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current affairs 2017

Important Facts OF The Day


Today Current Affairs Topics
Aadhaar Mobile Linkage
Indias Afghanistan Strategy
Listing Of NHAI
Social Business Redesigning Our Economies
Generalist Vs Specialist
Prelim Bits 24-09-2017 & 25-09-2017

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Aadhaar Mobile Linkage
Why in news?
The Supreme Court recently declared that privacy is a fundamental right.
But most telecom operators continue to pressure their users for mandatory Aadhar linkage
- thereby violating individual privacy.

What is the linking process?

Re-verification requires a user to visit a telecom service centre and undergo a biometric
(fingerprint) authentication.
The fingerprints are then matched with the Aadhaar database to establish authenticity.
The messages and calls for Aadhaar linking have only increased in frequency with time.
Some operators have even issues threats of disconnection if linkage doesnt happen with a
specified time.

What are the legal issues?

The Framework - The Centre is the custodian of the airwaves.
It issues licences to private companies for providing mobile voice and data services.
Telecom operators are governed by regulations by the Department of Telecommunications
AIR-7 in 2015. AIR-6 in 2014, AIR-13 in 2013, AIR-6 in 2012, AIR-11 in 2011, AIR-4 in 2010
This includes clauses for subscriber verification.
Aadhaar Issue - A series of circulars issued by the DOT from March 2017 onwards.
These directed the telecom operators to re-verify their existing subscribers through
Aadhaar authentication by February 2018.
Court orders Courts have limited the Aadhaar programme to a voluntary program
restricted to specific services.
The government instead is pushing for its use in mandatory re-verification.
Even when viewed independent of court orders, the DOT circulars stands no grounding
in law.

What lies ahead?

Irrespective of legality, the aggressive push for Aadhaar linking continues to instil fear in
people that their mobile phone connections will be disconnected.
This is especially problematic, as the Supreme Court has indicated that the pending
Aadhaar litigations will be heard in November.

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Indias Afghanistan Strategy
Why in news?
The government has plans to train Afghani police officers in India.
This expanded security assistance to Kabul also sends a strong geopolitical message to
various stakeholders.

What is Afghanistans position?

The country saw the highest civilian casualties last year since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion.
Increasingly, these casualties are coming not from Afghanistans border areas but its
cities and villages.
Only a professionally trained police force can maintain peace in such situations.
India has also announced 116 smaller new development projects across Afghanistan.
Hence, a Police force with strong fundamentals also becomes mandatory for protecting
such projects in irrigation, housing and schools from the terror groups.

What geo-political message does India convey?

For Afghan - India plans to expand its security assistance to Afghanistan by training
police officers, as part of a UNDP project.
This indicates a continued commitment for Afghans security & stability by active
capacity building.

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For Pakistan - and other countries in the region that deal with the Taliban, Indias action
conveys that it will not be deterred.
This is reinforced by New Delhis decision to send engineers to refurbish several non-
functional Soviet-era planes and to repair the helicopters that India donated to Afghanistan
last year.
For U.S - and its NATO allies, India makes it clear that will play a part in putting
Afghanistan back on its feet in its own way.

What message does Trade convey?

The decision to enhance security training comes on the heels of an India-Afghanistan trade
fair in Delhi.
Regardless of actual transactions made, it will demonstrate a determination in exploring
business possibilities.
Overcoming transit obstacles posed by Pakistan will be discussed.
The India-Afghan-Iran trilateral arrangement to circumvent geographical hurdles and the
commitment to complete the Chabahar port development project soon is another
A sustainable trade route from South Asia to Central Asia is therefore clearly in the making.

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Listing Of NHAI
Why in news?
Union ministry of Road transport is planning for initial public offering or IPO of National
Highways Authority of India (NHAI).

What is an IPO?
An initial public offering, or IPO, is the very first sale of stock issued by a company to the
Until a companys stock is offered for sale to the public, the public is unable to invest in it.
Prior to an IPO the NHAI has shareholders made up primarily of early investors i.e.
government itself or its authorised firms.
By now any individual or institutional investor who wasnt involved in the early days of
the NHAIs capital, can buy the shares.

What is the need for such proposal?

Roadways ministry has long argued that there is no shortage of money but due to
changing economic trends, it came up with the plan of IPO.

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Due to bad debts and NPAs the government is not so confident in investing on
infrastructure projects.
Banks are taking too long to approve the financial closure of highway projects, sometimes
taking as much as an entire year.

What are the positive outcomes of this?

Revenue escalation - This would open up an additional source of revenue, which the
authority could use to finance projects under the engineering-procurement-construction
(or EPC) financing structure.
Boosts accountability - Listing NHAI inevitably leads to pressures towards increasing
transparency in its operation, and being accountable to the public.
Eliminates corruption-It has become increasingly clear that the NHAI could benefit from
such transparency, and will lead to eliminating corruption.
Promotes Reputation - Due to series of allegations the roads sector does not have a
healthy reputation overall, listing the NHAI would take an important step in that
Performance upgrade - There is a huge gap between actual achievementsof road building
from the target of 40Kms/day, this IPO plan will resolve the issue.

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Social Business Redesigning Our Economies
What is the issue?
Grameen Bank in Bangladesh made capital available to the poor - especially women.
Its micro-credit program enabled millions to lift themselves out of dire poverty.
Its work also exposed the shortcomings of our traditional banking systems thereby flaggin
the need for large scale systemic reforms.

What are the flaws in our economic system?

The Crux - Our reactions to poverty, unemployment and environmental destruction have
been largely muted thus far.
These are either perceived as natural calamities completely out of human control or as
unavoidable costs of economic growth.
Profit Maximisation - The central problem with the current form of capitalism is that it
prioritises pursuit of individual profit.
As a result, only businesses designed around this goal are recognised and supported.
Greater Aspirations - Goals like the elimination of poverty & unemployment are currently
being neglected.
These can be corrected if we replace the existing with a new system that more accurately
reflects human nature, needs and desires.
Social business models are a beginning in this regard.
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What is social business?

Freedom from profit pressures is primary to any social business.

It is different from charity as it is designed to generate revenues and thereby become
It therefore does not need to constantly attract new streams of donor funding to stay
afloat - which drains the time and energy of so many in the non-profit arena.
Social business offers advantages that are available neither to profit-maximising
companies nor to traditional charities.
The simple economics and sustainablility of social business is already being illustrated
by successful experiments worldover.

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Generalist Vs Specialist
What is the issue?
The debate on generalists and specialists is kick-started with rising demands for lateral
entry into civil services.
Also, the changing nature of government creates the need for a reassessment of the
nature of civil servants involved in administration.

What is the need for specialisation?

Changing nature - The Indian Administrative Service(IAS) was modelled on the
colonial era Indian Civil Service as a generalist service.
It was conceived primarily to deliver the core functions of the state such as tax
collection and maintenance of law and order.
But with the evolution of public administration and economic reforms changing the
State's role, there is a higher demand for domain knowledge at policy level.
Drawbacks - IAS, as generalists, tend to over-weigh their experience of the process and
form over understanding of policy content.
Generalists heading specialised areas seems to be an inefficient arrangement at times.
There is also a misconception that only generalists who have a breadth of understanding
and experience can provide best leadership.
All these have raised questions about the role and relevance of the generalised IAS.

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What could be done?
The Constitution Review Commission 2002 suggested the need to specialise some of the
generalists and generalise some of the specialists.
However the task of managing specialisation needs the consideration of many factors:
When - From generalised field postings in the initial decade of service, an IAS gradually
moves to policy formulating positions.
This mid-career level transition provides the ideal marker for beginning to specialise.
How - Possibly, complying to the demands of behavioural attributes and aptitudes,
ministries could be broadly categorised into three groups - welfare, regulatory and
economic ministries.
Given this flexibility, it is also essential that the government make the process more
predictable and transparent to avoid favouritism.
Thirdly, once allocated to specialist positions, officers should be provided study and training
for deepening their domain knowledge.
In addition to these, the specialised lateral entrants should be required to generalise
through field postings.
The nature of policy-making at present demands that specialist expertise has to go with
generalist experience.
Thus, proper cadre management that provides for a right proportion of generalisation and
specialisation can improve the efficiency and relevance of civil services.

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Prelim Bits 24-09-2017 & 25-09-2017
Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana
The Scheme, also known as Saubhagya aims to provide last mile electrical connectivity to
all rural and urban households.
It will provide subsidy on equipment like transformers, meters and wires.
The government has set the target of providing 24X7 power for all by 2019.

LPG Panchayat
Union Petroleum Ministry has launched LPG Panchayat, aimed at encouraging rural
communities to turn to clean fuel.
The first LPG Panchayat was held in Gandhinagar, which brings LPG users of a village
and officials of fuel companies together.
It created an interactive platform to discuss safe and sustainable usage of LPG, its benefits
and linkages between using clean fuel and empowering women.

Soil Quality Scheme

Government aims to analyse the soil quality of farms through Hyper Spectral Imaging
(HSI) technique developed by IIT Bombay.
HSI means analysing extremely detailed images of an object, to the scale of nanometres
and then reconstructing its constituent elements.

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The technique can picture the nutrient balance of a patch of land without necessarily
collecting soil sample.
Thus Satellite-images, images from low lying drones can be used to calculate the
proportion of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous as well as other minerals in the soil.

Pralay Sahayam
Ministry of Defence hosted a multi-agency exercise Pralay Sahayam on the banks of
Hussain Sagar Lake in Hyderabad.
The event demonstrated efforts of all central and state agencies, NDRF and the Armed
Forces towards jointly tackling an urban flooding scenario in Hyderabad.

Bharat ke Kaushalzaade
Ministry of Rural Development has organized Bharat ke Kaushalzaade on the occasion
of Antyodaya Diwas 2017.
It is an event honouring beneficiaries of its Ministry of Rural Development key skilling
programmes i.e. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY) and
Rural Self Employment Training Institutes (RSETI).
Antyodaya mission aims at reaching out to the last person in the rural areas.

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Kaushal Panjee
Ministry of Rural Development has launched a mobilization platform Kaushal Panjee
(Skill Register).
The skill register aims to be citizen centric end-to-end solution to aid mobilization of
candidates for RSETIs and DDU-GKY.
It facilitates mobilization through Self Help Group members, Gram Panchayat
Functionaries, Block Officials, CSCs and directly by the candidate.
RSETIs and DDU-GKY Partners can access the Kaushal Panjee to connect with the
mobilized rural youth.
Kaushal Panjee is connected to the Social Economic Caste Census 2011 which will help
the States plan and target their mobilizations based on the socio-economic profile of
households in their State.

DDU-GKY was launched with a focus on building capacity of rural youth to address the
needs of domestic and global skills requirements.
It focused on rural youth between the ages of 15 and 35 years from poor families.

AIR-7 in 2015. AIR-6 in 2014, AIR-13 in 2013, AIR-6 in 2012, AIR-11 in 2011, AIR-4 in 2010
Special initiatives under DDU-GKY -
Himayat : A special scheme for the youth (rural & urban) of Jammu & Kashmir.
Roshni: A special initiative for the rural youth of poor families in 27 Left-wing
Extremist (LWE) districts across 9 states.

Rural Self Employment Training Institutes (RSETI)

RSETIs are established in each district with dedicated infrastructure to impart training
and skill up gradation of rural youth geared towards entrepreneurship development.
RSETIs are managed by banks with active co-operation from the Central and State

Nanny State
It is a term that refers to any government that intervenes excessively in the daily lives
of its citizens.
It is usually used to refer to governments that engage in heavy taxation and regulation
of the economy.
The term was used to criticise government intervention in peoples lives but supporters
believe it can improve the lives of citizens through careful policies.

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