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Day: January 17, 2018

All news available date-wise and month-wise. Click on the date to revise news.

January 2018
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[17 Jan 2018 | Low Priority News Items of the Day]

Low Priority News Items of the Day:

Hooda slams Khattar government over crimes against women

Launching a scathing attack on the BJP government for “deteriorating law and order” in Haryana, former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Tuesday said that four cases of gang rape and brutality on women across the State in less than 72 hours had sent shock waves among its residents. Holding a press conference at his residence in Chandigarh, Mr. Hooda said that the slogan ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ was rendered meaningless with incidents of gang rapes and murders being reported from Faridabad, Jind, Panipat and Pinjore districts of the State.

The article talks about a recent political statement, given by an opposition leader. More specifically, it is a ‘party politics’ type of article. These type of articles are not important for the UPSC.


‘In 50 years, there’s been no new neuropsychiatric drug’

California Institute of Technology neurobiologist David J. Anderson is at the vanguard of studying the neurobiological foundations of emotion. He was the key speaker at the Eighth Annual Cell Press-TNQ India Distinguished Lectureship Series. In an interview, he discussed what brain imaging experiments in rodents and flies are telling us about their ‘emotional lives’, whether brain mapping can be used to read minds, and how artificial intelligence could guide future neuroscience research.

The Op-Ed is very ‘Technical Type.’ It talks about neuroscience. The article is not directly related to the UPSC Syllabus.

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[ATAD] A Tikdam A Day: Code on Wages Bill 2017


Tikdams = तिकड़म = Smart Hacks for IAS Prelims

Tikdams are smart hacks which help you arrive at the right answer with just the basic knowledge. With Dr. Vipin Garg (IAS) closely monitoring the quality of our Flagship Prelims 2018 TS, we thought it would be good to have our users get a first-hand idea of how you can develop this habit daily!

Here’s the question of the day: 

Q.1) Consider the following about the draft Code on Wages Bill 2017, introduced recently in the Lok Sabha:
1. It seeks to combine Payment of Wages Act, 1936, the Minimum Wages Act, 1949, the Payment of Bonus Act, 1965, and the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 into one code
2. It will ensure minimum wages to all and timely payment to employees irrespective of the sector without any wage ceiling
3. It proposes a concept of statutory National Minimum Wage for different geographical areas
Which of the statement/s given above is/are incorrect?
a) 1 and 2 only
b) 2 only
c) 3 only
d) None of the above
Inspired by: First labour code on wages likely to be passed in Budget session

Answer: (d)

The draft Code on Wages Bill 2017
The bill seeks to combine Payment of Wages Act, 1936, the Minimum Wages Act, 1949, the
Payment of Bonus Act, 1965, and the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 into one code.

The new Code on Wages will ensure minimum wages to all and timely payment to employees
irrespective of the sector without any wage ceiling.
The bill proposes a concept of statutory National Minimum Wage for different geographical areas.
It will ensure that no state fixes the minimum wage below the benchmark decided by the Centre for that particular area.
It also provides for an appellate authority between the claimed authority and the judicial forum which will lead to speedy, cheaper and efficient redressal of grievances and settlement of claims.

Whenever a new law comes, it tries to simplify earlier laws and subsume them to reduce proliferation of laws. At least, this is the case in India, in recent pass- Eg. Insolvency and Bankruptcy Act. Hence, 1 is correct.
And obviously, it would have all such desirable provisions as mentioned in very simple words in 2 and 3. Hence taking a little risk, even when you do not know anything in such a question, would be worth it.

Liked the way we solved it?

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Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc. Health

New regulatory system must to tackle shortage of doctors, says Ram Nath Kovind


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: National Medical Commission

Mains level: The statements of the President and the Prime Minister on such issues are important for the exam. Because these statements shows the point of views of government on important issues. And give an insight of the government policies.


Statement by the President

  1. President of Indian has said that the restructuring the Medical Council of India (MCI) is one of the reforms needed to address the acute shortage of doctors in India
    The Statement
  2. “We need a new regulatory system to enhance availability of doctors and medical professionals in our society
  3. We have to overcome regulatory bottlenecks and interest groups that have prevented the growth of quality medical education in our country
  4. This gives us far fewer medical graduates and postgraduates every year than our people need”

Why is this statement important?

  1. According to the ministry of health and family welfare, a total 1.02 million allopathic doctors were registered with the MCI or with state medical councils as of 31 March 2017
  2. Going by these figures, India barely has seven allopathic doctors per 10,000 population

The statement come amid the Indian Medical Association’s protest against the National Medical Comtmission(NMC)

  1. The IMA  is protesting against a proposed bill that seeks to replace the MCI with a NMC
  2. The apex medical body earlier this month called a one-day strike in hospitals across the country, shutting down outpatient services claiming the bill sas “anti-poor, anti-people, non-representative, undemocratic and anti-federal”
  3. However, Government called it “beneficial” to the medical profession while addressing the Parliament in earlier this month
  4. The bill was later referred to a parliamentary standing committee following nationwide protests
Climate Change Impact on India and World – International Reports, Key Observations, etc. Climate Change

[op-ed snap] Can we still avoid the climate tipping point?


Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Carbon profile, Paris agreement, World Meteorological Organization, etc.

Mains level: The article discusses serious upcoming challenges on climate front. It also discusses some possible solutions to minimize the effects of climate change.


The risks of climate change are greater than currently feared

  1. According to a British journal ‘Nature’, the rise in average global temperature by the end of the century is likely to be about 5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels
  2. This is off by a huge margin from 2 degrees Celsius scenario which has been considered by the global scientific community as the upper threshold that the Earth’s environment can withstand
  3. Beyond which irreversible changes in the global climate are likely to occur
  4. The World Meteorological Organization says that global emissions reached a record high of 403.3 parts per million (ppm) in 2016
  5. This level of pollution is highest in 800,000 years, and presents a scary picture of irreversible changes already happening in the global climate system

What can be done?

  1. While the 2 degrees Celsius threshold looks unlikely now, we, however, can still minimize its impact while simultaneously developing infrastructure to face the worst scenario
  2. Suggestions by the writer:

First: Model of development

  1. We need to fundamentally change our northern model of development which is based on the excessive resource consumption
  2. If the same model of development were to continue, it is going to be ecologically unsustainable for the planet

Second: Natural environment as a fundamental right

  1. We ought to treat the natural environment as a fundamental right and ask politicians to ensure it
  2. Political will flows from the people—when citizens care, politicians too act
  3. We as citizens have not demanded a measured action from our public representatives

Third: Regional, national and local strategies

  1. As the US has pulled out of the Paris agreement, it seems unlikely that there will be a global agreement now or in the near future
  2. Hence rather than a grand national or global strategy, we need to focus on regional, national and local strategies, e.g., cities
  3. The global urban population is likely to go up from 54% (3.9 billion) in 2014 to 66% (6.4 billion) in 2050
  4. Investing in energy-efficient appliances, powering homes with renewable energy, reducing water waste, using public transport and other measures can help in lowering the national, and ultimately the global, carbon profile

Fourth: Fossil-free energy future 

  1. The sharp fall in renewable energy cost had led to a record renewable capacity addition of 161 gigawatt (GW) in 2016, a 10% rise over 2015
  2. The falling price of renewable energy has made its cost comparable to fossil fuel in many parts of the world
  3. This is likely to accelerate the transition towards a fossil-free future

Finally: Developing countries need to focus more on adaptation than mitigation

  1. As the impact of climate change becomes increasingly visible, developing countries like India, need to focus more on adaptation than mitigation
  2. They need to develop infrastructure to rehabilitate people in their coastal areas, meet food demand with changing rain patterns and manage immigration caused by climate change


Carbon profiling

  1. Carbon profiling is a mathematical process that calculates how much carbon dioxide is put into the atmosphere per m2 of space in a building over one year
  2. The analysis is in two parts which are then added together to produce an overall figure which is termed the ‘Carbon Profile’: operational carbon emissions and embodied carbon emissions
  3. Embodied carbon emissions relate to the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere from creating and maintaining the materials that form the building e.g. the carbon dioxide released from the baking of bricks or smelting or iron
  4. In the Carbon Profiling Model these emissions are measured as Embodied Carbon Efficiency (ECE), measured as kg of CO2/m2/year
  5. Occupational Carbon Emissions relate to the amount of Carbon Dioxide emitted into the atmosphere from the direct use of energy to run the building e.g. the heating or electricity used by the building over the year
  6. In the Carbon Profiling Model these emissions are measured in BER’s (Building Emission Rate) in kg of CO2/m2/year
  7. The BER is a United Kingdom government accepted unit of measurement that comes from an approved calculation process called sBEM (Simplified Building Emission Model)
  8. The purpose of Carbon Profiling is to provide a method of analyzing and comparing both operational and embodied carbon emissions at the same time
  9. With this information it is then possible to allocate a projects resources in such a way to minimize the total amount of Carbon Dioxide emitted into the atmosphere through the use of a given piece of space
  10. A secondary benefit is that having quantified the Carbon Profiling of different buildings it is then possible to make comparisons and rank buildings in term of their performance
  11. This allows investors and occupiers to identify which building are good and bad carbon investments
  12. Simon Sturgis and Gareth Roberts of Sturgis Associates in the United Kingdom originally developed ‘Carbon Profiling’ in December 2007
Issues related to Economic growth

[op-ed snap] The circular economy


Mains Paper 3: Economy | Mobilization of resources

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Circular economy, Smart Cities Mission, Indian Resource Panel

Mains level: Unique ideas that can be implemented to make economy more efficient and sustainable


Challenges of the disposable economy

  1. Products today are designed to have a shelf life
  2. It is a period of time during which they can be used and after which we are constrained to replace them
  3. This is either because a newer, more feature-rich model has presented itself or because the latest apps and software run too slowly on these old machines

What does this lead to?

  1. This economic construct requires a resource-intensive industrial infrastructure
  2. This infrastructure focuses exclusively on the extraction and consumption of natural resources without paying heed to the need for replenishment or conservation

Concept of circular economy

  1. It is a model that is regenerative by design and aimed at ensuring that products are maintained at their highest utility at all times
  2. It describes a continuous cycle aimed at preserving capital and minimizing system risk by efficiently tracking and managing finite stocks
  3. The circular economy requires that value creation be decoupled from consumption of finite resources

How does circular economy work?

  1. It draws its inspiration from the biological world where the nutrients that are metabolized by life processes are generated from other living systems after their death and ensures that the earth remains a stable, self-contained ecosystem
  2. The circular economy attempts to mimic this circle of life
  3. It tries to achieve the same results through technical cycles that recover and restore products and components through strategies like reuse, repair, refurbishment, re-manufacture and recycling
  4. It depends on sustainable practices, but more than that looks to encourage a change in the way in which people think about their business
  5. It asks them to focus on keeping products alive for as long as possible rather than requiring them to be constantly replaced

Indian society and circular economy

  1. Indian society has always had circular ideals
  2. As a people, it is ingrained in us to reuse and recycle as much as possible
  3. On average we reuse up to 60% of our discarded plastics—10 times as much as the US
  4. For the most part, this recycling happens at the end of the value chain by the poorest sections of society
  5. This results in value loss and also health risks for those who extract value from waste

Appplication of circular economy principle in present scenario

  1. While the Smart Cities Mission will help bring feedback-driven efficiencies to our cities, we could do with more constructive action in the areas of urban sanitation, water management and local community development
  2. In the agricultural sector, we should look to develop digital food supply chains that transmit accurate market information to food producers, connecting them more closely with customers
  3. We could also look to borrow from nature, developing self-sustaining cultivation habits like rice-fish farming, which improves rice yields without the use of fertilizers and pesticides
  4. The other area of the economy that shows considerable promise is urban mobility- India could ensure that, unlike the West, vehicle ownership never rises above its current 5% levels

Way Forward

  1. In 2015, the ministry of environment and forests established the Indian Resource Panel with the specific purpose of facilitating the use of recycled materials and promoting resource efficiency
  2. This initiative is facilitating efficient flows of materials from the product design stage to collection after use, repair, reuse, refurbishment, and recycling
  3. We need to tap our cultural instincts and we will have no problem adapting circular practices directly into our national economic model

[Sample Video] FRDI Bill: Samachar Manthan | Week 1: 1st – 7th Dec

Download the associated notes from here:

This is free giveaway video from the W1 of Samachar Manthan (CD’s CA Weekly program) which started on 17th December.

List of topics covered in the PAID Program for Week 1 are:
Issue 1: FRDI bill
Issue 2: Rajasthan ordinance that sought to shield public servants from probe lapses
Issue 3: Committee formed to review the IT act of 1961
Issue 4: Maldives seal FTA with China
Issue 5: Boost for exports as Government announces more incentives
Issue 6: UAE and Saudi form new group separate from GCC
Issue 7: India is biggest importer of U.S. oil refinery by-product ‘petcoke’
Issue8 : Government to enable skilled persons bag jobs abroad
Issue 9: [pib] Star Rating Protocol for Garbage Free Cities Introduced
Issue 10: [pib] SAUBHAGYA Scheme launched in Manipur
Issue11: Instant triple talaq: Draft Law
Issue 12 : Way to remove poll commissioners vague
Issue 13: Cabinet nod to nutrition mission
Issue 14: All you need to know about the Transgender Persons Bill, 2016

To know more about Samachar Manthan & Join in, Read & Subscribe here:

Core Faculty: Sajal Singh
Target: IAS 2018 (Pre/ Mains)

The program covers most important CA Topics (News + Opeds) in the news from 1st December onwards and supplements the student with:

1. Detailed notes
2. 10 questions a week + answer checking + Model answers
3. Samanvaya calls after every month

To know more about Samachar Manthan, Read & Subscribe here:

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CA Weekly:
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Primary and Secondary Education – RTE, Education Policy, SEQI, RMSA, Committee Reports, etc. Human Resource Development

India’s learning deficit is worsening: ASER study


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development & management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Annual Status of Education Report, Program for International Student Assessment, OECD

Mains level: Status of Indian education system and measures required to make it better


India’s learning problem gets worse

  1. The legacy of learning deficit visible so far in elementary school children is now being reflected among young adults too
  2. This was revealed in the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) study

Problems that arise due to this deficit

  1. Around 10% of Indian population is in this age group, their productivity has a direct bearing on India’s competitiveness as an economy
  2. They cannot be easily absorbed into the workforce—adding to the growing number of unemployed youth

New inclusions in survey

  1. This year ASER surveyed students in the age group of 14-18 years, unlike the last 12 years when it focused on students in elementary schools
  2. The survey has a smaller sample size this year
  3. This time ASER teams went beyond basics and surveyed students on activity in schools, ability to solve problems, exposure, awareness and aspirations
  4. This was done in order to gauge the ability of adolescents aged 14-18 years to lead productive lives as adults

Urgent attention required

  1. The ASER findings serve as a warning ahead of India’s participation in the rigorous Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) to be conducted by OECD in 2021
  2. In 2009, the last time it participated, India was ranked second last among 74 countries and regions that participated

[op-ed snap] The economic challenges of 2018


Mains Paper 3: Economy | Indian Economy Issues relating to planning

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Basic terms of the Economics like fiscal deficit, current account deficit, etc.

Mains level: The newscard talks about the upcoming challenges(primarily due to rising oil prices) of the Indian Economy in 2018.


Economic conditions have begun to shift

  1. Global crude oil prices have climbed to around $70 a barrel
  2. This is higher than what most Indian policy makers seem to have assumed in their models
  3. Economic growth has recovered from the depths it plunged to after the demonetisation shock
  4. Consumer price inflation has been climbing every month since it touched a low in June, and the latest number is close to the higher end of the acceptable range
  5. The trade deficit is also widening, with oil being the most important contributor but other factors such as higher imports of gold and consumer electronics also playing a part

Is all this a cause for worry?

  1. The economic stability that has been achieved in mid-2013 does not seem to be at risk—for now
  2. But untangling the effects of higher global oil prices on Indian economic growth is not an easy task
  3. There are two research papers that are worth highlighting here
  4. A working paper was published by the IMF in 2016, The Differential Effects Of Oil Demand And Supply Shocks On The Global Economy
  5. It shows that a lot depends on whether movements(up and down) in global oil prices are dominated by changes in demand or changes in supply
  6. A surge in oil prices driven by supply constraints typically hurts economic activity over a long period of time
  7. The impact is quite different in case the increase in oil prices is primarily because of higher demand
  8. In other words, a lot depends on whether the current increase in global oil prices is being driven by higher demand or lower supply
    (though the shale revolution makes the former a more likely candidate)
  9. Harvard University economist Gita Gopinath showed in a 2007 paper that emerging markets such as India have more volatile economic growth than the developed economies

Indian economy is out of danger

  1. India is nowhere near the dangerous place it was in 2013, in terms of the standard indicators of economic stability such as the fiscal deficit, the current account deficit and consumer inflation
  2. Yet, the year ahead is likely to see some deterioration in public finances, a larger current account deficit that needs to be funded with capital inflows and higher inflation as the output gap closes
  3. Indian macroeconomic policy always gets complicated when global oil prices increase steeply
    (as expected soon)

The way forward

  1. The economy in 2018 looks very different from the one in 2017
  2. And all this at a time when potential growth could have slipped to as low as 6.7%, as credit rating agency Fitch recently estimated
  3. In other words, the Indian economy could begin to heat up quickly—with higher inflation and a bigger trade deficit as the main signals
  4. Unless private sector investment picks up soon to increase productive capacity
Economic Indicators-GDP, FD,etc Finance and Banking

Budget 2018: Govt may assume 12% nominal GDP growth rate for 2018-19


Mains Paper 3: Economy | Growth

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Nominal GDP, Fiscal deficit, Central Statistics Office (CSO), goods and services tax (GST), fiscal consolidation roadmap, N.K. Singh committee, 15th Finance Commission

Mains level: India’s fiscal consolidation path and challenges in achieving the desired results


High growth rate to be assumed

  1. The finance ministry may assume a much higher nominal gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate—around 12%—for 2018-19
  2. This may help it project a rosier fiscal deficit number in the budget
  3. The figure compares with a nominal GDP growth rate of 9.5% estimated by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) for 2017-18

Estimates for present fiscal year

  1. FM had assumed nominal GDP growth of 11.75% for the 2017-18 fiscal year in his last budget
  2. Estimates put out by the Central Statistics Office showed nominal GDP may grow only by 9.5% during the year

Why fiscal deficit may widen?

  1. The lower-than-anticipated nominal GDP growth will lead to “marginal slippage” in the fiscal deficit target for 2017-18
  2. The government has increased its spending through supplementary demands for grants and has communicated that it may borrow Rs50,000 crore more by 31 March, the actual fiscal slippage could be more
  3. Indirect tax revenue has taken a hit as collections under the goods and services tax (GST) have been less than anticipated

New fiscal consolidation roadmap to be deferred

  1. The finance ministry has signalled that it may defer implementing the new fiscal consolidation roadmap recommended by the N.K. Singh committee by two years
  2. Ministry has tasked the 15th Finance Commission to dwell on the matter
  3. The Committee’s recommendations on fiscal discipline were supposed to come into force in the next fiscal year starting April
  4. The 15th Finance Commission’s recommendations will be implemented starting April 2020


Nominal GDP

  1. GDP is the monetary value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country’s borders in a specific time period
  2. Nominal GDP is gross domestic product (GDP) evaluated at current market prices
  3. The main difference between nominal and real values is that real values are adjusted for inflation, while nominal values are not
  4. As a result, nominal GDP will often appear higher than real GDP
  5. Nominal GDP is used as the base to calculate key fiscal indicators such as the fiscal deficit, revenue deficit and debt-to-GDP ratio that are used to gauge fiscal health
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan Bilateral Relations

Pakistan examining proposal for DGMO-level talks with India: report


Mains Paper 2: IR | India & its neighborhood- relations

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: DGMO

Mains level: Rising tension along India-Pakistan border and ways to resolve it


Reducing tensions along LoC

  1. Pakistan is examining a proposal for a DGMO-level meeting with India after a gap of four years
  2. This is to reduce tensions along the Line of Control and the Working Boundary through fresh confidence-building measures

Measures being planned

  1. According to the report, one of the confidence-building measures being considered for the planned meeting of DGMOs is “calibre reduction” of the arms being used at the LoC

Previous attempts

  1. In November, a telephonic conversation between the two DGMOs took place following a request by the Pakistani side
  2. Pakistan-India DGMOs have a frequent hotline contact, but they last met face-to-face four years ago at Wagah
Issues and Judgments related to SC

Government to revisit Malimath report on criminal justice system


Mains Paper 2: Polity | Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms & institutions

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Justice Malimath Committee, Evidence Act, National Judicial Commission, Article 124

Mains level: Reforms required in criminal justice system


Committee report on reforms in the criminal justice system

  1. The Committee on Reforms of the Criminal Justice System, or the Justice Malimath Committee, was constituted by the Home Ministry in 2000
  2. The committee recommended admissibility of confessions made before a police officer as evidence in a court of law
  3. The report is now being revisited by the Centre

Major recommendations

  1. The Committee had suggested constituting a National Judicial Commission and amending Article 124 to make impeachment of judges less difficult
  2. It had suggested that Section 54 of Evidence Act be substituted by a provision to the effect that in criminal cases, evidence of bad character and antecedents is relevant
  3. Just as evidence of good character of the accused is relevant, evidence regarding bad character of the accused should also be relevant


Article 124

  1. Article 124 of Constitution of India deals with Establishment and constitution of Supreme Court
  2. It deals with the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court of India
  3. It also talks about the number of judges to the superior Courts, their qualification and the mode of appointment of Chief Justice of India
  4. It talks about the impeachment of judges and mentions the two conditions (proved misbehaviour or incapacity) in which the impeachment be exercised
  5. It also imposes restrictions on the judges of Supreme Court by restraining them from pleading or appearing before any authority within the territory of India
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