Bills/Act/LawsDOMRExplainedGovt. SchemesHistorical Sites in NewsIOCRMains Onlyop-ed of the dayop-ed snapPIBPlaces in newsPrelims OnlyPriority 1SC JudgementsSpecies in NewsStates in News
September 2020

Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

Rethinking the defence doctrine


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 3-Rethinking the defence doctrine

Indian Army’s prevailing doctrine

  • The Army’s prevailing doctrine is designed to deter and defend against major conventional invasions.
  • This determines how the Army is organised, what equipment it operates, and where it is deployed.
  • The Army expects to win wars by launching its own punitive offensives after an enemy attack, to either destroy enemy forces or seize enemy land.
  • The Army expected that any Chinese bid to capture Indian territory would come as a major conventional invasion.

Miscalculation about Chinese intentions

  • Chinese army crossed the LAC in several places nearly simultaneously, and in larger numbers than usual.
  • Still, the Indian Army probably expected the stand-off would repeat the pattern of years past: China would make its point with a temporary transgression and retreat after talks.
  • But China has no interest in launching a major conventional invasion, but this is not just a typical probe either.
  • China’s quick land grab looks increasingly permanent, like an attempt to change the border without triggering war.

How to address such security threat

  • Addressing this type of security threat requires preventing, not reversing, such fait accompli land grabs.
  • This requires a fundamental shift in the Army’s doctrinal thinking.
  • This fundamental shift involves strategies revolving around punishing the adversary, to strategies that prevent its adventurism in the first place.

Way forward

  • Surveillance: Doctrinal change involves a greater investment in persistent wide-area surveillance to detect and track adversary moves, devolved command authority to respond to enemy aggression.
  • Rehearsed procedures: It would also involve rehearsed procedures for an immediate local response without higher commanders’ approval.
  • Detection: The military must be able to detect adversary action and react quickly, even pre-emptively, to stop attempted aggression from becoming a fait accompli.
  • Delegation of power: In peacetime, local commanders must have the authority and to take anticipatory action.
  • The late-August incident at Chushul demonstrates how this can and should work.


The challenge for India is to learn the right lessons and be alert to similar tactics in other regions, like the Indian Ocean. It must not rely on doctrines forged in wars half a century ago.

Agricultural Sector and Marketing Reforms – eNAM, Model APMC Act, Eco Survey Reco, etc.

Redefining a farmer


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 3- Defining a farmer

The article analyses the issues of multiple definitions of a farmer. The issues of ownership as a criterion for being a farmer and its impact on tenant farmers in discussed.

Is land ownership right criterion

  • Traditionally, land ownership is a mandatory criterion for availing benefits under various agricultural schemes in India.
  • Laws governing land leasing operate at different levels across India.
  • The Model Agricultural Land Leasing Act, 2016 was introduced to formalise land leasing.
  • However, except a few States, a majority of State governments have not extended the scope of the Act to farmers.
  • According to the 2015-16 agricultural census, about 2.65 million operational holdings are either partially or wholly leased.

How this impact tenants

  • The impact of agrarian distress is felt disproportionately by tenant farmers.
  • The tenant farmer incurs the costs and faces the risks, while the owner receives the rent, subsidies and other support.
  • The lessees do not benefit from loan waivers, moratorium and institutional credit, and are forced to be at the mercy of moneylenders.
  • The distress is reflected in the fact that tenant farmers account for a majority of farmer suicides reported in the NCRB data.

Multiple definitions of farmers

  • There are multiple definitions for a ‘farmer’ in official data published by the Government of India.
  • The population census defines ‘cultivators’ as a person engaged in cultivation of land either ‘owned’ or held in kind or share.
  • The 59th round of the Situation Assessment Survey (SAS) of farmers also stresses on ‘possession of land’ either owned or leased or otherwise possessed for defining ‘farmers’.
  • Delinking of land as the defining criterion for a ‘farmer’ was done in the 70th round of SAS carried out by the NSSO.
  • The 70th Round of NSSO refined the definition of a farmer as one who earns a major part of the income from farming. 


Access to land as a policy instrument in bringing about equitable growth of rural economies needs no further emphasis. However, until the time ‘land to the tiller’ remains just wishful thinking, adopting a broader definition of a ‘farmer’ is a short-term solution to ensure inclusive and sustainable growth.

Seeds, Pesticides and Mechanization – HYV, Indian Seed Congress, etc.

Analysing the impact of Bt cotton


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 3- Bt cotton

After almost 20 years of adoption of Bt cotton in India, its time to review the claimed benefits of the Bt.

Hybrid cotton seeds and issues

  • Until the 20th century the indigenous ‘desi’ variety, Gossypium arboreum was used.
  • From the 1990s, hybrid varieties of G. hirsutum were promoted.
  • These hybrids cannot resist a variety of local pests and require more fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Cotton suffers from plenty of infestation from moth pests such as the Pink Bollworm (PBW) and sap-sucking (Hemipteran) pests such as aphids and mealy bugs.
  • With increasing pressure to buy hybrid seeds, the indigenous varieties have lost out over the years.

Resistant pests and introduction of Bt cotton

  • The increasing use of synthetic man-made pesticides to control pests and the rising acreage under the American long-duration cotton led to the emergence of resistant pests.
  • Resistant Pink and even American Bollworm (ABW), a minor pest in the past, began increasing, leading to a growing use of a variety of pesticides.
  • Rising debts and reducing yields, coupled with increasing insect resistance, worsened the plight of cotton farmers.
  • It was in this setting that Bt cotton was introduced in India in 2002.

What is Bt cotton

  • The plant containing the pesticide gene from the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), has been grown in India for about twenty years.
  • This pesticide, now produced in each Bt plant cell, ought to protect the plant from bollworm, thereby increasing yields and reducing insecticide spraying on the cotton plant.

Review of the utility of Bt cotton

  • Review  was published in the scientific journal Nature Plants, analysing the entire picture of the use of Bt cotton in India.
  • Earlier studies had attributed to Bt the tripling of cotton yield between 2002-2014 in India.
  • However, one detail that raises concerns over such a conclusion was that yield differences between farmers who were the early adopters of Bt cotton and those who were not suffered from selection bias.
  • Controlling for such bias showed (in 2012) that the contribution of Bt cotton to yield increase was only about 4% each year.
  • Since yields vary annually by over 10%, the benefits claimed were dubious.
  • There are discrepancies between yield and the deployment of Bt cotton.
  • For instance, the Bt acreage was only 3.4% of the total cotton area in 2003, not sufficient to credit it for the 61% increase in yield in 2003-2004.
  • The rise in cotton yields can be explained by improvements in irrigation, for instance in Gujarat, and a dramatic growth across the country in the use of fertilizers.
  • The PBW developed a resistance by 2009 in India. In a few years, the situation was dreadful.
  • A technology that works in the lab may fail in fields since real-world success hinges on multiple factors.

Way forward

  • The cost of ignoring ‘desi’ varieties for decades has been high for India.
  • Research suggests that with pure-line cotton varieties, high density planting, and short season plants, cotton yields in India can be good and stand a better chance at withstanding the vagaries of climate change.
  •  But government backing for resources, infrastructure and seeds is essential.


It is time to pay attention to science and acknowledge that Bt cotton has failed in India, and not enter into further misadventures with other Bt crops such as brinjal or herbicide resistance.

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

Explained: Maratha quota — the agitation, the politics


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Indra Sawhney Judgment

Mains level : Quota debate

The Supreme Court has referred to a Constitution Bench the question of whether states can exceed the 50% limit on quotas that were set by a nine-judge Bench in the landmark Indra Sawhney vs Union of India (1992) case.

Practice question for mains:

Q.The quota policy for OBCs needs an urgent revisit. Comment.

Marathas and their ‘backwardness’

  • The Marathas are a politically dominant community who make up 32% of Maharashtra’s population.
  • They have historically been identified as a ‘warrior’ caste with large landholdings. Eleven of the state’s 19 chief ministers so far have been Marathas.
  • While the division of land and agrarian problems over the years have led to a decline of prosperity among middle- and lower-middle-class Marathas, the community still plays an important role in the rural economy.
  • The discontent in the community was a spillover into protests and unrest until the quota was announced.
  • The second phase of the protest saw a spate of suicides. The backward Marathwada region was the worst affected by the protests.

What was the case?

  • A Bench of the SC heard a batch of petitions challenging reservations for Marathas in education and jobs in Maharashtra.
  • The petitions appealed a 2019 Bombay High Court decision that upheld the constitutional validity of the Maratha quota under the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act, 2018.
  • The Bench also heard a petition challenging admission to postgraduate medical and dental courses under the quota in the state.

Earlier Bombay HC ruling

  • The Bombay HC ruled last year that the 16% quota granted by the state was not “justifiable”, and reduced it to 12% in education and 13% in government jobs, as recommended by the Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission (MSBCC).
  • The Bench ruled that the limit of the reservation should not exceed 50%.
  • However, in exceptional circumstances and extraordinary situations, this limit can be crossed subject to availability of quantifiable and contemporaneous data reflecting backwardness, the inadequacy of representation and without affecting the efficiency in administration.
  • The court relied heavily on the findings of the 11-member MSBCC, which submitted in November 2018 that the Maratha community is socially, economically and educationally backwards.

Existing reservation

  • Following the 2001 State Reservation Act, the total reservation in Maharashtra was 52%: SCs (13%), STs (7%), OBCs (19%), Special Backward Class (2%), Vimukta Jati (3%), Nomadic Tribe B (2.5%), Nomadic Tribe C (3.5%) and Nomadic Tribe D (2%).
  • The quotas for Nomadic Tribes and Special Backward Classes have been carved out of the total OBC quota.
  • With the addition of 12-13% Maratha quota, the total reservation in the state went up to 64-65%.
  • The 10% quota for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) announced by the Centre last year is also effective in the state.

History- Important places, persons in news

Centenary of Aligarh Muslim University


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : AMU, Sir Saiyad Ahmad Khan

Mains level : Not Much

In its centenary year, Aligarh Muslim University is planning to bury a time capsule, containing its history and achievements for posterity.

Try this PYQ:

Q.Consider the following:

  1. Calcutta Unitarian Committee
  2. Tabernacle of New Dispensation
  3. Indian Reforms Association

Keshab Chandra Sen is associated with the establishment of which of the above?

(a) 1 and 3 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Aligarh Muslim University

  • AMU is a public central university in Aligarh, India, which was originally established by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan as the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College in 1875.
  • Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College became Aligarh Muslim University in 1920, following the Aligarh Muslim University Act.
  • It has three off-campus centres in Malappuram (Kerala), AMU Murshidabad centre (West Bengal), and Kishanganj Centre (Bihar).

Its establishment

  • The university was established as the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental (MAO) College in 1875 by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, starting functioning on 24 May 1875.
  • The movement associated with Syed Ahmad Khan and the college came to be known as the Aligarh Movement, which pushed to realize the need for establishing a modern education system for the Indian Muslim populace.
  • He considered competence in English and Western sciences necessary skills for maintaining Muslims’ political influence.
  • Khan’s vision for the college was based on his visit to Oxford University and Cambridge University, and he wanted to establish an education system similar to the British model.

About Syed Ahmad Khan

  • He was an Islamic pragmatist, reformer, and philosopher of nineteenth-century British India.
  • Born into a family with strong debts to the Mughal court, Ahmed studied the Quran and Sciences within the court.
  • He was awarded an honorary LLD from the University of Edinburgh in 1889.
  • In 1838, Syed Ahmed entered the service of East India Company and went on to become a judge at a Small Causes Court in 1867, retiring from 1876.
  • During the Indian Rebellion of 1857, he remained loyal to the British Raj and was noted for his actions in saving European lives.
  • In 1878, he was nominated to the Viceroy’s Legislative Council.
  • He supported the efforts of Indian political leaders Surendranath Banerjee and Dadabhai Naoroji to obtain representation for Indians in the government and civil services.

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

[pib] ARISE-ANIC Initiative


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : ARISE-ANIC initiaitive

Mains level : Reviving MSME Sector of India thr

Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog, has launched Aatmanirbhar Bharat ARISE-Atal New India Challenges, to spur applied research and innovation in Indian MSMEs and startups.

The name ARISE typically sounds some social sector or HRD related initiative. This is where one has to be cautious.

ARISE ANIC Initiative

  • The program is a national initiative to promote research & innovation and increase the competitiveness of Indian startups and MSMEs.
  • Its objective is to proactively collaborate with esteemed Ministries and the associated industries to catalyse research, innovation and facilitate innovative solutions to sectoral problems.
  • It also aims to provide a steady stream of innovative products & solutions where the Central Government Ministries / Departments will become the potential first buyers.
  • It is in line with the PM’s mandate of “Make in India”, “Startup India”, and “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” to fast track the growth of the Indian MSME sector.

Its implementation

  • The programme will be driven by ISRO, four ministries—Ministry of Defence; Ministry of Food Processing Industries; Ministry of Health and Family Welfare; and Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
  • It will support deserving applied research-based innovations by providing funding support of up to Rs 50 lakh for speedy development of the proposed technology solution and/or product.

Banking Sector Reforms

EASE Banking Reforms Index


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : EASE Banking Reforms Index

Mains level : Banking sector reforms

Union Minister of Finance & Corporate Affairs has felicitated best performing banks on EASE Banking Reforms Index.

Note the various themes under which the index works.

EASE Banking Reforms Index

  • EASE stands for ‘Enhanced Access and Service Excellence’. The index is prepared by the Indian Banking Association (IBA) and Boston Consulting Group.
  • It is commissioned by the Finance Ministry.
  • It is a framework that was adopted last year to strengthen public sector banks and rank them on metrics such as responsible banking, financial inclusion, credit offtake and digitization.

Various themes and performance by the states


Animal Husbandry, Dairy & Fisheries Sector – Pashudhan Sanjivani, E- Pashudhan Haat, etc

Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : PMMSY, E Gopala

Mains level : Fisheries sector of India

PM will digitally launch the PM Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) today.

PM Matsya Sampada Yojana

  • The PMMSY aims to bring about the Blue Revolution through sustainable and responsible development of the fisheries sector in India.
  • It has an estimated investment of Rs. 20,050 crores for its implementation during a period of 5 years from FY 2020-21 to FY 2024-25 in all States/UTs, as a part of AatmaNirbhar Bharat Package.
  • PMMSY aims at enhancing fish production by an additional 70 lakh tonne by 2024-25, increasing fisheries export earnings to Rs.1,00,000 crore by 2024-25.
  • Thus it aims doubling of incomes of fishers and fish farmers, reducing post-harvest losses from 20-25% to about 10% and generation of gainful employment opportunities in the sector.

Aims and objectives of PMMSY

  • Harnessing of fisheries potential in a sustainable, responsible, inclusive and equitable manner
  • Enhancing of fish production and productivity through expansion, intensification, diversification and productive utilization of land and water
  • Modernizing and strengthening of the value chain – post-harvest management and quality improvement
  • Doubling fishers and fish farmers incomes and generation of employment
  • Enhancing contribution to Agriculture GVA and exports
  • Social, physical and economic security for fishers and fish farmers
  • Robust fisheries management and regulatory framework

Implementation strategy

The PMMSY will be implemented as an umbrella scheme with two separate components namely:

(a) Central Sector Scheme and

(b) Centrally Sponsored Scheme

  • Majority of the activities under the Scheme would be implemented with the active participation of States/UTs.
  • A well-structured implementation framework would be established for the effective planning and implementation of PMMSY.
  • For optimal outcomes, ‘Cluster or area-based approach’ would be followed with requisite forward and backward linkages and end to end solutions.

Other inaugurations: e-Gopala App

  • e-Gopala App is a comprehensive breed improvement marketplace and information portal for direct use of farmers.
  • At present no digital platform is available in the country for farmers managing livestock including buying and selling of disease-free germplasm in all forms (semen, embryos, etc); availability of quality breeding services and guiding farmers for animal nutrition etc.
  • There is no mechanism to send alerts (on the due date for vaccination, pregnancy diagnosis, calving etc) and inform farmers about various government schemes and campaigns in the area.
  • The e-Gopala App will provide solutions to farmers on all these aspects.