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Author: Root

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

May 2018
« Apr    

[NextIAS] Know everything about the PNB fraud

In February 2018, Punjab National Bank (PNB) disclosed fraud allegedly by Nirav Modi relating to fraudulent letter of undertaking worth 11,600 crore.

Who are all involved in the scam?

  1. In its complaint, PNB has alleged that the fraud was led by Nirav Modi, a jeweller who’s No. 85 on Forbes’s 2017 list of India’s richest people.
  2. It is alleged that Modi and his relative Mehul Choksi and companies linked with them colluded with a former PNB employee, Gokulnath Shetty, who was a deputy general manager in the foreign-exchange department in one of its branches in Mumbai to pull off the heist.


  1. In PNB fraud, letters of undertaking (LOU) were issued in favour of Nirav Modi bypassing the bank’s reporting system (Core Banking Solution-CBS) through SWIFT messages to overseas banks without authorisation, without proper import documents and without obtaining margin money.
  2. These LoUs — which are equivalent to providing credit and should be recorded as contingent liabilities — were not so recorded in CBS, so as to avoid detection by audit system and internal controls.
  3. Overseas bank remit funds to Nostro account of PNB, backed by LOU.

Under RBI guideline, buyer’s credit for import of gems should not exceed 90 days from the shipment date; however in this case they were rolled over repeatedly. By rolling over the credit, Nirav Modi ensured that subsequent LOUs repaid the dues on earlier LOUs.


How did it come to Light?

  1. The scam came to light in January 2018, when representatives of Nirav Modi’s companies approached PNB for a fresh loan. By then, Shetty had retired and his successor declined to honour Modi’s request.
  2. At this, the firms contested that they have been availing this facility in the past also but the branch records did not reveal details of any such facility.
  3. This was when the fake letters of the undertaking were discovered

Reach out to Next IAS for more information on their upcoming programs: Click here and fill up a simple form

[motivation] How to stop the mind chatter and focus on the exam ahead

Zen Buddhists refer to the constant chatter of the mind as monkey mind.

The Buddha held that the human mind is filled with drunken monkeys flinging themselves from tree branches, jumping around, and chattering nonstop. He meant that our minds are in constant motion. Typical mind chatter sounds like the following:

  • Your mind reading off a laundry list of to-do items
  • Your mind listing its fears, both real and imaginary: UPSC lowered the seat quota by 200. That means ~8,000 guys will clear the prelims. I am already 2 attempts down and many of the incumbent service guys re-take the exam. What are the odds!
  • Your mind recalling hurtful things that have happened in the past
  • Your mind judging the present
  • Your mind creating catastrophic “what-if” scenarios of the future: Mis firings in mocks, excessive guesswork without enough practice of tikdams, what if paper 2 comes out to be even more difficult than last year’s

Buddha showed his students how to meditate in order to tame the drunken monkeys in their minds. It’s useless to fight with the monkeys or to try to banish them from your mind because, as we all know, that which you resist persists.

Instead, Buddha said, if you will spend some time each day in quiet meditation — simply calm your mind by focusing on your breathing or a simple mantra — you can, over time, tame the monkeys. They will grow more peaceful if you lovingly bring them into submission with a consistent practice of meditation.

One of the most effective practices to taming the monkey mind is: 

Establish a Journaling Practice: 

By establishing a regular journaling practice, you’ll be setting aside a window of time each day specifically to address your monkey mind’s concerns. Do the following:

  • Let your monkey mind know that every morning you’re going to give it 15 to 20 minutes to run amok.
  • During this time, write down what you’re thinking, what you’re feeling, and anything that you’re worried about.
  • Do this for the amount of time that you’ve allotted to journaling, and then stop.

Note: We have created an [open] Telegram group for students [Click2join] who want to share their daily timelines and timesheets and get peers approval and keep the motivation up! Join the free initiative.

Once the time is up, let your monkey know that it’s had it’s say for the day, and that you will not pay attention to anything else it says until the next day’s journaling session. Then, keep your word. If your monkey mind starts screeching at any other time of the day, refuse to place your attention on whatever thoughts the monkey mind is generating.

Tell your monkey mind the following: “Your session for today is over. Wait until tomorrow’s session. I’ll listen to you then.” Soon, your monkey mind will realize that it’s completely futile to make a fuss at any time other than during your journaling sessions.

Mentoring takes a whole new meaning when you subscribe to our Prelims cum Mains Programme: We take care of your day to day queries within our dedicated Samachar Manthan Group and top up your preparation with annotated notes.

Link to join the combo course of Samachar Manthan + Flagship TS: Read this

Sample Annotated PDFs on everyday’s Op-eds:


[Holi Motivation] 5 Things You Should Start Doing Today To Motivate Yourself For Success

1. Understand your why

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” – Mark Twain

Understand your purpose and it will fuel your drive.

If I told you that it was your job was to read newscards everyday, make notes of changes in the polity and economical structure of the scheme of things and solve MCQs, would you feel a strong sense of purpose? Or would you feel like a self enforced drudgery? Now, what if I told you that going through this strenuous drill, you will prepare yourself for the upcoming, sometimes unpalatable stress which the IAS, IPS jobs behold. That your purpose is to go through large swathes of data and take a smart call when an unforeseen situation arrives. Would that change your perspective and your sense of purpose in the work?

Now that you understand the purpose of the work, does it potentially change your attitude?

2. Stay focused on the big picture

“Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you believe.” – Oprah Winfrey

Admit it. There will be days when staying put with revisions will feel boring. When MCQs feel repetitive. When you feel like you have a tonnes of things on the back burner and you don’t know how many op-eds, newscards, summaries are good enough to master that painful eco survey. Or when you’re just plain irritated. The easy thing to do is to feel frustrated and to give up. Or you could stay focused on the big picture.

Vipin Garg did not get to Rank 20 in his first attempt. Not even in his second. In fact, he did not get any rank in his first 2 attempts. But he stayed put and did not let his guards down for prelims, mains, optionals or interview. He did not take anything for granted.

If he would have caved and stopped taking the mocks, revisiting the newspaper’s basics, do you think AIR 20 would have happened?

At Civilsdaily, we have meticulously designed and crafted our Prelims TS to suit the needs of first timers, senior and very senior players!

We will soon be starting our Prelims 2018 Focussed Crash Course and students of our TS and Samachar Manthan will get priority access and subscription discounts.

3. Get active

A lot of times it’s hard to get motivated if you’re not in a good mood. Research has shown that working out multiple times a week for a reasonable period of time can reduce the symptoms of depression. Exercising for thirty minutes can also increase levels of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which can help to reduce stress.


  • Serotonin: It is a neurotransmitter which is produced and spread by neurons in the brain. It is formed by the amino acid called tryptophan. This is a part of protein from our daily diet
  • Dopamine: What do drug addiction and Parkinson’s disease have in common? Improper levels of dopamine (DOAP-uh-meen). This chemical acts as a messenger between brain cells. Dopamine also helps with reinforcement — motivating us to do something again and again.

Exercise for at least thirty minutes (especially in the morning), you will be a lot more relaxed throughout the day, less stressed out, and have an ability to think much more clearly. Also, if you’re pushing yourself in your workouts, you’re testing your boundaries, and this can be really healthy.

4. Have an accountability buddy

“Surround yourself with people who push you, who challenge you, who make you laugh, who make you better, who make you happy.” – Anonymous

This is one thing that we have effectively solved for our students who go for our Prelims cum Mains Bundle: Flagship TS + Samachar Manthan. Daily conversations, doubts resolution within the community and an active support group driven by the mentors makes up for a motivating environment (+ weekly summarised video & notes, 10 questions with model answers, mentor review)

This telegram snippet which you see if from our private community. Weekly notes and videos are further expanded here.

Link to join the combo course of Samachar Manthan + Flagship TS: Read this

If you don’t have the financial freedom to join any of our paid courses for now, we encourage you to join our community

5. Brainstorm your daily plan and write them down

Not all of your ideas will be good. It doesn’t matter. Write them down anyway. We got this idea from Vipin Garg (Rank 20). One thing we can do is voicing your daily plan on the [open] community: Click2join the telegram group and let the group act as your conscience keeper.

We are here to contribute to your success by innovating and constantly upgrading our offerings to ensure your motivation levels keep up with the desired prep levels.

Till date, 600+ students have received Samanvaya calls (Mentoring 101) calls from CD. At ~30 minutes per call, our mentors have collectively spent ~18,000 minutes listening to your concerns and constraints.

We ensure that our courses and faculty stay true to one purpose. Come 1st April, we are going to come up with a Prelims Refresher course with a never seen before emphasis on the most important UPSC themes like: Govt. Schemes, Maps, IR and S&T.

[Announcement] Fall 7 times. Stand up 8.

Not everyone has a flawless academic record and experiencing setbacks is okay. Sometimes we get so haunted by one failure, which usually happens to be trivial, that we get too terrified to even try again. But as this proverb suggests, even if you fail seven times, you stand up on the eighth.

Make sure that you attempt all the mocks that you have been allotted as a part of your Flagship Prelims TS. Don’t worry about your wrong attempt in the mocks. Don’t worry about scores or lack of there of. Don’t go so hard on yourself. Your actual marks are going to be +10, 15 from what you get here.

Learn from your mistakes here. Read up on the expert analysis given at the end of the exams. The solutions PDFs and the tikdams that you get out of each test will help you in good stead for the exam ahead on 3rd June, 2018.

Fresh Batch starts on 10th February:

Fresh batch of Flagship Prelims (32 tests with tikdams and explanations) + Samachar Manthan (CA Weekly classes) start on 10th February: Click here to join both at a 20% discount

  • The Flagship Test Series: 5500 + taxes: Join here
  • CA Weekly Program (Samachar Manthan): 7,000 + taxes: Join here | For detailed prospectus: click here
  • [Popular Combo] The Flagship Prelims Test series + CA weekly program combo comes for 9,997 + taxes: Join here

[Announcement] A crisis is a terrible thing to waste. Get into the mindset of an elite exam taker

We have always believed that every cloud has a silver lining, and so is with the surprise of reduction in (-200) intake quota for UPSC 2018. To paraphrase Paul Romer, the noted Stanford economist: “A crisis is a terrible thing to waste”.

What does a reduction in intake quota mean for an IAS aspirant?

  1. This year, UPSC has the lowest recruitment in the whole decade (782 vacancies i.e. 198 less than last year and 511 jobs less than the best year-2014.)
  2. This means less number of candidates will get chance to write Mains or appear in Interview
  3. This means less number of candidates will qualify through the prelims. Expect the number to go down to ~9,000

Understandably, this may crush the morale of the freshers who are bound to compete with senior aspirants, in-service officers who wish to improve their ranks. But here lies the catch:

Most people react hysterically when an unforeseen announcement comes through. Same stuff happened with the introduction of ethics paper and reduction of one optional paper. Hold your ground right now and don’t give in to the peer induced anxiety:

  1. Don’t get lost in your historical attempts: A fresh mindset has the best chance to increase his/her efforts and focus just on cracking the prelims exam right now rather than getting lost in his/ her historical optional, mains attempt analysis
  2. Get good at guessing questions right: Low IAS intake = Increased competition = Spiraling cut-offs = More guesswork = Higher chances of errors = Lower chances of selection through prelims
  3. To ensure that you use point #2 induced frenzy to your advantage, solve a lot of papers starting today. Get great at calculated guessing or what Dr. Vipin Garg here at CD calls as “The Art of Tikdams”
  4. Revise, repeat the Current Affairs on a weekly basis and attempt monthly tests to ensure you leave nothing from past 1-2 year window

Fresh Batch starts on 10th February:

Fresh batch of Flagship Prelims (32 tests with tikdams and explanations) + Samachar Manthan (CA Weekly classes) start on 10th February: Click here to join both at a 20% discount

  • The Flagship Test Series: 5500 + taxes: Join here
  • CA Weekly Program (Samachar Manthan): 7,000 + taxes: Join here | For detailed prospectus: click here
  • [Popular Combo] The Flagship Prelims Test series + CA weekly program combo comes for 9,997 + taxes: Join here

[video] Fiscal stimulus debate, GDP growth and other factors of economy

Download the associated notes from here-

To know more about Samachar Manthan Phase 2 & Join in, Read & Subscribe here:

This is a sample video from the Week 7 of Samachar Manthan (CD’s CA Weekly program) which started on 17th December. The Economic survey program will be based on same lines.

Core Faculty: Sajal Singh Target: IAS 2018 (Pre/ Mains) The program covers most important topics from Economic Survey/Budget and supplements the student with:

1. Detailed notes

2. 200 MCQs

3. Probable questions for Mains Purchase Links: Economic survey program:

[Sample Video] Adultery Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code IPC | Samachar Manthan by CD

Download the associated notes from here-

List of topics covered in the PAID Program for Week 2 are:

  • Issue 1: Section 497 of the IPC
  • Issue 2: A massive Victory for left alliance in Nepal
  • Issue 3: India Becomes the member of Wassenar arrangement
  • Issue 4: US recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capitals
  • Issue 5: Govt, ASEAN in talks to take IMT highway up to Vietnam
  • Issue 6: No WTO deal without food security: India
  • Issue 7: Centre examining health effects of e-cigarettes: Nadda

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

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

[Book Launch] Ethics, Integrity And Aptitude: A Book by Mitra Sir

Click to buy this book from Amazon

Ever since GS IV ethics paper has been introduced in IAS, Mitra Sir has taken lead and mentored more than 10000 candidates all over India.

Consequently, we have have more than 100 results to our credit including all India rank 2, 11, 33, etc in previous years.

Now Mitra Sir has come out with book compiled in two volumes which is the closest to the specific demands of IAS examination. Apart from syllabus topics, books also covers peripheral topics so that students could get a comprehensive view. Introduction Ethics is all about choice. To make choice one need not to have any specialized training or degree.

All the time we all, irrespective of our educational background (with or without), make choices. But, yes, if we practice ethical reasoning or get acquainted with some moral theories, definitely we will be in better position to make sensible choices. Today global concern is not merely ethics. Rather it is the inculcation of values because just by knowing what is good or bad does not make us to do right things.

Ethics can ensure outer desired behaviour. It can impose certain rules, regulations, laws or code of conduct superficially only. All these would be followed under given compulsion. But they might be broken the moment these compulsions are no more. Real transformation in the system and society can come only if values are imbibed. That is, if sound values are inculcated within, the action becomes voluntary, spontaneous and self motivated.

Naturally, such actions will be effective, humane and wholesome in nature.

[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:

Purchase Links:
Flagship Prelims + CA Weekly: (Combo at 10% Disc.)
CA Weekly:
Flagship Prelims Only:
Contact Us:

[Prelims 2017] Launching Flagship Batch 2

  1. We are launching the 2nd and final batch of Flagship Course
  2. This is your LAST chance to join the Flagship course from start
  3. TS starts from 14th december
  4. You will get 3 monthly digests (Target Mains, Newscards & op-eds, Prelims Daily) for FREE
  5. Only change is – Time table (fast paced to get you upto speed with advanced students)
  6. To know the syllabus, timetable and join the TS – Click here and register
  7. Have any questions? Mail us at

[pib] Know more about Clean Energy Cess – Carbon Tax of India

  1. Clean Energy Cess (now renamed as Clean Environment Cess) is levied on coal, lignite and peat
  2. Clean Environment Cess also acts as green tax, on the lines of polluter pays principle
  3. In many countries carbon taxes are levied also on other fossil fuels like petroleum, natural gas etc. However, in India this is applied only on coal and its variants – lignite and peat.


  1. The fund raised through the cess is being used for the National Clean Energy Fund for funding research and innovative projects in clean energy technologies or renewable energy sources

Types of Coal in India:

  1. The value of coal depends on the concentration of carbon in its composition.
  2. The varieties of Coal that are generally found in India are Anthracite, Bituminous, Lignite, and Peat.
  3. Anthracite Coal ranks highest amongst the coals.
  4. Bituminous Coal is commercial coal. It is used as steam coal, household coal, coking coal, gas coal, etc. It is to be washed in a washery in order to reduce the sulphur and ash contents.
  5. Lignite is also inferior in calorific value.
  6. Peat has got no fuel value practically. It has the least combustible matter. It is the first stage in the development of coal.


Make note of point 3 for Prelims on Carbon Tax.

[pib] Initiatives taken by the India through the NTCA to protect and conserve tiger and other wildlife

This one is going to be a long but important newscard.

Legal steps:

  1. Amendment of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 in 2006 to provide enabling provisions for constituting the National Tiger Conservation Authority
  2. Enhancement of punishment for offence in relation to the core area of a tiger reserve

Administrative steps:

  1. Constitution of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) + constituting State level Steering Committees under the Chairmanship of Chief Ministers and establishment of Tiger Conservation Foundation.
  2. In-principle approval has been accorded by the National Tiger Conservation Authority for creation of new tiger reserves (quite a few of them actually)
  3. Constitution of a multi-disciplinary Tiger and Other Endangered Species Crime Control Bureau (Wildlife Crime Control Bureau)
  4. A scientific methodology for estimating tiger (including co-predators, prey animals and assessment of habitat status) has been evolved and mainstreamed

Financial steps:

  1. Financial and technical help is provided to the State Governments under various Centrally Sponsored Schemes, such as “Project Tiger” and “Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats”

International Cooperation:

  1. India has a bilateral understanding with Nepal on controlling trans-boundary illegal trade in wildlife and conservation, apart from a protocol on tiger conservation with China.
  2. A protocol has been signed in September, 2011 with Bangladesh for conservation of the Royal Bengal Tiger of the Sunderban.
  3. A sub-group on tiger and leopard conservation has been constituted for cooperation with the Russian Federation.
  4. India is the founder member of the Global Tiger Forum of Tiger Range Countries for addressing international issues related to tiger conservation.
  5. The 3rd Asia Ministerial Conference (3 AMC) was organized in New Delhi from 12-14 April 2016. India went with the statement- “conservation of tigers is not a choice, it is an imperative”
  6. Tiger Range Countries resolved to ensure the conservation of tigers in the wild and their habitats by 2022


  1. Creation of Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF): The Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF) has been made operational in the States of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Odisha
  2. In collaboration with TRAFFIC-INDIA, an online tiger crime data base has been launched
  3. Launching ‘Monitoring system for Tigers’ Intensive Protection and Ecological Status (M-STrIPES)’ for effective field patrolling and monitoring.
  4. Tiger re-introduction programs: The successful reintroduction of wild tigers in Sariska is a unique exercise and is the first of its kind in the world.



Take a deep breath and go through this card again. There is so much more to the theme of tiger conservation in India than what we gave here (we kept the most important stuff). Make a note of Tiger reserves and its various realms. The intl. cooperation part is important for Mains.


[pib] Rivers Under National River Conservation Programme. What’s that?

  1. The Water Resources Information System (WRIS) database developed by Central Water Commission along with Indian Space Research Organisation includes 15,615 numbers of identified rivers/streams in the country.
  2. Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in association with the State Pollution Control Boards is monitoring the water quality of rivers
  3. Bio-chemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) level in rivers is a key indicator of organic pollution.
  4. Programs for river conservation are being implemented under National River Conservation Plan (NRCP) and NGRBA (National Ganga River Basin Authority)
  5. The PIB article mentions that there is no proposal of this Ministry to bring all rivers under the ambit of NRCP. That means only selected few rivers of India would be entertained


What is BOD?

  1. Biochemical oxygen demand is a measure of the quantity of oxygen used by microorganisms (e.g., aerobic bacteria) in the oxidation of organic matter.
  2. Initial DO – Final DO = BOD | DO = Dissolved Oxygen
  3. Natural sources of organic matter include plant decay and leaf fall.
  4. The bacteria then begins the process of breaking down this waste.
  5. When this happens, much of the available dissolved oxygen is consumed by aerobic bacteria, robbing other aquatic organisms of the oxygen they need to live.

Brief history of river conservation in India

  1. 1985: The river conservation programme in the country was initiated with the launching of the Ganga Action Plan (GAP)
  2. 1995: The Ganga Action Plan was expanded to cover other rivers under National River Conservation Plan (NRCP)
  3. NRCP, excluding the GAP-I, GAP-II and National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) programme presently covers polluted stretches of 40 rivers in 121 towns spread over 19 States
  4. 2014: The work relating to Ganga and its tributaries had been allotted to Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation (MoWR, RD&GR).
  5. NRCP is under Ministry of Enviro

Various Sources of Pollution in Rivers, Lakes and Wetlands

  1. 75% from Domestic sources and 25% from Industrial effluents.
  2. Point sources: These are organized sources of pollution where the pollution load can be measured, e.g. surface drains carrying municipal sewage or industrial effluents
  3. Non-point sources: These are non-measurable sources of pollution such as run-off from agricultural fields carrying chemicals and fertilizers, run-off from solid waste dumps


Prelims worthy. Make notes of the stakeholders involved in these progs. Note the diff between 2 kinds of sources. Now that you know about BOD, what’s COD?

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