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1. DEMONETISATION The surplus transferred to the government was

only less than half of what it was the previous
What is the issue?
year due to increased expenditure.
RBI has recently released its Annual Report
The surge of cash that entered the banking
system entailed banks having larger deposits
This has confirmed the suspicion that with the central bank.
demonetisation had been undertaken with
This meant that the RBI had to pay more to
little understanding of the economy.
these banks as interest payments.
What are the objectives of According to CSOs latest GDP estimates for
demonetisation? the quarter (Jan-March) just after
Demonetisation was supposed to wipe out demonetisation, GDP growth falls to 5.7%
black money and counterfeit currency, stop lower than the estimated 6.1%.
terrorist financing. Undue costs and hardships were imposed on
The government has held that the aim was to the poorest people in informal sector and
shift to digital economy since large regular economic activity was disrupted for
denominated notes fuel corruption. months.

The government also said that it would Could demonetisation curtail corruption
formalise the informal economy and also and black money?
induce tax compliance.
Demonetisation illustrates the governments
What are the effects of demonetisation? unrealistic one-shot approach to deep rooted
systemic problems of corruption and black
The economic costs of demonetisation are now
clearer with the RBI Annual report.
Black money and the fight against it are not
In the demonetisations of 1946 and 1978,
about cash holdings, it is about the state
about 14% and 10%, respectively, of high
accounting for economic transactions so that it
denomination currency did not return to the
can tax or monitor them.
central bank.
Addressing the counterfeit currency requires
The report shows that 98.96% of the Rs. 500
continuous regulatory struggle rather than
and Rs.1,000 denomination notes that were
one-time measure.
withdrawn from circulation returned to the
banking system, which means only 1.04% did The only development is the increase in those -
not return. filing direct tax returns. However, given the
amounts filed, it will not mean much for
This could mean that those holding illegal cash
revenue collection.
were either an insignificant number, or that
they found ways of depositing cash into formal The government claims that it is investigating
banking systems. thousands of accounts, using available data of
bank deposits to find offenders, but
Printing new notes to remonetise the economy
bureaucracy needs a free hand to achieve it.
cost the RBI more than double the amount it
spent on printing the previous year.
Thus, the governments claims about 3. Facing discrimination and restricted
demonetisations achievements are meagre access to social services
and hardly justify it. 4. Limited opportunities for play or
2. DISABLED SCHOOLCHILDREN AND access to cultural life,

THEIR CHALLENGES 5. Denial of family life,

What is the issue? 6. Vulnerability to violence

7. Poverty
UNESCOs Global Monitoring Report states that the
school completion rates of children with disabilities are According to the World Banks data, children
lowest compared to other marginalized groups. with disabilities in India are five and a half
times more likely to be out of school than non-
Data on Disabled Persons
disabled children.
Globally there are 2.9% people are severely
Children with disabilities are three to four
disabled and 15.3% are moderately & severely
times more likely to be the victims of physical
and sexual violence.
Among children (0-14 years), 0.7% suffer from
It undermines self-esteem and self-confidence
severe disability and 5.1% suffer from
among them and particularly among girls with
moderate and severe disability.
In India, Disabled population constitutes
Children from poor families are more
2.21% of the total population and 1.24% of the
marginalised and disadvantaged due to lack of
total children (0-6 years) are disabled.
access to information, skills and opportunities.
Among the total disabled persons in India,
It is also found that disabled women and girls
70% are in rural areas and 30% are in urban
are more vulnerable to discrimination.
What should be done?
As per the Census 2011, the highest number of
disabled children is in Uttar Pradesh followed Both society and state treat disabled children
by Bihar and Maharashtra. in an inhumane way generally and believes
that they cannot undertake productive work.
It is also observed that in all types of disability,
the number of boys is more than the number Such a social stigma attached to disability
of girls. needs to be eradicated.

What are the problems faced by them? Inclusion of disabled children involves
changing attitudes, supporting families,
Discrimination based on disability has
community-based rehabilitation.
manifested in marginalisation from resources
and decision-making, and even in infanticide. The teachers and parents/guardians need to be
sensitized to their issues.
According to UNESCOs report, children at
risk of disability are facing problems such as There should be efforts to minimise disability
by giving proper immunisation, early
1. Restricted access to early-childhood
detection, and providing better outreach for
2. Underweight and having stunted
Inclusive education of children with What are the effects?
disabilities should focus on their early
It results uncertainty in agricultural
education at home.
production. 92% of the cultivated land in the
They should be made aware of existing social state is flood prone.
security measures like education facilities,
It is also responsible for low rate of adoption of
education allowances, job reservations,
modern techniques of production.
economic assistance for self-employment and
other concessions. People fall prey to vector and water borne
diseases affecting health and hygiene.
A concerted effort is required from all sections,
including parents, teachers, government and The poor who live in vulnerable areas are
non-governmental agencies, and academicians disproportionately affected
and media personnel to ensure the right to Schools would be closed and studies would be
equality and promotion of disability rights. disrupted every year.

The Kaziranga National Park, a world heritage

site is inundated with flood water which causes
death of endangered species.
What is the issue?
The animals in the park move out to the
Assam faced the worst flood this year since neighboring hills in search of food and shelter
1998. become an easy prey to the poachers.
The problem of floods and erosion is distinct Where is the way out?
because of its geological position and home to
River Bed Management - Short term
large network of rivers.
measure such as construction of embankments
Assam plain covering 81% of total geographical causes siltation and sedimentation in the river
area with 97% of total population of the state beds.
are highly prone to floods.
Consequently, the riverbeds get swollen which
What are the causes of floods in Assam? is a major contributor to flood.
Highly Potent Monsoon Regime South An integrated basin management approach for
West Monsoon usually operates for a longer the rivers needs to be adopted rather than
spell in the state compared to the rest of the temporary flood mitigation mechanism.
Dams - Constructions of big dams are seen as
Brahmaputra River - It changed its courses a way out for controlling or moderating floods.
and direction along with swelling of the river
Thus there must be provisions for proper
beds after the Great earthquake of 1950.
warning before release of water and
Geological position - The state has unique compensation by the dam owners to the
Geo-environmental setting Eastern Himalayas affect.ted people.
and located in active seismicity zone.
Interlinking of rivers - The excess water
Anthropological factors Massive from the flood-prone eastern India can be
deforestation and intense land use pressure. diverted to the water-scarce regions.
However, a thorough environmental impact In every city, the natural sponges have been
assessment based on rivers course and destroyed by changing regulations for land use
direction is needed. that allow these spaces to be filled up and built
Hydrological Data - Brahmaputra being an
international river, hydrological data in the In Bengaluru, its famous lakes that acted as
upper catchment area should be shared among natural sinks to absorb excess water have been
the countries. encroached and disappeared virtually.

On the basis of hydrological data before the In Mumbai, mangroves and salt pans have
onset of the monsoon, warning can be issued been destroyed for high-end residential
in advance to move people and livestock to buildings and affordable housing.
safer places.
Now there is no barrier against sea-level rise
Adaptability - Focus on the non-structural and unusual heavy rainfall.
measures such as afforestation, controlling
No lessons have been learned from the past
population growth in the low-lying
terrible flooding events such as Mumbai
inundation-prone can reduce the damage.
flooding in 2005.
A slow process of industrialisation in the state
Administrative problems - The problem is
has forced the majority of its workforce to
not that of shortage of funds but of priorities.
continue depending on agriculture for
livelihood. Funds are raised, allocated and spent on
building infrastructure that serves the needs of
Timely relief to the victims of the basic
a small percentage of the population.
necessities like food, medicine and drinking
water needs to be ensured. Such plans include building more roads for
private vehicles instead of strengthening
4. FLOODING IN CITIES public transport used by the majority.
Why in news? Such skewed priorities affects poor people the

Indian cities are drowning because of most during any disaster.

unusually high rainfall, decades of For e.g. Mumbais salt pans are chosen for
misgovernance and poor planning. providing affordable housing for poor who are

Mumbai received unusual rainfall over 300 vulnerable to flooding in the future.

mm within 12 hours and other cities received Urban poor settlements tend to come up in
rainfall above several times of its average rain low-lying flood-prone areas.
in a single day.
They face flooding even during normal
What are the reasons? monsoon days.

Loss of Natural features - The root of the Global Warming - Several studies are
problem has been the authorities insensitive suggesting that global warming is partly
attitude towards the natural features that responsible for unexpected and extreme
facilitate the absorption of excess water. changes in rainfall pattern leading to flooding.

The natural features are mangroves, wetlands, It concluded that cities located by the sea are
salt pans, floodplains, lakes, tanks and open even more vulnerable to intense weather
grasslands. events.
This is because of global warming leading to a This was a special case, and not as complicated
rise in sea levels that would inundate these as the possible merger of two unconnected
cities in the event of a cyclone, hurricane or a banks.
Other PSBs may not withstand such costs of
What is the way forward? mergers, because SBI had a centralised
governance structure, uses the same
Clearly, cities must take measures to adapt to
information technology infrastructure and
and mitigate the fallout of the effects of global
larger in size.
Organisational cultures need to be addressed
Reassessing land use patterns, building codes.
and potential advantages will only be realised
Conserving natural features mangroves and once staff and branch networks are deployed
open unpaved spaces. productively.
Prioritising adaptive and mitigation efforts Moreover, mergers of PSBs and banks in
towards larger population rather than people general, in the post-1991 period, have not
who live in better serviced parts. always resulted in more efficient merged

BANKS Thus a quicker mechanism to merge PSBs will

serve no purpose.
Why in news?
Thus the government will have no option left
The government has announced in-principle approval
but to allocate more to recapitalise PSBs.
to proposals for mergers of public sector banks(PSBs)
from bank boards. 6. ROHINGYA CRISIS

Why the merger is important? Why in news?

The most important concern for the banking The persecution of Rohingyas, Muslim ethnic
sector is mobilising capital to increasing their minority in Myanmar, has become an ethnic
lending capacity. violence in South-East Asia.

Merging two PSB would help them to be in a The official responses to this humanitarian
better financial position by having larger crisis from many countries, including India,
combined balance sheets. have been characteristically insensitive and
It would also help in finding ways to recover
the interest payments due from companies. How did the issue escalate?

What are the issues associated? The Rohingya community has faced constant
persecution in Myanmar ever since the
Merging two stressed assets-laden banks will
military coup of 1962.
mean not just a larger balance sheet, but could
also mean a higher proportion of stressed It reached peak after 2011, as the country
assets. began its transition to democracy.

For instance, the merger of State Bank of India They had been denied of their citizenship
(SBI) with its associate banks this year has led rights and access to healthcare, education and
to the substantial increase in the proportion of employment.
bad assets. The military, to retain its popular support,
posed as defenders of Buddhism and
instigated extremist Buddhist groups to target The proposed amendment flies in the face of
the Rohingyas with renewed vigour. Article 14 of the Constitution that guarantees

The present conflict is a continuation of the the right to equality, besides being morally

violence that erupted in October 2016. indefensible.

Last year militants affiliated to the Arakan But the Supreme Court and the high courts

Rohingya Salvation Army attacked an army have upheld the principle of non-

base in the Rakhine state. refoulement.

This prompted an immediate military Principle of non-refoulement prohibits

crackdown and renewed ethnic violence, refugees from being sent back to the country of

killing and uprooting thousands of ordinary their origin if they continue to face persecution

Rohingyas. in their home country.

It forced them to move to neighbouring The apex court is now hearing a petition

countries as refugees but the countries are against the governments deportation plan.

unwilling to provide shelter to Rohingya What is the way forward?

Providing shelter to people fleeing death and
What is the response of United Nations? persecution must be of utmost priority.

Myanmar has prevented United Nations (UN) It cannot be made conditional upon their
aid agencies to reach out to Rohingya survivors religion, creed, race or ethnicity.
within its borders.
Resource constraints or imagined threats of
A UN fact-finding mission concluded in its terrorists cannot be an excuse to stand and
February 2017 report that the atrocities watch genocidal massacres.
amounted to crimes against humanity and
Resources must be mobilised on a global scale
possibly ethnic cleansing.
to enable rehabilitation of uprooted
The Myanmar government rejected the report communities.
and claimed that such UN interference would
The rehabilitation can be either in their home
create greater intercommunity hostility.
countries or in the land of their arrival if
What is the response of Indian conditions continue to remain inhospitable
Government? back home.

The Indian government describe rohingyas as 7. FIRST DEFINE PRIVACY

a potential threat to Indias internal security
What is the issue?
and it plans to deport them back to Myanmar.
Right to privacy has been declared as
The government has justified its stance by
fundamental right by Supreme Court.
pointing out that India is not a signatory to the
UN Convention on Refugees and hence is not But the nine-judge bench does not define what
bound by the UNs views on the Rohingya constitutes privacy.
crisis. What is the need?
The government also attempts to amend the Absence of proper definition would cause
Indian Citizenship Act of 1955, which actively conflict with some existing legal and
discriminating against Muslim asylum seekers. constitutional provision.
Privacy has a certain tension with Article 19 (1) Public Information officer, CIC/SIC and judges
(a) of the Constitution which guarantees the are now left to do define privacy on a case to
right to freedom of speech and expression. case basis.

It would be an issue in restricting information It would also limit the applicability of Aadhar
under RTI in matters relating to privacy. in providing benefits to poor under welfare
RTI act also bars information from being
disclosed which cause unwarranted invasion of 8. MGNREGAS MONITORING SYSTEM
the privacy of the individual.
What is the issue?
However, the appellate authority (CIC or SIC)
There is a growing need for judicious use of
can justify the disclosure of such information
MGNREGAs online monitoring system Management
in the larger public interest.
Information System (MIS).
Broad definition of privacy will eliminate the
What is MIS?
discretion of information commissioners in
such cases. The government introduced an online MIS for
MGNREGA in 2005.
What are the existing provisions?
It contains details of workers registered with
Under RTI, parliament had laid down a simple
the programme, works sanctioned, payments
test to determine what constitutes personal
made and other information.
What is the use of MIS?
It states that, if any information assault
decency or morality, it would violate privacy The data provides useful analyses in terms of
and it should not be revealed. participation of various groups in workforce,
works implemented in a given financial year.
Article 19(2) has a clause of decency or
morality as a reasonable restriction on Data is available for all the states and union
freedom of speech and expression. territories at the district, block and gram
panchayat level.
What would be the consequence?
How is it affecting MGNREGA?
When some personal information is revealed
under RTI, it led to the exposure of corruption. The MGNREGA operations are dependent on
electronic Muster Rolls (e-MR), which are
Thus privacy as a fundamental right without
electronically generated by MIS.
proper judicial definition will help many
wrong deeds to get protection. Attendance of the workers is marked on the e-
There is a possibility that the right to privacy
will be at the cost of the RTI. In places where gram panchayats lack digital
infrastructure, e-MRs are generated from the
Sometime in the future the freedom to publish
block office which causes delay.
may also be curbed.
Earlier, MGNREGA funds used to be
If giving information about some matters is
transferred to gram panchayat accounts, which
intrusion into privacy, then publication of it
created interest in the programme.
also cannot be permitted.
With the introduction of MIS, funds are
transferred directly from a central bank to the
accounts of workers and material vendors.
This caused reduced attention paid to Periodic technical glitches also affect
MGNREGA by gram panchayats and crash in implementation of the programme.
the scale of employment.
What is the way forward?
There are instances of corruption by block
Helplines for enabling people without access to
functionaries by generating e-MR with names
internet to obtain information can be done.
of fake workers.
It helps the workers to demand accountability
The functionaries are also started linking job
from functionaries.
cards with fictitious Aadhar/bank account
numbers. Smartphone applications for pulling out
information about the schemes can be
Moreover, MIS data is currently out of reach
for workers. It causes gross violation of
workers legal entitlements. This would increase the transparency in status
of workers wage payments, projects
What are the flaws in the
sanctioned and details of work.
MIS should be used for strengthening
The central government has started decentralised implementation.
centralising the implementation through MIS.
Fund transfer method can be modified by
The government started imposing statewise transferring funds to gram panchayats and
targets for asset creation and progress on the then electronic payment to accounts of
schemes is monitored through MIS. workers.
This violates the letter and spirit of the act 9. COMMERCIAL COURTS
which gives gram sabha more power.
Why in news?
Centralisation also inhibits many local
modifications and innovations in the Establishment of commercial court is seen as an
implementation of the programme. attempt to streamline the Indian justice delivery
system and improving ease of doing business.
States are also forced to continue with the
language that was used by them for digitising What are commercial courts?
MGNREGA records. They are specialized platform to deal with
It made those documents illegible to large disputes arising out of transaction related to
proportion of workers and gram panchayat trade and commerce.
members. Any transaction of commercial nature with a
Government initiated geotagging of assets, minimum value of Rs.1 crore comes under
which involves capturing the geographical commercial courts.
coordinates and photographs of assets to be Commercial disputes account for 50% of all
then published on the MIS. civil suits filed before High courts.
The time spent on e-verification and What is the need?
geotagging of assets is usually at the cost of
Reduce the high pendency of civil suits in High
ensuring payment of wages without delay.
Further, there are serious disruptions in places
Quick enforcement of contracts.
which lack computers, internet connectivity
and electricity. Easy recovery of monetary claims
Improve the international image of Indian There should be emphasizing on e-facilities for
justice delivery system transparency, public access and speedy
disposal of cases.
Improve the faith of investor world in the legal
culture State governments should be given proper
timeline to establish, otherwise they lack the
Award of just compensation for damages
motivation to do so.
What are the lacunae?
It is a commendable move towards the
The judges specialized in commercial matters reformation of the civil justice system with
are nominated by the concerned high court specialization of judges.
through the Chief Justice and state
But right amount of infrastructure will be
required to back up the intent and to ensure
This allocation will create scarcity in the sitting that the timelines as provided for are adhered
judges in HC. to.
It violates Article 234 of the constitution, 10. STATUS OF ELEMENTARY
which confers power on the governor of the
state to appoint judges in the state.
The minimum limit of Rs. 1 crore prevents
smaller disputes of a commercial nature from What is the issue?
being taken. The ongoing civil strife between left-wing extremists
This kind of differentiation based on subject and security forces in Chhattisgarh has affected the
value violates article 14 of the constitution. right of children to free and compulsory education.

Further, the legislation does not mention What is the status of elementary
which court is to be approached if the education?
valuation of the subject matter is itself one of
The case study was conducted in Bijapur
the issues.
district of Chhatisgarh, which is having second
It covers only cases which are exclusively in lowest literacy rate (40.9%) in India.
trade and commerce.
The district is predominantly inhabited by the
It failed to cover disputes in manufacturing ST (80%) and SCs (4%).
sector related to subscription and investment.
15.1% of eligible children in the age group of 6-
It does not cover IPR related matters such as 14 years were unable to access schooling
trade secrets, trade practices etc. facilities.
It does not recognize confidentiality issues, The gender-wise data indicates that 14.4%
conventions, customs and verbal agreements. boys and 16% girls were out of the school
Finally One-size-fits-all pecuniary limit is system in 201516.
not a feasible option because it fails to take Boys are more likely to remain out of school
into account cases arising in different states. because of forced migration to neighbouring

What is the way forward? states in search of livelihoods.

Girls are more vulnerable to drop out from

The courts should be established in all the
schools, due to safety and security issues.
states or for a cluster of states to achieve
economy of scale.
Disappearance of children - Left-wing
extremists abduct children to enrol them in
armed cadres.

Indiscriminate killing of children by security

forces under the banner of anti-extremist

Children disappearance results in non-

What are the factors affecting enrolment of eligible children in schools.
It instills a sense of insecurity among teachers
Destruction/closure of schools - Left- and discourages them to take postings in these
wing extremists perceive schools as state areas.
institutions to foster democratic values in
Recruitment of children as Special
children and as barracks for security forces.
Police Officers - Salwa Judum, a state-
Further, closure of schools due to fear of backed civilian vigilante group, recruited a
extremist deprives the opportunity for large number of children were recruited to
education. retaliate left wing extremists.

It also reduces the attendance rates of students It diverts interest from education because this
and teachers. is the only opportunity of employment in these
Displacement of children - A large number
of people have been displaced to relatively Restriction on accessing secondary
safer areas. education - Left-wing extremists see children
after completion of class 8 as productive
Children have undergone prolonged study
warriors to sustain their protracted armed
gaps and some have naturally lost interest in
struggle against the state.
It, thus, tends to low enrolment of children in
Children displaced to neighbouring states face
secondary/higher education.
problems due to lack of school-leaving
certificates and change in the language of 11. UNDERSTANDING DERA SACHA
instruction. SAUDA PHENOMENA
Education of girls gets affected to the
Why in news?
engagement of girl children in domestic work
and care of younger siblings. Dera Sacha Sauda (DSS) chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim
was recently sentenced to 20 years of imprisonment
Loss of academic records - The sudden
for rapes by a special CBI court.
eviction of communities forces children to
repeat their previous grade/class. How did Dera arise?

The overwhelming presence of overaged boys Deras represent religious congregations which
in schools sometimes discourages parents are organised around a living guru.
from sending their young daughters to schools. It is considered as offshoots of mainstream
SC and ST communities face denial of religious traditions.
admissions due to the loss of caste certificates. It originated as an alternative religious space
for lower caste people.
It was mainly due to the failure in annihilating Youths have been under the grip of drug
caste domination and discrimination in major addiction and the menace spread deep into the
religions. rural areas.

Punjabs distinction of having the highest Punjab and Haryana has deficit of women as a
population of SC (32%) remains a most fertile result of rampant foeticide which led to
ground for the emergence of such deras. trafficking of women.

In the late 19th and 20th centuries, many of DSS also organized publicised philanthropic
these deras invariably got intertwined and activities mass marriages of poor young
identified with the subaltern castes. couples and drug de-addiction camps.

It typically appears to accommodate the Absence of specialised health infrastructural

diverse notions of religiosity makes them support in the countryside led many poor
appear subversive to the mainstream. families to this dera.

Those who follow the Sikh code of conduct are Dera had worked on vulnerable pockets
known as Sikh deras while those who follow explains its massive support base and
composite traditions are considered non-Sikh following.
There are different deras organized under
What is the issue?
different leaders such as Sacha Sauda of Baba
Beparwah, Dera Satlok of Baba Rampal. There are rising incidents of child sexual abuse
in schools.
How DSS become popular?
According to NCCB data, crimes against
The DSS was established as a social and
children under the Protection of Children from
spiritual organisation by a Sufi man from
Sexual Offences Act (POCSOA) went up from
Baluchistan, Baba Beparwah Mastana in 1948.
8,904 to 14,913 between 2014 and 2015.
Under the leadership of Gurmeet singh in
Why is it happening?
1990s, it becomes more popular and expanded.
Schools have gross lapses in security measures
Its expansion coincided with the advent of the
and lack of accountability.
new economic environment focusing on
privatisation and gradual withdrawal of the The incidents also show the states failure to
state from various sectors. uphold the constitutional provisions protecting
the rights of a child.
Most deras of the region have opened schools
and colleges, hospitals to attract mass from The ambiguity in the role of school in laws
poor and deprived segments of the region. protecting the rights of the child is the key
Around the same time, the region was also
beginning to suffer from fallouts of green The RTE act mentions the role of school in
revolution, stories of farmers suicides, ensuring good quality curricula but does not
agrarian decline. talk about child sexual abuse in schools that
hampers education.
It is one of the reasons for its largest
catchment areas in the poor pockets of the The POSCO Act does not directly address
Malwa region of Punjab. schools or their management for crimes
against children but vaguely advocates
punitive measures for criminals.
The Juvenile Justice Act looks mostly at There should be explicit provision within the
extreme cases of violence and fails to identify child rights laws specifying the responsibilities
schools as centers responsible for childcare. of schools, teachers, and parents towards
keeping children safe.
What should be done?
The data shows that both girls and boys have
Schools should make police verification of staff
been the victims of child abuse in schools.
mandatory and ensure safe transportation
facilities for the students. This calls for addressing the systemic
problems rather than the gendered policing of
There should be proper monitoring facilities
like CCTV cameras in the schools to ensure
child safety. Children, irrespective of class and whether
they live in cities or villages, deserve a safe and
In recent years, there is an increasing
violence-free living and learning environment
enrolment especially in private schools and
at school.
schools are seen as viable business.

Thus protecting children requires more than

just monitoring and infrastructure.