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July 2017

RajasirIAS.com A monthly Current Affairs Booklet
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149th Version - July 2017
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Contents P.No.
1. ABC of GST – Monthly Focus 1

2.ECONOMY
2.1 CVC can now probe corruption cases in private sector banks 6
2.2 Tax processed foods: FSSAI panel 7
2.3 President‟s nod for law on RBI taking action against loan defaulters 8
2.4 Policy for providing preference to domestically manufactured iron & steel 8
products in government procurement
2.5 Package to resolve NPAs gets Cabinet nod 9
2.6 NITI Aayog for less teaching, more research 10
2.7 NGOs told to open accounts with core banks 10
2.8 New series WPI, IIP released with base year 2011-12 11
2.9 New Central Sector Scheme – SAMPADA 13
2.10 National Steel Policy 2017 14
2.11 Mandatory audit under GST may add to compliance burden 15
2.12 M.P. shifts fiscal year 15
2.13 One IP- Two Dispensaries scheme 16
2.14 Employment under PMEGP falls 9.5% 16
2.15 e-Krishi Samvad 17
2.16 Centre tells pharma to pass GST benefits to customers 18
2.17 Cabinet approves Interest Subvention to banks on Short-Term crop loan 19
to farmers
2.18 Anti-profiteering panel to levy penalty, have sunset date 20
2.19 RBI identifies 12 mega defaulters for Insolvency and Bankruptcy code 21
2.20 Nod for Insolvency Bill for financial entities 22

3.SOCIAL ISSUES AND DEVELOPMENT
3.1 K Kasturirangan, to head drafting committee of National Education 23
Policy
3.2 Govt sets up Task Force to help compute timely employment data 23
3.3 FSSAI issues draft regulations for organic food products 24
3.4 Farm think tank‟s formula to redress agriculture distress 25
3.5 Centre mulls financial assistance to fisherfolk 26

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3.6 UPSC to share competitive exams scores online to boost hiring 27
3.7 Mission Retro-Fitment 28
3.8 Labour meet to focus on social security 29
3.9 Orderly system: claims and counter-claims 30
3.10 National Mission on Cultural Mapping of India 31
3.11 India has second highest number of obese children in world: Study 32
3.12 Fortified foods to tackle malnutrition 32
3.13 Derby Air-to-Air Beyond Visual Range Missile 33
3.14 Odisha‟s Sualgiri, Swalgiri communities notified as Scheduled Castes 34
3.15 India Exclusion Report (IXR) 34
3.16 Start-up firms may get idle land from PSUs 35
3.17 Voluntary unemployment rising 36
3.18 Swachh Survekshan-2017 36
3.19 Set up database of children in orphanages, SC tells govt. 37
3.20 Second Meeting of National Council of Senior Citizens (NCSrC) 38
3.21 Scientists come up with easy-to-assemble toilet 39
3.22 New instructions issued on Certificate of Coverage (COC) 39
3.23 NBT to host Panchayat Pustak Mela 40
3.24 National Medical and Wellness Tourism Board 40
3.25 Measurement of Liveability Index 41
3.26 In a First for a Government Owned Company appoints Transgenders 41
3.27 Govt announces steps to curb online child sexual abuse 41
3.28 Anuyatra campaign 42
3.29 51 EMR Schools made Functional during The Last three years 42
3.30 Ratification of core ILO Conventions on Child Labour 43
3.31 12th June: World Day Against Child Labour 44
3.32 Skill councils have conflict of interests 45
3.33 EPFO e-court Management System launched 45

4.NATIONAL
4.1 First-ever Induction Training Programme for new recruits of Central 46
Health Services (CHS)
4.2 Chenab to get tallest rail bridge 46
4.3 Ransomware: Alert sounded on malware 47
4.4 Panel to study free movement along Myanmar border 48
4.5 Buxa Tiger Reserve 48
4.6 Bhitarkanika National Park 49
4.7 Vidya-Veerta Abhiyan 49
4.8 Scorpenes to gain in endurance 49
4.9 May 11: National Technology Day 50
4.10 Rail regulator to define performance standards 51
4.11 Northern Zonal Council meeting 52
4.12 No-fly list: Soon, unruly flyers could be grounded for up to 2 yrs 53
4.13 Indian Navy ships; INS Karwar and Kakinada decommissioned 54
4.14 Haryana House passes motion for separate HC 54
4.15 Florence Nightingale Awards 55
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4.16 Expedite work on Kishanganga Project: PMO directs power ministry and 55
J&K government
4.17 Cabinet approves Vijayawada Airport as International Airport 56
4.18 Army‟s Super – 40 initiative 56
4.19 Army brings back CASO as part of counter-terror operations in Kashmir 56
4.20 Aerotropolis to come up in Assam 57
4.21 2,000-strong CoBRA force for Sukma 57
4.22 “Southern Sojourn” and “Southern Jewels” 58
4.23 „Second-tallest‟ flag post comes up in Kolhapur 58
4.24 79th Armour Day 58
4.25 MoU moots ties with Mauritius Parliament 58
4.26 Rail Connectivity for Chardham Pilgrimage 59
4.27 Mobile App “Celebrating Yoga” Launched 59
4.28 Flash mobs, mascots to create awareness about yoga 59
4.29 Facebook Launches Express Wi-Fi in India 59
4.30 We Wear Culture‟ project 60
4.31 Bhishtis- the traditional water carriers 60
4.32 Darbar Move 61

5.INDIA AND WORLD
5.1 Netherlands backs UNSC, NSG bids 62
5.2 29th India–Indonesia CORPAT 62
5.3 India-Cyprus signed four agreements to boost the bilateral relations 63
5.4 India, UNOSSC launch partnership fund to promote sustainable 63
development
5.5 India, Netherlands sign 3 agreements 64
5.6 India to Skip OBOR summit in China 65
5.7 Curious case of dip, rise in Indian seas 66
5.8 Buddha Purnima/Vesak 66
5.9 AUSINDEX-17 67
5.10 Xi evokes Panchsheel as India skips meet 67
5.11 Project “LOcal Treatment of Urban Sewage Streams for Healthy Reuse) 68
(LOTUS HR)
5.12 India wins stay at International Court of Justice in Kulbhushan Jadhav 69
case
5.13 Centre to raise with U.S. non-tariff barriers 70
5.14 Cabinet approves cooperation between Indian and Japan on Railway 71
Safety
5.15 Dragon's shadow on the Chicken neck 71
5.16 India to be Co-Partner Country in ANUGA 2017 75
5.17 India unanimously elected to head UN-Habitat 75
5.18 India top remittance-receiving country in 2016: UN report 76
5.19 India re-elected to UN body on economic, social issues; Pakistan loses 78
out
5.20 India-UK agree on MoU in urban transport sector 79
5.21 Urea manufacturing Plant in Malaysia 80
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6.INTERNATIONAL
6.1 Japan pitches for Chabahar port 81
6.2 'Plankton explosion' turns Istanbul's Bosphorus turquoise 82
6.3 US to Declare China as Among World‟s Worst Human Trafficking 83
Offenders
6.4 Kaushik Basu leads International Economic Association 83
6.5 Russia, Iran and Turkey sign a deal on Syrian crisis 84
6.6 Panama dumps Taiwan, supports One-China policy 84
6.7 China tests „Lunar Palace‟ as it eyes moon mission 85
6.8 10 May: World Migratory Bird Day 86
6.9 1 May: International Labour Day 87
6.10 Driving towards safer roads 88
6.11 World Press Freedom Index 2017 89
6.12 World Press Freedom Day 90
6.13 Global Innovation Index 2017 90
6.14 UN approves creation of new office on counter-terrorism 92
6.15 Officials from Arctic nations to meet amid drilling concerns 93

7.POLITICAL ISSUES, HUMAN RIGHTS AND GOVERNANCE
7.1 Parliamentary panel reaches consensus on NCBC bill 94
7.2 CIC says BCCI should come under the RTI Act 94
7.3 Tele-Law through CSCs To Mainstream Legal Aid in Rural India 95
7.4 Public Affairs Index - PAI 96
7.5 Doctrine of “SAMADHAN‟ for use in security operations 97
7.6 Supreme Court‟s Integrated Case Management Information System 98
7.7 Kambala Bill to be sent again to President with minor modifications 99
7.8 Amicus curiae in hearing of „triple talaq‟ 100

8.PERSONALITIES
8.1 Stamp on Ramanujacharya‟s 1,000th birth anniversary 101
8.2 Neeru Chadha becomes first Indian woman to be member of 101
International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea
8.3 Justice PN Bhagwati 101
8.4 Amitabh Bachchan appointed as WHO‟s goodwill ambassador for 102
hepatitis

9.SPORTS AND AWARDS 103
9.1 22nd APEDA Annual Award 103
9.2 Man Booker International prize 103
9.3 „Project Jal Sanchay‟ chosen for national award 104

10.SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
10.1 Aquatic animal diseases revisited 105
10.2 Railways to acquire EOTT system to run trains without guards 105
10.3 BrahMos missile achieves rare feat 106
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10.4 „Spyder‟ surface-to-air missile 106
10.5 NASA‟s Orion spacecraft passes key safety tests 107
10.6 Ebola resurfaces in Africa 107
10.7 World‟s largest floating solar farm 109
10.8 Tarang Sanchar 109
10.9 Successful Flight Test of ATGM Nag 109
10.10 NASA‟s inflatable greenhouse could feed astronauts on Mars 109
10.11 Multidrug-resistant TB will rise in India, says new study 110
10.12 Scientists use satellites to count endangered birds from space 111
10.13 Scientists conjure up largest virtual universe 111
10.14 Patna HC sets aside ban on ENA 112
10.15 Now, turn any surface into touchscreen with a spray paint 113
10.16 Molecule Disarib 113
10.17 ISRO-made system to alert users at unmanned level crossings 113
10.18 Govt. regulator gives nod for GM mustard 114
10.19 eVIN Project of Health Ministry becomes global best practise in 115
immunisation
10.20 European XFEL generates its first laser beam 116
10.21 A way to use water to convert methane into methanol 117
10.22 Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) signs Agreement with 118
the Metal Industries Development Institute (MIDI), Ethiopia
10.23 Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH) 118
10.24 Banganapalle mango gets GI tag 119
10.25 3D printed cartilage to treat osteoarthritis 119
10.26 Researchers develop synthetic soft retina 120
10.27 Pneumonia vaccine to be part of immunisation drive 120
10.28 Large Hadron Collider restarts for 2017 run 122
10.29 DIPP & WIPO to set up Technology and Innovation Support Centers 122
10.30 A century of looking at our closest star, the sun 123

11.ECOLOGY
11.1 Three new sites recognised as biodiversity hotspots in Goa 125
11.2 Rhododendrons of eastern Himalayas under threat 125
11.3 Rescue wards for injured animals 127
11.4 Orangutans 127
11.5 Marine reserves can mitigate climate change 127
11.6 Industries found illegally dumping e-waste near Ramganga River to pay 128
Rs 1 lakh
11.7 Entire Assam declared „disturbed‟ 128
11.8 Quality of water has improved 129
11.9 Ganga Swachhta Sankalp Divas 130
11.10 Final raising of Sardar Sarovar Dam cleared by Narmada Control 130
Authority
11.11 Chinnar wildlife sanctuary 132
11.12 Centre to tap MGNREGA funds to make Saraswati flow again 132
11.13 Climate change may cause more rainfall in tropical areas: NASA 133
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1. ABC of GST

• Goods & Services Tax Law in India is a comprehensive, multi-stage, destination-based tax that
will be levied on every value addition.
• To understand this, we need to understand the concepts under this definition. Let us start with
the term ‘Multi-stage’. Now, there are multiple steps an item goes through from manufacture or
production to the final sale. Buying of raw materials is the first stage. The second stage is
production or manufacture. Then, there is the warehousing of materials. Next, comes the sale of
the product to the retailer. And in the final stage, the retailer sells you – the end consumer – the
product, completing its life cycle.
Why is Goods and Services Tax so Important?
• So, now that we have defined GST, let us talk about why it will play such a significant role in
transforming the current tax structure, and therefore, the economy.
• Currently, the Indian tax structure is divided into two – Direct and Indirect Taxes. Direct Taxes
are levies where the liability cannot be passed on to someone else. An example of this is Income
Tax where you earn the income and you alone are liable to pay the tax on it.
• In the case of Indirect Taxes, the liability of the tax can be passed on to someone else. This
means that when the shopkeeper must pay VAT on his sale, he can pass on the liability to the
customer. So, in effect, the customer pays the price of the item as well as the VAT on it so the
shopkeeper can deposit the VAT to the government. This means that the customer must pay not
just the price of the product, but he also pays the tax liability, and therefore, he has a higher
outlay when he buys an item.
• This happens because the shopkeeper has paid a tax when he bought the item from the
wholesaler. To recover that amount, as well as to make up for the VAT he must pay to the
government, he passes the liability to the customer who has to pay the additional amount. There
is currently no other way for the shopkeeper to recover whatever he pays from his own pocket
during transactions and therefore, he has no choice but to pass on the liability to the customer.
• Goods and Services Tax will address this issue after it is implemented. It has a system of Input
Tax Credit which will allow sellers to claim the tax already paid, so that the final liability on the
end consumer is decreased.
How does GST work?
CGST: where the revenue will be collected by the central government
SGST: where the revenue will be collected by the state governments for intra-state sales
IGST: where the revenue will be collected by the central government for inter-state sales

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In most cases, the tax structure under the new regime will be as follows:-
Transaction New Old Regime Comments
Regime
Sale within the CGST + VAT + Central Revenue will now be shared between
state SGST Excise/Service tax the Centre and the State
Sale to another IGST Central Sales Tax + There will only be one type of tax
State Excise/Service Tax (central) now in case of inter-state
sales.

Example
A dealer in Maharashtra sold goods to a consumer in Maharashtra worth Rs. 10,000. The Goods
and Services Tax rate is 18% comprising CGST rate of 9% and SGST rate of 9%. In such cases the
dealer collects Rs. 1800 and of this amount, Rs. 900 will go to the central government and Rs. 900
will go to the Maharashtra government.
Now, let us assume the dealer in Maharashtra had sold goods to a dealer in Gujarat worth Rs.
10,000. The GST rate is 18% comprising of CGST rate of 9% and SGST rate of 9%. In such case
the dealer has to charge Rs. 1800 as IGST. This IGST will go to the Centre. There will no longer be
any need to pay CGST and SGST.
How will GST help India and common man?
The basis of Goods and Services Tax is the seamless flow of Input Tax Credit (ITC) along the
entire value addition chain. At every step of the manufacturing process, businesses will have the
option to claim the tax already paid in the previous transaction. Understanding this process is crucial
for businesses. A detailed explanation here.
To understand this, let us first understand what is Input Tax Credit. It is the credit an individual
receives for the tax paid on the inputs used in manufacturing the product. So, if there is a 10% tax
that the individual must submit to the government, he can subtract the amount he has paid in taxes
at the time of purchase and submit the balance amount to the government.
Let us understand this with a hypothetical numerical example.
Say a shirt manufacturer pays Rs. 100 to buy raw materials. If the rate of taxes is set at 10%, and
there is no profit or loss involved, then he has to pay Rs. 10 as tax. So, the final cost of the shirt now
becomes Rs (100+10=) 110.
At the next stage, the wholesaler buys the shirt from the manufacturer at Rs. 110, and adds labels
to it. When he is adding labels, he is adding value. Therefore, his cost increases by say Rs. 40. On
top of this, he has to pay a 10% tax, and the final cost therefore becomes Rs. (110+40=) 150 + 10%
tax = Rs. 165.
Now, the retailer pays Rs. 165 to buy the shirt from the wholesaler because the tax liability had
passed on to him. He has to package the shirt, and when he does that, he is adding value again.
This time, let’s say his value add is Rs. 30. Now when he sells the shirt, he adds this value (plus the

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VAT he has to pay the government) to the final cost. So, the cost of the shirt becomes Rs. 214.5 Let
us see a breakup for this:
Cost = Rs. 165 + Value add = Rs. 30 + 10% tax = Rs. 195 + Rs. 19.5 = Rs. 214.5
So, the customer pays Rs. 214.5 for a shirt the cost price of which was basically only Rs. 170 (Rs
110 + Rs. 40 + Rs. 30). Along the way the tax liability was passed on at every stage of transaction
and the final liability comes to rest with the customer. This is called the Cascading Effect of
Action Cost 10% Tax Total
Buys Raw Material @ 100 100 10 110
Manufactures @ 40 150 15 165
Adds value @ 30 195 19.5 214.5
Total 170 44.5 214.5
Taxes where a tax is paid on tax and the value of the item keeps increasing every time this happens.
In the case of Goods and Services Tax, there is a way to claim credit for tax paid in acquiring
input. What happens in this case is, the individual who has paid a tax already can claim credit for this
tax when he submits his taxes.
In our example, when the wholesaler buys from the manufacturer, he pays a 10% tax on his cost
price because the liability has been passed on to him. Then he adds value of Rs. 40 on his cost price
of Rs. 100 and this brings up his cost to Rs. 140. Now he has to pay 10% of this price to the
government as tax. But he has already paid one tax to the manufacturer. So, this time what he does
is, instead of paying Rs (10% of 140=) 14 to the government as tax, he subtracts the amount he has
paid already. So, he deducts the Rs. 10 he paid on his purchase from his new liability of Rs. 14, and
pays only Rs. 4 to the government. So, the Rs. 10 becomes his input credit.
When he pays Rs. 4 to the government, he can pass on its liability to the retailer. So, the retailer
pays Rs. (140+14=) 154 to him to buy the shirt. At the next stage, the retailer adds value of Rs. 30 to
his cost price and has to pay a 10% tax on it to the government. When he adds value, his price
becomes Rs. 170. Now, if he had to pay 10% tax on it, he would pass on the liability to the
customer. But he already has input credit because he has paid Rs.14 to the wholesaler as the latter’s
tax. So, now he reduces Rs. 14 from his tax liability of Rs. (10% of 170=) 17 and has to pay only Rs.
3 to the government. And therefore, he can now sell the shirt for Rs. (140+30+17) 187 to the
customer.
Action Cost 10% Tax Actual Liability Total
Buys Raw Material 100 10 10 110
Manufactures @ 40 140 14 4 154
Adds Value @ 30 170 17 3 187
Total 170 17 187
In the end, every time an individual was able to claim input tax credit, the sale price for him
reduced and the cost price for the person buying his product reduced because of a lower tax liability.

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The final value of the shirt also therefore reduced from Rs. 214.5 to Rs. 187, thus reducing the tax
burden on the final customer.
So essentially, Goods & Services Tax is going to have a two-pronged benefit. One, it will reduce
the cascading effect of taxes, and second, by allowing input tax credit, it will reduce the burden of
taxes and, hopefully, prices.
Summing Up
The idea behind having one consolidated indirect tax to subsume multiple currently existing
indirect taxes is to benefit the Indian economy in a number of ways:
• It will help the country’s businesses gain a level playing field
• It will put us on par with foreign nations who have a more structured tax system
• It will also translate into gains for the end consumer who not have to pay cascading taxes
any more
• There will now be a single tax on goods and services
In addition to the above,
• The Goods and Services Tax Law aims at streamlining the indirect taxation regime. As
mentioned above, GST will subsume all indirect taxes levied on goods and service, including
State and Central level taxes. The GST mechanism is an advancement on the VAT system,
the idea being that a unified GST Law will create a seamless nationwide market.
• It is also expected that Goods and Services Tax will improve the collection of taxes as well
as boost the development of Indian economy by removing the indirect tax barriers between
states and integrating the country through a uniform tax rate.
Is GST a snag for Federalism?.
101st constitutional amendments act that insert article 279A into the constitution and led the
foundation of GST council.GST council works on the principle of cooperative federalism. But
whether in the name of cooperative federalism there is incursion into the financial autonomy of the
states is the matter of discussion.
In favour
1. The constitution has provided for clear division of legislative, executive and financial power
among center and states. GST has limited the financial power of states in its jurisdiction in
indirect taxes.
2. The states now have to depend upon GST council for any changes in indirect taxation system.
3. The decision in GST council has to be taken by 75% votes with center having weightage of one
third votes. It may undermine the aspiration of few states.
4. It is against the decentralization principle which the government is working on.
Against
1. Our constitution is flexible to meet the needs of changing circumstances.
2. 101st Constitutional amendments act carried on with the provision of special majority so as not
to modify the constitution irrationally.

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3. GST council has kept alcohol, petroleum and diesel outside the purview of GST which accounts
for major revenue for the states.
4. A uniform taxation throughout the country will improve the ease of doing business and remove
the bottleneck in carrying business which will benefit the states which the previous system was
lacking.
5. There is provision of compensation for the states for five year in case of any losses.
6. The GST council has only subsumed the current indirect taxes and has not debarred any states
for finding any new source of revenue.
7. The voting power of states in GST council is two third. Hence the center can't undermine the
financial autonomy of majority of the states.
8. The center has already devoluted 42% of tax collection to states and left it on the states to
decide upon the manner in which they want to spend on their requirement. It has provided more
financial autonomy to the states already.
9. In most other countries with GST like Australia, Argentina etc only one government collects the
GST but in India both the centre as well as the 29 states has the right to collect their due
portions of GST.
Hence it can be said that in order to meet the need of changing circumstances the
constitution need to be amended from time to time. The GST has undermined some financial
autonomy of the states but at the same time it has provided for proper remedy.

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2. ECONOMY

2.1 CVC can now probe corruption cases in private sector banks
• The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) can now probe allegations of corruption in private
sector banks and against their employees.
• In this regard, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has given the necessary approval to the CVC.
Issue
• The move comes after the Supreme Court last year ruled that the chairman, managing directors
and other officers of a private bank could be seen as public servants when it came to the
Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act, 1988.
• The apex court had said all officials working in banks operating under an RBI license would be
defined as public servants under the PC Act. It had said bank employees, private or public, were
on public duty and therefore came under the law.
• The Supreme Court had also referred to Section 46A of the Banking Regulation Act and said that
such bank officials were considered public officials.
CVC
• Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) is an apex Indian governmental body created in 1964 to
address governmental corruption.
• It has the status of an autonomous body, free of control from any executive authority.
• It is charged with monitoring all vigilance activity under the Central Government of India,
advising various authorities in central Government organizations in planning, executing,
reviewing and reforming their vigilance work.
• It was set up by the Government in February,1964 on the recommendations of the Committee
on Prevention of Corruption, headed by Shri K. Santhanam, to advise and guide Central
Government agencies in the field of vigilance.
• It submits its report to the President of India.
• CVC is advisory body.
Members
• A Central Vigilance Commissioner – Chairperson;
• Not more than two Vigilance Commissioners – Members;
Appointment
• The Central Vigilance Commissioner and the Vigilance Commissioners shall be appointed by the
President on recommendation of a Committee consisting of the Prime Minister (Chairperson),
the Minister of Home Affairs (Member) and the Leader of the Opposition in the House of the
People (Member).
• Their term is 4 years or 65 years, whichever is earlier.

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Removal
The Central Vigilance Commissioner or any Vigilance Commissioner can be removed from
his office only by order of the President on the ground of proved misbehavior or incapacity after the
Supreme Court, on a reference made to it by the President, has, on inquiry, reported that the Central
Vigilance Commissioner or any Vigilance Commissioner, as the case may be, ought to be removed.

2.2 Tax processed foods: FSSAI panel
• An expert panel set up by food regulator FSSAI recently submitted its report to the government.
• The report by the 11-member panel on ‘Consumption of Fat, Sugar and Salt (FSS) and its health
effects on Indian population’ suggests ways to cut consumption of unhealthy food products and
reduce rising burden of chronic diseases like cancer and diabetes.
• The FSSAI had constituted the panel consisting of experts from different fields like medicine,
nutrition and dietetics from well-known medical research and academic institutions.
Significance of the report
• This report will serve as a guideline document for all the stakeholders, including the industry, the
FSSAI and consumers, in reducing consumption of fat, sugar and salt through processed food
products.
Important recommendations made by the committee
• Additional tax on highly processed commodities and sugar sweetened beverages.
• Imposing additional tax on the purchase of commodities such as pre-packaged foods with high
salt and fat content, sugar sweetened beverages, etc. can be a pragmatic approach to reduce their
intake.
• Imposition of excise tax on unhealthy eating products would lead to positive health effects
among population.
• The nutrition-related programmes of the government can be supported through profit from
taxing unhealthy food products.
• Advertisement ban for foods high in FSS during children TV shows or kids TV channels is urged.
In fact, the country should progress towards a total ban law as being done in a few other
countries like Chile.
• Celebrity endorsements of such foods need to be discouraged, adding that online social media
websites should also comply with advertising ban for unhealthy foods.
• Reliable monitoring systems should be there to examine FSS intake periodically at the national
level.
• The industry should be encouraged for “voluntary reformulation” of food products to cut down
FSS intake in packaged food items.
• Like total calories, amount of carbohydrates, sugar, fat, protein, sodium, dietary fibre, amount of
trans-fat added in food should be mandatory for labeling in food products.

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• On nutrient-specific recommendations, the panel said fats should be largely consumed in the
unsaturated form.
• The consumption of unsaturated fatty acids, especially the long chain mono- and poly
unsaturated-fatty acids, should be encouraged in everyday diets.
Note
• In India, the rising burden of mortality and morbidity due to chronic diseases such as
cardiovascular, respiratory diseases, diabetes and cancers is alarming.
• In the next 25 years, the burden of chronic diseases will tend to increase continuously as a
ramification of the rapidly transitioning food intakes, changing dietary patterns and other lifestyle
factors.

2.3 President’s nod for law on RBI taking action against loan defaulters
• President Pranab Mukherjee has approved an ordinance, Banking Regulation (Amendment)
Ordinance, 2017, with amendments to the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, allowing the Reserve
Bank of India to take timely action against loan defaulters.
• This comes after the Union cabinet recently approved the proposal to amend Section 35 of the
BR Act and sent the ordinance for the President’s approval.
Key measures proposed in the ordinance
• The government may authorise the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to issue directions to banks to
initiate insolvency proceedings against defaulters under the bankruptcy code.
• RBI on its own accord can issue directions to banks for resolution of stressed assets.
• RBI may form committees with members it can choose to appoint to advise banks on resolution
of stressed assets.
Significance
• Earlier banks couldn’t invoke the insolvency and bankruptcy code due to fear of being
questioned. Now with RBI directing banks to initiate insolvency this will be a transparent and
market-determined approach.
Besides, banks that were part of a consortium found it difficult to trigger bankruptcy proceedings.
This ordinance attempts to solve that problem.
As per a study on urban populations, a salient finding was that Low Income Groups (LIG)
reportedly consumed more fried snacks and sweets than High Income Groups (HIG) and, the
highest consumption of bakery items was in slums.

2.4 Policy for providing preference to domestically manufactured iron &
steel products in government procurement
• The Union Cabinet has approved the policy for providing preference to domestically
manufactured iron & steel products on Government procurement.

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• This policy seeks to accomplish the PM’s vision of ‘Make in India’ with objective of nation
building and encourage domestic manufacturing.
New policy
• The policy mandates to provide preference to Domestically Manufactured Iron & Steel Products
(DMI&SP), in Government Procurement.
• The policy is applicable on all government tenders where price bid is yet to be opened.
• The policy provides a minimum value addition of 15% in notified steel products which are
covered under preferential procurement.
• In order to provide flexibility, Ministry of Steel may review specified steel products and the
minimum value addition criterion.
• While implementing who shall provide the policy, it poses trust on each domestic manufacturer
who shall provide self-certification to the procuring Government agency declaring that the iron &
steel products are domestically manufactured in terms of the domestic value addition prescribed.
• It shall not normally be the responsibility of procuring agency to verify the correctness of the
claim. In few cases, the onus of demonstrating the correctness-of the same shall be on the bidder
when asked to do so.
• In case any manufacturer is aggrieved, a grievance redressal committee set up under the Ministry
of Steel shall dispose of the complaint in a time bound manner, in four weeks.
• There are provisions in the policy for waivers to all such procurements, where specific grades of
steel are not manufactured in the country, or the quantities as per the demand of the project
cannot be met through domestic sources.
Significance of this policy
The policy is envisaged to promote growth and development of domestic steel Industry and
reduce the inclination to use, low quality low.

2.5 Package to resolve NPAs gets Cabinet nod
• The government has cleared a package to resolve the persistent rise in non-performing assets that
is plaguing public sector banks and denting credit growth.
• The package includes an ordinance to amend the Banking Regulation Act of 1949 to empower
the Reserve Bank of India to take more actions to check bad loans.
• Need for reforms
• Bad loans in the Indian banking system have gone up sharply in the last one year.
• According to Reserve Bank of India data, gross NPA, as a percentage of gross advances went up
to 9.1% in September 2016 from 5.1% in September 2015.
• During the same period, stressed assets (which is gross NPA plus standard restructured advances
and write-offs), moved up from 11.3% to 12.3% and some estimates suggested it had doubled
since 2013.

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• Public sector banks share a disproportionate burden of this stress. Stressed assets in some of the
public sector banks have approached or exceeded 20%. Some estimates suggest the total stress in
the Indian banking system is about Rs. 14 lakh crore.

2.6 NITI Aayog for less teaching, more research
• NITI Aayog has proposed reforms to ensure that investments in research better translate to more
products and bolster “innovation and development”.
• The NITI Aayog suggestions stem from a three-year vision document that outlines targets and
goals the Ministries — from railways to environment — ought to achieve by 2020.
Reforms proposed by NITI Aayog
• Faculty at “world class” institutions prioritise research and be allowed to “reduce their teaching
responsibility,” if required.
• Such universities also ought to be allowed to recruit research staff from abroad and be
encouraged to compete for research projects from industry.
• The so-called ‘world class universities’ are part of a government-outlined plan to raise funding for
10 public and 10 private universities and mould them into institutions that rank among the
world’s best.
• The names of these institutions are expected to be made public later this year.
• The NITI Aayog also pitches for a new ‘National Science, Technology and Innovation
Foundation’ headed by a distinguished scientist.
• This will coordinate with science and technology departments, ministries, governments and
private sector bodies and deliberate on national issues and recommend interventions.
• Such an organisation will review progress of projects every six months and propose “course
corrections” for achieving these goals.
• It also proposes a database of all existing schemes related to science and technology across
ministries and departments. This will have information on the coordinating ministry, its
objectives and available funds. Its key purpose would be to avoid “duplication of efforts, reduce
approval times, increase accountability and collaboration between entities and measured
outcomes.

2.7 NGOs told to open accounts with core banks
• The Home Ministry has instructed 5,845 NGOs to open their accounts in banks having core
banking facilities.
• The NGOs are also required to furnish the account details for real time access of security
agencies in case of any discrepancy.
• The move is aimed at checking “errant” NGOs especially those organizations receiving foreign
funding.

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• The Home Ministry has mandated the NGOs registered under the Foreign Contribution
Regulation Act to have their accounts in either nationalised banks or in a few private banks that
has core banking facilities.
• Around 3,768 NGOs have been told that their accounts in banks does not have core banking
facilities.
• Another 2,077 NGOs have been instructed to furnish their bank accounts details as such details
are not available with the home ministry.
Significance of the move
The core banking system with all of the branches of the networked banks interconnected
would allow the security agencies to access the accounts of the NGOs on real time basis.

2.8 New series WPI, IIP released with base year 2011-12
• The government has released the new series of Index of Industrial Production (IIP) and the
Wholesale Price Index (WPI) with new base year of 2011-12, a long pending demand of the
economists and experts.
• The Central Statistics Office (CSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation,
revises the base year of the macroeconomic indicators.
Why revision?
• A revision is done as a regular exercise, to capture structural changes in the economy and
improve the quality and representativeness of the indices.
• Revisions in the IIP are necessitated to maintain representativeness of the items and producing
entities and also address issues relating to continuous flow of production data. In the past, such
changes were effected at the time of a revision in the base year.
• Instead of the earlier 2004-05, base year for the IIP and the WPI will be 2011-12. Already, the
Consumer Price Index (CPI), the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and gross value addition etc.,
have 2011-12 as the base year. The common base year of 2011-12 is aimed at reducing
discrepancies.

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What is Index of Industrial Production (IIP)?
• Index of Industrial Production (IIP) is an index which helps us understand the growth of various
sectors in the Indian economy such as mining, electricity and manufacturing.
• IIP is a short term indicator of industrial growth till the results from Annual Survey of Industries
(ASI) and National Accounts Statistics are available.
• IIP is released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme
Implementation.
• IIP is published monthly, six weeks after the reference month ends.
New series of IIP
• The new series of IIP will include 809 manufacturing products and 55 mining products that are
re-grouped into 521 item groups.
• The new series of IIP will include technology items like smart phones, tablets, LED television
etc.
• A technical review committee has also been established to identify new items by ensuring that the
series remains relevant. The committee is slated to meet at least once a year.
• In the new series, there has been an increase in number of factories in panel for reporting data
and closed ones have been removed.
• The number of source agencies reporting data for compilation of IIP in the new series will be 14
as compared to 15 in the current series. This is on account of the fact that data on ‘Iodised Salt’
in the new series will be provided by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).
• The electricity sector now includes data from renewable energy sources.
• The coverage of the mining sector has undergone a change on account of the MCDR
Amendment Rules, 2016.
Wholesale Price Index (WPI)
• Wholesale Price Index (WPI) is a price index which represents the wholesale price of a basket of
goods over time. In simple words, WPI is an indicator of price changes in the wholesale market.
• WPI measures the changes in the prices charged by manufacturers and wholesalers. WPI measure
the changes in commodity prices at selected stages before goods reach to the retail level.
• In several countries such as India, it is used to measure the inflation and the change in the average
price level of goods traded in wholesale market.
• It is released on a weekly basis to measure the change in the wholesale price of a set of goods.
• WPI is published by the Economic Adviser in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
New series of WPI
• The number of items covered in the new series of the WPI has increased from 676 to 697.
Overall, 199 new items have been added and 146 old items have been dropped.
• Under the primary articles, new vegetables and fruits like radish, carrot, cucumber, bitter gourd,
mosambi (sweet lime), pomegranate, jackfruit, and pear have been added.

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• Under the mineral group, new items like copper concentrate, lead concentrate and garnet have
been added and other items like copper ore, gypsum, kaolin, dolomite, and magnesite have been
dropped.
• Under the manufacturing items, 173 new items including conveyer belt, rubber tread, steel cables,
tissue paper, and wooden splint have been added, while 135 items like khandsari, poppadom, and
video CD players have been taken out.
• Under the new series of WPI, weight of manufactured items has decreased to 64.2 per cent from
64.9 per cent in old series.
• Similarly, the weight of fuel and power has decreased to 13.1 per cent from 14.9 per cent. On the
other hand, the weights of primary items have increased to 22.6 per cent from 20.1 per cent.

2.9 New Central Sector Scheme – SAMPADA
• The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra
Modi, approval the re-structuring the schemes of Union Ministry of Food Processing Industries
(MoFPI) under new Central Sector Scheme SAMPADA (Scheme for Agro-Marine Processing
and Development of Agro-Processing Clusters).
• The scheme was approved for the period 2016- 2020 coterminous with the 14th Finance
Commission cycle.
SAMPADA
• SAMPADA is an umbrella scheme incorporating ongoing schemes of the Ministry like Mega
Food Parks, Integrated Cold Chain and Value Addition Infrastructure, Food Safety, Quality
Assurance Infrastructure, Infrastructure for Agro-processing Clusters and Creation of Backward
and Forward Linkages.
• The objective of SAMPADA is to supplement agriculture, modernize processing and decrease
agri-waste.
• These schemes aim at development of modern infrastructure to encourage entrepreneurs to set
up food processing units based on cluster approach, provide effective and seamless backward and
forward integration for processed food industry.
• SAMPADA, with an allocation of Rs 6000 crore, is expected to leverage investment of Rs 31400
crore and will handle 334 lakh MT agro-produce valuing Rs 104125 crore.
• It will benefit 20 lakh farmers and will generate 530500 direct/ indirect employment in the
country by the year 2019-20.
Inclusions under SAMPADA
• Integrated Cold Chain and Value Addition Infrastructure
• Infrastructure for Agro-processing Clusters
• Creation of Backward and Forward Linkages
• Food Safety and Quality Assurance Infrastructure

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• Expansion of Food Processing & Preservation Capacities
Significance
• The implementation of SAMPADA will result in creation of modern infrastructure with efficient
supply chain management from farm gate to retail outlet.
• It will not only provide a big boost to the growth of food processing sector in the country but
also help in providing better prices to farmers.
• It will also help in reducing wastage of agricultural produce, increasing the processing level,
availability of safe and convenient processed foods at affordable price to consumers.
• It will enhance the export of the processed foods.
• Food Processing Sector has emerged as an important segment of the Indian economy in terms of
its contribution to GDP, employment and investment. During 2015-16, the sector constituted as
much as 9.1 and 8.6% of GVA in Manufacturing and Agriculture sector respectively.

2.10 National Steel Policy 2017
• The Union Cabinet gave its approval for National Steel Policy (NSP) 2017.
• The Policy embodies the long term vision of the Government to give impetus to the steel sector.
• It seeks to enhance domestic steel consumption and ensure high quality steel production and
create a technologically advanced and globally competitive steel industry.
National Steel Policy 2017:
• The NSP 2017 aims to achieve 300 million tonnes of steel-making capacity by 2030.
• It seeks to increase consumption of steel and major segments are infrastructure, automobiles and
housing. It also seeks to increase per capita steel consumption to the level of 160 Kgs by 2030
from existing level of around 60 Kg.
• It stipulates that adoption of energy efficient technologies in the MSME steel sector will be
encouraged to improve the overall productivity and reduce energy intensity.
• Steel Ministry will facilitate research and development in the sector through the establishment of
Steel Research and Technology Mission of India (SRTMI).
• The Union Ministry through policy measures will ensure availability of raw materials like iron ore,
coking coal and non-coking coal, natural gas and more at competitive rates.
The policy will:
1. Create self-sufficiency in steel production by providing policy support & guidance to private
manufacturers, MSME steel producers, CPSEs
2. Encourage adequate capacity additions
3. Development of globally competitive steel manufacturing capabilities
4. Cost-efficient production
5. Domestic availability of iron ore, coking coal and natural gas
6. Facilitating foreign investment
7. Asset acquisitions of raw materials

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8. Enhancing the domestic steel demand
Background:
• Steel is one of the most important products in the modern world and forms the backbone to any
industrial economy.
• India being one of the fastest growing economies in the world, and steel finding its extensive
application right from construction, infrastructure, power, aerospace and industrial machinery to
consumer products, the sector is of strategic importance to the country.
• The Indian steel sector has grown exponentially over the past few years to be the third largest
producer of steel globally, contributing to about 2% of the country’s GDP and employing about
5 lakh people directly and about 20 lakh people indirectly.
• Untapped potential with a strong policy support becomes the ideal platform for growth.

2.11 Mandatory audit under GST may add to compliance burden
• According to tax experts, the mandatory audit provisions released by the Government will only
add to the cost of and time taken for compliance.
Rule
• Under the rules, every registered taxpayer with an annual turnover of more than ₹2 crore has to
get his or her accounts audited by a chartered accountant or a cost accountant and provide
explanations for any discrepancy between the returns filed under GST and the audited financial
statements.
• The main purpose of the Audit appears to be detailed reconciliation of the GST returns with the
audited financial statements.
What are the concerns?
• The format is fairly long with 12 different annexures reconciling each and every transaction as
reported in the GST return with the financials
• At first glance, it looks fairly long and extensive. This just adds to the pain of companies already
struggling to get GST ready.
• One question that is unanswered is whether the Government is expecting reconciliation with the
state-wise audited financial statements? As a matter of practice, no company prepares state-wise
audited financial statements, and hence this could be a new compliance challenge.

2.12 M.P. shifts fiscal year
• Madhya Pradesh will be the first State to switch to the January-December financial year from the
present April-March cycle.
• The change will mean the financial year will coincide with the calendar year.

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• Reports suggest that any change or shift of the financial year will require amendments to different
statues and tax law during the transition period, like tax assessment year, changes in infrastructure
and more.
• The move is based on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s idea of shifting the financial year to
January-December from the existing April-March period.
• The idea was put forward by the Prime Minister during the NITI Aayog’s governing council meet
in Delhi on 23 April 2017.

2.13 One IP- Two Dispensaries scheme
• “One IP- Two Dispensaries” scheme was launched by the government on the occasion of
International Labour Day.
• Under this scheme, ESIC has given an option to an Insured Person (IP) to choose two
dispensaries, one for self and another for family through an employer.
Significance of the scheme
• Due to the non-availability of option of second dispensary, the dependant members of family are
often deprived of medical benefits as till now, insured persons (IP) had an option of choosing
one dispensary for self and family.
• By introducing the concept of ‘One IP- Two Dispensaries’, Employee’s State Insurance
Corporation (ESIC) gives an option to an IP to choose two dispensaries, one for self and another
for family through an employer.
• From now onwards, individuals as well as their family members will be able to get treatment from
either of the dispensaries and in case of emergency from any ESI Institution.
• This scheme will benefit all IPs, especially migrant workers who are working in other than home
State, while their families are living in their native States.
• As of now, around 3 crore IPs are covered under ESIC and total number of is over 12 crore.

2.14 Employment under PMEGP falls 9.5%
• A study by ASSOCHAM has found that job opportunities under the Prime Minister’s
Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) fell over 9.5% year-on-year to 3.2 lakh in FY16
from more than 3.5 lakh in FY15.
Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP)
• The PMEGP is an effective scheme aimed at reducing unemployment and generating sustainable
employment opportunities in rural and urban India.
• This is credit linked Scheme of Govt. of India by merging erstwhile REGP and PMRY scheme.
KVIC is the Nodal Agency at National Level.

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• The Scheme is implemented through KVIC and State/UT Khadi & V.I. Boards in Rural areas
and through District Industries Centres in Urban and Rural areas in ratio of 30:30:40 between
KVIC / KVIB / DIC respectively.
Key features of the scheme
• No income ceiling for setting up of projects.
• Assistance under the Scheme is available only to new units to be established.
• Existing units or units already availed any Govt. Subsidy either under State/Central Govt.
Schemes are not eligible.
• Any industry including Coir Based projects excluding those mentioned in the negative list.
• Per capita investment should not exceed Rs. 1.00 lakhs in plain areas and Rs. 1.50 lakhs in Hilly
areas.
• Maximum project cost of Rs. 25.00 lakhs in manufacturing sector and Rs. 10.00 lakhs in Service
Sector.
Highlights of the ASSOCHAM’s study report
• The number of projects set up under the PMEGP have reduced from over 48,100 in FY15 to
about 44,300.
• Uttar Pradesh topped with over 43,000 jobs generated under the PMEGP in FY16, but the
number of jobs reduced from more than 48,600 that was generated in FY15 thereby registering a
year-on-year decline of more than 11%.
• While the number of credit proposals approved under the Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for
Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) increased significantly from just over four lakh to over
5.1 lakh between 2014-15 and 2015-16, the approved amount under this scheme fell 6% from
₹ 21,200 crore in FY15 to more than ₹ 19,900 crore in FY16.
• The number of MSMEs which benefited from the Marketing Assistance and Technology
Upgradation programme also fell from 359 in FY15 to 303 in FY16.
• The number of trainees under the Entrepreneur Development Programmes Scheme fell
significantly from more than 1.4 lakh in FY15 to just over 66,000 in FY16.
• The number of new ideas approved as part of Entrepreneurial Development of SMEs through
Incubators rose marginally from 143 in FY15 to 145 in FY16, according to ASSOCHAM.

2.15 e-Krishi Samvad
• e-Krishi Samvad, an online interface, was recently launched by the government.
• e-Krishi Samvad is internet-based interface and is a unique platform that will provide direct and
effective solutions to the problems faced by farmers and stakeholders in the agriculture sector.
• With this, people can get the appropriate solutions from the subject matter specialists and
institutes through web or SMS.

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• Stakeholders can upload photographs related to diseases of the crops, animals or fishes for
diagnostics and remedial measures instantly from the specialists.
The platform is helpful to get information pertaining to welfare and development of agricultural
stakeholders.

2.16 Centre tells pharma to pass GST benefits to customers
• The Centre has warned pharmaceutical companies to comply with the anti-profiteering clause in
the Goods and Services Tax rules and pass on to consumers any benefit arising out of lower tax
rates under the indirect tax regime.
What’s the issue?
• The Department of Pharmaceuticals has notified that for scheduled drug formulations on which
excise duty is levied on the maximum retail price, the revised price ceiling exclusive of GST
would be 95% of the current price ceiling. In case of savings due to lower rate of tax, the benefit
may be passed on to the consumers as per the anti-profiteering clause in GST rules.
• The Centre also specified the price rules for non-scheduled drugs under the GST regime, saying
that pharmaceutical companies would have to absorb any burden that may arise from higher taxes
which would increase the price of the drug more than the permissible 10% increase over their
levels in the previous 12 months.
• The companies will have no option but to absorb the net increase, if any, in the incidence of tax
on implementation of GST within the permissible limit of 10% for increase of maximum retail
price compared to the MRP of preceding 12 months.
Present system
• Under the present system, medicines not under price control are allowed an annual 10% price
increase in line with WPI (Wholesale Price Index).
What is anti-profiteering clause in GST Rule?
• Clause 171 has been inserted in the GST bill which provides that it is mandatory to pass on the
benefit due to reduction in rate of tax or from input tax credit to the consumer by way of
commensurate reduction in prices.
• This clause further provides for the establishment of an authority against anti-profiteering in
order to ensure its compliance.
Why anti-profiteering clause in GST Rule?
• While it’s widely claimed that GST is expected to bring down the prices of goods and services
once successfully implemented, it is also expected that manufacturers and service providers may
not pass on the benefit to the final consumer.
• To counter such practice, the government has put an anti-profiteering clause in the GST bill.
Concerns raised by the industry

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• One of the major contentions of industry against anti-profiteering clause is the lack of clarity on
rules related to valuation and tax rates. While four slab-rates have been agreed upon by the GST
council, however, what rate will be applicable on what goods that decision is yet to be passed.
• Unless this categorization is done for all the goods and services and a tax rate is mapped to each
category, companies will not be able to frame their strategy on product pricing under the new
regime.
• Also, comparison of pre-GST and post-GST profits of the company may get impacted for
reasons other than input tax credit and change in the tax rate as contained in clause 171. One
example could be the free flow of goods across states without entry-tax and lower logistics cost.
Such scenario will increase the profit margin post-GST implementation and should not be
considered as anti-profiteering.
• Limited time for implementation may result in some discrepancies and eventual penalties under
anti-profiteering.

2.17 Cabinet approves Interest Subvention to banks on Short-Term crop loan
to farmers
• The Union cabinet has approved the Interest Subvention Scheme (ISS) for farmers for the year
2017-18. The Government has allocated Rs. 20,339 crore for this scheme.
• The scheme will be continued for 1 year and will be implemented by NABARD and RBI.
• The objective of the scheme is to make available agricultural credit for Short Term crop loans at
an affordable rate.
• The interest subvention will be provided to Public Sector Banks (PSBs), Private Sector Banks,
Cooperative Banks and Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) and to NABARD for refinancing to RRBs
and Cooperative Banks.
• The scheme is expected to boost agricultural productivity and production in the country.
• Under this scheme, farmers will be given a short term crop loan up to Rs. 3 lakh payable within
one year at an interest rate of 4% per annum.
• Interest subvention of 5% per annum will be provided to those farmers who pay the short term
crop loan in time.
• Farmers will have to effectively pay only 4% as interest. For farmers who do not pay crop loan in
time the interest subvention of only 2% will be applicable as against 5% available above.
• This institutional credit is expected to demotivate farmers from taking loans from non-
institutional sources of credit at high rates of interest.
• Interest Subvention Scheme (ISS) has been running since 2006-07.
• Under this scheme, crop loans are offered at 7% rate of interest for loans up to Rs.3 lakh.
• Further subvention of 3% will be provided to farmers who prompt repay the loans within a
period of one year from the date of advance.

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• The scheme also offers post-harvest loans for storage in accredited warehouses against
Negotiable Warehouse Receipts (NWRs) for a period of 6 months to check distress sale.

2.18 Anti-profiteering panel to levy penalty, have sunset date
• The GST Council, chaired by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and comprising state finance
ministers as members, has approved the anti-profiteering rules.
• As per the rules, a five-member anti-profiteering authority will be set up to decide on levying
penalty if businesses do not pass on the benefit of price reduction to consumers under the goods
and services tax regime.
What will be the structure of the Anti-profiteering authority?
• The authority will be headed by a retired secretary-level officer.
• As per the structure, the complaints of profiteering would first come to the Standing Committee
comprising tax officials from states and the Centre.
• It would forward the complaint to the Directorate of Safeguards (DGS) for investigation, which
is likely to take about 2-3 months to complete the inquiry.
• On completion of investigation, the report would be submitted to the anti-profiteering authority
which would decide on the penalty.
• A search-cum-selection committee will be set up for finalising the members of the anti-
profiteering authority. Officials said it is likely to take about two months to finalise the members.
• Besides the chairman, the four other members of the authority will be joint secretary-level
officers who have been commissioners in central excise and service tax either at the Centre or
states.
What will be the functions of the Anti-profiteering authority?
• It can take suo motu action, besides acting on complaints of profiteering.
• As per the norms, the authority will have a sunset date of two years and will decide on penalty to
be levied.
• It would ask the businesses to refund the price reduction on a proportionate basis to consumers.
• Where the consumer cannot be identified, the amount would be credited to the consumer welfare
fund.
What is anti-profiteering clause in GST Rule?
• Clause 171 has been inserted in the GST bill which provides that it is mandatory to pass on the
benefit due to reduction in rate of tax or from input tax credit to the consumer by way of
commensurate reduction in prices.
• This clause further provides for the establishment of an authority against anti-profiteering in
order to ensure its compliance.
Why anti-profiteering clause in GST Rule?

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• While it’s widely claimed that GST is expected to bring down the prices of goods and services
once successfully implemented, it is also expected that manufacturers and service providers may
not pass on the benefit to the final consumer.
• To counter such practice, the government has put an anti-profiteering clause in the GST bill..
2.19 RBI identifies 12 mega defaulters for Insolvency and Bankruptcy code
• Recently, Reserve Bank of India’s internal advisory committee (IAC) had identified 12 accounts
for immediate resolution under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC).
• The gross bad debt in the banking system as on March was ₹7.11 lakh crore, which means the 12
accounts contribute to about ₹1.78 lakh crore (25% of non-performing assets of the Indian
banking system).
What does bankruptcy mean?
• A company is bankrupt if it is unable to repay debts to its creditors (banks, suppliers etc).
Problem of NPA in India
• The inability to repay debts by some of the Indian firms has resulted in a huge pile of non-
performing assets for the banking system.
• A mechanism to free up the money stuck as bad loans is one of the key for the banking system.
IBC is seen as one such.
Which are the most stressed sectors having a problem of non-performing assets?
• The RBI had earlier hinted that stress was coming from sectors such as power, telecom, steel,
textiles and aviation.
How the RBI came into the picture?
• The government had recently amended the RBI Act, which gave powers to the central bank to
direct banks to take punitive action against individual accounts under IBC.
How does the process work under IBC?
• To being with any creditor including banks can start bankruptcy proceedings against defaulters by
filing a petition with the National Company Law Tribunal.
• After that, an insolvency professional with significant powers is appointed to take control of the
defaulting company and assist the process.
• A creditors committee is formed to represent the interest of lenders and any other party that have
been affected due to the default by the company.
• The committee should come up with a resolution plan (which may include selling off defaulted
loans or liquidate the company outright). The resolution would require a nod from 75% of the
creditors on the committee.
The insolvency professional gets 180 days to come up with a feasible solution on the default issue.
The timeline can be extended by another 90 days. If no solution is found within 270 days, a
liquidator is appointed. The company can also opt for voluntary liquidation by a special resolution in
a general meeting.

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2.20 Nod for Insolvency Bill for financial entities
• The government recently enacted the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016, for the insolvency
resolution of non- financial entities. The proposed Bill complements the code by providing a
resolution framework for the financial sector. Once implemented, this Bill together with the code
will provide a comprehensive resolution framework for the economy.
• The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal to introduce the Financial Resolution and
Deposit Insurance Bill, 2017.
Bill
• The Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance Bill, 2017, seeks to give comfort to consumers
of financial service providers in financial distress.
• It also aims to inculcate discipline among financial service providers in the event of financial
crises by limiting the use of public money to bail out distressed entities.
• It would help in maintaining financial stability in the economy by ensuring adequate preventive
measures, while at the same time providing the necessary instruments for dealing with an event of
crisis.
• The Bill aims to strengthen and streamline the current framework of deposit insurance for the
benefit of a large number of retail depositors. Further, this Bill seeks to decrease the time and
costs involved in resolving distressed financial entities.
• The Bill, when enacted, will pave the way for setting up of a resolution corporation.
• The Bill would provide for a comprehensive resolution framework for specified financial sector
entities to deal with bankruptcy situation in banks, insurance companies and financial sector
entities.
• It would lead to repeal or amendment of resolution-related provisions in sectoral Acts as listed in
the schedules of the Bill.
• It will also result in the repeal of the Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation Act,
1961, to transfer deposit insurance powers and responsibilities to the resolution corporation.
• The resolution corporation would protect the stability and resilience of the financial system;
protecting the consumers of covered obligations up to a reasonable limit; and protecting public
funds, to the extent possible.

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3. SOCIAL ISSUES AND DEVELOPMENT

3.1 K Kasturirangan, to head drafting committee of National Education
Policy
• Eminent scientist and Padma Vibhushan awardee K. Kasturirangan has been appointed the
Chairman of the committee to prepare the final draft of the National Education Policy.
• The HRD ministry has chosen experts and educationists from wide-ranging backgrounds to be
part of the panel that is expected to recast India’s education policy.
• The HRD ministry had a couple of years ago formed a panel under former cabinet secretary T S
R Subramanian on the New Education Policy.
• Some of the important commissions on education formed after independence include
Radhakrishnan Commission (1948-49) on higher education; Mudaliyar Commission (1952) on
secondary education and the Kothari Commission (1964-66).

3.2 Govt sets up Task Force to help compute timely employment data
• The government has set up a task force headed by NITI Aayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya
to come up with a methodology to generate timely and reliable employment data.
• The Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself has initiated the process and has asked the task force
to submit its recommendations at the earliest.
Need for this data
• India does not have reliable data on jobs. The available data is currently outdated.
• The data on jobs in the informal sector which employs country’s majority of the workforce is not
easliy available.
• Also, the data released by the Labour Bureau is restricted to the organized sector. National
Sample Survey Office (NSSO) data which is the most comprehensive data available on jobs is
generated with a time lag.
• Better data on jobs data will help policy planners assess the impact of policies on jobs and will
shed light on the actual size of the informal economy
Labour market in India
• India’s labour market constitutes of over 470 million people.
• According to CRISIL, around 18 million people enter the workforce every year.
• As per the data with the NSSO, India had created around 59.9 million jobs between 1999-2000
and 2004-05 and created nearly two million jobs between 2004-05 and 2009-10. Between 2009-10
and 2011-12, 13.9 million jobs were created in the country.

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3.3 FSSAI issues draft regulations for organic food products
• Food regulator FSSAI has come out with a draft regulation for organic food products, seeking to
ensure that these food items are actually organic.
• FSSAI’s guidelines have been prepared in view of rising demand for organic food products.
Objective behind this the draft regulation
• Currently, a number of food products are being marketed as organic. However, consumers do
not have any way to check the authenticity of organic food products due to lack of a regulatory
framework. The draft regulation on organic food is aimed at overcoming this problem and
ensuring that what is sold as organic food is really organic.
Key facts of the draft regulations
• Organic foods will have to comply with the provisions under the National Programme for
Organic Production (NPOP) administered by the government or the Participatory
Guarantee System for India (PGS-India) run by the Agriculture Ministry or any other
standards notified by the food authority.
• The draft regulation mandates that labelling of organic foods should convey full and accurate
information on the organic status of the product.
• Organic food products should also carry a certification mark or a quality assurance mark given by
any of the notified certification bodies.
• The FSSAI’s draft has exempted organic food marketed through direct sale by the original
producer or producer organisation to the end consumer from verification compliance. However,
this exemption does not apply to processed organic products.
Various definitions under the draft regulations:
Organic agriculture
• The FSSAI has defined ‘organic agriculture’ as a system of farm design and management to create
an eco system of agriculture production without the use of synthetic external inputs such as
chemicals, fertilisers, pesticides and synthetic hormones or genetically modified organisms.
Organic food products
• Organic farm produce means the produce obtained from organic agriculture, while organic food
means food products that have been produced in accordance with specified standards for organic
production.
• Organic food products are either that grown under a system of agriculture without the use of
chemical fertilisers and pesticides or made from organically produced raw materials.
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)
• The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is an agency of the Ministry of Health
& Family Welfare, Government of India.

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• The FSSAI has been established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 which is a
consolidating statute related to food safety and regulation in India.
• The FSSAI is led by a non-executive Chairperson, appointed by the Central Government.
• The Chairperson is in the rank of Secretary to Government of India.
• The agency also has 8 regional offices, 4 referral laboratories and 72 local laboratories located
throughout India.
Functions of FSSAI
• Laying down mechanisms and guidelines for accreditation of certification bodies engaged in
certification of food safety management system for food businesses.
• Laying down procedure and guidelines for accreditation of laboratories and notification of the
accredited laboratories.
• To provide scientific advice and technical support to Central Government and State
Governments in the matters of framing the policy and rules in areas which have a direct or
indirect bearing of food safety and nutrition.
• Collect and collate data regarding food consumption, incidence and prevalence of biological risk,
contaminants in food, residues of various, and contaminants in foods products, identification of
emerging risks and introduction of rapid alert system.
• Creating an information network across the country so that the public, consumers, Panchayats
etc. receive rapid, reliable and objective information about food safety and issues of concern.
• Provide training programmes for persons who are involved or intend to get involved in food
businesses.
• Contribute to the development of international technical standards for food, sanitary and phyto-
sanitary standards.
• Promote general awareness about food safety and food standards.

3.4 Farm think tank’s formula to redress agriculture distress
• The Indian Council of Food and Agriculture (ICFA), an agriculture think tank, has suggested to
the Centre to consider its seven-point formula to redress farmers’ distress across the country.
Important recommendations
• Assuring a decent income for the farmers was vital, and, therefore, the recommendations of the
National Commission on Farmers (Swaminathan Commission) on the minimum support prices
(MSP) for crops must be fixed at levels of at least 50% more than the weighted average cost of
production. This will help enhance profitability in agriculture by ensuring a minimum of 50%
profits over the cost of production.
• Opening of domestic and international markets for free trade is a major stabiliser of prices, which
could help farmers in realising better profit prospects.

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• Operating futures markets across all farm produce as another effective strategy to offset the
uncertainties associated with price fluctuations of agricultural commodities. Futures contract
route helped farmers decide on trade for a standing crop at a future date at a price agreed before
the harvest.
• Establishing a national network of Panchayat level rural growth centres that would create village-
level agri-businesses and connect farmers with institutions, banks, technologies and markets.

3.5 Centre mulls financial assistance to fisherfolk
• The Centre plans to provide fisherfolk community financial assistance and introduce norms to
improve labour conditions in the fisheries sector.
• However, it will ensure that the Indian fishing fleet does not engage in ‘Illegal, Unreported and
Unregulated’ (IUU) fishing, according to the National Policy on Marine Fisheries, 2017.
Need for financial assistance
• Fishermen are having difficulties in availing institutional credit to buy fishing implements and
crafts, and that the risky nature of returns has led to many fishermen falling into the debt trap of
private financiers and middlemen.
• Currently, about four million people — mainly small-scale and artisanal fishers — in India
depending on marine fisheries resources for livelihood.
• The Indian marine fisheries account for an economic wealth of about Rs. 65,000 crore. The
policy is needed to guide the coordination and management of India’s marine fisheries during the
next 10 years.
• Therefore, the Centre, with the help of National Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development,
will provide financial assistance to fishermen with liberal terms and conditions.
IUU Fishing
• IUU or illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing is fishing that is conducted contradictory
to legal conservation and management measures currently in place around the world.
• IUU fishing includes all fishing that breaks fisheries laws or occurs outside the reach of fisheries
laws and regulations.
• An important part of IUU fishing is illegal fishing, which usually refers to fishing without a
license, fishing in a closed area, fishing with prohibited gear, fishing over a quota, or the fishing of
prohibited species.
Problem of IUU Fishing
• Most of the world’s fish is caught in the national waters of coastal States. Illegal fishing in such
areas can range from a licensed vessel fishing more than its allowed catch to a vessel coming into
the zone with no fishing license at all, or even a vessel crew not reporting or underreporting their
catch—even if the vessel is licensed to catch that species.

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• A lot of unregulated fishing occurs on the high seas. The high seas are international waters
beyond the exclusive economic zone, which extends 200 nautical miles from the shoreline, of a
coastal state.
• Patchy regulation, little enforcement, and the vast expanse of the ocean—the high seas cover
almost 45 percent of our planet—combine to allow rampant illegal and unregulated fishing in
those areas.
• Even when unregulated fishing on the high seas does not break any national law, it can have a
significant harmful impact on marine life in the world’s oceans.
Why does IUU fishing occur?
Too many fishers chasing too few fish
• If fishing “capacity” is the ability of a vessel or fleet of vessels to catch fish, “overcapacity” means
a level of catching power that exceeds what is needed.
• Currently the fishing industry has too much capital invested in vessels that it must operate to
realize a return.
High and growing demand for seafood
• As world populations continue to soar, the demand for seafood, an attainable protein resource,
increases, and fisheries stocks are harvested beyond their ability to sustainably reproduce.
Highly profitable
• IUU fishing is highly profitable so a strong economic incentive exists to participate.
• The complexity of the fishing industry and the many levels of organization involved leave it
vulnerable to the influence of organized crime and corruption.
• Fishing vessels may also be used in activities such as drug or human trafficking.
What are the results of IUU fishing?
• IUU fishing can have far reaching consequences.
In the short-term,
• IUU fishing results in the unsustainable harvest of fish stocks and other marine wildlife,
destruction of marine habitats, loss of fish for future harvest, loss of nutrition, and loss of income
and employment for legitimate fishers.
In the long term,
• IUU fishing can deplete local, and potentially global, fish stocks to the point where they become
commercially unviable or even push them to the brink of extinction.
• IUU fishing can also undermine labour standards, distort markets of legally harvested fish, and
contribute to the loss of economic stability in developing coastal nations.

3.6 UPSC to share competitive exams scores online to boost hiring
• In a first, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has decided to share online scores of
candidates taking competitive exams.

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• This is part of the government’s proposal to boost hiring by the private sector.
About the initiative
• The Commission has decided to disclose information like marks obtained and educational
qualifications of candidates who appeared in the final stage of examination (interview) but
were “not recommended”.
• These details will be linked to the Integrated Information System for Public Recruitment
Agencies — a dedicated website being developed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC).
• UPSC will be making a provision in the application form so candidates can either opt in or out of
the disclosure scheme.
Excluded list
• Candidates taking tests for recruitment to the armed forces and those applying for limited
departmental competitive examinations and the Central Industrial Security Force will not be
covered under the disclosure scheme.
Significance
• The publicly available scores will act as a useful database to other employers to enable them to
identify good, employable candidates
Background
• Last year, NITI Aayog had recommended to the government to disclose scores and ranking of
candidates in recruitment examinations to boost job opportunities for the unemployed.
• Similar idea was mooted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in March last year to help the
prospective employers to choose quality talent.
• The results of the government conducted entrance examinations for engineering and medical
streams are already being utilized by private colleges for admission purposes.

3.7 Mission Retro-Fitment
• Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhu has launched Mission Retro-Fitment to enhance the
passenger experience by upgrading the existing fleet of coaches.
Mission Retro-Fitment
• Mission Retro-Fitment is an ambitious program of the Ministry of Railways to upgrade the level
of furnishing & amenities in the coaches of Indian Railways.
• The refurbished coaches will have better furnishing, aesthetics & amenities and better safety
features which are aimed at providing a safe and comfortable travel to the railway passengers.
• Under Mission Retro-Fitment, 40,000 coaches will be refurbished and retrofitted in the next five
years. The mission aims to induct about 40,000 coaches with upgraded interiors by 2022-23.
• The mission will be one of the largest retro fitment projects in the world.
• The mission will be carried out without affecting the traffic operation.
• It is estimated that cost of refurbishing per coach to be approximately Rs 30 lakhs.

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Features of the refurbished coaches will be
World class ambience
• Panels without visible screws, LED Lights, Modular toilets with concealed plumbing, Branded
fittings, Powered venetian blinds, Anti-Graffiti coating, etc.
Enhanced Passenger Safety
• Fire and Smoke Detection System (in newly manufactured AC coaches), Double acting
compartment door (in AC coaches), Rounded edges at most locations for injury-free, etc.
Caring for the Environment
• Bio toilets
Use of better materials
• Such as Polycarbonate ABS, Advanced Composites, Glass Fibre Reinforced Plastic, GFRE,
Stainless Steel, etc.
Enhanced Passenger convenience
Passenger Address & Passenger Information System, Braille Signage, Ergonomic design,
increased number of mobile / laptop charging points, etc.

3.8 Labour meet to focus on social security
• The Standing Labour Committee will shortly meet to decide the agenda of the Indian Labour
Conference (ILC), also known as the ‘labour parliament’ of the country.
• Providing social security cover for the entire workforce may be the central theme of the
upcoming 47th ILC.
• The Labour Ministry had earlier this year proposed a law on social security which will provide
social security cover to the entire workforce in the country, including self-employed and
agricultural workers.
• As per the proposed social security code, factories employing even a single worker will have to
contribute towards social security benefits.
Indian Labour Conference
• The ILC is the apex level tripartite forum in the Labour Ministry which includes representatives
from trade unions, employers and state governments.
• It advises the Government on the issues concerning working class of the country.
• As recommended by the National Labour Conference held in September 17-18, 1982, only Trade
Union Organisations, which have, a membership of more than five lakhs spread over four States
and four industries are given representation in the ILC.
• All the 12 Central Trade Union Organisations, Central Organisations of employers, all State
Governments and Union Territories and Central Ministries/Departments concerned with the
agenda items, are the members of the ILC.

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3.9 Orderly system: claims and counter-claims
What is Orderly System in the police?
• The orderly system in the police was introduced by the British in the late 19th century.
• An orderly is expected to help officers in maintenance and upkeep of uniform, answering
telephone calls, attending to personal security and also run small errands.
• Under the orderly system, a police officer is expected to be on duty 24X7 and to rush to scenes
of crime and riots at short notice.
• Since the orderly is a trained uniformed person, he is meant to be a companion and help to the
senior officer.
• The Karnataka Police Manual as well as those in other states prescribes the scale of orderlies for
senior officers.
Misuse of the orderly system:
• Though the Manual says that orderlies must be taken from armed units, many civil police
constables are also orderlies. These orderlies rarely attend drill and inspections and work at
residences of senior officers.
• Over a period of time, orderlies began to be misused for cooking, washing, taking officer’s
children to school, shopping for the officer’s family etc. An orderly thus became more of a
menial servant.
• A few decades ago, the minimum qualification prescribed for an armed police constable was
seventh standard. Nowadays, almost every constable is a graduate and has joined the department
with some aspirations. To him, performing orderly duty at the residence of a senior officer has
become anathema.
• Thus, the demand for abolishing the orderly system was raised.
Why in news?
• Three months after the Karnataka government abolished the colonial-era orderly system, the
practice is still prevalent in the police force.
Why the Karnataka state government abolished it?
• In March 2017, the Karnataka state government had issued an order scrapping the orderly system
with an amendment to provide allowances to officials to employ Group D workers to replace
orderlies.
• Before the March 2017 order was issued, as many as 3,000 trained personnel were working as
orderlies across Karnataka, not only in the houses of senior police officials but also with senior
bureaucrats and elected representatives.
• Prior to the ban, Rule 862A of the Karnataka Police Manual allowed police officials — depending
upon their rank — to employ orderlies from the lower rank personnel as domestic help.
• However, considering that trained armed personnel were being deputed as orderlies when they
could otherwise be deployed to help maintain law and order, the then State Police proposed that
the system be scrapped.

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• The move was backed by several human rights organizations.

3.10 National Mission on Cultural Mapping of India
• Government of India is launched the implementation of the ‘”National Mission on Cultural
Mapping of India” at Goverdhan Block, Mathura District, Uttar Pradesh.
• This Mission is part of the ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’ umbrella.
• Ministry of Culture launched it in the year of commemoration of the birth centenary of Pandit
Deen Dayal Upadhyay, who hailed from Mathura.

National Mission on Cultural Mapping of India:
• The mission aims at converting the vast and widespread cultural canvas of India into an objective
cultural map, designing a mechanism to fulfil the aspirations of the whole artist community of the
nation and preserving the rich cultural heritage of this country in the form of a cultural repository
of artists and art forms.
• This Mission encompasses data mapping, demography building formalising the processes and
bringing all the cultural activities under one web based umbrella for better results.
• The Mission also seeks to open a direct channel of communication of artists with the
Government and peer to peer communication among artists for talent honing and handholding
of each other.
Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat
• “Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat” was announced by Hon’ble Prime Minister on 31st October, 2015
on the occasion of the 140th birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Subsequently, the
Finance Minister announced the initiative in his Budget Speech for 2016-17.
• It was launched to celebrate the cultural vibrancy of India while establishing a concrete
mechanism to inculcate nationalism and cultural awareness among the fellow citizens of our
nation.
• All States and UTs will be covered under the programme. There will be pairing of States/UTs at
national level and these pairings will be in effect for one year, or till the next round of pairings.
The State/UT level pairings would be utilized for state level activities. District level pairings
would be independent of the State level pairings.
• The activity will be very useful to link various States and Districts in annual programmes that will
connect people through exchanges in areas of culture, tourism, language, education trade etc. and
citizens will be able to experience the cultural diversity of a much larger number of States/UTs
while realising that India is one.
Objectives of Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat
• To CELEBRATE the Unity in Diversity of our Nation and to maintain and strengthen the
fabric of traditionally existing emotional bonds between the people of our Country;

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• To PROMOTE the spirit of national integration through a deep and structured engagement
between all Indian States and Union Territories through a year-long planned engagement between
States;
• To SHOWCASE the rich heritage and culture, customs and traditions of either State for
enabling people to understand and appreciate the diversity that is India, thus fostering a sense of
common identity;
• TO ESTABLISH long-term engagements and
• TO CREATE an environment which promotes learning between States by sharing best practices
and experiences.

3.11 India has second highest number of obese children in world: Study
• According to a study, India has the second highest number of obese children in the world after
China.
Highlights of the study
• The study found that 14.4 million kids in India have excess weight.
• Globally, over two billion children and adults suffer from health problems related to being obese,
and an increasing number die from these conditions.
• However, of the four million deaths attributed to excess body weight in 2015, nearly 40%
occurred among people whose body mass index (BMI) fell below the threshold considered
“obese”.
• Among the 20 most populous countries, the highest level of obesity among kids and young adults
was in the US at nearly 13%; Egypt topped the list for adult obesity at about 35%.
• Lowest rates were in Bangladesh and Vietnam, respectively, at 1%.
• China with 15.3 million and India with 14.4 million had the highest numbers of obese children;
the US with 79.4 million and China with 57.3 million had the highest numbers of obese adults in
2015.
• The prevalence of obesity has doubled since 1980 in more than 70 countries and has increased in
most other nations.
• Although the prevalence of obesity among children has been lower than among adults, the rate of
increase in childhood obesity in many countries was greater than that of adults.

3.12 Fortified foods to tackle malnutrition
• To tackle the issue of malnutrition, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)
released a set of standards and a logo last year. Since then, a number of enterprises have begun
adding premixes of micronutrients to launch fortified foods.
Various efforts in this regard

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• Milk cooperatives in Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Assam and Maharashtra are fortifying their
products.
• Targeting children, the Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh governments
have begun using fortified oil for their mid-day meal schemes.
• West Bengal and Andaman and Nicobar Islands are now distributing fortified wheat flour
through the public distribution system, and the Maharashtra government has started a pilot
project.
• The FSSAI is also working with small local suppliers, for instance local flour grinding mills, to get
them to add premixed micronutrients.
Food fortification
• Food fortification or enrichment is the process of adding micronutrients (essential trace elements
and vitamins) to food.
• Fortification requires neither changes in existing food patterns, habits nor individual compliance.
• It is socio-culturally acceptable and does not alter the characteristics of the food.
Benefits of Food fortification
• Food fortification is a proven and effective strategy to meet the nutritional needs of a large
number of people across various sections of the society, including the poor and underprivileged
as well as the vulnerable, such as pregnant women and young children.
• It can be introduced quickly and can produce nutritional benefits for populations in a short
period of time.
• It is safe and cost effective, especially if advantage is taken of the existing technology and delivery
platforms.
• Food fortification reinforces and supports existing nutrition improvement programmes and is
part of a broader, integrated approach to prevent micronutrient deficiencies, thereby
complementing other approaches to improve health and nutrition.
Regulations on Food fortification in India
• Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has formulated a comprehensive
regulation on fortification of foods namely ‘Food Safety and Standards (Fortification of Foods)
Regulations, 2016’.
• These regulations set the standards for food fortification and encourage the production,
manufacture, distribution, sale and consumption of fortified foods.
• The regulations also provide for specific role of FSSAI in promotion for food fortification and to
make fortification mandatory. This sets the premise for the national summit on fortification of
food.
3.13 Derby Air-to-Air Beyond Visual Range Missile
• Tejas, the Light Combat Aircraft has successfully test fired Derby Air-to-Air Beyond Visual
Range (BVR) missile in RADAR guided mode.

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• The test was performed on a Manoeuvrable Aerial Target at the Interim Test Range (ITR),
Chandipur.
• The objective behind the test was to assess the Derby integration with aircraft systems on-board
Tejas including the aircraft avionics, fire-control radar, launchers and Missile Weapon Delivery
System and evaluate its performance.
• Debry is developed by Israeli defence company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems to meet the
combat needs of the armed forces.
• Tejas, the Indian Light Combat Aircraft is the world’s smallest, light weight, multi-role combat
aircraft in its class amongst modern supersonic aircraft.
• It is a single seat, single jet engine developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for the Indian
Navy and the Air Force.

3.14 Odisha’s Sualgiri, Swalgiri communities notified as Scheduled Castes
• Odisha’s Sualgiri and Swalgiri communities were notified as Scheduled Castes following President
Pranab Mukherjee’s assent to a new law.
• The Scheduled Castes category status will entitle these communities to reservation in government
jobs and admission in educational institutions, along with other financial benefits.

3.15 India Exclusion Report (IXR)
• According to the 2016 India Exclusion Report (IXR) released by the Centre for Equity Studies
(CES), in terms of exclusion from access to public goods, Dalits, Adivasis and Muslims continue
to remain the worst-hit communities.
• The report has found out that the same historically disadvantaged groups such as Dalits, Adivasis,
Muslims, and persons with disabilities and age-related vulnerabilities continue to remain as the
most severely and consistently excluded groups of the society.
• The 2016 IXR Report determines exclusion by taking into account four public goods, namely,
pensions for the elderly, digital access, agricultural land, and legal justice for undertrials.
Highlights of the report
Weaker Class
• Disadvantaged groups in India – Dalits, tribals, elderly, disabled – continue to be excluded from
four key basic public goods like pensions, digital access, land, labour & resources and legal justice.
Rich & Poor
• Since liberalization, while the country grew three-fold in the first four decades since
Independence, rate of poverty fell only marginally to 0.65 percent between 1990 and 2005 from
0.94 percent between 1981-1990.

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• The economic growth also led to a 12-fold increase in wealth for the richest 10 percent since
2000. However, for the poorest 10 percent, income increased just three-fold leading to low levels
of job creation.
Land holdings
• With the respect to the criteria of agricultural land as a public good, the report has found that the
landowners to be invariably belonging to the upper castes, cultivators to be belonging to the
middle castes.
• Dalits and Adivasis remain largely as the agricultural workers and landlessness was highest among
Dalits (57.3%).
• Also, 52.6% of Muslims and 8% of women-headed households were landless.
• In addition, Adivasis constituted around 40% of all those displaced by the developmental
activities.
Land reforms
• Land reform efforts have not benefited Dalits, women or Muslims significantly.
• The land holdings of Dalits, Muslims and women were found to be meagre in size.
• Also, the Land allotments to SC/ST households were not implemented efficiently.
Jobs in India
• Job creation fell to 1.35 lakh new jobs in 2015.
• Very few jobs have been added, mostly of low quality, whereas employment opportunities in
public enterprises, the formal private sector, and agriculture actually declined.
• From 1999-2000 to 2009-2010, employment growth was hardly 1.5 percent. This is when India’s
economy grew 7.52 percent per annum.
• Only 2.7 million jobs were added in the period during 2004–10, compared to over 60 million
during the previous five-year period.
Digital exclusion
• Even though India has been ranked among the top five nations in terms of the number of
internet users, almost 1.063 billion Indians were found to be offline.
• Poverty and geographic location to be the two major barriers to digital access.
• Problems like poor infrastructure, inadequate institutional frameworks, low literacy in the targeted
areas, and poor cooperation from government officials are the major reasons behind poor
implementation of government schemes aimed at enhancing digital access.
• The report has also cited the reluctance on the part of government to be a signatory to a non-
binding UN Human Rights Council resolution to protect human rights on the Internet.

3.16 Start-up firms may get idle land from PSUs

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• The Heavy Industries Ministry is deliberating on a proposal to use large tract of unutilised land
owned by central public sector companies, which government plans to divest or sell, as ready-to-
move-in industrial space for start-up companies.
• The idea is to “create a landscape for ready-to-move-in businesses” so that start-up companies do
not have to face hurdles for setting up business and they can start work “immediately on the
business opportunity without lag.
• Various companies under the government of India are sitting over huge tracts of land. Instead of
transferring land to other public sector units and state governments, it could be utilised to create
industrial space for start-up companies.
• These lands will be readily available to companies looking to set up quickly. Land acquisition is
one of the biggest problems for the enterprises.

3.17 Voluntary unemployment rising
• NITI Aayog member Bibek Debroy has flagged a dramatic rise in voluntary unemployment
across the country, where people choose not to work below a certain income level after
‘investing’ in education.
• The trouble with current official data on labour and employment is that they can be used to claim
‘jobless growth’ as well as ‘growth-less jobs’ — and fail to capture the pre-dominantly informal
and unorganised nature of the Indian economy.
• In reality, India needs to create 10 to 12 million new jobs.
• This remark assumes significance as a task force led by the Aayog vice chairman Arvind
Panagariya was recently formed on employment data.
• While the government attaches highest priority to job creation, policy making and analysis is
conducted in a data vacuum, so the task force has been tasked with coming up with reliable and
timely data solution for tracking employment trends.

3.18 Swachh Survekshan-2017
• Union Urban Development Miniser M Venkaiah Naidu announced the results of Swachh
Survekshan 2017 survey.
Swachh Survekshan 2017 survey:
• Swachh Survekshan-2017 was commissioned by the Ministry of Urban Development during
January– February, 2017.
• Swachh Survekshan 2017 aimed at capturing the outcomes on ground of the ongoing efforts to
make urban areas Open Defecation Free and to improve door-to-door collection, processing and
disposal of Municipal Solid Waste. Accordingly, it is outcome oriented.
• The survey was conducted by the Quality Council of India.

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• Under the Swachh Survekshan 2017, 434 cities and towns were surveyed for cleanliness and
categorized based on the marks scored by each of them.
• It deployed 421 assessors for on the spot assessment of 17500 locations in 434 cities and towns.
Another 55 persons regularly monitored the survey process in real time.
Criteria for Swachh Survekshan 2017
• Solid Waste Management including Door-to-Door collection, Processing and Disposal (45% of
total 2,000 marks i.e. 900 marks)
• Citizen feedback (30% i.e. 600 of total marks)
• Independent observation (25% i.e. 500 marks)
Highlights of the report
• Out of the 434 cities and towns, Indore in Madhya Pradesh was adjudged as the cleanest city.
Gonda in Uttar Pradesh was adjudged as the least clean city.
• Four of the bottom 10 clean cities are from UP, two each from Bihar and Punjab and one each
from Uttarakhand and Maharashtra.
• Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh account for 31 of the top 50 clean cities with 12 in
Gujarat, 11 in MP and 8 in AP.
• Telangana and Tamil Nadu account for 4 cities each in top 50, followed by Maharashtra with 3.
• Chandigarh, Chattisgarh, Delhi, HP, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Sikkim and UP account for one city
each in top 50 clean cities of the country.
• Rajasthan and Punjab have 5 towns each in the bottom 50, followed by Maharashtra-2 and one
each from Haryana, Karnataka and Lakshadweep.
• Faridabad in Haryana has emerged as the ‘Fastest Mover Big City’.
• At the national level, Tirupati was ranked the ‘Cleanest Medium City’ while Ambikapur,
Chattisgarh bagged this honour in Small Cities category.
• Rewa, Madhya Pradesh emerged as the ‘Faster Mover’ in medium cities category, Khargone,
Madhya Pradesh moved the fastest by significantly improving it’s rank this year over that of 2014
Survey in small cities category.

3.19 Set up database of children in orphanages, SC tells govt.
• The Supreme Court has passed a slew of directions, including setting up of a database of children
living in orphanages and child care institutions to ensure their safety and welfare.
• The verdict came on a PIL petition filed on the basis of a 2007 newspaper report alleging that
orphanages in Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, run by NGOs as well as government institutions,
were reportedly involved in systematic sexual abuse of children.
Important directions:
• The Centre, States and union territories (UTs) should complete the registration of all child care
institutions by year-end.

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• The registration process should also include a database of all children in need of care and
protection and update it every month.
• Authorities concerned should ensure confidentiality and privacy in maintaining the database.
• Every child in need of care and protection must not be necessarily placed either in a child care
institution and alternative option like adoption and foster care could seriously be considered.
• The Union government and the governments of States and UTs must concentrate on
rehabilitation and social re-integration of children in need of care and protection.
• Centre’s schemes such as skill development and vocational training must be taken advantage of
keeping in mind the need to rehabilitate such children.
• States and UTs should set up ‘Inspection Committees’ before July 31 to conduct regular
inspections of child care institutions and prepare reports of such inspections so that the living
conditions of kids there undergo positive changes.
• The first report after conducting the inspection should be filed before the government concerned
by December 31.
• The process for preparing individual child care plans must be initiated immediately and an
individual plan must be prepared for each child in each such centre on or before December 31.
• The process of conducting a social audit must be taken up in right earnest by the National
Commission for the Protection of Child Rights as well as by each State Commission for the
Protection of Child Rights.

3.20 Second Meeting of National Council of Senior Citizens (NCSrC)
• Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment chaired the recently held ‘Second Meeting of
National Council of Senior Citizens (NCSrC)’ organized by the Ministry of Social Justice and
Empowerment.
National Council of Senior Citizens
• An autonomous National Council for Senior Citizens headed by the Minister for Social
Justice & Empowerment was set up to promote and co-ordinate the concerns of older persons.
• The council was originally known as National Council for Older Persons (NPOP). It was
renamed in 2012.
• The Council includes representatives of relevant Central Ministries and the Planning
Commission.
• Five States are represented on the Council by rotation.
• The Council is mandated to meet at least twice a year.
Members of the council
• The Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment is the Chairman and Minister of State (Social
Justice and Empowerment) is the Vice-Chairman of the Council.

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• Other members of the Council includes Secretary (SJ&E), Joint Secretary (Social Defence),
related central ministries such as Finance, Rural Development, Home Affairs, Law and Justice,
Human Resource Development etc., National Commissions like NHRC, NCW etc., State
Governments (on rotation), Oldest member of the Lok Sabha, Oldest member of the Rajya
Sabha, along with representatives of Senior Citizens Associations, Pensioners’ Associations,
eminent senior citizens working on issues related to senior citizens etc.
Mandate of the council
• The mandate of the National Council of Senior Citizens is to advise the Central and State
Governments on the entire gamut of issues related to the welfare of senior citizens and
enhancement of their quality of life, with special reference to the following:
1. Policies, programmes and legislative measures.
2. Promotion of physical and financial security, health and independent and productive living.
3. Awareness generation and community mobilization.

3.21 Scientists come up with easy-to-assemble toilet
• The CSIR-Structural Engineering Research Centre (SERC), Chennai, has developed a cost-
effective toilet.
• The cost-effective toilet weighs less than 500kg and has a life of 25-30 years.
• It can be made in-situ and even assembled in under five hours.
• It has been built with the help of the textile reinforced concrete (TRC) panels.
• The TRC panels are manufactured using textile reinforced concrete prototyping technology
(TRCPT), an innovative all-in-one technology developed by CSIR-SERC, for which the Indian
patent was applied for in 2014.
• The same panel can be used as doors, roofing, walls and even flooring.
• It is corrosion-free and depending on how it is fixed, can withstand wind. No mould is required
to make these sheets that vary in thickness from 15mm to 25mm.
• These panels used in the toilets are non-load bearing ones, but load-bearing walls and panels too
can be designed.
• For now, each toilet costs between ₹12,000 and ₹ 15,000. With buildtex (textile used in
building applications) being manufactured in India, the cost is expected to come down further.
Buildtex is also being used in roads to prevent water seepage, and for replacing roofing sheets.

3.22 New instructions issued on Certificate of Coverage (COC)
• To extend benefit to the international workers, the Ministry of Labour and employment has
issued new instructions to all field functionaries regarding COC (Certificate of Coverage).
• Under this new law, the employer has been advised to submit the application form for COC one
month in advance and COC is issued prior to departure of the employee from India.

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Certificate of Coverage (COC)
• A COC otherwise known as a ‘detachment certificate’ must be obtained by an international
worker to avoid double coverage.
• A COC will be issued by the worker’s home country’s social security authority in accordance with
the provisions of the relevant SSA.
• The COC serves as a proof of detachment on the basis of which exemption from social security
contributions or social security taxes in the host country are available for the period of
detachment.
• For example, an Indian national can apply for a COC from the Indian social security authorities
before being deputed to Germany to work with an establishment to which the German social
security regulations apply. This will exempt him/her from contributing to German social security
for the period stated in the COC.
• The Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has been authorized to issue the
Certificate of Coverage to the employees posted to the countries having signed Agreement with
the Government of India.
Challenges
• In India, a major challenge that was faced by an employer was the considerable time taken by the
Provident Fund office to issue a CoC.
• Another common challenge was the incorrect details mentioned by the Provident Fund office on
the CoC. These challenges were largely due to the old CoC application process.

3.23 NBT to host Panchayat Pustak Mela
• The National Book Trust (NBT) is planning to launch Panchayat Pustak Mela with the aim of
organising regular book fairs in rural areas across the country.
• The main objective behind introducing this new scheme at the panchayat level is to encourage the
growth of reading habit in villages.
• National Book Trust (NBT) is an Indian publishing house, founded in 1957 as an autonomous
body under the Ministry of Education of the Government of India.
• NBT now functions under aegis of Ministry of Human Resource Development, Govt. of India.

3.24 National Medical and Wellness Tourism Board
• The Third Meeting of the National Medical and Wellness Tourism Board was recently held under
the chairmanship of Dr Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Tourism and
Culture.
• The National Medical and Wellness Tourism Board was constituted under the Chairmanship of
the Minister for Tourism in October 2015 to provide dedicated institutional framework to take

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forward Medical Tourism and position India as competent and credible medical and well tourism
destination.

3.25 Measurement of Liveability Index
• Ministry of Urban Development will launch measuring of Liveability Index of cities in the next
month.
• The aim of the assessment will be to instill a sense of healthy competition among cities and towns
in the country and to help them focus their attention on improving governance and infrastructure
availability.
• The Ministry of Urban Development has already released a detailed document on “Methodology
for Collection and Computation of Liveability Standards in Cities”.
• The index will be based on indigenously evolved methodology.
• The index will measure the Liveability Standards of 140 cities including 53 cities with population
of 1 million and above.
• To carry out the assessment, the Ministry has invited bids for selecting the agency.
• Cities will be assessed on 15 core parameters relating to Governance, social infrastructure
pertaining to education, health and safety and security, economic aspects and physical
infrastructure like housing, open spaces, land use, energy and water availability, solid waste
management, pollution etc.
• Totally, based on 79 aspects, the Cities would be ranked on the Liveability Index.

3.26 In a First for a Government Owned Company appoints Transgenders
• Kochi Metro will employ 23 members from the transgender community.
• This is the first time a government owned company has formally appointed members of the
transgender community.
• While the better educated workers would be posted at ticket counters, the rest will be deputed for
housekeeping works, customer relations, parking, gardening and to man the coach-depot canteen.
• All of the workers have been appointed after written test and interview and have been imparted
training in soft and technical skills.

3.27 Govt announces steps to curb online child sexual abuse
• To curb the menace of Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM), the government announced
immediate measures.

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• These measures have been taken on the basis of consultations of an inter-ministerial committee
that includes Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology
(MEITY), Ministry of Law, Ministry of External Affairs and the Department of Telecom.
Background
• The Ministry of Women and Child Development has been making several efforts to deal with the
problem of online Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM).
• In a major step, a stakeholder Consultation was held last year on this issue wherein it was decided
that the Ministry will establish a National Alliance against Online Child Sexual Abuse and
Exploitation, focusing primarily on the online content.
• Subsequent to this decision, the inter-ministerial committee was constituted on request of the
WCD Ministry, subsequent to its last year’s decision of establishing a national alliance against
online exploitation.
What are the interim measures?
• These interim measures were taken by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology
(MEITY) in collaboration with Ministry of Women and Child Development.
• Under the interim measures, the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will be required to adopt and
implement the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) Resources by 31st July.
• The IWF maintains a dynamic global list of websites and URLs, which contain CSAM. The
implementation of IWF Resources will result in the relevant content being blocked/removed on
an ongoing basis.

3.28 Anuyatra campaign
• It is a campaign for persons with special needs launched by the Kerala state government.
• The innovative initiative is aimed at transforming the state to a disabled-friendly one and
empowers differently-abled children by bringing them to the forefront of the mainstream society.
• A group of differently-abled children who received special training in magic, have become brand
ambassadors of Anuyatra.
• The MPower programme managed by the Kerala Social Security Mission (KSSM) under the social
justice department is being implemented in collaboration with the Magic Academy.

3.29 51 EMR Schools made Functional during The Last three years
• Ministry of Tribal Affairs has actively initiated various efforts during the last three years to make
more Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS) functional.
Fact-sheet
• As a result, 51 new EMRS were made functional during the last three years.
• 161 EMR Schools are functional right now, while this figure was at 110 in the year 2013-14.
• More than 52 thousand tribal students are taking education in 161 EMR Schools of 26 States.

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• In order to further educational opportunities for more ST children, Government has sought to
extend the facility of EMRSs in all the 672 Blocks where ST population is more than 50% of the
total population in a span of next five years.
Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS)
• Eklavya Model Residential School Scheme was started in 1998 and first school was started in the
year 2000 in Maharashtra.
• EMRSs have been functioning as institutions of excellence for tribal students.
• A total of 259 schools have been sanctioned during the last 17 years, out of which, 72 EMRS
were sanctioned during last three years.
• As per existing EMRS Guidelines of 2010, at least one EMRS is to be set up in each Integrated
Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) / Integrated Tribal Development Project (ITDP) having
50% ST population in the area.
• The capital cost for setting up the school complex, including hostels and staff quarters etc. has
been earmarked at Rs. 12 crore with a provision to go up to Rs.16 crore in hill areas, deserts and
islands.
• Recurring cost during the first year for these schools would be Rs. 42000/-per child, with a
provision of raising it by 10% every second year to compensate for inflation etc.
Objectives of EMRS
• The objective of EMRS is to provide quality middle and high level education to Scheduled Tribe
(ST) students in remote areas, not only to enable them to avail of reservation in high and
professional educational courses and as jobs in government and public and private sectors but
also to have access to the best opportunities in education at par with the non ST population.
• This would be achieved by:
• Comprehensive physical, mental and socially relevant development of all students enrolled in
each and every EMRS. Students will be empowered to be change agent, beginning in their school,
in their homes, in their village and finally in a larger context.
• Focus differentially on the educational support to be made available to those in Standards XI and
XII, and those in standards VI to X, so that their distinctive needs can be met,
• Support the annual running expenses in a manner that offers reasonable remuneration to the staff
and upkeep of the facilities.
• Support the construction of infrastructure that provides education, physical, environmental and
cultural needs of student life.

3.30 Ratification of core ILO Conventions on Child Labour
• India has ratified two key ILO conventions on child labour concerning the elimination of child
labour, the Minimum Age Convention (No 138) and the Worst Forms of Child Labour
Convention (No 182).

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• India is the 170th ILO member state to ratify convention No 138 and 181st member to ratify
convention No. 182.
1. Minimum Age Convention
• The Convention concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment, is a Convention
adopted in 1973 by the International Labour Organization.
• It requires ratifying states to pursue a national policy designed to ensure the effective abolition of
child labour and to raise progressively the minimum age for admission to employment or work.
• Countries are free to specify a minimum age for labour, with a minimum of 15 years. A
declaration of 14 years is also possible when for a specified period of time.
• Laws may also permit light work for children aged 13–15 (not harming their health or school
work). The minimum age of 18 years is specified for work which “is likely to jeopardise the
health, safety or morals of young persons”.
• Definitions of the type of work and derogations are only possible after tripartite consultations (if
such a system exists in the ratifying country).
2. Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention
• The Convention concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the
Worst Forms of Child Labour, known in short as the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention,
was adopted by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in 1999.
• By ratifying this Convention, a country commits itself to taking immediate action to prohibit and
eliminate the worst forms of child labour.
• The ILO’s International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) is responsible
for assisting countries in this regard as well as monitoring compliance. One of the methods used
by IPEC to assist countries in this regard are Time-bound Programmes.
• The convention includes forms of child labour, which are predefined worst forms of child labour.
They are also sometimes referred to as automatic worst forms of child labour.
International Labour Organization (ILO)
• The ILO is a United Nations agency dealing with labour issues, particularly international labour
standards, social protection, and work opportunities for all.
• It was established in 1919 as an agency of the League of Nations and is headquartered in Geneva,
Switzerland.
• India is a founder member of the ILO. At present, it has 187 members.
• The principal means of action in the ILO is the setting up of International standards in the form
of Conventions, Recommendations and Protocol.
• So far India has ratified 45 Conventions, out of which 42 are in force. Out of these 4 are Core or
Fundamental or Conventions.

3.31 12th June: World Day Against Child Labour

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• The World Day against Child Labour, which is held every year on June 12, is intended to foster
the worldwide movement against child labour in any of its forms.
• 2017 theme: ‘In conflicts and disasters, protect children from child labour’.
• The International Labour Organization (ILO), the United Nations body which regulates the
world of work, launched the World Day against Child Labour in 2002 in order to bring attention
and join efforts to fight against child labour.

3.32 Skill councils have conflict of interests
• The Government may soon review the public report of Sharda Prasad committee that suggested
the challenges in vocational education and training system of the country and convergence,
synergy and rationalization of sector skill councils (SSCs).
• The committee has advised the skill development ministry to drastically reduce the number SSCs
from 40 to around 20 by merging identical sector councils and curtail their powers of assessment
of skill training centers.
• It is because these SSCs are overlapping in nature, and were unnecessarily floated without giving
proper thought, making it difficult to manage a large number of them.
SSCs
• Sector Skill Councils are set up as autonomous industry-led bodies by National Skill
Development Corporation (NSDC).
• They create Occupational Standards and Qualification bodies, develop competency framework,
conduct Train the Trainer Programs, conduct skill gap studies and Assess and Certify trainees on
the curriculum aligned to National Occupational Standards developed by them.
• Till date, the NSDC Board has approved proposals for 38 Sector Skill Councils. There are
approximately 450 Corporate Representatives in the Governing Councils of these SSCs.

3.33 EPFO e-court Management System launched
• EPFO e-court Management System is launched.
• The objective of this is a transparent and electronic case management system.
• All paper/evidence/documents can be filed online and the status can also be viewed online.

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4. NATIONAL

4.1 First-ever Induction Training Programme for new recruits of Central
Health Services (CHS)
• The first-ever induction training programme for the newly appointed General Duty Medical
Officers (GDMOs) of the Central Health Service Cadre was recently inaugurated.
• This is the first time such a foundation training programme is being undertaken.
• The nine week course especially designed for the new recruits will enable the medical officers to
broaden their knowledge base, confidence level and experience in public health facilities.
Need for training
• On an average, every year around 400 to 600 doctors are recruited through UPSC.
• Incidentally, throughout the under-graduate and post-graduate education and thereafter, these
doctors are not been trained in the areas of management, supervision, leadership,
communication, conduction of office procedures, etc.
• The training module is designed to fill this gap so that they can look after the administration of
the organization and implementation of various national health programmes for which they have
very limited exposure.
CHS
• Central Health Service (CHS) Cadre is a cadre governed by the Ministry of Health and Family
Welfare.
• Its doctors are working all over the country providing health care services to a large number of
people.
• CHS has four sub-cadres, namely, GDMOs, Teaching, Non-Teaching Specialists and Public
Health, with a sanctioned strength of more than 4000 of which the GDMOs constitute the
largest chunk, more than 2000.

4.2 Chenab to get tallest rail bridge
• Railways Ministry announced to build the world’s highest railway bridge over the Chenab river in
Jammu and Kashmir in around two years from now.
• This railway bridge is expected to be 35 metres taller than the Eiffel Tower of Paris.

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• The massive arch-shaped structure of bridge is already under constructed at a cost of around Rs
1100 crore in hostile terrain.
• Designed to withstand wind speeds of up to 260 km per hour, the bridge will connect Bakkal
(Katra) and Kauri (Srinagar).
• The bridge forms a crucial link in the 111-km stretch between Katra and Banihal, which is part of
the Udhampur- Srinagar-Baramulla rail link project.
• The bridge will be made of 63mm thick special blast-proof steel as the Jammu and Kashmir
region is prone to frequent terror attacks.
• There will also be a ropeway in the bridge for inspection purposes.
Slated to be completed by the year 2019, the bridge is expected to become a tourist attraction in the
region.

4.3 Ransomware: Alert sounded on malware
• The IT Ministry has reached out to key stakeholders like RBI, National Payments Corporation of
India, NIC and UIDAI (Aadhaar) to advise them to protect their systems against ‘WannaCry’
ransomware to ensure that the digital payments ecosystem in the country is protected.
• The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has also instructed cyber security unit
CERT-In to gather information of ‘WannaCry’ ransomware that has wreaked havoc across
sectors like healthcare and telecommunications in more than 100 countries.
Ransomware
• Ransomware is a type of malicious software when infected restricts the user access until a ransom
is paid to unlock it.
• Who is responsible for this attack?
• A cyber gang called Shadow Brokers, which is a mysterious organisation is held responsible for
this massive cyberattack.
What did they do?
• The organisation has carried out the attack by stealing a hacking tool called ‘Eternal Blue’ from
the National Security Agency (NSA), America’s powerful military intelligence unit. The hacking
tool Eternal Blue gives unprecedented access to all computers using Microsoft Windows. It was
developed by NSA to gain access to computers used by terrorists and enemy states.
Consequences of this cyber-attack
• The cyberattack has crippled many hospitals, schools and universities in Europe and Asia.
Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) is among badly affected.
• Other affected high profile victims are international shipper FedEx Corp, Spain’s
telecommunications company Telefonica, Portugal Telecom and Telefonica Argentina,
Germany’s railway operator Deutsche Bahn etc.
• According to Avast, the countries such as Russia, Ukraine and Taiwan are the top targets around
the world.

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• In India, Andhra Pradesh’s police computers have come under the cyberattack. Computers in 18
police units in Chittoor, Krishna, Guntur, Visakhatpatnam and Srikakulam districts have been
affected.

4.4 Panel to study free movement along Myanmar border
• The Union Home Ministry has constituted an expert committee to examine methods to curb the
misuse of free movement along the Myanmar border.
• The committee would be headed by Rina Mitra, Special Secretary-Internal Security.
• The committee will examine the present rules and regulations adopted by the border States for
implementation of free movement regime.
• The decision to constitute an MHA panel was taken at a meeting of chief ministers of the
northeastern states which share a border with Myanmar.
• This is for the first time that meeting with the state governments has been called to discuss
the issues concerning the Myanmar border.
Issue
• Indo-Myanmar border is unique in many ways as it has a visa-free movement regime for people
living within 16 kms on either side of the border.
• They can stay up to 72 hours with effective and valid permits issued by the designated authority
on either side.
• This regime has been in place keeping in view the traditional social ties among the border people.
• However, it is misused by militants and criminals who smuggle weapons, narcotics, contraband
goods and fake Indian currency notes (FICN).
• Taking advantage of the free-movement regime, occasionally they enter India, commit crimes and
escape to their relatively safer hideouts.
Note
• In the last few years, this is the second time a committee is being constituted to study the free
movement across the Myanmar border. In 2015, a high-level committee submitted its report.
• The report suggested changing the “misnomer” related to “free border movement” and asked the
government to replicate the model prevalent in villages and areas along the Bangladesh border.
• The report has suggested dedicated crossing points in border villages, where policemen would be
made in charge of regulating the movement of people.
• India’s 1,643-km border with Myanmar touches four states: Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland,
Manipur and Mizoram.

4.5 Buxa Tiger Reserve
• The Buxa Tiger Reserve is a 760-square-kilometre tiger reserve located inside the Buxa National
Park in West Bengal.

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• It is in news as Six tigers would be relocated to Buxa Tiger Reserve (BTR) in north Bengal from
neighbouring Assam as part of a plan for augmentation of tiger population in the reserve which
was approved by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
• The forest department had taken up tiger augmentation plan in Buxa-Jaldapara for which detailed
project report was prepared in consultation with Wildlife Institute of India and Global Tiger
Forum.
• The Buxa Tiger Reserve is situated in the Buxa Hills of the southern hilly area of Bhutan.
• Northern boundary of Buxa Tiger Reserve runs along the international border with Bhutan.
• The Sinchula hill range lies all along the northern side of BTR and the eastern boundary touches
that of the Assam state.
• It is the eastern most extension of extreme bio-diverse North-East India and represents highly
endemic Indo-Malayan region.
• The fragile “Terai Eco-System” constitutes a part of this reserve.
• The Phipsu Wildlife Sanctuary of Bhutan is contiguous to the north of BTR.
• Manas National Park lies on east of BTR. BTR, thus, serves as international corridor for Asian
elephant migration between India and Bhutan.

4.6 Bhitarkanika National Park
• Bhitarkanika National Park is located in Kendrapara district of Odisha in eastern India.
• It is in news as Bhitarkanika National Park authorities have imposed restrictions on entry of
tourists into the park for three months to provide undisturbed environment for breeding by
estuarine crocodiles.
• Bhitarkanika is one of the largest sanctuaries of crocodiles in the region with 1,671 reptiles.

4.7 Vidya-Veerta Abhiyan
• The Ministry of HRD has launched “Vidya, Veerta Abhiyan” to encourage varsities to display
portraits of Param Veer Chakra-decorated soldiers.
• Universities and educational institutions across country will soon have a “wall of heroes”,
depicting portraits of soldiers who showed extraordinary courage in defending the nation.
• The idea of having a wall of martyrs in universities was first proposed by a group of ex-
servicemen who said portraits of martyrs and tanks used in wars should be put on display in the
campus to instill sense of “nationalism” and “patriotism” among the students.

4.8 Scorpenes to gain in endurance
• The Navy is planning to install Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) modules on all six Scorpene
submarines to extend their endurance.

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• An AIP module is being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation
(DRDO).
What is Air-independent propulsion (AIP)?
• Air-independent propulsion (AIP) is any marine propulsion technology that allows a non-nuclear
submarine to operate without access to atmospheric oxygen (by surfacing or using a snorkel).
• AIP can augment or replace the diesel-electric propulsion system of non-nuclear vessels.
• It converts methanol-like substances to produce hydrogen, which is the fuel that runs the cell in
producing electricity.
• While diesel engines need oxygen to function, these cells are air independent.
Significance of AIP
• AIP is a breakthrough technology for conventional submarines, enabling them to remain
underwater three or four times a vessel’s standard capacity.
• Notably, a submarine is about stealth. It is a weapons platform not visible to the naked eye. AIP
significantly improves stealth because it enables a submarine to generate electricity for services
and battery charging and propulsion while completely submerged.
• They enable conventional diesel-electric submarines to remain submerged for two to three weeks
at a time.
• They generate electricity, powering a submarine’s to operate and also generate oxygen, lighting
and amenities for crew.
• The system also emits less noise, increasing its stealth – the most critical feature of a submarine.
Scorpene submarines
• The Scorpene submarines are designed to operate in all theatres, including the tropics.
They can undertake various types of missions like anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, mine
laying, intelligence gathering and surveillance.

4.9 May 11: National Technology Day
• National Technology Day is being observed across India on May 11 to mark India’s technological
advancements.
• 2017 National Technology Day Theme: ‘Technology for inclusive and sustainable growth’.
• The day is being commemorated to celebrate the anniversary of first of the five tests of
Operation Shakti (Pokhran-II) nuclear test, held on 11 May 1998 in Pokhran, Rajasthan.
• The operation was led by the former President APJ Abdul Kalam. After conducting two more
tests as a part of the Pokhran-II/Operation Shakti initiative, India was declared as a nuclear state
by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
• On this same day country’s first indigenous aircraft Hansa-3 was test flown at Bangalore.
• India also conducted successful test firing of the Trishul missile on the same day. The Trishul
missile was developed as a part of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme by the

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Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). The Trishul Missile got inducted by
the Indian Army and Indian Airforce.
• Considering all these technical achievements, 11 May was chosen to be commemorated as
National Technology Day.
• To commemorate this day, Technology Development Board (TDB) has instituted a National
Award. This award is conferred on to various individuals and industries by the President for their
successful achievement in commercialization of Indigenous Technology.

4.10 Rail regulator to define performance standards
• As per a resolution approved recently by the Railways Board, India’s first rail regulator, Rail
Development Authority (RDA), would not just look at tariff structures for passenger and freight
operations but also set standards of performance and efficiency that would be enforceable under
the Railways Act.

Functions and powers of RDA, as per resolution
• The resolution authorises RDA to define standards of performance and efficiency; such standards
would be notified as rules under the Railway Act to give a binding force upon acceptance.
• It will also be “authorised to check for deviations and suggest remedial measures.”
• The regulator will also provide guidance on quantity and quality of service provided to
passengers. These may include setting standards including hours of service, frequency of trains,
capacity per coach, cleanliness level, and quality of water, food, furnishing and linen.
• The regulator will, however, not involve itself in policy making of the Indian Railways, operations
and maintenance of the rail system, financial management, setting technical standards and
compliance of safety standards.
• The regulator would only make recommendations on tariff and not impose a tariff on the Indian
Railways.
RDA
• The Union Cabinet had approved setting up the rail regulator responsible for recommending
passenger fares, setting performance standards for rail operations and creating a level playing
policy for private sector participation.
• The RDA will be an independent body with separate budget. The independence is ensured
through separate budget, appointment and removal process.
• RDA will be based in Delhi with an initial corpus of Rs. 50 crore and will be set up through an
executive order.
• The RDA will act within the parameters of the Railway Act, 1989 and only make
recommendations to the Ministry which will take a final call on passenger and freight fares.
Composition of RDA

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• The Authority will have a Chairman and three members with a fixed term of five years and will be
allowed to engage experts from various fields.
• The Chairman and members of the Authority will be appointed by a Search and Selection
Committee headed by the Cabinet Secretary with members including the Railway Board
Chairman, Department of Personnel and Training Secretary and Chairman of any regulatory body
of the Central Government nominated by the Cabinet Secretary.

4.11 Northern Zonal Council meeting
• The 28th meeting of the Northern Zonal Council was recently held at Chandigarh under the
Chairmanship of Shri Rajnath Singh, Union Home Minister.
What was discussed?
• The Zonal Council discussed and deliberated upon 18 items of common interest among the
member states.
• The major items discussed were ‘Need for fiscal and infrastructural harmony in Northern States;
Joint efforts for export of fruits, flowers and vegetables from the States; Sharing of Water of
various rivers of the region and also hydropower among States.
Zonal Councils
• Zonal Councils are advisory councils and are made up of the states of India have been grouped
into six zones to foster cooperation among them. They are:
1. Northern Zonal Council
2. North-Central Zonal Council
3. North-Eastern Zonal Council
4. Eastern Zonal Council
5. Western Zonal Council
6. Southern Zonal Council
• Five Zonal Councils were set up vide Part-III of the States Reorganisation Act, 1956.
• The North Eastern States’ special problems are addressed by another statutory body – The North
Eastern Council, created by the North Eastern Council Act, 1971.
• The Zonal Councils are mandated to discuss and make recommendations on any matter of
common interest in the field of economic and social planning, border disputes, linguistic
minorities or inter-State transport etc.
• They are regional fora of cooperative endeavour for States linked with each other economically,
politically and culturally.
• Being compact high level bodies, specially meant for looking after the interests of respective
Zones, they are capable of focusing attention on specific issues taking into account regional
factors, while keeping the national perspective in view.

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• Northern Zonal Council consists of the States of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu &
Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan, National Capital Territory of Delhi and Union Territory of
Chandigarh.

4.12 No-fly list: Soon, unruly flyers could be grounded for up to 2 yrs
• The government plans to empower domestic airlines to ban unruly passengers for up to two
years.
• In this regard, the civil aviation ministry has released draft rules for a “national no-fly list” of
rowdy passengers — the first of its kind in the world — which allow an airline to bar an
individual from three months to a maximum of two years, depending on the nature of the
offence.
Three levels of disruptions:
The ministry has categorised “disruptions” by flyers into three levels:
• Level 1 is for disruptive behaviour like physical gestures.
• Level 2 is for physically abusive behaviour like pushing, kicking, and sexual harassment.
• Level 3 for life-threatening behaviour and damage to aircraft operating systems.
Actions against disruptions
• For offences under level 1, a passenger can be grounded for three months, while for level 2 and
level 3 offences, he or she can be banned for six months and two years, respectively.
Who can use these guidelines?
• International airlines, too, could use these guidelines if they wanted to. Airlines can ban a
passenger from flying immediately but that passenger won’t come on the national no-fly list
immediately.
In case of injustice to passenger
What happens when a passenger feels that he has been wrongly barred from flying?
• To address this issue, the government has proposed to form two redress committees — at the
airlines-level to be headed by a retired district judge, and at the national level with a retired high
court judge as its head.
• All such grievances will be addressed within 10 days.
International conventions related to unruly passenger issues:
• Criminal offences committed on-board international flights are governed by the Tokyo
Convention 1963 (the Tokyo Convention).
• However, the Tokyo Convention failed to provide a suitable deterrent to unruly passengers. This
rule had become outdated by the complex leasing agreements to which modern aircraft are
subject.
• To address the increase in unruly passenger issues, the global airline lobby group the International
Air Transport Association (IATA), conducted a detailed analysis of such incidents and, in 2009,

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made a formal request to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to review and
enhance the Tokyo Convention of 1963.
• In April 2014, the International Civil Aviation Organisation adopted an amendment to the Tokyo
Convention, known as the Montreal Protocol.
• IATA urged India to ratify the Montreal Protocol 2014, which deals with the safety of flights and
passengers.
• The Protocol requires the ratification, acceptance, approval or accession of 22 nations to take
effect. At present, there are 30 signatories and eight ratifications and accessions.
Montreal Protocol 2014
• Montreal Protocol 2014 makes several key improvements to the Tokyo Convention that
strengthen an airline’s position when addressing unruly passengers. These include:
• The Protocol notably extends the jurisdiction to try the unruly passenger from the state of aircraft
registration to also include the states in which the operator is located and that is the destination of
the flight (including a state to which a flight may be diverted).
• This will greatly facilitate the prosecution of unruly passengers upon disembarkation.
• It also clarifies what constitutes unruly behavior by simply requiring reasonable grounds to
believe that a serious offense has been committed. Such offenses include physical assault, or the
threat thereof, and failure to follow crew instructions.
• Importantly, Montreal Protocol 2014 expressly recognizes an airline’s right to seek compensation
for expenses caused by unruly behavior.

4.13 Indian Navy ships; INS Karwar and Kakinada decommissioned
• Indian Naval Ships Karwar and Kakinada were recently decommissioned.
• INS Karwar (M67), was the first of the ‘Natya’ class minesweepers acquired from the erstwhile
USSR. The ship operated from Vishakhapatnam till 2013 after which, the ship was based at
Mumbai. INS Karwar had her motto ‘Hamesha Tayyar’.
• INS Kakinada (M70), was the second of the same class. Like her sister ship, Kakinada also
operated from Vishakhapatnam till 2013 before shifting base port to Mumbai.
• With the decommissioning of the two minesweepers, the Navy is now left with a fleet of four
Soviet-origin minesweeping ships will also be decommissioned by the end of 2018.

4.14 Haryana House passes motion for separate HC
• Haryana Assembly has unanimously passed a resolution, urging the Parliament to effect an
appropriate amendment in the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966 to provide for the creation of a
separate High Court for the State in Chandigarh.
Why the Haryana Assembly needed for a separate HC?

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• While Haryana has completed 50 years of its existence as a separate state, a separate HC has still
not been provided for the state. This has led to delays in the disposal of cases due to heavy
workload in the common HC.
• Also, there are only 18 judges from Haryana against a total sanctioned strength of 85. There are
13 Judges from Haryana under direct quota drawn from advocates of the HC, against a
sanctioned strength of 23, leading to under-representation of the advocates from Haryana.

4.15 Florence Nightingale Awards
• The President of India Shri Pranab Mukherjee conferred the Florence Nightingale Awards to 35
nurses from across the country on the occasion of International Nurses Day.
• The Florence Nightingale awards are given to the outstanding nursing personnel employed in
Central, State/UTs.
• Nurses working in Government, Voluntary Organizations, Mission institutions and the private
institutions can apply with the due recommendation of concerned State Government.
• The Florence Nightingale Awards carries Rs.50,000/- cash, a certificate, a citation certificate and
a Medal.

4.16 Expedite work on Kishanganga Project: PMO directs power ministry
and J&K government
• Notwithstanding Pakistan’s challenge to Jammu and Kashmir’s 330 mw Kishanganga hydro-
electric project, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has directed the power ministry and the J&K
government to expedite work on the two major Kishanganga transmission lines that are to be
commissioned along with the first unit of the crucial project.
• Two transmission lines — the Kishanganga-Amargarh and the Amargarh-Wagoora lines — are to
be commissioned by the power ministry.
Dispute over Kishanganga project
• Pakistan has been consistently objecting to the Kishanganga hydro-electric project which is to be
completed by India in three units of 110MW each, the first of which is set to be commissioned in
the coming months.
• Last month, India had put on hold a World Bank-facilitated initiative for water secretary-level
talks with Pakistan in Washington, owing to differences of opinion on technical issues on the
Indus river hydro-projects like Kishanganga.
• In January, Pakistan had reportedly asked India to suspend the ongoing construction of the
Kishanganga project and asked the World Bank to set up a court of arbitration to mediate the
dispute over the Indus Waters Treaty between India and Pakistan.
Kishanganga Hydroelectric Plant

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• The Kishanganga Hydroelectric Plant is an $864 million dam which is part of a run-of-the-river
hydroelectric scheme that is designed to divert water from the Kishanganga River to a power
plant in the Jhelum River basin.
• It is located 5 km north of Bandipore in Jammu and Kashmir, India and will have an installed
capacity of 330 MW.
• Construction on the project began in 2007 and is expected to be complete in 2016.
• Construction on the dam was temporarily halted by the Hague’s Permanent Court of Arbitration
in October 2011 due to Pakistan’s protest of its effect on the flow of the Kishanganga River
(called the Neelum River in Pakistan).
• In February 2013, the Hague ruled that India could divert a minimum amount of water for power
generation.

4.17 Cabinet approves Vijayawada Airport as International Airport
• The Union Cabinet approved the declaration of Vijayawada Airport as International Airport, as
per the provisions of Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014.
• An airport is declared as an International airport depending upon its traffic potential and demand
from airline operators for the operation of international flights.
• The move will help enhance connectivity to the State capital. It will also expand the choice of
services for the air travellers and that too at competitive costs.
• This will encourage more international passengers to visit the city thereby, boosting domestic and
international tourism and the socio-economic development of Andhra Pradesh.

4.18 Army’s Super – 40 initiative
• It is a coaching initiative by the Army that has been training local children to take Engineering
Entrance Examination.
• The coaching is conducted at Srinagar by Army, its training partner Centre for Social
Responsibility & Learning (CSRL) and Petronet LNG.
• Army’s Super - 40 initiatives for coaching the J&K youth for Engineering Entrance Exams broke
all previous records when 26 boys and two girls from the state cracked the IIT-JEE Mains Exam
2017.

4.19 Army brings back CASO as part of counter-terror operations in Kashmir
• The Army has decided to reintroduce cordon and search operations (CASO) as a “permanent
feature” of its campaign against militants, nearly 15 years after the practice was abandoned.
• This feature will be majorly carried out in militancy-affected areas of South Kashmir.
Reason for the reintroduction

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• The major objective behind the reintroduction of combing operations is to bring the situation in
the Kashmir Valley under control.
• The recent decision to re-introduce CASO comes against the backdrop of the recent killing of
unarmed Kashmiri Army officer Lieutenant Ummer Fayaz in Shopian by militants.
• In 2001, CASO was discontinued following large-scale opposition from the locals. However, after
2001, the operation was launched only on specific intelligence-based inputs. Moreover, it was felt
that CASO had alienated the local population from the armed forces due to the various
difficulties people faced during such operations.
• Recently, the Army, security forces and police had also carried out a massive cordon and combing
operation in south Kashmir’s Shopian district following the recent militant attacks on policemen
and banking facilities. It was the first time in 15 years that the combing operation of this
magnitude involving 4,000 troops was conducted by the security forces.

4.20 Aerotropolis to come up in Assam
• The Union Ministry of Civil Aviation has proposed to build an aerotropolis in Assam, which
would bring huge benefits to the region in terms of civil aviation and air connectivity.
• An aerotropolis is an airport centric metropolitan hub where infrastructure and economy are all
based on the access to the airport which serves as a commercial point like any traditional
metropolis which contains a central city commercial core area and commuter-linked suburbs.

4.21 2,000-strong CoBRA force for Sukma
• The CRPF will soon deploy a fresh squad of about 2,000 commandos from its special guerrilla
warfare CoBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action) battalions in and around the
Sukma district of Chhattisgarh to defang the Maoists and their arsenal.
• The paramilitary has prepared a blueprint to mobilise at least 20 to 25 companies of the CoBRA
from their present locations in West Bengal, Bihar, Telangana and Madhya Pradesh to the Bastar
region that has some of the worst Maoist violence-hit districts.
• Sukma and its adjoining areas have witnessed some of the deadliest ambushes on security forces
recently like the one where 25 CRPF men were killed in the Burkapal area of the district on April
24.
CoBRA force
• COBRA (backronym for Commando Battalion for Resolute Action) is a specialised unit of the
Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) of India proficient in guerrilla tactics and jungle warfare.
• Originally established to counter the Naxalite problem, CoBRA is deployed to address any
insurgent group engaging in asymmetrical warfare.
• Currently numbering ten battalions, CoBRA is ranked among one of India’s more experienced
and successful law enforcement units.

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4.22 “Southern Sojourn” and “Southern Jewels”
• The Indian Railway PSU, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd (IRCTC) has
decided to start two new circuits of their flagship luxury train Maharajas’ Express, this year.
• These two new trips have been named as “Southern Sojourn” and “Southern Jewels” which will
cover prominent destinations in West and South India.
• The Southern Sojourn will cover Goa, Hampi, Mysore, Ernakulam, Kumarakom and
Trivandrum.
• The Southern Jewels will cover Chettinad, Mahabalipuram, Mysore, Hampi and Goa.

4.23 ‘Second-tallest’ flag post comes up in Kolhapur
• 300-foot flag post, said to be the country’s second-tallest, was recently inaugurated at Kolhapur in
western Maharashtra.
• Kolhapur Street Beautification Project (KSBP), a trust, has installed this flag post.
• The 360-foot flag post inaugurated on March 6 at Attari on Indo-Pak border is said to be the
tallest in the country.

4.24 79th Armour Day
• The Armoured Corps celebrated its ‘79th ARMOUR DAY’ on 01 May 17.
• The event commemorates the mechanization of the erstwhile Indian Cavalry on 01 May 1938,
when the SCINDE HORSE became the first Indian Cavalry Regiment to stable its horses and
convert to the Vickers Light Tank and Chevrolet Armoured Cars.
• Organized, equipped and trained to effectively accomplish assigned mission in all types of
conventional operations in varied terrain, the Armoured Corps also contributes substantially to
the Army’s counter insurgency effort with a large representation in the Rashtriya Rifles and
Assam Rifles.
• It has a standing Contingent in the UN Peace Keeping Mission in Lebanon as its representatives
amidst the blue beret fraternity.

4.25 MoU moots ties with Mauritius Parliament
• India and Mauritius signed a pact to institutionalise cooperation between the parliaments of the
two countries.
• The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan
and her counterparts.
• The relations between the two countries are based on centuries of cultural, linguistic, social and
spiritual links that transcend extraneous considerations.

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4.26 Rail Connectivity for Chardham Pilgrimage
• The Indian Railways is taking the significant step to commence the Final Location survey for a
single BG line rail connectivity for the Chardham Pilgrimage (Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath &
Kedarnath).
• It is a step towards the vision to link the Chardham pilgrimage centres through rail connectivity.
• Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL), a Public Sector Enterprise under Ministry of Railways has
been entrusted to undertake the Final Location Survey for rail connectivity to Chardham Yatra
via Dehradun & Karanprayag in the State of Uttarakhand.

4.27 Mobile App “Celebrating Yoga” Launched
• Minister for Science & Technology Dr. Harshvardhan has launched a Mobile App “Celebrating
Yoga”.
• The Mobile App has been developed by Department of Science & Technology, Ministry of
Science & Technology on the occasion of International Yoga Day 2017.
• The aim of the app is to popularise Yoga and encourage people to practice yoga for a
scientifically healthy living.
• The information gathered by the mobile app will be shared with the Ministry of AYUSH to
complement its efforts.
• In 2015, the Department of Science & Technology (DST) had also launched a research
programme “Science and Technology of Yoga and Meditation (SATYAM)” under its Cognitive
Science Research Initiative (CSRI).

4.28 Flash mobs, mascots to create awareness about yoga
• The Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy (CCRYN) has launched a yoga
awareness drive through mascots and flash mobs in the run-up to International Day for Yoga
which is celebrated every year June 21.
• The mascots will connect with people by providing added entertainment and interactivity,
especially at malls, public places and recreational tourist areas.
• Flash mobs of ‘Yoga Dance’ called YogMob are also being organised at public places.

4.29 Facebook Launches Express Wi-Fi in India
• Facebook launched Express Wi-Fi commercially in India.
• The Express Bill service will now be available via 700 hotspots across four states- Uttarakhand,
Gujarat, Rajasthan and Meghalaya.
• For the purpose of launching Express WiFi in India, Facebook tied-up with Bharti Airtel for
setting up an additional 20000 hotspots covering millions of Indians.

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• The commercial roll out of Express WiFi comes a year after Facebook pulled off the ‘Free Basics’
programme that drew severe criticism from advocates of net neutrality.
What is Express Wi-Fi?
• Express Wi-Fi is a part of Facebook’s global initiative to expand internet connectivity.
• Apart from India, Express Wi-Fi services are currently active in Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, and
Tanzania.
• It will complement mobile data offerings by providing a low-cost, high bandwidth service
allowing users to get online for accessing apps, downloading contents amongst other things at
affordable rates.
• Anyone will be able to access the Express Wi-Fi network by signing up with an Express Wi-Fi
retailer and purchasing a daily, weekly or monthly data pack.
• They will then be allowed to browse by connecting to the Express Wi-Fi hotspot.
• Unlike Free Basics that provided access to selected websites for free, Express Wi-Fi works on a
paid model and the access will not be restricted to any particular websites.

4.30 We Wear Culture’ project
• Working with 183 renowned cultural institutions from around the world, including India,
Google’s project ‘We Wear Culture’ lets people explore the history of clothes dating as early as
3,000 years ago from the ancient Silk Road, to the courtly fashion of Versailles, to the unmatched
elegance of the Indian Saree.
• The online project includes collections from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya
(CSMVS) and varied weaves from across India, from Gharchola to Patola to Temple to Ikat
sarees, as it traces the story and importance of Indian textiles from ancient sculptures.
• The world fashion exhibit also showcases designs from north-eastern India including the weaves
of tribes such as the Nagas, Meitis and the traditional attire from Meghalaya called ‘Dhara’ or
‘Nara’ worn by the Khasi women.

4.31 Bhishtis- the traditional water carriers
• Bhishtis are in news as they are fast vanishing from the streets of India’s capital city of Delhi.
• They are a Muslim tribe or biradari found in North India, Pakistan and the Terai region of Nepal.
• They are also known as (Shaikh Abbasi) Dhund Abbasi and Saqqa.
• In Maharashtra, the tribe is often referred to as Pakhali.
• Bhishtis are the traditional water carriers. They have been supplying businesses, pilgrims and
passersbys with swigs from their swollen canteens since the Mughals ruled India, an era before
piped water sounded the death knell for their trade.

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4.32 Darbar Move
• Leaders in Jammu and Kashmir have floated the idea of abrogation of the 146-year-old Dogra-era
practice of ‘Darbar Move’.
• Under this the State’s civil secretariat shuttles between summer capital Srinagar and winter capital
Jammu bi-annually. It was introduced by Maharaja Gulab Singh in 1872.
• Terming this as a costly affair, leaders have asked for bifurcation of the offices.
• Every year, over 7,000 employees of the civil secretariat shuttle between Srinagar and Jammu
along with the files, which are ferried in buses and tracks. It costs the State over ₹40 crore.

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5. INDIA AND WORLD

5.1 Netherlands backs UNSC, NSG bids
• The Netherlands has backed India’s early entry into the NSG and other multilateral export
control regimes like Wassenaar Arrangement and the Australia Group, and supported the
country’s bid for a permanent UN Security Council seat.
• The Netherlands’ support came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks with his Dutch
counterpart, Mark Rutte.
Why India needs permanent membership?
• India is currently engaged in nuclear trade with international partners based on a waiver from the
NSG in 2008.
• The waiver is in the form of a concession without according India the status of a full member and
therefore has an element of unpredictability and attendant risks in the long run for India’s long-
term nuclear power programme.
• The NSG took a consensus decision in September 2008 to permit its members to engage in civil
nuclear cooperation with India despite India not being a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty (NPT).
• Since then, India has been trying to upgrade the “waiver” into a full member status.
Benefits of full membership
• Full membership of the NSG would enable India to have enhanced and predictable global access
to nuclear technology, fuel, materials and components required for our expanding civil nuclear
programme.
• It would advance energy security, contribute to India’s growth strategy based on clean energy to
combat climate change, and strengthen global nuclear non-proliferation.
• The NSG will take up India’s membership issue at its next plenary session in June 2017.
NSG
• Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is a multinational body concerned with reducing nuclear
proliferation by controlling the export and re-transfer of materials that may be applicable to
nuclear weapon development and by improving safeguards and protection on existing materials.
• The NSG was founded in response to the Indian nuclear test in May 1974 to stop what it called
the misuse of nuclear material meant for peaceful purposes.
Currently, it has 48 members and European Commission is its Permanent Observer.

5.2 29th India–Indonesia CORPAT
• The 29th India–Indonesia CORPAT has commenced at Port Blair under the aegis of Andaman
and Nicobar Command.

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• It will demonstrate India’s commitment to its ties with Indonesia and to maritime security in
Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
• The two navies have been carrying out Coordinated Patrols (CORPAT) on respective sides of the
International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) twice a year since 2002.
• The main aim of CORPAT is to keep the vital part of the Indian Ocean Region safe and secure
for commercial shipping, international trade and legitimate marine activities.

5.3 India-Cyprus signed four agreements to boost the bilateral relations
• India and Cyprus signed four agreements to boost the bilateral relationship between the two
countries.
• In addition to the four-agreements, the two nations also released a Joint Statement titled India-
Cyprus Joint Statement.
• The agreements/MoUs were inked during the state visit of President of Cyprus Nicos
Anastasiades to India.
• The signed agreements include:
1. Executive Programme on Culture Education and Scientific Cooperation (EPCEC) for the year
2017-2020
2. Work Plan under programme of Cooperation in the field of Agriculture for 2017- 18
3. Merchant Shipping Agreement
4. Air Services Agreement

5.4 India, UNOSSC launch partnership fund to promote sustainable
development
• India and the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) on 8 June 2017
launched a partnership fund to support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) across the
developing world.
India-UN Development Partnership Fund
• The India-UN Development Partnership Fund will implement country-level projects that are
catalytic towards achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda.
• The initiative is aimed at reducing poverty and hunger, improving health, education and equality,
and expanding access to clean water, energy and livelihoods.
• The fund will focus on Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States
(SIDS).
• Initially, the fund will start with an initial contribution of USD 1 million for its first project
Climate Early Warning System in Pacific Island Countries (CEWSPIC).
• CEWSPIC Project was formulated by India and the UN Development Programme in
consultation with the governments of Cook Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia,

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Nauru, Solomon Islands and Tonga. The project will increase resilience to natural disasters in
these seven Pacific island countries.
UNOSSC
• UNOSSC The United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) was established
with an objective to promote, coordinate and support South-South and triangular cooperation
across the world and within the United Nations system.
• UNOSSC has its genesis in 1974 when the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the
establishment of a special unit to promote technical cooperation among developing countries
within the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
• In 2012, the special unit was given the name United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation
(UNOSSC) by the General Assembly through a resolution.
• UNOSSC receives policy directives and guidance from the General Assembly and through its
subsidiary body, the High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation.
• UNOSSC submits its strategic planning frameworks to the UNDP, UNFPA and UNOPS
Executive Board for approval and funding.
• The Director reports to the UNDP Administrator and has also been appointed Envoy of the
Secretary-General on South-South Cooperation.

5.5 India, Netherlands sign 3 agreements
• During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s latest visit to Netherlands, both nations have signed
three MOUs.
• This year, the two countries are celebrating 70 years of the establishment of Indo-Dutch
diplomatic relations.
Three agreements include
• MOU on Cultural Cooperation,
• MOU on Water Cooperation
• Agreement on Amending Social Security Arrangement
India- Netherlands bilateral relations
• Indo-Dutch contacts go back to more than 400 years. Official relations, which were established in
1947, have been cordial and friendly.
• The two countries also share common ideals of democracy, pluralism and the rule of law.
• India’s economic growth, its large market, its pool of knowledge workers are of interest to the
Netherlands.
• The main plank of the bilateral ties has been the strong economic and commercial relations.
• Since the early 1980s, the Dutch Government has identified India as an important economic
partner. The bilateral relations underwent further intensification after India’s economic
liberalization in the early 1990s.

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• The Netherlands has the second largest population of people of Indian origin in Europe,
next only to the UK.
• A 225,000-strong Indian Diaspora (200,000 Surinami-Hindustani community and 25,000
NRIs/PIOs) is an important element that helps foster closer ties with the Netherlands.
• Water is a prime sector for cooperation between the two countries. During talks Modi referred to
a joint water technology initiative, Dutch Indian Water Alliance for Leadership Initiative
(DIWALI).
• Irrigation and water conservation are the areas where the two countries can boost cooperation.
• Netherlands is the 5th largest investment partner globally and in the last three years it has
emerged as the 3rd largest source of FDI for the country.
• Europe is India’s biggest trading partner and 20 per cent of India’s export to Europe enters
through the Netherlands.
• Both the countries have the potential to further collaborate in areas like water management;
infrastructure, logistics, ports, highways; inland water transportation; ICT; biotech; agriculture,
agro-processing, floriculture; creative design industry etc.

5.6 India to Skip OBOR summit in China
• Taking its protest over the China’s controversial China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC),
India boycotted China’s high-profile Belt and Road (B&R) Forum.
Why?
• India skipped the meeting due to its sovereignty concerns over the USD 50 billion CPEC, which
passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
India’s concerns
• China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is a 3000 km project connecting Pakistan’s
deep-water port Gwadar and China’s Xinjiang falls under the OBOR initiative of China. The
CPEC passes through Gilgit-Baltistan region of the Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir.
• The Chinese presence in the disputed region has raised sovereignty concerns for India.
• The Gwadar Port offers China to have its naval presence in the Arabian Sea and to the Indian
Ocean. Already, China has plans to station its marines in Djibouti in Horn of Africa in Indian
Ocean.
• The other projects under the OBOR in South and South East Asia also have security implications
for India.
• Unlike India, none of the other countries have sovereignty related issues with OBOR initiative.
Apart from India, Bhutan will not participate in the forum as it has no diplomatic relations with
China.

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5.7 Curious case of dip, rise in Indian seas
• A team of scientists have found decadal variations in temperatures of North Indian Ocean
waters.
• The NIO consists of the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal and part of the Indian Ocean up till the
5°S latitude.
Highlights of the study
• From 1993 to 2003 — the first decade when satellites started to consistently track the rise and fall
of ocean heights and global temperatures soared — the North Indian Ocean (NIO) sea levels fell.
• After 2004, sea levels began an unprecedented, accelerated spike till 2014.
• This rise and fall was even as global temperatures steadily climbed and registered their largest
two-decadal jump in more than a century.
• Such a “decadal swing” in the North Indian Ocean was unique and never observed in either the
Pacific or Atlantic oceans.
• Wind flows, which welled warm water on the Indian Ocean surface, changed directions every
decade and probably influenced sea level patterns. It could be that coming decades — in spite of
rapid, rising temperatures — will see a fall in sea levels but that’s still hypothetical.
Reasons for rise in sea level temperatures in NIO
• Sea levels primarily rise due to water expanding from atmospheric heat and, more water being
added from, for instance, melting ice sheets and glaciers. In this case, 70% of the NIO’s warming
could be explained by expansion.
• Unlike the Pacific and Atlantic, the NIO is hemmed in all sides, except for an outlet on the
southern side. This influenced the rate at which heat was absorbed and flushed out from within
the system.
• This inter-decadal trend is an extremely important factor and underlines why we need to plan
coastal management better.

5.8 Buddha Purnima/Vesak
• Vesak (Buddha Purnima, Buddha Jayanti) is a Buddhist festival that marks Gautama Buddha’s
birth, enlightenment and death.
• It falls on the day of the full moon in May. Interestingly, Buddha Purnima, celebrated in May
every year, is even more special because the Buddha’s enlightenment and mahaparinirvan also
happened during the Purnima in the month of May.
• May 10, 2017 marks the 2561st Buddha Jayanti, the birthday of the Buddha, and Buddha
Purnima.
• The United Nations has declared it an international holiday.

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• To mark the day that is also known as Vesak, in some countries such as Vietnam, China and
Japan the Buddha’s idol is bathed in water and flowers. It is more like an abhishekam popular in
India.
• On this day, monks, or the Buddha’s disciples, from Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Thailand and other
countries gather to discuss world peace.
Bodh Gaya is the place where Gautama Buddha obtained the Enlightenment after many years of
Tapa, Sarnath is the place where he first taught the Dharma, Lumbini is his birth place and
Kushinagar is death place.

5.9 AUSINDEX-17
• Navies of India and Australia will participate in bilateral maritime exercise AUSINDEX-17 this
week with an aim to enhancing interoperability and cooperation between the two forces.
• Indian naval ships Jyoti, Shivalik and Kamorta are on a port visit to Freemantle, Australia from
June 13 to 17 and will join the exercise.
• This would be the second edition of the exercise with the maiden one having been conducted at
Visakhapatnam in 2015.
• The exercise is aimed at increasing interoperability and is in consonance with the growing
cooperation between the two countries.
• In April this year, Australian Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull visited India and held bilateral
talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to enhance the partnership between the two countries.
In May this year, Singapore and India held a maritime bilateral exercise SIMBEX in the disputed
South China Sea.

5.10 Xi evokes Panchsheel as India skips meet
• Despite India’s decision to skip the two-day Belt and Road Forum (BRF), the once special
relationship between New Delhi and Beijing echoed during the opening session of the conclave.
• Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed five principles of peaceful co-existence or Panchsheel —
the brainchild of China, India and Myanmar in the 1950s — as the mantra for advancing the Belt
and Road Initiative (B&RI), and as a vehicle for achieving sustainable globalisation.
Background
• India’s had decided to boycott the BRF, as a mark of protest against the infringement of its
sovereignty by the China- Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that passes through Pakistan-
occupied Kashmir (PoK).
• India’s decision to stay away has raised eyebrows here, as other countries such as Japan and
Vietnam, which have serious maritime disputes with China, have sent high-level official
delegations, to the BRF.
Panchsheel

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• The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, known in Nepal and India as the Panchsheel Treaty,
are a series of principles which formed the bedrock of the relationship between India and the
People’s Republic of China.
• Their first formal codification in treaty form was in an agreement between China and India in
1954.
• They were enunciated in the preamble to the “Agreement (with exchange of notes) on trade and
intercourse between Tibet Region of China and India”, which was signed in Peking on 29 April
1954.
• An underlying assumption of the Five Principles was that newly independent states after
decolonization would be able to develop a new and more principled approach to international
relations.
• This agreement stated the five principles as:
1. Mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
2. Mutual non-aggression.
3. Mutual non-interference in each other’s internal affairs.
4. Equality and cooperation for mutual benefit.
5. Peaceful co-existence.

5.11 Project “LOcal Treatment of Urban Sewage Streams for Healthy Reuse)
(LOTUS HR)
• Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and NWO, the Netherlands Science Agency have
announced a joint call for proposals for cleaning the Barapullah drain.
• Accordingly, work has begun on Cleaning the Barapullah Drain in New Delhi under the Project
“Local Treatment of Urban Sewage Streams for Healthy Reuse (LOTUS HR).
LOTUS HR
• The project Local Treatment of Urban Sewage Streams for Healthy Reuse (LOTUS HR) is an
Indo-Netherlands joint project funded by Department of Biotechnology(DBT), Govt of India
and NWO/STW, The Govt of Netherlands.
• The project has stakeholders from both Academia and Industry from India and Netherlands.
• It is coordinated by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi with participation of The Energy
and Resources Institute (TERI), New Delhi and National Environment Research Institute,
Nagpur from India while Technical University Delft is coordinating it from The Netherlands,
with participation of Environmental Engineering and Water Technology Department, UNESCO,
Wageningen University and its Aquatic Ecology Department.
• There is also commitment from industry, especially from The Netherlands, in terms of both cash
and kind towards the project.

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• The project aims to demonstrate a novel holistic (waste-) water management approach, that will
produce clean water that can be reused for various proposes (e.g. industry, agriculture,
construction etc.), while simultaneously recovering nutrients and energy from the urban waste
water, thus converting drain into profitable mines. Special attention will be paid to pathogen
removal and removing conventional and emerging pollutants.
• The project will develop an innovative pilot scale plant, suitable to cope with Indian conditions in
a location specific manner.
• The final design of the pilot plant will be scalable and modular, to fit into the highly populated
urban terrain.

5.12 India wins stay at International Court of Justice in Kulbhushan Jadhav
case
• India has received a stay order preventing Pakistan from executing the death sentence awarded to
the former naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav from the International Court of Justice at The
Hague.
• India’s team of lawyers led by senior advocate Harish Salve accused Pakistan of gross violations
of international laws.
• They also pointed out the violations of the Geneva convention that deals with Consular relations.
• Pakistan had denied consular access to India despite 15 attempts. It also refused to give any
details of Jadhav’s arrest and trial until the death sentence was passed.
• India has rarely approached the ICJ especially when it comes to Pakistan. India is always
hesitatant to “internationalise” its bilateral relations. But given the nature of Jadhav’s case in
which Pakistan refused to follow any established principle India was forced to take the extreme
measure of taking the case to the ICJ.
International Court of Justice
• The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations
(UN).
• It was established in June 1945 by the Charter of the United Nations and began work in April
1946.
• The seat of the Court is at the Peace Palace in The Hague (Netherlands).
• Of the six principal organs of the United Nations, it is the only one not located in New York
(United States of America).
• Its official languages are English and French.
Composition
• The Court is composed of 15 judges, who are elected for terms of office of nine years by the
United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council. It is assisted by a Registry, its
administrative organ.

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Role of the court
• The Court’s role is to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by
States and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorized United
Nations organs and specialized agencies.
Jurisdiction
• As stated in the UN Charter, all 193 UN members are automatically parties to the Court’s statute.
Non-UN members may also become parties to the Court’s statute.
• Once a state is a party to the Court’s statute, it is entitled to participate in cases before the Court.
• However, being a party to the statute does not automatically give the Court jurisdiction over
disputes involving those parties.
Nature of judgements
Its judgments have binding force and are without appeal for the parties concerned.

5.13 Centre to raise with U.S. non-tariff barriers
• India is planning to take up with the Trump administration the “barriers” imposed by the U.S.,
which are hurting Indian goods exports to that country in sectors including agriculture,
pharmaceuticals and other industrial products.
What are the U.S. “non-tariff/Sanitary & Phyto-Sanitary (SPS) barriers”?
• The U.S. “non-tariff/Sanitary & Phyto-Sanitary (SPS) barriers” include those imposed under laws
concerning bio-terrorism, child-labour, national security, ‘Buy America’ norms preferring U.S.-
made items and American suppliers in U.S. Government purchases, registration fee hikes (in
sectors such as pharma), food safety as well as animal and plant health regulations.
Why India is opposing?
• The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has “arbitrarily” listed 23 items produced in India on the
‘List of Goods Produced by Child Labour or Forced Labour’ — which is in effect a ban on their
import. Indian industry is worried as the reports that the DOL relies upon are “not always
accurate.”
• The U.S. Government measures envisaged within an initiative to counter potential terrorist
threats to the international maritime container trade system. This included X-ray scanning of
containers exported to U.S., a measure that would cause additional costs for Indian exporters
across sectors.
• In addition, a law (the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 of the U.S.) allows American manufacturers
to petition for curbing imports from third nations on national security grounds without providing
proof from industry. This is a major Non-Tariff Barrier (NTB) of the U.S. affecting Indian
exports across sectors as the law — allowing invocation of ‘national security exceptions’ without
having to apply any detailed criteria — in effect restricts foreign competition.
Way ahead
• India will raise this issue soon after the new U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) takes charge.

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• This issue would also be on the agenda of the next India-U.S. Trade Policy Forum (TPF) — the
main bilateral platform for discussing and resolving trade and investment issues. The date for the
next TPF meeting will be fixed after the new USTR assumes office.

5.14 Cabinet approves cooperation between Indian and Japan on Railway
Safety
• The Union Cabinet, presided by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave its ex-post facto
approval to the signing the Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) with Japan on Railway Safety.
• The MoC was signed in February 2017.
• The MoC also provide a platform for Indian Railways to interact and share the latest
development and knowledge in the railway sector.
Highlights of the MoC
• Track Safety
• Latest technology related to railway track safety
• Rolling stock safety
• Any other relevant railway safety matter jointly determined by both the sides within the scope of
the MoC with consideration for major railway accident preventions based on the analysis of
accident causes.
1. Cooperation under the MoC will involve: Dispatch of experts
2. Training of core staff in Japan
3. Sharing of information and best practices
• Facilitating the participation of other institutions, organization and ministries, including
contribution of National Traffic Safety and Environmental Laboratory of Japan to Research
Design and Standards Organisation, Ministry of Railway, Government of India (RDSO), subject
to their respective national laws and regulations where appropriate and possible.

5.15 Dragon's shadow on the Chicken neck
With the Dragon breathing down land locked Sikkim's neck and unrest in the Hills of North
Bengal, it is double trouble for India. Both the problems have cast a long shadow on the Chicken
neck - a thin strip of land of immense strategic importance connecting the North Eastern states with
the rest of India.
On the Sikkim front it all started in June with China expanding a road in the territory known
as the Dokolam plateau - a tri-junction between India, Bhutan and China bordering Sikkim near the
Nathula pass (14400 ft) region. While India calls this 89 sq km pasture land- Dokola, Bhutan refers
to it as Dokolam and China as Donglang. China already has a road near Dokola and is trying to
extend it southward towards Gamochen which is controlled by Indian troops. Interestingly
Gamochen is the area from where the Jampheri ridge starts. Located at an elevation it is a very
important strategic vantage point for the Indian Army.

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China has used an 1890 treaty between Chinese
Qing dynasty of British colonial leaders of India to
justify its claim over Doklam. The treaty was
formalised between Britain and Chinese kingdom.
Ironically, it is being used by China to alter its
boundary with Bhutan, which was not a signatory to
the 127-year-old treaty. Tibet also did not sign the
treaty. Britain officially negotiated on behalf of both
India and the kingdom of Sikkim.
China has used 1890 treaty to justify its claim on
Doklam tri-boundary referring to specifically
mentioned Gipmochi which is same as Gyemochen.
China says that Gyemochen is an established tri-
boundary under the Sikkim-Tibet Convention.
But, Bhutan and India don't agree. Bhutan was the
first to lodge protest against Chinese construction
activities in Doklam tri-boundary area. It objected to
road construction by China saying that Doklam
belonged to China.
India, under its security arrangement with Bhutan
stopped Chinese advance in the area and asked last
month the People's Liberation Army of China to hold
construction of road there.

Boundary talks are ongoing between Bhutan and China. The release claims that Bhutan has written
agreements of 1988 and 1998 stating that the two sides (Bhutan and China) agree to maintain peace
and tranquility in their border areas pending a final settlement on the boundary question, and to
maintain status quo on the boundary as before March 1959. The agreements also state that the two
sides will refrain from taking unilateral action, or use of force, to change the status quo of the
boundary.
India supporting Bhutan's stand asked China to halt all construction work. Chinese troops
instead told India to remove two bunkers that were set up in 2012 at Lalten in the Dokolam region.
On June 6 night the Indian bunkers were destroyed by Chinese Bulldozers. A standoff ensued with
troop buildup by both the Peoples' Liberation Army and Indian Army. Conditions still remain the
same with tension mounting. While the two armies are on eyeball to eyeball contact, China has
resorted to sabre-rattling.
Rejecting Bhutan's claims, China has stated that the Dokolam area has always been a traditional
pasture for Chinese cattle grazers over which it has always exercised complete control.

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The Dragon has preferred to play the Sikkim and Bhutan card to mount pressure on India.
The Chinese official media has given a call for Sikkim's independence and separation from India.
The state-controlled media has asked Chinese citizens to spark pro-independence movements in

Sikkim thereby reversing India's "brutal" annexation of the state. Sikkim was an independent
kingdom until it merged with India in 1975 following a decisive referendum. Interestingly China also
recognizes Sikkim as an Indian state since 2003. The Chinese media has further suggested that China
should build up a global consensus for the abolition of unfair treaties of sovereignty and defense
that India has allegedly forced Bhutan to sign.
The state of Sikkim borders China in the north and east; Bhutan in the east; Nepal in the west and
the state of West Bengal in the South. It shares a 220 km border with China; 32 km border with
Bhutan. The region is also in close proximity to the Chicken neck.
Nathu La pass
• Nathu La is a mountain pass in the Himalayas.
• It connects the Indian state of Sikkim with China’s Tibet Autonomous Region.
• The pass forms a part of an offshoot of the ancient Silk Road.

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• On the Indian side, the pass is 54 km east of Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim. Only citizens of
India can visit the pass, and then only after obtaining a permit in Gangtok.
• Nathu La is one of the three open trading border posts between China and India; the others are
Shipkila in Himachal Pradesh and Lipulekh (or Lipulech) at the trisection point of Uttarakhand–
India, Nepal and China.
• Sealed by India after the 1962 Sino-Indian War, Nathu La was re-opened in 2006 following
numerous bilateral trade agreements.
• The opening of the pass shortens the travel distance to important Hindu and Buddhist pilgrimage
sites in the region and was expected to bolster the economy of the region by playing a key role in
the growing Sino-Indian trade. However, trade is limited to specific types of goods and to specific
days of the week.
• It is also one of the four officially agreed BPM (Border Personnel Meeting) points between the
Indian Army and People’s Liberation Army of China for regular consultations and interactions
between the two armies, which helps in defusing stand-offs.
The four BPM are:
1. Chushul in Ladakh,
2. Nathu La in Sikkim,
3. Bum La Pass in Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh, and
4. Lipulekh Pass in Uttarakhand.
China’s hidden objectives
The area of scuffle is close to Indian chicken neck region i.e.Siliguri corridor and therefore is
strategically very important and China knows India would never compromise with its security.As a
Belt One Road (OBOR) project.OBOR summit was recently held in May and India had boycotted
it. Without India’s support success of OBOR can’t be assured.

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5.16 India to be Co-Partner Country in ANUGA 2017
• India has signed the Memorandum of Understanding for Participation in the ANUGA Exhibition
with Ms Katharina C Hamma, Chief Operating Officer, Koelnmesse GmBH (Organizers of
ANUGA).
ANUGA
• ANUGA – an acronym for Allgemeine Nahrungs Und Genußmittel Ausstellung (General
Food and Non- essential Provisions Exhibition) is the world’s biggest and most important
trade fair for Food and beverage trade.
• It takes place every 2 years.
• ANUGA 2017 is the 34th edition.
• ANUGA offers an extensive supporting programme with Lectures, Special exhibition and
attractive industry events
• ANUGA is the leading export platform with 7,189 exhibitors from 109 countries with over 85%
of Exhibitors from abroad.
• 1, 60, 000 decision makers from the retail and out-of-home market from 192 countries visited
during last ANUGA. 66% of the industry visitors are foreigners.

5.17 India unanimously elected to head UN-Habitat
• India has been unanimously elected as the President of the UN-Habitat, an organ of the United
Nations’ Organisation (UNO) that promotes socially and environmentally sustainable human
settlements across the world, after 10 years.
• India has been elected as the President of UN-Habitat after a gap of 10 years.
• This is only the third time that India has been elected as the President of UN-Habitat after 2007
and 1988. The UN-Habitat was established in 1978.
• India will be represented by the Union Minister of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation.
• Currently, the minister will chair the ongoing meeting of the 58 member Governing Council of
UN-Habitat in Nairobi, Kenya.
• The theme of the meeting is “Opportunities for effective implementation of the New Urban
Agenda”
New Urban Agenda
• The New Urban Agenda which was adopted by the world community at Quito, Ecuador would
focus on inclusive, sustainable and adequate housing for a better future and sustainable
urbanization and integrated human settlements.
UN-Habitat

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• UN-Habitat, also known as United Nations Human Settlements Program is a UN agency
responsible for sustainable urban development and human settlements.
• It was established in 1978 and has its headquarters in the UN Office at Nairobi, Kenya.
• UN-Habitat reports to the United Nations General Assembly.
• It is also a member of UNDP.
• The twin goals of the Habitat Agenda are adequate shelter for all and the development of
sustainable human settlements in an urbanizing world.
• The Governing Council of UN-Habitat is an inter-governmental policy making and decision
making body that aims to promote integral and comprehensive approach to human settlements,
assist the countries and regions in addressing human settlement problems and strengthen
cooperation among countries over the issue of human settlement.
Mandate
• It is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally
sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all.
• The mandate of UN-Habitat derives from the Habitat Agenda, adopted by the United Nations
Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) in Istanbul, Turkey, in 1996.
• The mandate of UN-Habitat is further derived from other internationally agreed development
goals, including those contained in the United Nations Millennium Declaration, in particular
1. The target on achieving a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum-
dwellers by the year 2020; and
2. The target on water and sanitation of the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on
Sustainable Development, which seeks to halve, by the year 2015, the proportion of people
without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.
• Member States committed themselves to continue working towards cities without slums, beyond
current targets, by reducing slum populations and improving the lives of slum-dwellers.
Focus area
• UN-Habitat works in more than 70 countries in five continents focusing on seven areas:
1. Urban Legislation, Land and Governance;
2. Urban Planning and Design;
3. Urban Economy;
4. Urban Basic Services;
5. Housing and Slum Upgrading;
6. Risk Reduction and Rehabilitation;
7. Urban Research and Capacity Development.

5.18 India top remittance-receiving country in 2016: UN report

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• As per a United Nations report titled ‘Sending Money Home: Contributing to the SDGs, one
family at a time’, Indians working across the globe sent home USD 62.7 billion in the year 2016,
making India the top remittance-receiving country.
• The study was conducted by the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development
(IFAD).
• The study is the first-ever of a 10-year trend in migration and remittance flows over the period
2007-2016.
Highlights of the report
Global scenario
• About 200 million migrants globally sent more than $445 million in 2016 as remittances to their
families, helping to lift millions out of poverty.
• Remittance flows have grown over the last decade at a rate averaging 4.2 per cent annually, from
$296 billion in 2007 to $445 billion in 2016.
• 80% of remittances are received by 23 countries, led by India, China, the Philippines, Mexico and
Pakistan.
• The top 10 sending countries account for almost half of annual flows, led by the US, Saudi
Arabia and Russia.
• Asia is the highest originating region with 77 million migrants; with 48 million remaining within
the region.
• Over the past decade, remittances to Asia and the Pacific increased by 87 per cent, reaching $244
billion, while migration grew by only 33% in comparison.
• Asia remains the main remittance-receiving region, with 55% of the global flows and 41% of total
migrants.
• It is projected that an estimated $6.5 trillion in remittances will be sent to low and middle-income
countries between 2015 and 2030.
Indian scenario
• India was the top receiving country for remittances in 2016 at $62.7 billion, followed by China
($61 billion), the Philippines ($30 billion) and Pakistan ($20 billion).
• In 2007, India was on the second spot, behind China, with $37.2 billion in remittances as
compared to $38.4 billion for China.
• In the decade between 2007 and 2016, India surpassed China to become the top receiving
country for remittances.
Importance of remittances
• Migration flows and remittances are having large-scale impacts on the global economy and
political landscape.
• Total migrant earnings are estimated at $3 trillion annually, approximately 85 per cent of which
remains in the host countries.

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• The money sent home averages less than one per cent of their host’s GDP. Taken together, these
individual remittances account for more than three times the combined official development
assistance (ODA) from all sources, and more than the total foreign direct investment to almost
every low—and middle-income country.
• Currently, about 200 million migrant workers support some 800 million family members globally.
In 2017, an expected one-in-seven people globally will be involved in either sending or receiving
more than $450 billion in remittances.
IFAD
• The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is an international financial
institution and a specialised agency of the United Nations.
• It was established as an international financial institution in 1977 as one of the major outcomes of
the 1974 World Food Conference.
• IFAD is dedicated to eradicating poverty and hunger in rural areas of developing countries.
• It was established as an international financial institution in 1977 as one of the major outcomes of
the 1974 World Food Conference.
• Its headquarters is in Rome, Italy, and is a member of the United Nations Development Group.
• Membership in IFAD is open to all member states of the United Nations or its specialised
agencies or the International Atomic Energy Agency.
• The Governing Council is IFAD’s highest decision-making authority.
• IFAD’s goal is to empower poor rural men and women in developing countries to achieve higher
incomes and improved food security.
Objectives of IFAD:
• IFAD seeks to ensure that poor rural people have better access to, and the skills and organisation
they need to take advantage of:
• Natural resources, especially secure access to land and water, and improved natural resource
management and conservation practices
• Improved agricultural technologies and effective production services
• A broad range of financial services
• Transparent and competitive markets for agricultural inputs and produce
• Opportunities for rural off-farm employment and enterprise development
• Local and national policy and programming.

5.19 India re-elected to UN body on economic, social issues; Pakistan loses
out
• India has won its re-election to ECOSOC, UN’s principal organ on economic, social and
environmental issues for another three-year term.

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• India was one among the 18 nations to win election to the Economic and Social Council
(ECOSOC).
• India has obtained 183 votes which is the second highest after Japan in the Asia-Pacific category.
• Pakistan whose term is also expiring also sought for re-election but lost and got only one vote.
Election
• A country requires two-thirds of the total votes to become a member of ECOSOC.
• The ECOSOC has a total of 54 members. The Council’s 54 members are elected by the General
Assembly for overlapping three-year terms.
• Out of the 54, 14 seats are allocated to African states, 11 to Asian states, 6 to Eastern European
states, 10 to Latin American and Caribbean states, and 13 to Western European and other states.
ECOSOC
• The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) was established in 1945 as one of the six main UN
organs which were established by the UN Charter.
• It is the United Nations’ central platform for reflection, debate, and innovative thinking on
sustainable development.
• It is at the heart of the United Nations system to advance the three dimensions of sustainable
development – economic, social and environmental.
• ECOSOC is the ‘principal body for coordination, policy review, policy dialogue and
recommendations on economic, social and environmental issues, as well as for implementation of
the internationally agreed development goals.’
• It supervises the subsidiary and expert bodies in the economic, social and environmental fields.

5.20 India-UK agree on MoU in urban transport sector
• India and the UK agreed to sign an MoU in the urban transport sector for cooperation in policy
planning, technology transfer and institutional organisation.
• The MoU is the bilateral cooperation arrangement between the Transport for London (TfL) and
the India’s Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
• The signing of the MoU will be completed through diplomatic channels shortly.
• The agreement will involve sharing expertise on the mobility and efficiency of India’s
transportation systems, as well as around logistical issues such as planning and delivery.
• It will also cover TfL’s experience in ticketing, providing information, financing and
infrastructure maintenance work, as well as promotion of the use of public transport.
• Other areas of cooperation in the future were likely to include innovation around buses, including
electric buses, and the use of water transport in urban centres.
• London’s transport system is considered one of the best equipped in the world, deploying a wide
range of options from the Underground train network to an extensive bus network, the Dockland
Light Railway, trams, ferries and even a cable car.

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• During the visit, Mr. Gadkari was given a presentation on strategy and policy reforms around the
bus system, as well as other forms of transport.

5.21 Urea manufacturing Plant in Malaysia
• The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval to the signing of Memorandum of
Understanding with Malaysia on development of a Urea and Ammonia manufacturing plant in
Malaysia with off take to India and/or off take of existing surplus Urea from Malaysia to India.
• The project is expected to cost US$ 2.1 billion with capacity to produce 2.4 million tonnes of
Urea and 1.35 million tonnes of Ammonia per annum and dedicated supplying to Indian market.
• The signing of MoU will ensure consistent supply of Urea and Ammonia to cater the need of the
country at a lower price, if agreed to by both the participants.

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6. INTERNATIONAL

6.1 Japan pitches for Chabahar port
• Japan has shown interest in collaborating with India on projects in Asia and Africa as a counter to
China’s Belt and Road initiative (B&RI).
• Categorically, it has shown interest in Chabahar port development.
Chabahar port
• The port of Chabahar is located on the Makran coast of Sistan and Baluchistan Province, next to
the Gulf of Oman and at the mouth of Strait of Hormuz.
• It is the only Iranian port with direct access to the Indian Ocean.
• Being close to Afghanistan and the Central Asian countries of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan etc., it
has been termed the “Golden Gate” to these land-locked countries.
• The Chabahar port was partially developed by India in the 1990s.

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How important the port is for India?
• India believes the Chabahar port is critical to its interests and wants to develop it as a counter to
Pakistan’s Gwadar port which was built with Chinese assistance.
• The port will allow India to bypass Pakistan to transport goods to Afghanistan and Central Asia
using a sea-land route.
• Chabahar Port lies outside the Persian Gulf in Iran and will help India in expanding its maritime
commerce in the region.
• It also provides opportunities to Indian companies to penetrate and enhance their footprint in
the region.
• At present, majority of Iran’s seaborne trade is handled by the Bandar Abbas port. Chahbahar has
much higher trading and shipping capacity than Bandar Abbas. The decision of the Indian
government to invest in the Chahbahar port marks high trade prospects for both the countries.
• Since the partition of the country in 1947, India’s trade access to Afghanistan has been thwarted
by Pakistan. While no Indian goods can move to Afghanistan through Pakistan, only a trickle of

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goods from Afghanistan can reach India. Trade interests in Afghanistan and in Central Asia,
made it imperative for India to look for an alternative route, which was provided by Chabahar.
• Strategic importance of Chabahar Port is its location. Chabahar Port is roughly 70 kilometres
west of Pakistan’s Gwadar port.
• The Chabahar Port provides a connectivity by road from Iranian port city of Chabahar to a point
at Iran’s Northern border with Afghanistan, from where Delaram–Zaranj Highway starts.

6.2 'Plankton explosion' turns Istanbul's Bosphorus turquoise
• A sudden change in the colour of the Bosphorus Strait that divides the continents of Europe and
Asia in Turkey’s largest city Istanbul since the weekend has alarmed some residents.
Reason behind colour change
• The cause was a surge in numbers of the micro-organism Emiliania huxleyi.
• One of the most successful life-forms on the planet, Emiliania huxleyi is a single-celled organism
visible only under a microscope.
• Its astonishing adaptability enables it to thrive in waters from the equator to the sub-Arctic.
Location of Bosphorus Strait
• It is a natural strait connecting the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara, thus being a very
strategic waterway.
• Its length is 32 kilometers (20 miles) in the north to south direction.
Bosphorus strait separates the European part from the Asian part of Istanbul.

6.3 US to Declare China as Among World’s Worst Human Trafficking
Offenders
• The United States plans to place China on its global list of worst offenders in human trafficking
and forced labor.
• US has decided to drop China to “Tier 3,” the lowest grade, putting it alongside Iran, North
Korea and Syria among others.
• In last year’s annual report, the US placed China on its “watch list” of countries that aren’t
meeting minimum standards and could be downgraded to the lowest classification.
What does it mean to be listed under “Tier 3”?
• “Tier 3,” is the ranking system’s lowest category which applies to countries failing to meet
minimum standards to prevent human trafficking or making significant improvement efforts.
Why China?

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• According to the US, Beijing was not doing enough to curb “state sponsored forced labor,” and
did not meet “minimum standards” for fighting human trafficking, even though it was making
progress.
• Concerns have also been raised about forced begging in China that particularly affects children.
Girls and women from rural areas are at higher risk of being recruited for sex trafficking in cities.
What if any country is placed under “Tier 3”?
• Countries placed on Tier 3 are liable to be penalised with sanctions, including the withholding of
non-humanitarian aid and assistance that could affect agreements with the International Monetary
Fund and World Bank.
• Officials of the Tier-3 countries are also liable to be barred from participating in US government
educational and cultural exchange programs.
• However, the US president retains the authority to waive the sanctions taking into account
national interest or if he feels that the penalties could adversely affect vulnerable populations. The
previous administrations of the US have often granted waivers for the tier-3 countries.

6.4 Kaushik Basu leads International Economic Association
• The Finance Ministry’s former Chief Economic Advisor Kaushik Basu has taken over as
President of the International Economic Association (IEA).
• He will hold the office for a term of three years.
IEA
• Founded in 1950, the International Economic Association (IEA) is a Non-Governmental
Organization, at the instigation of the Social Sciences Department of UNESCO.
• The IEA is one of the key organisations of professional economists and has been significant in
determining global economic policy and research.
• Since its creation, it is maintained information and consultative relations with UNESCO and is
since 1973 a federated member of the International Social Science Council.
• Its aim from the beginning has been to promote personal contacts and mutual understanding
among economists in different parts of the world through the organization of scientific meetings,
through common research programs and by means of publications of an international character
on problems of current importance.
• The IEA is governed by a Council, composed of representatives of all Member Associations as
well as a limited number of co-opted members. The Council meets triennially when it reviews the
general policy of the Association and elects the President and other Officers and members of the
Executive Committee for a three-year term of office.
• IEA produces a large number of research papers and books and organises roundtables on topics
of present-day interest.
• Its principal activities include International Congress organised every 3 years. The occasion serves
as one of the major assemblies of economists from around the world.

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• Amongst the past presidents of IEA were the Nobel Laureates Robert Solow, Amartya Sen and
Joseph Stiglitz.3

6.5 Russia, Iran and Turkey sign a deal on Syrian crisis
• Allies of Syria- Russia and Iran and rebel supporter Turkey signed a memorandum, backing
Moscow’s plan of creating safe zones in Syria to encourage a truce between the Syrian
government and the rebel forces.
• The Syrian government and rebel delegations were not among the signatories.
• The representative delegations reviewed the implementation of the ceasefire agreement and the
termination of hostilities during the two-day talk in Astana.
• After much deliberation, the guarantor countries agreed to sign a memorandum on the creation
of de-escalation zones in Syria.
• The main aim of the deal is to put an immediate end to the violence, to provide safe conditions
for the voluntary return of refugees and to enable immediate delivery of relief supplies and
medical aid.
• The proposal calls for the creation of safe zones in rebel-held territories including the north-
western province of Idlib, parts of Homs province in the centre, in the south and in the
opposition enclave of Eastern Ghouta near Damascus.
• However, in spite of all these measures, some issues remain unclear like which guarantor country
would be policing which safe zone.
6.6 Panama dumps Taiwan, supports One-China policy
• Panama cut ties with Taiwan, switching its diplomatic relations to the People’s Republic of China
and accepting the “One China” policy.
• Panama now “recognizes that there is only one China in the world” and that Taiwan is part of
Chinese territory.
• With Panama switching sides, Taiwan’s decades-old attempt to act as a “sovereign country”
would likely face fresh challenges.
• Over the years Beijing has tried to choke Taiwan diplomatically in a bid to force the self-ruled
island to accept itself as a part of China.
What is One-China Policy?
• It is the diplomatic acknowledgement of China’s position that there is only one Chinese
government.
• Under the policy, any country that wants diplomatic relations with mainland China must break
official ties with Taipei that it considers a ‘breakaway province.’
How China has been trying to choke Taiwan in recent years?
• Beijing doesn’t trust present Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen and her ruling party, which advocates
independence for Taiwan.

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• After Tsai came to power last year, China had cut official communication channels with her
government in a bid to pressure her to accept that Taiwan is part of China.
• A year ago, Taiwan had diplomatic ties with 23 countries. But in the last one year itself, as many
as three countries have severed diplomatic ties with the country, which is claimed by China as its
own — a part of the mainland.
• In 2007, Costa Rica was the first of Taiwan’s Central American partners to switch allegiance to
China. It was southern African nation of Malawi in 2008. Gambia in West Africa followed suit in
2013.
• Last year, small African states Sao Tome and Principe switched ties from Taiwan to China.
Taiwan is now left with only two allies in Africa: Burkina Faso in the west and the Kingdom of
Swaziland in the south. Now, Taiwan’s only diplomatic partner in Europe is Holy See.

6.7 China tests ‘Lunar Palace’ as it eyes moon mission
• China has set up a 160-square-meter (1,720-square-foot) laboratory — dubbed as “Yuegong-1”,
or “Lunar Palace” for simulating a lunar-like environment.
• As part of this experiment, four Chinese students will live in the laboratory for up to 200 days in
a bid to prepare for China’s long term goal of putting humans on the moon.
• The student volunteers would be sealed inside the cabin with no input from the outside world in
order to simulate long-term, self-contained space mission.
• The cabin will have facilities for treatment of human wastes through bio-fermentation process.
• The experimental crops would also be grown in the laboratory with the help of food and waste
byproducts.

Lunar Palace
• The Lunar Palace is hailed as the world’s third bioregenerative life-support base and the first to
be developed in China.
• The Lunar Palace is the first of its kind facility to involve animals and microorganisms as well as
plants and humans.
Bioregenerative Life Support System
• It is an artificial ecosystem where animals, plants and microorganisms co-exist.
• It is the most advanced life support technology and can provide a habitation environment similar
to the Earth’s biosphere for space missions with extended durations.
• The system enables the production of food internally and regeneration of oxygen through the
vegetation compartment.
• It also enables recycling of water and the crew’s waste is in turn used as a fertilizer for the growth
of vegetation.

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6.8 10 May: World Migratory Bird Day
• The World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) 2017 was observed across the world on 10 May 2017.
• The theme for WMBD 2017 is “Their Future is our Future – A Healthy Planet for Migratory
Birds and People.”
• The theme for the year throws light on the topic of Sustainable Development for Wildlife and
People.
• The World Migratory Bird Day is observed with an aim to raise awareness and highlight the need
for the protection of migratory birds and their habitats.
• The World Migratory Bird Day is an annual global celebration initiated in 2006 by the United
Nations.
• The event was founded as an effort of the UN’s Agreement on the Conservation of African-
Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement).
UN’s Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds
• The Agreement is an independent international treaty developed under the auspices of the United
Nations Environment Programme’s Convention on Migratory Species.
• It was founded to coordinate efforts to conserve bird species migrating between European and
African nations.
• Its current scope stretches from the Arctic to South Africa, encompassing the Canadian
archipelago and the Middle East as well as Europe and Africa.
• The agreement focuses on bird species that depend on wetlands for at least part of their lifecycle
and cross international borders in their migration patterns. It currently covers 254 species.

6.9 1 May: International Labour Day
• International Labour Day 2017 was celebrated across the world on 1 May 2017.
• The day is also known as International Worker’s Day and May Day.
• The day is celebrated by the working classes and is promoted by the international labour
movement, socialists and communists.
• The International Labour Day is celebrated to commemorate the happenings of 4 May 1886, the
Haymarket affair (Haymarket Massacre) in the Chicago.
• It was a big event as workers were on the general strike for their eight-hour workday and police
were doing their job of dispersing the general public from the crowd. Suddenly, a bomb was
thrown over the crowd and then police started firing over the workers and four demonstrators
were killed.
• It was due to the sacrifice of these workers that eight-hours was declared as the legal time for the
workers in the National Convention at Chicago in 1884 by the American Federation of Labor.

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• To commemorate this event, the Second International, a pan-national organization of socialist
and communist political parties, marked 1 May as the International Labour Day in 1891.

6.10 Driving towards safer roads
• In the WHO South East Asia Region, it is estimated that approximately 3,16,000 people die every
year on roads, which is around 865 fatalities each day.
• Twenty to 50 times that number are injured or disabled and require long-term care.
• Road fatalities are the leading cause of death among young persons, while road safety incidents
cost upwards of 3% of GDP. That’s before accounting for medical expenses.
Factors responsible
• Though the behaviour of road users matters, poor public policy is at the root of the problem.
• The vast majority of ‘accidents’ could have been avoided by better use of road safety technology
such as barriers, rumble strips or signage. Their impact could also have been lessened by safer
vehicles.
• Good policy can also bring about immediate change.
What needs to be done?
• Action in four key areas can diminish injury and death on roads across the South East Asia
Region, and help achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of halving the number of
global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents by 2020. These include:
First,
• Road safety authorities must have the data needed to act efficiently.
• Good data allow authorities to analyse and understand the factors causing road crashes, as well as
to devise and implement cost-effective solutions.
• This could be as minor as installing a guardrail on a switchback, or as substantial as demolishing a
high-risk road and building it anew.
• Clear lines of responsibility and partnership among government agencies and stakeholders can
help this process, especially given the problem’s multi-sectoral nature.
Second,
• Infrastructure must be tailored to the needs of vulnerable road users.
• On average 50% of road deaths occur among pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.
• In some countries, this figure rises to more than 80%. Bicycle lanes, pedestrian crossings and
enforcement of helmet laws among other interventions can dramatically reduce these numbers.
• They can do so in a way that makes our cities less car dependent.
Third,
• Motor vehicles must be manufactured to higher safety standards.
• Just two of the region’s countries currently apply any of the seven priority international vehicle
safety standards, such as seat belts and electronic stability control.

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• These are India which implements two of the seven priorities, and Thailand which implements
one of the seven. Not a single country applies all.
Fourth,
• The response to post-crash emergencies must be increased.
• When every second counts, a nationwide emergency phone service is critical. So too are efficient
pre-hospital response and hospital trauma care systems.
• In addition, steps should be taken to enhance early rehabilitation and support for road crash
victims. This will help avoid long-term complications and enhance quality of life. It will also
reduce health-care usage over the life-course.
Expectations from citizens
• Each one of us can limit the prospect of an incident and protect ourselves and our loved ones by
slowing down, by desisting from drink-driving, by using seat belts and child restraints, and, when
riding a motorcycle, by wearing a helmet.
• These actions will reinforce government-led initiatives, and will also promote society-wide change.

6.11 World Press Freedom Index 2017
• World Press Freedom Index for the year 2017 has been released.
• World Press Freedom Index is published annually by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) since
2002.
• It measures the level of freedom available to journalists in 180 countries using the following
criteria – pluralism, media independence, media environment and self-censorship, legislative
environment, transparency, infrastructure, and abuses.
Performance of various countries:
• Norway is at the apex and North Korea at the bottom of the 180-strong list of nations.
• After six years at the top, Finland has surrendered its No. 1 position due to political pressure and
conflicts of interests.
• Sweden has risen six places to take 2nd position.
• India is ranked 136, three points down from last year. India’s previous rank was 133. The
report blames the rise of Hindu nationalism for the drop in ranking.
• The Index’s bottom five also include Turkmenistan (178th), one of the world’s most repressive
and self-isolated dictatorships, which keeps increasing its persecution of journalists, and Syria
(177th), riven by a never-ending war and still the deadliest country for journalists, who are
targeted by both its ruthless dictator and Jihadi rebels.
• The Middle East and North Africa region, which has ongoing wars in Yemen (down 4 at 166th)
as well as Syria, continues to be the world’s most difficult and dangerous region for journalists.
• Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the second worst region, does not lag far behind. Nearly two
third of its countries are ranked below or around the 150th mark in the Index.

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• The Asia-Pacific region is the third worst violator overall but holds many of the worst kinds of
records. Two of its countries, China (176th) and Vietnam (175th), are the world’s biggest prisons
for journalists and bloggers.
• It has some of the most dangerous countries for journalists: Pakistan (139th), Philippines (127th)
and Bangladesh (146th).
Important observations made by the report:
• RSF’s latest World Press Freedom Index highlights the danger of a tipping point in the state of
media freedom, especially in leading democratic countries.
• The obsession with surveillance and violations of the right to the confidentiality of sources have
contributed to the continuing decline of many countries previously regarded as virtuous.
• Media freedom has never been so threatened and RSF’s “global indicator” has never been so high
(3872). This measure of the overall level of media freedom constraints and violations worldwide
has risen 14% in the span of five years.

6.12 World Press Freedom Day
• The United Nations General Assembly declared May 3 to be World Press Freedom Day or just
World Press Day to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press.
• Theme 2017: “Critical Minds for Critical Times: Media’s role in advancing peaceful, just and
inclusive societies”.
• This was also to remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of
expression enshrined under Article 19 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
• It also marks the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek a statement of free press principles
put together by African newspaper journalists in 1991.
• World Press Freedom Day was first organized by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993
in an effort to reflect upon press freedom in the world.
• This day acts as a reminder of the importance of a free press in a functioning and safe society and
serves to commemorate the journalists who have lost their lives in support of free press.
• UNESCO marks World Press Freedom Day by conferring the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano
World Press Freedom Prize on a deserving individual, organisation or institution that has made
an outstanding contribution to the defence and/or promotion of press freedom anywhere in the
world, especially when this has been achieved in the face of danger.

6.13 Global Innovation Index 2017
• The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in its 10th edition of the ‘Global
Innovation Index (GII)’ ranked India 60th on its list of 130 most innovative countries in the
world.

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• Switzerland, Sweden, the Netherlands, the US and UK retained their top spots as the most-
innovative countries.
• Among India’s neighbours, Sri Lanka took the 90th spot whereas Nepal was at 109th. Pakistan
came in at 113 followed by Bangladesh at 114.
Global Innovation Index (GII)
• The Global Innovation Index (GII) is an annual ranking of countries by their capacity for, and
success in, innovation.
• It is published by Cornell University, INSEAD, and the World Intellectual Property
Organization, in partnership with other organizations and institutions.
• GII ranks countries on an annual basis on 82 parameters for their contribution towards
successful innovations based on their capacity.
• The index is based on both subjective and objective data derived from several sources, including
the International Telecommunication Union, the World Bank and the World Economic Forum.
• The index was started in 2007 by INSEAD and World Business, a British magazine.
• The GII is commonly used by corporate and government officials to compare countries by their
level of innovation.
India’s performance
• India performed well across a number of parameters, coming to the top spot in ICT services
exports.
• It is ranked 10th in category of graduates in science and engineering, 27th on e-participation, 14th
on the presence of global research and development companies, 33rd on government’s online
service, 32nd in general infrastructure, 18th on creative goods exports, 30th on knowledge impact
and 29th on intellectual property payments.
• India is 2nd in innovation quality for the second consecutive year.
• India outperformed on innovation relative to its GDP per capita for seven years in a row.
• India has shown improvement in most areas, including in infrastructure, business sophistication,
knowledge and technology and creative outputs.
• The report also noted India’s continual improvement in terms of investment, tertiary education,
quality of its publications and universities, its information and communication technology (ICT)
services exports and innovation clusters.
• India is now in the top half of the GII rankings.
Suggestion for India
• The report suggested that if India then increasingly connects its innovation system to the
innovative countries in the East as well as to standing innovation powerhouses in the West, it will
make a true difference in Asia’s regional role in innovation, and to global innovation more
generally.
Govt. of India’s efforts

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• The improvement in India’s rank came after five years of a continuous drop in rankings.
To assess India’s position on the innovation front, the Ministry of Commerce and Industries had set
up a task force on innovation. The task force comprising of government officials and experts from
private organizations & academia, has recently come up with its report that detailed specific
measures to improve India’s ranking in GII.

6.14 UN approves creation of new office on counter-terrorism
• The United Nations General Assembly has approved the establishment of a new United Nations
office of counter-terrorism to help Member States implement UN’s global counter-terrorism
strategy.
Implications of the move
• With the creation of new UN office of counter terrorism, UN will transfer the relevant functions
out of the UN Department of Political Affairs (DPA) into the new body.
• The Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force Office (CTITF) and the UN Counter-
Terrorism Centre (UNCCT) currently under the DPA will be transferred to the new office
together with existing staff and associated budgetary resources.
• The new UN Office of counter-terrorism would he headed up by an Under-Secretary-General.
• The new Under-Secretary-General would Chair the Task Force and Executive Director of the
UN Counter-Terrorism Centre.
Functions of the new office
The new office will have the following five main functions:
1. To provide leadership on the counter-terrorism mandates entrusted to it across the United
Nations system.
2. To enhance coordination and coherence across the 38 Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task
Force entities for ensuring balanced implementation of the four pillars of the UN Global
Counter-Terrorism Strategy.
3. To strengthen the delivery of United Nations counter-terrorism capacity-building assistance to
the Member States.
4. To improve visibility, advocacy and resource mobilization for United Nations counter-terrorism
efforts; and
5. To ensure that priority is given to counterterrorism across the United Nations system.
6. India has been repeatedly stressing on the need to have a separate office for counter-terrorism as
the presence of as many as 31 entities within the United Nations dealing with some aspect of
countering terrorism lacked coherence and coordination in dealing with terrorism.

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6.15 Officials from Arctic nations to meet amid drilling concerns
• High-level officials from the world’s eight Arctic nations are meeting in Alaska amid concerns
about the future of the sensitive region after United States President Donald Trump called for
more oil drilling and development.
• No formal discussions were set in Alaska on key issues such as climate change, development and
drilling.
• But those issues will provide a backdrop as the chairmanship of the council passes from the US
to Finland.
Arctic Council
• The Arctic Council is an advisory body that promotes cooperation among member nations and
indigenous groups.
• Its focus is on sustainable development and environmental protection of the Arctic.
• It does not make policy or allocate resources, and its decisions must be unanimous.
• In terms of being a reflection of a nation’s priorities, it can only go so far since all eight have to
agree to the same thing.
• Eight member countries constitute the council: Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway,
Russia, Sweden, and the United States as these are the eight countries with sovereignty over the
lands within the Arctic Circle.
• Observer status is open to non-Arctic states approved by the Council at the Ministerial Meetings
that occur once every two years. Observers have no voting rights in the Council.
• Presently, there are 12 observer states including India and China.

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7. Political Issues, Human Rights and Governance

7.1 Parliamentary panel reaches consensus on NCBC bill
• A parliamentary panel examining a bill, which seeks to accord constitutional status to the
National Commission for Backward Classes, has reached a consensus.
• The consensus has paved the way for its likely passage in Rajya Sabha in the monsoon session.
• With the passage of the bill, the NCBC, a statutory body under the Ministry of Social Justice and
Empowerment, will get a constitutional status.
NCBC
• Set up in 1993, the NCBC was entrusted with examining requests for inclusion of any class of
citizens as a backward class in the lists and hear complaints of over-inclusion or under-inclusion
of any backward class in such lists and advice central government on the matter.
• The bill was referred to the Rajya Sabha’s select committee after the opposition prevailed on the
government to do so. It was passed by the Lok Sabha in April this year, but the opposition
blocked its consideration in the upper house.
• There have been demands in the Parliament and by the general public for grant of constitutional
status to the National Commission for Backward Classes to enable it to hear the grievances of
OBCs in the same manner that a National Commission for Scheduled Castes (constituted under
Article 338) and National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (constituted under Article 338A)
hear the grievances of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
7.2 CIC says BCCI should come under the RTI Act
• In its latest order, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has urged the Committee of
Administrators (CoA) running the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to bring the
organisation under the RTI Act.
• Previously, the CIC had elaborately explained the need for making BCCI a public authority.
Why BCCI come under the purview of RTI?
• BCCI is a National Sports Federation for cricket, which received thousands of crores towards tax
concessions.
• The government had declared all the National Sports Federations (NSF)s receiving a grant of Rs.
10 lakh or more as a Public Authority under Section 2(h) of the RTI, 2005. Thus, it has to come
under the RTI in order to remain accountable to the public.
Central Information Commission
• Established in 2005, the Central Information Commission (CIC) is the authorised body under the
Government of India.
• It was set up under the Right to Information Act.
• It was set up to act upon complaints from those individuals who have not been able to submit
information requests to a Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer

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due to either the officer not having been appointed, or because the respective Central Assistant
Public Information Officer or State Assistant Public Information Officer refused to receive the
application for information under the RTI Act.
• The Commission includes 1 Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) and not more than 10
Information Commissioners (IC) who are appointed by the President of India.
Appointments
• The Chief Information Commissioner and Information Commissioners are appointed by the
President on the recommendation of a committee consisting of
1. The Prime Minister, who shall be the Chairperson of the committee.
2. The Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha.
3. A Union Cabinet Minister to be nominated by the Prime Minister.

7.3 Tele-Law through CSCs To Mainstream Legal Aid in Rural India
• The Ministry of Law and Justice has launched the ‘Tele-Law’ initiative in collaboration with the
Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to provide legal aid services to the
marginalized communities and citizens living in rural areas through the Common Service Centres
(CSC) at the panchayat level, spread across the country.
Tele Law initiative
• ‘Tele Law initiative would help people to seek legal advice from lawyers with the help of video
conferencing facility available at the Common Service Centres (CSC).
• Apart from the lawyers, law school clinics, District Legal Service Authorities, voluntary service
providers and Non-Government Organisations working on legal aid and empowerment can also
be connected through the CSCs.
• In the initial phase, the initiative will be tested as a pilot project across 500 Common Service
Centres (CSC) in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. In this phase, challenges to the initiative would be
identified and necessary corrections would be made and would eventually be rolled out across the
country in a phased manner.
• A new portal called ‘Tele Law’ will be made available across the CSC network to connect the
citizens to legal service providers with the help of technology-enabled platforms.
• The initiative would strengthen access to justice for the marginalized communities.
• The government will also put in place a robust monitoring and evaluation system to assess the
quality of the legal advice delivered to the people.
PLV
• Under the initiative, a Para Legal Volunteer (PLV), would be employed in each CSC.
• The volunteer would serve as the first point of contact for the marginalized communities in the
rural areas who will help them understand the legal issues, explain the advice given by lawyers and
assist in further action as per the advice of the lawyer.

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• Around 1000 women Para Legal Volunteers will also be trained under this initiative to provide
legal aid services through the CSCs.
• This is expected to promote women entrepreneurship and empowerment.
Further, the National Legal Service Authority (NALSA) will also provide a panel of lawyers who will
provide advice from the state capitals to the applicants in the CSCs through video conferencing.

7.4 Public Affairs Index - PAI
• The PAI aims to rank the states of India objectively in the field of governance based on various
focus subjects and indicators and is an initiative of the Public Affairs Committee (PAC). The
PAC is a not-for-profit think-tank focussed on good governance, which was established in 1994.
Themes of the survey
• The survey was based on 10 themes, 26 focus subjects and 82 indicators. The report was based
on a wide range of themes such as essential infrastructure, support to human development, social
protection, women and children, crime, law and order, delivery of justice, environment,
transparency and accountability, fiscal management and economic freedom.
Highlights of the study
• Kerala and Tamil Nadu have secured first and second rankings for the second consecutive year in
the best governance in the country.
• Gujarat has been ranked third followed by Karnataka and Maharashtra at the fourth and fifth
position respectively in governance indicators.
• The last four positions among the large states has been occupied by Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and
Assam.
• Among the 12 small states which have been categorised as small as they have population less than
two crore, Himachal Pradesh has been ranked first followed by Goa and Mizoram.
• Delhi which occupied third position in 2016 index has slipped to ninth position in 2017.
• The last four positions among small states have been occupied Meghalaya (12th), Arunachal
Pradesh (11th) and Jammu and Kashmir (10th).
• In the category of essential infrastructure, Punjab has been adjudged as the best performer among
all States followed by Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat.
• In the category of human development, Kerala, Maharshtra, and Punjab are the best performers
while Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Assam are the worst performers.
• In implementation of social protection policies, Kerala, Assam and Madhya Pradesh are the best
performers while Telangana, Haryana and Punjab are the worst performers as they lagged behind
other states in executing various State and Central government schemes.
• In the category of women and children, Kerala has been adjudged as the best performer while
Jharkhand, Haryana and Maharashtra are poor performers.
• In the category of fiscal management, Telangana has been adjudged as the best performer while
Andhra Pradesh has been labelled as the poor performer.

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• In maintaining law and order, delivery of justice and environment categories, Tamil Nadu has
been adjudged as the best performer but the state has been ranked last in the parameter of
transparency and accountability in the administration.
• In the category of economic freedom, Gujarat has secured top rank while Bihar has secured the
last rank.

7.5 Doctrine of “SAMADHAN’ for use in security operations
• The Home Minister has enunciated an operational strategy ‘SAMADHAN’ to fight Left Wing
Extremism.
The new doctrine, ‘SAMADHAN’ will have 8 pillars and they are:
• S for Smart Leadership.
• A for Aggressive Strategy.
• M for Motivation and Training.
• A for Actionable Intelligence.
• D for Dashboard-based Key Result Areas and Key Performance Indicators.
• H for Harnessing Technology.
• A for Action Plan for Each Theatre.
• N for No access to Financing.
Need for the doctrine
• There are 10 LWE affected states- Bihar, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh,
Jharkhand, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Madhya Pradesh.
• As many as 12,000 citizens had lost their lives in Maoist violence over the last two decades. Of
these, 2,700 were jawans of security forces and 9,300 were innocent common people.
Government’s strategy to tackle left wing extremism
• Alongside aggressive operations, road construction works, setting up of telecommunication,
power and railway facilities in the remote areas will be expedited.
• The home minister has also stressed for befitting strategies during the security operations and
enhanced intelligence in tackling the Maoists.
• Economic resources play an important role in any war — only when money is available is it
possible to buy, eat, drink and possess ammunition and weapons. Therefore, choking the
financial resources of the left wing extremists is the most basic mantra in this fight.

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7.6 Supreme Court’s Integrated Case Management Information System
• Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated Supreme Court’s Integrated Case Management
Information System (ICMIS).
• This digital filing system will mark Supreme Court’s first towards becoming a paperless, digital
court.
ICMIS
• The Integrated Case Management Information System or ICMIS is described as the next
generation hybrid database which is used to better enable litigants to access and retrieve
information online.
• The new system is aimed at serving as a digital repository for case-related information.

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• Its functions include the option of e-filing cases, checking listing dates, case status, online service
of notice/summons, office reports and overall tracking of progress of a case filed with the apex
court registry.
• It is also proposed that it will operate as an online gateway for payment of court fee and process
fee.
• Other features offered under the new system include an online court fee calculator. This is
expected to streamline the filing process for both the advocates and the registry.
• Subsequently, all High Courts, District Courts, Sub-Division Courts will be integrated with the
new system. Later on, all the jails in the country will be Integrated by ICMIS software.
Significance of the ICMIS
• ICMIS will help litigants access data and obtain information about the filing, delays etc. It would
pave way for the integration of all courts in the country.
• The appellant hereafter is not required to file the records as the records will be picked up
electronically from trial courts and high courts.
• The digital filing system will also help in ushering transparency as nothing can be manipulated
with this paperless system.
• Also, the litigants will be able to know the progress of the case on real time basis.

7.7 Kambala Bill to be sent again to President with minor modifications
• Kambala is an annual Buffalo Race held traditionally under the auspices of local land lords and
households or Patel of village, in coastal Karnataka, India.
• The Kambala season generally starts in November and lasts until March.
• The contest generally takes place between two pairs of buffaloes, each pair raced in wet rice
fields, controlled by a whip-lashing farmer.
• The ‘track’ used for Kambala is a paddy field filled with slush and mud.
• The “Kambala Committee” is formed and it usually arranges Kambala in several categories.
• People place massive bets on the buffaloes to win and one can witness more than 20,000
spectators in a well-organised Kambala, egging on and cheering the buffaloes to complete the
race.
• In traditional form of Kambala, racing is non-competitive, and buffalo pairs run one by one in
paddy fields.
• A ritualistic approach is also there, as some agriculturists race their buffaloes for thanks giving (to
god) for protecting their animals from diseases.
• The buffaloes developed for the race are carefully fed and some owners of the buffaloes have
even built separate swimming pool for competing buffaloes.

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Why in news?
• The Union Home Ministry has asked Karnataka to modify the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
(Karnataka Amendment) Bill, 2017, and resend it for legalising kambala, the traditional buffalo
slush race.
• Union Home Ministry has suggested to the government to modify or omit the phrase “subject to
such other conditions as may be prescribed” in sub-section 2 of section 3, in the Bill.
• The phrase opens the window for inclusion of more such sports involving animals through
government notifications in the future, as the Centre was keen to prevent such powers to the
State government.
• As per the modification sought, State government’s powers to include more sports or races
involving animals by notifications in future will be clipped.
• The Karnataka Legislative Assembly had cleared the Bill in February 2017. Governor had
referred the Bill to the President for his assent. The Bill seeks to exempt kambala and bullock-cart
racing from the ambit of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960.

7.8 Amicus curiae in hearing of ‘triple talaq’
• The Supreme Court allowed former union minister Salman Khurshid to assist it as an amicus
curiae in hearing of pleas challenging the constitutional validity of ‘triple talaq’, ‘nikah halala’ and
polygamy among Muslims.
• Amicus Curiae can be a person or group that is not a party to a lawsuit but has a strong interest in
the matter.
• He/she or the group seeks a permission to submit a brief in the action with the intent of
influencing the court’s direction.

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8. PERSONALITIES

8.1 Stamp on Ramanujacharya’s 1,000th birth anniversary
• A commemorative stamp has been released on the 1,000th birth anniversary of Saint
Ramanujacharya.
• Ramanuja was a Hindu theologian, philosopher, and one of the most important exponents of the
Sri Vaishnavism tradition within Hinduism.
• He is famous as the chief proponent of Vishishtadvaita subschool of Vedānta.
• He wrote influential texts, such as bhāsya on the Brahma Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita, all in
Sanskrit.

8.2 Neeru Chadha becomes first Indian woman to be member of
International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea
• In a significant victory for India at the UN, international law expert Neeru Chadha has won a
crucial election to a top UN judicial body that deals with disputes related to the law of the sea.
• With this, she becomes the first Indian woman to be appointed as a judge at the tribunal.
• Chadha, an eminent lawyer and the first Indian woman to become the chief legal adviser in the
ministry of external affairs, is elected for a nine-year term from 2017 to 2026.
• Chadha is only the second woman to be judge of ITLOS in its two decades of existence, where
there have been a total of 40 judges.
ITLOS
• International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) is an intergovernmental organisation
under the ambit of the United Nations, established in 1996.
• ITLOS governs the laws on international waters and is one of dispute settlement mechanisms
under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
• The Tribunal has the power to settle disputes between party states.
• India is also a signatory to this convention.
• It is headquartered in Hamburg, Germany.
• The ITLOS comprises of 21 serving judges.

8.3 Justice PN Bhagwati
• Former Chief Justice of India PN Bhagwati who is considered as a pioneer of Judicial Activism
has passed away.
• Justice Bhagwati introduced the concepts of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) and absolute liability
to the Indian judicial system.

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• He made the famous ruling that there was no need for a person to have any Locus Standi to
approach the court on the issue of fundamental rights.
8.4 Amitabh Bachchan appointed as WHO’s goodwill ambassador for
hepatitis
• World Health Organization (WHO) has appointed Amitabh Bachchan as its Goodwill
Ambassador for Hepatitis in South-East Asia Region.
• He has been appointed to boost awareness to stop the spread of hepatitis.
• Hepatitis viruses is one of the common cause of liver damage but other infections, toxic
substances such as alcohol, certain medicine, food contaminants, bad lifestyle and autoimmune
diseases may also result in chronic hepatitis.

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9. SPORTS AND AWARDS

9.1 22nd APEDA Annual Award
• Recently, the 22nd annual award of Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export
Development Authority (APEDA) has been organized.
• APEDA is an apex body of the Ministry of Commerce, Government of India, to promote the
export of agricultural commodities and processed food products.
• APEDA links Indian exporters to global markets besides providing comprehensive export
oriented services.
• APEDA provides referral services and suggest suitable partners for joint ventures.
• APEDA’s export basket ranges from typically Indian ethnic products like pickles, chutneys,
sauces, curries etc. to rice, honey, fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, beverages, guar gum,
poultry, livestock products, confectionery, cut flowers, food grains, aromatic plants and other
Indian delicacies.
• Vietnam, UAE, Saudi Arabia, USA, Iran, Iraq and Nepal are the major destinations for export of
food products from India.

9.2 Man Booker International prize
• Israeli author David Grossman has won the Man Booker International Prize for his novel “A
Horse Walks Into a Bar”.
• He has become the first Israeli author to win the Man Booker International Prize.
• Last year, the prize was won by South Korean author Han Kang for her novel The Vegetarian.
• The Man Booker Prize is world’s most prestigious English-language literary award.
• It was launched in 1969 and presented by the Man Group.
• The international edition of the Man Booker Prize was introduced in 2005. From 2016, the prize
is awarded for a single work of fiction that has been translated into English and published in the
United Kingdom.

9.3 ‘Project Jal Sanchay’ chosen for national award
• ‘Project Jal Sanchay’ has been selected for the national award for excellence in the Mahatma
Gandhi national rural employment guarantee programme (MGNREGP), by the ministry of rural
development.
• ‘Project Jal Sanchay’ is a model of water conservation adopted successfully by the authorities in
Nalanda district of south central Bihar.
Evolution of the project
• Nalanda has been an agriculture oriented district, but it always remained affected by drought like
conditions, which impacted cultivation and farm production. Though, during monsoon there

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were flash floods in the area, the water runoff used to be so high that within 15 days the entire
water got washed away.
• It was under these conditions that ‘project jal sanchay’ was launched under MGRNREGP, to
offer farmers a wide spectrum of solutions to their water crisis.
About the project
• Under the project, check dams and traditional Aahar-Pyne irrigation systems were created.
• In addition, traditional water bodies were desilted and renovated.
• Campaigns about the usefulness of rainwater harvesting were also carried out.
• The project was a mix of modern day techniques and technologies with traditional knowledge and
got evolved into a holistic program to conserve water.
• As a result of the implementation of the project, availability of water got improved drastically
which positively impacted the farm production in the district.

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10. SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

10.1 Aquatic animal diseases revisited
• The national surveillance programme for aquatic animal diseases in India, one of the largest fish
disease surveillance programme implemented in the country, is all set to begin a new phase.
• A road map proposed for taking the surveillance programme to the next level includes developing
disease-free zones and targeted active surveillance for fish pathogens in India.
About the programme:
• The programme is led by the ICAR-National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources (ICAR-NBFGR).
• The programme includes monitoring of the disease status of susceptible populations and would
provide a general picture of prevalence of diseases in the country.
• It will also provide a means for rapid detection of new and exotic infectious diseases through
advanced diagnostic techniques; help in certifying freedom from diseases of concern within a
defined geographical area or a specific population and give boost to our aquatic animal exports.
• The programme is currently being implemented in 16 States and three Union Territories.
Objectives of disease surveillance programme
• To provide means for rapid detection of new and exotic infectious disease.
• To provide evidence of freedom from diseases of concern within a defined geographical area or a
specific population.
• To collect the information on distribution and occurrence of diseases of concern.
• To assess the efficiency of disease control programmes with a defined geographical area.
• To improve reporting requirements to World organization for Animal Health (OIE) and regional
Quartely Aquatic Animal Disease Reporting System and enhance compliance to OIE standards.
Importance of this programme:
• The programme would result in assessing the efficiency of disease control programmes.
• It will also help in developing appropriately trained and dedicated personnel who can understand
normal health patterns and describe the abnormalities.
• Finally, this programme will help in providing scientifically accurate and cost-effective
information for assessing and managing risks of pathogen transfer associated with trade in aquatic
animals and improve production efficiency.
10.2 Railways to acquire EOTT system to run trains without guards
• The Indian Railways has planned to acquire the End of Train Telemetry (EoTT) equipments to
run nearly 1,000 trains without guards in the current fiscal.
• All goods trains on the proposed dedicated freight corridors will run with EoTT system.
• Railways had earlier undertaken the trial run of the EoTT system successfully.
EoTT

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• The end of train telemetry (EoTT), a device that aims to establish communication between the
locomotive driver and the last vehicle of the train, will be fitted in the last coach or wagon of a
train.
How it works?
• EoTT system comprises two units one unit called cab display unit (CDU) fitted on the
locomotive and the other is sense and brake unit (SBU) fitted on the last coach or wagon of the
train.
• Both the units are fitted with radio transmitter which communicate with each other.A transmitter
is fitted on a locomotive and a receiver is fitted at the end of the last vehicle.
• The transmitter and the last vehicle receiver exchange signals periodically to ensure that the train
is running intact.
• If there is a break in the communication between the two units, the driver gets a signal that the
train has parted and accordingly train has to be stopped to relink the parted wagons.

10.3 BrahMos missile achieves rare feat
• The Army recently carried out a successful test of the advanced BrahMos Block III Land Attack
Cruise Missile (LACM) in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
• This is the fifth consecutive time when the Block-III version of BrahMos LACM has been
successfully launched and hit the land-based target in “top-attack” mode, an incredible feat not
achieved by any other weapon system of its genre.
• These tests were carried out in full operational land-to-land configurations from Mobile
Autonomous Launchers (MAL) at full-range.

10.4 ‘Spyder’ surface-to-air missile
• India recently test fired a surface-to-air missile Spyder (Surface-to-air PYthon and DERby)
from a test range in Odisha as part of missile launch practice of a series of tests of the short-range
quick reaction.
• Spyder is an acquired missile system from Israel which is a short-range, quick reaction surface-to-
air missile to neutralise enemy targets up to a distance of 15 km and at heights between 20-and-
9,000 metres.
• Spyder is however, shorter than India’s indigenously developed surface-to-air ‘Akash’ missile,
which has a strike range of 25 km.
• Spyder is an all-weather missile which has an automatic process of engaging an aggressive aircraft
or missile. Besides aircraft and UAVs, it can also neutralise low-level cruise missiles.

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10.5 NASA’s Orion spacecraft passes key safety tests
• NASA’s Orion spacecraft has successfully completed a series of tests for its critical safety
systems.
• Researchers tested the abort motor for Orion’s launch abort system.
Orion spacecraft
• The Orion spacecraft was designed to take astronauts to deep space destinations such as the
Moon and Mars.
• Orion will serve as the exploration vehicle that will carry the crew to space, provide emergency
abort capability, sustain the crew during the space travel, and provide safe re-entry from deep
space return velocities.
• Orion will launch on NASA’s new heavy-lift rocket, the Space Launch System.
What is the abort system?
• The launch abort system is an important part of making sure crew members stay safe on the
launch pad and on their way to space.
• The launch abort system is positioned on top of the Orion crew module and will play a critical
role protecting future crews travelling to deep space destinations in Orion.
• The abort motor is responsible for propelling the crew module away from the Space Launch
System rocket in case of an emergency, and one of three total motors that will send the crew
module to a safe distance away from a failing rocket and orient it properly for a safe descent into
the Atlantic Ocean if such a situation ever occurs.

10.6 Ebola resurfaces in Africa
• The World Health Organization has declared an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of
Congo (DRC), Africa.
• More than 11,000 people died in the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014-2015, mainly in
Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
• The last outbreak in the DRC was in 2014 and killed more than 40 people. The region affected
lies 1,300 km north-east of Kinshasa, close to the border with the Central African Republic.
• While this outbreak will be worrying for communities in this remote part of the DRC, health
workers say the country is experienced in fighting the virus.
• Experts say an experimental vaccine could be used if needed.
Ebola
• Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal
illness in humans.
• The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population
through human-to-human transmission.

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• The average EVD case fatality rate is around 50%. Case fatality rates have varied from 25% to
90% in past outbreaks.
• Community engagement is key to successfully controlling outbreaks. Good outbreak control
relies on applying a package of interventions, namely case management, infection prevention and
control practices, surveillance and contact tracing, a good laboratory service, safe burials and
social mobilisation.
• Early supportive care with rehydration, symptomatic treatment improves survival.
• There is as yet no licensed treatment proven to neutralize the virus but a range of blood,
immunological and drug therapies are under development.

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10.7 World’s largest floating solar farm
• China has recently launched the world’s largest floating solar farm.
• This launch is the reflections of China’s clean energy ambitions especially after the United States
withdraws from the Paris climate accord.
• The 40-megawatt power plant has 160,000 panels resting on a lake that emerged after the collapse
of a coal mine in central China’s Anhui Province
• The farm is part of authorities’ effort to reduce dependency on fossil fuel as China remains one
of the world’s top carbon emitters, with two-thirds of its electricity still fuelled by coal.

10.8 Tarang Sanchar
• It is a portal launched by telecom department.
• It allows people to track radiation emitted from mobile towers within a locality and check their
compliance with the stipulated norms.
• It is aimed at clearing “myths and misconceptions” about mobile towers and emissions from
them.

10.9 Successful Flight Test of ATGM Nag
• The Anti-Tank Guided Missile – ‘Nag’ was successfully flight tested in the desert ranges of
Rajasthan.
• Nag is a third-generation, fire-and-forget, anti-tank guided missile.
• It is developed by India’s state-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation
(DRDO) to support both mechanised infantry and airborne forces of the Indian Army.
• The missile incorporates an advanced passive homing guidance system and possesses high single-
shot kill probability.
• It is designed to destroy modern main battle tanks and other heavily armoured targets.
• Nag can be launched from land and air-based platforms.
• The land version is currently available for integration on the Nag missile carrier (NAMICA),
which is derived from a BMP-2 tracked infantry combat vehicle.
• The Nag missile was indigenously developed under the Indian Ministry of Defence’s integrated
guided missile development programme (IGMDP), which also involved the development of four
other missiles that are Agni, Akash, Trishul and Prithvi.

10.10 NASA’s inflatable greenhouse could feed astronauts on Mars
• NASA Scientists have designed an inflatable greenhouse that could be used one day by astronauts
to grow fresh food and produce oxygen on Mars or Moon.
• The first-of-its-kind sample involves an inflatable, deployable greenhouse that can support plant
and crop production for nutrition, air revitalisation, water recycling and waste recycling.

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• The new approach uses plants to scrub carbon dioxide while providing food and oxygen for
those working in deep space.
• This way the carbon dioxide exhaled by the astronauts will be introduced into the greenhouse and
the plants would then generate oxygen through the process of photosynthesis.
• Similarly, the water cycle too would begin with water brought along or found at the lunar or
Martian landing site. The water would be oxygenated, given nutrient salts and it would
continuously flow across the root zone of the plants and then return to the storage system.
• Currently, scientists are conducting tests on the Prototype Lunar Greenhouse to determine what
plants, seeds or other materials should be taken along to make the system work.
• Besides this, NASA Scientists are developing systems to harness resources such as water that
should be available in certain areas of the lunar or Martian surface in order to support missions
that last for months or years.
• While prior to this, astronauts have successfully grown plants and vegetables aboard the
International Space Station (ISS), NASA wants to develop long-term methods to help sustain
pioneers working in deep space.

10.11 Multidrug-resistant TB will rise in India, says new study
• According to a study, Multidrug Resistant-Tuberculosis (MDR-TB), a version of the disease
where patients do not respond to first-line drugs, will become more common than it is now.
• The report projects that, by 2040, the percentage of MDR-TB will make up 32.5% of all TB cases
in Russia, 12.4% of the TB cases in India, 8.9% of the TB cases in the Philippines, and 5.7% of
all TB cases in South Africa.
As per the report,
• India is home to the most serious ‘hotspots’ of MDR-TB transmission, especially overcrowded
cities such as Mumbai.
• Not only does India shoulder the highest TB burden in the world, with over 2 million of the 10
million reported cases, it also accounts for the most drug-resistant patients — nearly 1.3 lakh
people who do not respond to first-line drugs.
• Besides, access to medicines is also worrying. Two new TB drugs, Bedaquiline and Delamanid are
being used in Europe and the U.S. for several years. But they are yet to be made available in
India’s national healthcare system.
• The drug is available only in six sites across the country, and according to the Health Ministry’s
TB report, only 207 of the 79,000 patients who need the drug have access to it.
• It is estimated that each year there are 10.4 million new cases of TB, leading to 1.8 million deaths
globally.
• Nearly 40% of all drug-resistant cases occur in Russia, India, the Philippines, and South Africa –
accounting for more than 230,000 cases of drug-resistant disease in 2015.
Tuberculosis (TB)

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• Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by bacteria that are spread from person to person through
the air.
• TB usually affects the lungs, but it can also affect other parts of the body, such as the brain, the
kidneys, or the spine.
• In most cases, TB is treatable and curable; however, persons with TB can die if they do not get
proper treatment.
Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR TB)
• Multidrug-resistant TB (MDR TB) is caused by an organism that is resistant to at
least isoniazid and rifampin, the two most potent TB drugs. These drugs are used to treat all
persons with TB disease.
How does drug resistance happen?
• Resistance to anti-TB drugs can occur when these drugs are misused or mismanaged. Examples
include when patients do not complete their full course of treatment; when health-care providers
prescribe the wrong treatment, the wrong dose, or length of time for taking the drugs; when the
supply of drugs is not always available; or when the drugs are of poor quality.
Extensively drug resistant tuberculosis (XDR TB)
• Extensively drug resistant TB (XDR TB) is a rare type of MDR TB that is resistant to isoniazid
and rifampin, plus any fluoroquinolone and at least one of three injectable second-line drugs (i.e.,
amikacin, kanamycin, or capreomycin).
• Because XDR TB is resistant to the most potent TB drugs, patients are left with treatment
options that are much less effective.
• XDR TB is of special concern for persons with HIV infection or other conditions that can
weaken the immune system. These persons are more likely to develop TB disease once they are
infected, and also have a higher risk of death once they develop TB.

10.12 Scientists use satellites to count endangered birds from space
• Scientists from Britain and New Zealand have started counting individual Northern Royal
Albatrosses from space, the first time ever that the global population of a species has been
assessed from orbit.
• Using the highest-resolution satellite images available, scientists are calculating the number of the
endangered albatrosses, which breed on New Zealand’s remote and virtually inaccessible
Chatham Islands.
• The study used the DigitalGlobe WorldView-3 satellite, which can observe objects as small as 30
cm across, to locate and count the birds.

10.13 Scientists conjure up largest virtual universe
• Researchers from the University of Zurich have simulated the formation of our entire universe
with a large supercomputer.

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• A gigantic catalogue of about 25 billion virtual galaxies has been generated from 2 trillion digital
particles.
• It was created with a simple goal in mind: train the next big mission from the European Space
Agency (ESA).
• This catalogue is being used to calibrate the experiments on board the Euclid satellite, that will be
launched in 2020 with the objective of investigating the nature of dark matter and dark energy.
Dark energy and dark matter:
• Dark energy is the cause of the accelerated expansion of the universe. Dark matter, instead, is
responsible for how galaxies keep their shape.
• About 95 per cent of the universe is dark. The cosmos consists of 23 per cent of dark matter and
72 per cent of dark energy.

10.14 Patna HC sets aside ban on ENA
• The Extra Neutral alcohol or ENA is a high distillated alcohol without any impurities and
others destinated to be used in the high cosmetic industry, perfumeries as well as for the
production of alcoholic beverages such as whisky, vodka, gin, cane, liqueurs and alcoholic fruit
beverages and aperitifs.
Why in news?
• The Patna High Court has set aside the Bihar government’s decision to ban production of Extra
Neutral Alcohol (ENA) by several distillery and liquor companies in the State.
• The verdict meant that investment to the tune of Rs. 100 crore had been safeguarded.
Issue
• After imposing total prohibition last year in April, the government on January 24 this year issued
a notification saying the licences of ENA manufacturers would not be renewed.
• However, a petition was filed in the court challenging the notification. The petitioners submitted
they had been given the licence to produce ENA, also known as industrial alcohol, after the
government imposed total prohibition through its notification dated October 2, 2016.
Court’s remarks
• The government had no right to ban production of ENA as it is used in various other industries
apart from making liquor.
• The State does not have legislative competence to deal with the subject of alcohol unfit for
human consumption.
• The court said that we see no reason to hold the provisions of Sections 13, 23 and 24(1) of the
Prohibition Act as unconstitutional or ultra vires, as in the light of the declaration with respect to
including ENA within the definition of Intoxicant to be not permissible, the applicability of these
provisions to alcohol unfit for human consumption does not arise now.

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10.15 Now, turn any surface into touchscreen with a spray paint
• Scientists have developed a new technology that can turn any surface — including walls, furniture
and steering wheels — into a touchscreen using tools as simple as a can of spray paint.
• For this, the scientists used a well-known technique called electric field tomography.
• With the new technology dubbed Electrick, conductive touch surfaces can be created by applying
conductive paints, bulk plastics or carbon-loaded films among other materials.
• The “trick” is to apply electrically-conductive coatings or materials to objects or surfaces, or to
craft objects using conductive materials.
• By attaching a series of electrodes to the conductive materials, researchers showed they could use
a well-known technique called electric field tomography to sense the position of a finger touch.

10.16 Molecule Disarib
• It is a novel small molecule, designed and synthesised by Indian researchers.
• It has shown promise in targeted killing of cancer cells.
• It works by binding itself to a protein called BCL2, which suppresses the death of cancerous cells
• While BCL2 protein is produced in excess in cancer cells, its expression is almost undetectable in
normal cells. Hence, Disarib targets and kills only cancer cells while sparing normal cells.

10.17 ISRO-made system to alert users at unmanned level crossings
• Satellite-based chip systems will now alert road users at unmanned level crossings about
approaching trains and also help in tracking train movement on a real-time basis.
• On a pilot basis, the Mumbai and Guwahati Rajdhani trains will be equipped with this system.
• According to the plan, more trains will be equipped with such technology in a phase-wise
manner.
How will it work?
• Road users will be warned by hooters once a train approaches an unmanned level crossing as
railways are installing ISRO-developed integrated circuit (IC) chips on locomotives of trains.
• There will be hooters at 20 unmanned level crossings on Rajdhani routes for Guwahati and
Mumbai.
• About 500 metres before the level crossings, the hooter will be activated through the IC chip,
warning road users as well as the train driver near the crossing.
• The hooter will be louder as the level crossing nears, and finally it will be silent after the train
passes by.
• Besides alerting road users, the satellite-based system will also be used for tracking trains for
disseminating information about their movement on real time basis. This will be of great help to
passengers as currently train movements are tracked manually.

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• The satellite-based system will also help railways in mapping the area and the technology will
come in handy at the time of accidents when it can be used to ascertain the exact location of
trains and topography.
Need for the system
• Safety at unmanned level crossings is a cause of serious concern for railways and the public
transporter is exploring various ways to address the issue.
• There are about 10,000 unmanned railway crossings in the country which account for around 40
per cent of accidents involving the railways.
• While the Railways have eliminated 1,148 unmanned crossings in 2014-15 and 1,253 in 2015-16, it
has scaled up its target and now plans to eliminate all such crossings in the next 2 to 3 years.

10.18 Govt. regulator gives nod for GM mustard
• India’s central biotech regulator, Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) has cleared
the genetically modified (GM) Mustard for commercial cultivation and recommended its approval
to the environment ministry.
• The GM mustard, developed by a Delhi University institution, is only the second food crop
which got its clearance from the central regulator.
• The GEAC had earlier in 2010 cleared the Bt Brinjal but the decision was not accepted by then
environment minister Jairam Ramesh.
• Currently, only Bt Cotton – a non-food GM crop – is commercially cultivated in the country.
• An application for commercial release of the GM Mustard was filed in December 2015.
• The GEAC had subsequently set up a sub-committee to examine the safety aspect of the use of
transgenic variety of the mustard. The sub-committee had last year given its safety clearance while
noting that the GM Mustard is safe for human consumption and environment.
• Decision of the GEAC was, however, vehemently opposed by environmentalists and anti-GM
groups.
Genetically modified crop
• Genetically modified crops (GMCs, GM crops, or biotech crops) are plants used in agriculture,
the DNA of which has been modified using genetic engineering techniques.
• In most cases, the aim is to introduce a new trait to the plant which does not occur naturally in
the species.
• Examples in food crops include resistance to certain pests, diseases, or environmental conditions,
reduction of spoilage, or resistance to chemical treatments (e.g. resistance to a herbicide), or
improving the nutrient profile of the crop.
• Examples in non-food crops include production of pharmaceutical agents, biofuels, and other
industrially useful goods, as well as for bioremediation.

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• Potential benefits of GM plants include higher crop yields, reduced farm costs, increased farm
profit, improvement in health and the environment.
• Potential risks of GM plants include the potential for pests to evolve resistance to the toxins
produced by GM crops, the danger of unintentionally introducing allergens and other anti-
nutrition factors in foods, the likelihood of transgenes escaping from cultivated crops into wild
relatives, the risk of these toxins affecting non-target organisms.
GEAC
• The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) is the apex body constituted in the
Ministry of Environment and Forests.
• It was set up under ‘Rules for Manufacture, Use, Import, Export and Storage of Hazardous
Microorganisms/Genetically Engineered Organisms or Cells 1989’, under the Environment
Protection Act, 1986.
• The GEAC approves activities involving large scale use of hazardous microorganisms and recom-
binants in research and industrial production from the environmental angle.
• It is also responsible for approval of proposals relating to release of genetically engineered
organisms and products into the environment including experimental field trials (Biosafety
Research Level trial-I and II known as BRL-I and BRL-II).
Authorities under the Rule of 1986
• The Rules of 1989 also define five competent authorities for handling of various aspects of the
rules.
1. Institutional Biosafety Committees (IBSC),
2. Review Committee of Genetic Manipulation (RCGM),
3. Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC),
4. State Biotechnology Coordination Committee (SBCC) and
5. District Level Committee (DLC).

10.19 eVIN Project of Health Ministry becomes global best practise in
immunisation
• India’s electronic vaccine intelligence network project also known as eVIN project has got the
attention of five countries.
• Philippines, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Nepal and Thailand are mulling to replicate India’s
immunisation project.
eVIN project
• eVIN is an indigenously developed technology system in India that digitizes vaccine stocks and
monitors the temperature of the cold chain through a smartphone application.
• The eVIN is presently being implemented across twelve states in India.

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• eVIN aims to support India’s ‘Universal Immunisation Programme’ by providing real-time
information on vaccine stocks and flows, and storage temperatures across all cold chain points in
states.
• The project is being implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
• eVIN provides an integrated solution to address widespread inequities in vaccine coverage by
supporting state governments in overcoming constraints of infrastructure, monitoring and
management information systems and human resources, often resulting in overstocking and
stock-outs of vaccines in storage centres.
The integrated solution combines:
Technology:
• To facilitate evidence-based decision-making by making available online real-time information on
vaccine stocks and storage temperature through the eVIN application software and temperature
loggers;
Governance
• To ensure efficient vaccine logistics management by systemizing record keeping through
standardizing stock and distribution registers; identifying gaps and improving clarity on vaccine
cold chain network; drawing attention to infrastructure upgrades; developing standard operating
procedures; and encouraging good practices;
Human Resources
• To empower the state cold chain network by building the capacities of government cold chain
handlers; and deploying vaccine and cold chain managers in every district for constant support to
estimate vaccine requirements, supervise cold chain handlers and coordinate with cold chain
technicians across the district.

10.20 European XFEL generates its first laser beam
• The biggest X-ray laser in the world, the European XFEL, has generated its first X-ray laser light
and is now considered ready for its official opening in September.
European XFEL
• The European x-ray free electron laser (European XFEL) is an X-ray research laser facility.
• It is housed in underground tunnels inside a 3.4km-long facility at the DESY accelerator centre in
Germany.
• Eleven countries are involved in the European XFEL.
• It produces X-rays through the acceleration of electrons, the so-called synchrotron radiation.
• There are currently only five X-ray lasers in the world. The European XFEL is the largest and
most powerful of the group.
• The machine works by creating synchrotron radiation in X-ray range, emitting electrons that are
accelerated to close to the speed of light. Then, a powerful linear accelerator helps create the laser
light, which is a billion times brighter than conventional synchrotron light sources.

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Significance
• According to researchers, XFEL will create the fastest and most powerful laser pulses on the
planet. This will help many biological, chemical, and physical experiments. For example, it could
aid the study of biomolecules, leading to better, more effective disease treatments.
• It also could create more research into chemical processes and their catalysts, shedding light on
new ways to help protect the environment.
• The X-rays can be used to make pictures and films of the nanocosmos at atomic resolution –
such as of biomolecules, from which better understandings of the basis of illnesses or the
development of new therapies could be developed.
10.21 A way to use water to convert methane into methanol
• A team of researchers from Switzerland has developed a one-step process that uses water to
convert methane to methanol.
Conversion
• Water is used to oxidize methane over a bed of copper containing zeolite—the unique structure
of the mineral lets the water behave as an oxidant.
• The team claims the process is 97 percent efficient, emitting only methanol and hydrogen.
• The method is simple and easy enough that it could be used at drilling sites and the resulting
methanol could be used as a liquid fuel or as an ingredient in making resins or plastics.
• The hydrogen could be used in any number of ways, including in fuel cells.
Significance of the research
• A new way to turn methane into methanol using only water could help to significantly cut carbon
emissions by ending gas flaring at oil fields and create a useful chemical feedstock at the same
time.
• The direct oxidation of methane to methanol would therefore be a highly attractive industrial
process as Methanol is a valuable source of industrial chemicals and over 30 million tonnes are
consumed every year.
Present practice of conversion
• Currently, commercial methanol production requires the endothermic conversion of methane to
synthesis gas – a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen – which is then converted to
methanol. This is only feasible in huge facilities, so remote oil-extraction facilities often simply
burn any methane produced.
Methane
• Methane has been identified as a greenhouse gas.
• It is perhaps more of a problem even than carbon dioxide because it traps more heat (some
studies have suggested 25 times as much)—fortunately, not nearly as much of it is emitted by
humans into the atmosphere.
• It makes its way into the atmosphere due to animal flatulence and some industrial processes.

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• It is also a byproduct at gas wells, where it is generally burned.
• Methanol, on the other hand, has been considered a good alternative to gasoline for use in
automobile engines. It is currently made using a variety of techniques and basic materials
including coal, natural gas and even municipal waste.

10.22 Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) signs Agreement
with the Metal Industries Development Institute (MIDI), Ethiopia
• The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has entered into an agreement with the
Metal Industries Development Institute (MIDI), Ethiopia to implement a twinning programme.
• The MoU is aimed at R&D capacity building of MIDI.
• CSIR has clinched this multi-million US dollar assignment through a process where many
international organisations were considered.
• The twinning is one of the largest programs (in terms of contractual amount) between a CSIR
institute and a foreign entity.
CSIR
• Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), established in 1942, is an autonomous body
and the largest research and development (R&D) organisation in India.
• Although it is mainly funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology, it operates as an
autonomous body registered under the Registration of Societies Act of 1860.
• The research and development activities of CSIR includes aerospace engineering, Structural
engineering, ocean sciences, Life sciences, metallurgy, chemicals, mining, food, petroleum,
leather, and environment.

10.23 Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH)
• Parents of a CAH child, have started a support group called ‘CAH Support India’
(www.cahindia.org) involving a community of parents, grandparents and caregivers of CAH
children.
• The International Coalition for Endocrine Patient Support Organisations worldwide has listed
this support group as the first such group for endocrine disorders in India.
• CAH is an inherited disorder that affects the adrenal glands where the glands cannot produce
cortisol and aldosterone, and instead produce an unwanted excess amount of androgens.
• A child with CAH lacks enzymes the adrenal glands use to produce hormones that help regulate
metabolism, the immune system, blood pressure, and other essential functions.
• Parents with children suffering from it often have great difficulty in the upbringing of the child,
including treatment, getting school admission and other support issues.

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10.24 Banganapalle mango gets GI tag
• The Banganapalle mango received a Geographical Indication (GI) tag.
• This makes Andhra Pradesh the proprietor of the variety known for its sweetness.
• The Andhra Pradesh government is the registered proprietor of the GI tag for Banganapalle
mangoes, often hailed as “the king of fruits.”
About Banganapalle mango
• Banganapalle mango is generally known as The King of Mangoes. It also known as Beneshan,
Baneshan, Benishan, Chappatai and Safeda.
• These mangoes are large sized, weighing on an average 350-400 grams.
• The pulp is fibreless, firm and yellow with sweet taste.
• Their skin has very light spots, stone is oblong in shape and has very thin seed with sparse and
soft fibre all over.
• These mangoes have been grown for over 100 years in the state.
• The primary centre of origin of the fruit is Kurnool district comprising Banaganapalle, Paanyam
and Nandyal mandals.
What is GI tag?
• A GI tag indicates that the product comes from a specific region.
• GI is covered under the Intellectual Property Rights and the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual
Property Rights.
• A GI tag certifies the origin of a product or produce from a particular region as the quality or
other features of the product are attributable only to the place of its origin.
• The tag helps farmers or manufacturers, as the case may be, to get a better price in the market.
10.25 3D printed cartilage to treat osteoarthritis
• Researchers have successfully generated cartilage tissue using a 3D bioprinter, an advance that
could lead to new treatments for osteoarthritis.
• The advance represents a giant step forward in the ability to generate new, endogenous cartilage
tissue.
How was it developed?
• The team used cartilage cells harvested from patients who underwent knee surgery, and these
cells were then manipulated in a laboratory, causing them to rejuvenate and revert into
“pluripotent” stem cells — cells that have the potential to develop into many different types of
cells.
• The stem cells were then expanded and encapsulated in a composition of nanofibrillated cellulose
and printed into a structure using a 3D bioprinter.
• Following printing, the stem cells were treated with growth factors that caused them to
differentiate correctly, so that they formed cartilage tissue.

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• Each individual stem cell is encased in nanocellulose, which allows it to survive the process of
being printed into a 3D structure.
Potential applications
This bioprinted tissue can be used to repair cartilage damage, or to treat osteoarthritis, in
which joint cartilage degenerates and breaks down.

10.26 Researchers develop synthetic soft retina
• Scientists from the University of Oxford have developed a synthetic, soft tissue retina that closely
mimics the natural retinal process.
What is synthetic soft retina?
• The synthetic, double-layered retina replica consists of soft water droplets (hydrogels) and
biological cell membrane proteins.
• Designed like a camera, the cells act as pixels, detecting and reacting to light to create a grey scale
image.
• The synthetic material can generate electrical signals, which stimulate the neurons at the back of
our eye just like the original retina.
Significance of this discovery:
• Until now, artificial retinal research has used mostly rigid, hard materials. The human eye is
incredibly sensitive, which is why foreign bodies like metal retinal implants can be so damaging,
leading to inflammation and/or scarring.
• But a biological synthetic implant is soft and water-based, so much more friendly to the eye
environment.
• The researchers believe this could lead to the development of less invasive products that closely
resemble human body tissues, helping to treat degenerative eye conditions such as retinitis
pigmentosa. The condition changes how the retina responds to light, causing people to slowly
lose vision.
Retina:
• Just as photography depends on camera pixels reacting to light, vision relies on the retina
performing the same function.
• The retina sits at the back of the human eye, and contains protein cells that convert light into
electrical signals that travel through the nervous system, triggering a response from the brain,
ultimately building a picture of the scene being viewed
In 2014, it was announced that four vaccines will be added to the program, namely rotavirus, rubella
and Japanese encephalitis, as well as the injectable polio vaccine.

10.27 Pneumonia vaccine to be part of immunisation drive
• India has rolled out the long-awaited anti-pneumonia vaccine as part of the government’s
Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP).

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• The vaccine will protect children against severe forms of pneumococcal disease, such as
pneumonia and meningitis.
• The three-dose pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) will be rolled out in Mandi, Himachal
Pradesh, six districts of Uttar Pradesh and 17 districts of Bihar as a part of the first phase.
• The vaccine will give protection against 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria which cause
pneumonia disease.
About Pneumonia
• Pneumonia is caused by inflammation of the airspaces in the lungs. It is most commonly due to
an infection.
• It is a leading cause of death for children under the age of five years around the world.
• It may be caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi. The most common bacterial type that causes
pneumonia is Streptococcus pneumoniae.
• Signs and symptoms: Fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, and fatigue.
• Treatment: Vaccinations are available against several common organisms that are known to cause
pneumonia.
• Besides, antibiotics can also treat pneumonia by controlling the bacterial or fungal infection.
Pneumococcal disease condition in India
• Pneumococcal disease is the leading cause of vaccine-preventable deaths in children under five
years of age globally and in India.
• India accounts for nearly 20 per cent of global pneumonia deaths in this age group.
• In 2010, pneumococcal pneumonia accounted for approximately 16 per cent of all severe
pneumonia cases and 30 per cent of pneumonia related deaths in children under- five years of age
in India.
UIP
• Universal Immunization Programme is a vaccination program launched by the Government of
India in 1985. It became a part of Child Survival and Safe Motherhood Programme in 1992.
• It is currently one of the key areas under National Rural Health Mission(NRHM) since 2005.
• The program consists of vaccination for 10 diseases-
1. Tuberculosis,
2. Diphtheria,
3. Pertussis (whooping cough),
4. Tetanus,
5. Poliomyelitis,
6. Measles,
7. Hepatitis B,
8. Diarrhoea,
9. Japanese Encephalitis and
10. Hepatitis B was added to the UIP in 2007.

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In 2014, it was announced that four vaccines will be added to the program, namely rotavirus, rubella
and Japanese encephalitis, as well as the injectable polio vaccine.

10.28 Large Hadron Collider restarts for 2017 run
• The world’s largest and most powerful particle smasher Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has
restarted circulating beams of protons for the first time this year, following a 17-week-long
extended technical stop.
• Each year, the machines shut down over the winter break to enable technicians and engineers to
perform essential repairs and upgrades, but this year the stop was scheduled to run longer,
allowing more complex work to take place.
• Work this year included the replacement of a superconducting magnet in the LHC, the
installation of a new beam dump in the Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS) and a massive cable
removal campaign.
• Among other things, these upgrades will allow the collider to reach a higher integrated luminosity
— the higher the luminosity, the more data the experiments can gather to allow them to observe
rare processes.
Large Hadron Collider
• The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world’s largest and most powerful particle collider, most
complex experimental facility ever built, and the largest single machine in the world.
• It was built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) between 1998 and 2008
in collaboration with over 10,000 scientists and engineers from over 100 countries, as well as
hundreds of universities and laboratories.
• The LHC is based at the European particle physics laboratory CERN, near Geneva in
Switzerland.
• The aim of the LHC is to allow physicists to test the predictions of different theories of particle
physics, including measuring the properties of the Higgs boson and searching for the large family
of new particles predicted by supersymmetric theories, as well as other unsolved questions of
physics.
• The collider has four crossing points, around which are positioned seven detectors, each designed
for certain kinds of research.
• The LHC’s computing grid is a world record holder

10.29 DIPP & WIPO to set up Technology and Innovation Support Centers
• The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) and World Intellectual Property
Organization (WIPO) have signed an agreement to establish Technology and Innovation Support
Centers (TISC).

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TISC program
• TISCs will be set up under WIPO’s Technology and Innovation Support Centers (TISC)
program.
• The programme provides innovators in developing countries with access to locally based, high
quality technology information and related services, helping them to exploit their innovative
potential and to create, protect, and manage their intellectual property (IP) rights.
Services offered by TISCs may include
• Access to online patent and non-patent (scientific and technical) resources and IP-related
publications;
• Assistance in searching and retrieving technology information;
• Training in database search;
• On-demand searches (novelty, state-of-the-art and infringement);
• Monitoring technology and competitors;
• Basic information on industrial property laws, management and strategy, and technology
commercialization and marketing.
• The Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM) is designated as the National Focal point
for the TISC national network.
• As the national focal point, CIPAM shall identify potential host institutions, assess their capacities
and support them in joining the TISC project.
• CIPAM will also act as the main intermediary between WIPO and TISC host institutions and
coordinateall the activities of the national TISC network.
WIPO
• Created in 1967 “to encourage creative activity, to promote the protection of intellectual property
throughout the world, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is one of the 17
specialized agencies of the United Nations.
• It has currently 188 member states, administers 26 international treaties, and is headquartered in
Geneva, Switzerland.
• Non-members are the states of Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau,
Solomon Islands, South Sudan and Timor-Leste. Palestine has observer status.
• India is a member of WIPO and party to several treaties administered by WIPO.
• In the year 1971, the Kodaikanal Observatory became an autonomous society, the Indian
Institute of Astrophysics.

10.30 A century of looking at our closest star, the sun
• Data captured over a hundred years and more by the Kodaikanal Solar Observatory in Tamil
Nadu has now been digitised by astrophysicists from the Indian Institute of Astrophysics,
Bengaluru, and opened up to the public.

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Significance of this data
• Apart from use in academic studies of long-term behaviour of the sun, the data can be used to
better understand sunspot activity which impacts climate and affects telecommunication systems.
• It also throws light on major events that had an impact on the earth’s magnetic field.
How this data is unique?
• The 100-year data is unique also for its three sets of images, taken using different filters – White
light, H-alpha and Calcium-K.
• It is known that the sun has a layered structure, and each of the data sets exposes a different layer.
White light
• Under white light filtering, the sun’s photosphere and the sunspots are visible
Calcium-K
• The Calcium-K light can show layers some 2,000 km above this, in the chromosphere.
• Features called “filaments” which are related to large expulsions of material from the sun’s
surface can be viewed in the Calcium-K sets.
H-alpha
• The H-alpha images show up layers a little above the Calcium-K images.
Kodai observatory
• While ‘spectroheliograms’ were taken at the Kodai observatory since 1902, it was in 1909 that the
data was used to discover the Evershed effect – that gases in sunspots flowed radially outwards.
• The discovery by John Evershed put the KSO at par with the best observatories in the world. But
its importance eventually declined as it was not upgraded or maintained.
Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA)
• IIA is a premier institute devoted to research in astronomy, astrophysics and related physics.
• Funded by the Department of Science and Technology, the Institute ranks as a premier
institution devoted to research and education of astronomy and physics in the country.
• It traces its origins back to an observatory set up in 1786 at Madras which from the year 1792
began to formally function at its Nungambakkam premises as the Madras Observatory.
• In 1899, the observatory moved to Kodaikanal.

.

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11. ECOLOGY

11.1 Three new sites recognised as biodiversity hotspots in Goa
• BirdLife International, a conservation organisation, has recognised three new sites in Goa as
hotspots for protection.
• The sites have been added to their list of “Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas”.
Previous four
• Earlier, Goa had four recognised biodiversity areas:
1. Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park,
2. Carambolim Wetlands,
3. Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary and
4. Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary.
Latest three
• The list has now added three biodiversity areas
1. Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary,
2. Navelim Wetlands and
3. Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary.
What if a site is declared an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area?
• Declaring a site as an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area does not ensure that the site gets legal
protection or becomes inaccessible to people.
• Instead BirdLife International encourages national and State governments to recognise the areas
as sites of vital importance for conservation of wildlife and to empower local community-based
conservation initiatives.
• Goa probably has more sites than the seven identified but a lack of systematic effort in the past
to document birds created a void of data because of which conservationist could not propose
more sites to BNHS, which coordinates the programme in India.

11.2 Rhododendrons of eastern Himalayas under threat
• Though home to 97% of the Rhododendron species and sub-species in the country,
indiscriminate felling and loss of habitat in the north-eastern States has left many of these
beautiful flowering plants vulnerable to extinction.
• A recent publication by scientists with the Botanical Survey of India has documented and stressed
the need to protect the many unique varieties of Rhododendron.
Rhododendron
• Rhododendron — literally rose tree in Greek — found in the region, with 18 species endemic to
India.

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• Found in varied habitats from subtropical forest to alpine shrubs, rhododendrons range from
dwarf shrubs to large trees.
• There are 132 taxa (80 species, 25 sub species and 27 varieties) of Rhododendron found in India,
of which 129 are found in the north-eastern India alone.
• Only three taxa — Rhododendron arboretum nilagiricum found in south India
and Rhododendron colletianum and Rhododendron rawatti from the western Himalayas are
not found in the north-east.
• Arunachal Pradesh is home to the highest number with 119 taxa (74 species, 21 sub species
and 24 varieties) of the Rhododendron.
• The small State of Sikkim is home to 42 taxa (25 species, 11 sub-species and six varieties) while
10 taxa are found in Manipur, four in Mizoram and 11 in Nagaland.
• The eastern Himalayas are regarded as one of the centres of diversity for the genus, which means
that the Rhododendron has migrated to different parts of world from this region.
• The Sikkim Forest department and the Sikkim Rhododendron Society have identified nine
Rhododedron ecosystems and protected area networks in the State. The two famous
Rhododendron sanctuaries in the State are Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary and Shingba
Rhododendron Sanctuary.
Geographical conditions for the growth of Rhododendron
• The cold, moist slopes and deep valleys of the eastern Himalayas form a conducive habitat for
the luxuriant growth of Rhododendron species.
• Nowhere in the world, are such unique geographical and ecological formations are found. This is
the primary reason for such a diversity of Rhododendron available in the region.
Use of Rhododendron:
• Other than the ornamental value, use in packaging wood crafts, fragrance and religious use,
Rhododendrons also are used in local medicines against colds, coughs and chronic bronchitis and
diarrhoea.
• The petals of R. arboretum are widely used for making juice, jams and jelly.
Environmental concerns
• The scientists have pointed to the need for conservation of Rhododendrons.
• Epiphytic species, which grow on other trees or plants, of rhododendrons with limited
population are most vulnerable due to loss of the host trees.
• While in high altitude areas of Arunachal Pradesh, rhododendrons are routinely cut for firewood
by local people, forest fires in the dry seasons in Manipur and Nagaland were threatening the
survival of many species.
• The endemic R. wattii from Dzukou hills of Manipur and Nagaland is one of the most critically
endangered species in India, with only a few adult trees remaining in their natural habitat.

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11.3 Rescue wards for injured animals
• In an attempt to reduce the number of deaths of endangered wildlife in Thar desert, new “rescue
wards” have come up in the far-flung rural areas of Jodhpur, Rajasthan.
• These will provide quick treatment to animals injured in road accidents, dog bites, etc.
• With an average of nearly 1,000 injuries a year, the wildlife in Thar desert has witnessed 60%
mortality because of lack of transport to the main rescue centre at the Jodhpur zoo. This has led
to the depletion of wildlife, mainly chinkaras (Indian gazelles).

11.4 Orangutans
• Albino orangutan is in news as the public are being asked to name a rare albino orangutan
rescued in the Indonesian part of Borneo island, with conservationists saying she has become an
“ambassador” for the threatened species.
• Orangutans are the two exclusively Asian species of extant great apes. Native to Indonesia and
Malaysia, orangutans are currently found in only the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra.
• Both orangutan species are considered to be “critically endangered”, with the Sumatran
orangutan being critically endangered since 2008.
• Orangutans are among the most intelligent primates; they use a variety of sophisticated tools and
construct elaborate sleeping nests each night from branches and foliage.

11.5 Marine reserves can mitigate climate change
• Evaluating 145 peer-reviewed studies, a research team has concluded that “highly protected”
marine reserves can help mitigate the effects of climate change.
Importance of marine reserves in climate change mitigation
• As per the research, marine reserves cannot halt or completely offset the growing impacts of
climate change. But they can make marine ecosystems more resilient to changes and, in some
cases, help slow down the rate of climate change.
• Protecting a portion of oceans and coastal wetlands will help sequester carbon, limit the
consequences of poor management, protect habitats and biodiversity that are key to healthy
oceans of the future, and buffer coastal populations from extreme events.
• Coastal wetlands, including mangroves, seagrasses and salt marshes have demonstrated a capacity
for reducing local carbon dioxide concentrations because many contain plants with high rates of
photosynthesis.
Concerns
• Around the world, coastal nations have committed to protecting 10% of their waters by 2020, but
so far, only 3.5% of the ocean has been set aside for protection, and 1.6%, or less than half of
that, is strongly protected from exploitation.

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• The study also notes that ocean surface waters have become on average 26% more acidic since
pre-industrial times. By the year 2100, under a “business-as-usual” scenario, they will be 150%
more acidic.

11.6 Industries found illegally dumping e-waste near Ramganga River to pay
Rs 1 lakh
• The National Green Tribunal announced that anyone found dumping electronic waste (e-waste)
on the banks of Ramganga River in Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh would be fined a sum of Rs one
lakh as environment compensation.
• It is due to huge quantity of hazardous e-waste generated from various industries in powder form
was being disposed on the bank of the river and the same was duly verified by a joint inspection
conducted by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
• Ramganga is a tributary of Ganga, which originates from the high-altitude zone of 800m to 900
m.
• It passes through Corbett National Park, near Ramnagar in Nainital district and descends to
the plains.
• The cities alongside the banks of Ramganga River are Moradabad, Bareilly, Badaun, Shahjahanpur
and Hardoi of Uttar Pradesh state.
• The entire river flows in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh states.
The important tributaries of Ramganga are Kho, Gangan, Aril, Kosi and Deoha also known as
Gorra.

11.7 Entire Assam declared ‘disturbed’
• The government has declared the entire Assam as a “disturbed” area under the Armed Forces
(Special Powers) Act for another 3 months.
• As per the notification, the entire Assam besides bordering areas of Meghalaya has been declared
as “Disturbed Areas”.
• In addition, the government has placed three districts of Arunachal Pradesh, namely, Tirap,
Changlang and Longding and other areas falling under 16 police stations bordering Assam as
“disturbed” area under the AFSPA.
• Assam was placed under AFSPA in November 1990.
• The AFSPA has been under force in the three Arunachal Pradesh districts since January 2016.
Why?
• The decision was taken after the government observed various violent activities carried out by
certain insurgent groups like ULFA, NDFB and others in these areas.
• In Assam, 75 incidents of violence were reported in 2016 and 9 in 2017.
AFSPA:

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• Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), is an Act of the Parliament of India that grant
special powers to the Indian Armed Forces in what each act terms “disturbed areas”.
Why is this required?
• The government (either the state or centre) considers those areas to be ‘disturbed’ “by reason of
differences or disputes between members of different religious, racial, language or regional
groups or castes or communities.”
Under which conditions AFSPA can be declared?
• When the local administration fails to deal with local issues and the police proves inefficient to
cope with them.
• When the scale of unrest or instability in the state is too large for the police to handle.
How does one officially declare a region to be ‘disturbed’?
• Section (3) of the AFSPA Act empowers the governor of the state or Union territory to issue an
official notification on The Gazette of India, following which the centre has the authority to send
in armed forces for civilian aid.
• It is still unclear whether the governor has to prompt the centre to send in the army or whether
the centre on its own sends in troops.
• Once declared ‘disturbed’, the region has to maintain status quo for a minimum of three months,
according to The Disturbed Areas (Special Courts) Act, 1976.
What about the state government’s role?
The state governments can suggest whether the Act is required to be enforced or not. But
under Section (3) of the Act, their opinion can still be overruled by the governor or the centre.

11.8 Quality of water has improved
• The World Water Council recently carried out a major survey on water awareness in major parts
of the world, including India.
• The survey was done ahead of the 8th World Water Forum that is scheduled to take place in the
Brazilian capital Brasilia in March 2018.
• Based on its observations, the council has observed that the standard of drinking water in India
has improved in the last five years but a lot of work still remains to be done.
Highlights of the survey
• More than one-third of Indians think that not enough is being done to achieve the UN’s
sustainable development goals to make water and sanitation for all a reality by 2030.
• 31% of Indians said they had been in a situation where it was unsafe to drink water but they had
no other choice and suffered from diseases like diarrhoea and gastroenteritis.
• A majority (71%) of Indians said that safe drinking water had improved over the last five years.
• 62% of the Indians said they believed that the government was doing enough to support access
to safe drinking water.

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• Referring to the ‘Swachh Bharat Campaign’, the World Water Council praised Indian
government’s efforts towards clean drinking water and sanitation.
World Water Council
• It is an international multi-stakeholder platform to facilitate the efficient conservation, protection,
development, planning, management and use of water in all its dimensions.
• It was established in 1996 and its headquarters is in Marseille, France.
• It has 341 members which include organizations from the UN and intergovernmental
organizations, the private sector, governments and ministries, academic institutions, international
organizations, local governments, and civil society groups.
• Every third year the World Water Council organizes the World Water Forum in close
collaboration with the authorities of the hosting country.
• The Forum is the largest international event in the field of water. The World Water Council is
financed primarily through membership fees, and additional support is provided by the host City
of Marseille. Specific projects and programs are financed through donations and grants from
governments, international organizations, and NGO’s.

11.9 Ganga Swachhta Sankalp Divas
• Ganga Swachhta Sankalp Divas was observed on 2 May 2017 by the National Mission on Clean
Ganga (NMCG) at 12 locations including Allahabad, Varanasi, Kanpur, Patna, Sahibganj,
Bhagalpur, Raj Ghat (Hardoi), Kolkatta, Srinagar ( Uttarakhand), Bithoor, Devprayag and Vidhur
Kuti.
• Over thirty more locations observed the day through the support of local NGOs, Ganga Vichaar
Manch and volunteers.
• The main aim of celebrating the day is to spread awareness and encourage the public to actively
involve themselves in the river’s rejuvenation process through the Ganga Swachhta Sankalp that
reiterates their commitment to Swachh Ganga through a series of events like Swachhta Sandesh
rally, Shram Daan and plantation.
• The day also aims to stir a sense of pride and ownership among citizens to rouse support for
Namami Gange programme.

11.10 Final raising of Sardar Sarovar Dam cleared by Narmada Control
Authority
• Narmada Control Authority (NCA) has cleared the proposal of final raising of the Sardar Sarovar
Dam (SSD) in Gujarat by lowering of the gates and impounding of water in the reservoir up to its
Full Reservoir Level (FRL) of EL 138.68 meters.
Effects of lowering the Gates of SSD

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• With lowering of gates of SSD, the live storage capacity would increase from 1565 to 5740 MCM
i.e. by 4175 MCM (267%).
• The clean (hydro-power generation) would increase by present 1300 MW to 1450 MW with
increase in annual generation by about 1100 Million Units (i.e. about Rs.400/- crore per annum).
• In addition, this additional storage would irrigate about 8 lakh hectares. Additionally, about one
crore population would get assured drinking water.
Narmada Control Authority
• The Narmada Control Authority (NCA) has been setup under the final orders and decision of the
Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal (NWDT) as a machinery for implementation of its directions
and decision.
• The authority started functioning from 20th December, 1980.
• The authority is a body corporate
with representatives of the four States of
Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra,
Rajasthan and representatives of Govt. Of
India.
• The authority is funded in equal
proportions by all the four states.
• Secretary (Water Resources), Govt.
of India is the ex-officio Chairman of the
Authority, whereas the routine
administration is the responsibility of
Executive Member of the Authority.
• NCA presently has six subgroups.
The Narmada Control Authority has its
headquarters at Indore.
Sardar Sarovar Project
• The Sardar Sarovar Project is one of the largest water resources project of India covering four
major states – Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan.
• The Sardar Sarovar Dam is a gravity dam on the Narmada river near Navagam, Gujarat in India.
• It is the largest dam and part of the Narmada Valley Project, a large hydraulic engineering project
involving the construction of a series of large irrigation and hydroelectric multi-purpose dams on
the Narmada river.
• The project took form in 1979 as part of a development scheme to increase irrigation and
produce hydroelectricity.
• Dam’s spillway discharging capacity (30.7 lakhs cusecs) would be third highest in the world.
• The dam will be the third highest concrete dam (163 meters) in India, the first two being Bhakra
(226 metres) in Himachal Pradesh and Lakhwar (192 meters) in Uttar Pradesh.

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11.11 Chinnar wildlife sanctuary
• Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary (CWS) is located in the Idukki district of Kerala.
• It was in news as an ambitious project of the Kerala Forest Department at the Chinnar Wildlife
Sanctuary (CWS) to rehabilitate Indian star tortoises (Geochelone elegans) seized from smugglers
has turned into a major success. This makes the CWS the only rehabilitation centre for star
tortoises in the country.
• The CWS is one of twelve wildlife sanctuaries among the protected areas of Kerala.
• It is under the jurisdiction of and contiguous with Eravikulam National Park to the south.
• Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary is to the north and Kodaikanal Wildlife Sanctuary is to the east.
• It forms an integral part of the protected forests straddling the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border in the
Annamalai Hills.
• The Western Ghats, Anamalai Sub-Cluster, including all of Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, is under
consideration by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee for selection as a World Heritage Site.
• The CWS is the only place in Kerala where star tortoises are known to occur in the wild. The
sanctuary is now a haven for at least 450 such tortoises seized from poachers in less than two
years.
• Indian star tortoises are considered auspicious for gaining wealth. It is the reason why Indian star
tortoises, which are protected under the Wildlife Act, are poached and smuggled. It is classified as
vulnerable by the IUCN.

11.12 Centre to tap MGNREGA funds to make Saraswati flow again
• The Centre plans to tap rural employment guarantee funds to recharge remnants of ancient rivers
— including the mythical Saraswati — in a bid to boost groundwater reserves.
• Reviving such palaeo-channels may not be useful for irrigation but it could improve groundwater
storage.
• Palaeo-channels are old rivers that have dried up and filled with sediment.
• Last October, a committee of hydrologists, geologists and archaeologists — as part of study
commissioned by the Water Resources Ministry — reported evidence on the course of the
Saraswati, mentioned in the Rigveda and Hindu mythology.
• S. Valdiya, who led the team, concluded that the Sutlej river “represented the western branch of
the Saraswati.”
Saraswati
• Saraswati river passed through Haryana, Rajasthan and North Gujarat. It also passed through
Pakistan before meeting Western Sea through Rann of Kutch and was approximately 4,000 km in
length.

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• One-third of the river stretch fell in present-day Pakistan. The longer, two-third stretch
measuring nearly 3000 km in length fell in India.
• The river had two branches: western and eastern. The Himalayan-born Satluj “of the PAST”,
which flowed through the channels of present-day Ghaggar-Patialiwali rivulets, represents the
western branch of the ancient river.
• On the other hand, Markanda and Sarsuti represented the western branch of Saraswati, known as
Tons-Yamuna.
• The confluence of the branches was near Shatrana, 25 km south of Patiala. And suddenly, it flows
crossing the dessert (Rann of Kutch) and meet gulf of western sea.

11.13 Climate change may cause more rainfall in tropical areas: NASA
• A new NASA study warns that the amount of rainfall in the Earth’s tropical regions will
significantly increase as our planet continues to warm.
• The team used observations of thermal radiation from NASA’s spaceborne Clouds and the
Earth’s Radiant Energy System and other satellite devices as well as ground-level observations.

Highlights of the study
• Most global climate models underestimate decreases in high clouds over the tropics seen in recent
NASA observations.
• Globally, rainfall is not related just to the clouds that are available to make rain but also to the
Earth’s “energy budget” — incoming energy from the Sun compared to outgoing heat energy.
• High-altitude tropical clouds trap heat in the atmosphere. If there are fewer of these clouds in the
future, the tropical atmosphere will cool.
• Judging from observed changes in clouds over recent decades, it appears that the atmosphere
would create fewer high clouds in response to surface warming. It would increase tropical rainfall,
which would warm the air to balance the cooling from high cloud shrinkage.

Rainfall warming the air sounds counterintuitive
• People are used to rain cooling the air around them, not warming it. However, several kilometres
up in the atmosphere, a different process prevails.
• When water evaporates into water vapour on the Earth’s surface and rises into the atmosphere, it
carries with it the heat energy that made it evaporate.
• In the cold upper atmosphere, when the water vapour condenses into liquid droplets or ice
particles, it releases its heat and warms the atmosphere.
• It puts the decrease in high tropical cloud cover in context as one result of a planet-wide shift in
large-scale air flows that is occurring as the Earth’s surface temperature warms.

Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES)

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• CERES is on-going NASA climatological experiment from Earth orbit. It is a part of the NASA’s
Earth Observing System (EOS).
• The CERES are scientific satellite instruments.
• It is designed to measure both solar-reflected and Earth-emitted radiation from the top of the
atmosphere (TOA) to the Earth’s surface.
• Results from the CERES and other NASA missions, such as the Earth Radiation Budget
Experiment (ERBE), could lead to a better understanding of the role of clouds and the energy
cycle in global climate change.

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Dear Students
Political Science a dynamic subject is one of  Theories of International Relations.
the most popular optional subjects among civil service  Key Concepts in IR.
aspirants. The advantages of picking political science  American Hegemony.
as a favorite optional are diverse. It helps candidates  Regionalism in world politics.
in updating their knowledge of the current events and  Contemporary global issues and world politics
provides a fresh perspective on the burning domestic specially w.r.t WTO, Environmental issues,
and foreign policy issues. More than half of the Democracy.
general studies paper is vitally related to the two  Relevance of NAM, NIEO
papers of political science for the main examination. Secondly study the following:-
In the recent years candidates with political science as  India & NAM.
an optional have fared better in many respects. The  India in South Asia.
rate of success is scaling higher and higher.  India & Major powers.
Good conceptual clarity & fine Answer  India & Iran, Iraq, Israel.
writing skills are a must to score comfortably in
 Nuclear Non proliferation.
Political Science. Especially in Paper 1 Section A,
 India – Japan.
lack of conceptual clarity mar your chances of scoring
Thirdly focus on other areas.
high marks.
Last but not the least Update with current affairs
A well prepared student can comfortably
related to Political affairs. As far as Paper 2 is
score in the range of 360 – 380. Please ensure that
concerned though it is not mentioned in the syllabus it
your answers are pregnant with the orientation
is vital to study the basics of foreign policy doctrine
towards current issues wherever essential. Do not
of major powers – USA, China, Russia & Japan.
write what is relevant to the question. Write exactly to
what the question demands. We have herein given a
Political Science PAPER-1
model paper with model answers to illustrate how to
Time Allowed: 3 Hours
score higher marks in Political Science.
Maximum Marks: 250
APPROACH TO POLITICAL SCIENCE MAINS
Candidates should attempt Question Number 1
PREPARATION
and 5 which are compulsory and any 3 of the
PAPER-I
remaining questions choosing at least one question
Firstly study
from each section.
 Western Political Thought and Indian Political
SECTION –A
Thought
1. Comment on the following (in about 150 words
Secondly Study the Indian Polity. While studying
each) (4X 12.5 = 50 Marks)
Indian Polity give emphasis on the following:-
a) The structure of fascism is corporatism. (Benito
 Constitutional Development.
Mussolini).
 Supremacy between Fundamental Right‘s and The structure of fascism is corporatism, or the
Directive Principles. corporate state. The structure of fascism is the
 Significance of Preamble. union, marriage, merger or fusion of corporate
 Position of president and Governor. economic power with governmental power. Failing
 Centre – State relations. to understand fascism, as the consolidation of
 Inter - State relations. corporate economic and governmental power in the
 Pressure groups in India. hands of a few, is to completely misunderstand
 Judicial review. what fascism is. It is the consolidation of this power
 Judicial Activism. that produces the demagogues and regimes we
 Panchayat Raj Institutions. understand as fascist ones.
Thirdly focus on other areas and current issues. The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist
PAPER – II nation often is the ones who put the government
Firstly Study the following:- leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial
business/government relationship and power elite.

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In Italy the workers and employers had their human species. No-one has the 'right' to kill another
separate syndicates. These were linked together by human being.
22 National corporations (representing the major Prenatal testing can be a valuable tool for
industries) in which both the workers and diagnosing and treating conditions that threaten the
employers had equal representation. Each health or life of the mother, the child, or both.
corporation had its managing body – the council. However, in many cases it is being used as a
These councils sitting together constituted the precursor for aborting a child of an undesired sex or
National Council of Corporations. The central with potential genetic abnormalities or defects. The
committee of the National council included all the girl children become target of attack even before they
Fascist ministers. Mussolini himself was the head of are born. For example, recent studies have indicated
the ministry of corporations. The National that more than 90 percent of unborn children
Corporation was supposed to make rules regarding diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted.
wages, hours and conditions of work. In 2007 Maharashtra‘s consumer court has
delivered an unprecedented ruling in favour of a
b) In a democracy, “the weakest should have the woman seeking an insurance claim on the death of an
same opportunity as the strongest”. . (Gandhi). unborn child—the court determined that the unborn
Gandhi was a democrat. He said true democracy baby was a living human being entitled to personhood
must be the rule of the people in its real sense. and required the insurance company to pay the claim.
Democracy means complete decentralization of Societies have to provide legislation concerning
powers. He laid emphasis on panchayat raji events that invade this right. It is the right of every
institutions. He said, ―My notion of democracy is unborn child to be born in a socially safe
under it the weakness should have the same environment. The socio-political system must not be
opportunity‖. Democracy must provide social justice to the exclusion of the natural rights of an unborn
to all. child.
The principle that ‗all power ultimately rests with
the people and must be exercised with their consent‘ d) Reasonable citizens want to belong to a society
lies at the heart of democracy. Democracy is premised where political power is legitimately used.
on the recognition and protection of people‘s right to (Rawls).
have a say in all decision making processes which is Rawls‘s liberal principle of legitimacy is tied to his
itself based on the central principle of equality of all idea of public reason.
human beings. The exercise of this fundamental A liberal regime is legitimate, Rawls contends,
political right requires a guarantee of crucial freedoms only if it can win the consent of the reasonable
–to express one‘s thoughts and opinion without fear, citizens to whom it is proposed; the consent of
to seek and receive information, to form associations unreasonable citizens is not necessary for legitimacy.
and to assemble in a peaceful manner to discuss According to Rawls, a citizen is reasonable only if he
public affairs amongst others. Accommodation of the (1) accepts the fact of reasonable pluralism and (2) ―is
views of minorities is essential to prevent democracy willing to propose and honor fair terms of
from degenerating into despotism by the majority. cooperation‖ to govern his dealings with those with
The purpose of democracy protection is to ensure that whom he profoundly disagrees as to comprehensive
the voices of the weakest are also heard. Its core views.
values are freedom, equality, fraternity, Reasonable citizens want to live in a society in which
accommodation of diversity and the assurance of they can cooperate with their fellow citizens on terms
justice. that are acceptable to all. They are willing to propose
and abide by mutually acceptable rules, given the
c) Unborn child also has rights. assurance that others will also do so; and they will
The right to life is the most basic of all rights, and honor these rules even when this means some
belongs also to the embryo in a mother‘s womb. sacrifice to their own interests. Reasonable citizens
Physicians, biologists, and other scientists agree that want, in short, to belong to a society where political
conception marks the beginning of the life of a human power is legitimately used.
being - a being that is alive and is a member of the Each reasonable citizen has his own comprehensive
doctrine. Yet because reasonable citizens are
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reasonable, they are unwilling to impose their own property. Redistributive taxation from the talented to
comprehensive doctrines on others who are also the disadvantaged accordingly violates self-ownership
willing to search for mutually agreeable rules. in two ways. The conditions under which the use of
my talents and their products will lead to a just
2. (a) Can study of politics be value free? allocation of resources are specified by the three
(20 Marks). principles of justice: the principle of initial
Behavioralists see a close relationship between acquisition, the principle of transfer, and the
theory and empirical research in the sense that theory principle of rectification. He adopts and defends
should be ―verifiable‖ by analysis of observed what he calls "the entitlement theory," which he
behavior, while the process of seeking and summarized in a three-point definition:-
interpreting empirical data should be guided by 1. A person who acquires a holding in accordance
theory. However the behavioral mode of inquiry came with the principle of justice in acquisition is entitled
under heavy attack for its preoccupation with to that holding.
methodology at the expense of substance and public- 2. A person who acquires a holding in accordance
policy orientation. with the principle of justice in transfer, from someone
David Easton‘s ―postbehavioral revolution,‖ tried else entitled to the holding, is entitled to the holding.
to be relevant to social problems. It criticized 3. No one is entitled to a holding except by (repeated)
behavioralism for concealing an ideology of empirical applications of 1 and 2.
conservatism, for losing touch with reality and being Nozick's ethical stance prohibits the use of state
over-sophisticated with research techniques; it or other power for the involuntary coercion of
demanded research about and the constructive anyone to give anything from one person to
development of values; and it encouraged the another. So, according to Nozick, a distribution of
politicization of the profession. goods is just, so long as the distribution was brought
As Easton has pointed out, the requirement that about by free exchanges by consenting adults and was
science be value-free is in itself a value statement made from a just starting position, even if large
leading to logical contradictions. It should be stressed inequalities emerge from the process.
that values always play a part in social science. Post The chief among the other rights that an individual
behavioralism stresses the public responsibilities of is entitled to is the property right. Every
Political science. ―redistribution‖ of wealth violates the rights of the
Practical relevance implies orientation towards the people. Therefore the modern welfare states are not
brute realities of politics. Mere sophistication of legitimate. Nozick also shows that under the
methods and techniques is not enough. Political framework of a minimal state different communities
studies must be tuned to social realities and social with their own values can coexist. Individual liberty
change. Otherwise it tends to be static and has to be seen as a whole, including the opportunities
conservative. of a free market and strong individual rights as for
instance gay rights and the freedom of prostitution.
(b) Individuals have rights, and there are things no
person or group may do to them (without violating 3. (a) Platonic communism is ascetic; and just for
their rights). (Robert Nozick). (30 Marks). that reason it is also aristocratic. Comment. (20
The statement implies that a minimal state Marks).
limited to the narrow functions of protection against Plato's "ideal" society included the elimination of
force, theft, fraud, enforcement of contracts, and so marriage and the family so that all the women would
on, is justified. (i.e) the minimal state is justified as belong to all the men and all the men would belong to
well as right. all the women. Children resulting from these
Self-ownership argument: Nozick argues that if I promiscuous unions would be taken over by the
own myself, then I own my talents, and that if I own government as soon as they were weaned and raised
my talents I own the products of my self-owned anonymously by the state. There was to be selective
talents. The notion of self-ownership has a reflexive breeding of men and women under control of the
significance — what owns and what is owned are one government and children considered inferior or
and the same, the whole person. That is why, as a crippled were to be destroyed.
self-owning person, I have absolute rights over my
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Platonic communism is ascetic: It is a way of For Ralph Miliband the state is a tool or
surrender; and it is a surrender imposed on the best, instrument of the ruling class. (i.e) the capitalist
and only on the best. classes govern, but not directly, they content
It is also aristocratic: Plato reserved the full themselves with "governing the government".
blessings of communism for his ruling class. It would According to Miliband the members of the state elite
be there that he felt private property could be are predominantly drawn from the ranks of the upper
eliminated, family relations communalized, and class and upper middle class. They are thus drawn
intellectual energy devoted to determining what was from the ranks of the bourgeoisie, the landed
good for the masses in the lower classes. aristocracy and the highly paid professions.
It exists for the sake of the whole society, but not for Structuralists like Poulantzas place more
the whole society. It exists only for the governing emphasis upon the structure of a society, (i.e) the way
classes. In that sense it is a political, and not an in which it is organised, the arrangement of the parts.
economic communism which Plato preaches. Hence it Poulantzas defines state power as the capacity of a
is regarded as Half Communism by Barker. social class to realize its objective interests through
the state apparatus. In contrast to Miliband,
(b) The criticism that “Machiavelli has stripped off Poulantzas argues that it would be possible for people
politics with its ethical foundations” is from humble backgrounds to occupy the state elite
unacceptable. (15 Marks). positions but it would make no difference. The state
Scholars criticize Machiavelli for having stripped would still operate in the interests of the ruling class.
off politics with its ethical foundations. He was called Poulantzas criticized Miliband‘s over-emphasis on
in the 16th century as the ―apostle of the devil‖ and the determining role of individual members of the
―teacher of evil‖ by Leo Strauss. This criticism is not ruling class instead of seeing them as fairly passive
acceptable because Machiavelli was more realistic in deliverers of decisions already locked-in by the
approach. He was conditioned by the political system. This is known as Miliband-Poulantzas
experiences of his time. debate.
Machiavelli taught that it was good to promote
morals and ethics and religious convictions among the 4. (a) Why did Macpherson prefer a participatory
people in their private life. But the ruler was above model of democracy?. (30 Marks)
these things. C.B.Macpherson holds that democracy embodies
Machiavelli‘s ethics only has one rule: to do the the broad and narrow meanings. He analyses and
best act for the given moment. The best act is that criticizes liberal democracy with the ideas of
which accordingly maintains the order in the state. Marxism. He points out that Possessive
What may appear vicious to the conventions may be Individualism is the base of liberal democracy.
the ―best act‖ in Machiavelli‘s ethics. Machiavelli's Liberal democracy is soaked with the postulates of
purpose in The Prince is twofold. First, he is trying to Possessive Individualism. Man in the Possessive
describe how things actually work in politics. Individualism is an appropriator, a consumer, and a
Secondly, he is arguing for specific types of action maximizer of utilities. There exists the unequal
that princes should undertake. transfer of man's power between individuals by
Nowhere in The Prince or The Discourses does property of means of production in the liberal society
Machiavelli explicitly make morality or ethics his (or the capitalism society). Man can't achieve self's
concern. It is merely an expression of the practical improvement equally in it. Liberal democracy is thus
ethics of his times. The major concern of Machiavelli specifically associated with a class-divided society.
is how states should be run and not how morals are to Macpherson‘s The Life and Times of Liberal
be followed. In fact the Prince carries in it an ethics of Democracy is an account of changes in liberal
political convenience. democratic theory.
Macpherson's four models of liberal democracy are
designated as "Protective Democracy",
"Developmental Democracy", "Equilibrium
(c) What is Miliband-Poulantzas debate? Explain. Democracy", and "Participatory Democracy."
(15 Marks). The first, which makes its case for democracy on
the grounds that it alone can protect the governed
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from oppression, is found in the utilitarianism of 1. It would facilitate functioning of democracy
Bentham and James Mill, reluctant democrats who in the country.
simply felt that the needs of an essentially capitalist 2. It would help in the removal of racial and
economy in the then prevailing conditions demanded cultural tensions.
such political reforms as the extension of the Unilinguall State is stable - A State is built
franchise. on fellow feeling. It is feelings of a corporate
The "developmental" model, which Macpherson sentiment of oneness which makes those who are
divides into two stages, is a more humanistic one. charged with it feel that they are kith and kin. It is a
The model is best represented by J.S. Mill (although feeling of ―consciousness of kind ―which is the
Macpherson recognizes the anti-democratic foundation of a stable and democratic State.
elements in Mill) who first articulated the principle Multi-lingual State unstable - Faction fights
which for Macpherson is the essence of the tradition, for leadership and discrimination in administration are
that aspect of it he wants to preserve: the factors ever present in a mixed State and are
commitment to the self-development of all incompatible with democracy.
individuals equally. In the 20th century, this However he admits that a linguistic State with
developmental model, while retaining Mill's ethical its regional language as its official language may
commitment lost some of his realism concerning the easily develop into an independent nationality.
obstacles to the fulfillment of the liberal goal posed The former danger a wise and firm statesman
by the realities of class and exploitation. They simply can avert. But the dangers of a mixed State are greater
assumed that the regulatory and welfare state would and beyond the control of a statesman however
suffice to bring about the desired end. eminent.
The third model, the currently prevalent one, is He suggested that it should be laid down in
that of the "pluralist elitist equilibrium model" the constitution that regional languages shall never be
inaugurated by Schumpeter and developed by accepted as official languages of the States. Hindi
political scientists like Robert Dahl. This model, must be declared as a national language and English
argues Macpherson, lacks the ethical dimension of should continue as the only official language so long
the previous one and offers a description, and a as Hindi does not become fit for this status.
justification, of stable democracy as a "competition
between elites which produces equilibrium without SECTION –B
much popular participation." 5. Comment on any three of the following (in
Having critically examined each of these models about 150 words each) (4X 12.5 = 50
Macpherson offered the model of participatory Marks).
democracy which aims to rid of the contradictions a) Pressure groups are a sign of changing
of liberal democracy. He proposes to develop this consciousness.
into a complete model to supersede earlier ones, The consciousness of different groups goes on
embodying a specific political programme and some changing as a result of
suggestions about the kinds of social and ideological 1. Changing material conditions; and
changes which would be needed to make the political 2. Increasing politicization.
programme workable. The change in the material conditions leads to
Citizens have the ultimate power to decide on higher-level consciousness. For instance the increase
policy and politicians assume the role of policy in the food production or industrial goods does bring a
implementation in a Participatory Democracy. change in the way individuals and groups look at the
McPherson‘s thought looks essentially practical in world. The stagnation in production leads to fatalism
that its ultimate aim is the resolution of moral but increase in the production leads to demands,
problems, which emerge with social changes. protests and formation of new pressure groups. This is
the initial expression of the changes in material
(b) A linguistic province produces what democracy conditions. This also leads to sharpening of the
needs. (Ambedkar). Comment. (20 Marks) political processes.
Ambedkar favored the idea of linguistic states for two The political parties and political groups try to
reasons: - mobilize various groups by raising new demands or
articulating the new aspirations. The people at large
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respond to those processes as they enter a new phase
of consciousness. c) Grassroots movements in India have kept alive
The poor and the deprived sections lack the the idea of participatory democracy.
capacity to organise themselves, therefore, they are A grassroots movement is one driven by the
usually organised or represented by the elite for upper politics of a community. Often, grassroots movements
strata. are at the local level.
For example in Rajasthan, a people's organisation The 1970‟s of India saw grass root micro
known as Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sanghthan (MKSS), movements such as the ecology movements, the
could succeed in making the people question and women‘s movements, the dalit movements, the
demand information on money spent on roads; loans movement for civil liberties and democratic rights and
to poor and so on. This made the basis for the right to various movements of religious and ethnic minorities.
information movement. People are exerting their The micro-movements in India represent a varied
rights to get information from the government and much complex phenomenon. These micro-
regarding activities that rightfully concerns them. movements, led by grassroots groups of social
activists, have been active in different parts of India
b) The Dalit movement dismissed the premise of for over three decades working on disparate issues,
the mainstream nationalist movement that albeit all concerning struggles of the economically
India was a nation. marginalized and socially excluded populations of the
The institutional changes (judiciary, civil poor.
administration, commodity markets), cultural changes They took up issues and constituencies abandoned
(modernity, western mode of living, English by political parties and trade unions, and those ill-
education, exposure to western treasure of knowledge served by the bureaucracy. The organizational form
and scholarship), economic changes (zamindari and they evolved for themselves was not of a political
ryotwari systems in place of jajmani-balutedari), and party or a pressure group. It was that of a civil-
emergent social changes that came in during the associational group, leading political struggles on
colonial rule gave impetus to the aspirations of the issues articulated to them by the people themselves.
lower castes. The development opportunities that The key concept they worked with was democratizing
these changes created came into conflict with development through empowerment of the people. It
traditional social relations, which still shackled them is thus significant to note that the politics of
through caste bondage. grassroots movements emerged outside the
The anti-Brahmin movement launched by institutional politics of representation and at the
Mahatma Phule in Maharashtra, in many ways interface of society and politics, involving people
inspired the Dalit Movement. It is a fact that the directly in struggles for reshaping their social and
Dalits and the downtrodden castes had certainly political lives.
favoured the alien rule to the oppressive Brahmin rule
even before they expected anything positive from the d) Could the mechanics of politics of AJGAR &
former. Phule said ―We would be grateful to the MAJGAR be altered in India?.
Britishers because they did not honour the laws of Caste has definitely played a big role in Indian
Manu‖. politics. The system of positive discrimination that the
Phule said ―Unless all the people in Balistan chis British had devised continued to operate in the post
term for India including the Shudras, Ati-Shudras etc., independence period too. The Mandal Commission
become educated and are able to think over and unite, Report of 1990 retained caste as the relevant criterion
they cannot constitute a nation.‖ Nation in as much as for positive discrimination.
it is a phenomenon associated with the capitalist Parties like Samajwadi Party & Bahujan Samaj
development, the pre-capitalist caste has to be Party came to believe that caste and class were the
antithetical to the concept of a nation.While the INC real issues in Indian politics and that, for thousands of
spearheaded the emerging Indian bourgeoisie‘s drive years, the lower castes had been oppressed by the
for overall political and economic control, the Dalits upper castes. These political groups fielded scores of
sought to strengthen the most disadvantaged people in lower-caste candidates, in acknowledgement of the
the Indian society and set in the process of internal fact that the OBC – constituting the relative majority
consolidation of the Indian nation.
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all over India – voted for their own candidates rather women including Sarojini Naidu and Margaret
than upper caste notables. Cousins met the Viceroy to put forward the demand
For instance, in many states, one or two castes for female franchise. The Indian National Congress
dominate politics and political power; for instance, supported the idea and the constitutional reforms in
the Reddys in Andhra Pradesh, Lingayats and 1919 allowed provincial legislatures to decide the
Vokkaligas in Karnataka, Marathas in Maharashtra, issue. Madras was the first province to allow women
and so on. Electoral politics in general and to vote. Women also became legislative councillors.
distribution of tickets during elections in particular are Dr.Muthulakshmi Reddy was the first woman to
based on caste calculations and vote banks, e.g. become legislative councillor in Madras in 1927. The
Muslim and Harijan vote banks which have been the demand for women‘s suffrage was later changed to
stronghold of the Congress; such vote banks as adult franchise within the national movement.
AJGAR (Ahirs, Jats, Gujjars, and Rajputs, later The question of personal law reform came to
becoming MAJGAR, with the addition of the fore during the Rau committee (1941-46), which
Muslims) in UP and Bihar; and KHAM (Kshatriyas, was formulating a code of Hindu law. New Women‘s
Harijans, Adivasis, and Muslims) in Gujarat. movement attempted to revive the Uniform Civil
The 1990s saw a growing number of cases where Code within the framework of gender politics.
parties relying primarily on the support of backward In the post Independence period a series of
classes, often in alliance with Dalits and Muslims, institutional initiative has been introduced for the
were catapulted to power in some Indian states. The emancipation of women in the society. The most
Janata Dal governments in Bihar and Karnataka are important of these pertain to the constitutional
excellent examples of this strategy. provisions and social legislation for women and
By virtue of their vote bank, politics of AJGAR & planned economic development. Women‘s movement
MAJGAR have assumed a critical position in has been widely influenced by these broad socio-
electoral mechanics. economic and political processes.
In response to women‘s movement in the 1990‘s,
6. Gender has been a central „issue‟ in Indian the government has set up women‘s cells in few
politics since the colonial encounter. Examine. (50 ministries, namely, rural development, labour and
Marks). human resource development ministries. In the
Atrocities practiced against Indian women was the government‘s programme for rural poor, 30% women
mirror in which Indian men were invited to see beneficiaries are to be selected for training and
themselves when colonial education began. Thus income generation programme. The 73rd
emerged the social reform movement, an attempt on amendment has given 1/3rd reservation to women
the part of the new elite to redress, sometimes with in Panchayat Raj Institutions. The National
and sometimes without British help, the worst Commission for Women has been set up to look
features of the old patriarchal order. into different problems of women.
A series of campaigns resulted in the abolition of Women's Reservation Bill or the The
sati in 1829 and the enabling of widow remarriage in Constitution (108th Amendment) Bill, is a pending
1856. Another strand was concerned with creating the bill in India which proposes to provide thirty three per
female counterpart of the new male elite, ―New cent of all seats in the Lower house of Parliament of
Women‖, who would share the sensibilities of the India the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies
men in the family and be able to sustain their new shall be reserved for women. The Upper House Rajya
class roles. Sabha passed it on 9 Mar 2010. Progressive political
Between the 1820s and 1850s reformers, who opinion in India is strongly in favour of providing
favored both legislative interventions by the colonial preferential treatment to women in order to create a
state and a wider program of female emancipation, set level playing field for all of its citizens.
up organizations like the Brahmo Samaj in eastern The Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on
India, the Prarthana Samaj in western India, the Arya September 12, 1996. Though it has been introduced in
Samaj in northern India, and the Theosophical Society Parliament several times since then, the Bill could not
in southern India. be passed because of lack of political consensus.
For the first time in 1917, the demand for Various political parties have staunchly opposed
women‟s right to vote was raised. A deputation of it because they argue that reservation would only help
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women of the elitist groups to gain seats, therefore  Untouchability has been abolished. Sincere efforts
causing further discrimination and under- have been made for the upliftment of the SCs ,STs
representation to the poor and backward classes. and of other Backward Classes.
The mood of the women‘s movement is restless. The  Through 73rd and 74th Amendments to the
struggle for equality in economic, social and political constitution, (1991 & 1992 respectively),
spheres will continue until they are achieved. Only Panchayati Raj has been given the constitutional
then can women charter their political agenda to build status with more powers.
a gender just society.  Small scale and village industries and Khadi Gram
Udyog have been encouraged to bring prosperity to
6. Are the critics right in calling Directive the rural areas.
Principles of State Policy as not better than  India has also been actively co-operating with the
„New Year Greetings‟.?. (30 Marks). U.N. to promote international peace and security.
It has been asserted that Directives are in the form The above steps on the part of the central and state
of holy wishes having no legal sanction behind them. governments indicate that many Directive Principles
Government is not bound to implement them. Critics of State Policy have been implemented to lay down
point out that they are not formulated keeping the the foundations of a secular, socialist and welfare
practical aspect these ideals in mind. Despite all this, state. However, still there is a long way to go to
it cannot be said that these Principles are absolutely achieve all of them in full. There are many hindrances
useless. They have their own utility and significance. in the non-implementation of Directive Principles of
The Directive Principles are just like a polestar State Policy. The main reasons are – (a) lack of
that provides direction. Their basic aim is to political will on the part of the states, (b) lack of
persuade the government to provide social and awareness and organized action on the part of the
economic justice in all spheres of life, keeping in people and (c) limited material resources.
view its limited material resources, at the earliest (b) What is the special role of Rajya Sabha?.
possible. (20 marks)
Many of them have been implemented very Dynamism is the essence of Democracy and
successfully. Actually, no government can afford to change is that the essence of Democratic institutions.
ignore these instructions as they are the mirror of the RS has a distinct entity and over the years it has
public opinion and also reflect the basic spirit of the assumed a place of honour and distinction in our body
Preamble of our Constitution. Some of the steps taken politic.
in this direction are: 1. The emergency of hung parliament and political
 Land reforms have been introduced and Jagirdari instability has resulted into frequent elections and
and Zamindari systems have been abolished. unethical political horse- trading and formation of
 There has been rapid industrialization and unstable coalitions. In such a scenario, RS
tremendous increase in the agricultural production provides continuity, consistency, and stability
through Green Revolution. as a second chamber of the legislature.
 National Commission for the Welfare of Women 2. The emergence of regional aspirations is a
has been established. hindrance in the smooth development of centre.
 Ceiling has been placed on land and property to fix State relations. RS being a Council of states
the limit of person‘s holdings. protects the states interests and turns the
 The privy purses of ex-princes have been confrontations into co-operation.
abolished. 3. The major issue of confrontation in Indian
 Life Insurance, General Insurance and most of the Federation is the imposition of President‘s rule in
banks have been nationalized. a State under Art.356. RS checks the undue
 In order to reduce economic disparity, Right to exercise of this power by Union Executive. In
Property has been deleted from the chapter on 1999 the resolution for such an emergency in
Fundamental Rights. Bihar failed on this aspect
 Subsidized public distribution schemes have been 4. The role of RS is further strengthened when two
launched to help the poor people. different parties have majority in two
 The rules require that both men and women are chambers of parliament. It makes the
paid equal wages for equal work. enactments through discussions and persuasions-
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the bedrock principle of a parliamentary In 1987, a political stir was created when
democracy President Zail Singh withheld his assent to the
5. RS also checks the tendency of govt. to take Indian Postal (Amendment) Bill, despite its having
populist measures under an unstable political been passed by both the Houses of Parliament. The
Scenario. It also poser a moral authority over a President won public support for himself and for the
care taker govt. During Kargil war, the govt. had office by open expression of displeasure over a bill
to seek RS‘s approval when the LS was which would expand enormously the government‘s
dissolved. power to tamper with private correspondence. The bill
6. The diversity of India and the need for Co- never came back for the reconsideration of the
operative Federalism‖ necessitate RS be President. One of the reasons for this tension was
restructured and re- strengthened to take up the partially a reflection of bad personal relations.
new challenges of India‘s changing political President APJ Abdul Kalam (popularly
scenario known as the people's President) became the first
RS has hence acquired many new roles and President to return the Bill that exempted 56 posts,
functions to the extent of transformation of this had asked the MPs to reconsider it to have a
institution into the conscience keeper of the 'comprehensive and generic' criteria besides making it
parliament. 'fair and reasonable' and applicable in a "clear and
transparent" manner across all states and Union
7. (a) Has the Indian President been performing Territories.
only a ceremonial role? (30 marks) Though there have been differences between the
There have been occasions when the President and the Prime Minister, these did not
President had differences of opinion with the Prime assume serious proportions culminating in any
Minister on the policies of the government. constitutional crisis. Whenever such differences arose
Rajendra Prasad - The first President of India they were attempted to be resolved informally or
tried to break from the British convention that the through the party functionaries. On the whole, the
head of the state is always bound by the advice of the President has always worked only as constitutional
Prime Minister and the Cabinet. For instance, he was head.
unhappy with the Nehru government‟s attempt to
reform Hindu personal law. Again in 1959, he (b) Compare Gandhian and Nehruvian
declined to give his assent to the state emergency in Economy. (20 marks)
Kerala. The development of the Indian economy till 1977,
Presidential activism reached the climax at the when the Janata Party came to power, was based on
resignation of the Prime Minister Morarji Desai Nehru‘s investment strategy and hence, popularly
and his government on July 15, 1979. It was the time referred to as the ‗Nehru Model of Development;.
when President Dr. Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy This model made heavy industry the foundation of
became active on the political scene of India. There the economy and made the foundation strong so that
is conclusive evidence against him that he encouraged the economy is able to reduce its dependence on
Charan Singh to stake his claim to form a new foreign aid. Gandhian model did not lay much
government. Charan Singh was not the only candidate emphasis on industrialization. "God forbid that India
in the fray for prime ministership. Morarji Desai was should ever take to industrialism after the manner of
still the leader of the Janta Party in the Parliament. He the west... keeping the world in chains. If our nation
also staked his claim the next day. In his capacity as took to similar economic exploitation, it would strip
prime minister he advised the President that he should the world bare like locusts" said Gandhi.
be invited to form a new government. Despite the For Nehru economics was as important as
constitutional provision under Article 74 (1) requiring politics; so too, human rights in their many
the president to act in accordance with the advice of dimensions. He accepted many ideas from the Soviet
the council of ministers the President took no notice experiment and adopted some of those ideas like the
of Morarji Desai's advice. To an extent the President Planning Commission to prepare projects for
was right because Morarji Desai had resigned for development. Socialist he was but not cast-iron
want of majority-support in Parliament and he could ideological. Pragmatism was part of his calculus of
not claim the prime ministership in the same breath. political policy. Gandhian economics is dominated
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more by moral and ethical values than by mere In a situation of political breakdown, the governor
economic ideas. Thus Gandhian economy was should explore all possibilities of having a
idealist in essence and not pragmatic. government enjoying majority support in the
assembly. If it is not possible for such a government
8. Should article 356 be deleted to improve Center- to be installed and if fresh elections can he held
State relations? (50 marks) without avoidable delay, he should ask the outgoing
Keeping in mind the spirit of co-operative Ministry (if there is one) to continue as a care taker
federalism, our founding fathers of the constitution government, provided the Ministry was defeated
incorporated article 356 patterned upon the section 93 solely on a issue unconnected with any allegation of
of in a situation of political breakdown, the governor mal administration or corruption and is agreeable to
should explore all possibilities of having a continue The governor should then dissolve the
government the Govt. of India Act 1935. legislative Assembly leaving the resolution of the
Unfortunately it so happened that over the years constitutional crisis to the electorate
Art 356 has been frequently abused or misused Judicial Review and Art 356
rather than used. Dr B. R. Ambedkar while The 38th Amendment act of 1975 made the
replaying to the critics of this provision in the satisfaction of the president in involving Art 356 final
constituent Assembly hoped that the drastic power and conclusive and beyond judicial review. But this
conferred by Art 356 would remain a “dead letter” provision was subsequently deleted by 44th
and would be used only as a measure of last resort. Amendment Act 1978.
However what was hoped to be a ―dead letter‖ has In Bommai case 1994, the SC has laid down the
turned to be a “deadly weapon” targeting the following propositions on imposition of President‘s
Indian federal spirit. In view of this, many states are rule in a state under Art 356:-
demanding the deletion of Art 356. 1. The presidential proclamation imposing president
Rationale use of Art 356 rule is subject to judicial review.
It is important that Art 356 is read with the other 2. The satisfaction of the president must be based on
relevant articles viz. articles 256, 257, 355 and 365. relevant material.
Art 355 speaks of the duty of Union to protect the 3. Burden lies on the centre to prove that relevant
state against external aggression and internal material exist to justify the use of Art 356.
disturbance and to ensure that the government of the 4. The court cannot go into the correctness of the
state Id carried on in accordance with the constitution. material or its adequacy but it can see whether it is
The Union can also act under Art 355 (i.e) without relevant to the action
imposing president‘s rule. Art 355 can stand on its 5. If the court holds the presidential proclamation to
own. be unconstitutional and invalid, it has power to
Also Union government can issue certain restore the dismissed state government.
directions under art 256 and 257. While art 356 6. The state legislative assembly should be dissolved
authorizes the president to issue a proclamation only after the parliament has approved the
imposing president‘s rule over a state if he is satisfied presidential proclamation.
that a situation has arisen in which the government of 7. Secularism being the basic feature of the
state cannot be carried on in accordance with the constitution, a state government pursuing anti-
provisions of the constitution, art 365 says that where secular politics is liable to action under Art 356.
a state fails to comply with Union directions (under 8. The question of the state government losing the
art 256, 257 and others) it shall be lawful for the confidence of the legislative assembly should be
president to hold that a situation has arisen in which decided on the floor of the house and until that is
the government of the state cannot be carried on in done the ministry should not be unseated
accordance with the provisions of the constitution‖. 9. Where a new political party assumes power at the
Thus the scheme of the constitution seems to centre, it will not have the authority to dismiss
clearly suggest that before rushing to issue a ministries formed by other parties in the states.
proclamation under art 356, all other avenues should 10. The power under art 356 is an exceptional
be explored. power and should be used only occasionally to
Judicious action of governor meet the requirements of special situations.

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Conclusion - The ultimate protection against the c) Indira‘s Monroe Doctrine & its impact on India‘s
misuse of art 356 lies in the character of the political foreign policy
process itself. d) India – Bhutan Friendship is unique.
Article 356 is necessary in our Constitution
as it stands. It must remain but the institutions that 6. (a) Security predicament is a major constraint in
are entrusted with its working must be strengthened; India-Bangladesh bilateral relations. Examine.
particularly the office of Governor who must resist (20 Marks).
the machinations of politicians, whether in the Centre (b) Hard power or soft power – Which one do you
or in the State. think, India should apply w.r.t. China considering the
developments in the last two years?. (30 Marks).
Political Science PAPER-2
Time Allowed: 3 Hours 7. (a) India's riparian relation with its neighbors has
Maximum Marks: 250 become highly fragile. Examine the issues involved.
Candidates should attempt Question Number 1 (25 Marks)
and 5 which are compulsory and any 3 of the (b) Is NAM a Pragmatic approach or Idealistic
remaining questions choosing atleast one question approach w.r.t. India?. What role India has in NAM
from each section. now?. (25 Marks).
SECTION –A
1. Comment on any three of the following (in about 8. (a) Has India-Russia relations lost their moorings
150 words each) (4X 12.5 = 50 Marks) and momentum due to India's growing ties with the
a) Gender Justice Movement. United States? Comment. (30 Marks).
b) Hegemonic stability theory. (b) Discuss the need for reviewing India‘s Nuclear
c) It was liberalization and democratization that Doctrine. (20 Marks).
brought the Soviet regime to a crisis point.
d) Nash Equilibrium in World Politics.

2. (a) The rise of new social movements in capitalist
societies lies within the context of the crisis
legitimation resulting from the new relationship
between state and society. Examine. (20 Marks)
(b) Is it possible to understand international politics
without attention to non-state actors? (30 Marks).

3. (a) UN has done well but not well enough. Do you
agree?. (30 Marks).
(b) Violence by armed groups and increasing
violations by governments have combined to produce
the most sustained attack on human rights. Comment.
(20 Marks).

4. The ―Security Dilemma‖ is both the root, and
outcome, of the ―Balance of Power,‖ while the
―Balance of Power‖ is a natural demand by countries
in the ―Security Dilemma.‖ Comment with
contemporary examples. (50 Marks).
SECTION –B
5. Comment on any three of the following (in about
150 words each) (4X 12.5 = 50 Marks)
a) Impact of domestic political structure on Indian
foreign policy.
b) 2017 – Year of India-Japan Friendship.
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General Studies – Mains 2017 Test - 1
Answer the following in 200 words.
1. “Political reform must precede social reform”. (Tilak). Comment.
Tilak believed that all social evils could be mended if the country attained political freedom.
Tilak was convinced that the emancipation of the country must have the first priority in national
programme, for without it social reforms could make no real headway. He gave the example of
Ireland and argued that Ireland had almost concretely realized the scheme of social reforms which
was suggested by the Indian social reformers but still she was politically backward.
He asserted, "there is no inherent connection or relation of cause and effect between social reform
and earnestness about national regeneration. On the contrary there is a possibility of opposition
between them." Tilak gave more importance to national freedom. It is a naked truth that without
getting power, no nation can change her society.
Tilak resembled Aurobindo when he differed from social reformers and regarded political
freedom as a prerequisite for the removal of social evils. Aurobindo argued, "The hope of social
reform divorced from political freedom... is an illogical hope which ignores the nature of social life
and the conditions of its well-being." He said that if political freedom was denied, an individual
would not be able to follow noble ends and would became a degraded person. (203 words Approx).

2. Are state funding of elections and state funding of political parties same?. Identify the pros &
cons of state funding of elections. What is the current status in India?.
State funding of elections means that government gives funds to political parties or candidates
for contesting elections. While state funding of political parties is a continual and permanent affair,
state funding of elections happen only during the Elections.
Pros
 If parties and candidates are financed with only private funds, economical inequalities in the
society might translate into political inequalities in government.
 It can increase transparency in party and candidate finance and thereby help curb corruption.
 Political parties and candidates need money for their electoral campaigns & manage their day to
day affairs of office. Public funding is hence naturally essential to democracy.
Cons
 It would encourage vested persons to get into the political arena merely to avail of state funds.
 Budgetary constraints - State expenditure on key social sectors such as primary healthcare is
lacking & hence is a cause of concern.
Current state funding measures include provision of free time on public broadcasters for
national parties in general elections and for registered state parties in state legislature elections.
Besides this, national parties are provided some benefits like security, office space, utility subsidies
etc. Another form of indirect state funding available in India is that registered political parties do
not have to pay income tax, as laid down in Sec.13A, Income Tax Act. (218 words Approx).

3. Discuss the development of arts and literature in Gupta period.
Art and Architecture
Both the Nagara and Dravidian styles of art evolved during this period. The temple at Deogarh
near Jhansi and the sculptures in the temple at Garhwas near Allahabad remain important specimen
of the Gupta art. There was no influence of Gandhara style. But the beautiful statue of standing
Buddha at Mathura reveals a little Greek style.
The craftsmen were efficient in the art of casting metal statues and pillars. The Delhi Iron pillar
of the Gupta period is still free from rust though completely exposed to sun and rain for so many
centuries.
Their paintings are seen at Bagh caves near Gwalior. The mural paintings of Ajantha mostly
illustrate the life of the Buddha.
Samudragupta issued eight types of gold coins.
Literature
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General Studies – Mains 2017 Test - 1
Nagari script had evolved from the Brahmi script. Numerous works in classical Sanskrit came to
be written in the forms of epic, lyrics, drama and prose. The best of the Sanskrit literature
belonged to the Gupta age.
Himself a great poet, Samudragupta patronized a number of scholars including Harisena. The
court of Chandragupta II was adorned by the celebrated Navratnas. Kalidasa referred as Indian
Shakespeare authored the Sanskrit drama Shakuntala. Sudraka renowned poet authored
Mrichchakatika rich in humour and pathos.
The Panchatantra stories were composed by Vishnusarma during the Gupta period.
The Puranas Mahabharatha and the Ramayana in their present form were composed during
this period. (220 words Approx).

4. Explain the Educational Philosophy of Jean Jacques Rousseau.
Rousseau‘s text Émile was the foundation for many current theories of child-centred education.
Rousseau thought that formal learning, such as that acquired through reading or mathematics,
should be delayed until the moral and psychological foundations of personality had been laid down
through interaction with the natural world.
Girls should learn to be the primary educators of children in the private and moral sphere,
whereas boys should learn to carry out their public responsibilities in the wider world.
It encouraged self-expression and self-actualization. Unlike the technical–rational model, which
places the teacher at the centre of the educational process, romanticism is child-centred.
Educational implications of child-centred education
 The purpose of education is the development of the whole person.
 The child‘s experiences are the central elements of education.
 Children should be free to choose what to learn and how to learn.
 Individual experiences, expression and creativity are encouraged as part of the curriculum.
 Individual learning plans can be used to recognize the unique characteristics of every child.
 All learners are different, and their individuality is unconditionally prized.
 Teachers exert minimal control but act as facilitators of learning experiences.
 The teacher provides an appropriate and rich environment. (202 words Approx).

5. Identify the contribution of the Chalukyas to Indian architecture.
The Chalukyan style originated in Aihole around A.D. 450 and was perfected in the
neighbouring villages of Badami and Pattadakal. Chalukyan artists blended the Indo-Aryan Nagara
and Dravidian styles, and evolved their own distinctive vesara style. Their style includes two types
of monuments.
1) The rock cut halls (caves)
2) Structural temples
The structural temples of the Chalukyas exist at Aihole, Badami and Pattadakal. These temples
are a mixture of Northern and Dravida style of temple architecture and represent a transition as well
as experimentation in the temple architecture.
The largest temple of Chalukyas of Badami is Virupaksha Temple, whose complex encloses 30
sub shrines and a large Nadi mandapa.
The best specimens of Chalukya paintings can be seen in the Badami cave temple and in the
Ajanta caves. The Badami cave temples are a complex of four Hindu, Jain and possibly Buddhist.
Characteristics
 Chalukya architects used northern stepped diamond plan for architectural design.
 Chalukya architecture is also called the precursor of Hoysala art.
 Cornice is used in Chalukya temple for downward movement of rainwater or to save from
scorching heat.
 The decorative pillars with its intricate design of western Chalukya architecture is also known as

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gadag style of architecture.
 Use of soapstone for projection in walls carvings. (213 words Approx).

6. Only 7 per cent engineering graduates employable. Identify the causes for this state of affair.
Syllabus not updated regularly: There is a big gap between what the market needs and what
Indian education equips its future employees with.
Lack of quality teachers: Faculty is not comprised of the very best of the industries who have the
skills to create brilliant students.
Lack of innovation and research: Rote learning instils in students a sort of complacency for more
than 12 years of education and they are unable to make the shift from un-questioning learners to
innovators in the job market.
Lack of skill-based education: The lack of in-depth understanding of technical information, lack
of client-handling skills and insufficient knowledge across domains are the major skill gaps.
Branding of colleges: As companies are prone to visiting only top colleges to recruit potential
employees which creates a lack in equal opportunities produces a deficiency of quality employees
as this process ignores a huge number of meritorious students who do not study in top tier colleges.
Mushrooming engineering colleges: A major cause is the ease with which state governments
grant permission to little-known barely-trained educational trusts and organizations to set up the
same.
The IT 'employability': Due to comparatively higher employment in the IT sector, engineering
graduates are neither well-versed in their core subjects, nor in IT.
Lack of soft skills: Lack of English communicative skills and low analytical skills, are the other
main reasons for unemployment. (228 words Approx).

7. Place an assessment on the role of the Left Wing within the Indian National Congress
between 1920 and 1947.
Indian Communism was borne out of mostly of peasant and labour activists, Non-Cooperators,
Khilafatists and revolutionaries whose aspirations and participation in the national movement
remained either unfulfilled or insufficient.
M.N.Roy founded the Communist Party of India in Tashkent in October 1920. Various formal
Communist bodies were formed in the period 1920s in different parts of the country.
With the agreement of supporting the national movement as encouraged by Lenin, the
Communist Party of India (CPI) asked its members to join the ranks of the Congress and to form a
strong Left wing within it.
Congress Socialist Party (CSP) was formed in 1934 in Pune under the chairmanship of
Narendra Dev with the aim of consolidating Leftist proposals after gaining independence. It was
geared towards moulding Congress along socialist lines. Nehru and Bose supported CSP from
outside.
The Cabinet Mission Plan was rejected by the CSP and it boycotted the Constituent Assembly.
CSP dropped Congress from its nomenclature in February-March 1947 and threw its door open to
non-Congress members. Its connections with the Congress were formally severed in 1948 after
Patel‘s declaration that all political parties formed within Congress were outlawed. Given the
option to join or opt out, the Socialist Party chose the latter. However, socialist influence was
carried on by Nehru who did not agree with forming a separate organization or breaking away from
Congress and severing the ties with Gandhi and right wing nationalists. (224 words Approx).

8. State Buddha's Four Noble Truths that explore sufferings.
The reality of suffering draws many to Buddha's teachings; the teachings are not about suffering
though. Instead they are about ultimate freedom, and the exuberance that this freedom is accessible
to all. Strive to be a Buddha, not a Buddhist.
Four Noble Truths
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1. Dukkha: Suffering exists: Life always involves suffering, in obvious and subtle forms. Even
when things seem good, we always feel an undercurrent of anxiety and uncertainty inside.
2. Samudaya: The cause of suffering is craving and fundamental ignorance. We suffer because of
our mistaken belief that we are a separate, independent, solid ―I.‖ The painful and futile struggle
to maintain this delusion of ego is known as samsara, or cyclic existence.
3. Nirodha: Our obscurations are temporary. They are like passing clouds that obscure the sun of
our enlightened nature, which is always present. Therefore, suffering can end because our
obscurations can be purified and awakened mind is always available to us.
4. Magga: By living ethically, practicing meditation, and developing wisdom, we can take exactly
the same journey to enlightenment and freedom from suffering that the buddhas do. Freedom
from suffering is possible by practicing the Eightfold Path
Noble Eightfold Path
Three Qualities Eightfold Path
Wisdom (panna) Right View
Right Thought
Morality (sila) Right Speech
Right Action
Right Livelihood
Meditation (samadhi) Right Effort
Right Mindfulness
Right Contemplation
(215 words Approx).

9. The liberal-democratic ideology of the West influenced the shaping of value premises of the
Indian Constitution. Do you agree?.
 India‘s long experience of western countries gave us liberal principles which keep power of state
in check and protect rights of citizens.
 Fundamental rights such as right to freedom are ensured by art 19. These rights emerged in
aftermath of oppression of monarchy and clergy on poor serfs in France and discrimination
against Americans by European colonies. Hence all these constitutions have pro-individual
character such bill of rights in USA. These rights have included in our constitution with only
Right to property only being an ordinary right. These are very fundamental to western
philosophical thoughts & emerged against utilitarianism such as theory of justice. These theories
bestowed entire range of rights such as right to life, equality, right to justice, right to property on
the citizens. Obviously state has power of reasonable restrictions on them.
 Concept of secular state was given by France as per which no social or religious order is
supposed to have hegemony over the lives of the people and religion is just personal matter of
the citizens. Article 25-28 protects citizens and grant them right to practice any religion.
 Principle of separation of powers was given by French philosopher Montesquieu. This now
forms the cornerstone of all democratic constitutions including India. Judicial review is an
American device. Also Council of minister remains separate but responsible to Lok Sabha
signifying checks and balances.
 American constitution provided us with concept of autonomous states driving their powers
directly from the constitution. This is protected by an independent judiciary. (235 words
Approx).

10. There is a striking similarity between GOI Act 1935 and Indian constitution. Examine.
Government of India act 1935 was introduced on the recommendations of Simon commission
report which was appointed to prepare the report card of GOI act 1919. Nearly 75% of the
constitution can be said to reproduction of GOI act 1935 with suitable adaptations and
modifications.
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 Federalism: GOI act 1935 first time introduced federal system of govt. in India. This idea of
federalism was adopted in 1950 constitution.
 Distribution of subjects: There was a clear cut demarcation of power b/w provinces and centre.
Subjects were classified in 3 lists Federal list, Provincial list and Concurrent list. Indian
constitution versions of these lists are Union list, State list and Concurrent list.
 Dyarchy at centre: Dyarchy was introduced in centre. Today‘s Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha are
successor of Federal Assembly and Council of States.
 All India Court: For the first time an all India court called ‗Federal Court of India‘ was set up.
Once Indian Constitution came into force it was substituted by Supreme Court.
 Direct Election: The act introduced for the first time direct elections and increased the franchise
from 7 million to 35 million. After the independence we also opted for direct election with
universal franchise.
 Emergency powers: A degree of autonomy was given to provinces but British authority
retained the right to suspend the responsible govt. This is the genesis of article 356 of Indian
constitution which gives centre the power to impose President‘s rule in state in case of failure of
constitutional machinery. (225 words Approx).

11. Was Partition of India inevitable?.
 Muslims began to worry about their future in an independent India;
- Jobs were given to Congress supporters who were mostly Hindu‘s
- Cow slaughter was banned in one state while other states passed tax laws which harmed
Muslim landowners.
 By 1940 Jinnah was the leader of India‘s Muslims.
 Muslim League adopted the Lahore resolution which called for the establishment of Pakistan.
 Congress Party was strongly opposed to this. Congress compared the League to the Nazi‘s and
the League expressed fears of a Hindu dominated India.
Partition became inevitable.
 London sent a Cabinet Mission. Cripps felt that compromise was possible but the mission
ended in failure. Both sides felt that too much or not enough concessions were given.
 Wavell announced the formation of an Indian interim government. Both parties entered into
negotiations.
 Calcutta 1946 Jinnah called for ’Direct Action Day’ to show support for Pakistan. Four days of
rioting between Hindu‘s and Muslims followed.
 Civil war seemed a real possibility, Gandhi travelled to Bengal in attempt to end violence
which meant he was absent from political negotiations in Delhi.
 The congress had to accept the partition to check these communal riots. Smaller, unified and
strong India would be better than a bigger but weak India, felt founding fathers.
 Lord Mountbatten in fact firmly believed that partition was the only solution left to resolve
Congress-League, and Hindu-Muslim standoff. (235 words Approx).

12. What are three parent babies?. What are the ethical issues involved?.
Misfired Mitochondria causes Leigh syndrome, a fatal genetic disorder that affects the brain,
muscles and nerves of developing infants. Scientists have developed two techniques to stop
mitochondrial diseases being passed from mother to child:-
 Mitochondrial spindle transfer (MST) - Doctors use standard IVF procedures to collect eggs
from the mother. They take the nucleus from one of the eggs and drop it into a healthy donor egg
that has had its own nucleus removed. The reconstituted egg contains all the normal genes from
the mother, but her faulty mitochondria are replaced by those from the healthy donor. The egg is
then fertilized with the father‘s sperm. The resulting embryo has the usual 23 pairs of
chromosomes that hold the mother and father‘s DNA, but the 37 mitochondrial genes, about
0.2% of the total, come from a third person, the donor.
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 Pronuclear transfer - This is similar to MST, but both the mother‘s and donor‘s eggs are
fertilized first with the father‘s sperm. Before the eggs divide into early stage embryos, the
parents‘ chromosomes are removed from the mother‘s fertilized egg and placed into the donor
egg, which has had its own chromosomes removed.
Ethical Concerns
 The first is the fair distribution of medical resources to make this therapy available to all
patients regardless of their financial capabilities.
 The second concern is that if the access to this technology is not fairly distributed, then
economically disadvantaged women may be at risk of exploitation because of the excessive
compensation paid to mitochondrial donors. This financial coercion of impoverished egg
providers is a big issue and serves as a cautionary warning for mitochondrial donation. There
should be strict legal safeguards against such practices. (245 words Approx).

13. What do you mean by “Consequentialism & Non-Consequentialism”?.
A consequentialist theory judges the rightness or wrongness of an action based on the
consequences that action has. Such argument is similar to a non-sacred or negotiable political
argument. Figures and data are cited rather than principles or authorities, and phrased in the
language of policy experts. Consequentialist reasoning is characterized by attributes such as:
 Relativism: implying value trade-offs or comparability with other competing values;
 Consequentialism: invoking costs or consequences;
 Instrumentalism: referencing calculated self-interest;
 Negotiability: invoking compromise
 A Denial of boundaries: denying the validity of a boundary.
Utilitarianism is the most familiar example of consequentialism; it proposes that the best action is
one that produces the greatest good for the greatest number.
Nonconsequentialism action is based on properties intrinsic to the action, not on its consequences,
and according to Voorhoeve, (2010), core restrictions on the promotion of the good (like not using
someone harmfully and against his will as a means for the greater good of others) can permissibly
be overridden as the consequences of respecting these restriction are sufficiently awful.
For example, the death penalty is an example of a nonconsequentialist value statement; capital
punishment is not justified by a deterrent effect, but instead is upheld as a moral statement of the
requirements of justice (often combined with the biblical injunction of an eye for an eye, tooth for a
tooth, and life for a life). (232 words Approx).

14. What is bioprinting?. What are its applications?.
3D printing is increasingly permitting the direct digital manufacture (DDM) of a wide variety of
plastic and metal items. While this in itself may trigger a manufacturing revolution, far more
startling is the recent development of bioprinters. These artificially construct living tissue by
outputting layer-upon-layer of living cells. Currently all bioprinters are experimental.
Applications
 Certain prototype tools are developed by 3D printing to ensure data collection for usage and
feedback. This allows a relatively lower cost of input in terms of development of the tool with a
variable lesser cost of loss if the tool is unsatisfactory.
 For burn victims, 3D printing is beginning to offer a unique combination of bio-printing that
offer skin like texture to printed skin that can be grafted on to the patient.
 For the test of prosthetics, 3D printed solutions could allow for a relatively cheaper option.
 It offers an impressive alternative to the long list of waiting patients on the donor list. Patients
waiting for various organ transplants have to follow certain criteria such as matching blood
groups. With 3D printing, a patient's conditions can be adopted to suit the modeling of an organ.
(205 words Approx).

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15. What is GST?. Why was it brought?. Is it a snag for federalism?.
In principle, GST is the same as the Value-added Tax (VAT) — already adopted by all
Indian States — but with a wider base. While the VAT — which replaced the sales tax — was
imposed only on goods, the GST will be a VAT on goods and services.
In the current tax regime, States tax sale of goods but not services. The Centre taxes
manufacturing and services but not wholesale/retail trade. The GST is expected to usher in a
uniform tax regime by subsuming several forms of taxes such as octroi, entry tax, sales tax,
entertainment tax, etc. It is expected to pave way for stability in tax regime system and improve
ease of doing business.
However, it is argued that, it could lead to erosion of states' autonomy as:
Several forms of taxation such as entry tax, octroi, etc. which were hitherto under the control of
states will be merged with a single GST
Since it is a destination tax, several manufacturing states like TN and Gujarat fear loss of
revenue
Given the limited autonomy of states to raise their revenue potential, it is believed that GST will
further limit their fiscal autonomy
Implications for India's federalism
Since GST has sub-components for states and the central government, fiscal powers of state is
not constrained or eroded to the extent it is perceived
Further, increased devolution under 14th Finance Commision suggestions and autonomy given to
states w.r.t. liquor and petroleum goods is in line with federal spirit
The revenue-neutral-rate (RNR), that is, the rate at which ensures that revenue of the Centre and
states is not affected has been reached after consensus among majority of the states
Hence States need to capitalize through structural reforms in labour laws, land issues, etc. to be
able to provide the incentives for investors and business. (i.e) GST is set to give rise to
competitive federalism. (240 words Approx).

16. What is meant by “Ratnatraya” of Jainism?. Explain about “Non-absolutism” in Jainism.
The three jewels of Jain ethics are: right faith, right knowledge and right conduct.
Right faith - Samyak darshana - This doesn't mean believing what you're told, but means seeing
(hearing, feeling, etc.) things properly, and avoiding preconceptions and superstitions that get in the
way of seeing clearly.
Right knowledge - Samyak jnana - This means having an accurate and sufficient knowledge of
the real universe - this requires a true knowledge of the five (or six) substances and nine truths of
the universe - and having that knowledge with the right mental attitude.
Right conduct - Samyak charitra - This means living your life according to Jain ethical rules, to
avoid doing harm to living things and freeing yourself from attachment and other impure attitudes
and thoughts. A person who has right faith and right knowledge will be motivated and able to
achieve right conduct.
Non-absolutism implies having an open mind. This encourages respecting all other cultures,
religions, and people. Jain respect differences in belief, and consider the viewpoints of anyone,
even those who oppose them. Jain believes in pluralism, the notion that the truth of reality cannot
be completely captured from one viewpoint and multiple perceptions of one event can be all true
and correct. There is common story in Jainism where an elephant is brought into a dark room and
examined by multiple men with no knowledge of an elephant. The men who feel his trunk believe
the elephant to be a water spout, the men who feel his ear believe it to be a fan, the men who feel
his leg believe it to be a pillar, and the men who feel his back believe it to be a throne. The story
concludes with, "The sensual eye is just like the palm of the hand. The palm has not the means of
covering the whole of the beast." (245 words Approx).

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17. What is meant by a “Sunrise Industry”?. Is food processing industry a “Sunrise Industry”?.
Citing the controversies surrounding the foods business, right from noodles to bread,
highlight the scope for Food processing Industries in India.
A sunrise industry is a new industry that is expanding rapidly (e.g. telecom industry in 1990s)
and is expected to be increasingly important in the future. Food processing industry is a sunrise
industry in India.
Food processing has been known from time immemorial, ever since human evolution began.
India, especially, has been a forerunner in giving diverse facets to this art of food processing. Using
salt and oil to pickle surplus vegetables and sun-drying brined vegetables and fruits to increase their
shelf life, and survive scarcity and unfavourable conditions.
In a fast-paced world RTE (ready to eat) and RTH (ready to heat) come in handy for the busy
consumer. The demand from consumers and their willingness to pay that extra buck for
convenience are the main reasons behind the roaring business the processed food arena.
While processed foods have multiple advantages of being hygienic, free from pathogens,
sometimes made tastier and healthier too with the addition of flavours and nutrients, they also come
with certain disadvantages – deprival of major nutritive properties, rendering of the commodity
toxic and unsafe.
Processed food in India will continue to stay so long as we see changing lifestyles, increasing
numbers of working women, disposable incomes and trendy attitudes. The future of the food
processing industry is dazzling, with food safety, quality assurance and hygiene norms gaining
importance. The stringent rules laid by the government are sure to take this industry to global
standards.
Besides, the government is keen on encouraging this industry by promoting joint ventures, giving
industrial licences, introducing schemes for technology upgrade, and establishing and modernizing
processing industries. (250 words Approx).

18. What is meant by Cooperative and competitive federalism?. Illustrate with examples. Do you
think Cooperative and competitive federalism are mutually exclusive?.
 Competitive federalism refers to the vertical relationship shared between centre and the states
or between states (horizontal),here the states have to compete among themselves as well as the
centre so as to get benefits. Competitive federalism is not part of the basic structure of
Indian constitution. It is the decision of executives.
Example
1. States are competing among each other by providing better land acquisition policy, labour law
and other regulatory environment.
3. Center is encouraging competition by selection of smart city by a competitive approach,
performance linked support in AMRUT Yojana etc.
 Cooperative federalism is a way of building mutual trust between centre and states where both
are treated as co-equals working towards a common goal of welfare of society.Different federal
units rise above petty politics and parochial mindset to achieve a national goal by coordinating
with each other. Cooperative Federalism is part of the basic structure of Indian constitution and
cannot be amended by the parliament.
Example
1. NITI ayog is created with the objective of making states a party to the developmental plan and
policies of the government.
2. Joint venture between state and center to carry out infrastructure project like rail projects.
A rational mix of both is in the interest of a nation with diversity and plurality. As visible,
competition between equals and cooperation between unequal is a theme for inclusive and
sustainable growth. (230 words Approx).

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19. What is meant by upstream & downstream stage?. Explicate the upstream & downstream
requirements for efficient supply chain management in Food processing industry. Does India
need FDI in Food processing industry?.
Upstream requirements
The upstream stage of the production process involves searching for and extracting raw
materials.
• Accessibility to raw materials
• Good linkages with farmers eliminating middle-men
• Modern extraction techniques
• Need steady supply of inputs @ reasonable prices
• Need uniform high quality raw material
• Quality testing facilities
• Storage facilities for raw materials like Grains, Meat, Fish etc.
• Transport facilities
• Work force
Downstream requirements
The downstream stage in the production process involves processing the materials collected
during the upstream stage into a finished product.
• Organized retail stores, for efficient distribution of products
• Latest processing techniques
• Quality testing facilities
• Organized retail stores for faster distribution
• Work force
FDI - Need
• Foreign direct investment of around US$1 billion has already been approved in India's food
processing industry since 1991.
• Changing lifestyles, breakdown of the joint-family system, increasing number of working wives
and Western influence in the urban areas are fuelling a demand for packaged foods.
• India already has all the requirements for a head-start in the food-processing industry. Basic
materials such as food-grains, pulses, vegetables and meats (non-beef) can be sourced locally or
easily imported if local availability is inadequate.
• Many Indian firms are eagerly seeking foreign partners for joint-ventures to avail of their
technological advantage.
• Supermarkets are just beginning to appear in India's big cities and this is the time for
international chains to set a foothold. Competition will only increase with time.
• There has been some civilized resistance from ultra-nationalistic quarters of opinion to foreign
food products. This resistance will be less if a local partner is involved.
• India's liberal intelligentsia is gradually building the opinion that foreign investments in the
processed food sector will benefit rural agriculture, thus beating the nationalists with their own
slogans. The liberal intelligentsia is gradually prevailing. (255 words Approx).

20. Why did Ambedkar embrace Buddhism?.
Ambedkar had long been frustrated by the basic tenets of Hinduism, and considered the
inherent characteristics of the religion, particularly the caste system to be a bigger threat to freedom
in Indian society than that of the British.
Political protest - Ambedkar had for long demanded separate electorates for the untouchables,
as a measure of protection against rule of the Hindu majority. After much agitation however, he
yielded to give up on his demands in the Poona Pact of 1932, which was signed by Ambedkar
along with Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya to break Gandhi‘s protest against the separate electorate
demand.
Life long battle against Hinduism –Ambedkar‘s conversion to Buddhism needs to be seen as
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a product of his life experience and the cultural influences on him. As per Ambedkar, Hinduism
had failed to secure basic human rights. Unlike Mahatma Gandhi, who considered the internal
reform of the caste system to be the way forward, Ambedkar believed that the only way the Dalits
could find a place for themselves in Indian society was by way of conversion.
Buddhism as a project of modernity - King Ashoka had an impact on Ambedkar, whose
conversion to Buddhism after the battle of Kalinga is known to have initiated an era of tolerance
and service for humanity. ―The appeal of Buddha‘s dhamma for Ambedkar was, its emphasis on
rational choice‖. He went on to dismiss certain parts of Buddhism, particularly the aspect of the
‗four noble truths‘ which he believed was a later addition to Buddha‘s teachings due to the
influences of Hinduism. (250 words Approx).

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GENERAL STUDIES - 1
1. Major cities of India are becoming Indian floods are a man-made disaster. 1 15
vulnerable to flood conditions. Discuss. Explain. How can these floods be
scientifically managed?.
Chennai is only the latest example of
demographic and environmental changes 3
leading to urban flooding. Examine the (GS3) 1
issue of urban flooding.
2. Early Buddhist Stupa-art, while depicting Stupas remind the Buddhist practitioner 3 14
folk motifs and narratives, successfully of the Buddha and his teachings. Explain.
expounds Buddhist ideals. Elucidate.
3. Krishnadeva Raya, the king of Krishnadevaraya – a Scholar and Patron 3 11
Vijayanagar, was not only an of Arts. Discuss.
accomplished scholar himself but was a
also a great patron of learning and
literature. Discuss.
4. Explain how the upraising of 1857 „British policies towards India completely 3 1
constitutes an important watershed in the changed in the years 1857 to 1877.‟
evolution of British policies towards Examine.
colonial India. “1858 is the Great Divide In modern
Indian history, as the policy, practice and 1 2
ideals of the government that followed
differed fundamentally from the
government of the Company which it
displaced.” Discuss.
5. Discuss the role of women in the The role of women in the salt protests fits 3 16
freedom struggle especially during the into a larger understanding of the role of
Gandhian phase. women in India‟s fight for freedom from
British rule. Explain
6. “An essential condition to eradicate What is Empowerment line?. How is this 3 18
poverty is to liberate the poor from the different from Poverty Line?. What are
process of deprivation.” Substantiate this the key priorities for empowering Indians
statement with suitable examples. to shift focus from Poverty to
Empowerment?. 3 7
Explain the dynamics of poverty and (GS2)
deprivation.
7. Why are the tribals in India referred to as Identify the difference between scheduled 3 12
„the Scheduled Tribes‟? Indicate the major caste (SC) and scheduled tribe (ST) ?
provisions enshrined in the Constitution How has the Indian government
of India for their upliftment. classified tribes and caste into it?.
8. What is the basis of regionalism? Is it that Examine interaction between federalism 3 6
unequal distribution of benefits of and regionalism in India.
development on regional basis eventually
promotes regionalism? Substantiate your
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answer.
9. Present an account of the Indus Water Is Indus Waters Treaty a bad bargaining 3 10
Treaty and examine its ecological, chip for India?.
economic and political implications in the
context of changing bilateral relations.
10. Highlight the differences in the approach Bring out the similarities & differences 4 1
of Subhash Chandra Bose and Mahatma between Netaji & Mahatma Gandhi.
Gandhi in the struggle for freedom.
11. Has the formation of linguistic states Explain BR Ambedkar‟s thoughts on 4 4
strengthened the cause of Indian unity? Linguistic States.
Why language was decided as the basis on
which India‟s states were to be 1 25
reorganized?. Comment on the
reorganization of states after States
Reorganization Act, 1956.
12. To what extent globalisation has Does globalization imply we will become 4 3
influenced the core of cultural diversity in one culture?.
India? Explain.
13. Discuss the concept of air mass and What are Air masses?. How does this 4 18
explain its role in macro-climatic changes. relate to climate & forestry?.
14. South China Sea has assumed great South China Sea is of geopolitical and 4 15
geopolitical significance in the present geo-economic interest for India. Discuss. (GS2)
context. Comment.
15. Enumerate the problems and prospects of Highlight the salient features of National 4 8
inland water transport in India. Waterways Bill 2015. Would it be a Game
changer for addressing inland water
transport issues?.
16. In what way micro-watershed Short notes on Drought Management 4 16
development projects help in water Strategies in India.
conservation in drought-prone and semi-
arid regions of India?
17. “The Himalayas are highly prone to Why do landslides occur more in 4 20
landslides.”Discuss the causes and suggest Himalayas than Western Ghats?. How
suitable measures of mitigation. can landslides be managed?.
18. The effective management of land and Mention three major differences between 4 13
water resources will drastically reduce the the Himalayan and the Peninsular
human miseries. Explain. drainage systems. Managing the optimum
use of water resources is the need of the
hour. Explain.
19. With a brief background of quality of Discussed in Current Affairs Class but
urban life in India, introduce the not covered in Test Papers.
objectives and strategy of the „Smart City
Programme.”
20. The anti-colonial struggles in West Africa
were led by the new elite of Western -
educated Africans. Examine.

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UPSC Question – Mains 2016
GENERAL STUDIES - 2
Our Test – Mains 2016
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GENERAL STUDIES - 2
1. “Demographic Dividend in India will remain only How has “Demographic Dividend” 1 8
theoretical unless our manpower becomes more become “Demographic Disaster” for (GS 1)
educated, aware, skilled and creative.” What measures India?.
have been taken by the government to enhance the
capacity of our population to be more productive and
employable?
2. “Effectiveness of the government system at various  Highlight the features of Citizens 1 5
levels and people‟s participation in the governance Charter Bill, 2011. (GS 3)
system are inter-dependent/” Discuss their
relationship in the context of India.
3. “In the Indian governance system, the role of non-  Give a critical estimate on role of 4 5
state actors has been only marginal.” Critically super-national bodies in Indian
examine this statement. governance.
 How do Non-state actors pose threat 1 9
to India's internal security?. (GS 3)
4. “Increasing cross-border terrorist attacks in India and Is future of regional cooperation in 2 11
growing interference in the internal affairs of South Asia in shambles?.
member-states by Pakistan are not conducive for the
future of SAARC (South Asian Association for
Regional Cooperation).” Explain with suitable
examples.
5. “The broader aims and objectives of WTO are to  Examine the background and current 2 4
manage and promote international trade in the era of state of Indian position in Doha
globalization. But the Doha round of negotiations Round negotiations. 2 13
seem doomed due to differences between the  Is WTO right in the Indo –US solar
developed and the developing countries.” Discuss in panel dispute?.
the Indian perspective.
6. “The Indian party system is passing through a phase The roots of many pertinent problems 2 17
of transition which looks to be full of contradictions faced by Indian democracy can be partly
and paradoxes.” Discuss. traced to the lack of intra-party
democracy in political parties.
Comment.
7. “Traditional bureaucratic structure and culture have Government has no business to do 3 8
hampered the process of socio-economic business. The focus should be minimum
development in India.” Comment. government and maximum governance.
Discuss.
8. Discuss each adjective attached to the word  Should 42nd amendment be repealed 3 14
„Republic‟ in the „Preamble‟. Are they defendable in as it altered the philosophy of the
the present circumstances? Indian Constitution?.
 [Stressed more in the Class & also
Model answer given for relevance of
Socialism & Secularism]
9. Discuss the essentials of the 69th Constitutional Comment on the Constitutional status 1 2
Amendment Act and anomalies, if any, which have of Delhi. What are the powers and
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led to recent reported conflicts between the elected duties of the Delhi government?.
representatives and the institution of the Lieutenant
Governor in the administration of Delhi. Do you
think that this will give rise to a new trend in the
functioning of the Indian federal politics?
10. Evaluate the economic and strategic dimensions of  Place a review on India's 'Look East' 2 15
India‟s Look East Policy in the context of the post- and 'Act East' Policies.
2 7
Cold War international scenario.  How has the end of cold war altered
India‟s foreign policy stand?.
11. Exercise of CAG‟s powers in relation to the accounts  “The Comptroller and Auditor- 1 1
of the Union and the States is derived from Article General (CAG) of India is a
149 of the Indian Constitution. Discuss whether prosecutor with a law that hobbles its
audit of the Government‟s policy implementation functioning, a judge without the
could amount to overstepping its own (CAG) power to sentence and a litigant with
jurisdiction. no right to appeal.” Comment. 3 6
 Examine the relationship between a
PAC and CAG.
12. Has the Indian governmental system responded After 25 years after liberalization, India 3 1
adequately to the demands of Liberalization, must realize that wealth isn't
Privatization and Globalization started in 1991? What development unless it is shared. Explain.
can the government do to be responsive to this
important change?
13. In the integrity index of Transparency International, Transparency and Information pervade 3 18
India stands very low. Discuss briefly the legal, good governance. Discuss the statement
political, social and cultural factors that have caused in light of India‟s status in Transparency
the decline of public morality in India. International‟s CPI Index.
14. Professor Amartya Sen has advocated important Amartya Sen's capability approach offers 3 2
reforms in the realms of primary education and the path to comprehensive and
primary health care. What are your suggestions to meaningful development for India.
improve their status and performance? Explain.
15. To what extent is Article 370 of the Indian Assess the implications‟ of abrogating 3 3
Constitution, bearing marginal note “temporary Article 370?.
provision with respect to the State of Jammu and
Kashmir”, temporary? Discuss the future prospects
of this provision in the context of Indian polity.
16. What is quasi-judicial body? Explain with the help of What are Constitutional, Statutory & 4 17
concrete examples. Quasi-Judicial Bodies?. Give examples
for each category.
17. What was held in the Coelho case? In this context,  Is 9th Schedule open to judicial 3 10
can you say that judicial review is of key importance review?. Place your arguments. Throw
amongst the basic features of the Constitution? light on I.R.Coelho Judgment in this
context?.
 [Stressed more in the Class & also
Model answer given]
18. Did the Government of India Act, 1935 lay down a Covered in the Class but not in TEST
federal constitution? Discuss. PAPERS.
19. Examine the main provisions of the National Child
Policy and throw light on the status of its
implementation.
20. What are the aims and objectives of the McBride
Commission of the UNESCO? What is India‟s
position on these?

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UPSC Question – Mains 2016
GENERAL STUDIES - 3
Our Test – Mains 2016
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GS 3 - Questions
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GENERAL STUDIES - 3
1. How globalization has led to the reduction of  Identify the linkages between globalization 1 11
employment in the formal sector of the Indian and inclusive growth.
4 8
economy? Is increased informalization  Globalization and economic reforms
detrimental to the development of the country? typically affect the formal sector, the
informal sector existing outside regulation.
Yet, numerous links between them mean the
informal sector is variously affected. Explain.
2. Comment on the challenges for inclusive  How is Inclusive growth different from pro- 1 8
growth which include careless and useless poor growth?.
1 9
manpower in the Indian context. Suggest  How to exploit demographic dividend of
measures to be taken for facing these India to achieve Inclusive growth?.
challenges.  Few more questions from various
dimensions OF INCLUSIVE GROWTH in
Test 1 of GS -3
3. Discuss India‟s achievements in the field of Elucidate the role of science and technology in 1 2
Space Science and Technology. How the fostering inclusive growth. (AN INDIRECT
application of this technology has helped India QUESTION ONLY BUT RIGHT
in its socio-economic development? ORIENTATION TO UPSC QUESTION)

4. The frequency of urban floods due to high  Indian floods are a man-made disaster. 1 15
intensity rainfall is increasing over the years. Explain. How can these floods be (GS1)
Discussing the reasons for urban floods. scientifically managed?.
Highlight the mechanisms for preparedness to  Chennai is only the latest example of
reduce the risk during such events. demographic and environmental changes 3 1
leading to urban flooding. Examine the
issue of urban flooding.
5. What is water-use efficiency? Describe the role What are the objectives of Pradhan Mantri 2 11
of micro-irrigation in increasing the water-use Krishi Sinchayee Yojana?. Why does Micro-
efficiency. irrigation lag far behind potential?.
6. Use of Internet and social media by non-state India is far behind in cyber security expertise 2 11
actors for subversive activities is a major compared to UK, US and China. Do you
concern. How have these have misused in the agree?. Propose a model of New Cyber
recent past? Suggest effective guidelines to Security Architecture for India.
curb the above threat. Distinguish the terms - Cyber Warfare &
Cyber terrorism. What do you understand by 3 3
"Sabotage"?.
7. What is allelopathy? Discuss its role in major Explore the possible role of possible role of 3 7
cropping systems of irrigated agriculture. allelechemicals in improving crop productivity.
8. Give an account of the current status and the Would “UJALA” programme emerge as a 3 20
targets to be achieved pertaining to renewable winwin from consumer point of view?
energy sources in the country. Discuss in brief
the importance of National Programme on
Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs).

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9. In the integrity index of Transparency Transparency and Information pervade good 3 18
International, India stands very low. Discuss governance. Discuss the statement in light of
briefly the legal, political, social and cultural India‟s status in Transparency International‟s
factors that have caused the decline of public CPI Index.
morality in India.
10. Why is nanotechnology one of the key What are the properties and uses of 3 15
technologies of the 21st century? Describe the nanoparticles?. Elaborate on India‟s Nano
salient features of Indian Government‟s Mission.
Mission on Nanoscience and Technology and
the scope of its application in the development
process of the country.
11. Rehabilitation of human settlements is one of Explain 'development' in DIDR angle. 3 4
the important environmental impacts which
always attracts controversy while planning Note - Development-Induced Displacement
major projects. Discuss the measures suggested And Resettlement (DIDR).
for mitigation of this impact while proposing
major developmental projects. One essay was also given and discussed.
12. With reference to National Disaster Explain the meaning of “Uttarakhand 3 6
Management Authority (NDMA) guidelines, cloudburst” and how does it affect India?.
discuss the measures to be adopted to mitigate How can we manage such disasters?.
the impact of the recent incidents of
cloudbursts in many places of Uttarakhand.
13. The terms „Hot Pursuit‟ and „Surgical Strikes‟ What is meant by “Doctrine Of Hot Pursuit”?. 3 17
are often used in connection with armed action Examine its pros & cons.
against terrorist attacks. Discuss the strategic
impact of such actions.
14. Women empowerment in India needs gender  Short notes on Gender Responsive 4 13
budgeting. What are the requirements and Budgeting.
status of gender budgeting in the Indian  Gender Responsive Budgeting in India
context? needs a completely different rhythm if it has
to translate into better outcomes for the
women of our country. Examine. 4 7
 What is the difference between „sex‟ and (GS 1)
„gender‟. Lack of political mobilization and
4
lobbying capacity is a major inadequacy of (GS 1) 19
feminist politics in India. Comment.
15. Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) is  Jan Dhan Yojana has helped poor, but 4 12
necessary for bringing unbanked to the financial inclusion still far off. Explain.
institutional finance fold. Do you agree with  A meaningful financial inclusion starts only 1 2
this for financial inclusion of the poorer with the availability of public goods.
section of the Indian society? Give arguments Elucidate. Do you think that “Jan Dhan
to justify your opinion. Yojana” will bring meaningful financial
inclusion?.
16. What are „Smart Cities? Examine their  To Support Smart Cities, India needs Smart 4 16
relevance for urban development in India. Will Villages. Explain.
it increase rural-urban differences? Give  Give a brief on schemes of Government of
arguments for Smart Villages‟ in the light of India aimed at making smart villages. In 1 11
PURA and RURBAN Mission. what ways people and tradition would be an (GS 1)
hindrance in this pursuit?.
17. Justify the need for FDI for the development  Comment on latest changes in FDI policy. 4 4
of the Indian economy. Why there is gap
between MOUs signed and actual FDIs?
Suggest remedial steps to be taken for
increasing actual FDIs in India.

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18. Discuss the role of land reforms in agricultural By and large land reforms in India enacted so 4 3
development. Identify the factors that were far and those contemplated in the near future,
responsible for the success of land reforms in are in the right direction; and yet are far from
India. satisfactory. Explain.
19. Given the vulnerability of Indian agriculture to How can PMFBY scheme can be a 4 10
vagaries of nature, discuss the need for crop gamechanger?.
insurance and bring out the salient features of
the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana
(PMFBY)
20. “Terrorism is emerging as a competitive What makes terrorism an essentially contested 4 20
industry over the last few decades.” Analyse concept?.
the above statement.

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UPSC Question – Mains 2016
GENERAL STUDIES - 4
Our Test – Mains 2016
None Could Beat us in
GS 4 - Questions
Exactly feeling the Pulse of UPSC. Ask Our Students who have Test. Qn.
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written the tests. They will Vouch
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GENERAL STUDIES - 4
1. Analyse John Rawls‟s concept of social justice in the Justice is not an ethic of rewards but an 4 12
Indian context. ethic of redressal. (John Rawls). Comment.
2. Anger is a harmful negative emotion. It is injurious to  We are all emotional beings. Emotional 4 17
both personal life and work life. (a) Discuss how it Intelligence is the ultimate workplace
leads to negative emotions and undesirable anger management solution. Comment
behaviours. (b) How can it be managed and from an Individual‟s perspective and
controlled? Public Administration perspective.
 Emotionally intelligent behavior is a
prerequisite for a successful civil servant. 1 4
Examine.
3. Corruption causes misuse of government treasury, The decline in output and corruption can 3 3
Administrative inefficiency and obstruction in the be curbed by promoting professionalism at
path of national Development. Discuss Kautilya‟s work. (Kautilya). Explain.
views.
4. Discuss Mahatma Gandhi‟s concept of seven sins. Short notes on Seven Deadly Sins as said 1 10
by Mahatma Gandhi.
5. Discuss the Public Services Code as recommended Conduct Rules for civil servants need to be 4 1
by the 2nd Administrative Reforms Commission. redrawn. Explain w.r.t. 2nd ARC Report..
6. Explain how ethics contributes to social and human  “rta” is described as a power or force 1 1
well-being. which is the controller of the forces of
nature and of moral values in human
society. Explain.
 'RTA' and 'DHARMA' – Indian
Philosophy.
7. Law and ethics are considered to be the two tools for (a) Ethics and legality are not synonymous. 2 4
controlling human conduct so as to make it Comment.
conducive to civilized social existence. (a) Discuss
how they achieve this objective. (b) Giving examples
show how the two differ in their approaches.
8. Max Weber said that it is not wise to apply to public  Is Weberian Rational Bureaucracy 2 11
administration the sort of moral and ethical norms morally & ethically clean type?. How
we apply to matters of personal conscience. It is does Merton criticize Weber in this
important to realise that the State bureaucracy might regard?. 2 20
possess its own independent bureaucratic morality.  What is meant by “Bureaupathology”?.
Critically analyse this statement. How can it be overcome in Indian
Context?.
9. Our attitudes towards life, work, other people and Attitudes are by and large acquired as a 3 6
society are generally shaped unconsciously by the result of various life experiences, although
family and social surroundings in which we grow up. a small but growing body of evidence
Some of these unconsciously acquired attitudes and indicates that attitudes may be influenced
values are often undesirable in the citizens of modern by genetic factors, too. How can such
democratic and egalitarian society. (a) Discuss such attitudes developed over a period of 20
undesirable values prevalent in today‟s educated years can be tuned to match the

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Indians. (b) How can such undesirable attitudes be requirements of Modern Bureaucratic set
changed and socio-ethical values be cultivated in the up?. Identify the Challenges thereupon.
aspiring and serving civil servants?
10. What do you understand by the terms „governance‟, Differentiate between organizations‟ 4 3
„good governance‟ and „ethical governance‟? ethical principles and administrative
procedures. Are Ethical Governance and
Good Governance same?.
11. Why should impartiality and non-partisanship be  Relationships are the DNA of 4 6
considered as foundational values in public services, governance. Comment. Differentiate
especially in the present day socio-political context? between impartiality and
Illustrate your answer with examples. nonpartisanship in such relations.
 Public servants should strictly observe 2 13
the triple maxim of impartiality,
neutrality, and anonymity. Comment.
12. How could social influence and persuasion
contribute to the success of Swatchh Bharat
Abhiyan?
CASE STUDIES – SUBJECTIVE. HENCE WE DO NOT CLAIM.

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CrackingIAS.com Mains 2016 ESSAY UPSC REFLECTION IAS EXPRESS

Our Essay Test Questions - 2016 UPSC MAINS Essay Question - 2016
Test : No: 2 - Qn. no. C (Sec A) DIDR in Development Industry Qn. no. 1 (Sec A) If development is not
– an urgent issue that needs priority in Policy making. engendered, it is endangered.
Test : No: 3 - Qn. no. A (Sec B) Federalism and Water UPSC MAINS Essay Question - 2016
Management in India. Qn. no. 3 (Sec A) Water disputes between States in
federal India.
Test : No: 2 - Qn. no. C (Sec B) A quarter-century of UPSC MAINS Essay Question - 2016
liberalization – Where are we now?. Qn. no. 3 (Sec B) Near jobless growth in India: An
anomaly or an outcome of economic reforms.
Test : No: 1 - Qn. no. C (Sec A) Digital Globalization - Policy UPSC MAINS Essay Question - 2016
challenges. Qn. no. 4 (Sec B) Digital economy: A leveller or a
Qn. no. C (Sec B) The Challenges before RBI. source of economic inequality.
These were slightly indirect topics but close to UPSC Topics.

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