June 2018
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FII flows to Indian markets may slow as Fed hikes rates


Mains Paper 3: Economy | Effects of liberalization on the economy

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: FIIs (foreign institutional investors), Difference between FDI & FII

Mains level: Impact of policies of various financial sector regulators across the world on India


Impact of fed rate hikes

  1. Foreign investors, who have pulled out nearly $240 million from Indian stocks since the beginning of the year, may continue selling after interest rate increase in the US
  2. FIIs (foreign institutional investors) have been net sellers in this year
  3. The quarter percentage point increase is the second hike this year and the seventh since it started increasing lending rates in 2015
  4. The US Federal Reserve’s rate-setting panel also signaled two more rate hikes this year

Why funds revert?

  1. Higher interest rates tempt large foreign funds to move their money to the US
  2. Rising interest rates suggest a pickup in consumption and demand. It is a sign that US economy is getting stronger
  3. The currency may also depreciate further if US Fed goes ahead and hike rates further
  4. A few investors who have invested in the Indian markets over the last 3-5 years or even more might have chosen to book profit at this juncture, anticipating higher volatility in the Indian markets the closer it is to general elections
FDI in Indian economy

The Vaishnav monks of Assam’s Majuli island

Viashnav monks put on their costumes for a village performance on the Majuli island of Assam. Photos: Sankar Sridhar


Mains Paper 1: Arts & Culture | All syllabus

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Srimanta Sankardev, Sattriya Nritya, Majuli island, Sangeet Natak Akademi

Mains level: Various art forms prevailing in India and threats posed by them


History of Vaishnavism in Assam

  1. Vaishnava saint Srimanta Sankardev came to Majuli island in the 15th century
  2. He along with his disciples, set up 65 sattras—which is said to translate to “unique monasteries”
  3. Sankardev developed an equally unique way of worship through dance and drama, called the Sattriya Nritya
  4. The neo-Vaishnavite movement, held together by Sankardev, saw a division into four sub-sects after his passing

About Sattriya Nritya

  1. It is a dazzling retelling of the Ramayan and Mahabharat—complete with comedy, action, suspense and make-up to match
  2. Until the 20th century, it was the preserve of male monks but has since brought women into the fold
  3. In the year 2000, the Sangeet Natak Akademi recognized this dance form as classical

Majuli Island

  1. It is the world’s biggest river island in the Brahmaputra River, Assam
  2. In 2016 it became the first island to be made a district in India
  3. The island is formed by the Brahmaputra river in the south and the Kherkutia Xuti, an anabranch of the Brahmaputra, joined by the Subansiri River in the north
  4. Hidden chars (temporary islands formed by sedimentary deposits) and sandbars are features of this island
Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Zero tillage good for cotton cultivation


Mains Paper 3: Agriculture| Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level:  Zero Tillage

Mains level: Benefits of Zero tillage


Tillage is Labour intensive

  1. Most farmers do not own bullocks and can’t afford to hire a tractor for tilling to grow cotton
  2. It involves deployment of extra labourers for sowing in place of a bullock drawn plough.
  3. This will be slightly costly but it gets compensated as seed germination percentage is quite high and the crop stays healthy.

Zero Tillage

  1. Farmers in Telangana have dozen-year experience in sowing cotton in the zero tillage method and suggest that it is best suited for the cash crop and yields good results.
  2. Zero tillage involves sowing of seeds along the markers on the string which is held by two male labourers on either end of the land.
  3. The seeds sown in this fashion do not encounter the crust in the soil the way it happens in the tilling method.
  4. Also, the seeds encounter least resistance to take roots unlike the hardened crust.


  1. While sowing seeds in furrows made by a plough requires administration of fertilisers at that stage, there is no need for Diammonium Phosphate to be administered to the seeds which are directly sown through zero tillage.
  2. The germination and health of the plant is as good as those seeds which had a fertiliser booster.
  3. The soil retains moisture which is quite beneficial for cotton plant growth.
  4. It retains organic matter and improves soil biological fertility.

Why is Telangana’s Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project important?


Mains Paper 3: Agriculture | Different types of irrigation and irrigation systems

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project, Rivers involved in it.

Mains level:  Read the attached story


What’s the project?

  1. The Kaleshwaram project is an off-shoot of the original Pranahitha-Chevella Lift Irrigation Scheme taken up by the government in 2007 when Andhra Pradesh was not divided.
  2. After conducting a highly advanced Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) survey for a couple of months, the government separated the original component serving the Adilabad area as the Pranahitha project.
  3. The project is designed to irrigate 7,38,851 hectares (over 18.47 lakh acres) uplands in the erstwhile districts of Karimnagar, Nizamabad, Warangal, Medak, Nalgonda and Ranga Reddy.

Why is it Unique?

  1. Claimed to be the costliest irrigation project to be taken up by any State till date with an estimated cost of ₹80,500 crore.
  2. KLIP has many unique features, including the longest tunnel to carry water in Asia, running up to 81 km, between the Yellampally barrage and the Mallannasagar reservoir.
  3. The project would also utilize the highest capacity pumps, up to 139 MW, in the country to lift water.
Irrigation In India – PMKSY, AIBP, Watershed Management, Neeranchan, etc.

Blue revolution a bane of Kolleru


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

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Geographical Features of Kolleru Lake and its Biodiversity

Mains level: Shrinking size of Kolleru Lake and various other wetlands is a matter of concern


Pisciculture at Kolleru Lake is a bane

  1. The blue revolution converted the lake into a centre mainly for pisciculture.
  2. Operation Kolleru was launched to clear the lake of unauthorised fish tanks.
  3. But this would reduce the protected area of the lake from +5 to +3 contours (that is by 538 sq.km) and AP govt even had a resolution to that effect passed in the Assembly and forwarded it to the Centre.
  4. The huge yields with relatively low expenditure made it the primary destination for aquaculture making it the target of the worst kind of encroachment.

Defining the boundary

  1. The lake’s boundary varies depending on the seasonal inflows like in all inland wetlands.
  2. Towards the end of the monsoon, it used to extend right up to +10 feet contour with a water-spread area of 901 sq. km.
  3. According to the Ramsar records the lake, till contour +10 ft, is protected as per the international convention.

Issue over Boundary

  1. In the summer, the area covered by water reduces to 135 sq.km (Con.+3 ft).
  2. The present government’s decision to “denotify” 20,000 acres from the wildlife sanctuary as per the recommendations of the Sukumar Committee will lead to further encroachment of the shrinking lake and make it more vulnerable.

Centre’s stance over the issue

  1. In response to the State resolutions, the Centre appointed two expert committees — the UPA appointed the A. Azeez Committee and the NDA government the Sukumar Committee — to advise them about reducing the size.
  2. While the Azeez committee said there was very little benefit in reducing the size and recommended alternate land be provided to holders of private land.
  3. The Sukumar committee suggested that the private land be removed from the sanctuary.
  4. The present government’s decision to “denotify” 20,000 acres from the wildlife sanctuary as per the recommendations of the Sukumar Committee will lead to further encroachment of the shrinking lake and make it more vulnerable.


Kolleru Lake

  1. Kolleru Lake is a freshwater lake and is known as Ramsar site no. 1209.
  2. It is located between Krishna and Godavari deltas of Andhra Pradesh
  3. As a haven for a wide variety of water birds, the Forest Department has declared 673 sq.km (Con.+5) as the Kolleru Wildlife Sanctuary.
  4. It is an Important Bird Area on the Central Asian Flyway.
  5. It is important habitat for resident and migratory birds, including the grey or spot-billed pelican (Pelecanus philippensis). Many birds migrate here in winter, such as the Siberian crane, ibis, and painted storks.
Wetland Conservation

[pib] India to host European Union Film Festival


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: EUFF

Mains level: Not Much


  1. Putting a spotlight on the latest European cinema, the European Union Film Festival (EUFF) will premiere in New Delhi on 18th June, 2018 at the Siri Fort Auditorium.
  2. 24 latest European movies from 23 European countries are to be screened.
  3. Slovakian Movie Little Harbour to be the opening film for the festival
  4. The festival will traverse through 11 cities in India including New Delhi, Chennai, Port Blair, Pune, Puducherry, Kolkata, Jaipur, Visakhapatnam, Thrissur, Hyderabad and Goa from 18th June till 31st
  5. Celebrating diversity, the EUFF will screen movies from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden.
  6. The European Union Film Festival, organized by the Directorate of Film Festivals, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, and European Union will be hosted at the Sirifort Auditorium Complex.


European Union

  1. The EU consists of 28 countries, has the world’s largest economy and its third largest population, after China and India.
  2. The Maastricht Treaty established the European Union in 1993 and introduced European citizenship.
  3. They have set up common institutions so that decisions on matters of joint interest can be made democratically at European level.
  4. By creating a frontier-free single market and a single currency (the euro) which has been adopted by 19 Member States, the EU has given a significant boost to trade and employment.
  5. UK was the last member to leave EU after Greece , popularly known as Brexit.
Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

[op-ed snap] The changing nature of violence


Mains Paper 3: Security | Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level:  Not much

Mains level: The editorial highlights commonness amongst all mass agitations and protests and suggests security agencies understand their evolving nature. This will help them modify their tactics for effective handling of such situations.


Public Outrage vs. Police

  1. Events in Thoothukudi have helped turn the spotlight on the changing nature of violence, and the inadequacy of existing rules and procedures to deal with various new-era protests ranging from Stone Pelting , Dalit Angst to Farmers Agitation.
  2. This should be instructive, for new-era protests are redefining the internal security landscape.
  3. At present no one, the courts of judicature included, seems to understand the shifting taxonomy of violence.

What causes such Violence?

  1. In instances of this kind, it is vital to try to determine the actual trigger that led to the violence.
  2. For instance, in the December 2012 Delhi gang-rape case, it was the ‘unsynchronised eruption of simmering anger’ which seemed to have been the tipping point.
  3. A mere reference to the failure of intelligence, the usual charges against the administration, or to excessive use of force by the police is inadequate to explain the turn of events of such violence.

Absence of Leaders OR Provocateurs

  1. The widest gap separating the official version from that of the public is about the presence/absence of ‘agent provocateurs’ among the protesters.
  2. Agitations also tend more and more to be ‘leaderless’.
  3. It is no secret that many of today’s large-scale protests across the country are prompted by militant elements from outside, who are pre-programmed to create chaos through Social Media.
  4. Prolonged agitation multiplies its intensity. This is a phenomenon seen in other protest movements elsewhere as well.

Age of repressed anger

  1. This is the age of ‘high voltage’ revolt, basically an expression of repressed anger.
  2. Much of this arises from an “embedded wisdom” that the system is being “manipulated” in favour of the rich, the powerful, and the big multinationals.
  3. With several hundreds of workers now thrown out of work following the closure of the Sterlite factory, the danger is that they could become new nodes for instigating fresh rounds of violence.

Radicalization by LWE

  1. In Thoothukudi, the revolt was against Sterlite and its so-called disdain for the environment and the suffering of the locals.
  2. Far away in Bhangar, West Bengal, just a few miles away from Kolkata, for months villagers have been up in arms against a power grid project for which land had been acquired many years ago.
  3. The conditions may be different, but the opposition remains equally intense.
  4. In most instances, we see organisations genuinely interested in the welfare of the locals initially launching the agitations, which gradually tend to be taken over by extreme right-wing and left-wing organisations.
  5. The result remains the same: widespread disruption.

Initial nature of protests creates an Illusion

  1. It is possible that the initial peaceful nature of the protests lulled the authorities into believing that matters were well under control.
  2. What they failed to understand was the metastasising nature of the protests and signs of the growing revolt of an ‘underclass’ against the so-called ‘elite’.
  3. The police also do not seem to have taken into consideration the kind of impetus provided to agitational methodologies by the ‘digital wave’.
  4. This qualitative difference has not filtered down enough to effect changes in administrative policies and police methodologies.

Police effectiveness in Question

  1. Advice from old-timers in the police on how to manage today’s crowds, including the erection of barricades and promulgation of Section 144, have little relevance in the circumstances prevailing today.
  2. Police effectiveness is also hampered on account of several other reasons, including that they are often outnumbered by mobilised crowds, driven by indignation and rage, predisposed towards creating disorder.
  3. The police on their part need to realise that existing laws and procedures notwithstanding, merely putting faith and focus on strength is not likely to succeed.
  4. It ignores the asymmetrical measures available to today’s mobs, and the limits that these impose on tactics and policies of a bygone era.

The Way Forward

  1. Whenever situations of this kind arise, there are a spate of reports regarding revamping intelligence and introduction of new methods to overcome the lacunae in intelligence collection.
  2. These are equally unlikely to succeed, unless the police strengthen their ‘contextual’ intelligence to deal with today’s situations.
  3. This involves anticipating the meaning of ‘street power’ – enhanced by information technology and the presence of flash mobs.
  4. New ‘smart tactics’ have to be developed. Simply blaming the police is no answer to the growing volumes of protests everywhere.
Internal Security Trends and Incidents