Bills/Act/LawsDOMRExplainedGovt. SchemesHistorical Sites in NewsIOCRMains Onlyop-ed of the dayop-ed snapPIBPlaces in newsPrelims OnlyPriority 1SC JudgementsSpecies in NewsStates in News
November 2018

Minority Issues – SC, ST, Dalits, OBC, Reservations, etc.

[op-ed snap] No respite from poverty for Muslims


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre & States & the performance of these schemes

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), labour force participation rate (LFPR), worker population ratio (WPR)

Mains level: Need of Muslim empowerment in terms of education and employment


Muslims still face poverty

  1. The National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) labour force survey reports that the economic condition of Muslims does not show any signs of improvement despite India being the fastest-growing large economy
  2. An analysis of the data on economic and educational indicators for various religious groups reveals that Muslims are facing a vicious circle of poverty

Education level amongst Muslims

  1. The NSSO’s 68th round (2011-12) provides estimates of education levels and job market indicators across major religious communities in India
  2. The educational attainment of Muslims is the least among all these communities
  3. In urban areas, the number of male Muslim postgraduates is as low as 15 per 1,000
  4. This number is about four times lower than that of other communities, including Hindus, Christians and Sikhs
  5. The situation is similar for Muslim women
  6. The number of male graduates among Muslims is 71 per 1,000, less than even half the number of graduates (per 1,000) in other communities
  7. Poor achievement at higher levels of education is partly a reflection of similarly low levels of school education or of illiteracy

Reasons for low education rate

  1. The lowest attendance rates and educational attainment amongst Muslims, especially in higher education, can be explained by their income level and higher costs for post-secondary education
  2. According to the NSSO survey, the average per capita consumption expenditure (used as an indicator of income) among Muslims is just ₹32.66 per day, which is the least among all religious groups
  3. As per the 71st NSSO survey on education (2014), the average course fee for college degrees in technical courses in government and private unaided institutions was ₹25,783 and ₹64,442, respectively
  4. That is too high for Muslims to afford, given their per capita income
  5. Although children up to age 14 have a right to free and compulsory education, the average course fee per student for upper primary education is still ₹508 for the academic session
  6. The higher burden of the cost of education among Muslims, relative to their incomes, could be one of the factors responsible for their lowest attendance rates

What does a low level of education lead to?

  1. The high level of illiteracy among Muslims and the low levels of general education ensure that they are trapped in a vicious circle of poverty
  2. The lack of higher education is adversely affecting their job indicators
  3. The dynamics of labour markets are largely a function of the degrees of knowledge and skills
  4. For example, the labour force participation rate (LFPR), defined as the number of persons either employed or seeking jobs, is significantly linked to the desire for work, which in turn is dependent upon educational attainment
  5. Similarly, the quality of employment is strongly linked to levels of education and skills

Data shows that Muslims have fewer jobs

  1. The signs of Indian Muslims being caught in a vicious circle of poverty are visible in terms of their low consumption expenditure and poor job market indicators, including LFPR, employment status, and worker population ratio
  2. The NSSO data show that LFPR among Muslims is 342 and 337 (per 1,000) in urban and rural areas, respectively, the least among all the religious communities
  3. This implies that only 342 persons per 1,000 persons of working age among Muslims in urban areas are employed or available for work
  4. Given that Muslims live predominantly in urban areas (unlike other poorer communities like SCs/STs), where work outside the home could be available, this low LFPR is likely explained by their low levels of education
  5. Likewise, the worker population ratio (WPR), defined as the number of persons employed per 1,000 persons, is lowest among Muslims, both in rural and urban areas

Steps that can be taken

  1. The Central and State governments could take concerted steps to help Indian Muslims escape this vicious circle of poverty
  2. One way to improve their situation is to provide a special incentive and subsidy system for higher education
  3. That will ensure that schoolgoing students continue to higher levels of schooling and higher education
  4. Similarly, students who don’t wish to continue in general academic education must have access to vocational education from Class 9 onwards

Industrial Sector Updates – Industrial Policy, Ease of Doing Business, etc.

[op-ed snap] Going beyond the credit requirements of MSMEs


Mains Paper 3: Economy | Changes in industrial policy & their effects on industrial growth

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Mint Street Memo, RBI

Mains level: Role of MSME sector in India’s manufacturing sector and interventions required for their growth


Various sops for MSMEs

  1. There was a big announcement of support to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) by PM Modi last week
  2. Apart from improving ease of doing business, the most important announcements were regarding access and cost of credit
  3. MSMEs can now get in-principle approval for loans of up to ₹1 crore in 59 minutes
  4. Additionally, goods and services tax (GST)-registered MSMEs will get an interest subvention on fresh or incremental loans
  5. Interest rate rebates have also been announced for exporters

Need for special intervention for MSMEs

  1. Any improvement in the sector’s operating environment will help the Indian economy
  2. The share of MSMEs in the country’s gross value added is estimated to be about 32%
  3. It also contributes about 40% to total exports and 45% to manufacturing output
  4. Availability of credit from formal sources has been a problem for the sector
  5. MSME credit is also one of the reasons behind the ongoing rift between the government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)

Liquidity crunch and its effect

  1. The share of credit to MSMEs has declined as a proportion of overall bank credit in recent years
  2. A Mint Street Memo, published by the RBI in August, mapped the flow of credit to the sector
  3. While about 90% of credit from formal sources comes from banks, loans extended by NBFCs to MSMEs have increased in recent years
  4. But since NBFCs are now facing a liquidity crunch, it is likely that the flow of credit would have been affected
  5. Credit flow was affected in the aftermath of demonetization, though it subsequently recovered from February 2017

MSME sector is mostly informal

  1. India has a large number of tiny firms that work in the informal sector and do not scale up
  2. More than 90% of MSMEs operate in the informal sector
  3. These firms largely depend on informal sources of credit at higher interest rates
  4. It is difficult for these firms to get loans from banks because they do not maintain proper documents and records
  5. At a broader level, since most firms are very small, besides non-availability of formal finance, they are also not in a position to adopt technology to improve productivity
  6. Further, most firms in the informal sector are unlikely to attract skilled labour
  7. The sixth economic census showed that enterprises on an average employed only 2.24 people
  8. All this has not only affected growth and output, particularly in the manufacturing sector, but also employment generation

Associated hazards of liberal lending

  1. While incentivizing credit flow will help improve activity in the sector, government intervention and directed lending can affect proper credit appraisal
  2. This could not only result in higher NPAs, but also affect the flow of credit in the future
  3. Public sector banks already have significant NPAs in the MSME sector and a push by the government can increase the risk
  4. The Credit Guarantee Scheme for MSME (CGTMSE) run by SIDBI is a growing contingent liability and needs to be examined with urgency

Way forward

  1. What is needed is a simplification of processes so that more firms can access formal finance
  2. Banks should improve their credit appraisal capability to work with firms that are perhaps dealing with a financial institution for the first time
  3. The government should work to improve the overall regulatory architecture that would incentivize smaller firms to scale up

History- Important places, persons in news

[op-ed snap] The forgotten million: on Indian soldiers in World War I


Mains Paper 1: History | All syllabus

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Quit India Movement

Mains level: World war 1, 2 & India’s contribution in it


Role of Indian soldiers in WW-I

  1. One hundred years after the end of World War I, the immense sacrifice and contributions of well over a million soldiers of undivided India are being incrementally recognised and memorialised the world over
  2. In France, the centenary celebrations of Armistice Day on November 11 will include the unveiling of the second overseas national war memorial for Indian soldiers
  3. The first such memorial abroad, formalised in 2002, is the Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium, which is a recognition that more than 130,000 Indian soldiers fought in WWI in Belgium, at least 10,000 of whom lost their lives on the battlefield
  4. Last month, British Prime Minister Theresa May pledged to wear a khadi poppy in honour of more than 74,000 soldiers from pre-Partition India who fought on the side of the allies and died in battle

Not received proper respect from the British

  1. In the early days of the War, troops of the Indian Army, backed by the political bourgeoisie, were enthusiastic in responding to the British government’s call for military support from India
  2. This was because, although the swadeshi movement was underway, the freedom movement was in a fledgeling stage
  3. Even Mahatma Gandhi was open to Indians enlisting and learning to defend themselves using arms, as were leaders such as Bal Gangadhar Tilak
  4. Despite this, the Indian troops were given inhumane treatment, including floggings, denial of home leave, and brazenly racial-discriminatory treatment

Influence of World Wars on India’s freedom movement and future

  1. The pressure for the enlistment of Indians in the World War II effort produced an entirely different outcome — the Quit India movement and the escalation of the freedom movement
  2. WWI also influenced the collective psyche of the government of independent India, starting with the tenets of non-alignment that came to embody a core mantra of the country’s foreign policy ethos

Way forward

  1. While India remains wary of ‘treaty alliances’ and steers clear of combat involvement in third-party conflicts, it is the third-largest contributor of military and police personnel to UN peacekeeping missions
  2. Though the conditions faced by Indian peacekeepers must be difficult, they must be thankful that their country would never put them in the sort of situation that their predecessors faced from 1914 to 1918

Food Processing Industry: Issues and Developments

[pib] Ministry of Food Processing Industries issues guidelines for OPERATION GREENS


Mains Paper 3: Agriculture | Food processing & related industries in India- scope & significance, location, upstream & downstream requirements, supply chain management

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Operation Greens

Mains level: Need for revolutionary measures in the supply and processing of agricultural produce

Guidelines for Operation Greens

  1. Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) has approved the operationalisation strategy for Operation Greens
  2. Operation Greens was announced in the Budget speech of 2018-19 with an outlay of Rs 500 crores to stabilize the supply of Tomato, Onion and Potato(TOP) crops and to ensure availability of TOP crops throughout the country round the year without price volatility

The strategy

The strategy will comprise of a series of measures which include:

(I)        Short-term Price Stabilisation Measures

NAFED will be the Nodal Agency to implement price stabilisation measures. MoFPI will provide 50% of the subsidy on the following two components:

  1. Transportation of Tomato Onion Potato(TOP) Crops from production to storage;
  2. Hiring of appropriate storage facilities for TOP Crops;

(II)       Long-Term Integrated value chain development projects

  1. Capacity Building of FPOs & their consortium
  2. Quality production
  3. Post-harvest processing facilities
  4. Agri-Logistics
  5. Marketing / Consumption Points
  6. Creation and Management of e-platform for demand and supply management of TOP Crops.

Objectives of Operation Greens

  1. Enhancing value realisation of TOP farmers by targeted interventions to strengthen TOP production clusters and their FPOs, and linking/connecting them with the market.
  2.  Price stabilisation for producers and consumers by proper production planning in the TOP clusters and introduction of dual-use varieties.
  3.  Reduction in post-harvest losses by the creation of farm gate infrastructure, development of suitable agro-logistics, the creation of appropriate storage capacity linking consumption centres.
  4.  Increase in food processing capacities and value addition in the TOP value chain with firm linkages with production clusters.
  5.  Setting up of a market intelligence network to collect and collate real-time data on demand and supply and price of TOP crops

AYUSH – Indian Medicine System

[pib] Ayurveda Day celebrated throughout the Country on 5th November


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

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Ayurveda Day, A-HMIS

Mains level: Need of promoting AYUSH system of medicines

Ayurveda day 

  1. Ministry of AYUSH observes Ayurveda Day every year on Dhanawantari Jayanti (Dhanteras)
  2. This year Ayurveda Day was observed on 5th November 2018
  3. On this occasion, Ministry also organised a “National Seminar on Entrepreneurship and Business Development in Ayurveda” in association with NITI Aayog
  4. The seminar is expected to develop awareness among stakeholders about the business opportunities, encouraging young entrepreneurs to use of modern technologies and modern innovations in business development in the sector and to highlight opportunities at a global level

AYUSH-Health Management Information System (A-HMIS)

  1. It is a dedicated software application for Electronic Health Record (EHR) for the AYUSH systems of Healthcare
  2. A-HIMS was launched across 15 AYUSH units in different parts of the country in the first phase on 5th November 2018
  3. It is expected to revolutionise the way Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy are practised in the country, by inducting modern IT-solutions into these systems

Foreign Policy Watch: India-Nepal

First India-Nepal passenger train on broad gauge to make first run in December

Related image


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

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Nepal’s recent proximity to China and India’s efforts at winning back Nepal’s trust

Increasing connectivity with Nepal

  1. The first passenger train to run on broad gauge between India and Nepal is likely to run from December this year
  2. The train will run from Jayanagar in Bihar to Kurtha in Dhanusa district in Janakpur Zone of south-eastern Nepal, which is a 34 km stretch
  3. The Jayanagar-Kurtha rail line was originally built during the British Raj to transport logs from forests at Mahottari to India
  4. No visa will be required for Indian and Nepalese nationals crossing the border through this stretch

Why such move?

  1. The move is being seen as part of efforts to counter China’s plans to forge rail links with Nepal
  2. After Beijing decided to extend its railway network up to Kathmandu, New Delhi proposed the construction of new railway links during Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli’s recent visit to India

About the project

  1. Nepal and India have plans for four cross-border railway links, including one to link Raxaul to Kathmandu
  2. The Rs 5.5-billion (Nepalese Rs 8.8 billion) project is divided into three phases
  3. Of the total length, only three kilometres is in Indian territory

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

Global Drug Survey set to cover Indians


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

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Global Drug Survey

Mains level: Lack of awareness related to drugs in India and interventions required to reduce drug abuse

Understanding India’s health issues

  1. The 2018 edition of the Global Drug Survey, the largest poll of its kind in the world surveyed recreational drug use among 1,30,000 people spanning 44 countries
  2. The GDS for 2019 will survey, for the first time, consumption trends in alcohol, cannabis and opiates in India

About GDS

  1. The GDS uses an encrypted, online platform to conduct annual anonymous surveys
  2. No IP addresses are collected and the survey is independent of governments
  3. A key objective of the survey is to understand how advances in technology are influencing drug use and the complexities this pose in determining the levels of harmful dosage and how those who sought to reduce drug-related harm responded
  4. The GDS 2019 will probe social issues, including how the police treat people who use drugs, and the complex problem of sexual assault, consent and drug use

Lack of research in India

  1. Few studies have looked at the use of alcohol and illicit drugs and consequences faced by drug users in India
  2. A 2004 survey by the Union Ministry of Social Justice on the extent and pattern and trends of drug abuse left out women

Nuclear Diplomacy and Disarmament

India’s nuclear triad is complete with INS Arihant ending its first deterrence patrol

Image result for nuclear triad of india


Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Achievements of Indians in science & technology

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: INS Arihant, Nuclear Triad, ATV project

Mains level: Boost to India’s security establishment with nuclear triad becoming operational

India announces complete nuclear deterrence

  1. India has declared that its nuclear triad, stated in its nuclear doctrine, is operational
  2. This was after indigenous ballistic missile nuclear submarine INS Arihant achieved a milestone by conducting its first deterrence patrol
  3. It essentially means that Arihant is now prowling the deep seas carrying ballistic missiles equipped with nuclear warheads
  4. The second submarine in the series, Arighat is now undergoing sea trials after which it will be inducted into service

Development of INS Arihant

  1. INS Arihant, a strategic asset, was developed for over two decades under the Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) programme
  2. INS Arihant is India’s first indigenously-designed, developed and manufactured nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine, and three more such submarines are reportedly under various stages of construction
  3. INS Arihant development project was officially acknowledged in 1998 and the submarine was launched in 2009
  4. The nuclear reactor of the submarine went critical in 2013 and it was commissioned three years later

Reliability of INS Arihant

  1. It comes directly under the Nuclear Command Authority headed by the Prime Minister
  2. Given India’s stated position of ‘No-First-Use’ (NFU) in launching nuclear weapons, the SSBN is the most dependable platform for a second-strike
  3. Because they are powered by nuclear reactors, these submarines can stay underwater indefinitely without the adversary detecting it. The other two platforms — land-based and air-launched are far easier to detect
  4. This places India in the league of the few countries that can design, construct and operate SSBN

About NFU policy

  1. In 1998, India conducted nuclear tests under Pokhran-II and in 2003, it declared its nuclear doctrine based on credible minimum deterrence and an NFU policy while reserving the right of massive retaliation if struck with nuclear weapons first

Civil Aviation Sector – CA Policy 2016, UDAN, Open Skies, etc.

Centre eyes seaplanes in UDAN 3

Related image


Mains Paper 3: Economy | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: UDAN scheme

Mains level: Need and importance of better air connectivity in India

UDAN Phase 3

  1. Opening the third round of the regional connectivity scheme (RCS), the Ministry of Civil Aviation has invited proposals for air routes that include tourist destinations
  2. Seaplanes may soon be operating commercial passenger flights in India with the Centre inviting bids for connecting selected destinations under the RCS
  3. Few destinations that the government proposes to connect through seaplanes are the recently unveiled Statue of Unity at Sardar Sarovar Dam, Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad, Tehri Dam in Uttarakhand and Nagarjuna Sagar in Telangana

Offerings in phase 3

  1. In the latest phase, the Centre is reoffering 34 airports that weren’t successfully connected
  2. Some destinations have been put on the block again as helicopter operations failed to take off
  3. The Centre has also offered 23 tourist destinations including Bodh Gaya, Agra, Kanha, Varanasi, Hampi, Mysore and Kullu
  4. The previous two rounds saw a total of 428 routes awarded to 17 airlines and helicopter operators