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(Current Affairs) Science & Technology, Defence, Environment | September : 2017

Science & Technology, Defense, Environment

  • New perspective about the cosmos (Free Available)
  • Scientific evidence of copper vessel’s antibacterial property (Free Available)
  • NASA’s Mars 2020 rover mission will use smart X-ray techniques (Free Available)
  • Diagnosing kidney and liver disorders with the help of ultrasound scanning devices (Free Available)
  • New tool can help detect human papilloma virus (HPV) (Only for Online Coaching Members)
  • Scientists have repaired a disease-causing mutation in the DNA  (Only for Online Coaching Members)

New perspective about the cosmos

  • Information is a quantity that springs up very naturally in the study of the universe as it is tied up with gravity.
  • For example, the information available to an observer looking at a black hole from far is limited by the event horizon of the black hole, beyond which even light cannot escape— so the information inside the black hole is not available to them.
  • Their approach, moreover, explains two fundamental puzzles in cosmology — one related to the early universe and one to its present state — and, in fact, connects the two. Their theory is just published online in the journal Physics Letters B.
  • From the observation of distant galaxies, it is known that the universe is expanding at a faster rate than it is expected to. This is explained by invoking the presence of “dark energy”.
  • But for this to work, the cosmological constant, which is a term that appears in the gravitational field equations, has to be very small and have a positive value. Explaining why this constant is required to have a tiny positive value is an important puzzle in cosmology.
  • The authors argue that the total cosmic information transferred from the early, quantum gravitational phase to the late, classical phase must be equal to four times pi.
  • This allows them to relate the size of the seed fluctuations to the cosmological constant, thereby tying together the early universe with the present.

GS Mains Model Question & Answer : Explain the types of Cropping Systems. Comment

 GS Mains Model Question & Answer : Explain the types of Cropping Systems. Comment

Q. Explain the types of Cropping Systems. Comment

Model Answer:

Explain the types of Cropping Systems.

Ans: Cropping pattern indicates the proportion of area under different crops at a point of time. Cropping activities go on all the year round in India provided water is available for the crops.
In India, the cropping pattern follows two distinct seasons; Kharif season from July to October and Rabi season from October to March. The crops grown between March to June called zaid.
The crops are grown solo or mixed (mixed-cropping) or in a definite sequence (rotational cropping). The land may be occupied by one crop during one session (mono cropping) or by two crops during one season (double cropping) which may be grown in a year in a sequence. We explain these cropping systems below.

Types of Cropping Systems

(a) Mono-cropping: Mono-cropping or monoculture refers to growing of only one crop on a piece of land year after year. It may be due to climatological and socioeconomic conditions or due to specialization of a farmer in growing a particular crop, e.g., under rainfed conditions, groundnut or cotton or sorghum are grown year after year due to limitation of rainfall. In canal irrigated areas, under waterlogged condition, rice crop is grown as it is not possible to grow any other crop.

(b) Multiple-cropping: Growing two or more crops on the same piece of land in one calendar year is known as multiple-cropping. It is intensification of cropping in time and space dimensions, i.e., more number of crops within a year and more number of crops on the same piece of land at any given period. It includes intercropping, mixed-cropping and sequence cropping. Double-cropping is a case where the land is occupied by two crops, which are grown in a year in sequence.

(c) Inter-cropping: Inter-cropping is growing of two or more crops simultaneously on the same piece of land with a definite row pattern. For example, growing setaria and redgram in 5:1 ratio.
Thus, cropping intensity in space dimension is achieved. Inter-cropping was originally practiced as an insurance against crop failure under rainfed conditions. At present, the main objective of inter-cropping is higher productivity per unit area in addition to stability in production. Intercropping system utilizes resources efficiently and their productivity is increased.

For successful inter-cropping, there are certain important requirements:

(1) The time of peak nutrient demands of component crops should not overlap.
(2) Competition for light should be minimum among the component crops.
(3) Complementarity should exist between the component crops.
(4) The differences in maturity of component crops should be at least 30 days.
(d) Mixed-cropping: Mixed-cropping is growing of two or more crops simultaneously intermingled without any row pattern. It is a common practice in most of dryland tracts of India. Seeds of different crops are mixed in certain proportion and are sown. The objective is to meet the family requirement of cereals, pulses and vegetables.
(e) Sequence-Cropping: Sequence cropping can be defined as growing of two or more crops in a sequence on the same piece of land in a farming year. Depending on the number of crops grown in a year it is called double, triple or quadruple cropping involving two, three and four crops respectively. In addition to the above systems, relay cropping and ratoon cropping are also in existence. Relay cropping refers to planting of the succeeding crop before harvesting the preceding crops. Ratoon cropping or ratooning refers to raising a crop with re-growth coming out of roots or stalks after harvest of the crop.
(f) Integrated Farming System: Integrated farming system is a holistic method of combining several enterprises like cropping system, diarying, piggery, poultry, fishery, bee-keeping, etc. in a harmonious way so as to complement each other.

The objective is efficient resource utilisation and maximization of profit in such a way so as to cause least damage to soil and environment.

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(Current Affairs) Economy & Energy | September : 2017


  • Luxury cars and SUVs may become more expensive (Free Available)
  • Deposit of black money, evidence of success: FM (Free Available)
  • Nasscom, to set up two centres of excellence (Free Available)
  • New Industrial policy would aim at making India a manufacturing hub (Free Available)
  • Revenue collections from GST ‘technically exceeded’ the government’s target (Free Available)
  • Centre distanced itself from the Ease of Doing Business report by NITI Aayog (Free Available)
  • Code on Wages Bill says wages will differ (Free Available)
  • NITI Aayog wants labour laws to be made flexible (Free Available)
  • Govt to give some more time to handset makers (Free Available)
  • TRAI starts process for next round of spectrum auction (Free Available)
  • MNRE says guidelines for solar power to reduce risk and increasing affordability (Free Available)
  • Darjeeling tea prices sore up due to ongoing dispute (Free Available)
  • New Rs. 200 note printed by RBI (Free Available)
  • Committee on data protection to submit report by year end (Free Available)
  • China wants to address growing trade imbalance with India (Free Available)
  • The trade deficit was $52.7 billion in 2015-16. (Free Available)
  • Former RBI chairman says there are still several challenges to India’s growth story (Free Available)
  • Niti Aayog’s agenda has the potential to trigger much more economic activity (Free Available)
  • Various changes to increase participation in UDAN (Free Available)
  • Alternate mechanism for merger of PSB’s (Free Available)
  • RBI is not in favour of NBFC’s to accept deposits (Free Available)
  • RBI said banks must initiate bankruptcy proceedings against loan defaulters (Free Available)
  • Discussions are at a ‘well-advanced’ stage for Australia’s uranium sale to India (Free Available)
  • SEBI said it is keeping a close watch on the share price movement of Infosys (Free Available)
  • Indian Tea Association (ITA) has sought a revival package for the industry (Free Available)
  • Infosys issue takes a beating on Sharemarket (Free Available)
  • Sikka’s resignation brought focus on corporate governance again (Free Available)
  • India-U.S. Trade Policy Forum to focus on Visa curbs (Free Available)
  • Public sector banks have most of the debts (Free Available)
  • Indian-American doctor developed medicine for sepsis (Free Available)
  • Production of coconut-activated carbon has been hit due to GST (Free Available)
  • Centre and RBI are working on a scheme to boost capital in public sector banks (Free Available)
  • Scholars, academics and government officials looking for BRICS agenda (Free Available)
  • FM has written to all Chief Ministers urging them to reduce Value Added Tax (VAT) (Free Available)
  • India should leverage its coal assets while it is still economical to do so (Free Available)
  • Centre will go ahead with its proposal to amend the Factories Act of 1948 (Free Available)
  • India wants to diversify the import of oil (Free Available)
  • PM to find over possible solutions for India’s critical development challenges (Free Available)
  • Public sector share in banking too large (Free Available)
  • eBiz portal project is still struggling to become fully operational (Only for Online Coaching Members)
  • Transactions through point-of-sale terminals have risen post Demonetisation  (Only for Online Coaching Members)
  • Public sector banks have reported a 20% jump in the outstanding loans (Only for Online Coaching Members)
  • Consumer price index (CPI) accelerated to 2.36% in July (Only for Online Coaching Members)
  • Goods exports rose for the twelfth consecutive month (Only for Online Coaching Members)
  • Market regulator acts against Shell companies (Only for Online Coaching Members)
  • Centre has brought out an online database of half a million hectares of land (Only for Online Coaching Members)
  • Interest rates may be at the bottom of the interest cycle (Only for Online Coaching Members)
  • United States remains one of the most popular countries for travel (Only for Online Coaching Members)
  • Demonetisation made economy lighter with Rs. 3.5 lakh crore of cash: Survey (Only for Online Coaching Members)
  • Growth likely to be in the lower range, closer to 6.5% (Only for Online Coaching Members)
  • Petroleum subsidy to be halved by 2020 (Only for Online Coaching Members)
  • Demonetisation dented RBI income (Only for Online Coaching Members)
  • The British government is pushing for Indian investment (Only for Online Coaching Members)
  • Govt. panel to probe Kingfisher dues to AAI (Only for Online Coaching Members)
  • Facing financial woes, the airline had to shut down in 2012 (Only for Online Coaching Members)
  • Net direct tax collectionsup to 1.90 lakh crore (Only for Online Coaching Members)
  • Roll back of increase in tax rate for government works contracts (Only for Online Coaching Members)
  • Millions of companies are still not ready to file their first returns under GST (Only for Online Coaching Members)
  • SEBI concerned with the manner in which start-ups are being funded (Only for Online Coaching Members)
  • Parliamentary Standing Committee concerned over employees future (Only for Online Coaching Members)
  • Possibly due to demonetisation number of filed ITR’s increased by 25% (Only for Online Coaching Members)
  • Oil and gas exploration and production business is likely to get a boost (Only for Online Coaching Members)
  • China’s RCEP push veils grand plan (Only for Online Coaching Members)
  • NITI Aayog’s next VC believes focus should be on job creation (Only for Online Coaching Members)
  • IBM had achieved a breakthrough in security technology (Only for Online Coaching Members)
  • Gold continued its gains at the domestic bullion market (Only for Online Coaching Members)
  • Bharat 22, a new exchange traded fund (Only for Online Coaching Members)
  • SEBI made it mandatory to disclose default on the payment of interest in a day (Only for Online Coaching Members)
  • Parliament’s Committee has questioned the country’s low manufacturing growth (Only for Online Coaching Members)
  • India’s first private sector missile sub-systems manufacturing facility (Only for Online Coaching Members)
  • India conveys its pitch for a sovereign rating upgrade (Only for Online Coaching Members)
  • Service sector activity in July slowed to its lowest level (Only for Online Coaching Members)
  • RBI Governor expects lenders to pass on lower loan costs to borrowers (Only for Online Coaching Members)
  • Govt is looking to rework policy to incentivise firms to set up semiconductor units (Only for Online Coaching Members)
  • Centre will consider including a ‘one-nation one-licence’ regime in the new telecom policy (Only for Online Coaching Members)
  • Manufacturing PMI records very steep contraction (Only for Online Coaching Members)
  • Centre has put on hold a plan to enable monetisation of land assets owned by AAI (Only for Online Coaching Members)
  • US aircraft manufacturer says India would require 2,100 planes over the next 20 years (Only for Online Coaching Members)
  • NITI Aayog to examine methanol as an alternative propellant (Only for Online Coaching Members)
  • The year-on-year growth of the core sector has slowed to 0.4% in June (Only for Online Coaching Members)

Luxury cars and SUVs may become more expensive

  • Luxury cars and SUVs may become more expensive with the Union Cabinet approving an ordinance to raise the maximum compensation cess that can be levied over and above the 28% GST on such cars, from 15 % to 25%.
  • However, these changes will not come into effect immediately. The final decision of whether the cess should be raised, and by how much, will be taken by the GST Council, whose next meeting is on September 9.
  • Mr. Jaitley reasoned, “The object of any taxation policy can’t be that its impact is [that] luxury becomes cheaper and an essential item becomes more expensive. If at all relief has to be given, it is to be given to a common man’s item rather than a luxury item. A person who can afford Rs. 1 crore for a car can also afford Rs. 1 crore, 2 lakh.”
  • The “enabling ordinance” will now be sent to the President for promulgation. Mr. Jaitley was non-committal if the issue would be taken up in the next GST Council meeting.
  • Post the introduction of the new indirect tax regime, several carmakers, including makers of luxury cars and SUV who were one of the biggest beneficiaries of GST, had slashed rates to pass the benefits to the consumer.
  • If the GST Council decides to increase the cess, luxury car prices may to go up by 8-10%, according to industry analysts. While Mercedes cars will be costlier by a minimum of Rs. 3 lakh, an Audi Q7 will see a price increase of Rs. 7 lakh, while an Audi A6 will be costlier by Rs. 5 lakh.
  • Earlier, those luxury cars where excise duties were levied at 27% or 30%..., the same categorisation is being followed. There is no intention of raising the tax rate on any car, other than those which were put in the luxury category and had high excise and VAT rates.
  • According to industry consultants, luxury cars, SUVs and ambulances will be impacted.
  • This will increase the post-GST price of many vehicle categories from pre-GST levels, it warned.
  • “This is contradictory position of the Government that while on the one hand it has identified the automotive industry as a sunrise sector of Indian economy, [while] on the other hand it is being treated as a demerit product,” it said, adding that all the vehicles that were attracting 24% or 27% excise duty in the pre-GST regime may potentially attract higher tax under GST because of this decision.
  • Echoing similar sentiments, Audi India Head Rahil Ansari said the increase in cess will force the firm “to hike our prices to levels higher than in the pre-GST period,” while also make them “redraw our plans for the Indian market based on future projections in this scenario.”
  • He said this was bound to adversely impact sales by possibly a double-digit reduction and “will consequently reduce revenues for the company, dealers and perhaps also tax revenues for the Government.”
  • While small in volume, the luxury car segment contributed about 10% to the Indian automobile market.

Nasscom, to set up two centres of excellence

  • The National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom), in conjunction with State governments, plans to set up two centres of excellence in data sciences and another one for cybersecurity soon, K.S.
  • Vishwanathan, vice president, Industry Initiatives.
  • “Along with the government of Karnataka and government of Telangana, we will be announcing two centres of excellence in data sciences,” Mr. Vishwanathan said.
  • “The process of executing these centres is going on in both the states. Both are supported by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.”
  • The Center of Excellence for IoT (Internet of Things) will be expanded to three other centres. The location will be decided by the Government. Another Center of Excellence will get established in Karnataka on cybersecurity.
  • The Center of Excellence is an initiative started in 2013 to build up an ecosystem in India to connect various entities such as start-ups, enterprises, venture capitalists, Government and academia. It is supported by the federal and State governments.
  • U.S. is the largest with about 60,000 start-ups. Within a span of four years,India has emerged among the top three. India is close to number two with U.K. This year should possibly overtake U.K.
  • According to Nasscom, 27% of the start-ups are based in Bangalore and about 24% each in Northern region (NCR) and Western region (Mumbai, Pune). The balance is scattered.
  • In the initial phase, 60% of the start-ups were in the business-to-consumer and 40% in business-to-business category. In B2C, a bulk of them were in the e-commerce segment, mobility commerce, and Internet commerce, according to Nasscom.
  • Now the equation has changed. Sixty percent is in B2B and 40% in B2C. B2B is also supported by technologies like IoT, AI, enterprise ready start-ups and blockchain.
  • India has about 6,000 start-ups and close to 140 accelerators and incubators. Both corporate, private and government accelerators put together have registered a 35% year-on-year growth last year and Nasscom expects the growth rate to be maintained this fiscal year too.
  • “We believe we have a unique position. If India’s own problems can be solved by apps or start-up solutions, say, in water-related or garbage-related or education-related areas, that solution can be used for every part of sub-Saharan Africa, where people cannot afford technology which Western countries can. The opportunity is huge,” according to Mr. Vishwanathan.

Code on Wages Bill says wages will differ

  • The Code on Wages Bill proposed by the Union government will not fix a single national level minimum wage for the whole country, but will vary across states and geographies.
  • It provides for national minimum wage for different geographical areas so as to ensure that no State Government fixes the minimum wage below the national minimum wage, notified for that area by the Central Government.
  • Wage levels would vary state-wise and in some cases, may differ based on geographies – coastal, hilly or plains. India is a vast country with cost of living varying across states. We cannot have a single national level minimum wage.
  • If the minimum wages fixed by the states are already higher than the ‘national minimum wage’, the states will not be allowed to lower their wage levels, according to the provisions of the Bill.
  • The Code on Wages Bill combines four labour laws — Payment of Wages Act, 1936, Minimum Wages Act, 1948, Payment of Bonus Act, 1965 and Equal Remuneratiom Act, 1976.
  • The Bill states that the state governments will fix their minimum wages keeping in mind “the skill required, arduousness of the work assigned to the worker, the cost of living of the worker, geographical location of the place of work,” among other factors.
  • At present, various states are free to fix their own level of minimum wages as per the local conditions, cost of living and other factors.

MNRE says guidelines for solar power to reduce risk and increasing affordability

  • The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) has said its guidelines for tariff-based bidding for procuring solar power will reduce risk, enhance transparency and increase affordability.
  • The MNRE had issued the new guidelines for tariff based competitive bidding process on August 3.
  • The guidelines have been issued under the provisions of Section 63 of the Electricity Act, 2003 for long term procurement from grid-connected Solar PV Power Projects of 5 MW and above, through competitive bidding.
  • Besides, it said, the move would help protect consumer interests through affordable power.
  • It will also provide standardisation and uniformity in processes and a risk-sharing framework between various stakeholders involved in the solar PV power procurement, it said.
  • This will also help reduce off-taker risk and encourage investments, enhance bankability of the Projects and improve profitability for the investors.
  • Some of the salient features of the the new norms include generation compensation for off-take constraints for reducing off-take risks. The ‘must-run’ status for solar projects has been stressed upon.
  • Besides, to ensure lower tariffs, minimum PPA (power purchase agreement) tenure has been kept at 25 years. Moreover, unilateral termination or amendment of PPA is not allowed.

Darjeeling tea prices sore up due to ongoing dispute

  • Amid flickering hopes of a resolution to the impasse in Darjeeling, tea exporters and packers are scrambling to mop up whatever teas are being offered at the tea auctions here and prices have breached the Rs. 1,000 per kg mark at three consecutive weekly sales.
  • The industry has been apprehensive that even if the deadlock, which has exceeded 60 days, was broken and estates were to open by September, production would not commence before October, when the onset of winter would limit output. About 75% of the year’s crop is as good as lost, they said.
  • Auction prices of this prime brew had averaged about Rs. 300 per kg between 2012 and 2016, according to official statistics.
  • Offerings, however, were low, falling from 17,000 kg in end-July to 8,700 kg in this week’s sale, according to J. Kalyan Sundaram, secretary general, CTTA. He said that 8,400 kg were sold at an average price of Rs. 1,164.5 a kg.
  • This was mainly picked up by 2-3 exporters. According to statistics from the Indian Tea Association, in 2016, India exported 6 million kg out of production of 8 million kg.
  • Demanding Statehood, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has enforced a shutdown in Darjeeling since June 15. While there appear to be some signs of talks between the State government and other parties, the GJM has persisted with its demands.
  • The Darjeeling Tea Association has estimated a revenue loss of Rs. 400 crore to the industry.
  • It also said that the loss of second flush teas producing the unique muscatel flavour would have a cascading effect on an industry which is tottering under the impact of climate change, ageing bushes and high production costs.

Former RBI chairman says there are still several challenges to India’s growth story

  • Former Reserve Bank of India governor Duvvuri Subbarao has said that there are several challenges that need to be addressed before Indian economy could take off. “India’s growth story is not inevitable,” he said.
  • Delivering the inaugural anniversary lecture: ‘India: Will the Elephant start dancing?’ instituted by Bandhan Bank, Mr. Subbarao said RBI should not be required to step in to the day-to-day running of a bank.
  • Speaking in the context of the proposed amendment in to the Banking Regulation Act, he said: “Does RBI have expertise in conducting banking business?”.
  • He also observed that such extraordinary powers (proposed in this case to check NPAs) should come with a sunset clause.
  • On demonetisation, he said that its long term benefits would be visible if it helped increased income tax collections.
  • Mr. Subbarao pointed out that job creation and finding a solution to India’s problems in agriculture were two key deliverables.
  • He said that India urgently needs a manufacturing revolution for job creation. “Jobs have to come from the manufacturing sector.. not only from the services sector.”

Alternate mechanism for merger of PSB’s

  • Paving the way for quicker consolidation among public sector banks, the Cabinet approved ‘in-principle’ the constitution of an alternative mechanism, likely to be a ministerial group, that will oversee the proposals for mergers among banks.
  • Stressing that the decision to create ‘strong and competitive banks will be solely based on commercial considerations and such decisions must start from the boards of the banks,’ the Minister said the proposals received from banks will be reviewed by the members of the alternative mechanism, enabling ‘quick decisions.’
  • The Centre’s nudge towards consolidation among public sector banks assumes significance as most of them are grappling with huge levels of non-performing assets or NPAs, slow credit offtake and resultant pressures on capital adequacy.
  • Rating agency Crisil termed the Cabinet decision as an important first step towards kick starting the consolidation process and said such mergers would improve NPA resolution following swifter decision making and an unified strategy.
  • When asked the likely criteria for bank mergers, the Minister said these will have to be driven by the bank boards.
  • An official statement said that stronger public sector banks will help meet the credit needs of a growing economy, absorb shocks and give them the capacity to raise resources without depending unduly on the state exchequer.
  • This year’s Budget provided Rs. 10,000 crore for bank recapitalisation, which, most bankers said, was inadequate. Mr. Jaitley had, however, held out the possibility of allocating more funds for banks if the requirement arose.
  • The Centre said though suggestions to have fewer but stronger banks had been around since 1991, it was in May 2016 that effective action to consolidate them began.
  • The merger of six banks into SBI was completed in ‘record time unlike earlier mergers of State Banks of Indore and Saurashtra,’ it stressed.

RBI said banks must initiate bankruptcy proceedings against loan defaulters

  • To expedite stress resolution in the banking system, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Deputy Governor Viral Acharya said banks must initiate bankruptcy proceedings against loan defaulters if the lenders are unable to resolve bad loans in three months.
  • “RBI should not be in the business of creating restructuring schemes for banks to resolve a company,” Mr. Acharya said.
  • The Deputy Governor said the recovery of bad debts in India was low compared with other countries.
  • “Our loan recoveries are in the order of 15-25 paise to a rupee. In other parts of the world, where bankruptcy system is working well, and these things are being done in a timely manner, the recovery is to the order of 85-90 cents to a dollar,” he said.
  • The central bank also stressed on the need for counter-cyclical buffers — in terms of setting aside higher capital — during periods of higher growth.
  • Most banks in the country do not make adequate provisioning — above the regulatory mandate — which could be used when non-performing assets are increasing.
  • The Indian banking sector has been battling a surge in bad loans over the last three years with gross NPAs climbing to about Rs. 8 lakh crore.
  • In percentage terms, gross NPA (GNPA) ratio of the banking system is at 9.6% and the stressed advances ratio at 12% as of March 31, 2017.
  • Recently, RBI Governor Urjit Patel had said that it was a matter of concern that 86.5% of the GNPAs were accounted for by large borrowers, that is borrowers with aggregate exposure of Rs. 5 crore and above.

Infosys issue takes a beating on Sharemarket

  • Shares of Infosys continued their slide, shedding 5.37% or Rs. 49.60 to close at Rs. 873.50 on the BSE. This is the lowest close in three years for the technology major. It had closed at Rs. 870.09 on August 8, 2014.
  • Infosys was also the worst performer in the Sensex pack as the benchmark index lost 0.84% to close at 31,258.85.
  • The shares have lost close to 15% in the last two trading sessions since CEO Vishal Sikka resigned citing what he termed as ‘baseless, malicious and increasingly personal attacks’ by co-founder N.R. Narayana Murthy, that had constrained his ability to bring about change.
  • Even a buyback announcement at Rs. 1,150 per share did not stem the slide. On Saturday, the board of the company approved a buyback plan amounting to Rs. 13,000 crore.
  • IIFL said in a report that while it continued to believe in the company’s long-term potential, it had downgraded its rating to ‘Add’ as a stable management, peace with shareholders and consistent earnings delivery amid this development are the key for Infosys to trade at a premium again.
  • IDBI Capital has also cut its FY18 and FY19 revenue forecast for the company by 1.1% and 3.6%, respectively, downgrading the stock to ‘hold’ from a ‘buy’.

Sikka’s resignation brought focus on corporate governance again

  • The exit of Vishal Sikka as the chief of multinational IT giant Infosys brings forth the issue of corporate governance yet again.
  • Market participants said the capital markets regulator, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), needed to intervene in such matters to protect the interest of investors, especially the retail segment.
  • “The supervisory board, comprising eminent personalities, will monitor performance as well as the value system for the company and this alone will create wealth for the company and keep it on the tracks,” he added.
  • SEBI had constituted a committee on corporate governance under the chairmanship of Uday Kotak in June this year.
  • The committee is expected to submit its report within four months. Market participants said that the Infosys issue too should be considered in detail by the committee.
  • “Unfortunately, this had degenerated into an ugly battle played out with the media and as a result we are seeing whatever has happened,” said Mr. Bhat.
  • Another view is that differences between stakeholders on the vision for the company caused the turmoil.
  • “This is a fight between modern, free-market capitalism on the one side and the forces of ‘compassionate capitalism’ on the other,” he said.
  • The governing board or a supervisory board, he said, would be an important top layer setting the direction for such companies.

India-U.S. Trade Policy Forum to focus on Visa curbs

  • The Centre will, during the India-U.S. Trade Policy Forum (TPF) meeting likely in October, raise Indian industry’s concerns over the U.S. visa ‘curbs’ and the ‘delay’ in inking a bilateral social security pact (or totalisation agreement).
  • In the TPF meeting, the premier forum to resolve bilateral trade and investment issues, the U.S. is expected to table its worries over India’s ‘restrictions’ on e-commerce as well as the ‘challenges’ faced by American innovative industries due to India’s ‘weak’ Intellectual Property Rights regime.
  • In addition, New Delhi would take up the ‘non-tariff barriers’ by the U.S. that are hurting Indian agriculture, pharmaceuticals and other industrial exports, while Washington is likely to raise its concerns over India’s ‘excessively high tariffs’ on imports.
  • Deputy Assistant USTR for South and Central Asia, and Brendan Lynch, Director for India at the USTR Office, will participate in a round-table discussion on August 23 being organised by the advocacy body U.S.-India
  • Business Council to take inputs for the TPF meeting and the comprehensive review of bilateral trade ties.
  • There were doubts about the future of the TPF, especially following a U.S. government statement on August 15 mentioning that U.S. President and PM Modi had decided to ‘establish a new 2-by-2 ministerial dialogue that will elevate their strategic consultations.’
  • However this meant that the ‘commercial’ track will be taken out of the India-US ‘Strategic and Commercial Dialogue’ (S&CD), and from now on take place independently.

Production of coconut-activated carbon has been hit due to GST

  • Production of coconut-activated carbon, used for purification of water, edible oil and gas and in sectors such as healthcare and cosmetics, has been hit due to increasing raw material prices post the implementation of GST.
  • Whole coconuts, coconut kernel and husk do not attract GST. However, 5% duty is levied on coconut shells. These shells are sold by farmers and vendors in the unorganised sector to charcoal producers.
  • Charcoal is not covered under GST. It is the raw material used by activated carbon producers. Activated carbon attracts 18% GST. There are about 15 units in South India making activated carbon from coconut shells.
  • According to data available with the Coconut Development Board, activated carbon is exported mainly to the U.S., the U.K. and South Korea. This increased to 40,132 tonnes worth Rs. 402 crore during the same period last year.
  • In the case of supply of activated carbon to the domestic market, the buyers are able to take input credit of the GST paid. But, costs have gone up for exporters. The activated carbon industry is growing at 5% annually and exports at 10% to 15%.

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(The Gist of Kurukshetra) GOODS AND SERVICES TAX (GST) - September - 2017

(The Gist of Kurukshetra) GOODS AND SERVICES TAX (GST) - September - 2017


Much awaited Goods and Services Tax (GST) is set to be implemented from July L", 2017. It is being lauded as the most important tax reform since 1947. Following is a brief overview of GST:

Salient Features of GST:

(i) The GST would be applicable on the supply of goods or services as against the present concept of tax on the manufacture or sale of goods or provision of services. It would be a destination based consumption tax. This
means that tax would accrue to the State or the Union Territory where the consumption takes place. It would be a dual GST with the Centre and States simultaneously levying tax on a common tax base.

(ii) The GST would apply to all goods other than. alcoholic liquor for human consumption and five petroleum products, viz. petroleum crude, motor spirit (petrol), high speed diesel, natural gas and aviation turbine fuel. It would apply to all services barring a few to be specified. The GST would replace a host of indirect taxes such as - Central Excise Duty, Service Tax, Central Surcharges and Cesses so far as they relate to supply of goods and services, State VAT, Luxury Tax, Purchase Tax etc.

(iii) The list of exempted goods and services would be common for the Centre and the States.

(iv) Threshold Exemption: Taxpayers with an aggregate turnover in a Financial Year up to RS.20 lakhs would be exempted from tax. For eleven Special Category States, like those in the North-East and the hilly States, the exemption threshold shall be Rs. 10 lakhs.

(v) An Integrated tax (IGST) would be levied and collected by the Centre on inter-State supply of goods and services. Accounts would be settled periodically between the Centre and the States to ensure that the SGST/UTGST portion of IGST is transferred to the destination State where the goods or Services are eventually consumed.

(vi) Use of Input Tax Credit (ITC): Taxpayers shall be allowed to take credit of taxes paid on inputs (input tax credit) and utilize the same for payment of output tax.

(vii) Exports and supplies to SEZ shall be treated as zero-rated supplies.

(viii) Import of goods and services would be treated as inter-State supplies and would be subject to IGST in addition to the applicable customs duties. The IGST paid shall be available as ITC for further transactions.


1. GST aims to make India a common market with common tax rates and procedures and remove the economic barriers, thus paving the way for an integrated economy at the national level. GST is a win-win situation for all the stakeholders of industry, government and the consumer. It will lower the cost of goods and services, give a boost to the economy and make the products and services globally competitive.

2. GST is largely technology driven. It will reduce the human interface to a great extent and this would lead to speedy decisions. GST will bring more transparency to indirect tax laws.

3. GST will give a major boost to the 'Make in India' initiative of the Government of India by making goods and services produced in India competitive in the National as well as International market.

4. Under the GST regime, exports will be zerorated in entirety unlike the present system, where refund of some taxes may not take place due to fragmented nature of indirect taxes between the Centre and the States. This will boost Indian exports in the international market.

5. GST is expected to bring buoyancy to the Government Revenue by widening the tax base and improving the taxpayer compliance. GST is likely to improve India's ranking in the Ease of Doing Business Index and is estimated to increase the GDP growth by 1.5 to 2 per cent.

6. The taxpayers would not be required to maintain records and show compliance with a myriad of indirect tax laws of the Central and the State Governments. They would only need to maintain records and show compliance in respect of Central GST, State GST and Integrated GST.

Other provisions of GST:

(i) Valuation of goods shall be done on the basis of transaction value i.e. the invoice price, which is the current practice under the Central Excise and Customs Laws. Taxpayers are allowed to issue supplementary or revised invoice in respect of a supply made earlier.

(ii) New modes of payment of tax are being introduced, viz. through credit and debit cards, National Electronic Fund Transfer (NEFT) and Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS). (iii) E-Commerce companies are required to collect tax at source in relation to any supplies made through their online platforms, under fulfillment model, at the rate notified by the Government.

(iv) An antiprofiteering measure has been incorporated in the GST law to ensure that any benefits on account of reduction in tax rates results in commensurate reduction in prices of such goods/ services.

IT preparedness:

Putting in place a robust IT network is an absolute must for implementation of GST. A Special Purpose Vehicle called the GSTN has been set up to cater to the needs of GST. The functions of the GSTN would, inter alia, include: (i) facilitating registration; (ii) forwarding the returns to Central and State authorities; (iii) computation and settlement of IGST; (iv) matching of tax payment details with banking network; (v) providing various MIS reports to the Central and the State Governments based on the taxpayer return information; (vi) providing analysis of taxpayers' profile; and (vii) running the matching engine for matching, reversal and reclaim of input tax credit. The target date for introduction of GST is 1st July, 2017. The GSTN will also make available standard software for small traders to keep their accounts in that, so that straight away, it can be uploaded as their monthly returns on GSTN website. This will make compliance easier for small traders.

All States/UTs except the State of Jammu & Kashmir, are ready for roll-out of GST with effect from 1st July, 2017

As of 21st June, 2017, all the States and Union Territories (having assemblies), except the State of Jammu & Kashmir, have approved the State Goods and Services Tax (SGST) Act. The State of Kerala issued an Ordinance approving State GST Act while the State of West Bengal had issued an Ordinance in this regard on 15thJune, 2017. Now the only one State that is yet to pass the State GST Act is the State of J&K. Thus, almost the entire country including all the 30 States/UTs are now on board and ready for the smooth roll-out of GST with effect from 1st July, 2017.

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GS Mains Model Question & Answer : The Indian Government has invested significant diplomatic capital in bilateral engagement .However Regional multilateral agreement are equally important. Discuss. Comment

 GS Mains Model Question & Answer : The Indian Government has invested significant diplomatic capital in bilateral engagement .However Regional multilateral agreement are equally important. Discuss. Comment

Q. The Indian Government has invested significant diplomatic capital in bilateral engagement .However Regional multilateral agreement are equally important. Discuss. Comment

Model Answer:

The Indian Government has invested significant diplomatic capital in bilateral engagement .However Regional multilateral agreement are equally important. Discuss.

Regional multilateral agreement are equally important because of the following reasons:

1) Commonality of threats.
2) Provide avenues for bilateral discussion on the sidelines.

Though India’s attitude towards regional multilateral agreements is not significant in the following manner:

1) One Belt One Road: Because of China – Pakistan economic corridor , India did not join.
2) Shangri-la dialogue: India has attended 12 out of 16 meets since its inception in 2002.This year India was conspicuous by its absence.It missed out an important avenue to put across its view due to absence of full –time defence minister.

However it is siginificant in this manner as well:

1) Become a member of SCO: Expressed desire for enhanced connectivity and trade exchanges and also pledges his commitment in the collective fight against terrorism.
2) Own version of multilateral dialogues : through Raisina dialogue and Gateway of India dialogue

Thus it could be seen that India has balanced approach towards both of them.

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(The Gist of Kurukshetra) NATIONAL HEALTH POLICY 2017 - KEY HIGHLIGHTS - September - 2017

(The Gist of Kurukshetra) NATIONAL HEALTH POLICY 2017 - KEY HIGHLIGHTS - September - 2017


  • Gradually increasing public health expenditure to 2.5 per cent of GDP
  • Policy Shift in Primary Health Care from selective care to assured comprehensive care. Establishing Health and Wellness Centers to transform PHCs from current limited package of services to larger coverage of noncommunicable diseases.
  • New policy formulation related to noncommunicable diseases and mental health.
  • Retention of doctors in remote areas, health systems strengthening, health technologies development and new institutions for research and development.
  • Strategic Purchases and engagement with private sector for critical gap filling.
  • Moving towards an assurance based approach, increasing access, affordability and quality.

National Health Policy (NHP), 2017

The primary aim of the NHP is to strengthen and prioritize the role of the Government in shaping health systems, make additional investments in health, healthcare services, prevention of diseases and promotion of good health. The NHP seeks to raise the health sector spending to 2.5 per cent of GDP, create patient centric institutions, empower the patients and lay down standards for quality of treatment. It also seeks to strengthen health
infrastructure to 2 beds per 1000 population and provide free drugs, free diagnostics and essential health care in all public hospitals. The NHP's key goals are to improve the life expectancy at birth from 67.5 years to 70 years by 2025 and reduce the infant mortality to 28 by 2018. The other goals are elimination of Leprosy, Kala Azar and Filariasis by 2017-18. From a baseline of 560 in 1990, the Nation has achieved an MMR of 167 in 2011. From a baseline of 126 in 1990, the Nation has achieved an US MR of 39 in 2014. The challenges remain in the six large States of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh, which account for 42 per cent of national population and 56 per cent of annual population increase.

Government has initiated policy interventions for implementing the NHP. Union Budget 2017 for health shows an appreciable increase of more than 27 per cent, from Rs. 37,061.55 Cr in 2016-17 to Rs. 47,352.51 Cr. India has a vast organization for public health care delivery and Primary care services. The NHP lists infrastructure and human resource development in Primary and Secondary Care Hospitals as a key priority area. The Government in the 2017 Union Budget has sought to upgrade 1.5 lakh health sub-centers to health wellness centers
and introduce a nationwide scheme for pregnant women under which, Rs. 6000/- for each case will be transferred. To conclude, it can be said that the significant.

The NHP places a lot of emphasis on human resources as a vital component of India's health care. 5000 Post Graduate seats per annum have been created to ensure adequate availability of specialist doctors to strengthen secondary and tertiary levels of healthcare. The increased availability of PG seats along with a centralized entrance exam represent major steps in reform of medical education in the country. The expansion of postgraduate medical education is a priority as the shortage of PG medical seats in the country affects not only the availability of specialist doctors, but also the ease of getting faculty for medical colleges. The introduction of a uniform entrance examination at undergraduate and post-graduate level has brought transparency to medical education. The Medical Council of India Amendment Act 2016 introduced a common merit based entrance examination at National level. Government has notified the increase in postgraduate seats in 435 medical colleges with the objective of increasing the number of specialist doctors in India.

The NHP has placed a lot of emphasis on Digital Initiatives. Online registration system has been introduced in 71 hospitals of India as part of the Digital India initiative. Digitization of public hospitals had enabled a reduction of patient wait times and freed clinician times. A patient centric feedback system called Mera Aspataal has been introduced. The data sets of Mera Aspataal have f lagged the important areas for patient

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GS Mains Model Question & Answer : Bhagat Singh’s sense of nationalism differ from other stalwarts of the national movement. Discuss. Comment

 GS Mains Model Question & Answer : Bhagat Singh’s sense of nationalism differ from other stalwarts of the national movement. Discuss. Comment

Q. Bhagat Singh’s sense of nationalism differ from other stalwarts of the national movement. Discuss. Comment

Model Answer:

Bhagat Singh’s sense of nationalism differ from other stalwarts of the national movement. Discuss.

Difference between Bhagat Singh and other Freedom Fighters

1) He initially sought revolutionary mass movement against the colonial rule, many other prominent leaders resorted to non-violent struggle under Gandhi at the latter end of the freedom movement.

2) He later resorted to individual act of Revolutionary Terrorism because of rapid change of time and shocked at the death of Lala Lajpat Rai. Though he preferred mass struggle, he wanted to educate the people through his deed. It was considered as "Propaganda by deed".

But other stalwarts believed in long-struggle which involved "S-T-S" (Struggle Truce Struggle).

3) Propagated Anarchism- abolition of state, freedom from obsession of religion, money or other worldly desire. Though seemed quite radical he explained that absence of "state" did not mean absence of "order", but merely absence of chains on the body or control.

4) While Bhagat Singh abjured religion in political affairs and was conscient not to discriminate between his comrades. Other freedom fighters like Tilak, though with best intentions, had resorted to Hindu religious ceremonies for enlisting mass support. This had lead to religious conscience in the masses.

5) Bhagat Singh did not discriminate between his subjects and wrote against overt beliefs in God. Gandhiji being a conservative Hindu upheld religion in political affairs by saying that politics without ethics (religion) is dangerous.

Bhagat singh strand of nationalism was of a progressive one,wherein he wanted a dismantle of all systems which make exploitation of one man by another possible.He stood for emancipation of a nation from all its social evils emphasising on rationality,secularism and personally adhering to atheism

His nationalism was not confined to preserving territorial integrity but ushering in social revolution

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GS Mains Model Question & Answer : Examine the process of legislation of budget. Comment

 GS Mains Model Question & Answer : Examine the process of legislation of budget. Comment

Q. Examine the process of legislation of budget. Comment

Model Answer:

Examine the process of legislation of budget.

Once the budget is prepared, it has to pass through the following stages in the Parliament a) presentation of the budget by the finance minister in both the houses of Parliament, (b) general discussion on revenue and expenditure proposals, (c) presentation of demands for grants, and (d) voting and passing of the Appropriation and Finance Bills.

Presentation of Budget: The budget is presented to Lok Sabha .

While presenting the budget, the Finance Minister delivers the budget speech and lays on the table, the annual financial statement duly authenticated by him. There is no discussion on the budget at that time. Simultaneously, with the presentation of the budget in the Lok Sabha, a copy thereof is laid on the table of the Rajya Sabha.

Immediately after the presentation of the General Budget, the Finance Minister introduces in the Lok Sabha, the Finance Bill to give effect to the tax proposals of the Government of India for the following financial year. The bill contains proposals of the government for levy of new taxes, modifications of the existing tax structure or continuance of the existing tax structure beyond the period approved by Parliament.
No discussion on the budget takes place on the day it is presented to the house.

Budgets are discussed in two stages- the general discussion followed by detailed discussion and voting on the demand for grants.

After the presentation of the budget by the Finance Minister, the Speaker may allot time for general discussion on the budget. During the general discussion, the house is at liberty to discuss the budget as a whole or any question or principle involved therein, but no motion can be moved.

After the general discussion of the budget is over, the House is adjourned for a fixed period. During this period, the demands for grants of the ministries/departments are considered by the departmentally related standing committees. These committees are required to present their reports to the House within a specified period and make special report on the demands for grants of each ministry.

The demands for grants are not formally presented or laid on the table of the Lok Sabha. These form part of the budget papers and are distributed to members along with the budget documents. A separate demand is ordinarily made in respect of the grant proposed for<each ministry/department. The Finance Minister may however include in one demand, grant proposed for two or more ministries or departments or make a demand in respect of expenditure, which cannot readily be classified under a particular ministry. One ministry department may present more than one demand.

Discussion on Demands for Grants: After the presentation of the budget, the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs holds a meeting of the leaders of parties/ groups in Lok Sabha for the selection of ministries/ departments, whose demands for grants might be discussed in the House. On the basis of decisions arrived at this meeting, the government forwards the proposals for the consideration of the Business Advisory Committee. The Business Advisory Committee after considering the proposals allots time and also recommends the order in which the demands might be discussed. After the allotment of time by the Business Advisory Committee, a time-table showing the dates on and the order in which the demands for grants of various ministries would be taken up in the House is published for the information of the members.

After the reports of the Standing Committees are presented to the House, the House proceeds to the discussion and voting on demands for grants, ministry-wise. The scope of the discussion at this stage is confined to a matter under the administrative control of the ministry and to each head of demand as is put to the vote of the House.

It is open to members to disapprove a policy pursued by a particular ministry or to suggest measures for economy in the administration of that ministry or to focus attention of the ministry to specific local grievances. At this stage, cut motions can be moved to reduce any demand for grant but no amendments to a motion seeking to reduce any demand is permissible. The motions to reduce the amounts of demands for grants are called cut motions. The object of a cut motion is to draw the attention of the house to the matter specified therein. The cut motions are normally tabled by the members of the opposition
Guillotine: On the last of the allotted days for the discussion and voting on demands for grants, at the appointed time the Speaker puts every question necessary to dispose of all the outstanding matters in connection with the demands for grants. This is known as guillotine The guillotine concludes the discussion on demands for grants

Vote on Account: The whole process of budget beginning with the presentation and ending with discussion and voting of demands for grants and passing of appropriation bill and finance bill generally goes beyond the current financial year. Hence, a provision has been made in the Constitution empowering the Lok Sabha to make any grant in advance through a vote on account to enable the government to carry on until the voting of demands for grants and the passing of the Appropriation Bill and Finance Bill.

Normally the vote on account is taken for two months for a sum equivalent to one- sixth of the estimated expenditure for the entire year under various demands for grants.
Vote on account is passed by Lok Sabha after the general discussion on the budget is over and before the discussion of demands for grants is taken up.

Supplementary and Excess Demands for Grants: If the amount authorised to be expended for a particular service for the current financial year is found to be insufficient for the purpose of that year, or when a need has arisen during the current financial year for supplementary or additional expenditure upon some new service not contemplated in the budget for that year, the President causes to be laid before both the Houses of Parliament, another statement showing the estimated amount of that expenditure.

If any money has been spent on any service in a financial year in excess of the amount granted for the service for that year, the President causes to be presented to Lok Sabha a demand for such excess. All cases involving such excesses are brought to the notice of Parliament by the Comptroller and Auditor General through his report on the appropriation accounts. The excesses are examined by the Public Accounts
Committee, which makes recommendations regarding their regularisation in its report to the House.

The supplementary demands for grants are presented and passed by the House before the end of the financial year, while the demands for excess grants are made after the expenditure has been incurred and after the financial year to which it relates, has expired.

Appropriation Bill: After the demands for grants have been passed by the House, a bill to provide for the appropriation out of the Consolidated Fund of India of all moneys required to meet the grants and the expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of India is introduced, considered and passed. The introduction of such a bill cannot be opposed.

The scope of discussion is limited to matters of public importance or administrative policy implied in the grants covered by the bill and which have not already been raised during the discussion on demands for grants.
No amendment can be proposed to an appropriation bill, which will have the effect of varying the amount or altering the destination of any grant so made or of varying the amount of any expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of India.

Finance Bill: The Finance Bill is introduced in the Lok Sabha immediately after the general budget is presented to the Lok Sabha by the finance minister.
The introduction of this bill also cannot be opposed. The scope of discussion on the this bill is vast and members can discuss any action of the Government of India. The whole administration comes under review
The Finance Bill seeks to give effect to the financial proposals of the government of India for the next financial year. It also includes a bill to give effect to supplementary financial proposals for any period.
It submits to the jurisdiction of the House all the Acts, with which it deals, i.e., the Income Tax Act, Central Excise and Salt Act etc. and the House can amend all or any such acts to the extent they are dealt with in the bill. The procedure in respect of Finance Bill is the same as in the case of other money bills.

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(Download) Civil Services Mentor Magazine, OCTOBER 2017 - FREE PDF

Civil Services Mentor Magazine

Click Here to Download Mentor Magazine (PDF) Copy

Free Digital Magazine: Civil Services Mentor, OCTOBER 2017

Issue : October 2017

File Type: PDF


Table of Contents:

HOT Topics Articles:

Current Affairs:

  • National Issues

  • International Issues

  • India & The World

  • Economy

  • Science & Technology



Central Government announced a new PPP Policy for Affordable Housing that allows extending central assistance of up to Rs.2.50 lakh per each house to be built by private builders even on private lands besides opening up immense potential for private investments in affordable housing projects on government lands in urban areas.

This policy that gives eight PPP (Public Private Partnership) options for private sector to invest in affordable housing segment. This policy seeks to assign risks among the government, developers and financial institutions, to those who can manage them the best besides leveraging under utilised and un-utilised private and public lands towards meeting the Housing for All target by 2022..

The two PPP models for private investments in affordable housing on private lands include extending central assistance of about Rs.2.50 lakh per each house as interest subsidy on bank loans as upfront payment under the Credit Linked Subsidy Component (CLSS) component of Pradhan MantriAwasyojana (Urban). Under the second option, central assistance of Rs.1.50 lakh per each house to be built on private lands would be provided, in case the beneficiaries do not intend to take bank loans.

Eight PPP options, including six for promoting affordable housing with private investments using government lands have been evolved after extensive consultations with States, promoter bodies and other stakeholders.

GS Mains Model Question & Answer : What are the objectives and mandates of WTO? Challenges lie for India in negotiation? Comment

 GS Mains Model Question & Answer : What are the objectives and mandates of WTO? Challenges lie for India in negotiation? Comment

Q. What are the objectives and mandates of WTO? Challenges lie for India in negotiation? Comment

Model Answer:

What are the objectives and mandates of WTO? Challenges lie for India in negotiation?

The World Trade Organization — the WTO — is the international organization whose primary purpose is to open trade for the benefit of all.

The WTO provides a forum for negotiating agreements aimed at reducing obstacles to international trade and ensuring a level playing field for all, thus contributing to economic growth and development. The WTO also provides a legal and institutional framework for the implementation and monitoring of these agreements, as well as for settling disputes arising from their interpretation and application.

More specifically, the WTO's main activities are:

  • negotiating the reduction or elimination of obstacles to trade (import tariffs, other barriers to trade) and agreeing on rules governing the conduct of international trade (e.g. antidumping, subsidies, product standards, etc.)
  • administering and monitoring the application of the WTO's agreed rules for trade in goods, trade in services, and trade-related intellectual property rights
  • monitoring and reviewing the trade policies of our members, as well as ensuring transparency of regional and bilateral trade agreements
  • settling disputes among our members regarding the interpretation and application of the agreements
  • building capacity of developing country government officials in international trade matters
  • assisting the process of accession of some 30 countries who are not yet members of the organization
  • conducting economic research and collecting and disseminating trade data in support of the WTO's other main activities
  • explaining to and educating the public about the WTO, its mission and its activities.

Challenges for India:

1) Permanent solution on Public stockholding for food security purposes.
2) Finality on the agricultural special safeguard mechanism.

The SSM is to allow developing nation to temporarily hike tariffs to counter sudden import surgrs on price falls.

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(The Gist of Kurukshetra) HEALTH CARE FOR ALL: THE NATIONAL HEALTH POLICY - September - 2017

(The Gist of Kurukshetra) HEALTH CARE FOR ALL: THE NATIONAL HEALTH POLICY - September - 2017


Article 47 of Indian Constitution, the Directive Principles of State Policy says that it shall be the duty of the State to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living and to improve public health. Health sector policy making in India is extremely challenging and complex. The backdrop for policy formulation is low public spending and high out of pocket expenditures. Despite India providing free care in public hospitals for maternity, new born and infant care, the burden of out of pocket expenditures remains quite high.

In 1943, the Joseph Bhor Committee Report envisaged one bed for every 550 people and one doctor for every 4600 people in every district. In 1946, Government resolved to make plans for establishing a Primary Health Centre for every 40,000 people, a Community Health Centre of 30 beds for every 5 Primary Health Centers and a 200 bedded District Hospital in every District) On the eve of Independence, India inherited a substantial
disease burden, with infant and maternal mortality, low life expectancy, inadequate number of doctors, nurses and midwives, poor health infrastructure and low budgetary allocations. During the first 3 decades
since Independence, India's health policy focus entailed controlling infectious diseases, family planning, creation of teaching hospitals like AIIMS to produce high quality human resources and promote infrastructure.

In 1978, India adopted the Alma-Ata Declaration for providing comprehensive primary health care to all its people. In 1983, India's first National Health Policy (NHP) was formulated with emphasis on primary health care and an integrated, vertical approach for disease control programs. The allocations for health sector became tighter during the difficult years of 1990s. The National Health Policy (NHP) 2002 broadly reiterated the earlier Policy's recommendations while advocating that the public investment be increased to 2 per cent of GDP. The NHP 2002 was followed by the launch of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) in 2005 designed on the principles of decentralisation and community engagement with focus on revitalizing primary care.

Pradhan Mantri Saubhagya Yojana : Civil Services Mentor Magazine: OCTOBER - 2017

::Pradhan Mantri Saubhagya Yojana::

Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana -"Saubhagya" a new scheme was launched by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to ensure electrification of all willing households in the country in rural as well as urban areas. The objective of the 'Saubhagya' is to provide energy access to all by last mile connectivity and electricity connections to all remaining un-electrified households in rural as well as urban areas to achieve universal household electrification in the country.

The electricity connection to households include release of electricity connections by drawing a service cable from the nearest electricity pole to the household premise, installation of energy meter, wiring for a single light point with LED bulb and a mobile charging point. In case the electricity pole is not available nearby from household for drawing service cable, the erection of additional pole along with conductor and associated accessories shall also be covered under the scheme. Poor households would be provided electricity connections free of cost. Other households would also be provided electricity connections under the scheme on payment of Rs.500 only which shall be recovered by the DISCOMs/Power Departments in ten (10) instalments along with electricity bills. There is no provision in the scheme to provide free power to any category of consumers. The cost of electricity consumption shall have to be paid by the respective consumers as per prevailing tariff of the DISCOM/Power Deptt.

The earlier programme of Government of India '24x7 Power For All' has similar objective. '24x7 Power for All' is a joint initiative with the states covering all segments of power sector i.e. Power generation, transmission and distribution, energy efficiency, health of Discom etc. to finalise State/UT specific roadmap and action plan to ensure 24x7 power for all in consultation with States/UTs. The Power for All documents contain details of various interventions required across the value chain of power sector.

In distribution sector, two major schemes; DDUGJY for rural areas and IPDS in urban areas are already under implementation. Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) envisage creation of basic electricity infrastructure in villages / habitations, strengthening & augmentation of existing infrastructure, metering of existing feeders / distribution transformers / consumers to improve quality and reliability of power supply in rural areas. Besides this, last mile connectivity and free electricity connections are also provided to BPL households only identified by the States as per their list. However, in villages which are electrified in past for a long period, many households do not have electricity connections for many reasons. Some of the really poor households do not have BPL cards but these households are not capable of paying applicable initial connection charges. There is also lack of awareness as to how to get connection or taking connection is not an easy task for illiterate people. There may not be electricity pole nearby and the cost of erection of additional pole, conductor is also chargeable from the households for obtaining a connection.

Similarly in urban areas, Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS) provides for creation of necessary infrastructure to provide electricity access but some households are not yet connected mainly on account of their economic condition as they are not capable of paying the initial connection charges. Therefore, Soubhagya has been launched to plug such gaps and comprehensively address the issues of entry barrier, last mile connectivity and release of electricity connections to all un-electrified households in rural and urban areas.

GS Mains Model Question & Answer : How realistic is the objective of the Government of India to double the income of farmers by 2022 ? Comment

 GS Mains Model Question & Answer : How realistic is the objective of the Government of India to double the income of farmers by 2022 ? Comment

Q. How realistic is the objective of the Government of India to double the income of farmers by 2022 ? Comment

Model Answer:

How realistic is the objective of the Government of India to double the income of farmers by 2022 ? Examine what it takes to achieve this objective.

The recent announcement of central govt to double the farmer income by 2022 is a welcome step, but it needs much introspection on part of the executive branch. Though this task is not so easy to achieve which seems to be a upheaval task but not impossible.

Measures that can be taken to achieve are:

a) Establishment of National Agriculture market is a good step which needs to be implemented as soon as possible so that farmers can realize better price of their crops through this competitive market.
b) Increasing penetration of organic farming, which leads to better yield in the long run as compared to farming done using chemical fertilizers
c) Increasing focus on Gross sown area, rather than net sown area, which will provide more area for pursuing secondary agricultural activities and increase farmer income
d) Investments in research and technology to ensure proper high yields from the same land holding.
e) Diversification of agriculture by involving farmers in horticulture, pisiculture would help realise the same.
f) International cooperation from countries like Israeli could be taken who uses various technology to increase dry farming productivity
g) Mechanization of agriculture and preventing segregation of lands, improving banking access and banking products according to farmers demand like easy credit availability for buying machines, traders can make payments through mobile vallets to prevent middleman exploitation.

Agriculture sector is still the biggest source of employment but its contribution to national income is very low showing the need for the policy in order to revamp this sector and empower our farmer by increasing their income.

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GS Mains Model Question & Answer : What is aerosols and how does it affecting Indian Monsoon ? Comment

 GS Mains Model Question & Answer : What is aerosols and how does it affecting Indian Monsoon ? Comment

Q. What is aerosols and how does it affecting Indian Monsoon ? Comment

Model Answer:

What is aerosols and how does it affecting Indian Monsoon ?

An aerosol is a colloid of fine solid particles or liquid droplets, in air or another gas. Aerosols can be natural or anthropogenic. Examples of natural aerosols are fog, forest exudates and geyser steam. Examples of artificial aerosols are haze, dust, particulate air pollutants and smoke.

Aerosols affecting Indian monsoon:

  • Monsoon cloud gust into mainland due to pronounced difference in temperature between land and the sea.
  • GHG trap heat and overtime cause temperature to rise over the land and the sea.
  • This affect the temperature gradients between them , over the decades leads to raise in the frequencies of extreme rainfall or long rainless spells.
  • The IMD last year recorded 2016 to be the hottest year in India has seen at least 5 droughts years since 2002.

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(The Gist of Kurukshetra) NEW VACCINES - September - 2017

(The Gist of Kurukshetra) NEW VACCINES - September - 2017


  • Basket of vaccines in UIP increased from 6 to 12.
  • Inactivated Polio Vaccine launched in November 2015: around 1.47 crores doses administered till February 2017.
  • Rotavirus Vaccine introduced in March 2016: More than 42.5 lakh doses administered.
  • Rubella vaccine as Measles Rubella (MR) Vaccine: Launched on 5th February 2017, provided to more than 3.3crore children till 31st MARCH.
  • Adult Japanese Encephalitis vaccine: Campaign completed in 27 districts, 31.15 crore adults vaccinated.
  • tOPV to bOPV switch : On 25th April 2016: Complete replacement in both Polio Campiagn and Routine immunization.
  • Pnuemococcal Conjugate Vaccine: Rolled to approx 21 lakh children in Himanchal Pradesh and parts of Bihar and UP in first phase.

Our efforts towards total immunization are guided by the universally accepted fact that health and development are intertwined - healthy people generally have longer lives, and are more productive, enabling them to earn and save more, therefore contributing to the nation's prosperity. The visionary leadership and support of our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji is thereby continuously encouraging my ministry through resource
availability and focus, which infuses us with renewed and enthusiastic vigour towards addressing inequities, through a special focus on inaccessible and difficult areas and poor performing districts. We are trying to serve each one to achieve our goal of a healthier, more prosperous India. I would like to conclude that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has been working tirelessly to improve the health care systems and services towards providing a better quality of care to people in line with Government's well-enunciated priority for 'Antyodaya'- reaching out to the those who need it the most towards shaping a holistically productive and developed nation, right from its foundation i.e. healthy children.


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