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Foreign Policy Watch: India-Afghanistan

Afghanistan launches new export route to India through Iran

Note4students

Mains Paper 2:IR| Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level:  Chabahar Port

Mains level: Significance of Chabahar Port for India


News

  • Afghanistan began exports to India through the Chabahar as the landlocked, war-torn nation turns to overseas markets to improve its economy.

Afghan Exports to India

  • 23 trucks carrying 57 tonnes of dried fruits, textiles, carpets and mineral products were dispatched from western Afghan city of Zaranj to Iran’s Chabahar port.
  • The consignment will be shipped to the Indian city of Mumbai.
  • The Iranian port provides easy access to the sea to Afghanistan and India has helped developed this route to allow both countries to engage in trade bypassing Pakistan.

Afghanistan, a new trade partner

  • India has sent 1.1 million tonnes of wheat and 2,000 tonnes of lentils to Afghanistan through Chabahar.
  • Both countries established an air corridor in 2017.
  • Afghan exports to India stood at $740 million in 2018, making it the largest export destination.

To read more about Chabahar Port, navigate to the page:

Chah Bahar, Its significance and the impediments in taking it ahead

Police Reforms – SC directives, NPC, other committees reports

[pib] All India Citizens Survey of Police Services

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Internal Security | Various Security forces & agencies & their mandate

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Details of the Survey

Mains level: Policing Reforms


News

All India Citizens Survey of Police Services

  • A globally accepted way to assess the impact or outcomes of such endeavors is through a holistic analysis of services rendered to the public, through public perception surveys conducted by professional and independent agencies.
  • Such surveys are globally tested tools for improving service delivery in policing and enhancing public satisfaction.
  • With the above aim and to further strengthen the good governance practices in the working of police, Ministry of Home Affairs has commissioned the Bureau of Police Research and Development to conduct this pan-India survey.
  • The survey will be conducted through the National Council of Applied Economic Research, New Delhi.

Aims and Objectives

  • To understand public perceptions about Police
  • Gauge the level of non-reporting of crimes or incidents to Police
  • The position on ground relating to crime reporting & recording
  • Timeliness and quality of police response and action, and
  • To assess citizens’ perception and experience about women and children’s safety

Conduct of the Survey

  • The survey will commence in March, 2019 and cover a representative sample of 1.2 lakh households spread over 173 districts across the country.
  • It will be based on the National Sample Survey framework.
  • All States and UTs would be included in this survey and will be completed in 9 months.

Expected Outcomes

  • The outcome of the survey is expected to bring out useful suggestions for stakeholders in formulating and implementing appropriate policy responses.
  • It will imbibe changes in the functioning of police at the cutting edge and for improve crime prevention and investigation.
  • It will cater to transformation in community policing, improvement in the access to the justice and increased/ appropriate resource allocation for police in a systematic manner.

Cyber Security – CERTs, Policy, etc

India to have own DNS for safe browsing

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Security| Basics of cyber security

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: DNS

Mains level: Data Localization and its implications


News

  • The government will soon roll out a public Domain Name Server, or DNS, for India aimed at providing a faster and more secure browsing experience for Internet users in the country, while ensuring that citizens’ data is stored locally.

What is DNS?

  • A DNS is a like a phonebook for the Internet.
  • Humans access information online through domain names, like abcd.com or pqrs.co.in etc.
  • Web browsers interact through Internet Protocol (IP) addresses.
  • DNS translates domain names to IP addresses so browsers can load Internet resources.

Indian DNS

  • The roll-out will be executed by the National Informatics Centre – the technology arm of the government.
  • NIC is already using the public DNS within the government network.
  • The users are not mandated to shift to India public DNS. A user is free to choose any DNS.
  • The government’s public DNS, Indian users’ data would be stored within the country, thereby creating a move for Data Localization.

Utility of Indian DNS

  • The main aim of bringing our own public DNS is to ensure availability, particularly for smaller Interest Service Providers (ISPs) who don’t have credible DNS.
  • Bigger ones usually have their own DNS..
  • There are other open DNS servers, including Google Public DNS.
  • The government’s DNS would prevent users from visiting malicious websites.
  • If the government wants to block a website, there is a mechanism in place.
  • The Govt can send a list to the ISPs for reasons such as child porn or fake news, and they have to comply with the order.

Biofuel Policy

Used Cooking oil as aviation fuel

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: RUCO Initiative

Mains level: Harnessing edible oils for biofuel production


News

  • Our household used cooking oil could help fly a jet in the near future.
  • Scientists have successfully tested the conversion of used edible oil into Bio-ATF
  • The CSIR-Indian Institute of Petroleum is looking for partners to commercialise the technology.

Cooking Oil as Bio-ATF

  • The Dehradun-based Indian Institute of Petroleum has successfully finished a pilot test to convert used cooking oil into bio-aviation turbine fuel (Bio-ATF).
  • The used cooking oil can be blended with conventional ATF and used as aircraft fuel.
  • The Institute collected used cooking oil from caterers and hotels in Dehradun for the pilot, which has now set the platform for commercial use of the technology.
  • The chemical composition of the used cooking oil is identical to other plant-based oils that have been converted to Bio-ATF.

Up for a fight test

  • The Bio-ATF derived from used cooking oil is yet to be tested on a flight.
  • The pilot test has proven that it is very similar to Bio-ATF derived from Jatropha oil.
  • A large quantity of Bio-ATF is needed for testing on an actual flight.

On lines with RUCO

  • The test assumes importance as the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has launched the Repurpose Cooking Oil (RUCO) initiative to collect and convert used cooking oil into bio-fuel.
  • As many as 64 companies in 101 locations across the country have been identified for the purpose by FSSAI.
  • The food safety body says that by 2020, it should be possible to recover about 220 crore litres of used cooking oil for conversion into bio-fuel.

Back2Basics

RUCO Initiative

FSSAI unveils initiative to collect, convert used cooking oil into biofuel

Arjuna Tree

Note4students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Arjuna Tree and its benefits

Mains level:  Not much


News

Arjuna Tree

  • The Arjuna is a large, buttressed tree that usually grows along river banks.
  • The arjuna tree (Terminalia arjuna) is best known for its medicinal properties and its importance to the charismatic grizzled giant squirrel, but it plays a special role in the river-forests of Karnataka’s Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary too.
  • A higher number of trees specific to riverine habitats thrive under the canopies of old arjuna trees.
  • The soil under these trees’ enormous canopies is also more moist and higher in organic carbon.
  • This makes a case to recognize it as a keystone species — one that plays a crucial role in the landscape and conserve large, old trees.

Why Keystone specie?

  • Scientists studied the plant species growing under the canopy of arjuna trees, as well as in areas without the trees.
  • This revealed a higher species diversity (44 species; some like the mahua tree Madhuca latifolia grew only under the canopy of arjuna trees) under these trees.
  • Similar riverine areas without arjuna trees housed only 26 species.
  • Areas devoid of the trees also had more species that were not native to riverine stretches.

Medicinal Use

  • The arjuna was introduced into Ayurveda as a treatment for heart disease by Vagbhata (c. 7th century CE).
  • It is used in the treatment of wounds, hemorrhages and ulcers, applied topically as a powder.

Gives out rich soil

  • The researchers also sampled soil properties under the trees as well as in areas without them.
  • This revealed that soil in areas under the canopy of the tree had higher organic carbon and moisture contents, probably due to the presence of the large canopy.
  • Put together, these factors prove that the arjuna is a crucial tree in the landscape.

Banking Sector Reforms

[op-ed snap] Why India needs to set up a public credit registry

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economic Development| Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Basic knowledge of Public credit registry (PCR).

Mains level:  Issues and challenges in the establishment of a public credit registry (PCR) and benefits arising from the same.

NEWS

CONTEXT

In its most recent policy statement, the monetary policy committee of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) reduced the repurchase rate from 6.5% to 6.25%, mainly on account of low headline inflation and threats to domestic growth from global trade and geopolitical tensions.

Observations regarding current economic situation

  • One, the present level of growth owes itself primarily to public spending in infrastructure. Both private consumption and investment remain bleak.
  • Second, even though bank credit and overall financial flows remain robust, they are not broad-based. In other words, credit flows are focused on a few large enterprises even as a significant proportion of individuals and businesses remains out of the credit market.
  • Gross bank credit to micro and small enterprises reduced by 0.9% year-on-year in December. The micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector employs approximately 111 million people in 63 million units across the country, contributing 31.6% to gross value added and 49.86% to the country’s exports.

Challenges in Reviving Growth

  • In order to revive private investment and consumption, there is a need to ensure greater credit disbursement to MSMEs.
  • But credit institutions face unique challenges. One, the credit market is characterized by information asymmetry, a situation where one party possesses more information about the transaction than others.
  • Borrowers have disproportionately more information about their financial situation and ability to repay the loan than the lenders.
  • There is also the problem of adverse selection, where safe borrowers are priced out of the credit market owing to their lack of credit history.
  • These market failures have partly been responsible for the inefficient allocation of credit in the economy, resulting in a rise in bad loans and sluggish economic growth.

Problems With current credit information system

  • At present, the credit information market in India, though mature, is highly fragmented.
    • Within the central bank, for instance, the Central Repository of Information on Large Credits (CRILC) provides timely information on credit deterioration of large loan accounts—those greater than 5 crore.
    • CRILC played a crucial role in the asset-quality review process initiated by RBI in 2015, which helped identify significant divergences in bad loans recognized by several commercial banks in their annual reports.
    • There are also four private credit information companies, which offer value-added services such as analytics and scoring to lenders and borrowers.
    • But these lack full and timely coverage, despite RBI mandating all its regulated entities to submit credit information to them.

Benefits of Public Credit Registry in reviving  growth

  •  A public credit registry (PCR), which would act as a central repository of information on credit data of individuals and businesses.
  • A public credit registry wouldn’t be constrained by any minimum threshold in loan requirement and would also collate comprehensive information—not just on bank credit, but also loans from non-banking financial companies, debentures, bonds, external commercial borrowings, utility payments and so forth—to provide a holistic picture of the borrower’s credit history.
  • Inclusion of ancillary information such as overdue utility payments, or overdue tax payments’ data from tax authorities, would help reduce the due diligence costs of lenders and foster financial inclusion by bringing into the fold all those who were previously left out of the credit market.
  • An added benefit would be the disintegration of information monopoly of some lenders.
  • A PCR will enable sharing of credit information mandated by law, fostering transparency and encouraging competition.
  • It will also enable efficient price discovery as the public availability of comprehensive credit information of the borrower will help lenders distinguish good ones from the bad.
  • The information architecture of the PCR must be consent-based, in compliance with the data protection laws of the country to prevent data abuse.

Way Forward

  • The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, though far from perfect, has started the process of unlocking the dead capital of bankrupt firms.
  • These funds will then flow back into the economy through credit.
  • The next logical step now is the establishment of a PCR.
  • This will not only ensure higher disbursement of credit to the MSME sector, thereby boosting employment and growth, but also help contain non-performing assets as lenders get access to better quality of information for their credit decisions.

 

 

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

[op-ed snap] Without land or recourse

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of the vulnerable sections

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Various Forest Rights Acts and their provisions

Mains level: Supreme Court Order on  Eviction of forest dwellers and it’s constitutional validity


NEWS

CONTEXT

Supreme court has ordered the eviction of lakhs of people whose claims as forest dwellers have been rejected under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, or FRA.

Ramifications of such decision

  • That this order negates the claims of citizens under special protection of the Constitution, viz. the Scheduled Tribes and other vulnerable communities already pushed by gross governmental neglect precariously to the edge, is another matter altogether.
  • The question centres on the responsibility of the Supreme Court in upholding constitutional claims and equal citizenship.

The background

  • The order in question was issued in the case of Wildlife First & Ors v. Ministry of Forest and Environment & Ors.
  • The question before the court as stated in the order of 2016 when the matter was last heard related to “the constitutional validity of the [FRA] and also the questions pertaining to the preservation of forests in the context of the above-mentioned Act.”
  • The details regarding claims made under the FRA that were placed before the court by the petitioner in 2016 showed that of the 44 lakh claims filed before appropriate authorities in the different States, 20.5 lakh claims (46.5%) were rejected.
  • Obviously, a claim in the context of the above-mentioned Act is based on an assertion that a claimant has been in possession of a certain parcel of land located in the forest areas.”
  • A claim is made either for individual or community rights by the people/communities covered by the FRA. This is a plain reading of the Act, which is unambiguous on this score.

New Order

  • In the present order of February 2019, the Supreme Court specifically directs governments in 21 States by name to carry out evictions of rejected claimants without further delay and report on or before July 12.

Reasons Behind rejecting claims

  • According to the 2014 report of the High-Level Committee on Socio-Economic, Health and Educational Status of Tribal Communities in India, constituted by the Government of India (Xaxa Committee), 60% of the forest area in the country is in tribal areas — protected by Article 19(5) and Schedules V and VI of the Constitution.
  • Xaxa Committee observed that “claims are being rejected without assigning reasons, or based on wrong interpretation of the ‘OTFD’ definition and the ‘dependence’ clause
    • Xaxa Committee observed that “claims are being rejected without assigning reasons, or based on wrong interpretation of the ‘OTFD’ definition and the ‘dependence’ clause,
    • because the land is wrongly considered as ‘not forest land’
    • only forest offence receipts are considered as adequate evidence.
    • The rejections are not being communicated to the claimants, and their right to appeal is not being explained to them nor its exercise facilitated.

Against The constitutional safeguards

  • The presence of Article 19(5)  in the Fundamental Rights, which specifically enjoins the state to make laws “for the protection of the interests of any Scheduled Tribe”, is vital.
  • Supreme Court ordered the eviction in complete disregard of this core and express fundamental right protection to Adivasis (as distinct from legal/statutory protection), which protects them from a range of state and non-state intrusions in Scheduled Areas as well as from the perennial threat of eviction from their homelands.

Conclusion

Supreme Court ordered the eviction in complete disregard of this core and express fundamental right protection to Adivasis (as distinct from legal/statutory protection), which protects them from a range of state and non-state intrusions in Scheduled Areas as well as from the perennial threat of eviction from their homelands

 

Women Safety Issues – Marital Rape, Domestic Violence, Swadhar, Nirbhaya Fund, etc.

Study blames Indian inheritance law reforms for spike in female foeticide

Note4students

Mains Paper 1: Social Issues | Population & associated issues

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level: Impact of legislative reforms on sex-ratio in India


News

  • India’s discriminatory and anti-women inheritance laws appear to have failed to mitigate society’s long-held preference for sons, according to a new study.
  • The findings are supported by the Economic Survey 2017-18, which found an estimated 63 million women–roughly the population of the UK is ‘missing’ in India.

About the Study

  1. The study was conducted by researchers at King’s College University, New York University and the University of Essex, and published in the Journal of Development Economics.
  2. It used data from three rounds of the National Family Health Survey (1991-92, 1998-9 and 2005-6) and the Rural Economic and Demographic Survey (REDS) 2006.

Son-biased fertility stopping behaviour

  1. Instead of change of law between 1970 to 1990 has inadvertently led to increased female foeticide and higher female infant-mortality rates, finds the 2018 study.
  2. It analysed that families desires for a second child if the first child was a girl.
  3. The study finds that girls born after legal reforms were 2-3 % more likely to die before reaching their first birthday, and 9 % more likely to have a younger sibling if the firstborn child was a girl.
  4. The researchers studied families living in five “early-reformer” states-Kerala, AP, TN, Maharashtra and Karnataka- which amended the Hindu Succession Act, 1956.
  5. These states allowed equal inheritance rights for women and men, at different dates between 1970 and 1990.

Hindu Succession Act, 1956

  1. Under the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, only sons had a direct right to ancestral property, excluding daughters from inheritance claims where the father did not leave a will.
  2. From the 1970s onwards, changes in inheritance legislation sought to empower women by strengthening their financial and social position and reducing dependence on male relatives.
  3. The traditional preference for sons was also supposed to lessen, because daughters, backed by possession of the family home, would be able to offer parents security in old age.
  4. Equally, this was expected to eradicate the dowry system, a key contributing factor to the perception of a daughter as a financial burden.

Son-preference entrenched, women remain dispossessed

  1. Instead, the reforms appear to have had “unintended” effects leading to the “elimination of girls”, as social norms that organise family structures and alliances have not kept pace with changes to the law, the study finds.
  2. Awarding inheritance rights to women makes parents more averse to having a daughter rather than a son,” the study says.
  3. This is because families fear that the cost of having a girl increases because property inherited by women risks falling into the control of her in-laws.

Why women remain dispossessed?

  1. Changes to inheritance law are therefore not likely to improve women’s income, since it’s unlikely the woman would get to control that new asset -which has now been acquired by her marital family.
  2. There also remains a strong incentive for parents to continue rewarding a son who works on and develops a family’s land, thus contributing to the family’s “wealth creation” and security for both parties later in life.
  3. Parents perceive the risk of upsetting a son by dispossessing him of the entire property as too high, one that could impact on the quality of their future care.
  4. Parents would want to avoid splitting up the property, making it less productive, since the only way of sharing between siblings is by selling the property and distributing the proceeds.

Contemporary trends

  1. The proportion of women inheriting property “did not increase significantly following the reform,” the study says.
  2. Although laws now allow women to make legal claims to property, very few make such a move, which is perceived as anti-social and rebellious.
  3. The family is a close knit-system, girls don’t want to go against parents and brothers and fight for property if they are denied it.
  4. The entire dowry system says that the daughters have already been given a share of the money, so they’re not entitled to the property.

Status Quo on Son Preference

  1. Up to 77% of Indian parents expect to live with their sons in old age, following a ‘Patrilocal’ system where sons remain in the family home after marriage while daughters leave to join their in-laws.
  2. As per this system, by remaining in and working on the ancestral land, plus caring for parents in old age, the son is usually ‘rewarded’ by inheriting the entire property after the parents’ death.
  3. Legal reforms mandating that parents must now share equal portions of the ancestral property with both sons and daughters appear to have not changed this dynamic.
  4. Son preference remains the status quo, suggesting that patriarchal traditions exert a stronger force on parents than legislation correcting historical gender biases.

Way Forward

  1. We need a multi-prong effort focused on empowerment, education and targeted social welfare schemes that work at various levels in society for adult women.
  2. Though the legislative reform is perceived as a property issue, it’s not really — there’s a deeply ingrained internalised bias in favour of the male child which needs to be addressed.

Food Processing Industry: Issues and Developments

Report flags growing threat of monoculture in crop production

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Agriculture| Transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: FAO report on Monoculture

Mains level: Monoculture: utility and impact on ecosystem


News

  • The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has flagged the growing practice of monoculture —cultivation of a single crop at a given area in food production around the world.

FAO Report

  1. FAO published its latest report The State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture 
  2. Of more than 6,000 plant species cultivated for food production, fewer than 200 contribute significantly to food production globally, regionally or nationally,according to FAO’s .
  3. Only 9 plant species account for almost two-thirds of total crop production.
  4. These are using large quantities of external inputs such as pesticides, mineral fertilizers and fossil fuels,” the report said.

The report lists drivers of change affecting biodiversity for food and agriculture, including:

  • Population growth and urbanization
  • Over-exploitation and over-harvesting
  • Changes in land and water use and management
  • Pests, diseases and invasive alien species
  • Climate change
  • Pollution and external inputs
  • Natural disasters
  • Markets, trade and the private sector

Various Factors

  1. The first factor contributor majorly towards monoculture as people move to cities they tend to depend more on purchased foods, citing the example of Ecuador.
  2. They often also tend to lose ties with rural areas and rural foods, and increasingly opt for processed foods rather than fresh foods.
  3. This pressures producers to continuously grow or keep only a limited range of species, breeds and varieties of crops, livestock, trees, fish, etc.
  4. Individual holdings as well as wider productive landscapes become more homogeneous in terms of their genetics and physical structure, the report added.

Impact of Mono Cropping

  1. Such changes often affect the resilience of production systems and their role in biodiversity.
  2. Private food standards adopted by supermarkets and consumers have pushed farmers towards particular varieties and management procedures.
  3. International markets particularly be restrictive for market entry effectively debar the entry into the market of minor crops from developing countries.
  4. The emphasis on meat-based diets and the use of a narrow range of major cereals (maize, wheat and rice) is growing.
  5. The report predicts that the demand for standardised foods can reduce the diversity of crops and animals.

The diverse the better

  1. If a single variety is widely grown, a pest or disease to which it lacks resistance can lead to a dramatic fall in production.
  2. Diversifying crop cultivation, on the other hand, reduces risk of economic shocks.
  3. Integrating intercrops, hedgerows or cover crops, particularly legumes, into a system can reduce drought stress by helping to conserve water in the soil profile and help to replenish depleted soil fertility.
  4. Also crop diversification including rotation and intercropping and the use of diverse forage plants in pastureland, can reduce pest damage and weed invasions.
  5. The growing exploitation of land and water sources was eating in to integrated aquaculture, which in turn was pushing farmers towards monoculture.

The need of the hour

  • New supply systems
  • Improved public-private partnerships.

Microfinance Story of India

Labour Bureau files MUDRA job report

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: PMMY

Mains level: Problem of Unemployment


News

  • The Labour Bureau has completed its survey on employment generated by the MUDRA loan scheme, giving the Centre a potential data tool to combat other reports showing a dismal scenario on jobs.

About MUDRA Scheme

  1. The Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana was introduced in April 2015 as an effort to extend affordable credit to micro and small enterprises.
  2. Loans up to Rs. 10 lakh are extended to these non-corporate, non-farm enterprises by the Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency (MUDRA) through last-mile financial institutions.
  3. So far, 15.56 crore loans worth a total of Rs. 7.23 lakh crore have been disbursed.
  4. In December 2017, faced with mounting criticism on the failure to create job opportunities, the Labour Ministry had asked the Labour Bureau to initiate the survey on jobs created through the MUDRA scheme.

NSSO survey

  1. The NSSO’s findings showed that unemployment hit a 45-year high of 6.1% in 2017-18.
  2. Central government ministers and officials have already attempted to use the MUDRA scheme’s performance to combat criticism based on the leaked NSSO job survey report.
  3. Some economists have advised caution in the interpretation of MUDRA data, especially as it relates to jobs.

Loan disbursal doesn’t ensure Job

  1. Every new loan certainly doesn’t imply creation of a new job.
  2. It is improbable that these loans are being given to those who were formerly unemployed.
  3. They are more likely being given to people who are moving to self employment from other jobs resulting in no new net job creation.
  4. Given that the average size of the loan disbursed under MUDRA is quite small, it is unlikely that the loan seekers are providing a job to anyone other than themselves.

Electoral Reforms In India

Indelible ink’s new challenger: invisible ink

Note4students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Indelible and Invisible ink- Chemical composition

Mains level: Not Much


News

  • The Delhi-based National Physical Laboratory (NPL), the creator of indelible ink, has a new concern that, when applied on the finger, it doesn’t leave a trace.
  • It merely glows a bright orange when a low-intensity beam of ultraviolet light is shone on it.

Indelible Ink in India

  1. The ink was first used during India’s third General Elections in 1962. Indelible ink has been used in every General Election since
  2. At the time, the country’s election commission was having a tough time dealing with identity theft, as they soon discovered that there were duplicate or fake votes.

Chemical Composition

  1. Indelible ink is made of a chemical compound called silver nitrate.
  2. When applied to the skin and exposed to ultraviolet light, it leaves a mark that is almost impossible to wash off.
  3. The stain is so strong, in fact, it is only removed when the external skin cells are replaced
  4. When put on the skin, silver nitrate reacts with the salt present on it to form silver chloride.
  5. Silver chloride is not soluble in water, and clings to the skin. It cannot be washed off with soap and water.

Issues with it

  1. The indelible ink was formulated as a deterrent against voting twice.
  2. But strangely enough, voters in some countries found the stained finger rather unseemly.
  3. In India, we are proud to display our voter’s ink, but apparently in some countries people don’t want to display such a mark.

Invisible Ink

  1. The NPL prepared the ‘invisible ink’ as part of a pilot project mooted by the Mysore Paints and Varnish Ltd. (MVPL)
  2. It is a transparent liquid as an organic-inorganic mixture that was biodegradable and could be washed off in 48 hours.
  3. It works on the well-known principle of fluorescence — certain materials emit a characteristic glow when exposed to ultraviolet light.
  4. The NPL ink, however, glows only when exposed to a narrow band of frequencies of ultraviolet (UV) light.
  5. The NPL’s invisible ink experiment is linked to a larger project of creating security inks that could be used to make bank notes and documents, such as passports, more secure.

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

SC eviction order likely to impact 1.89 mn forest families

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of the vulnerable sections.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level:  Forest Rights Act (FRA)

Mains level: Issue over forest dwelling rights


News

SC orders Expulsion

  • The Supreme Court has ordered time-bound expulsion of all those families whose claims under the Forest Rights Act had been rejected by the authorities.
  • The country-wide data on 1.89 million households comes from the November 2018 report compiled by the Union tribal affairs ministry.
  • This is the total number of claims to forest lands that have been rejected under the Forest Rights Act across all 35 states and union territories.

Problems of OTFDs

  1. One of the major limitations of the FRA is the differentiated eligibility of ST and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (OTFDs) claimants.
  2. This is compounded by the ambiguity in the wording of the Act that has disadvantaged the latter severely.
  3. OTFDs are required to prove continuous residence or dependence in the areas being claimed for three generations (75 years).
  4. This dates back to a period when most of these areas were under princely states or zamindars, with no survey or land demarcation, and no government records.
  5. Thus, these equally deserving communities are unable to produce documentary evidence to support their claims.

Explained: Forest Rights Act (FRA)

  1. The legislation was passed in December 2006 by the UPA govt.
  2. It concerns the rights of forest-dwelling communities to land and other resources, denied to them over decades as a result of the continuance of colonial forest laws in India.
  3. The Act grants legal recognition to the rights of traditional forest dwelling communities, partially correcting the injustice caused by the colonial forest laws.
  4. Eligibility to get rights under the Act is confined to those who “primarily reside in forests” and who depend on forests and forest land for a livelihood.
  5. Further, either the claimant must be a member of the Scheduled Tribes scheduled in that area or must have been residing in the forest for 75 years.

Various rights entitled

  1. Title Rights – Ownership to land that is cultivated by tribals or forest dwellers subject to a maximum of 4 hectares; ownership is only for land that is actually being cultivated by the concerned family, meaning that no new lands are granted.
  2. Use Rights – To minor forest produce (also including ownership), to grazing areas, to pastoralist routes, etc.
  3. Relief and Development Rights – To rehabilitation in case of illegal eviction or forced displacement; and to basic amenities, subject to restrictions for forest protection.
  4. Forest Management Rights – To protect forests and wildlife.

Agencies Involved

  1. The Act provides that the gram sabha, or village assembly, will initially pass a resolution recommending whose rights to which resources should be recognised.
  2. This resolution is then screened and approved at the level of the sub-division (or taluka) and subsequently at the district level.
  3. The screening committees consist of three government officials (Forest, Revenue and Tribal Welfare departments) and three elected members of the local body at that level. These committees also hear appeals.

Internal Security Trends and Incidents

[op-ed snap] Looking beyond Pulwama

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Internal Security | Security challenges & their management in border areas

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: IED

Mains level: Shortcomings in India’s response to security threats and measures to tackle them


Context

  • The death of 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel in a suicide bomb attack in Pulwama,  has shocked the nation, as it was unprecedented in recent times. An explosion of this magnitude was not ever presaged.
  • The CRPF has already ordered a court of inquiry into the lapses that may have led to the disaster, and to rectify the shortcomings.

Intelligence Failure

  • There has been an intelligence failure through the agencies claim to have sounded the security forces of a possible improvised explosive device attack.
  • Such information without any specifics could not have been acted upon with the seriousness it deserved.
  • Even an inkling of the possibility of an attack on the convoy could have put the road opening patrols and the officials manning the convoy on very high alert.
  • Intensive checking could then have been carried out of all vehicles so as to intercept and avert any mishap.
  • It seems, the intelligence feed was not given the attention and seriousness it warranted.

Operational Failures

  • Southern Kashmir has been the hotbed of terrorism with many young boys joining the militant ranks in recent months.
  • Intensive checking of vehicles and possible hideouts could have put breaks on their dirty mission that a long convoy of 78 vehicles with over 2,547 men had to move in the wee hours from Jammu is being questioned.
  • The convoy was split for better command and control and to avoid bunching, they are reported to have got close to each other on nearing Lethpora.
  • By no stretch of the imagination could any convoy commander have exercised proper command and control over the fleet and personnel extending over quite a few kilometres considering the mandatory distance that needs to be maintained between each vehicle as per the Standard Operating Procedure.

Measures  taken to enhance security

  • All civil vehicles need to be banned from plying on the highway when military/paramilitary convoys are on the move.
  • Ambulances and emergency service vehicles could be the sole exception to this rule.
  • While intelligence agencies need to beef up their sources, the security apparatus calls for a thorough review.
  • The J&K Police is already planning to install CCTVs all along the 400 km-stretch of the highway, right from the entry point to the state in Lakhanpur in Punjab to Sonmarg beyond Srinagar.

Proposed Measures

  • As a force multiplier, drones could also be pressed into service to hover along the highway and detect any suspicious movement of men or vehicles along the route.
  • Quick reaction teams deployed at vantage points along the highway could be rushed to spots where suspicious movements are noticed through real-time pictures and take remedial measures.
  • Similarly, the extensive use of sniffer and tracker dogs could lead to the recovery of explosives and even terrorists.
  • The Belgian Malinois dogs presently being used by the CRPF in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha have proved their mettle by way of being instrumental in the recovery of huge quantities of explosives in various operations.

Start-up Ecosystem In India

[op-ed snap] Half-measures: new angel tax rules for start-ups

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Mobilization of resources

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Angel Tax

Mains level:  Change in Angel Tax rules on startup and it’s effects


NEWS

CONTEXT

After the uproar among start-up investors in the last few weeks, the Centre  decided to ease the conditions under which investments in start-ups will be taxed by the government.

New Rules

  • Investments up to ₹25 crore in companies that are less than 10 years old and with a total turnover of less than ₹100 crore will be exempted from the new angel tax.
  • Investments made by listed companies with a net worth of at least ₹100 crore or a total turnover of at least ₹250 crore will be fully exempt from the tax; so will investments made by non-resident Indians.

Problems with old rules

  • In 2012, the angel tax was justified as an emergency measure to prevent the laundering of illegal wealth by means of investments in the shares of unlisted private companies at extraordinary valuations.
  • But the adverse effect that it has had on investor confidence has forced the government to ease the stringent rules.

Positive effects of New Rules

  • The easing of the outdated angel tax rules will definitely make life easier for start-ups, which are in desperate need for capital to fund their growth and other business requirements. 
  • Further, since the new rules are set to be applied retrospectively, many young companies that have received notices from the Income Tax Department in the last few years will be relieved by the latest tweak in the rules.

Negative Effects

  • Companies wishing to make use of the latest exemption, for instance, will first need to be registered with the government as start-ups.
  • To be classified as one, a company needs to attest to conditions such as that it has not invested in any land unrelated to the business, vehicles worth over ₹10 lakh, or jewellery.
  • These requirements, while probably aimed to prevent money- laundering, can lead to considerable bureaucratic delays and rent-seeking.
  • . Also, the new rules for the angel tax can cause the same old problem of arbitrary tax demands for companies that do not fall under the defined category of start-ups.
  • The taxes to be paid are still supposed to be calculated by the authorities based on how much the sale price of a company’s unlisted share exceeds its fair market value.
  • It is impossible to know the market value, let alone the fair market value, of shares that are not openly traded in the marketplace.
  • So tax authorities with ulterior motives will still possess enough leeway to harass start-ups with unreasonable tax demands.

Way Forward

The government should address the arbitrary nature of the angel tax, Otherwise, the damage to investor confidence may remain.

Foreign Policy Watch: India-Middle East

[op-ed snap] Picking sides in West Asia

Note4students

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

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Basic knowledge of India and its neighbourhood- relations.

Mains level:  Chanaging nature of relationship and regional powers in West Asia


NEWS

CONTEXT

Over the past few years, the course of India’s relations with Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) suggests that under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India finally appears to be moving away from its traditional “balancing” approach to West Asia.

Recent Trends

The  government has in practice demonstrated a preference for working with the three regional powers rather than Iran, a trend likely to be reinforced after the visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) and the proposed trip by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to New Delhi.

Regional Realities

  • Since the 1990-91 Gulf War, India has officially adopted a “balancing” approach to West Asia, which some view as a legacy of non-alignment.
  • Although this approach has allowed India to eschew involvement in regional disputes and de-hyphenate relations with regional rivals including Iran, Israel and Saudi Arabia, the policy has also constrained India’s ability to press its geopolitical interests in the region.
  • Geopolitically, MBS and Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed (MBZ) have over the past few years escalated their battle against political Islamist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood.
  • Most notably, this materialised in their support for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s takeover of power in Egypt from the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013, and in their dispute with Qatar, a key regional backer of the group.
  • Naturally, this brings them closer to Israel, which faces a growing threat from Islamist militant groups, including Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iranian-backed forces in Syria.
  • The campaign by Saudi Arabia and the UAE to curtail the influence of political Islamist groups also draws them closer to India.
  • During his visit to New Delhi, the Saudi Crown Prince hinted at the attack by vowing to “cooperate in every way, including intelligence sharing”.
  • The UAE has also ramped up its security cooperation with India, extraditing at least three suspects wanted in relation to the AgustaWestland case.

Defence and energy needs

  • India’s defence and security partnership with Israel has already proven useful to its security and military modernisation drive.
  • India’s defence and security partnership with Israel has already proven useful to its security and military modernisation drive.
  • India and Israel have collaborated on a $777 million project to develop a maritime version of the Barak-8, a surface-to-air missile that India successfully tested in January.
  • India has also reportedly agreed to purchase 54 HAROP attack drones for the Indian Air Force and two airborne warning and control systems (AWACS) worth over $800 million from Israel.
  • Israel has become one of India’s top suppliers of military technology.
  • Economically, the ability of Saudi Arabia and the UAE to mobilise investments despite low oil prices are a huge asset in their relations with India.
  • Investments have included a $44 billion oil refinery in India by Saudi Aramco and the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company in partnership with an Indian consortium.
  • During his visit to New Delhi, MBS said he foresaw up to $100 billion worth of Saudi investments in India over the next few years, including a plan by the Saudi Basic Industries Corp. to acquire two LNG plants.

Iran’s Stake

  • The simultaneous attacks that claimed the lives of 27 members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and 40 members of India’s Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) are likely to bring India and Iran closer together against Pakistan, it is doubtful that the occasion would generate much momentum in bilateral relations.
  • U.S. sanctions have turned Iran into an unreliable economic partner.
  • Despite obtaining a six-month waiver from the U.S. in November on energy imports from Iran, India is shoring up plans to find alternative sources as the waiver reaches its term.
  • Meanwhile, Indian investments in Iran, including the Shahid Beheshti complex at Chabahar and the Farzad B gas field, have languished for years, reflecting the severe constraints on doing business with Iran.

Complex Relationships

  • India’s tilt towards Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE is not a risk-free move. Iran continues to exercise much influence in West Asia and can help shape events in Afghanistan by shoring up the Taliban against the U.S.
  • Iran’s Chabahar port represents a strategic investment for India which hopes to use the facility to connect with the International North-South Transit Corridor (INSTC) that extends to Central Asia and to bypass Pakistan en route to Afghanistan.
  • Yet, as tensions rise in West Asia, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have coalesced more closely against Iran under the U.S.-sponsored Middle East Security Alliance (MESA).
  • Concurrently, the recent escalation between Iran and Israel on the Syrian front suggests that tensions are unlikely to drop soon.

Conclusion

  • Amid competing demands from West Asian powers for India to take sides, India might find it difficult to maintain a “balancing” approach even if it wanted to. Having practically abandoned a “balancing” approach, the government has, in effect, placed its bets on Israel and the Gulf monarchies, relegating relations with Iran to the side.

 

Foreign Policy Watch: India-China

Explained: Why is China shielding the Jaish-e-Mohammad?

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | India & its neighborhood relations

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level: The newscard comprehensively discusses China’s tactics for its stance on backing terror groups


Context

Background

  • The Jaish-e-Mohammad has carried out multiple attacks on India over the last nearly two decades, but its leader, Masood Azhar, eludes international sanctions.
  • India’s proposal to designate Azhar as a global terrorist under the 1267 regime has been blocked four times by China, most recently in January 2017.
  • Beijing has refused to lift its “technical hold” on a proposal to declare Azhar a global terrorist.

Why is China so keen to shield Azhar?

  1. On Azhar, China insists there isn’t enough evidence to designate him a “global terrorist”, though the rest of the P5 believes otherwise.
  2. Its standard line is that it wants to “uphold the authority and validity of the 1267 Committee”.
  3. The UNSC Resolution 1267 prescribes a sanctions regime against designated terrorists and terrorist groups.
  4. But its real reasons range from protecting its “all weather” ally in South Asia to its business interests in the CPEC.
  5. China tries making things difficult for its Asian rival India to making a point to western powers led by the United States.

I. Importance of CPEC

  1. CPEC runs across the length of Pakistan, linking Kashgar in China’s Xinjiang province to the Gwadar deep-sea port on the Arabian Sea near Pakistan’s border with Iran.
  2. Access to the sea through Gwadar will remove the need for it to take the long route west through the Straits of Malacca and around India.
  3. The CPEC will dramatically increase its proximity to the oil shipping lanes through the Strait of Hormuz.
  4. Chinese firms have invested close to $40 billion in around 45 CPEC projects, about half of which are nearing completion.

II. Role of Jaish in CPEC

  1. International protection for ISI proxies like Jaish provides China the insurance against terrorist attacks on CPEC infrastructure and the thousands of Chinese working on them.
  2. The project has been targeted by Baloch separatists as well as the Pakistani Taliban, who have claimed to be protesting China’s treatment of its Muslim Uyghur minority in eastern Xinjiang.

III. Insecurity despite of State Security

  1. Pakistan has attempted to reassure Beijing on the security of CPEC.
  2. In 2015, it established a 20,000-personnel Special Security Division drawn from the Army and paramilitary forces to secure CPEC in addition to the local police.
  3. China has had a tacit understanding with the Afghan Taliban from the days of their predecessors in the 1970s.

IV. Uighur Question

  1. China subsequently in 70s made a deal with the Taliban that as long as they don’t support the Uyghurs in Xinjiang, they won’t harm them.
  2. China takes a different position because of the larger understanding it has with such organisations… as long as you don’t disturb me, we will not penalise you.
  3. If you are expanding your international base, it must not be at my expense. That’s China’s attitude.

V. Popularity in Pakistan

  1. Also, China enjoys overwhelming popularity on the street in Pakistan — surveys show 88% Pakistanis view China favorably, compared with only 33% Indians.
  2. It is not in Beijing’s interest to disappoint this constituency by giving in to India’s repeated demands to list Azhar.
  3. China remains conscious that relations between Pakistan and the US had been strongly impacted by the killings, first by al-Qaeda of American-Israeli journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002 and then, by US special forces of Osama bin Laden in 2011.

Does China’s stand have to do with India’s emergence as a competitor?

  1. India is part of a short list of economic giants who have refused to participate in the BRI due to sovereignty concerns in PoK.
  2. And since China views India as a competitor, Beijing looks to tie down New Delhi to South Asia using issues like Azhar.

Hafiz Saeed vs. Masud Azhhar

  1. Before Azhar, Beijing had blocked on three occasions India’s moves to designate Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed as a terrorist.
  2. But in 2008, as global outrage intensified in the aftermath of the 26/11 attacks, Beijing was forced to back international action against Saeed.
  3. But 26/11 was an extraordinary attack; it remains to be seen if India can drum up enough international support over Pulwama to push China on Azhar.

Is there a reason for Beijing to twist?

  1. Not budging on Azhar will probably not directly affect China’s bilateral ties with India.
  2. But Beijing may have to contend with the abstract impact of a shift in public opinion.
  3. The gains from last year’s Wuhan Summit may dwindle if public opinion turns against China.
  4. This time, it is not really defensible Jaish have said they were involved.
  5. China’s image will take a beating and the Indian public will have an increasingly negative view of China leading to boycott of its goods.

Conclusion

  1. China clearly supports Pakistan on UNSC Resolution 1267 and has blocked India’s entry into the NSG by tying its bid to Pakistan’s.
  2. China seeks to needle and frustrate India.
  3. Such tactics are also intended to send out a message to the US, which seeks to build a relationship with India to contain China in the Indo-Pacific.

Innovations in Sciences, IT, Computers, Robotics and Nanotechnology

[pib] Atmospheric Water Generator (AWG)

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Indigenization of technology & developing new technology

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Working of the AWG

Mains level: Utility of the AWG in light of depleting water resources


News

  • A Navratna PSU Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) has unveiled the Atmospheric Water Generator (AWG).
  • It can be used to provide drinking water in community centres and public places.

Atmospheric Water Generator

  1. The AWG is being manufactured by BEL in collaboration with CSIR-IICT and MAITHRI, a start-up company based in Hyderabad.
  2. It employs a novel technology to extract water from the humidity present in the atmosphere and purify it.
  3. It uses heat exchange for condensing the atmospheric moisture to produce pure, safe and clean potable water.
  4. It comes with a Mineralization Unit, which is used to add minerals which are required to make the water potable.
  5. The AWG is configurable in static and mobile (vehicular) versions and is available in 30 litres/day, 100 litres/day, 500 litres/day and 1,000 litres/day capacities.

Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

[pib] Indus Waters Treaty 1960 : Present Status of Development in India

Note4students

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

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Permanent Indus Commission, Indus Water Treaty

Mains level: Rising tensions between India and Pakistan over various issues


News

Indus Waters Treaty, 1960

  1. The Indus Waters Treaty is a water-distribution treaty between India and Pakistan, brokered by the World Bank signed in Karachi in 1960.
  2. According to this agreement, control over the water flowing in three “eastern” rivers of India — the Beas, the Ravi and the Sutlej was given to India
  3. The control over the water flowing in three “western” rivers of India — the Indus, the Chenab and the Jhelum was given to Pakistan
  4. The treaty allowed India to use western rivers water for limited irrigation use and unrestricted use for power generation, domestic, industrial and non-consumptive uses such as navigation, floating of property, fish culture, etc. while laying down precise regulations for India to build projects
  5. India has also been given the right to generate hydroelectricity through run of the river (RoR) projects on the Western Rivers which, subject to specific criteria for design and operation is unrestricted.

Present Status of Development

  1. To utilize the waters of the Eastern rivers which have been allocated to India for exclusive use, India has constructed Bhakra Dam on Satluj, Pong and Pandoh Dam on Beas and Thein (Ranjitsagar) on Ravi.
  2. These storage works, together with other works like Beas-Sutlej Link, Madhopur-Beas Link, Indira Gandhi Nahar Project etc has helped India utilize nearly entire share (95 %) of waters of Eastern rivers.
  3. However, about 2 MAF of water annually from Ravi is reported to be still flowing unutilized to Pakistan below Madhopur.
  4. The three projects will help India to utilize its entire share of waters given under the Indus Waters Treaty 1960:

I. Resumption of Construction of Shahpurkandi project

  • It is a dam project under construction on Ravi River.

II. Construction of Ujh multipurpose project

  • It is a dam project under construction on Ujh , a tributary of Ravi River.

III. 2nd Ravi Beas link below Ujh

  • This project is being planned to tap excess water flowing down to Pakistan through river Ravi, even after construction of Thein Dam.
  • It aims constructing a barrage across river Ravi for diverting water through a  tunnel link to Beas basin.

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

WHO prescribes ‘aerobics 150’ to stay fit

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health

The following things are important from UPSC perspective:

Prelims Level: Aerobics 150

Mains level:  WHO Guidelines for Physical Activity


News

Aerobics 150

  1. Reiterating the need for physical activity to reduce the incidence of non-communicable diseases (NCD), the WHO has prescribed 150 minutes of weekly physical activity.
  2. It emphasized that physical inactivity is now identified as the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality.

Hazards of physical inactivity

  1. The WHO warned that physical inactivity levels are rising in many countries with major implications for the prevalence of NCDs and the general health of the population worldwide.
  2. Physical inactivity is estimated to be the main cause for approximately 21%-25% of breast and colon cancers, 27% of diabetes and approximately 30% of ischemic heart disease burden.
  3. Regular and adequate levels of physical activity in adults reduces the risk of hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, breast and colon cancer, depression and the risk of falls.

WHO Guidelines on Aerobics

  1. There is strong evidence to demonstrate that adults between the ages of 18 to 64 should do:
  • at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week
  • at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week, or
  • an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity
  1. Aerobic activity should be performed in bouts of at least 10 minutes duration.
  2. For additional health benefits, adults should increase their moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity to 300 minutes per week.
  3. Muscle-strengthening activities should be done involving major muscle groups on two or more days a week.
  4. Children and youth aged 5-17 years should accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate-to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily.
  5. Amounts of physical activity greater than 60 minutes provide additional health benefits.

Psychological benefits

  1. Physical activity has also been associated with psychological benefits in young people by improving their control over symptoms of anxiety and depression.
  2. The WHO noted that physical activity provides young people opportunities for self-expression, building self-confidence, social interaction and integration.
  3. It has also been suggested that physically active young people more readily adopt healthy behaviors (For example, avoidance of tobacco, alcohol and drug use) and demonstrate higher academic performance.

Women empowerment issues – Jobs,Reservation and education

Women’s Livelihood Bonds

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Development & Employment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level:  Women Livelihood Bond

Mains level: Promoting Women entrepreneurs


News

  • The World Bank, the Small Industries Development Bank (Sidbi) and the UN Women, along with 10 wealth management firms and leading corporates has announced the launch of a new social impact bond to offer credit to rural women entrepreneurs.

Women Livelihood Bond

  • The bonds, which will have a tenure of five years, will be launched by SIDBI with the support of World Bank and UN Women.
  • The proposed bond will enable individual women entrepreneurs in sectors like food processing, agriculture, services and small units to borrow around Rs 50,000 to Rs 3 lakh at an annual interest rate of around 13-14 per cent or less.
  • SIDBI will act as the financial intermediary and channel funds raised to women entrepreneurs through participating financial intermediaries like banks, NBFCs or microfinance institutions.