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Day: October 14, 2017

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October 2017
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[14 Oct 2017 | Low Priority News Items of the Day]

Low Priority Items of the Day:

Historian Satish Chandra passes away

Veteran historian of medieval India and noted educational administrator Satish Chandra passed away on Friday. He was 95. He will be cremated at the Lodhi Road crematorium on Saturday, after which a prayer meeting will be held at Chinmaya Mission.

The UPSC generally don’t ask personality based questions. Therefore, this news is of very less importance from the exam perspective. But still, if you can remember the particulars of the historians, then it may be fruitful for you at the interview stage.(low benefit-to-cost ratio).


4 officials held for diverting govt. funds to NSCN(K)

The National Investigation Agency has arrested four Nagaland officials for allegedly diverting government funds to banned terrorist organisation NSCN (K). “The accused in their official capacity provided substantial amount to NSCN(K) by way of contributing Government funds to the banned outfit, thereby supporting NSCN(K) in furtherance of its unlawful activities,” an NIA statement said.

Corruption is a serious issue. But no need to go after individual corruption cases, because the UPSC don’t ask questions on them.


Benefit of doubt

The Allahabad High Court verdict acquitting Rajesh Talwar and Nupur Talwar of the charge of murdering their 14-year-old daughter Aarushi and domestic worker Hemraj in May 2008 is not merely an indictment of the Central Bureau of Investigation Special Court that sentenced them to life in 2013.

The Op-Ed talks about a very popular case. But popularity doesn’t matter for the UPSC exam. Just stick to the syllabus and eliminate unnecessary things(from the UPSC exam perspective). The UPSC don’t ask direct questions on such kind of issues.

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Labour, Jobs and Employment – Harmonization of labour laws, gender gap, unemployment, etc. Industries

To reverse women leaving the workforce, policies must change behaviour before they change beliefs

Image Source


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Important issue of women’s workforce is discussed in the article. The UPSC is known to ask questions on these kind of issues.



  1. In most countries, higher numbers of educated women have resulted in the improvement of their societal status and economic participation
  2. But in women’s participation in economic sector is very low
  3. The article talks about this serious issue

Low participation of women in the economic sphere

  1. Only 27 per cent of working-age women in India work
  2. The number fell sharply in the last decade from 43 per cent to 27 per cent
  3. Nepal and Bangladesh are way ahead, leaving only the Arab countries and Pakistan behind India

The World Bank report, ‘Precarious Drop: Reassessing Patterns of Female Labour Force Participation in India‘

  1. According tot the report, participation of women in economic sector depends on their marital-status, age, education, family labour composition and whether in rural or urban India
  2. Stability in family income levels also lead to women dropping out of the workforce
  3. Other factors include lower levels of job creation, availability of very low paying jobs in the informal sector, poor infrastructure, safety issues, and boys outnumbering girls in technical and professional education
  4. The study concludes that “education skilling and legal provisions may not be sufficient”

What are the acceptable norms of work in India?

  1. In a heterogeneous country like India, ‘acceptable’ norms of work may differ based on income, caste, rural/urban and informal/formal sector
  2. One belief is allpervasive: women are primarily homemakers and men breadwinners

Is breaking stereotypes really difficult?

  1. Research in neuroscience states that deep-seated ‘typical’ beliefs regarding race, caste, gender and other social categories get embedded or hardwired in the brain
  2. Inaccurate to start with, the brain finds it difficult to ‘unlearn’ them even when the reality has changed. It interprets new data in a biased manner to confirm originally held beliefs (confirmatory bias)

Can behavioural changes counter these stereotypes?

  1. Research in behavioural design provides evidence that this is indeed possible and has been successfully pursued in many countries
  2. There are ‘behavioural insights’ groups advising governments in the US, Britain, Australia and Germany

Misguided policies

  1. Government and corporate sector policies, instead of taking steps to encourage and hasten this permeability, have been misguided
  2. The flawed legislation introduced recently increasing maternity benefits from three to six months is a case in point
  3. For ensuring that women don’t opt out of work, it reinforces gendered norms and unwittingly places women at a disadvantage
  4. What could have helped instead is a combination of maternity and paternity leave, on a ‘use it or it lapses’ basis

The way forward

  1. Involving women in the decisionmaking process and in leadership roles, rather than providing benefits passively, can have far-reaching benefits
  2. Behavioral design, when complemented by a judicious mix of legislation and incentives, can go a long way in resetting norms sooner
Civil Aviation Sector – CA Policy 2016, UDAN, Open Skies, etc. Infrastructure

Airports need up to $45 bn investment by 2030: CAPA



Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: These topics of infrastructure development are specially mentioned in the Mains Syllabus.


Observation by the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) 

  1. According to the CAPA, India needs up to $45 billion investment in 55 airports to boost capacity by 2030
  2. As most Indian airports head towards saturation in passenger-handling capacity
  3. India will need to construct an additional 500 to 600 million of capacity by 2030

Issues with the Indian Infrastructure Companies

  1. Almost all Indian infrastructure companies significantly over-leveraged
  2. And they would be constrained to raise the necessary capital for airport development
  3. Combined with the economic regulatory environment, availability of capital could be a very significant, structural problem

Parking issue faced by Indian Airports

  1. According to the CAPA, Indian airlines would induct close to 350 to 400 aircraft over the next five years
  2. And that they had already been facing challenges securing overnight parking bays
Issues related to Economic growth

[op-ed snap] Six steps to job creation

Image source


Mains Paper 3: Economy | Development & employment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: AMRUT Scheme, inverted duty structures

Mains level: National health policy, National manufacturing policy and other initiatives related to industrial growth


  1. India is indeed the fastest growing large economy in the world
  2. Yet with investment low, credit offtake low, capacity utilisation in industry low, agricultural growth low, plant load factor low, it is hardly surprising that job growth is low as well

Groups in need of jobs

  1. In India’s highly segmented labour market, there are at least three demographic groups that are in urgent need of jobs
  2. These are: A growing number of better-educated youth; uneducated agricultural workers who wish to leave agricultural distress behind; and young women, who too are better educated than ever before

Reason(s) for low job growth

  1. Among many dimensions of this problem is the fact that in the quarter-century since economic reforms began, it is not manufacturing that has been the leading sector driving growth
  2. Manufacturing should drive productivity in the whole economy
  3. Services cannot, as services by definition ‘service’ the distribution of produced goods

What can policy-makers do to revive job growth?

  1. Industrial, trade policy
  • An industrial and trade policy is needed
  • For 20 years after economic reforms began in 1991 there was no National Manufacturing Policy, and the Policy, when it came in 2011, was not even implemented
  • The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) is finally preparing an industrial policy
  • It is essential that trade policy is consistent with such an industrial policy
  • Otherwise, the two may work at cross purposes and undermine each other’s objectives
  • Manufacturing has been badly affected by inverted duty structures

    2. Special packages needed for labour-intensive industries

  • There are a number of labour intensive manufacturing sectors in India such as food processing, leather and footwear, wood manufacturers and furniture, textiles and apparel and garments
  • The nature of the package will need to be individually designed for each sector defined as quickly as possible

   3. Cluster development

  • There should be cluster development to support job creation in micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs)
  • Most of the unorganized sector employment is in MSMEs, which tend to be concentrated in specific geographic locations
  • There is a cluster development programme of the Ministry of MSMEs, which is poorly funded and could be better designed as well

   4. Align urban development with manufacturing clusters

  • Infrastructure investment by the government always creates many jobs
  • The Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) has a programme called AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation) aimed at improving infrastructure for small towns
  • An engagement between the Urban Development and MSME Ministries is necessary to ensure that the infrastructure investment under it is taking place in towns which have clusters of unorganised sector economic activities
  • It will attract more investment to industrial clusters, which is where most non-agricultural jobs are

   5. Focus on women

  • Girls are losing out in jobs, or those with increasing education can’t find them, despite having gotten higher levels of education in the last 10 years
  • The problem with skilling programmes has been low placement after skilling is complete
  • Skilling close to clusters (rather than standalone vocational training providers), which is where the jobs are, is likely to be more successful
  • The availability of jobs close to where the skilling is conducted will also enhance the demand for skilling

   6. Public investments in health, education, police, and judiciary 

This can create many government jobs


  • Public investment in the health sector has remained even in the last three years at 1.15% of GDP, despite the creation of the National health policy at the beginning of 2017
  • Given the state of health and nutrition of the population, it is critical that public expenditure on health is increased faster
  • More government expenditure in health means more jobs in government and better health outcomes
  • Preventive and public health has always been in all countries the responsibility of government


  • Government schools have poor quality and parents are voting with their feet by spending money on private schools, whether or not the poor parents can afford it
  • The number of teachers required, at secondary and higher secondary levels, is very high, particularly in science and mathematics
  • Many new government jobs can be provided if more young people could be trained specially to become teachers for science and mathematics at the secondary and higher secondary levels

Police and Judiciary

  • While the number of paramilitary personnel continues to grow, State governments are not filling even sanctioned posts in the policy and in the judiciary (at all levels there are vacancies)
  • More police and a larger judiciary can both reduce crime as well as speed up the process of justice for the ordinary citizen


Inverted duty structures

  1. An inverted duty structure has the following features: higher duty on intermediate goods compared to final finished goods, with the latter often enjoying concessional customs duty
  2. As a result, domestic manufacturers face high tariffs, leading to higher raw material cost at home
  3. This has prevented many manufacturing sectors from growing since economic reforms began

Anti-dowry law: ‘Disagree with order diluting Sec 498A’


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

The following things are important from UPSC perspective:

Prelims: Not much

Mains level:  This news is important for mains as SC has indicated that it would revisit its earlier verdict that put an end to automatic arrests.




  1. The Supreme Court on Friday indicated that it would revisit its earlier verdict that put an end to automatic arrests under Section 498A of the IPC, which is often invoked in dowry-related cases.
  2. SC stated that it is not in agreement with the decision rendered in Rajesh Sharma vs State of UP, because it is disposed to think that it really curtails the rights of the women who are harassed under Section 498A (subjecting a married woman to cruelty) of the Indian Penal Code.
  3. The apex court issued notices to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Women and Child Development and National Commission for Women and sought their response by November 29.
  4. The petitioner NGO Nyayadhar which sought sharpness in Section 498A, claiming that the otherwise “helpful instrument” in the hands of victim women had become “valueless”.


Family Welfare Committe

  1. The court’s earlier verdict laid down a set of guidelines that included the setting up of family welfare committees to look into complaints of dowry harassment tp protect human rights of innocents.
  2. These committees will be set up by the District Legal Services Authorities, and complaints received by police or magistrates under Section 498A must be referred to the committee.
  3. Till report of the Committee is received, no arrest should normally be effected.
  4. The NGO Nyayadhar sought a direction to include two women members in the three-member family welfare committee as suggested in earlier court order.
  5. The apex court, however, made it clear that these directions will not apply in offences where there is tangible physical injury or death.
  6. After seeing the working of the arrangement for six months, the National Legal Services Authority may give a report on any changes if necessary.


Why SC issued directions to prevent the misuse of Section 498A ?

The bench stated that Section 498A was inserted in the statute with the laudable object of punishing cruelty at the hands of husband or his relatives against a wife, particularly when such cruelty had potential to result in suicide or murder of a woman but many of such complaints are not bonafide.

Women Safety Issues – Marital Rape, Domestic Violence, Swadhar, Nirbhaya Fund, etc. Human Resource Development

[op-ed snap] The legal message




Mains Paper 1: Social Issues | Role of Women & Women’s organisation


The following things are important from UPSC perspective:

Prelims: Nothing Much

Mains level: This article is important for mains. It lists down why marital rape is an exemption in India and even in countries like USA where all states have enacted laws against marital rape but still it is considered less serious than rape outside marriage. Some solutions have also been suggested.




  1. Sc criminalized sex between a man and his minor wife.
  2. The court refrained from adjudicating on the issue of marital rape, its judgment made reference to the Justice J.S. Verma committee recommendations that explained why the exemption of marital rape must be removed, and that a marital or other relationship is not a defence or justification for a lower sentence.


Why is there exemption of Marital Rape in India?

  1. The notion that  marriage constitutes a contract, which includes the woman’s irrevocable consent to sex
  2. A woman is the property of her husband, and rape is a violation of a man’s property rather than a crime against women
  3. after marriage, a woman’s identity becomes part of her husband’s.
  4. The Indian government has consistently resisted a change in the law.
  5. Even after 2012 Delhi gang rape case that resulted in in an amendment to the criminal legislation in India, including the definition and punishment of rape.
  6. However, the exemption of marital rape was retained, despite recommendations by the Justice Verma committee.
  7. According to lawmakers if marital rape is brought under the law, the entire family system will be under great stress.
  8. Recently Delhi High Court has been hearing petitions seeking the inclusion of marital rape under the existing rape law.
  9. This has been rejected by the government on the grounds that it will be used to harass men and will affect the institution of marriage.
  10. A greater importance is being given by the government to marriage than women rights.
  11. Women right activists do not believe in placing rape on a pedestal within the hierarchy of crimes within a marriage.That is, for a woman who is facing domestic violence, it is equally violating if her skull is fractured, her spine is broken, or her vagina is penetrated forcefully. What women object to is the violence involved.
  12. In cases of non-marital rape, judges have suggested that rape victims marry their rapist for a “happy conclusion”, which highlights the notion that forced sex does not amount to rape if it takes place within a marriage.


Current scenario in USA

  1. In USA marital rape is treated differently from other forms of rape.
  2. Although all 50 states had enacted laws against marital rape by 1993, almost half the States still treat it differently from rape outside of marriage. 
  3. In some states, marital rape is a chargeable offence only if the perpetrator uses or threatens to use physical force.
  4. Proof of marriage is often an easy way to reduce or mitigate the consequences of the offence.
  5. These kinds of legal distinctions legitimise the perception among law-enforcement agencies that cases of marital rape should be treated as less serious than rape outside of marriage.


Way Forward

  1. A narrow focus on sexual violence ignores the multiplicity of suffering faced by women and can result in inadequate attention being paid to their other needs. A broad focused policy approach is needed.
  2. We need to ensure that law and policy interventions do not inadvertently trivialise non-sexual violence and that steps are taken to strengthen compliance and implementation of laws relating to all forms of violence.
  3. There is a need to recognise that removing the current marital exception, if nothing else, has an important signalling effect.
  4. In order to prove effective, such a change needs to be accompanied by a deliberate attempt to shift attitudes that normalise violence in the home.
  5. The strategies must focus on structural factors that prevent the incidence of rape, rather than focussing only on strengthening response mechanisms.
  6. Since gender socialisation begins young, there is need to focus interventions on children and adolescents through family and societal institutions, popular culture and media. Disruptive and violent environment at home must be prevented.
  7. In addition to sensitising law enforcement authorities whose attitudes are merely symptomatic of widely-held beliefs about women and gender roles, we need to work with children, parents and the larger community to ensure marital rape is condemned, not condoned.


Rohingya Conflict Bilateral Relations

Rohingya issue of great magnitude, state has big role: Supreme Court

Image source


Mains Paper 3: Internal Security | Role of external state & non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Rohingyas, their origin country

Mains level: Rising problem of illegal migrants and solutions to it


SC view on Rohingya issue

  1. The Supreme Court said that the Rohingya refugee problem was of a “great magnitude”
  2. The state would have to play a “big role” in striking a balance between national interests and human rights while dealing with the contentious issue
  3. During the hearing, the bench observed that aspects of national security, economic interests, labour interests as also protection of children, women, sick and innocent persons would come up while dealing with the matter
  4. The bench said there cannot be an “iota of doubt” that humanitarian issue is involved, but it also has to keep in mind the national interest
  5. The top court also said that “constitutional ethos makes us lean sympathetically towards humanitarian issues.”
  6. The role of the state in such a situation has to be multipronged

Rohingyas in India

  1. The Rohingyas, who fled to India after violence in the Western Rakhine State of Myanmar, have settled in Jammu, Hyderabad, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi-NCR and Rajasthan

Rohingyas to be deported

  1. Government has decided to deport Rohingya refugees back to Myanmar
  2. In a communication to all states, the union home ministry had said the rise of terrorism in last few decades has become a serious concern for most nations as illegal migrants are prone to get recruited by terrorist organizations
  3. It had directed the state governments to set up a task force at district level to identify and deport illegally- staying foreign nationals
  4. The apex court has decided to give a detailed and “holistic hearing” from November 21 on the government’s decision

SC suggestion to government on deporting Rohingyas

  1. A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra suggested to the Centre not to deport the Rohingya refugees
  2. Additional Solicitor General (ASG) requested to court that it should not be written in the order as anything coming on record would have international ramifications


Buoyant exports help shrink trade deficit to 7-month low


Mains Paper 3: Economy | Development and employment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: The data given in the article shows a clear picture of an important part(exports) of the Indian Economy.


Declining trade deficit

  1. Goods trade deficit in September has narrowed to a seven-month low of $8.98 billion
  2. According to government data released by the Commerce Ministry, exports has surged by 25.7% to $28.6 billion, outpacing imports that rose 18.1% to $37.6 billion

Why is this trend special?

  1. Even after the troubles of the GST roll-out, India has achieved an impressive export growth in September, 2017
  2. It shows a clear positive turnaround in the global economic environment

What is the concern?

  1. Some experts have concerns regarding jobs
  2. Some of the major labour-intensive sectors like handicraft, fruits and vegetables, meat, dairy and poultry products and iron-ore have posted negative growth
  3. The decline in these highly employment-intensive sectors is a worrisome sign


For basics of Trade Deficit and other important parameters. Click here

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