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(The Gist of PIB) Draft Copyright (Amendment) Rules, 2019 [JUNE-2019]

    (The Gist of PIB) Draft Copyright (Amendment) Rules, 2019 [JUNE-2019]

Draft Copyright (Amendment) Rules, 2019

  • The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Government of India has now proposed to introduce the Copyright Amendment Rules, 2019.
  • Comments on the draft rules are invited till 29th June 2019.


  • The copyright regime is governed by the Copyright Act, 1957 and the Copyright Rules,2013. The Copyright Rules,2013 were last amended in 2016 through the Copyright Amendment Rules, 2016.
  • To ensure smooth compliance of Copyright Act in the light of technological advancement in digital era and to bring them in parity with other relevant legislations.

Key highlights of the rules:

  • Rules 29 to 31 will be amended to include “each mode of broadcast” for the words “radio broadcast or television broadcast”. Rules 29 to 31 deals with Statutory license for broadcasting of literary and musical works and sound recordings.
  • Deletion of Rule 57 (3) and (4) which dealt with interim tariff fixed by the Board being paid by a person appealing against the tariff scheme of a society that has fallen due before filing of the appeal.
  • Royalties of authors / owners who cannot be identified to be kept for three years.
  • It includes the requirement of having an Annual Transparency report which the copyright society must draw up.

Study Material for UPSC General Studies Pre Cum Mains

(The Gist of PIB) ICA issues first UAE Permanent Residency Golden Card in Abu Dhabi [JUNE-2019]

    (The Gist of PIB) ICA issues first UAE Permanent Residency Golden Card in Abu Dhabi [JUNE-2019]

ICA issues first UAE Permanent Residency Golden Card in Abu Dhabi

  • UAE’s Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) has issued the first Golden Residence Permit in Abu Dhabi to investor Yousuf Ali, the Abu Dhabi-based Keralite billionaire tycoon.


  • The “Gold Card” programme unveiled by UAE Prime Minister early this year is open to investors and “exceptional talents” such as doctors, engineers, scientists, students and artists.
  • The first batch of 6,800 investors with 100 billion Dirhams worth of investments in the country will be granted the “Golden Card.
  • Objective of this Permanent residency scheme to woo wealthy individuals and exceptional talents.

Need of gold card scheme:

  • Currently, short-term visas linked to employment hold back expatriates from investing and owning real estate in the UAE. They prefer to remit savings to their home countries instead.
  • The Gold Card scheme will encourage expats to make long-term investment goals, including owning a property.

Implications for India:

  • This move could attract more Indian professionals and businessmen to the country.
  • The Indian expatriate community is reportedly the largest ethnic community in the UAE, constituting roughly about 30 % of the country’s population of around nine million.

Study Material for UPSC General Studies Pre Cum Mains

(The Gist of PIB) ICA issues first UAE Permanent Residency Golden Card in Abu Dhabi [JUNE-2019]

    (The Gist of PIB) ICA issues first UAE Permanent Residency Golden Card in Abu Dhabi [JUNE-2019]

ICA issues first UAE Permanent Residency Golden Card in Abu Dhabi

  • UAE’s Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) has issued the first Golden Residence Permit in Abu Dhabi to investor Yousuf Ali, the Abu Dhabi-based Keralite billionaire tycoon.


  • The “Gold Card” programme unveiled by UAE Prime Minister early this year is open to investors and “exceptional talents” such as doctors, engineers, scientists, students and artists.
  • The first batch of 6,800 investors with 100 billion Dirhams worth of investments in the country will be granted the “Golden Card.
  • Objective of this Permanent residency scheme to woo wealthy individuals and exceptional talents.

Need of gold card scheme:

  • Currently, short-term visas linked to employment hold back expatriates from investing and owning real estate in the UAE. They prefer to remit savings to their home countries instead.
  • The Gold Card scheme will encourage expats to make long-term investment goals, including owning a property.

Implications for India:

  • This move could attract more Indian professionals and businessmen to the country.
  • The Indian expatriate community is reportedly the largest ethnic community in the UAE, constituting roughly about 30 % of the country’s population of around nine million.

Study Material for UPSC General Studies Pre Cum Mains

(The Gist of PIB) Mehul Choksi ‘fugitive and absconder’: ED tells Bombay HC [JUNE-2019]

    (The Gist of PIB) Mehul Choksi ‘fugitive and absconder’: ED tells Bombay HC [JUNE-2019]

Mehul Choksi ‘fugitive and absconder’: ED tells Bombay HC

  • Enforcement Directorate told Bombay High Court that Diamond trader Mehul Choksi, accused in the multi-crore Punjab National Bank scam, is a fugitive economic offender.

Fugitive Economic Offenders Act (FEOA): Salient features

  • The FEOA became a law on July 31, 2018.
  • In January 2019, Absconding liquor baron Vijay Mallya became the first person to be declared a fugitive economic offender by the special court hearing cases under the FEOA.
  • Now, government can now confiscate all his properties.


  • To deter economic offenders from avoiding the process of Indian law by remaining outside the jurisdiction of Indian courts.
  • To ensure that fugitive economic offenders return to India to face the action in accordance with law.

Defining Fugitive economic offender (FEO):

  • FEO is defined as an individual who has committed offences involving an amount of 100 crore rupees or more and has ran away from India to avoid criminal prosecution.
  • A special court will be established under the Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002 to declare a person as a Fugitive Economic Offender.
  • Special courts can direct the Central government to seize assets of fugitive economicoffender including those that are proceeds of the crime.
  • Appeals against the orders of the special court will lie before the High Court.

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(The Gist of PIB) Jan Shikshan Sansthans [JUNE-2019]

    (The Gist of PIB) Jan Shikshan Sansthans [JUNE-2019]

Jan Shikshan Sansthans

  • Union Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship announced that Fee for SC/ST candidates, who join vocational training under Jan Shikshan Sansthans (JSS) has been waived off.


  • Currently, there are 247 JSSs working across the country imparting vocational skill training programmes and entrepreneurship benefits accessible to the underprivileged such as neo-literates, semi-literates, SCs, STs, women and girls, slum dwellers, migrant workers.
  • Formerly under the Ministry of Human Resources Development, Jan Shikshan Sansthan has been transferred to the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship in 2018.

Key highlights of the New guidelines released for JSSs in January 2019:

  • Alignment of JSS course and curriculum to National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF) to standardize training.
  • Decentralization of powers for JSSs- giving more accountability and independence to district administration.
  • Linking JSS to PFMS (Public Finance Management system) maintaining transparency and accountability of the ecosystem.
  • Training of Trainers to develop the capacity through NSTIs (National Skills Training Institutes).

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(The Gist of PIB) Retired Officers Digital Records Archive (RODRA) [JUNE-2019]

    (The Gist of PIB) Retired Officers Digital Records Archive (RODRA) [JUNE-2019]

Retired Officers Digital Records Archive (RODRA)

  • Manpower Planning (MP) Directorate, (MP 5 and 6) is responsible for custody and maintenance of approximately 1.2 Lakh service records of serving and retired officers of the Indian Army.
  • However, due to lack of digitisation and non-availability of latest address and contact details of veterans, connecting with veteran officers/family pensioners and addressing their grievances was a major challenge.

Aim of this initiative

  • To overcome the same a website Retired Officers Digital Records Archive (RODRA, was launched.
  • The aim was to establish an interface between the custodian of officers’ Records i.e AG/MP 5 and 6 and veteran officers/Next of Kin (NOK) and to create a digital data repository in order to address documentation/pension related grievances and update on relevant policies.
  • Some of the facilities extended to veterans through website are updation of records.

Registration and tracking of documents/ pension related grievances.

  • Communicating with veteran officers/ NOK on various issues.

Key highlights

  • After the launch of RODRA website various types of Pension Payment Order (PPOs) issued by PCDA (P) from time to time to veterans has now been discontinued thereby saving of manpower, stationery and postal charges.
  • The PPOs are now uploaded on the website and veterans are able to download it from the website.
  • Monitoring and management of grievances of veterans has been streamlined thereby improving satisfaction levels.
  • Automation of the records of serving officers is also in progress.
  • An application has been developed and is being launched on the internal Army Portal in Jun 2019.
  • This would facilitate serving officers to view their service and other records online as well as interact with AG/MP 5 and 6 on various Records/documentation related issues.

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(The Gist of PIB) Autonomy of Prasar Bharati paramount [JUNE-2019]

    (The Gist of PIB) Autonomy of Prasar Bharati paramount [JUNE-2019]

Autonomy of Prasar Bharati paramount

  • In a significant initiative in public broadcasting, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting flagged off 17 new Digital Service News Gathering (DSNG) vans for DD News.


  • These DSNG vans for DD News are equipped to telecast live using video stream from multiple cameras.
  • All of them are equipped to support telecast of content in High Definition through which viewers across the country will be able to access high quality content.
  • The initiative is significant in ensuring live coverage of events throughout the length and breadth of the country.

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(The Gist of PIB) Finance Commission hold meeting with representatives of Autonomous Development Councils (ADCs) of Meghalaya [JUNE-2019]

    (The Gist of PIB) Finance Commission hold meeting with representatives of Autonomous Development Councils (ADCs) of Meghalaya [JUNE-2019]

Finance Commission hold meeting with representatives of Autonomous Development Councils (ADCs) of Meghalaya

  • The 15th Finance Commission headed by its Chairman, Shri N.K. Singh as part of its visit to the State of Meghalaya today held a meeting with the representatives of the Autonomous Development Councils of Meghalaya.
  • There are 3 Autonomous District Councils (ADCs) in Meghalaya namely the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council, the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council and the Jaintia Hills Autonomous District Council.

Constitutional provisions

  • Article 243M (1) of the Indian constitution made special provision that nothing in the part IX of the constitutions (provisions for creating Panchayat) shall apply to the Scheduled Areas referred to in clause (1), and the tribal areas referred to in clause (2), of the Article 244.
  • The Sixth Schedule makes provision that these tribal areas will be autonomous districts and be governed by Autonomous District Councils Functions:
  • The functions of ADCs as defined in schedule 6 of the constitution included –
  • making laws on land,
  • management of forests, except reserved forests,
  • appointment of traditional chiefs and headmen,
  • making rules regulating the inheritance of property, marriage, divorce, constitution of village courts, to undertake development works like constructions of roads, waterways etc.

Revenue Sources of ADCs

  • The main Revenue Sources of ADCs as specified by Paragraph 8 of the Sixth Schedule were:
  • taxes on professions, trades, callings and employment;
  • taxes on animal, vehicles and boats;
  • taxes on the entry of goods into a market and sale therein, and tolls on passenger and goods carried on ferries; and
  • taxes for the maintenance of school, dispensaries or roads.

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THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 27 February 2020 (Towards E-Mobility Mission (The Hindu))

Towards E-Mobility Mission (The Hindu)

Mains Paper 3:Economy
Prelims level: National E-Mobility Plan
Mains level: Infrastructure development in transport sector


  • The Supreme Court has sought response from centralgovernment on a petition that was filed questioning theimplementation of National E-Mobility Plan. VEHICLE
    More Efficiency:
  • Though batteries deliver 340 times lessenergy than gasoline, the battery-run vehicles have anefficiency of nearly 85% compared to 20% of gasoline-runengines. This means 85% energy can be used to run thewheels and only 15% is lost as heat. Whereas in a gasolineengine only 20% energy of gasoline makes it to the heels; theremaining 80% is lost as heat.

Crude Oil Imports:

  • Nearly 80% of India’s oil requirementcomes from its crude oil imports. EVs reduce the need for oilimport.

Coal Sector Liberalisation:

  • India has recently liberalized itscoal sector by privatizing mining and allowing FDI in Coalmining. Besides, recently India has ended its captive miningregime accelerating the commercial mining of coal in India.
    EVs can utilise this expansion in electricity production.

Safe and Clean Urban Mobility:

  • In the backdrop of 1stGlobal Mobility Summit, the PM identified the two mostimportant challenges in urban India today are pollution andcongestion. Rapid urbanization has increased India’stransport demand by almost 8 times since 1980.
    Besides according to WHO, there are 14 Indian cities amongthe top 15 most polluted cities in the world.

Comprehensive Action Plan (CAP):

  • The SC appointed EPCAhas identified vehicular pollution as the main reason forpollution in Delhi NCR.One of the steps recommended by EPCA under CAP is introduction of battery operated vehicles in targetedsegments of two-wheelers, three- wheelers and buses.

National E-Mobility Mission Plan:

  • National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) 2020 waslaunched in 2013 as a National Mission to provide thevision and the roadmap for the faster adoption of electricvehicles and their manufacturing in India.
  • Under it, the government targeted to get at least six toseven million electric vehicles on the road by 2020.
  • Further in a bid to go green, the government planned to goall-electric in terms of new car sales in the country by theyear 2030. However, recently this target was reduced to30%.
  • National E-mobility Programme aims to provide animpetus to the entire e-mobility ecosystem that includeselectric vehicle manufacturers, charging infrastructuredevelopment companies, fleet operators, serviceproviders, etc.
  • State-run Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) isresponsible for procuring electric vehicles for theGovernment.
  • In August 2019, Ministry of Road Transport and Highwayshas set targets for complete switch to electric vehicles in 2-wheeler and 3-wheeler segment: 2-wheeler segmentunder 150cc from April 2025, 3-wheeler segment fromApril 2023.
  • Accordingly, under the NEMMP the Department of HeavyIndustry formulated a Scheme called Faster Adoption andManufacturing of (Hybrid and) Electric Vehicles in India(FAME India) Scheme in the year 2015 to promotemanufacturing of electric and hybrid vehicle technology.
  • The Phase-I of this Scheme was initially launched for aperiod of 2 years, commencing from 1st April 2015, whichwas subsequently extended from time to time and the lastextension was allowed up to 31st March 2019.
  • The 1st Phase of FAME India Scheme was implementedthrough four focus areas namely:Demand Creation,Technology Platform,Pilot Project andCharging Infrastructure.
  • Market creation through demand incentives was aimed atincentivizing all vehicle segments i.e. 2-Wheelers, 3-Wheelers Auto, Passenger 4-Wheeler vehicles, LightCommercial Vehicles and Buses.
  • Under the NEMMP 2020, there is an ambitious target toachieve 6-7 million sales of hybrid and electric vehicles bythe year 2020.
  • In February, 2019, the Union cabinet had approved theproposal for implementation of Phase II of FAME Schemefor promotion of Electric Mobility in the country. Thisscheme is the expanded version of the FAME -I.

Objectives of the scheme:

  • The main objective of the scheme is to encourage FasterAdoption of Electric and Hybrid Vehicle by way of offeringupfront incentive on purchase of Electric vehicles and alsoby way of establishing a necessary charging Infrastructurefor electric vehicles.
  • Based on the experience gained in the Phase-I of FAMEIndia Scheme, it has been observed that sufficient numberof charging infrastructure is required to achieve expectedoutcome of the plan, which is being addressed presently inPhase-II of FAME Scheme.
  • Department of Heavy Industry notified Phase-II of theScheme in March 2019 with an outlay of Rs. 10,000 Croresfor a period of 3 years commencing from 1st April 2019.
  • The scheme will help in addressing the issue ofenvironmental pollution and fuel security. Emphasis is onelectrification of the public transportation that includesshared transport.
  • The scheme proposes for establishment of charginginfrastructure, whereby about 2700 charging stations willbe established in metros, other million plus cities, smartcities and cities of Hilly states across the country so thatthere will be availability of at least one charging station in agrid of 3 km x 3 km.
  • Establishment of Charging stations arealso proposed on major highways connecting major cityclusters.

Limitations of Li-ion batteries:

  • The complete fleet of EVscurrently is run on LiBs which poses a major challenge forswitch to EVs.
  • LiBs are expensive, they are not suitable for long-distance travel, the LiBs used in EVs are about 500 Kgs and makes up forbulk of the weight of the cars.
  • LiBs use lithium, cobalt, nickel and manganese which arein short supply in the world restricted to Bolivia, Chile.
  • Charging infrastructure.
  • Battery recycling: For this government has proposedbattery swapping stations.
  • Possible Job losses: Besides EVs have lesser number ofmoving parts (about 20 compared to 2000 in gasolinevehicles) in them as compared to gasoline vehicles.
  • This isbecause of constant torque generated at all speeds. As aresult, the transmission system, gearbox, clutch etc. arenot needed. This results in loss of jobs in the MSME sectorin India which produces many of these auto parts.

Way forward:

  • However, India needs auto industry's active participationto ease electric mobility transition.
  • The auto and battery industries could collaborate toenhance customer awareness, promote domesticmanufacturing, promote new business models, conductR&D for EVs and components and must consider newbusiness models to promote EVs.
  • Government should focus on a phased manufacturing planto promote EVs, provide fiscal and non-fiscal incentives forphased manufacturing of EVs and batteries.
  • Transformation to EVs will create enormous economic,social and environmental benefits for the citizens of India.

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Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 25 February 2020

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 25 February 2020


Mizoram asks centre to review inter-state border with Assam

  • The Mizoram government has been making efforts to resolve the long-pending boundary dispute with Assam and has asked the Centre to review the inter-State border, the Assembly was informed on Monday.

  • In reply to a query by Congress legislature party leader ZodintluangaRalte, Home Minister Lalchamliana said the State government had sent a letter to the Union Home Ministry praying for a review of the border on December 15 last year.

  • He said the government was making efforts to resolve the dispute at Zophai area near Bairabi town along the State border with Assam.

  • The last border stand-off between the two States had taken place at Zophai in March 2018 when members of a students’ body of Mizoram attempted to construct a wooden resting shed there. The Assam police had resisted their bid and many students were allegedly injured.

  • Mr.Lalchamliama said a core committee constituted by the State government in May 2018 to study the boundary issue has collected some important documents related to the border.

  • In July last year, Chief Minister Zoramthanga had said, without elaborating, that his government had evolved a strategy to resolve the border dispute.

  • On that strategy, the Home Minister said in the Assembly on Monday that it was not made public as that would not be “convenient”.Several discussions held between the two States since 1995 to resolve the border dispute have yielded little result.

KisanSammanNidhi to cover fewer farmers

  • One year after the launch of the PradhanMantriKisanSammanNidhi, the Centre has revised the farmer income support scheme’s beneficiary target down to just under 12 crore from 14 crore.

  • In fact, empirical evidence suggests that saturation level will reach around 10 crore families. So far, almost 8.5 crore farmers have benefited.

  • The scheme, which gives land-owning farmer families an annual sum of ₹6,000, was launched in the run-up to the 2019 LokSabha election, and new registrations have slowed after the election.

  • The Centre’s beneficiary estimate of 14 crore was initially based on the number of landholdings recorded in the agricultural land census.

  • The revised estimate of 11.97 crore is based on the 9.84 crore who have registered themselves on the portal so far (although only 8.45 crore have received money so far), plus an estimated 2.13 crore beneficiaries left out, mostly from West Bengal and Bihar.

  • In Bihar, the potential beneficiaries number 158 lakh. However, only 59.7 lakh farmers have uploaded their data on the PM-KISAN portal so far. “The State has adopted a beneficiary application-based approach, which is delaying identification and upload,” said the presentation.


RBI governor expresses concern over bank profitabilities

  • While the Indian banking sector may be slowly turning around on the back of improvement in asset quality, its profitability remains fragile, Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das said.

  • He also said that banks continued to face challenges like the present crisis in the telecom sector.

  • He said the capital position of banks had improved on account of recapitalisation of public sector banks by the government and capital raising efforts by private sector banks.

  • According to Mr. Das, the overhang of non-performing assets (NPAs) remains relatively high, which is weighing on credit growth.

  • On consolidation in public sector banks, he said a properly worked out consolidation of PSBs can generate synergies in allocation of workforce and branches.

  • On non-banking finance companies, he said, recognising the systemic importance of such entities and their inter-linkages with the financial system, the RBI had taken steps and the asset-liability management (ALM) position and other aspects of top 50 NBFCs were being closely monitored, covering all NBFCs with asset size above ₹5,000 crore.

Government sets target for more urbanised clusters in rural areas

  • Union Minister for Rural Development Narendra Singh Tomar has said, after evaluating the success rate of Rurban Clusters scheme, government is intending to move ahead to construct 1,000 more urbanized clusters in rural areas.

  • Speaking at the of 4th Anniversary Celebration function of Shyama Prasad MukherjiRurban Mission, SPMRM in New Delhi today, Mr Tomar said, sense of mutual cooperation between people, who want urbanization in their rural space and concerned ministry officials will be instrumental in ensuring the success of the scheme.

  • On the occasion, the Minister launched GeoRurban, a mobile app to be used for Geo-tagging for the assets in the rurban clusters.

  • AIR correspondent reports that this flagship scheme of Centre, launched by Prime Minister NarendraModi on 21st February in 2016, aims at transforming these Rurban clusters by stimulating local economic development, enhancing basic services, and creating well planned Rurban clusters.

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PM describes trump visit as historical

  • Prime Minister NarendraModi today hailed US President Donald Trump's maiden visit to India as a new chapter in the historic Indo-US relations.

  • The Prime Minister stated this while welcoming the US President at the 'Namaste Trump' event held at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahemdabad in Gujarat after President Trump's arrival on the first leg of his two-day trip.

  • Over one lakh people gathered at the stadium in Motera area to witness the address of US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister NarendraModi at the 'Namaste Trump' event.

  • The Prime Minister hailed the relationship between the two countries.He said, India and the US is no longer just another partnership but a far greater and closer relationship.

  • Prime Minister emphasized the democratic traditions of the two nations as the basis for the strong relationship. He also referred to his close friendship with President Trump and the cooperation between the two countries in various fields.

  • The Prime Minister said, India and the US relations and cooperation will play an important role in deciding the course of the world in the 21st century. Prime Minister Modi also hailed President Trump's leadership in containing terrorism.

UNICEF survey shows sharp decline in child malnutrition in Bangladesh

  • The child malnutrition rate in Bangladesh has declined sharply over the last six years. The finding was reported in the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) 2019, jointly conducted by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) and UNICEF. The survey has also recorded an improvement in many other areas related to health and nutrition, Child protection, hygiene and sanitation.

  • The rate of chronic malnutrition among children measured by the stunting level among them has come down from 42 percent in 2013 to 28 percent in 2019. The percentage of underweight children below 5 also declined from about 32 percent to 22.6 percent over the same period. The infant mortality rate has also declined from 46 to 34 per thousand live births between 2012-13 and 2019.

  • The survey reports that the percentage of children of school entry age who enter the first grade of primary school marked a sharp upward trend from 33 percent in 2012-13 to 61.4 in 2019.

  • The survey also records improvement in access to and use of toilets, birth registration, ante-natal care coverage, institutional deliveries and similar other parameters indicating an overall improvement in child and mother health in the country.

  • However, the availability of Children’s books declined from 8.8 percent to 6.1 percent during this period. The incidence of violent disciplining of children has shown an upward trend during this period.


Sweden launches food planet prize for sustainable food solutions

  • Sweden has created 1 million USD worth prizes to feed billion of people. The prize is named as the “Food Planet Prize”.The main aim of the step is to address the climate change threats towards food supply all over the world.

  • The prize is to be awarded annually. Sweden is to offer two Food Planet prizes. They are “an existing scalable solution for sustainable foods” and theother includes “innovative initiatives to transform global food sector”.

  • Today, the world population is 7.8 billion and is expected to grow by 10 billion by 2050. In order to feed such a huge population, it is essential totransform the eating habits, reduce food waste and also improve food production.

  • Today there are more than 820 million people that lack sufficient food. There are many others that consume low-quality diet. The data was provided bythe LANCET publication. Therefore, the prize will encourage people to work towards sustainable food production.


India to host commonwealth shooting and archery championships in 2022

  • India will host the Commonwealth Shooting and Archery Championships in January 2022. The medals from the two events will be counted for ranking of competing nations at the Birmingham Games. However, the medals will be added to the final tally one week after the conclusion of the Games.

  • The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) announced this decision after the three-day Executive Board meeting in London yesterday. The two events will be held in Chandigarh in January 2022 while the Birmingham Commonwealth Games is scheduled from 27th of July to 7th of August , 2022.

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THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 25 February 2020 (The issues around data localisation (The Hindu))

The issues around data localisation (The Hindu)

Mains Paper 2:Polity
Prelims level: Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill 2019
Mains level: Pros and cons of the Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill 2019


  • ThePersonal Data Protection (PDP) Bill, 2019 was referred to a joint parliamentary committee, which is currently engaged in a process of public consultation.


  • The draft law is a comprehensive piece of legislation that seeks to give individuals greater control over how their personal data is collected, stored and used.
  • Once passed, the law promises a huge improvement on current Indian privacy law, which is both inadequate and improperly enforced.
  • The PDP Bill, however, is not without its flaws. It has attracted criticism on various grounds such as the exceptions created for the state, the limited checks imposed on state surveillance, and regarding various deficiencies in the structures and processes of the proposed Data Protection Authority.

Data localisation in draft Bill:

  • One of the more contentious issues in the law Bill are the provisions pertaining to “data localisation”. The phrase, which can refer to any restrictions on cross-border transfer of data (for instance, requirements to seek permission for transfer, the imposition of taxes for foreign transfers of data, etc.), has largely come to refer to the need to physically locate data within the country.
  • The PDP Bill enables the transfer of personal data outside India, with the sub-category of sensitive personal data having to be mirrored in the country (i.e. a copy will have to be kept in the country). Data processing/collecting entities will however be barred from transferring critical personal data (a category that the government can notify at a subsequent stage) outside the country.
  • These provisions have been changed from the earlier version of the draft Bill, released by the Justice Srikrishna Committee in 2018. The 2018 draft imposed more stringent measures that required both personal and sensitive personal data to be mirrored in the country (subject to different conditions).

Need to liberalise the bill:

  • Liberalised requirements will limit costs to business and ensure users have greater flexibility in choosing where to store their data.
  • Prima facie, the changes in the 2019 draft reflect a more proportionate approach to the issue as they implement a tiered system for cross-border data transfer, ostensibly based on the sensitivity/vulnerability of the data.

Purpose of localisation:

  • There are broadly three sets of arguments advanced in favour of imposing stringent data localisation norms: Sovereignty and government functions; referring to the need to recognise Indian data as a resource to be used to further national interest (economically and strategically), and to enable enforcement of Indian law and state functions.
  • The second claim is that economic benefits will accrue to local industry in terms of creating local infrastructure, employment and contributions to the AI ecosystem.
  • Finally, regarding the protection of civil liberties, the argument is that local hosting of data will enhance its privacy and security by ensuring Indian law applies to the data and users can access local remedies.
  • If data protection was required for these purposes, it would make sense to ensure that local copies were retained of all the categories of personal data provided for in the Bill (as was the case with the previous draft of the law).
  • In the alternative, sectoral obligations would also suffice (as is currently the case with sectors such as digital payments data, certain types of telecom data, government data, etc.).

Protecting user privacy?

  • In a 2018 working paper published by the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, we pointed at the fallacies in the assumption that data localisation will necessarily lead to better privacy protections.
  • We note that the security of data is determined more by the technical measures, skills, cybersecurity protocols, etc. put in place rather than its mere location. Localisation may make it easier for domestic surveillance over citizens.
  • However, it may also enable the better exercise of privacy rights by Indian citizens against any form of unauthorised access to data, including by foreign intelligence.
  • Overall, the degree of protection afforded to data will depend on the effectiveness of the applicable data protection regime.

Extra-territorial application:

  • Further, the extra-territorial application of the PDP Bill also ensures that the data protection obligations under the law continue to exist even if the data is transferred outside the country.
  • If privacy protection is the real consideration, individuals ought to be able to choose to store their data in any location which afford them the strongest privacy protections.
  • It becomes important for the joint parliamentary committee currently examining the Bill to conduct a more in-depth evaluation of the localisation provisions in the law.

Way ahead:

  • The joint parliamentary committee ought to, ideally, identify the need, purpose and practicality of putting in place even the (relatively liberal) measures contained in the PDP Bill.
  • In order for localisation-related norms to bear fruit, either in terms of protecting citizen rights, enabling law enforcement access to data or enabling development of the local economy, there has to be broader thinking at the policy level.
  • This may include for instance, reforming surveillance related laws, entering into more detailed and up-to-date mutual legal assistance treaties, enabling the development of sufficient digital infrastructure, and creating appropriate data-sharing policies that preserve privacy and other third party rights, while enabling data to be used for socially useful purposes.

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THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 25 February 2020 (Dual citizenship: on regularising stay of Sri Lankan refugees (The Hindu))

Dual citizenship: on regularising stay of Sri Lankan refugees (The Hindu)

Mains Paper 2:Polity
Prelims level: Citizenship
Mains level: Granting citizenship status to Sri Lankan refugees


  • The contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, has again triggered an ill-advised demand for dual citizenship to Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka.


  • This refuses to leave public discourse despite the constitutional and legal position being clearly against the grant of dual citizenship per se.
  • As on date, no Indian citizen holds the citizenship of any other country.
  • The Centre amended the Citizenship Act in 2003 to introduce the Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) scheme for sections of the Indian diaspora, all it provided was a limited version of ‘dual citizenship’ which came without political rights and with a bar on purchase of agricultural land.
  • It would defy logic, then, to seek dual citizenship for those who are not Indian nationals.

Steps taken by the government:

  • The Centre has consistently favoured voluntary repatriation of refugees to Sri Lanka.
  • New Delhiis not in a mood to confer Indian citizenship on them.
  • Although the Central and State governments do a lot to make the refugees’ stay comfortable, most of them are regarded as illegal migrants, as they arrived with no valid travel documents.
  • In the run-up to the 2016 Assembly elections, the then Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, flagged the issue of dual citizenship. Since then, representations have been made regularly to the Centre. Governor Banwarilal Purohit too referred to the demand in his Assembly address last month.

Not permitted dual citizenship concept:

  • Earlier this month, the government told the Rajya Sabha that neither the Constitution nor the CAA permitted dual citizenship. This ought to put an end to the debate, which will otherwise create false expectations among the refugees.
  • The need to treat the refugees in a humane manner and in the absence of a law on refugees, the Centre should stop seeing Sri Lankan refugees as “illegal migrants”; they entered India with the knowledge and approval of Indian authorities.
  • As for those who wish to remain in India for studies or to earn a livelihood, the authorities should tweak the OCI Cardholder scheme or offer an exclusive long-term visa.
  • The stay of 95,000-odd refugees in Tamil Nadu will be regularised.

Way ahead:

  • As for those keen on returning home but are unable to do so for want of support from Sri Lanka, New Delhi should lean on Colombo to help enable their early return.
  • Besides, the two countries should formulate a scheme of structured assistance to expedite voluntary repatriation, which is moving at a snail’s pace even a decade after the civil war ended.
  • These steps can lead to a lasting resolution of issues concerning those who have been in India for over 30 years.

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THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 25 February 2020 (The unassailable keywords for the judiciary (The Hindu))

The unassailable keywords for the judiciary (The Hindu)

Mains Paper 2:Polity
Prelims level: International Judicial Conference 2020
Mains level: Judiciary and its independency


  • Justice Arun Mishra’s public praise of the Prime Minister at a public forum raises serious questions about the independence of the judiciary.


  • He was speaking at the inaugural session of the International Judicial Conference 2020, ‘Judiciary and the Changing World’.
  • The international judicial community must have been left aghast as far as the very independence of the Indian judiciary is concerned. Judges across India must be left bewildered wondering whether they should indulge in similar praises or not.
  • One cannot forget that Justice Mishra is one of the seniormost judgesof the Supreme Court of India and every word spoken by him may be taken seriously by those connected with the administration of justice.

Reiterating independence:

  • In a 1981 judgment, the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court held that, Judges should be stern stuff and tough fire, unbending before power, economic or political, and they must uphold the core principle of the rule of law which says: ‘Be you ever so high, the law is above you.’.
  • This is the principle of independence of the judiciary which is vital for the establishment of real participatory democracy, maintenance of the rule of law as a dynamic concept and delivery of social justice to the vulnerable sections of the community.
  • It is this principle of independence of the judiciary which we must keep in mind while interpreting the relevant provisions of the Constitution.

Standard of conduct:

  • Among the several attributes that have been prescribed of a judge is “proper personal conduct”.
  • It was also declared, “The Judges of higher echelons, therefore, should not be mere men of clay with all the frailties and foibles, human failings and weak character which may be found in those in other walks of life. They should be men of fighting faith with tough fibre not susceptible to any pressure, economic, political or any sort.”.
  • It concluded, “In short, the behaviour of the Judge is the bastion for the people to reap the fruits of the democracy, liberty and justice and the antithesis rocks the bottom of the rule of law.”


THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 25 February 2020 (A wider platter(Indian Express))

A wider platter(Indian Express)

Mains Paper 1:Art and Culture
Prelims level: Historical Gastronomica
Mains level: Key findings about food habits in Harappan Era


  • The National Museum in New Delhi has decided to keep meat out of the ‘Historical Gastronomica’ event that it is hosting on its premises until February 25, allegedly after “a couple of MPs” reacted to the menu posted online by the Ministry of Culture.

Food of Harappans:

  • The event, presented by the Museum along with One Station Million Stories (OSMS), claims to treat visitors to “The Indus dining experience” through a “specially crafted menu that strictly includes ingredients that were identified by archaeologists and researchers from sites of the Indus-Saraswati Civilisation”.
  • However, archaeological evidence from Indus Valley sites (c. 3300 BC to 1300 BC) in present-day India and Pakistan suggests that a purely vegetarian meal will not provide a complete picture of what the Harappan people ate.
  • Apart from meat, the people of the Indus Valley Civilisation grew and ate a variety of cereals and pulses. There is archaeological evidence for cultivation of pea (matar), chickpea (chana), pigeon pea (tur/arhar), horse gram (chana dal) and green gram (moong).
  • Several varieties of wheat have been found at Harappan sites, as well as barley of the two-rowed and six-rowed kinds. There is evidence that the Harappans cultivated Italian millet, ragi and amaranth, as well as sorghum and rice.
  • Food made with many of these ingredients finds a place in the menu curated by OSMS. There are rotis made of millet and saktu (barley meal), and dishes like boiled lentil stew, barley griddle cakes, fermented vine or spinach leaves stuffed with millet, chickpeas and moong, puffed rice tossed and flaxseed tossed with honey, barley bread, brown sesame seed and jaggery laddu, and a drink made of saktu.
  • Condiments use ingredients that have been identified at Indus Valley sites: chickpea and black pepper chutney, cucumber and cumin pickle with sesame oil, mustard greens and sesame oil chutney, and jaggery and cinnamon syrup.

A history of taste:

  • The menu at ‘Historical Gastronomica’ suggests that the food of the Indus Valley people would be familiar to many Indians today, even as it challenges the idea of an essentially “Indian” culinary culture.
  • Many of our staples today — potatoes, tomatoes, chillies, leavened bread, cheese, apples — came to India from other parts of the world.
  • The people of the Indus Valley, as well as those of ancient and most of medieval India, for example, would not have known what to with a potato or a tomato.
  • At the same time, much of what was once eaten by our ancestors has been taken off our plates over time, thanks to cultural and economic forces. Among these foods are a number of animals that were once hunted or reared in the subcontinent.


THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 25 February 2020 ( Man with wild (Indian Express))

 Man with wild (Indian Express)

Mains Paper 3:Environment
Prelims level: Mhadei
Mains level: Human animal conflict and resolve the issues related to it


  • The death of four tigers in Mhadei, Goa, and the reported arrest of the locals who poisoned the animals after their complaints were not attended to in a way it should have been.
  • Pramod Sawant, the chief minister of Goa, reportedly said that, “we will demarcate and fence the borders of the wildlife sanctuaries” in order to end 80 per cent of the problem. Although the intentions are good, this isn’t a solution. Tigers do not understand boundaries made for administrative purposes. What happens when a tiger goes “outside” and kills cattle?

India in wildlife conservation:

  • India is a unique country with respect to wildlife conservation. Despite a billion people we still have most of our large wildlife species. Compared to relatively lower human density countries in south-east Asia.
  • India today has the largest population of the tiger, Asian elephant, leopard, sloth bear, gaur and many others: These animals cannot be restricted to inside a few hundred kilometres of protected areas.
  • Tigers need large spaces because they are large animals. Because we cannot create large spaces without humans in India, wildlife does not have a choice but to also use human-use landscapes.

Way forward:

  • The compensation procedures need to be improved. The communication and interaction between the forest department and the locals has to be improved.
  • Inclusive development with a long-term vision that cares for the environment. It is about better public services in terms of transparency, accountability and genuine assistance.
  • After all, we are talking about communities who need to be custodians of the tigers and tigers who can, in turn, provide the communities much-needed development in remote areas.

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(The Gist of PIB) Swachh Bharat Mission impact on Groundwater [JUNE-2019]

    (The Gist of PIB) Swachh Bharat Mission impact on Groundwater [JUNE-2019]

Swachh Bharat Mission impact on Groundwater

  • Union Minister for Jal Shakti Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has said that Swachhata affects all aspects of the environment – be it groundwater, surface water, soil or air – as well as health and well-being of the communities in ODF regions.
  • Praising the Swachh Bharat Mission for bringing a reduction in ground water contamination, he said, the WHO 2018 study had estimated that the Swachh Bharat Mission will save over 3 lakh lives by the time India is Open Defacation Free.
  • Releasing two independent third-party studies conducted on the Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen), the Minister said, the Mission will continue to positively impact people’s lives for a long time to come.
  • These studies, commissioned by UNICEF and the Bill and Melinda Gates, were aimed at assessing the environmental impact and communication footprint of the Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen) respectively.
  • The full reports as well as the summary reports of both the studies can be downloaded from and

Summary of the study findings

Environmental Impact study by UNICEF

  • The study found that, in terms of faecal contamination, non-ODF villages were, on average:
  • 11.25 times more likely to have their groundwater sources contaminated (12.7 times more from contaminants traceable to humans alone)
  • 1.13 times more likely to have their soil contaminated
  • 1.48 times more likely to have food contaminated and 2.68 times more likely to have household drinking water contaminated.
  • The study findings indicated that these substantial reductions may potentially be attributed to the improvement in sanitation and hygiene practices, as well as supportive systems such as regular monitoring and behaviour change messaging, which have all been critical aspects of the Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen).

IEC footprint study by Gates Foundation

  • SBM mobilized a spend equivalent worth INR 22,000 to 26,000 crores in monetary and non-monetary IEC activities.
  • Of this spend equivalent, cash expenditure on IEC activities spent by the Government, private sector, and the development community was estimated to be between INR 3,500 – 4,000 crores.
  • Of this cash spend, ~20% (~INR 800 crores) was spent by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MDWS), ~35% (~INR 1,250 crores) by the State Sanitation Departments, ~25% (~INR 1,000 crores) by other government ministries, and the other ~20% by the private sector (CSR and business expenditures) and the development sector collectively.
  • An average person living in rural India was exposed to between 2,500 – 3,300 SBM related messages over the last five years.

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(The Gist of PIB) ACC approves extension in service to Shri P. K. Sinha as Cabinet Secretary for three months [JUNE-2019]

    (The Gist of PIB) ACC approves extension in service to Shri P. K. Sinha as Cabinet Secretary for three months [JUNE-2019]

ACC approves extension in service to Shri P. K. Sinha as Cabinet Secretary for three months

  • (d) The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved extension in service to Pradeep Kumar Sinha, IAS as Cabinet Secretary for a further period of three months beyond 12.06.2019 or until further orders, whichever is earlier.

Cabinet Secretariat:

  • (d) The Cabinet Secretariat functions directly under the Prime Minister.
  • (d) The administrative head of the Secretariat is the Cabinet Secretary who is also the ex-officio Chairman of the Civil Services Board.
  • (d) The business allocated to Cabinet Secretariat under Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961 includes: (i) Secretarial assistance to the Cabinet and Cabinet Committees; and (ii) Rules of Business.


  • (d) The Cabinet Secretariat is responsible for the administration of the Government of India (Transaction of Business) Rules, 1961 and Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961 facilitating smooth transaction of business in Ministries/ Departments.
  • (d) The Secretariat assists in decision-making in Government by ensuring Inter-Ministerial coordination, ironing out differences amongst Ministries/Departments and evolving consensus.
  • (d) Management of major crisis situations in the country is also one of the functions of the Cabinet Secretariat.

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(The Gist of PIB) World Food Safety Day [JUNE-2019]

    (The Gist of PIB) World Food Safety Day [JUNE-2019]

World Food Safety Day

  • (d) Union Minister of Health launched various initiatives on the occasion of first-ever World Food Safety Day.

State Food Safety Index (SFSI):

  • (d) In an effort to motivate states to work towards ensuring safe food for citizens, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has developed the first State Food Safety Index (SFSI) to measure the performance of States on five parameters of food safety.
  • (d) The categories included Human Resources and Institutional Arrangements, Compliance, Food Testing- Infrastructure and Surveillance, Training and Capacity Building and Consumer Empowerment.

Raman 1.0:

  • (d) It is an hand-held battery operated device which performs rapid detection (in less than 1 minute) of economically driven adulteration in edible oils, fats and ghee.
  • (d) The equipment tests more than 250 samples per battery charge, collects and stores data on the cloud using a smart device.

Food Safety Magic Box:

  • (d) it is an innovative solution to take food safety to schools. This do-it-yourself food testing kit comprises a manual and equipment to check for food adulterants, which schoolchildren can use in their classroom laboratories.

Eat Right Awards:

  • (d) FSSAI has instituted the ‘Eat Right Awards’ to recognize the contribution of food companies and individuals to empower citizens to choose safe and healthy food options, which would help improve their health and well-being.

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(The Gist of PIB) Future roadmap for Food Corporation of India (FCI) [JUNE-2019]

    (The Gist of PIB) Future roadmap for Food Corporation of India (FCI) [JUNE-2019]

Future roadmap for Food Corporation of India (FCI)

  • (d) Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution laid down the future roadmap for Food Corporation of India (FCI).

Key highlights

  • (d) Primacy will be given to ensuring that the functioning of FCI is streamlined and fast paced as per recommendations of the Shanta Kumar Committee.
  • (d) 100 lakh ton silo storage capacity will be created in the country. For this, RITES has been assigned the task of changing the silo model and they will give their recommendations in 90 days to FCI.
  • (d) At present, there are 3 types of labourers in FCI namely Departmental, Daily Payment System (DPS) and No work no pay workers along with contractual labour.
  • (d) Government of India is deliberating to finish the 3 different arrangements and bring all workers of FCI under a single, uniform system which will bring stability of tenure and secured wages for all.
  • (d) To improve the usage of Information Technology in FCI, a Human Resource Management System (HRMS) will be implemented, the work for which will begin in August, 2019 and will be completed by August 2020.
  • (d) This move will benefit 22,000 employees in 196 offices of FCI.

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(The Gist of PIB) Clarification regarding the Statistical reforms and the existing GDP series [JUNE-2019]

    (The Gist of PIB) Clarification regarding the Statistical reforms and the existing GDP series [JUNE-2019]

Clarification regarding the Statistical reforms and the existing GDP series

  • (d) The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) said that it proposes to set up a ‘National Data Warehouse’ on Official Statistics.

List of statistical reforms:

  • (d) The National Data Warehouse will be setup so as to use big data analytical tools to further improve the quality of macro-economic aggregates.
  • (d) Efforts are also on to evolve a legislative framework under which the National Statistical Commission (NSC) may function with independence.
  • (d) The recent step for the merger of CSO and NSSO was aimed at leveraging the strengths of the two organisations so that it can meet the increasing demands.
  • (d) To ensure the credibility of data, the Government of India adopted the United Nations Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics (FPOS) in May, 2016.

Key highlights of the new surveys

  • (d) In 2018, the Cabinet had approved the conduct of following new surveys.
  • (d) Annual Survey of Services Sector (for a more elaborate coverage of the services sector),
  • (d) Annual Survey of Unincorporated Enterprises (to get a better understanding of these enterprises, primarily in the informal sector).
  • (d) Time Use Survey (for assessing the time disposition of household members) and
  • (d) Economic Census of all establishments.

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