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Author: Tanay Rathi

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December 2017
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Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code Finance and Banking

[op-ed snap] Changed priorities


Mains Paper 3: Economy | Mobilization of resources

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Non-performing assets, bankruptcy, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) 2016, CRILC, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India

Mains level: Measures related to tackling NPAs


  1. The 2017 Forbes India List says that the combined net worth of India’s 100 wealthiest stood at a whopping $479 billion
  2. Even then, top corporate borrower groups in India are unable to repay loans and make timely interest payments

Tackling NPAs

  1. The government has taken the high moral ground to deal with the menace of non-performing assets (NPAs)
  2. NPAs have brought many public sector banks on the verge of bankruptcy
  3. Government brought an ordinance on November 23 amending the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) 2016
  4. It disqualified errant promoter from participating in the bidding process

Intent of ordinance

  1. It signals the government’s intent to shift attention away from recovery of bad loans to selling the assets of defaulting corporates
  2. The May 2017 ordinance directed banks to accept deep haircuts on their non-performing loans

Corporates-bank nexus

  1. These corporates have not been downgraded on their creditworthiness parameter although the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has been monitoring all large loans through the Central Repository of Information on Large Credits (CRILC) since 2014

Loopholes in IBC

  1. The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) is the regulator set up on October 1, 2016, under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code
  2. The IBBI is assisted by the disciplinary, advisory and technical committees
  3. The resolution professionals entrusted with the responsibility of sorting out the insolvent companies or individuals can be registered with any one of the three insolvency professional agencies
  4. The advisory committees on corporate insolvency and liquidation are chaired by several top corporates
  5. The appointment of corporates as heads of important corporate insolvency advisory committees under IBBI does not inspire confidence in the credibility of the resolution process

Way forward

  1. The recent ordinance may end up being used selectively to defeat the very objective of penalizing the errant promoter
  2. The banks will only lose if resolution is sidetracked by the ensuing power struggle among corporate India to purchase distressed assets at rock-bottom prices
Child Rights – POSCO, Child Labour Laws, NAPC, etc. Human Resource Development

Crackdown on child porn, rape videos with ISP norms, portal


Mains Paper 2: Governance | mechanisms, laws, institutions & Bodies constituted for the protection & betterment of these vulnerable sections.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Hash value, Information Technology Act, 2000

Mains level: Child pornography and measures to deal with this problem


Centralised reporting of complaints against child pornography and rape videos

  1. The Union Home Ministry will issue guidelines for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and set up an online portal by next month for centralized reporting of complaints against child pornography and rape videos
  2. The move follows directions from the Supreme Court on setting up such a portal by January 10
  3. The Home Ministry is also expected to write to DGPs/IGs of all states and Union Territories, directing them to ensure reporting of such videos on social media or other online platforms

How will this be done?

  1. Ministry will generate a hash value (a code) of all such videos and child sexual abuse material and share it with the content service provider, which will be used to identify such videos online
  2. A list of 500 keywords used in searching for such videos has also been compiled and will be shared with the ISPs, including Google, Yahoo, Facebook, WhatsApp and Microsoft
  3. The Home Ministry has also sanctioned Rs 80 crore for setting up forensic labs in all states and Union Territories for Cyber Crime Prevention against Women and Child (CCPWC)

Changes sought in rules by states

  1. The states urged the Centre to bring amendments to the Information Technology Act, 2000 and authorise a sub-inspector (SI)-level officer to investigate such cases
  2. At present, only an inspector-level officer can investigate IT-related offences

Suggestions by expert committee

  1. Committee was headed by Ajay Kumar, then additional secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology
  2. It suggested that the government must ensure that Search Engines other than those already implementing URL blocks for identified child porn/rape and gang rape content initiate similar processes
  3. Internet companies should consider providing support to Indian NGOs to help bring awareness
  4. WhatsApp should make further improvement in their reporting process
  5. This would enable easier reporting of contents in the app while maintaining the integrity of the contents and metadata available on phone at the time of reporting
  6. Content hosting platforms, social media platforms, and search engines should provide links for reporting child porn and rape imagery as a specific category, which must be more prominently displayed on their pages

Solution of the problem

  1. The solution lay in proactively identifying rogue sites by an independent agency which can identify sites that contains child porn and rape and gang rape content and blocking these sites
  2. To prevent the circulation of subject imagery, the government can block any additional sites/applications if they do not remove such contents of their own
Tobacco: The Silent Killer Health

Karnataka HC strikes down rule on stringent tobacco pack warnings


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

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level:  Cigarette and other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Amendment Rules, 2014, Article 77 (Conduct of Business of Government of India), Article 19

Mains level: Government efforts to limit usage of tobacco


2014 rules on graphics unconstitutional, says HC

  1. Karnataka High Court on Friday declared as unconstitutional the Cigarette and other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Amendment Rules, 2014
  2. These rules had enhanced to 85% the area of pictorial warning on the principal area of packages of cigarette and other tobacco products
  3. The court upheld the similar Rules of 2008
  4. The 2008 rules — which had prescribed that 40% of the specified pictorial warning be printed on the principal area of the packages — would be in force until the Union government frames a fresh rule or amends the 2008 rules

Reason given behind the ruling

  1. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare unilaterally framed the Rules without concurrence of the other departments concerned
  2. This was a violation of the Article 77 (Conduct of Business of Government of India) and the Transaction of Business (ToB) rules framed under it
  3. The rules were notified even before the Parliamentary Committee on sub-ordinate legislations was examining them
  4. Parliamentary Committee, in its final report submitted on March 15, 2016, had recommended restricting the area of pictorial warning to 50%
  5.  The rules are contrary to Article 19(1)(g) [right to practice any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business] as they are “unreasonable” restrictions imposed “without application of mind or any basis”

Opposition from ministries

  1. Ministry of Commerce had opposed 85% area for pictorial warning on the ground that it would not result in any benefit and wanted to restrict the pictorial warnings to 40% or 50%
  2. The Labour Ministry had opposed pictorial warning for the reason that it would harm the beedi industry, on which several poor families are depending upon for their livelihood

Government reasoning inappropriate

  1. Referring to cautions and contents of warnings lime “smoking kills” or “tobacco kills”, “smoking causes cancer”, etc, court pointed out that no medical or scientific data or empirical research was conducted and data collected placed before the court in this regard
  2. Tobacco products inside the packages remain legally sellable even after changed pictorial warning
Women Safety Issues – Marital Rape, Domestic Violence, Swadhar, Nirbhaya Fund, etc. Human Resource Development

Cabinet gives nod to bill against instant triple talaq


Mains Paper 2: Governance | mechanisms, laws, institutions & Bodies constituted for the protection & betterment of these vulnerable sections

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, Domestic Violence Act

Mains level: Present provisions for safety of women and their inefficiency in dealing with crimes against women


Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill gets cabinet approval

  1. The bill would give legal teeth to women of the community to fight talaq-e-biddat or instant triple talaq
  2. The law, when passed by the Parliament, would hold against instant triple talaq in “oral, written, electronic or in any other form”
  3. Bill makes the practice a “cognizable and non-bailable” offense
  4. Any declaration of talaq-e-biddat by the husband shall be “illegal and void”
  5. The law would be applicable to the entire country except for Jammu and Kashmir

Why a separate bill?

  1. The provisions of the Domestic Violence Act were found to be of little help in such cases even as the government and the Prime Minister’s Office were receiving complaints from women

What next?

  1. Once the law is passed in Parliament, the Muslim clergy will have no role in cases of talaq-e-biddat and women can directly approach police for redress

Key provisions of the bill

  1. The law proposes three years’ jail to a man who resorts to instant triple talaq
  2. It enables the woman of such a divorce to move court seeking “subsistence allowance” for herself and the children
  3. Under the provisions in the Bill, a Muslim woman can seek custody of her minor children from the court
  4. Besides imprisonment, the husband will also be liable to pay a fine

Effect of SC judgment

  1. On August 22, the Supreme Court had “set aside” the centuries-old practice of instant triple talaq by calling the practice un-Islamic and “arbitrary”
Medical Education Governance in India Governance

Cabinet clears Bill to replace Medical Council of India


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: National Medical Commission Bill, Medical Council of India (MCI)

Mains level: Corruption and unethical practices in medical sector


National Medical Commission Bill now needs Parliament approval

  1. The Union Cabinet has cleared the National Medical Commission Bill, which does away with the Medical Council of India (MCI)
  2. The bill replaces MCI with a regulator that will do away with “heavy-handed regulatory control” over medical institutions
  3. It will also bring in a national licentiate examination

Key provisions of the bill

  1. Ease the processes for colleges to manage undergraduate and postgraduate courses
  2. Earlier, the MCI approval was needed for establishing, renewing, recognizing and increasing seats in a UG course
  3. Under the new proposal, permissions need only be sought for establishment and recognition
  4. The Bill proposes a government-nominated chairman and members, who will be selected by a committee under the Cabinet Secretary
  5. The 25-member NMC will have 12 ex-officio members, including four presidents of boards from leading medical institutions such as AIIMS and the ICMR; 11 part-time members and, a chairman and member-secretary

NMC to be less draconian

  1. Deterrence for non-compliance with maintenance of standards is in terms of monetary penalty
  2. The new commission will also have the power to frame guidelines for fees for up to 40% seats in private colleges and deemed universities

Why this bill?

  1. The Bill is aimed at bringing reforms in the medical education sector which has been under scrutiny for corruption and unethical practices
Climate Change Impact on India and World – International Reports, Key Observations, etc. Climate Change

No lake formation near Gaumukh or along the course of river Bhagirathi: reports


Mains Paper 1: Geography | changes in critical geographical features (including waterbodies & ice-caps) & in flora & fauna & the effects of such changes

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Gangotri glacier, Gaumukh, Bhagirathi river, landslide

Mains level: Early detection of disasters and prevention


No lake formation at Gaumukh

  1. A team of scientists and government officials who did an aerial survey of the Gangotri glacier dismissed claims of any lake formation at Gaumukh which could hinder the course of the Bhagirathi river
  2. This was done day after the Uttarakhand high court ordered the state government to clear the lake that had formed near Gaumukh
  3. The high court had instructed the state government to clear the lake near Gaumukh to prevent any future disasters like the one at Kedarnath in June 2013
  4. Gaumukh is the snout of the Gangotri glacier from where the Bhagirathi river originates

Reason behind “lake” formation

  1. The satellite data available with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) from November 2011 to October 2017 was analyzed by the expert agencies
  2. It was observed that in July 2017 a landslide had occurred due to which debris had been deposited “slightly away” from Gaumukh
  3. It showed “minor pondage” near the snout of the Gangotri glacier, but “no blockage” was observed in the Bhagirathi river

Is this anything to worry about?

  1. There was no imminent danger from the landslide that had occurred during the rainy season of 2017
  2. At present, there exists no lake along the course of the river and there isn’t any obstruction in the path of the river
Electoral Reforms In India Indian Polity

SC clears 12 special courts to try cases against politicians


Mains Paper 2: Polity | Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Fast-track courts, provisions related to election of convicted persons to Parliament/legislative assemblies

Mains level: Electoral reforms being brought about by Judiciary


SC nod to set up 12 fast track courts 

  1. The Supreme Court gave the green signal for the Centre’s scheme to set up 12 fast-track courts
  2. These courts will exclusively prosecute and dispose of 1,581 criminal cases pending against Members of Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies within a year
  3. The States shall, in consultation with the High Courts concerned, make the courts operational by March 1, 2018

About the scheme

  1. These 1,581 criminal cases were declared by politicians in their nominations during the 2014 general elections
  2. The scheme proposes to club the cases of several politicians together and have one court hear them
  3. This way it is expected that a special court would finish at least 100 cases a year
  4. The Supreme Court directed the High Courts, acting through the various trial courts, to trace out from the case records the criminal cases pending against politicians and transfer them to the special courts concerned for adjudication

Read more about the issue here

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

[op-ed snap] Gender-based laws: a double-edged sword


Mains Paper 1: Social issues | Social empowerment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Hindu Marriage Act

Mains level: Measures needed to remove gender-based discrimination from society


  1. The Supreme Court’s notice to the government regarding Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), relating to adultery laws, has brought dated assumptions about gender to light

What is the law?

  1. The law allows the husband to initiate criminal proceedings against his wife’s lover
  2. It does not punish his wife since it presumes that only a man can seduce a woman into a sexual act
  3. Also, it is the husband who has suffered due to the sexual relationship of his wife, carried out without his consent
  4. At the same time, the wife is not protected from similar behavior committed by her husband

What is the problem with the law?

  1. The problem with this law is that it treats men and women differently
  2. It perpetuates the notion that women are somehow naive, gullible, and lack the agency a man possesses

Is this the only law doing discrimination?

  1. This caricature can be seen in other laws too
  2. The law criminalizes consensual sex between minors as rape committed by the boy 
  3. Women are legally entitled to maintenance from their father until they get married, while boys are only allowed this until they are 18
  4. If a woman dies without a will, the Hindu inheritance laws put the rights of her husband’s heirs above those of her parents
  5. Women cannot be jailed for not filing their income tax
  6. Marital rape is considered an oxymoron

Ad hoc provisions for women security

  1. In the light of its failure to provide security, the state has resorted to protecting the interests of women through ad hoc provisions
  2. These have proved to be counterproductive
  3. Example: The recent legislation mandating paid maternity leave of 26 weeks and crèche facility in companies hiring more than 50 employees
  4. The law intends to benefit working women, but the second-order effects of the piece of legislation will likely be that firms will hire fewer women, and pay those they hire less salary to compensate for the maternity benefits
  5. The law furthers several stereotypes as well—that all women want to have babies, that all women want 26 weeks of paid leave, that it is only the woman’s job to take care of the newborn

State has used the law to perpetuate cultural practices

  1. If relationships are abusive, it should be easy for the parties to leave them
  2. But till as recently as September 2017, the Hindu Marriage Act required that even couples seeking divorce through mutual consent demonstrate that they had tried to work on their marriage
  3. They should wait for at least six months after they had first filed for divorce
  4. There is, however, still no provision for divorce on grounds of ‘irretrievable breakdown of marriage’—a standard practice in other countries

Way forward

  1. In a civilized society, physical strength should not determine your options in life
  2. In the West, more social progress on gender equality has been made because women are relatively freer to live independent lives
  3. The process is likely to be no different in India
  4. It’s time to remove from the law all privileges and disadvantages that are based on gender
Financial Inclusion in India and Its Challenges Finance and Banking

Income inequality in India worsens, but slower than Russia and China: report


Mains Paper 3: Economy | Inclusive growth & issues arising from it.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: World Inequality Report, new direct tax code, universal basic income

Mains level: Various types of inequalities persistent in India and ways to reduce them


Top 10% of earners now corner more than half of the country’s national income

  1. Income inequality in India has worsened over the past three-and-a-half decades
  2. The top 10% of earners now corner more than half of the country’s national income in 2016
  3. Their share was 30% of the national income in 1980

World Inequality Report 2018

  1. It is published by World Wealth & Income Database, which tracks information on income distribution
  2. Among major economic blocks, with the exception of West Asia, India’s record on inequality is the worst
  3. The level of income inequality in India in 2016 matched that in sub-Saharan Africa and Brazil, where top earners accounted for a very high share of income

Role played by tax laws

  1. Rise in income inequality has been more gradual in India since 1980 compared to Russia, where it has been abrupt and compared to China, where it was moderate
  2. This indicates the role played by policies and institutions in evening out inequality by using “tax progressivity” i.e. higher taxes on the rich
  3. Income taxes are levied based on a person’s ability to pay and the rate increases as income level progresses

Efforts by India to bridge the gap

  1. India has been trying to tackle income inequality with a combination of direct transfer of entitlements to the intended beneficiaries, drive against tax evasion and schemes meant to improve access to energy and finance by the poor
  2. The findings of the report come at a time when the central government has started working on drafting a new direct tax code which is likely to rejig the tax structure
  3. The state of Jammu and Kashmir is set to make a bold experiment with a universal basic income scheme from the next financial year

What does report suggest?

  1. Robust public policy intervention was required to address income inequality
  2. The report advocated higher public spending in education to reduce income inequality
  3. It also suggested setting up an international registry of financial asset ownership for curbing tax evasion
Women empowerment issues: Jobs,Reservation and education

Will Women’s Reservation Bill be passed in Lok Sabha this Winter Session?

Image source


Mains Paper 2: Polity | Parliament & State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges & issues arising out of these.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: 108th Amendment, 73rd, and 74th Amendments, reservation provisions in constitution, provisions related to passage and lapse of bills in parliament

Mains level: All details related to women’s reservation bill


Congress president insists on early passage of bill

  1. Ahead of the Winter Session of Parliament, Congress president-elect Rahul Gandhi has insisted that his party would mount pressure on the government for early passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill in Parliament

About the bill

  1. The Women’s Reservation Bill was first introduced in Parliament in 1996
  2. The current version of the bill, the 108th Amendment, seeks to reserve 33 percent of all seats in governing bodies at the Centre, State, and Local level
  3. For reservation in the Lok Sabha, one-third of all constituencies will be reserved for women on a rotation basis
  4. This arrangement will be such that a constituency will be reserved for one general election and not reserved for the following two elections

Provisions that are already in place for women

  1. The 73rd and 74th Amendments passed in 1993, which introduced panchayats and municipalities in the Constitution, reserve one-third of seats for women in these bodies

Other reservation provisions

  1. The Constitution also provides for reservation of seats in Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in proportion to their number in the population
  2. The Constitution makes no provision for reserving seats for women in Parliament and the state legislatures

Highlights of the Women’s Reservation Bill

  1. The Constitution (108 Amendment) Bill, 2008 seeks to reserve one-third of all seats for women in the Lok Sabha and the state legislative assemblies
  2. The allocation of reserved seats shall be determined by such authority as prescribed by Parliament
  3. One-third of the total number of seats reserved for SC/ST shall be reserved for women of those groups in the Lok Sabha and the legislative assemblies
  4. Reserved seats may be allotted by rotation to different constituencies in the state or union territory
  5. Reservation of seats for women shall cease to exist 15 years after the commencement of this Amendment Act

Progress in Parliament

  1. The Rajya Sabha passed the bill on March 9, 2010
  2. The Lok Sabha never voted on the bill
  3. The bill lapsed after the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha in 2014
International Space Agencies – Missions and Discoveries Space Technology

Google crunches data to help NASA find two new planets

Image source


Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Kepler 80g, Kepler 90i, Kepler telescope, machine learning, artificial “neural network”

Mains level: Usage of emerging techniques in space exploration as well as other fields


Two new planets found

  1. Google and NASA have identified two new planets around distant stars using advanced computer analysis
  2. One of it is part of the first star system with as many planets as Earth’s solar system

Machine learning now being used in space exploration

  1. The research raised the prospects of new insights into the universe by feeding data into computer programmes
  2. They can churn through information faster and more in-depth than humanly possible, a technique known as machine learning
  3. Advancements in hardware and new techniques for machine learning have made it possible in recent years for automated software to tackle data analysis in science, finance and other industries

About the finding

  1. The software’s artificial “neural network” combed through data about 670 stars, which led to the discovery of planets Kepler 80g and Kepler 90i
  2. Kepler 90i is a scorching, rocky mass 30% larger than Earth and is the eighth planet found to be orbiting the same star
  3. Astronomers had never before observed an eight-planet network beside the solar system that includes Earth
  4. The data for this research came from the Kepler telescope which NASA launched into space in 2009 as part of a planet-finding mission that is expected to end next year as the spacecraft runs out of fuel
Net Neutrality & The Debate Around It Indian Polity

What is net neutrality and why does it matter?


Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Net neutrality

Mains level: Laws that provide benefits to organizations rather than consumers


Net neutrality rules scrapped in the U.S.

  1. The Federal Communications Commission voted in favor undoing the Obama-era “Net neutrality” rules that have been in place since 2015
  2. It will also forbid states to put anything similar in place
  3. “Net neutrality” regulations, designed to prevent internet service providers like Verizon, AT&T, Comcast and Charter from favoring some sites and apps over others

What is net neutrality?

  1. Net neutrality is the principle that internet providers treat all web traffic equally
  2. Internet service providers should restrict themselves from blocking or slowing down specific websites on purpose or allowing companies to pay for preferential treatment

What telcos want?

  1. Big telecom companies hate the stricter regulation that comes with the net neutrality rules and have fought them fiercely in court
  2. They say the regulations can undermine investment in broadband and introduced uncertainty about what were acceptable business practices
  3. There were also concerns about potential price regulation


Read all about net neutrality here

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

[op-ed snap] The outsider: On adultery law


Mains Paper 1: Social issues | Social empowerment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code, Article 15(3) of Constitution, Section 198(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure

Mains level: Various laws/provisions that treat women as subordinate and need to repeal them


Reconsideration of the law on adultery

  1. By agreeing to have another look at the constitutional validity of Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code, under which men can be prosecuted for adultery, the Supreme Court has re-opened a question that has been decided thrice in the past
  2. While agreeing to issue notice to the government, the Bench has observed that the provision is archaic

Court’s initial observation

  1. SC has noted that in a case of adultery, one person is liable for the offense but the other is absolved and that the concept of gender neutrality, on which criminal law normally proceeds, is absent
  2. The court has also noted that once the consent or connivance of the husband is established, there is no offense of adultery at all
  3. SC described this as subordination of a woman and something that “creates a dent on the independent identity of a woman”

Past judgments of SC

  1. In the past, the Supreme Court has emphasized that a married woman is a “victim” and the man is “the author of the crime”
  2. It has treated the exemption given to women as a special provision that has the protection of Article 15(3)
  3. It has rejected the argument that it is discriminatory by pointing out that neither a man nor a woman can prosecute their disloyal spouses
  4. It is only the ‘outsider’ to the matrimonial relationship who can be prosecuted, and that too by the aggrieved husband alone
  5. This is made clear in Section 198(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, a provision also under challenge

International efforts

  1. Many countries across the world do not treat adultery as an offense any longer
  2. In 2012, a United Nations Working Group on laws that discriminate against women wanted countries that treat adultery as a crime, to repeal such laws

Why is this issue important?

  1. The matter now goes beyond the limited question of the culpability of women involved in a relationship outside their marriage
  2. It raises the related question whether there is an implicit subordination of the will of a woman
WTO and India Global Groupings and Conventions

119 nations back move to remove barriers limiting women’s participation in trade


Mains Paper 2: IR | Important International institutions, agencies & fora, their structure, mandate

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Buenos Aires Declaration on Women and Trade, WTO

Mains level: Efforts across world for Women empowerment


Buenos Aires Declaration on Women and Trade

  1. Nearly three-fourths of the 164-member World Trade Organisation (WTO) have supported a declaration seeking women’s economic empowerment by expeditiously removing barriers to trade
  2. India stayed away from declaration, opposing the linking of gender and trade and said that such issues should be discussed outside WTO

What will declaration do?

  1. WTO members and observers supporting the Declaration have specifically agreed to explore and find ways to best tackle women’s general lack of access to trade financing and sub-optimal participation of women in public procurement markets
  2. Inclusion of women-led businesses, in particular, small firms in value chains has also been identified as a theme related to trade and the economic empowerment of women

Reasoning behind India’s stand

  1. Agreeing to the proposition to link gender and trade could lead to advanced countries using their high standards in gender-related policies to curb exports from the developing world
  2. This could also indirectly restrict developing countries from incentivizing their women citizens as part of measures to address developmental challenges
  3. Discussing such issues at WTO will set a precedent to bring in other non-trade issues such as labour and environment standards into the WTO’s ambit
Foreign Policy Watch: India-China Bilateral Relations

China denies building tunnel to divert Brahmaputra waters


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

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Brahmaputra river and its tributaries

Mains level: China’s attempts to seige territory of Arunachal and various tactics used to increase tension in the region


Not building tunnel on the Brahmaputra

  1. China denied plans to construct a tunnel to divert Brahmaputra river waters
  2. This was amid reports of highly polluted waters from its tributary Siang flowing into India


  1. In 2016, China had declared that it would be building a dam on a tributary of the river, sparking concerns about its potential downstream impact in India
  2. In October, China had denied reports of plans to build 1000-km long tunnel to divert Brahmaputra waters to the arid regions of Xinjiang


Brahmaputra river

  1. The Brahmaputra River, also called the Yarlung Tsangpo in the Tibetan language, originates on the Angsi Glacier located on the northern side of the Himalayas in Burang County of Tibet
  2. It is known as Siang in Arunachal Pradesh before it enters Assam and flows southwards to the sea through Bangladesh as the Jamuna
  3. The principal tributaries of the river joining from right are the Lohit, the Dibang, the Subansiri, the Jiabharali, the Dhansiri, the Manas, the Torsa, the Sankosh and the Teesta
  4. The Burhidihing, the Desang, the Dikhow, the Dhansiri and the Kopili join it from left
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