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Mission Nikaalo Prelims

[Prelims Spotlight] Important summits, conventions and Declarations (Part 2)

Prelims Spotlight is a part of “Nikaalo Prelims 2020” module. This open crash course for Prelims 2020 has a private telegram group where PDFs and DDS (Daily Doubt Sessions) are being held. Please click here to register.

Important Summits, Conventions and Declarations (Part 2)


11 May 2020

1.Convention on biological diversity

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), a legally binding treaty to conserve biodiversity has been in force since 1993.

Objectives-

  • It has 3 main objectives: The conservation of biological diversity.
  • The sustainable use of the components of biological diversity.,fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the use of genetic resources.
  • The CBD, one of the key agreements adopted during the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, is the first comprehensive global agreement which addresses all aspects relating to biodiversity.

2.Asia Lpg summit 2019

The summit will offer a unique opportunity to the global LPG industry to interact with development agencies, NGOs and non-profit organizations who have facilitated last-mile access to LPG for the beneficiaries.

Objectives-

  • The summit will also bring together academia and private sector to exchange their views on the use of LPG and how pathbreaking initiatives such as ‘Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana’ can bring remarkable socio-economic transformation.
  • The WLPGA promotes the use of LPG to foster a cleaner, healthier and more prosperous world.
  • With over 200 members and presence in more than 125 countries, the WLPGA represents the interests of private and public companies from the entire LPG value chain under one umbrella.
  • The WLPGA provides a platform for the exchange of best practices, facts and figures among its members.
  • The Association regularly organises interactive meetings between technical experts, members and key stakeholders to demonstrate the benefits of LPG.

3.Global Digital Health Partnership Summit

The Global Digital Health Partnership (GDHP) is an international collaboration of governments, government agencies and multinational organisations dedicated to improving the health and well-being of their citizens through the best use of evidence-based digital technologies.

Objectives-

  • Governments are making significant investments to harness the power of technology and foster innovation and public-private partnerships that support high quality, sustainable health and care for all. The GDHP facilitates global collaboration and co-operation in the implementation of digital health services.The GDHP is committed to improving health and care through promoting its principles of equality, co-operation, transparency and responsibility.
  • Equality: All participants will have an equal opportunity to participate and contribute to the development of the GDHP deliverables and share in the lessons learnt and outputs of the GDHP.
  • Co-operation: Participants are helpful and supportive and participate in debates thoughtfully, constructively and respectfully.
  • Transparency: Participants act with openness in their engagement with fellow participants to contribute to improved health services, promote innovation and create safer and healthier communities.
  • Responsibility: Participants are responsible for their country’s input through their active contribution to GDHP activities that are guided by the annual work plan. Each participant shall endeavour to ensure that outcomes from meetings, such as tasks appointed to them or in general, are carried out effectively and efficiently. Participants will make decisions and participate in discussions in a transparent and fair manner, using evidence, and without discrimination or bias, ensuring they act in the public interest and not for commercial purposes.

4.TIR

The Convention on International Transport of Goods Under Cover of TIR Carnets is a multilateral treaty that was concluded at Geneva on 14 November 1975 to simplify and harmonise the administrative formalities of international road transport.

Objectives-

  • The TIR Convention establishes an international customs transit system with maximum facility to move goods:in sealed vehicles or containers;
  • from a customs office of departure in one country to a customs office of destination in another country;
  • without requiring extensive and time-consuming border checks at intermediate borders;
  • while, at the same time, providing customs authorities with the required security and guarantees.

5.International Workshop on Disaster Resilient Infrastructure

The workshop aims to i) identify good practices of disaster risk management in key infrastructure sectors, ii) identify specific areas and pathways for collaborative research on DRI (Transport, Energy, Telecom and Water), iii) discuss and co-create the broad contours of the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) as well as a notional roll-out plan for the next three years, and iv) build a forum for members to work on areas of common interest and make specific commitments.Various international agreements have also reiterated the importance and long-term benefits of investing in resilient infrastructure.

Objectives-

  • The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR), 2015-2030, which is the first major agreement of the post-2015 development agenda, identifies investing in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) for resilience and to build back better in reconstruction as priorities for action towards reducing disaster risk.
  • Similarly, Goal 9 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recognizes disaster resilient infrastructure as a crucial driver of economic growth and development.
  • Besides reducing infrastructure losses, disaster resilient infrastructure will also help achieve targets pertaining to reduction in mortality, number of affected people and economic losses due to disasters.

6.International Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)

The Chemical Weapons Convention is an arms control treaty that outlaws the production, stockpiling, and use of chemical weapons and their precursors.

Key points of the Convention

Objectives-

  • Prohibition of production and use of chemical weapons
  • Destruction (or monitored conversion to other functions) of chemical weapons production facilities
  • Destruction of all chemical weapons (including chemical weapons abandoned outside the state parties territory)
  • Assistance between State Parties and the OPCW in the case of use of chemical weapons
  • An OPCW inspection regime for the production of chemicals which might be converted to chemical weapons
  • International cooperation in the peaceful use of chemistry in relevant areas

7.Convention on Supplementary Compensation for nuclear Damage (CSC)

The Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage is a 1963 treaty that governs issues of liability in cases of a nuclear accident. It was concluded at Vienna on 21 May 1963 and entered into force on 12 November 1977. The convention has been amended by a 1997 protocol. The depository is the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Objectives-

  • The Convention on Supplementary Compensation (CSC) aims at establishing a minimum national compensation amount and at further increasing the amount of compensation through public funds to be made available by the Contracting Parties should the national amount be insufficient to compensate the damage caused by a nuclear incident.
  • The Convention is open not only to States that are party to either the Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage or the Paris Convention on Third Party Liability in the Field of Nuclear Energy (including any amendments to either) but also to other States provided that their national legislation is consistent with uniform rules on civil liability laid down in the Annex to the Convention.

8.Hague Code of Conduct

The International Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation, also known as the Hague Code of Conduct (HCOC), was established on 25 November 2002 as an arrangement to prevent the proliferation of ballistic missiles.

Objectives-

  • The HCOC is the result of international efforts to regulate access to ballistic missiles which can potentially deliver weapons of mass destruction. The HCOC is the only multilateral code in the area of disarmament which has been adopted over the last years.
  • It is the only normative instrument to verify the spread of ballistic missiles.
  • The HCOC does not ban ballistic missiles, but it does call for restraint in their production, testing, and export.

9.Refugee Convention

The Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, also known as the 1951 Refugee Convention, is a United Nations multilateral treaty that defines who is a refugee and sets out the rights of individuals who are granted asylum and the responsibilities of nations that grant asylum. In the general principle of international law, treaties in force are binding upon the parties to it and must be performed in good faith. Countries that have ratified the Refugee Convention are obliged to protect refugees that are on their territory, in accordance with its terms. There are a number of provisions that States parties to the Refugee Convention must adhere to.

10.Biological weapons convention

The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction was the first multilateral disarmament treaty banning the production of an entire category of weapons.

Objectives-

  • Each State Party to this Convention undertakes never in any circumstances to develop, produce, stockpile or otherwise acquire or retain:
  • Microbial or other biological agents, or toxins whatever their origin or method of production, of types and in quantities that have no justification for prophylactic, protective or other peaceful purposes;
  • Weapons, equipment or means of delivery designed to use such agents or toxins for hostile purposes or in armed conflict.”
  • The United States Congress passed the Bioweapons Anti-Terrorism Act in 1989 to implement the Convention. The law applies the Convention’s convent to countries and private citizens, and criminalizes violations of the Convention.

11.Sendai Framework

The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030) is an international document which was adopted by UN member states between 14th and 18th of March 2015 at the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in Sendai, Japan and endorsed by the UN General Assembly in June 2015. It is the successor agreement to the Hyogo Framework for Action (2005–2015), which had been the most encompassing international accord to date on disaster risk reduction.

Objectives-

  • The Sendai Framework sets four specific priorities for action:
  • Understanding disaster risk;
  • Strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk;
  • Investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience;
  • Enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response, and to “Build Back Better” in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction.

12.Outer Space Treaty

The Outer Space Treaty, formally the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, is a treaty that forms the basis of international space law. The 1967 Outer Space Treaty bans the stationing of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in outer space, prohibits military activities on celestial bodies, and details legally binding rules governing the peaceful exploration and use of space.

13.Kyoto Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol is an international treaty which extends the 1992 UNFCCC that commits State Parties to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, based on the premise that

(a) global warming exists and (b) human-made CO2 emissions have caused it.

Objectives-

  • The main feature of the Protocol is that it established legally binding commitments to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases for parties that ratified the Protocol.
  • The commitments were based on the Berlin Mandate, which was a part of UNFCCC negotiations leading up to the Protocol.
  • Minimizing Impacts on Developing Countries by establishing an adaptation fund for climate change.

14.U.N. Frame Work Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

Objectives-

  • A framework for international cooperation to combat climate change by limiting average global temperature increases and the resulting climate change, and coping with impacts that were inevitable.
  • The primary goals of the UNFCCC were to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions at levels that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the global climate.
  • The convention embraced the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities which has guided the adoption of a regulatory structure.

15.Basel Convention

  • The industrialized world in the 1980s had led to increasing public resistance to the disposal of hazardous wastes, in accordance with what became known as the NIMBY (Not in My Back Yard) syndrome, and to an increase of disposal costs.
  • This, in turn, led some operators to seek cheap disposal options for hazardous wastes in the developing countries.
  • Environmental awareness was much less developed and regulations and enforcement mechanisms were lacking. The objectives of the convention are to reduce trans-boundary movements of hazardous wastes, to minimize the creation of such wastes and to prohibit their shipment from developed countries to the LDCs.

16.Montreal Protocol

Objectives-

  • The protocol set targets for reducing the consumption and production of a range of ozone-depleting substances.
  • In a major innovation, the protocol recognized that all nations should not be treated equally.
  • The agreement acknowledges that certain countries have contributed to ozone depletion more than others.
  • It also recognizes that a nation‘s obligation to reduce current emissions should reflect its technological and financial ability to do so.
  • Because of this, the agreement sets more stringent standards and accelerated phase-out time tables to countries that have contributed most to ozone depletion

17.World Conservation Strategy

Objectives-

  • It set out fundamental principles and objectives for conservation worldwide and identified priorities for national and international action.
  • It is considered one of the most influential documents in 20th-century nature conservation and one of the first official documents to introduce the concept of sustainable development.

18.Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals (Bonn Convention)

Objectives-

  • Aims to conserve terrestrial, marine and avian migratory species throughout their range.
  • The Convention facilitates the adoption of strict protection measures for endangered migratory species, the conclusion of multilateral agreements for the conservation and management of migratory species, and co-operative research activities.

19.World Sustainable Development summit

  • WSDS has replaced TERI’s earlier called Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS). The first DSDS was organised in 2005. It underscored the need for businesses and the private sector to take lead in poverty reduction and to ensure rapid and sustained adoption of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • It had brought together Nobel laureates, decision-makers political leaders from around the world to deliberate on issues related to sustainable development.
  • The aim of the summit is to provide various stakeholders with a single platform in order to provide long-term solutions for the benefit of the global community.

20.Kigali Agreement

The Kigali Amendment amends the 1987 Montreal Protocol to now include gases responsible for global warming and will be binding on countries from 2019.

Objectives-

  • It also has provisions for penalties for non-compliance.
  • It is considered absolutely vital for reaching the Paris Agreement target of keeping global temperature rise to below 2-degree Celsius compared to pre-industrial times.
  • Under it, developed countries will also provide enhanced funding support estimated at billions of dollars globally. The exact amount of additional funding from developed countries will be agreed at the next
  • Meeting of the Parties in Montreal in 2017 to reduce the emissions of category of greenhouse gases (GHGs) which leads to hydro fluorocarbons (HFCs)
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Mission Nikaalo Prelims

[Prelims Spotlight] Important Summits, Conventions and Declarations (Part 1)

Prelims Spotlight is a part of “Nikaalo Prelims 2020” module. This open crash course for Prelims 2020 has a private telegram group where PDFs and DDS (Daily Doubt Sessions) are being held. Please click here to register.

Important Summits, Conventions and Declarations (Part 1)


09 May 2020

1.RAMSAR Convention on Wetlands

Brief Intro

  • The Convention was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971 and came into force in 1975 after UNESCO, the Convention’s depositary received the instruments of accession from the countries.
  • The RAMSAR Secretariat is based at the headquarters of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Gland, Switzerland.
  • World Wetlands Day is celebrated on February 2nd.

Key Objectives-

  • An intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.

Year-1971

Place – Ramasar

Key Terms-The Montreux Record – a register of wetland sites on the List of Wetlands of International Importance where changes in ecological character are of concern. It is maintained as part of the Ramsar List.

India specific – India currently has 27 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites).

2.The World Heritage Convention

Brief Intro

The Convention recognizes the way in which people interact with nature, and the fundamental need to preserve the balance between the two.

Key Objectives-

The Convention defines the kind of natural or cultural sites which can be considered for inscription on the World Heritage List under UNESCO

Year-1972

3.Stockholm Conference

Brief Intro

Stockholm Declaration contains 26 principles. These principles provide the basis of an International Policy for the Protection and improvement of the environment.

Key Point-The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has been established by the UNGA in pursuance of the Stockholm Conference.

Year-1972

4.CITES

Brief Intro

To ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species in the wild, and it accords varying degrees of protection to more than 35,000 species of animals and plants.

Key Objectives-

  • It is a multilateral treaty drafted as a result of a resolution adopted in 1963 at a meeting of members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
  • Although CITES is legally binding on the Parties – in other words they have to implement the Convention – it does not take the place of national laws.

India Specific –

The Government of India signed the Convention in July 1976, which was ratified in October 1976

5.Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage (CSC)

Brief Intro

Seeks to establish a uniform global legal regime for compensation to victims in the unlikely event of a nuclear accident. It was adopted on 12 September 1997. It can enter into force after ratification by at least 5 countries having a minimum of 400,000 units of installed nuclear capacity.

Key Objectives-

  • It provides a uniform framework for channelling liability and providing speedy compensation after the nuclear accident.
  • Seeks to encourage regional and global co-operation to promote a higher level of nuclear safety in accordance with the principles of international partnership and solidarity.
  • All states are free to participate in it regardless of their presence of nuclear installations on their territories or involvement in existing nuclear liability conventions.
  • It has been framed inconsistent with the principles of the Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage (1963) and the Paris Convention on Third Party Liability in the Field of Nuclear Energy (1960).

India Specific –

India has ratified Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage (CSC), 1997 which sets parameters on a nuclear operator’s financial liability.

6.Nuclear security summit

Brief Intro

The Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) is a world summit, aimed at preventing nuclear terrorism around the globe. The first summit was held in Washington, D.C., United States, on April 12–13, 2010. The second summit was held in Seoul, South Korea, in 2012. The third summit was held in The Hague, Netherlands, on March 24–25, 2014. The fourth summit was held in Washington, D.C. on March 31–April 1, 2016.

Key Objectives-

Aimed at preventing nuclear terrorism around the globe.

India specific-

Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the NSS 2016 in Washington

7.Ashgabat Agreement

Brief Intro

Ashgabat Agreement is an international transport and transit corridor facilitating transportation of goods between Central Asia and the Persian Gulf.

Key Objectives-

  • The transit agreement provides for a transit corridor across Central Asia and the Middle East through the continuous landmass between Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Iran before reaching the Persian Gulf and into Oman.
  • The objective of this agreement is to enhance connectivity within Eurasian region and synchronize it with other transport corridors within that region including the International North–South Transport Corridor (INSTC).

8.The Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA)

Brief Intro

The Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) is an inter-governmental forum for enhancing cooperation towards promoting peace, security and stability in Asia.

Key Objectives-

It is a forum based on the recognition that there is close link between peace, security and stability in Asia and in the rest of the world.enhancing cooperation towards promoting peace, security and stability in Asia.

India Specific-

India is a member of CICA

9.Beijing declaration

Brief Intro

The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPfA) is an international declaration of women’s rights set up at the UN’s landmark Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing in 1995.

Key Objectives-

  • The BPfA covers 12 key critical matters of concern and areas for action including women and poverty, violence against women and access to power and decision- making.
  • It was supported by 189 countries, including the UK, at the 1995 World Conference.gender equality and the empowerment of all women, everywhere.1995.
  • It was the outcome of The Fourth World Conference on Women: Action for Equality, Development and Peace convened by UN.

12.The World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC)

Brief Intro

The World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) is a treaty adopted by the 56th World Health Assembly held in Geneva,Switzerland on 21 May 2003.

Key Objectives-

  • It became the first World Health Organization treaty adopted under article 19 of the WHO constitution.To protect present and future generations from the devastating health, social, environmental and economic consequences of tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke” by enacting a set of universal standards stating the dangers of tobacco and limiting its use in all forms worldwide.
  • The FCTC established two principal bodies to oversee the functioning of the treaty: the Conference of the parties and the permanent Secretariat. In addition, there are over 50 different intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations who are official observers to the Conference of the Parties.

India Specific-

India has hosted 7th Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC).

10.G-7

Brief Intro

  • The Group of Seven (G7) is an informal bloc of industrialized democracies—Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States—that meets annually to discuss issues such as global economic governance, international security, and energy policy.
  • Russia belonged to the forum from 1998 through 2014—then the Group of Eight (G8)—but was suspended after its annexation of Crimea in March of that year.

11.G-20

Brief Intro– It was started in 1999 as a meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in the aftermath of the Southeast Asian (Tiger economies) financial crisis.

Key Objectives-

  • The Group of Twenty (G20) is the premier forum for its members’ international economic cooperation and decision-making.
  • It is deliberating forum for the governments and central bank governors from 20 major economies on economic issues and other important development challenges.
  • In 2008, the first G20 Leaders’ Summit was held in Washington DC, US. The group had played a key role in responding to the global financial crisis. It comprises total 19 countries plus the European Union (EU), representing 85% of global GDP, 80% of international trade, 65% of world’s population. Its members include Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, India, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Turkey, South Africa, UK, US and EU. 4.The 2016 summit was held in Hangzhou China.
  • It was established for studying, reviewing, and promoting high-level discussion of policy issues pertaining to the promotion of international financial stability.

India Specific-

India is a founding member of G-20

12.International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

Brief Intro

It is a comprehensive international agreement in harmony with the Convention on Biological Diversity, which aims at guaranteeing food security through the conservation, exchange and sustainable use of the world’s plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA), as well as the fair and equitable benefit sharing arising from its use.

Key Objectives-

  • It also recognises Farmers’ Rights, subject to national laws the protection of traditional knowledge relevant to plant genetic resources for food and agriculture.
  • The right to equitably participate in sharing benefits arising from the utilisation of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture;
  • The right to participate in making decisions, at the national level, on matters related to the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture.
  • It is a comprehensive international agreement in harmony with the Convention on Biological Diversity.

India Specific-

India has signed the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

13.Marrakesh treaty

Brief Intro

  • The treaty requires signatories to introduce national law provisions that facilitate the availability of published works in formats like Braille that are accessible to the blind and allow their exchange across borders by organizations working for the visually impaired.

Key Objectives-

  • The pact will help import of accessible format copies from the member countries by the Indian authorized entities such as educational institutions, libraries and other institutions working for the welfare of the visually impaired.
  • The treaty will also ease translation of imported accessible format copies and export of accessible format copies in Indian languages.To create a set of mandatory limitations and exceptions for the benefit of the blind, visually impaired and otherwise print disabled (VIPs).

14.London Declaration

Brief Intro

  • The London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases is a collaborative disease eradication programme launched on 30 January 2012 in London.
  • It was inspired by the World Health Organization 2020 roadmap to eradicate or negate transmission for neglected tropical diseases.
  • Officials from WHO, the World Bank, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s 13 leading pharmaceutical companies, and government representatives from US, UK, United Arab Emirate, Bangladesh, Brazil, Mozambique and Tanzania participated in a joint meeting at the Royal College of Physicians to launch this project.

15.Declaration of Montreal

Brief Intro

The Declaration of Montreal on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Human Rights is a document adopted in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, on July 29, 2006, by the International Conference on LGBT Human Rights which formed part of the first World Outgames.

Key Objectives-

  • The Declaration outlines a number of rights and freedoms pertaining to LGBT and intersex people that it is proposed to be universally guaranteed.
  • It encompasses all aspects of human rights, from the guarantee of fundamental freedoms to the prevention of discrimination against LGBT people in healthcare, education and immigration.
  • The Declaration also addresses various issues that impinge on the global promotion of LGBT rights and intersex human rights.

16. Istanbul Convention

Brief Intro

  • The Istanbul Convention is the first legally-binding instrument which “creates a comprehensive legal framework and approach to combat violence against women” and is focussed on preventing domestic violence, protecting victims and prosecuting accused offenders. The convention aims at prevention of violence, victim protection and “to end with the impunity of perpetrators.
  • The Council of Europe. Only European countries have signed this convention.

17.vienna convention on diplomatic relations

Brief Intro

It is a treaty that came into force in 1964 2.It lays out the rules and regulations for diplomatic relations between countries as well as the various privileges that diplomats and diplomatic missions enjoy.

Key Objectives-

  • One of these privileges is legal immunity for diplomats so that they don’t have to face prosecution as per their host country’s laws.
  • The Vienna Convention classifies diplomats according to their posting in the embassy, consular or international organisations such as the UN. A nation has only one embassy per foreign country, usually in the capital, but may have multiple consulate offices, generally in locations where many of its citizens live or visit.
  • Diplomats posted in an embassy get immunity, along with his or her family members. While diplomats posted in consulates too get immunity, they can be prosecuted in case of serious crimes, that is, when a warrant is issued.
  • Besides, their families don’t share that immunity.It has been ratified by 187 countries, including India.

18.Jaipur Summit

Brief Intro

  • The Forum for India–Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) was launched during Hon’ble Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi’s visit to Fiji in November 2014.
  • FIPIC includes 14 of the island countries – Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.
  • The second summit of the Forum for India Pacific Cooperation (FIPIC-2) in Jaipur on 21-22 August 2015 has made significant progress in strengthening India’s engagement with the 14 Pacific Island countries. Increase Cooperation Between India and 14 Pacific Countries.

Key Objectives-

  • Though these countries are relatively small in land area and distant from India, many have large exclusive economic zones (EEZs), and offer promising possibilities for fruitful cooperation.
  • India’s focus has largely been on the Indian Ocean where it has sought to play a major role and protect its strategic and commercial interests. The FIPIC initiative marks a serious effort to expand India’s engagement in the Pacific region.
  • At this moment, total annual trade of about $300 million between the Indian and Pacific Island countries, where as exports are around $200 million and imports are around $100 million.

19.NPT

Brief Intro

The NPT is a landmark international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament.

Key Objectives-

  • The Treaty represents the only binding commitment in a multilateral treaty to the goal of disarmament by the nuclear-weapon States. Opened for signature in 1968, the Treaty entered into force in 1970.
  • To prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament.

India Specific-

India has not signed the treaty as India argues that the NPT creates a club of “nuclear haves” and a larger group of “nuclear have-nots” by restricting the legal possession of nuclear weapons to those states that tested them before 1967, but the treaty never explains on what ethical grounds such a distinction is valid.

20.CTBT

Brief Intro

  • The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is a multilateral treaty that bans all nuclear explosions, for both civilian and military purposes, in all environments.
  • It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 September 1996 but has not entered into force as eight specific states have not ratified the treaty. Nuclear weapon-free
  • The treaty thus awaits signature and ratification from India, Pakistan, and North Korea and in addition requires the United States, China, Israel, Iran and Egypt (which have already signed) to formally ratify it.

India Specific-

Even though it is yet to sign the CTBT, India has supported the treaty’s basic principle of banning nuclear explosions by declaring a unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing. India’s expressed support to the essential requirement of the treaty makes it a de facto member of the CTBT.

Categories
Mission Nikaalo Prelims

[Prelims Spotlight] The Northern and Northeastern Mountains with Important Passes

Prelims Spotlight is a part of “Nikaalo Prelims 2020” module. This open crash course for Prelims 2020 has a private telegram group where PDFs and DDS (Daily Doubt Sessions) are being held. Please click here to register.

The Northern and Northeastern Mountains with Important Passes


08 May 2020

Let’s begin with the first physiographic division. It consists of:

  • The Himalayas, and
  • The Northeastern hills (Purvanchal).
The Physiographic Divisions of India | The Northern and Northeastern Mountains

A) The Himalayas:

The name “Himalaya” means “the abode or house of snow” in Sanskrit (i.e. hima “snow”, and ālaya “abode or house”). The Himalayas are the highest and longest of all young fold mountains of the world. The Pamir, known as the roof of the world, connects the Himalayas with the high ranges of Central Asia.

Let’s begin by understanding how the Himalayas came into being:

Origin and development:

According to the theory of Continental Drift, the world was made up of a single continent through most of the geologic time. That continent eventually separated and drifted apart; forming the seven continents we have today.

continental-drift
Source

About 200 million years ago: Pangaea broke apart leading to the formation of two landmasses – “Laurasia in North” and “Gondwanaland in South”. Both the landmasses were separated by a shallow sea called “Tethys Sea”. The size of Tethys sea kept on decreasing due to movement of landmasses towards each other

About 40 to 50 million years ago: The two large landmasses, India and Eurasia, driven by plate movement, collided. As a result, the sediments accumulated in Tethys Sea (brought by rivers) were compressed, squeezed and series of folds were formed, one behind the other, giving birth to folded mountains of the Himalayas.

India moving copy-2
Source

Recent studies show that India is still moving northwards at the rate of 5cm/year and crashing into the rest of Asia, thereby constantly increasing the height of Himalayas.

Evidence to prove that the Himalayas are still rising:

1. Fossil formation found in Shivalik hills:

Similar fossils have also been found in the Tibet Plateau. This indicates that in the past, Tibetan plateau and Shivalik hills shared a common location, similar level and thus similar vegetation, life etc.; then Tibetan plateau got uplifted.

2. Desiccation of lakes of Tibet:

In the Tibet plateau, we find deposits which are generally found in lakes. This indicates that lakes once existed in Tibet but because of upliftment the water got discharged and deposits remained.

3. Frequent Earthquakes

4. Youthful nature of rivers (High erosion, v-shaped valleys etc.)

The North-South Division of the Himalayas

The Himalayas consist of a series of parallel mountain ranges:

  1. The Greater Himalayan range, which includes:
    • The Great Himalayas(Himadri), and
    • The Trans-Himalayan range
  2. The Lesser Himalayas (or Himachal), and
  3. The Outer Himalayas (or Shiwalik).
The Himalayan Ranges and Important Peaks
  • Formation of these ranges: The Himadri and Himachal ranges of the Himalayas have been formed much before the formation of Siwalik range. The rivers rising in the Himadri and Himachal ranges brought gravel, sand and mud along with them, which was deposited in the rapidly shrinking Tethys Sea. In course of time, the earth movements caused folding of these relatively fresh deposits of sediments, giving rise to the least consolidated Shiwalik range.
  • Characteristic Features:
    • Notice in the map shown above that the Himalayas form an arcuate curve which is convex to the southThis curved shape of the Himalayas is attributed to the maximum push offered at the two ends on the Indian peninsula during its northward drift. In the north-west, it was done by Aravalis and in the Northeast by the Assam ranges.
    • Syntaxis/ Syntaxial bends: The gently arching ranges of the Himalayan mountains on their Western and Eastern extremities are sharply bent southward in deep Knee-bend flexures that are called syntaxial bends. On both the ends, the great mountains appear to bend around a pivotal point. The western point is situated south of the Pamir where the Karakoram meets the Hindu Kush. A similar sharp, almost hairpin bend occurs on the eastern limit of Arunachal Pradesh where the strike of the mountain changes sharply from the Easterly to Southerly trend. Besides these two major bends, there are a number of minor syntaxial bends in other parts of Himalayas.

      Syntaxial Bends of Himalayas

    • The Himalayas are wider in the west than in the east. The width varies from 400 km in Kashmir to 150 km in Arunachal Pradesh.The main reason behind this difference is that the compressive force was more in the east than in the west. That is why high mountain peaks like Mount Everest and Kanchenjunga are present in the Eastern Himalayas.
    • The ranges are separated by deep valleys creating a highly dissected topography.
    • The southern slopes of the Himalayas facing India are steeper and those facing the Tibetan side are generally gentler.
  • Let’s take up these Himalayan mountain ranges one by one:

    The Himalayan Ranges | the Greater Himalayan Range, the Lesser Himalayas, the Shivaliks

    Indus-Tsangpo Suture Zone: It represents a belt of tectonic compression caused by the underthrusting of the Indian shield/ plate against the Tibetan mass. It marks the boundary between Indian and Eurasian plates. The suture zone stretches from the North Western Himalayan syntaxis bordering the Nanga Parbat to the East as far as the Namche Barwa Mountain. Tha Karakoram range and the Ladakh plateau lie to the north of ITSZ and originally formed a part of the European plate.Main Central Thrust Zone: This separates the Higher Himalayas in the north from lesser Himalayas in the south. It has played an important role in the tectonic history of these mountains.Main Boundary Thrust: It is a reverse fault of great dimensions which extends all the way from Assam to Punjab and serves to separate the outer Himalayas from the lesser Himalayas.Himalayan Frontal Fault: It is a series of reverse faults that demarcates the boundary of the Shivalik from of the Himalayan province from the alluvial expanse of the Indo-Gangetic plains.

Major Faults of the Himalayas – ITSZ, MCT, MBT, HFF
The Himalayan Complex: A Cross-sectional View

Besides the longitudinal divisions, the Himalayas have been divided on the basis of regions from west to east:

These divisions have been demarcated by river valleys:

The Regional Divisions of Himalayas – the Western and Eastern Himalayas.
  1. Punjab Himalayas:
    • A large portion of Punjab Himalayas is in Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. Hence they are also called the Kashmir and Himachal Himalaya.
    • Major ranges: Karakoram, Ladakh, Pir Panjal, Zaskar and Dhaola Dhar.
    • The general elevation falls westwards.
    • The Kashmir Himalayas are also famous for Karewa formations.
      • ‘Karewas’ in Kashmiri language refer to the lake deposits, found in the flat-topped terraces of the Kashmir valley and on the flanks of the Pir Panjal range.
      • These deposits consist of clays, silts and sands, these deposits also show evidence of glaciation.
      • The occurrence of tilted beds of Karewas at the altitudes of 1500-1800m on the flanks of the Pir Panjal strongly suggests that the Himalayas were in process of uplift as late as Pliocene and Pleistocene (1.8mya to 10kyears ago)
      • Karewas are famous for the cultivation of Zafran, a local variety of saffron.
  2. Kumaon Himalayas
  3. Nepal Himalayas:
    • Tallest section of Himalayas
  4. Sikkim Himalayas:
    • Teesta river originates near Kanchenjunga
    • Jelep la pass- tri-junction of India- China-Bhutan
  5. Assam Himalayas:
    • Himalayas are narrower in this region and Lesser Himalayas lie close to Great Himalayas.
    • Peaks: Namcha Barwa, Kula Kangri
    • Bengal ‘Duars’
    • Diphu pass- tri-junction of India- China-Myanmar
    • The Assam Himalayas show a marked dominance of fluvial erosion due to heavy rainfall.
The West-East Division of Himalayas

Glaciers and Snowline:

Snowline: The lower limit of perpetual snow is called the ‘snowline’. The snowline in the Himalayas has different heights in different parts, depending on latitude, altitude, amount of precipitation, moisture, slope and local topography.

1. The snowline in the Western Himalaya is at a lower altitude than in the Eastern Himalaya. E.g. while the glaciers of the Kanchenjunga in the Sikkim portion hardly move below 4000m, and those of Kumaon and Lahul to 3600m, the glaciers of the Kashmir Himalayas may descend to 2500m above the sea level.

  • It is because of the increase in latitude from 28°N in Kanchenjunga to 36°N in the Karakoram (Lower latitude —> warmer temperatures —> higher snowline).
  • Also, the Eastern Himalayas rise abruptly from the planes without the intervention of High ranges.
  • Though the total precipitation is much less in the western Himalayas, it all takes place in the form of snow.

2. In the Great Himalayan ranges, the snowline is at a lower elevation on the southern slopes than on the northern slopes. This is because the southern slopes are steeper and receive more precipitation as compared to the northern slopes.

Glaciers: The main glaciers are found in the Great Himalayas and the Trans-Himalayan ranges (Karakoram, Ladakh and Zaskar). The Lesser Himalayas have small glaciers, though traces of large glaciers are found in the Pir Panjal and Dhauladhar ranges. Some of the important glaciers are:

Important Glaciers and their Locations

Key differences between the Eastern and Western Himalayas:

Key Difference between the Western and Eastern Himalayas.

Important Passes in India:

A pass is a narrow gap in a mountain range which provides a passageway through the barrier.

Important Passes in India
  1. Pir Panjal Pass – It provides the shortest and the easiest metal road between Jammu and the Kashmir Valley. But this route had to be closed down as a result of partition of the subcontinent.
  2. Banihal Pass – It is in Jammu and Kashmir. The road from Jammu to Srinagar transversed Banihal Pass until 1956 when Jawahar Tunnel was constructed under the pass. The road now passes through the tunnel and the Banihal Pass is no longer used for road transport.
  3. Zoji La (Pass) – It is in the Zaskar range of Jammu and Kashmir. The land route from Srinagar to Leh goes through this pass.
  4. Shipki La (Pass) – It is in Himachal Pradesh. The road from Shimla to Tibet goes through this pass. The Satluj river flows through this pass.
  5. Bara Lacha Pass – It is also in Himachal Pradesh. It links Mandi and Leh by road.
  6. Rohtang Pass – It is also in Himachal Pradesh. It cuts through the Pir Panjal range. It links Manali and Leh by road.
  7. Niti Pass – It is in Uttarakhand. The road to the Kailash and the Manasarovar passes through it.
  8. Nathu La (Pass) – It is in Sikkim. It gives way to Tibet from Darjeeling and Chumbi valley. The Chumbi river flows through this pass.
  9. Jalep La (Pass) – At the tri-junction of India- China-Bhutan. The Teesta river has created this pass.

B) The North-Eastern Hills and Mountains

The North-Eastern Hills (Purvanchal): Patkai Bum, Naga Hills, Mizo Hills

The Brahmaputra marks the eastern border of Himalayas. Beyond the Dihang gorge, the Himalayas bend sharply towards south and form the Eastern hills or Purvanchal.

  • These hills run through the northeastern states of India.
  • These hills differ in scale and relief but stem from the Himalayan orogeny.
  • They are mostly composed of sandstones (i.e. Sedimentary rocks).
  • These hills are covered with dense forests.
  • Their elevation decreases from north to south. Although comparatively low, these hill ranges are rather forbidding because of the rough terrain, dense forests and swift streams.
  • Purvanchal hills are convex to the west.
  • These hills are composed of:
    • Patkai Bum – Border between Arunachal Pradesh and Myanmar
    • Naga Hills
    • Manipuri Hills – Border between Manipur and Myanmar
    • Mizo Hills.
  • Patkai Bum and Naga Hills form the watershed between India and Myanmar.
  • Extension of Purvanchal continues in Myanmar as Arakan Yoma –then Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Arakan Yoma – An Extension of Purvanchal in Myanmar
Categories
Mission Nikaalo Prelims

[Prelims Spotlight] Important Schemes regarding Agriculture & Allied Sectors

Prelims Spotlight is a part of “Nikaalo Prelims 2020” module. This open crash course for Prelims 2020 has a private telegram group where PDFs and DDS (Daily Doubt Sessions) are being held. Please click here to register.

Important Schemes regarding Agriculture & Allied Sectors


06 May 2020

1.1 Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana

Objective

● To achieve convergence of investments in irrigation at the field level.
● To enhance the recharge of aquifers and introduce sustainable water conservation practices.
● To explore the feasibility of reusing treated municipal wastewater for peri-urban agriculture.
● To attract greater private investments in irrigation.
● To promote extension activities relating to water harvesting, water management and crop alignment for farmers and grass root level field
functionaries.

Salient features

● Decentralized State level planning and projectized execution’ structure, in order to allow States to draw up a District Irrigation Plan (DIP) and a State Irrigation Plan (SIP). These plans need to be prepared in order to access
the PMKSY fund.
● It will be supervised and monitored by the Inter-Ministerial National Steering Committee (NSC) under PM with Union Ministers of all concerned Ministries. A National Executive Committee (NEC) is to be constituted under the Chairmanship of the Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog to oversee programme implementation.
● PMKSY has been formulated amalgamation ongoing schemes viz. Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP); Integrated
Watershed Management Programme (IWMP); and On-Farm Water Management (OFWM) component of National Mission on Sustainable
Agriculture (NMSA).
● Water budgeting is done for all sectors namely, household, agriculture and industries.
● Investments will happen at farm level. So, farmers know what is happening and can provide valuable feedback.
● Recently, the Long Term Irrigation Fund has been instituted under PMKSY in NABARD for funding and fast-tracking the implementation
of incomplete major and medium irrigation projects.

1.2 RASHTRIYA KRISHI VIKAS YOJANA – RAFTAAR (RKVY-RAFTAAR)

Objective

● To make farming a remunerative economic activity through strengthening the farmer’s efforts, risk mitigation and promoting
agribusiness entrepreneurship.
● To attend national priorities through several sub-schemes.
● To empower youth through skill development, innovation and agri entrepreneurship based business models.

Salient features 

● RKVY, initiated in 2007 as an umbrella scheme for holistic development of agriculture and allied sectors, has been recently revamped as
RKVY-RAFTAAR – Remunerative Approaches for Agriculture and Allied sector Rejuvenation for 2017-19 and 2019-20.
● It provided states with considerable flexibility and autonomy for planning and executing Programs.
● The decentralised planning for agriculture and allied sectors is initiated by the states through District Agriculture Plan and State Agriculture
Plan based on agro-climatic conditions, availability of appropriate technology and natural priorities.
● It will incentivize states to increase allocations for agriculture and allied sectors and help in creation of post-harvest infrastructure and
promotion of private investment in the farm sector across the country.
● Fund Allocation – 60:40 grants between Centre
and States in states and 90:10 for North Eastern States and Himalayan States through following streams – o Infrastructure & Assets and Production Growth o RKVY-RAFTAAR special sub-schemes of National Priorities o Innovation
and agri-entrepreneur development.

Sub-schemes include

● Bringing Green Revolution to Eastern India
● Crop Diversification Program – It is being implemented in the Original Green Revolution States of Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh to diversify area from water-guzzling crop
● Reclamation of Problem Soil ● Foot & Mouth Disease – Control Program
(FMD-CP)
● Saffron Mission
● Accelerated Fodder Development Programme (AFDP)

1.3 NATIONAL FOOD SECURITY MISSION

Objective

Increasing production of rice, wheat, pulses, coarse cereals and commercial crops through area expansion and productivity enhancement
in a sustainable manner.
● Restore soil fertility and productivity at the individual farm level.
● Enhancing farm level economy.

Salient features

● It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme which was launched in 2007.
● The approach of the scheme is to bridge the yield gap in respect of these crops through dissemination of improved technologies and farm management practices while focusing on districts which have high potential but relatively low level of productivity at present.
● Major Components – National Food Security Mission – Rice, National Food Security Mission – Wheat, National Food Security Mission – Pulses,
National Food Security Mission – Coarse Cereals and National Food Security Mission –Commercial Crops.

1.4 National Horticulture Mission

1. To provide holistic growth of the horticulture sector through an area based regionally differentiated strategies, to enhance horticulture production, improve nutritional security and income support to farm households
2. To establish convergence and synergy among multiple ongoing and planned programmes for horticulture development
3. To promote, develop and disseminate technologies, through a seamless blend of traditional wisdom and modern scientific knowledge
4. To create opportunities for employment generation for skilled and unskilled persons, especially unemployed youth.

Scheme:

A National Horticulture Mission was launched in 2005-06 as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme to promote holistic growth of the horticulture sector
through an area based regionally differentiated strategies. The scheme has been subsumed as a part of Mission for Integration Development of
Horticulture (MIDH) during 2014-15.

What is the National Horticulture Mission?

The National Horticulture Mission is a government mission to support horticultural production in the country. NHM is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme in which the Government of India contributes 85%, and 15% is met by the State Governments.

Factual Information:

● India ranks second in the global production of fruits and vegetables next to China.
● Started in 2005-06.

1.5 SOIL HEALTH CARD SCHEME

Objective

● To issue soil health cards every 3 years, to all farmers of the country, so as to provide a basis to address nutrient deficiencies in fertilization practices.
● To strengthen the functioning of Soil Testing Laboratories (STLs) through capacity building, the involvement of agriculture students and
effective linkage with Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) / State Agricultural Universities (SAUs).
● To diagnose soil fertility related constraints with standardized procedures for sampling uniformly across states.
● To build capacities of district and state level staff and of progressive farmers for promotion of nutrient management practices.

Salient features

● It is a centrally sponsored scheme launched by the Government of India in 2015.
● It is being implemented through the Department of Agriculture of all the State and Union Territory Governments.
● Assistance is provided to the State Government to issue Soil Health Card and also develop a database to improve service delivery.
● Soil Health Card issued to farmers carry crop-wise recommendations of nutrients and fertilizers required for the individual farms.
● The experts will analyze the strength and weaknesses (micronutrients deficiency) of the soil collected from farms and suggest measures
to deal with it.
● It will contain the status of his soil with respect to 12 parameters, namely N,P,K (Macronutrients); S (Secondary nutrient); Zn, Fe, Cu, Mn, Bo (Micro – nutrients); and pH, EC, OC (Physical parameters).

1.6 PM FASAL BIMA YOJANA

Objective

● To provide insurance coverage and financial support to the farmers in the event of natural calamities, pests & diseases.
● To stabilise the income of farmers to ensure
their continuance in farming. ● To encourage farmers to adopt innovative and
modern agricultural practices.
● To ensure flow of credit to the agriculture sector.
Intended beneficiary.
● All farmers including sharecroppers and tenant farmers growing notified crops in a notified area during the season who have insurable interest in the crop are eligible.

Salient features

● It replaced all other existing insurance schemes except the Restructured Weather-Based Crop Insurance Scheme (uses weather parameters as
proxy for crop yield in compensating the cultivators for deemed crop loses) .
● A uniform premium of only 2% to be paid by farmers for all Kharif crops and 1.5% for all Rabi crops.
● In case of annual commercial and horticultural crops, the premium to be paid by farmers will be only 5%.
● There is no upper limit on Government subsidy so farmers will get claim against full sum insured without any reduction.
● The difference between the premium paid by farmers and the actuarial premium charged was paid by the Centre and state government in
the ratio of 50:50.
● It is compulsory for loanee farmers availing crop loans for notified crops in notified areas and voluntary for non-loanee farmers.
● Yield Losses: due to non-preventable risks, such as Natural Fire and Lightning, Storm, Hailstorm, Cyclone, Typhoon, Tempest, Hurricane, Tornado.
Risks due to Flood, Inundation and Landslide, Drought, Dry spells, Pests/ Diseases also will be covered.
● Post-harvest losses are also covered.
● Mandatory use of technology: Smart phones, drones etc., will be used to capture and upload data of crop cutting to reduce the delays in claim payment to farmers. Remote sensing will be used to reduce the number of crop cutting
experiments.
● The Scheme shall be implemented on an ‘Area Approach basis’. Defined Area (i.e., unit area of insurance) is Village or above. It can be a
Geo-Fenced/Geo-mapped region having homogenous Risk Profile for the notified crop.
● Presently, 5 public sector insurers (Agriculture
Insurance Company of India, United India Insurance Company etc.) and 13 private insurance companies are empanelled for implementation of the scheme.
● Recently, states have been allowed to set up their own insurance companies for implementing the scheme.

1.7 National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture

National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) has been formulated for enhancing agricultural productivity especially in rainfed areas focusing on integrated farming, water use efficiency, soil health management and
synergizing resource conservation.

Objectives

● To make agriculture more productive, sustainable, remunerative and climate resilient by promoting location specific Integrated/Composite Farming Systems
● To conserve natural resources through appropriate soil and moisture conservation measures
● To adopt comprehensive soil health management practices based on soil fertility maps, soil test based application of macro & micro nutrients, judicious use of fertilizers etc.
● To optimize utilization of water resources through efficient water management to expand coverage for achieving ‘more crop per drop’.
● To develop capacity of farmers & stakeholders, in conjunction with other on going missions e.g. National Mission on Agriculture Extension &
Technology, National Food Security Mission, National Initiative for Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA) etc., in the domain of
climate change adaptation and mitigation measures.
● To pilot models in select blocks for improving  productivity of rainfed farming by mainstreaming rainfed technologies refined through NICRA and by leveraging resources  from other schemes/Missions like Mahatma
Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP), RKVY etc.;
and
● To establish an effective inter and intra Departmental/Ministerial coordination for accomplishing key deliverables of National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture under the aegis of National Action Plan on Climate
Change (NAPCC).

1.8 PARAMPARAGAT KRISHI VIKAS YOJANA

Objective

● Promotion of commercial organic production through certified organic farming.
● pesticide residue free produce and improved health of consumer
● Raise farmer’s income and create potential markets for traders.
● Motivate the farmers for natural resource mobilization for input production.
● Increase domestic production and certification of organic produce by involving farmers.

Intended beneficiary
● Farmers doing organic farming
● Farmers from NE India such as Sikkim
● Food processing industries
● Organic foods – export industry

Salient features
● “Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana” is an elaborated component of Soil Health Management (SHM) under National Mission of Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA).
● Cluster Approach: Fifty or more farmers form a cluster having 50 acre land to take organic farming. Each farmer will be provided Rs. 20000
per acre in three years for seed to harvesting crops and to transport them to market.
● Government plans to form around 10 thousand clusters in three years and cover an area of 5 Lakh hectares under organic farming.

Components
● Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) certification through cluster approach – mobilization of farmers, form clusters, identification of land resources and training on organic farming and PGS Certification and
quality control.
● Adoption of organic village for manure management and biological nitrogen harvesting through cluster approach –action plan for Organic Farming, Integrated Manure Management, Packing, Labelling and Branding
of organic products of cluster.

1.9 NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL MARKET
(NAM)

Objective

● To promote genuine price discovery
● Increases farmers’ options for sale and access to markets
● Liberal licensing of traders / buyers and commission agents. One license for a trader valid across all markets in the State
● Harmonisation of quality standards of agricultural produce
● Single point levy of market fees, i.e on the first wholesale purchase from the farmer.
● Provision of Soil Testing Laboratories in/ or near the selected mandi to facilitate visiting farmers to access this facility in the mandi itself

Intended beneficiary 

● 585 regulated wholesale markets in states/union territories (UTs).
● Farmers
● Local traders
● Bulk buyers, processors
● Farm produce exporters
● Overall economy of the nation

Salient features
● NAM is a pan-India electronic trading portal which seeks to network the existing APMCs and other market yards to create a unified national
market for agricultural commodities.
● Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) has been selected as the lead agency to implement it.
● Central government will provide the software free of cost to the states and in addition, a grant of up to Rs. 30 lakhs per mandi or market or
private mandis will be given for related equipment and infrastructure requirements.
● New Features added to the scheme such as E-NAM Mobile App, BHIM Payment facility, MIS dashboard for better analysis and insights,
grievance redressal mechanism for Mandi Secretaries and integration with Farmer Database to ease the registration and identification process will further strengthen e-NAM.
● Fund Allocation – The Scheme is being funded through AgriTech Infrastructure Fund (AITF).

1.10 KRISHI VIGYAN KENDRAS

Objective
● To be a frontline extension in agriculture, and to serve as a single window mechanism for addressing the technology needs of farmers
● To demonstrate location specific technologies and build capacity of farmers
● To serve as links between research and extension and also with farmers
Intended beneficiary
● Rural youth, farm women and Farmers (skill development training)
Salient features
● Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)has created a network of 645 Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) in the country and 106 more
KVKs will be established.
● Directorate of Extension in State Agriculture Universities also helps KVKs in its activities.
● KVKs lay strong emphasis on skill development training of rural youth, farm women and farmers
● Provide latest technological inputs like seeds,planting materials and bio-products.
● Advise farmers on timely crop/enterprise related recommendations, including climate resilient technologies.
● Diagnose and solve problems emerging from district agro-ecosystems and lead in adoption of innovations.

1.11 MERA GAON-MERA GAURAV

Objective

● To promote direct interface of scientists withthe farmers and hasten the land to lab process.
● To imbibe a sense of ownership among the agricultural scientists
● To provide farmers with required information, knowledge and advisories on regular basis by adopting villages.

Intended beneficiary

● Scientists with ground level experience
● Farmers

Salient features
● This scheme involves scientists of the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) and state agricultural universities.
● Groups of four multidisciplinary scientists each will be constituted at these institutes and universities. Each group will “adopt” five villages within a radius of maximum 100 km.

1.12 Price Stabilization Fund

Objective: to safeguard the interest of the growers and provide them financial relief when prices fall below a specified level.

Scheme:
● Central Sector Scheme.
● To support market interventions for price control of perishable agri-horticultural commodities.
● PSF will be used to advance interest free loan to State Governments and Central agencies to support their working capital and other expenses on procurement and distribution interventions for such commodities.
● Procurement of the commodities will be undertaken directly from farmers or farmers’ organizations at farm gate/mandi and made available at a more reasonable price to the consumers.
● Initially the fund is proposed to be used for onion and potato only. Losses incurred, if any, in the operations will be shared between the Centre and the States.

Framework and Funding:

● States will set up a revolving fund to which theCentre and State will contribute equally, i.e. 50:50.
● The ratio of Centre-State contribution to the State-level corpus in respect of Northeast States will, however, be 75:25.

1.13 Mission Fingerling

● It is a programme to enable holistic development and management of the fisheries sector in India.
● The mission aims to achieve the target to enhance fisheries production from 10.79 mmt (2014-15) to 15 mmt by 2020-21 under the Blue Revolution.

Programme:

● Government has identified 20 States based ontheir potential and other relevant factors to strengthen the Fish Fingerling production and Fish Seed infrastructure in the country.
● This program will facilitate the establishment of Fingerling rearing pond and hatcheries.
● This will converge in the production of 20 lakh tonnes of fish annually, which will in turn benefit about 4 million families.
● The implementation of this program will supplement the requirement of stocking materials in the country up to a large extent, which is a much needed input to achieve the enhanced fish production.

1.14 Umbrella Scheme Green Revolution — Krishonnati Yojana

AIM

These schemes look to develop the agriculture and allied sector in a holistic and scientific manner to increase the income of farmers by enhancing
production, productivity and better returns on produce.

The Schemes that are part of the Umbrella Schemes are :-

i. Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH)
ii. National Food Security Mission (NFSM)
iii. National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA)
iv. Submission on Agriculture Extension (SMAE)
v. Sub-Mission on Seeds and Planting Material (SMSP)
vi. Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanisation (SMAM)
vii. Sub Mission on Plant Protection and Plan Quarantine (SMPPQ)
viii. Integrated Scheme on Agriculture Census, Economics and Statistics (ISACES)
ix. Integrated Scheme on Agricultural Cooperation (ISAC)
x. Integrated Scheme on Agricultural Marketing (ISAM)
xi. National e-Governance Plan (NeGP-A) The Schemes/Missions focus on
creating/strengthening of infrastructure of production, reducing production cost and marketing of agriculture and allied produce.

1.15 Pradhan Mantri Annadata Aay SanraksHan Abhiyan (PM-AASHA)

1. The Scheme is aimed at ensuring remunerative prices to the farmers for their produce as announced in the Union Budget for 2018.
2. It is expected that the increase in MSP will be translated to farmers’ income by way of robust procurement mechanism in coordination with
the State Governments.
The three schemes that are part of AASHA are:
1. the Price Support Scheme (PSS)
2. the Price Deficiency Payment Scheme (PDPS)
3. the Pilot of Private Procurement and Stockist Scheme (PPPS)
● These three components will complement the existing schemes of the Department of Food and Public Distribution.
● They relate to paddy, wheat and other cereals and coarse grains where procurement is at MSP now.
● PSS – Under the PSS, physical procurement of pulses, oilseeds and copra will be done by Central Nodal Agencies.
● Besides, NAFED and Food Corporation of India will also take up procurement of crops under PSS.
● The expenditure and losses due to procurement will be borne by the Centre.
● PDPS – Under the PDPS, the Centre proposes to cover all oilseeds.
● The difference between the MSP and actual selling/modal price will be directly paid into the farmer’s bank account.
● Farmers who sell their crops in recognised mandis within the notified period can benefit from it.
● PPSS – In the case of oilseeds, States will have the option to roll out PPSS in select districts.
● Under this, a private player can procure crops at MSP when market prices drop below MSP.
● The private player will then be compensated through a service charge up to a maximum of 15% of the MSP.

1.16 Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN)

What is the news: The Central Government notified a decision to extend the benefit of ₹6,000 per year under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi
scheme to all 14.5 crore farmers in the country, irrespective of the size of their landholding.
● Central sector scheme

Objective

○ To provide income support to all farmer families having cultivable land.
○ To supplement the financial needs of the farmers in procuring various inputs to ensure proper crop health and appropriate yields, commensurate with the anticipated farm income.

Salient Features:

● The revised Scheme is expected to coveraround 2 crore more farmers, increasing the coverage of PM-KISAN to around 14.5 crore
beneficiaries.
● Responsibility of identifying the landholder farmer family eligible for benefit under the scheme shall be of the State/UT Government.
● The lists of eligible beneficiaries would be published at the village level to ensure transparency.
● Exclusions: Certain categories of beneficiaries of higher economic status such as institutional landholders, former and present holder of constitutional posts, persons who paid income tax in the last assessment year etc. shall not be eligible for benefit under the scheme.
■ Professionals like doctors, engineers and lawyers as well as retired pensioners with a monthly pension of over ₹10,000 and those who paid income tax in the last assessment year are also not eligible for the benefits.
■ For the purpose of exclusion State/UT Government can certify the eligibility of the beneficiary based on self-declaration by the beneficiaries.
● A dedicated PM Kisan Portal will be launched for the implementation of the scheme.
● This is a Central Sector Scheme and will be funded fully by the Government of India

Categories
Mission Nikaalo Prelims

[Prelims Spotlight] Important Schemes regarding Agriculture & Allied Sectors

Prelims Spotlight is a part of “Nikaalo Prelims 2020” module. This open crash course for Prelims 2020 has a private telegram group where PDFs and DDS (Daily Doubt Sessions) are being held. Please click here to register.

Important Schemes regarding Agriculture & Allied Sectors


06 May 2020

1.1 Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana

Objective

● To achieve convergence of investments in irrigation at the field level.
● To enhance the recharge of aquifers and introduce sustainable water conservation practices.
● To explore the feasibility of reusing treated municipal wastewater for peri-urban agriculture.
● To attract greater private investments in irrigation.
● To promote extension activities relating to water harvesting, water management and crop alignment for farmers and grass root level field
functionaries.

Salient features

● Decentralized State level planning and projectized execution’ structure, in order to allow States to draw up a District Irrigation Plan (DIP) and a State Irrigation Plan (SIP). These plans need to be prepared in order to access
the PMKSY fund.
● It will be supervised and monitored by the Inter-Ministerial National Steering Committee (NSC) under PM with Union Ministers of all concerned Ministries. A National Executive Committee (NEC) is to be constituted under the Chairmanship of the Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog to oversee programme implementation.
● PMKSY has been formulated amalgamation ongoing schemes viz. Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP); Integrated
Watershed Management Programme (IWMP); and On-Farm Water Management (OFWM) component of National Mission on Sustainable
Agriculture (NMSA).
● Water budgeting is done for all sectors namely, household, agriculture and industries.
● Investments will happen at farm level. So, farmers know what is happening and can provide valuable feedback.
● Recently, the Long Term Irrigation Fund has been instituted under PMKSY in NABARD for funding and fast-tracking the implementation
of incomplete major and medium irrigation projects.

1.2 RASHTRIYA KRISHI VIKAS YOJANA – RAFTAAR (RKVY-RAFTAAR)

Objective

● To make farming a remunerative economic activity through strengthening the farmer’s efforts, risk mitigation and promoting
agribusiness entrepreneurship.
● To attend national priorities through several sub-schemes.
● To empower youth through skill development, innovation and agri entrepreneurship based business models.

Salient features 

● RKVY, initiated in 2007 as an umbrella scheme for holistic development of agriculture and allied sectors, has been recently revamped as
RKVY-RAFTAAR – Remunerative Approaches for Agriculture and Allied sector Rejuvenation for 2017-19 and 2019-20.
● It provided states with considerable flexibility and autonomy for planning and executing Programs.
● The decentralised planning for agriculture and allied sectors is initiated by the states through District Agriculture Plan and State Agriculture
Plan based on agro-climatic conditions, availability of appropriate technology and natural priorities.
● It will incentivize states to increase allocations for agriculture and allied sectors and help in creation of post-harvest infrastructure and
promotion of private investment in the farm sector across the country.
● Fund Allocation – 60:40 grants between Centre
and States in states and 90:10 for North Eastern States and Himalayan States through following streams – o Infrastructure & Assets and Production Growth o RKVY-RAFTAAR special sub-schemes of National Priorities o Innovation
and agri-entrepreneur development.

Sub-schemes include

● Bringing Green Revolution to Eastern India
● Crop Diversification Program – It is being implemented in the Original Green Revolution States of Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh to diversify area from water-guzzling crop
● Reclamation of Problem Soil ● Foot & Mouth Disease – Control Program
(FMD-CP)
● Saffron Mission
● Accelerated Fodder Development Programme (AFDP)

1.3 NATIONAL FOOD SECURITY MISSION

Objective

Increasing production of rice, wheat, pulses, coarse cereals and commercial crops through area expansion and productivity enhancement
in a sustainable manner.
● Restore soil fertility and productivity at the individual farm level.
● Enhancing farm level economy.

Salient features

● It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme which was launched in 2007.
● The approach of the scheme is to bridge the yield gap in respect of these crops through dissemination of improved technologies and farm management practices while focusing on districts which have high potential but relatively low level of productivity at present.
● Major Components – National Food Security Mission – Rice, National Food Security Mission – Wheat, National Food Security Mission – Pulses,
National Food Security Mission – Coarse Cereals and National Food Security Mission –Commercial Crops.

1.4 National Horticulture Mission

1. To provide holistic growth of the horticulture sector through an area based regionally differentiated strategies, to enhance horticulture production, improve nutritional security and income support to farm households
2. To establish convergence and synergy among multiple ongoing and planned programmes for horticulture development
3. To promote, develop and disseminate technologies, through a seamless blend of traditional wisdom and modern scientific knowledge
4. To create opportunities for employment generation for skilled and unskilled persons, especially unemployed youth.

Scheme:

A National Horticulture Mission was launched in 2005-06 as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme to promote holistic growth of the horticulture sector
through an area based regionally differentiated strategies. The scheme has been subsumed as a part of Mission for Integration Development of
Horticulture (MIDH) during 2014-15.

What is the National Horticulture Mission?

The National Horticulture Mission is a government mission to support horticultural production in the country. NHM is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme in which the Government of India contributes 85%, and 15% is met by the State Governments.

Factual Information:

● India ranks second in the global production of fruits and vegetables next to China.
● Started in 2005-06.

1.5 SOIL HEALTH CARD SCHEME

Objective

● To issue soil health cards every 3 years, to all farmers of the country, so as to provide a basis to address nutrient deficiencies in fertilization practices.
● To strengthen the functioning of Soil Testing Laboratories (STLs) through capacity building, the involvement of agriculture students and
effective linkage with Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) / State Agricultural Universities (SAUs).
● To diagnose soil fertility related constraints with standardized procedures for sampling uniformly across states.
● To build capacities of district and state level staff and of progressive farmers for promotion of nutrient management practices.

Salient features

● It is a centrally sponsored scheme launched by the Government of India in 2015.
● It is being implemented through the Department of Agriculture of all the State and Union Territory Governments.
● Assistance is provided to the State Government to issue Soil Health Card and also develop a database to improve service delivery.
● Soil Health Card issued to farmers carry crop-wise recommendations of nutrients and fertilizers required for the individual farms.
● The experts will analyze the strength and weaknesses (micronutrients deficiency) of the soil collected from farms and suggest measures
to deal with it.
● It will contain the status of his soil with respect to 12 parameters, namely N,P,K (Macronutrients); S (Secondary nutrient); Zn, Fe, Cu, Mn, Bo (Micro – nutrients); and pH, EC, OC (Physical parameters).

1.6 PM FASAL BIMA YOJANA

Objective

● To provide insurance coverage and financial support to the farmers in the event of natural calamities, pests & diseases.
● To stabilise the income of farmers to ensure
their continuance in farming. ● To encourage farmers to adopt innovative and
modern agricultural practices.
● To ensure flow of credit to the agriculture sector.
Intended beneficiary.
● All farmers including sharecroppers and tenant farmers growing notified crops in a notified area during the season who have insurable interest in the crop are eligible.

Salient features

● It replaced all other existing insurance schemes except the Restructured Weather-Based Crop Insurance Scheme (uses weather parameters as
proxy for crop yield in compensating the cultivators for deemed crop loses) .
● A uniform premium of only 2% to be paid by farmers for all Kharif crops and 1.5% for all Rabi crops.
● In case of annual commercial and horticultural crops, the premium to be paid by farmers will be only 5%.
● There is no upper limit on Government subsidy so farmers will get claim against full sum insured without any reduction.
● The difference between the premium paid by farmers and the actuarial premium charged was paid by the Centre and state government in
the ratio of 50:50.
● It is compulsory for loanee farmers availing crop loans for notified crops in notified areas and voluntary for non-loanee farmers.
● Yield Losses: due to non-preventable risks, such as Natural Fire and Lightning, Storm, Hailstorm, Cyclone, Typhoon, Tempest, Hurricane, Tornado.
Risks due to Flood, Inundation and Landslide, Drought, Dry spells, Pests/ Diseases also will be covered.
● Post-harvest losses are also covered.
● Mandatory use of technology: Smart phones, drones etc., will be used to capture and upload data of crop cutting to reduce the delays in claim payment to farmers. Remote sensing will be used to reduce the number of crop cutting
experiments.
● The Scheme shall be implemented on an ‘Area Approach basis’. Defined Area (i.e., unit area of insurance) is Village or above. It can be a
Geo-Fenced/Geo-mapped region having homogenous Risk Profile for the notified crop.
● Presently, 5 public sector insurers (Agriculture
Insurance Company of India, United India Insurance Company etc.) and 13 private insurance companies are empanelled for implementation of the scheme.
● Recently, states have been allowed to set up their own insurance companies for implementing the scheme.

1.7 National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture

National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) has been formulated for enhancing agricultural productivity especially in rainfed areas focusing on integrated farming, water use efficiency, soil health management and
synergizing resource conservation.

Objectives

● To make agriculture more productive, sustainable, remunerative and climate resilient by promoting location specific Integrated/Composite Farming Systems
● To conserve natural resources through appropriate soil and moisture conservation measures
● To adopt comprehensive soil health management practices based on soil fertility maps, soil test based application of macro & micro nutrients, judicious use of fertilizers etc.
● To optimize utilization of water resources through efficient water management to expand coverage for achieving ‘more crop per drop’.
● To develop capacity of farmers & stakeholders, in conjunction with other on going missions e.g. National Mission on Agriculture Extension &
Technology, National Food Security Mission, National Initiative for Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA) etc., in the domain of
climate change adaptation and mitigation measures.
● To pilot models in select blocks for improving  productivity of rainfed farming by mainstreaming rainfed technologies refined through NICRA and by leveraging resources  from other schemes/Missions like Mahatma
Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP), RKVY etc.;
and
● To establish an effective inter and intra Departmental/Ministerial coordination for accomplishing key deliverables of National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture under the aegis of National Action Plan on Climate
Change (NAPCC).

1.8 PARAMPARAGAT KRISHI VIKAS YOJANA

Objective

● Promotion of commercial organic production through certified organic farming.
● pesticide residue free produce and improved health of consumer
● Raise farmer’s income and create potential markets for traders.
● Motivate the farmers for natural resource mobilization for input production.
● Increase domestic production and certification of organic produce by involving farmers.

Intended beneficiary
● Farmers doing organic farming
● Farmers from NE India such as Sikkim
● Food processing industries
● Organic foods – export industry

Salient features
● “Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana” is an elaborated component of Soil Health Management (SHM) under National Mission of Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA).
● Cluster Approach: Fifty or more farmers form a cluster having 50 acre land to take organic farming. Each farmer will be provided Rs. 20000
per acre in three years for seed to harvesting crops and to transport them to market.
● Government plans to form around 10 thousand clusters in three years and cover an area of 5 Lakh hectares under organic farming.

Components
● Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) certification through cluster approach – mobilization of farmers, form clusters, identification of land resources and training on organic farming and PGS Certification and
quality control.
● Adoption of organic village for manure management and biological nitrogen harvesting through cluster approach –action plan for Organic Farming, Integrated Manure Management, Packing, Labelling and Branding
of organic products of cluster.

1.9 NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL MARKET
(NAM)

Objective

● To promote genuine price discovery
● Increases farmers’ options for sale and access to markets
● Liberal licensing of traders / buyers and commission agents. One license for a trader valid across all markets in the State
● Harmonisation of quality standards of agricultural produce
● Single point levy of market fees, i.e on the first wholesale purchase from the farmer.
● Provision of Soil Testing Laboratories in/ or near the selected mandi to facilitate visiting farmers to access this facility in the mandi itself

Intended beneficiary 

● 585 regulated wholesale markets in states/union territories (UTs).
● Farmers
● Local traders
● Bulk buyers, processors
● Farm produce exporters
● Overall economy of the nation

Salient features
● NAM is a pan-India electronic trading portal which seeks to network the existing APMCs and other market yards to create a unified national
market for agricultural commodities.
● Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) has been selected as the lead agency to implement it.
● Central government will provide the software free of cost to the states and in addition, a grant of up to Rs. 30 lakhs per mandi or market or
private mandis will be given for related equipment and infrastructure requirements.
● New Features added to the scheme such as E-NAM Mobile App, BHIM Payment facility, MIS dashboard for better analysis and insights,
grievance redressal mechanism for Mandi Secretaries and integration with Farmer Database to ease the registration and identification process will further strengthen e-NAM.
● Fund Allocation – The Scheme is being funded through AgriTech Infrastructure Fund (AITF).

1.10 KRISHI VIGYAN KENDRAS

Objective
● To be a frontline extension in agriculture, and to serve as a single window mechanism for addressing the technology needs of farmers
● To demonstrate location specific technologies and build capacity of farmers
● To serve as links between research and extension and also with farmers
Intended beneficiary
● Rural youth, farm women and Farmers (skill development training)
Salient features
● Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)has created a network of 645 Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) in the country and 106 more
KVKs will be established.
● Directorate of Extension in State Agriculture Universities also helps KVKs in its activities.
● KVKs lay strong emphasis on skill development training of rural youth, farm women and farmers
● Provide latest technological inputs like seeds,planting materials and bio-products.
● Advise farmers on timely crop/enterprise related recommendations, including climate resilient technologies.
● Diagnose and solve problems emerging from district agro-ecosystems and lead in adoption of innovations.

1.11 MERA GAON-MERA GAURAV

Objective

● To promote direct interface of scientists withthe farmers and hasten the land to lab process.
● To imbibe a sense of ownership among the agricultural scientists
● To provide farmers with required information, knowledge and advisories on regular basis by adopting villages.

Intended beneficiary

● Scientists with ground level experience
● Farmers

Salient features
● This scheme involves scientists of the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) and state agricultural universities.
● Groups of four multidisciplinary scientists each will be constituted at these institutes and universities. Each group will “adopt” five villages within a radius of maximum 100 km.

1.12 Price Stabilization Fund

Objective: to safeguard the interest of the growers and provide them financial relief when prices fall below a specified level.

Scheme:
● Central Sector Scheme.
● To support market interventions for price control of perishable agri-horticultural commodities.
● PSF will be used to advance interest free loan to State Governments and Central agencies to support their working capital and other expenses on procurement and distribution interventions for such commodities.
● Procurement of the commodities will be undertaken directly from farmers or farmers’ organizations at farm gate/mandi and made available at a more reasonable price to the consumers.
● Initially the fund is proposed to be used for onion and potato only. Losses incurred, if any, in the operations will be shared between the Centre and the States.

Framework and Funding:

● States will set up a revolving fund to which theCentre and State will contribute equally, i.e. 50:50.
● The ratio of Centre-State contribution to the State-level corpus in respect of Northeast States will, however, be 75:25.

1.13 Mission Fingerling

● It is a programme to enable holistic development and management of the fisheries sector in India.
● The mission aims to achieve the target to enhance fisheries production from 10.79 mmt (2014-15) to 15 mmt by 2020-21 under the Blue Revolution.

Programme:

● Government has identified 20 States based ontheir potential and other relevant factors to strengthen the Fish Fingerling production and Fish Seed infrastructure in the country.
● This program will facilitate the establishment of Fingerling rearing pond and hatcheries.
● This will converge in the production of 20 lakh tonnes of fish annually, which will in turn benefit about 4 million families.
● The implementation of this program will supplement the requirement of stocking materials in the country up to a large extent, which is a much needed input to achieve the enhanced fish production.

1.14 Umbrella Scheme Green Revolution — Krishonnati Yojana

AIM

These schemes look to develop the agriculture and allied sector in a holistic and scientific manner to increase the income of farmers by enhancing
production, productivity and better returns on produce.

The Schemes that are part of the Umbrella Schemes are :-

i. Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH)
ii. National Food Security Mission (NFSM)
iii. National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA)
iv. Submission on Agriculture Extension (SMAE)
v. Sub-Mission on Seeds and Planting Material (SMSP)
vi. Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanisation (SMAM)
vii. Sub Mission on Plant Protection and Plan Quarantine (SMPPQ)
viii. Integrated Scheme on Agriculture Census, Economics and Statistics (ISACES)
ix. Integrated Scheme on Agricultural Cooperation (ISAC)
x. Integrated Scheme on Agricultural Marketing (ISAM)
xi. National e-Governance Plan (NeGP-A) The Schemes/Missions focus on
creating/strengthening of infrastructure of production, reducing production cost and marketing of agriculture and allied produce.

1.15 Pradhan Mantri Annadata Aay SanraksHan Abhiyan (PM-AASHA)

1. The Scheme is aimed at ensuring remunerative prices to the farmers for their produce as announced in the Union Budget for 2018.
2. It is expected that the increase in MSP will be translated to farmers’ income by way of robust procurement mechanism in coordination with
the State Governments.
The three schemes that are part of AASHA are:
1. the Price Support Scheme (PSS)
2. the Price Deficiency Payment Scheme (PDPS)
3. the Pilot of Private Procurement and Stockist Scheme (PPPS)
● These three components will complement the existing schemes of the Department of Food and Public Distribution.
● They relate to paddy, wheat and other cereals and coarse grains where procurement is at MSP now.
● PSS – Under the PSS, physical procurement of pulses, oilseeds and copra will be done by Central Nodal Agencies.
● Besides, NAFED and Food Corporation of India will also take up procurement of crops under PSS.
● The expenditure and losses due to procurement will be borne by the Centre.
● PDPS – Under the PDPS, the Centre proposes to cover all oilseeds.
● The difference between the MSP and actual selling/modal price will be directly paid into the farmer’s bank account.
● Farmers who sell their crops in recognised mandis within the notified period can benefit from it.
● PPSS – In the case of oilseeds, States will have the option to roll out PPSS in select districts.
● Under this, a private player can procure crops at MSP when market prices drop below MSP.
● The private player will then be compensated through a service charge up to a maximum of 15% of the MSP.

1.16 Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN)

What is the news: The Central Government notified a decision to extend the benefit of ₹6,000 per year under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi
scheme to all 14.5 crore farmers in the country, irrespective of the size of their landholding.
● Central sector scheme

Objective

○ To provide income support to all farmer families having cultivable land.
○ To supplement the financial needs of the farmers in procuring various inputs to ensure proper crop health and appropriate yields, commensurate with the anticipated farm income.

Salient Features:

● The revised Scheme is expected to coveraround 2 crore more farmers, increasing the coverage of PM-KISAN to around 14.5 crore
beneficiaries.
● Responsibility of identifying the landholder farmer family eligible for benefit under the scheme shall be of the State/UT Government.
● The lists of eligible beneficiaries would be published at the village level to ensure transparency.
● Exclusions: Certain categories of beneficiaries of higher economic status such as institutional landholders, former and present holder of constitutional posts, persons who paid income tax in the last assessment year etc. shall not be eligible for benefit under the scheme.
■ Professionals like doctors, engineers and lawyers as well as retired pensioners with a monthly pension of over ₹10,000 and those who paid income tax in the last assessment year are also not eligible for the benefits.
■ For the purpose of exclusion State/UT Government can certify the eligibility of the beneficiary based on self-declaration by the beneficiaries.
● A dedicated PM Kisan Portal will be launched for the implementation of the scheme.
● This is a Central Sector Scheme and will be funded fully by the Government of India

Categories
Mission Nikaalo Prelims

[Prelims Spotlight] Important Groupings Related to India

Prelims Spotlight is a part of “Nikaalo Prelims 2020” module. This open crash course for Prelims 2020 has a private telegram group where PDFs and DDS (Daily Doubt Sessions) are being held. Please click here to register.

Important Groupings Related to India


05 May 2020

Trans-Pacific Partnership

  • The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), or the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), is a trade agreement between Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States (until 23 January 2017) and Vietnam
  • The TPP began as an expansion of the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPSEP or P4) signed by Brunei Darussalam, Chile, New Zealand, and Singapore in 2005
  • The TPP contains measures to lower both non-tariff and tariff barriers to trade and establish an investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism
  • The agreement will enter into force after ratification by all signatories if this occurs within two years
  • APEC members may accede to the TPP, as may any other jurisdiction to which existing TPP members agree. After an application for membership is received, a commission of parties to the treaty negotiates conditions for accession.

BRICS

  • BRICS is the acronym coined for an association of five major emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
  • Originally the first four were grouped as “BRIC” (or “the BRICs”), before the induction of South Africa in 2010.
  • The BRICS members are known for their significant influence on regional affairs; all are members of G20.
  • Since 2009, the BRICS nations have met annually at formal summits. China hosted the 9th BRICS summit in Xiamen on September 2017, while Brazil hosted the most recent 11th BRICS summit on 13-14 November 2019.

New Development Bank and the Fortaleza Declaration

  • During the sixth BRICS Summit in Fortaleza (2014), the leaders signed the Agreement establishing the New Development Bank (NDB).
  • In the Fortaleza Declaration, the leaders stressed that the NDB will strengthen cooperation among BRICS and will supplement the efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global development, thus contributing to collective commitments for achieving the goal of strong, sustainable and balanced growth.
  • The bank was established in July 2015 by the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).
  • The aim of the bank is to mobilize funding for infrastructure and sustainable development.
  • Its ownership structure is unique, as the BRICS countries each have an equal share and no country has any veto power.
  • In this sense, the bank is a physical expression of the desire of emerging markets to play a bigger role in global governance.
  • NDB was created to help fill the funding gap in the BRICS economies and was intended to grow its global scope over time.
  • The bank, with its subscribed capital base of US$50bn, is now poised to become a meaningful additional source of long-term finance for infrastructure in its member countries.

Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)

  • The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a trade deal that was being negotiated between 16 countries.
  • They include the 10 ASEAN members and the six countries with which the bloc has free trade agreements (FTAs) — India, Australia, China, Korea, Japan, and New Zealand.
  • The purpose of the deal is to create an “integrated market” spanning all 16 countries.
  • This means that it would be easier for the products and services of each of these countries to be available across the entire region.

RCEP – India

  • It comprises half of the world population and accounts for nearly 40% of the global commerce and 35% of the GDP. RCEP would have become the world’s largest FTA after finalisation, with India being the third-biggest economy in it.
  • Without India, the RCEP does not look as attractive as it had seemed during negotiations.
  • Divided ASEAN – ASEAN has been keen on a diversified portfolio so that member states can deal with major powers and maintain their strategic autonomy. ASEAN member states have tried to keep the U.S. engaged in the region.
  • Act East policy has been well received. With China’s rise in the region, ASEAN member states have been keen on Indian involvement in the region.
  • Indo-Pacific – India’s entire Indo-Pacific strategy might be open to question if steps are not taken to restore India’s profile in the region.
  • Rejected China’s dominance – India signalled that, despite the costs, China’s rise has to be tackled both politically and economically.

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)

  • After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the then security and economic architecture in the Eurasian region dissolved and new structures had to come up.
  • The original Shanghai Five were China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan.
  • The SCO was formed in 2001, with Uzbekistan included. It expanded in 2017 to include India and Pakistan.
  • Since its formation, the SCO has focused on regional non-traditional security, with counter-terrorism as a priority:
  • The fight against the “three evils” of terrorism, separatism and extremism has become its mantra.
  • Today, areas of cooperation include themes such as economics and culture.

India’s entry to the SCO

  • India and Pakistan both were observer countries.
  • While Central Asian countries and China were not in favour of expansion initially, the main supporter — of India’s entry in particular — was Russia.
  • A widely held view is that Russia’s growing unease about an increasingly powerful China prompted it to push for its expansion.
  • From 2009 onwards, Russia officially supported India’s ambition to join the SCO. China then asked for its all-weather friend Pakistan’s entry.

The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC)

  • The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is a regional organization comprising seven Member States lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal constituting a contiguous regional unity. This sub-regional organization came into being on 6 June 1997 through the Bangkok Declaration.
  • The regional group constitutes a bridge between South and South-East Asia and represents a reinforcement of relations among these countries.
  • BIMSTEC has also established a platform for intra-regional cooperation between SAARC and ASEAN members.  The BIMSTEC region is home to around 1.5 billion people which constitute around 22% of the global population with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of 2.7 trillion economies. In the last five years, BIMSTEC Member States have been able to sustain an average 6.5% economic growth trajectory despite a global financial meltdown.

SAARC & SAARC Countries

  • The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is a regional intergovernmental organization and geopolitical union in South Asia.  Its member states include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.  SAARC was founded in Dhaka in 1985.
  • Its secretariat is based in Kathmandu.
  • The organization promotes the development of economic and regional integration.
  • It launched the South Asian Free Trade Area in 2006.
  • SAARC maintains permanent diplomatic relations at the United Nation as an observer and has developed links with multilateral entities.
  • Observers Of SAARC: – States with observer status include Australia, China, the European Union, Iran, Japan, Mauritius Myanmar, South Korea and the United States.

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

  • The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is a regional intergovernmental organization comprising ten Southeast Asian countries
  • It promotes Pan-Asianism and intergovernmental cooperation and facilitates economic, political, security, military, educational and socio-cultural integration amongst its members and other Asian countries
  • It members are Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam
  • ASEAN shares land and maritime borders with India, China
  • ASEAN is an official United Nations Observer.

The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)

  • The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is a group of nuclear supplier countries that seeks to contribute to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons through the implementation of two sets of Guidelines for nuclear exports and nuclear-related exports.
  • One of the critical elements for inclusion into the NSG is that the member countries need to signatories of the NPT, a proposal which India has categorically disagreed.
  • However considering India’s history of nuclear non-proliferation, the US and subsequently the NSG have shown some recognition and granted India with the waiver of dealing with other countries for nuclear technology.

Recent Developments

  • Present Indian government embarked to pursue the ambitious goal of NSG membership aggressively.
  • The prime minister visited countries like the USA, Netherlands, Mexico, and Portugal to secure support from these countries.
  • US administration under Obama and Donald trump reiterated their support for Indian entry to the NSG. Russia also extended its support.
  • NSG takes a decision based on a consensus of the member countries. So it is important to secure the support of each and every member country.
  • China is against the granting membership. Insisted on a criteria-based approach for the non-NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) signatory countries.
  • China has also maintained that for non-NPT members some definite criteria should be evolved rather than granting country-specific waivers. At other times, it has stated that Pakistan also has similar credentials to join the NSG; and that if India is admitted; Pakistan should also be admitted simultaneously.
  • Some other countries, including Turkey, Switzerland, Mexico and New Zealand, were among those which have stressed on the criteria-based approach, without opposing India’s application outright.

Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)

  • OPCW is an intergovernmental organization and the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, which entered into force on 29 April 1997
  • The OPCW, with its 193 member states, has its seat in The Hague, Netherlands, and oversees the global endeavour for the permanent and verifiable elimination of chemical weapons
  • The organization promotes and verifies the adherence to the Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibits the use of chemical weapons and requires their destruction
  • Verification consists both of evaluation of declarations by member states and onsite inspections
  • The OPCW has the power to say whether chemical weapons were used in an attack it has investigated
  • The organization was awarded the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize “for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons”

The Australian Group

  • The Australia Group is a multilateral export control regime (MECR) and an informal group of countries (now joined by the European Commission) established in 1985 (after the use of chemical weapons by Iraq in 1984) to help member countries to identify those exports which need to be controlled so as not to contribute to the spread of chemical and biological weapons
  • The group, initially consisting of 15 members, held its first meeting in Brussels, Belgium, in September 1989. With the incorporation of India on January 19, 2018, it now has 43 members, including Australia, the European Commission, all 28 member states of the European Union, Ukraine, and Argentina
  • The name comes from Australia’s initiative to create the group. Australia manages the secretariat
  • The initial members of the group had different assessments of which chemical precursors should be subject to export control
  • Later adherents initially had no such controls
  • Today, members of the group maintain export controls on a uniform list of 54 compounds, including several that are not prohibited for export under the Chemical Weapons Convention but can be used in the manufacture of chemical weapons
  • In 2002, the group took two important steps to strengthen export control
  • The first was the “no-undercut” requirement, which stated that any member of the group considering making an export to another state that had already been denied an export by any other member of the group must first consult with that member state before approving the export
  • The second was the “catch-all” provision, which requires member states to halt all exports that could be used by importers in chemical or biological weapons programs, regardless of whether the export is on the group’s control lists.
  • Delegations representing the members meet every year in Paris, France
WTO
  • US, UK and a few other countries set up, an interim organisation about trade named GATT (General Agreement on Tariff and Trade) in 1947
  • GATT was biased in favour of the developed countries and was called informally as the Rich men’s club.
  • So, the developing countries insisted on setting up the International Trade Organisation (ITO)
  • That’s the reason, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) was set up in 1964 as an alternative, on the recommendation of the UN committee
  • Next development comes in Uruguay Round of GATT, it sought to expand the scope of the organisation by including, services, investment and intellectual property rights (IPR)
  • Agreements were ratified by the legislatures of 85 member-countries by year-end 1994.
  • On such rectification, the WTO started functioning from Jan 1, 1995, Marrakesh Agreement>

Functions of WTO

  • The WTO deals with regulation of trade in goods, services and intellectual property between participating countries.
  • It provides a framework for negotiating trade agreements and a dispute resolution process aimed at enforcing participants’ adherence to WTO agreements, which are signed by representatives of member governments and ratified by their parliaments.

G20

  • Formed in 1999, the G20 is an international forum of the governments and central bank governors from 20 major economies.
  • Collectively, the G20 economies account for around 85 percent of the Gross World Product (GWP), 80 percent of world trade.
  • To tackle the problems or the address issues that plague the world, the heads of governments of the G20 nations periodically participate in summits.
  • In addition to it, the group also hosts separate meetings of the finance ministers and foreign ministers.
  • The G20 has no permanent staff of its own and its chairmanship rotates annually between nations divided into regional groupings. 

Aims and objectives

  • The Group was formed with the aim of studying, reviewing, and promoting high-level discussion of policy issues pertaining to the promotion of international financial stability.
  • The forum aims to pre-empt the balance of payments problems and turmoil on financial markets by improved coordination of monetary, fiscal, and financial policies.
  • It seeks to address issues that go beyond the responsibilities of any one organisation.

Member Countries

The members of the G20 consist of 19 individual countries plus the European Union (EU).

  • The 19 member countries of the forum are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States.
  • The European Union is represented by the European Commission and by the European Central Bank.

 Who are the G20 Sherpas?

  • A Sherpa is the personal representative of a head of state or government who prepares an international summit, particularly the annual G7 and G20 summits.
  • Between the summits, there are multiple Sherpa conferences where possible agreements are laid out.
  • This reduces the amount of time and resources required at the negotiations of the heads of state at the final summit.
  • The Sherpa is generally quite influential, although they do not have the authority to make a final decision about any given agreement.
  • The name is derived from the Sherpa people, a Nepalese ethnic group, who serve as guides and porters in the Himalayas, a reference to the fact that the Sherpa clears the way for a head of state at a major summit.

G7

  • The G7 or the Group of Seven is a group of the seven most advanced economies as per the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
  • The seven countries are Canada, USA, UK, France, Germany, Japan and Italy. The EU is also represented in the G7.
  • These countries, with the seven largest IMF-described advanced economies in the world, represent 58% of the global net wealth ($317 trillion).
  • The G7 countries also represent more than 46% of the global gross domestic product (GDP) based on nominal values, and more than 32% of the global GDP based on purchasing power parity.
  • The requirements to be a member of the G7 are a high net national wealth and a high HDI (Human Development Index).

 

Categories
Mission Nikaalo Prelims

[Prelims Spotlight] Important Keywords in Budget and Eco Survey

Prelims Spotlight is a part of “Nikaalo Prelims 2020” module. This open crash course for Prelims 2020 has a private telegram group where PDFs and DDS (Daily Doubt Sessions) are being held. Please click here to register.

Important Keywords in Budget and Eco Survey


04 May 2020

The Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Economic Survey 2019-20 in the Parliament today. The Key Highlights of the Survey are as follows:

Wealth Creation: The Invisible Hand Supported by the Hand of Trust

  • The big idea from the Economic Survey 2019-20 is the need to push towards increasing the number of wealth creators in the Indian economy.
  • The Survey states that to achieve the goal of becoming a $5-trillion economy, the invisible hand of markets will need the support of “the hand of trust”.

Wealth Creation

  • Essentially, this means that regulation and rules in the economy should be such that they make it easy to do business but not turn into crony capitalism.
  • The Survey states: “The invisible hand needs to be strengthened by promoting pro-business policies to:
  1. Provide equal opportunities for new entrants, enable fair competition and ease doing business,
  2. Eliminate policies that unnecessarily undermine markets through government intervention,
  3. Enable trade for job creation, and
  4. Efficiently scale-up the banking sector to be proportionate to the size of the Indian economy.”

How can this be done?

  • The Survey introduces the idea of “trust as a public good that gets enhanced with greater use”.
  • In other words, it states that policies must empower transparency and effective enforcement using data and technology to enhance this public good.
  • A key element here is the need to increase the opportunities for new entrants.
  • “Equal opportunity for new entrants is important because… a 10 per cent increase in new firms in a district yields a 1.8 per cent increase in Gross Domestic District Product (GDDP)”.
  • According to the Survey, the right policy mix can boost job creation

Focus on Ethical Wealth Creation

  • The Survey emphasised on the importance of ‘Ethical Wealth Creation’, as the key to making India $5 trillion economies by 2025.
  • Krishnamurthy V. Subramanian, the Chief Economic Adviser of Ministry of Finance has done a commendable job in producing a thought-provoking masterpiece on ‘ethical wealth creation.

Pro-business versus Pro-markets Strategy

  • Survey says that India’s aspiration of becoming a $5 trillion economy depends critically on:
  1. Promoting a ‘pro-business’ policy that unleashes the power of competitive markets to generate wealth.
  2. Weaning away from ‘pro-crony’ policy that may favour specific private interests, especially powerful incumbents.
  • Pro-crony policies such as discretionary allocation of natural resources till 2011 led to rent-seeking by beneficiaries while the competitive allocation of the same post-2014 ended such rent extraction.

Strengthening the invisible hand by promoting pro-business policies to:

  1. Provide equal opportunities for new entrants.
  2. Enable fair competition and ease doing business.
  3. Eliminate policies unnecessarily undermining markets through government intervention.
  4. Enable trade for job creation.
  5. Efficiently scale-up the banking sector.
  • Introducing the idea of trust as a public good, which gets enhanced with greater use.
  • The survey suggests that policies must empower transparency and effective enforcement using data and technology.

Entrepreneurship at the Grassroots

  • Entrepreneurship as a strategy to fuel productivity growth and wealth creation.
  • India ranks third in a number of new firms created, as per the World Bank.
  • New firm creation in India increased dramatically since 2014:
  1. 2 % cumulative annual growth rate of new firms in the formal sector during 2014-18, compared to 3.8 % during 2006-2014.
  2. About 1.24 lakh new firms created in 2018, an increase of about 80 % from about 70,000 in 2014.
  • The survey examines the content and drivers of entrepreneurial activity at the bottom of the administrative pyramid – over 500 districts in India.
  • New firm creation in services is significantly higher than that in manufacturing, infrastructure or agriculture.
  • Survey notes that grassroots entrepreneurship is not just driven by necessity.
  • A 10 percent increase in registration of new firms in a district yields a 1.8 % increase in Gross Domestic District Product (GDDP).

Impact of education on entrepreneurship

  • Literacy and education in a district foster local entrepreneurship significantly:
  1. The impact is most pronounced when literacy is above 70 per cent.
  2. New firm formation is the lowest in eastern India with the lowest literacy rate (59.6 % as per 2011 Census).
  • Physical infrastructure quality in the district influences new firm creation significantly.
  • Ease of Doing Business and flexible labour regulation enable new firm creation, especially in the manufacturing sector.
  • Survey suggests enhancing ease of doing business and implementing flexible labour laws can create maximum jobs in districts and thereby in the states.

Divestment in public sector undertakings

  • The Survey has aggressively pitched for divestment in PSUs by proposing a separate corporate entity wherein the government’s stake can be transferred and divested over a period of time.
  • The survey analysed the data of 11 PSUs that had been divested from 1999-2000 and 2003-04 and compared the data with their peers in the same industry.
  • Further, the survey has said privatized entities have performed better than their peers in terms of net worth, profit, return on equity and sales, among others.
  • The government can transfer its stake in listed CPSEs to a separate corporate entity.
  • This entity would be managed by an independent board and would be mandated to divest the government stake in these CPSEs over a period of time.
  • This will lend professionalism and autonomy to the disinvestment programme which, in turn, would improve the economic performance of the CPSEs.

Golden jubilee of bank nationalization: Taking stock

  • The survey observes 2019 as the golden jubilee year of bank nationalization
  • Accomplishments of lakhs of Public Sector Banks (PSBs) employees cherished and an objective assessment of PSBs suggested by the Survey.
  • Since 1969, India’s banking sector has not developed proportionately to the growth in the size of the economy.
  • India has only one bank in the global top 100 – same as countries that are a fraction of its size: Finland (about 1/11th), Denmark (1/8th), etc.
  • A large economy needs an efficient banking sector to support its growth.

The onus of supporting the economy falls on the PSBs accounting for 70 % of the market share in Indian banking:

  1. PSBs are inefficient compared to their peer groups on every performance parameter.
  2. In 2019, investment for every rupee in PSBs, on average, led to the loss of 23 paise, while in NPBs it led to the gain of 9.6 paise.
  3. Credit growth in PSBs has been much lower than NPBs for the last several years.

Solutions to make PSBs more efficient:

  • Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) for PSBs’ employees
  • Representation on boards proportionate to the blocks held by employees to incentivize employees and align their interests with that of all shareholders of banks.
  • Creation of a GSTN type entity that will aggregate data from all PSBs and use technologies like big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning in credit decisions for ensuring better screening and monitoring of borrowers, especially the large ones.

Doubts regarding GDP Growth

  • GDP growth is a critical variable for decision-making by investors and policymakers. Therefore, the recent debate about the accuracy of India’s GDP estimation following the revised estimation methodology in 2011 is extremely significant.
  • As countries differ in several observed and unobserved ways, cross-country comparisons have to be undertaken by separating the effect of other confounding factors and isolating effect of methodology revision alone on GDP growth estimates.
  • Models that incorrectly over-estimate GDP growth by 2.7 % for India post-2011 also misestimate GDP growth over the same period for 51 out of 95 countries in the sample.

Fiscal Developments

  • Revenue Receipts registered a higher growth during the first eight months of 2019-20, compared to the same period last year, led by considerable growth in Non-Tax revenue.
  • Gross GST monthly collections have crossed the mark of Rs. 1 lakh crore for a total of five times during 2019-20 (up to December 2019).
  • Structural reforms undertaken in taxation during the current financial year:
  • Change in the corporate tax rate.
  • Measures to ease the implementation of GST.
  • Fiscal deficit of states within the targets set out by the FRBM Act.
  • Survey notes that the General Government (Centre plus States) has been on the path of fiscal consolidation.

External Sector

Balance of Payments (BoP):

  • India’s BoP position improved from US$ 412.9 bn of forex reserves in end-March, 2019 to US$ 433.7 bn in end September 2019.
  • Current account deficit (CAD) narrowed from 2.1% in 2018-19 to 1.5% of GDP in H1 of 2019-20.
  • Foreign reserves stood at US$ 461.2 bn as on 10th January 2020.

Global trade:

  • India’s merchandise trade balance improved from 2009-14 to 2014-19, although most of the improvement in the latter period was due to more than 50% decline in crude prices in 2016-17.
  • India’s top five trading partners continue to be USA, China, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong.

Exports:

  • Top export items: Petroleum products, precious stones, drug formulations & biologicals, gold and other precious metals.
  • Largest export destinations in 2019-20 (April-November): United States of America (USA), followed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), China and Hong Kong.
  • The merchandise exports to GDP ratio declined, entailing a negative impact on BoP position.
  • A slowdown of world output had an impact on reducing the export to GDP ratio, particularly from 2018-19 to H1 of 2019-20.
  • Growth in Non-POL exports dropped significantly from 2009-14 to 2014-19.

Imports:

  •  Top import items: Crude petroleum, gold, petroleum products, coal, coke & briquettes.
  •  India’s imports continue to be largest from China, followed by USA, UAE and Saudi Arabia.
  •  Merchandise imports to GDP ratio declined for India, entailing a net positive impact on BoP.
  • Large Crude oil imports in the import basket correlates India’s total imports with crude prices. As crude price raises so does the share of crude in total imports, increasing imports to GDP ratio.

Logistics industry of India:

  • Currently estimated to be around US$ 160 billion.
  • Expected to touch US$ 215 billion by 2020.
  • According to World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index, India ranks 44th in 2018 globally, up from 54th rank in 2014.

Direct investments and remittances:

  • Net FDI inflows continued to be buoyant in 2019-20 attracting US$ 24.4 bn in the first eight months, higher than the corresponding period of 2018-19.
  • Net FPI in the first eight months of 2019-20 stood at US$ 12.6 bn.
  • Net remittances from Indians employed overseas continued to increase, receiving US$ 38.4 billion in H1 of 2019-20 which is more than 50% of the previous year level.

External debt:

  • Remains low at 20.1% of GDP as at end September, 2019.
  • After significant decline since 2014-15, India’s external liabilities (debt and equity) to GDP increased at the end of June, 2019 primarily by increase in FDI, portfolio flows and external commercial borrowings (ECBs).

Monetary Management and Financial Intermediation

Monetary policy:

  • Remained accommodative in 2019-20.
  • Repo rate was cut by 110 basis points in four consecutive MPC meetings in the financial year due to slower growth and lower inflation.
  • However, it was kept unchanged in the fifth meeting held in December 2019.
  • In 2019-20, liquidity conditions were tight for initial two months; but subsequently it remained comfortable.

Prices and Inflation

Inflation Trends:

  • Inflation witnessing moderation since 2014
  • Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation increased from 3.7 per cent in 2018-19 (April to December, 2018) to 4.1 per cent in 2019-20 (April to December, 2019).
  • WPI inflation fell from 4.7 per cent in 2018-19 (April to December, 2018) to 1.5 per cent during 2019-20 (April to December, 2019).

Drivers of CPI – Combined (C) inflation:

  • During 2018-19, the major driver was the miscellaneous group
  • During 2019-20 (April-December), food and beverages was the main contributor.
  • Among food and beverages, inflation in vegetables and pulses was particularly high due to low base effect and production side disruptions like untimely rain.

Cob-web Phenomenon (Cyclical fluctuations in inflation) for Pulses:

  • Farmers base their sowing decisions on prices witnessed in the previous marketing period.
  • Measures to safeguard farmers like procurement under Price Stabilization Fund (PSF), Minimum Support Price (MSP) need to be made more effective.

The volatility of Prices:

  • The volatility of prices for most of the essential food commodities with the exception of some of the pulses has actually come down in the period 2014-19 as compared to the period 2009-14.
  • Lower volatility might indicate the presence of better marketing channels, storage facilities and effective MSP system.

Essential Commodities Act is outdated

  • The Centre’s imposition of stock limits in a bid to control the soaring prices of onions over the last few months actually increased price volatility, according to the ES.
  • The finding came in a hard-hitting attack in the report against the Essential Commodities Act (ECA) and other “anachronistic legislation” and interventionist government policies, including drug price control, grain procurement and farm loan waivers.
  • The Centre invoked the Act’s provisions to impose stock limits on onions after heavy rains wiped out a quarter of the Kharif crop and led to a sustained spike in prices.
  • However the Survey showed that there was actually an increase in price volatility and a widening wedge between wholesale and retail prices.
  • The lower stock limits must have led the traders and wholesalers to offload most of the kharif crop in October itself which led to a sharp increase in the price volatility.

Agriculture

  • Agricultural productivity is also constrained by a lower level of mechanization in agriculture which is about 40 % in India, much lower than China (59.5 %) and Brazil (75 %).
  • With regard to the Agri sector, the Survey argued that the beneficiaries of farm loan waivers consume less, save less, invest less and are less productive.
  • It added that the government procurement of foodgrains led to a burgeoning food subsidy burden and inefficiencies in the markets, arguing for a shift to cash transfers instead.

Food Management

  • The share of agriculture and allied sectors in the total Gross Value Added (GVA) of the country has been continuously declining on account of relatively higher growth performance of non-agricultural sectors.
  • GVA at Basic Prices for 2019-20 from ‘Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing’ sector is estimated to grow by 2.8 %.

Services Sector

The increasing significance of services sector in the Indian economy:

  1. About 55 % of the total size of the economy and GVA growth.
  2.  Two-thirds of the total FDI inflows into India.
  3. About 38 per cent of total exports.
  4. More than 50 % of GVA in 15 out of the 33 states and UTs.

Social Infrastructure, Employment and Human Development

  • The expenditure on social services (health, education and others) by the Centre and States as a proportion of GDP increased from 6.2 % in 2014-15 to 7.7 % in 2019-20 (BE).
  • India’s ranking in the Human Development Index improved to 129 in 2018 from 130 in 2017:
  • With 1.34 % average annual HDI growth, India is among the fastest-improving countries
  • Gross Enrolment Ratio at secondary, higher secondary and higher education level needs to be improved.
  • Gender disparity in India’s labour market widened due to a decline in female labour force participation especially in rural areas:
  • Around 60 % of productive age (15-59) group engaged in full-time domestic duties.

Sustainable Development and Climate Change

  • India moving forward on the path of SDG implementation through well-designed initiatives
  • SDG India Index:
  1. Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Chandigarh are front runners.
  2. Assam, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh come under the category of Aspirants.
  • India hosted COP-14 to UNCCD which adopted the Delhi Declaration: Investing in Land and Unlocking Opportunities.
  • COP-25 of UNFCCC at Madrid:
  1. India reiterated its commitment to implement the Paris Agreement.
  2. COP-25 decisions include efforts for climate change mitigation, adaptation and means of implementation from developed country parties to developing country parties.
Categories
Mission Nikaalo Prelims

[Prelims Spotlight] Important UN Organizations in News

Prelims Spotlight is a part of “Nikaalo Prelims 2020” module. This open crash course for Prelims 2020 has a private telegram group where PDFs and DDS (Daily Doubt Sessions) are being held. Please click here to register.

Important UN Organizations in News


02 May 2020

United Nation Overview:

  • The United Nations is an international organization founded in 1945.  It is currently made up of 193 Member States.  The mission and work of the United Nations are guided by the purposes and principles contained in its founding Charter.
  • Due to the powers vested in its Charter and its unique international character, the United Nations can take action on the issues confronting humanity in the 21st century, such as peace and security, climate change, sustainable development, human rights, disarmament, terrorism, humanitarian and health emergencies, gender equality, governance, food production, and more.
  • The UN also provides a forum for its members to express their views in the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, and other bodies and committees. By enabling dialogue between its members, and by hosting negotiations, the Organization has become a mechanism for governments to find areas of agreement and solve problems together.
  • The main organs of the UN are the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council, the International Court of Justice, and the UN Secretariat.  All were established in 1945 when the UN was founded.

General Assembly

  • The General Assembly is the main deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the UN. All 193 Member States of the UN are represented in the General Assembly, making it the only UN body with universal representation.
  • Each year, in September, the full UN membership meets in the General Assembly Hall in New York for the annual General Assembly session, and general debate, which many heads of state attend and address. Decisions on important questions, such as those on peace and security, admission of new members and budgetary matters, require a two-thirds majority of the General Assembly.
  • Decisions on other questions are by a simple majority.  The General Assembly, each year, elects a GA President to serve a one-year term of office.

Security Council

The Security Council has primary responsibility, under the UN Charter, for the maintenance of international peace and security.  It has 15 Members (5 permanent and 10 non-permanent members). Each Member has one vote. Under the Charter, all Member States are obligated to comply with Council decisions. The Security Council takes the lead in determining the existence of a threat to the peace or act of aggression. It calls upon the parties to a dispute to settle it by peaceful means and recommends methods of adjustment or terms of the settlement. In some cases, the Security Council can resort to imposing sanctions or even authorize the use of force to maintain or restore international peace and security.  The Security Council has a Presidency, which rotates, and changes, every month.

Economic and Social Council

The Economic and Social Council is the principal body for coordination, policy review, policy dialogue and recommendations on economic, social and environmental issues, as well as the implementation of internationally agreed development goals. It serves as the central mechanism for activities of the UN system and its specialized agencies in the economic, social and environmental fields, supervising subsidiary and expert bodies.  It has 54 Members, elected by the General Assembly for overlapping three-year terms. It is the United Nations’ central platform for reflection, debate, and innovative thinking on sustainable development.

Trusteeship Council

The Trusteeship Council was established in 1945 by the UN Charter, under Chapter XIII, to provide international supervision for 11 Trust Territories that had been placed under the administration of seven Member States, and ensure that adequate steps were taken to prepare the Territories for self-government and independence. By 1994, all Trust Territories had attained self-government or independence.  The Trusteeship Council suspended operation on 1 November 1994. By a resolution adopted on 25 May 1994, the Council amended its rules of procedure to drop the obligation to meet annually and agreed to meet as occasion required — by its decision or the decision of its President, or at the request of a majority of its members or the General Assembly or the Security Council.

International Court of Justice

The International Court of Justice is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. Its seat is at the Peace Palace in the Hague (Netherlands). It is the only one of the six principal organs of the United Nations not located in New York (United States of America). The Court’s role is to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorized United Nations organs and specialized agencies.

Secretariat

The Secretariat comprises the Secretary-General and tens of thousands of international UN staff members who carry out the day-to-day work of the UN as mandated by the General Assembly and the Organization’s other principal organs.  The Secretary-General is the chief administrative officer of the Organization, appointed by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council for a five-year, renewable term. UN staff members are recruited internationally and locally, and work in duty stations and on peacekeeping missions all around the world.  But serving the cause of peace in a violent world is a dangerous occupation. Since the founding of the United Nations, hundreds of brave men and women have given their lives in its service.

 

Categories
Mission Nikaalo Prelims

[Prelims Spotlight] Important Financial Institutions in News

Prelims Spotlight is a part of “Nikaalo Prelims 2020” module. This open crash course for Prelims 2020 has a private telegram group where PDFs and DDS (Daily Doubt Sessions) are being held. Please click here to register.

Important Financial Institutions in News


01 May 2020

Development Finance Institutions

The Need of DFIs

Classification of DFIs

All India DFIs Special DFIs Investment Institutions Refinance Institutions State Level DFIs
Industrial Finance Corporation of India

Industrial Development Bank of India

Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI)

ICICI

ICICI ceased to be a DFI and converted into a Bank on 30 March 2002.

IDBI was converted into a Bank on 11 October 2004.

EXIM Bank

IFCI Venture Capitalist Fund

Tourism Finance Corporation of India.

IDFC.

LIC

Union Trust of India.

General Insurance Corporation.

National Housing Board.

NABARD.

State Financial Corporation.

State Industrial Development Corporations.

 

All India Development Finance Institutions

IFCI ICICI IDBI SIDBI
IFCI was the first DFI to be setup in 1948. It was setup in January 1995. The IDBI was initially set up as a Subsidiary of the RBI. In February 1976, IDBI was made fully autonomous. SIDBI was setup as a subsidiary of IDBI in 1989.
With Effect from 1 July 1993, IFCI has been converted into Public Limited Company. With effect from April 2002, ICICI has been converted into a Bank. The IDBI was designated as apex organisation in the field of Development Financing. However, it was converted in a bank wef Oct 2004. The SIDBI was designated as apex organisation in the field of Small Scale Finance.The Union Budget of 1998-99 proposed the delinking of SIDBI from IDBI.
The key function of IFCI was; granting long-term loans(25 years and above); Guaranteeing rupee loans floated in open markets by industries; Underwriting of shares and debentures; Providing guarantees for industries. The key functions of ICICI were; to provide long term or medium term loans or equity participation; Guaranteeing loans from other private sources; providing consultancy services to industry. The key functions of IDBI were; it provides refinance against loans granted to industries; it subscribed to the share capital and bond issues of other DFIs; it also acted as the coordinator of DFIs at all India level. The key function of SIDBI was; to provide assistance to small scale units; initiating steps for technological up gradation and modernization of SSIs; expanding the marketing channel for the Small Scale Industries product; promotion of employment creating SSIs.
IFCI was a public sector DFI. The ICICI differed from IFCI and IDBI with respect to ownership, management and lending operation. ICICI was a Private sector DFI. It was a Public sector DFI.

 

Investment Institutions

Union Trust of India Life Insurance Company General Insurance Corporation
The UTI was setup on Nov 1963 after Parliament passed the UTI Act. LIC was set up in 1956 after the insurance business was nationalised. The GIC was formed by the central government in 1971.
The objective of UTI was to channel the savings of people into equities and corporate debts. The flagship scheme of the UTI was called Unit Scheme 64. The objective of LIC is to provide assistance in the form of term loans; subscription of shares and debentures;resource support to financial institutions and Life insurance coverages. The GIC had four subsidiaries; National Insurance Co; New India Assurance; Oriental Insurance; and United India Insurance.
In 2002, the Union Cabinet had decided to split UTI into UTI 1 and UTI 2 as a result of the prolonged crisis in UTI. The General Insurance Nationalisation Amendment Act, 2002, has delinked the GIC from its four subsidiaries.

 

Commercial Banks

  • Organised under the Banking Companies Act, 1956
  • They operate on a commercial basis and its main objective is profit.
  • They have a unified structure and are owned by the government, state, or any private entity.
  • They tend to all sectors ranging from rural to urban
  • These banks do not charge concessional interest rates unless instructed by the RBI
  • Public deposits are the main source of funds for these banks

What are cooperative banks?

  • Cooperative banks are financial entities set up on a co-operative basis and belonging to their members.
  • This means that the customers of a cooperative bank are also its ownersThey are registered under the States Cooperative Societies Act and they come under the RBI regulation under two laws:
  • Banking Regulations Act, 1949
  • Banking Laws (Cooperative Societies) Act, 1955
  • They aim to promote savings and investment habits among people, especially in rural areas.
  • These banks are broadly classified under two categories – Rural and Urban.
  • The rural cooperative credit institutions can be further classified into:
  • Short-term cooperative credit institutions
  • Long-credit institutions

The short-term credit institutions can further be sub-divided into:

  • State cooperative banks
  • District Central Cooperative banks
  • Primary Agricultural Credit Societies

Long-term institutions can either be:

  • State Cooperative Agricultural and Rural Development Banks (SCARDBs), or
  • Primary Cooperative Agriculture and Rural Development Banks (PCARDBs)
  • Urban Cooperative Banks (UCBs) can be further classified into scheduled and non-scheduled.
  • The scheduled and unscheduled can either be operating in a single state or multi-state

Regional Rural Banks (RRBs)

  • RRBs have Scheduled Commercial Banks operating at the regional level in different states of India. They are recognized under the Regional Rural Banks Act, 1976 Act.
  • They have been created with a view of serving primarily the rural areas of India with basic banking and financial services.
  • However, RRBs may have branches set up for urban operations and their area of operation may include urban areas too.
  • The area of operation of RRBs is limited to the area covering one or more districts in the State.

Their functions

RRBs also perform a variety of different functions. RRBs perform various functions in the following heads:

  • Providing banking facilities to rural and semi-urban areas
  • Carrying out government operations like disbursement of wages of MGNREGA workers, distribution of pensions etc.
  • Providing Para-Banking facilities like locker facilities, debit and credit cards, mobile banking, internet banking, UPI etc.
  • Small financial banks etc.

About NABARD

  • NABARD is an apex development financial institution in India, headquartered at Mumbai with regional offices all over India.
  • It is India’s specialised bank in providing credit for Agriculture and Rural Development in India.
  • The Bank has been entrusted with “matters concerning policy, planning and operations in the field of credit for agriculture and other economic activities in rural areas in India”.
  • It was established on the recommendations of B.Sivaraman Committee on 12 July 1982 to implement the NABARD Act 1981.
  • NABARD supervises State Cooperative Banks (StCBs), District Cooperative Central Banks (DCCBs), and Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) and conducts statutory inspections of these banks.

About National Housing Bank

  • NHB is an All India Financial Institution (AIFl), set up in 1988, under the National Housing Bank Act, 1987.
  • The National Housing Policy, 1988 has envisaged the setting up of NHB as the Apex level institution for housing.
  • It is an apex agency established to operate as a principal agency to promote housing finance institutions both at local and regional levels.
  • It aims to provide financial and other support incidental to such institutions and for matters connected therewith.

EXIM Bank

  • EXIM stands for Export-Import
  • Export-Import Bank of India is a wholly-owned Govt. of India entity
  • Established in 1982
  • HQ : New Delhi
  • Aim : financing, facilitating and promoting foreign trade of India.
  • The EXIM bank extends Line of Credit (loC) to overseas financial institutions, regional development banks, sovereign governments and other entities abroad.
  • Thus the EXIM Banks enables buyers in those countries to import developmental and infrastructure, equipment’s, goods and services from India on deferred credit terms.
  • The bank also facilitates investment by Indian companies abroad for setting up joint ventures, subsidiaries or overseas acquisitions.

International Financial Services Centres

  • IFSCs are intended to provide Indian corporates with easier access to global financial markets, and to complement and promote further development of financial markets in India.
  • An IFSC enables bringing back the financial services and transactions that are currently carried out in offshore financial centres by Indian corporate entities and overseas branches/subsidiaries of financial institutions (FIs) to India.
  • This is done by offering business and regulatory environment that is comparable to other leading international financial centres in the world like London and Singapore.
  • The first IFSC in India has been set up at the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City) in Gandhinagar.

Banks Board Bureau

  • Banks Board Bureau is an autonomous body of Union Government of India
    It is tasked to improve the governance of Public Sector Banks, recommend the selection of chiefs of government-owned banks and financial institutions and to help banks in developing strategies and capital raising plans
  • It will have three ex-officio members and three expert members in addition to Chairman
  • Financial services secretary, deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India and secretary- public enterprises are BBB’s ex-officio members

Non-Banking Financial Companies

  • A Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC) is a company registered under the Companies Act, 1956 engaged in the business of loans and advances, acquisition of shares/stocks/bonds/debentures/securities issued by Government or local authority or other marketable securities of a like nature, leasing, hire-purchase, insurance business, chit business but does not include any institution whose principal business is that of agriculture activity, industrial activity, purchase or sale of any goods (other than securities) or providing any services and sale/purchase/construction of immovable property.
  • A non-banking institution which is a company and has a principal business of receiving deposits under any scheme or arrangement in one lump sum or in instalments by way of contributions or in any other manner is also a non-banking financial company (Residuary non-banking company).

NBFCs are doing functions similar to banks. What is the difference between banks & NBFCs?

NBFCs lend and make investments, and hence their activities are akin to that of banks; however, there are a few differences as given below:

  1. NBFC cannot accept demand deposits;
  2. NBFCs do not form part of the payment and settlement system and cannot issue cheques drawn on itself.
  3. Deposit insurance facility of Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation is not available to depositors of NBFCs, unlike in case of banks.
  4. Unlike Banks which are regulated by the RBI, the NBFCs are regulated by multiple regulators; Insurance Companies- IRDA, Merchant Banks- SEBI, Micro Finance Institutions- State Government, RBI and NABARD.
  5. The norm of Public Sector Lending does not apply to NBFCs.
  6. The Cash Reserve Requirement also does not apply to NBFCs.

Classification and Categorization of NBFCs

Asset Finance Company AN AFC is a company which is a financial institution whose principle business is the financing of physical assets such as automobiles, tractors, machines etc.
Investment Company AN IC is any company which is a financial institution carrying on its principle business of acquisitions of securities.
Loan Company LC is a financial institution whose primary business is of providing finance by making loans and advances.
Infrastructure Finance Company IFC is an NBFC which deploys 75% of its total assets in infrastructure loans and has a minimum net owned fund of Re 300 Crore.
Systematically Important Core Investment Company CIC is an NBFC carrying on the business of acquisition of shares and securities. CIC must satisfy the following conditions:It holds not less than 90% of its Total Assets in the form of investment in equity shares, preference shares, debt or loans in group companies;

Its investments in the equity shares (including instruments compulsorily convertible into equity shares within a period not exceeding 10 years from the date of issue) in group companies constitutes not less than 60% of its Total Assets;

(c) it does not trade in its investments in shares, debt or loans in group companies except through block sale for the purpose of dilution or disinvestment;

(d) it does not carry on any other financial activity referred to in Section 45I(c) and 45I(f) of the RBI Act, 1934 except investment in bank deposits, money market instruments, government securities, loans to and investments in debt issuances of group companies or guarantees issued on behalf of group companies.

(e) Its asset size is ₹ 100 crore or above and

(f) It accepts public funds

Infrastructure Debt Fund NBFC IDF NBFC primary role is to facilitate long term flow of debt into infrastructure projects. Only Infrastructure Finance Companies can sponsor IDF.
Micro Finance NBFC MFI NBFC is a non-deposit taking NBFC having not less than 85% of its assets in the nature of qualifying assets which satisfy the following criteria:a) loan disbursed by a NBFC-MFI to a borrower with a rural household annual income not exceeding ₹ 1,00,000 or urban and semi-urban household income not exceeding ₹ 1,60,000;

b. loan amount does not exceed 50,000 in the first cycle and 1,00,000 in subsequent cycles;

c. total indebtedness of the borrower does not exceed 1,00,000;

d. tenure of the loan not to be less than 24 months for the loan amount in excess of 15,000 with prepayment without penalty;

e. loan to be extended without collateral;

f. aggregate amount of loans, given for income generation, is not less than 50 per cent of the total loans given by the MFIs;

g. loan is repayable on weekly, fortnightly or monthly instalments at the choice of the borrower

 

 

Categories
Mission Nikaalo Prelims

[Prelims Spotlight]Important Traditional Crafts, Music and Dance schools in India

Prelims Spotlight is a part of “Nikaalo Prelims 2020” module. This open crash course for Prelims 2020 has a private telegram group where PDFs and DDS (Daily Doubt Sessions) are being held. Please click here to register.

Important Traditional Crafts, Music and Dance schools in India


30 April 2020

Indian Festivals

Kumbha Mela
  • Held at all 4 places every 3 years by rotation (Allahabad, Haridwar, Nashik, Ujjain)
  • Associated rivers : Ganga at Haridwar, the Sangam of the Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati at Allahabad,  Godawari at Nashik, and Shipra at Ujjain
  • Ardha Kumbh Mela  : Haridwar and Prayag every 6 years
  • Purna Kumbh Mela  : Prayag every 12 years
  • Maha Kumbh Mela  : Prayag every 144 years
Holi
  • last full moon day of  Phalguna
Maha Shivaratri
  • 13th night in Krishna Paksha of Phalguna
Navaratri
  • 9 forms of Shakti are worshipped on 9 nights
Vinayaga Chaturthi
  • On occasion of birth of Ganesha
Vasant Panchami
  • Worshiping Saraswati –  the goddess of knowledge, music and art
  • Children are taught to write their first words; Brahmins are fed ; ancestral worship is performed; the god of love- Kamadeva is worshipped
  • People usually wear yellow garments
Ramzan
  • Muslims refrain from eating, drinking and sexual relations from dawn until sunset
  • Intended to teach Muslims about patience, humility & spirituality
Guru Purnima
  • Buddhists in the honour of Lord Buddha who gave his first sermon on this day at Sarnath
  • Hindus on this day offer Puja or pay respect to their Guru
Buddha Poornima
  • Birth anniversary of Lord Buddha
Christmas
  • Commemorate the birth of Jesus
Easter
  • Oldest and holiest Christian festival – the day when Jesus Christ was crucified
  • On this day Jesus Christ rose from the dead and ascended into heaven
Thai Pongal
  • Harvest festival celebrated in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Sri Lanka
  • To thank the Sun God and farmstead livestock
  • Boiling of milk in clay pot symbolize material abundance for household
Muharram
  • Celebrated on the 1st  month of the Islamic calendar
  • unlawful to fight during this month
Dree Festival
  • an agricultural rite, which is observed by Apatanis in Arunachal Pradesh
  • involves a sacrifice of fowls, eggs and animals to the sun & moon god to appease these Gods to avoid feminine

Indian Dances

Indian Folk Music

  • Baul : It is a type of Bengali music and a religious sect. The lyrics carry influence from Bhakti movement as well as Sufi movement.
  • Wanawan : Folk music from Kashmir which is sung during wedding ceremonies.
  • Padwani : This music is based on Mahabharata and uses both singing and playing instruments.
  • Alha : Song is from Madhya Pradesh and is a heroic ballad song.
  • Paani hari : Song is from the state of Rajasthan and is thematically related to water. Songs are generally about women fetching water from nearby well.
  • Ovi : Maharashtra and Goan women sing such songs during leisure time.
  • Pai song : Songs are mostly from Madhya Pradesh sung during festivals.
  • Lavani : Popular folk song from Maharashtra. Music has a powerful rhythm and beats and is suitable for dancing.
  • Maand : Developed in the royal circles
  • Dandiya raas : Performed in Gujarat and is associated with Holi and Lila of Krishna and Radha at Vrindavan
  • Powada : Folk type emerging from Maharashtra
  • Khongjom Parva : Important folk music from the state of Manipur.
  • Bhagwati : Popular amongst masses of Karnataka and Maharashtra. Musically they are close to ghazals and are sung on a slower pitch.

Classical Dances

The classical dance forms recognised by the Sangeet Natak Akademi and the Ministry of Culture are

  • Bharatanatyam, from Tamil Nadu
  • Kathak, from Uttar Pradesh and western India
  • Kathakali, from Kerala
  • Kuchipudi, from Andhra Pradesh
  • Odissi, from Odisha
  • Sattriya, from Assam
  • Manipuri, from Manipur
  • Mohiniyattam, from Kerala

Indian Music

MUSIC OF INDIA

The two main traditions of classical music in India are Carnatic music and Hindustani Music. Carnatic Music is found predominantly in the peninsular regions and Hindustani music are found in the northern and central regions.

Hindustani Music

Hindustani music was not only influenced by ancient Hindu musical traditions but also enriched by the Persian performance practices of the Mughals.

Dhrupad is an old style of Hindustani singing, traditionally performed by male singers. The great Indian musician Tansen sang in the Dhrupad style. Dhrupad was the main form of northern Indian classical music but has now given way to Khyal.

Khyal is a form of vocal music in Hindustani music. It was adopted from medieval Persian music It is special as it is based on improvising and expressing emotion.

Another vocal form Tarana are medium to fast-paced songs that are usually performed towards the end of the concert. They consist of a few lines of poetry with rhythmic syllables.

Tappa is a form of Indian semi-classical vocal music. It originated from the folk songs of the camel riders of Punjab and was developed as a form of classical music by Mian Ghulam Nabi Shori.

Thumri is a semi-classical vocal form said to have begun in Uttar Pradesh. The lyrics are typically in Brij Bhasha and are usually romantic.

Ghazal is an originally Persian form of Poetry. In India, Ghazal became the most common form of poetry in the  Urdu language.

Although Hindustani music clearly is focused on vocal performance, recently instrumental Hindustani music is very popular than vocal music especially outside South Asia.

Carnatic Music

Carnatic music is a system of music commonly associated with the southern part of  India especially. Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Carnatic music is completely melodic with improvised variations. Purandara Dasa is credited with having founded today’s Carnatic music. He is credited with having elevated Carnatic music from religious and devotional music into the realm of performing art. Carnatic music is usually performed by a small ensemble of musicians consist ing of a principal performer (vocalist ) a violin, mridanga ,and a tamburu. Today Carnatic music is presented by musicians in concerts or recordings either vocally or through instruments.

Important Indian Crafts

ZARI

  •  Zari is an even thread traditionally made offine gold or silver used in traditional Indian, Pakistani and Persian garments and curtains, etc. Four types of zari are produced in India, namely, real zari, semi real zari, imitation zari and plastic zari.
  •  Real zari is made of silver and electroplated with gold, whereas semi real zari has a composition of copper coated with silver and gold electroplating. Surat is the home of zari industry in India. Other clusters producing zari are Bareilly, Varanasi, Agra, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Vadodara, Lathur, Jaipur, Barmer, etc.

Coir Twisting

  •  Coir is a natural, eco-friendly, waterproof and exceptionally tensile fibre extracted from the nuts of coconut palms.
  •  It is found in abundance and is used for manufacturing a wide range of eco-friendly toys, mats, brushes, mattresses, wall hangings, key rings, pen stands and other home decoratives.
  •  This craft is primarily produced in Odisha (Sakhigopal, Puri, Pipli, Bhubaneswar, Batamangala and Kendrapara). It is also produced in Kerala (Ernakulam).

Folk Painting

  •  Indian folk paintings are pictorial expressions of village painters which are marked by the subjects chosen from epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata, Indian Puranas as well as daily events. There are several vibrant folk painting types in India in different stages.
  •  The Gond tribe of Madhya Pradesh is engaged in floor and wall painting. Warli is a vivid expression of daily and social events of Warli tribe in Maharashtra. Rajasthan is famous for Phad painting done on cloth.
  •  Other types of paintings arc Pilhora painting in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, Madhubani painting of Bihar, Chitrakar painting of West Bengal, Patachitras in Odisha, and Kalamkar Srikalahasti, Andhra Pradesh.

Metal Ware

  •  The metal crafts of India display intricate craftsmanship and fine art in shaping gold, silver, brass, copper into exquisitely designed images, idols, jewellery, and utility items. Different categories of handicrafts that come under metal ware are brass metalware of Moradabad, metal bidri work and bell metal in Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and so on.
  •  India is the largest brassware producer in the world. Major clusters of brassware are Moradabad, Murshidabad, Madurai, Salem, Cuttack and Haryana.
  •  Bidriware is a metal handicraft that originatedinBidar, Karnataka. The term
    ‘Bidriware’ originates from the township of Bidar, which is still the main centre of the unique metalware. It is a form of encrusted metalware, where one metal is inlaid on to another.
  •  Bidri products include a diverse range of objects including hukka bases, bowls, boxes, candle stands, trays, jewellery and buttons. It travelled from Iran to Ajmer in Rajasthan in the 13th century AD, and from there to Bijapur and flourished during the reign of the Deccan Sultanate.Itis also practised in Aurangabad district in the state of Maharashtra and Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh. The basic metal used for Bidri is the alloy of zinc and copper.

Filigree and Silverware

  •  Filigree is an extremely ancient technique dating back to 4000 years ago. Filigree work is performed on silver and involves significant precision and technicality. Two major clusters of silver filigree in India are Karimnagar in Andhra Pradesh and Cuttack in Odisha.
  •  The practice in Karimnagar is about two centuries old. However, it is also practised in Warangal in Andhra Pradesh. Key raw materials used are silver wire, tracing sheet, copper, charcoal, dilute sulphuric acid.

Textile Hand Embroidery

  •  In textile hand embroidery, embellishment is made on fabric with threads and sometimes with other materials.
  •  There are many popular embroidery clusters such as chikankari and zardozi of Lucknow, katha of Bengal pulkari of Punjab. kutchi embroidery of Gujarat and kashidakari of Kashmir. Zardozi has been traditionally prevalent in Lucknow and the six surrounding districts ofBarabanki, Unnao, Sitapur, Rae Bareli, Hardoi and Amethi.

Textile Hand Printing

  •  Hand-printed textiles is a craft in which cloth is dyed with hand or printed using shapes. Various types of hand printing practiced in India are block printing, batik, kalamkari (hand printing by pen) and bandhani (tie and die).
  •  Some of the important centres of this craft are in Hyderabad, Machalipattnam, Varanasi, Farrukabad, Bagh, Behrongarh, Indore, Mandsar, Burhanpur, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Kutch, Bagru, Chittroli, Sanganer, Jaipur and Jodhpur.
Categories
Mission Nikaalo Prelims

[Prelims Spotlight]Acts and schemes related to Marginalised Sector

Prelims Spotlight is a part of “Nikaalo Prelims 2020” module. This open crash course for Prelims 2020 has a private telegram group where PDFs and DDS (Daily Doubt Sessions) are being held. Please click here to register.

Acts and schemes related to Marginalised Sector


29 April 2020

Nai Manzil Scheme

OBJECTIVES –

  • To address the educational and livelihood needs of minority communities lagging behind in terms of educational attainments.
  • It aims to provide educational intervention by giving the bridge courses to the trainees and getting them Certificates for Class XII and X from distance medium educational system.
  • It seeks to provide trade basis skill training in four courses at the same time of formal education, in field of (i) Manufacturing (ii) Engineering (iii) Services (iv) Soft skills. It intends to cover people in between 17 to 35 age group from all minority communities as well as Madrasa students.
  • Nodal Ministry –The Union Ministry of Minority Affairs

Nai Roshni

OBJECTIVES –

  • Empower and install confidence in women of minority communities by equipping them with knowledge, tools and techniques to interact with government systems, banks and intermediaries
  • Nodal Ministry –The Union Ministry of Minority Affairs

USTAAD Scheme

OBJECTIVES –

  • The scheme aims at preserving and promoting the rich heritage of the traditional arts & crafts of the Minority communities. 2.In the light of globalisation & competitive market, these crafts have gradually lost their employability. 3.It also envisages at boosting the skill of craftsmen, weavers and artisans who are already engaged in the traditional ancestral work.
  • Nodal Ministry –The Union Ministry of Minority Affairs

Hunar Haat

OBJECTIVES –

  • It is aimed at promoting and supporting artisans from Minority communities and providing them domestic as well as international market for display and sell their products.
  • The Hunar Haat exhibition has been organised by the National Minorities Development & Finance Corporation (NMDFC) under “USTTAD” scheme In it about 184 master artisans from across the country are showcasing their traditional art and skills at about 100 stalls at the international platform.
  • It seeks to provide an excellent platform to artisans belonging to Minority communities from across nation to display their art and skills before domestic and international visitors.
  • Nodal Ministry –The Union Ministry of Minority Affairs

Stanapan Suraksha Scheme

OBJECTIVES –

  • To promote breastfeeding and keep a tab on “inappropriate” promotion of baby food items. Stanpan Suraksha is first-of-its-kind app deveopled for promoting breastfeeding and baby food promotion reporting mechanism.
  • Using it any person can click a photograph of inappropriate baby food promotion around them and related equipment and send it to BPNI.
  • The app also has a city-wise database of trained breastfeeding counsellor to educate and provide assistance to mothers during antenatal and postnatal period. It has sign up option for mothers who wish to become a breastfeeding counsellor, pledging for petition and donation.
  • Nodal Ministry –Ministry of Tribal Affairs

Eklavya Model Residential Schools

  • Eklavya Model Residential School Scheme was started in 1998
  • First school was started in the year 2000 in Maharashtra.
  • EMRSs have been functioning as institutions of excellence for tribal students.
  • In order to further educational opportunities for more ST children, Government has sought to extend the facility of EMRSs in all the 672 Blocks where ST population is more than 50% of the total population in a span of next five years.
  • Funds for establishing the school are arranged by both Centre and State government together.
  • Nodal Ministry –Ministry of Tribal Affairs

Pre-Matric Scholarship Scheme

OBJECTIVES –

  • To decrease the dropout rate in the transition from elementary to the secondary stage. Given for Class 9th and 10th.
  • Nodal Ministry –Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment

Babu Jagjivan Ram Chhatrawas Yojana

OBJECTIVES –

  • Educational empowerment of Scheduled castes.
  • Central assistance is provided to the implementing agencies viz. State Governments/UT Administrations/ Central and State Universities/ Non-Governmental Organisations/Deemed Universities in the private sector, for construction of fresh hostels/expansion of existing hostel facilities for Scheduled Castes students.
  • Nodal Ministry –Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment

National Overseas Scholarship Scheme.

OBJECTIVES –

  • Financial support to SC and ST students pursuing Master’s level courses and PhD/Post-Doctoral courses abroad.
  • Nodal Ministry –Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment

Scheme for up-gradation of merit of SC students.

OBJECTIVES –

  • Upgrade the merit of SC students by providing them remedial and special coaching in classes IX to XII.
  • Income Ceiling: Rs. 3.00 Lakh per annum .
  • Nodal Ministry –Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment

Self Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers (SRMS)

OBJECTIVES –

  • To rehabilitate all the remaining manual scavengers and their dependents in alternative occupations.The main features of the Scheme include one-time cash assistance, training with stipend and concessional loans with subsidy for taking up alternative occupations.
  • Nodal Ministry –Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment

Sugmay Bharat Abhiyaan

OBJECTIVES –

  • The target of this scheme is to make at least fifty government buildings disabled-friendly under the campaign in each of the state till the end of 2016 and make 25 per cent of the public transport vehicles under the government as disabled-friendly till mid-2017.
  • A remarkable feature of the scheme is that a website will also be made where the people can put their views on the accessibility of any building.
  • The international airports in the country and railway stations which come under A1, A and B categories will be made fully disabled-friendly.
  • Special set-top boxes will be made available to make watching TV more convenient for the visually impaired. In the next 5 years, almost 200 persons will be trained to speak in sign languages on government TV channels. Government websites will also be made friendlier by using text to speech option.
  • Under the scheme, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment will give free motorized tricycles to persons with 70-90% disability.
  • A Sugamya Bharat mobile app which can provide information on disabled-friendly public facilities in a city, will be launched under the scheme.
  • For awareness, a team of experts will conduct workshops for sensitizing the main parties including builders and activists.
  • Nodal Ministry – Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment

Disha

OBJECTIVES

  • Early Intervention and School Readiness Scheme.
  • This is an early intervention and school readiness scheme for children upto 10 years with the disabilities covered under the National Trust Act.
  • Nodal Ministry –Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment

VIKAASDay Care

OBJECTIVES –

  • A day care scheme for persons with autism, cerebral palsy, mental retardation and multiple disabilities, above 10 years for enhancing interpersonal and vocational skills.
  • Nodal Ministry –Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment

SAMARTH Respite Care

OBJECTIVES –

  • A scheme to provide respite home for orphans, families in crisis, Persons with Disabilities (PwD) from BPL, LIG families with at least one of the four disabilities covered under the National Trust Act.
  • Nodal Ministry –Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment

GHARAUNDA

OBJECTIVES –

  • Group Home for Adults.
  • This scheme provides housing and care services throughout the life of the person with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities.
  • Nodal Ministry –Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment

NIRMAYA Health Insurance Scheme.

OBJECTIVES –

  • This scheme is to provide affordable Health Insurance to persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities.
  • Nodal Ministry –Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment

SAHYOGI Caregiver training scheme

OBJECTIVES –

  • A scheme to set up Caregiver Cells (CGCs) for training and creating skilled workforce of caregivers to care for Person with Disabilities (PwD) and their families.
  • Nodal Ministry –Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment

GYAN PRABHA Educational support

OBJECTIVES –

  • Scheme to encourage people with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities for pursuing educational/ vocational courses.
  • Nodal Ministry –Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment.

PRERNA Marketing Assistance.

OBJECTIVES –

  • A marketing scheme to create viable & widespread channels for the sale of products and services produced by persons with autism, cerebral palsy, mental retardation and multiple disabilities
  • Nodal Ministry – Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment
Categories
Mission Nikaalo Prelims

[Prelims Spotlight] Global Space Missions and Telescopes in News

Prelims Spotlight is a part of “Nikaalo Prelims 2020” module. This open crash course for Prelims 2020 has a private telegram group where PDFs and DDS (Daily Doubt Sessions) are being held. Please click here to register.

Global Space Missions and Telescopes in News


28 April 2020

NASA’s ICESat-2 maps Antarctic ice sheet melting

ICESat-2 

  • NASA’s ICESat-2 launched less than three months ago has mapped melting ice sheets in Antarctica and the resulting sea level rise across the globe, which could help improve climate forecasts.
  • The ICESat-2 stands for Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 .
  • It is measuring the height of sea ice to within an inch, tracing the terrain of previously unmapped Antarctic valleys, surveying remote ice sheets, and peering through forest canopies and shallow coastal waters.
  • With each pass of the ICESat-2 satellite, the mission is adding to datasets tracking Earth’s rapidly changing ice.
  • As ICESat-2 orbits over the Antarctic Ice Sheet, the photon returns reflect from the surface and show high ice plateaus, crevasses in the ice 20 metres deep, and the sharp edges of ice shelves dropping into the ocean.

Unified Geologic Map of the Moon

  • The first-ever digital, unified, global, geological map of the moon was released virtually by the  United States Geological Survey (USGS), NASA and the Lunar Planetary Institute.
  • The UGM will serve as a blueprint for future human missions and a source of research and analysis for the educators and the general public interested in lunar geology.
  • The map is a ‘seamless, globally consistent, 1:5,000,000-scale geologic map’.
  • The mapped surface features of the moon included crater rim crests, buried crater rim crests, fissures, grabens, scarps, mare wrinkle ridges, faults, troughs, rilles, and lineaments.

Its’ significance

  • The moon’s South Pole is especially interesting because the area is much larger than the North Pole and there could be a possibility of the presence of water in these permanently shadowed areas.
  • Further, the South Pole region also contains the fossil record of the early Solar System.
  • These present and future moon missions’ success can be further helped by the digital map of the moon.
  • The Chandrayaan 2, an active mission also targets the Lunar South Pole for exploration

GRACE-FO Mission

  • The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) mission is a partnership between NASA and the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ).
  • GRACE-FO is a successor to the original GRACE mission, which orbited Earth from 2002-2017.
  • It carries on the extremely successful work of its predecessor while testing a new technology designed to dramatically improve the already remarkable precision of its measurement system.

Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs)

  • FRBs are super intense, millisecond-long bursts of radio waves produced by unidentified sources in the space.
  • Their discovery in 2007 by American astronomer Duncan Lorimer led to the term ‘Lorimer Bursts’.
  • Since then, just a few dozen similar events have been observed in data collected by radio telescopes around the world, building evidence that points to a variety of potential causes.
  • Only a handful of emissions have been traced to specific areas of the sky, indicating sources in other galaxies.
  • The flash of radio waves is incredibly bright if distant, comparable to the power released by hundreds of millions of suns in just a few milliseconds.
  • This intensity suggests powerful objects like black holes and neutron stars could be involved.
  • The events were once considered to be largely transient – they seemed to happen once, without obvious signs of a repeat emission. However, a number of such bursts have been identified since then.

Why are they significant?

  • First noticed in 2018 by the Canadian observatory the waves have created ripples across the globe for one reason — they arrive in a pattern.
  • This gave birth to theories that they could be from an alien civilization.
  • Initially, it was believed that the collision of black holes or neutron stars triggers them.
  • But the discovery of repeating FRBs debunked the theory of colliding objects.

NASA’s new Mars rover: Perseverance

  • The Perseverance rover weighs less than 2,300 pounds and is managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab.
  • The rover’s mission will be to search for signs of past microbial life. It will also collect samples of Martian rocks and dust, according to the release.
  • The rover will also be tasked with studying the red planet’s geology and climate.
  • All of NASA’s previous Mars rovers — including the Sojourner (1997), Spirit and Opportunity (2004) and Curiosity (exploring Mars since 2012) — were named in this way.

2020 CD3

  • The mini-moon was discovered by some astronomers at NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey (CSS) in Arizona.
  • It is actually an asteroid, about the size of a car; its diameter is about 1.9-3.5 m.
  • And unlike our permanent Moon, the mini-moon is temporary; it will eventually break free of Earth’s orbit and go off on its own way.
  • Orbit integrations indicate that this object is temporarily bound to the Earth.
  • 2020 CD3 was captured into Earth’s orbit over three years ago.
  • For CSS, it is only the second such discovery. It previously discovered 2006 RH120, which orbited Earth for some time that year, before it escaped in 2007.

NASA’s InSight Mission

  • The Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport mission is a robotic lander designed to study the deep interior of the planet Mars.
  • It is the first mission dedicated to looking deep beneath the Martian surface.
  • Among its science tools are a seismometer for detecting quakes, sensors for gauging wind and air pressure, a magnetometer, and a heat flow probe designed to take the planet’s temperature.
  • The InSight mission is part of NASA’s Discovery Program.
  • It is being supported by a number of European partners, which include France’s Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES), the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the United Kingdom Space Agency (UKSA).

Habitable-zone Planet Finder

  • NASA’s Kepler mission observed a dip in the host star’s light, suggesting that the planet was crossing in front of the star during its orbit.
  • To confirm, researchers turned to an instrument called Habitable-zone Planet Finder (HPF). It has confirmed that there is indeed an exoplanet.
  • HPF is an astronomical spectrograph, built by Penn State University scientists, and recently installed on the 10m Hobby-Eberly Telescope at McDonald Observatory in Texas.
  • The instrument is designed to detect and characterize planets in the habitable zone — the region around the star where a planet could sustain liquid water on its surface — around nearby low-mass stars.
  • The newly confirmed planet, called G 9-40b, is the first one validated by HPF. It is about twice the size of Earth and orbits its star once every six Earth-days.

 Betelgeuse

 

  • Using the European Space Organization’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT), astronomers have noticed the unprecedented dimming of Betelgeuse.
  • It is a red supergiant star (over 20 times bigger than the Sun) in the constellation Orion.
  • Along with the dimming, the star’s shape has been changing as well, as per recent photographs of the star taken using the VISIR instrument on the VLT.
  • Instead of appearing round, the star now appears to be “squashed into an ova”.

NASA announced it has selected four Discovery Program investigations to develop concept studies for possible new missions.

What are the new missions?

  • Two proposals are for trips to Venus, and one each is for Jupiter’s moon Io and Neptune’s moon Triton.
  • After the concept studies are completed in nine months, some missions ultimately may not be chosen to move forward.

DAVINCI+

  • DAVINCI+ stands for Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging Plus.
  • This will analyse Venus’s atmosphere to understand how it was formed and evolved, and if it ever had an ocean.
  • This will advance understanding of the formation of terrestrial planets.

IVO

  • Io Volcano Observer is a proposal to explore Jupiter’s moon Io, which is extremely volcanically active.
  • This will try to find out how tidal forces shape planetary bodies.
  • The findings could further knowledge about the formation and evolution of rocky, terrestrial bodies and icy ocean worlds in the Solar System.

TRIDENT

This aims to explore Neptune’s icy moon, Triton, so that scientists can understand the development of habitable worlds in the Solar System.

VERITAS

Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy will aim to map Venus’s surface to find out why Venus developed so differently from Earth.

Pale Blue Dot

  • The ‘Pale Blue Dot’ is one of the most iconic images in the history of astronomy.
  • It shows Earth as a single bright blue pixel in empty space within a strand of sun rays, some of which are scattering from and enlightening the planet.
  • The original image was taken by the Voyager 1 mission spacecraft on February 14, 1990 when it was just beyond Saturn.
  • At the behest of astronomer Carl Sagan, the cameras were turned towards Earth one final time to capture the image.
  • After this, the cameras and other instruments on the craft were turned off to ensure its longevity.

About Voyager 1

  • Voyager 1 is a space probe launched by NASA on September 5, 1977.
  • Having operated for more than 42 years, the spacecraft still communicates with the Deep Space Network to receive routine commands and to transmit data to Earth.
  • At a distance of 148.67 AU (22.2 billion km) from Earth as of January 19, 2020 it is the most distant man-made object from Earth.
  • The probe’s objectives included flybys of Jupiter, Saturn, and Saturn’s largest moon, Titan.

The Family Portrait of the Solar System

  • The Pale blue dot image was a part of a series of 60 images designed to produce what the mission called the ‘Family Portrait of the Solar System’.
  • This sequence of camera-pointing commands returned images of six of the solar system’s planets, as well as the Sun.

Solar Orbiter (SolO) Probe

  • The Solar Orbiter, a collaborative mission between the European Space Agency and NASA to study the Sun, took off from Cape Canaveral in Florida.
  • Carrying four in situ instruments and six remote-sensing imagers, the Solar Orbiter (called SolO) will face the sun at approximately 42 million kilometres from its surface.
  • Before SolO, all solar imaging instruments have been within the ecliptic plane, in which all planets orbit and which is aligned with the sun’s equator.
  • The new spacecraft will use the gravity of Venus and Earth to swing itself out of the ecliptic plane, passing inside the orbit of Mercury, and will be able to get a bird’s eye view of the sun’s poles for the first time.

Spitzer Space Telescope

  • The Spitzer Space Telescope is a space-borne observatory, one of the elements of NASA’s Great Observatories that include the Hubble Space Telescope and the Chandra X-Ray.
  • Using different infrared wavelengths, Spitzer was able to see and reveal features of the universe including objects that were too cold to emit visible light.
  • Apart from enabling researchers to see distant cold objects, Spitzer could also see through large amounts of gas using infrared wavelengths to find objects that may otherwise have been invisible to human beings.
  • These included exoplanets, brown dwarfs and cold matter found in the space between stars.
  • Spitzer was originally built to last for a minimum of 2.5 years, but it lasted in the “cold” phase for over 5.5 years. On May 15, 2009 the coolant was finally depleted and the “warm mission” began.

Thirty Metre Telescope

  • The TMT is a proposed astronomical observatory with an extremely large telescope (ELT) that has become the source of controversy over its planned location on Mauna Kea on the island of Hawaii in the US state of Hawaii.
  • It is being built by an international collaboration of government organisations and educational institutions, at a cost of $1.4 billion.
  • “Thirty Metre” refers to the 30-metre diameter of the mirror, with 492 segments of glass pieced together, which makes it three times as wide as the world’s largest existing visible-light telescope.
  • The larger the mirror, the more light a telescope can collect, which means, in turn, that it can “see” farther, fainter objects.
  • It would be more than 200 times more sensitive than current telescopes and would be able to resolve objects 12 times better than the Hubble Space Telescope.

Artemis Mission

  • In 2011, NASA began the ARTEMIS (Acceleration, Reconnection, Turbulence, and Electrodynamics of the Moon’s Interaction with the Sun) mission using a pair of repurposed spacecraft and in 2012 the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) spacecraft studied the Moon’s gravity.
  • For the program, NASA’s new rocket called the Space Launch System (SLS) will send astronauts aboard the Orion spacecraft a quarter of a million miles away from Earth to the lunar orbit.
  • The astronauts going for the Artemis program will wear newly designed spacesuits, called Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit, or xEMU.
  • These spacesuits feature advanced mobility and communications and interchangeable parts that can be configured for spacewalks in microgravity or on a planetary surface.

Bhibha Constellation and Santamasa Planet

Bhibha

  • The star has been named in honour of a pioneering Indian woman scientist Bibha Choudhury, who discovered subatomic particle, pi-meson.
  • ‘Bhibha’ also means “a bright beam of light” in Bengali.
  • It is located in the constellation of Sextans. It is as hot as the sun, with a surface temperature of about 6,000 degrees Kelvin. It is 1.55 times bigger, 1.21 times massive, and 1.75 times brighter.
  • It is so far away that light from it takes 310.93 years to reach Earth and hence it is visible only with a telescope.

Santamasa

  • The planet has been named S’antamasa’ to reflect the cloudy nature of its atmosphere. ‘Santamasa’ is the Sanskrit term for ‘clouded’.
  • ‘Santamasa’, which is its only planet, is estimated to have a mass of 1.5 times that of Jupiter, going around the central star in a nearly circular orbit just in 2.1375 days.
  • Revolving so near the host star, the planet is expected to be very hot.

Arrokoth

  • The International Astronomical Union and Minor Planets Center, the global body for naming Kuiper Belt objects have given this name.
  • It was discovered in 2014 with the Hubble Space Telescope, which is operated by the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore.
  • Nasa’s New Horizons spacecraft flew by the snowman figured ice mass in December 2018, some 1.6 billion kilometres beyond Pluto.
  • The New Horizons team of NASA proposed the name to the International Astronomical Union and Minor Planets Center.
  • For the New Horizons team it took some months to finalise this name. In the language of the Powhatan tribe, Arrokoth means “sky”.
  • The team got the approval from the elders of the Powhatan tribe to assign it to their newfound “baby”.

About New Horizons mission

  • NASA launched the New Horizons mission in January 2006.
  • After crossing by Pluto in 2015, in 2019 it flew by Arrokoth. This remains the “farthest flyby ever conducted.”

Maxwell

  • The Maxwell is the latest in a line of experimental aircraft the NASA.
  • It has been developed over many decades for many purposes, including the bullet-shaped Bell X-1 that first broke the sound barrier and the X-15 rocket plane flown by Neil Armstrong before he joined the Apollo moon team.
  • The two largest of 14 electric motors that will ultimately propel the plane are powered by specially designed lithium ion batteries.
  • The Maxwell will be the agency’s first crewed X-plane to be developed in two decades.
  • The lift propellers will be activated for take-off and landings, but retract during the flight’s cruise phase.

Voyager 2

  • Voyager 2 was launched in 1977, 16 days before Voyager 1, and both have travelled well beyond their original destinations.
  • The spacecraft were built to last five years and conduct close-up studies of Jupiter and Saturn.
  • As the spacecraft flew across the solar system, remote-control reprogramming was used to endow the Voyagers with greater capabilities than they possessed when they left Earth.
  • It carries a working instrument that will provide first-of-its-kind observations of the nature of this gateway into interstellar space.
  • It is slightly more than 18 billion kilometres from Earth. Its twin, Voyager 1, crossed this boundary in 2012.
  • Their five-year lifespans have stretched to 41 years, making Voyager 2 NASA’s longest-running mission.

Ionospheric Connection Explorer

  • NASA has launched a satellite to explore the mysterious, dynamic region where air meets space.
  • The satellite — called ICON, short for Ionospheric Connection Explorer — rocketed into orbit following a two-year delay.
  • The refrigerator-size ICON satellite will study the airglow formed from gases in the ionosphere and also measure the charged environment right around the spacecraft which is at a level of 580 kilometres above the Earth’s surface.
  • The ionosphere is the charged part of the upper atmosphere extending several hundred miles (kilometres) up.
  • It’s in constant flux as space weather bombards it from above and Earth weather from below, sometimes disrupting radio communications.

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO)

  • The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite missions began on June 18, 2009.
  • It is a robotic spacecraft currently orbiting the Moon.
  • It studies the Moon’s surface, clicks pictures, and collects data that help in figuring out the presence and possibility of water ice and other resources on the Moon, as well as plan future missions to it.
  • The primary mission of the LRO, managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, located in Greenbelt, Maryland, was to measure the entire lunar surface to create a high-resolution 3-D map of the Moon.
  • The map with ~50-centimeter resolution images would aid in the planning of future robotic and crewed missions.
  • In addition, LRO would map the Polar Regions and search for the presence of water ice

K2-18b

  • About 110 light years from Earth, an exoplanet eight times the mass of Earth orbits a star. Called K2-18b, it was discovered in 2015 by NASA’s Kepler spacecraft.
  • The researchers used 2016-17 data from the Hubble Space Telescope and developed algorithms to analyse the starlight filtered through K2-18b’s atmosphere.
  • The results revealed the molecular signature of water vapour, also indicating the presence of hydrogen and helium in the planet’s atmosphere.
  • It resides in a habitable zone — the region around a star in which liquid water could potentially pool on the surface of a rocky planet.
  • Scientists have found signatures of water vapour in the atmosphere of K2-18b. The discovery of water vapour is not the final word on the possibility of life.
  • That makes it the only planet orbiting a star outside the Solar System that is known to have both water and temperatures that could support life.

Asteroid Impact Deflection Assessment (AIDA)

  • It is an ambitious double-spacecraft mission to deflect an asteroid in space, to prove the technique as a viable method of planetary defence.
  • The mission, which includes NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA), is known as the Asteroid Impact Deflection Assessment (AIDA).
  • The target is the smaller of two bodies in the “double Didymos asteroids” that are in orbit between Earth and Mars.
  • Didymos is a near-Earth asteroid system. Its main body measures about 780 m across; the smaller body is a “moonlet” about 160 m in diameter.
  • The project aims to deflect the orbit of the smaller body through an impact by one spacecraft.
  • Then a second spacecraft will survey the crash site and gather the maximum possible data on the effect of this collision.

Parker Solar Probe

  • It is part of NASA’s “Living with a Star” programme that explores different aspects of the Sun-Earth system.
  • The probe seeks to gather information about the Sun’s atmosphere and NASA says that it “will revolutionise our understanding of the Sun”.
  • It is also the closest a human-made object has ever gone to the Sun.
  • During the spacecraft’s first two solar encounters, the instruments were turned on when Parker was about 0.25 AU from the Sun and powered off again at the same distance on the outbound side of the orbit.
  • For this third solar encounter, the mission team turned on the instruments when the spacecraft was around 0.45 AU from the Sun on the inbound side of its orbit.
  • It will turn them off when the spacecraft is about 0.5 AU from the Sun on the outbound side.

TOI 270

  • It is the name of the dwarf star and the planetary system recently discovered by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS).
  • TOI 270 is about 73 light years away from Earth, and is located in the constellation Pictor.
  • Its members include the dwarf star, which is 40 per cent smaller than the Sun in size and mass, and the three planets or exoplanets (planets outside the solar system) that have been named TOI 270 b, TOI 270 c, and TOI 270 d.
  • These three planets orbit the star every 3.4 days, 5.7 days, and 11.4 days respectively. In this system, TOI 270 b is the innermost planet.

About Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS)

  • TESS is NASA’s latest satellite to search for planets outside our solar system, known as exoplanets.
  • The mission will spend the next two years monitoring the nearest and brightest stars for periodic dips in their light.
  • TESS is expected to transmit its first series of science data back to Earth in August, and thereafter periodically every 13.5 days, once per orbit, as the spacecraft makes it closest approach to Earth.
  • These events, called transits, suggest that a planet may be passing in front of its star.
  • TESS is expected to find thousands of planets using this method, some of which could potentially support life.

Tiangong-2

  • Tiangong means “Heavenly Palace”. It was 10.4 metres long and 3.35 metres wide at its widest point, and weighed 8.6 metric tonnes.
  • It was launched on September 15, 2016 and, in late 2016, hosted two Chinese astronauts for 30 days in what was China’s longest manned space mission so far.
  • The recently decommissioned space lab followed the Tiangong-1, China’s first space station, which crashed into the southern Pacific Ocean on April 1, 2018 after Chinese scientists lost control of the spacecraft.
  • China had launched Tiangong-1 in 2011 as proof-of-concept of technologies for future stations. The lab was visited by two teams of Chinese astronauts for 11 days and 13 days respectively.

About Hayabusa2

  • Japan’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft, which successfully made its second touchdown on asteroid Ryugu has become the first ever space probe to gather material from beneath the surface of an asteroid.
  • Launched in December 2014, the probe is a follow-up of Hayabusa, which explored the asteroid Itokawa in 2005.
  • Hayabusa was the first mission to return an asteroid sample to Earth.
  • The asteroid mission first reached Ryugu — a kilometre-wide asteroid, with a relatively dark surface and almost zero gravity — in June 2018 and made its first touchdown on the surface in February 2019.
  • A month later the spacecraft hit the surface of Ryugu with a pellet and created a 10-metre-wide crater.
  • It also exposed the materials under the asteroid’s surface that were so far protected from the harsh effects of cosmic rays and charged particles of solar wind blasting through space.

About PUNCH Mission

  • NASA has selected an US-based Indian researcher to lead its PUNCH mission which will image the Sun.
  • PUNCH stands for “Polarimeter to Unify the Corona and Heliosphere,” is focused on understanding the transition of particles from the Sun’s outer corona to the solar wind that fills interplanetary space.
  • It will consist of a constellation of four microsatellites that through continuous 3D deep-field imaging, will observe the corona and heliosphere as elements of a single, connected system.
  • This is a landmark mission will image regions beyond the Sun’s outer corona.
  • The Sun and the solar wind are one interconnected system, but these have until recently been studied using entirely different technologies and scientific approaches.

Spectrum-Roentgen-Gamma (SRG) Telescope

  • The telescope will be launched into space on a Russian-built Proton-M rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in June 2019.
  • The four-year mission will survey the entire sky eight times and track the evolution of the universe and dark energy, a mysterious repulsive force that is accelerating its expansion.
  • Besides, it also aims to detect up to three million supermassive black holes — many of which are unknown — and X-rays from as many as 700,000 stars in the Milky Way.
  • The telescope is the first to be sensitive to high-energy ‘hard’ X-rays and map the entire sky.
  • The SRG will also find how dark matter — the main engine of galaxy formation — is spread in the universe.
  • X-ray sky surveys have also been conducted by previous missions, but they were not able to map the entire sky, the report said.

MeerLICTH Optical Telescope

  • Scientists in South Africa have launched the world’s first optical telescope linked to a radio telescope, combining “eyes and ears” to try to unravel the secrets of the universe.
  • The latest move combines the new optical telescope MeerLITCH — Dutch for ‘more light’ — with the recently-completed 64-dish MeerKAT radio telescope, located 200 kilometres away.
  • This is the eye, with the MeerKAT being the ears as a radio telescope.
  • The MeerLITCH uses a main mirror just 65 cm in diameter and a single 100 megapixel detector measuring 10 cm x 10 cm.
  • Astronomers have previously had to wait for a cosmic incident to be picked up by a radio telescope and then carry out optic observations afterwards.
  • The project has been six years in the making by a joint-team of South African, Dutch and British scientists.

Ultima Thule

  • NASA has found evidence for a unique mixture of methanol, water ice, and organic molecules on Ultima Thule’s surface — the farthest world ever explored by mankind.
  • Ultima Thule is a contact binary, with two distinctly differently shaped lobes.
  • At about 36 kilometres long, it consists of a large, strangely flat lobe — nicknamed “Ultima” — connected to a smaller, somewhat rounder lobe — dubbed “Thule” — at a juncture.
  • Officially named (486958) 2014 MU69, it earned the nickname Ultima Thule following a public contest in 2018.
  • It is located in the Kuiper Belt, a disc in the outer Solar System (beyond Neptune) that consists of small bodies including Pluto.
  • 2014 MU69 was discovered in June 2014 by astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope but is so distant that many of its characteristics remain to be understood.

About the mission

  • New Horizons, a space probe that was launched in 2006, became the first mission to visit Pluto in 2015.
  • Travelling farther into the Kuiper Belt, the nuclear-powered space probe has come within 3,500 km of Ultima Thule.
  • Images taken revealed that the object may have a shape similar to a bowling pin, or a “snowman”, or a peanut spinning end over end, or could be two objects orbiting each other.
  • Flyby data showed that Ultima Thule is spinning like a propeller with the axis pointing approximately toward New Horizons.
  • NASA released a composite of two images taken by New Horizons’ high-resolution Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager.

Chang’e-4

  • In January, the Chinese spacecraft Chang’e-4 — named after the moon goddess in Chinese mythology — became the first ever craft to touch down on the far side of the lunar surface.
  • The team landed its probe in the Von Karmen Crater in the Aitken Basin at the Moon’s south pole — home to one of the largest impact craters known in the solar system.
  • Scientists have said they could be a step closer to solving the riddle behind the Moon’s formation, unveiling the most detailed survey yet of the far side of Earth’s satellite.

Cassini Mission

  • Launched in 1997, the Cassini mission is a cooperation between NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency.
  • It has sent back thousands of stunning images and made numerous discoveries about the ringed planet and its moons.
  • Cassini–Huygens is an unmanned spacecraft sent to the planet Saturn.
  • Cassini is the fourth space probe to visit Saturn and the first to enter orbit. Its design includes a Saturn orbiter and a lander for the moon Titan.
  • The lander, called Huygens, landed on Titan in 2005.

China’s BeiDou navigation satellite, a rival to US GPS, starts global services

  • China’s BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS), touted as a rival to the widely-used American GPS, has started providing global services.

BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS)

  • Named after the Chinese term for the ‘Big Dipper’, the BeiDou system started serving China in 2000 and the Asia-Pacific region in 2012.
  • It will be the fourth global satellite navigation system after the US GPS, Russia’s GLONASS and the European Union’s Galileo.
  • The positioning accuracy of the system has reached 10 metres globally and five metres in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Its velocity accuracy is 0.2 metres per second, while its timing accuracy stands at 20 nanoseconds, he said.
  • Pakistan has become the first country to use the BeiDou system ending its reliance on the Global Positioning System (GPS).

GRAPES-3 Experiment

  • For the first time in the world, researchers at the GRAPES-3 muon telescope facility in Ooty have measured the electrical potential, size and height of a thundercloud that passed overhead on December 1, 2014.
  • GRAPES-3 (Gamma Ray Astronomy PeV EnergieS phase-3) is designed to study cosmic rays with an array of air shower detectors and a large area muon detector.
  • It aims to probe acceleration of cosmic rays in the following four astrophysical settings.
  • It is located at Ooty in India and started as a collaboration of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, India and the Osaka City University, Osaka, Japan.

Asteroid ‘99942 Apophis’

  • On April 13, 2019, a near-Earth asteroid will cruise by Earth, about 31,000 km above the surface.
  • The asteroid, called 99942 Apophis, is 340 m wide.
  • At one point, it will travel more than the width of the full Moon within a minute and it will get as bright as the stars in the Little Dipper, according to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
  • It is rare for an asteroid this size to pass by Earth so close.
  • Although scientists have spotted small asteroids, on the order of 5-10 metres, flying by Earth at a similar distance, asteroids the size of Apophis are far fewer in number and so do not pass this close to Earth as often.
  • Among potential lessons from Apophis, scientists are hoping they can use its flyby to learn about an asteroid’s interior.
  • Apophis is one of about 2,000 currently known Potentially Hazardous Asteroids, and scientists also hope their observations might help gain important scientific knowledge that could one day be used for planetary defence.


 

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Mission Nikaalo Prelims

[Prelims Spotlight] Important British Commissions and Committees

Prelims Spotlight is a part of “Nikaalo Prelims 2020” module. This open crash course for Prelims 2020 has a private telegram group where PDFs and DDS (Daily Doubt Sessions) are being held. Please click here to register.

Important British Commissions and Committees


27 April 2020 

Educational Commissions

Charles Wood Despatch – 1854

  • Wood’s despatch proposed several recommendations in order to improve the system of education.
  • According to the recommendations, it was declared that the aim of the Government’s policy was the promotion of western education. In his despatch, he emphasised on the education of art, science, philosophy and literature of Europe.
  • In short, the propagation of European knowledge was the motto of the Wood’s Despatch.
  • According to the despatch, for higher education, the chief medium of instruction would be English.
  • However, the significance of the vernacular language was no less emphasised as Wood believed that through the mediums of vernacular language, European knowledge could reach to the masses.
  • Wood’s Despatch also proposed the setting up of several vernacular primary schools in the villages at the lowest stage.
  • Moreover, there should be Anglo-Vernacular high schools and an affiliated college in the district level.
  • Wood’s Despatch recommended a system of grants-in-aid to encourage and foster the private enterprise in the field of education. The grants-in-aid were conditional on the institution employing qualified teachers and maintaining proper standards of teaching.

Hunter Commission – 1882

  • Hunter Education Commission was a landmark commission appointed by Viceroy Lord Ripon with objectives to look into the complaints of the non-implementation of the Wood’s Despatch of 1854; the contemporary status of elementary education in the British territories; and suggest means by which this can be extended and improved.
  • This commission, headed by Sir William Wilson Hunter, had submitted its report in 1882.

Commission suggestions:

  • There should be two types of education arrangements at the high school level, in which emphasis should be given on giving a vocational and business education and other such literary education should be given, which will help in admission to the university.
  • Arrangement for emphasis on the importance of education at the primary level and education in local language and useful subjects.
  • Private efforts should be welcomed in the field of education, but primary education should be given without him.
  • Control of education at the primary level should be handed over to the district and city boards.

Hunter Commission of 1882 on Primary Education :

  • Primary education should be regarded as the education of the masses.
    Education should be able to train the people for self-dependence.
  • The medium of instruction in primary education should e the mother tongue.
    Normal Schools should be established for the training of teachers.
  • The curriculum should include useful subjects like agriculture, elements of natural and physical science and the native method of arithmetic and measurement, etc.
  • The spread of primary education for the tribal and backward people should be the responsibility of the Government.
  • Fees should be an example to students on the basis of their financial difficulties.

Raleigh Commission – 1902

  • Raleigh Commission was appointed under the presidency of Sir Thomas Raleigh on 27 January 1902 to inquire into the condition and prospects of universities in India and to recommend proposals for improving their constitution and working.
  • Evidently, the Commission was precluded from reporting on primary or secondary education.
  • As a result of the report of the recommendations of the Commission the Indian Universities Act was passed in 1904.
  • The main objective of the Act was to improve the condition of education in India and upgrade the system to a better level.
  • The following important changes were introduced for the upliftment of University Education.
  • Universities were empowered to appoint their own staff including the teaching staff.
  • The number of Fellows of a University was limited within 50 to 100.
  • The number of elected Fellows was fixed at 20 for the Bombay, Madras and Calcutta Universities and 15 for others.
  • The Governor-General was now empowered to decide a University’s territorial limits and also affiliation between the universities and colleges.
  • After the implementation of the provisions of the University Act, though the number of colleges declined, yet the number of students increased considerably.

Sadler Commission – 1917

  • In 1917, the Calcutta University Commission (Sadler Commission) was appointed by the Government of India under the Chairmanship of Mr. Michel Sadler, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds.
  • All the teaching resources in the city of Calcutta should be organized so that the Calcutta University may become entirely a teaching university.
  • A separate teaching and residential university should be established at Dacca.
  • There was a need for a coordinating agency. Hence an inter-University Board should be set up.
  • Honours courses should be instituted and they should be distinctly different from the Pass courses.
  • Full time and salaried Vice-Chancellor should be appointed to be the administrative head of the university.
  • The Senate and the syndicate should be replaced by the Court and the Executive Council respectively.
  • Universities should be freed from excessive official control.
  • Government interference in the academic matters of universities should stop.

Hartog Commission – 1929

  • Sir Philip Joseph Hartog committee was appointed by the British Indian government to survey on the growth of education in India.
  • The Hartog committee 1929, had devoted more attention to mass education than the secondary and University education.
  • The Hartog committee highlighted the problem of wastage and stagnation in education at the primary level.
  • It recommended the policy of consolidation instead of multiplication of schools. The duration of the primary course was to be fixed to four years.
  • It recommended for the improvements in quality, pay, and service conditions of teachers and relating the syllabus and teaching methods to the local environment of villages and locality
  • The Hartog committee on education recommended for the promotion of technical and commercial education by universities to control the problem of unemployment.
  • The recommendation of the Hartog committee of 1929 was an attempt for consolidation and stabilization of education. The Hartog committee of 1929 was seen as a torchbearer of the government’s effort to improve the quality of education.
  • However, these recommendations of Hartog committee of 1929 remained only on paper and could not be implemented due to the great economic depression of 1930-31.

Sargent Plan – 1944

  • The Sargent plan of education came after Sir John Sargent was given the task to prepare a comprehensive scheme of education for India in 1944 and he made the following recommendations:
  • Pre-primary education for children between 3 to 6 years of age.
    Universal, compulsory and free primary or basic education for all children between the ages 6—11 (junior basic) and 11—14 (senior basic).
  • High school education for six years for selected children between the years 11—17.
  • Degree course for three years beginning after the higher secondary examination for selected students
  • Technical, commercial, agricultural and art education for full time and part-time students, girls schools are to teach domestic science.
  • The liquidation of adult illiteracy and the development of a public library system in about 20 years.
  • Full provision for the proper training of teachers.
  • Educational provision is made for the physically and mentally handicapped children.
  • The organisation of compulsory physical education.
  • Provision be made for social and recreational activities.
  • The creation of employment bureaus.
  • The creation of the Department of Education in the centre and in the states.
  • The use of mother tongue is to be used as the medium of instruction in all high schools.

Famine Commissions during British Rule in India

Campbell Commission

  • In 1865-66, a famine engulfed Orissa, Bengal, Bihar, and Madras and took a toll of nearly 20 lakhs of lives with Orissa alone loosing 10 lakh lives, since the famine was most severe in Orissa; it is called the Orissa famine.
  • The Government officers though forewarned took no steps to meet the calamity.
  • The Government adhered to the principles of free trade and the law of demand and supply, the Government did provide employment to the table booked men leaving the work of charitable relief to the voluntary agency.
  • But the famine proved a turning point in the history of Indian famines for it was followed by the appointment of a committee under the chairmanship of Sir
    George Campbell.

Stratchy Commission

  • It was set up in 1878 under the Chairmanship of Sir Richard Strachey.
  • The commission recommended state interference in food trade in the event of famine. India witnessed another major famine in 1896-97.

Lyall Commission

  • It was constituted in 1897 under the Chairmanship of Sir James Lyall. This commission recommended the development of irrigation facilities.

MacDonnell Commission

  • It was set up in 1900 under the Chairmanship of Sir Anthony (Later Lord) McDonnel to re-evaluate and recommend changes in report of the previous commission, based on the findings of the recent famine.
  • This Commission recommended that the official machinery dealing with a famine must work around the year so that the scarcity of food grains could be controlled well in time.

Law Commission

  • Law Commissions in India have a pre-independence origin. The first Law Commission was formed in 1834 as a result of the Charter Act, 1833 under the chairmanship of TB Macaulay.
  • The first commission’s recommendations resulted in the codification of the penal code and the Criminal Procedure Code.
  • Three other law commissions were constituted before independence by the British government.
  • All four pre-independent law commissions have contributed to the statute books immensely.
  • After independence, the first Law Commission was constituted in 1955 in a continuance of the tradition of bringing law reforms in the country through the medium of law commissions.
  • Second Pre-Independence Law Commission,1853 – Sir John Romilly.
  • Third Pre-Independence Law Commission, 1862- Sir John Romilly.
  • Fourth Pre-Independence Law Commission, 1879 – Dr Whitley Stokes.

Currency Commission

Mansfield Commission by Dufferin in 1886

  • The Indian Currency Committee or Fowler Committee was a government committee appointed by the British-run Government of India on 29 April 1898 to examine the current situation in India.
  • Until 1892, silver was the metal on which Indian currency and coinage had largely been based. In 1892, the Government of India announced its intent to “close Indian mints to silver” and, in 1893, it brought this policy into force.

Other Commissions on Currency:

  • Fowler Commission by Elgin II in 1898
  • Babington Smith Commission by Chelmsford in 1919
  • Hilton Young Commission by Linlithgow in 1926

Other Important Commissions

  • Scott-Moncrieff Commission (Irrigation) by Curzon in 1901
  • Fraser Commission (Police Reforms) by Curzon in 1902
  • Hunter Commission (Punjab Disturbances) by Chelmsford 1919
  • Butler Commission (Indian States relation with British Crown) by Irwin in 1927
  • Whiteley Commission (Labour) by Irwin in 1929
  • Sapru Commission (Unemployment) by Linlithgow in 1935
  • Chalfield Commission (Army) by Linlighgow 1939
  • Floud Commission (Tenancy in Bengal) by Linlighgow in 1940

Categories
Mission Nikaalo Prelims

[Prelims Spotlight] Important International Economic Organizations

Prelims Spotlight is a part of “Nikaalo Prelims 2020” module. This open crash course for Prelims 2020 has a private telegram group where PDFs and DDS (Daily Doubt Sessions) are being held. Please click here to register.

Important International Economic Organizations


25 April 2020 

Bank for International Settlements (BIS)

  • Bank for International Settlements (BIS) – is an intergovernmental organization of central banks which “fosters international monetary and financial cooperation and serves as a bank for central banks.”
  • It is not accountable to any national government.
  • The mission of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) is to serve central banks in their pursuit of monetary and financial stability, to foster international cooperation in those areas and to act as a bank for central banks.
  • The Basel Committee for Banking Supervision (BCBS), while technically separate from the BIS, is a closely associated international forum for financial regulation that is housed in the BIS’ offices in Basel, Switzerland
  • The BCBS is responsible for the Basel Accords, which recommend capital requirements and other banking regulations that are widely implemented by national governments.
  • The BIS also conducts research on economic issues and publishes reports.

European Central Bank (ECB)

  • The European Central Bank (ECB) is the central bank responsible for monetary policy of those European Union (EU) member countries which have adopted the euro currency.
  • This region is known as the eurozone and currently comprises 19 members.
    The principal goal of the ECB is to maintain price stability in the euro area, thus helping preserve the purchasing power of the euro.
  • The European Central Bank (ECB) is headquartered in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. It has been responsible for monetary policy in the Euro area since January 1, 1999.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • The European Central Bank (ECB) is the central bank of the combined Eurozone.
  • The ECB coordinates EU monetary policy, including setting the region’s target interest rates and controlling the supply of the Euro common currency.
  • The ECB’s primary mandate is to achieve price stability through low inflation.

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is the inter-governmental organisation established to stabilize the exchange rate in the international trade.
  • It helps the member countries to improve their Balance of Payment (BOP) condition thorough the adequate liquidity in the international market, promote the growth of global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade.
  • It is one of the Bretton woods twins, which came into existence in 1945, is governed by and accountable to the 189 countries that make up its near-global membership.

Objectives of IMF:

  • To promote international monetary co-operation.
  • To ensure balanced international trade
  • To ensure exchange rate stability
  • To eliminate or to minimize exchange restrictions by promoting the system of multilateral payments.
  • To grant economic assistance to members countries for eliminating the adverse balance of payment
  • To minimize the imbalances in quantum and duration of international trade.

IMF Quota & Voting Rights

  • Quotas was assigned to member countries reflecting their relative economic power & credit deposit to IMF
  • Subscription was to be paid 25% in gold or currency convertible into gold (effectively the dollar, which was the only currency then, still directly gold convertible for central banks) and 75% in the member’s own currency
  • Members were provided voting rights in proportion to their quota, hence member countries with higher quota have a higher say at IMF

Special Drawing Rights

  • Special drawing rights (SDRs) are supplementary foreign exchange reserve assets defined and maintained by the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
  • SDR is not a currency, instead represents a claim to currency held by IMF member countries for which they may be exchanged.
  • The value of an SDR is defined by a weighted currency basket of four major currencies: the US dollar, the euro, the British pound, the Chinese Yuan and the Japanese yen
  • The central bank of member countries held SDR with IMF which can be used by them to access funds from IMF in case of financial crises in their domestic market

Reverse Tansche

  • A certain proportion of a member country’s quota is specified as its reserve tranche.
  • The member country can access its reserve tranche funds at its discretion and is not under an immediate obligation to repay those funds to the IMF.
  • Member nation reserve tranches are typically 25% of the member’s quota.

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

  • Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an inter-governmental organization founded in 1961 to accelerate economic progress and world trade.
  • It is a very unique organization where 34 Democracies work together with market economies and 70 non-member economies promote economic growth, prosperity, and sustainable development.
  • The setting of the OECD reflects the peripheral discussion forum based on the policy research and analysis that helps governments in order to shape their policies that may lead to a formal agreement among member governments or be acted on in domestic or other international stages.
  • Most OECD members are high-income economies with a very high Human Development Index (HDI) and are regarded as developed countries.
  • The OECD headquarters at Paris, France. The OECD is funded by contributions from member states.

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

  • The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) was established in 1964. It is an intergovernmental body of the United Nations Generally Assembly for promoting the development-friendly integration of developing countries into the world economy.
  • UNCTAD grew from the view that existing institutions like GATT (now WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and World Bank were not properly organized to handle the particular problems of developing countries.

Functions of UNCTAD

  • UNCTAD Objective is to maximize the trade, investment and development opportunities of developing countries and assist them in their efforts to integrate into the world economy on an equitable basis.
  • It functions as a forum for intergovernmental deliberations, supported by discussions with experts and exchanges of experience, aimed at consensus building.
  • It undertakes research, policy analysis and data collection for the debates of government representatives and experts.
  • It provides technical assistance tailored to the specific requirements of developing countries, with special attention to the needs of the least developed countries and of economies in transition.

United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP)

  • The Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) serves as the United Nations’ regional hub promoting cooperation among countries to achieve inclusive and sustainable development.
  • Established in 1947 with its headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand.
  • The largest regional intergovernmental platform with 53 Member States and 9 associate members, ESCAP has emerged as a strong regional think-tank offering countries sound analytical products that shed insight into the evolving economic, social and environmental dynamics of the region.
  • The Commission’s strategic focus is to deliver on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which is reinforced and deepened by promoting regional cooperation and integration to advance responses to shared vulnerabilities, connectivity, financial cooperation and market integration.
  • ESCAP’s research and analysis coupled with its policy advisory services, capacity building and technical assistance to governments aims to support countries’ sustainable and inclusive development ambitions

UN-ESCAP providing results-oriented projects, technical assistance and capacity building to member States in the following areas:

  • Macroeconomic Policy, Poverty Reduction and Financing for Development
  • Trade, Investment and Innovation
  • Transport
  • Environment and Development
  • Information and Communications Technology and Disaster Risk Reduction
  • Social Development
  • Statistics
  • Subregional activities for development
  • Energy

United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)

  • United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) was established by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations (UN) in 1958 as one of the UN’s five regional commissions, ECA’s mandate is to promote the economic and social development of its member States, foster intra-regional integration, and promote international cooperation for Africa’s development.
  • Made up of 54 member States, and playing a dual role as a regional arm of the UN and as a key component of the African institutional landscape, ECA is well-positioned to make unique contributions to address the Continent’s development challenges.
  • ECA’s strength derives from its role as the only UN agency mandated to operate at the regional and subregional levels to harness resources and bring them to bear on Africa’s priorities. T
  • o enhance its impact, ECA places a special focus on collecting up to date and original regional statistics in order to ground its policy research and advocacy on clear objective evidence; promoting policy consensus; providing meaningful capacity development; and providing advisory services in key thematic fields.

ECA’s thematic areas of focus are as follows:

Macroeconomic Policy
Regional Integration and Trade
Social Development
Natural Resources
Innovation and Technology
Gender
Governance
Statistic

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)

  • The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) was set up in 1947 by ECOSOC. It is one of five regional commissions of the United Nations.
  • UNECE’s major aim is to promote pan-European economic integration. UNECE includes 56 member States in Europe, North America and Asia. However, all interested United Nations member States may participate in the work of UNECE. Over 70 international professional organizations and other non-governmental organizations take part in UNECE activities.
  • Providing legal frameworks and assistance activities through instruments like the UNECE Multilateral Environmental Agreements.
  • Developing expertise and policy solutions in areas such as resource efficiency, environmental performance, environmental democracy, sustainable transport, sustainable energy, sustainable housing, green real estate markets, and sustainable forest products.
  • Measuring sustainable development and improving capacities for environmental monitoring and assessment.
  • Encouraging eco-innovations and green investment.
  • Raising awareness to change behavioral patterns towards sustainable consumption and production, for example through the UNECE Strategy for
  • Education for Sustainable Development.
  • Developing green standards, for example the standards for cleaner and smarter vehicles developed by the World Forum for the Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations.
  • The Customs Convention on International Transport of Goods under Cover of TIR Carnets, 1975 (TIR Convention) is an international customs transit system under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)
  • India has become the 71st nation to join the United Nations TIR (Transports Internationaux Routiers) Convention.

World Bank Group

  • The World Bank Group (WBG) is a family of five international organizations that make leveraged loans to developing countries.
  • It is the largest and most famous development bank in the world and is an observer at the United Nations Development Group.
  • Its five organizations are the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Development Association (IDA), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).

The World Bank (IBRD)

  • IBRD provides loans and other assistance primarily to middle income and poor but creditworthy countries at interest rates slightly lower than that offered by other financial institutions but with long term maturity<countries which have the capacity to repay the loan amount with interest>

Origins: IBRD, as the name suggests, was created in 1944 to help Europe reconstruct/ rebuild after World War II. To be a member of IBRD, a country has t join IMF first.

Main function:

  • Long-term capital assistance to its member-countries for their reconstruction and development
  • It works closely with the rest of the World Bank Group to help developing countries reduce poverty, promote economic growth, and build prosperity.

Other functions of IBRD Bank –

  • Supports long-term human and social development that private creditors do not finance.
  • Preserves borrowers’ financial strength by providing support in times of crisis, when poor people are most adversely affected
  • Promotes policy and institutional reforms (such as safety net or anti-corruption reforms)
  • Creates a favourable investment climate to catalyze the provision of private capital
  • Facilitates access to financial markets often at more favorable terms than members can achieve on their own
  • Resources of the Bank consist of the capital and borrowings.

 

International Development Association

  • The International Development Association (IDA) is the part of the World Bank group that helps the world’s poorest countries.
  • Overseen by 173 shareholder nations, IDA aims to reduce poverty by providing loans (called “credits”) and grants for programs that boost economic growth, reduce inequalities, and improve people’s living conditions.
  • IDA complements the World Bank’s original lending arm—the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). IBRD was established to function as a self-sustaining business and provides loans and advice to middle-income and credit-worthy poor countries.
  • IBRD and IDA share the same staff and headquarters and evaluate projects with the same rigorous standards.
  • IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 771 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa, and is the single largest source of donor funds for basic social services in these countries.
  • IDA lends money on concessional terms. This means that IDA credits have a zero or very low-interest charge and repayments are stretched over 25 to 40 years, including a 5- to 10-year grace period. IDA also provides grants to countries at risk of debt distress.
  • In addition to concessional loans and grants, IDA provides significant levels of debt relief through the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative and the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI).
  • IDA’s work covers primary education, basic health services, clean water and sanitation, agriculture, business climate improvements, infrastructure, and institutional reforms.

IFC

Largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector in developing countries established in 1956

Objectives of the IFC

  • To further economic development by encouraging the growth of private enterprise in member-countries
  • Invests in private enterprise in member-countries in association with private investors and without a Government guarantee, in cases where sufficient private capital is not available on reasonable terms
  • Seeks to bring together investment opportunities, private capital of both foreign and domestic origin, and experienced management
  • Stimulates conditions conducive to the flow of private capital – domestic and foreign – into productive investments in member-countries
  • IFC investment normally does not exceed 40% of the total investment of the enterprise.
  • In case of its investment by equity participation, it does not exceed 25% of the share capital.

IFC and India

  • IFC makes strategic investments and advisory interventions to promote inclusive growth, help address climate change impacts, and encourage global and regional integration
  • In India, IFC is sharpening its focus on increasing access to energy, finance and healthcare; providing the sustainable infrastructure; and boosting regional linkages

Focus Areas –

Building infrastructure
Facilitating renewable energy generation
Promoting cleaner production, energy and water efficiency
Supporting agriculture for improved food security
Creating growth opportunities for small businesses
Helping reform investment climate

The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA)

  • It is an international financial institution which offers political risk insurance and credit enhancement guarantees. Such guarantees help investors protect foreign direct investments against political and non-commercial risks in developing countries.
  • MIGA is a member of the World Bank Group and is headquartered in Washington, D.C., United States. It was established in 1988 as an investment insurance facility to encourage confident investment in developing countries.
  • MIGA’s stated mission is “to promote foreign direct investment into developing countries to support economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve people’s lives”. It targets projects that endeavour to create new jobs, develop infrastructure, generate new tax revenues, and take advantage of natural resources through sustainable policies and programs.
  • MIGA is owned and governed by its member states, but has its own executive leadership and staff which carry out its daily operations. Its shareholders are member governments which provide paid-in capital and have the right to vote on its matters.
  • It ensures long-term debt and equity investments as well as other assets and contracts with long-term periods. The agency is assessed by the World Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group each year.

International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID)

  • It encourages the flow of foreign investment to develop countries through arbitration and conciliation facilities
  • Except for ICSID, India is a member of the other four groups <We don’t like external interference such as arbitration in our decision-making process, hence not the member of ICSID>

Let’s revise World Bank in brief

Name Main Function Comment
IBRD (WB) Infrastructure loan to poor middle income but credit worthy countries at just below market rates India founder member, largest recipient of loan
IDA Soft loan at virtually zero rate for poverty eradication to poorest countries India founder largest recipient, has crossed the per capita threshold for funding but will continue to receive IDA funds
IFC Private sector arm of WB group, supports private enterprises in developing countries India founder, IFC launched India’s offshore masala bond
MIGA Provide a guarantee to investors against non-commercial political risk India not a founding member
ICSID Resolve disputes through arbitration and conciliation India not a member

World Trade Organization (WTO)

  • The WTO is an intergovernmental organization that is concerned with the regulation of international trade between nations.
  • The WTO officially commenced on 1 January 1995 under the Marrakesh Agreement, signed by 123 nations on 15 April 1994.
  • It replaced the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which commenced in 1948.
  • It is the largest international economic organization in the world.

Functions of WTO

  • The WTO deals with regulation of trade in goods, services and intellectual property between participating countries.
  • It provides a framework for negotiating trade agreements and a dispute resolution process aimed at enforcing participants’ adherence to WTO agreements, which are signed by representatives of member governments and ratified by their parliaments.

Categories
Mission Nikaalo Prelims

[Prelims Spotlight] Constitutional Developments under British/ British Administrative Measures

Prelims Spotlight is a part of “Nikaalo Prelims 2020” module. This open crash course for Prelims 2020 has a private telegram group where PDFs and DDS (Daily Doubt Sessions) are being held. Please click here to register.

Constitutional Developments under British/ British Administrative Measures


24 April 2020 

In India, the British Government passed various laws and acts before the formulation of the constitution. The Regulating Act of 1773 was enacted as a first step to regulate the working of East India Company. However, the Indian Independence Act, 1947 finally ended the British rule in India and declared India as an independent and sovereign nation with effect from August 15, 1947.

The Regulating Act of 1773

  • The Regulating Act of 1773 was enacted as a first step to regulate the working of East India Company
  • The Gov of Bengal was made Gov General of Bengal. He was assisted by 4 people. This 4+1 becomes became Supreme Council of Bengal also known as the GG’s Exec Council.
  • A Supreme Court was established in Bengal comprising of a chief justice and three other judges

Pitts’s India Act, 1784

  • We see a shrinking of the Council from 4 members to 3 members. Hence 3+1 is the renewed GG’s Executive Council.
  • Board of control was established to control the civil, military and revenue affairs of the company
  • The Court of Proprietors was no more empowered to revoke or suspend the resolution of the directors approved by the Board of Control.

Charter Act of 1833

  • The Governor-General of Bengal was made the Governor-General of India. The first Governor-General of India was William Bentinck.
  • He was given legislative powers over entire India including the Governors of Bombay and Madras.
  • The company lost the status of a commercial body and was made purely an administrative body.
  • This Act. was the first law to distinguish between the executive and legislative powers of the Gov General.
  • A 4th member was introduced who could only discuss and vote only on the legislative matter.
  • Council of India = [(3+1) +  1(4th member also called the Law Member)]
  • The first such Law Member was Macaulay. This Council of India was, to a certain extent, the Legislature. Strength of the Executive remained 3+1 .

Charter Act of 1853

  • From here on, we see a gradual increase in the membership of the Council and further separation of powers.
  • Access to compete in civil services for Indians.
  • It brought out the separation in the legislative and executive functions of the Governor-General’s council.
  • The 4th member (Law Member)was included as a full-time Member in the GG’s Executive Council. His position was taken by 6 Members referred to as Legislative Councillors.
  • Council of India = [(4+1) + 6(Legislative Councillors) + 1 Commander-in-Chief]
  • 6 Councillors were,
    1. 1 Chief Judge of SC of Calcutta.
    2. 1 Judge of SC of Calcutta
    3. 4 members of the ICS

Government of India Act, 1858

  • India was to be governed by and in the name of the crown through Viceroy, who would be the representative of the crown in India.
  • The designation of Governor-General of India was changed to Viceroy. Thus, Governor-General Lord Canning became the first Viceroy of India
  • Board of Control and Board of directors were abolished transferring all their powers to British Crown
  • A new office ‘secretary of state was created with a 15 member council of India to assist him. Indian Councils Act, 1861
  • The major focus of the act was on administration in India. It was the first step to associate Indians to legislation.
  • The act provided that the viceroy should nominate some Indians as non-official members in the legislative council.
  • The legislative powers of Madras and Bombay presidencies were restored.
    It provided for the establishment of legislative councils for Bengal, North-Western Frontier Province (NWFP) and Punjab.
  • Viceroy was empowered to issue ordinances during an emergency without the concurrence of the legislative council.

Indian Councils Act of 1861

  • After 1861, the Council was called Imperial Legislative Council(ILC) or Indian Legislative Council(ILC). The Executive was further enhanced by 1 member.
  • The Viceroy now had the power to Nominate 6 – 12 Non-Official members in the Legislature who would be holding the office for 2 years.
  • ILC = [(5+1) + (Additional Members -> Minimum 6, Maximum 12)]
  • The composition of Additional Members was as follows:
    1. 50% Nominated Official Members
    2. 50% Nominated Non-Official Members
  • The Act thus sowed the seed for the future Legislative as an independent entity separate from the Executive Council.

Indian Councils Act of 1892 

  • Due to the excessive demand of the Congress, the Additional Members were increased. Additional Members -> Minimum 10, Maximum 12.
  • ILC = [(5+1) + (Additional Members -> Minimum 10, Maximum 16)]

The composition of Additional Members was as follows:

  • Nominated official members (those nominated by the Governor-General and were government officials)
  • 5 Nominated Non-Officials (nominated by the Governor-General but were not government officials)
  • 4 Nominated by the Provincial Legislative Councils of Bengal Presidency, Bombay Presidency, Madras Presidency and North-Western Provinces.
  • 1 Nominated by the Chamber of Commerce in Calcutta.

Indian Councils Act of 1909: The Morley-Minto reforms

  • It introduced for the first time the method of election.
  • The additional members of the Governor-General Council were increased from 16 to a maximum of 60.
  • The composition of Additional Members was as follows:
    1. Nominated official members (those nominated by the Governor-General and were government officials)
    2. Nominated non-official members (nominated by the Governor-General but were not government officials)
    3. Elected Members (elected by different categories of Indian people)
  • It provided for the association of Indians in the executive council of the Viceroy and Governors. Satyendra Prasad Sinha joined the Viceroy’s executive council as a law member.
  • It introduced Separate Electorate for Muslims.

Indian Councils Act of 1919: The Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms

  • Central Legislature thereafter called the Indian Legislature was reconstituted on the enlarged and more representative character.
  • The act set up bicameral legislatures at the centre consisting of two houses- the Council of the States (Upper House) and the Central Legislative Assembly (Lower House).
  • It consisted of the Council of State consisted of 60 members of whom 34 members were elected and the Legislative Assembly consisted of about 145 members, of whom about 104 were elected and the rest nominated.
  • Of the nominated members, about 26 were officials.  The powers of both the Chambers of the Indian Legislature were identical except that the power to vote supply was granted only to the Legislative Assembly.
  • The central and provincial subjects were demarcated and separated.
  • The Provincial subjects were further divided into Transferred Subjects and Reserved Subjects, the legislative council had no say in the latter. This was known as the system of Diarchy.
  • The principle of separate electorate was further extended to Sikhs, Indian Christians, Anglo-Indians and Europeans.
  • It provided for the appointment of a statutory commission to report the working of the act after ten years

The Government of India Act 1935

  • It marked the next great stride in the evolution of the Legislatures.
  • The Federal Legislature was to consist of two Houses, the House of Assembly called the Federal  Assembly and the Council of States.
  • The Federal Assembly was to consist of 375 members, 250 to represent Provinces and 125 to represent the Indian States, nominated by the Rulers.
  • The representatives of the Provinces were to be elected not directly but indirectly by the Provincial Assemblies.
  • The term of the Assembly was fixed as five years.
  • The Council of State was to be a permanent body not subject to dissolution, but one-third of the members should retire every three years.
  • It was to consist of 260 members.  104 representatives of Indian States, six to be nominated by the Governor-General, 128 to be directly elected by territorial communal constituencies and 22 to be set apart for smaller minorities, women and depressed classes.
  • The two Houses had in general equal powers but demands for supply votes and financial Bills were to originate in the Assembly.
  • The principle of Separate Electorate was extended to depressed classes, women and workers.
  • Provided for the formation of Reserve bank of India

Indian Independence Act, 1947

  • The act formalized the Lord Mountbatten Plan regarding the independence of India on June 3, 1947.
  • The Act ended the British rule in India and declared India as an independent and sovereign nation with effect from August 15, 1947.
  • Provided for the partition of India into two dominions of India and Pakistan
  • The office of Viceroy was abolished and a Governor-General was to be appointed in each of the dominions
  • The Constituent Assemblies of the two dominions were to have powers to legislate for their respective territories.
  • Princely states were free to join any of the two dominions or to remain independent.

Categories
Mission Nikaalo Prelims

[Prelims Spotlight] Important IR Pacts in News

Prelims Spotlight is a part of “Nikaalo Prelims 2020” module. This open crash course for Prelims 2020 has a private telegram group where PDFs and DDS (Daily Doubt Sessions) are being held. Please click here to register.

Important IR Pacts in News


23 April 2020 

Joint Press Statement 14th Meeting of India-France Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism

  • India and France held the 14th Meeting of Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism in New Delhi on February 28, 2020
  • Both sides condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and stressed the need for strengthening international cooperation to combat terrorism in a comprehensive and sustained manner.
  • They exchanged views on current counter-terrorism challenges including countering radicalization, combating the financing of terrorism, preventing the use of the internet for terrorist purposes, threats posed by internationally designated terrorist entities as well as cross-border terrorism in South Asian region.
  • Both sides stressed upon the need to deny safe havens and sources of financing to terrorists.
  • It was decided that the next meeting of the Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism shall be held in France in 2021 on a mutually convenient date.

US-Taliban Pact

  • The US and Taliban signed an agreement for “Bringing Peace to Afghanistan”, which will enable the US and NATO to withdraw troops in the next 14 months.
    The pact is between the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan which is not recognized by the United States as a state and is known as the Taliban” and the US.
  • The four-page pact was signed between Zalmay Khalilzad, US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, and Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, political head of the Taliban.

Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership

  • Prime Minister Modi and President Trump pledged to deepen defence and security cooperation, especially through greater maritime and space domain awareness and information sharing; joint cooperation; exchange of military liaison personnel; advanced training and expanded exercises between all services and special forces; closer collaboration on co-development and co-production of advanced defence components, equipment and platforms; and partnership between their defence industries.
  • Prime Minister Modi and President Trump resolved to enhance the security of their homelands through cooperation and to jointly fight international crimes like human trafficking, terrorism and violent extremism, drug-trafficking and crimes in cyberspace.

List of MoUs/Agreements exchanged and announced during State Visit of President of Portugal

  • Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation for Setting Up a National Maritime Museum
  • Heritage Complex in Lothal (Gujarat) between Portuguese Ministry of Defence and the Indian Ministry of Shipping.
  • MOU between Economic and Food Safety Authority (ASAE) and DPIIT, Ministry of Commerce or co-operation in the field of industrial and intellectual property rights Co-operation Agreement on Maritime Transport and Port Development between India and  Portugal.
  • MoU between the Portuguese Diplomatic Institute and Foreign Service Institute for training

Israel-Palestine Peace Plan

  • The Israel-Palestine peace plan or the West Asia peace plan is the proposal unveiled by U.S. President Donald Trump
  • This plan seeks to address most of the contentious issues in the conflict.
  • The solutions, Mr. Trump has proposed to almost all of these issues, favour the Israeli positions.
  • He seeks to give to the Israelis, Jerusalem and part of the West Bank.
  • With his plan, he is actually pushing to revive the stalled two-state talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians, but on his own terms.

What is the plan?

  • The Palestinian refugees, who were forced out from their homes during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war that followed the declaration of the state of Israel in historic Palestine, would not be allowed to return.
  • Jerusalem would be the undivided capital of Israel, with Palestine gaining its capital in the east of the city.
  • In return, Israel would freeze further settlement activities on the West Bank for 4 years (the time for negotiations).
  • During this period, the Palestinian Authority should dismiss its current complaints at the International Criminal Court against Israel and refrain itself from taking further actions.
  • It should crack down on certain terrorist groups like the Hamas

US-Guatemala Asylum Deal

  • In July 2019, the then President of Guatemala signed an asylum deal with the US.
  • Under the “safe third country” agreement, migrants have to apply for asylum in the first country they land in.
  • If they fail to do so and proceed to the second country, they can be sent back to the first country.
  • The US first signed such an agreement with Canada in 2002.

What is the US-Guatemala agreement

  • In 2019, the US administration signed “safe third country” agreements with the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.
  • This made it more difficult for refugees to seek asylum in the US.
  • This agreement allowed the US to send asylum seekers from third countries to Guatemala.
  • So far, Guatemala is the only country which has implemented the agreement.
  • Unless migrants apply for protection in Guatemala before proceeding to the US, they are sent back to Guatemala

Indo-German Partnership

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel is the first foreign leader to visit India after Jammu and Kashmir was officially bifurcated into two Union Territories on October 31
  • Germany and India signed 17 agreements and five joint declarations of intent in fields spanning space, civil aviation, maritime technology, medicine, yoga and education.

PM Modi’s Saudi Visit – Future Investment Initiative Forum

  • The forum is formally called the Future Investment Initiative and was launched in 2017.
  • The Indian PM will be joining Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, U.S. President Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
  • Other leading international figures also join at the annual international forum popularly known as “Davos in the Desert”.
  • It seeks to elevate Saudi Arabia’s international economic engagement.
  • It is part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s (MbS’s) efforts to rapidly transform Saudi the economy under the “Vision 2030” that he unveiled in 2016.

Mamallapuram Summit – India and China

  • PM Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping recently held an informal summit in the ancient coastal town of Mamallapuram or Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu.
  • The two countries convened their first Informal Summit in central China’s Wuhan in April 2018, where they exchanged views on issues of global and bilateral significance.
  • Irrespective of the rhetoric of a Wuhan spirit, the relationship is facing difficulties, reflected in a number of disputes between the two countries.

Informal Summits

  • Informal Summits act as supplementary exchanges to annual Summits and other formal exchanges such as the G20 Summit, EU-India Summit and the BRICS Summit among others.
  • It allows for direct, free and candid exchange of views between countries, something that may not be possible to do through formal bilateral and multilateral meetings that are agenda-driven.
  • Informal Summits may not take place on a fixed annual or biennial schedule; they are impromptu in the sense that they take place when a need for them is perceived by the concerned nations.

Wuhan Spirit

  • Wuhan Spirit is in line with the five principles of peaceful coexistence (Panchsheel) jointly advocated by China and India in the 1950s.
  • Wuhan Spirit highlighted To form the “backbone” of economic globalization, and they should jointly make positive contributions to global peace and development.
  • To cooperate, for the first time ever, on a joint project in Afghanistan.
    China has indicated that India’s refusal to join the Belt and Road Initiative will not come in the way of economic cooperation.

Extradition Treaty between India and Belgium

  • Recently, the Union Cabinet has approved the signing and ratifying of the Extradition Treaty between the Republic of India and the Kingdom of Belgium.
  • This will replace the pre-Independence Extradition Treaty between Great Britain and Belgium of 1901 that was made applicable to India through the exchange of Letters in 1958.
  • The Treaty provides a legal framework for seeking the extradition of terrorists, economic offenders, and other criminals from and to Belgium.

Multilateral Export Control Regimes

  • MECR is voluntary and non-binding agreements created by the major supplier countries that have agreed to co-operate in their effort to prevent and regulate the transfer of certain military and dual-use technology.
  • It aims at preventing the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).
  • They are independent of the United Nations.
  • Their regulations apply only to members and it is not obligatory for a country to join.
  • India is now a member of three of the four MECRs, except the Nuclear supplier Group.

There are currently four such regimes under MECR

  • The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), for the control of nuclear-related technology.
  • The Australia Group (AG) for control of chemical and biological technology that could be weaponized.
  • The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) for the control of rockets and other aerial vehicles capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction.
  • The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies.

Joint Economic Trade Committee

  • JETCO provides a forum to United Kingdom companies to enhance their links and develop new partnerships with India business and decision-makers.
    Government to Government negotiations, which address issues of market liberalization and market access, are conducted through the JETCO process.
  • The UK India Business Council plays a key role in feeding the views of the UK business community into JETCO process with a view to achieving favourable outcomes for UK companies.
  • One of the key objectives of the JETCO process is to unveil opportunities for London’s most prominent institutional investors to invest in India.

Categories
Mission Nikaalo Prelims

[Prelims Spotlight] National Parks, Biosphere Reserves, Wildlife Sanctuaries in India – Part 2

Prelims Spotlight is a part of “Nikaalo Prelims 2020” module. This open crash course for Prelims 2020 has a private telegram group where PDFs and DDS (Daily Doubt Sessions) are being held. Please click here to register.

National Parks, Biosphere Reserves, Wildlife Sanctuaries in India – Part 2


22 April 2020 

Conservation of Wildlife:

1. The Government of India enacted the Wild Life (Protection) Act 1972 with the objective of effectively protecting the wildlife of this country and to control poaching, smuggling and illegal trade in wildlife and its derivatives.

  • The act extends to the whole of India except J&K which has its own wildlife act.
  • It has 6 schedules which give varying degrees of protection.
    • Schedule I and part II of Schedule II provide absolute protection and offences under these are prescribed the highest penalties.
    • The penalties for Schedule III and Schedule IV are less and these animals are protected.
    • Schedule V includes the animals which may be hunted. These are the Common crow, Fruit bats, Mice & Rats only.
    • Schedule VI contains the plants, which are prohibited from cultivation and planting.

2. A National Board for Wildlife (NBWL), chaired by the Prime Minister of India provides for a policy framework for wildlife conservation in the country.

3. The National Wildlife Action Plan (2002-2016) was adopted in 2002, emphasizing the people’s participation and their support for wildlife conservation. The Draft National Wildlife Action Plan (NWAP) 2017-31 envisages 17 focus areas, including a new area linking wildlife planning to climate change.

4. The Indian Constitution entails the subject of forests and wildlife in the Concurrent list thus laying the responsibility of wildlife conservation on both the Centre and the State. The Federal Ministry acts as a guiding torch dealing with the policies and planning on wildlife conservation, while the provincial Forest Departments are vested with the responsibility of implementation of national policies and plans.

5. Specialized projects: To save the endangered species of animals, specialised projects are being implemented with international cooperation (WWF, UNDP, UNEP, IUCN) as well as on a stand-alone basis e.g.

  1. Project Tiger 1973
  2. Operation Crocodile 1975
  3. Project Rhinoceros 1987
  4. Project Snow Leopard
  5. Project Elephant 1988

More recently, the Black Buck (chinkara), the Great Indian Bustard (godawan) and the snow leopard etc. have been given full or partial legal protection against hunting and trade throughout India.

6. The Protected Areas of India:

Protected areas are those in which human occupation or at least the exploitation of resources is limited. These are defined according to the categorization guidelines for protected areas by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). There are several kinds of protected areas, which vary by level of protection depending on the enabling laws of each country or the regulations of the international organizations involved.

There are 4 categories of the Protected Areas in India viz,

  • National Parks,
  • Sanctuaries,
  • Conservation Reserves, and
  • Community Reserves.

Source

Let’s look at these in detail:

  • National Park:
    • A National park is an area with enough ecological, geo-morphological and natural significance with rich fauna and flora, which is designed to protect and to develop wildlife or its environment.
    • National parks in India are IUCN category II protected areas.
    • Activities like grazing, hunting, forestry or cultivation etc. are strictly prohibited. No human activity is permitted inside the national park except for the ones permitted by the Chief Wildlife Warden of the state.
    • India’s first national park was established in 1936 as Hailey National Park, now known as Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand.
    • There are 104 existing national parks in India covering an area of 40501.13 km2, which is 1.23% of the geographical area of the country (National Wildlife Database, May 2019).
  • Wildlife Sanctuary:
    • Any area other than area comprised with any reserve forest or the territorial waters can be notified by the State Government to constitute as a sanctuary if such area is of adequate ecological, faunal, floral, geomorphological, natural. or zoological significance, for the purpose of protecting, propagating or developing wildlife or its environment.
    • The difference between a Sanctuary and a National Park mainly lies in the vesting of rights of people living inside. Unlike a Sanctuary, where certain rights can be allowed, in a National Park, no rights are allowed. No grazing of any livestock is permitted inside a National Park while in a Sanctuary, the Chief Wildlife Warden may regulate, control or prohibit it.
    • There are a total of 551 wildlife sanctuaries in India.
  • Conservation reserves and community reserves in India:
    • These terms denote the protected areas of India which typically act as buffer zones to or connectors and migration corridors between established national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and reserved and protected forests of India.
    • Such areas are designated as Conservation Reserves if they are uninhabited and completely owned by the Government of India but used for subsistence by communities and Community Reserves if a part of the lands is privately owned.
    • These protected area categories were first introduced in the Wildlife (Protection) Amendment Act of 2002 − the amendment to the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.
    • These categories were added because of reduced protection in and around existing or proposed protected areas due to private ownership of land, and land use.

7. Biosphere Reserves: A biosphere reserve is an area of land or water that is protected by law in order to support the conservation of ecosystems, as well as the sustainability of mankind’s impact on the environment.

  • Each reserve aims to help scientists and the environmental community figure out how to protect the world’s plant and animal species while dealing with a growing population and its resource needs.
  • To carry out the complementary activities of biodiversity conservation and sustainable use of natural resources, biosphere reserves are traditionally organized into 3 interrelated zones, known as:
    • the core area,
    • the buffer zone, and
    • a transition zone or ‘area of cooperation.
Source
  • The purpose of the formation of the biosphere reserve is to conserve in situ all forms of life, along with its support system, in its totality, so that it could serve as a referral system for monitoring and evaluating changes in natural ecosystems.
  • Presently, there are 18 notified biosphere reserves in India. Ten out of the eighteen biosphere reserves are a part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, based on the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme list.


Click here for the list of National Parks/Wild Life Sanctuaries and Biosphere Reserves

How is a biosphere reserve different from a national park/ wildlife sanctuary?

Biosphere Reserves of India protect larger areas of natural habitat (than a National Park or Wildlife Sanctuary). Biosphere Reserves may cover multiple National Parks, Sanctuaries and reserves as well.

Ex. the Nilgiri Biosphere covers: Bandipur National park, Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, Silent Valley National Park, Nagarhole National Park, Mukurthi National Park and is usually a contiguous area.

Some of the other differences are listed in the image below:

Source

8. Some other important Conservation Sites:

  • Tiger reserves – Project Tiger was launched by the Government of India in the year 1973 to save the endangered species of tiger in the country. Starting from nine (9) reserves in 1973 the number has now grown up to fifty (50) in 2016.
  • Elephant reserves
  • RAMSAR Wetland Sites [Related Reading: Everything that you need to know about Wetlands, A complete list of RAMSAR wetland sites in India can be found here]
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites (Natural, Cultural and Mixed) – Places listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization as of special cultural or physical significance.
  • Marine Protected Areas
  • Important Bird Areas

9. Role of communities: Communities have played a vital role in the conservation and protection of wildlife in India. E.g.

  • Sariska Tiger Reserve: In Sariska tiger reserve Rajasthan villagers have fought against mining by citing the wildlife protection act. In many areas, villagers themselves are protecting habitats and explicitly rejecting government involvement.
  • Bhairodev Dakav Sonchuri: The inhabitants of five villages in the Alwar district of Rajasthan have declared 1200 hectares of forests as the Bhairodev Dakav Sonchuri declaring their own set of rules and regulation which do not allow hunting, and are protecting the wildlife against any outside encroachments.
  • Bishnoi villages: In and around Bishnoi villages in Rajasthan, herds of blackbuck, Nilgai and peacocks can be seen as an integral part of the community and nobody harms them.

 


Categories
Mission Nikaalo Prelims

[Prelims Spotlight] Important Sessions of Indian National Congress

Prelims Spotlight is a part of “Nikaalo Prelims 2020” module. This open crash course for Prelims 2020 has a private telegram group where PDFs and DDS (Daily Doubt Sessions) are being held. Please click here to register.

Important Sessions of Indian National Congress


21 April 2020 

Important sessions of Congress

  • 1885- 1st, Bombay, presided by W.C. Banerjee
  • 1887- Badruddin Tyabji became 1st Muslim to preside over congress session
  • 1907- Surat, Ras Bihari Ghosh not Bose, split in Congress between moderates and extremists
  • 1916- Lucknow, Reunion on congress, Lucknow pact between Congress and Muslim league
  • 1919 – Amritsar, Motilal Nehru Jallianwala Bagh Massacre is condemned
  • 1920 – Nagpur C.Vijayraghavachair a new constitution for reorganized
  • 1924 – Belgaum Mahatma Gandhi.
  • 1927 – Madras M.A.Ansari, adoption of Independent Resolution, resolved to boycott the Simon Commission
  • 1929- Lahore, J.L. Nehru, Purna Swaraj Resolution
  • 1931- Karachi, Vallabh Bhai, Resolution on Fundamental Rights and National Economic Programme.
  • 1936 – April, Lucknow Jawaharlal Nehru, urged the Congress to adopt Socialism as its goal
  • 1938- Haripura, S.C. Bose, National Planning Committee under J.L. Nehru

Leaders of the session

  • Womesh Chandra Bonnerjee was the president of the first session of the Indian National Congress.
  • Annie Beasant was the first female President of the Indian National Congress.
  • Sarojini Naidu was the first Indian woman president of the Indian National Congress.
  • Badruddin Tyabji was the first Muslim President of the Indian National
    Congress.
  • Rahimtulla Sayani was the second Muslim President of the Indian National
    Congress.
  • George Yule was the first European President of the Indian National Congress.
  • Dadhabhai Naoroji was the first Parsi President of the Indian National Congress.
  • Sankaran Narayan was the first & the only Keralite President of the Indian National Congress Session.
  • Hakim Ajmal Khan was the only person to be appointed as the President of INC, All India Muslim League & All India Khilafat Committee.

 

 


Categories
Mission Nikaalo Prelims

[Prelims Spotlight] Species in News

Prelims Spotlight is a part of “Nikaalo Prelims 2020” module. This open crash course for Prelims 2020 has a private telegram group where PDFs and DDS (Daily Doubt Sessions) are being held. Please click here to register.

Species in News


20 April 2020 

Trimeresurus Salazar

  • Salazar’s pit viper belongs to the genus Trimeresurus Lacépède comprising “charismatic venomous serpents with morphologically as well as ecologically diverse species”.
  • Pit vipers are venomous snakes distinguished by their heat-sensing pit organs between the eye and the nostril.
  • The name was inspired by Salazar Slytherin, the co-founder of J.K. Rowlings’ fictional Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Himalayan Ibex

IUCN/WPA Status:    Least Concern / Schedule I

  • Himalayan Ibex (Capra ibex sibirica) is widely found in arid and rocky mountain of Karakoram, Hindukush and Himalayas of Gilgit-Baltistan.
  • The males are characterized by heavy body, large horns, long bears while females have small body small horns.
  • The threats that Himalayan ibex face are the illegal hunting, human disturbance, habitat loss and competition for forage with domestic livestock.

Red Panda

IUCN Red List Status: Endangered

  • The red panda (Ailurus fulgens) is a mammal native to the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China.
  • Its wild population is estimated at fewer than 10,000 mature individuals and continues to decline due to habitat loss and fragmentation, poaching, and inbreeding depression.
  • Despite its name, it is not closely related to the giant panda
  • The animal has been hunted for meat and fur, besides illegal capture for the pet trade.
  • An estimated 14,500 animals are left in the wild across Nepal, Bhutan, India, China and Myanmar.
  • About 5,000-6,000 red pandas are estimated to be present in four Indian states – Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Sikkim and West Bengal.
  • The diminishing habitat is a major threat to the species which is a very selective feeder and survives on selected species of bamboos.

About South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN)

  • SAWEN is a Regional network is comprised of eight countries in South Asia: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
  • It aims at working as a strong regional intergovernmental body for combating wildlife crime by attempting common goals and approaches for combating illegal trade in the region.
  • The South Asia region is very vulnerable to illegal traffic and wildlife crimes due to the presence of precious biodiversity and large markets as well as traffic routes for wildlife products in the south East Asian region.
  • The collaboration in harmonizing as well as enforcing the wildlife protection in the region is considered very important for effective conservation of such precious biodiversity.
  • India adopted the Statute of the SAWEN and became its formal member in 2016.

Swamp wallaby

IUCN Status: Least Concerned

  • The swamp wallaby is a small macropod marsupial of eastern Australia. It is likely the only mammal pregnant and lactating all lifelong.
  • Female wallabies and kangaroos have two uteri and two separate ovaries.
  • At the end of a pregnancy in one uterus, a new embryo develops in the other uterus.
  • Kangaroos and wallabies regularly have an embryo in the uterus, a young joey in the pouch, and a third semi-dependent young at foot, still drinking its mother’s milk.

How it is different from Kangaroo?

  • In kangaroos, the new embryo is conceived a day or two after the previous birth.
  • In the swamp wallaby (Wallabia bicolor), the new conception happens one or two days before the previous joey is delivered.

Eurasian Otters

  • IUCN Status: Near Threatened
  • Species in India: Smooth-coated, Asian small-clawed and Eurasian Otters
  • Habitat: Smooth-coated — all over India; Asian small-clawed — only in the Himalayan foothills, parts of the Eastern and southern Western Ghats; Eurasian — Western Ghats and Himalayas.
  • Diet comprises several small animals, mainly crabs and small fishes.
  • Lives in small packs, is mostly nocturnal, but can be diurnal in areas which are less disturbed.

Thanatotheristes

  • Tyrannosaurs were one of the largest meat-eating dinosaurs to have ever lived, with very large and high skulls, and the best known among them is the Tyrannosaurus rex, celebrated in the Jurassic Park series.
  • The 79-million-year-old fossil that the researchers have found is the oldest tyrannosaur known from northern North America.
  • Thanatotheristes preyed on large plant-eating dinosaurs such as the horned xenoceratops and the dome-headed colepiochephale.
  • The research suggests that tyrannosaurs did not have one general body type; rather different tyrannosaur species evolved distinct body sizes, skull forms and other such physical features.
  • The fossil specimen is important to understand the Late Cretaceous period, which is the period when tyrannosaurs roamed the Earth.

Flame-throated Bulbul

IUCN status: Least Concern

  • The Flame-throated Bulbul is endemic to southern peninsular India where it is locally distributed in southern Andhra Pradesh, eastern Karnataka, Goa, Orissa, eastern Kerala and northern Tamil Nadu.
  • It prefer habitats like rocky, scrub-covered hills mostly in the Eastern Ghats and central peninsular India but also in some places in the Western Ghats.
  • It is a Schedule – IV bird under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

Archaea

  • Archaea (singular archaeon) are a primitive group of microorganisms that thrive in extreme habitats such as hot springs, cold deserts and hypersaline lakes.
  • These slow-growing organisms are also present in the human gut, and have a potential relationship with human health.
  • They are known for producing antimicrobial molecules, and for anti-oxidant activity with applications in eco-friendly waste-water treatment.
  • Archaea are extremely difficult to culture due to challenges in providing natural conditions in a laboratory setting.
  • As archaea are relatively poorly studied, very little is known about how archaea behave in the human body.
  • The organism has potential gene clusters that helps maintain the metabolism of the archaea to survive in extreme harsh conditions.

Steppe Eagle

  • A lone endangered steppe eagle (Aquila nipalensis) has been sighted by a group of birdwatchers in a paddy field near Vijayawada.
  • The Steppe Eagle is a migratory raptor which has undergone extremely rapid population declines within all its range.
  • It breeds in Russia, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia during the winter season.
  • Steppe eagle is the second-largest migratory eagle species to India.
  • IUCN Status: It has moved from ‘Least Concern’ to ‘Endangered’

IVF of White Rhinos

  • Researchers had created another embryo — the third — of the nearly extinct northern white rhino. This is seen as a remarkable success in an ongoing global mission to keep the species from going extinct.
  • IVF is a type of assisted reproductive technology used for infertility treatment and gestational surrogacy.
  • A fertilised egg may be implanted into a surrogate’s uterus, and the resulting child is genetically unrelated to the surrogate.
  • Some countries have banned or otherwise regulate the availability of IVF treatment, giving rise to fertility tourism.
  • Restrictions on the availability of IVF include costs and age, in order for a woman to carry a healthy pregnancy to term.
  • IVF is generally not used until less invasive or expensive options have failed or been determined unlikely to work.

Types of Rhinos

  • The northern white is one of the two subspecies of the white (or square-lipped) rhinoceros, which once roamed several African countries south of the Sahara.
  • The other subspecies, the southern white is, by contrast, the most numerous subspecies of rhino, and is found primarily in South Africa.
  • There is also the black (or hook-lipped) rhinoceros in Africa, which too, is fighting for survival, and at least three of whose subspecies are already extinct.
  • The Indian rhinoceros is different from its African cousins, most prominently in that it has only one horn.
  • There is also a Javan rhino, which too, has one horn, and a Sumatran rhino which, like the African rhinos, has two horns.

Greylag goose

  • Greylag goose, a migratory specie was recently spotted in Telangana
  • This is the third recorded sighting of the large-sized bird in Telangana, which makes it ‘eligible’ to be the latest addition to the State’s exhaustive list of birds.
  • As per scientific and accepted norms, a species has to be seen three different times in three different places, or by three independent observers, before it can be accepted as an addition to a State’s list.
  • The Greylag geese are common visitors to North India in winters, and are found mostly in wetlands there feeding generally on aquatic weeds and grass.
  • IUCN Status: Least Concerned.

Chinese paddlefish

  • The Chinese paddlefish (Psephurus gladius) was an iconic species, measuring up to 7 m in length, dating back from 200 million years ago, and therefore swimming the rivers when dinosaurs ruled the Earth.
  • Its ancestral home was the Yangtze River.
  • It was once common in the Yangtze, before overfishing and habitat fragmentation — including dam building — caused its population to dwindle from the 1970s onwards.
  • Between 1981 and 2003, there were just around 210 sightings of the fish. The researchers estimate that it became functionally extinct by 1993, and extinct sometime between 2005-2010.

Senna spectabilis

  • The Senna spectabilis species was planted as avenue trees in Wayanad. The vayal ecosystem (marshy land) of the forest area now has this plant in large numbers.
  • The spread is posing a major threat to the forest areas of the reserve, owing to its quick growth and coppicing character.
  • The tree species was found in nearly 10 sq km area of the 344.44 sq km sanctuary around five years ago.
  • The plant has started to invade the adjacent Bandipur and Nagarhole tiger reserves in Karnataka and the Mudumalai tiger reserve in Tamil Nadu.
  • Now, it had invaded to more than 50 sq km of the sanctuary Wayanad WLS.
  • A recent study of the Ferns Nature Conservation Society recorded the presence of the plant in 78.91 sq km area of the sanctuary.

Locusts

  • Locusts are certain species of short-horned grasshoppers that have a swarming phase.
  • Swarming refers to a collective behaviour in which locusts aggregate together just like flocks of birds.
  • These insects are usually solitary, but under certain circumstances they become more abundant and change their behaviour and habits, becoming grouped.
  • They form bands of wingless nymphs which later become swarms of winged adults.
  • Both the bands and the swarms move around and rapidly strip fields and cause damage to crops.
  • The adults are powerful fliers; they can travel great distances, consuming most of the green vegetation wherever the swarm settles.

Bar-headed goose

  • IUCN conservation status: Least Concern.
  • The Bar-headed geese (Anser Indicus) are found in central China and Mangolia and they breed there.
  • They start migration to the Indian sub-continent during the winter and stay here till the end of the season.
  • They return to their homes by crossing the Himalayan ranges.
  • Their migration has been a fascination for birders as they cross the Himalayas on one of the most high-altitude migrations in the world.

Himalayan gold’

  • Caterpillar fungus (Ophiocordyceps Sinensis) is a fungal parasite of larvae (caterpillars) that belongs to the ghost moth.
  • It is endemic to the Tibetan Plateau, including the adjoining high Himalaya (3,200-4,500 metres above sea level).
  • It is locally known as Kira Jari (in India), Yartsagunbu (in Tibet), Yarso Gumbub (Bhutan), Dong Chong Xia Cao (China) and Yarsagumba (in Nepal).
  • In the Indian Himalayas, the species has been documented in the region from the alpine meadows of protected areas such as Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, Askot Wildlife Sanctuary, Kanchendzonga Biosphere Reserve and Dehan-Debang Biosphere Reserve.

About Gangetic Dolphins

  • The Gangetic river dolphins can only live in freshwater, are blind and catch their prey in a unique manner, using ultrasonic sound waves.
  • These dolphins prefer deep waters and, as per WWF, they are distributed across seven states in India: Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.
  • Their numbers have dwindled in the last few decades mainly because of direct killing, habitat fragmentation by dams and barrages and indiscriminate fishing.

Protection status

  • The Gangetic river dolphins were officially discovered in 1801 and are one of the oldest creatures in the world along with some species of turtles, crocodiles and sharks, a/c to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
  • They once lived in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna and Karnaphuli-Sangu river systems of Nepal, India, and Bangladesh, but are now mostly extinct from many of its early distribution ranges, as per WWF.
  • In 2009, the Gangetic dolphins were declared India’s National Aquatic animal during the first meeting of the erstwhile National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA).
  • It is placed under the “endangered” category by the IUCN.
  • Additionally, the Gangetic dolphins have been included in Schedule -I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, which means they have the highest degree of protection against hunting.
  • They are also one among the 21 species identified under the centrally sponsored scheme, “Development of Wildlife Habitat”.

Trachischium apteii

  • It was found under fallen logs inside a thickly forested area of the Tally Valley Wildlife Sanctuary near the town of Ziro in Arunachal Pradesh during a field expedition by researchers in July 2019.
  • It belongs to a group of fossorial snakes that live mostly underground, and surface mainly during or after a heavy monsoon shower.
  • Due to the burrowing habits of species of this genus, snakes belonging to the group are seldom seen and hence remain poorly studied.
  • This could have been one of the reasons that the species had eluded the researchers.

Pliosaurs

  • Over 150 million years ago, enormous reptiles swam the Jurassic oceans.
  • The largest aquatic carnivorous reptiles that have ever lived, they are often dubbed “sea monsters”.
  • Scientifically, they are placed in the suborder Pliosauroidea, whose members are called pliosaurs.
  • Interest in these giants has been revived with the recent discovery of their bones in a cornfield in the Polish village of Krzyzanowice. Remains of pliosaurs are rare in Europe.

What makes them special?

  • They measured over 10 metres in length and could weigh up to several dozen tons.
  • They had powerful, large skulls and massive jaws with large, sharp teeth.
  • Their limbs were in the form of fins.

Swietokrzyskie Mountains

  • The Swietokrzyskie Mountains are a mountain range in central Poland.
  • In the Jurassic era, the Swietokrzyskie Mountains area is believed to have been an archipelago of islands, where there were warm lagoons and shallow sea reservoirs, home to the marine reptiles discovered by the palaeontologists.
  • The locality where the remains were discovered is considered to be rich in the fossils of coastal reptiles. Researchers now hope to find more remains in the coming months.

 


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Mission Nikaalo Prelims

[Prelims Spotlight] LANDMARK JUDGMENTS OF THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

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LANDMARK JUDGMENTS OF THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA


18 April 2020 

Champakam Dorairajan State of Madras,1951

  • In this case caste-based reservations were struck down by the court, as against Article 16(2) of the Constitution.
  • With regard to the admission of students to the Engineering and Medical Colleges of the State, the Province of Madras had issued an order which, fixed number of seats for particular communities.
  • It noticed that while Cl. (1) Art. 29 protects the language, script or culture of a section of the citizens, cl. (2) guarantees the fundamental right of an individual citizen.
  • This right can not be denied to the city only on grounds of religion, race, caste, language or any of them.
  • If a citizen who seeks admission into any such educational institution has not the requisite academic qualifications and is denied admission on that ground, he certainly cannot be heard to complain of an infraction of his fundamental right under this Article.
  • This case resulted in the First Amendment of the Constitution of India.

Berubari Union case (1960)

  • This case was regarding the Parliament’s power to transfer the territory of Berubai to Pakistan. The SC examined Article 3 in detail and held that the Parliament cannot make laws under this article in order to execute the Nehru-Noon agreement.
  • Hence, the 9th Amendment Act was passed to enforce the agreement.

Golaknath State of Punjab 1967

  • The Apex court held that law made by the Parliament shall not be such that infringes and takes away the fundamental rights of the citizen which are provided by the Constitution of India.
  • Law made by a Parliament in a law under Article 13 of the Constitution.
  • Further, the constitution can be amended.
  • The judgement was overruled by 24th amendment.
  • The judgement was restored and its scope was extended in Keshavnand Bharti case.

Madhav Jiwaji Rao Scindia Union of India, 1970

  • The infamous case, Madhav Jiwaji Rao Scindia v. Union of India deals with Article 18 of the Constitution of India.
  • It abolishes all special titles.
  • The Supreme Court in this case held the 1970 Presidential order as invalid,.
  • This decision of the court led to abolishing titles and privileges of India’s erstwhile princely rulers.
  • It even abolished privy purses of India’s erstwhile princely rulers.

Kesavananda Bharati State of Kerala, 1973

  • The bench in the present case comprised of 13 judges.
  • This is the largest bench till date in the Indian judicial history.
  • The Supreme Court gave Parliament power to amend any part of Constitution of India.
  • The court further added that such amendment shall not take away the fundamental rights of the citizen which are provided by the Constitution of India.
  • Such law is a law under article 13 of the constitution.
  • This case is also referred as Fundamental rights case.

Indira Gandhi vs. Raj Narain, 1975

  • The Supreme Court held clause 4 of 39th amendment as unconstitutional and void as it was outrightly denied of the right to equality enshrined in Article 14.
  • The apex Court also added basic features of the constitution to list laid down in Keshavananda Bharti case.
  • They are stated below:
    • democracy,
    • judicial review,
    • rule of law.
  • Further, the court added jurisdiction of the Supreme Court under Article 32, which deals with writs basically also forms the basic structure of the constitution.

D.M. Jabalpur v. S. Shukla, 1976

  • The apex court in the infamous case of A.D.M. Jabalpur v. S. Shukla was a case during prevailing of emergency in the country.
  • Right to move to the court for enforcement of fundamental rights guaranteed under constitution stands suspended.
  • This even includes Article 14, 21 and 22.
  • In later amendment, it was held that Article 21 and 22 cannot be suspended during the time of emergency.

Maneka Gandhi vs. Union of India, 1978

  • The case is considered a landmark case as it gave a new and highly varied interpretation of the meaning of ‘life and personal liberty’ under Article 21 of the Constitution.
  • This law which prescribes a procedure for depriving a person of “personal liberty” has to fulfill the requirements of Articles 14 and 19 also.
  • Also, it expanded the horizons of freedom of speech and expression. The case saw a high degree of judicial activism.
  • One of the significant interpretation of this case is the discovery of inter-connections between the three Articles 14, 19 and 21.
  • It was finally held by the court that the right to travel and go outside the country is included in the right to personal liberty guaranteed under Article 21.

Minerva Mills Union of India,1980

  • The Supreme Court of India, strengthened the doctrine of the basic structure which was propounded earlier in the Keshavananda Bharti Case and held social welfare laws should not infringe fundamental rights.
  • Few changes made by the 42nd Amendment Act were declared as null and void.
  • It laid foundation of judicial review of the laws and judgements in the courts of India.
  • Judicial review is dealt in Article 13(2) of thee Constitution of India.

Shah Bano Begum case (1985)

  • Milestone case for Muslim women’s fight for rights. The SC upheld the right to alimony for a Muslim woman and said that the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 is applicable to all citizens irrespective of their religion.
  • This set off a political controversy and the government of the day overturned this judgement by passing the Muslim Women (Protection on Divorce Act), 1986, according to which alimony need be given only during the iddat period (in tune with the Muslim personal law)

Olga Tellis v. Bombay Municipal Corporation, 1985

  • This case came before the Supreme Court as a writ petition.
  • 5 judge-bench gave decision allowing petitioners who live on pavements and in slums in the city of Bombay to stay on the pavements against their order of eviction.
  • The court also held that right to livelihood is a right to life as per Article 21.
  • Though the slum resident agreed not to challenge the decision of Municipal Corporation.
  • Court held that one’s fundamental right cannot be waived

 MC Mehta v. Union of India, 1986

  • MC Mehta filed a Public Interest Litigation for escape of poisonous gases by a plant in Bhopal.
  • The court in this case extended the scope of Article 21 and 32 of the Constitution of India.
  • The case is also famous as Bhopal Gas Tragedy.
  • Finally, the court granted interim compensation of 250 crores to the victims.
  • Though High Court asked Union Carbide to pay compensation of 350 crores to the victim.

SR Bommai v. Union of India, 1993

  • The court in this case curtailed power of President under Article 356 of the constitution of India.
  • It also held that secularism is the basic structure of the Constitution.
  • It laid the existence of Ram Temple in the disputed area.
  • It held the case to larger bench for demolition of Babri Masjid.

Rajagopalv. State of Tamil Nadu, 1994

  • The court in this case, decided that the right to privacy subsisted even if a matter becomes one of public record and hence right to be let alone is part of personal liberty.
  • This comes under the perview of Article 21
  • The case is also known as auto Shankar case.
  • The judges held that the petitioners have a right to publish, what they allege to be the life story/autobiography of Auto Shankar insofar as it appears from the public records, even without his consent or authorization.
  • There is a violation of the right to freedom of expression..

 Vishaka State of Rajasthan, 1997

  • This case came before the Supreme Court as a Public Interest Litigation against State of Rajasthan and Union of
  • India by Vishakha and other women groups.
  • The petitioners demanded enforcement fundamental rights for working women under Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution.
  • For this, Vishaka Guidelines were issued.

Dimensions

  • The judgment also provided basic definitions of sexual harassment at the workplace along with provided guidelines to deal with the same.
  • Employers shall initiate appropriate action in accordance with concerned criminal law by making a complaint with the appropriate authority.
  • Disciplinary actions should be taken.
  • Threw light on compliance mechanism and workers’ initiative.

D.K. Basu v. State of West Bengal

  • In this case, the Supreme Court laid down detailed guidelines to be followed by the central and state investigating agencies.
  • It related all cases dealing with arrest and detention
  • The court held that till legal provisions are made in that behalf as preventive measures.
  • Court held that any form of torture or cruel inhuman or degrading treatment.
  • Even it occurs during interrogation, investigation or otherwise, falls within the ambit of Article 21.

Supreme Court Advocates-on Record Association v. Union of India, 1993

  • It overruled S P Gupta v. Union of India.
  • Court held primacy of Chief justice cannot be taken away in appointment and transfer of judges of Supreme Court and High Courts.
  • It recommended the constitution of collegiums of judges for the same.
  • The case is named as the Second judge transfer case.
  • It was later overruled a committee called NJAC was appointed for appointment and transfer of judges of Supreme Court and High Courts.
  • It was again overruled and NJAC was held unconstitutional in Supreme Court Advocates-on Record Association v. Union of India, 2014

Subramanian swamy vs. Unlon of India,2016

  • The Supreme Court upheld the Constitutional Validity of Sections 499 to 502[[Chapter XXIl] of Indian Penal Code relating to Criminal Defamation.
  • The Bench comprising of Justices Dipak Misra and PC. Pant held that the right to Life under Article 21 includes right to reputation.
  • The Bench has dismissed the Petitions filed by Subramanian Swamy, Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal challenging the law relating to Criminal Defamation in India.
  • Criminal Defamation law not unconstitutional.

I.R Coelho and State of Tamil Nadu 2007

  • This judgement held that if a law is included in the 9th Schedule of the Indian Constitution, it can still be examined and confronted in court. The 9th Schedule of the Indian Constitution is a list of acts and laws which cannot be challenged in a court of law.
  • The Waman Rao ruling ensured that acts and laws mentioned in the IX schedule till 24 April 1973, shall not be changed or challenged, but any attempt to amend or add more acts to that schedule, will suffer close inspection and examination by the judiciary system

Aruna Shanbaug Case (2011)

  • The SC ruled that individuals had a right to die with dignity, allowing passive Euthanasia with guidelines. The need to reform India’s laws on euthanasia was triggered by the tragic case of Aruna Shanbaug who lay in a vegetative state (blind, paralysed and deaf) for 42 years

 Lily Thomas and Union Of India (2013)

  • The SC ruled that any MLA, MLC or MP who was found guilty of a crime and given a minimum of 2 years imprisonment would cease to be a member of the House with immediate effect.

 National Legal Services Authority and Union of India (2014)

  • This case resulted in the recognition of transgender persons as a third gender. The SC also instructed the government to treat them as minorities and expand the reservations in education, jobs, education, etc.

FURTHER READING:

A.K. Gopalan Case (1950): (Interpreted key Fundamental Rights including Article 19 and 21)

  • This is a significant decision of the Supreme Court because it represented the first case where the court meaningfully examined and interpreted key fundamental rights enlisted in the constitution including article 19 and 21. The contention was whether, under the writ of habeas corpus and the provisions of the preventive detention act, there was a violation of the fundamental rights entitled in article 13, 19, 21 and 22.
  • The Supreme Court restricted the scope of fundamental rights by reading them in isolation of article 21 and 22 which provided guidelines for preventive detention. The Supreme Court iterated that the term ‘due process’ prevented the courts from engaging in substantive due process analysis in determining the reasonableness of the level of the process provided by the Legislature.

Shankari Prasad Case (1951): (Amendability of Fundamental Rights)

  • In this case, the validity of the first constitutional amendment which added Article 31-A and 31-B of the
  • Constitution was challenged. The first time, the question whether fundamental rights can be amended under Article 368 came for consideration of the Supreme Court.
  • The Supreme Court rejected the contention that in so far as the First Amendment took away or abridged the fundamental rights conferred by Part III it should not be upheld in the light of the provisions of article 13(2).

Dimensions

  • Therefore “law” in article 13 must be taken to mean rules or regulations made in the exercise of ordinary legislative power and not amendments to the Constitution made in the exercise of constituent power. Article 13 (2) did not affect amendments made under article 368.

Berubari Union case (1960): (Parliament’s power to make amendments under Article 3 and Article 368)

  • In this case, conflict arose regarding the power of the parliament to transfer the territory of Berubari to Pakistan.
  • The detailed examination of article 3 was done by the Supreme Court on a reference made by the President in 1960. The Supreme Court held that the Parliament of India is not competent to make a law under article 3 for the implementation of the Nehru-Noon Agreement.
  • This was followed by an amendment of the constitution by parliament using the power of Article 368. The result was the Constitution (9th Amendment) Act 1960.
  • The Supreme Court gave a very narrow judgement that the preamble was not an integral part of the constitution and therefore it is not enforceable in a court of law.

C. Golaknath case (1967): (Validity of the First and Seventeenth Amendments and described the scope of Article 13)

  • The validity of the First and Seventeenth Amendments to the Constitution in so far as they affect the fundamental rights was again challenged is this case. The fourth amendment was also challenged.
  • The Supreme Court adopted a doctrine of prospective overruling under which the three constitutional amendments concerned would continue to be valid. Moreover, the Supreme Court held that article 368 dealt only with the procedure for amendment and an amendment to the Constitution is made as part of the normal legislative process. It is, therefore, a “law” for the purpose of article 13 (2).
  • To get over the decision of the Supreme Court in Golaknath’s case the Constitution 24th Amendment Act was passed in 1971 in which changes to articles 13 and 368 was made.

Kesvananda Bharti case (1973): (Defined the Basic Structure of the Indian Constitution)

  • The Supreme Court reviewed the decision in Golaknath v. The state of Punjab and considered the validity of the 24th, 25th, 26th and 29th Amendments. The Court held that although no part of the constitution, including fundamental rights, was beyond the amending power of Parliament, the “basic structure of the Constitution could not be abrogated even by a constitutional amendment.
  • It is a landmark judgement of the Supreme Court of India, and is the basis in Indian law for the exercise of the Indian judicial of the power to judicially review, and strike down amendments to the Constitution of India passed by the Indian Parliament which conflict with the Constitution’s basic structure.
  • The judgment also defined the extent to which the Indian Parliament could restrict the right to property, in pursuit of land reform and the redistribution of large landholdings to cultivators, overruling previous decisions that suggested that the right to property could not be restricted.

Indira Gandhi v. Raj Narayan case (1975): (Disputes relating to elections involving the Prime Minister of India)

  • The concept of basic structure was reaffirmed in Indira Nehru Gandhi v. Raj Narayan case. The Supreme Court applied the theory of basic structure and struck down Clause(4) of article 329-A, which was inserted by the 39th Amendment in 1975 on the ground that it was beyond the amending power of the parliament as it destroyed the basic feature of the constitution.

Dimensions

  • The amendment was made to the jurisdiction of all courts, including the Supreme Court, over disputes relating to elections involving the Prime Minister of India.
  • Some basic features of the Constitution were listed in this case which is considered as unamendable such as sovereign democratic republic status, equality of status and opportunity of an individual, secularism and freedom of conscience and religion and rule of law.

Menaka Gandhi case (1978): (Significant towards the transformation of the judicial review on Article 21)          

  • This case is a landmark judgement which played the most significant role towards the transformation of the judicial view on Article 21 of the Constitution of India so as to imply many more fundamental rights from article 21. A writ petition was filed by Maneka Gandhi under Article 32 of the Constitution in the Supreme Court.
  • The main issues of this case were whether the right to go abroad is a part of the right to personal liberty under Article 21 and whether the Passport Act prescribes a ‘procedure’ as required by Article 21 before depriving a person of the right guaranteed under the said article.
  • A new doctrine of a post-decision theory was evolved and the most significant interpretation was made on the interconnections between the three articles 14, 19 and 21.
  • It was finally held by the court that the right to travel and go outside the country is included in the right to personal liberty guaranteed under Article 21. The Court ruled that the mere existence of an enabling law was not enough to restrain personal liberty. Such a law must also be “just, fair and reasonable”.

Minerva mills case (1980): (Basic Structure which includes Parliament’s power to amend and the power of Judicial Review)

  • In this case, the validity of the 42nd amendment act was challenged on the ground that they are violative of the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution. The Supreme Court struck down clauses (4) and (5) of the article 368 and it was ruled by the court that a limited amending power itself is a basic feature of the Constitution.
  • The court held that the amendment made to Article 31C is invalid on the ground that they violate two basic features of the Constitution that are the limited nature of the parliament of the power to amend and the power of judicial review.
  • The Judgement of the Supreme Court thus makes it clear that the Constitution is the Supreme, not the Parliament. Parliament cannot have unlimited amending power so as to damage or destroy the Constitution to which it owes its existence and also derives its power from.

Waman Rao Case (1981): (Validity of 9th Schedule and demarcarting the date of 24th april 1973)

  • Supreme Court in Waman Rao case once again reiterated and applied the doctrine of the basic features of the Constitution. In this case, the implications of the basic structure doctrine for Article31-B were re-examined.
  • The Court drew a line of demarcation on April 24th, 1973 (the date of Kesavananda Bharti’s decision) and held it should not be applied retrospectively to reopen the validity of any amendment to the Constitution, which took place prior to 24-04-1973. It meant all the amendments which added to the Ninth Schedule before that date were valid.
  • All future amendments were held to be challengeable on the grounds that the Acts and Regulations, which they inserted in the Ninth Schedule, damaged the basic structure. The decision of this case is a landmark one in the constitutional jurisprudence of India. This case has helped in determining a satisfactory method of preserving the settled position and to address grievances pertaining to the violation of fundamental rights.

R. Bommai case (1994): (Misuse of Article 356 of the Constitution of India)

  • R. Bommai case was a landmark judgment of the Supreme Court of India, where the Court discussed provisions of Article 356 of the Constitution of India and related issues. This case had a huge impact on CentreState Relations. The judgement attempted to curb blatant misuse of Article 356 of the Constitution of India, which allowed President’s rule to be imposed on state governments.
  • Bommai v. The Union of India raised a serious question of law relating to the Proclamation of President’s Rule and dissolution of Legislative assemblies according to Article 356 of the Constitution of India. This verdict stopped the misuse of Article 356 (imposition of the president rule).