February 2019

Government Budgets

[op-ed snap] Socio-economic issues focus area of Budget 2019op-ed snapPriority 1


Mains Paper 2: Economic Development| Government Budgeting.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Basic knowledge of Budget 2019.

Mains level: The news-card analyses the major focus areas of Budget 2019, in a brief manner.


  • Budget 2019 seems to be a budget for the masses as the government has announced several relief measures for farmers, informal workers and other marginalized communities.

Farmers’ and informal workers’ benefit programmes

  • To relieve farmer distress the budget unveiled the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, an assured income support programme, for 120 million small and marginalized farmers with an outlay of ₹75,000 crore per year.
  • This is a good move, however, with an annual relief of only ₹6,000 per year, it may not make any meaningful impact.
  • The extension of 2% interest subvention to animal husbandry and fisheries farmers, using Kisan Credit Card for loan, will be beneficial.
  • Similarly, the extension of 2% interest subvention for the full loan term to farmers seeking loan rescheduling on account of natural calamities, will ease pressure faced by them.
  • In case of timely repayment, they will get an additional 3% incentive for the entire period of reschedulement of loans.

Unorganized sector

  • The Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maandhan pension scheme for unorganized sector workers with an income of up to ₹15,000 is a welcome move, as it will offer them a monthly pension of ₹3,000 with a nominal per month payout.
  • This is a good initiative, as it will bring 100 million such workers and labourers under a social security net, and will also be the first step towards generating formal data on the kind of jobs being created in this sector.

Social schemes

  • The allocation for the welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes has been substantially increased, which will help in improving the condition of these marginalized communities.
  • The allocation of ₹60,000 crore for Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act for the economically weaker sections of society will also bring some relief.


  • In the area of education, the budget allocation for the National Education Mission has gone up.
  • The government has announced approximately 200,000 extra seats in educational institutions to ensure availability for various reserved classes.
  • This should help in creating equitable educational opportunities.
  • Similarly, the additional allocation for the Integrated Child Development Scheme will provide better preschool education and primary healthcare, as well as improve nutrition in young children and their mothers.

Focus on women

  • The allocation of ₹1,330 crore for the Mission for Protection and Empowerment for Women is timely and will help in creating a safe and secure environment for women.
  • It is encouraging to note that over 70% of the beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana are women, who are engaged in creating their own businesses.
  • Under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, 60 million liquefied petroleum gas connections have been provided to rural women, thus improving their quality of life.


  • The allocation of ₹19,000 crore for the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana will improve rural connectivity.
  • While the government claims that India is the fastest highway developer in the world with 27km of highways built each day, road infrastructure in urban cities needs immediate attention.
  • The use of inland waterways for freight movement is a good beginning and, with adequate allocation, it could provide an effective alternative to the surface transport system in the country.

Digital India push

  • This area have certainly seen some progress.
  • The government’s plans to create 100,000 digital villages over the next five years will give impetus to the Digital India programme.
  • The announcement of a national programme on artificial intelligence, which is based on NITI Aayog’s research work over the past one year, is a welcome move.
  • Such an initiative will go a long way in addressing the skills gap in this area.


  • However, the biggest disappointment has been the absence of any meaningful incentive given to the healthcare sector to enable the government’s agenda of making healthcare affordable and accessible.
  • The government should have looked at goods and services tax exemption on cancer and diabetes drugs, which would have benefited millions of patients.


  • Therefore, though socio-economic issues has been the major focus area of Budget 2019, the absence of any incentive for healthcare sector has been a major disappointment.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Afghanistan

[op-ed snap] Afghanistan at a crossroadsop-ed snap


Mains Paper 2: International relations| India and its neighborhood- relations.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Basic knowledge of the Afghanistan peace process.

Mains level: The news-card analyses the issues and challenges in carrying out the Afghanistan peace process, in a brief manner.


  • Afghanistan is seeing growing national, regional and global attempts to seek a peaceful settlement to the conflict.


  • The U.S. is desperate to extricate itself from the war, heightened by an unpredictable President and an ambitious negotiator, Zalmay Khalilzad.
  • This is matched by growing fears in Afghanistan that the Taliban will seek to overthrow the government, as it did in 1994, and that the government, the political class and the democratic constituency will be betrayed by a hasty deal between U.S. and Pakistan.
  • This may produce a peace agreement, but such an agreement may not bring inclusive and sustainable peace.

Areas of concern

  • Addressing the main drivers of the conflict are the principal tenets of any sustainable peace settlement.
  • The causes of the Afghan conflict are religious, ethnic and external in nature
  • The conflict has been fought over the identity, legitimacy and sovereignty of the Afghan state and society: Should it be a Pashtun-dominated entity or a pluralistic state?
  • Is an Islamist/theocratic emirate a true identity of the nation or a constitutional republic?
  • Should it be a puppet state of Pakistan or a sovereign and independent state?
  • Should it be a representative or plutocratic state?

Numerous peace-making efforts in past

  • There have been numerous peace-making efforts and agreements since the beginning of the conflict in 1979.
  • The leftist Najibullah Ahmadzai, the Mujahideen-led government of Burhanuddin Rabbani, and the Western-installed governments of Hamid Karzai and Ashraf Ghani all pursued political settlements based on the principles of power-sharing and democratic governance but failed.

Taliban for a pure Islamic government

  • Since its formation in 1994, the Taliban has remained consistent in its ambition of total victory and establishing “a pure Islamic government”.
  • The Taliban is not primarily a nationalistic insurgency fighting a foreign occupation, but an ideological movement determined to re-establish a political order that is in alignment with Pakistan’s geo-strategic ambitions.
  • The presence of international troops is an obstacle to the Taliban’s goal.

Key questions in Afghanistan

  • The key questions are:

(a) whether the Taliban’s goal of establishing a “pure Islamic government” is compatible with the principles of pluralism, power-sharing and election-based politics;

(b) whether Pakistan will accept a sovereign, independent Afghanistan;

(c) whether the potential peace settlement is to be built upon the fragile achievements in the fields of state-building, democratisation, pluralism and connectivity; and

(d) whether there will be an effective guarantee and mechanism for ensuring the sustainability of any peace agreement.

The role of the U.S.

  • In March 1979, the U.S. began covertly supporting the Mujahideen via and with Pakistan through ‘Operation Cyclone’; it has remained a party to the conflict ever since.
  • However, the U.S.’s Afghan policy has been driven by instinct rather than deliberation.
  • Its current peace efforts are mainly driven by Washington’s selfish instincts and ever-changing moods rather than the realities on the ground, particularly the role of the Afghan government and people.
  • U.S. President Donald Trump follows his predecessors in changing the goalposts from conditions-based engagement to cater to the U.S.’s domestic impulses and/or emerging geopolitical attractions.

Current realities

  • Neither the current military environment nor the political structure is conducive for a sustained peace process.
  • Unlike the Afghan and the coalition forces, the Taliban is not militarily and politically exhausted and/or desperate.
  • The leadership of the Taliban and their Pakistani enablers have more stamina, resources and reasons to be hopeful of total victory.
  • Their confidence has been reinforced by the Trump administration’s ‘all bark no bite’ approach in dealing with Pakistan.
  • The Afghan presidential election, in which 17 candidates from different political backgrounds have registered to compete, is scheduled to take place in July.


  • The speedy talk between the U.S. and the Taliban has created a parallel process in competition with the planned presidential election.
  • Many in Kabul rightly fear that the U.S. may sacrifice Afghanistan’s nascent democracy and sovereignty to attain its objectives.
  • Any agreement between the Taliban and the U.S. at the expense of the two principal stakeholders — the Afghan government and the people — is doomed to fail.
  • The Afghanistan of 2019 is fundamentally different from the Afghanistan of the 1990s.
  • Despite many shortcomings, the state of Afghanistan enjoys significant capacity and legitimacy and is endowed with a formidable and growing national security force.
  • On the other hand, both Pakistan and the Taliban remain despised and distrusted by an overwhelming majority.
  • In 2018, the Asia Foundation’s annual Afghanistan survey and the nationwide survey conducted by the Afghan Institute for Strategic Studies found that over 90% of the population do not support the Taliban’s cause.

Afghanistan: the school of jihad

  • In the words of the Taliban, Afghanistan is “the school of jihad” for jihadists around the world.
  • Therefore, any arrangement with the Taliban would have direct implications for other violent Islamist groups.
  • Separating the Taliban from wider global Islamist movements is the product of Western political duplicity and intellectual naivety.

Way Forward

  • A trilateral agreement involving Pakistan, the U.S., and the Taliban’s Quetta Shura will not be acceptable to other stakeholders in Afghanistan and the region.
  • Inclusivity, realism, sustainability and Afghan ownership should drive the efforts for the peace settlement.
  • For this to succeed, India should join other like-minded and concerned stakeholders to ensure that Afghanistan moves forward rather than be forced to return to the dark age of the 1990s.


  • The people of Afghanistan want a peaceful, pluralistic and prosperous country.
  • The Taliban can have a role and a place in building and living in such a polity, similar to other Afghan citizens or political groups.
  • A peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan, a peaceful and developed region, and the defeat of the ideology of violent Islamist groups are all interlinked.
  • But the people of Afghanistan should not be forced to choose between an imposed peace or independence and a constitutional order.
  • An imposed peace will achieve brief victory for one party, but cause long-term suffering and will eventually break down.
Judicial Reforms

[op-ed snap] Legitimacy of the basic structureop-ed snap


Mains Paper 2: Constitution| Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Basic knowledge of the basic structure doctrine.

Mains level: The news-card analyses the legitimacy of the basic structure doctrine vis-à-vis the Indian Constitution, in a brief manner.


  • It has now been more than 45 years since the Supreme Court ruled in Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala that Parliament’s power to amend the Constitution was not unlimited, that the Constitution’s basic structure was infrangible.
  • However, there have been grumblings over the rule’s legitimacy in certain quarters in response to challenges made to the recently introduced 103rd Constitutional Amendment, which provides for reservations based on economic criteria in government jobs and education.

Prevailing criticism

  • The common criticism is that the doctrine has no basis in the Constitution’s language.
  • It is argued that the phrase “basic structure”, finds no mention anywhere in the Constitution.
  • Its detractors also believe the doctrine accords the judiciary a power to impose its philosophy over a democratically formed government, resulting in a “tyranny of the unelected”.

Basic structure doctrine is legally legitimate

  • Some of this censure is a result of the Supreme Court’s interpretation of what the Constitution’s basic structure might be.
  • But the doctrine cannot be rejected altogether only because the judiciary sometimes botches its use.
  • For not only is the basic structure legally legitimate, in that it is deeply rooted in the Constitution’s text and history, but it also possesses substantial moral value, in that it strengthens democracy by limiting the power of a majoritarian government to undermine the Constitution’s central ideals.


  • Ever since the Constitution was first amended in 1951, the true extent of Parliament’s power to amend the document has been acutely contested.
  • In 1960s, the Parliament had introduced the contentious 17th Constitutional Amendment.
  • Through this, among other things, a number of land reform legislations had been placed into the Constitution’s Ninth Schedule.
  • This meant that those laws, even when discriminatory, were immunised from challenge.
  • However, according to experts, Parliament was a creature of the Constitution and therefore it could not make changes that had the effect of overthrowing or obliterating the Constitution itself.

Questions to ponder

  • According to some experts, India hadn’t yet been confronted with any extreme constitutional amendment.
  • But jurists ought to be mindful of the potential consequences inherent in granting Parliament boundless power to change the Constitution.
  • How might we react, if the legislature were to amend Article 1, for example, by dividing India into two.
  • Could a constitutional amendment abolish Article 21 removing the guarantee of a right to life?
  • Or could Parliament use its power to abolish the Constitution and reintroduce the rule of a Moghul emperor or of the Crown of England?

Interpreting ‘amendment’

  • In Kesavananda Bharati, it was this formulation that shaped Justice H.R. Khanna’s opinion.
  • According to him, any amending body organized within the statutory scheme, howsoever verbally unlimited its power, cannot by its very structure change the fundamental pillars supporting its Constitutional authority.
  • Yet, the limitation wasn’t as much implicit from a reading of the Constitution as a whole as it was evident from the very meaning of the word “amendment”.
  • According to him, what could emerge out of an amendment was only an altered form of the existing Constitution and not an altogether new and radical Constitution.

This interpretation has shown some depth for at least two reasons

(a) it represents a careful reading of the text of Article 368, and

(b) it delivers an attractive understanding of the moral principles that anchor the Constitution.

  • Article 368 grants Parliament the power to amend the Constitution, making it clear that on the exercise of that power “the Constitution shall stand amended”.
  • Therefore, if what has to remain after an amendment is “the Constitution”, naturally a change made under Article 368 cannot create a new constitution.
  • Such a construal is also supported by the literal meaning of the word “amendment”, which is defined as “a minor change or addition designed to improve a text”.
  • Hence, for an amendment to be valid, the constitution that remains standing after such a change must be the Constitution of India.
  • It must continue to possess, in its essence, those features that were foundational to it even at its conception.


  • Therefore, on any reasonable analysis it ought to be clear that the basic structure doctrine is not only grounded in the Constitution’s text and history, but that it also performs an important democratic role in ensuring that majoritarian governments do not destroy the Constitution’s essential character.
  • Constitutions are not like ordinary laws. Interpreting one is always likely to be an exercise fraught with controversy.
  • But such is the nature of our political design that the court, as an independent body, is tasked with the role of acting as the Constitution’s final interpreter.
  • The basic structure doctrine might be derived from the abstract but it does not mean it doesn’t exist within the Constitution.
AYUSH – Indian Medicine System

Nilavembu KudineerPriority 1


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: Nilavembu Kudineer

Mains level: Need of promoting AYUSH system of medicines


  • The Tamil Nadu government has distributed nilavembu kudineer (a Siddha medicine) concoction to treat people infected with dengue during the outbreak.

Nilavembu kudineer: Healing Dengue and chikungunya

  1. Under in vitro conditions, nilavembu kudineer (a Siddha medicine) was found to provide protection against chikungunya virus while it was effective as a treatment during acute phase of dengue infection.
  2. Dengue subtype-2, which is the most prevalent subtype in India, was used for testing the formulation.
  3. There was significant antiviral activity of the formulation at 3% of human dose onwards.
  4. Currently, there is no treatment for dengue and chikungunya.
  5. The mode of action is antiviral in the case of dengue while immuno-modulatory in chikungunya infection.

About Sidhha Medicines

  1. Siddha medicine is a system of traditional medicine originating in ancient Tamilakam (Tamil Nadu) in South India and Sri Lanka.
  2. Traditionally, it is taught that the siddhars laid the foundation for this system of medication.
  3. Siddhars were spiritual adepts who possessed the ashta siddhis, or the eight supernatural powers.
  4. Agastyar is considered the first siddha and the guru of all siddhars; the siddha system is believed to have been handed over to him by Shiva.
  5. Siddha is focused on “Ashtamahasiddhi,” the eight supernatural power. Those who attained or achieved these powers are known as Siddhars.
  6. There were 18 important Siddhars in olden days and they developed this system of medicine.
  7. The Siddhars wrote their knowledge in palm leaf manuscripts, fragments of which were found in parts of South India.
History- Important places, persons in news

Stupa-hopping in SarnathPrelims OnlyPriority 1


Mains Paper 1: Arts & Culture | All syllabus

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level:  Sarnath Stupa and associated stories

Mains level:  Significance of Buddhism


Dhamek Stupa, Sarnath

  1. Dhamek Stupa is a massive stupa located at Sarnath, 13 km away from Varanasi in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India.
  2. It was built in 500 CE to replace an earlier structure commissioned by Ashoka in 249 BCE, along with several other monuments, to commemorate the Buddha’s activities in this location.
  3. While visiting Sarnath in 640 CE, Xuanzang recorded that the colony had over 1,500 priests and the main stupa was nearly 300 feet (91 m) high.
  4. In its current shape, the stupa is a solid cylinder of bricks and stone reaching a height of 43.6 meters and having a diameter of 28 meters.
  5. The basement seems to have survived from Ashoka’s structure: the stone facing is chiseled and displays delicate floral carvings of Gupta origin.
  6. The wall is covered with exquisitely carved figures of humans and birds, as well as inscriptions in the Brāhmī script.

Importance of Sarnath

  1. The Dhamek Stupa is said to mark the spot Rishipattana, where Buddha gave the first sermon to his first five Brahmin disciples after attaining enlightenment, “revealing his Eightfold Path leading to nirvana”.
  2. In several of the ancient sources the site of the first sermon is mentioned to have been at a ″Mriga-dayaa-vanam″ or a sanctuary for animals.

Stories associated with Sarnath

  1. From Bodh Gaya, Buddha went to the Deer Park (Mrigadava) in Sarnath, where the five monks who had been with him during his ascetic phase were staying.
  2. It was there that he gave his first sermon, an event known as the Dharma Chakra Pravarttana, or turning of the wheel of law.
  3. In ancient times, this place was known by many names — Rishipatana, Mrigadava and Mrigadaya.
  4. The word Sarnath comes from a corruption of the name Saranganatha (lord of deer).

The first Sermon

  1. In his first sermon to the five companions, Buddha spoke of the Four Noble Truths and the eightfold path that frees people from suffering.
  2. He said that there are two ways of life: one is to indulge in all the pleasures of the world and the other is to deny oneself these pleasures.
  3. The middle path is the way to achieve nirvana, he said.

Foundation of Sangha

  1. It is in Sarnath that Buddha laid the foundation of his sangha, or organisation of monks.
  2. He had 60 disciples whom he sent to different parts of the country to spread his teachings.
  3. He also established an order of female monks, which was joined by his wife.

Excavation in Colonial Period

  1. The beautiful stupas and monasteries in Sarnath were excavated under Sir Alexander Cunningham.
  2. He excavated the Dhamekh, Dharmarajika, and Chaukhandi stupas along with a monastery and temple between 1834 and 36.
  3. Many excavations followed these, the most famous among them being the 1904-05 excavation by Friedrich Oscar Oertel of the Ashoka Pillar, including the Lion Capital.

National Emblem of India

  1. On top of the Ashokan pillar in Sarnath was the the Lion Capital and the Dharmachakra, but the Lion Capital is now housed in Sarnath museum, while the pillar remains where it was originally.
  2. The Lion Capital was adopted as the national emblem of India in 1950.

Survived several invasions

  1. After Ashoka, the other rulers who added to Sarnath’s glory were the Kushans, the Guptas and Harshavardhana.
  2. Under the Guptas, the Dharmekh stupa was encased with stone-carved floral designs.
  3. Sarnath suffered from the Huna invasions, but Harshavardhana later restored some of the earlier buildings.
  4. Sarnath also suffered when it was attacked by Mahmud of Ghazni. Mahipala, the Pala king, restored the monuments.

Cultural Significance

  1. Architect James Fergusson remarks that the sculptured band on the central part of the Dhamek stupa, which has geometric patterns of great intricacy similar to the mosques in Delhi and Ajmer.
  2. The calligraphy on the screen of Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque, built by Qutbuddin Aibak in the Qutub complex in Delhi, does bear resemblance to the stupa.
Pharma Sector – Drug Pricing, NPPA, FDC, Generics, etc.

At first, Kerala sets up drug price monitorPriority 1


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: PMRU and its mandate

Mains level:  Need for an effective Pharma price monitoring agency


  • Kerala has become the first State to set up a price monitoring and research unit (PMRU) to track violation of prices of essential drugs and medical devices under the Drugs Price Control Order (DPCO).
  • The move comes more than five years after the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) proposed such a system for the States and the Union Territories.

Price Monitoring and Research Unit (PMRU)

  1. A society had been registered to get Central assistance for the functioning of the unit.
  2. The State Health Secretary would be the Chairman of the society and the Drugs Controller would be its member secretary.
  3. Its members include a State government representative, representatives of private pharmaceutical companies, and those from consumer rights protection fora.
  4. The society would also have an executive committee headed by the Drugs Controller.

Terms of reference

The new watchdog will offer technical help to the State Drug Controllers and the NPPA to:

  • Monitor notified prices of medicines
  • Detect violation of the provisions of the DPCO
  • Look at price compliance
  • Collect test samples of medicines, and
  • Collect and compile market-based data of scheduled as well as non-scheduled formulations.

Why such move?

  1. Pharma companies have been accused of overcharging prices of drugs in the scheduled category fixed by the DPCO and those outside its ambit too.
  2. The suggestion to set up PMRUs was made against the backdrop of the lack of a field-level link between the NPPA and the State Drugs Controllers and State Drug Inspectors to monitor drug prices.
  3. The unit is expected to help the State Drugs Control wing, which is hit by severe staff shortage, and regulate drug prices more effectively.
  4. There is also a plan to collect data on the prices of surgical devices and stents in the market.

Expected Outcomes

  1. The NPPA had fixed the prices of around 1,000 drugs and the unit would track if buyers were being overcharged.
  2. It would also check if pharma companies were hiking the prices of non-scheduled drugs by more than 10% a year.
  3. It will check if there is any shortage of essential medicines.

UNSC adopts resolution to extend sanctions against Central African RegionIOCR


Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: UNSC

Mains level: Issues related to the UNSC, its membership, VETO power etc.


  • The United Nations Security Council has adopted a resolution to extend sanctions against the Central African Republic (CAR) for another year.

Resolution 2454

  1. Resolution 2454, adopted unanimously by the 15-member council, decides to renew the sanctions regime – an arms embargo, travel ban and asset freeze till January 31, 2020.
  2. The French-drafted resolution says the council intends to establish benchmarks by April 30 on security sector reform, the demobilization and reintegration of combatants, and the management of weapons and ammunition.
  3. It asks the panel of experts monitoring the arms embargo and sanctions against individuals, which were also extended, to assess progress on the benchmarks by July 31.
  4. It further says that the council will review the arms embargo measures by Sept. 30.
  5. The panel of experts said in its latest report that it granted several exemptions to allow shipments of weapons from France, Russia, China, the United States and Belgium for CAR’s army.

Why such move?

  1. Central African Republic has been wracked by interreligious and intercommunal fighting since 2013, and violence has intensified and spread in the past year.
  2. Repeated cycles of violence in one of the world’s poorest nations “have pushed people’s resistance to breaking point.
  3. A majority of Central African Republic’s 2.9 million people “urgently need humanitarian support.
  4. Russia and the European Union have sent military advisers to train CAR’s poorly equipped army.


United Nations Security Council

  1. The UNSC is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security.
  2. Its powers include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of international sanctions, and the authorization of military action through Security Council resolutions.
  3. It is the only UN body with the authority to issue binding resolutions to member states.
  4. The Security Council consists of fifteen members. Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, and the United States—serve as the body’s five permanent members.
  5. These permanent members can veto any substantive Security Council resolution, including those on the admission of new member states or candidates for Secretary-General.
  6. The Security Council also has 10 non-permanent members, elected on a regional basis to serve two-year terms. The body’s presidency rotates monthly among its members.
J&K – The issues around the state

[pib] Ladakh now connected to National GridPIB


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

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: About the transmission line

Mains level: Electrification in the remotest areas


  • The PM has dedicated the 220 kV Srinagar- Alusteng – Drass- Kargil – Leh Transmission System to the Nation.

Srinagar- Alusteng – Drass- Kargil – Leh Transmission Line

  1. Built at a height of around 3000-4000 meters, this approx. 335 km long transmission line has been constructed by POWERGRID.
  2. In this project has Gas Insulated Sub-stations built at Drass, Kargil, Khaltsi and Leh will help to ensure 24×7 quality power in all weather conditions.
  3. Funding provisions have been in the ratio of 95:05 (95% Govt. of India share and 5% J&K state share).

Benefits to the region

  1. The implementation of this project was aimed to supply power to the people of Ladakh in harsh winters and evacuation of surplus power of Kargil & Leh Hydel stations of NHPC in summers.
  2. This will not only help evacuate power in summers, but will also supply power to the region in winters when temperatures dip and hydro electricity generation do not match up.
  3. With quality electricity available at reasonable rates, hospitality industry in Ladakh will get a boost, as their reliance on diesel sets will reduce.
  4. This will also attract tourists looking for affordable stay in all weathers.

[pib] 20th Bharat Rang MahotsavPIBPrelims Only


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Bharat Rang Mahotsav

Mains level: Not Much


Bharat Rang Mahotsav

  1. The 20th edition of Bharat Rang Mahotsav (BRM), the international theatre festival of India, one of the prominent training institutions in the world was recently held.
  2. It is organized by National School of Drama (NSD).
  3. The 20th BRM comes with 111 national and international acts in its basket that includes folk and other traditional theatre forms, invitee plays, and productions by the students of the National School of Drama.
  4. BRM has evolved to international scope, hosting theatre groups from around the world, and is now the largest theatre festival of Asia.
  5. The National School of Drama (NSD) is an autonomous institution under the Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India.