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Issue #3 | April 2016 ISBN: 978-93-5187-346-4

A monthly Newsletter
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Tribal Development

pg. 78

Editors Desk
Dear aspirants,
Result of mains examination has just been declared. After analysing pattern of
mains questions and talking to hundreds of candidates who have made it to the
personality test, we have come to the conclusion that the trick lies in mastering
current affairs. But that is not enough, one needs to apply that mastery in the
seemingly unrelated questions asked in the exam.
In the magazine, we present hand curated summary of the most important
news articles of the month in the pointwise format which makes it easy to recall
during examination. Explainers with their fantabulous infographics simplify
the most complex issues without compromising an ounce on rigor.
Our core philosophy is to separate facts from fluff and present news with
context so that readers can make sense of complex news and make their own
opinion on issues of interest. There is no left, right and centre here, just plain
facts and dispassionate analysis.
With these words, wish you a very stimulating reading!
Team Civilsdaily
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civils digest | april 2016

How to use this magazine?

Implications of yuans rise

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is poised to

approve the inclusion of Chinas renminbi (or yuan
as it is called) as a reserve currency.
When the yuan is formally inducted into the SDR
portfolio, it will be the first new currency to be so
honoured since the euro was created.
The important advantage accruing to China is the
flexibility in settling all its international obligations
with its own currency.
For other countries, the benefit in having another
reserve currency is that they can diversify their
forex reserve portfolios to include renminbi.

Revise Static with Dynamic. What better than to have

contextual cards given alongside with Newsbytes!


to end Syrias endless agony

[b2b] = Back to Basics

To revise static portion of GS syllabus while
reading the current affairs

Whats the Vienna

conference ?

The highlights of the communique

The conference at Vienna on October 30, bringing

together 17 states (China, Egypt, France, Germany,
Iran, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar,
Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates,
the UK, and the US), ended with a nine-point joint
The United Nations (UN) and European Union
(EU) were also represented at the conference.
This is the third such attempt to hold talks to
find a way to bring to an end Syrias complicated

Syrias unity, independence, territorial integrity, and

secular character are fundamental, and imperative to

Historical Background
Previous two attempts, Geneva 1 (June 2012) and
Geneva 2 (February 2014), can be correctly characterised as insincere and cynical theatre, for 4 reasons:

Iran, an important stakeholder, willing and able

to frustrate any search for a political solution
that excludes it, was not invited.

With the US-supported rebels given undue

weightage, not all the opposition parties in Syria
were invited.

Principal initiators, the US and Russia, more

intent on scoring points over each other.

By inviting warring Syrian parties, including

the Bashar al-Assad regime, their external sup

The exclusion of Syria this time in Vienna is a
wise step.


The Islamic State (IS) and other terrorist groups,

as designated by the UNSC, must be defeated.
The UN is invited to convene a conference of
representatives of the Syrian Government and the
Opposition to start a political process leading to credible, inclusive, non-sectarian governance followed
by a new constitution, and an election under the UN
supervision. In parallel with political process, participants along with UN will explore modalities for a

Whats the principal bone of

contention? Is it about Assads
Probably, it is the US, Saudi Arabia, and their allies
who have given in. Till now, they have been repeating that Assad is not part of the solution and that
the political process cannot start without his leavAssads position, from a military point of view at
least, has improved. The changed US position is that
Assad has to go, but not on day one the political process starts. The US has wisely changed its position. It
is rather nave to say that if Assad steps down, Syria
will rapidly see the end of the civil wars.

Hand curated summaries from the most
relevant news sources, compiled in quick, fact
based format for ease of understanding.

Lets know about Special Drawing


The SDR is an international reserve asset, created

by the IMF in 1969 to supplement its member
countries official reserves.
Its value is based on a basket of 4 key international
currencies, and SDRs can be exchanged for freely
usable currencies.
SDRs are the IMFs unit of account restricted to its
Today the SDR basket consists of the euro,
Japanese yen, pound sterling, and U.S. dollar.

Detailed explainers on the current affairs with
the aid of infographics to enhance retention.

Vienna Conference to end

Syrias endless agony
Get Syrian Government and the
Opposition to negotiating table

To end Syrias
complicated issues

After the Russian military

intervention, Assads
position, from a military
point of view at least, has

The Vienna Conference
could lead over time to a
ceasere between Assad
and the non-IS rebels, but it
is too soon to say that it will.


Creat inclusive


149 Newscards



119 Newscards



Sedition law in India

Shyam Benegal Committee
Tribal Development in 2015
Whose law is it anyway?

Blue Economy 100

North Korean Fusion Bomb Test
Dealing with Pakistan
Shale gas can transform energy geopolitics

civils digest | april 2016


84 Newscards


Kelkar Committee Report

Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana
Hybrid Annuity Model
Falling Rupee 46

Enviro &

& Tech


38 Newscards

Biofuels 120
Glacial Harvesting 122

42 Newscards
Eureka moment - Gravitational waves found
Genetically Modified Organisms
National Biotechnology Development Strategy 143
Zika Virus 144

40 Newscards

A No-Nonsense Motivation
for IAS Aspirants


How do some students get mind blowing

marks in interview of upsc exam?


The Batman of all

apps - servicing
70,000+ aspirants
day and night!

Go to playstore to get the FREE CIVILSDAILY APP

civils digest | april 2016


149 newscards | H
 and curated
of the most
relevant news
items from

January 21

Cabinet nod for power tariff policy

In a major shift, power companies are allowed to pass costs on
to consumers arising out of any changes in taxes, cesses and
levies levied on them.
To promote renewable energy and improve the ease of
doing business for developers in the sector.
By allowing power generators to sell their surplus power on
the power exchange and sharing the proceeds with state
The amendments are based on 4 Es electricity for
all, efficiency that will ensure affordable tariffs, the
environment, and ease of doing business to attract greater
investment in the sector.
The new policy also mandates that no inter-state
transmission charges will be levied until a time to be
specified by the government.
This automatic approval was earlier limited to 50% capacity
Towards the power for all initiative, the policy enables
the creation of micro-grids in remote villages as yet
unconnected to the grid.
January 21

Commerce ministry backs measures to boost SEZs

The Commerce Ministry is in the process of identifying
reasons for the slowdown in the Special Economic Zones
It has asked Finance Ministry to consider steps to boost
exports from SEZs.
The commerce ministry has raised issues regarding
the removal or reduction of Minimum Alternate Tax and
Dividend Distribution Tax on SEZs.
Finance ministry has been asked to extend the Sunset
Clause (provision relating to the expiry of the benefits to
SEZs) on SEZs up to 2023.

January 21

Dealing with the slowdown

IMF forecast provides India a comparative edge in wooing the
global investor community.
IMF has cut the global growth forecast to 3.4% In 2016,
0.2% below its forecast of October.

civils digest | april 2016

Growth forecast for China unchanged at 6.3% and for India

at 7.5%.
Slowdown in China with it posting the slowest growth yet
in 25 years and weak commodity prices are indicative of
pronounced global weakness.
The year saw turbulence in the Chinese economy, with
heavy capital outflows and stock market volatility which
might exacerbate in the coming year.
Containing the spillover effects of volatility (exchange rate
plus point no. 4) in Beijing would be a big challenge for
planners in India.
But it is essential for the government to coherently address
the growing anxiety among domestic consumers and stem,
if not fully reverse, the demand slump.
January 22

400 railway stations to get airport-like facilities

Rail passengers may soon get to see airport-like facilities at

400 stations across the country.
The stations will have separate arrival and departure
terminals, easy connectivity with local transportation.
The government plans to adopt the Swiss Challenge mode
to invite bids for redeveloping the stations.
The railway stations will be built on design, build, finance,
operate and transfer model and the developer will meet the
entire cost.

January 22

Central Fraud Registry set up by RBI

RBI has also issued guidelines to detect frauds related to loan
Borrowers indulging in fraud typically take advantage of the
lack of information with banks.
Thus, RBI has put in place a central fraud registry - a
searchable database to help banks detect instances of
fraud by borrowers early on.
Frauds of 1L - 5Cr will be monitored by the respective
regional office of the RBI and above 5 Cr will be monitored
by the Central Fraud Monitoring Cell (CFMC) of RBI.
Given the incessant rise in bad loans since the last 2 years
and most of these arising out of fraudulent behaviour.
RBI has been urging banks to detect such cases at an early
stage to avoid a big hit later on their books.

January 22

January 23

Act local

Parliamentary panel to study work progress on

industrial corridors

The best way to deal with global market panic is to get

domestic policies right.
The BSE Sensex has plunged below the level when Modi
secured a stunning victory in elections .
Rupee has fallen below Rs 68 to the dollar for the first time
since August 2013 (time of taper tantrum)
This volatility owes more to global factors, especially a
deepening Chinese slowdown, collapse in commodity prices
and US Fed normalisation of its monetary policy.
US Federal Reserve embarking on a normalisation of its
monetary policy.
In real effective term, rupee has actually strengthens
against a basket of 6 currencies after adjusting for inflation
Weakening against the dollar is, thus, a sign of the latters
strengthening in an uncertain global environment where the
greenback has become every investors safe-haven asset.
Our focus should be on improving the domestic investment
environment and preserving macroeconomic stability.
January 23

PMO seeks industry inputs to spur growth

The performance of 8 core sectors in November is worrying,
with their output shrinking.
The PMO has sought industry recommendations on reviving
and sustaining the growth momentum in the core sectors of
manufacturing and infrastructure.
Industry had urged finance minister Jaitley to spur domestic
demand in the Budget in order to revive private sector
To sustain the reforms process in specific sectors and
assess policy issues beyond the short-term imperatives
which can be addressed in the Budget.
Though industrial output has grown at 3.9% from April to
November 2015, it remains volatile.
After surging 9.8% in October last year, the index of
industrial production fell by 3.2% in November its worst
performance since October 2011.

It will look into all issues concerning the corridors including

land acquisition.
A Parliamentary panel will undertake field visits to sites
where industrial corridors are to be established and prepare
a report in a bid expedite the projects.
Many industrial corridor projects are yet to take off due
to various impediments including land acquisition and
Initially, the government wanted the Parliamentary Standing
Committee on Commerce to include only the Delhi-Mumbai
Industrial Corridor (DMIC).
The panel will look into land acquisition, infrastructure
development and financial aspects including loans from
banks, financial institutions.
January 23

Norms for textile tech fund soon

It will look into all issues concerning the corridors including
land acquisition.
The Textiles Ministry had given approval for 22 parks under
the Scheme for Integrated Textile Parks.
The Union Textile Ministry will issue guidelines for the
Amended Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (ATUFS)
in a couple of weeks.
The spinning and ginning segments have not been covered
under the revised scheme, which gives thrust to the
garment and technical textiles segments.
Six projects had been approved under the Integrated
Processing Development Scheme.
Labour laws need amendments and the Ministry is hopeful
of bringing them.
January 23

NTC to upgrade technology at mills

The Ministry of Textiles and National Textile Corporation

(NTC) are working on a road map for NTC mills to meet
market demand and upgrade technology.
Plans include expansion, consolidation of the smaller units,
limited modernisation and diversification to products such
as technical textiles.
NTC has also taken up short-term modernisation which will
see Rs.140 crore investment.

January 23

India to buy more crude oil from Nigeria

India is set to import more crude oil from Nigeria, already

one of the biggest contributors to the countrys oil imports.
Nigeria has now agreed to increase the term contract from
1.7 million tonnes(MT) per annum to 3 MT in 2016.
The benefit of a term-contract is that it ensures quantity as
well as a stable price.
Nigeria is the 3rd-largest contributor to Indias oil imports,
behind Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
Sudan has offered more oil blocks for exploration and asked
for Indian companies expertise to raise production from
existing fields.

January 23

Mauritius to exclusively offer Biofarming

Technology to India
Various areas of cooperation in MSME Sector between both the
countries discussed.
First Joint Committee Meeting between India and Mauritius
for the cooperation in MSME sector was held successfully
on 21st January 2016.
The issues discussed for cooperation were in the areas
of capacity building through training of trainers, surveys
on potential areas, and trade fairs exchange of business
missions, setting up of business incubators, etc.
It was also agreed to formulate an action plan in the area of
coir, khadi and handicraft sectors in addition to the above
Government of Mauritius has exclusively offered to India
for transfer of biofarming technology and also exchange of
cooperation in the health sector.
January 23

Ethanol to be under Priority Sector Lending

Petroleum Ministry is to ensure that ethanol production is
brought under the priority sector lending norm by banks.
This would encourage sugar mills to invest in adding
distillery capacity and ensure that they could take loans for
this at 2-3% less than the existing market rates.
Centre has planned to augment ethanol storage facilities, so
that sugar mills could raise output without worrying about
storage and transportation.


civils digest | april 2016

Ministry has sought an assurance from the mills that theyd

produce enough ethanol to achieve a full 5% blending with
Government rules mandate 5% ethanol blending with petrol
for more than a decade but the target has never been met,
due to disagreement over the price OMCs would pay to
Production of ethanol from sugar distilleries is the second
biggest pollutant of the Ganga river.
January 25

Bengal tea industry sees ray of hope in ministers

The state has made global headlines with reports of starvation
deaths in the gardens in North Bengal.
The state, which has in its fold the famed Darjeeling brand,
has since last year, made international headlines with
reports of starvation deaths in the gardens in North Bengal.
Talks with a cross-section of the industry revealed, that
the minister has accepted the need to examine Plantation
Labour Act.
The possibility of asking workers to accept a minimum
wage structure that encompasses the benefits now being
extended, to the workers under the PLA.
As per latest statistics between Jan and Oct 2015
production in West Bengal is lower at 274 million kgs
compared to a year ago figure.
The issue of high-costs is plaguing the organised industry
throughout the tea producing regions in Assam, West
Bengal and the South.
January 25

Lets know more about tea industry in W. Bengal?

West Bengal is Indias second largest tea-growing state with

a 20% share of countrys tea cultivated area.
Also, contributing about 24% of the total Indias tea crop.
There are 377 gardens of which 87 are in Darjeeling and
the rest in Dooars ( Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar district) and
Terai (Darjeeling plains and Uttar Dinajpur).
It is the 188 Dooars gardens, which are facing problems the
There are a total 2.64 lakh workers directly involved with the

January 25

32% of girls in AP got married before 18. Says


The data on State wide key health indicators of the NFHS

is out.
Whats NFHS? National Family Health Survey.The shocking
trend was prevailed across the Andhra Pradesh, despite
functioning of Child Protection Committees at various levels
in the district.
This survey was the fourth in the series and was released on
Tuesday by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

January 25

What is NFHS?

The National Family Health Survey (NFHS) is a large-scale,

multi-round survey conducted in a representative sample of
households throughout India.
It is a collaborative project of the International Institute for
Population Sciences (IIPS),Mumbai, India and 2 more
NFHS was funded by the United States Agency for
International Development (USAID) with supplementary
support from UNICEF.
NFHS-4 is being conducted under the stewardship of the
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, coordinated by the
IIPS, Mumbai.

To the extent that resources are ploughed into public

investment, the cost of building infrastructure is also
commensurately cheaper when commodities collapse. So
there is a price hedge.
Think of disinvestment as an asset swap on the
governments balance sheet rather than an asset sale.
January 26

What are Procyclical and Countercyclical


Cycle in question is business cycle i.e. booming economy or

busting (slowing) economy.
Procyclical implies swimming with the stream as in
procyclical fiscal policy. govt would increase spending and
reduce taxes during boom period to further strengthen
similarly in countercyclical fiscal policy, govt would increase
spending and reduce taxes to increase demand during
slowing growth cycle.
Keynsian economics favour countercyclical fiscal policies to
lessen the impact of business cycle.
Progressive taxation by taxing a larger proportion of income
when the economy expands, tends to decrease demand
when the economy is booming, thus reining in the boom.
Progressive taxation is therefore an example of automatic
countercyclical fiscal policy.

January 26

January 26

Divest to Fund Capital Expenditure aka Asset swap

Government mulls Shome panel suggestions on tax


Asset sales are the way for government to protect credibility

while avoiding procyclical fiscal stance .
Amid concerns of a slowdown, fiscal-consolidation would
make fiscal policy procyclical and potentially suboptimal.
Deviating from the fiscal path again is not without risks.
First, it could impinge upon hard-earned credibility.
Second, a larger-than-expected borrowing programme
will push up private-sector borrowing costs and risk some
crowding-out of private investment.
Finally, with nominal GDP growth moderating sharply and
approaching the same level as the cost of government
borrowing, public-sector debt dynamics have become less
But does asset sale make sense when public sector
commodity stocks are down?

The government is considering the recommendations of the

Parthasarathi Shome committee aimed at simplifying tax
Among the key proposals of the Tax Administration
Reform Commission (TARC), headed by Dr. Shome, was
a suggestion that Income Tax Return forms should also
include wealth tax details.
The panel had mooted that retrospective amendments to
tax laws should be avoided.
As a principle and that the post of Revenue Secretary be
Other recommendations were for the CBDT and CBEC to be
For the use of Permanent Account Number (PAN) to be


January 26

Lets know about TARC?

The TARC is committee appointed for giving

recommendations for reviewing the public Tax
Administration system of India in 2013.
The Union Finance Minister had made an announcement
in his Budget Speech 2013-14 for setting up of Tax
Administration Reform Commission (TARC).
To review the application of tax policies and tax laws in India
in the context of global best practices.
To recommend measures for reforms required in tax
The term of the Commission is 18 months and works as an
advisory body to the Ministry of Finance.

January 26

Centre calls for bridging skill gap in civil aviation

Building a robust fund mechanism for training, creating
infrastructure and improving training process.
Civil Aviation Minister raised concerns over the tremendous
mismatch between the skills required for the civil aviation
sector and the availability of suitable manpower.
Stakeholders should come together to work out ways for skill
development, taking into consideration the requirements
and employment opportunities available in all segments of
the civil aviation sector.
This includes Maintenance, Repair and Operations (MRO)
and cargo, both within and outside the country.
ICRA Management Consultancy Services Ltd. (IMaCS) has
recommended setting up a National Civil Aviation Training
Authority and Cargo and Ground Handling Sector Skill
January 26

Centre calls for bridging skill gap in civil aviation


Civil Aviation Minister raised concerns over the tremendous

mismatch between the skills required and the availability of
suitable manpower for the civil aviation sector.
He added that stakeholders should come together to work
out ways for skill development.
The employment opportunities are available in all segments
of the civil aviation sector including Maintenance, Repair
and Operations (MRO) and cargo, both within and outside
the country.


civils digest | april 2016

There should be a robust fund mechanism for training,

creating infrastructure and improving training process.
January 27

Organic tag to boost Sikkims cardamom exports

Organically-grown large cardamom may be priced higher than
its fertiliser-fed counterpart but the former has burgeoning
premium-class consumers abroad.
The global demand for large cardamom grown in India is
expected to rise with Sikkim, which produces a chunk of
this highly-valued spice.
The organically-raised large cardamom, initiative under
Make in India mission, aims to make the country a global
hub of indigenously-developed products.
Sikkim, which grows large cardamom in 17,000 hectares of
land, produces 4,000 metric tonnes (90% of the countrys
production) of the spice annually.
Spices Board has a team of 50-odd employees working in
Sikkim to not just sustain organic farming but empower the
growers to earn more from their produce.
The Spices Board is set to unveil an e-platform for its famed
fortnightly auction in Sikkims traditional spice market of
January 27

Government makes it easier to set up companies,

do business
The government has unveiled two initiatives to expedite
clearances and ensure greater ease of doing business in the
These initiatives ensure faster clearances to incorporate
companies and improve the ease of doing business.
The Government Process Re-engineering (GPR) involves
a 3-pronged approach of further automating some of the
approval processes.
By utilising advanced software tools, rationalising and
modifying certain rules and engaging professionals to
expedite the process of manual scrutiny.
The Central Registration Centre (CRC) will process
applications for name availability, submitted online and
endeavour to process them by the end of the next working

January 27

Centre mulls coastal economic zones to boost

Though India has many ports, there is no cluster or a section of
coastline that enjoys special status and incentives.
Government is planning to create coastal economic
zones(CEZs) along the countrys 7,500-km long coastline.
It will cover many States, ports and special economic zones
having uniform policy to further boost manufacturing.
There is a thinking in the government that there should be
a port-led development as was done in China where cities
were granted special status of open coastal cities.
These cities enjoyed special policies of the government.
January 27

India to install hotlines at 13 airports to deal with

The move is among several being adopted in the wake of
heightened security concerns and include new guidelines for
passengers and visitors.
Indias aviation ministry will install hotlines in 13 important
airports to plug any communication gaps in the event a
plane is hijacked.
India has witnessed around 6 hijackings since
Experts cite communication gaps as the main reason why
nothing was done when the plane stopped to refuel in
The airports are: Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai,
Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Trivandrum, Nagpur, Ahmedabad,
Chandigarh, Jaipur, Lucknow and Guwahati.
The plan is that the hijacked plane will be diverted to the
closest airport quickly.
Instant communication on ground situation and potential
demands of hijackers be relayed immediately to the control

January 28

Rajasthan Govt. signs MoU to join UDAY

The Rajasthan Government and its power distribution

companies or discoms signed a pact with the Centre.
Under the Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) aimed
at relieving the debt burden of the most indebted discoms
in the country.
Rajasthan discoms have a total debt of Rs.80,500 crore
which is 18.7% of the countrys total discom debt of Rs.4.3
lakh crore.
This signing of the MoUs with Rajasthan is very significant
because the states discoms have the largest debt.
Rajasthan was the first to come to meet us when we came
to power to highlight this problem.

January 28

Government yet to decide on MIP for steel

The government is yet to take a decision on fixing minimum
import price (MIP) for steel.
The government has been considering proposals (including
MIP) to protect domestic steel manufacturers from cheap
imports mainly from China.
It is in the process of undertaking a tariff-line wise detailed
assessment to find out the sub-segments that are affected
the most.
Need protection in terms of anti-dumping duty,
countervailing duties (or anti-subsidy duties) and MIP.
The user industries have been representing and arguing
for their continuing access to low-cost imported steel to
balance the domestic supplies.
India has considerable installed capacity and it is operating
at about 80%, which is a higher load factor than the rest of
the world, averaging about 68 to 70%.

January 27

How employment data is released currently?

Currently, the only employment data in India is available

through quinquennial (once every five years) surveys.
It is a limited ad-hoc survey of employment in a few sectors
that was initiated by the Labour Bureau after the global
financial crisis in 2008 and the Annual Survey of Industries.
Done by: National Sample Survey Organisation

January 28

Centre sets up committee to fix Bt Cotton seed

The government constituted a committee to execute its cotton
price control order that will decide the price farmers pay to
seed companies.
9-member committee has a deadline of 31 March to decide
on the MSP of genetically modified Bt cotton seeds.
The committee is slated to meet within a week or two to
decide the maximum sale price (MSP) of cotton seeds,
including royalty fees and dealers margins.
The agriculture ministry on 7 December issued a price
control order to bring uniformity in Bt cotton seed prices.
As several states such as Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh
and Telangana have brought in price control orders.
At least six million farmers grow cotton in India, over 95% of
which is grown using the transgenic Bt technology.
The committee will be headed by the joint secretary (seeds)
in the ministry, and will have the agriculture secretaries of
Telangana and Gujarat as members.
January 28

Hybrid Annuity model for implementing highway


The CCEA has given its approval for the Hybrid Annuity
Model for implementing the highway projects.
Such a model would be adopted for projects not found
viable on BOT (Toll) mode.
It shall be more effective in terms of maximizing the
quantum of kilometers implemented within the available
financial resources of the govt.
Objective- To revive highway projects in the country by
making one more mode of delivery of highway projects.
It will facilitate uplifting the socio-economic condition of the
entire nation due to increased connectivity.

While making it difficult for banks to reduce deposit rates

and, in turn, lower lending rates.
Low rates are much needed in the current investmentstarved economic environment.
High administered rates for small savings in relation
to both market rates and CPI inflation act as effective
impediments in the transmission of the RBIs monetary
policy signals.
Overall gains to the economy from lower interest rates will
far outweigh benefits to small savings deposit holders.
Shyamala Gopinath committee had suggested fixing small
savings rates based on a positive spread of 25 basis points,
vis-a-vis government securities of similar maturities.
January 28

Ghosts Of Ship-To-Mouth: What ails agriculture in

Price spikes, production fluctuations challenge us, not
insufficient food production.
India is into an era of marketable surplus but there are no
buyers for produce.
Anxiety on onions and pulses etc. are the consequences of
lopsided farm support programmes.
The conversation on the farm sector needs to radically shift
from focusing on fears of insufficient production to issues of
nutrition and safety.
India is already among the largest producers of foodgrain,
pulses, sugarcane, tea etc., even though we lag behind in
crop yields.
Differences in the yields b/w farms and labs can be bridged
by improved extension services.
Productivity can also be enhanced across the spectrum
without adding extra inputs (and with fewer seeds) if we
simply upgrade sowing machinery.
Farmer-ownership of machinery will lead to debt, service
leasing will lead to prosperity.

January 28

Aligning small savings rate with market rates: A

Political Hot potato

January 28

Retaining the current rates only for deposits below a certain

limit could make it politically more palatable.

Two key drivers of the turbulent global markets are Yuan

devaluation and the sharp fall in global commodity prices.

Theres a significant gap between the rates paid on small

saving instruments and bank deposit rates or the yields on
10-year government bonds.
Such a gap incentivises people to put their money in the
small savings instruments.

Chinese central bank un-pegged the RMB from the dollar

and set a lower starting rate.
It was a clear signal to the market that it wanted the RMB to
depreciate and it started to fall.


civils digest | april 2016

Remnimbi Devaluation and Stock Market Volatility

It also triggered capital outflows and the global market

Move was perceived to be a beggar-thy-neighbour
mercantilist move, and other central banks also let their
currencies fall.
The voluntary depreciation is driven by a concern about
losing competitiveness.
This creates problems for investors as large currency
movements heighten uncertainty and leads to stock market
January 29

Centre hand-picks 20 smart cities for first phase of

Ministry to soon introduce credit rating to attract investors.
The list of 20 cities that have qualified to build smart
infrastructure with Rs. 200 crore each from the Central
governments first phase of funding.
The Ministry has given top rating to Bhubaneswar for its
robust Smart City plan.
Mission promotes integrated city planning, where Swachh
Bharat Mission and Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and
Urban Transformation complement each other.
The Central government has created an outside agency
named Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV).
This will be headed by a CEO, and will be given powers to
execute the proposed developments and projects.
January 29

We should be careful about how we measure GDP:

New GDP series, in effect for a year now, has been criticised by
RBI Governor has raised doubts over the new methodology
used to calculate the countrys gross domestic product
He cited the example of two mothers who babysit each
others kids, and said there is a rise in economic activity as
each pays the other, but the net effect on the economy is
The countrys GDP numbers were revised with the base
year of 2011-12 from the earlier 2004-05.

The methodology of calculating GDP was changed as the

new methodology takes GDP at market prices into account,
which includes indirect taxes and excludes subsidies.
Governor indicated that country needed policies to
incentivise job creation and rued that we have policies
directed towards capital subsidies alone.
January 29

Gold bond scheme picking up: Das

The second tranche of the Sovereign Gold Bond (SGB)

scheme has attracted applications for gold worth Rs.726
The scheme is gradually picking-up amongst the investors
with increase in awareness and more clarity about the
provisions of the scheme.
The idea behind the SGB scheme is to wean away those
who use gold as a store of value.
It encourages them to invest in the gold bonds as opposed
to the yellow metal itself.
The bonds are issued by the Reserve Bank of India on
behalf of the govt.

January 29

Trade unions to hold nationwide protests in March

Trade unions across the country will hold nationwide

protests in March.
It will be against the govts labour law concessions for
start-ups and its failure to hold negotiations on the unions
charter of demands.
The unions have also questioned the govts continued push
for contentious labour law reforms.

January 29

Lets know about new methodology of calculating


Overall, there is a movement of GDP from production to

It has shifted from final goods to gross value added and
from factories to enterprise data under MCA.
Enlarged the scope of financial sector with support of SEBI.
The new methodology takes GDP at market prices into
account, which includes indirect taxes and excludes


January 30

January 30

Rajan warns against straying from fiscal

consolidation path

Japan introduces negative interest rate to boost


During global turmoil, macroeconomic stability should not be


Some economists contend that the Abenomics focus on

inflation as a spur to growth is misplaced. Pushing the banks to
lend will only work if companies borrow and invest.

RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan cautioned against deviation

from the fiscal consolidation path, which could hurt
macroeconomic stability.
The growth multipliers on government spending at this
juncture are likely to be much smaller, so more spending
will probably hurt debt dynamics.
Brazils experience suggests, the enormous costs of
becoming an unstable country far outweigh any small
growth benefits that can be obtained through aggressive
We should be very careful about jeopardising our single
most important strength during this period of global turmoil
macroeconomic stability.
Taking the fiscal deficits of the Centre and states, the
consolidated fiscal deficit for the country rose last year to
7.2% from 7%.
Deviation from the fiscal consolidation path could push up
government bond yields.
January 30

Govt. to back state-run banks capital needs: Sinha

The government reiterated its commitment to support public
sector banks capital needs at a time when bad loans are
eroding their capital and putting pressure on profits.
Government is going to support public sector banks and
fully support all the Basel-III requirements.
The banks are going to be fully supported as far as their
capital adequacy in concerned.
The RBI is forcing banks to clean up their balance sheet
by asking the lenders to make adequate provisions for bad
loans, which were unidentified hitherto.
The banking regulator has prepared a list of borrower
accounts, which has to be classified as non-performing.
The government said it would provide Rs.25,000 crore in
this fiscal year and an additional Rs.25,000 crore next fiscal

The Bank of Japan(BOJ) said it will charge lenders that

leave too much cash on idle deposit with it.
Introducing a negative interest rate policy for the first time
as it seeks to shore up a stumbling economic recovery.
The Japanese yen slid, with the U.S. dollar rising to about
120.70 yen from about 118.50 earlier in the day.
It hopes that will encourage commercial banks to lend
more, rather than keeping cash at the BOJ, and stimulate
investment and growth in the worlds thirdlargest
The policy would continue as long as needed to achieve its
inflation target.
January 30

Did you know Abenomics?

Abenomics refers to the economic policies advocated by

Shinz Abe since the December 2012 general election.
Abenomics is based upon three arrows of fiscal stimulus,
monetary easing and structural reforms.
The program as a mix of reflation, government spending
and a growth strategy designed to jolt the economy out of
suspended animation that has gripped it for more than two
The term Abenomics is a portmanteau of Abe and
This follows previous political neologisms for economic
policies linked to specific leaders, such as Reaganomics,
Clintonomics and Rogernomics.

January 30

India, U.S. clear 100 transfer pricing cases under

The MAP programmes with other countries like Japan and UK
are also progressing well with regular meetings and resolution
of past disputes.
One of the significant steps taken by CBDT to boost
investment sentiments among MNCs is the landmark
Framework Agreement signed with the Revenue Authorities
of USA in January, 2015.


civils digest | april 2016

This agreement was finalised under the Mutual Agreement

Procedure (MAP) provision contained in the India-USA
Double Taxation Avoidance Convention (DTAC).
The agreement seeks to resolve about 200 past transfer
pricing disputes between the two countries in the IT
Services [ITS] and IT enabled Services [ITeS] segments.
The success of the framework Agreement in short period of
one year has led to the US Revenue Authorities opening up
their bilateral APA programme to India.
January 30

Lets know more about Transfer pricing?

Transfer pricing agreements will lead to a positive environment
and will bring greater certainty. This greater certainty will lead to
more investments flowing into India.
Transfer pricing refers to the setting of the price of goods or
services sold between entities within an enterprise.
For example, if a subsidiary sells good or services to its
parent company, then the price set for this sale is the
transfer price.
This is one of the biggest tax issues is the world today.
Pending cases and issues are also one of the biggest factors
keeping foreign investors wary of India.
All those companies, embroiled in transfer pricing issues,
are off-shoring companies.
January 30

Giving cities the smart edge

Make intelligent use of information technology to deliver better
civic services.
Rapid and poorly regulated urbanisation has overwhelmed
urban governments, rendering them incapable of providing
even basic services.
Smart city is one that enables a decent life to the citizens,
and green and sustainable environment, besides enabling
adoption of smart solutions.
Smart cities would create virtually new business districts in
several cities, marking a departure from the disaggregated
urban development witnessed in the past.
This area-based development approach makes it imperative
that the resulting demand for mobility to and from the
smart area be made an integral part of the plan.
Emphasis should be on walkability, use of non-motorised
transport and access to public transport.

Care also needs to be taken that the effect is not to create

gated communities of best practices.
But ensuring that these urban enclaves cater to the
housing, health, education and recreation needs of a wide
cross section of society.
January 30

Govt lowers GDP growth rate to 7.2%

Govt has marginally revised the economic growth for 201415 to 7.2% from earlier estimate of 7.3%.
It has taken into account the latest data on agriculture and
industrial production.
GDP growth rate for 2013-14 has also revised downwards to
6.6% from earlier estimate of 6.9%.
There is a downward revision in terms of Gross Value
Added for 2014-15 on account of subdued performance of
secondary sector.
GVA as a concept was introduced by the CSO last year to
measure value addition in the economy.

January 30

The trouble with spectrum pricing

The regulators recommendation holds risks for an industry that
serves a crucial socio-economic objective.
TRAI recommended very high reserve price for auction of
spectrum in 700 MHZ band.
This band has high performance efficiency and utility in
improving and expanding high-speed wireless broadband
services across rural areas.
But high pricing of a public asset may end up having the
exact opposite effect:.
It could make a scarce resource so expensive that its
meaningful utilisation is compromised, thus unable to serve
the larger public good.
Very high per unit price realisation, while possibly helping
meet immediate fiscal needs, would only bleed the industry
of resources.
High price of spectrum would also affect private investment
in network expansion and infrastructure.
The financial viability of the industry is crucial both for
private investment and for the government to earn recurring


January 30

February 01

Easwar Committee: Making Taxation less Taxing

Government may ask central bank to consider

roads as a priority sector

The challenge is to make tax regime simpler and taxpayer

friendly and ensure certainty without an erosion in what is
already a low tax base. In this regard Easwar committee
recommeded Raising the threshold for Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) and
reduction of TDS rates from 10% to 5%
Amending the capital gains tax laws to provide relief to retail
investors who get caught in demands made by taxmen.
Simplification of the distinction between capital gains and
business income.
Changes in law to avoid delay in the issue of tax refunds
A presumptive income scheme for professionals as part of
the move to ensure ease of business.
Encouragement of electronic filing and measures to reduce
the compliance burden.
February 01

Visa on arrival to attract Japan, Korea investors

This was being done keeping in mind the Make in India
policy of the government and to make India an attractive
destination for investors from the 2 countries.
After PM Modis announcement that all Japanese citizens
would get visas on arrival, the government has decided to
extend it only to the business community for now.
The government is actively considering including South
Korea in this category.
Japan and South Korea are already on the list of 113
countries whose citizens can arrive in India through an
electronic tourist visa on arrival (e-TV) platform.
Japan had earmarked a $11-12-billion fund for Make in
At least 3 Japanese firms were given the go-ahead in 2015
to set up shop in India.
February 01

What is Visa on arrival facility ?

A visa on arrival facility means that an applicant would not

have to wait for days to travel to India.
It will cut red tape and an applicant would be informed
within 3 days through e-mail whether he or she can travel to
a destination in India.
The Indian Embassy has its own data and it will scan for
suspicious travellers.


civils digest | april 2016

The govt. will soon approach the RBI Governor with a

proposal to include road projects under the priority sector
list for lending purposes.
It will also seek review of the NPA norms to revive Rs.
40,000-crore worth of highway projects.
One of the main reasons behind the delay in highway
projects is shortage of funds.
The road contractors said that banks were reluctant to fund
projects due to mounting NPAs.
The govt officials argue that the managerial inefficiencies of
developers have stalled these projects.

February 01

Govt asks states to Increase power tariff, cut theft

In states such as Rajasthan, Haryana, Jharkhand, Punjab,
Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, power is
provided below the cost of generation and delivery.
Centre has urged state electricity regulators to increase
power tariffs and ensure that power distribution companies
cut power theft and operational costs.
This is to prevent utilities being bailed out by state
governments from slipping back into losses.
Tariff revisions and steps to boost efficiency in power
distribution are covered by the tripartite agreements.
These are signed by states, power utilities and Union
Ministry of Power under UDAY.
February 01

Commerce Ministry prepares strategy to boost

exports to Africa
Worried over declining exports, the commerce ministry has
prepared a strategy to boost shipments to Africa.
The ministry has identified several sectors as part of the
strategy- engineering, agriculture and farm equipment have
emerged as a major ones.
The Department of Commerce will hold consultations with
Ambassadors and High Commissioners of major African
nations and industry stakeholders to implement the strategy.
Indian farm and agri equipment are competitive as
compared to western products.
There are huge tracts of land in Africa and agriculture is the
growing sector there.
The 2-way commerce b/w India & Africa is about USD 75 bn.

February 01

Keep Pushing for IMF reform

Launch of BRICS Bank and Asian Infrastructure Investment
Bank, finally pushed US and developed nations to modernize
their quota structure.
International Monetary Fund has finally made country quota
reforms agreed by the G20 in 2010 a reality.
The U.S. Congress which had blocked the reforms finally
dropped its veto to allow quota reform to go through.
With this structural shift, more than 6% of the quota,
including both the Funds capital and voting rights, have
been transferred from developed to emerging economies.
India and China have respectively increased their voting
shares by 0.292 and 2.265%age points.
All the directors on IMF board will now be elected and
developed countries will not be able to nominate.
February 01

Lets know more about IMF Quota

It determines a countrys subscription to the IMF, access to

fund and voting rights.
The current quota formula is a weighted average of GDP
(weight of 50%), openness (30%), economic variability
(15%), and international reserves (5%).
GDP is measured through a blend of GDPbased on
market exchange rates (weight of 60%)and on PPP
exchange rates (40%)
Emerging economies want changes to the formula as part
of overall reform, giving more weight to GDP at PPP and
dynamic factors such as GDP growth.
Any changes in quotas must be approved by an 85%
majority of the total voting power.
This gives country holding >15% quota de facto veto over
quota reforms and USA holds such a veto with more than
16% quota share.

February 02

Core sector output recovers, grows 0.9% in Dec.

Fertiliser, coal, cement output and electricity production
The output of 8 core industries that comprise almost
38% of the weight of items included in the Index of
Industrial Production (IIP) could record only a 0.9%
growth in Dec.
Due to 4.1% contraction in output of crude oil, 6.1%
contraction in natural gas and 4.4% shrinkage in steel.

Data on the core infrastructure industries has clearly been

disappointing as growth remained sub one% in December
after a negative blip in November.
During April-December 2015 period this fiscal, the output
of these eight sectors slowed to a 1.9% growth from 5.7%
growth in the same period last fiscal.
February 02

Clean up the Balance Sheet of Banks

Setting up of an asset reconstruction company by govt is a
good idea. But test will lie in giving its managers a free hand.
It will prepare them to lend to the corporate sector as and
when economic activity picks up speed.
Non-performing assets (NPAs) and restructured loans of
scheduled commercial banks have only increased over the
last two years.
They stood at over 11% of total advances in September
The idea of dipping into taxpayer money for the ARCs
equity is opposed by some on the grounds of it creating a
moral hazard.
But if banks and corporates are forced to pay for the mess,
a state-backed ARC would bring credibility to the asset
recovery programme.
February 02

The GDP riddle: Is economy booming or

New estimates demand a more nuanced understanding of
economic activity.
New estimates pegged the GDP significantly higher than
previous estimates.
But this jump was not in line with other parameters of
economic activity such as corporate profit growth, credit off
take etc.
The new estimation methodology is in line with global
Where increased value addition, as against an actual
increase in quantity of production, leads to a higher GDP.
This approach can work seamlessly in an economy where
all value addition is tracked formally and recorded in wellcodified data.
But for a country like India, where 93% of labour works in
the informal sector, this method requires a more nuanced

February 03

February 03

With an eye on budget, Rajan holds interest rates

Trans-Pacific pact may impact exports

Going ahead in 2016-17, RBI said growth is expected to

strengthen gradually, notwithstanding significant headwinds
and projected the GVA growth for the next fiscal at 7.6%.

The TPP agreement (which India is not a part of) was reached
in October last year and the member countries have 2 years to
ratify the pact.

The RBI left the key policy rate unchanged at 6.75%, as

widely expected, ahead of the union budget.
Indian economy is currently being viewed as a beacon of
stability because of the steady disinflation, a modest CAD
and commitment to fiscal rectitude.
This needs to be maintained so that the foundations of
stable and sustainable growth are strengthened.
The government is targeting a fiscal deficit of 3.9% for the
current financial year and 3.5% for FY17.

Commerce Minister Sitharaman has expressed concerns

over the mega-regional free trade pact, also called as the
Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
The TPP has set very high standards for the international
trading regime.
Hence, this pact is likely to indirectly impact Indias exports
in several industrial sectors such as textiles, plastics,
leather, clothing, cotton and yarn.
Besides it is also expected to affect the countrys regime on
investment, labour standards, IPR, possible evergreening of
The investor-State dispute settlement mechanism adopted
by the TPP was also a concern from Indias point of view.

February 03

Lets know highlights of RBIs sixth monetary


Repo rate unchanged at 6.75%

Cash reserve ratio or CRR unchanged at 4%
Marginal standing facility rate and Bank Rate at 7.75%
Expects FY17 inflation at around 5%
RBI to create a special ecosystem for startup funding

February 03

Companies Law Committee submits report to

Suggestions include omitting provisions relating to forward
dealing, insider trading.
The Companies Law Committee constituted in June
2015 to make recommendations on the issues related to
implementation of the Companies Act, 2013.
The recommendations including definitions, raising
of capital, accounts and audit, corporate governance,
managerial remuneration, companies incorporated outside
India and offences/ penalties.
Some key changes proposed are regarding managerial
remuneration to be approved by shareholders.
The modification of definition of associate company and
subsidiary company.
Companies may give loans to entities in which directors are
interested after passing special resolution and adhering to
disclosure requirement.
Auditor will report on internal financial controls with regard
to financial statements.

civils digest | april 2016

February 03

Lets know about Trans-Pacific Partnership?

The TPP is headed by the US and includes Australia,

Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New
Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.
It would set new terms for trade and business investment
among the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations.
It would phase out thousands of import tariffs as well as
other barriers to international trade.
In this regard, the External Affairs Ministry would soon do
a study in the context of TPP and inform the government
what the priorities should be in terms of policy-making.
In the meantime, the Indian government will have to
consider improving the countrys standards in areas such as
labour laws by holding stakeholder consultations.

February 03

MGNREGA completes 10 years of implementation

On this occasion, Union Ministry of Rural Development had
organised MGNREGA SAMMELAN in New Delhi to highlight
achievements MGNREGA.
The MGNREGA is a flagship rural job guarantee scheme
that was announced by the then PM Manmohan Singh in
February 2006.
The scheme aims at providing 100 days wage employment
to every household to ensure livelihood security in rural

The%age of Scheduled Caste (SC) workers has consistently

been about 20% and Scheduled Tribe (ST) workers has
been about 17%.
Women participation has rose to 57% well above the
statutory requirement of 33%.
Over 1,980 crore person-days employment have been
generated in the programme.
More than 65% of the works taken under MGNREGA are
linked to agriculture and allied activities.
February 03

Tapan Ray Panel Recommendations

The panel was constituted to suggest amendments in the
Companies Act, 2013, to make it easier for companies to do
Doing away with any kind of government intervention in
managerial remuneration and allowing startups to issue
more sweat equity and employee stock options (ESOPs).
Removal of provision under Section 2(87), which prohibited
the companies to not have more than two levels of
Only those frauds which involve Rs 10 lakh or above, or
1% of the companys turnover, whichever is lower, may be
punishable under Section 447.
Section 447 lays down the punishment for any person
found guilty of fraud to minimum 6 months imprisonment.
A firm to be called associate company only when the parent
firm owns 20% of voting power in it.
Insider trading and forward dealing provisions to be
removed from the Act as Sebi regulations already exist.
Institute of Chartered Accountants of Indias regulatory
powers to be taken away; National Financial Reporting
Authority would be formed.
Private placement process to be simplified, doing away with
separate offer letter, making valuation details public.
February 03

Food imports rise as govt struggles to revive rural

Droughts, lack of long-term investment in agriculture and
increasing demands are undermining the countrys bid to be
self-sufficient in food.

Last month, India made its first purchases of corn in 16

years and it has also been increasing purchases of other
products, such as lentils and oilmeals.
Wheat and sugar stocks, while sufficient in warehouses
now, are depleting fast, leading some traders to predict the
need for imports next year.
Indias entry into the market as a net importer is good news
for suppliers like Brazil, Argentina, the US and Canada,
which are suffering from a global commodity glut.
Boosting irrigation, raising crop yields and encouraging
farmers to avail of a new crop insurance scheme will help
address growing distress in the countryside.
February 03

RBI relaxes FDI norms to boost start-ups

RBI relaxed several rules including FDI norms to boost startup activity in the country.
Start-ups are allowed to receive foreign venture capital
investment irrespective of the sector in which they operate.
The new norms will enable transfer of shares from foreign
venture capital investors to other residents or non-residents.
Proposals like permitting start up to access ECB, issuance
of innovative FDI instruments etc. are under consideration.
If these proposal goes through, it will improve investor
participation and also help start-ups to raise capital at low

February 03

Govt. sets up Tax Policy Council headed by

Finance Minister

The Govt has created a Tax Policy Research Unit (TPRU)

and Tax Policy Council to be chaired by the Union Finance
The decision is based on the recommendation of the Tax
Administration Reform Commission.
Objective- To bring consistency, multidisciplinary inputs,
and coherence in policy making.
The TPRU will be a multi-disciplinary body with the
objectives of carrying out studies on various topics of fiscal
and tax policies.
It will provide independent analysis, prepare and
disseminate policy papers and background papers on
various tax policy issues.

The long term impact of rising food imports on commodity

markets could be significant.


February 03

February 03

Inter-ministerial meet to discuss measures to

increase exports

Govt forms unit for tax administration reform

Inter-ministerial talks will begin soon to consider measures

to boost exports and improve the ease of doing business.
Background: Merchandise exports dropping for 13th month
in row.
The govt will also look into the likely impact of the proposed
GST on exports .
It will review free trade agreements, including the one with
Asean member-countries.
The commerce ministry will approach the ministries of
external affairs and finance on customs-related issues.

February 03

New U.S. rule a blow to Indian pharma exporters

US govt. has made it mandatory for Active Pharmaceutical

Ingredients (APIs) to be manufactured locally.
At present, nearly 80% of drug raw material requirement is
met by India or China.
This change will affect companies which have subsidiaries
in the US that procure APIs from their Indian counterparts
and make the finished product in the US.
Further, the decision would impact availability of affordable
generics in the United States.
Indias pharmaceutical Export Promotion Council has asked
the govt. to intervene and resolve the issue.

February 03

Increase social sector spending

Economic policies should aim to achieve growth and

inclusive development.
The govt. should address following 3 major issues regarding
budget and economy.
For raising growth, investment has to be revived, particularly
private investment.
Second, a big push for rural and agriculture sector is
needed in the forthcoming budget.
Third, budget should provide a medium term framework for
social sector which is important for its own sake and raising

The role of states is equally important particularly in

infrastructure, agriculture and social sector.


civils digest | april 2016

It will take a holistic view of direct and indirect tax policies

besides determining the negative side-effects of tax decisions.
A common tax policy unit will consist of, a Tax policy council
as well as Tax policy research unit.
The tax council - advisory in nature, will suggest broad
policy measures for taxation.
The tax policy research unit - will study various tax and
fiscal policies, liaise with state commercial tax departments
and assist the tax policy council in decision-making.
It will also elaborate the legislative intent behind specific
proposals, their impact on tax collections, as well as the
likely economic impact of the proposals.
Will bring in coherence in tax policy and is the first step
in reforming tax administration as suggested by the TARC
headed by Parthasarathi Shome.
February 03

Govt to announce NFSA with Rs 1,30,000 crore

Govt is gearing up to announce a mammoth rollout of NFSA
with an outlay at Rs 130,000 crore, which will be double the
number earmarked in this years Budget.
The planned commitment is greater than the entire
allocation towards food subsidy in this years Budget Rs
124,419 crore and the full-fledged rollout of the Act will
begin from April 1.
Some 1.8 lakh fair price shops across the country will have
electronic point of sale devices to authenticate beneficiaries
at the time of distribution.
The quantum of grains distributed to each family will be
electronically captured.
The number of these shops, at 70,000 now, will increase to
5.52 lakh by March 2017.
February 03

Relaxations to start-ups to create more Indian


RBI will ease regulations to allow startups to raise foreign

venture capital through innovative instruments.
The step comes as it seeks to lighten norms to support
growth of entrepreneurship in India.
RBI will also simplify the process for outward remittances
and allow innovative instruments like convertible notes.

RBIs measures are in line with the governments Startup India initiative which envisages making the ecosystem
conducive for growth of startups.
February 04

Coal linkages to steel, aluminium, cement sectors

only via auction
Move for transparency and level-playing field; follows SC
declaring allocation of 204 coal mines/blocks as illegal due to
arbitrary procedure.
This was decided by the Cabinet Committee on Economic
Affairs (CCEA) which met under Prime Minister Modi
The auction ensures all market participants have a fair
chance to secure the coal linkage, irrespective of their size
It attempts to ensure an optimal allocation of coal across
user industries and geographies
The cabinet allowed the railways ministry to form joint
venture (JV) companies with the state governments
To mobilize resources for undertaking various rail
infrastructure projects in states
February 04

Merge DA with basic this year and defer

increments: pay panel member
Pay and pension revision recommendations are scheduled to
take effect from January 1.
To meet fiscal deficit target, the Government should merge
the basic pay and dearness allowance (DA) of central
government employees in the current year.
On other side, Defer implementing any real increases in pay
and pensions.
This could be done by compensating those who would have
to bear the burden of the deferred effect by giving them a
more generous award distributed over several years.
The Governments fiscal deficit in 2008-09, the year the
Sixth Central Pay Commission award was implemented,
doubled to 6%.
Currently, Central government pay and allowances account
for 1% of the countrys GDP.
February 04

With petrol costlier than aviation fuel, its now

cheaper to fly than ride a bike
There are also fiscal reasons behind the governments
persistent hikes in excise duty on petrol and diesel.

Higher state taxes coupled with greater incidence of

central excise duties has resulted in petrol becoming more
expensive per litre than aviation turbine fuel (ATF).
All fuels are subject to several taxes, resulting in their
final market price being significantly higher than the price
dealers pay for the fuel.
One major reason for the mismatch between the prices of
ATF, a highly refined fuel and petrol is the higher burden of
central excise duties on the latter.
Another reason for ATF enjoying lower excise duties than
petrol or diesel is that aviation fuel can be freely imported.
Hence, if the Indian government hikes the excise duty on
ATF, airlines can simply import it from cheaper sources.
Consumers of diesel or petrol dont have any such option.
February 04

DBT regime may evolve into a social security


The govt is planning to scale up the present regime for

direct transfer of benefits to the poor under various welfare
Govt. will create a unified national database of beneficiaries
that can be updated in real-time
It can automatically trigger new benefits such as vaccine
shots for a newborn baby
A committee in the Cabinet Secretariat is also working with
the Finance Ministry to create a network of 2 million cash
points in 6 lakh villages by March 2017
The cash points such as kirana stores, chemists and
Grameen Dak Sewaks will ease the process of getting the
cash in hand for the rural poor

February 04

Agriculture Minister calls for better developed

futures markets for farmers

The better developed futures markets for agricultural

commodities will be significant for farmers, as it could help
them secure fair price for their products
Most of the Indian farmers are small and marginal and do
not enjoy specific capacity to transact the deals concerned
They deal with their business in low-benefiting markets and
are victimized to exploitation owing to limited awareness
about marketing
A better-developed futures markets for farmer specially for
agricultural commodities will be of great importance
The govt is working towards developing National Agriculture

February 05

February 05

N-plant parts to be made in India

Report on insolvency and bankruptcy code

expected by the first week of March

The localisation plans are part of the governments Make in

India initiative
In a move that could become a model for countries keen for
a share of Indias civil nuclear energy pie
India and Russia have set up a working group to locally
build components for nuclear power plants of Russian
This is based on the Action Program signed between
Rosatom and the Department of Atomic Energy(DAE) of
India is looking to majorly ramp up nuclear power
generation to overcome power shortages and reduce carbon
emissions under its global commitments.
The Action Program includes areas of cooperation in the
field of joint machinery production for nuclear power plants
The 3 joint working groups set up are 1. The nuclear fuel cycle
2. Nuclear energy
3. Scientific-technical cooperation.
February 05

Pharma and biotech sector must get its due in


Some of the immediate needs of the sector are access to

capital, quality infrastructure, high-end talent
The proposed removal of tax breaks could blunt the India
pharma and biotech industrys innovation edge
The tax exemptions given to SEZs and R&D have delivered
on their stated objectives and must be further augmented to
drive investment, growth and employment
Today, the Indian pharma industry is recognised as the
Pharmacy to the World
It is one of the lowest-cost producers of essential medicines
globally, catering to nearly 30% of the demand for generics
drugs worldwide

The joint committee of Parliament studying the insolvency

and bankruptcy code will submit its report by the first week
of March
Whenever there was global economic turmoil in the past,
India has always shown resilience, including the global
financial crisis in 2008-09
Jaitley invited the foreign investors in roads, highways, oil
and gas, urban infrastructure and railways, during India
Investment Summit 2016
The National Infrastructure and Investment Fund (NIIF)
would be the major driving force for investments in to Indias
infrastructure 2016-17 onwards

February 05

Joint Ventures with states for rail projects

The Union cabinet has approved a proposal for formation of JV
companies between Indian Railways and state governments
This aims to mobilize resources for executing rail
infrastructure projects in multiple states
The JV exercise would ensure greater participation of states
in implementation of railway projects both in terms of
financial participation as well as decision-making process
The move will also facilitate faster approvals including land
The JV companies would be formed with equity
participation of the rail ministry and the state governments
Each such JV would have an initial paid-up capital of Rs
100 crore, including the rail ministrys paid up capital of
upto Rs 50 crore
February 05

Lets know about National Investment and

Infrastructure Fund

NIIF is a fund created by the Govt of India for enhancing

infrastructure financing in the country.
The mandate of the NIIF includes investment in
commercially viable and stalled projects.
Corpus - Rs. 40000 crore; govt and other investors would
contribute Rs. 20000 crore each.
NIIF would be a fund of funds, so there will be multiple
alternate investment funds underneath such as stressedassets fund, renewable energy fund, etc.


civils digest | april 2016

February 06

February 06

As customs duty exemption goes, 76 life-saving

drugs to get costlier

Pakistan top importer of Indian cotton

The Finance Ministry has withdrawn exemption of 76

medicines from customs duties
Why - To boost domestic competition among Indian drugmakers
Impact - It could inflate the cost of essential life-saving
imported drugs
The list includes 10 HIV drugs and at least 4 cancer drugs,
but haemophilia patients are likely to be the most affected
by the decision
The withdrawal of exemption for anti-cancer and HIV
medicines will not affect patients as generic versions of
these drugs are made in India

February 06

Price control on BT cotton

The Delhi high court made way for the Union government to
impose price controls on BT cotton seeds
Declined to stay decision to set up a central price control
Committee is tasked with regulating prices of Bt seeds and
royalty to technology providers
The price control order was issued by the agriculture
ministry on 7 December 2015 and the 9-member
committee was set up
The central price control order aims to keep Bt cotton seed
prices affordable for farmers and bring uniformity in prices
across states
February 06

Rs. 1.1 trillion additional provision for OROP, Pay


Additional financial burden on govt in 2016-17 will be Rs 1

This is on account of 7th Pay Commission and OROP
Of this, Rs 73,650 crore will come from the general budget
and Rs 28,450 crore from rail budget
Even if spending is more, govt is confident about achieving
FD target of 3.9% for 2015-16

Pakistan has replaced Bangladesh as the largest buyer of

Indian cotton in the October-December 2015 quarter
Its domestic availability declined sharply due to crop
damage from whiteflies
It imported 47% of Indias overall fibre exports
Indias cotton exports to other countries are also likely to
remain significantly up this year

February 06

Agricultural education must conform to global

standards: President

India has only 3% of the worlds land resources and 5% of

water resources, yet, Indian agriculture system supports
18% of the world population.
Indias transformation from a state of ship-to-mouth to
a leading exporter of foodgrains has been made possible
Due to the scientific developments in premier institutes
such as the IARI
For this, there is a need to create a large pool of competent
faculty empowered with state-of-the-art research
A strong network of teachers, learners and practitioners
will facilitate lab-to-field dissemination of good agricultural

February 08

Jaitley asks States to raise infra outlay

Finance Minister urged the States to boost spending on

infrastructure creation and anti-poverty programmes
Why - Govt. is under pressure to raise public investments to
revive the economy
How - By leveraging the increased devolution from the
implementation of the 14th Finance Commissions (FFC)
States Demand - To release the compensation for phasing
out the central sales tax
Do you know? - After FFC recommendations were
implemented, the Centres share in 58 social development
programmes was reduced
This included the important schemes like Sarva Shiksha
Abhiyan and the Integrated Child Development Services


February 08

Fertiliser Industry is best candidate for direct

benefit transfer
If the farmers are given subsidy directly, this will not only stop
leakage but will also avoid unnecessary paper work and redtapism
There is a need to increase the urea price by at least 15%.
The current selling price of urea which is highly subsidised
is almost one-fourth the world price
If we increase urea price then it can lead to more balanced
fertilization and lower subsidy outgo
It is desirable to have freight merged into subsidy so that
there is only one stage of disbursement
To grant support for organic compost is a welcome move,
as this ensures replacement of carbon into the soil thereby
making it more conducive for farming
Single Super Phosphate (SSP) is the appropriate fertiliser for
the small and marginal farmers.
Countries like Brazil have used this cheaper alternative
with some support rather than depend on imported diammonium phosphate (DAP)
February 08

What is Single Super Phosphate?

Single superphosphate (SSP) was the first commercial

mineral fertilizer, and it led to the development of the
modern plant nutrient industry
This material was once the most commonly used fertilizer,
but other phosphorus (P) fertilizers have largely replaced
SSP because of its relatively low P content
The presence of both P and sulfur (S) in SSP can offer an
agronomic advantage where both of these nutrients are
In agronomic studies where SSP is demonstrated to be
superior to other P fertilizers, its usually because of the S,
Ca (or both) that it contains.

February 08

Learn about Geographical Indication (GI) tag ?

GI status is an indication that identifies goods as produced

from a particular area, which has special quality or
reputation attributable to its geographical origin.
This gives legal protection to the products and prevents
unauthorised use of a GI by others
It promotes economic prosperity of producers of goods by
enhancing demand in national and international markets


civils digest | april 2016

GI registration is essential to get protection in other

Some of the examples of GI includes Mysore Silk, Mysore
Agarbathi, Kancheepuram Silk, Orissa Ikat, Channapatna
Toys and Dolls, and Coimbatore Wet Grinder
February 08

Unified insurance package for farmers

There are 7 components in the unified package- the Fasal

Bima Yojana
This includes fire insurance, agriculture pump-set
insurance, life insurance, accident coverage, student safety
insurance, tractor insurance
This package will be first tried in 45 districts and expansion
will be decided after the response
Entire package will be offered by the state-run Agriculture
Insurance Company or other general insurance company

February 08

Pulse cartels under scanner

As pulses sowing in the ongoing rabi season shows signs of
faltering, the ministry of consumer affairs is planning to tighten
the noose around the cartels
Govt has sought the help of Delhi Polices economic
offences wing, Competition Commission of India,
Enforcement Directorate and the CBI
This is to keep an eye on importers and hoarders indulging
in cartelisation
Action will be taken under Essential Commodities Act
NITI Aayog had warned injudicious use of the Act could
make private investments in agriculture marketing and
storage infrastructure unattractive
February 09

Maharashtra bets big on Make in India Week

Maharashtra and Mumbai are likely to be among the biggest
beneficiaries of the Make in India Week, with the government
going all out to make it a showpiece event.
Maharashtra will host the biggest pavilion among the 17
State pavilions at the Make in India
This event showcase potential as an investment destination
over 10,000 sq ft, the State is likely to sign MoUs worth Rs.
4 lakh crore during the event

The State will begin its pitch for investment on February 14

with the Maharashtra Textile seminar to attract investment
in textile parks
Though Maharashtra is one of the largest cotton producing
States, only 25% of its produce gets used here
So in line with from-farm-to-fashion call given by the PM,
this intend to scale it up to ensure that all the cotton gets
utilised with direct benefit to farmers
February 09

Cash squeeze could hurt autonomous bodies

Autonomous institutions set up by various ministries could soon
face a cash squeeze
Central government is planning to make them cut back on
their cash reserves
It will simultaneously create tough oversight rules to control
their investments
This will save the government quite a bit of cash and
cut down on a source of corruption in plenty of these
Their current expense is largely for salary and office
management, financed by the ministries
On the capital side, they have few liabilities but large assets,
including land and cash reserves deployed mostly as
investments in pension funds
February 09

U.K. firms keen to build hospitals in Smart Cities

Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu met a business
delegation from the U.K. that advocated setting up hospitals in
Indian smart cities
Mr. Modi and Mr. Cameroon had agreed to support
opening of 11 Indo-UK Institutes of Health in India with an
investment of 1 billion
Mr. Naidu also met delegation of U.S. businessmen and
assured them that Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV), one of
the key administrative bodies for Smart Cities
This would give ample powers to ensure timely execution of
smart development projects
The Smart Cities Trade Mission is keen to learn more about
the market and new business opportunities
By creating a forum to explore avenues for collaboration,
the mission fosters commercial engagement between the 2

February 09

Start-Up India and Make In India Should Impel

CSIR-Tech pvt ltd

Dr Harsh Vardhan recently met with leaders and team

members of CSIR-Tech Pvt Ltd at CSIR-NCLs campus in
the city of Pune.
Dr Harsh Vardhan keenly asked questions about the
successful work of technology commercialization that CSIRTech was involved with for the last 3 years.
CSIR-Tech was doing which directly aligns with the
government of Indias programs like Start-up India and
Make in India
How technology and intellectual property being developed
at CSIR, BARC, IITs, DST labs, DRDO, etc. is finding its way
to touch common lives
CSIR-Tech invests in science based start ups and spin off
businesses through its India Science Venture Fund, a SEBI
registered fund which includes SIDBI as a lead partner

February 10

Govt. to build more national highways: Gadkari

Context: The govt has decided to increase the length of

national highways from 96,000 km to 2 lakh km
Reason: To decongest traffic in the country because 40%
of the traffic moves on national highways and as a result 5
lakh accidents take place
How the highways will be chosen? - A formula based on
vehicular traffic, according to which 4-lane, 6-lane and
express highways would be constructed

February 10

Ministry signs MoU with Chhattisgarh government

for railway development

Context: The Union proposal for formation of JV companies

between Indian Railways and state govts
Recent Developments: Indian Railways signed a MoU with
Chhattisgarh Government to establish a joint venture
Importance: Chattisgarh needs expansion of rail network to
transport its natural resources
Purpose of JV: For laying tracks and expedite
implementation of railway projects in the state
Focus areas of JV: Project development and
implementation, resource mobilisation, land acquisition and
monitor the progress of critical rail projects in the state


February 10

NHAI aims for conservation and protection of

The NHAI would provide the coordinates of all NH projects
to WII for developing a Geological Information System (GIS)
enabled map of all NH passing through Protected Areas
The NHAI has taken the lead in creating a platform for
dialogue where development goals and conservation needs
can be resolved
The NHAI initiated the dialogue with the Wildlife Institute of
India (WII), National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)
and WWF, Environment Ministry
The dialogue will provide a structured platform for
expeditious consultations with all stakeholders for
convergence of development goals with conservation needs
The NHAI propose using space technology for planning and
monitoring of conflict zones
Putting in place mitigation measures for environmental
protection and conservation along the highways

In the inventory based model, a company owns and keeps

the goods in warehouses
February 10

Labour ministry to restructure job survey

Union labour ministry will revamp its quarterly job survey to
reflect the latest employment data
Data will be from both the manufacturing and service sector
Aim is to make it more structured and sync it with
policymaking and have regular up-to-date jobs data for both
policymaking and public consumption
More job-creating sectors, like banking, insurance,
e-commerce and small and medium enterprises, will be
added to get a complete picture
Labour bureau to visit over 10,000 firms every quarter, more
than four times present number, to track employment
So far, employment data collection in India has been ad
hoc, patchy and irregular

February 10

February 10

100% FDI planned for marketplace e-commerce

PFRDA eyes soft compulsion to hike pension


Govt is considering permitting 100% FDI in the marketplace

model of e-commerce retailing
Aimed to attract more foreign investmentsThe norms on FDI
in the sectors of e-commerce, and IT and ITeS are expected
to be part of detailed guidelines
At present, global e-tailer giants such as Amazon and Ebay
are operating online marketplaces in India
While homegrown players such as Flipkart and Snapdeal
have foreign investments even as there are no clear FDI
guidelines on various online retail models
At present, 100% FDI is allowed only in business-tobusiness (B2B) e-commerce and not in the retail segment.

PFRDA is considering a plan that will make it mandatory

for employers to automatically enrol their employees into a
pension scheme with an option to the subscriber to opt out
Move has been proposed after a disappointing response to
the govts ambitious Atal Pension Yojana
Atal Pension Yojana, launched last year, failed to meet its
ambitious 20 million enrolment target by December-end
Soft compulsion is used in many countries to increase the
coverage under private pension system
Generally known as automatic enrolment in private
pensions with an option to the subscriber to opt-out

February 11
February 10

Marketplace E-commerce model

An e-commerce firm carries its business either through

marketplace model or inventory based model
In marketplace model, the e-commerce company provides
an online platform for buyers and a sellers
Brands sell their products wholesale in an online
marketplace right alongside their competitors
Allows for a superior customer service experience for their
buyers, as many smaller brands have not established
fulfillment processes


civils digest | april 2016

Reserve Bank tells banks to set aside more for

stressed loans

Context: RBI Governors drive to clean up banks balance

sheets by March 2017
RBI Direction: Banks will have to accelerate provisioning
requirement, from April 1, for the existing stock of
restructured loans that are showing signs of stress.
How? - Lenders have to increase provisioning by 2.5% every
quarter starting April 1

This will take provisioning to the level of 15% by March 31,

2017, in line with sub-standard accounts
Impact on Banks? - Banks are facing profitability pressure
due to higher provisioning for bad loans
February 11

Revenue target to be met, says Adhia

Context: Centre expects to meet the target of Rs.14.49

lakh crore for revenue collection from taxes for the current
financial year
How? - The surplus in indirect taxes will be enough to make
good the expected shortfall in direct tax collections
Indirect Tax Collection: The govt expects to garner over
Rs. 40,000 crore more than the target set for indirect tax
This gives an indications of high level of economic activities
taking place in the economy
Direct Tax Collection: The collection from direct taxes is up
just 10.9% as compared to last year

February 11

Industrial growth in FY14 was higher in poorer


Industrial growth in the traditionally weaker states of Bihar,

Odisha and Chhattisgarh in 2013-14 dwarfed that of their
more developed counterparts
Data released as part of the Annual Survey of Industries
showed Bihar, Odisha and Chattisgarh had grown the most
industrially in FY14
This is in a year when the economy had to cope with the
euro crisis and its effects on Indian industry
Bihar at 97.5% had the highest growth but measured from
the countrys steepest decline the previous year

February 11

Indian Railways to hike passenger fares

The railways ministry is said to be mulling an increase of up

to 10% in passenger fares
It is facing a severe financial crunchIf approved, the
increased rates will fetch IR an additional Rs 5,000 crore
This will partially offset the impact of the Pay Commission
recommendations and the cut in the Centres financial
assistance or Gross Budgetary Support (GBS)
The ministry seeking to maximise gains from the increased
volumes in the peak season beginning March

February 11

Establishment of National Organic Farming

Research Institute in Sikkim

The Institute will provide research and technological

backstopping to Organic Production System in country
It will undertake basic, strategic and adaptive research
on efficient, economically viable and environmentally
sustainable organic farming systems
For improving productivity, resource use efficiencies and
quality of produce
It will impart vocational and advanced training to
stakeholders for promotion of organic farming in the country

February 11

India Australia Energy Security Dialogue Held at


India had an Energy Security Dialogue with Australian

Ministry for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia
Ministry of power emphasised the need to make the Energy
Dialogue a regular feature with alternate year meetings in
each of the 2 countries
During the dialogue, 5 new working groups be set up in the
energy field 1. Renewables and grid integration
2. Clean Coal technologies for efficient power generation
3. Energy Skill development
4. LNG and Coal Gasification
5. Energy efficiency and Smart grids

February 12

Banks balance sheet clean-up imperative for

growth, says Raghuram Rajan

Context: RBI had conducted an asset quality review (AQR)

of banks and identified specific accounts, which banks
have to identify as non-performing
Result: Bad loans have hit banks profitability in the third
quarter with most of them posting heavy losses
Why clean-up? Profitability of banks may be impaired in the
short-run, the system, once cleaned, will be able to support
economic growth in a sustainable and profitable way
Rajan said: The ongoing clean-up of bank balance sheets
will help spur economic growth and improve the lenders


February 13

In 5 years, black money detection up 15.5 times

Undisclosed income detected during each survey has shot up
drastically in two years
Context: The nationwide crackdown on black money
has meant a steady increase in detection of undisclosed
income, which has jumped 15.5 times
Background: Director General of Income Tax report
shows business houses, including diamond traders, steel
magnates and pharma companies coming under taxmens
Action: Taken through direct enquiry regarding investment
and expenditure under Section 131, 133A and 132 of IT
The News: More and more companies are involved in
making bogus entries in their accounts
Findings: Under this jamakharchi or accommodation entry
business, paper entries are made in account books to
facilitate cash movement
February 13

Pact to develop Vizag as smart city

Context: Pact between US Trade and Development Agency

(USTDA) and Andhra Pradesh Government
Aim: To develop infrastructure, communications and data
Smart city: Development is in line with its goal to become a
Smart City
Award: this cooperation is particularly timely as Vizag
recently won 1st phase of Smart Cities Challenge by GoI
Impact: Development and modernization efforts will be
partially supported by the central government

February 15

Ministry rejects smart card plan for unorganised


Context: Finance Ministry rejecting the latest Labour

Ministry proposal to issue one card per family as an
impractical idea
Background: The Unorganised Workers Identification
Number (U-WIN) scheme, first mooted in September 2014
Aim: To provide a smart card to the unorganised workers
for entitled to benefits under various schemes such
as Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) and other


civils digest | april 2016

Relevance: There are around 40 crore unorganised

workers, which accounts for around 89% of the total
Idea: The portable smart card would have details of bank
account, mobile numbers and benefits of social security
schemes that can be availed by the workers
Why Rejection? The Finance Ministry has asked for
individual smart cards to the unorganised workers
irrespective of the cost implications
February 15

North Easts 1st Smart Village

Context: Barsimaluguri, about 11 km from the Indo-Bhutan

border, in Baksa district has been turned into a model smart
Geography: a remote nondescript, insurgency-ravaged
village in Assam along Indo- Bhutan border
Developments? 100% toilets, solar power and pure drinking
Initiative: by a few individuals under the aegis of Nanda
Talukdar Foundation (NTF)
4 Main Verticals: alternative energy, drinking water,
sanitation and skill development

February 15

Drones for power sector from Finland

Context: Finlands Sharper Shape will provide UAV solutions

for the power transmission sector in partnership with Sterlite
Grid Ventures
Sterlite Grid: Indias largest private developer of independent
transmission systems
Benefits: Business solutions to transmission line operators
and help reduce delivery time of projects, and increase the
uptime of power systems
Background: Transmission companies had sought
permission for using drones in monitoring project
Why? Usually have to build infrastructure in inaccessible
areas, thus to reduce its maintenance cost

February 15

Panel for Hydro Power Policy

Context: Power ministry has set up a 10-member panel

chaired by Ashwin B. Pandya, former chairman of the
Central Water Commission

Purpose: To advise on framing a new hydropower policy

that will help turn around stalled projects and attract fresh
investments into the sector
Terms of reference: Suggest policy measures on technical,
financial, environmental and commercial aspects of the
hydropower sector
Why delay? Delays in environment and forest clearances,
inter-state water-sharing disputes, technical and geological
uncertainties and difficulties in securing financing due to
long gestation periods
February 15

Government to lower stake in PSU banks to 51%

Context: 9 state-owned banks have reported a combined

loss of Rs 11,251 crore
Background: PJ Nayak Committee report on banking
The news: The govt is going to announce a series of major
banking reforms, including lowering its stake in state-owned
banks to 51%
Reason: The political govt needs to maintain arms-length
distance from these banks and allow them to have more
professionalised bank boards
Importance: Public sector banks have played an important
role in financial inclusion

February 15

Fiscal management far better this year than

earlier: CGA

Context: Controller General of Accounts review of fiscal

management in India
The News: Expenditure by various departments was spread
through out the year as opposed to the huge spending in
last 2 quarters in previous years
Criticism: Huge spending in last 2 quarters shows that it
was wasteful expenditure; in order to exhaust the budget
Challenge: Timely reporting of the consolidated picture of
govt accounts is missing in India
The present govt has ensured that funds are released right
upfront, in the beginning

February 15

Reserve Bank cant drop guard on inflation

Context: Retail inflation data showed that RBI had met its
Jan 2016 target of slowing the price gains to under 6%

Background: In 2015, RBI entered into a historic

agreement with the govt on an inflation targeting monetary
Future: The next milestone is of 5% by March 2017, which
is likely to challenge monetary policy makers
Challenge: Implementation of 7th pay commission
recommendations, deficient monsoon may also exert
pressure on food inflation
February 16

Not desirable to use exchange rate to spur

economic growth, says Rajan

Context: RBI and the government dont favour

undervaluation of the exchange rate as a means to spur
economic growth
Relevance: Problems with undervaluing the exchange rate
and some of these are reflected in economic condition that
countries find themselves
Concern: Health of the world economy and dwindling
investor confidence in PM Modis ability to push through
economic reforms
Rajans advice: Sustained undervaluation over a long period
of time is not a feasible or desirable strategy
The exchange rate should to be reasonably predictable and
reasonably stable
What MSMEs can do? Act as a means of social
empowerment where disadvantageous sections of society
can be empowered with money and wealth
Problems for MSMEs: Lack of infrastructure and logistics,
access to marketing, difficulty and the expense in acquiring
land and financing

February 16

Policy for capital goods introduced

News: The government introduced a National Capital Goods

Purpose: To spur capital goods sector and the Make in India
initiative. It aims to turn the country into a world class hub
for capital goods
Objective: To increase production of capital goods from Rs.
2.30 lakh crore in 2014-15 to Rs. 7.50 lakh crore in 2025
To raise direct and indirect employment from the current
8.4 million to 30 million by 2025
Key Elements: Availability of finance, raw material,
innovation and technology, productivity, quality and
environment-friendly manufacturing practices, increasing
skill availability, promoting exports and creating domestic

February 16

February 16

Increase excise duty on oil, petroleum for more


Learn about Swachh Survekshan Survey?

Context: To accelerate Indias economic growth by

increasing infrastructure spending in 2016-17 budget
Where? Focus on low gestation projects like rural roads,
canals, bridges which can result in immediate economic
Finances: Increasing its revenue by excise hikes on oil and
petroleum products
Bring revenue deficits under control through an effective tax
implementation and collection system
Impact: It can give the govt room to raise infrastructurerelated spending

February 16

SIT verifying outflow of illicit funds

The News: SIT has asked the Directorate of Revenue

Intelligence to verify claims made by Global Financial
Background: Global Financial Report asserted that illicit
financial flows worth $505 billion left India between 2004
and 2013
Challenge: It is impossible to accurately ascertain how
much money has gone
Any estimate of the quantum of illicit money incorporates a
number of assumptions
Future: The Indian govt has entered into several bilateral
agreements with other countries to share tax information,
which will help in curbing the outflow of illicit funds

Context: The first Swachh Survekshan Survey was

undertaken by Union Urban Development ministry in 2014
in 476 cities and municipalities which have a population of
over 1, 00,000
Aim: giving a push to the Swachh Bharat Mission
Based on: The Swachh Survekshan survey conducted by
the Quality Council of India
Parameters: access to sanitation facilities, strategy to tackle
open defecation and solid waste management

February 16

MoU signed between India and Sweden on

Technical Cooperation in Rail Sector

Context: Union Ministry of Railways and Ministry of

Enterprise and Innovation of Sweden have inked a MoU on
Technical Cooperation in Rail Sector
Objective: To promote efficiency and sustainability and
to achieve concrete results with regard to bilateral trade,
research, investment and technology transfer
Key features: Benchmark Railways policy development,
organization, regulations and specific characteristics for
each country
Exchange of knowledge, innovation, technology, technical
expertise, sustainable solutions and research
Training and continuing of education program in
maintenance of Rail transport system for Railway engineers
and managers

February 16
February 16

Swachh Survekshan -2016 ranks of 73 cities

Context: 73 cities surveyed for cleanliness have been

categorized based on the marks scored by each of them in
the Swachh Survekshan- 2016 survey
Category: 15 cities who scored more than 70% of the total
marks of 2000 were categorized as Leaders
20 cities with scores in the range of 60%-70% are Aspiring
Range of 50%-60% are the cities who need to accelerate
their efforts
Range below 50% are named Slow Movers who need to
work harder to improve santiation
Top Rank Cities: Mysuru, Chadigarh, Tiruchirapalli, New
Delhi Municipal council, Visakhapatnam


civils digest | april 2016

Know about Directorate of Revenue Intelligence

DRI is a centralized agency to deal with cases of violations

of Customs laws
Parent Organisation: Central Excise and Customs
Focus: It enforces prohibition of smuggling of drugs, gold,
diamonds, electronics, foreign currency, counterfeit Indian
currency, etc
Importance: It has been successful in combating the
menace of fake Indian currency

February 17

Railways to build 3 projects through build-operatetransfer model

Context: As railways is facing a resource crunch, it is
focusing on raising funds through various channels,
including the PPP route and forming joint ventures with the
state govts.

Background: The Railways has received Rs 14,000

crore worth investment commitments since 2014 after it
introduced new models for projects through PPP model
News: The Indian Railways has identified the first 3 projects
to be taken up for development through the new build,
operate, transfer (BOT) annuity model
February 17

Collect health insurance cess

Context: The Indian govts expenditure in healthcare is

amongst the lowest in the world due to tight fiscal discipline
Background: India spends 4.2% of its GDP on healthcare
out of which only 1% is contributed by the public sector
Importance: Every $1 invested in the healthcare industry
helps to generate $4 through its ancillary industries
Need: To provide health insurance to all citizens as
significant%age of private spending is out-of-pocket
How?- Collect a health-insurance cess for general citizens
including BPL population and mandating subscriptionbased contributions from the organised sector

February 17

FM inaugurates non-tax revenue e-portal

Context: PMOs target to switch at least 90% of all official

transactions to paperless mode by the end of 2016
Reason: One major way to curb black money is to
discourage cash transactions in favour of electronic
News: Finance Minister launched a new e-platform for nontax receipts
Advantage: It will reduce a lot of the manual work and
almost instantly enable the payment at the different
Sources of Non-tax revenue: Dividends paid by PSUs, the
Reserve Bank of India, etc

February 17

Learn about 5 investment models in Indian


Context: The govt had framed 5 models to attract private

investments in railways, which are listed below.
1. Non-government private line model
2. Joint venture model
3. BOT model
4. Capacity augmentation with funding provided by
customers model
5. Capacity augmentation through annuity model

February 17

Economic Survey to consider impact of FTAs

Context: Survey will analyse the impact of the free trade

agreements (FTAs) signed by India and suggest the way
ahead on what should be Indias strategy
Working group: The finance ministry had set up an
independent working group under Arvind Subramanian to
examine the impact of FTAs last year, which is not yet in the
public domain
FTAs: India has signed FTAs mostly with developed nations
such as South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and
Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations).
Issue: Because of FTAs, Indias imports from these nations
have significantly jumped, while exports have not increased

February 18

MoU signed with various countries for cooperation

in the field of agriculture and allied sectors

Objective: will help in capacity building, knowledge

exchange through visits of scientists and technicians
Exchange of genetic resources that aid in development of
appropriate technologies and farm practices for enhancing
agriculture productivity at farmers field
Relevance: Expertise and technology so developed is
applied all over the country as per felt needs
Expenditure: managed within the financial allocation made
for the Department

February 18

What is Transaction of Business Rules, 1961?

Context: Under this rules, cases involving negotiations

with foreign countries on treaties, agreements and other
important matters need to be brought before the Cabinet for
Background: Earlier, prior approval under Rule 12 of the
above rules was obtained in certain cases and subsequent
Cabinet approval could not be obtained
The News: ex-post-facto approval in respect of MoUs
signed with 13 countries is being obtained
Countries: Netherlands, Nepal, Cyprus, Israel, Bangladesh,
Cambodia, Tanzania, Surinam, Zambia, Syria, Bhutan, Chile
and Mauritius


February 18

February 18

Haryana to set up police stations in industrial

parks to check unrest

Punjab to diversify with hybrid maize this kharif

Context: Recent incidents of labour unrest and violent

industrial strife in and around the Gurgaon-Manesar belt
News: Haryana govt. is setting up police stations within
industrial parks and an industrial intelligence unit
Purpose: To look out for any signs of festering industrial
unrest so as to improve security for investors
They are expected to quickly track and react to unwanted
activities that could trigger industrial strife
Updates: State has also approved many labour reforms as it
competes with neighbouring Rajasthan
Future: The state is planning to declare IT, auto, textiles and
electronics as public utilities, making it difficult for workers
to go on strike
It is also bringing in a new regime to ensure investors are
not harassed by frequent inspections

February 18

Bulk drug policy to be unveiled

News: Govt will come out with a new bulk drug policy in less
than a month
Background: India has now become a superpower in the
generic drugs
Objective: To grow the Indian pharmaceuticals sector to a
$200 billion industry by 2030
The govt wants to build an ecosystem to help pharma
comapnies go up the value chain
Organisation: Department of Pharmaceuticals under the
Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers

Context: To give an impetus to crop diversification

News: Punjab is planning to replace the rice with hybrid
maize in 2 lakh hectares this kharif season (2016-17)
Reason: Hybrid maize is considered the best alternative to
Hybrid varieties of maize that yield 6-7 tonnes a hectare are
now available
Support: The govt has established a maize board to help
farmers in production and marketing

February 19

Labour Ministry moots National Social Security


Context: To provide social security to the entire population in

a bid to prop up the governments pro-worker credentials
The News: The authority may have all ministers and
secretaries dealing with social security programmes along
with state officials as members
Functions of Authority: To formulate the National Policy on
Social Security to co-ordinate the central and state level
To ensure that the objectives of the policy are achieved
within the time frame prescribed
Policy Objective: The proposed Social Security Department
within the Labour Ministry will provide policy inputs and
secretarial services to the body
Idea comes: when the trade unions have announced fresh
nationwide protests on March 10 against the governments
anti-labour policies

February 18

February 19

Parekh cautions on RBIs bad loans tack

Learn about proposed structure of 4-tier system for


Context: Rising NPAs of public-sector banks

Background: RBI Governors effort to clean up banks
balance sheet
Expert Opinion: The objective of the clean-up shall be to fix
the financial rot, not to incapacitate banks
Parekh warned that recapitalization is not a long term
solution, which means that it is taxpayers that are bailing
out the banks
Future: Govt should freely allow the right talent to come in
to run PSU banks and prospective new investors who are
bringing capital, shall be given a role in running those banks


civils digest | april 2016

Structure: A 4-tier system to cover the entire population of

country, including both formal and informal sector workers,
through a common Social Security Code
First tier: would include the destitute and people below the
poverty line
Second tier: would have workers in the unorganised sector
who may be covered under a subsidised scheme
Third tier: would cover workers who can, with the help of
employer, can make contribution to the schemes

Fourth tier: would include people who are comparatively

affluent and can make their own provisions for meeting
contingencies or risks as and when arise.
The Note: visualised that the social assistance
programmes for the first tier shall be based on tax revenue
February 19

India must try to profit from Industry 4.0

Context: Figures released this month indicate that Indias

average economic growth rate was 7.5% in 2015
Background: India is known for its pro-business
administration and for its PM who is keen to bring leaders of
great, developed economies into the fold
Analysts opinion: we have to be ready to approach a fourth
industrial revolution, Industry 4.0.
Relevance: This is the age of advanced manufacturing,
composite materials, quantum engineering, 3D printing and
robotics the new face of industries globally
Way ahead: The greatest matter of urgency is developing
the skills to support manufacturing growth
Policy makers must focus on encouraging universities and
industry to work together in area of R&D in the way that is a
matter of course here in UK

February 19

Learn more about Industry 4.0?

Context: Fourth industrial revolution, is a collective term

embracing a number of contemporary automation, data
exchange and manufacturing technologies
Defined as: Collective term for technologies and concepts
of value chain organization which draws together Cyber-

Physical Systems, the Internet of Things and the Internet of

Facilitates: The vision and execution of a Smart Factory
February 19

Uncover project of the Geological Survey of India

Context: state-of-the-art project to be implemented in 2

selected areas in the country is focused on probing for deep
seated/ concealed mineral deposits
Relevance: This programme is also one of the important
action points of the draft National Mineral Exploration Policy

Main components:
1. Characterizing Indias geological cover
2. Investigating lithospheric architecture
3. Resolving 4D geodynamic and metallogenic evolution
4. Detecting and characterizing the distal footprints of ore
February 19

Bullet Trains can wait, says Sreedharan

Context: E Sreedharans comment on Indian railways plan

to start bullet trains in the country
Reason: India needs huge infusion of funds to improve and
upgrade the present railway infrastructure
Focus: Priority should be given to increasing the speed,
increasing the line capacity, giving more facilities and
ensuring the safety of trains
Sreedharan strongly advocated state running the railways,
as against allowing private companies to operate railway


Kelkar Committee Report

- Reforming the PPP

in the union budget 2015-16, Finance Minister announced

that the ppp mode of infrastructure development has to be
revisited, and revitalized. In pursuance of this announcement,
a Committee was constituted to look into the issues.
The proposals include a provision for monetisation of projects, revamp of the model concession agreement and creation of
a new institutional mechanism.

What was committee

asked to look into?

Review of the experience of ppp Policy.

Analyse risks involved in ppp projects in different sectors
and suggest optimal risk sharing mechanism.
Propose design modifications in ppp based on international
best practices and our institutional context.
Measure to improve capacity building in govt for effective
implementation of the ppp projects.

Why is there need to reform ppp

Background: ppp contracts are typically of very high-value, often
with huge capital and operating costs.
The emergence of risks not foreseen at the time of signing
the agreement exposes such projects to potential distress,
making them unviable for the developers and prompting
demands for a renegotiation of the original terms.

What are the design modifications

proposed by the committee?
The Kelkar panel has come out with clear-cut norms on resolving
issues and clarifying norms on re-negotiation of contracts.
Formulate a national ppp policy and seeking Parliaments
backing for it to be effective.
It emphasised upon the need to establish independent
sector regulators for faster implementation of infrastructure projects and swifter dispute resolution mechanisms.
The report stated that the ppp structure should not be
adopted for small projects.
It added that the govt should encourage development of airports, ports and railways through ppp, by ensuring easier
funding for projects with long gestation periods.
Lets take a look at much deeper level about various specific
dimensions of ppp framework and panels recommendation.

How to streamline the stalled projects?

Background: The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (mospi) says that 40% of all central govt infrastructure
projects are behind schedule or have overshot their original cost
Panels view: Follow the example of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, and nhai, which has taken several successful
steps in reducing the number of stalled projects in the sector.

How to manage risks in ppp projects?

What are the institutions proposed

in the report?


Optimal allocation of risks across ppp stakeholders to boost

Sector specific model concession pacts to capture interest
of all stakeholders. <One-size-fits-all approach to ppp model
concession agreements leads to inefficient and inequitable
risk allocations in Indias ppp projects>
civils digest | april 2016

An Infrastructure ppp Project Review Committee be constituted. <To evaluate and send its recommendations in
a time-bound manner when stress is reported in any ppp
It recommends creation of an Infrastructure ppp Adjudication Tribunal. <To mediate on disputes among stakeholders
in a ppp>

How to renegotiate the

ppp contracts?

Why report calls for changes in

anti-corruption law?

Background: More than 50% of ppp projects come up for renegotiation.

The report calls for promptly amending the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988
Reason: To differentiate between genuine errors in decision-making and plain corrupt practices.

The panel has suggested extensive guidelines stipulating the reasons that form the basis for re-negotiation & those that should
not be entertained as valid reasons.
The panel wants full disclosure of few items prior to the renegotiation:
Long-term costs
Risks and potential benefits
Financial implications for the govt.
Panel has suggested formation of an independent body, like a
renegotiation commission, which can oversee the renegotiation
of model concession agreements across sectors.

What is panels view on

Swiss Challenge method?

What is panels view on 3P India?

Background: Finance Minister had announced the setting up of
3P India in 2014-15 budget with a corpus of Rs 500 crore.
The panel wants the revival of a defunct proposal to establish 3P India to support ppp projects. It can function as a centre
of excellence, enable research, and review and roll out activities
to build capacity

How to deal with private sector?

The private sector must be protected against the loss of bargaining power over long time spans. It has asked for comprehensive
guidelines to be framed in this regard.

Swiss Challenge Method: It is a process of awarding contracts as

any person with credentials can submit a development proposal
to the govt, which will be made online and a second person can
give suggestions to improve and beat that proposal.

How to build capacity

in ppp projects?

The Panel wants Swiss Challenge method to be actively


Reason: It brings information asymmetries in the procurement

process and result in lack of transparency and in the fair and
equal treatment of potential bidders in the procurement process.
Criticism: Indias ambitious plan to build new expressways
across the country by adopting the Swiss Challenge method
has become uncertain.

Strengthen 3 key pillars of ppp framework governance,

institutions and capacity.
Structured capacity building programmes for different
A national level institution to back institutional capacity
building activities.

The report pitches for pragmatism, transparency and a business-like attitude for all stakeholders.



civils digest | april 2016


Pradhan Mantri
Fasal Bima Yojana
- Min Premium, Max Insurance

the governments new crop insurance scheme

could be a lifesaver for farmers at a time when the pain
of rural distress is unimaginable, as they are facing
three successive crop failures due to inclement weather
In 2015-16, the central assistance towards drought
relief is several times higher than what it spends to
subsidise crop insurance premiums every year.


civils digest | april 2016

Before the scheme was announced, a rbi-constituted committee

has also emphasized on the same.

Lets analyse the short-coming in

the earlier crop-insurance scheme

What were the recommendations

of rbi-constituted committee?

The committee called for phasing out interest subsidy on

short-term agricultural loans.
The money saved should be used for into an universal crop
insurance scheme for farmers.

Reasons underlying the recommendation:

nsso data shows that banks and cooperative

societies account for 57.7% of outstanding
loans of farming households.

The dependence on informal credit increases

with reduction in the landholding size.

Farming is increasingly done by tenant

cultivators/ share croppers.

Since, farmer has no regular income, so they are forced

to go to money lenders to sustain their consumption.

Govt. spends nearly Rs.13000 crore annually on

interest subvention for crop loans, which can be
redirected towards subsidy on insurance premium.

The govt. rolled out Modified

National Agricultural Insurance
Scheme for the xii plan period
across India, but it failed to
solve the agrarian crisis.

Premium rates were as high as 25%.

Lack of awareness.
Sum insured were way below the gross value of output for
most crops.
Policy claims cant even cover half of the value of produce
when the crop suffers heavy damage.
The money pay back procedure was too complicated.

What are the features of Pradhan

Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana?
The scheme will replace the existing two schemes National Agricultural Insurance Scheme as well as the Modified nais. The
new Crop Insurance Scheme is in line with One Nation One
Scheme theme.
Nodal Agency: Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare , Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare. It will
implement the scheme in co-ordination with various other agencies such as financial institutions, pris, etc.
Uniform premium to be paid by farmers. <Rate of premium
will be about 1/10th of existing rates>
Kharif crops 2%
Rabi crops 1.5%
Horticulture & commercial crops 5% <of premium
No upper limit on govt. subsidy, even if the balance premium
is 90%, govt. will bear the burden.
Govt. liability on premium subsidy would be shared between
Centre and States on a 50:50 basis.
Smart phones, remote-sensing drones and gps technology
will be used to capture and upload data of crop cutting to
reduce the delays in claim payment to farmers.
The scheme aims to increase insurance coverage to 50%
from the existing levels of 25-27% of crop area.
The new scheme will also be executed by private insurance
There will be exemption from Service Tax liability of all the
services involved in the implementation of the scheme.


Risk Covered
A Comprehensive risk insurance is provided
to cover yield losses due to:
Non-preventable risks, such as Natural Fire and Lightning,
Storm, Hailstorm, Cyclone, Typhoon, Tempest, Hurricane,
Risks due to Flood, Inundation and Landslide, Drought, Dry
spells, Pests/ Diseases.
In cases where majority of the insured farmers of a notified
area, having intent to sow/plant and incurred expenditure
for the purpose, are prevented from sowing/planting the
insured crop due to adverse weather conditions, shall be
eligible for indemnity claims upto a maximum of 25% of the
In post-harvest losses, coverage will be available up to a
maximum period of 14 days from harvesting for those crops
which are kept in cut & spread condition to dry in the field.

International Experience
The mechanism of higher subsidy for crop premiums in Indian
scheme is not out of line with international standards.
The us covers over 120 million hectares and gives subsidy
to the tune of around 70%.
China insures its farmers for a sown area of around 75 million hectares with a subsidy on premiums of about 80%.

How is current Insurance coverage

in the country?

Currently, only 45.82 million hectares out of 195 million

hectares was covered under crop insurance in 2014.
Coverage is higher in states of Rajasthan, Karnataka, Bihar,
Odisha and Chattisgarh.
up, West Bengal and Gujarat are worst performers in terms
of coverage.
<There are various suggestions pouring from wide spectrum of
society to implement scheme in a better manner to mitigate the
agrarian distress and suicides>

What steps could be taken

to implement scheme in
a better manner?

Crop insurance should be done in a transparent manner &

within a specified period of time.
Make use of advanced technology like automatic weather
stations, drones and low earth orbit satellites.
Compensation must be paid to farmers account directly,
within a short duration after assessment of crop damage.
Accountability of each stakeholder needs to be clarified and
Crop-damage assessment must be done within 2 weeks of
the extreme weather event.
Implementing the scheme will require huge premium subsidy outgo, more so in a drought year.

How the scheme overcomes the

shortcomings of previous scheme?

What kinds of financial and

technological infrastructure
is required?

Farmers will have to pay the low premium rates and balance
premium will be paid by the govt. to provide full insured
amount, against the crop loss on account of natural calamities.
The sum insured will be calculated by multiplying the msp
of a crop with the average 7-year threshold yield for the particular village panchayat area where it is grown.
The improvement over previous scheme is that the premiums will be determined by the sum insured, unlike currently
where premium determines sum insured.
cacp( Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices) has
argued that premium will drop to 3.5% of sum insured if
50% of Indias gross cropped area is insured.
Once the new scheme kicks in, farmers in high-risk areas
would stand to benefit the most
One of the best thing is that it will also rid farmers of the
web of complex rules of the earlier insurance schemes.

civils digest | april 2016

Information has to be digitised plot wise, the plot of the tiller

who has paid the premium has to be synchronised/seeded
with their bank account, Aadhar and mobile number.
Ministry of rural development will be required to
clean up land records.
Ministry of agriculture and farmers welfare to
digitise plot-wise information.
Banks to seed the account of tillers.

Min Premium, Max Insurance

New Crop Insurance Scheme

How does this scheme scores over

the previous one?

The new Crop Insurance Scheme is in line with One Nation One
Scheme theme.




PM Crop

Lower than NIAS

(Govt to
contribute 5 times
that of farmer)












Hail Storm

Hail Storm


All India
Cyclonic +
Unseasonal rains













Annuity Model

- A win- win for everyone. But how?

last week, government approved the hybrid annuity model (

ham ) as one of the modes for implementing highway development projects. This model was proposed by nhai as investment
dried up in other modes of road development projects such as
bot (Toll) and bot (annuity).
In this article, we shall understand different modes of ppp projects
for highway development.
There are 4 modes under which projects are awarded to private

#1. bot (toll) Build Operate

Transfer and Toll
As the name suggests, private party is responsible for building
the project i.e. acquire land, procure raw material, design and
construct the road i.e. private party bears construction risk.
They operate and maintain (O&M) the road during concession period as per agreed specifications i.e. private party bears
O&M risk. During concession period, they collect the toll. They
recover their costs via toll collected during concession period i.e.
private party bears Traffic or Commercial risk.
If traffic does not materialize as per their projections, they wont
be able to recover their investment or if goons of Shiv Sena assaults
toll operators, private players again lose.
Private party has to arrange all the finance to build the project.
Government awards contract to the party which is willing to
share maximum toll revenue with the govt. Sometimes upfront
viability gap funding (vgf ) is provided for financially unviable
Clearly private party bears maximum risk in bot (toll).

civils digest | april 2016

#2. bot (annuity)

What is annuity?
An annuity is a series of equal payments at regular intervals. Eg.
pension payments, insurance payments etc.
bot (annuity) was designed because bot (toll) entailed too much
risk and private developers were not willing to invest in the project.
This model is exactly similar to bot (toll) except that private
party does not bear traffic or commercial risk.
How do they recover their investment then?
nhai pay them regular annuity during concession period. Obviously developer that demands minimum annuity will be selected.

#3. epc Engineering Procurement Construction

Govt policy paralysis, difficulty in land acquisition, high cost of
financing etc meant that private interest dried up even in bot
(annuity) and govt. brought epc mode to award the projects.
As the name suggests, private party only design the project,
acquire raw material and construct the road i.e. private party
bears only construction risk.
Immediately after the construction, the road is transferred to
nhai. 100 % upfront funding comes from government coffers.
Government acquires the land, provides all the regulatory clearances.

HAM = mix of EPC & BOT

40% by Govt.


60% by Private

No Traffic Risk

similar to

Engineering Procurement &

similar to

Build operate Transfer (Annuity)

Win-win situation

Highway development projects get a facelift

Risk Mapping across existing models

HAM = mix of EPC & BOT
40% by Govt.

60% by Private

No Traffic Risk

BOT (Toll)

similar to

BOT (Annuity)


Construction Risk

Engineering Procurement &

similar to

Maintenance Risk

Build operate Transfer (Annuity)

Traffic Risk

Win-win situation

Risk Mapping across existing models

BOT (Toll)

BOT (Annuity)


strict terms,
Riskepc is not actually a ppp project. Private player
bears virtually zero risk. Private player behaves as a contractor
and constructs the road just as contractors build our houses.

How it is a win win situation?


Maintenance Risk

As you could imagine, epc model was putting lot of strain on

government finances. Why? Well, one of the main motive of
Traffic Risk
bringing private players is that private players will bring capital
and supplement limited public capital. But here private players
were bringing zero capital. Govt. had to think of an innovative
project and along came

#4. Hybrid Annuity Model (ham)


Private player has to arrange for only 60% of project cost.

Exposure and risk reduces
All regulatory clearances risk, compensation risk,
commercial risk and traffic risk is borne by government,
so risk for private sector is minimal
Govt. has to cough up only 40 % of initial funding
Operation and maintenance by private player. Better
expertise, better quality of services
Finally comfort to lenders ( banks ) through assured
annuity payments

What is hybrid? Simply put, its a mix of epc and bot (annuity)

Annuity? Private players dont collect toll but recover

investment via annuities
epc? Govt. provide 40% of project cost
bot (annuity) part Private player brings 60 % of capital. nhai
will pay annuity over concession period. Private player will be
responsible for O&M of the project.
Other features of the project1.

Life cycle cost will be the bidding parameter

Separate provision for O & M payments
Provision for inflation adjusted project cost over time

#Q1. What do you mean by the hybrid annuity model? Does this
model provide for optimal risk sharing? Suggest some measures
to reform overall ppp framework in the country with special reference to reasons for stalled ppp projects in last few years.
#Q2. Funding for infrastructure projects remain weak in India.
Discuss various steps taken by govt to provide funding to infrastructure sector. Also suggest measures govt. can take to develop
corporate bond market to fund infrastructure projects.


Falling Rupee
- A dual-edged sword?

Of late, there has been a lot of talk on depreciation of the rupee. Unless youre
Marx incarnate, you better be concerned!
But is it really a bad thing?

How does it impact us?

Whats the RBI doing to check it?

Lets take the help of two mind maps and attempt to solve this mystery

The negatives


civils digest | april 2016

And now some positives

Got that? Lets try to figure

out why China is devaluing
its currency, Yuan
China doesnt let its currency trade freely in financial markets as
the us does. Instead, it links the yuans value to a basket of currencies. The composition of this basket is a secret but is believed to
be dominated by the us dollar. Then it restricts trading to a band
2% above or below a daily target set by the Peoples Bank of China.
The Peoples Bank of China affirms that it acted so because
the yuan has been rising even when market forces say it should
be falling!
Worried Chinese have been moving money out of the country, putting downward pressure on the yuan. Yet the yuan has
remained up anyway because of its link to the dollar, which has
been rising. An overvalued yuan has hurt Chinese exports by
making their products more expensive overseas.
This is exactly why China is going for competitive devaluation.

But a falling rupee doesnt always

mean an export windfall
Anup Pujari, director general of foreign trade (dgft), calls it a
myth that the depreciation of the rupee necessarily results in
massive gains for Indian exporters.

For 2 reasons:
#1. Indias top 5 exports petroleum products, gems and jewellery, organic chemicals, vehicles and machinery are so much
import-dependent that the currency fluctuation in favour of
exporters gets neutralised.
In other words, exporters spend more in importing raw materials,
which in turn erodes their profitability.
#2. As buyers are aware of the currency fluctuation, renegotiation
is becoming a trend now.
The moment the rupee falls sharply against the dollar, foreign
buyers try to renegotiate their earlier deals. As most exporters
give in to the pressure and split benefits, advantages of a weak
rupee disappear.
However, despite these risks, we need not worry in the contemporary context.

Really? India has nothing to worry

about! How so?
Currency depreciation is generally akin to a stimulus because
it boosts net exports, one of the three main drivers of economic
growth, along with consumption and investment.

Such a policy comes with attendant risks to:

1. Inflation through higher fuel prices
2. Foreign exchange reserves in case depreciation gets out of
control to become a free fall
3. Impacting corporate balance sheets
The latest economic data tell us each of these risks has receded.

Lets see how

#1. A falling currency can be inflationary since it raises
import costs.
That is less of a worry now, thanks to declining domestic inflation
as well as the sharp correction in global crude oil prices. The rbi
has met its January 2016 inflation target of 6% and is planning
to bring it down to 5% in first quarter of 2016.

#2. The forex hoard has grown

rbi has been assiduously buying dollars in the spot and forward
markets to build a buffer in case there is another global shock
once the us increases interest rates. In other words, there is more
reason to let the market determine the value of the rupee.
#3. Corporate hedging has improved
One fear, recently, was that a sudden decline in the rupee would
wreak havoc in corporate balance sheets since most companies
had not hedged their foreign exchange liabilities. The rupee value
of their foreign exchange loans could shoot up.
rbi data show that the ratio of hedged positions has gone up
sharply, from 15% of all foreign exchange liabilities a few quarters
ago to around 41% in the first quarter of the current fiscal year.

This still means more than half of the foreign exchange loans taken by Indian
companies are not hedged. But the direction of change is positive.
Ergo, Indian policy makers have more room than before to let the currency
drift down to maintain competitiveness.


civils digest | april 2016


119 newscards | H
 and curated
of the most
relevant news
items from


January 21

January 21

Research scholar hangs self after expulsion from

Central University

Facebook-TRAI tussle over Free Basics escalates

Rohith Vemula hanged himself 12 days after he was expelled

from his hostel along with four other researchers.
A Dalit research scholar of the University of Hyderabad
(UoH), allegedly hanged himself to death 15 days after
he was expelled from his hostel along with four other
The 5 Dalit students of Ambedkar Students Association
(ASA) had been on a sleep-in strike in the open on the
campus ever since their expulsion.
In the 5-page suicide note recovered from the room Rohith
had mentioned how he always looked at the stars and
dreamt of being a writer and an established academic.
As per the university orders, 5 students, including Vemula,
were denied entry into the hostel and permission to gather
Following a scuffle between two students organisations
January 21

Rohith Vemula could not do research as he was

embroiled in probes
The final blow was delivered by Human Resource Development
Ministrys letters and reminders to the university.
The research scholar who committed suicide on the
University of Hyderabad (UoH) campus, was known as a
bright doctoral student who had secured a CSIR-Junior
Research Fellowship (JRF).
The day, January 17, that he hanged himself using ASAs
banner, he was on the 14th day of a sleep-in strike against
the authorities.
Following his expulsion from the hostel after a series of
incidents and probes which took place on campus dating
back to June 2015.
Mr. Vemula could neither pursue his research nor political
activism because he had been tied down by 3 ongoing
With Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya referring to the
assault case on ABVP leader and anti-national, casteist
and extremist activities on the campus, the matter had
already taken a political turn.


civils digest | april 2016

A war of letters broke out between the TRAI and Facebook

over what the regulator called the social networking giants
crude attempt.
At turning the consultation over differential pricing of data
services into an orchestrated opinion poll on its Free
Basics product.
The social networking site hit back in a statement, stressing
that the expression of support for Free Basics is highly
relevant to the debate.
Facebook said it attempted to cooperate with TRAI.

January 21

Widespread lack of HIV awareness among Indian


The latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS) data

findings reveal widespread ignorance about HIV/AIDS
among adults in India.
This is seen as a direct result of budget cuts, with
information, education and communication (IEC) measures
and targeted intervention activities coming to a screeching
The Ministry has historically relied heavily on IEC activities,
since prevention is the only key method of curbing and
reversing the epidemic.

January 21

A just exemption
There is a moral and economic case not taxing NPS
Currently, subscribers contributions to the NPS as well as
interest earned during the accumulation phase are taxexempt. But withdrawals from the scheme attract tax ie EET
Which is not the case with the Employees Provident Fund,
Public Provident Fund, or even equity-linked savings
scheme investments which are EEE.
Differential tax treatment makes no sense, especially when
the NPS is a social security scheme unlike the PPF, which
is a pure interest-earning, tax-saving instrument.
India has no real social security scheme, more so for the
unorganised and informal sector that makes up about 88%
of its total workforce.
It will make NPS more attractive and increase its subscriber

More funds into NPS will help finance long gestation

projects which offer no immediate return.
January 21

Reining In The Bulls

A strictly regulated and independently audited jallikattu where
suffering caused to bulls is minimised is the way to go.
Amendment to the statutory rules under PCA, prevention of
cruelty to animals act, barred bulls from being exhibited or
trained as performing animal
To neutralise SC ban, govt allowed Jallikattu and bullockcart races practised traditionally under the customs or
culture which supreme court stayed.
Court viewed the PCA act through an ecocentric
perspective as distinguished from an anthropocentric
That this act outlawed infliction of unnecessary pain and
suffering on the animals
But inclusion of bulls in the category of performing animals
is ill-founded.
The other animals in that list are monkeys, bears, lions,
panthers and tigers wild animals that have never been
part of the rural, agrarian ecosystem.
Festival can also be protected on grounds that it is an
unquestionable part of intangible cultural heritage.
January 21

Lets know about some more findings of NFHS-4

Indian States have seen some improvements in child

nutrition over the last decade, but over one-third childrens
are still stunted, and over one-fifth underweight.
Karnataka has recorded a decline in use of modern family
planning methods by married women, with just over 50%
using them.
Karnatakas preference for male children appears to be only
getting worse with child sex ratio declining to 910 now.

January 21

The case for going universal

Maternity entitlements are an important policy tool for
encouraging better maternal health. We need to do away with
conditionality in cash transfer scheme.

2013-2014 Rapid Survey on Children finds that a little less

than half of the women aged 15-18 are underweight.
Maternal nutrition is so poor that Indian women actually
weigh less at the end of pregnancy than sub-Saharan
African women do at the beginning.
Government should put new emphasis on educating women
and their families about weight gain during pregnancy.
It should combat the common, though false, notion that
women should eat less, not more, during pregnancy
But conditional transfers solve only demand problems
while India chiefly faces supply problems ie unavailability of
health services.
Also the need to document the fact that conditions have
been met invites corruption.
January 22

SSA to develop model schools

A total of 3,843 elementary schools in AP will be developed

as model schools by upgrading the facilities in the
The initiatives to be taken up in the model schools include
additional classrooms, toilets, drinking water, computers,
and maintaining healthy teacher- student ratio.
The objective of the SSA is to provide free education in the
6-14 age group.
One of the focus areas of the SSA was ensuring education
of girls and bringing down the dropout rate.
Girls education is being taken care by the Kasturba Gandhi
Balika Vidyalayas, which are residential schools.

January 22

Food Security Act to cover all States by April

The National Food Security Act is likely to cover all States

and Union Territories by April.
DBT scheme will be implemented in a State/UT with
the consent of the concerned State Government/UT
The govt had reformed the Public Distribution System by
making it more transparent.
Digitisation of ration cards is one of the important
components for making PDS leak-proof; 97% of the cards
have been digitised.
All the States/UTs have online system for redressal of PDS
grievances now.


January 22

Beti Bachao delivers gains in Haryana but gaps

A joint initiative between the MoWCD, MoHFW and MoHRD,
Beti Bachao was designed to reverse the trend of declining
CSR in India.
Within less than a year, Haryanas sex ratio at birth has
improved to 903 in December 2015 from 834 in Census
2011- the first time in a decade that it had crossed 900.
The success is attributed to Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao
Since the implementation of Beti Bachao started, there has
been a visible increase in efforts to spread public awareness
of the need for a healthy Child Sex Ratio.
The problem is that it is not easy to change mindsets and
even now there are agents who enter villages and help
families get the sex of their child determined.
Now that it has been controlled it in Haryana, the business
has moved to neighbouring states of Delhi and Uttar

The governments ill-crafted budget cuts and erratic

decision-making are adding to the grievances of a
Dalit student politics is making its presence felt in many
Indian universities.
With the alleged suicide of a Dalit student at the University
of Hyderabad, this movement is suddenly in the news.
Reservations and discrimination are major issues for
January 23

Giriputrika Kalyana Pathakam launched

At a time when infant mortality and child marriages are

rampant among tribal people.
Andhra Pradesh government has come out with a novel
scheme to support the tribal women in their quest for
The scheme is envisaged to provide nutritional food to
infants till the age of 7 years.

January 23
January 22

National Family Health Survey- 4 (2nd update)

A part of Indias touted demographic dividend the population
below 15 years of age has decreased in the past decade.
Sikkim has highest decline with 23.1% from 30.7%,
followed by MP- 7% decrease.
Our standard of living has shown a rise during the last
Standard of living includes 5 parameters - sanitation
facilities, clean cooking fuel source, electricity connection,
clean drinking water source and using iodised salt.
Uttarakhand is the only state which showed significant
improvement in all five parameters.
January 23

Dalit activism is now a reality across campuses in

Indian campuses are witnessing unusual caste flare-ups,
highlighted by the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula in
The Hindu examines how caste fault lines are muddying
higher education.


civils digest | april 2016

Lets know about Giriputrika Kalyana Pathakam


Scheme designed to provide a one time financial assistance

of Rs.50,000 to each tribal woman who gets married.
The amount would be disbursed through District Tribal
Welfare Office directly to the bank accounts of the
Each beneficiary would have to fulfil some mandatory
conditions like submission of marriage certificate, income
certificate etc to avail benefits of the scheme.

January 23

Centre cracks whip to promote use of Hindi; makes

the language official
It is the constitutional responsibility of central officials to use
Hindi in their daily work.
The central government has directed senior officials to use
simple, spoken Hindi for official correspondence.
A review revealed that most ministries were nowhere close
to meeting the target of using the official language for threefourths of file notings.
While most ministries have shown that 100% of staff can
speak and understand Hindi, the use of the language for
official correspondence is as low as 12% in some cases.

The government also frowned on the lack of bilingual

websites of some ministries and sought to know why
websites open in English by default and not in Hindi.

January 23

January 23

1. Growing levels of inequality in India could harbinger of more

political and social unrest.
2. India has seen rising democratic consciousness expressed
through voter turnouts in recent times.
3. The most powerful way to reduce inequality is diffusion of
education and knowledge.
4. Not only does India have high and rising levels of income
and wealth inequality, the country is right at the bottom
when it comes to educational inequality.
5. The quality of education, whether at primary or college level,
continues to be poor.
6. India should focus more on educational inequality (point
no.4&5) than simple consumption-based inequality.
7. Because the former is more closely associated with the
inequality of opportunity.

The progress of PMJDY- deposits cross $4.5 billion

The PMJDY accounts have deposits of Rs 30,638.29 crore
(about $4.5 billion).
As many as 20.38 crore bank accounts were opened as on
January 20, 2016.
Accounts with Zero Balance have actually shown a
significant decline - from 76.81% in Sept 2015 to 32% in
Also, 8.74 crore of the accounts were seeded with Aadhaar
and 17.14 crore account holders were issued RuPay cards.

January 23

Compassion on death row cases

Until death penalty is abolished, courts need to humanise the
law and procedure relating to death and mercy.
Death row convict Mohammed Arif alias Ashfaq has been
given one more opportunity of an oral hearing.
A 30-minute oral hearing in open court for every review
petition involving the penalty is a constitutional requirement.
It was not applicable to Ashfaq as his review and curative
petitions had already been rejected.
He was granted a concession in order that even the slightest
possibility of error may be eliminated.
Supreme Court has been dealing with cases culminating in
the death penalty in a liberal spirit in recent years.
In sept. 2014, it carved out an exception for death row
cases alone by making oral hearing an integral part of
reasonable procedure.
In general review petitions are decided by circulation of the
papers among judges not by oral hearing.

Education first
Investment in education is the number one policy solution for
inequality of opportunity.

January 23

The unmet health challenge

India has to use its newly created wealth to alter a dismal
record of nutritional deprivation, ill-health.
The first set of data from the National Family Health
Survey-4 shows that%age of underweight children declined
from 39 to 34% over a decade.
We need to make access to nutrition and health a right for
Asserting this right would require the strengthening of the
Integrated Child Development Services scheme
Even within the ICDS, there is a clear deficit in caring for the
needs of children under three.
Other key areas requiring intervention are access to
antenatal care, reduction of high levels of anaemia among
women, and immunisation.
There is a need to assess the health of citizens more
frequently than the current NFHS cycle of seven to 10 years


January 24

January 25

Crackdown on activists

SEEMA DARSHAN An initiative by the Ministry

of HRD

Latest is attack on activists Soochana Evam Rozgar ka Adhikar

Abhiyan in Rajasthan
It betrays rising resentment on the part of the ruling
class towards civil society organisations demanding
Message is being sent out that activism should be tempered
by a nuanced deference to the states overarching interests.
In recent years, civil society has played a significant role in
shaping policy.
Landmark pieces of legislation the Right to Information
act have come about only.
Because the government chose to involve stakeholders
across the political and social spectrum and obtain their
inputs and advice.
Any attempt to prevent the free functioning of such
organisations will amount to de-legitimising key participants
and stakeholders in the countrys social, economic and
political policymaking sphere.
January 25

Digital payments set to take off this year: TRAI

Telecom operators have 18 months to commence operations
and many are expected to start this year.
A low-cost model would attract even those at the bottom of
the pyramid to digital payments and banking.
This is now possible with the RBI recently issuing payment
banks licenses to 11 companies.
The problem in the digital world is that of establishing an
identity which can be solved by using Aadhaar as it can
help do a secure transaction at a very low cost.
To promote cashless payments, which includes a mandate
to switch all central government receipts and payments to
paperless form by the end of 2016.


civils digest | april 2016

To provide an opportunity for the children to experience the

border environment and to foster patriotism and nationalism
among the students .
In which school children are visiting the border areas
and present before our soldiers and troops an array of
performances showcasing the tradition and culture of India.
This kind of programme will not only inspire children but
also boost the morale of our soldiers on this Republic Day.
The Ministry of Human Resource Development in
collaboration with the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry
of Home affairs is organizing programme.
The main objective of the programme is to provide the
students with a first-hand experience of the prevailing
security environment in the border areas.
January 25

Whats the big military challenge?

The Pathankot attack revealed weaknesses in our intelligence,
police and security procedures but the bigger issue is defence
reforms, initiated in the aftermath of the 1999 Kargil War.
PM exhorted commanders and bureaucrats to reform their
beliefs, doctrines, objectives and strategies.
Naresh Chandra Committee in 2011 recommended
the creation of a permanent chairman, chiefs of staff
Modi identified six broad areas for reform defence
planning, enhancing jointness , manpower rationalisation ,
professional military education, restructuring higher defence
management and the defence procurement process.
There are three significant obstacles. First, if and how
the three chiefs will give up powers for the proposed
CDS. Second, how the government will create more joint
commands, especially since its opposed by the military.
Third, theres opposition from civilian bureaucrats who dont
want to change the status quo.
Reforms will not succeed if its implementation is not closely

January 25

Oscar whitewash - Compare the discourses

In the US, public discussion followed. In India, a similar issue
would have caused acrimony and denial.
Several artistes of colour are threatening to boycott the
Oscar award ceremony. Others are asking their peers to get
over colour issues, while Academy president herself insists
that greater representation is required.
The issue is of no black actor being nominated for the 2nd
year running. But Instead of war, a discussion has broken
Indian politics should try to learn from this culture of
openness, before our discourse collapses into a monologue.
The nation is repeatedly confronting questions of difference,
of categories.
Those refusing to attend the ceremony are not being
labelled anti national or being asked to pack off their bags.
January 25

A Festival Of Democracy
Today(25th Jan) India celebrates the 6th National Voters Day
The day marks the foundation day of Election Commission.
Programme is designed to increase voter awareness and
Systematic Voters Education for Electoral Participation
(SVEEP), is another such programme.
Low turnout had been the bane of our elections, raising
questions on elected representatives legitimacy.
Challenge was to make not voting embarrassing. A 2010
campaign lampooning non-voters Pappu doesnt vote,
aaha did the trick .
Elections since 2010 have seen record turnouts. Election
2014 broke a six-decade record with 66.4% turnout.
Participation Revolution.
January 25

Mixed diagnosis on lifestyle diseases

Public health policy should take cognisance of new lifestyle
Although, theres still a long way for much of India to come
anywhere near the infant mortality rate levels of Kerala (13)
and Tamil Nadu (21) .

Most states have registered significant improvements in

maternal and child health indicators compared to the last
survey that was carried out in 2005-06.
On the negative side, we are also witnessing the emergence
of new diseases linked mainly to unhealthy diets and
sedentary lifestyles of people.
Virtually all states have a high proportion of men consuming
alcohol from a quarter to well over half alongside a
worrying decline in sex ratios.
These are indicative of a deeper social malaise in a country
where growth and rising incomes also create tensions and
uncertainties of a different kind.
Public health policy cannot afford to ignore them, even
while continuing the fight against the old problems of
mortality and under-nutrition.
January 26

Birth defects spark panic in Latin America

The United States has expanded a travel warning for

pregnant women.
In the last few days, the country has seen over thousands of
birth defects.
The defects are blamed on the spread of mosquito-borne
Zika virus.
Babies across the region, and at least one in the United
States, have been born with abnormally smaller heads a
condition doctors call microcephaly, which can cause brain
The scare has struck hardest in Brazil, which hosts the
summer Olympic Games in August.

January 26

Lets know about the Zika virus?

The virus was first identified outside of Africa on Easter

Island in 2014.
It attacks the nervous system and can lead to potentially
fatal paralysis.
The virus is carried by the Aedes aegypti mosquito.
There is no vaccine, and scientists have warned that
developing one could take at least five years.
With the sting of a mosquito bite and a fever, many
pregnant women may not know that they caught the Zika
virus until it strikes their unborn child.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has
extended the list of territories on its no-go list for pregnant


January 27

Pranab gives assent to Central rule in Arunachal

President signed on the dotted line after being satisfied that the
law and order situation in the border State was sensitive to this
uncertainty in government.
The Governor [Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa] has been sending
multiple reports that even the Raj Bhavan was not safe and
there was no law and order in the State.
The political turmoil in the state is set to deepen inside
Parliament with the Congress determined to stall the
ratification of Presidents Rule in the State.
A proclamation of Presidents Rule needs to be ratified in
both Houses of Parliament within 2 months of notification or
whenever the next session of Parliament is held.
This decision of the NDA-led Central government is an
attempt to sabotage the Constitutional mandate, which is a
threat to democracy.
January 27

Lets know about Presidents rule?

The article 356 of the constitution which focuses on the

failure of the Constitutional machinery of the State is often
termed as the Presidents rule.
There are various reasons for which Presidents rule can be
imposed on a State.
The failure of the State government to function as per the
constitution is the first step towards this.
Other factors include the loss of majority, break down of
law and order, indecisive outcome of elections, no alternate
claimant to form the government, insurgency.
It can be imposed initially for a period of six months.

January 27

Dilli Pradesh : Presidents rule in Arunachal

There are clearly laid out procedures to settle disputes over
House majority and constitutional heads ought to stay away
from political manipulations.
While devolution of an increased share of Central taxes
and removal of overbearing institutions like the Planning
Commission were consistent with the cooperative
Presidents rule goes against the grain of cooperative


civils digest | april 2016

The pattern involves dissidence within the ruling party, the

opposition joining hands with the rebels, confusion over the
likelihood of a floor test, and the Governor intervening in a
partisan manner.
Undoubtedly, there is a constitutional impasse because
six months have elapsed since the last time the Arunachal
Pradesh Assembly met.
That itself is a valid ground for Central rule.
But events were manipulated in such a way that the divided
legislature never got an opportunity to meet and test the
governments majority.
Gauhati High Court ruled that the Governor was justified
in advancing the session by acting on his own discretion
if he had reason to believe that the Chief Minister and the
Speaker were stalling a particular motion.
Same constitutional question is now before the supreme
court constitutional bench.
January 28

India sets an example in subsidised TB diagnosis

A study, published recently in the journal Lancet Global Health,
has indicated that India is the best country in the world to offer
subsidized TB diagnosis.
Of the 12 high-burden countries where the private sector is
a major player in providing health care.
The Indian private sector offers the cheapest price for
the WHO-approved Xpert MTB/RIF, a molecular test for
diagnosing TB.
Access to accurate tests at subsidised price is very
important in India as nearly 80% of the population in India
first seek the private sector.
If one out of every four TB patients in the world is an Indian,
one in eight TB patients in the world is a privately treated
Indian patient.
Hence, to further reduce the costs, the study asks the
Indian government to waive off customs duty of 31% levied
on Xpert machine and reagents.

January 28

Trai wants auction of all available spectrum

The move is likely to put additional burden on telecom firms
already stretched after spending on 4G and the 2015 spectrum
Indias telecom regulator has suggested the government
auction Rs.6 trillion worth of airwaves, more than five times
the value of spectrum sold in the previous auction.
A move that may, if accepted, increase the burden on the
already overstretched finances of the telecom operators.
The Trai has recommended auctioning of all the available
spectrum, including airwaves in the 700-megahertz (MHz)
The Trai recommendations are part of a pricing exercise
that the regulator conducts prior to every auction.
To determine the minimum price at which the airwaves
should be sold.
January 28

PMs interaction through PRAGATI

The Prime Minister Modi, chaired his ninth interaction

through PRAGATI - the ICT-based, multi-modal platform for
Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation.
Taking strong exception at complaints and grievances from
people, related to the customs and excise sector, the PM
asked for strict action against responsible officials.
He urged all Secretaries whose departments have extensive
public dealing, to set up a system for top-level monitoring of
grievances immediately.
Among the significant projects reviewed today were the
Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link, the Delhi Mumbai Industrial
Corridor (DMIC) and the Jal Marg Vikas Project from
Allahabad to Haldia.

January 28

India ranks 76 in Corruption Perception Index

The 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index clearly shows that
corruption remains a blight around the world.
The Transparency International (TI) has put India at rank
76 out of 168 countries in its latest Corruption Perception

The countrys 2015 corruption perception score remains the

same as last years, showing lack of improvement.
China fared worse than India and Brazil at rank 83 and
Pakistan improved its score this year, though its rank
remains poor at 117.
Nordic countries- Denmark, Finland and Sweden topped
the chart with their clean public sectors as in previous
January 28

SC issues notice to Centre on Arunachal issue

The SC sought response from the Centre and AP Governor

J.P. Rajkhowa to furnish relevant material backing their
The claim should establish that there has been a failure of
constitutional machinery in the sensitive border State.
Congress petition is demanding records culminating in the
Union Cabinets recommendation for a proclamation of
Presidents Rule.
Fali Nariman argued that it is only when constitutional
governance becomes an impossibility that proclamation
under Article 356 is resorted to.

January 28

Rogue state: Extrajudicial killings in Manipur

The admission by a Head Constable of killing a 22-year-old
unarmed man suspected of links with an insurgent group is yet
another pointer to the shocking state of policing in Manipur.
Manipur has a long history of insurgency and houses the
largest number of terrorist groups in the country.
Rogue behaviour by personnel deemed to be law enforcers
only further the lawlessness.
Santosh Hegde commission stated that the security forces
routinely transgress the legal bounds for counter-insurgency
Robust internal mechanisms within the forces can check
errant behaviour by security personnel.
Only a fair and thorough probe into charges of fake
encounters, followed by necessary redress, alone can
salvage the credibility of the government.


January 29

January 29

Zika could infect 4 mn people: WHO

Home Ministry recalls Gujarat anti-terror Bill

As of now, cases have been reported in 23 countries and

territories in the Americas region.
The WHO expects the Zika virus, which is spreading
through the Americas, to affect between 3 million and 4
million people, a disease.
The WHOs director-general said the spread of the
mosquito-borne disease had gone from a mild threat to one
of alarming proportions.
There is no vaccine or treatment for Zika, which is a close
cousin of dengue and chikungunya and causes mild fever,
rash and red eyes.
An estimated 80% of people infected have no symptoms,
making it difficult for pregnant women to know whether they
have been infected.
Zika was linked to a foetal deformation known as
microcephaly, in which infants are born with abnormally
small heads.
January 29

PMO seeks welfare coverage for construction

PMO has asked the labour ministry to ensure that all
construction workers in the country are covered under social
security schemes such as the Employees Provident Fund.
The biggest challenge in bringing millions of Indias
construction workers under various welfare schemes is the
seasonal and migrant nature of their job.
Most workers in the construction sector are semi-skilled or
unskilled and work at sites across the country for spells of a
few months at a time.
With low literacy levels, they are also prone to benefit
cheating by employers or contractors they work with.
Every state collects cess on the cost of construction
incurred by employers to form a fund to be utilised for
welfare of construction workers.
To counter the issue of frequent changes in employer and
location, the EPFO has decided to register construction
workers on the Universal Account Number (UAN) portal.
Thereby allocating them a universal number for easy
transfer of PF funds while switching jobs.


civils digest | april 2016

MHA has decided to recall the controversial anti-terror

Bill of Gujarat amid fears that President might not give his
assent to it, in its present form.
It has decided to rework it with additional inputs from the
State govt.
It had sent the Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised
Crime Bill 2015, for the Presidents approval in September
last year.
Earlier, the bill was rejected by the UPA govt thrice.

January 29

Raj Bhavan dharma: Constitutional duty of

Governors are expected to rise above party positions and
proclivities, not to magnify them.
The fundamental duty of a governor is to prevent genuine
constitutional crises.
They have to perform the dual role of being representative
of Union at state and being constitutional head of state with
utmost sincerity.
The ruling of S.R. Bommai vs Union of India laid down
specific prerequisites for the imposition of Article 356.
The first being a test of the ruling partys majority on the
floor of the House.
To realize the goal of cooperative rather than obstructive
federalism, governors have to act in accordance with the
norms of constitutional morality.
January 29

Mounting grievances, Little regulation: sorry state

of higher education sector
Need of the hour is appointment of academicians with
uncompromising integrity to head regulatory bodies and
No dearth of regulatory agencies governing colleges. A
private institution can be established only after multiple
What is lacking is honest and meticulous scrutiny of an
institutions real strengths by academics, officials and
experts vested with the responsibility of inspecting and
certifying colleges.
While colleges have proliferated, regulatory agencies lack
the wherewithal to physically inspect institutions.

Many medical and engineering colleges employ ghost faculty members, or renting teachers, laboratory equipment,
furniture and books for libraries during inspections.
A simple proposal to assign unique identification numbers
to teachers of professional colleges to prevent duplication in
faculty rolls has been pending for years.
Supreme Court ruled in AICTE vs. Surinder Kumar
Dhawan(2009) that the courts are neither equipped
nor have the academic or technical background to take
decisions in academic matters.
Yet courts often step in in favour of colleges after regulatory
agencies reject approval.
Or universities refuse to grant affiliation citing infrastructure
and academic deficiencies.

The Bill redefines criminal misconduct.

It now requires that the intention to acquire assets
disproportionate to income also be proved, in addition to
possession of such assets.
Bill extends protection of prior sanction for prosecution to
former officials.
Time limit of 3 months has been fixed for granting approval
for prosecution.
Cabinet has cleared amendments to increase maximum
prison term to 7 years, thus bringing under the category of
heinous crimes.
Non monetary gratification will also be covered underr the
definition of corruption.
January 30

The stained steel frame: Corruption in Civil Service

Central rule in Arunachal is in national interest:


The fight against corruption in public service is extremely

problem-ridden, because the canker has spread to the higher
echelons of the civil service.

In a 316-page counter-affidavit filed in Supreme Court, Ministry

of Home Affairs cites political stability is imperative in the
border state.

Prevention Of Corruption Act (PCA) has had only a marginal

One aspect of the problem is unethical conduct of those
holding ministerial positions.
What is even more obnoxious is that some of the
bureaucrats are known to join in to share the loot accruing
to a minister.
Supreme Court struck down section 6A of DSPE requiring
prior approval for conducting preliminary enquiry against
officers of the rank of Joint Secretary and above.
But requirement of government sanction to prosecute an
official found to have violated the PCA or the Indian Penal
Code (IPC) remains.
Just stronger legislation to plug the loopholes in the current
law an amendment to this effect is in the pipeline is
not the answer.
Political will combined with greater courage on the part of
senior officials to stand up to unethical pressure from above
can do a lot to stem the rot.
Public vigilance coupled with media support will help greatly.

Recurrent insurgency, Chinese claims, a communal Chief

Minister and a document signed by a majority 34 MLAs
urging for Presidents rule in Arunachal Pradesh are factors
listed by the Centre.
To justify the proclamation of emergency in the sensitive
border State on Republic Day.
The Centre said Presidents rule was imposed on Arunachal
Pradesh in the interest of the country.
The country cannot afford a whiff of instability in the State.
Which has seen recurrent insurgency as well as attempts by
China to claim large parts of its territory.

January 29

January 29

7 Points you need to know about Prevention of

Corruption Amendment Bill

January 30

Centre forms group to monitor spread of Zika virus

Centre has constituted a special, technical group to monitor

the spread of Zika in other countries.
It is focusing on especially strengthening the surveillance
There should be an increased focus on prevention to
control the spread of the Aedes mosquito, which transmits
Zika virus.
There have been no reports of outbreaks of Zika in India
though there is concern that given the ubiquity of air travel,
carriers of the virus may arrive in India.

The Bill has deleted the provision that protects a bribe giver
from prosecution, for any statement made by him during a
corruption trial.

January 30

Govt frames draft model law to allow shops to open

round the clock
The govt has framed a new model law that would allow
cinema halls, restaurants, shops, banks and other such
workplaces to be open 24/7.
It would also enable women to work during the night in
such offices with mandatory cab services.
The law will not apply for govt offices and the RBI.
The govt has put a draft cabinet note on Model Shops and
Establishments (Regulation of Employment and Conditions
of Services) Act 2015 in public domain.
At present, states have their own rules related to shops and
establishments which cover physical shops or workplaces
regardless of the size of the unit.

January 30

Free Speech v/s Contempt of Court

Courts have routinely invoked contempt provisions to
punish expression of dissent which have nothing to do with
administration of justice.
Power to punish acts which ostensibly scandalize or lower
the authority of the court speaks not to the majesty of the
institution, but to an ingrained sense of insecurity.
In a democracy, its difficult to locate any justification for
thwarting speech at the face of the judiciary.
The guarantee of free speech in a democracy ought to serve
as a value unto itself.
After 2006 amendment of contempt of court act the truth in
speech now constitutes a valid defense against proceedings
of contempt.
England altogether abolished as a form of contempt the
offence of scandalizing the judiciary.
February 01

Modernising madrasas to tackle IS influence

The Karnataka unit of Islamic Educational Board of India

has shifted focus to modernising madrasas.
They will also impart academic knowledge as well as an
understanding about what the Quran actually teaches.
The board is worried over the possibility of youngsters being
influenced by extremist groups.
The IS doesnt want people to be educated in Quran
because it is easy to tell people with half knowledge about
what is not there in the Quran.


civils digest | april 2016

There are close to 10,000 madrasas in the State and a

systematic study was being undertaken by the board.
February 01

PMO asks NITI Aayog to give report on stalled

hydro power projects
PMO has asked NITI Aayog to prepare a report on stalled
hydroelectric power projects as the govt aims to provide 24x7
electricity across the country.
These stalled projects have held up large-scale investment
and have contributed to rising NPAs.
According to data by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA),
the proposed hydro capacity addition during the 12th FYP
is 10,897 MW.
However, up to December 2015, the actual capacity
addition is only 3,651.02 MW which is 33.5% of the
proposed capacity addition.
Hydro power projects are generally categorized in two
segmentssmall hydro (upto 25MW) and large hydro.
Power ministry is responsible for large hydro projects, while
the mandate for small hydro power is given to the new and
renewable energy ministry.
February 01

Gujarat must give up terror bill

Police need better resources and training to combat organised
crime and terror, and not laws that abridge and modify
conventional criminal procedure to the detriment of human
Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime Bill has
already been rejected by two presidents.
Clause that permitted the State Home Secretary to authorise
the interception of telephone calls on his own was dropped
after centers disapproval.
Indias repeated experiments with anti-terrorism laws have
been, by and large, unsuccessful.
The Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act,
(TADA) 1985, and its latter-day version, the Prevention of
Terrorism Act, 2003, were allowed to lapse after allegations
of persistent misuse.
Substantive amendments made to the Unlawful Activities
(Prevention) Act in 2012, the country does have an effective
law to curb modern-day terrorism.

February 01

Lets know more about Gujrat anti terror bill

It is modeled on the Maharashtra Control of Organised

Crime Act.
The Maharashtra law itself has not achieved any remarkable
success in curbing organised crime.
Most controversial clauses of bill includes, first. evidence
based on interception of communication admissible in
Second, making confession to a police officer of the rank of
Superintendent of Police admissible in court,
Third, allowing 180 days, instead of the usual 90, for the
filing of a charge sheet.

February 02

Supreme Court recalls notice to Arunachal

Pradesh Governor
Concedes he has total immunity for acts done in official
Just a few days after ordering Arunachal Pradesh Governor
J.P. Rajkhowa to respond why he recommended Presidents
rule in the sensitive border State, the SC recalled the order.
The turn of events was triggered by Attorney-General, for
the Centre, drawing the Benchs attention to Article 361 (1)
of the Constitution.
This gives the President and the Governor protection from
legal action.
Under the Article, both the President and the Governor of a
State shall not be answerable to any court for acts done in
performance of their powers and duties.
February 02

WHO declares Zika a global emergency

WHO estimates there could be up to 4 million cases of Zika in
the Americas in the next year.
The WHO has announced that the explosive spread of the
Zika virus in the Americas is an extraordinary event that
merits being declared an international emergency.
The agency convened an emergency meeting of
independent experts.
To assess the outbreak after noting a suspicious link
between Zikas arrival in Brazil last year and a surge in the
number of babies born with abnormally small heads.

The last such public health emergency was declared for

the devastating 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, which
killed more than 11,000 people.
Such emergency declarations are meant as an international
SOS signal.
February 02

TRAI for PPP model for Bharat Net Project

The regulator says Central and State govts. can be anchor
clients of the project.
Bharat Net seeks to connect all of Indias households,
particularly in rural areas, through broadband by 2017,
forming the backbone of the governments ambitious Digital
India programme.
At present, a special purpose vehicle, Bharat Broadband
Network Ltd (BBNL), under the telecom ministry is handling
the roll out of optical fibre network.
A PPP model that aligns private incentives with long-term
service delivery in the vein of the Build-Own-Operate
Transfer/Build-Operate-Transfer models of implementation.
The regulator has also suggested that contract period
should be of 25 years, which can be further extended.
The funding should be done to bridge the loss incurred
due to higher operational expenses and lower commercial
February 02

Nai Manzil to enable minority youth to seek better

employment - Najma Heptulla
Nai Roshni for Leadership Development of Minority Women
by providing knowledge, techniques for interacting with
government systems at all levels.
Union Minority Affairs Minister Dr. Najma Heptulla said her
ministry launched a new scheme Nai Manzil on August 8,
The scheme will benefit minority youth who do not have a
formal school leaving certificate, i.e., those in the category
of school-dropouts.
USTTAD (Upgrading the Skills and Training in Traditional
Arts/ Crafts for Development) is also in action.
The scheme aims at capacity building and updating
traditional skills of master craftsmen and artisans.
Padho Pardesh, for providing interest subsidy on
educational loans taken from banks by minority students for
higher studies abroad.

The unique initiative of Hamari Dharohar is aimed
preserving the rich heritage and culture of minorities.
By supporting curation of iconic exhibitions, calligraphy,
preservation of old documents, restructured Multi-sectoral
Development Programme.

February 03

Five-judge Constitution Bench to take a call on

Section 377
Provision denies rights to privacy and dignity, court told.

Gujarat has not yet implemented the National Food Security

Act (NFSA).
It received four consecutive extensions from the Centre.
The govt. says it has prepared the list of beneficiaries
according to provisions of the Act.
As per the latest extension, the State will implement NFSA
from April 2016.
A PIL petition was filed in the High Court demanding
compensation from the State for its failure to implement the

The SC referred a batch of curative petitions against Section

377 of the IPC.
A colonial-era provision criminalising consensual sexual acts
of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) adults in
A 3-judge Bench gave credence to arguments that the
threat imposed by the provision amounts to denial of the
rights to privacy and dignity.
This results in gross miscarriage of justice.
The petitions pose several questions with constitutional
dimensions of importance.
As per the apex courts Rupa Hurra judgment in 2002, the
Bench considering curative pleas should necessarily have
the 3 top judges of the SC.

February 02

February 03

660 One Stop Centres for Women to be set up

Health Ministry issue guidelines on Zika Virus for


February 02

Gujarat got four extensions on Food Security Act

Govt. has already setup 20 One Stop Centres, called Sakhi

and 660 such centres are proposed to be set up.
Seven big states as well as all UTs have operationalised
33% reservation for women and the remaining states are
expected to implement it soon.
This will help to deal with crimes against women more
Within 2 months, all new cell phones will have panic
buttons for women in distress.
Vrindavan will have countrys first large facility for nearly
1000 widows where they can live, work, get training etc.

February 02

Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Scheme for 61 more


Initially launched in 100 districts with adverse child sex

Encouraged by results, the scheme is being extended to 61
more districts.
Beti Bachao Beti Padhao is the flagship programme of the
Ministry of Women and Child Development.


civils digest | april 2016

Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) through

its community and hospital based data gathering mechanism
would track clustering of acute febrile illness and seek primary
The Health Ministry issued health advisory, appointing
National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), as the nodal
agency for investigation of outbreak- should the situation
This comes in the backdrop of the WHO designating the
Zika virus and its suspected complications in newborns as a
public health emergency of international concern.
WHO has reported 22 countries and territories in Americas
from where local transmission of Zika virus has been
Microcephaly in the newborn and other neurological
syndromes (Guillain Barre Syndrome) have been found
temporally associated with Zika virus infection.
Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) shall be activated at Central
and State surveillance units.

February 03

SC raps states for not implementing NREGS, other


The Supreme Court on Monday came down heavily on

certain states for not implementing welfare legislations.
It asked why a state like Gujarat is not implementing the law
passed by Parliament.
It also asked Centre to collate information from drought-hit
states on the status of welfare schemes like MGNREGA,
The bench was hearing a PIL which alleged that parts of
states like UP, Karnataka, MP, AP.
They have been hit by drought and the authorities were not
providing adequate relief.

February 04

Sexually transmitted Zika case confirmed in Texas

World Health Organization declares global emergency.
A person in Texas has been infected with the Zika virus
the first case of the virus being transmitted in the U.S..
During the current outbreak of Zika which has been linked
to birth defects in the Americas.
The Zika virus is usually spread through mosquito bites, but
investigators have been exploring the possibility of the virus
spreading through sexual contact.
That gives the plausibility of spread, but the science is clear
to date that Zika virus is primarily transmitted to people
through the bite of an infected mosquito.
February 04

Progress of Jal Kranti Abhiyan reviewed

Ministry of Water Resources proposed to extend the
programme for 2 more years
The Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and
Ganga Rejuvenation initiated Jal Kranti Abhiyan during
For creating awareness on aspects of water security and
water conservation.
The Abhiyan was inaugurated by Union Minister of Water
Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation in
Rajasthan in June 2015.
Under Jal Kranti Abhiyan, 2 villages, preferably facing acute
water scarcity are being selected as Jal Grams.
An integrated water security plan, water conservation and allied activities are being planned by Panchayat level committee to ensure optimum and sustainable utilization of water.

Totally 1348 villages have to be identified in 674 districts,

out of which 1001 have been selected as Jal Grams.
February 05

Accept Lodha report, fall in line: SC to BCCI

The court gives BCCI time till March 3 to respond to the Justice
Lodha panel report.
Describing the Justice R.M. Lodha Committee report
on overhaul of BCCI as straightforward, rational and
The SC sternly advised the cricket body to fall in line with
the recommendations and save itself further trouble
These recommendations deserve respect. They have come
from the most respected members of the legal community,
Chief Justice T.S. Thakur said
The impediments which would visit the Board, starting
with how BCCI would even lose its registration under the
Tamil Nadu Registration Act
February 05

50% quota for women in panchayats planned

Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj would

be pushing a Constitutional amendment for PRIs
It seeks to increase the reservation for women in
panchayats from 33% to 50% in the budget session of
Already, States like MP, HP, Bihar and Uttarakhand have
provided 50% reservation to women in panchayats
It would also bring changes in the law to reserve a particular
ward for women for 2 terms of five years each
This will ensure that they can undertake developmental
activities in a continued fashion

February 05

Government and Qualcomm announce contest for


The DIPP and Qualcomm Ventures announced Indias

largest start-up contest QPrize Make in India
It will award $3.5 lakh in equity investment as prize money
for the winning company
The contest is to catalyse Indian entrepreneurs and start-up
community to drive the entire value chain from innovation to
manufacturing in India


February 05

February 06

Call drops persist, finds TRAI audit

SC revisits anti-defection law

February 06

2 mega rural schemes planned

TRAI has revealed that there has been virtually no decrease

in call drops and improvement in the quality of mobile
network coverage in recent months
This is despite the govts tough posture on the issue
The telecom regulator has been auditing and assessing
their Quality of Service through independent agencies
Network coverage improved a bit in New Delhi and
Mumbai, but saw no improvements in Kolkata and other
The audit agencies conduct sample drive tests across
various cities in the country to assess coverage quality

The SC started hearing arguments on the anti-defection law,

which disqualifies MPs for crossing the floor
Background - Amar Singh and Jaya Prada, both MPs,
moved the court on their expulsion from the Samajwadi
Party, anticipating ouster from Parliament
Current interpretation - A member elected, or nominated,
by a political party continues to be under its control even
after expulsion
Issue - They felt this impinged upon the fundamental rights
of the expelled members, including their rights to equality

February 06

No nod for GM mustard now

The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC)

decided to put on hold any decision on GM mustard
Background - Growing outrage by farmer groups and green
activists against commercialisation of GM mustard
The Environment ministry ensured that it will hold a
consultative meeting with all the stakeholders before giving
It might take couple of months before the trial and safety
data could become ready to be publicly available

February 06

Prepare manual on juvenile offenders: SC

The Supreme Court directed the govt. to prepare a manual

exclusively for juvenile offenders in custody under the new
juvenile law
It should be fashioned after the Model Prison Manual being
prepared by the Union Home Ministry for adult prisoners
It shall take into consideration the living conditions and
other issues pertaining to juveniles who are in Observation
The basic idea is is that prisoners, like all human beings,
deserve to be treated with dignity
It is a composite document on custodial management,
medical care, education, skill development programmes,
legal aid, welfare of prisoners, aftercare and rehabilitation,


civils digest | april 2016

Rurban Mission and Housing for All -to provide urban

amenities in village clusters and housing for all
With drought-like situation in nearly half of the countrys
676 districts, rural India seems to be the focus
Rurban centres will be developed as economic hubs for
skilled rural youth to get jobs near their villages
Housing scheme is rural counterpart of Housing for All
(Urban) and aims to cover 2.95 crore households

February 08

NITI Aayog wants formula to transfer funds to

NITI Aayog has called for the creation of an objective and
transparent formula to distribute central funds to states under
the centrally sponsored schemes (CSS)
This is in line with the recommendation of the sub-group on
rationalisation of CSS
State govts should have a broad appreciation of the
quantum of Central funds that is committed to them
This helps them to plan better and also ensure speedier
execution of CSS
Task of creating the formula has been entrusted to a
3-member committee with the secretary of the nodal
ministry implementing the CSS as the chairman
NITI Aayog will give its inputs and recommendations based
on consultation with all state governments

February 08

Bill to monitor complaints against judges

However, it is more viable for them to export the same drugs

than sell domestically
The govt tries to strengthen the taxation structure to
increase domestic production
Domestic bulk drug industry, which was facing a massive
downturn due to Chinese imports, has got some relief

The government favours bringing afresh The Judicial

Standards and Accountability Bill
It seeks to change the present system of probing complaints
of misbehaviour and incapacity against judges of the
Supreme Court and high courts
The bill was earlier brought by UPA government but had
lapsed following the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha

February 09

February 08

India is faced with a shortage of 1.2 million school teachers

Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill

Centre asked states to put in place a structured recruitment

plan to reduce backlog and attract quality graduates to the
It will be key to improving the quality of schooling in the
The shortage of teachers becomes all the more acute with
absenteeism at around 35%
India has at least 1.4 million schools catering to over 270
million children.
Education in India falls under the Concurrent List, which
means both the Union and state governments can legislate
on the subject.

It provided for a comprehensive mechanism for handling

complaints made by citizens
Complaints can be grounds of alleged misbehaviour and
incapacity against judges of the Supreme Court and high
Provided for a mechanism to take action against those
found guilty after investigation
Laid down judicial standards and made it incumbent on the
judges to declare their assets and liabilities

February 09

TRAI rules in favour of Net neutrality

TRAI may review these regulations after a period of 2 years.
No service provider can offer or charge discriminatory tariffs
for data services on the basis of content
This effectively prohibiting Facebooks Free Basics and
Airtel Zero platform by Airtel in their current form
Reduced tariff for accessing or providing emergency
services, or at times of public emergency has been
Financial disincentives for contravention of the regulation
have also been specified
February 09

Customs duty on life saving drugs unlikely to affect

Govt has imposed a customs duty of 35% on 15 life-saving
drugs but it is unlikely to affect patients

Structured teacher recruitment plan needed

February 10

Adopt open source for connectivity: TRAI

Any technology that is deployed for connectivity must be
interoperable, says TRAI chief
The telecom regulator hinted that technology-driven
connectivity ventures such as Google and Facebook
would be acceptable, only if they followed an open source
Facebook is working on a venture that deploys drones in
remote and rural areas to provide Internet connectivity
Googles Project Loon envisages the use of helium-filled
balloons to provide data connectivity in remote regions
Each balloon can provide connectivity to a ground area
about 40 km in diameter using a wireless communications
technology called 4G
The two are trying these approaches as alternative models
to reach data connectivity aerially to users

This is because Indian companies are already producing

these 15 drugs as generics
Moreover, 6 of 15 drugs in the list (including Anti Rabies
and Anti-D Immunoglobulin) already fall under the
governments price control order

February 10

Maharashtra bats for womens entry in Haji Ali


Context: Restrictions on entry of women in places of

religious worship
Update: The Maharashtra govt backed the entry of women
into the Haji Ali Dargah, by informing Bombay HC that
equality must rule over tradition and customs
Contraint: If Dargah Trust is able to prove that the ban is
part of their religious practice with reference to Koran
Recent controversies: Sabrimala temple in Kerala and Shani
Shingapur temple in Maharashtra are also facing similar

Deworming has been shown to reduce absenteeism in

schools, improve health, nutritional, and learning outcomes
February 10

What are parasitic worms?

India has the highest burden of parasitic worms in the world

Parasitic worms in children interfere with nutrient uptake
This can contribute to anaemia, malnourishment, and
impaired mental and physical development
According to Children in India report, 48% of children
under the age of 5 years are stunted and 19.8% are wasted
This indicating that half of the countrys children are

February 10

Governor cannot pre-empt CMs powers: court

Context: SC hearing on the Presidents rule in Arunachal

Issue: The court is looking into whether there was any
relevant material to justify the imposition of emergency in
the state by the President
Observation: The Governor cannot pre-empt the powers
exclusively granted by the Constitution to the Chief Minister
and his Council
The Governor should use his powers in a fair and limited
manner for the sake of survival of democracy

February 10

Health Ministry launches National Deworming

National Deworming initiative to benefit more than 27 crore
children in 536 districts of the country
The Union Health Minister stated that India shall be in the
forefront of the war against Neglected Tropical Diseases
The Ministry had first launched National Deworming Day
(NDD) in 2015 which was implemented in 11 States/UTs,
targeting children aged 1 to 19 years
The National Deworming Day will mobilize health personnel,
state governments and other stakeholders
To prioritize investment in control of Soil Transmitted
Helminth (STH) infectionsone of the most common
It aims to create mass awareness about the most effective
and low-cost STH treatment administering Albendazole


civils digest | april 2016

February 10

North East in Hydrocarbon Vision 2030

North-east India would be a gateway of South-East Asia in
Govt planning projects totalling Rs.1.3 trillion in public and
private investments in the North-East region
Aims to double oil and gas output in the next 15 years
Has an eye on markets such as Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan
and Myanmar
A strong network of crude oil and natural gas pipelines
would be set up as part of the plan
Present production is 223 million tonnes of petroleum
products and 33 billion standard cubic metres of natural
gas a year
February 11

Govt. installs 1,356 mobile towers in Naxal-hit


News: The govt has set up 1,356 mobile towers in Maoisthit areas
Project: It is part of an ambitious project to install 2,199
mobile towers in nine Maoist-hit States by this March end
Reason: To improve poor telephone connectivity
Impact: To benefiting thousands of tribals and security
personnel in remote regions

February 11

February 12

Was it discretion or mere whim, SC asks Governor

Kerala jobless rate 3 times the national average

Context: Governor used his constitutional discretion

to advance the 6th session of the Arunachal Pradesh
Assembly by over a month
Courts Question: Whether it was backed by sound
constitutional principles or based on a mere whim
Constitutional Principles: Under Art. 174(1), Governor can
summon the house, but the question before the bench is
whether this power can be used unilaterally by Governor
The other question before the bench is that whether
Governor is bound by aid and advice of Counicl of ministers
before advancing the assembly session

February 11

4-day National Arogya Fair-2016 at Dehradun

concludes successfully
The 8 Free Government (AYUSH) clinics served more than
1000 patients in four days
The Arogya Fair was organized by the Ministry of Ayurveda,
Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa Rigpa and
Homoeopathy (AYUSH)
Thousands of visitors benefited from the information
gathered about AYUSH Systems in 4 days
The Fair attracted immense participation from all
stakeholders, residents, practitioners, academicians,
corporates, institutes, university heads and students
Themes - Immune system, Homeopathy in Womens
disorders, Treatment in Ayurveda, Yog se Arogya and NonCommunicable Diseases management in Siddha System
February 11

Learn more about Arogya Fair?

Aim: To showcase and promote the strengths, efficacy and

affordability of the AYUSH systems of medicines
The Fair also offered useful information related to AYUSH
through information centers setup by Ministry of AYUSH
The live yoga demonstrations by the Center for Research
and Yoga and Naturopathy attracted large no of visitors
Various endangered herbal and medicinal plants were
showcased at the Herbarium and Museum by Center
Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences

Context: At 7.4%, Kerala has the highest rate of

unemployment among the major States in the country
It puts Keralas unemployment rate at three times the
national level (2.3%)
Other States: only tiny Nagaland and Tripura have a higher
unemployment rate
Scope: Rate is higher in rural areas as compared to urban
What about Women? Feminisation of joblessness is
evident with females accounting for a much higher rate of
joblessness as compared to males
The situation is worse in the case of Kerala women, who log
an unemployment rate of 47.4%, as compared to 9.7% of

February 12

Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Scheme expanded in

additional 61 districts

Context: Ministry of Women and Child Development has

expanded scheme in additional 61 districts, covering 11
Why expansion? Recommended by the Standing Finance
Committee (SFC), after seeing the overwhelming response
by stakeholders in the form of various initiatives and
Historical context: 100 districts with low Child Sex Ratio
were selected for the Scheme implementation for creating
awareness and advocacy about the issue
In last one year, scheme implemented under the overall
guidance and supervision of concerned District Magistrate/
Deputy Commissioners

February 12

Learn about Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Scheme?

Context: Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) Scheme was

launched in January, 2015 at Panipat in Haryana
Aim: Promoting gender equality and the significance of
educating girls
Target: Improving the Child Sex Ratio through multi sectoral
interventions including prevention of gender biased sex
selection and promoting girls education and her holistic
Which Ministry? It is a tri-ministerial effort of Ministries of
Women and Child Development, Health and Family Welfare
and Human Resource Development

February 12

February 12

Integration of traditional Indian Medicine System

Can Governor intervene in Speakers

disqualification powers?

Context: Integrate the traditional Indian Medicine System

into Modern Medicine system to promote a healthy life
India is famous the world over for its AYUSH systems of
medicine including Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha,
Sowa Rigpa and Homoeopathy
Proposal: The AYUSH has proposed the integration of
Allopathic and Ayurvedic systems to give better results for
treatment of various illnesses

Context: SC was questioning the Governors interventions in

the wake of Speaker disqualifying rebel Congress MLAs
Courts Question: How can the Governor take away the
constitutional powers of the Speaker to disqualify lawmakers
on the grounds of defection?
Courts Observation: Governor has no role to play in issues
prescribed in Tenth Schedule of Constitution

February 12

February 13

Plan to eliminate malaria by 2030

Is spirituality the exclusive domain of men, asks


Context: The Lancet estimates that India reports at least

50,000 malaria-related deaths annually
Whats in the news? - The Union Health Ministry announced
a plan to eliminate malaria from the country by 2030
The policy intervention will have deliverables and timebound targets
How? - India will be divided into 3 categories as per malaria
prevalence low, moderate and endemic States
The Ministry will depend on civil society organisations to
improve surveillance
States with relatively good capacity and health infrastructure
may usher malaria elimination sooner

February 12

SC for uniform compensation scheme for

differently abled rape victims

Context: The plight of differently abled victims of rape and

sexual exploitation
Background: Compensation and rehabilitation expenses are
very low in most of the states
Whats in the news? - SC ordered all States and UTs
to formulate a uniform scheme for providing them
Reason: These women have to battle both the social
disadvantage of their disability and stigma of the crime
committed against them
Model: In Goa, the victims are paid Rs. 10 lakh as against
in most states which range from Rs. 20000 to Rs. 1 lakh


civils digest | april 2016

Context: Ban on entry of women into the Sabarimala temple

Courts Questions: Whether spirituality is the exclusive
domain of men, and women are incapable of attaining the
spiritual self
Whether the Vedas, Upanishads and scriptures discriminate
between men and women
Is this tradition of prohibition bound to stay on, despite the
fundamental right of equality envisaged in the Constitution

February 13

Act against Devadasi system, SC tells States

Context: The prevalence of the illegal practice of

dedicating young girls as Devadasis
Background: Union govt. has issued advisory to all States
and UTs to stop illegal activities of subjecting young girls
into the Devadasi system
The News: SC directed all States and UTs to strictly enforce
Centres advisory
Legality: Section 372 of IPC prohibits selling minors
for purposes of prostitution and the Immoral Traffic
(Prevention) Act, 1956, also makes prostitution an offence
in or in the vicinity of public places
Prevalence: The dedication of Devadasis still prevails in
Devanagiri district of Karnataka

February 13

Re-examine colonial laws, says Amartya

Context: The colonial laws that still govern us even after 68

years of Independence
Opinion: These colonial laws must not remain unchallenged
Laws in Question: Sec 377 of IPC criminalises
homosexuality and under Sec 295A of IPC, a person could
be sentenced for hurting religious sentiments of the Indian
Penal Code

February 13

Minister for Telecom and IT to Launch Electronics

Development Fund (EDF)

Background: The Electronics Development Fund Policy

was launched by Prime Minister, during the inauguration of
Digital India Week on 1st July 2015
Context: Government has appointed CANBANK Venture
Capital Fund Pvt. Ltd. to house EDF
Ministry: EDF an initiative of IT Department is formulated as
a Fund of Funds to participate in Daughter Funds
Beneficiaries: Daughter Funds (set up to achieve the
objectives of the EDF policy) registered in India
Regulation: Abiding by the relevant rules and regulations
including the SEBI regulations on Venture Fund

Hand Held Terminals: Pilot project of Northern Railway that

will help in updating status of passenger list of the whole
Based on the list food-chart/occupancy chart will be
manually prepared
Paperless Ticketing: It can be used for booking unreserved
tickets on many suburban and some long distance routes
on mobile application
E-booking: Allows passengers to avail bedroll kits through
online booking and from IRCTC setup select outlets on the
February 13

NITI Aayog: 2nd regional consultation

Context: 2nd Regional Consultations on Agricultural

Development in New Delhi
Held by: NITI Task Force on Agricultural Development
under the chairmanship of Vice Chair Arvind Panagariya
Demands: southern states pitched for preparation of a
model land leasing act and higher remunerative prices for
Other areas: shared best practices in area of agriculture
and water resources; river linking and water conservation
and harvesting; emphasis on strengthening of agricultural

February 13

How Electronics Development Fund will help?

Purpose: It will provide risk capital to companies developing

new technologies in the area of electronics, nanoelectronics and IT
Target: It enables creation of an ecosystem for providing risk
capital to both industry and academia to undertake R&D in
technology areas
Safeguard: It will enrich the intellectual property in the
country and encourage more entrepreneurs towards
product and technology development

February 13

Digital India: 3 applications launched for Indian


Context: The Ministry of Railways has launched 3

IT (Information Technology) enabled apps to bring
transparency in Indian Railways on the sidelines of Digital
India initiative

February 15

To sink differences, government plans National

Water Commission

Context: Union govts proposal to set up National Water

Commission for allocation of water resources
Aim: To reduce inter-state water disputes, bring greater
efficiency, better planning and increased emphasis on
conservation of water
Reason: To ensure that all water resources in the country
are managed in a holistic manner and not separately as
surface water, ground water or river water
How? - Complete restructuring of the organisations
responsible for regulating the use of water resources
Agency: Currenly, the Central Water Commission oversees
irrigation projects, flood management and drinking water


February 15

February 16

Central nodal agency to curb human trafficking


India-UK explore pact on information exchange on


Context: Union govt.s campaign to rescue and rehabilitate

those trafficked
The news: Union govt has decided to set up a central nodal
agency to strengthen the fight against human trafficking
Challenge: Siliguri and N-E India are vulnerable to
trafficking due to distress in tea gardens
Initiatives: Operation Smile and Operation Muskaan have
rescued/rehabilitated large number of children
Future: An inter-State co-ordination will go a long way in
curbing trafficking

February 15

Centre, Bengal in row over growing tea on


Context: Recently, Centre asked the West Bengal govt to

withdraw a 15 year-old notification banning conversion of
agricultural land into tea cultivation area
Reason: It was affecting a large number of small tea growers
The news: The State govt has argued that it was imposed
as part of land reforms to prevent tea gardeners from
purchasing land belonging to tribal people
The Union Commerce ministry directed the Tea Board to
take over the management and control of seven tea estates
Know the facts: West Bengal and Assam together accounts
for over 80% of the countrys tea production

February 16

SC refuses to disclose data on pending verdicts

Context: Bringing judiciary under the ambit of RTI Act

The News: The SC dismissed a plea to maintain the data
on its pending judgments and make the information public
under the RTI Act
Background: Earlier, Central Information Commission gave
a decision that SC shall disclose the number of pending or
reserved judgments
The Commissions decision was upheld by a single judge of
the Delhi HC
Criticism: In 2001, SC itself ruled that the confidence of
litigants would be shaken if judgments were kept pending
for years


civils digest | april 2016

Contex: India will explore the possibility of signing an

agreement with the UK on exchanging information about
Relevance: New Delhi will positively consider the draft and
advance signing of the MoU on Information Exchange on
Criminality and Criminals
Issue: Shri Rijiju raised the issue of as many as 131
pending requests from New Delhi on extradition of wanted
persons under the Extradition Treaty
Hurdles: The provision of death penalty in India and the
European Commissions provisions on Human Rights
proved to be hurdles in acceding to the requests
Indias concerns: Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) set
up by the UK that might impede those Indians travelling to
the UK for travel and work

February 16

Indias drug monitoring programme struggles to

grow fast enough

Challenges: Insufficient staff and equipment and a lack of

awareness among medical professionals
Unrecorded: many potentially dangerous drug reactions go
Lack of data: Gaps in the system mean the government has
less data
Effect: inability to determine whether drugs might have
harmful side effects
WHO database: Also, relatively little information flows to the
WHO database of over 12 million suspected adverse drug

February 16

Learn about Pharmacovigilance Programme?

Context: Monitoring Adverse Drug Reactions (ADR) in the

country to safe-guard Public Health
Initiated by: The Central Drugs Standard Control
Organisation (CDSCO) in 2010, under Ministry of Health
and Family Welfare
Coordinator: All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS),
New Delhi is the National Coordinating Centre (NCC)
Mission: to safeguard the health of the Indian population by
ensuring that the benefit of use of medicine outweighs the
risks associated with its use

Need: To engage healthcare professionals and the public at

large, in a well structured programme to build synergies for
monitoring adverse drug reactions in the country
Purpose: to collate data, analyze it and use the inferences
to recommend informed regulatory interventions, besides
communicating risks to health care professionals and the
Database: collects and submits suspected adverse drug
reactions to a WHO database called VigiBase
Indian contribution: Last year, India contributed 2% of the
2.1 million suspected reactions
February 16

Govt allows sharing of active telecom infra

Context: The department of telecommunications (DoT) has

decided to allow sharing of active telecom Infrastructure
Active infra: such as antennae, feeder cables, and
transmission systems, Radio Access Network (RAN)
Effect: expected to lower costs for operators and lead to
faster rollout of networks
Spectrum sharing: Last year, DoT allowed sharing of
spectrum, a critical resource for expansion of telecom
Benefit: Help operators enhance their network coverage
area and fill the gaps, enabling them to improve quality of
Earlier: operators were allowed to share only passive
infrastructure such as towers, repeaters, and shelters

February 17

SC declines to intervene in Arunachal political


Context: Supreme court is hearing the constitutional validity

of Presidents rule in Arunachal Pradesh
News: The SC declined to intervene in the Arunachal
Pradesh political controversy
Centre has indicated that it was in favour of withdrawing
Presidents Rule in the State to make way for a new govt
Reason: Centre has argued that there cannot be a
constitutional vacuum just because the SC is hearing the

February 17

WHO: Genetically modified mosquitoes to combat


Context: New and potentially controversial techniques

including releasing GM or irradiated mosquitos could be
deployed to hamper the spread of Zika virus
Background: Zika is a disease transmitted by the Aedes
aegypti mosquito
More than 13 countries in the Americas have reported
sporadic infections
WHOs advice: To boost the use of both old and new
approaches to mosquito control as most immediate line of
WHO Advisory Group recommended: field trials and risk
assessment to evaluate the impact of this new tool on
disease transmission
Relevance: Infection in pregnant women linked repeatedly
with a condition in babies called microcephaly and an
illness in adults called Guillain-Barr syndrome
Trial results: shown that such releases could reduce an
insect population by up to 90%

February 18

WHO issues $56 million plan to combat Zika virus

Context: help includes the fast-tracking of vaccines,

diagnostics and research studies into how it spreads
Funds for: $25 million for WHO and used to control the
mosquito-borne virus Zika
Way forward: funds to come from member states and in
meantime it has tapped a new emergency contingency fund
for $2 million to finance its initial operations

February 18

Chhattisgarh govt cancels tribal rights over forest


Context: Forest rights of tribals over their traditional lands in

Ghatbarra village of Surguja district have been taken away
by the Chhattisgarh government
Why? to facilitate coal mining of Prasa East and Kete Besan
coal block
FRA Provision: Forest Rights Act allows government to
divert forest lands for other purposes only after prior
consent of the tribals through gram sabhas
First of its kind: It is the first such order to come to light
in India, where community rights of tribals have been
cancelled after being granted through the process laid down
in the FRA

February 18

February 19

Learn about Forest Rights Act?

Govt. reviewing denial of OROP for premature


Context: The law concerns rights of forest-dwelling

communities to land and other resources, denied to them
over decades as a result of the continuance of colonial
forest laws in India.
Title rights: ownership to land that is being farmed by tribals,
subject to a maximum of 4 hectares
Ownership: only for land that is actually being cultivated
by the concerned family, meaning that no new lands are
Use rights: to minor forest produce (also including
ownership), to grazing areas, to pastoralist routes, etc.
Relief and development rights: to rehabilitation in case
of illegal eviction or forced displacement and to basic
amenities, subject to restrictions for forest protection
Forest management rights: to protect forests and wildlife
Legal recognition: to the rights of traditional forest dwelling
communities, partially correcting the injustice caused by the
forest laws
The claims and rights of all tribals are settled before
government looks to remove them under section 4(5) of the
law and other rules
Does not provide for revocation of either community or
individual land rights once granted under the law
Authority: Gram sabha is the only authority empowered to
decide the future of traditional tribal lands

February 19

Learn about Pre-Mature Retirement in armed


Objective: It is a way of maintaining a younger officer profile

at the middle level and open up vacancies for lower ranks
Eligibility: The PMR tenure for Jawans and Junior
Commissioned Officers is 15 years and for officers it is 20
The personnel opting Pre-Mature Retirement are eligible for


civils digest | april 2016

News: The govt is reconsidering the denial of One Rank

One Pension (OROP) to personnel opting Pre-Mature
Those personnel opting Pre-Mature Retirement are not
entitled to the benefits of the OROP, as per the current
Reason: Creating a distinction between those leaving
service for greener pastures and those leaving for the sake
of the country
Criticism: It goes against the recommendations of the A.V.
Singh committee of 2004 which recommended ways of
lowering the age of Commanding officers and brigade
commanders for combat and support arms

February 19

Govt nod for building 80000 houses for poor

Context: Prime Ministers Awas Yojana

News: Over 80000 houses will be built in urban areas in
seven states for the Ecnomically Weaker Sections
Central govt. will give assistance at the rate of Rs 1.5 lakh
for each house
Nodal Agency: Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty


All you need to know about

Sedition law
in India
should a colonial era legislation that has the potential to chill free speech be
allowed to remain on the statute book? Revisit a short summary of one of the most
misused section of colonial era.

Recent controversy at jnu and invoking of Sedition charges

against jnu Students Union President has brought back the
debate between Sedition and Dissent.

First, Read this interesting story

on Sedition
Interestingly, the sedition law was not part of the original ipc.
It was dropped by Britishers while enacting the Act, but then
they realised its importance in censuring dissenting voices from
Indian media, intellectuals, and freedom fighters. It was later
introduced by the British in 1870, 10 years after the Indian Penal
Code (ipc) was introduced.
One of the prominent convictions include freedom fighter
Bal Gangadhar Tilak, who was convicted and sent to prison in
Mandalay, Burma in 1908. <Recall the consequences of Surat Split
and passivity in the Indian freedom struggle for a long period>

Interestingly, the country

which gave India its sedition
law, the United Kingdom,
repealed the act in 2009.

civils digest | april 2016

What is the Sedition law?

Sedition is an offence incorporated in Indian Penal Code. An
offence having the element of incitement to violence & disaffection against the govt. established by law.
Section 124 A of ipc says- Anyone who excites or attempts to
excite disaffection towards the govt. established by law, has committed the offence of Sedition.
It includes a clarification of the word disaffection, that it
includes disloyalty and all feelings of enmity.
Punishment: Imprisonment upto 3 years to life imprisonment,
with fine or without it.

Sedition vs. Fundamental Rights

Section 124 A of ipc comes in conflict with Art 19(1)(a)

relating to freedom of speech and expression
Do you know that some members of the Constituent
Assembly made efforts to include sedition as an express
ground for limiting speech in Article 19(2)
The sedition law died a judicial death in 1958 when the
Allahabad High Court declared it ultra vires Article 19(1)
(a), which was later revived by apex court in its 1962

What is Supreme Court ruling on

In Kedar Nath Singh vs. State of Bihar 1962 case, the Constitution bench of Supreme court ruled that a person can be charged
with Sedition only if there is actual violence or incitement to
violence (spark to a powder keg) or subverting government by
violent means, through words either written or spoken.
Later, the Supreme Court unambiguously stated that only
speech that amounts to incitement to imminent lawless
action can be criminalised.
The moral crisis is that in spite of the Supreme Court narrowing the scope of sedition, and in spite of the more recently
evolved tests to determine when mere speech or expression can
be prosecuted, governments have routinely invoked Section
124-A with a view to restricting even benign forms of dissent.

Need for revisiting the law!!

Section 124-A of the ipc negates the right to dissent, which is
an essential condition of any reasonable government. Thus, it
is opposed to the idea of a legitimate, liberal democratic state.
Indiscriminate use by police officers

The definition of sedition is exceedingly broadly worded

<Its vagueness certainly did wonders for the colonialists>

Difficulty involved in drawing a line between permissible

speech and the one amounting to Sedition <There is lot of
subjectivity involved, which often leads to its misuse>

Attempts shall be made to draw a line in the favour of free


What is not Sedition?

Law commission recommendation

Law commission suggested amending Section 124A to widen the

scope of actions that would be punishable under the clause but at
the same time reducing maximum punishment from life imprisonment to maximum of seven years and/or a fine.

Judiciary held that mere criticism of govt. policy or public

servants will not amount to Sedition
Thus, words and speech can be criminalised and punished
only in situations where it is being used to incite mobs or
crowds to violent action
Mere words and phrases by themselves, no matter how
distasteful, do not amount to a criminal offence unless this
condition is met

Can mere anti India slogan shouting be termed seditious?

In Balwant Singh case supreme court held that casual raising
of the slogans such as Khalistan zindabad once or twice by
two individuals alone cannot be said to be aimed at exciting or
attempt to excite hatred or disaffection towards the Government.

The Road Ahead

Despite the higher judiciarys best attempts, it seems unlikely
that Indias law enforcement agencies will give primacy to right
to freedom of s peech. However, there are laws such as Section 121
of ipc, which can cover the offences under Section 124A.
This episode should provide fertile ground for the ongoing drive to scrap old, useless and in this case, dangerous laws.
However, we should keep in mind that the words which directly
provoke violence or which directly threaten the maintenance of
public order deserve censure is unquestionable, especially given
Indias constitutional structure.

What do you think guys Should such speeches be allowed in

university campuses, which are highly subsidized by tax payers
money for anti-national activities?
Lets have some answers from you guys
#Q. Sedition has been characterized as the most misused section of colonial era
curbing the free speech. Critically discuss.


Shyam Benegal
- Certify vs Censor Game

Lets first dive into some details of

the Censor board

The Central Board of Film Certification (also known as the

Censor Board ) is a statutory censorship and classification
body under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting
It regulates public exhibition of films under the provisions
of the Cinematograph Act 1952
It assigns certifications to films, television shows, television
ads and publications for exhibition, sale or hire, in India.

Lets know about the composition

of the board

The censor board consists of 25 other non-official members

and a chairperson. <All are appointed by the Centre>
Pahlaj Nihalani currently presides the board, replacing
Leela Samson who resigned last year
The boards headquarters is in Mumbai. It has nine regional

What happened to Mukul Mudgal committee report?

Wasnt it tasked to do the same thing?
In February 2013, the UPA govt. appointed Justice Mukul Mudgal
to head a committee to examine issues of certification under the
Cinematograph Act, 1952. Precisely the same thing.

civils digest | april 2016

The Mudgal Committee submitted its report in September

It went into considerable detail, looked at the existing law
and where it could be amended, even worked on a draft law
It formulated a system of certification for films to replace
the current one
Why appoint another committee to do the same work?

What were the recommendations

of Mudgal Committee?

It noted that the nature and size of the film industry has
changed beyond recognition since the 1952 Act and the same
set of rules had little relevance today
It said no criteria had been set for selecting those who were
on the advisory panels of the film certification boards. This
lacuna is glaringly evident in the selection of some of those
on the current censor board, including its chair
Suggested replacing the term advisory panel with screening
panel. This more accurately represented the task before the
Questioned the manner in which state govternments frequently suspend or cancel screening of films anticipating
law and order problems when individuals or groups object

It also suggested five categories for film certification

as the existing two categories were insufficient.

But what about the Mukul Mudgal committee which

was constituted for the same reasons!
The Information and Broadcasting Ministry set up a committee under
filmmaker Shyam Benegal to review the film certification process

What were those five categories?

A new form of classification of films:
Unrestricted exhibition U
For persons who have completed 12 years of age 12+
For persons who have completed 15 years of age 15+
Restricted to adults A
Restricted to members of any profession or any class of
persons, having regard to the nature, content and theme
of the film S
These categories reflect similar categories followed in many
other countries.

But frankly, tell me whats CBFCs

job? To certify or to censor!
Yes, the government needs to remember that the job of the CBFC
is to certify films and not to censor them
There are very few specific areas under which the board
could ask the filmmaker to make changes or cuts
But the Censor Board has often demanded cuts in films
based entirely on the subjective interpretation of the law
by its members

How can an advisory panel have

people with no expertise in cinema
or art?

In any case, terms such as obscene or immoral that

appear in the law can only be subjectively defined. Often
filmmakers complain of films being viewed through a conservative moralistic prism by the panel
Some womens groups and individuals accuse the CBFC of
giving too much latitude to filmmakers
The CBFC has earned the infamy of demanding random
and illogical cuts, leaving filmmakers with no option but to
accept them or delay release by going into appeal. If its job
is to certify, that is what it should be doing

But, how does one determine

whether obscenity and violence are
actually detrimental to society?
These are not the things one can sit down in judgement over, at
least so easily.

This is where we need to address the question of how much

philosophical, psychological and sociological expertise
members of the censor board have
Recently, CBFC chief Pahlaj Nihalani has invited the ire of
the industry for his overbearing ways and for being excessively censorious
These are problems that have happened in the censor board
even in the past

So then the onus of censorship

should be on the filmmakers. Is
that a possible way out?
Its a very difficult responsibility, because at the end of the day
cinema is a commercial business and audiences have to be drawn
in to recover investment
The govt is not going to get rid of the censor board any time soon
Many even say there is no need for a censor board in a democracy
If we are capable of changing governments on the basis of our
votes, we know whats good for us when it comes to watching films

So why cant we decide what is

good for us to watch?
It would have been simpler to accept Mudgal Committee
suggestions rather than asking another committee to go over
the same ground unless the purpose is to use this to push these
issues under the carpet once again. Finally, cinema is the mirror
of society and reflection of what society is!

in 2015
Part - 1



Physical safety
& quality

Toilets in
every school


Revised Grant-in-aid

body of knowledge &

support evidence based
capacity building;
information dissemination;
awareness creation.



Society for
Protection of


civils digest | april 2016

Forest Rights
Act Progress

Centre of

#1. education:

Bilingual Primers: To overcome language barriers in learning among

tribal children, all Tribal Research Institutes have been funded to
prepare bilingual primers (both in tribal and regional languages)
which would be reproduced through Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. Odisha,
Gujarat, Jharkhand, Maharashtra have already initiated this process
Vacations: Synchronization of vacation with Tribal Festivals has been
advocated to check drop out
To provide physical safety and quality education and its access,
nearly 20,000 seats during fy 14-15, about 40,000 seats during cfy
in hostel/residential school facility have been sanctioned.
To make education relevant for the tribal children- vocational
training integrated with residential schools with one of
the teachers acting as mentor cum counselor.
Training of tribal girl/lady as anm and their posting as Assistant Warden in
Girls hostel for girl safety and counselling.
Toilets: Every tribal area school without toilet targeted to have functional
toilets with focus on girls toilets and funds provided for safety and inculcating
hygiene and sanitation habits.
Scholarships: Increasing the number of scholarships for st students in
professional education and research from 667 to 1000 scholarships per year
under the Scheme of Top Class Education and from 625 to 750 fellowships per
year for st students under the National Fellowship scheme.

#2. research:

Grant-in Aid to Tribal Research Institutes (tri) scheme: has been revised
from the fy 2014-15 to extend 100% financial assistance to strengthen them
in the areas of Research & Documentation of tangible and intangible heritage
and Training & Capacity building etc.
tris of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala,
Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur,Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Telangana,
Tripura, West Bengal & Andaman & Nicobar Islands supported for carrying
out the following activities:
1. Research Studies/ Evaluation Studies/
Ethnographic / Anthropological Studies.
2. Organization of Exhibitions/Conferences/
Workshops on tribal issues, etc
3. Training and Capacity building
4. Exchange of visits for Tribal youth
5. Tribal festivals, etc.

The functions of the tri: to work as

body of knowledge and research, to
support evidence based policy, planning
and legislations, capacity building,
dissemination of information and creation
of awareness etc.
strengthening of institutions:

Strengthening of Integrated Tribal

Development Agency/Integrated
Tribal Development Project (itda/
itdp) for effective delivery of public
goods and services to tribals in Tribal
Society for Protection of Tribals: Will
be set up by Ministry of Tribal Affairs,
in collaboration with the Government
of nct of Delhi; an autonomous
body; would help the migrant
tribals access basic citizen services,
including Rescue, Rehabilitation and
counselling services, through a 24 X
7 helpline
Tribal Research Institute have
been revived to make them vibrant
institutions through 100% funding
for core staff and activities. tri,
Odisha has been declared as National
Resource Centre
Centre of Excellence has been set
up for study of Tribal language
and literature in Viswa Bharati,
Shantiniketan, and West Bengal
Forest Right Act development: Till
the end of September, 2015, 44,01,563
claims have been filed and 17,02,047
titles have been distributed under
the Forest Rights Act, 2006. Out of
these, 16,61,214 individual, 38,685
community and 2148 cfr titles have
been distributed, covering a total area
of around 89 lakh acres of land.


Whose law is it
- Landmark Judgements that
Transformed India
The story of landmark judgments continue and we are here with
the tale of a judgement which ignited passions then, and is still
hotly debated in the context of Indian secularism.

Art 25 Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and

propagation of religion subject to reasonable restrictions
on the grounds of public order, health and mortality.

Consider the following facts

Art 25 (2)provides for regulating secular activities associated

with religious practices and social welfare and reform.


Its lawful for a Muslim man to keep more than one wife but
not for a Hindu man. Of course no woman Hindu or Muslim
can have more than 1 husband in our patriarchal society.
Hindus can form an undivided family (huf ) to manage their
assets better and in the process reduce their taxes but not
Muslims or Christians.
Christians cant file for divorce before completion of 2 years
of marriage while other communities can do so after 1 year
of marriage.
Christian women get no share in the property of deceased
children while different rules apply to other communities.

These observations prompt one to ask, whose law is it anyway!

This chaotic situation is the result of religious laws governing
matters relating to marriage, divorce, succession, inheritance,
maintenance etc.
The question of uniform civil code had been raised time and
again since independence but post supreme court judgement in
1985 on the maintenance a divorced Muslim woman would be
entitled to receive, this question has acquired a distinct communal overtone.
Art 15 No discrimination on grounds of religions, race,caste,
sex, place of birth only.


civils digest | april 2016

Art 26 right to establish and administer religious institutions.

Art 27 P
 rohibit state from levying tax proceeds of which are
used for the benefit of a particular religion.
Art 28 deals with issue of religious instruction in educational
Art 44- A dpsp provides for uniform civil code
caa 42nd inserted secularism in preamble.
In S.R.Bommai vs Union of India case, supreme court held
secularism as a basic feature of the constitution.

Origin of different personal laws

#1. The Lex Loci Report of October 1840
It emphasized the importance and necessity of uniformity
in codification of Indian law, relating to crimes, evidences
and contract.
It also recommended that personal laws of Hindus and Muslims should be kept outside such codification.

#2. Queens 1859 Proclamation promised absolute non-interference in religious matters. So while criminal laws were codified
and became one for the whole country, personal laws continue to
be governed by separate codes for different communities.
What was the reason?
Indians resisted British attempts to change their religious and
customary practices and British realized it the hard way with
various sporadic localized revolts and massive mutiny of 1857.
Charter act of 1813 had allowed missionaries to come to India
and promote Christianity. To impress the liberal govt in Britain
(2 main parties in Britain that time were liberals and conservatives, labour party came later ) to grant them another 20 years
of trade monopoly, eic, promoted activities of missionaries and
under leadership of Bentinck passed many social reform legislation like abolition of Sati in 1829. But primary motive being
money and loot, they abandoned it when they saw it hurting their
commercial interests.
The same situation was allowed to continue post independence.
Constitution was written in the shadow of partition. There was
tremendous anxiety among the minority community so founding fathers thought it fit to prescribe principle of ucc in dpsp. It
was their fond hope that with time, minorities will feel safe and
parliament would be able to legislate a uniform civil code.
Apart from very chaotic situation different codes for different communities create, religious laws of every community
discriminated against women. .Laws had to be reformed and for
that very reason art 25 (2) provides for state intervention in secular practices associated with religion.
To reform Hindu laws, Hindu code bill was piloted by Dr Ambedkar which legalized divorce, provided for only monogamy, gave
inheritance rights to daughters. Amid intense opposition of the
code being anti Hindu, a diluted version was passed via 4 different

the Hindu Marriage Act,

Succession Act,
Minority and Guardianship Act
Adoptions and Maintenance Act.

For instance diluted Hindu Succession Act, 1956, originally did

not give daughters inheritance rights in ancestral property. They
could only ask for a right to sustenance from a joint Hindu family.
But this disparity was removed by an amendment to the Act in
Similarly in Gita Hariharan case, supreme court while interpreting Minority and Guardianship Act, declared mothers also the
natural guardian of child even when father is alive.
Special marriage act was enacted in 1956 which provided for civil
marriages outside of any religious law .
Other personal laws remained unreformed and most visible
aspect at least in public consciousness of unreformed laws were
provisions of triple talaq and polygamy in Muslims.

Lets come back to the judgment

Shah Bano, a 73 yr old woman was divorced by her husband by
triple talaq and was denied maintenance. She approached the
courts. District Court and high court ruled in her favour that led
to her lawyer husband moving to supreme court.
Facts of the case
1. Under Muslim personal law, maintenance was to be paid
only till period of iddat( roughly 90 days ).
2. Section 125 of crpc (criminal procedure code) that applied
to all citizens, provided for maintenance of wife.
A five judge constitutional bench of supreme court unanimously
ruled in her favour. But it also passed some adverse remarks about
Muslim personal laws and failure of parliament to legislate ucc.
Note that judgement came not very long after 1984 anti Sikh
riots. Muslims felt under siege and all India Muslim personal law
board and conservatives vigorously defended the application of
their own personal laws. Govt was accused of imposing Hindu
culture on minorities. It was seen as a threat to Muslim personal
law which they considered their identity. The fact that none of 5
judges who advocated for uniform civil code was Muslim did not
help the matter but was evidence of imposition of Hindu values
over Muslims. Media sensationalism did not help matters either.


Aftermath and impact

Sarla Mudgal v.Union Of India

Rajiv Gandhi govt. buckled under pressure and passed The

Muslim Womens (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act (mwa)
was passed in 1986, which made Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code inapplicable to Muslim women.

Supreme Court in its judgement in 1995 held such practice as

illegal and criminal.

This law was exact opposite of its name as any sane person can
see it was passed to neutralize supreme court judgement in Shah
Bano case.

Supreme court parroted Sarla Mudgal lines again in Lily Thomas

case 5 years later but still many Hindus convert to Islam just to

Rajiv govt was accused of minority appeasement and perhaps

to compensate the other side or by sheer coincidence, magistrate in Ayodhya ordered opening of the gates of disputed Babri
masjid. Bofors scandal wrecked his Mr clean image and govt
fell in 1989 and in ensuing general election vp Singh of national
front became the pm. He played the Mandal card and in response,
Advani started rath yatra. Politics of kamandal had begun . All of
this would have very tragic consequences but thats the story for
some other day.

In spite of the chaotic situation and denial of rights to women,

governments hav failed to even put out a draft ucc. This leads
us to ask-

Daniel Latifi case

mwa was challenged on the grounds that it violated right to equality (Art .14, 15) as well as right to life (Art. 21).
Supreme court while holding the law as constitutional, harmonised it with section 125 and held that amount received during
iddat period should be sufficient to maintain her during iddat as
well as provide for her future.
Different personal laws for different communities esp provision of polygamy for Muslim men gave rise to the phenomenon
of converting into Muslim just for the sake of remarrying without
divorce. Everyone would have heard the tale of Chand Mohammad(deputy cm of Haryana) and Fiza.


civils digest | april 2016

Again an appeal was made to parliament to have a re look at ucc.

Some thought questions

related to ucc
#1. Would there ever be suitable conditions for the enactment
of ucc? What would be those conditions like? Would not vested
interests always thwart attempt to bring a ucc?
#2. If parliament does indeed decides to bite the bullet and passes
ucc,what could be the adverse consequences of the same?
#3. What should be the broad principles on which such ucc be
#4. Should supreme court not strike down all the provisions
which are discriminatory to women or violate their human rights
as being unconstitutional ?
#5. What do u think should be the way forward ?


84 newscards | H
 and curated
of the most
relevant news
items from The


January 21

Stand at Nairobi WTO meet wins Cabinet backing

India secured a re-affirmative Ministerial Decision on the public
stockholding issue.
The Cabinet approved Indias stand at the last months
WTO conference held in Nairobi on food security and farm
The outcomes of the conference, referred to as the Nairobi
Package include Ministerial Decisions on agriculture
covering a Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM).
India negotiated a Ministerial Decision on another very
important issue.
This recognises that developing countries will have the right
to have recourse to an agricultural SSM as envisaged in the
Doha mandate.
Members will continue to negotiate the mechanism in
dedicated sessions of the Committee on Agriculture in
Special Session.
January 21

World Economic Forum meeting starts in Davos,

The annual World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting has started
in Swiss resort of Davos, Switzerland.
In this edition of WEF meeting, the agenda includes the
outlook of the global economy and measures to fight
The 4-day conference will cover the discussions on
tumbling oil prices and Chinas uncertain economic
It will be also discussing the issue of growing terror threats
in the wake of the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris
(France) and influx of migrants and refugees in Europe.
Participants will also discuss environmental issues such as
greenhouse gas emissions.
They will also review the latest efforts to improve industrial
production with robotics, artificial intelligence and
information technology.
January 21

Lets know about World Economic Forum (WEF)?

WEF is an international institution founded by Klaus Schwab

that works to improve the state of the world through publicprivate cooperation.


civils digest | april 2016

It was established in 1971 and is headquartered in Geneva,

It is an independent not-for-profit organization that works
closely with other international organizations.
It also works with leaders in the field of politics, business,
academia to set global, regional and industrial agenda.
January 21

The hidden wealth of nations

Indias biggest source of FDI is India itself, black money routed
OECD- BEPS final report lays out 15 action points to curb
abusive tax avoidance by MNEs.
Economic growth without public investment in social
infrastructure such as health care and education can do
very little to better the life conditions of the majority.
Curbing tax evasion to boost public finance is also the part
of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
But as stock market sneezes, the Indian state swoons.
Case in point multiple postponement of the enforcement
of General Anti-Avoidance Rules (GAAR) to 2017, and
implementing SIT recommendations related to KYC on
India has spent much of 2015 trying to re-negotiate this
Meanwhile, China has already renegotiated its DTAA, and it
can force investors to pay 10% capital gains tax in China.
Government needs to muster up the political will to clamp
down on the tax avoidance via legal but abusive accounting
tricks of MNEs.
January 22

India slips to 89th rank on global talent


India is ranked at the 89th position in the Global Talent

Competitiveness Index (GTCI) for the year 2015-16.
The list has been compiled by the INSEAD business school,
in partnership with Adecco and Human Capital Leadership
Institute of Singapore (HCLI).
It is released every year on the first day of the World
Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting.
The Global Talent Competitiveness index measures a
nations competitiveness based on the quality of talent it can
produce, attract and retain.

January 22

What does Indias rank indicate?

Last year, India was placed at the 78th This year, it has
slipped 11 places.
According to the list, a lower position indicates a sharp
shortage of skilled workforce
It reflects an acute shortage of skilled labour force and
difficult business conditions.
Indias ranking is worst among the five BRICS countries,
with China leading the pack with a global rank of 48.
Indias position also reflects skill shortage in vocational
The report noted that the improvement of India would have
the greatest impact in terms of the pool of talent not only in
the region but also globally.

January 22

Indian life insurance lagged Asian peers:

Indias life insurance sector has underperformed compared to
its Asian peers.
None of the private insurers are creating value of the type
indicated by the potential, all of them serving a minuscule
segment, mainly to meet narrow investment needs.
Unlike other markets, growth in Indias life insurance sector
is correlated more closely to equity market performance
than rising GDP.
For over a decade, the private segment has delivered overall
returns far below the cost of capital and even below those in
other Asian markets.
For value growth, they should expand capabilities in
agency and lower costs, besides reinventing relationships
with customers and distributors by using digital tools and
They should build risk and capital management skills,
besides leveraging existing customer relationships.
January 22

For A More Fruitful Future

Pranab Mukherjee and Sushma Swaraj visits reflect todays
tighter India-Israel bond.
Though we have made powerful strides in the 24 years
since we opened full diplomatic relationship.
We need to truly broadbase our partnership to sectors such
as S&D, R&D, innovation, water technology trade etc.

Not just limited to security, counter-terrorism, and

Israel is a start-up nation, a hub for new technologies,
hi-tech and start-ups, and Startup India provides
opportunities for meaning collaboration.
We are both vibrant democracies, with ancient civilisational
Jews in India never faced persecution or anti-Semitism
indeed, Jews facing persecution around the world often fled
to India.
All of this makes the case for a stronger and more fruitful
relationship in future.
January 22

And diplomacy won

Some of the successes indicates that 2015 has reinforced the
need for multilateralism.
2030 agenda unlike the Millennium Development Goals of
2000, reflect a bottom-up negotiation process by the entire
UN membership
Decision taken by COP 21 in Paris represent a decisive
victory against the irresponsible, particularly the climate
This has also driven home to the main stakeholders the fact
that the major threats to international peace and security
are best handled collectively.
Where this principle continued stalemate on Syria with
devastating humanitarian consequences, the inability to
deal with the Islamic State (IS) adequately, the situation in
January 23

Sri Lanka tops South Asia in human development

As for the growth rate during 1990-2014, South Asias figure
was 1.38, the highest among all regions.
The report, which studied a total of 188 countries and
territories, has determined the HDI values.
By assessing long-term progress in 3 basic dimensions of
human development a long and healthy life, access to
knowledge and a decent standard of living.
India and Bhutan fall under the category of medium human
development countries.
India is placed at 130th rank and Pakistan, 147th.Within
the region of South Asia, Afghanistan tops the list with the
value of 1.89 for 1990-2014 followed by Bangladesh (1.64),
Nepal (1.49) and India (1.48).

January 23

January 25

India, France can gain by sharing strategies

against terrorism

India, Arab League vow to check terror, funding


India and France are carrying out Shakti 2016 in Rajasthan

which reflects the common interests of two countries.
It is the joint exercise which focusses on counter-terror and
counter-insurgency operations.
Both sides will benefit by exchanging ideas and strategies
for a larger goal due to different experiences in handling
Greater French support for Indias decades-old anti-terror
struggle would help India attain both regional as well as
global targets in the fight against terrorism.

January 23

Kerry calls for 30% hike in international aid for


U.S. Secretary of State called for a 30% increase in

humanitarian funding from the United Nations for refugees.
This would increase international humanitarian aid for
refugees from $10 billion in 2015 to $13 billion in 2016.
Barack Obama would host a summit on refugees at the UN
General Assembly in New York later this year.
This summit will be the culmination of a sustained, rigorous
effort to rally the world community on several fronts.

January 25

Modi, Hollande set the stage for counter-terror

They resolve to enhance strategic ties between India and
Both leaders will hold bilateral talks, during which they
are likely to discuss upgrading the special and strategic
partnership signed in 1998.
Hollande, Modi to take up defence, space and nuclear
These include the completion of the agreement for the
purchase of Rafale aircraft and nuclear issues over current
Jaitapur plant.
Both sides are likely to announce a new phase of space
cooperation between the space agencies ISRO and
CNES, with a special satellite dedicated to climate change


civils digest | april 2016

Minister cited Indias model of unity in diversity as

an example for the world to counter indoctrination and
India and the Arab world must join hands to eliminate the
menace, those who silently sponsor terror groups could end
up being used by them.
Those who believe that silent sponsorship of such terrorist
groups can bring rewards must realise that they have their
own agenda.
They are adept at using the benefactor more effectively than
the sponsor has used them.
Speaking at the first First Ministerial Meeting of the ArabIndia Cooperation Forum which External Affairs Minister
described as a turning point in Indias ties with the Arab
January 26

Raja-Mandala: France, A most exceptional friend

France has emerged, steadily since the 1990s, as Indias most
trusted international partner.
The participation of French troops in the Republic Day
parade is significant as it marks the end of Indias prolonged
military isolationism.
Modi recognises the potential of military partnerships in
modernising Indias defence-industrial base.
And enhancing Indias strategic weight in the international
Resuscitating Indias defence diplomacy and global security
engagement has been at the centre of his foreign policy.
Modi sees a special role for Paris in Delhis global calculus
for three important reasons.
One, France in contrast to US, Britain, Russia has made
a clear choice in favour of India over dalliance with pak
Two, France can be a privileged partner for India in
strengthening peace and security in the maritime domain.
Third, while Indias quest for multi-polarity remains,
exchanging American global primacy for Chinese
domination makes little sense for Delhi.
As a leading Western power with shared political values,
France is a more credible partner for India in constructing a
more equitable world order through a new concert of global

January 26

January 27

French President to be Chief Guest at R-Day parade

Indo-French Ties: Soaring New Heights

As India celebrates its 67th Republic Day, tight security and

vigil is being maintained across the country as a precaution.
French President Francois Hollande will be the Chief Guest
at the Republic Day parade.
Representatives of the Indian States will take part in the
parade to showcase the strengths of the state.
The visit of Mr. Hollande to New Delhi for the mega
He is expected to send a message of a worldwide solidarity
among the democratic countries against terrorism of the IS
which staged the November 13 attacks in Paris.

January 26

French cos may invest $10 bn in India over next 5

France taking active part to boost Make in India and Skill India
French companies are likely to invest almost $10 billion in
India in the next 5 years and a major portion of this will be
in the industrial sector making.
French firms had invested more than one billion dollars
annually in the last 5 years.
The countrys companies account for 10% of solar capacity
installed in India and they could increase their capacities by
There were over 400 French firms in India with a
consolidated turnover of about $20 billion and France was
the third largest foreign investor in India.
January 26

India, France set to expand space partnership

At least three of the 14 agreements signed by India and

France were on expanding space collaboration.
The ISRO and its French counterpart CNES (National
Centre for Space Studies) agreed to work together in the
next Mars mission, as well as a satellite launch and a
thermal infrared observation mission.
Both sides also signed an agreement on upgrading the
Delhi-Chandigarh line to 200 kmph.
The other agreements on nuclear issue, counterterror,
defence show a positive continuum of the past work.
France also committed itself to supporting Indias bid
for a permanent seat on the UNSC and accession to the
multilateral (nuclear) export control regimes.

Partnership has now been comprehensively extended to

counter-terrorism and a separate joint statement was issued on
For decades, France has been Indias most consistent
backer and partner .
It supported Indias nuclear programme, helped mitigate
the effects of post-Pokhran 2 sanctions as well as
negotiated the civil nuclear deal with the US.
The focus of Hollandes visit was on strategic partnership,
defence and counter terrorism.
They renewed bilateral Agreement on Defence Cooperation
for another 10 years and France commited to help Indias
accession to multilateral export control regimes.
For the first time, the two countries named Pakistan-based
India-specific terror groups.
Inaugurated International Solar Alliances headquarters in
It is also hoped that the implementation of the Jaitapur
nuclear power project will begin in 2017.
Laid emphasis on people-to-people contacts, with France
granting an extended stay of two years to Indian students at
the masters level and above.
January 27

Indo-French: Can they clear the test of Trade?

Strategic partnership has gone from strength to strength. Now,
its time to clear test of bilateral trade as well.
Strategic ties have been given further boost by the
agreement on intelligence-sharing and cooperation on
investigations and judicial processes.
India-France trade hovers around $8 billion, which amounts
to half of Indias trade with the U.K. or Germany.
A big reason for is the impasse in Indias economic relations
with the European Union.
Modis expected visit to Brussels for the EU summit in the
next few weeks could clear the path here.
Joint ventures and partnerships on infrastructure such as
railways, smart cities and renewable energy projects were
announced during the visit.
But much more needs to come from Indian businesses
engaging with France.


January 28

January 29

Talks start on WTO meeting outcomes

Colombo yet to end impunity enjoyed by security

forces: HRW

Experts say removing export subsidies by 2023 is likely to

worsen sugar sector crisis.
India began its inter-ministerial consultations on the
implications of the decisions taken at the last months WTO
ministerial conference at Nairobi.
The discussions revolved around the kind of support
(subsidies) that will not be possible for the farm sector in
years ahead and how India should respond to that.
The outcomes of the WTOs Nairobi meet include ministerial
decisions on agriculture covering a SSM for developing
countries (to counter import surges of farm items) and
public stockholding.
It also includes a commitment to abolish export subsidies
for farm exports and measures related to cotton.
January 29

India gets more voting rights in IMF reforms

More than 6% of the quota shares will shift to emerging and
developing countries from the U.S. and European countries.

The Human Rights Watchs annual report shows that the

present Sri Lankan govt took no significant measures to end
impunity for security force abuse.
Earlier, the present govt. initiated a new, more open
dialogue with the international community in 2015.
The govt. had also not yet repealed the draconian
Prevention of Terrorism Act.
Although the pervasive culture of fear is largely gone and
positive measures have been adopted.
But, the previous governments disastrous restructuring of
independent state institutions needs to be fully dismantled.

January 30

Train to Tehran winds along Silk Road into West

China recently flagged of its first direct freight train to Iran
from its trading hub of Yiwu, in the eastern coastal province of

Indias voting rights increase to 2.6% from the current

2.3%, and Chinas, to 6% from 3.8, as per the new division.
Russia and Brazil are the other two countries that gain from
the reforms.
The significant resource enhancement will fortify the IMFs
ability to respond to crises more effectively.
IMF reforms were agreed upon by its 188 members in
2010, in the aftermath of the global financial meltdown.
The reforms bring India and Brazil into the list of the top
10 members of IMF, along with the U.S, Japan, France,
Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, China and Russia.

The container train will cover a journey of 10,399 km in its

maiden journey to West Asia in 14 days.
It will exit China through Alataw Pass in western Chinas
Xinjiang province, and then pass through Kazakhstan and
Turkmenistan before heading for the Iranian capital.
Yiwu is already connected by trains that head for Duisburg
in Germany and Madrid.
The new train is part of Chinas Silk Road plan to increase
its influence in Eurasia through infrastructure development
and economic exchanges.
That are lacking in development but rich in natural
resources and geopolitical importance.

January 29

January 30

Lets know about IMF?

What is Silk Road Initiative?

Created in 1945, the IMF is governed by and accountable

to 188 countries that make up its near-global membership.
The IMF, also known as the Fund, was conceived at a UN
conference in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, United
States, in July 1944.
To foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial
stability, facilitate international trade, promote high
employment and reduce poverty around the world.
The SDR is an international reserve asset, created by the
IMF in 1969 to supplement its member countries official


civils digest | april 2016

The Silk Road project is an initiative by China to resurrect

the ancient maritime Silk Road.
It is perceived to be an attempt by China to ameliorate
relations with South and Southeast Asia.
Chinese want to open up the transportation channel from
the Pacific to the Baltic Sea.
From which would radiate rail and road routes, which would
also connect with East Asia, West Asia, and South Asia.
This initiative aspires to deepen linkages between China and
its neighbours via trade, investment, energy, infrastructure,
its currency.

February 01

U.S. considers re-merger of India, Pakistan desks

De-hyphenating policy started by the U.S. under President
Bush, but sealed by the Obama administration, of dealing with
India and Pakistan, without referring to their bilateral relations.
7 years after the State Department was restructured to dehyphenate U.S. relations with India and with Pakistan, it is
considering a reversal of the move.
It enabled the U.S. to build closer military and strategic ties
with India without factoring in the reaction from Pakistan.
To continue its own strategy in Afghanistan with the help of
the Pakistan military without referring back to India.
A proposal to re-merge the office of the Special
Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (SRAP) back
with the Bureau of South and Central Asia (SCA) that
handles India.
U.S. involvement as a third party in talks with Pakistan,
which would become the case if special representatives
would travel between Delhi and Islamabad regularly.
February 01

2.8 million cancer deaths in China in 2015: study

Some 2.8 million Chinese may have died of cancer in 2015 or
over 7,500 deaths daily, according to a new study.
With increasing incidence and mortality, cancer is the
leading cause in China and is a major public health
The lung, stomach, esophageal, liver and colorectal cancers
were the most common ones in men, accounting for about
two-thirds of all cases.
Breast, lung, stomach, colorectal and esophageal cancers
were the most commonly seen cancers among women.
The air pollution is an important cause of lung cancer
Mortality rates of cancers have decreased by about 21% for
both men and women since 2006.
China should be prepared as the number of cancers deaths
will still climb with the arrival of aging population.
February 01

Russia encouraging Provinces to develop ties with


Provinces have been given free hand to deal with India

in the fields of agriculture, health, education, cultural
There is growing competition among provinces to take
advantage of the positive trend in India-Russia ties.
Provinces like Mordovia and Astrakhan compete to benefit
from overall bilateral ties.
February 02

Indian likely to become CFO of AIIB

India is likely to bag the post of Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

in the newly launched Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
The multilateral bank, whose formation was steered by
China in order to boost infrastructure development in Asia.
The newly appointed President of the AIIB will be from
Germany, India, South Korea, Britain and Indonesia.
The Vice-President from Germany would serve as the Chief
Operating Officer, while his peer from India would become
the banks first CFO.
Analysts say that the Chinese have made a decision to run
the bank according to international best practices, which
include tapping into the experience of European bankers.

February 02

Marshall Islands sue Britain, India and Pakistan

over nuclear weapons
Archipelago where infamous Bikini Atoll test took place tells
international court that nuclear powers have not lived up to
disarmament obligations.
It sought to persuade the UNs highest court to take up a
lawsuit, accusing the countries of failing to halt the nuclear
arms race.
The International Court of Justice has announced dates for
separate hearings for the three cases between March 7 and
March 16.
In the cases brought against India and Pakistan, the
court will examine whether the tribunal based in Hague is
competent enough to hear the lawsuits.
The hearing involving Britain will be devoted to preliminary
objections raised by London.
A decision will be made at a later date as to whether the
cases can proceed.

In a bid to take ties with India beyond the defence sector,

Russia is giving more freedom to its Provinces to engage
with Indian States directly.


February 02

India likely to sign defence pact with Brunei

Vice-President Hamid Ansari is expected to reach a

landmark defence agreement with Brunei.
The agreement will be aimed at starting a new generation of
Indian defence cooperation with Brunei.
To train its defence forces and help the Southeast Asian
nation in capacity-building.
Brunei also disputes Chinese claims on the South China
The agreement is being interpreted as a major diplomatic
breakthrough since both sides established relations in
Bruneis current defence responsibilities are handled by the
U.K. which supplies soldiers to serve its defence needs.

February 03

President of India inaugurates Counter-Terrorism

Conference 2016
The President of India inaugurated the Counter-Terrorism
Conference- 2016 at Jaipur.
Speaking on the occasion, the President said that terrorism
is undoubtedly the single gravest threat that humanity is
facing today.
It is imperative that the world acts in unison against
terrorism, without political considerations.
An important aspect of counter-terrorism strategy is capacity
building to prevent attacks.
Through intelligence collection and collation, development
of technological capabilities, raising of Special Forces and
enactment of special laws.
The predominant focus has to be on the political
management of terrorism.
February 04

UN panel finds aid money not getting to the needy

The panel called for an end to competition between aid
organizations and between humanitarian and development
Too often only half of the money from donors is getting to
the millions of people devastated by conflicts and natural
disasters who desperately need humanitarian aid.
The UN report said the world is spending around $25 billion
to help 125 million people today.

civils digest | april 2016

This is more than 12 times the $2 billion spent in 2000 but

there is still a $15 billion annual funding gap.
It warned that if the current trend continues, the cost of
humanitarian assistance will rise to $50 billion by 2030.
The report focuses on 3 solutions Mobilizing more fundsShrinking the need for aid by
preventing and resolving conflicts
Improving the efficiency of assistance.
February 04

Lets know about UN Office for the Coordination of

Humanitarian Affairs
UN system-wide reform of the past decade has seen the
development of the cluster approach as well as new tools for
humanitarian financing.
Established in 1991 as an entity within the United Nations
Secretariat, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
Affairs (OCHA).
It supports mobilization, funding and coordination of
humanitarian action in response to complex emergencies
and natural disasters.
OCHA is headed by the Emergency Relief Coordinator
(ERC), a position currently held by Valerie Amos.
The ERC also acts as the central focal point for
governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental
relief activities.
OCHA also manages the Central Emergency Response
Fund (CERF) - a pooled funding mechanism for UN
humanitarian agencies to draw upon.
February 04

India-Iran will try to resolve Chabahar Port issue

at foreign office consultation
The officials representing India and Iran will attempt to resolve
contentious issues related to the proposed Chabahar Port in
Iran at foreign office consultation.
The officials attributed the delays to Iran changing terms
and conditions for the port, and India seeking a better deal
after initially giving in.
The discussions now centre on resolving conditions that
both sides consider each other to be imposing.
The consultation will also take up the International North
South Transport Corridor (INSTC) project linking India with
Central Asia and other countries.
It will also consider regional and international issues such
as the rise of the Sunni militant IS and peace talks in

February 04

February 04

What is International North South Transport

Corridor (INSTC)?

What are Free Trade Agreements?

The INSTC is a project to link India and Iran via the sea route
and then through Iran to the Caspian sea onwards to Central
INSTC is a multi modal transport corridor established in
2000 in St. Petersburg.
The founding members are Iran, Russia and India.The
purpose is promoting transportation cooperation among the
Member States.
It connects Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf to the Caspian
Sea via Islamic republic of Iran, then is connected to St.
Petersburg and North Europe via Russian Federation.
It was expanded to include 11 new members, namely:
Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz, Tajikistan, Turkey,
Ukraine, Belarus, Oman, Syria, Bulgaria (Observer).
February 04

India, Thailand firm up maritime cooperation

India-Thailand collaboration is necessary to ensure freedom

of navigation and connectivity in the Southeast Asian region
As maritime neighbours, India and Thailand have a shared
interest in the security of international sea lanes
Mr. Ansari has expressed Indian concerns about freedom
of navigation in the region due to growing maritime disputes
between China and other regional countries
The two sides agreed to fast track the ongoing trilateral land
corridor project connecting Thailand-Myanmar and India

February 04

India to defer finalizing trade pact with Australia

India to defer finalizing a trade deal with Australia until the
multi-country Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership
(RCEP) talks come to a conclusion
Australia is part of the RCEP. India thinks it may lose its
leveraging power by finalizing a trade deal ahead of the
RCEP deal
A bilateral trade deal with Australia has to be an
improvement over the RCEP
Hence, there is no point signing an agreement with
Australia ahead of the RCEP deal
Australia has been very keen to sign the agreement but
both sides missed the December target
Australian trade minister Andrew Robb visited India four
times in 2015 to convince India to fast-track the trade deal

FTAs involve cooperation between at least two countries to

reduce trade barriers import quotas and tariffs and to
increase trade of goods and services
If people are also free to move between the countries, in
addition to FTA, it would also be considered an open border
Then it can be considered the second stage of economic
Pursuing bilateral and regional FTAs (free trade
agreements) provides the opportunity to maximize the
outcomes for both Australia and India
Regional FTAs provide access to a large market and
streamline trade and investment regulations, while bilateral
FTAs provide tailored opportunities to both sides specific

February 04

What is Regional Comprehensive Economic

RCEP, a regional economic pact, aims to cover trade in goods
and services, investment, economic and technical cooperation,
competition and intellectual property
Its a proposed FTA between the 10 member states of the
ASEAN and the six states with which ASEAN has existing
FTAs (Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New
RCEP negotiations were formally launched in November
2012 at the ASEAN Summit
It is viewed as an alternative to the TPP trade agreement,
which includes the US but excludes China and India
Under the RCEP, India has offered tariff elimination of
42.5% to Australia, while that country has offered zero tariff
on 80% of its traded goods
Indias interests lie mostly in services, the removal of
technical barriers to trade
The barriers are those taken under sanitary and
phytosanitary measures


February 05

February 05

WHO certifies vaccine maker GreenSignal Bio

IS threat: Maharashtra rolls out deradicalisation


GreenSignal is the second Indian company to get PQP

certification from WHO
The WHO has accorded PQP (Pre-qualification of
Medicines Programme) certification to the GreenSignal Bio
Pharma Pvt. Ltd., a BCG vaccine-making firm
The certification helps the company to participate in the
global immunisation programme
This is facilitated through international procurement
agencies such as UNICEF
These global institutions go by the WHOs list of prequalified products
While making a decision on procurement for medicines for
distribution in resource-limited nations
February 05

Compulsory licensing in manufacturing may slow

investments: EU
The IPR policy is also expected to cover CL as the Patents Act
(of India) also deals with CL.
Indias adoption of Compulsory Licensing (CL) in industrial
sectors risks affecting the flow of capital and technology
from overseas
The extension and wide use of CL in industrial sectors can
act as a deterrent for investments, from abroad and within
Indias National Manufacturing Policy (NMP) supports the
application of CL, specifically to ensure access to the latest
green technologies that are patented
The government is relying on NMP to ensure that its Make
In India initiative is successful
The NMP provides the option to entities such as the
Technology Acquisition and Development Fund
February 05

What is Compulsory Licensing?

CL is the grant of permission by the government to entities

to use, manufacture, import or sell a patented invention
without the patent-owners consent
The proposed India-EU FTA would include provisions on
IPR protection of which CL is an aspect
CL is permitted under the WTOs TRIPS (IPR) Agreement
This provided conditions such as national emergencies,
other circumstances of extreme urgency and anticompetitive practices are fulfilled


civils digest | april 2016

The plan aims to create an environment of solidarity and trust

among the minority, and envisages different departments
undertaking various schemes to reach out to the minority.
To face the challenges posed by various home-grown
extremists and the global IS terrorists
Maharashtra government has rolled out a deradicalisation
programme for the minority community
The plan, brought out by the State Home Department, is a
50-point socio-economic strategy with the aim of bringing
youth of the minority community into the mainstream
The State Education Department will launch a mid-day meal
scheme in Urdu schools
Also provide textbooks at subsidised rates, and teach Urdu
as optional subject in 300 Marathi shalas (schools)
February 06

India ready to address Sri Lankas concerns on

economy pact

India will address Sri Lankas concerns on the proposed

Economic and Technological Cooperation Agreement
It will also address issues concerning regulations and
This comes in response to criticism from certain quarters
that the proposed agreement would take away jobs of Sri
Lankan professionals
Earlier, Sri Lankan govt. too expressed its reservations about
allowing Indian professionals in Sri Lanka under any new

February 06

Julian Assanges detention illegal, says UN panel

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has ruled

the 3-year period of political asylum sought by Wikileaks
founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in
London as unlawful detention.
The Australian human rights campaigner, Julian Assange,
was arrested in London in 2010 by Sweden on charges of
sexual assault and rape.
The decisions of the UN panel are not binding. However,
if these decisions are not followed, it will affect the
international credibility of both governments.
Assange and WikiLeaks have been the subject of a secret
grand jury investigation in Virginia
That has been looking into whether to prosecute them over
the US cable disclosures.

February 08

India, Thailand in talks for exchange of prisoners

India and Thailand have started talks on exchanging

prisoners that are of mutual interest
Reason - Both countries are worried over the possible proxy
use of narcotics and human trafficking networks by terror
Legal Basis - The bilateral extradition treaty, 2013, and the
Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, 2004, provide the legal
basis for negotiation to both sides
Impact -A humane step and it will also help in returning
several Thai victims of human trafficking who are in various
prisons of India

February 08

India assures Sri Lanka of support for


India has expressed support for Sri Lanka on its

reconciliation and development policies
The Sri Lankan has sought Indias assistance to improve the
health and education of people living in estates, who were
essentially of the recent Indian origin
Background - LTTE armed conflict that led to turmoil in the
Sri Lanka
New Issues - The fishermen of the Northern Province of SL
are facing problem due to bottom trawling
New Developments - Indias offer to set up an IT park in Sri
Lanka that could attract investments

February 08

India flags API issue to U.S. govt.

The U.S. decision has major implications on generic drugs,
affordability of medicines and on efficient sourcing
India has sought clarity from the U.S. government which
gave rise to apprehensions that medicines procured by
That should be only from companies making even the
Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) either locally or in
certain designated nations such as EU members

India and China account for about 80% of the U.S.s

requirement of API (drug raw materials)
The U.S. TAA applies Americas international trade
agreements and the WTOs Government Procurement
Agreement (GPA)
Medicines need to be made in the U.S., or in certain
designated countries, as per U.S. trade rules
India and China are not in this list of designated countries.
India is not a signatory to the GPA and does not have a free
trade pact with the U.S.
February 08

Learn about WTOs Government Procurement


This is a plurilateral agreement within the framework of the

WTO, meaning that not all WTO members are parties to the
The fundamental aim of the GPA is to mutually open
government procurement markets among its parties
GPA consists of 17 parties covering 45 WTO members
(counting the European Union and its 28 member states, all
of which are covered by the Agreement, as one party)

February 09

With Zika, Indian firm scales up trials for GM

Such tests would progress quickly as the life span of the Aedes
aegypti mosquito was 15 days.
Gangabishan Bhikulal Investment and Trading Ltd. (GBIT),
a sister company of the Maharashtra Hybrid Company
It is planning to scale up trials to find out whether
genetically engineered mosquitoes can be a useful tool to
check the growth of the insect
It should be noted here that GBIT was the company that
first brought Bt cotton to India
Now, GBIT has been breeding male mosquitoesThe
company is expected to ask the take the governments
permission to start larger trials later this year


February 09

Learn about Genetically Engineered Mosquitoes?

These mosquitoes contain genes which when passed on to

its progeny render them unable to mature
Unless they have access to tetracycline, a compound that is
not naturally available in the environment
The idea is that once enough of laboratory-bred
mosquitoes mate with the disease-carrying females in an
open environment, would reduce the regions mosquito
The technology is already being tested in Malaysia and
Brazil, which has seen the highest number of Zika cases
The international evidence so far shows the strain can
reduce the number of mosquitoes in a place by 90% in 3 or
6 months

February 09

North Korean behaviour slap in the face for China:

U.S. shares the Chinese concern that sanctions should not
cause chaos and mayhem in the peninsula, which a collapse of
the North Korean regime could lead to.
With no agreement between U.S and China in sight on a
proposed UN resolution
New sanctions against North Korea that tested a nuclear
device a month ago and launched a satellite last week in
violation of existing international restrictions, could take
U.S and China have been engaged at multiple levels over
the last month, but the latest North Korean act of escalation
has driven a wedge between the 2 countries
A day after China protested the U.S-South Korea joint move
to revive talks on the long-pending missile defence system
THAAD, or Terminal High-Altitude Air Defence
In response to the satellite launch, the U.S said the North
Korean behaviour was a slap in the face right at Beijing
The U.S. is evidently cut up with the Chinese response to
North Korea and views it inadequate and perfunctory
February 09

Raja-Mandala: Maritime India versus Continental

The international fleet review is a reminder of Indias
capabilities to help build an open, secure and prosperous
Indian Ocean


civils digest | april 2016

While bringing the Indian navys second international fleet

review to a close at Visakhapatnam, PM emphasised, once
again, the centrality of the oceans for Indias prosperity and
On the economic front, Indias interests have become truly
More than 40% of its current GDP is linked to international
trade. And most of this trade is sea-borne.
On the positive side, Delhi has become increasingly
conscious of its larger responsibility to provide public goods
in the maritime domain.
The political and naval leaderships have acknowledged the
urgent need to cultivate special maritime relationships with
key partners
Amid the altering regional balance of power in the Indian
The announcement that India will host its first-ever global
maritime summit in April this year reflects Modis eagerness
to shake Delhi out of its continental stupor
The real challenge is to plugging the gap between,
insufficient financial and institutional resources and the
absence of effective bureaucratic mechanisms
To implement declared objectives have meant that the
gulf between Indias maritime promise and performance
remains wide
February 10

UN commissioner calls for return of land, demilitarisation in Sri Lanka

UN calls for reducing the size of the military force in the North
and East to a less intrusive level.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
urged the Sri Lankan military
To accelerate the return of lands to rightful owners and
reduce its size in the Northern and Eastern provinces
According to the Sri Lankan government, about 3,000
acres of land were returned since January 2015 and 2,329
families had been resettled
On the level of militarisation, the size of the military force in
the some provinces could be reduced to a level that is less
intrusive and intimidating.
On the present atmosphere of freedom and openness, UN
felt that the element of fear has considerably diminished, at
least in Colombo and the South

February 10

February 11

Sri Lanka divided over Indias possible role in

political reform

Learn about Internet readiness index?

Context: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swarajs recent

visit to Sri Lanka
Background: India and Sri Lanka signed the 1987 Accord,
whose outcome was the 13th Amendment
Issue: Whether and to what extent India should be involved
in the Sri Lankas ongoing constitutional reform process
What is Indias stand? - India is pressing that it should be
implemented fully.
Whats in the Amendment? - It paves the way for the
establishment of Provincial Councils all over the country

February 11

India Ranked 37th on USCC IP Index

India has ranked 37th out of 38 countries for its intellectual

property rights environment in the annual IP index released
by the United States Chamber of Commerce (USCC)
The index painted a grim picture of India, which scored
7.05, lower than last years 7.23
Based on 6 key parameters like rights and limitations of the
patent, copyright and trademark regimes, trade secrets,
enforcement and ratification of international treaties
India took hit in- absence of regulation for data protection,
bar on patentability under Section 3(d) of Patent Act 1970,
not part of TPP
However, many strengths have been ignored like- a robust
litigation system, enforcement of IPRs is at peak in India,
Commercial Courts Act etc

February 11

Maharashtra tops Internet readiness index report

According to Index of Internet Readiness of Indian States,

Maharashtra has emerged as the top ranking state in terms
of the overall Internet readiness index
The report was published by the Internet and Mobile
Association of India (IAMAI) and Indicus Analytics
Among the smaller states, Delhi has emerged as the
topmost state, followed by Puducherry and Goa
The report notes, much more needs to be done in the form
of investment and infrastructure development in northeast
The report aims to give a more holistic picture of the digital
ecosphere that presently exists in the states

This is a composite index on components like

e-infrastructure index, e-participation index, IT services and
e-governance index
Purpose: To help business and governments to leverage
the strength, and policy measures can also be taken where
improvements are required
Why? - Given the rapid advancement in e-services and
e-commerce, it is essential to understand the strengths and
weaknesses of the states

February 12

Is climate change helping Zika spread?

Context: Whenever the planet has faced a major climate

change event, species have moved around and their
pathogens have come into contact with species with no
What expert says? The increased global movement of
people is probably as great an influence as climate change
for the spread of infectious diseases
WHOs context: Changes in climate mean a redrawn
landscape for vector and water-borne diseases
How Transmission? The warmer and wetter conditions
facilitate the transmission of mosquito-borne diseases
So, its plausible that climate conditions have added the
spread of Zika

February 12

India, UAE sign nine agreements

Agreement in fields: currency swap, culture, investments

in infra, renewable energy, space research, insurance
supervision, cyber security, skill development and
information sharing
Context of Terrorism: We have common interest in fighting
terrorism and, therefore, we have an agreement to counter
terror in the cyber field.
Whats remain? The much anticipated agreement on India
accessing UAEs Sovereign Fund was not declared
Changes Needed? India should carry out some structural
changes in its economy to facilitate such an agreement
FTA Dialogue: India and the UAE had begun a dialogue that
would firm up a Free Trade Agreement between India and
the Gulf Cooperation Council.


February 13

February 13

UAE calls for more reforms in India

India, U.S. informally discussed joint naval


Context: The visit of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi

The News: The MoU between India and the UAE on
Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWF) could not materialise
The Gulf nation has demanded more reforms from India
Challenges: Complex tax policies and cumbersome
processes for doing business in India
UAE also wanted the Indian govt to be a strategic partner
for safety of their investments
Benefits: Indias access to UAEs Sovereign Wealth Funds
will increase investments in India

February 13

India disappointed over US decision to sell F16s

to Pak

Context: The Obama administration notified the U.S.

Congress of its decision to sell eight F-16 fighter jets to
The News: India expressed disappointment over decision to
sell eight F16 fighter jets to Pakistan, saying it disagrees that
such arms transfers will help combat terrorism
Objective: This proposed sale contributes to US foreign
policy objectives and national security goals by helping to
improve the security of a strategic partner in South Asia
Estimated cost: $ 699.4 million, according to the Defence
Security Cooperation Agency a wing of the Pentagon

Context: Indian and U.S. officials have discussed joint naval

patrols, though concrete steps are yet to be finalised
Relevance: Two countries already signed a joint statement
for safeguarding maritime security and ensuring freedom
of navigation and over-flight throughout the Asia-Pacific
The News: India and the U.S. continue to explore ways to
deepen their bilateral defence cooperation
Including in the area of maritime security within the
Framework for the U.S.-India Defence Relationship
From Indias side: Not join any military coalitions except
under the mandate of the UN, to which it is one of the
largest troop contributing nations

February 13

Learn about ASEAN Regional Forum?

Background: Twenty-Sixth ASEAN Ministerial Meeting and

Post Ministerial Conference, which were held in Singapore
in 1993, agreed to establish the ASEAN Regional Forum
Objectives: To foster constructive dialogue and consultation
on political and security issues of common interest and
To make significant contributions to efforts towards
confidence-building and preventive diplomacy in the AsiaPacific region

February 13

Colombo committed to reconciliation

Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera appealed to the victims
on both sides of the divide to participate in a consultation
Context: This aimed at designing a reconciliation
mechanism in post-civil war Sri Lanka, appealed to the
victims on both sides of the divide to participate in a
consultation process
The News: Pointing out, bankrupt politicians as well as the
ghosts of extremism were again trying to stir up the peoples
passions, so urged moderates to come together
Relevance: The process of reconciliation was undertaken
not to appease international pressure or to keep the UN
High Commissioner for Human Rights happy
Outcome: It owe to the people of nation to forge a new
future where all citizens will be treated with equal dignity
and respect

civils digest | april 2016

February 13

U.S., Russia agree on Syria ceasefire plan

Context: To bring a ceasefire among world powers in the

civil-war torn Syria
The News: World powers agree to immediately start
delivering humanitarian aid to besieged communities
They will work towards a temporary cessation of hostilities
in Syrias civil war
Challenge: The failure to agree on a ceasefire leaves the
most critical step to resuming peace talks unresolved
Future Ahead: Whether or not all the parties honour those
commitments and implement them

February 13

February 16

India 3rd most optimistic on consumer confidence

Djibouti, Myanmar and Sri Lanka anchor Chinas

Maritime Silk Road

Survey: Consumer Confidence survey by Master Card

Asia Pacific: Global uncertainties have affected the AsiaPacific consumerfor the first time since 2012
Relevance: Consumers in the Asia-Pacific region are not
optimistic about the immediate future
India: Even here, confidence has shown some decline
although the nation remains optimistic
Why? High volatility, falling stock markets, and little
improvement in employment prospects are the key reasons
for the deteriorating confidence
Ranks: 1st- Myanmar, 2nd- Vietnam, 3rd- India

February 15

Thunder of the North

Context: Armed forces from around 20 countries gathered

in northern Saudi Arabia
Importance: the most important military manoeuvre ever
staged in the region
Participation: involved ground, air and naval forces
Clear Message: Riyadh and its allies stand united in
confronting all challenges and preserving peace and
stability in the region

February 15

Connecting Sri Lanka- bridge or undersea?

Context: India is considering an ambitious bridge or

undersea tunnel linking the Indian mainland with Sri Lanka
Bridge between: Rameswaram and Sri Lanka
Proposed by: Manila-based Asian Development Bank
(ADB), which will also finance the project
Benefit: A boost to sub regional cooperation within SAARC

February 16

Nepal PM Oli says India visit aimed at normalising

Context: The upcoming visit of Nepal PM K.P. Sharma Oli
to India
Background: The visit comes in the backdrop of Madhesis
ending their crippling protests and blockade that had
soured the bilateral ties
News: Nepal PM said that his maiden visit to India is
aimed at bringing bilateral ties back on track by clearing
misunderstandings and to further promote our age-old ties
He also defended the new Constitution as inclusive and
democratic as it has all the features of a democratic

Context: A military base in Djibouti along with major port

development projects in Myanmar and Sri Lanka are
defining the contours of Chinas Maritime Silk Road
Background: Chinas Maritime Silk Road is an oceanic
connectivity project, of which, the Indian Ocean is the core
How significant? Djibouti, an ideal location for securing sea
lanes, in the vicinity, which radiate from this area towards
Africas Indian Ocean coastline and Arabian Sea
Chinas Plan: Establishing naval support facilities in
Djibouti, which has the ambition of emerging as another
Singapore, leveraging its position at the intersection of busy
shipping lanes
Deal with Myanmar: To develop an Industrial Park and a
deep water port in Kyaukphyu in Myanmar
Revival in Sri Lanka: Stalled Colombo port city project
under new conditions, and the establishment of a SEZ in

February 16

Visa pact likely in 8th BRICS summit

What? India is planning to push for business visa

liberalization and issuing business travel cards among the
Occasion: During 8th annual BRICS summit whose
chairmanship is with India this year
Benefits: Allow businessmen multiple-entry business visas
for a longer period of time
Theme: Building Responsive, Inclusive and Collective
India leaving BRICS? The meeting will be held amid calls
that India should dissociate itself from BRICS as it is an
outlier among the 5
Why? Brazil and Russia are in deep economic trouble
because of the crash in oil and commodity prices
Both China and South Africa have slowed sharply because
of domestic economic difficulties


February 17

India joins China, Pakistan in multi-lateral


Context: Indias increasing regional interoperability with a

series of multi-lateral exercises on land and sea
Background: Increased tensions over Chinas land
reclamation in the South China Sea and informal
discussions between India and the U.S. over joint naval
News: India has been invited to the exercises as an
observer plus country, involving 35 countries and hosted
by Thailand
Exercise: Cobra Gold multilateral exercise
Theme: Humanitarian assistance and disaster relief

February 17

Saudi, Russia to freeze oil output

Context: Saudi Arabia and Russia agreed to freeze oil output

at near-record levels
Importance: Its the 1st significant cooperation between
OPEC and non-OPEC producers in 15 years, they are the
worlds two largest producers
Objective: To counter a slump that has hit hard economies,
markets and companies
Iran: the deal is preliminary and doesnt include Iran, the
OPECs 5th largest producer
Azarbaijan: this energy-rich country has refused to join in
freezing output

February 17

Sale of F-16 jets to Pakistan should not be of

concern to India: Pentagon

Context: The Obama Administrations decision to sell eight

F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan should not be a cause of
concern for India, Pentagon said
Relevance: As the regional security situation was taken into
account at the time of sale
Background: This is a capability that will help Pakistan in
its counterterrorism effort and thats in the national security
interests of the United States
Indias concern: India disagreed with the US rationale that
such arms transfers help Pakistan in combating terrorism
India Believes: US military aid to Pakistan goes into antiIndia activities
Features of F16 aircraft: Facilitate operations in all
weather, nondaylight environments


civils digest | april 2016

Provide a self defence/area suppression capability, and

enhance Pakistans ability to conduct counterinsurgency
and counter terrorism operations
February 17

Chinas Silk Road revival steams ahead as cargo

train arrives in Iran

Context: Chinas OBOR project

Journey: from Chinas eastern Zhejiang province and it took
14 days to reach final destination
Distance: around 9,500 km distance and passed through
two Central Asian countries Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan
Significance: It marks the revival the ancient Silk Road and
gives impetus to Chinas ambitious One Belt One Road
Trade: Boost to bilateral trade between both countries economic ties worth up to 600 billion dollars
China is Irans biggest trading partner and accounts for its
1/3rd of foreign trade

February 17

Learn more about silk road?

Context: Silk Road was an ancient network of commercial

land and sea routes that was named for the lucrative
Chinese silk trade
Significance: This trade route was central to business
across the Asian continent connecting China with the
Mediterranean Sea
Strategy: The revived Silk Road is envisioned as a rail and
sea route as part of Chinas ambitious OBOR economic
development strategy

February 18

BRICS MoU on cooperation in Science, Technology

and Innovation(STI)

Context: India signed BRICS MoU at Brasilia, Brazil on the

sidelines of 3rd BRICS STI Ministerial meeting
The News: envisages promotion of cooperation in the field
of science, technology and innovation by means of mutually
agreed S&D events and activities
Objectives: To establish a strategic framework of cooperation
in STI
To address the common global, and regional socioeconomic challenges utilizing shared experiences
Co-generate new knowledge and innovative products,
services and processes etc.

February 18

February 18

Cabinet approves Trade Facilitation Agreement


80% of Indias population faces severe water

scarcity: study

Context: Cabinet has approved, Proposal for Notification of

Commitments under the TFA of WTO
Relevance: Ratification and acceptance of the Instrument of
Acceptance of Protocol of TFA to the WTO Secretariat and
constitution of the National Committee on Trade Facilitation
TFA provisions: Expediting the movement, release and
clearance of goods, including goods in transit
Measures for: effective cooperation between customs and
appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and customs
compliance issues
These objectives are in consonance with Indias Ease of
Doing Business initiative
Condition: TFA shall enter into force for the notified
members upon acceptance by two-third WTO Members
Way ahead: A NCTF would be set up under Department of

February 18

Learn more about Trade Facilitation Agreement


Background: In Dec 2013, WTO members concluded

negotiations on a TFA at the Bali Ministerial Conference, as
part of a wider Bali Package
Aim: A trade protocol aiming to give a spur and do away
with the stumbling blocks in doing international trade
between various countries
Deadline: to sign the agreement is July 31 and the deal has
to come into force fully by 2015
Expert opinion: Deal could add $1 trillion to global GDP and
also can generate 21 million jobs by slashing red tape and
streamlining customs
Developing countries concern: WTO to discuss and allay
concern on food subsidy and stockholding, which is a
lifeline for lakhs of BPL people

Context: The study published in international journal

Science Advances
Severe water scarcity: for at least one month of the yearAbout 4 billion people, or 66% of the global population Of
these, nearly a billion are in India
Moderate to severe water scarcity: for at least a month of
the year- 4.3 billion people, which is about 71% of the
global population.
Relevance: Every 2nd person in the world facing severe
water scarcity for at least a month a year is from India and
Concern: 80% of Indias 1.25 billion population faces severe
water scarcity for at least a month every year

February 19

Obama first US President in 80 years to visit Cuba

Context: U.S. President Obama is likely to make a historic

visit to Cuba next month
Significant Visit: First sitting American president to go to
the island nation in 80 years, as the two Cold War-era foes
make efforts to normalise their ties
Relevance: The two countries have moved ahead to restore
diplomatic ties after decades and the U.S. lifted sanctions
on Cuba
Historical background: Calvin Coolidge was the last U.S.
president to visit Cuba in 1928.
Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter visited Cuba twice in
2002 and 2011, but it was two decades after he left the


Blue Economy
- Prospects in Indian Ocean

What is Blue economy?

Gunter Paulis book, The Blue Economy: 10 years, 100

innovations, 100 million jobs (2010) brought the Blue
Economy concept into prominence
Blue Economy began as a project to find 100 of the
best nature-inspired technologies that could affect the
economies of the world
While sustainably providing basic human needs potable
water, food, jobs, and habitable shelter
This is envisaged as the integration of Ocean Economy
development with the principles of social inclusion,
environmental sustainability and innovative, dynamic
business models
It is creation of environment-friendly infrastructure in
ocean, because larger cargo consignments can move directly
from the mothership to the hinterland through inland
waterways, obviating the need for trucks or railways

What makes Indian water

attractive? How is it geographically


Vast coastline of almost 7,500 km, with no immediate coastal

neighbours except for some stretches around the southern tip
This is not possible, for instance, in the Persian Gulf region
because of the proximity to trade routes and contiguous
In some sense, India has the advantage of a latecomer, helped
by natural geography
For an offshore transloading zone, the availability of calm
waters during the monsoons is a problem
But this can be overcome by conducting such operations
closer to the coast and seasonally, in calmer waters

civils digest | april 2016

What are some developments

initiated by India?

An offshore infrastructure project was successfully

launched by the ministry of shipping, for transporting
imported coal to the thermal power station at Farakka in
West Bengal
Such transshipment, out on the high seas yet within Indias
economic zone at the Sandheads in the Bay of Bengal,
worked out to be financially viable and environmentally
friendlier, compared to traditional handling of cargo at
As ship sizes become bigger, transshipment/ lighterage
operations on the high seas are becoming more viable

What are the potential efficiencies

from blue economy infrastructure?

Ports can multiply operations because each cargo shipment

is of small parcel size, with no extra capital expenditure for
dredging or for large berths and associated equipment
As larger surpluses are generated, some parts can be utilised
for better and more environment-friendly smart ports
Less physical congestion unclogs bottlenecks at ports
Faster clearances mean less waiting time and savings on
demurrage, so a shorter waiting time for ships also helps
the environment by reducing fuel burn
As transloading takes place on the high seas, it creates an
opportunity to spread the cargo across more ports
It makes ample sense to create a well-distributed network
for handling bulk cargo along the entire coastline
If we introduce smartness to transloading zones, we can
add value and reduce transaction costs

as we hear about the

activities going on in South
east china sea (chinese
claim), Indian ocean
(piracy), time has come
to clear some terms about
blue economy. It will be
significant for India in
strengthening prospects in
indian waters. Lets analyse
this in detail.

How does maritime diplomacy set

rules in Indian ocean?

Why is blue economy significant

for India?

Maritime diplomacy had its heyday back in the 1980s, with

the sensational discovery of manganese nodules and cobalt
crusts on the ocean floor
The euphoria over marine mining led to the establishment
of the International Seabed Authority <An intergovernmental body based in Kingston, Jamaica, was established to
organize, regulate and control all mineral-related activities
in the international seabed area>
The unclos, the constitution of the seas, which came into
force in 1994, became the basis for the legal rights for mining
in the open sea
The interest in seabed mining flagged because of escalating
costs, but its being revived on account of the demand for
minerals and metals in industrial development, particularly
in China, Japan and India

Why are regional organisations

considered as most active players?

The importance of regional organisations has increased in

the context of the blue economy as pm Modi spoke to the
saarc leaders
In September 2015, the Indian Ocean Rim Association
(iora) hosted the first Ministerial Blue Economy Conference and identified priorities
Goal 14 of the uns Sustainable Development Goals (sdgs)
Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine
resources for sustainable development
This makes detailed references to the reduction of marine
pollution, conservation of coastal and marine areas and
regulated fish harvest

The new focus on the Asia-Pacific highlights the security

and economic dimensions
The us rebalancing of forces and counter-measures by
China have created a new cold war
New partnerships are in the making in the Asia-Pacific, seeking Indian participation by competing powers

The blue waters of the Indian Ocean

have become a new theatre of tension

What does Delhi needs to do to

transform its efforts into action?

India can profitably integrate its ongoing programmes like

Make in India, smart cities, skill development and self-reliance in defence
Delhis forthcoming chairmanship of the brics will offer a
splendid opportunity to highlight the cooperation needed
for the blue economy
The imperatives of cooperation and the need for adept diplomacy are evident
Prime Minister endorsed the blue economy during his visit
to Seychelles, Mauritius and Sri Lanka
Diplomats aspiring to a blue diplomacy should begin to
grasp the immense possibilities of the blue economy
It will be diplomats in coastal and island countries and with
the un, iora & Saarc, who will have to operationalise it

North Korean
Fusion Bomb Test
in bid to change world power equation

The January 6, 2016 thermonuclear test by the Democratic

Peoples Republic of Korea (dprk) is the fourth in the series of
nuclear tests beginning in 2006. Is it a quest to attain credible
deterrence against usa, Lets see it!
Lets first go into some North Korean nuke history.

What has North Korea tested in

the past?


North Koreas tests in 2006 and 2009 are thought to have

been plutonium fission devices, but speculation was rife that
its 2013 test was of an uranium-enriched device, though this
has never been confirmed. <In general, uranium devices are
much more difficult to fabricate and operate>
A test based on a uranium device would spell new dangers
because weapons-grade plutonium enrichment happens
in large facilities
That are easier to spot and uranium enrichment uses many,
possibly small, centrifuges that can be hidden away
North Korea has also depleted its stocks of weapons-grade
plutonium but has plentiful reserves of uranium ore
The fusion/H-bomb finds root in the history, as more
powerful and technologically advanced than atomic
weapons, such as those that devastated 2 Japanese cities
in World War ii

civils digest | april 2016

H-bombs use fusion, the merging of atoms to unleash

massive amounts of energy, whereas atomic bombs use
nuclear fission, or the splitting of atoms.

What is Nuclear fusion?

In physics, nuclear fusion is the process by which multiple

nuclei join together to form a heavier nucleus
It is accompanied by the release or absorption of energy
depending on the masses of the nuclei involved.
In a hydrogen bomb, 2 isotopes of hydrogen, deuterium and
tritium are fused to form a nucleus of helium and a neutron
This fusion releases 17.6 MeV of energy. Unlike nuclear fission, there is no limit on the amount of the fusion that can

Lets get back to learn some changing equations in new world


Is it a quest to attain credible deterrence

against USA? Let's revisit the timelines.

fatMan image A mockup of Fat Man, the bomb that blew up over Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. Credit: euthman/Flickr, CC BY 2.0


Is it quest to attain deterrence

against United States?

Who is in the real position to apply

pressure on North Korea?

The supreme leader Kim Jong Un (kju) had warned that, if

aggressors dare to provoke us, even to a slight degree, we will
never tolerate it, and respond resolutely with a merciless
sacred war of justice, a great war for national reunification
It declared: The United States has persisted in ignoring
our just demand for replacing the Armistice Agreement with
a separate pact to remove the danger of war, ease tension
and create a powerful environment in the Korean peninsula.
The Korean Armistice Agreement is the armistice which
ended the Korean War. It was signed between U.S. and North
Korea in 1953.
Instead, it has clung to its anachronistic policy hostile
towards the dprk, escalating the tension and egging its
vassal forces on to stage a human rights racket against the
In May 2015, Pyongyang had announced that it had successfully tested a Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (slbm).
However, South Korean experts had treated this claim with
considerable scepticism
Whether the most recent North Korean test was that of a
Hydrogen Bomb will be known after a while, but the objective was miniaturisation of the system so that the nuclear
weapon can be mounted on a missile
North Korea has made it known that it wants recognition
by the world community as a nuclear weapon power and
no amount of external pressure would force it to pause in
that quest

What was the Global Reaction?


The un Security Council condemned the nuclear test,

declared that it is a clear violation of its previous resolutions, and pledged to pursue new sanctions against North
usa, South Korea and Japan have agreed to work together
to forge a united and strong international response to North
Koreas reckless behaviour
Japan hinted at some unilateral measures, include strengthening of the anti-missile defence systems protecting Japan
from a North Korean attack

civils digest | april 2016

Only China is in a position to apply some credible pressure

on North Korea since 88 per cent of North Koreas foreign
trade is with China
According to the South Koreans, China has been applying
the existing un sanctions against North Korea faithfully and
the export of about 900 dual-use items has been prohibited
to that country
China is comfortable with strategic ambiguity about the
nuclear status of North Korea
But the insistence of an open declaration by the North of its
Nuclear Weapon Power status would disrupt its strategic
calculations in the region as the response from Japan could
upset the regional power equation
Seoul expects China to do more to denuclearise North Korea
particularly in view of the rapidly warming rok-China

Has North Koreas approach

towards South Korea changed?

In the midst of heightened tensions, there are signs that

North Korea is working with the aim of driving a wedge
between the United States and South Korea
For which it is pursuing 2 independent policies one of
nuclearisation and acceptance as a nuclear weapons power

The second of not upsetting

the apple cart with South
Korea and continue with the
current policy of no peace
no war

Soviet Union
People's Republic of China




Worldwide nuclear testing, 1945 - 2013


North Korea

world nuke test image Source: Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.5

Conclusion on sidelines

Analysing the events of the past 1 year, it would be fair to conclude that Kim Jong Un has firm
control over all the levers of power in North Korea, including the military
The reclusive country would continue on the course set by Kim ii Sung and Kim Jong ii, pursuing a policy of Military First, the Juche concept of self-reliance and seeking effective nuclear
strike capability against the United States
Juche is a political philosophy, became the official autarkic state ideology of the dprk in 1972
Although foreign scholars often describe juche as self-reliance, the true meaning of the term
is much more nuanced.
The peninsula would continue to be divided as neither side is keen on unification despite their
public protestations in favour of reuniting the long-divided country
The paramount objective of the dprk leadership continues to be the survival of the regime and
its politico-economic system, and it is unlikely to allow tensions with South Korea or the United
States to come to a point that would lead to hostilities

Whatever the truth of this test, for diplomacy, observers say it dashes any hopes of North Korea
returning to stalled talks involving the US, Russia, China and others.


Dealing with
- Are you a Hawk or a Dove?

terrorist attack on Pathankot airbase after pm

Modis Birthday Diplomacy has once again brought to
spotlight challenges of dealing with Pakistan. Successive
governments have tried to engage pakistan. pm
vajpayees Bus Yatra to Lahore, Manmohan-Musharraf
talks, pm Modis shawl diplomacy at the swearing
in ceremony are some of the examples. Successive
govt have also failed in their attempts to normalise
relations with Pakistan. Question remains as to, what
should be the best way to deal with Pakistan?
In this article, we try to answer some of the pertinent questions related to
Indias Pakistan policy through the perspective of dove and hawk.


civils digest | april 2016

Some strategic commentators like to point out that there is a

pattern to attack. Every attempt by India to improve relations
with Pakistan has evoked this kind of response.

We also need to keep in mind, any talk with political

establishment will not be successful until Pakistanis
themselves are able to bring military on board


#4. If not talk, what are the other options?

Lahore bus trip of Vajpayee was followed by Kargil attack.

Parliament was attacked after failed Agra summit.
When indian forces were deployed at border in response,
attack at Kaluchak.
After Musharraf manmohan talk ran into rough weather,
Mumbai serial train bombing and 26/11.
Ufa meeting was followed by Gurdaspur attack.

Dove- Army is not a monolith,not everyone want bad relations

with India. we should cultivate relations with the moderate
elements within Pakistani establishment and civil society,
create vested interests in favour of normal ties. War does
not serve any purpose. Theres no alternative to talks.

#1. Who are the elements within Pakistan who do not want
normal relations between two countries?

Hawk- Only answer we have been able to devise to Pak provocation is to call off the talks.

Dove- Apart from jihadists, there are elements within the army
who do not want any sort of movement towards any sort
of rapprochement. But attacks do not necessarily imply
that they were sanctioned by the top brass of Pak military.

Answer to low intensity warfare is

low intensity warfare and its not
bomb for bomb but emasculation
of state structures. India should
be prepared to hit pakistan
where it hurts at the time and
place of its choosing. There are
so many internal fissures inside
pakistan. We can exploit them.


Hawk- No evidence of split in Pakistani army. There may be differences of opinion but army remains a professional force
controlled by army chief. Attackers must at least have the
tacit approval of generals. Pakistani generals including
Musharraf have been on record saying they use terrorists
as instrument of state policy. This is part of their security
#2. Are these attacks timed to prevent normalisation of
Dove- Yes, certainly. Attackers do not want normal people to
people relations. Pattern of their attacks bear testimony
to this. They want to derail bilateral talks,
Hawk- They attack India to bring us to accept their agenda i.e. talk
on Kashmir, Baluchistan etc. They believe,unless theres
terrorism, India wont discuss the agenda Pakistan wants.
#3. What about talks? Should talks be cancelled?
Dove- There are no other options available and calling off the talk
would be playing into the hands of terrorists. They should
not be allowed to derail the peace process.
Hawk- Talks can not be an end in themselves. What is more
important is what do we talk about? Pakistani generals
have responded to all the concession given by pm in this
manner. Now talk has to be on terror and terror only.

#5. But wouldnt unstable Pakistan be even more of a

problem for India?
Dove- Destabilizing Pak doesnt serve Indias interests. Creation
of Bangladesh hasnt necessarily helped our security. Instability there will lead to chaos which would spill over and
would be disastrous for our security and other interests.
Hawk- Our problem is our fear that instability in Pakistan will
harm us irreparably and our premise that stability of Pak
is in our interest and the fond hope that political class
and civil society will one day come up. If Baluchistan,
frontiers were not there, what would remain is Punjab
and it would be a weakened Punjab and its Punjab thats
creating problems.

Lets not discuss whether a strong Pak is good for India, or weak
Pak is good for India, of course no Pak is best for India.
#6. But why does Pakistan do it? What does it tell about
the nature of Pak state?

#8. Can we carry out Myanmar like hot pursuit or operation

like Neptune spear?

Dove- Defiance is essential to ensure normal disparity never fully

operate. Military obviously control its pak policy and elements within military and Jihadist groups carry out such
attacks to maintain control over Pak society.

Dove- It will only escalate tensions and wont be in the interest
of either side. There would be too much pressure from
international community. Theres vast difference in the
capabilities of India and usa..

Hawk- Its not a state with an army but army with a state. They
have gone on a completely different trajectory. It is virtually becoming a theocratic state. Also there is deep
criminalization of Pakistani state. Madrasas, jihadist
groups, sectarian groups, organized crimes they have all
become interlinked.

Hawk- We need to get rid of monkey of being a soft state off our
back. If we so decide, we can undertake Myanmar like
operation. There is a role of violence in state craft especially when we are dealing with very very violent actors.

#7. What should India do to prevent such attacks?

#9. What about the role of international community,

external pressure?

Dove- Strengthen our own security. Carry on with talks to build

positive momentum in bilateral relationship. Strengthen
the hands of civilian govt there.

Dove- We are responsible member of international community.

We should try to put pressure on Pakistan to stoop its territory from being used as launching pad for terrorism. We
should not do anything that sully our image.

Hawk- Strengthen our security. Complete the fencing. Drug

smuggling is rampant which cant happen unless there is
connivance on both sides. If smugglers can sneak through,
so can terrorists.

Hawk- Pakistan dont feel any pressure, why do we feel pressure

of international community! Everyone knows Pak is epicenter of terrorism yet Pak cleverly plays its card of being
a nuclear armed state and gets away with everything.

We also need to improve our technical capabilities. They were

using mobile phones and we were not even able to pinpoint exact

Finally, something both dove and hawk agree on

Fact remains that Pakistan will have to come to conclusion that
good relations with India are in their own interest. Its a society
in deep crisis. Frankenstein monster has come to bite its own
master. There is an urgent need of a civil society movement to
overhaul the whole power equation and social structure of Pak

We must also establish deterrence that mischief will be countered

by robust action on the ground. Carrot and stick policy ie carrot
of talk and stick of robust punishment on the ground.


civils digest | april 2016

Shale gas can transform

energy geopolitics. But how?
Shale Gas is a form of natural gas that is trapped within shale
(a fine grained sedimentary rock) formations. Shale gas is known
for more than a century. It was not seen as a viable alternative to
petroleum fuels because shale drilling (which is done horizontally) is more expensive than conventional oil drilling
Shale was not worth extracting with conventional technology.
Now a new technology, fracking, plus horizontal drilling, have
greatly increased shale gas productivity, so extraction is now
Gas can readily substitute fuel oil in industry and power generation, and kerosene in cooking. But the bulk of oil consumption
is in transport.
Shale gas has the potential to transform the entire
geopolitics of world. It is because



Shale gas can hugely reduce the dependence of most

countries (including India) on imported energy.
Second, the geopolitical clout of major gas exporters
Russia, Iran, Algeria, Bolivia will fall dramatically.
Some countries may start converting their transport fleets
into gas-based ones, hitting the demand for and prices of
petrol and diesel.
Fourth, converting gas into oil will become economic.
Fifth, the major International Shipping transport route is
likely to undergo major change. For example, the finding
of oil shale in Brazil and Venezuela along with massive
deposits of shale oil in Canada has altered the American
shipping route by concentrating its movement North
South of Americas, rather than the whole of the world.
The American interest in Persian Gulf has seen a major
The concentration of shale oil deposits in Ukraine has
allowed Ukraine to bargain with Russia, as it may not be
dependent on Russian oil at all. That will allow it to take
help of American technology.
The clout of OPEC has decreased and so have been the
falling oil prices.

India has large shale deposits, with good prospects in the Gangetic plain, Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu , Andhra and
the north-east.
Large shale gas discoveries should embolden India to convert transport fleets in all cities from petrol and diesel to CNG.
That will reduce not only energy dependence but pollution too.
India has signed a memorandum of understanding with the
United States Geological Survey for cooperation. The USGS is to
identify the potential areas and amount of gas available in India.
The petroleum ministry has identified 6 basins for exploration
in the first phase-Cambay, Krishna-Godavari, Cauvery, Ganga,
Gondwana and Assam-Arakan.


The Assam-Arakan basin is considered to have significant

shale gas deposits.
Unlike conventional oil fields are drilled first vertically
and then horizontally. Shale gas is found in tight
reservoirs that have poor permeability. Water, air,
chemicals and sand are forced at great pressure down the
drill and through perforations in the rock to stimulate the
flow of gas. This process is known as hydraulic fracking.
Availability of abudant water is major pre-requisite for
this process.
Recently completed drilling of four wells in Durgapur,
Raniganj, Jharia and North Karanpura near Hazaribagh.
We are studying these sample for gas potential. Reliance
Industries is also making rapid moves in the field. It
has acquired 45 per cent stake each in Atlas Energys
Marcellus Shale.


Not going to be an easy affair as land acquisition could be

a major problem Gangetic basin are densely inhabited.
Shale gas is a land and water intensive project.
Hydraulic fracking, which is used for shale gas drilling,
is fraught with environmental challenges, said environmentalists. Where fracking used, the groundwater had
been found contaminated by methane.


civils digest | april 2016

Enviro &
38 newscards | H
 and curated
of the most
relevant news
items from
Environment &


Enviro & Biodiversity

January 21

January 22

What is the benefit of promoting of City Compost?

International Solar Alliance set to be operational

in 6 months

Composting can reduce the volume of waste to landfill/

dumpsite by converting the waste into useful by-products.
Compost from city garbage would not only provide carbon
and primary/secondary nutrients to soil but also help in
keeping the city clean.
It will also prevent production of harmful greenhouse
gases (especially methane) and toxic material that pollutes
groundwater apart from polluting the environment.
City Waste composting would also generate employment in
urban areas.

January 21

Cabinet approves policy on Promotion of City


The Union Cabinet has given its approval for a Policy on

Promotion of City Compost.
Market development assistance of Rs. 1500/tonne of city
compost for scaling up production and consumption of the
Market development assistance would lower MRP of city
compost for farmers.
Eco-Mark standard for City Compost would ensure that
environment friendly quality product reaches the farmers.
Fertilizer companies and marketing entities will also comarket City Compost with chemical fertilizers through their
dealers network.

An International Solar Alliance (ISA) is likely to be

operational by the middle of 2016.
Mr. Modi and Franois Hollande would lay the foundation
stone of the alliance at the National Institute of Solar Energy
in Gurgaon.
One of the objectives of the alliance is to get $1 trillion
investments in the solar sector worldwide by 2030.
This will be the first time that India will have the
headquarters of an international agency.
The International Solar Alliance will become a legal entity
after a minimum 25 countries ratify it.

January 23

New thrush species found in eastern Himalayas

This is the first Indian bird to be named after late Dr. Salim Ali.
An International team of scientists have found a new
species of the thrush in northeastern India and adjacent
parts of China. The bird is named Himalayan Forest Thrush.
The bird has been named after Dr. Salim Ali in recognition
of his huge contribution to the development of modern
Indian ornithology and wildlife conservation.
The Himalayan Forest Thrush is only the fourth new bird
species described from India by modern ornithologists since
The species is distinguished by its musical song.

January 22

Public reluctant to drop diesel for CNG: Centre

The Centre remained non-committal on phase out of old

diesel fleet to cut air pollution.
It blamed the common mans reluctance to dump diesel for
CNG fuel.
Govt. pointed out that already 32% of total CNG stock in the
Capital were not utilised by the public.
The lack of interest may be due to the increased VAT
charged, making diesel cheaper than CNG.
The court is looking at various measures to solve roadblocks
to implement a more effective and accessible public
transport system in Delhi and the outskirts.


civils digest | april 2016

January 23

Begin with a rigorous study

Delhis odd-even trial was brave, but policy needs good
research at design stage.
Good evidence on the impact of any public policy requires a
willingness to experiment, quality data, and a rigorous study
That can identify what changes can be attributed to the
policy alone.
The sources of pollution in Delhi are varied, and so will be
the solutions.
Odd-even policy is a clear departure from how policymakers
have sought to tackle worsening pollution.
However, it reflects only one of the potential policy

That need to be carefully designed, piloted and evaluated

for impact as well as the costs imposed, until theres a
sustained improvement in Delhis air quality.
January 25

Kiran Global Chems unveils green cement

Kiran Global Chems Ltd. has introduced its indigenouslydeveloped eco-friendly Geocement.
This cement will play a role in cutting carbon emission
levels while being stronger than Portland cement.
For every tonne of cement production, there will be about
800 kg of CO2 emission. But Geocement will help cut
The anti-bacterial properties of the cement can be used for
construction of underground seweage pipes and toilets as
This company is the first one to come out with green
cement for commercial use.

January 25

What is geocement?

Geocement is made out of industrial wastes.

It comes in two-part packing 35 kg Geocement powder
and 15 kg Geobinder liquid.
Both can be mixed at construction sites like normal cement.
It comprises a range of products including geo-binder, geopowder and geo-concrete (geocrete), is aimed at cutting
down carbon emissions by over 80%.

January 26

Sundarbans buzzes with discovery of solitary bee

Of the 20,000 species of bees found in the world, India
accounts for only 633.

January 26

France commits 300 million for solar energy

French President Francois Hollande committed 300

million over the next 5 years for the global development of
solar energy.
He said that the real challenge was to attract investments
worth a trillion dollars to promote the renewable source.
Mr. Hollande said that the Alliance would focus on three
broad areas.
Pooling together the requests of countries with a huge
potential in order to reduce their cost of capital.
Opening the markets in order to reduce the cost of
Transferring the necessary technology and know-how from
developed to developing countries.

January 27

PM Modi inaugurated the interim Secretariat of the

International Solar Alliance
PM inaugurated International Solar Alliance (ISA) headquarters
and inaugurated the interim Secretariat in National Institute of
Solar Energy (NISE), Gwalpahari, Gurgaon.
GoI has dedicated 5 acre land in NISE campus for the ISA
Headquarters and also has contributed Rs 175 crore for ISA
corpus fund for initial 5 years.
ISA is part of Prime Ministers vision to bring clean and
affordable energy within the reach of all and create a
sustainable world.
ISA will be dedicated to promotion of solar energy for
making solar energy a valuable source of affordable and
reliable green and clean energy in 121 member countries.
Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA
and Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) announced
contribution of US $ 1 million each to the ISA corpus fund.

A solitary bee species was recently discovered in the

Sundarbans Biosphere Reserve.
What makes it distinct from other species of solitary bees
is the different patterns of the marks on its face and frontal
The new species play a significant role in pollination, though
it does not produce honey.
As bees play an important role in the ecosystem as critical
Scientists believe that without them, the world would face
extinction as food options would become highly limited.


Enviro & Biodiversity

January 27

February 01

Not just Water, other depts roped in for Ganga


Conservation of Malabar wetlands remains a far cry

HRD Ministry- Set up a national-level institution or a

university that offers courses on applied river sciences, to
creating expertise in cleaning and rejuvenating the Ganga
and other rivers.
Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation-Prioritise open
defecation-free villages along the river and create waste
management facilities in those villages.
Tourism Ministry- Take steps to minimise pollution by
promoting eco-friendly tourism activities.
Shipping Ministry- Develop sustainable shipping and river
transport infrastructure.
Rural Development- Prioritise implementation of PURA
(Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas) programme in
villages along the Ganga.
AYUSH- Develop conservation plan for medicinal plants in
Gangetic region * Ensure medicinal biodiversity.
Youth Affairs and Sports- Encourage youth, volunteers
and sportspersons to engage in activities related to Ganga

February 01

NASAs airborne survey of coral reefs

Coral reefs protect shorelines from storms and provide food
for millions of people, yet very little of the worlds reef area has
been studied scientifically.
NASA has embarked on an air-borne 3-year field
experiment called The COral Reef Airborne Laboratory
Aims to survey the conditions of the major reefs of the world
through remote-sensing.
This will survey the condition of entire reef systems in
Hawaii, Palau, the Mariana Islands and Australia.
Regions represent a wide range of reef types (fringing,
barrier, atoll, oceanic and continental) and a wide range
of environmental conditions (from pristine to heavily
CORAL will involve the aerial deployment of a spectrometer
called PRISM (Portable Remote Imaging Spectrometer)
developed and managed at NASAs Jet Propulsion
Laboratory in California.


civils digest | april 2016

The frequent alerts by environmental organisations and field

studies show increasing threat faced by the major wetlands
in north Kerala.
There has been no concrete measures on the part of the
local bodies or the govt to address the concerns.
The activities mainly include the illegal land reclamation
activities and dumping of solid and non-degradable waste in
the wetland area.

February 01

Govt aid helps car makers go green and cheap to

fight smog crisis

Car makers are gearing up to launch affordable hybrid and

electric cars for India in the next few years.
They are lured by govt incentives for fuel-efficient vehicles
as India accelerates efforts to cut worsening air pollution.
FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and
Electric cars) was launched last year and offers concessions
of up toRs.1,38,000 on the sale of Hybrid cars.
Meanwhile, Maruti has already invested in developing
a low-cost version of hybrid technology, irrespective of
government incentives.

February 02

States to get greater role in wetland management

The Centre has started revising the regulatory framework on

As water and land are State subjects, the new framework
will ensure greater role and ownership by States in wetland
The environment ministry will lay emphasis on conservation
and wise use of wetlands.
The National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Ecosystems
(NPCA) provides the policy framework and support to

February 03

February 05

India praised for climate change initiatives

What is National Investment and Infrastructure

Fund (NIIF)

Implementation of renewable energy targets, set as part of

the Paris Agreement by countries like India and China, can
drastically shift global markets
The ambitious goals set by India on solar energy is driven
by economic development of the country
Indias solar power capacity target for 2030 has increased
from 20 GW to 175 GW
The US has only about 25 GW of solar capacityAt the same
time as investment in renewables is surging, demand for
high-polluting fuels such as coal is stalling globally
Even declining in fast-growing economies like India, where
imports dropped by 34% in 2015
February 05

$1.25 billion renewable energy fund

Government is in the process of setting up a $1.25 billion

fund, backed by state-owned and private institutions, to
finance renewable energy projects
The move will help in the scaling up of clean energy
generation from 37 GW at present to 175 GW by 2022
State-owned institutions such as Power Finance Corp. Ltd
and Rural Electrification Corp. Ltd have already committed
a total of $300 million to the fund
This fund will make equity and mezzanine investments in
renewable energy projects and will be modelled like the
National Infrastructure Investment Fund (NIIF)

February 05

What are Mezzanine investments?

It is a hybrid of debt and equity financing that is typically used
to finance the expansion of existing companies
Mezzanine financing is basically debt capital that gives
the lender the rights to convert to an ownership or equity
interest in the company if the loan is not paid back in time
and in full
It is generally subordinated to debt provided by senior
lenders such as banks and venture capital companies
Mezzanine financing is advantageous because it is treated
like equity on a companys balance sheet and may make it
easier to obtain standard bank financing
To attract mezzanine financing, a company usually must
demonstrate a track record in the industry
With an established reputation, a product, a history of
profitability and a viable expansion plan for the business
(e.g. expansions, acquisitions, IPO)

NIIF would be to maximize economic impact mainly through

infrastructure development in commercially viable projects,
both greenfield and brownfield, including stalled projects
NIIF created for enhancing infrastructure financing, could
also consider other nationally important projects
NIIF is being set up with a corpus of about Rs.40,000 crore
and is proposed to be set up as a Trust
It would raise debt to invest in the equity of infrastructure
finance companies such as Indian Rail Finance Corporation
(IRFC) and National Housing Bank (NHB)
The idea is that these infrastructure finance companies can
then leverage this extra equity, manifold
In that sense, NIIF is a banker of the banker of the banker
NIIF got registered with SEBI as Category II Alternative
Investment Fund (AIF)
February 05

Draft National Wildlife Action Plan (NWAP) 201731

The draft NWAP envisages 17 focus areas, including the new
area linking wildlife planning to climate change
Mitigation of human-wildlife conflict, coastal and marine
ecosystem conservation and a focus on wildlife health are
among the key areas
The draft emphasises on aspects like preservation of
genetic diversity and sustainable utilization of species and
This has a direct bearing on the countrys scientific
advancements and support to millions of rural communities
The first NWAP was adopted in 1983, while the second was
adopted in 2002, which is drawing to an end this year


Enviro & Biodiversity

February 08

Clean energy sector sees 44% rise in new

capacity addition

The first 9-month period of this fiscal recorded 44% growth

compared with the year-ago in the same period
New Capacity Addition - 3,030 MW, during first three
quarters of this fiscal
Focus Area - Solar continues to be the fast-growing segment
and has overtaken bio-power in total capacity
Achievement - Wind power sector crossed the milestone of
25,000 MW in total capacity
Total grid-installed renewable power capacity in the country
- 38,822 MW

February 10

Delhis air not worst in India: CPCB data

CPCB has published air quality indices (AQI) for 24 cities

across India for the month of January
The reports suggests that in January, while air quality
indices in Varanasi, UP and Muzaffarpur, Bihar had severe
values of 409, Delhi scored a very poor with 362
Faridabad was worse with an AQI values of 399
Bengaluru, Haldia and Panchkula are the only three cities
out that had moderate air quality during the period

February 10

What is AQI?

In India, AQIs are determined based on the concentrations

of 8 pollutants
AQI help in comparing pollution levels at a glance with a
colour code and a numerical value
This includes PM2.5 (fine, respirable particles), sulphur
dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and carbon monoxide

February 12

Centre makes it mandatory for power firms to buy

from solid waste plants

Context: Prime Ministers Swachh Bharat Mission

Background: About 1.68 lakh tonnes of solid waste is
collected across the country
Whats in the news? - It is mandatory for power distribution
companies to buy electricity from power plants fuelled by
solid waste


civils digest | april 2016

Why? - Power discoms were not willing to buy electricity

from solid waste-run power plants
Objective: To generate 700 megawatts of electricity from
solid waste-run plants in the next 5 years
February 15

Unravelling mysteries of coral bleaching

Context: Researchers are looking at the science behind the

defence mechanism of corals to resist coral bleaching, the
biggest threat to their beautiful submarine world
Experts Hope: To tell the world how the unique multihued organisms come back to life and support the marine
ecosystem in the process
Relevance: Coral bleaching is considered as a stress
response of corals to a few biotic and abiotic factors
Important Factor: Increased solar irradiance
(photosynthetically active radiation and ultraviolet band
Threat: Exposure to UV radiation when combined with
thermal stress could be lethal for corals
It could lead to the loss of algal symbionts from coral tissue
and coral bleaching

February 15

What are coral reefs?

Context: Coral reefs are diverse underwater ecosystems

held together by calcium carbonate structures secreted by
Built from: By colonies of tiny animals found in marine
waters that contain few nutrients
Most are built from stony corals, which in turn consist of
polyps that cluster in groups
Threat: The coral reefs are highly sensitive ecosystems
facing the threat of extinction.
How Valuable? Source of pharmaceutical compounds from
which drugs for the treatment of cancer, HIV, cardiovascular
diseases, ulcers, and other ailments are extracted
They are often compared to tropical rainforests considering
the ecosystem services they deliver

February 15

Antarctica influencing weather in tropics

Context: Scientists are coming to grips with how weather in

Antarctica is influencing climate as far away as the tropics

Relevance: Researchers discovered an influence of

atmospheric circulation in the Wilkes Land and Ross Sea
regions of Antarctica on precipitation from the East Asian
The News: The Atmospheric Radiation Measurement West
Antarctic Radiation Experiment (AWARE) project gains
Study: How climate change and associated atmospheric
physics are affecting Antarctica
Result: An expanding Hadley cell is generally expected to
result from a globally warming atmosphere
So the Antarctic warming from cloud property change is a
positive feedback on a warming climate
February 15

What is AWARE project?

Context: The AWARE project by the United States located at

Mc Murdo station in Antarctica
Target: It will observe how climate change affects the polar
Relevance: As it has been determined that when the polar
region warms, the location of the boundary between the
polar and Ferrel cells will change, along with the strength of
circulation in both cells
Conclusion: This in turn will influence the strength of
tropical circulation on the other side of the Ferrel cell
These linkages between polar regions and mid-and tropical
latitudes are known as teleconnections

IUCN Listed: Near Threatened

Where? Found in Kazakhstan, China, Afghanistan, Bhutan,
Thailand, Burma, Singapore and Cambodia
February 15

Centre may bring law to penalise littering:


Context: Swachh Bharat MissionThe news: The Centre may

consider bringing in legislation for imposing fines on those
littering in public places
Reason: The govt is providing funds for construction of
toilets in every house, and improving infrastructure for solid
waste management
When? - Once the basic infrastructure is in placeModel: In
Singapore, hefty fines are imposed for spitting and throwing
waste by the roadside

February 17

Easy land acquisition for solar parks

Context: the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE)

has come out with fresh guidelines for land acquisition for
solar parks
Aim: To tackle the problems of acquiring land for solar park
projects and keeping costs down
Norms: allow state governments to use unproductive and
non-agricultural land for the purpose, and emphasize
minimum use of private land

February 15

February 17

Himalayan griffon spotted in Goa

What are Solar parks?

Context: Birdwatchers in Goa have reported spotting the

rare Himalayan griffon, also known as Himalayan vulture
Background: The Himalayan griffon was previously believed
to belong to the upper Himalayas and was presumed to
stray till the Gangetic plains at the most
Spotted Places: In recent years, spotted even in southern
states including Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh

February 15

Learn about Himalayan griffon vulture?

Family: The Himalayan vulture or Himalayan griffon vulture

is an Old World vulture in the family Accipitridae
Characteristics: Himalayan griffons do not breed in the first
3 years, and hence juvenile birds of the species do not
remain in breeding grounds to avoid competition

Context: A solar park is a concentrated zone of development

of solar power generation projects
Objective: Provides developers an area that comes
equipped with infrastructure and access to amenities and
where the risks to projects can be minimized
Parks approved: So far, 27 solar parks in 21 states have
been approved in principle
Capacity: These amount to an aggregate capacity of 18,418
Nodal agency: MNREs nodal agency for solar power
projects is Solar Energy Corp. of India
Role: makes funds available to companies developing solar
parks under the Union governments programme
Role of states: The states identify land for such parks


Enviro & Biodiversity

February 18

February 19

Coal Panel blames project clearance delays on


Learn more about ENVIS?

Context: Green panel on coal mining and thermal power

projects asks Environment Ministry to fix deadline for NGOs
to flag their concerns
Relevance: Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) of ministry
discussed issue of delay in submission of comments by
various organisations in detail
Guidelines: ministry may consider issuing appropriate
guidelines to all concerned clearly indicating that objections
if any should be submitted at least a week in advance
EACs opinion: sufficient time is available for any
organisation to give its views very much in advance of the
day of consideration of a proposal

Context: Environmental Information System (ENVIS), a

Central Sector Scheme of the Environment Ministry has
been implemented since 1982
Purpose: to integrate country-wide efforts in environmental
information collection, collation, storage, retrieval and
dissemination through ENVIS websites
Scope: network presently consists of 69 Centres, of which
29 are hosted by forest department administrations deal
with State of the environment
40 Centres are being hosted by environment-related
governmental and NGO/institutes of professional excellence
and have a thematic mandate
Challenge: To find out new ways to reach out to people and
how to popularise science and sustainable practices

February 19

Environment Minister launches envis portal

Context: Environmental Information System (ENVIS) Portal

runs parallel with the Digital India Objective
Objective: improving the digital literacy in the environment
sector and deliver services digitally all over the country
The digitization of valuable data covering the broad
spectrum of subjects on environment will serve as an asset
in generating feature rich repository of information


civils digest | april 2016

February 19

Dont wait for 10 years like China:


Context: Indias air pollution problem, especially in

metropolitan cities
Experts: Environmentalists who worked on Chinas
successful pollution control measures offered their learnings
Proposal: India should put in place the regional and national
level action plans quickly
Challenge: The measures restricted to Delhi can not have
any substantial impact on the air quality


Everything you wanted to know about

What are Biofuels?

Simply put, fuels produced directly/indirectly from organic
material i.e. biomass including plant materials and animal waste.
Biofuels can be solid, liquid or gaseous.
primary biofuels
Those organic materials which are used in an unprocessed
form such as fuel wood, wood chips and pellets, primarily for
heating, cooking, electricity production.
secondary biofuels
Those materials which result from processing of biomass.
Example: Liquid fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel

What are different generations of

first generation
The first generation fuels are conventional biofuels made from
sugar, starch or vegetable.

Issue: They come from a biomass

that is also a food source, so it
requires a lot of land to grow
at a time when there is food
shortage in the world.

civils digest | april 2016

Lets learn about some of the famous examples in this category.

Ethanol It is a type of alcohol which can be produced by any
feedstock containing significant amount of sugar. It can be
blended with petrol or burned in nearly pure form in slightly
modified spark-ignition engines.
1 litre of ethanol produces energy equivalent to two-third
of energy produced by 1 litre of petrol.
Is there any benefit of blending except providing an alternative to sugar industry? Of course, it improves combustion
performance and lowers the emissions of Carbon Mono-oxide
and Sulfur Di-oxide.
Biodiesel It is produced by combining vegetable oil or animal
fat with alcohol. It can be blended with traditional diesel fuel or
burned in its pure form in compression ignition engines.
Source rapeseed, soyabeen, palm, coconut or jatropha oils.
Energy content is 88-95 % of diesel
second generation
They come from non-food biomass such as wood, organic
waste, food waste, specific biomass crops.
Issue: The second-generation fuel sources compete with food
production for land.
third generation
They are specifically engineered crops such as algae as the
energy source. These algae are grown and harvested to extract
oil within them.
fourth generation
They are aimed at not only producing sustainable energy but
also a way of capturing and storing carbon-dioxide. They are
carbon-negative i.e. it takes away more carbon-dioxide than
it produces.

India is set to announce a policy on flexiblefuel cars, cars that can run on bio-ethanol
and petrol, or a blend of both.
Biofuel production would help farmers by
supporting the diversification of agriculture
into energy, power and bio-plastics.

National Policy on Biofuels 2015

The Policy endeavors to facilitate and bring about optimal development and utilization of indigenous biomass feedstocks for
production of bio-fuels.

What is the proposal under flex-fuel policy?

It aims at decreasing pollution by adopting cleaner alternatives
against fossil fuels. It encourages a diversion in the sugar industrys output away from sugar towards ethanol.
Sugar industry has an excess supply problem and it helps farmers
because of diversification of agriculture into energy, power and

It envisages that biofuels will be produced using non-food

feedstock on waste lands <This will bring India out of traditional food vs energy security debate>

Encouraged the use of renewable energy resources as alternate fuels to supplement transport fuels

Proposed an indicative target of 20% biofuel blending by


What are the challenges to implement this policy?

Major thrust for development of second generation biofuels

A Biofuel Steering Committee will be set up to oversee

implementation of the Policy

Criticism Govt launched National Biodiesel Mission identifying

Jatropha as the most suitable tree-borne oilseed for bio-diesel
production, which failed miserably. The policy is also criticized
for being largely sugarcane centric.

Additional sugarcane cultivation or it can be met by

improved farm practices/hyv canes
Installing special dispensing units at petrol pumps across
the country
Automakers need to be given adequate time to comply
Oil marketing companies will have to augment storage
capacity for ethanol
Reforming tax structure so that transport of ethanol across
state boundaries is not expensive

This government policy can fuel biofuel revolution in India.


What do we mean by


Glacial Harvesting refers to construction of artificial glaciers in a system where melt-water is

diverted to a shady areas through iron pipes in winter, and trapped by an embankment. Once
trapped, the water freezes naturally, forming glaciers that can hold about 10 lakh cubic feet of ice,
enough to irrigate about 200 hectares of land.
The Indian Case
Indias receding glaciers could disappear altogether by 2030, affecting water supply to millions of
Mechanism of Harvesting
Artificial glaciers are created by diverting meltwater to a shady area through iron pipes in the
winter, and reducing its velocity by putting up an embankment.
Passing through the iron pipes, the water freezes naturally forming glaciers that can hold
about 10 lakh cubic feet of ice, enough to irrigate about 200 hectares of land. (According to
the national average, 200 hectares could mean a yield of 8,00-1,000 tonnes of wheat).
By early March, the start of the summer, the temperature starts to rise, thereby melting the
glaciers. This water trickles into the reservoir, form where it can be channeled to the fields
for irrigation or supply clean water to the villages below.
Depending on the size, it can cost between Rs 3 lakh and Rs 10 lakh to build such a glacier.
Prospects, Potential and Problems
With rainfall and snowfall becoming more erratic, one of the main advantages of artificial
glaciers is that they supply water long before the actual glaciers start to melt in May and
June. And the farmers can still save their crops.
But artificial glaciers need regular maintenance, since boulders can fall into distribution
channels (owing to steep terrain) and block the flow of water in summer. The embankments
can also be damaged and destroyed in floods and snowstorms.

civils digest | april 2016



civils digest | april 2016

Science &
42 newscards | H
 and curated
of the most
relevant news
items from
Science &


Science & Tech

January 21

January 22

ISRO puts fifth GPS satellite in orbit

Photonics to drive terabit chips

PSLV-C31 successfully put into orbit IRNSS-1E, the fifth

satellite of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System
IRNSS-1E, with a liftoff mass of 1425 kg, carried navigation
payload and ranging payload.
The ranging payload of IRNSS-1E consists of a C-band
transponder which facilitates accurate determination of the
range of the satellite.
IRNSS-1E also carries Corner Cube Retro Reflectors for
laser ranging.
The system is expected to provide a position accuracy of
better than 20 metre in the primary service area.

Scientists from the Centre for Nano Science and

Engineering (CeNSE) at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc)
in Bengaluru are working on two projects in the area of
photonic integrated circuits.
Researchers and scientists at CeNSE are building a nextgeneration processor, in which each unit is still electrical.
The processor has millions of transistors connected with
copper lines.
Researchers are planning to replace the copper lines with
photonic components.
This is being tried under a project supported by the Defence
of Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
Under this project, scientists are trying to develop
indigenous technology for high-speed optical interconnect

January 22

January 22

The age of augmented humanity

Lets know about Photonics?

The space agency chairman describes blast-off as successful,

says two more satellites will be launched by March.

The next stage of our reliance on technology has devices

that pre-empt what we want.
Its clear that consumer technology has taken a huge leap
Video games that get harder as your heart rate rises,
headwear which gives you superhuman vision and other
devices which promise to deliver results based on the way
we think, feel and act.

January 22

What is Augmented Humanity ?

Augmented Humanity is a phrase that was coined in 2010

by ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
It defines the use of technology to both aid, and replace,
human capability in a way that joins person and machine
as one.
This is the next stage of our reliance on technology, where
wearable devices begin to pre-empt what we want through
our mood, heart rate and body temperature.
This augmentation also defines machinery used to replace
or enhance parts of the body.


civils digest | april 2016

Photonics is the science of light (photon) generation,

detection, and manipulation through emission,
transmission, modulation, signal processing, switching,
amplification, and detection/sensing.
It will exploit high-speed Silicon photonics to improve data
transfer between the core and the memory exponentially.
It would exponentially improve the power of
A single optical fibre has the capacity to carry three million
telephone calls simultaneously.
Possible photonic applications are photonic switching,
silicon photonics, photonic networks, and the photonic

January 22

You are here

India is just months away from deploying a regional alternative
to GPS.
ISRO launched the fifth payload of the Indian Regional
Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS).
It will have 2 services, a public access system and an
encrypted variant for military.
A major geopolitical incident could render foreign GPS
systems hard to access, or impossible to trust.
Security will be the initial deliverable of the IRNSS.

Extra accuracy which the IRNSS promises will assume

significance for future developments like the Internet of
To revolutionise logistics and inventory management, for
instance, and perhaps enhance telemetry services.
IRNSS will thus help to future-proof the nation from the
perspective of the security and accuracy of data.
January 25

No open tenders for critical defence spares, says

For defence critical spare parts like submarine batteries, there
cannot be any open advertisement inviting tenders.
The SC upheld the governments policy against having
any open advertisements inviting tenders for critical and
specialised defence spare parts.
Advertisements are issued calling for tenders only for
common use items which are normally available in the open
market with a wide range of sources.
Submarine batteries do not fall under this category of
common use items, the apex court held.
The importance of submarine batteries to a submarine
cannot be underestimated as it is strategically a vital
equipment for submarines.
The only source of power to a submarine when it dives
beyond nine metres into sea/ocean is submarine batteries.
January 25

India to build satellite tracking station in Vietnam

that offers eye on China
India to set up satellite tracking station in southern Vietnam;
officials say Vietnam will have access to data.
India will set up a satellite tracking and imaging centre in
southern Vietnam.
That will give Hanoi access to pictures from Indian earth
observation satellites that cover the region, including China
and the South China Sea.
Earth observation satellites have agricultural, scientific and
environmental applications.
Security experts said improved imaging technology meant
the pictures could also be used for military purposes.
ISRO has ground stations in the Andaman and Nicobar
islands, Brunei, Biak in eastern Indonesia and Mauritius
that track its satellites in the initial stages of flight.

February 01

IIScs invention powers up nanoelectronics

When it becomes a prototype for commercial use it can break
into the billion-dollar sector.
An invention by Bengaluru-based scientists at IISc is all
set to make inroads into the billion-dollar nanoelectronics
This is disruptive because the technology can drastically
reduce the cost of the existing state-of-the-art e-beam
lithography and optical lithography.
Invention is a new way to etch thin lines on a substrate
using electrodes, termed electrolithography.
This will come in very useful in inscribing, for instance,
nanometer-scale circuits which make up IC chips, minute
transistors among others.
This would come in useful not just in the industry but in
academia, too, with more colleges being able to afford
research in nanotechnology.
February 01

What is e-beam lithography?

Practice of scanning a focused beam of electrons to draw

custom shapes on a surface covered with an electronsensitive film called a resist (exposing).
The electron beam changes the solubility of the resist,
enabling selective removal of either the exposed or
unexposed regions of the resist by immersing it in a solvent
The purpose, as with photolithography, is to create very
small structures in the resist that can subsequently be
transferred to the substrate material, often by etching.
This form of maskless lithography has high resolution and
low throughput, limiting its usage to photomask fabrication,
low-volume production of semiconductor devices, and R&D.

February 01

NASA, India join hands for astrobiology mission

The agencies will mount an expedition to Ladakh to study

the similarities of certain parts of the regions topography
and microbial life to Martian surroundings.
For the first time India is part of Spaceward Bound
programme, which funds expeditions to places with extreme
climate conditions.
Ladakh offers a high UV exposed, dry ecosystem with Mars
analogue topological features.
It tell us a lot about the origin and evolution of our planets
topological features.

Science & Tech

February 01

February 04

Lets know about Spaceward Bound programme

Lets know about IARC?

February 04

Bharat Biotech claims it has developed worlds

first Zika vaccine

The Spaceward Bound is a NASA project that educates

future space explorers and funds expeditions to places with
extreme climate conditions.
Objective - To train the next generation of space explorers.
There have been expeditions to the deserts such in
Atacama, Chile; Mojave, California; Arkaroola, Australia as
well as the Arctic and Antarctica, organised since 2006.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer is the

specialised cancer agency of the WHO
Its objective is to promote international collaboration in
cancer research
It publishes handbooks for various cancer types and it is
referred to by clinicians across the globe

February 04

Global Biotechnology Summit on Destination

The Summit would help attract investors and other key partners
to invest in the biotech sector in India.
A 2-day Global Biotechnology Summit on Destination
India will be held on 5th and 6th February 2016 at Vigyan
Bhawan, New Delhi.
The event would showcase Indias Biotechnology strength
and capacity.
It would provide an opportunity to bring together all
To discuss opportunities, collaborations and to prepare a
joint action plan for achieving the target of 100 billion US
dollars for the Biotech sector by 2020.
The Summit will be held as a run up to the Department of
Biotechnology (DBT) celebrating its 30th Foundation Day
on 26th February, 2016.
It would broadly focus on the priority themes - Make in
India, Nurturing Bio entrepreneurship, Skill India, and
Swasth Bharat.
February 04

Lets know more about Department of

Biotechnology ?

The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), under the Ministry

of Science and Technology.
The Department was set up in 1986, have been crucial
for the growth of Life Sciences and Biotechnology in the
In December 2015, the DBT launched the National
Biotechnology Development Strategy 2015-2020
The stated aim is to intensify research in the fields of
vaccines, humane genome, infectious and chronic
diseases, environmental management and technologies for
clean energy.


civils digest | april 2016

It has been working on Zika vaccine for more than 15

Its research coincided with the one on chikungunya vaccine
which is under trial
The researchers thought the mosquitoes that transmit
Chikungunya are likely to bring Zika
The company says its philosophy is to work on neglected

February 04

What is Chikungunya virus?

Chikungunya is a virus transmitted by Aedes Aegyepti

mosquito. Patients suffer from sudden fever and severe
joint pain
In late 2013, chikungunya virus was found in the Americas
on the islands in the Caribbean. In India the virus had
infected thousands in 2006-07
There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat
chikungunya infection
Travelers can protect themselves by preventing mosquito
The virus was first discovered in Uganda in 1947

February 05

NASAs most powerful rocket to send 13 tiny

satellites into space
These satellite secondary payloads or CubeSats will carry
sci-tech investigations to help pave the way for future human
exploration in deep space
The Space Launch System (SLS), NASAs most powerful
rocket will launch an uncrewed Orion spacecraft to a stable
orbit beyond the Moon in 2018
It will also carry 13 tiny satellites to test innovative ideas
SLS first flight, referred to as Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1)

BioSentinel CubeSat will use yeast to detect, measure

and compare the impact of deep space radiation on living
organisms over long durations in deep space
Lunar Flashlight will look for ice deposits and identify
locations where resources may be extracted from the lunar
LunaH-Map will map hydrogen within craters and other
permanently shadowed regions throughout the moons
south pole

February 06

February 06

INDO-Nepal Battalion Level Combined military

exercise commences

Lets know about EMBO?

EMBO is an organization of more than 1700 leading

researchers that promotes excellence in the life sciences.
The major goals of the organization are to support talented
researchers at all stages of their careers, stimulate the
exchange of scientific information.
The organization is based in Germany.

February 09

Lets know about Haemophilia

Haemophilia is a genetic disorder in which the patient tends

to bleed excessively
Anti-haemophilic factor concentrates (VIII and IX) are given
to patients to control the bleeding
These concentrates are proteins that help the blood clot
Indian patients depend on American pharmaceutical
company Baxter International for the proteins

February 06

Panel to seek increasing ISRO outlay by 50%

The Parliamentary Committee on Science and Technology

would recommend a 50% higher budgetary outlay for the
Department of Space (DoS)
It could be the highest ever increase for the department and
the total budget may surpass Rs. 10,000 crore
The committee have been informed about a requirement for
increasing the scientific manpower in ISRO
It held that ISRO needs a bigger budget for new projects
and a matching technical pool to complete them

February 06

India Signs an Agreement for European Molecular

Biology Organisation

India through the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry

of Science and Technology has signed a Cooperation
To acquire the status of the Associate Member State
European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO).
After Singapore, India will now become second such
country outside the European region to sign this agreement.
This would strengthen scientific interaction and
collaborative research between India and Europe in this
With this, researchers working in India are now eligible to
participate in all EMBO programmes and activities.

This is the Ninth Indo-Nepal Combined exercise and during the

next 14 days of combined training
The 14 day Indo-Nepal Combined Military Exercise Surya
Kiran IX at general area, Pithoragarh
The Combined Battalion Level Exercise is being conducted
under the aegis of Panchshul Brigade of Central Command.
Its emphasis would be laid on upgradation of tactical and
practical skills by sharing each others experiences
Also on enhancing interoperability in Jungle Warfare and
Counter Terrorism operations in mountain terrain
Focus will also be laid on Humanitarian Aid and Disaster
Relief Operations which also includes medical and aviation
February 09

NASA engineers use Super Bowl to decode

Aerodynamics is the study of how air and liquids, referred to
collectively as fluids, flow around objects.
Aerodynamics engineers including an Indian-origin scientist
are studying sports balls
To learn lessons in aerodynamics that will help build
aircrafts more earth-friendly and allow spacecrafts to take
the most efficient route to Mars in the future
By understanding how fluids flow around basic shapes such
as cylinders and spheres
NASAs engineers predict how even minor alterations in
these basic shapes change flow patterns and events like
Super Bowl come handy
The way air moves around different shapes plays a
significant role in the flight of all sports balls


Science & Tech

February 10

February 11

Cable can link 50 crore to Web: TRAI chief

Learn about Gravitational waves

Background: BharatNet aims to provide broadband

connectivity to 2.5 lakh village panchayats at a cost of Rs.
1,09,000 crore
Challenge: The lack of adequate connectivity could
undermine the potential advantages of transformational
programmes such as Aadhaar
Suggestion: TRAI Chairman suggested to use cable TV
networks to connect the people
How?: We have 100 mn homes with cable TV and these
pipes can deliver up to 10 Mbps speed with assured
Impact: It has potential to connect 50 crore people to the
Internet and reduce the load on wireless spectrum

February 11

In a first, IMD to bring out summer forecast

Context: India is bearing the shock of one of the longest and

severest El Ninos ever experienced
News: For the first time, India Meteorological Department
will issue a summer forecast for April, May and June
Who will benefit? - It would be useful to power companies,
several service-sector industries and planners
The manufacturers of refrigerators, air conditioners, ice
cream and cold drinks were requesting for such data

Gravitational waves are distortions in the space-time

geometry that propagate with the speed of light, analogous
to ripples on the surface of a pond
Current Status: There is indirect evidence for the existence
of gravitational waves from the observation of binary pulsars
Research: To detect gravitational waves directlyThe
worldwide network of gravitational wave detectors had
started search for these ripples in spacetime

February 12

ISRO to use electric propulsion system on

satellites in two years

Whats in the News? - ISRO is planning to use electric

propulsion system on satellites for station keeping and
orbital manoeuvre in 2 years
Centers Involved: Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Liquid
Propulsion Systems Centre and ISRO Satellite Centre
Other Updates: The cryogenic engine for GSLV Mark-III will
be undergoing stage-level test soon
In Chandrayaan-II, the objective is to land a rover on the
moon and carry out in-situ experiments.
ISRO is also developing various technologies required for a
manned mission

February 12
February 11

Important discovery on gravitational waves on


Context: Indian researchers are part of the international

commitment to detect gravitational waves
Historical Background: Albert Einstein predicted the
existence of gravitational waves in 1915
Consortium: Scientists are working with IndIGO (Indian
Initiative in Gravitational-wave Observations) Consortium
Organisation Involved: Inter-University Centre for Astronomy
and Astrophysics-Pune
How? Using Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave


civils digest | april 2016

Gravitational wave astronomys finest moment

Context: The detection of gravitational waves by the

scientific community
Indian Contribution: Inter-University for Astronomy and
Astrophysics, Pune and the Raman Research Institute
(RRI), Bangalore contributed in the analysis of the LIGO
Importance: The discovery would enable astrophysicists to
see the universe, which is invisible to them because about
95% of the universe is known to consist of dark matter
Newtonian gravity theory would be overthrown in favour of
Einsteins gravity by this discovery

February 15

February 17

Indian gravity wave detector 8 years away

Govt opens up more defense production to private


Context: Prime Minister supported idea for a US-based

LIGO detector in India but such a project is at least eight
years away
Background: Estimated to cost around Rs. 1,200 crore
project not running into environmental or State-level hurdles
Relevance: India-LIGO project (INDIGO) will be a replica
of the 2 LIGO detectors and many of its components have
already been built and are ready to be shipped from the
United States
Another Project: The Indian Neutrino Observatory (INO)
project a proposed, underground observatory in Tamil
Nadu cleared by the government in 2015
What happened? Stalled for over a year due to protests by
activist groups, concerned over its environmental impact
Way ahead: Third detector will likely improve the chances
of spotting gravitational waves

Context: Around 25% of the defence PSU (public sector

undertaking) turnover can be off-loaded to the private sector
Govt has identified 25 projects to be throw open to the
private industry
Earlier: the ministry has already delicensed 60-70% of the
Revised offset clause: will now be applied to contracts of
more than Rs.2,000 crore instead of current Rs.300 crore
Earlier offset clause: any foreign arms manufacturer
securing an order worth more than Rs.300 crore from India
has to source components worth 30% of the value of the
order from India
Benefit: removing a hurdle to foreign firms eyeing the Indian

February 17
February 15

Learn about Indian Neutrino Observatory (INO)


Context: INO is a particle physics research project under

construction in a 1,300 meters deep cave under Ino Peak
near Theni, Tamil Nadu
Goal: To study neutrinos and to provide a precise
measurement of neutrino mixing parameters
Importance: The project is a multi-institute collaboration
and one of the biggest experimental particle physics
projects undertaken in India

February 15

What are the Neutrinos?

Context: Neutrinos are fundamental particles belonging to

the lepton family
Types: They come in three flavours, one associated with
electrons and the others with their heavier cousins the
muon and the Tau
Relevance: According to standard model of particle physics,
they are mass less
Recent Experiments: Indicate that these charge-neutral
fundamental particles, have finite but small mass which is

China to relocate 9,000 for worlds largest radio


Context: will relocate over 9,000 people residing within the

5-km radius of the worlds largest radio telescope
Why relocation? To create a sound electromagnetic wave
Background: 5-hundred-metre Aperture Spherical Radio
Telescope (FAST) will be the worlds largest radio telescope
after its completion
Overtaking the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico which is
some 300m in diameter
Objective of FAST: To help us to search for intelligent life
outside of the galaxy

February 17

What is FAST?

Context: FAST is a radio telescope under construction

located in a natural basin, in Guizhou Province, southwest
History: First proposed in 1994 and was approved by the
National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) in
In July 2007
Importance: It will be the worlds largest and most sensitive
radio telescope and three times more sensitive than the
Arecibo Observatory


Science & Tech

February 18

February 19

Cabinet clears LIGO-India gravitational wave


What is Li-Fi?

Background: The gravitational waves were detected by the

Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO)
a system of detectors in Washington and Louisiana
Context: LIGO-India project, it is piloted by Department
of Atomic Energy (DAE) and Department of Science and
Technology (DST)
Project cost: at least Rs. 1,200 croreWay ahead: bring
considerable opportunities in cutting edge technology for
Indian industry
Which will be engaged in the construction of an 8-kilometrelong beam-tube at ultra-high vacuum on a levelled terrain
Research institutions in LIGO-India project :
1. Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics
(IUCAA), Pune
2. DAE organisations: Institute for Plasma Research (IPR),
3. Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology
(RRCAT), Indore

February 19

LED bulb could connect you to Internet

Context: A bulb would help us access the Web might not

be too far away, if a new technology called Li-Fi (or LightFidelity) goes mainstream
Inventor: Prof. Harald Haas of the University of Edinburgh,
who coined the term Li-Fi in 2011
The News: He streamed a video from the Internet on a
laptop using light from an LED bulb to access the Web
Significance: Li-Fi was a disruptive technology that could
transform business models, create new opportunities, and
was poised to be a $113 billion industry by 2022
Relevance: RF (radio frequency) spectrum would not be
enough considering the rate of growth of wireless data
Internet in Night: The stream of photons can be reduced to
a minimal level that wont produce visible light but enough
to carry data


civils digest | april 2016

Context: Light-Fidelity is a new technology that uses light

waves, instead of radio frequency waves, as a medium to
carry data.
An improvised LED bulb functions as a router
Relevance: An ordinary off-the-shelf LED bulb connected to
a device, which in turn is connected to the Internet
How stuff works? The Internet data flows in via the device
into the bulb, and is carried by light waves
At the other end, light waves carrying the Internet data
falls on a receiver or a dongle which is connected to the

February 19

What are the benefits of Li-Fi?

Visible light spectrum: Available in plenty, unlicensed and

free to use
Double benefit: bulb giving us light as well as internet
Low interference: leads to very high data speed
Li-Fi works under water as well
Not harmful unlike RF: that can interfere with electronic
Light wont pass through walls: making eavesdropping
nearly impossible
LED illumination: efficient and data transmission needs very
little additional power
Data density: 1,000 times of Wi-Fi, since light can be
contained in an area

February 19

Five new hot Jupiters discovered

Context: 5 new Jupiter-like planets are similar in

characteristics to our solar systems biggest planet and orbit
very close to their host stars
Discovered from: Researchers from Keele University in the
UK used the Wide Angle Search for Planets-South (WASPSouth) instrument
This is an array of 8 cameras observing selected regions
of the southern sky, to study 5 stars showing planet-like
transits in their light curve
Discovered planets: designated as WASP-119 b, WASP-124
b, WASP-126 b, WASP-129 b and WASP133 b
Something unique: WASP-126b is the most interesting
because it orbits the brightest star of the five
This means it can be a target for atmospheric
characterisation, deducing the composition and nature of
the atmosphere from detailed study
For example with the Hubble Space Telescope or the
forthcoming James Webb Space Telescope

February 19

Fibre grid: Centre to replicate AP model

Context: Improving Internet connectivity in the country as

part of the Digital India programme
Background: In order to develop fibre grid, the Andhra
Pradesh govt connected cables to electric poles to reduce
the project cost from Rs.5,000 crore to Rs. 320 crore
News: Centre will replicate this model in other parts of
country to improve internet connectivity
Future: The govt had set a target to increase the number of
internet users from 40 crore to 50 crore by 2017


Eureka moment
- Gravitational waves found

Cataclysmic events, such as this artists rendition of a binary-star merger, are believed to create gravitational waves
that cause ripples in space-time. Credits: NASA


civils digest | april 2016

r ecently, Gravitational waves,

the cosmic ripples that distort
space-time itself, have been directly
detected for the first time. Lets know
about this unprecedented discovery!


What is so special about this

eureka moment?

For the first time, scientists have observed ripples in the

fabric of space-time called gravitational waves, arriving at
the earth from a cataclysmic event in the distant universe
This confirms a major prediction of Albert Einsteins 1915
general theory of relativity and opens an unprecedented
new window onto the cosmos
Physicists have concluded that the detected gravitational
waves were produced during the final fraction of a second
of the merger of two black holes to produce a single, more
massive spinning black hole
This collision of two black holes had been predicted but
never observed

Lets first know about Albert

Einsteins general theory of

In 1905, Albert Einstein determined that the laws of physics

are the same for all non-accelerating observers, and that the
speed of light in a vacuum was independent of the motion of
all observers. This was the theory of special relativity
It introduced a new framework for all of physics and
proposed new concepts of space and time
Einstein then spent 10 years trying to include acceleration
in the theory and published his theory of general relativity
in 1915
In it, he determined that massive objects cause a distortion
in space-time, which is felt as gravity

What are Gravitational waves?


Gravitational waves are distortions or ripples in the fabric

of space-time caused by some of the most violent and
energetic processes in the Universe
These ripples would travel at the speed of light through
the Universe, carrying with them information about their
cataclysmic origins, as well as invaluable clues to the nature
of gravity itself

civils digest | april 2016

Einsteins mathematics showed

that massive accelerating objects
(such as neutron stars or black holes
orbiting each other) would disrupt
space-time in such a way that
waves of distorted space would
radiate from the source
What are the Sources of
Gravitational Waves?

Any object with mass that accelerates (which in science

means changes position at a variable rate, and includes
spinning and orbiting objects) produces gravitational waves,
including humans and cars and airplanes etc.
But the gravitational waves made by us here on Earth are
much too small to detect
The strongest gravitational waves are produced by
catastrophic events such as colliding black holes, the
collapse of stellar cores (supernovae), coalescing neutron
stars or white dwarf stars, the slightly wobbly rotation of
neutron stars that are not perfect spheres, and the remnants
of gravitational radiation created by the birth of the Universe

Not one but four types of

Gravitational Waves!

In order to understand the types of gravitational waves,

Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory
(ligo) scientists have defined 4 categories of gravitational
These categories are: Continuous Gravitational Waves,
Compact Binary Inspiral Gravitational Waves, Stochastic
Gravitational Waves, and Burst Gravitational Waves



civils digest | april 2016

But, Why Detect Them?

This will open up a new window of study on the Universe,

giving us a deeper understanding of these cataclysmic
events, and usher in brand new cutting-edge studies in
physics, astronomy, and astrophysics
More importantly, since gravitational waves dont interact
with matter (unlike electromagnetic radiation), they travel
through the Universe completely unimpeded giving us a
crystal clear view of the gravitational wave
This will provide astronomers and other scientists, first
glimpses of previously unseen and unseeable wonders, and
greatly adding to our understanding of the nature of space
and time itself

Is there any Way ahead for India?

So, How does ligo come into the


ligo( Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave

Observatory) is the worlds largest gravitational wave
observatory and a cutting edge physics experiment
ligo exploits the physical properties of light and of space itself
to detect and understand the origins of gravitational waves
ligo has 2 widely separated identical detector sites working
in unison as a single observatory: one in Hanford,
southeastern Washington State and the other in rural
Livingston, Louisiana
ligo has a very close collaboration with the virgo
collaboration that analyzes data from virgo, a 3 km
gravitational wave interferometer located near Pisa, Italy
Data from ligo and Virgo are combined and analyzed
together by the ligo and Virgo collaborations

Thus significantly increasing the capability of combined

data for detecting and using gravitational waves to learn
about nature

Yes, because Union cabinet has approved a proposal

to establish a state-of-the-art gravitational wave
observatory in India in collaboration with ligo in the us
The project will bring unprecedented opportunities for
scientists and engineers to dig deeper into the realm of
gravitational wave and take global leadership in this new
astronomical frontier
This will also bring considerable opportunities in cuttingedge technology for the Indian industry which will be
engaged in the construction of the 8-km long beam tube at
ultra-high vacuum on a leveled terrain
With its establishment, India will join the global network of
gravitational wave detectors
The establishment of an observatory in India assumes
importance because the further the distance between the
observatories, the greater will be the accuracy in locating
gravity waves
Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh are among the states
shortlisted for the experiment
Can we expect some answers from you guys?
#Q. Recently, Union cabinet has approved a proposal
to establish a gravitational wave observatory, one of the
mega science projects in India. Discuss, how will this
project help India if it becomes a reality.

Genetically Modified
Organisms (gmo)
- Developments and Concerns

recently, Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (geac) decided to put on

hold the governments decision to commercialise genetically modified (gm) mustard,
because of growing outrage by farmer groups against it. Lets understand its basics
in brief!

What is gmo?

Why are gm foods produced?


gmos can be defined as organisms (i.e. plants, animals or

microorganisms) in which the genetic material (dna) has
been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating
and/or natural recombination
It allows selected individual genes to be transferred from
one organism into another, also between non related species
Foods produced from or using gm organisms are often
referred to as gm foods
Recently in India, gm mustard crop was introduced, which
was later withdrawn. There is a raging debate going on
advantages and disadvantages of gmos
For a long time, further study was requested by farmers,
environmentalist on gmo crops

civils digest | april 2016

gm foods are developed and marketed because there

is some perceived advantage either to the producer or
consumer of these foods
This is meant to translate into a product with a lower price,
greater benefit (in terms of durability or nutritional value)
or both
Initially gm seed developers wanted their products to
be accepted by producers and have concentrated on
innovations that bring direct benefit to farmers (and food
industry generally)
One of the objectives for developing plants based on gm
organisms is to improve crop protection

What really is Indias recently

developed gm mustard?

A team of scientists at Delhi University led by former

vice-chancellor Deepak Pental has bred dmh-11, a genetically
modified (gm) mustard hybrid
Hybrids are normally obtained by crossing two genetically
diverse plants from the same species
The first-generation offspring resulting from it has higher
yields than what either of the parents is individually capable
of giving
But there is no natural hybridisation system in mustard,
unlike in, say, cotton, maize or tomato
What team has done is, that they have created a viable
hybridisation system in mustard using gm technology
The resulting gm mustard hybrid, it is claimed, gives 25-30%
more yield than the best varieties such as Varuna currently
grown in the country

Is there a need, in the first place,

for developing a mustard hybrid?

In 2014-15, India imported 14.5 million tonnes of edible oils

valued at $10.5 billion
With the countrys own annual edible oil production stuck at
below 7.5 million tonnes, of which mustards share is roughly
a quarter
So, there is need to raise domestic crop yields and cut
dependence on imports
Hybrid technology is a potential technique to boost yields,
as has been successfully demonstrated in a host of crops

What are the environmental risks?

gmos contaminate forever. gmos cross pollinate and their

seeds can travel far and wide
It is impossible to fully clean up our contaminated gene pool
Genetic engineering allows plants to survive high doses of
weed killers, resulting in higher herbicide residues in our
gmo crops are creating super weeds and super bugs, which
can only be killed with more toxic poisons

Are there any advantages?

Some gmo foods have been modified to make them more
resistant to insects and other pests
This means the amount of pesticide chemicals used on the
plants are reduced, so their exposure to dangerous pesticides are also reduced
Another benefit that gm technology is believed to bring
about is that crops can be engineered to withstand weather
extremes and fluctuations,
This means that there will be good quality and sufficient
yields even under a poor or severe weather condition
gm crops often requires less time, tools and chemicals, and
may help with reducing greenhouse gas emissions, soil
erosion and environmental pollution
According to the un Food and Agricultural Organization
(fao), some gm foods have been engineered to become more
nutritious in terms of vitamin or mineral content.
Larger production leading to increased farm income,
reduced poverty, low food prices and thus reduced hunger
and malnutrition.
Besides new food products are also included, diversifying
food varieties

Genetic Engineering Appraisal

Committee (GEAC) is a body under
the Environment Ministry that
regulates the use of genetically
modified organisms

Then, Why has there been so much

concern about gm foods among
some public interest groups,
activists and consumers?

Since the first introduction on the market in the mid-1990s

of a major gm food (herbicide-resistant soybeans), there
has been concern about such food among activists and
consumers, especially in Europe
In fact, public attention has focused on the risk side of the
risk-benefit equation, often without distinguishing between
potential environmental impacts and public health effects
of gmos
Consumers have questioned the validity of risk assessments,
both with regard to consumer health and environmental
risks, focusing particulary on long-term effects
Consumer concerns have triggered a discussion on the
desirability of labeling gm foods, allowing for an informed
choice of consumers

What further developments can be

expected in the area of gmos?


gm organisms are likely to include plants with improved

resistance against plant disease or drought, crops with
increased nutrient levels, fish species with enhanced growth
For non-food use, they may include plants or animals
producing pharmaceutically important proteins such as
new vaccines

civils digest | april 2016

National Biotechnology
Development Strategy
CONTEXT: In tune with the Governments Make in India initiative, the Science and Technology Ministry recently unveiled
the National Biotechnology Development Strategy -2015-2020.
The Strategy aims to establish India as a world-class bio-manufacturing hub. It intends to launch a major mission, backed with
significant investments, for the creation of new biotech products.
It also seeks to create a strong infrastructure for R&D and
commercialization, and empower Indias human resources scientifically and technologically.

Implementing Agencies
It would be implemented in collaboration and partnership with
other Ministries, Departments, State Govts and international

It is the direct result of formal and informal consultations with
more than 300 stakeholders, including scientists, educators,
policy makers, industry and civil society, ngos, regulators and
international experts.

Key Elements of the Strategy:

What does the Strategy intends to?


Provide impetus to utilising the knowledge and tools to the

advantage of humanity
Launch a major well directed mission backed with significant investment for generation of new biotech products
Empower scientifically and technologically Indias incomparable human resource
Create a strong Infrastructure for R&D and commercialisation
Establish India as a world class Bio-manufacturing hub

Build skilled workforce and leadership

Revitalize the knowledge environment at par with the growing bio-economy
Enhance research opportunities in basic, disciplinary and
inter-disciplinary sciences
Encourage use-inspired discovery research
A focus on biotechnology tools for inclusive development
Nurture innovation, translational capacity and entrepreneurship
Ensure a transparent, efficient and globally best regulatory
system and communications strategy
Foster global and national alliances
Strengthen institutional capacity with redesigned governance models
Create a matrix of measurement of processes as well as

Launch 4 major missions in healthcare, food and nutrition,

clean energy and education
Create a technology development and translation network
across India with global partnership <It will include 5 new
clusters, 40 biotech incubators, 150 ttos, and 20 bio-connect
It seeks to ensure strategic and focused investment in
building human capital by setting up a Life Sciences and
Biotechnology Education Council


Everything you wanted to know about

Zika Virus
The World Health Organization (who) expects that Zika virus,
a mosquito-borne disease, spreading through the Americas, to
affect between 3 million and 4 million people. Lets analyse this
in brief!

Where was the first Zika virus

outbreak identified?

Zika virus is an emerging mosquito-borne virus that was first

identified in Uganda in 1947 in rhesus monkeys through a
monitoring network of sylvatic yellow fever.
It was subsequently identified in humans in 1952 in Uganda
and the United Republic of Tanzania.
Outbreaks of Zika virus disease have been recorded in Africa,
the Americas, Asia and the Pacific.

Trivia : Do you know why is it called Zika Virus?

It was first isolated from Rhesus monkeys in Zika forest near Lake
Victoria in Uganda.

But, what is microcephaly?

How does the Zika virus spread?

Find Out why was Ebola virus named as such?

What makes this

outbreak different?


The current outbreak, the first ever in the western hemisphere, is a big deal for a number of reasons
We now know that its not adults who have the most to lose
but their unborn babies
Microcephaly is a condition where a baby is born with an
abnormally small head and brain defects
Worldwide it affects only 1 in 30,000 to one in 250,000 newborns
In Brazil there are usually a few hundred cases annually at
most, but since October 2015, there have been 3,500 new
microcephaly cases
civils digest | april 2016

Microcephaly is a rare condition where a baby has an abnormally small head.

This is due to abnormal brain development of the baby in
the womb or during infancy.
Babies and children with microcephaly often have challenges with their brain development as they grow older.
Microcephaly can be caused by a variety of environmental and genetic factors such as Downs syndrome; exposure
to drugs, alcohol or other toxins in the womb; and rubella
infection during pregnancy.

Zika virus is transmitted to people through the bite of an

infected mosquito from the Aedes genus, mainly Aedes
aegypti in tropical regions
This is the same mosquito that transmits dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever
Zika virus disease outbreaks were reported for the first time
from the Pacific in 2007 and 2013 (Yap and French Polynesia, respectively), and in 2015 from the Americas (Brazil and
Colombia) and Africa (Cape Verde)

How bad is it now?

As of January 23, 2016, the Zika virus has spread to 21 countries and territories of the Americas
Its speculated that the virus must have arrived in Brazil
along with the throngs that swept in during the 2014 fifa
World Cup
Things look so grim that governments of 4 South American
countries are now advising women to not get pregnant until
the situation is brought under control
The who has predicted that the virus is likely to spread all
over North and South America, except for Chile and Canada
where the Aedes aegypti mosquito is not present
The reason that the who thinks these countries are so susceptible is that their populations have not been exposed to
the virus before and hence have no immunity

Is there a cure?

What about India?

No, there isnt. There exists medication for symptomatic

relief but these are quite useless now that we know about
the microcephaly link
Research on the Zika virus is still quite primitive
Given its generic symptoms in adults, its very easy to miss
or misdiagnose
Moreover, the virus doesnt seem to show effects in common
lab animals like mice and rats. Getting monkeys is extremely
tough because of restrictions on primate research
Vaccine development and antiviral drug discovery efforts
are on but this takes time, and with the Zika virus, well be
starting from scratch

Does Brazil have a way out?

Brazil needs an immediate plan of action for more than one
reason. Rio de Janeiro is frantically spraying insecticides at the
parade grounds where the annual carnival celebrations will commence soon. In August, the city is due to host the Olympics

India is one of the Aedes aegyptiss many homes but the

Zika virus itself has not ever been detected in our country
so far
However, in a study in the 1950s, healthy individuals from
6 Indian states showed passive immunity to the virus
This means that though their blood contained antibodies
against the virus, this was not because they were exposed
to the virus
Usually passive immunity is acquired through vaccines,
from mother-to-child transmissions or breast milk
In the case of India, where the Zika virus is not known
to exist, the antibodies probably arose from exposure to
similar viruses
Nevertheless, theoretically, Zika can spread anywhere
that the mosquito exists

That means India, too. Indians are just as susceptible if they

travel to high-risk countries


civils digest | april 2016


40 newscards | H
 and curated
of the most
relevant news


January 21

January 22

Nitish Kumar keeps election promise, rolls out

35% reservation for women

Vulnerable targets

The 35% reservation extended to women on posts of police

constable would now be extended to cover other state
government vacancies, too.
This 35% reservation for women will be applicable to in
all government jobs including reserved and unreserved
Presently state is already providing 35% reservation for
women in recruitment as police constables and subinspectors.
There is also 50% reservation for women as primary school
teachers and in the Panchayati Raj system.
January 21

Power for 2.5 million homes, jobs for 30,000

The Union Cabinet approved Rs. 5,050 crore of viability gap

funding for 5,000 MW of grid-connected solar projects.
The additional 5,000 MW of power could provide power to
almost 2.5 million households.
This would be done over 4 years from 2015-16 to 2018-19
and generate employment for around 30,000 people in
rural and urban areas.
It will also reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the country
by 8.525 million tonnes a year.

January 21

The new quota

Bihars job reservation quota of 35% for women is a welcome
gesture, but focus has to be on increasing opportunities and
With not many jobs being created in the public sector, the
policy offers more symbolic value than radical content.
Labour force participation rate among women of working
age, at 9%, is one of the lowest in India, and far below the
all-India average of 33%.
It would help more women take regular wage earning formal
sector jobs.
Which would help improve the status of women and make
society sensitive towards gender equality in social and
economic spaces.
Public institutions that have a representative workforce are
likely to provide better services.


civils digest | april 2016

Pakistan must act strongly against all terrorists for the sake of
its own younger generation.
Terror attack at Bacha Khan University in Pakistan has grim
echoes of the Peshawar Army Public School massacre in
December 2014.
Targeting schools and colleges reflect the jihadis opposition
to education, which is a force of modernisation and
Pakistan needs to invoke Bacha Khans ( khan Abdul Gaffer
khans ) legacy and reverse the Islamist course taken by its
society and polity.
Pakistan will have to muster the will to act against terrorists
of all shades, and not choose between the good and the
bad Taliban.
January 23

Talks on for Rafale pact

Officials say the final deal is unlikely to be concluded during
French President Francois Hollandes India visit due to
differences over pricing.
With French President Franois Hollande scheduled to
arrive in India on January 24 as the chief guest for the
Republic Day parade.
India and France are holding hectic discussions to conclude
the government-to-government (G-to-G) agreement for the
direct purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets.
Efforts are on to reduce the price by 20%.
In comparison, a Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft which India is
assembling through technology transfer from Russia costs
less than half, raising questions on the cost.
January 25

Greek islanders to be nominated for Nobel Peace


International group of academics to propose those on

frontline of refugee crisis be commended for their empathy
and self-sacrifice
Greek islanders who have been on the frontline of the
refugee crisis are to be nominated for the Nobel Peace
Prize with the support of their national government.
Of the 9,00,000 refugees who entered Europe last year.
Most were received scared, soaked and travelling in
rickety boats by those who live on the Greek islands in
the Aegean Sea.

The islanders, including fishermen who gave up their work

to rescue people from the sea, are in line to be honoured
with one of the worlds most esteemed awards.
January 27

Artificial Intelligence pioneer Marvin Minsky dead

Who combined a scientists thirst for knowledge with a
philosophers quest for truth as a pioneering explorer of artificial
intelligence work.
Beginning in the early 1950s, he worked on computational
ideas to characterise human psychological processes
and produced theories on how to endow machines with
Mr. Minsky, in 1959, co-founded the MIT Artificial
Intelligence Project (later the Artificial Intelligence
It planted the seed for the idea that digital information
should be shared freely, a notion that would shape the
open-source software movement.
It was a part of the original ARPAnet, the forerunner to the
In 1951 he built the first randomly wired neural network
learning machine, which he called Snarc.
January 27

Soon, annual and quarterly reports to replace

once-in-5-year job surveys

The govt. could soon launch a first of its kind annual

employment survey.
It will have the ability to generate quarterly reports on job
market trends in certain segments like urban India.
The plan is to release such employment data soon after the
surveys by using modern technology.
This will enable policymakers to react faster to labour
market movements and track job creation goals.
An estimated million people are joining Indias workforce
every month.

January 27

Genetics throws light on genesis of caste system

Religious diktat enforced more than a millennium ago can

have repercussions in genetic make-up of modern-day

It has found that the countrys billion inhabitants have a far

more complex origin than previously imagined.
However, in the complexities of genes lie the secret of one
of the countrys most persistent practices: the caste system.
During Gupta period, the social strictures against marriage
between caste were enforced.
The block lengths of ancestral genes pointed to the era
when mixing of castes ended.
This is the result of a study of numerous communities
undertaken by researchers from the National Institute of
BioMedical Genomics in WB.
January 28

CERT-In signs cyber security pacts with 3 nations

CERT-In is the nodal agency responsible for dealing with

cyber security threats.
The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERTIn) has signed cooperation pacts with Malaysia, Singapore
and Japan for cyber security.
The MoUs will promote closer cooperation for exchange
of knowledge and experience in detection, resolution and
prevention of security-related incidents.

January 28

Lets know about Transparency International

Founded in 1993, it is a non-profit, non-governmental

organisation dedicated to fighting corruption.
Vision- A world in which govt, business, civil society and the
daily lives of people are free of corruption.
It creates awareness of the devastating effects of corruption,
and work with govts, businesses and international
organisations to develop effective programmes to tackle it.
International Secretariat- Berlin, that has turned the fight
against corruption into a worldwide movement.

January 28

How TI measures Corruption Perception Index?

The index measures the perceived levels of public sector

corruption worldwide based on expert opinions.
It looks at a range of factors like Whether govt leaders are held to account or go unpunished
for corruption,
The perceived prevalence of bribery
Whether public institutions respond to citizens needs.


January 28

What is Hybrid Annuity Model?

Hybrid Annuity Model is designed to make investments in

road projects more attractive for private player.
Hybrid means money will come from govt - 40% and private
developer - 60%.
It will be awarded only in those case where 80% of the land
is already acquired.
In the new model, govt. takes all the risk including the
NHAI will collect toll and refund the amount in installments
over a period of 15-20 years.

The govt is seeking to divest 20% of each state-owned

defence company including nuclear-missile maker Bharat
Divestment will provide capital for growth and enough
transparency and accountability to drive efficiencies.
Still structural changes will be required for the state-run
defence companies to be more attractive for investors.
Indias goal is an ambitious $150 billion modernization of its
sometimes poorly equipped armed forces, including more
local production to curb a flood of costly imports.
The challenges is to improve state defence companies,
which account for the bulk of domestic weapons output but
are strained and lack the most modern technology.

January 29

Chennai to focus on flood mitigation measures

Smart proposals for flood mitigation, non-motorised transport,
smart parking management, improved water supply and
drainage under the Smart Cities Mission.
The proposal made to the Centre focussed on the vision of
an attractive, productive and inclusive Chennai, providing a
smart urban network environment.
The majority of its residents live and work within walking
distance of high quality rapid transit.
With accessible and reliable urban services and whose
public spaces support a good quality of life.
January 30

IMD to issue block-level forecasts soon

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) will begin to

issue weather forecasts at the block level later this year,
Through this farmers could be warned, 3-5 days ahead, of
potentially anomalous weather in their localities.
The IMD currently issues such short-term forecasts in 100
districts across States and so-called agro-climatic zones.
Reason- Weather can vary quite significantly within a
However, the predictability of the weather models for blocklevel forecasts needs to improve.

February 03

What is an Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient?

Any drug is composed of two components or aspects.

The first is the actual Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients
(API), which is the central ingredient.
The API is the chemically active substance, which is meant
to produce the desired effect in the body.
The second is known as an excipient, which are the inactive
or inert substances present inside a drug.

February 04

No mammography needed for women under 50:


According to International Agency for Research on Cancer

(IARC), mammography has limited efficacy in the younger
age band
There is a risk of false positive results, over-diagnosis, and
possibly radiation-induced cancer
The screening for breast cancer aims to reduce mortality
and morbidity associated with the advanced stages of the
Women in the lower age groups should continue to do
breast self-examination and undergo a clinical breast
examination once a year

February 04
February 03

Nuclear-missile maker to woo investors as India

revamps defence
India wants to embrace more shareholder scrutiny for the sake
of national security.


civils digest | april 2016

Lets know about Mammography?

A mammogram is an x-ray picture of human breast which

can be used to check for breast cancer in women who have
no signs or symptoms of the disease
Mammography is the type of mammogram

WHO recommends mammography for women aged over 50

There is scientific evidence that it is effective in reducing
breast cancer mortality in women in the 5069 age group
It has gained popularity globally over the years with the
rising incidence of breast cancer

February 05

February 05

SC ordered two public service commissionsin Kerala and

UPto reveal the answer sheets and final interview marks
of candidates if asked to
SC backed demands for transparency and accountability in
the selection of bureaucrats
PSCs both at the Union and state levels have long faced
criticism over their refusal to disclose the marks in entrance
exams for government jobs
Disclosing the answer sheets and interview marks will help
candidates assess their performance better

Siachens sentinels buried under ice

The Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) of Pakistan tweeted
an offer to help in the search mission.
The 10 soldiers trapped in ice after an avalanche on the
Siachen glacier were declared dead late on Thursday
As per inputs received complete blocks of snow and ice had
fallen on the post burying it very deep and clearing it was a
very difficult task
The major avalanche struck the Army post in Northern
Siachen Glacier located at a height of 19600 feet
The Indian Army has been controlling the dominant heights
of the glacier, the worlds highest battlefield
Since occupying it in April 1984 under Operation Meghdoot
pre-empting Pakistans move which controls heights at the
lower altitudes
February 05

Policy to scrap old vehicles to be sent to Cabinet

by month end

The govt. is working on a plan to phase out old vehicles

from the roads
The Road Transport Ministry also tried to convince Finance
Ministry to introduce new schemes in the next Budget that
would help the auto sector
The auto industry has been demanding a uniform policy in
this regard for a long time
Scrapping of old vehicles will not only create a market for
new vehicles but also help in reducing the pollution to some
Automobile manufacturers have expressed doubts on
whether BS-VI compatible fuel would be available in time as
the entire country is yet to be covered by BS-IV, although it
was introduced in 2010

State PSCs asked to reveal answer books and

interview marks
Supreme Court ruled that such disclosure of answer papers
and mark sheets of interviews if asked for do not suffer from
error of law

February 08

Declare Kumbakonam a heritage town, seers urge

Prime Minister

Seers have appealed to Prime Minister to take steps to

declare Kumbakonam a heritage town.
Kumbakonam is the temple city of South India situated in
Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu.
Historical Importance - In the 7th Century, it was the Capital
of Chola Kings and a culturally rich place where music and
art flourished
Cultural Importance - It has several shrines which are
centuries old, including the globally famed Darasuram
Temple along with ancient mutts and Veda Patasalas

February 08

India, China hold first joint tactical drill on border

The border troops of India and China held their first joint
tactical exercise in the Chushul-Moldo area along the northern
To ensure greater interaction between troops stationed
along the Line of Actual Control, and thereby ensure peace
and tranquillity along the border.
The exercise focussed on actions to be coordinated to
tackle jointly aspects of humanitarian aid and disaster relief
The joint exercise, Sino-India Cooperation 2016, lasted an
entire day.
This exercise complements the Hand-in-Hand series of
India-China Joint Exercises and the recently conducted joint
exercise in Sikkim.

February 09

Lack of suitable jobs holding back women

A World Bank paper shows decline in female labour force
participation over the past decade
Main reason is scarcity of suitable job opportunities
outside farming and close to the place of residence
According to NSSO and employment surveys, women
participation rates in India fell sharply after 2004-05
This was because of a fall in agricultural employment
According to ILO, India ranks 120 among 131 countries on
women labour participation
Traditionally, this has been blamed on a culturally
patriarchal society and rising family incomes that allow more
women to stay at home
February 09

Former Nepal PM Sushil Koirala dies

Koirala was suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary
Disease (COPD) and he succumbed to the disease.
Mr. Koirala was elected as 37th Prime Minister of Nepal
from February 10, 2014 till September 2015
He had entered politics in 1954 by joining Nepali Congress
after he was inspired by partys the social-democratic ideals
Since then he had served in various capacities of the Nepali
Congress and was elected as its President in 2010 till his
Under his leadership, Nepali Congress had emerged as the
largest party in the 2013 Constituent Assembly elections
During his tenure as Prime Minister in June 2015, a historic
agreement among 4 major political parties was reached
Which paved the way for unopposed adaptation of new
republic constitution of Nepal
February 10

More women executives mean more profits: study

About three in 10 companies worldwide have no women either
in executive positions or on their board
Companies with 30% female executives rake in as much as
6%age points more in profits, according to a study
Feeding into a global debate over the scarcity of women in
decision-making business roles


civils digest | april 2016

The conclusion stems from a study of about 22,000

publicly-traded companies in 91 countries ranging from
Mexico to Norway and Italy
The presence of women in corporate leadership positions
can boost a firms performance
This suggesting a reward for policies that facilitate women
rising through corporate ranks
The women in executive ranks resulted in better profitability,
female CEOs or board members did not have a statisticallysignificant impact on the bottom line
February 10

Learn about Indian Heritage Cities Network

The Indian Heritage Cities Network was founded as

a programme by UNESCOs New Delhi office, at an
international conference on Indian Cities of Living Heritage
in 2006 at Jaipur
Importance - Established with the endorsement of the
Ministry of Urban Development
Objective - It was created in order to raise awareness among
professionals and policy makers
Mission - To highlight the Indian city as a living cultural

February 10

Google to offer flood alerts for India

Google will make public emergency alerts for floods available
in India as part its efforts to make critical information more
accessible around natural disasters.
India can now find flood alerts along with river level
information for more than 170 areas in which the Central
Water Commission (CWC) has active observation stations
These alerts are available on web search, Google Now
Cards on the Google app, maps as well as Google Public
Alerts homepage
The alerts will be created and shared using data provided
by the CWC
Timely information is the first step in disaster preparedness
and has the potential to save thousands of lives lost to
natural disasters each year
In 2015, Google introduced cyclone alerts, which offers
information with details about the hazard, including a map
and expected timeline, as well as tips on how to stay safe

February 11

Karnataka 1st state to record failure of winter crop

State seeks central aid of Rs 1,417 cr after rabi crop worth
Rs 7,209 crore damaged in more than 70% of sown area
An unusually dry and warm winter has affected planting
across India and also raised fears of another failed crop,
especially in parched states such as Maharashtra and UP
Agri ministry data- winter planting has already been cut by
3 million hectares in country
This could sharpen the rural distress and push many
farmers into a condition of grave indebtedness or, in some
cases, even take extreme steps
According to the states farm ministry, over a thousand
farmers have killed themselves in Karnataka in the last year

February 11

Obama launches cyber-security action plan

The president has called for an overhaul of aging

government networks and a high-level commission to boost
security awareness
The announcement responds to an epidemic of data
breaches and cyber attacks on both government and
private networks in recent years
Under this plan, Mr. Obama has asked for $19 billion for
cyber-security efforts, a 35% increase from current levels,
with $3 billion earmarked
To help modernise the patchwork of computer systems
used in government agencies
An executive order for creating a 12-member cyber-security
commission to make recommendations to both the public
and private sectors has also been issued

Background: India has been a part of the summit since it

convened in 2010, but came into focus due to a critical
campaign by Centre for Public Integrity, a Washington DCbased NGO
Scientists Opinion: Summit provided opportunity for India to
stay ahead in the field of security and safety in the nuclear
Way ahead: India will highlight its safety and nonproliferation records in the summit
February 16

Learn about Nuclear Security Summit (NSS)?

Context: NSS is a world summit, aimed at preventing

nuclear terrorism around the globe
First summit: Held in Washington, D.C. on April 1213,
Aim: Countries work to improve their nuclear security on
the basis of the Washington Work Plan, which contains
numerous measures and action points

February 16

Let peoples court decide on euthanasia: SC

Context: Question of legalizing passive euthanasia and living

will in India
News: SC said that the Parliament should be the final judge
to decide the legality of passive euthanasia and living will
Passive Euthanasia: An act of withdrawing medical
treatment with the deliberate intention of causing the death
of a terminally-ill patient
Living Will: An advance directive by a person to physicians
for end-of-life medical care

February 16

India may focus on best practices at Nuclear

Security Summit

Context: To highlight the Best Practices in the

international nuclear industry and its national nuclear safety
record in the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) held in March
Importance: This is the last time U.S. President Obama will
host the participating countries and the first time PM Modi
will take part
Indo-Pak Relevance: Summit may form the backdrop for
a meeting between Modi and Sharif , that may thaw freeze
that crept into India-Pakistan ties

February 17

Indigenously developed Prithvi-II missile was

successfully test fired

Context: It was conducted by the Strategic Force Command

(SFC) and was monitored by the scientists from DRDO
Background: Missile test was carried out from a mobile
launcher from launch complex-3 of the Integrated Test
Range (ITR)
Prithvi-II already has been inducted into Indias armed
forces in 2003
The last user trial of it was successfully conducted in
November 2015 from the same test range


February 17

February 18

Learn about Prithvi-II missile?

M.P. appeals against IPAB order on Basmati

Context: Prithvi-II missile is the first missile to be developed

by DRDO under Indias prestigious IGMDP (Integrated
Guided Missile Development Program)
Range: Surface-to-surface medium range ballistic missile
with a strike range of 350 km
Warheads: Capable of carrying 500 kg to 1000 kg of
Variants: Prithvi-I for the Indian Army, Prithvi-II for the
Indian Air Force, and Dhanush Missile for Indian Navy

Context: Registration of a Geographical Indication (GI) tag

for Basmati rice
Background: Intellectual Property Appellate Board has
denied GI tag for Basmati rice of MP
GI tag has been approved for 7 north Indian Basmati
rice-producing states like Punjab, Haryana, HP and
Uttarakhand and parts of UP and J&K
News: The MP govt has approached the Madras HC to
quash the order and direct the registry to hear the matter

February 18

U.S. had cyber-attack plans for Irans Fordo

Context: In early years, US developed an elaborate plan for

a cyber-attack on Iran in case diplomatic effort to limit its
nuclear programme failed and led to a military conflict
The Plan: code named Nitro Zeus, was designed to disable
Irans air defences, communications systems and key parts
of its power grid
Relevance: Nitro Zeus was part of an effort to assure
President Obama that he had alternatives, short of a fullscale war, if Iran lashed out at the US or its allies in region
Cyber Plan: To disable the Fordo nuclear enrichment site,
which Iran built deep inside a mountain near the city of
Importance of Fordo: It has considered one of the hardest
targets in Iran, buried too deep for all but the most powerful
bunker-buster in U.S. arsenal

February 18

11 Maharashtra villages to pool land for integrated

Context: 11 villages from the Khalapur Nagar panchayat,
in Raigad district started an initiative to voluntarily pool
3,500 hectares of land for the development of an integrated
Similar: similar to the NAINA (Navi Mumbai Airport
Influence Notified Area) scheme being undertaken by City
and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO)
Andhra Pradesh Model: followed the Andhra Pradesh
model, where the farmers have contributed 33,000 hectare
to government for the establishment of state capital at
Special purpose vehicle: Villagers to form SPV for planning
and development


civils digest | april 2016

February 18

Learn about Intellectual Property Appellate Board

IPAB is the only tribunal in India which has a global impact

Jurisdiction: IPAB exercises jurisdiction over Trademarks,
Patents and Geographical Indications
Headquarters: Chennai

A No-Nonsense Motivation
for IAS Aspirants

This looong post is for everyone who could not make it to the list. Most importantly for
those among you who really, really, really believed that they had a rock solid chance this
year but UPSC still treated them like a spurned lover.

Likability index of this blog post

Likability index of this article

2+ attempts, senior citizens + their folks!

1st attempt of complete newbies!

Those who got through Mains 2015

Likability index of this blog post

Current address = Cloud #9

This was originally intended to be a major motivational blockbuster blog. Trust us, we had
2+ attempts, senior citizens + their folks!
even googled some
of theto
gyaan toand
get your
attention and prep you up
on a steroid enriched diet for the next year but, but, but when has artificial motivation
ever sustained? Never.
1st probably
attempt ofhas
some plans
for you

The aim of this write up is to help you take

step back
all this
In some
fixedof success
and failure and create a room to think. Let go of all the
overwhelming niceties & consolations which yourThose
at you (because they care and fear
Think of
the story
a spider who climbed up the
for your sanity). Although,wall
we would
advise you
try and
to them
and not
air any of
and inspired
the king
to fight
= Cloud
the quotes written in blue as a retort but let it pass over.
is not the
time #9
to resign
Squashed. Right now!
fate. Not just yet.
said, next
year is going
to be
How to
Please stop!

God probably has some plans for you

3 friends (before
And where
In some fixed

Kuch bhi likh keBuck up. Think of the story of a spider
who climbed up the
aaya hoon yaar!
wall and inspired the king to fight another
mein tormmbr?
Gandhi+Tagore bhi fail
How can UPSC
Squashed. Right now!
make such a paper!
#Optionals went
- JNU wants
It was so damn
Panditji said, next year is going to be me to chair philosophy
Please stop! dept now ;)

Could not event

3 friends (before
attempt UPSC
all bro! mains result)


The way of the samurai

Likability index of this blog post

2+ attempts, senior citizens + their folks!

1st attempt of complete newbies!

Those who got through Mains 2015

Current address = Cloud #9

and butterflies?
In his classic treatise
behind the Samurai
code of Bushido, entitled
Hagakure, and often billed as The Book of the Samurai, retired Samurai-turned-monk
Yamamoto Tsunetomo wrote that the way of the samurai is found in death.
God probably has some plans for you

And where are they? In some fixed

He admonished young warriors to calmly accept that deposit???

death would occur on the battlefield,
regardless of the efforts of Buck
the individual.
in earnest
up. Think of
the story
a spider
up the for
battlefield effectiveness from
you calmly
and onward.
inspired It
king matter
to fightthat
you were going to die, you still trained hard to be as lethal as humanly possible.
Squashed. Right now!

year ischances
going toare
bethat you would have directly
If you have been sincere with
or indirectly been a part of one such group.
Please stop!

3 friends (before UPSC mains result)


Kuch bhi likh ke

aaya hoon yaar!

#Ethics mein to
Gandhi+Tagore bhi fail

How can UPSC

make such a paper!

#Optionals went
awesome - JNU wants
me to chair philosophy
dept now ;)

It was so damn

Could not event

attempt all bro!


c i v i l s d i3g e
s t | a p(after
r i l 2 UPSC
0 1 6 mains result)

da fuq!

How to counter rainbows and butterflies?

Panditji said, next year is going to be
Please stop!

God probably has some plans for you

And where are they? In some fixed

3 friends (before UPSC deposit???

mains result)

Buck up. Think of the story of a spider who climbed up the

wall and inspired the king to fight another
battle... rmmbr?
Kuch bhi likh ke
aaya hoon yaar!
mein to
Squashed. Right now!
bhi fail
How can UPSC
make such a paper!
#Optionals went
Panditji said, next year is going to be awesome - JNU wants
It was so damn
Please stop! me to chair philosophy
dept now ;)

If you happen to identify with the guy on the middle or the left, there are high chances that
3 friends
you already know that
you were not
game atresult)
the mains this year. Your
setback is understandable but you will
soon be
bro!to analyse your attempts and improve
on your scores
Unless. unless of course the scenario
is this
bhi year.
likh ke

hoon yaar!

How can UPSC

3 friends
make such a paper!

#Ethics mein to
Gandhi+Tagore bhi fail

(after UPSC mains result)

#Optionals went
awesome - JNU wants
me to chair philosophy
now ;)
da fuq!

It was so damn

Could not event
attempt all bro!

I wrote the whole

ramayana and I still am
a ravan for UPSC

3 friends (after UPSC mains result)

da fuq!

You are the guy on the right, who had done most of the things under his/ her control to
optimise for high scores demolished the gs papers comprehensively,
quoted philosoLet
be and
- embrace
phers par excellence
in the
ethics paper
made sure that
optional papers rival the
I wrote the whole
doctoral thesis of the examiner but still got ditched by upsc.ramayana and I still am
a ravan for UPSC

And if this were not enough, your two buddies who up until now were not even sure of a
respectable exit, qualify for the interview! Thats a classic case of what a famous american
slang refers to as
snafu = Situation normal all fucked up

Let yourself be - embrace the setback

It's okay to revisit the Jagjit Singhs and Kumar Sanus of the past for a few
Stop right before imagination equates you to Manoj Kumar!

...and now, go back and find your island of happiness

Comfy island to

It's okay to revisit the Jagjit Singhs and Kumar Sanus of the past for a few
Stop right before imagination equates you to Manoj Kumar!
world where
...and now, go back and find your island of
UPSC is not your

Comfy island to

Life need not be an extended test match


I wrote the whole

ramayana and I still am
a ravan for UPSC

3 friends (after UPSC mains result)

da fuq!

I wrote the whole
Let yourself be - embrace the setback

ramayana and I still am

a ravan for UPSC

If you are at this stage (or have been at it at some point or the other in life), you would
agree that no amount of palliatives, niceties, wishes can really help you come out of the
You feel betrayed by some weird version of justice which you do not understand.
You probably would have left a decent job and decided to pursue UPSC (among other
choices of MBA, startups) OR made a promise to your parents and those around that you
Let yourself be - embrace the setback
will sit out sincerely for an year for this prestigious exam OR other more equally compelling
sacrifices and its understandable that you might feel angry for you did not sign up for this.
It's okay
revisit your
the Jagjit
and put
of thesmile
past (but
for abe
Let yourself
on an
that it is a slippery slope and you need to pulldays.
yourself right back up).
Stop right before imagination equates you to Manoj Kumar!
Try and be with people who can empathise with you and not sympathise.

...and now, go back and find your island of happiness

Comfy island to
It's okay to revisit the Jagjit Singhs and Kumar Sanus of the past for a few
Stop right before imagination equates you to Manoj Kumar!

...and now, go back and find your island of happiness

Comfy island to

Weird world where

UPSC is not your

for UPSC is like running a marathon.introspect
And as with all good runners, with time
and patience, you tend to understand yourself better. No other exam in the world expects
you to open up your
to such
amount oftest
and force you to
need not
an extended
process them at a speed which
put a reasonably
outdated Intel processor to shame
(that is still a lot to compare with you know!)
By now, you would have developed a fair bit of liking to some subjects, appreciation for some finer aspects of life, possibly a bent of mind for public policy making, well
Weird world where
nurtured interest in social sector landscape or a penchant for long
is nothiking
your (or
friend yourself
something equally exciting). Go to that island in your thoughts now. Remove
from the commotion. The shit has hit the fan here and you need to change a room till
cleans it up!

Life need not be an extended test match

of competitive exams!
Can there be a different route to make your impact?

Two people who once thought of becoming an IAS

Nachiket Mor

Can there be a different route to make your impact?


civils digest | april 2016

Jagjit Singh

Two people who once thought of becoming an IAS

Life need not be an extended test matchfriend

of competitive exams!

Life need not be an extended test match

of competitive exams!

Can there be a different route to make your impact?

You are not alone in this dilemma

Two people
Can there
a different
route to of
your impact?an IAS

Nachiket Mor

Two people who once thought of becoming an IAS

Nachiket Mor
Jagjit Singh

Singhon for whom life had other plans...
and there are many

This is the time that you need to be a master of your senses rather than a slave of
you discovered
in this
emotional waves.
but think hard.
and Answer
there arethe
on for
life had

Have you discovered yourself in this journey?

Is the fire still burning?

Should you consider
taking a strategic break?

Is the fire
which you are looking
Should you consider
taking a strategic break?
What's that ONE thing
which you are looking

Civilsdaily is not an online coaching portal. We are sure that you are aware of that
fact. We are dedicated to the cause of providing news with context and making content
approachable to everyone BUT we do believe that many among you have the potential
to dent the social fabric of our country in your own unique ways. Go ahead, identify the
your angst and your driver and take the plunge.
If you feel like talking to us, drop a mail at
If you think this long post was worth your time, do share it with your friends who may
benefit reading from it


How do some students get mind blowing

marks in interview of upsc exam?

Words of wisdom from a senior irs officer.

In the Civil Services Examination (cse), the marks of the interview (Personality Test)
make a lot of difference. You can get 100 marks (or less) and you can even get 200+ marks
in interview. When the competition is so tough and each mark counts, the marks in the
interview can make or mar your chances of getting into cse and getting the service of your
choice. There is no hard and fast rule for getting good marks. However, if you prepare
well, you can surely improve the chances of high score. I cant suggest you any trick which
can guarantee you great marks in interview but I can suggest some methods, which can
perhaps help you scoring better in the interview.

#1. W
 hy do you wish to join Civil

#2. I ncrease the width of your


This question is as old as civil services itself and the right answer
of this question is very critical. You must be clear in your mind
(and so the interviewers after listening your reply) as to why
you wish to join ias, ips, irs, ifs etc. It is better to know the
functioning of the top services and be ready to justify joining
these services.
If you are a professional like Engineer, Doctor, ca, mba, etc.
you should be doubly prepared for it. If you are from premium
institutes like iit, iim, aiims etc, be ready to be grilled even more
as if you are committing a crime by joining these services. If you
are leaving a job in private or government sector to join civil
services, be ready to justify it.

A civil servant must be sensitive to every important development

in the country and even around the world. You may not be able to
remember everything, but at least dont miss out the important
ones. It is not enough to know the facts, you must also have a
view on every issue.
For example, you must know about gst, Land Bill, fdi/
Retails reforms which are very important for country. You must
read newspapers and magazines extensively to know the positives and negatives of everything. A civil servant is not expected
to have a hardened view about anything.
He must be persuasive and should have a reasoned view of
everything which must also be flexible. You are also expected to
know your subject well. If the interviewer happen to be from your
field, you can expect tough questions.


civils digest | april 2016

#3. U
 nderstand the mind of
There are typically 4/5 members of the interview board headed
by the upsc Member or Chairman. It is always better to know in
depth about all the members of the upsc because you cant know
who is going to take your interview.
Their names are available on the upsc website. You must
do extensive research about their earlier professions and know
their likes and dislikes, from their articles or books.
You cant know the other members of the board in advance,
you have to make instant judgment about them during interview.
You must also meet the candidates who have already faced interview to know the types of questions asked by the different boards
and be accordingly prepared for it.

#4. Think Before Speaking

It is important to listen the questions carefully and think about
the best answer before you start speaking. Avoid instant reactions to questions, particularly on the provocative questions. It
is always advisable to admit, if you dont know the answer. You
must put yourself in the shoes of the officer before answering
the question. Dont answer the question from a student or a
common citizens perspective but from the perspective of an
officer, because most members of the boards are usually retired
or senior serving officers. They dont expect that you know
everything under the sun. But they expect honesty, fairness and
decency from you.

#5. Practice for the Interview

It is better to practice for the interview by the help of your friends
or those who have already faced the interview. There are many
mock-interviews coaching centers, who become active after the
declaration of the results of the Mains. You can join one or more
of them and they will train you for interview. You must debate
all issues with your friends to get wider perspectives of the issue.
It is better to avoid controversial statement during interview.
If forced to speak on a controversial issue, it is better to be diplomatic and noncommittal. You must learn the art to handle
complex and controversial issues. You must train yourself for
such questions appropriately. The more you practice, the more
confident you will become.

#6. Dress Appropriately

It may be advisable to dress appropriately and formally for the
occasion. Your dress should be comfortable and decent. You
should never look casual. You must also avoid being tense during
the interview. Dont wear tight cloths that are uncomfortable to
you and you have difficulty in sitting or walking. Needless to say
that your cloths should be clean and shoes must be polished. A
light color shirt and dark trousers may be advised for males and
saris or salwar-suits of decent design for females.

#7. Be Idealist, Be Law Abiding

A civil servant is expected to have high ideals because he is to
given immense power to administer the country and influencing
the lives of millions at very young age. You must have high ideals
for national service and upholding the Constitution of India.
You should never justify following illegal means to achieve
noble ends. You are a law enforcer. If you break the law yourself, who is going to follow them. You should never justify police
encounter for reducing crime and eliminating criminals.
And lastly,

#8. Be Positive
There are so many uncontrollable variables responsible for a getting good or bad marks in the interview. You cant control them
all. Often the interviewer may be biased for or against certain
community, religion, region, gender, language, background. However, these are random factors which often balance each other.
You cant control them and hence you must think positive and
presume that all these factors are going to help you. You must
have faith in yourself and God to decide your destiny.

Try your best and leave the rest to God.

Source: Awdhesh Singh, A Senior irs officer @Quora


Also available as print copy - Unique Civils

by Unique Publishers


civils digest | april 2016