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JUNE 2017

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Page No. 87
Jan Aushadhi Scheme


History has never seen a better and Broadcasting. The Board suppressed if it is considered
example of role of censorship and regularly orders, directors to remove objectionable, harmful, or necessary
propoganda than the role of Joseph anything it deems offensive or to maintain communal harmony.
Goebbels. Joseph Goebbels served subjects considered to be politically Censor board has to work with
as minister of propaganda for the Nazi subversive. The Central Board of Film in the limitation mentioned in the
German government and is generally Certification (often referred to as the constitution and the cinematography
held responsible for presenting a Censor Board) is one such institutions act through which it derives its
favorable image of the Nazi regime which has censorship authority over powers. However in various past
to the Germans. His control of the films. It has duty of regulating the cases The Central Board of Film
propaganda machine stretched over public exhibition of films. Films can Certification (or Censor Board) has
all media of the time-newspapers, be publicly exhibited in India only gone beyond their scope. At the first
radio, films, theater, literature, music after they are certified by the Board, place as the Bombay High court said
and the arts-and he became a figure including films shown on television. it is not a board for censoring, it is
to be feared, especially by Jews, who Pahlaj nihlani is the current director only a authority for certification of
were now in the crosshairs of the Nazi of The Central Board of Film movies in various categories like U,
Party. Propoganda and censorship are Certification. A, U/A etc. There are various
two sides of a same coin. Anyone, The freedom of speech is a examples which show that The
who wants to spread his fundamental right guaranteed under Central Board of Film Certification is
propoganda, needs control over the the Constitution of India. It has been excedding its authority. Examples
censorship instituions. Propoganda given the highest level of protection, like removing the kissing scene from
and censorship both curb the this was the level of importance given James bond movie or the recent
freedom of expression. Propoganda by the constitution makers to example of UDTA Punjab where it
curbs freedom of expression freedom of expression. However came up with 90 odd cuts are clearly
indirectly via not letting people get constituion makers believed that restricting the peoples right. These
the correct information, while absolute freedom of expression can incidents put doubt over the motive
censorship curbs it directly. A classic lead to chaotic and disintegrating and intentions over the The Central
example of censorship in India is the conditions in country as diverse as Board of Film Certification and its
Central Board of Film Certification or India. Constitution itself provides the director. The Central Board of Film
Censor Board, which comes under ways through which it can be curbed. Certification should not be an
the purview of Ministry of Information Freddom of expression can be instituion to propogate the ideology


of government of the day. certification body whose scope exhibition of films under the
This is a big problem and The should be restricted to provisions of the Cinematograph Act
Central Board of Film Certification categorizing the suitability of 1952". It assigns certifications to films
should understand the mandate the film to audience groups on only . Films can be publicly exhibited
given to it. However a far bigger the basis of age and maturity in India only after they are certified
censorship has been imposed by the except in the following by the Board, including films shown
people on themselfs or others. There instances to refuse certification on television. The CBFC India is
are lot of cases where ater getting o When a film contains anything considered to be one of the most
certificate from The Central Board of that contravenes the provisions powerful film Censor Boards in the
Film Certification, films got into of Section 5B (1) of the world due to its strict ways of
trouble. Examples like kissing scene Cinematograph Act, 1952. functioning. I believe that the role of
in Dhoom 2 which ended in people Section 5B (1) of the the CBFC should be to facilitate good
burning its movie posters, protest Cinematograph Act, 1952- (A cinema. Good cinema is not
from some portion of the Muslim film shall not be certified for necessarily comfortable, entertaining
Community against Vishwaroopam public exhibition if, in the or has happy endings. But film-makers
which forced to delete some opinion of the authority would like to break from stereotypes
important scenes from the movie competent to grant the and make stronger statements. The
before releasing the same. Similarly certificate, the film or any part CBFC exists because cinema exists,
protest against PK by Hindu maha of it is against the interests of and must work with the industry to
sabha and against Da vinci code by 19 [the sovereignty and complete the formalities of
some of the Christian community integrity of India] the security certification. Censorship is certainly
members is a big jolt to freedom of of the State, friendly relations not its job.
expression. with foreign States, public Free expression is vital to
The Constitution of India order, decency or morality, or humanity and the foundation of a free
guarantees freedom of speech and involves defamation or society. At the most basic level,
expression with certain restrictions contempt of court or is likely to without free expression ideas cannot
such as that of morality, decency, incite the commission of any be tested. Free speech creates the
public order etc. Further, the Indian offence.) space for the exchange of ideas in
Penal Code allows cramping free o When content in a film crosses the arts, literature, religion, academia,
speech on grounds of outraging the ceiling laid down in the politics and science, and is essential
religious feelings, making statements highest category of for other rights such as freedom of
creating or promoting enmity, hatred certification. conscience and freedom of
or ill-will between classes on grounds The functions of the Board shall assembly. Without this, individuals
of religion, caste, language or race. be confined to the duties defined in can't make informed decisions and
The Information Act, 2000 aims to the existing CBFC rules, which inter fully participate in society. In
punish people who send offensive alia include an annual review of CBFC democracies, free speech may on the
messages online but is often used to work, submission of annual report to whole be protected, but through
target dissident and even posts on the government, review of public unfair media regulation, archaic
social media. reactions to films, and periodic defamation laws or over-broad police
The Committee chaired by Shri recommendations for revision of powers, the chill on free speech
Shyam Benegal submitted major part guidelines. continues. While censorship may take
of their recommendation to Hon'ble The Central Board of Film different forms, and be proposed for
Union Minister of Information & Certification (often referred to as the different reasons, the importance of
Broadcasting, Shri Arun Jaitley this Censor Board) is a statutory protecting free expression as a
evening. Following are the major censorship and classification body universal value for the benefit of
highlights of the report - under the Ministry of Information and humanity remains.
Broadcasting, Government of India.
o CBFC should only be a film It is tasked with "regulating the public 3
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After facing the disappointmet the proliferation of missiles for the of Contact (POC), the functions of
at the Nuclear security council, India delivery of all types of weapons of which are performed by the Ministry
has received a great strategic benefit mass destruction (WMD), i.e., of Foreign Affairs of France.
in the Missile Technology Control nuclear, chemical and biological The aim of the MTCR is to restrict
regime. The Missile Technology weapons. Such proliferation has the proliferation in the following:
Control Regime (MTCR) is an informal been identified as a threat to o missiles;
political understanding among states international peace and security. o complete rocket systems;
that seek to limit the proliferation of As with all MTCR decisions, the o unmanned air vehicles;
missiles and missile technology. The decision to admit a new partner is o and related technology for
Missile Technology Control Regime taken by consensus. In making those systems capable of
was formed in 1987 by the G-7 membership decisions, partners tend carrying a 500 kilogram payload
industrialized countries (Canada, to consider whether a prospective at least 300 kilometres;
France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, new member would strengthen o as well as systems intended for
and the United States). There are international non proliferation efforts, the delivery of weapons of
now 35 members in the regime with demonstrates a sustained and mass destruction (WMD).
India being the latest one joining in sustainable commitment to non The Regime's controls are
2016. India's inclusion would help proliferation, has a legally based applicable to certain complete rocket
country in many ways like in buying effective export control system that systems (to include ballistic missiles,
high end missile technologies from puts into effect the MTCR Guidelines space launch vehicles (SLVs), and
other countries and in buy and procedures, and administers and sounding rockets) and unmanned air
Surveillance drones from the other enforces such controls effectively. vehicle (UAV) systems (to include
promising parties : India is very keen The group does not have an observer cruise missiles, drones, UAVs, and
to use. The MTCR was initiated by like- category. MTCR partners hold an remotely piloted vehicles (RPVs)).
minded countries to address the annual Plenary Meeting chaired on a The MTCR does not take export
increasing proliferation of nuclear rotational basis. The Plenary host licensing decisions as a group. Rather,
weapons by addressing the most becomes the Chair of the MTCR for individual partners are responsible for
destabilizing delivery system for such the period extending to the next implementing the Guidelines and
weapons. In 1992, the MTCR's original Plenary. The MTCR has no secretariat. Annex on the basis of sovereign
focus on missiles for nuclear weapons Distribution of the Regime's working national discretion and in
delivery was extended to a focus on papers is carried out through a Point accordance with national legislation

and practice. A country can choose controls. These controls form the There are various benefits
to adhere to the MTCR Guidelines basis for controlling the export of which India will get after getting the
without being obligated to join the items not included on a control list membership of MTCR. These benefits
group, and a number have done so. when they may be intended for use include:
MTCR Partners welcome in connection with delivery systems o Greater bargaining power to
opportunities to conduct broader for WMD other than manned aircraft. buy and sell High end
dialogue on proliferation issues with Additionally, consistent with the technology.
such countries. Guidelines, Partners are to exercise o India wants to use drones for
While there is no formal linkage, particular restraint in consideration of various purposes like
the activities of the MTCR are any items on the Annex or of any agriculture, disaster
consistent with the UN's non- missiles whether or not on the managment etc. Membership
proliferation and export control Annex if the exporting government provides India better
efforts. The MTCR is not a treaty and judges that they are intended to be opportunity to get the drones.
does not impose any legally binding used for WMD delivery - and such o It will be a boost to Make in
obligations on Partners members. exports are to be subject to a strong India as well as to defence
Rather, it is an informal political presumption of denial. export.
understanding among states that seek Category I items include o It can help India in getting the
to limit the proliferation of missiles complete rocket and unmanned Nuclear suppliers group
and missile technology. The MTCR aerial vehicle systems including membership.
seeks to limit the risks of proliferation ballistic missiles, space launch The MTCR Guidelines do not
of weapons of mass destruction vehicles, sounding rockets, cruise distinguish between exports to
WMD by controlling exports of missiles, target drones, and Partners and exports to non-Partners.
goods and technologies that could reconnaissance drones, capable of The only activity prohibited
make a contribution to delivery delivering a payload of at least 500 absolutely by the Guidelines, to
systems other than manned aircraft kg to a range of at least 300 km, their which all 34 Partner countries
for such weapons. In this context, the major complete subsystems such as voluntarily subscribe, is the export of
Regime places particular focus on rocket stages, engines, guidance sets, production facilities for Category I
rockets and unmanned aerial vehicles and re-entry vehicles, and related MTCR Annex items. Moreover, the
capable of delivering a payload of at software and technology, as well as MTCR Partners have explicitly
least 500 kg to a range of at least 300 specially designed production affirmed that membership in the
km and on equipment, software, and facilities for these items. Category II Regime provides no entitlement to
technology for such systems. items include other less-sensitive and obtain technology from another
The MTCR Annex is the dual-use missile related components, Partner and no obligation to supply
Regime's list of controlled items as well as other complete missile it. Partners are expected to exercise
including virtually all key equipment, systems capable of a range of at least appropriate accountability and
materials, software, and technology 300 km, regardless of payload. Their restraint in trade among Partners, just
needed for missile development, export is subject to licensing as they would in trade between
production, and operation - that are requirements taking into Partners and non-Partners. Partners
controlled by MTCR Partners and consideration the non-proliferation are bound by a "no-undercut" policy
adherents. The Annex is divided into factors specified in the MTCR to consult each other before
two parts: Category I and Category II Guidelines. Exports judged by the considering exporting an item on the
items. In 2003, MTCR Partners exporting country to be intended for list that has been notified as denied
amended the Guidelines to require use in WMD delivery are to be by another Partner pursuant to the
all Partners to have catch-all export subjected to a strong presumption of MTCR Guidelines.

For Details Visit : 5
National Issues

Indian Railways will now carry • It was after the launch of the • The government is unlikely to
out a cleanliness survey of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan on meet its much-publicised
tracks on busy routes October 2, 2014, by Prime target of 175 GW of
Minister Narendra Modi that renewable energy by 2022
• Widening its sanitation drive,
the railways launched due to the poor progress of
the Indian Railways will now
‘Swachh Rail, Swachh Bharat the rooftop solar
carry out a cleanliness survey
Abhiyan’. programme.
of tracks on busy routes and
• The railways has also made • The Ministry is also
rank its 16 zones based on
operational a ‘Swachh Rail’ considering increasing the
portal to showcase contribution of other sources
• The railways had recently
cleanliness rankings of like biogas and small hydro
released results of a similar
various stations. to make up the difference.
survey of 407 stations,
• The policy issue is that the
carried out by the Quality Scientists have developed
tariff structure right now is
Council of India. sensor that can detect disease
such that it is just not
• All-out efforts will be made markers in one’s breath
remunerative for people to
to keep the tracks clean as
• Scientists have developed a set up rooftop solar. The cost
part of the government’s
low-cost, disposable sensor of doing so higher than the
ongoing cleanliness
that can detect disease money they stand to make.
campaign, said a senior
markers in one’s breath, • Most roofs in India are flat,
railway ministry official.
giving patients an early and people find several
• Railway tracks at many
warning sign to call the alternative uses for these
stretches resemble garbage
doctor. such as drying clothes, and
dump with leftover food,
• The device is made of a thin even hosting parties or
plastic bottles and paper
square of an organic plastic. meals. There are parts of
boxes strewn all over.
“We developed this method India where people even
Discharge of human waste
to directly print tiny pores sleep on their roofs.
from trains is also a cause for
into the device so we can • The government is aware of
expose these highly reactive these issues and is
• In fact, several railway
sites,” said Ying Diao, considering a new plan to
divisions have pressed into
professor at University of incentivise rooftop solar, he
service a mechanised system
Illinois. said.
for cleaning of tracks near
• For example, monitoring the • The government had a
stations. Besides, installation
change in ammonia announced a target of 40 GW
of bio-toilets in several trains
concentration in the breath of rooftop solar by 2022, but
has reduced discharge of
could give patients a warning had achieved only about 1.3
human waste on the tracks.
sign to go for a kidney GW as of December 2016,
• The Indian Railways is the
function test. which is a little more than 3%
third largest rail network in
of the target.
the world, covering 66,000 Government is unlikely to meet
• The second issue, Mr Ghosh
km and having more than its target of 175 GW of
said, was the de-risking of
8,000 stations. renewable energy by 2022 7
National Issues
investment in the rooftop institution should be by 5 p.m. on May 26.
space. While this has been respected. • Each party will be assigned
done for commercial solar • He should not be put to odd four EVMs of their choice,
projects, it has not been questions, Mr. Singh, who picked up from EC
done for rooftop solar. himself was RBI Governor warehouses in any Assembly
• The third problem is that once, is believed to have told constituency.
there is no regulatory clarity the standing committee. • They can also accompany the
on guaranteed payment by • Instead of Mr. Patel, all EVMs from warehouses to the
utilities on the net metering secretaries from the Finance venue at the EC
basis. Ministry will be present on headquarters, at their own
May 25 to update the panel cost.
RBI Governor will appear
about digital economy. The • Although the parties’ experts
before panel for briefing on
panel is chaired by Congress will be allowed to open and
leader M. Veerappa Moily, . inspect the machine, they
• RBI Governor Urjit Patel will • The members are now likely will not be allowed to tweak
appear before a to question Mr. Patel on how its components, as the EC
parliamentary panel for a much money has come back said changing the internal
second briefing on into the system. circuit was like changing the
demonetisation on June 8, whole device itself.
EC's hackathon to be held on
and not on May 25 as
June 3 Hassan Rouhani was re-elected
scheduled, as work on
by a wide margin in Iran
framing the monetary policy • EC invited recognised
will be under way at that political parties to an • Iran’s President Hassan
time. “Electronic Voting Machine Rouhani was re-elected by a
• The Standing Committee on (EVM) Challenge” beginning wide margin. The victory
Finance, which had June 3 to demonstrate that gave the moderate cleric a
questioned Mr. Patel on the machine can be, or were, second four-year term to see
January 18 on the move to during the five recent out his agenda pushing for
ban notes of Rs. 500 and Rs. Assembly elections, greater freedoms and
1,000 denominations, tampered with. outreach to the wider world.
allowed him to appear at a • Only Indian experts are • The 68-year-old incumbent
later date after he made a allowed to participate in the secured a commanding lead
request expressing his event. The challenge will be of 57% in a race that drew
inability. open for four to five days, for more than seven out of every
• Mr. Patel has been asked to the political parties that 10 voters to the polls.
appear on May 25 after participated in the Assembly • His nearest rival in the four-
former Prime Minister elections in Goa, Punjab, man race, hardliner Ebrahim
Manmohan Singh prevailed Manipur, Uttarakhand and Raisi, secured 38% of the
upon the BJP MPs on the Uttar Pradesh. vote.
panel, who were opposed to • An independent team of
Better forecast from Earth
summoning the RBI Governor experts will supervise the
Science System Organisation
again. proceedings, which will be
• It was Mr. Singh who had video-recorded. • The Union Ministry of Earth
rescued Patel from a tough • Chief Election Commissioner Sciences’ premier agency —
grilling during the January Nasim Zaidi said the political INCOIS will soon be
meeting when he intervened parties, each of which can operating through a brand
to say the Reserve Bank and nominate three experts, had new high-powered super
the Governor’s position as an to confirm their participation computer enabling quicker

National Issues
computations and thereby reiterated that the device • Reacting to assertions of
more accurate forecasts for being a standalone machine some political parties on
ocean waves and tsunami could not be hacked and that several countries having
alerts. it was far superior to those stopped using EVMs, Dr.
• The new high-powered manufactured abroad. Zaidi said the machines used
supercomputer of 34 • Indian manufacturers have in Netherlands, Ireland and
teraflops capacity, estimated supplied EVMs to Namibia, Germany were privately
to have cost Rs. 4 crore, Nepal and Bhutan. Several manufactured and had no
including five years other countries, including independent certification
maintenance period, is being Australia, Russia, system.
currently shipped from Afghanistan, Nigeria and • In the United States, the
Singapore. Bulgaria, have also shown direct recording machines
• This one will be replacing an interest in the product, the EC are used in 27 states, among
older version which has a said. which paper audit trails are
capacity of just 7.8 teraflops. • EC’s machines — used in 15 states.
• The existing high-powered manufactured by two public • In India, the EC will
computer has completed its sector undertakings, Bharat henceforth use paper-audit
life cycle of eight years and Electronic Limited and trails in all the elections, Dr.
is ‘coming apart’ inside the Electronics Corporation of Zaidi said.
INCOIS’ sprawling facility at India — do not have any
Issues with Real Estate
Pragatinagar near Kukatpally frequency receiver or data
(Regulation and Development)
necessitating the decoder for wireless
procurement of a new one. signalling.
• The new supercomputer is to • He also ruled out any • The Real Estate (Regulation
be made operational within manipulation at the and Development) Act or
a month of arrival after manufacturing stage due to RERA is a law that seeks to
feeding the available very stringent security regulate and standardise the
forecasting model that protocol on software real estate sector, where the
INCOIS has developed over security. need for uniform guidelines
the years as in tracking the • The results cannot be altered and transparency has been
ocean wave currents, real even by activating any felt for long.
time Tsunami alerts and so malicious software as the • After its passage in
on, in a more precise manner chip used is only one-time Parliament in March 2016, it
with a higher resolution and programmable. received the presidential nod
for a larger terrain. • The control unit activates the on March 25, 2016. The RERA
• The agency is currently able ballot unit for only one key came into force on May 1,
to predict the estimated press at a time; any 2017, a year after the
tsunami landfall for up to additional key pressed is not government notified it.
three metres of wave heights sensed and this makes it • The Act will bring on a
only. impossible to send signals by common platform buyers,
pressing a sequence of keys sellers and intermediaries
EC reiterated that the device
or secret codes. engaged in the sector.
being a standalone machine
• The new model introduced in • It covers commercial and
could not be hacked
2013 has additional features residential real estate
• Seeking to dispel the doubts like tamper detection and properties, bought or sold
about Electronic Voting self diagnostics, which with the construction
Machine (EVM) security, the checks if any changes have covering at least 500 sq m or
Election Commission been made. eight apartments. 9
National Issues
• Most important, it brings the Not only that, the young is lottery, under the new
entire real estate sector more discerning, more indirect tax regime to be
within a regulatory demanding and has money at rolled out from July 1. Those
environment, defining the his disposal. services already exempted
liabilities and liberties of a • It is no longer an issue of a from tax, such as healthcare
developer and providing an roof-over-his-head or a and education, will continue
effective grievance redress matter of roti, kapda aur to enjoy the concession.
mechanism to the buyer. makan (food, clothing and • The tax rate on non-AC
• Under this, property shelter). restaurants will be 12%. It
developers will have to • This law will empower the will be 18% on AC
register their projects. Agents consumer while boosting the restaurants and those with a
too will have to register credibility of developers. It liquor licence. Restaurants in
themselves with the is widely felt that the Act will 5-star hotels will attract a 28%
regulatory authority. shift housing demand at least tax, the same as that
• It was necessary to bring the in the immediate term applicable to these hotels
real estate sector under a towards the organised itself.
regulatory framework as it players, better-equipped as • A tax of 18% will be levied
had got a bad name due to they are to fulfil various for financial services and
the lapses of a few. stipulations. mobile services. While
• Moreover, the house-buyer • Essentially, the Act marks the hotels and lodges with tariff
did not really have any first step in regulating a below Rs. 1,000 have been
effective forum to address his sector. Until now, consumers exempted, those with room
complaints, on either were protected by a State’s tariff of Rs. 1,000-Rs. 2,500
construction, quality, delays consumer protection will attract 12%.
in delivery or frauds. measures, where getting
Global Burden of Disease study
• To address these issues, the justice was a long and
shows poor health standards in
Centre began moves to make arduous process. This law is
this unregulated sector more focussed.
conform to certain guidelines • But it must be noted that the • Newborns in India have a
in an equitable manner. RERA is a model Act and lesser chance of survival than
• Developers will now have to each State will need to notify babies born in Afghanistan
provide project details, its own Act separately as and Somalia, according to
timelines and the layout plan. land is a concurrent subject. the latest Global Burden of
They will need to deposit Many States are yet to do so. Disease (GBD) study
70% of the money raised from • Till then in most States, published in the medical
buyers in an escrow account. promoters will be regulated journal The Lancet.
• Until recently, investment in by the Promoters • In the GBD rankings for
a house, often with one’s Registration Act, which healthcare access and
life’s savings, came around mandates registration by quality (HAQ), India has
post retirement. It was almost promoters. However, there is fallen 11 places, and now
always a leap of faith, more little scope of consumer ranks 154 out of 195
so if the developer happened protection here. countries.
to be a non-governmental • Further, India’s healthcare
Rates for all services except
player. index of 44.8 is the lowest
lottery has been finalised by
• That scenario has changed among the sub-continental
GST council
substantially over the last countries, as Sri Lanka (72.8),
few decades with a younger • GST Council finalised tax Bangladesh (51.7), Bhutan
age profile of a house-buyer. rates for all services, except (52.7), and Nepal (50.8) all

National Issues
fared better. part of its “dream” to ensure citizens to have Aadhaar by
• The top-ranked nation was that the farmers’ income June 30, 2017.
Andorra with an overall doubles by 2022, when the • That is to equally access
score of 95 and the lowest- country celebrates its 75th benefits and entitlements,
ranked nation was Central Independence day. even as the Centre denied
African Republic at 29. • “The population is increasing imposing any such ‘deadline”
• India’s downward slide in but the land is not going to to force people to get
the rankings indicates that it increase...We have to see Aadhaar.
has failed to achieve health how the productivity • The government was
care targets, especially those increases...There should be responding to a petition
concerning neonatal more production in less challenging 17 notifications
disorders, maternal health, land,” Mr. Modi said while issued by various
tuberculosis, and rheumatic releasing a book series on government departments
heart disease. Last year, M.S. Swaminathan. over the past few months,
India was ranked 143 among • “The challenge in the making Aadhaar compulsory
188 countries. agriculture sector remains. after June 30, 2017, to equally
• In the case of neonatal We keep talking about green access benefits, entitlements,
mortality, on a scale of 1 to revolution-I and green services and welfare
100, India scored 14 in the revolution-II. But the goal schemes.
HAQ index, while should be ‘evergreen • Attorney-General Mukul
Afghanistan scored 19/100 revolution’ We should have Rohatgi submitted that there
and Somalia, 21/100. sustainable agricultural were “inbuilt extensions” in
• Access to tuberculosis production,” he said. these notifications to help
treatment in India was • He said malnutrition is a citizens access services and
scored 26 out of 100, lower challenge and therefore, schemes even if they are
than Pakistan (29), Congo pulses need to have unable to possess an
(30) and Djibouti (29). For improved nutrition quotient. Aadhaar card by June 30. He
diabetes, chronic kidney • He spoke about the said June 30 was not a hard-
diseases, and congenital “economic imbalance” and-fast “deadline.”
heart diseases, India scored among various regions of the • Mr. Rohatgi accused the
38, 20, and 45, respectively. country and said this needs petitioners of engaging in
to be addressed because “the multiple litigation against
PM wants evergreen revolution
country cannot run for long Aadhaar and engaging in
to help agriculture sector
with the imbalance”. abuse of the processes of the
• Prime Minister Narendra • He said that on the pattern of court. He argued that similar
Modi called for an “evergreen industrial clusters, interim reliefs were sought
revolution” to enable the agriculture clusters should and not granted by the
country to meet the challenge be created, wherein different Supreme Court in the past.
faced by the agriculture areas could be identified • The government's top law
sector. with particular crops. officer referred to the recent
• He emphasised the need for slew of petitions against the
SC refrained to order stay on a
moving from the concept of linking of Aadhaar with PAN
series of services requiring
‘food security’ to ‘nutrition and the filing of income tax
security’, for which he returns.
favoured scientific and • The Supreme Court refrained • The Supreme Court had
technological intervention. to order an interim stay on a refused to stay the law. Mr.
• He said the government is series of government Rohatgi submitted that 115
working in this direction as notifications requiring crore people have enrolled 11
National Issues
for Aadhaar as of date and Protocol of the Vienna was an important step
none of them have Convention of Human Rights. towards rollout of GST from
challenged the scheme in the July 1.
GST council agreed on the
SC. • The six categories to be
fitment of almost all
• Finally, the AG said the discussed include bidis/
Aadhaar matter should be cigarettes, footwear, gold,
decided by a Constitution • The Goods and Services and agriculture implements.
Bench, and that can be done (GST) Council agreed on the Tax rates on services will
after the court opens post fitment of almost all also be part of the agenda.
summer vacations on July 1. commodities in the various • Mr. Jaitley said that despite
tax slabs under the new the reduction in tax of some
Kulbhushan Jadhav’s execution
indirect regime to be rolled commodities, efficiency in
stayed by International court of
out on July 1. administration will help curb
• Milk, cereals (unpackaged evasion and increase tax
• ICJ stayed the execution of and unbranded), and jaggery buoyancy, leading to
former Indian naval officer will be exempt from any GST, improved revenue collection.
Kulbhushan Jadhav, in a while sugar, tea, coffee • Oover 1,200 items to be
move swiftly welcomed by (except instant), and edible considered under GST, 7%
the government but dismissed oil will be taxed at 5%. have been put under the
by Pakistan as a “basic • Common use items such as exempt list.
ruling” that said nothing soap, toothpaste, and hair
India’s first uterine transplant
about the merits or oil, which currently attract a
on a woman
maintainability of the case. tax rate of 22-24%, will be
• “We will leave no stone taxed at 18%. Coal, which is • A team of 12 doctors at the
unturned to save #Kulbhushan currently taxed at 11.7%, will city’s Galaxy Care
Jadhav,” tweeted Minister of attract a GST rate of 5%. Laparoscopy Institute (GCLI)
External Affairs Sushma • Consumer durables will began the highly complex
Swaraj, who hailed the come under the 28% tax and delicate procedure of
MEA’s “tireless efforts,” on bracket, down from the India’s first uterine transplant
the case. current 30-32% rate. Capital on a woman from Solapur
• The ICJ, popularly known as goods and industrial district.
the ‘world court’, ordered intermediaries will be taxed • However, the operation, in
Pakistan to “take all measures at 18%. which the uterus was
at its disposal” to prevent the • Small petrol and diesel cars retrieved from the donor and
execution of Mr. Jadhav, will be taxed at 28% with transplanted into the
pending its final judgment. small petrol cars attracting a recipient around 9 a.m.,
• ICJ ruling made a legal cess of 1% and small diesel stretched well beyond its
milestone in the Indian cars 3%. Luxury cars will projected eight-hour
government’s efforts to save attract a 15% cess in addition duration.
Mr. Jadhav from execution. to 28% GST. 350 cc bikes will • The surgeons are retrieving
The decision was adopted attract a cess of 3%. the uterus using a
unanimously. • However, there would be no laparoscopic technique.
• The court accepted India’s additional tax incidence on • The woman suffers from
argument that the failure by these goods from their congenital absence of uterus
Pakistan to provide required current rate of taxation. since birth and is to be fitted
consular notification and • Stressing that no commodity with her mother’s womb to
access fell under the scope would witness an increase in enable her to conceive
of Article 1 of the Optional taxation, Mr. Jaitley said this normally.

National Issues
• Still in its nascent, banks. • Last November, India
experimental stage, only a • The issue of loan defaults has entered into a contract with
handful of these operations been stressed as a critical the U.S. government under the
have met with success in issue burdening the Indian Foreign Military Sales (FMS)
other countries, primarily in economy by senior programme for buying 145
Sweden. government officials like the BAE Systems-built M777 A-2
• The operations are meant to Finance Minister and Chief artillery guns in a $737-
help women who want to Economic Advisor, and million deal.
conceive but cannot because private sector economists • Twenty-five of them will be
they were born without a alike. imported and 120 assembled
uterus, suffered damage to it • The Bill makes provisions for in India in partnership with
or had to have it removed. a special court under the the Mahindra group.
• The 20-odd uterine transplant Prevention of Money • As the 39-calibre towed
operations round the world Laundering Act to declare a artillery gun made of titanium
have often been frustrated by person a ‘Fugitive Economic and aluminium alloys weighs
organ rejection (in which the Offender’. only four tonnes, they can be
patient’s immune system • A Fugitive Economic transported under-slung on
attacks the organ; an Offender is a person who has helicopters.
infection of the organ; or an arrest warrant issued in • Dhanush, an upgraded and
problems with the organ’s respect of a scheduled indigenous version of the
blood supply.) offence and who leaves or Bofors gun, is in the final
• Some experts have has left India so as to avoid stage of trials and induction
expressed concern about the criminal prosecution, or is slated to begin soon.
operations, terming them an refuses to return to India to • Development of a new gun,
invasive surgical procedure face criminal prosecution. the Advanced Towed
fraught with risks manifested Artillery Gun System
The Army took delivery of two
in adverse side effects of the (ATAGS), under a public-
M777 ultralight howitzers
anti-rejection drugs, private partnership (PPP)
including cancer and • The Army took delivery of model jointly by the public
increased risk of two M777 ultralight howitzers and the private sector is
opportunistic infection. from the U.S. under a contract progressing well.
signed in 2016. The guns will
New bill to deter offenders from Indigenous pressurised heavy
be put through trials before
leaving the country water nuclear reactors cleared
induction into the Indian
by Govt
• The government has invited arsenal.
comments on a Bill that seeks • These are the first modern • The Union Cabinet cleared
to deter economic offenders 155-mm artillery guns to be the proposal to construct 10
from fleeing the country by inducted after the Swedish indigenous pressurised
attaching and confiscating Bofors guns in the 1980s, the heavy water nuclear reactors
properties owned by them in deal for which kicked up a with a total capacity of 7,000
India. major controversy and left MWe.
• The proposed ‘Fugitive the Army’s artillery • Piyush Goyal said each of
Economic Offenders Bill, modernisation programme the reactors would have a
2017’ comes against the stalled for years. capacity of 700 MWe. “We
background of India seeking • The Bofors guns, which was already have 6,780 MWe of
the extradition of liquor found effective during the operational nuclear power
baron Vijay Mallya from the Kargil war, continue to be the plants and about 6,700 MWe
U.K. for defaulted loans to mainstay. of plants under 13
National Issues
implementation, which will Visakhapatnam railway station ranked 3rd.
be set up by 2021-22.” has been declared as the • While the Darbhanga railway
• The decision comes against cleanest station was at the 75th
the backdrop of recent position in the A—1
• The Visakhapatnam railway
troubles for India’s category, Jogbani was the
station is the cleanest,
international collaborations dirtiest in the A category.
followed by Secunderabad,
in nuclear projects.
among the 75 busiest stations India balancing Israel and
• While the U.S. deal, involving
in the country. Palestinian situation
Toshiba Westinghouse for six
• As per a survey report
reactors in Andhra Pradesh, • A day after the visit of
released by Railway Minister
is floundering after Palestinian President
Suresh Prabhu, the Jammu
Westinghouse filed for Mahmoud Abbas, the
railway station occupied the
Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the government has now turned
third spot, while the New
deal with French company its focus to PM’s visit to Israel
Delhi station was ranked 39.
Areva for reactors in Jaitapur in July, with Foreign
• The survey was carried out
remain mired in negotiations Secretary and a key BJP
by the Quality Council of
over costing. official leaving for Tel Aviv
India. The Darbhanga railway
• Minister said these 10 plants to plan his diaspora event.
station in Bihar was the
would create Rs. 70,000 • A website,
dirtiest among the busiest
crore worth of business for is rael wel come mod i.or g,
domestic manufacturers and inviting registrations for the
• Clean toilets at platforms,
generate about 33,400 jobs, July 5 event went live.
clean tracks and dustbins at
he did not provide a timeline Organisers say they expect at
stations were some of the
for their completion. least 6,000-7,000 people to
criteria. This was the third
• “The design and development attend the event.
survey on cleanliness done
of this project is a testament • Israel is home to 80,000
by the railways to keep a tab
to the rapid advances people of Indian origin,
on rail premises as part of its
achieved by India’s nuclear mainly those who have taken
‘Swachh Rail’ campaign.
scientific community and “Aliyah,” as the migration of
• The Anand Vihar station was
industry. It underscores the the Jewish diaspora to Israel
ranked 5th, while
mastery our nuclear is called. Among the groups
Nizamuddin and Old Delhi
scientists have attained over which migrated in large
stations got the 23th and 24th
all aspects of indigenous numbers are the Bene-Israelis
PHWR technology,” it added. from Maharashtra, Cochin
• The railway station in
• India generated 37,674 Jews, Baghdadi Jews from
Varanasi, the Lok Sabha
million units of nuclear Kolkata, as well as some
constituency of Prime
energy in 2016-17, according from the so-called “lost tribe”
Minister Narendra Modi, was
to the Nuclear Power of B’nai-Menache from
ranked 14th.
Corporation of India, at a Manipur.
• The survey was carried out
capacity factor of 80%. • Organisers of the PM’s event
for 407 stations, out of which
• The two major projects under hope to attract hundreds of
75 are in the A-1 category or
construction at the moment Indian nurses, mainly from
busiest stations and 332 are
are located in Rajasthan and Kerala, who work in Israeli
in the A category.
Gujarat, of 1,400 MWe each. hospitals and old-age
• The Beas station was the
Both plants, comprising two facilities, and Indian students
cleanest, followed by
units of 700 MWe each, are and a few diamond merchant
Khammam, in the A category.
under review. families from the country.
Ahmedanagar station was

National Issues
• Asked what he hoped Mr. puts restrictions on the • NTRO hires many people
Modi’s visit could achieve, employee’s freedom of from the private sector and
he said the Indian community speech, bars any the Act means they will have
would like to see more communication with the the same safety net and
streamlined processes for press, or publishing a book restrictions available to
OCI (Overseas Citizen of or other document without other spy agencies
India) cards and visas, and the permission of the head of
India urged Palestine and Israel
more direct flights between the intelligence organisation.
to coexist peacefully
the two countries. • Both IB and R&AW have on
• Indian and Israeli officials earlier occasions opposed • India urged that a future state
involved in the arrangements the inclusion of any other of Palestine should coexist
told The Hindu that PM Modi organisation in the list of peacefully with Israel.
is expected to travel to monitoring agencies under • However, Palestinian
Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa the Act. President Mahmoud Abbas
during his visit from July 4 • In 2012, the Home Ministry said that a sovereign state of
to 6. under the UPA government Palestine should be built
• In Haifa, he is expected to had declined to grant phone according to the pre-1967
meet innovators and surveillance powers to borders and include East
founders of technology NTRO based on the argument Jerusalem as the capital.
companies and start-ups, and that it was not notified under
Ransomware cyberattack has
pay respects at the memorial the Act.
hit computers of the Gujarat
to Indian soldiers who fought • The NTRO was created after
for the liberation of Haifa the 1999 Kargil conflict as a
from the Ottoman Army dedicated technical • Ransomware cyberattack has
during the First World War. intelligence agency. It has hit several hundred
been fighting tooth and nail computers of various
NTRO listed under The
to get included in the list as departments of the Gujarat
Intelligence Organisations
it has the right to lawfully government. Computer
(Restriction of Rights) Act
intercept and monitor systems crashed in some
• NTRO which reports to the communications externally. Regional Transport Offices,
Prime Minister’s Office • Many security agencies like several district collectorates
(PMO) and the National the NIA, the Directorate of and police stations.
Security Advisor (NSA), will Revenue Intelligence (DRI), • As a precaution, the
now have the same “norms of the Narcotics Control Bureau government issued an alert to
conduct” as the Intelligence (NCB) among others have switch off the computers and
Bureau (IB) and the Research been asking the Home IT networks till anti-virus
and Analysis Wing (R&AW). Ministry to include them systems are installed.
• The Home Ministry issued a under the Intelligence • According to Gujarat’s IT
notification on May 15 listing Organisations Act. secretary Dhananjay
NTRO under The Intelligence • In the schedule to the Dwivedi, 120 computers
Organisations (Restriction of Intelligence Organisations across the State were
Rights) Act, 1985, a demand (Restriction of Rights) Act, affected. A few police
being made by the 1985 after serial number 3 stations and the Ahmedabad
organisation for over a and the entries relating civil hospital were also
decade now. thereto, the following shall affected.
• The Act prevents employees be inserted namely-The • The State IT department and
of a notified agency from National Technical Research State Crime Record Bureau
forming unions/associations, Organisation. have issued advisories to all 15
National Issues
departments and agencies to Training camps for cooks Initiative (B&RI), and as a
install a security patch and engaged in providing midday vehicle for achieving
upgrade the systems before meals sustainable globalisation.
using them. • Despite India’s decision to
• The government will organise
• No private company in the skip the two-day Belt and
two-day training camps for
State has so far complained Road Forum (BRF), the once
cooks engaged in providing
of cyber intrusion in their special relationship between
midday meals for children in
networks. However, cyber New Delhi and Beijing
schools so that they cook
experts said the private firms echoed during the opening
better food.
have avoided reporting session of the conclave.
• This was announced by
complaints and have instead • In his keynote address,
Human Resource
been upgrading their President Xi highlighted that
DevelopmentMinister, as he
networks. China “will enhance
presented the three-year
• Meanwhile, the Ahmedabad friendship and cooperation
report card of his Ministry.
Crime Branch has developed with all countries in the world
• On Tuesday itself, there was
an anti-virus software which on the Belt and Road
a report of a dead lizard
once installed protects all Initiative on the basis of the
being found in midday meals
data and systems. five principles of peaceful
in Jamui district of Bihar, the
Mars rover Opportunity has latest among a series of such
• Mr. Xi emerged as the new
reached the main destination complaints.
defender of globalisation,
• India has the world’s largest
• Mars rover Opportunity has countering the resistance to
midday meal scheme,
reached the main destination open economic borders in
serving 10 crore students in
of its current two-year the U.S. and parts of Europe,
11.5 lakh schools with
extended mission — an with a solid integrative plan.
nutritious food,” Mr.
ancient fluid-carved valley • India’s decision to boycott
Javadekar said, adding that
incised on the inner slope of the BRF, as a mark of protest
while any instance of
a vast crater’s rim, NASA has against the infringement of its
problem in the meals was
said. sovereignty by the China-
reported — as it should be
• As the rover approached the Pakistan Economic Corridor
— the scheme’s scale was
upper end of ‘Perseverance (CPEC), provided Pakistani
seldom discussed.
Valley’ in early May, images Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif
• The economic cost involved
captured by its cameras an opportunity to appear
for wheat-based meals is Rs.
began showing parts of the magnanimous at the
8.2 per day for a secondary
area in greater resolution conclave.
level student, and it is Rs. 9.6
than what can be seen in • In his address, he signalled
for rice-based meals.
images taken from the orbit Islamabad’s openness for a
above the Red planet. China says Belt and Road dialogue with India, and
• “The science team is really initiative would be on the lines offered to accommodate “all
jazzed at starting to see this of Panchsheel countries” in the CPEC.
area up close and looking for • India’s decision to stay away
• Chinese President proposed
clues to help us distinguish has raised eyebrows here, as
five principles of peaceful
among multiple hypotheses other countries such as Japan
co-existence or Panchsheel
about how the valley and Vietnam, which have
— the brainchild of China,
formed,” said Opportunity serious maritime disputes
India and Myanmar in the
Project Scientist. with China, have sent high-
1950s — as the mantra for
level official delegations, to
advancing the Belt and Road
the BRF.

National Issues
Public hearing on Kulbhushan appeal, qualifies for the trial office-bearers will be
Jadhav in ICJ to be pronounced “illegal”. required for the enrolment.
• The National Commission for
• The Peace Palace, home of The southwest monsoon has
Minority Educational
the International Court of advanced earlier this year
Institutions, however, said
Justice in The Hague, will
• The southwest monsoon has the rule will not be
hold public hearings on the
advanced into the south applicable to institutions run
case of Kulbhushan Jadhav,
Andaman Sea and Nicobar by individuals.
who was arrested and
Islands three days ahead of • Minority status permits
sentenced to death by
its normal onset, according schools and colleges to have
Pakistan in April over
to the India Meteorological a say in the reservation
allegations of espionage and
Department. quantum and limits
abetting terror.
• However, IMD said it was interference from the
• The one-day hearing will
too early to forecast whether government.
involve two sessions of an
the monsoon would hit the • As per the requirement, the
hour and a half, according
Kerala coast ahead of the unique ID should match
India and Pakistan an
normal onset date, June 1. corresponding details on the
opportunity to make their
• The IMD said the monsoon NGO’s website.
case, starting with India in the
could advance into some • Since its inception in 2004,
morning. Pakistan’s session
parts of southwest Bay of the commission has awarded
will follow in the afternoon.
Bengal, some more parts of minority status certificates to
• The court’s judgment, which
southeast Bay of Bengal, 12,954 schools and colleges
could follow as early as in a
remaining parts of Andaman in the country.
few days or take several
Sea, Andaman & Nicobar • The government last year
months, is binding with no
Islands and some parts of made it mandatory for NGOs
east-central Bay of Bengal and voluntary organisations
• ICJ President Ronny Abraham
during the next 72 hours. to register with the NITI
directed Prime Minister
Aayog portal to enable them
Nawaz Sharif to “act in such Educational societies seeking
to apply for grants from any
a way as to enable the court minority status now be required
to enforce any decision it to register as NGO with NITI
• However, the trusts and
takes on the India plea,”
• Educational trusts and NGOs not seeking
effectively staying Jadhav’s
societies seeking minority government funding were not
execution until the court was
status will now be required required to do so.
able to hear and deliberate
to register as non- • The Constitution gives
on the matter.
governmental organisation linguistic and religious
• The Indian team, led by
with the NITI Aayog, whether minorities the fundamental
former solicitor general
they need government aid or right to establish and
Harish Salve who won the
not. administer educational
stay at the ICJ last week, is
• The registration with the NITI institutions of their choice.
expected to focus on the
Aayog portal Darpan is likely • A society or trust consisting
violations of the Vienna
to put all the financial of members of a minority
convention by Pakistan on
transactions of the trust and community, or even a single
the issue of consular access.
its office-bearers under member of a minority
• Also on the lack of
government scanner as community, may establish an
transparency in the Pakistani
details such as PAN and institution.
military court, which India
Aadhaar of all trustees and
has said, in its 12-page 17
National Issues
Private sector to get greater airarcft is particularly including for deployment of
role in defence manufacturing interesting as it specifies security forces at strategic
“single engine.” The IAF is locations.
• Under a proposed change to
waiting for the promulgation • To improve rural road
defence procurement policy
of the SP model to initiate the connectivity in the Left Wing
in select areas, acquisition
process for selecting a single Extremism affected districts,
will continue even if only one
engine fighter to replace the the Cabinet had last year
foreign original equipment
Mig-21s, which are being approved the centrally-
manufacturer ( OEM) is
phased out. sponsored “Road
shortlisted after competitive
• The MoD had in the past Connectivity Project for LWE
evaluation, resulting in a
broadly stated the need for Affected Areas” scheme.
single vendor situation.
fighter aircraft for the IAF, • The project will be
• Under existing rules, the
resulting in much confusion implemented under the
procurement process has to
over single and twin engine Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak
be cancelled and started
jets. Yojana in the districts that are
afresh in such cases, which
• To boost the capabilities of critical from a security and
has considerably delayed
the Indian private sector in communication point of
critical procurements.
defence manufacturing the view.
• The proposed guidelines for
Government intends to select • Under the project, there will
Strategic Partnership (SP),
six companies in each be construction or
which intends to give the
segment . upgradation of 5,411 km of
Indian private sector greater
• Shortlisting of OEMs will roads and 126 bridges. Work
role in defence
follow the normal process as will be taken up at an
manufacturing, are under
of now and in this Transfer estimated cost of Rs.
final discussion.
of technology (ToT) will be 11,724.53 crore in the above
• The policy now awaits
the “main factor” including districts.
clearance from the Defence
various parameters such as • The project is likely to be
Acquisition Council and then
extent of ToT, extent of started in the next few weeks
final approval from the
indigenous content and all necessary
Cabinet Committee on
proposed, future R&D in arrangements have been
Security (CCS).
India. made for its launch. Out of
• Preferably, two or more
these 44 districts, the
OEMs should be shortlisted Rs. 11,000-crore project to
maximum are in
for each segment, the provide road connectivity to 44
Chhattisgarh, where 25
proposed policy states. Naxal-affected districts
personnel of the Central
However, it adds that, “Even
• The Centre will soon begin Reserve Police Force were
if only one OEM is
work on a Rs. 11,000-crore killed by Naxals last month.
shortlisted, the process will
project to provide road • Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar,
be taken forward.”
connectivity to 44 Naxal- Madhya Pradesh, Telangana
• There are four segments
affected districts, including and Maharashtra are the other
listed in the proposed policy
Sukma in Chhattisgarh, which States that will be covered
— single engine fighter
had recently witnessed one under the scheme.
aircraft, helicopters,
of the deadliest Maoist
submarines and armoured Cyber Security Chief says India
fighting vehicles/ Main Battle safe from cyber attack
• Five per cent of the total
Tanks (MBT). More segments
project cost i.e. Rs. 550 • While no major incident of
could be added later.
crore will be kept aside for the worldwide ransomware
• The provision on fighter
administrative expenses attack has been reported

National Issues
from India so far, Gulshan senior-level participation at initiative to repair ties
Rai, the Cyber Security Chief the forum. damaged over differences on
in the PMO, said a better • UN Secretary-General the CPEC.
impact assessment would be Antonio Guterres, IMF chief • Entry to the Nuclear
possible only on Monday Christine Lagarde and World Suppliers Group and UN
when offices open. Bank President Kim Yong will designation for JeM chief
• CERT— In issued an advisory be present as China unveils Masood Azhar, and even
asking organisations to install plans for infrastructure suggesting that China could
updates to Windows projects estimated at $500 consider changing the name
systems, had, in fact, billion across Asia and of the corridor through
released a vulnerability note Europe. Pakistan.
with a “Severity Rating of • In a dig at China’s high- • However, subsequently, the
High” on March 15 for “a interest project loans in the reference in the
possible remote exploitation region, which India believes Ambassador’s speech was
of this vulnerability.” will lead to a “debt trap” in deleted online after Pakistan
• The agency advised that the countries such as Sri Lanka protested.
patch released by Microsoft and Bangladesh.
Long-awaited anti-pneumonia
be applied. Over 70 • B&RI must pursue “principles
vaccine as part of the
countries have been hit by the of financial responsibility to
government’s UIP
cyberattack. avoid projects that would
create unsustainable debt • India rolled out the long-
India will not take part in
burden for communities; awaited anti-pneumonia
Chinese initiative
balanced ecological and vaccine as part of the
• India will be absent from environmental protection and government’s Universal
China’s Belt and Road preservation standards; Immunisation Programme
Initiative (B&RI) Forum. Govt transparent assessment of (UIP).
said that while the project costs”. • The vaccine will protect
government supported • According to experts, India’s children against severe forms
connectivity projects, they absence from the forum will of pneumococcal disease,
“must be pursued in a manner be seen as a major snub to such as pneumonia and
that respects sovereignty and China, that is pitching it as a meningitis.
territorial integrity”. “prestige event” to which it • The vaccine programme aims
• India has objected to the $46- has confirmed 110 official to protect nearly 270 lakh
billion China-Pakistan delegations and 29 heads of newborns against 12
Economic Corridor part of state and government. preventable diseases every
the B&RI, as it includes • Both the U.S. and Japan are year.
projects in Pakistan-occupied not signatories to the Belt and • Pneumococcal disease is the
Kashmir (PoK). Road initiative, but will be leading cause of vaccine-
• “The international community represented by senior preventable deaths in
is well aware of India’s advisers to President Donald children under five years of
position. No country can Trump and Prime Minister age globally and in India.
accept a project that ignores Shinzo Abe respectively. India accounts for nearly 20%
its core concerns on • The Chinese government had of global pneumonia deaths
sovereignty and territorial doubled efforts to convince in this age group.
integrity,” the Ministry India to join. In a speech last • The three-dose
spokesperson said. week, the Chinese pneumococcal conjugate
• All neighbours of India, Ambassador to India vaccine (PCV) will be rolled
except Bhutan, will have suggested a four-step out in Mandi, Himachal 19
National Issues
Pradesh, six districts of Uttar • Since 2004, it has been known over a century but
Pradesh and 17 districts of that the Indian Ocean has researchers associated with
Bihar as a part of the first been rising particularly this study are willing to
phase. rapidly. wager that North Indian
• The vaccine will give • However, it turned out that Ocean levels may see a fall
protection against 13 types of this was specific to a smaller over the next decade.
pneumococcal bacteria stretch called the North • It doesn’t challenge it but
which cause pneumonia Indian Ocean, which consists certainly complicates it.
disease. of the Bay of Bengal, the Researchers use various
• Every year, 59 lakh children Arabian Sea and a large part models to extrapolate future
die worldwide before their of the Indian Ocean until the trends on sea level rise and
fifth birthday, of them 9% die 5 degree S latitude. This is an quantify the risk it poses to
due to diarrhoea, 16% due to imaginary line cutting coastal populations.
pneumonia. through Indonesia, central • Several of these model,
• India shoulders the highest Africa and Peru. however, lack the resolution
burden of child pneumonia • More surprisingly, as a team power to capture the
and diarrhoea deaths with of oceanographers vagaries of local climate and
Nigeria, Pakistan, Democratic observed, the North Indian it is assumed that what is true
Republic of Congo and Ocean sea levels actually for one sea will broadly
Angola taking up the next four dipped between 1993 and apply to the others too.
spots. 2004, at about 0.3 mm per • More micro-level data with
• Currently, the vaccine is year, but after 2004, the rise improved computing power
being rolled out to was 6 mm annually. would mean better local-
approximately 21 lakh • Unlike the Pacific Ocean and level forecasts.
children in Himachal Pradesh the Atlantic Ocean, the North
Govt says going to ICJ was
and parts of Bihar and Uttar Indian Ocean is hemmed in
carefully considered move
Pradesh in the first phase. on all sides, except an outlet
• This will be followed by on the southern side. This • A day after India got a stay
introduction in Madhya influences the rate at which on Pakistan’s death sentence
Pradesh and Rajasthan next heat is absorbed and flushed to arrested former Navy
year, and eventually across out from within the system. official Kulbhushan Jadhav at
the country. There are over • According to their an international tribunal, the
90 different types of calculations, heat was government defended going
pneumococcal bacteria moving out slower after 2004 to the tribunal, as a “carefully
which cause a range of than during the 1990s. considered decision.”
problems. Moreover, wind flows, which • The Ministry of External
led to warm water welling up Affairs said the decision to
Rise of sea level is not clear in
on the Indian Ocean surface, resort to arbitration at the
Indian ocean
changed directions every International Court of Justice,
• There are two broad decade and probably after a gap of 46 years, was
mechanisms at work. Heat influenced sea level patterns. appropriate as the ultimate
trapped in the atmosphere • This means a rise in average aim is to save Mr. Jadhav’s
due to rising sea levels makes global temperature doesn’t life.
water expand and mean a concurrent rise in sea • “Despite requesting the
separately, melting ice sheets levels everywhere. government of Pakistan, we
begin to add water to the • Every year in the last decade did not get the documents on
world’s oceans. has broken temperature the case. We do not know the
records that have held for status of the petition and the

National Issues
appeal filed by the mother of fund NGOs here and also decision.
Mr. Jadhav. cleared the way for • Across tier 1, 2 and 3 cities,
• The visas sought for by his donations to political parties the doctors were united in
family have not been granted. by changing the definition of their disagreement with the
In this situation to save the “foreign companies.” decision. They expressed
life of an Indian who was • The glitch was that although various concerns, ranging
kidnapped and who was not the amendment was done from the quality of generic
given a fair trial, we have retrospectively it only made drugs to educational
approached the International valid the foreign donations qualification of chemists who
Court of Justice,” said received after 2010, the year will now be the decision-
spokesperson of MEA when the 1976 Act was maker.
• India had repeatedly sought amended. • Although doctors from all
consular access to Mr. • The retrospective across the country are
Jadhav and had been amendment did not apply to against the decision, some
repeatedly denied it. The donations prior to 2010 and States like Assam (89%),
spokesperson said the ICJ the Association for Jharkhand (86%) and Kerala
had informed New Delhi Democratic Reforms, a (81%) had more one-sided
about the steps it has political watchdog, moved a results.
initiated in response to contempt petition against the • Interestingly, more super
India’s request. Home Ministry. specialists were against this
• The ICJ stated in a press • The ADR filed a PIL plea decision than general
release that India seeks against the two parties for physicians. Within super
suspension of the death violating the FCRA. The Delhi specialists, gynaecologists
sentence that has been given High Court had held that the (89%), pulmonologists (93%)
to Mr. Jadhav by a Pakistani donations were illegal in and intensivist (internal
military tribunal. India is 2014, but the two parties medicine) (89%)
expected to take up the case challenged the order in the disapproved of this ruling
on May 15 when senior Supreme Court but later than other specialities
advocate Harish Salve will withdrew the petition.
Artificial bone tissue that can
represent it.
Doctors against legal provide new bone marrow
Home ministry to take opinion framework to prescribe generic
• Scientists, led by an Indian-
from Attorney General for FCRA drugs
origin researcher, have
• Home Ministry will seek the • The Centre’s move towards a developed artificial bone
Attorney-General’s opinion to legal framework to make tissues that could provide
amend the repealed Foreign doctors prescribe generic new bone marrow for
Contribution Regulation Act drugs and the subsequent patients needing transplants
(FCRA) 1976, which barred notice by the Medical and make the procedure
foreign donations to political Council of India enforcing much safer.
parties. the same has failed to find • Researchers in the U.S.
• The Representation of the many takers in the medical developed bone tissues with
People Act and the FCRA bar field. functional bone marrow that
political parties from • Curofy, an online community can be filled with donor cells
receiving foreign funds. of verified doctors, and implanted under the skin
• government had amended conducted an opinion poll of mice.
the FCRA through the Finance on generic drugs. Of 5,673 • The donor cells survived for
Bill route, which allowed doctors who participated, at least six months and
foreign-origin companies to 73% were against the supplied the mice with new 21
National Issues
blood cells. a way as will enable any on the consumption of fats,
• Bone marrow transplants are order the Court may make on sodium and sugar in foods,
used to treat patients with the request for provisional across socio-economic
bone marrow disease. Before measures to have its groups in the country, and
a transplant, a patient is first appropriate effects,”. endorsed that the
given doses of radiation, • Team of lawyers, led by proportions of these food
sometimes in combination senior advocate Harish constituents not exceed
with drugs, to kill off any Salve, listed the details of the guidelines by the WHO and
existing stem cells in the case and the “egregious the ICMR.
patient’s bone marrow. violations” of the Geneva • A salient finding was that
• This pre-treatment is meant to convention that deals with Low Income Groups (LIG)
improve success of the consular relations, including reportedly consumed more
transplant by clearing up Pakistan’s refusal to give any fried snacks and sweets than
space in the marrow, details of Mr. Jadhav’s arrest High Income Groups (HIG)
allowing donor cells to and trial until after the death and, the highest consumption
survive and grow without sentence was passed. of bakery items was in
competition from the • Failure to provide consular slums, said a study on urban
patient’s own cells. access to India despite 15 populations.
• However, this treatment often requests, and suggesting that • The panel also recommended
comes with harmful side access would be given only that all packaged food carry
effects. To address these in exchange for information detailed labels specifying the
issues, researchers about Mr. Jadhav from India. energy value in kcal (kilo
developed a bone-like • A committee experts calories); the amounts of
implant that gives donor recommended a tax on protein, carbohydrates and
cells their own space to live “highly-processed” foods fat; and the amount of any
and grow without • A committee of medical other nutrient for which a
competition, eliminating the experts and nutritionists has nutrition or health claim is
need to wipe out the host’s recommended a tax on made.
pre-existing cells. “highly-processed” foods and • If relevant, the label should
sugar-sweetened beverages. also specify the amount or
India won a stay order from the
• The body, tasked by the Food type of fatty acids or the
International Court of Justice
Standards and Safety amount of cholesterol,
for Jadhav
Authority of India (FSSAI), saturated fatty acids,
• In a major breakthrough in has also advocated a ban on monounsaturated fatty acids
the case of Kulbhushan advertisements promoting and polyunsaturated fatty
Jadhav, the former naval foods high in FSS (fat, salt, acids in gram (g) and
officer sentenced to death in sugar) during TV shows and cholesterol in milligram
Pakistan, New Delhi won a channels aimed at children. (mg), the panel said.
stay order from the • “In fact, we should progress • While many companies
International Court of Justice towards a total ban, as being provide a breakdown on the
at The Hague. done in a few other countries nutritional constituents, they
• In its petition, India had like Chile. Celebrity are not systematically
accused Pakistan of gross endorsements of such foods enforced.
violations of international need to be discouraged,”
Netherlands extended support to
laws. says the report on the FSSAI
India’s membership bid for
• Ordering the stay, President website.
of the ICJ directed Pakistan • Committee has compiled
Prime Minister to “act in such existing scientific literature • The Netherlands has

National Issues
extended support to India’s others. manufacturing.
membership bids for the • India suffers from a lack of • As part of the stepped up
United Nations Security reliable, timely data on efforts, the Defence Ministry
Council and a host of export employment which has made has scheduled consultations
control regimes. it difficult for policy makers with the industry to get their
• Visiting Foreign Minister Bert and independent observers feedback in the next couple
Koenders said that the to assess the extent of of days.
Netherlands was eager to employment generation at • The policy, which is part of
upgrade trade and different points of time. the Defence Procurement
commerce between the two Procedure (DPP) 2016, will
CRPF to soon deploy a fresh
countries and expressed the set out guidelines on how
CoBRA squad to Sukma district
hope of overcoming the major Indian private sector
shock of Brexit. • The CRPF will soon deploy a companies can tie up with
• He reiterated that the fresh squad of about 2,000 global Original Equipment
Netherlands has been a commandos from its special Manufacturers in critical
steady supporter of India’s guerrilla warfare CoBRA military systems and
admission into export (Commando Battalion for platforms.
control regimes. Resolute Action) battalions in • An interaction between the
• India accepted membership and around the Sukma district defence ministry and
of the Missile Technology of Chhattisgarh to defang the industry representatives was
Control Regime (MTCR) last Maoists and their arsenal. scheduled for May 11. It
year when the Netherlands • Sukma and its adjoining areas would be attended by Mr.
had the chairmanship of the have witnessed some of the Jaitley and Defence
multilateral organisation. deadliest ambushes on Secretary G. Mohan Kumar.
• Mr. Koenders also came out security forces recently like • Major industry bodies and
in support of regulated the one where 25 CRPF men Indian private sector
globalisation to overcome were killed in the Burkapal companies which would take
the shock of Brexit and asked area of the district on April the lead in the SP model had
for structural adjustments in 24. been invited. The final
the international community. • At least 20 to 25 companies clearance would be
of the CoBRA are mobilised accorded by the Defence
Govt set up task force for
from their present locations Acquisition Council (DAC)
in West Bengal, Bihar, and the meetings had been
• In the face of a poor Telangana and Madhya slotted.
employment generation Pradesh to the Bastar region
Centre plans to tap MGNREGA
report card, the government that has some of the worst
to recharge remnants of ancient
has, on the direction of Prime Maoist violence-hit districts.
Minister Narendra Modi, set
Govt accelerated efforts to
up a task force to look into • The Centre plans to tap rural
finalise the ambitious Strategic
how to solve the problem of employment guarantee funds
Partnership model
poor employment data in the to recharge remnants of
country. • The Government has ancient rivers — including
• A task force has been created accelerated efforts to finalise the mythical Saraswati — in
under the chairmanship of the ambitious Strategic a bid to boost groundwater
NITI Aayog vice-chairman Partnership (SP) model, reserves.
Arvind Panagariya, with which would give a major • Committee had been
members including Labour boost to private sector constituted to see how the
Secretary Satyavati and participation in defence Rs. 48,000 crore 23
National Issues
MGNREGSfund could be through Pakistan-occupied and around the Sukma district
harnessed. “Reviving such Kashmir (PoK) of Chhattisgarh to defang the
palaeo-channels may not be • The Chinese Ambassador to Maoists and their arsenal.
useful for irrigation but it India said, insisting that the • Sukma and its adjoining areas
could improve groundwater OBOR has no connection to have witnessed some of the
storage,” said Ms. Bharti. “sovereignty disputes.” deadliest ambushes on
• Palaeo-channels are old • Mr. Luo outlined a 4-point security forces recently like
rivers that have dried up and solution to “manage the one where 25 CRPF men
filled with sediment. Last differences” between India were killed in the Burkapal
October, a committee of and China, including a new area of the district on April
hydrologists, geologists and treaty on cooperation, 24.
archaeologists — as part of restarting talks on a free • At least 20 to 25 companies
study commissioned by the trade agreement (FTA), an of the CoBRA are mobilised
Water Resources Ministry — early resolution to the border from their present locations
reported evidence on the issue and aligning the B&R in West Bengal, Bihar,
course of the Saraswati, with India’s “Act East Telangana and Madhya
mentioned in the Rigveda policy.” Pradesh to the Bastar region
and Hindu mythology. • “The CPEC is for promoting that has some of the worst
• The Markanda and the Sarsuti economic cooperation and Maoist violence-hit districts.
(now called the Ton-Yamuna connectivity. It has no
Govt accelerated efforts to
rivers) watered the eastern connections to or impact on
finalise the ambitious Strategic
branch of the river. The sovereignty issues. Even we
Partnership model
branches met in Shatrana, 25 can think about renaming the
kilometres south of Patiala CPEC,” Mr. Luo said, • The Government has
and “flowed as a large river” referring to India’s public accelerated efforts to finalise
emptying into the Rann of opposition to the inclusion of the ambitious Strategic
Kutch, the report said. projects that lie in PoK’s area Partnership (SP) model,
• Building on this, a committee of Gilgit-Baltistan. which would give a major
was tasked with scouting • According to the Chinese boost to private sector
palaeo-channels across the government more than 100 participation in defence
country. countries will participate, manufacturing.
• Wherever these channels and all SAARC countries • As part of the stepped up
were located, the soil was minus India have already efforts, the Defence Ministry
generally soft and therefore, signed on to the 60-nation has scheduled consultations
it was easy to direct surface infrastructure initiative first with the industry to get their
waters towards them and proposed in 2013. feedback in the next couple
raise the water table, Ms. • No official Indian of days.
Bharti added. participation has been • The policy, which is part of
indicated so far. the Defence Procurement
China is prepared to consider
Procedure (DPP) 2016, will
renaming the CPEC for India CRPF to soon deploy a fresh
set out guidelines on how
CoBRA squad to Sukma district
• China is prepared to major Indian private sector
consider renaming the China- • The CRPF will soon deploy a companies can tie up with
Pakistan Economic Corridor fresh squad of about 2,000 global Original Equipment
(CPEC) if it would end India’s commandos from its special Manufacturers in critical
reservations over its One guerrilla warfare CoBRA military systems and
Belt One Road (Or Belt and (Commando Battalion for platforms.
Road Initiative) passing Resolute Action) battalions in

National Issues
• An interaction between the mentioned in the Rigveda with India’s “Act East
defence ministry and and Hindu mythology. policy.”
industry representatives was • The Markanda and the Sarsuti • “The CPEC is for promoting
scheduled for May 11. It (now called the Ton-Yamuna economic cooperation and
would be attended by Mr. rivers) watered the eastern connectivity. It has no
Jaitley and Defence branch of the river. The connections to or impact on
Secretary G. Mohan Kumar. branches met in Shatrana, 25 sovereignty issues. Even we
• Major industry bodies and kilometres south of Patiala can think about renaming the
Indian private sector and “flowed as a large river” CPEC,” Mr. Luo said,
companies which would take emptying into the Rann of referring to India’s public
the lead in the SP model had Kutch, the report said. opposition to the inclusion of
been invited. The final • Building on this, a committee projects that lie in PoK’s area
clearance would be was tasked with scouting of Gilgit-Baltistan.
accorded by the Defence palaeo-channels across the • According to the Chinese
Acquisition Council (DAC) country. government more than 100
and the meetings had been • Wherever these channels countries will participate,
slotted. were located, the soil was and all SAARC countries
generally soft and therefore, minus India have already
Centre plans to tap MGNREGA
it was easy to direct surface signed on to the 60-nation
to recharge remnants of ancient
waters towards them and infrastructure initiative first
raise the water table, Ms. proposed in 2013.
• The Centre plans to tap rural Bharti added. • No official Indian
employment guarantee funds participation has been
China is prepared to consider
to recharge remnants of indicated so far.
renaming the CPEC for India
ancient rivers — including
According to exit polls
the mythical Saraswati — in • China is prepared to
Emmanuel Macron could
a bid to boost groundwater consider renaming the China-
become France’s President
reserves. Pakistan Economic Corridor
• Committee had been (CPEC) if it would end India’s • Flag-waving crowds in front
constituted to see how the reservations over its One of the Louvre in central Paris
Rs. 48,000 crore Belt One Road (Or Belt and broke into jubilant cheers as
MGNREGSfund could be Road Initiative) passing the first exit polls emerged,
harnessed. “Reviving such through Pakistan-occupied predicting centrist and
palaeo-channels may not be Kashmir (PoK) independent candidate
useful for irrigation but it • The Chinese Ambassador to Emmanuel Macron’s victory
could improve groundwater India said, insisting that the in a bitterly fought
storage,” said Ms. Bharti. OBOR has no connection to presidential election.
• Palaeo-channels are old “sovereignty disputes.” • Mr. Macron is predicted to
rivers that have dried up and • Mr. Luo outlined a 4-point win 65.5% of the votes
filled with sediment. Last solution to “manage against far-right candidate
October, a committee of differences” between India Marine Le Pen’s 34.5%,
hydrologists, geologists and and China, including a new according to an Ipsos/
archaeologists — as part of treaty on cooperation, SofraSteria poll, making the
study commissioned by the restarting talks on a free 39-year-old the youngest
Water Resources Ministry — trade agreement (FTA), an person to hold the office of
reported evidence on the early resolution to the border President in the Fifth
course of the Saraswati, issue and aligning the B&R Republic. 25
National Issues
• While Ms. Le Pen may have pension and an additional strategically located Iranian
lost, her party, Front option for pension by pay port into Afghanistan and
National (FN), has beaten its fixation method in addition to Central Asia, a $20-billion
previous record by a huge the consolidation method, investment for India, and will
margin; the FN won 17.8% in whichever is higher. be seen as a rival to the
the second round under Ms. • However, some of the core China-Pakistan Economic
Le Pen’s father, Jean-Marie Le anomalies raised by the Corridor’s Gwadar port.
Pen, against Jacques Chirac services are yet to be • The Ambassador’s statement
in 2002. addressed, top among them points to the growing
are Non-Functional Upgrade discussions on strategic
Military personnel to receive
(NFU) and higher Military convergence between India
revised pay
Service Pay (MSP) for JCOs. and other “Indo-Pacific”
• After a wait of about eight • NFU entitles all officers of a powers for whom China’s
months, military personnel batch who are not promoted recent economic moves like
are likely to receive their to draw the salary and grade the BRI as well as an
revised pay recommended pay that the senior-most aggressive maritime stance in
by the Seventh Pay officer of their batch would the South China Sea have
Commission with arrears in get after a certain period. been a matter of concern.
May’s salary, say the general • In a reference to that the • Backing Australia’s request
instructions issued by the instructions notes: “Pay to join the trilateral
three Services to their comparison between defence “Malabar” naval exercises
personnel. services, all India services between India, Japan and
• The Union Cabinet issued and Group A services must Australia, Ambassador
orders last week for be understood in totality and Hiramatsu said.
implementing the explained to rank and file to • “We cherish the cooperation
recommendations for dispel apprehensions about with Australia, and we have
military personnel. Following discrepancies. just had a Japan-Australia-
this, the three Services issued India strategic dialogue and
Japan keen to collaborate with
the general instructions a political dialogue between
India on Asia and Africa
stating the various these three countries, and we
recommendations that were will have to see how it
approved. • Japan is keen on develops.”
• The recommendations collaborating with India on
Union government aims to
approved include extension projects in Asia and Africa as
make northeast India a gateway
of pay stages for junior a counter to China’s Belt and
to Southeast Asia
commissioned officers Road initiative (B&RI),
(JCO) and other ranks from Tokyo’s Ambassador to New • Union government aims to
24 to 40 to prevent Delhi said. make northeast India a
stagnation, increase in index • Ambassador Kenji Hiramatsu gateway to Southeast Asia
of rationalisation for revealed that the Japanese and is making huge
Colonels and Lieutenant- government was in talks with investments for the overall
Colonels from 2.57 to 2.67 Tehran and New Delhi for a development of the region,
and extension of pay stages role in the Chabahar port but lack of cleanliness can
for Brigadiers by two. project along with India. hamper this dream, Prime
• On the pension front, two • India, Iran and Afghanistan Minister Narendra Modi said.
recommendations approved signed a trilateral agreement • Addressing the centenary
are restoration of the in May 2016 to build trade celebrations of the voluntary
percentage-based disability and transit routes from the organisation Bharat

National Issues
Sevashram Sangha in Shillong Arun Jaitley said. there were 15.7 billion Rs.
through video conferencing, • “The idea is always there for 500 notes and 6.3 billion Rs.
he said “only Gangtok had the future that the expansion 1,000 currency notes in
found a place among the first of connectivity takes place circulation, before
50 clean cities” out of the 12 between countries,” Mr. demonetisation.
cities from the region Jaitley said at a roundtable • According to a Bloomberg
surveyed as part of the recent on the role of trade in Asia’s report, if one stacked up all
nationwide cleanliness economic outlook, when the defunct notes, they’d form
survey. asked for his views on the a column 30 times the height
• While four northeastern cities OBOR initiative. of Everest.
found a place between 100 • China is set to host ‘The Belt • When the deadline for
and 200 clean cities, seven and Road Forum for depositing the scrapped
were positioned between 200 International Cooperation’ in notes expired, 16.4 billion
and 300, with Shillong being Beijing starting May 14 and were with banks and the
the 276th, he said, while has been trying to bring India Reserve Bank of India.
stressing that cleanliness was on board. One section of • These masses of notes, now
a major challenge for OBOR passes through lying in 19 RBI offices, are
everyone in the region. Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. being sorted, counted,
• He said the major thrust was • Pakistan sees the plan as a verified and then sent to the
to improve connectivity and welcome step to boost shredder.
develop the region for regional connectivity which • Not all RBI offices have
tourism purposes. is essential to promoting enough manpower
• While an investment of Rs. intra-regional trade. explaining the quest for more
40,000 crore is being made hands. An initial count of the
Central bank wants to eliminate
to improve the road notes has been completed,
billions of demonetised notes
infrastructure in the entire which is being followed up
region, 19 big railway with recounts, since the
projects have also been • Holding a pile of billions of presence of fake currencies
started, he said. demonetised notes, the was strongly suspected.
• Announcing that the region Reserve Bank of India has a • Another reason is to
would soon be connected problem — it is unable to ascertain the exact number of
with UDAN (UdeDesh ka Aam destroy them quickly. At the demonetised notes that came
Nagarik) scheme, he said current pace, the process back, a figure that the RBI has
small airports were also could take nearly two years. not yet confirmed. Shredding
being developed, while the • Keen on completing the task is undertaken only after
extension of the runway at on a war footing, the RBI’s verification.
Shillong airport has been central office in Mumbai is • Most demonetised notes
approved. seeking the Army’s help for were deposited; the RBI’s
the job. annual report for 2015-16
India has “serious reservations”
• It has asked its regional says fake notes are but a
about China’s One Belt, One
offices to requisition the small fraction of the total.
Road plan
services of Army personnel,
Namami Gange to get new
• India has “serious wherever necessary, through
branding for better results
reservations” about China’s the central office. The help of
One Belt, One Road (OBOR) soldiers is being sought due • In the third year of the
plan given that there are to the ‘sensitivity and Narendra Modi government,
issues of “sovereignty” at secrecy’ required. one of its flagship
stake, Union Finance Minister • As of March 31 last year, programmes, the ambitious 27
National Issues
Namami Gange, is set for a Rs. 2,000 crore has been complexity acquiring
rebranding exercise, and sanctioned to the NMCG, the considerable heft in recent
pitches from top advertising executive authority tasked times.
agencies. with commissioning • In 2015, it was expanded into
• The move, powered by Prime treatment plants, cleaning a trilateral format with the
Minister Narendra Modi, and beautifying the ghats and inclusion of Japan. Japan
aims at a more participatory setting up improved and the U.S. are keen on
approach to the Namami crematoria. expanding the games to
Gange (National Mission for • To treat the 12,000 million include Australia which was
a Clean Ganga-NMCG) litres per day (MLD) of expressed by officials from
programme. sewage emptying into the both countries on various
• While there is no questioning river, that meanders through occasions.
the reverence in which the 11 States from Uttarakhand to • This year’s exercises are
river is held, the emotional West Bengal, only capacity expected to focus on anti-
connect with the Ganges, for worth 4,000 MLD exists and submarine warfare (ASW)
most Indians tends to be of them, only plants with with increasing Chinese
restricted to personal 1,000 MLD capacity are submarine presence in the
ritualistic moments and working. Indian Ocean.
becomes passive once it is • Indian and U.S. Navies
US wants to expand the
over. operating the P-8 long-range
trilateral malabar excercise
• Invoking this reverence [ patrol aircraft, they are keen
aastha ] towards the river — • The U.S. is keen on expanding to expand the ASW
without however giving it Malabar trilateral exercises component in the coming
religious overtones — could but it will be a decision exercises.
be an entry-point towards based on discussion and
Silk road project a gateway
mass awareness and action consensus with the partner
tocentral Asia and Europe
towards river clean-up. countries.
• The proposed campaign • The next edition of Malabar • A night cruise on the Haihe
therefore needs to evoke a is scheduled to be held in river — the waterway that
strong soul connect with the July in the areas runs through Tianjin — is
Ganga and leverage “surrounding India in Bay of much more than a glittery
associated emotion to drive Bengal” for which the after-dinner trip set alight by
active participation to keep planning conferences are a glitzy concrete jungle that
the river clean and healthy. under way. flanks the water on its either
• Ideas like a Ganga Jyoti Yatra • Australia has requested India side.
(like an Olympic torch run) for observer status at this • It takes one through the
starting from Kolkata and year’s Malabar exercises and layers of history that the city
ending in Varanasi, and is awaiting a final decision. has encountered, especially
roping in brand ambassadors • However, India has been after the advent of the second
like former Indian cricketer reluctant to let expand the Opium War.
Sachin Tendulkar are some of exercises further from the • The war, fought in the mid-
the things being discussed. trilateral format which 19th century, prised open the
• In spite of being a marquee included Japan due to city as well as the country to
project of the government, sensitivities from China. a heady and contradictory
the Namami Gange is yet to • Malabar, which began in 1992 combination of western
show visible progress. as a bilateral naval exercise exploitation, cultural
• Out of a Rs. 20,000-crore between India and the U.S., dominance, modern
clean-up programme, only has since grown in scope and education, and technological

National Issues
advance. their gross, sadistic and offenders, young, had young
• The seeds of a modern beastly pleasures... for the children and aged parents
nationalistic uprising that devilish manner in which they whose lives would be
was to sprout in several played with her dignity and rendered “calamitous” if they
forms in the years to come. identity is humanly were put to death.
• If the left bank of the Haihe inconceivable.”
RBI given power against bad
is about the transient power • These were the final words
and wealth of colonial with which Justice Dipak
Europe, the opposite side Misra concluded the • The Centre authorised the
showcases the story of pronouncement of the Reserve Bank of India to take
China’s post-colonial rise. Supreme Court judgment tough actions to crack down
• Hahei is an artery that leads confirming the death penalty on the rising bad loans on the
to the busy Tianjin port. The to the four convicts in the books of public sector
port’s vast rail-and-road Nirbhaya gangrape and banks, after President signed
connected hinterland covers murder case of 2012. off on an ordinance to amend
six provinces, including Tibet • Justice Banumathi, the the Banking Regulation Act of
and Xinjiang, the gateway to woman judge on the Bench, 1949.
central Asia and Europe, as said “There is not even a hint • The RBI is expected to issue
part of the ambitious One of hesitation in my mind” in issue norms within a week to
Belt One Road (OBOR) sending the men to their banks on resolving their bad
connectivity initiative, deaths. loan accounts in a specified
woven around the ancient • “If at all there is a case time frame through various
Silk Road. warranting award of death strategies including asset
• In total, Tianjin’s hinterland sentence, it is the present sales.
sweeps across half of China’s case,” Justice Banumathi • Where no breakthrough is
area, covering 17% of the wrote in her separate imminent, invocation of
country’s population. concurring judgment. insolvency and bankruptcy
• The port’s importance is only • The pronouncement proceedings against the
going to rise as a $290 billion concluded the marathon borrowers. The total stressed
mega-city in the form of the hearings held in the Supreme assets in the banking system
Xiongan New Area is set to Court for about a year after are estimated to be Rs. 14
emerge 160 km from Beijing. the four accused — Mukesh, lakh crore.
• The mega city is President Xi Pawan Gupta, Akshay Kumar • Explaining the ordinance
Jinping’s pet project. Once Singh and Vinay Sharma — route to enhance the central
complete, the project is appealed against their death bank’s powers, the Minister
expected to add 0.4 penalty. said the existing provisions
percentage points to China’s • The three-judge Bench had were not clear enough for the
annual economic growth. subjected the evidence of the RBI to act on specific
Tianjin port is already at the case to the minutest scrutiny. stressed assets.
heart of an integrated plan to At one point, its own amicus
Justice R. Banumathisays
develop the Beijing, Tianjin curiae and senior advocate
women rights should not only
and Hebei national capital Sanjay Hegde had suggested
remain in paper
region. that death penalty would be
“extremely harsh”. • The Supreme Court's sole
Death sentence given to
• The defence lawyers had woman judge and a member
Nirbhaya convicts
pressed for life of the Bench which
• “The accused found an object imprisonment. They said the confirmed the death penalty
for enjoyment in her... for accused were first-time in the Nirbhaya case, Justice 29
National Issues
R. Banumathi, asked whether Slew of directions passed by SC so that the living conditions
the much-touted gender for child care of kids there undergo
justice will continue to positive changes.
• The Supreme Court passed a
remain only on paper. • The first report after
slew of directions, including
• Justice Banumathi expressed conducting the inspection
setting up of a database of
dissatisfaction over how should be filed before the
children living in orphanages
crimes against women government concerned by
and child care institutions to
continue to increase despite December 31.
ensure their safety and
numerous laws to protect • The court also directed that
women. all vacancies in State
• A Bench comprising Justices
• The judgement asked if laws Commission for Protection of
Madan B Lokur and Deepak
punishing crimes against Child Rights (SCPCR) be
Gupta directed the Centre,
women are paper tigers, filled by the end of this year.
States and union territories
unable to serve their • The Bench said it was
(UTs) to complete the
purpose. imperative that the process
registration of all child care
• “Increased rate of crime of conducting a social audit
institutions by year-end.
against women is an area of must be taken up in right
• The court said the registration
concern for the lawmakers earnest by the National
process should also include
and it points out an emergent Commission for the
a database of all children in
need to study in depth the Protection of Child Rights as
need of care and protection
root of the problem and well as by each State
and update it every month.
remedy the same through a Commission for the
• It asked the authorities
strict law and order regime,” Protection of Child Rights.
concerned to ensure
Justice Banumathi wrote.
confidentiality and privacy in Space diplomacy and India’s
• Referring to the Nirbhaya
maintaining the database. outreach to the neighbours into
case, Justice Banumathi
• The Bench said it was not a “new orbit”
observed that “human lust
necessary that every child in
was allowed to take such a • Taking both space
need of care and protection
demonic form”. diplomacy and India’s
must be placed either in a
• She said the case definitely outreach to the neighbours
child care institution and
belonged to the category of into a “new orbit”, Prime
alternative option like
the rarest of rare and any Minister Narendra Modi
adoption and foster care
punishment other than death addressed a unique joint
could seriously be
penalty is “unquestionably videoconference of the
foreclosed”. leaders of all SAARC
• It said Centre’s schemes such
• Justice Banumathi delved on countries, apart from
as skill development and
how the case shocked the Pakistan.
vocational training must be
collective conscience of the • “The South Asia satellite
taken advantage of keeping
society, and it was necessary demonstrates that our
in mind the need to
to send the message across collective choices for our
rehabilitate such children.
that the courts stand by the citizens will bring us together
• The Bench also directed the
rights of the victims and their for cooperation, not conflict;
States and UTs to set up
families for justice. development, not
‘Inspection Committees’
• The judge called the families destruction; and prosperity,
before July 31 to conduct
of victims as “incidental not poverty,” Mr. Modi told
regular inspections of child
victims” themselves. the leaders.
care institutions and prepare
• The leaders congratulated
reports of such inspections
India for its technological

National Issues
success as well as Mr. Modi Pradesh with eight. showed the computer
for turning his “vision to • Tamil Nadu and Telangana numerous object images and
reality” by seeing the Rs. 450- account for four each. taught it to recognise the
crore launch through. Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, ‘grip’ needed for different
• The Nepal Prime Minister Delhi, Jharkhand, Karnataka, objects.
particularly noted the Sikkim and Uttar Pradesh
India and U.K. To cooperate for
satellite’s role in developing account for one each in this
return of Indians
communications in his group.
country’s mountainous and • India and the United Kingdom
New bionic hand which can
remote areas. will cooperate with each
grab things
• Both Ms. Hasina and Mr. other to ensure the smooth
Sirisena also praised the • Scientists have developed a return of Indians overstaying
potential uses of the GSLV new bionic hand that can there, said the Union Home
GSAT 9 in meeting ‘see’ objects and allow Ministry.
developmental needs.Mr. amputees to grasp things ten • Both sides reached the
Modi had proposed the plan times faster than currently agreement at the first Home
for the shared satellite during available prosthetics. Affairs dialogue between the
the SAARC summit in • The bionic hand is fitted with two countries, during which
Kathmandu in 2014. a camera that instantaneously issues of mutual cooperation
takes a picture of the object in investigations, including
Indore is most clean city in
in front of it, assesses its those against Khalistani
Swachh Survekshan-2017
shape and size and triggers activists.
• Indore and Bhopal in Madhya a series of movements in the • They agreed to formalise
Pradesh have emerged as the hand. arrangements for
cleanest cities in the country • Bypassing the usual cooperation on anti-terror
as per a massive cleanliness processes that require the operations and cyber
survey commissioned by the user to see the object, offences.
Union Urban Development physically stimulate the
All-party meeting to convince
Ministry.The dirtiest city is muscles in the arm and
parties that the EVMs are
Gonda in Uttar Pradesh. trigger a movement in the
• The survey, Swachh prosthetic limb, the bionic
Survekshan-2017, was hand ‘sees’ and reacts in one • The Election Commission
carried out by the Quality fluid movement. will hold an all-party
Council of India across 434 • A small number of amputees meeting on May 12 to
cities and includes the have already tested the convince political parties that
feedback of 18 lakh technology developed by the electronic voting
respondents. researchers at the Newcastle machines (EVMs) are tamper-
• The top 10 cleanest cities are University in the U.K. proof.
Indore, Bhopal, • Responsiveness has been one • “The schedule for an ‘open
Visakhapatnam, Surat, of the main barriers to challenge’, inviting experts to
Mysuru, Tiruchi, Delhi’s New artificial limbs. For many try tampering with the EVMs,
Delhi Municipal Council area, amputees the reference point will be finalised after the
Navi Mumbai, Tirupati and is their healthy arm or leg so meeting,” an EC official said.
Vadodara, respectively. prosthetics seem slow and • In its communication to
• Gujarat has the maximum of cumbersome in comparison. President Pranab Mukherjee
12 cities among the top 50, • Using neural networks — the and to the seven national and
closely followed by Madhya basis for artificial 48 State parties, the
Pradesh with 11 and Andhra intelligence — researchers 31
National Issues
commission sent a status • The machine buttons are • Protected under Schedule 2
paper on the EVMs and paired with the name of of the Wildlife (Protection)
voter-verified paper audit election candidates, in an Act, 1972 and listed as
trail (VVPAT) machines. alphabetical order, and not ‘endangered’ by the
• Apart from the issue of EVM as per that of political International Union for
security, the agenda includes parties, making it virtually Conservation of Nature
making bribery in elections impossible for anyone to (IUCN), the dhole was
a cognisable offence, ensure that the votes cast adopted by IGZP in 2014
disqualification on framing through an EVM kept at a under the Central Zoo
of charges for the offence of particular booth would only Authority’s mandate.
bribery in elections and go to a particular party • The Visakhapatnam zoo has,
suggestions for VVPAT candidate. since, successfully bred wild
recount rules. dogs from two packs taking
Indian dholes to come to
• At the meeting, experts are the number from just two to
eastern ghats
expected to give 40.
presentations on how the • Endangered and hard-to-spot • Dholes, with a cinnamon-
voting machines are dholes, or Indian wild dogs, coloured coat, bushy tail and
manufactured and what are will soon test their fortunes an alert gaze, are aggressive
the administrative in the Eastern Ghats. pack predators, covering
procedures adopted to • The Indira Gandhi Zoological long distances on a hunt.
secure them. Park (IGZP), running a
Kashmir security situation a
• The move comes days after conservation breeding centre
several political parties for the species, plans to
alleged that the EVMs used reintroduce a pack of 16 into • Even as intelligence inputs
in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab the forests. continue to warn that the
had been tampered with. A • A team will monitor the situation in Kashmir is getting
delegation of 16 parties also released animals and their worse this summer, Union
petitioned the President progress for a season. Before Home Minister Rajnath Singh
seeking his intervention. they enter the forest, we will reviewed the security scene
• Dismissing the allegations, radio collar them,” he said. in the troubled State for the
the Commission issued a • The Centre for Cellular and third consecutive day.
series of statements to Molecular Biology in • National Security Adviser
substantiate that the Hyderabad will map the Ajit Doval, Intelligence
machines were tamper-proof, genetic variability of the Bureau Director Rajiv Jain,
but to no avail. packs before they go into the and Research and Analysis
• Under the current wild. Wing chief Anil Dhasmana
arrangement, the EVMs used • If the Rs. 1.5-crore attended the meeting.
in elections are randomised conservation project works, • While such meetings chaired
at five levels, till the booth it will be the third such zoo by the Home Minister are a
level, after they are supplied effort for the recovery and regular affair, the
to the Commission by the long-term survival of an significance this time is that
manufacturers. endangered species. it comes against the
• They also undergo testing at • Earlier, Darjeeling’s Padmaja backdrop of dramatic events
various stages, also in front Naidu Himalayan Zoological that have unfolded in Kashmir
of the representatives of Park had a programme for the and along the Line of Control
political parties ahead of the red panda and a Pygmy Hog in the recent days.
polls and finally sealed, with Conservation Programme • Over the past few days, the
their signatures on them. was undertaken in Assam. situation in the Kashmir

National Issues
Valley has taken a turn for the to environment — ought to develop long-term methods
worse with the mutilation of achieve by 2020. that could help sustain
the bodies of two Indian • Universities ought to be pioneers working in deep
soldiers, allegedly by ranked according to metrics space.
Pakistani forces, and the such as teaching, research • The water cycle begins with
killing of another seven output and funding won from water that is brought along or
people. the private sector. found at the lunar or Martian
• The incidents came close on • The NITI Aayog also pitches landing site. Water is
the heels of a dramatic spike for a new ‘National Science, oxygenated, given nutrient
in protests and stone Technology and Innovation salts, and it continuously
throwing by youth, even Foundation’ headed by a flows across the root zone of
young girl students. distinguished scientist. the plants and returned to the
• This will coordinate with storage system.
NITI Aayogrecommended that
science and technology • Tests involving the Prototype
faculty at “world class”
departments, ministries, Lunar Greenhouse at the
institutions prioritise research
governments and private University of Arizona in the
• The National Institution for sector bodies and deliberate U.S. have included
the Transformation of India on national issues and determining what plants,
(NITI) Aayog has recommend interventions. seeds or other materials
recommended that faculty at • Given the government’s should be taken along to
“world class” institutions “limited funds” the NITI make the system work.
prioritise research and be Aayog recommends research
HRD announces measures for
allowed to “reduce their priorities to water
J& K students
teaching responsibility,” if management, agriculture,
required. energy, waste management, • Meeting Jammu and Kashmir
• Such universities also ought health, connectivity and Education Minister, Minister
to be allowed to recruit security. of Human Resource
research staff from abroad Development Prakash
NASA scientists have designed
and be encouraged to Javadekar announced a slew
an inflatable greenhouse
compete for research of measures to offer a fillip
projects from industry. • NASA scientists have to education for students
• The so-called ‘world class designed an inflatable belonging to the State.
universities’ are part of a greenhouse that astronauts • The quota for students from
government-outlined plan to could one day use to grow the State pursuing higher
raise funding for 10 public fresh food and produce education across the country
and 10 private universities oxygen on Mars or Moon. under the Pradhan Mantri
and mould them into • The prototype involves an Scholarship Scheme has been
institutions that rank among inflatable, deployable enhanced from two seats per
the world’s best. greenhouse to support plant sector per college to 10
• The names of these and crop production for seats.
institutions are expected to nutrition, air revitalisation, • The scheme has been offering
be made public later this water recycling and waste scholarships to 5,000
year. recycling. students of the State to pursue
• The NITI Aayog suggestions • While astronauts have education in engineering,
stem from a three-year vision successfully grown plants medical, management, and
document that outlines and vegetables aboard the hospitality sectors across the
targets and goals the International Space Station country.
Ministries — from railways (ISS), NASA wants to 33
National Issues
• Mr. Javadekar also • Global warming may be atmospheric heat and, more
committed to the setting up inching the oceans higher water being added from, for
of seven hostels for girl every year but researchers instance, melting ice sheets
students in the State. A sum studying the seas around and glaciers. In this case,
of Rs. 50 crore has been India report a paradox. said Mr. Ravichandran, 70%
sanctioned for the • From 1993 to 2003 — the first of the NIO’s warming could
construction of these hostels decade when satellites be explained by expansion.
at Bemina, Paloda, Thatri, started to consistently track • Unlike the Pacific and
Rajouri, Kupwara, Pulwama the rise and fall of ocean Atlantic, the NIO was
and Kargil, he said. heights and global hemmed in all sides, except
temperatures soared — the for an outlet on the southern
Also,Rs. 52 crore has been
north Indian Ocean (NIO) sea side. This influenced the rate
granted for two sanctioned
levels fell. at which heat was absorbed
engineering colleges in the
• The NIO consists of the and flushed out from within
Arabian Sea, the Bay of the system.
• India and Turkey called for Bengal and part of the Indian • According to their
collective fight against Ocean up till the 5°S latitude. calculations, heat was
terrorism After 2004, sea levels began moving out slower during
• Turkey and India called for a an unprecedented, after 2004 than during the
collective fight against accelerated spike till 2014. 1990s.
terrorism. Turkish President • This rise and fall was even as
Visiting Turkish President
condemned the attack on global temperatures steadily
supports India’s UNSC bid
CRPF personnel in Sukma, climbed and registered their
Chhattisgarh, and expressed largest two-decadal jump in • Jamia MilliaIslamia
solidarity with India. more than a century. conferred the Degree of
• “We will never bow to • Previous studies that had Doctor of Letters
terrorism that spreads tears measured ocean heights (HonorisCausa) to Turkish
and unhappiness. Terrorists based on traditional tide President RecepTayyip
will drown in their own gauges found that the NIO — Erdogan who is on a two-day
blood,” said Mr. Erdogan like the rest of the world’s visit to India.
• However, Mr. Erdogan’s seas — continued to rise • Citing the commonness and
condemnation of the killing between 1993 and 2004. familiarity between the
of security personnel in • The NIO went down about Indian and Turkish cultures,
central India contrasted with 0.3 mm a year and from 2004 he said that “culture and
his silence over the news of gained about 6 mm annually. education” were potential
alleged cross-border attack This was twice the global, areas which could take the
by elements based in annual average of about 3 relationship between both
Pakistan. mm. countries to the next level.
• The issue of cross-border • When temperature and sea • In his address, he supported
terrorism was strongly taken level trends in the NIO were a permanent United Nations
up by Prime Minister mathematically separated Security Council seat for
Narendra Modi who urged for out from the other oceans, the India and called for reforms
a common strategy against fall was even more dramatic: in the UNSC.
states that use terrorism as an nearly 3 mm per year and the • “India, with a population of
instrument of power. Arabian Sea cooling off 1.3 billion is not a part of the
rapidly at 4 mm per year. UNSC. Over 1.7 billion
Seas around India shows signs
• Sea levels primarily rise due people live in the Islamic
contrary to popular belief
to water expanding from world but they too are not a

National Issues
part of the UNSC. This is not • Mr. Modi announced the Voting Machine (EVM) count.
a healthy sign,” President satellite project at the 2014 • Election Commission (EC)
Erdogan said. SAARC summit in Nepal, and told that the office of the
• Criticising the current all SAARC countries, except Chief Election Commissioner
structure of the Council as Pakistan, have joined it. had received thousands of
arbitrary, he said that it was • The total cost of launching representations suggesting
set up to address the crisis the satellite is put at Rs. 235 that changes be made to the
emanating from the Second crore, and it will be met by recount rules to allow
World War but now that the Government of India, tallying with VVPAT slips.
situation had changed Minister of State for Atomic • Delhi Chief Minister Arvind
drastically. Energy and Space Jitendra Kejriwal had demanded that
• It therefore required Singh had said in Parliament. the Election Commission
thorough restructuring to • The GSAT-09 offers a full randomly count VVPAT-
address the current geo- range of applications and generated slips and tally
political reality of the world. services in them with EVM results.
“Only five permanent telecommunication and • The Election Commission
members of the Council are broadcasting: Television, functionary said that after the
deciding the fate of the entire Direct-to-Home (DTH), Very Centre approved the
world which is not fair”, he Small Aperture Terminals purchase of VVPAT
added. (VSATs), Tele-education, machines, there was little
Telemedicine and Disaster point in looking at why the
South Asia satellite to be
Management Support. Commission had to send
launched from Satish Dhawan
• The 2,230-kg satellite was several reminders to the
Space Centre
built by the Indian Space Government to sanction
• The ‘South Asia Satellite,’ Research Organisation and funds.
which India has built for use has 12 Ku-band transponders.
U.S. to decide on its
by countries of the South It is cuboid in shape and
continuation in the Paris
Asian Association for built around a central
climate agreement
Regional Cooperation cylinder. It has a mission life
(SAARC) will be launched on of over 12 years. • The U.S. will decide on its
May 5. • It will be launched from the continuation in the Paris
• This was announced by Prime Satish Dhawan Space Centre climate agreement in the next
Minister Narendra Modi in at Sriharikota on the two weeks, President Donald
his Mann Ki Baat radio Geostationary Launch Trump said, naming China,
address. Vehicle Mk-II. The GSLV-F09 Russia and India for allegedly
• He said the capacities of the is about 50 metre tall and is contributing nothing under
satellite and the facilities it the 11th flight of the GSLV. the treaty.
offered “will go a long way • During the campaign, Mr.
Election Commission is actively
in addressing South Asia’s Trump had promised to
considering revision of its
economic and withdraw from the treaty, but
recount rules
developmental priorities.” senior officials of his
• Natural resources mapping, • The Election Commission is administration are divided
telemedicine, education, actively considering revision over the issue. A decision is
deeper IT connectivity or of its recount rules so that expected before the G-7
fostering people-to-people slips generated by the Voter summit on May 26-27.
contact — this satellite will Verifiable Paper Audit Trail • “Our government rushed to
prove to be a boon in the (VVPAT) devices can be join international agreements
progress of the entire region. matched with the Electronic where the U.S. bears the 35
National Issues
costs and the burden while of the petition to farmers’ The double-row fence
other countries get the benefit suicides across the country consisting of concertina wire
and pay nothing and this and had asked the Centre on was constructed between
includes deals like the Paris March 27 to provide an 2003 and 2005.
Climate Accord...,” he said. action plan to end the human • A proposal has been in the
tragedy. works for sometime to install
Crop failure, absence of assured
• The affidavit suggests crop a smart fence which will also
water resources etc are reasons
insurance, crop and enable round-the-clock real-
for farmers suicides
enterprise diversification, time surveillance.
• A study conducted across 13 government intervention • The plan gained momentum
States by the Union through MSP covering cost of after the Pathankot and Uri
Agriculture Ministry throws production plus a reasonable terror attacks last year in
up the all-too-familiar profit margin, establishing which terrorists crossed the
reasons that drive farmers to farmers’ welfare cells as LoC and attacked military
suicide. support groups and installations.
• The Ministry’s agricultural regulating informal credit • The fence has already been
economic research unit, market as remedies. tested and installed along a
investigated farmers’ • Besides, the Reserve Bank of 50km stretch on a trial basis.
suicides in Tamil Nadu, India has allowed State and The project would be
Karnataka, Maharashtra, district level banks to take a implemented by the Army
Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, lenient view on rescheduling Corps of Engineers, the
Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, of loans if crop loss is 33% officer stated.
Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and or more. • Infiltration across the LoC
West Bengal. • The government has peaked last year in the
• The story behind each death highlighted the Kisan Credit aftermath of the surgical
points to frequent crop Card scheme and the e- strikes by the Army on terror
failure, vagaries of the National Agricultural Market camps in September. Attacks
monsoon, absence of assured Scheme launched on April 14, on military installations have
water resources, attacks of 2016 to “create a single also gone up dramatically
pests and diseases, debts, unified market for the State over the last two years.
farming and social causes. and ultimately for the nation • The border fence forms the
• Nothing has changed on the for agricultural first line of defence in the
ground for the farmer in the commodities.” three-tier counter-infiltration
past two years, as is clear grid. The new fence will be
Army is all set to accelerate
from the Union Home erected in place of the
work on installing a smart
Ministry’s National Crime existing one and is expected
fence along LOC
Records Bureau (NCRB), to cost around Rs. 1000
which disseminates and • With infiltration across the crore.
compiles information on Line of Control (LoC) on the • Under Phase-I, vulnerable
“suicides. rise, the Army is all set to areas and where most
• NCRB reports up to 2015 accelerate work on installing damage has occurred will be
reveal identical causes of a smart fence to replace the covered. The rest of the fence
suicides among farmers — existing border fence will be replaced in the
bankruptcy, farming-related following successful trials. second phase.
issues, family problems, • The existing one called the
Real Estate Regulatory Act to
illness, drug abuse or Anti-Infiltration Obstacle
come into force
alcoholism. System (AIOS) is located
• The court expanded the ambit about 700m from the LoC. • The much-awaited Real

National Issues
Estate Regulatory Act, which offices, other offices where planning to build the first-
promises to protect the rights properties are sold, all ever “moon village” that
of homebuyers and bring in branch offices and head could serve as a launching
transparency to the sector, office of the promoters in pad for deep space missions
comes into force. addition to the site of project. such as one to Mars, or even
• Though only 13 States and • As per the new act, 70% of as a spot for space tourism
Union Territories have the funds would have to be and lunar mining.
notified the rules so far, the deposited in a separate bank • Representatives of the
Centre believes that within account in case of new Chinese and European space
the next two months, others projects and 70% of unused agencies have discussed
too will follow suit. funds in case of ongoing collaborating on a moon-
• Real estate developers shall projects. base and other possible joint
get all the ongoing projects • Projects with plot size of endeavours. The plan was
that have not received minimum 500 sq.m or at least first revealed by Tian Yulong,
completion certificate and eight apartments shall be the secretary general of
the new projects registered registered. Both developers China’s space agency.
with regulatory authorities and buyers will pay penalty • Director general of the 22-
by July-end. This enables the for delays. The liability is on member ESA, has described
buyers to enforce their rights developers for structural its proposed “moon village”
and seek redress. defects for five years. as a potential international
• Under these regulations, launching pad for future deep
Moon village could serve as a
developers are required to space missions, such as to
launching pad for deep space
display sanctioned plans and Mars, and a chance to
layout plans of at least 3X2 develop tourism or even
feet size at all marketing • China and Europe are lunar mining.

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International Issues

U.S. President called on Middle “The Iranian regime has been United States’ Middle East
East to combat a Islamic the spearhead of global allies as being a sort of
extremism terrorism.” apology.
• Mr. Trump’s welcome in the
• U.S. President Donald Trump Swiss referendum to withdraw
region was also put on
called on Middle Eastern the country from nuclear power
display during a series of
leaders to combat a “crisis
individual meetings with • Swiss voters are supporting
of Islamic extremism”
Arab leaders. a referendum to withdraw
emanating from the region,
• Reinforcing his theme of U.S. the country from nuclear
casting the fight against
economic deals, the U.S. power in favour of renewable
terrorism as a “battle
President told Qatar’s Emir energy.
between good and evil”, not
Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al- • A projection from
a clash between the West and
Thani they would discuss referendum shows a majority
“lots of beautiful military of cantons (States) voted for
• Mr. Trump’s address was the
equipment because nobody the plan. Under Switzerland’s
centrepiece of his two-day
makes it like the United direct democracy system,
visit to Saudi Arabia, his first
States”. initiatives need a majority of
stop overseas as President.
• For Mr. Trump the visit has both cantons and votes to
• During a meeting of more
been a welcome escape from pass.
than 50 Arab and Muslim
the crush of controversies • The projection for SRF public
leaders, he sought to chart a
that have consumed his television showed 58% of
new course for America’s
administration in recent voters in favour and 42%
role in the region, one aimed
weeks. against the proposal.
squarely on rooting out
• The President’s trip to Saudi • The government wants to ban
terrorism, with less focus on
Arabia also served as the construction of new
promoting human rights and
something of a reset with the nuclear power plants and
democratic reforms.
region following his decommission the country’s
• Even as the President
presidential campaign, five existing ones at the end
pledged to work alongside
which was frequently of their technically safe
Middle Eastern nations, he
punctured by bouts of anti- operating lives.
put the onus for combating
Islamic rhetoric. He once
terrorism on the region. Rouhani promises to keep
mused that he thought “Islam
• Bellowing into the moderate policies
hates us”.
microphone, he implored
• That ban was blocked by the • It was a referendum on
Muslim leaders to
courts. A second order, Hassan Rouhani’s more
aggressively fight extremists
which dropped Iraq from the moderate political policies,
— “Drive them out of your
list, is tied up in federal court which paved the way for the
places of worship. Drive
and the federal government landmark 2015 nuclear deal
them out of your
is appealing. that won Iran relief from
• That speech was denounced some sanctions in exchange
• Sitting alongside Mr. Trump,
by many Republicans and for curbs on its nuclear
Saudi King Salman declared:
criticised by a number of the programme.

International Issues
• His resounding victory Japan approved a one-off Bill • Revered as a demigod
suggests that Iranians largely allowing ageing Emperor before and during the
approve of the President’s Akihito to step down conflict, Hirohito was
policies. reduced to a mere
• The Japanese government
• Mr. Rouhani has come to figurehead as part of postwar
approved a one-off Bill
embody more liberal and reforms.
allowing ageing Emperor
reform-minded Iranians’ • Akihito has won plaudits for
Akihito to step down from
hopes for greater freedoms seizing upon the
the Chrysanthemum Throne,
and openness at home, and constitutionally-prescribed
in the first such abdication in
better relations with the role of national symbol and
two centuries.
outside world. there is wide sympathy for
• The Bill will now be sent to
• “Great nation of Iran, you are his wish to retire.
Parliament for debate and
the winner of the election. I
likely receive swift final China reinvoked doctrine of
humbly bow down before
approval, Chief Cabinet Panchsheel to remove India’s
you. I will remain loyal to my
Secretary Yoshihide Suga concern
promises to you,” he wrote.
said after Prime Minister
• Iran’s President is the second- • China re-invoked the
Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet signed
most powerful figure within doctrine of Panchsheel — or
off on the legislation.
the country’s political system. the five principles of peaceful
• Abdication must take place
He is subordinate to the co-existence — as the
within three years of the Bill
supreme leader, who is template for addressing
becoming law.
chosen by a clerical panel India’s concerns over the
• Earlier this year reports
and has the ultimate say over China Pakistan Economic
suggested that 83-year-old
all matters of state. Corridor (CPEC) and the Belt
Akihito could step down at
• Although considered a and Road Initiative.
the end of December 2018
moderate by Iranian • India had decided to skip the
and be replaced by Crown
standards, Mr. Rouhani was summit hosted by China on
Prince Naruhito on January 1,
nonetheless the favourite grounds that the economic
pick for those seeking more corridor infringed New
• Reports of his desire to retire
liberal reforms in the Delhi’s sovereignty as it
surprised Japan when they
conservative Islamic passed through Pakistan-
emerged last July. In August
Republic. occupied Kashmir.
he publicly cited age and
• One of the first world leaders • Ms. Hua stressed that “we
declining health, which was
to congratulate Mr. Rouhani would like to follow the five
interpreted as his wish to
was Syrian President Bashar principles of coexistence in
hand the crown to his eldest
Assad, whose government is developing friendly relations
backed by Tehran. with other countries,
• But current Japanese law has
• Iran’s President oversees a including our efforts in
no provision for abdication,
vast state bureaucracy promoting regional
thus requiring politicians to
employing more than 2 connectivity”.
craft legislation to make it
million people, is charged • Ms. Hua reiterated that the
with naming Cabinet CPEC did not contradict the
• The status of the Emperor is
members and other officials “five principles” as China has
highly sensitive in Japan
to key posts, and plays a not changed its original
given its 20th century history
significant role in shaping position on the territorial
of war waged in the name of
both domestic and foreign status of Kashmir.
Akihito’s father Hirohito,
policy. • Regarding the status of
who died in 1989.
Kashmir, she reiterated that 39
International Issues
“as we said before, it is an materialise in their to irrigation technology.
issue between India and respective capitals. Japan • The Pakistani government
Pakistan and the Belt and decided to send a challenged the report, saying
Road Initiative will not delegation, notwithstanding the details were quoted from
change China’s position on contested sovereignty with one of the working papers
the Kashmir issue”. China over a set of reefs in prepared to be discussed
• In his keynote address at the the East China Sea. with the Chinese leadership
summit, President Xi • The Global Times reported during the recently-held Belt
highlighted that China “will that in his meeting with Mr. and Road Forum in Beijing.
enhance friendship and Nikai, President Xi said • The report states that Chinese
cooperation with all Tokyo is welcome to discuss enterprises will also operate
countries in the world on the cooperation with China their own farms, processing
Belt and Road Initiative. under the framework of the facilities for fruit and
• Panchsheel lists mutual Belt and Road Initiative vegetables and grain, while
respect for each other’s logistics companies will
Pakistan under fire in its own
territorial integrity and operate a large storage and
country for CPEC
sovereignty, mutual non- transportation system for
aggression, non-interference • Opposition leaders slammed agrarian produce.
in each other’s internal Pakistan govt after the Dawn • China’s plan is to gradually
affairs, equality and mutual daily disclosed the “master create a favourable industry
benefit and peaceful co- plan” of theCPEC, which will image and reputation for
existence, as the touchstones link the port city of Gwadar Pakistan by relying on
for international conduct. in Balochistan to China’s domestic demand, states the
Xinjiang province via a document.
Relations between China and
network of highways and • In the Balochistan and
Japan improved through Belt
railways. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
and Road forum
• Member of Parliament from provinces of the CPEC, the
• The recently concluded Belt the Opposition Pakistan focus is on mineral
and Road Forum in Beijing Peoples Party, said the extraction, with potential in
has triggered a cycle of government must come clean chrome ore and gold
diplomacy between China on the long-term plan for the reserves and diamonds
and Japan, which could yield corridor.
Chinese investments related to
a summit between Chinese • Dawn reported it had
the Belt and Road initiative
President Xi and Japanese acquired exclusive access to
have totalled $60 billion
PM, as well as Tokyo’s the original document that
participation in the AIIB. discloses what the Chinese • Chinese investments related
• Japan reported that China’s priorities are in Pakistan for to the Belt and Road initiative
top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, is the next decade and a half. have totalled $60 billion
heading for Tokyo next • The master plan, drawn up by since 2013, and Beijing plans
month to lay the groundwork the China Development Bank to invest $600 billion to $800
for a possible summit and the National billion in the next five years.
between the two leaders. Mr. Development Reform • Chinese investments were
Abe said he hoped to meet Commission of China, states expected to touch $120
Mr. Xi on the sidelines of the that thousands of acres of billion to $130 billion a year
G20 summit. agricultural land to be leased over the next five years.
• But there are also fresh out to Chinese enterprises to • “This will be a big driving
signals that a dialogue set up projects in areas force for a steady recovery
between the two could ranging from seed varieties in the global economy, and

International Issues
for free trade and upcountry Tamils of the countries will participate in
investment,” he said. The country, shining the spotlight the event.
scrutiny of outbound on the 1.6 million-strong
Donald Trump has approved a
investments by Chinese community inhabiting the
plan to arm Syrian Kurds
regulators will not affect the island’s Central and Southern
Belt and Road projects, Mr. provinces. • President Donald Trump has
Ning said. • Mr. Modi will speak at a approved a plan to arm
• China Development Bank public meeting in Norwood, Syrian Kurds so they can
and the Export-Import Bank in the island’s hill country, participate in the battle to
of China have extended $110 which is likely to draw tens retake Raqqa from the
billion in loans for the Belt of thousands of upcountry Islamic State, a strategy that
and Road projects by the end Tamils, most of them has drawn deep opposition
of 2016 and China has signed descendants of Indian-origin from Turkey, a NATO ally.
currency swap deals with the labourers brought in by the • U.S. military commanders
countries along the Belt and British. have long argued that arming
Road routes totalling 900 • This is the first time that an the YPG, a Kurdish militia
billion yuan. Indian Premier will travel to fighting alongside Syrian
the Central Province, where Arab forces against the
China wants Dalai Lama to be
the country’s famed tea Islamic State, is the fastest
estates are located, to way to seize Raqqa, the
• China urged the United States address Sri Lankans of recent capital of the militants’ self-
to isolate the Dalai Lama Indian origin. proclaimed caliphate.
following a meeting in • India has always expressed • And Mr. Trump, who made
Dharamsala between a U.S. concern for our Tamil fighting Islamist militants a
congressional delegation and brothers and sisters from the priority during his campaign,
the Tibetan leader. north and east. This visit is again showed the high regard
• U.S. Congressional only an extension of that to he has for Pentagon generals
delegation, led by House include Tamils from other by endorsing their advice
Democratic Leader Nancy parts of the island. when faced with a policy
Pelosi, visited the Dalai Lama • While TPA hopes to revive a dilemma.
in Dharamsala. 2014 MoU and seek Indian • Turkey has objected
• The meeting took place amid support in housing, vociferously to such a move,
signs that warming ties education and vocational raising fears of a backlash
between Washington and training, the CWC too wrote that could prompt the Turks
Beijing, after Chinese to Mr. Modi in April, to curtail their cooperation
President Xi Jinping and his requesting for assistance in with Washington in the
U.S. counterpart Donald the same areas. struggle against the Islamic
Trump met. • India is currently building State.
4,000 houses for estate • The President’s decision also
Tamil issue to come up during
workers. Mr. Modi will comes as his top advisers
PM’s visit
inaugurate a hospital in the recommended sending 3,000
• Prime Minister Narendra area built with Indian to 5,000 more U.S. troops to
Modi will arrive in Colombo assistance. try to break a stalemate in
on to participate in the • For the first time, Sri Lanka another hot spot — the 15-
international UN Vesak Day is hosting an international year war in Afghanistan.
hosted by Sri Lanka. conference and celebrations • The Turkish
• During the two-day visit, he around UN Vesak Day. governmentconsiders the
will address thousands of Nearly 750 people from 85 Kurdish force to be terrorists. 41
International Issues
Modi to visit Sri Lanka on UN Brexit and the election of • As the Republican leadership
Vesak day Donald Trump in U.S. conceded more and more
• Despite widespread doubts, demands by extreme
• Modi arrives in Sri Lanka,
analysts agreed that the sheer conservative lawmakers, the
and will inaugurate the UN
scale of his victory gave one bill in its current version
Vesak Day celebrations in
of the EU’s most powerful makes health insurance
Colombo, being held to mark
member States a small costlier for older and sicker
Buddha Poornima.
window to change the bloc. people, while restricting the
• He would go to the Central
• The first and crucial step will scope and reach of the state-
Province, which is home to
be to get Germany, the bloc's run Medicaid programme for
thousands of upcountry
most powerful member, the poor.
Tamils, descendants of
onside. To do that, Macron • Republicans have a 52-48
Indian-origin tea estate
is banking on delivering to majority in the Senate, and
workers brought down to Sri
Germany what it has always several Senators have said
Lanka by the British.
wanted from France: they would not support the
• Apart from inaugurating an
meaningful pro-market bill in its current form. The
India-funded hospital facility
reforms. bill had a narrow victory in
nearby, Mr. Modi will
• But Mr. Macron's willingness the House, 217-213, even as
address a public meeting in
to placate Germany has led 20 moderate Republicans
the estates, in which
critics at home to portray him voted against it.
President Maithripala
as the puppet of Chancellor • The bill as passed by the
Sirisena and Prime Minister
Angela Merkel. House moves in the opposite
Ranil Wickremesinghe are
• Mr. Macron will get his first direction, but Mr. Trump
expected to participate.
taste of the challenges ahead presented it differently.
• Wasps are commonly found
when the European Flanked by Republican
insects in tropical Sri Lanka
Commission delivers it members of the House, the
and are known to have a
economic forecasts for EU President said he was
formidable sting. Wasp
states “confident” the Senate would
attacks are often reported in
also vote to repeal
the island’s tea estates, Obama’s flagship program
where workers are most ,Obamacare, could be
• Mr. Trump has earlier been a
vulnerable. dismantled
supporter of a universal
Despite Macron’s win EU still • Protections available to health care system modelled
faces challenges older, poorer and sicker after Australia and Canada,
Americans under the but has never put out any
• France’s choice of pro-EU
country’s existing healthcare detailed plans.
Emmanuel Macron over
system could be curtailed if • As President, he has moved
eurosceptic Marine Le Pen
a bill passed by the U.S. along with the Republican
has sparked euphoria in
House of Representatives is legislative leadership that is
Brussels, but analysts warn
approved by the Senate. ideologically against
his ambitions for profound
• The Republicans who control subsidies.
change in the European
the White House and both • If the new proposals become
Union will prove challenging.
chambers of legislature law, the younger and richer
• Praise for Mr. Macron poured
celebrated the passage of the cohorts will gain as they
in from Brussels, with top EU
bill as they moved a step would not be cross-
officials hailing his win as a
closer to dismantling the subsidising others.
much needed check to a
existing Affordable Care Act, • The proposals could,
populist wave that delivered
or Obamacare. however, exclude 24 million

International Issues
people from insurance delivery of relief supplies prepare a partly unclassified
coverage over the next and medical aid, the report on Venezuelan
decade, the Congressional document said. government officials’
Budget Office has estimated. • But issues including which involvement in corruption
Taxes on richer segments that countries could police any and drug trafficking.
supported part of the safe zones remain unclear. • Two people were killed
subsidies in Obamacare Russian President Vladimir overnight when the bus they
have been removed Putin said ways to monitor were travelling in flipped
the zones would be an issue when it tried to avoid a
Deal signed for creating safe
for separate talks. barricade set up by
zones in Syria
• Syrian rebels said earlier protesters, according to
• Syrian regime allies Russia that they had resumed opposition activists who live
and Iran and rebel supporter participation in the talks after near the accident site in
Turkey signed a having suspended their Carabobo state.
memorandum on a Moscow- involvement a day earlier • The deaths bring to 32 the
backed plan to create safe over air strikes against number of people who have
zones in Syria to bolster a civilians died in the unrest over the
fragile truce. past month.
US says it may impose more
• An AFP reporter at peace
sanctions on Venezuela ASEAN focussed on a regional
talks in the Kazakh capital
trade pact
Astana saw the heads of the • The Trump administration is
delegations, representing the warning that it might impose • Steering clear of blaming
three countries sponsoring more sanctions on China for the maritime
the negotiations, sign the Venezuelan officials over disputes in the South China
document. President Nicolas Maduro’s Sea, the 10-member
• However, a member of the push to rewrite the Association of South East
rebel delegation left the Constitution amid an Asian Nations (ASEAN) has
room, shouting against escalating political crisis focussed on a regional trade
regime ally Iran. The Syrian with near-daily pact and shoring up
government and rebel demonstrations calling for economies of some of the
delegations are not his ouster. lesser developed countries in
signatories. • The warning comes as the grouping.
• The Kremlin has been touting pressure is building on the • A statement issued at the end
a plan to create safe zones Trump administration from of the Manila summit took
in Syria that is aimed to the U.S. Congress to act more note of the improving
“further pacification and forcefully to rein in Mr. cooperation between ASEAN
cessation of hostilities”. Maduro. and China. It welcomed the
• “As a result the guarantor • Bipartisan group of senators progress to complete a
countries agreed to sign a said it will introduce framework of the code of
memorandum on the creation legislation providing conduct in the South China
of de-escalation zones in humanitarian assistance to Sea by mid-2017.
Syria.” Venezuela while toughening • The code is a non-binding
• The aim is to “put an sanctions against corrupt document that urges self-
immediate end to the officials, according to Senate restraint and resolution of
violence” and “provide the aides who spoke on disputes through direct
conditions for the safe, condition of anonymity. negotiations
voluntary return of refugees” • The legislation also instructs • The document welcomed the
as well as the immediate the intelligence community to operationalisation of the 43
International Issues
Guidelines for Hotline • The document highlighted a secretive U.S. government
Communications among commitment to assist satellite, known only as
senior officials of the Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar NROL-76, marking the first
ministries of foreign affairs of and Vietnam to enable them military launch for the
ASEAN countries and China to bolster regional California-based aerospace
in response to maritime integration. company.
emergencies. • The grouping reaffirmed its • The payload for the National
• The leaders focused on the aspiration to play a bigger Reconnaissance Office,
Regional Comprehensive role in the global economy which makes and operates
Economic Partnership RCEP and reiterated their full spy satellites for the United
negotiations, pointing out support for the States, soared into the sky
that the giant free trade pact denuclearisation of the atop a Falcon 9 rocket at
will boost global trade. Korean Peninsula, and for 1115 GMT.
• The RCEP is a proposed free concerned parties to explore • SpaceX has already made
trade agreement between all avenues for dialogue. multiple successful landings
ASEAN and six other states — some on land and others
First U.S. Govt satellite blasted
— Australia, China, India, on floating ocean platforms,
off by Spacex
Japan, South Korea and New known as drone ships.
Zealand. • SpaceX blasted off a

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RBI has revised the norms for negative return on assets for cooperation between India and
prompt corrective action four consecutive years. Africa. Mr. Jaitley will open the
• There are two type of India-Africa Cooperation
• As the financial health of banks restrictions, mandatory and session being held in
had deteriorated over the last discretionary. Restrictions on conjunction with the annual
three years, the Reserve Bank of dividend, branch expansion, meeting of the African
India (RBI) has revised the directors compensation, are Development Bank (AfDB).
norms for prompt corrective mandatory while discretionary • The sessions will cover areas
action, and has promptly restrictions could include curbs such as trade and investment,
imposed those norms on a on lending and deposit. agriculture, renewable energy
couple of public sector • In the cases of two banks where and manufacturing among
lenders. PCA was invoked after the others.
• PCA norms allow the regulator revised guidelines were issued • Total trade between India and
to place certain restrictions — IDBI Bank and UCO Bank — Africa increased almost fivefold
such as halting branch only mandatory restrictions between 2005-06 and 2015-16,
expansion and stopping were imposed. Both the banks and stood at $52 billion in
dividend payment. It can even breached risk threshold 2. March 2016-17.
cap a bank’s lending limit to one • Some more lenders are • This is the first time that the
entity or sector. expected to come under the African Development Bank is
• Other corrective action that can corrective action framework as holding its annual meeting
be imposed on banks include and when their asset quality outside of the African continent.
special audit, restructuring worsens, putting profitability
operations and activation of under pressure. A solution for the NPA problem
recovery plan. Banks’ promoters • Some public sector banks have for PSU banks has proved
can be asked to bring in new breached the net NPA elusive
management, too. The RBI can parameter as well as the
also supersede the bank’s • A solution for the NPA problem
profitability parameter. These for PSU banks has proved
board, under PCA. banks are comfortable on the
• The provisions of the revised elusive so far. The authorities
capital parameter, thanks to the have been in denial mode for
PCA framework will be government’s commitment to
effective April 1, 2017 based long and the problem’s depth
ensure the PSU banks are not and extent have been revealed
on the financials of the banks starved of capital.
for the year ended March 31, only recently.
• However, as the government • The efforts of RBI have not
2017. The framework will be has its own commitment for
reviewed after three years. borne fruit: The 5/25 scheme
maintaining fiscal discipline, it which permitted extension of
• The PCA is invoked when remains to been seen how long
certain risk thresholds are loan amortization period up to
it can afford to infuse capital in 25 years with interest reset
breached. There are three risk these banks.
thresholds which are based on every 5 years did not work as
certain levels of asset quality, FM will discuss potential areas the higher interest burden due
profitability, capital and the like. of boosting cooperation between to tenor extension required
• The third such threshold, which India and Africa additional borrowing which
is maximum tolerance limit, sets worsened the initial problem.
• Finance Minister will discuss • The sale of NPAs to Asset
net NPA at over 12% and
potential areas of boosting Reconstruction Companies 45
(ARC) has so far been very low did in the past catches within a ‘command and control’
due to two main reasons: banks attention. framework.
have been reluctant to sell NPA • The details are sketchy, • Such restructuring can be an
at a price reflecting their untenable, and even confusing, eclectic combination of all the
realisable economic value. though. By way of illustration, if schemes launched so far, the
• Banks received only 15% of the PARA were to operate guiding principle being loss-
NPA sales consideration in professionally and not on sharing: the promoters should
cash, while the rest was given political principles, it will be shed their equity in favour of
by way of security receipts (SR) required to buy NPAs at prices banks at realistic valuation to the
which meant that the seller that will involve deep extent the latter are reducing
bank continued to be exposed writedowns by banks. debt.
to the risk of short recovery of • More importantly, if the PSU
Weaker U.S. dollar may help
the loan from the borrower. banks are to cleanse their
• The Strategic Debt balance sheet within a year of keep the profit momentum
Restructuring scheme (SDR), PARA coming into existence, rolling
unveiled in June, 2015, involved their aggregate credit loss of • With S&P 500 companies set to
banks taking over companies by around Rs. 4 trillion will have to notch their strongest quarterly
converting debt into equity, be funded upfront. Who will do earnings growth in about six
replacing the promoters and this? years, a weaker U.S. dollar may
thereafter selling their equity • The accompanying table help keep the profit momentum
holdings to new investors. illustrates the debt of top ten rolling and support share prices
• However, as of December, stressed corporate groups in the coming weeks.
2016, only two such cases of aggregating Rs. 7.5 trillion, • After a dramatic week in
sale had materialised. which needs to be written Washington that rattled financial
• The Scheme for Sustainable down to spur their revival. It is markets, one possible silver
Structuring of Stressed Assets beyond the ability of the lining for stock investors was the
(S4A) was introduced in June, government to do this even over weaker dollar, which can
2016, whereby the outstanding three years. support earnings of U.S.
bank loan is required to be • The RBI took a policy decision multinational companies with
bifurcated into sustainable and in 1997 to achieve and maintain large foreign operations.
unsustainable portions, a ratio of internal reserves to • The dollar weakened 0.5%
enabling the borrower assets at 12% to ensure against a basket of currencies
company to be revived and adequate risk capital for its following reports that U.S.
making it possible for the balance sheet. President Donald Trump tried
sustainable portion to be • The ratio increased steadily to interfere with an investigation
repaid. thereafter, exceeding 12% in into his former national security
• Further, both resolution and 2009-10 and remaining close to adviser’s ties with Russia,
bankruptcy will cause 12% in the following year. It fell revelations that also sparked the
significant loss to banks. But the subsequently and now it is at S&P 500’s biggest one-day
boards and senior management 7.5%. drop in eight months.
of PSU banks have all the • Needless to say, the last three • The currency was on track for
incentive to prefer a much years have witnessed a sharp its biggest weekly percentage
higher loss through resolution or drop in the usable equity of RBI. drop in a year, and so far in 2017
bankruptcy vis-a-vis a By all indications, RBI is under- the dollar has pulled back 5%,
commercially driven write-off capitalised right now. erasing post-U.S. election gains.
decision. • There is no magic solution. Nor • Dollar movements can be
• Like all grand ideas, the is there any possibility of finding significant for U.S.-based
proposition to set up a Public a solution within the extant multinationals. The stronger the
Sector Asset Rehabilitation political-bureaucratic paradigm greenback is against other
Agency (PARA) a la what China that seeks to keep the PSU banks currencies, the less valuable

foreign sales become when on sweetened aerated water • Ministry of New and Renewable
translated into the U.S. currency and flavoured water. Energy had made a presentation
for reporting purposes. • This will have a negative ripple to the GST Council seeking zero
• First-quarter profits are on pace effect and hurt the entire rate of tax on the ground that
to rise 15.2%, according to ecosystem of farmers, retailers, any upward impact on tariffs
Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. distributors and bottlers. due to GST would have
Second-quarter earnings are significant adverse effects on
GST council did not help
expected to rise 8.5%, a figure the industry.
that could swell depending on environmentally friendly goods
Trade ministers of 16 countries,
currency moves. The dollar has • GST Council’s treatment of
fallen 3.2% in the second including India and China, to
goods such as commercial LPG,
quarter alone. discuss RCEP
hybrid cars, and renewable
• Companies with significant energy components has missed • Trade ministers of 16 countries,
global operations have already an opportunity to back including India and China, will
showed strength as the dollar environmentally friendly goods. meet on May 21 and 22 in
has weakened in the first • The GST Councilfinalised the Vietnam to discuss progress in
quarter. rates and cess for most of the the ongoing negotiations of
• S&P 500 companies with more goods under the purview of the proposed trade deal, RCEP.
than half their revenue from tax. • So far, negotiators of the
outside the U.S. reported a • Among these, it set a rate of 18% Regional Comprehensive
13.2% increase in earnings, for commercial LPG, and 5% for Economic Partnership (RCEP)
excluding the energy sector, all renewable energy devices have held 18 rounds of
compared with a 10.6% and spare parts, although the negotiations.
increase for companies with half Ministry of New and Renewable • This will be a crucial meeting in
or more of revenues coming Energy had requested Hanoi. Ministers would
domestically exemption for these items. deliberate on the single—tier
Cellular Operators Association • LPG for domestic use would be system of duty relaxations,
taxed at 5% while LPG used besides issues related to
of India disaapointed over 18%
commercially and in cars would services and investments.
GST rate
be taxed at 18%. • Chief negotiators of all the
• The Cellular Operators • This would also encourage theft, countries recently held
Association of India has since people already transfer discussions in the Philippines.
expressed its disappointment LPG from domestic cylinders to
commercial containers to avoid India has extended credit
over the 18% rate of tax under
GST for telecom saying it would the higher tax, Mr. Gupta said. totalling $7.6 billion to African
make services more expensive • Under GST, the government will nations
for the consumers as the also levy cesses on certain sin • India has extended credit
industry is currently taxed at and luxury goods, over and totalling $7.6 billion to African
15%. above the highest tax rate of nations and aims to use the
• The Indian Beverage 28%. upcoming annual meeting of
Association (IBA) has also • In this system, it has clubbed the African Development Bank
voiced its dissatisfaction with together sport-utility vehicles in Gujarat this month to
sweetened aerated water and (SUVs), which usually have strengthen its trade ties with the
flavoured water being placed higher emission levels, and continent.
in the highest tax slab rate of hybrid vehicles, and set the cess • As on March 31, 2017, India has
28% combined with an at 15%. extended 152 lines of credit to
additional cess of 12%. • At the same time, the cess on 44 African nations amounting to
• The IBA, in a statement, said it ultra-luxury products, like $7.6 billion, Economic Affairs
was “extremely disappointed” private planes and yachts, has Secretary Shaktikanta Das said.
at the effective tax rate of 40% been set at a relatively low 3%. 47
The meeting will take place on shows. was in the 8-9% range.
May 22-26 in Gandhinagar, • The surge was primarily due to
GST will pare the cost of
Gujarat. higher mobilisation by the
• Prime Minister Narendra Modi, private sector. transport and logistics,
who will inaugurate the • When compared with the formalise the sector
meeting, had in the India-Africa previous financial year, FY17 • The Goods and Services Tax,
Summit committed a $10 billion saw an increase of 43% over set to start on July 1, will pare
line of credit to African nations. FY16’s Rs. 4.92 lakh crore. the cost of transport and
• The African Development Bank • Incidentally, the share of the logistics, formalise the sector,
(AfDB) has 81 member private sector, currently and could help bring supply
countries, 57 of which are from pegged at 47%, has been rising chain management to the
Africa. India is among the other steadily. Six years ago, the forefront, according to officials
24 non-regional members. private sector share was 23% in working on the new tax regime.
• Indian companies have the overall segment. • Separately, the Goods and
invested $72 billion in African • The analysis showed Services Tax Network, the
nations as of 2014-15, Mr. Das government organisations and company tasked with running
added, saying that this made up government financial the IT infrastructure for GST, has
20% of the total investment in institutions together mobilised already migrated taxpayer
those countries. 40% of the total amount, lower information from State and
than the 42% in the previous central tax authorities to its
Free scanner tool to detect and
year. database.
remove WannaCry and other • Within the segment, all-India • With the GST Council meeting
ransomware files financial institutions/banks led to finalise the rules pertaining
• K7 Computing Pvt. Ltd., a local with a 69% share, followed by a to various aspects of GST,
IT security company, has 24% share by public sector industry leaders and tax experts
unveiled a free scanner tool to undertakings and a 7% share by have raised several issues that
detect and remove WannaCry state level undertakings. the Council must look at.
and other ransomware files. • The highest mobilisation • Just like the GST Network rates
• The tool would also detect and through debt private vendors on the basis of their
provide protection against placements in the year was by compliance, firms must also
botnets — a collection of HDFC (Rs. 44,546 crore) internally rate vendors, Mr.
Internet-connected devices, followed by PFC (Rs. 41,115 Prasad said. “Extending
which may include PCs, servers, crore), NHAI (Rs. 33,118 crore) support to SMEs through various
mobile devices and Internet of and LIC Housing (Rs. 26,874 forums is also something we
Things devices that are infected crore). must think about,” he said.
and controlled by a common • The maximum amount — 30%
of the total — was raised in the Way for multibrand foreign
type of malware.
• The free scanner tool could be 3-5 year maturity bucket retailers to tap the Indian
downloaded from the followed by the more than 10 market
company's website and utilised years bucket, whose share was
• Centre is expected to pave the
by individual users. pegged at 27%.
way for multibrand foreign
• Highest ever mobilisation • In terms of coupon rates, 35%
retailers to tap the Indian
through corporate bonds of the total amount raised was
market, by allowing overseas
• The financial year 2016-17 in the 7-8% coupon range and
investors in the food retail
witnessed the highest ever 32% of the amount was in the 8-
segment to offer ‘Made in India’
mobilisation through corporate 9% per cent coupon range.
non-food items as well,
bonds on private placement • Interestingly, this was in
according to Food Processing
basis of Rs. 7.04 lakh crore by contrast to 2015-16, when only
661 institutions and corporates, 6% of the amount was in the 7-
• The Prime Minister’s Office
an analysis by Prime Database 8% coupon range while 48%
(PMO) had assured her ministry

that the concerned foreign that “we thought would always for SBI and its associates and
direct investment (FDI) norms be a dynamic sector for India” 2.9% (annual) for nationalised
would be tweaked as a is ‘now the new problem.’ banks.
‘sweetener’ for foreign investors • Employment is a very important • PSU banks are not only fast
likely to attend a mega World question that the government is losing business share to other
Food Forum being held in the very focused on and takes very banks and NBFCs but are a now
national capital this November. seriously. The problem is this – drag on the economy.
• While India’s $600 billion retail it’s relatively easy to diagnose • To the extent that their inability
sector, with 70% of it that there is an employment or reluctance to expand credit
comprising food, is a ‘mind problem. is caused by their persistently
boggling’ proposition for • India’s boom period in the high stressed assets– estimated
foreign retailers grappling with 2000s led to job creation in at about 17% of their aggregate
stagnating growth in the three sectors that did extremely loans and advances and still
developed world, the minister well, Mr. Subramanian said after rising — the problem has
said that the food-only model a public lecture at the Nehru assumed a structural dimension.
was a challenge for them. Memorial Museum and Library. • This was indicated in an
• India had opened up 100% FDI empirical finding in RBI’s annual
Equity indices reached new
in multibrand food retail and report for 2014-15 that the NPA
food processing sectors in early highs ratio (to aggregate loans and
2016. • The equity benchmark indices advances) and credit growth
• Investors had also pointed out touched new highs as investors exhibit a high negative
that multibrand food retail continued to take note of correlation.
ventures entailed a lot of positives emanating from • And contrary to popular
investment in infrastructure but domestic factors like a good perception, there is no hard
the margins had to be really monsoon forecast and low evidence that the high NPA of
small as one could not be viable inflation numbers along with PSU banks is caused by any
with big margins on food. firm global cues. cyclical downturn of the
• For consumers, in any case, it • The 30-share Sensex surged economy or a fall in commodity
was more convenient to buy 260.48 points to 30,582.6. price.
food and small home care items Barring the BSE Metal index, all • If this were the case, then NPAs
in one place instead of going to sectoral indices also ended for small-scale industries would
different retailers, Ms. Badal with gains. The broader 50- have been much higher. Also,
added. share Nifty rose 66.85 points to NPAs of the private sector and
9,512.25. The BSE saw 1,414 foreign banks would have been
Chief Economic Advisor says
stocks gaining against 1,367 similarly high.
India’s employment challenge • The financial performance of
is very difficult PSU banks has also been on a
Banks in India facing worst of sharp decline, with their return
• India’s current employment
challenges on assets (RoA) falling from
challenge is particularly difficult
as sectors that did well in • Never in their existence so far about 0.8% in 2011-12 to
generating jobs in the country’s have they collectively faced a negative 0.2% in 2015-16.
previous economic boom years crisis such as the current one. A • Factoring in the slight increase
— information technology (IT), close look at a few critical in their leverage from 5.8 to 6.1
construction and agriculture – numbers would reveal the in the period, the return on
are in trouble now, Chief extent of damage that has been equity (RoE) nosedived from
Economic Advisor said. caused to their financial health: 14% to negative 3.5%.
• Stressing that the economy • Their credit growth has been on • Their equity shares are now
needs to clock 8% to 10% a continuous decline for the last trading at different deep
growth for greater job creation, five years, and in December discounts to book value,
the CEA said that the IT sector 2016 it was only 5.3% (annual) although some buoyancy in the 49
prices of a few of them is Social security law may be employing at least 20 workers
observed, of late. implemented in phases at present.
• The first signs of a sharp rise in • Further, medical benefits under
the NPAs of PSU banks were • The Labour Ministry may the Employees’ State Insurance
seen in early 2012 on the back implement its proposed social Act apply to factories with at
of a surge in ‘restructured security law in a phased manner, least 10 workers and it is also
standard advances’. exempting small factories applicable to shops, hotels,
• The present NPA problem has employing up to 10 workers, restaurants, cinemas and road
its provenance in the generous, from its ambit initially. transport undertakings.
imprudent and perhaps • The small factories could be • According to the Sixth
politically-inspired covered in the second phase. Economic Census, 98.62% of
restructuring leeway given to Factories employing more than the total establishments in India
banks by RBI in 2008-09 and 10 workers and informal sector — both agricultural and non-
thereafter, which, among other workers can be covered in the agricultural sectors — employ
things, created a bizarre first phase. less than 10 workers.
incentive for banks to hide • After two years, factories • Providing social security to all
NPAs on a scale never employing less than 10 workers workers will be one of the key
witnessed before. can also be brought under the themes of the 47th Indian
• Since the beginning of 2012, framework of the proposed Labour Conference (ILC) which
successive Financial Stability social security law. is likely to be inaugurated by
Reports (FSR) of RBI have • The Labour Ministry had, in Prime Minister Narendra Modi
played a kind of hide-and-seek March, proposed a labour code later this year.
game with their analyses and on social security which will
provide social security cover to There is still lot to be done on
projections of PSU banks’ NPAs.
• Incidentally, the June 2012 FSR the entire workforce in the GST
of RBI put the probability of a country, including self-
• The Goods and Services Tax
restructured standard advance employed and agricultural
Council will meet on May 18-19
becoming an NPA at only 15%. workers. Factories with even a
to finalise various rules involved
Four years later, the FSR of June single worker would have had
with implementing the new tax
2016 admitted that an to contribute towards social
regime in the country, including
‘increasing proportion of security benefits, as per the
on issues like input tax credit,
restructured advances are code.
valuation norms.?
reckoned as NPA’. • This was the first time that the
• The GST Council has met 13
• The GNPA ratio for PSU banks Central government had
times to finalise the minutiae of
increased threefold between proposed a law for providing
the five laws that will help bring
2013 and 2016, while that of universal social security to all
the new tax regime to reality.
private sector banks rose only workers which have been one
Four of these laws have been
marginally. of the key demands of the
cleared by the Union Cabinet
• The last Economic Survey puts central trade unions.
and passed by Parliament.
the gross non-performing loans • However, small and medium
• The fifth, the State GST law,
for India’s banking system at enterprises, which are kept out
needs to be passed by the
$191 billion equivalent (8.4% of of social security schemes at
legislative assemblies of each
India’s GDP). present, had raised concerns
state and union territory with
• The debt owed by the top 10 over the government’s proposal.
legislature. The Council still has
stressed business groups in • The provident fund and
to finalise the rules and rates of
India increased from Rs. 1,372 pension contribution,
individual products and
billion in FY08 to Rs. 7,519 administered by the
billion by FY16. Bulk of the Employees’ Provident Fund
• The draft rules that will be
incremental debt in this period Organisation (EPFO), is
finalised during the upcoming
is likely to end up as NPA. mandatory only for factories
Council meeting do not as yet

address key operational issues length. The first four define the assets (NPAs), have reached
that directly affect vendors, category and the subsequent unacceptably high levels and
distributors, and service digits specify the exact need urgent attention, the
providers. product. government ordinance to
• These issues include the place • The tax rates are not likely to be amend the BR Act noted.
of supply rules for service made public in the next • According to industry
companies. Clarity on this will meeting of the GST Council. estimates, bad loans in the
determine whether a service There is no great urgency on this banking sector could be as high
has been provided on an inter- count, because the numbers as Rs. 14 lakh crore.
state or intra-state basis, which can simply be plugged into the • The NPAs in the banking system
in turn will determine whether software as and when they are have gone up sharply in the last
the Integrated GST tax will known without having to couple of years, particularly
apply. change the code itself. after the Asset Quality Review
• Another major issue is the • Also, revealing rates too early of the RBI in December 2015.
treatment of cases where the may lead to hoarding of goods • Following the review, the RBI
billing address is different from that are likely to be more handed out a list of borrowers
the shipping address. expensive under GST due to to the banks and asked them to
• Since most companies have so higher tax incidence. classify which of the loans could
far configured their ERP • Knowing the tax rates of be termed NPAs.
programs to incorporate GST as individual items could greatly • Many public sector banks like
a destination-based tax, there help firms in their procurement Bank of India and IDBI Bank, to
is no clarity as yet in the rules as decisions for the July- name a few, suffered huge
to what happens if the September quarter. losses owing to the exercise.
destination of the goods or • According to RBI data, gross
Amendment to the Banking
service is different from where NPA as a percentage of gross
the bill is to be made. Regulation Act to give more advances went up to 9.1% in
• The e-waybill has to be powers to RBI September 2016 from 5.1% in
accepted by the seller, • The Central government has September 2015.
transporter, and recipient for amended the Banking • During the same period,
the transaction to be closed as Regulation Act to give more stressed assets, which are gross
far the GST Network is powers to the Reserve Bank of NPA plus standard restructured
concerned. India (RBI) to fast-track advances and write-offs, moved
• Reconciliation of waybills is a resolution of stressed assets in a up from 11.3% to 12.3% and
big problem now, with the time-bound manner. some estimates suggested it had
recipient usually failing to • Sec 35 AA authorises the RBI to doubled since 2013.
accept the waybill, leaving the issue directions to banks to • Public sector banks share a
transaction incomplete. The e- initiate the insolvency process disproportionate burden of this
waybill system will require a big in case a party has defaulted stress. Stressed assets in some
change in behaviour for it to under the provisions of the of the public sector banks have
work, they say. Insolvency and Bankruptcy approached or exceeded 20%.
• A larger issue is that Code, 2016, and 35 AB allows • The RBI had announced several
incorporating GST will require the RBI to issue directions to schemes in the last two years to
SMEs to overhaul and banks for resolution of stressed resolve the bad loans crisis such
computerise their systems, since assets. as Strategic Debt Restructuring
even dealing with the • The banking regulator has also and Sustainable Structuring of
Harmonized System of been allowed to specify one or Stressed Assets.
Nomenclature (HSN) codes for more authorities or committees • The banks have always been
individual products will require to handle bad loans. wary of the deep ‘haircuts’ they
a computer. • Stressed assets in the banking may have to take during
• The codes are up to 10 digits in system, or non-performing restructuring of bad loans. 51
When a bank takes a ‘haircut,’ it Development Authority (RDA), system, financial management,
gives up a part of its claims on a would not just look at tariff setting technical standards and
borrower. structures for passenger and compliance of safety standards,
• Bankers were worried that in freight operations but also set the resolution said.
case a deep haircut was taken, standards of performance and • It clarified that the regulator
investigating agencies like the efficiency that would be would only make
Central Bureau of Investigation enforceable under the Railways recommendations on tariff and
would harass them, especially Act. not impose a tariff on the Indian
if the borrower could not repay • The regulator will set “standards Railways.
the dues even after for efficiency and performance
Centre plans to provide them
restructuring. for consumer satisfaction in
• Now, the RBI and the both passenger and freight” and financial assistance to 4 million
government are expected to will also be “authorised to check fisherman
give banks some assurance that for deviations and suggest • With about four million people
they will not be hounded by remedial measures.” — mainly small-scale and
investigating agencies if • The regulator will provide artisanal fishers — in India
something goes wrong, as guidance on quantity and depending on marine fisheries
business decisions do not quality of service provided to resources for livelihood, the
always yield the desired results. passengers. Centre plans to provide them
• Following the amendment of • These may include setting financial assistance and
the Banking Regulation Act, the standards including hours of introduce norms to improve
RBI issued a notification about service, frequency of trains, labour conditions in the sector.
the lenders required in the JLF capacity per coach, cleanliness • However, it will ensure that the
to approve a resolution proposal level, and quality of water, food, Indian fishing fleet does not
— to 60% from 75% of lenders furnishing and linen. engage in ‘Illegal, Unreported
by value, and to 50% from 60% • The Union Cabinet had last and Unregulated’ (IUU) fishing,
of lenders by number. month approved setting up the according to the National Policy
• The amendment to the Banking rail regulator responsible for on Marine Fisheries, 2017.
Regulation Act is expected to recommending passenger • The Indian marine fisheries
force banks to take a decision fares, setting performance account for an economic
under a strict time frame. standards for rail operations and wealth of about Rs. 65,000
However, the devil will be in creating a level playing policy crore, according to the policy
the detail as the RBI is expected for private sector participation. — meant to guide the
to issue detailed guidelines • The resolution states that the coordination and management
under what circumstances a regulator will be mandated to of India’s marine fisheries during
loan can be restructured. “suggest measures for absorbing the next 10 years.
• It is highly unlikely — contrary new technologies for achieving • It noted that fishermen are
to what is speculated — that the desired efficiency and having difficulties in availing
RBI will take a call on specific performance standards.” institutional credit to buy fishing
accounts on the amount of • The Railway Board also defined implements and crafts, and that
haircut a bank will take while the structure of the RDA with a the risky nature of returns has
recasting the debt. In all Chairman along with three led to many fishermen falling
probability, the RBI will prepare members each for tariff, public into the debt trap of private
a broad framework, which the private partnership and financiers and middlemen.
banks have to follow. efficiency, standards and • Therefore, the Centre, with the
benchmarking. help of National Bank of
Rail development authority to
• The regulator will, however, not Agriculture and Rural
set standards of performance involve itself in policy making of Development, will provide
and efficiency the Indian Railways, operations financial assistance to
• India’s first rail regulator, Rail and maintenance of the rail fishermen with liberal terms and

conditions. • Restrictions on dividend • Specifically, the impact on the
• In addition, the Government distribution, domestic and informal economy and cash-
will introduce new schemes to overseas branch expansion, based sectors, which are
skill traditional fishermen. higher provisioning, are part of relatively large and have been
mandatory restrictions. affected the most by the cash
NHAI to raise about Rs. 5,000
• However, discretionary crunch, is likely to be
crore by issuing masala bonds restrictions like curbs on understated because these
• The National Highways lending or accepting deposits sectors are either not covered
Authority of India will soon raise had not been imposed, the in the official statistics or are
about Rs. 5,000 crore by issuing sources added. proxied by the formal sector
masala bonds to be listed on the activity indicators.
PM reviewed the progress of
London Stock Exchange. • However, these were likely to
key infrastructure sectors be short-term impacts and
• Road Transport and Highways
Ministerwill open the market for • Prime Minister Narendra Modi demonetisation was likely to
LSE trading on May 11 to which reviewed the progress of key have medium and long-term
will coincide with the infrastructure sectors including gains, especially in terms of
culmination of the NHAI’s petroleum and natural gas, fiscal gains, increases in bank
debut Masala Bond issuance power, renewable energy and liquidity, and the push towards
which is expected to list on the housing. cashless transactions and
LSE shortly. • In the presentation made by digitisation, the IMF noted.
CEO NITI Aayog, it was noted DIPP and WIPO have inked an
RBI has imposed sanctions on
that remarkable progress has
state-run IDBI Bank agreement to set up TISC
been made in several sectors,
• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) including generation of • The Department of Industrial
has imposed sanctions on state- renewable energy, affordable Policy and Promotion (DIPP)
run IDBI Bank that include and rural housing, LED bulbs. and World Intellectual Property
curbs on branch expansion and • It said that the Pradhan Mantri Organisation (WIPO) have inked
distribution of dividend after the Ujjwala Yojana has reached 1.98 an agreement to set up
lender’s financial health crore BPL households. Technology and Innovation
weakened. Support Centres (TISC).
IMF has projected a slowdown
• IDBI Bank is the first lender to • The WIPO’s TISC programme
in India due to demonetisation provides innovators in
be sanctioned by the RBI after
the central bank recently • The International Monetary developing countries with
revised its prompt corrective Fund’s latest regional outlook access to locally-based, high
action framework and RBI has projected a slowdown in quality technology information
sources said the regulator may India due to the lingering and related services, helping
shortly take action against effects of a cash crunch caused them to exploit their innovative
another one or two more banks. by demonetisation. potential as well as to create,
• Sanctions are imposed if a bank • Even as economic growth is protect, and manage their
breaches a certain level of net expected to remain robust in intellectual property (IP) rights.
non-performing assets (NPA), the Asia and Pacific region • Over 500 TISCs operate
Return on Assets (RoA) and compared with the levels worldwide and establishing
capital adequacy ratio. forecast in October 2016. TISC in India will give the host
• IDBI Bank informed the • India’s national accounts institutions access to the global
exchanges that RBI, in a letter statistics may understate the network, it said.
dated May 5, had initiated economic impact of the cash India is taking trade barriers
prompt corrective action in view crunch, at least in the near term,
with US
of high net non-performing according to the IMF’s May
assets (NPA) and negative 2017 Regional Economic • India is planning to take up with
Return on Assets. Outlook for Asia and the Pacific. the Trump administration the 53
“barriers” imposed by the U.S., to the U.S. are hit by the action for unwinding bad loan
which are hurting Indian goods increase in registration fees, accounts as NPA resolution
exports to that country in approval delays and low efforts failed even in cases
sectors including agriculture, approval rates for registrations where lenders reached an
pharmaceuticals and other mandatory for sale of all new agreement.
industrial products. drugs in the U.S. • As much as 70% of non-
• India will raise this issue soon • Also, ayurveda and traditional performing assets in the banking
after the new U.S. Trade Indian medicines are hit by the system stem from accounts
Representative (USTR) takes U.S. requirement of clinical trials where multiple banks have lent
charge. They said this issue while the practice of traditional to a borrower, as a consortium
would also be on the agenda of Indian medicine systems such or individually.
the next India-U.S. Trade Policy as Siddha and Unani are not • All such bad loan cases above
Forum (TPF) — the main allowed by the U.S. Federal Rs. 100 crore are to be taken up
bilateral platform for discussing Government. by a joint lenders’ forum (JLF)
and resolving trade and • The Ministry has also opposed as per norms.
investment issues. the U.S. requirement of • As per the new norms for JLFs
• According to the Indian irradiation treatment and notified by the RBI, just 60% of
Commerce Ministry, the U.S. inspection of mangoes prior to lenders by value of the loan
Department of Labor (DOL) has shipping from India. have to reach a consensus on
“arbitrarily” listed 23 items • The Ministry said this is a time- the course of action to be
produced in India on the ‘List consuming and costly adopted for an NPA compared
of Goods Produced by Child certification process hurting the with a 75% consensus
Labour or Forced Labour’ — competitiveness of Indian requirement earlier.
which is in effect a ban on their mangoes in the U.S. market. • The rest of the lenders are
import. Indian grapes, litchis, required to follow suit in such
• The Ministry said Indian industry pomegranates, honey, marine cases.
is worried as the reports that the and meat products are also • The oversight committees for
DOL relies upon are “not always impacted by various U.S. JLFs, which the RBI has been
accurate.” “NTBs”. enabled to constitute, could
• The Ministry has also referred to • Besides, the U.S. has imposed look into the processes
the U.S. Government measures countervailing duties on Indian adopted by lenders to arrive at
envisaged within an initiative to exports, including those by a corrective action plan for
counter potential terrorist steel and paper industries. specific NPA cases. But their
threats to the international recommendations would be
Banks are still responsible for
maritime container trade system. advisory.
• This included X-ray scanning of NPAs
All about Foreign Account Tax
containers exported to U.S., a • Banks would still be responsible
measure, the ministry said Compliance Act
for taking commercial decisions
would cause additional costs for on non-performing assets • The Foreign Account Tax
Indian exporters across sectors. weighing down their balance- Compliance Act (FATCA) is a
• In addition, the Ministry has sheets, including possible United States federal law that
cited a law (the Trade haircuts, but scrutiny from the requires United States persons,
Expansion Act of 1962 of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). including U.S. citizens who live
U.S.) allowing American • And advisories from oversight outside the United States.
manufacturers to petition for committees on the processes • They have to report their
curbing imports from third they adopt should comfort financial accounts held outside
nations on national security bankers. of the U.S., and requires foreign
grounds without providing • The Centre felt the need to financial institutions to report to
proof from industry. empower the RBI to direct the Internal Revenue Service
• Indian pharmaceutical exports banks to take more effective (IRS) about their U.S. clients.

• India had signed an agreement had earlier urged the energy.
with the U.S. on July 9, 2015 multilateral lender to establish • Today, they account for 7% of
which enables automatic a hub in New Delhi, so that it the country’s electricity
exchange of financial could expedite lending to production — small still, but
information between India and development projects across firmly set to grow, by at least ten
the U.S. the region. percentage points in the next
• The agreement provides that • Observing that the “time five years.
Indian Financial Institutions will required to approve a proposal • Coal, on the other hand, while
provide the necessary as well as the time lag between still being the dominant player,
information to the Indian tax approval and disbursement of is on the back foot. Apart from
authority i.e. CBDT, which loans can be further reduced,” being a source of pollution and
information will then be Mr. Jaitley had stressed that global warming, it is also a water
transmitted to the U.S. speedier financing would help guzzler – in ten years, India’s
automatically in the case of lend an edge to the ADB. coal-fired power plants will
FATCA. The agreement came • The ADB, given its objective of need 12,000 million litres each
into effect on 2015. combating poverty, also day,
• The compliance is needed for needed to sharpen its focus on • There is a lot more juice left in
bank accounts, mutual fund, affordable renewable energy, wind and solar than has been
national pension scheme and and in the urban development squeezed out today. Newer
other such transactions. The context, both drinking water materials such as perovskites
compliance is needed to be and sanitation, Mr. Jaitley said. that can replace silicon are
done for all individual and entity • “The major challenges remain in showing up, giving solar panels
accounts opened from July 1, the realm of user charges and more bang for the buck; the cost
2014 to August 31, 2015. financial sustainability of urban of offshore wind is falling
• Individuals and entities need to bodies,” he observed, adding dramatically so as to open up
provide details of their country that the bank could leverage its literally new areas — the seas.
of birth, country of citizenship, expertise to promote models • The search for clean energy has
country of residence for tax that would focus on these not stopped with wind and
purposes, among others, to the challenges. solar. A phalanx of sources is
respective financial institutions. • Mr. Jaitley also exhorted the waiting to be tapped into.
• The self certification can be lender to step up its support for Some—like Helium 3 from the
done online for bank accounts climate resilient agriculture and moon—are on the very edge of
and mutual funds. The Pension social infrastructure including science. But there are others
Fund Regulatory and health and education. that are not so far away.
Development Authority has said • India, is a founding member of • Japan is ahead in hydrogen use,
it would come out with revised the ADB and its fourth-largest but more for automotive
guidelines on FATCA shortly. shareholder. The bank's current applications, with around 90
portfolio of financing in the hydrogen filling stations to serve
Several regional hubs to be
country includes 87 sovereign fuel cell powered cars made by
started by Asian development loans totalling $13.2 billion. Toyota.
bank • But fuel cells are a lot more
Solar and Wind power still to be
• The Asian Development Bank efficient, easier and cleaner way
explored than burning it in combustion
(ADB) has operationally started
working to create several • Viewed against the backdrop of engines. Fuel cells are devices
regional hubs including New the energy history of the that split the hydrogen atoms
Delhi as one for South Asia, the country, the main-streaming of into protons and electrons and
bank’s President wind and solar has been rather get the electrons to flow
TakehikoNakao said. sudden. Just three years ago, through a circuit — flow of
• Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, few would have thought of electrons is electricity.
India’s Governor to the ADB, them as meaningful sources of • Smaller fuel cells can be used 55
in vehicles and in applications of India to effectively tackle bad • Up until 2013-14, aside from the
such as powering telecom loans has been passed. Clearly, fast pace of accumulation of
towers — a Bengaluru-based resolving the banking sector’s debt, the problem had also
company called Intelligent bad loan issue is the Centre’s top gotten larger in size with more
Energy is selling such products. priority. And rightly so. number of companies’ debt-
Larger fuel cells, or stacks of • Not long ago, the RBI, in a bid equity ratio rising to over three
them, can used for electricity for to clean up banks’ balance and five times.
the grid. sheets, undertook an AQR (asset • In 2010-11 for instance, the
• There are many tricks to steal quality review) exercise and number of companies that had
energy from the oceans. For forced banks to declare certain debt-equity ratio of more than
instance, the Swansea Bay accounts as non-performing three was 81 (of the 1,190 NSE
project, U.K., is to build a U- assets (NPAs). listed companies). This number
shaped wall — or, breakwater • That was six quarters ago. Even went up to 113 in FY14.
— on the coast where there is a after the near doubling of • With the RBI’s rate cut cycle,
tide, with the mouth open to the banks’ bad loans over the past which began in 2015, coming
sea and place an array of six quarters to about Rs. 7 lakh to an end and rate hikes in the
turbines along the mouth. crore, the meter is still running. offing over the medium term,
• Water comes in when the tide Is India Inc still neck-deep in India Inc can soon start to feel
flows and goes out when it debt? the heat, if demand does not
ebbs — it turns the turbines • Top 20 companies still recover significantly in the
both times. contribute nearly half of the total coming quarters.
• Cold fusion, as low energy debt of NSE listed companies. • For companies with debt-
nuclear reaction is commonly These companies have lost an equity of over three times, the
called, is not yet established eye-watering Rs. 2.4 lakh crore situation is far worse. From an
science, but there is too much in market capitalisation over the already low cover of 1 times (just
happening for it to be unreal. past two years, despite the bulls about meeting interest
• Recently, the Anthropocene charging up D-Street. payments) in 2013-14, interest
Institute brought out a list of 100 • It is well known by now that the cover fell to 0.5 times in 2015-
entities, half of them stock pile of banks’ stressed 16.
commercial R&D that have assets is a result of excessive • The net debt (adjusted for
raised $250 million. lending between 2009 and cash) position, hence, has seen
• Commercial hydrogen, ocean 2013, particularly to sectors a slightly higher growth of 8 per
energy and LENR could be a such as infrastructure, power, cent between FY14 and FY16
decade away, but they are all textiles, metals, etc. (when compared to the 6 per
happening technologies that • In fact, as of half year ended cent growth in debt alone).
have the potential to replace September 2016, debt • Infrastructure and construction,
coal. Extremely cheap, clean accretion appears to have power, iron and steel, mining,
power is no longer unthinkable. halted (flat over the previous textiles and cement are sectors
• The new urbanised region along year). The number of companies that continue to contribute
the Bohai sea coast could rival that raised debt has also significantly to banks’ stressed
the Yangtze river delta around reduced notably over these two loans.
Shanghai and the Pearl River years. • In textiles , for instance, after
Delta, the heart of China’s • Many corporates that debt grew by 12 per cent
industrial belt. accumulated huge debt in the annually between FY09 and
past have trimmed their debt FY13 for NSE listed companies
Infrastructure and construction,
substantially between FY14 and in the space, it has continued
power, iron etc sector FY16. Adani Enterprises, IOCL, to grow — a tad higher at 14
contributing to bank debts Tube Investments, HPCL, and JP per cent annually between
• The much awaited ordinance Associates (to some extent) are FY14 and FY16.
empowering the Reserve Bank some of them. • Telecom is another sector that

has seen debt rise by 15 per to reform their own operations haircuts on existing bad loans.
cent annually between FY14 and take immediate steps to
Debt to GDP ratio of 60% for the
and FY16. Bharti Airtel, Idea improve their balance sheet
Cellular, and Reliance position. union and state can be achieved
Communication — all have • The lenders will also have to by 2023
raised additional debt during close unprofitable branches • The Centre is confident that the
this period. and put in place stronger 2023 goal of a debt-to-GDP ratio
• While the overall picture for systems for credit appraisals of 60% for the Union and State
steel companies looks less and management of non- governments combined can be
gloomy from the past, with debt performing assets (NPAs). achieved thus meeting a key
growing at a much slower pace • “There are some other steps also recommendation of the N.K.
of 7 per cent annually between being taken, which once Singh-headed fiscal discipline
FY14 and FY16 (when decided… we will convey it to panel.
compared to 16 per cent in the you. We are planning in the • Even with the 3.2% [fiscal
past), company-specific issues process of signing deficit target] spelt out in
persist. memorandums of budget of current year and 3%
• Power companies’ woes are understanding with public in next two years, it should be
well known. From providing a sector banks which seek possible for the government to
lifeline to the ailing state-owned capitalisation, specific achieve a debt-to-GDP of 60%
power distribution utilities provisions that will be for general government by
(discoms) in the form of UDAY incorporated,” FM said. 2023.
(Ujwal DISCOM Assurance • While the resolution of NPAs is • The principal anchor of the
Yojana) to boosting domestic an ongoing process, the committee’s recommendations
coal supply, the Centre has kick- government wants to speed it on fiscal roadmap is debt-to-
started many initiatives. up and see resolutions of GDP of 60%. So it should be
• The overall debt equity for the specific bad loans. possible to reach 60% in 2023.
sector has gone up to 1.7 times • As per the new provisions • The Fiscal Responsibility and
in 2015-16 from 1.4 times two incorporated in the banking Budget Management Review
years back. Interest cover has regulation law allow the Committee chaired by Mr. Singh
shrunk from 2.1 times to 1.7 government to authorise the RBI has recommended that the
times. to initiate insolvency and Centre should target a fiscal
• Construction and Infrastructure bankruptcy proceedings in deficit of 2.5% of GDP by 2023,
is one of the sectors which relation to any stressed assets with the Union government
contribute significantly to the under Section 35 AA. simultaneously narrowing its
level of stressed loans within the • A separate clause 35B allows the debt-to-GDP ratio to 40% from
banking industry. RBI to issue specific directions, 49.4% in 2016-17.
• The still 14-odd per cent annual including the formation of • The panel, which had allowed
growth in debt levels between oversight committees (OCs) to for a pause along the path of
FY14 and FY16 for infra resolve bad loans. fiscal consolidation,
companies remains a concern. • Currently, the OC mechanism recommended that the debt-
At an aggregate level, interest functions only in relation to the to-GDP target for the
cover ratio has fallen from about scheme for sustainable government as a whole (Centre
1.8 times in FY14 to 1.4 times in structuring of stressed assets plus States) be pegged at 60%
FY16. (S4A) for banks. by fiscal 2023.
• A corollary benefit and • Govt has slammed global credit
Centre asks for reforms from
objective of such oversight rating agencies for failing to
PSBs before providing capital committees, Mr. Jaitley pointed acknowledge India’s sustained
• Public sector banks (PSBs) out, is that bankers will have economic progress and reform
seeking fresh capital from the more comfort while taking tough trajectory in the past couple of
Centre would have to commit decisions to write off or take years. 57
• “With India remaining still a 7% such a decision has the central Transport, Highways and
plus GDP growth country, with bank’s and the government’s Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari
the ease of doing business backing. said.
improving considerably, if the • Bankers are hesitant to take a • “We will frame a policy for an
rating agencies do not give an decision on haircuts while integrated approach for our
upgrade to India, if they do not restructuring loans or going for transportation network. We will
give any weightage to it, I think one-time settlement for fear that take stakeholders’ views, hold
they are probably far detached such a decision could prompt meeting with the Prime
from the ground realities. So, it investigation by agencies. Minister’s Office and if
is for them to really introspect.” necessary, go to the Cabinet,”
Steel Policy aims to achieve 300
he said.
Banks to act within set time million tonnes of capacity by • Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu
frame on NPAs 2030 proposed a single company for
• Following the executive order • The government plans to set up multi-modal transportation of
by the government to empower new steel plants on surplus land cargo. Railways is targeting an
the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) available with PSUs by forging increase in freight traffic on
for the resolution of stressed partnerships with the private routes beyond 400 km.
assets, the central bank is sector to help more than double IMF report says there are
expected to announce steel production capacity to various benefits of increase in
detailed guidelines for banks. 300 million tonnes by 2030.
• This may include time-bound • The Cabinet approved the New
resolution to such assets. Steel Policy that aims to achieve • An annual Rs. 150 per tonne
• RBI will give banks specific 300 million tonnes of capacity increase in tax on coal from
time-frames within which they by 2030 with an additional 2017 to 2030 could prevent
have to either decide the investment of Rs. 10 lakh crore. over 2.7 lakh deaths from air
borrower is bankrupt or At present, the steel production pollution, raise GDP by 1% by
restructure the debt while capacity is 126 million tonnes. 2030, reduce carbon dioxide
taking a haircut, bankers said. • Stating that the land acquisition emissions by 12% and generate
• In a statement, following the is an issue under the new law, net economic benefits of about
government announcement, Steel Minister Chaudhary 1% of GDP, according to IMF.
RBI reiterated that lenders must Birender Singh said the • Outdoor air pollution from fossil
scrupulously adhere to the government plans to utilise the and non-fossil sources
timelines prescribed in the surplus land of steel PSUs to set prematurely killed an estimated
Joint Lenders’ Forum framework up new plants through joint 0.53 people per 1,000 of the
for finalising and implementing ventures with private firms. population in 2010 in India, or
the corrective action plan. • The proposed joint venture about 6.5 lakh in total.
• The banking regulator said non- between state-owned SAIL and • Fossil fuel taxes can provide a
adherence to the instructions ArcelorMittal to set up a Rs. significant source of easily-
and timelines specified under 5,000 crore auto-grade steel collected revenue, which is
the framework will attract plant may be finalised this especially valuable when
monetary penalties. month, the minister said. revenues from broader taxes on
• Empowering the RBI with an labour, capital, and
explicit mandate should Centre will soon frame a policy
consumption are insufficient
reorient various stakeholders for on integration of various modes due to a large concentration of
effective NPA resolution. of transport economic activity occurring in
• According to bankers, the final • The Centre will soon frame a the informal sector.
decision will be taken by a bank policy on integration of various • The paper also says that, in the
within the RBI’s guideline modes of transport aimed at event of political reasons not
framework. However, the smooth transition of cargo, Road permitting any increase in coal
process will make it explicit that tax, the government should

implement subsidies or other • Bad loans in the Indian banking National Steel Policy 2017
incentives to encourage the system have gone up sharply in aimed at attracting Rs. 10 lakh
shift away from coal generation. the last one year. crore investments in the steel
• According to Reserve Bank of sector by 2030-31.
Business activity in service
India data, gross NPA, as a • The policy projects creating
sector expanded for third month percentage of gross advances crude steel capacity of 300
• Business activity in the services went up to 9.1% in September million tonnes (MT), production
sector expanded for the third 2016 from 5.1% in September of 255 MT and “a robust
consecutive month in April 2015. finished steel per capita
bolstered by growth in new • During the same period, consumption of 158 kg by 2030-
orders, according to a private stressed assets (which is gross 31, as against the current
sector survey. NPA plus standard restructured consumption of 61 kg.”
• The Nikkei India Services advances and write-offs),
The Centre may introduce
Purchasing Managers’ Index moved up from 11.3% to 12.3%
and some estimates suggested changes to its regional
registered a reading of 50.2 in
it had doubled since 2013. connectivity scheme
April, down from 51.5 in
March.A reading above 50 • Public sector banks share a • The Centre may introduce
implies an expansion while a disproportionate burden of this changes to its regional
number below 50 denotes a stress. Stressed assets in some connectivity scheme or UDAN
contraction. of the public sector banks have to attract more players in the
• Indian service sector activity approached or exceeded 20%. second round of bidding.
continued to expand during • Some estimates suggest the total • Allowing single-engine aircraft
April, supported by ongoing stress in the Indian banking to fly under the scheme,
growth of new work, and system is about Rs. 14 lakh crore. increasing route exclusivity for
companies hired additional • The economic survey of 2016- airlines and higher subsidy for
staff over the month. 17 has pointed out the twin helicopters among others are
• The new orders, the report said, balance sheet problem — that some of the proposals which
came mainly from advertising is, stressed companies on one may be considered.
campaigns. However, hand and NPA-laden banks on • Airlines had asked the Civil
competitive pressures could the other — and advocates that Aviation Ministry to increase the
have stymied growth in this area, a centralised Public Sector exclusive flying rights on UDAN
it added. Asset Rehabilitation Agency routes from three to five years.
• Govt cleared a package to (PARA) be established to deal • The airlines had also asked the
resolve the persistent rise in with the problem of bad loans. Ministry to allow them to operate
non-performing assets • The Union Cabinet also kicked single-engine aircraft on routes
• The government cleared a off the disinvestment process under UDAN. However, the
package to resolve the for hotels owned by the India Directorate General of Civil
persistent rise in non- Tourism Development Aviation is not in favour of the
performing assets that is Corporation (ITDC). The proposal due to safety reasons,
plaguing public sector banks government’s stakes will be according to a Ministry official.
and denting credit growth. offloaded in Ashok Hotels in
• The package, which includes Bharatpur, Guwahati and Inter-ministerial panels to
an ordinance to amend the Bhopal. examine the financial woes of
Banking Regulation Act of 1949 • The Cabinet approved also a telcom and power companies
to empower the RBI to take policy to give “preference to
• The government has decided
more actions to check bad domestically manufactured iron
to set up inter-ministerial panels
loans, is learnt to have been and steel products” for
to examine the financial woes
cleared by the government government’s infrastructure
of telcom and power
during the meeting of the Union policy.
companies and recommend
Cabinet. • The Centre also approved a 59
solutions, Communications 1 pact, under which certain continue to get 50 bps more
Minister Manoj Sinha said. inputs for IT products were over the card rate.
• While intense competition in exempted from duties. • Another public sector lender,
the telcom sector has squeezed • The manufacturing roadmap Bank of Baroda, reduced the
margins of some companies and has been prepared keeping in deposit rate by 10-25 bps on
raised fears of defaults on bank view the ‘state of play of the various maturities. The one-year
loans, the power segment faces design/manufacturing deposit rate will now be 6.9%
a situation where distribution ecosystem in the country, as compared with 7% earlier.
companies are unable to pay wherein through appropriate • In early January, banks had
electricity producers. fiscal and financial incentives, reduced the benchmark
• “An inter-ministerial group has indigenous manufacturing of lending rate — the marginal cost
been created to examine mobile handsets. of funds based lending rate —
systemic issues of viability and • Also various sub-assemblies that sharply, by about 90 bps.
repayment capacity and furnish go into their manufacturing shall • The move followed
recommendation for resolution be promoted over a period of demonetisation which resulted
of stressed assets at the earliest,” time. in significantly high mobilisation
Mr. Sinha. • Programme envisages of low-cost deposits. However,
promoting the sub-assembly of banks had not reduced deposit
Govt expects new policy on
mechanics, microphone and rates at the time. Now, banks
mobile phones to create 2 receiver, keypad and USB have not cut their lending rates.
million jobs cables in 2017-18; printed
Higher coal and steel
• The government expects its circuit boards, camera modules
and connectors in 2018-19; and production takes core industries
‘major new policy’ of a phased
display assembly, touch panels, growth to 5 percent
manufacturing programme for
mobile phones to create two vibrator motor and ringer in • The eight core industries grew
million jobs and half-a-billion 2019-20. by 5% in March, the fastest in
dollars worth of manufacturing Rates on fixed deposits cut by three months, on the back of
activity in the country over the banks higher coal and steel
next five to seven years. production.
• The Centre will initiate fresh talks • Public sector lenders like State • The growth rate of eight
with Apple Inc which will now Bank of India (SBI) and Bank of infrastructure sectors — coal,
have to calibrate its plans to Baroda have reduced interest crude oil, natural gas, refinery
manufacture its iconic iPhones on fixed deposits on various products, fertilisers, steel,
in the country, in line with a new maturities from the end of April cement and electricity — was,
phased manufacturing as the banking system is flush however, lower than 9.3%
programme for mobile phones. with liquidity. recorded in March 2016.
• While the programme will • SBI, the country’s largest lender, • As per government data, coal
enable handset makers and reduced the retail term deposit production increased 10% in
component suppliers to plan rate (for up to Rs. 1 crore) by March as against 2.5% in the
investments, separately, 25-50 basis points (bps) on previous year. Steel (alloy and
infrastructure will be created various maturities. non-alloy) production rose 11%
across 8,000 acres of land over • For deposits maturing from two while it had expanded by 7.8%
three years for electronics years to less than three years, SBI in March 2016.
manufacturing clusters. customers will earn 6.25% as • Electricity generation was up
• The basic issue for mobile compared with 6.75% earlier. by 5.9%. Crude oil and natural
phones, she said, was that it • For three years to 10-year gas production was 0.9% and
became cheaper to import deposits, the interest rate will 8.3%. Meanwhile, cement
components and finished be 6.25% as compared with production declined 6.8% as
goods after India signed the 6.5%. The new rates came into also fertiliser output (-0.8%).
World Trade Organisation’s ITA- effect. Senior citizens will There was also a decline in

production of refinery products immediate since it would approval from the Research
(-0.3%). require more time to build up Designs & Standards
• The core industries, which infrastructure. The Railways, Organisation (RDSO) of the
contribute 38% to the total under Minister Suresh Prabhu, Railways is required for running
industrial production, had may be undergoing any non-standard rake.
expanded by 1% in February transformation, but scepticism • It is feared that the approval
and 3.4% in persists. process could take a long time
January.Infrastructure industries • Besides, the precedence given and bureaucratic hassles would
grew 4.5% in FY17, up from 4% to passenger trains is expected jeopardise the genuine intent,
in the previous fiscal. to cause uncertainties in said industry sources.
running freight trains in a • The absence of a credible
Railway Ministry’s plans to
scheduled manner. This may dispute resolution mechanism
allow private companies to run defeat the very purpose behind has also been red flagged by
freight trains the partial opening up of the analysts. The Railways, being
• The Railway Ministry’s plans to freight transport arm of the both the operator and regulator,
allow private companies to run railways. meant that the dispute
freight trains from their own • Apart from the convenience of resolution system in place may
private terminals may lead to transporting cargo through own not be adequately effective.
faster evacuation of cargo, but trains, the economic viability of • However, it is expected that the
the proposed move faces any such operation would proposed Rail Development
multiple challenges. remain a major question for Authority may address the
• As per plan, firms and private operators. issues of effective and efficient
manufacturers that transport • Analysts said the main cause of regulation as well as dispute
bulk of their produce through unprofitable operations may be resolution.
the railway network would be attributed to the charges by • Finally, although the intent to
allowed to set up their own Railways and ad-hoc changes in allow private operators to run
private terminals from where tariffs for some of the profitable their own rakes is laudable,
their own trains would ply to cargo (heavy cargo and long ambitious and bold, it has to be
delivery centres. distance haulage). backed by proper
• The trains will run on Indian • Also lack of guarantee of timely implementation mechanism,
Railways’ tracks and the delivery of the consignment has according to consultants.
operation of the trains will repulsed the EXIM cargo, they
India and the U.S. to held talks
remain with the railways. This is added. For example, the
railways command less than one in sectors such as
per the provisions of the Special
third of total container volumes infrastructure, digital
Freight Train Operations
at JNPT, the largest container technologies
Scheme of the Ministry of
Railways. port in India located in Mumbai. • India and the U.S. are slated to
• However, the problems being • Another concern that bogs hold trade talks in May to
faced by Indian Railways such potential private operators is the identify opportunities in sectors
as creaky signalling lack of clarity on whether they such as infrastructure, digital
infrastructure and tracks would be allowed to run their technologies and smart cities
needing maintenance will rakes on the proposed even as commercial ties have
largely remain the same. Dedicated Freight Corridors soured by the recent visa and
• The problem is compounded (DFCs) being set up in the intellectual property (IP) issues.
on congested routes such as country. • The discussions apart from food
between Delhi and Mumbai, • In addition, there is lack of processing and supply chain
which already face pressure clarity on the approval process logistics will focus on financial
from both passenger and freight for rakes and the design services, virtual currencies,
trains. specifications. clean energy, healthcare and
• The impact may not be • As per existing rules, the manufacturing from a 61
technology partnership and low-wage jobs situation. completed projects take the
perspective. • It has also said that unifying the route of public offer of its units,
• During the mega trade expo existing large number of labour while those investing in under
called ‘Glorious India’ in New laws into four codes without construction projects take the
Jersey on May 27-28, the focus reforming them will serve little route of private placement of
of the talks will shift to garments, purpose. units. Both forms are required
gems and jewellery, travel & • A panel, headed by Finance to be listed on stock exchanges.
tourism and real estate. Minister Arun Jaitley, is mulling • InvITs allow developers of
• About 400 companies from converting 44 labour laws into infrastructure assets to monetise
India will take part in ‘Glorious four simplified codes. They their assets by pooling multiple
India’ backed by the Indian relate to industrial relations, projects under a single entity
Commerce and Industry wages, social security and (trust structure).
Ministry (leading the ‘Make in safety. • For instance, IRB InvIT
India programme’) and Tourism constitutes six special purpose
All you need to know about
Ministry (spearheading the vehicles consisting of toll-road
‘Incredible India’ initiative). Infrastructure Investment assets aggregating to 3,645 lane
• India-US trade in goods and Trusts kilometres of highways located
services had risen to around • The initial public offering (IPO) across the states of Maharashtra,
$115 billion in 2016 from $109 for IRB InvIT, India’s first Gujarat, Rajasthan, Karnataka
billion in 2015, according to infrastructure investment trust and Tamil Nadu.
U.S. government data, and the fund will open for subscription. • Infrastructure projects suffer
aim is to raise this to $500 billion Sponsored by road developer from lack of availability of long-
soon. IRB Infrastructure Developers term capital and have
• This indication of visa curbs Ltd., the trust aims to raise up to depended on bank finance
came close on the heels of the Rs. 4,035 crore. which typically has a short
U.S. government on March 3 • Reliance Infrastructure, Sterlite tenure.
“temporarily suspending Power Grid Ventures and other • InvITs are designed to attract
premium processing for all H- infrastructure firms are also low-cost, long term capital and
1B petitions, including cap- gearing up to unveil InvITs. the underlying focus is to
exempt petitions, for up to six • InvITs are similar to mutual reduce the funding pressure on
months.” funds. While mutual funds the banking system as well as
• During that discussion on the provide an opportunity to invest generating fresh equity capital
sidelines of the ‘India in equity stocks, an InvIT allows for infrastructure projects.
Integrated Transport & Logistics one to invest in infrastructure • InvITs are registered as trusts
Summit 2017’, the USIBC will projects such as road and with SEBI and there are four
unveil a task force on supply power. parties — trustee, sponsors,
chain standards. • InvITs raise funds from a large investment manager and project
• On May 9, there will be talks on number of investors and manager.
legal and policy issues relating directly invest in infrastructure • In the case of IRB InvIT, IRB
to the use of digital technologies projects or through a special Infrastructure Developers Ltd. is
like the IoT and cloud purpose vehicle. the sponsor, IDBI Trusteeship
computing. • Two types of InvITs have been Services Ltd. is the trustee, IRB
allowed: one, which invests in Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd. is the
NITI Aayog has pressed for
completed and revenue investment manager and the
‘substantive’ reforms in labour project manager is Modern
generation infrastructure
laws Road Makers Pvt. Ltd.
projects; the other, which has
• NITI Aayog has pressed for the flexibility to invest in • Sponsors are the firms which set
‘substantive’ reforms in labour completed or under- up the InvITs. Investment
laws to take the country out of construction projects. managers manage assets and
the current low-productivity • InvITs which invest in investments of InvITs and

undertake activities of the for InvIT units is Rs. 10 lakh. should be passed on to
InvIT. The project manager is • The main investors could be investors every six months. IRB
responsible for executing the foreign institutional investors, InvIT is expected to pay about
projects. insurance and pension funds 12% as returns to investors.
• The trustee oversees the role of and domestic institutional • Dividend income received by
InvIT, investment managers and investors like mutual funds, unit holders is tax exempt.
project manager and ensures banks and also super-rich Short-term capital gain on sale
that all rules are complied with. individuals. of units is taxed at 15%, while
• As per present regulations, • According to SEBI rules, at least long-term capital gains are tax
InvIT investments are not open 90% of funds collected, after exempt. Interest distributed to
for small and retail investors. paying for expenses, taxes and unit holders is taxed.
The minimum application size repayment of external debt,

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Science & Technology

Central parts of Antarctica’s ice has been able to achieve 100- treated with bergenin).
sheet have been stable for fold reduction in TB bacterial • Previous studies have shown
millions of years load in lungs of mice after 60 that T helper 1 (Th1) cells play
days of treatment using a key role in protecting the host
• Central parts of Antarctica’s ice bergenin — a phytochemical against TB bacteria, while Th2
sheet have been stable for isolated from tender leaves of cells oppose the protection
millions of years, even when sakhua or shala tree. offered by Th1 cells.
conditions were considerably • Unlike the regularly used
warmer than present, new Scientists have discovered a
antibiotic drugs that target the
research suggests. TB bacteria, the bergenin new moon orbiting the third
• The study of mountains in West compound modulates the largest dwarf planet
Antarctica may help scientists immune system to kill the • Scientists have discovered a
improve their predictions of bacteria found inside the new moon orbiting the third
how the region might respond macrophages (a type of white largest dwarf planet, that
to continuing climate change. blood cells). resides in the frigid outskirts in
The findings could show how • The researchers undertook our solar system.
ice loss might contribute to sea several studies to understand • With this discovery, it appears
level rise. the mode of action of the that most of the known dwarf
• Although the discovery compound. The compound planets in the Kuiper Belt larger
demonstrates the long-term was unable to directly kill TB than 965 kilometres across have
stability of some parts of bacteria when treated with the companions. These bodies can
Antarctica’s ice sheet, scientists compound. provide some insight into how
remain concerned that ice at its • However, in the case of in vitro moons formed in the young solar
coastline is vulnerable to rising studies, the compound was system.
temperatures. able to kill the bacteria found • The combined power of three
• Researchers from the inside infected cells. In mice space observatories, including
Universities of Edinburgh and infected with TB and treated NASA’s Hubble Space
Northumbria in the U.K. studied with the compound, there was Telescope, has helped uncover
rocks on slopes of the Ellsworth significant reduction in the the moon orbiting the dwarf
Mountains, whose peaks bacterial load in the lungs. planet 2007 OR10 in the Kuiper
protrude through the ice sheet. • Unlike in the case of in vitro Belt, a realm of icy debris left
• By mapping and analysing studies, in mice the compound over from our solar system’s
surface rocks, researchers was found to activate not only formation, which is believed to
calculated that the mountains the macrophages but also other have happened about 4.6
have been shaped by an ice cell types (T cells) that led to billion years ago.
sheet over a million-year period, effective killing of the bacteria. • The team uncovered the moon
beginning in a climate some 20 • A significant reduction in the in archival images of 2007 OR10
degrees Celsius warmer than at number of granulomatic lesions taken by the Hubble Telescope.
present. was seen in animals treated with • Observations taken of the dwarf
Indian researchers has been the compound. planet by NASA’s Kepler
able to achieve 100-fold • Also, the bacterial load was 100- Space Telescope first tipped
reduction in TB bacterial load fold lower in mice treated with off the astronomers of the
the compound compared with possibility of a moon circling it.
• A team of Indian researchers controls (animals that were not Kepler revealed that 2007 OR10

Science & Technology
has a slow rotation period of 45 hydrate, it can be lit on fire in its and Orion spacecraft -
hours. frozen state and is believed to Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1).
• The astronomers spotted the comprise one of the world’s • This is the first in a broad series
moon in two separate Hubble most abundant fossil fuels. of exploration missions that
observations spaced a year • For Japan, methane hydrate plans to take humans to deep
apart. The images show that the offers the chance to reduce its space, and eventually to Mars.
moon is gravitationally bound to heavy reliance of imported fuels • NASA’s original plan was to
2007 OR10 because it moves if it can tap into reserves off its launch the test flight without
with the dwarf planet, as seen coastline. crew, but in February,
against a background of stars. • In China, it could serve as a reportedly at the request of the
• The astronomers calculated the cleaner substitute for coal- Donald Trump administration,
diameters of both objects burning power plants and steel NASA began an effort looking
based on observations in far- factories that have polluted at the feasibility of putting crew
infrared light by the Herschel much of the country with lung- aboard EM-1.
Space Observatory, which damaging smog. • However, engineers will apply
measured the thermal emission • Methane hydrate has been insights gained from the effort
of the distant worlds. found beneath seafloors and to the first flight test and the
• The dwarf planet is about 1,528 buried inside Arctic permafrost integrated systems to
kilometres across, and the moon and beneath Antarctic ice. strengthen the long-term push
is estimated to be 240 • Estimates of worldwide to extend human presence
kilometres to 400 kilometres in reserves range from 280 trillion deeper into the solar system.
diameter. cubic metres up to 2,800 trillion • NASA determined it is
• 2007 OR10, like Pluto, follows cubic metres,, according to the technically capable of
an eccentric orbit, but it is U.S. Energy Information launching crew on EM-1, but
currently three times further Administration. after evaluating cost, risk and
than Pluto is from the sun. 2007 • That means methane hydrate technical factors in a project of
OR10 is a member of an reserves could meet global gas this magnitude, it would be
exclusive club of nine dwarf demands for 80 to 800 years at difficult to accommodate
planets current consumption rates. changes needed to add crew
• Yet efforts to successfully at this point in mission planning.
Commercial development of
extract the fuel at a profit have • The effort confirmed that the
combustible ice closer to reality eluded private and state- baseline plan to fly EM-1
• Commercial development of owned energy companies for without crew is still the best
the globe’s huge reserves of a decades. approach to enable humans to
frozen fossil fuel known as • There are also environmental move sustainably beyond a low-
“combustible ice” has moved concerns. If methane hydrate Earth orbit.
closer to reality after Japan and leaks during the extraction
India’s notorious traffic
China successfully extracted process, it can increase
greenhouse gas emissions. The pollution is no longer an urban
the material from the sea floor
fuel also could displace malaise
off their coastlines.
• But experts said that large-scale renewables such as solar and • India’s notorious traffic pollution
production remains many years wind power. is no longer an urban malaise,
away and if not done properly NASA has dropped the idea of its impact is now being felt
could flood the atmosphere 4,000 metres above sea level,
putting astronauts aboard the
with climate-changing in the Himalayas.
greenhouse gases. • Geologists have found high
• Combustible ice is a frozen • NASA has dropped the idea of levels of sulphur from diesel
mixture of water and putting astronauts aboard the emissions along the Manali-Leh
concentrated natural gas. first integrated flight of the highway that snakes through the
Technically known as methane Space Launch System rocket northwestern Himalayas. 65
Science & Technology
• Soil samples from four sites along bacteria can have deadly effects polystyrene.
the 480 km highway were on humans. • The process involved first
tested for 10 heavy metals and • The studies by the group have cloning and purifying the
sulphur among other chemicals. also shown that the structure of protein and crystallising it. The
• While the good news is that the surface protein of E. structure was discovered by X-
heavy metal contamination was faecium has a special fold which ray diffraction.
found to be low, the soil had sets it apart from all known • To their surprise the team
significantly high levels of categories of protein structure discovered that the structure of
sulphur (490–2033 ppm), known so far. SgrA contained a fold that did
which the scientists attribute to • In order to colonise a host cell, not fit into the known
diesel exhaust from heavy traffic bacteria need to attach catalogues of protein structures
on this mountainous road. themselves to the surface of the in the Protein Structure
• Indian diesel contains some of host using certain surface Database.
the highest concentrations of proteins. • The discovery can be used by
sulphur in the world and an • The surface protein on the drug developers to target these
estimated 70% of automobiles bacterial cell functions as a unique surface adhesins and
running on Indian roads use “key” to the protein on the host thereby tackle, among others,
diesel, “and the Himalaya are no cell membrane which acts as a catheter-related infections.
exception,” says the paper. “lock” — that is to say, the
The national surveillance
• Approximately 50,000 vehicles former fits snugly into the latter.
run on this highway every year, • This linking up by means of the programme for aquatic animal
most of which use diesel. While lock and key mechanism is diseases
the majority of these vehicles crucial for the infection to • The national surveillance
transport fuel and supplies to proceed. Therefore, drugs may programme for aquatic animal
Indian army outposts, an be developed to hinder this diseases in India, one of the
increasing proportion ferries process of formation of the link. largest fish disease surveillance
tourists, the paper says. • The crucial thing to know in this programme implemented in the
• With the likely increase of case is the structure of the country, is all set to begin a new
exhaust and sulphur in this surface proteins of the bacteria, phase.
region in the future, the paper which is what the group works • A road map proposed for taking
recommends periodic at. the surveillance programme to
monitoring of contaminant • The strain S. agalacticae is a the next level includes
accumulation and human Gram positive bacterium that developing disease-free zones
health along the Manali-Leh causes life-threatening diseases and targeted active surveillance
Highway and similarly remote such as bacterial sepsis and for fish pathogens in India.
areas around the world. meningitis in newborn babies • The programme is led by the
and several diseases including ICAR-National Bureau of Fish
Key to Microbial-resistant
pneumonia in non-pregnant Genetic Resources (ICAR-
infections unravelled adults. NBFGR), Lucknow; J. K. Jena is
• Bacteria have specific surface • But the more exciting discovery the national coordinator. The
proteins which are used for is the structure of the SgrA programme is currently being
binding to host cells. protein of E. faecium. This implemented in 16 States and
• Scientists at the the University antibiotic-resistant bacterium three Union Territories.
of Madras, have succeeded in causes urinary tract infection • There has been significant
characterising such surface and surgical site infections. improvement in the reporting of
proteins of some pathogenic • Catheter-induced infections aquatic animal diseases, the
bacteria including could also be caused by this researchers say. As a result,
Streptococcus agalactiae and strain as its surface protein SgrA more new pathogens are being
Enterococcus faecium. is known to be able to bind to detected from the Indian
Infection by both of these abiotic surfaces, such as waters.

Science & Technology
• The mass mortality of goldfish investigation will be selected to journal Chemical Science.
in West Bengal in 2014 was continue into subsequent • Antibiotics kill by increasing the
confirmed to have been caused mission phases. levels of reactive oxygen
by cyprinid herpesvirus-2. • Investigations for this species (oxidative stress) inside
• The presence of another announcement of opportunity bacterial cells. So any
important pathogen, were limited to six mission mechanism that detoxifies or
Enterocytozoon hepatopenaei, themes — comet surface counters reactive oxygen
was reported for the first time sample return; lunar South Pole- species generated by
from the shrimp species Aitken basin sample return; antibiotics will reduce the
Litopenaeus vannamei and ocean worlds (Titan and/or efficacy of antibiotics.
infection caused by Perkinsus Enceladus); Saturn probe; • The researchers carried out
olseni were reported in Asian Trojan tour and rendezvous; and simple experiments to establish
Green Mussel, a new host. Venus in situ explorer this. They first ascertained that
• The focus of the programme is • The New Frontiers Programme regardless of the mode of action
on strengthening the “passive conducts principal investigator of antibiotics, the drugs
surveillance system in the (PI)-led space science uniformly induce reactive
country,” and to improve investigations under a oxygen species formation inside
disease reporting by farmers development cost cap of E. coli bacteria.
and state fisheries officers, approximately $1 billion. • To reconfirm hydrogen
explained Kuldeep K. Lal, • This would be the fourth mission sulphide’s role in countering
Director of NBFGR. in the New Frontiers portfolio. reactive oxygen species, the
• Around 1,100 farms in as many Its predecessors are the New team took multidrug-resistant,
as 110 districts across the Horizons mission to Pluto, the pathogenic strains of E. coli from
country are being monitored Juno mission to Jupiter, and patients suffering from urinary
regularly. OSIRIS-Rex. tract infection and measured
the hydrogen sulphide levels in
A new mission to Saturn’s Indian researchers have
these strains.
moons Titan or Enceladus unravelled the mechanism to • The researchers identified that
reverse drug resistance E. coli has two modes of
• A new mission to Saturn’s
moons Titan or Enceladus to • Indian researchers have respiration involving two
find signs of life beyond Earth unravelled the mechanism by different enzymes. The
cannot be ruled out as NASA which hydrogen sulphide hydrogen sulphide gas
says it is reviewing 12 proposals (H2S) gas produced by produced shuts down E. coli’s
for future unmanned solar bacteria protects them from aerobic respiration by targeting
system mission to be launched antibiotics and plays a key role the main enzyme (cytochrome
in the mid-2020s. in helping bacteria develop bo oxidase (CyoA)) responsible
• The proposed missions of drug resistance. for it.
discovery — submitted under • And by blocking/disabling the • E. coli then switches over to an
NASA’s New Frontiers enzyme that triggers the alternative mode of respiration
programme —will undergo biosynthesis of hydrogen by relying on a different enzyme
scientific and technical review sulphide in bacteria, the — cytochrome bd oxidase
over the next seven months, the researchers from Bengaluru’s (Cydb). Besides enabling
US space agency said in a Indian Institute of Science respiration, the Cydb enzyme
statement. (IISc) and IISER Pune, have detoxifies the reactive oxygen
• Selection of one or more been able to reverse antibiotic species produced by
concepts for Phase A study will resistance in E. coli bacteria. antibiotics and blunts the action
be announced in November. At • E. coli bacteria were isolated of antibiotics.
the conclusion of Phase A from patients suffering from • The link between hydrogen
concept studies, it is planned urinary tract infection. The sulphide and Cydb enzyme in
that one New Frontiers results were published in the the emergence of drug 67
Science & Technology
resistance is another key finding • The team used cartilage cells that will eventually make
of the study. harvested from patients who advanced Indian spacecraft far
underwent knee surgery, and lighter. It will even lower the
Cartilage tissue generated using
these cells were then cost of launches tangibly in the
a 3D bioprinter manipulated in a laboratory, near future.
• Researchers have successfully causing them to rejuvenate and • The 2,195-kg GSAT-9, due to
generated cartilage tissue using revert into “pluripotent” stem take off on a GSLV rocket on May
a 3D bioprinter, an advance that cells. 5, carries an electric propulsion
could lead to new treatments • The stem cells were then or EP system. The hardware is a
for osteoarthritis. This is a giant expanded and encapsulated in first on an Indian spacecraft.
step forward in the ability to a composition of nanofibrillated • The satellite will be flying with
generate new, endogenous cellulose and printed into a around 80 kg of chemical fuel -
cartilage tissue. structure using a 3D bioprinter. or just about 25% of what it
• In future, it should be possible • Following printing, the stem would have otherwise
to use 3D bioprinting to cells were treated with growth carried.Managing it for more
generate cartilage based on a factors that caused them to than a decade in orbit will
patient’s own, “backed-up” differentiate correctly, so that become cost efficient.
stem cells. they formed cartilage tissue. • In the long run, with the crucial
• The research team was able to weight factor coming down
GSAT-9 to make advanced
influence the cells to multiply later even for sophisticated
Indian spacecraft far lighter satellites, ISRO can launch them
and differentiate to form
chondrocytes cartilage cells • GSAT-9 or the South Asia on its upcoming heavy rockets
in the printed structure. Satellite, will carry a new feature instead of sending them to
space on costly foreign

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Selected Articles from Various Newspapers & Journals

Next steps on GST must sign off on which of the five GST enclave barged into the home where
rates will apply to different products the Nigerian students were staying
The Lok Sabha has duly given
and services. Clarity on the applicable and searched the fridge for the
its assent to necessary Central
rates will help industry alter their remains of the youth, who died in a
legislation to operationalise the
accounting systems, supply chains hospital after being found in a nearby
Goods and Services Tax, nearly 17
and pricing strategies. But some park. Following unsubstantiated
years after the government began
provisions in the GST laws have the complaints from the victim's family,
discussions on the prospects for a
industry in a tizzy. While the highest the police charged the students with
unified indirect tax regime across the
GST rate has been pegged at 28%, murder but did not detain them for
country. It is eyeing a July 1 rollout
the integrated GST law has set a lack of evidence. It was later reported
for the GST, which will replace the
ceiling of 40%. Though an enabling that the boy died of drug overdose.
multiple Central and State-level taxes
provision, it gives the government too This incident, followed by further
and levies that make doing business
much leeway to alter the rate violence against African students in
in India a compliance nightmare . The
structure in coming years without Noida, marks a new low in the racism
long and winding road for this reform,
seeking Parliament's nod. Compare faced by Africans in India.
punctuated by political about-turns,
this to the cess ceiling of 15% on There have been several
has had a fairly straight trajectory in
luxury cars, for instance, which are atrocious cases of racism in the last
recent months, following the
likely to see a 12% cess to start with. year towards Africans in India.
constitutional amendments last
On several other fronts, the final laws Masonda Ketada Olivier, a young
August. The GST Council has
haven't changed much from their Congolese man who was a French
managed to thrash out a consensus
draft versions, despite industry red- teacher in South Extension, was
on several issues relating to the
flagging several provisions. These murdered while returning home from
administration and the legislative
include the anti-profiteering clauses a party when he tried to get an
provisions for the new tax system
to curb 'unjust enrichment' of firms, autorickshaw home and got into an
within six months. The fact that
the requirement for branch offices to argument with three men who
apparently intractable positions held
register separately in each State, and wanted to hire the vehicle. He was
by the States as well as the Centre on
treating all transactions between brutally pulled out of the auto,
the sharing of administrative powers,
related parties (including head office assaulted, and struck on the head with
for instance, have been reconciled
and branch offices) as taxable. For a stone. He was rushed to the AIIMS
without the Council resorting to a
the services sector, in particular, trauma centre but was pronounced
majority vote inspires confidence. So
compliance requirements could go dead on arrival.
does the alacrity with which the
up multi-fold. It is still not too late for Apparently the young
Centre has moved to secure
the GST Council to offer some Tanzanian student was beaten to
Parliament's nod for four enabling
exemptions or resist operationalising avenge the death of a woman who
pieces of legislation within a fortnight
some of these provisions through the had allegedly been run over by a
of the Council's approval. State
subordinate rules and regulations in Sudanese man less than an hour
Assemblies should do the same to
order to address genuine industry before the attack. The student
pass the State GST law by holding
grievances. pleaded with the police for help
special sessions if need be.
For Indian businesses that have It's time for Africa insisting she had nothing to do with
been seeking the reform, it is now time the fatal accident. In her filed
After a teenage boy went
to come to terms with the fine print complaint, she alleged that a
missing in Greater Noida on March 26,
and embrace the tax system. The GST policeman told her: "You all look alike
locals accused five Nigerian students
Council, meeting again on Friday to and you should get the black man
of cannibalism. Residents of the
clear four pending sets of regulations, who ran over a woman in the area." 69
Selected Articles from Various Newspapers & Journals
There were 42,420 foreign communities where African students and reducing leakages. Direct
students in India in 2016. The top live to have a better understanding benefit transfer, subscription to
sending countries were Nepal of Africa. This would require various services and authentication at
(21.3%), Afghanistan (10.3%), discussions and exposure to the many the point of service delivery are some
Bhutan, (6.6%), Sudan (4.8%), cultures and diversity of Africa. of the benefits which have accrued.
Nigeria (4.7%), indicating that after A much more concerted effort Aadhaar followed the principle
the three SAARC partner countries, must be made by the Indian of incorporating privacy by design, a
Sudan and Nigeria send the most government, and Indian citizens, concept which states that IT projects
students to study in India. Students intellectuals, and artists to make should be designed with privacy in
come from many African countries to Africans feel safe in India. The police mind. Collection of biometrics has
India as many universities offer quality too, who are often implicated in these often been quoted as one of the
education in English that is much racist incidents, must be trained, and means of violating privacy. Biometrics
more reasonably priced than in the issues of racism within the force are essential to ensure uniqueness, a
West. The University of Mysore, for seriously prosecuted. Students on key requirement for this project.
instance, has 2,000 foreign students, Indian campuses must be made Additionally, these biometrics can be
many from African countries. aware of racism towards foreign used for authentication for financial
Thus Indian students have an students and shown that it is no transactions, getting mobile SIMs and
opportunity to meet African students different from the racism faced by various other services using
and learn about a part of the world of Indian students abroad, which India electronic KYC (e-KYC). Another
which they know little. This is despite so vehemently denounces. In principle of privacy by design states
the fact that India has had trading addition, for a country of India's size that you should collect only minimal
connections with Africa over the and given the increasing number of data. As UIDAI was creating identity
centuries and many people of Indian Africans coming to India to study and infrastructure, it was decided that
descent live and have lived in Africa for medical tourism, a far wider only a minimal set of data, just
for centuries. cultural engagement with the sufficient to establish identity, should
Concerned by the racism faced continent is necessary not only to be collected from residents. This
by many African students, Mr. Peasah combat the malevolent racism, but irreducible set contained only four
helped organise a peace march to also to expand the global horizons of elements: name, gender, age and
raise awareness about racism in India. the Indian public. communication address of the
He also helped launch a campaign to Is Aadhaar a breach of privacy? resident.
clean Rajkumar Park to show that Another design principle was to
Since its inception, Aadhaar has
foreign students, including Africans, issue random numbers with no
been criticised as a project which
were also part of the Swachh Bharat intelligence. This ensures that no
violates privacy. India does not have
effort and could contribute to the profiling can be done as the number
a law on privacy. In fact, then
country's mission to create a cleaner does not disclose anything about the
chairman of UIDAI, Nandan Nilekani,
India. While very few fellow students person. The Aadhaar Act has clear
wrote to the Prime Minister as early as
from the University of Mysore joined restrictions on data sharing. No data
in May 2010 suggesting that there was
the peace march, Mr. Peasah download is permitted, search is not
a need to have a data protection and
appreciated the fact that over 40 allowed and the only response which
privacy law. In a digital world, search
students came in a bus from Vikram UIDAI gives to an authentication
and aggregation of data have
Nursing School to join it and even request is 'yes' or 'no'. No personal
become relatively easy. Aadhaar was
provided first aid back-up support for information is divulged.
designed as a digital identity platform
the walkers. When a biometric-based
which is inclusive, unique and can be
Mr. Peasah thinks it is critical that authentication takes place, it is the
authenticated to participate in any
proper orientation be given to African individual who must participate in the
digital transaction. This has
students coming to study in India. It process by submitting his or her
transformed the service delivery in
is perhaps as or more critical for Indian biometrics, typically at the service
our country, conveniencing residents
students and members of delivery point to prove his identity.

Selected Articles from Various Newspapers & Journals
Typical examples are at the time of flights operate, and as many as 31 Mumbai may help ease congestion,
lifting ration from a PDS shop, destinations that are not connected but that is still years away. In cities
opening a bank account to provide at all despite the existence of airport where new airports have been
eKYC to the bank or submission of facilities. The scale of India's developed, such as Bengaluru,
Digital Life Certificates by pensioners. untapped civil aviation opportunities abandoned old facilities could be
The basic purpose of authentication can be gauged by the fact that these revived as dedicated terminals for
is to facilitate residents in getting constitute less than 10% of India's low-cost and regional flights.
service in a digital, paperless and inactive airports/airstrips - 394 out of Separately, new no-frills airports must
convenient way. As no information is 450 are dormant currently. The Udan be encouraged where traffic is
divulged to any agency without the scheme is a critical component of the expected to hit saturation point in
consent of the concerned individual, national civil aviation policy unveiled coming years. Recently, four new
it cannot be construed to violate any last June. It offers viability gap funding foreign investors and a few domestic
privacy. to operators to fly smaller aircraft to players have expressed interest in
Besides the minimal data which such airports with a commitment to managing operations at state-run
UIDAI has about a person, it does not price tickets for at least half of the airports such as Jaipur and
keep any data except the logs of seats at Rs. 2,500 for an hour-long Ahmedabad. This marks a revival in
authentication. It does not know the flight. In the first round of bids, 11 investor interest after a long lull. It is
purpose of authentication. The new or existing airline operators time to revisit provisions that offer
transaction details remain with the pitched for more than 200 routes. The existing private operators of large
concerned agency and not with Centre has approved 27 proposals airports (burdened by debt) the right
UIDAI. This is the best model of from five players, adding 128 routes of first refusal on any new airport
keeping data where each data- to India's aviation map. The estimate proposed within 150 km. Most
owner has the responsibility of data is that this will add 6.5 lakh new seats interested bidders for the Navi
confidentiality and security. with a subsidy of Rs. 200 crore. Mumbai airport stayed away over this
Aadhaar authentication and e- The most heartening aspect is clause. Last but not the least, this
KYC ensures that documents cannot that these include six proposals for development must start a rethink
be misused. Physical papers are 11 routes that don't seek any subsidy within the Indian Railways, as it could
amenable to misuse. We know of under the scheme, proving there is now lose traffic on some routes.
situations where multiple SIMs are an untapped economic potential. Digital push must be disability-
issued based on some document, and The benefits for tourist hotspots such inclusive
the real owner is not even aware. On as Agra, Shimla, Diu, Pathankot,
Around 8-10% of India's
the other hand, e-KYC ensures that Mysuru and Jaisalmer - that would
population lives with disabilities, with
the document cannot be used for any now be just a short flight away,
an equal number constituting the
other transaction. UIDAI has also built replacing cumbersome road or rail
aged. Information and
a facility wherein one can 'lock' the journeys - are obvious. But the
Communication Technologies (ICT)
Aadhaar number and disable it from significant multiplier effects of
have the potential to significantly
any type of authentication for a aviation activity, including new
impact the lives of these groups,
period of one's choice, guarding investments and employment
facilitating access of services
against any potential misuse. creation for the local economies of
available to them and allowing them
other destinations could be equally
Connected by air to handle a wide range of activities
profound. Provided this model is
Six months from now, 43 cities independently, enhancing their
sustainable and more regional flights
will be mainstreamed on India's flight social, cultural, political and
come up under the scheme, the
connectivity grid, an outcome of the economic participation. Making ICT
availability of slots at larger airports
Udan scheme launched to spur accessible no longer remains an
that would emerge as hubs could
regional flights covering distances up option but has become a necessity.
become an issue - particularly at
to 800 km. These include a dozen capacity-constrained airports such as Poor accessibility due to lack of
airports where limited but irregular Mumbai. The second airport at Navi focussed information and political will 71
Selected Articles from Various Newspapers & Journals
has led to social exclusion of people digital media, consumer goods and truly inclusive. 'Nothing about us
with disabilities, exacerbating the services. Most importantly, the Act without us' assumes even greater
negative impact of the existing digital sets timelines to ensure significance in the current context.
divide. The new call for action of implementation of the above and As India catapults towards a
disability rights activists now is "Cause punitive action in the event of non- cashless and digital economy and as
No Harm", thus ensuring future compliance. human interface between service
generations are not excluded from Accessibility therefore forms providers and end users gives way to
mainstream activities due to a hostile the common thread weaving together digital, it becomes imperative to
infrastructure. the Accessible India Campaign, the ensure accessibility for inclusion. The
This assumes a greater thrust Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, need is for representation of persons
given the unprecedented the Smart Cities Mission and the with disabilities in all ministries and
developmental activity in the country Digital India campaign to achieve the key missions, commissions and
under the various missions launched combined goal of creating an committees to advise and ensure
by the present government, such as inclusive society that will allow for a inclusion in all policies, programmes
the Smart Cities Mission and Digital better quality of life for all citizens, and developments. The
India. Accessibility for disabled including persons with disabilities. government's procurement policy
people is a cross-cutting theme Beyond the social implications, too must mandate accessibility as a
across all of these and care must be accessibility makes for business and key criterion. Adherence to the latest
taken to ensure disability-inclusive economic sense too. If principles of Web Content Accessibility
development. Universal Design are incorporated at Guidelines should be made
Incorporation of accessibility the design stage, cost implications are mandatory while developing
principles across all new negligible. Retrofitting, on the other websites and mobile applications.
developments will also complement hand, has huge cost implications. Also important is the synergy
the Accessible India Campaign, the Exclusion of persons with between various arms of the
flagship campaign launched by the disabilities from education, government. The Smart Cities Mission
Prime Minister on World Disability Day employment and participation on focusses on comprehensive
which aims at achieving universal account of a hostile infrastructure and development leading to the
accessibility for all citizens and inaccessible technology has huge convergence of other ongoing
creating an enabling and barrier-free economic implications. UN agencies government programmes such as
environment. India was one of the put this cost at around 7% of national Make In India, Digital India, Atal
first countries to ratify the United GDP. On the other hand, accessible Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban
Nations Convention on the Rights of services and business premises can Transformation (AMRUT), Pradhan
Persons with Disabilities. The recently broaden the customer base, Mantri Awas Yojana, National Heritage
passed Rights of Persons with increasing turnover and positively City Development and Augmentation
Disabilities Act, 2016 mandates impacting the financial health and Yojana (HRIDAY), etc. but the
adherence to standards of social brand of the company. Recent Accessible India Campaign does not
accessibility for physical research pegged the market size of even find a mention! This is so when
environment, transportation, different product categories needed as many as 39 cities out of the 50 cities
information and communications, by persons with disabilities in India of the Accessible India Campaign are
including appropriate technologies at a whopping Rs. 4,500 crore. also among the shortlisted Smart
and systems, and other facilities and Disability is not an isolated issue. Cities.
services provided to the public in It is cross-cutting and can impact Much after Independence,
urban and rural areas. These include everyone irrespective of caste, there has been minimal change in the
government and private gender, age and nationality. Thus fortunes of India's disabled
developments. The Act also ensuring a disability-sensitive population. It becomes our collective
mandates incorporation of Universal development agenda across all responsibility to ensure inclusive
Design principles while designing ministries, sectors and causes development, one that engages all
new infrastructure, electronic and becomes critical if growth has to be stakeholders through a pragmatic and

Selected Articles from Various Newspapers & Journals
judicious combination of capital. There are many caveats to this According to the latest estimates, the
interventions while effectively bald proposition. As we look at the gross fixed capital formation rate fell
leveraging technology to ensure truly Indian performance in the last five to as low as 26.9% in 2016-17. With
inclusive and sustainable years, two facts stand out. One is a this investment rate, it is simply
development. decline in the investment rate and the impossible to achieve a growth rate
Sharpen the focus on growth second is a rise in ICOR; both of in the range of 8 to 9%.
which can only lead to a lower growth The major issue confronting us
Now that the dust and din rate. is: why did the investment rate fall?
around the State Assembly elections
As growth was coming down Why are not new investments
have settled down, it is time for
sharply initially, the investment rate forthcoming? In 2011 and 2012, in
policymakers to turn their attention
was falling only slowly, implying a discussions on the Indian economy,
to the major task of accelerating
rising ICOR. ICOR is a catch-all the one phrase that used to be
economic growth. As of now the
expression which is determined by a bandied about was "policy paralysis",
prospects are not encouraging. The
variety of factors including pointing to the inability of the
Central Statistics Office's second
technology, skill of manpower, government to take policy decisions
advanced estimates indicate that the
managerial competence and also because of "coalition compulsions".
growth rate of GDP for 2016-17 will
macroeconomic policies. Thus It is true that around this period, the
be 7.1% as against 7.9% in 2015-16.
delays in the completion of projects, government was preoccupied with
The growth rate of gross value added
lack of complementary investments answering many issues connected
at basic prices in 2016-17 will be
in related sectors and the non- with graft. But that does not explain
6.7% as against 7.8% in 2015-16. The
availability of critical inputs can all the steady fall in the investment rate
growth rates projected for 2016-17
lead to a rise in ICOR. except for a sense of uncertainty
do not capture the impact of
The Economic Survey of 2014- created in the minds of investors.
demonetisation, which when taken
15 reported that there were in all 746 The external environment was
into account may bring down the
stalled projects, with 161 in the also not encouraging. The growth rate
projected growth rate by around
public sector and 585 in the private of the advanced economies
sector of a total value of Rs. 8.8 lakh remained low and the recovery from
The decline in the growth rate
crore. As of 2015-16, there were still the crisis of 2008 was tepid which
is not a recent phenomenon. It started
404 stalled projects, 162 in the public had an adverse impact on exports.
in 2011-12. The persistence of
sector and 242 in the private sector However, India benefited by large
relatively low growth over a five-year
with a total value of Rs. 5.5 lakh crore. capital inflows except in 2013. For
period calls for a critical examination.
In the short run, the biggest gain in almost three years beginning 2010,
Even though the new numbers on
terms of growth will be by getting India had to cope with a high level of
national income give us some
"stalled projects" moving. Of course inflation which also had an adverse
comfort, they do not tell the whole
some of them may be unviable impact on investment sentiment.
because of changed conditions. A Once the growth rate starts to decline,
Ultimately, the growth rate is periodic reporting by the it sets in motion a vicious cycle of
determined by two factors - the government on the progress of stalled decline in investment and lower
investment rate and the efficiency in projects will be of great help. growth. The acceleration principle
the use of capital. As the Harrod- begins to operate. We need to break
India's investment rate reached
Domar equation puts it, the growth this chain in order to move on to a
a peak in 2007-08 at 38.0% of GDP.
rate is equal to the investment rate higher growth path.What are the
With an ICOR of 4, it was not surprising
divided by the incremental capital- solutions, given the current situation?
that a high growth rate of close to
output ratio. The incremental capital- The standard prescription, whenever
9.4% was achieved. One sees a
output ratio (ICOR) is the amount of private investment is weak, is to raise
steady decline in the investment rate
capital required to produce one unit public investment which can take a
since then. The decline in the rate
of output. The higher the ICOR, the longer term view. This standard
was small initially but has been more
less efficient we are in the use of suggestion is very much appropriate
pronounced in the last two years. 73
Selected Articles from Various Newspapers & Journals
in the present context as well. In the with some showing loss. More outcome - the Bharatiya Janata Party
best of times, public investment has distressing is the minimal flow of new (BJP) forming the government after
been 8% of GDP. The Central credit. The problem is often referred winning only 21 seats in a 60-member
government's capital expenditures to as the twin balance sheet problem. House - could sink in, the crippling
even after some increase in the last If corporate balance sheets are weak, blockade of two highways leading to
two years, is only 1.8% of GDP. About automatically the banks' balance the State, called by the United Naga
3 to 4% of GDP comes from public sheets also become weak. Really Council (UNC) last November,
sector undertakings and the balance speaking, it is two sides of the same ended. The BJP's national leaders
from State governments. What is coin. The solution to clean up the camping in Imphal had promised to
needed now is for public sector balance sheet of banks lies in taking lift the blockade within 48 hours of
undertakings to come out with an some "haircuts". At least some part of coming to power. As the
explicit statement indicating the the accumulation of bad debts has development on the ground largely
extent of investment they intend to been due to the slowdown of the followed the script, the new State
make during the current fiscal. And economy. The old saying is "bad loans government, run by an old Congress
this intention must be monitored are sown in good times". Even though hand, N. Biren Singh, brought some
every quarter. This will inspire a haircut cannot be avoided, wilful relief. But for how long? The wheels-
confidence among prospective defaulters must not go unpunished. within-wheels nature of the
private investors. Asset restructuring companies are government formation itself is an
However, it is also necessary to part of the solution and we have some indication that administering the
enhance private investment, and that experience of them. State could be anything but easy for
too private corporate investment. This is also the appropriate time Mr. Singh.
During the high growth phase, to revive an idea which had withered How is he going to resolve the
corporate investment reached the away during the reform process and Naga issue? Four MLAs of the Naga
level of 14% of GDP. Since then it has that is to have institutions focussed People's Front have joined the BJP-
fallen. In fact, a recent study shows on long-term lending such as IDBI led government, with the winner from
that the total cost of projects initiated and ICICI as they were before 1998. Mao (Losii Dikho) made a minister, and
by the corporate sector has come The details can be worked out. But the rest given posts of parliamentary
down from Rs. 5,560 billion in 2009- the idea needs a rethink. secretaries with minister of state rank.
10 to Rs. 954 billion in 2015-16. This Investment, as they say, is an act A rollback of the creation of new
continuing trend must be reversed. of faith in the future. If there has to districts will obviously appease the
Three things need attention. be investment resurgence, it is Nagas in the hills, but not the Kukis,
First, reforms to simplify procedures, necessary to create the climate the other major tribal group living in
speed up the delivery system and which promotes this faith. We have the hill districts, who have got a new
enlarge competition must be pursued already outlined the actions that can district, Kangpokpi (culled out from
vigorously. Some significant steps be taken in the purely economic areas of Naga-dominated Senapati
have been taken in this regard in arena. But "animal spirits" are also district, and a fact which hasn't gone
recent years such as moving forward influenced by what happens in the down well with the Nagas). There's
on the GST Bill, passing of the polity and society. Avoidance of Kuki representation in the Cabinet.
Bankruptcy Act, and enlarging the divisive issues is paramount in this The Nagas too are in wait-and-
scope of foreign direct investment. context. Undiluted attention to watch mode. The UNC operates
Second, all viable "stalled" development is the need of the hour. under the patronage of the National
projects must be brought to Ethnic pressures and a fragile Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-
completion. Third, financial peace Muivah) with which the Centre
bottlenecks need to be cleared. The signed a "framework agreement" in
Even before the news on the 2015 to solve the decades-old Naga
banking system is under stress. The
fast-paced, controversial insurgency. Though the "agreement"
non-performing loans of the system
developments on the Manipur is shrouded in secrecy, the Nagas
have risen and are rising. This has
Assembly election verdict and its have never kept their demands
squeezed the profitability of banks

Selected Articles from Various Newspapers & Journals
secret. They want all Naga-inhabited and there have been widespread Bad loans - or non-performing
territories in Manipur, Assam, protests for and against it. Even if the assets (NPAs) - were 9% of total loans
Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland to problem with the NSCN(I-M) is of all Indian banks in September
come under "Greater Nagalim" which sorted out, there's the NSCN 2016. At public sector banks (PSBs),
all States barring Nagaland (Khaplang) faction, which broke the bad loans were 12% of all advances.
vehemently oppose. On March 22, ceasefire with the Centre, to contend Another 3% of loans in the aggregate
addressing his cadres, NSCN(I-M) with - and a host of other insurgent (and 4% at PSBs) have been
general secretary T. Muivah said the groups each fighting their own cause restructured. The Economic Survey
framework agreement "recognises including the valley-based People's (2016-17) quotes market analysts as
the unique history, the identity, the Liberation Army. saying that 4-5% of loans are bad
sovereignty, the territories of the What worked for Manipur may loans that have not been recognised
Nagas. It also recognises the not necessarily work in the other as such. Thus, total stressed assets -
legitimate right of the Nagas to States of the region, each with their NPAs, restructured loans and
integration of all Naga territories." But sets of tribes, different cultures, unrecognised bad loans - would
in the same breath, giving a breather eating habits and social mores. The amount to a staggering 16% of all
to the Centre, he talked about "co- BJP's homogenous social systems are loans and nearly 20% of loans at PSBs.
existence" of "two entities" and unlikely to work in this disparate 's bad loan problem has arisen
shared sovereignty. region. While both Assam and from the lending boom that India's
In Delhi, after the UNC signed a Manipur have a sizeable Hindu/ banks embarked on in the period
tripartite agreement with the Union Vaishnav population, Nagaland, 2004-08, a period that saw economic
and State governments to call off the Mizoram and Meghalaya are growth reach the 9-10% range.
blockade, a Home Ministry official predominantly Christian States, and However, that by itself did not create
admitted that "there are many will be wary of the BJP's brand of a problem of the current magnitude.
stakeholders," while saying, "at the politics. The people and the Church NPAs, which are 9% of all loans , were
moment there is nothing like a must have taken note of two only half that level a year before. It is
rollback". Even if the Naga issue is developments with unease: the Modi the failure to resolve the bad loan
resolved with the help of Delhi, the government's announcement that problem over the past several years
"shared sovereignty" condition won't December 25 will be observed as that has exacerbated the problem.
please the Meiteis in the valley who Good Governance Day and the The best solution to a bad loan
comprise roughly 60% of the Assam government's recent notice problem is to simply grow your way
population but live in a tenth of the planning to make Sanskrit out of it. This can happen in two ways.
area of Manipur. The hill tribes are compulsory till Class VIII, even if that One, banks keep financing projects
roughly 40% of the population and means the State will have to hire that are not making repayments in full
they live in hill districts which are teachers from elsewhere. and would qualify as NPAs. They do
spread over 90% of Manipur's total Finally, action on bad loans? so in the hope that, once growth
area. revives, cash flows in the projects will
After nearly three years of
On the Inner Line permit issue improve. Two, banks grow their loan
dithering on the part of the National
too, Mr. Singh has to walk the portfolio at a brisk rate. As the
Democratic Alliance government,
tightrope. It's a Meitei demand, that denominator in the ratio of bad loans
there is hope now that we will see
outsiders be allowed access to the to total loans grows, the bad loan
action in respect of Indian banks' bad
State only by using Inner Line permits, problem automatically diminishes in
loans. The Finance Ministry and the
and since they, despite being in a significance.
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) have
majority, already feel constricted in That's how India's banking
recently sent out signals to the effect
their own State, their voice has to be sector came out of the bad loan
that they are determined to take the
heard. On the other hand, the Nagas problem in the early 2000s. Rapid
bull by its horns. If they follow
and Kukis, who have long complained growth in the world economy and the
through, it will brighten the
that the administration is leaning Indian economy provided a painless
prospects of India's growth rate
towards Meiteis, are uneasy about it, solution. This time around, however,
moving to 8% in the medium term. 75
Selected Articles from Various Newspapers & Journals
luck has not favoured the Indian Bank Board Bureau (BBB) as problem. Doing away with majority
banking system. The global economy suggested by the Nayak committee ownership of government, mergers,
has been in a prolonged slump and tasked it with appointing creation of a bad bank - all these are
consequent to the financial crisis of Chairmen and Managing Directors of non-starters. The way forward is to
2007-08. The "financing" strategy of PSBs. The BBB was also assigned the empower management and
continuing to make loans to unviable role of advising banks on restructuring strengthen governance at PSBs.
projects has come unstuck. and raising capital. The right to recall legislators
Serious policy errors have The BBB has made little
The ancient Athenians, under
compounded the problem. The big headway. Very few top appointments
their unique democracy, came up
policy error was the belief among have happened. The bad loan
with a social custom. Each year, in
policymakers that bad governance, problem and recapitalisation of PSBs
the sixth or seventh month of their
bad management and even remain unaddressed. This was only
10-month calendar, all the men were
corruption at PSBs were primarily to be expected. The government
asked in their assembly whether they
responsible for the problem. A cannot distance itself from key
wished to hold an ostracism. If it was
committee appointed by the RBI and decisions on PSBs while being
a yes, an ostracism was held two
headed by P.J. Nayak argued as much accountable for their performance.
months later, in a reserved section of
in a report it submitted in late 2014. Creating the BBB has only added
the local agora. Here, citizens wrote
The committee seemed to think that another layer to decision-making and
down the names of those they wished
majority government ownership of slowed it down.
to be ostracised on shards of pottery,
PSBs was the root cause of the bad Realisation that the bad loan
which were then deposited in urns.
loan problem as it meant political and problem is not the result of some
Officials counted the shards.
bureaucratic interference with special villainy at PSBs but a matter
Whoever had the largest pile of
commercial decisions. Such an of factors extraneous to management
ostraka - the pieces of broken pottery
inference, which has been duly has finally dawned, if somewhat late
that were used in voting - was banned
echoed by the media, is patently in the day. The initiative has moved
from the city for 10 years.
incorrect. As the Economic Survey away from the BBB and back to the
of 2016-17 point outs, the bad loan The modern-day right to recall
Finance Ministry and the RBI where
problem is "an economic problem, is a direct successor of such methods.
it rightly belongs. There is clarity now
not a morality play… the vast bulk of A recall election is typically a process
that banks must be empowered to
the problem has been caused by by which voters seek to remove
resolve the relatively small number of
unexpected changes in the elected officials through a direct vote
bad loans that account for a big
economic environment: timetables, before their term is completed. It has
chunk of the total in terms of value. In
exchange rates, and growth rate been in place in Canada's Legislative
many cases, this would mean that
assumptions going wrong." In other Assembly of British Columbia since
banks write off a portion of the loans
words, factors extraneous to bank 1995. Voters can petition to have
owed to them.
management and governance are their parliamentary representatives
The government must provide
primarily responsible for the removed from office, even if the MLA
adequate capital to the banks to
problem. is the premier, with a by-election
cover write-offs and also facilitate
ensuing soon after. In the United
These proposals are all fresh loan growth. It must end the
States, the states of Alaska, Georgia,
politically difficult to handle, time- delays in appointing Chairmen and
Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Rhode
consuming or (as in the case of a "bad Managing Directors of various PSBs.
Island and Washington allow for recall
bank") make impossible demands on It must also revamp the boards of
on specific grounds such as
financial and human resources. The PSBs by bringing in independent
misconduct or malfeasance.
NDA government seemed to have directors of high quality. The solutions
bought the faulty diagnosis but could This is not a new concept for
should have been clear enough long
not act on most of the prescriptions India. The concept of "Rajdharma",
back. It is the misplaced
that followed. It chose to muddle wherein the lack of effective
condemnation of PSBs that has held
along. The government appointed a governance was a cause for removal
up resolution of the bad loan

Selected Articles from Various Newspapers & Journals
of a king, has been spoken about since be taken in the introduction of the right to recall must be given hand
the Vedic times. One of India's legislation associated with such laws. in hand with the right to vote.
leading humanists, M.N. Roy, California's gubernatorial recall In largesse we trust
proposed, in 1944, a shift to a elections are notorious for the
decentralised and devolved form of influence of special interests, with Chairing his first cabinet
governance, allowing for Governor Davis' recall vote, in 2003, meeting after taking over the reins in
representatives to be elected and a classic example. Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Yogi
recalled. Jayaprakash Narayan, in Adityanath approved a write-off on
To encourage the process of the
1974, spoke extensively on the outstanding farmer loans of up to Rs.
right to recall, legislative change is
subject. Section 47 of the 1 lakh taken before March 31, 2016.
needed which seeks to introduce
Chhattisgarh Nagar Palika Act, 1961, The State cabinet also decided to
recall petitions, for elected
provides for holding of elections to waive loans worth Rs. 6,000 crore
representatives in the Lok Sabha and
recall elected officials due to non- extended to small and marginal
in respective Legislative Assemblies.
performance. The Right to Recall also farmers that had turned into non-
While it is necessary to ensure that a
exists at local level bodies in Madhya performing assets. Together, this
recall process is not frivolous and
Pradesh, Bihar and Chhattisgarh. package, aimed at fulfilling the
does not became a source of
Nearly a decade ago, Lok Sabha Bharatiya Janata Party's election
harassment to elected
Speaker Somnath Chatterjee sought promise, will cost the exchequer
representatives, the process should
the introduction of a system of a about Rs. 36,000 crore. There was no
have several built-in safeguards such
"Right to Recall" of a legislator to mention of a bigger plan to ramp up
as an initial recall petition to kick-start
ensure accountability. According to the farm sector, in which U.P.
the process and electronic-based
a media report of 2011, in Gujarat, invested just 2.3% of total
voting to finally decide its outcome.
the State Election Commission had expenditure in 2016-17 - one of the
Furthermore, it should ensure that a
advised amendments to introduce a lowest rates across major States. A
representative cannot be recalled by
right to recall of elected members in little earlier, the Madras High Court
a small margin of voters and that the
municipalities, districts, talukas and ordered the Tamil Nadu government
recall procedure truly represents the
village panchayats. to extend a similar farm loan waiver
mandate of the people. To ensure
scheme for small farmers (with land
In a first-past-the-post system in transparency and independence,
holdings of up to 5 acres) and
a democracy, unfortunately, not every chief petition officers from within the
marginal farmers (who own up to 2.5
elected representative truly enjoys Election Commission should be
acres) to all farmers. Officials have
the mandate of the people. Logic and designated to supervise and execute
even been forbidden from trying to
justice necessitate that if the people the process.
recover loans where repayments have
have the power to elect their A free and fair election is a right
slipped. The State, which had already
representatives, they should also of the citizens of the country. When
doled out Rs. 5,780 crore on this front,
have the power to remove these their elected representatives no
would need nearly Rs. 2,000 crore
representatives when they engage in longer enjoy the confidence of the
more to comply with the court's
misdeeds or fail to fulfil their duties. people, the people must have a right
order. This is a worrying trend for a
There exists no recourse for the to remove them. The true idea of
country that wants to double
electorate if they are unhappy with democracy can only be achieved on
agricultural incomes by 2022. Not
their elected representative. The this edifice of accountability for
only could it trigger a countrywide
Representation of the People Act, politicians. Having a process to recall
clamour for similar debt relief
1951, only provides for "vacation of could also limit campaign spending,
packages, political parties would also
office upon the commission of certain as morally skewed candidates weigh
be more inclined to make such grand
offences and does not account for the risk of being recalled. This right
promises ahead of future polls. This
general incompetence of the would help engender direct
is a slippery slope with multiple
representatives or dissatisfaction of democracy in our country,
unintended outcomes likely in the
the electorate as a ground for broadening access and raising
years to come.
vacation". However, due care must inclusiveness. To deepen democracy, 77
Selected Articles from Various Newspapers & Journals
The Madras High Court has co-authors (including Alan Stern, a Union arrived at their decision to
clearly reached into the the domain senior astronomer who'd vigorously demote Pluto after two years of
of the executive. The risk is that this opposed Pluto's demotion a decade debate and a proposal to a 'Planet
overreach could be cited in other ago) were part of the science team Definition' sub-committee. This was
courts to seek omnibus loan waivers. on the New Horizons mission to Pluto, then put to a vote, with 237
Opposition parties in U.P. have operated for NASA by the Johns astronomers voting for and 157
already criticised the cap of Rs. 1 lakh Hopkins University Applied Physics against. There's no report yet of the
on farm loans that will attract relief. Laboratory. In the summer of 2015, IAU moving to reconsider their
The timing of these drastic the New Horizons spacecraft position. Dr. Stern has argued that
interventions is unusual as India had became the first to fly by Pluto, most of these astronomers were not
a good monsoon in the 2016-17 crop passing within 8,000 miles and 'planetary scientists.' Those who are
season, after two years of drought, sending back the first close-up convinced, proceed with their
and a bumper output is expected for images ever of Pluto. These factors science as if Pluto is the planet from
all major crops barring sugarcane. combined to whet interest in the pre-2006 textbooks.
Forgiving loan burdens is a powerful revivification of Pluto's planetary AIDS-free by 2030, India
political gesture that glosses over the status. included
fact that governments have had little The International Astronomical
patience to make agriculture a In July 2000, the United Nations
Union, in 2006, laid down three
sustainable economic activity with Security Council (UNSC) adopted
criteria for a rocky body to be planet:
efficient linkages to formal markets, Resolution 1308, calling for "urgent
it must orbit the sun, it must be round,
be it for credit or for supply chains and exceptional actions" to mitigate
the body and its satellites must "orbit
from farm gate to fork. FDI of up to the threats posed by HIV/AIDS. As
in a clear path around the sun". It's
100% was allowed in food retail the first disease to be the subject of a
the last bit that buried Pluto, as many
trading but investments are stuck UNSC resolution, the exceptional
other asteroids and planets, some
over the reluctance to allow a small status of HIV/AIDS has brought about
bigger than Pluto, were found in its
proportion of non-food sales. Writing unprecedented levels of
orbital neighbourhood. Dr. Runyon
off loans as a blanket policy, without international funding allocated
and co-authors proposed that the
scrutiny and restructuring attempts primarily in developing countries
offending third clause be deleted. To
creates a moral hazard for borrowers, where responses to the disease have
be sure, there isn't a novel scientific
who will have no incentive to stick to historically been scarce or non-
argument for Pluto's case that hasn't
credit discipline. Frequent write-offs existent.
already been made. Pluto being made
will prod banks to invest in a planet again, according to him, While the exceptional
alternatives such as the Rural would mean that "the public would approach to HIV/AIDS was warranted
Infrastructure Development Fund again fall in love with planetary in the earlier stages of responses at
instead of reaching out to individual exploration." the national level, it has become
farmers to meet their agricultural increasingly ineffective over time.
Along with Pluto being
lending targets. In which case, This is visible through duplicated/
upgraded from its current "dwarf
usurious local moneylenders could parallel health systems and
planet" status, nearly 100 other
have a field day. unsustainable funding. The
celestial bodies in the solar system
overdependence on international
For the love of Pluto could also become planets. The
assistance, coupled with the
celestial bodies include Europa, a
The immediate provocation overwhelming policy preference
moon of Jupiter, and our very own
was a Johns Hopkins University towards HIV/AIDS, has resulted in the
moon. It also means that there will be
scientist, Kirby Runyon, and his poster marginalisation of other pressing
nothing special about the existing
last month at a scientific conference. health threats such as malnutrition,
eight planets and that, according to
His presentation argued that the and maternal and child health care.
critics of Dr. Runyon, would offer a
definition of what constitutes a planet Most importantly, there has
distorted picture of the solar system.
be changed. Dr. Runyon and poster been a stagnating and even declining
The International Astronomical

Selected Articles from Various Newspapers & Journals
trend of HIV/AIDS international is now playing a larger role in funding exceptionalism should be maintained
financial assistance in recent years. its HIV/AIDS programmes - two- when we perceive ending HIV/AIDS
Data show that most European donor thirds of the budget for the NACP-IV as a means to an end. If we can end
governments have reduced their is provided by the Government of HIV/AIDS, we can end other
financial commitments since 2012. India and comes from the domestic pressing developmental problems,
Moreover, in light of the continuous budget. Indian HIV/AIDS where the costs of the disease and
economic boom in India and China, programmes have progressively its care present a serious economic
international funding agencies now become less dependent on foreign burden.
argue that these countries should be assistance considering that over 85% A new Delhi chapter for Sheikh
donors instead of recipients of of the budgets in the first and second Hasina
international HIV/AIDS-specific phases of the NACPs and 75% in the
grants and loans. Without renewed third phase were supported by Bangladesh Prime Minister
and increased commitment from international and bilateral funding Sheikh Hasina's forthcoming visit to
international donors and recipient mechanisms. But in order to ensure India is being observed keenly here
governments, the sustainability of the sustainability of the HIV/AIDS in Dhaka. There is little question that
future national HIV/AIDS interventions, continuous integration in the three years since Narendra
programmes is in doubt. of HIV/AIDS programmes into a larger Modi took charge as Indian Prime
health system is required. However, Minister, the degree of cooperation
In response to the changing
despite rapid economic which has generally characterised
global health agenda, most of these
development over the past two Dhaka-Delhi ties has gone up by a
countries are prioritising the
decades, public expenditure on good number of notches, with the
integration of HIV/AIDS programmes
health care in India as a proportion of two countries seeing eye to eye on a
into existing health-related systems.
GDP is among the world's lowest. number of issues affecting them as
This shift implies that international
India's health-care expenditure is well as the South Asian region. As an
funding organisations now exert a
also comparatively less than other instance, both India and Bangladesh
tremendous influence on the priority
BRICS countries. have adopted a common stance on
of health issues in the developing
tackling terrorism through not only
world. In this, India is by no means A UN report showed that "India
cracking down on the purveyors of
unique. An integration of HIV/AIDS has the third largest number of
terror but also keeping at arm's length,
interventions and primary health-care people living with HIV/AIDS in the
and in fact condemning, nations
systems has taken place in India from world and accounts for about 4 out
regarded as sponsors of terrorism in
2010 onwards. For instance, six of 10 people living with HIV/AIDS in
the region.
components of the National AIDS the region". If the goal of ending HIV/
Control Programme (NACP)-III AIDS in India by 2030 is to become In recent times, cooperation
merged with the National Rural Health reality, there not only has to be an between Dhaka and Delhi has been
Mission (NRHM) in 2010. The increase in budgetary allocation to enhanced in other areas, particularly
integration of HIV/AIDS responses public health care but also a more with respect to Bangladesh's
under the umbrella health system is concentrated effort to increase AIDS measures toward setting up a power
ongoing in the NACP-IV; where all the awareness. Evidence suggests that plant in the Sundarbans. At the same
service delivery units except the many people suffering from HIV/ time, Bangladesh has witnessed a
targeted interventions (TIs) have AIDS in Asia lack the awareness that rather impressive degree of Indian
been set up within the health-care they test positive. investment in other areas where its
system. economic development is
Despite the prevailing
concerned. In terms of diplomacy in
At the 2016 high-level meeting advocacy of HIV/AIDS interventions
the South Asian region, both
at the UN General Assembly, India in an integrative manner, there has
countries have had identical views on
pledged to follow targets towards been a consistent push to maintain
how organisations such as the South
ending HIV/AIDS as a public health the exceptional status of HIV/AIDS
Asian Association for Regional
threat in the next five years, and as a unique global health challenge.
Cooperation (SAARC) should be
ending the epidemic by 2030. India It is argued that certain levels of AIDS 79
Selected Articles from Various Newspapers & Journals
going forward in promoting deal that will likely be initialled by waters, a subject that has continued
cooperation among its member the two Prime Ministers. This is an area to be the focus of discussions in
nations. It may be recalled that India that is clearly sensitive for the Dhaka ever since the possibility of a
and Bangladesh, for different Bangladesh leader since questions deal was scuttled in 2011.
reasons, pulled out of the SAARC are already being raised in Dhaka Bangladeshis by and large continue
summit scheduled to be held in the about the terms of, or even the need to hope that Prime Minister Modi will
Pakistani capital of Islamabad last for, such a deal. It may be recalled be able to live up to his promise of a
year. that the 25-year treaty of friendship treaty being arrived at through his
The upcoming visit of the and cooperation reached by Prime influence. That could again depend
Bangladesh leader to Delhi, on the Minister Indira Gandhi and Prime on how a meeting of three Bengalis -
face of it, would appear to be a Minister Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime
courtesy call on the Indian 1972, within months of Bangladesh's Minister Sheikh Hasina and West
leadership. Yet that would be a rather emergence as an independent state, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata
naïve way of looking at the realities continued to be the subject of Banerjee - goes at Rashtrapati Bhavan
which underscore India-Bangladesh criticism in anti-Awami League circles in Delhi.
relations. Sheikh Hasina's great need till the deal reached its natural end. Suicide isn't a criminal act
at this point of time is to convince her Sheikh Hasina will surely be
extremely cautious as her The Lok Sabha, late last month,
people that with her in charge,
government proceeds to a new deal passed the Bill which decriminalises
Bangladesh's foreign policy and its
with the Modi government. a failed suicide. The Bill presumes that
operation are on track, and that
the person wilted under severe stress
through such a process, Bangladesh There is, with all this importance
and attempted suicide. Instead of
stands the best chance of being part attached to Sheikh Hasina's visit to
punishing him/her under Section 309
of a time of regional stability in the Delhi, the Indian government's worry
of the Indian Penal Code (attempt to
region. At home, the opposition about the increasing levels of
suicide) with an open trial, a fine
Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) cooperation between Bangladesh
(even though in most cases a token
has already begun hurling the usual and China, particularly in the spheres
amount) or imprisonment extending
epithets at the Awami League of the economy and defence.
to a year, the new Bill reinvents the
government to highlight what it has Dhaka's recent procurement of two
state in the role of a caregiver to the
called genuflection before India submarines from Beijing, coupled
survivor of the suicide attempt. The
where preserving Bangladesh's with Sheikh Hasina's statement that
goal is to prevent the person from
interests is the issue. Those charges no country would now dare to attack
trying the act again. One clause in the
have of course been roundly Bangladesh, can only have raised
new Bill says the government "shall,
dismissed by observers. It has not eyebrows in the corridors of power
in particular, plan, design and
helped the BNP any bit that since its in Delhi. The Bangladesh Prime
implement public health
formation and subsequent exercise Minister has therefore a particular
programmes to reduce suicides and
of political power in Dhaka, its need now to convince the Indian
attempted suicides."
fundamentally anti-India card has leadership that Dhaka's links with
continued to power its attitude to Beijing are in no way an effort to turn In 1985, Justice R.A. Jahagirdar
Dhaka-Delhi relations. away from its traditional links with of the Bombay High Court gave four
Delhi, but are aimed at ensuring for reasons why Section 309 was
The extent to which ties
itself a basis of balanced, cooperative unconstitutional: Nobody agrees on
between India and Bangladesh can
relations with the major players in the what constitutes suicide, much less
be re-energised is to be observed
region. For good measure, the attempted suicide; mens rea is not
from the fact that a slew of
Chinese will be keeping a hawk's eye clearly discernible; temporary
agreements are expected to be
on the Hasina-Modi deliberations in insanity, which drives suicide, is a
signed by the two countries during
Delhi. valid defence even in homicides;
the presence of the Bangladesh
individuals driven to suicide require
leader in Delhi. A critical aspect of And then, of course, there is the
psychiatric care. The Law Commission
the trip will certainly be a defence matter of the sharing of the Teesta

Selected Articles from Various Newspapers & Journals
of India called Section 309 government approval, making the the RBI has pointed out there is room
"monstrous". Criminalisation of suicide draining of surplus liquidity a critical for more cuts if rates on small savings
was not in tune with the global priority all through this year. The schemes are corrected. Though a
wavelength, the Supreme Court efficacy of the RBI's liquidity formula-based rate was adopted to
once said. management toolkit will impinge on set these rates last April, small savings
Unlike the Supreme Court's another key concern: inflation, which schemes still deliver 61-95 basis
Constitution Bench which concluded is expected to climb to 5% by the points higher returns than what they
in the Gian Kaur case that the right to second half of this fiscal. The RBI says should if the formula is followed, as
life does not include the right to die, achieving the stated target of 4% per the RBI. Most important, the
international case laws tolerate even inflation even next year could be government must not ignore Mr.
euthanasia. In McKay v. Bergstedt challenging, with no "lucky Patel's categorical call to eschew loan
(1990), the Supreme Court of Nevada disinflationary forces" expected, waivers of the kind just announced
took the view that the desire of a such as benign commodity and oil in Uttar Pradesh. This, he warned,
patient for withdrawal of his prices. It has also pointed to a one- would crowd out private investments
respirator did not tantamount to time upside risk to inflation with the and dent the nation's balance sheet.
suicide but was rather an exercise of implementation of the Goods and Track to efficiency
his constitutional and common law Services Tax.
Creating a Rail Development
right to "discontinue unwanted The RBI is quite optimistic about
Authority for India is among the most
medical treatment". an uptick in the economy this year,
significant reforms to an infrastructure
However, the new Bill does not projecting 7.4% growth in Gross
system undertaken by the
define suicide. Differences among Value-Added, compared to 6.7% in
government. The railways connect
suicide researchers as to what 2016-17. Along with improved
the country's far corners and act as a
constitutes suicide remain. prospects for the world economy a
driver of the economy. High rates of
rebound in discretionary consumer
Growth, with caveats economic growth have raised the
spending at home is likely, in line with
The central bank was not demand for travel, but this remains
the "pace of remonetisation" and
expected to tinker with key policy largely unmet. The popular aspiration
investment demand on account of
rates in its first monetary policy review is for a modern system that offers high-
lowered interest rates. While the
of 2017-18 unveiled, following its quality travel with low risk of
government may take heart from the
decision to shift from an accidents, while industry wants
higher growth projection, it must pay
accommodative to a neutral smooth freight transfer. An
equal heed to Mr. Patel's plainspeak
monetary policy stance in February. independent, empowered regulator
on four key issues. First, the need to
The Monetary Policy Committee could be the paradigm shift that is
urgently resolve the surge of bad
chaired by Reserve Bank of India needed. The proposed Authority
loans on bank books, for which the
Governor Urjit Patel has, in fact, would have to ensure that the
RBI will unveil a new Prompt
decided to raise the rate at which the resources of the system are optimally
Corrective Action framework by the
central bank borrows funds from utilised, overcoming existing
middle of this month. Without this, a
banks (the reverse repo rate) by 25 inefficiencies that arise from the fact
virtuous cycle of healthy credit
basis points, from 5.75% to 6%, while that policy, regulatory and
growth necessary for investment and
leaving other policy rates untouched. management functions of the railways
job creation will remain elusive.
This marginal change is aimed at are intertwined. As the National
Second, the RBI has reminded the
sucking out from the system excess Transport Development Policy
government there will be "clearly
liquidity that remains a lingering Committee noted in 2014, the
more demand for capital" in the
concern, despite coming off its peak centralisation of all functions in the
coming days. The government's
in the aftermath of the Railway Board has proved detrimental
allocation of Rs. 10,000 crore to
demonetisation exercise. The RBI has to the organisation's growth,
recapitalise public sector banks is
also proposed a new liquidity particularly at a time when there is a
obviously inadequate. Third, while
management tool that awaits need for massive investment in
banks have reduced lending rates, 81
Selected Articles from Various Newspapers & Journals
infrastructure for 7%-plus GDP and what was undertaken in Europe profound implications for citizens,
growth. Conversely, robust economic during the 1990s, separating required Parliament's assent. Closure
expansion further raises the demand infrastructure from operations, is an of the country's borders to immigrants
for railway services. To reconcile this, interesting model: sequential from the continent, quitting the bloc's
the regulator has to identify sectors measures achieved sustainable single market, and calling time on the
that can support higher tariffs and results, rather than a package of jurisdiction of the European Court of
also produce greater volumes of changes introduced at once. Justice constitute the core of the
traffic. Such accurate interventions Real meaning of Brexit eurosceptic stance. They were
are critical if the trend of declining equally the central pillars of the 'leave'
Britain's apparent tone of
rates of growth in railway freight campaign. But ever since London
accommodation over its current
revenues and volumes, which set in triggered the Article 50 exit clause
complex exit negotiations with the
during 2011-12, is to be reversed. of the Lisbon Treaty on March 29, the
European Union (EU) would have
One of the big challenges hard realities of a two-year deadline
seemed inconceivable only a couple
before the Centre is to facilitate have begun to bite.
of months ago. Prime Minister Theresa
higher non-budgetary investment in May's candid remarks in January that In response to Article 50, the
the railways. The Bibek Debroy a "no deal for Britain is better than a European Parliament voted
Committee found the private sector bad deal" did not amuse European overwhelmingly to insist on
is discouraged from participating diplomats. Again, her veiled threat of compliance with the bloc's
more effectively due to a a possible low-tax and tariff regime budgetary obligations, the common
monopolistic framework. Coming up for third countries in the event of trade policy, and the court's
with a system that de-risks private failure to secure a trade agreement jurisdiction. The implication is that
investment and creates a level playing with the EU seemed intended to Britain will continue to be governed
field are among the major challenges appease hard-liners in her own party. by EU policy on these and possibly
before the Rail Development But recent developments suggest on immigration, even after Britain's
Authority. In the area of passenger that there might be prospects to formal withdrawal.
services, this offers several maintain continuity with the status The European Parliament's
possibilities; the railways cater to quo beyond 2019 in Britain's EU resolution also offers the possibility
some 23 million passengers a day in a membership. The 'remain' camp in of an association agreement, paving
network of about 8,000 stations. The last year's referendum may sense a the path for closer cooperation
experience of consumers in cities small window of opportunity in this between the U.K. and the remaining
shows that use of information evolving scenario. 27 states. But none of this detracts
technology to deliver traditional from the bloc's core concerns that
The Conservative government,
services can lead to higher levels of London's exit does not set a
long held hostage by eurosceptic
efficiency and lower costs, besides precedent for countries with
backbenchers, was a hapless witness
adding jobs. While regulation of tariffs eurosceptic and populist forces
to the leave camp's rallying cry ahead
matching the quality of travel can help eager to replicate the U.K.
of the June 2016 plebiscite to "take
raise revenues, the system should be referendum. A related aim is that
back control" from Brussels. But so
able to move both people and freight while the final deal may not be
much for sloganeering. A demand for
faster in order to grow. Inducting punitive, it should be inferior to full
legislative approval of the historic
faster, more comfortable trains on 500 membership.
verdict was resisted by the
km-plus inter-city routes would
government in charge of delivering Stepping up to a shared
attract new traffic, and help operate
Brexit. Eventually, 'remain' potential
cheaper passenger trains to interior
supporters won the argument in a India is the world's most
areas, as part of the government's
lower court. On appeal, the judges populous democracy and will, by
social obligation. Technology
ruled that Britain's withdrawal from a 2030, be the most populous country,
upgrades are essential to raise
four-decade EU membership, with overtaking China. And it is young -
carrying capacity, service frequency
and speeds. Rail reform is complex there are more Indian 10-year-olds

Selected Articles from Various Newspapers & Journals
than there are Australians. With more entrepreneurs in India who are Better control, more efficiency
than a dozen distinct languages, expanding their market reach into
How much does political
scripts and religions, India is this extraordinary country.
commitment matter in the success of
multiculturalism on the grandest The Government will announce a scheme such as the Mahatma
scale; unlike China, its only rival for the results of the tenth round of the Gandhi National Rural Employment
scale, it had never existed as a single Australia-India Strategic Research Guarantee Scheme? Does the ability
nation prior to its independence in Fund. Worth more than $100 million, of local politicians to control
1947. And to sustain a vibrant modern this initiative has enabled our sharpest bureaucrats in charge of
democracy, surely India is one of the minds to collaborate in areas such as implementation help in the
greatest political achievements of our food security and health, and effectiveness of the scheme in rural
times. advance the boundaries of human villages? If politicians have undivided
That formal relationship began knowledge in quantum computing, influence over a bureaucratic area
for many Australians in 1950, when nanotechnology and astronomy. By (the block), they can better oversee
Robert Menzies became the first combining our talents, we can add the scheme's implementation unlike
Australian leader to visit independent to the technological achievements the case where the block is split
India. Since then, both countries already made in both our countries. among multiple Assembly segments.
have been transformed. Now we For decades our citizens have In order to prove this, the
must turn our attention to been criss-crossing the Indian Ocean researchers map out political
transforming the relationship to one in search of knowledge. Last year, (constituency level) and
that matches India's huge needs and Australia was the second-most administrative (block/village level)
its enormous potential with our popular study destination for Indian boundaries and use GIS tools to
people, Australia's best assets, as well students - 60,000 came to Australia identify different forms of overlaps.
as our resources and our shared to learn. Through the Government's They then compare MGNREGS
democratic traditions. New Colombo Plan, I want to see implementation in unsplit and split
During the visit we will focus on more and more young Australians blocks, i.e. blocks and villages that
three areas of our relationship that choosing India as a place to study and fall under multiple political
show great potential: our economic, boost their own qualifications and constituencies and otherwise. The
knowledge and strategic experience. India's demand for our variables used to evaluate
partnerships. India is inspiring the minerals and resources remains high. implementation are the number of
world with its explosive economic But education is a new pathway to workdays created in the block and
growth. Its economic take-off is lifting shared prosperity. Consider the the total number of people who
millions out of poverty, transforming numbers - the Indian Government is worked on the scheme's projects.
the country into the world's fastest- aiming to train 400 million people by
Using regression models they
growing major economy, with 2022. We can help them achieve this
find out that compared to unsplit
forecasted growth of 7.5% in 2017. goal.
blocks, there are fewer people
This is a stunning result for India, and The security and stability of the employed in MGNREGS in split
a rare opportunity for Australia. From Indo-Pacific is fundamental to both blocks, and even among them, the
Mumbai to Melbourne, from of us and my visit provides an number of workdays is lower. Political
Bengaluru to Brisbane, India will be opportunity to discuss key regional representatives, they hypothesise,
in the market to buy some of the best and geostrategic issues and are better able to claim credit for the
things Australia has to offer. strengthen our engagement. As success of the scheme if block
Two-way trade is growing, and liberal democracies, we can work development officers directly report
approaching $20 billion, but that's far together to encourage free trade and only to them and not to other political
too low and there's so much more we prosperity and to help safeguard representatives. This effect is
can do. This will be a key focus of my security and the rule of law in our mitigated if blocks are split between
visit. I'll meet with executives from region. constituencies held by politicians of
some of India's biggest companies, the same party. It also means that if
and speak with Australian 83
Selected Articles from Various Newspapers & Journals
blocks are split between the same for a later decision. The Teesta river's but India cannot ignore our rights to
party representatives, they are better floodplain covers an area of 2,750 sq the river water."
able to control bureaucrats. km in Bangladesh, supporting roughly sWith elections slated for early
The larger implication of this 10 million people. An estimated one 2019, it is Ms. Hasina whose
paper relates to the multiple overlaps lakh hectares of land across five credibility is at stake at home after all
of governance between political and districts of Bangladesh are severely that she has done for taking Indo-
administrative boundaries. And that impacted and face acute shortages Bangla relations to newer heights.
politicians can actually exercise during dry seasons. Apart from Unfortunately, the Bengal of India has
positive influence on welfare livelihood directly obtained from the become the sore throat in an
schemes if they get the incentive to river, agriculture is also affected as otherwise evolving and matured
do so unlike the perception that 14% crop production is dependent Indo-Bangla relations.
politicians merely use such schemes on the flow of the river. At stake are
Mind the treatment gap
for rent-seeking and patronage. In the lives of millions of people of
the case of the MGNREGS, the falling Bangladesh who depend on the river The Mental Healthcare Bill,
of its jurisdiction under political for their survival. Therefore, it is 2016, which was passed in the Lok
boundaries allows for greater imperative that the treaty provide Sabha on March 27, 2017, has been
accountability of the political equal allocation of the Teesta, a fair hailed as a momentous reform.
representative. Hence there is better demand from the side of the lower According to the Bill, every person
implementation. riparian Bangladesh. will have the right to access mental
In 2011, during the visit of health care operated or funded by
A short history of a big deal
former Prime Minister Manmohan the government; good quality and
Bangladesh Prime Minister Singh to Dhaka, plans had been affordable health care; equality of
Sheikh Hasina's visit to India and the confirmed of an interim arrangement treatment and protection from
signing of 36 agreements of of 15 years, with India getting 42.5% inhuman practices; access to legal
cooperation ranging from the and Bangladesh 37.5% of the river services; and right to complain
economic, defence and power during dry seasons. The arrangement against coercion and cruelty. The Bill
sectors to the peaceful use of nuclear also included the setting of a joint also empowers a mentally ill person
energy shows that significant hydrological observation station to to choose a treatment and her/his
progress has been made in Indo- gather accurate data for the future. nominated representative,
Bangla relations in the last eight years. The plans fell through when West decriminalises attempted suicide,
However, the stalled Teesta treaty Bengal Chief Minister Mamata prohibits the use of electroconvulsive
continues to eclipse bilateral relations Banerjee opted out of the delegation therapy (ECT) to mentally ill adults
as water affects the lives of ordinary led by Dr. Singh to Dhaka, expressing without the use of muscle relaxants
people across vast spaces of land. It strong reservations against giving and anaesthesia, and contains
seems that in spite of the goodwill Bangladesh a greater share of water. provisions for care, treatment and
prevailing in Delhi, West Bengal has rehabilitation for those who have
When the Chief Minister herself
become a thorn in Indo-Bangla experienced severe stress and
had appointed an expert committee
relations. attempted suicide. While these are
headed by Kalyan Rudra in 2011 to
Bangladesh shares 54 of its 57 laudable and ambitious objectives as
study the Teesta issue, the report,
transboundary rivers with India. After they address major concerns of
though unpublished, was in favour of
the Ganges, Brahmaputra and the mental health care, there have been
Bangladesh. Says Ainun Nishat, a
Meghna (GBM) river system, Teesta some critiques drawing attention to
prominent hydrology expert from
is the fourth largest river shared the lack of funds, trained personnel,
Bangladesh, "India has completely
between the two countries. In 1983, and insufficient emphasis on
dried out the river on our end during
an ad hoc water-sharing agreement community care. The ground reality,
lean period by closing all the gates of
allocated 39% of the water flow to however, suggests that these
the Gazaldoba barrage. That is
India and 36% to Bangladesh and objectives are not just overambitious
unexpected from a friendly
remaining 25% was left unallocated but an overkill .
neighbour. This treaty is a formality,



Constitution of India divided proclamation, make a declaration to provisions of this Constitution, the
has three level of governance. Union, that effect in respect of the whole of President may be Proclamation
States and Local governments. All the India or of such part of the territory (a) assume to himself all or any
three have been given powers in their thereof as may be specified in the of the functions of the Government
respective spheres. They have also proclamation". Similarly Article 360, of the State and all or any of the
been given the autonomy to certain about financial emergency says, "If powers vested in or exercisable by
extent in their respective spheres. the President is satisfied that there is the Governor or any body or authority
However due to diversities and also an economic situation in which the in the State other than the Legislature
the past administrative practices, our financial stability or credit of India is of the State;
constitution is tilted towards Union. threatened, he or she can declare (b) declare that the powers of
There are various Articles in the financial emergency. Such an the Legislature of the State shall be
constitution which provide more emergency must be approved by the exercisable by or under the authority
power to the union like Article 248, Parliament within two months." of Parliament;
252, 253 etc. However most However these two Articles are not (c) make such incidental and
contentious Articles are Articles used regularly and there are less consequential provisions as appear to
which are related with emergency. contention about they being used the President to be necessary or
Part XVIII of the Constitution speaks wrongly. National emergency has desirable for giving effect to the
of emergency provisions. The been proclaimed in India only three objects of the Proclamation, including
emergency provisions therein can be times till now while financial provisions for suspending in whole
classified into three categories: emergency has never been or in part the operation of any
o National Emergency proclaimed. provisions of this Constitution relating
o Presidential Rule in State Most contentious issue under to any body or authority in the State
o Financial Emergency emergency provisions is invokation of If the President is satisfied that
Article 352(1) says that "If the Article 356. Article 356 says; such a situation has arisen, whether
President is satisfied that a grave If the President, on receipt of on the basis of a report received from
emergency exists whereby the report from the Governor of the State the Governor of the State or
security of India or of any part of the or otherwise, is satisfied that a otherwise, he may, by proclamation,
territory thereof is threatened, situation has arisen in which the take any or all of the three steps
whether by war or external aggression government of the State cannot be mentioned in sub-clauses (a), (b) and
or armed rebellion, he may, by carried on in accordance with he (c). 85

Clause (2) of the Article 356 in the above paragraphs that Article explored before invoking it.
provides provision for revokation, it 356 is cononial legacy. It was o The material fact and grounds
says that such a Proclamation may be adopted because at the time of on the basis of which this article
revoked or varied by a subsequent adopting the constitution there were is invoked should be made an
Proclamation. Clause (3) provides a too many fissure tendencies in the integral part of the
check upon the power contained in India. In the country with so many Proclamation; it will ensure
clause (1). It says that "every complexities if a state government effective Parliamentary control
Proclamation under this article shall can not govern in accordance with over the invocation of the
be laid before each House of constitutional provisions, problems President Rule.
Parliament and shall, except where it will reach other parts of the country. o The Governor's report must be
is a Proclamation revoking a previous However only the spirit of "co- a 'speaking document' and it
Proclamation, cease to operate at the operative federalism" can preserve should be given wide
expiration of two months unless the balance between the Union and publicity.
before the expiration of that period the States and promote the good of However, many of its important
it has been approved by resolutions the people and not an attitude of recommendations have not been
of both Houses of Parliament". Clause dominance or superiority. Under our implemented and tensions in federal
(4) provides that "a Proclamation constitutional system, no single entity relations are a recurrent feature.
approved by both the Houses of can claim superiority. Even assuming In S.R.Bommai supreme court
Parliament shall, unless revoked, cease that Centre has been given certain made following observations, "The
to operate on the expiration of a dominance over the States, that conditions precedent to the issuance
period of six months from the date of dominance should be used strictly for of the proclamation, therefore, are:
issue of the Proclamation. The proviso the purpose intended, nor the (a) that the President should be
to clause (4), however, empowers oblique purposes. Practice shows that satisfied either on the basis of a
such Proclamation to be extended, presidents rule has been imposed to report from the Governor of the State
beyond six months subject to the fullfill political ambitions. or otherwise, (b) that in fact a situation
approval of Parliament for a further Sarkariya commission for the has arisen in which the government
period of six months at a time subject centre-state relations observed that of the State cannot be carried on in
to an outer limit of three years. Article 356 has been used in arbitrary accordance with the provisions of the
Article 356, comes from the manner. They also gave following Constitution. In other words, the
section 93 of the Government of India recommendation related to Article President's satisfaction has to be
Act, 1935. Section 93 of the 1935 Act 356: based on objective material. Thus the
provided that if a Governor of a o This article should be used very existence of the objective material
province was satisfied that a situation sparingly and as a matter of last showing that the government of the
has arisen in which the government resort. It can be invoked only State cannot be carried on in
of the province cannot be carried on in the event of political crisis, accordance with the provisions of the
in accordance with the provisions of internal subversion, physical Constitution is a condition precedent
the said Act, he could, by breakdown and before the President issues the
proclamation, assume to himself all or noncompliance with the proclamation. Once such material is
any of the powers vested in or constitutional directives of the shown to exist, the satisfaction of the
exercisable by a provincial body or centre. President based on the material is not
authority including the Ministry and o Before that, a warning should open to question." This comments put
the Legislature and to discharge be issued to the errant state in restrictions to the power of judicial
those functions in his discretion. specific terms and alternate review on courts. Judicial review can
As we saw from the discussion course of action must be only be made for the objective



India face problems related to the poor, throughout the country, areas/Tribal areas etc., the rate of
Infant mortality and Maternal through outlets known as Jan incentive is15% of monthly sale
mortality at a large scale. India also Aushadhi Stores (JASs). Under the amount, subject to a ceiling of
receives highest number of deaths in Jan Aushadhi Scheme, the State Rs.15,000/- per month. At present
many acute diseases. There are various Governments are required to provide more than 175 Jan Aushadhi Stores
reasons for these problems but most space in Government Hospital have been opened across various
important among them is that in India premises or any other suitable States/UTs. JAS are opened on the
expenditure on health in very less locations for the running of the Jan locations as requested by the entity
percentage of the GDP. While in USA Aushadhi Stores (JAS). Bureau of intending to open. The steps are also
it is close to 14 percent in India it is Pharma PSUs of India (BPPI) is to taken to open Jan Aushadhi stores in
close to five percent. Among this provide one-time assistance of all AIIMS, prominent Hospitals,
percentage government spending of Rs.2.50 lakhs as furnishing and Medical Colleges under the Ministry
health is close to one percentage establishment costs, start up cost for of Health & Family Welfare.
only. This puts an added burden on setting up a Jan Aushadhi Outlet. Any The Public Health Foundation
the public to spent from their pocket. NGO/Charitable Society/Institution/ of India (PHFI) was asked to study
And in a country where large section Self Help Group with experience of the Scheme and suggest remedial
of population is poor this burden is minimum 3 years of successful measures. PHFI in their report
unsustainable. In last few decades operation in welfare activities, can pointed out the following factors
economic growth of India has been also open the Jan Aushadhi store which were mainly responsible for the
very good but resultant public outside the hospital premises. A scheme not being successful:
spending on the health sector has not margin of 16% on the sale price is (i) Over dependence on support
improved much. The growth of built in the MRP of each drug. from State Government.
India's economy now permits this In addition, the JAS are eligible (ii) Poor Supply Chain
long overdue increase in public for incentive linked to sale of management.
financing of health. Good health has medicines @ 10% of monthly sales (iii) Non-prescription of Generic
implications for development of amount, subject to a ceiling of Medicines by the doctors.
countryas well. Rs.10,000/- pm for a period of first 12 (iv) State Governments launching
The Government has launched months. In case of Stores opened in free supply of drugs.
'Jan Aushadhi Scheme' to make North Eastern States and other (v) Lack of awareness among the
available quality generic medicines difficult areas i.e., Naxal affected public
at affordable prices to all, especially 87
Jan Aushadhi Scheme
After the report government different States. medicines for the scheme. After
has taken several remedial measures c Increasing the number of revival of the two Pharma CPSEs, they
toremove the problems associated functional stores. will play an important role. BPPI has
with the scheme. Various steps taken d Strengthening the Operating initiated various steps to increase the
by the government are given below: Agency i.e., BPPI through basket of products and services.
a Increasing the number of augmenting of manpower. Various medicines have already been
products from 361 to 504 e Relaxation in the eligibility identified for PSUs and a list of more
medicines and 161 surgical and criteria of Operating Agency than 150 medicines have already
consumable items. Recently 88 for JAS. been forwarded to Pharma PSUs for
more drugs are added to the Indian Drugs & Phamaceuticals exploring the possibility of
basket. Ltd. IDPL and Hindustan Antibiotics undertaking the manufacturing of the
b Improving the supply chain Ltd., HAL, the Pharma CPSEs are same. All these steps will make health
mechanism through appointing key partners with regard to providing sector affordable for normal public.
Distributors and C&F agents in

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