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With the present shift in examination pattern of UPSC Civil Services Examination, General
Studies II and General Studies III can safely be replaced with Current Affairs. Moreover,
following the recent trend of UPSC, almost all the questions are issue-based rather than
news-based. Therefore, the right approach to preparation is to prepare issues, rather than
just reading news.2 | P a g e

Taking this into account, our website will cover current affairs focusing
more on issues on a daily basis. This will help you pick up relevant news items of the day
from various national dailies such as The Hindu, Indian Express, Business Standard, LiveMint,
Business Line and other important Online sources. Over time, some of these news items will
become important issues.

UPSC has the knack of picking such issues and asking general opinion based questions.
Answering such questions will require general awareness and an overall understanding of
the issue. Therefore, we intend to create the right understanding among aspirants How to
cover these issues?

This is the 24th edition of IASbabas Monthly Magazine. This edition covers all important
issues that were in news in the month of May 2017.

Value adds from IASbaba- Must Read and Connecting the dots.

Must Read section, will give you important links to be read from exam perspective. This
will make sure that, you dont miss out on any important news/editorials from various
newspapers on daily basis.

Under each news article, Connecting the dots facilitates your thinking to connect and
ponder over various aspects of an issue. Basically, it helps you in understanding an issue
from multi-dimensional view-point. You will understand its importance while giving Mains
or Interview.

Must Read Articles: We have not included them in the magazine. Those following DNA on
daily basis may follow it-

Difficult roads often lead to beautiful Destinations

All the Best
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NATIONAL (Page No. 5-46)
Real Estate Regulatory Authority
Food Fortification
Taxing Agricultural Income
New Financial Year
Swachhta Survekshan 2017
Private schools need to be regulated
Recent controversy regarding Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs)
Agriculture Marketing
Panchayti Raj System
There is a need for restraint in using Article 142
Indias Nuclear Power expansion plans
Loopholes in Coastal Regulation Zone Rules
EVM Issues hackathon challenge
Bail Reforms
Urbanisation and disaster management
Prevention of Cruelty of Animals

INTERNATIONAL (Page No. 47-61)

BBIN Network
China to host a Belt and Road forum for international cooperation
Indias dominance in Indian Ocean is intact
China Belt and Road Initiative
India Africa
RCEP and India
Taking India Israel relationship to the next level


Kashmirs unending tragedy
Tackling Left Wing Extremism (LWE)
The Joint doctrine of the Indian armed forces
Access to Cyber Space

HEALTH (Page No. 80-90)

Indias increasedUY policy commitment towards HIV/AIDS
Anti Microbial Resistance
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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, now the third largest killer


SAARC Satellite
What ails Indian science?
GM Mustard

ECONOMY (Page No. 99-128)

Can India emerge as a global leader in an uncertain global environment?
Inland waterways
New 'Index for Industrial Production' (IIP) series seen giving factory growth a boost
The role of Indias Informal Economy: Informal is the new normal
RBI given greater role in dealing with large amount of stressed assets
How to deal with the mega challenge of job creation
Abolition of Foreign Investment Promotion Board
Special Purpose Vehicles
Doubling Framer's Income by 2022- Requires Structural Changes

SOCIAL ISSUES (Page No. 129-130)

Law against torture

ENVIRONMENT (Page No. 131-139)

Carbon tax/Cap-and-tax: as a Climate Change mitigation policy
Natural Infrastructure
Consider wastewater as an asset rather than burden
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General Studies 1
Urbanization, their problems and their remedies.
General Studies 2
Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation.

Real Estate Regulatory Authority

Urbanisation in India is a natural phenomenon. The scale at which real estate has grown
demands regulation to ensure rule bound and hassle free activity for both the consumers
and the builders. In this direction the recent legislation is a step in the right direction.

The much awaited Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Act has come into effect.
The Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation recently notified 69 out of the 92
sections in total, which set the ball rolling for States to formulate, within six months,
rules and regulations as statutorily mandated.
Land is a State subject under the Constitution, even after the Centre enacts the
legislation, State governments will have to ratify them.
States will have to set up the Real Estate Regulatory Authoritys (RERA) and the Real
Estate Appellate Tribunals and have only a maximum of a year from the coming into
effect of the Act to do so. Can Centre put limit?

Legislation and the intent:

The Acts preamble details the legislative intention which is to primarily protect the
interests of consumers and bring in efficiency and transparency in the sale/purchase of
real estate.
The Act also attempts to establish an adjudicatory mechanism for the speedy redress of
RERA and the Appellate Tribunal are expected to decide on complaints within an
ambitious period of 60 days.
As one of the largest job creators, the real estate sector contributes almost 6% towards
the GDP.
Mindful of this, the Act seeks to assist developers by giving the regulator powers to
make recommendations to State governments to create a single window clearance for
approvals in a time-bound manner.
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Provisions w.r.t. transparency

Key provisions of the Act include a requirement for developers to now register projects
with RERA prior to any advertisement and sale.
Developers are also expected to have all sanction plans approved and regulatory
clearances in place prior to commencement of sale.
Subsequent changes have to be approved by a majority of buyers and the
The Act again ambitiously stipulates an electronic system, maintained on the website of
RERA, where developers are expected to update on a quarterly basis the status of their
projects, and submit regular audits and architectural reports.
Notably, non-registration of projects is a serious matter.
If there is non-compliance, RERA has the power to order up to three years
imprisonment of the promoters of a project.
Importantly, it requires developers to maintain separate escrow accounts in relation to
each project and deposit 70% of the collections in such an account to ensure that funds
collected are utilised only for the specific project.
The Act also requires real estate brokers and agents to register themselves with the

Builder grievances
The builders have been demanding industry status for the real estate sector as it
would help in the availability of bank loans.
Real estate companies say that most delays are because of the failure of authorities to
grant approvals/sanctions on time.
While the Act addresses some of this, it does not deal with the concerns of developers
regarding force majeure (acts of god outside their control) which result in a shortage of
labour or issues on account of there not being a central repository of land titles/deeds.
Once 100% foreign direct investment was permitted in real estate, international money
flooded the market. Builders/developers overstretched themselves and diverted funds
while some began to cross-invest in non-core activities.
Eventually the benefit of any statute is contingent on its effective implementation.
The onus is now on States to formulate rules and establish the regulatory authorities on
There shouldnt be just paper compliance, by designating an existing authority to take
additional charge as the real estate regulator, as that would affect the timeliness
prescribed under the Act.

Conclusion:The legislation was much needed and timely as it addresses concern of both the
builders and the largely innocent and young home buyers who put their hard earned
savings. The implementation in letter and spirit will hold the key.
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Connecting the dots

Elaborate the provisions of the new real estate law. Critically discuss the impact of the
same on real estate sector.

General Studies 2
Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation.
General Studies 1
Food processing and related industries in India scope and significance.
Public Distribution System - objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping.

Food Fortification

India is facing cute problem of malnutrition. Lack of adequate supply of food in adequate
amounts and quality is one concern. But lack of required nutrients is a bigger concern. Food
fortification done in a scientific manner and on common foods will benefit a large

Malnutrition isnt just about acute starvation.
It is true that healthy-looking people are malnourished too, because their diet does not
include the right micronutrients.
For instance, iron deficiency leads to critical problems during pregnancy, and not enough
Vitamin A can lead to poor vision, infections, and skin problems.

What is food fortification?

Fortification is adding vitamins and minerals to foods to prevent nutritional deficiencies. The
nutrients regularly used in grain fortification prevent diseases, strengthen immune systems,
and improve productivity and cognitive development. Wheat flour, maize flour, and rice are
primarily fortified to:
Prevent nutritional anemia
Prevent neural tube birth defects
Increased productivity
Improve economic progress
Fortification is successful because it makes frequently eaten foods more nutritious
without relying on consumers to change their habits.
Vitamins and minerals often used in flour and rice fortification and their role in health
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Iron, riboflavin, folic acid, zinc, and vitamin B12 help prevent nutritional anemia
which improves productivity, maternal health, and cognitive development.
Folic acid (vitamin B9) reduces the risk of neural tube birth defects
Zinc helps children develop, strengthens immune systems, and lessens complications
from diarrhea.
Niacin (vitamin B3) prevents the skin disease known as pellagra.
Riboflavin (vitamin B2) helps with metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.
Thiamin (vitamin B1) prevents the nervous system disease called beriberi.
Vitamin B12 maintains functions of the brain and nervous system.
Vitamin D helps bodies absorb calcium which improves bone health.
Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of childhood blindness. It also diminishes an
individuals ability to fight infections. Vitamin A can be added to wheat or maize
flour, but it is often added to rice, cooking oils, margarine, or sugar instead.

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.
The focus has been on awareness- and consensus-building.
Now, a number of enterprises will begin adding premixes of micronutrients to launch
fortified foods.
Milk cooperatives in Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Assam and Maharashtra will fortify
their products too.
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.
The FSSAI has decided not to interfere in pricing.

Private Sector Participation:

Large private players are expected to join the league like
General Mills India, ITC, Hindustan Unilever and Patanjali will launch wheat flour,
Adani Wilmar, Marico, Borges India, and Kaleesuwari Refineries are working on
oil, LT Foods, DCP Food, and KKR Food are launching rices, and in salt, other
brands will join Tata, which already has a double fortified brand in the market.

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Innovative measures like food fortification can be a real boon to the problem of
malnutrition in India. Government has to establish a framework w.r.t. the same and work on
the guidelines for large scale and hassle free implementation.

Connecting the dots

Critically analyse the role of food fortification in tackling the problem of malnutrition in

General Studies 2
Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation.
General Studies 3
Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth,
development and employment.
Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

Taxing Agricultural Income

Indias tax base is disappointing. For a large country with large immense priorities India
needs to initiate measure to encourage people to pay taxes and widen tax base. Taxing
agricultural income is a recent debate that needs wider debate.

Bibek Debroy, a member of the government think tank NITI Aayog, recently voice a proposal
to tax agricultural income above a particular threshold which has led to a public exchange of
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley quickly dismissed any plans to tax farm income, but more
policymakers have voiced opinions.
Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian who made it clear that taxing farm income
is a State subject.

Taxing Agricultural Income Possibilities:

The public image of farming being a poor mans venture and the sizeable vote share that
farmers enjoy have made the idea of farm taxes a political taboo.
The frequent distress faced by poor or marginal farmers, which could be attributed to
structural issues other than taxation, hasnt helped matters either.
But India has a presence of rich farmers as well and there exists as a strong justification
for taxing them in order to widen the countrys embarrassingly narrow tax base.
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Mr. Debroy suggested that an appropriate tax policy should draw a distinction between
rich and poor farmers, thereby addressing the widespread political apprehension of
bringing agriculture under the tax net.

Indias narrow tax base:

Indias Economic Survey over the years has continuously highlighted the plight of a low
tax base and the need to improve it.
Indias tax base, standing at a diminutive 5.9% of the working population, is already
among the lowest in the world.
This unnecessarily burdens the more formal sectors of the economy that are already
overtaxed; at the same time, it handicaps government spending on the social sector.

Policymakers must also show equal care and urgency in addressing the structural issues
facing the sector.
This includes, among many, reforms to the broken agricultural supply chain that
still leaves farmers at the mercy of middlemen cartels.
Such reforms are crucial if farming is to become a sustainable enterprise in the
long run.
Else, a tax on high-income farmers will result only in driving resources away from
agriculture into other sectors.
It would make no difference to poorer farmers stuck in agriculture, merely because of
the lack of opportunities.
In this context, the historical transition of labour and other resources from agriculture
into other sectors is particularly useful to keep in mind.
The said transition has been very slow in India; in fact, according to Census figures, the
size of the farm workforce increased by 28.9 million between 2001 and 2011.
This is due to a combination of factors, but one in particular is worth noting: the
difficulty agricultural workers face in finding jobs in other more advanced sectors.
A tax on lucrative high value farm ventures, which affects their ability to absorb
labourers from low-value farming, could make life more difficult for farmers unable to
make the cut in industry or services.
Policymakers need to move carefully as they go ahead on a long overdue fiscal reform.

Indias tax base is disturbingly small and this hurts resource mobilization and use. It is
important we take all necessary measures to widen the same. Agriculture especially rich
farmers should be progressively brought under the tax net for a vibrant economy and will
help further spread of resources. However the [policy should be well planned.

Connecting the dots
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Analyse the need to tax agricultural income of rich farmers. Elaborate on the issues
concerning narrow tax base of the country.

General Studies 2
Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation.
General Studies 3
Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth,
development and employment.
Inclusive growth and issues arising from it
Government Budgeting

New Financial Year

In replacement of the present financial year we are following i.e. April-March which is a
colonial legacy government is planning normal calendar year to be coinciding the same. The
measure can have a number of benefits and concerns.

In a recent Niti Aayog meeting, Prime Minister asked members to get to the task of
aligning the countrys financial year with the calendar year.
The PM, wants destroy a vestige of the colonial era the period considered for the
countrys financial year.
Taking cue, BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh was the first off the block announcing its decision
to go for the change last week.

What is it?
To ensure uniformity and enable comparison, countries tend to have a fixed 12-month
period as their accounting year. This period is called fiscal or financial year.
Companies, States and other entities also generally toe the line.
In some countries however, the fiscal years followed by the Government and companies
are different.
Indias fiscal year is from April 1 to March 31. This came about because the
British preferred to begin their financial year on Ladys Day, on March 25, since
this was one of the days in the year when rents were paid in the UK; eons ago.
When the Gregorian calendar was adopted by the British, the fiscal year for
Britain moved to April 6, and there it stays, till date.
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When the British Raj spread across the world, its financial year was imposed in all
colonies including India, Hong Kong and Canada.

Why is it important?
The Centre says that changing the financial year will help in aligning it with the farmers
income flows.
While that argument is a little weak given the falling share of agriculture in the countrys
economy, the change will help Indian companies that have associated entities in
overseas jurisdictions.
Since most countries use the Gregorian calendar year (January to December) as their
financial year, consolidating financial statements will be easier.
Comparing the macro data with other countries will also be much simpler as many multi-
lateral agencies such as the IMF and the World Bank give projections for the calendar
But implementation needs to be well planned to prevent disruptions of the kind
witnessed during the recent demonetisation.
Also, the changeover can be put off until companies have settled down with the GST
laws and new accounting standards.

How does it affect a citizen?

It will make life simpler for those who find it confusing to figure out what happened to
the country and companies in a period that straddles two calendar years.
Financial year 2017 for instance, begins in April 2016 and ends in March 2017.
It would have been easier if FY 2017 started in January and ended in December 2017.

Shankar Acharya Committe:

A high-level committee formed to study the feasibility of shifting financial year to
January 1 from the current practice of starting from April 1 has submitted its report to
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
The government had in July set up a committee headed by former Chief Economic
Adviser Shankar Acharya, to examine desirability and feasibility of having a new
financial year.
The Committee has given reasoning for the change and its effect on the different
agricultural crop periods and its impact on businesses, taxation systems and procedures,
statistics and data collection.

It is important for any policy measure to be well thought out and not for the sake of a
change. The change in the financial year can be beneficial if done taking all stakeholders into
consideration. The decision should be after taking public and all into confidence.
Connecting the dots
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Indias financial architecture is undergoing a host of changes. Elaborate the need of the
same and the effect of the same on the economy.

General Studies 1
Urbanization, their problems and their remedies.
General Studies 2
Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation.

Swachhta Survekshan 2017

Cities are the engines of growth and urban India contribute to about 70% of countrys GDP.
For cities to continue their contribution and provide quality of life to citizens, urban
cleanliness is of central importance.

Swachh Survekshan
In order to foster a healthy competition between cities for improving cleanliness
standards, the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) started the Swachh
Survekshan survey, ranking of cities on cleanliness and other aspects of urban
sanitation, in 2016 which ranked 73 cities across the country.
On the same lines, MoUD initiated Swachh Survekshan 2017 which was a survey to
rank 500 cities of India.
The performance evaluation of the Swachh survekshan is conducted by Quality Council
of India (QCI), an autonomous body established by Government of India in 1997 for
Quality assurance in all spheres of activities including Governance.

Swachh Survekshan 2017, a survey which ranked 500 cities for their cleanliness, drew
criticism for allegedly being biased towards BJP-ruled States.
It showed that Indore in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh had emerged the cleanest
city in the country, followed by Bhopal, and Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.
Of the top 50 cities, 23 belong to BJP-ruled MP and Gujarat, and eight are from
Andhra Pradesh which is ruled by NDA ally the TDP.
At the same time, relatively cleaner cities in Kerala or Goa were pushed down.
But theres also a deeper problem.
As the Centre for Science and Environment points out, the surveys gives undue
weightage to centralised waste management methods such as landfill and waste-to-
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energy plants, ignoring decentralised approaches such as waste segregation, and

recycling and reuse.
Evidently, cities that promoted a fairly centralised, top-down approach to waste
management were given priority over those that had taken a participatory,
decentralised approach.
This is not a sound understanding of the cleanliness for large urban base like
For one, such a ranking will encourage unsustainable approaches to waste
Panjim in Goa and Alappuzha in Kerala advocating decentralised waste
management based on household level segregation, recycling and reuse, were
ranked low.
Alappuzha has an impressive decentralised model lauded by several agencies: it
ranks a poor 380 in the survey, while, Surat, which dumps 1,600 tonnes of
unsegregated, unprocessed garbage every day in a landfill, is ranked fourth.
All three top cities dump unsegregated waste.
They turn a blind eye to the requirements of the Municipal Solid Waste Rules
2016 which direct that waste needs to be segregated into three categories at the
household level wet, dry and domestic hazardous.
Further, the Rules stipulate that waste to energy plants should not burn mixed
Landfills are the least preferred option.
Clearly, the methodology is based on incorrect parameters. The Government would do
better to encourage sustainable practices such as segregation at source, and recycle and

A competitive approach to promote healthy practices is encouraged. But the competition
should be based on sound parameters and scientifically tested. Else the intended results can
turn wayward.

Connecting the dots

Critically analyse the significance of a measure like Swachhta Survekshan and the impact
of the same on urban fabric of India.

General Studies 2
Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector or Services relating
to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Private schools need to be regulated
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Across the country, media has been abuzz with stories of the exploitative fees of private
schools and the efforts of some state governments to intervene.
This is a national malady and it needs to be cured. The cure requires that we recognize that
education is a quasi-public good that cannot be delivered effectively through market
mechanisms. The ideal would have been a high-quality, equitable, common public school

Need for more effective regulation

Poor governance in education allows concentrated oligopolies to develop. Oligopoly is a
market structure in which a small number of firms has the large majority of market share.
An oligopoly is similar to a monopoly, except that rather than one firm, two or more firms
dominate the market.
This manifests in many ways, including in the quality of education having no relation to the
fees that parents pay. The nexus between bad governance and bad schools crowds out good
We should recognize that the regulation of schools is the domain of state governments. The
regulatory mandate must be limited to only the minimal essentials. Regulation need have
only two goals. One, that all private and public schools meet standards in basic academic
and operational aspects: for example, the number of teachers and their qualifications,
classrooms, safety. The other goal should be to protect the public from the exploitative
practices of schools.
Way ahead:
With over 250,000 private schools spread everywhere, and our current sociopolitical
culture, any regulatory mechanism will be far from perfect. However, some possible
solutions include -
The states must form an independent, quasi-judicial school regulatory body. Today, the
state departments of education are conflicted as they are regulators and also the largest
operators of schools. An independent body protected from political and bureaucratic
interference will enable efficiency through focus, improve probity by forcing
transparency, and increase accountability. Such bodies will not be perfect, but would be
a substantial improvement.
The school regulator must demand that schools be not-for-profit, as required by law.
And for substantiating this, annual financial audits, executed with the same rigour as in
companies, must be required.
Accounting standards need to be developed for schools with the objective of eliminating
practices that are often used for skimming money from such not-for-profit entities: for
example, management cannot be outsourced. Again, this wont be perfect, because
our audit ecosystem is not perfect. But then, we have nothing better.
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Schools must publish their fees publicly every year for the following three years, and
thereafter no changes should be permitted. Fees must not be capped. There is no way of
determining appropriate levels for capping, and any such effort will provide room for
more corruption.
A grievance redressal mechanism for parents should be made available, on stability of
fees, other financial matters and safety. The quasi-judicial status of the regulator will
enable this.

Gujrat model
To prevent private schools from charging exorbitant fees in absence of clear laws, the
Gujarat government announced to bring a Bill providing for constitution of a Fee Regulatory
Committee (FRC).
The bill empowers the state government to constitute four Fee Regulatory Committees for
four zones, for the purpose of determination of fee for admission to any standard or course
of study in self financed schools.
This committee will be headed by a Chairman, who can be either a retired district and
sessions judge or a retired IPS or All India Services officer.
The committee will have jurisdiction over all the private schools, right from pre-primary to
higher secondary private schools affiliated to Gujarat Board or CBSE.
The fee structure proposed in the bill for primary, secondary and higher secondary school is
Rs 15,000, Rs 25,000 and Rs 27,000 per year, respectively. Schools will have to put up the
fees approved by the FRC on its notice board and website.
The FRC has been given wide powers to verify the justifications given by private schools for
the fees being charged by them. The committee will have the powers to initiate inquiry suo
moto against any school which is found to be charging excess fees.
As per the Bill, aggrieved persons can also register their complaints against a private school.
In case of violation of the Act, the concerned school can face punitive steps which can
include derecognition.
Connecting the dots
There is a strong case for regulation of private schools. What in your opinion should be
the model policy framework for education in India? Suggest.
The present status of school education in India leaves a lot to be desired. Do you agree?
Critically examine why there is a need for more effective regulation of private school

TOPIC: General Studies 2

Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation.

Recent controversy regarding Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs)

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Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) are being used in Indian General and State Elections to
implement electronic voting in part from 1999 elections. EVMs have replaced paper ballots
in local, state and general (parliamentary) elections in India.
Recent political haul is going in country regarding EVM tampering has undermine the
sanctity of the electoral process in the democratic country. There were various claims
regarding EVMs tamperability and security which have not been proved.
Recent controversy:
Recent allegation had questioned the Election commission; it is trying hard these days to re-
establish its credibility, the EC has reiterated that EVMs cannot be tampered; with it has
made public the findings of inquiries into specific charges of tampering in Madhya Pradesh
and Rajasthan that give a clean chit to the machines.
The plea was also sought to probe allegations of alleged tampering of EVMs during polls,
including the recent Assembly elections in five states. The plea sought examination of the
quality, software or malware and hacking effect in the EVMs from a reliable electronic lab
and scientist and software expert.
In the wake of several political parties questioning whether electronic voting machines are
tamper-proof, the Election Commission now plans to introduce an advanced version of EVM
ahead of the 2019 General Elections.
What is an EVM and how exactly does it work?
EVMs or electronic voting machines provide the voter with a button for each choice which is
connected by a cable to an electronic ballot box.
An EVM consists of two units--control unit and balloting unit--and these two are connected
by a five-meter cable. When a voter presses a button against the candidate he/she wishes
to vote for, the machine locks itself.
This EVM can be opened only with a new ballot number. This way, EVMs ensure that one
person gets to vote only once.
Why is India using EVMs?
Electronic voting machines have been in use in India since 1999. Using EVMs means doing
away with paper ballots, and in turn, saving millions of trees from being cut.
It makes the entire process of voting simpler--a click on the button and your vote is
EVMs, in the long-run, have turned out to be cost-effective as well. Although the initial cost
of an EVM is between Rs 5,000 and Rs 6,000, the machine, on an average, lasts for 15 years.
These machines don't require electricity and run on batteries. At the same time, the EVMs
are lighter and portable compared to the huge ballot boxes.
And most importantly, EVMs have made the vote-counting process much faster, delivering
results in hours as against manual counting of votes which could take days.
Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) - a step towards transparency
After concerns were raised on whether EVMs are tamper-proof, the Election Commission
appointed a committee to look into the possibility of linking the EVMs with VVPAT
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VVPAT is a small printer like machine attached to EVM which allows to the voters to verify
that their vote has been cast correctly. Once a voter casts his vote, a small paper slip
containing the name of candidate and poll symbol is generated from VVPAT machine. The
paper slip appears for about 10 seconds. After the voter views the receipt, it automatically
goes inside a sealed box attached to the EVM.
The VVPAT system first introduced during the 2014 general elections by the Election
Commission. The system was first largely experimented during Nagaland by-elections in
Among the recently held elections, VVPAT units were used in all 40 the constituencies of
Goa, 4 in Uttarakhand , 20 in Uttar Pradesh, 4 in Manipur and 8 in Punjab.
VVPAT machines will be used in all polling stations for the general elections in 2019 as the
EC has already asked for an additional fund from the government.
Way ahead
EVMs with VVPAT system ensure the accuracy of the voting system. With intent to have
fullest transparency in the system and to restore the confidence of the voters, it is necessary
to set up EVMs with VVPAT system because vote is nothing but an act of expression which
has immense importance in democratic system.
The EVM, just as any other machine, needs to constantly evolve in order to remain secure
and workable under any condition while at the same time keeping its operations simple. The
introduction of the VVPAT should enable another layer of accountability to the EVM.
To seek to improve the use of EVMs and to secure them better is one thing; to call them
faulty machines which are being deliberately manipulated by a pliant system that is in
cahoots with dominant political actors is another, considering the experience of its use for
the past two decades and repeated clarifications and improvements made to them by the
ECI. This amounts to delegitimising the entire system of an accountable and independent
ECI that conducts elections with the participation of other administrative actors as
watchdogs and checks over it.
Connecting the dots
There is a strong case for introduction of EVMs with VVPAT system. Write brief note
about VVPAT system and how it can help restore the confidence of the voters.
Restoring confidence in EVM is not just a legal issue but also holds key to restoring
confidence in idea of democracy as a whole. Discuss.

General Studies 2
Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation.
General Studies 3
Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country;
Transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints;
P a g e | 19

etechnology in the aid of farmers

Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public
Distribution System - objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer
stocks and food security;

Agriculture Marketing

Indian agriculture is a gamble with monsoon is an old adage. It is a gamble with almost
everything is now a reality. Risks are multipronged and this makes it difficult for the farmers
to raise their standard of living and hence suffer.

Farmers in some States are regretting their abundant yields this year as the prices of
agricultural commodities have crashed.
Chilli farmers in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, tomato growers in Karnataka,
and toor dal cultivators in Maharashtra are at the centre of a severe crisis that
has witnessed prices fall by more than half in a matter of just weeks.
Some speculate that high commodity prices last year caused farmers to respond
by boosting production, which in turn led to the present price crash.
Whether it is the wholesale mandis where farmers sell their agricultural produce, or
retail outlets where consumers buy them, price fluctuations are common.
But whether such fluctuations can be explained as being due to mindless crop
cultivation, as some speculate, is not as certain.
For one, in the consumer market, commodity speculators usually dampen price
fluctuations by managing supply according to consumer demand.
For instance, when the supply of grains is abundant, speculators do not flood the
market with all their stock but instead hoard the grains and sell them later when
supply turns scarce.
Thus, even if farmers engage in mindless grain production, speculators usually save the
day for consumers by preventing steep rises and falls in grain prices.

Price fluctuations resultant concerns

In the wholesale market, speculators can save farmers from similar price fluctuations by
paying a competitive price for their produce even when there is abundant supply.
Grain traders, to return to our previous example, who want to hoard supply expecting
higher grain prices in the future would be willing to pay a better price to farmers today.
This comes not out of compassion for farmers, but purely out of competition with other
grain traders.
When farmers are free to sell their produce to any trader they want, it is traders
paying the best price who get hold of it.
P a g e | 20

Farmers can also expect a more predictable price for their produce each season,
reflecting stable consumer prices, thus preventing mindless cultivation.

Need for competition:

Such competition though is clearly missing from the Indian agricultural scene where the
supply chain is broken.
Red tape, including limits on stocking agricultural products, has prevented the
growth of a robust market for commodity speculation.
The result is lack of investment in infrastructure like that of cold storage; about 40% of
agricultural produce in India is wasted because of it.
This, in turn, has led to price fluctuations that have affected both the farmer and
the consumer.
Wholesale agricultural prices are determined by trader cartels that block competitive
Index This significantly reduces the price farmers can get for their products, while
AP Rythu Bazaars boosting the profits of some privileged traders.
By some estimates, farmers receive only 20-25% of what the final consumer pays for his
Thus, a free market in agriculture can be the best solution to the crisis facing Indian

Suggestion of a free market in agriculture looks ideal on paper. But the implementation
challenges will be critical for an age old occupation and remote reach it has. The need is for
innovative solutions like e-NAM and some legislative reforms.

Connecting the dots

Critically analyse the need for legislative reforms and policy solution to improve
agricultural marketing scenario in India.

TOPIC: General Studies 2

Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges
pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels
and challenges therein.
Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation.

Panchayti Raj System

P a g e | 21

We are effectively on the verge to begin 25th year since constitutional decentralization of
power to include a third tier of governance. But the ground level change has been dismal
and devolution still remains farfetched.

73rd and 74th Amendment:

The 73 rd Amendment (together with the 74th) is rightly called a silent revolution for various
First of all, the PRIs no longer operate at the whim of state governments and their laws.
They are now a part of the Constitution and enjoy the status of institutions of
self-government, as parliament at the federal level and legislative assemblies at
the state level.
The amendment prescribes regular elections every five years and election within six
months of the dissolution of any PRI.
To ensure free, fair, and timely elections there is a provision for the setting up of
state election commission.
The most revolutionary provision is the reservation of one-third of the seats for women
in local bodies, along with reservation of seats for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes
in proportion to their regional populations.
The amendment lays down 29 functions to be entrusted to the PRIs.
To maintain a democratic ethos, popular accountability, and transparency, the
amendment emphases the need for periodic meetings of the gram sabha, composed of
all adults in each village.
These meetings will approve ongoing programmes and financial allocations.
In brief, the amendment visualises the allocation of funds, functions, and functionaries
to these bodies to ensure genuine and effective democratic decentralisation.

The oldest existing statute is the Bengal Districts Act of 1836. It is a statute with a single
sentence and says the following, Power to create new zilas: It shall be lawful for the State
Government, by notification in the Official Gazette, to create new zilas in any part of West
Bengal. This is the text as it stands today, not as it was in 1836.
There have been amendments in 1874, 1903, 1920, 1948 and 1950. The parallel legislation
still exists in Bangladesh. Two questions follow.
First, why is such an old statute still on the statute books? Arent old laws being cleaned
up and scrapped?
The answer has to do with Article 372(1) of the Constitution. The Bengal Districts
Act of 1836 will have to be repealed by the West Bengal Assembly.
Second, why does Bengal (West Bengal) alone need a specific statute to create a zila
The answer probably lies in the way land revenue legislation evolved. Since
states can create and change districts, the number of districts varies.
P a g e | 22

The 2001 Census had 593 districts, the 2011 Census had 640; the number has
crossed 700 now. With that 2011 base, Uttar Pradesh had 71 districts and
Lakshadweep had one.
Though not explicitly stated, more districts are presumably created for administrative
convenience and delivering public goods and services better. Take the Upper Dibang
Valley in Arunachal Pradesh.
In 2011, this had a population of 7,984 and a geographical area of 9,129 square
kilometres. This makes it Indias largest district, but one with the lowest
population density.
The district headquarter is Anini and you can imagine the distance of other parts
of Upper Dibang from Anini.
When deciding on new districts, there are obvious criteria like population, geographical
area and the distance from district headquarters.
But the right answer isnt always obvious. Once revenue laws have determined
districts, government development programmes work through DRDAs (District
Rural Development Agency), at least on the rural side; there are also elected
representatives, through zila panchayats or parishads (ZPs) or district councils,
further down to blocks and villages.
Once there is a new district, barring time-lags, there will also be a new ZP, through the
relevant state election commission.
Think of various entities involved in a districts development the district
collector/district magistrate/district Commissioner, the DRDA, the MP, multiple MLAs
and ZPs. Unless they work together, a lot of resources, not just financial, will be frittered
The argument extends lower down, to the gram panchayat, and these have got a
substantial amount of resources, courtesy the Fourteenth Finance Commission.
The standard points about capacity, a lack of devolution of functions, funds and
functionaries, convergence and separate cadres.
Perhaps those are prerequisites before one can answer my question.
Decentralised planning is meant to start from below and below doesnt mean
the district. Gram panchayats/gram sabhas are supposed to have several
planning functions.
The intention is to make planning participatory. But unlike the district, and like
the block, we dont have a coherent governance and administrative structure.
Unlike even the panchayat samiti, there is no direct link between the executive
and the elected in the gram panchayat. ?????
Decentralization should be implemented in letter and spirit especially for a country of size
and stature of India. It is important for India to revise and reform the subjects and also
encourage the states towards higher devolution via incentivisation..
P a g e | 23

Connecting the dots

Critically analyse the need for a reformed decentralisation framework for India in the
age of glocalisation.

TOPIC: General Studies 2

Separation of powers between various organs , dispute redressal mechanisms and
Structure, organization and functioning of Executive and Judiciary.

There is a need for restraint in using Article 142

The below article deals with the recent judgments of the Supreme Court invoking Article
142 of the Constitution to achieve results of a far-reaching nature, outside the laws
governing the issues.
Article 142 provides that the Supreme Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction may pass such
decree or make such order as is necessary for doing complete justice in any cause or matter
pending before it
Article 142 has been invoked for the purpose of doing tremendous good to large sections of
the population and indeed to the nation as a whole. The Supreme Court has perceived its
role as one which would require it to wipe away every tear from every eye, but perhaps it
is time that the use of this vast, unlimited power included checks and balances.
Power corrupts Absolute power corrupts absolutely- Applicable to institution?
Separation of Power versus Judicial Activism
According to the doctrine of separation of powers the Legislature, Executive and judiciary
have to function within their own spheres demarcated under the Constitution and no organ
can assume a function assigned to another. The framers of the Constitution have reposed
ultimate trust in each organ to perform its functions as per the duties and powers conferred
upon it by the Constitution.
The need for judicial activism, or creative interpretation of laws by the judiciary arises when
laws are not framed for purposes or situations which demand the immediate attention of
the government or if such laws are framed, they are insufficient to meet the situation.
However, in recent years there has been several judgments of the Supreme Court, wherein
it has been foraying into areas which had long been forbidden to the judiciary by reason of
the doctrine of separation of powers, which is part of the basic structure of the
Constitution. These judgments have created an uncertainty about the discretion vested in
the court to invoke Article 142 where even fundamental rights of individuals are being

Constructive application of Article 142
P a g e | 24

Below are some of the cases where Supreme Court is lauded for its constructive application
of Article 142 in an effort to bring complete justice to various deprived sections of society or
to protect the environment.

1. Cleansing of the Taj Mahal, whose marble was yellowing on account of sulphur fumes
from the surrounding industries. Today, on account of the courts efforts over a period
of years, the heritage has been restored to its original beauty.
2. Similarly, undertrials were rotting in jails for greater periods than the maximum
punishment which could have been inflicted on them, as their very existence was
forgotten by the criminal justice system. With a single stroke of the pen, thousands of
them were released.

Stories of miraculous changes brought about to the lives of ordinary people especially
those who, on account of poverty, illiteracy, and ignorance were unable to seek remedies
from the courts were innumerable.

3. One of the important instances of application by the Supreme Court of Article 142 was in
the Union Carbide case relating to the victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy where the
Court felt a need to deviate from existing law to bring relief to the thousands of persons
affected by the gas leak.
In this judgment, the Supreme Court, while awarding compensation of $470 million to the
victims, went to the extent of saying that to do complete justice, it could even override the
laws made by Parliament by holding that, prohibitions or limitations or provisions
contained in ordinary laws cannot, ipso facto, act as prohibitions or limitations on the
constitutional powers under Article 142. By this statement the Supreme Court of India
placed itself above the laws made by Parliament or the legislatures of the States.
However later in Supreme Court Bar Association vs. Union of India. It mentioned that the
said article could not be used to supplant the existing law, but only to supplement the law.

Foraying into forbidden territory

However, in recent years, one has come across several judgments of the Supreme Court
wherein it has been foraying into areas which had long been forbidden to the judiciary by
reason of the doctrine of separation of powers, which is part of the basic structure of the
Unfortunately, these judgments have created an uncertainty about the discretion vested in
the court to invoke Article 142 where even fundamental rights of individuals are being
It is argued by the critics that in some of its judgements (given below), the court, in its
anxiety to do justice in a particular case or matter, has failed to account for the far-reaching
effects of its judgments, which may result in the deprivation of the rights of a multitude of
individuals who are not before the court at that time.
P a g e | 25

1. The coal block allocation case: Allocation of coal blocks granted from 1993 onwards was
cancelled in 2014 without even a single finding that the grantees were guilty of any
wrongdoing. The cancellation carried with it a penalty of 295 per tonne of coal already
mined over the years. Article 142 had necessarily to be invoked. The individuals were
not heard on their particular facts, but only their associations were heard. The result
was devastating, so far as these lessees were concerned.

2. The ban on the sale of alcohol along national and State highways: While the
notification by the central government prohibited liquor stores along National Highways
only those abutting the National Highways the Supreme Court put in place a ban of
a distance of 500 metres by invoking Article 142. Additionally, and in the absence of any
similar notification by any of the State governments, the court extended the ban to State
highways as well. Federal powers as well - Judiciary = Center + States powers :O
As a result of the order, thousands of hotels, restaurants, bars and liquor stores were
forced to close down or discontinue the sale of liquor, resulting in lakhs of employees
being thrown out of employment. It may be noted that the total percentage of
accidental deaths caused due to drunken driving, as found by the court from the
statistics of 2015, was only 4.2% as against the 44.2% caused by over-speeding.
The Supreme Court had itself held that the right to employment is a basic right traceable
to Article 21. However, in its order banning the sale of alcohol along highways, it made
no reference to the loss of employment to lakhs of people, a direct consequence of the

3. The transfer of cases filed against persons accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case:
A two-judge bench passed an order which was in the teeth of an earlier three-judge
bench decision of the Supreme Court, between the same parties, which was binding on
it. Despite the decision of the larger bench, the court was prepared to hold, while
invoking Article 142, that in view of the long pendency of the case for 25 years, it would
direct that the trial would now stand transferred from Rae Bareli to Lucknow.
Critics argue that the judgment did not merely supplement the law but supplanted it by
reason of the binding nature of the three-judges bench decision, which was res judicata
between the parties. The trial was in fact nearing completion at Rae Bareli; it would now
take at least two years for the examination of a few hundred witnesses at Lucknow
before conclusion of the trial, as the charge of conspiracy has also to be gone into.

Way ahead
In Indian Constitution the functions of different organs of the Government have been
sufficiently differentiated, so that one organ of the Government could not usurp the
function of another. The doctrine of Separation of Powers has been included in our basic
P a g e | 26

structure doctrine as has been ruled and upheld by the Supreme Court in a number of cases.
Thus it holds a position of utmost importance.
Judicial activism may be a welcome measure on in a short run where it helps in maintaining
the rule of law and allows one organ to sustain the administration of the country when
other organs are not performing. If it is practiced for a long time it may dilute the theory of
separation of power and the doctrine of checks and balances.
Over the recent past, however, increasing powers are traced to Article 142 to decide a host
of issues that would fall within the domain of other institutions. The exercise of such powers
with no one to turn to against such exercise except the very body that had exercised the
powers in the first place is certainly not democratic and borders on authoritarianism or at
the very least, rule of the intelligentsia.
Article 142 is an extraordinary power to be sparingly used where there is a legislative or
executive void and comes into play when the conclusion is founded on statute or law but a
remedy has to be created. Surely, its purpose is not replacing the wisdom of other
institutions with that of the judiciary.
There is time to institute checks and balances for the Supreme Court to introspect on
whether the use of Article 142 as an independent source of power or should be regulated by
strict guidelines, so that arbitrariness takes place judicial activism, will remain within the
purview of doctrine of separation of powers and checks and balances.

Connecting the dots

Article 142 gives the supreme court virtual license to intervene in any matter
whatsoever. Critically analyze in the light of recent events.

TOPIC: General Studies 3

Technology, Energy Security
Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and
developing new technology.

Indias Nuclear Power expansion plans

As of 2016, India has 22 nuclear reactors in operation in 8 nuclear power plants, having an
installed capacity of 6780 MW (megawatts) and producing a total of 30,292.91 GWh of
The countrys nuclear power sector is set to undergo the biggest expansion in its history
with the cabinet recently clearing 10 new reactors, each with a capacity of 700 MW (mega
watts of electricity).
The proposed new reactors will amount to 7,000 MWe (megawatt electric), i.e. will more
than double the countrys current installed nuclear capacity of 6,780 MWe.
P a g e | 27

India has a flourishing and largely indigenous nuclear power programme and expects to
have 14.6 GWe nuclear capacity on line by 2024 and 63 GWe by 2032. It aims to supply 25%
of electricity from nuclear power by 2050.
Indias energy consumption demand has more than doubled since 2000. According to the
International Energy Agencys World Energy Outlook 2015, the countrys power sector
needs to almost quadruple by 2040 to keep pace with electricity demand that boosted by
rising incomes and new connections to the grid will increase at almost 5 per cent per
year. The decision on the new reactors signals the governments zeal to look beyond
traditional sources of electricity.
Story of nuclear plants in India
Nuclear power is widely regarded as a cleaner source of energy than fossil fuels like coal.
Unlike renewable energy sources such as solar power which needs large tracts of land,
nuclear plants work on a smaller area to produce larger amounts of power. They have been
marketed as the cheapest alternative to coal-based generation plants.
However, the story of nuclear plants in India has been fraught with delays, opacity and
large-scale local dissatisfaction. Not just this, performance of some of the plants has been
poor. In addition, Indias nuclear plants do not function transparently. Most technical
information relating to the plants are beyond public scrutiny owing to security concerns.
Without addressing the concerns about the safety and efficiency of Indias existing nuclear
plants, the governments large-scale nuclear expansion will only invite further distrust.
Development of nuclear power in India:
Indias currently has 22 nuclear power units.
Tarapur Atomic Power Station (T.A.P.S.)
The first pair is located in Tarapur, Maharashtra
It uses enriched uranium and incorporates U.S. nuclear technology
These two reactors have operated safely and reliably for the past 47 years and supply
the lowest cost non-hydro power
Rajasthan Atomic Power Station (R.A.P.S)
The second pair is located in Rawatbhata, Rajasthan
It uses natural uranium and is based on Canadian technology
The first unit of this pair has been out of service for some years due to deficiencies in
some key equipment; the second unit has been operating satisfactorily
Commencing from 1983 and over a span of two and a half decades, India built 16 nuclear
power units using its own technology, materials and equipment. These reactors use natural
uranium as fuel. Fourteen of them have a size of 220 MW and two are of 540 MW.
During the period 2000-2010, India designed a nuclear power unit of 700 MW capacity,
using natural uranium. Construction work on two such units in Kakrapar (in Gujarat) and two
in Rajasthan was taken up. These four units will go into operation in the next three years.
Work on two similar units has been taken up at a site in Haryana.
P a g e | 28

All equipment and materials for these larger units will come from Indian suppliers. In recent
years, two 1000 MW VVER power units have come up in Kudankulam, Tamil Nadu, using
Russian technology. They use enriched uranium supplied by Russia.
In 2016, work on two more such units was commenced. When all these units go into
operation, India will have 30 reactors with a capacity of 13,000 MW. By then some of the
earlier units will be reaching their retirement age.


Because India is outside the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty due to its weapons
programme, it was for 34 years largely excluded from trade in nuclear plant or materials,
which has hampered its development of civil nuclear energy until 2009.
Moreover, due to earlier trade bans and lack of indigenous uranium, India has uniquely
been developing a nuclear fuel cycle to exploit its reserves of thorium.
P a g e | 29

Indias domestic uranium reserves are small and the country is dependent on uranium
imports to fuel its nuclear power industry. Since early 1990s, Russia has been a major
supplier of nuclear fuel to India.
However, recently large deposits of uranium, has been discovered in the Tummalapalle belt
and in the Bhima basin at Gogi in Karnataka by the Atomic Minerals Directorate for
Exploration and Research (AMD) of India. The Tummalapalle belt uranium reserves promises
to be one of the top 20 uranium reserves discovery of the world.
Following a waiver from the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) in September 2008 which
allowed it to commence international nuclear trade, India has signed bilateral deals on
civilian nuclear energy technology cooperation with several other countries, including
France, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and South Korea.

Present scenario
India has been in discussions with Areva of France on building six EPR reactors of 1600 MW
at Jaitapur, Maharashtra. The first such reactor in Finland has been greatly delayed and may
go into operation in 2018. There is a pending arbitration case between Finland and France
regarding who is to bear the resulting cost increases. In addition, Areva has suffered heavy
losses post-Fukushima when the uranium market bottomed and even Westinghouse which
was also scheduled to build nuclear reactors in India, went into financial crisis.
Despite all this - to become a super power we cannot remain excluded so NSG must. + To keep all options open
The way ahead:
Anticipating some of these difficulties, the nuclear community in India has been looking at
other options to expand the nuclear capacity.
The fleet of pressurised heavy water reactors (PHWR), of our own design and construction,
have performed well. During the last five years, the cumulative capacity factor has been
78%. The reactors have operated continuously for periods exceeding 300 days quite
regularly and one of our reactors was on line for 765 days, the second-longest run in the
world. The cost of power has been less than from coal in the same region.
Given the context, the recent Union Cabinets nod for ten 700 MW PHWRs is timely. Indian
industry is well placed to supply all the components and materials required for these
reactors. Russia is willing to supply two more 1000 MW VVER units for Kudankulam and
continue the cooperation to build six 1200 MW VVERs at a second site, to be identified by
Our reactor designers at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and NPCIL have completed the
design of a 900 MW reactor using enriched uranium as fuel, designated as the Indian
Pressurised Water Reactor (IPWR). Our industry is keen to mobilise and build up the
capacity to make components for this design. Enriched uranium fuel can be sourced from
international suppliers, as such reactors can be placed under International Atomic Energy
Agency safeguards.
By about 2025 or so, India may itself supply enriched uranium from its own enrichment
facilities. The governments push for 10 IPWRs will secure India a position of nuclear power
P a g e | 30

plant supplier not only for application in India, but also as a potential exporter. While our
earlier plans on expanding nuclear power have not materialised, the alternative plan
suggested now, which envisages building 28 units with a total capacity of about 25,000 MW
in 15 years from now, can still ensure that nuclear power remains an important part of our
strategy to minimise carbon emissions in the long run.
Connecting the dots
Critically analyse the need for making India independent in nuclear energy capabilities.
Throw light on the recent progress of nuclear development in India.
Between nuclear and renewable energy, which is the suitable energy for a sustainable
energy scenario in India? Comment on the power crises in India.

General Studies 2
Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation.
Governance issues.
General Studies 3
Environment versus development.
Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

Loopholes in Coastal Regulation Zone Rules

India has a significantly large coastline measuring close to 7,517km, covering large swathes
of territory across nine states and four union territories.
It is generally agreed that a key element in the transformation of India is the creation of a
large number of good jobs. While micro and small enterprises provide lots of jobs,
consistent with their low productivity, they pay relatively low wages.
Coastal zones in this context holds great opportunities to provide high-paying export
oriented jobs as well as several marine resource dependent opportunities. However, CRZ
Notification tends to put an obstacle in this regard.
Burdensome laws, accompanied by the onerous rules and regulations they impose, restrict
economic activity in the entire country. However, the coastal regions suffer from the
additional liability of having to comply with far-fetched coast protection norms originating
under the Environment (Protection) Act (EPA).
Coastal waters provide a source of primary livelihood to 7 million households. Our marine
ecosystems are a treasure trove of biodiversity, which we are only beginning to discover and
catalogue. Thus, our coastline is both a precious natural resource and an important
economic asset, and we need a robust progressive framework to regulate our coast.
Coastal Regulation Zone notification
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In 1991, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF) issued a notification under
Section 3 of the Environment Protection Act of 1986, seeking to regulate development
activity on Indias coastline. The approach adopted by the first notification was to define the
High Tide Line (HTL) and Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) and thereafter specify the
activities permitted and restricted in the vicinity of the CRZ. This regulated zone was further
divided into four categories (CRZ I-IV) as per permitted land use.
As per the norms created by the Central government, a Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) is the
land area from the high-tide line to 500m inland. There is a long list of prohibited activities
within this zone, such as the setting up of new industries, expansion of existing industries,
establishment of fish processing units, warehouses, land reclamation, etc.

Concern: Although the norms carve out exceptions within these prohibited activities for
certain undertakings, such as building ports or reconstructing dwelling units for local
communities. The regulation is replete with such curious exceptions to some specific cases
(for ex green signal for development of a greenfield airport proposed at Navi Mumbai),
which raise questions pertaining to the criteria that was followed to determine permissible
and non-permissible activities.
Flaws in the present CRZ rules
The peculiarity of the CRZ directives is evidenced from the universal allowance granted to
areas adjoining bays, estuaries, backwaters, lagoons and other tidal-influenced water
bodies. For areas falling under this category, the regulated zone extends only 100m inland
from the high-tide line.
As a result, many developers, entrepreneurs and builders have been asking the coastal zone
management authorities to declare the water around the coastal land area within their
project plans as bays or tidal-influenced water bodies.
Some have approached several high courts for such declaration to avail the benefits of a
smaller regulated zone.
The multiplicity of definitions, exceptions, permissible and impermissible activities not only
lead to high regulatory and legal expenditure in obtaining project clearances, there is all-
round confusion in implementation as well. The execution of the CRZ rules falls within the
domain of several coastal zone management authorities created by the state governments
for this purpose
Way ahead
The CRZ norms are another example of a top-down, heavy-handed, legislative diktat from
Delhi that ignores local dynamics and the diverse needs and realities of states. Regulations
like CRZ create significant entry barriers for firms unable to negotiate the myriad, complex
guidelines or lobby for rent-seeking special concessions from the government.
The authorities have to prepare coastal zone management plans based on the complicated
regulation which also lists the guidelines that the authorities must follow in preparation of
the plans. Most authorities are themselves unaware of the implementation scheme and a
significant number of cases concerning clearances and bay designation are sent to the
P a g e | 32

Central government for clarification. This not only creates uncertainty, it also increases the
time taken for permissions, burdening the firms with high compliance outlays.
Connecting the dots
Coastal Regulation Zone norms are an example of a top-down, heavy-handed, legislative
diktat from Delhi that ignores local dynamics. Do you agree? Elucidate.
Write a note on structure, functioning and performance of Coastal Zone Management
Authorities (CZMAs).
Explain the role of Coastal Regulatory Zone/Authorities (CRZ) in protecting Environment.

TOPIC: General Studies 2

Salient features of the Representation of Peoples Act.
Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries
and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal
associations and their role in the Polity.
Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation.

EVM Issues hackathon challenge

Elections are the test of any democracy and hence the process needs to be free and fair.
With a level playing field needing to be established across the recent incidents of
malfunctioning or hacking of electronic voter machines is a serious concern.

FAQs about EVMS:

Q1. What is an Electronic Voting machine? In what way its functioning is different from the
conventional system of voting?
Ans: An Electronic Voting Machine consists of two Units a Control Unit and a Balloting Unit
joined by a five-meter cable. The Control Unit is with the Presiding Officer or a Polling
Officer and the Balloting Unit is placed inside the voting compartment. Instead of issuing a
ballot paper, the Polling Officer in-charge of the Control Unit will press the Ballot Button.
This will enable the voter to cast his vote by pressing the blue button on the Balloting Unit
against the candidate and symbol of his choice.

Q2. When was the EVM first introduced in elections?

Ans: EVMs manufactured in 1989-90 were used on experimental basis for the first time in
16 Assembly Constituencies in the States of Madhya Pradesh (5), Rajasthan (5) and NCT of
Delhi (6) at the General Elections to the respective Legislative Assemblies held in November,

Q3. How can EVMs be used in areas where there is no electricity?
P a g e | 33

Ans: EVMs run on an ordinary 6 volt alkaline battery manufactured by Bharat Electronics
Ltd., Bangalore and Electronic Corporation of India Ltd., Hyderabad. Therefore, even in areas
with no power connections, EVMs can be used.

Q4. What is the maximum number of votes which can be cast in EVMs?
Ans: EVMs can record a maximum of 3840 votes. As normally the total number of electors in
a polling station will not exceed 1500, the capacity of EVMs is more than sufficient.

Q5. What is the maximum number of candidates which EVMs can cater to?
Ans: EVMs can cater to a maximum of 64 candidates. There is provision for 16 candidates in
a Balloting Unit. If the total number of candidates exceeds 16, a second Balloting Unit can be
linked parallel to the first Balloting Unit. Similarly, if the total number of candidates exceeds
32, a third Balloting Unit can be attached and if the total number of candidates exceeds 48,
a fourth Balloting Unit can be attached to cater to a maximum of 64 candidates.

Q6. What will happen if the number of contesting candidates in a constituency goes beyond
Ans: In case the number of contesting candidates goes beyond 64 in any constituency, EVMs
cannot be used in such a constituency. The conventional method of voting by means of
ballot box and ballot paper will have to be adopted in such a constituency.

Q7. What will happen if the EVM in a particular polling station goes out of order?
Ans: An Officer is put on duty to cover about 10 polling stations on the day of poll. He will
be carrying spare EVMs and the out-of-order EVM can be replaced with a new one. The
votes recorded until the stage when the EVM went out of order will be safe in the memory
of the Control Unit and it will be sufficient to proceed with the polling after the EVM went
out of order. It is not necessary to start the poll from the beginning.

Q8. Who has the devised the EVMs?

Ans: The EVMs have been devised and designed by Election Commission in collaboration
with two Public Sector undertakings viz., Bharat Electronics Ltd., Bangalore and Electronic
Corporation of India Ltd., Hyderabad after a series of meetings, test-checking of the
prototypes and extensive field trials. The EVMs are now manufactured by the above two

Q9. What is the cost of the machines? Is it not too expensive to use EVMs?
Ans: The cost per EVM (One Control Unit, one Balloting Unit and one battery) was
Rs.5,500/- at the time the machines were purchased in 1989-90. Even though the initial
investment is somewhat heavy, this is more than neutralised by the savings in the matter of
printing of ballot papers in lakhs, their transportation, storage etc., and the substantial
reduction in the counting staff and the remuneration paid to them.
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The electronic voting machine has been under strong scrutiny ever since it was deployed
in the 1990s.
The Indian EVM is a singular instrument with its dependence on standalone hardware-
firmware-led machine components to register and tally votes it is not reliant on
computer software or networked components.
Questions have been therefore raised about the possibility of EVM-tampering either by
the introduction of malicious code (trojans) that could override the logic embedded in
the chip, replacing its chip, or manipulating the communication between the ballot and
the control units through remote signals or equipment.
The Election Commission has evolved improvements over time to address these
concerns, and has strengthened technical and administrative safeguards to prevent any
The steps include time-stamping of key presses, dynamic coding in second-generation
machines besides tamper-proofing and self-diagnostics in the third-generation machines
that are now being deployed.
A strict administrative protocol involving first-level checks after manufacture,
randomised deployment, sealed strong rooms for storage, and conduct of mock polls
has been instituted.
The EC has pledged the universal deployment of voter verifiable paper audit
trails beginning 2019.
VVPATs will add another layer of accountability, allowing voters to verify the
choice registered on the ballot unit in real time, and the machine-read vote
tallies post-election.

Concerns of Political Parties:

These steps have obviously not satisfied some political parties which have used the logic
of machine fallibility to claim that their recent electoral losses were a consequence of
EVM tampering rather than actual voter choice.
The Aam Aadmi Party recently demonstrated what it claimed to be a possible hack of
the EVM by the introduction of a trojan on to an EVM prototype; it said that, therefore,
it was possible to manipulate all EVMs by the replacement of its motherboard (to
accommodate a chip that carried a built-in trojan).
This critique does not stand scrutiny considering the ECs technical and administrative
safeguards that prevent trojans or the mass manipulation of EVMs.

Election Commissions Challenge:

The ECs challenge to political parties to participate in a hackathon on June 3, to test out
manipulation of EVMs with the various safeguards in place, is welcome.
P a g e | 35

The scepticism of some political parties apart, there is definitely a case for constantly
improving EVM design and security features in order to completely rule out any
sophisticated tampering attempt, howsoever difficult it is to carry it off considering the
strict administrative safeguards in place.
The more transparent the EC is about demonstrating the robustness of its safeguards
and its determination to improve them further, the greater will be the publics trust in
the electoral process.

Transparency in every aspect of elections is a fundamental necessity. Especially with a
multiparty democracy and competitive politics at its rage always it is important for ECI to
ensure people are assured of the hassle process in elections.

Connecting the dots

Discuss relevance of a hackathon like exercise in solving issues of tampering of EVMs.

TOPIC: General Studies 2

Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation.
Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or
affecting Indias interests.
India and its neighborhood relations.
Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on Indias

India Africa

In the global geopolitics India needs to effectively engage with all countries across the world
for engagement on multiple fronts. Africa as a dark continent is emerging as global theatre
for all major powers for resources and power play. India has its task cut out though with
historical ties.

Facts about Africa:

Africa is an amazing continent. From its start as the heart of humanity, it is now home to
more than a billion people.
The East African Rift zone, which divides the Somalian and Nubian tectonic plates, is the
location of several important discoveries of human ancestors by anthropologists.
P a g e | 36

The active spreading rift valley is thought to be the heartland of humanity, where much
human evolution likely took place millions of years ago.
The discovery of the partial skeleton of "Lucy" in 1974 in Ethiopia sparked major
research in the region.
Africa is located to the south of Europe and southwest of Asia. It is connected to Asia via
the Sinai Peninsula in northeastern Egypt.
The peninsula itself is usually considered part of Asia with the Suez Canal and the Gulf of
Suez as the dividing line between Asia and Africa. African countries are usually divided
into two world regions.
The countries of northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, are usually
considered part of a region called "North Africa and the Middle East" while countries
south of the northernmost countries of Africa are usually considered part of the region
called "Sub-Saharan Africa."
As the Prime Meridian is an artificial line, this point has no true significance.
Nonetheless, Africa lies both all four hemispheres of the Earth.
Africa is also the second most populous continent on Earth, with about 1.1 billion
people. Africa's population is growing faster than Asia's population but Africa will not
catch up to Asia's population in the foreseeable future.
In addition to its high population growth rate, Africa also has the world's lowest life
According to the World Population Data Sheet, the average life expectancy for citizens of
Africa is 58 (59 years for males and 59 years for females.) Africa is home to the world's
highest rates of HIV/AIDS - 4.7% of females and 3.0% of males are infected.
With the possible exceptions of Ethiopia and Liberia, all of Africa was colonized by non-
African countries. The United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Germany, and
Portugal all claimed to rule parts of Africa without the consent of the local population.
With 196 independent countries on Earth, Africa is home to more than a quarter of
these countries. As of 2012, there are 54 fully independent countries on mainland Africa
and its surrounding islands.
All 54 countries are members of the United Nations. Every country except Morocco,
which is suspended for its lack of a solution to the issue of Western Sahara, is a member
of the African Union.
Africa is fairly non-urbanized. Only 39% of Africa's population lives in urban areas. Africa
is home to only two megacities with a population greater than ten million: Cairo, Egypt,
and Lagos, Nigeria.

The African Development Banks decision to hold its annual general meeting in India this
month is a signal of the importance African countries attach to New Delhis growing role
in its development.
P a g e | 37

It was nearly a decade ago, in 2008, that India made a serious attempt for a strategic
partnership with all of Africa, instead of just the nations it traded with, at the first India-
Africa Forum Summit.
At that time, Indias efforts seemed minimal, a token attempt at keeping a foothold in a
continent that was fast falling into Chinas sphere of influence.
New Delhi had its work cut out, building a place for India as a partner in low-cost
technology transfers, a supplier of much-needed, affordable generic pharmaceuticals,
and a dependable donor of aid that did not come with strings attached.
Over the past few years the outreach to Africa has also been driven by visits of
President, Vice-President and Prime Minister.
Every country in Africa has by now been visited by an Indian Minister, highlighting the
personal bonds India shares.
During the India-Africa summit held in Delhi in 2015, the Centre announced a further
$10 billion export credit and a $600 million grant which, despite being a fraction of the
aid Africa received from China and blocs such as the European Union, was a significant
sum for India.
Competing in a powerful neighbourhood:
Having established its credentials and commitment over time, the Centre is now taking
its partnership beyond dollars and cents to a new strategic level.
To begin with, India is working on a maritime outreach to extend its Sagarmala
programme to the southern coastal African countries with blue economies;
It is also building its International Solar Alliance, which Djibouti, Comoros, Cote
dIvoire, Somalia and Ghana signed on to on the sidelines of the AfDB project.
In its efforts, India has tapped other development partners of Africa, including Japan,
which sent a major delegation to the AfDB meeting.
It has also turned to the United States, with which it has developed dialogues in
fields such as peacekeeping training and agricultural support, to work with
African countries.
It is significant that during the recent inter-governmental consultations between India
and Germany, both countries brought in their Africa experts to discuss possible
cooperation in developmental programmes in that continent.
But it is clear that at a time when China is showcasing its Belt and Road Initiative as the
project of the century and also bolstering its position as Africas largest donor, a
coalition of like-minded countries such as the one India is putting together could provide
an effective way to ensure more equitable and transparent development aid to Africa.

It will take more heavy-lifting to elevate Indias historical anti-colonial ties with Africa to
productive economic partnerships. India needs to continuously expand its outreach on
multiple fronts and build a sustainable partnership with Africa to ensure it achieves a
greater synergy in the years ahead to find a common ground.
P a g e | 38

Connecting the dots

Discuss the relations of India with Africa in the changed global scenario and geoplotics.

TOPIC: General Studies 2

Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries
and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal
associations and their role in the Polity.
Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation.
Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, egovernance
applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters,
transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

Bail Reforms

Indian criminal justice system needs urgent reforms. One of the crucial aspect of the reform
is under trials being languishing jails for years together. Bail system has unequally favored
the rich and the haves. The Law Commissions report serves a reminder of the same.

Under-trials in Indian Jails:

The Prison Statistics India 2015 report was released by the National Crime Records Bureau
(NCRB) on Monday. Here are five things the data tells us about the state of Indian prisons.
The problem of overcrowding - The report calls overcrowding as one of the biggest
problems faced by prison inmates. It results in poor hygiene and lack of sleep among
other problems. Keeping in view the human rights of the prisoners, it is essential that
they are given reasonable space and facilities in jails, the report says.
The occupancy rate at the all India level at the end of 2015 was 114.4 per cent - At 276.7
per cent, Dadra & Nagar Haveli is reported to have most overcrowded prisons, followed
by Chhattisgarh (233.9 per cent), Delhi (226.9 per cent), Meghalaya (177.9 per cent) and
Uttar Pradesh (168.8 per cent).
Two-thirds of the prisoners are undertrials - Sixty-seven per cent of the people in Indian
jails are undertrials people not convicted of any crime and currently on trial in a court
of law.
On an average, four died every day in 2015 - In 2015, a total of 1,584 prisoners died in
jails. 1,469 of these were natural deaths and the remaining 115 were attributed to
unnatural causes.
Two-thirds of all the unnatural deaths (77) were reported to be suicides while 11 were
murdered by fellow inmates nine of which were in jails in Delhi.
P a g e | 39

Foreign Convicts - Over two thousand foreign convicts (2,353) were lodged in various
jails in India at the end of 2015. The highest number of foreign convicts 1,266 were
in jails of West Bengal, followed by Andaman & Nicobar Island (360), Uttar Pradesh
(146), Maharashtra (85) and Delhi (81).
Prisoner Profile - Seventy per cent of the convicts are illiterate or have studied only
below class tenth.
Capital Punishment - Over hundred people were awarded death penalty (101) in 2015.
Forty-nine were commuted to life sentence.

That bail is the norm and jail the exception is a principle that is limited in its application
to the affluent, the powerful and the influential.
The Law Commission, in its 268th Report, highlights this problem once again by
remarking that it has become the norm for the rich and powerful to get bail with ease,
while others languish in prison.
While making recommendations to make it easier for all those awaiting trial to obtain
bail, the Commission, headed by former Supreme Court judge B.S. Chauhan, grimly
observes that the existing system of bail in India is inadequate and inefficient to
accomplish its purpose.
One of the first duties of those administering criminal justice must be that bail
practices are fair and evidence-based.
Decisions about custody or release should not be influenced to the detriment of
the person accused of an offence by factors such as gender, race, ethnicity,
financial conditions or social status, the report says.
The main reason that 67% of the current prison population is made up of undertrials is
the great inconsistency in the grant of bail.
Even when given bail, most are unable to meet the onerous financial conditions to avail
The Supreme Court had noticed this in the past, and bemoaned the fact that poverty
appears to be the main reason for the incarceration of many prisoners, as they are
unable to afford bail bonds or provide sureties.
The Commissions report recommending a set of significant changes to the law on bail
deserves urgent attention.

Law Commissions reform suggestions:

The Commission seeks to improve on a provision introduced in 2005 to grant relief to
thousands of prisoners languishing without trial and to decongest Indias overcrowded
Section 436A of the Code of Criminal Procedure stipulates that a prisoner shall be
released on bail on personal bond if he or she has undergone detention of half the
maximum period of imprisonment specified for that offence.
P a g e | 40

The Law Commission recommends that those detained for an offence that would attract
up to seven years imprisonment be released on completing one-third of that period,
and those charged with offences attracting a longer jail term, after they complete half of
that period.
For those who had spent the whole period as undertrials, the period undergone may be
considered for remission.
In general terms, the Commission cautions the police against needless arrests and
magistrates against mechanical remand orders.
It gives an illustrative list of conditions that could be imposed in lieu of sureties or
financial bonds.
It advocates the need to impose the least restrictive conditions. However, as the
report warns, bail law reform is not the panacea for all problems of the criminal justice

Be it overcrowded prisons or unjust incarceration of the poor, the solution lies in expediting
the trial process. For, in our justice system, delay remains the primary source of injustice.
The Law Commissions report needs to be implemented in letter and spirit and large scale
criminal justice reforms need to be initiated.

Connecting the dots

Critically analyse the need for criminal justice reforms in the Indian scenario in light of
report of Law Commission and National Crime Record Bureau.

General Studies 1
Effects of globalization on Indian society, Social empowerment
Urbanization, their problems and their remedies.
General Studies 2
Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation.
General Studies 3
Disaster and disaster management

Urbanisation and disaster management

As an emerging economy and continuous influx of people into urban areas in search of jobs
and livelihoods has increased pressure on resources. Especially with unabated construction
there is threat of increasing disasters with damage.
P a g e | 41

It is not unusual to see people settle down in the shade of a tree-filled traffic island for some
respite in the company of a tweeting bird, a resting dog or a nestling cat. Little ecosystems,
the heartbeat of a thriving city are surviving today.

Unabated deforestation:
The green healers of the city face the axe everyday to make way for Metro trains,
housing, industry and so on.
It is the classic stand-off between citizens, and so-called development planned
ostensibly in the name of citizens.
But the disturbing urgency with which the trees are being felled have many residents
questioning if there isnt a better way to improve connectivity in the city without
damaging its very lungs.
There are enough examples in the country that have shown us up for our
shortsightedness in urban planning.
Floods in Mumbai and Chennai throwing life and work out of gear.
Delhi saw schools shut down because of smog.
It may seem like a playback of something we learnt in junior school, but trees and
mangroves hold onto soil, clean up the air we breathe, and recent studies are only
increasing the list of public health roles that trees play in our lives, on our physical and
mental well-being.
An unsustainable approach to infrastructure projects (cutting trees, encroaching
riverbeds and wetlands, filling water bodies) has resulted in climate change which today
threatens our cities with floods, malaria, heat exposure, air pollution, etc.
Progressive governments around the world know they need to address climate change
by doing things differently, sustainably.
And thats the reason why the green agenda needs to feature prominently on our
development map too.

The need is inclusive infrastructure in cities and thus establish a regime of sustainable living.
Habitats have to embrace sustainable standards of livings and thus governments have to be
responsible in the same direction.

Connecting the dots

Critically discuss the impact of ecological imbalance by deforestation and unsustainable

P a g e | 42

General Studies 2
Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation.
General Studies 3
Economics of animalrearing

Prevention of Cruelty of Animals

The government has been showing special interest in protecting breeds of cattle. The recent
rules are notified only with respect to cows and this has risen concerns. There should a
holistic and ground level policy made with specific interests to all sectors.

The Centres move to notify new rules to regulate livestock markets under the Prevention of
Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 (PCA) is either extremely poorly thought out or much too
clever for its own good.
In a way, both. On the surface, the notification, which spans eight pages, reads like a
general document on the regulation of the sale of all kinds of livestock bought and sold
in animal markets, with some welcome prohibitions on the cruelty inflicted in the
transport and treatment of animals.
But parse the rules, and it is evident that cattle a category that includes cows,
buffaloes, bulls and camels come under a slew of special restrictions which, when
effected, could have an extremely serious impact on the meat and livestock industry,
not to mention the livelihoods and dietary choices of millions of people.
Surprisingly, only the purchase or sale of cattle for slaughter in animal markets has been
This raises suspicions that the Centre has attempted to conceal, or at least soften
perceptions about, an extremely controversial provision, in the guise of passing a
seemingly inoffensive, even enlightened, body of rules relating to animal cruelty.
The rules framed for the sale of cattle are so cumbersome for instance, buyers must
verify they are agriculturists, and sellers must furnish photo identity proof and written
declarations stating that the cattle are not brought to the animal market for slaughter
that one wonders whether the objective is to surreptitiously throttle the entire cattle
trade in an elaborate ream of red tape.
Is the ban on the sale of cattle for slaughter in animal markets intended to act indirectly
as an absolute ban?
Is the notification, stripped of its generalities and niceties, really about the BJP
governments pet concern, cows?

Livestock and animal husbandry
P a g e | 43

Such questions are bound to be raised given the way the rules were notified. If the main
subject of the notification was the regulation of livestock markets, why was it issued by
the Ministry of Environment and not the Animal Husbandry Department of the Ministry
of Agriculture, which deals directly with this issue?
Moreover, on what ground can the slaughter of any animal for food be prevented under
the PCA, when it explicitly recognises that animals may constitute food for mankind?
What the Act prohibits is only the infliction of unnecessary pain and suffering when
animals are consumed as food.
Such legal infirmities are bound to be challenged in court, but meanwhile the economic
costs of this decision will merit a close watch. If estimates that 90% of slaughtered
buffaloes are bought and sold in animal markets are correct, then the trade will be
The Centre must address the concerns of the trade as well as of those who suspect the
notification is a part of a Machiavellian plot to influence and curb food choices.
While there is a case to retain most of the rules prohibiting the cruel treatment of
animals, the ban on the sale of cattle for slaughter in animal markets must go.

The ban will hurt the farmer, cattle trade, meat exports and the leather industry.
The cattle population in India is estimated to be around 190 million, and going by the
practice of not keeping animals beyond eight or nine years of age, it accounts for about
22-23 million deaths every year.
The new rules effectively limit access to buyers, particularly for small stock-keepers, who
will no longer be able to sell their non-productive animals at cattle markets.
A dairy farmer is now expected to feed an animal that is no longer productive, which will
hurt his primary income.
A large percentage of a dairy farmers income also comes from sale of unproductive
The directive will disrupt his production cycle, as farmers sell and procure cattle largely
from local livestock traders or cattle markets.

Government policies towards any sector should be well thought out and the impact on
other sectors should be studied in detail. Hence the present legislation is not complete and
transformative. There is need to address concerns at the earliest.

Connecting the dots

Critically discuss the impact of new rules w.r.t. prevention of cruelty of animals act.
Elaborate the impact on society in general.
P a g e | 44

TOPIC: General Studies 2

Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation.
Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States
and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies
constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections

Plug Aadhaar loopholes with comprehensive privacy law on personal data protection

Aadhaar: Why in news again?

A report released by The Centre for Internet and Society had revealed that over 135 million
records from India's Aadhaar national ID systems had already leaked online.
The leaks didn't take place because of a flaw in the national Aadhaar system, but through
government agencies that handle Aadhar data.
There is strong debate about Whether the implementation and execution of the Aadhaar
Act is error-free? Are government and extra-governmental agencies sticking to the various
protective provisions of the Act? What steps are required to plug loopholes of present
Aadhaar system?

The Aadhaar national database is one of the richest government-operated databases across
the globe, holding more than just our basic identity details.
Set up in 2008, the Aadhaar system assigns each Indian a 12-digit ID in the form of XXXX-
XXXX-XXXX, and records information such as home addresses, information on all bank
accounts, mobile phone numbers, and all the biometrics details you can imagine, ranging
from eye color to fingerprints, and from height to iris scans.
When it was first launched, the program was advertised as a database of Indian citizens'
details which the government could use to pay subsidies and other benefits. Each user could
register and assign a bank account to his Aadhaar ID, where to receive social benefits.
Eight years after the program's inception, the Indian government has pushed the adoption
of the Aadhaar system in almost every facet of day-to-day life.

How insecure is Aadhaar data- A case study:

Aadhaar can be one of the single-most transformative reform measure taken by the Indian
government or it can be the very embodiment (or expression) of an ultra-intrusive state,
spying on every action of its citizens. The future reality could simultaneously be both, either
or neither.
Empowering individuals: By providing millions of disenfranchised and invisible Indians
with an identity, Aadhaar may be tremendously empowering.
P a g e | 45

Empowering the state at the cost of the citizen: If not implemented carefully, it has the
potential to alienate, empowering the state at the cost of the citizen.
The Kerala Sevana Pension website displayed the following information about pensioners:
name, pension ID, bank, branch, account number, Indian financial system code (IFSC)
number, and Aadhaar number. The display of Aadhaar number is a clear violation of the
Aadhaar Act. However, a greater cause of concern is the disclosure of the pension database
itself. This is a common feature in all the recent leaks that have been allegedpersonal
information unrelated to Aadhaar has been disclosed by user agencies.

Protection of information under the Aadhaar Act,2016:

The Aadhaar Act, 2016 contains an entire chapter dedicated to protection of
information, becoming the first modern-day statute in India to explicitly do so.
It obliges both the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) as well as the range of
agencies which collect Aadhaar data to keep data secure.
It incorporates standard fair information practices of collection limitation, purpose
specification, use limitation, access and correction, recognized by the A.P. Shah
Committee and widely accepted as the bedrock of data protection in the world.
However, despite these facets, the Aadhaar Act has failed to protect the information and
secure privacy.
For Aadhaar to succeed, India needs a separate, comprehensive privacy law on personal
data protection.

A law on personal data protection is required:

India, being the host and the biggest platform of data outsourcing needs an effective and
well formulated mechanism for dealing with cyber crimes, data stealing etc. Data Protection
laws may be defined as the laws which are enacted for safeguarding and protecting the data
present on the internet.
Presently, the IT Act, 2000 and rules there under cover the existing framework on
privacy and data protection in India.
Sections 43A, 69 and 72A of the IT Act embody the law on data protection.
In 2014, a bill named, The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2014 was introduced in
Parliament which had a limited focus.
With every innovation in technology, an innovation in the art of misuse and fraud, also takes
place. India, unlike countries such as the UK, Australia and other European countries, does
not have a dedicated Data Protection Law.
A robust machinery for enforcement of technology-agnostic data protection norms must be
established in the country.
The Aadhaar Act or UIDAI should be supposed to protect all data strictly unrelated to
Aadhaar itself cannot be the case. It does not comes into the mandate of UIDAI, as it is
no data protection agency. It is into this breach that the law on personal data protection
needs to step in. Compelling interest to have such law exists in India today. With over a
P a g e | 46

billion Aadhaar numbers issued and demonetisation catapulting India into the digital
economy, vast amounts of demographic data will be generated and used.
A data protection law is also in the interest of national sovereignty. With approximately
450 million people online today, India presents a combination of a large number of
Internet users coupled with low digital literacy. The absence of a data protection regime
means that several private companies collect and use personal data in a manner quite
unknown to the individual.
An example: logging into the My Activity section in the Google suite of products recently,
one can access a full profile of where he/she was a year to the daythe restaurant visited,
the hotel stayed in and the distance driven. All this has been stored technically with ones
consentso Google isnt violating the lawbut the protection of the data is now the
benefaction of Googles privacy policy.

A new legislation dealing specifically with the protection of data and information present on
the web is the dire need of the day. As an emerging global power that has aspirations to be
at the vanguard of the information technology age that we live in, India needs to set the
rules of the game. If set right, the fruits of the digital economy, including the benefits of
Aadhaar and big data, will work for the citizen.
If the Aadhaar project is to achieve its core objective of uniquely identifying every Indian
resident we need to have a robust mechanism for data protection in place.

Connecting the dots:

Discuss the need to have a comprehensive Data Protection Law in India.

Also Read: Time to formulate a law for data protection
P a g e | 47


TOPIC: General Studies 2

Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation.
Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or
affecting Indias interests.
Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on Indias
interests, Indian Diaspora

BBIN Network

Connectivity is the nerve of any economy. It is seminal for the smooth and effective
functioning of an economy. India being part of South Asian network has explored multiple
opportunities through its neighbours for multimodal connectivity that can aide trade and
transit. BBIN is one such viable initiative.

The Union Cabinet had approved a proposal to sign the SAARC MVA during the SAARC
Summit in Kathmandu in November 2014. Unfortunately, it could not be signed due to
reservations of Pakistan.
The SAARC declaration at the Kathmandu Summit in November 2014 also encouraged
Member States to initiate regional and sub-regional measures to enhance connectivity.
The sub-grouping, BBIN as it is referred to, was an alternative mooted by the
government after Pakistan rejected the MVA at the SAARC summit in Kathmandu in
It seeks to allow trucks and other commercial vehicles to ply on one anothers highways
to facilitate trade. Of the other SAARC members, Sri Lanka and the Maldives are not
connected by land, and Afghanistan could only be connected if Pakistan was on board.
Accordingly, it was considered appropriate that a sub-regional Motor Vehicle Agreement
among Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) may be pursued.
The BBIN agreement will promote safe, economical efficient and environmentally sound
road transport in the sub-region and will further help each country in creating an
institutional mechanism for regional integration.
BBIN countries will be benefited by mutual cross border movement of passenger and
goods for overall economic development of the region.
The people of the four countries will benefit through seamless movement of goods and
passenger across borders.
Each Party will bear its own costs arising from implementation of this agreement.
P a g e | 48

Bhutan has announced that it would not be able to ratify the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India,
Nepal motor vehicles agreement for the time being and asked the other stakeholders to go
ahead with the plan without it.
To facilitate the early implementation of the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal Motor
Vehicles Agreement (BBIN MVA), the Bhutan government has decided to give its consent
for the entry into force of the agreement among the three member states without any
obligation to it, the statement said.

Bhutans announcement that it is unable to proceed with the Motor Vehicles Agreement
with Bangladesh, India and Nepal is a road block, and not a dead end, for the regional
sub-grouping India had planned for ease of access among the four countries.
The main concern expressed by Bhutanese citizen groups and politicians is over
increased vehicular and air pollution in a country that prides itself on ecological
Despite the setback, New Delhi must persevere with its efforts. To begin with, Bhutans
objections are environmental, not political, and its government may well change its
mind as time goes by.

Advantages of BBIN like framework:

Dry runs have been conducted along the routes, and officials estimate the road links
could end up circumventing circuitous shipping routes by up to 1,000 km.
Second, Bhutans concerns may be assuaged if India considers the inclusion of
waterways and riverine channels as a less environmentally damaging substitute.
Perhaps, Bhutans objections may even spur an overhaul of emission standards for
trucks currently plying in India, Nepal and Bangladesh.
Above all, the BBIN pact denotes a can-do attitude on Indias part, as it shows a
willingness to broaden its connectivity canvas with all countries willing to go ahead at
present, leaving the door open for those that may opt to join in the future.
A similar initiative for the Asian Highway project under the BCIM (Bangladesh-China-
India-Myanmar) corridor got a boost this week as the countries moved to upgrade the
dialogue to the governmental level.

Connectivity is the new global currency for growth and prosperity as it secures both trade
and energy lines for countries en route, and India must make the most of its geographic

Connecting the dots
P a g e | 49

Critically analyse the necessity for India to evolve new connectivity routes for trade and
transit in lines of BCIM in South Asia and East Asia.

TOPIC: General studies 2:

India and its neighbourhood- relations.
Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or
affecting Indias interests.
Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on Indias
interests, Indian diaspora.
Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.

China to host a Belt and Road forum for international cooperation

Recent UN support for China project passing through PoK puts Indias claim in jeopardy.
In March 2017, a UNSC resolution was called on Afghanistan to tackle the threats posed
by the Taliban, al-Qaeda, ISIS affiliates and other terrorist groups which threaten the
security and stability of the war-torn country.
The resolution adopted unanimously by the UN Security Council extended the mandate of
UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan until March 17, 2018, and expressed serious concern
at the presence and potential growth of ISIS affiliates in the country.
UNSC resolution welcomed current efforts to strengthen regional connectivity and
economic cooperation between Afghanistan and its neighbours, citing the example of the
Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project and the Chabahar port
project between Afghanistan, India and Iran.
However, the UNSC resolution had for the first time incorporated Chinas Belt and Road
Initiative (BRI), a multi-billion inter-continental connectivity mission that has a flagship
project passing through Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). It also said international efforts
should be strengthened to implement the BRI.
The UN endorsing the BRI could complicate the situation as far as Indias claims are
India has a sovereignty issue with the BRI because its flagship project, the China-Pakistan
Economic Corridor (CPEC), passes through PoK and according to diplomats, India endorsing
the BRI would mean giving up its claims on PoK.
Also included in the newly adopted council resolution was Chinas Belt and Road Initiative,
which aims to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and
Africa along the ancient trade routes.

After this, China promptly announced that this reference of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in
UNSC resolution reflected a global consensus on the BRI. The Chinese envoy said that latest
P a g e | 50

council move is conducive to creating a favourable atmosphere for China to host a Belt and
Road forum for international cooperation in Beijing this May in order to brainstorm on
interconnected development.

BRI: the grand design

The BRI originated in 2013 when Chinas President Xi Jinping in his speech outlined plans for
Chinas global outreach through connectivity and infrastructure development.
The Silk Road Economic Belt includes land corridors from China through Central Asia
and Russia to Europe with spurs to West Asia and to Pakistan the China-Pakistan
Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The 21st century Maritime Silk Road links Chinas east coast through major sea lanes to
Europe in the west and the Pacific in the east.
Together, they constitute the BRI (originally One Belt One Road, until the Chinese
recently changed the name).
The concept was subsequently fleshed out with multiple justifications and project ideas,
finally giving it wings as the grand strategic vision of President Xi.

Objectives of BRI
Among Chinese objectives of the BRI are -
finding outlets for excess capacity of its manufacturing and construction industries;
increasing economic activity in its relatively underdeveloped western region; and
creating alternative energy supply routes to the choke points of the Straits of Hormuz
and Malacca, through which almost all of Chinas maritime oil imports pass
Through BRI, China can strengthen its influence over swathes of Asia and Africa,
buttressing its ambitions to be a maritime power, and developing financing structures
parallel to (and eventually competing with) the Bretton Woods system.
It is a rich mix of economic, developmental, strategic and geopolitical motives. It is also the
most ambitious global infrastructure project ever envisaged by one country.

Connectivity and infrastructure development are unexceptionable objectives. Much of Asia
lacks them and the finances required to develop them.
However, analysts have highlighted a number of potential issues:
Chinese overcapacity may override host countries development priorities in project
political tensions between countries may prevail over considerations of economic
local elites may corner the spoils from new projects, thereby exacerbating social
tensions; and
financing strategies may result in countries sleepwalking into a debt trap (the
Hambantota development projects in Sri Lanka provide a telling example).
P a g e | 51

Much will depend on how sensitive China is to international and local concerns on these
counts. However, even if only a part of the grand BRI design is eventually implemented, it
could have a major political and economic impact.

Indias stand on BRI and mid-May summit:

Officially, India says it cannot endorse the BRI in its present form and has a sovereignty
issue, since BRI includes the CPEC, which runs through Indian territory under illegal Pakistani
occupation (Gilgit-Baltistan).
Some analysts have argued for the more pragmatic approach of a partial endorsement: as
the initiative rolls out in various countries, India can engage with them (and with China) to
promote projects that would be of benefit.
The mid-May (BRF) summit is said to include leaders of Russia, Turkey, Pakistan, Sri Lanka,
Myanmar and Indonesia.
The US, Germany, France and the U.K. will not be represented at the top level (because of
their leaders domestic preoccupations).
There are only two each from South Asia, Central Asia and Africa and none from West Asia.
India has apparently not yet conveyed the level of its attendance.
China has argued that India would be isolating itself by staying out and argues that
connectivity provided by the BRI would enhance economic cooperation and promote peace.
This corridor would intersect the CPEC and may therefore open new routes for Chinese
goods to both India and Afghanistan, besides promoting India, Pakistan and Afghanistan
With its investment in the CPEC now estimated at over $60 billion, its increasing bilateral
assistance to Pakistan and its growing military presence in that country, China is in a strong
position to persuade Pakistan to recognise that this is in its best economic interest: it may
even transform the CPEC into a commercially viable project.

What awaits next?

Will India participate in the BRF summit? Will India ask China whether it is willing to
address its concerns in such a way as to enable high-level Indian participation?
Would China be willing to declare that the CPEC is not a component of the BRI but a
separate bilateral China-Pakistan project?
Will BRF provide New Delhi the opportunity to extract something of commensurate
value in return?

Connecting the dots

What is Chinas Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)? Should India worry about it? Analyze.
Explain the concept of one belt one road initiative of china and its impact on the growth
and security of South Asian continent.
P a g e | 52

India today seems to be sceptical about one belt one road (OBOR) initiative of china.
Explain the reasons for the same and what should be the future course of action by India
towards OBOR initiative.

Indias dominance in Indian Ocean is intact

Previously, we had covered an article dealing with Chinas increasing naval expansion and
influence in the Indian Ocean.
The author had highlighted about China launching its first indigenous aircraft carrier,
Type 001A carrier which may be named Shandong, and about China getting an edge for
the first time in the carrier race with its Asian rival, a literal two-to-one advantage.
A senior Chinese official was quoted as saying: China needs two carrier strike groups in the
Western Pacific and two in the Indian Ocean. So we need at least five to six aircraft carriers.
The article had also warned about Indias present naval capabilities, failure of carrier-
first strategy and India getting encircled by a growing ring of Chinese power and
However, todays article discusses about the intactness of Indias dominance in Indian
Ocean - reply from the editor of Defence Forum India and a commentator on defence and
strategic affairs.

India does not have to match China in the number game

Type 001A carrier or Shandong is likely to be commissioned in 2020. It will be Chinas
second carrier after it commissioned a modified Ukrainian Kuznetsov class aircraft cruiser
Varyag into its navy as Liaoning in 2012.
Many Indian commentators have written about the implication of China acquiring its second
aircraft carrier on Indias security and China getting an edge for the first time in the carrier
race with its Asian rival. However, the premise is wrong on various counts.
1. First, Chinas existing carrier, the Liaoning, is being used to train the crew to operate
aircraft carriers and is not on operational deployment yet. Compare this with Indias
aircraft carrier: The INS Vikramaditya is fully operational. And India also has decades of
experience in operating aircraft carriers, it has used them in warfare.
2. Second, the Shandong has only been launched, it doesnt mean its ready for operational
deployment. It will undergo outfitting with various systems and then undergo sea trials
before being commissioned around 2020. India launched its first indigenous carrier,
Vikrant, in 2013 and it is likely to be commissioned in the early 2020s after delays for
various reasons.
Imagery expert Colonel Vinayak Bhat, who analysed the pictures of the Shandong, said that
the engines of the carrier have not yet been started and no radar or weapons installed. It
P a g e | 53

also does not have the arrestor cables and work in lot of areas are yet to be completed (
such as the ammunition elevator and jet blast deflectors). Moreover, they dont have
enough J-15 fighter jets for the carrier.
3. Third, even after China commissions the Shandong, it will not send both its carriers on
permanent deployment in the Indian Ocean. Chinas primary areas of interest are the
hotly contested waters and islands of the East and South China Sea. The US maintains a
potent naval presence in the area. China will maintain both its carriers there although it
will make symbolic port visits in the Indian Ocean region especially to Gwadar in
China plans a four- to six-carrier navy which will give it the capability to permanently deploy
in the Indian Ocean. But that will take a couple of decades at best and depends on the
trajectory of the Chinese economy, which is slowing down. By that time, India will have
three aircraft carriers in service.
4. Fourth, the two Chinese carriers are conventionally powered, not nuclear, which means
they cannot be put on extended deployment. They lack the logistics capability to
operate far away from Chinese shores.
5. Fifth, China has to contend with Indias two unsinkable aircraft carriers: the Andaman
and Nicobar Islands located close to the choke point of Malacca Strait and the Indian
mainland itself which juts into the Indian Ocean.
The Andamans has Indias only tri-services command and there are plans to beef up military
presence there. India will be able to target PLAN (Peoples Liberation Army Navy) warships
and interdict supplies using land-based assets like aircraft and missiles. India has deployed
its premier fighter aircraft, the Su-30MKI, in the Andamans and also in southern India.
To break Indias dominance in the Indian Ocean, China has invested in a number of port
projects in Indias neighbourhood, referred to as string of pearls. All of them, including
Chinas expected naval base in Gwadar in Pakistan, are within range of Indias land-based
fighters and missiles.
6. Finally, India does not have to match China in the numbers game. The former has the
geographical advantage. With over 40 warships under construction, it will have nearly
200 warships by 2025.
China has to contend with multiple naval powers in its core areas of interest. The US navy
looms large. Japan has a powerful navy with advanced warships and submarines. It recently
commissioned its second helicopter carrier, which could carry the F-35B stealth fighter.
South Korea has a potent navy and Vietnam has acquired Russian Kilo-class submarines to
counter the mightier Chinese navy.
India has multinational cooperation in the maritime domain primarily with the US and
Japan. India and the US share information on Chinas maritime movements and train
extensively during Exercise Malabar. Indias chief of naval staff has said that India has plans
in place for Chinas naval presence in Gwadar.
India should beef up its air defence and land-based anti-ship missiles
P a g e | 54

India has to prepare for any Chinese threat. It should beef up its air defence and land-based
anti-ship missiles in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands as well as peninsular India. Stationing
the S-400 surface-to-air missile system that India plans to acquire in the Andamans will
cover 500,000 sq. km of airspace over the Bay of Bengal. All major Indian warships are being
equipped with Barak 8 long-range surface-to-air missiles along with the supersonic Brahmos
anti-ship cruise missiles. India is going to acquire nuclear and diesel-electric attack
While there are delays in the acquisition process, there is no need to panic as the Chinese
dragon will not be in a position to breathe fire on India in the Indian Ocean anytime soon.

Connecting the dots

Many Indian commentators have written about the implication of China acquiring its
second aircraft carrier on Indias security and China getting an edge for the first time in
the carrier race with its Asian rival. Do you agree? Comment.

TOPIC: General Studies 2

India and its neighborhood relations
Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or
affecting Indias interests
Important International institutions, agencies and fora their structure, mandate

China Belt and Road Initiative

Rise of China is phenomenon of the 21st century dubbed as Asias century. Belt and Road
Initiative is a bold and global initiative with far reaching implications. India has taken careful
view in being part of the same and hence has held back.

Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)

The Belt and Road initiative provides a visionary blueprint for global economic
development in the new world order.
Taking reference from the historic Silk Road, which transformed the nature of
international trade links in ancient times, the Belt and Road Initiative offers a modern-
day solution that fosters inclusive growth and development in the 21st century.
The Belt and Road refers to the land-based "Silk Road Economic Belt" and the seagoing
"21st Century Maritime Silk Road".
The routes cover more than 60 countries and regions from Asia to Europe via Southeast
Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, West Asia and the Middle East, currently accounting for
some 30 per cent of global GDP and more than 35 per cent of the world's merchandise
P a g e | 55

By 2050, the Belt and Road region aims to contribute 80 per cent of global GDP growth,
and advance three billion more people into the middle class.

The BRI may have been launched as a 21st century Chinese iteration of the ancient Silk
Road on which Marco Polo travelled, but under Xis mentorship, its ambition has grown
to rival that of Han or Tang dynasty emperors.
With an exclusive $40 billion budget, allocated after $100 billion was already promised
by the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, 50 Chinese state-owned
corporations have been involved in building 1,700 projects ports, roads, railway lines
and industrial parks along the BRI route.

One major artery unfurls across the heart of Central Asia and, cutting through
Pakistan, will join up with the Maritime Silk Route on the Indian Ocean and into
Another route will traverse the Mediterranean and end up in Europe. Annual
trade is expected to cross $2.5 trillion and enrich more than a billion people. The
scale of the project is staggering.
India is apprehensive about the challenge the fact that one element of the BRI, called
the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, passes through Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir, has
certainly served to refocus Delhis mind not only on the sovereignty question but also on
the differential in power with the dragon next door.
Certainly, the Chinese economy is five times the size of India, which makes the act of
cutting a cheque much easier; especially in the poor economies in Indias
neighbourhood, the yuan goes a long way.
The question is about how India wants to deal with its bitter neighbour in the north, as
erstwhile National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra described China after Indias 1998
nuclear tests.

Confucius and Xi a comparison:

Confucius, the Chinese thinker, philosopher and strategist, lived about 2,500 years ago,
but President Xi Jinping, like the rest of his countrymen and women, seems deeply
influenced by him.
So when representatives of the unrepentant West, like journalists and diplomats,
questioned the motives behind Xis mega economic project called the Belt and
Road Initiative (BRI), Chinas official news agency, Xinhua, quoted Confucius: He
who wants success should enable others to succeed.
The fact that Xinhua is quoting an ancient thinker is emblematic of how far the
Chinese Communist Party has come in its pursuit of influence worldwide.
If India wants to learn out of Confucius philosophy and attempt a reset, some of the
mutual antagonism could be contained.
P a g e | 56

After all, he who wants success should enable others to succeed

It is a reality that good neighbours with peaceful borders are critical for core development
of a nation especially in a neighborhood India survives in. Hence while sovereignty should be
at the core of the strategy India should also be realistic and grounded to geopolitical

Connecting the dots

Critically analyse the significance of Belt and Road Initiative. Analyse Indias response in
regard to the same.

TOPIC: General Studies 2

Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation.
Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or
affecting Indias interests
Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on Indias interests

RCEP and India

India must be forthright in its international engagements and thus build trade relationships
across the globe. National interest should be primary but should also be guided by rules of
the world trade and not be bullied by the developed and elite nations. RCEP will be a test in
this regard.

Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations were launched by
Leaders from ASEAN and ASEAN's free trade agreement (FTA) partners in the margins of the
East Asia Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on 20 November 2012.
RCEP is an ASEAN-centred proposal for a regional free trade area, which would initially
include the ten ASEAN member states and those countries which have existing FTAs with
ASEAN Australia, China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea and New Zealand.
The objective of launching RCEP negotiations is to achieve a modern, comprehensive,
high-quality and mutually beneficial economic partnership agreement that will cover
trade in goods, trade in services, investment, economic and technical cooperation,
intellectual property, competition, electronic commerce, dispute settlement and other
P a g e | 57

RCEP forms part of the Governments strategy for lowering trade barriers and securing
improved market access for Australian exporters of goods and services, and for nations
Key interests and benefits
RCEP participating countries are important economic partners and regional
Most of leading trading partners (China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Singapore, New
Zealand, Thailand, Malaysia, Australia and Indonesia) are participating in RCEP
negotiations, and together.
RCEP will provide a basis for more open trade and investment in the region. This will
help address concerns about a noodle bowl of overlapping bilateral agreements
and derive additional benefits (eg. through supply chains) from regional

The fact that India is losing ground in trade negotiation talks with the Regional
Comprehensive Economic Partnership a bloc of 16 countries (Asean plus Japan, China,
Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand) seen to be led by China is more visible.
When top commerce ministry officials said soon after the recent RCEP meeting at Hanoi,
that India would agree to no more than 80 per cent free tariff lines (with a deviation of 6
per cent either way), against the demand of 92 per cent, it could not have come as a
consolation to industry and agriculture that have already been inundated by dirt cheap
and zero tariff goods from China and the ASEAN (with which India has an FTA),
Indias position marks a climb-down from two years ago, when it had proposed a three-
tier tariff structure: 80 per cent tariff-free lines with ASEAN, essentially maintaining the
FTA status quo; 65 per cent free lines for Japan and Korea; and 42 per cent free lines for
China, Australia and New Zealand.
What is now on the cards, only as a best-case scenario, is perhaps 74 per cent free tariff
lines with China to be arrived at over the next 15-20 years.
Meanwhile, Indias insistence on lower services investment and visa barriers for its
professionals is not making headway. In this context, a rethink on RCEP talks is called for.

Pressure within RCEP:

RCEPs pressure arises from the fact that tariffs within its other members are already
remarkably low, with Japan and China deeply integrated into the Asean economy (and
with each other) in terms of trade, investment and global supply chains.
India remains an outsider in this club, with the exception of China, with which it runs a
huge trade deficit.
P a g e | 58

India accounts for just over 3 per cent of ASEAN exports and below 2 per cent of
the latters imports, whereas China accounts for over 11 per cent of ASEAN
exports and nearly 20 per cent of its imports.
China has displaced Japan and the US as ASEANs principal trading partner.
The challenge is for India to break into this bloc at a time of growing protectionism in the
West, without compromising its interests in agriculture, industry and intellectual
property rights.
With the RCEP being more accommodative than the now defunct Trans Pacific
Partnership to the conditions of developing countries, it may yet be possible for India to
wrest this space.
Its USPs are its large market, its skilled workforce and its pluralist, democratic ambience.
India can be flexible about opening up sectors such as legal services, entertainment and
accountancy. In the long run, it should ramp up its skill and technology levels to match
RCEP countries by investing in R&D and quality education.
The key lies in driving growth through productivity and innovation, rather than low-cost
labour alone.

While trying to recover lost ground at RCEP, India must be clear about dovetailing tariff
openness with its Make in India programme. India must be assertive and accommodative
in its negotiations which will help the process being hastened on multiple fronts. But India
should not lose of become subservient to unmanageable conditions.

Connecting the dots

Establish the need for a global trade pact like RCEP for India and the challenges the
countries will face becoming part of it.

TOPIC: General Studies 2

Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or
affecting Indias interests
Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on Indias

Taking India Israel relationship to the next level

The year 2017 marks the 25th year of diplomatic relations between India and Israel. PM
Narendra Modi, who is likely to visit Israel in July, will be the first Indian PM to visit the
This year also marks important anniversaries for Israel:
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the Balfour Declaration of 1917, the first official British declaration recognizing the need
for a Jewish state;
1947 when the United Nations passed a resolution in support of a Jewish state, a year
before its creation; and
1967, which saw the Six-Day War resulting in an overwhelming Israeli victory over Arab
aggressors, establishing Israels control over all of Jerusalem, West Bank, Gaza, Golan,
and Sinai.

Holistic nature of the relationship

India and Israel established full diplomatic relations in 1992 and since then the bilateral
relationship between the two countries has blossomed at the economic, military,
agricultural and political levels. Both countries see themselves as isolated democracies
threatened by neighbors that train, finance and encourage terrorism, therefore both
countries also view their cooperative relationship as a strategic imperative.
Strategic and defence cooperation has understandably dominated the conversation
between both countries, since they face similar threats, in the past two decades. Yet, this
relationship is no longer restricted to the strategic sphere. Both countries are developing
increasingly close linkages in areas like agriculture, and there is immense potential in other
areas like Information Technology.

There is a strong Indian diaspora in Israel (the total number of Jews of Indian origin is
estimated at 45,000). A significant number migrated post Independence from states
including Maharashtra, Mizoram and Kerala. Jewish heritage in India and educational
linkages between both countries are likely to play a pivotal role in this relationship.

P a g e | 60

Security linkages between Israel and India

There is not an iota of doubt that security ties play a key role in the bilateral relationship.
Israel is the third largest supplier of arms to India, having bagged orders worth $1 billion for
India in the past three years.
On April 6, 2017, both sides signed an agreement. The state-owned Israel Aerospace
Industries will provide the Indian military with an advanced air defence system (including
medium-range surface-to-air missiles). Two other deals are likely to be finalised over the
next two months - spike anti-tank missiles for Indias Army and Barak-8 air defence missiles
for the Indian navy.

Agriculture: The Key Driver

It is in the sphere of agriculture, which is likely to be high on the agenda during Modis Israel
visit in July, that states have been playing an important role in India-Israel ties.
Israel has already set up a number of centers of excellence in different states after signing
an agreement with India in 2006 for the Indo-Israel Agricultural Project. The project is a joint
endeavor of MIDH (Indias Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture) and
MASHAV, Israels agency for international development cooperation, which is under the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Many states of India have shown great interest in Israeli technology in agriculture and
managing scarce water resources. The R&D in these areas has been one of important
elements in the bilateral relations.
Cooperation between states is not just restricted to agriculture. Israel is interested in
participating in Indias Make in India Program and has also expressed a keen interest to
invest in Indias IT sector.

New areas of cooperation for mutual benefit

Education, particularly higher education in technology and advanced science.
New and pioneering forms of renewable energy
Collaboration in sports technology
Areas of pharmaceuticals and life sciences
Tourism industry
Apart from science & technology, defence and trade, there is literature and culture
where two countries share profound relations.

Over the past 60 years, Indias Israel policy has been rooted in pragmatism. Although India
initially opposed the creation of Israel, strategic cooperation caused Indo-Israeli relations to
warm from the 1960s onward without alienating the Arab World. Today India maintains
close relationships with both Israel and Arab nations. Due to its close ties with both parties,
India has the potential to play a major role in the peace process between Palestinians and
P a g e | 61

Israelis. India is in a position to serve as an honest, unbiased broker, a role that the United
States has struggled to fill.
The India-Israel relationship provides a valuable lesson in international politics, especially for
states whose ideological alliances prevent them from forging solely pragmatic ties. India has
shown that the evenhanded pursuit of diplomatic, military, and economic interests is the
way to garner diplomatic credibility and popular good will without damaging other strategic
Also refer:

Connecting the dots

India and Israel have come a long way in establishing themselves as important partners
in world. Critically evaluate the bilateral relation between two countries.
Do you agree with the view that Israel is a natural ally of India?
Agriculture and Defence are the two pillars which determined the relationship of India
with Israel. Comment.
India needs to develop a strategic relationship with Israel? Analyse the statement with
reference to cross border terrorism in India.
P a g e | 62


General Studies 3
Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized
crime with terrorism.
Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.
General Studies 2
India and its neighbourhood- relations.

Kashmirs unending tragedy

The dreadful violence and low turnout in a by-election in Kashmir has again raised intense
debate in New Delhi. An election that isnt free is not fair either. The violence in Srinagar left
eight people dead and more than 170 injured and the end result was that most voters chose
to stay away from polling stations.

After the higher voter participation in recent years in the Valley, the way the Srinagar by-
election unfolded is indicative of a dramatic slide in the political situation. The killing of
Burhan Wani, a commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen, by security forces in July last year
set off a new cycle of violence in Kashmir that does not seem to have ended to this day as
stone-pelting is met with pellet guns. In these circumstances, by-elections may have no
political meaning. In any case, without free re-polling in all the booths that witnessed
violence, the result in this election counts for little.

The below article analyzes what were and are the failures and what can or needs to be

Real scenario:

Somehow we have created a binary in which there are only two opposing groups those in
mainland India who consider Kashmiris to be pro-Pakistan Wahhabis who support terrorism,
and those in the Valley who consider Indians to be rabid communalists. Each has a grain of
truth insofar as there are constituencies of extremists on both sides, but only a grain.
The majority of Kashmiris want to live in freedom, peace and dignity, just as the majority of
Indians do, and we all look to our governments, at the Centre and in Jammu and Kashmir, to
provide us with these.
Towards the extremes
P a g e | 63

The growing influence of this ugly mutual binary propaganda, which can be seen not only in
social media but also on our television channels, will drive more people to extremism and
that, surely, is a cause for concern to citizens as well as the government.
There is no denying that the Islamic State-type perversion of Islam has gained ground
amongst a few in the Valley, nor that stone-pelting has been organised in many instances.
But there should equally be no denying that anger in the Valley is higher than it has been in
two decades and has reached alarming proportions. Nor can we deny that at least one
major cause of this anger is the lack of a peace and reconciliation process, which the
Bharatiya Janata Party-Peoples Democratic Party (BJP-PDP) coalition promised, or that
another major cause is the lack of an honest and accountable administration.

From above 3 major issues are:

1. Growing influence of mutual binary propaganda where most of the mainland Indians
consider Kashmiris to be pro-Pakistan Wahhabis who support terrorism and those in the
Valley who consider Indians to be rabid communalists.
2. Islamic State-type perversion of Islam gaining ground amongst a few in the Valley.
3. Escalating anger in the valley and cause of which to be the lack of a peace and
reconciliation process; lack of an honest and accountable administration. (In toto failure
of administration and government)

Security forces bear the brunt of public anger

Security forces (Army, Central Reserve Police Force and State police) have been the only
visible face of India in the Valley whereas legislators and civil government are not to be
Two recent images from Kashmir have been playing in the mind. The first is of a youth
kicking a CRPF soldier. The second is of girls in school uniform, faces covered, pelting stones
at security forces. These actions reflect anger, as well as disdain for the security forces. The
Valley has rarely seen young women chasing vehicles belonging to the armed forces.
The security forces have had to bear the brunt of public anger, and after almost a decade of
being stoned, it is not surprising that they commit human rights abuses. But that does not,
and must not, mean that we justify abuse or add to it. The real need is to focus on the
restoration of trust in administration so that our forces are no longer needed for internal
Successive governments have done a gross injustice to our troops by keeping them in
internal conflict situations for decades on end. The forces can at most contain internal
violence and that too only if it is a short-term task; after that it is the responsibility of the
administration and political representatives to step in. In the absence of a political and
reconciliation process, asking security forces to show restraint in the face of constant
stoning is not feasible.
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Instead of reaching out to stakeholders and finding a solution, the Government seems to
see Kashmir purely as a law and order issue. The Doval doctrine the national security
advisor believes the protesters will tire out doesnt seem to be working. This might have
further alienated Kashmiris from the rest of India. Now the Government has banned 19
social media websites in the State.

Peace process and violence

Past experience shows that when there has been a peace process, incidents of violence,
including stone-pelting, have died down.
For instance, in 2010, the government initiated a multitrack process combining
humanitarian and political dialogue with security reforms that ranged from tightening the
anti-infiltration grid to distinguishing between first-time offenders and ringleaders, and
tackling economic woes. It was the combination of these elements that worked then, and
they created conditions for political talks that could have significantly improved relations
between the Valley and the rest of India.
United Progressive Alliance governments parliamentary delegation had recommended the
creation of a group of 3 three interlocutors to submit a report on ground situation. State
government failed to follow through on any of the political and constitutional
recommendations given by the group, while the BJP rejected it in toto. That failure was a
major setback, especially for the several thousand people who spoke to the interlocutors.

Failed Agenda of Alliance

Another such opportunity was offered by the Agenda for Alliance.
The Agenda for Alliance released by J&K Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed and
Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh spoke about many things including political and
developmental issues.

The PDP and the BJP had entered into a Governance Alliance based on an agreement and
agenda which was an effort towards seeking a national reconciliation on J&K.

The purpose of this alliance was to form a coalition Government that will be empowered to
catalyse reconciliation and confidence building within and across the Line of Control (LoC) in
J&K thereby ensuring peace in the state. This will, in turn, create an enabling environment
for all round economic development of the state and prosperity of the people.

The raison detre of this alliance is to provide a stable and a representative government in
J&K which:
Respects the mandate given by the people
Strengthens the institutions and widens the ambit of democracy through inclusive
Provides smart governance
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Brings about self-sustaining and balanced development across all three regions of the
Creates conditions to facilitate resolution of all issues of J&K

As can be observed above, there are political commitments in the Agenda for Alliance that
would go a long way to alleviating anger in the Valley, Jammu and Ladakh and they could
have been implemented without alienating any of the regions. However, this agenda was
diluted and is yet to be implemented effectively. If implemented effectively and if the
leaders of the two parties sit down and choose which of the political commitments to
honour, it would be an important confidence booster.
It is more difficult to make peace today than it was five years ago, and it was more difficult
then that in the previous five years. That means it will be even worse in another five years
and soon it will be insuperable.

Role of Pakistan:
History shows us that they have tried to foster an anti-India jihad in Jammu and Kashmir
since 1947 but without much success until the late 1980s, by which time Article 370 of the
Constitution had been rendered a dead letter.
By 1988, repeated Indian interference in J&Ks internal political processes led thousands of
young Kashmiris to an armed uprising. Since then we have struggled to put those years
behind us, and succeeded insofar as free and fair elections are concerned. But our failure to
seize windows for political reconciliation has played into Pakistani hands and it is doing so
As innumerable commentators have pointed out, the best way to prevent Pakistan from
making hay is for talks with Kashmiri dissidents.
Need of the hour is an effective political dialogue, talks and de-escalation which must go
together and it is not wise to make them sequential.

Important to engage with all stakeholders:

Another concern is that the government is not clear with whom they talk to. A few days ago
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the Supreme Court that the government will not talk
to people who demand independence or secession. Presumably he meant the Hurriyat, JKLF
and allied groups. Such a position makes talks a non-starter to repeat a platitude, you do
not make peace with your friends but with your opponents.
Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the then Home Minister L.K. Advani saw this
point clearly, as did their successors, Manmohan Singh and P. Chidambaram.

Address rights abuses

Present government should not also forget the Hurriyat and dissident leaders, including of
armed groups, who gave their lives in the search for peace with India.
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Abdul Ghani Lone, the Peoples Conference leader who said that the time for armed
militancy was over, was assassinated in an Inter-Services Intelligence operation.
Pro-Pakistan militants murdered Majid Dar, the Hizbul Mujahideen commander who
engaged in talks for a ceasefire with army representatives.
More recently, Hurriyat leader Fazal Haq Qureshi was shot by local militants for talks
with Mr. Chidambaram, and almost died.
There are many within the Hurriyat who would consider talks again, just as there are many
in the Valley who are worried about the lumpenisation of Islam that the stone-pelters
represent. None of them, however, will or can cooperate as long as the government fail to
offer them a political process and redress human rights abuses.

The way ahead:

No democracy would easily permit secession of any of its parts, and no democracy can
afford to ignore for long the wishes of any of its people. With terrorism engulfing the region
and the Islamic State waiting at the gates for an opening, India can ill afford not to pacify its
domestic insurgencies.

Addressing the true elements of the conflict involves striving for justice, truth, peace, mercy
and ultimately reconciliation.
If the government wants to restore peace to the Valley, it cannot do it by force talks with
dissidents is the only option. This can be done by engaging with all stakeholders, including
Pakistan. Pakistan, on the other hand, should also realize that by aiding and abetting terror
groups, they are only putting the people of the Kashmir Valley in danger. Such attempts
would only harden Indias stance. Both countries should keep the interest of Kashmiris in
mind, and look to find a solution that is acceptable to all stakeholders. This is not an easy
task, but the only permanent solution to put an end to the continuing conflict.

Connecting the dots

If the government wants to restore peace to the Valley, it cannot do it by force talks
with dissidents is the only option. Do you agree? Elucidate.
What in your opinion are the factors responsible for the Kashmir unrest? Why solution
seems elusive even after 70 years of independence? Is there a way out? Analyse.

TOPIC: General Studies 3

Security challenges and their management in LWE areas; linkages of organized crime
with terrorism.
Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.

Tackling Left Wing Extremism (LWE)
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The recent Maoist attack on the 99-member Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) party in
Sukma, Chhattisgarh, in which at least 25 jawans lost their lives, has once again brought the
focus on not just the threat represented by left-wing extremism (LWE) but also questions of
preparation, equipping, training and strategy of the CRPF that is bearing the brunt of the
burden in this fight.
The attack came just a month after Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh informed the
Parliament that security forces had achieved tremendous success in containing LWE over
the past two years.

Earlier we have covered articles which covered -

Origin of Naxalism
Evolution of their movement
Evolution of their strategy
Geographical resurgence of their movement
Long history of their ambushes

Links to refer (for fast recap/revision) -


Deaths after deaths

From the above articles and the recent attack, we can observe that -
1. the fight against Maoists has been characterised by high casualty count of our
security forces.
2. even after five-decade-long insurgent movement, and a large number of paramilitary
personnel along with State police being deployed in Maoism-affected areas, there
seems to be no clear strategic approach to the problem and the forces do not have
an upper hand in the areas.

1. Lack of coordination and clear strategy:
LWE/Maoists corridor spreads across several States and the perceived lack of a
common plan has left each State government combating the Naxals as per their own
Lack of institutionalised intelligence-sharing between States and regions and regional
coordination is being clearly utilised by the LWEs/Maoists.
While there has been a significant drop in Maoist violence in Chhattisgarh in the past
year when 36 security personnel were killed as compared to 182 in 2007, between
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2005 and 2017, as many as 1,910 security personnel were killed in LWE/Maoist
attacks in India, out of which 954 casualties were in Chhattisgarh alone, including the
latest incident.
2. Inadequate combat capability:
CRPF soldiers are trained inadequately and there are also shortages of Mine
Protected Vehicles (MPV).
Successive ambushes and attacks have shown the vulnerability of the CRPF and
police parties in the Naxal areas.
The damage and loss of life from attacks with grenade launchers and improvised
explosive devices (IED) can be lessened with movement in armoured vehicles.
Inadequate combat capability of police forces in Maoism-affected States remains the
prime factor for failing security response as also dependency of State police forces
on the Central government for anti-Maoist operations.


Need for more special force on the lines of Greyhounds special force:
The Greyhounds special force of undivided Andhra Pradesh has by far been the most
effective force to have succeeded in reversing the trend of Maoist violence.
Since 2005, 429 LWEs/Maoists have been killed in Andhra Pradesh and 36 security
personnel have lost their lives; in Telangana, formed in 2014, four LWEs/Maoists have
been killed with no casualties on the security forces side.
In 2012, the Home Ministry had proposed to replicate Greyhounds in five Maoism-hit
States. Clearly, the proposal has not seen the light of day, especially in Chhattisgarh.

Need for an effective strategy with good leadership:

Apart from the obvious gaps in intelligence-gathering, there is clear evidence that the
CRPF lags on strategy and tactics.
The use of technology (including drones) to increase surveillance around patrols to
prevent ambushes is inadequate.
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Losing a quarter of the patrol force in an ambush like this must get the CRPF leadership
to re-evaluate tactics, training and equipment.

Need for a dedicated Ministry

A fundamental transformation of the Home Ministry by moving internal security
functions of the government to a new, focussed and accountable Internal Security
Ministry might help.


Left Wing Extremism (LWE) Division:

Left Wing Extremism (LWE) Division was created w.e.f. October 19, 2006 in the Home
Ministry to effectively address the Left Wing Extremist insurgency in a holistic manner.
The LWE Division implements security related schemes aimed at capacity building in the
LWE affected States. The Division also monitors the LWE situation and counter-measures
being taken by the affected States.
The LWE Division coordinates the implementation of various development schemes of
the Ministries/Departments of Govt. of India in LWE affected States.

National Policy and Action Plan:

In order to holistically address the LWE problem in an effective manner, Government
has formulated National Policy and Action Plan adopting four pronged strategy in the
areas of security, development, ensuring rights & entitlement of local communities and
management of public perception.
The focus of the Government is to address security, development and governance
deficits in 106 LWE district especially the 35 most affected LWE districts spread in 7
Revival of Additional Central Assistance:
A one time assistance of Rs. 1000 crores for 35 most affected LWE districts has been
decided by NITI Aayog.
Revival of Special Infrastructure Scheme (SIS):
This Scheme has also been discontinued since FY 2015-16. For filling up the gaps in
security related requirements of the Special Task Forces and other similar requirements
of the LWE States efforts are being made to include this scheme in the umbrella Scheme
namely Modernization of Police Forces.
Increasing road connectivity:
The LWE Division has taken initiative of increasing road connectivity in the LWE areas.
GIS Mapping:
LWE Division initiated a new proposal of GIS mapping of the essential services in the 35
most affected LWE districts. A project has been initiated for mapping of financial
services, school, post offices, health facilities, mobile towers, PDS services, Road and
P a g e | 70

security features etc. in time bound manner. This will help to the stakeholder to take
informed decision on the developmental and security related issues.
A Unified Command
A Unified Command has been set up in the States of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand , Odisha
and West Bengal. The Unified Command have officers from the security establishment,
besides civilian officers representing the civil administration and it will carry out carefully
planned counter LWE measures.


Security Related Expenditure (SRE) Scheme:

Under the Security Related Expenditure (SRE) scheme, funds are provided for meeting
the recurring expenditure relating to insurance, training and operational needs of the
security forces, rehabilitation of Left Wing Extremist cadres who surrender in
accordance with the surrender and rehabilitation policy of the State Government
concerned, community policing, security related infrastructure for village defence
committees and publicity material.
Integrated Action Plan (IAP)/ Additional Central Assistance (ACA) for LWE affected
The Planning Commission (Now NITI Aayog) had commenced the Integrated Action Plan
(IAP) in 2010-11 covering 60 Tribal and Backward districts for accelerated development
by providing public infrastructure and services.
From the financial year 2012-13, the scheme renamed as Additional Central Assistance
(ACA) for LWE affected districts and extended to 88 districts covering 76 LWE affected
The major works/projects included under IAP/ACA relate to construction of School
building/ School furniture, Anganwadi centers, Drinking water facilities, construction of
rural roads, Panchayat Bhawans/Community halls etc.

Scheme of Fortified Police Stations:

The Home Ministry has sanctioned 400 police stations in 10 LWE affected States at a unit
cost Rs. 2 crores under this scheme. A total of 282 of PSs have been completed, work at
118 PSs is under progress.

Civic Action Programme(CAP):

This Scheme is under implementation from 2010-11, in LWE affected areas. Under this
scheme, funds are provided to the CAPFs (CRPF, BSF, ITBP and SSB) @ Rs. 3.00 lakh per
company per year for conducting welfare activities in their deployment areas in LWE
affected States.
This is a very successful scheme to bridge the gap between the Security Forces and the
local populace and also helpful for winning the hearts and minds of the populace.
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In this context, funds of Rs. 17.65 crore and Rs. 19.02 crore were released to the CAPFs
during the financial year 2014-15 and 2015-16 respectively. For the financial year 2016-
17, an amount of Rs. 19.00 crores have been allocated as BE. The entire amount has
been released to the CAPFs.


It is the belief of the Government of India that through a holistic approach focussing on
development and security related interventions, the LWE problem can be successfully
tackled. However, it is clear that the Maoists do not want root causes like
underdevelopment to be addressed in a meaningful manner since they resort to targeting
school buildings, roads, railways, bridges, health infrastructure, communication facilities etc
in a major way. They wish to keep the population in their areas of influence marginalized to
perpetuate their outdated ideology.
Consequently, the process of development has been set back by decades in many parts of
the country under LWE influence. This needs to be recognised by the civil society and the
media to build pressure on the Maoists to eschew violence, join the mainstream and
recognise the fact that the socio-economic and political dynamics and aspirations of 21st
Century India are far removed from the Maoist world-view. Further, an ideology based on
violence and annihilation is doomed to fail in a democracy which offers legitimate forums of
grievance redressal.

Sukma attacks should act as a wake up call for the government, and in particular the Home
Ministry. It is a 26/11 moment in our fight against LWEs/Maoists. The battle with them must
be accompanied by not just the perseverance and devotion of our men in uniform, but also
better tactics, equipment, training and a determined strategy to prevail and win that
combines the resources and leadership of all States involved and the Central government.

Connecting the dots

Critically analyse the necessity for an effective startegy and combat capable security
forces in the LWE areas.
Internal security is a grave threat to the nation as said by a former prime minister.
Critical discuss a rational and holistic solution to the issue of maoist and naxal violence in
In your opinion, why is left wing extremism in India is still thriving despite efforts made
to curb its activities? Critically examine.
How can the threat represented by left-wing extremism (LWE) in India be countered.
Especially with the use of technology and remote reach as observed in recent days
enumerate the measures that can be initiated.
What started as a protracted struggle for the rights and interests of the marginalized
landless people, the Naxal movement seems to have degenerated into an industry of
P a g e | 72

extortion, kidnapping and violence. Do you agree? Substantiate. Also discuss the
strategy to combat Naxalism in more than 165 districts of India infested by extreme left
wing extremism. (TLP Link:
What is the threat perception of naxalism in India? Why naxalism has succeeded to
widen its reach? (TLP Link:

General Studies 3
Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.
Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized
crime with terrorism
General Studies 2
Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation.

The Joint doctrine of the Indian armed forces

A brief look at border security stats in 2016

As per a government report, terror incidents came down by around 25% after the
surgical strikes carried out by Indian Army in PoK in September.
There was also a drastic reduction in the number of stone-pelting incidents in Jammu
and Kashmir after the surgical strikes.
On infiltration side, 371 attempts of infiltration were made in 2016 out of which 118
militants were able to infiltrate, while 217 had to return. 35 militants were killed and
three were arrested during their infiltration bids.
A parliamentary panel on home affairs however has said that after the 1971-Pakistan war,
this is the first time the borders have become so vulnerable as a significant spurt in ceasefire
violations in 2016 has been recorded.

India is currently facing a challenging situation at its borders with cross border infiltrations,
security breaches and terrorist attacks, especially from its western fronts. A military
doctrine serves as a cornerstone document for application of military power in a synergised
manner leading to enhanced efficiency, optimum utilisation of resources and financial

In news: Indias latest military doctrine was released after 10 years with the first one being
released in 2006. The highlight of the doctrine has been inclusion of surgical strike
P a g e | 73

Surgical strikes were not intending to put an end on terrorism but it did reverse a
discourse which began in 1998 post Indian and Pakistani nuclear tests that India was out
of conventional options to tackle its continued cross-border terrorism.
The latest military doctrine has embedded surgical strikes as a part of sub-conventional
operations. It means that now onwards it is among a range of options at the militarys
disposal to respond to terrorist attacks.
The scope of surgical strike has been left open as there is no mention of their
employment being within the country or beyond its borders.
This ambiguity is intended to send the message to the troublesome neighbouring
In the last two years, the Army had carried out surgical strikes across the border with
Myanmar and Line of Control (LoC) Pakistan, targeting terrorist camps.

Some of the other objectives are:

Acknowledging that a conventional war by two nuclear powers is not an immediate
possibility due to political and international compulsions. It mentions that the
possibility of sub-conventional escalating to a conventional level would be dependent on
multiple influences, principally: politically-determined conflict claims; strategic
conjuncture; operational circumstance; international pressures and military readiness.
It notes the need for training of Special Operations Division for execution of
precision tasks.
It reiterates the basic tenets of the Indian nuclear doctrine, no-first use (NFU) and
minimum credible deterrence, contrary to recent calls to revise the NFU and
speculation in the West that India would resort to a first strike.
It adds that conflict will be determined or prevented through a process of credible
deterrence, coercive diplomacy and conclusively by punitive destruction, disruption
and constraint in a nuclear environment across the Spectrum of Conflict.
It also declares about the guiding philosophy for evolution of force application and
war fighting strategies which shall be undertaking the Integrated Theatre Battle
with an operationally adaptable force, to ensure decisive victory in a network centric
environment, in varied geographical domains.
The broader objective states that Special Forces units will be tasked to develop area
specialisation in their intended operational theatres to achieve an optimum effect.
Another important announcement under the National Military Objectives is: Enable
required degree of self-sufficiency in defence equipment and technology through
indigenization to achieve desired degree of technological independence by 2035.
Though a grand announcement was made during Make In India initiative to make
defence industry self-sufficient, it has been observed that most of the projects are given
to foreign companies, thereby defeating the purpose of the initiative.

P a g e | 74

These objectives open up a variety of capability addition and process optimisation for the
Indian military to be able to enforce it. It also mention about the collaboration in past
decade in the Indian armed forces, especially integration in the field of operations, training,
management, and perspective planning.
However, though the document makes a bold announcement of its objectives, it will remain
toothless unless necessary elements are not in place. This document pertains to national
security and in no circumstances should be treated as par with other documents of policy
formulations or become a political tool for sloganeering.
To achieve these broad objectives, it requires seamless synergy between the three services
which has been demanded since a long time now. The decisions on appointment of a Chief
of Defence Staff (CDS), formation of cyber, space and Special Forces commands and carving
out inter-service theatre commands have to be now taken over in urgency.
Also, more funds and talent should be accorded to military R&D organisations such as DRDO
to facilitate the growing indigenisation of military.

Connecting the dots:

The armed forces of India have released a joint military doctrine recently. Critically
analyse the importance of such doctrine and possible steps to be taken for its successful

General Studies 2
Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation.
General Studies 3
Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and
social networking sites in internal security challenges;
Basics of cyber security


With technology increasingly becoming the global lifeline of government and businesses
across it is important to build a safe network. It is further important to build a secure and
rule based framework with across the board stakeholder consultation.

Ransomware is a type of malware that prevents or limits users from accessing their
system, either by locking the system's screen or by locking the users' files unless a
ransom is paid.
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More modern ransomware families, collectively categorized as crypto-ransomware,

encrypt certain file types on infected systems and forces users to pay the ransom
through certain online payment methods to get a decrypt key.
Ransom prices vary depending on the ransomware variant and the price or exchange
rates of digital currencies.
Thanks to the perceived anonymity offered by crypto currencies, ransomware operators
commonly specify ransom payments in bitcoins.
Recent ransomware variants have also listed alternative payment options such as iTunes
and Amazon gift cards.
It should be noted, however, that paying the ransom does not guarantee that users will
get the decryption key or unlock tool required to regain access to the infected system or
hostaged files.

The phenomenon that users of computers and researchers in cyber security were
witness to from Friday, May 13 has raised many questions of vulnerability.
It is comforting to know that by the afternoon of Monday, May 15, the speed of the
attack was somewhat curtailed by counter-measures.
But we still have to keep our fingers crossed for there is no knowing if the aggressors
have more tools in their possession to cause further damage.
The good news for us is that there are no reports of any major intrusion into computers
or systems in India.
What is abominable is that the criminals tampered with the systems of public health
services particularly the NHS of the UK.

The intrusion was a phishing attack persuading a user to open a mail sent by a motivated
intruder, an act which, on the face of it, appears to be from a genuine and authorised
source, and the result of a malware (WannaCrypt 2.0) assembled, not at one place, but in
several centres across the globe.
A traditional modus operandi is to send a dubious link in a mail, which the recipient
In the latest instance, however, it is said that the explosive was in the form of
an attachment, which an unwary user opened.
In such a case, the immobilisation of a system is invariably caused by the
encryption of files, folders and drives, and it takes a while for the victim to realise
he/she has been attacked.
The fears are subsequently confirmed by messages demanding a specified ransom for
releasing the system.
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Launched by a group styled Shadow Brokers (whose exact identity is yet to be

unravelled), the ransom demanded in each instance was $300 to be paid in Bitcoin a
digital currency which renders the beneficiary anonymous and is difficult to locate.
One rough estimate is that the ransom-seekers will eventually net $1 billion, and that
they have already received about $33,000 until the weekend.
These are figures are dubious but we cannot ignore them as there is no means to cross-

Worrisome aspects
There are two aspects to the outrageous attack that are worrisome.
The first is that the holes in the older version of Windows were known to Microsoft
for quite some time, but it did not do much to patch them up, except for customers
who paid to remove the deficiencies.
Then there is the other theory that customers who were aware of the risk did not
bother to act because of the costs involved and the problems related to adapting to

Security Concern:
Perhaps the graver of the revelations surfacing now is that the malware was possibly
stolen from a stockpile of weapons which the National Security Agency (NSA) had built
up over the years as a counter-offensive to cyber-attacks on the US and its allies by
nations such as Russia, China and North Korea.
Justifying this, certain sources allege that, since last summer, Shadow Brokers had
started posting online certain tools they had stolen from the NSA armoury.
This is a serious insinuation that, if proved, could trigger international
condemnation of the US and its spy agencies.
It revives memories of Stuxnet, a worm that both the US and Israel used against
Irans nuclear programme more than five years ago.
While there is no corroboration to the charge levelled against the NSA, it is interesting
that a few former intelligence officers have taken the stand that the tools used in the
latest episode were indeed from the NSAs Tailored Access Operations unit.

The question is whether anything can be done to predict or prevent a similar attack.
There is marked pessimism here. Repeated exhortation not to open attachments
received from unknown sources has fallen on deaf ears.
The advice to opt for complex passwords and exhortations not to share it with anyone
has also met with the same fate.

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An eye for an eye will make the world blind was Gandhijis wise words. Countrys should
tread a careful path especially in a field with such large implications. The only way is to
minimize damage through encryption of vital, if not all the data in the hardware or system.
There is no case for despair. But there is certainly one for prudence and caution in day-to-
day handling of systems and data.

Connecting the dots

Cyber Space is a borderless world and so regulation is as difficult as the spread is.
Elaborate on the threats and the counter measures in light of recent incidents.

General Studies 2
Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation.
General Studies 3
Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and
social networking sites in internal security challenges;
Basics of cyber security.

Access to Cyber Space

With technology changing the dynamics of all aspects of life security and law and order has
been the most challenging field in consideration. In a borderless and virtual world where no
single law can bind a user there is need for constant innovation and wide participation.

An iPhone used by Abu Dujana, said to be among the Lashkar-e-Taibas commanders in
Kashmir, which fell into the hands of security forces, could be a valuable source of
information for the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
The odds that the agency is able to break into the device are, however, slim.
For now, the government has sent the iPhone to the U.S., seeking assistance
from its federal agencies.
The governments strategy of shipping it abroad to decipher its contents is
But for some political agreements signed after the 26/11 attacks, there is no legal
obligation on the U.S. to provide any assistance in this matter to India, even
though the company that manufactured the device is American.
Moreover, U.S. security agencies have themselves struggled to extract information from
devices like the iPhone, in the face of resolute opposition from companies to decrypt
their own products.
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If Apple could successfully resist a U.S. court order to help the Federal Bureau of
Investigation (FBI) unlock an iPhone used by a terrorist involved in the 2015 San
Bernardino attacks, what hope can the NIA have?

Encryption as a hurdle
In the eight years since its creation, the NIA has grown into a competent organisation,
with interception abilities comparable to top law enforcement bodies in the world.
But NIA officials themselves rue that the online chatter they intercept is
increasingly encrypted.
Thus far, Indian intelligence agencies have relied on zero days vulnerabilities
that exist in the original design of a software to break into encrypted devices,
but Internet companies now promptly patch their flaws, diminishing the utility of
such tools.

Technology barrier:
Take the case of Abu Dujanas iPhone 7.
While dealing with secure devices, law enforcement agencies usually have two
options to unlock them.
The first is to brute force the users password or PIN into the phone repeatedly,
until it finally cracks open.
But iPhones limit the number of false entries, killing the phone altogether after
several failed attempts.
The second option is to modify the Touch sensor in phones that use fingerprints-
recognition technology, so that a third party is grafted in as the legitimate user.
Last year, however, Apple issued a software update that disables all iPhones where the
Touch button had been unofficially modified.
The company later allowed users to restore dead devices, but only after
confirming their identity on other Apple platforms like iTunes.
The reality is that a lot of online content is today out of the reach of law enforcement
officials. Platforms like WhatsApp and Telegram are end-to-end encrypted, making it
difficult for police at the State and local level who dont have access to zero days to
register cases based on information contained in them.
The distinct trend towards greater adoption of encryption poses a dilemma for
Indian policymakers.
Strong encryption protocols increase consumer confidence in the digital
economy, but the Indian government fears a scenario where criminals or
terrorists can easily go dark behind secure channels.
In this case, Apple could build firmware that allows agencies to clock any number of
attempts to unlock an iPhone.
Technical details aside, the lesson here is that Apple may tightly secure its
devices, but it also guards the keys to the kingdom.
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Emerging markets have struggled to deal with data giants Brazils judiciary, for
example, suspended WhatsApp on three occasions in 2016 for non-compliance with
government requests that operate on quasi-sovereign principles.

Need for legislations:

Finally, legal solutions to electronic data access for law enforcement agencies are
Governments are no longer the custodians of data, but every Indian request
for electronic content is required to be vetted by the U.S. Department of
In Abu Dujanas case, if he has backed up his data on Apples iCloud service,
an Indian request to share its content will take months to be processed, by
which time the cloud data would have already been erased through another
The current process of information-sharing through the India-U.S. Mutual Legal
Assistance Treaty suffers from almost irreparable hurdles, ranging from bureaucratic
delays on both sides to inconsistencies in domestic legal standards.

The need to establish a holistic and participative process with global stakeholders is seminal.
The solution lies in a bilateral data-sharing agreement to help the Indian government
engage with Internet companies directly, rather than routing requests through the U.S.

Connecting the dots

Critically analyse the need for an encryption policy that is globally acceptable in the
current scenario of global security challenges.
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TOPIC: General Studies 2

Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation.
Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to

Indias increased policy commitment towards HIV/AIDS

World Health Organisation (WHO) gave 2 key recommendations in its 2015 guidelines for
treating and preventing HIV infection:
1. First, antiretroviral therapy (ART) should be initiated in everyone living with HIV at any
CD4 (a type of white-blood cell) cell count.
2. Second, the use of daily oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is recommended as a
prevention choice for people at substantial risk of HIV infection as part of combination
prevention approaches.

The first of these recommendations is based on evidence from clinical trials and
observational studies released since 2013 showing that - earlier use of ART results in better
clinical outcomes for people living with HIV compared with delayed treatment.
The second recommendation is based on clinical trial results confirming the efficacy of the
ARV drug tenofovir for use as PrEP to prevent people from acquiring HIV in a wide variety
of settings and populations.

It was in 2002 that the WHO first issued its ART guidelines. In the absence of AIDS-
defining illnesses, the WHO set CD4 count less than 200 cells per cubic millimetre as the
threshold to begin ART treatment.
Over time, it changed its guidelines and, in 2013, increased the threshold to CD4 count
less than 500 cells per cu. Mm.
However in 2015, the WHO once again changed its guidelines. Based on evidence from
clinical trials and observational studies since 2013, it became clear that an earlier use of
ART, irrespective of the CD4 count, results in better clinical outcomes. Accordingly, it
recommended that ART be initiated in HIV-positive people at any CD4 cell count.

India follows WHOs recommendations

Two years after the WHO recommendations, India has aligned its policy with the above
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As per 2015 estimates, India has 2.1 million HIV-positive people, of which only 1.6
million have been diagnosed and about a million are on treatment. But over half a
million people are not even aware of their HIV status.
Health Ministry recently announced that any person who tests positive for HIV will be
provided ART as soon as possible and irrespective of the CD count or clinical stage.
With the government changing its treatment guidelines, the 0.6 million who have been
diagnosed but not been on treatment are now eligible for treatment.

The above move is considered to be a welcome move as nearly 4.5 lakh deaths can be
averted. Earlier initiation of ART will help people with HIV live longer, remain healthier and
substantially reduce the risk of them transmitting the virus to others.
But the biggest challenge will be to identify the 0.35 million who have been diagnosed but
not on treatment and the 0.5 million who have been infected but have not been diagnosed.
Also, nearly 80,000 people get infected each year.
There should be greater focus now on identifying people with HIV and expanding treatment
delivery sites. The government should start community-based testing to bring it closer to
those in need, and target special groups that are more vulnerable to infection such as
partners of people who are HIV-positive.

HIV/AIDS: first disease to be the subject of a UNSC resolution

In July 2000, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) adopted Resolution 1308, calling
for urgent and exceptional actions to mitigate the threats posed by HIV/AIDS.
These exceptional actions referred to the need to provide exclusive responses and resources
to mitigate the threat posed by HIV/AIDS.
As the first disease to be the subject of a UNSC resolution, the exceptional status of
HIV/AIDS had brought about unprecedented levels of international funding allocated
primarily in developing countries where responses to the disease have historically been
scarce or non-existent. With financial assistance from international institutions and bilateral
governments, HIV/AIDS responses intensified in many developing countries.

Declining trend of HIV/AIDS international financial assistance

However, there has been a stagnating and even declining trend of HIV/AIDS international
financial assistance in recent years.
Data show that most European donor governments have reduced their HIV/AIDS
financial commitments since 2012.
Moreover, in light of the continuous economic boom in countries such as India and China,
international funding agencies now argue that these countries should be donors instead of
recipients of international HIV/AIDS-specific grants and loans.
Without renewed and increased commitment from international donors and recipient
governments, the sustainability of future national HIV/AIDS programmes is in doubt.
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In response to the changing global health agenda, most of the countries are prioritising the
integration of HIV/AIDS programmes into existing health-related systems.

Integration into health systems

An integration of HIV/AIDS interventions and primary health-care systems has taken place in
India from 2010 onwards.
For instance, six components of the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP)-III merged
with the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) in 2010. These included -
1. Integrated Counselling and Testing Centresers (ICTC);
2. prevention of parent-to-child transmission (PPTCT);
3. blood safety;
4. sexually transmitted infections (STI) services;
5. condom programming along with ;
6. together with antiretroviral treatment (ART)

National AIDS Control Programme (NACP)-IV

The continued integration of HIV/AIDS responses under the umbrella health system is
ongoing in the NACP-IV; where all the service delivery units except the targeted
interventions (TIs) have been set up within the health-care system.

AIDS-free by 2030, India included

At the 2016 high-level meeting at the UN General Assembly, India pledged to follow targets
to fast track the pace of progress towards ending HIV/AIDS as a public health threat in the
next five years, and ending the epidemic by 2030.
To fulfil the commitment, the Government of India is now playing a larger role in funding
its HIV/AIDS programmes this is evident from the fact that two-thirds of the budget
for the NACP-IV is provided by the Government of India and comes from the domestic
Indian HIV/AIDS programmes have progressively become less dependent on foreign
assistance considering that over 85% of the budgets in the first and second phases of the
NACPs and 75% in the third phase were supported by international and bilateral funding
Ongoing improvement in the funding levels shows an increased policy commitment and
fiscal capacity to address HIV/AIDS locally.
But in order to ensure the sustainability of the HIV/AIDS interventions, continuous
integration of HIV/AIDS programmes into a larger health system is required. However,
health care has never been a priority in India per se.
Despite rapid economic development over the past two decades, public expenditure on
health care in India as a proportion of GDP is among the worlds lowest. Health expenditure
in India was merely 1.3% in 2015-16, while countries such as Norway, Canada, and Japan
allocated over 9% of GDP to health. Indias health-care expenditure is also comparatively
P a g e | 83

less than other BRICS countries. The highest expenditure is by Brazil composing of 4.7% of
its GDP. Indias overall health budget has declined by 13%, i.e. from Rs.35,780 crore in 2014-
15 to Rs.31,501 crore in 2015-16.

Connecting the dots

Elaborate on the Policy actions initiated by the government w.r.t. HIV AIDS and the
necessary concerns associated. Highlight the provisions of the recent legislation.
What is HIV and how is it a life threatening disease? How has India battled against HIV?
Critically examine.

TOPIC: General Studies 2

Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation.
Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to

Anti Microbial Resistance

India is severely affected by anti microbial resistance and this has increased the burden of
diseases. It is important for the government to initiate several measures from creating
awareness to policies that shall be instrumental to address the same.

Chennai Declaration:
The Chennai Declaration named after the city where the meeting took place, is the
consensus evolved out of the meeting and co-authored by representatives of various
medical societies.
The document is based on realistic goals and objectives, with a deep understanding of
the background Indian scenario.
Over the last decade or two, the Indian health-care infrastructure underwent significant
changes. While possessing many world-class corporate hospitals and institutes, the
facilities available in many villages and remote areas are still vastly inadequate.
Medication including antibiotics may be purchased over the counter and/or are
prescribed by practitioners from alternative medical branches and healers.
Formulating and implementing an antimicrobialstewardship program in one of the
largest countries, with an enormously heterogenic and diverse health-care system, is
indeed a huge challenge. Strict control on overthe counter sale (OTC) as well as in
hospital antibiotic usage should be the first steps of the policy.
Whether such a policy is implementable on the Indian subcontinent is an issue that
warrants serious debate.
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The lack of (qualified) doctors in many remote places possibly makes the complete ban
of OTC antibiotics throughout the country obsolete.
Consequently, a targeted strategy of absolute control in densely populated areas, where
qualified doctors will be available, and a more liberal approach in remote places, with
monitoring of a selected list of oral antibiotics, should be more feasible.

One of the most critical concerns facing the global health fraternity today is the escalating
burden of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
AMR develops as result of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites
becoming immune to antimicrobial drugs such as antibiotics. These microorganisms are
commonly known as superbugs.
Over the past decades, antimicrobial agents have been instrumental in alleviating
communicable diseases across the world.
While antibiotic resistance is a global hazard to public health, India, the largest
consumer of antibiotics in the world, is notoriously seen as the epicentre of this threat.

Increasing infections:
Last year, India saw a 70-year-old woman from the US died after contracting a superbug
during a two-year residence in the country.
Doctors in the US say the patient was infected with a multidrug-resistant
organism known as carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) which is
immune to all available antibiotics.
In the recent past, India has witnessed many large outbreaks of emerging infections and
most of them were of zoonotic origin (diseases transmitted from animals to humans).
While exact figures are hard to come by, WHOs Global Burden of Disease report of
2004 suggests a 15-times greater burden of infectious diseases per person in India than
in the UK.
According to the calculations based on World Bank data and the Global Burden of
Disease report of 1990, the crude infectious disease mortality rate in India today
is 416.75 per 100,000 persons, which is twice the rate prevailing in the US.
The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that in the US, more
than two million people fall sick every year due to antibiotic-resistant infections,
resulting in at least 23,000 deaths.
In India, the threat is much more pressing. According to the Indian Network for
Surveillance of Antimicrobial Resistance (INSAR), there is widespread existence of
superbugs throughout the country including a startling 41 per cent of methicillin-
resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
Multi-resistant Entero-bacteriaceae has also become rampant.
On the one hand, infectious diseases are on the rise; on the other, AMR is posing a
serious impediment in their cure.
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Hospital-acquired infection in vulnerable patients with resistant strains is another major

Resistance to antimicrobial drugs also means that the success of treatments for medical
procedures such as chemotherapy and organ transplantation and post-surgical recovery
come under immense risk.
All these effects of AMR have substantial repercussions on the socio-economic set up.

Possible Solutions:
A mix of poor public health systems and hospital infections, high rates of infectious diseases,
inexpensive antibiotics and rising incomes are all coming together to increase the
prevalence of resistant pathogens.
Some important factors responsible for the rising antibiotic resistance in India are
Indiscriminate use of antimicrobial drugs,
Over-the-counter availability of antibiotics,
Laxity of regulatory bodies in approval of antibiotics,
Lack of public awareness about antibiotic resistance,
Injudicious use in veterinary practices,
Overburdened health infrastructure
Inequity in healthcare.
The dire issue of AMR needs to be addressed immediately.
The first step towards optimising the use of antimicrobials to halt the spread of
infections caused by multidrug-resistant organisms is antibiotic stewardship.
This involves coordinated intervention designed to improve and measure the
appropriate use of antimicrobials by promoting the selection of the most
appropriate antimicrobial drug regimen, dose, duration of therapy, and route of
Capacity building and sensitisation of all the stakeholders is an integral pre-
requisite of this programme.
The multidisciplinary team members comprise an infectious diseases physician, a
clinical pharmacist, a microbiologist, an infection control team, a hospital
epidemiologist, an information system specialist, quality improvement staff,
laboratory staff and nurses.
If ever a post antibiotics era becomes inevitable, Bacteriophage Therapy or simply
phage therapy holds promise as an alternative treatment option.
Bacteriophages are viruses that infect and kill bacteria.
The revitalisation of phage therapy has received increased global attention since
the appearance of multidrug-resistant bacteria.
The most striking advantage of bacteriophage therapy is the ability to tailor
treatment accurately to kill the pathogenic bacteria provided the diagnostic
procedures are highly accurate
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Conclusion:Efforts should be concerted and holistic in nature. In the absence of involving

stake holders at levels the real issue will not be solved. Further it is important to take
required steps at the earliest, else it will hurt the health profile of the nation as such.

Connecting the dots

Elaborate on the criticality of antimicrobial resistance in India. How does it affect the
socio economic set up of India?

TOPIC: General Studies 2

Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to
Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various
groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders


Union cabinet recently approved the National Health Policy, 2017. It will replace the
previous policy which was framed 15 years ago in 2002.
The National Health Policy of 1983 and the National Health Policy of 2002 have served well
in guiding the approach for the health sector in the Five-Year Plans. Now 14 years after the
last health policy, the context has changed in four major ways.
First, the health priorities are changing. Although maternal and child mortality have
rapidly declined, there is growing burden on account of non-communicable diseases
and some infectious diseases.
The second important change is the emergence of a robust health care industry
estimated to be growing at double digit.
The third change is the growing incidences of catastrophic expenditure due to health
care costs, which are presently estimated to be one of the major contributors to
Fourth, a rising economic growth enables enhanced fiscal capacity. Therefore, a new
health policy responsive to these contextual changes is required.
The primary aim of the National Health Policy, 2017, is to inform, clarify, strengthen and
prioritize the role of the Government in shaping health systems in all its dimensions-
investments in health, organization of healthcare services, prevention of diseases and
promotion of good health through cross sectoral actions, access to technologies, developing
human resources, encouraging medical pluralism, building knowledge base, developing
better financial protection strategies, strengthening regulation and health assurance.

Goal: The policy envisages as its goal the attainment of the highest possible level of health
and wellbeing for all at all ages, through a preventive and promotive health care orientation
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in all developmental policies, and universal access to good quality health care services
without anyone having to face financial hardship as a consequence. This would be achieved
through increasing access, improving quality and lowering the cost of healthcare delivery.
The policy recognizes the pivotal importance of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Major Highlights of National Health Policy, 2017
1. Assurance Based Approach- Policy advocates progressively incremental Assurance
based Approach with focus on preventive and promotive healthcare
2. Health Card linked to health facilities- Policy recommends linking the health card to
primary care facility for a defined package of services anywhere in the country.
3. Patient Centric Approach- Policy recommends the setting up of a separate, empowered
medical tribunal for speedy resolution to address disputes /complaints regarding
standards of care, prices of services, negligence and unfair practices. Standard
Regulatory framework for laboratories and imaging centers, specialized emerging
services, etc
4. Micronutrient Deficiency- Focus on reducing micronutrient malnourishment and
systematic approach to address heterogeneity in micronutrient adequacy across regions.
5. Quality of Care- Public hospitals and facilities would undergo periodic measurements
and certification of level of quality. Focus on Standard Regulatory Framework to
eliminate risks of inappropriate care by maintaining adequate standards of diagnosis and
6. Make in India Initiative- Policy advocates the need to incentivize local manufacturing to
provide customized indigenous products for Indian population in the long run.
7. Application of Digital Health- Policy advocates extensive deployment of digital tools for
improving the efficiency and outcome of the healthcare system and aims at an
integrated health information system which serves the needs of all stake-holders and
improves efficiency, transparency, and citizen experience.
8. Private Sector engagement for strategic purchase for critical gap filling and for
achievement of health goals.
At present, there is no proposal under consideration of the Government to make health as a
fundamental right. However, National Health Policy, 2017 advocates progressively
incremental Assurance based Approach with focus on preventive and promotive healthcare.
The National Health Policy 2017 recognises that improved access, education and
empowerment would be the basis of successful population stabilization. The policy
imperative is to move away from camp based services with all its attendant problems of
quality, safety and dignity of women, to a situation where these services are available on
any day of the week or at least on a fixed day.
The government has allocated Rs48,878 crore to the health sector in the recent budget,
increasing it to 2.2% of the total Union budget . With such a massive investment, the
government would do well to ensure that healthcare services reach the intended
beneficiaries and that the beneficiaries avail of them fully.
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Think tanks are now focusing increasingly on building evidence bases for policies and
programmes that can improve development outcomes. Researchers are aiding the
government and stakeholders in conducting rigorous research and utilizing research
The National Health Policy aims at inclusive partnerships with academic institutions, NGOs,
and the healthcare industry. It also speaks of research collaboration in healthcare
delivery. Spending some resources on research will help the government deliver benefits in
an effective way as well as avoid the often-repeated mistakes of earlier mechanisms. With
minimal investment, the government will stand to gain from robust evidence. Research can
prove to be a shot in the arm for safeguarding the governments health goalsand the

Connecting the dots

Critically analyse the aims and features of National Health Policy, 2017.
Critically analyse the impact of the new National Health Policy, 2017 on the health
fabric of the country especially with increasing cases of depression and non-
communicable diseases.
National Health Policy 2017 is a step in the right direction. Discuss the policy critically
in view of the rural health parameters of India and global SDGs.

TOPIC: General Studies 2

Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation.
Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to
Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various
groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders
Important International institutions, agencies and fora their structure, mandate.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, now the third largest killer

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is not one single disease but an umbrella
term that covers those long term lung conditions which are characterised by shortness of
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breath, such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema and chronic asthma which isnt fully
reversible. Whilst each condition can occur on its own, people can have a combination.
According to WHO estimates, currently, COPD is the third largest killer affecting an
estimated 210 million people. Almost 90 per cent of COPD deaths occur in low and middle-
income countries. In India, it is the second largest killer, responsible for 22 million deaths,
COPD destroys quality of life.
Recently, COPD got some policy attention by getting included in the National Health Policy
2017, however, there needs to be a sharp focus on accurate diagnosis and use of superior
evidence-based treatment for disease management.

India badly affected

The National Commission on Macroeconomics and Health (NCMH) has identified India as
one of the countries most affected by COPD.
According to NCMH, in 2011, COPD contributed 35,000 crore to the economic burden
of India and was estimated to reach 48,000 crore by 2016-17.
COPD has direct healthcare costs, accounting for nearly two-thirds of total revenue,
related to the detection, treatment, prevention, and rehabilitation of the disease.
There is a direct relationship between the severity of COPD and the overall cost of care
at the patient level. Hospital stay accounts for roughly 45-50 per cent of the total direct
cost generated by COPD patients across all three stages.
The indirect cost emanates from morbidity and mortality, such as days off from work,
poor exercise tolerance and disturbed sleep patterns. Half of all COPD patients say that
the disease hinders their ability to work.

Risk factors:
1. Smoking: 80-90% of COPD cases usually occurs in people who have smoked or continue
to smoke. It occurs in every type of smokers whether it is cigarette/beedi/chutta. It can
occur even in passive smokers. Children are more vulnerable. Though common in male,
can occur in females exposed to wood dust, coal dust while cooking, more commonly
seen in villages.
2. Infections: Lung infections in childhood by affecting lung growth and defense
mechanisms, previous pulmonary tuberculosis affecting airways leading bronchial
hyperresponsiveness can result in COPD as age advance.
3. Uncontrolled asthma: Airway remodeling leading to irreversible airway contractions
might result in COPD.

Lack of awareness is the major concern:
An alarming fact is that, after pollution, lack of awareness about this condition is the
major reason for increased risk of COPD deaths. Approximately around 25-50 per cent of
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people with clinically significant COPD are ignorant about the disease; there is rampant
misdiagnosis too.
There are significant gaps in the clinical approach to the management of COPD and
other airway diseases. Lack of awareness leads to underestimating disease prevalence
resulting in disease progression and poor disease management.
Misdiagnosis and ill-equipped healthcare:
Most primary healthcare units are ill-equipped and hence primary care physicians are
unable to diagnose the disease in the early stages. They are also not comfortable with
the use of inhalational drugs and prefer using much less efficacious oral medications,
which also have greater side effects.
Often due to symptomatic similarities between asthma and COPD, (wheezing, shortness
of breath and chest tightness, pain or pressure), patients are put on asthma treatment
protocol. Since patients respond to the treatment, physicians dont feel the need to
diagnose and distinguish between asthma and COPD.
However, according to the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD)
Grades, the disease classification comprising moderate, severe and very severe disease,
need different treatment strategies.

Treatment: All diagnosed COPD patient must use medicines on regular basis for lifelong for
stable COPD. Inhalers containing broncho-dilators forms the main mode of therapy. They
help in opening and maintaining of blocked airways. Bronchodilator treatment is now
thought to be the most important facet of management of COPD across all GOLD Grades.

To sum it up, today, there is greater need to adopt a multi-pronged framework approach
involving the reduction of risk factors, improving availability of health personnel and other
infrastructure such as drugs and devices and effective surveillance systems.
Government should muster the will to tighten controls on agents of harm and unhealthy
products. Policies like universal health coverage and screening programme, regular checkup,
water and sanitation, and good housing helps in reducing exposure to risk factors. If national
public health policy is to be turned around, the country has to embark on a mission to turn
tobacco fields into fruit orchards. The policy response must therefore adopt a far-sighted
approach and focus on prevention and management.
Connecting the dots
What is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)? Analyse the impact of COPD on
the health profile of the country. Elaborate on the need to increase health awareness
and infrastructure of healthcare of the country.
Critically analyse the impact of the new National Health Policy, 2017 on the health fabric
of the country especially with increasing cases of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
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TOPIC: General Studies 3

Science and Technology developments and their applications and effects in everyday
Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and
developing new technology.

SAARC Satellite

Diplomacy has crossed traditional barriers and methods today. SAARC satellite is step in the
right direction to engage meaningfully with the neighbourhood sharing expertise India has
in Space science and technology. Apart from all scientific benefits this will go a long way in
delivering the much needed boost to Neighbourhood First policy.

SAARC Satellite:
The South Asia satellite being built by India for use by countries of the South Asian
Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) region will be launched on May 5.
Natural resources mapping, tele-medicine, the field of education, deeper IT connectivity
or fostering people to people contact this satellite will prove to be a boon in the
progress of the entire region.
It is an important step by India to enhance co-operation with the entire South Asia and is
an appropriate example of our commitment towards South Asia
The satellite called GSAT-09 enables full range of applications and services in the areas
of telecommunication and broadcasting applications viz. Television, Direct-to-Home
(DTH), Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSATs), Tele-education, Telemedicine and
Disaster Management Support.
The 2,230 kg satellite was built by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and
has 12 Ku-band transponders.
It is cuboid in shape and built around a central cylinder has a mission life of over 12
It will be launched from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota using a Geostationary
Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mk-II launch vehicle.

As technological capabilities and innovation-led growth become important facets of
economic and military power, countries have started integrating techno-diplomacy as a
major piece in their broader international diplomacy edifice.
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Technological capabilities can serve both hard power (in military and economic terms),
and soft power.
While this is not an entirely new phenomenon, and has been used especially with
nuclear technologies and military hardware and weapon systems, the role of civilian
technology solutions in diplomacy has taken on a sense of urgency in the last decade or
Due to technological and diplomatic constraints, India has generally been unable to
wield its technology as an effective tool of diplomacy.
This is set to change with the launch of the South Asia satellite by ISRO.

Diplomatic Significance:
The satellite is similar to previous communication satellites designed and launched by ISRO,
and technologically does not constitute a major breakthrough. However, diplomatically, the
South Asia satellite is significant for three reasons.
First, it showcases Indias growing technological prowess.
Along with previous missions such as Chandrayaan and the Mars Orbiter
Mission, the South Asia satellite underscores the strength of Indian indigenous
technological development.
Second, that the satellite has been launched without any specific quid pro quo shows
that India is willing to use its technological capabilities as a tool of diplomacy.
India has begun realising that domestic technologies have now reached a level of
maturity that allows India to confidently brandish its capabilities to other
It also serves as a marketing tool for future launches at a time when ISRO is
building a strong niche for itself in the international satellite launch market.
Third, it reveals both Indias ambition and capability to create what can be termed
technological commons.
By gifting this satellite to its neighbours, India has created an open access
resource that can be leveraged by the latter to address some of their critical
domestic concerns.
Building such commons is essential not only to address immediate problems but
also spur research, innovation and economic growth in the region.

India must make a concerted effort to expand the range of technologies it can use as part of
its diplomatic outreach. India could also look at including biotechnology and green energy.
Unfortunately, there has been a critical lag in the evolution of robust scientific and research
institutions in these areas, particularly from a funding standpoint. The South Asia satellite is
emblematic of a more confident and assertive India, but it is necessary to ensure that such
actions are not one-off.
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Connecting the dots

Analyse the regional and diplomatic significance of an initiative like SAARC satellite.
Elaborate on the features of the satellite.

General Studies 2
Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation.
General Studies 3
Science and Technology developments and their applications and effects in everyday
Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and
developing new technology.

What ails Indian science?

Earlier this year, top administrators in Indian science submitted a detailed project report on
the state of Indian science to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The report, titled Vigyan 2030: Science and Technology as the Pivot for Jobs,
Opportunities and National Transformation jointly submitted by the secretaries of all the
Central science departments, lays out a sweeping plan to rejuvenate science in India.
The report has noted that stature of Indian science is a shadow of what it used to be,
because of decades of misguided interventions.
Improve the participation of women
The report reflects an urgency to improve the participation of women in the transformation
of Indian science.
Though there are more girls than boys in the life sciences, there are fewer in physics,
maths, earth science and chemistry. Enrolment of women is 28% in engineering, and
very low in the classical streams (mechanical, electrical, civil, chemical), it notes.
Previous studies have found that when compared to the U.S., European Union, and
several Asian countries, India fared reasonably well when it comes to enrolment of
women in science and engineering, which stood at around 35%. But the proportion of
women in the science and engineering workforce was an abysmal 12%.
2,000-crore initiative to encourage more girls and women
The Department of Science and Technology will be leading a 2,000-crore initiative to
encourage more girls and women to take up careers in the domain of science and
engineering, where they are under-represented.
A pilot programme covering 100,000 girls and women, from school-going children to those
interested in research, will be launched later this year.
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The current initiative, called Vigyan Jyoti, envisages 500 contractual faculty positions for five
years in universities and research organisations, and special scholarships for school girls.
Alongside mentoring, there would be a concerted effort to expose them to more areas of
science and engineering, present role-models to inspire them, and conduct counselling
sessions for parents and teachers.
The proposal is a key part of a report, Vigyan 2030.

STEAM to catapult India into the path of development and growth

None of the political parties nor even the candidates seems to have science, technology,
environment, agriculture and medicine (STEAM) in their agenda for the development of the
nation or the state.
When we look back six decades or 15 parliamentary elections ago, when free India was
born, the founding fathers made friends with science as a national policy and used the
tools of STEAM to catapult India into the path of development and growth.
It is science alone that can solve the problems of hunger and poverty, of insanitation and
illiteracy the future belongs to science and those who make friends with science.
- Jawaharlal Nehru
It was the science of agriculture that ushered in the green revolution, of medicine that rid us
of smallpox (and now polio), of technology that made us an atomic and nuclear power.
The fruits of indigenous science and technology, the 1.4 million electronic voting machines
(EVM) made in India, form the bedrock for the efficient management of the general
election. The indelible Indian ink on voters fingers, flaunted in selfies everywhere, is
another great Indian innovation.

Failure of organisations and departments

The existing systems of science governance in this country are robust with departments
reporting to ministers who in turn report to the Union Cabinet. There is no lack of sound
advisory bodies and committees within these departments.
Umbrella organisations or overarching bodies (such as Scientific Advisory Committee to the
Prime Minister or Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India or NITI Aayog, now
essentially a policy think tank, and tasked with coordinating States and research agencies)
can pool the intellectual and technological resources of organisations and direct them
towards specific missions. However, despite having a team of experienced scientists and
eminents, they havent substantially vaulted science and technology in the country either.
The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, a pre-Independence institution, is another
body that directly reports to the Prime Minister and has an independently-constituted
governing council. It faces its own challenges of effectively translating its know-how.
Scientific departments in India, from the Department of Atomic Energy to the Department
of Science & Technology, have bureaucracies of their own. They battle the dilemma of
having to take bold, expensive risks that science by its very nature requires and on the
other hand, be accountable to the Finance Ministry.
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Need for an independent science and technology authority

One among several key recommendations provided in the report is to have an independent
science and technology authority that will have two parallel arms.
One, a discovery arm that can organise the expertise of various organisations across
states and regions to solve a basic research problem.
Two, a delivery arm that will closely work with industry and evolve public private
Such an authority, the report envisions, will report directly to the Prime Minister. SPARK
(Sustainable Progress through Application of Research and Knowledge), as the body is
tentatively named, will be overarching yet have light touch governance.
SPARK (Sustainable Progress through Application of Research and Knowledge) is a proposed
initiative to synergise science activity in India.

Reality of Indian science

The goals of SPARK seem to be most closely attuned with NITI Aayog, and it might well
be effective only within this parent organisation, taking inputs from various quarters
such as industries, the ministries themselves and NGOs to make proposals, some of
which could move forward to become major initiatives.
Science does not end with the Indian Institutes of Technology, Indian Institutes of
Science Education and Research and other elite institutions.
The report talking about huge support system and global goodwill is less acceptable.
India does not need global goodwill to succeed in science. It needs hard work, honest
management and a critically large base of experts.

Structure of a overarching body:

Decisions on new initiatives like SPARK should not be taken within government
departments in Delhi following a proposal from one closed administrative group to
another. A broad-based consultation with stakeholders is a must.
Even if SPARK is constituted, it needs financial independence; given the relationship
between the Ministry of Finance and its Department of Expenditure on the one hand
and the science departments on the other, this remains a moot point.
Large systems that work even moderately satisfactorily should not be tinkered with too
much, for we may then have to face unintended consequences.

Indian science is certainly not in a good state of health today. But what is wrong is not the
structure of the system. The wrongs emanate from the many sins of omission and
commission over the years by the individuals who have led the system. Hence the need is to
address the root cause rather than add to the top heavy system.
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For a country of size and population of India the need for continuous research and
development to create innovative solutions is critical. Hence a science and technology policy
that is holistic and caters to all areas is a necessity.

Connecting the dots

Science and technology has solutions worthwhile for the countrys long term progress.
Critically discuss the shortcoming in Indias STEAM architecture.
A new body such as SPARK will just create just another rest house for retired and senior
bureaucrats. Critically analyse?

General Studies 2
Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation.
General Studies 3
Science and Technology developments and their applications and effects in everyday
Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and
developing new technology

GM Mustard

Continuous improvement in technology is a vital need for todays field of operations in any
sector. But technology should meet ground realities of safety and security norms globally
prescribed. GM foods need more transparency and scientifically sound decision making.

GM Foods
Genetically modified (GM) foods are foods derived from organisms whose genetic
material (DNA) has been modified in a way that does not occur naturally, e.g. through
the introduction of a gene from a different organism.
Currently available GM foods stem mostly from plants, but in the future foods derived
from GM microorganisms or GM animals are likely to be introduced on the market.
Most existing genetically modified crops have been developed to improve yield, through
the introduction of resistance to plant diseases or of increased tolerance of herbicides.
In the future, genetic modification could be aimed at altering the nutrient content of
food, reducing its allergenic potential, or improving the efficiency of food production
All GM foods should be assessed before being allowed on the market. FAO/WHO Codex
guidelines exist for risk analysis of GM food.
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With the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee, an Environment Ministry body that
evaluates genetically modified crops, approving transgenic mustard for environmental
release, a key hurdle remains before farmers can cultivate it.
Environment Minister has to approve it, under a procedure set down by the UPA
In 2009 the GEAC approved Bt brinjal, developed by Mahyco and the Tamil Nadu
Agricultural University, for commercial release.
As Environment Minister, Jairam Ramesh then overruled the GEAC clearance in
2010 and changed its status from an approval committee to an appraisal committee.

GM Mustard:
The issue before the environment minister now is this: go by the expert findings of the
GEAC and decide the issue on scientific merits, or opt for a replay of the Bt brinjal case.
Broadly, the then governments exceptionalism on Bt brinjal was framed along these
it was an edible substance unlike Bt cotton;
long-term studies may be required to check its safety and environmental impact;
it involved technology developed by the multinational Monsanto (which had an
indirect stake in Mahyco).
On the other hand, GM mustard (DMH-11) was developed by a team of scientists at
Delhi University led by former vice-chancellor Deepak Pental under a government-
funded project.
In essence, it uses three genes from soil bacterium that makes self-pollinating plants
such as mustard amenable to hybridisation.
This means local crop developers have the equivalent of a platform technology to
more easily develop versions of mustard with custom traits such as higher oil
content and pest resistance.
It has also gone through safety and toxicity tests (on mice) prescribed by the
regulator, but this is unlikely to convince opponents of GM technology.
Many of them are opposed to the commercial release of any form of transgenic plants;
they fear that introducing genes from soil bacterium or other forms of animal life into
plants will amount to playing with the natural order of plant life.
Proponents of GM crops say plants and animals are constantly swapping bacterial genes
with air, soil and water, and also that the only way of determining if a gene can produce
proteins toxic to humans is to subject it to a systematic testing process.
Years of field tests on transgenic corn, soyabean and brinjal in other countries have
shown no health risks that vary with their non-GM versions.
The concern that DMH-11 employs a gene that will compel farmers to use specific
herbicides and be dependent on one or two companies deserves serious attention.
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However, these are matters for the government, regulators, labour markets and the
courts to decide.

Farmers need technology, new knowledge and governmental support to get the best out of
their seeds. Without a clear legislation like National Biotechnology Regulatory Bill, 2008 that
would enable a biotechnology regulator to take shape, issues to be decided on the basis of
science will be at the mercy of political masters.

Connecting the dots

Elaborate on the boon and bane of GM food technology for India today.
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General Studies 2
Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation.
General Studies 3
Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth,
development and employment.
Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

Can India emerge as a global leader in an uncertain global environment?

The last year has seen consolidation of several trends that have impacted the economic and
business environment for India.
1. Political backlash against globalization and policy of protectionism in advanced countries
- presents a unique challenge to development.
2. Technology advancements - can disrupt conventional modes of production and
3. Demographic changes with a growing workforce in some economies and contractions in
4. Rise of new consumers and shifting supply chains.
Above are some of the systemic trends that India has to deal with.
Assessment: Is India well-positioned to capture a leadership position in an uncertain world?
Advantage India
Indias inherent advantages include its
expanding workforce and consumer markets,
rapid urbanisation,
growing education and skill capabilities,
stronger technology adaptation, and
potential for driving exports as a growth driver.

India, the third largest economy in purchasing power parity and the fastest growing large
economy of the world, it is home to some of the most thriving markets, from automobiles
and aviation to mobile connectivity and renewable energy. It is also the third largest base of
startups in the technology sector.
Its vibrant entrepreneurial class is exploring avenues in new technologies and across the
world. India is already a leader in several areas.

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The country faces numerous challenges that need to be resolved through holistic strategies
that incorporate cross-sectoral issues.
1. In the immediate term, revival of consumer demand is a challenge despite MGNREGA,
the 7th Pay Commission and agricultural growth. Global demand too remains subdued.
2. The spike in NPAs of banks at over 11 per cent is hindering new investments.
3. The administrative processes for a facilitative business climate continue to be lengthy
and complex.

Recent Government policies and measures in this regard:

The Governments policies and measures are helping to a significant extent.
Progress on GST, reduction in corporate income taxes for smaller companies, mission
mode work on ease of doing business and many sectoral actions together set a sound
platform for leadership.
Infrastructure programmes such as Sagarmala for port-led development, railway
modernisation and upgradation, and new roads and highways are driving new
connectivities across the country.
Urban development and power sector too have received attention.

Looking ahead
The critical challenge is technology advance which is ushering in a new economy. The fourth
industrial revolution of technologies such as 3D printing, automation, robotics, big data, and
so on will create new manufacturing processes. Increasing convergence of manufacturing,
services and technology results in new products and new markets for a rising shared
economy. (Is India ready for this challenge?)
There is a huge consensus that India can lead and can rapidly emerge as a global leader.
1. Indias strengths a large domestic market, a rich reservoir of human capital, steadfast
commitment to reforms should help the country emerge as an attractive business
2. While the countrys capability to deliver on services to the world is without question,
this should be extended to improve our manufacturing capabilities as well.
3. Manufacturing, renewable energy, electric mobility, railways and aviation present
substantial opportunities for global leadership. The States should play a growing role in
Indias development in the spirit of cooperative and competitive federalism. Strategic
policies can change agricultural and industrial climate of a state.
4. Protectionism is not new and India should be able to build its global presence through
exports. India must internalise high standards and encourage digitisation and
5. Industry too must step up its R&D engagement. Currently, Indian companies spend just
0.3 per cent of GDP on R&D compared to the global average of 1.5 per cent. This needs
to be scaled up five times.
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Indias rise in an uncertain world will be the next big development. Identifying India as one
of the 'few bright spots' in an otherwise gloomier global economy, IMF has also projected
that Indian economic growth is set to be higher than China's.
To realise its growth potential, India needs to expand its industrial base, diversify its energy
mix, and upgrade its electricity and urban infrastructure.

Unlocking Indias potential

The 'Unlocking India's potential' report, commissioned by ABB India, said that the
government wants to increase the manufacturing output to 25 per cent of GDP by 2022,
with the creation of 100 million jobs.
To expand its industrial base, India will need to accelerate and implement reforms to
improve conditions for business and attract investment. At the same time, companies will
need to engage actively with trends such as high-quality manufacturing, smart
manufacturing practices, automation and the Internet of Things (IoT).
With industrialisation, India will need to accelerate the expansion and upgrading of its
energy sector. The country already imports 75 per cent of its oil and faces persistent
shortfalls in power supply and the challenges will become even greater given that
manufacturing is much more energy intensive than the services sector, the report added.
At a time of protectionist trends in the developed world, India can become the leading
proponent of globalisation only if the country improves on its manufacturing.

Connecting the dots

Is India well-positioned to capture a leadership position in an uncertain world? Critically
Can India move away from being a low-cost innovator at the bottom of the pyramid, and
instead begin to be known for big-bang, disruptive innovations for the world?
Technology advancements - such as 3D printing, automation, robotics, big data - can
disrupt conventional modes of production and consumption. Is India ready for this
challenge? Examine.
Can India emerge as a global leader in an uncertain global environment? Critically

General Studies 2
Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation.
General Studies 3
Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth,
development and employment
P a g e | 102

Inland waterways

Connectivity is crucial for an economy like India. Especially with a congested road network
an inland waterway network that can offer cheaper alternative is crucial. The need is to
build a well connected network and interlaced multimodal transport system to create

Inland Waterways Authority of India:

The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) came into existence on 27th October
1986 for development and regulation of inland waterways for shipping and navigation.
The Authority primarily undertakes projects for development and maintenance of IWT
infrastructure on national waterways through grant received from Ministry of Shipping.
India has about 14,500 km of navigable waterways which comprise of rivers, canals,
backwaters, creeks, etc.
About 55 million tonnes of cargo is being moved annually by Inland Water Transport
(IWT), a fuel - efficient and environment -friendly mode.
Its operations are currently restricted to a few stretches in the Ganga-Bhagirathi-
Hooghly rivers, the Brahmaputra, the Barak river, the rivers in Goa, the backwaters in
Kerala, inland waters in Mumbai and the deltaic regions of the Godavari - Krishna rivers.
Besides these organized operations by mechanized vessels, country boats of various
capacities also operate in various rivers and canals and substantial quantum of cargo
and passengers are transported in this unorganized sector as well.

Inland water transport is finally getting policy attention, but its potential is yet to be
As per The National Waterways Act, 2016, 111 waterways have been declared as
National Waterways (NWs) including the five existing NWs. Out of the 111 NWs, NW-1,
2, & 3 are already operational. Cargo as well as passenger / cruise vessels are plying on
these waterways.
DPR for development of NW-4 & 5 were completed in 2010. The DPR of NW 5 was
updated in 2014.
For the newly declared 106 NWs, techno-economic feasibility studies have been

The government is making a concerted effort to raise the share of inland waterways in
freight traffic from 2-3 per cent levels (coastal shipping accounts for a similar proportion), in
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view of its energy efficiency and lower carbon footprint vis--vis road and even rail
In China, 47 per cent of its domestic freight traffic moves by water, while in the US it is
12 per cent.
To this end, the Centre has passed the National Waterways Act 2016, which categorises
106 new rivers as national waterways (adding to the existing five riverine and canal
systems), allowing the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) to develop these for
The advantages of raising the share of waterways in the transport mix are obvious.
A World Bank study points out that a litre of fuel can move 105 tonne-km by
inland water transport, against 85 tonne-km by rail and 24 tonne-km by road.
Likewise, the carbon emission per tonne km is 32-36 gms in the case of container
vessels, against 51-91 gms in the case of road transport vehicles.
Reduced congestion on roads and fewer accidents are an added advantage.

Integrated Union transport ministry:

An integrated Union transport ministry could address this failing.
The 2014 report of the National Transport Policy Development Committee estimates
that to achieve industrial growth of 10 per cent over the next two decades, public and
private investment in transport will have to increase at least threefold over this period,
from 20 trillion in the 12th Plan.
However, in moving ahead, two issues need to be considered:
First, the rights of States and local communities over water resources and
Second, the ecological consequences of movement of heavy vessels in particular.
The impact of dredging and barrages on river flows (Farakka being an example)
and direction, aquatic life and the livelihoods of citizens dependent on the river is
an important aspect.
A Standing Committee report has pointed to the need to regenerate rainfed rivers and
take into account the rights of States with respect to irrigation and provision of drinking
It rightly suggests a regulator with both Central and State government representatives to
address a gamut of concerns

Sagarmala: Concept and implementation towards Blue Revolution

The prime objective of the Sagarmala project is to promote port-led direct and indirect
development and to provide infrastructure to transport goods to and from ports quickly,
efficiently and cost-effectively.
Therefore, the Sagarmala Project shall, inter alia, aim to develop access to new
development regions with intermodal solutions and promotion of the optimum modal
split, enhanced connectivity with main economic centres and beyond through expansion
of rail, inland water, coastal and road services.
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The Sagarmala initiative will address challenges by focusing on three pillars of

development, namely
Supporting and enabling Port-led Development through appropriate policy and
institutional interventions and providing for an institutional framework for ensuring
inter-agency and ministries/departments/states collaboration for integrated
Port Infrastructure Enhancement, including modernization and setting up of new
Efficient Evacuation to and from hinterland.

A growing economy needs to take an integrated and long-term view of developing transport
infrastructure so that there is seamless connectivity across different modes as well as
balanced, planned and coordinated development across regions. This has been a casualty in
transport policy, manifested perhaps by the failure of several PPP projects in roads.

Connecting the dots

Critically analyse the significance of National waterways project and the synergy it can
generate with Sagarmala initiative.

TOPIC: General Studies 2

Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth,
development and employment.
Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

New 'Index for Industrial Production' (IIP) series seen giving factory growth a boost

The Industrial Output data is captured and monitored, primarily, through two statistical
(i) Annual Survey of Industries (ASI) on an annual basis and
(ii) Index of Industrial Production (IIP) on a monthly basis.
About Annual Survey of Industries (ASI)
The Annual Survey of Industries (ASI) is the principal source of industrial statistics in India. It
provides information about the composition and structure of organised manufacturing
sector comprising activities related to manufacturing processes, repair services, gas and
water supply and cold storage.
The ASI is conducted annually under the Collection of Statistics Act, since 1959, to obtain
comprehensive and detailed statistics of industrial sector with the objective of estimating
the contribution of registered manufacturing industries as a whole to the national income.
About 'Index for Industrial Production'
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The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) is an index which shows the growth rates in different
industry groups of the economy in a stipulated period of time. The IIP index is computed
and published by the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) on a monthly basis.
IIP is a composite indicator that measures the growth rate of industry groups classified
1. Broad sectors, namely, Mining, Manufacturing and Electricity
2. Use-based sectors, namely Basic Goods, Capital Goods and Intermediate Goods.
The IIP is compiled on the basis of data sourced from 16 ministries/ administrative
departments. Data for IIP are collected by various source agencies under different

Issue/concern in news:
In the past few years, the month-on-month IIP has shown excessively low, and even
negative growth, which subsequently turned out to be out of sync with the actual
manufacturing output growth measured through the Annual Survey of Industries (ASI).
Index of Industrial Production (IIP) is a critical economic indicator, the aim of the IIP is to
capture the direction and the trend of industrial production in the country, not the absolute
value of industrial production. Its chief utility is as an early indicator of turning points in the
economy. The IIP has been failing in serving this purpose.

Reasons for above concerns/issues:

The major reason being that IIP was measuring industrial output using baskets of
production items and producing entities that had remained unchanged since 2004-05.
Meaning - The standard procedure followed was that a list of items was constructed in the
base year and for each item the producing entities were identified. This structure was
In simple words, the IIP index was constructed with the output figures received month over
month from the baskets of items and entities fixed in the base year. (It did not consider new
entities or changes)
I.e., if an entity shut down, its output fell to zero. But since the basket was frozen no new
entity could be taken in place of the zero-output one.
For instance, say Calculators may fall out of use and more smartphones may be consumed.
The IIP was not equipped to capture such changes in the economy.
The way ahead:
1. Revised Base Year
Therefore, the Central Statistics Office (CSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme
Implementation revised the base year of Index of Industrial Production (IIP) and
Wholesale Price Index (WPI) to 2011-12 base years, replacing the 2004-05 base
years. Analysts believe that the new series will be able to capture the current state
of affairs of the economy by replacing the old basket of goods with a contemporary
P a g e | 106

Currently the IIP and WPI take 2004-05 as base year, while the GDP and Consumer
Price Index (CPI) data are calculated using the base year of 2011-12. Using the same
base year of 2011-12 for all macroeconomic data indicators will ensure that accuracy
is maintained in the mapping of economic activity.
The new base year has been selected keeping in view the base year of other
macroeconomic indicators namely Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Consumer Price
Index (CPI). Several changes have been made in the new series of the IIP in order
that new IIP is able to reflect the changes in the industrial sector in a more
representative and robust manner.

What is Base Year?

Base-year is the year used for comparison for the level of a particular economic index. The
arbitrary level of 100 is selected so that percentage changes can easily be depicted.
2. A more dynamic index with expanded coverage and representative IIP
IIP is being made more dynamic. First, the Central Statistics Office has updated its
base year to 2011-12. The revision is aimed at capturing the changes that have taken
place in the industrial sector since 2004-05.
New products have been included in the items basket, and those that have lost their
relevance deleted. Renewable energy, for example, has been included in the
electricity index. The expanded coverage 809 items against 620 earlier, and a
larger number of factories is expected to make the IIP more representative.
Second, instead of the periodic baskets revisions, a permanent standing
arrangement is being put in place to make sure that the IIP remains representative.
In other words, a technical committee will be constituted to continuously review the
item basket, the reporting entities and the method of coverage.
What does the updated IIP offer?
The updated IIP offers new insights and a healthier picture, the most important being,
the average industrial output growth of the last five years (2011-12 to 2016-17) in the
old IIP is 1.38%, and in the updated series it is 3.8%.
On the manufacturing front, the average five-year growth has improved to 4.04%
against 0.94% in the old IIP.
However, the output growth of the infrastructure and construction sector has slowed
down from 5.7% in 2013-14 to 3.8% in 2016-17 despite the governments sustained push
to the infrastructure sector, including through substantial increases in targeted public
spending , in the last three years.
The updated IIP also shows a modest recovery in the capital goods sector, a barometer
of the investment sentiment. From -3.6% in 2013-14, output growth in the sector
improved to 1.9% in 2016-17.
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The main driver of growth in the economy remains consumption. Consumer durables grew
6.2% and non-durables 9% in 2016-17. The Seventh Pay Commission award to Central
government employees and pensioners last year seems to have spurred consumption.
Demonetisations debilitating impact on manufacturing is visible in the updated monthly IIP
for 2016-17. The average output growth for the seven months from April to October was
6.8%, and for the five months from November to March 2.28%. The IIPs coverage by design
is limited to the organised sector. The disruption in the unorganised sector is expected to
get measured in the ASI.
It is widely acknowledged that the IIP numbers are an important input while estimating the
GDP. Given the fact that now the base years of all the major macroeconomic indicators, the
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the Wholesale Price Index, are aligned to 2011-12, it is
possible that the GDP numbers too could be revised upwards.
Instead of the periodic baskets revisions, a permanent standing arrangement will make sure
that the IIP remains representative. There is need of monitoring and mapping of the index
with the changes taking place in the economy.
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Fast recap and important points to remember:

1. IIP in the new series will continue to consist of three sectors viz. Mining, Manufacturing
and Electricity, as in the existing series.
2. The National Industrial Classification 2008 will be followed in the new series for the
purpose of classification of products as per industries.
3. The Use-Based Classification has been revised to reflect the industrial segments and
production more accurately as well as to map the products more accurately as per their
use in the industries. The new use based classification includes Primary Goods,
Intermediate Goods, Infrastruture/Construction Goods, Capital Goods, Consumer
Durable Goods and Consumer Non Durable Goods.
4. The coverage of the new series of IIP is limited to the Organized Sector only.
5. For enabling dynamic revision of the methodology of IIP including the item list and the
panel of factories during the currency of a base year, a Technical Review Committee,
chaired by Secretary, Ministry of Statistics &PI, will be constituted.
6. Due to the increasing significance of the electricity generation from renewable sources,
it has been decided to include the same in the electricity generation figures for
compilation of IIP in the new series.
7. The new series show higher growth rates in most months in the period April 2012 to
March 2017, as compared to the existing series which is attributable to
(i) shifting of base to a more recent period;
(ii) increase in number of factories in panel for reporting data and exclusion of
closed ones and
(iii) inclusion of new items and exclusion of old ones.

Connecting the dots

Highlight some of salient features of the new IIP series with revised base year 2011-12.
Discuss the differences between Annual Survey of Industries (ASI) and Index of Industrial
Production (IIP) and examine how the new IIP series gives factory growth a boost.

General Studies 2
Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation.
General Studies 3
Government Budgeting.
Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth,
development and employment.

Jobless Growth
P a g e | 109

Growth should be inclusive and sustainable. One of the crucial determinant of the same is it
should be employment intensive. India has witnessed servicisation of the economy and this
has resulted in less job intensive growth. Further there are issues in policy orientations.

Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramaniam recently pointed to the need to achieve higher
economic growth, in the range of 8% to 10%, to solve the problem of jobless growth.
In particular, he flagged the underperformance of the information technology,
construction and agricultural sectors, which earlier served as huge job-creators for the
It is worth noting that India added just 1.35 lakh jobs in eight labour-intensive sectors in
2015, compared to the 9.3 lakh jobs that were created in 2011, according to Labour
Bureau figures.
The rate of unemployment grew steadily from 3.8% in 2011-12 to 5% in 2015-16.
Union Labour and Employment Minister has downplayed the gloomy job situation as
being a temporary one.
The focus instead is on the new National Employment Policy which, accordingly, would
be released later this year and focus on shifting jobs from the informal to the formal
NITI Aayog too has dismissed concerns over jobless growth, saying the real problem is
underemployment rather than unemployment.
Nevertheless, this month the government set up a high-level task force headed by NITI
Aayog Vice-Chairman Arvind Panagariya to obtain reliable data on employment trends
to aid policymaking.

Need for focus on Job oriented growth:

The focus on jobs is obviously vital. However, higher economic growth alone will not
solve the jobs problem.
Jobs can be created when growth comes from the transition of labour from informal
sectors like agriculture to the more formal manufacturing and service sectors.
Such extensive growth, however, runs the risk of stagnation once the available stock of
informal labour is exhausted as some Southeast Asian countries found out the hard
way in the late 1990s.
On the other hand, growth can come about without any substantial job-creation in the
formal sectors of the economy, but through improvements in productivity.
The growth record of several developed economies even after the modernization of
their labour force explains such intensive growth.
India should aim at growth that is driven both by improvements in productivity and
modernisation of its labour force especially since better jobs are crucial to improving
P a g e | 110

the lives of millions who are employed, indeed underemployed, in low-paying jobs in the
farm sector.
Ironically, achieving both those objectives will first require labour reforms ones that
can both boost labour mobility within the formal sector and bring down the barriers
businesses face in hiring labour.

Concerns Productivity vs Employment intensity:

If output is growing much faster than employment, it is obvious that the output per
worker, or what we call labour productivity, is rising rapidly.
This can happen either through technical progress in individual sectors or through
growth-enhancing 'structural change', which means that the relatively productive
sectors expand their share in national employment at the expense of other sectors.
While recent research has shown that growth through both these channels of
productivity growth has reduced poverty in India, one can easily argue that
employment growth lagging behind the growth in working-age population can have
adverse economic, political and social consequences.
The negative consequences have already manifested themselves in the form of the
recent Jat, Patel, and Maratha agitations

Incremental labour reforms alone wont work unless these are combined with a step-up in
government spending on asset and job-creating areas such as infrastructure, which in turn
inspires private investment. Job-creation needs to be an essential axis along which
economic and social policies are formulated.

Connecting the dots

Discuss relevance of a growth model that has employment orientation. Elaborate the ills
of jobless growth on the economy.

TOPIC: General Studies 3

Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth,
development and employment.
Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

The role of Indias Informal Economy: Informal is the new normal

Introduction: Role of Informal Sector

Our country's socio-economic space is overwhelmingly informal whether it is relating to
employment or other aspects of our life. However we tend to overlook and underestimate
the importance of this sector which is multi-dimensional in its structure.
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According to ILO India Labour Market Update (2016) and NSSO data (2011-12), more than
90 percent of the employment in the agricultural sector and close to 70 percent in the non-
agricultural sector falls under the informal category. Clearly, the informal sector is not the
residual sector of the economy. In reality, it is the dominant sector.
The informal sector may not contribute much to the national income but its dominance in
employment is likely to continue for some more time. Even while the organised sector has
lagged behind, the informal sector has shown improvement in productivity, real wages,
employment and capital accumulation. It may be wrong to look down upon the informal
sector as stagnant and under-performing.
Empirical data underlines the fact that the informal sector has done better than its formal
counterparts on economic parameters such as investment, job creation and accumulation of
fixed assets, among others.

Big concern: Challenge of job creation

It is generally agreed that a key element in the transformation of India is the creation of a
large number of good jobs. However, by all estimates, the economy has seen a deceleration
in the pace of employment creation with actual employment generation in the economy not
even a fraction of the estimated 20 million jobs that need to be created every year as per
governments own commitment.
Recent reports on massive job losses in the organized information technology (IT) sector of
more than 50,000 this year have only contributed to the gloom. Industry analysts suggest
the situation may worsen in the coming years. That leaves the informal sector as the only
saviour in the employment creation crisis.

But can the informal sector absorb the labour force which is entering the labour market
every year? Whether it can deliver on the promise of employment creation without any
state support?
The challenge is not just to provide employment to the new entrants in the labour force, but
also to the millions who leave the agricultural sector in search of employment in the non-
farm sector.
As the ILO and NSSO data pointed out out of total net addition to jobs in the economy, the
bulk of this was in the informal sector. These jobs, which were largely casual in nature, were
created in sectors such as construction, retail trade and transportation. In most of these
sectors, the majority of employment is informal.
Nearly 50% of workers are employed as informal workers. The share of informal workers in
the private organized sector is as high as two-thirds of all employment. Increasing recourse
to contractual workers by the organized sector is a trend that has gained momentum in the
last decade, swelling the ranks of informal workers.
But the informal sector remains neglected in most policy initiatives. It was also the biggest
sufferer in the demonetization drive last year but has bounced back since then. Despite its
overwhelming contribution to the economy and employment, it is generally seen as
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parasitic with no contribution to tax income of the government and also because it is
Despite employing the majority of the workers in the economy, the informal sector
continues to show low productivity. In most non-farm informal sectors, productivity levels
are not very different from the agricultural sector, which remains the sector with the lowest
With all its limitations, the informal sector continues to remain large and hasnt shown signs
of disappearing.

Should informal sector be regulated?

It seems more logical to take the informal economy of India as the mainstream which
requires a proper regulatory framework to ensure that those who drive this sector are
provided the opportunity to contribute to the well being of the nation while enjoying a life
of dignity and an environment of decent work.
Most government policies attempt to regulate the informal sector and bring it into the
mainstream, with the overall objective of reducing its share in the economy. However, any
attempt to regulate it to bring it into the tax net, without adequate support, may kill the
sector which has so far managed to absorb labour which is unskilled and uneducated.
Majority of the workers moving out of agriculture are unskilled and have low levels of
education. These workers are unlikely to be absorbed in the formal sector.
Secondly, even though the informal sector is unregulated, it is not competing with the
formal sector and is therefore unlikely to affect it. The cost of adhering to regulation and
taxes will not only add to the cost of production but will also render the informal sector
Therefore, the best way is to recognize that the informal sector is the new normal. Despite
its problems, it will continue to remain important for the economy. It may not contribute
much to the national income but its dominance in employment is likely to continue for some
more time. This is not only true for the informal manufacturing sector but also for the
services sector which is likely to be the driver for employment creation.
It is not just cab hailing services like Uber that are creating a large workforce of self-
employed workers including in small and medium towns. A large majority of workers in
these sectors are not in employer-employee relationships but are either self-employed or
casual/contractual employees.

Need of the hour:

What is needed is to upgrade the skills of those who are already in the informal sector with
government support through easier access to credit, technology and availability of markets.
Unfortunately, existing labour laws have failed to help informal sector workers. What is
needed is a social security architecture to be provided by the government for informal
sector workers.
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Such a proposal was part of the recommendations of the National Commission for
Enterprises in the Unorganized Sector (NCEUS). However, there has not been any progress
in implementing these.
What the informal sector needs is less of regulation and more of support as against the
government policy of more regulation and no support. Any attempt to regulate and bring
the informal sector into the tax network will only add to costs without increasing
productivity. The formal and informal sectors are complementary to each other and any
attempt to use one against the other will harm both. It is time to use the opportunity that
the informal sector provides to strengthen and support it. This is not only essential for
economic growth but the only way for growth with jobs.

Connecting the dots

Job creation is taking place in the informal sector, there is a need to get them into the
formal fold. Do you agree with this view? Give arguments in favour of your answer.
There is a debate in the country whether to regulate the informal sector or not. What in
your opinion is the best solution? Discuss.

General Studies 3
Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth,
development and employment.
Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
General Studies 2
Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation; Important aspects of governance,
transparency and accountability

RBI given greater role in dealing with large amount of stressed assets
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 22nd May proposed expanding the scope of oversight
committees and a larger role for credit rating agencies as it draws up an action plan to deal
with the Indian banking systems nearly Rs. 10 trillion (10 lakh crore) stressed loan problem.
Earlier this month, the government moved an ordinance empowering the central bank to
intervene directly in stressed asset cases.
Banking Regulation (Amendment) Ordinance of May 4, 2017, empowered the RBI to take
decisions on the settlement of non-performing assets (NPAs) and a consequent cleaning up
of bank balance sheets.

Banks in India are in possession of 6,11,607 crore worth of NPAs as of March 31, 2016.
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According to a recent Credit Suisse estimate, there could be a default on 16-17% of total
bank loans by March 31, 2018.
The current food and non-food credit stands at approximately 75,00,000 crore. This
would translate to about 12 lakh crore of NPAs.
Therefore, the ordinance correctly acknowledges the unacceptably high level of stressed
assets in the banking system. Indeed, banks are sitting on a huge pile of scrap.

Failure of Public Sector Banks
Most of these bad loans are the result of money or loans given generously by public
sector banks to large corporate groups, given without any consideration to the principles
of sound lending. Hence, the resultant inability of the banks to recover either interest or
the principal sum lent.

Corporate borrowers, the major concern

In India, corporates rely on banks as the main source for funds. The February 2017
International Monetary Fund (IMF) report states that 65.7% of Indian corporate debt as
of March 31, 2016 is funded by banks.
The December 2016 Financial Stability Report states that large borrowers account for
56% of bank debt and 88% of their NPAs. Inability of top Indian corporates to make
timely interest payments are a major concern.
The 2017 IMF report also states that about half of the over all debt is owed by firms who
are already highly indebted (debt-equity ratio more than 150%). These borrowers are
simply not earning enough to meet their interest commitments.
However, some of the major corporate groups are key drivers of growth of the Indian
economy. As the corporate bond market is not yet matured in India, bank financing is
crucial for such corporate groups.
In addition, granting loans to corporates that lacked capital as well as expertise (in
sectors that were once the sole preserve of the government) was obviously a decision
made at the behest of the RBI and the government with little regard to the best interest
of the bank.

Mixed dilemma - It was for the sake of development that the RBI encouraged banks to lend
to corporates. Now, for the same reason, resolution is being thrust on banks.
Put simply, the RBI may from time to time, issue directions to banking companies for
resolution of stressed assets. The Central government may by order authorize the RBI to
issue direction to any banking company to initiate insolvency resolution process in respect
of a default, under the provisions of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016.

About Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016
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The new bankruptcy law will ensure time-bound settlement of insolvency, enable faster
turnaround of businesses and create a database of serial defaulters.
The new code will replace existing bankruptcy laws and cover individuals, companies,
limited liability partnerships and partnership firms. It will amend laws including the
Companies Act to become the overarching legislation to deal with corporate insolvency.
It will also help creditors recover loans faster.
On the parameter of resolving insolvency, India is ranked 136 among 189 countries. At
present, it takes more than four years to resolve a case of bankruptcy in India, according
to the World Bank. The code seeks to reduce this time to less than a year.

To sum up, since bankers were unable (or unwilling) to take the tough decisions needed to
resolve stressed loans, the RBI will now step in and do it for them. The amendment to
Banking Regulation Act is expected to allow the RBI to deal with the menace of bad loans on
a case-to-case basis as opposed to following a set of broad guidelines and rules for all non-
performing assets (NPAs). RBI can now issue directions to any banking company or banking
companies to initiate insolvency resolution process in respect of a default under the
provisions of the IBC.

Connecting the dots

The recent Banking Regulation (Amendment) Ordinance has empowered RBI to take
decisions on the settlement of non-performing assets (NPAs) and a consequent cleaning
up of bank balance sheets. Do you think, this is a right move? Critically examine.
How does NPA affect Indian economy? How can Government, Banks and RBI work in
sync in reducing NPA and reduce its effects on economy?
Critically examine why NPA has become a major threat to the stability of the countrys
financial system and the economy as such and steps needed to address this issue.

TOPIC: General Studies 3

Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth,
development and employment.
Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

How to deal with the mega challenge of job creation

India may be the worlds fastest growing major economy, but the benefits of that growth do
not seem to be percolating down to the masses. Job creation continues to be a major
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From the above Job Speak Index graph, we can observe that
The overall index for April 2017 was lower than where it was in July 2015.
New job creation is lower than that of 2015 or 2016.
Among sectors, the worst hit was the information technology (IT)-software industry,
which saw a 24% year-on-year drop in hiring.
Other key industries like construction and business process outsourcing/IT enabled
services too saw a 10% and 12% decline in hiring, respectively.

NSSOs contrasting view on Unemployment:

The latest National Sample Survey (NSS) data for 2011-12, however, show unemployment
was only 2.2% of the labour force, which is very low. On this metric, unemployment in India
is much less of a problem than in other countries.
The low unemployment rates are misleading because many of those shown as employed are
actually engaged in low-paid jobs that they take up only because there is no alternative.
Economists call this disguised unemployment or underemployment.
A recent survey of youth unemployment shows that educated youth face greater problems.
The unemployment rate for 18-29-year-olds as a group is 10.2%, but for illiterates it is only
2.2%, rising to 18.4% for graduates. As more and more educated youth enter the workforce
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in future, the policy makers should make sure that unless the quality of jobs available for
them improves dramatically, dissatisfaction will mount.

What needs to be done to tackle this problem?

At the macro level, three structural changes are needed to tackle the problem.

First, the workforce employed in agriculture must decline.

In 2011-12, agriculture accounted for 18% of gross domestic product (GDP) and it
absorbed about 50% of the workforce.
That means, Productivity per person in agriculture was therefore 18/50 = 36% of the
national average.
If the economy as a whole grows at 7.5% per year over the next 10 years, and
agricultural growth accelerates to 4%, the share of agriculture in GDP will fall to around
11% by 2027-28.
To maintain agricultural productivity at say 36% of the national average, the share of
employment should decline to 31%. This is almost certainly too sharp a decline, but even
if the employment share declines to 35%, it implies a major shift out of agriculture.
This places a huge burden of on non-agricultural employment, which will have to expand
sufficiently to absorb the shift out of agriculture plus the normal increase in the total

The second structural change needed is to reduce the expectation from manufacturing as
a provider of non-agricultural jobs.
Faster growth in manufacturing has long been central to our economic strategy and
must remain so. However, policy makers have to recognize that technological change is
likely to make manufacturing less employment generating than in the past.
The problem of automation leading to fewer jobs is not limited to IT-software alone. A
sector like manufacturing is also opting for automation to remain cost- effective. With
not much capacity addition happening, job creation is expected to remain subdued.
Even if Artificial Intelligence and 3D printing are distant developments in India, there can
be no doubt that any successful manufacturing strategy will involve application of
capital-intensive techniques, especially if the country proposes to integrate more fully
with the world and with global supply chains.
At present, manufacturing accounts for about a quarter of total non-agricultural
employment. Another quarter comes from non-manufacturing industry (mining,
electricity and construction) with services accounting for the remaining half.
Most of the growth needed in non-agricultural employment will have to come from
construction and the services sector, including health services, tourism-related services,
retail trade, transport and logistics and repair services. A careful review of policies is
needed to see how impediments to expansion in these sectors can be removed.
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The third structural change needed is a shift from informal sector employment to formal
sector employment.
The NSS data for 2011-12 showed about 243 million people employed in the non-
agricultural sector, and as many as 85% of these were in the informal sector, including
both self-employment and wage employment.
However, much of the demand for high quality employment opportunities today is a
demand for jobs in the formal/organized sector.
A shift away from the unorganized/informal sector to the organized/formal sector is
desperately needed if the government wants to meet the expectations of the young.
To achieve all the above stated structural changes, multiple interventions are needed at
different levels.
1. Focus on Rapid Growth
Rapid growth has to be central to any employment strategy for the simple reason that a
faster growing economy will generate more jobs.

2. Avoid generating low quality, low productive employment

Any notion of generating the employment needed without high growth would be
seriously misleading. Government can end up probably generating low quality, low
productivity employment even if they fail on the growth front, but that is not what
young people want. This means all the policies that are likely to accelerate growth are
also critical for generating employment.

3. Manufacture and export simpler consumer goods

The biggest opportunity for generating more employment in manufacturing lies in
exporting simpler consumer goods to the world market, an area which China has long
dominated, but which it is now likely to exit, as its wages rise.

4. Modernization of small industries

However, in order to obtain above goal, it depends on how well India has ability to
compete with others such as Bangladesh, Vietnam.
Paradoxically, becoming competitive would involve faster modernization of these
(simple consumer goods) industries, which will involve a shift away from labour
intensity, but if it allows an increase in the scale of operations, total employment could

5. Focus on Small and Medium scale enterprises

Small and medium enterprises generate much more employment than large capital-
intensive enterprises but we have not done enough to encourage this segment. Indias
industrial structure suffers from what is called the missing middle.
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There are a few large enterprises, as is the case every where, and at the other end there
are a large number of firms at the very small or micro level. There are too few middle-
sized firms, employing between 100 and say 1,000 workers, and it is these firms that can
upgrade technology, increase productivity, and demonstrate competitiveness in world

6. Solve the problem of missing middle

The policies needed to develop this middle group include lowering of corporate tax rates
and abolition of incentives that favour more capital-intensive units.
Better public infrastructure, especially access to quality power supply at reasonable
rates, improved logistics, greater ease of doing business, better access to finance, ample
availability of skilled labour, and more flexible labour laws can help these middle
enterprises to grow.
Development of skills through a combination of apprenticeships and training institutes
run by the private sector, with an eye to the demand for skills in the market, is also

7. Foster trade with other countries

India has the advantage of being located in Asia, which is the fastest-growing region in
the world and which has not turned inward. India should work to reach an early
conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement with
the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) + 6.

8. Encourage entrepreneurship and Start-ups

Start-ups are a new phenomenon and India has made a good beginning in this area.
Technically skilled and business-oriented youth should be encouraged to explore the
entrepreneurship option, and create jobs, rather than looking for secure wage
The ecosystem required for start-ups to flourish includes scientific and technical
universities acting as innovation hubs, tax policies which encourage angel investing and
other forms of start-up financing, a legal system which supports high standards of
corporate governance, and supportive tax policies which encourage start-up financing.

9. Promote shift from unorganized/informal to the organized/formal sector

Finally, the government should deploy all policy instruments to promote the shift from
the unorganized/informal to the organized/formal sector, both manufacturing and
In the past, there has been a tendency to view the unorganized sector as a potential
source of employment, and this has at times been used to justify a more lax attitude,
especially in the matter of applying regulations (as discussed in our previous article
Link: The role of Indias Informal Economy: Informal is the new normal). Ideally, all
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discrimination against the organized/formal sector should be phased out to create a

level playing field.
Favourable reforms in safety regulations and tax norms, labour laws, ease-of-doing
business and more incentive for units will help informal units move progressively into
the organized/formal sector.


To sum up, all the above said measures if implemented effectively will lead to both
generation of employment and improvement in quality of employment, which is a major
concern today. Unless more jobs are created, Indias demographic dividend will turn into a

Connecting the dots

Will the long-awaited revival in private sector investment aid massive job creation?
Critically analyze.
Unless more jobs are created, Indias demographic dividend will turn into a nightmare.
In your opinion, what immediate policy measures are required to tackle the problem of
generation of employment and improvement in quality of employment? Discuss.
Job creation is taking place in the informal sector, there is a need to get them into the
formal fold. Do you agree with this view? Give arguments in favour of your answer.

TOPIC: General Studies 3

Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth,
development and employment.
Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects
on industrial growth.
FDI reforms and Investment.

Abolition of Foreign Investment Promotion Board

In news:
The Union Cabinet recently approved the phasing out of the 25-year-old Foreign
Investment Promotion Board (FIPB).
Earlier, in February, Finance Minister Arun Jaitleys Budget speech had given a clear
indication of the governments intent to abolish FIPB.
The decision is aimed at making India more attractive for foreign direct investment (FDI)
by improving ease of doing business and promoting the Maximum Governance,
Minimum Government principle.
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(Note: Before going into the article, first, we have to understand What is FIPB, its
background and its functions?)

Understanding FIPB:
We know that, India is having a well-designed Foreign Direct Investment regulation regime.
FDI is regulated through various norms. A minimum lock in period, minimum capital for
investment, sectoral limits and most importantly regulation of entry into
approval/automatic route are the important regulations.
In the case of entry regulations, FDI entry is made under two categories automatic route
and approval route. Approval from the government is mandatory for some type of
investment. For this, approval institutions/bodies are created. The Foreign Investment
Promotion Board is the most important approval body as it can consider FDI below Rs 5000
crore. Above this amount, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs is the approval

What is FIPB?
The FIPB (Foreign Investment Promotion Board) is an inter-ministerial body or a single
window clearance mechanism responsible for processing of FDI proposals and making
recommendations for Government approval. It also grants composite approvals
involving foreign investment/ foreign technology.
FIPB is located in the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance and the
Finance Minister is in charge of the FIPB.
FIPB was chaired by the economic affairs secretary and its other permanent members
included secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), commerce
secretary, economic relations secretary in the ministry of external affairs and overseas
Indian affairs secretary. The small, medium and micro enterprises secretary and the
revenue secretary were co-opted on the board.

The FIPB was formed under the Prime Ministers Office (during P.V. Narasimha Rao
regime) in the mid-1990s as part of the first round of Indian economic reforms. It was
reconstituted in 1996 and transferred to the Department of Industrial Policy and
Promotion. It was transferred to the Department of Economic Affairs under the Ministry
of Finance in 2003, according to its website.
As per the June 2016 FDI policy revision, the FIPB can give recommendations of FDI
proposals below Rs 5000 crore to the Minister of Finance for consideration. As most of
the FDI proposals are below Rs 5000 crore, it is well understood that almost all FDI
proposals are examined by the FIPB.

Functions of FIPB
1. To quickly approve the foreign investment proposals.
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2. To review the FDI polices and to communicate with other agencies such as the
Administrative Ministries in order to set up guidelines that are transparent and which
encourage FDI into the various sectors.
3. To look over the implementation of the various proposals those have been approved by
4. To take up such activities that encourage FDI into the country such as establishing
contracts with international companies and also inviting them to invest in India.
5. To communicate with government, non-government and industry in order to increase
the flow of FDI onto the country.
6. To identify the various sectors that requires FDI.
7. In the process of making recommendations, the FIPB provides significant inputs for FDI

What next after FIPBs abolition?

According to government rules, foreign investments in sectors under the automatic route do
not require prior approval from the FIPB and are subject to sectoral rules. More than 90% of
the total FDI inflows are now through the automatic route. The Foreign Investment
Promotion Board has successfully implemented e-filing and online processing of FDI
applications. There are now only 11 sectors (including defence and retail) needing
government approval. The government feels that it has now reached a stage where FIPB can
be phased out.
Therefore the move entails abolishing the FIPB and allowing administrative
ministries/departments to process applications for FDI requiring government approval.
In other words, Work relating to processing of applications for FDI and approval of the
Government thereon under the extant FDI Policy and Foreign Exchange Management Act,
shall now be handled by the concerned Ministries/Departments in consultation with the
Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (or the DIPP), in the Ministry of Commerce,
which will also issue the Standard Operating Procedure for processing of applications and
decision of the Government under the extant FDI policy.
In short - Now individual departments of the government have been empowered to clear
FDI proposals in consultation with DIPP.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs will continue to clear FDI proposals above Rs
5,000 crore.

Government has shown its clear intent towards fast-tracking inflow of FDI, and the
scrapping of FIPB is a notable step that would go a long way in supporting the objective of
ease of doing business. The government believes that once the Board is history, red-tapism
will shrink, ease of doing business will improve and investors will find India more attractive.
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While the cabinets decision is seen as a simplification of the existing procedure to seek
clearance on FDI proposals, experts have also raised doubts whether line ministries are
equipped to take such decisions on an expedited manner.
The efficacy of this move will be determined by the ability of individual ministries (and
sectoral regulators which may be involved in the ultimate decision) to exercise
discretionary powers without fear, favour or the cover provided by a collective decision-
making body.
Apart from abolishing the FIPB, more reform is needed in areas such as land acquisition and
labour laws to attract FDI.

Connecting the dots

The Union Cabinet recently approved the phasing out of the 25-year-old Foreign
Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) and has empowered individual departments of the
government to clear FDI proposals in consultation with DIPP. Do you think this move will
make India more attractive for FDI. Discuss?

General Studies 2
Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation.
General Studies 3
Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth,
development and employment
Investment models

Special Purpose Vehicles

The economic development of the country is plagued by delays and continuous issues with
clearances. In this light concept of Special purpose Vehicles (SPVs) have served a cause
worth to its purpose. Most of the recent projects in infrastructure and development have
been successful and promoted.

Special Purpose Vehicles What?

A special purpose vehicle/entity (SPV/SPE) is a subsidiary company with an asset/liability
structure and legal status that makes its obligations secure even if the parent
company goes bankrupt.
An SPV/SPE is also a subsidiary corporation designed to serve as a counter
party for swaps and other credit sensitive derivative instruments.
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Although the SPVs/SPEs are used to isolate financial risk, due to accounting loopholes,
these vehicles may become a financially devastating way for CFOs to hide debt, as with
the Enron bankruptcy.
In India SPV is expected to lend funds, especially debt funds of longer maturity, directly
to eligible projects to supplement loans from banks and financial institutions.
The SPV, according to the proposal, will become a vehicle for channelising funds for
projects in the roads, ports, airports, and tourism sectors.
These SPVs, meant to achieve specific goals in key policy areas, have delivered by
adopting an innovative management model

A marked feature of present governments approach to economic governance is to get
specific functions executed through corporate special purpose vehicles.
The idea is not entirely newthe setting up of Solar Energy Corporation of India and
National Skill Development Corporation, for instance, was by previous government.
These companies are now on fast track, also having started a bunch of new ones. The
idea is to create a hybrid of a government-controlled body and bestowing it with the
efficiency and nimbleness of the private sector. It seems to be working.

Curbing bureaucratic hurdles

There are many companies that are vested with specific tasks Energy Efficiency
Services Ltd, Invest India Ltd, SECI, NSDC and the recently-formed Digital India
Corporation, to name some.
A few more are likely to be formed soon, for instance, the GSTN, the company that will
be mandated with the task of running the IT backbone for the goods and services tax.
While Digital India Corporation is too new to be taken up for assessment, the
performance of others is open for judgement.

Some successful models

Invest India, for instance. The government owns 49 per cent of it, so technically it is not
a public sector undertaking. (The other 51 per cent is held by three industry bodies
FICCI, CII and Nasscom.)
Invest Indias remit is not to make money for the shareholders, but to facilitate
investments into India, hand-hold investors through the bureaucratic maze.
In the 18-odd months of its existence, the company has handled over 70,000
investor queries, brought in over $62 billion of investment commitments, of
which around $ 4.5 billion have been made.
Unlike Invest India, Energy Efficiency Services Ltd is a for-profit company, which is
expected to make money for its shareholders, who are four power sector PSUs NTPC,
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EESL is profitable, its mandate is to pull out the energy inefficient electrical
gadgets in use (such as incandescent bulbs) and replace them with energy
efficient ones (such as LEDs) through a model that lets the customer pay for the
costlier replacements out of their savings in energy bills. The company has no
option but to be for-profit because it needs capital to make upfront investment
in energy efficient gadgets.
EESL seems to have clicked, it is planning an IPO. But more than profits, its efforts
have helped avoid 6 GW of peak time power, save 30 billion units of electricity,
worth 12,000 crore, annually (so far). The secret of its success: functional
Solar Energy Corporation of India is a different kettle of fish.
It was created during the previous government, but present administration
dusted the not-for-profit Section 25 company and made it into a Section 3
company (in the new Companies Act) which is allowed to engage in commercial
activity, such as buying, selling, making profits and distributing dividends.
That put SECI on rocket fuel. SECI has actively been floating tenders for solar
plants and earlier this year, it also put through the countrys first auction of wind
power capacity. In the last two years, SECI has been involved in over 5,000 MW
of solar and wind capacity. In 2015-16, it made a post-tax profit of 20 crore,
and paid out a tenth of it as dividend to its shareholder, the Government of India.
The National Skill Development Corporation is 51 per cent owned by industry bodies.
Many views have been expressed about its efficacy there have been high level
exits and criticisms about the low hit-rate in placements, but many in the
industry believe that the Corporation is still a work in progress.
Yet certain numbers are revealing. In the three years to 2012-13, it trained six
lakh people; in 2013-14 alone, the number was 10 lakh, which rose to 34 lakh in
the following year.
Till date, NSDC has trained 1.15 crore people in 7,000-odd training centres.
The lesson is simple: give people independence and the opportunity to do something for
the country, there will be results.

SPV being remodeled on sector specific basis has worked wonders for the same areas. It is
important to note that with increase autonomy performance has also increased. Welfare
governance should not be misunderstood as philanthropic governance. Right sizing of
governance is a key to success and good economics can make good politics.

Connecting the dots

Analyse the model of SPVs with the help of examples and their contribution to economic
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General Studies 2
Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation.
General Studies 3
Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth,
development and employment
Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies

Doubling Framer's Income by 2022- Requires Structural Changes


Agricultural productivity levels have been stagnant for the past ten to 15 years. An
estimated 70% of the countrys arable land is prone to drought, 12% to floods, and 8% to
cyclones. NITI Aayog recently highlighted that the agricultural sector is 28 years behind its
Farmers are trapped in a new cycle of distress at a time when the fiscal capacity of the
government is weak.
The anniversaries of the Champaran agitation led by Gandhi and the Naxalbari uprising led
by the Maoists thus provide a good opportunity to refocus on the structural challenges in
Indian agriculture. Indian history tells us that anger in the Indian countryside can have very
profound political consequences.
What is important is that both these historic events were based on the grievances of Indian
peasants. Their distress was the root cause of important flash points in Indian history.

Why India hasnt faced such episodes in past few decades despite persistent cycles of
farmer distress?
One, Indian agriculture has moved on from feudalism. The tight hold that landlords had
over peasants has eased, thanks to rise of capitalism in farming, non-farm jobs in rural
areas and migration to cities.
Two, Subsidies for farm inputs - Major initiatives such as Green Revolution,
guaranteed prices for certain types of farm produce etc. have taken some pressure out
of agriculture.
The major farmer or peasant protests since the 1980s have thus been focused on getting
more benefits from the government rather than making any fundamental changes in the
way agriculture is organized.

Doubling Framer's Income by 2022

Objective of the present government is to double the income of farmers in by 2022 when
India would celebrate 75 years of Independence.
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7 strategies listed by Government:

1. Big focus on irrigation with large budgets, with the aim of "per drop, more crop."
2. Provision of quality seeds and nutrients based on soil health of each field.
3. Large investments in warehousing and cold chains to prevent post-harvest crop losses.
4. Promotion of value addition through food processing.
5. Creation of a national farm market, removing distortions and e-platform across 585
6. Introduction of a new crop insurance scheme to mitigate risks at affordable cost.
7. Promotion of ancillary activities like poultry, beekeeping and fisheries.

Agriculture will have to grow at 12 or 14% so that the farmers' income gets doubled by
2022. While according to the World Bank data at present, the growth rates stand at a poor
1.2%. However, there is yet no clear articulation of strategy on how to reach this
commendable goal.

The above mentioned seven strategies wouldn't suffice. Removing structural challenges
faced by Indian agriculture is equally important.

Way ahead:
Focus should be on reducing number of farmers in agriculture:
This will require industrialization of India which the government is trying to achieve
through 'Make in India' plan

Dismantling the system of state controls:

Free Indian agriculture from price controls
Removing restrictions on movement of farm produce
Insuring from commercial risks rising due to volatile prices
Providing access to global markets

To sum up, absence of uprisings like Champaran or Naxalbari shouldnt be taken as an
indicator of absence of distress in agriculture. The cycles of distress in which Indian farmers
stays trapped can lead to anger which can have serious political consequences.
Indias first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru said in 1947: Everything can wait, but not
agriculture. What India is witnessing today is exactly the reverse. All the other sectors in
the Indian economy are surging ahead. Agriculture is the only one which is moving in the
opposite direction.
Given the weak fiscal capacity of the government it is required that policy makers focus on
above mentioned structural changes in Indian agriculture.
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Connecting the dots:

Critically analyze the strategies outlined by the Indian government to achieve the target
of doubling farmers' income by 2022. Elaborate on the need to make structural changes
in Indian agriculture and what more is required to achieve the target.
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General Studies 1
Effects of globalization on Indian society Social empowerment
General Studies 2
Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation.
General Studies 4
Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in
human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships.

Law against torture

In the age of global push for rights to all sections of the society laws against torture and
inhuman treatment is a seminal necessity. India as a global voice against extreme violence
should lead the way by bringing globally acceptable laws against torture.

UN Convention against Torture:

The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or
Punishment (commonly known as the United Nations Convention against Torture) is
an international human rights treaty, under the review of the United Nations, that aims
to prevent torture and other acts of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or
punishment around the world.
The Convention requires states to take effective measures to prevent torture in
any territory under their jurisdiction, and forbids states to transport people to any
country where there is reason to believe they will be tortured.
The text of the Convention was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10
December 1984 and, following ratification by the 20th state party, it came into force on
26 June 1987.
26 June is now recognized as the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, in
honor of the Convention. Since the convention's entry into force, the absolute
prohibition against torture and other acts of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or
punishment has become accepted as a principle of customary international law. As of
February 2017, the Convention has 161 state parties.

Two decades after signing the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman
or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, India is yet to ratify it.
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In recent times there is a fresh note of urgency attached to the need for early
ratification, as the country has pending requests for the extradition of its nationals from
other countries.
For, as pointed out by the Supreme Court, the absence of a stand-alone law prohibiting
torture may prevent many countries from agreeing to Indias extradition requests.
Such a law may be in the national interest, the Chief Justice of India observed during the
course of a hearing on a public interest petition seeking the enactment of an anti-torture
law in accordance with the countrys commitment.
The court also noted that India was subjected to close questioning during the Universal
Periodic Review of its human rights obligations at the UN Human Rights Council in
It cannot be forgotten that an extradition request relating to Purulia arms drop case
suspect Kim Davy failed owing to the apprehension that he may be ill-treated in India.
In an era of increasing international cooperation on criminal matters, India will be better
served if it is seen as adhering to international treaties, especially its obligations under
the Convention Against Torture, which it signed in 1997.

Does India needs an Anti torture law?

There may be some doubt whether India needs a fresh law to prevent and punish
torture. Provisions relating to causing hurt or grievous hurt, especially with a view to
extracting a confession, criminal intimidation and wrongful confinement already exist in
the Indian Penal Code.
However, the idea of a stand-alone law ought to be ultimately seen as a more tangible
way of expressing commitment to eliminating torture.
A concrete step towards enacting a law was made when the Prevention of Torture Bill,
2010, was passed by the Lok Sabha in 2010, but it was referred to a Select Committee in
the Rajya Sabha.
In its report submitted in the same year, the committee recommended exhaustive
amendments to the Bill to make it consistent with the language and intent of the
Convention. Thereafter the Bill lapsed.
Given the pervasive nature of custodial violence and its complex policing requirements,
the present legislative and administrative framework is obviously inadequate to prevent
torture in a country of Indias size.
It is imperative that a strong law that criminalises torture, imposes stringent punishment for
it and contains liberal provisions for those suffering torture to complain against their
perpetrators, prosecute them and be compensated and rehabilitated, is passed at the
Connecting the dots
Analyse the need for an exclusive anti torture law of global standards in India. Elaborate.
P a g e | 131


TOPIC: General Studies 3:

Environment and Ecology, Bio diversity - Conservation, environmental degradation,
environmental impact assessment, Environment versus Development.
Climate Change implications and mitigation strategies.

Carbon tax/Cap-and-tax: as a Climate Change mitigation policy

World stands today on the brink of a long-term anthropogenic and ecological change,
caused mainly due to our own exploitation of the planets resources.
There is compelling evidence that there is a large chance of a global average temperature
rise exceeding 2C by the end of this century.
Any such warming of the planet will lead to increased natural calamities such as floods
and cyclones, declined crop yields and ecological degradation.
A large increase in global temperatures correlates with an average 5% loss in global GDP,
with poor countries suffering costs in excess of 10% of GDP.
Mitigation policy
Global warming is the greatest environmental threat facing the planet and the simple
truth is that if we do not act boldly and quickly these problems will only get much worse
in the years to come. Averting a planetary disaster will require some major radical steps
such as adopting a multilaterally coordinated imposition of a carbon tax as a potent
mitigation policy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, reducing burning of coal, oil and
other fossil fuels.
A global and immediate policy response is urgently required in the above mentioned
Climate Change Mitigation refers to efforts to reduce or prevent emission of greenhouse
gases. Mitigation can mean using new technologies and renewable energies, making
older equipment more energy efficient, or changing management practices or consumer
behavior. It can be as complex as a plan for a new city, or as a simple as improvements
to a cook stove design.
Concept of Carbon Tax
Pricing carbon emissions through a carbon fee is one of the most powerful incentives that
governments have to encourage companies and households to pollute less by investing in
cleaner technologies and adopting greener practices.
A carbon tax is a way to make users of carbon fuels pay for the climate damage caused
by releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. If set high enough, it becomes a
powerful monetary disincentive that motivates switches to clean energy across the
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economy, simply by making it more economically rewarding to move to non-carbon

fuels and energy efficiency.
A shift by households, businesses and industry to cleaner technologies increases the
demand for energy-efficient products and helps spur innovation and investment in
green solutions.
Under this system, the price to pollute sets the strength of the economic signal and
determines the extent to which green choices are encouraged. For example, a stronger
price on emissions will lead to more investment in cleaner energy sources such as solar
and wind power. And although a carbon fee makes polluting activities more expensive, it
makes green technologies more affordable as the price signal increases over time. Most
importantly, a carbon tax gets green solutions into use.
Therefore, carbon tax must be a central part of our strategy for dramatically reducing
carbon pollution, a view shared by economists and ecologists.
Basically, a carbon tax would put a price on greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) to encourage a
faster changeover to clean energy. This isnt a new idea; carbon pricing programs have been
around for decades.
For example, Sweden has used a carbon tax to reduce greenhouse gas emissions since 1991.
Denmark instituted a carbon tax in 1992 and according a study, emissions per person in
Denmark went down between 1990 and 2005 by 15 percent.
However, carbon tax regimes will only be effective if harmonised internationally. Different
country-wise policies could lead to carbon leakages where energy-intensive businesses will
most likely move to less strict national regimes.

Why Carbon Tax is a good idea?


Advantages of harmonized carbon tax:
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1. A carbon tax regime avoids the problems related to choosing a baseline. In a price
approach, the natural baseline is a zero carbon tax.
2. A carbon tax policy will be better able to adapt to the element of uncertainty which
pervades the science of climate change. Quantity limits on emissions are related to the
stocks of greenhouse gas emissions, while the price limits are related to the flow of
3. Quantity limiting policies are often accompanied by administrative arbitrariness and
corruption through rent-seeking. This sends off negative signals to investors. In a price-
based carbon tax, the investor has an assured long-term regulation to adapt to and can
weigh in the costs involved.
4. The most contentious issue in any international negotiation on climate change
mitigation either at the level of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) or at the United
Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has been the issue of equity
between high-income and low-income countries. The price-based approach in the form
of carbon taxes makes it easier to implement such equity-based international
adjustments than the quantity-based approach.

The political consensus in favour of a direct carbon tax will be difficult to achieve in low
and middle income countries that have developmental priorities and lack the capacity to
administer such regimes.
A general tax on energy consumption combined with a technology-centric policy that
promotes entrepreneurs and investors who develop low-energy intensive products can
be a good starting point from where they can gradually move towards a direct carbon
Another near-term approach can be a cap-and-tax which combines the strengths of
both quantity and price approaches. Cap-and-tax might also address the concerns of
environmentalists that a price-based approach does not impose hard constraints on
Cap-and-tax system:
In a cap-and-trade system, government puts a firm limit, or cap, on the overall level of
carbon pollution from industry and reduces that cap year after year to reach a set pollution
target. As the cap decreases each year, it cuts industry's total greenhouse gas emissions to
the limit set by regulation, and then forces polluters that exceed their emissions quota to
buy unused quota from other companies.
The way ahead:
There is much discussion about whether a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade system is the best
way to put a price on greenhouse gas pollution.
The simple answer is that it depends on how each system is designed. The design will
determine the environmental and economic effectiveness. If both approaches are well-
designed, the two options are quite similar and could even be used in tandem.
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What's important is that the price on carbon pollution provides an incentive for everyone,
from industry to households, to be part of the solution. Ultimately, the critical factor in
reducing heat-trapping emissions is the strength of the economic signal. A stronger carbon
price will kick-start more growth in clean, renewable energy and will encourage adoption of
greener practices.
Carbon taxes are the easiest and clearest way to reduce fossil fuel use and they also
conform to the free market philosophy of minimal government interference and
regulation. They also conform to two other norms: that people pay for the goods or services
they want or need, and that The Polluter Pays.
Countries must negotiate and share policy experiences and researches in this area. They
also must decide upon the appropriate forum to discuss and implement any such mitigation
policy. The WTO could be the preferred forum, given the important nexus between
international trade and climate change.

Connecting the dots

What is a carbon tax? Examine how carbon tax can give a fillip to Climate Change
Is there a need to incorporate carbon tax or cap-and-tax system in our climate change
mitigation strategy? Discuss.
What is a carbon tax? What are the problems faced by India in adopting a high carbon
tax regime in India?
The future of climate change mitigation rests on successfully enacting comprehensive
carbon tax or cap-and-tax system. Do you agree? Examine.

General Studies 2
Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation.
General Studies 3
Conservation, Environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact
Disaster and disaster management.

Natural Infrastructure

India is a developing country and faces multipronged developmental challenges. In the age
of competing priorities the need for a sustainable development model is critical. Natural
infrastructure should be integrated in the process of development.
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Cost of Disasters:
Natural disasters cause huge losses annually and there have been growing concerns over
the measures needed, particularly with respect to the ecosystem in which society,
business and government exist.
In India, approximately 805 million people were affected by around 288 weather-related
disasters during 1995-2015.
In order to avoid risk and damage, and to build resilience to these disasters, natural
infrastructure solutions are increasingly being considered and implemented.

Natural infrastructures are planned and managed natural or semi-natural systems,
which can provide benefits or even replace a functionality that is traditionally provided
by grey infrastructures.
These natural or green infrastructures can be areas such as forests, agricultural
lands, estuaries, coastal landscapes and wetlands.
These solutions comprises
coastal ecosystem (mangroves, coral reefs) for coastline protection from storms;
watershed restoration (by sustainable land management) for water quality
afforestation for carbon sequestration; habitat restoration or conservation for
phyto-remediation to rehabilitate contaminated soil and water;
Multi-pronged approach
Natural infrastructure (NI) solutions arrayed across different scales, from buildings to
landscapes in rural, urban, terrestrial, freshwater, coastal and marine areas, hold huge
At the local level, NI solutions include permeable pavements, trees and rainwater
harvesting systems.
Vegetative solutions consists of green roofs, rain gardens, and bio-swales, which can be
used in cities and industrial parks to balance storm water conveyance systems.
Rain gardens capture rainwater in a depression in the ground, and prevent flash floods
and erosion in streams by slowing down storm water.
Bio-swales are made along roadsides so that rainwater from the road flows towards
them and percolates into the ground.
NI solutions include constructed wetlands that are used for industrial processed water
and waste-water treatment, substituting traditional waste-water treatment
Oyster reefs and seagrass beds can decrease erosion and protect coastal areas from
storms, while also filtering contaminated seawater and supporting local fisheries.

Benefits of Natural infrastructure:
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Natural infrastructures offer numerous benefits to society.

For example, a well-managed forest can regulate water for drinking, agriculture and
energy, store carbon, support pollinators and provide recreational and tourism
Further, it can increase biodiversity and improve storm resilience.
Natural infrastructure can help avoid water pollution that would otherwise need to pass
through a conventional water treatment plant, thus reducing costs.
Many cities have a water fund focused on NI solutions that has resulted in significant
savings every year by reducing water treatment costs.
NI solutions often require less initial capital investment and reduced operations and
maintenance costs. These solutions often require fewer human resources for oversight.
As more businesses invest in NI solutions, the demand for related skills will increase,
resulting in new job opportunities.
Additionally, NI can contribute to new natural resource-based industries, such as
commercial fisheries.
NI solutions offer the social licence to operate businesses and enhance public health. For
example, parks and permeable pavements reduce noise pollution by dampening traffic
NI investments can even lead to increase in property values due to the enhanced
aesthetics of landscapes.

Sustainable Development Goals

Mapping and assessing NI solutions is essential to ensure that their true values are
considered in policies and decision-making across sectors.
For example, a hydro-power companys dependence on a forested watershed can
measure days of operation lost or costs of turbine repair per year because of
sedimentation of waterways due to deforestation.
Businesses have the opportunity to contribute to the SDGs particularly SDG9 (resilient
infrastructure), SDG 13 (climate change) and SDG 15 (reverse land degradation) while
addressing business needs and deriving benefits from NI solutions.
Businesses can integrate disaster risk into their management practices as indicated in
the recently adopted Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.
The ability and needs related to measuring and accounting natural capital will vary, so
multiple, flexible, yet rigorous approaches will be required for effective decision-making.
In some cities, governments and companies pay for ecosystem services to secure clean
water supplies instead of paying for expensive grey water treatment facilities and

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The need for integration of all areas of development and stakeholders for a coordinated
policy is a crucial requirement. Natural infrastructure has a significant role to play in
sustainable development especially when urbanisation and industrialization is having a free
play at the cost of ecological concerns.

Connecting the dots

Critically analyse the role of natural infrastructure in sustainable development. Elaborate
on the benefits of the same.

General Studies 2
Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation.
General Studies 3
Conservation, Environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact
Water Pollution, Wastewater management.

Consider wastewater as an asset rather than burden

March 22nd is celebrated as World Water Day every year to spread awareness among the
general public and focus on its importance in sustainable development.
Each year a specific aspect of water is highlighted while observing International World
Water Day. This year, 24th World Water Day is celebrated with the theme Wastewater.
Definition of wastewater:
Wastewater is defined as any water that has been adversely affected in quality by
anthropogenic influences and as a result of domestic, industrial, commercial and agricultural
Why "wastewater"?
It is easily observed that in any discourse about water, wastewater is less talked about as
against normal water supply. Though waste water is the one that is generally wasted, it is an
important resource too.
In recent decades, population growth, accelerated urbanisation and economic development
have resulted in an increase in the quantity of wastewater and the overall pollution load
being generated. Most of our freshwater sources are under threat.
The victims are generally the poor or socially vulnerable communities, and the end result is
a high financial burden on the community and government.
Wastewater as a resource in an economy requires safe management as it is an efficient
investment in human health and the ecosystem.
The opportunities for exploiting wastewater as a resource are enormous. Safely managed
wastewater is an affordable and sustainable source of water, energy, nutrients and other
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recoverable materials. The benefits to our health, and in terms of economic development
and environmental sustainability, business opportunities and green jobs far outweigh the
costs of wastewater management.
Once treated, it can be recycled and/or reused for drinking purposes, in industry, in the
artificial recharge of aquifers, in agriculture, in the rehabilitation of natural ecosystems etc.
Water facts
Globally, over 80% of the wastewater generated goes back to the ecosystem without
being treated or reused.
Another fact is that, around 1.8 billion people use drinking water contaminated with
faeces which increases their risk of contracting cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio.
Also, 663 million people still lack access to improved drinking water sources.
In India, about 69% Indias water is untreated and 39% of actual operating capacity does
not meet the regulatory standards (CPCB 2009).
By 2030, the global demand for water is expected to grow by 50%. Most of this demand
will be in cities.
In low-income areas of cities/towns within developing countries, a large proportion of
wastewater is discharged directly into the surface water drain, without or with limited
In India, major share of waste water is generated from metro cities, class-I cities and class-II
towns. The industrial sector in India also discharges large amount of effluents, without
proper treatment, into waterbodies. Unfortunately, most common effluent treatment
plants are not performing satisfactorily due to improper operations and maintenance. Run-
off from agriculture fields is another major source of pollution.
Past experience shows that significant progress has not been achieved despite legislative
and policy measures being introduced with huge budgets to solve water pollution issues.
Water pollution is not a major topic of political debate as yet.
The way ahead:
Water pollution problem, though complex, is solvable. While it is not realistic to aim for zero
water pollution, a level of socially acceptable pollution, respecting the integrity of
ecosystems and service provision, can be reached.
1. Nearly 39 percent of the sewage treatment plants (STPs) are not conforming to the
general standards prescribed under the Environmental (Protection) Rules for discharge
into streams. In a number of cities, the existing treatment capacity remains
underutilized while a lot of sewage is discharged without treatment in the same city.
2. If India deploys adequate treatment technology, the country would be able to
significantly expand its available water supply, both for potable and non-potable use.
Our economy, industry and most importantly, our people, would reap the benefits.
3. At the national and regional levels, water pollution prevention policies should be
integrated into non-water policies that have implications on water quality such as
agriculture and land use management, trade, industry, energy, and urban development.
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4. Various policies, plans and strategies to protect water resources should be made
participatory, allowing for consultation between government, industry and the public. At
the local level, capacity building enables the community to make decisions and
disseminate them to the appropriate authorities, thus influencing political processes.
5. Market-based strategies such as environmental taxes, pollution levies and tradable
permit systems should be implemented, that can be used to fight against water
pollution. Incentive mechanisms such as subsidies, soft loans, tax relaxation should be
included in installing pollution management devices.
6. The application of eco-friendly inputs such as biofertilizers and pesticides in agriculture
and the use of natural dyes in textile industries, industrial pollution management, and
technological attempts should be made through cleaner production technology; these
can reduce the pollution load considerably.
Fresh water is increasingly getting scarce; the wastewater generated in urban areas can be
very effectively use for sub-urban agriculture, industry, and even sanitation and certain
domestic applications after treatment.
There is need of deploying adequate technology to treat water in India, it could significantly
expand its water supply and better water means better public health and economic

Connecting the dots

What is waste water? What are different means to recycle it? Critically examine Indias
waste water management plans.
Critically analyse the role of grey water model in sustainable development. Elaborate on
the benefits of the same.