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THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 17 February 2020 (The Freedom from 3Cs (Mint))

The Freedom from 3Cs (Mint)

Mains Paper 3: Economy
Prelims level: 3Cs
Mains level: Role of 3Cs for maintaining country’s economy


  • A government with a strong mandate like the Modi-led NDA 2 hasn’t signalled so far that it has the desire or the appetite to go down that road.

Three dreaded Cs:

  • IT is a reflection of the state of the Indian banking industry today, specially state-owned banks which dominate the landscape and are marked by a virtual freeze in lending, that the country’s finance minister had to reach out to bankers to assure them that they need not fear the three dreaded Cs — Central Bureau of Investigation, Central Vigilance Commission and Comptroller and Auditor General.
  • Nirmala Sitharaman while conceding that decision-making in banks was getting impacted because of the fear of the 3Cs attempted to assuage the apprehensions, saying that the government and its investigative agencies have put in place measures to address their concerns.

Overzealousness of state agencies:

  • In early 2019 Sitharaman had cautioned against the overzealousness of state agencies, warning of the dangers of the banking system grinding to a halt.
  • The Indian Banks Association, too, had protested a while ago after senior officials of the Bank of Maharashtra were arrested by the state police and following several cases dating back a decade or more being filed by agencies.
  • Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has blamed what he termed as the “malafide unless proven otherwise” doctrine of governance of the NDA Government for the breakdown of trust between institutions and the government.
  • Bankers may tend to agree, especially when basic questions such as the definition of a bonafide decision and who should sit in judgement on loan approvals granted by banks years ago remain unclear even now.

Steps needed:

  • An enduring solution requires a significant lowering of state holding by the government in scores of banks well below the threshold of 51 per cent to free bankers from the purview of the three Cs, or privatisation.
  • A government with a strong mandate like the Modi-led NDA 2 hasn’t signalled so far that it has the desire or the appetite to go down that road.
  • The second best but sub-optimal solution would be to empower bankers and professional bank boards to decide on whether a decision to approve a loan was bonafide or malafide.
  • It is a fact that the seeds of the current mess in Indian banking were sown during UPA 2 but that doesn’t absolve the Modi government which was late in addressing the crisis during its first term.
  • The perceived morality play reflected in punishing so-called rogue bankers and businessmen a political response to Rahul Gandhi’s suit boot sarkar jibe has already hurt banking and industry.


THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 17 February 2020 (A personal healing touch (The Hindu))

A personal healing touch (The Hindu)

Mains Paper 2: Health
Prelims level: Health Maintenance Organisations
Mains level: Role of Health Maintenance Organisations in India


  • The evolution of more and more organised structures like Health Maintenance Organisations (HMOs) in the forthcoming years, which were criticised for turning healthcare into a marketable commodity sold by unfeeling healthcare providers in supermarket-like institutions, destitute of traits like empathy, regard and loyalty.
  • That such concerns didn’t pick up systemic momentum in the U.S. is axiomatic, as much as the fact that U.S. healthcare ended up as one of the most impersonal healthcare systems.

Problematic proposition:

  • The NITI Aayog’s proposed 15-year plan for Indian healthcare entitled “Health Systems for a New India: Building Blocks — Potential Pathways to Reform” outlines prospects of such an infelicitous turn in Indian healthcare.
  • While the report makes otherwise commendable proposals for health system strengthening — including elimination of informality, merging of fragmented risk pools, and reduction of out-of-pocket health spending — the proposal to consolidate small practices into larger business-like organisations appears problematic on multiple fronts.
  • That nearly 98% of healthcare providers have less than 10 employees is identified as a negative trait, to be dealt with through a set of incentives and disincentives favouring consolidation.
  • Apart from cost and competition-related concerns, an enthusiastic pursuit of it could portend an exacerbated commodification of healthcare from the bottom-up.
  • The report’s bent towards the U.S. HMO model further adds to such a foreboding.

Role of Loyalty and longitudinality:

  • Loyalty and longitudinality form vital pillars of the patient-physician relationship.
  • The edifice of these is built upon a substratum of mutual trust, warmth, and understanding that accrues over time between a patient and their personal physician.
  • Momentary and haphazardly physician-patient interactions in a system that limits access to one’s ‘physician of choice’ are incapable of fostering such enduring relationships.
  • It is in this context that the role of a family physician becomes instrumental.
  • Apart from providing comprehensive care and coordinating referrals, a family physician’s longitudinal relationship with their patient helps in a better understanding of the patient’s needs and expectations and in avoiding unnecessary clinical hassles and encounters — which in turn reflects in better outcomes and increased patient satisfaction.
  • Widespread commercialisation of care over the past few decades has entailed that the family physician is a dying breed in India today.
  • And it would be of little surprise to learn that this has a sizeable role in impairing the doctor-patient relationship, manifesting popularly through violence against healthcare providers.
  • In a setting of overcrowded public hospitals, and profiteering healthcare enterprises, where the patient-physician interaction is largely fleeting and transactional, mistrust in the healthcare provider and its gruesome implications are not difficult to anticipate.

Advantage of small clinics:

  • Studies have demonstrated that healthcare received in small clinics indeed scores higher in terms of patient satisfaction than that received in larger institutions.
  • This increased satisfaction manifests as better compliance with the treatment regimen and regular follow-ups, culminating in improved clinical outcomes.
  • Kelley JM et al, in a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials, have established that patient-clinician relationship has a statistically significant effect on healthcare outcomes.
  • Disregard for this aspect in health services design is bound to entail a sizeable cost to the health system.
  • However, the subtle, fuzzy, and perceived non-urgent nature of this problem keeps it from assuming significance to policy- makers — as a result of which doctor-patient relationship considerations are largely invisibilised in the policy discourse in favour of more pressing concerns like lack of funds and manpower.
  • Time and again, however, this omission has surfaced in the performance of health systems worldwide.
  • As India looks forward to a long-term healthcare plan, neglecting this consideration could be of sizeable consequence.

The need for empathy:

  • A popular myth often floated is that considerations regarding emotive aspects of healthcare such as empathy and trust are disparate from, and thus cannot be realistically factored into, hard-headed health policy and system design considerations.
  • But, in reality, these are entirely amenable to cultivation through careful, evidence-based manipulation of the health system design and its components.
  • It would necessitate, among other measures, installing an inbuilt family physician ‘gatekeeper’ in the health services system who acts as the first port of call for every registered patient.
  • The NITI Aayog’s long-term plan provides a good opportunity to envisage such long-called-for reforms, but that would require not the U.S. model but the U.K. model to be kept at the forefront for emulation. 
  • We have already taken a minor, yet encouraging, step of sorts by introducing Attitude, Ethics, and Communication (AETCOM) in the revised undergraduate medical curriculum.

Way forward:

  • One hopes that the pronouncement of this long-term healthcare plan doesn’t indicate adoption of U.S.-like healthcare policies.
  • The plan needs to be revisited to ensure that healthcare clinics delivering patient care don’t transform into veritable supermarket stores marketing medical services any further.

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(The Gist of Science Reporter) The Sailing Stones [MAY-2019]

(The Gist of Science Reporter) The Sailing Stones [MAY-2019]

The Sailing Stones

  • Have you ever seen something moving by itself? Well, in Racetrack Playa in Death Valley National Park of California large rocks slide on their own without any human or animal intervention or any gravitational force. It is the driest place in North America with temperatures hitting a record high of 56.7°C. Racetrack Playa is a barren lakebed, which offers the world's strangest phenomenon of “sailing stones”.
  • Well, normally rocks move during an avalanche but in Racetrack Playa rocks move on a flat deserted landscape. The moving rock size is estimated to weigh around 318 kg.
  • These rocks are composed of dolomite and syenite, the same material as of the surrounding mountains. They erode and tumble down to the parched ground below. After reaching the surface of the playa, the rocks start moving horizontally leaving long and smooth tracks behind. The location. The rocks with rough bottomed surfaces tend to leave straight tracks while smooth surface rocks tend to make 90 degree turn and wander. These rocks have been observed since the 1900s for their mysterious movements.
  • In 2014, for the first time scientists were able to record the movement of the stones by time-lapse photography. According to their study published in the journal PLoS ONE, the team of researchers installed several time-lapse cameras around die playa and a weather station. They also embedded GPS into some rocks of different sizes and waited for the rocks to move.
  • The researchers called it the most boring experiment ever. But eventually things got interesting one day when a significant amount of rain and snow created a small pond in the desert. The pond cyclically froze at night and thawed during the day. As the temperature gets warmer thin layers of surface ice started breaking into large floating sheets of ice. Before the icehad completely melted it got pushed by a steady light wind around 7-10 miles per hour. This pushed the floating ice sheets behind the rooks and generated enough force to set the rocks in motion.
  • Instead of floating and rotting, the rocks drive their way across the wet muddy terrain, leaving behind their signature tracks. The results strongly suggest that the sailing stones are the result of an ideal balance of ice, water, and wind. The rocks won't move it there’s excessive amount of water or ice, an excessive amount of sun, or not enough wind. Everything must act in perfect harmony for the races to ensue.

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(The Gist of Science Reporter) Did you know? [MAY-2019]

(The Gist of Science Reporter) Did you know? [MAY-2019]

Did you know?

  • Pluto was discovered in 1930 and assigned as the ninth planet in our solar system. However, in 2006, the status was withdrawn and reassigned as a dwarf planet.
  • The name Pluto was proposed by Venetia Burney, an 11-year-old girl from England. The Student Dust Counter was named in her honour.
  • By the time we discovered and stripped Pluto of its planet status, the icy object had not completed an entire orbit around the Sun.
  • Pluto is the largest KBO and the second most massive.
  • One-third of Pluto is water ice almost equal to three times the water in all our oceans put together. The remaining two-thirds is rock.
  • It takes 248 earth years for Pluto to orbit around the Sun.
  • The sunlight on Pluto is as intense as moonlight on Earth.
  • It takes five hours for the sunlight to reach Pluto (as against 8mins to Earth).
  • Pluto has a retrograde rotation (opposite to that of the Earth). So, on Pluto the Sun rises in the west and sets in the east.
  • Pluto is a cold planet with an average temperature of about -230oC.
  • The feeble light on Pluto makes the days appear dark, and one can see stars during the day.
  • On Pluto, sunrise to sunset is about a week long.
  • Pluto has a thin atmosphere mostly of nitrogen ice, carbon monoxide and methane.
  • The surface is rocky and believed to be having cry volcanoes and geysers.

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(The Gist of Science Reporter) The Seven Sisters [MAY-2019]

(The Gist of Science Reporter) The Seven Sisters [MAY-2019]

The Seven Sisters

  • Now Horizons' seven scientific systems (payload) display a remarkable miniaturisation: collectively drawing power as low as 28 watts, the instruments were specially designed for the frigid temperatures that the craft would encounter at Pluto and beyond.
  • Alice: A highly sensitive imaging spectrometer, which is capable of not only separating the light into its constituent wavelengths (like a prism) but also capturing images of the target at each wavelength Alice gave us some spectacular details of Piuto’s composition.
  • Ratph-LEISA: Operates as the main “eyes" of the craft with a resolution ten times better than the human eye can see. It is made up of three black-and white and four colour sensors encapsulated inside the Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC}. with LEISA operating as the infrared compositional mapping spectrometer. While MVIC beamed stunning images of Pluto and Ultima Thule at increasing wavelengths, LEISA analysed the chemical spectrum of Pluto and its moons.
  • REX: The Radio Science Experiment consists of a small printed circuit board containing sophisticated signal-processing electronics Integrated into the Now Horizons telecommunications system. REX was indispensable to ground-based scientists in analysing Pluto’s atmosphere and determine its mass.
  • LORRI: The Long-range reconnaissance imager is a digital camera fitted with a large telephoto telescope. The high-res images from this camera gave scientists an unprecedented view of the details of Pluto's surface. Some pictures even surpassed the quality beamed by the Hubble Telescope. What stands out is its robustness in the frigid environs of the Kuiper belt.
  • SWAP: Solar Wind Around Pluto is a large aperture instrument designed to measure the interaction of solar winds on Pluto, Capable of minute energy measurements
    (up to 6 keV), the device can detect slight changes in solar wind energy around Pluto.
  • PEPSI: The Pluto Energetic Particle Spectrometer Science investigation is a compact directional energetic particle spectrometer capable of detecting the particles that escape Pluto’s atmosphere. These particles pick up the solar energy and transform into charged ions which are carried by solar winds. Working in tandem with SWAP the two systems have provided tremendous inputs to scientists about the nature of Pluto's atmosphere.
  • 5DC: Venetia Burney Student Dust Counter was designed by undergrads at the University of Colorado, Boulder. The instrument keeps a tab on the number of dust particles originating from collisions of space objects all along the long journey.   

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(The Gist of Science Reporter) The Seven Commandos [MAY-2019]

(The Gist of Science Reporter) The Seven Commandos [MAY-2019]

The Seven Commandos

  • New Horizons operates on seven incredible scientific instruments each drawing an average power of 2 to 10 watts (comparable to that of a night bulb);
  • 1. The navigator: Gyros. Star Trackers and Sun Sensors ensure the craft cruises in a spin-stabilised mode for most of the interplanetary travels; while a three axis pointing mode provides calibration and course corrections during flybys.
  • 2. The Commander: Also called the brain of the craft. K comprises a Command and Data Handling system, with a radiation-hardened processor and complex flight software. This processor signals each subsystem, collects and processes the instrument's data and sequences it to be beamed to the Earth, it is also loaded with autonomous algorithms to correct and seek help from Earth if necessary.
  • 3. The Protector: Designed like a thermos flask, the Thermal Control Unit contains the heat from the electronics to keep the system warm at an average of 10-30 degrees Celsius throughout its journey despite harsh conditions. For this, the probe had specially designed heaters and vents to maintain the optimal temperatures.
  • 4. The Fuel Engineer: Carrying 77 kilos of hydrazine propellant, 16 thrusters spread around eight locations on the craft utilise the fuel for course corrections. Also loaded are eight back-up thrusters.
  • 5. The Guide: Ten times every second, an onboard camera snaps a wide-angle picture of the space ahead. By correlating with the map of 3000 stars, the star-tracking cameras provide input to the Guidance and Control Processor The unit in turn analyses and provides feedback to the command module for adjusting the course,
  • 6. The Communications Expert: New Horizons Communications Unit operates on the X-band to chat with earth, exchange commands, scientific data and inform its status, NASA's Deep Space Tracking antennae positioned at various locations around the globe keep a precise tab on the spacecraft position.
  • 7. The Power Engineer: Powered by the natural radioactive decay of plutonium dioxide fuel, which creates a tremendous amount of heat, the Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG) provides the necessary electrical energy for the systems. Since the craft does not have a battery system to store power (unlike other crafts), the systems regulate power consumption to maintain a steady output at RTG. The heat shields avoid a direct-line of sight of heat to the instruments which perform optimally at lower temperatures.

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  • These phrases from the opening sequence of the popular sci-fi series, Star Trek, evoke thrill and adventure, palpable to this day, humans are innately curious to explore what lies beyond the visible in search of new frontiers.
  • It is indeed interesting to be living in times where we, no longer confined to the earth alone, are expanding our horizons and reaching other worlds in the skies. Although we are still in the infant stages of space travel, the past few years have witnessed quantum leaps in exploring our neighbourhood. We accosted the giant planets, even reached tile stars with a solar probe and gathered valuable data to give us an insight into the probability of extraterrestrial life Along with these stupendous records. We are also on an endeavor to build homes nearly celestial bodies.
  • Amidst all the excitement, one mission stands out. Filled with adventure and enigma that could verity run parallel to that of the Star Trek franchise is the iconic crusader of the New Horizon. This spacecraft's voyage is out to seek new worlds and go beyond our frontiers.
  • Exhibiting remarkable tenacity, NASA's robotic probe to Pluto. New Horizons, travelled an arduous seven billion kilometres and nine years, going beyond the cold Neptune to reach the frigid Pluto and its moons. The notable achievement puts NASA in the elite position of being the only organisation to have visited all the planets of our solar system.
  • Having reached Pluto, the spacecraft was still bubbling with energy and not ready to call it quits. In robust health despite the sojourn, it outlived its tenure of a decade and was ready to explore further, prompting NASA to extend its mission by a few more years.
  • The piano-sized machine journeyed the abyss of deep space for a billion miles beyond Pluto in search of strange worlds at the farthest frontiers of our solar system. It survived the vagaries of space with aplomb, and on New Year’s Day 2019, the Earth received a gift of the stunning visuals of a 4.6-billion year-old primordial space object.
  • By now. New Horizons had trekked non-stop for twelve years at tremendous speeds, regardless of which it was able to hunt down and engage with a tiny, 20-mile-long space resident - 486958 2014 MU09 - adding another feather to its cap.

The Kuiper Belt

  • In the forties and fifties, astronomers predicted that our solar system could have a faraway suburb filled with tiny frozen objects. Jan Oort proposed that this region could be the source of comets that strike the earth from time to lime.
  • In 1951, Gerard Kuiper theorized that beyond the chilly Neptune lies a doughnut-shaped region filled with trillions of tiny, icy volatiles. This region now known as the Kuiper Belt and the objects as Kuiper Belt Objects (KBO), is the frigid zone of the solar system, a billion kilometers away from Neptune. In the elliptical, ring-shaped Kuiper Belt, spanning 4-7 billion kilometres, small space objects traverse in eccentric, ever-changing and unpredictable orbits. Pluto is one prominent denizen of this region.
  • For 76 years, Pluto enjoyed the status of a planet. However, in 2006, astronomers reassigned it as a dwarf planet, as it did not accurately fit into a planet’s definition.
  • Beyond Kuiper Belt lies the Oort cloud, a spherical plane of objects. These two regions have remnants from the early days of the solar system. Exploring them could provide valuable insights into the birth of the solar system.

New Frontiers Program

  • Compelled by the mysteries hidden deep within our solar system, NASA devised the Integrated Exploration Strategy under the consensus of the planetary' community to start the New Frontiers Program in 2002, Along with Juno and the OSIRIS Rex mission, New Horizons was a part of the New Frontiers program. In a daring, never-before-conceived mission, a 400-kilo human-made robotic probe set out to explore the frigid edge of the solar system and engage with Pluto on an illustrious odyssey.

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THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 15 February 2020 (Warming puts forests, plantations in the country at risk (Indian express))

Warming puts forests, plantations in the country at risk (Indian express)

Mains Paper 3: Environment
Prelims level : Biennial State of Forest Report
Mains level : Issues related to climate change


  • India has succeeded in reducing deforestation to some extent through an effective Forest Conservation Act and large-scale afforestation programmes, compared with other forest-rich tropical countries such as Brazil, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • Without the Forest Conservation Act and its reasonably effective implementation, India would have lost significant extent of forest area.

Forest coverage scenarios in India:

  • India has also been implementing significant scale afforestation, though the rates of afforestation have declined recently, compared with the earlier decades.
  • Agro-forestry, involving raising fruit tree plantations and commercial plantations of eucalyptus, casuarina, teak, poplar, etc.,
  • That have been raised by farmers for commercial purposes, which have potentially reduced pressure on natural forests.
  • According to the latest biennial State of Forest Report of the Forest Survey of India (FSI), area under forests has been increasing.

Definition of forest:

  • Given the definition of forest used by FSI, which is generally consistent with international norms.
  • It is not clear what percentage of increase in forest area is due to changes in natural forests (generally rich in biodiversity), what percentage is due to fast growing commercial plantations (of poplar, eucalyptus, etc.,) and what percentage is contributed by horticultural or fruit orchards of mango, coconut, cashew, areca nut, coffee and urban parks.
  • What will be of most concern to forest and biodiversity conservation is to understand the status of natural forest and biodiversity.
  • India can still use the same definition of forests, but must estimate and report the area under natural forests and other forest plantation categories.
  • We need to define ‘natural forests’ first. Further, this would involve additional staff time and resources for large-scale ground truthing for baseline mapping of natural forests, which may not be available.

Issues related to climate change:

  • Another issue of great concern is climate change and its impact on forests, commercial plantations, fruit gardens and biodiversity.
  • The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports have repeatedly concluded that climate change will lead to large-scale loss of biodiversity, before the end of the current century or even earlier.
  • Preliminary modelling studies by Indian Institute of Science (IISc) have shown that about 20% of forests will be impacted by climate change, which means that existing forest biodiversity and its structure and composition will not be able to adapt to the new climate and there could be mortality or forest dieback.
  • Warming, drought and El Niño will lead to increased forest fires, and may even be favourable to forest pests.
  • Unfortunately, the models currently in use for assessing the impact of climate change are not suitable for the complex and highly diverse forest types that exist in India.

Way ahead:

  • Given that global warming will continue, India will have to brace itself to adapt to the impending impacts.
  • In India, there is very limited research on climate change and its impacts on forests, putting our famed biodiversity-rich country status under threat.
  • We need to realistically assess, monitor and model climate change and its impacts and be prepared to adapt to impending climate change.

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THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 15 February 2020 (Empowring gram sabhas have to be empowered (Indian Express))

Empowring gram sabhas have to be empowered (Indian Express)

Mains Paper 2: Governance
Prelims level :Gram Sabha
Mains level : Significance of Gram Sabhas for rural development


  • More than 300 million people including tribals live in and around forest areas in India, depending on forests for their sustenance and livelihood.
  • Ecological security is the prime objective of National Forest Policy, 1988, but forest-dwelling communities cannot be separated from forests.
  • The involvement of communities in forest management was initiated in 1990 through joint forest management institutions—a government-driven programme which did not achieve the objective of involvement of people in decision-making for sustainable forest management.


  • India’s Constitution places trust in village-level institutions for conservation of forest resources, with the 73rd amendment providing importance to such institutions for resource management.
  • Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 and Forest Right Act, 2006 have gone further to empower gram sabhas for the management of forest resources.
  • Over one million hectares of forests are managed by gram sabhas in eight states—Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Rajasthan.

Role of Gram sabhas:

  • Gram sabhas can potentially administer governance of more than 34 million hectare of forests.
  • Yet, there are no guidelines with respect to the management of community forest resources by gram sabhas.\
  • The Union ministry of tribal affairs has taken the initiative to conduct research for the development of models of forest governance based on gram sabhas.
  • The supremacy of the gram sabha must be maintained while preparing governance models under the umbrella of national and state government policies, regulations and judicial orders.
  • The bureaucracy must share authority with gram sabhas and the state forest department must perform the regulatory and monitoring role.\

Structure of the committee:

  • But the present system of so many committees for the natural resource management at village level, including Joint Forest Management Committee, Biological Diversity Management Committee, Watershed Management Committee, and Forest Right Committee, is creating confusion.
  • There is need to have one committee which can have separate sub-committees for the management of forests and biodiversity.

Way forward:

  • The gram sabha can maintain three bank accounts—operating account for implementing government schemes, core account for revenue received through sale of forest produce, and biodiversity account for receiving money for allowing access benefit sharing of bio-resources utilized by industry.
  • The gram sabha-based forest governance has to be implemented in a large way to maintain sustainability of forests and improve their quality, along with implementation of community forest resource rights under the Forest Right Act, 2006.

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THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 15 February 2020 (To settle Bru refugees in Tripura (Mint))

To settle Bru refugees in Tripura (Mint)

Mains Paper 2: Social Justice
Prelims level : Bru refugees
Mains level : Welfare scheme for vulnerable sections of the society


  • An agreement was signed recently among the Bru leaders and the Governments of India, Tripura, and Mizoram.

About the Bru agreement:

  • This agreement gives the Bru community their choice of living in either the state of Tripura or Mizoram.
  • All Bru currently living in temporary relief camps in Tripura will be settled in the state, if they want to stay on.
  • The Bru who returned to Mizoram in the eight phases of repatriation since 2009, cannot, however, come back to Tripura.
  • To ascertain the numbers of those who will be settled, a fresh survey and physical verification of Bru families living in relief camps will be carried out.
  • The Centre will implement a special development project for the resettled Bru; this will be in addition to the Rs 600 crore fund announced for the process, including benefits for the migrants.

Benefits will the Bru community get:

  • Each resettled family will get 0.03 acre of land for building a home, Rs 1.5 lakh as housing assistance, and Rs 4 lakh as a one-time cash benefit for sustenance.
  • They will also receive a monthly allowance of Rs 5,000, and free rations for 2 years from the date of resettlement.
  • All cash assistance will be through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT).
  • The state government will expedite the opening of bank accounts and the issuance of Aadhaar, permanent residence certificates, ST certificates, and voter identity cards to the beneficiaries.
  • All dwelling houses will be constructed and payments completed within 270 days of the signing of the agreement.

Where will the Bru be resettled?

  • Revenue experts reckon 162 acres will be required. Tripura Chief Minister (CM) has said that the effort will be to choose government land.
  • But since Tripura is a small state, this government would explore the possibility of diverting forest lands, even reserve forest areas if necessary, to grant the new entitlements.
  • However, diverting forest land for human settlements will need clearance from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, which is likely to take at least 3 months.

Condition of the migrants:

  • The Bru or Reang are a community indigenous to Northeast India, living mostly in Tripura, Mizoram, and Assam.
  • In Tripura, they are recognised as a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG).
  • In October 1997, following ethnic clashes, nearly 37,000 Bru fled Mizoram to Tripura, where they were sheltered in relief camps. Of this, 5,000 people have returned to Mizoram in 9 phases of repatriation, 32,000 people still live in 6 relief camps in North Tripura.
  • Under a relief package announced by the Centre, a daily ration of 600 g rice was provided to every adult Bru migrant and 300 g to every minor.
  • They depended on the wild for vegetables, and some of them have been practising slash-and-burn (jhum) cultivation in the forests.
  • They live in makeshift bamboo thatched huts, without permanent power supply and safe drinking water, with no access to proper healthcare services or schools.

How did the agreement come about?

  • In June 2018 Bru leaders signed an agreement with the Centre and the two state governments, providing for repatriation to Mizoram.
  • However, most residents of the camps rejected the insufficient terms of the agreement.
  • The camp residents said the package did not guarantee their safety in Mizoram, and that they feared a repeat of the violence that had forced them to flee.
  • In November 2019 - A scion of Tripura’s erstwhile royal family, wrote to Home Minister seeking the resettlement of the Bru in the state.
  • After that, Tripura CM too, asked the Centre for permanent settlement of the Bru in Tripura.

Way ahead:

  • Successive state and central governments had thus far stressed only on peacefully repatriating the Bru, even though the enduring fear of ethnic violence remained a fundamental roadblock.
  • The two other durable solutions for refugees and displaced persons suggested by the UN Refugee Agency - local integration or assimilation, and resettlement - were never explored.
  • The Bru speak Kaubru, Kokborok and Bangla, the latter two are the most widely spoken languages of the tribal and non-tribal communities of Tripura, and have an easy connection with the state.
  • Their long stay in Tripura, albeit in exile and in terrible conditions, has also acquainted them very well with the state’s socio-political ecology.
  • Home Minister who presided over the signing of the agreement, hailed the “historic” resolution of the Bru issue.

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THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 15 February 2020 (The Return of bonds (Mint))

The Return of bonds (Mint)

Mains Paper 2: Polity
Prelims level :Electoral Bonds
Mains level : The Supreme Court order on Electoral Bonds in 2019


  • The Supreme Court (SC) has declined to stay the operation of the Electoral Bonds Scheme (EBS), citing the fact that the plea for stay had been heard and refused in 2019 itself.

The 2019 SC order:

  • In an order in April 2019, a Bench of the SC headed by the then Chief Justice of India, had asked political parties to disclose the details of the donations they had received through the anonymous bonds.
  • It asked the parties to disclose these details in sealed cover to the Election Commission of India (ECI).
  • Given the limited time available then and the weighty issues involved in the matter, it declined to grant a stay.

What is so disappointing?

  • However, it is disappointing to note that nine months on, the SC remains unmoved by submissions that a fresh window for purchase of bonds is set to be opened soon.
  • The scheme itself was being frequently opened so that the ruling party would stand to benefit.
  • The Reserve Bank of India and the ECI had voiced their reservations about the scheme, which was enabled by provisions of the Finance Act, 2017.
  • The Association for Democratic Reforms, the petitioner, has disclosed that an overwhelming majority of the donations made through electoral bonds had gone to the current ruling party at the Centre.
  • Further, the ECI has already made clear its strong opposition to the various amendments to the law on contributions to political parties.

The ECI’s response:

  • The ECI, in its response filed in the court, said the provisions would enable the creation of shell companies for the sole purpose of making political donations and no other business.
  • It also said that the abolition of the clause that says firms must declare political contributions in their profit-loss accounts would compromise transparency.
  • It added that the amendments to the law on foreign contributions would mean that there would be unchecked foreign funding of political parties, leading to foreign influence on India’s policy-making.
  • Overall, it had recorded its unequivocal position that the EBS would help the use of black money for political funding.
  • In this backdrop, it is quite intriguing that the SC has given the ECI a fortnight to reply to the petition for stay when its position is quite clear.

Way ahead:

  • The least the court can do now is to speed up the final hearing of the petitions challenging the scheme.
  • There are indeed strong grounds for putting an end to the system of anonymous bearer bonds being used to fund parties.
  • Such anonymity gives a clear and unfair advantage to the ruling party of the day.
  • It must be remembered that the failure to have an early hearing has already led to the scheme being opened ahead of every major election.
  • It may not be possible to assess the adverse impact that such opacity can have on the electoral process.
  • This is a matter crying for an early and expeditious decision.

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(The Gist of PIB) UNNATI (UNlocking NATional Energy Efficiency Potential) [APRIL-2019]

(The Gist of PIB) UNNATI (UNlocking NATional Energy Efficiency Potential) [APRIL-2019]

UNNATI (UNlocking NATional Energy Efficiency Potential)

  • Ministry of Power, Government of India expanded its ambitious Standards & Labelling (Star Rating) program for Energy Efficient for Appliances to cover the Microwave Ovens and Washing Machines (with revised parameters) in the country.

Aim of this initiatives

  • The Star Labelling Programs has been formulated by Bureau of Energy Efficiency.
  • The program will now include these two appliances for grant of Star Rating in terms of their energy performance.
  • Initially, the program for above two appliances will be implemented on a voluntary basis and will be valid up to 31st December 2020.
  • This initiative will promote advancement of technology and energy efficiency in Microwaves Ovens which is becoming a popular household gadget.
  • As regard to the launch of revised program for Washing Machines, he commended BEEs efforts to revise the criteria for inclusion of water efficiency in addition to energy performance for grant of Star Rating.
  • It will estimated savings of over 3.0 Billion Units of electricity at consume-end through adoption of Star Rated Microwave Ovens and Washing Machines by 2030.
  • This would be equivalent to GreenHouse Gases (GHG) reduction of 2.4 Million-ton of CO2 by the year 2030 through these initiatives.
  • The size of Indian Microwave Oven market stood at 1.21 million units in year FY 2017-18 and is projected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of around 2%.
  • Whereas, the size of Indian Washing Machine market stood at 6.1 million units in year FY 2017-18 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of around 8% fuelled by a growth in urbanization.
  • Therefore, it is important to optimize energy performance of Microwave Ovens and Washing Machines.
  • This will create awareness amongst the domestic consumers to encourage transition towards energy efficient microwave ovens and Washing machines.

Unlocking NATional Energy Efficiency potential (UNNATEE):

  • Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) has developed a national strategy document for accelerating energy efficiency in India.
  • The strategy document titled UNNATEE (Unlocking NATional Energy Efficiency potential) describes a plain framework and implementation strategy to establish a clear linkage between energy supply-demand scenarios and energy efficiency opportunities.
  • The document offers a comprehensive roadmap to address India’s environmental and climate change mitigation action through energy efficiency measures.
  • The document has now been released for larger public consultation and seeking comments/ valuable inputs from all the stakeholders.
  • This exercise is first of its kind, clearly delineating the energy efficiency targets for the respective demand sectors upto the state levels.
  • Developing India’s blueprint of effective energy efficiency strategy is a leap towards stimulating energy efficiency ecosystem and enabling reduction of the pressure on demand. PwC India has assisted BEE in executing this assignment.
  • This document has been prepared after extensive discussion with various departments, organisations and authorities.

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(The Gist of PIB) Signing of Bilateral Agreement for Exchange of Country-by-Country (CbC) Reports between India and the USA [APRIL-2019]

(The Gist of PIB) Signing of Bilateral Agreement for Exchange of Country-by-Country (CbC) Reports between India and the USA [APRIL-2019]

Signing of Bilateral Agreement for Exchange of Country-by-Country (CbC) Reports between India and the USA

  • India and the US has agreed to sign relevant bilateral agreement for exchange country-by-country (CbC) reports (local filing) filed by ultimate parent corporations based in either of the countries. This agreement will reduce compliance burden on subsidiaries of companies operating out of these countries.


  • Income Tax Act requires subsidiaries of multinational companies (MNCs) to provide details of key financial statements from other jurisdictions from where they operate.
  • This provides IT Department (CBDT in this case) with operational view of such companies, primarily with regards to revenue and income tax paid.
  • The absence of an agreement between India and US till now entailed a possibility of local filing of CbC reports in India. CbC reports filing
  • Its objective is to ensure that all relevant tax authorities have access to the same information about an MNC’s value chain and resulting tax consequences.
  • It seeks to assist tax administration in having complete understanding of MNCs operations structure, by annually providing them with key information on global allocation of incomes and taxes paid.
  • Under this regime, CbC reports gets electronically transmitted between competent authorities as per signed framework.
  • In India, this provision is part of base erosion and profit sharing (BEPS) action plan and has been incorporated in the IT Act.

Benefits of India-US CbC agreement

  • It will enable both the countries to exchange CbC reports filed by ultimate parent entities of international groups in the respective jurisdictions.
  • Indian constituent entities of international groups headquartered in the US, who have already filed CbC reports in US, will not be required to do local filing of CbC reports of their international groups in India.

Study Material for UPSC General Studies Pre Cum Mains

(The Gist of PIB) Ind-Indo CORPAT 2019 [APRIL-2019]

(The Gist of PIB) Ind-Indo CORPAT 2019 [APRIL-2019]

Ind-Indo CORPAT 2019

  • Indonesian Naval Ship KRI Sultan Thaha Syaifuddin and Maritime Patrol Aircraft CN-235 led by Cmde Dafit Santoso arrived at Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India for the Opening Ceremony of the 33rd edition of the IndiaIndonesia Coordinated Patrol (IND-INDO CORPAT) to be held from 19 Mar to 04 Apr 2019.
  • His Excellency Ambassador of Indonesia to India, Mr. Shidharto Raza Suryodipuro is also visiting Port Blair to attend the Opening Ceremony to be held at Port Blair from 20 – 21 Mar 19.

Key highlights

  • The Indian delegation is led by the senior officer from the Indian Navy, Commodore Ashutosh Ridhorkar, VSM Naval Component Commander, Andaman and Nicobar Command.
  • The ship and aircraft from both the countries would undertake patrolling on the respective sides of 236 nautical miles long International Maritime Boundary line. The patrolling would be conducted in three phases from 22-31 March 2019. This will be followed by a Closing Ceremony at Belawan, Indonesia, which is scheduled from 01-04 April 2019.
  • The IND-INDO CORPAT Series of bilaterals seek to underscore India’s peaceful presence and solidarity with friendly Maritime neighbours countries to ensure good order in the maritime domain, consolidate
    interoperability and strengthen existing bonds of friendship between India and Indonesia.
  • During the stay in Port Blair harbour, various activities such as official calls, formal reception onboard ship, sporting fixtures between both navies, ship open to visitors and professional interactions have been planned.
  • Indian Naval assets have been increasingly deployed in the recent times to address the maritime concerns on the region.
  • In addition, as part of the Indian Government’s vision of SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region), the Indian Navy has also been involved in assisting countries in the Indian Ocean Region with EEZ Surveillance, Search and Rescue, and other capacity-building and capabilityenhancement activities.
  • The 33rd IND-INDO CORPAT, also coinciding with 70 years of IndiaIndonesia diplomatic ties, will contribute towards the Indian Navy’s efforts to consolidate interoperability and forge strong bonds of friendship across the seas.

Study Material for UPSC General Studies Pre Cum Mains

(The Gist of PIB) Social Media Platforms Present Voluntary Code of Ethics [APRIL-2019]

(The Gist of PIB) Social Media Platforms Present Voluntary Code of Ethics [APRIL-2019]

Social Media Platforms Present Voluntary Code of Ethics

  • Social media platforms and the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) on Wednesday presented a ‘Voluntary Code of Ethics for the General Election 2019’ to the Election Commission.
  • This code will become effective and will enter into force on March 20, 2019,” they said in a statement, adding that it would remain operational during the election.
  • The code’s purpose is to identify measures that the platforms can take to increase confidence in the electoral process. It is also to safeguard against misuse that vitiates the “free and fair character” of the Lok Sabha polls.

Key highlights

  • According to the code, the platforms will endeavour to, “where appropriate and keeping in mind the principle of freedom of expression,” deploy appropriate policies and processes to facilitate access to information on electoral matters.
  • Campaigns will be organised to create awareness, including on electoral laws and other instructions from the Election Commission of India (EC).
  • The platforms and the Commission have developed a notification mechanism by which the electoral body can notify them of potential violations under Section 126 of the Representation  of the People Act, and on other matters.

Constitutional background

  • These valid legal orders will be acknowledged and/or processed within three hours for violations reported under Section 126 as per the Sinha Committee recommendations. All other valid legal requests will be acted upon expeditiously by the participants, based on the nature of reported violation,” said the Code.
  • A high-priority dedicated reporting mechanism is being created for the EC and dedicated persons appointed for the purpose. The platforms will also ensure that political advertisements by parties or their candidates are precertified.
  • “Participants will, pursuant to a valid request received from the EC, via Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), provide an update on the measures taken by them to prevent abuse of their respective platforms,” it said. The IAMAI will coordinate with the platforms on the steps taken under the code.

Study Material for UPSC General Studies Pre Cum Mains

(The Gist of PIB) Young Scientist Programme (YUVIKA) [APRIL-2019]

(The Gist of PIB) Young Scientist Programme (YUVIKA) [APRIL-2019]

Young Scientist Programme (YUVIKA)

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has launched a special programme for School Children called “Young Scientist Programme” “YUva VIgyani KAryakram” from this year.
  • The Program is primarily aimed at imparting basic knowledge on Space Technology, Space Science and Space Applications to the younger ones with the intent of arousing their interest in the  emerging areas of Space activities. ISRO has chalked out this programme to “Catch them young”.

Key highlights

  • The residential training programme will be of around two weeks duration during summer holidays and it is proposed to select 3 students each from each State/ Union Territory to participate in this programme covering state, CBSE, and ICSE syllabus.
  • Those who have just finished 9th standard (in the academic year 2018-19) and waiting to join 10th standard (or those who have started 10th Std just now) will be eligible for the programme. The selection will be based on the 8th Std marks.
  • A few seats are left for the programme from various states.
  • The interested students can register online from 25th March 2019 (1800 hrs) to 03rd April 2019 (1800 hrs). The selection is based on the academic performance and extracurricular activities. Students belonging to the rural areas have been given special weightage in the selection criteria.
  • The list of provisionally selected candidates from each state will be announced on 06th April 2019.
  • The provisionally selected candidates will be requested to send the supporting documents through Email to ISRO.
  • This Email ID will be intimated to selected candidates.
  • After verifying the relevant certificates the final list will be published on 13th April 2019.

Study Material for UPSC General Studies Pre Cum Mains

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 14 February 2020 (The mobility and responsive urban planning (Mint))

The mobility and responsive urban planning (Mint)

Mains Paper 1: Society
Prelims level: Not much
Mains level: Urban planning process


  • Mobility is increasingly circular, semi or non-permanent. Although a bulk of it is regional, many stream of migration are also long-distance and interstate.
    This dynamic situation of mobility is at variance with public policies in cities that are being transformed by the presence of and contribution of these migrants.
    This gap in public policy compels migrants to find solutions outside the formal system. Such patterns generate a vicious cycle in which both cities and migrants get trapped.

Wrong Assumptions:

  • The census data estimates the number of migrants at 3.3 million. However, several studies including the Economic Survey of India 2017 suggest that this is a significant underestimation, as it tend to neglect the short-term and circular migration
  • Most urban policies, initiated at the central or state level, seemed to have overlooked the emerging forms of mobility that is largely circular and temporary.
  • This has led to wrong assumptions that city dwellers are sedentary and linkages of citizenship to long-term residence do not fit this emergent form of migration.
    Changing Scale and Forms of Mobility in India:
  • Economic Survey of India (2016-17) places the estimation of interstate migration at 60 million and inter-district migration at 80 million.
  • However, it is important to recognize that there are clear indications that mobility in India is
    significantly increasing and that the forms of this mobility are varied and do not correspond to a permanent move.
  • Two forms which are particularly significant are: a) commuting and b) circular migration. Both these forms of mobility have implications for the way in which cities are shaped.

How Mobility Transforms Places?

  • Large-scale migration has significant implications for places. Conventional data measuring more permanent movement would estimate such implications in terms of burdens on infrastructure and housing. However, there is another aspect that is solely associated with temporary form of migration.
  • Temporary forms of migrants are people who contribute to the city economy while they are there but their efforts are directed at places which they come from i.e. the source areas. This is where they contribute in terms of remittances, investments, asset building, and state revenues.
  • On the other hand, they contribute significantly to the economic flows and outputs, extract less resources from the city, and bring in new ideas and ways of doing things.
  • While work and economic reasons may be the largest drivers for such migration, education and health resource seeking may also be supplementary reasons for the same. These create specific demands on city infrastructures and services.
  • A neglect of these needs pushes people into creating their own makeshift solutions. A road junction is then converted into an ‘adda’ with tea-food stalls, rest places, footpaths, and roads are subsequently taken over as assembly places.
  • On the other hand, a proactive approach to migration can lead to significant benefits for the city economy and city vibrancy.

Need for Vision for Supporting Migrants in Urban Policy: Short-term Housing:

  • Short-term housing is perhaps one of the most critical and unmet needs of migrants to Indian cities. Short-term visitors to cities include all those groups that use city as a resource.
  • Needs for stays longer than hotel stays and lesser than rental housing are the most neglected.
  • Housing markets have begun to recognize this need and cater to it through serviced apartments.
  • However, there is a complete absence of options when it comes to the low-income end. In older days, cities had dharamshalas. Contemporary Indian cities lack such options.
  • The other significant barrier to creating short-term housing solutions lies in the current imagination of housing. Contemporary housing policies rest upon two broad principles – the first is ownership-based housing and other is use of land as resource.
  • The first principle helps in creation of Citizenship, which in turn secures sustained commitment and investment in a place. Similarly second principle help to monitise land.
  • However, a negative impact of both these policy instruments is that they limit the possibilities of short-term housing and undermine the needs for space for shelter in cities.

Way Forward:

  • Only local governments with an on-ground knowledge of realities will be able to respond to above discussed challenges as opposed to State Governments who have a more top-down and
    homegenising view of these issues.
    It is therefore essential to move away from the current State Govt.-based policy onus and equip local governments in terms of capacity to cognize such issues, collect data, and to possess the powers and resources to respond to dynamic phenomena such as migration.

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THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 14 February 2020 (Urbanisation and Informal Sector (Mint))

Urbanisation and Informal Sector (Mint)

Mains Paper 1: Society
Prelims level: Not much
Mains level: Informal sector urbanisation


  • Growth that is currently taking place is accompanied by informalisation, e.g., sub-contracting in the production process and various other mechanisms that tend to leave labour with less bargaining power. The informalisation process is feared to involve substantial welfare losses and deterioration in terms of governance.
  • However, in the face of inadequate livelihood opportunities in the rural areas, even the urban informal sector, which is grossly characterized by low productivity, tends to attract migration.
  • This in turn has serious challenges in terms of urbanisation. Though in the Indian context rural-urban migration rates are moderate, rural-to-large city population-flow has always been alarming. Thus, city growth, informal sector employment, and low living standards including slum inhabitation involve considerable overlaps.

Migration and Opportunities:

  • Higher rural literacy and improvements in educational level may raise the rural-to-urban migration rate. The presence of disadvantaged social categories in the rural areas also has motivated migration rate, supporting the view that they migrate to escape their vulnerability.
  • Migration reduces both rural and urban poverty. In other words, rural poor by shifting to the urban location are able to access better livelihood opportunities and thus, poverty declines.
  • The urban informal sector, notwithstanding the manifestation of low productivity activities, appears to be better in comparison to the rural job market scenario.
  • Higher urbanisation and work participation rate in both rural and urban areas are positively associated with migration, suggesting that those in the labour market are more likely to migrate, and after migration they are expected to continue in jobs rather than moving outside the labour force.
  • Migration, urban informal sector employment, and the incidence of socially backward
    population in the urban and rural areas are all positively connected with each other, suggesting that such groups are more likely migrate and land up in the urban informal sector.
  • Though there is no definite relationship between the size of the informal sector and the extent of urbanisation, the role of the urban informal sector in providing sources of livelihood cannot be undermined. In fact, with rapid urbanisation the rural transformation is faster as the positive spillover effects initiate new activities and opportunities.
  • The other new challenge for urban India can be envisaged in terms of the emergence of the census towns. The constituents of urban areas are statutory towns, census towns, and outgrowths.
  • The major distinction between statutory and census towns are as follows: All places with a
    municipality, corporation cantonment board, or notified town area committee constitute statutory towns.
  • On the other hand, the census towns are defined on the basis of the following criteria: a) A minimum population of 5000; b) At least 75 per cent of the male workers are engaged in non-agricultural pursuits; and c) A density of population of at least 4000 per square Km.
  • The results from 2011 census show a huge number of census towns which emerged in the last ten years (2001-2011).

What can explain such faster growth of census towns?

  • If we analyse the locational aspect of these town we can say that they are mostly situated in the neighbourhood of very large cities; these towns may be treated as the satellite towns growing in response to the spur of economic activities.
  • The number of statutory towns of all sizes is rather positively associated with the number of census towns implying that urbanisation as a whole seems to be expanding from the spill-over of the existing urban localities into the hinterland.

Are these census towns well equipped to assure a reasonable quality of life?

  • The residential and infrastructural facilities in these towns are inadequate to keep pace with the new activities that are spilling over as a result of saturation of the large urban centres.
  • The new towns do not have enough living space to accommodate the migrant workers.
  • As migration is usually more than the actual number of job vacancies it would mean that the surplus labour would get residually absorbed in low productivity jobs.
  • Though the very large cities also have had the similar problems, there have been several support mechanisms at the same time. Besides, the real earnings in the informal sector have been higher in the large cities than in smaller towns.
  • The capacity of the small towns to provide for the population is highly limited even after discounting for the scale factor that the large cities enjoy. There are problems relating to generation of resources required for sustainable development.

Why Spill-over growth is bad?

  • If such new towns grow purely in response to the dynamics of agriculture growth and the subsequent demand for trading or other non-agriculture activities, the outcomes are desirable.
  • The urbanisation spill-effect which ushers in a major change in land use patterns may pose threat not only in terms of food security in short run but also sustainable livelihood for those who lose their agricultural land.
  • The mismatch between the demand for and the supply of labour can be serious in these towns
    keeping in view the employability issue.
  • Trade-offs to certain extent between growth and agricultural land are inevitable here. However, sufficient safety nets need to be created to meet the deficiencies and the new challenges.


  • Once the largest cities exhaust the economic opportunities the second rank cities come up to replace them in terms of investment, growth, and employment generation.
  • However, for them to take over the lead role, a proper coordination between the state and those who have a thorough understanding of the growth dynamics of the urban space is essential
  • in the Indian context, a clear-cut initiative for urban investment or planning is yet to emerge on the basis of the growth potential of different cities and towns with an economic-cum-geographic perspective.

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THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 14 February 2020 (Hike in deposit insurance cover welcome, but more deep-rooted reforms are needed (The Hindu))

Hike in deposit insurance cover welcome, but more deep-rooted reforms are needed (The Hindu)

Mains Paper 3: Economy
Prelims level: Deposit insurance
Mains level: Role of deposit insurance in an economy


  • The decision by the Centre/RBI to substantially hike the insurance cover for depositors in scheduled banks from ₹1 lakh to ₹5 lakh is a welcome move that is likely to mend bruised public confidence in banks, lift financial savings and level the unequal playing field between State-owned banks and their private counterparts in their access to CASA deposits. =
  • With the ₹1 lakh deposit insurance limit set way back in May 1993, the impact of inflation and rising income levels had ensured that nearly 72 per cent of bank deposits by value remained unprotected by end-March 2019.
  • The five-fold hike in insurance limit now ensures that the lion’s share of retail deposits by value are shielded from bank failures.
  • This hike in insurance cover is positive no doubt, for it to truly deliver better depositor protection, the Centre and the RBI will need to act swiftly on

Three follow-up measures:

  • Though deposit insurance in India covers banks with varying degrees of risk (public sector banks have a zero failure rate, while many co-operative banks fail each year), it is funded through uniform premiums levied on all banks, irrespective of their financial position.
  • This substantially reduces the utility of deposit insurance in India, is the multi-year delays suffered by depositors in receiving claims from failed banks.
  • That results in many a slip between the cup and the lip for depositors, is the lack of an orderly resolution process for commercial banks when they are found to be short of assets to repay liabilities.
  • In such cases, worries about systemic impact often prompt the RBI to try out various jugaad modes of resolution, including shotgun weddings, which prevent the expeditious liquidation of a troubled bank which then allows deposit insurance to kick in.

Way forward:

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 14 February 2020 (Giving PM-KISAN the multiplier effect (The Hindu))

Giving PM-KISAN the multiplier effect (The Hindu)

Mains Paper 3: Economy
Prelims level: PM-KISAN
Mains level: Multiplier effect of the PM-KISAN scheme


  • Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, popularly known as PM-KISAN, announced in December 2018 was a tectonic shift in the nature of government support to farmers in India.
  • This scheme was aimed at addressing the liquidity constraints of farmers for meeting their expenses for acquisition of agricultural inputs and services.

About the scheme:

  • This scheme is particularly important in a country like India, where still about half of the farming households do not have access to formal credit.
  • The scheme implemented from February 2019 provides each eligible farmer’s family ₹6,000 per annum in three instalments of ₹2,000 each.
  • Initially, farmers with less than two hectares of land were eligible; subsequently, the benefit was extended to all farmers (about 140 million farmers) from June 2019 onwards. The amount is transferred directly to the beneficiary’s bank account to check leakages.

Different from existing schemes:

  • By its design, PM-KISAN is positioned as an income support to the farmers. The launching of this scheme generated a serious discussion in the policy discourse in India.
  • The timing of the announcement made this scheme appear as a politically motivated move to appease the farming community on the eve of election.
  • However, this is a clear departure from the existing systems of support to the farmers and the scope of PM-KISAN goes much beyond, especially in the case of resource-constrained farmers with significant liquidity problems.
  • The effects in principle could be related to the choice of technologies and practices that could have significant effects on farmer’s income and welfare.
  • The scheme has now completed almost a year and the third instalment was transferred recently by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • But a proper understanding of the implications of this ambitious farmer income support programme is virtually non-existent.
    Empirical study:
  • The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in association with the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) embarked on a study to empirically assess technology choices and adoption of practices following the rollout of PM-KISAN.
  • Since the study focussed on technology choices for the beneficiary farmers, it realised that adoption of technology for resolving liquidity issues is just one cog in the wheel. Knowledge and extension support is also needed to bring about adoption.
  • Taking the primary objective of fostering timely usage of inputs, that is, technology, the study, based on primary survey, evaluated the implementation of PM-KISAN and the role of Krishi Vigyan Kendras with strategic complementarity for magnifying its impact. The study focussed on Uttar Pradesh, which is home to 24 million farmers.
  • Our study reveals that 30 per cent farmers received the income benefit within three months of the scheme’s implementation. Banking infrastructure created through Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) played a key role in the fund disbursal.
  • Programmes like this are often subject to elite capture and selection biases. But our findings depicted no selection bias in terms of social, economic, and farming characteristics.
  • Further, 93 per cent non-beneficiary farmers had already applied for the scheme, depicting awareness and potential uptake. When augmented with extension through KVKs, the adoption of modern inputs is significantly higher (to the tune of 36 per cent).

Spending pattern:

  • The first instalment was received by the farmers in February 2019, which may be characterised as the agriculture peak season (in terms of spending requirements), while the second instalment was received by the end of April 2019, characterised as the agriculture off-season.
  • Results show that of those who received the first instalment, 52 per cent spent it on agriculture, 26 per cent on consumption, 7 per cent on education and health, and the remaining 15 per cent on other incidental expenses (such as during festivals and on social functions like marriage).
  • Among the recipients of the second instalment, 39 per cent spent it on consumption, followed by agriculture (23 per cent) and education and medical (19 per cent).

Way forward:

  • Therefore, PM-KISAN along with agricultural advisory services has the potential to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty and low income of farmers through investment in modern technology.
  • A direct transfer scheme like PM-KISAN is a game-changer and can have significant effects if it is timely, not transaction cost heavy and is provided with complementary inputs such as extension services.

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