Weekly Gyaan with Dr. V | Priority 1 news items from 23-30 Nov 2017

High Priority (P1) news items from 23 November – 30 November


Cabinet approves India’s membership for EBRD

Importance level: HIGH

Prelims worthy: EBRD, International economic institutions

Mains worthy: Membership of India at various international forums/institutions

Short summary: News discusses approval by Union Cabinet for India’s membership to European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

This will help India obtain funding in various areas including services and manufacturing.

EBRD’s core operations pertain to private sector development in their countries of operation.

The EBRD is not to be confused with the European Investment Bank (EIB) which is owned by EU member states and is used to support EU policy.

How is it different from IBRD?

Read more about it here:



Migratory birds start arriving in Chilika


Importance level: HIGH

Prelims worthy: Chilka lake and other wetlands under Ramsar convention

Mains worthy: Measures that can be taken to reduce threats faced by existing protected areas

Short summary: The news discusses arrival of lakhs of migratory birds at the Chilika Lake.

Chilka lake is Asia’s largest brackish water lagoon. It is the largest wintering ground for migratory birds on the Indian sub-continent.

In 1981, Chilika Lake was designated the first Indian wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.

The lagoon hosts over 160 species of birds in the peak migratory season. Birds from as far as the Caspian Sea, Lake Baikal, Aral Sea and other remote parts of Russia, Kirghiz steppes of Mongolia, Central and southeast Asia, Ladakh and Himalayas come here.

Read more details here:


Further reads- Mark all mentioned places on world/India map. There is a high probability of one of them appearing in Prelims.


[op-ed snap] The potential of smart contracts in banking


Importance level: HIGH

Prelims worthy: Bitcoins, Blockchain

Mains worthy: Scope of leveraging blockchain technology in banking and other sectors

Short summary: Editorial discusses about blockchain technology being explored by Bankchain which is a consortium of 27 banks (22 of them are Indian) of which the State Bank of India (SBI) was the first Indian member

“Blockchain” is the sequence of all the verified “blocks” of transactions, recorded chronologically —timestamped—one after the other.

The blockchain can be used to keep track of the ownership of any asset or data that can be digitized and represented by computer code.

Banks are uncomfortable with losing control of the system and they prefer “permissioned” blockchains like Bankchain which restricts the access to nodes to other banks.

Read the full op-ed here:



Rajnath to chair meet on Centre-State relations


Importance level: HIGH

Prelims worthy: ISC, Punchhi commission

Mains worthy: Changing equations in Centre State relations and matters related to internal security

Short summary: News discusses about Home Minister chairing a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Inter State Council (ISC) to discuss the recommendations made by the Punchhi Commission on Centre-State relations.

The Commission in its report had said that ‘National Security’ as a subject was not specifically listed in any of the three Lists, i.e. the Union, the State or the Concurrent List.

Though it is an overriding executive power of the Union, in Constitutional practice, however, ‘Security’ is a subject in which the States and the Union have a common interest and are expected to act in a coordinated manner, the report had said.

Read more about issue here:


Further reads: Recommendations of Punchhi commission for Mains, Role of ISC, Union, state and concurrent lists.


Can’t force govt. to frame a law: SC


Importance level: HIGH

Prelims worthy: UN convention against torture

Mains worthy: Judiciary executive faceoff, Judicial activism

Short summary: News discusses about the Supreme Court statement saying it would not compel government to ratify the UN Convention against Torture or command it to frame a standalone anti-torture legislation.

The judiciary had faced a barrage of criticism for its “judicial activism” in recent past

The UN convention against torture is an international human rights treaty, under the review of the United Nations, that aims to prevent torture and other acts of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment around the world.

Read more about it here:


Further reads: Powers of Judiciary, legislature in matters related to legislation


Drug regulator to make ‘stability testing’ a must for all medicines sold in India


Importance level: MEDIUM

Prelims worthy: Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945, stability testing

Mains worthy: Issues related to pharma sector in India

Short summary: Amendments are being proposed to the existing Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945, to make “stability testing” mandatory for all drugs sold in the country before they are deemed suitable for use by patients.

Once the rules take effect, pharma companies will have to subject their products to quality tests to make sure that drugs do not lose their potency and the expiry dates printed on the packaging are based on the test results.

Stability testing is the process of subjecting drugs to different tests in varying degrees of temperature and sunlight.

Read the full news here:



Internet must be open: TRAI backs net neutrality


Importance level: HIGH

Prelims worthy: Net neutrality, TRAI

Mains worthy: Debate around net neutrality

Short summary: News discusses about TRAI recommendation of upholding the basic principle of net neutrality.

Net neutrality means that a service provider can discriminate users on the basis of content by either blocking, throttling, or “fast-laning” any apps, websites or web services.

To monitor and investigate whether service providers are adhering to the rules, the regulator also suggested that a multi-stakeholder body should be set up.

Read all details here:



India loses billions to air pollution: UN


Importance level: HIGH

Prelims worthy: Minamata convention, ‘Towards a pollution-free planet’ report by UN

Mains worthy: Air pollution and issues related to it

Short summary: News discusses about India having the highest share of welfare costs (or a loss of income from labour) in South and South-East Asia from mortality due to air pollution.

This is according to a report by the United Nations Environment Programme named ‘Towards a pollution-free planet’.

Report said that if consumption and production patterns continue as they are, the linear economic model of ‘take-make-dispose’ will seriously burden an already polluted planet, affecting current and future generations.

Read all details of report and Minamata convention here:



Electoral bonds: Govt, RBI finalising norms; unveiling likely by year-end


Importance level: HIGH

Prelims worthy: Electoral bonds, Role of ECI, RBI and others, RPA Act provisions related to electoral funding, conduct of elections (Static part)

Mains worthy: Transparency in election process

Short summary: News discusses the progress related to electoral bonds announced in Budget 2017 which aimed at bringing more transparency in donations given to political parties.

While the main motive behind their introduction was increased transparency in electoral funding, government has provided a bypass to political parties by including provision in budget that exempts political parties from disclosing donations received from electoral bonds, even if it is above the prescribed limit of Rs. 20,000 mentioned in Representation of the People (RP) Act.

Also, government removed limits on corporate donations to political parties. Companies are no longer required to name the parties to which contributions are made.

Read more about electoral bonds and other details here: https://www.civilsdaily.com/electoral-bonds-govt-rbi-finalising-norms-unveiling-likely-by-year-end/#post-93567

Further reads: Read about RP Act, Election process from Polity book/notes.


To make instant triple talaq a crime, Govt looks to change Shah Bano law


Importance level: MEDIUM

Prelims worthy: Triple Talaq, CrPC

Mains worthy: Urgent requirement of Uniform Civil Code

Short summary: News discusses government actions being taken after Supreme court gave its verdict on Triple talaq issue. Various options are being considered by government to give relief to women of muslim community from centuries-old practice of instant talaq.

One option under consideration is amending The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986 (also called the Shah Bano Act) which allows maintenance to a divorced woman only during the period of iddat, or three menstrual cycles/three lunar months after divorce in line with Muslim personal law.

While divorce is a civil matter, the legislature is free to declare any unlawful/illegal offence, in this case triple talaq, as criminal.

The government is also considering amendments to provisions of Section 125 Code of Criminal Procedure (order for maintenance of wives, children and parents) to provide further safeguards to Muslim women and their wards.

Read more about Triple talaq here:


Further reads: Read about Religious Personal laws and their status vis-a-vis fundamental rights/DPSP , CrPC from Polity book/notes.


India unlikely to cut malaria by half in 2020: WHO


Importance level: HIGH

Prelims worthy: Malaria, WHO reports, Various virus and bacteria causing communicable and noncommunicable diseases (Static part from NCERTs)

Mains worthy: Status of Health Care system in India

Short summary: The news discusses about India likely to miss its target of reducing Malaria instances to half by 2020.

Neighbours of India such as Bhutan, Nepal, Thailand, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Indonesia, are among the countries poised to reduce malaria incidence by over 40% by 2020.

A key impediment to eliminating malaria is a weak surveillance system for screening cases of Malaria.

Read more about Malaria and other diseases here:



[op-ed snap] How to free Indians from the medical poverty trap


Importance level: HIGH

Prelims worthy: Generic medicines, Bioequivalence

Mains worthy: Problems being faced by Health Care system in India

Short summary: Editorial discusses the dichotomy of health care sector that despite being the largest supplier of generic drugs in the world, too many Indian citizens do not get access to medicines owing to high costs.

Medicines are a major component of total health expenses—72% in rural areas and 68% in urban areas and Healthcare costs pushed 60 million Indians below the poverty line in 2011.

Cheaper generics are one of the important factors for reducing healthcare cost as government solution of price control of medicines and healthcare equipments is suboptimal.

Read more about the issue, generic medicines and bioequivalence here:


Dr. V along with CD’s newscards team brings to you the highest priority news items (P1) of the week gone by. Make sure you go through them, make notes, ask questions and explore more static syllabus as per our directives, given in “Further Readings”

About Dr. V

Dr. Vipin Garg is a medical doctor by training, economist by passion and an IAS officer by profession. He is one of the founding members of Civilsdaily and pioneered the concept of Tikdams (Smart Hacks) for IAS Prelims which form the bedrock of Civilsdaily’s Flagship Prelims Test Series.

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By Dr V

Doctor by Training | AIIMSONIAN | Factually correct, Politically not so much | Opinionated? Yes!


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