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Religion is a force for unity and we cannot make it a cause of conflict Mr.


East Antarctica Glacier Totten: warm ocean water melting it

Microsoft HoloLens
Doomsday Clock is a symbolic clock face, representing a countdown to possible technicallyrelated global catastrophe (e.g. nuclear war or climate change). The closer the Clock is set to
midnight, the closer the scientists believe the world is to global disaster.

Micro Finance Institutions (Microcredit and Poverty)

Studies held in 4 continents show no evidence of microcredit success in alleviating
poverty, women empowerment. Profit making side of microcredit seem to trump
poverty alleviation
Tiger Census Project Tiger-Status of Tigers in India report, 2014 (MOEF)
Measures such as extension of Protected Area boundaries, setting up of Tiger
Protection force, community participation had led to the increase of tigers by 30%
between 2010 and 2014; 1706-2226. For further increase, need to promote
voluntary relocation of the forest dwellers, crack down on hunting, patrols for
.poaching activities eg: Kerala Periyar Tiger Reserve made forest dwellers partners
in management and supplemented tourism with pepper-growing, honey processing
among adivasi SHGs
Conservation efforts increasingly focus on source populations sites where >25
breeding females can be hosted in a landscape with > 50 female tigers which enjoy
protection. Conservation of the source population holds the key for increasing
numbers in the future
Concerns include increased man-animal conflict, poaching, encroachment into
protected and eco-sensitive areas
NTCA award to Periyar reserve
SGXT Super Giant fast X-ray Transients, a type of binary star a pair of stars
revolving around each other in which one is a big bright star and the other a highly
condensed dark companion (neutrino star or a black hole) which attracts mass from
the bright star and in this process, the dark star emits x-rays

Swine Flu H1N1 Virus (National Centre for Disease Control) Tamiflu tablets
Govt took the following initiatives to mitigate the crisis

Maintaining sufficient medicines is the hospitals

Free diagnosis and treatment in all Govt and Private hospitals

Swine Flu included in Arogyasree
Toll free 104 for information

IUCN: Porpoise, toad, Indonesian Rhino to become extinct in 10 years. Mexico to

use drone for conservation of porpoise the smallest of dolphin family
Algorithm Trading
Project to develop 99 rivers nationwide as water highways

World Economic Outlook Report: India to beat China in growth in

2016, IMF
Global growth will receive boost from fall in oil prices but it will be offset by factors
like investment weakness; India (China) will grow at 6.5% in 2016 (6.3%), 5.8%
(7.4%) in 2014
United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects report
World Bank report on Inequality: Urbanisation reducing Inequality! Odds
of escaping poverty in India, U.S same

Between 2004-05 and 2009-10, 40% of poor went above the poverty line and
about 11% of poor, vulnerable moved into the middle class
But 14% of non-poor group also slipped back into poverty in the same period
In India, urbanising is reducing inequality and not increasing it as is
commonly understood; Urbanization, non-farm jobs are offering mobility

Superbugs: antibiotic-resistant bacteria; Bacteria that grow resistant to drugs

infect humans and defy conventional medicines;
Coal India Limited Disinvestment Volatility in the share price and strike threat
from PSU staff led to scaling down of disinvestment plans; Govt gave the assurance
to unions to end their strike that it will not privatize coal India
Ordinance on Coal
Govt promulgated ordinance for re-allocation of 204 coal blocks cancelled by the SC
in August 2014

e-IPO: Primary revival market will confer all round benefits

IPO (primary market) Initial Public Offer for raising capital

FPO (Secondary market/share market) Follow on public offer for raising

additional capital; key for Govt disinvestment; promoters who want to reduce
shareholding take this route
Offer for sale (secondary market) a portion of promoters shares are sold

Procedure for IPO/FPO such filing prospectus or offer documents with SEBI along
with consents from bankers, merchant bankers, registrars is cumbersome and costly
Retail investors do not have many options for financial investments that meet their
needs. Govt initiated measures for issuing financial instruments that move in
tandem with retail inflation rates but these measures have not yielded desired
Impact of technology on finance sector

Made it easy for regulation of large volumes of trades

e-IPO to shorten the issue process


Expansion benefits real estate (25% of warehousing space in 2014) and

logistics sectors (logistic space rose by 7 times compared to 2013)
e-commerce in India saw expansion due to local market specific initiatives
like the Cash on Delivery, EMI option, multiple payment options

Foreign Direct Investment Railways, Defence, Insurance, Retail

Centre to take steps to push Public investment Jaitley to drive
economic growth within the constraints of fiscal deficit; Given the unwillingness of
banks for lending as they are already under the weight of NPA and the fact that
private enterprise has over-leveraged their balance sheets. Excise duty hiked for
petrol and diesel to go into infrastructure funding and not Consolidated Fund of
India to give impetus to Highway expansion programme and compensate for lack of
private investment.

Arvind Subramanian, Chief Economic Adviser: Public investment may have

to play a greater role to complement and crowd-in private investment within
the constraints of fiscal deficit, Govt mid-year review of the economy

News: US worried at Make in India rule

Indias installed solar power capacity in 2014 - ~2600 MW; to get to 100
GW/100000 MW, India needs $100 billion for production and $50 billion for
transmission and distribution costs per year for 5 years.

Jan 2010: policy launched with a mission of 20000 MW of solar power by 2022
October 2013: Domestic Content Requirement approved by Cabinet. This
makes it mandatory for solar power producers to use solar(PV) cells and
modules made in India for the projects that the JNNSM awards; this is to push
indigenous use of technology and also because US subsidized solar products
threaten Indian manufacturers and accusation is dumping of cheap outdated
technology on India by the US.
Feb 2014: US challenged Indias solar policy at WTO where the rules prohibit
discrimination against imported goods;
Sep 2014: WTO set up a panel to decide
Dec 2014: Cabinet approves a series of 1000 MW grid connected solar Photo
Voltaic power projects

Panel for fewer TPDS beneficiaries Shanta Kumar Committee


To restructure FCI to make it improve its operational efficiency and financial

To improve management of food grains by FCI
To suggest measures to reorient the role of FCI in MSP operations, storage
and distribution of food grains and food security systems of the country
Measures for integrating supply chains of food grains, cost-effective ways of
storage and transportation of food grains

Objectives with which FCI was created

Set up in 1965 under the Food Corporation Act of 1964 in the background of major
short supply of grain, esp wheat; GOI was importing wheat under PL-480 and
country did not have that much forex to pay for the imports; Self-sufficiency in
grains was the most pressing objective, and so HYV seeds of wheat were imported
from Mexico. Agricultural Prices Commission (APC) was created in 1965 to
recommend remunerative prices to farmers, and FCI was mandated with three basic

to provide effective price support

to farmers

to procure and supply grains to

only 6% of total farmers in the country

have gained from selling wheat and
paddy directly to any procurement
agency (NSSO, 70th round, 2012-2013);
Thus, the benefits of procurement have
not gone to larger number of farmers
beyond a few states

PDS for distributing subsidized

staples to economically vulnerable
sections of society

keep a strategic reserve to

stabilize markets for basic food

diversions of grains from PDS amounted

to 46.7% in 2011-12 (based on
calculations of offtake from central pool
and NSSO's (68th round) consumption
data from PDS; leakages in TPDS remain
unacceptably high
country had hugely surplus grain stocks,
much above the buffer stock norms;
India has moved far away from the
shortages of 1960s

1. To ensure the benefits of procurement go to a large number of farmers:
hand over all procurement operations of wheat, paddy and rice to states that
have gained sufficient experience in this regard and have created reasonable
infrastructure for procurement eg: Chattisgarh, MP, AP
2. Reorient PDS for a better deal to economically vulnerable groups at low-cost
but in financially efficient way
3. Make stocking and moving operations efficient, cost-effective in feeding PDS
and also to stabilise markets

Indias excess grain stocks worth 50,000 crore: expert

Stock holding above the stipulated norms. What are the norms? Cabinet Committee
on Economic Affairs headed by PM revised the norms and decided to offload excess
stocks through open market sale or export. Such an exercise reduces inflation,
storage costs and fiscal deficit. Buffer stocks include strategic reserves for
calamities and so on and buffer norms for govt welfare schemes NFSA, Antyodaya
Anna Yojana etc
Purpose of buffer stocks

feed TPDS and other welfare schemes

ensure food security during the periods when production is short of normal
demand during bad agricultural years
stabilize prices during period of production shortfall through open market

Countries Capitals, cities Places in News

Grozny Capital of Chechenya, Russia (north Caucasus region)

Niger Niamey
Afghanistan Jalalabad
Yemen Sanaa
Indonesia Surbhaya
Cambodia Angkorwat temple complex

Natural allies are normally 'birds of the same feather', while strategic partners are
often strange bedfellows. Natural allies (think of America and Britain during the
Second World War) share common political and cultural valuesthey may believe in
democracy or authoritarianism; they may uphold liberal capitalism or socialism or
state corporatism; they may share common historical and cultural traditions; their
societal values may be more or less similar; they may practice the same religion;
and so on.
Strategic partners (think of America and the Soviet Union during the Second
World War) may share none of these similarities. Notwithstanding this difference,
what makes two countries either natural allies or strategic partners is the common
security challenge that they both face at a particular juncture in history and more
importantly their decision to come together and pool their resources to deal with
this challenge (think of America, Britain and the Soviet Union coming together to
deal with the Fascist challenge during the Second World War).

Undergoing two types of transition: The fragility of the transitions raises the
likelihood of instability.

Political to a post-Karzai period (National Unity Govt formed in Sep 2014 after
setting aside election results and following a power-sharing agreement with
President Dr. Ashraf Ghani and a newly created post CEO for Dr.Abdullah;
Position of CEO is co-equal but the distribution of powers is yet to be defined
and to be settled in 2 years
Security ISAF International Security Assistance Force wound down its 13year-long operation enduring freedom and transferred primary responsibility
of security to Afghan army, police
o Objective in 2002 of building a stable, strong, effectively governed
Afghanistan that will not degenerate into chaos was scaled down to
preventing Afghanistan from becoming a safe-haven for global
Indias role in rebuilding Afghanistan (restricted to economic sphere):
committed upwards of $2 billion for humanitarian assistance, HR
development and building infrastructure. India has a vision of independent,
sovereign, moderate, plural and stable country focussed on development and
determined to turn its back away from decades of conflict for Afghanistan
(similar to the original objective of US); 2011 agreement on India-Afghanistan
Strategic Partnership positioned India for a post-2014 security role
Pakistans role in Afghanistan: Uncomfortable with Indias role; ideally want
Afghan to be in isolation so that it is dep on Pak ala the Taliban era
Idea of reconciliation with Taliban: Peace talks, Doha office initiative

Taliban, Haqqani, Quetta Shura, Islamic Emirate

Sri Lanka: will implement 13th Amendment within a Unitary State

Tamil National Question 13th Amendment

o The 13th amendment was introduced to create provincial councils as a
follow up action on Indo-Sri Lanka Agreement of 1987 to devolve
powers to the Tamil majority north and east.
o The amendment envisages devolution of political, land and police
powers to the province; merger of northern and eastern provinces;
official recognition of Tamil language; withdrawal of Sri Lankan troops,
disarmament of LTTE, IPKF induction
o Coalition Govt replaced military governor with a seasoned diplomat;
promised to abolish executive presidency in its 100-day plan ahead of
War Crimes
o SL to review the construction of Chinese backed port in Colombo
(Hambantota port deal) citing transparency in contract and
environmental reasons

Dr.B.Meena Kumari Expert Committee

21st Century Maritime Silk Road
Trans-continental initiative of Beijing from Yunnan province (shares borders with
Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam);

Rail corridors between Kunming, Yunnan capital and Myanmar (Kyaukphyu

port city also the starting point of China-Myanmar oil and gas pipeline),
Thailand through Laos to avoid Malacca strait
China steps up drive to include Africa as one of the pillars of MSR
Plans to construct modern standard gauge rail link between Mombasa port
and Nairobi, capital of Kenya to connect hinterland of East Africa with
Indian Ocean
Plans to eventually connect Mombasa to Malaba, West Kenya and then
Kampala (Uganda), Kigali (Rwanda), Juba (S. Sudan)
12 deep ports with 7 along the African Coast line
Will benefit Thai rice exporters

South China Sea Dispute 9 dash line

Senkaku Islands
Silk Road Economic Belt

Geo-politics behind the emergence of terror

Taliban: raised by the CIA to fight Soviet invasion in Afghanistan, 1979;

captured power in Afghanistan after its western handlers left and the Cold
War ended. Civil war and deal brokering ensued among the several Taliban
Al-Qaeda: floated by Osama bin Laden, initially a Taliban recruit; forced to
forge partnership with Taliban post 9/11 to resist American invasion of
The war with US fragmented both Taliban and Al Qaeda and each splinter
practises deadlier violence to distinguish itself from the competitors
ISIS: Known as Al-Qaeda in Iraq(AQI), began fighting US occupation of Iraq,
merged with other resistance groups to form MSC Mujahedeen Shura
Council and emerged as ISIS under the leader ship of Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi.
Thus, ISIS was born in protest against American intervention in Iraq and
broadened its scope to Syria during the protests against President Assad
Boko Haram (Western Education is Forbidden), a moderate Islamic Group
came about in 1990s in Nigeria in the aftermath of Biafran War where Govt of
Nigeria supported by the West and oil companies brutally suppressed Biafra

people. Boko Haram started as a movement to criticize corruption in the oilwealthy Govt and became a provider for the poor in the NE Nigeria. It
eventually became radical and militant
Thus, these groups started as resistance movements to resist foreign invasion, bad
governance, despotic regimes, inequalities made persistent by the global economic
regime and create more ideal states. In the ideal of creating a new State, these
groups have scant regard for human rights and to them religious extremism is the
only readily available response (communism has been discredited already and does
not find resonance in societies with strong religious and ethnic sentiments and thus
the fallback ideology of rebellion is mostly religion based. Thus, the need of the hour
is to challenge the current economic system that breeds inequality and encourages
neo-mercantilism where West has encouraged despots to preserve economic
interests and undertaken military invasions to cement control over economic and
natural resources.

Musharraf Four Point Formula, 2006:

Free movement of people and trade across the irrelevant border between
India and Pakistan
Joint management of Kashmir India, Pak, two Kashmirs

Nepal Constitution
US-Cuba Ties (1959-Present)
Following Fidel Castros ascent to power, U.S.-Cuba ties have endured a nuclear
crisis (Cuban Missile Crisis,1961 following Bay of Pigs invasion-a botched CIA
attempt to overthrow the regime), a long-lasting U.S. economic embargo (exportimport restrictions), and on-going political hostilities (prisoners and arrest of USAID
sub-contractor post-2009). Well beyond the end of the Cold War, the diplomatic
relationship between Washington and Havana remains frozen.
Cuban missile crisis, 1961: brought US-USSR close to nuclear war. It refers to the
events that unfolded due to the Cuban secret arrangements with USSR to build a missile
basis following the botched attempt of CIA to topple Cuban Govt in Bay of Pigs invasion.
Discovery of US of the missile in 1962 led to a stand-off for 14 days where US imposed a
naval quarantine around the island. US President JFK demanded the destruction of the
missile sites. The crisis ended with an agreement to dismantle the sites in return for US
promise not to invade Cuba. Also, US agreed to remove nuclear missiles from Turkey

Post-Crisis: US followed a policy of diplomatic isolation and economic embargo that

continued even after the Soviet Union collapsed

Nine-dash line
Oil diplomacy with Russia paves way for reinforcement of military ties, China-Russia
axis to counter US pivot

India US bilateral Relation, 2015

India-US relations went from being estranged democracies to being natural
allies in the last years of 20th century and in the 21st century, the relation is
described as natural global partners. In between, India saw sanctions after the May
1998 nuclear tests and were only lifted by 2000.

Nuclear Deal is done

Reg Section 17(b), Indian side explained its plans to set up an insurance pool
with a limit of rs. 1500 crore (as per the Liability Act), half of which is to be
contributed by the suppliers, operator (NPCIL) and the remaining half from
the GIC of India and four other insurance companies ( Section

17b says
the plant operators in Indias case, the public sector NPCIL
can claim compensation from their equipment suppliers if the
accident resulted as a result of equipment or material with
patent or latent defects) liability extended to suppliers in

contravention of the International Convention on Supplementary Compensation

This would take up the premium costs which can be factored in the overall
On Sec 46, India will provide a memorandum that suppliers will not be liable
to tort claims. So, multiple liability claims will not be applicable. Thus,
recourse for liability will only be under the Liability Act which is now limited in

Section 46 makes both suppliers and operators liable to be

sued by accident victims, over and above the Rs-1,5000-crore
Allows nuclear contracts to be signed between US firms and India
Four nuclear regimes: NSG, MTCR, Wassenaar Arrangement, Australian Group

Joint Strategic Vision for engagement in Indian Ocean Region and


Defence Framework Pact signed defence partnership renewed for

10 years
DTTI - Defence Trade Technological Initiative, 2012 (helps upgrade
domestic defence and expand manufacturing sector in India - Modi)
US is the largest weapons supplier of India (replacing Russia) and India is the
worlds largest weapons importer. India increased its FDI from 26 to 49% in defence.

Co-produce 4 pathfinder projects Raven mini-UAV; roll-on, roll-off

surveillance intelligence of C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft, mobile
electric hybrid power source, uniform integrated protection ensemble
increment-2 (chemical, biological warfare protection gear for soldiers).
Study cooperation on aircraft carriers, jet engine technology
Upgrade joint military and naval exercises


No agreements
Restart discussions on Bilateral Investment Treaty
Mechanisms to work through differences on IPR, Social Security Agreement
(Bilateral Totalization Agreement)

India-US Strategic Issues

Rise of China: US and India should not try to confront or contain China but
shape the environment within which China pursues legitimate ambitions so
that Chinas quest for status does not threaten its neighbourhood and the US.

AfPak: Future of Afghanistan and the deteriorating condition of Pakistan

Counter-terror cooperation: Common threat from Terrorism but differing views
Defence cooperation: modern warfare is increasingly about intelligence,
communications and electronic and India needs to strengthen capabilities in
these fields in its defence modernization; Indo-US Defence Framework
Agreement; Defence coproduction under DTTI Defence Trade and
Technological Initiative
Climate Change renewable energy under PACE Partnership to Advance
Clean Energy, commitment to cut Indias carbon emissions by 25% from 2005
levels; India committed to reducing carbon emission intensity by 20-25% of
2007 levels by 2020
Economic cooperation and Investment
o Impediments include inadequate infrastructure, tax, land, labour, IPR
o Nuclear agreement, 2005


High-tech immigration to the US and social security totalization

Early passage of GSP to facilitate exports to US
Bilateral Investment Treaty

Obama in his state of Union address referred to TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership),
TATIP(Tran Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) in which India is not a part
and tax code reforms that reward investments in America. This may result in US
investors pulling back funds destined for India.

Trident Nuclear Programme, Scotland, UK Nuclear sea-based


India Sri Lanka

India voted against SL twice at the UNHRC and abstained once on the postwar political and human rights issues relating to the Tamil minority
Concern about the Chinese submarine that docked in Colombo twice in a
span of two months in 2014
SL and India need to maximize the advantages of their geographic proximity
and age-old bonds to further common economic and strategic interests
India expects early settlement of the Tamil question, upgrade the FTA to CEPA
Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement and revise the draft
defence cooperation pact finalised in 2003 especially in the context of
maritime security cooperation in the Indian Ocean region

Terrorism Islam Multiculturalism; Ideology and Terror

Islam is not the driving force behind the violent organizations and is a merely a
fabric in which inequality, alienation, marginalization are embedded. The thesis that
tries to establish a link between Islamist terrorism and the prevalence of medieval
laws in some Muslim societies is thus not correct. Irrespective of violent extremism,
reformation of Muslim laws will go on. Dealing with terror requires full box of tools
available to the Govt political, intelligence, religious messaging, police cooperation
as terror has no single point of origin and stems from deep political and cultural
causes. Use of military force can be counter-productive
Extremists thrive on polarising Muslims and non-Muslims. They seek opportunities
to corroborate the Clash of Civilizations thesis of Samuel Huntington (that Western
and Islamic civilizations are incompatible; that West is liberal, rule-oriented and law
abiding while Islamic Civilization is aggressive, expansionist global force with a
proclivity to violence and warfare).
A/c to Huntington, multiculturalism is a failed and doomed ideal and he warned
against Muslim immigration to the West. Thus, the emphasis on race that prevailed

among the British, French National Fronts and Neo-Nazists who were against nonWhite immigrants changed to religion over time. The belief was that Muslims will
enter Europe taking advantage of the liberal immigration laws and set in motion the
Islamicisation of Western Europe.
To corroborate such conspiracy theories, events such as the demand for Sharia laws,
a separate Muslim Parliament in Great Britain brought the underlying cultural
tensions, disagreements to the surface. For eg: The French National Front has been
calling the repatriation of Muslims to their home countries; ban on hijab,
burqa/niqab in France after a public debate to keep religion out of educational
institutions. Thus, relations between the immigrants and the host societies are rid
with tensions especially as immigrants do carry many ties and loyalties in their
cultural and emotional baggage.
Anti-Westernism developed in the background of Arab-Israel war, funding of radical
Islam constituency due to the Iranian-Saudi competition, exacerbated due to the
fatwa issued against Salman Rushdie (The Satanic Verses, 1988). The trigger for
terror was the reaction to 9/11 (US/NATO reprisals against Afghanistan, invasion of
Iraq in 2003). Given the cultural tensions and the feeling of anti-westernism,
subversion of secularism, multiculturalism and pluralism in the West enjoys top
priority of extremists.
Angkor Wat
UNESCO world heritage site, largest religious monument of the World, in Cambodia
dedicated to Vishnu. Suryavarman II, a follower of Vishnu built the temple in 12 th
century but his predecessor Khymer kings practised Shaivism. In the late 13 th
century, the temple moved to Teravada Buddhism which continues till date. The
temple is a powerful symbol of Cambodia, and is a source of great national pride that has factored
into Cambodia's diplomatic relations with France, the United States and its neighbor Thailand. A
depiction of Angkor Wat has been a part of Cambodian national flags .
Borobudur - UNESCO world heritage site ,worlds largest Buddhist (Mahayana) temple in
Indonesia built in 9th century during the Shailendra dynasty. The temple is both a Buddhist pilgrimage
and a shrine to Lord Buddha

Israel-Palestine ICC to examine alleged war crimes committed during June 2014
Israels military offensive of Gaza. Palestine accepted ICC jurisdiction in occupied
Palestinian territory including East Jerusalem following its accession to the Rome
statute. Israel has signed but has not ratified the Statute.
Criticism against ICC

Will derail the peace process ICC is a judicial body meant to end impunity
and hold accountable those who committed the gravest of crimes and is not a
political entity; also the politics of peace cannot prevail over justice

Slow and inefficient in investigating crimes even if it so, holding those

responsible for HR violations is necessary
Israel considers Hamas a terrorist org and so it considers the move of ICC
absurd ICC would investigate both Israel and Hamas as it is meant to
investigate any person who may have committed war crimes during the

Role of ICC
Green Climate Fund
Green Carbon Fund

What is soft power? Is India a soft power?

Track II talks
ECB to make a last ditch effort to revive Euro economy (Bond-buying
worth 60 billion Euro/$69 billion) to adjust inflation
QE is Govt bond-buying program that pumps in money into the market; Interest
rates will come down; cheap credit to stimulate more loans, consumer spending,
investment, revive growth.
European Central Bank announced bond-buying program from financial institutions
to the tune 1.1 trillion euros over 18 months till Sep 2016 or until there is a
sustained adjustment in the path of inflation (inflation level rise to near 2%).
Deflationary trends in the Eurozone exacerbated by the falling oil prices is the
rationale. QE is an unconventional monetary policy to ward off recession and
deflation. EU is Indias largest trading partner and depreciation of euro will affect
the countrys exporters.
Impact on India/EME

Capital inflows will drive up asset prices, inflation

Volatility in currency, economy

Yemen (Sanaa) Shiite rebels, Houthi (suspected to be supported by Shia-Iran)

took hold of Presidential palace following which President Mansour Hadi resigned

India-Saudi Arabia (Sunni dominated)

King Abdullahs visit to India in 2006 as a chief guest on Republic day followed by
Dr. Singh visit to the Kingdom in 2010 led to catapulting the ties from correct and
cordial to substantive and strategic and Saudi de-hyphenated India with

India maintains significant economic ties with Saudi

Biggest supplier of oil

India accounts for 11% of Saudi exports and 7% of its imports
Remittances from Indians in Saudi is substantial

Wahhabis and Salafist

Sunni vs Shia

UN WHO reforms
Following criticism over its delayed response to Ebola outbreak ( a disease thats
occurrence is greater than expected at a time and place). Ebola estimated to have
killed >8,600 people mainly in Guinea, Nigeria, Sierra Leone. WHO declared Ebola a
global emergency in August 2014

Crisis in Yemen
Arab leader and convener of Arab League Egypt, but now Saudi took over
following the Arab spring in Egypt in 2011.
Kobane Syrian border town

Eurozone Crisis
The deadlock in Nepal
The transition from a monarchy in Nepal to a republic started in 1990. This saw first
a constitutional monarchy followed by a decade long insurgency by the Maoists that
ended only in 2006. Insurgency ended only with a peace agreement that overthrew
the Monarchy in 2008.
Interim Constitution that came in to being in 2007, that also acted as Parliament
saw the Maoists get the majority in elections. However, this CA failed to meet the
2012 for drafting the Constitution. The CA was dissolved and fresh elections held

This time the Maoist Party performed dismally and the majority was a coalition.
Convened in Jan 2014, the second CA assembly also failed.
Contentious Issues
Federalism dividing the country in to the number of states; basis for the division
ethnic, regional groups or administrative convenience?. Thus, it is linked to the issue
of equality and identity in a diverse nation

Inaugural sitting of the Constituent Assembly: December 9, 1946,

Sachidananda Sinha, Provisional Chairman of the CA

Pension reforms-PFRDA, Act 2013 Pension Fund Regulatory and

Development Authority NPS National Pension Scheme
Mandated to develop, promote and regulate the pension industry. NPS is the
scheme envisioned to take care of the retirement needs of the people. It is the
lowest cost pension providers in the World but NPS, unlike EPF, PPF does not enjoy
EEE status (Exempt from income tax on the money deposited in the scheme under
section 80C, exempt from the income tax on return/interest, exempt from income
tax on money from withdrawal/maturity). NPS has four variants:

Central Govt employees (except armed forces)

Unorganised sector Swavalamban, introduced in 2010
Private industry

Swavalamban scheme will be part of PM Jan Dhan Yojana in phase-II. In this scheme,
Central Govt makes a contribution of 1000 for every account holder if a minimum of
rs.1000 is deposited till 2016-17.

BCCI functioning
SC rules cricket administration a public function; BCCI does not come under State
under Article 12 which means a public body (a private body discharging public
functions but is not a State; how to balance accountability and right to privacy?).
This judgement advances accountability in all the sports bodies of the country
Accountability of BCCI (Cricket Association of Bihar Case):
In India, public bodies are accountable under the Judicial review as per
Constitutional Articles 32 and 226 under which the SC and the HC can issue writs.
Under Article 32, any aggrieved party can directly approach the SC for grievance
only against the State while under 226, a person can approach HC for a writ against
any person or organization.
SC ruled that State under Article 12, is those bodies created by statute, enjoy lawmaking powers and are dominated by the Govt financially, administratively and
functionally. Thus, BCCI is ruled out to be a State. In a Zee Telefilms limited Case,
2005 5-Judge bench of SC held that the BCCI was not an instrumentality of the State
and thus not subject to most of the FR guaranteed by the Constitution. Thus, the
petitioners aggrieved by any decision of the BCCI cannot directly approach the SC.
Thus, accountability under Judicial Review against BCCI can be brought about
through Article 226. Here, only those authorities that perform overwhelming public
functions are brought under the writ jurisdiction of HC. But they will not be bound by
the FR such as the right to equality but by statutory and other constitutional rights,
reasonableness and fairness in administration

Delhi HC: all NGOs are entitled to their opinion and it could not be taken that they
are acting against national interest just because they are not in agreement with
Govts views

National Solar Policy Timeline/Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar

Mission/New Renewable Energy Policy (Min of new and renewable
COTPA Cigarettes and Other Tobacco products Act, 2003
amendment (Prohibition of advertisement, regulation of trade and
commerce, production, supply and distribution)

Prohibits the use of name or brand of tobacco products for marketing other
goods, services, events (indirect advertising is a case of brand-sharing which
the WHO framework convention on tobacco control prohibits easy to
Bans the point-of-sale display of tobacco products at the entrance or inside a
shop to keep them out of public view ; display normally bypasses ban on
tobacco advertising and fuels impulse buying difficult to implement as
products are sold at innumerable small shops
Bans the sale of products to anyone under 21 yrs hard to enforce for reason
Bans sale of products in the loose to ensure that users are forced to see the
pictorial warnings on the package expected to have impact especially on
bidi users who constitute 85% of all tobacco consumed in India

President does plain speaking again

The most powerful example of Indias soft power lies in our definition of the
relationship between faith and polity, especially in an international
environment where so many countries are sinking into the morass of
theocratic violence

President on Parliament and Policy making

President reminded the Govt of the constitutional restrictions/limitations on

the resort to the ordinance route: Ordinances can be promulgated only to
meet exigencies and under compelling circumstances
Also, the President spoke against the tendency to use disruption as a means
of parliamentary intervention. Opposition parties obstruct proceedings to
extract assurance or concessions. Such an obstructionist tactics along with
obstinacy of the Govt lead to legislative impasse and promulgation of
ordinance. The availability of Presidential power and the belief in Joint session
of both Houses to compensate the lack of majority in the Upper House leads
the Govt to try to avoid constructive engagement with the opposition.

Joint Session no solution to end RS logjam President (pib:

parliament and policy-making)
4 laws passed by joint session since 1952; A noisy minority cannot be allowed to
gag a patient majority

Article 108 does not stipulate any limit on the number or frequency of joint sittings;
Number of sittings has shrunk from 677 during the first LS session to 357 in the 15 th

History of Ordinance Making rationale for keeping Constitutional

News: RS Chaos may stymie joint session on Ordinances
Ordinance promulgated by the President u/a 123 on the advice of Union Cabinet
Ordinances and Article 108
Grounds for the President to notify a joint session

One House passes the Bill but other rejects it

One House passes a Bill but 6 months lapse without the other House passing
One Houses passes a Bill, other passes it with amendments that the other
House disagrees with and there is a deadlock

5-judge bench of SC on re-promulgating Ordinance (D.C. Wadhwa vs State

of Bihar, 1986)
It is the constitutional duty of the public to approach the courts against repromulgation of ordinances on a massive scale as a routine measure as Citizens
interested in the preservation and promotion of constitutional functioning of the
administration of the country. There must not be an Ordinance Raj in the country.
P.N. Bhagwati, CJI
Ordinance cannot be re-promulgated in the middle of a session
SC can adjudicate if re-promulgation subverted the democratic processes and
subject people to laws made by the executive and not the parliament.
It will be a colourable exercise of power for the Government to ignore the
Legislature and to re-promulgate the Ordinance and thus to continue to regulate the
life and liberty of the citizens through Ordinance made by the Executive. Such a
stratagem would be repugnant to the constitutional scheme, as it would enable the
Executive to transgress its constitutional limitation in the matter of law making in an
emergent situation and to covertly and indirectly arrogate to itself the law making
function of the Legislation.

News: Fewer Constitutional Matters in SC

7% of judgements passed by SC in 2014 dealt with substantial constitutional

matters (need 5 or more-judge benches to decide these). This points to

growing proportion of routine appeals in SC workload as against core

constitutional matters
Special Leave Petitions the Constitution of India, under article 136, gives
the Supreme Court the power to grant special permission or leave to an
aggrieved party to appeal against an order passed in any of the lower courts
or tribunals in India. This leave is granted when the case involves a question
of law relevant to the general public as well. If the court grants leave, the
case is then converted into a civil appeal and will be argued afresh in the
Supreme Court. The court can rescind or revoke the earlier judgement,
modify it or stick by it. The court can also send the case back to the relevant
lower court for fresh adjudication in light of principles laid down by it or on
account of any issues missed out by the lower court. According to article 141
of the Indian Constitution, the Supreme Courts judgement is declared as law
of the land and is binding on all courts in India. The petitioner usually gets 90
days from the date of receiving the final copy of the judgement of the court
or relevant tribunal to file an SLP. But the court may be flexible on this

The new name of Planning PIB/The Hindu (in support of NITI)

For institutional reforms in governance (in the context of increased corruption,
technology to reduce misadventures and improve transparency), dynamic policy
Through its commitment to a cooperative federalism, promotion of citizen
engagement, egalitarian access to opportunity, participative and adaptive
governance and increasing use of technology, the NITI Aayog will seek to provide a
critical directional and strategic input into the development process. This, along
with being the incubator of ideas for development, will be the core mission of NITI
NITI aayog, a think to provide directional and strategic inputs to development
process, key elements of policy; helps foster shared vision of national development,
cooperative federalism (strong States make a strong naton)

develop mechanisms to formulate credible plans to the village level and

aggregate these progressively at higher levels of government
special attention to the sections of society that may be at risk of not
benefitting adequately from economic progress
create a knowledge, innovation and entrepreneurial support system through
a collaborative community of national and international experts, practitioners
and partners
Will monitor and evaluate the implementation of programmes

Focus on technology upgradation and capacity building


Seeks to establish an administrative paradigm in which Govt is an enabler

and not the provider of first and last resort (in the context of developed
industry and services sector, role of Govt as a player has to be reduced and it
should shift to policy making, regulation)
Move away from food security to a mix of agricultural production and
ensuring returns for the farmer
Ensure India is a player in the global debates on global commons (in the
context of global village that we reside in)
Ensure economically vibrant middle-class remains engaged and its potential
is used
Use urbanization as an opportunity to provide wholesome and secure
habitat thro the use of technology
Incorporate the geopolitical and geoeconomical strength of NRI community
to broaden their participation beyond financial support eg: technology and
management expertise
Promote transparency - Use technology to reduce opacity and scope for
misadventure in governance
Leverage Indias scientific, entrepreneurial, intellectual human capital thro
appropriate policy initiatives

To ensure, on areas that are specifically referred to it, that the interests of national
security are incorporated in economic strategy and policy.

Challenges of India

Elimination poverty
Redress inequalities (gender, economic, caste) - to give every element of
society especially weaker segments like the Scheduled Castes and
Scheduled Tribes - the ability to influence the choices the country and
government make in setting the national agenda
Integrates villages into development process
Support small businesses that generate employment - Policy making must
focus on providing necessary support to this sector in terms of skill and
knowledge upgrades and access to financial capital and relevant technology
Safeguard envt and ecological assets - ensure that development does not
sully the quality of life of the present and future generations
Leverage demographic dividend

Cabinet Resolution on NITI Aayog (Need;

Mahatma Gandhi had said: Constant development is the law of life, and a man
who always tries to maintain his dogmas in order to appear consistent drives
himself into a false position; NITI aayog to reflect the current socio-political
context, to adapt to new challenges
From being preoccupied with survival, our aspirations have soared and today we
seek elimination, rather than alleviation, of poverty
In the context of strengthening of Indian nationhood, emergence of political
pluralism, presence of diversity, one-size-fits-all approach, often inherent in central
planning has the potential of creating needless tensions and undermining the
harmony needed for national effort (Dr. Ambedkar had said with foresight that it is
unreasonable to centralise powers where central control and uniformity is not
clearly essential or is impracticable)
Technology revolution, increased access to information, partly a consequence of
market forces and larger global shifts, entails a diminished role for central planning
In the context of good governance and not just public governance citizen
participation, private entities that deliver public service
Government will continue to set policies; 7 pillars of effective governance

Proactive, pro-people, participative, inclusive, empowerment, transparency

and equal opportunity

planning Commission History, shortcomings, achievements, composition

Centre-State one way flow of policy and so replace it with continuing

partnership of States
Slow and tardy implementation replace with better inter-ministry and
centre-state coordination

Enforcement Directorate

The Indian Honours System

The Indian honour system is broadly classified in five types Leadership (Gandhi
peace prize; Indira prize), Literature, Civilian, Patriotic, and Particular (Arjuna, Rajiv
Khel Ratna, Dronacharya in sports; police medals, bravery awards).

Sahitya Akademi - books

Sahitya Akademi Fellowship highest literary honour for literary works
Bhasha Samman
Jnanpith lifetime contribution to Indian literature
Premchand fellowship
Anandcoomarswamy fellowship
Translation awards

Civilian Awards

Bharat Ratna highest civilian; in any field of human endeavour, to anyone

irrespective of race, sex,occupation, position; max 3/yr
Padma Awards announced on republic day
o Padma Vibhushan exceptional, distinguished service; 2 nd highest
civilian award
o Padma Bhushan distinguished service of a higher order
o Padma Shree - distinguished service

Indian Military decorations

Wartime Gallantry
o Param vir chakra highest military award
o Maha vir chakra
o Vir Chakra
Peacetime Gallantry
o Ashok Chakra
o Kirti
o Shaurya
Wartime/Peacetime Service and Gallantry
Wartime Distinguished Service

Peacetime Distinguished Service

Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Scheme

To address gender imbalance and discrimination against girl child

Sukanya Samruddhi account scheme accounts for girl child from birth till
they attain age 10 with a min of 1000; max 1.5l for an year; interest income
and withdrawals from the scheme exempt from tax
Released postage stamp

Capitalism and Inequality

Escalating inequality is also a factor in the economic crisis due to lack of demand
and fuelling credit boom and slow growth IMF, OECD
HRIDAY National Heritage Development and Augmentation Yojana Central
Sector Scheme under Min of Urban Development to preserve and rejuvenate the
rich cultural heritage of the cities

School System fails students Annual Status of Education Report,

2014 (NGO Pratham)

ASER is Indias largest NGO-run annual survey; UNICEF set up Bombay

Education Initiative in Mumbai eventually led to the formation of Pratham, an
indep charity in 1994
Overemphasis on curriculum geared to outcomes exam results at the
expense of a process of learning oriented to mastery of concepts
3 rd graders unable to read texts from lower grade. Pupils from higher classes
unable to perform simple division/substraction
Lack of healthy pupil/teacher ration; RTE Act stipulates 30:1 ratio
India is consistently close to universal enrolment in 6-14 years for 6
consecutive years

Khap Panchayats on Honor Killings

Oppose honour killings and suggest they can be ended through discussions;
strict punishment for those involved in honour killings and help to those
against the practice
Oppose dowry system in the State (Haryana) social boycott and strict
punishment for those who accept it

Central Board of Film Certification

A statutory body under Min of Information and Broadcasting regulates the public
exhibition of films under the Cinematograph Act, 1952 (governs the restrictions to

the freedom of expression in films). Films can be publicly exhibited in India only
after they receive CBFC certification. The Board consists of non-official members
and a Chairman (all of whom are appointed by Central Government) and functions
with headquarters at Mumbai. At present films are certified under 4 categories

U Unrestricted Public exhibition

UA- Unrestricted Public exhibition with a word of caution that parental
discretion in required for children under 12
A Restricted to adults
S restricted to any special class of persons

Justice Mudgal Committee set up in 2013 to update the Cinematograph Act,


New categories of under 12 and under 15 in censor certification

Allow any member of public who has grievance to approach the Film
Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT). Currently, only film makers can
approach FCAT. So, the number of appeals in courts pile up wasting the
resources of the judicial system
Digital platforms for certification to improve transparency and reduce corrupt
Appoint more officers at CBFC for faster clearances

Censorship in India
The purpose of any certification is to ensure balance between freedom of speech
and what is appropriate for the society.
SC, 2011: Responsibility of the State Govt when there is an apprehension of
violence due to a film cleared for filming.

Bhagoria Tribal Festival, MP

Secularism in Indian Context Constitution on religion
Balancing free speech, secular tradition and the demands of a multi-cultural society;
terrorism has power struggle as the underlying motive

The love for Sons and appropriate attire

Social bias in India is pervasive across caste, class, region, religion and gender.
Gender discrimination is one of the countrys shameful realities. The persistence of

female foeticide, growing sex ratio problem, gender-based violence points to the
scourge of gender bias in Indian society. In a survey conducted by Lok foundation
and Univ of Pennsylvania, the results showed the prevalence of son preference
across Indian society with little variance across income class, education levels,
rural/urban areas. Son preference is manifest evidence of gender bias in the early
years of childhood. Other forms of bias include social control that women face
through their lives eg: suitable occupations, suitable marriage partners, on what
women wear. Attitude on what women wear were however dependent on income,
urbanization, education. Economic growth does not appear to remove the
incentives for having fewer daughters. The need of the hour is to delegitimise
gender bias and address the norms and structures such as patriarchy.

Women Empowerment Theme of Republic Day

Permanent Commission for Women hanging fire (Discrimination
against Army officers)
Govt filed appeal against a HC judgement of 2010 giving Permanent Commission to
women in the army; Women are inducted into army under Short Service
Commission for a max of 14 years while their male counterparts are eligible for
permanent commission after 5 years.
Women officers are not eligible for
pension that requires a minimum of 20
years service

Women officers might not live up to the

role models that the Jawans mostly from
rustic backgrounds want their officers to
be in combat situations. There are no
runner-ups in war
Possibility of prisoners of war, frontline
trauma, combat trauma

Ghadar Movement Kartar Singh Sarabha role

French Revolution (Charlie Hebdo)

AMD- Age related macular degeneration causes blindness and is linked to

microscopic spheres of calcium phosphate
Disease and Culture Beijing Lineage is a deadly, anti-biotic resistant strain of
mycobacterium TB that emerged in Asia 6000 years ago and coincides with
beginning of rice farming in Chinas Yangtze river with the consequent settling
down. The grouping of people made it easier for the respiratory pathogen to spread.
Geological Time Scale Anthropocene Journals Quarternary International
and Anthropocene Review

The Anthropocene is an informal geologic chronological term for the

proposed epoch that began when human activities had a significant global impact on
the Earths ecosystems
The idea behind Anthropocene regards the influence of human behavior on the
Earths atmosphere in recent centuries as so significant as to constitute a new
geological epoch for its lithosphere
The Anthropocene has no precise start date, but based on atmospheric evidence may
be considered to start with the Industrial Revolution (late eighteenth century);
though a recent research says that the starting point could be the Hiroshima nuclear
Humanity has become a planetary-scale geological force and caused the
Earth to cross 4/9 planetary boundaries climate change, loss of biosphere
integrity, land-system change, altered biogeo-chemical cycles (phosphorous
and nitrogen) highlighting the need to de-link economic growth from
environmental impact
Anthropocene is pinned down to July 16 1945, the day first nuclear bomb
exploded in Alamogordo, New Mexico which along with Hiroshima, Nagasaki
bombs and other bombs detonated till 1988 led to markers across the globe

in the form of radio nuclides with the release of radioactive isotopes, spread
worldwide (found in all continents and in polar ice on both poles) and entered
the sedimentary record (Meteorite impact of Yucatan peninsula marked the
boundary of Cretaceous- Paleocene epochs)
Physical and Chemical markers esp in deposits of rock strata and their fossil
contents- are vital tools in defining epochal boundaries as they signal
substantial changes in the Earth system
Atomic bomb signalled the Great Acceleration the phase of massive
economic growth and environmental changes post WW 2; GA spurred global
average surface temperature increase of 0.9 C, atmospheric concentration of
the GHG CO2, N2O, CH4 - well above the maximum observed in Holocene,
biodiversity loss approaching mass extinction rates