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PREFACE
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PREFACE

With the present shift in examination pattern of UPSC Civil Services Examination, General
Studies II and General Studies III can safely be replaced with Current Affairs. Moreover,
following the recent trend of UPSC, almost all the questions are issue-based rather than
news-based. Therefore, the right approach to preparation is to prepare issues, rather than
just reading news.
Taking this into account, our website www.iasbaba.com will cover current affairs focusing
more on issues on a daily basis. This will help you pick up relevant news items of the day
from various national dailies such as The Hindu, Indian Express, Business Standard, LiveMint,
Business Line and other important Online sources. Over time, some of these news items will
become important issues.
UPSC has the knack of picking such issues and asking general opinion based questions.
Answering such questions will require general awareness and an overall understanding of
the issue. Therefore, we intend to create the right understanding among aspirants How to
cover these issues?
This is the 16th edition of IASbabas Monthly Magazine. This edition covers all important
issues that were in news in the month of September 2016.
Under each news article, Connecting the dots facilitates your thinking to connect and
ponder over various aspects of an issue. Basically, it helps you in understanding an issue
from multi-dimensional view-point. You will understand its importance while giving Mains
or Interview.
Must Read Articles- We have not included them in the magazine. Those following DNA on
daily basis may follow it- http://iasbaba.com/babas-daily-news-analysis/

Out of clutter, find simplicity.


From discord, find harmony.
In the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity.
Albert Einstein
All the Best

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INDEX
NATIONAL

(Pages 5-73)

Minimum Wage and labour issues


The state of education in India
Realizing Indias Energy Sector
Key requirements for sustainable poverty reduction
Judicial activism and violation of separation of powers
Enhance Voter Secrecy- Use of Totaliser machines
Farmers can lean on LIN- A solution for doubling farm income
Clash of Tradition and Fundamental Rights
Why are so many Indian Children stunted?
Solution to water crisis
Cauvery water crisis
Diverging federal lines
Special Category Status
Clinical Trials: Ethics Vs Economics
The Solar dispute- India and US
Increasing failing Court Orders
A unified budget- Railway budget to be merged with General budget
Will advanced budget date help?
MCI: reforming the unreformed
Dalit caste- will the society accept its upliftment?
Right to photocopy- easing the struggle for access to education
North East India and Indias Look East Policy
Simultaneous conduct of elections and its impact on democracy and governance
Urban middle class and politics
Marrakesh Treaty and Accessible Books Consortium
Nudge unit: a new tool in the policy toolbox

INTERNATIONAL

(Pages 74-112)

In India its time for Africa


India and USA at loggerheads at WTO
The New Urban Agenda- Habitat III
11th G-20 Summit-Towards revival of world economy

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SAARC- Towards economic integration


Is IUCN still relevant?
India-Egypt relations
India to lead global coalition to fight epidemics
UNICEF Report- Uprooted: The Growing Crisis for Refugee and Migrant Children
No more aligned to Non-Alignment
BRICS 2016- Challenge to sustain the significance
Ozone Conundrum
India-Russia: Time to rebuild the ties

ECONOMICS

(Pages 113-129)

A Cashless India
Tax Notoriety
Bayer-Monsanto deal- How it affects India
CEA panel report:- Incentivising Pulses Production through MSP and other
policies
Institutionalizing Monetary Policy Committee
WPI and CPI based inflation

DEFENCE/SECURITY

(Pages 130-135)

Uri terror attack- What are Indias choices?


Solving the Pakistan puzzle

ENVIRONMENT

(Pages 136-140)

NGT and implementation of Biodiversity Act, 2002


Ratifying the climate change pact: Is it too early?

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NATIONAL
TOPIC:
General Studies 1
Social empowerment
General Studies 2
Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation.
Issues relating to poverty and hunger.
General Studies 3
Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth,
development.
Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
Minimum Wage and labour issues
In news: Fourth all India strike by Trade Unions.
This article deals with minimum wages- its reasons, method of calculation and related issues.
Increasing the minimum wage
The government recently announced a 42% increase in minimum wages for unskilled
non-agricultural workers in central public sector units.
The increase was from Rs. 246 a day to Rs. 350 a day or Rs. 9,100 for a month of 26
working days for category C employees.
The government also formed a committee to look into extending benefits under the
Employees State Insurance Corporation Act to unorganised sectors, including
anganwadi, mid-day meal and Asha volunteers.
However, the trade unions have not been satisfied with governments move.
Demand of the Trade Unions
A statutory minimum wage for all workers of not less than Rs 18,000 per month.
An amendment in the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, to provide for universal coverage for
minimum wages for both permanent and contract workers.
To stop contractualisation of labour for perennial work.
Universal social security for all.
Industry opines
Small scale industries will not be able to afford such high salary as they operate on thin
margins.

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It will shift employment to big cities where minimum wages are at par with Rs.10,000
per month. This will have adverse effect on employment in smaller states.

Labour facts
NSSO 2011-12 data
Total strength of workforce: 472.9 million
87% of Indias workforce was in the unorganised sector and only 13% were in the
organised sector.
94.8% in the organised sector were informal workers.
89.4% in unorganised sector were informal workers.
Study by VV Giri National Labour Institute:
There are estimated 3.6 crore contract labourers in the country.
However, out of them, only 60 lakh contract workers were covered under the Contract
Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970.
30% of all workers in private sector and around 32% in the public sector are employed
through contractors.
Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Central Rules, 1971 states that:
The wages of the contract labour shall be according to the minimum wage prescribed
under Minimum Wages Act, 1948
In case where the contract worker perform the same kind of work as the regular worker,
the minimum wages should be at par.
National Floor Level Minimum Wage
Computed: To have a uniform wage structure across the country
In 1996, it was fixed at Rs 35 per day. Today it is Rs. 160 per day, i.e. close to Rs. 4800
per month.
However, in comparison to official minimum wages, some parts in India have wages as
low as Rs.1,650 a month (Puducherry, agriculture, 2013).
Reason for enacting the Minimum Wage Act, 1948
To establish peace on behalf of a national bourgeoisie that had to manage a working
class which was more militant in days immediate after independence.
India had surplus of labour that was majorly poor. And there were too many jobs where
labour did not have the bargaining power to demand a wage sufficient to survive.
Fair wages would prevent employers from getting away with paying low wages to
workers which could generate several social costs, such as poverty, malnutrition,
endemic debt leading to bonded labour, and child labour.

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At present, the minimum wage act provides for employers to give the fixed minimum wages
to workers employed in 45 economic activities like stone mines, construction, non-coal
mines etc.
Minimum wage is the minimum amount of compensation an employee must receive for
performing labour.
How is minimum wage fixed?
The Indian Labour Conference in 1957 recommended five norms to determine minimum
wage which should be need based and should ensure the minimum human needs of the
industrial worker.
1. The wage must support three consumption units (individuals).
2. Food requirement of 2,700 calories a day.
3. Clothing requirement of 72 yards per workers family.
4. Rent for housing area similar to that provided under the subsidised housing scheme.
5. Fuel, lighting and miscellaneous items of expenditure to constitute 20 per cent of the
minimum wage.
6. In 2011, SC called for to add another 25% for childrens education, medical
requirements, etc.
The calculations based on these parameters estimates minimum wage at Rs.26,000 per
month. This is amount is demanded by Central government employee unions from the
Seventh Pay Commission, which had fixed their minimum wage at Rs.18,000.
Need for minimum wage?
Yes
The trade union strikes that began in 2010 has seen greater proportion of
unorganised/informal workers participation as:
There has not been much growth in organised sector employment.
Contract employment in the unorganised and organised sectors has been growing.
No
In an era of liberalisation, the market and not the government should determine the
prices to preserve efficiency and competitiveness.
It contradicts Make in India initiative where to attract FDI in India, Indian labour has to
remain cheaper than Chinese, Vietnamese, Cambodian and Bangladeshi labour.
Neither industry bodies nor the state nor unions can claim that the Minimum Wages Act
(MWA) is seriously implemented. Also, India has yet not ratified the United Nations
Convention No. 131 (adopted in 1970) on Minimum Wage Fixing.
However, no government will ever scrap MWA despite being not taken seriously.

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Conclusion
No industry lobby in post liberalisation period can openly say that contract workers should
be paid less than permanent workers for the same work. Discussions with trade unions and
industry representatives will aid the government to prepare consensus based labour laws.
Labour reforms have to be pro-labour to widen their acceptance and reduce labour unrests.
Connecting the dots:
What is minimum wage rate and how is it calculated? Critically analyse the importance
of wage rate and its need.

TOPIC: General Studies 2


Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector or Services relating
to Health, Education, Human Resources.
The state of education in India
This article aims to highlight the existing condition of
Primary and Higher education in India
Challenges and solutions
Educational transformation
In India and around the world, there existed a tradition of home or community
schooling, often centered on the teacher.
However, since industrial revolution, there has been a visible gradual transformation
from teacher centered schooling to educational institution centered human supply chain
schooling system.
Moving towards the informational age, the world is now thinking about what should be
the next transformation in education, whereas India is still battling older challenges.
Primary education in India
The 20th century challenge still remains the current challenge of Indian education
quantity and quality of its primary and higher education systems.
After more than 50 years of independence, India realised the deficit of primary schools.
Since then, the quantity problem in primary education is being tackled. (increasing
enrolment in primary schools pan-India through RTE)
Prathams Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) has been a consistent and reliable
source of information on the quantity and quality of primary education in India.
It is conducted annually since 2004 and covers more than 90% of Indias districts.
Enrolment- from 2006 to 2014, there is a decline in children not enrolled from
about 4% at the beginning of the period to about 2% now.
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Private schooling- the children have increased from 20% to a little over 30% over
the period from 2006-2014.
Education quality- Quality of reading, arithmetic and English are disturbing.
For example- children in Class III who can read at least a Class I text has dropped
consistently from about 50% to about 40% and children in Class III who can do at
least subtraction has dropped from 40% to 25%.
Private schools are doing better than government but there still exists room of
improvement
There is significant variation among states in both quantity and quality.

Problems
The basic problems pertaining to primary schooling, whether rural or urban areas are Inadequate inputs- lack adequate infrastructure, shortage of teachers and poor quality
of institutional support for teachers professional development.
Low learning levels- the focus is on completing curriculum and not structured education.
The result is children of higher standards are not able to even understand lower class
books.
Increased dropout rates- only about 25% of the children who enrol in primary education
pass fifth grade.
Solution
Teaching by level- instead of grading childs education on age-basis, there should be
promotion to next class on level of learning.
Building basic skills- to invest and encourage in learning foundational skills like reading,
writing, critical thinking, arithmetic and problem-solving in durable way.
Public declaration- the states should publicly declare their learning goals and articulate
concretely their plans for achieving higher learning outcomes for at least the next two to
three years. This will induce accountability.
Higher education
There is no equivalent independent and rigorous survey of higher education quality in
India like ASER.
All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE)- an annual survey by department of higher
education in the human resources development ministry.
According to it, there are 38,000 colleges and 767 universities in India.
There are 1.4 million teachers and 33 million students enrolled in these
universities.
Gross Enrolment Ratio- the percentage of population 18-23 enrolled in college, is
23.6% for India. It widely varies from 12% for Bihar to 44% for Tamil Nadu.
National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF)- maiden attempt by HRD ministry to assess
and rank universities in India
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IISc and IITs are ranked top institutions


Among universities, Panjab, Delhi, Calcutta, Jadavpur, Aligarh Muslim and the
Savitri Bhai Phule Pune University are usually well ranked on various metrics of
teaching, learning, research and placements.
In Asia, the Chinese universities dominated the rankings.
In global rankings, usually Indian universities dont find place in top 100.

Problems
The most challenging situation faced in higher education are
Low rates of enrolment- decreasing enrolment in primary education also suffers higher
education. Also there exist insufficient universities and quality teachers to impart
knowledge.
Unequal access- disparities in access to education, especially in terms of economic class,
gender, caste and ethnic and religious belonging is present. The expansion of the
private, self-financing education sector, with its aim of commercial intent, has been
another reason for the propagation of disparities.
Quality of education- most of the higher educational institutes fail to provide for top
quality education and skills which inturn leads to less employability.
Solution
There can be two kinds of universities:
1. Universal universities- focus on infrastructure, affordability, employability and
adding value.
2. Stellar universities- focus on merit and on strong gating functions for faculty and
students.
Improved quality- brain drain is still a challenge and thus there is a need for world class
universities to be established in India. Governments recent step of providing 1,000
research fellowships a year to IIT graduate students is an encouraging and step in right
direction.
UGC reforms- It has become increasingly difficult for the UGC to keep pace with the
changing dynamics of higher education; recent decisions have been considered to be illconsidered, with a lack in research and no proper consultation with the stakeholders.
Higher education is all about achieving access, equality, justice, quality, inclusiveness and
employability. However, all at the same time is not possible.
Conclusion

There are no shortcuts for improving the education and thus any change perceived have
to be from fundamental level.
Creating a robust primary education sector and globally competitive institutions will
need money, time and focus over a long period of time.
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India will need indigenous institutions that will contribute to fundamental innovations
necessary for engine of growth in the coming decades.

Connecting the dots:


Education is termed as the growth engine for any country in this century. Examine if
Indias potential demographic divided is ready for the challenge
Education and skills are complementary to each other. However, institutional set up is
required to give them fillip and sustain their growth. Analyse.

TOPIC:
General Studies 3
Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth,
development and employment
Infrastructure: Energy, ports, roads, airports, railways etc.
General Studies 2
Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation
Realizing Indias Energy Sector

India is the 5th largest producer of electricity in the world. At an electricity-GDP


elasticity ratio of 0.8, electricity will continue to remain a key input for Indias economic
growth.
The targets set for power, coal and renewable energy at 175 gigawatt (GW) of
renewable capacity by 2022 and increase domestic coal production to 1,500 million
tonnes (MT) by 2020 from 612.4 MT in 2014-15 should enable reaching ambitious
targets.

Factors Determining Energy Sector realizations


Coal production
1. Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015: The act aims to provide for allocation of coal
mines and vesting of the right, title and interest in and over the land and mine
infrastructure to successful bidders and allottees with a view to ensure continuity in coal
mining operations and production of coal.
2. The domestic coal production target of 1,500 MT is to be realized in this manner:
a. 1,000 MT by Coal India Limited
b. 100 MT by Singareni Collieries Company Limited
c. 400 MT by captive and private producers.
3. Provision from imports of some 66 MT (million tonne) of coking coal, we will still need
domestic production of around 1,400 MT of coal. Thus, the target of 1,500 MT of coal
production is a reasonable one.
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Renewable capacity
Three measures to encourage renewable power:
Feed-in tariff (FIT): a fixed tariff is guaranteed to the power producer for a certain
number of years. For him or her, this is desirable as it ensures assured income that
eliminates market risk and he or she is able to raise finance easily.
Renewable portfolio obligation (RPO): an electricity distribution company (DISCOM) is
required to purchase a certain percentage of its total distributed electricity from
renewable sources. The price that a renewable power producer will receive is
determined by the market. Thus there is also incentive to supply electricity at
competitive rates.
Accelerated depreciation allowance: provides incentive to set up the plant but not to
maintain it or generate electricity, helped boost wind power in the country.
The need for RPO
Even though FIT has been successful but RPO as a single most important policy to drive
renewable energy deployment in India seems imperative.
It guarantees a certain minimum price to be paid to a renewable power producer.
RPO is that it can be neutral to technology. One does not have to prescribe whether it is
solar or wind or biomass. Competitive market forces will select the most economical
option. Whereas FIT is related to Solar only.
The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has recently announced
consultation guidelines for long-term RPO trajectory.
The guidelines stipulate separate RPO for solar and non-solar electricity. The guidelines
prescribe that 2.75 per cent, 4.75 per cent and 6.75 per cent has to be solar energy for
2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19, respectively. The shares of non-solar energy such as
wind, biomass, and small hydro for these years are to be 8.75 per cent, 9.50 per cent,
and 10.25 per cent, respectively.
Way Ahead

The success of energy realizations will depend on the specification of a floor price and
effective enforcement by States. The Centre needs to create some mechanism to
incentivise States to enforce such schemes.
The Centre could provide money from the non renewable source to renewable sources
like in case coal cess revenue to States depending on the extent to which they meet the
RPO targets.
Thus a reasonable aim of 1,500 MT of coal production by 2022 and a calibrated
renewable energy push should enable reaching ambitious targets.

Connecting the dots:


Given the accelerated pace of development and demand for energy, would you consider
renewable energy as a viable option for Indias future?
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Discuss the factors under which the targets set for the Energy Sector can be realized. Are
these targets for coal and renewable energy consistent?

TOPIC: General Studies 1


Salient features of Indian Society, diversity of India
Role of women and womens organization, population and associated issues, poverty
and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.
Key requirements for sustainable poverty reduction
Poverty in India

Since independence, the country has registered a significant overall growth rate, and
there has been a progressive increase in the per capita income, yet there has been a
deterioration in the living standards of a large section of the population.
The worlds ability to end extreme poverty by 2030a key element of the Sustainable
Development Goalshinges on Indias ability to make strong and sustained inroads in
reducing poverty.
According to World Bank report India is home to 26% of the global extreme poor. The
poverty challenge in India remains broad, and sometimes contradictory.
The country is home to the largest number of poor people in the world, as well as the
largest number of people who have recently escaped poverty. Despite an emerging
middle class, many of Indias people are still vulnerable to falling back into poverty.
Indias performance on key non-monetary indicators of well-being such as child
nutrition and improved sanitation facilities lags behind countries at similar stages of
development, Indias middle income peers such as China, Vietnam, Brazil and Turkey.
Nonetheless, the story of Indias transformation remains one of optimism. Although the
full potential of economic growth to reduce poverty is yet to be unleashed, the links
between growth and poverty reduction have become stronger than in the previous
decade. In addition, the manner in which growth has impacted poverty in urban and
rural areas, as well as in different sectors, has changed significantly.

Lessons from the past


India has made tremendous progress in reducing absolute poverty in the past two decades.
Now, to sustain progress and bring about deeper changes for sustainable poverty reduction
and shared prosperity in India, following are the key requirements:
1. Accelerating rural poverty reduction:
With four out of every five of Indias poor people living in rural areas, progress will need
to focus on the rural poor.

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2.

3.

4.

5.

Its not just about agricultural growth, which has long been considered the key driver of
poverty reduction. In fact, rural India is not predominantly agricultural and shares many
of the economic conditions of smaller urban areas.
Capitalizing on growing connectivity between rural and urban areas, and between the
agriculture, industry and services sectors, has been effective in the past two decades
and holds promise for the future.
Creating more and better jobs:
The road out of poverty in India has been built on the performance of the labor market,
but also benefited from rising transfers and remittances, and favorable demographics
among other factors.
Future efforts will need to address job creation in more productive sectors, which has
until now been lukewarm and has yielded few salaried jobs that offer stability and
security.
Focusing on women and Scheduled Tribes:
The most worrying trends are the low participation of women in the labor market and
the slow progress among scheduled tribes.
Indias women have been withdrawing from the labor force since 2005 and less than
one-third of working age women are now in the labor force. As a result, India today
ranks last among BRICS countries, and close to the bottom in South Asia in female labor
force participation.
Scheduled Tribes started with the highest poverty rates of all of Indias social groups,
and have progressed more slowly than the rest.
Women and Scheduled Tribes are at risk of being locked out of Indias growth and
prosperity.
Creating more good locations:
Where people live largely shapes their prospects in life. Indias states continue to see
large and growing differences in poverty levels and basic opportunities.
More and more of Indias poor are concentrated in the poorest states, and even within
relatively prosperous states, certain pockets of deprivation persist where people are
unable to share in the states successes.
Improving human development outcomes for the poor:
This is central to improving their quality of life and income earning opportunities.
The recent past shows that some problems, such as undernutrition and open
defecation, are endemic and not only confined to the poor but others too, and have not
improved with economic growth.
Better health, sanitation and education will not only help raise the productivity of
millions, they will also empower the people to meet their aspirations, and provide the
country with new drivers of economic growth.

Conclusion

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The Indian economy is changing and so is the relationship between economic growth and
poverty reduction. The process of structural transformation of the economy has
intensified. As this process continues, the country can be expected to increasingly turn to
growth in its urban and non-agricultural economy to drive future poverty reduction. What
needs to be remembered is that, elimination of poverty is not merely a question of
economic upliftment but is a social and a political issue. It related to the level of the
politico-social awareness of people which will help the country to sustain progress and bring
about deeper changes.
Connecting the dots:
After a long neglect of the poor during the British rule, the measurers adopted after
independence signify recognition of poverty and the social responsibility for alleviating
it. How far we have succeeded? Discuss.

TOPIC: General Studies 2


Separation of powers between various organs , dispute redressal mechanisms and
institution
Structure, organization and functioning of Executive and Judiciary.
Judicial activism and violation of separation of powers
Background:
Judiciary squashed a unanimously passed parliamentary bill (NJAC) without giving a
chance for judicial transparency.
A tussle is going on between judiciary and the legislature over judicial appointments.
Recently, the judiciary has taken some unconventional decisions like:
Banning registration of diesel cars above 2000cc
Imposing environment cess
In USA, judicial activism and ideological judging have reached new heights- the federal
judges once, contradicting their previous positions, proceeded to decide a presidential
election.
Thus, the role of judiciary today seems to be powerful than ever.
Evolution of separation of power

According to French philosopher Montesquieu- judiciary occupies a unique position


within the separation of the power process.
German scholar Karl Loewenstein interpreted Montesquieu - judicial function should be
confined to policy execution and not extend to policy decision and policy control.
However, the judicial function has undergone a massive change since the 18th century.
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Many modern constitutions, including of India and Pakistan give position to judiciary
that is at par with executive and legislature.
The new classes of constitution accord strong inter-organ controls toward executive and
legislature through Supervising and controlling the administrative activities of executive with their
conformity with statutory provisions.
Judicial review of the constitutionality of a legislation passed by the parliament.

Judicial Activism in India

Introduction of Public Interest Litigations (PIL) has seen umpteen number of cases where
the judiciary issued orders which, by convention, was done by the executive.
Few examples are
Ban on supply of loose 2T oils at petrol pumps
Restrictions on school buses
Construction of inter-state bus terminals in the north and south-west tips of
Delhi
Compulsory wearing of seatbelts and parking charges
Cleanliness in housing colonies, etc.
The most radical of all judicial pronouncements is Supreme Courts direction that the
rivers of India shall be inter-linked within 10 years.
Thus, this is the proof that judiciary has linked itself to technology, scientific inputs,
urban planning etc., which is handled by executive or any technical branch of the
government.

Public Interest Litigation


The purpose of origination of PIL was to give legal aid to disadvantaged or poor sections
of the society.
Thus, landlords, businessmen, corporations and affluent persons were not the only
clients of courts. With PIL, the common man, the disadvantaged and marginalised
sections of society had also easy access to the Court with the help of social activists.
However, over the years, social dimension has been diluted and public cause litigation
has emerged which involves correcting the actions or omissions of the executive or
public officials or departments of government or public bodies.
Environment cess by SC- Violation of constitution of India?

Recently, a two judge bench imposed an environment compensation cess equal to 1% of


the ex-showroom price of diesel vehicles above 2000cc.
This makes it compulsory for the vehicle manufacturers to pay the environment cess
without which they cannot register the vehicle with the motor vehicles department.
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Further, the Supreme Court also directed the CPCB to create a bank account in a PSB
specifically for this purpose.
But, the question is- If judiciary is allowed to impose a cess?

Article 265 of the Constitution of India

Art 265 states that no tax shall be levied or collected except by authority of law.
A tax is a compulsory exaction of money by a public authority for public purposes
enforceable by law and is not a payment for any services rendered.
Cess is a tax and is generally used when the levy is for some specific administrative
expense, suggested by the name of the cess (eg. Swachh Bharat Cess and Krishi Kalyan
Cess).
Authority of law SC explained this in 2001 case (Saurashtra cement vs Union of India)
The tax proposed to be levied must be within the legislative competence of the
legislature imposing the tax
The law must be validly enacted
The law must not be a colourable use of or a fraud upon the legislative power to
tax.
Thus, art 265 makes it clear that only the legislature has the power to impose any form
of tax which includes a cess as well.
Hence, the SC imposition of cess violates the doctrine of separation of powers and
ignores the limitations on judiciary as provided in the Constitution of India.
But, environment pollution is a serious issue which needs to be addressed. Assuming that, if
CPCB imposes a similar environment cess on diesel vehicles above 2000cc, a vehicle
manufacturer could challenge this cess and case is before the Supreme Court.
What the law says:

As a general rule, the levy of tax can only be done by the legislature.
However, if the legislature permits levy by a subordinate authority, such is a valid
tax/cess.
In the above assumption, CPCB is not permitted by legislature to levy environmental
cess on diesel vehicles above 2000cc.
The Supreme Court will have to strike down the levy as it being unconstitutional for
want of authority of law.
There have been several cases wherein SC has held that a statutory body cannot levy tax
unless permitted by the legislature. Thus, judiciary is well aware that if such levy is
upheld, it will give rampant power to executive.
Thus, the main concern of environment conservation and protection will remain
unaddressed.

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Conclusion

By ignoring all precedents, SC has levied the environmental cess which is a power
enjoyed by the legislature.
It is encouraging to know that the highest court of Indian judiciary is concerned for the
environmental protection. However, within its purview, it could have directed the
legislature to take up the matter in parliament to impose such cess and order the
executive to diligently implement it when enacted.
Judiciary is the custodian of principles of constitution and it cannot afford to overreach
its boundaries. Hence, no method of judicial activism justifies SC order which violates
the fundamental principle of Constitution of India.

Connecting the dots:


Judicial activism is not a part of basic structure of constitution. However, if the
executives are not successfully carrying out their duties, is judicial activism justified?
Critically analyse.
Judicial review is accepted but judicial activism is violation of separation of powers
which forms one of the core values of constitution of India. Do you agree? Substantiate.

TOPIC: General Studies 2


Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation.
Enhance Voter Secrecy- Use of Totaliser machines
In news: SC has set deadline for union government to decide on introducing the totaliser
machines.
Background

In 2008, Election Commission of India (ECI) had proposed for introduction of totaliser
machines which was backed by Law commission.
Rationale: The current system (booth-wise counting) revealed the voting trends in each
polling station which made the voters in that vicinity open to harassment, intimidation
and post-election victimisation.
Law panel noted: Before the introduction of electronic voting machines (EVMs), as
provided under Rule 59A of the Conduct of Election Rules, counting of votes used to
take place by mixing of ballot papers in light of apprehended intimidation and
victimisation of electors. The totaliser machine is based on similar lines.

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Similar to the existing Rule 59A, the Commission proposed to amend Rule 66A to
empower the ECI to decide when and in which constituency and polling booths, to
employ a totaliser, after taking into consideration various factors and the overall context
of the elections.

Involvement of government

Recently, based on a writ petition, Supreme Court directed the union government to
take final decision on introduction of totaliser machines.
The law ministry being the administrative ministry for the poll body (ECI) is of the view
that no electoral law will have to be amended to introduce totalisers and amendment to
Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 will suffice.

Totaliser machines- Enhancing principle of ballot secrecy

Totaliser machine mixes votes from various booths before counting. As per the ECIs
suggestion, the results of votes polled in a group of 14 EVMs (hence, in 14 polling
stations) would be calculated and announced together. Thus, there will be an overall,
not booth-wise result after polling.
The totaliser is expected to prevent disclosure of voting patterns across polling stations,
thus furthering a level of secrecy in voting.
This will allay the fears of voters against any pre-poll intimidation or post-poll reprisal by
any candidate or political party.

Booth Battle
Booth Management

The party workers devise a strategy of mobilising voters, motivating them, and
facilitating their arrival at the polling station to cast their ballot.
Caste card- The parties try to have workers, as far as possible, from the same castes
managing the booth as the dominant castes of voters in that particular booth.
These strategies increase their chances of winning.

Booth Results

The counting at booth level gives the parties and candidates get a fair sense of who
voted for them and who did not.
It helps the parties and candidates to plan strategy for booth level for next elections.
If the booth level results were used for such limited but useful political purpose, there
was no problem in continuing with present system of booth level counting.

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However, there have been numerous instances of pre-poll intimidation and post-poll
reprisal by candidates and political parties of voters which has necessitated the
introduction of totaliser.

Effect of Totaliser
On voters

Maintenance of secrecy- Even when a lone voter casts his vote, he/she can be assured
of secrecy of his ballot, as against previous booth-counting which would reveal his voting
preference.
No more harassment- there have been incidences of losing candidates and polling
parties harassing the voters who have voted against them.
Freedom of choice- without any worries of post poll intimidation, the candidate can
freely cast this vote.

On Political Parties
The political parties should not hamper devising of their booth-level mobilisation strategies
as they have information by means of:
Local party workers give a fair sense of the social composition of voters of specific
booths.
Poll surveys also give a good sense of a particular community leaning towards which
party, ahead of an election.
Empirical evidences have suggested that voters also have a fair sense of which party
cares for the interests of their caste and community.
However,
Booth results gave the parties an opportunity to increase their voter base by analysing
the voting pattern. Now, the parties will have to depend on largely indirect basis.
The party may find difficult to devise strategic plan for upcoming elections for any
change in voting pattern.
In totality
The increased secrecy has the power to change the voting patterns. The caste based and
religion based voting may experience withdrawal and thereby paving way for welfare and
development oriented voting.
Conclusion

EVMs were also doubted for its utility in such a vast country when they were introduced.
Now their significance is beyond dispute.

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The introduction of EVMs has made a huge difference to the voting exercise and
drastically reduced malpractices such as proxy voting. To avoid discrepancies that crop
up time to time, systematic and periodic upgradation is necessary.
Thus, the refining of rules of conduct of elections is a fair play, given the social diversity
of Indian voters and the frequency of elections at various levels.
However, the totaliser machine should be introduced in a phased manner after
ascertaining its foolproof functioning with necessary trials.
Though, the totaliser may not completely eliminate the possibility of victimisation of
voters but it is a way forward towards enhancing the basic principle of secrecy of vote.
The political parties should embrace the new reforms for greater democratic
accountability.

Connecting the dots:


Should booth level results be replaced by totaliser machines? Critically examine.
How is secrecy of ballot related to free and fair election? Discuss.

TOPIC:
General Studies 3
Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
e-technology in the aid of farmers, Technology missions
Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies
Science and Technology-developments and their applications and effects in everyday
life
General Studies 2
Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation.
Farmers can lean on LIN- A solution for doubling farm income
Farmers in India face tough time in getting bank loans due to lack of collaterals, thus making
government policies and programmes towards farm and agricultural loans to farmers
ineffective.
Hence as a solution, LIN- Land Identity Number which gives unique identity to a registered
land by locating it through a GIS marker, seeded with the owners Aadhar details and fixed
on a digital map, can be used as a platform to establish farmer rights and gain access to
various benefits which can increase their income.
Background

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For a successful farming output, access to technology like improved seeds, irrigation,
farm machinery, etc. and easy and affordable capital is needed.
However, due to lack of collaterals, the bank loans are not available to farmers which
forces them to borrow money from informal credit markets at 24-72% annual interest.
The farmers cant give securities to banks because they dont have legal title of land
ownership even if it is an inherited land.
The tenants, who farm roughly a quarter of the countrys cultivated area, have more
sorry state as they might not have documentation of the land they till.
These records of ownership or cultivation rights could exist with village-level revenue
officials but getting access to them is their biggest woe.
Hence, a legal registration of land ownership or land tenancy is the first step towards
getting legal benefits.

A new beginning

The farmers should ideally get their land properly registered. But, high stamp duties for
registration averaging 6-7% and ranging from 4% in Maharashtra to 14.5% in Uttar
Pradesh discourage such an action.
The Telangana state government has allowed farmers to register their land free-of-cost
even if the land was bought on hand-written notes, locally known as sada bainama.
Benefit of formal registration: the informal sale documents conferres no real legal
ownership. Thus, farmers were not entitled to seasonal agricultural loans from banks or
government compensation against crop losses.
Moving forward from registration of land titles, the aim should be complete digitisation
of land records by using LIN.

LIN- Land Identity Number


The LIN can be used in various ways for farmers benefit
JAM
Linking LIN to JAM, i.e. the farmers Jan Dhan bank account, Aadhar unique identification
and Mobile numbers will transfer all the available legal benefits.
LIN can be connected to a data server that would have details of which crop farmer is
cultivating on the particular plot. Farmer can provide such information to server via
SMS.
Weather updates
Geography-specific weather irregularities can be monitored and crop production
estimates revised in real time.
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generated signal to the insurance company to process the agreed compensation to the
farmers Aadhar-seeded bank account within 24-48 hours.
Thus, with a planned grid of weather stations, it is possible to also implement a
foolproof crop insurance scheme.

Crop loans
Crop loans can similarly be processed smoothly with minimal formalities.
The LIN-JAM confluence make the details of the plot of land and credit history of each
farmer available. Thus, no further document is required for processing such loans.
At a later stage, there could even be credit information bureaus providing credit
rankings for individual farmers against their LINs.
In fact, a model almost based on these lines is currently being piloted in both Telangana
and Andhra Pradesh.
Tenancy Rights
Land is a sensitive and emotional subject which has been previously associated with
violence and disruptions. With LIN and digitisation of land records, owners can be
assured that their ownership rights are protected.
Matching the Aadhar details of the landowner and tenant with LIN makes it possible to
also create a record of tenancy. This would help the government to move from the
existing system of non-targeted agricultural input subsidies to making direct cash
transfers.
Right now, in the absence of identification of the real tiller of the land, there is the
danger of such transfers being made to unintended recipients. All this is expected to
change once tenancies are legalised through simultaneous protection of landowners
rights.
Land aggregation
LIN will also enable land aggregation.
With secure titles and replacement of physical boundaries by digital ones, there would
be incentives for pooling and creation of larger land parcels, on which advanced farm
machinery technologies can be deployed.
Use of planters and harvesters can cut cultivation costs by 15-30%, laser levelling
machines could help boost yields by 10-15% and reduce water requirement by 20-30%.
Using these equipment is not possible on small, fragmented plots.
Thus, the overall increase of up to 50% in farmers incomesfrom productivity gains and
reduced costs of cultivation, improved access to capital, crop insurance and government
transferswould mark a significant step towards realising the Prime Ministers goal of
doubling farm incomes by 2022.
Conclusion
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All the stakeholders in agriculture viz. farmers, traders/processors, bankers, insurance


companies and the government itself will be supported by LIN in ease of doing business.
The costs of putting up the infrastructure for digitisation on such a scale will be initially
high but the cost benefit ratio is favourable when the gains will be made in the short and
medium term.
It will be also a challenging opportunity for Indias IT giants to provide best, affordable
and sustainable digital tools in this field.
Apart from LIN, other focus areas to increase farmers income include large investments
in irrigation, quality seeds, soil health, cold chain and warehousing to prevent losses,
value addition through food processing, creation of a pan-India national market for farm
produce and diversifying into areas like poultry, bee keeping and fisheries.
Together with these new initiatives, the farmer will be encouraged to explore new
opportunities and also the young generation will develop their interest to create a
sustainable farm enterprise model.

Connecting the dots:


Is doubling of farmers income by 2022 economically possible? Critically examine.
Farmers share a special bond with the land they till as it is a means of their livelihood.
However, there are various stakeholders who contribute towards upkeep of this limited
means of livelihood. Discuss the role of these stakeholders in improving the farmers
income.

TOPIC: General Studies 1


Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India
Role of women and womens organization, population and associated issues, poverty
and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.
Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.
Clash of Tradition and Fundamental Rights
The article discusses:
Constitutional Vs Traditional Beliefs
Gender Inequality
Bombay High Court verdict in the Haji Ali case
Introduction:

The struggles by groups of Hindu and Muslim women to lift bans on entry into some
places of worship have been in the public limelight over the past year.
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1. The exclusion of women from the inner sanctum of the Haji Ali Dargah by the Dargah
Trust.
2. Holy sites with Sabarimala temple of Kerala.
3. Shani temple in Maharashtra.
The bans involve notions and norms which directly clash with ideas of modernity and are
also incompatible with rights enshrined in the Constitution.
When Dr. B.R. Ambedkar was asked why he was so passionate about the issue of temple
entry for Dalits, he replied: The issue is not entry, but equality.
The recent Bombay High Court verdict, (Justice Revati Mohite Dere) said that the
exclusion of women from the inner sanctum of the Haji Ali Dargah by the Dargah Trust
violated not only their fundamental right to religious freedom but also their right to
equality and non-discrimination under the Indian Constitution.
It was the efforts of The Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, the womens organization
that initiated the public interest litigation against the Dargah Trust, invoked the
protection of Articles 14 and 15 (rights to equality and non-discrimination), and 25(1)
(right to religious freedom) of the Constitution.
Court intervention in Religion

The Supreme Court has previously ruled on the legality of religious barring, the exclusion
of Dalits from temples, and the hereditary caste-based succession of temple priests.
The Supreme Court invented essential religious practices test wherein the presumed
religious practices could gain constitutional sanction only if they were essential or
integral to the religion in question, in the eyes of court.
Later, the apex court began to take an increasingly interventionist stance, using the
essential religious practices test to make wide-rangingoften untetheredclaims about
religions, and even trying to mould religions into more rationalistic and homogenous
monoliths, while marginalizing dissident traditions.
The Bombay High Court verdict in the Haji Ali case, however, is an example of a
judgment that cleverly negotiates its position to solve age-old, intractable social
problems, and treads forward on adventurous tracks where both their competence and
their legitimacy can be called into question.

Putting onus on the state

Prima facie, the State should play a pro-active role in rectifying such violations of FRs.
The argument of freedom to profess, propagate and practice religion (article 25, 26)
cannot act as an umbrella to proliferate such skewed outlook as banning.
As Justice Dere observed-- The state was constitutionally bound to respect fundamental
rights, not merely by refraining from infringing them, but also by actively intervening in
order to protect them when they were threatened by others. Consequently, it was for
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the state to ensure whether by providing adequate protection or otherwise that


women who wanted to exercise their fundamental right to equal access could do so.
Conclusion

In the exercise of their constitutional functions, there are times when it becomes
necessaryand inevitablefor courts to consider and decide deeply divisive and
polarizing questions about gender relations, the family, religion, and society.
It is necessary to change the patriarchal mindset of society to remove the conscious and
unconscious prejudices towards women which is possible only when civil society, NGOs,
local bodies, educational institutes and especially the priest and worshipping devotees
themselves must take the baton of change. State can show the way, permanent solution
will come from society within.
The crux is what takes precedence and whether the State/courts have jurisdiction over
customs presumably sanctioned by religion but which took shape in the distant past
when the predominant view was that women did not enjoy equal rights. In this clash of
tradition and fundamental rights, definitely later must prevail.
As Gandhiji said the Shastras can be ignored if they hide the truth as the truth itself cannot
be confined to the covers of a book.
Connecting the dots:
The recent controversy surrounding temple or dargah entry of women in many states of
India paints a regressive picture of the Indian society. In the clash of tradition and
fundamental rights, later must prevail. However, the change has to be brought bottom
up and not imposed by the State. Do you agree? Critically examine.

TOPIC:
General Studies 2
Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation
Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector or Services relating
to Health, Education, Human Resources
Issues relating to poverty and hunger
General Studies 3
Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth,
development and employment
Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
Why are so many Indian Children stunted?

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Cognizant of the countrys nutrition problem, especially among children, the


Government has made concerted efforts to get food to children and their families
through various initiatives.
ICDS Integrated Child Development Scheme
MDMS- Mid Day Meal Scheme
PDS- Public Distribution System
India has undoubtedly made progress with regard to child undernutrition with stunting
rates dropping from 48% in 2006 to 38.7% in 2015.
Yet India continues to be home to a staggering 48 million stunted children under age 5
the highest in the world.
Stunting, where children are short for their age, results from severe and persistent
undernutrition. While the lack of nutritious food significantly contributes to
undernutrition, the World Health Organization estimates that half of all undernutrition
is associated with diarrhoea and infections resulting from unsafe water and sanitation,
and unhealthy hygiene behaviours.
Safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) have been identified as playing a key role in
catalyzing further reductions in undernutrition, contributing to improvements in
childrens growth and development.
Diarrhoea in the first two years of life directly contributes to a quarter of all cases of
stunting, with WASH responsible for a majority 88 percentage of all diarrhoea cases.
WASH contributes to diarrhoea through several key routes:
a) When people lack access to adequate sanitation, they often defecate in the
open, polluting water sources used for drinking, cooking, and washing purposes.
When people dont have access to safe drinking water or resources to make
water safe, they end up consuming contaminated water.
b) When people do not have awareness about the importance of hygiene or access
to adequate hygiene facilities such as water and soap, they may not wash their
hands at critical times like after defecation and before they eat, which leads to
germs entering their bodies and their childrens bodies when they prepare and
eat food.
Unclean water contaminated by faecal matter or unable to wash their hands after
defecating and before eating, vulnerable to diarrhoea, intestinal worm and other
infections.
What is particularly harmful about these conditions is that they prevent a childs
intestines from absorbing nutrients, preventing physical and cognitive growth.
Research suggests that children can become stunted if they experience five or more
cases of diarrhoea before their second birthday.
Stunting is irreversible after age two, and its effects are long-lasting in terms of
educational performance, health, and future potential.

Way Ahead
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For India to continue to make significant strides to reach the Sustainable Development
Goal target to end all forms of malnutrition by 2030, the Government must continue
with its direct nutrition interventions such as promoting breastfeeding, iron and
vitamin supplementation, and food fortification.
The Government must support efforts to improve WASH by investing in safe water,
hygiene facilities and activities that engender hygienic and healthy behaviour.
A multi-sectoral approach is critical. This can be done by the nutrition sector integrating
WASH components into their ongoing platforms and programmes such as ICDS, and
keeping in mind nutrition outcomes affected by water, sanitation and hygiene and
ensuring that these messages are incorporated.

Connecting the dots:


Identify the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that are related to health. How
far India is prepared in achieving same?
India continues to be home to highest number of stunted children under age-5.
Discuss the various factors contributing to it.

TOPIC: General Studies 3


Indian economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth,
development and employment.
Disaster and disaster management.
Solution to water crisis
In News: In Bihar, more than five million people have been affected and 6,50,000 displaced
from their homes; in Assam 1.8 million people were affected with 2,40,000 displaced, and in
UP 8,70,000 were affected. Floods also occurred in areas that were earlier not considered
flood prone, such as the cities of Jaipur, Jodhpur and the southern districts of arid Rajasthan.
Even in Madhya Pradesh, 300,000 people were affected.
There is a growing concern that floods cause large-scale damage to crops, cattle,
property and even human lives, and this trend is increasing over time that creates huge
loss to exchequer.
Flood control is a developmental as well as humanitarian issue.
Most of the floods in India occur in the Ganga-Brahmaputra-Barak basin as the distance
between the worlds highest peaks in the Himalayas and the outlet at the Bay of Bengal
is short and the contributing tributaries like Kosi, Gandak, Ghaghara and others
disgorge large volumes and devastate the fertile plains of eastern Uttar Pradesh,
northern Bihar, West Bengal and Assam.

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An enduring solution

India gets too much water (about 75 per cent of annual precipitation) during 120 days
of the monsoon season (June to September) and too little for the remaining 245 days.
This skewed water availability has to be managed and regulated for its consumption
throughout the year.
Leaders of independent India quickly embarked upon a number of large multi-purpose
river valley projects such as Bhakra-Nangal, Hirakud, Nagarjuna Sagar, Rihand etc. to
store water for smoothening its supplies throughout the year.
Development of such river valley projects further lost interest:
a. Due to changed priorities towards heavy industrialization since 1956.
b. Due to widespread inefficiencies and corruption in large irrigation projects.
c. The issue of resettlement of displaced people became a rallying point for many
NGOs to oppose these projects, leading to drying up of funds from the World
Bank.
As a result, in 2015, Indias per capita water storage capacity through dams was
abysmally low at 194 cubic metre (m3).
India is way below in storing water when it falls in abundance, resulting in floods during
monsoons and deficiency of water later. This also lowers cropping intensity (less than
140), meaning less than 40% of Indias farm land is double cropped.

Picture credit:
http://d2na0fb6srbte6.cloudfront.net/read/imageapi/clipimage/934435/0910fc3c-c5654c1e-bb03-ea8eece005d4
Way Ahead

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Lasting solution lies in a buffer stocking of water during the monsoon months and
releasing it during lean seasons and can be done over ground through dams, or
underground, by recharging aquifers.
Flood control strategies also need to include the use of smart geo-spatial techniques for
flood forecasting and construction and strengthening of embankments at critical
locations.
Inter-linking of rivers can be made at intra-state level, particularly within Bihar and
Madhya Pradesh.
The time is also ripe to crank up the Ganges Water Machine through Underground
Taming of Floods for Irrigation (UTFI), where surplus flood water is directed to aquifers
through well-designed structures placed in ponds and other depression areas and
evacuated through large-scale pump irrigation during the dry season.
There is a need to promote flood-tolerant scuba rice, sugarcane, jute and high-value
aquatic crops in this region; access to affordable crop, livestock and asset insurance
products; and education and preparedness to live with the floods.
Cascading check dams, drips and sprinkler irrigation can also help in this direction.

What needs to be developed is a holistic approach at basin level, encompassing credible


resettlement policy for displaced people, and also supported by pro-active hydro-diplomacy
amongst riparian countries can thus render rich dividends.
Connecting the dots:
India is well endowed with fresh water resources. Critically examine why it still suffers
from water scarcity.
The recent floods in different states has affected and displaced many from home.
Discuss various factors that can help to curb the situation.

TOPIC: General Studies 2


Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges
pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels
and challenges therein.
Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and
institutions.
Inter-State Water Dispute
Cauvery water crisis
In News: The Cauvery water dispute has been plaguing Karnataka for a century now and
recently, for almost a week, there have been protests against the Supreme Courts order to
Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs of water for Tamil Nadu.
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The Cauvery River originates in Karnataka and goes on to flow through Tamil Nadu,
before meeting the Bay of Bengal. The 765-km-long river cuts across Karnataka and
Tamil Nadu. A lot of its basin area is covered by Kerala and Puducherry. The basin is now
claimed by three states and a Union territory: Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and
Puducherry.

Picture credit:
https://interstatedisputes.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/cauvery_basin.png
http://im.rediff.com/news/2007/feb/06cauvery.gif
Genesis of the trouble

The latest chapter of the dispute over water-sharing between the two states has been
going on since the 1970s and has its origin in two agreements signed between the
erstwhile Madras Presidency and the Princely State of Mysore in 1892 and 1924, (It was
decided to divide the river water between the two states), which lapsed in 1974.
Tamil Nadu then asked the Congress-ruled government at the Centre to form a tribunal
to look into the diversion of water and ensure that it gets its due share.
When Centre did not heed to Tamil Nadu demand, it approached the Supreme Court,
which, in May 1990, ordered the creation of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal.

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In 1991, the tribunal passed an interim award ordering Karnataka to release 205 tmc ft
(thousand million cubic feet) of water every year to Tamil Nadu. This prompted strong
and in some places, violent protests in Karnataka, which delayed the release of water.
For the next 14 years, both sides continued to spar over water-sharing and the legal
battle continued, until the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal announced its final award in
2007. The order from the tribunal meant that Karnataka would have to release 192 tmc
ft of water from its catchment to Tamil Nadu every year.
However, the tribunal failed to comprehensively and authoritatively state how the water
was to be shared in "distress years", when the flow in the Cauvery was deficient owing
to inadequate rainfall.

Current Scenario

In its latest petition before the Supreme Court, Tamil Nadu said that it had not received
the mandated amount of water from the Cauvery between June and August, resulting in
a shortfall of about 50 tmc ft.
Owing to the petition, SC ordered Karnataka to release water to Tamil Nadu. However,
this was met with severe protests in Karnataka.

Karnataka woes

The Indian Meteorological Department's website seems to bear this out. Hasan and
Kodagu, two important catchment districts for the Cauvery in Karnataka, have recorded
rainfall deficiency. The state was 18 percent short of normal rainfall.
The decision from Supreme Court, therefore, could worsen Karnatakas drinking water
situation in the state in the coming days. Farmers representatives argued that their
livelihoods are at stake if Karnataka releases more water.

Tamil Nadu woes

Farmers in Tamil Nadu have borne the biggest brunt of the crisis and have faced
increasing debts and a drastic reduction in their income due to the loss of the summer
crop.
Around 40% of the population in the delta region is landless labourers. As the
productivity comes down, it directly has brought down the days of work for farmers.
The soil on the Tamil Nadu side is fit for only paddy cultivation, which it has been
producing for thousands of years.
Karnataka, on the other hand, is cultivating large-scale water-intense crops such as sugar
cane, despite their soils dry-land-farming qualities.
The tribunal's failure to work out a more expansive formula for distress years has given
an excuse to Karnataka to withhold supply repeatedly.
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Even in a bountiful year, there is resistance from various groups in Karnataka to open its
dams.

Way Ahead
The lack of resolution on political maneuvering from both states is big concern and cause of
worry. To untangle the dispute the resolution should be to manage demand and not
supply!
Create an additional storage reservoir to store overflows from a healthy monsoon year
to a drought year.
Transfer of water from the Godavari River and from the west flowing coastal rivers of
Karnataka into the Cauvery basin.
The states in dispute tailor their agricultural economy i.e. drop one crop season. Reduce
cultivation of water guzzling crops like paddy and sugarcane. Sugarcane crops and liquor
factories demand water. Growing less sugarcane and more food crops along Karnataka
can solve the crisis to a great extent.
Let Neerkattis, the traditional water managers find a solution. A Neerkattis is a
traditional water expert. With no political authority, he has community-driven
administrative power. Water managers still play crucial roles in states like Uttarakhand.
Stop managing rivers as per the colonial agreements. Water should be brought in the
Concurrent list of legislative subjects from the State list, so that the disputes can be
decided upon by the Centre and not just the state governments.
Every year, the level of rain deficit is increasing. In changing times, the government must
aid and advice farmers in opting for water efficient crops such as millets
It is an undeniable fact that both the states need Cauvery for survival. Care should be taken
to not let the row affect inter-state relations, because the issue strikes an emotional note
with the people on both sides. Keeping the interest of farmers on both sides in mind, the
governments should initiate a serious dialogue. This is the only way to find a permanent
solution.
Connecting the dots:
Constitutional mechanism to resolve the inter-state water disputes have failed to
address and solve the problems. Is the failure due to structural or process inadequacy or
both? Discuss with the recent examples.

TOPIC:
General Studies 3
Indian Economy and issues relating to planning mobilization of resources, growth,
development, and employment.
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Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.


General Studies 2
Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges
pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local
levels and challenges therein.
Diverging federal lines

There is a huge new divergence in the world economy, with both global and withincountry dimensions. The distance between the extremes of the income distribution of
the world as a whole has increased.
In increased divergence between the richest people in the world and the very poorest,
despite the broad convergence of average incomes, higher inequality within countries
appears to be spawning divergence between top and bottom incomes.
In the year 1960, the per capita gross domestic product (GDP) of Maharashtra, then
Indias richest state, was twice that of Bihar, the poorest. By the year 2014, the gulf
between the richest state (now Kerala) and Bihar, still the poorest, had doubled.
The basic objective of federalism is unity in diversity, devolution in authority and
decentralization in administration. The basic condition of federalism is plurality, its
fundamental tendency is harmonization and its regulative principle is solidarity.
Inter-state disparities resulting from divergence may set up a struggle between
centrifugal and centripetal forces. What factors shows the sharp relief in Indias interstate income disparity?

Growing Inter-State Disparities

The per capita incomes of the 12 largest states of India have been diverging instead of
converging, as would be predicted by the neoclassical models of economic growth.
Indias experience is at odds with those of states/provinces in the US and China, and the
member states of the European Union. The incomes of constituent units in the US, China
and EU have either converged or at least have not diverged.
In India too, the level of divergence, remained static between 1960 and 1990 and only
began to increase after the economic liberalization of 1991.
The divergence in income distribution may not always imply greater national inequality.
It, however, represent a concentration of income. Whereas, Indias inter-state disparity
is not just confined to income levels. The states diverge on several others Economic,
Social and Demographic indicators.
a) DEMOGRAPHIC

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According to World Bank data, the three poorest states, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya
Pradesh are also the three with the highest TFR in India (The total fertility rate (TFR)or the
average number of children a woman bears during her entire reproductive period). Hence
the evolution of income distribution is absent in these poor states and are unable to
participate in the broad convergence. The inter-state disparity based on a potent
combination of incomes and fertility rates, however, carries immense economic, social,
political and hence policy implications.
b) SOCIAL
The most obvious policy implication is on patterns of labour migration. Since the states with
higher TFR are also struggling to provide better livelihoods, they will be natural exporters of
labour to more prosperous states. This can create a social and political backlash against
migrants in the recipient states.
c) ECONOMIC
There is an inevitable contestation over distribution of resources. As it is, the goods and
services tax (GST) will centralize the setting of indirect tax rates, reducing the room for
states to extract resources. Also, the opportunity to use tax policy to attract investment to
the state will also reduce.
While GST is undoubtedly a net positive for the Indian economy, the interstate disparities
may set the stage for some clashes in the GST council. The poorer and more populous states
which are simultaneously net consumers will demand lower GST rates while the prosperous
and net producing states will vie for higher rates.
d) POLITICAL
Then there is the problem of redrawing the boundaries of Lok Sabha constituencies. The
delimitation of constituencies has been postponed till the first census after 2026. A major
reason behind the postponement was to avoid penalizing the states which do well on family
planning effort. But this cannot be postponed till eternity.
According to 2011 census figures, one Lok Sabha member from Rajasthan represents, on an
average, a million people more than their counterpart in Kerala. The next delimitation will
necessarily boost the political capital of Rajasthan at the expense of Kerala.
Way Ahead
The inter-state disparity in the milieu of increased fiscal devolution post the Fourteenth
Finance Commission awards and the centralization of indirect taxation are going to produce

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a struggle between centrifugal and centripetal forces. To address these problems steps
should be taken to reduce disparities.
We are now in a period of catch up: differences in productivity are not inherent, people
can be trained and made employable or they can become entrepreneurs, health services
can be improved and basic infrastructure such as roads and electrification can increase
mobility and connectivity that increases access to markets.
With increasing female literacy and labour participation. Female literacy is the best
antidote to rising TFR and female labour participation an effective way to boost per
capita incomes of poorer states.
Policies focusing on providing livelihood opportunities in poor states shall be
implemented specially to the remotest area.
The potential can only be realized if inter-state cooperation improves both the effectiveness
of national macroeconomic policies, and how much it encourages greater balance and
equity in the distribution of the fruits of growth.
Connecting the dots:
The inter-state disparity based on a potent combination of incomes and fertility rates,
carries immense economic, social, political and hence policy implications. Discuss why
there is inter- state disparity and how can it be addressed?

TOPIC: General Studies 2


Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments,
significant provisions and basic structure.
Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges
pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels
and challenges therein.
Special Category Status
In news: The Central government has announced a special package to the Andhra Pradesh
on September 7 which has raised considerable controversy. The package is generous in terms
of resources to augment its infrastructure and to create institutions of governance and
development, but falls short of declaring it as a special category State.

Special category status is a classification given by Centre to assist in development of


those states that face geographical and socio-economic disadvantages like hilly terrains,
strategic international borders, economic & infrastructural backwardness and non-viable
state finances.

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The classification came into existence in 1969 as per the suggestion given by the Fifth
Finance Commission, set up to devise a formula for sharing the funds of Central govt.
among all states.

Basis for special category

The classification of States into general and special categories was done by the Planning
Commission based on five considerations, namely:
(i) Hilly and difficult terrain
(ii) Low population density and /or sizeable share of tribal population;
(iii) Strategic location along borders with neighbouring countries
(iv) Economic and infrastructure backwardness
(v) Non-viable State finances.

Benefits of Special Category

Significant concession in excise & customs duties, income tax and corporate tax
30% of planned expenditure (central budget) goes to special category states
Special Category states are benefited because of Normal Central Assistance which was
skewed in favour of these states. These states get more funds in terms of NCA and most
part of these funds was in the form of grants rather than loans.
Special Central Assistance given to SCS is also an additional amount which can be used
by the concerned state for economic development.
Centre bears 90% of the state expenditure (given as grant) (under the GadgilMukherjee formula) on all centrally-sponsored schemes and external aid while rest 10%
is given as loan to state. For general category, the respective grant to loan ratio is 30:70
whereas external aid is passed on in the same ratio as received at the centre.
Unspent money does not lapse and gets carry forward.

Lacunas in the working of Special Category Status:

The amount of proceeds that states receive has increased after 14th finance
commission. So the structure does not seem to have any specific relevance in present
context.
With the Fourteenth Finance Commission assessing the total requirements of the States
without making a distinction between plan and non-plan, the grants given under the
Gadgil-Mukherjee formula for State Plan Schemes got subsumed in the formula for tax
devolution and grants. Therefore, the benefit of higher Central assistance due to special
category status simply does not exist anymore. Thus, the State gains immensely from
the special package in addition to the transfers recommended by the Finance
Commission.
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The way Special Category Status was assigned to a state has been a matter of debate.
Various committees used different parameters to classify a state in Special Category
status. Some states lobby central government to classify them in special category. This
was to be corrected and the consent of majority of state must be taken before granting
a special category status to any state. Moreover there should have been a general
consensus among states related to principle used for granting the SCS.
Data reveals that even after awarding Special category status not much economic
progress has been noticed among states. This may mean that for economic development
its important to follow sound economic policy. Benefit of SCS may act as a stimulus but
rest depends on the individual state policy.

The Curious Case of Andhra Pradesh

The demand of Andhra Pradesh to enable it a level playing field to compete for
investment after the bifurcation is clearly legitimate.
The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act states that the Central government shall take
appropriate fiscal measures including tax incentives for industrialisation, support the
programmes for development of backward areas, and provide special financial support
for the creation of the new capital and institutions of governance.
One important benefit from the special category status is the income tax and excise duty
exemptions on investments. This is meant to reduce the cost to the prospective
investors who otherwise will have to suffer heavy infrastructure deficit, transportation
cost and remoteness of markets.
However, it does not state that the Union government should accord the successor
States special category status. Admittedly, it is difficult for the Union government to
accede to the demand for special category status on objective grounds. It could open a
Pandoras Box as the economically backward States of Bihar and Odisha too have been
demanding the status for long.
The case of Andhra Pradesh is surely not akin to that of north-eastern or Himalayan
States and full income tax and excise duty exemption would result in flight of capital
from Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, creating distortions in resource allocation
and disharmony between the neighbouring States.
Nevertheless, the Central government has already legislated the tax incentives in terms
of additional investment allowance and accelerated depreciation. The assistance
package announced by the Central government is generous by any account and certainly
more than what the special category status could have brought in.

Way Ahead

It is true that SCS would have brought some benefits to Andhra Pradesh. But a patently
false impression has been created that it is the panacea for all problems. Some of the
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political detractors believe that each district in Andhra Pradesh would become as
developed as Hyderabad. Nothing is farther from truth.
Considering special status may lead to demands from other States too and dilute the
benefits further. It is also not economically beneficial for States to seek special status as
the benefits under the current dispensation are minimal. States facing special problems
will be better off seeking a special package.
Connecting the dots:
Considering special status to any new State will result in demands from other States and
dilute the benefits further. It is also not economically beneficial for States to seek special
status as the benefits under the current dispensation are minimal. Critically Analyze.

TOPIC:
General Studies 2
Issues relating to development and management of social sector/services relating to
Health , Education, Human Resources
General Studies 4
Ethics and human interface
Probity in governance
Clinical Trials: Ethics Vs Economics

The notion that medical research is guided by a beneficent hand an honourable


impulse for the betterment of humanity. In reality, research and development of drugs is
driven by markets rather than moral concern.
As the demand grows for newer and better drugs for an expanding range of conditions,
so too does the need for clinical testing. Health as a commodity, repositions ethics
within an economic framework, and human experimentation is no exception. Profits,
rather than people, become the prime consideration
As the death toll from the African Ebola crisis peaked, World Health Organization
(WHO) Director-General Margaret Chan delivered a scathing attack on the profit-driven
pharmaceutical industry and its unwillingness to develop a vaccine for markets that
cannot pay.
Just as many global companies have moved their manufacturing and call centres offshore,
the cheapest way to conduct clinical trials is to outsource them to the developing world.

Factors leading to Clinical trials to Global South


The human experiments have rapidly migrated to the global south because:

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Regulations have become more stringent in the developed world. A major justification for
moving clinical trials to global south has been the greater availability of naive participants
drug-free bodies that allow for unadulterated test conditions.
The vulnerability of subjects that can make them more attractive. Fewer regulatory
safeguards, high levels of poverty and illiteracy, combined with an almost blind faith in
Western medicine, provide an almost endless supply of willing volunteers in countries
such as Africa, China, India and parts of Eurasia.

In India

The once booming clinical trials in India came under the Supreme Court scrutiny in 2013,
after at least 370 deaths were attributed to Serious Adverse Events (SEAs) during such
trials.
Between 2005 and 2012 the deaths of 2,644 Indian subjects were linked to unethical
clinical trials. A number of Indian school girls were alleged to have died after taking part
in trials of the Human Papilloma viruses (HPV) vaccine.
In response to campaigns from groups such as Swasthya Adhikar Manch (Health Right
Forum) and media exposure of the exploitation of Indian subjects, in 2013 the Indian
government tightened its regulatory regime. This included the mandatory registration and
accreditation of ethics boards, and better compensation schemes for the injured and
families of deceased victims.
In September 2013, the apex court ruled that no new clinical trials be permitted until the
regulatory mechanism was reformed.
The Indian governments tightening of regulations for clinical trials was met by criticism from
many in the industry, including the Association of Clinical Research Organizations (ACRO),
based in the United States, whose vice president of public relations threatened to transfer
business to more hospitable countries to mitigate the economic damage.
With the aim to speed up innovation and research in India, the Health Ministry has
amended (March 2016) the Drug and Cosmetics Act, exempting clinical trials conducted
at academic institutions from taking the hitherto mandatory permission from the Drug
Controller General of India (DCGI).
The latest amendment to the Drug and Cosmetics Act follows recommendations by the
Professor Ranjit Roy Choudhury Committee, which had suggested that academic
research should be approved by the Institutional Ethics Committees.

Criticisms:
Unfortunately regulatory bodies, designed to protect the vulnerable, often fall short of their
remit.
Public health experts say amendment to the Drug and Cosmetics Act is a setback for
those working towards a safer, more transparent clinical trials regime.

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With the latest amendment chances of misuse are also higher. The only defence for this
decision can be that this is academic, not commercial, research.
Injury or death as a result of misconduct is hard to prove and even harder to prosecute.

Way Ahead:
Trials conducted in various parts of the country had violated patient rights as informed
consent was not taken, and the patients subjected to clinical trials included newborns,
children, pregnant women and mentally challenged persons are often exploited.
Efforts should be made for a safer, transparent and continuous monitoring mechanism.
The line should be drawn for this, that the trials on the name of academic should not be
misused and diverted for commercial purposes.
Local activism and human rights agendas can effectively challenge, to some degree, the
harmful outcomes of the market and to protect, against the exploitation of vulnerable
people in clinical trials.
Connecting the dots:
Before a drug is approved, it is required to be supported by clinical trials conducted by
medical experts. Critically discuss the various issues involved.
TOPIC: General Studies 2
Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or
affecting Indias interests
Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on Indias interests
Important International institutions, agencies and for a-their structure, mandate
The Solar dispute- India and US
In news: India suffered a setback in its efforts to build a robust domestic solar industry, as
the appellate body (AB) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) upheld an earlier ruling
against its domestic content requirements for manufacturing solar cells and modules.
Background

The solar dispute arose from a complaint lodged by the United States against India. Early
this year, a dispute settlement panel issued a comprehensive ruling in favour of US
claims against Indias domestic content requirements.
The national treatment obligations required India to treat imported solar cells and
modules on par with domestically produced products without any discrimination under
Article III:4 of the GATT 1994.

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The highest adjudicating body (AB) for global trade disputes agreed with the panel that
Indias domestic content requirements for solar cells and modules under the Jawaharlal
Nehru Solar Mission amounted to trade-related investment measures as they favour
domestic products over imported products.
Significantly, the AB disagreed with Indias appeal against the panel ruling that the
domestic content requirement) are not covered by the derogation/exemption under the
so-called government procurement carve-out of GATT Article III:8(a).
This provision enables WTO members to deny national treatment disciplines for the
procurement by government agencies for products purchased for government purposes
and not with a view to engage in commercial resale.

India-US relations

At a time when India is forging an ambitious security alliance with the US, including
cooperation on solar energy and climate-change issues, the ABs ruling is a sober
reminder/lesson that in global trade based on mercantile trading framework, dollar-cent
interests trump over bilateral and climate change considerations.
New Delhi finally launched a major trade dispute against the US at the WTO alleging that
domestic content requirements and subsidies of eight American statesWashington,
California, Montana, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Michigan, Delaware and Minnesota
for renewable energy violated core provisions of global trade rules.
Indias delay in raising the dispute against the US renewable energy programs in these
eight states has denied New Delhi the strategic leverage as availed by WTO members in
tit-for-tat trade disputes.
India had argued that it had an obligation to take steps to achieve energy security,
mitigate climate change, and achieve sustainable development, and that this includes
steps to ensure the adequate supply of clean electricity, generated from solar power, at
reasonable prices.

Way forward:
There are two policy goals that India is seeking to achieve:
One is to promote the Make in India initiative and to become self-sufficient in
manufacturing high technology products.
The other is to generate green energy at a lower cost to meet its growing demands.

In this context it is important to remember that the government has recently launched
the International Solar Alliance with the objective of creating a collaborative platform
for increased deployment of solar energy technologies to enhance energy security &
sustainable development; improve access to energy and opportunities for better
livelihoods in rural and remote areas and to increase the standard of living.
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To achieve its full potential in energy India needs to reassess its policies and incentives.
1) India must discontinue the DCR measures that violate international trading
rules. Instead, to give fillip to the Make in India initiative, India should look to
incentivise production of such products in manners which are WTO compatible
like giving direct subsidies to domestic manufacturers, tax breaks, ensuring a
strong line of long term credit at low rates, collaborating with global leaders to
enhance domestic research and development.
2) To meet the increasing demand for clean energy, India must deeply engage with
international partners and get the best available technology at internationally
competitive rates. Collaborative research and development projects would help
in reducing the cost of energy and increasing efficiency in the long run. At this
stage, due to the underdeveloped Indian industry, it would be more efficient, to
import the technology, while taking efforts to enhance domestic capabilities.
By relying heavily on solar energy, the dependence on oil and coal will be reduced. It is
necessary to ensure that there is an adequate reserve of domestic manufacturing
capacity for solar cells and modules in case there is a disruption in supply of foreign cells
and modules.

A combination of these measures will lead to greater self-sufficiency and increased capacity
in solar energy production.
Connecting the dots:
Evaluate Indias approach towards meeting the countrys growing energy demands. How
far trade disputes impacts to reach its full potential? Discuss.
TOPIC: General Studies 2
Separation of powers between various organs , dispute redressal mechanisms and
institution
Structure, organization and functioning of Executive and Judiciary.
Increasing failing Court Orders
Recently, we came across some incidents where Supreme Court orders were defied by
many1. Cauvery issue: Karnataka government decided to defy the Supreme Courts order on the
release of Cauvery waters to Tamil Nadu.
2. BCCI issue: Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) defied the Lodha panel
recommendations on the team selection panel.

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Ex-CJI RM Lodha had asked the BCCI to set up a three-member selection committee with
all members having test cricket experience, but the Board appointed five-member panel
where at least two had no test experience.
3. Demolition of illegal structures issue: In April this year, the Supreme Court was livid
when it discovered that almost no state government had followed its diktat to remove
illegal structures, including makeshift temples, mosques and churches, built on public
spaces.
It had, in fact, issued its orders on the demolition of illegal structures as far back as in
2009, but the states treated it as an advisory and avoided taking action that could have
involved stoking public anger when places of worship are removed. So they did nothing.
4. Sahara issue: In August 2012, The Supreme Court handed down a verdict asking Sahara
Group to wind up two schemes and return money to investors. Subrata Roy, boss of
Sahara, defied the courts by repeated litigation for 18 months, before a frustrated
Supreme Court ordered his arrest kept and demanded Rs 10,000 crore for allowing him
to go out. Roy chose to remain in jail for an extended period.
Why there is this increasing defiance of court orders?
There are three points to be made from this increasing defiance of court orders.
1. When courts intervene into territory where politicians fear to walk in a specified way,
they are unlikely to get any respect for it.
Unlike the courts, politicians are accountable to the people, and they cannot
ultimately expect to remain in power by defying public opinion, or what goes for
it.
2. When courts get into areas of law-making, they will invite disrespect.
As was the case when the Supreme Court ordered the BCCI, a society registered
in Tamil Nadu, to follow the Lodha panels rules rather than the one legislated by
the state,
(or)
When it ordered an extra levy on high-end SUVs entering Delhi, when taxation is
for the legislature to determine they will invite disrespect.
Courts cannot do what the executive and legislature are mandated to do, even if
the latter are doing their jobs badly.
3. When disputes involve not just the law, but equitable distribution of resources, court
orders will be defied.

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As in the case with the Cauvery dispute where Karnataka feels cheated by
successive verdicts against it, again court orders will be defied.
The solution to water and resource disputes lies in political compromise arrived
with the help of technical experts. These compromises have to be augmented
with measures to generate plentiful supplies, either by pricing the resource right
or by enhancing supplies, something which courts cannot ensure. The Cauvery
dispute cannot be solved by legalistic argumentation in courts.

There has been a strong critique against seeing Supreme Court correcting government
action in trifling matters which should not be its concern. The above instances of Courts
interference are seen as judicial adventurism rather than judicial activism by many
politicians and public.
The courts need to be clear about the limits of judicial intervention and stay out of areas
that are beyond their competence or jurisdiction. If they dont do this, they will not be
listened to, and there is little chance that politicians or bureaucrats or even the police will
comply with their orders in spirit.
Connecting the dots:
There is a strong debate that Supreme Court is increasingly, and controversially,
asserting control over the executive and legislature. Critically examine with examples.
Critics argue that over the scope of the PIL has expanded to include matters that affect
the doctrine of separation of rights and its scope should be limited to its original
constituents. Critically examine.

TOPIC: General Studies 2


Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation.
Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability
A unified budget- Railway budget to be merged with General budget
The Union Cabinet will end the 92-year-old tradition of presenting a separate Rail Budget
from next fiscal year (2017-18). Though the ambition is to bring an end to populism that had
come to be associated with it in the last few decades, it remains to be seen if the unified
budget brings in the much needed efficiency in rail sector.
Background
The first rail budget was introduced as a separate budget in 1924 on recommendation of
Acworth Committee report.

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Now, it is part of reform agenda of new government which accepted the unification of
two budgets into one on the recommendation of NITI Ayog committee headed by Bibek
Debroy.
This merger is also a part of the government advancing the budgetary exercise so as to
complete it before March 31 and facilitate the beginning of expenditure on publicfunded schemes from April 1.

Reasons for merger


There has been consistent fall in revenue.
An annual outgo of Rs. 32,000 crore on subsidies.
A sudden spike in expenditure (Rs. 40000 crore) due to implementation
recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission.
There has been increasingly unsustainable interest burden on market borrowings.
The delay in completion of projects has resulted in a cost overrun of Rs. 1.07 lakh crore
and huge throw-forward of Rs. 1.86 lakh crore in respect of 442 ongoing rail projects.
Understanding the significance of merger
Bringing end to populism
Intention to de-glamorise the Railways portfolio.
Discourage the leveraging of the Rail Budget for handing out largesse to vote banks
which was a practice used (misused) by politicians as a populist platform.
Decisions like fare hikes would be Finance Ministers call and it will now become routine
ones that will be taken any time during the course of a year without much public glare.
However, the railways budget comprised of a fairly detailed performance review,
physical and financial, of the previous year and prospects for the budget year apart from
allotment of funds. The railway performance may not be evaluated in similar lines in
future.
Though the finance minister has allowed for a separate post-Budget discussion in
Parliament on the Railways, the focus most likely will be on allotments to various
projects, not on financial performance.
Also, populism will not go away totally. The FM has proposed to set up a new Railway
zone to pacify a State government as part of a special package. This is the proof that
populism can be created outside the budget too.
Increased savings
Railways will save annually Rs. 10,000 crore by not paying dividends to the Government
of India as the budgetary support given each year. As a result, the Railway Convention
committee was scrapped.
The new budget will help to increase investments in track renewal, maintenance, station
improvement and passenger amenities.

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It is not expected to impact the functional autonomy of railways but help in enhancing
capital expenditure which would allow them to enhance connectivity in the country and
boost economic growth.
However, salary and pension will be still paid by railways and will also bear the social
commitment obligation by way of concessions or subsidised travel.

Another view
Why separate budget was important
It is an operational ministry which earns as well as spends unlike other ministries that
just spend.
Its gross earnings (Rs.1.68 lakh crore in 2015-16) are among the highest for any Indian
organisation, public or private. It has a staff strength (13.2 lakh) that exceeds that of the
Indian Army.
A separate budget gave it an autonomy-financial and functional. Now it will have to ask
the finance ministry for permissions to undertake various projects.
It is part of package
The Bibek Debroy committee recommended merger not as a stand-alone step but as a
part of package of measures such as
Complete overhaul of the project financing architecture of the Railways which
involves weeding out of unviable/long-pending projects
Comprehensive accounting reforms
Separation of infrastructure and operations
Setting up of a rail regulatory authority
These steps are major projects in itself. Hence, focusing just on merger of budgets is
baffling.
A step to remove colonial legacy?
Merging railway budget in name of colonial legacy is flawed.
Colonial legacy also involves English language, sedition law but they are still continued
with. Hence the more apt question should be why such hurry?
Conclusion
The autonomy of the railways is important as it caters to the needs of maximum number
of people.
The other recommendations of the Debroy committee should also be implemented at
the earliest to facilitate overall increase in rail efficiency.
An independent regulator should be created which has the power to price railway
tickets and freight rates and also boost the railways ability to raise more internal
resources.

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An annual Indian Railways Report in Parliament on the lines of the Reserve Bank of
Indias Economic Survey will signal reforms with transparency.

A move from the past is welcomed only if it is capable of proving its reason for change.
Connecting the dots:
A unified budget is better than two separate budgets. Critically analyse.
Unification of budget will not be beneficial to the railways and particularly passengers.
Substantiate your argument in favour of your opinion.
In name of removing colonial legacy, the government should not discard best practices.
With respect to the above sentence, discuss why a separate rail budget is more
significant than unified budget.

TOPIC: General Studies 2


Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation.
Will advanced budget date help?
The Union Cabinet has undertaken three key reforms in Union budgetadvancement of the
date of presentation by a month, dropping the classification of expenditure as Plan and NonPlan and doing away with the Railway Budget. Though railway budget merger has garnered
more spotlight, it is equally necessary to understand if the advanced budget presentation
will help government functioning.
The present norm
Usually, the budget session begins in the last week of February and runs till mid-May
with a recess in between.
Both Houses of Parliament clear the appropriation bill only in the second half of the
budget session.
Changing the practice
The Cabinet has decided in principle to advance the presentation of the Union Budget by
a month, from February to January. (date will be fixed later)
Objective: to have the Budget constitutionally approved by Parliament and assented to
by the President and, all allocations disseminated to budget-holders before April 1.
Why:
All spending authorities within the system and those financially dependent on
the Centre can be in a position to work out their activities with assured resources
in the beginning of the year itself.
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A more planned and regulated expenditure profile during the year is expected as
the annual financial resources will be approved and granted on April 1.
Impact: it will eliminate the need for the executive to obtain a vote-on-account budget
approval to incur expenditure during the first two months, which normally is in the
second fortnight of May.
Vote on account- Art 116 of Constitution of India- As the appropriation bill is not passed
by parliament till April 1, the government was given 2 months funds which was approx.
1/6th of total expenditure under various grants.

Understanding the two sides of advanced budget date


Beneficial
Parliamentary approval for additional budgeted funds and re-appropriation relating to
the current financial year may be feasible a few weeks before the end of the financial
year. This will enable additional releases from the Centre to the States in February or
early March.
The State governments will consequently get more time to actually utilise the funds
which may become available to them as a result of these approvals, in the year of
release.
Thus, the funds at the disposal of the executive authorities entrusted with Budgets and
expenditure responsibilities, to the full extent of their annual requirement by March 31,
has its positive attributes.
Eroding efficiency
Not enough time to deliberate the budget
The main question arises is that if the Parliament and its standing committees will get
adequate time to deliberate on the budget?
For instance, the budget in general and the detailed demands for grants from a number
of ministries with annual allocations of over Rs. 10000 crore are deliberated upon by the
standing committee.
This is then debated and voted by the houses before the Appropriations Bill (legislatures
approval to the executive to draw from the Consolidated Fund of India), is passed by
Parliament and assented to by the President.
This process requires 10-11 weeks.
A re-scheduled session may not provide adequate time to Parliament as for nearly 10
days in the latter part of January, ministers and their officers are distracted from
parliamentary work due to their involvement with Republic Day celebrations and followup events.
The scrutiny by the standing committees of the parliament, which examine the
justification of the ministry-wise allocations and funding needs of associated

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programmes included in the Budget, takes place during 2-3 week gap within the budget
session period, when the houses are adjourned.
This scrutiny is an essential element in the parliamentary budget approval system.

Increased need of strict scrutiny


Though the forcefulness of this scrutiny has declined over the years, these committees
still exercise an oversight over the Budget formulation and appraisal processes.
There is an interface between parliamentarians and secretaries, financial advisers and
other senior officers of the ministries in the standing committees. When the latter
remove and give evidence before the peoples representatives, it creates a healthy part
of the public oversight and budget appraisal mechanism.
Its importance has increased in the past as many of the Budget demands have had to be
guillotined without debate in Parliament owing to paucity of time. (Parliaments time is
wasted in acrimony on the floor on different on contentious issues, which is not a
healthy phenomenon)
Hence, these standing committees are the only public institution where a relatively
detailed and dispassionate examination of the components of the ministerial budgets
was possible.
Narrow window to derive estimates
The executive till now was able to formulate the next years Budget, reckoning the
expenditure classified in government accounts till January. It gave them 10 months of
the current financial year.
The expenditure budget ceilings concerning different ministries for the next years
budget are firmed up by the finance ministry by the third quarter of the current year.
Here, the fine-tuning was possible till the first fortnight of February.
With the advanced date, the budget will be now based on three quarters of the current
years expenditure and partially on anticipated trends till the end of the year. This may
not be feasible.
According to a former finance minister, the outgoing years fourth quarter (January to
March) will remain a dark area while formulating budget for the next year.
Public Fund Management System
PFMS was introduced by Centre to track its fund flow-based expenditure up to the
lowest tier where goods and services are obtained against payments.
Purpose: to monitor expenditure on real-time basis, reduce quantum of funds at
intermediate tiers as floats, and estimate realistically.
However, PFMS does not encompass all State governments tiers and establishments,
although Central funds are being spent by the states to a large extent under centrally
funded schemes and projects.

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Thus, inputs from the PFMS on the entire gamut of the Centres expenditure are not
expected to be fully available for assessing expenditure in the terminal phases of the
current year to enable budget preparation of the following year.

Conclusion
The Budget will now stand a lot more on estimates than actual numbers which means
that projections need to be as close to accurate as possible.
The tweaks in the process and schedule of the budgets happen at a time when India is in
the middle of its transition to a new federal polity.
The idea is to make budgets more predictable, with greater emphasis on expenditure
and less on revenue aspects.
Connecting the dots:
Identify the pros and cons of advanced budget presentation.
There have been significant reforms undertaken by government in past two years which
are move away from the past. Critically analyse

TOPIC: General Studies 2


Statutory, regulatory and various quasi- judicial bodies
Issues relating to development and management of Social sector/services relating to
Health, Education, Human resources
MCI: reforming the unreformed
In news: A recent report by the NITI Aayog, authored by a committee chaired by its vicechairperson, Arvind Panagariya, has proposed a sweeping overhaul of medical education in
India. The committees remit was to suggest an overhaul of the Indian Medical Council Act,
which dates back to 1956.

The Medical Council of India (MCI) is a statutory body for establishing uniform and high
standards of medical education in India. The Council grants recognition of medical
qualifications, gives accreditation to medical schools, grants registration to
medical practitioners, and monitors medical practice in India.
It is under the aegis of Indian Medical Council Act 1956, with subsequent amendments
and ordinances, that the Medical Council of India (MCI) governs medical education in
India.

Reforms in the sector

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Looking for a big bang reform in an important sector that remains unreformed, there is
important reforms proposed under the new Bill that the Panagariya committee has drafted
and appended to its report.
The most arresting and important governance-related element of the proposed reform
is the scrapping of the MCI and its replacement by a new body, the National Medical
Commission (NMC).
1. Members of the MCI are elected. While the current system of election to the MCI
was based on noble intentions, the effect has been to keep serious medical
educationists out of the body.
2. The NMC, on the other hand, would have its members selected by a highpowered committee of unimpeachable integrity, to be chaired by the cabinet
secretary.

The evaluation of medical colleges, which at present is conducted based on inputs, will
switch over to an output-based evaluation.
1. This will eliminate the possibility of corruption, which has flourished under an
opaque input-based system in which the MCI could threaten closure of a medical
college
2. The proposed new legislation will mandate both entrance and exit exams for
medical professionals. Anyone practicing medicine in India will have to pass the
exit exam. This would bring India in line with the norms of medical certification in
other major countries.
3. With a mandatory exit exam before anyone is allowed to practice medicine,
medical colleges will have to perform. A college which charges exorbitant fees
and whose students fail the exit exam will soon be out of business.

The regulation of fees for medical education:


1. The Panagariya committees proposal, private medical colleges will be free to set
their own fees in a transparent manner. Further, all colleges will need to
announce and post upfront their structure of fees.
2. For-profit medical colleges will be permitted.

System of Equity with Efficiency:


To take note of the concerns of states, and to work towards a system characterized by
equity, not just efficiency, states will be allowed to regulate the fees that up to 40% of
students are charged, with colleges free to charge the tuition fees of their choice for the
remaining 60%.This amounts to what economists would call a cross-subsidy from the
latter to the former group of students.

Criticism of the report

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The Panagariya committees proposal for for-profit colleges will increase various
capitation and other hidden fees charged by the colleges that will considerably jack up a
students costs over and above the official, regulated tuition fees.
This can lead to a completely non-transparent system which has served no one well.

Way ahead
Our current status is that Indias system of medical education features ostensibly nonprofit medical colleges, while profiteering by unscrupulous colleges which are subject to
opaque and capricious regulation has continued unabated.
The Panagariya committee has courageously established the principle that, in medical
education as in other sectors, profit is not a dirty word.
It is far better for society to have well regulated for-profit medical colleges with
transparent and upfront fees and with a scrupulous system of entrance and exit exams
that will keep them honest, than our current system in which no one is genuinely
accountable, standards are poor, and it is both medical professionalsand ultimately
patientswho suffer.

Connecting the dots:


For achieving the desired objectives, it is necessary to ensure that the regulatory
institution remain independent and autonomous. Discuss in the light of experiences in
recent past.
Indias system of medical education features ostensibly non-profit medical colleges, yet
there are unregulated, profiteering and opaque colleges. Critically analyze the recent
reforms suggested by Arvind Panagariya committee.

TOPIC:
General Studies 1
Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism
Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.
General Studies 2
Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States
and the performance of these schemes
Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation.
Dalit caste- will the society accept its upliftment?
In news: The Maratha community is persistently but non-violently protesting against the
Dalits after a Maratha girl was raped and killed by Dalits (accused) in Ahmednagar district,
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Maharashtra. Though dominant and subordinate caste relationship is fragile, there is a


constitution and the state which is expected to take care of its vulnerable sections of society.
But, does it actually?
Caste in constitution

The constitution of any nation presents what it would like to be rather than what it
actually is. Thus, it regards aspirations as achievements and uncertain journeys as
assured arrivals.
When the Preamble of constitution of India says We, the people, it desires to reflect
the unification and collectivity, however, this is what the constitution doesreflect the
republic in best possible light.
However, when it comes to provision of caste in the highest law of land, the
constitution does not directly deals with caste, rather it is more inferential.
Article 15 indirectly mentions caste as one among sources of discrimination. Sections
2(a) and 2(b) of Article 15 compensate this by explicitly prohibiting discriminatory
restriction of access to (respectively) shops, public restaurants, hotels and places of
public entertainment and wells, tanks, bathing ghats, roads and places of public
resort.
The question is why it has to be explicitly declared that there should be no
discrimination on the above mentioned areas, when it is already declared to be for the
public.
In article 17, untouchability is abruptly announced where it is abolished and its practice
in any form is forbidden.
The constitution does not explain the meaning of untouchability which is another
example of caste being an absent presence in constitution where it is addressed only as
an exceptional or special circumstance.

Caste-state relationship

The state is an outcome of law as well as society and also a mediating link between the
two.
The idealistic orientation has made the constitution external to society with largely
exhortatory (encourage to do something) relationship with it.
Though the state depends on the Constitution for its legitimacy, but the Constitution
also depends on the state for the actualisation of its ideals.
State regulated by politics politics is rooted in society personnel are members of
society who embody prevalent social prejudices state is strongly influenced by
society.

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But, the state is institutionally bound by constitution and hence it cannot be always
guided by the existing social prejudices. Rather, it has to occasionally rise above the
prejudices to perform its constitutional duty.
Thus, the caste-state relationship is ambiguous as the state is itself a differentiated and
plural (rather than homogenous or monolithic) entity, capable of acting in a wide variety
of ways with respect to caste.

Prevention of Atrocities Act (PoAA), 1989

The PoAA, 1989 and earlier law, the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955, are special
laws which determine the situation previously ignored in constitution but need to
address the reality of substantive inequality.
All citizens are not equally at risk of being subjected to the acts specified in the subsections of Section 3(1) of the PoAA: Being forced to drink or eat any inedible or obnoxious substance
Have excreta, waste matter, carcasses or any other obnoxious substance
dumped in their premises or neighbourhood
Being paraded naked or with painted face or body and so on
If there exist specific groups of citizens who have repeatedly suffered such gross
violations of the fundamental right to dignity, then surely there is necessity to have
special laws like the PoAA which protect the interest of such groups.
The more important question arises why still such groups exist? They exist because of
the social relations promoted by caste. The intervention done by PoAA due to atrocities
done is because of societys ability to sustain specific types of relationships, or mutually
oriented attitudes and conditions.
On one hand, the Dalit caste is considered socially vulnerable vis--vis higher castes,
especially those dominant within a region. And on the other hand, higher caste is
allowed to acquire the socially approved sense of freedom with respect to the Dalit
caste.
However, when the dominant class feels it has little prospect of economic and social
mobility, its self-esteem and identity become increasingly dependent on the unequal
relationships it maintains with subordinated castes.
Thus, the Dalit-dominant relationship turns into a zero-sum game where any real or
imagined improvement in the lives of Dalits is seen as a reduction in the social distance
separating the two groups, thereby implying a decline in the status of the dominant
castes.

Demand to remove PoAA, 1989

Both in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra there is a rising demand to remove PoAA, which is
coming from the political parties representing regionally dominant castes.
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Both States have seen the emergence (or re-emergence) of Dalit assertion following
some upward mobility. This has enraged the dominant castes, leading them to argue
that the PoAA is being misused.
According to them, the act has been misused against them in every special scheme or
law intended to empower vulnerable groups, including reservations, laws against dowry,
sexual harassment and rape, and even the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment
Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).
In each case it is alleged that the genuinely deserving never benefit and that the vast
majority of cases are fake.
However, activist groups show that it is hard for ordinary Dalits to get cases registered,
and extremely difficult to get them placed under the PoAA.
The interesting part comes here the misuse part is not to be taken literally. It also acts
a proxy for a more general perception that Dalits are no longer underdogs and may be
turning into predators.

Conclusion

It is not to incite any negative views on Dalits but Dalits, like any other caste group,
could become efficient oppressors if given the chance. But the better placed question is
if they are in fact getting the chance.
At present, there has been nationwide uproar amongst Dalits due to frequency of
atrocities on them- cow slaughter allegation (Gujarat), alleged temple entry (Singhrauly),
couple killed over petty sum (UP) and the dadri lynching case will complete a year soon.
The time has to be used efficiently to determine how the vulnerable groups (Dalit,
women) can be uplifted so that India becomes socially empowered along with economic
growth. The moto of sabka sath, sabka vikas should not be contained only in the letter.
Along with it, there is a need to focus more on more vulnerable groups (orphan children,
disabled) who do not have, and will probably never have, the constitutional protection
of special laws.

Connecting the dots:


Dalits have been victim of social hierarchy since the dawn of varna system. In the 21 st
century, should caste system be determinant of social status? Analyse.
Dalit upliftment is not their ticket to become the oppressors instead to set an example
for following Ambedkars path. Discuss.

TOPIC: General Studies 2


Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary
Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector or Services relating
to Health, Education, Human Resources.
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Right to photocopy- easing the struggle for access to education


Delhi High Court judgement on right to photocopy provides for larger access to education in
countries like India where education is not affordable to all. The landmark verdict has set a
precedent for the applicability of copyright law in educational cases in India.
Background
Recently, Delhi HC dismissed the copyright infringement petition filed by three
international publishers (Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press and Taylor
& Francis) against a Delhi University photocopy shop.
The publishers argued that the creation of course packs and the photocopying of
academic material for the same amounted to an infringement of the exclusive copyright
of the authors and publishers. The defendants argued that the reproduction of
materials for educational purposes fell within the exceptions to copyright under Section
52(1)(i) of the Copyright Act.
The crux of dispute was whether course packs fall within this exception.
The HC ruled that making course packs by photocopying portions of various prescribed
reference books for students for suggested reading, does not violate the copyright of
the publishers.
Not a moral right
The judgment clarified that copyright is a statutory right and not a natural right, and
hence any right that is granted to owners is also limited by exceptions carved out by law.
The nature of Section 52 of the Copyright Act is such that any act falling within its scope
will not constitute infringement. The Section 52(1)(i) of the Copyright Act treats as fair
dealing the reproduction of any work1. By a teacher or a pupil in the course of instruction; or
2. As part of the questions to be answered in an exam; or
3. In answers to such question.
The publishers took instruction in narrow sense and claimed that it material provision
was restricted to lecture and spatially restricted to a classroom. The court rejected this
claim and said that instruction cannot be narrowly understood and it included entire
ambit of pedagogy from the creation of syllabus to teaching and provision of reading
materials.
Right to reproduction
The Copyright Act seeks to maintain a balance between the competing interests of the
copyright owners as well as the interests of the public to have access to works.

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Copyrights basic rationale is that there should be promotion of creativity through


sufficient protection along with catering for dissemination of knowledge and access to
copyright material through the doctrine of fair dealing.
The doctrine of fair dealing, which is essential for research and academic purposes, is an
exception to copyright holders exclusive rights. The Indian copyright law uses the term
fair deal (where listed purposes are statutorily embedded) whereas the U.S.s copyright
law adopts fair use (which is merely illustrative).
Article 13 of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement
says, these exceptions must confine to special cases which do not conflict with a
normal exploitation of the work and do not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate
interests of the right holder. Since the term fair dealing is not defined in the Act, the
judiciary determines its scope on a case by case basis.
Hence it would be fair dealing if the students click photographs of each page of portions
of the prescribed book.
Indian law has to take account of the unique socioeconomic context of India, such as
our resource constraints. The judgment holds that if any provision of the Act permits
any person other than the owner to reproduce any work or substantial part thereof,
such reproduction will not amount to infringement.
Holding students interest paramount, the ruling concentrates on the aspect of
affordability of low-cost textbooks through photocopying. Not every student can afford
to buy expensive books for only a part of syllabus prescribed by the varsity. Though DU
has the books in its library but the same cannot cater to large number of students.
It also recognizes the importance of technological advancement and said that the
students are not expected to be sitting in the library and taking notes.

Global implications
The judgement is a bold articulation of the principles of equitable access to knowledge
and one that deserves to be emulated globally.
For a while now, the globalisation of copyright norms through international law (Berne
Convention, TRIPS Agreement) has been accompanied by the globalisation of copyright
standards dictated by the global north
Previously, whenever it came to discussing fair use and exceptions and limitations,
countries were constrained by judicial precedents from the U.S.
Limitations
Copyright holders invest considerably in creating works. If this is ignored while
interpreting Section 52(1)(i) as a license for reproducing unlimitedly everything
prescribed in the suggested reading, the copyright holders wont be motivated to
continue with their creative work.

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If the suggested reading provides for the whole book, does Section 52(1)(i) permit
reproduction of the whole book or only reasonable excerpts? The judgment has
conveniently avoided any direct reference to this aspect.
The Court Commissioner had reported that 8 books were found being photocopied
cover to cover. But there was no news if the court was successful in balancing the
competing interests of the academic community and the copyright holders?
How justified it is to cover the private photocopy shop in the university premises within
the expression in the course of instruction is yet to be seen. If seen in macro view, the
judgment infers that university will be given blanket immunity to meet the demands of
all the students even by purchasing a single book!
A publisher would not invest if they are not able to get returns due to practices such as
photocopying. The very purpose of publishing is defeated if publishing is not sustainable
and publishers are not able to make money,

Conclusion
Undoubtedly, the judgment, which is a breakthrough in the Indian copyright
jurisprudence, is a major victory to access to education in a developing country like
India. It will certainly have a far-reaching impact in academic circles as well as on the
copyright industry.
When access to education itself is a challenge, none of the students can be expected to
purchase expensive textbooks, especially when syllabi prescribe certain portions from
various books.
However, Universities are expected to cater to students reading requirement without
prejudicing copyright holders legitimate economic interests.
If the Indian universities honestly utilise funds earmarked for libraries for that purpose
and also if the students demands can be met reasonably by permitting reproduction of
reasonable excerpts has to be further considered.
Connecting the dots:
Delhi HC verdict on right to photocopy was in news recently. Critically analyse the
importance of photocopying of copyrighted materials.
If the validity of photocopy in name of greater access to education is upheld, the
publishers may think twice before selling their intellectual property in India. Do you
agree? What are the possible implications of right to photocopy vs. right to copyright?

TOPIC: General Studies 2


India and it neighbourhood- relations
Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or
affecting Indias interest
Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on Indias interests
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North East India and Indias Look East Policy

If we have to see development in Indias skewed regional growth pattern we shall


draw a vertical line down the middle of the map of India: broadly, the region to the west
of the line is relatively more developed than the east.
Since the early 1990s, India has been seeking to situate the countrys troubled
Northeast at the heart of what eventually evolved into its so-called Look East
policy.
The Look East thrust of Indian foreign policy has also grown as Europe and the
US have found themselves mired in economic stagnation with no immediate
prospect of recovery.
This has compelled India to look to Southeast and East Asia as priorities for
developing trade and commerce in order to keep its own economy in shape and
post reasonable growth rates, which has led Indian policymakers and analysts to
revise their attitudes on the countrys long troubled Northeast.
Indias Look East Policy gives an opportunity to India to improve its North East region
which is up till now somewhat ignored and there has been no solid strategy for inclusive
growth and development of the region along with more people to people contact with
the rest of India.
However, a constellation of circumstances seems to be coming together, which promises
to end the status quolater if not sooner.

Steps towards development


The only connect of north east to mainland India is a thin sliver of land called the Chickens
Neck in West Bengal. What is needed, strategy that marries domestic initiatives along with
foreign policy manoeuvres to ensure the immediate foreign territories adjoining the northeast of IndiaBangladesh, Myanmar and China to remain in sync. North East India has
more proximity with other countries than with the rest of the India. To realize its foreign
policy along with development various steps have been taken in this direction
The Sagarmala project which aims to support port-led development along Indias
coastline at an initial investment cost estimated at $700 billion. Not only will it be costeffective for freight movement, it will also decongest the countrys overburdened roads
infrastructure
The other big move that has fructified recently is the ability of Indias foreign office to
mend relations with Bangladesh and make it a key stakeholder in the plans to integrate
the north-east with mainland India. Last month, India employed this hard-earned social
capital in commissioning a rail link from New Delhi to Agartala in Tripura, which will go
through Bangladesh.

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India has been working on Myanmar for access to the port at Sittwe to land its goods
headed for the north-eastern states. Once connectivity is granted, then the goods will
move along the river Kaladan in Myanmar to a motorable point to the Indian border.
This project will considerably reduce the distance between East and North East India.

Picture Credit- http://2.bp.blogspot.com/xQL03CHmcnc/UcBbIs2ad9I/AAAAAAAAEwM/y_NLI9iqLrQ/s1600/India+Sittwe+Myanmar.jpg

There is a tri-nation highway plan in the works proposing to connect the north-east of
India to Bangkok through Myanmar; a similar plan also looks to connect with southern
China, once again through Myanmar.

Way ahead

Although India is trying to use the Northeast as a land bridge to Southeast Asia
more for ending the isolation of this frontier region to boost its future growth
India and its economy will largely have to look east through the sea into
Southeast Asia for trade and human movement for a wide variety of reasons.
For all these time the region was ignored now we have plans that look to integrate the
hitherto neglected eastern part of the country. Once realized, it will correct for regional
imbalances, broad-base the growth process and open up new economic opportunities
and presumably more jobs.
Not only is this good economics, it is also good politics.

Connecting the dots:

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Discuss the considerable hurdles and limitations encountered in carrying forward


Indias Look East through Northeast.

TOPIC: General Studies 2


Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation.
Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges
pertaining to the federal structure.
Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability
Simultaneous conduct of elections and its impact on democracy and governance
Conducting of simultaneous elections has been discussed for few years now. From TV
debates to online public consultation, the decision is expected to tilt in favour of
simultaneous elections. But will this practice be actually beneficial to Indian democracy?
The beginning of the debate
India witnessed simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabhas till 1967 till
it got derailed due to dissolution of some Assemblies after the imposition of Central rule
under Article 356 of the Constitution.
Law commission in 170th report in 1999 had also supported the idea of one election
once in five years for the Lok Sabha and all Legislative Assemblies.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and
Justices report in December 2015 said that several structural changes will need to be
done in case a decision is made to conduct simultaneous election, including the
possibility of Constitutional Amendments to Articles 83, 172, 85 and 174 to streamline
the process.
The debate has now gained momentum for conducting simultaneous elections with
President and PM reiterating the need for electoral reforms for strengthening
democracy.
The upcoming elections are Lok Sabha-2019, Assembly elections in 5 states- 2017, in 13
states- 2018, 1 state in 2020 and remaining in 2021.
Simultaneous elections are beneficial
It will lighten the financial strain on the government/Election Commission machinery.
Law commission report (1999) pegged it at about 4500 crores.
It will avoid repeated enforcement of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) which
interferes with normal policy implementation and governance in the state. Thus, it will
bring stability in governance.

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It will have impact on functioning of essential services. The campaigns and rallies cause
traffic problems as well as loss of productivity.
From competitiveness and productivity viewpoint, simultaneous elections reduce the
type of manpower and resource deployment necessary for the conduct of elections.
Thus, the administrative strain on election machinery is expected to ease.

But, there are substantial arguments against the conduct of simultaneous elections
The cost of conducting elections
The elections in India see huge spending of money by candidates, political parties and
government (ECI).
There is cap on how much a candidate can spend on his campaign. But still, more than
permitted is spent as candidates believe that it would help them reach out more voters,
thereby increasing their chance to win.
However, the question of cost which has been considered more frequently in the
debate, talks about reduction in expenditure of government and not candidates and
political parties which has more impact on electoral outcome.
There is no doubt that limited number of elections will result in lesser government
expenditure. But, elections are lifeblood of democracy. A seemingly possibility to impose
simultaneous elections shows that monetary concerns are more important than
democratic principles which is not a good practice.
Improving performance
Another argument for favouring simultaneous elections is that it is for better
governance.
Due to multiple election schedule, the MCC prevented the government from new
projects which ultimately slowed down development work.
However, to solve this issue, it is more feasible to change the rules of MCC which allows
government functioning for a reasonable period (in force when elections are notified
and not when elections are announced).
Not many know but there is a provision that government can consult ECI about policy
decisions. If the ECI is assured that such decisions will not affect electoral outcome, such
decisions get a go-ahead.
In a normal course, the MCC will be applicable to the election state only. Then there is
no reason with government to stall projects in other states or centre unless it affects
electoral outcome in the election state.
Undermining federal structure
India has a federal structure and a multi-party democracy where elections are held for
State Assemblies and the Lok Sabha separately.

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One country, One election is misleading. This slogan overlooks that though India is one
country, the constitution also recognises existence of 29 States which have their own
constitutional status in matters of elections and government formation.
One country does have one election, and that is for the Lok Sabha.
The envisaged practice of having central, state and also panchanyat elections together is
a step in direction away from federal state that the constitution desires.
The voters have increased voting choices when elections at state and central level are
held at different time. This distinction gets somewhat blurred when voters are made to
vote for electing two types of government at the same time, at the same polling booth,
and on the same day.
Evidence shows that there is a tendency among the voters to vote for the same party
both for electing the State government as well as the Central government.
Since 1989 elections, there have been 31 instances of holding simultaneous elections for
State Assemblies and the Lok Sabha. In 24 elections, the major political parties polled
almost a similar proportion of votes both for the Assembly and the Lok Sabha. In 7 states
only, the choice of voters was different (For different government at centre and state).
During the same period, when in many States the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections
were held at different times, the electoral outcome (votes polled by different parties) of
the two elections has been different.

Conclusion
Though ECI supports the idea, it has warned of several logistical and financial
challenges that have to be overcome before it can prepare to hold state and central
elections together.
The challenge is significant because all political parties have to be on board to and pass a
constitutional amendment to this effect.
There can be a possibility that an incumbent government falls without completing its
terms or there is a creation of a hung assembly. In such cases, the mechanism to be
followed has to be yet evolved.
Though there are talks in favour of simultaneous elections becoming a reality, there is a
possibility it might go against the political diversity which is essential for addressing the
social diversity of India.
Connecting the dots:
Critically analyse the effect of simultaneous elections in India.
Simultaneous elections is not possible because of changing times, socio-economic
conditions and increasing voter base and education. Discuss
Government has multiple mediums to save money. Taking risk with the conduct of
simultaneous elections with primary rationale being reduced financial strain may
boomerang. Evaluate.

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TOPIC: General Studies 1


Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.
Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism
Urban middle class and politics

India has 32% urban population which is expected to double by 2050. Its middle class is
projected to cross one billion as early as 2025.
Earlier, the middle class found that it was too small to count on its own steam and too
rootless to be able to influence increasingly localised politics. As a result, the urban
middle-class largely lost interest in politics.
But recently, a steady rise was witnessed in urban middle class participation in politics in
last decade during the historic India Against Corruption Movement.
This gave rise to Indias first major class-based urban political party- the Aam Aadmi
Party (AAP)
In recent history, the 2014 Lok Sabha elections saw that beyond large cities, middle
classes vote more than the poor. Their participation played a major role in incumbent
governments electoral success in 2014.
Middle class participation is likely to increase in future given the demographic shift
towards greater urbanisation and rise in incomes.

Middle class mobilisation

It is often perceived that middle class exerts its citizenship through activism in civil
society, while electoral politics is the domain of the poor.
Hence, many popular and scholarly accounts of the urban middle class emphasise its
disdain (aloofness) for electoral politics.
Yet, certain sections of the middle class are active in party politics from Resident
Welfare Associations (RWA) candidates in municipal polls to active parties like AAP and
Lok Satta.
So, there seems to be a conflicting observations which questions what sections of
middle class contest elections or who are instead active in civil society.
A research in Delhi between 2006-14 suggests that the nature of middle class
mobilisation depends on two factors:
Its perceived electoral potential- sections of middle class that are perceived as
electorally significant by the political establishment are likely to engage with the
state as voters.
Its pre-existing networks within the state
The middle class may voice their complaints through occasional protests but mostly,
they resolve their conflicts through existing institutional channels.
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Response to alienation
A vast section of the middle class, especially in unauthorised parts of the city, relies on
the state for public services.
Lokniti data reveals that the middle class displays greater interest in elections as
compared to both the rich and the urban poor.
The political parties view the middle class as an important constituency. They canvass
middle class voters even more than slum residents. The reason is that the slum dwellers
are being pushed to the outskirts and the middle class is beginning to constitute a larger
share of the voters.
However, on the other hand, electoral alienation of middle class generates two different
kinds of political mobilisation.
Through informal networks
Through formal networks
Informal channel
There are sections of middle class, mostly higher professionals or part of the managerial
class, who have informal networks within higher reaches of state, either in political party
or bureaucracy. Thus, they tend to operate outside formal politics.
Though they utilise their networks, they associate political parties with clientelism and
patronage and, as a result, are suspicious of electoral politics.
They emphasise on formal rules and bureaucratic channels which makes them hostile
to informal residents, or those people who live in unplanned settlements and engaged in
unregistered occupations.
The 90% of the PIL filed by middle class neighbourhood associations in Delhi between
2000-07 were related to issues concerning encroachment on public land.
Thus, this section of middle class mobilises almost exclusively in civil society through the
media and digital technologies.
Hence, the understanding of the new middle class is largely informed by this small
section of the middle class that exerts a disproportional influence on the media and the
public discourse.
Formal channels
Some middle class groups which are not considered electorally significant, lack networks
within the state. They can neither voice their concerns effectively nor have the option to
exit formal politics completely.
This section of the middle class seeks to become part of the state machinery through
electoral channels.
Candidates supported by middle class RWAs in a number of local municipal elections
across Indian cities are a good example.

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These trends in middle class political mobilisation have further intensified as a result of
broader changes in state-society relations due to economic liberalisation. This middle
class expansion, due to economic growth, has generated greater demands for improving
public services.
At the same time, privatisation of public services and fiscal decentralisation have led to
greater availability of financial resources at the local level.
The combination of the two factors has made local politics more contentious.

Conclusion
Hence, middle class mobilisation is, at least in part, motivated by dissatisfaction in the
quality of governance and public service delivery in a context of increasing state
resources. The transition from activism in the civil society to the electoral sphere was a
means for middle class groups to assume a more direct control over the distribution of
public resources.
Sections of the middle class that are alienated from electoral politics are most likely to
mobilise in the civil society. This is reflected through protests against a number of
specific policy issues like target corruption in public life.
These protests aim to influence public policy by remaining outside the realm of formal
politics. Civil society activism transitions to electoral mobilisation when it fails to
influence policy. These two logics of middle class mobilisation will have a transformative
impact on the nature of Indian politics as India continues to rapidly urbanise.
From a broader perspective, these modes of middle class political engagement reflect
the ability of the state to accommodate the expanding middle class in the political
process, either through electoral channels or through the bureaucracy.
If the expansion of political participation among socially underprivileged groups
characterised the nineties as the second democratic upsurge, it stands to reason that
growing urban middle class participation could constitute Indias third democratic
upsurge in the years to come.
Connecting the dots:
The Indian urban society is experiencing a change in the participation of middle class in
active politics/civil society activities. What will be the impact of such change? Discuss
The political parties no longer focus only on the rural and poor sections of society.
Evaluate the sentence in light of growing urban middle class activism in politics.
Can the urban middle class change the electoral results in next 10 years? Critically
examine.

TOPIC:
General Studies 2

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Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States
and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or
affecting Indias interests.
Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India's
interests, Indian diaspora.
Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.

Marrakesh Treaty and Accessible Books Consortium


Summary of the Marrakesh Treaty

The Marrakesh Treaty was adopted on June 27, 2013 in Marrakesh and it forms part of
the body of international copyright treaties administered by WIPO.
It has a clear humanitarian and social development dimension and its main goal is to
create a set of mandatory limitations and exceptions for the benefit of the blind,
visually impaired, and otherwise print disabled (VIPs).
Today is an important day for blind and other print-disabled people across the globe, as it
marks the entry of Marrakesh Treaty come into force.
Objectives of Marrakesh Treaty or so-called Books for Blind treaty:
1. The main goal of Marrakesh Treaty is to create a set of mandatory limitations and
exceptions for the benefit of the blind, visually impaired and otherwise print disabled
(VIPs).
2. It addresses the book famine by requiring its contracting parties to adopt national law
provisions that permit the reproduction, distribution and making available of published
works in accessible formats - such as Braille - to VIPs and to permit exchange of these
works across borders by organizations that serve those beneficiaries.
3. According to the World Health Organisation, some 285 million people worldwide live
with visual impairments. Meanwhile, the World Blind Union estimates that children who
are blind have a less than 10 per cent chance of going to school a situation that could
be improved if schools had ready access to texts adapted for use by visually impaired
children.
4. It will facilitate access to published works for the millions of blind, visually impaired
and otherwise print disabled persons in India.
5. It would go a long way in establishing equal rights and opportunities for education and
employment for them.
India and Marrakesh Treaty

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India became the first country to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty to facilitate access to
published works for persons who are blind, visually impaired, or otherwise print disabled
on 30th June, 2014.
As mentioned above, the Treaty will facilitate import of accessible format copies from
the member states by the Indian authorized entities such as educational institutions,
libraries and other such institutions working for the benefit of visually impaired persons.
This will also facilitate translation of imported accessible format copies and export of
accessible format copies in Indian languages.
The Indian Copyright (Amendment) Act, 2012 is in harmony with the Marrakesh Treaty.

With access to information and educational materials, blindness need no longer be a barrier
to learning, employment and full participation in society.
India has not delayed in readying itself to ensure the Marrakesh Treaty benefits its people.
For example, the Accessible India Campaign has provided a nationwide flagship
campaign for universal access for people with disabilities.
And India has begun implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty through a multistakeholder approach, which includes collaboration among key players such as
government ministries, local champions like the DAISY Forum of India, and the private
sector.
This led to the launch in August of Indias largest collection of online accessible books
called Sugamya Pustakalaya, which counts 2,00,000 volumes.
Accessible Books Consortium (ABC)
The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), a United Nations organisation based
in Geneva, administers the Marrakesh Treaty and leads an alliance of private and public
partners known as the Accessible Books Consortium (ABC), which was established in June
2014 to support the goals of the treaty.
The ABC has established a centralised electronic multilingual catalogue of accessible
books produced by libraries for the blind around the world. Through the ABC Book
Service, which is free, organisations serving the print-disabled can supplement their
collections of accessible books from their counterparts in other countries.
The ABC Book Service can assist in preventing the same book from being produced in
accessible formats by more than one library, thereby avoiding duplication.
It is hoped that Sugamya Pustakalaya will soon become a member of the ABC Book Service,
thereby joining an international library-to-library service managed by WIPO in Geneva.
ABC is continuing to establish projects in India, including by training publishers, libraries and
NGOs in the production of accessible books, as well as providing funding to produce
educational materials in accessible formats. Without these materials, students either cannot
access their curriculum or are dependent on books being read aloud to them.

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ABC has also established training and technical assistance projects in Bangladesh, Nepal
and Sri Lanka.
ABC plans to extend its capacity-building programmes to Africa and Latin America,
helping ensure that these transformative uses of technology can boost access to books
for people who are blind or print-disabled around the world.

Conclusion:
Today, as the Marrakesh Treaty takes effect in India and elsewhere, Indias multistakeholder approach provides an excellent model for other countries to follow.
So far, 22 countries have joined the Marrakesh Treaty, but many more are needed: each
new nation that joins brings along not only a population in need, but a wealth of printed
matter that can more easily be made accessible in other countries.
WIPO looks forward to many more countries implementing the Marrakesh Treaty so that
print-disabled people around the world can benefit from the new avenues to access now
available to Indians.
Connecting the dots:
Discuss the significance and objectives of the Marrakesh VIP Treaty. Examine why Indias
role in its implementation is hailed as model for other countries to follow.
List the salient features of Marrakesh treaty for visually challenged. Examine the role of
Accessible Books Consortium (ABC).
TOPIC:
General Studies 2
Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation.
Important aspects of governance
General Studies 4
Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and
behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.
Emotional intelligence-concepts, and their utilities and application in administration
and governance.
Nudge unit: a new tool in the policy toolbox
NITI Ayog has tied up with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to set up a 'nudge unit' that
will work towards bringing about behavioural changes and recommending policy corrections
to help make the programmes more effective.
Nudge Unit= It is officially known as Behavioural Insights Team which was first set up in UK
to apply nudge theory (behavioural economics and psychology) to try to improve
government policy and services while minimising expenditure.
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What is a Nudge?

At a conceptual level, if policy design is the map and development outcomes as the
destination, then nudges are the road signs that guide you towards the best route.
Formulating these road signs requires expertise at two levels
Understanding why consumers pick less optimum routes (cognitive biases)
Designing signs that guide users to better routes (nudges/interventions)
Nudging refers to altering the decision-making environment in the context of biases
and irrational behaviour that decision-makers often display.

Why is a nudge unit required in India?

Toilets built at great expense are not used.


New variants of tuberculosis spread because patients do not complete the course of
drugs prescribed by hospitals.
Rash driving on roads kills thousands of people every year.
Parents do not immunize children even when it does not cost them anything.
This shows how behavioural quirks lead to public policy failures.
Hence, there is a need of behavioural public policy wherein behavioural research is
integrated into public policy.
Behavioural interventions can have the potential to increase the efficacy of social
spending.
Public policy is often focused on the problems of market failure or state failure. Far less
attention is paid to the deeper problem of social failures.
Thus, the focus and direction of nudges should be influenced by individuals ideas and
concerns about their own behaviour.
Let us look at some examples to understand the nudging action
Nudge to vote

The average voter turnout in all elections (General, State and local) have not been
encouraging, especially the local level elections in India.
Nudging can be done by
Providing discounts to voters at retail outlets and restaurants.
Phone campaign experiment (of USA) where the registered voters are informed
about high voter turnout in their area and they must also follow the lead.
Of course, there is little empirical evidence of success of such interventions but perhaps
they add value to taking the effort to vote, and can be seen as a reward-based approach
to improve voter turnouts.

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Nudge to pay taxes-honestly and on time

Tax avoidance (by Individuals + companies) is a problem which leads to poor tax
compliance data. Government spends excessive resources on monitoring and scrutiny,
yet the tax compliance statistics are difficult and time-consuming to come by.
Instead, if IT department engages at individual level, a personalised approach has high
chances of increased tax compliance than mass media communication.

Nudge people not to litter

India generated more than 100,000 tonnes of solid waste per day in 2011-12, which on a
per capita basis works out to more than 100 grams of waste per person per day.
Common public health and hygiene problems in India relate to open defecation, public
urination, and poor civic sense when it comes to littering.
Flagship programmes like Swachh Bharat Abhiyan will have little success if it is expected
that providing money will lead to open defecation free India in 2019! What requires is to
have basic societal, community and individual level understanding why toilets are not
built/preferred.
Innovative experimental Ideas like religious/cultural imagery on public walls to prevent
urinating and spitting, wifi garbage bins where free wifi is provided for taking efficient
care of rubbish, star ads focussing more on changing the attitude than just promoting
building of toilets etc. can be torchbearer in cleanliness campaign.

Other nudges

Colour-coded footprints in Delhis metro, guiding users to the correct metro line helps
the commuter immensely.
Immunization rates in some Rajasthan villages climbed after free lentils were given to
women who brought their babies to local dispensaries.
Using fictionalized photographs of a person getting run over by a train reduced
incidences of railway-related deaths significantly at unmanned crossings

Hence, this is just a beginning towards a new approach for effective implementation of
public policies. The nudge unit is expected to recommend changes in advertising, financial
outflow and other softer elements related to the success of the programmes like Swachh
Bharat, Jan Dhan Yojana, Digital India and Skill Development through social messaging and
new ad campaigns.

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Limitations of nudge units


A nudge unit can help the government deal with human behaviour and social realities
challenges but there are limitations:
Behavioural sciences may design better social sector programmes but they are of limited
use unless bigger challenges like rapid economic growth, poverty reduction and
macroeconomic stability are addressed and solved effectively.
It may fall prey to paternalistic view that planners know better than citizens.
Behaviour patterns vary in different states. Policy formulation based on one/certain
behavioural approach may not go down well with all states.
Conclusion

The most well-intentioned social interventions fail because of the ground realities that
policymakers often fail to grasp.
Understanding cognitive biases correctly and formulating interventions that take into
account such biases can have a huge impact on making public-spending more effective.
It will compel the ministries to make constant back-end policy corrections.
Behavioural scientists have shown that people value loss avoidance more than gain
acquisition. Hence, loss norm can be followed to induce people to take advantage of
public policies crafted for them. (Loss norm= disadvantages due to non-following of
public welfare policies)
The government already uses choice interventions like subsidies and taxes to shape
citizen behaviour. However, more institutional mechanisms are needed to advocate
behavioural research to improve public policy design and deliver better outcomes for
taxpayer money.

Connecting the dots:


Nudge units have been recently proposed to be set up for more effective policy
implementation. Critically explain the importance of nudge units with examples.
Government policies are not only about formulation and implementation but also
understanding the public acceptance of such policies. What is the importance of public
acceptance of policies and suggest measures to improve the wide acceptability of such
policies.

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INTERNATIONAL
TOPIC: General Studies 3
India and its neighborhood relations
Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or
affecting Indias interests, Indian diaspora
Important international institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate
In India its time for Africa
Both the countries together
Cover about a quarter of the worlds land area
Support over a third of worlds population
Share an important asset in their (demographic dividend) young populations, about half
of which is below 25 years of age and
Aspires to have the knowledge and technical skills to participate in their economic
growth
India and Africa: History
Influence of Indian freedom fighters shaped Indias Africa policy
Evolved over time, Indias Africa policy owes a lot to Mahatma Gandhi, who became a
beacon for Africa and to Jawaharlal Nehru, who left an indelible imprint on India-Africa
relations.
At the root of Nehru's belief was that India's independence would be incomplete
without Africa's freedom.
As a visionary, he also foresaw and strengthened Afro-Asian unity that led to the
Bandung Conference and the birth of non-alignment.
On international fora, India played a leading role in assisting and expediting Africa's decolonization process. The help it extended to the African countries in gaining
independence and to South Africa in its struggle against apartheid was recognized
widely and often.
Political relations have since been marked by mutual understanding and support.
India Africa cooperation (East Africa)
1. Geographical proximity and Economic opportunities:
Indias proximity to East Africa offers a potential for cooperative infrastructure projects
that bridge the Western Indian Ocean.

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Little more than 3,000 miles separate Zanzibar from Mumbai, there are multiple
opportunities for Indias private sector to explore.
On the economic front, Indias model of penetration driven mainly by private sector
interests has its own advantages. Indian firms pursue strategies that result in greater
integration with domestic markets.
However the Indian government has also focused on the softer sectors of education and
human development and has extended assistance by giving African students access to
higher education, mainly under the auspices of the Indian Council of Cultural Relations,
and in offering technical cooperation under Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation
(ITEC) and related programmes.

2. Security cooperation:
East African coastal states look up to New Delhi as a privileged partner who can help
develop their coast guard and naval capabilities, from the Gulf of Aden to the
Mozambique Channel. (as shown in figure below)

Figure: http://s2.thingpic.com/images/21/gQNbEiDs1oQtNytNzY1y.jpeg
India has taken a lead in three key initiatives:
1. the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium, which includes thirteen states in the East African
littoral sub-group
2. the Indian Ocean Rim Association, which includes South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania,
Kenya, as well as Madagascar and Mauritius

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3. The IBSA trilateral (India, Brazil, South Africa), which hosted four rounds of joint naval
exercises in Southern Africas Indo-Atlantic link waters.
India can build on its wide experience in contributing to security and stability on the
continent.
By 2008 Indias military had emerged as the largest contributor to U.N.-mandated
peacekeeping and other operations in Africa.
To date, New Delhi has also trained over 100 military officials from more than
20 African countries at the regional Center for United Nations Peacekeeping in New
Delhi.
3. Diaspora:
The Indian diaspora in Africa, estimated at more than 1 million people, integrated socioeconomically. According to a 2007 World Bank survey on international firms operating
in Africa, 48 percent of company owners of Indian origin held African nationality.
Being substantially more integrated into the business community in Africa, overseas
Indians are also able to better assist New Delhis efforts to develop local partnerships.
4. Health research and partnership:
Africa and India together harbour about half of its disease burden.
Infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, HIV/AIDS, childhood diarrhoea and
respiratory infections remain big challenges and are witnessing a shift towards noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, mental illness, etc.
India has sufficient and contemporary experience in tackling health-care issues in the
context of a developing country.
India has clear strengths in its generic pharmaceuticals industry, and due to early
development of its higher education sector, it has a large human resource in the health
sector as well. These can be leveraged for capacity building in Africa.
5. Regional and Multilateral cooperation:
There is also a wide scope for India to foster regional integration and multilateral
cooperation in Africa.
The Africa-India Summit, organized in partnership with the African Union, Partnership
for Africas Development, and the continents eight regional economic communities.
The India Africa Health Sciences Meet (IAHSM) {is a follow-up of the India-Africa
Summit in October 2015, at which Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Indias
intent to partner Africa.}
Way Ahead
Our Africa policy has laid emphasis, especially in recent years, on expansion and
diversification of trade, investment and economic relations.

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We have been on the right track, but we need to recognise that the unfolding change in
Africa is complex, that its pace is rapid and inconsistent, and that competition for
Africa's affection and attention has become increasingly severe given the competition
with China.
Indias Look Africa policy can be a game changer if it also becomes an engine for
knowledge generation and innovation.
A powerful triad of the Government of India, India Inc., and civil society can take the
India-Africa relationship to a new level of strength and vitality.

Connecting the dots:


Increasing interest of India in Africa has its pros and cons. Critically examine.
What are the salient features of the political and economic relationship between India
and South Africa?
How does India see its place in the economic space of rising natural resource rich Africa?
Also discuss the recent developments between India and East African countries.

TOPIC: General Studies 2


Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or
affecting India's interests.
Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India's interests
India and USA at loggerheads at WTO
In news: India is witnessing new upturn in relation with USA on strategic and defence ties,
but it continues to have trade disputes with it at WTO.
This article highlights the background of recent trade disputes.

India and USA have fought over bilateral and multilateral foras on issues of trade,
climate change and intellectual property rights.
An outgoing US ambassador to India urged both sides to convene a Track 1.5 event
when trade relations were plummeting in 2014. (In a track 1.5 event, both official and
non-official players work on resolving conflicts.).
Following are some issues that have strained India-USA trade relations.

Visa hike case-Under consideration

India has initiated a WTO dispute proceeding against the USA regarding measures
imposing increased fees on certain applicants for H1-B and L1 categories of visas.

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India argued that visa fee increase is discriminatory against Indian firms as these (H-1B
and L-1) are the same categories that are most extensively used by Indian service
suppliers, especially in the information technology sector.
India has categorically stated that using the visa fee hike to raise revenue (in this case, to
finance a biometric tracking system and healthcare requirements of the 9/11 terror
attack victims) would open Pandoras Box.
It warned USA that this could lead to other nations deliberately raising customs duties
on goods to increase revenue for their domestic programmes.
Such protectionist actions (of hikes in visa fees and duties) will in turn further hurt
global trade which is already going through major slowdown.
USA has denied of visa hike being discriminative against Indian information technology
companies as stated that it was general in nature.
However, Indian companies will be hit as the increased fee is applicable only on
companies that employ more than 50 foreigners, or which have more foreigners than
locals working for them.
Indian IT industry body Nasscom said the financial implications of the visa fee increase
for the technology sector would be around $400 million a year.
Indian move is unusual at the WTO, where most disputes involve goods, tariffs and
restrictions, not services.

Solar dispute case- India lost

In 2010, Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission was launched which had a target of
installing 100 GW of solar power by 2022.
Under domestic content requirements (DCR) norm of programme, the Government was
willing to enter into long-term purchase agreements at an agreed price with solar power
producers, provided they use domestically produced solar cells and modules.
In 2013, USA registered a case at WTO against Indias domestic content norms alleging
violation against principles of Non Discrimination and Indias National Treatment.
(National treatment obligations= treating imports on par with domestically produced like
products)
Indias argument
It needs to build robust domestic industries for manufacturing solar cells, solar
modules and other products for renewable energy.
India invoked UNFCCC and argued that it had to take steps to achieve energy
security, mitigate climate change, and achieve sustainable development.
(UNFCCC invocation provides an exception under WTO rules).
Also, to ensure adequate reserve of domestic manufacturing capacity for solar
cells and modules in case of disruption in supply of foreign cells and modules.
In September 2014, India refrained from imposing anti-dumping duties on cheap solar
panels imported from the US and China (despite it being recommended by Directorate
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General of Anti-Dumping) on basis that there wasnt enough domestic manufacturing


capability.
Thus, India expected that if it did not impose anti-dumping duties on cheap solar panels,
USA would withdraw the 2013 case. But the expected did not happen.
WTO ruling: Came in favour of USA by stating that DCR is inconsistent with national
treatment obligations.
Thus, it became visible that WTO panel gave precedence to the WTO rules over
international obligations on climate change.
India has challenged WTO panel ruling and is also exploring the option of filing a counter
complaint against USA, with several states in USA such as Michigan, Texas and California
having also reportedly been accused of employing mandatory local content
requirements in the renewable energies sector.

Poultry dispute case- India lost

India had banned poultry import from USA since 2007 by invoking SPS (Sanitary and
Phytosanitary Measures) agreement clause of WTO.
Basis: as a precautionary measure to prevent outbreaks of Avian Influenza (AI) and bird
flu fears.
WTO ruling: Indian ban on import of poultry meat, eggs and live pigs from the USA was
"inconsistent" with the international norms as
They were not based on scientific risk assessment.
The prohibition was limited to just one country and not to all imports from any
country with AI risk. (Discriminatory)
USA is now seeking trade sanctions against India and also launch the claim for
compensation.

Intellectual Property Rights

United States Trade Representatives (USTR) Special 301 Report 2016- has kept India on
a priority watch list.
Special 301 report is annual assessment of the state of intellectual property (IP) rights in
other countries.
Priority watch list= Countries judged by USTR as having "serious intellectual property
rights deficiencies" that require increased USTR attention.
India has repeatedly asserted that its IP laws are compliant with standards mandated by
the WTOs Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
However, India has resisted TRIPS Plus requirements in international trade deals.
TRIPS Plus: Multilateral trade deals like RCEP and TPP are seeking TRIPS Plus standards
which would restrict generics drugs exports from India and prevent Indian companies
from obtaining the latest technology at affordable prices from abroad.
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Conclusion

It was observed that various ministries (Ministry of commerce, Ministry of New and
Renewable Energy, Ministry of Animal Husbandry) handling WTO disputes did not work
as a team and hence failed to put a strong case at WTO. Thus, trade disputes have to be
taken ownership of and handled jointly by the responsible Ministries and departments
and not as individual entities.
There is a need to have sufficient pool of Indian trade law experts to represent India at
WTO Dispute Settlement Body.
Though relations of top leadership is encouraging, India should continue to pursue its
stand to upkeep its national interest and also defend its domestic rights.

Connecting the dots:


Indo-US relation is experiencing diametrically opposite relation in trade and strategic
ties. Discuss.
TOPIC:
General Studies 2
Important International Institutions, agencies and their fora-their structure, mandate
General Studies 3
Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth,
development and employment
Infrastructure: Energy, Ports Roads, Airports, Railways etc.
The New Urban Agenda- Habitat III
Why Article is important?
The first major UN summit after both the climate and SDGs processes
Old Urban Agenda Vs New Urban Agenda
Sustainable Development Goals
Habitat III is a UN-wide initiative, shepherded by the United Nations lead agency on urban
development, the Human Settlements Programme, more commonly referred to as UNHabitat. Habitat III will be the first major UN summit after both the climate and SDGs
processes.
What is New Urban Agenda- Habitat III?

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The United Nations has called the conference, to reinvigorate the global political
commitment to the sustainable development of towns, cities and other human
settlements, both rural and urban.
The product of that reinvigoration, along with pledges and new obligations, is being
referred to as the New Urban Agenda. That agenda will set a new global strategy
around urbanization for the next two decades.

What was the old urban agenda?

The United Nations current thinking on global urbanization is summed up in the Habitat
Agenda: Istanbul Declaration on Human Settlements, the outcome document agreed
upon in 1996 at the Habitat II conference. It called for adequate shelter for all and
sustainable human settlements in an urbanizing world.
Since then, over 100 countries have adopted constitutional rights to adequate housing, a
major success of the Habitat Agenda. At the same time, however, international aid
organizations and bilateral development agencies have steadily reduced their
investments in cities and slashed their urban programmes. These are trends that have
challenged the full implementation of the Habitat Agenda.

Why does the New Urban Agenda Habitat III process matter?
Habitat III will be the first time that the world has gathered to consider and debate a
collective approach to current trends impacting on towns, cities and other urban areas. Yet
while such summits have taken place twice in the past, this third conference (held in Quito,
October 2016) has a weight of responsibility and expectation never before experienced. It
deals with:
Problems of equity, energy consumption and environmental degradation that can
already seem intractable in many urban areas.
Carbon Emissions As cities occupy less than a tenth of the worlds land area yet they
suck up three-quarters of all energy use
Inequality Historically high levels of inequality are today being felt most prominently in
urban areas, where two-thirds of people are thought to experience worse inequity than
they did two decades ago.
Sustainable Development Goals To focus the international communitys efforts to
combat poverty through 2030. Several of these Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
are directly, and even explicitly, linked with the health of urban areas, while their
success will invariably rest on local-level implementation.
Will the New Urban Agenda be a binding agreement for member states?

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No. As an agenda it will provide guidance to nation states, city and regional authorities,
civil society, foundations, NGOs, academic researchers and U.N. agencies in their thinking
about cities, urbanization and sustainable development. But guidance is not binding.
Conclusion
Beyond the specific technocratic solutions of economics and governance, several core ideas
will form the ideological underpinnings of the New Urban Agenda.
The New Urban Agenda will almost certainly include significant focus on equity in the
face of globalization, as well as how to ensure the safety and security of everyone who
lives in urban areas, of any gender and age.
Risk reduction and urban resilience will likewise play prominent roles.
The new agenda will place key importance on figuring out how to set up a global
monitoring mechanism to track all of these issues and concerns.
A key opportunity of the Habitat III process could be a strengthening of the role of locallevel governments in the future urban agenda, including through direct engagement at
the international level.
In News: India has opposed the inclusion of the Right to the City in the draft New Urban
Agenda that will define the way cities world-wide are shaped over the next two decades.
Please go through the link to know the 4-point agenda in India Habitat III National Report.
http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/habitat-iii-and-draft-new-urbanagenda-right-to-city-3010794/
Connecting the dots:
The foremost challenge in developing countries with rapid urbanisation is to create
functioning cities that are able to provide to their urban citizens affordable access to
better and adequate public services and job opportunities. Elucidate.
What do you understand by Right to city? Why India has rejected UN mandate on Right
to city? Discuss.

TOPIC: General Studies 2


Bilateral, regional, and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or
affecting Indias interests.
Effect of policies of developed and developing countries on Indias interests, Indian
diaspora.
Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.
11th G-20 Summit-Towards revival of world economy

In its 11th meeting G20 was held in Hangzhou, China (4th to 5th Sept 2016) to discuss
efforts to reform global economic governance.

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With the lessons from the global economy financial meltdown in 2008 policymakers at
the G20 summit explored new ways to reboot global growth.
2016 theme: Building an Innovative, Invigorated, Interconnected and Inclusive World
Economy

Highlights of G20 Summit


1. WTO

The leaders committed to ratify the Trade Facilitation Agreement by the end of 2016
and call on other WTO members to do the same.
The agreement was aimed at promoting global trade through easing Customs
procedures, addressing cross border financial flows derived from illicit activities,
including deliberate trade mis-invoicing, which hampers the mobilization of domestic
resources for development.

2. Taxation

Leaders Pledged to continue to work for a globally fair and modern International tax
system, foster growth and refrain from competitive devaluation of currencies
Leaders vowed to go ahead on the ongoing co-operation on Base Erosion and Profit
Shifting (BEPS), exchange of tax information, tax capacity-building of developing
countries and tax policies to promote growth and tax certainty.

3. SDG (Sustainable Development Goals)

G20 leaders will continue to prioritize its work on food security, nutrition, sustainable
agricultural growth and rural development as a significant contribution to implementing
the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

4. Labour Laws

Strengthening labour market institutions and policies which can support productivity
and promote decent work, and therefore higher, sustainable wage growth, in particular
for the low-income workers
To work for ensuring the benefits from economic growth, globalization and
technological innovation widely shared, creating more and better jobs, reducing
inequalities and promoting inclusive labour force participation.

5. Miscellaneous

They agreed at the summit that refugees are a global issue and the burden must be
shared. They called for strengthening humanitarian assistance for refugees.
Support policies that encourage firms of all sizes, in particular women and youth
entrepreneurs, women-led firms and SMEs, to take full advantage of global value chains

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Bone of contention

China and the US ratified the Paris Agreement ahead of the G20 summit and handed
over their countries instruments of joining the agreement to UN Secretary-General Banki-moon. India is not ready in terms of domestic actions to ratify before 2016 end, but
will do so at the earliest.
In global slowdown, issue of protectionism is the big concern for foreign investors, with
increasing difficulty of doing business in China, driven by its new laws and policies.
Excess steel capacity in China resulting in a flood of cheap imports into India, the UK and
other economies. This has hit the sales and profits of domestic steel producers and also
impacted their liquidity, which in turn has affected their capacity to repay loans. The
cascading effect of this is the number of NPAs with the banks.
No agreement reached by Russia and USA over Syria.

Conclusion

The group has expanded its agenda and activities dramatically since first G20 Leaders'
Summit in 2008, yet it remains an informal group with all flexibility and ease that
implies.
In its 11th Summit numerous low-key objectives shared by multiple G20 members, such
as strengthening enforcement against international tax avoidance and advancing
cooperation on Base Erosion Profit Shifting certainly got a shot in the arm.
Yet there is no comparison to the patchy and vague nature of progress in these smaller
goals to the collaboratively evolved financial regulation architecture that emerged from
the ashes of the 2008 meltdown and put the brakes on excessive risk-taking by banks.
Whether these things can really help the G20 take charge of the global order remains a
moot point.

Connecting the dots:


How far G20 as an institution relevant in present time? Is it time to re-examine the G20s
purpose and recast its vision and mission entirely? Discuss.

TOPIC: General Studies 2


Bilateral, regional, and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or
affecting Indias interests.
Effect of policies of developed and developing countries on Indias interests, Indian
diaspora.
SAARC- Towards economic integration
According to World Bank, South Asia is the fastest growing region in the world with
economic growth projected to increase from 7.1% in 2016 to 7.3% in 2017. With such an

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encouraging regional economic development prospect, SAARC nations have to look forward
towards achieving greater economic integration.

Picture Credit: http://image.slidesharecdn.com/saarc3-151003074706-lva1app6892/95/saarc3-2-638.jpg?cb=1443859663


Background
The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation. Recently, SAARC Finance Ministers conference 2016
highlighted key issues pertaining to regional economic integration, focus on improving trade
relations among member nations and renewed commitment to establish a South Asian
Economic Union (SAEU).
In 1998, SAARC Group of Eminent Persons (SGEP) had proposed establishment of SAEU
on lines of European Union to facilitate a common market and remove trade barriers.
Also, as a precursor to SAEU, a South Asian Customs Union (SACU) was proposed to be
established by 2015 where all South Asian countries will maintain common tariff and
non-tariff barriers on imports from all non-member countries.
The South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA), enforced in 2006, became an important milestone
on road to SAEU. Yet SAFTA could make only modest contribution in boosting intra-SAARC
trade. With increasing importance to regional trade, regional economic integration have to
be facilitated.

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Trade and investments are important components of economic integration. Hence it is


necessary to critically assess the efforts made towards achieving economic integration in
South Asia.
Trade Liberalisation

A Sensitive list, which was introduced at the initiation of SAFTA, excluded products in it
from tariff liberalisation. As per a study, 53% of intra-regional import trade was excluded
under SAFTA in 2006.
This highlighted need for more economic cooperation between member countries
Thus, under phase 2 of tariff liberalisation under SAFTA in 2012, India trimmed the list by
95% for least developed countries (LDCs) of South Asia (Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and
Afghanistan) and for non-LDCs, only by around 30%. Pakistan shortened its list by about
20% for all countries. However, these were not significant enough.
Today, Intra-SAARC trade additionally suffers from complex non-tariff barriers, poor
infrastructure, lack of connectivity and bureaucratic red tape at borders. Thus, there is
increase in cost in doing business in South Asia.
Also, trade in services in South Asia is very low despite signing of the SAARC Agreement
on Trade in Services (SATIS) in 2010 which aimed at trade liberalisation in services.
There has been a significant initiation on part of Bhutan, Bangladesh, India and Nepal by
signing Motor Vehicle agreement for an improved economic togetherness. But this will
improve connectivity only on the eastern side of South Asia.
Thus, these facts support WB report which states intra-SAARC trade is even lower than
5% of total trade whereas in East Asia it is 35% and in Europe 60%.

Investment liberalisation

South Asia has yet not emerged as a prime destination for foreign investment despite
the potential.
As per World Investment Report 2016 (UNCTAD), FDI inflows to South Asia increased
from USD36 billion in 2013 to USD50 billion in 2015. But this is less compared to FDI
inflows of USD448 billion in 2015 from USD350 billion in 2013 in East and Southeast
Asia.
Share of world FDI inflows in South Asia was 2.9% whereas it was 25% in East and
Southeast Asia.
East and Southeast Asia have such high FDI inflows due to their intra-regional FDI
inflows. The ASEAN region alone accounts for 18% intra-ASEAN FDI out of total FDI flows
in region.
Comparatively, intra SAARC FDI is very low, barring few success stories of Indian
garment companies investing in Bangladesh.

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What will help is the implementation of SAARC investment treaty which is based on the
lines of the ASEAN investment agreement supporting intra-region investments.
However, India has currently adopted a new model bilateral investment treaty (BIT) in
2015 which offers limited protection to foreign investment and also limited means to
enforce their rights.
But, a BIT model for SAARC is not conducive as there wont be any noticeable impact on
boosting intra-SAARC FDI inflows. Thus, this move might dent the efforts to have SAARC
investment treaty which is pending since 2007.

Conclusion

It is evident that SAARC has denied itself numerous economic benefits due to its struggle
for economic integration.
Political differences hindering economic cooperation at summit level meet will not set
right precedent for future negotiations and larger regional relationship.
Thus, the SAARC summit taking place in November 2016 will have to demonstrate the
political will to adopt deeper economic ties. A duty free SAARC trade will open larger
window for trade opportunities.
Hence, deeper economic integration is imperative to sustain the 7.3% growth rate by
creating an integrated South Asian market ensuring a free flow of goods, services and
capital.

Connecting the dots:


SAARC Charter mandates that decisions at all levels in SAARC are only of multilateral
issues. Despite such clear mandate, bilateral relations are overpowering multilateral
economic relations. Examine.
Can SAARC be next ASEAN? Discuss the initiatives to be taken by regional members
for greater economic integration.
India covers 70% of SAARCs area and population. Hence, India should take
leadership role to make South Asia region stronger. Do you agree? Critically evaluate

TOPIC: General Studies 3


Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact
assessment.
Is IUCN still relevant?
In News: IUCN World Conservation Conference (WCC) is in Hawaii over 1-10 September.
Some 9,000 delegates from 190 countries, including heads of state, government officials,
scientists, indigenous people and business leaders, will share, debate and act on the latest

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issues in conservation and sustainable development, to define a global path for nature
conservation for the future.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) is
an international organization working in the field of nature conservation and sustainable
use of natural resources. It is involved in data gathering and analysis, research, field
projects, advocacy, lobbying and education.

IUCN is the only environmental organization that holds a place in the United Nations
General Assembly, giving it an important and unique passport to international
discussions on environment and development.
Its single most important contribution to natural sciences is the development of the Red
Listthe worlds most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of
biological species.
WCC this year goes through an exhaustive process like UNFCCC (United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change) for a number of motions that all member
countries must vote on, the question is: will the countries be penalized if they dont
follow what they commit to?
For instance, if a member country says yes to a motion on respect the rights of
indigenous people in biodiversity-rich areas but at the same time allows a thermal
power plant to come up on the same piece of land, what can this international body do?
In the era of globalization and faster development, most emerging economies of the
world that are incidentally also rich in biodiversity are facing this dilemma: How to
modernize while keeping habitats intact for species.

Critique of the IUCN

IUCN may present itself as a knowledge-based body but its beliefs of cause and effect
have not been adequately challenged.
IUCNs history is one of adding new goals without addressing their coherence with
existing ends.
The IUCN goal, for instance, of advocating protected areas without examining if
protected areas actually help in biodiversity protection.
For all its grand history, is IUCN, still relevant in a globalizing world?

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Way Ahead

IUCN has to reinvent itself and move away from its emphasis on fences and fines.
It must recognize the economic forces, the models of dirty growth that are
threatening biodiversity hotspots around the world. These are the forces this grand body
of conservation must take on.
There are individual sessions by scientists presenting papers on threatened species and
effects of mining and other activities on their habitats, which should make their way into
mainstream policies of member countries.
In India, for instance, IUCN should be coming out with white papers on species at risk
because of the rapid scale of development that is ripping our habitats apart.

Connecting the dots:


How far IUCN, as an international body, helped many countries to prepare national
conservation strategies, identify areas rich in biodiversity for protection and influenced
policymakers?

TOPIC: General Studies 2


India and its neighbourhood relations
Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or
affecting Indias interests, Indian diaspora
Important international institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate
India-Egypt relations
In September 2016, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi made a maiden bilateral visit to
India. However, this is Egyptian Presidents second visit to India in a year (earlier he visited
India on account of India-Africa Forum Summit 2015).
This article highlights expanding economic, political and cultural aspects of the bilateral ties
between two nations who are facing similar problems of terrorism and radicalisation.

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http://www.mapsofworld.com/egypt/maps/egypt-map.gif
Historical

India and Egypt, two of the worlds oldest civilizations, have enjoyed a history of close
contact from ancient times where Ashokas edicts refer to his relations with Egypt under
Ptolemy-II.
In modern times, Mahatma Gandhi and Saad Zaghloul shared common goals on the
independence of their countries.

Political

Indias PM Jawaharlal Nehru had a special bond with Egypt President Gamal Abdel
Nasser. It captured the political essence of Indias regional policy bilateral
partnership, Arab solidarity and the construction of the non-aligned movement.
Nehrus support for Nasser on the nationalisation of the Suez Canal, which is central to
Egypts national identity and economy, was critical in consolidating the partnership.
India also contributed to the construction of the Aswan Dam on the Nile and explored
joint defence projects like the building of a jet engine and a fighter aircraft.

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After Nehru and Nasser, Indias bilateral relations with Egypt steadily declined as India
became increasingly defensive in the Middle East owing to various internal (Indias
inward economic orientation, an ideological foreign policy) and external factors (impact
of cold war, Egypts shifting international relations and the rise of Islamist identity in the
region).

Economic

Egypt has traditionally been one of Indias most important trading partners, and
currently India is the second largest destination for Egypts exports. The bilateral trade is
$3 billion which is targeted at $8 billion in the near future.
However, India is yet to tap into sectors like textiles, apparel machinery, automotive
components, chemicals and consumer goods.
Manufacturing offers some great prospects where positioning India as a manufacturing
and R&D hub under the Make in India initiative can be tapped into. A manufacturing
base in Egypt with its geo-strategic location will allow Indian industries to access markets
in Europe, Africa and West Asia.
Indias experience in developing economic corridors, metro projects, housing and urban
development would be valuable to Indian players interested in participating at the Suez
Canal Economic Zone and other similar projects.
Currently, Indian participation in the Suez Canal Economic Zone, particularly in sectors
such as petro-chemicals, energy, agriculture, healthcare, education, skills and IT is
significant.
India could also engage with Egypt as a top priority source of fertilizers like urea, and
make it an important partner in attaining food security.

Security

India and Egypt have decided to significantly step up their defence and security
cooperation to effectively deal with twin challenges of terrorism and radicalisation.
Both countries have decided to have greater information and operational exchanges to
combat terrorism, besides ramping up defence cooperation.
MoU on Maritime Transport between India and Egypt was signed which will not only
intensify maritime commerce but also transit of naval vessels.
Both countries have sought a comprehensive and just solution to the Palestinian
refugees cause in accordance with resolution 194 of the UN General Assembly and the
Arab Peace Initiative, in a way that preserves security, stability and peace of all the
countries in the region.
India and Egypt have also resolved to work together at UN on concluding the
Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.

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Information Technology

The Digital India Programme could be useful in Egypts development needs such as egovernment solutions, new banking platforms, information management and low cost IT
parks among others.
There are also emerging areas such as solar energy where India and Egypt come across
as natural partners since the two countries already have MoU on Renewable Energy
Cooperation.
The Startup India movement to boost entrepreneurship at the grassroot levels paves
the way for collaboration between India and Egypt. Educators and capacity building
institutions from both sides could collaborate to find mechanisms to foster
entrepreneurship and instil competitiveness.

Cultural

India and Egypt look forward to more cultural and academic exchanges to promote
closer understanding and linkages, especially among the youth.
The India by the Nile (IBN) annual cultural festival has emerged as the largest foreign
festival in Egypt.
Yoga has gained popularity in Egypt. There is also a growing interest in traditional
medicine.

Conclusion

It is an unprecedented political and diplomatic engagement with a volatile Middle East


that is so vital to Indias security and prosperity.
Indias approach to the region in the past was defined by political diffidence, however,
pragmatism is the need of the hour.
India and Egypt enjoy strong, traditional and historical ties that have contributed to
peace and development in their respective regions and beyond. Prime Ministers
acknowledgement of the crucial role of Egypt in establishing peace and stability in the
region is the key to advance the bilateral relation.

Connecting the dots:


A stronger India-Egypt ties will result into stronger regional presence of both countries.
Evaluate
India is widening its foreign policy at an unprecedented pace and unexplored areas.
Discuss.
Go through the Egypts map to identify neighbours, surrounding water bodies, physical
features etc.

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TOPIC: General Studies 2


Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector or Services relating
to Health, Education, Human Resources.
Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.
India to lead global coalition to fight epidemics
Being a key member of newly formed Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations
(CEPI), India is all set to lead the global fight against epidemics.
Background

Recent epidemics (Ebola in West Africa and Zika in S. America) have exposed serious
flaws in the worlds capacity to prepare for and respond to infectious disease outbreaks.
Existence of vaccines could have slowed, halted or even prevented an epidemic in each
outbreak, thereby saving many lives and prevent profound social and economic
disruption in the countries affected.
Though Ebola proved that vaccines can be developed quickly but it is not rational to
continue to rely on ad-hoc partnerships and the goodwill of a handful of companies.
Hence, there was a need of sustainable model for epidemic vaccine development.

Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI)

Mission- to stop future epidemics by developing new vaccines for a safer world.
Challenges
Vaccine development is not quick enough to start long before an epidemic so
that final clinical trials or emergency deployment can begin swiftly in an
outbreak.
It typically takes more than 10 years to make vaccines that work and are safe.
Once a vaccine is created, complex regulations and laws that vary from country
to country can delay getting vaccines to the people who desperately need them.
CEPI aims to overcome these barriers with a new model for funding vaccine
developments against epidemic diseases to contribute to the health security the world
needs. (The idea of CEPI was planted in a journal report Establishing a Global VaccineDevelopment Fund in 2015)
CEPI-the institution- It is a new alliance between governments, industry, academia,
philanthropy, intergovernmental institutions, such as the World Health Organization,
and civil society.

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Founding partners: Dept of Biotechnology, Ministry of S&T, Government of India,


Government of Norway, Wellcome Trust, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and World
Economic Forum
Governed by- Interim Board chaired by Professor K VijayRaghavan, Secretary,
Department of Biotechnology.

Indias role as a leader

The intensity of disease outbreak depends on the mode of transmission which can
spread it rapidly to affect people very far from where the outbreak starts. Here, vaccines
offer the potential to be deployed rapidly and on scale to prevent both disease and its
further transmission of diseases that are known and yet to be known.
In such case, India has recognised the preparedness to handle such disease outbreaks
which also includes strategies for prevention.
Also, India has the scientific talent and capacity to respond to any exigency, as was
witnessed in case of H1N1 outbreak. With right incentives and partnerships, India could
help countries, regional or international agencies to respond to any pandemic or
epidemic in a quick, efficient and affordable manner.
India will prepare vaccines for diseases that have the potential for causing outbreaks and
not focus only on common diseases like rotavirus. Rotavirus vaccine by Bharat biotech
was the last vaccine developed in India which underwent an effectiveness or efficacy
study. It is currently being used by the MOHFW in four States. Chikungunya vaccine made
in India remains to be evaluated for its effectiveness.
Thus, India will collaborate with governments and agencies like WHO, the Wellcome
Trust and others to develop the strategies for partnerships, technical development,
regulatory and ethical approaches and find the resources and commitments needed for
the coalition.

Human trials precaution

Phase 1- The vaccine is first tested in a small number of healthy people as for testing
any new vaccine, safety is paramount.
Phase 2- Next slightly larger number of people to figure out what dose is best to
produce the best immune response.
Phase 3- The larger scale phase 3 efficacy studies to test whether the vaccine can
prevent disease in its target populations.
While the phase 1 and 2 studies can be done anywhere, phase 3 studies require a
population where the disease is reasonably likely to occur/occurring.
The new coalition plans to develop vaccines through phase 1 and 2, by applying the
highest standards for safety in these studies.

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Controlled Human Infection Model (CHIM)- In more industrialised countries, a unique


form of volunteer studies is being introduced where disease is actually induced in
people in a tightly controlled setting and the ability of the vaccine to prevent disease is
characterised. This puts few people at risk when testing vaccines.
However, this requires volunteers who are altruistic and have great
understanding of the risks of the experiments.
There are currently no plans to do such studies in India.

Targeted Diseases

The vaccines will be chosen from a list of 11 that WHO put together as part of a report
called An R&D Blueprint for Action to Prevent Epidemics.
It includes Chikungunya, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and the related
severe acute respiratory syndrome, Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic fever, Nipah virus.
However, Ebola vaccine will be a priority.
CEPI will prioritise infectious diseases that have:
The potential to become global public health emergencies
Feasible development approaches for vaccines
The coalition will focus on diseases which do not have a large market in global terms.

Ethical practices

There is a perception that India will be the pharmaceutical hub of the world and also the
laboratory for the world. Thus, under this new role, India will have to ensure global
leadership, especially in having a say on ethical practices in these sectors.
Ethical practices relate to
The development of drugs, vaccines and other products which is the domain of
academia and regulatory authorities.
Manufacturing of drugs and to their marketing and use, where manufacturers
have the greatest role.
In development and testing, adherence to the highest ethical standards ensuring that
participants in studies completely understand the purpose as well as the risks and
benefits of their participation.
This requires strong credible academic partners and regulations, and the Drugs
Controller General of India has already taken the lead in improving the standards of
clinical testing in India.

Conclusion

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India is home to one sixth of the worlds people who live and travel everywhere. Thus,
India will play a role in working with less resourced countries of Asia and Africa along
with industrialised countries.
The India-Africa Health Summit, organised by the ICMR is an example of the kind of
engagement where India could work with African countries that are likely to be affected
by outbreaks and need to build capacity in science, medicine and manufacturing.

Connecting the dots:


Initiation of Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) gives a hope for
epidemic free world. Explain the need of CEPI and role of India in this organisation.

TOPIC: General Studies 2


Important International institutions, agencies and fora
Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India's interests
Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation
UNICEF Report- Uprooted: The Growing Crisis for Refugee and Migrant Children
The UNICEF report presents a sobering picture of the lives and situations of millions of
children and families affected by violent conflict and other crises that make it seem safer to
risk everything on a perilous journey than remain at home.
Closer at home, India still does not have a statutory law on refugee issues. Is it the time India
should have clear guidelines to handle the refugees owing to current global refugee
situation?
UNICEF Report reveals
Children accounted for nearly half of all refugees, with the number of child refugees
having doubled in the decade.
About one in three children who live outside their country of birth is a refugee. The
much smaller ratio of displacement for adults less than one in 20 according to the UN
High Commissioner for Refugees reveals the starkness of the situation.
28 million of the 50 million children who have migrated or been forcibly displaced
across borders are said to have fled violence. There were 10 million child refugees and
one million child asylum-seekers, whose status had not yet been determined. The
remaining 17 million children displaced by conflict remained within their home
countries borders.
45% of the children refugees came from just two countries: Syria and Afghanistan.
Increasingly, these children are traveling alone, with 100,000 unaccompanied minors
applying for asylum in 78 countries in 2015, three times the number in 2014.
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20 million children are migrants, driven from their homes by poverty and gang violence
among other things.

This highlights the brutal impact of the war on a segment of society that had little to do with
the conflict directly or otherwise and has become the most vulnerable.
However, the refugees find no peace even when their motto is to get it when they leave
their home which is in conflict zone.
Problems faced
Refugee and migrant children face a host of risks including drowning during sea
crossings, malnourishment, dehydration, kidnapping, rape and murder.
Education of such children suffers. Even if the refugee or migrant child gets access to
school, they are most likely to encounter discrimination including unfair treatment and
bullying.
When they arrive in other countries they often face discriminations and xenophobia.
Trafficking in boys and girls, conscription by armed groups in conflict zones and
exploitation in the sex trade threatens both immediate and long-term danger to whole
generations.
Contrasting worlds: There has been dramatic rise in school enrolment under a global
universal primary education drive and halved infant mortality rates under MDGs. This shows
the diametrically opposite worlds of children and their development prospects when the
world is looking towards achieving SDGs of eliminating poverty and hunger, promotion of
peaceful and inclusive societies and access to justice.
Way forward
The report points to six specific actions that will protect and help displaced, refugee and
migrant children:
Protecting child refugees and migrants, particularly unaccompanied children, from
exploitation and violence.
Ending the detention of children seeking refugee status or migrating by introducing a
range of practical alternatives.
Keeping families together as the best way to protect children and give children legal
status.
Keeping all refugee and migrant children learning and giving them access to health and
other quality services.
Pressing for action on the underlying causes of large-scale movements of refugees and
migrants.
Promoting measures to combat xenophobia, discrimination and marginalization.

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The recommendations of the UNICEF report are so comprehensive that anything short of
swift and sweeping changes in global policy and practice are unlikely to yield tangible
results.
India and its refugee policy status
India is not a part to 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention nor its 1967 Protocol. Hence,
it is among the few liberal democracies to not have signed, supported or ratified the
international convention that governs how nations should treat distressed people who are
forced to leave their homes under harrowing conditions. India also does not have any
domestic law or regional South Asian framework.
Reasons:
Borders in South Asia are extremely porous and any conflict can result in a mass
movement of people. Any commitment by such law can have:
A strain on local infrastructure and resources of developing countries that are
poorly equipped to deal with sudden spikes in population.
It can upset the demographic balance in South Asia.
India is already home to biggest refugee populations in South Asia which caters to their
needs when situation arises. Also, it does not take UN money to look after them.
Refugee status in India
India is home to diverse groups of refugees, ranging from Buddhist Chakmas from the
Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh, to Bhutanese from Nepal, Muslim Rohinygas from
Myanmar and small populations from Somalia, Sudan and other sub Saharan African
countries.
According to the UNHCR, there were 2,04,600 refugees, asylum seekers and others of
concern in India in 2011. Majority were Tibetans and Sri Lankan Tamils.
Refugees come to India due to War (Bangladesh), Domestic conflicts (Tibet, Sri Lanka),
Natural disasters (famine) and Environmental displacement and Human trafficking
Recently, government is planning to grant citizenship to Hindus and Sikhs who have sought
refuge in the country from religious persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh or Afghanistan.
Is it the time India has a refugee law?
The refugee issue is dealt on a combination of ad hoc executive policies and judicial
pronouncements, thus lacking a formal structure.
In the absence of a specific law, the Foreigners Act of 1946 deals with the entry and exit
of foreigners. However, it does not recognise refugees as a special category deserving of
humanitarian protection.
The process of deciding who qualifies as a refugee is also unclear The Indian
government determines refugee status for asylum-seekers from neighbouring regions
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like Tibet and Sri Lanka but asylum-seekers from other regions have to approach the
UNHCR office in New Delhi.
Such inconsistent approach and lack of uniformity gave basis to Asylum Bill, 2015.

Asylum Bill 2015


The Bill seeks to consolidate the various policies that apply to refugees in India and give
India recognition for its long-standing commitment to refugee protection.
It codifies the rights and duties of refugees in India.
It proposes the establishment by the government of an autonomous National
Commission, which will assess and determine claims for asylum in India.
The bill if becomes law, it will help government to have a formal structure of asylum
management which is crucial in current times.
Also, the State authorities and structures will be well prepared to respond to any future
refugee crisis coming to India. Europes lack of preparedness has shown the degree of
undesirable consequences that have cast upon both host country and refugees.
The Asylum Bill, 2015 has been introduced as a Private Members Bill in Lok Sabha.
Connecting the dots:
Critically examine if India should have a law for refugees and asylum seekers.
Recent UNICEF report presents a grim picture of condition of refugee children. What
according to you should be measures taken by countries, irrespective of refugee laws, to
protect the refugee children for a better future?

TOPIC: General Studies 2


Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or
affecting India's interests.
Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India's
interests, Indian diaspora.
Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.
No more aligned to Non-Alignment
In news: In a significant move, PM will not be attending 17th Non Aligned Movement (NAM)
summit to be held in Venezuela in September 2016. Is Indias core of traditional foreign
policy fading away?
Background

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NAM was founded in Belgrade in 1961 by Indian PM Jawaharlal Nehru, Indonesia


President Sukarno, Egypt President Nasser, Ghana President Nkrumah and Yugoslavia
President Tito.
NAM announced that it would push for an alternative economic order and would
campaign against the arms race that had put the fear of nuclear annihilation across the
globe. Those were peaceful days for NAM, asserting its moral authority against war and
poverty.
For India, NAM was not merely an idealistic dream of neutrality, but was based on a
realistic assessment of Indias geopolitical situation. (Pakistan was the only threat)
India wanted to plan according to its own interests rather than allowing it to become
confined within the limitations of a Cold War alliance.
Non alignment was Indias influential principle of its foreign and security policy since its
emergence from colonization.
It enabled India to avoid many of the limitations and entanglements of formal alliances
but it resulted in shaping of Indias foreign policy in a reactive manner.

Is NAMs importance is eroding?

The Third World debt crisis of the 1980s crushed the economic ambitions of NAM states.
Collapse of USSR, the U.S. bombed Panama and Iraq, and the century seemed to end
with American dominance.
Many nations were interested in alliance with USA, settle accounts at the International
Monetary Fund and consider options of joining NAM.
By the early 1990s, several important powers of NAM began to back away (Argentina
left in 1991). Yugoslavia crumbled, India went to the IMF and indirectly showed that
non-alignment was no more a priority.
NAM was sandwiched between suspicious US motives and attempts to regenerate the
economic growth of its members.

Indias current foreign policy- a shift from past

This will be only the second time an Indian Prime minister will miss the NAM summit.
The traditional foreign policy approach of non-alignment was a central component of
Indian identity in global politics.
However, since independence, India has been in pursuit of strategic autonomy. It has led
to semi-alliances shaped under the cover of non-alignment and regional dynamics.

Why such shift?


India seeks to balance the benefits and risks of an increasingly assertive neighbour
(China) and a network of alliances with like-minded countries.

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Chinas rise and assertiveness as a regional and global power and the simultaneous rise
of middle powers in the region mean that this balancing act is increasing in both
complexity and importance, simultaneously.
Chinas growth presents great opportunities for positive engagement, but territorial
disputes and a forward policy in the region raise concerns for India, particularly in the
Indian Ocean and with Pakistan.
Forward policy= a foreign policy doctrine applicable to territorial disputes where
emphasis is placed on securing control of disputed areas by invasion and annexation or
creating a buffer state.
The region itself is riddled with rivalries; a desire to balance China may push states
together, while other issues divide them. The same applies on the global level as noted
by the unpredictability in Sino-US relations.

Challenges ahead
Indian policymakers continue to place emphasis on strategic autonomy as a means of
mitigating the potential costs of a strategic partnership with the US.
This balancing act is evident in relations with China: despite interest in cooperation with
the US, India stands to benefit from an economic partnership with China.
India wishes to avoid sending any signal to China that it is serving as the lynchpin of the
US pivot to Asia, which China perceives as a measure of containment by USA.
There is also persistent concern over US reliability. Its relationship with Pakistan
continues to be stable and also its vulnerability to China was seen during the financial
crisis of 200809.
India has to balance its still strong defence relationship with Russia against its interests
in cooperation with the US.
India was with Russia, China and Iran in avoiding interference in Syrias civil war. Despite
voicing concern over the spread of the Islamic State network, India has continued to
promote a Syrian-led process of institution-building.
Still, there is a general concern in India that its capabilities in the event of a conflict with
Pakistan may be limited by over-reliance on the US, which continues to extend defence
aid to Pakistan despite a drop after 2011.
Benefits
Despite these challenges, India is pursuing a constructive relationship with the US and
Americas Asian allies as it faces a major shift in power dynamics with the rise of China.
India stands to benefit from being more assertive. Already, cooperation with regional
players is boosting its economy and defence capabilities, and as a pillar of the US pivot
to Asia, India is finding support for an increased role as a regional power-negotiator.
However, these growing partnerships need not prevent positive engagement with China.

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Assertiveness in regional and global relations may actually help India to pursue the
strategic autonomy it values and pursues.

Conclusion
Indias rising global profile is reshaping its approach to its major partnerships in the
changing global order.
Though some still want to reinvent non-alignment under new appearances, India is now
showing signs of pursuing strategic autonomy separately from non-alignment under new
leadership.
It seems that this separation was overdue in Indias foreign policy. India should try to
benefit from leveraging partnerships rather than barring them. This will help India to
develop leverage in its dealings with its adversaries and competitors.
Connecting the dots:
Is a shift in Indias foreign policy approach with respect to non-alignment significant?
Critically analyse
Indias non-alignment policy gave it an independent foreign policy. With multialignment, Indias strategic and autonomous foreign policy faces threat. Do you agree?
Examine.
TOPIC: General Studies 2
Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or
affecting India's interests.
Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.
BRICS 2016- Challenge to sustain the significance
In news: The annual BRICS summit will be hosted by India in October 2016 with the theme
Building Responsive, Inclusive and Collective Solutions. The BRICS dynamics and the
emerging situation of too many cooks spoil the broth is being highlighted.
Background
BRICS has been pushing for greater economic growth among the member countries and
reform of global financial institutions. Focus will be on greater people-to-people
participation during the BRICS events like BRICS Film Festival, BRICS Wellness Forum,
BRICS Youth Forum and BRICS Friendship Cities Conclave held throughout the year across
the country. This is expected to give people a greater opportunity to enrich the BRICS
process and BRICS leaders a stronger platform for dialogue.

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Picture Credit: http://www.brics-info.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/2016011304.jpg

Let us look at the BRICS dynamics expected to be visible during the 8th BRICS summit.
China-Russia growing friendship

Russian President and Chinese President share an image of being tough leaders, of
having defied the U.S. and the West. They are now edging closer to a closer security
partnership.
The largest ever Sino-Russian joint naval exercises are being held in the South China Sea
(SCS) off the coast of Guangdong province.
Moreover, Russia is the only country to have explicitly supported Chinas stand on the
SCS dispute. It has rejected the international tribunal award and proposed bilateral
dialogue with claimant countries, though it has not endorsed Chinas territorial claims.
China would like to include in the BRICS summit declaration what had been agreed upon
in the India-Russia-China trilateral Foreign Ministers meeting in Moscow in April 2016.
The crux was:
India, Russia and China were committed to maintain the legal order for seas and
oceans on principles of international law reflected in UNCLOS.
The disputes will be addressed through negotiations and agreements between
the parties concerned.
The ministers called for respect to UNCLOS, Declaration on the Conduct of
Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and the Guidelines for implementation of
the DOC.
However, this was before the Hague ruling. Now, India would probably look to resist
combined China-Russia pressure to include such declaration in summit by highlighting
the Chinese opposition to Indias membership of NSG and its blocking at the UN of
naming the Pakistani Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a terrorist.

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Brazil and South Africa- lagging economies

Any notable initiative is unlikely to come up from Brazil and South Africa as both
countries are suffering from political and economic turmoil.
Brazil President has taken over after a politically polarising impeachment of the former
Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff while S.A. President is facing serious charges of
corruption and there has been unprecedented infighting in his political party.
Hence, the BRICS summit is likely to have more focus on India-Russia-China.
However, India has the challenge to bring Brazil and South Africa into productive talks
with the remaining leaders to maintain and sustain a major bloc of developing
economies.

Too many meetings eroding substance

BRICS has now started showing characteristic of several other multi-country groupings
exponential expansion in its committees, working groups and forums. This has resulted
in growing crowded calendar of meetings held across globe.
Over hundred subjects including trade, investment and finance, health, education and
security are being undertaken at multi-body platforms.
India is also hosting around ten such events every year. This brings out the question if
such hyperactivity is leading to substantive outcomes.
Such multilateral meetings that declare crucial goals and end on promising note often
fail to expand human or financial resources to follow through.
The event become the focus and not the process. Thus leading to sparse outcomes of
such events.

Sustaining the BRICS significance

The New Development Bank is one of the BRICSs practical outcome. However, where
the NDB has been operationalised and India has already received loans of around
USD300 million, it has been overshadowed by China led AIIB.
Another important initiative, The Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA), has yet to
come into action.
It proposes to provide short-term liquidity support to the members through
currency swaps to help mitigating BOP crisis situation, if such a situation arises.
It would also contribute to strengthening the global financial safety net and
complement existing international arrangements (from IMF) as an additional line
of defence.
A proposal to set up BRICS Credit Rating Agency to challenge the monopoly of the West,
if adopted, will be of much value.
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The BRICS free trade agreement may come up against fears of Indian and Russian
markets being swamped by Chinese imports. However, even such agreement is not
expected to give impetus to the member economies.
None of the member countries are part of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the
Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). However, at the moment, TPP
and TTIP are stalled and a hope of mega trade bloc of the key emerging economies
would be a major development. It could even bring WTO back into its significant position
in global trade.
Thus, BRICS has a responsibility of bringing significant outcomes to help the member
countries for positive economic advancement.
Reviving the BIMSTEC

It was expected that India might invite SAARC leaders to BRICS when Brazil invited heads
of state/government from Latin America in 2014 and Russia invited leaders of the
Eurasian Economic Union and SCO in 2015.
Instead, India has chosen to host the leaders of the seven-member BIMSTEC (Bay of
Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) which is a
potential Bay of Bengal Economic Community. Concurrently, BIMSTEC will hold its 4 th
summit in India.

Picture Credit:

http://img.tradeindia.com/cmsmedia/smetimes/media/2012/03/09/BIMSTEC.9.jpg

The BIMSTEC summit could be an important occasion for revival of the group having
immense potential. The highlight is that China will not be dominating India and also,
India will be able to go along with its Act Eat policy.
The parallel Mekong-Ganga Cooperation (MGC), a platform for Indias exclusive
engagement with Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar, can also become a
major component of Act Eat strategy.
Not encouragingly enough, neither BIMSTEC nor MGC have failed to live to their
potential.
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India has engaged with these groups on intermittent and ad hoc basis which has not led
to a well-thought out and long term strategy of integrating India more closely with its
eastern neighbourhood.
Connectivity is expected to rule over BIMSTEC summit. However, once again India faces
the Chinese scare. The connectivity will also help China to promote its One Belt, One
Road initiative among the members of this grouping.

Conclusion

India has limited resources but the record of delivering on the commitments has been
abysmal. There have been occasions where same projects appear as fresh initiatives.
The capacities and institutions continue to lag behind the ambitions.
Hence, the forthcoming summits will reflect Indias status as a key player in the region
and as a globally significant player.
India has to focus on making a well-conceived event with systematic process of
expanding our strategic space, leveraging its strengths and remedying the
vulnerabilities.
Now is time to move from an event-oriented to a process-driven approach.

Connecting the dots:


How can BRICS help India to establish itself as a key regional and globally significant
player? Critically examine
Smaller groups like BIMSTEC and MGC have greater potential for India to increase its
economic and geopolitical status than larger groups like ASEAN and G20. Do you agree?
Give reasons critically.

TOPIC:
General Studies 3
Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact
assessment
General Studies 2
Important international institutions, agencies and fora-their structure, mandate
Ozone Conundrum

International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer is celebrated on September 16 to
commemorate signing of the Montreal Protocol, one of the most successful environmental
treaties. The Protocol was signed by 197 parties in 1987 to control the use of ozonedepleting substances, mainly chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

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Twenty-nine years after the Montreal Protocol was adopted, CFCs have been phased out.
US space agency NASA has reported that the size of the ozone hole in the atmosphere has
decreased. While it may seem that the purpose of Montreal Protocol has been achieved,
using HFCs as an alternative will contribute to another problem: global warming.
HFCs do not deplete ozone but have high global warming potential. If the use of HFCs
continues to increase, they may account for 9-19% of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Changing course

The course of Montreal Protocol has changed from ozone protection to reducing
greenhouse gas emissions.
Parties will meet in Rwanda in October 2016 to finalize an amendment to the Montreal
Protocol on HFC phase down.
Finance, intellectual property rights of new chemicals and flexibility in choosing
alternatives are crucial issues for developing countries. Support to small-scale industry
and servicing will also hold significance for countries heavily dependent of small and
medium enterprises or having low consumption.
Ozone Day has been celebrated for preserving the ozone layer. Addressing climate
change and global warmingproblems that alternative chemicals are partially
responsible forneed to the clubbed with safeguarding ozone. Ozone day cannot be
about Ozone alone anymore.
Since 2004, developed countries have started substituting HCFCs with hydrofluorocarbons
(HFCs). HFCs are again patented fluorinated gases pushed by multinational companies.
Though they do not deplete the ozone layer, they have high GWP (Global Warming
Potential), comparable to HCFCs and in some cases higher. Most developed countries have
moved to HFCs. Now it is the turn of the developing countries.

Indias position

Chlorodifluoromethane (HCFC-22) that is part of hydrochlorofluorocarbon group of


chemicals (HCFCs) was the main replacement for CFCs and is used as a common refrigerant
in India.
India has put in place a law to curb the use of HCFCs in a phased manner. But there is no law
to curb the emission of trifluoromethane (HFC-23), released during its production. Though
HFC-23 does not harm the ozone layer, its global warming potential is 14,800 times more
than that of CO2.
India did not impose tax on fluorochemical companies when CDM was in place and allowed
them to make huge profits
But there is an urgent need to introduce legislation so that the emission of this super
greenhouse gas can be prevented.

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India has the option to move to HFCs but it will not pay in the long run. HFCs are one of the
gases whose emissions are regulated under the UN Framework Convention on Climate
Change. India has no mandatory obligations to reduce emissions under this convention. In
the near future, however, India will have to take obligations to reduce emissions. It will then
have to phase out HFCs
It is detriment for India, both economically and energy-wise, to make a one-time transition
from HCFCs to non-HFC options like hydrocarbons and not to keep protecting the interests
of a few companies.

Way Ahead
The world today is at crossroads just like in 1990. That year, countries agreed to phase out the
use of gases like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that deplete the ozone layer of the atmosphere.
But in 1990, countries had the option to move to a completely different type of gases called
hydrocarbons to replace CFCs in the refrigeration and air-conditioning sectors. What lies
ahead?

It is important to prioritize environment-friendly, energy efficient, non-patented and low


GWP (Global Warming Potential) refrigerants.
Many developed countries are pushing patented low-GWP refrigerants as a substitute
for HFCs. US companies are pushing for hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs). DuPont is promoting
HFOs as the fourth generation refrigerants. Japanese companies are pushing for HFC32, a medium-GWPHFC, as the most energy-efficient substitute for HCFC.
Hydrocarbons, such as butane and propane, are excellent refrigerants which do not deplete
ozone and have very low GWP( Global Warming Potential)
Hydrocarbons are the most appropriate substitute for fluorinated refrigerants. Their GWP is
below 20 and they do not harm ozone. They are non-toxic (other than ammonia), nonpatented, less expensive than fluorinated refrigerants and meet most of the specifications
required for refrigerants. In fact, most hydrocarbons are more energy-efficient than
fluorinated refrigerants.
It would be rewarding, both economically and energy-wise, for India to make a one-time
transition from HCFCs to non-HFC options like hydrocarbons.

Do read the following infograph


http://cdn.downtoearth.org.in/dte/userfiles/images/38-39-ozone-day-poster.pdf
Connecting the dots:
Does it make sense for India to remain on the chemical treadmillCFCs to HCFCs to HFCs
and then to chemicals like HFOs in the near future? Or should India leapfrog to natural
refrigerants like hydrocarbons?

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TOPIC: General Studies 2


Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or
affecting India's interests.
Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India's interests
India-Russia: Time to rebuild the ties
With conduct of joint exercise between Russia-Pakistan, it raised concerns over Indias
relation with Russia. Now the time has ripen to address the common concerns of both
countries and revive Indias old friendship with Russia for better global positioning.
Under President Putin, Russia has shown assertiveness in international affairs.
It has taken a clear position on opposing Western intervention and militarist regimechange policies in Iraq and Libya and now in Syria.
Russia has used counter-force in the fight against the Islamic State in backing Syrian
President Bashar al-Assad.
It retook the province of Crimea that it had gifted Ukraine in 1954 due to (Soviet)
historical reasons.
This invited unilateral sanctions on Russia from the U.S. and the European Union.
Because of troubled relation with west, Russia became a strategic partner of China as
they have significant convergence of interests.
India and Russia- Still stable relation?
There are real and perceived shifts in Indian armament policies where Russia dominated
for years.
Now, India as an emerging power has developed strategic partnership with USA. It has
also opened up to France, Israel and USA who are gradually edging out the Russians in
some sectors.
It is disheartening that Russia-India trade has not grown to great heights despite the
encouragement of both states.
Yet, India has been supportive of Russian positions and has a careful and calibrated
response to all Russian actions in Chechnya, Syria, Ukraine and elsewhere.
On the other hand, Russians have dutifully supported Indian position on Kashmir and
also share Indian concern on terrorism.
Russia has continued with deep collaborations by providing sensitive technologies,
military equipment, nuclear power engines and energy partnership to India.
Yet, as Russia is dependent on arms and energy exports, it is constantly looking for new
market. Pakistan is an option and planned exercises were an extension of this search.

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Russias Chinese concerns


Being a multipolar world where countries are building multiple alliances, there is
constant interdependency, contradictions, compromises and pressures.
It is perceived that USA is trying to contain China, yet China managed to get its yuan
accepted as world currency by the International Monetary Fund. It also designated the
New York branch of Bank of China as the clearing house for the Chinese official currency,
the renminbi.
Thus, china is leveraging its economy and relationships to build a hegemony (G-2) with
the U.S. where both can share international financial domination.
This has risen concerns with Russia about the Chinese dominating Russian markets,
exploiting Russian resources, and not backing Russian security concerns.
One Belt, One Road has plans to develop huge new linkages and develop trade routes.
For this, China is alluring many countries, including Russia and its satellite state Pakistan.
Thus, Russia has concerns about Central Asia vis--vis China and Pakistan.
Encashing on such circumstances, India has to rebuild on its strengths and common
concerns with the Russia by revitalising their earlier agreement on sharing intelligence
for a joint strategy on terrorism.
India is concerned with state-sponsored terrorism from Pakistan while Russia is
concerned with direct and indirect backing given by states to terror groups in West Asia
and Central Asia.
Thus, India will have to be forthright in condemning the states that on the pretext of
regime change or local geopolitics, they are allowing the growth of terror groups in West
Asia.
Balancing the old with new
India and Russia share anxiety over terrorism and common position and concerns on
Afghanistan. However, in a setback to their policy of isolating all terrorists, it saw
compromise and rehabilitation of mujahideen butcher of Kabul and India hater
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, by Afghanistan. This deal which was backed and welcomed by
USA and Pakistan, is step towards label of good taliban.
Hence, India and Russia together have to converge on anti-terrorism strategy and bring
about some positive outcome.
Also, India now needs to deepen its scientific and technological relations with Russia.
The Russia-India investments in the oil and gas sector and exports to third countries
need to be energised and joint manufacturing needs to be planned. This is required
because often agreements are signed amidst bilateral rhetoric and are not sufficiently
followed up.
India and Russia are engaged in several multilateral efforts that are greatly favoured by
Russia such as the BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
The upcoming BRICS meet will give a great opportunity for the leaders of these countries
to further deepen their engagements.
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On the other side, it is necessary to take into considerations the recent developments
where India signed logistics agreements with USA which can eventually give them access
to Indian naval bases. But, India and Russia still dont have that arrangement. However,
India has assured that this access will not jeopardise Russian interests considering
growing U.S.-Russia hostility.

RIC alliance
Russia had proposed a Russia-India-China (RIC) forum. But India is hesitant about this
because of the unresolved issues with China.
For this, India should put forward the argument that if China can have compromises and
contradictions with the U.S., then why not with India?
Thus, India should use creative means to build an RIC alliance and make stones in the
way a stepping stone for larger role at global forum.
Pakistan factor
India should always remember that US will have dual approach to India and Pakistan
because it needs both
However, Russia will not have dual approach and will support India.
Thus, India has to actively ensure that and not take this strategic partnership for
granted.
Russia is an all-weather friend
Though it might appear that there is some strategic shift with regards to Russia, but in
reality, it has been pushed into that position. It knows that India is still its most reliable
ally.
With India, it has no conflict of interest or anxiety as it does about others.
In the creation of multipolar international system, India has played a constructive role.
This has benefited both India and Russia, as well as china.
Thus, India and Russia need to be active strategic and economic allies to retain it.
However, constant efforts for the same will be the key.
Conclusion
India has to now move on in the international system. In some areas it is moving forward
but in some it is going backwards.
Indias foreign policy is only an extension of its domestic politics. Thus, India has to fix its
domestic issues to further social cohesion and make special efforts to build bridges
between communities.
Indias domestic politics has to move towards inclusive democracy, non-militarism,
rights and the rule of law. This will give it an edge in the international system and any
dilution would damage it deeply.

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Indian foreign policy should focus on its strengths of working with the global South,
opposing militarist interventions, building norms and depending on multilateralism.
Thus, it has to leverage the multilateralism for its best interests.

Connecting the dots:


Discuss significant developments between India and Russia since Indias independence.
Why Russia is considered Indias strategic and stable ally? Evaluate citing few specific
instances.
Indias outreach to multiple nations to increase its defence capabilities should not
undermine its relation with Russia. Critically analyse the fallout of decreasing IndiaRussia relationship.

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ECONOMICS
TOPIC:
General Studies 3
Inclusive growth and issues arising from it; Banking
General studies 2
Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation; Governance
A Cashless India
Cashless Economy: A cashless economy is a system where flow of cash or physical currency
is non-existent and all monetary transactions are done electronically via internet enabled
banking or wallets, and debit or credit cards, at most abolishing or at times reducing
physical presence between two transacting parties.
Constituents of Cashless Transactions: Purchases, bill & utility payments and clearances or
transfers
Benefits of a cashless economy for India
Economic:
Increase in tax compliance and decrease in money laundering and black money
transactions, as more and more enterprises begin to integrate digital payments into
their business
Reduction in money idling
Reduced cost of minting currency
Reduced Operation Cost for banks for ATMs, staffs, computers, logistics etc.
And, if a full transition to a digital payments economy happens in the right manner, it will
rebuild the reputation of the Indian legal system as being consistent and predictable
Statistical & Policy importance:
Much accurate data shall improve GDP, GNP calculation
Better policy & planning by monitoring consumption and expenditure patterns
Ecological benefits:
Less use of paper, plastic, metals through decreased use of forms, documentations,
minting, cheques, receipts etc.
Lesser movement of individual and cash means lesser fuel consumption

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Individual benefits:
Reduced transaction time
Shortened queues
No cash-flow worries during holidays or strikes
Safety of an individual minimal cash handling and thus, lesser crimes
Social Benefits: Schemes like DBT ensures no leakage and disregards corruption
But, of all the transactions in Indian economy, cashless transaction accounts to only 5% Lack of universal banking
Infrastructure shortage like PoS terminals at shops in small towns and villages
Illiteracy and digital illiteracy
Lesser internet penetration
Aversion to electronic transaction due to of fear of Cyber fraud etc.
Launch of the Unified Payment Interface (UPI)
Optimistic Statistics:
More than 650 million debit cards in circulation in the country today
In 2015, the Reserve Bank of India reported a 63% increase in the use of debit cards at
point of sales (PoS) terminals
With an estimated 30 million retail merchants in the country, there are just 1.2 million
PoS machines in operation
So, which one is the real bottleneck Consumers or Retailers?
The real bottleneck is the merchants who are either unwilling or unable to accept payments
in any form other than cash.
What should be the correct strategy then: Shifting the focus from customers to the
merchants and on bringing the merchants on board.
Woes of the Merchants:
With an already thin margin, they are reluctant to share their meagre profits with the
card company (even though they recognize that accepting card payments could boost
the volumes of their sales) (merchants (and not customers) shoulder the cost of the
transaction. Each time a customer swipes his card to purchase a product, the merchant
pays a percentage of the sale (the Merchant Discount Rate or MDR) to the card
company)
High price of a PoS machine and thus, the total cost to the merchant particularly for
those who deal in low-value, high-volume products could be very high

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Way Ahead: Need to devise solutions that offer cheaper PoS machines and charge lower
transaction fees
Implementation of UPI in a correct manner
Its deep integration with the Aadhaar authentication framework should be
acknowledged and should be devised in a way that it becomes possible to adapt a
smartphone equipped with an iris camera to function as a PoS terminal (Work of cardbased PoS machine- scan the information stored on the chip embedded in the card,
compare it against the records maintained by the issuer bank and confirm that you are
who you say you are) Smartphones that can biometrically authenticate you against the
Aadhaar database will be able to do a good job at thisand, at the same time, eliminate
the risk of cloned cards and identity fraud.
With the authentication of the purchaser, UPI allows the merchant to directly pull the
sum owed from out of the customers bank account and credit it to the merchants
account. Given UPIs relatively low transaction charges, even vendors who operate with
the narrowest of margins will not object to coming on board.
IASbabas Views
No solution is a perfect solution and with time and efforts, few established regulations and
widespread adoption among the merchant community, consumers will willingly change the
way they shop leading the UPI mechanism to become a norm.
Connecting the Dots:
Does there exist a direct correlation between a developed economy and a cashless
economy? Justify your stand.

TOPIC:
General Studies 3
Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth,
development and employment
Government budgeting
General Studies 2
Bilateral and regional groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting
Indias interests
Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries of Indias interests
Tax Notoriety

Historical and contemporary perceptions of tax have characterized it as a necessary


extraction, a penalty. A likely fallout of this statutory burden is that there is an innate
urge to either mitigate the liability or even eliminate it.
Tax avoidance is when a lawful mitigation of tax burden takes place.

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Tax evasion is where a seepage in the boundaries set by fiscal laws is discovered, and
which is then used to escape the tax net to a great extent or altogether.
The genesis of tax notoriety is where prima facie the tax mitigation exercise appears
legitimate, but in reality, it may be an abusive tax avoidance strategy which may lead to
very low payment or no payment of taxes.
Corporate taxes imposed on multinational corporations (MNCs) are major sources of
revenue for most economies. Corporate tax payers shifting their tax liabilities from a
high tax jurisdiction to a low- or no-tax jurisdiction, massive revenue losses are
imminent for the fiscal jurisdiction where the taxes should have been ideally paid.
With some creative accounting techniques and existing loopholes in different fiscal
jurisdictions across the world, tax evasion has emerged as a global woe in the last few
decades.

Countermeasures
Various countermeasures have been deployed by states, either at an individual level or as
members of different economic groups.
a) The north and south have come together and there is a conscious attempt to tackle the
reckless acts of base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS). The BEPS action plan is a step in
that direction where the developing and the developed have jointly worked on
strategies to curb the exploitation of gaps and mismatches in tax rules, which can be
used to artificially shift profits to low- or no-tax locations.
Since a majority of corporate entities in such jurisdictions have little or no economic
activity and are mere subterfuges (tricks), it is all the more critical to identify and
penalize such entities.
Some jurisdictions have also taken the initiative of revising or updating their existing
Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAAs) to plug the existing loopholes.
b) Another important instrument of tackling tax notoriety is the Tax Information Exchange
Agreements. These bilateral agreements act as information bridges between different
fiscal jurisdictions and they aid in the establishment of tax transparency.
Despite some major limitations, various fiscal jurisdictions have already gone ahead with
signing such agreements.
Further, novel techniques such as the Diverted Profits Tax, popularly known as the
Google Tax, are providing more salvo to the tax administrators in tackling aggressive tax
planning.
Apples Case in Ireland
A colossal decision by the European Commission has taken the fight against aggressive
tax planning by corporations to a new turf altogether.
In a nutshell, the subject matter of this dispute was the selective treatment, a sweet
deal, granted by Ireland to Apple Ireland.
Apple Ireland recorded a 16 billion profit in 2011, but the effective tax rate on the same
amount was just 0.05% in same period. In 2014, the rate in effect declined to 0.005% in
2014 even as the profits grew.

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These corporate tax rates are significantly lower than the corporate tax rates applicable
in any other EU member state.
Thus, the European Commission has questioned this entire special tax arrangement
extended by Ireland to Apple on grounds of illegal state aid and failure to reflect
economic reality.
This retrospective action against Apple focusses on compensating Ireland for a loss of
revenue in at least the last decade. Then again, it is also a clear message to all EU
member states not to slacken their taxes excessively and maintain diligence when
entering into special arrangements with MNCs.

Conclusion
Though the Commissions decisions would appear to undo the wrong done to the EU
member states by the tax-avoiding MNCs, the decisions are not seeing a meek acceptance
at the hands of the concerned states and the defaulting corporations.
There is an alarming trend adding to tax notoriety wherein the states are coming to the aid
of the defaulting MNCs and both are in harmony against any possible regulatory measures
by the concerned authorities.
Thus, it seems clear that the tax defaulters and tax administrators are in no mood of
granting respite to each other. The sensational duel between prolific tax notoriety and
amplified tax vigilance continues.
Connecting the dots:
The perceptions of tax have characterized it as a necessary extraction, a penalty. In
context of Indian Tax laws how far the statement is correct. Critically analyze

TOPIC: General Studies 3


Science and Technology - developments and their applications and effects in
everyday life
Different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and
marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints
Bayer-Monsanto deal- How it affects India
In news: German firm Bayer's acquisition of US seeds company Monsanto, if approved,
would create the world's largest agribusiness. But the deal has drawn criticism in India and
sparked concerns among the nation's farmers.

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Bayer and Monsanto in India


Bayer
Bayer Group in India comprises the Crop Science and Pharmaceuticals divisions.
Crop Science is the largest division for Bayer in India. It has two units: Crop Protection /
Seeds and Environmental Science.
Crop Protection / Seeds markets high-value seeds along with innovative
chemical and biological pest management solutions.
Environmental Science focuses on non-agricultural applications, with a range of
pest control products and services for areas ranging from the home and garden
sector to forestry.
Bayer is a market leader in the crop protection business in India.
Monsanto
Monsanto India Ltd. (MIL) has been operating in India for six decades. This company
focuses on maize, agriculture productivity and herbicide.
Monsanto Holdings Pvt. Ltd. holds 26% stake in Mahyco which focuses on marketing
Paras cotton hybrid seeds, BT cotton technologies and Vegetable Hybrid seeds.
Mahyco Monsanto Biotech India Pvt. Ltd. sub-licenses BT technologies to 28 Indian
seeds companies.
In short, Monsanto focuses on seeds and biology, Bayer on chemicals.
Why does the deal matter?
The merger will propel the merged entity (Bayer-Monsanto) into a leading player in the
seed sector.
If the deal is approved by regulators, the new company would become the largest
agribusiness in the world selling 29% of the worlds seeds and 24% of its pesticides.
This will put it in the commanding position vis--vis food supply.
Through their subsidiaries and joint ventures in India, the two firms will garner a major
share in paddy, maize, vegetables and cotton and agrochemicals.
Worries for India
Less choices: In the past, first Dow Chemical and DuPont merged, then there was
Syngentas acquisition by China National Chemical Corporation. With the Bayer
Monsanto merger, stakeholders worry that the global consolidation will narrow choices
for farmers.
Monopolisation: This will leave only three players in the global market in agribusiness
and will have a cascading impact on Indian agriculture. It will lead to concentration of
power and will result in market distraction. It will also result in further consolidation of
the monopoly over agricultural inputs.
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Slow innovation: The reduced competition could shrivel up innovation, leading to


slower improvements in crop yields.
Global agricultural slump- Commodity prices have fallen sharply, and farmers have less
to spend on supplies. This has reduced their profits and eroded the capacity to buy
costly biotech seeds.
Increased food prices: If firms can corner key markets in seeds and chemicals, they
might be able to raise prices of their products on farmers, which in turn could make food
more expensive.
Strong lobbying power: The new entities will have stronger lobbying power with
government which would force shaping up of unfavourable policies at the cost of
consumers and farmers interests.

Present situation in India


Bayer's takeover of Monsanto comes at a time when public resistance to genetically
engineered crops has been spreading across India. This is a consequence of the growing
number of reports about the negative impact of GM crops on human health and the
environment.
Moreover, GM seeds are increasingly blamed by activists for causing financial hardship
to farmers and driving them to commit suicides.
Monsanto recently withdrew an application for its next-generation GM cotton seeds in
India due to intellectual property concerns. It opposed the Indian government proposal
that would force it to share its technology with local seed companies.
Another problem between Monsanto and the Indian government involves a cut in the
royalty the company gets paid from local seed companies for using its patented
technology.
Conclusion
There are two ways to deal with situation
Engage in the usual MNC-bashing. But it will not be too useful as farmers need
and have right to new technologies that help boost crop yields, cut losses from
pest and disease or save labour and time.
A more constructive response is to actively engage with the current realities of
international agri-business and constantly evolve new means to protect farmers
interests as well as allow new technology to come to India.
The new entity is expected to take a fresh look at the issues between Monsanto
and the Indian seed industry. Also, the domestic seed industry is hopeful that the
merged entity can bring some state-of-the-art technologies to India when Bayer
is currently focusing on digital farming, which can benefit Indian farmers.

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Connecting the dots:


Recently, a crucial merger took place between a seed and chemical company dominant
in the agri-business. How is this merger expected to affect India? Explain.
Should Indian farmers be encouraged and incentivised to undertake organic farming or
continue with high value seeds? Determine the pros and cons of the same.
TOPIC: General Studies 3
Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices
Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country
CEA panel report:- Incentivising Pulses Production through MSP and other policies
In news: The government constituted a committee under CEA to address the policy issues
that would help address this volatility in acreage, production and prices in pulses.
Background

In the wake of two successive years of weak monsoons in 2014 and 2015 and the
resulting mismatch between demand and supply, prices of pulses rose sharply.
It led to higher inflation and straining the purchasing power of consumers all over
India.
However, the situation has been reversed in current kharif season (2016) as there has
been sharp increase in domestic production combined with a surge in global production
of pulses.
This has threatened to affect farmers incomes and livelihoods.

Importance of pulses in India


Dietary choice Pulses are going to be increasingly important in the dietary habits of Indian consumer as
the average Indian under-consumes protein. They are more affordable than other
sources of protein like milk, eggs and fish.
Increase in demand For the evolving dietary pattern, there should not be larger demand-supply mismatch
for pulses. The import of pulses is not a correct and sustainable policy measure to arrest
the demand-supply mismatch of pulses.
Farmers need to be encouraged to grow more pulses because demand is projected to
rise by roughly 50% between 2016 and 2024.
Environmentally safe Pulses help in soil rejuvenation and naturally fixing atmospheric nitrogen, without
consuming much water.

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Thus, in the existing scenario, the committee under CEA reviewed Minimum Support Prices
(MSPs) and related policies to incentivize the cultivation of pulses.
Recommendations of the CEA panel
MSP and procurement
The government should procure pulses on a "war footing" as there is likely to be a
bumper production and prices might fall below MSP.
A High Level Committee should be set up to monitor the procurement at highest level
because pulses procurement has generally been ineffective in the past.
Communication is important to engender credibility that government is backing up its
policies with effective follow-up action. Thus, Reporting must include real time online
data on procurement with geo-coding of all procurement centres and also physical
verification of pulses procurement (via videoconference).
Building a buffer stock in pulses of 2 million tons with targets for individual pulses,
especially tur (3.5 lakh tonne) and urad (2 lakh tonnes). These stocks should be built up
gradually but opportunistically, buying when prices are low as in the current year (2016).
Instruct Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices to comprehensively review its
MSP-setting framework to incorporate risk and social externalities.
Risk- inherent risk in agriculture because of weather, pest, and price shocks
Externalities- over-use of inputs in north-west India and the resulting drop in the
water table, the increased incidence of disease and erosion of soil quality, and
deterioration of the environment (especially from burning of rice straws)
Other price management policies
Lifting export bans and stock limits to prevent further declines in prices; at the very
least limits on wholesalers should be eliminated.
Greater the limits on procurement by the government greater the urgency to take
these actions to ensure that market prices stabilize above the MSP.
The worst case scenario for farmers is weak procurement and stock limits which force
farmers to sell most of their output at market prices that are well below MSP. Though it
will benefit consumers in short run, it will negatively affect next years production.
Encourage states to delist pulses from their APMCs.
Review Essential Commodities Act, 1955 and futures trading of agricultural
commodities with a view to preserving objectives but finding more effective and less
costly instruments for achieving them.
Institutions for procurement-stocking-disposal
More PPP institutions with a variety of governance structures for pulses.

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The more successful is procurement, the greater will be the need for policies to ensure
effective stocking, warehousing, processing and disposal. Hence, with the immediate
priority of procurement, there will also be a need to dispose of procured stocks.
There have been earlier precedents of such institutional arrangements in agriculture
such as the NCML, which was a subsidiary of NCDEX.

Minimizing adverse impact


Pulses research attracts less public attention than research on cereals.
A prerequisite for increasing yields in pulses is to clearly signal the openness and
encouragement to GM technologies.
In pulses, breeding is limited both by the narrow genetic base of varieties and their high
susceptibility to pest and disease attacks.
Promoting GM would be a way of promoting Create in India.
Progress made: GM pod borer insect pest-resistant chana and arhar have been
developed by Assam Agricultural University and ICRISAT respectively, both public
institutions. These should be quickly cleared once they are ready for use.
Conclusion
Enhancing domestic productivity and production rapidly and sustainably is the only
reliable way of minimizing volatility in prices of pulses, and safeguarding the interests of
farmers and also consumers.
The current crisis offers a rare opportunity to show that government intervention,
especially procurement, can be effective beyond rice and wheat. It is also a rare
opportunity for pulses to get the policy attention it deserves. To this end, especially as
prices decline, government procurement must be on war footing.
Connecting the dots:
How can pulses production and productivity be increased and sustained? Enumerate
Is MSP the only important policy measure to regulate production and prices of pulses.
Critically analyse.

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TOPIC: General Studies 3


Indian Economy and issues relating to planning mobilization of resources, growth,
development, and employment.
Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
Monetary Policy reforms.
Institutionalizing Monetary Policy Committee
Monetary policy decisions by central banks can have far-reaching implications for the
economy, investors, savers and borrowers. Hence, the decisions taken should be carefully
crafted. Therefore, globally many governments have appointed a separate committee for
this job.
However in India the job of monetary policy-making was in the hand of RBI.
Recently on 27th June, 2016, the Government amended the RBI Act to hand over the job of
monetary policy-making in India to a newly constituted Monetary Policy Committee
(MPC).
Composition of MPC
MPC is to be a six-member panel that is expected to bring value and transparency to ratesetting decisions.
3 members from the RBI the Governor, a Deputy Governor and another official.
3 independent members to be selected by the Government.
A search committee (yes, another committee!) will recommend three external members,
experts in the field of economics, banking or finance, for the Government appointees.
The MPC will meet four times a year to decide on monetary policy by a majority vote. And if
theres a tie between the Ayes and the Nays, the RBI governor gets the deciding vote.

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Why is it important?
Until recently, Indias central bank used to take its monetary policy decisions based on the
multiple indicator approach. Its rate decisions were expected to take into account inflation,
growth, employment, banking stability and the need for a stable exchange rate.
As we can see, this is a tall order. Thus, RBI (with the Governor as the focal point) would be
subject to hectic lobbying ahead of each policy review and trenchant criticism after it. The
Government would clamour for lower rates while consumers sorrow over high inflation.
Bank chiefs would want rate cuts, but pensioners would want high rates. RBI ended up
juggling all these objectives and focussing on different indicators at different points in time.
Urjit Patel Committee to revise the monetary policy framework:

To resolve above problems, RBI set up an Expert Committee under Urijit Patel to revise
the monetary policy framework, and it came up with its report in January 2014.
It suggested that RBI abandon the multiple indicator approach and make inflation
targeting the primary objective of its monetary policy.
It also mooted having an MPC so that these decisions could be made through majority
vote. Having both Government and RBI members on the MPC was suggested for
accountability.
The Government would have to keep its deficit under check and RBI would owe an
explanation for runaway inflation.

B N Srikrishna headed Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission (FSLRC) also


suggested framing a MPC to meet the challenge of the growing complex economy.
The MPC will ensure that decisions on interest rates are made through debate by a panel of
experts. The many-heads-are-better-than-one approach may also help ensure that the
decision isnt easily influenced by bias or lobbying.
The MPC may put a stop to the public skirmishes between the Government and the RBI.
Connecting the dots:
Government of India recently amended the RBI Act to hand over the job of monetary
policy-making in India to a newly constituted Monetary Policy Committee (MPC). Discuss
the composition and importance of this newly institutionalized MPC.

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TOPIC: General Studies 3


Indian Economy and issues relating to planning mobilization of resources, growth,
development, and employment.
WPI and CPI differences.
WPI and CPI based inflation
We come across Wholesale Price Index (WPI) based inflation and Consumer Price Index (CPI)
based inflation in news often. Let us know what these are

Picture credit: https://esbenews.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/wpi_cpi.png?w=640


What is the purpose of a price index?
The purpose of a price index is to quantify the overall increase or decrease in prices of
several commodities through a single number.
The price index is measured at fixed intervals and changes in it are an indicator of
average price movement of a fixed basket of goods and services (that represent the
entire economy).
Thus, price index is reflective of the total change in price level paid by a producer or
consumer.

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Picture Credit: http://ciel.co.in/media/Insights/Insightscpi-wpi%20pic%201_T.png


What is 'Wholesale Price Index'?
Wholesale Price Index (WPI) represents the price of goods at a wholesale stage i.e.
goods that are sold in bulk and traded between organizations instead of consumers.
WPI is used as an important measure of inflation in India. Fiscal and monetary policy
changes are greatly influenced by changes in WPI.
In India, wholesale price index is divided into three groups:
1. Primary Articles (20.1% of total weight)
2. Fuel and Power (14.9%) and
3. Manufactured Products (65%)
1. Primary Articles
a. Food Articles
b. Non-Food Articles
c. Minerals
Food Articles from the Primary Articles Group account for 14.3% of the total weight.
2. Fuel, Power, Light & Lubricants
a. Coal
b. Mineral oils
c. Electricity
3. Manufactured Products
a. Food products
b. Beverages, Tobacco and Tobacco Products
c. Textiles
d. Leather and leather products
e. Wood and wood products
f. Paper and paper products
g. Rubber and plastic products
h. Chemicals & chemical products and
i. Several others.
The most important components of the Manufactured Products Group are Chemicals and
Chemical products (12% of the total weight); Basic Metals, Alloys and Metal Products
(10.8%); Machinery and Machine Tools (8.9%); Textiles (7.3%) and Transport, Equipment
and Parts (5.2%).

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What is Consumer Price Index (CPI)?


Consumer Price Indices (CPI) measure changes over time in general level of prices of
goods and services that households acquire for the purpose of consumption.
It is the index of price prevailing in the retail market.
CPI is widely used as a macroeconomic indicator of inflation, as a tool by governments
and central banks for inflation targeting and for monitoring price stability, and as
deflators in the national accounts. CPI is also used for indexing dearness allowance to
employees for increase in prices.
CPI is more relevant to the customer, since it measures changes in retail prices. CPI
represents basket of essential commodities purchased by average consumer-food, fuel,
clothing etc.
The number of items in CPI basket include 448 in rural and 460 in urban. Thus, it makes it
clear that CPI basket is broader than WPI basket.
Consumer Price Indices (CPI) released at national level are:
1. CPI for Industrial Workers (IW)
2. CPI for Agricultural Labourers (AL)/ Rural Labourers (RL)
3. CPI (Rural/Urban/Combined).
While the first two are compiled and released by the Labour Bureau in the Ministry of
Labour and Employment, the third by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) in the Ministry of
Statistics and Programme Implementation.
What is the difference between WPI and CPI inflation?
In the Indian context, 5 national indices are accounted for inflation measure that include
WPI and other four CPI indices.
WPI based inflation:
WPI index reflects average price changes of goods that are bought and sold in the
wholesale market. WPI in India is published by the Office of Economic Adviser, Ministry
of Commerce and Industry.
Further, the data for WPI is monitored and updated on a weekly basis taking into
account all the 676 items that form the index.
An, important point to take note of is the whole sale price index (WPI) does not
includes the cost of services.
Further, as WPI accounts for changes in general price level of goods at wholesale level, it
fails to communicate actual burden borne by the end consumer.
WPI is the primary measure that is used by the Indian central government for
ascertaining inflation as WPI in contrast to CPI accounts for changes in price at an early
distribution stage.
CPI based inflation:
In contrast, CPI is computed by executing a weighted average on a particular set of
goods and services.
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The computation of CPI takes into account price changes and the actual inflation that
affects the end consumer.
CPI is thus a reflection of changes in the retail prices of specified goods and services
over a time period which are traded by particular consumer group.

Note: Current WPI Base year is 2004-05=100. It is worth to note that the base year for CPI is
2012 currently.
Crux:
1. Primary use of WPI is to have inflationary trend in the economy as a whole. However,
CPI is used for adjusting income and expenditure streams for changes in the cost of
living.
2. WPI is based on wholesale prices for primary articles, administered prices for fuel items
and ex-factory prices for manufactured products. On the other hand, CPI is based on
retail prices, which include all distribution costs and taxes.
3. Prices for WPI are collected on voluntary basis while price data for CPI are collected by
investigators by visiting markets.
4. CPI covers only consumer goods and consumer services while WPI covers all goods
including intermediate goods transacted in the economy.
5. WPI weights primarily based on national accounts and enterprise survey data and CPI
weights are derived from consumer expenditure survey data.
Does RBI use WPI or CPI Inflation to manage monetary policy?
While earlier the Reserve Bank of India used WPI inflation to manage monetary policy
expectations, it is now the CPI inflation which is largely taken into account. The RBI
highlights its inflation expectations based on the CPI inflation data that comes in. For
example, it sets targets on CPI Inflation and monitors it accordingly.
Many analysts for long had suggested that the RBI should move to the CPI data vs the
WPI data, which had now happened in the last couple of years.
WPI Inflation Vs CPI Inflation: Which should you keep in mind?
For the common man it is always better to keep retail inflation which is the CPI or the
Consumer Price Inflation number in mind. It is a better measurement of what is largely
happening with consumer prices.
WPI inflation on the other hand is better known to individuals who track the wholesale
prices and is of better significance to them. In any case both are a measure of inflation.
Connecting the dots:
Should India use both the indices, CPI and WPI, for inflation measurement and inflation
targeting? Give your arguments and substantiate.

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While earlier the Reserve Bank of India used WPI inflation to manage monetary policy
expectations, it is now the CPI inflation which is largely taken into account. Discuss why?
What is the purpose of price index? Highlight the main differences between WPI and
CPI.

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DEFENCE/SECURITY
TOPIC:
General Studies 3
Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized
crime with terrorism.
Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.
General Studies 2
India and its neighbourhood- relations.
Uri terror attack- What are Indias choices?
In news: Over the last three decades or so, India has been at the receiving end of Pakistani
statecraft of terrorists and Uri attack is the latest provocation. While India has said it will
give a befitting reply at a time and place of its choosing, we shall consider the options
available to solve the never-dying problem.
Background
The Indian security forces have been dealing with militancy and cross-border infiltration
since Kashmir went up in flames in the late 1980s. The gradual decline in violence in the
Valley over the years was reversed, starting in 2014, and since then strife in the Valley
and infiltration from the Pakistan side have both steadily climbed.
In the latest Uri attack, the gathering of evidence regarding the four terrorists suggests
they are from Pakistan and had been sent across the border explicitly for this attack.
In fact, the entire operation has the fingerprints of Pakistans military establishment,
showing yet again the countrys persistent use of terrorism as state policy.
Let us look at some options which the government might consider to tackle the state
sponsored terrorism
Diplomatic approach
Some previously tried options
Stern statements to Pakistan and demanding thorough investigation
Downgrading relations with Pakistan (As done after 2001 Parliament attack)
Sending envoys to major world capitals, gathering support for action against Pakistan for
sheltering Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Toiba amongst other terror groups.
Use the ongoing United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session to introduce a
resolution condemning cross border terror.
Raise support to Balochistan freedom movement, raise human rights violations by
Pakistan.

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However, these actions have hardly proved to be effective in the past. The diplomatic
pressure works only when India and Pakistan have talks ongoing that are making progress.
At present, talks have been called off and there is no dialogue process.
Isolating Pakistan internationally
Designating Pakistan as a state sponsors of terror.
Given the worldwide intolerance for terrorism, fear of Islamist radicals and ISIS
spreading, as well as general mistrust of Pakistani actions due to Afghanistan, India can
make some headway to isolate Pakistan.
Even this option is long and a tough drag as in the past India has faced many difficulties with
moving the U.N. on the Comprehensive Convention on International terrorism.
Additionally, there is a threat of internationalising Kashmir dispute whilst appealing
internationally.
Non-adherence to Indus water Treaty
Asking Pakistan to honour its anti-terror commitment else treaty shall collapse.
In the absence of an enforcement mechanism in international law, nothing can stop
India from emulating Pakistans example in not honouring its bilateral commitments.
Economic approach
Snapping all trade ties with Pakistan, suspending transactions across Wagah and Uri.
Banning all Pakistani imports to India.
Appealing to other countries to reduce economic activity with Pakistan.
Asking U.N. to impose sanctions against Pakistan.
This will not have much impact as India and Pakistan have a small direct formal trade (2.3
billion USD) and informal trade of 4.7 billion USD. However, snapping of economic ties will
affect the people of Kashmir as they use LoC for fruit trade.
Also, UN sanctions require UNSC resolution, and it will be most definitely blocked by China.
Military approach
An army raid across the Line of Control, an army incursion across the international
border with Pakistan, a naval blockade of Karachi, an air strike on the Jaish headquarters
in Bahawalpur, an air strike on camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir these are few
options which are running high on emotional value but there are lots of concerns with
military actions.
The Indian military is short of vital equipment like artillery and air-defence systems, as
well as key ammunition. The air force is also not in particularly great form given the
steady attrition it has faced without getting adequate replacements. Thus, the Indian
armed forces are not in particularly good shape for an all out war with Pakistan.
Also, Defence officials are understood to have indicated that a swift strike may be
unfeasible, and could cause civilian casualties.

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The localised battles along the LoC, with Indian and Pakistani forward positions trading
fire, could facilitate infiltration thus helping jihadist groups already operating against
the Army inside Kashmir.
India has to keep the Jammu and Kashmir dispute separate from its bilateral relation
with Pakistan.

Other approaches
Dialogue approach- Talks at DGMOs (Directors General of Military Operations) levels is
possible but it is a formality. After Pathankot attack and Mumbai, intelligence was
shared but there was no outcome from it. Instead, National Security Advisers of both
countries should meet which provides platform for high level talk.
Do nothing at borders- The foremost goal should be securing Kashmirs internal security,
and maintaining counter-infiltration defences. Vengeance should not over power better
senses for future options. India has to acknowledge its limitations while going at a war
with Pakistan where it knows the problems but doesnt have adequate resources to
solve it.
Conclusion
Uri attack and Kashmir dispute has shown that India needs a long-term strategic policy
on cross border terrorism as well as have a comprehensive national policy to deal with
domestic militancy.
Due to Indias incomplete and inconsistent responses, the adversaries, both states and
terror organisations, are able to exploit the lack of a robust national doctrine.
The modernisation of Indias military has been slow, denying it the ability to stage
precision operations. Moreover, the Central government has cut funding for police
modernisation, and the intelligence services are short-staffed denying it the capacity
to soak up retaliatory blows. In addition, the army should analyse the reason for such
incidents and lacunas present.
India needs to let its adversaries know it is a power capable of more than mere rhetoric
while assuring its own people that its options are rooted in constitutional values.
A stable country runs on planning and not on sentiments.
Connecting the dots:
India and Pakistan relations were already nosediving and Uri attack has further
worsened the situation. How should India react? Critically analyse
Is there any possibility of improvement in India-Pakistan relations? Discuss.

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TOPIC:
General Studies 3
Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized
crime with terrorism.
Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.
General Studies 2
India and its neighbourhood- relations.
Solving the Pakistan puzzle
Recent Uri attack by Pakistan-based terror groups has revived again the long-standing
debates in the country:
1. How to deal with its troublesome neighbour, Pakistan?
2. Whether our ruling partys policy towards Pakistan is coherent?
Let us deal with the (2) first
Whether our ruling partys policy towards Pakistan is coherent?
Analysts have alleged that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Partys policy towards Pakistan is
incoherent - characterised by a consistent lack of nuanced understanding of the art of
diplomacy, and the costs of war.
A detailed analysis of the ruling partys Pakistan policy reveals an inherent desire for
quick returns from what is arguably Indias most difficult bilateral challenge.
While New Delhi does not have an imaginative Pakistan policy, Islamabad is clearly an
unreliable neighbour.
Islamabad continues to be unwilling to check in its anti-India rhetoric, keep its promises on
basic bilateral courtesies, and stop the terror masterminds from plotting and waging their
covert wars against India.
Pakistan needs to show some seriousness if it is keen on improving the relationship it
cant be a one-way street.
How to deal with its troublesome neighbour, Pakistan?
There is relentless clamour for a military retaliation against Pakistan, however, Indian
strategic community (which includes retired commanders of the Indian military) has viewed
that military option or coercion may not be a feasible option vis--vis Pakistan, for a variety
of reasons.
1. A military response against Pakistan including on the terrorism front would invite
massive damage on our country.
2. Policy-makers need to carefully consider if they want to risk a potential nuclear
exchange in response to a terror strike.
Hence the unacceptable costs of winning a war with Pakistan should persuade us to think
beyond the military option and look for other strategies of dealing with it.
War, after all, is not an act of senseless passion. - Clausewitz

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If we rule out the coercive options, how do we then deal with a Pakistan that is seemingly
uninterested in winding down its terror machinery against India?
Doing nothing cant be a policy either, although that has been the preferred option all this
while.
The way ahead:
1. New Delhi needs to view and deal with Pakistan within its larger grand strategic
scheme.
Quick-fix solutions and like-responses will only get us into an ugly dogfight with
Pakistan which are not in consonance with Indias global ambitions and
developmental goals.
In the grand strategic scheme of things, Pakistan is an irritant, not a strategic
threat: so treat it like it, and focus on the real strategic threats.
2. India can survive reality - however unpopular it might sound and however painful they
are, the reality is that we can, as a nation and state, survive these attacks.
Every terrorist attack directed against India continues to weaken the Pakistani
state and nation: its sovereignty, economy and character.
Pakistans 28-year-long Kashmir campaign has not only not managed to wrest
Kashmir from India, it is today on the verge of self-destruction primarily due to
its misguided Kashmir policy.
3. It is time we learn to defend ourselves better
Better equipment for our forces, a better fence on the Line of Control and the
International Border, more army-Border Security Force deployment on the
vulnerable areas of the fence, and by adopting more efficient and technologically
sophisticated border management practices.
Uri is a traditional infiltration route and there was intelligence about a possible
strike. It is the failure of Government too.
Uri attack and Kashmir dispute has shown that India needs a long-term strategic
policy on cross border terrorism as well as have a comprehensive national policy
to deal with domestic militancy.
The modernisation of Indias military has been slow, denying it the ability to
stage precision operations. Moreover, the Central government has cut funding
for police modernisation, and the intelligence services are short-staffed
denying it the capacity to soak up retaliatory blows. In addition, the army should
analyse the reason for such incidents and lacunas present.
4. Dealing with Pakistan
Engaging a hydra-headed Pakistan requires creative statecraft and for this New
Delhi needs to think outside the traditional modes of diplomacy.
The most important actor that matters in Pakistans policy towards India is the
Pakistan Army.
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It is important to note that Pakistans Army is driven by strategic choices and


politico-economic rationale which the decision-makers in New Delhi need to
analyse and understand, and then reach out to the generals in Pakistan
accordingly.
New Delhi needs to engage the enemy, the Pakistan Army, by perhaps opening
discreet negotiations with it. Its time to convey the message directly and address
Rawalpindis pay-off structure.
India needs more nuance and guile (subtle difference in speech/expression and deceitful
intelligence) in engaging stakeholders in Pakistans power structure.
5. Address Kashmir issue in first place
If Kashmir is what forms the sole important reason for Pakistans proxy war
against India, India should first successfully deal and address Kashmir in the first
place.
So far as Kashmir is on the boil, Pakistan will not give up on its claims. It will
inevitably try and take advantage of the situation there.
Therefore, India can and should effectively deal with Kashmir which will
necessarily weaken Pakistans Kashmir claims.
Conclusion:
Instead of blaming the Kashmir unrest on Pakistan, India should quell the anger/agitation in
the Kashmir Valley. So far, New Delhis policies have been a failure on both fronts.
Every time we link Pakistan to Kashmir by blaming Islamabad for the protests in the Valley,
we are only helping Pakistans Kashmir cause. The argument here is not that Pakistan is not
engaged in a proxy war in Kashmir, but that the governments intellectual and political
inability to pacify Kashmir should not be excused using the Pakistan bogey.
It is time that the ruling partys incoherent Pakistan policy needs more nuance and guile
(subtle difference in speech/expression and deceitful intelligence) in engaging stakeholders
in Pakistans power structure.
It would be useful for the ruling government to take on board Chanakyas perceptive advice
in Arthasasthra:
A ruler with loyal people accomplishes his task even with a little help because of their
cooperation.
Connecting the dots:
Despite the relentless clamour for a military reprisal against Pakistan, thinking beyond
the military option and looking for other strategies of dealing with Pakistan is right policy
option. Do you agree? Substantiate your view.
India and Pakistan relations were already nose-diving and Uri attack has further
worsened the situation. How should India react? Critically analyse.
What in your opinion will be the suitable policy options to solve the Pakistan puzzle?
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ENVIRONMENT
TOPIC:
General Studies 3
Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact
assessment.
Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
General Studies 2
Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation.
NGT and implementation of Biodiversity Act, 2002
In news: A plea filed with NGT which alleges that various States and union territories had
failed to pay attention to the unique biodiversity of the country.
This article deals with:
1) Environment vs. Development debate
2) NGT vs. Government
3) Degradation of Biodiversity
4) Misuse by government authorities or concerned departments
5) Poor implementation of Biological Diversity Act, 2002 and Biological Diversity Rules,
2004
Background
The Biological Diversity Act 2002 aims at preserving biological diversity in India.
The Act provides mechanism for equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the use of
traditional biological resources and knowledge.
It seeks to set up Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) at the local level in
every state under Section 41 of the Act. BMCs promote conservation, sustainable use
and documentation of biological diversity.
There is also a People's Biodiversity Register (PBR) which records the diversity of flora
and fauna.
RTI: 15 states which revealed the status of implementation of the act showed that
together these states have 61,000 panchayats and municipalities but only 1400 PBRs
have been set up.
Biodiversity crisis
India is facing massive biodiversity loss
On an average, 333 acres of forest are legally diverted under Forest (Conservation) Act,
1980, each day.

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This does not include forests which are illegally felled or encroached.
For construction of Amravati, Andhra Pradeshs state capital, 130 sq.km of forest is
being diverted.
The Himalayas have become worlds mountain range with most number of dams.
SC has called for species best interest standard- completely new standards for
endangered species conservation.
It includes the most threatened species like the Great Indian Bustard (GIB), the
Bengal Florican, Manipur Brow-antlered deer, dugong and wild buffalo.
Yet, in 2015, one rhinoceros was killed almost every two weeks in the Kaziranga National
Park.
About 30 or less genetically pure wild buffaloes exist in central India.
Great Indian Bustards are only now 150 in number
Thus, India is in the midst of an unacknowledged biodiversity crisis. But, it is ironic that
Biodiversity Act is the most neglected of Indias environmental laws as well as one of the
least implemented.
The governments approach has been with apathy.
There is very limited judicial pronouncement and interpretation of environmental laws.
Action by civil society is not much visible.
Most of the Indian Forest Service Officers dont consider biodiversity as a lively area and
desire for a more mainstream post.
Scope of the act
The act has immense potential to safeguard Indias threatened biodiversity.
It provides for both centralised and decentralised institutional mechanisms for
conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.
The National Biodiversity Authority at the apex level, State Biodiversity Board and BMC
at the local level.
Thus, it can be a potent tool in helping to conserve wildlife and wildlife habitat.
However, the problem is not at the constitution of biodiversity authorities at central or
state level but at the BMC which has to perform diverse and critical functions.
Violations and opacity in Environment Impact Assessments (EIA)
The Biodiversity act mandates impact assessment studies for activities like construction
of dams, mining sites or diversion of land, which are likely to have an adverse impact on
biodiversity, irrespective of the nature and scale of the proposed project.
Yet, many projects in ecologically sensitive areas are able to circumvent the EIA process.
It has been observed that either EIAs are fraudulent or they are below the threshold
limit.

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Arunachal Pradesh:
A riverine area was proposed for the construction of a dam.
The Monpa community of Tawang district struggled for three years to prove that it is
one of the two wintering sites of the black-necked crane, a protected species held
sacred by Buddhists.
The environmental consultant had deliberately avoided a reference to the species.
Himachal Pradesh:
A series of hydropower projects are coming up in Himachal Pradesh.
The tribals of Kinnaur are struggling to protect the last remaining chilgoza (pine nut)
trees from being lost in these development projects.
Forest Department records do not mention the significant role the tree species plays in
providing livelihood security to people.
Uttarakhand:
The Lakhwar-Vyasi hydroelectric project is almost the size of the Tehri hydroelectric
project. (1000 MW)
It means that an EIA is necessary for this project as it will have huge impact on land,
people and biodiversity. One of the major impact will be stemming the flow of more
than 50 km of the Yamuna River.
However, an EIA is exempted here because: the project was proposed in 1987 before
the EIA Act of 2006!
Himalayas and the Western Ghats:
There are a series of dams existing and coming up in these areas.
They can have an adverse impact on aquatic biodiversity.
Hence, new projects should be carried out after EIA is done.
However, the EIA law requires that only projects above 25 MW should undergo EIA
studies and thus, most mini-hydel power projects in India are of 24.99 MW capacity!
In an attempt to circumvent such laws, the cumulative impact of these projects on Indias
biodiversity becomes substantial, at times irreversible.
Conclusion- Strengthening PBR
PBR records biodiversity that comes under the BMC jurisdiction.
Hence, it can be an effective tool to counter false and misleading statements given in
forest diversion proposals and EIA reports.
Also, it can help a community present the facts before the decision maker to highlight
the real value of the ecological entity proposed to be sacrificed.

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They can save areas from being valued based on rapid assessment done by institutions
of questionable integrity and methodology or project proponents, whose goals are only
to take projects through.

The rationale of anthropocentrism, i.e. protecting the biodiversity for present and future
generation should not be the sole reason. There exists moral, legal and ethical rights to not
destroy something not created by human beings.
Connecting the dots:
The real protection of biodiversity takes place at local level. Examine why India should
implement Biodiversity Act, 2002 to balance its economic development with ecological
protection.

TOPIC:
General Studies 3
Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact
assessment.
General Studies 2
Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation.
Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or
affecting India's interests.
Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India's interests
Ratifying the climate change pact: Is it too early?
India announced to ratify the Paris agreement on October 2 to show its support for need to
contain the rising global warming and the challenges emerging thereafter. However, until
G20 in early September 2016, India was not expected to ratify the climate change
agreement. Is sudden such change a hasty decision?

India has agreed to ratify the Paris Agreementwhich aims to contain the increase in
earths temperature to 2 degrees Celsius, and if possible 1.5 degrees Celsius, above preindustrial levels.
Paris agreement materialized at the 21st Conference of Parties of the United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change. It requires 55 countries accounting for at
least 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions to ratify it in order for it to come into
force.

Why sudden announcement?


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India was so far slow in committing to the Paris agreement.


But, it realised that the ratification threshold is likely to be achieved in October without
Indias support where it ranks third in global emissions.
Thus, there could arise a possibility thereafter that India be casted as an obstructionist
and hence it understandably changed the track.

But, is it early?
India has to be wary at the negotiating table as
1. Too much focus on incremental pollution by developing countries shifts the public
attention away from the historical damage done by the developed countries during
their years of rapid economic growth.
2. The per capita carbon footprint of India is still very low by global standards.
3. India needs coal as part of its energy mix right now, until new technologies emerge.
No doubt, by retaining the common but differentiated responsibilities clause in the Paris
Agreement, the world has acknowledged Indian concerns.
However, this is not enough.
Doing away with the distinction between developing and developed nations dilutes the
differentiation principle which had put the onus on developed countries to take greater
responsibility for reducing emissions.
But, undue pressure is already being exerted on India as one of the largest polluters of
the world.
Though third in terms of total emissions, it ranks 140th globally in terms of per capita
emissions.
India and climate change
The large coastline of India is susceptible to rising sea levels.
The population is also suffering from the visible consequences of climate change, such as
heat waves, pollution and failed monsoons.
Hence, India could not argue for its right to development beyond a point.
Therefore, in a calculated move, it embraced the cause of climate change but with a
caveatthe availability of global finance and performance of other nations.
This decision puts onus now on developed countries to fund and transfer technology to
developing nations, besides making efforts to meet their domestic commitments.
India and INDC
Indias strategy for combating climate change and achieving INDC targets is a multi-pronged
one.
It aims at modifying the energy mix to a more sustainable, efficient and renewable one.

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Its plan to expand solar capacity to 100 GW by 2022 from 8 GW in 2016 is expected to
make up almost 48% of the renewable energy capacity.
The International Solar Alliance and the recently unveiled plan to subsidize domestic
manufacturers will help but can only be sustained by a higher inflow of funds for solar
projects.
The rest of the renewable energy capacity would be developed through a mixture of
wind power, hydropower, biomass, waste to energy and nuclear power.
Nuclear energy will form less than 4% of these clean energy commitments. Though it is
unlikely that Indias non-membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group will significantly
affect its plans, the membership could have enhanced it.
However, the issue of renewable energy being less competitive still persists.
A significant challenge to these plans are fall in oil prices, which increases the
opportunity cost of expansion of alternative energy sources. India uses Piguovian taxes
as against cap and trade system proposed by countries such as China, to limit emissions.
India is also making efforts to bring down current greenhouse gas levels through the
development of carbon sinks. But this is a difficult task considering the land-scarcity
problem.

Conclusion
The 14th Finance Commission made forest cover one of the criteria for devolution of
funds from the Centre to incentivize states to engage in afforestation activities. This is
expected to increase in carbon sinks
A 33-35% reduction in emission targets is not an unattainable one. But it requires
persistent efforts from both the global community and the Indian government.
The Paris agreement will become operational post 2020 after the retirement of Kyoto
protocol. Till then, India can use the intervening years to frame the rules and create the
institutions that will govern the Paris Agreement.
Connecting the dots:
What is Paris agreement on climate change? How can India contribute in mitigating
climate change effect without compromising on its development prospects?

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