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2015

Civil Services Exam

[CURRENT & IR NOTES]

Nitin Sangwan www.meandupsc.blogspot.in

Contents
INDIA ............................................................................................................................................................. 5
14th FINANCE COMMISSION.......................................................................................................................... 5
1965 WAR and TASHKENT DECLARATION .................................................................................................... 7
AADHAR and DBT .......................................................................................................................................... 7
AFSPA .......................................................................................................................................................... 10
AGRICULTURE ............................................................................................................................................. 11
BANKING ..................................................................................................................................................... 16
BLACK MONEY ............................................................................................................................................. 19
CENSUS KEY FIGURES ............................................................................................................................... 21
CHOICE BASED CREDIT SYSTEM (CBCS)....................................................................................................... 21
CIVIL SERVICES REFORMS ........................................................................................................................... 22
COMPANIES ACT, 2013 and CSR PROVISIONS ............................................................................................ 22
CONSUMER RIGHTS in INDIA ...................................................................................................................... 23
COMPETITIVE FEDERALISM ......................................................................................................................... 26
COOPERATIVE FEDERALISM ........................................................................................................................ 26
CORRUPTION............................................................................................................................................... 26
CYBER SECURITY .......................................................................................................................................... 28
DEATH PENALTY and MERCY ...................................................................................................................... 29
DELHI GOVERNMENT STRUCTURE and MAJOR PROVISIONS .................................................................. 31
DIASPORA .................................................................................................................................................... 32
DIGITAL INDIA ............................................................................................................................................. 32
DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY ............................................................................................................................. 33
DISASTER MANAGEMENT ........................................................................................................................... 34
DRUG TRIALS ............................................................................................................................................... 35
DRUG TRADE and INDIA .............................................................................................................................. 36
EASE of DOING BUSINESS ........................................................................................................................... 37
E-GOVERNANCE .......................................................................................................................................... 38
ECONOMY ................................................................................................................................................... 39
EDIBLE OIL Issues of Supply and Agriculture Sector ................................................................................ 40
EDUCATION ................................................................................................................................................. 40
ELECTORAL REFORMS ................................................................................................................................. 43

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ELECTRICITY and ENERGY............................................................................................................................ 45
ENTREPRENEURSHIP ................................................................................................................................... 46
ENVIRONMENT and CLIMATE CHANGE ...................................................................................................... 47
EXPENDITURE MANAGEMENT COMMISSION............................................................................................. 49
EUTHANEASIA ............................................................................................................................................. 50
FINANCIAL SECTOR REFORMS..................................................................................................................... 50
FISCAL MATTERS ......................................................................................................................................... 51
FMC and SEBI MERGER ............................................................................................................................... 51
FOOD SECURITY .......................................................................................................................................... 51
GANGA CLEANING....................................................................................................................................... 52
GDP CALCULATION NEW............................................................................................................................. 55
GOLD Schemes ............................................................................................................................................ 56
GST .............................................................................................................................................................. 56
HEALTH........................................................................................................................................................ 61
HOUSING ..................................................................................................................................................... 65
INDIAN OCEAN DIPOLE ............................................................................................................................... 65
INFLATION ESTIMATES and NEW INDICES .................................................................................................. 66
INNOVATION ............................................................................................................................................... 66
IPR ............................................................................................................................................................... 67
JAM Jan Dhan, Aadhar and Mobile .......................................................................................................... 67
JAN DHAN.................................................................................................................................................... 67
JUDICIAL REFORMS ..................................................................................................................................... 68
LABOR REFORMS......................................................................................................................................... 68
LAND ACQUISITION ..................................................................................................................................... 69
LOKPAL ........................................................................................................................................................ 70
MALNOURISHMENT .................................................................................................................................... 72
MAKE in INDIA............................................................................................................................................. 72
MANIPUR .................................................................................................................................................... 74
MANUAL SCAVANGING ............................................................................................................................... 78
MINING EXPLORATION BILL ........................................................................................................................ 79
MSME UPLIFTMENT .................................................................................................................................... 80
MUDRA BANK.............................................................................................................................................. 80

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NAGA ISSUE ................................................................................................................................................. 81
NATIONAL GREEN TRIBUNAL ...................................................................................................................... 82
NET SECURITY PROVIDER ............................................................................................................................ 83
NGO ISSUE................................................................................................................................................... 83
NITI AAYOG National Institute for Transforming India ............................................................................ 84
NJAC and OTHER JUDICIAL REFORMS ......................................................................................................... 85
NORTH EAST ................................................................................................................................................ 88
NUCLEAR LIABILITY LAW, 2010 ................................................................................................................... 89
ONLINE RETAIL ............................................................................................................................................ 90
ORDINANCE POWER ................................................................................................................................... 90
PANCHAYATS and URBAN LBs..................................................................................................................... 91
PDS and ISSUES ........................................................................................................................................... 92
POLLUTION.................................................................................................................................................. 95
POVERTY and ESTIMATIONS ....................................................................................................................... 96
PPP .............................................................................................................................................................. 98
PULSES......................................................................................................................................................... 99
RAILWAY ................................................................................................................................................... 100
RBI ............................................................................................................................................................. 102
RELIGIOUS CONVERSIONS......................................................................................................................... 103
RESERVATION............................................................................................................................................ 104
RTI 10th Anniversary ............................................................................................................................... 105
SAHITYA AKADEMY ................................................................................................................................... 106
SANITATION and SWACH BHARAT ............................................................................................................ 107
SKILL DEVELOPMENT ................................................................................................................................ 108
SMALL BANKS and PAYMENT BANKS and FINANCIAL INCLUSION............................................................ 110
SMART CITIES ............................................................................................................................................ 113
SOCIO ECONOMIC CASTE CENSUS (Rural) ................................................................................................ 116
SOCIAL SECURITY ...................................................................................................................................... 117
SURROGACY .............................................................................................................................................. 117
TAX ADMINISTRATION AND REFORM COMMISSION (TARC) 3RD REPORT .............................................. 118
TOURISM ................................................................................................................................................... 119
TRIBALS ..................................................................................................................................................... 119

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TRIBUNALS ................................................................................................................................................ 120
UNIFORM CIVIL CODE, Article 44 .............................................................................................................. 122
WESTERN GHATS and RECENT STUDIES and REPORTS ............................................................................. 123
SCIENCE and TECH .................................................................................................................................... 124
NEUTRINO ................................................................................................................................................. 124
GSLV D6 ..................................................................................................................................................... 125
ASTROSAT ................................................................................................................................................. 126
INTERNET OF THINGS ................................................................................................................................ 126
INDIA IR and WORLD EVENTS ................................................................................................................... 126
IR ............................................................................................................................................................... 126
AFGHANISTAN ........................................................................................................................................... 127
AFRICA ....................................................................................................................................................... 130
BANGLADESH ............................................................................................................................................ 131
BRICS ......................................................................................................................................................... 136
BRITAIN ..................................................................................................................................................... 137
CENTRAL ASIA ........................................................................................................................................... 137
CANADA .................................................................................................................................................... 138
CHINA ........................................................................................................................................................ 138
FRANCE ..................................................................................................................................................... 149
GERMANY.................................................................................................................................................. 150
INDIAN OCEAN RIM ASSOCIATION ........................................................................................................... 150
IRAN .......................................................................................................................................................... 151
ISRAEL........................................................................................................................................................ 154
JAPAN ........................................................................................................................................................ 156
KOREA ....................................................................................................................................................... 158
MALDIVES.................................................................................................................................................. 158
MONGOLIA................................................................................................................................................ 159
MAURITIOUS ............................................................................................................................................. 159
MYANMAR ................................................................................................................................................ 160
NEPAL ........................................................................................................................................................ 163
PAKISTAN .................................................................................................................................................. 167
PALESTINE ................................................................................................................................................. 167

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REGIONAL COMPREHENSIVE ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT .................................................... 170
RUSSIA ....................................................................................................................................................... 171
SAUDI ARABIA ........................................................................................................................................... 174
SEYCHELLES ............................................................................................................................................... 174
SRI LANKA.................................................................................................................................................. 174
USA ............................................................................................................................................................ 176
INTERNATIONAL ISSUES ............................................................................................................................ 182
BITCOIN ..................................................................................................................................................... 182
CLIMATE CHANGE and PARIS SUMMIT (CoP-21), December ................................................................... 182
CRUDE PRICING ......................................................................................................................................... 185
FED RATE HIKE........................................................................................................................................... 187
GREECE CRISIS ........................................................................................................................................... 187
IRAQ .......................................................................................................................................................... 188
ISLAMIC STATE .......................................................................................................................................... 188
NET NEUTRALITY ....................................................................................................................................... 191
NOBEL PRIZE ............................................................................................................................................. 191
REFUGEE CRISIS EU and OTHERS ........................................................................................................... 193
SCO ............................................................................................................................................................ 194
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS and MDGs ..................................................................................... 196
SYRIA ................................................................................................................................................... 199
TRANS PPACIFIC PARTNERSHIP ................................................................................................................. 200
TURKEY ...................................................................................................................................................... 201
UNSC REFORMS ........................................................................................................................................ 201
YEMEN....................................................................................................................................................... 202
MISCELLANEOUS ....................................................................................................................................... 203
TRIVIA ........................................................................................................................................................ 217

INDIA
14th FINANCE COMMISSION
Key recommendations

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Horizontal Devolution Formula Horizontal devolution means transfer of finance between


states. The Commission added a new criterion of forest cover for devolution of Central taxes
which has gone against the nine states. The panel has assigned 7.5 per cent weight to forest
cover for inter-se determination of the shares of taxes to the states, while population carries
17.5 per cent weight, demographic change 10 percent, income distance 50 and area 15 per cent
weight. With the addition of the new criterion, Uttar Pradesh is the biggest loser followed by
Bihar. Meanwhile, 19 states stand to gain from the new arrangement. Arunachal Pradesh is the
biggest gainer.
Devolution to states: It has recommended that devolution should be primary mode of funds
transfers to states. States share in net proceeds from tax collections be 42% a huge jump
from 32% recommend by the 13th Finance Commission, and the largest change ever in the
percentage of devolution. The higher tax devolution will allow states greater autonomy in
financing and designing of schemes as per their needs and requirements.
Resource transfer: Tax devolution be the primary route resource transfer to states
Delinking of schemes: Eight centrally sponsored schemes (CSSes) will be delinked from support
from the Centre; Consequent to the higher devolution of funds, the Centre is likely to reevaluate several schemes that it sponsors for the States.
Cooperative federalism: There are recommendations on cooperative federalism, GST, fiscal
consolidation road map, pricing of public utilities and PSUs, too.
Set up an independent council to undertake assessment of fiscal policy implications of Budget
proposals.
Replace existing FRBM Act with a debt ceiling & fiscal responsibility law.
Wind up National Investment Fund and maintain all disinvestment receipts in the consolidated
fund.
Amend electricity Act to provide for penalties for delay in payment of subsidies by state
governments.
Set up autonomous and independent GST compensation fund
The commission suggested performance-based grants to panchayats and local bodies. It was
recommended the ratio of basic-to-performance grant be kept at 90:10 for panchayats and
80:20 for municipalities.
The Commission had also asked to do away with a distinction between Plan and non-Plan
expenditure.
2% kept aside for natural calamities
Recommendations concerning PRIs and ULBs
o 5% devolved to ULBs
o New measures to augment local government resources were suggested such as
municipal bonds.

The acceptance of the recommendations marks at least five major shifts from the past. They are:

The sizeable increase in tax devolution.

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To suggest institutional mechanisms for better monitoring of fiscal rules (like replacement of
FRBM Act with a new institution) and to achieve cooperative federalism.
Discontinuing the distinction between special category and other states.
Taking into account plan revenue expenditures while assessing revenue deficit grants.
Desisting from awarding sector/state specific grants or to subject grants to conditionality.

1965 WAR and TASHKENT DECLARATION


1965 WAR

The war was born out of 1962 war and Pakistans illusion of a weakened India
Sharpening our vulnerable image were our rising economic problems, a new untried leadership,
political squabbling, and a still-clumsy defence capability. Pakistani hawks felt convinced about
the opportunity by occupying the Rann of Kutch areas that we claimed but patrolled with
habitual slackness
On the other hand, defeat in this and other war of 1971 war pushed Pakistan into desperate acts
like fomenting unrest in Punjab and Kashmir in coming decades

TASHKENT DECLARATION, 1966

The Soviets, represented by Premier Alexei Kosygin moderated between Indian Prime Minister
Lal Bahadur Shastri and Pakistani President Muhammad Ayub Khan.
The Tashkent conference, under United Nations, American and Soviet pressure, compelled India
to give away the conquered region in Pakistan occupied national boundary of India and the 1949
ceasefire line in Kashmir.
The declaration stated that
o Indian and Pakistani forces would pull back to their pre-conflict positions, pre-August
lines, no later than February 25, 1966.
o The nations would not interfere in each other's internal affairs.
o Economic and diplomatic relations would be restored.
o Orderly transfer of Prisoners of War.
o The two leaders would work towards building good relations between the two
countries.
The agreement was criticized in India because it did not contain a no-war pact or any
renunciation of guerrilla warfare in Kashmir

AADHAR and DBT


AADHAR
Aadhar is a proof of identity
Aadhar records 5 biometric details

NPR
NPR is a record of citizenship
NPR records 15 fields.

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Aadhar is now IT ministry


It is by an executive action
Government now plans to integrate both
Aadhar

NPR is with Home


It has legislative backing

Covers more than 92 crore Indians


National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the country's umbrella body for all retail
payments system, has reached a new milestone after successfully linking as many as 15 crore
bank accounts with the Aadhaar numbers, moving closer to map the overall 17 crore DBT
accounts before 30 June.

Why Aadhar

Fraud is the biggest enemy of the social spending in India and Aadhar can help in overcoming
that.
A poor needs access to social security and current labyrinth of eligibility photo-IDs are a
hindrance. A biometric based single system can eliminate the officialdom that prevent them
from accessing those services and benefits

Government provides subsidies to the tune of Rs 3 lakh crore or about 3.5% of the GDP. Often
only a small portion of the subsidy reaches to the poor. It will ensure that subsidy reaches in full
to the beneficiary.

According to Shanta Ram Committee, reform in PDS by linking it to Aadhar will alone save
around Rs 30,000 crore or around 30% of the food subsidy bill
According to government, of 17 crore LPG connections, 15 crore has been linked to Aadhar and
this alone has led to weeding out of most of the ghost connections and as a result around Rs
12,000 crore has been saved
Kerosene to be available in select places only and rest will get the subsidy via DBT. The
allocation of kerosene subsidy will now be in accordance with Census 2011 data, which shows
that its no longer a fuel of choice for cooking but is used for lighting purposes. The Census
showed that kerosene has been almost completely replaced by LPG in urban and semi-urban
areas and biomass is the cooking fuel of choice in the rural areas. It is estimated that as much as
40 per cent of the subsidized kerosene supplied through the PDS is diverted, mainly to
adulterate diesel. Further, Kerosene itself is a polluting fuel and from environmental
perspective also it must be discouraged. In its place, the newly launched 5kg portable mini gas
cylinder should be promoted.

Cut leakages It has claimed that the new system would ensure timely payment directly to
intended beneficiaries, reduce transaction costs and leakages.
Cut logistic costs For every rupee that reaches the poor government has to expend more than
Rupees 5 in invariably all government schemes. Supply chain costs will be reduced, this will
ensure more funds for the beneficiaries.

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Anywhere Access For example PDS scheme can be availed by migratory workers too. It will be
very helpful for migrants and tribals.
No need for multiple schemes and lesser paperwork it will integrate various schemes and will
facilitate proper allocation of funds and will avoid overlap.
Weed out ghost beneficiaries
Remote verification of identity
Some other benefits of DTC

DCTs provide poor families the choice of using the cash as they wish. Having access to cash also
relieves some of their financial constraints.
DCTs are simpler in design than other subsidy schemes.
Running costs are far lower despite high initial fixed costs

Currently major cash transfer programs in India are

Indira Gandhi Matritva Shayog Yojna -2010 Available to pregnant and lactating women, it
aims at improving maternal health and addressing her nutritional needs. The conditions are
Registration of pregnancy and fixed number of check-ups.
Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalya Scheme It has a provision for residential schools for
backward community girls. Condition is the girl should be unmarried.
Janani Suraksha Yojna Aims at reducing both maternal and neo-natal mortality.

Criticisms of Aadhar

Costs Very costly to implement Total money sanctioned for this project: Rs. 13663.22 crore.
Data can be misused by the state Especially by police forces.
Potential violation of Privacy In many western countries similar projects have been shelved
for similar apprehensions as in UK. Though the Supreme Court has included privacy as part of
the Right to Life, India does not have a specific law governing issues related to privacy.
Lack of clarity on whether Aadhaar is mandatory According to UIDAI, it is not mandatory for
individuals to get an Aadhaar number. However, it does not prevent any service provider from
prescribing Aadhaar as a mandatory requirement for availing services. SC has also ruled that it
cannot be a precondition for direct benefits transfers.
Biggest controversy regarding the bill is that there is an overlap in the task assigned to National
Population Registrar and UID.
The Standing Committee on Finances finds the project directionless.
Like other schemes, it will exclude homeless and others.
There are problems in targeting as well as Aadhar is also prone to errors in targeting
Despite its claim of a single proof, for example banks are asking for more proofs.
Enrollment issues
a. People above 60 years and children below 12 years have issues in enrolling.
b. Fingerprints of manual labor have distorted or non-recognizable pattern.
c. Sensors also fail when women with mehndi are using it.

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Authentication issues

Other issues with DTC

Inflation There is no suitable provision of linking the price rise with cash transfers.
60% of the population does not have a bank account.
It is also feared that beneficiaries will not use cash for intended purpose and it may aggravate
the problems of hunger and food security.
Further, most of the corruption happens during procurement of things which cost more that
labor etc. Aadhar or any other Direct Benefit Scheme wont be able to curb that.
It is also not equipped to avoid the larger corruption though bribes, inelligible beneficiaries and
so on.
Emergence of PDS was not only for the benefit of the consumers but also for the producers
the farmers. Direct cash transfers will ignore the farmers who get a fair price through the PDS.

Privacy and other controversies

Aadhar has adequate measures of privacy, as it has a federated structure and two data sets
when interact with each other say Aadhar data base and Banking they dont know each
other.
Government has acknowledged in SC that Aadhar is totally voluntary and a user can even block
his or her information
Government has also argued that data is with its own secure servers (though data collection is
outsourced)
Government in courts has also pleaded that privacy itself is not an absolute right and even a
fundamental right. In fact, in 1954, an 8 bench court has ruled that it is not a fundamental right
After the recent reservations by the courts, the government wants it to be referred to a larger
bench

Way out

Government should provide it a legal cover by bringing a legislation for it and privacy clause
should be embedded in that government is ready with a draft legislation

AFSPA
Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 gives the
Armed forces complete authority in tackling the
insurgency in disturbed area of the country. The act
first time was invoked in 1950s in the North eastern
state on Nagalnd to counter the insurgent outfits.
Later it was extended to the other states of the N-E
India and Kashmir.

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The most controversial sections of AFSPA are:

Section 4th: Enables security forces to fire upon or otherwise use force, even to the causing of
death where laws are being violated (the assembly of five or more persons; or carrying of
weapons)

Section 6th: No criminal prosecution will lie against any person who has taken action under this
act.

In 54 years, not a single army, or paramilitary officer or soldier has been prosecuted for murder, rape,
destruction of property (including the burning of villages in the 1960s in Nagaland and Mizoram).
It makes Army defacto a judge, executioner and jury all in one.
Tripura junks AFSPA in 2015, repealed from 26 police station areas.

The state took multi-pronged approach to wean the youth off from militancy created jobs,
basic services, provided rehabilitation opportunities to the surrendered youth. Most
importantly, counter-insurgency operations were dealt with a trained police force rather than
army.

Nagaland, Manipur, Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and J&K still have it.
Jeevan Reddy Committee, 2004 appointed to review AFSPA had recommended that it should be
repealed and some of its provisions be incorporated into other laws. However, the report was rejected
by the government.
The 5th report of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission on public order has also
recommended the repeal of the AFSPA.

AGRICULTURE
Why agriculture?

1% change in agri GDP has potential of adding 2-3% in overall GDP


Food expenses account for almost 50% of rural and around 40% of urban households

Current status of agriculture

India is net exporter of agriculture products.


Agricultural growth rate in 2014-15 was just .2%
India's agriculture growth rate dropped to 0.02% in the last quarter of 2014-15
11th FYP 3.6%
Rainfed areas constitute about 61% of the total 140.30 million hectares
More than 85 per cent of investment in the agri sector is by the private sector.
In the year 2013, more than 7000 farmers committed suicide as per NCRB data.

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o Maharashtra tops with 3,786 suicides, Haryana 250 suicides in 2012


o 3 lakh farmers have committed suicide since 1995
As quoted by Arvind Pangariya and a survey by NGO Lokniti 76% of the children of farmers dont
wish to continue in farming if given other opportunity
50% of the population working in agriculture produces only 14% of GDP.
Indian agriculture is highly inefficient and unproductive.
There is lack of irrigation facilities and 67% is dryland farming in India
Insurance penetration is very poor (only 5% insured) and the most important reason is that they
cannot afford the premium which is very high. (Insurance assessment is faulty and generally
given only when damage is 80% in a sub-division)
Prices of agricultural goods have fallen in both domestic and international market
Average land holding is just 1.16 hectare
Today, 83% of the land holdings are small or marginal holdings.

China

China, with lesser amount of cultivable land and lesser amount of land per person, produces
more than double amount of food grains at 600 million tonnes
China started its economic reforms not from industry, but from agriculture when communes
were done away with and reforms were initiated
Unlike India, public support to agriculture in China is very large

Current challenges

Agriculture is now a high volatility and high risk proposition


Agriculture insurance penetration in India is very poor and hence, agriculture in India is a very
risk proposition. Center has just Rs 2823 for National Crop Insurance Programme.
Poor overall government support direct support mainly in irrigation, insurance and
agricultural development is merely 17,000 crore which is less than 50% of outlay to a single
scheme like MNGREGS and just 10% of a single defence deal with France (Dassault)
Diversification in agriculture has been given poor attention. Less than Rs 1,000 crore has been
laid out for fisheries and animal husbandry and that too from Rs 17,000 crore itself
No great attention has been paid to value addition and food processing Just around 400
crore allocation to Ministry of Food Processing and poor focus on
Decreasing land holdings Average size is just 1.6 hectare with 85% farmers being small and
marginal farmers
Saturated and overcrowded Growth has been just .2% in 2014-15. Manufacturing sector has
failed to provide exit opportunities

Recent steps by government

Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojna Per drop, More Crop, by using technologies like laser
leveling and drip irrigation

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Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana For the promotion of organic farming


100 mobile testing laboratories across India. Central Government provides assistance to State
Governments for setting up Soil Testing Laboratories for issuing Soil Health Cards to farmers. 14
crore soil health cards to be issued next in 3 years.
Directions to insurance companies to settle claim within 45 days
Reduced limit of damaged crop 33%
Soil Health Card Scheme launched
Card to display soil fertility and recommend fertilizers accordingly. This will improve crop yields,
prevent soil-water contamination due to excessive use of fertilizers and thus reduce
Government subsidy bill.

Hike in compensation by 50%


Rs 5000 pension for farmers of age 60 and above

Possible Solutions

Israel model
Johad water conservation
Bring evergreen revolution
Use technology Jan Dhan, Aadhar, Mobile (JAM), make agricultural aid more efficient.
Diversification of agriculture mixed farming, horticulture
Mixed farming Haryanvi cows and buffalos are famous, use them extensively
Create non-farm jobs It will reduce unemployment, improve returns for farmers
Technology like GIS can be used for faster settlement of crop damage claims
Increase public spending Public spending has decline over the years, in 2013 85% investment
in agriculture was from private sector
Insurance penetration and risk coverage. State should come forward to fund the premia paid by
farmers. Even in the USA, state funds the 70% of the premium.
There can be a cess to fund investment in agriculture.
As long as farmers get free power and water, they will not give up paddy. To wean farmers of
wheat-paddy cycle, alternate strategies needs to be adopted.
The country is saddled with surplus foodgrain but it has to import edible oil. Bring sarson and
makki back and grow soyabean, which will fix nitrogen in the soil and save water. Farmers will
not accept lower returns and marketing is an issue. Recommendations are that maize and
soybean get the same price and a certain amount is procured so that farmers get around the
same amount they get for paddy.

National Commission on Farmers

It gave 5 reports, final report talked about farmer distress


Farmers need to have assured access and control over basic resources, which include land,
water, bioresources, credit and insurance, technology

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MSP = Cost + 50%


It presented a 5 point solution to the problems of the agriculture
o Soil Health Enhancement
o Irrigation Facilities Augmentation
o Credit Supply - on 4 per cent interest on credit
o Technology
o Marketing

UNIFIED MARKET FOR AGRICULTURE


The proposed National Agriculture Market framework envisages real-time electronic auctioning of the
commodities along with integrated assaying, weighing, storage and payment systems. It proposes to
issue a single license for trading across the country in order to promote increased participation.
Assaying, weighing and FIs will be integrated with auctioning in such a manner that the payments will
be credited directly to the farmers accounts. In this context, the Prime Ministers Jan Dhan Yojna can
be a great enabler towards payment facilitation for marginal and small farmers.
While buyers can log into the platform from homes or offices anywhere in India, the transactions will,
however, be recorded as having been conducted through the mandi where the seller would normally
bring his produce.
Well-equipped warehouses will be created in the vicinity of major production clusters. Details will be
furnished on the electronic platform. It will provide a dual benefit to producers by averting the need to
bring produce to the market physically and enabling them to avail funding against the commodities
stored in the warehouses, thus strengthening the price risk management framework for the farmer.
Background
Regulated markets such as APMCs have outlived their existence.
Farmer is forced to sell his produce to APMCs without having access to other better options.
Operating in geographic silos, the entrenched commission agents and buyers have squeezed the
farmer to the hilt. There are also issues of middlemen exploiting farmers by way of expensive
credit, inefficient supply chains and so on.
There are various other limitations under the current framework related to multiple tax levies
and licences, logistics and infrastructure.
Steps taken by the government to establish it

Budget 2015 Unified National Agriculture Market


A budget of Rs 200 crore was set aside in this budget

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The Scheme envisages implementation of NAM through Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium
(SFAC), which is an autonomous organization under the Department of Agriculture and
Cooperation (DAC).
It provides for a pan-India electronic trading portal which will network selected Agricultural
Produce Marketing Committees (APMC) market yards to create a unified national market for
agricultural commodities. NAM is a virtual market but it will have physical markets (mandis)
at the back end.
The government is aiming to scale-up Karnatakas relatively successful experience in unifying
its APMCs.

Benefits of a unified National Agriculture Market

The online platform will connect the 580 plus APMC mandis
It will help in cutting down the costs of supply chain and middlemen
It would increase farmers incomes as they will be able to sell anywhere and to any buyer of
their choice as currently they are bound by the restrictions of respective APMC Acts of states
and lack of information available to them
The market size for farmers would increase as he wont be limited to a captive market
There will be electronic auctions for price discovery.
It will have an incidental advantage of moderating increase in prices which has been the bane
of many a government. As demand and supply will be matched better.
Now there will be one licence for entire state, there will be single point levy.
The impact will be that the entire state will become a market and the fragmented markets
within the states would be abolished
The common market will invariably put the thrust towards higher quality agriculture produce.
Bulk buyers, processors, exporters etc. benefit from being able to participate directly in trading
at the local mandi / market level through the NAM platform, thereby reducing their
intermediation costs
It will also make the supply chains more efficient and will reduce wastage

Challenges for creation of common market

According to an estimate, the total turnover of APMCs nationwide is about Rs. 12 lakh crore per
annum.
Moreover, a parallel market cannot be created overnight to absorb the huge volumes the
APMCs handle.
Currently, the Aadhatis and Commission agents also provide credit facility in their absence,
government needs to come up with a robust institutional mechanism and have to look at
increasing priority sector lending from existing 18%
Managing such a national market for perishable goods like fruits and vegetables is also a bigger
challenge

Agriculture in 2015

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Monsoon ends with 14% deficit, 2nd consecutive year of deficit


Draught condition most sever in Maharashtra just 20% area of the state is under irrigation
cover, sugarcane crop alone takes 60% water in this irrigated area
Whitefly attack devastated /3rd crop of cotton in Punjab
Basmati prices crashed in international market
Unseasonal rains and hailstorm in March
Last year, agriculture growth was around 1.1%

BANKING
NPAs

An NPA is defined as a loan asset, which has ceased to generate any income for a bank whether
in the form of interest or principal repayment. According to the Narasimham Committee Report
(1991), those assets (advances, bills discounted, overdrafts, cash credit etc.) for which the
interest remains due for a period of four quarters (180 days) should be considered as NPAs.
Now this period is 90 days.
SBI has highest NPAs around Rs 50,000 crore with around 4.5% of gross advances
High NPAs means that there is a loss to taxpayers money (as government has to bail banks out
with public money)
The Non Performing Assets (NPAs) of the banks in the country stood at Rs 3 lakh crore as on
December 2014 out of which public sector banks have a share of around Rs 2.6 lakh crores or
5.6% of gross advances.

Causes of NPAs

Almost 42% contributed by priority sector


Construction sector contributes highest NPAs, followed by iron and steel.
Slowdown was one of the reasons for growth of NPAs stalled projects have given rise to more
NPAs
The NPA problem is more prevalent in PSU banks compared to their private sector counter parts
and governance and management is one of the reasons to blame apart from political influence
in their working
Rigid laws that hinder realization of revenues via faster sale.
Poor bankruptcy management which affect interest of lenders

RBI has taken a number of steps for recovery of NPAs that include having a Board approved loan
recovery policy

How to reduce NPAs


o Banking system should be consolidated

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o
o
o
o
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Recovery methods should be strengthened


SARFASEI Act For recovery of bad debts should also be strengthened
Populism should be shunned
Form mutually acceptable methodology for reserve price valuation to discover fair
price of NPAs.
Strict action against wholesale and big ticket defaults in a time bound manner
There are also allegations of collusion of bank staff. Exemplery punishments should be
there for those found guilty

Measures to reform banking

PSBs are subject to dual regulation from the Ministry and the RBI. They have other
governance and independence issues which have been highlighted by the P J Nayak committee
as well.
Fully empower banks on human resource related decisions.
Creating the right environment for minimal interference.
Strengthening the legal framework for recovery of loans.
Eliminate debt waivers and do away with interest rate caps.
The Finance Ministry had issued a direction to banks recently asking them to take decisions
without fear or favour and to ignore extraneous considerations in commercial decisions, in the
aftermath of the GyanSangam.

P J NAYAK COMMITTEE REPORT, 2014


The Committee to Review Governance of Boards of Banks in India was formed by the RBI to look
into the governance issue of public sector banks. It pitches for more autonomy for PSEBs in its
report. It submitted its report in May 2014 with following major recommendations

It identified the non-independence of the board of directors as one of the issues. It also
highlighted the non-professional handling of banks governance issues
It recommended for privatization of PSEBs and dilution of government stake to less than 50%.
It suggests that the government reduce its stake in the banks to just about less than 50% which
takes the banks out of the tyranny of vigilance, right to information (RTI) while keeping the State
as the dominant shareholder and not losing ownership based control.
The committee thinks that the State should continue as an investor; intervene on issues of
larger public good through policies in consultation with RBI and ensure that these policies affect
the private banks and PSBs equally; and keep completely off operational control.
It also called for formation of a Bank Ivestment Company (BIC) and asked government to
exercise less control over them. BIC should run in a manner like corporate and the BIC will act
like a passive wealth fund for government holdings with the sole aim of maximizing the
government's returns.
Investors should be allowed to hold more share upto 20% and they should have a say in the
working of the board of proposed BIC

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It also called for end of dual control of Ministry of Finance and RBI on banks
It also called for repeal of SBI Act of 1955 and Bank Nationalization Act of 1970
It has also been recommended that banks come under the Companies Act and be subject to
the listing requirements of the Securities and Exchange Board of India.
It has also called for examining the performance of these banks in comparison with the private
sector counterparts.
Apart from the issues regarding PSEBs, it also made some suggestions regarding private banks
governance as well. The committee has suggested a fixed term of 5 years for the
chairman/managing director of a bank and a term of 3 years for a whole-time director.

Recommendations of the committee assume even more importance after a series of news which
reported collusion of senior bank official in sub-prime lending to unworthy credit seekers from
industry ultimately leading to burgeoning NPAs for PSEBs. Default of Kingfisher Airline and poor
response of banks to recover their debts is another case in point that all is not well with the banks.
Indradhunash A 7 point reform agenda of government

The government has accepted almost all major recommendations of P J Nayak Committee,
except bringing down government stake below 51%.
Capitalisation of banking in line with the Basel 3 norms by 2019, but it will be linked to
performance
Government implemented the much
discussed split in Chairman and MD/CEO
post to improve the governance standard
in the public sector banking space.
Holding Company for looking into
investment of government in banks The
GOI announced details of Bank Board
Bureau, which will start functioning from the beginning of next fiscal. Banks board of bureau will
replace existing appointments board. Its members would be appointed in the next six months to
be headed by the RBI governor. The GOI will delegate all its responsibilities as owners of PSBs to
Bank Board Bureau; which will be the stepping stone towards creating of a full-fledged bank
holding company suggested by P J Nayak Committee Bank Investment Company. Banks board
bureau would also hold bad assets of public sector banks.
Government is also planning to take several steps to improve legal and risk management
controls for banks like strengthening of SARFESIA Act etc
The government is planning to give higher independency to the board, which will drive the
banks strategy going forward.
Government has issued a circular that it will not interfere in the functioning of public sector
banks and encouraged them to take decisions independently, keeping the commercial interest
of the organization in mind.

Criticism of Indradhanusha

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Lack of a concrete plan to tackle NPAs.
Capitalisation amount announced is lower than the requirement of PJ Nayak committee
The Nayak Committee had proposed a Bank Board Bureau comprising entirely of senior bankers.
Under Indradhanush, the government will be represented on the BBB.

BLACK MONEY
Current situation

In 2013, CBDT was able to get conviction just for 15 people

Challenges in bringing it back

There are around 80 tax havens which are not covered under any treaty

There are also dubious clauses in DTAAs which permit tax evasion, they also needed to be
revised

A big chunk of the black money doesnt remain in the foreign bank and is routed back to India
through various channels like Participatory Notes, round tripping etc. These must also be given
a re-thought.

Domestic presence of black money is also huge. Black money is safely invested in real estate by
undervaluation of property.

Imports are undervalued and exports are overvalued to disguise black money.

In wake of increasing pressure from OECD in wake of terrorist funding and financial crisis to
bring in more transparency, tax havens like Switzerland are now relocating bank branches to
other safe destinations like Dubai and Singapore which are relatively immune to such global
pressure for transparency. (this is also the reason that Singapore is fast emerging as a source of
FDI for India, fast replacing Mauritius).

Further, international tax havens and banks succumb to pressure of the mighty only like USA

and they have often ignored the requests from global South on one excuse or the other.
What can be done

First of all, it should be realized that real problem is not the black money that is stashed away
abroad, but its generation domestically. So, first step should be curbing this menace at home
itself.

All the financial transactions say of above Rs 10,000 should be mandatorily linked with
Aadhar so that all illicit transactions within economy can be traced and real source of funds can
be traced to real persons behind them. Use of biometrics identification can be employed to
hasten up such verifications and authentications while making the transactions.

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Thirdly, Cash transactions should be discouraged. Black money in form of bribes and kickbacks
is given in form of cash and spent as such. So, curbing cash transactions can help in tracing the
source of black money and it will also help in curbing corruption.

All DTAAs should be revised to plug the loopholes.

Punishments for tax evasion and bribery should be made stiffer and such cases should be dealt
on priority basis by the courts.

Whistleblower legislation should be strengthened and the whistleblowers who unearth black
money or losses to government should be liberally rewarded and protected as it is done in USA
under Lincoln Law (US False Claims Act).

E-Governance should be promoted so that official discretion is cut down, services are delivered
online. It will brig down incidences of bribery and will promote transparency.

Honest administrators and tax payers should be duly recognized and tax evaders and corrupt
should be publically named and shamed so that low premium is put on ill gotten wealth.

Land and gold are big avenues, make Aadhar mandatory there

Nations should come together for agreements on Automatic Information Disclosure


Amend Benami transaction Act

Recent News

PAN being made mandatory for any purchase or sale exceeding Rupees 1 lakh.
Government has brought a bill curb benami transaction (in which the property is transferred to
a person, but he doesnt pay for it). The exiting law had many loopholes incluing absence of
appellate mechanism and lacked provisions of confiscation. As a result, government never
notified the rules.
Government has passed a legislation to curb black money on foreign soil Black Money
(Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Bill, 2015
o Stricter penal provisions imprisonment upto 7 years
o 25% penalty on the undisclosed amount
SIT was formed in 2014
DTAAs were revised
PCA, 1988 will be amended
Around Rs. 3770 crore has been declared as untaxed or black money in a three-month window
that was offered for disclosure of undisclosed foreign assets
G20 commits to OECDs automatic exchange of tax information by 2017. For this, an action plan
to tackle Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) to make sure companies pay their fair share of
tax would be finalized in 2015.
HSBCs whistleblower Herve Falciani has said that he has a lot of information on tax evasion by
Indians, but government of India is not forthcoming.

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CENSUS KEY FIGURES


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India population 1.21 billion


Pan India Sex Ratio 940 slight improvement over the last decade - 933
Child sex ratio (0-6 years) is 914 (it was 964 in 1971). Increasing trend in the child sex ratio (0-6)
seen in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh
Decadal Growth Rate 17.64% (for females it is higher)
2001-2011 is the first decade (with the exception of 1911-1921) which has actually added lesser
population compared to the previous decade
Uttar Pradesh (199.5 million) is the most populous State in the country followed by
Maharashtra with 112 million
Delhi (866) has even poorer sex ratio than Haryana (877)
Haryana has a child sex ratio of 834
States like Nagaland also had negative growth rate

CHOICE BASED CREDIT SYSTEM (CBCS)


University Grants Commission has come up with the Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) programme in
which

The CBCS offers a cafeteria approach in which the students can choose courses of their own
choice.
The students have a choice to choose from the prescribed courses, which are referred as core,
elective or minor or soft skill courses and they can learn at their own pace and the entire
assessment is graded-based on a credit system.
The basic idea is to look into the needs of the students so as to keep up-to-date with
development of higher education in India and abroad.
CBCS aims to redefine the curriculum keeping pace with the liberalization and globalisation in
education.
CBCS allows students an easy mode of mobility to various educational institutions spread
across the world along with the facility of transfer of credits earned by students.
If for some reasons, he cannot cope with the study load or if he falls sick, he has the freedom to
study fewer courses and earn fewer credits and he can compensate this in the next semester.
They can also opt for an interdisciplinary approach to learning.
Inter college/university migration within the country and outside becomes easy with the
transfer of Credits. This means that it will be easier for foreign universities to come and offer
courses in India. This will help in making a clear choice between good and bad colleges/
institutes.
The system improves the job opportunities of students and is also better aligned with Industry
needs.

However, the system is also criticized for

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Imposing a uniform regime on Indian universities which have different social historical context
behind their establishment.
Critics further argue that aligning Indian system in line with Western system may not work in
Indian context.
It has a top down approach and it will also erode autonomy of universities in designing the
courses as such a system also requires considerable uniformity.
With its industry orientation, it is likely to lead to neglect of traditional disciplines

CIVIL SERVICES REFORMS

Not only lateral entry, but lateral exit also Maharashtra government has provided options of
specialization. Even British ICS could select a branch of governance after a period of service. 6th
Pay Commission and 2nd ARC were both unanimous in lateral entry. Even today, government has
many positions of lateral entry like RBI governor, Chief Economic Advisor
ARC2 also recommended a paradigm shift from career based to a post-based approach for
senior government jobs
Performance appraisal should be merit based. For example, in Army all promotions of Brigadier
and above are strictly based on promotion

COMPANIES ACT, 2013 and CSR PROVISIONS


It was drafted on the basis of experience from scams such as those at Satyam and SpeakAsia. The
provisions on corporate social responsibility (CSR) - companies with a net worth of more than Rs 500
crore or revenue of more than Rs 1,000 crore or net profit of more than Rs 5 crore. New law would have
stricter norms for independent directors, auditor. Reconstitute their boards, with at least one woman
and two independent directors (IDs) within a year. The new law will also bring stringent norms in place
for IDs, who can be held accountable under the law for activities in the company. Reconstitute audit
committees and establish nomination and remuneration. Experts say the new law will bring more
transparency in corporate governance, while allowing flexibility to companies in exceptional situations.
CSR rules Schedule VII of Companies Act With effect from April 1, 2014, every company, private
limited or public limited, which either has a net worth of Rs 500 crore or a turnover of Rs 1,000 crore or
net profit of Rs 5 crore, needs to spend at least 2% of its average net profit for the immediately
preceding three financial years on corporate social responsibility activities.

The CSR activities should not be undertaken in the normal course of business and must be with
respect to any of the activities mentioned in Schedule VII of the 2013 Act. Earlier, There have
been incidences company spending on projects under CSR which are beneficial to company
more rather than society.

Dividends received from other companies in India which need to comply with the CSR
obligations would not be included in the computation of net profits of a company.

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The CSR Rules appear to widen the ambit for compliance obligations to include the holding and
subsidiary companies as well as foreign companies whose branches or project offices in India
fulfil the specified criteria.

The activities that can be undertaken by a company to fulfil its CSR obligations include
eradicating hunger, poverty and malnutrition, promoting preventive healthcare, promoting
education and promoting gender equality, setting up homes for women, orphans and the senior
citizens, measures for reducing inequalities faced by socially and economically backward groups,
ensuring environmental sustainability and ecological balance, animal welfare, protection of
national heritage and art and culture, measures for the benefit of armed forces veterans, war
widows and their dependents, training to promote rural, nationally recognized, Paralympic or
Olympic sports, contribution to the prime minister's national relief fund or any other fund set up
by the Central Government for socio economic development and relief and welfare of SC, ST,
OBCs, minorities and women, contributions or funds provided to technology incubators located
within academic institutions approved by the Central Government and rural development
projects.

However, in determining CSR activities to be undertaken, preference would need to be given to


local areas and the areas around where the company operates.

To formulate and monitor the CSR policy of a company, a CSR Committee of the Board needs to
be constituted. Section 135 of the 2013 Act requires the CSR Committee to consist of at least
three directors, including an independent director.

A company can undertake its CSR activities through a registered trust or society, a company
established by its holding, subsidiary or associate company or otherwise.

Where a company has a website, the CSR policy of the company would need to be disclosed on

such website.
There is also some criticism of the CSR provisions of the new Act

Many existing activities of the companies may not qualify as CSR as per Schedule VII of the Act

Secondly, such mandatory norm will promote companies to go for CSR activities in perfunctory
manner and there may not be any real outcome

Companies also oppose compulsory provisions as they already pay high rates of tax. It may also
led to tax evasions to escape the provisions

CONSUMER RIGHTS in INDIA


A major step taken in 1986 by the Indian government was the enactment of the Consumer
Protection Act 1986, popularly known as COPRA.

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The enactment of COPRA has led to the setting up of separate department of Consumer Affairs
in central and state governments.
India is one of the countries that have exclusive courts for consumer redressal.
Under COPRA, three-tier quasi-judicial machinery at the district, state and national levels
were set up for redressal of consumer disputes. The district level court deals with the cases
involving claims upto Rs 20 lakhs, the state level courts between Rs 20 lakhs and Rs 1 crore and
the national level court deals with cases involving claims exceeding Rs 1 crore. If a case is
dismissed in district level court, the consumer can also appeal in state and then in National level
courts. Thus, the Act has enabled us as consumers to have the right to represent in the
consumer courts.
Consumer Courts features

There are two other members apart from head of the district forum who is often a
judicial member.

There should be one woman member in the District Forum

There is a small fee that consumers need to pay to file cases

According to the Consumer Protection Act 1986, the consumer right is referred to as right to be
protected against marketing of goods and services which are hazardous to life and property.
Right to Safety
Right to be Informed/Right to Representation
Right to Choose
Right to be Heard
Right to Seek Redressal
Right to Consumer Education
Time Bound Redressal: A main feature of the Act is that under this, the cases are decided in a
limited time of period.
Consumer Protection Council: To favour consumer protection and to encourage consumers
awareness there is a provision in this Act to establish Consumer Protection Councils.
Shortcomings of the current legislation

Technical nature of the proceedings principles of natural justice should be followed and not
that of CPC

Precondition of hiring a lawyer

No facility of filing complain in the locality

No facility for arbitration

No provision of mass action law suits as in USA, a consumer can present only his case and not
the whole group

Currently, the father/mother of an aggrieved person or his Power of Attorney is not entitled to

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file complaint under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986

Lok Adalats could be an effective mechanism for settlement of consumer disputes. However in
order to make them more effective, it should be mandated by law that cases up to a particular

value, say Rupees two lakhs, should first be referred to Lok Adalats
CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT AMENDMENTS PROPOSALS, 2014
The Union ministry of consumer affairs, in a bid to quickly dispose off cases and thereby give muchneeded relief to consumers, has proposed amendments to the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. It has
following major provisions

The ministry proposes to replace the present Central Consumer Protection Council by the
Central Consumer Protection Authority by delegating it with punitive powers. The authority can
act against those traders who are violating consumer rights and can impose administrative
penalty. Besides, the authority can conduct investigations, either suo-motu or on a complaint,
into violations of consumer rights and conduct search and seizure of documents/records/articles
and other forms of evidence, summon delinquent manufacturers, advertisers and service
providers to record oral evidence and direct production of documents and records. This apart,
the authority can order recall of goods or withdrawal of services found to be unsafe or
hazardous and order reimbursement of the price of the goods (or services) so recalled, to
purchasers of such goods or services. It will deal with the complains which are bulk in nature
i.e. more than one person having similar grievance.

Provisions will also be made for resolution of cases through mediation and conciliation. Plan is
to create a structure of arbitration and mediation at the point of grievance (the place where the
consumer is located) before the case is finally moved to the court. The structure could involve
empowering panchayats, gram sabhas or similar institutions to mediate and arbitrate between
parties.

It seeks to decrease the time required to seek redressal by including provisions for online filling
of complaints and setting a time limit of 21 days for scrutiny of cases before admission

Effectively leveraging the District Forums by increasing their pecuniary jurisdiction from Rs.20
to Rs.50 lakh

Increasing the penalties upto 10 times the cost of goods provided.

Amendment will enable consumers to file complaint at places of their residence

Special provisions will also made for e-commerce and online retail related complains

There will also be provision of online complaint registration

There will not be any need of having a lawyer for claims upto Rs 2 Lakh

Currently, retired judges were appointed on the consumer fora, state commissions and National
Disputes Redressal Commission. However, the ministry was considering appointing members

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through the state public service commission at the state level and through the Union Public
Service Commission at the national level.

Further, there will be a mandatory reply of the redressal within 21 days

There will also be punitive measures for misleading complains

COMPETITIVE FEDERALISM

States vying for investment pie are organizing business summits


States asserting their autonomy as a matter of right
Rajasthan introduced Tatkal scheme for establishment of industries
Uttar Pradesh introduces list of 20 industries which need not require consent for establishment
In Rajasthan, labor inspection restricted to once a year

COOPERATIVE FEDERALISM
Recent steps

More devolution of Funds since recommendations of 14th Finance Commission 42% to states
from 32%
From planning commission to NITI Ayog from directive to partnership
From CSS to decentralized schemes drastic reduction in number of CSS
In this years budget, for the first time 10% more funds have been allocated to state and steps
have been taken for a cooperative federalism.
GST introduction states now at par with central government in indirect taxation matters
AMRUT Unlike JNNURM, in this, states will have more freedom in designing the projects and
center will not appraise the individual projects.
Aiming to streamline foreign infrastructure investment, the government has announced a new
division in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), appointing a joint secretary for CentreState relations. The new post will increase engagement between the MEA and State
governments to coordinate State delegations visiting abroad, passport issues and political
clearances, as well as to set up a database of State-level tie-ups and work on sister cities. With
more foreign dignitaries expressing their desire to visit cities other than Delhi, the special
section will also coordinate visits to Tier Two cities.

CORRUPTION
Corruption is the abuse or misuse of power and resources.
Existing mechanisms

The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988


Benami Transaction Act, 1988

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Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002


Right to Information Act, 2005
Right to Public Services Enacted in 19 states
The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 which came into force from 16 January 2014
Appointment of Lokayukta should be hastened up. But the Act is still short of public
expectations and independent and efficient working of the Lokayukta is doubted
Whistle Blowers Protection Act, 2011 got presidential assent in 2014, but is et to be notified by
the government (as of May 2015)

Way Forward

Use technology to bring transparency and accountability


Effective laws with stern punishment and summary trials
All transactions should be linked to Aadhar (especially Aadhar) and cash should be discouraged
with electronic transactions for amounts above a threshold say Rs 10,000 as also
recommended by Kelkar Committee
Simplifying transactions and process re-engineering in administration
Single Window System
Legislations like PMLA, Lokpal Act, Benami Transaction Act 1988 should be further strengthened
Cleanup politics and promote electoral funding to make politics accessible to common man
Curb corruption in recruitment
Inculcate values at school level
Excessive safeguard should be removed and Article 311 should be repealed
In addition to the penalty in criminal cases, corrupt acts should be made liable to make good
the loss caused and, in addition, be also liable for damages
More focus on values during entrance exam and training.
Incentivizing legislations on line of US False Claims Act (Lincoln Law)
Strict punishments In November 2015, a US district court fined $770 million or around Rs
4,500 crore a firm called Alstom (which has also recently won a multi billion contract to supply
railway engines to Indian Railways) after it admitted guilt of paying bribes across the various
nations to win contracts

Recent news

Government moves to amend the Prevention of Corruption Act Increases penalty maximum
7 years now (making it a heinous crime now), bribe giver will also be punished, non-monetary
gratification has also been brought in. Further, trials will also expedite within 2 years. The ambit
of the existing Act will be enhanced to make commercial entities liable for inducement of
public servants. Under the present law, only individuals are liable. Non-monetary gratification
will also be covered within the definition of the word gratification in the existing Act. However,
to protect those in policy making sphere government has made provision of prior permission
of officials of rank joint secretary and above has been retained. Powers and procedures for the

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attachment and forfeiture of property of public servants accused of corruption have been
introduced in the Bill.
Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Bill, 2015 The
Act has been passed by both the Houses of the Parliament. The Act has received the assent of
the President of India on 26 May 2015. It will come into effect from 1 April 2016
Government is planning to bring new Benami Transaction Act
The Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly passed Special Courts Bill, 2015 for the constitution
of special courts to facilitate time bound disposal of corruption cases against public servants.
Enable state to recover assets acquired illegally by public servants. It also calls for utilization of
recovered wealth for the development of the State and for public good and purpose.

AMENDMENTS TO THE PREVENTION OF CORRUPTION ACT, 1988


The proposed amendments are:

Providing for more stringent punishment for the offences of bribery, both for the bribe giver
and the bribe taker.

Penal provisions being enhanced from minimum 6 months to 3 years and from maximum 5
years to 7 years (The seven year imprisonment brings corruption to the heinous crime
category).

To contain gain of benefits from profits of corruption, the powers of attachment are proposed
to be conferred upon the trial Court (Special Judge) instead of the District Court.

The ambit of the existing Act will be enhanced to make commercial entities liable for
inducement of public servants. Under the present law, only individuals are liable.

The average trial period of cases under PC Act in the last 4 years has been above 8 years. It is
proposed to ensure speedy trial by providing a trial completion within 2 years.

Intentional enriching by public servants will be construed as criminal misconduct and possession
of disproportionate assets as proof of such illicit enrichment.

Non-monetary gratification has been covered within the definition of the word gratification.

It is also proposed to extend the protection of prior sanction for prosecution to public servants
who cease to hold office due to retirement, resignation etc.

CYBER SECURITY
Mechanisms that are in place are to combat issues of cyber security and cyber-crimes are

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National Technical Research Organisation NTRO The agency develops technology


capabilities in aviation and remote sensing, data gathering and processing, cyber security,
cryptology systems, strategic hardware and software development and strategic monitoring
On its part, the Government has put in place a National Crisis Management Plan' to protect IT
infrastructure in critical sectors such as petroleum, aviation, banking, power and telecom.
IT Act 2000 (Amended in 2009) It is the key legislation that cover cyber-crimes as well.
CERT-In CERT-In is a nodal agency for responding to computer security incidents
A new umbrella body National Cyber Security and Coordination Centre (NCSC)
o India will soon get an overarching body for cyber intelligence and security. It will analyse
Internet traffic data scanned and integrated from various gateway routers at a
centralised location. It will facilitate real-time assessment of cyber-security threats and
generate actionable reports for various agencies. It is expected to subsume the work
done by CERT-In as well as issue alerts in the event of a cyber-attack. As a multi-agency
body under the Department of Electronics and IT, the NCSC will include the National
Security Council Secretariat, the Intelligence Bureau, the Research and Analysis Wing
(RAW), the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), the National
Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), the three armed forces and the Department of
Telecommunications.
National Cyber Security Policy (NCSP), 2013
o The policy calls for the creation of several agencies, including a 247 National Critical
Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC).
o The NCSP also says that it will create a workforce of 5 lakh cyber security professionals
in five years.

DEATH PENALTY and MERCY


About the penalty

Mercy petitions are channeled through Home Ministry. President acts on the recommendation of
central government (home ministry) and not on its discretion. Discretion as mentioned in Article
72 is to be exercised by advice of the executive only. Supreme Court on many occasions has
clarified this point.

Courts view

In India, death penalty is awarded in the rarest of the rare cases. This doctrine was laid down in
the Bachan Singh case by Supreme Court in 1980.
In a 2013 decision, SC held that a persons possibility of reforming himself can also be a basis of
not awarding him death sentence, thus making rarest of the rare doctrine even stringer by
including future possibilities also into account to explain mitigating circumstances. Further, life
term should be life term so that death sentences can be lowered down.

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As far as the rarest of rare jurisprudence is concerned, the Supreme Court in Sangeeth Case
(2013) agrees that this principle laid down in Bachan Singh (1981) has received erroneous and
inconsistent interpretations. The court concedes that the test has become arbitrary and judgecentric rather than principle-centric.
President power of pardon under Article 61, according to government is absolute. However, in an
earlier judgment Triveniben vs State of Gujarat, SC has held that an inordinate delay in decision
on mercy petition can be a reason for the person to approach the courts.
In 2014, after sentence of convicts of Rajiv Gandhi killing was commute to life imprisonment,
Tamil Nadu government tried to remit that sentence. In wake of it, the Supreme Court has
restrained all State governments from releasing life convicts exercising their remission powers.

Other trivia about death penalty in India

A particular community has the most number of awardees


Since independence, in 68 years, there has been 57 executions
In 80% of cases, higher courts overturn the decisions of sessions court, which raises doubts over
the process of awarding the penalty

Debate about abolishing it

In the Constituent Assembly also, Dr. B R Ambedkar had opposed death penalty.
Among the 192 countries recognised by the United Nations, 140 have abolished the death
penalty.
Three times, the General Assembly of the United Nations (UNGA) has passed resolutions by
powerful majorities calling for a universal moratorium on the death penalty, pending its full
abolition.
Recently in a vote in UN to ban capital punishment, India voted against the resolution in 2012.
The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg forbids extradition by the Member States
of the Council of Europe of anyone that could be sentenced to death in a country that has
retained capital punishment.
Law Commission in its recent report has said that even the rarest of the rarest doctrine is
untenable in a modern democratic world and it should be restricted to only terrorism related
acts only
Law Commission also said that provisions under Article 72 and 161 have also failed to act as
final frontier safeguards against miscarriage of justice.
However, Law Commission also sought to address the plight of victims by suggesting
compensation and protection from threats.
However, there are no empirical evidences to suggest that death penalty is an effective
deterrent against commissioning of crimes. In fact, accused are often not aware of the legal
consequences of their actions.
Another significant milestone was the Rome Treaty creating the International Criminal Court
which envisages life imprisonment, and not death, for crimes against humanity.

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Two wrongs do not compensate for each other under any higher moral code;
The right to life is unconditional and universal as per Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The fear of capital punishment (e.g. for rape) may cause a criminal to kill his victim to remove a
witness;
A miscarriage of justice in wrongfully convicting and sentencing a person to death cannot be
revoked;
There is no statistical link between the death penalty and the reduction of criminality;
In awarding death penalty, restorative and rehabilitative aspects of justice are given a short
shrift.
For an effective deterrence, it is the certainty of the punishment, and not the severity of
punishment, should be guaranteed.

SC in Shabnam vs Union of India has held that condemned prisoners also have a right to dignity and
execution of death sentence cannot be carried out in arbitrary, hurried and secret manner. However
government did exactly that in case of Yakub Menon and Afzal Guru. There are instances like Surinder
Kohli, Devinder Pal Bhuller and so on whose mercy petition was rejected, but still they were not hanged.
The Tripura State Assembly in August 2015 has passed a resolution to request the Union Government
to amend Section 302 of the IPC to abolish capital punishment.

DELHI GOVERNMENT STRUCTURE and MAJOR PROVISIONS


Current status of Delhi is a result of GNCTD Act 1991 and constitutional amendments.
History

Legislative Assembly of Delhi was first constituted on 17 March 1952 under the Government of
Part C States Act, 1951, but it was abolished on 1 October 1956.
Constitutional Position of Delhi

69th Amendment Act Insertion of new articles 239AA and 239AB


Article 239AA
o Article 239AA provides for a Lt Governor
o Article 239AA also says that parliament also retains power to make laws in state and
concurrent list despite Delhi government having such powers and law of parliament will
prevail over a similar law passed by state legislative assembly
o The Union territory of Delhi shall be called the National Capital Territory of Delhi
(hereafter in this Part referred to as the National Capital Territory) and the
administrator thereof appointed under article 239 shall be designated as the Lieutenant
Governor.
o There shall be a legislative assembly for NCT
o Legislative can make laws in all subjects of state list, except entries 1, 2 and 18
o Council of Ministers maximum of 10% of legislature size

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239AB provides for a situation when the NCT government fails to function as per Article 239AA
Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991
Transaction of Business Rules
However it was not conferred with full statehood and is administered by union govt through
Lieutenant Governor.
If there is a difference of opinion between LG and CM, matter is referred to the president
The brighter side of the current debate is that it might clear some air for future administration

DIASPORA
30 lakh Indians live in USA
Modi announced several measures to ease travel to their motherland including:

Merger of the PIO and OCI schemes The amendments to the Citizenship Act will benefit PIOs
and will give them benefits like
o Life-long visas.
o People of Indian Origin (PIOs) in staying in India for long would not have to report to
police.

DIGITAL INDIA
Unlike predecessor National E-Governance Plan (NEGP), Digital India initiative looks much beyond public
service delivery system. It places equal stress on digital infrastructure, governance and service delivery
and digital empowerment of citizens.
This initiative also aims hardware development in India and tries to draw synergies from Make in India
initiative.
Vision of Digital India: 3 Areas

Digital Infrastructure as a Utility to Every Citizen internet access as a basic utility, unique
identity to everyone and online authentication, financial integration and inclusion, Easy access
to a Common Service Centre, Safe and secure Cyber-space

Governance & Services on Demand Seamlessly integrated across departments or jurisdictions,


available in real time

Digital Empowerment of Citizens Services from online & mobile platform, entitlements to
private space on public cloud, e-literacy, digi lockers for documents
Pillars of Digital India

Broadband Highways
Universal Access to Phones

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Public Internet Access Programme National Rural Internet Mission


E-Governance Reforming government through Technology
eKranti Electronic delivery of services
Technology for Education e-Education
Technology for Health e-Healthcare
Technology for Planning GIS based decision making
Technology for Farmers
Technology for Security
Technology for Financial Inclusion
Technology for Justice E-Courts, e-Police, e- Jails, e-Prosecution
Information for All Online Hosting of Information & documents, MyGov.in, online messaging
to citizens on special occasions/programs
Electronics Manufacturing Target NET ZERO Imports
IT for Jobs
Telecom service providers to train rural workforce to cater to their own needs
IT platform for messages
Government Greetings to be e-Greetings
Biometric attendance
Wi-Fi in All Universities
Secure email within government
Standardize government E-mail design
Public Wi-Fi hotspots
School Books to be eBooks
SMS based weather information, disaster alerts
National Portal for Lost & Found children
Challenges

Data security is of utmost importance. Humungous amount of private and sensitive government
data will flow on digital highways.
Lack of implementation is basic issue. The National optimal fiber network is behind the
schedule and there are no sign of accelerated implementation.
Absence of Privacy Law exposes the users of these programmes to risk of identity theft,
misuse of database and cyber abuse.
E-governance programme without process re-engineering is just adding another layer without
bringing efficiency. Also it would limit the access to vulnerable and marginalized people.

How to bridge Digital Divide to make Digital India successful

Use mobile as a platform and simplify the services in text message format
o Prime Minister launched Twitter Samvad, a service that allows people to receive tweets
by government leaders and agencies as text messages over mobile phones.

DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY

Vienna Convention, 1961 awards this so that diplomats may act without any fear

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Immunity vs impunity
Aggrieved country can declare the accused as persona non grata and expel him
Diplomatic relations can also be suspended
If the concerned country gives a go ahead, India can try him, which is highly unlikely
Further, India can also pursue the case in respective country, but thats tedious exercise given
the fact that victims have to travel to that country for all hearings
But India has also not acted fairly in case of its diplomats committing misconducts in NZ and US
Bad reputation to the country concerned is also a deterrent

DISASTER MANAGEMENT
The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030) was an outcome of the 2015
conference held in Sendai, Japan. The Sendai Framework sets four specific priorities for action:
To support the assessment of global progress in achieving the outcome and goal of the Sendai
Framework, 7 global targets have been agreed:
1. Substantially reduce global disaster mortality by 2030, aiming to lower average per 100,000
global mortality between 2020-2030 compared to 2005-2015;
2. Substantially reduce the number of affected people globally by 2030, aiming to lower the
average global figure per 100,000 between 2020-2030 compared to 2005-2015;
3. Reduce direct disaster economic loss in relation to global gross domestic product by 2030;
4. Substantially reduce disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services,
among them health and educational facilities, including through developing their resilience by
2030;
5. Substantially increase the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction
strategies by 2020;
6. Substantially enhance international cooperation to developing countries through adequate and
sustainable support to complement their national actions for implementation of the framework
by 2030;
7. Substantially increase the availability of and access to multi-hazard early warning systems and
disaster risk information and assessments to the people by 2030.
Earlier to this, there was the Hyogo Framework for Action (20052015) was an outcome of the 2005
conference held in Kobe, Japan. It set five specific priorities for action:

Making disaster risk reduction a priority;

Improving risk information and early warning;

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Building a culture of safety and resilience;

Reducing the risks in key sectors;

Strengthening preparedness for response.

DRUG TRIALS
Current situation

On an average every 3 days a person dies.


Further, average compensation is around Rs 2 lakh.
Many drugs which are banned abroad are used in trial in India.
Indian clinical trial industry is estimated around $500 million
Legislation under which clinical trials take place is Drugs and Cosmetics Act. Drugs and
Cosmetics Act is the central Act that regulates the drug markets in India. While several
amendments have been recommended to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, no decision has been
taking regarding new laws for regulation and ethical supervision of trials; compensation of trial
subjects, and mandatory accreditation of all stakeholdersinstitutional review boards, research
institutions and sponsors.
Currently the responsibility to monitor Drug Trails in India is of Central Drugs Standard Control
Organization which is under Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).
Clinical Trial Registry in India is the nodal agency for registration of trials and it publish the trials
online. The mission of the Clinical Trials Registry-India (CTRI) is to encourage all clinical trials
conducted in India to be prospectively registered, i.e. before the enrolment of the first
participant. DCGI has now made it mandatory for all drug trials to be registered online.

Acting on intervention of SC, government has formed new norms for drug trials

Any serious untoward incident like death, has to be informed by drug trial company within 24
hours.
Compensation has to be paid by the company to even those who have suffered injury or death
during the trial period even if that has not been caused by the drugs that they are undergoing
trials.
Damage has to be paid for any harm suffered by pregnant woman or her child.
In its new guidelines, it provides compensation even if the death is caused by a placebo.

Government also appointed an expert committee headed by Ranjit Roy Chaudhary in 2013 which
submitted its report and made sweeping recommendations, most of which have also been accepted by
the government

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A Central Accreditation Council should be set up as an umbrella nodal body to oversee the
accreditation of institutions, clinical investigators and institute ethics committees for clinical
trials in the country.
Clinical trials can only be carried out at accredited centers. Only those trials conducted at such
centers should be accepted by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI).
Both the principal investigator of the trial, and the ethics committee of the institute should be
accredited.
It also recommended strengthening of informed consent norms and strict punishment
including bans and blacklisting of violators of such norms. Audiovisual recording of the
informed consent process should be undertaken and the documentation preserved.
On compensation for adverse effects (AE) or serious adverse effects (SAE) during trial, the
committee puts the onus of responsibility on the sponsor investigator for providing medical
treatment and care to the patient at his/their cost till the resolution of the AE/SAE. This is to be
given irrespective of whether the patient is in the control group, placebo group, standard drug
treatment group or the test drug administered group.
Further, it calls for replacing the existing 12 drug advisory committees by a single broad
expertise-based Technical Review Committee to ensure speedy clearance of applications
without compromising on quality of data and rules and regulations.

An amendment bill of the Drugs and Cosmetic Act was also in the offing and has following broad
provisions

The Bill seeks to enhance safety of drugs and also of clinical trials.
The definition of drugs is extended to include new drugs, all vaccines, Recombinant DNA
derived products, LMOs, stem cells, gene therapeutic products etc.
The Bill creates provisions for the medical treatment and compensation in case of injury or
death of a person during participation in a clinical trial or due to it.
In order to ensure standard quality of drugs, the Bill specifies conditions under which they will
be considered misbranded and spurious and specifies penalties.
A new authority Central Drug Authority will be crated and the CDA will subsume the existing
Central Drugs Standards Control Organization. Anyone initiating a clinical trial has to register
with the Central Drug Authority (CDA) and get approval from an Ethics Committee registered
with it.

DRUG TRADE and INDIA


The Golden Triangle is a region in Northern Thailand, Laos and Myanmar that is infamously known as a
production region of drugs. Historically, the area was famous for its opium production and drug trade
including drug trafficking, violence and people smuggling. Opium has been used as a recreational drug in
South East Asia since the 1800s when the Opium Wars occurred.

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The Golden Crescent is the name given to Asias principal area of illicit opium production, located at the
crossroads of Central, South, and Western Asia. This space overlaps three nations, Afghanistan, Iran,
and Pakistan, whose mountainous peripheries define the crescent though only Afghanistan and Pakistan
produce opium, with Iran being a consumer and trans-shipment route for the smuggled opiates.
Indias concerns:

India is sandwiched between two important opium producing regions of the world.
Drug money is used to finance terror activities in the country.
There is increase in drug addiction among youth in border area especially in north east and
Punjab.
A nexus among Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Maoists and insurgent groups of
North-East is using money earned from drug trafficking to fund terror activities in India.

EASE of DOING BUSINESS


In the WB Ease of Doing Business, India has 130 rank an improvement of 4 points over last years
ranking (as India eased requirements of setting up a limited liability company, eased electricity
connection). Of the 10 parameters, India does very poorly on twoenforcing contracts and closing a
business. India still last among BRICS in ease of doing business ranking.
India has climbed a spectacular 16 places to the 55th position among 140 economies in this years
World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Competitiveness Index. The list was topped by Switzerland,
followed by Singapore
Recent steps taken by government on this front

Companies can be formed through a single form INC29 form


Customs Clearance Facilitation Committees formed for faster clearance
Various legislations repealed and reformed
Rajasthan introduced Tatkal scheme for establishment of industries
Uttar Pradesh introduces list of 20 industries which need not require consent for establishment
In Rajasthan, labor inspection restricted to once a year
Plan to set up Commercial Courts
E-Biz portal single window clearance for setting up business
Plan to reduce corporate tax to 25%
Amendments in Apprentice Act, Companies Act, Factories Act etc
Inspectors power curtailed will also be called facilitator now onwards
Special steps taken for FDI source countries like Japan Plus formed for Japan
States like Rajasthan have amended labor laws
States are competing with each other to attract investment by organizing investment summit
Government is planning to do away with Gram Sabha consent for linear infra projects
To do away with multiple regulations Self Certification will be allowed

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The Telangana government announced its maiden industrial policy recently with a unique
feature Right to Clearance. A provision to impose a fine of Rs. 1,000 on officials for each day
of delay in granting clearance to a project.
New Bankruptcy Code
o It will replace a century old law The Presidency Towns Insolvency Act, 1909
o It calls for time bound disposal of insolvency applications within 6 months
o To enable faster exits for the firms currently, it takes around 4.5 years as
compared to around 1.5 years in USA
o To enable higher realizations for the lenders lenders are able to recover just
around 25% in India as compared to 80% in USA
o Money realized by faster disposal can be used more efficiently by financial
institutions

E-GOVERNANCE
Challenges

Broad band penetration is very poor in India it ranks even below Bhutan, Sri Lanka among
neighbors
Broadband penetration is less than 6%
Techno phobic administration
E-governance, but not process re-engineering
E-literacy poor

Suggestion

First of all, e-Technology should be coupled with a right to service to ensure effective
delivery. It will bring more accountability as right to service will ensure timely delivery.
Secondly, services should be delivered in a simplified manner. For example to open a
google account one need to apply for just a three column simple form and one has access to
various services of google including email, youtube, googledrive and so on. Government can
learn a lot from such innovative firms.
Thirdly, government should also try to ensure that services are delivered in vernacular
languages. Even today, most of the softwares are either in English or in 'complex' hindi.
Apart from these, a trained manpower and increasing visibility of such efforts is also
important.
Further, there are many illiterate people who cannot access e-services and hence, there
should be some alternative to them as well.
All in all, while changing mode of delivery, government should also focus on a complete
'process re-engineering', thereby bringing not only transparency, but also speed and
efficiency along with cost cutting as well.

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Inclusive e-governance Next to e-governance, there is need to make it inclusive as many a


time, even simple e-governance tools are inaccessible to the illiterate or the tech-phobics.
Recently, ICAR launched voice based info service on weather forecast for farmers who
cannot read SMSes.

Examples

Maharashtra become first state to offer essential services such as birth and death
certificates, marriage registration, domicile documents online.

ECONOMY
India will be the fastest growing economy in 2015-16 as per WB, OECD etc
GDP Size $2.1 trillion in 2014-15 (China - $10 trillion)
Indias rank on GDP is 9th in terms of nominal prices
GDP per capita Around $ 1,500 (China $ 7000, USA - $53,041)
Subsidy bill of central government (2014-15) Rs 3,00,000 crore
Household savings, which were the bulk of national domestic investments, dropped from a high of 34
per cent of GDP in 2005 to 28 per cent of GDP in 2015.
The manufacturing sector, which provides the bulk of employment to the skilled and semi-skilled labour
force, grown at an abysmally low rates of between 2 per cent and 5 per cent.
GDP Growth rate 2014-15 7.3% as per revised estimates
This year growth is expected at 7.6% with a downward revision sentiment
Agriculture growth - .2%
Manufacturing 8%
Agriculture
Industry
Services
14%
27%
59%
49%
22%
31%
Poverty 22% Tendulkar method
Savings 30% (down from 35% a few years back)
FDI in 2014-15 Rs 1.76 lakh crore, a big jump over the last year
Fiscal Deficit around 4%, government plans to bring it down to 3% in line of FRBM Act in 3 years
Breathing space for govt as CAD shrinks to 0.2% of GDP in Q4 of FY15

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EDIBLE OIL Issues of Supply and Agriculture Sector


Background

Till 10-12 years back, India used to produce just around 60 lakh tonnes per year and produces
same amount even today
Secondly, demand has doubled in this period to about 200 lakh tonnes
Further, imports have increased to almost 3.5 times at 140 lakh tonnes i.e. imports account for
70% of total demand

Challenge

Global prices have slumped in past 10 years and there is a glut of supply even after imposition
of around 20% import duty
Secondly, domestic costs of production are almost 30% more ($800 vs $550 per tonne)
Thirdly, to completely fulfill the all domestic demand, additional 29 million hectare of land is
required, which is simply not available
Gestation period of many edible oil crops like Palm Oil is 4-5 years, and farmers have no
incentive or support to wait that long

Steps Taken

MSP has been increased recently

Possible solution

Cheaper options with higher output per hectare should be focused upon
Some edible crops can grow on wasteland as well, culturable wasteland should be converted
Government should provide remunerative prices to farmers as was done recently by enhancing
of MSP, so that farmers in plains can break wheat-sugarcane-rice cycle

EDUCATION
Ranking system It is often said that no Indian university features in top 100. But is this quantification
of the quality justified. The Indian university system is the second largest in the world and is also
extremely diverse. Most of our universities like AMU, BHU or JNU for example were set up to
address different objectives and have over the years developed their own unique and innovative ways.
Training vs Education Training is necessary but far from sufficient because it only enables the efficient
reproduction of what is already known. Education, on the other hand, is about acquiring the imaginative
ability to tackle the unknown.
Current Status

India spends just 4% of GDP annually on educational expenses, global average is 4.9% and
various committees have recommended that it should be at least 6%

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Literacy rate has grown to 74.04% (2011 figure) from 12% at the end of British rule in 1947.
There is a wide gender disparity in the literacy rate in India: effective literacy rates (age 7 and
above) in 2011 were 82.14% for men and 65.46% for women

Why

Education is one of the most viable ways of fighting not only poverty, but also discrimination
and inequality. It has the potential of bringing social change and fight multiple social evils.
Further, education and skill development in India are imperative for reaping demographic
dividend.

Challenges and problems

Lack of accountability
Limited access to quality education
Focus on numbers diluted quality of education Kothari Commission pointed out, universities in
postcolonial countries need to balance the need to respond to popular pressures with the need to
provide quality education
Gross Enrolment Ratio is still only about 21% in higher education
Since 1990s, 80% of new institutes are in private domain and they were in mainly technology,
medicine and emerging fields. It led to ignoring of the traditional subjects and even of basic
science disciplines
Higher education is offered only in one language English
Dropouts are still high, though enrollment at primary level are close to 100%
Value component not stressed much
Should also develop life skills
Physical fitness also needs to be stressed
Should not be stressful
Auxiliary work given to teachers
Class division among schools education should be an equalizer and liberating force

Way Forward

Infrastructure and funding are universal issues along with right number of teachers and their
training.
134A of RTE be implemented
Administrators should show more involvement in the functioning of government schools. There
should be surprise checks, reviews, and they can even take classes on Saturdays.
Image of government schools needs to be improved, so that they are a more inclusive place
with pupils from all sections of society. Government schools should not be reduced as second or
third grade institutions reserved for only the deprived.
Schools should be girl child friendly. Given the fact that there is huge disparity in the literacy
figures of girls and boys in India. There should be proper toilets, proximity and so on.

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Promote career counseling at an early stage so that students make an informed choice. Parents
emphasize only on getting into engineering or medical field as there is lack of awareness about
other domains like MBA, Actuaries, Aviation etc. Therefore the awareness part needs to be
addressed apart from providing adequate coaching.
Make education activity oriented
Provide avenues for creative expression and critical thinking
Technology use to widen access and bring in accountability
Autonomy of Higher Educational Institutions The first University Education Commission in
independent India set up in 1948 under the leadership of Dr. S. Radhakrishnan (also known as
the Radhakrishnan Commission) had this to say on the autonomy of institutions of higher
learning: Freedom of individual development is the basis of democracy. Exclusive control of
education by the State has been an important factor in facilitating the maintenance of
totalitarian tyrannies. In such States institutions of higher learning controlled and managed by
governmental agencies act like mercenaries, promote the political purposes of the State, make
them acceptable to an increasing number of their populations and supply them with the
weapons they need. This autonomy is required because the university is supposed to be the
space where critical thinking is fostered, and this kind of thinking in turn is meant to act as a
watchdog on the centres of power as well as to prepare society to face the unknown challenges
of the future. Autonomy is directed not only at the state but also at the market.
Ensure that School Management Committees work properly.

Innovation in Education

NPTEL
Khan Academy
Un-Academy
Community Radios can be used for local needs
Super 30 Super 30 is an Indian educational program that started in Patna, Bihar, India under
the banner of 'Ramanujan School of Mathematics', by Anand Kumar.
Sudiksha is a chain of Primary schools started by Praveen Kumar to provide quality education in
rural areas. Fees start from Rs 300 and doesnt exceed Rs 500

Yashpal Committee Report, 2009

The academic functions of all the professional bodies (such as UGC, AICTE, MCI, and BCI) should
be subsumed under an apex body for higher education called the National Commission for
Higher Education and Research (NCHER), formed through Constitutional amendment.
Curriculum reforms should be the top priority of NCHER
Practice of according status of deemed university be stopped till the NCHER takes a considered
view on it.

Recent News

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The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), 2014, says only an average 48.1 per cent of Class
V children across India can read a Class II-level text.
The Centre has decided to make it mandatory for scientists and researchers of the Departments
of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research
to undertake 12 hours of lecture classes in schools and colleges in an academic year.
GIAN (Global Initiative for Academic Network) Scheme Under this, government will invite
globally renowned faculties from around the world (who will be paid handsomely by
government) to undertake lectures and workshops in institutes like IITs, JNU etc. Further,
students from other institutes will also be able to participate in these lectures

ELECTORAL REFORMS
The law Commission of India, Headed by Justice A P Shah, submitted its Report No. 255 on Electoral
Reforms to the Union Law and Justice Ministry with following key suggestions

The Law Commission endorses the ECIs suggestions regarding the introduction of common
electoral rolls for Parliamentary, Assembly and local body elections.
The Law Commission recommends that independent candidates be disbarred from contesting
elections, who are mostly dummy/non-serious candidates or those who stand (with the same
name) only to increase the voters confusion.
In view of the expenditure of time and effort; election fatigue; and the harassment caused to
the voters, section 33(7) should be amended to permit candidates to stand from only one
constituency.
The Commission recommends regulating and restricting government sponsored
advertisements six months prior to the date of expiry of the House/Assembly.
The Commission reiterates and endorses the ECIs suggestion for introducing a totaliser for the
counting of votes recorded in electronic voting machines to prevent the harassment of voters in
areas where voting trends in each polling station can be determined.
The introduction of one or more election benches in each High Court, designated so by the
Chief Justice of the particular High Court, exercising jurisdiction over all election disputes under
the RPA.
The panel has proposed that paying for news, receiving payment for news and political
advertisement should be clearly defined in the RoPA, and paid news should be made a penal
offence.
The Law Commission recommends a suitable amendment to the Tenth Schedule of the
Constitution, which shall have the effect of vesting the power to decide on questions of
disqualification on the ground of defection with the President or the Governor
The commission has proposed to make it mandatory for political parties to disclose
contributions less than Rs 20,000 if such contributions exceed Rs 20 crore or 20% of the partys
total contributions, whichever is less. For this purpose, the commission has recommended
amendments to the relevant election rules as well as the Income Tax Act.

Nitin Sangwan www.meandupsc.blogspot.in


o
o
o

Currently, parties have to report only those amounts which are above 20,000 rupees
under RP Act.
BSP is one party for which all funding was of donations below Rs 20,000.
For most other parties also such donations make more than 75% of funding.

ELECTORAL REFORMS RECENT


The Supreme Court and the Election Commission of India (ECI) have undertaken following steps for
reforming the electoral process

Not declaring criminal background will lead to election void - SC

The Supreme Court in 2002 ruled that every candidate has to declare criminal records
(convictions, acquittals and charges etc.), financial records (assets & liabilities etc.), educational
qualifications etc.

Property details affidavit EC

Section 8(4) RPA Repealed

EC came up with idea of Model Code of Conduct and the setting up of the expense monitoring
cell.

Law Commission said that for cases against sitting MPs and MLAs, trials must be expedited
through day-to-day hearings and completed within one year. It was accepted by SC.

Barring those in jail from contesting (Chief Election Commissioner vs. Jan Chowkidar, 2013)

EC has planned to weed out multiple voters by linking them to Aadhar

For voter education, it has launched SVEEP - Systematic Voter Education and Electoral
Participation (SVEEP) committees at the state and district

The Law Commission recommended the disqualification of politicians from contesting elections
charged with an offence punishable by imprisonment of five years or more.

Other recent issues

In a historic judgment, the Supreme Court ruled that the election of a returned candidate will be
held as null and void if he fails to disclose complete and full details of his criminal antecedents at
the time of his nomination.
185 MPs in the current Lok Sabha 34% - have criminal cases against them.

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ELECTRICITY and ENERGY


Definition of being electrified definition was upgraded requiring at least ten per cent of homes to be
electrified including all common or public areas such as schools and clinics.
Load shedding or feeder rotation is an intentionally engineered electrical power shutdown where
electricity delivery is stopped for non-overlapping periods of time over different parts of the distribution
region.
There is a proposed scheme of feeder segregation in rural areas to separate households from pump set
supply, allowing them uninterrupted supply. This was originally implemented successfully in Gujarat,
and now by the national-level Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Feeder Segregation programme.
Nuclear Power contributes around 2 % of Indias power need or around 4800 MW. It is well below the
world average of around 13%. India has 20 nuclear power reactors
Total installed capacity 2,60,000 MW

Coal 60%
Gas 9%
Hydel 15% (40,000 MW)
Wind 8% (22,000 MW)
Nuclear 2% (5,000 MW)
Solar 1% (3,500 MW)

Power

Hydel
Gas
Wind
Solar

Issues

Coal

Nuclear

Transmission losses are as high as 22%.


Others
2003 Act also makes setting up of State
Electricity Regulatory Commissions (SERC) as mandatory to decide tariffs and other issues, but
not done
Government recently announced a lakh crore bailout package under Ujjawal Discom
Assurance Yojna (UDAY)
o It will also require states to cut T&D losses from current 22% to 15%

INTEGRATED POWER DEVELOPMENT SCHEME (IPDS) announced in the Union Budget 2014-15
envisages strengthening of sub-transmission network, Metering, Customer Care Services, provisioning
of solar panels and the completion of the ongoing works of Restructured Accelerated Power
Development and completion of the Reforms Programme (RAPDRP).
ELECTRICITY REFORMS REQUIRED

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Deepak Parekh Committee on Infrastructure PPP promotion, Open Access. A graded tariff
system (based on the paying capacity of the customers) to be set up. It further recommends
moving high income households, commercial consumer and industries to market based pricing.
It comments that privatization of coal mining wherein Coal India or its arms/subsidiaries can
retain ownership of mines can go a long way in improving net power production in the country.
Renewable Energy

Indias total renewable power installed capacity as on October 31, 2014, has reached 33
gigawatt (GW).
Wind energy accounts for 70 per cent of the installed capacity at 22.1 GW followed by biomass
power-4.2 per cent, small hydro power-3.9 GW and solar power 2.8 GW.
Share of renewable energy around 12.6% (excluding large hydropower plants) with 26,000 MW.
Germany is a successful model in green energy and it has currently 30% of its installed capacity
in form of green energy and it plans to scale it up to 80% by 2050. India
Target of renewable energy capacity revised to 175000 MW till 2022, comprising 100000 MW
Solar, 60000 MW Wind, 10000 MW Biomass and 5000 MW Small Hydro.
The Reserve Bank of Indias (RBI) decision to grant special status to the renewable energy
sector, among others, under priority sector lending,

12TH PLAN STRATEGY FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY

Off-grid Renewable Energy for rural applications


Grid interaction and grid parity to be achieved.
National Bioenergy Mission(NBM): Off grid renewable models based on biomass.
National Biomass Cook Stove programme(NBCSP)
National Bioenergy Corp of India
Renewable Energy Development Fund
National Renewable Energy Bill, 2015 To consolidate the renewable energy sector and give it
an institutional structure. It also aims to set up dedicated renewable electricity investment
zones. Through a separate law, MNRE (Ministry of National Renewable Energy) would get
freedom to execute projects and not depend on other ministries and departments for necessary
clearances. After it is passed by Parliament it would enable a National Renewable Energy Policy,
Renewable Energy Corporation of India, an advisory group and a committee on the same. Till
now, the renewable energy sector was governed by the Electricity Act 2003.

ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Government will launch Startup-India to promote entrepreurship.

(SETU) Self-Employment and Talent Utilization) to be established as Techno-financial,


incubation and facilitation programme to support all aspects of start-up business.

Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) to be established in NITI to provide Innovation Promotion

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Platform involving academicians, and drawing upon national and international experiences to
foster a culture of innovation , research and development.
o

The platform will also promote a network of world-class innovation hubs and grand
challenges for India.

It will provide funds to a network of institutions to conduct research on innovations


that can improve economic growth and job creation.

The mission will also provide inputs to all central ministries on innovation and suggest
a funding mechanism for result-oriented research.

It has replaced the National Innovation Council, a significant difference between the
two will be the powers to disburse funds.

Its objective is to create an umbrella structure to oversee innovation ecosystem of the


country and to provide platform and collaboration opportunities for different
stakeholders

ENVIRONMENT and CLIMATE CHANGE


India is the third largest emitter now
Difference between REDD and REDD+ is that the latter one also has a compensatory mechanism as well.
While countries like Brazil are depleting their forests for development, India has on the other hand
shown an increase in forest cover as per the latest State of Forest report. India demands a
compensation for that.
SUBRAMANIAN COMMITTEE, Dec 2014
A four-member high-level committee has been set up under former Cabinet Secretary T S R
Subramanian to examine six laws administered by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests &
Climate Change. The six laws to be put under the scanner are Environment (Protection) Act,
1986; Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980; Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972; The Water (Prevention
and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974; and The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981
and the Indian Forest Act (IFA) of 1927.
The task before the Committee was to align the relevant current statutes with ground realities
and provide suggestions for the necessary improvements/amendments to the existing laws.
Main recommendations

Proposing a near complete overhaul of the regulatory system

It recommended that center brings a single legislation, doing away with numerous and
confusing legislations

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It has proposed new law, the Environment Laws (Management) Act (ELMA). Under this, the
application for environmental clearances expects the applicant to be honest and truthful the
concept of utmost good faith is statutorily introduced, and the consequences of breach are
also set out.
The committee has suggested setting up of special environment courts presided over by a
sessions judge and higher penalties.
It proposes to create new agencies, the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA)
at the national level and the State Environment Management Authority (SEMA) as the pivotal
authorities to process applications for a single-window composite environmental clearance.
(unlike the current practice of EIA by both state and centre government through multiple
agencies)
o The NEMA and SEMA will replace the Central Pollution Control Board and State Pollution
Control Boards.
The panel also takes away the role of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), which, under the
proposed ELMA, will only be able to judicially review the decisions of the Appellate Boards.
Instead of NGT, district level administrative tribunals be created.
The special environment courts shall dispose off cases expeditiously within six months. The
aggrieved parties may approach an appellate board presided over by a retired High Court judge.
The HLC has said that for linear projects, it is recommended that Forest Right Act needs
amendment to consider removal of the condition of Gram Sabha approval.
The HLC also called for streamlining of the assessment process, preparation a perspective coal
plan from a sustainable point of view, creating an Environment Reconstruction Fund for
facilitating research, standard setting, education and related matters, and putting in place
systems for managing solid waste.
Other suggestions which included establishment of a National Environment Research Institute,
creation of a new All India Service called the Indian Environment Service etc.
Also called for use of GIS for faster dealing with applications
Stricter punishments and speedier disposal of cases under Wildlife Act.

Criticism of this report

The parliamentary panel had questioned the very composition and expertise of the highlevel committee to recommend changes in environment laws
Subramanian committee had recommended dilution of certain clearances pertaining to
linear projects and even the Forest Rights Act, that did not come under its mandate.

Government response

A Parliamentary panel recommended in July that the TSR Subramanian report on revising
and amending environment laws be scrapped, the ministry of environment, forests and
climate change (MoEFCC) is pushing ahead with creation of a framework on the report's
recommendations.

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Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) and India
Unlike earlier climate talks, INDC is totally voluntary and hence it also carry a moral force of selfresponsibility.
They are the most detailed submitted so far by any country. INDCs announced by India are
comprehensive, balanced, equitable and pragmatic and addresses all the elements including
Adaptation, Mitigation, Finance, Technology Transfer, Capacity Building and Transparency in
Action and Support.
India stated that the national plans given in the INDC depends on the unencumbered availability
of clean technologies and financial resource from around the world. Such a position is consistent
with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities that guides climate
negotiations.

India has said that its per capita green house gas emissions will be cut by 1/3rd in 2030 as
compared to its 2005 level
o By zero-defect zero effect
o Climate resilient infra
o Increasing coal cess by 4 times
o Increased tax like Carbon Tax on petroleum products
o Multitude of new initiatives like SMART Cities, sanitation, AMRUT,
It will produce 40% of its energy from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030
o 175 GW by solar, wind and biomass by 2022
o 63 GW of nuclear power by 3032
Create additional carbon sinks of around 3 billion tonnes
o Green India and other afforestation programs
o Tree cover along NHs

There are reasons for India to contain its pollution and emissions

As pollution as a lone factor causes 1 in 10 deaths


Pollution has reduced average life span by 3.3 years
It has terribly affected monsoons and food security

EXPENDITURE MANAGEMENT COMMISSION


Submitted first report in September 2015
Objective of rationalization of government expenditures, so that surplus funds can be pumped into
infrastructure

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EUTHANEASIA
In India, Euthanasia is sensitive issue due to religious sensitivity as well as the most of the religions
prohibit disapprove such acts.
Legal Position

Supreme Court in Gian Kaur Case 1996 has held that the right to life under Article 21 does not
include the right to die. It rejected an earlier view of the SC bench which held that Right to Life
is not only a positive right, but also a negative right. Hence, in India, Right to Life doesnt mean
right to end it as well.
On 7 March 2011 the Supreme Court of India (by a two judge bench which included Justice
Markandey Katju as well) legalized passive euthanasia by means of the withdrawal of life
support to patients in a permanent vegetative state. The decision was made as part of the
verdict in a case involving Aruna Shanbaug, who has been in a vegetative state for 42 years at
King Edward Memorial Hospital.
So, current position is that, active euthanasia is not allowed in India and only passive euthanasia
is allowed and that too after the consent of next of kins or next of friends. Currently, there is no
legislation in this concern.
Forms of active euthanasia, including the administration of lethal compounds, legal in a number
of nations and jurisdictions including Belgium, Switzerland and the Netherlands, as well as the
US states of Washington and Oregon, are still illegal in India.

Why Euthanasia should not be legalised?

There are empirical evidences that legalised euthanasia has led to a severe decline in the quality
of care for terminally-ill patients in Holland where it is legalised.
Malafide intention can be there if it is legalised

Why it should be legalised?

Care-givers Burden: The caregivers burden is huge and cuts across various domains such as
financial, emotional, temporal, physical, mental and social.
Right to die with dignity, than live in misery and suffering.

If the State takes the responsibility of providing reasonable degree of health care, then majority of the
euthanasia supporters will definitely reconsider their argument.
Supreme Court Judgement has mentioned that our contemporary society and public health system is not
matured enough to handle this sensitive issue; hence it needs to be withheld.

FINANCIAL SECTOR REFORMS


Budget 2015 steps

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Public Debt Management Agency (PDMA) bringing both external and domestic borrowings
under one roof to be set up this year.
Forward Markets commission to merged with SEBI
India Financial Code to be introduced soon

FISCAL MATTERS
The Finance Ministry has ordered a mandatory 10 per cent cut in the Centres non-Plan expenditure for
2014-15. Subsidies will face the brunt of the cuts.

FMC and SEBI MERGER

FMC didnt have statutory status and had few powers a weak regulator.
As a result, commodity sector was mostly unregulated
Further, due to weak regulations, there were huge fluctuations in the commodity sector
NSEL scam even called for better regulation
Commodities are even more volatile and more speculative
FMC used to regulate only exchange and not brokers. Further, SEBI is better equipped
technologically as well. It has better enforcement mechanism and penal powers.
It will bring more uniformity in the regulatory framework
In line with aim of government to have a unified agency in securities in line with FSLRC report

FOOD SECURITY
The NFSA that was passed in September 2013 gave the states one years time to complete identification
of beneficiaries i.e. by September 2014. July 2015 was the revised deadline for full implementation.
Salient features of the Act:

75% rural and 50% of the urban population are entitled for three years from enactment to 5 kg
food grains per month at 3 Rupees , 2 Rupees, 1 Rupee per kg for rice, wheat and coarse grains
(millet), respectively.

The states are responsible for determining eligibility.

Pregnant women and lactating mothers are entitled to a nutritious take home ration of 600
Calories and a maternity benefit of at least Rs 6,000 for six months.

Children 6 to 14 years of age are to receive free hot meals or take home rations.

The central government will provide funds to states in case of short supplies of food grains.

The poorest who are covered under the Antodaya yojana will remain entitled to the 35 kg of
grains allotted to them under the mentioned scheme.

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States have been delaying its implementation with only 11 states implementing so far. The reason is
that center requires states to reform and undertake some steps for its implementation

Identification and then transparent and systematic displaying the list of beneficiaries (For this,
many states were relying on the Socio Economic Caste Census (SECC) conducted in 2011.
However, this data was released only in June 2015. Some states like Haryana used the BPL data,
other like MP created own data)

End to end Computerization of the FPS shops and supply chain

A system of door-step delivery of grains to fair price shops (FPS)

Setting up vigilance committees

An effective grievance redress mechanism to implement the Act

Building modern storage facilities at strategic points for quick movement of food grains.

State Food Commissions which were to be formed for implementation and monitoring of the
provisions of the Act have also not been formed

States are also not ready on the front of cash transfer mechanism for the pregnant women

ICDS(integrated child development services) scheme and the mid-day meal, scheme which too
fall under the law, now have not been fully implemented

Center government has warned erring states that it will not release the additional food grains if states
failed to stick
Centre is preparing to move towards replacing them with cash entitlements, a move that has been
widely criticized
Shanta Ram Committee has suggested to cut back the quantum of beneficiaries which many have
criticized

GANGA CLEANING
First efforts were started in form of Ganga Action Plan (GAP) in 1985.
NGRBA was formed in 2009 and Ganga was declared National River after failure of two Ganga Action
Plans. NGRBA now works under PM. New government has come out with Namami Gange as a new
project to clean Ganga.

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The Cabinet has now agreed to set up Clean Ganga Fund (CGF) with voluntary contributions from
residents of the country and Non-Resident Indian (NRIs) / Person of Indian Origin (PIO) and others to
harness their enthusiasm to contribute towards the conservation of the river Ganga.
Causes of failure of Ganga Cleaning plans

Piecemeal approaches whole basin areas and activities related have to be taken into account
including agriculture, industry, municipal solid waste, defecation, cremations and so on
City based approach
Inter-state coordination issue
Red-tapism state pollution control boards have not worked effectively
Non-involvement of community
We also lack expertise and manpower
Industrial discharge is only 20% of total discharge but contains toxic chemicals. Environment
protection norms need to be strengthened.
Acceptance of electric crematoria has been low.
The sewage treatment plant (STP) capacity in the Ganga basin is only 31% of the domestic
sewage generation.
One of the reasons for the failure of government schemes lies in the fact that government has
so far adopted only engineering centric approach to solve the problem with undue emphasis on
creation of sewage treatment plants. It should also approach it as a social engineering problem
through which people living on or around the banks of the rivers are involved.
Services of various institutes of social sciences, apart from IITs should be sought by the
government to seek a viable solution of pollution.
Another reason for the failure is that the catchment areas especially of Yamuna has been
encroached upon and diverted for construction and development activities. Unless the flow of
the rivers is maintained at a reasonable level, no other effort is going to be successful and
recommended that the flow of Ganga and Yamuna upstream is not disturbed or blocked.
Sand has the ability to let water percolate through deep and release slowly. Thus if we take away
the sand form around the river beds we are left with scenarios of heavy floods in rains and dry
beds in summers.
Another major reason is construction of various dams on the course of river which has led to
blocakage of sediments diminishing the unique self-purifying ability of the Ganga.

Causes

High population density and human activity as the basin is very fertile
Due to religious significance a lot of fairs and festivals happen people are not very careful in
preventing dumping of garbage and other material
Dams construction Built in 1854 during the British colonization of India, the Haridwar dam has
led to decay of the Ganga by greatly diminishing the flow of the river. Due to presence of
barrages and canals, minimum amount of water doesnt flow.

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Municipal discharge
Religious practices like cremations and discharge of bodies in the water
Pesticides usage in the fields of basin area

Solutions

Use of pesticides should be discouraged in basin area promote organic farming like Kerala and
Sikkim
River fronts can be developed on the lines of Sabarmati river
River Thames was once biologically dead, but is now in healthy shape. Expertise from such
authorities can also be sought.
92% of Israel's waste water is treated and about three quarters of that re-used for
agriculture. Help of Israel can be taken to establish a test farm for drip irrigation in India.
An ecological approach is needed which treats rivers as living habitats conservation has to
start right from the catchment area to basin area
Multi-pronged approach is needed for example to handle plastic and other floating waste,
trash skimmer boats needs to be used (to improve aeration in the river), electrical crematorium
needs to be used and alternative cremation sites be provided, community awareness programs
needs to launched with involvement of children specially, a proper solid waste management
plan needs to be there, bio-toilets should be built on ghats
Enforcing River Regulatory Zones on Ganga Banks
Rational agricultural practices, efficient irrigation methods
Restoration and conservation of wetlands

Steps taken by the government

The Ganga Action Plan or GAP was a program launched in January 1986 to reduce the pollution
load on the river. But the efforts to decrease the pollution level in the river were unsuccessful
even after spending Rs 901 crore. Therefore, this plan was withdrawn on 31 March 2000.
NRGBA was established by the Central Government of India, on 20 February 2009 and it also
declared Ganga as the National River.
In 2010 the government declared the stretch of river between Gaumukh and Uttarkashi an
"eco-sensitive zone."
National Mission for Clean Ganga. Nirmal dhara, aviral dhara. As a part of the program,
government of India ordered the shut down of 48 industrial units around Ganga. It is an
ambitious project with outlay of Rs 20,000 crore. Target is that by 2020 no untreated municipal
waste should be discharged in Ganga.

How it is different from earlier approaches

Mission Clean Ganga builds on lessons from the past, and will look at the entire Gangetic basin
while planning and prioritizing investment instead of the earlier town-centric approach.
It will involve community and people, unlike earlier top down approach
Fund allocation Rs 20,000 crore 5 times higher than combined earlier plans

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Sewage management in 119 cities will be outsourced

GDP CALCULATION NEW


India now measures GDP by market prices (measured as Gross Value Addition) instead of factor costs,
to take into account gross value addition in goods and services as well as net indirect taxes (indirect
taxes minus subsidies). The base year has been shifted to 2011/12 from 2004/05 earlier.
Indian economy is projected to have increased to 7.4% in 2014-15 as compared with 6.9% in the fiscal
year 2013-14. It is projected to grow at 7.9% in 2015-16.
How the new GDP calculation is different?

It is more realistic as it is based on market prices and inline with international practices
Base year closer 2011-12
Many economic activities have been added to provide more realistic picture of economy
basket for calculation is wider.
The new GDP incorporates more comprehensive data on corporate activity earlier, 2 lakh
factories/companies were considered, now 5 lakh are considered
Earlier GDP was calculated using factories data collected from ASI (Annual Survey of Industries).
Now, it will consider the Companies' data from Ministry of Corporate Affairs. This data will also
include marketing and selling cost, along with production costs.
Inclusion of financial services like Insurance, Broking etc.

How the new GDP is calculated

For arriving at the new gross value added (GVA) at basic prices, production taxes, such as
property tax, are added and subsidies are subtracted from GDP at factor cost.
GDP at market prices makes adjustment for any subsidy or indirect tax to arrive at GDP at
market price, indirect taxes are added while subsidies are subtracted from GVA at basic price.
Finally, inflation needs to be adjusted to arrive at GDP at constant market prices.

GVA at Market Prices = GVA at Basic Prices (GDP at factor Cost Production Taxes + Subsidies) +
Net Indirect Taxes (Product/Indirect Taxes Product Subsidies); Adjusted for inflation
Benefit of change of calculations

This exercise will increase the size of economy


Which in turn will help in lowering of fiscal deficit, computed as a proportion of the Gross
Domestic Product (GDP)
The change in method of calculation has brought Indian GDP calculations more in line with
global practice.

Why change base year?

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As basket of goods changes and their relative value also changes, new realistic base is need
which is the most representative of the economic activity. (Base year analysis is mainly done to
eliminate the effects of inflation and to give a more meaningful picture of the data)

Which year be selected as a base year?

It has to be a normal year without large fluctuations


Data availability for the year should be reliable

Criticism of new GDP method

However, there is some skepticism about the new GDP numbers after base revision and
methodology revision as all other economic indicators be that IIP (2%), WPI (-2%), Credit
Growth and so on. Consumer spending is low, rain was also deficit last year. These factors run
counter to the new estimations. They tell a different story.

GOLD Schemes
Government launched three schemes to curtail real gold demand and present it as an attractive
investment instrument through gold-linked instruments

Gold monetization scheme investors will be required to melt their gold into bars and earn
returns at a value linked to price of gold. They will be exempted from wealth tax, capital gains
tax and income tax it makes them attractive as compared to other options. But since it will
require melting of gold, and given sentimental attachment of Indians to their jwellery, it is likely
to see lukewarm response
Sovereign Gold Bonds will be gold plated bonds with annual return of 2.75% linked to gold
value.
Gold coins and bars minted by government with advanced counterfeit features

Gold drains huge forex in India. These schemes aim to curtail that by preventing investments in actual
gold

GST
SALIENT FEATURES OF GST

It is a destination based tax


The Constitution (122nd Amendment) (GST) Bill, 2014.
It aims at giving the Article 301 the practical shape which calls for free movement of trade and
commerce across the state (as there are various restriction in form of entry taxes, octroi etc)
It is likely to lead to introduction of a new article 246 A in the constitution. Which will
empower both the parliament and state legislatures to levy GST (however, the catch is that it
must be approved by GST council in which central government has effective Veto power).

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GST is being introduced to remove the current imperfections prevalent in indirect taxes and
improve the tax compliances.
It will also lead to lower exemptions. Further, it will be levied on all goods and services (except a
few ones which are included in the negative list)
It will be levied at the point of sale
It is likely to introduce more transparency and simplicity as it will not be levied at multiple
nodes and only at destination
GST Rates will be decided on the principle of Revenue neutrality, which states that neither
states nor center will suffer loses on revenue front. (Theoretically, revenue neutrality is a
condition of fiscal policy making in which any increase or decrease in tax revenues be achieved
with a commensurate increase or decrease in tax revenues. For example, a proposal to decrease
taxes for one economic group must include a mechanism to increase tax revenues from another
source in order to offset the revenue decrease.)
Its rate is likely to remain much below 27% as has been assured by FM in Lok Sabha during the
passage of the bill. Currently Service tax rate is around 14% and cumulative tax borne by goods
is around 20%
It is proposed to be implemented from April 1, 2016
It will subsume almost all indirect taxes including excise, state VAT, entry tax, octroi and other
state levies. In addition, it will also replace service tax and custom duties, central excise duty at
the Central level. This comprehensive tax covers all stages from manufacture to sale.
The GST will be borne by the customer.
GST will be implemented concurrently by the central and state governments as the Central GST,
the State GST and Integrated GST respectively.
The effective tax-rate under the proposed GST would come down, but the number of assesses
would increase thus leading to higher revenues at a lower tax rate to government
The IT infrastructure for the implementation of GST will be termed as GST Network
GST N (Network) will be owned by three stakeholdersthe centre, the states and the
technology partner NSDL
Constitutionally, it will put both state and center on almost footing in terms of taxation powers
It will also lead to a shift in mode of taxation from origin based to destination based
Alcohol, tobacco and petroleum products are likely to remain out of the purview of the GST
(however, petrol and diesel will come under this at a later date which will be finalized by GST
council)
Exports will be free of any tax, while imports will be subjected to similar GST (Basic Custom duty
will remain alive and shall be collected by Custom Authorities as usual.)
Taxes collected by the local bodies are also likely to be kept outside GST
Each taxpayer would be allotted a PAN-linked taxpayer identification number
IN OTHER COUNTRIES

140 countries have implemented GST, most of them have implemented single unified GST
regime, unlike dual GST regime of India State and Central GST

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France was the first country to implement GST in 1954


While countries such as Singapore and New Zealand tax virtually everything at a single rate,
Indonesia has five positive rates, a zero rate and over 30 categories of exemptions.
Rates of GST across the countries also vary from 5% in Japan to 25% in Sweden and Denmark
etc
WHY IS DUAL GST REQUIRED?
India is a federal country where both the Centre and the States have been assigned the powers
to levy and collect taxes through appropriate legislation. Both the levels of Government have
distinct responsibilities to perform according to the division of powers prescribed in the
Constitution for which they need to raise resources. A dual GST will, therefore, be in keeping
with the Constitutional requirement of fiscal federalism.
WHAT IS THE CONCEPT OF PROVIDING THRESHOLD EXEMPTION FOR GST?
Threshold exemption is built into a tax regime to keep small traders out of tax net. This has
three-fold objectives

It is difficult to administer small traders and cost of administering of such traders is very
high in comparison to the tax paid by them.
The compliance cost and compliance effort would be saved for such small traders.
Small traders get relative advantage over large enterprises on account of lower tax
incidence.
Currently, there are different threshold exemption limits across the states, GST will lead to a
uniform threshold exemption.
GST COUNCIL COMPOSITION, MANDATE AND WORKING

The GST Council shall consist Union Finance Minister as a Chairperson, Union Minister of State
in charge of Finance as a member, the State Finance Minister or State Revenue Minister as a
member of the Council and the State FM shall select one of them as Vice Chairperson of Council.
States will have a greater say with 2/3rd voting power, center will have 1/3rd voting power, thus,
it will have a strong federal character
The quorum of GST Council shall be of its members.
Every Decision of the Council shall be taken at a meeting by a majority of at least of the
weighted votes of the members present and voting. (From this mathematics we can conclude
that Centre has VETO Power in the GST Council for decision making.)
WHY GST REQUIRED?

First of all, there are many ambiguities, overlaps and non-transparencies in the current regime
Secondly, goods and services definitions may overlap in coming days with complexity of
products
Thirdly, there is a need to establish common market in India where buyers and sellers have a
level playing field

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There is also a complexity and multiplicity of tax administration
BENEFITS IT WILL BRING

It will lead to one nation one tax regime in case of indirect taxes with single uniform rate of
tax
It is estimated that this reform alone will lead to an addition of .5-1% in GDP growth rate.
It will be the biggest indirect tax reform since independence
Benefits to consumer Its introduction is likely to see fall in prices as effective rate of taxation
is likely to come down overall
Benefit to manufacturers/service providers Since it will be levied only once, they will pay less
per item. Lower prices are likely to spur more consumption, which will lead to more sales. They
will have to no longer maintain multiple accounts
It will lead to elimination of cascading effect of existing multiple taxes which lead to more
burden than actual cumulative burden of taxes on the consumer
With a uniform regime, it will also remove inefficiencies in the supply chain and simplicity will
lead to higher compliance
It will simplify and rationalize the current indirect tax structure by integrating multiple taxes
into single tax regime, by a uniform rate of indirect taxation
It will also expand the tax base and hence increase government revenue
After the constitutional amendment, states will be entitled to levy service tax which is now the
biggest contributor in GDP
Its one of the biggest benefits include that it will help in creating a common market
throughout the states.
With a uniform regime across the country, it will also put curb on practices like differential tax
advantages offered by different states and hence will also open other states to industrialisation
by creating a more level playing field.
GST will eliminate tax soaps advantage that some states offer to set up industries. Instead,
states will have to bring in real reforms to attract more investments.
GST would ensure seamless and uniform indirect tax regime besides lowering inflation and
promoting growth in the long run
It will also have a positive impact on the manufacturing sector which has been regarded as the
worlds highest taxed sector. By eliminating complexities in the present taxation system, it will
prevent around 50% losses that the manufacturing sector incurs.
It will also play a vital role in reducing the costs of the goods and services that are locally
manufactured.
Finally, the introduction of GST is likely to reduce the possibility of tampering with the rates by
the tax authorities. The ways of administering the taxation system of the nation will become
more transparent and also reduce the burden of paying higher taxes.
It will also lower down the logistics cost by 20%, as currently, firms have to spend extra on
logistics to shift productions to lower tax jurisdiction areas
APPREHENSIONS

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Biggest contentious point s GST council though states will be de jure empowered to bring their
own GST laws, but requirement of approval of GST council in which center has a veto power, will
not allow to let that happen
Since future decisions regarding the rates and other related issues will be taken by the GST
Council, the states will lose the existing discretion over the tax rates
Some states fear that since effective rate is likely to be lower, they might lose in revenue terms
(as they get higher revenue now due to higher tax rates)
Backward states also fear a fall in revenue as the tax revenues after implementation of GST will
be in proportion of consumption levels in the state (as the tax is destination based)
Manufacturing states also fear that, since the tax is destination based, they might lose on front
of indirect taxes (will lose current excise collections)
Initially, states also opposed this move on the ground of threatening the fiscal federalism as
they deemed it impinging on their independent fiscal powers
States fear that they will lose heavily in terms of loss of tax (CST) which is currently levied on
inter-state movement of goods
States seek 100% compensation for 5 years, union government for 3 years, 75%, 50% for rest
two years
Municipal bodies are also demanding big share in the GST pie as most of their taxes will be
subsumed under it
STEPS TO ASSUAGE STATES APPREHENSIONS

Center has made a provision that in lieu of loss of tax (CST) in case of interstate movement of
goods, originating states will be compensated with additional 1% tax for some years (2 years as
per current proposals).
Center has also agreed to compensate for revenue loses for a period of 5 years (In case of VAT
also, there were similar fears of loss of revenue, but they turned out to be unfounded)
CHALLENGES

Have a ready IT platform for smooth implementation IT infrastructure is key for the seamless
implementation
Alleviating the doubts of states regarding compensation issue
CRITICISM

The best GST systems across the world use a single GST, while India has opted for a dual-GST
model. Critics claim that CGST, SGST and IGST are nothing but new names for Central
Excise/Service Tax, VAT and CST, and hence GST brings nothing new to the table.
If this is a path breaking tax system, why are certain sectors (alcohol, petroleum and real estate)
deprived of its benefits?
The exclusion of large and lucrative sectors, by drastically reducing the tax base, is also most
likely responsible for pushing up the GST rate to 27% from the revenue neutral rate of 12% (7%
for state GST and 5% for central GST) proposed in 2010.
Additional 1% tax in form of GST is also problematic as in case of a product requiring multiple

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operations in different states, large amount has to be shelled in form of separate 1% tax in each
state.
Government went on to introduce the GST Bill in Parliament sans any major or public multistakeholder discussions even with those who are most impacted industry and consumers.

HEALTH
Current situation

There is a misplaced understanding about importance of primary health care


Primary healthcare is the biggest factor in preventive care which is in a highly neglected state in
India
The current government spending on health care is a dismal 1.04 per cent of gross domestic
product (GDP), one of the lowest in the world; this translates to Rs.957 per capita in absolute
terms.
In India's health-care system, nearly 70% of overall health spending is incurred by private outof-pocket expenditure, and 70% of this is spent on medicines.
Private out-of-pocket expenditure on health pushed 60 million Indians below the poverty line in
2010.

Contemporary health issues

Silicosis is a chronic lung disease caused by breathing in tiny bits of silica dust. Silica is the
second most common mineral in the earth's crust. It is a major component of sand, rock, and
mineral ores like quartz. The Karauli-Dholpur-Bharatpur mining belt in eastern Rajasthan, which
produces the countrys best quality red sandstone, also has the largest number of young
widows, most of them below 40 years. The social cost of ineffective healthcare and
rehabilitation for miners is rather heavy and it is the women who bear the brunt of it.
Gender bias in sterilization Of the total sterilizations performed in 2012-13, as many as 97.4
per cent were tubectomy procedures. Another criticism of sterilization is that state is looking
for quick fixes rather than provide a bouquet of family planning methods.
Vector-borne diseases are infections transmitted by the bite of infected arthropod species,
such as mosquitoes, ticks, triatomine bugs, sandflies, and blackflies. Arthropod vectors are
cold-blooded (ectothermic) and thus especially sensitive to climatic factors and hence found
mainly in tropical areas. Some of them are - 1. Chikungunya 2. Japanese Encephalitis (JE) 3.
Lymphatic Filariasis or Elephantiasis 4. Kala-azar. From Indian perspective, they are important
as India is a tropical country and they put enormous burden on India.
Steps taken by the government to control these
Health Minsters of various countries met in Dhaka in September 2014 for WHO South-East Asia
Regional conference to chart out a plan to deal with vector borne diseases and issued Dhaka
Declaration. It called for a multi-sectoral government level approach.

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Global best practices
UN Steps

Japanese encephalitis is a viral fever that affects the brain and is considered extremely
dangerous for children, and it also has a high mortality and morbidity rate and is caused by
Mosquito bite.
Fluorosis Fluoride contamination affects the teeth and bones and long-term excessive
exposure causes abdominal pain, excessive saliva, nausea, vomiting, seizures and muscle
spasms. The government has started the National Programme for Prevention and Control of
Fluorosis in 2008-09. In 2013-14, the programme was brought under the National Rural Health
Mission, which has so far covered 111 districts. Skeletal flourosis is one of the worse
manifestation in which bones are deformed.
India accounts for the highest number of diarrhoea and pneumonia deaths among children in
the world with over 2 lakh children dying of diarrhoea and over 3.8 lakh children of pneumonia
annually, accounting for the mortality of 4 in every 10 children under-five. The Centre will soon
launch an action plan against diarrhoea and pneumonia in four States. The aim is to end
preventable child deaths from these two by 2025.
TB With 2.2 million new cases and close to 3,00,000 deaths each year, TB is Indias silent
epidemic. Government runs WHO recommended DOTS+ or the Revised National Tuberculosis
Program. The 60 per cent of all TB patients who first go to the private sector receive care whose
quality varies enormously. While TB can affect anybody, studies have shown that it is four times
more common in people in the lowest socio-economic quintile compared to the highest. Primary
care, therefore, needs to be strengthened. For this, diagnostic facilities need to be upgraded and
clinical and laboratory staff given training. Private services could be utilized for some of these
investigations in PHCs where these facilities may not be available. Brazil offers an excellent
example, where TB drugs are offered only by the public health system and are unavailable in the
private sector. TB drugs are bought through a centralized mechanism of acquisition and
distribution, ensuring drug quality. Alongside inputs to achieve universal health coverage, social
protection interventions that address out-of-pocket expenses and the food and nutritional
requirements of TB patients are also critical an innovative example is the free breakfast
scheme for TB patients launched by the Chennai Corporation. India may take a cue from China,
where TB prevalence declined by half as the government invested heavily in systemic
improvements, modernisation and changing approaches to diagnosis and treatment.
Kala Azar The second largest parasitic killer in the world after malaria, kala azar is
concentrated in 52 districts in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and West Bengal. India officially
reported fewer than 5,000 kala azar cases in 2011 and fewer than 100 deaths due to the
disease, according to the World Health Organisation. However, the international health
community believes these to be gross underestimation; while India reported just over 1,000
malaria deaths in 2011, medical journal Lancet placed the estimate 40 times higher. Kala azar
affects the most marginalized communities. It is highly concentrated geographically. In addition,

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it is only carried by humans and not animals in India and is caused by Sandfly. Both these factors
make it something that can be eradicated.
Dengue Ever since its detection in the early 1950s, there has been a 30-fold increase in dengue
incidence. An area of concern is that the number of cases has been increasing year after year.
Dengue mosquito has a range of just 100 meter, so, community participation is the key. Reasons
why it is difficult to control dengue are
o Being a vector-borne disease, ever-increasing numbers and varieties of mosquitobreeding habitats are being created with rapid and poorly planned urbanisation,
globalisation, consumerism, poor solid waste and water management, and increasing
population movement without adequate measures to prevent vector breeding.
o Climate change is also influencing ecology that encourages vector breeding.
o Till date no vaccine or specific medicinal cure available
o Being a vector borne disease, its vector has mutated frequently and hence, single shot
vaccine for diseases like Malaria and Dengue couldnt be made
Mental Health and Suicide Issue Suicide attempt is punishable in Indian law as per IPC.
o Section 309 of IPC Indias new mental health policy which calls for recognition of
mental disorders and a more accessible and holistic treatment of mental illnesses also
pushes for decriminalization of attempted suicide. Currently Section 309 of IPC still has
this provision under which there can be imprisonment for 1 year. The Supreme Court in
1994 not only decriminalized the attempt to suicide but also observed that the right to
life includes the right to die. The court observed that all fundamental rights have
positive connotations as well as negative connotations. However, this view was reversed
in 1996. In 2008, the Law Commission recommended that the suicide bids be
decriminalized. It suggested that the intention to commit suicide should be seen as a
manifestation of a diseased condition of mind, requiring care and treatment, not
punishment.
o Law Commission also pointed out that only a handful of nations like Pakistan,
Bangladesh, Malaysia, Singapore and India have persisted with this undesirable law.
o On the basis of this recommendation, in 2014, the Centre called for inputs from states.
18 states including the state of Tamil Nadu and 4 union territories are in favour of
deletion of Section 309.
o Government has de facto decided to delete this section.
o However, pending the passage of the Mental Health Care Bill 2013, Section 309 of the
Indian Penal Code is yet to be limited or repealed.

Non Communicable Diseases

Their burden is 60% in terms of number of annual deaths


Poor diets, pollution and smoking are 3 big causes
1 million people in India die each year because of tobacco use. Most number of cancer deaths
are also from tobacco.
40% of hospital occupancy is attributed to these

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NCDs will increase with rise in urbanisation as there will be even less physical activity and more
pollution exposure

NEW INITIATIVES
Mission Indradhanush

Health and Family Welfare Minister launched Mission Indradhanush, which will aim to cover
all those children by 2020 who had not been vaccinated, or were partially vaccinated, against
seven vaccine-preventable diseases diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis,
measles and hepatitis B. The Ministry identified 201 high-focus districts in the country in the first
phase.

National/Universal Health Assurance Mission

It will have both preventive and curative aspects


It will also have a universal health insurance as a component as currently, less than 25%
population has health cover.
An autonomous body, UHAM agency, will be formed to ensure above-board operations and
genuine protection of the insured through this scheme, every person will be able to access
tertiary healthcare services.
The government will provide 50 essential drugs
The government will provide a bouquet of diagnostic services
The government will provide 30 AYUSH (Ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, siddha and
homoeopathy) drugs at all government hospitals and health centres.

Way Forward

Government planning to shift from sick care to healthcare because preventive health will
empower everyone.
Compulsory rural practice
Insurance coverage should be increased as private consultation leads to around 70% expenses
and as per statistics, such expenses drive around 2 crore population below poverty line.
Sustained Awareness Drives IMR, MMR, and Anemia can be avoided.

Case Studies and Best Practices

A useful model to consider would be the one pioneered in India by the Tamil Nadu Medical
Services Corporation. It is a registered corporation set up by the Tamil Nadu government to
procure drugs for the public health system. It is accountable to an independent board of
directors which includes the health secretary. The model has proved so successful in improving
drug supply in Tamil Nadu that several other States, including Kerala, have adopted it as the
basis of their own governance structure.

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Mohalla Clinic in Delhi deal with primary care, reduce burden in big hospitals, but they have
poor diagnostic facilities. However, they have modern design and quality delivery of basic
services to citizens
Arvind Hospital prelim inquiry by the remote center through video conferencing. Patients are
segregated. Those who need operational assistance are ferried through a bus collectively and
are discharged the next day
Devi Prasad Shetty (born May 8, 1953) is an Indian philanthropist and a cardiac surgeon. He has
leveraged economies of scale to provide affordable healthcare. Dr. Devi Prasad Shetty is
Chairman and Founder, Narayana Health (Narayana Hrudayalaya in now Narayana Health). He
believes that the cost of healthcare can be reduced by 50 percent in the next 510 years if
hospitals adopt the idea of economies of scale.
PPP should be promoted In state of West Bengal, medicine shops are opened in hospital
premises itself. Similarly, diagnostic facilities are provided by private players within hospitals.
They capitalize on economies of scale despite providing such services at 1/3rd of market rates.
Or Rajasthan Model Generics delivered through efficient private chemist shops only and
government doctors write only generic prescriptions.

HOUSING
Sardar Patel Urban Housing Mission
It aims to provide housing for all by 2022 by way of interest subsidy, PPP and one time
financial help and hence make India slum free. Once it is in place it will subsume all housing
projects that are currently running in India.

INDIAN OCEAN DIPOLE


The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), also known as the Indian Nio, is an irregular oscillation of sea-surface
temperatures in which the western Indian Ocean becomes alternately warmer and then colder than
the eastern part of the ocean.
A positive phase sees greater-than-average sea-surface
temperatures and greater precipitation in the western Indian
Ocean region, with a corresponding cooling of waters in the
eastern Indian Oceanwhich tends to cause droughts in adjacent
land areas of Indonesia and Australia.
The IOD also affects the strength of monsoons over the Indian subcontinent and it was being speculated
that this year, it might offset the effect of El Nino.
The IOD phenomenon was first identified by climate researchers in 1999.
Madden-Julian Oscillation, or MJO While ENSO is a stationary phenomenon, MJO is a moving
phenomenon. MJO is an eastward moving disturbance of clouds, rainfall, winds, and pressure that

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traverses the planet in the tropics and returns to its initial starting point in 30 to 60 days, on average.
This atmospheric disturbance is distinct from ENSO, which once established, is associated with
persistent features that last several seasons or longer over the Pacific Ocean basin. Its presence also
brings rain. It was one of the factors which caused more rain in the month of June despite El Nino.

INFLATION ESTIMATES and NEW INDICES


Government is coming up with new estimates like PPI, RBI shifted to CPI.
However, the current measures are less representative of economic picture. None of them accounts
well for services. For example, factors like School fees, medical costs and insurance dont figure in CPI
which includes services.
Price Stabilisation Fund
The Department of Agriculture & Cooperation has approved the Price Stabilisation Fund (PSF) as
a Central Sector Scheme. The Price Stabilization Fund will be managed centrally by a Price
Stabilization Fund Management Committee (PSFMC) which will approve all proposals from
State. The objective of the PSF is to support market interventions for price control of perishable
agri-horticultural commodities during 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17. PSF will be used to
advance interest free loan to State Governments and Central agencies to support their working
capital and other expenses on procurement and distribution interventions for such commodities.
Procurement of these commodities will be undertaken directly from farmers or farmers
organizations at farm gate/mandi and made available at a more reasonable price to the
consumers. Initially the fund is proposed to be used for onion and potato only. Recently,
government approved the use of fund to stabilize the prices of Dal.

INNOVATION
Current spending as a percentage of GDP in research just .8%
Steps taken to promote innovation
I.

National Innovation Council was set up in 2010 by PM to lay a roadmap to transform country
into an innovation nation with focus on inclusive growth.

II.

Decade of 2010-2020 has been declared as a decade of innovation.

III.

Center for Innovation in Public Services

IV.

It has also launched an Innovation Fund to finance innovation enterprises of small scale.
National Inclusive Innovation Fund has been established.

V.

Tod Fod Jod National Innovation Council launched a pilot project aimed at providing learning
through creative and practical application of knowledge on day to day devices.

VI.

INSPIRE scheme for young scientists This is a scheme of Ministry of Science and Technology.

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Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspire Research (INSPIRE) is a program for attraction of talent
to science. It will include persons in the age group 10-32 years in three different groups from
School level to Post Graduate Research level. Launched in 2008, this scheme will also be
continued in 12th plan.
VII.

Budget 2014 Initial sum of Rs 100 crore for Start Up Village Entrepreneurship Programme
for encouraging rural youth to take up local entrepreneurship programs.

VIII.

The National Innovation Policy of India is still in the pipeline

IX.

Rashtriya Avishkar Abhiyan is a unique concept developed by the Ministry of Human Resource
Development that aims to inculcate a spirit of inquiry, creativity and love for Science and
Mathematics in school children. Under Rashtriya Avishkar Abhiyan, government schools will be
mentored by Institutes like IITs/ IIMs/ IISERs and other Central Universities and reputed
organisations through innovative programmes, student exchanges, demonstrations, student
visits, etc to develop a natural sense of passion towards learning of Science and Maths.

IPR
Government will announce new IPR policy by year end. The above panel is being constituted in context
of Indias IPR regime coming under huge criticism by other countries especially US. The US raised a
number of concerns over India's IPR regime in its annual special 301 report in April. India is currently
classified as 'priority watch list'.

JAM Jan Dhan, Aadhar and Mobile

Pahal In 2014, Rs 12,000 crore were saved due to DBT alone


3 crore LPG customers have been weeded out
Soon all PDS shops will be biometric enabled
o 48,000 crores lost in PDS-thefts

JAN DHAN
There was similar skepticism about Bank Nationalization of 1969, which proved wrong.
Positive aspects of the scheme

It will lead to financial inclusion

In the long run it will also help government in its DBT purpose

Thirdly, it also provides a minimum social security in case of the death of the account holder
and over-draft facility to deal with situation of distress

According to SEBI Chief, Jan Dhan Yojana will help in tackling ponzi menace as people will be
motivated to put their money in institutional setups

Like the nationalization of banks in 1969, it can also promote savings tendency of people and

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can infuse money in the economy as well (Bank nationalisation caused the saving rate to go up
from 12 per cent of GDP in 1968-69 to 20 per cent in 1979-80).

It could impart a shot in the arm to PSBs which have been losing market share to new private
sector banks. A large amounts are poised to flow into bank accounts, thanks to the direct
benefit transfer scheme (DBT) and hence these accounts will not be inoperative in long run as

many have predicted.


Major hurdles and issues in the scheme are

Due to non-mandatory UID or other unique number etc, there can be duplicating account
opening under this scheme

Penetration of financial services like banks is still very poor. Government should give post
offices full banking license and modernize them to increase penetration

Financial inclusion without poverty alleviation is meaningless. The growth rate of self-help
groups (SHGs) and joint liability groups (JLGs) has been declining in rural areas. Livelihood-linked
credit is in a sorry state. Access of credit for women and the marginalized is a major area of
alarm.

Currently it is also not clear who will foot the premium bill

The scheme should be accompanied by other banking and financial reforms to make financial
inclusion meaningful

Of the 17 crore accounts opened, 45% have zero balance or are dormant. Such a situation was
forewarned by RBI governor Raghuram Rajan

JUDICIAL REFORMS
The Second National Lok Adalat held in December 2014 across the country amicably settled about 1.25
crore pending and pre-litigation cases and brought financial relief of over Rs. 3,000 crore to ordinary
litigants in a single day.

LABOR REFORMS
WB has termed Indian labor laws as one of the most rigid in the world
Simplification of labor laws is crucial for the success of Make in India as well
Currently, compliance is a big challenge for the employers. There are around 44 central legislations and
more than 100 state ones

The union government has a proposal to re-codify the Central labour law architecture by
merging all 44 Central legislations into four codes on labour laws one each on wages,
industrial relations, social security and safety & welfare.

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Government is also planning to come up with umbrella legislation for small factories with many
simplifications
So far, Factories Act, Companies Act and Apprentice Act have been amended
Since Labor is a concurrent subject, states like Rajasthan have also taken big steps
Govt replaces the term inspector with the facilitator.
Another proposed amendment mandates that shelters and restrooms be provided in factories
that employ at least 75 people instead of the 150 as at present.

Criticism of labor reforms

Attempt to increase the limit of employees from 20 to 40


The special provisions relating to lay-off, retrenchment and closure of establishments in which
not less than 100 workers were employed on an average per working day for the preceding 12
months, as per the amendment, will now apply to only those establishments that employ 300
workers or more.
Apparently, if these amendments are passed, some 50% of the factories would no longer come
under the purview of the factories law

LAND ACQUISITION
New 2013 legislation replaced legislation 1894 Act
Scheduled areas and land acquisition

The LARR Act states that as far as possible, land will not be acquired in the scheduled areas.
90% of Indias coal reserves are located in adivasi areas, as are 50% of other key minerals and
prospective dam sites
Twelfth Five-Year Plan noted that of the estimated 60 million people displaced in development
projects since independence, as many as 40% were adivasis; their share in the general
population has hovered around 8%.

Pro government move

We need to think what is the cause of farm distress today? Is it land acquisition or something
else.
In fact, land is the basic need for all economic activity and lack of it will bring the whole
economy to a grinding halt.
Even the farm community wont be any better off, if there are no future irrigation projects
(currently 67% is dry land agriculture), no roads to transport the food grains (33% is wasted due
to poor supply chain management) and lower exit opportunities (farming is overcrowded with
50% population producing 14% of GDP)
When land holdings have depleted to an abysmal 1.6 hectare do we want farmers to be stuck
with this much uneconomical size or use a fraction of it to generate more jobs and make their

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lives better
There can be alternate models of acquisition like making the farmers stakeholders in the
projects. (As done in Haryana under the land pooling scheme)
According to the finance minister, the bill will remove roadblock from the proects worth $300
billion
States are still free to frame a better legislation and compensation regime
Way out?

Without agriculture, India cannot exist and without industry, it cannot develop.
Government should try to set up industries in those lands, which are either unproductive for
agriculture or barren. India has a vast reserve of barren lands.
Haryana Government Example Haryana has been considered a state having best practices
which includes no litigation incentives, residential plots allocation, employment provision,
skills and social security benefits like annuation. Land Pooling option is also given sometimes.
Assam proposed 50% stake in project land as stakeholders and land be on lease
Land Pooling mechanism is an alternate to the existing land acquisition policies. It is followed
worldwide and Japan has been successfully following since 1890. In India, Gujarat and Haryana
also following it. Under this, land is not acquired per se, but all neighboring land is pooled and
those who benefit from such acquisition pay for the losses made by those who lose.
o Land Pooling is a concept that where small chunks of land are owned by group of
owners who assemble for the development of infrastructure. After the development of
the land, the Land Pooling agency redistributed the land after deducting some portion
as compensation towards infrastructure costs.
o Recently, Delhi government also initiated land pooling scheme by DDA
Andhra Pradesh has also come up with a land pooling scheme and under this scheme only, land
was acquired for its new capital at Amravati. Farmers were offered annuity payments along with
developed pieces of lands (1250 sq m of residential plot and 200 sq m of commercial plot for
every acre)
August 2015
o Centre allowed states to go ahead with their own laws
o Since Acquisition of property is a subject of list III of 7th schedule, both can make laws
o However, if there is already a central legislation in the area, presidential consent is
required
o Most of the land is acquired by the states and centre acquires for only a few things like
linear projects
o Tamil Nadu becomes the first state to get presidential accent on the amendments to the
new law

LOKPAL
It was formed in 2013 after passing of The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013

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Composition

Lokpal will consist of a chairperson and a maximum of 8 members


Of which 50% will be judicial members 50% members of Lokpal shall be from SC/ST/OBCs,
minorities and women.

Jurisdiction

It has jurisdiction over all Members of Parliament (including PM, but with some safeguards)
and central government employees (of all categories) in cases of corruption.
Lokpal will have power of superintendence and direction over any investigation agency
including CBI for cases referred to them by Lokpal.

Selection of members

Selection of chairperson and members of Lokpal through a 5 member selection committee


consisting of PM, Speaker of Lok Sabha, leader of opposition in Lok Sabha, Chief Justice of
India or a sitting Supreme Court judge nominated by CJI and an eminent jurist (appointed by
president on consensus by the other 4 members).

Other Salient Features

The bill also incorporates provisions for attachment and confiscation of property acquired by
corrupt means, even while prosecution is pending.
The bill lays down clear time lines for preliminary enquiry and investigation and trial and
towards this end, the bill provides for setting up of special courts.

Recent News

The Department of Personnel and Training has notified amendments giving autonomy to the
Lokpal search committee to shortlist and recommend names independently for selection of
Chairman and members of the anti-corruption body. The amendments act as a course
correction after the former Supreme Court judge Justice K.T. Thomas opted out from heading
the search committee in March 2014, citing lack of autonomy. Eminent jurist Fali Nariman too
had turned down the post of a member of the panel for that reason.
The search panel has to suggest 3 times the number of members and chairperson (1+8),
however the selection panel can still veto all the names and hence rendering the
recommendations of search panel as non-binding.
To overcome the existing lacunae, Justice K T Thomas said the law should prescribe the
Selection Committee to put on record the reason for vetoing names suggested by the Search
Committee.

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MALNOURISHMENT
Multi-sectoral initiatives are needed improved quality of local diet, improved child feeding practices,
reducing exposure to illness and robust pediatric services

MAKE in INDIA
Current situation

Manufacturing contributes just 15% of the GDP


Share in global trade is less than 2%
Its own trade balance sheet suffers from huge CAD
India ranks a lowly 130 on WB Ease of Doing Business Index with an improvement of 4 points
over last years rank
Benefits: Why it is needed?
Shift agricultural labor and reduce unemployment
Strategic importance
Become self dependent
Cut CAD
To tap demographic dividend
Challenges to Make in India from outside

The nature of manufacturing is changing. Low-cost automation and robotics are making pure
labour cost arbitrage less important.
Energy is the new labour in the sense that the cost of energy will significantly drive where things
are made. Here, the U.S. with its huge new shale gas reserves has a big advantage.
Developed countries are also realising how crucial local manufacturing is to jobs and to having
stable, prosperous societies and so there is an attempt to reverse outsourcing and revive local
manufacturing by embracing new technologies
Reserve Bank Governor Raghuram Rajan cautioned the government on Prime Minister Narendra
Modis Make in India mantra, suggesting that India would have to look for regional and
domestic demand for growth to make in India primarily for India.
At this stage, an exports-push strategy for growth would be ineffective; as the industrial world
stagnated; many emerging markets were rethinking their export-led growth model
World as a whole is unlikely to be able to accommodate another export-led China.
First of all, manufacturing industries need some basic infrastructure which needs to be there
Secondly, India has the youth, but less than 2% of it receives formal skill development training
Thirdly, for development of manufacturing, a robust primary sector is also required as the basis
for the secondary sector our agriculture sector is in shambles - .2% growth in 2014-15
Not a great place for doing business 134 out of 189
IPR issues
Land acquisition related problems after new Land Acquisition Bill

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Make in China succeeded because, China gave great attention to agriculture first, then moved
to manufacturing. Without developing primary industry, secondary industry may not take off
It is also argued by some that in the garb of Make in India, MNCs will get an upper hand and
they are also notorious for exploiting the resources (Benetton Bangladesh example and poor
condition of apparel industry workers there in general plus the tragedy that happened 2 years
back), polluting environment (Coke Plachimada example) and even tax evasion

What steps the government has taken?

New Manufacturing Policy and its extension


Wooing foreign investment China and Japan
Skill India Mission
Manufacturing promotion
o New Manufacturing Policy
o NMIZs
Tax reforms
o GST
o General Anti Avoidance Rule (GAAR) to be deferred by two years.
Labor Reforms
o Shram Suvidha Portal
o Online inspection schedule
o Universal Account Number (UAN) for Employees Provident Fund
o Amendments in Apprentices Act
o Launch of Apprentice Protsahan Yojana
Improving doing business environment (current rank 134 as per WB)
o Government introduces concept of Minimum government, maximum governance
government will act as only facilitator or referee by setting up fair rules of game
o Labor laws have been reformed
o Govt coming with Land Acquisition Act Amendment
o Archaic laws have been repealed
o Single window clearance
o FDI caps have been increased
o Govt planning to reduce corporate tax to 25%
o Govt is also focusing on the basic infrastructure
o Inspector will now be called facilitator
o Government is bringing GST
What is needed to make Make in India successful

Osamu Suzuki, Chairman and CEO of Suzuki Motors said that Make in India can be more
successful if it is also quality in India.
According to Raghuram Rajan, Make in India should also be Make for India

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According to Raghuram Rajan to make the campaign successful, stop tax terrorism, improve
infrastructure, reform labour laws, invest in skills development
Indias industrial policy must recognise where we have important competitive advantages.
India is quite uncompetitive at low skill manufacturing. On the other hand, it is good at making
complex things which require skilled labour and frugal engineering.
Similarly, Pharma is a sector to focus upon.
It should also focus on key emerging areas which currently drain our forex for example, at
given pace of imports, electronics and mobile imports at $300 billion will surpass the oil imports
in terms of value.
Similarly, defence equipment is also an area to focus upon. India imports its 65% of equipments
currently and out of global arms imports, its share is 15%.

MANIPUR
History of Manipur

Manipur was a Monarchy at the time of Independence; however it signed the Instrument of
Accession on the conditions that its autonomy will be maintained.
But people wanted self rule and as a result Maharaja of Manipur ordered elections of assembly
in 1948. These were the first election in India after independence
After elections, the state became a constitutional monarchy. In the Legislative Assembly of
Manipur there were sharp differences over the question of merger of Manipur with India.
The Government of India succeeded in pressurizing the Maharaja into signing a Merger
Agreement in September 1949, without consulting the popularly elected Legislative Assembly of
Manipur. This caused a lot of anger and resentment in Manipur, the repercussions of which are
still being felt in form of urgency and many groups still dont accept the 1949 agreement.
Became a full state in 1972
The first armed opposition group in Manipur, the United National Liberation Front (UNLF), was
founded in 1964, which declared that it wanted to gain independence from India and form
Manipur as a new country.
The Kuki insurgent groups want a separate state for the Kukis to be carved out from the present
state of Manipur.
The Nagas wish to annexe part of Manipur and merge with a greater Nagaland
Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) was formed in 1978 which is said to have received arms and
training from China.
In 1980, the central government brought the entire state of Manipur under the Armed Forces
(Special Powers) Act (AFSPA)
Since 1980, the application of AFSPA has been at the heart of concerns about human rights
violations in the region, such as arbitrary killings, torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading
treatment

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The violence in Manipur extend beyond those between Indian security forces and insurgent
armed groups. There is violence between the Meiteis, Nagas, Kukis and other tribal groups.
They have formed splinter groups who disagree with each other.

Demographic and other features of Manipur

Its people include the Nagas, Meeteis, Kuki, Hmar and Pangal, who speak different language
and have different cultures
Literacy levels are low 68%, much below national average
Tribes constitute 30% of population
There are 29 different dialects spoken in Manipur. There are moret than 30 notified tribes

Causes of insurgency

Historical
Diversity and conflict (29 dialiects, sub-tribes, sub-agenda)
Identity issue
AFSPA Tripura model
Close to Myanmar border which is porous one, flee there after operations, also smuggle
sophisticated weaponary from there

Why poor handling

Open border, insurgents slip away the border is not guarded well as incidents of violence
have relatively declined in past. An incident of this scale happened way back in 1956
Weak police organisation senior posts are vacant and IPS relive themselves on one excuse or
other senior most IPS is of 1998 batch only success of the new plans will depend upon the
rejuvenation of state police
Resentment against AFSPA so, there is also lack of popular support to administrations
counter-insurgency activities
There is also significant support from local people as this is also an identity issue

Challenges

Emotive issue
Demand for greater Naga area is a challenge to meet as its parts lie in various states Manipur,
Assam, Arunachal and even Myanmar
Due to more than 30 ethnic identities, consensus building is very difficult even NSCN has two
rival factions

Attack on soldiers

18 killed
NSCN-K (National Socialist Council of Nagaland Khaplang) took responsibility, it was an attack
taken out with help of other groups (kaplang is a Myanmarese citizen and he is not favor of

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reaching a deal with government as it will bereft him of power he enjoys right now. Currently he
also extracts money through extortionist ways as well)
NSCN-K operates from Myanmar and has also entered into an agreement with the Myanmars
government. Further, army in Myanmar has its own constraints as it is burdened by domestic
insurgency
There is also a porous border with Myanmar and inadequate coordination with Myanmar border
forces
Sophisticated weapons were used which were supplied from outside
o Thailand is a big market for these
o China has also supplied such weapons (Government of India has an intercept of
phone call between Chinese Army officials and insurgents just before the attack)
Currently, there was an ongoing Suspension of Operation agreement with major factions
There are many small factions (some 20 odd belong to Naga groups alone) which are into
militant fold UNLF (United National Liberation Front), Kuki groups, NSCN faction and so on
It is also found that standard operating procedures were not followed by army personnel
Army special forces carried out a surgical strike inside Myanmar, killing about 15 insurgents of
the groups believed to be responsible for the deadly ambush that killed 18 soldiers in Manipur

Steps to be taken to curb them

Cut their sources of weapons from Thailand and China


Also cut their sources of income which are primarily from extortion, parallel taxation, drugs
trade etc
Government should also boost basic infrastructure the insurgent groups otherwise fill the
governance gaps and win the sympathy of people
Increases cross border cooperation with Myanmar on lines of Bhutan and Bangladesh
Ensure job creation and development, so that youth is engaged in constructive work and not
disillusioned to take insurgency
Government should also expedite mechanisms to address autonomy issue as the region has
historical strong notion of regional sub nationalisms
AFSPA should be diluted or repealed. Steps by the state government can be taken on line of
Tripura government
Demarcate the border, currently border with Myanmar is relatively vague and porous

In the aftermaths

PM urged to shift armed forces along border, away from inside of state in accordance to a long
standing demand by state
Forces will now focus on strengthening the border along Myanmar
Counter insurgency duties will be handed over to state police which will be given more training
Government is contemplating over providing the Nagas special status within Manipur to address
their longstanding demand of merging with Nagaland
Centre to re-impose ban on NSCN-K

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Recent controversy over land bills
The bills are the result of two months of protest by several organizations demanding
imposition of Inner Line Permit (ILP) in line with Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland
where the system is prevalent.
Three bills within four days of their introduction in the assembly on August 31, were passed
without discussion or debate. The bills were the Protection of Manipur People Bill, Manipur
Shops and Establishments (Second Amendment) Bill and Manipur Land Revenue and Land
Reform (MLR&LR) (Seventh Amendment) Bill. Intended to address the anxiety and sense of
insecurity of the burgeoning Meitei middle class, which has been feeling increasingly besieged
by demographic pressures from non-Manipuri migrant outsiders on valley lands, the bills
expose the fallacy and limits of the integration framework that the state proposes from time to
time. In a tearing hurry to appease and cave in to pressure from majoritarian Meitei civil society
groups to implement the inner line permit system in the state, the government leverages
integrationist methods by being insensitive to tribal concerns.
Major issues with the new bills

The passage of these bills without consulting the Hill Areas Committee (HAC) reinforces
this.
Tribal claim that the Manipur Land Revenue & land Reforms (Seventh Amendment) Bill,
2015 would ease the process of buying land by migrant workers in the state.
Manipur land reforms bill apparently brings all land under the Manipur government
which even includes tribal lands.
Section 2(b) of Protection of Manipur People Bill spells out a deeply problematic
timeline for defining Manipur people as those whose names are in the National
Register of Citizens, 1951, Census Report 1951 and Village Directory of 1951 and their
descendants. Given that most tribal chiefs in the hill areas are illiterate, the limited
tradition of written historical records in the 1950s and the remote location of villages
where roads are conspicuous by their absence, it is impossible for census enumerators
to cover and accurately record residents of all villages. Hence the fear that this could be
used as a pretext by vigilante groups to transform tribal citizens into foreigners in
their own land.
Meitis the plain people constitute 60% of population. Tribals suspect that Meitis in
connivance with the government want to usurp their land.
Meitis on the other hand resent over-protection and reservations to the tribals. So,
there is a gross suspicion between the hilly tribes vs plain people. This has even brought
together the conventional rivals like Kukis and Nagas together.
There is a provision in the new bills which sets 1951 as a cutoff date for ascertaining the
ownership over land and identification of non-Manipuris. Since many tribals have failed
to register themselves in various censuses and have no identity proofs, they fear that
such provisions will wrongly exclude them from state and land ownership.

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MANUAL SCAVANGING
Manual Scavenger is defined as the person who is engaged in manual cleaning of human excreta in a dry
latrine or is employed to clean sewers manually or removes excreta from railway tracks. Unfortunately,
two government entities Railways and Municipal offices are biggest employers of manual scavengers
in India. Safai Karamchari Andolan (an NGO) filed a PIL against government inaction to curb this
practice. Government had fixed March 2012 as deadline to completely eradicate manual scavenging.
However, Census 2011 shows that there are still more than 7 lakh manual scavengers and much more
number of households where night soil is removed by hands.
There was an existing legislation Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines
(Prohibition) Act 1993 in place but was largely ineffective due to lack of implementation. Further,
legislation was largely oriented to address the issue of sanitation and not the human dignity. The law
made Manual Scavenging as punishable offence, but till date no one has been punished and the law has
largely remained on paper. Provisions of Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955 are also not invoked as
mostly workers are from SC and instead other provisions of IPC are invoked.
Why manual scavenging is a deep social issue

Manual scavenging as a practice is also a violation of Right of a decent living as mentioned in


Constitution. Manual Scavenging is also a violation of right to life with dignity.
Further, 95% scavengers are dalits and it is the worst form of caste discrimination and
occupational segregation.
Of all of them, 98% are women.
Worst of all two state owned entities Indian Railways and the Municipal corporations are the
biggest promoters of this practice

Features of the new Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act
2013

It prohibits employment of manual scavengers by any entity.


It will declare any pre-existing contract as null and void.
It calls for conversion of all insanitary dry latrines into sanitary latrines.
It calls for rehabilitation of manual scavengers into alternative occupation and call for their
training.
The Act provides an initial one time financial assistance, scholarship for the children of the
scavengers and a residential plot.
It calls for enforcement of Act within 9 months and violators of the Act after 9 months will be
penalized.
It prescribes fine of Rs 50,000 and jail of one year for the first time violators and further
punishment for subsequent violators.
There lies no appeal in any civil court
Offences will be non-bailable and will be tried in court of executive magistrate
National Commission on Safai Karamchari will monitor the implementation of the law

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Each local authority, cantonment board and railway authority is responsible for surveying
insanitary latrines within its jurisdiction. They shall also construct a number of sanitary
community latrines.
Each occupier of insanitary latrines shall be responsible for converting or demolishing the latrine
at his own cost. If he fails to do so, the local authority shall convert the latrine and recover the
cost from him.
The District Magistrate and the local authority shall be the implementing authorities.

Issues & analysis of the Act

Neither the state nor the center is mandated under the Bill to provide financial assistance for
the conversion of insanitary latrines. This may adversely impact implementation of the Bill.
Biggest challenge is in the implementation as Railways continue to employ scavengers despite
enactment of the law. Still, less than 1% toilets of railway are conventional toilets.

Schemes for rehabilitation of manual scavengers

Self-Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers The identified scavengers


will be provided training, loan, and subsidy. Credit will be provided by the banks for upto 5 lakh
at subsidized interest rates for opening avenues of self-employment in various activities.
National Scheme for Liberation and Rehabilitation of Scavengers This scheme is funded
through commercial banks. A maximum loan of Rs.50,000 is provided and training of 6 months is
imparted. During training period, a stipend of Rs.750 per month is paid. Capital subsidy up to
Rs.10,000 is available. Rate of interest is 4% and repayment period is 3 to 5 years.
Integrated Low Cost Sanitation Scheme (ILCS) The ILCS aims at conversion of individual dry
latrines into pour flush latrines, thereby liberating manual scavengers from the age-old,
obnoxious practice of manually carrying night soil. The scheme is applicable to every area urban
or rural.

MINING EXPLORATION BILL


Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015:

The promulgation of Ordinance became necessary to address the emergent problems in the
mining industry.
In the last few years, the number of new Mining Leases granted in the country has fallen
substantially.
In addition, second and subsequent renewals have also been affected by Court judgments.
As a result, the output in the mining sector has come down drastically, leading to import of
minerals by users of those minerals.

The salient provisions of the Ordinance are as follows:

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All mineral concessions will be granted only through auction.


Uniform lease period of 50 years; no renewals; auction at the end of lease period; will solve
issues arising out of all SC judgments on second and subsequent renewals.
Central Government empowered to prescribe deadlines for various processes and to issue
binding directions to States.
Central Government to frame separate rules for atomic minerals.
Enabling powers for reservation for the public sector to continue.
Higher penalties and jail terms for offences; special courts may be constituted, if necessary.
District Mineral Foundation to take care of people and areas affected by mining.

MSME UPLIFTMENT
Recent steps take

The government plans to open 500 district-level incubation centres across the country to train
youth to become entrepreneurs and revitalise the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME)
sector.
MUDRA Bank
Labor law reforms to exempt MSMES from many obligation
New MSME policy also revised upper ceilings

MUDRA BANK
Why Mudra Bank?

It will provide its services to small entrepreneurs outside the service area of regular banks, by
using last mile agents. About 5.77 crore (57.7 million) small business or self-employed have
been identified as target clients using the NSSO survey of 2013. Only 4% of these businesses get
finance from regular banks.
It is important to finance this section to boost manufacturing and innovation in India. This
sector is also the biggest job provider and can also prove a key in taking people out of
overcrowded agriculture.

Structure
The MUDRA banks will be set up under the Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana scheme. The bank
will initially function as a non-banking financial company and a subsidiary of the Small Industries
Development Bank of India (SIDBI). Later, it will be made into a separate company.
Salient features

It will extend loans from 50,000 to 10 lakh to MSMEs and self-employed person.
It will act as a refinancing institution
The bank will ensure that its clients do not fall into indebtness and will lend responsibly.

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It will lend without collateral


It will also serve as a regulator for other micro-finance institutions (MFIs) and provide them
refinancing services. It will provide guidelines for MFIs and give them ratings.
Preference will be given to SC and ST applicants
The repayment period varies from 3-5 years according to project requirement and loans are
given as term loan or working capital loan or a mix of term loan and working capital loan.
It will not be like a dole from state, but support for self-sufficiency promotion
Laying down policy guidelines for micro/small enterprise financing business.
Accreditation/rating of MFI entities.
Promoting right technology solutions for the last mile.
MUDRA structure seeks to integrate the hundreds of thousands of informal financiers into the
formal modern financing system
A single regulator for all entities engaged in microfinance could lead to adoption of a uniform
code of conduct.
The bank will classify its clients into three categories and the maximum allowed loan sums will
be based on the category:
o

Shishu () : Allowed loans up to Rs 50,000. They will get maximum attention and 40 %
of loan amount will be reserved for them.

Kishore (): Allowed loans up to Rs 5,00,000

Tarun (): Allowed loans up to Rs 10,00,000

Eligible to borrow from MUDRA bank


o Small manufacturing unit
o Shopkeepers
o Fruits / Vegetable vendors
o Artisans

Challenges for setting up of MUDRA Bank

Already there are provisions like SIDBI, Priority Sector Lending etc for MFIs and SMEs. It will lead
to multiplicity of institutions
MUDRA Bank is poised to be both promoter and regulator of MFI's. This can lead to conflict of
interest issues.

NAGA ISSUE
Government of India recently signed the historic peace accord with National Socialist Council of
Nagalim (Isak-Muivah), a key outfit in the region demanding a unified Naga identity and a separate
Nagalim State for over six decades. Under the accord, there is ceasefire agreement till April 27, 2016.

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Many smaller groups have not been part of the decisive phases of the peace process. The other factions
Khole Kitovi (KK), Reformations (R), Khaplang are not included under the accord.
Causes of problems

A historical one, creation of the British who isolated them and even used force to suppress their
voice
Today, Nagas are spread across various states and even across border some faction want to
create independent state, others want autonomy and unification

Nagaland recorded more than 87% voter turnout in 2014 Indian general election which was highest
voters turnout in India which Indian authorities consider as faith of Naga people in democracy of India.

NATIONAL GREEN TRIBUNAL


India on October 2010 launched the National Green Tribunal (NGT), a special court to deal with
environmental issues, thereby becoming the third country after Australia and New Zealand to do so.
National Green Tribunal Act (NGT) was under Indias constitutional provision of Article 21, which
assures the citizens of India, the right to a healthy environment.
The tribunal is a special fast-track court to handle the expeditious disposal of the cases pertaining to
environmental issues and till 2012 it has shelved many projects which were otherwise cleared by
Ministry of Environment and Forests. It is a first body of its kind which aims to apply the polluter pays
principle. Initially, the NGT is proposed to be set up at five places apart from its principle seat in Delhi.
Its features are

Faster disposal The Tribunals dedicated jurisdiction in environmental matters shall provide
speedy environmental justice and help reduce the burden of litigation in the higher courts. The
Tribunal is mandated to make and Endeavour for disposal of applications or appeals finally
within 6 months of filing of the same.

Driven by laws of natural justice and not civil laws The Tribunal shall not be bound by the
procedure laid down under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, but shall be guided by principles
of natural justice.

It is headed by a sitting or retired judge of SC

It may provide any amount of compensation to the victims


The sanctioned strength of the tribunal is currently 10 expert members and 10 judicial members.
Notable orders

The NGT also recommended the Government to declare a 52 km stretch of the Yamuna in Delhi
and Uttar Pradesh as a conservation zone.

An attempt to minimize air pollution at capital of India and NCR. PM 2.5 particles have reached

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alarming level. As per this order, 10 yrs old vehicles are not allowed to ply.

NGT has issued an order that every household in Delhi to pay environmental compensation
on the basis of polluter pay principle

US and Europe trains have emission standards, India doesnt. NGT tells Railways to ensure
diesel trains dont pollute

NGT is also monitoring the progress of Maili se Nirmal Yamuna Revitalization Project 2017

It has ordered that 5 star hotels, malls etc must have compulsory water harvesting mechanisms

It also suggested user charge on every house ranging from Rs100-500 for sewage on the basis
of the principle of polluter pays

NGT orders allocation of land to DJB for the construction of Sewage Treatment Plants

NGT recently ordered limit on the number of vehicles which will be allowed to go to Rohtang
pass

NET SECURITY PROVIDER


The basic concept is that a net provider of security means a country enhancing mutual security of
themselves and other countries by addressing common security concerns, such as terrorism or maritime
piracy. It also means that India as a military and economic power works more towards mutual
reinforcement of interests, rather than subordinating the interests of others.

NGO ISSUE
Ministry of Home Affairs froze accounts of environmental NGO Greenpeace and directed Ford
Foundation to submit all their funding for MHA clearance.
Arguments in favor of government move

If the

The comparison by the US (ambassador Richard) of FFNGOs with civil society organisations in
the US is misleading, as civil society organisations must have roots in and draw sustenance from
the said society.
It is notable that the NDA government has not put a blanket ban on NGOs or cracked down on
dissent. All that is being checked is the violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act,
2010
Foreign-funded and engineered dissent by certain agencies out to influence the polity and
economy of India. Such activities have a threat to economic growth potential of India.
In 2014, notices sent to 21,493 NGOs registered under the FCRA for failure to submit accounts
were arrogantly ignored by a majority, resulting in their registrations being cancelled.
In India, CBI analysis shows that only 10% of all NGOs file annual returns.
There has also been evidence with the government that they also work in motivated manner for
vested interests
step is based upon concrete evidences that actions of such organisations threaten security or

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sovereignty, then they are welcome.
However, civil society groups make democracy vibrant and governments should also be open to dissent
and criticism which is hallmark of vibrant democracies.

NITI AAYOG National Institute for Transforming India


Finance Minister Planning Commission had become a redundant organisation. It was relevant in a
command economy structure, but not
any longer. India is a diversified
country and its states are in various
phases of economic development
along with their own strengths and
weaknesses. In this context, a one
size fits all approach to economic
planning is obsolete.
Mandate

To work as a think tank,


formulate long term strategy
and promote best practices
for economic and social transformation of India

3 subgroups have been formed

Skill development
Swach Bharat
Rationalization of CSS

Why NITI Aayog

First of all, planning commission has over the years assumed a big extra-constitutional role
which went against the federal structure as well. States were not comfortable with the financial
powers it exercised. Various bodies have in past called its dilution of roles.
Secondly, planning commission was visualized as an enabler of socialist pattern, but things have
changed a lot after 1991. Government planning is no longer a directive one, but an enabler
one.
It was often alleged that planning commission is out of sync with ground realities. About 80% of
total centers assistance to states went through PC determined Centrally Sponsored Schemes.
It also failed at promoting innovations and best practices which our economy needs so badly.

Few of major changes in the new body vis--vis the Planning Commission are

It will have almost negligible financial powers

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Secondly, it will be based on cooperative federalism states will have greater say in policy
making on equal basis, earlier states had to que up outside Planning Commission to make their
case and had only namesake presence in form of NDC
Now approach is bottom up, center also plans to bring down CSS to mere 10 from around 60
Its job will be to draw long term policy framework, promote innovation in policy, serve as a
think tank and learn best practices from outside as well
The website of the Aayog has a unique feature of NITI Blogs, which incorporates articles, field
reports, work in progress, and opinions by NITI officials.

Planning Commission vs Niti Aayog

Financial Powers
Approach
Status of states
Permanent
members
Participation
Context
Part time members
Some challenges

Planning Commission
Yes, enormous. To allocate funds
Top down
Receivers
More, 8

NITI Aayog
Very little, focus on policy making
Bottom up, collaborative
On equal footing, part of governing
council
Less, just 2, leaner organisation

Relatively closed
Commanding height
No provision

NITI Blog
LPG era, government as enabler only
Yes, as per need on rotational basis

State politics is much parochial and polarized in comparison to national politics. State
governments are much more vulnerable to falling prey to populism. For some states fiscal
management is something alien and they rampantly distribute laptops, mobile phones and
other freebies.
Though it calls for cooperative federalism, eliciting cooperation of states will be challenging.
Few months back 2nd meet of Governance Council was held and many Non- NDA ruled states
chose to stay away.
NITI Aayog as of now too lacks internal subject expertise and domain specialists to fulfill its role
of a think tank. It relies on external expertise which will be recruited as and when needed, as
recently Expert Group of domain specialists was constituted for Atal Innovation Mission.
Time and again central schemes are still being launched like Swacchh Bharat Mission, PM Jan
Dhan Yojna and Smart City project. This all doesnt fit well with cooperative federalism.
Government has so far not made clear that whether Five Year Plans will be continued or not.
Five Year Plans are reminiscent of Planning Commissions centralized planning.

NJAC and OTHER JUDICIAL REFORMS


JUDICIAL ACCOUNTABILITY and STEPS TOWARDS JUDICIAL REFORMS
I.

Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill 2010 (now lapsed) The Judicial Standards and
Accountability Bill providing for a mechanism to deal with complaints of corruption,

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misbehavior etc against judges of High Courts and the Supreme Court. At present, there is no
legal mechanism for dealing with complaints against judges of HC and SC for misbehavior or
incapacity and there only some in-house mechanisms. The Bill sets judicial standards and makes
judges accountable for their lapses and mandates judges of the High Courts and the Supreme
Court to declare their assets and liabilities, including those of their spouses and dependents and
to file an annual return in this regard.
II.

Union Cabinet approved an ambitious program National Mission for Justice Delivery and
Judicial Reforms. It aims at bringing down the average time per case from the current 15 years
to 3 years in 5 years along, accomplishing it with the 12th 5 years plan. The various components
will include increasing number of courts, increasing number of working hours, working of courts
in shifts. Other measures will include increased use of the Lok Adalats.

NJAC
Constitutional Provision Article 124(2) says apex court judges shall be appointed by the President
after consultation with the CJI, and such judges of the Supreme Court as he deems necessary.
History

Relations with judiciary were smooth till 1967s Golaknath Case in which Parliament was
deprived of its powers of amending constitution in case of FRs.

Composition of NJAC CJI + 2 SC Judges + Law Min + 2 Eminent Persons nominated by a group
consisting of PM + LoP + CJI; with provision of 2 member Veto
For NJAC

In no country in the world, judiciary has such a stranglehold over appointment of the judges
In the October 6 Judgment, Justice Chelemaswar said that, judicial primacy (in judicial
appointments) is not part of basic structure
Chelemaswar also said that primacy of judiciary is not the only way of retaining independence of
judiciary
By saying that primacy of judiciary is part of basic structure negates various other parts of basic
structure like parliamentarian supremacy, democracy and so on
Chelemaswar also argued that the current system is opaque and it is impossible for even judges
of SC to know about the selection mechanism and it has resulted in gross unaccountability and
loss of public faith
Chelemaswar said, Collegium has become a euphamism for nepotism
According to Chelemaswar, it as an opportunity to reform the judiciary which was lost. Justice J S
Verma who was man behind the 1993 judgment which established Collegium system also was of
view that the system has failed its mandate and needed a rethink.
ARC has also recommended constitution of NJAC

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Executive is involved in appointment of many a constitutional officials CEC, UPSC Members


and most of them have functioned exceptionally well. Involvement of executive doesnt mean
automatically means partiality.
No other democratic country in the world has judges appointing judges
Were judges appointed before 1993 less competent or less independent?
Even the Justice J S Verma who wrote the majority judgment of 1993 expressed his
disappointment with the working of the system

Against NJAC

Judiciary also argues that if current system was working perfectly fine, why new system?
Does it really addresses the weaknesses associated with the current system like wider
representation, transparency, objective approach
Veto power would perpetuate the culture of trade-offs and sycophancy
There is also fear in judiciary, that the bill might hamper the independence
Further, the present bill also doesnt provide for any open selection process like advertisement
of the post/vacancies in judiciary as it is done in Britain and hence, it is also likely to be beset
with the issue of the transparency
There is no participation of states in the proposed appointment process.

Alternative

Eminent person could be defined more clearly


Instead of two member veto, a consensus oriented approach
Open the appointment process to transparency
There should be open advertisement for recruitment of judges and selection boy should list out
reasons for selection and rejection of candidates
Institute All India Judicial Service so that it provides a wider talent pool for higher judiciary
and is also regulated by similar conduct and service rules like other AIS

SC quashed the constitutional amendment

After 35 years that courts have quashed a constitutional amendment


Courts held that primacy of judiciary in appointment is part of basic structure
Prime argument in the judgment was that the new mechanism will impinge upon the
independence of the judiciary
The decision is also viewed as a setback to the sovereignty of parliament In Lok Sabha, the bill
was passed with total consensus with not even a single party out of 26 dissenting

However, the judgments logic of judiciary having the sole prudence doesnt go down well and it also
painted whole political class with a single negative brush which is empirically not true. The basic
question was here to reform and open up judiciary, but the opposite happened. The SC too realized this
situation when 2 of the judges in this judgment also admit that the system of Collegium is not working

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perfectly. While independence of judiciary as a part of basic structure is undeniable, but primacy of
judiciary is.
Judicial Appointment System Elsewhere
Britain

Britain has NJAC since last couple of years and its NJAC is much more transparent and open in
working and the process even sees involvement of common public
It is more broad based and has 15 members
Search more

USA

President nominates members (president relies on many sources to recommend appropriate


nominees for judicial posts. Recommendations often come from the Department of Justice, the
Federal Bureau of Investigation, members of Congress, sitting judges and justices, and the
American Bar Association. A remarkably high percentage of a president's appointees belong to
the president's political party.)
Senate confirms the judges by majority

NORTH EAST
M.P. Bezbaruah Committee recommendations
The Ministry accepted recommendations made by the Committee with regard to immediate measures,
including:

Amending the Indian Penal Code, 1860 to insert provisions criminalising: Promoting or using
criminal violence against members of a race on grounds of their race or place of origin or Words
or actions intended to insult members of a particular race. (this recommendation has been
accepted and now there is an upto 5 year sentence for racial slurs)
Setting up a panel of lawyers by the Delhi Legal Service Authority for providing legal assistance
to people from the North East;
Education related measures, like a scholarship for students from the North East and
Sports related measures, like identifying talented sports persons from the North East and
arranging for their training.

The Delhi Government will also be providing compensation and monetary assistance to
the NE people under Delhi Victim Compensation Scheme 2011.
State Bhawans of concerned NE States have also agreed to play active roles to assist the
persons in distress.
Delhi police will recruit 20 police personnel, (10 male 10 female) each from North
East States.

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Other initiatives

Under the Ishan Uday scheme, 10,000 scholarships of Rs. 3,500 to Rs. 5,000 per month will be
granted for undergraduates from 2014-15.
Under the Ishan Vikas scheme, select students will be taken to the IITs, the NITs and other
engineering institutes for exposure/internship
Universities had been advised to include in their curriculum the history of the northeast,
including participation of community members in the freedom movement.
The Centre recently announced its "Make in Northeast" initiative in an expansion of the scope
of Prime Minister's "Make in India" campaign. The initiative has been taken to inspire
countrymen to not just "Look East" but also "Act East".
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the entire Northeast region has a Natural Economic Zone
(NEZ)
He also described the Northeast region as Indias capital of organic agriculture and said 6 new
agriculture colleges would set up in the region.

NUCLEAR LIABILITY LAW, 2010


Why the Act?

India will produce 25 percent of its electricity from nuclear power plants by 2050
Union Carbide Accident
Requirement of 123 Deal
Fukushima Accident
The geographical scope of damage caused by a nuclear accident may not be confined to national
boundaries and it may have a trans-boundary effects.

Main Features and Provisions

This is one of the last steps needed to activate the 2008 Indo-U.S. civilian nuclear agreement
it is necessary to introduce a liability bill which would help the American private companies in
getting insurance cover in their home state.
The Act made amendments in the Atomic Energy Act 1962 allowing private investment
It aims to provide prompt compensation
Liability is not unlimited shared between operator and government combined capped at $
300 million (for Fukushima disaster alone, the liability claimed were $200 billion 66 times
more)
Further, affected people cannot directly sue the supplier, only operator (NPCIL) can as they
alone have the right to recourse
This liability amount cap is 23 times lower than the similar cap in USA
As India enters into International Convention on Nuclear liability (The Convention on
Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage of 1997), it cannot water down the liability
provisions and being a party it can also have help in case damages exceed $300 million. (India

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not being party to the Vienna or the Paris Conventions signed the CSC on 29 October 2010 on the
basis of its national law namely the CLND Act.)
Damages can be claimed only within 20 years
No civil courts except high court and supreme court ( Under article 226,227 ) shall have
Jurisdiction to entertain any proceeding of compensation Zonal Commissioner

Controversy

Civil society groups said, government buckled up under USA pressure where similar liability
law has 23 times more compensation
Secondly, the supplier of the equipment is virtually excluded giving benefit to foreign players
at the cost of Indian people and their money in case of accident
Bar on victims to sue the suppliers
Period of 1o years for suing is considered short for nuclear disasters
Suppliers like GE, Russia on the other hand argue that why they shall be held liable after
supplying the equipments (government recently said that law will not dilute this provision, but
the suppliers will be de facto kept out)
Barring of civil courts from hearings is also disputed, in USA, Courts hear the liability matters and
not the Commissions set by government

ONLINE RETAIL
Flipkart Big Billion Day sales marked a landmark in Indian e-commerce sector with the company
generating intra-day sales of more than 100 mn dollars in Gross Merchandise Value (GMV).
Issues

Predatory prices
Tax issues they dont pay taxes like VAT saying that since they are not owners
Misguided pricings
Warranties not covered by white goods cos. And the products are often like sold in grey market

ORDINANCE POWER
In 1986, the Supreme Court judgment in D.C. Wadhwa versus State of Bihar declared that

It was the constitutional duty of the public to approach the court against re-promulgation of
ordinances in a massive scale as a routine measure.
The apex court held the power to promulgate an ordinance is essentially a power to be used to
meet an extraordinary situation and cannot be allowed to be perverted to serve political ends.

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Most democracies including Britain, the United States of America, Australia and Canada do not have
provisions similar to that of Ordinances in the Indian Constitution. The reason for an absence of such a
provision is because legislatures in these countries meet year long.
Some Members of the Constituent Assembly emphasized that the Ordinance making power of the
President was extraordinary and issuing of Ordinances could be interpreted as against constitutional
morality.
Ordinance route is generally viewed as hasty and with faults.
Laws made outside the parliament do not reflect the voice of the majority of the population.

PANCHAYATS and URBAN LBs


RAJASTHAN PRI AMENDMENT
Census 2001 records that only 18 per cent of the States population has studied beyond class five.
Rajasthan also has overall literacy rate below national average and for women and other weaker
sections, it is worse female literacy at just 45% in 2011.
Govt stand

It will help in bringing better qualified people in PRIs which currently struggle with poor human
resource capacities
Often illiterate representatives fall prey to corruption as official work require a lot of
documentation
Representatives of PRIs are in leadership positions and many look towards them with
aspirational values
Chavi Rajawat first MBA Sarpanch of India

Both the Supreme Court and the High Court of Rajasthan refused to stay the ordinance. But a similar
move by Haryana government was stayed in Punjab and Haryana HC.
Other states with restrictions

Odisha requires candidates to have the ability to read and write Oriya.
Candidates with more than two children are disqualified in Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya
Pradesh, Odisha and Maharashtra.
Gujarat compulsory voting
A number of countries around the world make it mandatory for citizens to vote. For example,
Australia mandates compulsory voting at the national level. The penalty for violation includes an
explanation for not voting and a fine. As a result, there is consistent above 90% voting there

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However, these moves are criticised as legislators are not required to have any qualifications,
but the people from rural areas are expected to have such qualification. Curtail their basic
rights. In some tribal areas, literacy rate for women is merely 25% and such moves will
discriminate against women who will be de facto excluded from the democratic process of
elections.
MUNICIPAL BONDS and ULBs
The Bangalore Municipal Corporation was the first municipal corporation to issue a municipal bond of
Rs.125 crore with a State guarantee in 1997.
Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) issued the first municipal bonds in the country without State
government guarantee for financing infrastructure projects in the city. AMC raised Rs.100 crore through
its public issue.
Objectives:

To help in the Governments smart cities programme.


To help channelize household savings and provide a new investment avenue.

PDS and ISSUES


Shanta Kumar the ex-CM of Himachal Pradesh, Ex-Union minister for Consumer High Level
Committee The government set up a High Level Committee (HLC) chaired by Shanta Kumar in August
2014 to restructure, reorient and reform the Food Corporation of India (FCI).
Procurement/FCI related issues and recommendations

FCI has not been fulfilling its three key objectives in recent years:
o Providing price support to farmers, According to the HLC, failure to meet the objective of
providing price support is shown by the fact that in 2012-13 only six per cent of
agricultural households sold any food grains to procurement agencies
o Delivering food through the PDS, and failure on the PDS front is attested by massive
leakages from the system.
o Reducing volatility of food prices (and addressing food security) through public
stockholding.
Food grains rotting in FCI warehouses highlight the failure of the system of public stockholding.
Since storage of food grains is costly, it represents a waste of resources that could have been
used elsewhere and in more productive ways.

HLC recommends that FCI hand over all procurement operations of wheat, paddy and rice to
states that have gained sufficient experience in this regard and have created reasonable
infrastructure for procurement. These states are Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana,
Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Punjab (in alphabetical order). FCI will accept only the surplus

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(after deducting the needs of the states under NFSA) from these state governments.
It also recommended that irrational bonus announcements should be discouraged
Quality check at the time of procurements
Uniform levy fees of 3% (in contrast to states like Punjab which levy at 15%)
To ensure that farmers also gain. It has been suggested that farmers should get money from
banks on production of warehouse receipts 80% of their produce at MSP price and they be
allowed to sell at suitable time. This will bring back the private sector, reduce massively the costs
of storage to the government, and be more compatible with a market economy.
FCI shall transform itself into an agency for innovations in food management

MSP related issues and recommendations

GoI needs to revisit its MSP policy. Currently, MSPs are announced for 23 commodities, but
effectively price support operates primarily in wheat and rice and that too in selected states.
This creates highly skewed incentive structures in favour of wheat and rice. While country is
short of pulses and oilseeds (edible oils), their prices often go below MSP without any effective
price support.

PDS and Food Security related issues

HLC recommends that GoI have a second look at NFSA, its commitments and implementation.
Given that leakages in PDS range from 40 to 50 percent, and in some states go as high as 60 to
70 percent
GoI should defer implementation of NFSA in states that have not done end to end
computerization; have not put the list of beneficiaries online for anyone to verify, and have not
set up vigilance committees to check pilferage from PDS.
67% coverage should be relooked at and should be downwardly revised to 40% and quota of
BPL households should be increased to 7 kg
Other households other than BPL should be given food grains at 50% of MSP and the money
saved should be invested in advancement of agriculture.
Ration of 6 month should be given together, it will save handling costs to government and also
hassles from beneficiary side. Consumers can be given well designed bins at highly subsidized
rates to keep the rations safely in their homes.
HLC recommends gradual introduction of cash transfers in PDS. Cash transfers can be indexed
with overall price level to protect the amount of real income transfers, given in the name of lady
of the house, and routed through Prime Minister's Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) and dovetailing
Aadhaar and Unique Identification (UID) number.
It is estimated that this will reduce the foodgrain requirement under TPDS from 61.4 million
tonnes to about 40 million tonnes.
It will save around Rs 30,000 crore per year in leakages and reduced requirement of food under
PDS.

On stock movement related issue

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Better mechanization is needed in all silos as well as conventional storages.


FCI should outsource its stocking operations to various agencies such as Central Warehousing
Corporation, State Warehousing Corporation, Private Sector
Movement of grains needs to be gradually containerized which will help reduce transit losses,
and have faster turn-around-time by having more mechanized facilities at railway sidings.

Buffer Stocking Operations

Currently there is excess buffer stock leading to waste of money


The underlying reasons for this situation are many, like export bans
Open ended procurement with distortions also contribute to excess buffer stock (through
bonuses and high statutory levies)

Labour Related Issues

Current worker cost is high and needs to be fixed.


Departmental labour be given option of voluntary retirement

Direct subsidy to farmers

Urea prices are administered at a very low level compared to prices of DAP and MOP, creating
highly imbalanced use of N, P and K.
Farmers be given direct cash subsidy (of about Rs 7000/ha) and fertilizer sector can then be
deregulated.
This would help plug diversion of urea to non-agricultural uses as well as to neighboring
countries, and help raise the efficiency of fertilizer use.
This type of direct cash subsidy to farmers will go a long way to help those who take loans from
money lenders at exorbitant interest rates to buy fertilizers or other inputs

HLC recommends total end to end computerization of the entire food management system, starting
from procurement from farmers, to stocking, movement and finally distribution through TPDS. It can be
done on real time basis, and some states have done a commendable job on computerizing the
procurement operations. But its dovetailing with movement and distribution in TPDS has been a weak
link, and that is where much of the diversions take place.
The new face of FCI will be akin to an agency for innovations in Food Management System with a
primary focus to create competition in every segment of foodgrain supply chain, from procurement to
stocking to movement and finally distribution in TPDS, so that overall costs of the system are
substantially reduced, leakages plugged, and it serves larger number of farmers and consumers.
Analysis

Critics argue that if the recommendations of the committee are being accepted by the
government, it will affects the food security for millions of disadvantage peoples.

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POLLUTION
PM2.5 level in Delhi 10 times more than WHO limits of 25
Lower the particulate size, higher the toxicity. Particles less than 10 micrometers in diameter (PM10)
pose a health concern.
Current situation

Particulate matter level shot up to 360 micro gram per cubic meter.
Diesel cars are now more than 50% and they emit 4-7 times emissions
There are non-vehicular sources as well burning of fields by farmers
It is estimated that average Delhiite lose 3.3 years of his life due to pollution
National Cancer Institute has concluded that air pollution in Delhi leads to irreversible damage
to the lungs of the Children

A slew of directions were issued by SC after a PIL was filed in 1995.


Steps taken

First Air Quality Index 6 categories has been formulated for 10 cities by CPCB
Carbon intensive fuels will now attract more duty
NGT bans stubble burning in neighboring states of Delhi farmers to be fined upto Rs 15,000

Possible Solutions

Decentralize the growth We have to answer the basic question that why a person living in
Chandani Chowk have to travel to Gurgaon or Noida. We have to minimize this daily cross travel
across the city and this can happen by providing housing and other facilities at or near the place
of work.
Staggered timing for offices so that there is less rush on roads and hence less smoke
PURA and Rurban Missions should be strengthened
However, even smaller cities are also not far behind. So, it points out that density and numbers
are not the only issue. For example Ludhiana is also one of the most polluted cities. Apart
from preventive measures like better vehicles, non-renewable energy use promotion, better
fuels etc, affirmative actions like massive promotion of trees and plants etc needs to be
done.
Amend Environment Protection Act 1986 to impose stringent penalties
Apart from curbing the older vehicles, fuel standards should be improved.
Cities like Los Angeles have positions like Chief Sustainability Officer whose job is to ensure
a healthy environment for the city
Delhi Government is considering to levy congestion tax on the vehicles entering Delhi
Solid waste management in existing cities

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o

Over 1 lakh metric tonne solid waste generated everyday in Indian cities. Quantity
sufficient to generate ~450MW electricity and sufficient compost fertilizer to reduce
chemical fertilizer usage by 30%.
o Municipal waste can be converted to fuel, fertilizer and water.
Integrated water management and treatment
o Over 35,000 million liter sewage generated every day sufficient to irrigate >1 lakh ht.
crops.
Storm water, sewage water and industrial waste should be taken in separate pipes

Best Practices Elsewhere

Diesel cars sold in the US and Japan are equipped with much more advanced pollution
controls, such as particle filters, and are as clean as their petrol-fueled counterparts. But India
stopped vehicle emissions and fuel-quality standards at the Euro IV equivalent.
Beijing has put in place an aggressive action plan with 22 specific measures directed at lowering
motor vehicle emissions. Mandated annual checks of all vehicles on the road, restricted the
types of vehicles allowed to be used in the heart of the city during the workday to only the
cleanest and matched the lowest Sulphur fuels as anywhere in the world. In addition, bus and
rail transit systems will be expanded substantially, and will require one million older vehicles
to be scrapped by 2017. Another key element of the Beijing programme has been the
prohibition of sales of diesel cars without particle filters.
Government vehicles are taken off roads in Beijing when pollution reaches a certain level
In Paris and Beijing, vehicles with alternative numbers even and odd are allowed to ply on
different days.
Gurgaons No car Tuesdays
In Paris, to promote public transport, free Bus Ride is offered on Sundays
SC slapped charges of Rs 700-1300 on the vehicles entering Delhi

POVERTY and ESTIMATIONS


Recently, planning commission accepted the estimates of poverty figures as given by Tendulkar Report,
2009. It pegs number of poor in India at around 37%. The Tendulkar Committee had suggested that
poverty be estimated on the basis of consumption based on the cost of living index instead of caloric
intake. It said that the basket of goods should also include services such as health and education. So, it
has suggested a change in the consumption basket of poor with changing economic conditions. Thus,
the new poverty line, as suggested by the Tendulkar Committee, is different for rich and poor States, and
for rural and urban areas within a State. Government has accepted the suggestions of the Tendulkar
Committee.
Rangrajan Panel, appointed by Planning Commission, recommended poverty line at 29% in 2014. It
famously gave the formula according to which those who spend Rs 47 per day in cities and Rs 32 in
villages would not be poor. It uses 7 parameters (like housing, literacy, land, age-groups etc and not

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only need for food). It has based its figures on consumption expenditure criteria like Tendulkar
committee. The poverty line proposed by the Rangarajan Committee has three components

Food poverty line based on the average requirements of calories, fat and protein.

Normative requirements of basic non-food expenses of clothing, housing, mobility and


education based on median fractile values

Observed other non-food expenses of the fractile classes that meet the nutrition

requirements.
The credit goes to Rangarajan group for delinking poverty estimation from fixed consumption level and
replacing absolute poverty line with relative poverty line.
Its recommendation of linking welfare schemes to particular deprivations rather than poverty line is
also commendable.
For food expenditure, the panel computed the average requirements of calories, proteins and fats on
the norms set by the Indian Council for Medical Research in 2010. Thus, it has tried to widen the ambit
of basic needs away from just hunger needs as was done by many earlier figures.

The Rangarajan Expert Committee on poverty measurement has several positive features such
as the return to the calorie norm, including non-food requirements (such as clothing, rent,
conveyance and education) to a basket of household expenditure and the use of unit values
from household expenditure data instead of the conventional aggregate price indices used
previously. It has also used different methodology wherein a household is considered poor if it is
unable to save.

Rangarajan recommends that at any given point of time, bottom 35% rural population always be
considered poor and bottom 25% urban population always be considered poor

On criticism of this poverty line, Rangarajan argued that if the whole family expenses are
considered, then as per this measure it amounts to more than Rs 7,000 in urban areas and
hence not too low as critics have argued. The panel further defended that if measured in terms
of purchasing power parity, the line is above the World Bank defined poverty line of $2.

He had given combined poverty line for a family of five members- Rs.7035 (Urban), which is a
plausible number. After all, if you live in a family of five, then some costs will get reduced per
head (e.g. rent, lightbill, LPG etc.) Further, apart from the private consumption expenditure,
people also benefit from public expenditure on health, education and other facilities.
Apart from the criticism that it has set a conservative line, it is also criticized for not moving
away from consumption criteria to a wider criteria of multi-dimensional deprivation. In refusing
to widen the definition of poverty to include multi-dimensional poverty, the Committee missed
the opportunity to make a real contribution by moving from enumeration to identification and
targeting.

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Unlike the earlier calorie based measures (which was more of a Starvation Line than a Poverty Line), the
new definition uses a concept of Deprivation Parameters. It uses 7 parameters. (like housing, literacy,
land, age-groups etc and not only need for food).
TENDULKAR
Monthly per CAPITA Expenditure.
Rs 33 per day per person
only calorific value in Expenditure
Only counts Expenditure on food, health,
education, clothing.

RANGARAJAN
Monthly Expenditure of FAMILY OF FIVE.
Rs 47 per day per person
Calorie +Protein + fat.
food + nonfood items such as education,
healthcare, clothing, transport (conveyance),
rent. + non-food items that meet nutritional
requirements.

PPP
PPP HYBRID ANNUITY MODEL
The government is looking at awarding 8,500 km of road development projects in the current financial
year, nearly half of which would be executed under the new hybrid annuity model.
Under the existing public private partnership model called build-operate-transfer, the developer
absorbs most of the risksfinancial, operations and maintenance and revenue. Developers have shied
away from the BOT (build operate and transfer) model due to the slowdown in the economy, which not
only hampered fund-raising, but also hit toll collection, due to lower traffic flow. The poor cash flows
burdened existing projects ability to service debt.
Features

The new hybrid model is a mix of the EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) and the
BOT models.

Assured return: This assured return frees the concessionaires dependency on the toll collected
on the highway. The government shoulders the responsibility of revenue collection.

Further, the government will pay 40 per cent of the project cost to the concessionaire during the
construction phase in five equal instalments of 8 per cent each.

Land: The government will provide 90 per cent of land and the related environment and forest
clearance (earlier 80 per cent).

Operation and Maintenance: The balance of 60 per cent needs to come from the
concessionaire.

Operation and maintenance of the toll road also rests with the concessionaire.
Other alternatives to current PPP (BOT) models

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Swiss Challenge System (SCS): The SCS is a bidding process designed to enlist private sector
initiatives in core sector projects. As per this norm, private investors can conceptualize and offer
for evaluation of a project to the government.
Exit Policy to Release Funds: The CCEA approved an exit policy permitting developers to exit
highway projects two years after completion of construction to release locked-in equity as
potential capital for future projects
Government To Government Funding: The ministry is also examining a proposal to liberalize
norms and allow government-to-government funding to mobilizing additional resources for road
development programmes.

PULSES
Current Situation

India imports 20-25% of pulses requirement


Retail Prices in domestic market hover around Rs 150 despite weak commodity prices globally
Pulses output remained almost stagnant for a period of 1955-2005
Pulses in India are grown on about 25 mha of land, largely rain-fed, with only 16 % under
irrigation.
Production hovers between 18-20 MMT.
Areas which were used for pulses, were diverted to other crops after availability of irrigation
facilities
Pulses need much less water and are nitrogen fixing, so they do not need much chemical
fertilizer.
Farmers prefer to grow cereals over pulses because pulses are among the least productive of
all crops the yields are on average 760 kg per hectare, compared to 2,400 kg per hectare for
cereals, and 1,100 kg per hectare for oilseeds.
Despite years of trying, no amount of R&D has increased the yield of pulses significantly, unlike
cereals which saw a huge increase in productivity due to technological advances.

What government has done?

Government has established a Rs 500 Crore Price Stabilization Fund to stabilize the price of
essential commodities like Onion, Potato and Pulses by subsidizing the handling and milling of
pulses
The United Nations general assembly has voted to declare 2016 as the International Year of
Pulses
Government has this year increased the MSP for pulses by Rs 200 which is a record increase,
but that still doesnt make the production of pulses an attractive proposition
Accelerated Pulses Production Program is also in place
Banned exports and future trading of pulses and has also allowed imports of pulses at zero duty

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Center has started buying directly from farmers


Has invoked provisions of Essential Commodities Act to prevent hoarding of the pulses

What government should do?

Instead of depending on imports, a short term strategy, government should encourage local
production
Secondly, MSP for pulses should be immediately increased to lucrative level so that area under
production is increased. This should be supplemented by actual government procurement as
well
MSP for wheat and paddy in Haryana and Punjab should be discontinued for time being as
these are the places which have seen change in cropping pattern
Extend National food security mission to include pulses with further aggressive targets and
funding to incentivize pulses production
Promote irrigation in the pulse growing areas with innovative ways like watershed
development.
Developing culture of mix farming and crop rotation to enhance production of pulses as well as
health of soil
MSP should be announced before the start of the sowing season and not after sowing to
incentivize farmers
Better management of supply chain
Buffer stocks to check price volatility
Use alternatives like Soya flour which has higher protein content than most of the pulses

Challenges

Low productivity of pulses which creates less incentives for farmers to grow pulses
Lack of irrigation in pulses growing areas which are mostly dry or semi arid regions and makes
crop vulnerable to failure

RAILWAY
Steps taken to improve rail transport

Proposal for high speed railways and bullet trains


Dedicated freight corridors Eastern Freight Corridor (Dunkini (WB)Ludhiana Dedicated
Corridor) and Western Freight Corridor (DelhiMumbai Dedicated Corridor) which is funded by
Japan partially as a part of Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor.
Government has announced 100% FDI in railways sector
According to 12th plan it has been planned to have a complete switchover to new manufacture
of only LHB design coaches
Government to outsource cleaning work in 50 major rail stations
Develop Adarsh Stations

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Government has also promoted private participation in railways. New railways projects will be
developed in PPP mode
The Minister of Railways has now constituted the Kayakulp Council and has appointed Shri
Ratan Tata to head this Council.
Railway Budget 2015

This budget focused on certain small, but basic things which enhance travel experience like
online booking of the wheelchair, online booking of food, Wi-Fi, Surveillance Camera for women
safety, bio-toilets,
There is no increase in passenger rail fares.
Rs. 8.5 lakh crore will be invested in Railways in next 5 years.
'Operation 5 mins', wherein passengers travelling unreserved can purchase a ticket in 5
minutes.
Bio toilets and airplane-type vacuum toilets in trains.
Surveillance cameras in select coaches and ladies compartments for women's safety without
compromising on privacy.
Speed on nine railway corridors to go up to 200 km per hour.
Four Railway Research Centres to start in four universities.

How to improve railways

Basic comfort and safety should be immediately improved Introduce LHB (Linke Hoffman
Bushes) coaches, green toilets, sanitation inside trains and at the platforms
PPP railway has huge space and a part of it can be utilized for project development
o Allow private participation Gurgaon Rapid Metro stations are maintained by the private
entities
Separate freight from commuter routes Freight once had dominant share, but now declined
attention should be paid to this area to improve profitability
o It will also help in reducing the delays of trains and decongest the existing routes
o Two projects going on eastern freight corridor and western freight corridor
Punctuality should be improved with the use of technology it will have more confidence
among people many people prefer long route travel by bus because railways are not punctual
Rail-finances are in deep trouble- we are caught in vicious cycle of low profit= poor services. Rail
minister says we need private capital, not privatization

Recent News

Gatiman Express 1st semi high speed train (160 kmph) between Delhi and Agra
Anil Kakodkar Committee on railway safety
o Elimination of level crossings
o Upgrading of signaling system
o Installation of protection warning system.
Bibek Debroy (Niti Aayog Member) Panel Report on Restructuring Indian Railways

Nitin Sangwan www.meandupsc.blogspot.in


o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o

Have an independent Regulator (for fair fixation, freight fixation, setting standards and
other things like dispute resolution)
Scrap Rail Budget
Promote private participation in railways (not privatization) run trains etc
Provide room for other players as well apart form Indian Railwas
Restructure railway board reduce number of members
Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation should be made independent body so that
there is no discrimination between private players and Indian railways.
Social subsidy should be borne by the central government and should not be a part of
railways operational costs
Other suggestions include accounting system reforms, uniform and transparent
recruitment

RBI
Inflation targets

Government has concluded a Monetary Policy Framework Agreement with RBI and as per it,
inflation will be targeted below 6 per cent
o
From now onwards, RBI will use CPI as benchmark instead of WPI

Debt Management Authority Separation


Government took two decisions recently,

The first was taking away the management of the domestic debt of the Government from the
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and entrusting it to an independent Public Debt Management
Agency (PDMA).
Govt as a lender always want interest rates to RBI as a watchdog on inflation, would like to
be low
keep interest rates high
The second was moving the regulation of government securities from the RBI to the Securities
and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

THE NEW MONETARY POLICY FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT


The Centre and the Reserve Bank of India signed an agreement under which the central bank
will priorities controlling price rise (targeted at 6%) above the other objectives of the monetary
policy interest rates and the foreign exchange rate. There are two competing proposals to
establish a monetary policy committee, one from an external panel appointed by the Finance
Ministry and another from the RBI. However, bank has reservations over such committee as it
might hamper its independence in case the body is made on the lines of government

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recommendations. Decision to create a monetary policy framework would raise the credibility
of the government and the central bank's policy making. Greater accountability -The central
bank will be more accountable now if it fails to meet the pre-set inflation targets. RBI will
explain the reasons for particular policy rates.
PRIORITY SECTOR LENDING
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has widened the scope of priority sector lending. The following
categories have been included in its ambit.

Sanitation
Health care and drinking water facilities
Renewable energy

Currently, domestic banks, both the public and private sectors have to lend 40 % of their net
bank credit (NBC), to the priority sector as defined by RBI, foreign banks have to lend 32% of
their NBC to the priority sector. Domestic banks have to lend 18 % of NBC to agriculture and 10
% of the NBC has to be to the weaker section. However, foreign banks have to lend 10 % of NBC
to the small-scale industries and 12 % of their NBC as export credit.
MONETARY POLICY COMMITTEE
A bill is pending, but it is likely to be a six member body, with RBI predominance. The
government and the RBI signed a Monetary Policy Framework Agreement earlier this year
formally mandating the central bank to adopt flexible inflation targeting. Under the present
system, the RBI governor is practically the sole decision-maker as far as interest rates are
concerned, although advice from the government is heeded. Earlier, monetary policy framework
was sole in the hand of governor, but now committee will decide with a casting vote provision
for RBI governor.

RELIGIOUS CONVERSIONS
It is not merely a religious issue, but a soio-political issue. Often conversions are undertaken by the
downtrodden members of the societies which often feel suffocated under the disabilities imposed on
them.
Article 25(1) of the Constitution says all persons, not just Indian citizens, are equally entitled to the
freedom of conscience and the right to profess, practise and propagate religion freely. However, right
to propagate is different from right to convert as rights enjoined upon by the constitution are individual
in nature and hence cannot be interpreted as involving the interests of others.
Conversions are a historical phenomenon, but in the recent times, the phenomenon has been hijacked by
the radicals and political mileage seekers. Further, conversion is also being used as a tool to extract
material gains from member community.

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Prime argument against an anti-conversion legislation is that it may even stifle voluntary conversions.
Secondly, religion is a matter of personal faith and law should not dictate what faith one has to follow.
Currently, five states Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Himachal Pradesh have
anti- conversion laws in place to prevent forced conversions. The laws do not ban conversions so long as
they are voluntary. In Himachal Pradesh, a person must notify the magistrate 30 days in advance that
they intend to do so.
A five-judge Bench of the Supreme Court in 1977 has upheld the validity of individual States to enact
Freedom of Religion laws to ensure public order. SC held that right to propagate does not include the
right to convert and therefore upheld the constitutional validity of the laws enacted by Madhya Pradesh
and Orissa legislatures prohibiting conversion by force, fraud or allurement.

RESERVATION
The Constitutional Provisions for reservation for SCs/STs and other Backward classes in services (Art. 16
and 335). Though Article 14 provides for Right to Equality, it also provides for positive discrimination for
weaker sections. Social Justice is key element of our constitution preamble and calls for concerted
efforts for upliftment of deprived sections.
Article 16 of the constitution provides for equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to
employment. Though constitution mentions class and not caste in backward class, SC has clarified
that caste be taken as a class as well. Further, the constitution adopts the concept of "like should be
treated alike" as the basis of equality. Thus, it is very clear that the constitution guarantees special
provisions to be made for the betterment of special classes of citizens.
Reservation for SCs/STs Clause 4 of article 15 is the fountain head of all provisions regarding
compensatory discrimination for SCs/STs. This clause was added in the first amendment to the
constitution in 1951 after the SC judgment in the case of Champakam Dorairajan vs State of Madras AIR
1951. It says thus, "Nothing in this article or in article 29(2) shall prevent the state from making any
provisions for the advancement of any socially and economically backward classes of citizens or for
Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes." This clause started the era of reservations in India.
Art. 16(4): This clause allows the state to reserve vacancies in public service for any backward classes of
the state that are not adequately represented in the public services
Art. 16 (4A): This allows the state to implement reservation in the matter of promotion for SCs and STs.
Art. 19(5): It allows the state to impose restriction on freedom of movement or of residence in the
benefit of Scheduled Tribes.
Art. 40: Provides reservation in 1/3 seats in Panchayats to SC/ST.
Art. 330/332: Allows reservation of seats for SC/ST in the parliament as well as in state legislatures.

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Art. 335: Allows relaxation in qualifying marks for admission in educational institutes or promotions for
SCs/STs.
Art. 338/338A/339: Establishes a National Commission of SCs and STs.
In the case of Balaji vs State of Mysore AIR 1963, the SC held that reservation cannot be more than 50%.
Further, that art. 15(4) talks about backward classes and not backward castes thus caste is not the only
criterion for backwardness and other criteria must also be considered.
Recent News

Gujarat government announced Rs 1,000 crore financial assistance package for low income and
meritorious students
Rajasthan had announced 14% reservation in employment and education for candidates from
non-reserved classes belonging to poor financial backgrounds.

RTI 10th Anniversary


In the Raj Narain Singh Case in 1970s, Allahbad High Court made an observation that RTI is a part of
Article 19 (1)
RTI traces its origin from Jan Sunwais launched by MKSS in Pali district of Rajasthan with the slogan
Hamara Paisa, Humara Hisab in 1994. It saw enactment of RTI 10 years later.
Cases like Aditya Bandopadhyay vs CBSE (in which Calcutta HC ruled that students have a right to see
answer sheets) have further strengthened RTI
RTI led to enactment of a lot of other rights based law and even embedded transparency and
accountability in them.
It has made every citizen and auditor and an investigator.
Current status

60 lakh applications are filed every year.


More than 45 RTI activists have been killed so far
Scams like 2-G, Commonwealth and Coal scam exposed by it
Current pendency of cases is more than 25,000 plus with CIC who was appointed after a long
delay of around 10 months
Attempts by government to exclude file notings and to dilute the Act have been thwarted by a
vocal civil society
Due to pressure from public, bureaucrats are now more careful in writing file notings and write
more properly
Erstwhile close working organisations like UPSC, Universities etc are also opening up

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Areas of concern

Reluctance to penalize errant government officials by CIC


Failure of states to appoint Information Commissioners
Even those who are appointed are of doubtful standards
The absence of enforcement provisions have rendered information commissions toothless
Record keeping has not been improved and it has made information retrieval cumbersome
PIO is generally a low level official who has little know-how about the nature of information
sought and its sources
Pro-active disclosures are poor
Poor penal powers for example, CIC has cited that lack of penal power over the political
parties (as they are not public authorities under RTI and have no PIOs)

RTI and Political Parties

In 2013, CIC in its judgment has ruled that 6 national political parties also come under ambit of
RTI as they use considerable public resources like free air time, cheap land in prime areas, free
election material and so on
Six national parties, barring CPI, in India have refused to comply with the Central Information
Commission (CIC) order of 2013 declaring them as Public Authorities. They have not sought legal
remedy either by appealing against the CIC order declaring them to be Public Authorities.
On March 16, 2015, the CIC passed another order which in effect said that it was helpless in the
matter and would not impose penalty or enforce compliance of its 2013 order. The new order
says that penalty can only be imposed on the Public Information Officer (PIO) and since the
political parties have not appointed them, no action can be taken.
The petitioners called the CIC move an abdication of its responsibilities. The CIC is not a
court, but a quasi-judicial body. It is expected to follow not the letter of the law, but the spirit of
the law.
The real issue is disclosure of source of funding as at present, 75% funding sources are not
known. Today, money plays an important role in winning elections. If that changes, then people
become more important than money.

SAHITYA AKADEMY
It is the national institution that promotes and preserves literary work in 24 Indian languages. Apart
from publishing original work, it also undertakes translation of eminent writers into Indian languages.
It has headquarter in Delhi and has 4 regional centers Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore.
It annually gives Sahitya Akademi Awards in the 24 languages which is the highest literary honor in
country.
It has three types of fellowships

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I.

Shaitya Akademy Honorary Fellowship Shaitya Akademy Honorary Fellowship is the highest
literary honor in country, at a given time it is limited to at most 21 fellows

II.

Anand fellowship - It is given to scholars from Asian countries to spend 3 to 12 months in India
to pursue a literary project.

III.

Prem Chand Fellowship - It is given to persons of eminence in the field of Culture from SAARC

countries.
Bhasha Samman Sahitya Akademi gives these special awards to writers for significant contribution to
Indian languages other than the above 24 major ones and also for contribution to classical & medieval
Literature.

SANITATION and SWACH BHARAT


Current Status

60% of Indias population is not able to utilize proper sanitation facilities as of 2011
It is estimated that one in every ten deaths in India is linked to poor sanitation and hygiene.
Diarrhea is the single largest killer and accounts for one in every twenty deaths.
According to an NSSO study, nearly 65 per cent of the rural households had no toilet facility
60% of the total open defection in the world are in India.
India is house to 90% of open defecations in South Asia
Mere toilet construction is not the solution it has to be an aspirational thing as often
constructed toilets are used for different purpose.
A WB study has concluded that economic policies work best when linked with behavioural
aspects as well. Building toilets is not enough unless it is backed by behavioural components.
Performance In Cities, only 25% of the yearly targets have been met and out of the 100 cities,
just 2 have met their yearly targets

The Swach Bharat Mission


It has primarily two components

National Rural Drinking Water Programme for supplementing the States in their effort to
provide safe drinking water to all rural habitations.
Swachh Bharat Abhiyan for rural sanitation. Swach Bharat Mission (Gramin)
o

While Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (NBA) had a four tier implementation mechanism at the
state, district, block, and village level, an additional tier has been added for SBM-G, at
the national level.
The Swachh Bharat mission would place overwhelming emphasis on constructing toilets,
with plans afoot to build over a 10 crore

Way Forward

A basic level of public investment is necessary currently, there are almost negligible dustbins,

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public toilets, more employees etc.
Secondly, there should be both preventive and regulative measures. Some form of garbage
production can be reduced by prohibiting that activity. For example in Chandigarh, polythene
is banned and it has helped to great extent.
Thirdly, continuous monitoring is also important Sanitation is not a one off even, but a way of
life. So, this means that people have to adopt it as a matter of habit. Regular reinforcement and
promotion of sanitation activities is necessary.
Stray cattle and animals should be reigned in.
Municipals should be strengthened and should also be held accountable their performance
should be measured in terms of cleanliness and it should be audited by independent auditors.
Children should be involved in a big way and values of cleanliness should be inculcated. Make
them understand the value of human labor behind cleanliness.
There should also be strict punitive mechanisms. Currently, there are no disincentives.
Singapore model.
Recent steps

Government is bringing a legislation that will make littering and defacement an offence with
provision of on the spot fine. It will give the mission a legal teeth
Bio-Digester Toilets A simple, low-cost technology for treating human waste developed by
the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) can aid in putting an end to
open defecation and manual scavenging in the country. The technology uses bacteria to treat
waste. The best feature is that it totally does away with manual scavenging and is low on
maintenance and installation cost.

SKILL DEVELOPMENT
Government targets 40 crore skilled people in coming years
Current situation

Less than 4% of our potential work force gets formal skill training to be employable In
comparison 42% in US, 75% in Germany, 80% in Japan and 96% in South Korea

Median age of Indian population is 27 years 10 years lower than that of China

Demographic dividend population between 15-60 years age In India, this make makes 62%

Currently there are three methods of skill training viz.


1. Vocational Training in schools.
2. Industrial Training Institutions
3. Onsite industrial training to be provided by corporates.
Recent steps taken by the government
The Union Cabinet approved the formation of a Group A service for skill development. It will
be called the Indian Skill Development Service

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Skill India Mission launched under this Skill Loans will be given ranging from 5000 to 1.5 lakh
rupees
Recognition Of Prior Learning (RPL) Scheme This scheme across 5 states in construction
industry is to certify the skills acquired by workers in the unorganized sectors through
traditional, non-formal learning channels. Under RPL, a target to certify an estimated 10 lakh
workers has been set.
There is a need to have Right to Learning Act on lines of Right to Education Act
Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana has also been launched it will provide skill training to 24
lakh youth
National Skill Development Corporation with private sector partnership
Launch of Apprentice Protsahan Yojana With an outlay of Rs.346 crores, Government will
support one lakh apprentices in next two and a half years by sharing the 50 % of the stipend. A
vision to have more than 20 lakh apprentices in next few years against present number of 2.9
lakh.
Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gramin Kaushal Yojana to enhance the employability of rural youth. It
provides for mandatory coverage of socially disadvantaged groups (SC/ST 50%; Minority 15%;
Women 33%). Under this programme, disbursements would be made through a digital voucher
directly into the students bank account as part of the governments skill development initiative.
It aims to fill gap between formal education and marketable skills of rural poor. Further,
Ajeevika or National Rural Livelihood Mission is also there for rural India.
The first Atal Innovation Mission, AIM, will be an Innovation Promotion Platform in the NITI
Aayog involving academics, entrepreneurs and researchers and draw upon national and
international experiences to foster a culture of innovation, R&D and scientific research in India.
The National Optical Fibre Network Programme (NOFNP) to be further speeded up by allowing
willing states to execute on reimbursement of cost basis.
Government is also planning to provide training from class 9 itself
Amendment in Apprenticeship Act to allow students from other streams also to have skill
training
33 Sector Skill Councils (SSCs)
The Union Cabinet recently gave its approval for the Indias first integrated National Policy for
Skill Development and Entrepreneurship 2015.
187 training partners

NATIONAL SKILL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION

Context Currently only 2% have received formal vocational training in Indian in the age group
of 15-29 years.

The National Skill Development Corporation India (NSDC) is a one of its kind, Public Private
Partnership in India.

It aims to promote skill development by catalyzing creation of large, quality; for-profit vocational
institutions.

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It provides viability gap funding to build scalable, for-profit vocational training initiatives.

A large part of the efforts is directed at the skill development in the unorganized sector.

Challenge

Apart from skill development, the challenge lies in providing employment to those who are
skilled. Currently this aspect is grossly neglected. This is where a massive focus on
apprenticeship programs, industry tie up, boost to manufacturing etc are needed.

SMALL BANKS and PAYMENT BANKS and FINANCIAL INCLUSION


Background

The RBI estimates that close to 90 per cent of small businesses today have no links with formal
financial institutions.

India's payments market is at Rs 15.5 lakh crore in fiscal 2015 and is likely to grow 12 per cent
annually.
The fact that branch banking is on the decline and internet penetration is gaining, should sound
sweet to the ears of the bank license winners. Branch-based transactions have gone down by 7
per cent and the number of transactions per ATM are slowing down
They aim to serve niche areas which are no covered under the ambit of regular financial
institutions. Differentiated banks serving niche interests, local area banks, payment banks etc.
are contemplated to meet credit and remittance needs of small businesses, unorganized sector,
low income households, farmers and migrant work force.
As per the 2011 census, only 65% of urban households and 55% of rural households have
access to banking services. The proportion of population having access to formal credit is even
lesser. A miniscule percentage of population has any kind of insurance and pension coverage.
Due to non-access to formal banking channels, poors become more vulnerable vis--vis their
money and are forced to live in an all cash economy which is more expensive as well as
precarious.
While, penetration of formal financial institutions has remained poor in the hinterlands, it is a
success in case of retail and mobile service providers who have penetrated deeper. These new
niche banks will leverage on the capabilities of infrastructure build by these.
Further, they along with initiatives like Mudra Bank, can be lifeline to MSME sector which
provides bulk employment and contributes 45% of manufacturing output.
Payment banks and Small Banks are setup on the recommendation of Nachiket Mor Committee
and will be will be registered as a public limited company under the Companies Act, 2013, and
licensed and governed under Banking Regulation Act, 1949.

SMALL BANKS

RBI granted licenses to 10 applicants for setting up small finance banks (SFBs)

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The purpose of the small banks will be to provide a whole suite of basic banking products such
as deposits and supply of credit through high technology-low cost operations, but in a limited
area of operation.
The SFBs are expected to focus primarily on accepting deposits and lending to small business
units, small and marginal farmers, micro and small industries and other unorganised sector
entities, currently underserved by regular commercial banks.
Commercial banks are largely interested in funding large and medium corporations, or giving out
loans for home and vehicle purchases. On the other hand, it is not easy for diamond cutting and
polishing units, job work fabricators or small restaurant owners to get working capital finance
support. Lending to them is a specialised affair, just as truck financing is. These are segments
where regular banks have gradually withdrawn, with their place being partly taken by various
non-banking financial companies.
For the first three years, 25 per cent of branches should be in unbanked rural areas.
Later, these bank can also seek license as full fledged banks
Small banks will provide a whole suite of basic banking products, such as, deposits and supply of
A Small bank cannot set up subsidiaries to undertake non-banking financial activities
It must comply with SLR and CRR norms
It has to comply with Priority Sector Lending norms

Role in financial inclusion

Small Banks will engage in basic banking service of acceptance of deposits and lending activities
to small farmers, small businesses, micro and small industries and unorganized sector entities.
Upto 50% of SBs loans portfolio would constitute loans and advances upto Rs. 25 lakhs. It
means that most of its loans will be small loans which commercial banks deem cumbersome.
Thus, small businesses, educational loans etc will find easier credit access

Challenges

The Small Banks concept is not very different from the concept of Local Area Bank made in the
1997 budget. The difference is that while LABs were restricted to contiguous areas in one state,
Small Banks are allowed to grow into contiguous areas of more than one state. Only 6 LABs got
license and only 4 of them are operational till date, which shows the lack of enthusiasm for such
niche banks.
Many NBFCs and LABs have shown interest in opening SBs but they are searching how viable
this business model will be. The risk of default on small loans is least but the returns may not be
that high.
As Small Banks will operate in a limited geographical area hence they suffer from concentration
risks like droughts, floods etc which affect contiguous areas. If such a thing happens, then the
risk of mass defaults of loan repayments will rise. This is precisely the reason why LABs didnt
succeed. RBI has taken care of concentration risks by allowing SBs to open in more than one
district in a state and further expand into more than one state. Thus, SBs are less likely to suffer
from concentration risks though the possibility of such risk still exists.

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Way Forward

Small farmers and small businesses have had difficulty accessing cheap credit. Small Banks will
be a major boost to this segment. Small banks must develop innovative technological solutions
to keep the transaction costs low and thus generate enough revenue to make the business
model viable.
In a vast country like India, it is highly imperative to tailor the credit needs of the population
according to their specific needs. Small Banks are a step in this direction to tap the fortune that
lies at the bottom of the pyramid.

PAYMENT BANKS

11 licenses given Paytm (Vijay Shekhar Sharma), Finotech, Reliance, Airtel, Vodafone, and Idea
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 by enabling high volume-low
value transactions in deposits and payments/remittance services in a secured technology-driven
environment.
Payments Banks can accept demand deposits (only current account and savings accounts). But
cannot extend loans.
Bank can also undertake utility bill payments
Allowed to distribute mutual fund products, insurance products and pension products
The phone companies in particular have large distribution networks throughout India, even in
rural locations, and this will help as people will be able to easily convert cash into virtual money
and vice versa.
Payments Banks cannot set up subsidiaries to undertake NBFC business.
The float funds can be parked only in less than one year G-Secs
The new payment banks will also make people less dependent on cash, even for small sums,
and since a mobile wallet could be a bank account soon, this move could, over time, have a big
impact on m-commerce.
For companies that have operated as mobile wallets (which are a type of Pre-Paid Instrument
aka PPI), this is a big step forward as it raises the funds limit, and allows interest to be paid on
the deposits, making it more attractive for users to store their money with a Paytm or m-Pesa.
While the payment banks can't issue credit cards, they can issue ATM and debit cards.
It's important to remember that the RBI has said it will use the learning it gains from these first
set of new payment banks to improve its processes, and will give licenses more regularly. With
that in mind, it appears that the licenses have been given to some fairly different companies to
see what approaches will be successful.
1/4th of the access points must be in rural areas.

Role of payment banks in financial inclusion

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Our migrant labour force accounts for 1/3rd of the population. Most of them use informal
channels for fund transfer. These channels charge hefty fees and are unreliable. A payments
bank, says the RBI, will further the cause of financial inclusion by providing small savings
accounts and payments and remittance services to migrant labour workforce.
Payments Banks will also serve low-income households, small businesses and other unorganized
entities thus bringing hitherto those sections of populations into the banking fold which were
earlier excluded. The idea is to facilitate high volume and low value transactions in a secure and
technology-driven environment.
A payments bank will have to ensure widespread network of access points particularly to
remote areas, either through their own branch network or BCs or through network provided by
others.
Thus, the geographical coverage of banking services will increase

Challenges

Banks like SBI and ICICI are already providing these services through mobile banking. Hence,
payments banks will have to provide lucrative products to match the already existing players.
Though payments banks will earn fees on remittances and payments but will it be enough to
make the bank viable, remains to be seen.
Payments banks will have to invest all their deposits in government bonds maturing in one year.
Though this ensures safety to deposits by it seriously limits the profitability of the bank. In the
current scenario, when inflation is raging close to 8%, returns from government bonds may
prove inadequate.
However, challenges that lie ahead are in terms of provision of cost-effective services. Success
of these as a profitable business model will be the real test.

Way forward

Government should also expedite the completion of National Fibre Optical network. The
combination of NFON, mobile banking and Payments Banks will help in achieving financial
inclusion.
Setting up of payments banks is a step in the right direction and they will help fill the existing
gaps in banking services by providing basic banking to hitherto left out population.

SMART CITIES
21st century will be urban century.
Government plans to create 100 Smart Cities and 500 AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and
Urban Transformation) Cities (out of the 4,000+ cities with population of more than 1 lakh).
20 cities will be selected this year (40 each in next two years), after a competitive selection process.
State and urban bodies have to go for 11 reform areas to avail funds.

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They will be capable of effectively dealing with the social and infrastructural challenges that urban
areas of today face.
A smart city (also smarter city) uses digital technologies or information and communication
technologies (ICT) to enhance quality and performance of urban services, to reduce costs and resource
consumption, and to engage more effectively and actively with its citizens. They will use technology to
make efficient use of resources like water, electricity and space.
Cities in a state will be proportion to the population.
Smart cities and Amrut will be launched soon after the International Yoga Day celeberations.
Government defines Smart City as A city having provision of basic infrastructure to give a decent quality
of life to its citizens, a clean and sustainable environment and application of Smart Solutions, keeping
citizens at the centre.

Every State in the country will get to develop at least one city as Smart City under the central
governments initiative of developing 100 smart cities.
Outlay will be around Rs 50,000 crore (and equivalent amount for AMRUT as well)
Each selected city under the ambitious scheme would get Central assistance of Rs. 100 crore a
year for five years.
The mission aims to release funding depending on multi-pronged progress of the projects and
makes citizen participation an integral part of the planning of these cities.
The US, Japan, China, Germany, Spain, France, the Netherlands and Singapore have already
expressed interest in the project. While these countries are to bring technical knowhow and
expertise to the table, the project's financial model and types of smart cities are still in the
works.
Smart City aspirants will be selected based on a City Challenge Competition (Detailed
guidelines have still to come). The cities will be graded based on their revenues, expenditure,
availability of infrastructure relating to transport, drinking water, solid waste management etc.
Both Greenfield and brownfield smart cities will be established.

Currently, India-US are cooperating in making Visakhapatnam, Allahabad and Ajmer as Smart Cities
(there will be no financial support from the US, only technical support in designing etc)
Japan is cooperating to make Varanasi as a smart city
Desirable traits

Sustainable
IT enabled
Zero fatalities on roads
Social security to its citizens apart from physicial security
Security of women
Balanced lifestyle

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Equitable and just development

Existing examples

The Amsterdam Smart City initiative which began in 2009


Barcelona

Why

Urban century 70% population, especially in case of India for the first time in 2011 census,
urban population addition was more

Urban areas put more stress on resources so to make that load optimum

Given high pollution and deteriorating quality of life in urban areas, cities need to be
redesigned to make them liveable

Cities are engines of growth and innovation they have to be better designed for growth of
India as a whole

Criticism

Amount allotted too meagre

Instead Smart Villages is the need of the hour

It will further boost rural-urban migration and hence make the divide between the two even
more skewed

Shoddy implementation of JNNURM inspires little confidence into this new scheme

Further, instead of having an all encompassing strategy for all urban planning, such restricted
focus will even create divide among the existing cities

They will create even more exclusionary environment than the current one

Land sought for smart city construction could lead to the razing of poor districts, the forced
removal of the poor

Though the project aims at giving autonomy to states, but no provisions are made for autonomy
to the cities themselves as urban bodies. Provisions of 74th Act are not implemented in spirit.
SMART Cities should be self-governing so that they can address the need of the local people
well.

Challenges in building smart cities

Amount of investment required currently, government has allocated just Rs 100 crore for each
city

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Secondly, a smart city also needs social and human development also on that front there are
many challenges that India faces (women safety, elders needs, crimes)
Implementation challenges are also there any city or town can become smarter if its citizens
are also smart so, they must also have similar attitudes.
Further, it should also not aggravate the existing rural-ruban divide.
Western concepts of Smart cities may not be applicable in India given its diversity of population
Over emphasis on the technology part is detrimental due to poor access and coverage given
the fact that illiteracy is still very high and e-literacy is abysmal
We need an Indian model of smart city which emphasizes on community links, common
festivals, space for religious activities of different religions and also takes care of different
cultural programs and activities.
There is also a call for making villages smart instead of cities. Maharastra has partnere with
Microsoft to develop 50 Smart villages.

AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation)


Main features

Unlike JNNURM, it gives states more flexibility to design schemes


Unlike JNNURM, it will also involve less central monitoring
States will only submit state annual action Plans to the centre for broad concurrence based
on which funds will be released. But, in a significant departure from JNNURM, the central
government will not appraise individual projects.
Unlike JNNURM, central funding will be lower at around 35% and hence states will have a sense
of ownership and responsibility
Unlike JNNURM, government has not set targets under it.
It mandates important changes, such as the development of a cadre of professional municipal
administrators and the devolution of funds and functions to city governments, and provides
monetary incentives for states that achieve these.

SOCIO ECONOMIC CASTE CENSUS (Rural)

The SECC 2011 is the first census, since 1931, that takes into account the caste
To estimate deprivation, it used a broader 7 point parameter (landlessness, lack of pukka
house, only disabled members, female only household, literacy among members, SC/ST it
was a wder basket than simple economics oriented poverty estimates)
o Nearly 19% of Indias rural population in 2011 lacked at least one of seven socioeconomic parameters used to estimate deprivation.
Majority of rural households 51% - sustain on casual labor, for Dalits it is 67%
30 % of rural households are landless and work as manual as manual labor

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Nearly one in every three rural households still have an uncertain source of income and
continue to live in one-room kutcha houses
A mere 3.4 % of rural population having graduated from college
Nearly 28 % of rural households in India still do not have access to a phone-landline or mobile.
Deprivation is stark main earner in the 74% households earn less than Rs 5,000
SECC found that transgenders comprise 0.1 % of Indias rural population.

SOCIAL SECURITY
The first social security programmes based on compulsory insurance were established in Europe in the
late-19th century.
Great Depression was one event which triggered serious thought on social security in industrialised
nations.
It was during the 20th century, however, that national social security programmes developed more
widely around the globe, especially after World War II. In countries like Britain new Labour Government
unleashed numerous measures.
The development of social security has also been supported by various international conventions and
instruments, and the recognition of social security as a basic human right was enshrined in the 1948
Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
In a few countries, for example, Germany and Brazil, social security is a right guaranteed by the
Constitution.

SURROGACY
Issues with current situation

Services are even being advertised.


Mothers in India are paid 1/10th of those in USA
There are many countries (to which parent belong) that doesnt allow surrogacy
Letting single parents and foreign nationals to have children through surrogates in India is one
issue in focus.
Many surrogacy agencies claim they are offering a legitimate service but in truth they operate in
a grey area.
Right now, the surrogate mother could find herself with a child she did not plan for, should the
clients change their mind.
Currently, India is one of the few countries where commercial surrogacy is allowed. In fact, in
most of the countries, surrogacy is banned altogether in Europe, Russia and Ukraine are the
only countries where it is legal totally

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As commercial surrogacy becomes difficult or banned in most of the countries, new destinations
like Nepal are emerging

Law and regulations

There is no legislation for it. However, it is defacto legal since 2002. In 2008s Manji Case (a
Japanese baby, in which the parents separated before the birth of child), SC held that
commercial surrogacy is permitted in India.
In the absence of any law the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in 2005 issued
guidelines for accreditation, supervision and regulation of ART clinics in India.
Assisted Reproductive Technologies (Regulation) Bill 2014
The view among experts looking into the new Assisted Reproductive Technologies (Regulation)
Bill 2014 that single parents and foreign nationals should not be allowed to have children
through surrogates in India has come in for criticism. However, single parent adoption for both
Indian and foreign parent is allowed under law and hence, this provision may not be tenable in
law. The new proposed legislation has following features
o
o
o

o
o
o
o
o

The proposed legislation earlier floated in 2008 envisages making commercial surrogacy
illegal. Earlier, the Law Commission Report has made similar recommendations.
It will allow surrogacy only for altruistic purpose and not for profit and motherhood
should not be commoditified
The new bill also prohibits surrogacy service to foreign nationals and single parents.
Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) and Overseas Citizens of
India (OCIs) shall, however, be eligible.
It also stipulates the age of surrogate mother to be within 21-35 years and limits her
deliveries to five including her own children.
The surrogate mother will have to enter into a legally enforceable surrogacy agreement
as per the proposed legislation.
National and state level boards will be setup to regulate and register such clinics
Penalty for parents who refuse to take the child born with disabilities
Adequate legal protection for birth giving mother

TAX ADMINISTRATION AND REFORM COMMISSION (TARC) 3RD


REPORT

Headed by Dr. Parthasarathi Shome


The following measures have been suggested in its 3rd report to check black money and to
broaden the taxpayer base. Banking cash transaction tax (BCTT)
Proposed levying of banking transaction tax on withdrawal of cash beyond a specified limit in a
day to check black money. BCTT was introduced in June, 2005, to track unaccounted money and
trace its source and destination, but was withdrawn in April, 2009.

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Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) Proposed reintroduction of fringe benefits tax. FBT was introduced
in 2005-06 as a tax paid by employers on employee benefits that do not form part of the salary.
Taxing farmers with large land holdings Against a tax free limit of Rs.5 lakh on agricultural
income, farmers having income above much higher threshold income, such as Rs.50 lakh, could
be taxed.
Against amnesty schemes Taxpayers keep waiting for amnesty schemes to be announced and
take advantage of these schemes to build their capital. Amnesty schemes also cause inequity
among taxpayers, and there is no proof that they improve taxpayer behaviour among evaders.

TOURISM

E-Visa for 113 countries


Low cost and sustainable tourism model on line of medical tourism will be key

The National Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY)

It is a recently launched scheme that seeks to preserve and rejuvenate the rich cultural heritage
of the country.
It was launched by the Ministry of Urban Development HRIDAY seeks to promote an integrated,
inclusive and sustainable development of heritage sites, focusing not just on maintenance of
monuments but on advancement of the entire ecosystem including its citizens, tourists and local
businesses.
With 32 UNESCO recognized natural and cultural heritage sites, ranking second in Asia and fifth
in the world, the tourism potential of the country is still to be fully harnessed and the new
scheme will help in this regard.
Rs.500 cr would be provided to the 12 cities selected in the first phase under the Central
Scheme of HRIDAY.

Varanasi-Kyoto Deal
Help will be provided in areas of waste management, transport management, university
interface and exchange program and development of Buddhist circuit
PRASAD (National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive) for
Beautification of Pilgrimage Centres.

TRIBALS
60% of the forest area in the country is in tribal area.
40% of those displaced by dams are tribal peoples.
The Report of the High Level Committee on Socio-Economic, Health and Educational Status of Tribal
Communities of India, under the chairmanship of sociologist Virginius Xaxa, was prepared.

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Recommendations

Tribal land alienation and dispossession are at the crux of the crisis tribal communities
Even with the Autonomous Councils in the Schedule VI States, which have a more robust formal
autonomy, the committee finds that there is a huge discrepancy between the formal rules
guaranteeing autonomy and the informal workings of autonomy on the ground.
Government/policy makers must understand the tribal economy before planning any
intervention. Tribal economy is the best development model and needs to be replicated
anywhere in the country.
Protection of bio-diversity rich mountains and forests (moratorium of mining in biodiversity rich
forest/zones)
Use of renewable energy like solar and hydro through indigenous techniques Promote use of
traditional transportation system for possible distance coverage
Implementation of Scheduled Area provisions (PESA) in true spirit
De-scheduling of schedule area due to decline of tribal population to be abolished. Declare all
tribal populated areas as scheduled areas.
Language used for learning in schools not suitable for tribal children. Teachers are not familiar
with tribal language, should be take care of.
Develop curriculum in all tribal languages till Standard/Class 7.
Protect and promote traditional herbal medicines through the community ownership
Ensure ownership of community over their own herbal treatment practices.
Train traditional healers with improved technology to ensure better healthcare in remote
villages
Ensure all NT and DNT (Denotified Tribals) communities are included in census with dignity.
For social, economic and educational development one independent authority should be
established at national and state level.
The High Level Committee to recommend the setting up of a cell in order for the Governor to
properly carry out the duties of the post vis--vis protection of the tribes

However, government has apparently decided not to take any action on it.

TRIBUNALS
TRIBUNALS IN INDIA or QUASI JUDICIAL BODIES THEIR WORKING
Originally there was no provision of tribunals in the constitution. It was introduced by 42 amendment
adding articles 323A and 323B in part XIVA.
Rationale behind their formation is

They aim at expediting the process of justice


They are expert bodies, as Courts are not expected to possess all the expertise

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They have simple procedures and follow the principles of natural justice. They follow the
principle of natural justice instead of Indian Evidence Act 1872 that is followed by courts.
The other side of motive of their formation is to implement administrative law in India as in
France

Against formation of tribunals

They dont act as complete autonomous institutions


These tribunals are depending on their sponsoring departments for resources to functions.
Therefore they are compromising on impartiality, capability & fairness in decision making.
Political masters make them homes for retired loyal bureaucrats and technicians.

Court View

According to courts, these undermine the independence of judiciary as they give primacy to
executive over judiciary in justice delivery process as many of them are headed by executives.
Through the tribunals the judicial activities are interpreted by executive violating the principle of
division of powers provided by constitution in long it threatens the national and public interest.

Way Out

Instead of creating tribunals, it is better to set up separate benches having jurisdiction in high
courts. Like NGT, Social Justice bench etc which have been created recently.

Recent Controversies

SC in Chandra Kumar Case of 1997 declared that those provision of Art.323A and 323B that
exclude HC & SC from adjudicating those matters, for which tribunals were made, as unconstitutional.
The Court in Chandra Kumar (1997) and NCLT (2010) also suggested that the tribunals which
were replacing the jurisdiction of the Courts should enjoy the same constitutional protections as
them. This meant that when the jurisdiction is being transferred from a court to a tribunal, the
members of this tribunal should hold a rank, status and capacity which is as close to those of the
judges in a court as possible.
The recent Supreme Court judgment which struck down the National Tax Tribunals (NTT) also
clearly spelt out the parameters to test the constitutionality of tribunals.
A Division Bench of the Madras High Court struck down key provisions relating to the
Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) established under the Trade Marks Act, 1999, as
unconstitutional. The crux of the present case is with regard to the qualification and selection of
Chairman, Judicial Member and Technical Member of the IPAB. The High Court declared this
unconstitutional, suggesting that an officer working with the Executive cannot act in a judicial
capacity.

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A Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy report (2014) has identified about 29 different tribunals set up
under various Central legislations, and finds several of them to be inconsistent with the
parameters laid down by the Supreme Court.

UNIFORM CIVIL CODE, Article 44


A uniform Civil Code means a common set of laws governing personal matters for all citizens of the
country, irrespective of religion
Ambedkar was a staunch supporter of such a move as according to him, civil liberties and civil equality is
the basis of other equality in society and as a result, he drafted the Hindu Code Bill and even resigned
from government on this issue. Leaders like Nehru also vouched for similar reforms, but couldnt pass a
common law for all sections of society.
Recently SC asked government to find out ways to implement this constitutional provision.
Significance of UCC is more towards

Gender equality and empowerment of women as currently, women are at a disadvantageous


position under several personal laws
Inegrational aspects by removing disparate loyalties to different personal laws
UCC is also necessary to fully realize the right of equality provided under article 14
Unnecessary boundations on persons in violation of modern values for example, certain
personal laws dont provide divorce before a certain period is over (Christians cannot demand
divorce until they are legally separated for two years)

Challenges in implementing it

Major hurdle is that certain sections/groups believe that their personal laws are revealed and
hence cannot be changed.
Secondly, the debate on the UCC is often mired in debates concerning secularism
Further, an interpretation of article 25 of the constitution is also an hurdle (However, Clause (2)
of Article 25 empowers the State to frame any law to regulate or restrict secular activity which
may be associated with religious practice-therefore, it is argued, Article 25 is no bar to having
a Uniform Civil Code.)

Way forward

In wake of this, a consensus can be build in line with nations like Turkey
There can be a common system and the sensitive issues can be separated from it and there can
be separate personal laws for them.
An example within India is Goa Civil Code which is common for all

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WESTERN GHATS and RECENT STUDIES and REPORTS


WESTERN GHATS ECOLOGY EXPERT PANEL (WGEEP) GADGIL COMMITTEE REPORT, 2011

The panel recommended a National-level authority, Western Ghats Ecology Authority (WGEA)
Turn entire Western Ghats region into an Ecologically Sensitive Area (ESA); it should be called
Western Ghats ESA.
This area should be divided into three parts: (ESZ) viz. ESZ-1, ESZ-2 and ESZ-3, with varying
degrees of protection. This would cover 64% area of the Western Ghats.
Since Western Ghats is spread in six states, treat Western Ghats regions of each state
separately.
An indefinite moratorium on new environmental clearances for mining in ESZ-1 and ESZ-2
Blanket ban on GM crops in this area
Phasing out of mining from ESZ-1 by 2015
Development plans should not be cast in a rigid framework, but ought to be tailored to
prevalent locality and time specific conditions with full participation of local communities

K. KASTURIRANGAN PANELS REPORT ON CONSERVATION OF THE WESTERN GHATS

The Kasturirangan committee was set to study the Gadgil Report after it faced unanimous
opposition from the states
The report has sought to balance the two concerns of development and environment protection,
by watering down the environmental regulation regime proposed by the Western Ghats Ecology
Experts Panels Gadgil report in 2012.
The Kasturirangan report seeks to bring just 37% of the Western Ghats under the Ecologically
Sensitive Area (ESA) zones down from the 64% suggested by the Gadgil report.
o Out of six states, which the Western Ghats forest region encompasses, only Kerala
and Goa have submitted recommendations to the centre on demarcating
ecologically sensitive areas (ESA) till now.
The two committees differ on governance framework. While the Gadgil panel recommended a
national level Western Ghats Ecology Authority (WGEA), the Kasturirangan panel recommended
strengthening the existing framework of environmental clearances and setting up of a state-ofthe-art monitoring agency.
It also doesnt call for a blanket ban on mining, GM crops etc.
There should be a complete ban on mining, quarrying, sand mining, thermal power plants, big
township projects in ESA (37% of Western Ghats)
It has not recommended a ban on hydroelectric projects in the zone, but put a regime of stricter
clearances for dams and other projects.
All other infrastructure and development projects/schemes should be subject to environment
clearance under EIA Notification 2006.
The villages falling under ESA will be involved in decision making on the future projects. All
projects will require prior-informed consent and no objection from the Gram Sabha of the village.

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To promote sustainable agriculture, it recommends a focused programme to incentivize growers


in the Western Ghats to move towards organic cultivation.
All tourism hotspots in the Ecologically Sensitive Area should be monitored for compliance with
environmental conditions and development restrictions and assessed in terms of impact.

Criticisms

The entire report was based on satellite images, which had little resemblance to ground realities.
The proposal to declare 37 percent of the Western Ghats as ESA has raised fears of relocation
among local communities, although the report only recommends banning activities such as
mining and thermal plants in these areas.
Critic says that Kasturirangan Committee de facto permitted mining and quarrying in 63 per cent
area (as only 37% area is under ESA) which will open the ecologically sensitive areas of Western
Ghats to mindless exploitation which would seriously hazard ecology.
According to Madhav Gadgil, Kasturirangan report on Western Ghats replaced the pro-people and
pro-nature attitude of the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel report with an autocratic
approach in terms of development and ecological conservation.

Gadgil report was criticised for being too environment-friendly and not in tune with the ground realities.
The Kasturirangan Committee tried to balance development and environment, but was labelled as being
anti-environmental.

SCIENCE and TECH


NEUTRINO
This years physics Nobel was awarded to a duo who discovered that neutrinos have a non-zero mass.
Neutrinos are

Tiny electrically neutral particles


Cannot be broken into further smaller pieces
Chargeless and are almost massless, but have certain mass
Can morph into other neutrinos as well there are three known variants of neutrinos
Second most abundant particle in the universe after photon
Other than photons, neutrinos, which are produced in nuclear interactions, are the most
common particles in the universe, they travel at the speed of light, interact hardly with matter
thats why they are difficult to detect, even if they interact, they produce feeble signs of such
interaction and hence, neutrino labs require such an ambience that is totally undisturbed from

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all kind of even slightest disturbance and hence such experiments are either conducted deep
inside earth, in deep mines or deep inside ice.
Since they interact so weakly, detecting them over other interactions is impossible. So, there is a
need to have a barrier of at least 1 km of earth to block out other radiation and particles, such as
muons from cosmic rays.
Trillions of them from the sun pass through us every second. Their interaction with matter is so
weak that an average neutrino can pass through light years of lead without being impeded.

Indian Neutrino Observatory

Objective Determination of neutrino masses is the most significant open problem in particle
physics today and is the key goal of the INO project.
It will be made near Madurai
Earlier India had a neutrino observatory in Kolar fields which was among the first in the world.

Benefits of INO and knowing more about neutrinos

As they are chargeless and are, therefore, not bent by magnetic fields, their arrival directions
unambiguously point back to their origins, thereby opening a new window of neutrino
astronomy to the universe, complementary to conventional photonic astronomy.
Understanding the particle will help scientists pick the correct theory beyond the standard
model of particle physics (as the current model assumes that neutrinos have zero mass) and
address the problem of matter-antimatter asymmetry of the universe.
Research on neutrino particle would be path breaking in the field of science and will help in
knowing more about the universe and especially Big Bang as the great explosion also resulted
in emission of billions of neutrinos which are still alive and might be passing through earth as
well
Sun and other stars also emit them as a result of fusion reaction it will help us know more
about internal dynamics of stars like Sun
They are also released during nuclear reactions this knowledge will help humanity to succeed
in generation of power from fusion
An important outcome of the project will be training young researchers in large-scale
experimental science.
Another important use of the neutrino is in the theories related to dark matter.

GSLV D6
It was second successful flight of indigenous cryogenic engine

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ASTROSAT
The satellite is a miniature version of the Hubble, the US-European joint space observatory that has
discovered new galaxies and improved understanding of the universe. Indias observatory will be the
fourth in space, after the Hubble, Russias Spektr R and Suzaku of Japan.
Astrosat, initially planned for 2005, has been delayed by a decade, as the scientific community struggled
to build with precision the instruments needed for such operations. The instruments, spreading across
ultraviolet and X-ray wavelengths, will study black holes, neutron stars, quasars, white dwarfs and
pulsars.
Astrosat is special due to the choice of instruments to study in multi-wave lengths UV rays, visible
and X-rays which even the Hubble doesnt have,. The instruments allow simultaneous observation
of cosmic sources, an area in which other observatories currently have limitations.
The diameter of Astrosats optical mirror is around 30 cm, compared with 2.4 m in the case of Hubble. It
is expected the US space agency will launch the James Webb observatory, a successor to the Hubble, in
2018.
It will have a 5 point focus to understand high energy process of binary star system, estimate the
magnetic field system of neutron stars, detect new bright x-ray sources
The Astrosat will carry instruments of various Indian research labs such as the Tata Institute of
Fundamental Research, the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy
and Astrophysics and the Raman Research Institute. In addition, two payloads have sensors from the
Canadian Space Agency and the University of Leicester, UK.

INTERNET OF THINGS
The Internet of Things (IoT) is an environment in which objects, animals or people are provided with
unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or
human-to-computer interaction

INDIA IR and WORLD EVENTS


IR

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AFGHANISTAN
Historically, Afghanistan was a neighbor of India before partition. Pakistan is a common meeting
ground for the countries as it has acted as a nuisance for both the countries in one way or the
another.
India signed first treaty with Afghanistan as early as in 1950.
Taliban is essentially a creation of America and Pakistan. Its growth can be traced to the war
that the two countries waged against a progressive government in 1970s and 1980s and
subsequent support of West in wake of Soviet intervention. Soviet retreated, but Taliban stayed.
Afghanistan in 2014 emerged as the biggest producer of the opium and 75% of the worlds
opium is produced here. It on the one hand is leading to spoilage of youth power, on the other
hand it leads to funding of terrorism.
Afghanistan has been an important gateway to Central Asia and Europe for long and it can reemerge as one once the region is stabilized. It will require a highly pragmatic approach and
problems in Afghanistan cannot be solved by keeping Pakistan out of the loop. It will be a
goodwill gesture to Pakistan, lower its apprehension and will bring stability swiftly to
Afghanistan.
AREAS OF POSITIVE COOPERATION
I.

Strategic Partnership Agreement 2011 This is the first such agreement that
Afghanistan has signed with any nation. As a part of the agreement, India will also train
Afghanistan Forces.

II.

Security and Defense India is extending help in the training, equipping and capacity
building programmes for the Afghan National Security Forces since 2008.

III.

Aid With a promise of more than $1.3 billion aid through 2013, India is already 6 th
largest aid provider. Till date, India ahs disbursed almost $2 billion aid in reconstruction
and development.

IV.

Infrastructure and Investment


a. India has $ 2 billion in investments in Afghanistan
b. One prime example of Indias partnership with the people of Afghanistan is the
construction of a 218-km road between Delaram in Afghanistan to Zaranjon
Afghanistans border with Iran which began in 2005. The road was an ambitious
project and would link up to the garland highway stretching all the way to
Kabul. The road would be Afghanistans lifeline to Iran, giving the land-locked
country an extra avenue to reach out. Despite casualties that India suffered,
India completed the project.

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c. MOUs in field of mining and hydrocarbons signed During the visit of Afghan
President 2 MoUs were signed. India has iron ore mine in Hajigek.
d. Coal Exploration India is also working towards helping Afghanistan to explore
its coal fields.
e. India also plan to construct a railway line connecting the interiors of Afghanistan
to Iran port Chabahar
f.

Delhi Afghanistan Investment Summit 2012

V.

Education More than 1300 scholarships under the ITEC

VI.

Humanitarian Relief
a. In 2009 famine, India provided food grains as relief.
b. Indian doctors have been providing their services from 2002. Indira Gandhi
Institute for Child Health is the largest pediatrics hospital in Kabul.
c. SEWA (Self Employed Womens Association), Indias largest union of selfemployed women is imparting vocational training to 1000 women in Kabul.

Elections and Change of Government


o

Elections were highly controversial as there were massive riggings from the both
candidates which were in a fray and finally under international pressure, a compromise
was reached upon in form of National Unity Government. The new President of
Afghanistan, Ashraff Ghani, and Abdullah Abdullah, the countrys chief executive
officer a new post that is to evolve into a prime ministership in two years have
their work cut out.

The change of power is a first democratic transition since the US invasion in 2001.
Challenges for new government

Security of the country as ISI, Pak Taliban threat looms large

Preventing sectarian clashes is another top priority as Afghanistan is now


divided on sectarian lines like Iraq

Capacity building of armed forces is another challenge after US retreat

Infrastructure building

Dealing with machinations of Pakistan

Balancing interests of Pakistan, India and China.

Repair an economy that is dependent on international aid.

Taliban

Resurgent Taliban The Taliban want to rule Afghanistan and in wake of the USA
retreat is again getting its acts together.

It also got some legitimacy in 2013 when USA allowed it to have an office in Doha which

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Afghan government protested so much.

For the first time since 2001, Taliban captured an important city Kunduz, which was
later liberated.

Rise of IS has made Taliban a moderate figure.

Further, the elusive Taliban chief Mollah Akhtar Mansoor has also approved the
ongoing multilateral talks

Pakistan and Afghanistan

Further, Pakistan and Afghanistan almost never in past had a cozy relationship.
Afghanistan doesnt recognize the border i.e. Durand Line right since 1893. Federally
Administered Tribal Area or FATA, which Afghanistan claims, lies on Pakistan side of
Durand line and is inhabited principally by Pashtun Tribals. This is the area in which most
of the anti- Afghanistan or Pro-Taliban or even Anti Pakistan terror groups operate.

New president Ghani has a more cooperative stance towards Pakistan towards tackling
terrorism

Peshawar attack on School last year by Pak Taliban has made Pak army less tolerant of
terrorism and hence, its army is less enthusiastic about fomenting dissent in Afghanistan

China and Afghanistan

Interest of China in containing the terrorism in its Xinjiang province has saw its active
involvement

USA co-chaired a meet with China on future course of action with active role of Pakistan,
out of which India was excluded.

China took a lead in the Heart of Asia conference, institutionalised the ChinaAfghanistan-Pakistan trilateral dialogue.

USA and Afghanistan

Agreement for extended USA presence Mr. Karzai, eager towards the end of his term
to get rid of the pro-West tag that was attached to him, had been reluctant to sign an
agreement allowing some U.S. troops to stay on after the drawdown by end-2014 to
train fledgling Afghan army and for other security issue. New government is positively

inclined to sign such an agreement.


U.S. expenditure on rebuilding Afghanistan stands at $104 billion, slightly more than
what the U.S. spent on the Marshall Plan (adjusted for inflation) for rebuilding 16
European countries after World War II. However, delivery on the ground averages below
25 per cent, given inefficient delivery mechanisms, poor planning and excessively high
administration overheads.

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AFRICA
Historically, India and Africa has deep ties starting from support for national movements to association
with NAM.
Indias engagement with Africa always suffered from the perception of Africa as a homogenous
landmass. Whether it was Focus Africa programme, LDC engagements

AREAS OF POSITIVE COOPERATION

I.

Trade and Investment


a. India

and

Africa

have set a bilateral


trade target of US $
90 billion by 2015,
their current trade
level

is

at

$70

billion (China has


around

$200

billion).

Second

India-Africa
Business

Council

Meet held at Delhi


in

March

2012.

India has launched a


Focus Africa scheme which focus on 7 countries of sub-Saharan region.
b. Nigeria is one of the biggest trade partners and investment destination for
c. Indian grant of Duty free quota free market access to LDC in Africa
II.

India is engaged with various groups and forums in Africa to boost its Cultural, Trade
and Economic cooperation. Some of the important groups are ISADC India-Southern
African Development Community; AU; Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa
(COMESA).

III.

Pan African e-Network Project for Tele-education and Tele-medicine It is a pan


African ICT project initiated on the idea of the then president APJ Abdul Kalam to spread
the benefits of Indian experience in ICT to African Nations.

IV.
Indian generic drugs are used in Africa in a big way especially against HIV
India is a member of the AU Partners Group (AUPG), which meets periodically in Addis Ababa.

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Last year India participated in the 2nd AU India Forum Summit in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) and it
gave a further boost to the cooperation between the two sides. Two documents, namely The
Framework for enhanced cooperation and The Addis Ababa Declaration were adopted during
the summit.
Recent News

Third India-Africa Forum Summit was held in Delhi and it was a landmark summit in which the
heads of all the African nations will participate for the first time. Earlier, just around 15-20
heads participated in two previous summits.
o African support is crucial for UNSC reforms
o $ 10 billion credit line for next 5 years
o 50 thousand scholarships for African students
o Indian technologies identified as suitable for similar tropical climate of Africa
o Unlike China, India has a favorable image in terms of a capacity building partner as
compared to a colonial mindset Chinese approach
India can setup fertilizer plants in gas rich nations like Nigeria
Import arhar dal from Tanzania
China has growing presence in the waters of Africa closer to Indian Ocean it is coming up with
its first base in Djibouti

There are some issues raised by Africans as well like issue of fake medicines from India, long term land
lease by Indian firms for agriculture purpose

BANGLADESH
India and Bangladesh share a common history and culture. National anthem of the both the nations
were created by Rabindranath Tagore. There are rivers Ganga and Brahmputra that link the two. India
played a key role in liberating Bangladesh in 1971. But India also failed to capitalize the gains after 1971
and even the basic issues like river water disputes, enclaves issue continue to plague bilateral relations.
As a result, Bangladesh moved closer to China and it erstwhile oppressive big brother Pakistan. Zia-urRhman tried to create a secular state, but his successors tried to Islamize it.
Relationship with India touched a new low during Khalida Zias time and she adopted a confrontationary
stance. Relations improved after Sheikh Hasina came to power.
Bangladesh is India locked and Indias north-east is Bangladesh locked. Bangladesh can provide a
short transit to not only north east, but to East Asia. India share largest border with Bangladesh.
COOPERATION AREAS
I.

River Water Sharing India and Bangladesh share water of more than 54 rivers. India signed
Ganga Water Treaty in 1996 to share water during lean season. Apart from it, India and
Bangladesh regularly hold Joint Rivers Commission meets. There was a further chance to move

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ahead on riparian issues over Teesta River.


II.

Technical Cooperation India offers 100 slots under ITEC and 35 slots under Technical
Cooperation Scheme of Colombo Plan every year to Bangladesh.

III.

Trade It is now the biggest South Asian partner of India. Indian exports to Bangladesh in
2010-11 stood at $ 5 billion, while we imported barely $ 406.3 million of Bangladeshs products.
India mainly imports Jute products. While India mainly exports Cotton (raw, Yarn and textile),
automotive components and machinery.

Taking into account the trade imbalance India announced removal of all 46 textile items
from the sensitive list.

IV.

India is setting up Integrated Check Posts on the border.

Cultural Cooperation There was also joint celebration of the Birth anniversary of Rabindernath
Tagore recently in a big way.

V.

India steps forward in field of power sector cooperation with announcement of a joint power
project and export of 500 MW power to Bangladesh. Indian and Bangladeshi grids will be
synchronized to help power deficit Bangladesh. Baangladesh has also tentatively agreed to
allow its land for transmission of electricity from Tripura to Bihar

VI.

Bangladesh in past under Sheikh Haseena government has done significantly well in curbing
the terrorists from its soil.

VII.

$1 billion Line of Credit extended to Bangladesh.

VIII.

Defense Joint Military Exercise Op Sampriti. It was conducted last year also. The exercise is
significant in the light that Bangladesh has been conducting similar exercises with Chinese since
ling, but none has taken with India.

Coordinated Border Management Plan (CBMP) which was signed in 2011 has resulted
in reduced number of border incidents.

IX.

MoU to facilitate overland transition to Nepal During recent visit of the PM to Bangladesh,
MoU was signed. The MOU seeks to facilitate rail transit to/from Bangladesh and Nepal using
Indian territory.

X.

MoU on saving the Sunderbans and Royal Tiger of Bengal.

XI.

In a rare gesture Anup Chetia the ULFA leader who was incarcerated in Bangladesh, was

handed over to India in exchange deal.


AREAS of DISAGREEMENTS
I.

River water sharing Teesta Water sharing. Sharing of Ganga water was successfully agreed
between two countries. However, when India constructed a barrage on Farakka to increase
water to Hoogly River, Bangladesh objected as it says that it has reduced water flow during dry
season.

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II.

There are 54 common rivers between the two countries


To date, only one comprehensive river pact has been signed by India and Bangladesh
a 1996 bilateral treaty for Farakkha/Ganga (Ganga becomes Farakka in West Bengal and
Padma in Bangladesh) that established a 30-year water-sharing arrangement between
the two countries.
The Teesta which has its source in Sikkim flows through West Bengal. In 1983, an adhoc water sharing agreement was reached whereby both countries were allocated 39%
(India) and 36% (Bangladesh) of the water flow respectively. The new bilateral treaty
(which was almost finalized in 2011) expands upon this agreement by proposing an
equal allocation of the Teesta River.
However, the deal fell through when Chief Minister of West Bengal refused to approve
the treaty, fearing that the loss of higher volume of water to the lower riparian would
cause problems in the northern region of state, especially during drier months.
Since water is a state subject, central government cannot go ahead with a treaty
without the consent of the affected states.

Illegal immigrants 2 million Bangladeshis live in India and they have changed demographic
profile of many regions like West Bengal and Assam.

III.

Use of its territory Bangladesh refused to allow Indian troops to move through its territory to
northeastern India. India also wants Bangladesh to provide corridor for linking to its North East.
Currently there is only a narrow passage via Siligudi.

IV.

Energy (non) cooperation It has decided not to export natural gas to India nor to allow
Myanmar to do so through Bangladeshi territory.

V.

Smuggling drugs and arms

VI.

Bangladesh also complain of non-cooperation from state of West Bengal on counter-terrorism

issues
FUTURE POTENTIAL of RELATIONS

Northeast access
Energy cooperation
Route to east Asia
Curbing terrorism
Maritime boundary has already been demarcated
Both have cultural similarities
India has greater acceptance due to its positive role in liberation

RECENT NEWS
I.

Bangladesh Courts continue to award harsh punishment to War Criminals of 1973 war after the
International Crime Tribunal was set up in 2008 by Awami League.

II.

India has given clearance to Bangladesh to open its fifth diplomatic mission in India.

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III.

Prime Minister Modi recently made it clear that the Indian government will not take any
unilateral decision on the Tipaimukh Hydro-Electric Power Project which may adversely affect
Bangladesh.

IV.

Spree of killings of bloggers intolerance incidents

V.

Permanent Court of Arbitration verdict on the India-Bangladesh maritime dispute - Permanent


Court of Arbitrations judgment resolved a long standing dispute between India and Bangladesh
on maritime EEZ. The verdict may bring India and Bangladesh closer paving way for transit
corridor to India to access North east.

VI.

LBA
Indian government passed the LBA Agreement in Parliament paving way for the 100th
Amendment of the constitution.
The LBA was signed way back in 1974, but India took this much of time to ratify the agreement.
The de-facto situation is still the same on ground and will not change. Both countries will now
officially be the owners of their respective adverse positions.
Enclaves are locally called as chhits

50,000 people live in them


2000 will migrate to India post LBA

Origin of enclaves

According to a popular legend, the enclaves were used as stakes in card or chess games
centuries ago between two regional kings, the Raja of Koch Bihar and the Maharaja of
Rangpur.
As far as history records, the little territories were apparently the result of a confused
outcome of a 1713 treaty between the Kingdom of Koch Bihar and the Mughal Empire.
After the partition of India in 1947, Rangpur was joined to East Pakistan, and Koch Bihar was
merged in 1949 with India and the issue of Enclaves remain unresolved
Government tried to exchange the territories, but SC held that such exchange requires
constitutional amendment
Due to deteriorated relation with Pakistan, the issue remained unsolved. With that
agreement unratified, the negotiations had to restart after East Pakistan became
independent as Bangladesh in 1971.
The Land Boundary Agreement was signed on 16 May 1974 between Indira Gandhi and
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman which provided for exchange of enclaves and the surrender of
adverse possessions.

Agreement

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Under the Agreement, 111 border enclaves will be transferred to Bangladesh in exchange
for 51 that will become part of India. (Theoretically, India will lose around 10,000 acre of
land, but that is only notional as the area is already inside Bangladesh)
Citizens on both the sides will have a choice of staying on either side as per recent polls,
the numbers are not high as expected
Only around 2000 people are expected to migrate to India

Benefits accruing from LBA

VII.

Prospects of deeper cooperation with a neighbor


Boundary demarcation and border fencing will get a push
Miseries of thousands of the people living in the enclaves will end

India, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh signed a landmark Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA) for
the Regulation of Passenger, Personnel and Cargo Vehicular Traffic among the four South Asian
neighbors.

VIII.

PM Modi Visit

Modi announces $2-bn credit to Bangladesh biggest by India to any other nation.
Two Bus services have also been started Dhaka to Agartala; Dhaka to Shillong
The two sides signed 22 agreements, including on cooperation in maritime safety and to
curb human trafficking and fake Indian currency.
Ms. Hasina, whose country is seen as a hiding ground for insurgents of north east India, also
promised zero tolerance stance against terrorism.
Two countries agreed to set up two Special Economic Zones in Bangladesh to bridge the
growing trade deficit the SEZs will be exclusively for Indian companies
India also offered to increase the supply of electricity from 500 MW to 1100 MW to the
power deficit Bangladesh
Agreement on Kolkata-Dhaka- Agartala Bus Service
Reliance investment of $3 billion is the single largest FDI till date
Bangladesh will also allow use of its ports - Chittagong and Mongla Ports for Movement of
Goods to and from India
Agreement on Coastal Shipping between India and Bangladesh
India will allow access to Bhutan and Nepal
Cultural Exchange Programme between the Government of India and the Government of
Bangladesh for the year 2015-2017.
MoU between the Coast Guards of India and Bangladesh: Consequent to the settling of
Maritime boundary between India and Bangladesh
Bangladesh also wants India to exercise restrain by BSF and also extend e-Visa facility

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BRICS
They account for over 43% of world population. Their combined gross domestic product, or GDP, is $11
trillion, or 21 per cent of the worlds total GDP.
Criticism of BRICS

Member nations have conflicting interests and little is common except all are aspiring global
powers. China being a permanent member is not so willing to see others as permanent
members. India is concerned over its growing trade deficit with China.
Major criticism stem from the fact that, BRICS has not moved ahead from a mere photo shoot
event and no major ground work has been done.
While Brazil has fared on emission reduction well, others are not so willing.

Recent News

In a major development, BRICS countries agreed to create a $100 billion Currency Reserve
Fund by announcing individual contribution. The development is also significant as it will
protect the currencies of developing world from excessive fluctuations and hedge against dollar.

The sixth summit at Fortaleza Brazil produced three important documents: Agreement on
establishing the New Development Bank (NDB); Treaty for creating the Contingency Reserve
Arrangement (CRA); and the Fortaleza Declaration.

The new BRICS development bank called New Development Bank will have a $100 billion
Currency Reserve Arrangement (CRA) that will help countries to deal with short-term liquidity
pressures apart from the $50 billion fund of the bank. It will be based in China and India will
have initial presidency for 5 years which will be on rotational basis with at least one vicepresident from each country.
o

Unlike World Bank, it is based on principle of equality and all members would have
equal stakes. Other countries will also be able to join it.

It shall mobilize resources for infrastructure and sustainable developments in BRICS


and other emerging countries.

While investment in bank is equal by all member countries, China is major contributor
to Contingency Reserve Fund with more than 40% share.

India is starving for investments in Infrastructure and China is having surplus investible
Forex reserves at $3.5 trillion 10 times those Indias

In some international circles, particularly western, BRICs bank is being seen as a


challenge to Bretton wood Institutions. So far, these concerns appear to be misplaced.
This bank seeks to just supplement what they are already doing, albeit with more
transparency and participation.

Skeptics in India are concerned that the Bank might be dominated by China and used for

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its own expansions and image building at the cost of BRICS countries.
Ufa summit 2015 reiterated many of the commitments made at Fortaleza
There was also a talk of gradually shifting of trade to local currencies. But it is easier said than
done as many of the local currencies are volatile and it might be difficult to fix exchange rates.
India to hold next summit

BRITAIN
Recent News

India is now the 3rd largest source of FDI for Britain


Modi visited Britain and sealed deals worth 9 billion pounds
Britain will go under referendum regarding its stay in EU in 2017
o Many argue that, the EU parliament is a challenge to sovereignty of British parliament
and hence, Britain should have flexibilities
o Unchecked flow of migrants is also another issue as Britons feel that they have to bear
more burden of migrants as its economy is robust and hence an attraction
o They also feel that Britain gives more, but receives less
o Red Tapism in EU is also a matter of concern
o Britain also wants additional protection since it doesnt use Euro

CENTRAL ASIA

India has unveiled its Connect Central Asia policy, which includes a proactive multi-pronged
diplomatic thrust to expand ties with the energy-rich Central Asian nations Kazakhstan,
Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan.
India will step up multilateral engagement with Central Asian partners using the synergy of joint
efforts through existing fora like the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, Eurasian Economic
Community (EEC) and the Custom Union. India has already proposed a Comprehensive Economic
Cooperation Agreement to integrate its markets with the unifying Eurasian space.
India has reactivated the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC).
China has a deep presence, but these countries want to diversify and want to remain outside
the sphere of influence of both China and Russia
They are concerned regarding Afghanistans instability like India as it might dim their economic
prospects
Easing of sanctions on Iran also provides a route to access these countries

TURKMENISTAN

Turkmenistan 4th largest reserve of Gas

TAPI pipeline. Scheduled to be completed by 2017 as it has started building the pipeline

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Silk Route

Afghanistan focus

Eurasian Rail Road Link

TAJIKISTAN

Anti Terrorism- India's role in fighting the Taliban and Al-Qaeda


India has only one airbase outside India at Farkhon in Tajikistan, set in background of rising
Taliban in 1990s. It is an Air force Base and is near border of Afghanistan and hence strategically
important.
India also helped in development of Ayni Airbase and military hospital
Tajikistan is one of the large beneficiaries of the ITEC programme.

CANADA

For the first time in 42 years, a prime minister has made a standalone bilateral visit to Canada.
A $350-million Indo-Canadian nuclear agreement has emerged the hallmark achievement
Canada would be included in the list of nations receiving a visa-on-arrival from India
MoU signed between ISRO and Canadian Space Agency
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper handed over to his counterpart an 800 years old
sculpture

CHINA
PRC was established in 1949 and India was the 2nd non-communist country to recognize it.
China annexed Tibet in 1950 and thus removed a historical buffer between the two countries. China has
created the Tibet Autonomous Region, which is an integral part of China. Tibetans dispute Chinas claim
that autonomy is granted to the region and oppose the Chinese claim that Tibet is part of Chinese
territory. They also oppose the policy of bringing into Tibet more and more Chinese settlers. They think
that China wants to undermine the traditional religion and culture of Tibet. Indias interest in Tibet is
also legitimate as it hosts lakhs of refugees in India. Tibet was historically an autonomous region with
Chinese rule in intermittent periods. India had strong cultural links in form of Kailash Yatras and
Buddhism. Tibetans also argue that if China can provide autonomy to Hong-Kong, then why not to Tibet
which even had a history of independent existence and a distinct cultural identity.
Panchsheel 1954
In 1962 war, China occupied Aksai Chin in Indias Jammu and Kashmir and territories in Karakoram and
is now building a highway there linking Gwadar port of Pakistan to its restive Xinxiang province. War
with China alerted Indian leadership to the volatile situation in the Northeast region. Apart from being
isolated and extremely underdeveloped, this region also presented India with the challenge of national
integration and political unity. The process of its reorganization began soon after the China war.

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Nagaland was granted statehood; Manipur and Tripura, though Union Territories, were given the right
to elect their own legislative assemblies.
After 1962, things started improving only in 1976 with change in leadership in China.
1993, was the year when both sides signed an agreement on peace and tranquility on the border by
agreeing on Line of Actual Control.
Prime Minister A B Vajpayee visited China in June 2003 during which a Declaration on Principles for
Relations and Comprehensive Cooperation was signed. This was the first comprehensive document on
development of bilateral relations signed at the highest level between India and China. China implicitly
recognized Sikkim as part of India during PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee meeting. Strategic and Economic
Partnership was laid between the two countries in 2005 during visit of president Wen Ziabao.
Currently, biggest challenges in case of China are in form of political reform and greater freedom to
citizens. It has also to deal with instability in Tibet and Xinjiang province.
COOPERATION AND POSITIVE DEVELOPMENT AREAS
The nature and content of the bilateral relationship has evolved considerably since the signing
of our Strategic and Cooperative Partnership for Peace and Prosperity and the Shared Vision
Document in January 2008.
I.

Trade $75 billion today with high deficit. India is also skeptical of China dumping in
India which has been highlighted by countries like USA as well. This is one of the reasons
that India is wary of signing an FTA with China. Sino-Indian economic ties are at an alltime high with annual bilateral trade expected to reach around $100 billion over the
next three years.

II.

Strategic Economic Dialogue Moving towards positive economic cooperation, Second


India-China Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) was held in Delhi in 2012 between
Planning Commission of India and National Developmental and Reforms Commission of
China. The Dialogue has three key focus areas Railways, Energy and Water.

III.

Defense and Border Cooperation The Line of Actual Control (LAC)(also known as the
MacCartney-MacDonald Line) is the effective border between India and the People's
Republic of China. The term LAC gained legal recognition in Sino-Indian agreements
signed in 1993 and 1996. The 1996 agreement states, No activities of either side shall
overstep the line of actual control.
a. Hand in Hand 2007 It was a joint anti-terrorism exercise
b. An Annual Defense Dialogue is conducted between the two countries.
c. Special Representative Level Meet (appointed during Vajpayee visit to China in
2003) was held in Delhi in Jan 2012, which aims at establishing a Working

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Mechanism to solve the boundary dispute. The mechanism will focus on border
issues, while Special Representatives meet will continue to focus on boundary
dispute. 17 round of special representative level talks have been held.
d. On PMs China visit, a Border Defense Cooperation Agreement was signed
which among other things carried that any of sides will not use force in case of
any face off over LAC. BDCA was one of 9 agreements.
AREAS OF DISAGREEMENT AND CONCERN
I.

Trade Deficit and other issues Trade balance is highly skewed in Chinas favor. The
software services and IT enabled services exports, in particular, has been one sector
where India has not only had a competitive edge globally, but also as against China.
However, this golden industry faces restrictions in the Chinese market with the countrys
increasing focus on developing its service industry. The Pharmaceuticals and auto
component exporters confront similar issues in China.
a. Apart from market-access issues and Chinas unfair trade practices (dumping) is to
be blamed for the ballooning trade deficit with China.
b. Besides, India hasnt even been able to make the best of its comparative advantage
with China. For instance, even after the lifting of the ban on Basmati exports, India
has failed to tap the under-exploited Chinese market.

II.

Riparian Issues Since China doesnt have any River Treaty or Agreement like India has
with Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal, it often takes unilateral decisions and even
doesnt allow India a joint inspection etc. Beijing has proposed an ambitious project to
divert the water from water rich South to water deficient North by transferring the
water from Tibetan Bramhaputra. China last year gave the go-ahead for three new
hydropower dams on the Yarlung Zangbo, ending a two-year suspension on new
projects. Major concerns of India are

This can have grave ecological impact and even Chinese ecologists have warned
about this.

Secondly, since India is downstream and there are chances of uncontrolled flow
of waters from upstream which can cause flood in India.

Thirdly, according to Inland Waterways Authority of India, fluctuations in the


water level can also hinder commercial interests as it will also affect the
functioning of National Waterways no-2 which is seen as a burgeoning option
for inland trade.

Fourthly, it is also likely to impact hydro-electricity power generation potential


of India.

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In a move to assuage Indias concerns about the ongoing dam projects on the upper
reaches of the river, China has for the first time formally agreed to allow Indian
hydrological experts to conduct study tours in Tibet to monitor the flows on the upper
reaches of the Brahmaputra, according to a new agreement signed during the visit of
Vice-President Hamid Ansari in 2014.
III.

Border Disputes McMohan line (a result of British agreement with Tibet in 1914) is a
890 km line following the highest watershed line in the Himalayas extends from
Bhutan till the Great Bend. After annexing Tibet, China didnt recognize this line. The
main dispute was about the western and the eastern end of the long border. So, China
claimed two areas within the Indian territory Aksai-chin area in the Ladakh region of
Jammu and Kashmir and much of the state of Arunachal Pradesh in what was then
called NEFA (North Eastern Frontier Agency). But this claim is without any merit as it has
recognized McMohan line in case of Myanmar. As of today, the 3500 km border
between India and China has not been completely demarcated leading to varying
perceptions about the exact location of the LAC in many parts boundary. An agreement
on Peace and Tranquility along the Line of Actual Control in the India China Border
Areas signed in 1993 between the two countries relating to the border issues clearly
states that the references to the LAC should not prejudice their respective positions on
boundary question, as no commonly accepted alignment of the LAC exists. Recently it
issued passports which had maps showing Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh as its parts.

Cabinet gave approval for setting up of a Mountains Strike Corps along Chinese
border. It will have 45,000 soldiers and will have headquarters in West Bengal.

China has deployed around 300,000 troops across the Tibetan plateau, India is
responding by raising its military deployment from 120,000 to 180,000 along
with two Sukhoi-30 Fighter Squadrons in the region.

India lacks infrastructure along Chinese border considerably. Indian


government is now vigorously pursuing infrastructural development along the
border areas. Several roads and rail links have been approved, but China objects
any construction activity.

After reactivating old airfields and ALGs, Indian Air force has demonstrated its
reach by landing C 130J-30 Super Hercules aircraft to the frontier zone.

China currently has 5 fully operational airbases, a well laid down rail and road
network.

Beijing doesnt see the whole issue in isolation, but is warily watching growing
defense closeness between US, India and Japan.

A 2005 protocol signed by the two sides also prohibits construction of any

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permanent infrastructure in disputed areas.

Another issue has been involvement of China in construction activities in PoK.


India objected to Chinese companies building infrastructure projects in Pak
controlled Kashmir.

Military intrusion is only one aspect of Chinese assertions along the border,
which gets noticed by Indias media. China has long embarked on several nonmilitary intrusions (cultural, economic etc.) which, if not countered, may become
more threatening. As long as Beijing seeks to keep India unsettled in its own
region, we cannot really develop ties which could be called friendly.

IV.

China Making Maritime Inroads Into Neighboring Countries This is explained in what
is termed as String of Pearls theory. In Sri Lanka Hambantota port; Pakistan a naval
base in Gwadar. Maldives. Myanmars Coco Islands. China is in talks with Bangladesh
also to develop its Chittagong Port.

V.

Tibetan Issue, Dalai Lama in India and Tibetan Government in Exile working from India

VI.

Rising Defence Power Amounting to $142.2 billion, Chinas defence expenditure for
this year overshadows Indias defence budget of $40 billion - almost $100 billion more.

China is second largest defence power today.


RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
I.

South China Sea Issue and India There are two main nations that are in a row over
control of South China Sea with China Vietnam and Philippines. Indias decision to go
ahead with oil exploration cooperation with Vietnam. South China Sea has strategic
importance for India as 40% of Indias trade with US pass through here.

II.

Seychelles purportedly, first Chinese military base outside China.

III.

FTAAP
Announcement

China during APEC


summit

of

2014

announced
establishment

of

Free Trade Area of


the Asia Pacific as a
rival

free

trade

grouping to US led
TPP

and

ASEAN

backed RCEP. It is

Nitin Sangwan www.meandupsc.blogspot.in

widely viewed as another check to the pivot to the Asia strategy of the USA. China has
declared that the potential of FTAAP is more than TPP and RCEP combined.
IV.

Xi-Jinping Visit, 2014 Xi Jinpings visit was the third by a Chinese President.
a. The leaders assigned the Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) to explore new
areas for economic cooperation in crosscutting fields including industrial
investment, infrastructure development, energy conservation and environment
protection, high-tech industry, clean energy and sustainable urbanization.
b. China also assured India of addressing the issues regarding access by Indian
pharma and IT firms in Chinese market and also address the issue of the rising
trade deficit. India asserted that the combination of the worlds factory and the
worlds back office will produce the most competitive production base and the
most attractive consumer market.
c. Chinese side announced the establishment of two industrial parks in India, one
in Gujarat and one in Maharashtra.
d. Memorandum of Understanding and Implementation Plan on Cooperation in
Railways and also take up high speed project.
e. The leaders decided to designate 2015 as the "Visit India Year" in China and 2016
as the "Visit China Year" in India to promote people to people contact which is
already at high level
f.

The two sides decided to hold the first round of maritime cooperation dialogue
within this year to exchange views on maritime affairs and security

g. India was also invited to join Maritime Silk Road, Bangladesh-China-IndiaMyanmar (BCIM) Corridor among other initiatives in the region. BCIM is
intended

to

advance

multi-modal

connectivity,

harness

economic

complementarities, promote investment and trade and facilitate people-topeople contacts. These moves of China are also seen as countering the increasing
US influence in Asia and its plan of establishing TPP.
h. Xi announces new route to Kailash-Mansarovar
i.

India-China dialogue falls short of expectations on many counts. Chinese


committed to substantially less investment in India than the much-hyped $100

billion
CHINA and OTHER NATIONS and OTHER ISSUES OF CHINA
I.

Africa It has an eye on its mineral. In Libya it has made oil supply contracts.

II.

Energy Diplomacy China has already overtaken US as the biggest importer of oil from
GCC. Further GCC is also a big market for Chinese manufactured items.

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III.

Russia China and Russian communists had divergent views earlier, however post 1980s
the two countries have steadily come close to each other.
a. Both have shared common views on many international issues including Syria
and Lybiya issue.
b. Russia recently agrees to sell sophisticated arms and Sukhoi-35 fighter jets to
China and thus reverting its earlier stance.
c. They have also resolved their boundary disputes significantly. Both have also
signed a long-term $400 billion gas supply deal which will strengthen energy
cooperation on one hand and reduce Russian dependency on West for market
for its gas. Joining hands with Russia will also create a strong bulwark against
rising danger of US interference in Asia and Pacific.
Russia and China in Historical Perspective Russia supported Chinese Communist
Revolution of 1949, but relations deteriorated thereafter. China attacked the Russian ally
Vietnam in 1970s and there were also boundary disputes. Relations are however
improving in post Cold War era as both are now wary of USA. Both signed a friendship
treaty in 2001. Today they are engaged in widening cooperation, particularly in trade,
energy, defence & technology. They share similar grounds on major geopolitical issues
like N Korea, Syria, Iran, etc. Recently imposed sanctions on Russia by the West, in the
wake of Ukraine crisis, has further pushed it to intensify ties with China.

IV.

ASEAN With a combined GDP of over $ 2 trillion (2011) and total trade of $ 2.4 trillion
(2011), ASEAN has emerged as a formidable economic force. Yet stability in ASEAN is
crucially dependent upon internal as well as external factors. The ASEAN is trying to forge
an economic union by 2015. ASEAN+6 have Regional Comprehensive Economic
Partnership (RCEP) even as the US is pushing for a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) which
excludes China. Some countries like Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Indonesia have
doubts about joining the TPP negotiations.

V.

USA

USA announced Pivot to Asia 60% of its fleet will now be stationed in Pacific

TPP by USA

US sailed its missile destroyer ship within 12 Nautical Miles of Spartley Islands
and later in November flew bomber planes over same islands (Spartley are
claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam as well and are considered as a potential source
of oil and gas)

VI.

Japan is getting revitalized. Prime Minister Abe is determined to restore Japans primacy.
Prime Minister Abe is reported to have proposed a strategy whereby Australia, India,
Japan and the US state of Hawaii form a diamond to safeguard the maritime commons

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stretching from the Indian Ocean region to the Western Pacific.


China and Japan in Historical Perspective Japan was the first industrial nation in Asia.
By the end of 19th century Japan had turned into an economic and military powerhouse.
It started to follow imperial policies. In the First Sino Japanese war (1895), Qing dynasty
was defeated by Japan. The dynasty also lost Korea till then a vassal state. Between the
two Sino Japanese wars there were certain localized conflicts between the two nations.
For eg: Japanese invasion of Manchuria. Between 19371941, during the second SinoJapanese war there were major events that marked a permanent scar in the relations of
the two nations. The worst of these incidents known as Nanking Massacre, left tens of
thousands of Chinese civilians dead and horrific rape crime were committed against
women by Japanese troops. The tension was further escalated when a shrine honouring
the criminals of war was created at Yashukuni.
VII.

Xinjiang Province Issue Clashes with security forces in Xinjiang, home to the ethnic
Uighur minority, have killed more than 200 people last year. China insists that
secessionists from the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) have been responsible
for the violent campaign. Beijing regards the movement particularly troublesome because
a network of pipelines transporting gas to Chinas industrial heartland pass through
Xinjiang. The province, adjoining Tibet, also shares borders through the Wakhan corridor
with Afghanistan, as well Pakistan and Tajikistan all possible conduits for jihadist
penetration into China. With roots of militancy in Xinjiang spreading into the region and
beyond, China, which is now inclined to include India and Pakistan into the SCO, has
pushed counter-terrorism to top of the agenda of the grouping, which also includes
Russia and four Central Asian states.

VIII.

Yiwu to Madrid Cargo Train It is a part of broader strategy of rejuvenating the silk
road. A train from Germany to China is already operational since 2011.

IX.

Air Defence Identification Zone - all aircraft intending to enter the zone had to take prior
permission from Chinese authorities, maintain radio communications and follow the
instructions issued by Chinese controllers. The announced ADIZ encloses the disputed
Senkaku islands which China calls the Diaoyu.

X.

Canada, US and Japan have such zones from post cold war era in order to defend

themselves against Soviet war planes and nuclear missiles.


Why China slowing down?

It is an export oriented economy. In a condition of global slowdown it is bound to slow


Secondly, as its economy matures, it no longer holds the lower costs advantage
Thirdly, the economy has woken up on quality of life issues and can no longer afford to remain
a high carbon intensity economy

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Property market which contributes to 25% of GDP and underpins its banking system is also
cooling down
Its debt to GDP ratio is also all time high at 280% half of it is directed to the housing and real
estate sector which has resulted into a bubble (unlike Greece almost all the Chinese debt is
domestic and foreign debt is just $ 1 trillion for which it has $ 3.8 trillion FOREX kitty)

Is there a real threat to Chinese economy?

Its forex reserves are still very good at $4 trillion


Main financial institutions like Banks are still state owned
Stock market capitalization as a percentage of GDP is also not very high and hence there are not
much risks of shocks from there

PM Modi Visit Mongolia, South Korea were also part of 3 nations visit.

$ 20 billion worth of investment deals signed to give a boost to Make in India

e-Visa deal signed with China

However, no big breakthrough was made on the front of boundary dispute, Belt-Road initiative

The two sides however admitted that they know little about each other and deepening of
cultural ties through activities like tourism should be the way forward.

ONE BELT ONE ROAD


One Belt, One Road (also known as the Belt and Road Initiative; abbreviated OBOR) is a
development strategy and framework, proposed by People's Republic of China that focuses on
connectivity and cooperation among countries primarily in Eurasia, which consists of two main
components, the land-based "Silk Road Economic Belt" (SREB) and oceangoing "Maritime Silk
Road" (MSR).
It is also viewed as
Chinese answer to TPP.
China has set $40
billion for this project
and has formed Silk
Road Fund.
I.

The Maritime
Silk
Road,
officially
the
21st
Century
Maritime Silk

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II.

Route Economic Belt is a Chinese strategic initiative to increase investments and foster
collaboration across the historic Silk Road. ChinaPakistan Economic Corridor is an
extension to proposed Silk Road. In November 2014, Chinese President Xi Jinping
announced plans to create a 40 billion USD development fund, which would help
finance China's plans to develop the New Silk Road and the Maritime Silk Road. China
has accelerated its drive to draw Africa into the MSR by speedy construction of a
modern standard-gauge rail link between Nairobi and Mombasa.
Beijing envisages an economic corridor linking its south-western Yunnan province
through Myanmar to Kolkata as a key segment of a land-based Silk Road economic
belt. Essentially, the 'belt' includes countries situated on the original Silk Road through
Central Asia, West Asia, the Middle East, and Europe and most of the countries are
member of AIIB as well.

The ChinaPakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is an ongoing development megaproject which


aims to connect Gwadar Port in southwestern Pakistan to Chinas northwestern autonomous
region of Xinjiang, via a network of highways, railways and pipelines to transport oil and gas.
The economic corridor is considered central to ChinaPakistan relations and will run about 3,000
km from Gwadar to Kashgar. Overall construction costs are estimated at over $46 billion its
biggest overseas investment plan till date. Karakaoram highway already passes through PoK
and this new move has created unease in India.
The irony of Chinas policy remains that at the one hand it is talking of free access of the sea
through the Maritime Silk Route while on the other hand China lays strict claims over the South
China Sea and has disputes over the access and claims over the sea with many countries. This
raises many doubts over real Chinese intentions behind superficial benevolent claims it is
making in the project.
Map of proposed project
Why One Belt One Road
o
o

More than 4.4 billion people, or 63 per cent of the global population countries, are
expected to benefit from Chinas game-changing plans.
Currently 80% of Chinas trade and crude oil supply are via sea route which is at many
places like Strait of Malacca are under US influence. It is a bid to extend Chinese
influence far and wide.
Analysts say that the belt and road initiative could shift the centre of geo-economic
power towards Eurasia, and undermine the Asia Pivot of the United States and its
allies.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is hopeful that the mega-trade volumes among the Silk
Road economies would touch $ 2.5 trillion over the next 10 years.

What India is doing to counter One Belt One Road?

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Project Mausam for cultural cooperation


The Mausam project envisages the re-establishment of Indias ancient maritime routes with its
traditional trade partners along the Indian Ocean.
The Spice Route of India, visualises the India-centered linkup of historic sea routes in Asia,
Europe and Africa.
IORA New Observers
PM visits Mauritius, Seychelles to counter Chinese influence
Strategic Diamond Initiative A proposal by Japan for a 4 nations (India, Japan, USA and
Australia) cooperation to counter Chinese threat

INDIA and CHINA in 2015

A first-ever training exchange programme for officials of both countries, between the Lal
Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA), Mussoorie, and the China
Executive Leadership Academy (CELAP) in Shanghai.
India signed a memorandum of understanding, along with Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and
Nepal and others, as the founding member of the AIIB.
60th year of signing Panchsheel agreement The five principles of Panchsheel were adopted by
Bandung Conference (1955); this was basically a trade pact between China and India
streamlining their bilateral trade operations in Tibet. This was taken from the holy books by
Indias first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, to be applicable to international behaviors of the
modern states. However, Panchsheel as a pragmatic guide on ground has mixed results in wake
of 1962 war, China-Pak friendship, Chinese hawkish stance in recent years and so on.
China inaugurates new Tibet rail link near Sikkim border. China plans to build a new important
railway line in Tibet close to Arunachal Pradesh, which Chinese analysts say could act as a
bargaining chip during the border negotiations with India.
Indian pilgrims, bound for the Kailash Mansarovar pilgrimage will also be able to use the Nathu
La pass that links Sikkim and Tibet, inaugurating a new route that expands connectivity between
the two countries.
Both India and China to set up a joint task force to address the rising trade gap which is at
more than $40 billion right now
India along Pak is likely to get membership of SCO
Prime Minister of India, during his Chinese tour, has announced that India has decided to
extend electronic tourist visas to Chinese nationals.

Recent news

China displayed its military might in commemoration of WWII end


US has now 3.6 lakh troops in pacific, 200 ships including 5 aircraft carriers
Joining of many NATO member countries in AIIB despite US pressure is a signal of shift in
power balance

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FRANCE
India and France are developing a new relationship with the establishment of the strategic partnership
in 1998. French President Hollande paid a visit to India in Feb 2013.
France did not condemned India after nuclear test, which signify belief system of France on our
democracy. Going ahead France always supported Indias permanent seat in UNSC.
COOPERATION AND POSITIVE DEVELOPMENT AREAS
I.

II.
III.

IV.

Export Control Regime Support French President endorsed the Indian candidature for the four
multilateral export controls regimes NSG, MTCR, Australia Group which controls chemical as
well as biological agents, Wassenaar Arrangement which controls conventional weapons and
other dual use goods.
Nuclear Cooperation French firm Areva is setting up plant at Jaitapur.
Space
a. There has been quite a long history of space cooperation and there has been
cooperation between ISRO and CNES. India has used Arian rockets to launch its satellites
in the past, while France has used Indian PSLV.
b. In 1960s, France made available technology that it used in Centaur rocket.
c. In 1970s France helped India in developing Vikas engine, modified version of which is
still used for its PSLV and GSLV 2nd stage.
d. In 1980s, France launched APPLE satellite of India. This paved way or development of
INSAT and GSAT series satellites.
e. Recently Megha Tropique a joint venture satellite to study tropical weather
phenomenon was launched. It makes India 2nd in the world to launch a similar Climate
satellite. The Megha-Tropiques mission is a mission to study the water in the tropical
atmosphere in the context of climate change.
f. A new satellite SARAL (Satelite with ARgos an ALtika) launched. It will study oceans with
its two components ARGOS3 will collect data and Altika will measure the height of sea
surface.
Defense and Security
a. Both the countries recently in Oct 2011 conducted their first joint military exercise
Shakti to strengthen their anti-terrorism and counter-insurgency tactics in hilly areas.
b. Garuda is the joint Air exercise that two countries have been conducting regularly in the
past.
c. The 14th edition of the Indo-French naval exercise (Varuna) recently concluded at Goa.
It was a ten day long exercise and included both a harbour and sea phase.
d. India uses Mirage 2000 of France and France has recently agreed to upgrade the fighter
planes.
e. Maitri It is a surface to Air missile transferred by France to India
f. India recently shortlisted the French Dassault Rafale fighters for a multi billion deal to
supply more than 150 jets.

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g. France has also supported Indias claim for permanent seat in UNSC.
h. France also supports MTCR, Australia Group membership as well

GERMANY
Angela Merkel visits India

18 pacts signed
Presence of German firms like Bosch, Bayer, MAN, BMW, VW in India
India set up a German special fast track mechanism only such after Japan
It was also decided that German will be taught in KVs and modern Indian languages in German
schools
Germany will also help in setting up of Solar power - Green Energy Corridor Project Green
Energy Corridor Project is an upcoming project which aims at synchronising electricity produced
from renewable sources, such as solar and wind, with conventional power stations in the grid.
Germany returned to India a 10th century Durga idol that had gone missing from a temple in
Kashmir over two decades ago.
The two leaders also underlined the importance of freedom of navigation in international
waters and the right of passage and other maritime rights in accordance with international law

INDIAN OCEAN RIM ASSOCIATION


The Association holds a Council of Ministers meeting once every two years. In 2012, the US has been
appointed as the dialogue partner. Following were the broad declarations made during the meet
The objectives of IORA are as follows:

Increase the trade among the nations from the current level of 24% of their global trade.

Study of monsoon

Marine biology and management of


our coastal zones are areas of
relevance.

Piracy and maritime security

To promote sustainable growth and


balanced development of the region
and member states
To focus on those areas of economic
cooperation
which
provide
maximum
opportunities
for

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development, shared interest and mutual benefits


To promote liberalisation, remove impediments and lower barriers towards a freer and
enhanced flow of goods, services, investment, and technology within the Indian Ocean rim.

IRAN
Historically, Persia had strong trade and cultural links with India in highly favorable terms. India had a
direct land border with Iran before independence. The countries had signed a Friendship Treaty in 1950,
but during the rule of Shah, Iran sided US in cold war and leaned towards Pakistan. Iran adopted an
independent foreign policy after CIA backed autocratic Shah was overthrown in revolution and since then
the US has distanced and even put sanctions on Iran in wake of its nuclear program.
Relations with Iran looked up when Indian PM visited Iran in 1993 and Iranian PM visited India in 2003.
But things turned sour when India voted against Iran in UN over nuclear issue. IPI has also remained
non starter while Pakistan has built a gas pipeline.
Whereas Beijings economic engagement with Iran is growing, Indias presence is shrinking, as India has
succumbed under western pressure and has almost withdrawn from IPI gas pipeline.
AREAS of COOPERATION

India also held a first joint naval exercise in 2010, India has also offered to assist in
modernization of the submarines and its aging Russian MIG fighters.
India is third largest importer of Iranian crude.
The two countries are in the process of finalizing a Bilateral Investment Promotion & Protection
Agreement (BIPPA) and a Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA).
India-Pakistan-Iran Gas Pipeline is also in talks for LNG supply. Pakistan has already gone ahead
with the pipeline.
Indias Afghan Policy and Iran Irans location as access to Afghanistan is crucial. Its port of
Chabbar is key to access to Afghanistan via a road link.
In wake of US sanctions, India has also gone for Oil for Projects Mechanism
Iran is also a gateway to Central Asia for India and an important piece in establishing Northern
Distribution Network.

NEGATIVE DEVELOPMENTS

Lowering of Crude Imports


India voted against Iran in IAEA
IPI is also virtually scrapped

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS REGARDING IRAN

United States and Iran Presidents Barack Obama and Hassan Rouhani spoke at the United
Nations General Assembly last year. The two leaders also conversed over phone directly first

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after Iranian revolution. Religious leader Ayotollah Khomeni also seem to be backing the
moderate stance of the new leader. From the US point of view, too, several factors encouraged
grasping the Iranian olive branch. Chief among them was the pervasive war-weariness and the
sense that military solutions to complex problems, attempted in Afghanistan and Iraq, had only
left a legacy of bitterness and national breakdown, as also significant losses to the US treasury.
Israel and Iran Israel launched Stuxnet virus in the Iranian nuclear systems in 2011. The thaw
in US-Iran relations has not met with universal applause. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has
however referred to Mr. Rouhani as a wolf in sheeps clothing and has warned the
international community to be wary of the Iranian charm offensive.
Israel-Iran Relations in a Historical Perspective The core of the issue is the Arab-Jew
antagonism. After Iraq war the power distribution took between Israel and Iran leaving them
rivals struggling for power in Middle East. Major disputes include Iran serving funds to Hamas,
jihads, and Hezbollahs to attack Israel, Iran nuclear programme working mainly towards antiIsrael, and also anti-Zionist ideology. The recent deal which happened between west and Iran is
not conducive to Israel.

NUCLEAR DEAL VIENNA DEAL or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPA)


Background of the nuclear deal

The nuclear program of Iran was launched in the 1950s with the help of the United States as
part of the Atoms for Peace program.
Relations took a turn with the Iranian Revolution of 1979 when American puppet government
was overthrown soon, US also started backing Saddam Husain to counter Iran
The world needs to ask a question why a known nuclear power Israel just next door to Iran
is not a threat and why Iran is?
US himself has not signed CTBT
Current situation is rooted to 13 years back in 2004 when Irans secret nuclear sites were
exposed and Iran came under severe sanctions
US and Israel even tried to sabotage the nuclear program through virus attacks like Stuxnet
on its nuclear facilities
The top leader Khameni has earlier in 2005 said that possession of nukes is a sin and had a
issued a Fatwa against them
Further, growing threat of Islamic Sunni terrorism and absence of any viable combat plan
makes it necessary for both Iran and west to cooperate with each other. Shia Iran is also as
hated by IS as is west.
It is an opportunity for US for damage control and salvage its image. Due to arbitrary
interventions by west in last many decades its credibility has hit nadir
Iran also has very young demography like India as 42% of its population is below 25 years. This
group is quite aspirational and dont want to remain isolated anymore.
Sensing huge market opportunities, big businesses are already queuing up in Iran in anticipation
of breakthrough.

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Due to sanctions, its economy is already wretched and inflation is still as high as 25%. So Iran,
in order to preserve its stability desperately needs the deal.
Pushing Iran too much against wall my backfire, after all Iran has capacity to develop nuclear
weapon and this attitude will provide it no incentive to give up its program.

Contours of Nuclear Deal Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPA)

Deal was cut in Vienna


Cap on nuclear enrichment, continuance of Civil Nuclear power plants under IAEA watch,
sanction will come into force automatically if terms violated
The deal caps uranium enrichment at 3.67% and limits the stockpile to 300 kg, all for 15 years.
Iran will slash by around two-thirds the number of centrifuges from around 19,000 to 6,104.
Iran will be required to ship spent fuel out of the country forever
All nuclear facilities will be under IAEA watch but it will not be any time anywhere types
Unlike earlier western demand, its nuclear power plants at Arak and Fordo shall continue to
remain in operation
Weapon buying ban for 5 and missile development ban to continue for 8 more years
Many sanctions related to nuclear research shall continue for 10 years
Funds unfreezed - $50-100 billions will be released
98% of the enriched Uranium and all of Plutonium stockpile shall be taken away from Iran
Wests gain
Irans gain
Nuclear weapon building deferred if not Back breaking sanctions eased immediately,
completely shelved off
$50 billion worth of funds will be released
All sites come under IAEA watch
However, watch is not any time anywhere
All enriched fuels will be taken away
Civil nuclear operations will not be affected
including at Fordow and Arak nuclear
autonomy thus de facto recognised
There will be one less enemy in West Asia to Has an opportunity to assert its power which
focus upon amid rising radicalization in the has been suppressed since 1979
region
Criticism and complexities of the deal

Critics argue that it has not averted the nuclear weapon, but only delayed it. Skeptics say that
the money that will be unfreezed around $50 billion will be used to fund Hezbollah, build
stronger military
Arab antagonism fear a strong Iran means more polarizing of region under Iranian
influence. For example, situation like Yemen can be more and worse
Saudi Arabia may go nuclear in case it feel threatened with a stronger Iran in future
Iranian intervention in Syria right after deal was signed
Detractors also argue that after 15 years, when most of the restrictions will be lifted, Iran will be
free to pursue its nuclear dream

India and Iran post deal

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India urged its


industrialists
to
invest more in
Iran, which needs
around Rs 50,000
cr
worth
of
investment
India
will
be
getting cheaper
oil
India is setting up
urea plant at
Chabbar using gas
from Iran
ONGC has been
working there and
has also made a
gas
discovery
there
Set up gas and fertilizer plants
International North South Transport Corridor can be now given a new lease of life which was an
initiative by India, Iran and Russia in 2000
Revive IPI gas pipeline Pakistan portion of which is already finalized
While maintaining closeness with Iran, India has to be wary of the relations with Saudi Arabia
and Israel as well

ISRAEL
With Israel, although India announced its recognition in 1950, in a dramatic change in its policy towards
West Asia in the wake of end of Cold War, full diplomatic relations were established in 1992. India used
to have a strong position on Palestine and relations with Israel had always been a balancing act.
Both are nuclear capable states, surrounded by hostile neighbors & suffering from the pangs of
terrorism.
Israel is more important for the Indian oil interests in the region and its relationships are important if it
want to promote itself as an important player in the Middle East.
COOPERATION AND POSITIVE DEVELOPMENT AREAS
I.

Defense
a. Defense relations were first solidified by Israels willingness to supply armsincluding

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ordnance, laser-guided bombs, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) Heronduring the
1999 Kargil War between India and Pakistan.
b. Today, Israel is one of the biggest suppliers of defense equipments to India that include
radars etc and it is a leading supplier of smaller tactical arms.
c. Supply of AWACS radar system was one of the biggest deals in 2009.
d. Israel Aerospace Industry (IAI) won a $1.1 billion deal with the Indian navy in 2009 to
provide advanced Barak-8 tactical air-defense missile systems for its warships.
e. In 2014, Indian Navy test fired a long rang range missile which is jointly developed by
India and Israel. It will be mainstay of navy and land based strike corps and it can engage
multiple targets upto 12 at a time. It will be fitted into 15 warships including INS
Vikramaditya and INS Vikrant.
II.

Anti-Terrorism India and Israel not only exchange crucial intelligence information on Islamist
terrorist groups but Israel is also helping India to fight terrorism in Kashmir

III.

Agriculture India and Israel share similar climate in many aspects and Israel has scarce water
resources. Israel has mastered the art of dry land agriculture and India has started to cooperate
in this area as India also has 60% area under rain-fed agriculture.

IV.

Space In 2009, India successfully launched an Israeli-built RISAT 2 or radar imaging spysatellite.

V.
Trade Bilateral trade has reached around $ 4.5 billion. India is 6th largest trade partner.
IRRITANTS
I.

Some bottlenecks like Free trade Agreement, trade imbalance & low foreign investment may be
sorted out by discussions.

ISRAEL and OTHER STATES


I.

Israel came into existence after UN assembly in 1947 passed Resolution 181 and erstwhile
British colony was divided into two region Jewish and Arab. Arabs opposed.

II.

It has occupied Golan Heights from Syria.

III.

It has occupied Jerusalem and many other parts from Palestine.

IV.

It has also occupied territory of Jordan and Egypt as well.

V.
It considers Iran-Hezbollah and Syria alliance as a threat to itself.
Recent news

India abstained from a UNHRC resolution that condemned Israel it disappointed Palestine as
it was a U turn from longstanding position of India towards Palestine since pre-Independence
times when Gandhi said 1938 that Palestine belongs to Arabs.
Mukharjee is the first president to visit Israel and Palestine

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Though India is 2nd largest importer of Israeli arms, India is also one of the biggest aid givers to
Palestine
There was a clash between Palestinian muslims who accused Israel of blocading access to Al
Aqsa mosque in holy city of Jerusalem
Israel is witnessing a stabbing spree from Palestinians

JAPAN
With manufacturing costs increasing in China and given the political issues between the two countries,
Japanese businesses are looking to diversify, and India presents a good choice with its huge market.
COOPERATION AND POSITIVE DEVELOPMENT AREAS
I.

II.

III.
IV.
V.

The establishment of the Strategic and Global Partnership between India and Japan in
December 2006 elevated relations to a new level. This was later revised to Special Strategic and
Global Partnership
Trade and economy
Bilateral trade was around $16 b in 2010.
CEPA was signed in 2010 and Japan was the first country with which CEPA was signed.
Under the CEPA, Japan and India will get rid of tariffs on goods that account for more
than 90 per cent of their two-way trade flows, in a period of ten years after the
agreement takes effect.
Currency swap deal which is expected to help support the rupee
Aid and Infrastructure Japan is one of the biggest aid givers to India
Education Both sides are collaborating for the development of a research center at IIT
Hyderabad.
Defense
Malabar is the joint Naval exercise that India and Japan have undertaken in past. Japan
joined it as a permanent participant in 2015
JIMEX-12 The first bi-lateral maritime exercise between India and Japan JIMEX-12
Sahyog-Kaijin Indo Japan Coastguards joint exercise
Indian PM signed Tokyo Declaration on his visit in 2014.
Japan has sent positive signals on the sale of US2 amphibian aircraft technology to India
which will be the first to any country
Japan is also part of a group which vouch for expansion of UNSC

SHORTCOMINGS
I.
II.

The low-profile and low volume trade relationship is disappointing considering how much
Japan has to offer in terms of investment and technology. Trade volume is measly $16 billion.
India may be one of the largest recipients of Japanese ODA (Official Development Assistance),
but when it comes to foreign direct investment (FDI), it ranks low, well behind China.

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III.

IV.

Red tapism has been major irritant for Japanese companies and Japanese companies willingly
ceded market space in India to competitors from South Korea and China rather than deal with
the red tape.
Japan has also not been very forthcoming over nuclear energy cooperation. One, Japan would
like India to sign the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), while Indias position is
that it will maintain a moratorium on testing. Two, India seeks to retain the right to reprocess
spent fuel while providing assurances that this will only be under safeguards and for peaceful
purposes, whereas Japan would like India to accept restrictions on its basic right to reprocess.
Third, Japan wants India to accept inspections over and above what India has agreed to with the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), under national flagging, which India finds
unacceptable. In short, India cannot accept more obligations than those negotiated in 2008 with
the U.S., which provided for the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) waiver. Japan is an important
country as most of the American countries in the field of nuclear energy have joint partnership
with Japan.

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
I.

II.

PM Modis visit, 2014


Relationship status of India and Japan was elevated from Strategic and Global
Partnership to a Special Strategic and Global Partnership.
In order to facilitate investments from Japan, the Industry Ministry has set up a team
called 'Japan Plus' comprising officials of both the governments.
The two Prime Ministers announced the IndiaJapan Investment Promotion
Partnership
Japan had offered to invest USD 33.5 billion over the next five years by way of publicprivate partnership and overseas development assistance in infrastructure,
manufacturing, transport and clean energy, and on smart cities.
Japan has also offered construction of bullet train Japan has offered $ 15 billion soft
loan at interest of 1%, thus solving funding issue of the Mumbai-Ahembdabad route
Tokyo lifted six of Indias space and defence-related entities from its foreign end-user
list. Japan also supported Indias entry as a full member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
There was also progress on transfer of unique US-2 amphibian aircraft and its
technology
The two Prime Ministers welcomed the signing of the document to promote partnership
city arrangement between the ancient cities of Varanasi and Kyoto.
The two Prime Ministers welcomed the progress in the ongoing flagship projects of
India-Japan economic partnership, such as the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor
(DFC), Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), Chennai-Bengaluru Industrial Corridor
(CBIC) and committed to accelerate their implementation.
Japans moratorium on war virtually lifted Japan has ended it 70 years old policy of not
keeping military and not deploying its troops on foreign soil. In wake of rising Chinese threat,
the government has passed two key bills. The bills allow deployment of Japanese security forces

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on foreign lands even to aid US even if there is no direct threat to Japanese security.
Abdication of War is enshrined into the constitution of Japan (which has not been amended
even once after promulgation) under Article 9.

KOREA

Indian support and mediation during the Koran War in 1950s


In 2010, India and South Korea became Strategic Partners and implemented the
Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).
$20 billion trade
PM visited Korea as well on his 3 nations tour, 2015
There are 300 Korean companies which have invested about USD 3 billion in India. They
employ about 40,000 workers in India.

MALDIVES
Background

India was among the first to recognize Maldives after its independence in 1965 and to establish
diplomatic relations with the country.
Country has almost 100% literacy
Its economic mainstay is tourism
However, the country is grappling with problem of rising radicalization and drug menace
which can spoil its tourism industry
First Democratic elections were held in 2008, but due to protests, the president had to step
down in 2012. In an elections which were marred in controversy, the current president who is
also half-brother of the former dictator president was returned to power who has unleashed a
reign of terror since 2013 and has also arrested many key people including Nasheed who tried to
take refuge in Indian embassy, but was advised to surrender.

Areas of Positive Cooperation

Education India has sponsored opening up of faculty of education in the capital of nations
Health India has opened Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital
Tsunami Relief
Expats
Defense and Security
o Dornier reconnaissance aircraft are helping Maldives in maritime patrol and surveillance.
o New Delhi is also assisting Male to set up a network of ground radars in all its 26 atolls and
link them with the Indian military surveillance systems.
o Earlier, apart from hydrographic surveys and other military assistance, India had
transferred a fast-attack naval craft designed for fast and covert operations against
smugglers, gun-runners and terrorists, to Maldives in 2006.

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Recent News

The Maldives has joined Chinas 21st Century Maritime Silk Road project, becoming the second
nation in Indias backyard after Sri Lanka to sign up. Recently, Nepal also joined the move.
Newly formed BRICS bank and Asian Development and Investment Bank (ADIB), could be
involved in funding maritime infrastructure, including ports and investment parks
India dispatched water aid to the Maldivian capital of Male, after a fire destroyed the
generator of its biggest water treatment plant.
Former president Nashid was a close ally of India and was the first democratically elected
leader. He is now behind bars on weak charges of terrorism (in a case related to detention of a
judge who was accused of corruption and bias) and was sentenced for 13 years.
New regime was viewed with suspicion in India, but India is trying to normalise its relations with
India
An attempt was made to blowup the boat in which the President Gayoom was riding and in
consequence, vice-president was sacked and arrested and a 30 day emergency was imposed
which was lifted up under international pressure.
Current regime has seen numerous political arrests including those of military generals, defence
ministers and vice-president it doesnt augur well for an economy which is primarily
dependent on tourism

MONGOLIA

First visit to Monoglia by an Indian Prime Minister.


Prime minister asserted that Mongolia is an integral part of India's Act East Policy
India and Mongolia signed a joint statement committing to consolidate ties and upgrade the
comprehensive partnership to strategic partnership
Nuclear pact, 2009
Buddhist link
India was the first country outside the Soviet bloc to establish diplomatic relations with
Mongolia.
It can be a key in containing China, in the same way as India is using Indias neighbours for the
same
Prime minister announced that India will provide a Line of Credit of $1 billion to support
expansion of Mongolias economic capacity and infrastructure.
Trade just $ 24 million
The two sides inked 13 other pacts that include one on enhancing cooperation in border
defence, policing and surveillance, air services, cyber security and new and renewable energy.

MAURITIOUS

Mauritius has almost more than 60% population which is of Indian origin as a result of Indian
indentured labor which were sent there during colonial rule. Mauritius celebrates its National

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Day on March 12 as a mark of respect to Mahatma Gandhi, who began his Dandi march on this
day in 1930.
Recent News

Indias role as the "net security provider" in the


Indian Ocean region received a major boost
when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited
three India Ocean nations of Seychelles,
Mauritius and Sri Lanka from March 10-14.

MYANMAR
Historical Background

Historically, India had strong cultural relations


with Myanmar, but they were spoiled during Indo-Burma wars. Burma was previously a
province of India. Indians were used by the British in army and it led to anti-Indian feelings.
It is one of the most under-rated neighbors of India. Indian Myanmar policy is driven by China
factor also.
Myanmar was brought under military rule for the first time in 1962 and it got isolated from the
rest of the world including India.
Relations hit another historic low in 1988 when India supported failed pro-democracy protests.
It was only post 1993 when subsequent PMs tried to improve India-Myanmar relations in wake
of rising Chinese influence and India also mellowed down its pro-Aung Su Kyi rhetoric.
After 25 years an Indian PM visited Myanmar in 2012. India signed a 12 point agreement during
the visit of PM including developmental Aid India announced a $ 500 million aid to Myanmar,
Border Hats to boost local trade etc.

POSITIVE RELATIONS with INDIA


I.
II.
III.

IV.

Aid When cataclysmic cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar in May 2008, India responded
immediately with relief materials and offers of assistance.
Infrastructure and Energy Cooperation Punj Lyod is a major EPC contractor. ONGC Videsh Ltd.
(OVL), GAIL and Essar.
Trade
It is the only country with surplus trade with India.
A bilateral Investment Promotion Agreement (BIPA) and a Double Taxation Avoidance
Agreement (DTAA) were also signed in 2008.
India and Myanmar both are signatory to the India-ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement
India has opened three land border routes via Northeast to boost trade.
As the only ASEAN country which shares a land border with India, Myanmar is a bridge between
India and ASEAN.

Nitin Sangwan www.meandupsc.blogspot.in


V.
VI.
VII.

ASEAN, BIMSTEC and Ganga-Mekong are three groups that both the countries have joined
together.
Road Network To South East Asia Trilateral Highway will be complete by 2016. Talks are on
for Imphal-Mandley bus service.
Sittwe Port Sittwe Port is a
deepwater port under construction
by India since 2010 in Sittwe, the
capital of Rakhine State in
Myanmar, on the Bay of Bengal.
Situated at the mouth of the
Kaladan River, the USD 120 Million
port is being financed by India as a
part of the Kaladan Multi-modal
Transit Transport Project, a
collaboration between India and
Myanmar. The project is aimed at
developing transport infrastructure
in southwestern Myanmar and
northeastern India. The port will
allow cargo vessels from Indias
landlocked Mizoram state to navigate the Kaladan River (pass through Mizoram in India and
Ends at Sittwe) and connect them to Myanmar and Southeast Asia. The port is also seen as
Indias bid to check the growing Chinese aggression in Indian Ocean. Apart from development of
North-East region, this route is necessary in case of any conflict with China as the present route,
i.e., chicken neck could be blocked by China in conflict situation.

AREAS of FRICTION

Lack of infrastructural development, absence of enthusiastic response from local people,


frequent insurgencies, poor governance in the states, easy availability of arms and weapons
from across the international borders are some of the issues that needs to be ironed out before
India could built stronger bonds with Myanmar.

CHINA and MYANMAR

India is concerned over Chinas extensive military cooperation and involvement in developing
ports, naval and intelligence facilities and industries, specifically the upgrading of a naval base
in Sittwe, a major seaport located close to the eastern Indian city of Kolkata.
China is developing twin oil
and natural gas pipelines
from Kyaupkyu port of
Muanmar to Kunmin in
Yunnan Province. Once

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complete it will do away the need to circumvent Straight of Malacca.


China is also developing other huge hydroelectric projects on Irrawaddy and other rivers.
China has a virtual control over Kachin state, but fortunately there is growing suspicion in
Myanmar regarding Chinese activities.

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS in MYANMAR

Hilary Clinton visit and US appoints first ambassador after around 20 years
ASEAN chairmanship for 2014.
Myanmar releases hundreds of political prisoners.
Elections to be held this year
Dawei Project This is a new massive developmental project for constructing a new deep sea
port and an SEZ by investment of $50 billion with the help of Thailand. On the visit of Thai PM in
India, India has also shown interest in collaborating with the Thai companies for development of
the port.
Minority Issues 38% of the population consists of
ethnic minority people with conflict areas like
Kachin, Karen etc. There is also an ongoing conflict
between Rohingyas Muslims and ethnic local
Buddhists in Rakhine province and it can have
spillover effects over India as well. (Rohingya
Muslims dont have any citizenship rights currently.
They are labeled as Bangladeshi immigrants in
Buddhist dominated Myanmar.)
o Drugs and timber smuggling are fuelling such
conflicts
Stillwell route built during the Second World War.
Stillwell Road was closed in 1962 [after the SinoIndian war], the movement of border trade was also restricted. Re-opening this road would
open up numerous options.
Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) Government signed a ceasefire agreement with the
insurgent groups. However, almost half of the target groups refused to sign including those who
are among the biggest ones.
Elections
o Su Kyis NLD won historical mandate these were the only 2nd democratically held
elections
o Rohingyes were not allowed to vote and there were other disturbed areas where voting
was not held
o Current constitution has been framed by Junta to exclude Su Kyi from becoming
president as it includes a clause that a person with foreign kids or spouse cannot
become president

Nitin Sangwan www.meandupsc.blogspot.in


o
o
o
o
o

o
o
o

A big challenge for her would be to reconcile the ethnic differences 38% of Myanmar
Population is ethnic minority
Further, not a single candidate of NLD was a Muslim she was also ignored of ignoring
the plight of Rohingya Muslims she has to now think of them also
Majority of the candidates of NLD including Su Kyi are inexperienced in administration,
this is likely to pose huge challenge
Military still holds 25% seats and it will be difficult to amend constitution to make it
more democratic
Further, constitution also confers key portfolios like defence, home and security to
military and also gives them power to intervene in case of some untoward situation.
Such provisions will dilute powers of the democratically elected government
Rising Buddhist chauvinism and intolerance is also another challenge
Further, much will depend on military they annulled the last elections which were held
in 1990
Big challenge is to fight poverty as well Myanmar has remained isolated and there is
gross development deficitwith per capita incomes much lower than Indias as well.

NEPAL
Historical Context

India and Nepal have a common culture Buddhism, population exchange, Gurkhas in army are
some of the historic common grounds of cooperation.
India also played an important role in historic 12 Point Agreement between Maoists and 7-Party
Alliance. Paharis who had ruled till now had to share power with Madhesis now.

Positive cooperation

Mahakali river treaty


Indo-Nepal Friendship Treaty of 1950s
No border, free access
Aid and help
Help during earthquake disaster
Nepalis eligible in Indian government jobs
Most of the foreign trade happens through India

Contentious issues in Indo-Nepal relations

Indo-Nepali Treaty of Peace and Friendship 1950 was bedrock of relations between the two
and in the recent times has also emerged as a source of contention as well, as Nepalis call it
highly unequal in terms. As per the treaty, the two countries agreed to grant each others
citizens national treatment in all matters, including taking up jobs, doing business and owning
property. This was ensured through an open border and the free circulation of Indian currency

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in Nepal. The benefits were obviously more for Nepal, whose citizens could take advantage of
Indias big market and higher level of development. The treaty evolved in the back drop of rise in
communist regime in China and Nepals need to secure help from India. Major concerns from
both side regarding the treaty are
a. Open borders: besides providing jobs to Nepalese and promoting trade, the open
borders has led to infiltration of fake currency, arms, spies, terrorists and
fundamentalist creating a security threat for India.
b. Defence decisions: Nepal acceding its defence decisions and purchase of arms to India
is often seen as intrusion in its sovereignty by Nepalese.
c. The Nepalese elite consider the 1950 treaty as an expression of Indian hegemony. It
specifically points to the clause on defence cooperation, which requires Nepal to consult
India on its national defence.
d. The treaty also provided for joint deployment of military along Tibet border and India
assumed dominant role at least in security matters.

Nepalese also accuse India of imposing unequal river treaties and this skepticism has hindered
hydropower cooperation with India. Nepalis have accused that projects on Gandak and Kosi
have worked towards disadvantage of Nepalis.

Nepal is also a conduit for terrorists and fake currency. The recent arrests of two high profile
terrorists, Adul Karim Tunda and Yasin Bhatkal have brought the India-Nepal border into sharp
focus.

China and Nepal

In recent times, China is also trying to get close to Nepal in wake of souring of relations of Nepal
with India. It is planning to connect Nepal via road to Tibet.

It is also trying to project India as one of the causes of instability in Nepal and wants to create

an emotional antagonism against India.


China has overtaken India to become the largest contributor of Foreign Direct Investment to
Nepal over the first six months of the current fiscal year.

Nepal also becomes part of Silk Road Initiative. Nepal and China have agreed to revive the old

Silk Road that runs from Lhasa to Kathmandu to Patna.


China wants to connect with Nepal and South Asia through an extension of the Qinghai-Tibet
railway. Nepal is currently connected to international trade routes only through India. This will
break Indian monopoly in providing the foreign connectivity to Nepal.
Going in opposite direction that was taken on Constitution making process, China supported the
new constitution, but India has reservations

New PM HP Sharma Koli is pro-Chinese ex-Maoist

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Recent news

PM Modis visit
o

It was first visit by an Indian PM in 17 years

Indian PM assured Nepalis of revision of Friendship treaty

India proposed a HIT acronym for Indo-Nepal cooperation i.e. Highways, IT and
Transways or transmission lines.

India announced additional $1 billion assistance

Nepal has 85,000 MW of hydro potential and India has proposed to exploit that for
mutual benefit, work on 5600 MW Panchameshwar project is likely to being next year

The two sides also agreed to permanently settle the boundary issue and form a
Boundary Working Group for it

3 MoUs were also signed on tourism, goiter control and cooperation between state
owned TV networks

One of the big disappointments during Mr. Modis visit has been the failure to sign the
Power Trade Agreement and the Project Development Agreement

NEW CONSTITUTION of NEPAL


Background of Constitution
o
o
o
o
o

In 2005-06, with a 12-point programme, New Delhi brought the electoral parties and the
Maoists together.
The process was stuck since 7 years
Misery and turmoil of earthquake prompted different groups to join hands to frame the
constitution
Madhesis and Janjati people representative boycotted the process
Parties spent 7 years fighting with each other, rather than taking the agenda of constitution
to the people and engaging them in a meaningful dialogue

New Constitution Features


o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o

It replaces the Interim Constitution of 2007.


It is framed by the 2nd CA, after the 1st CA failed and was dissolved in 2012
It creates 7 states in a secular, federal system
Proselytizing is banned under the new constitution
Women given 33% reservation
It also provides for LGBT rights
It has both FPTP and proportional rep system for adequate representation of minorities
The executive rights of the country shall vest on the Council of Ministers while the President
would be ceremonial head-of-the-state.
Past treaties will be revised and will be tested on test of equality and mutuality
A bi-cameral federal parliament

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o
o

A constitutional bench in the Supreme Court


Formation of constitutional commissions on national natural resources and finance, on
national inclusion, on indigenous nationalities, on Madhesi, on Tharu and on Muslim are
other features of the new constitution

Issues
o

o
o

o
o

o
o
o
o

The Terai region constitutes one-fifth of Nepals landmass, but accounts for over half of the
nation's population. The Madhesis have been fighting for equal representation in the
country's political structure and the new constitution, according to them, has failed to meet
their aspirations. (Madhesis have been long aggrieved that hill elite have discriminated with
them for long)
Seats in legislatures are allocated as per a formula which accounts for both geography and
population which Madhesis see as working against them.
It creates seven states in a secular, federal system, but is opposed by some groups who
wanted to re-establish Nepal as a Hindu nation, and others who feel it is unfavorable to
people in the plains, near India.
Opposition by minority groups in the southern plains whose homeland will be split up
under the charter
Definition of secularism is also dubious as it defines it both in terms of protection of
religion and culture being practiced since ancient times and religious and cultural
freedom, which sound oxymoron.
Critics say the planned internal borders will leave some historically marginalized groups
under-represented in Parliament.
Rights groups say it discriminates against women by making it more difficult for them to
pass on citizenship to their children than it is for men.
Nepali leaders never allowed a serious debate in the House and among the different
stakeholders. As a result, ordinary people dont feel a part of the outcome.
The provision of the constitution that there will be two type of citizenship by descent and
by naturalization (birth or stay) and constitutional posts cannot be manned by the latter,
this has raised big concerns among Madheshis and Janjatis, many of whom have got
citizenship rights very recently

Fallouts for India


o
o
o
o

Madhes is a Terai region of southern Nepal that shares its borders with Bihar.
India has reasons to be perturbed about the volatile situation in Nepal, a country with which
India shares an open and contiguous 1751-km-long border.
Violence can spill into India, India can witness refugee crisis in future and economic
transactions between the two nations can be affected.
Since Terai area is on Indian border, the protesters blocked the routes to Nepal and
essential supply to Nepal was cut off this created much heartburn in Nepal and even

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fostered anti-Indian feelings among the political circles who saw Indian connivance in the
blockade
Maoists are now political powerful in Nepal and lean towards China

Bottom-line
o

Nepal's government says the constitution is just a reflection of the self respect and selfconfidence of Nepalis in carrying out such an historic task of framing such an important
document in 70 years. An imperfect document is better than nothing, and it can be
amended to reflect the aspirations of dissenting groups.

Other News
o
o
o
o

New PM K P Sharma Oli, he is an ex-Maoist. Known to have a more pro-China stance and
also a skeptic of India
It elects its first woman president
India drags Nepal to the UN for the first time for issues related to Human Rights violation in
context of recent logjam and accusing Nepal of ethnic discrimination
Nepal has asked China to open more border posts for supply of essential items in wake of
blockade on Indian border (currently there is only one working connecting link which was
also damaged in wake of quake) agreed to open 7 more points

PAKISTAN
Recent News

Sectarian violence has grown many fold and is now not confined to any particular geography.
Earlier in 1990s it limited to Punjab, FATA or Federally Administered Tribal Areas. New areas like
Baloochistan are also engulfed in it. With funding support from outside and with TTP
(Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan) linkages, sectarian groups in Pakistan no longer need the
establishment.

PALESTINE
Historical Background

Gandhi in 1938 had said that Palestine belong to Arabs


India has a soft policy towards Palestine and it supports independent homeland for Palestinians
and supports their cause and in the recent past has played a tough balancing task vis--vis
relations with Israel.
Israel occupied Gaza after the 1967 war. In, 1973, Arab countries unified in a bid to reclaim their
lost territories and this led to another wars. It also led to Arab countries cutting their oil supplies
to West which led to oil crisis of 1973.

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India was the first non-Arab State to recognize the Palestine Liberation Organisation as the sole
legitimate representative of the Palestinian people in 1975.
Hamas in Gaza strip and Fatah led by Mahmood Abbas in West Bank are two rival factions
which run separate regimes in Gaza and West Bank. Hamas is considered a terrorist outfit by US,
Israel, EU etc, but not by Russia, Iran, Turkey etc.
Over the years, Palestinian issue has become even more untractable. Palestinians have over the
time been evacuated from their lands, reduced to virtual prisoners in Gaza strip and West Bank
in a virtually biggest open air prison of the world.
Israel decided to withdraw its settlers and troops in 2005. Gaza has not known peace or
tranquility since then as Israel, the occupying power, immediately imposed its wide-ranging
blockade of the enclave.
Gaza had to depend on Israel for most of its electricity and water supply. Israel tightened its
blockade on Gaza from 2006 after Hamas won the general elections in occupied West Bank and
Gaza.
Apart from Turkey and Qatar, there is no significant support for Palestine in the region, though
Arab countries sympathize, but are mostly mute spectators.
New Al-Sisi government in Egypt has also termed Hamas a terrorist outfit as it bans
Bortherhood in Egypt.
The only power plant of the Gaza was also destroyed in the attack of July 2014 by Israel.

CORE ISSUES

Independence of
Palestine state is
the core issue.
Israel has still not
recognized
Palestine

as

independent
state, despite a
UN resolution to
contrary last year.
Most

of

the

democratic
nations recognize Palestines right to statehood.

Currently issues involve construction and settlements by Israel which are condemned by
everyone in world.

As per UN Resolution of 242, Israel had to withdraw from all occupied territories, which has still
not happened.

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Israel forces have land locked Palestinian territories and have imposed strict economic barriers
also.

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS

Non-member observer state In a highly significant move, General Assembly passed a


resolution with a thumping majority (with only opposition from Israel, USA and a few other
countries) which declared Palestine as Non-member observer state. The move is significant
because it now officially recognizes Palestine as a state and it can now participate in the
debates and can vote too. Further, now it can also join various other UN and other bodies
which were earlier not in its reach. They also include International Criminal Court (ICC). Soon
after this Palestine applied for membership of ICC which was earlier rejected on the grounds
that it was not a state. It can now drag Israel to ICC. The vote recognizes Palestine State as
Westbank Gaza and East Jerusalam (which is occupied by Israel). This however, is far less than
what was decided by UN Resolution 181 which divided the former British colony into an Arab
state and Jewish state. Since then Palestine has lost a lot of land to Israel. It also highlights the
growing isolation of Israel in international community and they are no longer sympathetic to its
calls of a victim of Holocaust.

US mediated peace efforts US Secretary of State John Kerry announced the resumption of the
long-stalled (since September 2010) Israel-Palestine peace talks on July 19 at Amman. During his
March 2013 visit to Israel, Obama said that just as the Israelis built a state in their homeland,
Palestinians have a right to be a free people in their own land. There were three essential preconditions from the Palestinian side for the talks to resume (which Israel refuses to agree)
o

These included settlement freeze from Israel side as Israel has encroached a major
chunk of land in West Bank

Acknowledgement of the 1967 Green Line as the basis for future borders

The release of long-term (predating the 1993 Oslo Accords) Palestinian prisoners

Unity Deal between Hamas and Fatah, 2014 It ended the 7 year rivalry between the two
factions and it is a broad framework of joint governance of Palestine. Israel, which has declared
Hamas as a terrorist outfit, has not taken very kindly to this deal and hence, has condemned the
deal.

July 2014 Israel Attacks Operation Protective Edge The Gaza war grew out of the killing of
three Israeli teens in the West Bank in June. In July 2014 Israel resumed massive strikes in Gaza
strip which is controlled by Hamas and killed thousands of people including children and
women. UN buildings were also not spared in a highly unequal fight. Israel said that fight will be
stopped only when all the tunnels are destroyed. Egypt tried to mediate, but of no avail.
Currently, a ceasefire has been reached.

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2015 knife attacks on Israeli Soldiers There was a spate of knife attacks by the individual
Palestinians. It was apparently without any organised support and was apparently in a reaction
to the alleged occupation by Israel on the Al-Aqsa mosque which is considered as the third
holiest place of Islam in the world.

CHALLENGES

For a final ceasefire and for easing the border restrictions, Israel demands to demilitarize the
Gaza Strip and disarm Hamas, which Hamas vehemently opposes.

Israel stubbornly refuses to acknowledge even existence of Palestine and it is now in its own
self interest to procrastinate the issue forever.

Even if Palestine acquires full statehood, internal feuds have developed over the years and now
there are two major groups ideologically opposite to each other Hamas and Fatah. It will be a
challenge to integrate Palestine, even after Independence.

Issue of Jerusalem is also very tricky. Though UN resolution has asked both Israel and Palestine
to divide it, none of the side is willing to lose its claim as religious groups from both side lay
strong claim for its historical importance for both Jews and Muslims. Al Kudsin Jerusalam is holy
place in for Muslims and this is the reason that Palestine issue is also pan-Islamic issue.

REGIONAL COMPREHENSIVE ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT


This is a new envisaged ASEAN plus 6 Dialogue partners (India, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South
Korea and China) group which is likely to take shape by 2015. This will be a formidable group as it will
have 45% of worlds population and 1/3rd of worlds GDP.
Apart from agreement on goods in RCEP, India presses for services agreement as the sector contributes
over 50 per cent in the country's economic growth. Indian IT companies have strong presence across the
globe.
Significance for India

Indias interests lie mostly in services, the removal of technical barriers to trade such as those
taken under sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures, and trade in goods such as pharmaceuticals
and textiles.
With the government aiming to make India a manufacturing powerhouse with its Make in
India campaign and criticism that the previously signed FTAs have not benefited Indian
companies, India is insisting on keeping ambitions low under the RCEP negotiations
At the same time, it does not want to lose out on the opportunity as it is not part of the other
mega-regional trade deals that is under negotiationthe Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
So far, China and South Korea have been supporting India showing low level of ambition, mainly
because of their rivalry with Japan.

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RUSSIA
History of India Russia Relations

After initial hiccups, India and USSR had strong bilateral ties.
USSR supported India on Kashmir in UN and gave military help as well.
It signed the landmark Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation in 1971 in wake of East
Pakistan crisis amidst apprehensions of Western and Chinese intervention.
Some of todays globally competitive PSUs like BHEL, ONGC and HAL were established with
Soviet support.
First IIT with foreign collaboration was also set up with Soviet help.
Post disintegration, relations didnt remain that strong for various reasons like a weakened
Russia beset with internal problems, dispersal of industries, less need for allies in post-Cold War
time and so on. Following break-up, bigger concern for Russia was its immediate neighborhood.
They reached a nadir during the times of Boris Yelstin, but started to recuperate during Putins
time.
Now relations are on more equal terms as Russia emerges as energy superpower and India
emerges as knowledge superpower. Relations are now more pragmatic as there are no
subsidized oil supplies and no favorable credit terms.
Russia was the first country with whom India signed a strategic partnership in 2000. While
Russia still remains the most important defense partner, trade between the two is abysmally
low.
Nuclear Test and Subsequent Support

COOPERATION AND POSITIVE DEVELOPMENT AREAS


I.

Energy
a. Nuclear Kudankulam Nuclear Reactors
b. Gas OVL exploration units in Sakhalin
c. Gazprom is partnering with GAIL for producing natural gas in Bay of Bengal basin.
d. Russia has also proposed to extend multi-billion Rusia-China pipeline deal to India as
well

II.

Russia supports Indias candidature to all export control regimes, including the NSG. In June
2011, the two countries signed an MoU on Russian cooperation in Indias Global Centre for
Nuclear Power initiative.

III.

Trade and Economics Two sides agreed to consider putting in place a Comprehensive
Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) in order to push the bilateral trade to $20 billion by
2015. Indias major exports to Russia comprise pharmaceuticals, tea, coffee, engineering goods.

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Its imports from Russia include Iron, steel, fertilizers and oil.
IV.

Space Chandrayan, Human Space Flight Project (HSP), Access to the Russian GLONASS
navigation system was signed in 2010.

V.

Defense Russia is the only country from where India can get access to sophisticated military
hardware and technology without any pre-conditions.
a. India purchases 70 percent arms from Russia. US, France and Israel are among the new
major arms suppliers to India.
b. Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft PAK-FA
c. Brahmos
d. Also jointly developing a multi-role cargo plane
e. INS Vikramaditya Admiral Garshakov
f.

Both countries jointly operate Farkhon AIR base in Tajikistan

g. MIG 29 Russia is currently supplying MIG 29 to India.


h. T-90 tanks of India are also procured from Russia
i.

INDRA is a naval exercise that India and Russia conduct jointly every two years.

j.

In 2010, Russia was second largest arms supplier to India (only after USA). Chakra/Nerpa

is an Akula2 class submarine.


IRRITANTS IN THE PARTNERSHIP WHICH NEEDS TO BE RESOLVED
I.

Trade is also lower at just more than $10 billion. However, Russias entry into the World Trade
Organization and Indias ongoing discussions on signing a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation
Agreement (CECA) with the Customs Union should open up new economic opportunities.

II.

Russia remains concerned over Indias weapons diversification policy which is seen within the
broader context of the countrys perceived drift towards the West.

III.

A number of big Russian investments in India, from Sistema to Kamaz and Titanium Products
have run into rough weather.

IV.

Russia is also peeved at the imposition of Nuclear Liability Law on units 3 and 4 of the
Kudankulam nuclear power plant project.

V.

India on its part has had to deal with significant delays in weapons imports from Russia apart
from concerns over their quality.

VI.

Russia concerned about India's perceived proximity to US.

VII.

Moreover, Russia has refused to entertain Indias request for tax concessions for ONGCs
Russian acquisition Imperial Energy where production is becoming unviable, having linked it
with the resolution of Russian investments in India.

VIII.

India was outraged by the Russian decision to lift its embargo on defence sales to Pakistan,
and the first-ever Russia-Pakistan framework agreement that was finalised in November 2014.

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IX.

Russia and Pakistan have agreed to hold first-ever joint military exercises as part of their
enhanced defence cooperation.

X.

Russia already supplying Mi-35 choppers to Pakistan.

XI.

Russia recently signed $400 billion gas agreement with China.

The challenge lies in reinvigorating this relationship. Moreover, both India and Russia share
apprehensions about Chinas rise and assertiveness, despite significantly improving their bilateral ties
with it.
Similarly, developments in Afghanistan remain a matter of concern for both the partners. They can
work together to implement the common goal of ensuring stability and economic prosperity in the
country.
The India-Russia partnership will continue to be mutually beneficial. India needs Russias support in
organizations like the SCO and in building the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC)
which is expected to significantly improve connectivity with the Eurasian region.
RECENT NEWS
I.

Ukraine Crisis

In wake of recent Ukraine crisis, Russia hailed India as one of close partner and supporter.

Russia was expelled from G-8 group

West mounted sanctions on Russia in wake of crisis for fomenting unrest and supporting
rebels in the Eastern Ukraine.

Russia has also played gas-card and has threatened to cut gas supplies to Europe which is
now heavily dependent on Russia gas supplies

II.

III.

Syria Crisis

Russia has sent its air crafts

It also launched a missile attack from Caspian Sea

Has established Naval base in Tartus, Syria First such move after end of the Cold War

Wants to reassert its position as global super power

Also use Syria to divert Western focus from Ukraine

China Gas Deal China and Russia have begun implementing their $400 billion mega-gas deal
a strategic project that would allow Moscow to lower its dependence on the European
market, and open prospects of tapping the growing energy demand in the Asia-Pacific, with
Beijing as the star consumer.

IV.

Close on the heels of the recently concluded $400-billion mega gas pipeline deal between Russia
and China, Moscow wants to work on a pipeline to India through the Himalayas that could
become the biggest-ever energy project in history.

V.

Russia has offered India a role in building of new nuclear power plants in other countries.

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VI.

It has also offered 20 nuclear plants to India, up from earlier 12

SAUDI ARABIA
Recent changes in Arab world

It has not reduced supplies in wake of falling crude prices to counter shale gas (to make it
production unviable) and to force other producers to shut their shops
Today, America has replaced it as the biggest oil producer
Its presence in Yemen is getting protracted with high economic costs
Lack of democracy and strictures on women are not sustainable in long term

SEYCHELLES
From 2005, India has embarked upon a policy to engage four western Indian Ocean island nations and
Seychelles forms a crucial part of it.
Narendra Modi became the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Seychelles after 34 years. Seychelles is
one of the largest recipients of Indian assistance in this area. The close relationship between the two
countries is based on the twin planks of maritime security and development cooperation.

Development cooperation encompasses capacity building where more than one percent of the
Seychelles population is trained under ITEC, provision of patrol vessels, hydrographic surveys
etc
Cooperation in counter piracy and counter terrorism in high seas, which is critical for Indias
extended maritime security as well.
Seychelles is a part of the Pan African e-Network project between India and the African Union.
It is strategically important since Napoleonic era for being on the route to Asia and today on
route to mineral rich Africa and oil rich middle East
Apart from its strategic location on international sea lanes of communication, Seychelles is a
leader among SIDS group (Small Island Developing States) which has multifold areas of
convergence with India.

SRI LANKA
Historical Background

Indo-Sri Lanka relations are historic and Asoka sent his daughter to spread message of Buddha
to this island nation.
But in recent times, relations between the two have pivoted around the ethnic divide between
Singhalese majority and Tamil minority. Historically, British promoted minority Tamils in
administration which was reversed after independence. The issue became even more complex
when Sri Lankan government tried to repatriate Tamils to India.

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India burned its fingers in 1980s intervention when it sent peacekeeping forces. Tamilians in Sri
Lanka viewed it as a betrayal from India and Singhalese viewed it as an attack on sovereignty. As
a possible solution, 13th Amendment was mooted to address issue of greater autonomy to Tamil
areas. Indo Sri Lanka Accord of 1987 is the basis of it. But it didnt materialize as LTTE never
cooperated.
Norwegian mediations failed and in 2008 Sri Lankan government denounced ceasefire and
launched a massive offensive wiping out LTTE.

COOPERATION AND POSITIVE DEVELOPMENT AREAS

Trade
o Trade between the two countries grew particularly rapidly after the entry into force of the
India-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement in March 2000.
o India was the largest FDI contributor in 2010, contributing US $110 million out of total US
$516 million received by Sri Lanka.
Defense and Military Cooperation India and Sri Lanka conduct joint Naval Exercise SLINEX.
India also helped Sri Lanka to restore its railway lines in post-Tsunami event
India also provided big developmental aid in construction of the 50000 houses for the Tamils in
its LTTE affected northern province

IRRITANTS

Fisherman issues - Because of Indias deep trawlers Sri- Lankan fishermen are feeling insecure.
In this context, there have been two significant rounds of talks between Tamil Nadu and
Northern fishers. The agreement reached in 2010 called for a complete end to trawling in Sri
Lankan waters within a year, giving Indian trawl fishers time to shift to other forms of fishing.
The agreement has not been implemented by either country across the Palk Straits, and three
and a half years later, the situation has reached crisis proportions.
Kachatheevu island controversy - Katchatheevu is a controversial uninhabited island
administered by Sri Lanka. This island was given to Sri lanka by India on conditional basis that
the Indian fishermen have a right to rich fishing ground in territorial waters of Sri Lanka around
Kachatheevu island. But Indian fishermen do not have rights to fishing around the island as it is
within the territorial waters of Sri Lanka. Further, the island is culturally important to fishermen
of Tamil Nadu and has led to agitations by Tamil politicians demanding that India should claim
sovereignty. Frequent arrest of fishermen from India has also brought the island back into focus
and TN government claims that transfer of island to Sri Lanka should be annulled by the courts
as it was not done via a constitutional amendment and merely through a treaty.
Minority Tamilians issue

RECENT NEWS

Post LTTE Tamil treatment An important milestone was crossed by Sri Lanka towards National
Reconciliation when elections were conducted for North Eastern Provinces which is dominated

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by Tamils. Despite apprehensions, elections were fair and open. Tamil National Alliance won 30
out of 38 seats with a thumping 80% majority.
Colombo should seriously consider implementing the 13th Amendment which calls for
devolution of significant powers including police and land powers while retaining national unity.
It was the direct result of Indo-Sri Lanka Accord of 1987.
Rajpaksa refused any special autonomy to Tamil Minority region.
The post war reconstruction efforts particularly resettlement of IDPs(Internally Displaced
Persons) also seem to take place at snail pace.
Sri Lanka hiked import duties on Indian goods as India voted against Sri Lanka in UN on US
backed UN Human Rights Resolution which was seen as a criticism of Sri Lankan government
India tried to improve ties with Sri Lanka as Indian PM invited Sri Lankan president in his
swearing in ceremony and India also abstained from Geneva Human Rights Council vote after
two consecutive votes against Sri Lanka
Tamils under Rajpaksa were feeling suffocated, new president Srisena is humble and down to
earth.
China and Sri Lanka
o Sri Lanka agreed to join Maritime Silk Road project. Sri Lanka also agreed to sign an FTA
with China. (India already have an FTA since 2000 and wants a CEPA now).
o Sri Lankas Army and Chinas Peoples Liberation Army engaged in their second-ever
joint exercise named Exercise Silk Route 2015 in Srilanka.
Indian PM visited Sri Lanka and other two Indian ocean nations recently
India and Sri Lanka signed a civil nuclear cooperation agreement, the first such deal signed by
Sri Lanka with any foreign country, reflecting the new Lankan governments proIndia approach.
According to the nuclear deal, India will assist Sri Lanka in developing its civil nuclear energy
infrastructure, including sharing of resources, training of personnel and extending expertise.
MoU on the establishment of Nalanda University

USA
Indo US nuclear deal of 2008 was a turnaround in the Indo-US relations as USA made an exception for
India to facilitate it and it ended the global nuclear embargo for India which was there since 1998. US
President Obama visited India in November 2010. He hailed Indias right for UN Security Council Seat
and a reformed UN Security Council. A Strategic Dialogue was established in July 2009 during the visit
of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to India with the objective of strengthening bilateral cooperation
across diverse sectors. Relations between the two declined since 2010 over multiple issues like
stringent nuclear liability law, India going less enthusiastically about US defense purchases, Devyani
incident etc
COOPERATION AREAS
I.

Trade US $ 90 billion in 2013.

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II.

India has a positive trade balance with the USA

III.

The US is one of Indias largest trade partners and source of FDI.

IV.

Strategic Dialogue A Strategic Dialogue was established in July 2009 with focus on 5 areas
namely counter terrorism, climate change, energy, economy, science and technology, third
round was held in US in June 2012.

V.

Civil Nuclear Cooperation of 2008 123 Agreement

VI.

Control of Small Arms Cooperation US has recently pushed Indias cause for membership of
Australia group and Wassenaar Agreement.

VII.

Space Cooperation
a. India also launched US experimental probe along with its first lunar mission Chandrayan.

VIII.

Education
a. Both Governments have launched the Singh-Obama 21st Century Knowledge Initiative
in November 2009

IX.

Defense
a. India purchase 10 military transport aircrafts CJ10 Hercules.
b. India-US-Japan operation Malabar since 2007 US and India are conducting it since
1992
c. SALVEX is another joint military exercise by the two nations.
d. Exercise Yudh Abhyas It is part of an ongoing series of joint exercises between the
Indian and United States Armies since 2005, agreed upon under the New Framework of
India-US Defense Relationship. 7th edition of this took place in 2012.
e. Recent news reports suggest that the US has identified a list of 10 defense technologies
for transfer to India.
f.

US is one of the biggest suppliers of defense equipments since last 3 years. These
include purchase of Lockheed Martin LM2500 marine turbines to power warships, C130J Super Hercules aircraft, C-17 Globemaster-III heavy cargo aircraft, and P-8I
Poseidon Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance and Anti Submarine Warfare (LRMR
and ASW) aircraft. The shift in Indian defense purchases from the traditional
Russian/Soviet dependence has been driven by the need to diversify defense purchases
and identifying the best globally available equipment for specific tasks.

g. Though US lost on the fighter jets deal, India agreed to buy Apache helicopters.
Negotiations are reportedly ongoing for AH-64 Apache attack helicopters; CH47
Chinook heavy lift helicopters and M-777 light weight howitzers.
By and large the US weaponry has been costlier than similar weapons sourced from other
countries except where large economies of scale have been available to US manufacturers. The
US arms sales have also traditionally been accompanied by political and diplomatic strings and

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many of the recipients have been required to align their policies with that of the US. It has also
been seen that the US uses punitive measures like economic sanctions as a foreign policy tool
and this in turn usually leads to cessation of spares support for US military equipment already
delivered.
IRRITANTS in THE RELATIONS
I.

US wants a stricter IPR regime. Earlier the US International Trade Commission ordering
investigations, and even threatening sanctions against the country and even put India under its
Priority Watch List in wake of dubious IP record of Indian firms.

II.

Irked with the Supreme Court judgment on block-buster drug Glivec of Novartis, big US pharma
companies are also not happy either.

III.

US also tried to drag India to WTO on solar panel tender issue Under Indias solar mission,
there is a mandatory condition that all PV cells and modules used in solar plants set up under
this scheme will be made in India. US says it violates WTO norms. India maintains that U.S.
subsidies on solar products threaten Indian manufacturers, and the domestic solar industry has
accused the U.S. of dumping cheap outdated technology on India. Further, India has argued
that since the purchase of power produced under the mission is by a Government agency, it falls
under the category of Government Procurement which is out of the purview of WTO rules.

IV.

India has also flagged the issue of data protection and privacy in wake of recent espionage issue
(Prism episode).

V.

US and India also have divergent views on climate change

VI.

India wants liberal access for its IT firms and manpower and has opposed the strict immigration
laws

VII.

US wants India to change its stand on nuclear liability law to make entry of American
companies easier

VIII.

US also wants a bigger share in the defense procurement pie of India and was highly
disappointed when India awarded a multi-billion contract to the French Raefale fighter making
firm Dassault.

IX.

India also doesnt want to become a US stooge against China in the backdrop of US policy of
containment of China. US has also remained non-serious on terrorism related arguments of

India.
USA and CHINA
Areas of friction

The alleged hacking of 22m American government employees personal records by


Chinese cyber-spies in April;

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Chinese firms accused of stealing IP and US has even slapped sanctions on the Chinese
companies which were involved in that
Accusations that China is manipulating its currency to make exports cheaper
Chinas island-building in the South China Sea.

New areas of cooperation

In November the two countries reached an agreement on carbon emissions, which they
hope will encourage progress at UN climate talks in Paris later this year.
China helped broker a nuclear deal with Iran in April. It is moving closer to Americas
stance on North Korea.
A code of conduct on cyber behaviour was signed by Obama and Xi stipulating that
neither country would be the first to launch cyber attacks on the others critical
infrastructure, like electric grids and the banking system, during peace time. It follows a
series of US allegations of Chinese cyber attacks orchestrated by state agencies
including the Peoples Liberation Army. In May, a US federal grand jury indicted six
Chinese on charges of industrial espionage.
For Xi, the cyber agreement is a vindication of its demand that America show respect for
Chinas new position as the second most important military power and accept its call to
build a new type of great power relationship.

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
I.

Resurgent USA
a. US has forwarded a Pivot to the East theory in its recent strategic outline. Pivot to Asia
plans to shift 60% of its forces to Pacific
b. US to deploy Marines in Australia in Darwin
c. US entry into East Asia Summit (along with Russia)

II.

Indias invitation into Global Entry Trusted Traveler Network Program. Under this frequent
visitors from India will be required only one time detailed verification and after a payment of
small fee they will be able to avail speedy check out at US airports.

III.

India and US have signed an agreement to implement the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act
(FATCA), which will allow automatic exchange of tax information between the two countries.
Under FATCA, foreign financial institutions in the U.S. will have to provide information about
Indian account holders to the U.S. governments Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which will
forward the information to the Indian government. The Indian government will provide similar
information to the IRS. For example, the State Bank of India will have to provide information
regarding the investments by any U.S. citizen, even NRIs, to the Indian revenue authorities in a
prescribed format regularly. The Indian government will then forward that information to the
IRS.

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IV.

From US perspective, preliminary contract for Westinghouse to set a nuclear power plant in
Gujarat has been initiated.

V.

Modi visit to USA, 2014


a. India and the U.S. will work on joint and concerted efforts to dismantle terror groups
such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, D-Company (Dawood Ibrahim
network) and the Haqqani network by shutting down their financial capabilities.
b. India and the U.S. agreed on the framework to renew their 10-year-old strategic
partnership on defense issues.
c. India will now introduce visa on arrival for the US citizens
d. Strengthen partnership on Advanced Clean Energy

VI.

Indian PM has met the US president 3 times in last 1 year or so

VII.

Several key agreements were made including a $2 billion defence deal including buying of
Chinook and Apache helicopters.

VIII.

A new strategic and commercial dialogue was started

IX.

US espoused Indias bid for UNSC

X.

US Congress slashed fees on H1B visa by $2000 will benefit IT firms

XI.

Mr. Barack Obama is the first US president to attend the Republic Day function and also the first
to visit India twice. An India-US Delhi Declaration of Friendship was also issued.

XII.

India and the U.S. agreed to extend the Defence Cooperation Agreement and identified four
projects under the Defence Technology Trade Initiative (DTTI) for joint production and
development and exploring cooperation for jet engines and aircraft carrier systems. The projects
identified under the DTTI include next-generation Raven mini-unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)
(a hand launched bird sized drone) among others.

XIII.

India and United States signed three Memoranda of Understandings (MoUs) to give a boost to
the Centre's flagship 'smart cities' scheme.

XIV.

India also signed an MoU on clean energy development

XV.

Other US related news

Expected Fed Bank rate increase, after almost 9 years. It is seen as imperative as low interest
rates might lead to asset bubbles in long run

US Cuba Relations

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Cuba was originally a Spanish colony and in 1893 US, helped Cubans to get rid of colonial rule. Since
then there were various US friendly regimes. US corporations held sway on Cuban economy, by owning
different industries such as sugar, tobacco, railways, electricity generation etc. Overtime US economic
influence reduced Cuba to a colony and there was baffling inequity.
In 1953 another US backed dictator Batista took over control. His regime was corrupt to core and
quite inefficient. This was also the year when Fidel Castro started his guerilla war. Finally in 1959, Fidel
Castro helped by Che Guevara overthrew Batista from power.
At first US supported Castro believing him to be at worst atleast a Market Socialist. But soon Fidel
Castro nationalized some US factories and big companies. In response US snapped ties with Cuba in
1961 and imposed trade embargoes.
Later that year, Batista supporters (who fled to US) backed by US, tried to invade Cuba from Bay of
Pigs. This was routed by Castro forces. Sensing opportunity, USSR immediately stepped in promising to
buy all Sugar and other products of Cuba and implicitly agreeing to provide security from US threat.
However, in 1962 Cuba became centre of worlds worst nuclear crisis seen so far.
US installed short range Jupiter missiles in countries lying on USSR periphery, such as Turkey. To this
threat USSR head Nikita Khrushchev responded by installing missile bases in Cuba which were less than
100 miles from US coast.
This was detected and reported by US spy planes and that time it seemed that world is on brink of
nuclear war. US navy blocked Russian ships carrying missiles to Cuba. Both leader J.F. Kennedy and
Nikita arrived at agreement and guarantee was given by US that Cuba wont be invaded again and
missiles bases from Turkey be removed.
USSR was sole patron of Cuba and after formers collapse in 1991 latter became almost an orphan.
But Cubans have demonstrated remarkable self-respect and had learned to live by scarce means.
Today, USSR has ceased to be a communist/socialist country while Cuba almost continues to be so.
Today if there is one country which can claim that Socialism works, it is Cuba. Cuban health and
education services are among best and most economical in the world. When Ebola virus hit Africa last
year, Cuba was first to respond by voluntarily sending his medical personnel team.
In international politics Cuba matters much above its weight and thats because Cuba has kept socialist
ideology alive.
Some major outstanding issues are

Cuban Community in US U.S. has large Cuban diaspora, most of whom are descendants of
Batista supporters or erstwhile rich Cubans whose properties were nationalized. These people
fled from Cuba at time of revolution seeking help of U.S. These people are still seeking

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compensation for their losses from Cuban government. This has been used by U.S. government
to pressurize Cuba on various occasions.

USAs democracy promotion program But Cuba has no such plans as power passed only few
years back in hands of Raul Castro from Fidel Castro. Raul Castro has already identified his
successor as he is expected to retire soon.

Cuban Trademarks appropriation by US companies

Cuban membership of Bretton wood Institutions As of now Cuba is not member of IMF and
World Bank.

Majority of Americans are in favor of normalization of ties, but there are extreme rightist
hardliners too.

INTERNATIONAL ISSUES
BITCOIN

It has bounced back after meltdown of the biggest bitcoin exchange two years ago
It is still vulnerable as it has no mechanism to trace the identity of users and hence are used
for illicit acts like drug trafficking, ransoms etc
However, since it is not real money, its transfers are free of costs which are generally involved in
remittances
Bitcoin market is also self-regulated and demand driven. As a result, in its peak, value of a single
bitcoin reached at $500 and it varies from market to market
Most of the big banks have not formally recognised it.

CLIMATE CHANGE and PARIS SUMMIT (CoP-21), December


IPCCC reports have time and again highlighted the 2 degree limit. By now .8 rise is already observed
and there is noticeable increase in climate related natural disasters.
India owing to its sheer size and dense population is 3rd largest greenhouse gas emitter. However, its
per capita emission is just 30% of that of China and 13% of USA.
GREEN CLIMATE FUND

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The Green Climate Fund (GCF) is a fund established in 2010 based in South Korea and is within
the framework of the UNFCCC and will be governed by a board who will be responsible to CoP.
It is intended to be the centerpiece of efforts to raise Climate Finance of $100 billion per year
by 2020.
It will become operational soon.
It was founded as a mechanism to redistribute money from the developed to the developing
world, in order to assist the developing countries in adaptation and mitigation practices to
counter climate change.
It was also founded to make a significant and ambitious contribution to the global efforts
towards attaining the goals set by the international community to combat climate change.
The GCF has crossed the 10 billion $ mark during the U.N. climate talks, still needs much more
to fill its coffers and help developing countries against its target of $100 billion.
However, disputes remain as to whether the funding target will be based on public sources, or
whether leveraged private finance will be counted towards the total. Only a fraction of this sum
has been pledged so far, mostly to cover start-up costs.
Now, the first batch of mitigation and adaptation funds from the GCF would be disbursed by
October 2015.

The Adaptation Fund set up in 2001 was to be financed by a share of money from the
Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) but is virtually stagnant now.
The Green Climate Fund (GCF) will consider accepting funds from the private sector in
June 2015 to bolster much need finances for climate action.
The Fund is governed and supervised by a Board that will have full responsibility for
funding. The Fund is accountable to, and functions under the guidance of, the COP.

GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT FACILITY


The Global Environment Facility was established in October 1991 as a $1 billion pilot program in
the World Bank to assist in the protection of the global environment and to promote
environmental sustainable development. The GEF would provide new and additional grants and
concessional funding to cover the "incremental" or additional costs associated with transforming
a project with national benefits into one with global environmental benefits.
The United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Environment Program, and
the World Bank were the three initial partners implementing GEF projects.
In 1994, at the Rio Earth Summit, the GEF was restructured and moved out of the World Bank
system to become a permanent, separate institution.
As part of the restructuring, the GEF was entrusted to become the financial mechanism for both

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the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and the UN Framework Convention on Climate


Change. In partnership with the Montreal Protocol of the Vienna Convention on Ozone Layer
Depleting Substances, the GEF started funding projects that enable the Russian Federation and
nations in Eastern Europe and Central Asia to phase out their use of ozone-destroying chemicals.
The GEF subsequently was also selected to serve as financial mechanism for three more
international conventions: The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (2001),
the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (2003) and the Minamata Convention
on Mercury (2013).
Indias Situation

Indias per capita emissions are estimated at one-tenth of the USA and one-fourth of China, but
can rise substantially in future.
Despite that it has announced the most comprehensive INDCs ahead of Paris Summit
Domestically it has launched several initiatives like National Action Plan of Climate Change,
augmented substantially renewable energy targets, Green Highways Project

Recent changes in climate change discourse

Annex- and non-Annex line has been diluted as countries have failed to fulfill their
commitments
Recent joint statement by USA and China has also changed the discourse of climate change as
both the countries had earlier shown reluctance to take any responsibility.
o The Chinese commitment: China, the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world,
has agreed to cap its output by 2030 or earlier if possible. Previously China had only ever
pledged to reduce the rapid rate of growth in its emissions. Now it has also promised to
increase its use of energy from zero-emission sources to 20% by 2030.
o The US Pledge: The United States has pledged to cut its emissions to 26-28% below
2005 levels by 2025.
o Chinese pledge will also put moral pressure on India and has somewhat put it on backfoot and has forced India to assume more responsibility
o Now pressure is there on India not to become a deal breaker in the run up to the Paris
talks.
The European Union has already endorsed a binding 40% greenhouse gas emissions reduction
target by 2030.
Now, other lesser developed countries have similar expectations from India and China as India
and China themselves had with the other developed countries a few years back.

PARIS SUMMIT

It aims at finalizing a post Kyoto framework


The climate agreement currently under negotiation, which is likely to be finalised in Paris, is
going to be structurally very different from the Kyoto Protocol. Kyoto Protocol took a top-down

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approach, in which the Annex-I countries were assigned specific emission cut targets, to be
achieved in a specified time. The agreement under negotiation has taken a bottom-up
approach, in which every country, and not just those in Annex-I, decide their contribution in the
fight against climate change, through an instrument called INDCs, or Intended Nationally
Determined Contributions.
o The INDCs combine the top-down system of a United Nations climate agreement with
bottom-up system-in elements through which countries put forward their agreements
in the context of their own national circumstances, capabilities and priorities, within the
ambition to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions enough to keep global temperature
rise to 2 degrees Celsius.
o However, they are criticized as they have virtually overshadowed the principle of
Common but differentiated responsibilities and the developing countries are also now
required to be equally forthcoming in curbing emission on one hand and on the other
hand it has pushed into the background the agenda of technology and funds transfer
The CBDR has been all but demolished by this approach, although there is an understanding
that the contributions of the rich world would have some mitigation targets, even if selfdetermined, while developing countries can choose to take other kind of actions, such as
adaptation.
Finance and technology are two of the several other elements that will make up the proposed
climate agreement.
o A technology transfer mechanism too is being finalized.
o Developed countries have agreed to mobilize $ 100 billion every year from 2020. For
this, also agreement has to be finalized as it has not taken off despite commitment from
Western Countries,

Indian INDC (see Environment section in 'India)

CRUDE PRICING

Crude has dropped from its peak $128 to current $45 per barrel.

Causes of decline

The current downturn in oil prices underlines the cyclic nature of commodity trade and
illustrates OPECs reduced regulatory capacity consequent to it supplying only 40% of global
demand.
The main importer of Oil such as China has cut down its oil import by a huge margin thus
bringing a huge fall in the demands of the global oil supply.
America has become the worlds largest oil producer. Though it does not export crude oil, it
now imports much less, creating a lot of spare supply.
Saudi doesnt want to lower output as the space it will shed will be filled by Iran (which is now
free to export as much as it can after sanctions were revoked) and Russia. Saudis detest both of
them

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Slow down in global economy has led to poor demand and global economy may react adversely
in case of hike which will further affect prices
High production of gas as substitute Russia as biggest natural gas supplier, America has
burgeoning shale gas
Arab Countries want to make the emerging rival fuel shale gas production unviable, for that
crude has to be cheaper than shale gas

India in current situation gains

The cheaper oil prices now present an opportunity for the government to reform and revamp
the energy sector;
India has saved approximately $40 billion in reduced import costs last year alone
By deregulating diesel alone, government will save now a big part of Rs 85,000 crore that it
provides in oil and gas subsidies. This will help in meeting the government its fiscal deficit and
CAD targets.
It is also an excellent chance to build up our strategic storage, which is now next to nil.
A recent IMF study says that every $10 fall in oil price adds 0.2 percentage points to global GDP
growth.
Lower inflation
With low petroleum prices, there will be indirect boost in automobile sector and hence
manufacturing sector and employment.
Oil refineries like ONGC and IOCL can save money for future innovation, infrastructure building
and making it strong.
Govt can completely rely on import of crude oil and save domestic rigs for future

India in current situation losses

As the economies of oil producing states enter into red zone, FDI and other economic relations
with them may see a decline
Gulf countries are also home to a large Indian expats and any adverse economic situation there
will affect their welfare as well
Indian companies which were set up due to high price of oil, might face viability problems.
Lesser innovation toward improving energy efficient technologies
More pollutions due to combustion engine which will lead to Global warming.
Global decline of economies of oil exporting nations may lead to another dangerous recession
and will affect Indias economy.
With low oil price Fracking technology of US will not be remunerative and hence the Guar Gum
which India used to export will be stopped affecting new found income prospect to many rural
farmers will be snatched away.

Why prices have not come down commensurately

Prices of petrol and diesel have not reduced commensurately as excise duty has gone up 4
times in the last three months depriving consumers of the benefit of lower prices.

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FED RATE HIKE


The current situation of almost zero interest rates may not persist as Fed Bank of US indicates that it
might hike rates. There are reasons to do so as

US economy is now growing at around 3%.


A low interest rate can also give birth to bubbles.
Further, inflation is also low at around 1%.

However, factors like a sluggish global recovery, Chinese slowdown are the reasons that economists
want it to be hold.
A rate hike would mean that US would b more attractive investment option and this would mean that
emerging markets will see flight of dollar. Dollar will also strengthen at the expense of emerging markets
currencies.

GREECE CRISIS
Background

Greece was already in a bad shape when it was admitted to Eurozone


It never met even a single condition in the Stability and Growth Pact which every Eurozone
member has to
Over the years it fudged its debt and fiscal health data
It raised huge debt and used it to finance subsidies
Though debt and deficit was rising, tax payers were reluctant to pay tax
Recession in global economy was the death knell as Greek economy is a service economy with
little natural resources
Leading to high cost of debt as high as 30% rate on government bonds. In October 2009, after
the global financial crisis had made investors more wary of risk, Greece revealed its deficit was
far higher than advertised, and its finances were out of control. Its borrowing costs shot up. It
couldn't pay.
Greece defaulted on debt payment in June 2015
Major debt is extended by IMF, ECB and Germany
Debt is 180 percent of GDP
Greece voted no in a referendum
Greek PM resigned and later won elections again in September

Greece also mellowed down its stance and is set for 3rd bailout package with conditions like strict caps
on public funding, consent of debtors in case of passing key financial legislations, selling off of public
assets
Grexit could have also questioned the very raisen detre of EU and Eurozone and could have seen many
more future exits by countries like Spain, Portugal etc breaking one Europe dream

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IRAQ
Background

2003 invasion of Iraq On the pretext of WMDs which were not found
The Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse scandal came to light, late 2003 in reports by
Amnesty International and Associated Press.
The invasion disturbed the delicate balance of power in the country and led to sectarian rifes as
well.
Army was dismantled and new institutions couldnt come up.
U.S. troops handed over security duties to Iraqi forces in June 2009, though they continued to
work with Iraqi forces after the pullout. On the morning of 18 December 2011, the final
contingent of U.S. troops to be withdrawn ceremonially exited.
Following the withdrawal of U.S. troops in 2011 the insurgency continued and Iraq suffered
from political instability.
Iraq became an example of botched foreign invasion which left the country in the most
unstable position than ever also gave rise to groups like Islamic State
After an inconclusive election in April 2014, Nouri al-Maliki served as caretaker-Prime-Minister
who passed the batton on to Haider al-Abadi in September 2014.
Politics of new PM (a Shia himslef) are also attributed to alienation of Sunnis and other groups.
Conflict between Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish factions has led to increasing debate about the
splitting of Iraq into three autonomous regions, including Kurdistan in the northeast, a
Sunnistan in the west and a Shiastan in the southeast.

Recent Developments

Russia has also started to cooperate with the new government against IS

ISLAMIC STATE
How ISIS emerged?

A breakaway faction of Al-Queda

Their origin is also attributed to the sectarian conflicts


Shia and Sunni (as recently, Sunnis were oppressed und
the new regime in Iraq after the Western forces left) (In
Syria also, a minority Shias are ruling the Sunni majority)
this is also the reason that the group has the most
presence there

It is a Sunni group seen largely as a reaction to


majoritarian policies of the former Shia PM of Iraq
Noor Malaiki.

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Western war on terror is another major cause behind its rise


A reaction to the hegemonic attitude of the West Invasion of Iraq
Arms which western powers supplied to rebel groups fell into their hands as well
It is also a result of the radical ideology of Salfist-Wahabi backed by Saudi Arabia
Further, sudden dismantling of the Iraqi army of Saddma Hussain and other institutions with
no effective replacement of theirs created a void in Iraq which was filled by IS and other
extremeist elements.

Rich dividends from illegal sale of oils have also provided an economic base to IS fighters.
Taxing local businesses through parallel government, kidnapping and ransom are other sources
of its funds.

It is also a result of wide social despair and inequality in the region


Disillusioned youth most of the fighters are the youth who are disillusioned for various
reasons cultural betrayal, unemployment, poverty and so on. Youth gets misled by the heroic
and boast of Islamic State

Purported objective of IS

Fundamentalism they aim at establishing Sharia law and annihilate other religions

It has a revivalist cum fundamentalist agenda and it primarily wants to create a caliphate (last
Caliphate was in Turkey which was dismantled by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk) and make a trans-

Asian Islamic state running from Spain to Indonesia based on strict Sharia law.
Who are the fighters

Primarily Sunni fighters

Primarily the locals Iraq and Syria

Other major contributors are Tunisia (3,000), Saudi Arabia (2,500) and other Gulf Countries
(out of a total 20,000 fighters)

Plan of dealing with it

Jeddah Conference in September in Saudi Arabia led to US, France and GCC have come together
to fight it. USA is pursuing a plan to debilitate and then destroy the IS with the help of its
supporting nations. Many analysts criticize this approach as it has no UN sanction.

GCC will fund the fighting

US will primarily use air-raids with no US military boots on the grounds

They also plan to leverage the fighting forces like Peshmerga Kurds across Iraq, Syria and
Turkey. US has supplied arms and aid to Pehmerga fighters

Help of moderate Sunni fighters is also sought

Strengthening Iraqi forces in the long run

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Possible fallouts

Its spread has wide consequences for the region which is highly divided on ethnic and religious
lines. It may ultimately destabilize West Asia where peace is already very fragile

It can also have spillover effects into Lebnon, Arab and even Israel

Iraq may be ultimately torn into a number of micro states controlled by Shias, Sunnis,
Peshmerga Kurds and IS fighters.

Similarly, IS may impact Syria also in a big way which is currently a headquarter of IS

It may affect interests of India as well, as destabilization may ultimately lead to disruption of oil
supplies as well and crude oil prices may go up

It is for the first time demonstrating the power of social media in the recruitment of jehadi

elements from across the globe


Challenges and hurdles in dealing with it

Iraqi military is highly unprofessional and suffers from corruption and lack of skills to deal with
such outfits and have succumbed to their aggression

Syria can be a key ally, but US and Turkey have branded it an enemy of democracy and freedom
and wouldnt seek its support as it will be akin to backtracking their earlier stance in which they
have vehemently demanded regime change in Syria

In wake of failures in Iraq and Afghanistan, US is also hesitant to send its ground forces in
especially in wake of upcoming elections in US

Turkey, which can be a key force in its destruction, is also wary of providing support to Kurd
Pehmerga fighters (as it also suffers from challenge by ethnic Kurds which demand a separate
homeland which includes a part of Syria, Iraq and Turkey as well) which need a passage through
its territory to fight IS forces in Syrian town on near Turkey border

Many educated youth have also joined the call of Jihad including those from European
countries and it poses a real danger of becoming a pan-global phenomenon threatening global
peace and dangers of more 9/11 like attacks looms large

There is another concern that, in the way USs appeasing policies led to the rise of IS, the current
policies of promoting so called moderate fighting Islamic forces may lead to rise of another
Salfist group replacing IS

Exclusion of Syria (an Alawite Shia minority ruled state) and Iran (a Shia ruled state) from the
current plan also raises doubts over its efficacy as the two are prime stakeholders in the region
and they especially Syria can provide a tough fight against IS

Further, larger challenge is perhaps the bridging of the Shia and Sunni gap in the West Asia led
by Iran and Sau Arabi respectively which has led to great mistrust and has given birth to AlQueda, Al Nusra, Hezbollah and now IS

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Cities that fell to IS

Ramadi

Anbar

Palmyra

Influence in Libiya and Nigeria as well

Recent News

Islamic states has not only killed thousands of people, but has also destroyed history of
thousands of years. Artefacts, structures and museums in cities like Raqqa, Mosul, Nimrud,
Hatra were razed. (IS fighters argue that they are ordain by the prophet to take the idols down
and decimate the polytheists)

Russia joins in

US and West led forces fight it in another theater in Syria


IS reaches to North Africa. Mass beheading of Christians in Libya are linked to IS. The country
has been in free-fall since the end of the civil war that ousted long time dictator Moammar
Gadhafi in 2011.

However, despite its brutal ways and bombastic claims, expert argue that the movement is likely to wear
out like other millenarian movements as the momentum subside and inertia sets in. Its core capability
are rooted in violent tactical moves and is devoid of a strategic plan due to which it may not hold for
long.

NET NEUTRALITY
Recently DOT released its report on net neutrality
1. Regulate domestic VOIP calling.
2. Treatment of zero-rating :Services should be open to all users & content providers - Zero rating
plans attempts to create such alliances between content providers (like Facebook, Flipkart etc)
and telecom service providers, so that latter gives preferential to content of former. This is
being perceived as biggest assault on Net Neutrality. (for example users can be forced to buy
expensive products from Flipkart as they dont have access to Amazon). They criticized Airtels
Zero rating plan for its violation of net neutrality.
3. Not to regulate over-the-top (OTT) messaging services Messaging services provided by apps
such as Viber, Whatsapp etc. should be encouraged and there is no need to regulate them.

NOBEL PRIZE
ECONOMICS Deaton

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The Nobel is given for empirical work as opposed to theoretical work


Secondly, the Nobel acknowledges the role of statistics and numbers in defining and assessing
the development parameters
Thirdly, the work tries to explain the individual behavior behind the aggregate data. His is an
attempt to link the micro and macro in the economics how welfare of individual changes
when aggregate indicators change
Fourthly, Deatons work also has significant relation with India. He has worked with Jean
Dereze in areas of poverty estimation, nutrition and has researched the National Sample
Survey data to test the empirical reality
He also highlights the achievement of Indians in creating wealthy individuals, but also flags the
dangers of an unequal society which might even ultimately threaten democracy

PHYSICS Arthur McDonald and Takaaki Kajita

For discovering that neutrino have mass


Kajita proved that Neutrinos exist in different flavors 3 and can interchange
By observing that on their route to the earth, the neutrinos undergo a change from one type to
the other, through a process called neutrino oscillations.
McDonald proved that neutrinos are not absorbed on earth surface and travel deeper
According to Swedish Academy their discovery has changed our understaning of matter and
will help in solving the mysteries of universe
Significance of neutrinos
o Zillions of them were produced during Big Bang and it is believed that, remains of them
are still travelling around us. Hence, more information about them can provide more
insights about the origin of the universe
o Apart from big bang, they are also produced in thermo nuclear reaction in sun and
nuclear reactions on earth as well
o Understanding their nature will also help in generation of fusion power which scientists
are attempting now through ITER of which India is also a part
o Its discovery as neutrino having mass also challenges the standard model which is
based on assumption that neutrinos dont have any mass

PEACE Tunisias National Dialogue Quartet which consists of 4 organisations

For helping build democracy in the birthplace of Arab Spring when Mohmad Bouazizi set himself
on fire 5 years ago
It helped in prompting a democratic discourse which led to stifling of attempts which aimed to
curtail rights of women, promote authoritarianism again and helped in successful holding of
elections last year in November 2014
With the collapse of regimes in Syria, Yemen, Libya and Regime Tunisia is the sole silver
lining and ray of hope

MEDICINE Youyou Tu (for malaria drug) + W C Campbell and Satoshi Omura

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Given for discovering medicines that revolutionized treatment of some of the devastating
diseases
For anti-Malerial drug which was derived from ancient Chinese knowledge of medicine
Other two have discovered drug for Lyphatic Filariasis (aka Elephantiasis, which causes abnormal
enlargement of body parts) which is caused by nematodes/roundworms which are transmitted
into humans by Mosquitos.

REFUGEE CRISIS EU and OTHERS


Refugees vs migrants. Refugees have no choice. They are tests of humanity, not a burden.
Existing treaties and mechanisms

UN Refugee Convention, 1951 The Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, also known
as the 1951 Refugee Convention, is a United Nations multilateral treaty that defines who is a
refugee, and sets out the rights of individuals who are granted asylum and the responsibilities of
nations that grant asylum. The Convention also sets out which people do not qualify as refugees,
such as war criminals.
The Convention builds on Article 14 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which
recognizes the right of persons to seek asylum from persecution in other countries.
None of the South Asian countries is signatory to this convention, around 150 other nations
are including EU, Africa and China, but not USA

Origin

Origin lies in arbitrary demarcation of national boundaries by the European colonial powers
it led to heterogeneous groups being combined and pent-up national frustration
Democracy deficit in the regions and historical Western support to that
Attributed to result of Western policy of incitement of rebel groups in many countries and Iraq
left in a botched up condition, deterioration in Libya and resulting political voids filled by violent
fanatic groups
However, powers like Turkey are equally responsible for fomenting anti-government groups
like - Nusra front
Strife in Syria, Iraq, Pakistan etc
Failure of West to act on IS threat with a missionary zeal is also one of the reasons of rise in
number of refugees displaced by IS
Libya's lawless state, following the toppling of former leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, has left
criminal gangs of migrant smugglers free to send a stream of boats carrying desperate migrants
from Africa and the Middle East.

Europe

3 years old Aylan Kurdi event

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Till now, 3 lakh refugees have reached Europe so far Lebanon alone has 11 lakh refugees (a
quarter of its population)
Hungary presented a poor show put up barbed wire and its PM said that Islam doesnt belong
to Europe
Turkey has hosted largest of them and Italy and Greece being first shores are also burdened
unequally
In many countries right wing chauvinist have emerged as largest groups
Germany, Italy and Swedan are forthcoming in accepting them
Germany has emerged as leader it threatens position of UK further in EU
Germany is an attractive destination as it has a fair asylum policy, strong economy and relatives
of refugees already staying there
EU has failed to evolve consensus
Instances of giving preference to Christian refugees over others and instances of conversion as a
precondition
Refugee crisis in the background of economic slowdown hence even more challenging.
Mainly Eastern European countries are opposed
In 2013, the Italy government initiated the search-and-rescue operation "Mare Nostrum" or
"Our Sea" after hundreds drowned in an incident off the coast of Lampedusa. Italy scaled back
the mission after failing to persuade its European partners to help meet its operating costs. Such
a mechanism should be revived. Mare Nostrum has been replaced by a much smaller EU-run
operation called Triton.

Other refugee crisis across the globe

Boat people of Myanmar

Implications and trends

Anti-immigrant parties have been on the rise across Europe


Refugees are also behaving choosy over picking some countries over others
Apprehensions regarding decline in wages in an already economically fragile situation
Cultural clashes fears especially incidents like Charlie Hebdo
There are apprehensions among certain EU nations who have family reunification rules under
which temporary refugees can become permanent residents
It is also argued that refugees may not put burden on economy as they are still a minute fraction
(just 1 in 2000) of EU population and instead help in contribution to GDP and labor force in a
situation where EU population is fast ageing

SCO

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The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation or SCO
was founded in 2001 by the leaders of China,
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and
Uzbekistan. Except for Uzbekistan, the other
countries had been members of the Shanghai
Five, founded in 1996; after the inclusion of
Uzbekistan in 2001, the members renamed the
organisation.
It is an organisation which originally primarily
aimed at regional security especially Islamic
terrorism.
It is also viewed as a potential force against
NATO in the region.
Its six full members account for 70% of the land
mass of Eurasia and its population is a half of the
worlds population after inclusion of India
The SCO is primarily centered on its member nations' Central Asian security-related concerns, often
describing the main threats it confronts as being terrorism, separatism and extremism.
All SCO members but China are also members of the Eurasian Economic Community.
Its most successful Project so far is RATS Regional Anti Terrorism Structure of 2004.
India and Pak will join it next year and this will have 4 of the 8 nuclear powers. Joining of the two will be
a counterweight to the influence of China.
It was formed by replacing an existing association called Shanghai 5. India and Pakistan were formally
announced its members in Ufa summit, 2015.
Important for India because

Energy security
Economic integration with the central Asian republics
The Indian government is also of the view that SCO membership will offer India more
opportunities to work closely with China in certain areas including in Afghanistan.
As a platform for deliberations with Pakistan on security related issues
Dealing with Islamic terrorism
India is also keen to deepen its security-related cooperation with the SCO and its Regional AntiTerrorism Structure (RATS) which specifically deals issues relating to security and defense.
It opens up trade, energy and transit routes between Russia and China that pass through
Central Asia, that were hitherto closed to India

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With Russia and China taking the lead, the SCO could even prove a guarantor for projects such
as the TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) and IPI (Iran-Pakistan-India) pipelines
that India has held off on security concerns.

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS and MDGs


MILEENIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS (MDGs)
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are eight international development goals that all 192
United Nations member states and at least 23 international organizations have agreed to achieve by the
year 2015.
India has met only four of ten health targets under the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), and has
made next to no progress on another four, according to the WHOs annual World Health Statistics for
2015. In India, life expectancy grew by eight years between 1990 and 2013. While India has sharply
reduced its infant mortality between 2000 and 2013, it still contributes for the most infant deaths
globally. Non-communicable diseases (NCD) are the top killers, followed by communicable diseases and
injuries.
Indian achievement on MDGs (excerpts from UNDP report)
1. MDG1 Reducing poverty and hunger by half between 1990 and 2015 achieved on poverty
front, but not on hunger. This was a result of both: economic growth (including in agriculture) as
well as increased social spending on interventions such as MGNREGA and the National Rural
Health Mission (NRHM). India is home to one quarter of the worlds undernourished population,
over a third of the worlds underweight children, and nearly a third of the worlds food-insecure
people. In 2015, malnourishment declined to 40 percent. This is still below the target of
reducing malnourishment to 26 percent.
2. MDG2 Universal primary education Enrolment is now almost 100% with low dropout rates at
primary levels, thanks to RTE and MDM. However the quality of education remains a major
concern along with achievement in terms of measurable learning outcomes. Another issue,
which will have to be addressed, is the large numbers of children remaining out of school and
failing to complete primary education, particularly in the case of girls, children in rural areas and
those belonging to minority communities.
3. MDG3 Gender parity in education and employment and gender empowerment achieved
gender parity in primary school enrolment and according to the report it is likely to reach parity
in secondary and tertiary education by 2015. However, labor force participation in India is still
skewed at just 19% women in wage employment and on gender empowerment front also we
have not faired well. Representation of women in legislatures is still around 9%.
4. MDG4 Reduce child mortality by 2/3 between 1990 and 2015 It has almost achieved the
target. Indias Under Five Mortality (U5MR) declined from 125 per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 49
per 1,000 live births in 2013. The MDG target is of 42 per 1000. IMR is lowest in Kerala (12) and
highest for Madhya Pradesh (54). The key to significant progress in reducing U5MR and infant

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5.

6.

7.

8.

mortality rates rests with reducing neonatal deaths, that is, infant deaths that occur within a
year of birth at a fast pace.
MDG5: Improve maternal health. Reduce by three quarters, between 1990 and 2015, the
maternal mortality ratio. Achieve, by 2015, universal access to reproductive health On this
front, India has not fared too well. Required rate was 109, but India has around 167 per lakh
population. Mortality of mothers is still high and institutional delivery and access to other means
of reproductive health is also not very good due to a dilapidated primary health care system.
Institutional deliveries are now around 75% thanks to introduction of conditional cash transfer
schemes and initiatives like NRHM and ASHA. However, the quality of maternal care remains a
concern.
MDG6 Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases - On HIV front, it has done well, but on
other fronts, it has not. Many tropical diseases like Dengue, Japanese Encephalitis are still not
under control. India accounts for one-fifth of the global incidence of tuberculosis (TB), but India
has made progress in halting its prevalence. Treatment success rates have remained steady and
tuberculosis prevalence per lakh population has reduced from 465 in year 1990 to 211 in 2013.
MDG7 Ensure environmental sustainability. Halve, by 2015, the proportion of the population
without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. By 2020, to have
achieved a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum-dwellers On this
front also, significant progress has not been made. India has made progress in providing clean
drinking water however; access to sanitation facilities remains inadequate. Forest cover has
increased to 21.23 percent - an increase of 5871 sq. km, and protected areas cover to about
4.83 percent of the countrys total land area.
MDG8 Develop a global partnership for development. Address the Special Needs of the Least
Developed Countries (LDCs). Develop further an open, rule-based, predictable, nondiscriminatory trading and financial system. In co-operation with pharmaceutical companies,
provide access to affordable, essential drugs in developing countries. Deal comprehensively with
the debt problems of developing countries through national and international measures in order
to make debt sustainable in the long term. Address the special needs of landlocked developing
countries and small island developing States. Increase in spread of benefit of ICT This one is
the most comprehensively outlined and the only MDG which required considerable affirmative
action from developed countries. However, they failed to enforce a global partnership with
developing countries. On the contrary to it, the aid flow in the given period have reduced in
absolute terms of money. Initiatives like GCF have seen tepid response from developed
countries. India has personally fared well on this front there are now around 75% users of
mobile and internet penetration is 18%.

Overall achievements

According to the UNs 2015 MDG report, extreme poverty (popularly known as the dollar a
day poverty line) has decreased from 1.9 billion (47 per cent of the population) in 1990 to less
than 840 million (14 per cent) in 2015.

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This lack of success in is largely because of poor progress in two regions: sub-Saharan Africa and
South Asia.
The World Bank estimated that MDG 1A (halving the proportion of people living on less than $1
a day) was achieved in 2008 mainly due to the results from just two countries India and China
and East Asia.
With regard to universal primary education (MDG2), the report notes that the net primary
school enrolment rate in developing countries is above 90 per cent in 2015
With regard to MDG3, the report notes that gender equality in primary, secondary and tertiary
education in developing countries has improved significantly, with the enrollment ratios for
boys and girls now more or less comparable. However, overall, gender equality goal has not
been achieved.

Criticism of the MDG

One of the criticisms of the MDGs was that too much emphasis was laid on quantitative targets
under the MDGs with little impact on quality as for instance with the accent put on school
enrolments, but not on quality of education per se.
The entire MDG process has been accused of lacking legitimacy as a result of failure to include,
often, the voices of the very participants that the MDGs seek to assist.
One criticism of achievement of MDGs is that, that was partly due to robust growth of global
economy with its main driver as China.
General criticisms include a perceived lack of analytical power and justification behind the
chosen objectives.
The MDGs lack strong objectives and indicators for within-country equality, despite significant
disparities in many developing nations.

Background of SDGs

MDGs ended in 2015 their performance


Requirement of a new framework till 2030 was contemplated in Rio+20 conference in 2012 and
as a result an Open Working Group was formed which framed the current SDGs

The SD Goals

17 goals and 169 indicators to be achieved in next 15 years

Different from MDGs

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Unlike the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), SDGs have been formulated through an
open and wide consultative process of nearly two years since the Open Working Group was
formed at Rio+20. The main criticisms were that MDGs were arbitrary, lacked a theory of
change, were chosen without consultation and imposed on developing countries.
Will be applicable on both developed and developing countries
They recognise the key role of the private sector in pursuing and financing sustainable
development, in partnership with governments and civil society..

They are also wider and more specific

Criticism of new SDGs

Simply put, they are too numerous

SYRIA
Civil war started in 2011 and till now it has
claimed around 2,50,000 lives
Russia has bolstered its military presence
there. It launched first strike against IS militant
in October 2015. Apart from targeting IS
militants, it also targets the insurgent groups
which are backed by the West and Turkey to
remove Assad.

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According to Russia, the crisis is also linked to its domestic surge of Jihadists
It is an assertion of rise of Russia
It is also believed that Russia wants to use its intervention in West Asia as a bargaining tool to
stop Western support in Ukraine.

Iran has also sent its troops to Syria


US and Russia have divergent views on Assad government, Russia wants all actions without removal and
cooperation. America on the other hand wants not only elimination of IS, but also ouster of Syrian
regime and hence, both have different target areas.

TRANS PPACIFIC PARTNERSHIP

Agreement by 12 nations
In background of dud WTO talks, regional trading blocs are gaining more significance TTIP or
Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is another upcoming FTA between USA and EU
In its current form it is seen a US led FTA bloc aimed at containing China and China driven RCEP.
Members of both TPP and RCEP are major trading partners of India. So if India remains outside,
it will have to deal with serious trade and investment barriers. But joining them won't be easy
either. Joining RCEP means having a free trade agreement with China! Joining TPP means
adopting its labor, trade and investment guidelines which US supports, but India opposes.
It will be the biggest trading bloc once operational double the size of EU market and 40% of
global trade
Chinese and India
manufacturing
will
suffer as they will
become costly due to
import duties on them
In USA there is a
skepticism that it might
lead to further job
losses
Vietnam will gain much
and countries like Peru
are likely to gain
It also would establish uniform rules on corporations intellectual property, open the Internet
even in communist Vietnam and crack down on wildlife trafficking and environmental abuses.

Challenges

It faces opposition inside and outside the U.S. Several members of Mr. Obamas Democratic
Party oppose the deal, saying it would only help American companies send jobs abroad.

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Critics in other countries say it would benefit large corporations, particularly American big
pharma, with the common people at the receiving end.
Health advocacy groups say it would reduce access to generic medicines in developing countries

India and TPP

India did not attempt to join the TPP for obvious reasons: the possible gains from opening up
markets for its merchandise exports would have been nullified by the concessions that the
country would have had to grant in the realm of intellectual property rights, especially in the
important segment of drugs.
Many sectors of Indian economy like garments are likely to be adversely affected

TURKEY

Erdogans AK Party won elections


However, party is short of the majority required to amend constitution which Erdogan wants
to give him more powers
Attacks just before elections which were attributed to Kurds were used by Erdogan to fuel
jingoistic feelings and polarize voters
Turkey was initially in no mood to stop ISIS as it thought them as a tool against Asad, but an
attack on a Turkish town which killed many people forced it to join West
While West see Kurds as counter to ISIS, Turkey see them as terrorists

UNSC REFORMS
A text based discussion was initiated in the UNGA on the reforms of UNSC. On September 14, the UN
General Assembly had adopted negotiating text Decision 69/560 on Security Council (UNSC) reform.
The Indian position is that this democracy deficit in the UN prevents effective multilateralism in the
global arena.
The geopolitical rivalry among the permanent members has prevented the UNSC from coming up with
effective mechanisms to deal with global crises.
Leaders of the G-4 nations Japan, Germany, Brazil and India met on the sidelines of the United
Nations General Assembly (UNGA) annual summit first time in 10 years.
Three powerful members of the UNSC Russia, China, and the US are opposed to Indias position.
While France took a helpful stand, the UK only came half-way.
Only GA can induct new members with 2/3rd vote with approval of all existing UNSC members
Why India be part of UNSC

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Largest democracy and home to 1/7th population


Leader of the global south
3rd Economy in terms of PPP
Largest contributor of the UN peacekeeping forces
Historical principled stand on global issues and a track record of promoting peace

YEMEN
Background

Forceful takeover by Houthi rebels has created a political crisis in Yemen. They unilaterally
announced the dissolution of parliament led by Hadi and said a new interim Assembly and
government would be formed, a move denounced by a main political faction as a coup.
Houthis backed by Shia Iran now control North and Abdul AL Malik Houthi is their leader.
Hadi currently controls South Yemen with support from Arab states.
Government of Hadi is recognised by UN as well. Hadi was elected president in an election in
which there was no other candidate in run
Houthi (a Shia sub-sect) and other rebels are loyal to former president Abdullah Saleh, the
former president who was ousted in 2011 during the Arab Spring, after which in a GCC brokered
peace, he handed over reigns to his deputy Mansoor Hadi.
Saleh supports the Houthi rebels.
UN wants both sides to reconcile.
Air strikes were started
after Hadi requested
Saudi Arabia.

Causes

A deep divide persisted


between
the
Shia
Muslim-dominated North
Yemen
and
Sunni
Muslim-influenced South
Yemen.
Till 1990, two states
existed in Yemen one
in the North and another
in the South the two
became one in a Saudi
Brokered deal, but the
peace was fragile.
Power struggle between

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Iran (shia) and Saudi Arabia (Sunni)
High poverty levels, an oppressive and corrupt government, a large number of weapons in
private hands are some of the factors contributing to the present crisis.
Presence of Al-Queda has further stoked conflicts
Fallout

The stability of Yemen is a priority for the US and its Gulf Arab allies because of its strategic
position next to Saudi Arabia, a top oil exporter, and shipping lanes in the Gulf of Aden.

The unrest could strengthen Yemen's al-Qaida branch, considered the world's most dangerous
wing of the terror movement, and complicate U.S. counter-terrorism operations in Saudi
Arabia's southern neighbour.

UN Views

February This was a resolution that strongly deplored the Houthis actions to dissolve
parliament on 6 February and take over government institutions
April U N Security Council Bans Sales of Arms to Houthi Fighters
Current news

Operation Rahat, was a rescue operation to evacuate civilians stuck in strife-torn Yemen. The
efforts were so effective that over 26 countries including the U.S. and U.K. sought Indias help in
rescuing their citizens. India rescued a massive 5,000 people including people from 41 other
countries.
A cease fire that was declared ended in May 2015 and Saudi led coalition resumed air-strikes

MISCELLANEOUS
PROPOSED AMENDMENT in CHILD LABOR LAW The government justified the exceptions in the
proposed amendments in the Child Labor law to strike a balance between the need for education for a
child and reality of the socio-economic condition in the country. While prohibiting employment of
children below the age of 14 in all occupations and processes, the Centre made two exceptions by
letting them work in family enterprises and in the audio-visual entertainment industry (except the
circus), provided their school education is not affected. Child rights activists had argued that the
definition of family enterprises can include matchbox making, carpet weaving and gem polishing
industries where child labour is in high demand. Family enterprises fall in the unorganised sector,
making them an amorphous legal category that is hard to govern. Such a law will adversely affect girl

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children who are often forced into domestic work, or Dalits and those from the minorities who work
out of dire poverty but are ultimately denied the joys of childhood
Rurban Mission

To transform rural India into engine of growth.


To generate opportunities in villages arresting mass exodus from villages
To develop 300 Rurban clusters over next 3 years
It is cluster of smart villages developed by provisioning of economic activities, developing skills &
local entrepreneurship and providing infrastructure amenities.

Blogger attacks in Bangladesh, cause

Targeted bloggers for their atheistic and secular views


The bloggers were supporters of the war crimes trial
Bloggers have criticized militant/ radical groups
The main opposition, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, has joined hands with the Jamaat-eIslami to unleash violent protests against the government, particularly against the war trial in
which several Jamaat leaders have been indicted

WELFARE OF THE PEOPLE/TRIBALS IN THE MINING AREAS The Mines and Minerals (Development &
Regulation) Amendment Act, 2015, mandated the setting up of District Mineral Foundations (DMFs) in
all districts in the country affected by mining related operations and to protect the interests of tribal
communities who have borne the costs of mining. The Ministry of Mines launched new programme
Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana(PMKKY) to provide for the welfare of areas and people
affected by mining related operations, using the funds generated by District Mineral Foundations
(DMFs). All areas directly affected by mining related operations as well as those areas indirectly affected
by such operations will be covered under PMKKKY. The miners have to contribute a fraction to DMF of
total royalty payable to people. Using the funds generated by this contribution, the DMFs are expected
to implement the PMKKKY.
INDIA FOR A PERMANENT SOLUTION TO FOOD SECURITY AT WTO - India will insist that countries agree
to a permanent solution to the dispute over public stockholding of foodgrains by December as originally
promised, even though developing nations have been granted an indefinite interim reprieve. India said
that it is not satisfied with the peace clause for perpetuity. We need a permanent solution. At the Bali
meetings of the WTO in Dec 2013, India, along with other developing countries, was able to negotiate a
peace clause that allowed it to go beyond the 10 % cap for its MSP with immunity from legal challenge
from other WTO member countries for the next four years, within which time period a permanent
solution would be devised.
LOOK WEST POLICY - India adopted look west policy in 2005 to focus on West Asia. However, the policy
did not get much attention since 2005. Prime Minister Narendra Modis visit to the United Arab
Emirates (UAE) has the potential to transform our engagement with West Asia. Look East Policy
succeeded because South-East Asia began to look West to India, seeking a balancer to China. Look

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West is a challenge because, India is diversifying its energy basket. Arabs also have their own
reservations and more inclined to Pakistan and China. The democracy deficit in these countries has also
prevented institutional cooperation. Indias stance towards Israel is another irritant. West is important
because

Oil and gas


Security
Trade route
Afghan access and INSTC
Diaspora safety and connections
Regional peace

JAL KRANTI ABHIYAN Union Minister of State for Water Resources and River Development launched
the Jal Kranti Abhiyan 2015-2016. The Jal Kranti Abhiyan will be celebrated across the country during
2015-16 with an aim to consolidate water conservation and management using a holistic and
integrated approach. The main thrust of Jal Kranti is to recover receding underground water table,
river-basin planning and irrigation water management, conservation and rejuvenation of traditional
resources and save water. The chief component under the campaign is the Jal Gram Yojana, whereby
one village facing acute water scarcity would be selected from each of the 672 districts in the country.
The scheme will identify and train a cadre of local water professionals, preferably women panchayat
members, to be called Jal Mitra who will create mass awareness about water problems. The scheme
also provides for a Sujalam Card which will provide annual status/information about the quality of
drinking water available for a Jal Gram.
OCEAN AS CARBON SINK

Absorbing more than a quarter of the carbon dioxide that humans put into the air
CO2 reacts with seawater to form dissolved inorganic carbon, dissolved free Carbon dioxide
Carbonic Acid, Bicarbonate and Carbonate.
The difference in partial pressure of the CO2between seawater and air also facilitates gaseous
exchange.
Microscopic photosynthetic phytoplankton utilizes CO2 during photosynthesis.

Space Solar Power gathers energy from sunlight in space and transmits it wirelessly to Earth. Space solar
power can solve our energy and greenhouse gas emissions problems. The solar energy available in space
is literally billions of times greater than we use today. Countries such as the US and Japan have studied
space solar power station. Japan leads the development of wireless power transmission technology.
China plans to build a huge solar power station 36,000 kilometres above the ground in an attempt to
battle smog, cut greenhouse gases and solve energy crisis.
In Durbuk, in Ladakh, a solar power plant is powering 347 households, a clinic, a school and some
government offices.

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In Tamil Nadu, a panchayat purchased a windmill that is not only providing electricity to the entire
village but is also selling the surplus to State utilities and earning profit.
In Bihar, a company named Husk Power Systems is using rice husk to generate electricity and supplying
it to 250 villages.
The constitutionality of Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and relevant Blocking
Rules were framed under it to take down the sites were challenged in the Supreme Court in Shreya
Singhal vs Union of India case 2015. The Supreme Court held constitutionally validity of section 69A of
Information Technology Act. Many feel that the Supreme Court did not take a very proactive and
transparent stand in the case of 69(A) of IT act as it has taken in case of 66(A) of IT act. However, the
Court did the right thing in reading down Section 79(3)(b) pertaining to intermediary liability by ruling
that intermediaries such as Google or Facebook would not be liable for illegal content on their websites
unless they failed to comply with a court order asking for takedowns of such content.

SECTION 499 AND 500 OF THE INDIAN PENAL CODE DEFAMATION and PUNISHMENT
The petitions contend that Sections 499 and 500 of the IPC travel beyond the restrictions enshrined in
Article 19(2), thus constricting free speech beyond reasonable limits.
INDIAN REPLY to CHINESE ENCIRCLEMENT

Mongolia visit
Cooperation with Vietnam - India and Vietnam signed a Joint Vision Statement on Defence
Cooperation for the period 2015-2020. Earlier, India had offered a line of credit worth 100
million US dollars to Vietnam in order to enable it to procure new naval vessels from India.
SIMBEX joint military exercise with Singapore
Malabar With Japan and USA
New Mountain Strikes Corps in WB

CHINA PAK ECONOMIC CORRIDOR


Once the economic corridor is fully developed and Gwadar Port is fully modernised, China is hoping to
reduce its dependency on the longer Malacca Straits route for its humungous energy need.
The CPEC will link Chinas underdeveloped farwestern region to Pakistans Gwadar deepsea port on
the Arabian Sea via PoK through a massive and complex network of roads, railways, business zones,
energy schemes and pipelines.

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IBSA
Why IBSA?

All need to get into UNSC


Al are democracies
Sans Chinese influence
Similar stand on climate talks
As true representatives of the global south
Due to distance factor, their mutual relations have not reached upto their true potential

So, PM Modi has called for its revival after it was virtually overshadowed by BRICS
FOREIGN TRADE POLICY of INDIA (2015-2020)
Lifting India's exports to $900 billion by 2019-20 while giving a boost to the Make in India initiative.
The government aims to raise India's share in world exports from 2% to 3.5% by 2020.
FTP2015-20 introduces two new schemes, namely Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS)
and Services Exports from India Scheme (SEIS). The MEIS will be targeted for export of specified
goods to specified markets and SEIS is meant for export of notified services in place of a plethora of
schemes earlier. The MEIS has replaced five existing schemes: Focus Products Scheme, Market-linked
Focus Products Scheme, Focus Market Scheme, Agriculture Infrastructure Incentive Scrips and Vishesh
Krishi Grameen Udyog Yojana (VKGUY).
In order to give a boost to exports from SEZs, government has now decided to extend benefits of both
the reward schemes (MEIS and SEIS) to units located in SEZs.

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CAN INDIA OVERTAKE CHINA?

Chinas compounded annual growth rate was over 10 per cent between 1990 and 2013, while
the best that India achieved was about 9 per cent, between 2003 and 2009.
A quarter of Indias households have no electricity, whereas China has full coverage.
Indias literacy level at 74 per cent is way below Chinas 95 per cent
Indias infant mortality rate of 43 per thousand live births is thrice that of Chinas.
Savings rate of India at 30 per cent of GDP, against Chinas 51 per cent,

GDP ALTERNATE MEASURES

Gross Happiness Index


Social Progress Index (SPI) The Social Progress Index measures the extent to which countries
provide for the social and environmental needs of their citizens. Fifty-four indicators in the areas
of basic human needs, foundations of wellbeing, and opportunity to progress show the relative
performance of nations. The index is published by the nonprofit Social Progress Imperative, and
is based on the writings of Amartya Sen, Douglass North, and Joseph Stiglitz.

HUBBLE TELESCOPE 25 YEARS


Major findings

The Hubble Telescope has the ability to see in multiple wavelengths near-infrared, visible
light and near-ultraviolet.
Determination of the Hubble constant the universe's initial rate of expansion was one of
Hubble Space Telescope's key projects
Hubble proved the existence of super-massive black holes and found theyre located at the
centre of most galaxies.
It also helped to pinpoint the age of the universe at 13.8 billion years old.

RIVER INTERLINKING
National Water Development Authority (NWDA) for river interlinking
Till now, plan for 3 links has been finalised
There are total 30 links 14 in North
Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets (Imposition of Tax) Bill, 2015, popularly known as black money
bill was passed by Parliament

Undisclosed foreign income or assets shall be taxed at the flat rate of 30 per cent.
A small window for disclosure was also provided which yielded
Failure to furnish return in respect of foreign income or assets shall attract a penalty of Rs.10
lakh

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Second and subsequent offence will be punishable with rigorous imprisonment of 3-10 years
with fine of upto 1 crore

BANNING of PHOTOS in GOVT Ads


Criticism

Banning photos of Chief Ministers in government advertisements amounts to snatching away


the rights of states as the constitution gives equal status to Prime Ministers and Chief
Ministers.
Doesnt say anything about use of names and disguised pictures

WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTION ACT

No protection to whistleblower

In its 2015 Special 301 Report on Intellectual Property Rights, the office of the United States Trade
Representative (USTR) has retained India in its Priority Watch List. A Priority Foreign Country is the
worst classification given to those countries that have the most onerous or egregious acts, policies, or
practices and whose acts, policies, or practices have the greatest adverse impact (actual or potential) on
the relevant U.S. products.
TB
Shortcomings of current RNTCP
Together with its inability to diagnose drug-resistant TB
The RNTCP heavy dependence on the century old, insensitive smear microscopy
The RNTCP currently treats patients without knowing their resistance profile
Another failing of TB programme pertains to the mandatory TB notification by the private
practitioners. In spite of mandatory notification, TB patients, treated by private doctors, are not notified
to the RNTCP.
With the cost of treating a person with TB going up to 39% of the households annual expenditure, the
report has recommended that the Ministry of Health minimises the out-of-pocket expenditure by
families
HEAT WAVE - A heat wave occurs when a system of high atmospheric pressure moves into an area. In
such a high pressure system, air from upper levels of our atmosphere is pulled toward the ground, where
it becomes compressed and increases in temperature. This high concentration of pressure makes it
difficult for other weather systems to move into the area, which is why a heat wave can last for several
days or weeks.

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USTTAD SCHEME To preserve rich heritage of traditional arts and crafts of minorities and build
capacity of traditional artisans and craftsmen. To set up linkages of conventional expressions and
artworks with the national and universal market and ensure dignity of labour to artisans and provide
employment opportunities and a better future to the youths belonging to the minority community.
DEENDAYAL UPADHYAYA GRAM JYOTI YOJANA This scheme will enable to initiate much awaited
reforms in the rural areas. The earlier scheme for rural electrification viz. Rajiv Gandhi Grameen
Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY) has been subsumed in the new scheme as its rural electrification
component. Its objective is not only improvement in hours of power supply in rural areas, but also
Reduction in peak load, and
Providing access to electricity to rural households. Thus, apart from improving access, it also wants to
bring efficiency and cut losses which was not part of earlier schemes.The major components of the
scheme are:

Feeder separation. Rural feeder segregation is the separation of technical infrastructure of


agriculture consumers from non-agriculture consumers.
Strengthening of sub-transmission and distribution network.
Metering at all levels (input points, feeders and distribution transformers).
Micro grid and off grid distribution network & Rural electrification.

GLOBAL INVESTMENT FACILITY WB has launched a Global Investment Facility (GIF). It aims to fulfil the
infrastructure needs of emerging and developing economies. It will identify projects that are financially
viable and channel funds towards them. The GIF will collaborate with other international and
multilateral agencies which provide loans and financial assistance to countries across the globe. It will
also help these agencies with its expertise in financing, supervising and implementing projects.
Government has unveiled new draft aviation policy.

Regional Connectivity Scheme Aimed at improving access to remote areas


Maximum fare restricted to Rs 2,500 for flights of less than 1 hour duration

SECTION 124A of IPC deals with sedition. Like many other archaic provisions like Criminal defamation,
this too is considered a colonial hangover and susceptible to much abuse. For example, writer Arundhati
Roy was recently charged under this section for her speech in Maharashtra. Criticism of government
cannot be same as sedition and this section doesnt have provisions to distinguish between the two. It
has been used arbitrarily to curb dissent. In many cases the main targets have been writers, journalists,
activists who question government policy and projects, and political dissenters. The draconian nature of
this lawnon-bailable, non-cognisable and punishment that can extend for life has a strong deterrent
effect on dissent even if it is not used.
THE ARBITRATION AND CONCILIATION ACT, 1996 is the prime legislation relating to domestic
arbitration, international commercial arbitration and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards and also to
define the law relating to conciliation and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. This
was recently amended. Conciliation is defined as the process of amicable settlement of disputes by the

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parties with the assistance of a conciliator. It differs from arbitration in the sense that in arbitration the
award is the decision of the third party or the arbitral tribunal, while in the case of conciliation the
decision is of the parties which is arrived at with the mediation of the conciliator.

The parties in dispute can now incentivize the arbiter for a faster settlement before the set time
of 12 months
At the same time, if arbitrator fails to deliver even after 18 months, shall lose a part of fee
In earlier provisions, only retired judges were appointed as arbitrators and that used to delay
the process painfully, making arbitration useless exercise and highly expensive

TOLL Every year thousand of crores are lost in time and fuel costs, waiting at the toll plazas at
highways across the country. The manual system of toll collection is the primary reason for the same.
Now the Union Government is taking first steps to rectify the anomaly. It has started FASTag Electronic
Toll Collection (ETC) across 45 toll plazas on the Mumbai-Delhi corridor on the Golden Quadrilateral.
FASTag ETC is an automatic toll collection system which allows for the toll to be collected without any
manual intervention. Hence, it does away with the need to stop the vehicle at toll plaza.
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION It ought to have three pillars

Access to productive assets and resources say by means of economic means


Institutional representation say in politics, government jobs and other positions of power and
recognition
Cultural rights and empowerment identity promotion and preservation. It is the most
neglected aspect in India

RULE of LAW John Adams (the 2nd US president) used the historic phrase, a government of laws and
not of men, what was emphasised was that law and not whimsicality or caprice should govern the
conduct and affairs of people. Rule of law requires the enactment of a law, but that is not sufficient.
Rule of law must not be confused with rule by law. There is a certain core component without which a
government cannot really be said to be based on rule of law respect for basic human rights and
dignity.
THE SCHEDULED TRIBES AND OTHER TRADITIONAL FOREST DWELLERS (Recognition of Forest Rights)
ACT, 2006 was enacted to correct the historical injustices done to forest dwellers under the Indian
Forest Act, 1927, which gave the government arbitrary power to take over forest land without proper
rehabilitation and resettlement of the traditional inhabitants. Land rights activists say poor
implementation is down to a number of issues - a lack of awareness, difficulties in proving entitlement
and illegal interference by forest department officials to prevent claims being awarded. Accusations of
violations of the law itself by state authorities are also widespread, with forest-dwellers complaining
that they are being evicted which, under the legislation, can only be done with their agreement.
VOTING RIGHTS FOR PRISONERS The constitutionality of Section 62(5) of the RP Act was challenged
before the Supreme Court in Anukul Chandra Pradhan v. Union of India (July 1997) as being violative of
the right to equality and the right to life under Articles 14 and 21. The Supreme Court took the view that

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it was reasonable to deny voting rights to convicted prisoners, undertrials and those in police custody as
they were there for their own deeds and it is very cumbersome for administration to arrange for voting
for all those during elections.
CONTEMPT of COURTS Contempt can be civil or criminal. Contempt of court law is hangover from
British rule. Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution gives the right of freedom of speech and expression to all
citizens. But Articles 129 and 215 give the power of contempt of court to the higher judiciary, and this
power limits the freedom granted by Article 19(1). In a democracy people often criticize executives and
legislature this implies that people should have the right to criticize judiciary also. SC should take lead in
setting higher standards of tolerance in society.
PILOTLESS DRONES of INDIA

Lakshaya is a target aircraft.


Rustom is a combat aircraft and will replace/supplement the Heron UAVs in service with the
Indian armed forces.
The Nishant UAV is primarily tasked with intelligence gathering over enemy territory and also
for reconnaissance.
Panchi, the wheeled version of the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) Nishant, capable of taking off
from and landing on small airstrips
Aura is a future combat aircraft to be developed by DRDO which will have a similar design as B2
bomber.

FREEEDOM of SPEECH and SECTION 66A of IT Act Annulment The Supreme Court, in Shreya Singhal
versus Union of India, has quashed Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act),
terming it "vague" and "unconstitutional". The section was not there originally, but was added in 2008.

Three concepts fundamental in understanding the reach of this right were discussion, advocacy
and incitement. Discussion, or even advocacy, of a particular cause, no matter how unpopular it
was, was at the heart of the right to free speech and it was only when such discussion or
advocacy reached the level of incitement that it could be curbed on the ground of causing public
disorder.
Court said that content of Section 66A has no proximate relations with the public order.
SC also observed that publics right to know is directly affected by this section.
It had many terms vaguely defined like menacing, known to be false, etc. which leave much
space for misinterpretation.

SC GUIDELINES ON ENCOUNTERS Guidelines cover investigations by the CID or a police station from
another station-house, establishing the victims identity, preservation of evidence on the spot,
preparation of a rough sketch of the scene, recovery of fingerprints, videography of the autopsy, and
informing the next of kin of the deceased at the earliest. Holding the magisterial enquiry and keeping
the National Human Rights Commission informed are other requirements. No reward or promotion shall
be awarded out of turn unless, fairness has not been proven beyond doubt.

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SOCIAL JUSTICE BENCH of SC The Supreme Court set up a special Bench, called the Social Justice
Bench, comprising two judges devoted to the delivery of speedy justice in a range of social issues related
to the downtrodden and socially marginalised groups. The special Bench will handle issues related to the
release of food grains lying in stock for use in drought-affected areas, framing of a fresh scheme for their
public distribution, taking of steps to prevent the untimely death of women and children for want of
nutritious food, hygienic mid-day meals in schools, clean drinking water, provision of safety and
secured living conditions for women forced into prostitution.
NATIONAL WATERWAYS The National Waterways-1, 2 & 3 have been made operational. For
development of NW-4 & 5, Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) were completed in 2010.
RV Samudra Ratnakar is a Geological Survey of India (GSI)s stateoftheart research ship. It is fitted to
perform sea-bed mapping, deep-water mineral exploration and geo-scientific explorations, such as
multi-channel seismic survey, gravity survey, magnetic survey, deep sea imaging within the Exclusive
Economic Zone (EEZ) of India, as well as international waters. It will search for gas hydrates below the
sea-bed off the east coast and off Kanyakumari. According to scientists if even 10 per cent of the gas
hydrates available in Indias oceans is exploited, they would meet the countrys energy requirement for
a century.
NATIONAL MINORITIES DEVELOPMENT AND FINANCE CORPORATION (NMDFC) NMDFC is CPSU
provides loans at concessional interest rates for self-employment and economic development activities
to backward sections of minority communities having low yearly family income. Recently, its fund
corpus was increased by the government.
COAL ALLOCATION POLICY/Bill NEW

E-Auctioning
Proceeds to go to state where mines are located
PSUs will have supply of coal as required and blocks will be reserved for them
The main purpose of the ordinances, which are now being replaced by the bill, was to overcome
acute shortage of coal in core sectors and ensure energy security. They facilitated allocation of
coal mines to steel, cement and power utilities which are vital for development.

GAY RIGHTS India voted in favor of stripping benefits to same sex couples in UN general assembly
which was ultimately defeated. Majority of members favoured more rights. On criticism, India said that
the vote was more related to sovereignty as Ban Ki Moon passed a decision to allow same sex marriages
without vote of nations.
LEE KUAN YEW He was the founder of modern Singapore and passed away in March 2015. Lee drew
praise for his market-friendly policies but also criticism at home and abroad for his strict controls over
the press, public protest and political opponents. His Singapore model, sometimes criticised as soft
authoritarianism, included centralized power, clean government and economic liberalism along with
suppression of political opposition and strict limits on free speech and public assembly, which created a
climate of caution and self-censorship. The model has been admired and studied by leaders in Asia,

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including in China, and beyond as well as being the subject of countless academic case studies. Mr. Lee
was a master of Asian values, a concept in which the good of society took precedence over the rights
of the individual
SALARIES of MP/MLAs India is unique. It is the only country where judges can appoint themselves and
legislators can decide their own salary Somnath Chatterji, ex-Speaker Lok Sabha. In a first, Delhi
Government has set up a separate independent committee to decide salaries of MLAs. UK has a
Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) which sets the salaries (taking average of
various comparable professions) and other standards. IPSA noted that While salaries of public offices
cannot be comparable to those in private sector, but they cannot be too meager to deter people from
entering politics. We must acknowledge that politics/parliament is as essential for running this country
as various other important institutions. Delhi has tried to form such an independent body recently.
GUAR GUM India produces around 80% Guar crop in the world and Rajasthan in India produces 70% of
this. It is used as a thickening agent in the fracking fluid. Apart from use in Shale Gas industry, it was
earlier used in food industry as a binder, thickener and stabilizer. In rural areas it is used as cattle feed.
With boom in shale industry, its prices touched Rs 30,000 per kg in 2012 and slumped to 1,500 in 2015.
Fall in shale exploration activities, fall in crude prices and hence less incentives for shale gas exploration
and stockpiling by the mining exploration firms are the few reasons for the fall in prices. Guar is a low
input and short duration of 90 days and nitrogen fixing capabilities. It also doesnt go bad for even upto
10 years.
CRIMINAL DEFAMATION It is a provision under IPC (sec 499 and 500 of IPC) and SC has recently
observed that this provision needs to be reviewed. Court will try to see if this can be diluted in light of
its violation of freedom of speech which is a modern concept enshrined in constitution much later than
IPC. Criminal defamation has been abolished in so many countries.
US GUN LAWS Right to carry a gun was introduced via the 2nd amendment in the US constitution at a
time when it was deemed that a well regulated armed citizenry is necessary for security of free state. In
250 years situation has changed much and Obama has himself pleaded to change the regime on guns.
SALLEKHNA or SANTHARA Court ruled that it is not an essential part of Jain religion and hence, death
through it tantamount to suicide. It irked Jain community. Observers say that the ritual is also
sometimes used to get rid of older people. PIL argued that death by Ssanthara is not a fundamental right
under Article 25. Santhara vow is taken when all the purpose of life is served.
TRANSGENDERS An Expert Committee was constituted in the Ministry to make an in-depth study of
the problems being faced by the Transgender community and suggest suitable measures to ameliorate
their problems. The Committee submitted its report on 27th January, 2014. One of the
recommendations of the Committee is to declare transgender as third gender and for indicating the
gender on official documents. On 15th April, 2014, the Honble Supreme Court in a Writ Petition filed by
National Legal Services Authority (NLSA) has delivered its judgement on the issues of transgender
persons, directing the Central and State Governments to take various steps for the welfare of
transgender community.

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ACID ATTACK District administration will give license to acid-seller, only after KYC-like norms idproof, address proof etc. A web-portal for stockists, retailers, their id proofs. Hospitals will treat Acid
Attack victims in hassle free manner- without asking for cash, FIR etc. Home ministry will setup a
compensation fund to pay for victims medical expenses. Helath ministry, Finance ministry and
Sarkaari Insurance companies will support this fund. Acid attacks will be treated as Heinous Crimes.
PHOTOGRAPHS IN GOVT ADS A PIL was filed by Common Cause. SC held that It will lead to
promotion of personality cult. Advertising can be surrogate advertising for the party in power, especially
during election time. (Haryana example). Institutions need not be glorified, but rather they should earn
glory by their work and contribution to society
CLASSICAL LANGUAGES They are 6 now, Odiya was given this status last year in 2014. 5 Southern
languages Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Odiya plus Sanskrit. Odiya is the first language from
the Indo-Aryan linguistic group and the case for making it a classical language was also premised on the
fact that it has no resemblance to Hindi, Sanskrit, Bengali and Telugu. Once a language is declared
classical, it gets financial assistance for setting up a centre of excellence for the study of that language
and also opens up an avenue for two major awards for scholars of eminence. The criteria for declaring a
language as classical mandates high antiquity of its early texts/recorded history over a period of 1,5002,000 years, a body of ancient literature/texts which is considered a valuable heritage by generations of
speakers and a literary tradition that is original and not borrowed from another speech community.
Cultural ministery proposes such status, which after cabinet nod get this status
UNDERTRIALS ISSUE The Supreme Court has ordered the release of all undertrial prisoners who have
already served half the term. In 2012, undertrials comprised 66 per cent of the prison population. The
court relied on Section 436A of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (CrPC) to direct all States. Section
436A was introduced into the CrPC in 2005 to mandatorily release on bail all undertrials who have
already served half the period of their sentence if convicted. The court ordered judicial officers across
the country to visit prisons in their district over the next two months to identify the undertrials. They
languish in jails because courts are not enabled to take up their cases. Many States have no finances for
courts. There is no infrastructure, no courtrooms. The primary constitutional and moral concern with
undertrial detention is that it violates the normative principle that there should be no punishment before
a finding of guilt by due process. Poor conviction rate is also a reason that long undertrials incarceration
is not justified. While existing data sources are inadequate, some preliminary research suggests that the
illiterate, lower castes and members of religious minorities are over-represented in the undertrial
population. This failure must be resolved by focussing on systematic institutional reform of the
investigation and prosecution of offences.
SECURE COMMUNICATION IN GOVERNMENT The government is working on India's own e-mail
service. The new email service will have smart features, and has been modeled on the lines of Gmail and
Yahoo to make it user-friendly. The new Made in India e-mail service will be first rolled out for the use of
the Central government after which it will be extended to state governments. In the final phase it will
also be made available to all Indian citizens for their interaction with the government.

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INCREASE IN INTEREST RATE BY US FED Raghuram Rajan, who had predicted the 2008 financial
meltdown, has said that abrupt reversal of low interest rates globally could create substantial amounts
of damage and that it should be done in a predictable and careful way. American economy grew at a
quite impressive 3.9% which has made a stronger case for interest rate hike which are now hovering
around 0. However, this rate hike along with a turmoil in the Chinese economies doesnt bode well for
global economy. Low rates over a long period, however, are likely to result into more bubbles.
PRODUCER PRICE INDEX IN INDIA Currently, WPI is the PPI for India, however RBI (B N Goldar Panel)
is working towards evolution of a new PPI. Measure of inflation has been considered a matter of much
debate and recently, RBI has also moved to CPI. New PPI will remove the discrepancies associated with
the WPI and will be as par the global standards. WPI includes taxes while PPI tracks inflation minus tax
component. The most important part of PPI will be services, as currently there is no index tracking
inflation in the sector that contributes about 55% to India's GDP. PPI will track average change over time
in selling prices received by domestic producers for their output for both goods and services while WPI
tracks transaction only at the wholesale level for goods. Prices included in PPI are from the first
commercial transaction for many products and some services. PPI series will initially run parallel to WPI
and later replace it. Existing WPI is a hybrid of consumer and producer price quotes. Sellers or
producers(PPI) and purchasers prices (CPI) differ due to government subsidies, sales and excise taxes,
and distribution costs.
IPR POLICY Currently, India doesnt have such policy, but is coming with one. It is likely to bring
uniformity in the IP regime in India.
OLD AGE SOCIAL SECURITY Majority of the workforce today lacks any form of retirement security.
Though India is likely to see its 60-plus population swell from 80 million to nearly 200 million over the
next 15 years, nearly 90 per cent of these people are not covered by any formal pension scheme.
INFORMAL SECTOR IN INDIA The NSSOs 68th round survey titled Informal Sector and Conditions of
Employment in India for 2011-12 highlights Informal jobs mean vulnerability, lower wages, no social
security. The NSSO characterizes the informal sector as consisting of units operating at a low level of
organisation with little division between labour and capital, and labour relations based on family, social
relations or casual employment. Indias informal economy at 90 per cent of all employment and half of
total GDP is worse among its peers and even comparable to sub-Saharan nations. Nearly all of the selfemployed the largest component of the workforce are in informal jobs, while over 40 per cent of
those in regular or salaried jobs are also in informal work arrangements. Nearly 80 per cent of all
informal sector workers had no written contracts, 70 per cent got no paid leave and 72 per cent got no
social security benefits. 80 per cent were not members of any union or association. Among the States,
Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal had the highest proportion of informal workers, and the northeastern States, Himachal Pradesh and Goa the lowest. Manufacturing, construction, wholesale and retail
trade, transportation and storage were the main sectors employing informal workers.

Recent move of the many state governments like Rajasthan (and also the similar government
plan) of revising the definition of Factory by raising the limit on the number of workers from

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10 to 20 and 20 to 40 is also criticized as it is deemed as leading to exclusion of many workers
out of regulatory framework.
CALL DROPS

17% in Delhi
Poor infra by cos.
Removal of many towers in Delhi as they were illegal

STRATUPS

In USA, they contribute towards 2/3rd of jobs


80% of them fail

TRIVIA
Rashtriya Avishkar Abhiyan government schools will be mentored by Institutes like IITs/ IIMs/IISERs
and other Central Universities and reputed organisations through innovative programmes, student
exchanges, demonstrations, student visits, etc. to develop a natural sense of passion towards learning of
Science and Maths.
Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojna (PMSSY) aims at correcting the imbalances in the availability
of affordable healthcare facilities in the different parts of the country in general, and augmenting
facilities for quality medical education in the under-served States in particular. The first phase in the
PMSSY has two components - setting up of six institutions in the line of AIIMS; and upgradation of 13
existing Government medical college institutions.
Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi Set up in 1997, it provides financial assistance to patients living below poverty
line and are suffering from major life threatening diseases related to heart, liver, kidney and cancer
cases, etc. It enables to receive medical treatment at any of the super specialty Government hospitals /
institutes or other Government hospitals.
India has moved up to 55 from 63 in The Global Hunger Index. For every rupee spent on effective
nutrition programmes, Rs16 can come back through improved productivity in the labour force.
Pakistan has as much as half number of poor in percentage terms (12%) as compared to Indias (23%).
Sri Lanka has just 4%. In 2011, India accounted for 30% of those living in extreme poverty in the world
Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) refers to tax planning strategies that exploit gaps and
mismatches in tax rules to make profit disappear for tax purposes or to shift locations where there is
little or no real activity but the taxes are low, resulting in little or no overall corporate tax being paid.
BEPS can be achieved generally through the use of transfer pricing mechanism. The BEPS project is led
by the OECD and the Group of 20 (G20) countries and it is a response to the 2008 global financial crisis,
and is meant to lay the foundations of sustainable and long-term economic growth by avoiding policies
that promote growth at the expense of other countries.

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Gram Nyayalayas Act, 2008 was enacted for establishment of Gram Nyayalayas or village courts for
speedy and easy access to justice system in the rural areas of India. The Act came into force from 2
October 2009. However, the Act has not been enforced properly, with only 152 functional Gram
Nyayalayas in the country against a target of 5000 such courts. The major reasons behind the nonenforcement include financial constraints, reluctance of lawyers, police and other government officials.
The development objective of the Neeranchal National Watershed Project for India is to support
Integrated Watershed Management Program (IWMP) through technical assistance to improve
incremental conservation outcomes and agricultural yields for communities in selected sites, and
adoption of more effective processes and technologies into the broader IWMP in participating states.
Jammu and Kashmir High Court (on 12 Oct 2015) has ruled that Article 370 has assumed place of
permanence in the Constitution and the feature is beyond amendment, repeal or abrogation.
Government will move to a new model in oil and gas exploration from production sharing to revenue
sharing. Under the new regime, the Government will not be concerned with the cost incurred and will
receive a share of the gross revenue from the sale of oil, gas etc. The revenue-sharing approach is
simpler, and is likely to earn the government more money. Companies will be allowed to sell crude oil or
natural gas at market prices, without any interference from the government.
The CTBT has yet to become global law due to its demanding entry into force clause, which requires the
signature and ratification of all 44 countries listed as nuclear technology capable. India's objection to the
CTBT is that as with the earlier nuclear treaties, it divides the world permanently into nuclear "haves and
have-nots. Following advantage India can drive by signing CTBT: India can gain admission into the
institutions governing the global nuclear order, which essentially means membership of strategic export
control cartels such as Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and the Missile Technology Control Regime
(MTCR). , Australia Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement. Signing the CTBT would also make Indias
claim for a UNSC seat stronger.
Government has launched "Grow Safe Food" campaign to improve agriculture output without
comprising on nutrition and quality of the produce. Grow Safe food Campaign has been initiated to
create awareness about the safe and judicious use of pesticides among the various stakeholders.
Difference between Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) and IPV: OPV is made up of attenuated or weakened
poliovirus and there is a risk of vaccine derived polio. IPV is made up of inactivated (killed) polio virus
and will provide immunity from all three strains of polio. IPV is over five times more expensive than oral
polio vaccine. Administering the vaccine requires trained health workers and sterile injection equipment
and procedures.
A massive open online course is an online course aimed at unlimited participation and open access via
the web. People who do not have chance to receive traditional college degrees from top institutions can
now earn certificates from MOOCs offered by the worlds top institutions. However, relying on usergenerated content can create a chaotic learning environment.

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Nearly three crore cases pending in Indian courts. The CJI recently set deadline of five years to end trial
of all the pending cases.
The Like Minded Group of Developing Countries (LMDC) is a group of developing countries who
organize themselves as block negotiators in international organizations such as the United Nations and
the World Trade Organization. LMDCs represent more than 50% of the world's population. India for the
first time, hosted the meeting of the Like-Minded Developing Countries (LMDC) on Climate Change.
The Union Ministry of HRD launched National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) for educational
institutions. International rankings do not entirely suit Indian realities. International ranking agencies
does not consider inclusivity of our institutions and the body of work in regional languages.
World Trade Organization (WTO) panel has ruled against India in a dispute raised by the US over the
countrys solar power programme, requiring the government to offer a level playing field to both
foreign and domestic manufacturers of solar panels. Make in India programme, aimed at attracting
foreign investment and turning India into a manufacturing hub and green energy target to install 100
gigawatts may be affected.
Recently Opposition alleged that government was the eroding legislative powers of Rajya Sabha by
deliberately introducing crucial bills as money bills. Rajya Sabha has virtually no powers regarding
passage of money bills.
A research group at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB) has set up Indias first pilot testbed which uses unused TV spectrum to provide broadband Internet connectivity in rural areas.
Silage, a green fodder compacted in air tight conditions to be used as substitute for green fodder
during the lean period for livestock. Tamilnadu government has embarked upon a programme to
popularise silage making.
Cloud seeding in drought prone areas
Centre planning to use drones extensively in the Maoist affected areas.
India is on course to be the worlds most populous nation by 2022, surpassing China sooner than
previously estimated, according to the UNs 2015 Revised World Population Prospect report.
The Ministry of Minority Affairs launched a new Central Sector Scheme Nai Manzil. The aim of the
scheme would be employment generation of the youths and also extending loans for opening
enterprises. The scheme will address educational and livelihood needs of minority communities in
general and Muslims in particular as it lags behind other minority communities in terms of educational
attainments.
Median age of Indian population in 2015 is 26.6 years
As per a WB report, South Asias urbanization is messy and hidden in that an estimated 130 million
South Asians live in informal settlements i.e. slums and sprawl. Hidden urbanization is seen in the

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large share of Indias population that lives in settlements that possess urban characteristics but do not
satisfy the criteria required to be officially classified as urban. The report also says that levels of
urbanisation are higher than those estimated by the Census 2011 due to this hidden nature of
urbanisation.
The Global Apollo Programme aims to make the cost of clean electricity lower than that from coal-fired
power stations across the world within 10 years. It calls for 15 billion British Pounds a year of spending
on research, development and demonstration of green energy and energy storage, the same funding in
todays money that the US Apollo programme spent in putting astronauts on the moon.
In Bijoe Emmanuel case of 1987, the Indian Supreme Court ruled that mandatory singing of the
national anthem could not be imposed on pupils who genuinely believed that it was against their
religious belief.
The rural development ministry, which oversees the MGNREGA, has moved a Cabinet note to increase
the number of promised work-days under the scheme to 150 days in areas declared to be drought
affected by the respective state governments.
The members of the Maldhari community living next to the forest area had been of great assistance to
the Forest Department in their conservation efforts. Under a government programme, some 300 Vanya
prani saathis (friends of the forest animals) had been recruited to ensure that lions were not attacked if
they strayed into any nearby villages.
Similar to the '911' all-in-one emergency service in the US, a single number '112' can be used for all
emergency phone calls across the country including for police, fire and ambulance.
Billions of people around the world suffer from 'hidden hunger' or micronutrient deficiencies.
Biofortification is a solution.
A fat tax is a tax or surcharge that is placed upon fattening food, beverages or on overweight
individuals. It aims to discourage unhealthy diets and offset the economic costs of obesity.
DigiLocker, the digital locker system launched by the government to securely store documents online,
has received good response since its beta launch last month. The locker can be accessed by individuals,
using their number.
The Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojna which will offer accident cover of Rs.2 lakh at a premium of
just Rs.12 per year
Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti BimaYojana which will offer life cover of Rs.2 lakh at a premium of just
Rs.330 per annum are commendable plans that will take social security to the poor who need it the
most.
Ireland has a written constitution which can only be amended by referendum. Ireland is the first
country to legalise same-sex marriage through a popular vote.

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16th Lok Sabha, 186 (34%) out of the 541 winners had criminal cases filed against them.
The Government, through Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Limited (ISPRL), is setting up Strategic
Crude Oil Reserves with storage capacity of 5.33 Million Metric Tonnes (MMT) at three locations viz.
Visakhapatnam (storage capacity: 1.33 MMT), Manglalore (storage capacity: 1.5 MMT) and Padur
(storage capacity:2.5 MMT) to enhance the energy security of the county. The crude oil storages are in
underground rock caverns and are located on the east and west coasts so that they are readily
accessible to the refining sector
Indian Navy's 1st stealth destroyer, INS Visakhapatnam, designed indigenously and fitted with advanced
features was launched, boosting the maritime force's firepower capability.
Banning photos of Chief Ministers in government advertisements amounts to snatching away the rights
of states as the constitution gives equal status to Prime Ministers and Chief Ministers.
Amma Unavagamas a meals facility at subsidized rates for the urban poor. It will also help in
increasing the labor force productivity and reduce morbidity apart from checking hunger.
Indian Air Force will now allow women pilots in fighter roles. Even countries like Pakistan, UAE, Israel
have such provisions already
In a unique bid, a private firm fielded 20 candidates in Kerala Panchayat poll to promote good
governance.
Delhi government recently scrapped the requirement of affidavits in more than 200 services likeration cards, caste certificate, electricity connection etc. There is already a provision in IPC which calls
for punishment for false declaration and hence, requirement of affidavit is uncalled for
A dalit home was set on fire in Sunpedh village in Faridabad, Haryana killing two children
Google announced Loon and FB announced Aquila as internet beaming balloon and drone respectively
Indian Air Force recently partnered with Chattisgarh government to attack the Naxals
McKinsey in its report Power of Parity highlighted that gender equality in workforce can lead to
an increase of around 1.3% of GDP
China ends its one child policy after 37 years
Indian origin Sikh Harjit Singh Sajjan becomes the defence minister of Canada
Rs 80,000 cr package to J&K twice the amount which the former CM has demanded
Conviction rates in India are a low 40% - and among these also, a majority are those who have little
access to justice system
India ranks 85th on the Transparency International Index, though improved its 2013 ranking

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Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem, which was then part of the Roman empire. The Christians of Kerala,
known as Syrian Christians because they probably came from West Asia, are amongst the oldest
Christian communities in the world.
Local governance during Cholas was strong and many functions including tax collection were devolved
on the village headman.
One thing for which Jehangir is remembered is his Chain of Justice.
Mahmud bin Tuglaq, was a man of principles and reason, but things didnt work out in the way he
planned. Like Alaudin Khilji, he was also ambitious. He transferred his capital to Delhi to Devgiri (later
renamed as Daulatabad) for a better control over Deccan.
Bhagat Singh when learned that his father has petitioned the British government to save him, he wrote
to his father that My life is not worth buying at the cost of my principles. One unique feature of Indian
revolutionaries was their adherence to secular and socialist principles
India ranks 135 in human development index of UNDP, Norway tops the list
In the 16th Lok Sabha, 61 women leaders have made their way to the Parliament. This is the highest
ever number of Lok Sabha seats won by women and constitutes 11.23 per cent of the total 543
Parliamentary seats. In state legislatures, this representation is even lower at just around 9%. Some
states Nagaland and Mizoram have no woman legislature. UP and Punjab have no woman ministers.
Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan) is the nationwide campaign for achieving
universal accessibility for all citizens including Persons with Disabilities.
Social Capital is expressed in form of relations between individuals and trust and harmony and
dependability in them. The central premise of social capital is that social networks have value. Originally
given by Pierre Bordieu
As per NSSO, over 65 per cent of adult women, are primarily engaged in housework slightly more so
among urban women.
Mr. Berners-Lee was working an engineer at the CERN laboratory in Geneva when he proposed the idea
of a World Wide Web in 1989. In a recent talk, he said access to affordable internet is a basic human
right.
In 2006, with New Horizons already on its way, Pluto was stripped of its title as the ninth planet in the
solar system and became a dwarf planet, of which more than 1,000 have since been discovered in the
Kuiper Belt. Pluto had the status of a planet despite being too small because, earlier no such dwarf
planet was found for long time.
New official data shows that fertility is falling faster than expected in India, and the country is on track
to reach replacement levels of fertility as soon as 2020.

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India set up a warning system in 2005 and upgraded it to a state-of-the-art Indian Tsunami Early
Warning System two years later at the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services in
Hyderabad. It has the capability to issue tsunami bulletins within 10 minutes of a major earthquake in
the Indian Ocean.
The biggest telecom spectrum auction ended after 19 days of fierce bidding that fetched about Rs.1.10
lakh crore to the government. Spectrum auction bellied zero-loss theory of previous government.
December 2014, 9 members of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) (referred to as the Pakistani Taliban,)
conducted a terrorist attack on the Army Public School in the Pakistani city of Peshawar
Al Shabab meaning "The Youth", or "The Youngsters", is an Islamist terrorist group based in Somalia. In
2012, it pledged allegiance to the militant Islamist organization al-Qaeda.
In Dec 2011, govt had changed the criteria for including sportsperson for this award thus added
category for performance of highest order in any field of human endeavour.
The idea of Ghar Wapsi can be traced back to the Shuddhi movement initiated by the Arya Samaj
founder Dayanand Saraswati in pre-independence period. The movement was aimed at removing
untouchability and re-conversion of Hindus converted to other religions. In initial phase, it emerged as a
reaction to the conversion attempts by Christian missionaries.
The prices of beef and buffalo flesh is nearly half that of mutton or goats flesh. Poorer people,
therefore, who can hardly afford fruit or milk or ghee are likely to suffer from malnutrition if they are
deprived of even one slice of beef or buffalo flesh which may sometimes be within their reach. On the
other hand, Beef constitutes just 1% of total meat consumption in India.
The term Fragile Five has been coined by a research analyst at Morgan Stanley which identifies Turkey,
Brazil, India, South Africa and Indonesia as economies that have become too dependent on skittish
foreign investment to finance their growth ambitions.
Right to Life means the right to live meaningful, complete and dignified life.
The Union government gave its in-principle approval for setting up of the first ESDM (electronic system
design and manufacturing) in electronic city, Bangalore.
The economic affairs secretary Aravind Mayarm-headed panel has recommended classification of all
investment above 10 percent as foreign direct investment (FDI) and below that as foreign portfolio
investment (FPI).
Kerala Tourism has been conferred the United Nation Award for creating innovative initiatives for
sustainable tourism, the first time India has ever won the recognition.
MINT is an acronym referring to the economies of Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Turkey, the
countries pegged as the best investment destinations. The term was originally coined by Fidelity

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Investments, a Boston-based asset management firm, and was popularized by Jim O'Neill of Goldman
Sachs, who had created the term BRIC.
The Union government has recently granted minority status to Jain community. The top three states
with largest Jain population in the country are Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh
Maharashtra government rolled out Jeevan Amrut Yojana (blood-on-call-scheme) across the state.
The ambitious plan said to be first-of-its-kind in the country, is aimed at facilitating blood supply to
patients scheduled to undergo surgeries and medical procedures, at cheaper rate by dialling a dedicated
helpline number 104.
Union Cabinet had cleared the NUHM. It will cover all cities and towns with a population of over 50,000
The International Designator, also known as COSPAR designation, is an international naming convention
for satellites. It consists of the launch year, a 3-digit incrementing launch number of that year and up to
a 3-letter code representing the sequential identifier of a piece in a launch. The International Designator
of Indias Mars Mission is 2013-060A.
Kings of Vijayanagar, imported Arabian horses on a large scale, in order to improve the breed of cavalry
horses in their own districts. Thus, the single biggest item of import to the Vijayanagar empire was
Horses.
Pliny the ancient Roman author has complained of the drain of gold to India (due to trade hegemony of
ancient India). He writes that the drain of Gold is in return for unproductive luxuries. The Roman gold and
silver were steadily drained into South India in exchange not only for spices, but also muslin, silk and
other costly luxuries. Romans and Greeks extracted the closely guarded secrets of making silk from China
and cut their reliance on East. This combined with restrictions on trade from West and apathy of
subsequent Indian rulers on trade, saw decline of many important cities.
According to Manu, a Brahamana was to be awarded higher punishment than the persons of other
varnas for the offence of Theft.
Rotavac is the Indias first indigenously developed vaccine against rotavirus, the major cause of diarrhea
deaths among children.
Recently Karnataka Panchayat Raj (Amendment Bill) 2013 was passed in the Legislative Assembly. The
bill envisages disqualification or removal of a member of a grama panchayat who fails to convene a
meeting of the ward sabha and removal of the president of the GP who fails to convene a meeting of
grama sabha. The bill provides for grama panchayat members to convene meetings of ward sabha and
president to convene meetings grama sabha at least once in six months.
The Mayaram panel was constituted to look into which one of the following areas? FDI limits across
various sectors

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Indirect taxes are termed regressive taxing mechanisms because they are charged the same for all
income groups
In 1835 English was made the medium of instruction in India
In 1971, the institution of Lokayukta was established in Maharashtra, it was the first state to do so.
In 1963, Lal Bahadur Sastri appointed Santhanam to preside over the corruption committee.
In India, the Chit funds are governed / Regulated by State Govts under Chit Funds Act, 1982.
To make recommendations on the devolution of taxes, the 14th Finance Commission has been directed
to use the Census figures of 1971.
The number of judges can be altered in the Supreme Court by Parliament Law
The coalition of Brazil, India and South Africa is known as the Rainbow coalition in diplomatic parlance
because the location of the respective nations form an arc on a traditional political map of the world.
The National Policy for Children, 2012 recognizes every person below the age of _18__ as a child.
E-pathshala initiative was approved by the HRD Ministry in 2011. It proposes to develop e-content in 77
subjects across disciplines. The content developed under the initiative would be available to both
teachers and students in the form of open online courses relevant to post graduate studies. This
programme would come under the National Mission on Education through ICT.
The festival Baisakhi or Vaisakhi commemorates establishment of Khalasa Panth
Apart from Quran, Sunnah and Hadith are two important sources of the Islamic Shariah. While Sunnah
denotes the way Prophet Muhammad lived his life, Hadith refers to what has been approved or
disapproved by the Prophet
Muhammad Ghori had stamped the figure of Goddess Lakshmi on his coins and had his name inscribed
in Nagari Characters.
Bihar has recorded highest growth rate in 11th Five Year plan
The Giving Pledge was established three years ago by Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, and
Warren Buffett
The Gram Nyayalaya scheme came into existence in 2009
By passing the Right to Hearing act 2012, Rajasthan has become the first state to make legislation to
ensure hearing to common man on grievance within a fortnight.
Patliputra is the first important capital city of India

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While devising a social security mechanism, certain factors needs to be taken care of like rural areas
are more vulnerable, women are more vulnerable as they often out live their husbands in
Law allows gay marriages, but Church doesnt. Sometimes, society is ahead of law, sometimes law is
ahead of society.
Tesla Powerwall has 6 times more capacity that a common Lead Acid battery. They also have 3-4 times
longer life at 10 years. They can be excellent solution to the off-grid electricity connectivity. However,
they are costly.
According to WB, for the first time, people belo poverty will fall in single digit at 9.6% in 2015.
Tesla is for open source. It is against restrictive regime of copyrights and patents.
Currently, army has a shortfall of 18% officers
SC in a recent case asked the government to tell its plan regarding implementation of Uniform Civil Code
Phone manufacturing firm Foxconn set up its unit in Andhra
Bomb blast in Turkey Elections are coming up and opposition argued that the blast was deliberate by
the government who wants to gain sympathy in wake of rising support for Kurds
NSG will have women in combat role after Air Force announced that women will be inducted in Fighter
roles.
Women have permanent commission in Air Force and Navy, but not army. Due to their limited service
span, the women officers are not eligible for pension, which requires a minimum 20 years of service.
CSR in new companies Act A high level committee setup by the government has said that, government
should not have any role in monitoring the CSR spend by the companies
Center government announced abolition of interview for post of SI in Delhi Police
Liberalisation of FDI in insurance at 49% - has not seen any arrival of new investment or increase in
stake, quite contrary to government expectations.
Police in UTs will have 33% quota for women
Each state to have one SMART police station with basic amnesties, receptionist, restroom for
constables.
Since copper was the first metal to be used, it is associated with great purity among Hindus especially
Herodotus, the father of history, painted India as a fabled land of riches which tempted Alexander to
invade India.

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Alexanders invasion provided the first occasion when Western world came into contact with India.
Alexanders historians also helped in connecting the dots of Indian history. Alexander also destroyed
many smaller kingdoms which paved way for rise of Mauryas.
Sabhas were no longer invited by the king and they had disappeared in post-Vedic times.
Ashoka was the first king to speak directly to his citizens through his inscription. They were in form of 44
royal orders. They were written in Brahmi, Kharoshti, Armaic and even in Greek language.
Both Sakas and Kushanas completely settled in India and identified themselves with Indian culture. Their
famous kings even learned Sanskrit and promoted literature in it. Though they were foreigners, they
were assimilated in Indian society as Kshatriyas. The turbans that Punjabis and Afghanis wear today is a
legacy of Kushans and the Sherwani that we wear today also trace its origin to Kushanas. Kushans also
controlled the Silk Route and levied charges on trade which made them rich.
In 550 AD, the Eastern Roman Empire learned the art of Silk making from Chinese which till then was a
closely guarded secret and this adversely affected the trade prospects with India as well. This was also
one of the reasons of decline of importance of the Silk Route.
Feudal practice of grant of land to officials also began under Harsha.
Apart from religion, trade played a big role in cultural contacts. The very name of the Java island in
Indonesia as Suvaranadwipa indicates search for gold.
Manu writes in Manusmriti that the Vaishyas and the Shudras should not be allowed to deviate from
their duties. Such prescriptions were the reason that Manusmriti became a target during modern
reformist movements.
Spread of Tantricism from 7th century onwards was another important development. It admitted both
Shudras and women in its fold. It was a result of large scale admission of aboriginal people into the
mainstream religions.
The Indian notional system was adopted by the Arabs who spread it to the West. The Indian numeral are
called Arabic in English, but Arabs themselves called these numerals as Hindsa. Evidence of these
numerals is found in the inscriptions of Ashoka.
Many crafts persons and merchants formed associations known as shrenis. These shrenis of crafts
persons provided training, procured raw material, and distributed the finished product. Then shrenis of
merchants organised the trade. Shrenis also served as banks, where rich men and women deposited
money. This was invested, and part of the interest was returned or used to support religious institutions
such as monasteries.
Techniques of making silk were first invented in China around 7000 years ago. The paths that Chinese
Silk traders followed came to be known as the Silk Route. Some kings tried to control large portions of
the route. This was because they could benefit from taxes, tributes and gifts that were brought by

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traders travelling along the route. In return, they often protected the traders who passed through their
kingdoms from attacks by robbers. The best-known of the rulers who controlled the Silk Route were the
Kushanas, who ruled over central Asia and north-west India around 2000 years ago.
On her inscriptions and coins Raziyya mentioned that she was the daughter of Sultan Iltutmish. This was
in contrast to the queen Rudramadevi (1262-1289), of the Kakatiya dynasty of Warangal, part of
modern Andhra Pradesh. Rudramadevi changed her name on her inscriptions and pretended she was a
man. Another queen, Didda, ruled in Kashmir (980-1003). Her title is interesting: it comes from didi or
elder sister, an obviously affectionate term given to a loved ruler by her subjects.
Since traders had to pass through many kingdoms and forests, they usually travelled in caravans and
formed guilds to protect their interests. There were several such guilds in south India from the 8th
century onwards the most famous being the Manigramam and Nanadesi. These guilds traded
extensively both within the peninsula and with Southeast Asia and China. The Nanadesis were a guild of
traders who organized themselves into one of the biggest of the trading associations at the time of the
Hoysala Empire. In guilds, merchants would collect their monies together and acted like a sort of bank.
The pooled monies also made it possible to go for trade in larger volumes. They also owned the caravans
and even armed guards to ward off robbers. They developed significant trade contact with many areas,
including foreign countries such as Malaya, Magadha, Kosala, Nepal, and Persia. They were respected in
their communities and were generous in their grants to temples and mathas. The term Nanadesi means
"traders from other kingdoms" while nagaram was used for local merchants.
Machlipatnam, Surat and Seringapatam were deurbanised during the nineteenth century. By the early
twentieth century, only 11 per cent of Indians were living in cities.
Indian textiles continued to dominate world trade till the end of the eighteenth century. After that,
things took dramatic turn and Indian textiles even struggled to find buyers even at home as foreign cloth
flooded the domestic markets and export of Indian cloth became difficult as duties were levied. Many
weavers became agricultural labourers. Some migrated to cities in search of work, and yet others went
out of the country to work in plantations in Africa and South America.
Indian expertise in metallurgy was superior even during British times. Swords of Tipu were made from
such superior iron (Wootz steel) that they could pierce through the armor of the enemies like knife in
butter. Indian Wootz steel fascinated European scientists. Michael Faraday, the legendary scientist and
discoverer of electricity and electromagnetism, spent four years studying the properties of Indian Wootz
(1818-22). However, the Wootz steel making process, which was so widely known in south India, was
completely lost by the mid-nineteenth century.
First iron and steel industry was setup in India in 1907 by Jamshedji Tata.
In the case of iron and steel, as in the case of cotton textiles, industrial expansion occurred only when
British imports into India declined and the market for Indian industrial goods increased. This happened
during the First World War and after.

Nitin Sangwan www.meandupsc.blogspot.in


Circa approximately
Urea is the only fertilizer that is yet to be decontrolled and this is the reason that farmers use this
excessively and this has led to a skewed use. Reason for not decontrolling it is that most of the Indian
soils are nitrogen deficit.
Environment Protection Act 1986 was enacted in a direct consequence of Bhopal Gas Tragedy
Masala Bonds are the bonds which are denominated in Indian Currency in the international market
Gandhi gave the famous talisman to the members of CA
Indira Swahney case, 1992 capped reservation to 50, but TN was able to retain more than this because a
provision for it was made in constitution itself in 9th schedule. The judgement also held that no
reservation shall be made except for backward classes.
In M Nagaraja Case SC held that reservation in promotion can be provided if adequate data is there to
support that.
Godavari and Krishna has been linked. It is part of wider southern river interlinking project.
Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955 prohibits untouchability, but doesnt bar other kinds of
discriminations like based on religion, ethnicity etc. Recent issues of denial of job and rented house to
persons from particular community.
Internet users in India cross 350 million users
For the first time, DRDO has transferred technology to private player Lakshya making will be done by
L&T
Definitions of FDI and FII have been rationalized and there is now a composite cap of 10% of capital of a
company for any investment to be called FDI or FII. It will remove the superficial distinction between the
two as many investments can be called either. It will also simplify regulation and compliance and
transaction costs for investors.
Delhi has not bought even a single American nuclear power plant since the Indo-US nuclear deal was
signed 10 years back.
New Horizon is a planetary mission to Plato launched in 2006, it bypassed Pluto and then went outside
solar system
Pak blames India of fomenting unrest in its Balooch area
To deal with earthquake, India will launch a satellite in 2019 to observe earths movement. India is also a
part of 27 nations to share information

Nitin Sangwan www.meandupsc.blogspot.in


Janta Samvad Delhi government asks its senior officers to spare time for public to hear their
suggestions and grievances
India abstained from vote in UNHRCouncil condemning Israel which was a volta-face of Indian policy vis-vis Palestine. It caused dismay among Palestine.
Dhanush is the new artillery gun of Indian Army, dubbed as desi Bofors
In terms of quantity seized every year, Rajasthan tops drugs list
Maharashtra set to ban sugarcane farming in draught zone.
Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) of UK is an independent authority which
decides upon several matters including pay and perks. India can consider a similar model.
Vidhan Sabha is paperless in HP since 2014, 1st in country
Karnataka launched Mobile One service in which 600 government services will be bundled into one
seamless mechanism
Zakat is amount of money donated by a Muslim family every year. It is 2.5% of earnings who can afford.
This year, 15 out of 37 successful candidates in UPSC civil services were sponsored by Zakat Foundation.
In a crucial vote in Catalan of Spain, pro-secessionist parties won majority. Catalan people have claimed
cultural oppression at hands of majority Spanish.
TN government launches Amma Mobile Scheme under which SHGs will be given app based
smartphones with Tamil softwares through which they will be able to upload the data and this will be
used to track their progress.
China is running a train to Germany, is already running its local bullet train, is planning to pierce
Himalayas to reach Nepal, also runs Maglev and India? We are still struggling to lanch the first semihigh speed train, lack basic safety measures like accidental collision preventive measures.
At independence, rural population stood at more than 80% at the time. Literacy was an abysmal 7.9%.
New Development Bank (NDB) and its 100 Billion Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA), to help
member countries for Development loans and balance of payment crisis.

In 9 months of Modi-raj, over 1700 laws repealed.


Maharashtra Government gives field-trial approval for GM crops. Top countries with largest areas under
GM-cultivation Argentina, Brazil, US, India (4th). We are far ahead of China. In India, Monasanto
enjoys near monopoly.

Nitin Sangwan www.meandupsc.blogspot.in


Government aims to create a tri-services chief known as Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). Most countries
have this official with overall perspective of 3 services and direct liaison with the President.
Thailand bans surrogacy by foreign couples after a couple refuses to take away their baby born with
Downs syndrome and overall moral degeneration of womens body into rental-wombs. Perhaps India
should consider.
Indias coal-based thermal power plant most inefficient in the world says Centre for Science and
Environment (CSE)s Green Rating Project (GRP).
Mission Indradhanush: for vaccination against 7 preventable disease by 2020.
Assam has worlds highest number of internally displaced people by conflict
Government launches Make in North East Initiative- with focus on tea-processing, organic farming,
spa-tourism etc.
Government has 25 million tonnes of wheat reserves 3 times the target. If Government wants they
can export it.
Govt wants to develop 99 rivers as water highways
Floating Solar Power plant at Kolkata
Prakash Path LED bulb distribution scheme
Tesla PowerWall a revolutionary concept of using solar panels.
Gogoro bike and Ether energy a IIT Madras startup
12th Plan 2012-17 Theme: Faster, More inclusive and sustainable growth.
Srilankan Government gives greenlight to Chinese port Development project in Colombo worth $1.5
billion Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena
Maldives Ex-President Mohd. Nasheed arrested under antiterrorism law, because in 2012, He tried to
arrest a senior judge using military without authority that led to large scale violence. India expressed
concern over manhandling of ex-president during arrest.
All civil nuclear facilities of India, are now under IAEA watch.
India objected to Gilgit Baltistan elections held in PoK
The 14th Finance Commission, has asked for assigning over Rs 2 lakh crore between 2015 and 2020 to
Panchayats to provide basic services.
Biggest data hack in US history 40 lakh details stolen

Nitin Sangwan www.meandupsc.blogspot.in


Modi to be the first Indian PM in Israel
Kolkata Dhaka Agartal bus service starts, earlier Kolkatta-Dhaka bus service was started in 1999
Mohmmad Ashraf Ghani Afghan President, Abdullah Abdullah, CEO
Thein Sein, Myanmar President
Charminar becomes Indias first Wi-Fi enabled tourist attraction
2015: International Year of Soil
Amrut Mahotsav - The year 2022, 75th year of Independence
Office of CIC was recently filled, it was vacant since August 2014. Now there are 37,000 cases which are
pending with CIC.
Need to cut subsidy leakages, not subsidies themselves. To achieve this, Government committed to the
process of rationalizing subsidies.
India climbs down from its earler stand of not including HFCs in Montreal Protocol.
Government has revived Sagar Mala project to link the coastal cities via sea network through
development of new ports and upgrading existing ones. SagarMala aims to develop Ports, hinterland
and efficient evacuation systems through road, rail, inland and coastal waterways resulting in Ports
becoming the drivers of economic activity in coastal areas. It envisages the growth of coastal and inland
shipping as a major mode of transport for carriage of goods and people along the coastal and riverine
economic centers. As an outcome, the Sagar Mala would integrate the hinterland projects of Industrial
and Freight Corridors with the maritime developments to offer efficient and seamless transport. Apart
from it, to connect cities of northern India, government is coming up with Bharat Mala via road. Today,
ports carry about 90% of Indias total trade by volume. The current proportion of Merchandize Trade in
GDP of India is only 42% whereas for some of the developed countries in the world such as Germany
and European Union it is 75% and 70% respectively. Therefore, India still has a potential to increase its
merchandize trade.
Government is also contemplating to repeal or amend Official Secrecy Act 1923 as its provisions are in
contravention of RTI Act and the Act also calls for its repeal
Net Neutrality Debate is also closely connected with the issue of OTT Players or the Over the Top
players who offer similar serices as telecom operators offer, but without paying the spectrum fee. OTT
has become more popular only after the arrival of 3G.
Government ha launched USTTAD Scheme to help artist community from minority communities
Whistleblower Protection Act 2011 + Cabinet clears amendment in it, plans to keep security issues
outside it

Nitin Sangwan www.meandupsc.blogspot.in


India-Iran agree to develop Chabbar port
Indias ranking on corruption Index of Tranparency International has improved to 85th among 175
countries as against 94th last year
Charlie Hebdo attack killed 12 people including the editor on 7th January
Pak-Russia to hold first ever joint military drill
The Haryana governments plans to rediscover/recreate the Saraswati river.
Anil Agarwal and his family have decided to give away 75 per cent of their wealth for the good of the
society.
The Supreme Court's constitution bench struck down the single directive which had been introduced in
2003 in the CBI Act and the CVC Act by which the CBI was required to take the permission of the
Government for even investigating officers of the level of joint secretary and above.
There are more than 1,500 languages and dialects
River interconnectivity National Water Development Agency was formed in 1982, Ken Betwa link
feasibility study was done
In India, women got adult franchise, earlier than in Swtizerland
Recession when GDP contracts in two or more quarters
Aadhar 60 crore enrolled
MNREGA Outlay 34000 crore for 2015-16
One Billion Rising, a global action plan that involves a billion activists in over 207 countries coming
together to dance, sing and raise their voice to end violence against women and girls
Gujarat Local Authorities Bill passed It provides for compulsory voting in the local bodies and 50%
reservation to women therein. 2015,
Gujarat election commission will Offer the option of online voting in the six municipal elections.
Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, Kerala, Karnataka, Orissa and Chhattisgarh have already given
50% reservation to women in local bodies.
Previously Himachal Pradesh assembly became paperless by adopting E-technology. Now Haryana
planning the same. And Modi cabinet to use kindles instead of papers.
Corporate espionage- smuggling of key-policy documents from the Oil Ministry, to benefit corporate
giants ahead of budget.

Nitin Sangwan www.meandupsc.blogspot.in


Indian armed forces have 13,25,450 personnel, making it third largest in the world after China and USA.
Indian navy is fifth biggest in terms of number of personnal (USA, Russia, China, Korea)
Nationalization of banks and general insurance, etc 1969.
Pokharan in 1974 codenamed Smiling Buddha.
National emergency on 25th June 75 (in the same month of Allahabad High Court judgment)
42nd Amendment was during emergency.
In 1998, India also conducted her second nuclear test
In 1999, India faced Kargil War
In 1991, US involved herself in Gulf War against Iraq when Iraq occupied Kuwait. It was again invaded
in 2003 on the name of possessing weapons of mass destruction, though UN reports in 2002 had
pointed contrary to it and later they were found correct as no WMDs were found.
1993, European Union (29 countries) was formed and most of the members of EU were also members
of NATO also.
2002, Euro introduced in 12 nations (today 19 countries) + UK Part of EU but not Euro
Caste There are around 3000 castes in India
The proportion of working-age population is likely to increase from approximately 60 per cent in 2011
to more than 64 per cent by 2021.
Inclusion of Adivasi Areas under PRIs In 1996, a separate act (PESA) was passed extending the
provisions of the Panchayat system to (5th schedule).
42nd Amendment put Agriculture and Education in concurrent list because these are two important
areas to bring about social change.
Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act 2007 Governments are to constitute
Maintenance Tribunals at district level where senior citizens may lodge their grievances.
India is the largest recipient ofdiaspora remittances in the world, receiving $69 billion in 2013.
Debt to GDP Ratio in 2014 stood at 50%.
Livestock now account for 30% of the Agriculture GDP and 5% of the national GDP.
India ranks first in milk production, accounting for 17 per cent of world production.
The Indian Copyright Act, 1957

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Patents in India are guided by the Indian Patent Act, 1970. Last and most significant amendment was
made in 2005 which guides current patent regime in India.
450 SCENERIO 450 ppm of CO2 equivalent Copenhagen Summit, 2009 In this CoP, for the first time
2o C limit was set for global warming based on an IPCC report.
WTO - A successor of GATT (General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs), established in 1995 and India
joined in same year.
IRNSS will have 7 satellites, launched
Kiran Aggarwal Committee says reduce IAS training period from 103 to 75 weeks and change the
training syllabus. Government yet to decide
Private Member Bill moved by Tiruchi Shiva, The Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2014. Only 14
Private Members Bills have been passed previously, and no Bill has been passed since 1970.
Top 5 human development index countries Norway, Australia, Switzerland, Netherland and USA
Bihar Cabinet has declared transgenders to be counted as 'third gender' in the state. Government has
said that the transgenders will be included in Schedule - 2 of the list of Backward Castes.
Giving a level-playing field to more than four crore people with disabilities in India, the Supreme Court
has ruled in favour of three per cent reservation for differently-abled candidates in civil services, not
only at the stage of their appointments but also for departmental promotions .
India Newborn Action Plan (INAP)to reduce infant mortality to single digit from existing 29 per 1000.
The programme will be implemented under the existing Reproductive, Maternal, Child Health and
Adolescents Plus (RMNCHA+) framework. It would be carried out with the extensive outreach
mechanisms used for fighting polio.
RBI cut rate by 50 basis points a big boost for economic activity September 2015
Pusa Hydrogel During irrigation, the gel absorbs the irrigated water like a sponge and during dry
period releases the water for the plants.
The Earths protective ozone layer is well on track to recovery in the next few decades
The provisions of the Forest Rights Act (FRA) are under threat. The new rules in Maharastra bring back
the Forest department into pre-eminence instead of the gram sabha. Village forests will be managed by
a Van Vyavsthapan Samiti on the lines of a Joint Forest Management Committee with a forest official on
board. Thus, it will be diluting the powers of gram sabha.
The deployment of IndARC, the countrys first underwater moored observatory in the Kongsfjorden
fjord, half way between Norway and the North Pole, represents a major milestone in Indias scientific
endeavours in the Arctic region.

Nitin Sangwan www.meandupsc.blogspot.in


Facebook plans to start testing its Internet-carrying solar-powered drones in 2015, with the ultimate aim
of getting two-thirds of the global population online.
Scientists at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc.) have created a highly sensitive fluorescent polymer
that scouts out a class of commonly used explosives. It is like a molecular sniffer dog that sniffs out
explosives.
India imports 80% of its oil and gas requirements. It is also equal to 1/3rd of import value of its imports.
Nigeria removed from polio endemic list, now only Pakistan and Afghanistan left.
Shantanu Narain of Adobe
Jeremy Corbyn New head of labor party of Britain a leftist to the core. Mr. Corbyns victory needs to
be viewed in the context of a broader phenomenon the leftward shift of the masses that is happening
across the world, especially in Europe.
Smartwatch can be used to forewarn in cases like heart attack
Traces of liquid water found on Mars which otherwise has an atmosphere which doesnt support liquid
water due to just 1/10th pressure there
Green Highways Policy 2015 Rs 5000 cr for green cover on NHs. 1% of project costs to be set aside for
green cover and will be delinked from the project itself. Further, locals will be allowed to reap the
benefits from the trees which are planted.
India surpasses China this year in terms of FDI in Greenfield projects
India is ready to give preferential treatment to member countries in SAARC to boost trade among
members
Volkswagen admitted of fudging the pollution data. Sets aside 7 billion dollars.
Many investors like Ratan Tata and Vinod Khosla doubted the valuation of the startups.
GST network contract given to Infosys, with 5 year maintenance
Murder of rationalist and CPI leader Govind Pansare, after another such in same state Narendra
Dabholkar
Kalburgi the murdered rationalist and Sahitya Akademi awardee professor from Karnataka (earlier,
Narender Dabholkar from Pune and CPI leader Govind Pansare were also killed)
Jeremy Corbyn new Leader of Labor Party of UK, considered as extreme left
Alexis Tsipras return to power in Greece, affirming his stance of shedding some space to lenders, while
still retaining welfare outlook

Nitin Sangwan www.meandupsc.blogspot.in


Rajasthan government Okays quota for upper caste Economically BC
Other paramilitary forces personnel also demand OROP
Tamil Brahmins also demand Quota stating that they are now landless and are reduced to minority