablement of the Education Records.
NAD promises to do away with difficulties / inefficiencies of collecting,
maintaining, and presenting physical paper certificates.
NAD is not only a database copy of the certificate records for Academic
Institutes but a complete system for Issuing Online Certificates to well
identified and registered students.
NAD also brings trust and credibility to genuine certificate holders and makes
their certificates trusted and easily accepted.

Features of NAD

A system for Issuance, Hosting, Access of Digital Certificates and Online

NAD will facilitate Academic Institutions to directly lodge the details of
Academic Awards Issued in an online manner.
The Academic Institution will include the details of the Aadhaar Number of
the Student as part of the Certificate details so that Certificate can be securely
made available to the concerned student.
Registered students will have a Unique account on NAD System and can
access all their records 24/7 in an online secure manner.
NAD can be accessed online by all authorized verifiers i.e. Academic
Institutes admitting students for higher education, Employers, Banks,
Government organizations etc. for verification of academic awards of
prospective candidates.
NAD System will notify the concerned student about the verification request
and if the student confirms to share the certificate details, the record would be
made available to the verifying party for verification.

NAD system has the necessary security feature to ensure that only authorized
users have access to authorized functions.

Benefits of NAD

For Students & Certificate Holders

1. Early receipt of online certificates as compared to physical certificates.

2. Online, 24/7 access to all certificate records and no risk of losing, mutilation
3. Easy acceptability of online verifiable certificates without requiring attested
copies, original presentation.
4. Easy facility for applying and obtaining duplicate copy of the certificates.
5. Easy facility to submit verifiable copy of the certificate to employers, higher
educational institutes.

For Academic Institutes

1. Reduction in the cost and efforts for certificate issuance and verification
2. IT Back-end for maintaining updated data of certificates.
3. Reduces the menace of Fake & Forged Certificates.

For Certificate Verification Users

1. Centralized system enabling verification of academic awards of various

academic institutions at a single place.
2. Online verification of academic awards thereby reducing the time and cost
involved in verification.
3. Quicker processing of underlying Job application, Loan application and
Admission application.
4. Fully Online, Transparent and Auditable system reduces the need for
intermediation and associated risks.
Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Polity & Governance

News Source : The Hindu
No total bar on religion in speeches: Supreme Court
Details :
What is the News?

The Constitution Bench, which is examining the 1995 Hindutva judgement

of the apex court, said its mandate does not include going into the
permissibility of using religion in political speeches.
Rather than a blanket bar on religion in political speeches, Chief Justice of
India T.S. Thakur, who is heading the Bench, said political speeches should be
judged in the context they are made.
The Bench was replying to arguments made by senior advocate Indira Jaising,
representing social activist Teesta Setalvad, who sought a complete divorce of
politics from religion.
The court expressed its restraint even as three BJP-ruled States Madhya
Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan submitted that religion can never be
separated from society.
The Bench reserved the question for judgement.


The apex courts three-judge bench in 1995 had held that Hindutva/Hinduism
is a way of life of the people in the sub-continent and is a state of mind.
The judgement was delivered in the case of Manohar Joshi versus N B Patil
which was authored by Justice J S Verma who found that the statement by
Joshi that the first Hindu State will be established in Maharashtra did not
amount to appeal on ground of religion.
The observation was made while dealing with the question regarding the
scope of corrupt practices as mentioned in sub-section (3) of Section 123 of
the 1951 Representation of People Act.

Arguments given by the States:

The states told the Supreme Court that religion is not an anathema to the
Constitution but a part of society, so the courts should refrain from laying

down any straitjacket standard on what an election manifesto can or cannot

Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, arguing for the state governments
of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, said that it was not possible to
separate religion from society, and hence it was impossible for the courts to
define yardsticks in this regard.
The state governments said the courts cannot pre-empt, define or spell out
what can be permitted in an election manifesto, adding that the Election
Commission and the high courts are the competent authorities to look into the
issue after the election is held.
He said every case would have to be judged on its own merit, to see whether it
was tantamount to corrupt practice as stipulated under the Representation of
the People Act.
According to Mehta, since the provision uses the composite phrase religion,
caste, community, language while defining corrupt practice, there can be
no justification for treating one corrupt practice as more severe than the other,
only because the expression religion comes into play.
He argued that the concept of separation between the Church and the State
is not used to promote any particular religion, and hence, there is no need to
enlarge its scope.
The bench asked Mehta why the state governments were bothered about the
use of religion and content of political speeches.
Mehta said if NGOs and activists were being allowed to intervene in the
matter, state governments definitely had a stake too.

The Views given by the Constitution Bench:

A seven-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, which is hearing a

clutch of petitions relating to use of religion in political speeches and
manifestos, observed that it was perhaps not possible to chart out dos and
donts of political speeches.
We are not going into the permissibility of religion in political speeches. We
cannot give an exhaustive listing of you can say this and you cannot say that
in political speeches, said the bench, when senior advocate Indira Jaising,
appearing for activist Teesta Setalvad, argued that a line must be drawn and
religion should be kept out of politics.
Justice Thakur said the Constitution Bench is not looking into whether
religion should be barred from political speeches.

Instead, the Bench is only determining whether the bar on invoking religion
under Article 123 (3) of the Representation of People Act, 1951 in political
speeches was limited to only the religion of the candidate and his agent or to
the religion of the voters in general.

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-2

Subject : Polity & Governance
News Source : The Hindu
Ways out of the GST maze Editorial 28th Oct'16 The Hindu
Details :
Ways out of the GST maze
The passage of GST bill and the ratification of the Constitutional amendment bill
by the states, the Government have set before itself the deadline of 01 April 2017 to
implement GST.
In this process the GST council met in series of meetings to decide on various
aspects related to the implementation including the GST rates.
The third meeting of the council to decide on the GST rates ended without any
decision on GST rates as the states objected to Centres proposal to impose a cess
over and above the GST on ultra-luxury and demerit goods such as big cars, aerated
beverages and tobacco products.
Present status of indirect taxes
Currently, more than 25 different tax rates on various goods and services are levied
by 29 States and the Centre combined.
This yields nearly Rs.9 lakh crore as total indirect tax revenues.
The GST Council is trying to reduce these 25 different rates into three or four tax
rates to yield at least the same amount or more.
It is the difficulty in arriving at these 3 or 4 tax rates which should maximize the
tax revenues for the Government that has led to the proposal to impose the cess.

Centres concerns
As the States lose their fiscal autonomy under the GST and will now have limited
powers to raise their own revenues, they will be entirely dependent on transfers
from the Centre.
Therefore the Centre will compensate the states for any shortfall in the rvenues of
the States for a period of % years.
This has made the Centre to shore up its revenues by proposing an extra cess on
luxury goods.
If this is implemented, this would mean six different cess rates on nearly 40
different goods, which will result in 10-12 different tax rates.
Arguments in support of multiple rates and counter arguments
The Centre argues that multiple rates are necessary in an unequal society like
But India was as unequal when the GST was proposed as one nation, one tax.
The cess proposal is also defended on the grounds that there is no tax theory that
two tax rates are better than four.
This argument goes against the principle of GST which seeks to combine 25
different tax rates into 3 or 4 tax rates.
Revenue maximizing rate
The question is what will be the tax rates that will maximise revenues and
minimise inflation.
The GST council should stick to the recommendation of 18 % by the committee
headed by Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian.
There can be one slab below and one slab higher than this standard rate, other than
a 0 per cent rate for some essentials.
The expected buoyancy of tax revenues under the GST regime may make up for
the shortfall in the revenues.

If GST collections fall short?

If there is a shortfall in the revenue, the Centre will have to resort to additional
borrowing which should be excluded from the purview of FRBM Act.
This will put additional short-term pressure on monetary policy and crowd out
corporate credit but it is impossible to balance the revenues for States, clean GST
and fiscal discipline at the same time.
Protecting the poor
The economic diversity of Indias States makes categorizing of goods extremely
difficult. What may be luxury goods in one State may be essential goods in
The GST is an indirect tax and will affect the poor and rich equally.
Therefore, the poor should be protected from an unduly heavy tax burden through
a low uniform rate for most goods except elite and sin goods.
Who will collect these taxes?
A uniform tax administration to enable better compliance is also a part of GST.
The taxpayers should have minimum interface with the government, preferably
just one.
Since GST is a destination tax, States should collect it and Centre can keep audit
and enforcement functions.
Keeping in mind the above suggestions will be helpful in carrying along extremely
diverse States for a smoothtransition to a unified one nation, one tax regime.
GS 2 (issues and challenges pertaining to thefederal structure, devolution of
powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein)
GS 3 (mobilization of resources)

Related question
What challenges are expected in implementation of GST regime from the next
financial year? Suggest measures to overcome these challenges.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Editorial Analysis
News Source : The Hindu
Oct. 27, 2016
Thousands apply for the Narendra Modi Scholarship for Muslim Students
Details :
What is the news?
The Narendra Modi Scholarship for Muslim students received enthusiastic response
from students in Aligarh and beyond.

What is the scholarship?

The scholarship is named after Prime Minister Narendra Modi: Narendra Modi
Scholarship 2016 For Intermediate & Graduate Muslim.
It was constituted by an Aligarh-based group of Muslim intellectuals- the
Forum for Muslim Studies and Analysis (FMSA).
The scholarship is meant for economically backward Muslim students.
The scholarship was launched considering the weak economic condition of
Indian Muslims because of which a large number of Muslim children remain
uneducated or fail to have higher education.
The applicants compete for a total number of 100 annual scholarships of Rs.
5.000 each.
The large number of the applications showed the extent of desire among
Muslims to study.
The scholarship will be awarded to students of Class 12 and those pursuing their

Resolution on Madarsas:

The resolution was passed at a meeting presided by former Dean Faculty of

Science AMU.
The resolution said that while Madarsas should be modernised there should be
no attempt on the part of the government to meddle in their administration.
Madarsas play a vital role in educating the poorest section of Muslims, who
have no access to main stream education. If this arrangement was disturbed then
it would disturb the process of social upliftment of Muslims.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Social Issues
News Source : The Hindu
New Zealand to play constructive role in Indias NSG entry process
Details :
What is the News?

India failed to get an outright statement of support for its bid to become a
member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group from New Zealand Prime Minister
John Key after talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but officials said
they were encouraged by the discussions they held ahead of the next NSG
meeting on the issue on November 9-10.
The visit comes in the run-up to a crucial NSG Consultative Group (CG)
meeting to be held in Vienna specifically to consider whether countries that
havent signed on to the NPT (like India and Pakistan) can be considered for


Indias membership bid failed to make headway in June this year in Seoul, but
the new South Korean Chairperson of the Group had mandated outgoing

Argentine Chairperson Rafael Grossi to speak to all NSG members to discuss

the way forward so that Indias case could be taken up later this year.
New Zealand is part of a group called the New Agenda for Coalition which
promotes the NPT and pushes for nuclear disarmament worldwide.
In the past year, Indian Prime Minister has met leaders of all other members
of the group including Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand and
South Africa (Egypt is not a member of the NSG, however) in an effort to
soften their opposition to non-NPT members.
Of them, only Mexico has issued an open endorsement of Indias candidature
so far.

About the New Agenda Coalition (NAC):

Founded by Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa,

Sweden, and Slovenia (the latter two subsequently left the Coalition) in June
1998 with the Joint Declaration (sometimes called the Eight Nation
The New Agenda Coalition (NAC) is a group of geographically diverse,
middle power countries which formed in response to the divide between
nuclear weapon states (NWS) and non-nuclear weapon states (NNWS) during
negotiations regarding the indefinite extension of the NPT during 1995
Review Conference.
Non-nuclear weapon states believed that not enough progress was being made
on disarmament to have warranted the Indefinite Extension of the treaty in
1995, and that the nuclear weapons states were not fulfilling their legal
responsibilities towards disarmament, as outlined by Article VI of the NPT.
The NAC has called for the five nuclear-weapon states and the three nuclearweapon possessor states to make an unequivocal commitment to nuclear
disarmament and to begin multilateral negotiations that would lead to the
elimination of nuclear weapons through a Nuclear Weapons Convention.
The NAC was officially launched in Dublin in June 1998.
Presently it has 6 Members - Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand,
and South Africa.

About the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT):

The nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty came into force in 1970, following

widespread international concern about the risk of nuclear weapons
proliferation and the spiraling nuclear weapon stocks of those states that had
developed them.

The NPT is a multilateral treaty aimed at limiting the spread of nuclear

weapons including three elements: (1) non-proliferation, (2) disarmament, and
(3) peaceful use of nuclear energy.
It says:
States without nuclear weapons will not acquire them;
States with nuclear weapons will pursue disarmament;
All states can access nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, under
According to the treaty the nuclear weapon states are the United States, UK,
Russia, China and France.
Three states, Israel, India and Pakistan did not sign the NPT.
They stayed outside the treaty framework and have developed nuclear
North Korea signed the treaty but withdrew from it in 2003.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : International Relation
News Source : The Hindu
Govt notifies revised DTAA with South Korea
Details :
Why in news?
The government notified a new Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA)
between India and South Korea, which was signed by Prime Minister Narendra
Modi during his visit to Seoul in May 2015.

What is DTAA?

A DTAA is a tax treaty signed between two or more countries.

Its key objective is that tax-payers in these countries can avoid being taxed
twice for the same income. For example, your relative working in US doesn't
have to pay taxes both in US and India.
DTAAs are intended to make a country an attractive investment destination by
providing relief on dual taxation.
DTAAs also provide for concessional rates of tax in some cases.

A DTAA applies in cases where a tax-payer resides in one country and earns
income in another.
If he is taxed in the country where he earns, it is called source based taxation.
If he is taxed in the country where he resides, it is residence based taxation.
DTAAs can either be comprehensive to cover all sources of income or be
limited to certain areas such as taxing of income from shipping, air transport,
inheritance, etc.
India has DTAAs with more than eighty countries, of which comprehensive
agreements include those with Australia, Canada, Germany, Mauritius,
Singapore, UAE, the UK and US.

Capital Gains:

A capital gain is a profit that results from a sale of a capital asset, such as
stock, bond or real estate, where the sale price exceeds the purchase price.
The gain is the difference between a higher selling price and a lower purchase
The gains are subject to taxation.

Pros and Cons of DTAA on capital gains:

Pro: Favourable tax treatment for capital gains under certain DTAAs (such as the
one with Mauritius) have encouraged a lot of foreign investment into India.
Mauritius accounted for $94billion or one-third of the total FDI flows into India
between April 2000 and December 2015. It has also remained a favoured route for
foreign investors.
Con: DTAAs can become an incentive for even legitimate investors to route
investments through low-tax countries to sidestep taxation. This leads to loss of tax
revenue for the countries like India with higher tax rates.
Explanation: For example, even Indian companies set up a subsidiary in Mauritius
or other countries which have low tax rates. They then make new investments in
India through Mauritius based subsidiary. This way, using DTAA, they avoid
paying taxes in India (as tax rates here are high) and pay in Mauritius (where taxes
are very low). Similarly, many companies/indivuduals are getting away without
paying taxes in India though they are making huge profits from businesses in India.

India is now reworking DTAAs with all countries to make sure that such unethical
practices are put to an end.

News Summary:

India has revised the DTAA agreement with South Korea.

The revised DTAA provides for source based taxation of capital gains on
shares (on selling of shares of value more than 5 per cent of value of all
shares). The existing DTAA provided for residence based taxation of capital
gains on shares. This means, if a korean based individual or firm makes
capital gains through shares in Indian companies, they will be taxed in India.
The revised DTAA also provides for exclusive residence based taxation of
shipping income from international traffic.
The revised DTAA allows both countries to apply for Mutual Agreement
Procedure (MAP) in transfer pricing disputes as well as apply for bilateral
Advance Pricing Agreements (APA).
MAP is a mechanism laid down in tax treaties to ensure that taxation is in
accordance with the tax treaty.
In bilateral APAs, the governments of both sides are involved along with
companies concerned.


The revised DTAA provides tax certainty to the residents of India and Korea.
The revised DTAA aims to avoid the burden of double taxation for taxpayers
of two countries in order to promote and stimulate flow of investment,
technology and services between India and Korea.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Economics
News Source : The Hindu
Terror: India, Russia protest 'double talk'

Details :
What is the News?

Condemning double standards in the fight against terrorism, India and

Russia have called for collective efforts to combat terrorism.
The remarks were made by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and his
Russian counterpart General Sergey Shoigu at the beginning of the 16th
session of the Indo-Russian Inter-Governmental Commission for military and
technical cooperation held on 26th October.
India and Russia had reached agreements on major defence deals worth about
$10 billion during the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin during the
BRICS summit early this month.
Negotiations to conclude the final agreements based on the InterGovernmental Agreements are now under way for five S-400 air defence
systems and four Project 1135.6 follow-on Teg class stealth frigates.
The status of the ongoing negotiations for the joint development of the Fifth
Generation Fighter Aircraft was also reviewed.

For India-Russia relations, please read these following Articles:

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-2
Subject : International Relation
News Source : The Hindu
Oct. 26, 2016
India up one position in WB ease of business ranking
Details :
What is the news?

India has been ranked 130 in the 2016 report and was placed at 131 according
to the revised rankings for last year. Thus reflecting a marginal improvement.
India could not improve its ranking better despite reform measures that have
been lauded in the report because other countries around it in the ranking list
also did well last year.
Official at the WB praised the government for the reforms it undertook last
year and noted that India had made a noticeable improvement in the distance
to frontier (DTF) score - an absolute measure of progress towards best
Ranking is relative but DTF score is an absolute figure and India has
improved from 53.93 to 55.27 this year, while the perfect score is 100. New
Zealand that is ranked first has a DTF score of 87.01.
Four reform measures undertaken by India during the year helped the country
improve its DTF score. These are:

1. Getting electricity: India made getting electricity faster and cheaper by

streamlining the process of getting a new commercial electricity connection.
This reform impacts Delhi.
2. Paying taxes: It became easier after the introduction of an electronic system
for paying employee state insurance contributions.
3. Exporting and importing: It is easier because of the introduction of ICEGATE
portal and simplification of border and documentary procedures.
4. Enforcing contracts: India made enforcing contracts easier by creating
dedicated divisions to resolve commercial cases.

Reform growth

According to report the Government has embarked on a fast-paced reform

It scored well on protecting minority investors.
India is one of only six economies in the world that earn the highest possible
score on the extent of shareholder rights index, which measures shareholders
rights in corporate governance.
The overhaul of the Companies Act has brought Indian companies in line
with global standards, particularly regarding accountability and corporate
governance practices.

About Ease of Doing Business Index:

Word Bank releases Doing Business reports and it review business regulations
and their enforcement across countries.
It was introduced in 2004.
A high ease of doing business ranking means the regulatory environment is
more conducive to the starting and operation of a local firm.
The rankings are determined by sorting the aggregate distance to frontier
scores on 10 topics, each consisting of several indicators, giving equal weight
to each topic. These are:

1. Starting a business Procedures, time, cost and minimum capital to open a

new business
2. Dealing with construction permits Procedures, time and cost to build a
3. Getting electricity procedures, time and cost required for a business to
obtain a permanent electricity connection for a newly constructed warehouse
4. Registering property Procedures, time and cost to register commercial real
5. Getting credit Strength of legal rights index, depth of credit information
6. Protecting investors Indices on the extent of disclosure, extent of director
liability and ease of shareholder suits
7. Paying taxes Number of taxes paid, hours per year spent preparing tax
returns and total tax payable as share of gross profit
8. Trading across borders Number of documents, cost and time necessary to
export and import
9. Enforcing contracts Procedures, time and cost to enforce a debt contract
Resolving insolvency The time, cost and recovery rate (%) under
bankruptcy proceeding

Distance to Frontier:

It measures the distance of each economy to the frontier, which represents

the best performance observed on each of the indicators across all economies
in the Doing Business sample since 2005

One can both see the gap between a particular economys performance and the
best performance at any point in time and assess the absolute change in the
economys regulatory environment over time as measured by Doing Business.
An economys distance to frontier is reflected on a scale from 0 to 100, where
0 represents the lowest performance and 100 represents the frontier. For
example, a score of 75 in 2016 means an economy was 25 percentage points
away from the frontier constructed from the best performances across all
economies and across time.

Related Question:
UPSC Prelims, 2016:
Question: Indias ranking in the Ease of Doing Business Index is sometimes seen
in the news. Which of the following has declared that ranking?
(a) Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
(b) World Economic Forum
(c) World Bank
(d) World Trade Organization (WTO)

Answer: C
Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam
Subject : Economics
News Source : The Hindu
Workplace gender gaps persist: WEF
Details :
Why in news?

According to World Economic Forum (WEF), the gender gap in India has
narrowed down over the past year.
India has climbed 21 spots to rank 87th and was ranked 108th in 2015.
The improvement in ranking is driven largely by major improvements in
education where it has managed to close its gap entirely in primary and
secondary education.
With this jump in ranking, India has now overtaken China which is ranked 99th
out of 144 countries.
Iceland tops the latest rankings followed by Finland, Norway and Sweden.
Within South Asia, Bangladesh is the top performer (ranked 72nd), recording
progress on the political empowerment gender gap.
Indian scenario:
Indias women rank highly on political empowerment (9th in the world).
India is closing the gap on wage equality and across all indicators of the
educational attainment sub-index- fully closing its primary and secondary
education enrolment gender gaps.
India remains one of the worst countries in the world for women in terms of
labour force participation, income levels as well as health and survival.
India continues to rank third-lowest in the world on Health and Survival,
remaining the worlds least-improved country on this sub-index over the past

About Global Gender Report:

The Global Gender Gap Index is an index designed to measure gender equality.
The Global Gender Gap Report was first published in 2006 by the World
Economic Forum.
The 2014 report covers 144 major and emerging economies.
The report examines four overall areas of inequality between men and women:

1. Economic participation and opportunity outcomes on salaries, participation

levels and access to high-skilled employment
2. Educational attainment outcomes on access to basic and higher level
3. Political empowerment outcomes on representation in decision-making
4. Health and survival outcomes on life expectancy and sex ratio.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Economics
News Source : The Hindu
Rajasthan drive to end child marriages
Details :

What is the news?

Under the banner of Sajha Abhiyan, a district-level Abhiyan Yatra was
flagged off for complete elimination of child marriages in the State.
This abhiyan is the collective initiative of Rajasthan government, the United
Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and United Nations Childrens Fund
Child marriage in Rajasthan continues to be much higher than the national
average. According to the Annual Health Survey, 2011, one in four girls in
Rajasthan is married before the age of 18.
Multiple stakeholders, interventions and sectors are converging to address child
marriage in the State as a unified force.
The yatra will bring the community on a united platform to work towards
making the State child marriage-free.
A significant aspect of the yatra is that it would apprise the people in the rural
areas of the ill effects and harmful consequences of child marriage and convince
them to get such marriages nullified if they have taken place in their families
and neighbourhood.

Child Marriage in India:

The legal age for marriage is 18 for women and 21 for men according to
Prohibition of Child Marriage Act.
An alarming 30.2% of all married women were married before they had turned
18, as per Census 2011. The trend seems to be on the decline in comparison to
2001 data where 43.5% of all married women had been married while they were
under the age of 18 years.

The practice of child marriage is an obstacle to nearly every developmental

goal: eradicating poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education,
promoting gender equality, protecting childrens lives and improving womens
Child Marriage denies a child the basic right to good health, nutrition and
Evidence shows that early marriage makes girls more vulnerable to violence,
abuse and exploitation.
For both girls and boys, marriage has a strong physical, intellectual,
psychological and emotional impact, cutting off educational opportunities and
chances of personal growth.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Social Issues
News Source : The Hindu
Bankruptcy Code may take effect by December
Details :
Why in news?

The Centre is expecting the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code 2016 to become
operational by the end of December.
It is the responsibility of both government and industry bodies and every
category of professionals to develop information utilities, to develop
insolvency professionals and take the implementation of this law forward.
The bankruptcy law brings more clarity, providing a comprehensive and
dynamic legal framework for the resolution of insolvencies, which in turn will
make it easier to do business.
The bankruptcy code will facilitate smoother, time-bound settlement of
insolvency, enable faster turnaround of businesses and create a database of
serial defaulters.
The law on bankruptcy envisages creating an ecosystem, including insolvency
professionals, information utilities and a bankruptcy regulator.

The insolvency and bankruptcy law is overarching in nature, covering

individuals, companies, limited liability partnerships and partnership firms,
and will also deal with corporate insolvency.

The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code:

The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code was passed by Lok Sabha in May 2016.
The Code creates a framework for resolving insolvency in India. Insolvency is
a situation where an individual or a company is unable to repay their
outstanding debt.
The Code repeals the Presidency Towns Insolvency Act, 1909 and Provincial
Insolvency Act, 1920.


The Code will apply to companies, partnerships, limited liability partnerships,

individuals and any other body specified by the central government.
The Code creates time-bound processes for insolvency resolution of
companies and individuals. These processes will be completed within 180
days. If insolvency cannot be resolved, the assets of the borrowers may be
sold to repay creditors.
The resolution processes will be conducted by licensed insolvency
professionals (IPs). These IPs will be members of insolvency professional
agencies (IPAs).
The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) will adjudicate insolvency
resolution for companies.
The Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) will adjudicate insolvency resolution for
Information utilities (IUs) will be established to collect, collate and disseminate
financial information to facilitate insolvency resolution.<o:p></o:p>
The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India will be set up to regulate
functioning of IPs, IPAs and IUs.

Key Issues and Analysis

Time-bound insolvency resolution will require establishment of several new

entities. Also, given the pendency and disposal rate of DRTs, their current
capacity may be inadequate to take up the additional role.
The Code provides an order of priority to distribute assets during
liquidation. It is unclear why:

1. Secured creditors will receive their entire outstanding amount, rather than up
to their collateral value
2. Unsecured creditors have priority over trade creditors
3. Government dues will be repaid after unsecured creditors.

The Code provides for the creation of multiple IUs. However, it does not
specify that full information about a company will be accessible through a
single query from any IU. This may lead to financial information being
scattered across these IUs.
The Code creates an Insolvency and Bankruptcy Fund. However, it does not
specify the manner in which the Fund will be used.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Economics
News Source : The Hindu
Playing on geopolitical chessboards Editorial 26th Oct'16 The Hindu
Details :
Playing on geopolitical chessboards
India has been pursuing a robust, even aggressive, foreign policy for quite some
time which has served India well.
But its approach towards some of the multilateral organizations is changing which
was evident in PMs decision to skip NAM summit and invitation to BIMSTEC
instead of SAARC during the BRICS summit.

Given the several changes in direction and departures from past policies and
practices, there is need to debate whether this amounts to a redefining of Indias
foreign policy.
Reorienting foreign policy
International diplomacy is a complex exercise in which gain of one party doesnt
amount to loss of other party.
Therefore, for reorienting the countrys foreign policy, power dynamics of
international system, national interests and decision-making factors must be given
due consideration.
It is also important to maintain coherence and balance.
However, that this has not been done even as the policy is changing is indicated by
Indias current approach towards different multilateral organisations.
Importance of Multilateral organisations
Since Independence, India has played a leading role in multilateral fora.
To maximize its advantages, India clearly needs to be a member of as many
multilateral groupings as possible.
Therefore, the utility of participation in such fora must be studied carefully before
deciding that some of them are less important.
As the world is moving towards transactional politics from ideological politics and
with non-alignment giving way to strategic alignment, NAM may seem outdated.
But it is still relevant for many Third World countries and India could utilize NAM
to counter increasing Chinese influence.
Even though SAARC has largely been ineffective, it has begun to display new

Indias policy of asymmetrical and non-reciprocal approach towards other SAARC

members (Gujaral Doctrine) has been welcomed.
Ignoring SAARC due to conflict with Pakistan will be unwise.
Fora such as BIMSTEC and BCIM cant replace SAARC because of Chinese
influence in almost every country of the grouping.
The divergence of strategic interests of Russia, China and India, and economic
conditions of Russia, Brazil and South Africa has affected its potential.
But the idea of BRICS is still relevant. India must show skillful diplomacy to
restore BRICS to its previous glory and to avoid being cornered by growing
strategic and economic cooperation between Russia and China.
Changing ties
Indias foreign policy has to evolve with changing geo-political conditions.For
instance, a decade and a half ago, India-Russia relationship was strong and Indo-US
ties were tense. Now the situation seems to be reversed.
Even though Russia is the most favoureddefence supplier it cannot be seen as a
strategic ally as of now as Russia is diversifying its relations and had moved closer
to China to counter U.S. moves in Asia.
The China-Russia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership of Coordination and the
recent Russia-Pakistan military exercises demonstrate the growing strategic
uncertainty in our neighbourhood and in Asia as a whole.
Chinas not so peaceful rise, its growing economic and military power, its
growing strategic congruence with Russia, and a further strengthening of its ties
with Pakistan pose a serious challenge for India.
The One Belt, One Road initiative and the new Maritime Silk Route can restrain
India and Indian initiatives in Asia.
Way forward

As India aspires to become a leading power it should use various multilateral

groupings to ush forward its national interests and counter growing Chinese
In this context, it should view regional and world developments holistically and
not narrowly by focusing on the single issue of terrorism.
The changes in foreign policy must be made after careful consideration and such
changes should be coherent and regular.
India should highlight its economic growth and human capital to gain influence
and contribute meaningfully towards global prosperity.
GS 2 (Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India
and/or affecting Indiasinterests)
Related question
As India aspires to become a leading power, its attention of its foreign policy must
be focused on Chinas not so peaceful rise and not on a narrow issue of terrorism.
Discuss. How can India protect its national interests and at the same time counter
growing Chinese influence?
Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam
Subject : Editorial Analysis
News Source : The Hindu
Oct. 25, 2016
ISRO starts landing tests for Chandrayaan-2 mission
Details :
Why in news?
Indian Space Research Organsiation (ISRO) started a series of ground and aerial
tests linked to the critical Moon landing of Chandrayaan-2.


Chandrayaan-2 mission is tentatively set for late 2017 or early 2018 and
includes soft-landing on Moon (with a Lander) and moving a rover on its
The mission includes an Orbiter, a Lander and a Rover, all being readied at
ISAC in Bengaluru.
The Orbiter spacecraft will travel to the Moon's orbit and release the Lander,
which will in turn deploy a tiny Rover to roam on the lunar surface all
three sending data and pictures to Earth.
GSLV-Mk II vehicle will launch this mission.
Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F05) missions success in
September'16 has established that this vehicle is now ready for Chandrayaan-2

Testing for the mission:

ISAC (ISRO Satellite Centre), at Bangalore, is the lead Centre for building
satellites and developing associated satellite technologies.
ISAC is also the lead centre for Chandrayaan-2.
It has artificially created close to ten craters to simulate the lunar terrain and
test the Landers sensors.
These artificial craters are created at Challakere in Chitradurga distict of
ISRO aircrafts with sensors are being tested over these craters.
The Moon Lander will be equipped with sensors so that it can identify an
appropriate landing spot on the moon.

Challakere, the Science City:

Challakere is a City in Chitradurga district in the state of Karnataka, India.

It is called Science city as it has several Science research organizations like
IISc, DRDO, BARC and ISRO have set up their establishments here.
It is also called Oil City due to the numerous Edible Oil mills around the city.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Science & Tech

News Source : The Hindu
Ill-effects of air pollution may be transgenerational: Experts
Details :
Why in news:
New studies on ill-effects of air pollution are indicating that its impact may be


The findings of study say that if a fetus is exposed to air pollution then the
genes of fetus will undergo some changes and these changes are such that they
dont remain confined to fetus only.
The impact is transgenerational - that means her children, her grand children
can also be affected.
These findings go against the conventional wisdom that pollution affects only
certain vulnerable sections of the population such as children, the elderly, or
people with respiratory diseases and expecting mothers.

Indoor Air Pollution:

The latest findings make indoor air pollution more significant, as people,
especially expecting mothers, spend more time inside.
Around 3 billion people cook and heat their homes using solid fuels (i.e.
wood, charcoal, coal, dung, crop wastes) on open fires or traditional stoves.
Such inefficient cooking and heating practices produce high levels of
household (indoor) air pollution which include health damaging pollutants
such as fine particles and carbon monoxide.
Exposure is particularly high among women and young children.
According to WHO, 4.3 million people a year die from the exposure to
household air pollution.
PMUY: Government has launched the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana
(PMUY) to provide LPG connections to BPL households in the country, for
pollution free cooking.

Urban indoor air pollution:

Urban indoor air quality is an area that is not well-researched.

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had put a draft guidelines on
indoor air quality monitoring on its website in 2014 but there has nothing has
happened since.
We need to have prescribed standards for indoor air also, like we have for
outdoor air.
Urban outdoor air pollution can be an important contributor to the indoor air
quality, especially in highly ventilated homes, or in homes near pollution
Indoor air pollutants also include Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) - from
low, continuous gaseous emissions from plastic/synthetic furnishings, fittings
and equipment etc.
Indoor plants to reduce pollution: Numerous studies found that indoor plants
have the capacity to remove urban/indoor air pollutants and improve
wellbeing of building occupants.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Environment & Ecology

News Source : The Hindu

Haji Ali Dargah to allow entry of women
Details :
What is the News?

In a victory for equal right to worship for women, the Haji Ali Dargah Trust
on 24th October conceded before the Supreme Court that it has resolved to
allow women to enter the sanctum sanctorum of the famed dargah in Mumbai
at par with men.
In a hearing before a Bench led by Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur, the
Trust said it has come around and passed a resolution on October 11, 2016 to
comply with a Bombay High Court judgment to give women equal access like


Women to be allowed into core area near tomb of Sufi saint.

Trust running 15th-century mosque says all-access for women in 4 weeks.
Ban on women in inner part was imposed in 2012.
This shrine of the Sufi Saint in Mumbai was built in 1431.


The Bombay High Court had on August 26 held that the ban imposed by the
Dargah Trust, prohibiting women from entering the sanctum sanctorum of the
Haji Ali Dargah, contravened Articles 14, 15 and 25 of the Constitution and
said women should be permitted to enter the sanctum sanctorum like men.
Prior to March 2011, the Dargah did not discriminate against the entry of
women and permitted people across religions to pray inside the restricted
mazar (the core area or inner sanctum).
Setting a precedent in allowing women to enter religious places, the court said
that the ban order by the Trust contravenedArticle 14 (equality before law),
Article15 (prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste,
sex or place of birth) and
Article 25 (freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and
propagation of religion) of the Constitution.

Supreme Court's view:

The Supreme Court had taken a serious view of the religious exclusion and
restrictions women suffer.
It had pointed to Kerala's Sabarimala temple and the Haji Ali dargah to note
that 'exclusion' was practised by both Hindus and Muslims and the "problem
needs to be addressed''.
"Exclusion is not there if nobody is allowed after a certain point. There is
exclusion if women are not allowed after a certain point and men are," Chief
Justice Thakur had defined the term.

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-1

Subject : Social Issues
News Source : The Hindu
Era of e-postal ballots dawns, courtesy ECs new initiative
Details :
What is the News?

A change in The Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 now empowers a

returning officer in any constituency to send postal ballots to an eligible voter
by electronic means as specified by the Election Commission.
The change will go a long way in easing logistical issues involved in ensuring
that the ballot paper of the constituency, where a voter is eligible to vote, is
sent in time.
In the 2014 general elections, over one million voters used postal ballots.
Till now, postal ballots were sent through the Department of Posts.

How it will work?

The technical team of the Election Commission of India has developed a

system whereby a blank postal ballot could be electronically transmitted to the
With the new rule, the returning officer can send it through a web portal with
a One Time Password to voters.
The voter would have to download the ballot, fill it in and send it back though
the postal service.

The two-way electronic ballots were discouraged by the Election Commission

for security and secrecy reasons.
The move is another step in the governments Digital India project.
For now, e-postal ballots will only be available to service voters, including
personnel of the armed forces, members of Indian supplementary reserve
forces, personnel serving outside the state where they are registered as voters
and government officials posted outside the country.


The move dispenses with the existing system of two-way postal ballots, which
caused significant delays.
It is also aimed at easing the difficulty faced by service voters in casting their
votes from remote locations.
The new system will enable voters to download a postal ballot, print the same,
mark their vote and then use the postal service to mail it to the returning
This electronic voting system is being introduced on a pilot basis for service
voters, but could be later extended to others including special voters and those
in preventive detention.
In India, postal ballots have played a critical role in extending the electoral
process to voters unable to exercise their franchise due to either the nature
of their job or geographical location of their posting.

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-2

Subject : Polity & Governance
News Source : The Hindu
Postcards of change Editorial 25th Oct'16 The Hindu
Details :
Postcards of change
From 1962 to 2010, Myanmar was ruled by the Military directly or indirectly.
During this time China developed strong relations with Myanmar as Myanmars
only significant diplomatic partner.

But from 2011 to 2015 a series of gradual political reforms was undertaken by the
military backed government which culminated in 2015 elections and formation of
Government by National League for Democracy (NLD), Aung San SuuKyis party.
Ms. SuuKyi couldnt be appointed as the President as the 2008 constitution bars
anyone with foreign spouse or children from Presidentship but she plays an
important role in the government and is de facto head of the government.
During this time Myanmar has also looked to diversify its foreign relations.
In this context, visits by President HtinKyaw and State Counsellor and Foreign
Minister Aung San SuuKyi assume importance.
Myanmar is important for Indias Act East policy as it is situated at the
intersection of South Asia, Southeast Asia and China.
Therefore, it is necessary to take a holistic look at the developments in Myanmar.
Long road to reconciliation
1)Military rule
Even though emergence Ms. SuuKyis as the de facto leader of the
governmentrepresent a historic transformation but the democratic transition is not
Power is shared between the civilian government and the military on the
understanding that the party would operate within the 2008 Constitution and the
military would allow it to govern.
This has brought some stability in the relationship between the civilian government
and the military.
However, full democracy and shift to federalism cannot be introduced without
constitutional reform.
The NLD decided to postpone the issue of constitutional reforms for a later date.
2)Decentralization of power
The power isconcentrated in Ms. SuuKyi and second rung of leadership have not
been created.

Tight control of the party leadership over NLD MPs has diluted Parliaments
control over the executive.
3)Peoples aspiration
People had hoped that democracy would bring quick economic progress but
economic progress has been slow.
However they are willing to give more time to the government.
4)Reconciliation with ethnic minorities
Trust between the majority Myanmarese community and ethnic minorities as well
as between the military and ethnic armed groups remains low.
Buddhist-Muslim relations have also worsened.
Resolving these tensions to bring peace and security will be a formidable challenge
for Ms. SuuKyi especially because of Chinese involvement in the internal problems.
The Chinese embrace
Myanmars most important foreign relationship is with China but itis becoming
increasingly unpopular.
Myanmar understand that it needs a strong relationship with China but it also
wants to diversify its foreign relations to make them more broad based and reduce
its dependence on China.
Therefore, the SuuKyi government has adopted a balanced and non-aligned
foreign policy with a sympathetic attitude towards China.
The decision on the Myitsone Dam will be important in this context. It might be
possible that the project would be cancelled but Chinese companies may win new
projects of strategic value in south-western Myanmar. This should raise concerns in
Way forward for India-Myanmar relations
Relations with democratic Myanmar are gathering momentum and now time has
come to support them by tough decisions by both sides.

Myanmar Army should proactively cooperate with India to curb anti-India

insurgent activity from Myanmarese soil.
The two governments should establish a strategic partnership. It will be in line
with the balanced foreign policy of Myanmar as it already enjoys a comprehensive
strategic partnership with China.
There should be regular summit level interactions between the two governments.
India should expedite the completion of flagship projects KaladanMulti-modal
Transport project and the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway. Delay in
completion is causing considerable discontent.
At the same time India should develop an effective communication strategy as
there is inadequate public awareness about the recently timely completed Indian
projects on IT and agriculture.
People-to-people exchanges should be encouraged. For this, an India-Myanmar
Foundation could be set up which can arrange for extensive exchanges among
media, students and civil society groups.
GS 2 (India and its neighborhood- relations)
Related question
Even though Myanmar has been trying to follow a balanced and non-aligned
foreign policy, it cant ignore its dependence on China. How this poses a challenge
in strengthening India-Myanmar relations? What India should do to overcome this
Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam
Subject : Editorial Analysis
News Source : The Hindu
Oct. 24, 2016
Centre plans to link varsity autonomy to performance

Details :
What is the news?
The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry is considering linking the
autonomy of higher education institutions to their performance as measured by the
National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF).

Three categories
Government is thinking of dividing universities in three categories - A, B and C. It
will be based on their NIRF rankings where the first will be most autonomous while
the last will require more regulation.

A category: This category will comprise of the institutions with high NIRF
rank and these will be highest on the autonomy scale.
B category: It will comprise of middle-ranking institutions with part
autonomy but also government regulation.
C category: These will be the institutions with low ranking that will require
greater regulation and hand-holding for improvement.

Here greater autonomy could imply a number of things, including the complete
freedom for institutions to have their own syllabi and curricula.

About National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF):

The NIRF is a comprehensive ranking system for universities developed by

the Ministry of Human Resource Development.
The National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) was launched in
September 2015.
This framework outlines a methodology to rank institutions across the
The methodology draws from the overall recommendations and broad
understanding arrived at by a Core Committee set up by MHRD. The Core
Committee identifies the broad parameters for ranking various universities
and institutions.

The parameters have been grouped into five clusters and the clusters were assigned
certain weightages and it depends on the type of institution. The parameters broadly

Teaching, Learning and Resources

Research and Professional Practices
Graduation Outcomes
Outreach and Inclusivity


There are separate rankings for different types of institutions depending on

their areas of operation like universities and colleges, engineering institutions,
management institutions, pharmacy institutions and architecture institutions.
About 3500 institutions voluntarily participated in the first round of rankings
and lists were released by MHRD in April 2016.
As per the 2016 rankings, IIT Madras topped among engineering colleges,
followed by IITs at Mumbai, Kharagpur, Delhi, Kanpur and Roorkee.
Among universities, the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, topped,
followed by the Institute of Chemical Technology in Mumbai, Jawaharlal
Nehru University in Delhi, Hyderabad University and Tezpur University.
Among management schools, IIM Bengaluru was ranked first, followed by the
IIMs at Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, Udaipur and Kozhikode.

Criticism of the Rankings in 2016

There was no cross-verification of data before announcing the ranking. The

data used for evaluation were submitted by the institutions themselves and the
responsibility for accuracy and authenticity of the data lies with the respective
The stated intent of the government was to prepare India-centric ranking
parameters that were sensitive to metrics such as access to higher education

and social inclusion. But the weightage given to India-specific parameters is

not pronounced.
The IITs have chosen to participate in the rankings under the engineering
category, whereas they should have competed under the category of
Institutions devoted to specific disciplines like Institute of Chemical
Technology is ranked along with multidisciplinary universities like

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Polity & Governance
News Source : The Hindu
World Bank must aid countries to manage shift away from coal
Details :
(These are the views of Mr. Benjamin Sporton, World Coal Association Chief

The World Bank and other development lenders like the Asian Development
Bank must help countries such as India to finance the shift of their coal
production to more efficient technologies so they can meet their COP21
Indias push towards renewable energy, while lowering the share of coal in
the overall energy mix, does not mean that coal is going to be done away with.
Between now and 2040, electricity supply will triple, coal will almost double
and non-hyrdo renewables will see a 10-times increase.
By not financing coal projects, the World Bank is actually pushing countries
to use inefficient technologies leading to higher emissions.
In some countries where, because the World Bank does not invest in coal and
so does not invest in super critical and ultra super critical plants, these
countries invested in sub-critical plants which have much higher CO2 and
particulate matter emissions.
Super critical and ultra super critical (USC) plants (USC) substantially reduce
carbon dioxide emissions and virtually eliminate particulate matter emissions
and India must invest in them despite their higher cost.

About World Bank:

World Bank was established in 1944 following international ratification of the

Bretton Woods agreements, which emerged from the United Nations
Monetary and Financial Conference.
The World Bank Group is headquartered in Washington, D.C.
Membership: 189 countries.
The World Bank is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to
developing countries around the world.
It is not a bank in the ordinary sense but a unique partnership to reduce
poverty and support development.
The World Bank Group has set two goals for the world to achieve by 2030:

End extreme poverty by decreasing the percentage of people living on less than
$1.90 a day to no more than 3%
Promote shared prosperity by fostering the income growth of the bottom 40% for
every country.

The World Bank and World Bank Group:

Together, IBRD and IDA make up the World Bank and the 5 institutions together
are known as World Bank Group.

The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development

- The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) lends to
governments of middle-income and credit worthy low-income countries.

The International Development Association

- The International Development Association (IDA) provides interest-free loans
called credits and grants to governments of the poorest countries.

The International Finance Corporation

- The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is the largest global development
institution focused exclusively on the private sector.
- It helps developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment,
mobilizing capital in international financial markets, and providing advisory
services to businesses and governments.
- The Rupee dominated Masala Bonds were floated by IFC.

The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency

- The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) was created in 1988 to

promote foreign direct investment into developing countries to support economic
growth, reduce poverty, and improve peoples lives.
-MIGA fulfills this mandate by offering political risk insurance (guarantees) to
investors and lenders.

The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes

- The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) provides
international facilities for conciliation and arbitration of investment disputes.
- India is not a member of this group.

Related questions:
UPSC prelims, 2015:
Question: Which one of the following issues the Global Economic Prospects
report periodically?
(a) The Asian Development Bank

(b) The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

(c) The US Federal Reserve Bank
(d) The World Bank

Answer: (d) The World Bank

UPSC Prelims, 2016:

Question: Indias ranking in the Ease of Doing Business Index is sometimes seen
in the news. Which of the following has declared that ranking?
(a) Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
(b) World Economic Forum
(c) World Bank
(d) World Trade Organization (WTO)

Answer: C

Question: With reference to `IFC Masala Bonds, sometimes seen in the news,
which of the statements given below is/are correct?
1.The International Finance Corporation, which offers these bonds, is an arm of the
World Bank.
2.They are the rupee-denominated bonds and are a source of debt financing for the
public and private sector.
Select the correct answer using the code given below.
(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: C

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Economics
News Source : The Hindu
John Key arriving today as NSG buzz is back
Details :
What is the News?

The government will once again focus on its push for Indias membership of
the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) this week with the three-day visit of New
Zealand Prime Minister John Key.
Negotiators, meanwhile, are gearing up for the second round of talks with
China followed by an NSG session in Vienna expected in November.

Countries who oppose India in NSG?

New Zealand is among the countries led by China that have demanded a set
criteria for non-signatories of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT),
holding up Indias membership.
Apart from China, countries such as Ireland, Austria, New Zealand and
members of the New Agenda for coalition that takes a hard line on the NPT,
are still the sticking point.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sought, but not received,
outright declarations of support from two other members of the coalition
South Africa and Brazil at last weeks BRICS summit in Goa.

One of the reasons for the silence is that both Brazil and South Africa fought
hard and domestically controversial battles to join the NSG, and could only do
so after they agreed to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Therefore, they have resisted full-fledged membership for India without it
signing the NPT, or a formal procedure being set.
Significantly, in 2008, both Brazil and South Africa had backed Indias bid for
an NSG waiver, as part of the IBSA grouping.
Meanwhile U.S. officials have said they will make all efforts to resolve
Indias NSG status by the end of this year, although given the U.S. election,
ensuring all the fence-sitters over whom Washington has influence will vote
in favour of India, maybe more difficult.


Founded in the aftermath of Indias nuclear test in May 1974, the NSG is a
club of 48 countries dedicated to curbing nuclear arms proliferation by
controlling the export and re-transfer of materials that could foster nuclear
weapons development.
An American initiative, its objective was to make India join the nonproliferation treaty.
India has stayed away from discriminatory NPT.
It was 2008 civil nuclear deal with the US, seen as a validation of Indias nonproliferation credentials, which paved the way for Delhis NSG bid.
The NPT remains a biased regime that classifies the world into the nuclearhaves (the US, and Russia, the UK, France and China) and have-nots (all other
There is little to suggest that big five will work for a world free of nuclear

How will NSG membership help India?

Clean energy push:

India is a growing country with massive energy needs.

It has set for itself an ambitious goal of sourcing 40% of its power from nonfossil sources and here is where nuclear energy comes into play.
India will need latest technology and NSG membership will come in handy.
Though it got a one-time NSG waiver in 2008, the country needs constant
access to global markets and a stable trading framework.

Being a member of the NSG will also mean that India will have far greater
access to uranium than it does currently under its 2008 agreement with the
US. For example, Namibia is the fourth-largest producer of uranium and it
agreed to sell the nuclear fuel to India in 2009.
However, that hasn't happened, as Namibia has since cited a 2009 African
version of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Pelindaba Treaty, which
essentially controls the supply of uranium from Africa to the rest of the
If India joins the NSG, such reservations from Namibia are expected to melt

It helps domestic firms:

A place on the nuclear trading table will help Indian companies such as the
Walchandnar Industries Limited (WIL) and L&T to expand business.
India has a robust indigenous nuclear industry that worked mostly in isolation
as international sanctions were slapped every time a nuclear test was
An NSG membership will make these companies comply with international
norms and make it easier for them to ply their trade abroad.

Make in India:

New Delhi and Moscow have announced a plan to build reactors in India to
sell them to other countries, a move expected to give a push to the Modi
governments Make in India initiative.
It will not only generate jobs but also help in technology development.
As an NSG member, India will be better placed to implement the initiative.

End of the nuclear winter:

One of the objectives of the 2008 nuclear deal was that the US would help
India get into export-control regimes such as the NSG, the MTCR (missile
technology control regime), Australia Group and Wassenar Arrangement.
As a member of these groupings, India will have access to defence, space and
nuclear technologies.
The MTCR is done, of the remaining, the NSG is most crucial.
Admission to the MTCR will open the way for India to buy high-end missile
technology and surveillance drones such as Predator.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : International Relation
News Source : The Hindu
India falls short in female literacy
Details :
What is the News?

Data from new research on female literacy show that Indias school education
system is under-performing in terms of quality when compared to its
neighbours, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.
The research studies changes in female literacy over a number of schooling
These findings, are part of a forthcoming background paper, of the New Yorkbased "International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity
(or Education Commission)".

South Asia:

The proportion of women who completed five years of primary schooling in

India and were literate was 48 per cent, much less than 92 percent in Nepal,
74 per cent in Pakistan and 54 per cent in Bangladesh.
The data also revealed that, female literacy rates went up by one to 15 per cent
after completing two years of schooling.
Corresponding numbers for Pakistan and Nepal were three to 31 per cent and
11 to 47 per cent respectively.
This implies that schooling is roughly twice as productive at generating
literacy for women during the early grades in Pakistan when compared to
Or, it could also mean that Indian schools are much more lenient about
promoting students who cannot read.

Around the World:

For this research, the authors devised a way to measure the quality of
education around the world, with a specific focus on girls, using data from
nationally representative Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) one of

the most comparable data sources on living standards in the developing

Around the world, female literacy rates are improving.
However, it is not clear if that is because of improvement in school quality,
the study says.
India ranks low in global indices of female literacy as well.
If countries are ranked by the earliest grade at which at least half of the
women are literate a proxy for quality of learning India ranks 38th
among the 51 developing countries for which comparable data is available.
Indonesia, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Tanzania all rank higher than India.
Ghana is placed at the bottom.
According to this study, just seven per cent of female students in Ghana can
read after attaining their sixth grade.


Over the years, most countries studied made improvements in the number of
girls finishing primary school, which should lead to more literate women.
But for girls who dont finish primary school, the trend is not encouraging:
researchers found that little to no progress has been made in increasing basic
literacy for the girls who drop out.
The report notes, Millions of women have spent multiple years in school and
emerged unable to read a simple sentence and its not getting much better
over time.

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-1

Subject : Social Issues
News Source : The Hindu
Stuck in the terrorism groove Editorial 24th Oct'16 The Hindu
Details :
Stuck in the terrorism groove
In the aftermath of Uri attacks, India has launched a diplomatic offensive against
Pakistan for its support to cross border terrorism.

Since then, New Delhi has been using each and every diplomatic forum and
bilateral meetings to push for diplomatic isolation of Islamabad.
Focus on singular issue of terrorism
India is a country which has always combined its interests with larger global good
but focus on a single issue like terrorism does not seem appropriate.
India could open itself to the criticism that it could not think beyond Pakistan
sponsored terrorism.
Post 9/11, the world has acknowledged Indias concerns on terrorism and
Pakistans role in supporting terror groups.
But raising this issue at every diplomatic forum to diplomatically isolate Pakistan
and attempts to elicit support of every country in it may be counter-productive as
every country has its own geo-political interests and compulsions.
BRICS Summit
At the Goa Summit, India tried its best to persuade the guests to formally censure
Pakistan but China acted in favour of Pakistan and the final outcome was diluted as
it doesnt names Pakistan or terror groups supported by it.
The outcome could have been projected as a diplomatic victory if the expectations
were not raised so high by India.
The Goa declaration condemns terrorism in all its forms but doesnt define it.
While it doesnt mentions terror groups operating in South Asia, it shows concern
over growth and spread of Islamic State.
A new course of action
Indias focus on single issue of terrorism shows lack of direction after gaining an
edge over Pakistan by carrying out surgical strikes.
The old pattern of terrorist attack by Pakistan, angry verbal reaction by India and
then resumption of dialogue is fruitless.
India should move in a new course of action which can include sensitizing
international community about Pakistans role, using measured force against

terrorism on ground, resolving crisis in Kashmir to eliminate local support for

terrorism, amending Indus Water Treaty and trade sanctions against Pakistan.
Efforts to isolate Pakistan contradict Indias policy against internationalization of
Kashmir issue as it brings the Kashmir issue into international limelight.
Lessons from recent experience
The world doesnt view terrorism in Kashmir as a part of global terrorism.
The policy of most nations is influenced by the UN recognition of Kashmir as a
disputed territory.
The India sponsored Comprehensive Convention on International terrorism is
unlikely to be adopted by the UN due to absence of an unanimous definition of
Way forward
India should frame the debate on terrorism in a broader framework. It should take a
tough stand against Islamic State and its spread and project cross border terrorism
as another manifestation of global terrorism.
India should present its case to the world community in a dignified and forceful
manner by anticipating the possible outcomes and calibrating its requests
India should present its concerns by integrating them with common global
concerns and as a part of solution to the global problems. Like Indias claim for
permanent seat at the UN Security Council can be projected as part of the need to
correct imbalances in it.
Indias advocacy of nuclear disarmament, its stand on Fissile Material Cut-off
Treaty and environmental negotiations are excellent examples where India has
integrated its interests with wider global interests.
This will enable India to gain wider support of world community without forcing
them to take sides.
GS 2 (International relations)

Related question
In an attempt to diplomatically isolate Pakistan, India has been focusing on the
single issue of cross border terrorism. Discuss pros and cons of this approach.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Editorial Analysis
News Source : The Hindu
Oct. 23, 2016
Despite ban, toxic smoke-emitting crackers fill shelves
Details :
What is the News?

Despite a ban on highly polluting imported fireworks and strict air and noise
emission norms for crackers made in India, firecrackers that emit toxic gases
and particulate matter are still being sold across Delhi.
Though Chinese fireworks are not as popular in Delhi markets as they once
were, experts say that its not enough.
There are plenty of Indian-made fireworks that that are also toxic.
Harmful heavy metals are added to produce different colours.
These Indian-made fireworks are toxic, plus they lead to emission of
particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide.

Effects of Pollutants on Environment & Health:


The increase in the level of suspended particles in the air causes eye, throat
and nose problems.
Chronic Pulmonary Diseases (Bronchitis, Asthma) get aggravated by
sufficient high concentration of SPM.
The particulate matter may contain some heavy metal oxide/salts, which get
deposited in the lungs causing irreversible damage.


Sulphur Dioxide is readily soluble and dissolves in the larger airways of

respiratory system.
This stimulates a contraction.
At higher concentrations, severe contraction restricts the breathing process.
Allergy problems are also caused to skin.
Sulphur dioxide adversely affects plant growth and productivity by interaction
with different physiological processes and damaging the licences and


Nitrogen dioxide cause respiratory allergies like asthma especially to the

susceptible population.
Cause throat and chest congestion and are like to aggravate problems for these
already suffering from coughs, colds and allergies.


CO causes harm by binding with haemoglobin in our blood forming caboxy

haemoglobin (COHb).
CO attaches with haemoglobin roughly 220 times more strongly than the
oxygen so that amount of CO in the air we breath can cause significant
amount of our haemoglobin to be tied up has COHb. The haemoglobin thus
tied up cannot serve its normal function to transport oxygen in the blood.
Thus as the bloods ability to transport oxygen declines, various parts of the
body suffer oxygen deprivation.


CO2 atmosphere CO2 is the major source of organic carbons in the

There has been steady increase in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is
about 350 ppm.
At this concentration it has no harmful effects to human, but increased
emission of CO2 are the largest single cause of global warming.


Noise is unwanted sound which is a dangerous pollutant hazardous to health.

Noise magnitude is measured in Decibels (dB).

Noise pollution can cause lead to hearing loss, high blood pressure, heart
attack and sleep disturbance.


Large scale bursting of Fire crackers also generate huge amount of solid waste
in a form of packing materials, remains of fire crackers etc.


The following directions are issued for strict compliance by one and allImposed restriction on the manufacture, sale & use of firecrackers not
exceeding Noise level 125 dB (A1) or 145 dB(C) peak.
Use of high sounding instruments between 10.00 PM to 6.00 AM is not
Bursting of fire crackers between 10.00 PM to 6.00 AM is not permitted.
Bursting of fire crackers are prohibited at hospitals, educational institutions,
places of worship.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Environment & Ecology
News Source : The Hindu
Finding the right waves to cut breast cancer
Details :

Low and medium range radio waves have been used to alleviate minor
ailments such as neck and back pain.
Now, scientists are finding ways where with certain improvements these
waves can be finely controlled and can be used to treat cancer.

Current Scenario: Radiofrequency ablation

Technique called Radiofrequency ablation or RFA is used for treatment of

In radiofrequency ablation treatment or RFA, cancerous tissue is burned off
by poking a needle electrode through the skin into the tumour.

Determining the right places to insert the needle needs high-resolution images
of the infected region that are taken by instruments such ultrasound, computed
tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
The high-frequency electrical currents are passed through the electrode,
creating heat that destroys the cancer cells.
RFA is an effective treatment option for patients who might have difficulty
with surgery or those whose tumours are less than one and a half inches in
RFA is generally conducted in the outpatient setting, using either local
anesthetics or conscious sedation anesthesia.
It is very specific for treating the desired tissue without significant collateral

Other uses of RFA:

Aesthetics dermatology
Varicose veins
Obstructive sleep apnea
Pain management
Barrett's esophagus

Side Effects:

The main side effect of RFA is some discomfort, including swelling and
bruising at the site of the treatment. There can also be numbness and itching.
Risk of allergic reaction.
Infection at the site of injection.
Injury to the nerves.

Radio waves for treatment

Radio waves are part of the electromagnetic spectrum and indispensable for
the working of several of our communication devices from radios to satellites.

The higher is the frequency of electromagnetic waves, the more energetic they
are and the greater their chances of being harmful to the body.
By using this property with precision and perfection, treatment of certain
proliferative diseases like cancer can be done.

Benefits of radio waves:

They could emerge as a competitor to conventional radiation and

chemotherapy to treat cancer. Because they employ low-frequency waves, RF
treatment would be far less likely to damage healthy tissue.
There would be no unpleasant side effects of such therapy.
It would be possible to ensure that patients would need fewer sittings than
conventional radiation therapy.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Science & Tech
News Source : The Hindu
Full convertibility on capital account unlikely for few years
Details :
What is the News?

India is not looking at full Capital Account Convertibility for the next few
years, a senior finance ministry official said.
Capital controls are used by the state to protect the economy from potential
shocks caused by unpredictable capital flows.
Capital account convertibility means the freedom to convert a currency for
capital transactions and the rupee is not fully convertible on that front yet,
though capital flows have been liberalised in recent years.

What is Capital Account Convertibility ?

Capital Account Convertibility means that the currency of a country can be

converted into foreign exchange without any controls or restrictions.
In other words, Indians can convert their Rupees into Dollars or Euros and
Vice Versa without any restrictions placed on them.

The reason why it is called capital account convertibility is that the conversion
of domestic currencies into foreign currencies is allowed in the capital account
and not only the current account.
Capital account refers to expenditures and investments in hard assets, physical
premises, and factories as well as investments in land and other capitalintensive items.
Current account on the other hand, refers to investments that are short term in
duration and hence, they fall under the current account head.

What are Partially and Fully Convertible Currencies?

Partially convertible currencies are those where the currency can be converted
in the current account.
This means that investors can invest in stock markets and bond markets of the
target countries with an option to repatriate their holdings.
Further, ordinary citizens can convert their domestic currencies to dollars for
expenses like going abroad for work, tourism, and education.
On the other hand, capital account convertibility or fully convertible
currencies are those where just about anybody can convert the local currency
for foreign currency without any questions or restrictions placed on such
The key aspect here is that many countries do not allow their currencies to be
fully convertible if they do not hold significant foreign exchange reserves.
This is also the reason why capital controls are imposed in times of economic
crises to prevent a capital flight from these countries.
Many Asian countries have learnt from the bitter experience of the Asian
financial crisis of 1997 and the Russian Default of 1998 where full
convertibility lead to a stampede of foreign investors fleeing the countries in
the aftermath of the economic crisis.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim Exam

Subject : Economics
News Source : The Hindu
Jute industry seeks continued protection
Details :
Why in news?

In a meeting with Union Textile Minister Smriti Irani , the jute industry
stressed on the importance of continuation of the protection extended through
the mandatory jute packaging requirements (as per JPM Act).
Jute industrys over dependence on one product (jute sackings like gunny
bags) and a single-customer (government) was also discussed.

What is JPM Act?

Under the Jute Packaging Materials (Compulsory use in Packing

Commodities) Act, 1987 (JPM Act), the government is required to consider
and provide for the compulsory use of jute packaging material in the supply
and distribution of certain commodities in the interest of production of raw
jute and jute packaging material and of persons engaged in the production.
Originally 100% of sugar and food grains along with large portion of cement
and fertilizers were to be in jute packaging as per rules issued under this act.
Jute Packaging Materials Act , 1987 was only meant as a support to the
industry while the industry develops to be independent of government.
However, due to the protections provided by the government under this act,
the jute industry has stagnated and hasn't tried to develop and diversify their
production line to high-value products to cater to the needs of new customers
and markets.

Some facts:

Raw jute is produced mainly in the state of West Bengal, Bihar, Assam,
Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Tripura and Meghalaya.
India is the major producer of jute products in the world (about 70% of
estimated world production) primarily due to its large domestic market (due to
Average domestic consumption out of total production has been close to 90%.
One product - Jute sackings - alone makes up 74% of production by the jute

Modifications to norms under the act:

Over the years, the Act has undergone substantial dilution.

The fertiliser and cement sectors, that were originally mandated to use jute
packaging, have been totally exempted.
There has been relaxation in case of sugar and foodgrains as well. As against
100 per cent norm previously, presently only 20 per cent of the sugar output
and 90 per cent of foodgrains are required to be packed in B-Twill sacking
(Jute gunny bags).

Commission for Agricultural Costs & Prices (CACP):

The commission, which advices the government on Minimum Support Price

(MSP) and on issues related to agricultural produce, has recommended
complete exemption to sugar for packaging in jute bags.
The Commission has also recommended reduction in compulsory packaging
of food grains from 90 per cent presently to 75 per cent.

What do sugar mills say?

They have been demanding exemption of sugar from JPMA. They say that jute bag
packaging pushes up the sugar price roughly by 54 paise per kg, the packaging
causes deterioration of quality.

What does the jute industry say?

The jute industry says that any dilution in packaging requirements would be
detrimental for the industry as a whole and jute farmers will also be affected.
Jute industry employs 3.7 lakh workers in jute mills and ancillary units and
also supports the livelihood of around 40 lakh farm families. In addition, there
are many people engaged in the trade of jute.


It is necessary to produce and market different Jute Diversified Products

(JDPs) such as Jute shopping bags, Jute floor coverings, Jute based home
furnishings & wall coverings, Jute based handicrafts etc.
The promotion of diversification will help in making the jute industry less
dependent on state support.
It will also ensure that the industry becomes competitive and self-sustaining
so that the opportunities in the global and domestic markets are tapped

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Economics
News Source : The Hindu
Oct. 22, 2016
Centre launches scheme for regional air connectivity- UDAN
Details :
What is the news?

The Centre unveiled a regional connectivity scheme, known as UDAN (Ude

Desh ka Aam Nagrik), with flights priced at Rs.2,500 for one hour of flying
time to and from regional airports.
The government will provide subsidies to regional airlines to offer half the
seats on a discounted rate.
The first flight from smaller cities under the scheme should take off by
There will be some amount of levy to be imposed on flyers on regular routes
to fund the subsidy.
Under the scheme, airlines will be offered relaxation at smaller airports such
as waiver of landing and parking charges.

About UDAN

UDAN is an innovative scheme to develop the regional aviation market.

It is a market-based mechanism in which airlines bid for seat subsidies.
This first-of-its-kind scheme globally will create affordable yet economically
viable and profitable flights on regional routes so that flying becomes
affordable to the common man even in small towns.
The selection of airports where UDAN operations would start would be done
in consultation with State Government.


The scheme ensures affordability, connectivity, growth and development.

Citizens will get the benefit of affordability, connectivity and more jobs. The
Centre would be able to expand the regional air connectivity and market.
It can help in development of remote areas, trade and commerce and tourism

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Polity & Governance
News Source : The Hindu
Smooth-coated otter sighted in Krishna mangrove
Details :
What is the news?

Smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) was sighted for the first time in
the mangrove forest adjacent to the Krishna Wildlife Sanctuary.
Krishna Wildlife Sanctuary is a wildlife sanctuary and estuary located in
Andhra Pradesh, India and harbors vast tracts of mangrove forests.

About Otters:

Otters are carnivorous mammals.

The otter lives in rivers, lakes, peat swamp forests, mangroves and estuaries. It
uses swamps as natal den sites and nursery during early winter, the breeding
The Smooth-coated otter predominantly preys on the fish but often eats shrimp
and crab.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN),
conservation status of the Smooth-coated Otter distributed throughout South
Asia and South East Asia is vulnerable.
Presence of the otter is a key indicator for rise of the mangrove cover.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim Exam

Subject : Environment & Ecology
News Source : The Hindu
Ladakh drill not aimed at third country, says China
Details :
What is the News?

The first-ever Sino-Indian joint military exercise was held in eastern Ladakh
on October 19 amid tensions between India and Pakistan after the Uri terror

attack and the surgical strikes by the Indian Army in the Pakistan-occupied
Why this is important?

The two sides also held a similar exercise in this region in February but was
held in the Chinese side and this time it is in the Indian side along the Line of
Actual Control (LAC).
This exercise focuses on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief under a
scenario of earthquakes in the border area, with a purpose to enhance
exchanges and cooperation between the two troops and better safeguard peace
and tranquility of the border area.
The October 19 exercise was the first military cooperation of New Delhi and
Beijing in Jammu and Kashmir.
The two nations have conducted exercises at other locations in the country.
This is the same spot where the two countries fought pitched battles in 1962.
The two countries do not have an earmarked boundary and the Line of Actual
Control (LAC) its alignment is disputed by both.
It was held at a time when diplomatic maneuvering between India and China
over Beijing blocking Indias bid for NSG membership and impose a UN ban
on Jaish-e-Muhammad chief Masood Azhar.
China described this exercise as normal exchange and said the drill was not
targeted against any "third country" (Pakistan) nor it had "anything to do"
with its stance on Kashmir issue.

Hand in Hand Military exercise:

This Sino-Indian joint military exercise which was held in eastern Ladakh on
October 19, compliments the 'Hand in Hand' series of the India-China joint
exercises and the effort of both the nations to enhance cooperation and
maintain peace and tranquillity along the border areas of India and China.
The Hand-in-Hand series of joint military exercise between armies of India
and China was started in 2007.
This year's edition of 'Hand in Hand' will be held at Aundh, near Pune in
Maharashtra, from November 15 to 27.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Defence & Security
News Source : The Hindu

Oct. 21, 2016

Avian Influenza
Details :
After Delhi zoo, Deer Park shut due to avian influenza

What is the news?

The Delhi zoo and the Deer Park have been shut down temporarily following
death of birds.
These birds were painted storks, ducks and pelicans that had migrated locally.
Migratory water ducks are the commonest carriers of bird flu.
A reason for concern is that there is an increased possibility of the spread of the
infection from wild birds to domestic poultry, which humans handle.

What Is Bird Flu?

Bird flu, or avian influenza, is a viral infection spread from bird to bird.
Currently, a particularly deadly strain of bird flu -- H5N1 -- continues to
spread among poultry in Egypt and in certain parts of Asia.

Bird flu, or avian influenza, is a viral infection spread from bird to bird.
Currently, a particularly deadly strain of bird flu -- H5N1 -- continues to spread
among poultry in Egypt and in certain parts of Asia.
H5N1 is a highly pathogenic avian influenza(HPAI) virus.
It's deadly to most birds and to humans & mammals that catch the virus from
Since the first human case in 1997, H5N1 has killed nearly 60% of the people
who have been infected. Since 2003 there is no reported case of human death
in India.
There is no vaccine against H5N1.
According to WHO, some avian influenza viruses such as A(H5N1) and
A(H7N9) have caused serious infections in people with the majority of human
cases associated with direct or indirect contact with infected live or dead

Controlling the disease in animals is the first step in decreasing risks to humans.
The Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries in the Ministry
of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare declared India free from Avian Influenza
(H5N1) from September, 2016 following an outbreak of Avian Influenza
(H5N1) in May, 2016 in Karnataka.

What are the symptoms of the disease?

In humans, the symptoms of an H5N1 infection are the same as that of any
other seasonal flu fever, bodyache, sore throat, runny nose, headache,
fatigue, etc.
It can turn serious very quickly and lead to respiratory distress.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Environment & Ecology

News Source : The Hindu

Discom losses may fall to 28 paise per unit by fiscal 2019
Details :

The aggregate loss of distribution companies (discoms) of the 15 states that

have joined the Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojna (UDAY) so far will more than
halve to 28 paise per unit by fiscal 2019 compared with 64 paise in fiscal 2016,
according to a report by Crisil.
Under the UDAY scheme, state governments are to take over 75 per cent of
their respective discoms debt, and would issue bonds to pay the debt back.
The remaining 25 per cent would be financed by bonds issued by the discoms
themselves, guaranteed by the state government.

UDAY (Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana)

UDAY provides for the financial turnaround and revival of Power Distribution
companies (DISCOMs) and importantly also ensures a sustainable permanent
solution to the problem.
UDAY is a path breaking reform for affordable and accessible 24x7 Power for
UDAY is a shining example of the utilization of the best principles of
cooperative and competitive federalism.
Adopting UDAY is optional for States, but provides the fastest, most efficient
and financially most feasible way for providing 24X7 Power for All.
It will be operationalized through a tri-partite agreement amongst the Ministry
of Power, State Government and the DISCOM.
The states that have agreed to join the scheme are Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan,
Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Jammu
& Kashmir, Haryana, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, and


Financially stressed DISCOMs are not able to supply adequate power at

affordable rates, which hampers quality of life and overall economic growth
and development.
Efforts towards 100% village electrification, 24X7 power supply and clean
energy cannot be achieved without performing DISCOMs.
Power outages also adversely affect national priorities like Make in India and
Digital India.
In addition, default on bank loans by financially stressed DISCOMs has the
potential to seriously impact the banking sector and the economy at large.
UDAY assures the rise of vibrant and efficient DISCOMs through a permanent
resolution of past as well as potential future issues of the sector.
This is through four initiatives:

(i) Improving operational efficiencies of DISCOMs

(ii) Reduction of cost of power
(iii) Reduction in interest cost of DISCOMs
(iv) Enforcing financial discipline on DISCOMs through alignment with the State

Salient Features of UDAY

States shall take over 75% of DISCOM debt as on 30 September 2015 over two
years - 50% of DISCOM debt shall be taken over in 2015-16 and 25% in 201617.
Government of India will not include the debt taken over by the States as per
the above scheme in the calculation of fiscal deficit of respective States in the
financial years 2015-16 and 2016-17.
States will issue non-SLR including SDL bonds in the market or directly to the
respective banks / Financial Institutions (FIs) holding the DISCOM debt to the
appropriate extent.
DISCOM debt not taken over by the State shall be converted by the Banks / FIs
into loans or bonds with interest rate not more than the banks base rate plus
0.1%. Alternately, this debt may be fully or partly issued by the DISCOM as

State guaranteed DISCOM bonds at the prevailing market rates which shall be
equal to or less than bank base rate plus 0.1%.
States shall take over the future losses of DISCOMs in a graded manner and
shall fund them as follows:








loss to be
over by

0% of
loss of

0% of
loss of

5% of
loss of

of the
loss of

of the
loss of

50% of

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Economics
News Source : The Hindu
Inspirational stories from real-life heroes for Ethics & Essay Paper. (Part-IV)
Details :
When you look at typical development news in the papers most of the news may be
about the planned projects and few about what has been implemented with
uncertain results and the rest about what has not been done. In sum, the citizen is
always waiting for the intervention of the State to come to her rescue and get her
out of the mess.

But Not always, Once in a while people decide not to wait and take their fate
in their own hands.
This has happened in the Bareilly district of Uttar Pradesh, where after
waiting for 25 years, farmers rebuild dam on their own.

Collective Efforts:

The villagers in the Bareilly distric in Uttar pradesh have been facing
irrigation-related problems for over two decades after a dam built during the
British period was damaged in 1990.
After waiting for the government to do something about it, the farmers came
together and collected Rs 70,000, while a few other villagers contributed in
They started constructing a 'kutcha' dam with mud and sand bags, 98 feet long
and 20 feet wide.
And now they have made several dams in different villages with their
collective efforts.
Rampal Singh, a farmer at Tehra village said that "The quality of crops
deteriorated as we failed to provide adequate amount of water. We made
several requests to the administration and politicians for over two decades but
our pleas fell on deaf ears."
"When we had met officials earlier, they had told us that we would not be able
to make a dam here on our own. But we proved them wrong. After Tehra
village, which is nearly 60 km from Bareilly, we will now construct a dam at
Khamariya village," said a farmer.
Another farmer, Khalil Ahmad, added that officials never paid attention to
their requests for over two decades and now were visiting the site after the
dam had come up.

Examples from other States:

Earlier the tribal farmers of Gunia village, Jharkhand show initiative to build
their own little irrigation dam.
Farming alone has been their means of livelihood but owing to lack of
resources and irrigation facilities, they could not progress much.
Now things have improved due to their self-effort they have improved their
standard of living, as most of them have converted into progressive farmers.
Sanjay Tidke, a farmer from a village in Maharashtras Akola district, has
sold his land to build a concrete dam for the farming community after facing
rejections from the state government.
The farmer said the government officials raised objections when he began to
build the dam and filed complaint against him for using the soil as they
dubbed it illegal but are now appreciating his initiative.

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-4

Subject : Miscellaneous

News Source : The Hindu

A vote on referendums Editorial 21st Oct'16 The Hindu
Details :
A vote on referendums
Recently referendums were held in Britain and Columbia which has reinvigorated
the debate on relevance of referendums in a democracy.
The Indian democracy is maturing with the strengthening of representative
institutions, the separation of powers, and increased participation in elections but
citizens participation remains limited to the elections.
Referendums can help to deepen Indian democracy and make it more accountable
and participatory with meaningful discussions.
Two recent referendums
The referendum in Britain was held to decide whether Britain should stay in the
European Union and the referendum in Columbia was held to ratify the peace deal
with Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)
The outcome in both cases was surprising as the majority of those who voted in
Britain were in favour of leaving EU and the majority in Columbia rejected the
peace deal though the margin and turnout was very less.
The referendum in Britain was not a well-considered vote for leaving EU but a
protest vote against the state of economy and perceived loss of jobs due to
In Colombia, the voters from non-interior parts voted against the peace deal
whereas voters from interior voted in favour of it. Voters from interior parts
supported the deal because they wanted the violence to end as they were the ones
suffered due to it. But voters from non-interior parts voted against it because
FARCs strategy of using the money from hostage taking and using it for drug
production had brought it intense disrepute.
Relevance of referendums

The relevance of the referendums is questioned on two grounds: that they are too
risky and representatives in an indirect democracy are more capable of making
informed choices.
Referendums cannot said to be more risky because they add legitimacy to difficult
legislative decisions and it is more risky to take unpopular decisions if they lack
And in an indirect democracy, legislators are voted on their electoral promises and
popularity and not on their lawmaking competency and ability to make an informed
choice. In India for example, legislations are influenced more by party bosses than
individual legislators.
The need for a referendum and its outcome should be seen separately as each
outcome has its reasons in its specific political economy as seen in case of Britain
and Columbia.
The need is to identify when and how referendums are used in a representative
Relevance in the Indian context
In India, the means of citizen participation in lawmaking are limited. The Standing
Committees in Parliament do invite members from civil society to express their
views on Billsbut largely legislations can only be influenced by public opinion
through media coverage as seen in Governments attempts to amend the Right to
Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and
Resettlement Act, 2013.
Referendums on selected legislations (based on a large quantum of public
signatures seeking it) would make public participation more meaningful by
sensitising the public towards important laws and getting popular approval on
sensitive issues.
For example, a referendum could have been held on the Aadhaar Act which has a
major effect on the lives of citizens and functioning of the welfare state.
Associated risks
Referendums can lead to majoritarianism and can encroach upon the minority

Therefore, there should be constitutional safeguards on the kinds of Bills and Acts
that can be brought up for referendum.
Way forward
Almost all democracies have held referendums and India is one of the few who
have never held a referendum.
Referendums could strengthen and deepen democratic values in Indian citizens and
give a strong mechanism to the electorate to express their will even between
Therefore, the idea should not be rejected summarily on the grounds of being
impractical and should be explored further.
Referendums could be used as a special mechanism with adequate constitutional
safeguards to push democracy deeper in India.
GS 2 (Polity)
Related question
Do you think that India has reached a stage where it can introduce limited direct
democracy by holding referendums on important issues? Discuss in the light of
benefits and risks associated with referendums?
Additional Information
What are referendums?
Referendum is an instrument of direct democracy where citizens get to directly vote
on specific and important issues rather than for representatives who will make a
choice on their behalf on those issues. It is a general vote by the electorate on a
single political question which has been referred to them for a direct decision.
Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam
Subject : Editorial Analysis
News Source : The Hindu

Oct. 20, 2016

India, Myanmar to stay connected
Details :
What is the news?

Ms. Suu Kyi, who could not become Myanmars President due to a
constitutional provision but has full control over the government, holds the
position of State Councillor and Foreign Minister, came to New Delhi after
attending BRICS-BIMSTEC summit in Goa.
India extended support to Myanmar for a better connected future.
Both countries agreed to cooperate in security and strategic issues and signed
three agreements to assist insurance, power and banking sectors and decided to
step up ties in areas of oil and gas, agriculture, renewable energy and health
The two traditionally close neighbours also agreed to enhance ties in security
and trade.
India offered to scale up power supply from Moreh in Manipur to Tamu in
India will also partner in a pilot LED electrification project in a site designated
by the government of Myanmar.
The security interests of India and Myanmar were closely aligned. The two
countries agreed that close coordination to ensure security in the areas along
border, and sensitivity to each others strategic interests and will help both

India - Myanmar Relations

Myanmar shares a long land border of over 1600 Km with India as well as a
maritime boundary in the Bay of Bengal.
Four North-Eastern States viz. Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and
Mizoram share international boundary with Myanmar.
Both countries share a heritage of religious, linguistic and ethnic ties.
Myanmar is our gateway to South East Asia and ASEAN with which we are
seeking greater economic integration through Indias 'Look East' and Act East

Apart from supply of pulses, possibilities of energy supply from offshore blocks
in Myanmar and business opportunities that are emerging from an opening
economy underpin bilateral relations.
A number of development projects like the Kaladan project, restoration of
Ananda Temple, hospital upgradation, OFL link are under construction.

Development cooperation and humanitarian relief

India has offered technical and financial assistance to Myanmar for projects in
infrastructure, capacity-building, emergency relief and others.
Disaster Relief: India has responded promptly to assist Myanmar in
humanitarian relief operations following natural calamities like Cyclone Nargis
in 2008, the earthquake in Shan State in 2010 and cyclone Komen in 2015.
India provided a sum of US$ 1 million to Government of Myanmar for
promoting inter-communal harmony in Rakhine State which the Myanmar
Government has chosen to use to construct 10 schools to serve both
communities and promoting communal harmony.

Cultural relations

There is a deep sense of kinship, particularly amongst the Buddhist community,

given Indias association with the Buddhas life.
GOI is working for restoration of the Ananda Temple in Bagan, donated a 16
foot replica of the Sarnath Buddha Statue which has been installed at the
premises of Shwedagon pagoda in Yangon.


Connectivity is increasingly being seen as the key to promoting bilateral

commercial, cultural, touristic and other exchanges.
India is undertaking some important development projects that will enhance
connectivity: these include the Kaladan project, construction/upgradation of
Rhi-Tiddim Road.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : International Relation
News Source : The Hindu
India Algeria mull fertilizer Joint Venture
Details :
What is the news?

Modern chemical fertilizers include one or more of the three elements that are
most important in plant nutrition: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
India has up to 96 per cent phosphate dependency, with the volumes running to
six million tonnes a year.
India is keen desire to initiate a joint venture arrangement with Algeria for a
fertilizer plant located in the North African country and is seeking 49 per cent
share in an Algerian block that has a capacity of six billion tonnes with 26 per
cent to 50 per cent phosphate content.

Benefits for India:

Around 90 to 95% phosphate being used by Indian fertilizer companies is

imported and the production cost is also very high. If India can join hands with
Algeria by providing funds and technology to set up a fertilizer company by
using Algerian phosphate and gas, and the fertiliser is taken to India, the cost
would be quite low.
It will ease the fertilizer subsidy burden.
For India, such a project will have major favourable food security implications.

India currently imports raw phosphate resources and this will reduce Indias
import dependency.

India- Algeria trade

Indias bilateral trade with Algeria currently stands at $1.5 billion a year.
The major item of exports from India has been automobiles and sarees and
major imports include oil and gas.

Note: No specific agreement was signed during Vice-Presidents visit. So the details
will follow as and when the agreement will be signed. This article is for basic

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : International Relation
News Source : The Hindu
Karnataka welcomes Krishna Tribunals decision
Details :
What is the news?

In a setback to Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, the Krishna Water Disputes

Tribunal-II on 19th October has ruled that there was no need to re-allocate the
river water among all four riparian states.
The much-awaited verdict has come as a relief to Maharashtra and Karnataka,
which were opposing re-allocation among all states.
The tribunal said the water should be re-allocated between Telangana and
Andhra Pradesh, the two successor states of undivided Andhra Pradesh.
Telangana said the tribunal order was not final and was subject to a review by
the Supreme Court.

What is the issue?

Both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana had sought fresh allocation among all
four riparian states.
On the other hand, Maharashtra and Karnakata had argued that Andhra
Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014 was limited to successor states of Andhra
Pradesh and Telangana and Maharashtra and Karnataka were not parties to it.
They wanted the tribunal to re-allocate water to Telugu states from the share
of undivided Andhra Pradesh.
In 2013, the tribunal had made allocation of water among Maharashtra,
Karnataka and undivided Andhra Pradesh.
However, Andhra Pradesh had challenged the award on the ground that
injustice was done to it.
After the formation of Telangana, the state also impleaded in the case.
Of 811 Thousand Million Cubic feet (TMC ft) allocation of surplus water, the
share of Andhra Pradesh is 512 TMC ft and of Telangana is 299 TMC ft.
Telangana, which is building many projects on the river, is seeking another
300 TMC ft while Andhra Pradesh is also pressing for additional allocation.

Important Information:

Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal (KWDT) is a tribunal set up by the

government of India in 1969 under the Interstate River Water Disputes Act of
1956 to resolve the disputes between the states of Karnataka, Maharashtra,
Telangana and Andhra Pradesh over sharing of Krishna river water.
The Krishna River is the second biggest river in peninsular India.
It originates near Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra from the statue of a cow in a
It then runs for a distance of 303 km in Maharashtra, 480 km through the
breadth of North Karnataka and the rest of its 1300 km journey in Telangana
and Andhra Pradesh before it empties into the Bay of Bengal.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Polity & Governance
News Source : The Hindu
China Q3 GDP grows 6.7 percent as expected as construction booms, debt rises
Details :
What is the News?

China recorded a steady GDP growth rate of 6.7 per cent in the third quarter
of this year, thanks to the real estate market and government-backed spending
and lending that propped up the worlds second-largest economy which
witnessed continuous slowdown.
The growth figure of 6.7 per cent remained within the governments targeted
range of GDP growth between 6.5 and 7 per cent for 2016.
Chinas GDP expanded 6.7 per cent year on year in the first three quarters of
2016 to reach 52.997 trillion yuan (USD 7.87 trillion).

Key implications on global growth:

First, and most obvious, continued deceleration of Chinese growth would have
a much greater impact on an otherwise weak global economy than would be
the case if the world were growing at something closer to its longer-term trend
of 3.6 percent.
Excluding China, world GDP growth would be about 1.9 percent in 2016 below the 2.5 percent threshold commonly associated with global recessions.
Every decline in Chinese GDP growth of one percentage point knocks close to
0.2 percentage points directly off world GDP; including the spillover effects
of foreign trade, the total global growth impact would be around 0.3
percentage points.
Defining a Chinese hard landing as a halving of the current 6.7 percent growth
rate, the combined direct and indirect effects of such an outcome would
consequently knock about one percentage point off overall global growth.
In such a scenario, there is no way the world could avoid another full-blown
China is the worlds second-largest economy and the second-biggest importer
of both goods and commercial services.
It also plays an key role as a buyer of oil and other commodities.
Its slowdown in growth has been a factor in the decline in prices of those

Other Information:

Consider the most recent GDP numbers from China and India, China says its
economy grew by a respectable 6.7% in the first three months of 2016, while
India reported a remarkable 7.9% expansion in the same period.
Together, the countries account for 16% of world GDP, or about $13 trillion.

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-3

Subject : Economics
News Source : The Hindu
Compulsory voting is not practical in India, says Zaidi
Details :
What is the News?

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Nasim Zaidi has recently said that the
idea of compulsory voting has not been found so practical in India, but
comparative benefits of compulsory voting and education-led mobilisation of
voters will be worth examining again.
The issue of compulsory voting as prevalent in some countries has been a
matter of discussion earlier. But we will like to hear others, said Dr. Zaidi.
In response to a private members Bill on compulsory voting, introduced in
the Lok Sabha, the government had also said it would not be possible to bring
in such a law that punishes those who do not vote.

Other Information:

The CEC said the Systematic Voters Education and Electoral Participation
project has over the years given creditable gains in a relatively short period of
In the areas of enrolment, turnout, womens voting and youth participation,
the achievements have been praiseworthy.
However, the jewel in the crown was the 66.4 per cent voter turnout in an
electorate of 834 million in the national elections held in 2014, which is the
highest voter participation in the last six decades.
Most significantly, womens participation was at a record high of 65.6 per

What is compulsory voting?

Compulsory voting is a system in which electors are obliged to vote in

elections or attend a polling place on voting day.
About 22 countries have compulsory voting pattern.
Examples of countries having compulsory voting are Brazil, Bolivia,
Venezuela, Australia etc.

Arguments in favor of compulsory voting:

Voting should be made compulsory because it is our moral and legal

responsibility to be part of nation-building process.
If voter turnout is low, the chance that a candidate is getting elected is high.
This will not only affect those who voted for that candidate but also affect
who has not voted.
So voting should be made compulsory.
If everyone votes, the role of money in elections could be reduced.
Non-exercise of voting right must be made an offence subject to such rare
exceptions as may be justified.
Compulsory voting increases voter participation.
So it may stimulate strong participation of people in political activities.
High levels of participation of people decrease the risk of political instability.
Those who fail to exercise their right to franchise should be barred from
voting in future
Recently election commission has introduced NOTA(None Of The Above)
So voting should be made compulsory because people who do not want to
vote for candidates contesting the election can opt for NOTA.

Arguments against compulsory voting:

The idea of compulsory voting is not compatible with democracy, where the
right to freedom of speech and expression enshrined in the constitution.
Making something compulsory brings in the element of coercion and that
borders around tyranny-the exact opposite to democracy.
In practical terms, it is very difficult to implement compulsory voting.
In the last general elections nearly 300 million people did not vote.
If this is punishable under law, we will have to file that many cases, virtually
clogging and checking the already over burdened legal system.

Various Steps That Need To Be Taken, If India Opts For Compulsory Voting:

Postal and pre-poll voting need to be provided / strengthened to people who

cannot vote on polling day.
Mobile voting booths need to be introduced to old age homes and hospitals to
carter for immobilized citizens.
Online voting (e-voting) need to be introduce.

NOTA option is required (already introduced) for people who do not like the
present candidates contesting elections.

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-2

Subject : Polity & Governance
News Source : The Hindu
Britains Indian litmus test 20th Oct'16 Editorial The Hindu
Details :
Britains Indian litmus test
British Prime Ministers Theresa Mays is scheduled to visit during the India-U.K.
Tech Summit in November.
This will be her first to a non-European Union (EU) country and comes in the
backdrop of Britains eventual exit for the EU.
It is a significant visit which can infuse new energy in bilateral political and
economic relations.
Significance for UK
The visit has greater significance beyond the bilateral relationship as it would be a
test of the new Governments ability fuse two fundamentally inconsistent policies
of forming stronger relationships with non-EU countries while introducing a
tougher immigration regime at the same time.
It will also signify a new approach of UK to economic diplomacy which focuses
on capturing a large number of solid opportunities by building greater links between
small and medium-sized enterprises in India rather than a few big deals.
Even though EU rules forbid a separate trade agreement with any EU member, UK
wants to discuss a potential India-U.K. Free Trade Agreement which could be
finalized quickly after Britain exits EU.
Significance for India

India could gain significantly as UK would now be not restricted by various rules
of EU and concerns of other EU members. This means UK could open up various
areas for Indian goods and services.
But the immigration issues have been obstacles in the India-EU FTA, and it is not
likely thatBritain is willing to take a different approach.
Instead, British Government hasindicated to take a tougher stance on migration
even from non-EU countries and changed the rules related to intra-company
transfers which may hurt Indias IT sector. This will send a wrong message to
Indian firms which are already concerned about the impact of Brexit on their
Britains stand on Pakistan and Kashmir will also figure in the discussions as it has
not come out with a strong statement condemning cross border terrorism.
There must be some concrete gestures on the part of the UK to show its openness
for business and recognition of the value Indian citizens add to its economy.
Though India recognizes the need for immigration control, in needs to impress
upon the UK to have a more balanced approach.
India should also use this opportunity to sensitize Britain of its concerns on cross
border terrorism.
GS 2 (Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on
Indias interests, Indian diaspora)
Related question
In context of India-Britain relations, discuss how Brexit will affect interests of
Indian economy, businesses and citizens.
Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam
Subject : Editorial Analysis
News Source : The Hindu

Goa periscope: A Russian sub leased

Details :
Why in news?
India and Russia have reportedly reached an agreement on the lease of a second
nuclear submarine during the summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and
Russian President Vladimir Putin in Goa last week.


India had earlier leased an Akula-II class nuclear attack submarine (SSN) for a
period of 10 years. The vessel was inducted into service as INS Chakra in
April 2012.
Since then, the government had expressed interest in leasing at least one more
submarine to train Navy crew in the complex submarine operations as we
prepare to have a large fleet of nuclear submarines.
India inducted its first indigenously built nuclear ballistic missile submarine
(SSBN), Arihant, into service in August completing its nuclear triad.

What is Nuclear Triad?

Nuclear triad is the ability to deliver nuclear weapons from air, ground and water
through bomber planes, intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), and submarinelaunched ballistic missiles (SLBMs).
The purpose of having a three-branched nuclear capability is to significantly reduce
the possibility that an enemy could destroy all of a nation's nuclear forces by
striking first in an attack (called first-strike).
This, in turn, ensures that the attacked country can also retaliate with nuclear
weapons (called second strike), and thus increases a nation's nuclear deterrence
(that is, reduce the possibility of anyone attacking without fearing consequences).

Types of Submarines:

Submarines are classified based on how they are powered. Usually, there are two

Diesel-Electric submarines: These are conventional submarines that are

powered by a combination of diesel engines and electric motor. India has INS
Sindhughosh, INS Sindhuratna etc that are of this type.

Nuclear powered submarines: These are powered by a nuclear reactor. Being

completely independent of need for air, these submarine need not come to the
surface frequently, as is necessary for conventional submarines. They are also
much bigger. India currently has only two - INS Arihant (built in India) and
INS Chakra (leased from Russia).

Nuclear Submarines:
They are of two types:

SSN - Submersible Ship (that is, submarine) Nuclear-powered:

These are the attack submarines or hunter-killer submarines. They are

specifically designed for the purpose of attacking and sinking other
submarines, surface combat ships and merchant vessels. These submarines do
not carry long range missiles.
The Indian navy envisaged multiple roles for the SSNs: two SSNs each to
escort Aircraft carrier warships, protect the bases of the SSBNs and hunt
enemy submarines in the Indian Ocean Region.

SSBN - Submersible Ship (that is, submarine) Ballistic Nuclear-powered:

These are Submarines with the capability of deploying submarine-launched ballistic
missiles (SLBMs) with nuclear warheads. They can fire missiles thousands of
kilometers from their targets.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Defence & Security
News Source : The Hindu
Oct. 19, 2016
Delhi's air quality very poor: SAFAR
Details :
What is the news?
The average of PM 2.5 and PM 10, suspended respirable pollutants, were recorded in
excess by System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).

Major Reasons:

Due to favourable weather conditions including a sudden chill in the air coupled
with very light winds.
Farm fires in neighbouring Punjab, Haryana.
Smoke from landfill sites like the one in Bhalaswa.
Use of crackers.


Respiratory problems.
Irritation to eyes and skin.
Heacache, blurring of vision.


Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), Govt. of India, has introduced "System of

Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research" known as "SAFAR" for
greater metropolitan cities of India to provide location specific information on
air quality in near real time and its forecast 1-3 days in advance.
SAFAR tells about City Air Quality which includes over all city pollution
and location specific Air Quality i.e. relative contribution of different
environments in a city.
The SAFAR system is developed by Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology,
Pune, along with ESSO partner institutions namely India Meteorological
Department (IMD) and National Centre for Medium Range Weather
Forecasting (NCMRWF).

Objective of the project: To increase awareness among general public regarding the
air quality so that appropriate mitigation measures and systematic action can be taken
up for betterment of air quality and related health issues.

Air Quality Indicators:

Pollutants monitored: PM1, PM2.5, PM10, Ozone, CO, NOx (NO, NO2), SO2,
Black Carbon, Methane (CH4), Non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHC), VOCs,
Benzene and Mercury.
Monitored Meteorological Parameters: UV Radiation, Rainfall, Temperature,
Humidity, Wind speed, Wind direction, Solar radiation.
Air Quality indicators are monitored at about 3m height from the ground and
the instruments are operated round the clock and data is recorded and stored at
every 5 minute.

Air Quality Index:

Air Quality Index is a tool for effective communication of air quality status to
people in terms, which are easy to understand. It transforms complex air quality
data of various pollutants into a single number (index value), nomenclature and

There are six AQI categories, namely Good, Satisfactory, Moderately

polluted, Poor, Very Poor and Severe.
Each of these categories is decided based on ambient concentration values of
air pollutants and their likely health impacts (known as health breakpoints).

SAFAR System products includes:

AIR QUALITY: Location specific current and 1-3 days in advance Air Quality
Forecasting and advisories for Human Health.
WEATHER: For Temperature, Rainfall, Humidity, Winds speed, wind
direction, UV-Radiations.
HARMFUL RADIATION: Location Specific current UV-index Information at
city level and advisories for impact of Human Skin.
EMISSION SCENARIO: Generating emission load by various pollution
sources for hot spot and mitigation.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Environment & Ecology
News Source : The Hindu

Centre moots 4 GST slabs

Details :
What is the news?

The Centre has proposed a four-slab rate structure for the Goods & Services
Tax, ranging from zero to 26 per cent.
The structure proposes the GST at 0 per cent on a host of goods and services,
including food, health and education services, and at 26 per cent on luxury
items, such as fast-moving consumer goods and consumer durables.
On consumption of ultra-luxury items and demerit goods, such as big cars and
tobacco products, it proposes imposition of cess over and above a 26 per cent
GST rate.
The GST is proposed to be levied at 6 per cent, 12 per cent or 18 per cent on
the remaining goods and services.
This proposal singles out gold, for which it proposes a GST rate of 4 per cent.
There will be no tax on agricultural products so as not to impose additional
burden on the common man.

The proposal retains only the Clean Environment Cess from the multitude
currently in place, with the GST subsuming all the others, including the Swachh
Bharat Cess, the Krishi Kalayan Cess and the Education Cess.
The Centre proposes to pay compensations to states at loss out of a fund to be
created from the Cess on top of the GST on ultra-luxury items and demerit
goods it included in the structure.
The principle for determining the rate on each item being proposed is to levy
and collect the GST at the rate slab closest to the current tax incidence on it.
The Council will finalise the GST rates structure keeping in the mind the need
to prevent inflation in consumer prices and protecting the revenues of both the
Centre and the States.
The base year for calculating the revenue of a State would be 2015-16.

GST Council:
As per Article 279A of the amended Constitution, the GST Council will be a joint
forum of the Centre and the States. This Council consist of the following members
a) Union Finance Minister as Chairperson
b) The Union Minister of State, in-charge of Revenue of finance as Member
c) The Minister In-charge of finance or taxation or any other Minister nominated by
each State Government as Members.

The Council will make recommendations to the Union and the States on important
issues related to GST like:

The goods and services that may be subjected or exempted from GST.
Model GST Laws
Principles that govern Place of Supply.
Threshold limits.
GST rates including the floor rates with bands.
Special rates for raising additional resources during natural calamities/disasters.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Economics
News Source : The Hindu
India-U.S. meet to focus on market access issues
Details :
What is the News?

Market access issues on goods and services as well as Intellectual Property

Rights policy-related matters are expected to figure in the India-U.S. Trade
Policy Forum (TPF) meetings which are going to be held on October 19 and
October 20.
During the TPF, they are also likely to take up e-commerce related issues.
Strong bilateral commercial ties between the U.S. and India are reflected by
the increased bilateral trade in goods and services of $109 billion and the
highest-ever FDI inflows in 2015-16.
Both countries had set a goal to take two-way trade to $500 billion in the
years ahead.

Concerns raised by India:

In August, the U.S. had agreed to look into Indias concerns on the Obama
administrations move to hike fees for H1-B and L1 visas.
India Inc. had also raised the issue saying the move had hurt Indian IT firms,
which are the main users of these work visas meant for foreign skilled
India also wanted the U.S. to look into the delay in reaching an agreement on
totalization (or a social security pact).
According to India, the absence of a totalization pact is imposing a burden on
the Indian software sector (who send professionals to the U.S. on projects) as
they have to shell out over $1 billion per year to the U.S. Government towards
social security, with no benefit or prospect of refund.

Concerns raised by the USA:

Leading U.S. companies had said they continued to fear the retrospective
aspects of Indias taxation regime despite the governments assurances.
They had also raised concerns on protection of IPR in India as well as
concerns over inefficiencies in infrastructure and commerce in India.
The U.S. government had red-flagged investor concerns about Indias high
tariff walls, localisation requirements as well as other trade barriers created
by standards on testing, certification, and registration.

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-2

Subject : International Relation
News Source : The Hindu

PSUs, private firms on par in bankruptcy bill

Details :
What is the news?

A draft Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance Bill 2016 has been
proposed to address insolvency issues in financial services companies.
As per some feedback, the draft bill would put public sector financial
companies on par with their private counterparts
Insolvency occurs when an individual or a firm is unable to meet their
financial obligations, like paying their bills or debts.
It is important to ensure that the failure of a financial firm is orderly, so that
consumers are protected and systemic stability and resilience are preserved.
Resolution should be easier - It means clear procedures on how those who
gave credit to the company, which is now insolvent, can recover their dues.

Present Status:It takes a very long procedure for the company to be declared
bankrupt and for the creditors (like banks) to recover their dues.
Under new law: Procedures will be clear and faster, covered under one law.

Present status: Resolution of bankrupt financial firms in India is based on various

provisions which are actually minor parts of laws made for other purposes.
Thus, the resolution process has been ad-hoc.
Under new law: This is a proper legally codified framework specifically for
bankruptcy resolution.

Present status: Under existing laws, resolution of public sector banks can only
happen by order of the government and in the manner it directs.
Under new law: They would be brought on an equal footing with other financial
firms in terms of resolution.

Note: This has just been proposed by government and in the early stages of news
cycle. Students will get more clarity with time.
Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam
Subject : Economics
News Source : The Hindu
U.S. stands in solidarity with India on cross-LoC strikes
Details :
What is the News?

The U.S. supports cross-LoC strikes by India, U.S. Ambassador has said,
adding that Washington has drastically cut assistance to Pakistan in the past
five years over concerns on terror.
India took the action it thought was necessary to defend itself, which we
understand, U.S. Ambassador has said.
In a rare admission that the U.S. had spoken to the Pakistani leadership about
the use of proxies as terror groups, U.S. Ambassador also said it was
important to stand in solidarity with India on that front.
The Ambassador revealed that since 2011, U.S. military aid to Pakistan had
dwindled 73 per cent over differences with the Pakistan governments action
on terror, indicating the recent hold on F-16 sales as well as $300 million
withheld by the Pentagon.

From your Mains Examination point of view, you need to know that, why
India is important for the USA.
Why India is important for USA?
From the U.S. perspective, to have India as a trusted partner and ally is
advantageous to its overall grand strategy.

India with a population of 1.2 billion, living within a democratic set up, is
politically structured to resonate with American values of democracy,
individual liberty, and freedom.

Henceforth, if America hopes to see a world with democratic values

spreading, having India as a partner is definitely a force multiplier.


India is fast emerging as an economic powerhouse and a military power.

By 2030, India is projected to be the third largest economy in the world, with
a projected GDP of $10 trillion, behind the United States GDP ($33 trillion)
and Chinas GDP ($34 trillion).
India will become the largest economy in the Commonwealth, overtaking
Hence, a deeper U.S.-India relationship will bolster trade, create jobs, and
further enhance economic investments and growth in both countries.


The United States needs to share the burdens of regulating the global
commons based on international norms and rules.
This is especially critical in the Asia-Pacific region. Who could provide a
better partnership in this aspect but India, with a growing military capability
and fast-emerging naval power.
Indias defense budget for the year 2015-2016 was $40 billion, ranking it
amongst the top militaries in the world.
Significantly, the U.S-India military relationship is on the upswing.


India is fast becoming a champion of renewables as its economy becomes

more and more energy dependent.
It is heavily investing in building its solar infrastructure.
The aim is to support the Paris climate agreement and work toward a limited
carbon footprint and a cleaner earth.
It has also enacted a National Offshore Wind Energy policy, while at the same
time aiming to achieve renewable energy goals by 2022.
Nuclear energy for renewables has also been bolstered by an agreement
between the United States and India that facilitates Westinghouse to build six
commercial nuclear reactors in India by June 2017.
This boosts profits for Westinghouse, while at the same time, bringing about
closer nuclear energy cooperation, put in place by the 2005 Indo-U.S. nuclear

deal signed by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former President
George W. Bush.

Indias experience in handling enormous population diversity, including being

home to the second largest Muslim population in the world (177 million), and
slotted to be the largest in the world by 2050 (311 million), may offer some
vital lessons to the United States given its growing diverse populations.
Despite some challenges, India has remained united, and its diversity has
become its strength today.
This celebration of diversity is reflected in its myriad languages, cultures,
traditions, that have learnt to co-exist.
On the contrary all of us have seen how the Republican nominee Donald
Trump has dangerously played the diversity card, targeting minorities and
immigrants for political gains, thereby encouraging a culture of intolerance
and racial hatred.


In surveys of social attitudes across the world., India comes out as a country
with some of the most favorable social attitudes toward the United States.
People-to-people contact is on the rise, as well as academic and cultural
exchanges. The Indian American diaspora of three million has also proved an
asset in supporting better relationship between the two countries.


Therefore, for the United States, having India as an ally and trusted partner in
the world is a good thing.
It means it has, literally speaking, 1.2 billion friends that would come to its aid
in times of need.
It means Washington could rely on Indias diplomatic and military support in
case there is conflict escalation in the Asia Pacific.
Most importantly, the United States can count on Indian Muslims to challenge
and question the barbaric ideologies perpetrated by groups like ISIS to spread
terror in the world.
The United States could also count on Indian support to tackle challenges of
climate change.

Most importantly, it could count on India to support and strengthen a rules

based international order that sustains peace and prosperity in the world.

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-2

Subject : International Relation
News Source : The Hindu
SCs poser on misuse of religion in elections
Details :
What is the News?

Questioning the practice of using the mass appeal of religious leaders to

canvas votes for candidates, the Supreme Court on 18th October asked
whether it amounts to a corrupt electoral practice to rope in clerics or priests
to flex their religious sway over their flock to swing votes.
A seven-judge Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice T.S. Thakur is testing
the limits of Section 123 of the Representation of the People Act for an
authoritative pronouncement on what are the various means by which misuse
of religion or faith of the masses for electoral gains can be categorized as a
corrupt practice.
The bench wanted to know whether an appeal by a priest or a cleric to voters
for supporting a candidate in the name of god or religion would attract
provisions of the Representation of People Act pertaining to corrupt
The bench was examining the interpretation of section 123 of the 1951
Representation of People Act pertaining to corrupt practice.

Why it is important?

The issue assumes significance as questions were raised on its 1995 verdict
which held that vote in the name of Hindutva/Hinduism did not
prejudicially affect any candidate, and since then three election petitions are
pending on the subject in the apex court.
The apex courts three-judge bench in 1995 had held that Hindutva/Hinduism
is a way of life of the people in the sub-continent and is a state of mind.
The judgement was delivered in the case of Manohar Joshi versus N B Patil
which was authored by Justice J S Verma who found that the statement by

Joshi that the first Hindu State will be established in Maharashtra did not
amount to appeal on ground of religion.
The observation was made while dealing with the question regarding the
scope of corrupt practices as mentioned in sub-section (3) of Section 123 of
the 1951 Representation of People Act.
The issue for interpretation of the sub-section once again arose on January 30,
2014 before a five-judge which referred it for examination before a larger
bench of seven judges.
So Now a seven-judge Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice T.S. Thakur is
testing the limits of Section 123 of the Representation of the People Act for an
authoritative pronouncement on what are the various means by which misuse
of religion or faith of the masses for electoral gains can be categorised as a
corrupt practice.

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-2

Subject : Polity & Governance
News Source : The Hindu
Changing the course of the planet 19th Oct'16 The Hindu Editorial
Details :
Changing the course of the planet
Recently agreed upon Kigali Agreement seeks to amend the Montreal Protocol and
phase down hydrofluorocarbons.
Due to their high global warming potential, HFCs needed to be treated on a higher
priority and it was suggested to phase out HFCs through the already-successful
Montreal Protocol.
But the Protocol was meant to deal with only ozone-depleting substances which
HFCs were not. So, it was proposed to amend the Montreal Protocol to enable it to
phase out HFCs as well.
This agreement could avoid global warming by up to 0.5 C by 2100.
What are HFCs?

HFCs are gases used for refrigeration and air-conditioning purposes.

But they have hundreds to thousands of times global warming potential than
carbon dioxide.
They were meant to replace chloroflurocarbons and hydrocholroflurocarbons in
order to protect the ozone layer.
Good compromise
The Kigali Amendment is not as ambitious or as flexible as desired.
The baseline for developed countries was set at 2011-13 and freeze year at 2019.
For most developing countries (including China), the baseline was set at 2020-22
with 2024 as the freeze year. But India and a few other developing countries got a
later baseline (2024-26) and freeze year (2028).
By not satisfying all the demands of all the countries, the Kigali Amendment
signals a good compromise.
Baselines refer to the average consumption in a period from which future
reductions are calculated and freeze year is the year when the emissions peak and
reductions start.

Differentiation with China

India and China are the only developing countries that manufacture HFCs but
Chinas output is much bigger.
Even in 2050, Indias HFC emissions without the agreement would have been
much lesser than Chinas.
Indias A/C market and HFC consumption picks up only after 2025 whereas China
will witness rapid emissions during 2015-2030.
Therefore, the deal accounts for differences in current consumption, future growth
and overall income levels.
Concerns for India

1)Additional Costs
Currently available alternative refrigerants are much more expensive and reduction
in emissions before 2028 would have imposed additional costs.
The cost burden also includes the one-time costs related to migration to new
While a coalition of 19 philanthropies have committed $ 53-million to help
developing countries to shift to HFC alternatives, the actual costs of transition
would be much higher.
The costs of transition will also be covered by Developed nations under the
Montreal Protocols Multilateral Fund but it is unclear now how much of the total
costs will be covered.
India needs access to technology as many alternative gases are not manufactured in
India currently.
Also there is need to test these alternatives under Indias high ambient temperature
Gains from Kigali
India demonstrated its commitment to fight global climate change but at the same
time secured a differentiated outcome for itself.
There is provision for a review of technological options so that India has adequate
access to required technology in 2028.
The deal is more effective than the Paris Agreement on Climate Change as it is
legally binding.
Way forward
The Government should collaborate with the domestic industry for phasing out the

In this effort, developed nations should help the developing countries by making
the alternative technologies accessible and providing sufficient financial support for
the transition.
If viable alternatives emerge, India should voluntarily begin an earlier phase-down
despite being obliged to do that from 2028.
GS 3 (Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental
impact assessment) (Science and Technology)
Related question
Discuss the significance of the recent amendment to the Montreal Protocol. Also
examine the challenges that India face in implementing its commitments under the
Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam
Subject : Editorial Analysis
News Source : The Hindu
Oct. 18, 2016
The Kerry effect: Centre lifts curbs on fund transfers by NGO
Details :
What is the News?

The Centre has allowed U.S.-based NGO, Compassion International, to

disburse funds to ten NGOs in India, months after it was put on the
governments watch list after security agencies reported that it was funding
Indian NGOs involved in religious conversions.
The move comes after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had expressed
concerns over the treatment of the organisation with External Affairs Minister
Sushma Swaraj during his India visit in September.

What is a Non-Governmental Organisation?

Worldwide, the term NGO is used to describe a body that is neither part of a
government nor a conventional for-profit business organisation.
NGOs are typically set up by groups of ordinary citizens, and are involved in
a wide range of activities that may have charitable, social, political, religious
or other interests.
In India, NGOs can be registered under a plethora of Acts such as the Indian
Societies Registration Act, 1860, Religious Endowments Act,1863, Indian
Trusts Act, etc.

Do they receive government funds?

Worldwide, NGOs are helpful in implementing government schemes at the

In India, ministries such as Health and Family Welfare, HRD, WCD and
MoEF have separate sections to deal with NGOs.
They are flooded with requests for grants but only a handful of NGOs linked
to politicians, bureaucrats or other high-profile individuals get hefty
government funds.

Do they receive funds from abroad?

They may, if they are registered with the Home Ministry under the Foreign
Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA).
Without this, no NGO can receive cash or anything of value higher than Rs

Who can receive foreign contribution?

A person having a definite cultural, economic, educational, religious or social

programme can receive foreign contribution after it obtains the prior
permission of the Central Government, or gets itself registered with the
Central Government.
Any amount received, by any person from any foreign source in India, by way
of fee (including fees charged by an educational institution in India from
foreign student), shall be excluded from the definition of foreign contribution.
Any cost in lieu of goods or services rendered by such person in the ordinary
course of his business, trade or commerce whether within India or outside
India, is also be excluded from the definition of foreign contribution.

Who cannot receive foreign contribution?

Foreign contribution cannot be accepted by any :

A candidate for election.
Correspondent, columnist, cartoonist, editor, owner, printer or publisher of a
registered newspaper.
Judge, government servant or employee of any Corporation or any other body
controlled on owned by the Government.
Member of any legislature.
Political party or office bearer thereof.
Organization of a political nature as may be defined by the Central
Asociation or company engaged in the production or broadcast of audio news
or audio visuals or current affairs programmes through any electronic mode,
or any other electronic form or any other mode of mass communication.

Why have NGOs been recently controversial?

An IB report, submitted to the PMO and National Security Adviser, alleged

that several foreign-funded NGOs were stalling Indias economic growth by
their obstructionist activism.
The report accused Greenpeace of attempting to destabilise Indias energy mix
in collusion with a US-based anti-coal lobbying group.
The IB subsequently advised the government to cancel Greenpeaces FCRA

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-2

Subject : Polity & Governance
News Source : The Hindu
Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav 2016 opens in Delhi
Details :
Facts for the Preliminary Examination
Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav (RSM):

The Second Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav (RSM)-2016 is being held in

the premises of Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA), Janpath,
New Delhi.

Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav was conceived by the Ministry of Culture in

the year 2015 and after the grand success of the First Rashtriya Sanskriti
Mahotsav in November-2015, the Ministry of Culture decided to organize it
The intention of this Mahotsav is to showcase the rich cultural heritage of the
Country in all its rich and varied dimensions, viz Handicrafts, Cuisine,
Painting, Sculpture, Photography, Documentation and Performing Arts-Folk,
Tribal, Classical and Contemporary- all in one place.
Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav (RSM) in Delhi is one of the five such festivals
planned for this financial year which would be organised at multiple venues,
including Varanasi, Bangalore and Jammu and Kashmir, from November 15
to 25.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim Exam

Subject : History & Culture
News Source : The Hindu
GST must absorb green cess on diesel cars
Details :
Why in news?

Mercedes-Benz wants the Goods and Services Tax (GST) structure to

subsume the green cess levied on registration of diesel cars above 2000 cc in
the National Capital Region.


Earlier this year, Supreme Court put a complete ban on all diesel cars above
2000 cc in the NCR region.
The pollution levels in Delhi are dangerously high and diesel cars are much
more polluting that the petrol cars.
Supreme Court wanted high power diesel cars to pay for the the pollution they
Eventually, the ban was lifted after putting a one per cent cess (environment
protection charge) on diesel cars above 2000 cc in NCR.
Indian current tax structure is going through a major reform through Goods
and Services Tax (GST) that will incorporate almost all the taxes on goods
and services in India.

The proposed GST Council, comprising of Union finance minister and all
state finance ministers, will decide on all cesses and surcharges that will be
subsumed into the GST.
Mercedes-Benz wants green cess on diesel cars above 2000 cc to be subsumed
in GST so that compliance is easier.
Mercedes Benz also said they are committed to launching vehicles
conforming to the Bharat Stage-VI fuel emission norms in 2018.

What are Bharat Stage VI norms?

Bharat norms are emission control standards put in place by the government to
keep a check on air pollution.
Introduced in 2000 in India, they are based on the European standards.
These standards prescribe specifications/limits for the release of air pollutants
from vehicles.
We currently have Bharat IV norms in India.
The Centre has recently announced that India will directly go to the BS VI
norms by 2020 (skipping Bharat V).
Bharat VI norms will include more stringent limits on Particulate Matter (PM)
emissions, portable emissions measurement systems (PEMS) in vehicles, onboard diagnostic (OBD) systems (to inform owner of the condition of various
parts) etc.
With BS-VI, the emission spectrum of petrol and diesel vehicles is expected
to be similar.
The challenges to adapting the new norms include the need for lot of
technological changes in the vehicles, innovations to manufacturing etc.
without affecting the price of vehicles too much.

Diesel Exhaust:

Diesel exhaust is the gaseous exhaust produced by a diesel type of internal

combustion engine.
Overall, diesel cars emit lesser hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and lead
pollution than petrol cars, but produce more noxious gases and significantly
more particulates.
Diesel exhaust is a Group 1 carcinogen, which causes lung cancer and has a
positive association with bladder cancer

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Environment & Ecology

News Source : The Hindu

Now, India has a nuclear triad
Details :
What is the News?

India has quietly completed its nuclear triad by inducting the indigenously
built strategic nuclear submarine INS Arihant into service.
INS which stands for Indian Naval Ship is affixed to a ship only after it is
inducted into service.
The indigenously built nuclear-powered ballistic submarine INS Arihant

No-first-use doctrine

In the last few months India seems to have reached a major milestone in its
quest to field a credible minimum nuclear deterrent.
Arihant is capable of carrying nuclear tipped ballistic missiles.
The class is referred to as Ship Submersible Ballistic Nuclear (SSBN) which
is designed to prowl the deep ocean waters carrying nuclear weapons.
SBBNs provide nation with an assured second strike capability that means the
capability to strike back after being hit by nuclear weapons first.
Second strike capability is particularly important for India as it had committed
to a No-First-Use policy as part of its nuclear doctrine.
The main advantage of sea-based nukes, especially on submarines, is that they
are harder to track and destroy as compared to land and air nuclear launch
About INS Arihant:
The 6,000-tonne vessel was built under the Advanced Technology Vessel
(ATV) project at the Ship Building Centre in the port city of Visakhapatnam.
The vessel will be powered by an 83-megawatts (111,305 hp) pressurised
light-water reactor with enriched uranium fuel and is capable of carrying
nuclear tipped ballistic missiles
It will be armed with the K-15 Sagarika missiles with a range of 750 km and
the much longer range K-4 missiles which has a range of 3,500 km (2,200

Nuclear Triad:

A nuclear triad refers to the nuclear weapons delivery which consists of three
components: strategic bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs),
and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs).
With induction of INS Arihant, India joins the select group of countries which
have a nuclear triad, i.e. capable of delivering nuclear weapons by aircraft,
ballistic missiles and submarine launched missiles.
India becomes the 6th country & joins the elite "nuclear triad" club. Earlier,
only 5 countries in the world USA, UK, France, Russia and China have
developed nuclear-armed submarines.

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-3

Subject : Defence & Security
News Source : The Hindu
Reimagining BRICS Editorial 18th Oct'16 The Hindu
Details :
Reimagining BRICS
India hosted the 8th BRICS summit in Goa and used the opportunity to organize a
regional outreach by inviting the BIMSTEC nations for the 4th BIMSTEC summit.
There was minor progress on BRICS agenda of greater economic cooperation and
coordination such as the leaders agreed to fast track the setting up of a BRICS
Rating Agency.
But India tried to use the summit to look beyond the immediate mandate of BRICS
and to serve its larger strategic interests.
Focus on terrorism
India used the summit to voice its concerns over terrorism, especially Pakistan
sponsored terrorism.
The Prime Minister forcefully argued against a selective approach to terrorism and
highlighted the need for BRICS to put a united front against it.

This message was primarily aimed at China, which has frustrated Indias efforts
for designating Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief MasoodAzhar a global terrorist,
despite JeM being a UN-declared terror group.
After being not quite successful in convincing China to change its stance on
Pakistan sponsored terrorism against it, India seems to use multilateral forum to
pressurize and persuade China to change its approach.
But China refused to budge and it was decided to discuss the issue further in
meeting between the Chinese State Councillor and Indian NSA.
Regional Economic Cooperation
The BRICS-BIMSTEC outreach was significant as it underscores Indias changing
Since its foundation in 1997, this association of South and South-East Asian
nations has been largely neglected by its members.
But it seems that India has decided to make BIMSTEC the chief platform for
regional economic cooperation in the backdrop of a dysfunctional SAARC and a
marginalized Pakistan in South Asia.
Bilateral ties with Russia
India also used the Goa summit to re-energise its long-standing partnership with
Russia, which was under some strain.
Russia-Pakistan military exercises raised concerns in New Delhi as they came at a
time when it was seeking to diplomatically isolate Pakistan after the Uri terror
attacks. And Russia has been concerned about Indias tilt towards the U.S.
In Goa, India and Russia reaffirmed the strategic nature of their friendship and
three major defence deals worth billions of dollars were signed which included five
S-400 Triumf air defence systems.
India recognizes limits of BRICS due to slowing economies and growing intraBRICS political divergences.

It has tried to use the multilateral forum to serve its larger strategic ends and
maintain strategic autonomy in its foreign relations.
The success of this endeavor will determine Indias future interest in the forum.
GS 2 (Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India
and/or affecting Indiasinterests)
Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam
Subject : Editorial Analysis
News Source : The Hindu
Oct. 17, 2016
BRICS meet declaration pledges to fight terror
Details :
What is the News?

The emerging-market bloc of BRICS issued a joint declaration.

The Goa Declaration was a result of the eighth BRICS summit that was held
on October 15-16 in Goa, under the theme of "Building Responsive, Inclusive
and Collective Solutions."

Declaration On Terrorism:

The BRICS Goa summit declaration focused on terrorism.

The Goa declaration is a clear victory of Indian diplomacy.
The BRICS declaration strongly condemned terrorism in all its forms and
manifestations and stressed that there can be no justification whatsoever for
any acts of terrorism.

Declaration on International Issues:

Reflecting international concern, the Goa Declaration of the BRICS summit,

pointed out the need for countering the Islamic State which has occupied
territories in Iraq, Syria, and Libya.
Specifically mentioning the Arabic acronym of IS, Daesh, it said the threat
posed by the group is unprecedented and called for a Comprehensive
Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) in the U.N. General Assembly.
The declaration called for resolution of the civil war in Syria, in accordance
with the legitimate aspirations of the people of Syria and sought action
against U.N.-designated terrorist groups like IS and Jabhat al-Nusra.
The final statement also called for all nations to counter radicalism, and block
sources of financing international terrorism, including through organised
crime by means of money-laundering, drug trafficking, criminal activities,
dismantling terrorist bases and countering misuse of the Internet including
social media by terror entities through misuse of the latest Information and
Communication Technologies (ICTs).

Declaration On reforming global governance system:

The BRICS summit called for reforms at International Monetary Fund (IMF)
that shall ensure increased voice of emerging and developing economies while
protecting voices of Least Developed Countries (LDCs), poor countries and
The outreach summit of BRICS leaders with the leaders of BIMSTEC nations
help in the BRICs engagement with developing and emerging economies.
Such an outreach would further boost the efforts to make international
economic order more inclusive and multi-polar.
The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic
Cooperation (BIMSTEC) represents Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka,
Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal.
Its appreciable that the BRICS declaration has reiterated its commitment to
just, equitable, and democratic multi-polar international order that ascribes
United Nations central role in maintaining international peace and security.
The BRICS firm and repeated assertion to adhere to the international law is
significant at a time when the world is confronted with global policing by the
military and economic might of the super power in the post cold war era that
saw the eclipse of parity of forces.

The BRICS declaration in no uncertain terms abhorred interference in the

internal affairs of sovereign nations, imposition of unilateral coercive
measures, unilateral military interventions and economic sanctions.
Its much more gratifying for India as BRICs reasserted the need for
reforming UN Security Council.
It has specifically called for increased representation for developing

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-2

Subject : International Relation
News Source : The Hindu
BRICS agrees to set up credit rating agency
Details :
What is the News?

Five-nation group BRICS has agreed to set up an independent rating agency

based on market-oriented principles
The BRICS countries have already set up New Development Bank, which
became operational last year.

Why BRICS need an Independent Rating Agency?

The BRICS countries have set up New Development Bank, which became
operational last year, to meet funding requirements of the members.
The concern of the BRICS group is because of the working of the rating
market, currently controlled by the Big Three S&P, Fitch and Moodys all
based in the US.
Despite having deep capital buffers of NDB these rating agencies are giving
the negative rating to NDB and also to the BRICS countries.
This has led the five-member grouping to pursue the idea of creating its own
independent rating agency, which was discussed during the two-day annual
Earlier, the Exim Bank of India too had made a strong pitch for independent
rating agency for the BRICS nations, saying the way the present big three are
going about their job reeks of conflict of interest.

So BRICS leaders agreed to set up an independent rating agency based on

market-oriented principles, saying it would further strengthen global
governance architecture.

About the New Development Bank (NDB):

NDB formerly referred to as the BRICS Development Bank, is a multilateral

development bank established by the BRICS states (Brazil, Russia, India,
China and South Africa).
The idea for creation of the New Development Bank was first mooted in the
Fourth BRICS Summit at New Delhi on March 29, 2012 to meet the
development funding requirements of the five founding countries namely
Brazil, Russia, India, China & South Africa (BRICS) and other emerging
economies and developing countries as well.
On July 15, 2014 at the sixth summit in Fortaleza, Brazil the member
countries signed the Articles for the New Development Bank with an
Authorized Capital of USD 100 billion.
The founders established the Bank with a purpose of mobilizing resources for
infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other
emerging economies and developing countries, complementing the existing
efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global growth and
To fulfill its purpose, the Bank was envisaged to support public or private
projects through loans, guarantees, equity participation and other financial
It shall also cooperate with international organizations and other financial
entities, and provide technical assistance for projects to be supported by the
The first Board of Governors meeting of the Bank was held in Moscow,
Russia on July 7, 2015 where the Bank formally came into existence as a legal
Mr. K.V. Kamath was elected the first President of the Bank and the VicePresidents were appointed by the Governors.
The bank is headquartered in Shanghai, China.
The first regional office of the NDB will be opened in Johannesburg, South

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Economics

News Source : The Hindu

Telemedicine emerging as a growth driver in healthcare
Details :
What is the news?

It is very difficult to access healthcare in semi-urban or rural areas. Along with

that is the technological revolution. So, people may not have potable water or
toilets, but they do have a smart phone.
A combination of poor last-mile healthcare delivery and an easy access to
technology has made telemedicine a strong growth story in the healthcare
Another aspect is that the e-commerce space has exploded, so people are
looking at various innovations to bridge the gap in healthcare access.
The other key growth driver in the healthcare sector is medical tourism, where
nationals of other countries visit India to take advantage of quality healthcare
at affordable prices.

What is Telemedicine?

Telemedicine is a field in health science arising out of the effective fusion of

Information and Communication Technologies with Medical Science.
According to World Health Organisation, telemedicine is defined as, The
delivery of healthcare services, where distance is a critical factor, by all
healthcare professionals using information and communication technologies for
the exchange of valid information for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of
disease and injuries, research and evaluation, and for continuing education of
healthcare providers, all in the interests of advancing the health of individuals
and their communities.
The main objective of telemedicine is to cross the geographical barriers and
provide healthcare facilities to rural and remote areas.

Types of Telemedicine:
Telemedicine process can be categorized on basis of application adopted:


and so on..

Applications Of Telemedicine:

Tele-health care: It is the use of information and communication technology

for prevention, promotion and to provide health care facilities across distance.
It involves activities like tele-consultation and tele-follow up.
Tele-education: It is the process of distance education based on the use of
information and telecommunication technologies that make interactive, flexible
and accessible learning possible for any potential recipient.
Disaster Management: Telemedicine can play an important role to provide
healthcare facilities to the victims. During disaster, most of the terrestrial
communication links either do not work properly or get damaged so a mobile
and portable telemedicine system with satellite connectivity and customized
telemedicine software is ideal for disaster relief.
Tele-home health care: Telemedicine technology can be applied to provide
home health care for elderly or underserved, homebound patients with chronic
illness. It allows home healthcare professionals to monitor patients from a
central station. Remote patient monitoring is less expensive, more time savings,
and efficient methodology. A Computer Telephone Integrated (CTI) system can
monitor vital functions of patients twenty four hours a day and give immediate


Eliminate distance barriers and improve access to quality health services.

In emergency and critical care situations where moving a patient may be
undesirable and/or not feasible
Facilitate patients and rural practitioners access to specialist health services
and suppor.
Lessen the inconvenience and/or cost of patient transfers.

Reduce unnecessary travel time for health professionals.

Reduce isolation of rural practice by upgrading their knowledge through teleeducation or tele-CME.


Physician/Patient Acceptance
Availability of Technology at a Reasonable Cost
Accessibility to the people living in far remote areas.
Some healthcare professionals has doubt about the quality of images
transmitted for tele-consultation and tele-diagnois.
Funding/ Reimbursement Issues.
Lack of Trained Manpower.
Privacy and Security Concerns.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Science & Tech
News Source : The Hindu
Importance of BIMSTEC
Details :
With the 30-year-old SAARC failing in its objective of integrating South Asia
economically, India is seeking to reinvigorate the BIMSTEC (the Bay of Bengal
Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) regional bloc by
bringing funds and partnerships to the member-countries through the BRICS
Potentials of BIMSTEC:

BIMSTEC has India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Myanmar and
Thailand as members and comprises 1.6 billion people (22 per cent of the
global population) and a GDP of $2.7 trillion.
The seven countries account for trade worth $1,295 billion.
Intra-regional share accounts for a poor 2.8 per cent, making BIMSTEC one
of the least economically integrated regional blocs.

The poor trade figures indicate the huge potential of growth in trade relations
of the countries who are consistently registering a yearly growth of 6 per cent.
India remains one of the biggest exporter and importer in the region and has
bilateral Free Trade Agreements with each of the member countries.
According to estimates, if the BIMSTEC FTA comes into effect from 2017, it
has the potential of creating $43-59 billion trade per annum, and intra-regional
trade can rise by as much as 60 per cent.
Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have openly expressed their enthusiasm for
BIMSTEC and disappointment over SAARCs inability to make headway.
Other smaller countriesBhutan and Nepalhave reposed greater faith in
BIMSTEC in close door sessions.

Can the BIMSTEC be alternative to SAARC?

Over a period of time the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral

Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC)- has definitely gone
beyond its initial mandate of securing technological and economic
cooperation among nations in the coast of Bengal.
The inclusion of Nepal and Bhutan into BIMSTEC in 2004 along with
BRICS and SAARC membership gave India an alternative platform to
engage with all its immediate neighbours such as Sri Lanka, China, Bhutan,
Burma, Nepal, while keeping Pakistan at an arms length.
As host of 19th summit, Pakistan failed to secure confidence of SAARC
nations on its anti-terrors effort, five member nations including India,
Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, pulled out of the summit, while another
BIMSTEC member and also SAARC Chair Nepal made formal
announcement of 2016s SAARC summits postponement without specifying
any future dates.
Therefore it wont be completely wrong to conclude that BRICS-BIMSTEC is
the mini-congression of SAARC nations for 2016 with six of the eight
SAARC members participating in it.

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-2

Subject : International Relation
News Source : The Hindu
SIT moots independent ED probe into money laundering
Details :

Why in News?

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) on black money has recommended that
money laundering investigations by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) should
be allowed without any dependence on registration of cases by other agencies.


In 2011, the Supreme court constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to

investigate into unaccounted money (black money) stashed away outside India
and also to formulate steps to bring it back.

What is money laundering?

Often large amount of cash is earned through illegal activities like bribery and
sale of drugs etc. This is Dirty Money.
Also, people and businesses generating money through legal activities try to
avoid paying taxes (tax evasion) by showing wrong accounts and hiding
sources of income. This is Black Money. Government has great loss of
revenue because of this.
The criminals who generate this dirty money and black money cannot always
spend it easily as they fear getting caught.
So, they try to find ways to make it appear as if this money was legally
earned. This is called money laundering.
This is a big problem for the government as such money is often used to
sponsor more crimes, including terrorism, bribes and buying votes in


In India, the Anti Money Laundering (AML) measures are controlled through
the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA). It will be applicable
to all financial institutions, banks, mutual funds, insurance companies etc. that
is, all agencies that deal with money.

Work relating to investigation and prosecution of cases under the PMLA is

done by Enforcement Directorate(ED), under Finance Ministry.


Crimes often involve breaking of multiple laws, including central and state
laws that need to be investigated by multiple agencies. For example, a case of
sale of illegal drugs on college campuses and money laundering will involve
investigation by state police, tax agencies, ED and even CBI sometimes.


Work relating to investigation and prosecution of cases under the PMLA is

done by Enforcement Directorate(ED), under Finance Ministry.
According to PMLA, at present, ED can investigate only those cases which
have been registered by agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation
(CBI), State police units and the Income-Tax Department.
The CBI and tax agencies have previously asked for powers to carry out
money laundering investigations. However, the proposal was turned down by
the government.
This was creating a problem of coordination between various agencies as CBI
cannot probe money laundering and ED cannot register the cases on its own.
Government and SIT continuously try to find ways to deal with this.
One such step taken is a recent amendment to the PMLA. It empowers the ED
to continue with the money laundering investigations even if the police case is
closed in the court. It can continue the probe into a financial angle and file a
separate charge sheet.
The SIT has now suggested that laws should be amended so that
investigations into money laundering by ED are allowed without registration
of a case by other agencies.

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-3

Subject : Defence & Security
News Source : The Hindu
Uniform Code not just ideology-driven

Details :
Government's stand on the Uniform Civil Code (UCC)

Some women of the Muslim community, who were the victims of triple talaq
(method of divorce under Muslim Personal Law) had gone to the Supreme
Court challenging its validity.
The Court had asked for a response from the Central government.
The government told the court that it is against the practice of triple talaq.
Law Commission (which periodically examines any needs for changes in
country's laws) has asked people and organizations of all religions to submit
their views on the exercise of revising and reforming family laws of all

What is Uniform Civil Code?

Currently, we have a Uniform Criminal Code, that is, same procedure and
punishment for all people involved in a crime regardless of their religion.
However, different religions have personal law boards (for example, All India
Muslim Personal Law Board for Muslims) that decide on issues like marriage
and divorce.
Uniform Civil Code means a common civil code for all Indian citizens. That
is, the laws related to marriage, divorce, inheritance etc will be applicable to
all citizens uniformly, irrespective of their religion.


Under Article 44 of the Constitution, which is a DPSP, "The State shall

endeavour to secure for citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory
of India."

Summary (Talking about Union government's stand on the Uniform Civil Code
(UCC), Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad made the following points):

Center's stand on UCC is not because of the ideology of BJP.

All the big Congress leaders of Indian Independence movement were in
favour of steadily bringing UCC, including Pandit Nehru, Sardar Patel, Dr
Article 44 of Constitution calls for UCC.
Law Commission (which periodically examines any needs for changes in
country's laws) has asked people and organizations of all religions to submit
their views on the exercise of revising and reforming family laws of all
Hindu personal laws also developed in this fashion.
Sati was abolished, the age of consent for marriage amended by the Sharda
Act, Dowry prohibition laws came in after there were challenges to these
It shows that evolution of law always happened in India to ensure gender
Right to equality, non-discrimination on the grounds of sex and the right to
live with dignity were part of our Constitution before the Western world (US
and Europe) granted these to women in their countries and before
international agreements were signed on these issues.


Right to equality, non-discrimination on the grounds of sex and the right to

live with dignity were ensured by our Constitution
Personal laws based on religion are often discriminatory against women, like
polygamy (more than one wife), dowry, child marriage, practice of sati etc.
India has managed to reform the personal laws and practices of Hindus, like
abolishing of sati, polygamy, dowry etc.
We need to find ways to bring about laws that also safeguard women of all
religions from practices that are discriminatory and that are not in sync with
the rights and protections ensured by our constitution.
Law Commission has made a good start by asking people and organizations to
give their opinion on the reformation of personal laws.
All religions should put forward their views so that lot of debate can take
place before reforming the laws.
It is also important to remember that most of the western world have people of
all religions but have a Uniform Civil Code.

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-2

Subject : Polity & Governance
News Source : The Hindu
Kolkata celebrates botany legend Janaki Ammal
Details :
What is the news?

Botanical Survey of India has developed a new gallery and decided to host a
year-long exhibition on the life and works of the woman botanist, E.K. Janaki
Her contributions to science, several letters presenting anecdotes and
highlighting the difficulties the woman scientist had to face during her time
will be part of exhibition.

About Janaki Ammal:

Janaki Ammal Edavaleth Kakkat was an Indian botanist who conducted

scientific research in cytogenetics and phytogeography.
She joined the Sugarcane Breeding Institute. The institute was created with
the aim of improving the Indian sugarcane plant.
Ammals research in polyploidy helped to understand the nature of polyploidy
in sugarcane. She worked in creating a firm scientific basis for crossing and
hybrids, and helped in choosing plant varieties for cross-breeding.
She performed chromosome studies on a wide range of garden plants which
led to several new developments in the study of the evolution of species and
In 1951, the Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, invited her to return to
her homeland and help in reorganizing the Botanical Survey of India (BSI).

Notable Work:

The scientist is credited with putting sweetness in our sugarcane varieties and
her contribution to the development of sweeter hybrid varieties of sugarcane.
She was instrumental in not only analyzing the geographical distribution of
sugarcane across India, but also in selecting the best varieties for crossbreeding.
She did the phenomenal study of chromosomes of thousands of species of
flowering plants and co-authored The Chromosome Atlas of Cultivated

Awards and Achievements:

Professor C.V. Raman made Ammal a Fellow of the Indian Academy of

Sciences in 1935 and she was elected a Fellow of the Indian National Science
Academy in 1957.
She received an honorary LL.D. from the University of Michigan in 1956.
The Government of India conferred the Padma Shri on her in 1977.
In 2000, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry of the Government of
India instituted the National Award of Taxonomy in her name in 2000.

Why is it important for exam?

UPSC frequently asks about note on personalities in Mains exam.

Related question on famous personality, prelims 2016:
Q. A recent movie titled The Man who knew infinity is based on biography
b)S. Chandrasekhar
c)S. N. Bose
d)C. V. Raman

Correct Answer: a
Exam Syllabus : Prelim Exam
Subject : Miscellaneous
News Source : The Hindu
Moving beyond the solar system to exoplanets
Details :

The Kepler and K2 missions of NASA have identified thousands of planet

There are nearly 5,000 planet candidates and 3,397 have been confirmed as
planets, according to the NASA exoplanet archive.
The latest entry into the list of confirmed exoplanets is Kepler-56 d.
This planet has an orbital period of 1,002 days, accurate to five days, and a mass
of nearly 5.61 times that of Jupiter.
It is a massive planet that orbits its star Kepler-56 whose radius is about 4.23
times the suns radius and which is about 1.32 times as massive as the sun.
The discovery of these systems that differ from our solar system has led to
astronomers rethinking their models of the origin and structure of planetary

-While initially, based on the structure of our solar system with its eight planets,
scientists believed that smaller rocky planets would form closer to the star and huge,
massive, gaseous ones would orbit at a distance, this belief was shaken by the very
first exoplanet seen 51 Pegasi b. This planet has about half the mass of Jupiter and
orbits its star at close quarters.

Exoplanets research in India

Indian efforts in looking out for exoplanets are done in the Mount Abu Infrared
Observatory and through Astrosat.
The PARAS-1 spectrograph, which is part of the Mount Abu Infrared
Observatory, hosts a 1.2-metre telescope, focussed on detecting exoplanets.
This facility is soon to be upgraded with a 2.5 m telescope, and PARAS-2.

What is an exoplanet?

An exoplanetor extrasolar planet is a planet that orbits a star other than theSun.
Models of exoplanets show that there are 14 types of planets. These can be pure
water planets, carbon planets, hydrogen planets, and so on. Our solar system
has only five types.
The habitable zone is the range of distances from a star where a planets
temperature allows liquid water oceans, critical for life on Earth.

Some notable exoplanets

51 Pegasi b
HD 209458 b
55 Cancri e
HD 80606 b

Related Questions:
UPSC Prelims, 2015

The term Goldilocks Zone is often seen in news in the context of:

The limits of habitable zone above the surface of Earth


Regions inside the Earth where shale gas is available


Search for the Earth-like planets in outer space


Search for meteorites containing precious metals

Answer: c
Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam
Subject : Science & Tech
News Source : The Hindu
An onerous task ahead 17th Oct'16 The Hindu Editorial
Details :
An onerous task ahead

The Paris Agreement was adopted in 2015 under United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change.
It fills the gap created by expiry of Second Commitment period of Kyoto Protocol
in 2020 and aims to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well
below 2C above pre-industrial levels.
India ratified the agreement on Gandhi jayanti this year and after ratification by
European Union, the agreement will come into force on November 4 2016 as the
condition of ratification by more than 55 Parties to the Convention accounting for at
least 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions has been fulfilled.
The speed at which ratification process was completed signifies the importance
that countries attach to climate change.
Paris and Kyoto
While the 1997 Kyoto Protocol under UNFCCC made the developed (Annex-1)
countries responsible for reducing GHG emissions, the Paris Agreement puts this
responsibility on all countries weather rich or poor.
The Kyoto Protocol had specific targets for the Annex-1 countries but under Paris
Agreement, goals for each country are decided according to Nationally Determined
Contributions (NDC) submitted by them.
Support for building capacity
But most of these commitments are partially or entirely conditional on financial
support from developed countries for their implementation.
For this, developed countries are expected to fund climate related projects in
developing countries to the tune of $100 billion annually from 2020.
But progress on this front is negligible.
Rising Carbon dioxide concentration and inadequacy of NDCs
Carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere has exceeded 400 ppm in
September, at a time when they should be lowest in the year as after the summer

vegetation in the Northern hemisphere absorbs CO2 and in autumn, as leaves fall,
the CO2 levels begin to increase.
Scientists generally regarded a CO2 concentration of 350-400 ppm as the
maximum level needed for a safe climate.
The higher concentrations of CO2 and other GHGs are trapping more heat and the
earth is getting close to average warming by 1.5C over pre-industrial levels.
A group scientists has explained that with the high levels of GHGs already in the
atmosphere and the response of the climate system to it (feedback and forcing
mechanisms), average global temperatures can rise by 1.5C in the 2030s and cross
2C as early as 2050.
Therefore, the NDCs pledged under the Paris Agreement may not be sufficient to
achieve the below 2C target.
Transformational change
To address the enormous challenge of limiting the rise in temperature to below
2Cfrom pre-industrial levels, a significant change in consumption behavior,
economic systems and technology is required.
For this, the world needs to achieve net zero emissions in the coming decades by
improving efficiencies of energy production and use from fossil fuels, which
currently supply about 82 % of the worlds energy, increasing the contribution from
renewables and carbon sequestration.
These changes have to be affected along with pulling people out of poverty in
developing countries and in the context of rising world population and adaptation
and mitigation measures required to deal with a warmer climate.
Growth in global emissions has decreased from 4 % per year to 1 % in the last
three years but it is a scientific and social challenge to achieve net zero emissions.
A small ray of hope is seen in eco-villages and transition towns around the world
where renewables alone are used, people track all their emissions, and try to adopt
simpler and less consumerist lifestyles.

The recent agreement to limit the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are
used mainly as refrigerants and are powerful GHGs, could help avoid about 0.4C
warming until 2100. But HFCs are only a small proportion of GHGs.
Way forward
Developed countries should show greater enthusiasm and commitment towards
supporting capacity building in developing countries to achieve the NDC goals as
their achievement is vital to achieve the below 2C target.
Imaginative and creative solutions are required to usher in large scale
consumption, social, economic and technological changes to achieve the below 2C
For this, social movements, civil society organisations, legal systems and political
leaders should work closely with a single-minded purpose and sense of global
GS 3 (Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental
impact assessment)
Related questions
How far the Paris Agreement overcomes the deficiencies of the Kyoto Protocol?
Examine the challenges in implementation of the agreement.
Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam
Subject : Editorial Analysis
News Source : The Hindu
Oct. 16, 2016
India to buy S-400 missiles from Russia
Details :
Ramping up defence ties, India and Russia on 15th October announced deals worth
about Rs 43,000 crores for purchase of state-of-art Russian air defence systems,

collaboration in making four stealth frigates and setting up facility for joint
production of Kamov helicopters.
Here are the deals sealed:
Ka-226T helicopters:

Kamov 226T choppers will replace the aging Cheetah and Chetak choppers.
Kamov is a light multipurpose helicopter designed for work in difficult
conditions like high mountains, hot climate and marine areas.
It allows for reconnaissance, targeting and monitoring of transportation.
It also boasts of incredibly precise hovering ability, excellent maneuverability
and high safety standards, and has proved to perform better than its western
counterparts in Indian heat.
The deal is worth more than $1 billion.
The helicopters will be made by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) with
Russian cooperation.


An inter-governmental agreement for four frigates through partnership

between Russian and Indian shipyards was signed.
While two frigates will come from Russia, two others will be constructed at an
Indian shipyard with Russian cooperation.
The frigates will be improved versions of Krivak or Talwar class stealth
frigates, and the deal is worth more than $3 billion.

S-400 Air Defence System:

The over $5-billion deal to purchase the long-range air defence missile
system, which has the capability to destroy incoming hostile aircraft, missiles
and even drones at ranges of up to 400 km, will prove to be a game changer
for India.
The system is currently deployed in Syria, where Russia is targeting the
Islamic State.
Besides, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also announced that annual military
industrial conferences will be held by India and Russia, which will allow
stakeholders on both sides to institute and push collaboration.
China inked a deal with Russia in November 2014 for the supply of six S-400

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-2

Subject : International Relation
News Source : The Hindu
BRICS summit
Details :
Brics Summit in Goa, We will cover the important outcomes after the end of
the Summit.
Important Information about BRICS:

BRICS was originally a four-member grouping of Brazil, Russia, India and

China, or BRIC.
The first BRIC summit was held in Yekaterinburg, Russia, in 2009.
It was only two years later, in 2001, that the term "BRIC" was coined, by Jim
O'Neill coined in his publication 'Building Better Global Economic BRICs'.
South Africa officially joined BRIC in 2010, leading to the group being
renamed BRICS - with the "S" for South Africa.
The five BRICS countries represent over 3.6 billion people, or half of the
worlds population.
The five BRICS countries have a combined GDP of $16.6 trillion.
India's $2.38 trillion economy is growing 7.5 percent annually, which is the
fastest of the five BRICS countries.
At $11.4 trillion, China has the largest economy of the BRICS countries.
South Africa's economy, estimated at $327 billion in 2015, is by far the
smallest among the BRICS nations.
BRICS launched its own bank in 2015, to fund infrastructure and development
projects in member countries.
BRICS bank, officially known as New Development Bank (NDB), is based in
Shanghai, and India's KV Kamath is its current president.

Why does the world need the BRICS?

Jim ONeills point has been that the world is changing.

The leading role of the Group of Seven (G7) and, more broadly, of the
Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is no
longer undisputed.

Most multi-lateral institutions were designed in the era when the West
dominated the world.
The US and Europe are over-represented in the IMF and the World Bank.
Together with Japan, they control most regional development banks as well.
This imbalance has been especially clear during the recent global financial
crisis when the need for participation by non-G7 countries became evident.
This resulted in reviving the Group of 20 (G20) and proposals to redistribute
voting rights in international financial institutions.
But change has been slow and Western countries continue to control the
international financial institutions.
This is why BRICS summits are so important.
These meetings provide a unique forum where non-OECD leaders can discuss
global challenges and co-ordinate their actions within and outside global
The small size of the club and the absence of OECD partners helps in shaping
the discussions at the summit.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : International Relation
News Source : The Hindu
Centre to widen social security law dialogue
Details :
What is the News?

The Centre plans to widen consultations over a proposed social security code
for workers, after a series of labour law reform proposals ran into opposition
from trade unions.
The labour ministry plans to hold several meetings with State governments to
discuss the proposed law on social security for organised and unorganised
workers beginning early next month.
The labour ministry now plans a single law on social security for workers that
may combine and alter various laws such as the Employees Provident Fund
& Miscellaneous Provision Act, 1952, the Employees State Insurance Act,
1948, the Employees Compensation Act, 1921, the Payment of Gratuity Act,
1972 and the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961.

Why Do We Need Social Security?

Social Security protects not just the subscriber but also his/her entire family
by giving benefit packages in financial security and health care.
Social Security schemes are designed to guarantee at least long-term
sustenance to families when the earning member retires, dies or suffers a
Thus the main strength of the Social Security system is that it acts as a
facilitator - it helps people to plan their own future through insurance and
The success of Social Security schemes however requires the active support
and involvement of employees and employers.
A worker/employee, are a source of Social Security protection for himself and
his family.

Workforce In India:

The estimated workforce of the country is 47.41 crore of which 82.7 per cent
is in the unorganised sector, as per the National Sample Survey Office
(NSSO) survey result for 2011-12.
As per the NSSO survey for 2004-05, the total employment in both organised
and unorganised sector in the country was of the order of 45.9 crore out of
which around 43.30 crore (94.34 per cent) was in the unorganised sector.

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-3

Subject : Economics
News Source : The Hindu
Government unveils satellite surveillance to curb illegal mining
Details :
What is the News?

In a path-breaking move, the mines ministry came out with mining

surveillance system (MSS), a pan-India surveillance network using latest
satellite technology, to check illegal mining.

What is Mining Surveillance System (MSS)?

Developed under the Digital India programme, MSS is a satellite-based

monitoring system, which aims to check illegal mining activity through
automatic remote-sensing detection technology.
MSS will trigger an alarm whenever there is an instance of illegal mining
outside permitted areas.
The Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) has developed MSS, in co-ordination with
the Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Applications and Geo-informatics
(BISAG) and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology
Maps of mining leases have been geo-referenced in MSS, which are
superimposed on the latest satellite remote sensing scenes obtained from
CARTOSAT and USGS (US Geological Survey).
The system checks 500 meters around the existing mining lease boundary to
search for any unusual activity relating to illegal mining. Any discrepancy will
be flagged off as a trigger.
MSS will cover major minerals including coal, iron ore and bauxite at present
and minerals like sand, lime stone and granite will be brought under its ambit
in the coming days
The ministry plans to involve public in the system where citizens also can use
this app and report any illegal mining activity.
This technology will help in designing the planned development of mining
and also provide complete data of laborers working in the sector, which will
lead to better safety standards.

Mining Tenement System:

MTS is an online computerised register that is intended to bring

computerisation and automation in the functioning at directorates of mining
and geology (DMGs) of the states, IBM, GSI and the mines ministry.
The system will display applications under process, ownership and details of
area granted, period of concession, taxes, compliance of rules and regulations,
area available for grant of concession, quality and quantity of the ore deposit,
portion relinquished after reconnaissance or prospecting operations, land
details with ownership and the like.

Illegal Mining in India:

There is enormous and large scale multi-state illegal mining of iron ore and
manganese ore running into thousands of crores every year.
It has several pernicious evil effects on the national economy, good
governance, public functionaries, bureaucracy, public order, law and order.
It has encouraged huge corruption at all different levels in public life, mafia in
society and money power.
The main cause & incentive for this illegal mining of iron ore and manganese
ore is the huge profit in the export market (mainly China). The prices of these
have gone up by about 20 times without any corresponding benefit and
increase to the public exchequer.

Hence, the first and immediate step recommended is total ban on exports of
iron ore and manganese ore.
This can be reviewed, relaxed and liberalized once the enforcement agency is
in place to see that no illegal mining of these items takes place and also after
reasonable estimate of reserves available and the demand of industries in the
country for production of steel and 2 steel products.
There are other reasons also which facilitates illegal mining, such as lack of
effective enforcement, adequate staff, necessary infrastructure etc.
MSS will enable real time check on illegal mining and will warn the officials
even on slightest change in topography.
MSS will ensure sustainable utilization of the countrys mineral resources.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Science & Tech
News Source : The Hindu
Kigali makes history with HFC freeze
Details :
What is the news?

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are greenhouse gases that are largely used in

refrigerants in home and car air-conditioners.
They are one of the most powerful, trapping thousands of times more heat in
the Earths atmosphere than carbon dioxide (CO2).
197 countries agreed on Saturday to a timeline to reduce the use of HFCs by
roughly 85 per cent of their baselines by 2045 and move to prevent a 0.5
degree Celsius rise in global temperature by the end of the century.

The Agreement:

The agreement amends the 1987 Montreal Protocol which was initially
conceived only to limit the use of gases that were destroying the ozone layer
and will now include gases responsible for global warming.
As per agreement in Kigali, all countries are in one of three groups with
different timelines:

First group: This includes richest countries and will freeze the production and
consumption of HFCs by 2018, reducing them to about 15 per cent of 2012 levels
by 2036.
Second group: Comprise of China, Brazil and Africa will freeze HFC use by 2024,
cutting it to 20 percent of 2021 levels by 2045.
Third group: India is part of this group and will be freezing HFC use by 2028 and
reducing it to about 15 per cent of 2025 levels by 2047.

The amended Montreal Protocol will be legally binding the countries to their
HFC reduction schedules from 2019.
There are also penalties for non-compliance and developed countries provide
enhanced funding support.


The agreement marks the third milestone in international climate change

diplomacy after Paris agreement and International Civil Aviation
Organization's deal that intended to slow the growth in emissions from
international aviation..

Under the Kigali Amendment, the planned reduction of HFCs would have an
impact similar to the removal of 80 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the
atmosphere over the next 35 years.
The Amendment is considered absolutely vital for reaching the Paris
Agreement target of keeping global temperature rise to below 2-degree
Celsius compared to pre-industrial times.
It is a reaffirmation of the global intent to mitigate climate change and also
exemplifies international co-operation.

Why HFCs matter:

HFC-23 (trifluoro-methane), a super greenhouse gas with a Global Warming

Potential of 14,800 and is produced as a byproduct of HCFC-22 (chlorodifluoro- methane).
The chemicals are vastly more powerful than carbon dioxide over a 100 year
time frame when it comes to warming the atmosphere.
When the original Montreal Protocol phased out chlorofluorocarbons, which
were destroying the planets ozone layer, manufacturers had to find a
replacement chemical to use as refrigerants and in other industrial
Then came HFCs which were much better for the ozone layer but, like CFCs,
there are strong global warming agent.
So one huge environmental crisis was replaced by another problem lingering
on the horizon.

India gains at Kigali:

India gets to participate in a positive global climate action, while gaining time
to allow its heating, ventilation and air-conditioning sectors to grow and
refrigerant manufacturers to find a comfortable route to transition and cost of
alternatives to fall.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Environment & Ecology
News Source : The Hindu
Weighing in on sugar tax
Details :
What is "Sugar Tax"?

A sugar tax (soda tax or soft drink tax) is a tax or surcharge on sweetened
drinks, as an attempt to limit the overall sugar consumption.
The tax is levied to discourage purchase of carbonated, un-carbonated, sports
and energy drinks, with excess levels of added sugar.
Sugar in such sweetened beverages is in the form of sucrose, high-fructose
corn syrup, or other caloric sweeteners.

The WHO indicated that at least a 20 per cent increase in the retail price of
sugary drinks would result in proportional reductions in consumption of such
It presumed that this would go on to lower consumption and reduce obesity,
type 2 diabetes and tooth decay.
Such legal and administrative options in imposition of tax have borne results
in other countries such as Mexico. It is also particularly suited for India where
sweet and sugar intake is high.

The case of India:

The true dependence on sugar started over the last couple of decades with the
rampant proliferation of all manner and consistency of sugary drinks.
India is sitting on mountain of sugar with over 60 million people living with
diabetes in 2013.
India may also be one of the biggest contributors to the global pool as obesity
in people in the age group of 15-49 has increased steeply during the last few
years: The National Family Health Survey (NFHS) 2014-2015.
In 11 of the 13 States where surveys were conducted in 2005-2006 and 20142015, the percentage of men and women with obesity (body mass index or
BMI 25 kg/m2) had increased sharply.
Obesity has increased modestly among women but doubled or more than
doubled in men in all the States between 2005-2006 and 2014-2015.

Sugar vs Health:

Nutritionally, people dont need any sugar in their diet. They have also been
dubbed as "empty calories" as they have no nutritional benefit.
Eating large quantities of sugar can lead to weight gain and obesity, which in
turn increases the risk of health conditions including type 2 diabetes and heart
High consumption of sugary beverages contributes to multiple metabolic
disorders due to accrual of body fat, as well as directly through excess
nonesterified fatty acids (NEFAs), which impair critical functioning of the
liver, pancreas and cellular functions.
The increasing trend of childhood obesity has set alarm bells ringing on the
consumption of sugar and sugar-sweetened drinks in school children.
If implemented, like the tobacco tax, which reportedly helped decrease
tobacco consumption, sugar tax might be able to cut down the consumption of

sugary drinks among children and would be a positive step towards preventing
The Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable
Diseases 2013-2020 cautions nations about: the tax must be wellimplemented, taking into consideration the needs of local communities in
order for its benefits to be properly harnessed.
According to WHO report Fiscal policies for Diet and Prevention of
Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs), reduced consumption of sugary drinks
means lower intake of free sugars and calories overall, apart from improved

Way Forward:

India faces a double whammy of obesity and underweight/wasted children.

Though with respect to the last NHFS survey the percentage of underweight
children has reduced this time but it is still very high.
This is a big concern as children who were born with low birth weight are at a
greater risk of becoming overweight and obese when they consume energyrich diets and have a sedentary lifestyle.
Sedentary lifestyles coupled with sugary , salty and fatty diets rich in refined
carbohydrates are driving the epidemic and government must insist on food
labeling to help consumers make right decisions and tax sugary beverages.
This singularly must be the reason why India should seriously consider
introducing additional taxes on sugar-laden dinks, besides encouraging more
physical activity in schools and other interventions.

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-2

Subject : Polity & Governance
News Source : The Hindu
BIMSTEC a sunny prospect in BRICS summit at Goa The Hindu 16th Oct'16
Details :
BIMSTEC a sunny prospect in BRICS summit at Goa

India is hosting the 8th BRICS summit in Goa and used the opportunity to organize
a regional outreach by inviting the BIMSTEC nations for the 4th BIMSTEC
BRICS summit invites global attention because the grouping makes up half the
worlds population, nearly a quarter of global GDP ($17 trillion combined) and the
stature of the leaders involved.
But the forum, which is primarily an economic forum of emerging economies, is
losing momentum due to economic problems and diplomatic divergences.
Economic problems
Russian and Brazilian economies are dependent on commodities export and
prolonged fall in oil prices has negatively affected them. In addition, Russia is also
facing economic difficulties due to Western sanctions over Ukraine.
Growth in Chinese manufacturing is at its weakest and even though India remains
the worlds fastest growing economy, contraction in IIP figures is not a good sign.
The South African economy is in crisis with revised growth estimates falling
below 1 %, and 26 % unemployment.
Diplomatic divergence
Geopolitical priorities of the BRICS members do not always converge.
India has taken a decisive shift towards the USA and Sino-India relations have
reached new lows due to Chinas ever increasing closeness to Pakistan after the
announcement of CPEC and Indias support to the USA on South China Sea issue.
Russia is diversifying its diplomatic relations which has affected its special
relationship with India. Moscows growing defence ties with Islamabad and
increasing dependence on Beijing is weakening political coherence of BRICS.
Brazil and South Africa, possibly due to prompting by China, have expressed their
reservations about Indias NSG membership.
This diplomatic tug of war will shape the Goa declaration. While India wants a
strong statement on terrorism, China will try to dilute it for Pakistan. China would
want BRICS support on South China Sea which India will resist. Russia would like
backing for its action in Syria which may be resisted by India and Brazil.

Given the difficulties surrounding BRICS, positive news from Goa may come from
BIMSTEC instead.
Although a grouping with much potential, it has failed to live up to its potential
due to lack of funding and attention.
Its success will depend upon keeping away from the regional politics which had
made SAARC dysfunctional.
India should not use BIMSTEC as another forum for isolating Pakistan and should
lead the forum on issues of mutual economic cooperation.
Growing connectivity
For this physical connectivity is necessary and the grouping has shown coherence
and focus in this direction which is seen in both inter-regional and bilateral
India is extending the Trilateral Highway project to Cambodia in accordance with
Act East policy, setting up port infrastructure in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and
Myanmar and stepping up hydel and road projects in Nepal.
Various projects on seamless connectivity by sub-regional groupings like SASEC
(South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation), BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan,
India, Nepal) and BCIM (Bangladesh, China, India, Myanmar) are also moving at a
quick place.
Way forward
India should use the opportunity to recommend various connectivity projects in the
BIMSTEC region for funding from the BRICSs Bank
India should serve as a link between BRICS and BIMSTEC which will help the
region, while overcoming the current tensions within its BRICS partnerships.
GS 2 (Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India
and/or affecting Indiasinterests)

Related questions
Compare the significance of IBSA and BRICS in the context of Indias multilateral
diplomacy.(UPSC, GS 2, 2012)
Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam
Subject : Editorial Analysis
News Source : The Hindu
Oct. 15, 2016
Self powered UV photodetector charges energy storage devices.
Details :
What is the News?

The researchers from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, have
developed a cost-effective, high-performance, self-powered UV photodetector
that can use the harvested optical energy for direct self-charging of energy
storage devices such as supercapacitor.
It can also be used for operating electronic devices in the absence of external
power source.

What the researchers have developed?

The researchers developed the photodetector by integrating semiconducting

vanadium doped zinc oxide (VZnO) nanoflakes with a conducting polymer.
The photodetector has superior performance in terms of faster detection of
photo signals in the order of milliseconds even when UV light intensity is low.
Zinc oxide (ZnO), the base material for UV detection, can be doped with
vanadium to produce photodetectors that are self-powered.

How it works?

When doped with vanadium, the microstructure of ZnO changes from

nanorods to closely-packed nanoflakes, causing an increase in the surface area
to the volume of the material.
Doping ZnO with vanadium also creates surface defects within the band gap
(between the conduction and valence bands) of ZnO, which helps in trapping
the UV radiation that falls on the nanoflakes.

The nanorods are one-dimensional and so the possibility of light reflection

from the top surface is more.
The UV light that gets into the pores undergoes multiple reflections and
finally gets absorbed.
The VZnO nanoflakes were annealed (heated and allowed to cool slowly) in
the presence of hydrogen gas at 350 degree C (hydrogenated) to increase the
conductivity and reduce the recombination of photo-generated charge carriers.


Compared with ZnO, which generates only 40 nA photocurrent, the

nanoflakes (VZnO) produced five times more photocurrent.
Once the nanoflakes were hydrogenated, the current generation capacity
further increased to 1,000 nA.
If the increased optically active surface area of the nanoflakes enhanced the
generation of electron-hole pairs (photo response), resulting in increased
current generation, hydrogenation brought about a further enhancement in the
electron-hole pair generation as well as increased free electron density,
leading to more current generation.
When exposed to UV light, the device, after hydrogenation, was able to detect
photo signal within milliseconds, which is nearly 100 times faster than
conventional UV photodetectors.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim Exam

Subject : Science & Tech
News Source : The Hindu
WPI inflation slows to 3.6 per cent
Details :
Wholesale price inflation eased marginally in September to 3.6 per cent from 3.7
per cent in August due to a cooling off of food prices, data released by the Ministry
of Commerce and Industry showed.
From examination point of view, You only need to know the basic Concept of
What is Wholesale Price Index (WPI)?

WPI measures the change in price level at wholesale market.

WPI consists of 676 commodities (services are not included in WPI in
It is measured on year-on-year basis i.e., rate of change in price level in a
given month vis a vis corresponding month of last year.
This is also known as point to point inflation.
This index is the most widely used inflation indicator in India.
This is published by the Office of Economic Adviser, Ministry of Commerce
and Industry.
WPI captures price movements in a most comprehensive way.
The current series of Wholesale Price Index has 2004-05 as the base year.
In India, there are three main components in WPI Primary Articles (weight:
20.12%), Fuel & Power (weight: 14.91%) and Manufactured Products
(weight: 64.97).
Within WPI, Food commodities (from which Food Inflation) have a combined
weight of 24.31%.
This includes Food Articles in the Primary Articles (14.34%) and Food
Products in the Manufactured Products category (9.97%).
Food Inflation is also calculated on year-on-year basis.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim Exam

Subject : Economics
News Source : The Hindu
G20 Hangzhou Summit offers impetus to BRICS' greater role in global
Details :
What is the News?

Top heads of state have arrived in Goa to attend the 8th BRICS summit.
Representatives from the BIMSTEC countries will also be present at the
BRICS is an association of emerging national economies comprising of
Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
This years summit is themed on Building Responsive, Inclusive and
collective solutions.

Demands of BRICS countries:

During the G20 Summit in Hangzhou,(China) the BRICS countries lobbied

for the reform the governance structure of the international financial
institutions like IMF and the World Bank to better represent emerging-market
and developing countries. G20 agreed to it.
The reform means that the quota and voting power of BRICS' countries will
increase at IMF and World Bank and thus increase their say.
BRICS countries also agreed that they should promote a larger role for
emerging economies & developing countries in global governance.
After the last IMF quota reform proposed in 2010 and accepted in 2015, China
became third largest shareholder in the IMF with India, Russia and Brazil all
in the top 10 shareholders.
New Development Bank (NDB) was created by the BRICS countries to
finance development projects in the developing countries. Some projects are
being evaluated for funding and will soon take off. Apart from this,
BRICS have developed over 60 cooperation mechanisms in various sectors
like economy, trade, finance etc.
There is a growing concern among developing countries in South America,
Africa and Asia that IMF and World Bank impose harsh conditions to be
eligible for loans, like reforming the their economies or governance structures
even if they are unpopular with their own people. Hence, these countries are
looking to NDB for financing.
As the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) held
an informal meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, the
consensus was to pursue issues of global and mutual interest to BRICS
member countries at the G20.
With global economic recovery remaining uneven, the economy was a major
agenda at the meet on September 4.
The five will also focus on the implementation of their respective national
growth strategies with innovation as a key driver for mid- and long-term
growth, which jells with the G20 Blueprint on Innovative Growth.
BRICS will support the WTO as the cornerstone of inclusive multilateral trade
and seek to combat rising protectionism. Their thrust is on an inclusive and
open world economy where markets are interlinked.
They will urge the G20 to lobby with the IMF to have the latter increase its
quota resources and review the distribution of quotas and votes.
They also agreed on greater dialogue and cooperation with other emerging
economies and developing countries.

About BRICS:

The BRIC grouping's first formal summit, was held in Yekaterinburg, Russia
in June 2009
South Africa officially became a member nation in 2010, thus forming BRICS
BRICS brings together five major emerging economies, comprising:
43% of the world population,
having 37% of the world GDP and
18% share in the world trade
cover 25.9 per cent of worlds geographic area


The theme of Indias BRICS Chairmanship is Building Responsive, Inclusive and
Collective Solutions.
We will adopt five-pronged approach, IIIIC or I4C. :
1.Institution building to further deepen, sustain and institutionalise BRICS
2.Implementation of the decisions from previous Summits;
3.Integrating the existing cooperation mechanisms;
4.Innovation, i.e., new cooperation mechanisms on government-to-government,
Track-II, business-to-business and people-to-people to tap the full potential of
BRICS cooperation; and
5.Continuity, i.e., continuation of mutually agreed existing BRICS cooperation
Points to remember:

G20 Summit - September - Hangzhou, China.

8th BRICS Summit - October - Goa, India.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : International Relation
News Source : The Hindu

Join consultation on triple talaq: Centre

Details :
The government has recently asked the All India Muslim Personal Law Board
(AIMPLB) and certain other Muslim organizations to reconsider their decision to
boycott the Law Commissions consultation on triple talaq and the Uniform Civil
Code (UCC).
To know the basics of these issues, Please read these Articles:
Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-2
Subject : Polity & Governance
News Source : The Hindu
NITI Aayog reviewing CONCORs stake sale
Details :
What is the News?

Container Corporation of India Ltd. (CONCOR),is a Navratna Public sector

undertaking under the Indian Ministry of Railways.
CONCOR operates three businesses: cargo carrier, terminal operator and
warehouse operator.
The logistics company, offering scheduled and on-demand rapid rail and road
services between the hinterland and ports and between terminals across the
country, is the only listed company of Indian Railways with a cash surplus of
Rs.2,400 crore and zero debt on its balance sheet.
The Finance Ministry has returned a proposal of NITI Aayog for strategic
disinvestment of the Centres stake in Container Corporation of India Ltd
According to ministry, the move could lead to a public sector monopoly
becoming a private sector monopoly.

What is Disinvestment?

Disinvestment can be defined as the action of an organisation (or government)

selling or liquidating an asset or subsidiary. It is also called as divestment or
It typically refers to sale from the government, partly or fully, of a
government-owned enterprise.
A company or a government organisation will typically disinvest an asset
either as a strategic move for the company or for raising resources to meet
general/specific needs.
Disinvestment also assumes significance due to the prevalence of an
increasingly competitive environment, which makes it difficult for many
PSUs (Public Sector Undertakings) to operate profitably.
The new economic policy initiated in July 1991 indicated that PSUs had
shown a very negative rate of return. Inefficient PSUs had become more of
liabilities to the Government than being assets.
The Government adopted the 'Disinvestment Policy' which was identified as
an active tool to reduce the burden of financing the PSUs.

Objectives of Disinvestment:

To reduce the financial burden on the Government

To improve public finances
To introduce, competition and market discipline
To encourage wider share of ownership
To depoliticize non-essential service

Difference between Disinvestment and privatization:

Privatization involves transforming the ownership of a public sector business

to the private sector known as a 'strategic buyer'. In privatization, full
ownership is transferred to the strategic partner.
In disinvestment, the same transformation process happens while retaining
26% or in some cases 51% percent of share right (i.e. the voting power) with
the public sector organization.

In disinvestment 26% or 51% of share is retained with the government

company and the rest is transferred to the strategic partner. Here, the
ownership is not transferred to strategic buyer.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim Exam

Subject : Economics
News Source : The Hindu
Oct. 14, 2016
Opposition, NGOs slam move to amend Citizenship Act
Details :
What is the News?

The governments proposed amendment to the Citizenship Act, 1955, which

plans to provide citizenship to religious minorities from Pakistan, Afghanistan
and Bangladesh, is facing stiff opposition from civil society groups in Assam,
Gujarat and Rajasthan.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was introduced in the Lok Sabha in
The Bill has been criticised by the Opposition, which has accused the
government of granting citizenship to persecuted minorities from
neighbouring countries on religious lines and wooing the majority Hindu

Objectives of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016:

With this amendment, the government plans to change the definition of

illegal migrants that will enable it to grant citizenship to minorities, mostly
Hindus from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, who fled their countries
fearing religious persecution.
The Bill creates an exception for Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and
Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, and plans to reduce
the requirement of 11 years of continuous stay to six years to obtain
citizenship by naturalisation.

Criticism of the Bill:

Muslim sects like Shias and Ahmediyas also face persecution in Sunnidominated Pakistan but the Act doesnt have provision for them.
At a recent joint committee meeting, several MPs raised objection that the
government was amending the Act to appease the Hindu community as most
of the people who would be benefited would be Hindus from neighbouring
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill also fails on the tenets of international
refugee law.
Although India is not a signatory to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention,
granting refuge based on humanitarian considerations is arguably a norm of
customary international law.
There are two fallacies with the proposed law in this regard.
First, the Bill terms minority religious people as migrants, when they are not
migrants but refugees.
The word migration refers to the voluntary movement of people, primarily for
better economic prospects.
In contrast, refuge is an involuntary act of forced movement.
The concerns of refugees are human rights and safety, not economic
The purpose and intention of the Bill, as stated by the home minister, is to
provide shelter to vulnerable, religiously persecuted people whose
fundamental human rights are at risk.
The correct terminology is important because the laws and policies for
migrants and refugees are entirely different.
Second, shelter to individuals of a select religion defeats not only the
intention but also the rationality of refugee policy.
If the motive of the government is to protect religiously persecuted people in
the neighbourhood, the question of why they are ignoring the Muslim
community is inevitable.
Muslims are considerably discriminated against and exploited in the
neighbouring countries of China, Sri Lanka and Myanmar.
Their demands for asylum in India have fallen on deaf ears.
The 36,000 Rohingyas Muslims from Myanmar who fled to India in the wake
of 2015 insurgency is just one such example.
The proposed act also violates Indias long-standing refugee policy.
Although India does not have a codified refugee policy, the basic tenants of
the scheme were listed by Jawaharlal Nehru during the Tibetan refugee crisis.
One of the primary conditions given then was that refugees would have to
return to their homeland once normalcy prevailed.

The proposed law not only provides citizenship rights to such refugees, but
greatly relaxes the procedure to avail of them.

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-2

Subject : Polity & Governance
News Source : The Hindu
Smaller parties, Independents in Rajya Sabha unite for more talk time
Details :
What is the News?

The winter session of Parliament will see a changed Rajya Sabha, not because
of any election being held to the Upper House, but because Vice-President
Hamid Ansari has formally recognised a group of 22 MPs belonging to
different parties with less than four MPs and certain independents as a
consolidated block the United Group.

Importance of this grouping:

This is only the third time in the history of Indian Parliament that this is
happening, the first was in 1983, and the second in 1990.
The rarity of such a grouping is not surprising considering the party-wise
divisions that usually rule parliamentary practice.
Hailing from ideologically diverse backgrounds and including nominated MPs
like cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and boxer Mary Kom, this group of MPs have
united to secure more time to speak in House debates, where their solitary or
numerically lean status afforded them as little as three minutes of speech time.
With this grouping, it become the third largest group of MPs in the Rajya
Sabha, after the Congress and the BJP.
Time allotted to parties to speak on debates depends entirely on their strength
in the House.
A grouping of this kind will, therefore, make it possible, say, for a party like
the Sikkim Democratic Front with a single MP to speak for as much time as
say, a Samajwadi Party with 19 MPs in the Upper House.

About the Rajya Sabha:

Our Parliament comprises of the President and the two HousesLok Sabha
(House of the People) and Rajya Sabha (Council of States).
The origin of the Rajya Sabha (Council of States) can be traced to the
Montague-Chelmsford Report of 1918.
The Government of India Act, 1919 provided for the creation of a Council of
State as a second chamber of the then legislature with a restricted franchise
which actually came into existence in 1921. The Governor-General was the
ex-officio President of the then Council of State.
The Government of India Act, 1935, hardly made any changes in its
The Constituent Assembly, which first met on 9 December 1946, also acted as
the Central Legislature till 1950, when it was converted as Provisional
During this period, the Central Legislature which was known as Constituent
Assembly (Legislative) and later Provisional Parliament was unicameral till
the first elections were held in 1952.
Extensive debate took place in the Constituent Assembly regarding the utility
or otherwise of a Second Chamber in Independent India and ultimately, it was
decided to have a bicameral legislature for independent India mainly because
a federal system was considered to be most feasible form of Government for
such a vast country with immense diversities.
A single directly elected House, in fact, was considered inadequate to meet the
challenges before free India.
A second chamber known as the Council of States, therefore, was created
with altogether different composition and method of election from that of the
directly elected House of the People.
It was conceived as another Chamber, with smaller membership than the Lok
Sabha (House of the People).
It was meant to be the federal chamber i.e., a House elected by the elected
members of Assemblies of the States and two Union Territories in
which States were not given equal representation.
Apart from the elected members, provision was also made for the nomination
of twelve members to the House by the President.
The minimum age of thirty years was fixed for membership as against twentyfive years for the Lower House.
The element of dignity and prestige was added to the Council of State House
by making the Vice-President of India ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya
Sabha who presides over its sittings.

Article 80 of the Constitution lays down the maximum strength of Rajya

Sabha as 250, out of which 12 members are nominated by the President and
238 are representatives of the States and of the two Union Territories.
The present strength of Rajya Sabha, however, is 245, out of which 233 are
representatives of the States and Union territories of Delhi and Puducherry
and 12 are nominated by the President.
The members nominated by the President are persons having special
knowledge or practical experience in respect of such matters as literature,
science, art and social service.
The Fourth Schedule to the Constitution provides for allocation of seats to the
States and Union Territories in Rajya Sabha.
The allocation of seats is made on the basis of the population of each State.
Consequent on the reorganization of States and formation of new States, the
number of elected seats in the Rajya Sabha allotted to States and Union
Territories has changed from time to time since 1952.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Polity & Governance
News Source : The Hindu
Maldives quits Commonwealth, against unfair treatment after Nasheed
Details :
What is the News?

The Maldives on 13th October has pulled out of the Commonwealth calling as
unjust the groupings decision to penalise the island nation over the
circumstances that led to then President Mohamed Nasheeds ouster in 2012
and the lack of subsequent progress in resolving the political unrest.
The Commonwealth, is a grouping of 53 nations that were mostly territories
of the former British Empire.
Last month, the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), had
warned Maldives of suspension from the bloc expressing its deep
disappointment over the countrys lack of progress in resolving the political

Why Maldives pulled out of the Commonwealth?

Severely critical of Commonwealth, the Maldives said in the name of

promotion of democracy, the grouping used the country to increase the
organisations own relevance and leverage in international politics.
The Commonwealth has sought to take punitive actions against the Maldives
since 2012 after the then President of Maldives [Nasheed] resigned, and
transfer of power took place as per the procedures set out in the
Constitution,the Maldives Foreign Ministry said.
Maldives said that the Commonwealths decision to penalise the Maldives
was unjustified especially given that the Commission of National Inquiry
(CoNI), established with the help of the Commonwealth, found that the
transfer of power in the Maldives was consistent with the constitutional
The Commonwealth has sought to become an active participant in the
domestic political discourse in the Maldives, which is contrary to the
principles of the Charters of the U.N. and the Commonwealth.
Maldives said it had joined the Commonwealth in 1982 with high hopes and
expectations, holding that it will be a platform for coordinating critical issues
that the member states, in particular, the smallest members of the organisation
The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) had criticised the
inquiry commission set up to investigate the removal of then President
Nasheed from power in 2012.

Background of Maldives Political Crisis:

In 2008, Nasheed, then 40, became the first democratically elected leader of
the Maldives, defeating Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who had been dictator for
30 years.
In January 2012, he ordered the detention of Criminal Court judge Abdulla
Mohamed for allegedly obstructing the police, ordering illegal probes, and
accepting bribes to release certain criminals.
The arrest triggered protests, following which, in February 2012, Nasheed
In November 2013, Nasheed lost the presidential election to current President
Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom, a half-brother of Maumoon Abdul
Mr. Nasheed, was convicted and jailed in the Maldives in 2015 on terrorism

In 2016, Nasheed was given asylum in the United Kingdom, where he had
gone for medical treatment.
However, Nasheed failed to return to complete a prison sentence after
receiving medical treatment in Britain.
So on 31st August, Maldives government is seeking former president
Mohamed Nasheed's arrest for failing to return to the troubled archipelago to
complete a prison sentence after receiving medical treatment in Britain.

What is Commonwealth?

In 1949 the association we know today the Commonwealth came into

Since then, independent countries from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe
and the Pacific have joined the Commonwealth.
The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 53 independent sovereign
states, most of which were former British colonies, and aims to promote
development, democracy and peace.
Britains Queen Elizabeth II is the head of the grouping, which holds a
summit every two to three years.
Headquarters of the Commonwealth is in Marlborough House, London.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : International Relation
News Source : The Hindu
Dylan gets literature Nobel
Details :
What is the News?

American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, whose decades-long career in music

has pushed the boundaries of multiple genres, has won the 2016 Nobel Prize
in Literature.
The 75-year-old-musician was honored on 13th October by the Swedish
Academy for having created new poetic expressions within the great
American song tradition.
That made him the first American to win the prize since 1993, when novelist
Toni Morrison was honored by the Nobel academy.

He also became the first true musician to win the literature prize since it was
first awarded in 1901.
Armed with a harmonica and an acoustic guitar, Dylan confronted social
injustice, war and racism, quickly becoming a prominent civil rights
For more than six decades he has remained a mythical force in music, his
gravelly voice and poetic lyrics musing over war, heartbreak, betrayal, death
and moral faithlessness in songs that brought beauty to lifes greatest

Literature Nobel facts:

Hundred and nine have been awarded the Prize from 1901.
Fourteen women have got the Prize so far.
The prize was shared four times by two persons.
The youngest laureate was Rudyard Kipling (41), best known for his The
Jungle Book.
The oldest laureate was Doris Lessing. She was 88 when she was awarded the
Prize in 2007.
The 2016 laureates will receive their awards a gold medal and a diploma
at a formal ceremony in Stockholm as tradition dictates, on December 10,
the anniversary of the death of the Prize creator Alfred Nobel.
Rabindranath Tagore won Nobel Prize Year in1913 in Literature.
He was awarded Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913 for his Geetanjali a
collection of his poems.
He was the first person to be awarded the Nobel Prize for India.

5 individuals who were Indian citizens at the time they were awarded Nobel

Rabindranath Tagore 1913 (Literature)

C.V. Raman 1930 (Physics)
Mother Teresa 1979 (Peace)
Amartya Sen 1998 (Economic Studies)
Kailash Satyarthi 2014 (Peace)

3 individuals who were of Indian birth and origin subsequently got foreign

Har Gobind Khorana 1968 (Physiology or Medicine)

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar 1983 (physics)

Venkatraman Ramakrishnan 2009 (Chemistry)

3 individuals who were resident in India when they became recipients of the
Nobel Prize :

Rudyard Kipling 1907 (Literature)

Ronald Ross 1902 (Physiology or Medicine)
14th Dalai Lama 1989 (Peace)

Exam Syllabus : Prelim Exam

Subject : Miscellaneous
News Source : The Hindu
India to ban release of potent greenhouse gas
Details :
What is the news?

India will no longer permit the release of HFC-23, a family of potent

greenhouse gases which are released when companies produce the refrigerant
The 28th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol for the Protection of
the Ozone Layer is taking place in the Rwandan capital Kigali.
The objective of the meeting is to adopt an amendment to the Montreal
Protocol, a 1987 agreement whereby countries have agreed to limit the
emission of gases that destroy the ozone layer.
The amendment seeks to phase down the potent greenhouse gases in the
atmosphere and enabling it to monitor the phase-out of HFCs
(Hydrofluorocarbons), which are not ozone-depleting.
The meeting may result in a legally-binding mechanism to ban the HFCs
which are commonly used in refrigerators and air-conditioners.
The Kigali talks will also finalize the years by which the developing and
developed countries will cap HFC.

HFC phase out as a boost to Paris Agreement:

HFC phase-out is seen as a low-hanging fruit in the fight against climate

It is estimated that a ton of HFC-23 in the atmosphere has the same effect as
11,700 tons of carbon dioxide and has atmospheric lifespan of 270 years.
An agreement at the earliest to reach a "freeze year" i.e. the year in which the
HFC phase down begins could also help meet the Paris Agreement goals. The
agreement to phase down HFCs will significantly reduce the amount of
greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere and could prevent global
temperatures from rising by up to 0.5 degree Celsius.

Issues with the deal:

India and other developing countries want developed countries to give

incremental cost support to industries in developing nations for three to five
years. Whereas, developed countries are willing to provide the support for
only one year.
Developing nations also want the developed countries to address the issues of
transfer of technology and Intellectual property rights (IPR). The IPR for the
newer eco-friendly refrigerant gases are held by two American companies and
India wants the developed countries to support the transfer of this technology.
India wants its industry to be allowed to grow for another ten years, before it
starts making the HFC-reductions i.e. Baseline line years to begin form 202426. Other developing countries do not mind a faster time-line beginning from
2020 or 2022. The later the baseline years, the more time industry gets to
make a switch from the HFCs to cleaner alternatives.

Montreal Protocol:

The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer is a

protocol to Vienna Convention for protection of ozone layer.
It was designed to reduce the production and consumption of ozone depleting
substances and thereby protect the earths fragile ozone Layer.
The Montreal Protocol was agreed on 16 September 1987 and entered into
force on 1 January 1989.
The protocol has been ratified by 197 parties making it universally ratified
protocol in United Nations history,

Montreal Protocol has been a highly successful international arrangement,

having already phased-out more than 95 per cent of the ozone-depleting
substances, its main mandate, in the less than 30 years of its existence.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Environment & Ecology
News Source : The Hindu
India, Russia to set up agro irradiation centres
Details :
What is the news?

India and Russia are collaborating to set up integrated irradiation centres in

India to reduce agricultural losses.
A bilateral agreement was signed between the Indian Agricultural
Association, Hindustan Agro Co-Op Ltd (HACL) and United Innovation
Corporation (UIC), a subsidiary of ROSATOM State Atomic Energy
Corporation of Russia and aims to set up 25 integrated irradiation centres.
In the first phase, seven centres will be set up in Maharashtra.
The irradiation doses are recommended by the International Atomic Energy
Agency (IAEA) and the final product is safe to use.

Why is it needed?

In India, post-harvest losses in food and food grains are around 40-50 per
It is mainly due to insect infestation, microbiological contamination,
physiological changes due to sprouting and ripening and poor shelf life.
The use of irradiation will reduce the losses which are because of germination
and inadequate storage.

Food Irradiation:

In irradiation, food products are subjected to a low dosage of radiation to treat

them for germs and insects, increasing their longevity and shelf life.
This treatment is used to preserve food, reduce the risk of food borne illness,
prevent the spread of invasive pests, and delay or eliminate sprouting

Irradiation by gamma rays, X-rays and accelerated electrons under controlled

conditions does not make food radioactive.
Irradiation is equivalent to pasteurization for solid foods, but it is not the same
as sterilization.
It does not reduce the nutritional value of food products and does not change
their organoleptic properties and appearance.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Science & Tech
News Source : The Hindu
This festive season, make your home lead-free
Details :
What is the news?

Environmentalists are appealing to stay lead-free and celebrate the festival in

healthy manner.
Lead is a highly toxic heavy metal that is used in enamel paints because of its
anti-fungal and durable property.
Recognising the importance of the issue, the WHO and the United Nations
Environment Programme (UNEP) have taken an initiative - Global Alliance to
Eliminate Lead Paint (GAELP), to prevent childrens exposure to lead from
paints and minimise its occupational exposures.

Lead Poisoning:

The metal poisoning is caused by increased levels of lead in the body that
interferes with body processes and is toxic to heart, brain, kidney, intestines,
blood, liver etc.

Exposure routes:

Occupational: People working as lead miners and smelters, plumbers and

fitters, auto mechanics, glass manufacturers, construction workers, battery
manufacturers and recyclers, firing range instructors and plastic
manufacturers, people working in radiation shields, ammunition, surgical and

medical equipment units, fetal monitors, and ceramic glazes are at risk for
lead exposure.
Food: Lead may be found in food when food is grown in soil that is high in
lead. Recently, famous noodles brand, Maggie was banned for the same
Paint: Colorful lead compounds are used in paints and is a major route of lead
exposure in children. Deteriorating lead paint and lead-containing household
dust are the main causes of chronic lead poisoning.
Water: Lead from the atmosphere or soil can enter groundwater and surface
water. It can also make way in drinking water from plumbing and fixtures that
are either made of lead or have lead solder.

Effects of Poisoning:

Lead exposure in children can affect their behavioural and cognitive

It is a major reason for brain damage and can also cause death.
Burton Line: A blue line along the gum with bluish black edging to the teeth.

Lead hue of skin and visual disturbances may be present.

Affected organ may get damaged over time.


In most cases lead poisoning is preventable.

Most important is the awareness about the impact of lead paints on health and
Consumers should look for labels such as no added lead, mercury and
chromium or no added lead, mercury, arsenic and chromium in the paints.
Replacing lead pipes and solders in home.
Regular screening can help in early detection and treatment.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Environment & Ecology
News Source : The Hindu
Centre backs low GST rate, EU FTA to spur textiles jobs
Details :
India's Textile sector:

To boost job creation, the government will make the textile sector more
competitive by pursuing a lower Goods and Services Tax rate.
China is moving out of global markets due to increase in labour costs and
higher domestic demand.
Its the right time for India to occupy the space, especially in countries where
China was exporting.
India is even willing to allow automobile and wine imports from the European
Union in return for market access for Indian textile.
One crore rupees investment in most sectors creates ten to twelve jobs, but in
textiles it creates 100 jobs.
There is a need to incentivise the sector for its job-generation potential,
especially for women who form 70-80 per cent of its workforce.
Textile sector also needs to focus on innovation, modernisation and
technological advancement.

Other contenders:

Bangladesh, Vietnam, Kenya and Ethiopia is poised to overtake India on

garment exports as they have competitive advantage that arises due to these
countries getting duty-free access to the EU and U.S. Indian products attract a
9.5 per cent duty in the EU.
The European Union lay huge importance to environmental compliances.
In this regard India stands to gain over Bangladesh and is expecting to make a
better deal.

Free Trade Agreement:

It is treaty between two or more countries to establish free trade area where
commerce in goods and services can be conducted across their common
borders without tariffs or hindrances.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the international body that helps
negotiate and regulates free trade agreements.

Advantages of Free Trade Agreements:

Free trade agreements are designed to increase trade between two countries, which
has its advantages:
1.Increased economic growth.
2.More dynamic business climate.
3.Lower government spending.
4.Foreign direct investment.
6.Technology transfer.
Disadvantages of Free Trade Agreements:
1.Increased jobs outsourcing
2.Theft of intellectual property.
3.Crowd out domestic industries.

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-3

Subject : Economics
News Source : The Hindu
When Jai Bhim meets Lal Salaam Editorial14th Oct'16 The Hindu
Details :
When Jai Bhim meets Lal Salaam

Traditionally, Dalit politics have revolved around identity while the Left has
confined itself to articulate the interests of the working class and their material
(economic) conditions having little common ground.

But there are signs of a budding alliance between Dalit and Left politics in the
aftermath of Dalit agitations in Gujarat which, if translated into a political program,
will significantly benefit both Dalit and Left politics.
Lessons from Gujarat

Recent experience from Gujarat has shown what an alliance between Dalit and
Left politics can achieve. Dalit mobilization post Una incident led to two significant

Firstly, the State Government initiated the process for land distribution to
landless Dalits.

Secondly, the sanitary workers of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, aided

by labour groups, successfully agitated for permanent employment and social
security benefits.

Here, the Dalit anger was shaped into pragmatic demands and even though the
beneficiaries were Dalits, the demands were based on material grounds rather than
Distance between Dalit and Left politics

Dalit politics have rarely articulated material demands of Dalits in a forceful
manner and the Left has confined itself to class politics and had not raised caste
issues seriously for the fear of dividing the working class along the caste lines.

But the working class is already divided along caste and failure of the Left to
counter this division led to its marginalization in Indian politics.

Dalits blame upper caste domination of Left leadership for its failure to take
up issues of caste exploitation while the Left argues that promotion of Dalit elites
by the ruling classes have led to narrow identity centric politics and denied Dalits
unity with other exploited sections and political parties representing them.
Limitations of identity politics

Dalits have slowly started to realize the three limitations of identity politics as
they dont have enough numbers on their own to influence politics in any
significant manner.

Firstly, in electoral politics, identity based mobilization leads to vote bank

politics which can only extract minor concessions without challenging the caste

Secondly, Dalit-OBC unity is essential for success of identity politics but it is

practically impossible due to inherent class contradictions among them as
exemplified by mobilization of dominant agricultural castes in different parts of the
country against the Dalits.

Thirdly, identity politics have failed to deliver anything beyond reservations

whose relevance is decreasing due to increasing public sector disinvestment and
privatization. Therefore, reservations can no longer be the solution for majority of
the Dalits.
Need for allies

Dalits need to look beyond identity politics and make an alliance with those
who share their social, political and material difficulties.

Recent targeting of both Dalits and Muslims by cow vigilante groups led to
calls for Dalit-Muslim unity but this alliance suffers from class and caste
contradictions (Muslims are significant land owners in many areas and also have
caste divisions) which could weaken it.

Dalit politics cannot break the class collaboration between Dalit elites and
their caste oppressors and caste collaboration between the poor and wealthy classes
of their caste oppressors unless it gives voice to material aspirations of the deprived
sections which cut across the caste lines.

Similarly, the Left should raise the concerns of socially oppressed and
marginalized sections. It should acknowledge that annihilation of caste is necessary
for improvement in material condition of the masses.
Natural affinity of interests

Left and Dalit politics have converged in the past when Ambedkar allied with
the Communist Party of India to demand distribution of government land for
landless Dalits or in the form of Dalit Panther movement in Maharashtra.

Today socially oppressed and economically marginalised sections of society

are struggling against a union of casteist forces which control the capital and the
state apparatus.

The ruling elite realize that their class interests cut across caste lines. But the
working classes, especially the Dalits and OBCs, are divided along rival identities
which ensure that their class identity remains weak.

As the majority of Dalits are working class, there is a natural affinity of

political interests between Left and Dalit politics.

The Dalits need the Left to raise their issues under a political program and the
Left needs Dalits to remain politically relevant.
Way forward

Dalits politics should move beyond identity and it should raise material issues
concerning deprived sections from the OBCs and the upper castes to overcome their
lack of numbers. This should include the landless, the contract workers, indebted
farmers, and migrant workers. Similarly, the Left should raise caste issues to remain
politically relevant

An alliance between the Dalits and the Left, which is based on a practical
political program can deliver significant results as seen in Gujarat.

GS 1 (Indian Society)

Related questions

Debate the issue of whether and how contemporary movements for assertion
of Dalit identity work towards annihilation of caste. (UPSC, GS 1, 2015)

Contemporary Dalit movement needs to move beyond assertion of identity for

annihilation of caste. Discuss.
Additional information
Identity politics It is a tendency for people of a particular religion, caste, social
background, etc., to form exclusive political alliances based upon the shared
experiences of injustice. Identity political formations typically aim to secure the
political freedom of a specific marginalized constituency. Members of that
constituency assert their distinctiveness and challenge dominant oppressive forces.
Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam
Subject : Editorial Analysis
News Source : The Hindu
Oct. 13, 2016
Draft Water Bill suggests basin-level management
Details :
What is the News?

Seeking to resolve several inter-state disputes over river water sharing through
a model legislation, the Centre has come out with a draft National Water
Framework Bill, 2016, providing for a mechanism to develop and manage
river basin in an integrated manner so that every state gets "equitable" share of
a river's water without violating rights of others.
The draft Bill also pitches for establishing River Basin Authority for each
inter-state basin to ensure "optimum and sustainable" development of rivers
and valleys and devises an integrated approach to conserve water and manage
groundwater in a sustainable manner.

Important Highlights:

The draft Bill pitches for establishing River Basin Authority for each interState basin to ensure optimum and sustainable development of rivers and
It suggests States to recognise the principle that the rivers are not owned by
the basin-States but are public trustees.
It says all basin States have equitable rights over a river water provided
such use does not violate the right to water for life of any person in the river
The draft Bill says every person has a right to sufficient quantity of safe
water for life within easy reach of the household regardless of caste, creed,
religion, age, community, class, gender, disability, economic status, land
ownership and place of residence.
Presently, there are disputes because nobody [States] knows his/her
contribution to a rivers catchment area.
When a State will know its exact contribution to the catchment area, it will
know quantum of its rightful share.
It proposes establishing institutional arrangements at all levels within a State
and beyond up to an inter-State river basin level to obviate disputes through
negotiations, conciliation or mediation before they become acute.
All the basin States are equal in rights and status, and there is no hierarchy of
rights among them, and further, in this context, equality of rights means not
equal but equitable shares in the river waters, the Bill says.
Water being a State subject, the Bill, however, will not be binding on States
for adoption.

Key features of the Bill include:

Right to water for life: The Bill states that every person has a right to
sufficient quantity of safe water for life within easy reach of a household,
regardless of ones community, economic status, land
ownership, etc.
The responsibility to ensure every person has access to safe water remains
with the concerned state government even if water is being provided through a
private agency.
Standards for water quality: National water quality standards shall be
binding on all types of water use.
In addition, efforts should be made for treatment of wastewater to make it
appropriate for use.

Integrated River Basin Development and Management: A river basin, with its
associated aquifers (underground layer that contains water) should be
considered as the basic hydrological unit for planning, development and
management of water.
For every inter-state river basin, a River Basin Authority should be
established, which will be responsible to prepare Master Plans for river basins
under its jurisdiction.
Water security: The appropriate state government will prepare and oversee
the implementation of a water security plan to ensure sufficient quantity of
safe water for every person, even in times of emergency such as droughts and
These plans will include:
incentives for switching from water-intensive crops,
incentives for the adoption of water-conserving methods, such as drip
irrigation and sprinklers,
setting up groundwater recharge structures, etc.
Water pricing: Pricing of water shall be based on a differential pricing
system in accordance with the fact that water is put to multiple uses.
Water use for commercial agriculture and industry may be priced on the basis
of full economic pricing.
For domestic water supply, different categories of users may be subsidised.

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-2

Subject : Polity & Governance
News Source : The Hindu
ABB to electrify Indian buses
Details :
What is the News?

Swiss power and automation technology group ABB has drawn up plans for
India to become a fully electric vehicle nation by 2030, including an offer to
supply electric buses that can be charged within 15 seconds.
India has plans to convert around 1.5 lakh diesel buses run by state transport
corporations into electric buses in a bid to reduce its Rs.8 lakh crore annual
crude oil import bill and check pollution.

Globally a new line of such buses will replace some of the diesel buses in
Geneva with flash-charging connection technology taking less than a second
to connect the bus to the charging point at 13 bus stops with a 600-kilowatt
power boost.

How will it work?

With no overhead lines, the electric buses by ABB connect to a high-power

charging contact at bus stations through its controlled moving arm.
It is equipped with on-board batteries and gets charged at various flashcharging bus stations within 15 seconds.
At the terminals, buses can be fully charged within five minutes and can help
save up to 1,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions ever year, compared with
existing diesel buses.
The bus wastes no time as the on-board batteries get charged within 15
seconds while passengers are boarding and de-boarding the bus.
The idea is to utilise the bus station space by using it as charging points and
operate them at par with the diesel fleet.
The bus system is safe as the voltage is only released when the bus is
connected for charging at the bus stations.
So, even if someone climbs up on the bus station, he wont get any electric
The National Electricity Mission Plan 2020 had identified the need to build
rapid charging points at prominent bus stops in India to eliminate the need for
large batteries.
It had, however, said a pilot projects needs to be rolled out to see the viability
of its operations on a large scale as it costs five times the cost of normal
charging stations.
It had said that the likely potential demand for electric buses in India will be
in the range of 2,300-2,700 units by 2020.

What is ABB's flash charging technology?

Two major barriers to the adoption of electric vehicles are long charging times
and the need to recharge frequently.
Especially when it comes to public transport, the downtime associated with
battery charging can be a major obstacle to the commercial viability of electric
Furthermore the size and weight of onboard batteries increase energy
consumption and reduce space available to passengers.

ABBs flash charging technology permits a bus to be recharged in only 15 s.

Furthermore, this occurs at bus stops at which the bus needs to stop anyway,
meaning schedules are not negatively affected.
As soon as the bus has drawn to a halt, a contact on its roof automatically
rises, using laser guidance to align with an overhead receptacle.
A flash charger then delivers 400 kW for 15 s.
The energy delivered suffices as a top-up charge and helps reduce required
battery capacity.
Further brief recharging occurs as energy is recovered in braking.
A longer and full recharge is provided at the bus terminus, where 200 kW can
be delivered for 3 to 5 min using the same roof-mounted contact.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Science & Tech
News Source : The Hindu
High-altitude glacial lab opens in the Himalayas
Details :
What is the News?

Himansh, a glaciological research facility has been established in a remote

village of Spiti valley at an altitude of above 13,500 ft (over 4000 m).
AIM: To facilitate better study and quantification of the Himalayan glacier
responses towards the climate change.
The station will also work as a base for undertaking surveys using Terrestrial
Laser Scanners (TLS) and Unmanned Aerial to digitise glacier movement and
snow cover variation.
The research facility was established by the National Centre for Antarctic and
Ocean Research (NCAOR), Goa, under the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
The facility is equipped with automatic weather stations for weather
monitoring, water level recorder for quantifying the glacier melt, ground
penetrating radar to know the thickness of glaciers, geodetic GPS systems to
study the glacier movements, snow fork for studying snow thickness, steam
drill, snow corer, temperature profilers, as well as various glaciological tools.

Need to quantify glaciers:

Himalayan region has the largest concentration of glaciers outside the polar
caps, and this region is called as Water Tower of Asia.
It is the source of the 10 major river systems that provide irrigation, power
and drinking water to nearly 10% of the worlds population.
The station has been set up as part of initiatives to understand and quantify
glaciers in the upper Indus basin in Himachal Pradesh and their contribution to
river discharge.
There is also risk of devastating floods or Glacial Lake Outburst Flood
(GLOF) as melting of glaciers is causing formation of more lakes and their
(lakes) could unleash massive amount of water leading to floods.
Some of the glaciers that are already being studied under this project are Bada
Shigri, Samudra Tapu, Sutri Dhaka, Batal, Gepang Gath and Kunzam.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim Exam

Subject : Science & Tech
News Source : The Hindu
Four PSBs may struggle to pay bond coupons
Details :
What is the News?

Four public sector banks that had reported heavy losses due to a surge in bad
loans may struggle to make coupon payments on their additional tier 1 (AT1)
Decline in profitability and increasing losses could wipe out the revenue
reserves of some public sector banks (PSBs) and affect their ability to pay
coupon on Additional Tier 1 (AT1) bonds issued under Basel III capital
(Coupon is the annual interest paid on the face value of a bond. It is expressed
as a percentage.)
Though government has committed capital support to PSBs, the coupon on
AT1 bonds can only be serviced through current years profit or from revenue
reserves and hence any capital infusion by government alone cannot help the
banks to service coupon on these bonds.

Additional Tier 1 Bonds:

These are the hybrid bonds that combine debt and equity elements.

Its defining characteristic is that it may be converted into shares when certain
conditions are met.
They are also called as contingent convertible capital instruments (CoCos).
For example, when a company runs into trouble, the owners lose their stake
and the debt becomes equity, lenders turns into owners. But in case of banks
such negotiations are not possible. The coco bonds are designed to anticipate
that process and transform automatically from debt to equity.
These bonds have their roots in financial crisis when governments were forced
to bail out banks.
Coupon payments can be cancelled on the request by issuer.
AT1 or Cocos are the riskiest debt issued by banks.
They do not have any set maturity date.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim Exam

Subject : Economics
News Source : The Hindu
Kolkata researchers use human hair to produce cathodes for solar cells
Details :
What is the News?

Researchers have used human hair to produce cost-effective, metal-free

cathodes for use in solar cells.
This is the first instance where a bio-waste-derived electrode has been used as
cathode in a quantum dot sensitised solar cell device.
The performance of graphitic porous carbon cathode produced by a team has
been at par with metal-based cathodes.
The graphitic porous carbon cathodes have performed well to convert visible
sunlight to electricity much higher than commercially available activated
carbon cathodes and are also comparable with commonly used cathodes made
of platinum metal and metal sulfides.
These green cathodes can bring down the cost of solar cells.
Graphitic porous carbon cathode using human hair is simple, quick and
inexpensive to produce and no physical or chemical activation process or
templates are required.
The porosity and high surface area to volume ratio plays an important role in
adsorption-desorption of electrolyte.

About National Solar Mission:

It is a major initiative of the Government of India and State Governments to

promote ecologically sustainable growth while addressing India's energy
security challenge. It is also known as Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar
The Mission is one of the several initiatives that are part of National Action
Plan on Climate Change and will also constitute a major contribution by India
to the global effort to meet the challenges of climate change.
The mission was launched with a target of 20GW by 2022 which was later
increased to 100 GW.
It is aimed at reducing the cost of solar power generation in the country
Long-term policy
Large scale deployment goals
(Aggressive R&D
Domestic production of critical raw materials, components and products.

India-US solar case at WTO

United States filed a case with WTO against India for restricting the critical
materials used to domestic content, citing discrimination against US exports
and that industry in US which has invested hugely will be at loss.
US insist that such restrictions are prohibited by WTO.
India claims that it is only an attempt to grow local potential and to ensure self
sustenance and reduce dependence.

Related questions: Prelims, 2016

Q. Net metering is sometimes seen in the news in the context of promoting the
(a) production and use of solar energy by the households/consumers
(b) use of piped natural gas in the kitchens of households
(c) installation of CNG kits in motor-cars
(d) installation of water meters in urban households
Solution: A

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Science & Tech
News Source : The Hindu
Towards a Kerosene Free India Editorial 13th Oct'16 The Hindu
Details :
Towards a Kerosene Free India

In order to contain fiscal deficit by rationalizing expenditure, the Government

is using the Jan Dhan-Aadhar-Mobile (JAM trinity) to directly transfer subsidy
benefits into the bank account of the beneficiaries.

In this direction, after the success of DBT for LPG (DBT-LPG), the
Government has decided to introduce DBT for kerosene subsidy (DBTK) and
started pilot projects in Jharkhand.

According to Economic Survey 2015-16, about half of kerosene subsidy goes

to richer sections of the society. DBTK intends to eliminate this diversion of
subsidized kerosene.

But implementation of DBTK on a greater scale is highly complex and it may

fail to fulfill the desired objectives.
Hurdles in implementation of DBTK

Lack of a streamlined and unified digital consumer database

Consumer database related to DBT-LPG was available in digital format and

managed by just three public sector oil marketing companies, which are directly
under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas which enabled easier coordination
for a nationwide rollout of the scheme.

But kerosene subsidy is channelized through PDS and database of

beneficiaries is managed by the states. In many of the states, the beneficiary
database is not digitized.

Therefore, ensuring coordination between the states and non-availability of a
unified digital consumer database is the biggest challenge for successful nationwide
rollout of DBTK.

Political economy of subsidized kerosene

While the Centre foots the bill of kerosene subsidy, the beneficiaries and
quantum of subsidized kerosene is decided by the states which can be used to gain
political advantage.

Thus, States must be politically willing to implement DBTK. The good news
is that many States, including those governed by the Opposition have shown
willingness to conduct pilot projects.


One of the aims of DBTK is to eliminate diversion of subsidized kerosene.

Subsidized kerosene is mainly diverted as a substitute or as an adulterant to

diesel and due to high central and state taxes on diesel there is a significant price
gap even between unsubsidized kerosene and diesel.

Therefore, there is considerable incentive for diversion of kerosene and DBTK

may not succeed in eliminating diversion of kerosene.

Accessibility of subsidy

Even though the Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) has provided
bank accounts to a substantial number of households, access to the subsidy amount
is still difficult for several poorer households due to lack of bank branches near to
Way forward

Kerosene is mainly used for lighting in rural areas and for both lighting and
cooking in the urban areas.

Therefore, household should be provided alternatives to kerosene like solarassisted solutions for lighting and LPG for cooking.

For the households, it will provide better services while avoiding the harmful
health impacts of kerosene. For the exchequer, it may result in annual savings of
Rs.8,000 to Rs.12,000 crore according to a study.

People are also willing for such a change as seen in a survey where 78%
respondents were willing to adopt solar lighting if kerosene subsidy is reduced

The market price of unsubsidized kerosene should also be restructured to

reduce incentive to divert it as a diesel adulterant.

GS 2 (Welfare schemes)

GS 3 (Indian economy)

Related questions

Electronic cash transfer system for the welfare schemes is an ambitious project
to minimize corruption, eliminate wastage and facilitate reforms. Comment. (UPSC,
GS 2, 2013)

In what way could replacement of price subsidy with Direct Benefit Transfer
(DBT) change the scenario of subsidies in India? Discuss. (UPSC, GS 3, 2015)

While Direct Benefits Transfer for LPG was highly successful, it may not
achieve the same for kerosene. Discuss. What are the main determinants of
successful rollout of Direct Benefits Transfer in place of price subsidies?
Additional information
Pilot project - A pilot project is a small-scale, short-term experiment that helps to
evaluate how a large-scale project might work in practice.
Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam
Subject : Editorial Analysis
News Source : The Hindu
Oct. 12, 2016
India unhappy over Russia-Pakistan ties

Details :
What is the News?

Ahead of their annual bilateral Summit, India has conveyed its opposition to
Russia over its joint exercise with Pakistan, a nation which sponsors and
practices terrorism as a matter of State policy, saying it will create further
India's remarks come ahead of the bilateral meeting in Goa on 15th October
between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir
Putin, who will be arriving in India on October 14.
India has been communicating its unhappiness to Russia over its joint military
exercises with Pakistan.

Growing Russia- Pakistan Relations:

Back in 1967, following the Tashkent Agreement, Moscow had decided to sell
military armaments to Pakistan. But Indira Gandhi objected, and the USSR,
considering its special relationship with India, withdrew the proposal.
The understanding continued into the 21st century President Vladimir
Putin said in Delhi in March 2010 that unlike many other countries, Russia
does not have any military cooperation with Pakistan because we bear in mind
the concerns of our Indian friends.
But by August 2015, the situation had changed, with Pakistan signing a deal
with Russia for four Mi-35M attack helicopters.
Fears of religious extremism in Central Asia and Afghanistan, combined with
disillusionment about the roles of India and the U.S. in South Asia, pushed
Russia and Pakistan closer together.
The Pakistani army, navy, and air force chiefs have all visited Russia in the
past 15 months.
The two countries have conducted a 2-week-long military exercise in
Pakistan, the first in their history.
Prior to this, Russia had waved its embargo on arms supplies to Pakistan in
June 2014 and signed a bilateral defense cooperation agreement with Pakistan
in November 2014.
However, New Delhi believes that Russias relationship with Pakistan would
not come at the cost of Moscows dealings with India.

Why Russia is important for India?

Russia is important because of the excessive Indian dependence on Moscow

for the upkeep of military hardware and transfer of high-end military
Experts estimate that nearly 65% of the current inventory in the three Services
is of Soviet or Russian origin.
The serviceability state of some of these platforms has been abysmally low
because of the poor availability of spares from Russia.
Take the case of the Sukhoi Su-30 MKIs, the mainstay of the IAF, which will
have 272 Russian fighters in service by the turn of the decade.
The serviceability of Sukhoi aircraft was around 46% 2 years ago, and has
crossed 50% this year with great difficulty.
This means that half the IAFs Sukhoi fleet is grounded at any given time.
Despite intervention at high levels, South Block has not been able to find a
way to secure a regular supply of spares in India.
Attempts to encourage Indian companies to manufacture spares have failed
because of strict Russian conditions.
In July, the CAG pointed out that the serviceability of the Navys warplanes
ranged from 21.30% to 47.14% not even half the fighters were fit to fly.
These 2 MiG-29K squadrons were part of Moscows package to transfer the
aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, now INS Vikramaditya, Indias sole
aircraft carrier.
Indias only nuclear submarine, INS Chakra, is leased from Russia, while
negotiations for leasing another Akula class nuclear submarine are in the final
No country other than Russia would have provided India with such critical
India is now in the process of building its own nuclear submarines, and reports
suggest a reasonable degree of Russian cooperation on the project.


Many government officials assert that the geostrategic moves by Moscow

whether of joint drills with Pakistan or naval exercises with China in the
South China Sea will not alter the transactional nature of its defence
relationship with New Delhi.
Pakistan will never be able to match Indias deep pockets to buy Russian
defence equipment, and for that reason alone, a cash-strapped Moscow will
continue to court India.

Meanwhile, besides buying military equipment from Washington, India has

also entered into defence technology cooperation agreements with the US.
Even then, the high bar for defence technology transfers means India will not
get the cutting edge defence technology from Washington as it did from
The foundation of India-Russia relations stemming from the 1971 Indo-Soviet
Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation remains strong.

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-2

Subject : International Relation
News Source : The Hindu
Who will regulate pension products?
Details :
What is the News?

Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) Chairman

has recently said that the government has set up a committee to look into a
proposal to have all pension products under the PFRDA.
Last year, PFRDA had said it would seek the government to regulate all
pension, including those issued by insurance companies as well as mutual
fund houses.
At present pension products floated by fund houses and insurance companies
are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) and the
Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai),

Creating confusion:

While the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA)

was set up with the intent of regulating all pension products, insurers and
mutual funds continue to sell pension products outside its watch, creating
confusion among consumers.
The move to set up a panel was made after the issue was flagged at recent
meetings of the Financial Stability and Development Council chaired by
Finance Minister.

Pension products floated by insurance companies come under the purview of

the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) while those
sold by mutual funds are overseen by the SEBI.
The committee to be formed by the Department of Financial Services, would
have representatives from all financial sector regulators SEBI, IRDA, RBI
and PFRDA.

About the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA):

It is a pension regulatory authority which was established by Government of

India on August 23, 2003.
PFRDA is authorized by Ministry of Finance, Department of Financial
PFRDA promotes old age income security by establishing, developing and
regulating pension funds and protects the interests of subscribers to schemes
of pension funds and related matters.

About the Financial Stability and Development Council:

It is an apex-level body constituted by the government of India.

The idea to create such a super regulatory body was first mooted by the
Raghuram Rajan Committee in 2008.
Finally in 2010, the then Finance Minister of India, Pranab Mukherjee,
decided to set up such an autonomous body dealing with macro prudential and
financial regularities in the entire financial sector of India.
The new body envisages to strengthen and institutionalise the mechanism of
maintaining financial stability, financial sector development, inter-regulatory
coordination along with monitoring macro-prudential regulation of economy.
The Union Finance Minister of India is the Chairperson of the Financial
Stability and Development Council.

Question asked in UPSC Pre-2016.

Q. With reference to Financial Stability and Development Council, consider
the following statements:
1. It is an organ of NITI Aayog.
2. It is headed by the Union Finance Minister.
3. It monitors macro-prudential supervision of the economy.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 3 only
(c) 2 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
Ans: (c)
Exam Syllabus : Prelim Exam
Subject : Economics
News Source : The Hindu
Cyber war is no war, say experts
Details :
What is the News?

On October 3, the website of the National Green Tribunal in Delhi was hacked
and pro-Pakistan messages were left on the homepage.
The next day, the website of a Kerala-based institute was defaced in a similar
However the government has said the attacks were aimed more at propaganda
than at causing any loss.
The fact that Pakistani hackers were targeting websites with extremely low
safeguards against hacking was an indicator of their prowess and the fact that
these incidents were little more than attempts to save face in any way possible.
Cyber war between the hackers of the two nations is not new. '
Vulnerable' government sites from both sides have been hacked in the past.

What is Cyberwar?

Cyberwar is a form of war which takes places on computers and the Internet,
through electronic means rather than physical ones.

With an increasing global reliance on technology for everything from

managing national electrical grids to ordering supplies for troops, cyberwar is
a method of attack which many nations are vulnerable to.
In cyberwar, people use technological means to launch a variety of attacks.
Some of these attacks take a very conventional form. Computers can be used,
for example, for propaganda, espionage, and vandalism.
Denial of service attacks can be used to shut down websites, silencing the
enemy and potentially disrupting their government and industry by creating a
Cyberwar can also be utilized to attack equipment and infrastructure, which is
a major concern for heavily industrialized nations which rely on electronic
systems for many tasks.

Challenges to India's National Security:

India's reliance on technology reflects from the fact that India is shifting gears
by entering into facets of e-governance.
India has already brought sectors like income tax, passports" visa under the
realm of e -governance.
Sectors like police and judiciary are to follow.
The travel sector is also heavily reliant on this.
Most of the Indian banks have gone on full-scale computerization.
This has also brought in concepts of e-commerce and e-banking.
The stock markets have also not remained immune.
To create havoc in the country these are lucrative targets to paralyze the
economic and financial institutions.
The damage done can be catastrophic and irreversible.

Challenges and Concerns:

Some challenges and concerns are highlighted below :

Lack of awareness and the culture of cyber security at individual as well as
institutional level.
Lack of trained and qualified manpower to implement the counter measures.
Too many information security organisations which have become weak due to
'turf wars' or financial compulsions.
A weak IT Act which has became redundant due to non exploitation and age
old cyber laws.
No e-mail account policy especially for the defence forces, police and the
agency personnel.

Cyber attacks have come not only from terrorists but also from neighboring
countries inimical to our National interests.

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-3

Subject : Defence & Security
News Source : The Hindu
Karnatakas ban on e-cigs turns into vapour near schools
Details :
What is the news?

Teachers in Karnataka have noticed students switching to e-cigarettes which

are banned for sale.
The Karnataka State government had imposed ban on sale (including online)
and use of e-cigarettes in the State, based on the recommendations of the State
high powered committee on tobacco control in June,2016.
The Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR)
has discovered that teens have turned e-cigarettes into devices for consuming
e-drugs such as hashish oil, marijuana wax and cannabis products sold by
the black trade.
According to a study published in the journal Pediatrics, the incidence of high
school students using e-cigarettes to vaporise marijuana and other drugs is 27
times higher than the adult rate.
The new method helps users to discreetly vape deodorized (concealing the
unpleasant odor by addition of flavored substance like mint etc.) drugs and its
extracts without the neighbouring person realising.

About e-cigarettes:

Electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes are a type of battery-operated, electronic

nicotine delivery system (ENDS) that heats a liquid to produce a vapor that
the user inhales.
E-cigarettes have a cartridge containing a liquid (sometimes referred to as "eliquid"), which contains nicotine and other constituents like propylene glycol,
glycerol or flavorings. The liquid is heated to produce a vapor which is then
inhaled by the user.
First-generation of e-cigarettes mimic the shape and size of conventional
cigarettes and may be referred to as "cigalikes."

Second-generation e-cigarettes are larger than conventional cigarettes and are

either pen-style (medium size) or tank-style (large size).
Third-generation e-cigarettes are known as "personalized vapors."
Metals such as tin, lead, nickel, and chromium have been found in e-cigarette
liquids. Other compounds detected include tobacco-specific nitrosamines,
carbonyl compounds, metals, volatile organic compounds and phenolic
Nicotine replacement products like chewing gums, not e-cigarettes, should be
used to manage nicotine withdrawal symptoms in people who are trying to
quit smoking.
As per WHO, regulations are needed to stop promotion of e-cigarettes to
nonsmokers and young people, minimize potential health risks to users and
nonusers, stop unproven health claims about e-cigarettes, and protect existing
tobacco control efforts.
Indian Medical Association has also condemned the use and sale of ecigarettes as a safer substitute to normal cigarettes.
E-cigarettes were invented in 2003 in China.

Side Effects:

Nicotine exposure from e-cigarette use increases heart rate and produce
measurable levels of blood cotinine, a nicotine metabolite.
Inhaling e-cigarette vapor is likely to be harmful due to chronic inhalation
caused by e-cigarette vapor.
Levels of toxic and carcinogenic compounds may vary in e-cigarette liquid
components and device used.
Little is known about the overall safety or the carcinogenic effects of
propylene glycol or glycerol when heated and aerosolized. At high
temperatures, propylene glycol decomposes and may form propylene oxide, a
probable human carcinogen.
Glycerol produces the toxin, acrolein.
Both propylene glycol and glycerol decompose to form the carcinogens
formaldehyde and acetaldehyde, with levels depending on the voltage of the
battery used in the e-cigarette.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Science & Tech
News Source : The Hindu

An effort to revive Harikatha

Details :
Important for Prelims:
About Harikatha:

Harikatha is an art form composed of storytelling, poetry, music, drama,

dance, and philosophy.
Harikatha was a popular medium of entertainment, which helped transmit
cultural, educational and religious values to the masses.
Harikatha originated from Ajjada village of Srikakulam and became popular
in other languages too.
Inspiration: Adibhatla Narayanadas, popularly known as Harikatha
pithamaha, continued to be the source of inspiration for many artistes.
The aim of Harikatha is to instil truth and righteousness in the minds of people
and sow the seeds of devotion in them, and to educate people about
knowledge of self (atman) through stories and show them the path of
Harikatha involves the narration of a story, intermingled with songs relating to
the story.
The narration involves numerous sub-plots which are used to emphasise
various aspects of the main story.
The main story teller is assisted by one or more co-singers, who elaborate the
songs and a Mridangam accompanist.
Nirupana is the term used to denote the text of a Harikatha. This is a written
manuscript containing the various stages, songs and the prose passages.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim Exam

Subject : History & Culture
News Source : The Hindu
Unicef initiative to tackle malnutrition in children
Details :
What is the News?

The United Nations Childrens Fund (Unicef) is planning to launch a pilot

project of supplying nutritious food for children in Andhra Pradesh.
Unicef with the help of government departments and NGOs is proposing to
launch Community Based Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) and
supply Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) in the State.
RUTF contains therapeutic milk, sugar, oil and peanuts, which contain high
vitamins, minerals and nutritious supplements.
The food will be supplied through anganwadi centres and schools.
Acute malnutrition is one of the reasons for child deaths in the world.

IMR in India:

In India, the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) among every one lakh children is
126 and the reason is malnourishment, according to the Integrated Child
Development Services (ICDS) records.
In Andhra Pradesh, IMR is 39, and the reasons for the deaths are poor diet,
child marriages, and premature births.
By definition, Infant Mortality Rate refers to the deaths of infants under age of
one year per 1,000 live births.
Infant Mortality Rate includes Perinatal mortality (deaths from 22 weeks of
pregnancy to 7th day after birth), Neonatal mortality (within 28 days of life)
and Post-Neonatal mortality (28 days to less than 1 year of life).

Malnutrition in India:

Malnutrition refers to the situation where there is an unbalanced diet in which

some nutrients are in excess, lacking or wrong proportion.
The World Bank estimates that India is one of the highest ranking countries in
the world for the number of children suffering from malnutrition.
At present in India 43.5% children under 5 years of age are underweight. This
includes 43% moderate to severe cases, 16% severe malnutrition, of these
20% have moderate to severe wasting, 48% moderate to severe stunting.
Scarcity of suitable foods, lack of purchasing power of the family, taboos
about what the baby should eat often result in insufficient diet, resulting in

Under-nourished children do not grow to their full potential of physical and

mental abilities.
Malnutrition makes the child more susceptible to infections. The recovery is
slower and mortality is higher.
Malnutrition in infancy and childhood leads to stunted growth. It also
manifests by clinical signs of micronutrient and vitamin deficiency.
Prevention and appropriate treatment of diarrhea, measles and other infections
in infancy and early childhood are important to reduce malnutrition rates as
infection and malnutrition often makes vicious cycle.

Vicious Cycle of Malnutrition:

Management of malnutrition in India:

Midday meal scheme in schools: Under this scheme, children are served
with fresh cooked meals in almost all the Government run schools or schools
aided by the government fund.
Integrated child development scheme: ICDS has helped in improving the
health of mothers and children under 6 years of age by providing health and
nutrition education, health services, supplementary food, and pre-school
National Children's Fund: The fund was created during the International
Year of the Child in 1979 and provides support to the voluntary organisations
that help the welfare of kids.
National Plan of Action for Children: Plan has been laid down to provide all
round child development and work towards achieving development goals laid
down by the World Summit on children 1990.
United Nations Children's Fund: UNICEF has been supporting India in a
number of sectors like child development, women's development, urban basic
services, support for community based convergent services, health, education,
nutrition, water & sanitation, childhood disability, children in especially
difficult circumstances, information and communication, planning and
programme support.
Under Sustainable Development Goal 2: Zero Hunger, Target 2.2, India is
determined to end all forms of malnutrition by 2030, including achieving by
2025 the internationally agreed targets on stunting and wasting in children
under 5 years of age and address the nutritional needs of adolescent girls,
pregnant and lactating women and older persons.

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-2

Subject : Polity & Governance
News Source : The Hindu
How's the economy really doing? Editorial 12th Oct'16 The Hindu
Details :
Hows the economy really doing?

Economists try to understand the health of an economy by analyzing various
economic indicators of an economy.

But different economic indicators related to Indian economy like GDP and
GVA data, IIP numbers etc. are not showing the same picture which makes it
difficult to evaluate its performance.

Even the indicators related to the same sector paint a different picture.

Three examples

Data related to manufacturing

While the IIP Manufacturing measures the absolute amount produced by the
manufacturing sector, GVA Manufacturing measures the total contribution of
labour and capital in the manufacturing process.

In the first quarter of 2016-17, GVA Manufacturing stood at a very robust 9.1
%, but the manufacturing component of the IIP actually contracted by about 0.8 %.


It doesnt give a coherent picture of the sector.

Inflation figures

The system of Wholesale Price Index and Consumer Price Index is complex as
because they measure the price movement of different basket of items with different
weightage for each category.

The two indices moved in the same direction before 2015 but since then they
began to diverge. The difference was as much as 9% points in September 2015 with
WPI in negative territory.

This makes it very difficult for a layman to predict how the prices will move in
near future.

Tax collections

Tax collection can be a useful indicator to measure income growth because it

should change with changes in corporate and personal incomes.

But in India only 5.5% of the earning population pays income tax and
corporates pay taxes at very low rates because of various tax exemptions and
diversion of profits to tax havens.

So data from tax collections too fail to provide a comprehensive picture of the
Other issues

At present industrial data is released on a monthly basis which varies greatly

from the average and makes any meaningful analysis difficult.

There are problems related to actual measurement. For e.g. IIP uses 2004-05
as the base year where as other indices are based on the year 2011-12 which makes
it difficult to compare them.

The data for various indices is collected by the staff of the Ministry of
Statistics. Given the inherent efficiency in government operations, there is no
reason to believe that the data collected is without errors.
Way forward

At present different indices tell a different story about Indian economy which
makes investment decisions tricky for both domestic and foreign investors.

Therefore, the Government should sort out related issues and harmonize
various indices.

These indices should be based on a common, more recent base year to

appropriately reflect the changes in the economy.

Data should be released quarterly to enable a more comprehensive analysis.

There should be regular verification of data collected by independent third

party agencies to make data more reliable

GS 3 (Indian Economy and related issues)

Related questions

India is said to have one of the lowest tax-to-GDP ratios in the world. Analyze
the reasons for this. Also discuss the various steps taken by the government to
increase this ratio.

Analyze the implications of a narrow tax base and variety of corporate tax
exemptions on resource mobilization.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Editorial Analysis
News Source : The Hindu
Oct. 11, 2016
Smart Cities Mission
Details :
What is meant by a smart city?

In the imagination of any city dweller in India, the picture of a smart city
contains a wish list of infrastructure and services that describes his or her level
of aspiration.
To provide for the aspirations and needs of the citizens, urban planners ideally
aim at developing the entire urban eco-system, which is represented by the
four pillars of comprehensive development- institutional, physical, social and
economic infrastructure.
This can be a long term goal and cities can work towards developing such
comprehensive infrastructure incrementally, adding on layers of smartness.
Objective: To promote cities that provide core infrastructure and give a
decent quality of life to its citizens, a clean and sustainable environment and
application of Smart Solutions.
The focus is on sustainable and inclusive development and create a replicable
model which will act like a light house to other aspiring cities.
The mission will cover 109 cities from financial year 2015-16 to 2019-20.

Features of Smart Cities:

Note for students: Smart cities has been in news from last two years and can be
asked as a direct question. Example of smart cities can also be quoted in
essay/question on urbanization and challenges. The facts can also be asked in
preliminary examination.
Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam
Subject : Miscellaneous
News Source : None
Oct. 10, 2016
Treaty hurdle no bar for U.S. investments
Details :
U.S. companies are finding novel ways to address investment protection and
dispute-related issues with their Indian counterparts as talks remain in a limbo over
a proposed Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT). At the board-level of a company, the

first question that gets asked is about the dispute settlement mechanism for
protection of the companys rights when it proposes investments worth billions of
dollars in India, and the BIT includes the way to solve the disputes. However, till
date India and USA have not signed the BIT.
What is Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT)?

It provides appropriate protection to foreign investors in India and Indian

investors in the foreign country, in the light of relevant international
precedents and practices, while maintaining a balance between the investor's
rights and the Government obligations.
A BIT increases the comfort level and boosts the confidence of investors by
assuring a level playing field and non-discrimination in all matters while
providing for an independent forum for dispute settlement by arbitration.
In turn, BITs help project India as a preferred foreign direct investment (FDI)
destination as well as protect outbound Indian FDI.

India's Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT):

The first BIT was signed by India on March 14, 1994.

Since then, till date, the Government of India has signed BITs with 83
These BITs were largely negotiated on the basis of the Indian Model BIT of
Considerable socio-economic changes have taken place since 1993 when the
Model text of BIT was first approved.
The nature of government regulation concerning foreign investment has
A wide variety of laws now regulate investments both at the central and the
state levels.
During the last few years, significant changes have occurred globally
regarding BITs, in general, and investor-state dispute resolution mechanism in
Therefore the Union government on December 2015 has given its approval for
the revised Model Text for the Indian Bilateral Investment Treaty.
The essential features of Indian new BIT include an "enterprise" based
definition of investment
Non-discriminatory treatment through due process.

Also a refined Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provision requiring

investors to exhaust local remedies before commencing international
And limiting the power of the tribunal to awarding monetary compensation
Indias model BIT text requiring that disputes be exhausted in local
jurisdictions before alternative investor-state dispute mechanisms can be
initiated. This is the main concern for USA.
Citing judicial delays in India, investors from the developed world have
been demanding flexibility in Indias BITs that will allow them to take
disputes to international arbitration tribunals without waiting to exhaust
remedies available in India.

How the companies of India & USA address investment protection and
dispute-related issues?

Though U.S. and India had held the first round of BIT negotiations in August
2009, talks have not progressed much.
Companies are finding innovative ways to deal with dispute resolution, for
instance, the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City) Indias
first International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) has offered American
investors the option of using the Singapore arbitration model to solve disputes.
U.S. investors are also signing up with Indian firms to use London and
Brussels as seats of arbitration.
So, the absence of an India-US BIT is not an issue from an investors
Foreign direct investment from India in the U.S. in 2015 was $9.25 billion,
while U.S. investments in India were around $28.34 billion.

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-3

Subject : Economics
News Source : The Hindu
Chattisgarh to ban sale of imported substandard halogen lights
Details :
What is the News?

Chhattisgarh is set to ban sale of inferior quality Chinese halogen lamps and
other substandard imported products in the state to ensure safety of citizens.
The state government has taken this decision keeping in view the recent
reports of adverse effects of Chinese halogen lights on eyes of people.
However, the people affected by these poor quality lamps were provided
proper medication.
Notably,more than 800 people had developed irritation in their eyes after
being allegedly exposed to high resolution Chinese halogen lamps last month
in two separate villages of the state's Balod district.

About the halogen lamp:

The halogen lamp is also known as a quartz halogen and tungsten halogen
It is an advanced form of incandescent lamp.
The filament is composed of ductile tungsten and located in a gas filled bulb
just like a standard tungsten bulb, however the gas in a halogen bulb is at a
higher pressure (7-8 ATM).
The glass bulb is made of fused quartz, high-silica glass or aluminosilicate.
This bulb is stronger than standard glass in order to contain the high pressure.
The halogen lamp has a tungsten filament similar to the standard incandescent
lamp, however the lamp is much smaller for the same wattage, and contains a
halogen gas in the bulb.
The halogen is important in that is stops the blackening and slows the thinning
of the tungsten filament.
This lengthens the life of the bulb and allows the tungsten to safely reach
higher temperatures (therefore makes more light).
The bulb must be able to stand higher temperatures so fused quartz is often
used instead of normal silica glass.
There are 5 halogens: fluorine, chlorine, bromine, iodine, and astatine.
Only Iodine and Bromine are used in halogen tungsten lamps.

Problems associated with the halogen lamp:

Because of the way that they are constructed, halogen light bulbs burn hotter
than similar incandescent light bulbs.
They have a smaller surface envelope to work with and therefore, tend to
concentrate the heat when left on for long periods of time.
Touching a halogen light bulb while it is on has been known to cause some
serious burns on the skin.

They could be serious enough to require medical treatment, especially when

dealing with children.
Also as you know, they burn hotter than comparable incandescent or LED
light bulbs. Because of this, they have been known to cause a fire when they
touch the wrong surface for too long.
While it might seem strange to think about, some halogen bulbs have been
known to cause sun burns on those that sit beneath their light for too long.
The halogen bulb emits a certain level of UV rays when it is turned on.
Therefore, if you sit in direct exposure to the bulb, you could be burned as a
Moreover, lots of science report said that UV radiation from 100 watt halogen
lamps can cause skin tumors and some eye problems.
It may cause eyesight dropping, retinopathy, or other diseases.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim Exam

Subject : Miscellaneous
News Source : The Hindu
JananiSurakshaYojana pays dividends: Study
Details :
Why in news?

A new study found that central government scheme for maternal health care
JananiSurakshaYojana is getting good results

What is the scheme?

The JananiSurakshaYojana (JSY) was launched in 2005 as part of the

National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) to improve maternal (mother) and
neonatal (baby less than a month old) health by promotion of institutional
deliveries (childbirth in hospitals).
Under the scheme, the accredited social health activist (ASHA) plays a key
role and acts as the link between the Government and the poor pregnant
ASHA helps pregnant women get health care in all stages including antenatal
care (pre-delivery), safe delivery, and postnatal care.

Findings of study:

JSY played a big role in reducing maternal mortality (mother dying during or
immediately after pregnancy).
The study found that JSY has led to an increase in the use of health services
among all groups especially among the poorer and under-served sections in
the rural areas.
This is leading to reduction in the the inequalities in maternal care between
the less educated and more educated women and between the poorer and
richer women.

Way ahead:

Though there is reduction in inequalities, there are still inequalities. The

continual good implementation of the scheme is necessary to completely end
According to a report, India accounted for 15 per cent of the total maternal
deaths in the world (second highest in the world) in 2015 with 45,000 women
dying during pregnancy or childbirth. This is unacceptable and should be
completely eradicated.
JSY is a very good scheme that is working and civil society should monitor to
ensure governments don't get negligent in funding or implementation of the

Related question: UPSC prelims, 2012

Q. The endeavour of Janine surakshayojanaprogramme is
1. to promote institutional deliveries
2. to provide monetary assistance to the mother to meet the cost of delivery
3. to provide for wage loss due to pregnancy and confinements
Which of the above are correct?
A.1 and 2 only
B.2 only
C.3 only
D.1, 2 and 3

Answer: A
With reference to the National Rural Health Mission, Which of the following
are the jobs of ASHA, trained community health workers?
1. Accompanying women to the health facility for antenatal care checkup
2. Using pregnancy test kits for early detection pregnancy
3. Providing information on nutrition and immunization
4. Conducting the delivery of baby.
Select the correct answer using the codes given below:
a) 1, 2 and 3 only
b) 2 and 3 only
c) 1 and 3 only
d) 1, 2, 3 and 4
Answer: A
Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam
Subject : Miscellaneous
News Source : The Hindu
With deforestation, langurs turn crop raiders in Agumbe
Details :
Why in news:

Arecanut (Betel nut) farmers in Agumbe region of Karnataka are demanding

compensation for the destruction of their crops by langurs.

What is a langur:

The langur is a silver grey monkey with a tail longer than its body, a
conspicuous black face, long limbs with black hands and feet. Not only is the
langur a protected species, it is also becoming increasingly rare.


Common langurs are a protected species under The Wildlife Protection Act,
1972. That means, they cannot be harmed and there is punishment for killing
The species has suffered tremendously due to habitat degradation. They have
to come down to the road and sometimes enter human habitation looking for
The lion-tailed macaque used to be a shy animal spending the major part of its
life high on the trees, It has now turned social and its members seek food from
travellers along Agumbe ghat.
Also, langurs captured from urban areas of some districts are released into the
forest in Agumbe region. As the food habits of these langurs are different
from their counterparts in natural forests, they raid agricultural fields.
Langurs are eating the flowers and nuts from Arecanut crops of Agumbe and
causing losses for farmers.

Way ahead:

Karnataka may allow farmers' demand for permission to install ultrasonic

monkey repellent device, that generates sound to scare away the langurs.
Department of Forest does not clear claims for damage caused by langurs on
the grounds that it is a semi-domesticated animal. This has to change as
Wildlife Protection Act clearly says it is a wild animal and a protected one. In
many North Indian States, crop loss caused by the common langur are
compensated and here also they should compensate.
New habitats may be developed or found for these langurs.
They could be retrained to acquire food habits of wild animals.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim Exam

Subject : Environment & Ecology
News Source : The Hindu
Worlds diamond city can guide Indias waterways
Details :

Why in news:

Recently Belgium's Port of Antwerp (one of the world's biggest and important
ports) undertook a study for the World Bank concerning the development of a
waterway connecting Patna to Kolkata.


Waterways refers to the transport system over water. There are oceanic
waterways and the inland water ways (transport over river water and canals on
the continents).
Waterways are important as they are the cheapest mode of transport over long
distances. Using waterways will reduce transportation costs and thus reduce
the cost of goods for us. It is also the least environmentally polluting mode of
Inland waterways can be used to transport goods between cities and also
goods between the ports and the inner areas. All over the world, especially
China and Europe, they transport a large part of their products over inland
India has so far mostly ignored this mode of transport.
Shipping Minister said that, in India only 3.5 per cent of all goods are
transported through waterways. It is 47 per cent in China, 40 per cent in
Europe, 44 per cent in South Korea and Japan and 35 per cent in Bangladesh.
The current government initiated the Sagarmala project for port-led
development, that includes developing ports, developing inland waterways
and developing coastal manufacturing zones (so that there are no costs to
transport goods between ports and manufacturing areas for imports and

Inland waterways:

India currently has 5 inland waterways designated as national waterways

Declaration of a stretch of Barak river in the State of Assam as National
Waterway is under consideration of the government.
Central government wants to add more than 100 new national waterways
(over rivers and canals) and develop large number of river ports.
Currently, many rivers have much mud and clay deposited at the bottom of the
river and that reduces river depth and bigger ships cannot move.

Making new national waterways means making the rivers navigable i.e., they
should be made wide and deep enough even for medium to large ships to
move easily, especially during non-rainy season when water levels go down.
Also making waterways means connecting rivers through canals and build
canals to connect areas if there is large movement of goods between those

What we can learn:

Port of Antwerp has much experience in this field and we can learn and
benefit from them.
Create many canals near ports and terminals on those canals to distribute the
work of ports.
There has to be railway and road connectivity to the ports as well, so that
goods can be transported everywhere.
We can build manufacturing and processing units near the ports, and from
there ships, trucks and trains carry these goods to inner areas of India and also
export to the world.
It is extremely important to identify as to who will use the inland waterways.
If you create industrial zones located at the border of the canal, large quantity
of goods for transport can be generated.
There have to be logistics facilities as well, that is management of supplies
and transport. That means, ports should have warehouses for storing goods.
They should have cold storage for perishable items like fruits and vegetables.

Inland Waterways of India: (Locate these in Atlas)

National Waterway 1: AllahabadHaldia stretch of the GangesBhagirathi

Hooghly river]
National Waterway 2: SadiyaDhubri stretch of the Brahmaputra river
National Waterway 3: Kollam-Kozhikode stretch of West Coast Canal and
Champakara and Udyogamandal Canals
National Waterway 4: KakinadaPondicherry stretch of canals and Kaluvelly
tank, BhadrachalamRajahmundry stretch of River Godavari and Wazirabad
Vijayawada stretch of River Krishna.
National Waterway 5: TalcherDhamra stretch of rivers, GeonkhaliCharbatia
stretch of East Coast Canal, CharbatiaDhamra stretch of Matai river and
Mahanadi delta rivers.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Environment & Ecology

News Source : The Hindu
Address the new normal in Kashmir Editorial 10th Oct'16 The Hindu
Details :
Address the new normal in Kashmir
Since the killing of HizbulMujahideen militant BurhanWani in July, a new phase
of violence has gripped Kashmir for almost 100 days.
Even after more than 70 days of curfew and very high figures of individuals killed
or injured, there are no signs of normalcy.
The security establishment, political leaders and strategic analysts have concluded
that present crisis in Kashmir is entirely due to Pakistani instigation and Indias
mismanagement of the situation.
But one must understand that current situation is different from the past unrests.
In the past, death of a militant like BurhanWani would have led to minor violent
incidents with the involvement of Pakistan.
Understanding the long and continuing spell of current violence needs a deeper
Foreign and indigenous militants
Since the start of militancy in late 1980s, foreign militants groups supported by
Pakistan like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) have been
involved in violence. Some of their cadres had fought against the Soviets in
There were also indigenous militant outfits like HizbulMujahideen. Though they
received support from Pakistan, they identified more closely with the aspirations of
local Kashmiri youth.
By 1999-2000, the local militants were overshadowed by the foreign terrorists.

India followed a differential approach while dealing with the militants. On one
hand, it took strong security action against the foreign groups and reached out to
Pakistan to control them. On the other hand, it reached out to the local militants.
The attempts to persuade Pakistan to control the foreign militants were not much
effective but succeeded in preventing the situation from going out of control.
The outreach to the Kashmiri youth, who wanted greater development, was more
Rise of the unattached militant
In the present phase of violence, there is no evidence of participation of foreign
elements like LeT and JeMthough there is significant participation of Hizbul cadres.
But the majority of those participating in the violence are unattached militants
which is a new phenomenon.
These are local people who participate in the violence but do not belong to any
militant outfit. Some of them are as young as 10 years and many of them are
educated but unemployed.
Signs of Change
The current phase of violence could become a turning point in the Kashmir
militancy. The signs of change were visible since end-2013 in various protests and
rising popularity of BurhanWani.
The character of the movement has also changed. The current violence is neither
fuelled by rumors nor led by any separatist or militant leader.
Spontaneous violence which is directed at each and every symbol of authority
distinguishes the present crisis from the violent protests of 2008, 2010 and 2013
where violence was orchestrated by the separatists or Pakistan.
Need for fresh understanding
The present spate of violence cannot be attributed to accumulated grievances of
Kashmiris against the security forces or inability of Delhi to understand Kashmiri
world view and aspirations alone.

Neither can it be attributed to new generation of social media savvy educated

youth alone.
It must be recognized that in contrast to earlier movements, present movement is
almost entirely homegrown and spontaneous and it cant be tackled by the
suggestions of past negotiations or old approaches revolving aroundArticle 370,
AFSPA, or additional development assistance.
Talking with the separatists will also not deliver desired results as they dont have
the leadership of the movement and are out of touch with Kashmiri youth.
Way forward
The differences between the current phase of violence and earlier phases must be
Help should also be taken from social scientists and psychologists to come up with
fresh ideas.
In the meantime the use of disproportionate force, especially against the 10-12 year
olds must be discouraged so that situation doesnt deteriorate further.
GS 3 (Linkages between development and spread of extremism; Role of external
state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security; Challenges to
internal security through communication networks, role of media and social
networkingsites in internal security challenges)
Related question
How far the current phase of violence witnessed in Kashmir is different from that
in 2010? Also discuss the corrective strategies needed to win the alienated Kashmiri
youth back into the mainstream.
Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam
Subject : Editorial Analysis
News Source : The Hindu
Air defence tender to go for re-confirmatory trials

Details :
What is the News?

SAAB of Sweden has begun training engineers of Bharat Forge under a

proposed joint venture in anticipation of a contract to supply air defence
systems to the Army.
The move comes as SAAB is gearing up for confirmatory trials for the Very
Short Range Air Defence Systems (VSHORAD) tender.
There are three contenders for VSHORAD SAAB of Sweden, MBDA of
France and Rosoboronexport of Russia.
SAAB has fielded its RBS 70 system for the tender.
The trials which began in May 2012 are still ongoing.

About the Very Short Range Air Defence Systems (VSHORAD):

VSHORAD( Very Short Range Air Defence ) system is basically an air

defence system with a canister launchable missile system that is mounted on a
stable platform.
VSHORAD contains of a long range twin tubes equipped with Electronic
Counter-Countermeasures (ECCM) suites.
Electronic Counter-Countermeasures (ECCM) systems are devices or
procedures designed to reduce, overcome, or eliminate the effects of hostile
Electronic Countermeasures (ECM) systems against the unit so equipped.
The VSHORAD is a Long awaited tender for which the army has completed
an extensive battery of field trails.
The tests included putting the system to use under extreme climatic
conditions, Coastal environmental Trails, High altitude Trails each of these
trails proving the capabalities of the system.
After extensive initial trails only three contenders of the five contenders
remain in the race to supply the system to Indian Army.
French Mistral, Swedish SAAB RBS 70NG and the Russian new generation
Igla-S continue to be in extensive trials before the final contract is awarded.
The VSHORADS requirements will be largely met by a local manufacturing
line, and a mandatory offsets requirement will apply.
The VSHORAD tender is intended for the Army and Navy and worth over
$5.2-billion for 5,175 missiles and 1,276 single and multi-launchers with
stipulated technology transfer requirement for the Defence Public Sector
Undertakings (DPSU).

Related Question asked in UPSC Pre-2016.

Q. Which one of the following is the best description of INS Astradharini,
that was in the news recently?
(a) Amphibious warfare ship
(b) Nuclear-powered submarine
(c) Torpedo launch and recovery vessel
(d) Nuclear-powered aircraft carrier
Ans: (c)
Exam Syllabus : Prelim Exam
Subject : Defence & Security
News Source : The Hindu
Oct. 9, 2016
Demystifying Science: Great Balls of Fire
Details :
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has seen planet-size cannonballs of hot gas
whipping through the space near a dying star, but the origin of these plasma balls
remains a mystery. The high-speed blobs, each double the mass of Mars and twice
as hot as the surface of the sun, are moving so fast in space that they would take
only half an hour to go between the Earth and the moon (238,900 miles, or 384,472
kilometers), according to a statement from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The
observations suggest that these balls of fire have been appearing every 8.5 years for
at least the last four centuries.
What are the Great Balls of Fire?

The Great Balls of Fire (GBF) are mysterious, super-hot blobs of gas which
were detected by the Hubble Space Telescope.

Each as massive as planet Mars and zooming so fast through space that they
would travel from earth to the moon in 30 minutes, the GBF have continued
once every 8.5 years for at least the past 400 years.
The fireballs present a puzzle to astronomers.
The gas balls were observed near a red giant called V Hydrae, about 1,200
light years away from earth.
Red giants are stars that are nearing the end of their fuel supplies and have
begun to puff up and expand.
While the fireballs could not have been ejected by the star, it is felt that an
unseen companion star in an elliptical orbit around the red giant could be
The elongated orbit carries the companion every 8.5 years to within the
puffed-up atmosphere of V Hydrae, where it gobbles up material from the
bloated star.
This material then settles into a disk around the companion, and serves as the
launching pad for blobs of plasma, which travel at roughly a half-million
miles per hour.
This star system could explain a dazzling variety of glowing shapes uncovered
by Hubble that are seen around dying stars and called planetary nebulae.
If scientists can discover where these balls come from, it could also explain
other weird shapes seen in the cloud of gas around dying stars, some of which
have been difficult for scientists to explain.

The Hubble Space Telescope (HST):

It is a space telescope that was launched into low Earth orbit in 1990, and
remains in operation.
Although not the first space telescope, Hubble is one of the largest and most
versatile, and is well-known as both a vital research tool and a public relations
boon for astronomy.
The HST is named after the astronomer Edwin Hubble, and is one of NASA's
Great Observatories, along with the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, the
Chandra X-ray Observatory, and the Spitzer Space Telescope.
The HST was built by the United States space agency NASA, with
contributions from the European Space Agency.
Its scientific successor, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), is
scheduled for launch in 2018.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim Exam

Subject : Science & Tech

News Source : The Hindu
India to light up IEAs global LED programme
Details :
The Government of Indias National LED programme - Unnat Jyoti by Affordable
LEDs for All (UJALA) has been so successful that now the International Energy
Agency (IEA) wants to take the programme globally. The UJALA scheme is
implemented by the Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a joint venture of
PSUs under the Ministry of Power. The IEA has said that EESL has performed
exceedingly well in terms of vastly improving access to LED lighting while
reducing their cost drastically.
Important Points:

The price at which EESL has been purchasing LED lights to distribute under
the governments Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (Ujala) scheme has
been consistently falling over the last couple of years.
The company purchased LEDs at Rs.310 per piece in 2014, and the price fell
to Rs.55 as of March 2016.
LED lights consumes 80 per cent less electricity than incandescent bulbs.

What is the UJALA scheme?

UJALA scheme aims to promote efficient use of energy at the residential

level; enhance the awareness of consumers about the efficacy of using energy
efficient appliances and aggregating demand to reduce the high initial costs
thus facilitating higher uptake of LED lights by residential users.
It may be noted that the scheme was initially labelled DELP (Domestic
Efficient Lighting Program) and was relaunched as UJALA.
Government of Indias National LED programme - Unnat Jyoti by Affordable
LEDs for All (UJALA) is being implemented by Energy Efficiency Services
Limited (EESL), a joint venture of PSUs under the Ministry of Power.
Under Indias commitment to achieving 30-35% reduced carbon emissions,
the country has recognized energy efficiency as a key mitigation strategy.
Therefore, the government is committed to executing schemes like UJALA.
State governments are voluntarily adopting this scheme.


The UJALA scheme has played a significant role in creating awareness about
energy efficient lighting.
In 2014-15, the total number of LED bulbs that were distributed was mere 30
The number of LED bulbs distributed in 2015-16 has crossed 15 crore, where
9 crore LED bulbs were distributed under UJALA and the remaining were
contributed by the industry.
Sustained efforts under UJALA, coupled with industry support, will help the
government achieve its objective of replacing 77 crore inefficient bulbs by
March 2019.
Efficient domestic lighting is one of the largest contributors to energy savings
globally and the distribution of 10 crore LED bulbs in India has led to savings
of over 1,298 crore kWh annually.
This number has also helped the country avoid capacity of about 2,600 MW.
Most importantly, the country has benefitted from reduction of CO2 emission
by over 1 crore tonnes annually.
LED bulbs consume half the energy as that of CFLs and one tenth as that of
incandescent bulbs.
UJALA is the largest non-subsidised LED programme in the world.
The programme has led to significant savings to the consumers who are using
these bulbs.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim Exam

Subject : Environment & Ecology
News Source : The Hindu
Industries must present their cases soon
Details :
Why in news:
Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has asked the Industries hit by inverted
duty structure or dumping to present their concerns to the Ministries concerned.

Duties on Imports: India, like all countries, imposes some duties (similar to
taxes) on all imports like customs and additional customs duties.
However, there are also many types of discounts on duties and exemptions on
many different imports.
Inverted Duty Structure: Because of such different types of duties,
discounts and exemptions, sometimes the duties on imports of final products
are less than duties on imports of raw materials to make those products.
For example, duties on import of processors, memory cards, hard disks is
greater than import duty on laptops and desktops. So, it becomes cheaper to
import laptops than make them here. This hurts competitiveness of Indian
computer manufacturing and consequently growth and jobs.
FICCI, a forum of leading Indian industries, marked some sectors affected by
Inverted duty structure like Electronics, cement, chemicals, paper, steel etc.

What is Dumping?

It refers to the dumping of manufactured goods by foreign countries at prices

lower than what it costs to make the products or lower than the price in its
own market.
In such cases, the importing countries can impose anti-dumping duty on such
For example, if making a TV in China costs 20000 and they sell the TV in
China for 22000, but they export and sell it in India for 21000, then it's called
dumping. In such cases, India can impose anti-dumping duty, like say 2000
rupees per import of each TV.
China has created great industrial production capacity over the last few
decades, especially for exports.
But world economy overall has slowed over last few years so the countries are
importing less. So, China now has over-capacity in production. To keep their
factories running, China dumps its goods on Indian market for very low
prices, even taking small losses.
This is problem for India as cheap 'dumped' Chinese products will hurt
manufactured items of India.
Recently, we have seen India imposing anti-dumping duty on import of steel
from China.
So, industries affected by inverted duty structure and dumping should raise
concerns with ministries so that government can during the next budget
change the import duty structure.

At a time, when India is looking to greatly grow its manufacturing sector, to

create growth and jobs, it is important to protect Indian manufacturing not
only from dangerous policies of other countries (like dumping), but also
review our own flawed policies and duty structures. Government and the
industry must work together to achieve it.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Economics
News Source : The Hindu
Now, healing with qualified quacks
Details :
What is the news?

In West Bengal, the informal health-care providers with no formal medical

education will be be trained for six months.
Objective: To provide these informal providers with a minimum
understanding of human health and the dos & donts.
By doing this the untrained village doctors can be turned into a group of
skilled health workers who can deliver primary health care in villages, detect
life-threatening conditions and refer patients to qualified doctors.
This is an attempt to use the available health-care human resources to become
assistants to doctors and should not be seen as a bid to produce doctors of suboptimal quality.
Similar kind of experiment taken by West Bengal has been successful in past
and now it will be rolled out on a larger scale.

Role of informal providers in primary care:

There is a huge gap in number of qualified doctors and those seeking medical
Epidemiological studies show that deaths due to lack of basic health facilities
form a considerable part of data.
Quacks have undertaken the task of providing healthcare facilities at places
where there is shortage in the number of doctors.
People feel more comfortable in sharing their problem with people who live
among them and so these quacks have become their saviour. Despite
providing best facilities, trained fieldworkers and awareness camps, we are

unable to motivate masses to reach primary healthcare established by

In our country, where poverty, lack of awareness and education is an
elephantine issue, it becomes difficult to convince people to visit qualified
Ventures where human resource will be trained to provide basic healthcare
while being part of informal sector will plug the gap to some extent.
The trained informal providers will form a chain parallel to qualified
healthcare professional and will work under their guidance.
The training will improve their diagnostic medical skills and will help them in
differentiating fatal cases for non-serious ones.
The quacks can also be used to reach the untouched masses and bring them
under basic health care.
Since all steps to increase the number of qualified doctors in rural areas and
change the health-seeking behavior of patients have not been successful,
training informal providers might be an effective short-term strategy to
improve health care in rural areas.

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-2

Subject : Polity & Governance
News Source : The Hindu
Fighting OPEC only for the brave
Details :
The Organisation of Petroleum Exproting Countries is back in the business of
influencing oil prices. OPEC will nail down the details of Algiers deal where it was
decided to cut down on output of petroleum as its members have grown weary of a
protracted supply battle with diminishing returns and dwindling financial
reserves. There is uncertainty about OPECs pledge as it has always increased
production wherever possible.
About OPEC:

It is intergovernmental organization of 14 countries, account for 73% of

Worlds proven oil resources.
Establishment: In 1960, at Baghdad.
Headquarters: Vienna

Member countries:

- Founding members- Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela.

- Other members- Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Gabon, Indonesia, Libya, Nigeria,
Qatar, United Arab Emirates.

Mission: To coordinate and unify the petroleum policies of its member

To ensure the stabilization of oil markets, in order to secure an efficient,
economic and regular supply of petroleum to consumers, a steady income to
producers and a fair return on capital for those investing in the petroleum
The formation of OPEC marked a turning point toward national sovereignty
over natural resources. OPEC decisions have come to play a prominent role in
the global oil market and international relations.

2014-2016 Oil Glut:

During 2014-16,OPEC, members consistently breached the production

At the same time, US (a non-OPEC Petroleum country) oil production nearly
doubled owing to improvement in shale fracking technology. This led to
decline in US oil imports and it went on path towards energy independence,
resulting in collapse of oil prices.
In 2015, Iraqi production surged after years of disorder.
-Iranian output was poised to rebound with the lifting of international
-World leaders at the Paris Agreement committed to limit the use of fossil
In light of all these changes, OPEC decided to set aside its production ceiling.
In September,2016, OPEC countries met at Algeria and decided about cutting
down the production due to diminished returns.
If things go in line with, Algiers Deal will be finalized in November, 2016.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim Exam

Subject : Economics
News Source : The Hindu

Oct. 8, 2016
EC bars parties from using public space for propagating symbol
Details :
What is the news?

The Election Commission has issued directions barring political parties in

power from using or allowing the use of public funds, public space or
government machinery for carrying out activities that amount to
advertisement for the parties or propagating their election symbols.
The clause confers power on the Commission to suspend or withdraw
recognition of a recognized political party for its failure to observe Model
Code of Conduct or follow its lawful directions and instructions.
According to EC, utilization of public funds for promotion of any political
would distort the concept of free and fair elections and principle of level
playing field for all stakeholders.
Directives were issued following Delhi HC order in BSP case where an
application was moved to the EC raising the issue of erecting at public places
and at government expense, the statues of political functionaries and symbols
linked to the then ruling party in Uttar Pradesh.

Free and Fair elections in India:

Free and fair elections mean universal and equal access to the electoral
process and to ballots which are secret and free.
This requires an absence of fraud means and the votes should be translated
into legislative seats in a transparent manner.
It is essential to create an atmosphere of trust and the legal framework of our
country provides such a basis.
To determine that a given election is free and fair, the election event and the
run-up to the Elections should be transparent and impartial.
In India, free and fair elections form the basis of our democratic system.
The concept is enshrined in the preamble as political equality and is forms
the basic structure of our constitution that cannot be amended or abridged by
any law of land.
The Election Commission is in charge of the electoral processes in the country
and is established under the statute of the Constitution as an independent

Whta is Model Code of Conduct (MCC)?

Model code of conduct is a set of norms for conduct & behavior on the part of
political parties & candidates during election time.

MCC & its Relevance:

Free & Fair Elections form the bed rock of democracy.

To conduct elections in free & fair manner, a level playing field should be
provided for all contestants & parties to present their policies & programmes
to voters.
Model code of conduct aims at providing this level playing field through its
guidelines / norms.
It aims to ensure that ruling party either at the center (or) in the states does not
misuse its official position to gain unfair advantage in the election.

Major guidelines of MCC

No attack on personal life of candidates contesting election.

No appeal to communal feelings.
Official machinery & facilities should not to be used for electioneering.
Prohibition against Ministers & authorities in announcing new grants,
schemes etc., after MCC comes into force.
Ministers not to misuse their public offices for the purpose of elections.
An issue of advertisement at the cost of public exchequer is prohibited.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Polity & Governance
News Source : The Hindu
Sri Lanka said it did not pull out of the SAARC Summit as was reported over
the past week.
Details :
What happened?

After the Uri attack by Pak terrorists that killed 19 Indian soldiers, India
withdrew from the SAARC summit that was to be held in November in

Expressing solidarity with India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan also

expressed their decision to stay away from the regional meet.
The decision of these countries was seen as a blow to Pakistan as the boycott
of SAARC meet by India and other countries was seen as condemnation of
support to terrorism by Pakistan.
Later, Sri Lanka also said that the current environment wasn't suitable for the
It was seen as a boycott by Sri Lanka also but Lanka cited the SAARC charter
(rules of operation).
General Provisions of the Charter of the SAARC prescribes that decisions at
all levels shall be taken on the basis of unanimity (agreed by all).
Sri Lanka said that the moment one country says that they are unable to attend
a SAARC Summit, a Summit cannot be held.
And hence, there was no need to boycott.
However, Sri Lanka PM Wickrenesinghe urged SAARC countries to come
together and fight terrorism.
He cited Sri Lankas experience with war and terrorism, and warned that
SAARC would become irrelevant without addressing terrorism.

Way Ahead:

The purpose of formation of SAARC as per the charter: Objectives of peace,

freedom, social justice and economic prosperity are best achieved in the South
Asian region by furthering mutual understanding, good neighbourly relations
and meaningful cooperation among the Member States.
SAARC has been an extremely ineffective regional grouping with very little
intra-regional trade and investment.
The biggest obstacle to the success of SAARC is the Pakistan's consistent
anti-India stand and its support of terrorism.
India is looking to get support from more and more countries against
Pakistan's support to terrorism.
As the largest country in the South Asia region, it is important for India to be
able to influence other countries in the region.
If Pakistan doesn't change its ways, it might find isolated even in SAARC.
It's possible to see in the near future a new South Asian grouping without
Pakistan. The Chabahar port Indian is building in Iran allows India to have
direct connectivity between rest of South Asia and Afghanistan, even without

For basics about SAARC ,please refer our previous Article:

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-2
Subject : International Relation
News Source : The Hindu
New termite species discovered: Glyptotermes Chiraharitae
Details :
A new Discovery:

A new termite species has been discovered at Kakkayam in the Malabar

Wildlife Sanctuary.
The species are named Chiraharitae, after the tropical evergreen forests of
Western Ghats.
Termites are of three types dry wood, damp wood, and subterranean.
The new species are of the damp wood category and they infest parts of
woods with high moisture content, the decaying or rotting areas in particular.
They are exclusively wood dwelling and do not require any contact with soil.
There are reports that its related species are serious pests of tea bushes in Sri
Lanka and southeast Asia.

About termites:

Termites are the insects that feed on wood and can cause threat to buildings,
crops and forests.
Termites are among the most successful groups of insects.
Termites have colonized most landmasses except Antartica.
Termite queens have the longest lifespan of any insect in the world.

Related Question about new discoveries in UPSC prelims, 2016:

Ques: Recently, our scientists have discovered a new and distinct species of
banana plant which attains a height of about 11 metres and has orangecoloured fruit pulp. In which part of India has it been discovered?

A. Andaman Islands
B. Anaimalai Forests
C. Maikala Hills
D. Tropical rain forests of northeast
Answer A.
Exam Syllabus : Prelim Exam
Subject : Miscellaneous
News Source : The Hindu
Most Jan Dhan accounts have balance now: Jaitley
Details :
What is the news?

According to Finance Minister, Eighty percent of the new bank accounts

created under the Jan Dhan Yojana now have balance in them.
World Bank President lauded Indias the progress made by India in financial
inclusion and said that is a model that is inspiring for the rest of the world.

About Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna:

Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) envisages universal access to

banking facilities with at least one basic banking account for every household,
financial literacy, access to credit, insurance and pension.
PMJDY is different from the earlier financial inclusion programme
(Swabhimaan) as it seeks to provide universal access to banking services
across the country and focuses on coverage of all households (both rural and
urban) while the earlier Financial Inclusion Programme was limited to provide
access point to villages with population greater than 2000.

Special Benefits under PMJDY Scheme:

Interest on deposit.
Accidental insurance cover of Rs. 1lac.

No minimum balance required.

The scheme provides life cover of Rs. 30,000/- payable on death of the
Easy Transfer of money across India
Beneficiaries of Government Schemes will get Direct Benefit Transfer in
these accounts.
After satisfactory operation of the account for 6 months, an overdraft facility
will be permitted
Access to Pension and insurance products.

Financial Inclusion in India:

Financial inclusion is the delivery of financial services at to vast sections of

disadvantaged and low income groups


Inculcating the habit to save money The habit can help lower income to
come out of financial stress by developing the habit to save money.
Easy availability of credit: Availability of adequate and transparent credit
from banks will help the poor to free themselves from clutches of
Plug leakages in subsidies: Government is pushing for DBT to ensure that
the beneficiary gets its due share. The physical supply of subsidies that
meanders into black market will also get reduced as there will be targeted
approach and money will be transferred directly into the accounts.

Related Question, asked in UPSC prelims 2015

Q. Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana has been launched for
a) providing housing loan to poor people at cheaper interest rates
b) Promoting womens Self Help Groups in backward areas
c) promoting financial inclusion in the country
d) providing financial help to marginalised communities
Answer: C
Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Economics
News Source : The Hindu
Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Colombian President
Details :
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts
to end a five-decades-long civil war that has killed more than 200,000 people in the
South American country. The award came just days after Colombian voters
narrowly rejected a peace deal that Santos helped bring about.
Why the Nobel Peace Prize to Juan Manuel Santos?

The Norwegian Nobel Committees said that President Santos, despite the
No majority vote in the referendum, has brought the bloody conflict
significantly closer to a peaceful solution, and that much of the groundwork
has been laid for both the verifiable disarmament of the FARC guerrillas and a
historic process of national fraternity and reconciliation.
President Santos initiated the negotiations that culminated in the peace accord
between the Colombian government and the FARC guerrillas, and he has
consistently sought to move the peace process forward, noted the Norwegian
Nobel Committee.
While stating that the outcome of the vote was not what Santos wanted, the
Committee acknowledges that the no to the peace accord does not necessarily
mean that the peace process is dead.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee goes on to emphasise the importance of the
fact that President Santos is now inviting all parties to participate in a broadbased national dialogue aimed at advancing the peace process.
By awarding this years Peace Prize to President Juan Manuel Santos, the
Norwegian Nobel Committee says that it wishes to encourage all those who
are striving to achieve peace, reconciliation and justice in Colombia.
Under the peace deal which Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos
negotiated, the deal mentioned that the rebels who turn over their weapons
and confess to war crimes will be spared time in jail and the FARC will get 10
seats in congress through 2026 to smooth their transition into a political

Who are the FARC?

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC, after the initials in

Spanish) are Colombia's largest rebel group.
They were founded in 1964 as the armed wing of the Communist Party and
follow a Marxist-Leninist ideology.
Their main founders were small farmers and land workers who had banded
together to fight against the staggering levels of inequality in Colombia at the
While the FARC have some urban groups, they have always been an
overwhelmingly rural guerrilla organisation.

Why did they take up Arms?

The FARC were founded at a time of brutal repression against any form of
action considered subversive.
Colombia has historically been a country which suffers from huge levels of
inequality, where vast swathes of land are owned by a very small elite.
This is partly due to the fact that the Colombian state sold off large tracts of
land to private owners in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries to pay for its
Some of the founders of the FARC had established an agricultural commune
in the region of Marquetalia, in central Tolima province.
Inspired by the Cuban revolution in the 1950s, they demanded more rights and
control over the land.
But their communist ideals were seen as a threat by big landowners and the
state, which sent in the army to disband the commune, or Marquetalia
Republic as it had come to be known.
The FARC says that it was after the clashes with the army in Marquetalia that
they decided to make their struggle an armed one.
The main enemy of the FARC have been the Colombian security forces. Farc
fighters have attacked police stations and military posts, and ambushed

About the recent Referendum:

In a recent referendum the Voters in Colombia have narrowly rejected a peace

accord between the government and the Marxist group, FARC.
The outcome of the 2nd October referendum endangers a deal expected to end
52 years of war and allow FARC fighters to re-enter society and form a
political party.

With more than 99 percent of polling stations reporting, 50.2 percent of

ballots opposed the accord while 49.8 percent favoured it - a difference of less
than 60,000 votes out of a total of 13 million.
The verdict on the deal between the government of Juan Manuel Santos and
the FARC, reached after four years of intense negotiations, means it cannot
now be implemented.
The deal would have allowed rebel leaders to avoid jail if they confessed to
their crimes such as killings, kidnappings, indiscriminate attacks and child
recruitment, something that many Colombians found hard to swallow.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Miscellaneous
News Source : The Hindu
SC stays commercial release of GM mustard
Details :
The Supreme Court on 7th October has stayed the commercial release of
Genetically Modified (GM) variety of Mustard till October 17 after a petition was
filed arguing such a release may have severe consequences on the environment and
human health.
To know the basics, please read our previous
Here we have covered the News from the perspective of Main Examination
Why we need to develop the Genetically Modified (GM) variety of Mustard?

In 2014-15, India imported 14.5 million tonnes of edible oils valued at $10.5
That included nearly 0.4 million tonnes of imported rapeseed oil, which many
processors and traders are blending with indigenous mustard oil.
With the countrys own annual edible oil production stuck at below 7.5
million tonnes, of which mustards share is roughly a quarter, the need to raise
domestic crop yields and cut dependence on imports cannot be doubted.
Therefore Hybrid technology is a potential technique to boost yields, as has
been successfully demonstrated in a host of crops.

Why there are objections to it & is it justified?

GM technology has already been commercialised in India through Bt cotton,

which is also based on incorporation of foreign genes derived from a soil
bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis.
While there are fierce opponents of it, it is also a fact that the countrys cotton
production has gone up more than 2 times since Bt hybrids were first
planted in 2002.
Nor has any evidence emerged really of Bt cotton causing any adverse human
or animal health effects.
The opponents of GM mustard point out that cotton is not a food crop, while
mustard is Indias largest edible oil-yielding crop.
However, there are many inconsistencies in this argument too.
First, cotton-seed yields not only fibre (lint), but also oil and oilcake (meal)
fed to animals.
Cotton-seed oil is, in fact, the second largest produced edible oil in the
country (1.4 million tonnes) after mustard (2 million tonnes).
That makes cotton no less of a food crop.
And since 95 per cent of Indias cotton production is today Bt, its allegedly
harmful toxins would already have been consumed directly or indirectly
during the last decade and more.
Secondly, India annually imports 3 million tonnes of soyabean oil and another
0.4 million tonnes of rapeseed oil, which are predominantly GM.

Is the opposition, therefore, only ideological?

Most of it is.
There was similar opposition to Bt brinjal, another GM crop approved in 2009
by the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) an apex body
constituted in the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
Following protests, the approval was put on indefinite hold by then
environment ministry.
Those opposing Bt brinjal then or DMH-11 mustard now have admitted being
against the genetic modification technology itself, at least when it comes to its
use in agriculture.
At the same time, their complaints against a less-than-robust regulatory
environment for genetically modified organisms in the country are genuine.
There is lack of transparency as well as conflict of interest in the system.

The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee, which is responsible for

approving large-scale releases and commercialisation of GMOs, functions
under the Ministry of Environment and Forests and is not entirely
The case of the Review Committee on Genetic Manipulation that supervises
and clears research activities and also small-scale field trials is even more
It is part of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), whose primary task is to
promote biotechnology.
DBT therefore is the promoter as well as the regulator.
On several occasions, developers of transgenic crops have also been members
of regulatory committees.

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-3

Subject : Environment & Ecology
News Source : The Hindu
Oct. 7, 2016
Communication satellite GSAT-18 successfully launched
Details :
What is the news?

India's Communication satellite GSAT-18,built by ISRO, was launched from

the European spacepad of Kourou in French Guiana.
GSAT was launched into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit.
AIM: To provide telecommunication services and will strengthen the space
agency's current fleet of 14 operational telecom satellites.
GSAT 18 will support television, telecommunication, VSAT and digital
satellite news gathering.
Currently, ISRO is dependent on Ariane-5 rocket for carrying its heavier
satellites and is developing GSLV Mk III for this purpose.

About Communication Satellites:

The Indian National Satellite System or INSAT is group of geo-stationary

satellites launched by ISRO.
The purpose of INSAT is to provide television broadcasting, satellite
newsgathering, societal applications, weather forecasting, disaster warning
and Search and Rescue operations.
It is a joint venture of the Department of Space, Department of
Telecommunications, India Meteorological Department, All India Radio and
Important communication satellites:
EDUSAT is for audio-visual interactive classroom program.
KALPANA 1: Meteorological satellite.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim Exam

Subject : Science & Tech
News Source : The Hindu

RBI panel moots easing bank branch norms

Details :
What is the news?

A panel set up by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has proposed to relax the
requirements that a bank branch has to follow, like a building, number of
employees etc.
This is aimed at promoting financial inclusion.


Financial Inclusion means including more and more people in the financial
system, like access to banks through bank accounts and loans so that they can
also save and borrow from banks.
Government and RBI are always looking to promote financial inclusion.
One of the ways is to open up bank branches in areas where there are no
traditional bank branches (Un-banked rural centres), that is, typically far off
rural and backward areas.
Problem is that such branches are usually loss-making operations and banks
are reluctant.
The RBI had set up a panel to decide on what exactly qualifies as a bank
The move is aimed to provide more flexibility to banks as new technology
enables them to provide most banking services even without a traditional
For this, the RBI is focusing on the bank branch as a fixed outlet with regular
timings, rather than all the traditional infrastructure that needs to exist at a

Panel recommendations:

Bank branches (including those manned by business correspondents) that

provide minimum 4 hours of service for 5 days a week, should be allowed to
be treated as a full-service branch.
Any other fixed point unit of the bank which can not work for 4 hours for 5
days a week would be considered a part-time banking outlet
A part-time banking outlet opened in any centre will be counted in for
computing requirement of having 25 per cent branches in rural areas.

The move will significantly reduce costs for a bank while for opening
branches in un-banked rural centres.


This will help financial inclusion by taking a more forward looking idea of
bank as an outlet that delivers services than an outlet with some fixed
Banks, even without traditional branches, can use the technology to offer
services in areas that so far had no access.

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-3

Subject : Economics
News Source : The Hindu
GM mustard may be stalled indefinitely
Details :
On 7th October, the Supreme Court is expected to hear a petition by anti-GMO
(genetically modified organism) campaigner, who argues that the Centres
preliminary clearance to GM mustard, named Dhara Mustard Hybrid-11 (DMH-11),
contravenes a 2013 report by a Supreme Court-appointed technical expert
What the Supreme Court-appointed technical expert committee said?

This committee had said, among other things, that herbicide-tolerant crops
ought not be permitted in India.
One of the genes in DMH-11, developed by researchers at the Delhi
University under a publicly-funded project, contains a gene called bar that
confers herbicide tolerance.
This makes plants resistant to a class of weedicide containing the chemical
Critics say glufosinate is toxic and makes farmers dependent on certain brands
of crop chemicals.
So if the court sees merit in the argument, then this could indefinitely stall
GM mustard.

What the government sub-committee said?

A sub-committee of the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC)

Indias regulator of GM crops and an environment ministry body said in
August that DMH-11 was an effective hybrid and the bar genes presence
wouldnt practically affect mustard farmers.

What is GM mustard?

A team of scientists at Delhi University led by former vice-chancellor Deepak

Pental has bred DMH-11, a genetically modified (GM) mustard hybrid.
Hybrids are normally obtained by crossing two genetically diverse plants from
the same species.
The first-generation offspring resulting from it has higher yields than what
either of the parents is individually capable of giving.
But there is no natural hybridisation system in mustard, unlike in, say, cotton,
maize or tomato.
This is because its flowers contain both the female (pistil) and male (stamen)
reproductive organs, making the plant naturally self-pollinating.
To the extent that the egg cells of one plant cannot be fertilised by the pollen
discharged from the stamen of another, it restricts the scope for developing
What Pentals team has done is create a viable hybridisation system in
mustard using GM technology.
The resulting GM mustard hybrid, it is claimed, gives 25-30 per cent more
yield than the best varieties such as Varuna currently grown in the country.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Environment & Ecology
News Source : The Hindu
India presses case against Masood
Details :
India told the 1267 Committee of the United Nations in March that it had
proscribed Jaish-e-Mohammed but did not suggest the need to act against its main
leader, financier and motivator Masood Azhar. India sent the request to the
committee following the January 2 Pathankot attack which it blamed on the outfit.
India also blamed the September 18 Uri attack on the group. However, the bid to
designate Masood Azhar as an international terrorist has run into difficulty, with

China extending its technical hold on Indias submission. Seeking reform of the
working of the committee, India, said the committee was non-transparent and it had
to address procedural shortcomings.
About the United Nations Security Council 1267 Committee:

The United Nations Security Council 1267 Committee, also known as "the
AlQaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee", was established pursuant to
resolution 1267 (1999) for the purpose of overseeing the implementation of
sanctions measures imposed on Taliban-controlled Afghanistan for its support
of Usama bin Laden.
The 1267 sanctions regime has been modified and strengthened by subsequent
resolutions, so that the sanctions measures now apply to designated
individuals and entities associated with Al-Qaida, Usama bin Laden and/or the
Taliban wherever located.
The above-mentioned resolutions have all been adopted under Chapter VII of
the United Nations Charter and require all States to take measures in
connection with any individual or entity associated with Al-Qaida, Usama bin
Laden and/or the Taliban as designated by the Committee.
The 1267 Monitoring Team is part of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism
Implementation Task Force (CTITF).
The Committee comprises all 15 members of the Security Council and makes
its decision by consensus.
China was the only member in the 15-nation UN organ to put a hold on India's
application with all other 14 members of the Council supporting New Delhi's
bid to place Azhar on the 1267 sanctions list that would subject him to an
assets freeze and travel ban.

About the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF):

It was established by the Secretary-General in 2005 and endorsed by the

General Assembly through the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism
Strategy, which was adopted by consensus in 2006.
The mandate of the CTITF is to strengthen coordination and coherence of
counter-terrorism efforts of the United Nations system.
The Task Force consists of 38 international entities which by virtue of their
work have, have a stake in multilateral counter-terrorism efforts. Each entity
makes contributions consistent with its own mandate.

The primary goal of CTITF is to maximize each entitys comparative

advantage by delivering as one to help Member States implement the four
pillars of the Global Strategy. The four pillars are:
Measures to address the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism;
Measures to prevent and combat terrorism;
Measures to build states capacity to prevent and combat terrorism and to
strengthen the role of the United Nations system in that regard;
Measures to ensure respect for human rights for all and the rule of law as the
fundamental basis for the fight against terrorism.
While the primary responsibility for the implementation of the Global
Strategy rests with Member States, CTITF ensures that the UN system is
attuned to the needs of Member States, to provide them with the necessary
policy support and spread in-depth knowledge of the Strategy, and wherever
necessary, expedite delivery of technical assistance.
CTITF organizes its work through Working Groups and counter-terrorism
related projects and activities in areas where cooperation among United
Nations system actors can add value for the implementation of the Strategy.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : International Relation
News Source : The Hindu
Payment Banks need RBIs prior product approval
Details :
What is the news?

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said the entities that had been granted a
payments bank (PB) licence would need to take specific approval for the
products they would be offering to customers.
Banks do not need to take prior RBI approval to launch products.
The RBI may place suitable restrictions on the design, functioning, or other
features of the product or even discontinue if it feels that the product is not
suitable for customers.
RBI move is in right direction as it is better to take prior approval rather than
rolling it back after offering to customers.

RBI has also mandated that employee of Payment Bank should be available
for sufficient duration at a fixed location to attend customers and at least 25%
of these access points should be in un-banked rural areas.

Differentiated Banks:

This system of banks is different from universal banks as they are mandated to
serve niche interests and can offer limited products.
Payment banks and small banks are part of differentiated banking.
The purpose of these banks is to promote financial inclusion.
Nachiket Mor committee in 2014 recommended the establishment of such

Payments Banks:

Objective of payments banks is to increase financial inclusion by providing

small savings accounts, payment/remittance services to migrant labour, low
income households, small businesses, other unorganised sector entities and
other users.
Those who can promote payments banks can be a commercial bank, non-bank
PPIs (Prepaid payment issuer), Non Banking Financial Companies, mobile
telephone companies, super market chains, real sector cooperatives companies
and public sector entities.
Payments Banks can accept demand deposits (only current account and
savings accounts).
No credit lending is allowed for Payments Banks.

Small Banks:

The purpose of the small banks will be to provide a whole suite of basic
banking products such as deposits and supply of credit, but in a limited area of
The objective is to increase financial inclusion by provision of savings
vehicles to under-served and unserved sections, supply of credit to small
farmers, micro and small industries and other unorganised sector entities.
Resident individuals with 10 years of experience in banking and finance,
companies and Societies will be eligible as promoters to set up small banks.
The banks would be subjected to all prudential norms and RBI regulations
including maintenance of CRR and SLR.

The area of operations would normally be restricted to contiguous districts so

that the Small Bank has a local feel and culture.
The bank can accept deposits and lend to its customers.
Loans and advances of up to Rs 25 lakhs, primarily to micro enterprises,
should constitute at least 50 per cent of the loan portfolio.
For the first three years, 25 per cent of branches should be in unbanked rural

Question Asked in UPSC Pre-2016

Q. The establishment of Payment Banks is being allowed in India to promote
financial inclusion. Which of the following statements is/are correct in this
1. Mobile telephone companies and supermarket chains that are owned and
controlled by residents are eligible to be promoters of Payment Banks.
2. Payment Banks can issue both credit cards and debit cards.
3. Payment Banks cannot undertake lending activities.
Select the correct answer using the code given below:
(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 1 and 3 only
(c) 2 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
Ans: (b)
Exam Syllabus : Prelim Exam
Subject : Economics
News Source : The Hindu
India seeks greater pharma market access in Japan
Details :

What is the News?

Seeking greater market access for the Indian pharmaceuticals sector in the
Japanese market, Commerce Minister said that the share of India in the
Japanese drug market continued to be below par and limited mostly to active
pharmaceutical ingredients (or APIs - raw materials for drugs).
She said the demand for generic medicines in Japan and Indias capability to
meet this demand can prove a win-win for both countries.
Because Indias strength in pharma sector is well established.
This, coupled with the decision of Government of Japan towards attaining an
80 per cent share of generic medicines by 2018, should provide an opportunity
for the generic drug industry of India.
The Minister said Indian companies should use the India-Japan
Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) much more to
boost exports to Japan.

Highlights of Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA)

between India and Japan:

CEPA would provide a framework for enhanced cooperation between the two
countries and is aimed to facilitate trade in goods and services and increase
investment opportunities, besides protecting intellectual property rights.
The Agreement has been implemented from 1 April 2011.
The CEPA aims to reduce or eliminate tariffs over next 10 years on over 90
per cent of goods traded between the two countries
The Agreement inter alia provides schedule for India, a list detailing product
wise plan for reduction/ elimination of duties for imports into India and a
similar schedule for Japan.
The quantum of duty reduction under CEPA will vary from product to
Therefore, some products see a complete elimination of duties on 1 April
2011 itself while others see a gradual reduction over years.
Sensitive sectors for India and Japan are fully protected and will not see any
tariff change.
Apart from concessional duties on products, the CEPA envisages measures for
promoting services such as financial services and telecommunication services
between the two countries.

Further, to provide an encouragement to movement of people between the two

countries, the Agreement provides for facilitating easier temporary entry for
various categories of persons.
However, recently the Commerce Minister of India voiced concern over
India's trade deficit with Japan which is increasing from $3.1 billion before
the CEPA was inked in 2011 to $5.2 billion thereafter. She said there was a
need to address implementation issues of CEPA.

Bilateral Trade:

In the Financial Year(FY)2014-15, Japan-India trade reached $15.52 billion,

showing decrease of 4.73% over FY2013-14, when the total bilateral trade
was $16.29 billion.
India's exports to Japan decrease by 20.96% as against the growth of 6.86% in
its imports from Japan in FY013-14.

Important Facts on Indian pharmaceuticals sector:

India is expected to rank amongst the top three pharmaceutical markets in

terms of incremental growth by 2020.
Indias generic drugs account for 20% of global exports in terms of volume,
making the country the largest provider of generic medicines globally.
Indias cost of production is significantly lower than that of the USA and
almost half of that of Europe.
USD 45 Billion in revenue by 2020, and can grow to USD 70 billion in a
aggressive case scenario.
Total exports of Drugs, Pharmaceuticals for 2013-14 at USD 15,095 million,
recording a growth rate 2.5% over the corresponding period of previous years.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Economics
News Source : The Hindu
India-Sri Lanka economic pact by 2016-end, says Ranil Wickremesinghe
Details :
What is the news?

India and Sri Lanka will sign Economic and Technology Cooperation
Agreement (ETCA) to allow the free flow of services, investments and
technology apart from the existing Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the
two nations.
The economic partnership will boost Indias five southern States & Sri Lanka
which together have a population of 272 million people and a combined gross
domestic product of over $500 billion.
Sri Lanka PM also suggested about creating a larger special zone of economic
cooperation around the Bay of Bengal taking on board Singapore, Indonesia
and Malaysia in addition to BIMSTEC countries.
Sri Lanka is negotiating a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Singapore while
India already has comprehensive economic partnership pact with the latter.
So there is also scope for a trilateral arrangement to boost the three

China Factor:

Sri Lanka has downplayed Indias fears of Sri Lankas military ties with
It has assured that there are investments in the one belt one road programme
that envisages massive Chinese investments in infrastructure building in the
island nation.
But there is no military element to it.

Way Forward:

Though India has opened trade avenues for herself in Central Asia via
Afghanistan, there will always be a cloud of skepticism about it being foiled
by Pakistan and China.
The threat is not unreal and India should always have strong alternatives.
India should exploit its strategic position in Indian Ocean which would help it
in enhancing its economic ties with developing South-East Asia.
India can become a strong bridge between East Asia and the west, constituting
a contiguous regional unity.
Act east policy will not only provide economic boost but can also help India
shield herself from Chinas military fleet in the region.
India very well understands that it is the right time to enhance bilateral and
multilateral ties with the neighboring countries. It is now trying to revive
some dormant engagements like India-Ocean Rim, BIMSTEC, IBSA etc.

India will be a leading global player of coming time and with this the threat to
its position will also increase.
Peace, cooperation and strong regional ties are the only solution to this.


The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic

Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is a regional organization comprising seven Member
States lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal.
It was formed in June 1997 through the Bangkok Declaration.
Member States: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and
The BIMSTEC region constitutes around 22% of the global population with a
combined gross domestic product (GDP) of 2.7 trillion economy.
The basic Objective of BIMSTEC, is tTo create an enabling environment for
rapid economic development through identification and implementation of
specific cooperation projects in the sectors of trade, investment and industry,
technology, human recourse development, tourism, agriculture, energy, and
infrastructure and transportation.

Why this news is important?

UPSC has asked questions related to regional groupings, both in prelims and
Question asked in UPSC Prelims, 2015
Q. With reference to 'Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation
(IOR-ARC)', consider the following statements:
1. It was established very recently in response to incidents of piracy and accidents
of oil spills.
2. It is an alliance meant for maritime security only.
Which of the statements given above is / are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer. D
UPSC Mains,2011, GS-II
Compared to the South Asian Trade Area (SAFTA), the Bay of Bengal Initiative
for Multisectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation Free Trade Area
(BIMSTEC FTA) seems to be more promising. Critically evaluate
Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam
Subject : International Relation
News Source : The Hindu
The salience of the Singur verdict 7th Oct'16 Editorial The Hindu
Details :
The salience of the Singur verdict
In 2006, the then government in West Bengal acquired land for Tata Motors Nano
plant in Singur under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 which saw large scale
In 2008, the land acquisition was upheld by the Calcutta High Court following
which it was challenged in the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court invalidated the land acquisitionon the grounds that it did
follow the procedure mandated by the Land Acquisition Act, 1894.
Even though the two Supreme Court Judges differed on important questions of law
and the 1894 Act has been repealed by the Right to Fair Compensation and
Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act of 2013
(LARR Act) (both are laws enacted by the Central Government), the judgment is

It questions the extent of states power to acquire private property and the nature of
public purpose which permits such acquisition.
Circumventing the law
Under the 1894 Act, a special procedure prescribed in Part VII of the Act had to be
followed for land acquisition for private companies.
This included additional safeguards so that the governments dont abuse the power
of eminent domain (the power of government to take private property even
without the consent of the owner for public purpose, with payment of
The then government totally ignored the requirements of Part VII and acquired the
lands through a state owned entity.
The government argued that the acquisition promotes states new industrial policy
and as the plant would create new jobs, it fulfills a public purpose.
Property rights in India
In its original form, the Constitution guaranteed right to property under the
fundamental rights in Article 19(1)(f).
It also vested the government with powers to take private property for public
purpose if it is backed by suitable legislation under Article 31.
Immediately after coming into force of the Constitution, in the backdrop of land
reforms and efforts for redistribution of the land, these provisions enabled the
Judiciary to intervene in virtually every act of land acquisition.
The government responded by enacting various legislations which diluted property
rights for more equitable distribution of land.
Finally, by the 44th Constitution Amendment Act in 1978, right to property ceased
to be a fundamental right.
This was done in order to give more room to the government to achieve land
reforms but in reality this benefitted rich more than the poor because governments
continued to use the 1894 Act to acquire land for private industry in the grab of
public purpose.

Scope of public purpose

Having been accused of excessive intervention, the Supreme Court allowed the
government to expand its power of eminent domain to acquire land for public
It has generally held that even a token contribution by the government towards the
cost of acquisition is sufficient to escape the requirements of Part VII.
So when the Supreme Court was hearing the appeal of Singur farmers, it had many
precedents which allowed a very broad conception of public purpose
While one of the judges of the two judge bench found that the acquisition was for
public purpose in a limited extent, other judge (Justice Gowda) found it a
colourable exercise of power. (Doctrine of Colourable Legislation states, Whatever
legislature cant do directly, it cant do indirectly)
He wrote that if such an acquisition is allowed, it could be used to justify land
acquisition from the most vulnerable sections of the society in the name of public
Relevance of the judgment
Although the concerns have been addressed to a limited extent by the LARR Act,
2013, it is still relevant as the power to make law on land acquisition is in the
concurrent list.
There have been attempts by the Central Government to roll back some of the
benefits of LARR Act and some states like Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Rajasthan have
either amended the central Act or enacted their own legislations which permit land
acquisition even in the absence of a direct public purpose or dilutes the requirement
of consent.
Many of these laws violate the constitutional guarantee of equal treatment (Article
14) and unless the Judiciary invalidates them, they will be used to acquire land by
extending the meaning of public purpose.
When viewed in this light, Justice Gowdas judgment could guide further
judgments of the Supreme Court.
Way forward

The LARR Act is not a solution to all the problems associated with land
acquisition but it is progressive in comparative terms as it defines the manner in
which the state should exercise its immense power to take private land.
Therefore, the Central and the State Governments should cease their attempts to
dilute various provisions of the Act.
The Government can regulate the right to property for greater welfare of the
citizens but selective application of property rights in favour of the rich should be
The property rights should be regulated in such a manner which benefits the
vulnerable sections and puts least burden on them.
GS 2 (Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors
and issues arising out of their design and implementation)
GS 3 (Land reforms in India)
Related question
The right to fair compensation and transparency land acquisition, rehabilitation and
resettlement act, 2013 has come into effect from 1 January 2014. What implication
would it have on industrialisation and agriculture in India?(UPSC, GS 3, 2014)
Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam
Subject : Editorial Analysis
News Source : The Hindu
Oct. 6, 2016
Hurricane Matthew pummels Haiti and Cuba.
Details :
What is the news?

Hurricane Matthew pummelled Haiti and moved on to Cuba, Caribbean's

worst storm in decade.

What is a hurricane?

Hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons are all the same weather phenomenon.
They are tropical storms of greater intensity.
In the Atlantic and Northeast Pacific, the term hurricane is used.
Northwest Pacific Typhoon
South Pacific and Indian Ocean Cyclone

Features of a cyclone:

These are systems of intense low pressure.

They have the lowest pressure at the center& strong winds blow into the
center from high pressure area.
These winds are deflected into an anti-clockwise direction in the northern
hemisphere and clockwise direction in the southern hemisphere.
They rush upwards with a great force creating a vortex which is the area that
surrounds the eye of the cyclone.
The rapidly rising air gives rise to torrential rains and the strong winds cause
They occur in the tropical latitudes 5 and 20 South and North of the equator,
in autumn when sea temperatures are at their highest.
They form over warm oceans where sea temperatures exceed 26C.

Related questions:

Question: (Prelims 2015)

In the South Atlantic and South Eastern Pacific regions in tropical latitudes,
cyclone does not originate. What is the reason?
(a) Sea Surface temperature are low
(b) Inter Tropical Convergence Zone seldom occurs
(c) Coriolis force is too weak
(d) Absence of land in those regions
Answer: b
Question: (Mains, 2013)
The recent cyclone on the east coast of India was called Phailin. How are the
tropical cyclones named across the world? Elaborate.
Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam
Subject : Environment & Ecology
News Source : The Hindu
NBT to promote debut women writers under 40
Details :
What is the news?

Women authors now have a better chance to have their work published by the
National Book Trust.
Books will be published on any topic: science, literature, humanities, etc.

National Book Trust:

It is an autonomous institution established in 1957 under Ministry of Human

Resource Development.
Objective: To produce and encourage production of literature and make it
available at moderate price to public.
NBT organises the annual New Delhi World Book Fair, the largest in AfroAsian region.

Related Schemes:
Mahila Lekhak Protsahan Yojna:

Launched by NBT to promote women writers.

NBT will publish the first work of women authors who are below 40 years of
The work will be published in English or any of the languages mentioned in
Eighth Schedule of Indian Constitution.

Nav Lekhan Mela:

Launched by NBT in 2015 to encourage young minds to write.

Under this initiative NBT published the work of first time writers.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim Exam

Subject : Miscellaneous
News Source : The Hindu
India calls Security Council unresponsive, ineffective
Details :
What is the news?

India has strongly criticised unresponsive Security Council for being

indecisive on sanctioning leaders of organisations that it (UNSC) has
recognised as terrorist entities.
China held the decision and the council has now decided to give three more
months before approving sanctions.

Way Forward:

Today, more than half of the countries are being impacted by the act of
terrorism. Terrorism has no boundaries and the need of the hour is to act
unitedly against this menace.
Though China does not support terrorism per se but lately it has been seen
supporting Pakistan on international platform to weaken Indias position.
China being a permanent member of UNSC shares the responsibility of
maintaining international peace and security.
Given this charge, China should rise above its geopolitical differences and help
in building a strong nexus against terror outfits.

United Nations Security Council:

UNSC is one of the 6 organs of UN and has been given task of maintaining
international peace and security.
It was created following World War II to address the failings of a previous
international organization, the League of Nations, in maintaining world peace.

Structure of UNSC:

The Security Council consists of fifteen members.

Permanent Members: Five in number viz. thevictors of World War II i.e. the
Soviet Union (now represented by Russia), the United Kingdom, France,
Republic of China (now represented by the People's Republic of China) and the
United Statesserve as the body's five permanent members.
The permanent members can veto any resolution, including admission of new
member states or candidates for Secretary-General.
Non-Permanent Members: The Security Council has 10 non-permanent
They are elected on a regional basis to serve two-year terms.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : International Relation
News Source : The Hindu
UN court rejects disarmament case against India
Details :

What is the News?

The Marshall Islands plea against nuclear powers of the world, including
India and Pakistan, was rejected by the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
The rejection marked a defeat of activists seeking nuclear disarmament in the
The ICJ is the United Nations highest court, it has rejected nuclear
disarmament cases filed by the Pacific nation of the Marshall Islands, saying it
did not have jurisdiction.
The top United Nations court accepted Indias argument that the International
Court of Justice do not have any jurisdiction in the suits filed by the Marshall

What Is The Marshall Islands? (Locate in Atlas)

Marshall islands is a small South Pacific nation with a population of 53,000. It

was the site of dozens of atomic-bomb tests by the United States after the
World War II.
As may as 23 nuclear devices were detonated by the US at Bikini atoll, which
consists of 23 islands spread in 3.4 sq km area in the Marshall Islands,
between 1946 and 1958. The area is still uninhabitable.

What Was The Marshall Islands Case?

Marshall Islands had filed a number of suits in the ICJ.

Through the suits, Marshall Islands had sought to urge countries like Britain,
India and Pakistan to resume negotiations to eradicate the worlds stockpile of
nuclear weapons.
The Marshall Islands had argued that nuclear powers werent doing enough to
adhere to the 1970 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
The Marshall Islands originally filed cases against all nine nations that have
declared or are believed to possess nuclear weapons: The U.S., Russia,
Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea. But only the
cases against Britain, India, and Pakistan got to the preliminary stage of

About the International Court of Justice (ICJ):

ICJ is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN).

It was established in June 1945 by the Charter of the United Nations and
began work in April 1946.
The seat of the Court is at the Peace Palace in The Hague (Netherlands).
Of the six principal organs of the United Nations, it is the only one not located
in New York (United States of America).
The Courts role is to settle, in accordance with international law, legal
disputes submitted to it by States and to give advisory opinions on legal
questions referred to it by authorized United Nations organs and specialized
The Court is composed of 15 judges, who are elected for terms of office of
nine years by the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council.
Its official languages are English and French.

About the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT):

The nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty came into force in 1970, following

widespread international concern about the risk of nuclear weapons
proliferation and the spiraling nuclear weapon stocks of those states that had
developed them.
The NPT is a multilateral treaty aimed at limiting the spread of nuclear
weapons including three elements: (1) non-proliferation, (2) disarmament, and
(3) peaceful use of nuclear energy.
It says:
States without nuclear weapons will not acquire them;
States with nuclear weapons will pursue disarmament;
All states can access nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, under
According to the treaty the nuclear weapon states are the United States, UK,
Russia, China and France.
Three states, Israel, India and Pakistan did not sign the NPT.
They stayed outside the treaty framework and have developed nuclear
North Korea signed the treaty but withdrew from it in 2003.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : International Relation
News Source : The Hindu
Bill to protect HIV community from bias gets approval

Details :
The Union Cabinet, has approved the long-awaited amendments to the HIV Bill,
granting stronger protection to the countrys HIV community.
What the Bill seeks?

The Bill seeks to prevent stigma and discrimination against people living with
The HIV and AIDS Bill, 2014 will bring legal accountability and establish a
formal mechanism to probe discrimination complaints against those who
discriminate against such people.
These amendments will allow families that have faced discrimination to go to
court against institutions or persons being unfair.
The Bill lists various grounds on which discrimination against HIV-positive
persons and those living with them is prohibited.
These include the denial, termination, discontinuation or unfair treatment with
regard to employment, educational establishments, health care services,
residing or renting property, standing for public or private office, and
provision of insurance.

About HIV:

HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus.

If left untreated, HIV can lead to the disease AIDS (acquired
immunodeficiency syndrome).
Unlike some other viruses, the human body cant get rid of HIV completely.
So once someone have HIV, they have it for life.
HIV attacks the bodys immune system, specifically the CD4 cells (T cells),
which help the immune system fight off infections.
If left untreated, HIV reduces the number of CD4 cells (T cells) in the body,
making the person more likely to get infections or infection-related cancers.
Over time, HIV can destroy so many of these cells that the body cant fight off
infections and disease.
These opportunistic infections or cancers take advantage of a very weak
immune system and signal that the person has AIDS, the last state of HIV
No effective cure for HIV currently exists, but with proper treatment and
medical care, HIV can be controlled.
The medicine used to treat HIV is called antiretroviral therapy or ART.

About AIDS:

AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.

AIDS is the final stage of HIV infection, and not everyone who has HIV
advances to this stage.
AIDS is the stage of infection that occurs when your immune system is badly
damaged and you become vulnerable to opportunistic infections.
When the number of your CD4 cells falls below 200 cells per cubic millimeter
of blood (200 cells/mm3), you are considered to have progressed to AIDS.
(The CD4 count of an uninfected adult/adolescent who is generally in good
health ranges from 500 cells/mm3 to 1,600 cells/mm3.)
You can also be diagnosed with AIDS if you develop one or more
opportunistic infections, regardless of your CD4 count.
Without treatment, people who are diagnosed with AIDS typically survive
about 3 years.
Once someone has a dangerous opportunistic illness, life expectancy without
treatment falls to about 1 year.
People with AIDS need medical treatment to prevent death.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Science & Tech
News Source : The Hindu
India needs to remove bottlenecks: Singapore PM
Details :
Recently the Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsein Loong said that India is not as
open for business as investors hope, citing land acquisition, over-regulation and
legal hassles among the biggest bottlenecks. The Singapore Prime Ministers words
are significant as the city state is the biggest source of foreign direct investment
(FDI) into India. In the last financial year, it overtook Mauritius on FDI inflows,
accounting for US$13.7 Bn, which was more than one third of all FDI coming into
India-Singapore Trade:

While India and Singapore have stepped up contacts as a part of the

governments Look east, Act east policy, bilateral trade between India and

Singapore has declined year on year, down 11.2% in 2015-2016 to US $15

billion compared to 2014-2015, with Indian exports dropping 21.2% in a year.
Why this decline?

In May 2016, India renegotiated its double taxation avoidance agreement

(DTAA) with Mauritius to end round-tripping of black money from India,
leading to speculation that the 2006 tax treaty with Singapore would also be
amended so investors would no longer be able to avoid capital gains tax.
The possible move has faced opposition from investors in Singapore, therfore
there is a trade decline.
Mr. Lee said that given the nature of investments, Singapore should be given
special treatment.

What is round-tripping ?

The term round-tripping is self-explanatory.

It denotes a trip where a person or thing returns to the place from where the
journey began.
In the context of black money, it leaves the country through various channels
such as inflated invoices, payments to shell companies overseas, the hawala
route and so on. After cooling its heels overseas for a while, this money
returns in a freshly laundered form; thus completing a round-trip.
This route is far from simple or straightforward.
Those indulging in this game are past masters who make the money flow
through multiple layers consisting of many entities and companies.

How does the money return to India?

It could be invested in offshore funds that in turn invest in Indian assets.

The Global Depository Receipts (GDR) and Participatory Notes (P-Notes) are
some of the other routes that have been used in the past.

What is Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA)?

A DTAA is a tax treaty signed between two or more countries.

Its key objective is that tax-payers in these countries can avoid being taxed
twice for the same income.
A DTAA applies in cases where a tax-payer resides in one country and earns
income in another.

DTAAs can either be comprehensive to cover all sources of income or be

limited to certain areas such as taxing of income from shipping, air transport,
inheritance, etc.
India has DTAAs with more than eighty countries, of which comprehensive
agreements include those with Australia, Canada, Germany, Mauritius,
Singapore, UAE, the UK and US.

Why is it important?

DTAAs are intended to make a country an attractive investment destination by

providing relief on dual taxation.
Such relief is provided by exempting income earned abroad from tax in the
resident country or providing credit to the extent taxes have already been paid
DTAAs also provide for concessional rates of tax in some cases.
For instance, interest on NRI bank deposits attract 30 per cent TDS (tax
deduction at source) here.
But under the DTAAs that India has signed with several countries, tax is
deducted at only 10 to 15 per cent. Many of Indias DTAAs also have lower
tax rates for royalty, fee for technical services, etc.
Favourable tax treatment for capital gains under certain DTAAs such the one
with Mauritius have encouraged a lot of foreign investment into India.
Mauritius accounted for $93.65 billion or one-third of the total FDI flows into
India between April 2000 and December 2015.
It has also remained a favoured route for foreign portfolio investors. But the
problem is DTAAs can become an incentive for even legitimate investors to
route investments through low-tax regimes to sidestep taxation.
This leads to loss of tax revenue for the country.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Economics
News Source : The Hindu
Centre mulls aviation emission offsets
Details :
India is examining possible mechanisms to offset higher emissions from rising civil
aviation traffic, even as it has firmly opposed a global pact for curbing aviation

emissions proposed by the United Nations International Civil Aviation

Organisation (ICAO) that is currently being negotiated in Montreal.
What is the issue?

India has ratified the COP21 accord on climate change recently, but while
approving its ratification, the Union Cabinet had also empowered the civil
aviation ministry to flag Indias concerns about the proposed aviation
emissions pact, including the move to cap aviation emissions at 2020 levels.
Indian government said that capping emissions from aviation would be unfair
for developing countries where the civil aviation market is not mature and the
number of airlines is limited compared to the developed world.
We are okay with lesser emissions but that's not in our hands alone.
Manufacturing has to improve, emission standards have to be improved and
modern technology must be deployed, A cabinet Minister has said.
Also the BASIC countries (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) had met in
New Delhi and opposed the ICAO accord as one that could be forced upon
developing nations.
Indias aviation sector is growing at 22 per cent to 23 per cent over the last
year and it will continue to grow very rapidly over the next decade and a half,
so emissions would rise.

The CO2 Standard for aircraft:

The CO2 Standard for aircraft Was developed by the International Civil
Aviation Organization (ICAO).
The objective is to reduces aircraft CO2 emissions by encouraging the
integration of fuel efficient technologies into aircraft design and development.
The standards would require an average 4 percent reduction in fuel
consumption during the cruise phase of flight starting in 2028 when compared
with planes delivered in 2015.
It also ensures that older aircraft models end production in an appropriate
timeframe or that manufacturers invest in technology to improve their
The new aircraft designs meet the standards beginning in 2020, and that
designs already in production comply by 2023.
There is also a cutoff date of 2028 for the manufacture of planes that dont
comply with the standards.
The standard also ensures that new designs go beyond the highest fuel
efficiency of todays aircraft.

It is a significant milestone for the sector: the first such standard for aircraft
and is key to the sectors long-term commitment to reduce CO2 emissions
from aviation.
When fully implemented, the standards are expected to reduce carbon
emissions by more than 650 million tons between 2020 and 2040, equivalent
to removing over 140 million cars from the road for a year.

Important Facts:

Aviation is estimated to account for two per cent of global greenhouse

But air travel volumes are expected to double by 2030.
About 58 out of the 191 countries participating at the ICAO meet have backed
the pact so far.

About the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO):

ICAO is a UN specialized agency, established by States in 1944 to manage the

administration and governance of the Convention on International Civil
Aviation (Chicago Convention).
ICAO works with the Conventions 191 Member States and industry groups
to reach consensus on international civil aviation Standards and
Recommended Practices (SARPs) and policies in support of a safe, efficient,
secure, economically sustainable and environmentally responsible civil
aviation sector.
These SARPs and policies are used by ICAO Member States to ensure that
their local civil aviation operations and regulations conform to global norms.
Its headquarters are located in the Quartier International of Montreal, Canada.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Environment & Ecology
News Source : The Hindu
Chemistry Nobel developers of world's smallest machines
Details :
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2016 has been awarded to Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Sir
J. Fraser Stoddart and Bernard L. Feringa for developing molecular machines.

What they have developed?

They have developed molecules with controllable movements, which can

perform a task when energy is added (like when exposed to UV light).
These machines are a thousand times thinner than a strand of hair and invisible
to the naked eye.
Normally, molecules are joined by strong covalent bonds in which the atoms
share electrons, but in the chain they were linked by a freer mechanical bond.
For a machine to be able to perform a task, it must consist of parts that can move
relative to each other.
For this, the scientists used chemical attractions to construct molecular chains,
axles, motors, muscles, and even computer chips.
Molecular machines will be used in the development of things such as new
materials, sensors and energy storage systems.

Which of the following Indian born scientists won a Nobel Prize in Chemistry?
a) C.V.Raman
b) Ha Gobind Khurana
c) Venkatraman Ramakrishnan
d) J.C.Bose
Answer: Venkatraman Ramakrishnan in 2009 was awarded jointly to
VenkatramanRamakrishnan, Thomas A. Steitz and Ada E. Yonath "for studies of the
structure and function of the ribosome". He was not an Indian Citizen at the time of
receiving the prize, thus "Indian Born".
Exam Syllabus : Prelim Exam
Subject : Science & Tech
News Source : The Hindu
Oct. 5, 2016
Aadhaar must for LPG subsidy after November
Details :
What is the Issue?

The government has made Aadhaar mandatory for availing cooking gas (LPG)
subsidies and has given two months grace period for citizens to get the unique
identification number.
Government currently gives 12 cylinders at subsidised rates per household in
a year.
The subsidy on every cylinder is transferred directly into bank accounts
Direct Benefit Transfer.
The notification is not applicable to the states of Assam, Meghalaya and
Jammu & Kashmir.
Aadhaar obviates the need for producing multiple documents to prove ones
identity thereby making it easier for beneficiary to avail the subsidy.
Though Supreme Court has made the use of Aadhar optional for other
schemes, it has allowed the government to use aadhar to target the
beneficiaries for PDS and LPG.

About the Direct Benefit Transfer:

The program aims to transfer subsidies directly to the people through their
bank accounts.
Crediting subsidies directly into bank accounts help reduce leakages, delays,
DBT has now extended to most of the government schemes.

DBT has two components:

Subsidy: When a government meets a part of the cost of providing a good or

service to a beneficiary.
Income transfer:When a government provides income support to a
This is a pure transfer payment unrelated to the cost of providing any good or

Pros and Cons of DBT


Better targeting of the beneficiary: In case of physical delivery of subsided

products there are numerous reports of leakages, diversion of supplies, black
marketing etc.

By the use of DBT there is an assured transfer of the subsidy to the

Also the problems like product adulteration, delay in supplies are eliminated.
There is no need to have an elaborate administrative apparatus maintained at
huge cost to manage the rationing of subsidized commodities.
DBT brings in transparency and efficiency, and enables beneficiaries to get
their entitlements directly to them without any delay.
Direct transfer increases the circulation of money that will help in increasing
the demand in the economy. Thus, keeping the growth cycle viable.


DBT is dependent on the banking system, which is backbone of the system.

Hence, anyone without a bank account will not be able to avail subsidies.
In India, we still have the rural pockets where bank facilities has not reached
Now, the government in its move to provide universal financial inclusion is
taking the initiative to provide each household with at least one bank account
under Jan DhanYojna. Linking of the two systems i.e. DBT and financial
inclusion is now actively pursued.

Related Scheme:
PAHAL (PratyakshHanstantritLabh):

The Direct Benefit transfer of LPG (DBTL) scheme is PAHAL.

Consumers who wish to join the scheme will have to either link their Aadhaar
number into their bank account.
DBTL is designed to ensure that the benefit meant for the genuine domestic
customer reaches them directly and is not diverted.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Polity & Governance
News Source : The Hindu
RBI cuts repo rate
Details :
What is the news?

The Reserve Bank of India has reduced repo rate by 25bps & the rate now
stands at 6.25 percent.
The policy cut rate is the first decision made by the Monetary Policy
Committee (MPC) of the bank and the decision was unanimous.
Inflation targeting i.e. to keep the inflation with the targeted limits is the
primary objective of monetary policy.
RBI uses Consumer Price Inflation as its nominal anchor.


Businessmen are expecting the banks to pass on the benefit to borrowers, a

move that will ease the stressed balance sheets of India.
The banks shall lower the interest rate which will increase liquidity in the
The trio of good monsoon, 7th pay commission and the rate cut will give
kickstart to the economic growth.
Cut in rate will also push the real estate sector as the buyers will now have to
pay lesser interest.

About Repo and Reverse repo rate:

Repo rate is the rate at which the Reserve Bank of India lends money to
commercial banks in the event of any shortfall of funds - Expansionary
Banks can sell their securities to RBI with an obligation of buying back.
Reverse repo is when RBI sells the securities to commercial banks& absorbs
excess liquidity Contractionary measure.
Repo and reverse repo rates form a part of the liquidity adjustment facility.

Repo rate as a tool to control inflation:

In the event of inflation, central banks increase repo rate and this acts as a
disincentive for banks to borrow from the central bank.
This will reduce the money supply and thus helps in controlling inflation.
The central bank takes the contrary position in the event of a fall in
inflationary pressures.

About the Monetary Policy Committee:

MPC is headed by RBI governor, is a six-member panel, of which three

members are from RBI and three are independent members selected by

government. The independent members are experts in the field of economics,

banking or finance.
MPC is expected to bring value and transparency to rate-setting decisions.
The MPC will meet four times a year to decide on monetary policy by a
majority vote.
The committee was formed on the recommendation of Urjit Patel Committee,
MPC was constituted onmany-heads-are-better-than-one approachand is
expected to ensure that the decisionsare not influenced by bias or lobbying.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim Exam

Subject : Economics
News Source : The Hindu
European Parliament backs Indias surgical strikes
Details :
The European Parliament has backed Indias surgical strike on terrorist training
camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). In a signed article it has said Indias
cross border action against the terrorists should be commended and supported by
the international community.

Praising the Indian government and the Indian Army for its professional
approach to a situation that was becoming graver by the day, European
Parliament Vice President Czarnecki said in his article published in the EP
Today that , The message that came out was loud and clear that India
would no longer allow Pakistan to fuel cross-border terrorism.
India has clearly indicated that these attacks were not against the Pakistani
state, but focussed against terror groups that threatened peace and stability in
the region. India deserves global support in its fight against terror emanating
from Pakistan, for, if left unchecked, these individuals and groups would be
attacking Europe and the West, soon, Czarnecki said.

About the European Parliament:

It is a directly-elected European Union (EU) body with legislative,

supervisory, and budgetary responsibilities.
Established in 1952 as Common Assembly of the European Coal and Steel
Community, 1962 as European Parliament, first direct elections in 1979.

The European Parliament is the EU's law-making body.

It has been directly elected every five years by universal suffrage since 1979.
The last elections were in May 2014.
The European Parliament has three places of work Brussels (Belgium), the
city of Luxembourg (Luxembourg) and Strasbourg (France).
Luxembourg is home to the administrative offices (the 'General Secretariat').
Meetings of the whole Parliament ('plenary sessions') take place in Strasbourg
and in Brussels.
Committee meetings are held in Brussels.

When was the European Union (EU) formed?

After the Second World War there was a new movement to create unity
between Germany and France, which would ultimately lay the foundations for
the European Union four decades later.
The EU can trace its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community
(ECSC) and the European Economic Community (EEC), formed in 1951 and
1958 respectively by the Inner Six countries of Belgium, France, West
Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
French foreign minister Robert Schuman led the formation of the ECSC with
the Schuman Declaration in May 1950.
The organisation was a forerunner of several other European Communities
and what is now the European Union.
The European Union was established under its current name in 1993
following the Maastricht Treaty.
Since then the community has grown in size because of the accession of new
member states.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim Exam

Subject : International Relation
News Source : The Hindu
To be truly transparent 5th Oct'16 Editorial The Hindu
Details :
To be truly transparent

A power struggle has been going on between the Judiciary and the Executive over
the process of judicial appointments.
The present standoff arose when the Supreme Court struck down the National
Judicial Appointments Commission Act.
Independence of Judiciary
Independence of the judiciary from the executive and the legislature is necessary as
it ensures they remain within the boundaries outlined by the Constitution and
various laws.
As the final interpreter of the Constitution, SC held in the landmark Kesavananda
Bharati case that even a constitutional amendment could not violate the basic
structure of the Constitution.
It has also ruled that judicial independence is part of the basic structure of the
On this basis, in the Second Judges Case, the judiciary took the power of
appointing judges from the executive to itself and the collegium system was born.
It reasoned that primacy of the executive in appointing judges compromises
judicial independence.
Partial solution
When the government used to appoint the judges, it often used to appoint
politically partisan or compliant judges.
Since there was no transparency, appointments were often arbitrary and nepotistic.
The collegium system has improved judicial independence as judges appointed
subsequently are less likely to be influenced by the executive or politically partisan.
But this was a partial solution as judicial independence is also compromised by the
temptation of post-retirement jobs or the permission for foreign trips for judges.
As the collegium also did not lay down any criteria for appointments, transparency
was still lacking and appointments continued to be arbitrary and nepotistic.
National Judicial Appointments Commission

The government tried to regain some control over appointments by introducing the
This Act provided for a selection committee of six people in which two persons
were to be selected by a committee of the Prime Minister (PM), the Leader of the
Opposition (LoP) and the Chief Justice of India.
It also provided that any two members of the NJAC could veto the
recommendation of the other four.
But it has been seen that the PM and the LoP usually cooperate in appointing
compliant people to regulatory institutions to weaken regulation of political class.
Hence it was feared that NJAC will dilute judicial independence and therefore, the
SC struck down its constitutional validity.
Struggle between Government and Judiciary
But the SC did not take this opportunity to put in place a transparent system of
It asked the government to frame a memorandum of procedure (MoP) for selecting
judges, which would have to be approved by the CJI.
The government is trying to introduce clauses that could enable it to veto any
recommendation on national security considerations.
Therefore the MoP is stuck and the government is using this to delay appointments
recommended by the collegium.
Way forward
The Government and the Judiciary should come together to implement a series of
reforms on the following lines:
1)Full time body
A full time body for judicial appointments with its own secretariat should be
constituted which should be free from government as well as judiciary.

Its members could be retired judges or even eminent citizens and should be
selected by a broad-based selection committee with representation from the
government and the judiciary.
This will ensure fair and rational selection because evaluating numerous candidates
on multidimensional criteria requires time and SC judges and the Law Minister are
very busy.
To ensure minimum transparency, criteria for selection of judges like integrity,
competence, judicial temperament, common sense and sensitivity towards the
problems of the common man and the comparative evaluation of candidates should
be made public.
The names of shortlisted candidates should be announced before appointment, so
that those who have relevant information about them can send it to the appointing
The system could be modelled on the British Judicial Appointments Commission.
The judiciary should also open itself to greater scrutiny by accepting to disclose
information on its administrative or judicial functioning under the RTI Act.
Accountability of the judiciary is essential for the survival of rule of law and
democracy. Therefore it must be ensured that judicial appointments are made in a
transparent manner free of arbitrariness and nepotism.
GS 2 (Indian Constitution- features, amendments, significant provisions and basic
structure; Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal
mechanisms and institutions; Appointment to various Constitutional posts;
Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries.
Related question
Appointments to the higher judiciary have been a constant tussle between the
judiciary and the Government. Discuss the evolution of system of judicial
appointments in India. Also give suggestions for putting in place a transparent

system which safeguards judicial independence and incorporates the best practices
from around the world.
Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam
Subject : Editorial Analysis
News Source : The Hindu
Nobel physics prize 2016 to be shared by British scientists
Details :
This years Nobel Prize in physics goes to three men, who, in their work in the
1970s and 1980s, explained the very weird thing that happens to matter when you
squish it down to a flat plane, or cool it down to near absolute zero.
Half the prize goes to David Thouless of the University of Washington, and the
other half is split between Duncan Haldane of Princeton University and J. Michael
Kosterlitz of Brown. All the laureates were born in the UK.
So what, exactly, did Thouless, Haldane, and Kosterlitz prove?

In essence, they showed that the bizarre properties of matter at cold or

condensed states for instance, when super-cold materials conduct
electricity without resistance could be explained by the mathematics of
Topology is a branch of math that studies what properties are preserved when
objects are stretched, twisted, or deformed.
Hansson, apparently anticipating the total ignorance of topology, so he
brought along a cinnamon bun, a bagel, and a pretzel to explain it at the prize
He explained: You can describe the number of holes in each shape
A bun has zero holes, a bagel has one, and a pretzel has two.
There are no half holes.
And the number of holes in these objects stays the same if you stretch or twist
Using topology, Thouless, Haldane, and Kosterlitz were able to elucidate
mysteries like how super-cold films of helium change their phase of matter,

and how those phase transitions then change their properties (like how
conductive they are to electricity and magnetism).
Beyond theory, the research has also led scientists to develop new materials.
Some of these materials are called topological insulators, which conduct
electricity solely on their surface.
These topological insulators havent made it into any commercial products
yet, but the Nobel committee and the scientists are still excited about the
possibilities for using them in quantum computing and other yet-to-be
discovered applications.
One of these insulators, called stanene basically a one-atom thick layer of
tin will conduct electricity at high temperatures with little resistance.
One day, scientists hope stanene could perhaps replace copper components in

Exam Syllabus : Prelim Exam

Subject : Science & Tech
News Source : The Hindu
Global growth to stay weak: IMF
Details :
The International Monetary Fund maintained its forecast for weak global growth. In
the latest update of its World Economic Outlook, the IMF said that a drop in U.S.
growth for 2016 due to a weak first-half performance would be offset by
strengthening in Japan, Germany, Russia, India and some other emerging markets.

The IMF kept its overall global growth forecasts unchanged at 3.1 per cent for
2016 and 3.4 per cent for 2017 after cutting its outlook for five straight
It said India's growth will improve slightly to 7.6 per cent in both years.

About the International Monetary Fund (IMF):

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), also known as the Fund, was
conceived at a UN conference in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, United
States, in July 1944.
The 44 countries at that conference sought to build a framework for economic
cooperation to avoid a repetition of the competitive devaluations that had
contributed to the Great Depression of the 1930s.

IMF came into formal existence in 1945 and the goal was to reconstructing
the international payment system.
Now IMF is an organization of 189 countries, working to foster global
monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade,
promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce
poverty around the world.
The IMFs responsibilities: The IMF's primary purpose is to ensure the
stability of the international monetary systemthe system of exchange rates
and international payments that enables countries (and their citizens) to
transact with each other.
Headquarters: Washington, D.C.

World Economic Outlook:

The World Economic Outlook (WEO) is a survey conducted and published by

the International Monetary Fund.
It is published biannually and partly updated two times a year.
It portrays the world economy in the near and medium context, with
projections for up to four years into the future.

Question Asked in UPSC pre-214

Q. Which of the following organizations brings out the publication known as
World Economic Outlook?
(a) The International Monetary Fund
(b) The United Nations Development Programme
(c) The World Economic Forum
(d) The World Bank
Ans: (a)
Question Asked in UPSC pre-216
Q. Global Financial Stability Report is prepared by the
(a) European Central Bank
(b) International Monetary Fund

(c) International Bank for Reconstruction and Development

(d) Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development
Ans: (b)
Exam Syllabus : Prelim Exam
Subject : Economics
News Source : The Hindu
Oct. 4, 2016
India fair to boost intra-BRICS trade
Details :
What is the news?

The first BRICS Trade Fair & Exhibition will be held in the national capital,
ahead of the BRICS political summit in Goa.
This initiative was proposed by Prime Minister to give a push to intra-BRICS
economic engagement.
The focus of the Fair is Building BRICS Innovation for Collaboration.
The Fair will showcase about 20 key sectors: aerospace, agro-processing,
auto, chemicals, green energy, healthcare, railways, textiles, infrastructure, IT,
engineering goods, tourism, gems & jewellery and skill development.
Many companies, start-ups and innovators from BRICS will also join the fair.
Business leaders from BIMSTEC countries (Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar,
Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand) are also invited to the trade fair.

About BRICS:

Multilateral grouping of five countries: Brazil, Russia, India, China, South

The acronym "BRICS" was initially formulated in 2001 by economist Jim
O'Neill, of Goldman Sachs.
Account for 42% of world population & 20% of GWP.
South Africa was the last to join the group in 2010.
1st BRICS Summit,2009: Yekaterinburg, Russia.

7th BRICS Summit, 2015: Ufa, Russia.

8th BRICS Summit, 2016: Goa, India.
THEME- Building Responsive Inclusive Collective Solution

(More about BRICS will be covered with BRICS summit)

Exam Syllabus : Prelim Exam
Subject : International Relation
News Source : The Hindu
Vultures thrive in Telangana Forest
Details :
What is the news?

The vulture population has tripled in just three years at the Bejjur forest range,
The forest is inhabited by a colony of long billed vultures Gyps indicus which
are listed under the critically endangered category by the International Union
for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Shortage of food is suspected to be the cause of their decline and vultures
were fed with food which might have helped in gain of their numbers.
Cattle were quarantined for 15 days and were then slaughtered to serve as
food for the birds.
Quarantine was needed to ensure that all traces of diclofenac was flushed of
the body of the animal.
The presence of diclofenac in cattle carcasses is suspected to be one of the
major reasons behind the decline in the vulture population in the

About Vultures:

India has nine species of vultures in wild out of which Slender billed vulture,
Long billed vulture and Red headed vulture are critically endangered.

Significance of Vultures:

Scavenging on animal carcasses thereby helping keep the environment clean.

Disposal of dead bodies in Towers of Silence as per the practices of Parsi
Community, for vultures to feed upon.

Role of Diclofenac in decline of vulture population:

Diclofenac is an analgesic commonly used in cattle & is toxic to the vultures.

Vultures ingest the drug when they feast upon cattle carcasses.
Diclofenac is found to be associated with kidney failure, gout in vultures..
Vultures exhibit Neck Drooping which is the only behavioural indication in
the birds after ingestion of diclofenac.

Conservation measures:

Total ban on use of diclofenac in cattle. Meloxicam is now suggested as an

alternative drug.
Building vulture restaurants and Vulture Safety Zones.
Old cattle are brought from farmers which are used as food for vultures.

What is critically endangered species?

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) maintains a Red

Data Book that contains information on status of various kind of species.
A species is said ti be critically endangered when it fulfils any of the
following criteria:
Reduction in population (>90% over last 10 years)
Less than 50 mature individuals.
Probability of extinction in wild in at least 50% of the population over 10

The IUCN classification of Conservative Priorities include: Extinct species,

Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable, Near Threatened, Least Concerned.

(The details about these will be covered in upcoming topics).

Question asked in UPSC Prelims-2012:

Q. Vultures used to be very common in Indian countryside some years ago are
rarely seen nowadays. This is attributed to
a) the destruction of their nesting sites by new invasive species
b) a drug used by cattle owners for treating their diseased cattle
c) Scarcity of food available to them
d) a widespread, persistant and fatal disease among them
Answer: B
Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam
Subject : Environment & Ecology
News Source : The Hindu
Anti-dumping probes to be made ISO compliant
Details :
What is the news?

Commerce secretary has asked users of anti-dumping measures to share the

best practices with each other.
This will help Indias anti-dumping investigation to be ISO-compliant. This
means that anti-dumping measures will follow international standard.
India needs to take adherent steps to protect its market from dumping.
The negotiations at WTO also provide opportunity to strengthen antidumping rules.

What is Dumping?

World Trade Organisation defines dumping as practice of exporting product at

a price lower than the price it would normally charge in its home market.
Dumping affects domestic market of the country where dumping is done.
Domestic goods are priced at higher cost than the exported goods and
therefore distorts level playing.
The WTO Agreement does not regulate the actions of companies engaged in
Its focus is on how governments can or cannot react to dumping i.e. it
disciplines anti-dumping actions and it is often called the Anti-dumping

What is the meaning of ISO-compliant?

If a business is following the rules and regulations promulgated by the

International Organization for Standardization, it is said to be ISO compliant.
Certification with ISO confirms that the business is following the guidelines
set by ISO.
Businesses are not obligated to comply with these standards.

About the International Organization for Standardization:

It is an organization based in Switzerland.

ISO has issued over 19,000 international standards in a range of fields,
including food safety, technologically advanced vehicles, healthcare and
manufacturing processes.
The most common standard used by most businesses is ISO 9000, which is the
umbrella for the quality management standards.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Economics
News Source : The Hindu
Nobel Prize for Physiology/ Medicine, 2016
Details :
What is the news?

The 2016 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to

YoshinoriOhsumi of the Tokyo Institute of Technology (Japan), for his
discoveries of mechanisms for autophagy.

What is autophagy?

Autophagy is a Greek word where automeans self and phageinmeans to eat.

It is a fundamental process for degrading and recycling cellular components.


Cytoplasmic contents are isolated from rest of the cell and are packed in a
vesicle known as an autophagosome.
The autophagosome fuses with a lysosome(suicidal bag of cell)
The contents are then degraded and recycled.

Physiological functions:

Autophagy can rapidly provide fuel for energy and building blocks for
renewal of cellular components, and is, therefore, essential for the cellular
response to starvation and other types of stress.
Autophagy can eliminate intracellular bacteria and viruses, damaged
Autophagy helps in embryo development and cell differentiation.

Role of Autophagy:

In disease state: Autophagyis seen as an adaptive response to stress and

promotes survival by eliminating offending agent.
In starvation: Breakdownsthe cellular components and promotes cellular
survival by maintaining energy levels of the cell.

Disruption of autophagy processes of the cell has been linked to Parkinsons

disease, type 2 diabetes.
Exam Syllabus : Prelim Exam
Subject : Science & Tech
News Source : The Hindu
Centre to amend rules on foreign funding
Details :
The Ministry of Home Affairs is planning to further tighten the noose around
NGOs, as it is all set to amend the Foreign Contribution Regulation Rules making it
mandatory for all voluntary organisations to have dedicated accounts only in banks
with core banking facilities for their real-time access. This would allow the security
agencies to access the accounts on real-time basis.
Other Important points:

The Home Ministry is also making rules to ensure that no NGO is allowed to
get foreign funds under the prior permission category more than once.
The move comes in the backdrop of Amnesty International India getting
foreign funds under the prior permission category at least thrice.
Prior permission is granted for receipt of a specific amount from a specific
donor for carrying out specific activities/projects.
There are around 33,000 NGOs registered under the Foreign Contribution
Regulation Act.
However, at least 6,000 of them do not have their FCRA accounts in banks
with core banking facilities.
Many have their FCRA accounts in cooperative banks or State governmentsowned apex banks.
It will soon be mandatory for NGOs to have accounts only in banks with core
banking facilities

What is Core Banking Solution ?

Core Banking Solution (CBS) is networking of branches, which enables

Customers to operate their accounts, and avail banking services from any
branch of the Bank on CBS network, regardless of where he maintains his

The customer is no more the customer of a Branch.

He becomes the Banks Customer.
Thus CBS is a step towards enhancing customer convenience through
Anywhere and Anytime Banking.
All CBS branches are inter-connected with each other.
Therefore, Customers of CBS branches can avail various banking facilities
from any other CBS branch located any where in the world.
Core banking became possible with the advent of computer and
telecommunication technology that allowed information to be shared between
bank branches quickly and efficiently.

What is foreign contribution?

Foreign contribution has been defined in the Foreign Contribution Regulation

Act , 2010. it has been defined it as the donation, delivery or transfer made by
any foreign source of any article, not given to a person as a gift for personal
Whether donation given by Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) is treated as foreign
Contributions made by a citizen of India living in another country (i.e.NonResident Indian), from his personal savings, through the normal banking
channels, is not treated as foreign contribution.

Who can receive foreign contribution?

A person having a definite cultural, economic, educational, religious or social

programme can receive foreign contribution after it obtains the prior
permission of the Central Government, or gets itself registered with the
Central Government.
Any amount received, by any person from any foreign source in India, by way
of fee (including fees charged by an educational institution in India from
foreign student), shall be excluded from the definition of foreign contribution.
Any cost in lieu of goods or services rendered by such person in the ordinary
course of his business, trade or commerce whether within India or outside
India, is also be excluded from the definition of foreign contribution.

Who cannot receive foreign contribution?

Foreign contribution cannot be accepted by any :

A candidate for election.

Correspondent, columnist, cartoonist, editor, owner, printer or publisher of a

registered newspaper.
Judge, government servant or employee of any Corporation or any other body
controlled on owned by the Government.
Member of any legislature.
Political party or office bearer thereof.
Organization of a political nature as may be defined by the Central
Asociation or company engaged in the production or broadcast of audio news
or audio visuals or current affairs programmes through any electronic mode,
or any other electronic form or any other mode of mass communication.

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-2

Subject : Polity & Governance
News Source : The Hindu
The lines that have been crossed 4th Oct'16 Editorial The Hindu
Details :
The lines that have been crossed
Recently, after terrorists attacked Indian army base in Uri, India responded by
carrying out publicly acknowledged surgical strikes on terrorist launching pads
across the LOC.
This has further increased the tensions between the nuclear armed neighbours and
larger implications of the strike are widely debated.
Three myths
1)Nuclear bluff
The surgical strike doesnt means that Pakistans threat of using tactical nuclear
weapons is a bluff because the threat of nuclear weapons is not meant for operations
across the LOC.
It is more real for operations across the international border, especially in the
desert sector where Indian forces have an advantage over the Pakistani forces.

Anything short of it, especially on the LOC will be below Pakistani nuclear
threshold and India will havethe scope to use limited force.
But there is danger that such operations may escalate into a broader conflict falling
short of a nuclear exchange.
2)New era of conventional retaliation
The strike should not be seen as evidence that India has started applying the cold
start doctrine and it could lead to deeper and more punitive strikes because India
has still not developed the capability for that.
3)Strategic restraint
The strike doesnt suggest that India has abandoned strategic restraint as a general
policy to achieve its long term objectives vis--vis Pakistan.
Strategic restraint doesnt mean to do nothing. It means avoiding operations that
can lead to major conventional war which carries with it the risk of nuclear attack.
The strike fulfills the parameters of strategic restraint as it was defensive, preemptive and and Pakistani military personnel were not targeted.
Implications of the strike
Although strategic restraint is still a part of long term policy towards Pakistan,
strike suggests an end of the era of visibly doing nothing militarily.
On one hand, it can deter future Pakistani attacks if it fears a disproportionate
Indian response. On the other hand, it can force Indian leaders to escalate even
when it is not in the national interest to do so.
It demonstrates the capability of the Indian national security establishment.
It may act as deterrent for Pakistan because in future, it must now factor in
potential Indian responses which could be unpredictable with varying levels of

Although the strike was highly successful at the tactical level and has some longterm strategic consequences, it doesnt alter the fundamental strategic relations
between India and Pakistan.
Also, it doesnt mean that India can militarily try to impose its will on Pakistan.
This is neither possible nor in Indias long tern interests.
GS 2 (India and its neighborhood- relations)
GS 3 (Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal
security; Security challenges and their management in border areas)
Related questions
Terrorist activities and mutual distrust have clouded India-Pakistan relations. To
what extent the use of soft power like sports and cultural exchanges could help
generate goodwill between the two countries? Discuss with suitable
examples.(UPSC, GS 2, 2015)
Although Pakistan has continued to use non-state actors against India, New Delhi
has adopted a policy of strategic restraint. Discuss. Do you think strategic restraint
has lost relevance after surgical strikes across the LOC.
Additional information
Cold Start Doctrine- It is a limited war doctrine whose aim is to establish the
capacity to launch a retaliatory conventional strike against Pakistan that would
inflict significant harm on the Pakistan Army before the international community
could intervene, and at the same time, pursue narrow enough aims to deny
Islamabad a justification to escalate the clash to the nuclear level.
Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam
Subject : Editorial Analysis
News Source : The Hindu
Colombias Santos, FARC scramble to revive peace after shock vote
Details :

What is the News?

Voters in Colombia's referendum have narrowly rejected a peace accord

between the government and the Marxist group, FARC.
The outcome of Sunday's vote (2nd October) endangers a deal expected to end
52 years of war and allow FARC fighters to re-enter society and form a
political party.
With more than 99 percent of polling stations reporting, 50.2 percent of
ballots opposed the accord while 49.8 percent favoured it - a difference of less
than 60,000 votes out of a total of 13 million.
The verdict on the deal between the government of Juan Manuel Santos and
the FARC, reached after four years of intense negotiations, means it cannot
now be implemented.
The deal would have allowed rebel leaders to avoid jail if they confessed to
their crimes such as killings, kidnappings, indiscriminate attacks and child
recruitment, something that many Colombians found hard to swallow.
In a ceremony on 26 September, with the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon,
US secretary of state, John Kerry, and a dozen Latin American leaders on
hand as witnesses, Santos (President of Colombia) and Timochenko (FARC)
signed the deal their negotiators had reached after four years of talks in

Who are the FARC?

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC, after the initials in

Spanish) are Colombia's largest rebel group.
They were founded in 1964 as the armed wing of the Communist Party and
follow a Marxist-Leninist ideology.
Their main founders were small farmers and land workers who had banded
together to fight against the staggering levels of inequality in Colombia at the
While the FARC have some urban groups, they have always been an
overwhelmingly rural guerrilla organisation.

Why did they take up Arms?

The FARC were founded at a time of brutal repression against any form of
action considered subversive.
Colombia has historically been a country which suffers from huge levels of
inequality, where vast swathes of land are owned by a very small elite.

This is partly due to the fact that the Colombian state sold off large tracts of
land to private owners in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries to pay for its
Some of the founders of the FARC had established an agricultural commune
in the region of Marquetalia, in central Tolima province.
Inspired by the Cuban revolution in the 1950s, they demanded more rights and
control over the land.
But their communist ideals were seen as a threat by big landowners and the
state, which sent in the army to disband the commune, or Marquetalia
Republic as it had come to be known.
The FARC says that it was after the clashes with the army in Marquetalia that
they decided to make their struggle an armed one.
The main enemy of the FARC have been the Colombian security forces. Farc
fighters have attacked police stations and military posts, and ambushed

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : International Relation
News Source : The Hindu
Reliance Group gets an edge in defence play
Details :
The Anil Ambani led-Reliance Group signed an agreement with Dassault Aviation
of France, the makers of Rafale fighter jets, for a joint venture in India to be named
Dassault Reliance Aerospace, to execute offsets for the recently-concluded Rafale
deal. The Rafale Jet deal that India signed has a 50 per cent offset clause to be
executed by Dassault and its partners in India amounting to about Rs. 30,000 crore.
What are offsets?

Offsets are essentially benefits that a buyer gets from a seller

technology/capability that Indian industry gets from a foreign vendor selling
equipment to India.
Offsets have been variously defined. In essence, offsets in defence, as in civil
trade, are compensations that a buyer seeks from the seller for the purchase of
goods and/or services.

The policy on offsets was first introduced as part of the Defence Procurement
Procedure (DPP) 2005, and has undergone revisions since then.
The minimum contract value for which offsets are mandatory has now been
revised from Rs 300 crore to Rs 2,000 crore.
Another way of looking at the decision is that offsets will no longer be
applicable to defence deals worth less than Rs 2,000 crore.
However the Rafale deal comes with a 50% offset clause which means that
Indian companies, big and small, will get 50% businesses in return of the
value of the Rafale Jet deal.
For example if India buys $100 million of a defense product from US
companies. So, according to the offset clause, $50 million has to be reinvested in Indian defense industries by US companies.

Objective of Defence Offsets:

The key objective of the Defence Offset Policy is to leverage capital

acquisitions to develop Indian defence industry by:
Fostering development of internationally competitive enterprises.
Augmenting capacity for Research, Design and Development related to
defence products and services and
Encouraging development of synergistic sectors like civil aerospace, and
internal security.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Defence & Security
News Source : The Hindu
The organic farming conundrum
Details :
What is the news?
Organic farming is an upcoming trend in Indian agri-sector which will not only have
good impact on health of individuals but will also be beneficial to the environment.
The farmer talks about how the organic farming is different from conventional one
and what are the challenges faced by farmers during transition period.

About Organic Farming

Organic farming is a combination of tradition, innovation and science.

It is a production system that relies on the use of natural inputs that are suitable
to local environment, rather than using synthetic chemicals with adverse effects.
In the transition from conventional to organic farming, synthetic chemical
fertilizers are replaced with natural inputs and bio-materials like organic
manures, neem cake, cow dung, and chemical pesticides are replaced with neem
oil and bio- pesticides.

Types of Orgnaic Manures:

Farm yard manure
Green manure

Crop Residues


Benefits of Organic Farming:

Inputs for organic farming are cheaper and yields fetch premium price on crops
leading to higher returns to the farmer.
Improvement in soil health and fertility.
Promotes efficient use of water resources and decreases water pollution.
Beneficial to the environment: Decrease in GHGs like nitrous oxide as there is
no use of chemical fertilizers.
Organic food is free of toxic materials that otherwise make way to the food

Constrains of Organic Farming:

Lack of technical support: Organic farming needs dedicated guidance for


Decrease in income (initially): For farmers the activity is less profitable initially
due to decrease in yields during conversion period.

- Soil needs to be detoxified for 3 years before obtaining organic certification. This
process involves investment putting more pressure on the income of the farmer. Also,
during this three year time farmers are unable to sell their products at premium price
because the produce is not yet completely organic by global standards.

Lack about market information: Organic farmers are dependent on urban

markets & export markets and accessing such markets requires contracts with
large companies. The small organic farmer are unable to reach those who are
paying more for organic products.

Questions on the safety of organic food: The organics industry is young and not
well-regulated in India. The farmers lack knowledge about the products that are
not to be used in farms. For example farmers often use farmyard manure which
may contain toxic chemicals and heavy metals. This can compromise the
quality of food and may have an adverse impact on the health of consumers.


Encouragement for organic farming should be supported by financial incentives

during the first three years and assurance of a better market for the produce.
Collective farming: There is a need to organize farmers in a way that they can
enter into contracts and demand a fair price from global companies.
Providing ease in obtaining organic certification.
Instead of going "full organic" in one go ,farmers can be educated about ecofriendly food that will allow the use of limited agrochemicals within safe levels.

Related Scheme:

Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PVKY):

It is one of the schemes under NMSA (National Mission for Sustainable

Agriculture) to promote organic farming.

Under PKVY, Organic farming is promoted through cluster approach and

local quality assurance systems.
It is proposed to develop 10,000 clusters with a size of 20 hectare so as to
increase the area 2 lakh hectare in 3 years.
The assistance under the scheme is under different components such as:
Mobilization of farmers, training, quality control, soil sample analysis,
conversion practice to transit from current practices to organic farming, Custom
Hiring Centres (CHCs) to hire agricultural implements, Labeling and Packaging
assistance & Transport assistance; Marketing through organic fairs.

(Source: Annual Report, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers' Welfare)

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam
Subject : Environment & Ecology
News Source : The Hindu
Daily dose
Details :
Answer the following question in the comment section. You can also write few
lines about the festivals. Questions on festivals are frequently asked in mains &
These facts are difficult to mug up at the end. So let us interact and learn step by
step. Good luck


The traditional floral festival celebrated by women in South India is:

a. Gowri Habba
b. Naukhai
c. Gangaur

d. Bathukamma

Answer will be given in the comment section tomorrow.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam
Subject : History & Culture
News Source : None
Oct. 3, 2016
India ratifies historic Paris climate deal at U.N.
Details :
India ratified the Paris Agreement on Climate Change by depositing the instrument
of ratification with the United Nations on the 147th birth anniversary of Mahatma
Gandhi. With Indias move, a total of 62 countries accounting for almost 52 per
cent of emissions have now ratified the accord. A special event was organised to
mark the occasion, also observed as the International Day of Nonviolence, at the
UN headquarters.
Important Points:

India is the 62nd country to ratify the agreement.

The agreement will enter into force one month after 55 countries that account
for 55 percent of global emissions ratify the agreement.
India, which accounts for 4.1 per cent of the emissions, the Agreement only
needs slightly more than 3 percentage points to reach the 55 per cent
At least 14 other countries, representing at least 12 per cent of global
emissions, have committed to ratifying the pact before the end of the year.

So what will change, and what could?

Solar & wind energy:

Solar photovoltaic panels and, to a lesser extent, large wind mills will become
one of the most familiar sights representing the fight against climate change.

India plans to install as much as 100 GW of electricity generation capacity

through solar energy by 2022, of which 40 GW would be through individual
rooftop systems.
India had initially announced plans for setting up 60 GW of wind energy by
A number of villages are already powered solely through solar or wind
But decentralised production and consumption of electricity, through solar,
wind, biogas or small hydro initiatives, is likely to become more prevalent as
efforts are made to take electricity to 200 million people still in the dark.

Home appliances:

This shift is already underway. Bringing in greater efficiency in the way

energy is produced and consumed is crucial to fulfilling one of Indias main
Under the Paris Agreement, India has promised to reduce emissions intensity,
or the amount of greenhouse gas emissions per unit of GDP, by 33 to 35 per
cent by 2030 as compared to 2005 levels. A quarter of Indias total electricity
is consumed at homes.
So far, more than 3 crore households have switched over to energy efficient
LED bulbs, according to government figures.
More than 16.5 crore LED bulbs are in use in these houses.
Electrical appliances, including air conditioners, refrigerators and television
have become far more efficient.

Private & public transport:

Electric cars are slowly marking their presence and battery-operated erickshaws have become popular in many cities.
Now, stricter fuel efficiency norms will be put in place, with India advancing
the implementation of Bharat VI pollution norms to 2020 instead of 2022.
Besides, Metro tracks coming up in various cities across the country that will
resolve, to a large extent, not just the problem of mass urban transport but also
pollution caused by older forms of transport.

More trees:

India has promised to create an additional carbon sink system capable of

absorbing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere of 2.5 to 3 billion
tonnes of CO2-equivalent through forest and tree cover by 2030.
Just over 24 per cent of Indias geographical area is currently under forest and
tree cover, and the stated objective is to take it to 33 per cent.
However, it will be difficult to rapidly expand the forest cover, especially
because more forest area will be cut for developmental or industrial
As a result, planting of trees would be seen as an alternative.
Besides, with close to half of Indias forests of very low quality, transforming
them would lead to an increase in carbon sink.
In the previous Parliament session, the government managed to get the
landmark CAMPA (Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and
Planning Authority) bill passed to make up for every piece of forest destroyed
for any reason.
Thousands of crores of rupees are available for afforestation drives through
CAMPA, or Green India Mission.
The government has also spoken about planting trees along the entire stretch
of highways and railways.

Smarter buildings:

Projections show that 70 per cent of the infrastructure that India will have in
2030 is still to be built, including new cities and buildings.
Smart and net zero buildings are becoming the new buzzwords, though a
vast majority of new constructions are still of poor quality.
As an example, the new building of the Union Environment Ministry, which
came up three years ago, was constructed to be net zero, ie., the total amount
of energy used on an annual basis is roughly equal to the amount of renewable
energy created on the site.
What will also become more common is the rating of buildings on green
parameters, with incentives or penalties on electricity or water bills.
Already, the Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA),
endorsed by the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy, and Leadership in
Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), a third-party certification
programme, which is one of the most popular green building certification
programs used worldwide are fairly well established.


For a country that is already water-stressed, climate change is an additional

urgent reason to reform the way in which water is managed and utilised.
Some movements in this direction have already started happening.
Free water is likely to be rationed in future.
And water for all uses is likely to be priced.
There will be no unrestricted rights over groundwater below the land one
And industries will be mandated to use only treated water.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Environment & Ecology
News Source : The Hindu
N-deal with Japan ready to be sealed
Details :
The India-Japan nuclear agreement, under discussion since 2008, is ready to be
signed when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits Japan later this year. This
indicated a breakthrough on several contentious issues including a controversial
nullification clause.
About nullification clause:

The controversial nullification or cancellation clause stated that in case

India were to conduct a nuclear test, Japan will cancel the deal.
While India has refused to sign the NPT and CTBT treaties, it issued a
unilateral moratorium on testing many years ago.
Even so, Japanese officials have been insisting that the nuclear deal include a
clause that would cut off nuclear supplies should India test a weapon.
India has thus far resisted the move, as this would disrupt its nuclear power

Why Nuclear Deal with Japan is Important?

If the deal is signed, in the next few months, it will be a big boost for Indias
nuclear power industry as the two major U.S. companies planning plants in
India GE and Westinghouse are both Japanese owned.
Japanese companies are world leaders in nuclear technology.

Whether a reactor is French or Korean, key components like reactor vessels

are the monopoly of Japanese firms like JSW.
Only Russian reactors are not dependent on Japanese parts, but their reactors
are limited to 1000 MW and have outdated safety technology.
The American reactors are actually only the Japanese reactors because
Westinghouse is a Toshiba subsidiary and even the GE reactor core is built by
In other areas, like nuclear fuel fabrication and breeder technology the
Japanese are the best.
Japanese manufacturers hold a virtual monopoly on several critical parts and
forgings needed by the Indian reactors.
India is also keen on Japanese funding for its clean energy projects, with
recent news agency reports suggesting that the plan for the U.S. Export Import
bank to fund 6 reactors built by Westinghouse in Andhra Pradeshs Kovvada
nuclear park has run into trouble over liability issues.
Furthermore, officials believe, a deal with Japan, the worlds only victim of
nuclear weapons as well a country deeply scarred by the 2011 Fukushima
nuclear accident, would be a powerful vote of confidence in Indias nuclear
programme, in a year it hopes to push its bid to join the Nuclear Suppliers

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-2

Subject : International Relation
News Source : The Hindu
Ex-servicemen to get full pension as service limit goes
Details :
After years of dithering, the Centre has finally acted on its promise of One-Rank,
One-Pension (OROP). In a September 30 letter addressed to the Chiefs of Army,
Navy and Air Force, the Ministry of Personnel informed them about the notification
on pension benefits as recommended by the 7th Central Pay Commission (CPC).
The OROP issue became a major bone of contention in 2015 between the defence
personnel and the Modi government with the former charging it of backtracking on
its 2014 general election manifesto promise.
What is One Rank, One Pension?

OROP or One Rank, One Pension means that every pension-eligible

soldier retiring in a particular rank gets the same pension, irrespective of his
date of retirement.
As of now, soldiers who retired more recently receive more pension than
those who retired earlier.
This is because pensions are dependent on the last salary drawn, and
successive pay commissions have raised salaries.
Thus, a Colonel who retired after the Sixth Pay Commission
recommendations were accepted in 2006, gets more than a Colonel who
retired when his salary was computed on the basis of the recommendations of
the Third Pay Commission.

To know more, please read this Article: https://lms.vajiramandravi.com/currentaffairs/veterans-allege-betrayal-on-one-rank-onepension/57b14daab680d37a9ad4b09b/

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam
Subject : Defence & Security
News Source : The Hindu
Inspirational stories from real-life heroes for Ethics & Essay Paper. (Part-IV)
Details :
Many parents think that only corporate schools can ensure good education for their
children but the availability of wonderful education from a government school in
Ponduru which is 25 km away from Srikakulam (Andhra Pradesh) has broken this
myth. The institution was in a bad light till a few years ago. Only 52 per cent of the
students used to clear tenth class examinations. The teachers used to fight among
themselves while allowing local politicians to intervene in settling the disputes.
The Change:

However, a remarkable change was brought within five years, thanks to

posting of Headmaster Govinda Rao who brought unity among the teachers.
With their constant and collective efforts, the school has been able to register
98 per cent results in the Class X examinations in 2015-16.
Now the strength of the high schools goes up every year contrary to other
Currently 1,200 students are studying from 6th to 10th class in the school.

The school has set another record with 48 teachers.

No other school has these many teachers in the entire district.

Devotion to Duty :

Here, the teachers hardly take leave.

For instance, Telugu teacher Ch. Sunitha has not taken a single casual in the
last one decade.
They spend time with students to clarify their doubts even after school hours.
Special classes are conducted even during summer and Dasara holidays.
Interestingly, it is not being done to get awards and recognition.
Inspired by the dedication of the teachers, the children spend their leisure time
in gardening.
They planted almost 500 saplings which ensured greenery on the premises.
The digital library and laboratory are being maintained very well with the
support of the students.

Award & Recognition:

Telugu teacher Ms. Sunitha was recently given Daneti Ramarao Award of
Excellence which is normally given for State-level achievements.
Another teacher Ambati Krishnamurthy who handles biology likes to spend a
lot of time with kids to enable them compete with students of corporate
Mr. Krishnamurthy has recently received the Best Teacher Award.
Headmaster Edula Govinda Rao is the man behind the transformation of the
school, according to parents and locals.
Mr. Govinda Rao was given special award along with district officials.

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-4

Subject : Miscellaneous
News Source : The Hindu
Open Defecation Free States
Details :
What is the news?

Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat have become the first States in the country with all
cities and towns of these states declared Open Defecation Free (ODF).
On the occasion of birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, his birthplace,
Porbandar was declared as Open Defecation Free district.
Gandhiji wanted to make sanitation a priority for India more than a century ago.

Open Defecation:

Open defecation refers to the practice whereby people go out in fields, bushes,
forests, open bodies of water, or other open spaces rather than using the toilet
to defecate.
India began Total Sanitation Campaign, which was relaunched as Nirmal
Bharat Abhiyan in 2012 and was merged into Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean
India Mission) in 2014.
The aim of the nationwide cleanliness drive is to clean up the country by 2019.
The current drive aims to end the wide-spread practice of open defecation, build
more toilets and improve waste management.

Hazards of Open Defecation:

Open defecation is an important factor in causing various diseases like diarrhea,

intestinal worm infections, polio, hepatitis etc.


Behavioural change in people.

Creating awareness about adverse impact of open defecation on health.
Creation of community toilets.
Establishing portable structures like bucket toilet and dry urine toilets.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Social Issues
News Source : The Hindu
Indian NGO bags UN climate award for clean energy project
Details :
What is the news?

An Indian NGO, SwayamShikshanPrayog, has bagged the UN climate award

this year.
The NGO trains women to become clean energy entrepreneurs across
Maharashtra and Bihar.
The UNFCCC has appreciated the project for building rural network of
women entrepreneurs which has helped several communities in getting access
to basic facilities like clean energy, water and sanitation products and service.

Importance of such initiatives:

Helps in improving quality of life in number of waysUse of woodfire for cooking in rural areas is major source of indoor pollution.
Replacing the traditional biomass fuel with solar stoves will help in alleviating
both pollution and health hazards.
Solar lamps are best source of renewable energy. People can have
uninterrupted supply of energy and can also sell the extra energy to the grid.
Providing a source of income to distressed farmers in drought hit areas.
These micro-level initiative can help the country to achieve its renewable
energy targets.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim Exam

Subject : Miscellaneous
News Source : The Hindu
CIL to pay Rs.2,500 cr. more as levies
Details :
What is the news?

Coal India Limited is likely to fork out an additional Rs.2,000 crore to

Rs.2,500 crore as mining levies, with the Centre making the District Mineral
Foundation (DMF) levy applicable on coal mining from the same date as it is
for other minerals.
The development assumes significance as the Centre is defending the
retrospective applicability of this levy on miners from January 2015, though
its rules were only notified in September 2015, in the Supreme Court.
The levy for other minerals was notified in September 2015 and was
applicable retrospectively from January 2015.

The Coal Ministry had made the levy applicable on coal and lignite mining in
October 2015, but with prospective effect from the date of notification.
Now, the centre government has made the District Mineral Foundation (DMF)
levy applicable on coal mining from the same date as it is for other minerals
i.e. from January 2015.
Since coal is also a mineral, there cannot be two different set of rules for

District Mineral Foundation:

DMF is established in any district affected by mining related operations.

DMF office is located in the office of the District Panchayat of the District.
The objective of the DMF is: To work for the interest and benefit of persons,
and areas, affected by mining related operations.

The DMF levy is charged at:

30 per cent of royalty for mines allotted administratively in the past.

10 per cent for those acquired through transparent auctions.

The proceeds of DMF levy are to be used for:

The overall development of the area affected by mining related `operations in

the District.
Creation of local infrastructure for socio-economic purposes
Providing, maintaining or upgrading of community assets and services for
local population in the area affected by mining related operations.
Organising or conducting training programmes for skill development, creating
employment and self-employment capabilities.

Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana (PMKKKY):

The Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana will be implemented by

the DMFs of the respective districts using the funds accruing to the DMF.

Objective of PMKKKY scheme is :

To implement various developmental and welfare projects/programs in mining

affected areas.
To minimize/mitigate the adverse impacts, during and after mining, on the
environment, health and socio-economics of people in mining districts.

To ensure long-term sustainable livelihoods for the affected people in mining


Question asked in UPSC Pre-2016

Q. What is/are the purpose/purposes of District Mineral Foundations in
1. Promoting mineral exploration activities in mineral-rich districts
2. Protecting the interests of the persons affected by mining operations
3. Authorising State Governments to issue licences for mineral exploration
Select the correct answer using the code given below:
(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 2 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
Ans: (b)
Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam
Subject : Economics
News Source : The Hindu
Private consumption to rise on better monsoon
Details :
What is the news?

Monsoon rains are expected to drive private consumption to 8.3 percent

(estimated figure).
After three years of deficient monsoon, rains this year have been sufficient,
not to impact the agriculture sector.
Few areas have witnessed rain deficiency this year. But most of these areas
are either well irrigated or not important agriculturally.

So, they are less likely to be affected by the deficiency.

With good monsoon there is replenishment of the reservoirs augurs well for
the rabi season.

Impact of Monsoon on private consumption:

India is predominantly a agriculture based economy and is closely linked to

monsoon rains because of its water resources.
The agriculture sector contributes to 14% of India's GDP and any variation in
distribution of monsoon have direct impact on agriculture output which in
turns leads to inflation eventually affecting consumer expenditure.

Other factors leading to rise in consumption are:

The revenue and fiscal deficits are contained within the targets, attracting the
investors towards Indian economy.
Consumption momentum has been generated by increase in higher pay for
public sector employees.
Implementation of 7th pay commission.
Passage of Goods and Services tax.
Increased investment on infrastructure.
Hike in defence pension under One Rank One Pension scheme.

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-3

Subject : Economics
News Source : The Hindu
Impact of fumigation on dengue, chikungunya
Details :
What is the news?

Fogging is done extensively during monsoon to control the spread of

mosquitoes and vector borne diseases like malaria, dengue and chikungunya.
Plumes of diesel and malathion, an organophosphate insecticide that has low
toxicity for humans is used for fogging.
As per the National Vector-Borne Disease Control Programmes Operational
Guidelines for Urban Vector-Borne Disease Control 2016, one part of
malathion is to be mixed with 19 parts of diesel.

The fog is created by blasting the mixture of insecticide and water into very
fine droplets.

Limitations of fogging:

Fumigation has minimal impact on controlling the spread of vector-borne

diseases as it only targets adult mosquitoes, not the larvae.
This can limit the spread of disease to some extent but cannot be useful for
Frequent fogging can build resistance in the mosquitoes.
Adverse impact of water resources.
Also known to cause adverse reactions like itching, burning, prickling
sensations on skin, headaches, swelling, asthma, sneezing, nasal congestion
and nausea.


Larvicidal measures should be adopted.

Water logging should be checked.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Science & Tech
News Source : The Hindu
Prognosis is good for Indias organ transplant programme
Details :
What is the news?

The Nation Informatics Centre is developing a national registry of organ and

tissue donors. The registry is partly developed and is accessible through the
NOTTO site.
The registry will help in maintaining data and surveillance that can also be used
for academic research.
After the transplant, patients should be followed up and data should be
maintained which will help in tracking the post-transplant survival rate.

Issues with maintaining of registry:

Since, most transplants are taking place in private hospitals and it is not
mandatory for them to share data. So, the doctors and hospitals resist in sharing
the data.
There is no proper policy that can guide organ transplantation data and follow
There are concerns about maintaining donor confidentiality.
Lack of networking between all transplant hospitals.
Lack of awareness about organ donation.

Need to maintain organ donation and transplant data :

To track the prognosis.

Do retrospective analysis in case of organ failure.
Conduct research for better treatment.
Prevent illegal trade in human organs.
Keep a record of organ donors and recipients to avoid delays in transplants.

Understanding Organ Donation

What is Organ Donation?
Organ donation is a voluntary decision to give organs to help a person in need of a
The person who donates organs is called as 'donor' and one who receives becomes
Types of Organ Donations:
1. Living Donor Transplant: When a living person donates organ(s) to someone in
need of a transplant. Living donors can donate few organs like kidney, bone
marrow, part of liver, part of pancreas.
2. Deceased Donor Transplant: When organs from a brain dead individual are
transplanted into the body of a living recipient. Deceased organ can donate any
organ that is in viable condition.

Organs that can be donated:




Part of bone



Bone marrow


Other viable tissues

Organ Donation in India:

Organ donation in India is under the ambit of Transplantation of Human Organs Act
1994. The act has been amended once in 2011 and the rules were notified in 2014.

National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organization (NOTTO)

It is a National level organization set up under Directorate General of Health

Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India located in
New Delhi.
Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam
Subject : Miscellaneous
News Source : The Hindu
Breaking out of election mode
Details :
Breaking out of election mode
The country is vigorously debating the idea of one nation, one election i.e.
simultaneous elections for the Lok Sabha and the State Assemblies.
This article is in response to the article The Case Against Simultaneous Polls.
Arguments in favour
Development and Governance
India is on the edge of achieving rapid economic development. Therefore
development efforts must not be hampered.
Due to frequent elections developmental process and good governance suffer.
The policies are also biased in favour of short term electoral gains compromising
long term developmental objectives.
The Chief Election Commissioner has also favoured simultaneous elections as they
would save money, time and energy, and ensure effective governance.
Simultaneous elections will not affect the federal nature of the polity.

Instead, it will help in better coordination between the Centre and the States as the
both tiers of government will have common focus on long term development and
not on short term electoral gains.
There were simultaneous election between 1952 and 1967 and they did not make
the country a unitary state.
Indian democracy is mature and holding simultaneous elections would make
democracy stronger.
It would provide a level playing field to all the players across all States irrespective
of their relations with the party in power at the centre.
Politically mature voters
Although some data suggests that voters tend to choose same party at the Centre
and the States when elections are held simultaneously, it would not become a
general trend due to Indias political diversity.
It would not be correct to assume that during simultaneous elections national issues
would dominate the discourse at the expense of State and regional issues because
the Indian electorate is mature enough to decide what is in its best interest.
Reducing expenditure
The cost of holding separate Lok Sabha and Assembly elections is estimated to be
around Rs.4,500 crore.
Although the Election Commission has put the likely cost of holding simultaneous
elections at over Rs.9,000crore, it will be a onetime expenditure incurred on
purchasing additional EVMs and VVPAT machines.
While one-time cost in holding simultaneous polls would be high, but the exercise
may bring down expenditure involved in 'election bandobast' such as deployment of
central forces and polling personnel.
Parliamentary standing committee
A Parliamentary Standing Committee also supported the idea of holding of
simultaneous elections.

Apart from reducing the expenditure, it argued that frequent imposition of the
Model Code of Conduct hampers developmental activities and leads to policy
paralysis and government deficit.
Holding concurrent elections will be an enormous logistical task in terms of
deployment of personnel, EVMs and other material.
It also requires widespread political consensus and several constitutional
amendments for ensuring a fixed tenure of legislative bodies.
Way forward
Apart from the government, several political parties and Election Commission
have also endorsed the idea.
Holding simultaneous elections is indeed a challenging task but it is an idea worth
GS 2 (Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features,
amendments, significant provisions and basic structure; Salient features of the
Representation of Peoples Act; issues and challenges pertaining to the federal
Related question
Indian constitution is said to be a federal constitution with unitary features. Do you
think that proposed simultaneous elections for Lok Sabha and State Assemblies will
reverse the process towards greater federalism and strengthen the unitary
Additional information
Views of Parliamentary standing committee
Simultaneous elections would reduce the massive expenditure incurred for conduct
of separate elections every year

Elections lead to imposition of Model Code of Conduct (MCC) in the poll bound
State/area. The imposition of MCC puts on hold the entire development program
and activities of the Union and State Governments affecting the normal governance.
Frequent elections lead to imposition of MCC over prolonged periods of time
leading to policy paralysis and governance deficit.
Frequent elections lead to disruption of normal public life and impact the
functioning of essential services. Holding of political rallies disrupts road traffic
and also leads to noise pollution. If simultaneous elections are held, this period of
disruption would be limited to a certain pre-determined period of time.
Simultaneous elections would free the crucial manpower which is often deployed
for prolonged periods on election duties.
Suggestion of Election Commission
The period for general election to constitute the new House has to be determined in
such a way that the Lok Sabha could commence its term on the predetermined date.
In order to avoid premature dissolution, it may be suggested that any noconfidence motion moved against the government in office should also include a
further confidence motion in favour of a government to be headed by a named
individual as the future Prime Minister and voting should take place for the two
motions together.
In spite of the above arrangement, if there is a situation where dissolution of Lok
Sabha cannot be avoided, then the following options can be considered,
If the remainder of the term of the Lok Sabha is not long, there could be a
provision for the President to carry out the administration of the country, on the aid
and advice of his Council of Ministers to be appointed by him till, the time the next
House is constituted at the prescribed time.
If the remainder of the term is long, then fresh election may be held and the term of
the House in such case should be for the rest of what would have been the original
In the case of Legislative Assembly also, in the event of no-confidence motion, it
should be mandatory to simultaneously move a confidence motion for formation
of an alternative government.

If, following a general election, none of the parties is able to form a govt. and
another general election becomes necessary, the term of the House in such case
after the fresh election should be only for the remainder of what would have been
the original term. Similarly, if the govt. has to resign for some reason and an
alternative is not possible, then provision can be considered for a fresh election if
the remainder of the term is comparatively longer period.
An alternative proposal would be to consider provisions to have all elections,
falling due in a year together in a particular period of the year.

The Standing Committees Recommendations

Tenure of State Assemblies needs to be curtailed or extended in the future for
holding simultaneous elections. Extension of term of Legislature is not permissible
except under proclamation of emergency. But election to Lok Sabha/State
Legislative Assemblies can be held six months before.
Elections in Two Phases: The Committee recommends an alternative and
practicable method of holding simultaneous elections which involves holding of
elections in two phases. Elections to some Legislative Assemblies may be held at
midterm of Lok Sabha and remaining with the end of tenure of Lok Sabha.
Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam
Subject : Editorial Analysis
News Source : The Hindu
Oct. 2, 2016
Mahatma was read out of context, says granddaughter
Details :
Mahatma Gandhi wasnt racist, communal or casteist, says his granddaughter Ela
Gandhi. But it comes in response to academics in Africa who have launched a
campaign to remove Gandhis statue from the University of Ghana. They associate
Gandhiji with racist, communal or casteist.
What is the issue?

The protests and an online petition were started by a group of professors at the
University of Ghana in Accra.
In their petition, the professors, who are influential academics, claim that a
statue of the Mahatma, unveiled by President Pranab Mukherjee in June this
year, was installed by the Indian embassy without the University consulting
any of them.
The petition that has more than 1,700 signatures so far, refers to a few quotes
of Gandhiji made mostly during his early career with a legal firm in South
Africa, where arrived in 1893 as a 24-year-old. Among those quotes are
references to Africans under colonial rule as Kaffirs and savages that
were made between 1893-1896. "
How will the historian teach and explain that Gandhi was uncharitable in his
attitude towards the black race and see that were glorifying him by erecting a
statue on our campus? wrote a professor in the petition.
The movement, that parallels a similiar movement in the US, has sparked a
debate across many African countries after a new book by Ashwin Desai, a
professor at the University of Johannesburg called The South African
Gandhi: Stretcher-Bearer of Empire, painted a negative portrait of the
Mahatma using his words from those years and also alleged that he
propagated the caste system in India.

Ela Gandhi's View:

Ela Gandhi writes that Mahatma Gandhi must be judged not by those words
made as a young lawyer, but as the man who stood up to British imperialism
worldwide, a freedom fighter and the champion of rights for the downtrodden
that he became after began his activism in South Africa, that also became the
inspiration for Mandelas movement against apartheid.
The claims are based on opinions expressed by a few scholars who have
interpreted some quotes he made in his younger days and in the context of the
work he was doing at the time and the ethos in the country.

Mahatma Gandhiji in South Africa:

Gandhi arrived in Durban aboard SS Safari in 1893. In no time, Gandhi

became the leader of the South African Indian community. His involvement in
the non-violent movement in South Africa had made such an impact that even
now, he is looked up to as a leader there.

From 1893 to 1914, Gandhi worked as an attorney and a public worker. In a

meeting in New Delhi, Gandhi said he was born in India but made in South
While he was travelling by train to Pretoria, Gandhi, despite carrying first
class ticket, was thrown out of the train by the authorities because a white man
complained of an Indian sharing the space with him
As a response, Gandhi formed the Natal Indian Congress in 1894. This
organization led non-violent protests against the oppressive treatment of the
white people towards the native Africans and Indians
In 1896, he came to India for a short time and gathered 800 Indians to serve
along with him in South Africa. They were welcomed by an irate mob and
Gandhi was injured in the attack
During the outbreak of the Boer War in 1899, Gandhi gathered around 1,100
Indians and organised the Indian Ambulance Corps for the British but the
ethnic discrimination and torture continued on Indians
English artist John Ruskin's book Unto This Last inspired Gandhi and he set
up Phoenix Farm near Durban. Here, Gandhi would train his cadres on nonviolent Satyagraha or peaceful restraint. Phoenix Farm is considered as the
birthplace of Satyagraha. However, it was at the Tolstoy Farm, Gandhi's
second camp in South Africa, where Satyagraha was molded into a weapon of
In September 1906, Gandhi organized the first Satyagraha campaign to protest
against the Transvaal Asiatic ordinance that was constituted against the local
Indians. Again in June 1907, he held Satyagraha against the Black Act
In 1908, he was sentenced to jail for organising the non-violent movements.
But, after his meeting with General Smuts, a British Commonwealth
statesman, he was released. However, he was later attacked for this and was
again sentenced to jail against which he organised Satyagraha again
In 1909, he was sentenced to a three-month jail term in Volkshurst and
Pretoria. After his release, Gandhi went to England to seek the assistance of
the Indian community there
He also fought against the nullification of non-Christian marriages in 1913.
Gandhi organised another peaceful resistance campaign in Transvaal against
the oppression that Indian minors were suffering from. He led around 2,000
Indians across the Transvaal border.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : History & Culture

News Source : The Hindu

India to push for funds at climate talks
Details :
A day before India ratifies the Paris climate agreement, Environment Minister said
that there was no link between India ratifying the deal and its membership to the
Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and emphasised that India would push for finance
and technology from developed countries at the forthcoming talks in Morocco.
Agenda for the Morocco Summit:

The twenty-second session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 22) and the
twelfth session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the
Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 12) will be held in Bab Ighli, Marrakech,
Morocco from 7-18 November 2016.
At the forthcoming climate talks in Morocco in November, India would stress
most on trying to operationalise the $100 billion corpus called the Green
Climate Fund that has been committed by developed countries to aid
policy, projects and technology transfer to buffer against the impact of climate
Only a fraction of it has been pledged so far.
The funds will help nations work on fulfilling their Intended Nationally
Determined Contributions (INDC) which aim to reduce carbon emissions
through a host of solutions.
Mr. Dave said that India has already completed 12 per cent of all pre-2020
Intended National Determined Contributions (INDC), or the road map by
which it will make good on its commitments to reduce carbon emissions.
As part of its INDC plans, India had promised to bring down its emissions
intensity, or emissions per unit of the GDP, by at least 33 per cent by the year
2030 as compared to 2005 levels.

What is Green Climate Fund?

The Fund is a unique global platform to respond to climate change by

investing in low-emission and climate-resilient development.
GCF was established by 194 governments to limit or reduce greenhouse gas
(GHG) emissions in developing countries, and to help vulnerable societies
adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change.

Given the urgency and seriousness of this challenge, the Fund is mandated to
make an ambitious contribution to the united global response to climate
The Copenhagen Accord, established during the 15th Conference Of the
Parties (COP-15) in Copenhagen in 2009 mentioned the "Copenhagen Green
Climate Fund".
The fund was formally established during the 2010 United Nations Climate
Change Conference in Cancun and is a fund within the UNFCCC framework.
Its governing instrument was adopted at the 2011 UN Climate Change
Conference (COP 17) in Durban, South Africa.
GCF is accountable to the United Nations.
It is guided by the principles and provisions of the UN Framework
Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
It is governed by a Board of 24 members, comprising an equal number of
members from developing and developed countries.
The GCF is based in the new Songdo district of Incheon, South Korea.
It is intended to be the centrepiece of efforts to raise Climate Finance of $100
billion a year by 2020.
The Green Climate Fund is the only stand-alone multilateral financing entity
whose sole mandate is to serve the Convention and that aims to deliver equal
amounts of funding to mitigation and adaptation.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim Exam

Subject : Environment & Ecology
News Source : The Hindu
No takers for 700 megahertz, auction bids top Rs.53,000 cr.
Details :
The government received bids worth more than Rs.53,000 crore on the first day of
the biggest ever auction of the countrys telecom spectrum. A total of 2,300 MHz of
spectrum worth Rs.5.6 lakh crore has been put up for sale. The government had
raked in Rs 1.1 lakh crore from the last spectrum auction held in March 2015. It
had sold spectrum across 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1,800 MHz and 2,100 MHz bands.
What is Spectrum?

We were first introduced to spectrum in school when we saw that seven

colours were produced when a white light hits a glass prism.
In simple terms, spectrum can be considered as a range of all lights of various
wavelengths. But light is part of a larger spectrum called the electromagnetic
(EM) spectrum. EM spectrum has in it a range of similar EM radiations like
visible light, infrared light, ultraviolet light, X-rays and the one that is useful
to us here is radio waves.
As these are all radiations, they travel and spread as they go.
Waves are defined by attributes of wavelength (length of the wave), amplitude
(height of the wave) and frequency (number of cycles per seconds).
Radio waves are those that have frequency of 3 kHz (3000 cycle per second)
to 300 GHz (3 billion cycles per second).
Audible frequency for human is between 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz.
Consider waves moving around us at different speeds (frequencies) between 3
kHz and 300 GHz.
Different frequencies are utilised for different purposes.
The Radio FM stations air their channels around the 100 MHz frequencies.


So spectrum refers to the waves that are there all around us at all times,
passing through everything and this means that it needs to be regulated.
If any one could broadcast signals at any frequency, there would be total
chaos, and it would lead to a lot of interference, effectively rendering the
spectrum useless for any kind of meaningful communication.
That's why the spectrum gets divided into bands by the government.
Think of the spectrum as a whole as the wide open ground, and think of bands
as roads that are put up on it to help guide traffic in a regulated fashion.
So the spectrum is divided between different types of technology - your AM
and FM channels are all spread around 100MHz - 200MHz.
Telecom spectrum starts from 800MHz, and goes up to 2300MHz.
Beyond that, we start getting into the unlicensed bands used for technology
such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth - Wi-Fi used to be 2.4GHz (2400MHz) and has
started to shift to the 5GHz band.
Commonly used bands for cellular communication are 800MHz, 900MHz,
1800MHz, 2100MHz, and 2300MHz.
According to the GSM Alliance, the most suitable spectrum for
telecommunication is in the 400MHz to 4GHz range, and these bands are used
globally for various telecommunications purposes. As a result, different

standards such as GSM, WCDMA, and LTE were developed over time to use
these bands; creating an ecosystem of technology that operators can deploy.
Each country regulates the use of spectrum in its own territory but (by and
large) the same technology finds use around the world, which is how you have
roaming services.


Just as you have different countries managing spectrum in their geographies,

you also have different telecom circles.
This was a way for the government to manage the spectrum effectively across
the country, and as a result, India was divided into 23 circles in 1995; later, in
2007, Chennai was merged with Tamil Nadu leaving 22 circles in all.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim Exam

Subject : Science & Tech
News Source : The Hindu
Relieve judiciary of avoidable burden: CJI
Details :
Chief Justice of India (CJI) T.S. Thakur has urged the Law Ministry to devise a
mechanism to relieve the judicial system of the avoidable burden arising out of
sheer apathy, indifference or incapacity of the government and its departments to
take certain decisions. He also asked the government to set up a panel, comprising
former judges, to decide whether or not to fight a case against any citizen when the
issue could be resolved outside court. He was speaking at the launch of a theme
song for the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA).
About the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA):

The National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) has been constituted under
the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 to provide free Legal Services to the
weaker sections of the society and to organize Lok Adalats for amicable
settlement of disputes.
NALSA is headed by the Chief Justice of India.
In every State, State Legal Services Authority has been constituted to give
effect to the policies and directions of the NALSA and to give free legal
services to the people and conduct Lok Adalats in the State.

The State Legal Services Authority is headed by Honble the Chief Justice of
the respective High Court who is the Patron-in-Chief of the State Legal
Services Authority.
In every District, District Legal Services Authority has been constituted to
implement Legal Services Programmes in the District.
The District Legal Services Authority is situated in the District Courts
Complex in every District and chaired by the District Judge of the respective
Since 2011, NALSA has been organising legal services clinics, especially in
rural areas.
It has even recruited prison convicts with basic education and good behaviour
to volunteer as paralegals.
Tihar Jail, for instance, has 46 such volunteers.

Who are Eligible:

Section 12 of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 prescribes the criteria
for giving legal services to the eligible persons. Section 12 of the Act reads as
under:Every person who has to file or defend a case shall be entitled to legal services
under this Act if that person is
A member of a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe;
A victim of trafficking in human beings or begar as referred to in Article 23 of
the Constitution;
A woman or a child;
A mentally ill or otherwise disabled person;
A person under circumstances of undeserved want such as being a victim of a
mass disaster, ethnic violence, caste atrocity, flood, drought, earthquake or
industrial disaster; or
An industrial workman;
In receipt of annual income less than rupees prescribed by the government.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Polity & Governance
News Source : The Hindu
Illegal business trumps Indo-Pak. legitimate trade
Details :

Important Points for Main Examination

India-Pakistan Trade:

Smuggling of good between India and Pakistan estimated at $5 billion is

almost double of the official two-way commerce and it is mostly goods
exported from India to Pakistan.
Smugglers of goods between India and Pakistan are operating through a third
country such as Afghanistan and often misuse transit routes set up on the
border for exchange.
It is difficult to stop this trade because the goods are first exported to third
countries like Dubai or Afghanistan before reaching its destination in
Official trade between India and Pakistan grew less than four times from 700
million in 2005-2006 to $2.67 billion in 10 years despite the Most Favoured
Nation status being granted to Pakistan in 1996.
At the same time informal trade grew over five times from $965 million in
2005-2006 to over $5 billion in 2015-16.
The smugglers carry out informal trade between Pakistan and India through
the borders and also misuse of personal baggage scheme like the Green
Channel facilities at international airports or railway stations.
Informal trade is also taking place through Afghanistan whereby goods are
exported officially from India to Afghanistan and later on brought into
Pakistan through Peshawar.
Trading through a third country, generally done through Dubai, is not illegal.
The third country trade also happens through agents in Singapore.
The three important contributory factors towards thriving informal trade are
quick realization of payments, zero documentation and little procedural
hassles leading to lower transaction costs.

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-2

Subject : International Relation
News Source : The Hindu
Next U.S. President will have to review Pakistan policy
Details :

Indias new strategic posture of offensive defence may have been an outcome of
exasperation with Pakistan, but the fact that the U.S. shares that exasperation with
its long-time ally could bolster New Delhi. In its last year, the Obama
administration has made that displeasure with Pakistan clear by cutting aid, which
also led to the scrapping of the sale of eight F16 fighter planes as scheduled.
The U.S. Congress cornered the Obama administration into these decisions, but the
next President whether it is Republican Donald Trump or Democrat Hillary
Clinton will have to review and restructure the countrys relations with Pakistan.
American approach toward South Asia:

The U.S. policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan has put the burden of restraint on
India so far, but with India signalling an end to that restraint, the new U.S
policy will have to factor in the new Indian policy rather than dictate it,
altering the correlation between the two.
Americas approach towards Indias Pakistan policy has been hinged on its
own policy in Af-Pak and the Middle East.
Stabilising Afghanistan and avoiding the launch of another 9/11 type terrorist
attack from the region is the core objective.
The danger of Islamist groups getting their hands on Pakistans nuclear
arsenal is Americas worst nightmare at this moment.
The Obama administration has tried to use engagement and large amounts of
U.S. aid to coax changes in Pakistans counter-terrorism policies.
After evaluating the Obama administrations track record on Pakistan, either
Clinton or Trump will almost certainly conclude that a new approach is
necessary one that includes steps aimed at containing negative Pakistani
behaviour, without ruling out some degree of continued engagement, this will
mean sympathy for the Indian position.

Pakistans Nuclear Arsenal:

Few Years back some advisers to Mr. Obama floated the idea of a civilian
nuclear deal with Pakistan, so that its nuclear weapons could be secured.
Securing Pakistans nuclear arsenal is an agenda even Ms. Clinton and Mr.
Trump can agree on.
We will help Pakistan stabilise its polity and build an effective relationship
with the predominantly young population of this strategically located, nucleararmed country, the Democratic Platform said.

The Republican document makes only a cryptic reference to securing

Pakistans nuclear arsenal
By casually using the nuclear threats, Pakistan has touched a raw nerve in the
U.S. U.S. officials have responded furiously and for the same reason, the next
President unlikely to isolate Pakistan, because that may be
Therefore, the U.S. does not want to cut ties with Pakistan and turn the
country into the next North Korea or Iran.

How to deal with Pakistan?

Pakistan tolerates and supports terrorist groups on its territory.

These groups, using Pakistan as a base, attack Afghanistan, US personnel and
interests in the region and India.
The victims of Pakistan-based terror have the right of self-defence.
Responding proactively by attacking terror targets in Pakistan, as the US did
against Taliban leader Mullah Mansur and al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden,
has the risk of escalation but it has the potential benefit of increasing Pakistani
incentive to reconsider its support for terrorist groups.
But not escalating pressure on Pakistan by striking terrorist targets in Pakistan
is not without risk.
The risk in such a case is continued terror.
policy since 9/11 towards Pakistan engagement, and economic and military
assistance has not worked.
Pakistani support for a terrorist group is a serious challenge.
To cause Pakistan to change its behaviour, the next President needs to
consider sharpening the incentives and also consider available options.

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-2

Subject : International Relation
News Source : The Hindu
China blocks tributary of Brahmaputra to build dam
Details :
China has started damming a tributary of the Brahmaputra, the Xiabuqu river to
take forward the construction of its "most expensive hydropower project", the work
on which began in Tibet in June 2014. The Xiabuqu is not a transborder river. It

does not flow into India. So the dam is unlikely to have a major impact on
downstream flows into India. The Brahmaputra in its upper reaches is called
Yarlung Zangbo, after it originates from the Angsi glacier in western Tibet,
southeast of Mount Kailash and Mansarovar Lake.
About the Lalho project:

The Lalho project on the Xiabuqu river, a tributary of the Yarlung Zangbo as
the Brahmaputra is known in China, costs $740 million dollars and
construction began in June 2014.
It is scheduled to be completed in 2019, and is aimed at irrigation, flood
control and power generation.
The reservoir is designed to store up to 295 million cubic meters of water and
help irrigate 30,000 hectares of farmland,the farming area, which usually
suffers from severe drought, is a major crop production base in Xigaze.
The project will have two power stations with a combined generation capacity
of 42 megawatts and are designed to generate 85 million kilowatthours of
electricity each year.
China's first dam on the main upper reaches of the Brahmaputra at Zangmu in
2010 caused concerns in India because of possible impact on downstream
The green light was given for three more dams in the 2011-15 five-year plan,
the work on which is ongoing.
Beijing has assured Delhi that the runof-the-river dams will not affect
downstream flows as they are for power generation only and will not store
large volumes of water.
Ecological experts have expressed concern on the impact on both the river and
the Tibetan plateau's sensitive ecosystem, with four dams already in
construction and more in the pipeline.

Impact on India:

Shigatse, a railhead of the Qinghai-Tibet railway, is a few hours driving

distance away from the junction of Bhutan and Sikkim.
It is also the city from where China intends to extend its railway towards
It is as yet unclear whether the dam will have any impact on water flows
towards India and Bangladesh the two riparian states that are drained by
the Brahmaputra.

So far, China has maintained that its dams do not restrict the flow of water
towards India as they are based on run-of-the river principle.

2013 MoU:

India and China have set up an Expert Level Mechanism on trans-border

In 2013, they signed a memorandum of understanding on trans-border rivers,
under which China has been supplying data to India on water flows.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : International Relation
News Source : The Hindu
Centre to flag H1-B visa curbs
Details :
What is the News?

Recently, a debate has started on claims of local unemployment in United

Statesdue to immigration and outsourcing of jobs.
To protect the US jobs for their citizens an act has been introduced.
The proposed legislation was introduced in US as Protect and Grow
American Jobs Act and is called as Issa Bill (named after US congressman
who proposed it).
The legislation aims to stop outsourcing of jobs by American companies using
H1-B visa program. Legislation seeks to impose greater costs on firms that
temporarily hire skilled foreign workers.
If the act is passed then it will affect the Indian IT sector where most of the
jobs are outsourced by US companies.
Earlier US government has raised H1-B visa fee to check the outsourcing of

What is H1-B visa?

It is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to temporarily hire

foreign workers for skilled jobs.

What are H1B and L1 visas:

H1B Visa:
Allows U.S. employers to employ a foreign professional to work in a
specialty occupation for a period of up to six years.
L1A Visa:
Allows qualified employees of an international company to be transferred to a
related company in the U.S. in an executive or managerial capacity.
L1B Visa:
Allows employees of an international company to be transferred to a related
company in the U.S. because he or she has Specialized Knowledge.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : International Relation
News Source : The Hindu
Centre rethinks plan to widen EPF coverage
Details :
What is the News?

The labour ministry has proposed to cover the firms with at least 10
employees under Employees Provident Fund (EPF).
Currently, the EPF Act is applicable to factories with 20 employees.
The move is supported by trade unions as more and more workers will be
under the EPF cover thereby providing them social security.
The proposal will impact the small factories financially as they will have to
contribute in Employees Provident Fund.
The proposal is in contradiction with finance ministers announcement in
budget16 where the employees were given an option to move out of EPF and
opt for National Pension System.

What is Employees Provident Fund (EPF)?

It a retirement benefit scheme that is available to all salaried employees.

It helps employees save a part of their salary every month that can be used in
the when they unable to work, or upon retirement.
Both the employee and employer have to contribute certain percentage of
salary to the fund.
EPF is managed by Employees Provident Fund Organisation, Ministry of
Labour and Employment.

What is National Pension System?

National Pension System (NPS) is a voluntary, defined contribution retirement

systemic savings scheme.
NPS was introduced in 2003 for government employees and was later on
extended to non-government employees, self professionals and unorganised
sector based on voluntary contributions.
Provident Fund Regulatory and Development Authority is statutory body
under Ministry of Finance which managed NPS.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim Exam

Subject : Economics
News Source : The Hindu
New species of Pika discovered
Details :
Important Facts for Prelims:

Pika is the mammal that belongs to the family of hares & rabbits and looks
like a tail-less rat.
Pika is a common name used for any member of Ochotonidae family.
The new species have been discovered in Himalayas in Sikkim which is a
biodiversity hotspot.
Ochotona sikimari is the name given to new Pika species based on the place
of its discovery.
The distinct feature of Pika is that they do not hibernate and prepare for their
winter food by collecting hay piles.
Pika are sensitive to climate change as they need temperate habitat to survive.

What is a biodiversity hotspot?

Biodiversity hotspot is a region which is rich in biological diversity (It has

variety of flora and fauna) which is under threat from human actions.


There are two criteria for an area to be declared as hostspot:

It should have at least 1500 species of vascular plants as endemic.

It should have lost more than 70% of its primary vegetation.

Biodiversity hotspots in india:

Western Ghats (India)

Himalayas (India)
Indo-Burma (India shares a small part)

Exam Syllabus : Prelim Exam

Subject : Environment & Ecology
News Source : The Hindu
Rs. 65,250 cr. mopped up via new black money window
Details :
What is the News?
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has received total disclosures of Rs.
65,250 crore under the Income Disclosure Scheme, 2016.
The scheme has provided a one-time opportunity to those who had not paid full
taxes in the past.
The sheme was effective from 1st June, 2016 and declarations were to be made till
30 September,2016.
Income Declaration Scheme:

All persons, such as individuals, companies, firms, association of persons

(AOP) etc., were eligible to make declaration under the Scheme.
Declaration were made in respect of:
Any undisclosed income.
Any investment in asset representing undisclosed income, Upto financial year
Total 45% of undisclosed income was to be payed as tax.

Benefits of Declaration:

No wealth tax on asset declared.

No enquiry under Income Tax Act or Wealth Tax Act for the undisclosed
Immunity from the Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Act, 1988.
The scheme did not reward the dishonest but gave an opportunity to the
defaulter to come clean by paying more than normal tax.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Economics
News Source : The Hindu
Basic interventions that matter
Details :
Important Achievements in India's Health Care Sector:

Recent years have been a watershed in the public health programme in India.
We have managed to eradicate diseases such as polio and tetanus, reduced
maternal and child mortality rates significantly, halved the prevalence of
tuberculosis and malaria and increased the life expectancy for both adults and
These achievements reflect the unflinching efforts of the Indian government
and all stakeholders in the past two decades to ensure health services reach
those who need them the most.

What more can be done?

As we move towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which

were adopted by United Nations member states at the Sustainable
Development Summit in September 2015 we aim to build on the eight antipoverty targets that the world committed to achieving by 2015.
To align with the new agenda of the SDGs, which puts women and children at
its heart, we are moving from a disease control approach to that of
strengthening integrated health systems.
This will warrant the prioritisation and scaling of critical interventions that
will not only be effective but also have a cross-cutting impact across goals and
One such simple but powerful intervention is breastfeeding. Despite
conventional wisdom about the practice and ongoing efforts to increase the
number of institutional deliveries in the presence of skilled personnel, the

uptake of optimal breastfeeding practices continues to be low in India, with

only 44.9 per cent of newborns initiated within an hour of their birth, and only
64.5 per cent breastfed exclusively for the first six months of life.
Breast milk provides vital nutrients to the infant, which is essential for its
Around 20 per cent newborn deaths and 13 per cent under-five deaths can be
prevented by optimal breastfeeding practices.
Over and above the schemes that already promote maternal and child health,
the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has allotted due focus and dedicated
support such as the launch of the National Breastfeeding Promotion
Programme MAA (Mothers Absolute Affection) last month.

About the National Breastfeeding Promotion Programme: MAA (Mothers

Absolute Affection)

Launched by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.

Based on recommendations from the World Health Organization and
The program will run in both urban & rural areas.


To enhance optimal breastfeeding practices which includes initiation of

breastfeeding within an hour of birth, exclusive breastfeeding for the first six
months, and continued breastfeeding for at least two years.
The government will train nurses in government hospitals, Accredited Social
Health Activists (ASHA), Auxiliary Nurse Mid-wives (ANM) to provide
information and to counsel mothers for breastfeeding.
This will ensure that adequate awareness on the benefits of breastfeeding is
shared with mothers.
Progress will be measured against key indicators, such as availability of
skilled persons at ground for counselling, improvement in breastfeeding
practices and number of accredited health facilities.

Benefits of the Scheme:

Breastfeeding is a low-cost, high-impact, community-level intervention that

can protect children when they are most vulnerable.
It will also improve key public health indicators.
Scheme will ensure comprehensive approach towards Health for All.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Social Issues
News Source : The Hindu
Oct. 1, 2016
Patna HC quashes Bihar prohibition law
Details :
What is the News?

The Patna High Court on 30th September set aside the amended Bihar
Prohibition and Excise Bill, 2016, which had banned the sale and
consumption of liquor in the State.
A division bench of the court, quashed the April 5 notification of the
It said, Section 19(4) of the Bihar Excise Act 1915 as amended with effect
from 01.04.2016, (passed by the legislature on 31.03.2016) is ultra vires the
Constitution and unenforceable.
Under the law police or excise department officials could send anyone found
with a liquor bottle in his house or residential compound, to jail for 10 years.
The officials could even arrest all adult family members if a bottle of liquor
was found in the house.

Argument in favour of liquor Prohibition:

Addiction: Prohibition of alcohol limits and/or prevents alcohol addiction.

This particular addiction can easily ruin peoples lives, including their jobs,
their friends, their families, and obviously themselves too.
Health: Alcohol, especially in large quantities, can damage peoples kidneys
and livers, and can eventually lead to death.
Religion: Some religions (such as Islam, Mormonism, and some Pentecostal
Christians) expressly forbids the consumption of alcohol.
Crime: There is a direct correlation between alcohol consumption and an
increase in crime. Violent crimes, assault, and disorderly conduct are most
common with persons who are intoxicated.
Drunk Driving: Prohibition reduces the causalities and damages through
drunk driving.
Cost: Alcohol can be a very expensive habit.

Domestic violence : Many cases of domestic violence point out consumption

of alcohol leads to increased violence. The main sufferers here are women and
therefore, they have time and again protested for ban on alcohol.

Argument Against Prohibition:

Freedom of Choice: People should have the freedom of choice to decide to

drink alcohol or not, as long as that freedom does not infringe on the freedoms
of other people. Therefore, a law prohibiting alcohol would remove the
freedom of choice.
Victimless Crime: Similarly to the previous reason, people should be free to
harm themselves. Alcohol addiction is considered a victimless crime, since it
primarily affects the alcoholics. While it does affect the people around
alcoholics, it does not directly affect them. People can always keep their
distance from or leave alcoholics, if they choose.
Underground or Black Markets: People who want alcohol will still be able to
purchase it or make it, albeit at a higher cost and purchased from more seedy
Safety: Alcohol made without government regulations and inspections pose a
possibly serious health and safety risk to consumers.
Economy: Prohibiting alcohol leads to loss of taxes and legitimate jobs.
Organized Crime: Criminal organizations will mostly profit from prohibition
and, that in return, will promote other illegal activities. And that will organize
criminal organizations even more.
Society: In most cultures and religions, social drinking is an acceptable
According to a former Judge of the Supreme Court: "the liquor ban laws were
only challenged before the Supreme Court on the ground that they violated
Articles 14 (equality) and 19(1)(g) (freedom of trade) of the Constitution, but
never on the ground of violation of Article 21, probably because that Article
had not been earlier expanded by the Court. But now that it has, the ban needs
to be tested on this ground".

Loss of Revenue:

In an interview in 2014, Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy had said that
though prohibition would lead to financial loss and decline in tourism
revenue, he would go ahead with the ban.
Kerala faces an estimated loss of more than Rs.7,000 crore annually and
Gujarat loses an estimated Rs 2,000-3,000 crore in revenue per year.

Bihar is also lose more than Rs.4,000 crore annually through excise collection.

Lessons from the past:

Prohibition in India has met with only partial success. Several states have
experimented with prohibition and eventually repealed it.
Alcohol was banned in Haryana in 1996 by the Bansi Lal-led Haryana Vikas
Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party government.
The ban was removed in 1998 after the state government had lost Rs 1,200
crore in revenue.
In Andhra Pradesh, N T Ramarao imposed a ban in 1995.
However, the government soon realised it couldn't fulfill its other promises cheap rice and electricity - without the alcohol revenue.
In 1996, after NTR died and his son-in-law, Chandrababu Naidu, took over as
the chief minister, the ban was lifted.
Naidu had admitted that illicit brewing had increased 20 to 30 times after the
In 2014, Mizoram ended its 17-year-old ban.
Manipur (only in capital Imphal) and Nagaland are also contemplating doing
away with prohibition on alcohol.
Gujarat is the only state where prohibition has consistently existed since the

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-1

Subject : Social Issues
News Source : The Hindu
Modi moots Swacchagraha
Details :
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said re-use and recycling of waste should be
technology driven and insisted that there should a focus on the concept of waste to
wealth so that revenue models could be developed around cleanliness. Re-use and
recycling have been our habits for a long time, these need to be made more
technology-driven so that we can create wealth from waste, While no one likes dirt
or dirty surroundings, the habit of cleanliness takes some effort to develop. Lets
join hands and start a Swachhagraha an initiative for cleanliness to get the

country dirt-free on the lines of Mahatma Gandhis Satyagraha that freed us from
British rule, said Mr. Modi.
How to create Wealth from Waste?

Various components of waste have an economic value and can be recovered,

reused or recycled cost effectively.
Currently, the informal sector picks up part of the resources from the streets
and bins to earn their living.
However, a sizeable portion of organic waste as well as recyclable material
goes to landfills untreated.
According to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), there
exists a power potential of about 1,700 MW from urban waste (1,500 from
solid waste and 225 MW from sewage) and about 1,300 MW from industrial
The ministry is also actively promoting the generation of energy from waste,
by providing subsidies and incentives for the projects.
Biodegradable waste has a good potential for generating biogas, which can
serve as fuel, can also be converted to energy as well as to compost which can
improve soil health and lead to increased agriculture production.
This wet waste must therefore be processed either through biomethanation or
composting technology for generating biogas, electricity or compost for use as
nutrient and prevent such wastes reaching the landfill.
Considering that reusable and recyclable wastes form 20-25 per cent of the
actual waste generated (which does not include the wastes collected by the
kabadiwalas from source of generation). Plastics, paper and glass constitute 17
per cent of the recyclable wastes.
Plastic wastes including composites are high calorific value material and
crucial ingredient for waste to energy plants.
This material also needs to be fully recovered and profitably utilised.
The next step should be to strengthen segregation of the non-recyclable dry
combustible waste at secondary storage depots/transfer stations and optimally
utilise this material which can be fed to waste to energy power plants and as
auxiliary fuel in cement and metallurgical industry.
Setting up of small to large plastic waste to liquid fuel plants, thereby utilising
the plastic not picked up by kabadiwalas and rag pickers, also needs to be

Rapid growth of industries and commerce in India necessitates uninterrupted

power supply. Therefore, all options need to be explored to generate power
from conventional and non-conventional sources.

Important Facts:

62 million tonnes of waste is generated annually in the country at present, out

of which 5.6 million tonnes is plastic waste, 0.17 million tonnes is biomedical
waste, hazardous waste generation is 7.90 million tonnes per annum and 15
lakh tonne is e-waste.
The per capita waste generation in Indian cities ranges from 200 grams to 600
grams per day.
43 million TPA is collected, 11.9 million is treated and 31 million is dumped
in landfill sites, which means that only about 75-80% of the municipal waste
gets collected and only 22-28 % of this waste is processed and treated.
Waste generation will increase from 62 million tonnes to about165 million
tonnes in 2030.

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-3

Subject : Environment & Ecology
News Source : The Hindu
T.N. tops list of endemic flowering plants
Details :
Almost one of every four species of flowering plants found in India is endemic to
the country, a recent publication by the Botanical Survey of India (BSI) has
revealed. Of these, Tamil Nadu accounts for the highest number of species with
410, followed by Kerala with 357 and Maharashtra with 278. When it comes to the
geographical distribution of endemic plants, the Western Ghats tops the list with
about 2,116 species, followed by the Eastern Himalayas with 466 species.
According to scientists, these two regions are among the biodiversity hot spots of
the country.

Scientists of the BSI have listed at least 37 species of Black plum Syzyguim (
Jamun ), 10 varieties of Musa (banana), along with 274 species of orchids,
which are found only in the country.

Four different varieties of roses, two herbs and two climbers and 12 species of
jasmines are exclusively found in India.
When it comes to spices, the endemic species list is no less interesting.
This includes 45 species belonging to the common black pepper family, 19
species of ginger and 13 different kinds of large cardamom.
There are also 40 species of bamboos ( Bambusoideae ), which are endemic to
Further some of these endemic species are restricted to only certain areas of
the country, like Nepenthes khasiana , an insectivorous plant only found in the
Khasi hills of Meghalaya.

What are Biodiversity hotspots?

Biodiversity hotspots are a method to identify those regions of the world

where attention is needed to address biodiversity loss and to guide
investments in conservation.
The idea was first developed by Norman Myers in 1988 to identify tropical
forest hotspots characterized both by exceptional levels of plant endemism
and serious habitat loss, which he then expanded to a more global scope.
Conservation International adopted Myers hotspots as its institutional
blueprint in 1989, and in 1999, the organization undertook an extensive global
review which introduced quantitative thresholds for the designation of
biodiversity hotspots.
A reworking of the hotspots analysis in 2004 resulted in the system in place

To qualify as a biodiversity hotspot, a region must meet two strict criteria:

It must have at least 1,500 vascular plants as endemics which is to say, it

must have a high percentage of plant life found nowhere else on the planet. A
hotspot, in other words, is irreplaceable.
It must have 30% or less of its original natural vegetation. In other words, it
must be threatened.
Around the world, 35 areas qualify as hotspots.
They represent just 2.3% of Earths land surface, but they support more than
half of the worlds plant species as endemics i.e., species found no place
else and nearly 43% of bird, mammal, reptile and amphibian species as

Exam Syllabus : Prelim Exam

Subject : Environment & Ecology

News Source : The Hindu
Crowdfunding body closes Dalit campaign
Details :
The crowd-funding platform Bitgiving has closed the campaign account of
Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch (RDAM), the organisation at the forefront of the
recent wave of Dalit protests in Gujarat, shortly after the police lodged an FIR
against Jignesh Mewani and 250 others. Mr. Mewani, as one of the leaders of the
RDAM, said, Even Amnesty has an FIR against it in India. They and other NGOs
can raise lakhs of rupees on the Bitgiving platform. But there is no space for a Dalit
movement even here. It is shameful how deeply casteism is entrenched even in socalled social enterprises in India.
What is Crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding is asking a crowd of people to donate a defined amount of

money for a specific cause or project in exchange for various rewards.
It is the practice of pooling in of resources by numerous people, thus the term
crowd, to fund prospective projects.
It is an alternative finance system where funds are raised through mediums
like internet-mediated registries, mail-order subscriptions, benefit events, and
the like.
Crowdfunding is usually done via online platforms.
The fundraisers set up their public campaign highlighting the main features of
their proposed project and accepting donations for the same.
These funding applications can be of any nature. They can range from
charitable to educational projects to personal ventures or creative ones.
There are three general categories crowdfunding can fall under: Equity,
Donation, and Debt.
Equity-based crowdfunding is asking a crowd to donate to your business or
project in exchange for equity.
Donation-based crowdfunding is asking a crowd to donate to your project in
exchange for tangible, non-monetary rewards such as an ecard, t-shirt, prereleased CD, or the finished product.

Debt-based crowdfunding is asking a crowd to donate to your business or

business project in exchange for financial return and/or interest at a future

Crowdfunding in India:

Crowdfunding is nothing new to India.

Since centuries we have been donating chanda for some or the other sociocultural cause, such as building of religious infrastructure.
The online scene is a bit of a different matter though.
So the crowdfunding scene in India is rather new with not much awareness
amongst people.
Crowdfunding, presently in a pubescent stage, has to face a lot of problems in
Firstly, there is no proper legal regulation setting up rules regarding and
specifying the same.
But late last year, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) released
a paper acknowledging the need for the regulation.
It defined crowdfunding as solicitation of funds (small amount) from
multiple investors through a web-based platform or social networking site for
a specific project, business venture or social cause.
Secondly, people in India are still adjusting to a digital lifestyle where most
transactions take place online.
Moreover, the industry is still unable to connect to people, though, efforts
have been made in this direction.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Economics
News Source : The Hindu
Commodities trading may open to foreigners
Details :
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has initiated talks with the
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to allow foreign portfolio investors into the
commodity derivatives market. The regulator is also keen to allow other
participants such as banks, mutual funds and insurance companies in the
commodities market but will do so in a phased manner after talking to other

regulatory bodies. SEBI took over as the regulator of commodity derivatives market
on 28th September 2015 and since then has initiated various measures like allowing
option contracts, new commodities apart from releasing guidelines for warehouse
service providers and online registration of brokers, among others.
What is a commodity?

Commodities are products that can be bought, sold or traded in different kinds
of markets.
Commodities are the raw materials that are used to create products which are
consumed in everyday life around the world, from food products in India to
building new homes in Europe or to running cars in the US.
There are two main types of commodities:
Soft commodities agricultural products such as corn, wheat, coffee, cocoa,
sugar and soybean; and livestock.
Hard commodities natural resources that need to be mined or processed
such as crude oil, gold, silver and rubber.

What are the main differences between commodity spot and derivatives

There are two types of commodity markets: spot (physical) and derivatives
(such as futures, options and swaps).
In a spot market, a physical commodity is sold or bought at a price negotiated
between the buyer and the seller.
The spot market involves buying and selling of commodities in cash with
immediate delivery.
There are spot markets for individual consumers (retail market) and the
business-to-business (wholesale market) category.
Spot markets also include traditional markets such as Delhis Azadpur Mandi
that deal in fruits and vegetables.
On the other hand, a commodity can be sold or bought via derivatives contract
as well.
A futures contract is a pre-determined and standardized contract to buy or sell
commodities for a particular price and for a certain date in the future.
For instance, if one wants to buy 10 tonne of rice today, one can buy it in the
spot market.
But if one wants to buy or sell 10 tonne of rice at a future date, (say, after two
months), one can buy or sell rice futures contracts at a commodity futures

The futures contracts provide for the delivery or receipt of a physical

commodity of a specified amount at some future date.
Under the physically settled contract, the full purchase price is paid by the
buyer and the actual commodity is delivered by the seller.
But in a futures contract, actual delivery takes place later.
In practice, most futures contracts do not involve delivery of physical
commodity as contracts are settled in cash through an exchange.
The financial investors prefer cash settlement because of no interest in buying
or selling the underlying commodity, and lower transaction costs.
Nowadays, the entire process of futures trading in commodities is carried out
electronically throughout the world.
For instance, a farmer enters into a futures contract to sell 10 tonne of rice at
$100 per tonne to a miller on a future date. On that date, the miller will pay
the full purchase price ($1,000) to the farmer and in exchange will receive the
10 tonne of rice.
However, under the cash-settled futures contract, the farmer and the miller
would simply exchange the difference between the spot price of rice on the
settlement date and the agreed upon price as mentioned in the futures contract
and there would be no actual delivery of rice.
Following the above example, if on the settlement date the price of rice was
$80 per tonne, while the agreed upon price of futures contract was $100 a
tonne, the miller will pay $200 to the farmer in cash and there will be no
delivery of rice to the miller.
If, on the settlement date, the price of rice was $120 a tonne, the farmer will
pay $200 to the miller in cash and no delivery of rice will take place.

Commodity Market in India:

The first milestone in the 125 years rich history of organized trading in
commodities in India was the constitution of the Bombay Cotton Trade
Association in the year 1875.
India had a vibrant futures market in commodities till it was discontinued in
the mid 1960's, due to war, natural calamities and the consequent shortages.
In 2002, the Government of India allowed the re-introduction of commodity
futures in India.
Together with this, three screen based,nation-wide multi-commodity
exchanges were also permitted to be set up with the approval of the Forward
Markets Commission. These are:
National Commodity & Derivative Exchange:

This exchange was originally promoted by ICICI Bank, National Stock

Exchange (NSE), National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development
(NABARD) and Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC). Subsequently
other institutional shareholders have been added on.
NCDEX is popular for trading in agricultural commodities.
Multi Commodity Exchange:
This exchange was originally promoted by Financial Technologies Limited, a
software company in the capital markets space.
Subsequently other institutional shareholders have been added on.
MCX is popular for trading in metals and energy contracts.
National Multi Commodity Exchange of India:
This exchange was originally promoted by Kailash Gupta, an Ahmedabad
based trader, and Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC).
Subsequently other institutional shareholders have been added on.
NMCE is popular for trading in spices and plantation crops, especially from
Kerala, a southern state of India.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Economics
News Source : The Hindu
Steel lifts infrastructure output 3.2%
Details :
The countrys infrastructure output grew 3.2 per cent in August, up from 3 per cent
in July, driven by the steel and fertiliser sectors, data released by the Ministry of
Commerce showed.

The steel sector output grew 17 per cent in August compared with a
contraction of 0.5 per cent in July.
Steel also has the second-highest weightage in the Index of Core Industries
after the electricity sector.
The fertiliser sector was one of the only other two sectors that saw an
improvement in their performance, growing at 5.7 per cent in August
compared with a contraction of 4.3 per cent in July.
The cement sector was the third to see an improvement in August.

What is Index of Industrial Production (IIP)?

IIP measures the quantum of changes in the industrial production in an

economy and captures the general level of industrial activity in the country.
It is a composite indicator expressed in terms of an index number which
measures the short-term changes in the volume of production of a basket of
industrial products during a given period with respect to the base period.
IIP is a short term indicator of industrial growth till the results from Annual
Survey of Industries and National Accounts Statistics are available.
The IIP index is computed and published by the Central Statistical
Organisation (CSO) on a monthly basis.
IIP is a composite indicator that measures the growth rate of industry groups
classified namely as Mining, Manufacturing and Electricity.
Currently IIP figures are calculated considering 2004-05 as base year.

The Eight Core Industries comprise nearly 38 % of the weight of items

included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP).
They are:

Coal (weight: 4.38 %)

Crude Oil(weight: 5.22 %)
The Natural Gas(weight: 1.71 %)
Petroleum Refinery (weight: 5.94%)
Fertilizer (weight: 1.25%)
Steel (weight: 6.68%)
Cement (weight: 2.41%)
Electricity generation (weight: 10.32%)

Question asked in UPSC pre-2015

Q. In the Index of Eight Core Industries, which one of the following is given
the highest weight?
(a) Coal Production
(b) Electricity generation
(c) Fertilizer Production
(d) Steel Production
Solution: (b)

Exam Syllabus : Prelim Exam

Subject : Economics
News Source : The Hindu
India may consider Irans plan to develop Chabahar airport
Details :
India may examine a proposal from Iran to develop the airport at its strategic
Chabahar port as part of comprehensive infrastructure development that includes
rail-road connectivity to the port. The official said Chabahar has an operational
airport and the Iranian minister enquired whether India would be willing to
modernise it. A milestone pact on the strategic Chabahar port in southern Iran
that will provide India access to Afghanistan and Europe by passing Pakistan was
signed by India and Iran in May this year.
Where is Chabahar?

The port of Chabahar is located in southeastern Iran in the Gulf of Oman.

The Chabahar port in the Sistan-Balochistan province on the energy-rich
nations southern coast lies outside the Persian Gulf and is easily accessed
from Indias western coast bypassing Pakistan.
It is the only Iranian port with direct access to the ocean.

What does the pact entail and what are India's plans for Chabahar?

India will develop and operate the Chabahar port.

India Ports Global, a recently formed port project investment arm of the
shipping ministry and a joint venture between the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust
and the Kandla port, will invest $85 million in developing two container
berths with a length of 640 metres and three multicargo berths.
The contract is for 10 years and extendable.
It will take 18 months to complete phase one of the port construction.
State run railway body IRCON International will set up a railway line at
Chabahar to move goods right up to Afghanistan.
The 500km rail link between Chabahar and Zahedan will link Delhi to the rest
of Iran's railway network.
Also, part of the agreement is a free trade zone where a total investment of Rs
1 lakh crore is envisaged.

Indian companies would set up a range of industries from aluminium smelter

to urea plants in the region.
Stateowned NALCO will set up an aluminium smelter while private and cooperative fertiliser firms are keen to build urea plants.
India will also supply $400 million of steel rails to Tehran.
There are plans of a fertilizer plant through a joint venture with the Iran
Securing hydrocarbon sources is a priority for India as Delhi and Tehran
would look to expand the basket in the coming years.

Why is it so important for India?

The port will make way for India to bypass Pakistan in transporting goods to
Afghanistan using a sealand route.
At present, Pakistan does not allow India to transport through its territory to
This will also give momentum to the International NorthSouth Transport
Corridor of which both are initial signatories along with Russia.
Iran is the key gateway in this project.
It entails the ship, rail, and road routes for moving freight between India,
Russia, Iran, Europe and Central Asia.
The route primarily involves moving freight from India, Iran, Azerbaijan and
The objective of the corridor is to increase trade connectivity between major
cities such as Mumbai, Moscow, Tehran, Baku, Astrakhan etc.
It would counter Chinese presence in the Arabian sea through the support to
Pakistan in developing Gwadar port.
It can be used to station security vessels for merchant ships off the African
coast apart from giving the country a foothold in the western Arabian Sea,
which is important as many of its energy imports pass through the route.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : International Relation
News Source : The Hindu
After 12 years, Rosetta spacecraft bound for comet tomb
Details :

Europes Rosetta spacecraft was heading or a mission-ending crash into the comet it
has stalked for two years, a dramatic conclusion to a 12-year odyssey to demystify
our Solar Systems origins.
The Issue:

Philae is a robotic European Space Agency lander that accompanied the

Rosetta spacecraft until it separated to land on comet 67P/Churyumov
Gerasimenko, launched on 2 March 2004.
On 12 November 2014, Philae touched down on the comet, but it bounced
when its anchoring harpoons failed to deploy and a thruster designed to hold
the probe to the surface did not fire.
The lander briefly awoke in June 2015.
And now Rosetta spacecraft was heading for a mission-ending crash.

Objectives of the Mission:

The prime objective of the mission is to help understand the origin and
evolution of the Solar System.
The comets composition reflects the composition of the pre-solar nebula out
of which the Sun and the planets of the Solar System formed, more than 4.6
billion years ago.
Therefore, an in-depth analysis of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko by
Rosetta and its lander will provide essential information to understand how
the Solar System formed.
There is convincing evidence that comets played a key role in the evolution of
the planets, because cometary impacts are known to have been much more
common in the early Solar System than today.
Comets, for example, probably brought much of the water in today's oceans.
They could even have provided the complex organic molecules that may have
played a crucial role in the evolution of life on Earth.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim Exam

Subject : Science & Tech
News Source : The Hindu
Uri as inflection point
Details :

Uri as inflection point

Prime Minister Modis Pakistan policy had often been criticized for lacking
As a political leader, Mr.Modi should use the Uri attack as a turning point to
calibrate a new policy towards Pakistan.
Before Mr. Modi. Prime Ministers Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh faced similar
turning points but in comparison to them, Mr. Modi enjoys significant advantages
as he is less dependent on coalition partners and has full support of his party.
Operation Parakram
The relations were already strained after the Kargil war (1999) when the
Parliament was attacked (2001).
In response, India launched Operation Parakram and mobilized troops along the
border and LOC.
Pakistan responded with its own mobilization.
In a post 9/11 world, Pakistan came under great international pressure.
It declared that it would not allow its territory to be used to launch terror attacks
and banned Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Vajpayees turning point
But soon Pakistans bluff was called and turning point for Vajpayee came in the
form of Kaluchak attack on an Army base.
It was realized that confrontation along the border may have negative
consequences and it would not deliver results.
Even though the economic cost of mobilization was higher for Pakistan, India was
also distracted from its growth agenda.

So back channel talks were initiated and US pressurized Pakistan to fulfill its
promises. US needed Pakistani forces on the Afghan border so it was essential for it
to quell tensions on the Indian border.
This resulted in a de-facto ceasefire along LOC, dismantling of terror camps in
PoK and end of Operation Parakram.
Lessons learnt
It was realized capabilities of that time were inadequate for a limited war with
In addition to improving capabilities, escalation management also required that
certain confidence building measures and communication links with Pakistan.
Brief normalization of relations
The back channel talks continued and measures for trade liberalization were
introduced and a bus service between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad was proposed.
Since then, cross-border infiltrations reduced considerably and cease-fire held till
Turning point for Dr. Singh
Dr. Singh continued Vajpayees policies but his turning point came in the form of
26/11 Mumbai attacks.
Even though the involvement of Pakistani agencies was clear, it was realized that
there was no credible military options because:
i)Air strikes were not possible due to inadequate intelligence.
ii)Ground operations might have led to unmanageable escalation.
iii)Covert operations would have taken more time.
The only realistic option that was available was to attempt for diplomatic isolation
of Pakistan.
Measures were also taken to strengthen domestic capabilities like setting up of

Although, the strategic restraint was imposed due to lack of better options, it
projected India as a responsible nuclear power.
Modis policy
Initially, Mr. Modis Pakistan policy was to show openness for talks while drawing
the red-lines at the same time.
But positions hardened after the Pathankot attack.
After the killing of Burhan Wani, the situation in the Kashmir valley deteriorated.
India blamed Pakistan for inciting violence and Pakistan accused India of human
rights violation in the valley.
India opened a new front by drawing attention to Pakistans repression in
Baluchistan, Gilgit and Baltistan.
Finding a balance
After the Uri attacks, amid calls for retaliatory action, PM Modi promised action
aginat those responsible for the attacks.
Pakistan responded by threatening a nuclear backlash.
Indias military options were limited because in a nuclear environment, escalation
management required international support against Pakistan while not
internationalizing the Kashmir issue.
Mr. Modi drew a distinction between the rulers and people of Pakistan and
challenged them to fight a battle against poverty and illiteracy.
At the same time, he kept open the prospects for covert action by reminding
Pakistan of its vulnerability.
The surgical strike across LOC indicates that Indias capability to undertake such
actions have increased since 2008 but it is unlikely to be repeated as the launching
pads will be shifted deeper inside the LOC.
The government has also reached out to all sections of political spectrum to ensure
consensus on future course of actions.

At the same time, efforts are on to pressurize and diplomatically isolate Pakistan.
Way forward
The Uri attacks give Mr. Modi an opportunity to formulate a new Pakistan policy.
The new policy should be based on realism which should give India realistic
options to act upon.
At the same time it is essential to address vulnerabilities in border management
which led to repeated attacks.
GS 2 (India and its neighborhood- relations)
GS 3 (Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal
security; Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of
organized crime withterrorism)
Related question
Pakistans insistence to use terrorism as a state policy has caused great damage to
bilateral ties. How far does the new policy towards Pakistan will be able to
convince it to stop supporting terrorist activities against India?
Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam
Subject : Editorial Analysis
News Source : The Hindu
Sept. 30, 2016
Commando teams spent four hours across LoC
Details :
Indian Army carried out surgical strikes on Pakistani terrorists positioned across the
Line of Control on terror launchpads on 28th September night. Director General of
Military Operations Lt General Ranbir Singh revealed that Indian forces led by a
Special Operations Group led the surgical strikes operation and caused significant
casualties to terrorists and those who were shielding them.

What is a surgical strike?

A surgical strike is essentially a swift and targeted attack on specific target

that aims to neutralise them while ensuring minimum collateral damage to the
surrounding areas and civilians. Neutralisation of targets with surgical strikes
also prevents escalation to a full blown war.
A surgical strike is "a calculated manoeuvre to ensure you deliver maximum
damage which gives a big surprise to your adversary", explained former air
chief Fali Homi Major, describing the Indian Army's operation last night as
"well conducted, well done".

Here are the big highlights:

In the surgical strikes spread over a 250 km, troops went 2 km deep into
territory occupied by Pakistan, in terrain that included hills, forests and
Seven terrorist launch pads were targeted before the Indian troops returned
around 4.30 am.
Each terrorist launch pad had 30 to 40 terrorists and the army says there were
"massive casualties".
A combination of ground forces and helicopter-borne paracommandos were
involved in what India called a preemptive strike.
Heavy firing in Kashmir's Uri - the site of the terror attack in which 18
soldiers were killed earlier this month - was used as a distraction as soldiers
were pushed into Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.
The soldiers had clear orders "not to leave bodies or buddies behind".
"Our forces have gone deep in and come back before sunrise," government
Pakistan was caught off guard.
India has video evidence of the strikes, including some obtained through
drones, which will be released when it is considered appropriate.
According to the army, the terrorists were planning attacks in Jammu and
Kashmir and in metros.
The launch pads had been under surveillance for about a week.

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-3

Subject : Defence & Security
News Source : The Hindu

Swift and sure strikes

Details :
UPSC Mains Syllabus: Paper-III-Various Security forces and agencies and
their mandate.
Who are Para Commandos?

The strike across the LoC was carried out by Para Commandos and Ghatak
platoons of the Indian Army.
These are members of the Special Forces under the Parachute regiment who
are trained specifically for such operations, and specialised teams part of
infantry units.
They are trained to parachute into enemy territory and conduct precise
missions, or to sneak in quietly across enemy lines.
All three wings of the armed forces have their own commando units, trained
specially for operations involving direct action.
These commandos handle operations like hostage rescue, counter-terrorism,
unconventional warfare, special reconnaissance, foreign internal defense,
counter-proliferation, counter-insurgency, seek and destroy and personnel
While the Indian Army has the Parachute Regiment, popularly called the para
commandos, the Indian Navy has the marine commandos (MARCOS) and the
Indian Air Force the Garud Commando Force.
The Parachute Regiment was raised in 1945 but was disbanded after the
World War II.
It was re-raised in 1952 and is made up of seven Special Forces, six airborne,
two Territorial Army and one counter-insurgency (Rashtriya Rifles)
These commandos have played significant roles in special combat, ranging
from the Indo-Pakistan war of 1971, Operation Bluestar, Operation Pawan in
Sri Lanka and in several anti-terror operations.
The para commandos who carried out the attack against insurgents along
Indo-Myanmar border earlier this year.
During Operation Bluestar, commandos of 1 Para (SF) were tasked to lead the
attack on the Golden Temple for evicting Sikh militants hold up there.
They were a part of the Indida Peace-Keeping Force in Sri Lanka and were
also involved in Operation Cactus in Maldives.

In 1999, nine Parachute regiment battalions were deployed for Operation

Vijay in Kargil and played a significant role in the conflict.
The para commandos have also been involved in several counter-insurgency
operations in Jammu and Kashmir and the northeastern states.
They have also been involved in United Nations' peacekeeping operations,
including those in Korea (1950-54), Gaza (1956-58) and UNAMSIL in Sierra
Leone (2000).

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-3

Subject : Defence & Security
News Source : The Hindu
Envoys of 31 nations on Spice Route to meet
Details :
Attempts being made by Kerala to rekindle interest in the Spice Route project
involving 31 countries. A meeting is expected to be convened in New Delhi in
November where ambassadors of these 31 countries, which traded spices and other
commodities with Kerala, will discuss the sharing of knowledge on their ancient
trade with Kerala through the Muziris port, said to have been located near
Muziris project:

Muziris is the largest heritage conservation project in India and is a Kerala

government's initiative involving renovation of ancient places of worship, old
markets, forts and the construction of museums.
A legendary port, the heart of the historic Spice Route, vanished off the grid
over 3000 years ago.
Historians and archaeologists hunted far and wide in search of it but to no
Then, one day, it rained in Pattanam, a small town in Kerala.
The rains unearthed and revealed to mankind remnants of a legacy. The
legacy of the lost port, Muziris.
The ancient world's greatest trading centre in the East, this legendary seaport
traded in everything from spices to precious stones with the Greeks, Romans
and the rest of the world.

The Muziris Heritage Project will revive that lost legacy to conserve and
showcase a culture of 3000 years or more for posterity.
Once the doorway to India for varied cultures and races including Buddhists,
Arabs, Chinese, Jews, Romans, Portuguese, Dutch and even the British,
Muziris has stood witness to civilisations being born, wars being waged and
history being written.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim Exam

Subject : History & Culture
News Source : The Hindu
83-year-old on santhara draws thousands in Kolkata
Details :
Sohani Devi Dugar, 83, chose to embrace santhara a Jain religious practice of a
ritualistic fast unto death. Her decision came about after doctors could assure little
hope of her recovery from an advanced stage of throat cancer. Mr. Dugar was
among the thousands who hit the streets of Kolkata in August 2015, after a
judgment in the Rajasthan High Court declared the practice illegal, and rejoiced
when the Supreme Court stayed the order nearly 20 days after the HC judgment.

Sallekhan (also Santhara, Samadhi-marana, Sanyasana-marana), is the Jain

practice of facing death voluntarily at the end of one's life. It is prescribed
both for the householder and ascetics. Sallekhana is made up from two words
sal (meaning 'properly') and lekhana, which means to thin out.
Santhara/Sallekhana is an ancient religious practice aimed at self-purification.
The vow of Santhara/Sallekhana is taken when all purposes of life have been
served, or when the body is unable to serve any purpose of life.
It is not the giving up of life, but taking death in their stride.
To many Jains, death by Santhara/Sallekhana is an act of supreme
renunciation and great piety, which only the most spiritually pure undertake.
However in 2015, the Rajasthan high court has branded Jainism's centuriesold 'Santhara or Sallekhana' custom as attempt to suicide warranting
prosecution under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code but the Supreme
Court later stay the order.

Why do some people oppose it?

Human rights activists allege that its a social evil, and old people are made to
undertake Santhara/Sallekana by family members who dont want to look
after them for a variety of reasons.
The petition in the Rajasthan High Court in 2015 had compared the practice
with that of Sati.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Social Issues
News Source : The Hindu
Muzaffarnagar riot victims upset with NHRC
Details :
The victims of the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots have demanded an apology from the
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) for its report on the alleged exodus
of Hindu families from Kairana town in Uttar Pradesh due to Muslims. They have
also demanded immediate withdrawal of the report.
What is the issue?

Citing 24 unnamed witnesses, the NHRC report, released on September 21,

2016, stated: Youths of the specific majority community [Muslims] in
Kairana town pass lewd/taunting remarks against the females of the minority
The report said the resettlement of 25,000-30,000 Muslims in 2013 had
changed the demography of Kairana in favour of Muslims, leading to the
Muslim community becoming the more dominating and majority
Several Activists have said that: How can a body like the NHRC indulge in
such communal stereotyping of the kind used to create tension and stoke riots?
Its report is not based on facts. Instead of investigating the living conditions of
the riot victims, it is branding them as criminals...

About National Human Rights Commission (NHRC):

NHRC was constituted under Section 3 of the 1993 Act for better protection
of human rights.

The term human rights is defined in Section 2(d) of the 1993 Act, which
reads as follows:
2. (d) Human rights means the rights relating to life, liberty, equality and
dignity of the individual guaranteed by the Constitution or embodied in the
International Covenants and enforceable by courts in India.
NHRC is an autonomous body i.e. it has been created by an Act of
NHRC is committed to provide independent views on issues within the
parlance of the Constitution or in law for the time being enforced for the
protection of human rights.
NHRC has the powers of a civil court.
It has the authority to grant interim relief.
Also has the authority to recommend payment of compensation or damages.
NHRC has unique mechanism with which it also monitors implementation of
its various recommendations.

Composition of NHRC:

The act lays down the qualifications that the members are required to have, to
be eligible to be appointed to the Commission.
Section 3 of the Act lays down that the Commission shall consist of:
A Chairperson.
The chairperson has to have been a chief justice of the Supreme Court.
One Member who is, or has been, a Judge of the Supreme Court of India.
One Member who is, or has been, the Chief Justice of a High Court.
Two Members to be appointed from among persons having knowledge of, or
practical experience in, matters relating to human rights
In addition, the Chairpersons of four National Commissions of ( 1.Minorities
2.SC3.ST 4.Women) serve as ex officio members.
The chairman and members hold office for a term of five years or until they
attain the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier.
After their tenure, the chairman and members are not eligible for further
employment under the central or state government.
The president can remove the chairman or any member from the office under
certain circumstances.


The Chairperson and the Members of the Commission are appointed by the
President of India, on the recommendations of a Committee consisting of:

The Prime Minister (chairperson).

The Home Minister.
The Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha.
The Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha.
The Speaker of the Lok Sabha.
The Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.

Functions and Powers of Commission:

The Commission performs the following functions, namely:

Inquire, suo motu or on a petition presented to it by a victim or any person on
his behalf, into complaint of
Violation of human rights.
Negligence in the prevention of such violation, by a public servant.
Intervene in any proceeding involving any allegation of violation of human
rights pending before a court with the approval of such court.
Visit, under intimation to the State Government, any jail or any other
institution under the control of the State Government, where persons are
detained or lodged for purposes of treatment, reformation or protection to
study the living conditions of the inmates and make recommendations.
Review the safeguards provided by or under the Constitution or any law for
the time being in force for the protection of human rights and recommend
measures for their effective implementation.
Review the factors, including acts of terrorism that inhibit the enjoyment of
human rights and recommend appropriate remedial measures.
Study treaties and other international instruments on human rights and make
recommendations for their effective implementation.
Undertake and promote research in the field of human rights.
Spread human rights literacy among various sections of society and promote
awareness of the safeguards available for the protection of these rights
through publications, the media, seminars and other available means.
Encourage the efforts of non-governmental organisations and institutions
working in the field of human rights.

Limitations of the NHRC:

NHRC can only make recommendations, without the power to enforce

This lack of authority to ensure compliance can lead to outright rejection of its
decision too.

It is often viewed as a post-retirement destinations for judges, police officers

and bureaucrats with political clout.
Bureaucratic functioning, inadequacy of funds also hamper the working of the
Under the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, human rights commissions
cannot investigate an event if the complaint was made more than one year
after the incident.
Therefore, a large number of genuine grievances go unaddressed.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Polity & Governance
News Source : The Hindu
OPEC agrees on modest oil production curbs
Details :
What is the News?

Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) on 29th September

has reached an agreement to cut oil production for the first time since 2008
after an informal meeting in Algiers.
OPEC would reduce output to a range of 32.5-33.0 million barrels per day.
OPEC estimates its current output at 33.24 million bpd.
However, how much each country will produce is to be decided at the next
formal OPEC meeting in November, when an invitation to join cuts could also
be extended to non-OPEC countries such as Russia.

Impact on India:

India, being the fourth largest importer of crude oil, imports 85 per cent of
total oil and 95 per cent of gas from OPEC nations.
The decision taken by the OPEC country is likely to be taken as a wake-up
call for the country like India as Indian economy immensely benefited from
the cheaper oil prices.
So a spike in oil prices can have major implications for the country's current
account deficit and economy in general.
Lower oil prices kept the economy on the shining path and managed to keep
inflation under control.

What are the options for India?

The way ahead is by quickening the reforms in the energy sector.

India can make the most of this continuing low price environment through
phasing out the remaining subsidies, bringing in fuel pricing reforms, and
targeted subsidy measures.
It can also take advantage by accelerating its strategic oil storage programme.

What is India's strategic petroleum reserves?

To ensure energy security, the Government of India had decided to set up 5

million metric tons (MMT) of strategic crude oil storages at three locations
namely, Visakhapatnam, Mangalore and Padur (near Udupi).
These strategic storages would be in addition to the existing storages of crude
oil and petroleum products with the oil companies and would serve as a
cushion in response to external supply disruptions.
India's ultimate goal is to have an SPR that provides 90 days of net import

About the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC):

It is an intergovernmental organization of 14 nations, founded in 1960 in

Baghdad by the first five members, and headquartered since 1965 in Vienna.
As of 2015, the 14 countries accounted for an estimated 43 percent of global
oil production and 73 percent of the world's "proven" oil reserves, giving
OPEC a major influence on global oil prices.
As of July 2016, OPEC's members are Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Gabon,
Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia (the de
facto leader), United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela. Two-thirds of OPEC's oil
production and reserves are in its six Middle Eastern countries that surround
the oil-rich Persian Gulf.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Economics
News Source : The Hindu
Seeds of discontent?
Details :

Seeds of discontent?
Indian scientists have developed a genetically modified variety of mustard and
sought permission for commercial release and for further research.
In this context, Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change
(MoEFCC) had released a review report about safety of GM mustard for public
This report was prepared by an expert sub-committee of the Genetic Engineering
Appraisal Committee (GEAC).
The public consultation is likely to be the penultimate step before the government
takes a final decision.
GM Mustard
Mustard is difficult to hybridise because it is a self-pollinating crop.
But Indian scientists genetically modified an Indian mustard and an East European
mustard to hybridise them.
They claim that the new variety, DMH-11, yields 30% more than the standard
variety which will help to reduce import bill on edible oil.
Biosafety and socio-economic impact
GM mustard is resistant to herbicide glufosinate, and thus a herbicide-tolerant
(HT) crop.
The technical expert committee on GM crops appointed by the Supreme Court has
found HT crops completely unsuitable in the Indian context because:
i)Weeding provides employment to large number of agricultural labourers.
ii)There is risk of emergence of herbicide-resistant super weeds.
Also, the yield advantage of GM mustard may be overestimated because the yields
were compared with outdated mustard varieties.

Transparency and public participation

The government has not followed various norms for transparency like making
public full biosafety dossier (it promised to do so in the Supreme Court in a PIL
about GM crops) and complying with the directives of Central Information
Commission about GM crops and GEAC meetings.
Greater transparency could have addressed various concerns related to GM
mustard and made the public participation meaningful.
Meaningful citizen participation is essential in this matter as India doesnt have a
labeling regime and citizens have no way to opt out of GM foods.
Way forward
Transparency and greater public participation are essential to allay fears related to
GM crops.
The government should release the full biosafety dossier on the Ministrys website,
comply with the CIC directives about meetings of GEAC and time-period for public
consultation must be extended.
If the government wants to commercialize GM mustard despite opposition, it may
do so but norms of transparency and law must be followed.
Additional information (Regulation of genetically modified organisms in India)
In India, the regulation of all activities related to GMOs and products derived from
GMOs is governed by Rules for the Manufacture/Use/Import/Export and Storage
of Hazardous Microorganisms, Genetically Engineered Organisms or Cells, 1989
(commonly referred to as Rules, 1989) under the provisions of the Environment
(Protection) Act, 1986 through the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF).
Although, there is no mention of GMO or GM crops in the EPA 1986,they are
regulated under the provisions related to hazardoussubstances.
The Rules, 1989 are primarily implemented by MoEF and the Department of
Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science and Technology through six competent
i)the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RDAC);

ii)the Review Committee on Genetic Manipulation (RCGM);

iii)the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC);
iv)Institutional Biosafety Committees (IBSC);
v)State Biosafety Coordination Committees (SBCC);
vi)District Level Committees (DLC).
The six competent authorities function into a three-tier system.
The first tier includes the Policy Advisory Committee such as theRDAC; the
second tier consists of Regulating and Approval Committees such as the IBSC,
the RCGM and the GEAC, and finally, the third tier includes the Post Monitoring
Committee comprising of the SBCC and the DLC.
In 2010, Genetic Engineering Approval Committee was renamed as Genetic
Engineering Appraisal Committee.
It is responsible for granting permits to conduct experimental and large-scale open
field trials and also grant approval for commercial release of GM crops.
GS 2 (regulatory bodies)
GS 3 (biotechnology; environment)
Related questions
Genetically modified crops, while holding a great potential for ensuring food
security of future generations, also raise significant health and environmental
concerns. Discuss.
How genetic engineering is different from conventional plant breeding techniques?
Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam
Subject : Editorial Analysis
News Source : The Hindu

Sept. 29, 2016

Bansal named four CBI officials in suicide note
Details :
Former Corporate Affairs Director General B.K. Bansal, who committed suicide
along with his son, has named four Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and a
prominent BJP politician in his note. Among them are a DIG and two women
officials of Superintendent of Police and Deputy Superintendent of Police rank. Mr.
Bansal termed the suicide of his wife and daughter, who had hanged themselves in
July, as murder by the CBI as they could not bear the agency's torture which was
almost fatal. Calling the DIG an extremely despicable and wicked person, Mr.
Bansal wrote that his requests for mercy went unheeded as the official threatened to
make living corpses out of the two women.
What is the issue?

The additional secretary-rank officer in the Ministry of Corporate Affairs,

Bansal was arrested by CBI on July 16 for allegedly accepting bribe from a
prominent pharmaceutical company.
They agency had carried out searches at eight locations in connection with the
case during which the agency had claimed to have made cash recoveries.
Recently he committed suicide along with his entire family; first his wife and
daughter and latter he and his son, in his suicide note has blamed the Central
Bureau of Investigation directly for harassment and accused senior officials
of abusing and torturing his wife and daughter.

A Brief History of CBI:

The Central Bureau of Investigation traces its origin to the Special Police
Establishment (SPE) which was set up in 1941 by the Government of India.
The functions of the SPE then were to investigate cases of bribery and
corruption in transactions with the War & Supply Deptt. Of India during
World War II.
Superintendence of the S.P.E. was vested with the War Department.
Even after the end of the War, the need for a Central Government agency to
investigate cases of bribery and corruption by Central Government employees
was felt.

The Delhi Special Police Establishment Act was therefore brought into force
in 1946.
This Act transferred the superintendence of the SPE to the Home Department
and its functions were enlarged to cover all departments of the Govt. of India.
The jurisdiction of the SPE extended to all the Union Territories and could be
extended also to the States with the consent of the State Government
The DSPE acquired its popular current name, Central Bureau of Investigation
(CBI), through a Home Ministry resolution dated 1.4.1963.
Initially the offences that were notified by the Central Government related
only to corruption by Central Govt. servants.
In due course, with the setting up of a large number of public sector
undertakings, the employees of these undertakings were also brought under
CBI purview.
Similarly, with the nationalisation of the banks in 1969, the Public Sector
Banks and their employees also came within the ambit of the CBI.

CBI & its Roles:

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI ) , functioning under Deptt. of

Personnel, Ministry of Personnel, Pension & Public Grievances, Government
of India, is the premier investigating police agency in India.
It is an elite force playing a major role in preservation of values in public life
and in ensuring the health of the national economy.
It is also the nodal police agency in India which coordinates investigation on
behalf of Interpol Member countries.
CBI Head Office at Delhi.
The services of its investigating officers are sought for all major investigations
in the country.
The CBI has to investigate major crimes in the country having interstate and
international ramifications.
It is also involved in collection of criminal intelligence pertaining to three of
its main areas of operation, viz., Anti-Corruption, Economic Crimes and
Special Crimes.
The Anti-Corruption Division of the CBI has handled cases against Chief
Ministers, Ministers, Secretaries to Government, Officers of the All India
Services, CMDs of Banks, Financial Institutions, Public Sector Undertakings,

CBI investigations have a major impact on the political and economic life of
the nation.
The following broad categories of criminal cases are handled by the CBI:
Cases of corruption and fraud committed by public servants of all Central
Govt. Departments, Central Public Sector Undertakings and Central Financial
Economic crimes, including bank frauds, financial frauds, Import Export &
Foreign Exchange violations, large-scale smuggling of narcotics, antiques,
cultural property and smuggling of other contraband items etc.
Special Crimes, such as cases of terrorism, bomb blasts, sensational
homicides, kidnapping for ransom and crimes committed by the mafia/the

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-2

Subject : Polity & Governance
News Source : The Hindu
Lodha wants BCCI brass removed
Details :
The nomination of the powerful Maharashtra politician, Sharad Pawar, as alternate
director for International Cricket Council (ICC) meetings and BCCI president
Anurag Thakurs role as representative of the Board in Asian and international
cricket bodies are among the few violations cited by the Justice R.M. Lodha
Committee to push for the immediate removal of the BCCI office-bearers by the
Supreme Court.
What is the issue?

In a 79-page status report filed by the Lodha Committee said reforms in

Indian cricket were not possible unless the present crop of BCCI officebearers stepped down.
The BCCI placed impediments to the implementation of the
recommendations so as to frustrate the Supreme Courts July 18 verdict to
usher in transparency in cricket administration, it said.
The court was even more blunt after reading the report.

Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur asked whether the BCCI thought they are
a law unto themselves? Well, they are wrong... They behave like lords. Fall
in line or else we will make them fall in line, he said.
The Bench gave the BCCI time till October 6 to respond to the status report.
BCCI has allegedly not followed the Justice Lodha led panels
recommendations into cleaning the sport in the country and bringing the game
into repute following matchfixing and corruption scandals in the past.

The Recommendations by the Lodha committee are:

Lodha panel wants BCCI to come under RTI Act.

Lodha panel recommends legalisation of betting.
The panel recommends players and BCCI officials should disclose their assets
to the board in a measure to ensure they do not bet.
Lodha panel proposes one state, one vote. Also no proxy voting of
The most contentious point in the recommendations asks BCCI to implement
one vote for each state.
This means, for example, the large state of Maharashtra with multiple
associations in Maharashtra, Mumbai and Vidarbha each have their respective
representative and vote during elections.
If recommendation is implemented, the entire state will have just one vote.
No BCCI office-bearer can have more than two consecutive terms.
The Lodha panel recommends a maximum of three terms for office bearers
with no more than two consecutive terms.
It further says there should be a cooling period after each term.
No BCCI office-bearer can be Minister or government servant, recommends
Lodha panel.
In no case President will hold post for more than 2 years.
Lodha panel recommends a steering committee headed by former Home Secy
G K Pillai with Mohinder Amarnath, Diana Eduljee and Anil Kumble.
Panel recommends separate governing bodies for the IPL and BCCI.
Lodha Committee recommends relegation of Railways, Services and
Universities as Associate members.
They also lose voting rights.
Punishment and reforms were the main tasks for the Lodha committee.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : Polity & Governance

News Source : The Hindu

Sikkims clean villages make it the kingdom of Swachh
Details :
Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh have the maximum percentage of villages that are
Open Defecation Free(ODF)' 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.
Swachh Bharat surveys on ODF:

Other better performing States with village-level achievements in ODF are

Haryana and Meghalaya with just over 41 per cent each,
Gujarat (37.58 per cent),
Maharashtra (28.33 per cent),
Chhattisgarh (24.91 per cent) and
Rajasthan (23.83 per cent).
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 assessment.
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 23.
Three cities in Karnataka coastal Mangaluru, Udupi and Mysuru have
been declared open defecation free in the survey conducted among 75 cities
across the country under different population categories.

Definition of Open Defecation Free (ODF):

The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation defines ODF as the

termination of faecal-oral transmission, defined by no visible faeces found in
the environment/village and every household as well as public/community
institution using safe technology option for disposal of faeces.
For purposes of assessing performance, the Swachh Bharat Mission considers
both individual household latrine coverage and Open Defecation Free.
Open defecation refers to the practice whereby people go out in fields, bushes,
forests, open bodies of water, or other open spaces rather than using the toilet
to defecate. The practice is rampant in India and the country is home to the

worlds largest population of people who defecate in the open and excrete
close to 65,000 tonnes of faeces into the environment each day.
Around 564 million people, which is nearly half the population of India,
defecate in the open.
India accounts for 90 per cent of the people in South Asia and 59 per cent of
the 1.1 billion people in the world who practise open defecation.

Problems associated with it:

Open defecation poses a serious threat to the health of children in India.

The practice is the main reason India reports the highest number of diarrhoeal
deaths among children under-five in the world.
Every year, diarrhoea kills 188,000 children under five in India.
Children weakened by frequent diarrhoea episodes are more vulnerable to
malnutrition, stunting, and opportunistic infections such as pneumonia.
About 43 per cent of children in India suffer from some degree of
Diarrhoea and worm infection are two major health conditions that affect
school-age children impacting their learning abilities.
Open defecation also puts at risk the dignity of women in India.
Women feel constrained to relieve themselves only under the cover of dark for
reasons of privacy to protect their dignity.
Open defecation exposes women to the danger of physical attacks and
encounters such as snake bites.
Poor sanitation also cripples national development: workers produce less, live
shorter lives, save and invest less, and are less able to send their children to

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-1

Subject : Social Issues
News Source : The Hindu
Mission SAARC minus Pakistan
Details :
By pulling out of the SAARC summit in Islamabad, the government is trying to
achieve two ends: sending a tough message in the wake of the Uri attack in which
18 soldiers were killed, but also that it 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 as India,
was a significant step in that direction for the grouping.
For Basics on SAARC, please read this Article:
Indias line of actions to corner Pakistan:

In the previous summit in Kathmandu [November 2014], Prime Minister of

India has made it very clear that we would like to go forward with regional
connectivity and other initiatives with all SAARC member countries if
possible, and with only some if necessary.
So now if there is one country that doesnt want to be part of the initiatives,
then we have no choice but to work with those who share our vision.
Therefore the motor vehicle movement agreement, railway linkages, and the
SAARC satellite programme for which all SAARC countries apart from
Pakistan have signed up.
A bigger articulation of that vision is expected in mid-October, when India
hosts the BIMSTEC outreach summit on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in
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 connectivity being discussed.
This week, another grouping of India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal,
and Sri Lanka met for the South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation
(SASEC) programme in Delhi to release the first SASEC Operational Plan
SASECs lead financier, Asian Development Bank (ADB), has already
approved about 40 infrastructure and IT projects worth about $7.7 billion.
Bilaterally too, India has been busy with its SAARC minus Pak programme.

About the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC):

The South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Program brings

together Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka in a
project-based partnership that aims to promote regional prosperity, improve
economic opportunities, and build a better quality of life for the people of the

SASEC countries share a common vision of boosting intraregional trade and

cooperation in South Asia, while also connecting to Southeast Asia through
Myanmar, to the Peoples Republic of China and the global market.
There is huge potential to increase mutually beneficial trade between the six
SASEC countries and create access to distant Asian regional markets in the
least economically integrated region in the world.
Since 2001, SASEC countries have implemented 40 regional projects worth
more than a total of $7.7 billion in the energy, transport, trade facilitation, and
information and communications technology (ICT) sectors.
SASEC helps countries strengthen road, rail, and air links, and create the
conditions necessary to provide reliable energy and boost intraregional trade
in South Asia to cater to the needs of the region's growing economies.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) serves as Secretariat to the SASEC
ADB supports SASEC countries in strengthening regional ties for growth and
promoting cooperation; and provides financial and technical support to
improve connectivity, strengthen institutions and trade links, and expand
human capital.

About the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic
Cooperation (BIMSTEC):

It is a regional organization comprising seven Member States lying in the

littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal constituting a contiguous
regional unity.
This sub-regional organization came into being on 6 June 1997 through the
Bangkok Declaration.
It constitutes seven Member States: five deriving from South Asia, including
Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and two from Southeast Asia,
including Myanmar and Thailand.
Initially, the economic bloc was formed with four Member States with the
acronym 'BIST-EC' (Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand Economic
Following the inclusion of Myanmar on 22 December 1997 during a special
Ministerial Meeting in Bangkok, the Group was renamed 'BIMST-EC'
(Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand Economic
With the admission of Nepal and Bhutan at the 6th Ministerial Meeting
(February 2004, Thailand), the name of the grouping was changed to 'Bay of

Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation'

The regional group constitutes a bridge between South and South East Asia
and represents a reinforcement of relations among these countries.
BIMSTEC has also established a platform for intra-regional cooperation
between SAARC and ASEAN members.
The BIMSTEC region is home to around 1.5 billion people which constitute
around 22% of the global population with a combined gross domestic product
(GDP) of 2.7 trillion economy.
The objective of building such an alliance was to harness shared and
accelerated growth through mutual cooperation in different areas of common
interests by mitigating the onslaught of globalization and by utilizing regional
resources and geographical advantages.
Unlike many other regional groupings, BIMSTEC is a sector-driven
cooperative organization.
Starting with six sectorsincluding trade, technology, energy, transport,
tourism and fisheriesfor sectoral cooperation in the late 1997, it expanded to
embrace nine more sectorsincluding agriculture, public health, poverty
alleviation, counter-terrorism, environment, culture, people to people contact
and climate changein 2008.
The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectorial Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC)s Permanent Secretariat Headquarters is in Dhaka,

Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam

Subject : International Relation
News Source : The Hindu
Union Cabinet approves ratification of climate deal
Details :
The Union Cabinet gave the go-ahead for ratifying the Paris climate deal on
October 2, in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modis announcement. Postratification, 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
pre-industrial levels. 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.

For basics, please read this Article:

What is an Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs)?

Countries across the globe adopted an historic international climate agreement

at the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris in December 2015.
In anticipation of this moment, countries publicly outlined what post-2020
climate actions they intended to take under the new international agreement,
known as their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).
The climate actions communicated in these INDCs largely determine whether
the world achieves the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement: to hold the
increase in global average temperature to well below 2C, to pursue efforts to
limit the increase to 1.5C, and to achieve net zero emissions in the second
half of this century.

Here are Indias INDC objectives and how much it will cost:
Reduce emission intensity by 33 to 35 per cent by 2030 compared to 2005 levels

Introduce new, more efficient and cleaner technologies in thermal power
Reducing emissions from transportation sector.
Promote energy efficiency, mainly in industry, transportation, buildings and
Develop climate resilient infrastructure.
Pursue Zero Effect, Zero Defect policy under Make in India programme.

Produce 40 per cent of electricity from non-fossil fuel based energy resources
by 2030, if international community helps with technology transfer and lowcost finance.

Install 175 GW of solar, wind and biomass electricity by 2022, and scale up
further in following years.
Aggressively pursue development of hydropower.

Achieve the target of 63 GW of installed nuclear power capacity by 2032.

Create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide

equivalent by 2030 through additional forest and tree cover.

Full implementation of Green India Mission and other programmes of
Develop 140,000 km long tree line on both sides of national highways.

Develop robust adaptation strategies for agriculture, water and health sectors.

Redesign National Water Mission and National Mission on Sustainable
Active implementation of ongoing programmes like National Initiative on
Climate Resilient Agriculture, setting up of 100 mobile soil-testing
laboratories, distribution of soil health cards to farmers.
Additional impetus on watershed development through Neeranchal scheme.
Effective implementation of National Mission on Clean Ganga.
Early formulation and implementation of National Health Mission.
Complete Integrated Coastal Zone Management plan. Mapping and
demarcation of coastal hazard lines.

How much it will cost:

At least USD 2.5 trillion (at current prices) required between now and 2030 to
implement all planned actions.
USD 206 million required for adaptation actions.
Much more needed for strengthening resilience and disaster management.
About USD 834 billion, at 2011 prices, required for mitigation actions till
A total of INR 170.84 billion collected through cess on coal production.
Being used for funding clean energy projects
National Adaptation Fund has been created with initial allocation of Rs 3500
Tax free infrastructure bonds of INR 50 billion being introduced for funding
renewable energy projects.

Question asked in UPSC Pre-2016.

Q. The term Intended Nationally Determined Contributions is sometimes

seen in the news in the context of
(a) Pledges made by the European countries to rehabilitate refugees from the waraffected Middle East.
(b) Plan of action outlined by the countries of the world to combat climate change.
(c) Capital contributed by the member countries in the establishment of Asian
Infrastructure Investment Bank.
(d) Plan of action outlined by the countries of the world regarding Sustainable
Development Goals.
Ans: (b)
Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam
Subject : Environment & Ecology
News Source : The Hindu
Centre to wind up Hindustan Cables
Details :
The Cabinet has given its nod for a strategic sale of sick public sector firm Bharat
Pumps and Compressors, and for the closure of Hindustan Cables that has stopped
output since 2003. It has also approved an outlay of more than Rs.4,800 crore to
pay statutory dues to these firms employees and creditors.
What is Strategic Sale?

In the strategic sale of a company, the transaction has two elements:

Transfer of a block of shares to a Strategic Partner and
Transfer of management control to the Strategic Partner
The transfer of shares by Government may not necessarily be such that more
than 51% of the total equity goes to the Strategic Partner for the transfer of
management to take place.
In the case of Public Sector Enterprises (PSU), in order that the company no
longer has the character of a Government company, the transfer of shares
involves bringing down Governments shareholding below 51%.

In fact, it must be remembered that Companies Act, 1956 only defines a

Government Company, which in common parlance, is a company in which
Government holds more that 51%.
PSU is not defined in the Act.
Once the Governments shareholding goes below 51%, it ceases to be a
Government company and hence, it requires changes in the Articles of
Association of the company especially in relation to the Presidential directives
The Strategic Partner, after the transaction, may hold less percentage of shares
than the Government but the control of management would be with him.
For instance, if in a PSU the shareholding of Government is 51% and the
balance is dispersed in public holdings, then Government may go in for a 25%
strategic sale and pass on management control, though the Government would
post-transfer have a larger share holding (26%) than the Strategic Partner
It may be noted here that the number 26% has a special significance in
Company Law as to get a special resolution passed, one requires at least
majority in a general meeting.
Therefore, the 26% block acts as a check.

Exam Syllabus : Prelim Exam

Subject : Economics
News Source : The Hindu
Pak. loses $7 bn. by avoiding India goods
Details :
Facts for Mains:
India-Pakistan Trade:

Pakistan suffered a loss of about $7 billion in 2014 by importing items from

other countries at a higher cost instead of sourcing them from India, the loss
was substantial considering Pakistans GDP (nominal, 2015) was only about
$270 billion.
Many products that Pakistan imported from third countries were at least three
times more costly than the price of the same item from India in export

Pakistan is a net-importing nation with a trade deficit of $22 billion in 2015.

In 2015, it imported around $44 billion, while it exported only items worth
$22 billion.
India-Pakistan trade is far below potential and negligible.
Trade between both the nations in 2015-16 was just $2.6 billion, while
according to various estimates the annual bilateral trade has the potential to
surpass $20 billion if both countries cooperate and remove barriers and
Currently, most of the trade happens indirectly through Dubai, Singapore, port
of Bandar Abbas (Iran).

To know about the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status, please read this
following Article: https://lms.vajiramandravi.com/current-affairs/pakistans-mfntag-may-stay-for-now/57e77f3bb680d332e1c21de8/
Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-2
Subject : International Relation
News Source : The Hindu
Inspirational stories from real-life heroes for Ethics & Essay Paper. (Part-III)
Details :
Blending its Operation Calm Down with Jadoo ki Jhappi (magical hug), the Army
is now foraying into the interiors of south Kashmir, giving semblance of law and
order and building up confidence among the locals to open their establishments
which have been shut for nearly three months. And Colonel Dharmendra Yadav is
playing an important role by generating trust and confidence among the local

He is incharge of the most sensitive Anantnag district, every day he takes out
his jeep to take a round of his Area of Responsibility he mingles with locals,
interacts with them, especially the children.
The children who gather there call him Army uncle.
This is a name that I have not demanded but earned. Many of them want to
become Army officers, says Col. Yadav.
Col. Yadav and his team is often greeted by the villagers and children while
passing through.

He was encouraged by the Army personnel to teach children in a makeshift

school so that their education is not affected any further.
A resident of Gurgaon, Col. Yadav often meets the village elders and is seen
greeted by an affectionate hug which he calls a Jadoo ki Jhappi.
At times such colloquial terms do come handy for us to reach out to the
civilians. I did watch Munnabhai MBBS some years back..the movie was a hit
and so is the formula here, he says as a group of children surround him.
No doubt they have restored some law and order in many areas of the
district, says Ghulam Mohiudden, a teacher.
Col. Yadav was part of a team of young Army officers involved in the
encounter in Bumdoora village in which Burhan Wani and his two aides were

Exam Syllabus : G.S Main Paper-4

Subject : Miscellaneous
News Source : The Hindu
To revive an old friendship
Details :
To revive an old friendship
India and Russia has traditionally enjoyed very warm relationsbut in recent years,
ties between Moscow and Islamabad are also growing.
Recently, Russia and Islamabad are conducting their first-ever joint military
Change in Russian Policy
Under President Putin, Russia has pursued an assertive foreign policy which
strained its relationship with the West.
The unilateral sanctions imposed by the US and the EU have hurt Russian
This led to growing cooperation between Russia and China. The two has signed a
strategic partnership and have significant convergence of interests.

On the other hand, India has developed a strategic partnership with the US.
Russian share in the Indian defence market is gradually shrinking and the bilateral
trade is stagnant.
However, India and Russia have been supportive of each other on various issues
and Russia continues to provide sensitive technologies.
But the Russian economy is dependent on arms and energy exports and it sees
Pakistan as a potential market.
Concerns about China
Todays world is a multipolar world and countries are building multiple alliances.
China in spite of the US attempts at containment is leveraging its economic strength
to build a financial hegemony with the US.
Russia is aware of this and is concerned about Chinese economic domination. It is
also concerned about Chinese influence and Pakistans role in Central Asia.
What should India do?
India has to rebuild on its strengths and common concerns with Russia.
Both countries are concerned about terrorism. They should revitalize the
agreement on sharing intelligence for a joint strategy on terrorism.
India and Russia have common concerns in Afghanistan, especially after
rehabilitation of mujahideen leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. They should formulate a
common response to the Afghan situation.
After signing the logistics agreement (LEMOA) with the US , India should a
similar agreement with Russia also.
India should deepen its scientific and technological relations with Russia by
following up the various agreements that have been signed. Cooperation should also
be energized in the oil and gas sector.
India is hesitant to join the Russia-India-China forum proposed by Russia due to
presence of China. India should join the forum because if China can cooperate with
the US despite of differences, it should follow the same approach with respect to

For isolating Pakistan, India should leverage its ties with Moscow. Russia is a
better option than the US because the US needs India as well as Pakistan.
Leveraging multilateralism
India should increase its cooperation with global South to strengthen
India was instrumental in the construction of a multi polar world which was
beneficial to both India and Russia.
As Indias foreign policy is extension of its domestic policy, India should solve its
domestic issues by reaching out to different communities. This will provide an
advantage to India in conduct of foreign policy.
Way forward
It might appear that there is some strategic shift in Russian foreign policy but it
also knows that India is its most reliable ally as their interests doesnt clash with
each others.
Both India and Russia should make active efforts towards strategic and economic
cooperation to retain this special relationship.
GS 2 (India and its neighborhood- relations; Effect of policies and politics of
developed and developing countries on Indias interests)
Related question
India and Russia have traditionally enjoyed a special relationship but lately,
cooperation between Moscow and Islamabad is increasing. Discuss its implications
on future of Indo-Russian relations.
Exam Syllabus : Prelim + Main Exam
Subject : Editorial Analysis
News Source : The Hindu
Sept. 28, 2016

A case for accepting the WTO ruling 28th Sept'16 Editorial The Hindu
Details :
A case for accepting the WTO ruling
The US had filed a complaint against National Solar Mission of India at WTO on
the grounds that domestic content requirements (DCR) under the mission
discriminated against US exports and favoured Indian manufacturers of solar panels
and cells.
A WTO panel held that India violated global trade rules such as national treatment
provisions under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 1994 and
the WTOs Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures (TRIMS).
India has appealed against the ruling but the WTOs Appellate Body (AB), the
highest adjudicating body, has upheld the earlier ruling.
It was launched in 2010 to promote solar energy and is a part of National Action
Plan on Climate Change.
It targets generation of 20 GW of electricity from solar energy by 2022 which was
revised to 100 GW in 2015.
Under the program, the government enters long term electricity purchase contracts
with solar power developers (SPD), assuring them guaranteed prices for 25 years.
But only those SPDs who source certain types of solar cells and modules
domestically are eligible (DCR).
Why was Indias appeal rejected?
Under WTO rules, it is illegal for a country to make it mandatory for an enterprise
to purchase or use products of domestic origin to obtain an advantage. The DCR
measure of JNNSM was found to violate this rule.
India argued that its DCR measure should be excused because it falls under three

Firstly, it falls under Article IIL8 of GATT that exempts government procurement.
But the AB rejected this because the government was procuring electricity while the
discrimination was against solar panels.
Secondly, Article XX(j) of GATT allows for special measures for products that are
short in supply. As domestic production of solar modules is limited, they are short
in supply. But the AB rejected this argument and held that short supply should be
determined by considering supply from all sources, not just domestic.
Thirdly, Article XX(d) of GATT allows countries to adopt measures to secure
compliance with laws or regulations that are not inconsistent with GATT. But India
failed to show any domestic or international law, compliance with which required
Environmental impact
The ruling doesnt hamper Indias efforts to harness solar energy as the ruling is
against DCR, not against JNNSM.
The ruling also doesnt reflect WTOs bias towards free trade over environment
because Article XX of GATT recognizes the right of a country to regulate for
environmental objectives. However, the measures should be least trade restrictive
out of the available options.
India-US trade relations
Both countries plan to increase bilateral trade to $ 500 billion from present $ 100
billion by breaking down barriers to trade.
But instead of breaking the barriers, new ones are erected.
Presently, there are four ongoing trade disputes related to trade barriers between
the two countries in the WTO.
Way forward
India should comply with this ruling because if it doesnt, under the WTO laws,
the US can erect new trade barriers against India.
This will also be beneficial for solar power generation.

DCR measure should not be replaced by subsidies as it will again invite cases
against India at the WTO.
It will be a step towards breaking down trade barriers.
GS 2 (Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India
and/or affecting Indias interests; Important International institutions, agencies and
fora- their structure, mandate)
GS 3 (Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.;Investment

Related questions
WTO is an important international institution where decisions taken a