[Current Topiclist] March Week1 to Week4 (1st to 31st) Only Topiclist

Current Affairs Topiclist

[Current Topiclist] March Week1 to Week4 (1st to 31st) Only Topiclist

  1. Abbreviations
  2. IR-Diplomacy
    1. March W1 & W2
    2. Mar-W3W4-IR/Diplomacy
  3. Economy, Banking, Finance
    1. March W1 & W2
    2. Mar-W3W4-Economy
  4. Policy, Governance, Accountability, Administration
    1. March W1 & W2
    2. Mar-W3W4-Polity, Governance
  5. Environment & Agriculture
    1. March W1 & W2
    2. Mar-W3W4-Environment, Agro
  6. Science Tech, Defense
    1. March W1 & W2
    2. Mar-W3W4-Sci-Tech, Defense, IT, Healthcare
  7. History and Culture
    1. March W1 & W2
    2. Mar-W3W4-History & Culture
  8. Download Link for Current Affairs Excel File
  9. FAQ / Moral Disclaimers
List of Abbreviations
P Only important for prelim only
P+M important for prelim and mains
M+I Important for mains, essay and interview but has none or negligible utility in prelims.
OLF One line fodder point that can be quoted in some descriptive answer, essay, interview or Group discussion. But doesn’t warrant an article by itself.
Ignored Because (A) I see bad:cost benefit in pursuing it OR (B) I don’t think it’s important for UPSC exam given the trend in last few years. (C)I already covered it in old article.

IR-Diplomacy

March W1 & W2
M+I Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar’s SAARC yatra continues.
M+I Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opposes US-Iran deal because he fears it’ll allow Iran to develop nuke weapons. How does it affect Indian interst?
M+I Modi’s three-nation tour to the Seychelles, Mauritius and Sri Lanka for “Indian Ocean outreach” and become a ‘net security provider’ in Indian ocean, to counter Chinese presence. SAGAR concept — Security and Growth for All in the Region.
M+I Modi2Mauritius trip: (1) opening up the “ocean economy”, or “blue economy”. (2) India will build transport infrastructure (sea and air links) for the Agalega Islands (3) India gave coastal petrol vessel MCGS Barracuda, for maritime security on loan+grant. (4) India to help in sugarcane cultivation and tourism promotion. (5) develop financial centres and petroleum hubs (6) Indira called Mauritius “Chhota Bharat” during her visit in 70s because 70% junta is India. Mauritius celebrates its National Day on March 12 to pay homage to Gandhi’s dandi march on same day in 1930. (6) Modi will address the issue of DTAA, round tripping and tax avoidance by Indian companies who deliberately register in Mauritius and then invest in India, to avoid taxes.
M+I Modi2Seychelles Trip (1) 1% of 93,000 junta is India, only 15/116 islands are inhabited, but has very large EEZ (2) India gave second Dornier aircraft for their coastal surveillance, earlier provided Radar technology as well. (3) cooperation for hydrography, infra and other fancy things. (4) Seychelles is a leader among the Small Island Developing States (SIDS), vocal member against climate change and part of Pan-African e-Network of hospitals
OLF Ex-Nepal PM and present maoist opposition leader Baburam Bhattarai visits India, says India has a “role to play” in the constitution-making conflict in Nepal, & peaceful Nepal is in “India’s interest. Earlier Modi had said Nepalese Constitution should be based on consensus rather majority. But at that time, he was criticized for interfering in Nepali affairs.
OLF United States will deploy 60% of its Navy to Asia-Pacific region by 2020, under the “Pivot to Asia” doctrine. To counter them, China has raised its defense budget by 10%. Main focus: Submarines and Chinese J-20 stealth aircraft to counter US P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft.
OLF China is funding a $1.3 billion port project in Colombo. But suddenly, Sri Lankan government has suspended this project for environment clearance. Chinese government has told Sri Lanka not to “discriminate against” Chinese company (vs. Indian companies)
OLF Nigeria’s Boko Haram group pledges allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
OLF This year, China and Russia will commemorate the 70th anniversary of WW2-victory and simultaneously Russia will join as “core partner” to China’s twin initiatives — the Silk Road Economic Belt and the Maritime Silk Road. Collectively these two transport corridors aim to integrate European and Asian economies with China as the “anchor”.
OLF J&K has a separate preventive detention law called “Public Safety Act (PSA)”. Under this act, Deputy Commissioner (district collector) can get any person into preventive custody for up to 2 years with no trial, if he is a threat to the security of the State. Senior separatist leader Masarat Alam was imprisoned under this act for a long time. He was mastermind of the stone pelting mobs in Kashmir. Version #1: new CM MM Sayeed ordered release of such “political prisoners” because no criminal charges framed so far. Version #2: His release file was already okayed by Union Home ministry during President’s rule. Either way, now union is contemplating to arrest him again under NIA act.
Ignored Iraqi forces launch attack to capture Tikrit from ISIS.
Ignored UN human rights commission vs. Sri Lanka. Basics already covered in old article.
Ignored Knife attacker slashes the face of U.S. envoy to South Korea Mark Lippert. This attacker wanted the North and South Koreas united.
Ignored American Hindu diaspora angry because New York mayor declared Eid as school holiday but no holiday on Diwali.
Ignored Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used her personal email account for doing official work. This goes against public record / transparency laws in USA. Although she has submitted ~55,000 pages of email records from that private id to the Government but opposition argues she has not given all data. This could be a disturbing point for her presidential candidacy.
Ignored Biochemistry professor at Germany’s Leipzig University, refused to accept an Indian student for internship saying “we’re hearing a lot of about rape problem in India and we have many female students in the university, whose safety will be threatened!”. Later, German envoy to India Michael Steiner wrote in his strongly-worded letter to the said professor- “India is not a country of Rapists.”
Ignored Maldives Ex-President Mohd. Nasheed arrested Under antiterrorism law, because in 2012, He tried to arrest a senior judge Using military without authority. Final verdict- he’s given 13 years jail.
Mar-W3W4-IR/Diplomacy
P Only Operation Raahat to rescue Indian citizens from Yemen. Reasons for conflict: Shia Huthis rebels have ousted Yemenis President AbdRabbu Mansour Hadi. Since these Huthis are allies of Iran (Shia), so Saudi Arab (Sunni monarchy) begins airstrike on those rebels in Yemen. Pakistan will also send troops to support Saudi Arabia. Indian workers caught in cross fire, hence the need for Op. Raahat to rescue them. Features of Op.Raahat:⇒ Minister of State for Overseas Indian Affairs General (Retd.) V.K.  Singh to oversee operations from Djibouti port.⇒ INS Sumitra shifted from anti-piracy ops to rescue op in Djibouti. INS Mumbai, Tarkash will also reach soon. Two IAF C-17 Globemasters and two Air India flights also arranged. So total 3 ships x 4 planes.⇒ MEA in touch with Yemenis Government and rebels for a safe passage of Indians. Modi calls up the new Saudi king Salman Bin Abdul Aziz to help out. Challenges⇒ Saudi began air-strikes on March 26, so India should have begun ops sooner. But Indian Government says people were warned in advance, but they did not move out quickly.⇒ 4k legal workers and 5k illegal workers stranded.
P Only Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire is based on Vikas Swarup’s “Q&A”. Now this gentleman has replaced Syed Akbaruddin as the MEA spokesperson.
P+M India Qatar sign agreement on prisoner transfer. Indian prisoners convicted in Qatar can be brought to India to serve the remaining part of their sentence in Indian jails, and vice versa for Qatari prisoners in India.
P+M Modi2SriLanka: {—Tourism—}⇒ Ramayana Trail in Srilanka and Buddhist circuit in India. Festival of India in SriLanka. Cultural centre inaugurated at Jaffna.⇒ Visa on arrival for Sri Lanka⇒ Air India to run direct flights between Delhi and Colombo. {—Finance—}⇒ Currency swap agreement between central banks of both countries {—Disaspora—}⇒ >300 Million$ loan to Sri Lankan railways.⇒ 20k homes given to refugees in Northern SriLanka.⇒ India wants “united sri Lanka” but asks them implement 13th Amendment to give greater power devolution to Tamil majority   provinces in North and East. ; {—Energy—}:⇒ Trinco oil farm and power plant with help of Indian Oil.⇒ no defense pact though, but Srilanka promises not to dock foreign submarines on its ports.⇒ Sri Lanka has signed its first nuclear agreement with India, but this agreement only aims for nuke safety operations and not energy generation at present.⇒ Triconmalee to be developed as regional petroleum hub.
M+I India-Japan civil nuclear deal not moving forward because Japan wants (1) India to share nation specific data about which countries supplied India what type of nuclear fuel and technology. (2) If India breaks its vow and begins testing nuclear weapons then Japan will Cancel the deal and asked India to return all the equipments and technologies. Both these conditions are not in the best interest of India’s energy security. + Because of them, even in the US nuclear deal is stalled because (1) Japan’s clout over Nuclear suppliers group (NSG) (2) American companies rely on Japanese companies Mitsubishi and Toshiba to produce nuclear reactors.
OLF Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar  says a Cold War political order still persists in India-U.S. relations. While India’s Act east policy overlaps with USA’s Recalance to Asia policy. But nuclear deal is still under obstacles.
OLF 1996: India favour UNGA resolution for banning anti-personnel mines. But 1997: India did not sign the mines treaty, even though 80% of Joined the treaty. India was a major manufacturer of undetectable landmines, and used them along LoC particularly after Operation Parakram, which was initiated after December 2001 Attack on Parliament. However, statistics reveal thousands of Indian armed forces and civilians accidentally injured because of these mines.
OLF West’s flawed approach towards ISISI⇒ Earlier the death of Saddam Hussein and Muammar Qaddafi did not bring peace, but instead led Iraq and Libya into further chaos by splinter groups.⇒ “Arab Spring” happened only in republican nations- Egypt, Syria, Libya, Yemen. While, 8 monarchies — Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, the Emirates, Jordan and Morocco — were never destabilized. Because most of them are enemies of Iran (Shia), West turns blind eyes to human rights violations in there.⇒ Yemenis civilians getting killed in Saudi aerial bombarding, yet West doesn’t cry about human rights, like they do in case of Syria.⇒ Many 1st world citizens from Australia, US, England et al. began to join ISIS.⇒ Now USA planning to talk with Assad for peaceful regime change and settle down the nuke issues with Iran.
OLF International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Yukiya Amano begins safety inspection of Indian nuke plants and suggests following measures:⇒ separate law to provide independence to the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) by law. UPA Government designed a bill post-Fukushima disaster but bill lapsed in Lok Sabha.⇒ AERB should devise  strategy to increase safety of actinides and other nuclear waste.⇒ setup a “national policy” for nuclear safety and radioactive waste management⇒ improve  internal emergency arrangements during accidents.; Sidenote: Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) conference in June. India wishes to become full member, although obstacle is that we’ve not signed NPT.
OLF China wants a stable Afghanistan to ensure peace in its own Xinjiang region. China got Pakistani Army and ISI to iron out negotiations between the Afghan unity government and the Talibans. Even setup the China-Afghanistan-Pakistan trilateral dialogue at heart of Asia conference. Hosted Taliban delegation twice in Beijing. USA also reduced some sanctions from Taliban and in return of this Sino-American valvet glove treatment the Afghani Talibans have distanced from Al-Qaeda and showed willingness to negotiate. ISI believed to have imprisoned Mullah Omar to prevent terror attacks. Indian interests:⇒ Pakistan may try to block Chabahar port, so that only Pakistan remains economic entry point to Afghanistan.⇒ Pak. May try to sabotage India’s proposed 4 iron-steel plants in Hajigak. Solution – befriend Iran and Afghani Presidents.
OLF President Obama relaxes norms to get L1B visa meant for corporate executives. This will help in bringing more foreign investment and the specialised workers in US
OLF U.N. Secretary-General wanted to give social security benefits to spouses of gay/ LGBT employees working is the United Nations offices. But India, China, Russia, Pak, Saudi et al. opposed this resolution, saying Bank Ki Moon did not consult with member states. However, motion was defeated. and India faced criticism from various quarters including USA
OLF Hindu gone crazier than usual about Sri Lanka⇒ Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena gives the title of “Field Marshal” to Sarath Fonseka. General Fonseka was instrumental in wiping out LTTE but had fallout with previous President Rajpaksha, so Rajpaksha got him jailed, and banned from contesting elections. But new President Sirisena began to fix it.⇒ During LTTE fighting, Sri Lankan Army had taken over Northern Tamil land to create high security zones. New President Sirisena gives back those land deeds to original owners.⇒ Sirisena’s visit to China. Both leader propose  ‘triangular’ dialogue among India, China and Sri Lanka.⇒ Former Sri Lankan Prez. Chandrika Kumartunga will head a task force for a reconciliation of Tamils.
OLF AIIB basics already covered in old article under diplomacy section. But Hindu gone crazier than usual. Daily commentary on which new country wants to join it? bottom line is-⇒ Australia, Britain, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland et al many erstwhile pro-US parties now interested. Means US dominated IMF-World bank power waning.⇒ Earlier Japan was hesitant to join AIIB because itself dominates ADB (HQ Manila), but now Japanese MNCs lobbied and got Government to silent agree to join AIIB by June.⇒ The chiefs of IMF and ADB have voiced support for AIIB.⇒ U.S. Treasury Sec Jacob Lew met Chinese Prime Minister (Premiere) Li Kequiang to iron out differences.
OLF China has provides details its one belt one road initiative. It’ll have two components (1) Overland Silk Road (OSR) (2) Maritime Silk Road (MSR). Together they’ll cover Eurasia from the Pacific coast to the Baltic Sea. They’ll shift geo-economic power from US-EU towards Eurasia, led by China.⇒ In next 10 7ears, 4.4 billion people will be covered and it’ll generate trade above 2.5 trillion dollars with help of RCEP.⇒ Collectively Silk Road + RCEP will counter USA’s Asian Pivot + TPP.⇒ Sri Lanka will get ~40 million $ from AIIB for this Silk road project. More details under old article under diplomacy section.
OLF Lee Kuan Yew: the founding father and first Prime Minister of Singapore (From 1959 to 1990). Died of Pneumonia related complications at 91 age. Modi attended his funeral.⇒ Broke off with Malaysia to create Singapore (Sanskrit name- Simhapura). Helped Deng Xiaoping rebuild China in Post-Mao era. Shanghai turned to Manhattan of East.⇒ Lee praised Indira Gandhi and justified emergency, but in Cold war-NAM era, India and Singapore’s interest could not align. So later Lee became critic that India was not a real country but 32 separate nations arrayed on British rail line- Their ethnic mix, voting patterns and coalition government ensure no decision is taken on time. Indian politicians and bureaucrats have feudal mindset who see entrepreneurs as sinner for making profits.⇒ Lee warmed up after Narsimha Rao’s Look East Policy, sought our military assistance. He called Called India a “nation of unfulfilled greatness”. India-China will reshape world order before end of 21st century.  Although China won’t go war with India because it can win by simply playing by rules of international economy.⇒ Applied social engineering to create a plural nation with four official languages and a housing policy to intermingle people of various races. {—Anti-points—}⇒ curbs on media and freedom of expression. He justified it under Asian values i.e. good of society comes before rights of individuals.⇒ nepotism, family members made lot of money⇒ Singapore City-state model leads to rich economy but income inequality rising.
OLF US Department of Justice updates “hate crimes training manual”, FBI asked to track hate crimes against Hindu and Sikhs since 2013.
Ignored UN human rights investigator asked UNSC and ICC to take action against violators of human rights in Syria. But neither took action. So now UN investigators willing to share names and evidences with any country that wants to pursue this matter.
Ignored Modi to visit Europe in April. wanted an India summit at Brussels, but EU authorities didnot reply in time (conspiracy angle- because of the slow progress in Italian marines case.) So angry Modi cancels Brussels trip altogather.
Ignored Kashmir ball by ball⇒ Union Minister of State for External Affairs Gen.  V.K. Singh attends Pakistan National Day celebration hosted by Pakistani embassy but feels disgusted with presence Hurriyat leaders, and subsequently tweets with hash tags #duty #disgust.⇒ J&K CM Sayeed says AFSPA will be gradually removed by taking army in confidence.
Ignored Chinese Special Representative Yang Jiechi comes to meet NSA Ajit Doval to discuss border dispute (1) 2000 kms Arunanchal Pradesh border (2) 4000 kms Ladakh border.
Ignored Denmark planning to join NATO’s missile defense program by installing missile and radars on its warships. Russia warns if this happens, we’ll attack Danish warships.
Ignored Lunatic co-pilot crashes Germany’s Lufthansa’s aeroplane in French Alps. 150 dead.
Ignored During G20 summit @Brisbane, Australia 2014, one of the immigration official mistakenly forwarded World leaders’ passport number, email id etc. to Asian football tournament organizers, thus endangering their security.
Ignored Visit of Indian defence Minister to Japan. Ignored because mostly same old bol-bachchan.

Economy, Banking, Finance

March W1 & W2
Banking-Finance P+M RBI and Finmin sign agreement to implement recommendations of Urjit Patel Committee on monetary policy reforms. (1) inflation targeting at CPI 2-6% i.e. @4% with band of 2%. Must get inflation below 6% by Jan 2016. (2) failure if inflation above 6% during 3 consecutive quarters of 2015 OR if inflation below 2% in 3 consecutive quarters of 2016. (3) RBI will have to explain Government in such case. if factors beyond RBI’s control, then it can raise monetary policy rates to combat inflation. (4) Monetary policy to be decided by a Monetary Policy Committee (4) among 3 functions of controlling- inflation, foreign exchange rate and interest rate, RBI will give first priority to inflation.
Banking-Finance P+M RBI says loans to sanitation, health care and drinking water facilities, renewable energy and incremental loans to exporters, will come under Priority sector lending. Plus RBI panel recommends both foreign banks above and below 20 branches, should have same PSL targets i.e. 40%.
Banking-Finance P+M Gold refiner MMTCPAMP preparing a gold metal account scheme with help of Switzerland’s PAMP. Customer can deposit minimum 50 gms gold. He’ll earn ‘gold’ interest instead of rupee interest over the time. This gold will be loaned to jewelers.
Banking-Finance OLF Rajanbhai is distressed over the fact that post-Global financial crisis, the central banks around the world are printing money and reducing interest rates to very low levels. But since RBI has to combat inflation, we can follow that path of reducing interest rates. This has led to ‘avalanche’ of capital inflows in India, and may create foreign exchange rate instability.
Banking-Finance P+M As such Rajanbhai releases “Bi-Monthly” policy review. But in 2015, twice he made surprise changes in repo rate. January 2015: repo reduced from 8% to 7.75%. And now again in March 2015 he reduce it further from 7.75 to 7.50. (25 basis point.) Lower repo rate means cheaper loans, more demand and business expansion. This is done because Rajanbhai perceives Jaitley budget as “non-inflationary” due to concise tax breaks and subsidies. So he has reduce policy rate (=repo rate) to show that fiscal and monetary policy will work in a complementary way.
Banking-Finance P Only Under coinage act 2011, Government of India will restart printing 1 rupee note, with bilingual signature of the finance Secretary. RBI will put these 1 Rs. Note into circulation. Note will bear Ashoka Pillar symbol in the window without words ‘Satyamev Jayate,’ and carry a hidden numeral in the centre.
Banking-Finance OLF RBI expands LTV definition. Now Loan to Value ratio for housing sector, will also include stamp duty, registration fees and other document charges. This will help get bigger housing loans, but upto 10 lakh rupees.
Banking-Finance P+M At present money markets are controlled by the RBI. But mutual funds also play a significant role in money market, and are regulated by SEBI. Earlier Bimal Jalan and FSLRC reports recommended that RBI should not be managing Government debt (through G-Sec, T-Bills). It should be done by An autonomous public debt management authority/agency, will sell such a government securities to financial intermediaries on voluntary basis. To implement this reform, Budget-2015’s Finance Bill will amendment sections 45U and 45W. After this, RBI will cease to regulate government bonds and other money market instruments. Then perhaps Public debt management agency (PDMA) will be made setup and made responsible for handling G-Sec, T-bill. And RBI will focus only on the core functions of central bank i.e. (1) controlling inflation (2) banking supervision (3) controlling foreign exchange rate volatility.
Banking-Finance P Only Employee Provident Fund (EPF) and PPF schemes enjoy this status. EEE status (exempt-exempt-exempt) i.e. (1) money deposited in the scheme (2) interest earned in the scheme (3) money withdrawn from the scheme after maturity. At all three stages, it is exempted from income tax calculation. In budget 2015, while greatly increase the exemption limit in new pension scheme (NPS) from 1 lakh to 1.5 lakh, but still it does not enjoy EEE status. Presently, NPS has over 80 lakh subscribers, but given this EEE-anomaly, it will be difficult expand the base further.
Banking-Finance P+M GIFT city, Gandhinagar, Gujarat International Financial Services Centre (IFSC). It’ll be treated as an SEZ, and entities inside it, will be treated as non-resident Indians located outside India. RBI-FEMA will permit setting up foreign banks here. Foreign banks in India can setup. Indian banks with offshore presence, can setup. Each bank can setup only one IBU though. But they can’t accept with retail customers or in Indian currency. Minimum capital requirement 20 million. CRR-SLR applicable: Nope. RBI won’t help via repo rate and other liquidity measures. PSL norms won’t apply. Similarly, IRDA will permit foreign insurers and reinsurers. SEBI will permit stock exchanges, merchant bankers, depository receipts (DR).
Banking-Finance Ignored SBI begins online auction of seized properties worth 1200 crore rupees.
Banking-Finance P+M Insurance bill passed to increase FDI limit from 26% to 49%. Congress abstains in Lok Sabha and votes in favor in Rajyasabha. Cheaper premium will improve insurance penetration, and make junta’s savings flow to long term infrastructure projects.
BoP P Only As per RBI norms, Following citizens are forbidden from acquiring property in India: Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, China, Iran, Nepal or Bhutan. 2 more regions added in this blacklist: Hong Kong and Macau- both administered by China.
Fiscal Policy Ignored 1997: Chindu had Introduced the concept of three slabs of income tax i.e. 10%, 20%, 30%. Chindu says post-liberalization that has been rise In number of super wealthy people in India.
Fiscal Policy P Only Shell companies are the companies located abroad but controlled from India, to evade taxes. Government aims to curb them by introducing “Place of effective management” (POEM) in IT Act. thereby, such offshore companies will be taxable in India, if key Management decisions are taken from India.
Fiscal Policy OLF CSO new GDP calculation method says India grew @7.4% in 2014. Projects 8.1-8.5% growth rate for 2015. But IMF report says, hardly 7.5% possible for 2015.
Fiscal Policy Ignored Income tax Department demands 20,500 crores from Cairn India for share transaction to parent company and subsequent capital gains. Cairn planning for international arbitration under India-UK bilateral investment protection treaty. Earlier Vodafone (Netherlands) and Nokia (finland) also called for arbitration under similar treaties with their nations- thus proving MNCs don’t have much faith in Indian system.
Fiscal Policy OLF Economist Jim O’Neil had given the term BRICS . Now he says India poised to become world’s 7th largest economy in 2017, and 5rd largest economy in 2020.
Fiscal Policy OLF 1983: Double taxation avoidance agreement signed between India-Mauritius. Under this agreement, if a company registered in Mauritius sells assets from India, then India can’t levy capital gains tax. only Mauritius can levy CGT, but they have 0% CGT. So Indian businessman misuse this provision for round tripping i.e. investing their own money in India, but via Mauritius route to reduce tax liability. During his Mauritius trip, Modi said he’ll work to stop this abuse.
HRD P+M Atal Pension Yojana Is for “citizens” in unorganized sector, who joined NPS but not any other social security scheme. Atal will give pension from 1000 to 5000 per month at 60 years age, depending on how much money subscriber contributed. Membership age limit 18 to 40 years. Union will contribute 50% of money given by subscriber or Rs.1000, whichever is less for first 5 years upto 2019-20.
HRD P+M Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana. Membership age: 18 to 50 with a bank account. Pay Rs.330 per year premium. Get 2 lakh accident cover from LIC. Various ministries can co-contribute premium for their respective beneficiaries. Common Publicity Expenditure will be borne by Government.
HRD P+M Minority affairs Ministry had setup Professor Amitabh Kundu (JNU) To assess the impact of minority welfare measures taken after Sachar committee report and Prime Minister’s 15 program for minorities. Amitabha gave report in late-2014. observation: (1) Financial and physical targets are meagre compared to the ground level requirement. (2) Need to increase the budgetary allocation to minority affairs Ministry (3) Minority-scholarships should be made “Demand driven” (4) Separate leadership development scheme for minority women.
HRD OLF Over 5 lakh abandoned children use railway station for living, begging and laboring. Women ministry, Railway Ministry and NGOs have joined hands For rehabilitation of these kids. Toll free helpline 1098. Public awareness campaign. Ultimately Authorities will try to get this children back to their parents or provide them education and vocational skills.
HRD OLF Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009 mandates that no children should be failed till class5. But this has led to declined level of leaning, as seen in ASER report. Therefore, Delhi Dy.CM cum Education minister Manish Sisodia requested union HRD ministry to reduce this provision till class 3 only.
HRD OLF Delhi, Kerala and Tamil Nadu are India’s best ranked States in terms of gender-related education indicators, says HRD and UNISEF report.
Industry-agro OLF Dr. B. Meenakumari Committee gives report for deep-sea fishing Policy and Guidelines to Agriculture ministry.
Industry-MFG P+M NSSO-2013: more than 5.5 crore MSME in India, mostly owned by SC, ST, OBC yet only 4% of them get institutional finance. Budget-2015 announced Micro Units Development Refinance Agency (MUDRA) Bank to give them last mile credit delivery. It’ll first begin as a subsidiary of SIDBI and later converted to a full fledged bank through an act of parliament. If banks fails to meet priority sector lending norms, they’ve to deposit money in NABARD’s RIDF or SIDBI’s SEDF. RBI will pull out Rs.20,000 crores from such priority lending shortfall funds, and give it to Mudra.
infra OLF Under Smart city initiative, Delhi Muni. Will put ‘smart signage’ on historic monuments. Just scan their QR code in mobile and you get all information on smartphone.
infra Ignored Spectrum auction ball by ball. Only final outcome and its consequences important
infra OLF Union Government set up a taskforce for the development of Ajmer, Allahabad and Visakhapatnam as smart cities.
infra OLF For development in Naxal areas, Government working on two pronged strategy (A) physical infra: NITI ayog to announce additional central Assistance (ACA), Highway ministry to focus on Road Requirement Plan (RRP-I) and communication ministry to use Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) for increasing mobile penetration. Strategy (B) Human resource infra: Under Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana, a subcomponent “Roshni”. Roshni will setup 1 ITI and 2 skill development centres in each of the 34 Naxal affected districts in 9 states. They’ll provide short term & long term skill training to youth, so they can get livelihood & don’t get brainwashed by naxals.
infra OLF LIC will give 1.5 lakh crore in next five years for railway projects.
infra OLF Railway wants to setup two factories in Bihar (1) electric locomotive @Madhepura and (2) diesel locomotive @Marhora. For this, joint venture and FDI proposal invited from GE, Siemens and other giants.

 

Mar-W3W4-Economy
Banking-Finance Ignored April 1: Banks will be closed for accounting purpose and 2nd and 3rd April are public holidays under negotiable instruments Act, so total 3 continuous holidays and unless RBI intervenes, it’ll be great inconvenience to customers.
Banking-Finance Ignored At present RBI governor alone responsible for making monetary policy but both Urjit patel Committee and budget 2015 wanted a Committee system with majority voting- for deciding monetary policy of India. But (A) Rajanbhai wants 5 member body with 2 outsider experts but no Government representatives.(B) but Finmin Jaitley wants 8 member Committee with Government nominees without voting power. Although officially Jaitley denies having any rift with Rajanbhai. Ignored because basics of urjit patel already covered in old article and no official announcement made about composition of Monetary policy Committee
Banking-Finance P Only Railways launches RuPay pre-paid debit card. Partners:  Union Bank of India and the National Payment Corporation of India. Utility: Buy tickets, do shopping, pay for IRCTC services. 1lakh accident insurance coverage. Card limits (1) 10k if partial KYC (2) 50k if full KYC Documents provided. For the first 6 months, no transaction charges. Subsequently Rs.10 service charge per transaction.
Banking-Finance Ignored Insurance Companies began raising FDI after parliament bill is passed. SBI  general insurance’s partners SBI:IAG will be turn from 74:26 to 51:49. IAG Australian company. Same way, Max Bupa. Bupa Is British company. Ignored because such bizGK not usually seen in UPSC
Banking-Finance Ignored RBI asks NBFCs to get credit rating done before March 2016. only the NBFCs with credit rating of “investment grade”, will be allowed to accept fresh deposits from junta.
Banking-Finance Ignored Ola taxi-app comes up with special reward scheme for drivers such as⇒ easy loans to buy new cars using SBI ‘s “Ola-Pragati” offer with just 10% down payment and quick-loan processing.⇒ skill training, fuel discount, free car services⇒ 2 lakh medical-health insurance for driver and family using ICICI prudential. This will help promoting Micro-entrepreneurship among the drivers.
Banking-Finance P Only SEBI planning separate platform to help startup companies get capital. Name of this platform = Alternate Capital Raising Platform. Which investors can participate here? High net worth individuals (HNIs), qualified institutional buyers (QIB), Family trusts, NBFCs and other entities with 500 crore net worth. Who can’t participate here? Retail investors, because too much risk involved. Benefit: IT/E-Commerce companies won’t have to approach foreign countries for capital.
Banking-Finance Ignored Given the rising NPA problem, RBI mandates the banks to keep side emergency fund called “Counter cyclical capital buffer”. Recently RBI relaxed its norms to help banks.
Banking-Finance OLF ~12,000 NBFCs are registered with RBI, most of them involved in loaning, and some even accept deposits. Now to prevent menace of shadow banking, RBI has updated takeover norms for NBFCs.
Banking-Finance P+M GIFT City: Commerce Secretary says SEBI and RBI working to provide greater capital account convertibility in Financial SEZ such as GIFT city, Gujarat. Percy Mistry Committee had recommended it (2007), otherwise we can’t become an international finanicial centre like London, NY or Tokyo. What is capital account convertibility- what benefits and harms it pose to Indian economy? Refer to PowerPoint code “L3/P2”
Banking-Finance P Only Companies Act 2013, provides 3 type of companies- One person company, private limited company and public ltd company (2 subtypes- listed and unlisted).  Listed companies have to follow strict norms under companies Act. That’s why many of them began process to turn into private ltd. Companies e.g. TVS automobile Reasons:⇒ private ltd. Are not required to appoint women directors or independent directors in the BoD.⇒ Can give loans to directors⇒ No need to setup a separate audit Committee⇒ no restriction on how much of the profit can be dolled out to executive/directors as remuneration. So in conclusion, better registered as private ltd. Company or limited liability company (LLP), because no point in setting up a public ltd. Company unless you want to launch an IPO to get equity finance from aam-juntaa.⇒ SEBI requires public listed companies to disclose their board decisions within 30 minutes, and other  ‘material information’ within 24 hours. This doesn’t apply for private ltd. Companies.
Banking-Finance P Only Companies Act 2013 requires listed public ltd. Companies atleast 1 woman director in BoD. Else penalty from 5k to 5 lakh and separate penalty by SEBI for upto 25 crores for non-compliance of SEBI’s corporate governance guidelines-2014. But many companies yet to appoint women. Some only got their family member ladies in board of director- so act implemented in letter but not in spirit.
Banking-Finance OLF SEBI announces norms for municipal bonds, E-IPO, Adhar Based E-KYC. Argues in favour of allowing pension funds to pour money in capital market, and relaxation of REITs norms. And allowing banks to convert debt to equity for stressed companies with recovery potential.
Banking-Finance OLF At the Mint Corporation held in Delhi, Finance Minister advocates more use of cheques, plastic currency and other negotiable instruments. It will cut down the cost of printing money, and help fighting against black money problem.
Banking-Finance P+M GIFT city- Gujarat international financial tech city. JV between GJ urban development co. ltd and IL&FS. 30 km from State capital Gandhinagar.  GIFT city  is planned as a financial SEZ.RBI to amend FEMA rules to allow for transaction in foreign currencies since GIFT city  will deemed to be a foreign territory.⇒ SEBI guidelines: (1) Any Indian or foreign stock exchange can set up a subsidiary in IFSC. (2) investors can invest foreign currency directly in the Mutual funds/ hedge funds operating in this area. (3) many other technical nuances not important from exam point of view.⇒ IRDA to allow foreign insurers to set up branches in IFSC. SEBI relaxes guidelines for setting up this International financial servcie  NSE will setup international exchange for trading of shares, bonds, currencies and derivatives. Smart city = automated waste collection system, centralised cooling. Challenges:⇒ lack of full capital account convertibility.⇒ TAX rate should be reduced – Malaysia 3%, Dubai 0%.⇒ Alternate dispute resolution system needed for faster legal resolutions
Banking-Finance Ignored Labour Ministry of planning to amend the EPF act, allowing the workers to choose between EPFO and NPS. If workers chooses NPS, then employer will not be required to contribute to EPFO. Ignored because formal bill is yet to be drafted.
BoP OLF IMF chief says (1) India will have 7.5% growth rate for 2015-16. (and not above 8%, as Economic Survey and Budget). (2) India to be world’s largest economy by 2030, but must focus on inclusive-growth, more women laborer participation. (3) Jan Dhan financial inclusion is unparallel in the world. (4) it was a mistake to ignore Rajanbhai’s prediction about subprime crisis.
BoP OLF Post Subprime crisis till Quantitative Easing (QE) years, American dollars flew to emerging econies. India received above 450 billion$. US Feds planning to raise rates by end of 2015. IMF fears, this will lead to flight of foreign invested capital from India back to USA. Although Rajanbhai says he is fully prepared, and Janet Yellen should think twice before playing with aag(fire), Paani (water) and Rajanbhai.
Fiscal Policy OLF Often MNCs transfer assets from one subsidiary company to another at below-market prices, to reduce profit and tax liability. This has led to rise in number of transfer-pricing cases. Finally to put an end, Budget 2014 came up with provision of Advance pricing agreement between companies and Income tax department. Govt. permitted it for previous four years. This will help reducing number of litigations and promote ease of doing biz.
Fiscal Policy P+M Black money Bill approved in cabinet. (1) 10 years jail +300% tax for stashing black money abroad. (2) must declare foreign assets in IT return else 7 years jail; additionally separate Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Bill to stop black money in domestic assets; IT act to be amended to prohibit of more than Rs.20k in cash;
Fiscal Policy P+M Black money Bill tabled in Lok Sabha. Officially its called “Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets (Imposition of Tax) Bill, 2015”. To be effective from 1/4/2016. Salient features (1) stashing black money abroad = 3-10 years jail time, and penalty of 3 times the tax evaded or 90% of the undisclosed income. (2)  30% Tax on all foreign income. No exemption, or deduction. (3) Onus on the suspect to prove he’s not guilty. (4) if voluntary disclosure of blacck money hidden abroad then lenient punishment i.e. 30% tax + 100% penalty. (5) if foreign income/asset not disclosed in IT return then 10 lakh penalty, even if black money is not hidden in it. (6) Tax officials given more powers of investigation. Appeal structure: ITAT < HC < SC. (7) Union to sign agreements with other nations for automated exchange of tax information, DTAA etc.
Fiscal Policy Ignored PMO asks Air India to submit detailed report about its losses, profitability and revival plan.
Fiscal Policy OLF FinMin launches beta version of national e-database on IT ligitation, nicknamed “National Judicial reference system-NJRS”. It’ll help in quicker disposal of cases at IT appellate boards, HC and SCs. Right now cases worth Rs. 3.5 lakh crores tied up in tax- litigation.
Fiscal Policy P Only Top Fake currencies in Switzerland: (1) Euro (2) Dollar (3) Indian Rupee.
Fiscal Policy Ignored GST⇒ Union Urban Development Minister M.  Venkaiah Naidu suggests that GST revenue should be shared with municipalities so they can Improve infrastructure.⇒ Kerala’s Finance Minister K.M.  Mani will head Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers on GST.⇒ Government will try to pass GST bill in second part of Budget session starting from April 20th.  Ignored because basics already covered in powerpoint and video. More details only after Bill is passed
Fiscal Policy Ignored Delhi hosts Urja Sangam 2015, a global energy summit. Here, Modi asks rich people to voluntarily give up LPG subsidy, thereby reducing Government subsidy bill by 100 crore rupees.
Fiscal Policy OLF NITI Ayog forms a working group on “how to make Centrally sponsored schemes (CSS) more effective and their implementation by the States more fiexible.” NITI Aayog chief executive officer Sindhushree Khullar will be the chief of this group. 14th Finance commission (YV Reddy) gave 42% verticle tax devolution to states. So, obviously Union will cut down the allocation of CSS, hoping that states will bear more burden from their own share. This subgroup will give recommendations for smooth transition into that next gameplan. Union already thinking of cutting down contribution to centrally sponsored schemes from 75% to 50%. They’ll give 100% contribution to selected schemes only.
Fiscal Policy OLF Government aims to borrow 6 lakh crore from market by issuing G-Sec and T-bills. 60% of them will be issued in April-September 2015 period. They even plan to issue G-Sec with 40 years maturity period! RBI not happy with this, saying if so much money pulled out of market by Government, then corporate bonds/debentures will not find much investors. Same reason, if the proposed Public debt  Management agency is made to borrow arbitrarily from market depending on whims and fancies of Government, it’ll hurt Indian economy in long run. As such FRBM Act requires Government to curb fiscal deficit to 3% of GDP, but then if CSO doctors report to raise GDP number (as Rajanbhai and Economic survey alleges), then entire system will collapse, similar to sovereign debt crisis in Greece.
HRD OLF SC says Aadhar card is not mandatory to get govt. subsidies. If any official insists for this card, he’ll have to face consequences.
hrd Ignored NSSO says Indian families food, Expenditure and work habit differs by the caste. SC/SC Spend larger portion of their income in food expenditure compared to OBC. SCs Mostly engaged in rural labour or urban-wage jobs, while OBCs mostly Self-employed or salaried jobs.
HRD OLF In Bihar, Friends, relatives and Nakal-Mafias become Spiderman to climb school buildings to help students cheat in board exams. (1) education minister says state alone can’t curb it. Patna HC unhappy (2) Social angle- passing Matriculation exam necessary for girls issue, therefore relatives/villagers even riot against exam squads. (3) If vigilance tightened then only 12% will pass board exam, like it did in 1996 (4) better opt for open book system exam.
HRD Ignored Nuclear scientist cum Chairman of IIT-Bombay BoD, Anil Kakodkar criticises HRD ministry for fast tracking the selection of IIT directors. It’s not possible to interview 36 candidates in a day and appoint director among them. (well may be he should preach the same thing to UPSC as well.)
HRD OLF In budget 2015, government had announced hundred crore rupees for Madressa-modernisation. But 3000 Madressa’s affiliated with Darool Ulum, have pledged they’ll not accept Government money, nor they’ll start modern teaching in their institutes.
HRD OLF Ex-NAC member cum Economist Jean Dreze begins fresh round of criticism against Aadhar-UIDAI.⇒ project running without legal framework⇒ originally it was planned as a voluntary facility but slowly becoming compulsory despite judicial interventions. e.g. From April 1, UID compulsory for MNREGA payment in 300 districts. ⇒   It will take years before hundred percent coverage is achieved. So those without Aadhar card will be deprived of Government scheme benefits.⇒ it creates a vast infrastructure of social control that can be misused, Four things must work perfectly- biometric device, computer, mobile and internet. Otherwise, bureaucrats can harass people in pretext of electricity /internet connectivity issues. (e.g. babu saying “internet not working right, give addition 10 rupees so I will use internet from my personal mobile to run this machine and get DBT transferred in your account and so on).⇒ Jean’s earlier criticism against the whole idea of DBT that male head of the rural family will blow away all the money on bidi, tobacco, desi liquor and gambling.
industry-agro OLF New scheme for Agro industry innovation -Entreprenuership. Who? MSME ministry. Features:⇒ 500 new incubation centres. Direct level accelerator Program.⇒ help startup companies with help of SIDBI. Finance startup companies through Equity, Quasi-Equity, Angel fund, Venture capital fund etc.⇒ remaining features mostly bol-bachchan type. OLF because scheme doesn’t have a fancy name or abbriviation.
industry-agro OLF NDDB chief says India can’t follow Chinese daily model because we’ve to focus on poverty alleviation, employment generation and sustainable development.  Although we are largest producer of milk in the world, our challenges are – regional imbalance, shortage of fodder
industry-agro P+M In budget 2014, the Finance Minister has announced the setting up of a price stabilisation fund (PSF) To combat food inflation. Finally fund is setup with Rs. 500 crore. This money will loaned to state and central agencies as “working capital” or for buying perishable agri-horticultural commodities from farmers and sell at cheaper price to customers. At present PSF will only focus on Onion and potatoes.) If any losses occurred, Cost will be shared by union and state. Additionally, states will set up their own revolving fund, where Union : states contribution will be in the ratio of 50:50 for general states and 75:25 for north-eastern states.
industry-agro OLF RBI revises the norms for Agri-loan reschulement during natural calamities. If 50% croploss in a district, then the rules will be triggered- bank can give relief to farmer by extend the loan payment period to 3-5-7-10 years depending in type of loan and damage.
Industry-MFG Ignored Hindu newspaper’s boss “Kasturi and Sons limited” began offering VRS to employees for the first times. Moral of the story: if one wants to run a newspaper through subscription from only UPSC aspirants and ad revenue from only Delhi’s coaching wallas, then he’ll have to cutdown costs sooner or later!
Industry-MFG Ignored Make in India: Ford motors opens its Sanand Plant (Ahmedabad), part of Make in India. And aims to triple the exports. Sanand-Kadi-Halol 135 kms area will become Detroit of India. Government buys keychains, cufflinks, gold plated mugs and other souvenirs to promote make in India, during Narendra Modi’s Europe visit.
infra Ignored Railway platform ticket to be raise from Rs.5 to Rs.10.
infra Ignored Union has permitted total 14 ports to handle import of high-end cars/vehicles. Latest additions (1) Pipavav, Gujarat (2) L&T, Chennai.
infra P Only Rail budget 2015 announced “Kayakulp” council to transform Indian railways. Ratan Tata will head this body, it’ll have representatives from rail trade unions as well.
infra OLF Government doing a feasibility study to Construct an advanced for military and civilian purpose in Tawang, Arunanchal Pradesh. Because in 62’s war, China’s forces entered India through this route, so air-connectivity is very crucial, Otherwise by road it takes 16 hours to reach Tawang from Guwahati
infra OLF Natural Gas (CH3) => Ammonia (NH3)=> Urea. Therefore, price and supply of Natural gas affects urea production. Department of fertilizer comes up with following proposal: GAIL will arrange pool of natural gas and supply them to all fertilizer companies at price = Average of (desi + imported gas). Benefit: companies get gas at reasonable price, can produce more urea domestically so, Government subsidy bill on imported urea will decline. {—Another move—} The government is planning to set up at least ten new urea plants in coal rich States of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh et al. China also using technology to produce urea from coal, we also need to explore, to become self-reliance and reduce subsidy bill. Another solution: converting APMC mandi waste into manure.
infra Ignored 2009: Department of telecommunication had banned prepaid mobile SIMS in J&K and North East for security reasons. Although later the ban was lifted, but stringent conditions were placed on such cards. Then Ministry set up Committee under Home Secretary LC Goyal, and extended pre-paid cars for this regions for another 2 years.
infra P+M Parliament passes  Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015 and the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill, 2015. Benefits⇒ Government monopoly ended over coal extraction.⇒ Foreign investment permitted.
infra Ignored Railways misc.⇒ To check menace of touts, railway upgrade its online ticket booking system. Now once your buy a ticket, you’ll be logged out automatically and will have to fill in your details again to buy next ticket.⇒ An express train started to connect two important Takhts of the Sikh Panth – Sri Anandpur Sahib and Amritsar
infra OLF Coal ministry launches online Coal Projects Monitoring Portal (e-CPMP) for all large projects, both public and private. Complaints/disputes can be filed online. This will remove bottlenecks and fast track the projects by improving communication between Business to Government (B2G), Union Government to State Government (G2G) and so on.
infra OLF Geotechnical textile products are used for work related soil, rock e.g. laying down roads and pavements in hilly areas, slope stabilization, protecting river embankments-tunnels-rail-track etc. Marine Engineering Soil Erosion landfills and waste management. Benefits of Geotextile products⇒ less maintenance, need less space.⇒ road will not have potholes.⇒ ground stability during disasters. India is a leading producer, and now Ministry of Textile will promote this sector in North East.
infra Ignored PMO asks Railway minister why trains are late, Prabhu begins analysing emergency era files because trains ran on schedule during that time.

Policy, Governance, Accountability, Administration

March W1 & W2
P Only Modi’s Motion of thanks to President speech, defeated in Rajya Sahba. The modified version thanks President but with regret that there is no mention of high level corruption or black money. This motion-thanks-defeat is fourth in the history of Indian parliament.
P Only Maharashtra Government scraps 5% Muslim quota in Government jobs and admissions. But those who already got job/admission- they’ll continue to stay.
P+M Delhi is a union territory therefore, The Home Ministry is the nodal authority of making all top bureaucratic appointments. There had been a logjam between AAP Government vs MHA about appointment of Delhi chief Secretary. Result: Goa Chief Secretary KK Sharma, will take over as Delhi Chief Secretary.
P+M 99th Amendment Act 2014 replaces collegium system with NJAC. A National Judicial Appointments Commission will select the judges for Supreme court. Many PILs filed in SC against this act. Agitated attorney general says “judge’s job is to judge cases and not appoint brother judges, and “independence of judiciary” does not include sitting judges making judicial appointments.”
P+M Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju says Article 370 (J&K) of the Constitution is a temporary and transitional provision. Some day it’ll have to be removed, to fully integrate J&K into India. However, he also confessed that Modi Government doesn’t have the numbers to pass such Constitutional amendment bill, so opposition shouldnot worry.
P+M Law Commission- Justice A.P. Shah: 255th report about electoral reforms (1) ban newspaper advertisements on the eve of elections be banned. (2) ban Independent candidates from contesting elections because mostly they’re dummy candidates with no chances of winning (3) if any candidate indulges in paid news- disqualify him (4) ban election related broadcast from both print and electronic media for 48 hours before election (5) need to regulate exit polls and bring more transparency in their methodology. (6) make it compulsory for parties to declare all donations, even if less than Rs.20,000 (7) need collegium / selection Committee to pick Election commissioners (8) did not favor compulsory voting model of Gujarat and NGO’s demand for right to recall- right to proportional representation.
P+M Law Commission- Justice A.P. Shah: 255th report about electoral reforms (1) ban newspaper advertisements on the eve of elections be banned. (2) ban Independent candidates from contesting elections because mostly they’re dummy candidates with no chances of winning, they only confuse the voters and split vote share. (3) if any candidate indulges in paid news- disqualify him (4) ban election related broadcast from both print and electronic media for 48 hours before election (5) need to regulate exit polls and bring more transparency in their methodology. (6) make it compulsory for parties to declare all donations, even if less than Rs.20,000, if total 20 crores or 20% of party contribution comes from such small amounts. Upload all such data on ECI website, penalty for non-disclosure. (7) need collegium / selection Committee to pick Election commissioners. It should include PM, LoP in Lok Sabha/leader of largest opposition party and CJI. (8) did not favor compulsory voting model of Gujarat and NGO’s demand for right to recall- right to proportional representation or even state funding of election. However, indirect subsidies in-kind may be given to political parties. (9) introduce common electoral rolls for parliament, Vidhan Sabha and local assembly elections by amending the relevant acts. (10) Must use EVM totalizer to prevent voter harassment after results. (11) setup more election benches in high court and they should pass order within 90 days after argument conclusion. (12) Amend the 10th schedule about anti-defection. The disqualification decision should be made by President /governor with help of ECI, instead of Speaker/chairman. (12) ECI should be given separate independent Secretariat.(13) if candidate fails to give proper record of election Expenditures, debar him for 5 years, instead of present 3 years.
M+I British film maker Leeslie Udwin made a documentary “India’s daughter” about Dec 2012 gangrape. She interviewed accused Mukesh Singh in Tihar Jail, who showed no remorse and instead blamed the victim. Government of India bans its telecast on BBC / NDTV. But movie surfaced on youtube. Pro-ban arguments (1) Mukesh’s villainous remarks will enrage the public, scare the women and may create law and order problems. (2) case still going in Supreme court so not apt to release such video, they may affect judge’s viewpoint about the accused. (3) allegations that Leeslie paid money to Mukesh to make such controversial remarks and / or she filmed him while he was unaware of the camera. (4) Leeslie violated terms and conditions laid down by Tihar jail administration. Anti-ban arguments (1) need to expose the regressive male mindset. (2) in the age of youtube, not possible ban any video fully. (3) Leeslie had got all raw footages cleared by Tihar jail administrator, only after that movie was edited.
M+I Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar summons Mohan for coal scam. Mohan, Kumar Mangalam Birla and then coal Secretary PC Parakh accused under Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) 1988 for giving Talabira-II coal block to Birla’s HINDALCO. Prime minister is not immune from criminal cases, whether he is in the office or outside the office. Although Mohan may try to dodge it by saying, I was a public servant at that time, so Government permission necessary before beginning my prosecution under PCA act. Then ball will fall in President Pranab’s court to grant the sanction.
OLF Quotes Against the ordinance Raj (1) GV Mavalankar: ordinance are inherently undemocratic, and cannot be justified except in case of extreme urgency or emergency. (2) mid 80s: Bihar Government began practice of issuing and renewing Ordinances at regular interval. SC judgment said: “The power to promulgate an ordinance is essentially a power to be used to meet an extraordinary situation and it cannot be allowed to be perverted to serve political ends, because it is contrary to all democratic norms that the Executive should have the power to make a law.”.
OLF e-gov: Delhi Government to upload e-ration cards on its website. Beneficiary can take printout and use it to avail food security act entitlements.
OLF CIC orders Delhi Lieutenant-Governor’s office comes under RTI act. Delhi HC orders Attorney General’s office comes under RTI act. Until now both had been dodging transparency, citing pending court cases about interpretation of “public authority” term in RTI act.
OLF Over the last 10 years, expenditure by political parties for the Lok Sabha elections has raised by 400 per cent, says a report. 2004 election ~230 crores spent, 2014 election: ~1160 crores spent.
OLF Western Uttar Pradesh police setting up a social media monitoring lab to counter hate speech on Facebook and Twitter. Because earlier miscreants used social media to incite riots at Muzaffarnagar, Deoband, Meerut and Aligarh.
OLF Delhi judge orders Government to strictly implement Arms act and stop people from firing guns during marriage procession because it can kill innocent bystanders.
OLF SEBI offers 2 years special hardship leave to its women employees. So they can take care of their family, kids and health, over and above the maternity leave. If other organizations followed the same model, it’ll help increasing women participation in workforce.
OLF International Parliamentary Union (Geneva) says women participation in parliaments have doubles in last 20 years. Now they hold ~22% of all parliamentary seats worldwide. Best nation: Rwanada, Boliva, Andorra, Sweden. Over 120 nations provide “Quota” to women in parliament seats. Perhaps India should consider as well.
OLF An Assamese Muslim trader was arrested in Dimapur (Nagaland) on charge of raping a Naga woman. Nagaland newspapers and bloggers wrongly referred him as IBI (illegal Bangladeshi immigrant). The enraged mob took law into their own hands, barged into the prison, dragged him & murdered him in full public view at town square. Version 1: Shows the disenchantment of people towards Indian police and judiciary in rape cases. Version 2: Person was falsely accused, but murdered after he refused to pay illegal tax imposed by Naga secessionists.
OLF Modi government setting up ‘One-Stop Centres’ provide assistance, legal advice and psychological counselling to women who faced violence or abuse, plus a mobile helpline number.
OLF RTI : PMO refuses to disclose The letter correspondence between CM Modi and PM Vajpayee during Godhara riots, saying “third party” information Cannot be disclosed. Third party being Modi himself.
OLF SC upholds life sentence for 6 oil-mafias who murdered IOC manager Manjunath Shanmugham for his crusade against Oil adulteration in 2005. (so the case is going on in one court to another for last 15 years).
Ignored Modi becomes the first prime minister to have launch @parliament canteen.
Ignored Japan willing to allow Indian lawyers to practice in Japan if India reciprocates by allowing Japanese lawyers here.
Ignored Land acquisition bill, Modi vs Opposition vs Anna ball by ball. Basics already covered in old article on Land ordinance.
Ignored Salman khan driving and poaching cases.
Ignored Kerjiwal vs P.Bhushan vs. Yogendra Yadav. Kejriwal’s naturopathy.
Ignored 58 Rajya Sabha MP petition to Vice President, to begin impeacehment process of Madhya Pradesh HC judge SK Gangele for sexual harassment.
Ignored From 2009, Army adopted “Command Exit promotion policy”, under which the officers from infratry and artillary branches were given first preference in promotion to Colonel rank, compared to the officers from other branches. Finally Army tribunal has quashed this policy as “violation of Article 14”.
Ignored Rahul Gandhi’s security profiling / political snooping.

 

Mar-W3W4-Polity, Governance
P Only After Dec 2012 Delhi gangrape, then UPA government had setup Nirbhaya Fund with Rs.1k Crore for financing women safety projects, but RTI reveals hardly 200 crores used so far. Nirbhya fund is part of “public account” that fact is important for prelims.
P Only Modi yet to nominate two Anglo-Indian members in Lok Sabha despite completing 10 months in power. If appointment not made by 31st march, they’ll lose entire year’s allocation of funds under MPLADS. Refer to theory in Laxmikanth
P Only 132nd Inter parliamentary union held at Hanoi, Vietnam. Theme: “Sustainable Development Goals: Turning words into action”. Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan attended.
P+M States can setup legislative councils (Vidhan Parishad) only after Parliament approval. Following 6 states already have it: Currently, only six States follow the bicameral system — Andhra, Bihar, J&K, Karnataka, Maharashtra and UP. Following proposals are pending (1) three states want to create upper house: Assam, Rajasthan and Odisha But parliament yet to clear (2) Andhra wants to raise number of members from 50 to 58 in its legislative council. There’s need for a national policy for creation of upper house in State legislatures. Otherwise wantonly state government decided to setup and abolish them. According to expert, demand for Vidhan Parishad increasing due to rise in number of politicians who can’t get elected or find jobs in state owned PSUs. Anti-argument: (1) such seats mostly hogged by defeated members of ruling party who get nominated to upper house. (2) such vidhan parishads don’t have much power, except delaying legislation for four months. They only increase financial burden on state.
P+M Jat reservation.⇒ 1992: Indra Swahny judgement- SC lays 11 parameters for inclusion of backward classes, concept of creamy layer given, 50% maximum total reservation, subsequently national commission for backward classes setup.⇒ 2014, Feb: National Backward class commission says Jats not entitled for OBC status.⇒ 2014, March: UPA government notified Jats as Other backward community.⇒ 2015, March: SC has stuck down Jats’ OBC reservation saying (1) 10 years ago NCBC did a survey and didnot find Jats backward. so, if Government now calls them backward, its “Retrograde governance” (2) NCBC commission was not in favor of giving reservation to Jats. Its decision ordinarily binding on Governmen, unless there are compelling reasons to do something opposite. (3) just because state governments have given reservation to them, that alone is not a compelling reasons. Because Jats are politically organized (4) Government should instead focus on giving OBC status to other social classes such as transgenders. Constitutional angles:⇒ 15/4 and 16/1: state can make special provisions and reservation⇒ 38: State to eliminiate inequality⇒ 46: state to promote education among SC/ST. protect them from social injustice⇒ 355: claims of SC/ST in Government jobs.⇒ 340: President to appoint commission for backward classes⇒ 341/342: President to specify castes and tribes in SC/ST.; Epilogue: Group of JAT students file petition claiming they already had filled entrance exam forms as OBC category for medical/dental entrance exams, and got decent ranks in OBC but now they’ll be converted to General category. But SC refuses to give any relief to them.
P+M 2013: CIC ordered political parties are public authorities answerable to RTIs. But none of the parties appealed against the order to CIC or to any higher court. So now CIC says it can’t force uncooperative parties, RTI campaigners need to approach government or courts. Experts fear this will defeat the RTI purpose if all bodies become uncooperative like this.
P+M Union Information and Technology Ministry launched Bharatniti.in, a public policy portal to put whats and hows of policy making, using Traditional Indian wisdom. Mains Question: “Relevance of online media in policy discourses.”
P+M DigiLocker is a Government portal that allows users to save insurance, medical reports, PAN card, passport, marriage certificate, school certificate and other documents in the digital format. They can be verified online and printed. Highest number of users: Gujarat > UP > Maharashtra. Digilocker is operated by DEITY – Department of Electronics and Information Technology, under the communication and IT Ministry. At present 10MB free space. Government planning to increase it to 1GB.
P+M Delhi Police launches “Beatbook” app. Since British Raj and Cr.PC system, Beat policeman has to record his daily activities, petroling route etc. But in pen-paper mode it takes lot of time. This web based app will help moniter GPS Coordinates of the policemen and automatically update his beatbook, and notify Superior officers Through a centralised server. This follows Modi’s vision for “SMART policing”.
P+M Government launches “Twitter Samvad” in collaboration with Twitter and its Indian acquired Zipdial company. Feature: selected Government tweets will be directly sent to citizens’ mobile as SMS. Will help in e-governance, disaster Management, rescue ops, law and order Management.
P+M IT Act Section 66-A removed. Timeline 2008: UPA Government amended IT act 2000 to add 66A- provides jail upto 3 years; 2012: Shreya Singhal files PIL. 2015, March: SC strikes down Section 66A Reasons: ⇒ Article 19(2) empowers the state to put reasonable restrictions on freedom of speech for public interest. But the definitions given in IT act section 66A were too vague, and open to misuse. ⇒ Thought control and restrictions on free ideas, is a copyright of totalitarian regimes, our Constitution envisages a republic and a democracy.⇒ Since offenses poorly defined, subject to arbitrary interpretation and arrest even for mere causing annoyance, inconvenience to some VIP.⇒ SC-2013 guideline says arrest can be made only after authorization from a Senior police officer but  guideline not followed always. Assem Trivedi arrested for a cartoon, A Professor arrested in W.Bengal for forwarding cartoon about Mamta Benarjee, 2 Pune girls arrested for facebook post about Shiv Sena’s forceful Bandh on Mumbai city, and latest a UP teenager arrested for a post against SP leader Azam Khan. Anti-arguments⇒ Section 69A and 79 still not removed from IT act. So Government free to block websites and content for protecting public order, India’s sovereignty etc.⇒ Police can still arrest person for online content, under IPC section 153 (hate speech), 296A (religious outrage), 505 (Public mischief) etc.
M+I Gujarat state assembly passes anti-terror Bill named “Gujarat Control of Organised Crime Bill (GUJCOC)”. Earlier it was rejected twice: Kalam (2004) and Pratibha (2008). Salient features⇒ phone taping permitted and admissible as evidence in courts, person can be detained for upto 180 days based on phone tapping alone⇒ confession made before SP or higher police officer is admissible in court.⇒ state Government and its officers are immune from any legal action / compensation to suspects, while doing work in public interest and good faith[ {—–} Anti-arguments⇒ not aligned with the provisions of NSA, CrPC, Evidence Act or NIA Act.⇒ draconian provisions. Aims to muzzle jholachhap NGOs and civil society activists.⇒ POTA had similar provisions but was repealed due to misuses.{—–} Pro-Arguments⇒ Gujarat’s vulnerable coastline, rise in number of organized crime gangs. ⇒   Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) has similar draconian provisions.
M+I The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel and Law, begins study on holding simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly elections from 2019. Committee  Chairman Rajya Sabha MP, E. M.  Sudarsana Natchiappan (Congress). will save lot of man and material Expenditure. Post Independent India’s first four elections were held in this manner, but then practice discontinued due to the dissolution of some State assemblies.  Pro: 170th Law commission report. L K Advani Anti: Ex-CEC SY Qureshi, because if a State government was dissolved within six months, then given state will have (A) tolerate that party for four years OR (B) work under presidential rule for 4 years. It’ll go against the spirit of democracy, and one party will be able to run like a dictator for five years.
M+I Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe tables 19th Constitutional amendment bill. Provision⇒ convert presidential form of Government to parliamentary system.⇒ reduce presidential powers.⇒ President can have only 2 terms. Then can’t get re-elected. In short, plans to undo the Constitutional changes made by previous President Rajapaksa. Topic becomes important for GS2 Mains- comparing Constitutions.
OLF Delhi Government will not give permits to taxis unless they install GPS meters for women safety.
OLF Union Government provides 33% reservation for women in the direct recruitment for nongazetted posts of constables to sub-inspectors in the police forces of all Union Territories, Delhi included.
OLF EC has began de-duplicating exercise to remov duplicate voters by cross-checking voters id numbers with aadhar number. EC hopeful that after removing duplicates, voting % will be 84-85% in any election.
OLF 1st Global Dalit conference held in Washington. They want US congress to pass a resolution condemning practice of untouchability in India, Nepal and other South Asian nations.
OLF Political parties are exempted from Income tax and get other tax benefits. Only 200 out of 1600 parties actually contest in any local, state of national election. It means remaining 1400 are mainly setup for tax avoidance purpose. Now CIC says their registration will be cancelled if they’re not contesting election.
OLF Karnataka Government wants to build 2 dams across Cauvery river at Mekedatu. Tamilnadu Government asked Modi to stop its construction, else Tamilnadu’s watersupply will be affected.
OLF Public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam says Kasab never asked for Biryani. Nikam cooked up that story to enrage public, so that media stops portraying Kasab as a scapegoat and misguided youth. Now Maharashtra Government has termed Nikam’s action as “unfortunate”. Makes a good case study for ethics.
OLF Lok Sabha Secretariat has put “Godse” as an unparlimentarian word. Shiv Sena MP Hemant Tukaram Godse objects, why entire community’s surname be deemed as an unparliamentarian word for the deeds of one man Nathuram Godse!?
OLF Amnesty international report on death sentences:⇒ No. 1 is China. Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia accounted for 75% of world executions.⇒ Indian courts award ~64 death sentence a year but no hangings in 2014-15 because of SC judgment that mental disability and Presidential delay in disposing mercy petition files are also the grounds for commuting death sentences. Latest execution: Kasab (2012) and Afzal Guru (2013).⇒ Utah becomes first American state to legalize execution by firing squad, due to shortage of lethal injection drugs.⇒ Pak. Resumed execution of prisoners  after Peshawar army school massacre. ~8k Pakistani prisoners on death row.⇒ No credible evidence or statistics to show that fear of capital punishment reduces crime rate in a country .
OLF Karnataka State assembly passes bills:⇒ Class 1 to 5 must be taught in child’s mother tongue or Kannada⇒ Kannada to be one of the  compulsory language for class 1 to 10, (Except CBSE/ICSE). It’ll become law once President assents.
OLF Supremo / Highcommand culture in Indian political parties.⇒ Even non-dynastical parties have it e.g. AAP, AIUDF, Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), Trinamool Congress to name a few.⇒ such centralization comes because our parties don’t have independent civil society organizational base to put a check on them e.g. RSS on BJP or erstwhile Anna movement on Kejriwal.⇒ Indian state’s “maai-baap” nature- from giving jobs under MNREGA to transporting people via railways to building industrial complexes through PSUs. Supremo leader tries to become boss of both party and Government (PM/CM) to control this flow, doll out largesse to votebank, loyal workers, contractors and corporates who help him in elections.⇒ End result: electoral corruption. Political fragmentation with new parties popping up every now and then by disgruntled leaders e.g. YSR Congress, Yogendra Yadav’s proposed party etc.
OLF UP passes a bill to fix accountability and financial powers of Mayors.
OLF Under IPC Section 304A, rash and Negligent driving gets max. 2 years even if death caused. Supreme court says there is need for stringent punishment. Delhi HC too says drunk driver is like a suicide bomber and deserves a stern punishment.
OLF In 2011, municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) was split into 3 parts- North, South and East, by then CM Sheila Dixit, hoping that it will improve efficiency. But now North and East Delhi civic bodies in financial crisis, unable to pay salaries to staff and even cancelled shoe-purchase plan for primary school kids. Now, authorities planning for re-merger, but political parties non-committal. Moral of the story- decentralization not always good, sometimes economies of scale better.
OLF Planned merger of 6 Janta Parivar parties: Samajwadi Party, the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the JD (U), the Indian National Lok Dal, the Janata Dal (Secular) and the Samajwadi Janata Party. Their main leaderwill be Mulayam Singh Yadav and Election symbol: Bicycle.
Ignored Budget-2015 session most productive in Lok Sabha over a decade because both houses worked more than their scheduled time.
Ignored Goa Government doesn’t list Gandhi Jayanti (2nd Oct) in state public holidays. Later apologizes for Typing mistake.
Ignored FIR against Ex-Congress Minister Renuka Chaudhary for taking bribes from a person to get him Lok Sabha election tickets in Andhra Pradesh.
Ignored Controversies surrounding (1) Mysterious death of Karnataka IAS officer DK Ravi. CBI inquiry ordered. (2) Aquitals in Hashimpura massacre (1987) (3) Fire accident in Parliament complex (4) M.P. Governor’s son accused in Vyapam recruitments scam, found dead in mysterious circumstances
Ignored After taking over the power, Modi Government had asked erstwhile Congi governors to voluntarily resign. But one governor Aziz Qureshi had dragged Modi Government to Supreme court. Aftermath: he was transferred to Mizoram and finally removed from office. Now West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi will hold additional charge of Mizoram.
Ignored Chief Justice of India Justice H.L. Dattu holding conference of High Court chief justices on good Friday. Christians criticise, But Dattu says even in past, conferences held on public holidays. Besides if help on working day then court work will suffer.
Ignored Delhi High Court says even foreign airline having even one office in India, is bound by the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act 2013.
Ignored Controversies surrounding (1) Mysterious death of Karnataka IAS officer DK Ravi. CBI inquiry ordered. (2) Acquittals in Hashimpura massacre (1987) (3) Fire accident in Parliament complex (4) M.P. Governor’s son accused in Vyapam recruitments scam, found dead in mysterious circumstances (5) CAG  report says Hooda Government flouted norms to help Raabert Vadra grab land in Haryana. (6) UP PSC paper leaked on whatsapp, exam cancelled. (7) AAP infighting, Medha Patkar quits. (8) SC issues notice to BJP leader L.K. Advani et al for Babri Masjid demolition case of 1992. (9) Land amendment bill ball by ball.
Ignored Gujarat High Court says live-in-relationship and subsequent breach of promise to marry, is not rape.

Environment & Agriculture

March W1 & W2
P Only Ex-Anchor of CCTV (Chinese Doordarshan) Ms.Chai King’s documentary on China’s pollution problem, has became hit on internet. Even Chinese parliament expected to debate on it. Movie’s impact is even compared to Rachael Carson’s book “Silent Spring” (1962) that started environment movement in USA.
P Only The difference in partial pressure of the CO2 between seawater and air facilitate gaseous exchange. Due to this physico-chemical process, Ocean acts as the largest carbon sink on earth. The dissolved carbon dioxide is important because (1) it regulates PH of seawater and thereby health of marine organisms (2) helps marine organisms form calcareous material, later they die=>sediments => petroleum (3) help Phytoplanktons in photosynthesis.
P Only Sarus Crane is the official bird of UP state. NGT orders declaring Dhanauri and Parasaul as wetland to protect this species.
P Only 2012: google develops trekker camera, to provide “Street view” of notable tourist sites. Latest Maping: (1) Amazon rainforest (2) Sagarmatha national park, Mount Everest.
P Only Corroboree frogs founding Australian ranges. At one point, only 4 were left, hence considered the rarest frog in the world.
P Only Global Forest Watch is an online platform that generates satellite images of forest loss worldwide, using google maps. Governments and NGOs use it as benchmark to assess forest loss.
P Only Ulvella leptochaete is an “endophytic” Algae found in British Isles and Indian Ocean. These are microscopic alage live inside macroscopic seaweeds. Such endophytic marine organisms usually produce taxol/paclitaxel – which can be used in anti-cancer drugs. Although this algae is yet to be tested for presence of this anti-cancer compound.
P Only Chamaleons emeged in Africa post-Gondwana period, around 90 million years back. Raman Spectruscopy decodes the Chameleon color changing mechanism. Their skin is made up of lattice of nanocrystals called “iridophores”, that can come together and shift light’s wavelength to change color.
P Only Buddha / Malabar Peacock butterfly is endemic to South Asia. Remaining varities of peacock butterflies found in West Bengal. Plus a new Malayan Green Banded Peacock butterfly (Papilio palinurus) also discovered in W.Bengal recently. This butterfly is also found in Mynmar, Borneo and Philippines.
P Only Highest population of Rhinos in India: (1) Kaziranga National Park in Assam (2000) (2) Jaldapara National Park, W.Bengal (250). But in Bengal, the rhino male-female ratio is 2:1, hence difficult to manage sustainable population.
P Only Solar Impulse 2 (Si2), the world’s first solar aircraft that aims to circumvent globe without a drop of fuel. It began journey from Abu Dhabi and landed in Ahmedabad. Pilots cum developers are Andre Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard from Switzerland. Aircraft weight: 2300, wings larger than Boeing 747 but weights just like a car. speed between 36 to 140kmph. plans to cover world in 25 days flight spread across 5 months duration.
P+M President approves Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Bill, 1995 to ban slaughter of cattle. Beef selling punishable upto 5 years. Will affect 1 crore people’s livelihood. North Eastern states don’t prohibit it. remaining states either completely prohibit or selectively permit with ‘certificates’ to slaughter cattle other than cow.Pro slaughter Points: cheap source of protein for poors. Livelihood to millions. No point in wasting grassfodder to useless or aged animal. Anti slaughter points: The weak and meek need more protection and compassion.
P+M Critically Endangered Great Indian Bustards (GIB) is the State bird of Rajasthan. Total 150 GIB live in India, out of them ~100 in Rajasthan alone, and remaining in Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Andhra Pradesh. But the new census says only 50 GIB left in Rajasthan. And zero GIB left in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Thar desert of Rajasthan is the breeding ground for GIB. Officially its called “Desert National Park” but legally its only a sanctuary therefore human activities permitted, even Supreme court permitted school constructions here. Other dangers (1) installation of windmills (2) shortage of forest guards.
P+M World conference on disaster risk reduction at Sendai, Japan from 14-18th March 2015. India’s home minister will participate. They will evolve strategy following the current ‘Hyogo Framework of Action’.
OLF ISRO study says Sunderbans losing green cover and land mass.
OLF NGT orders ONGC and other bodies to pay ~95 crores to the traditional fishermen families of Raigad district in Maharashtra. This is the highest compensation order passed so far.
OLF Global warming / climate change will increase pest population and variety because (1) insect development stages get changed (2) they don’t die quickly in winters because temperature not cold enough.
OLF Madhya Pradesh->Singrauli District->Mahan Coalmines. Tribals are opposing it. Greenpeace activist Ms. Pillai wanted to raise this matter to British MPs. But Government of India banned her foreign travel. New condition: if she gives written undertaking that she will not make any submissions about rights violations in India before a British Parliamentary Committee, only then she’ll be allowed to travel. Because such testimonies lead to release of “biased annual reports” by EU and US parliaments and adverse trade negotiations. Final verdict: Delhi HC lifts the ban saying- “development activites and counter point debates going on since ages. But that can’t be used for curtailing citizen’s fundamental rights’, mere expression of counterpoint can’t be claimed “anti-national” activity . hence Pillai free to go.
Ignored Australian authorities kill ~700 koalas because they were starving due to food shortage.
Ignored Japan’s Aoshima island is also known as Cat island because cat to human population ratio is 6:1.

 

Mar-W3W4-Environment, Agro
P Only Totten Glacier is the largest in East Antarctica. But it has been melting at fast rate, Scientists now found two pathways channeling warm ocean water under it and thereby increasing the melting.
P Only Chennai highest per capita emitter of greenhouse gases, says IISc.
P Only Cyclone Pam ravaged Pacific nation Vanutu (capital Port Vila). Its president Baldwin Lonsdale seeks world help.
P Only First country to use biofuel in aviation – Canada (2012). Recently, Hainan Airlines becomes China’s first company to fly Boeing 737 with biofuel. This biofuel has conventional ATF-fuel and discarded cooking oil from restaurant in 50:50 ratio. Chinese restaurants can sell off used cooking oil, otherwise they used to either throw it away or re-use it multiple time in food-preparation which is bad for human health.
P Only India’s noted environmentalist Rajendra Singh (nick name “Waterman”) won Stockholm Water Prize 2015 (Sweden, King Carl XVI Gustaf). He was born in UP, worked in Rajasthan for decades to solve drought issue in Indian villages. Earlier he want Magsaysay award too (2001) for community-based water  Management. His views⇒ Government has replaced rejuvenation with contractor driven sewage treatment and river front Development.⇒ merely declaring Ganga as national river =insufficient. Polluter must be punished.⇒ he’s running “Jal Jan Jodo” campaign to spread water conservation message.
P Only British naturalist Charles Darwin came across fossils of Toxodon and Macruchenia. These South American mammals had trunk like elephant, head like a hippo and teeth like a rodent. Darwin was unable to place these South American ungulates in the line of mammalian evolution. (ungulates =animals with hooves ). Theory 1: they’re related with African mammals like elephants and aardvarks. Theory 2: they’re related with South American South American mammals like armadillos and sloths. Theory 3: they’re related with Camels. Latest conclusion through DNA analysis- Toxodon and Macruchenia belong to perissodactyls—odd-toed hoofed mammals like rhinos, tapirs, and horses. And not related with camel in any way.
P Only Madhav Gadgil wins USA’s Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement for 2015 (2 lakh dollars). He played key role in drafting National biodiversity act 2002. He was  chairman of the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP), but Government did not like his report. Not one bit. So they setup another panel under Kasturirangan. Nonetheless, American environmentalists took note of Gadgil’s report and gave him the award.
P Only African Elephant Summit, at Kasane, Botswana. Delegates say African elephants will be extinct within few decades due to poaching and ivory trade.
P Only Using bio-refining, It is possible to turn macro algae (sea weeds) into bio-ethanol (fuel), and byproducts like agar, pigment, lipids and fertilziers . Important seaweed species: Gelidiella acerosa and Gracilaria dura from Western coast of India, and Gelidium pusillum collected from southeast coast. Challenge: need to grow millions of tones of sea weed. But good thing is seaweed farming can provide large scale employment to many fishermen, and reduce coastal eutrophication and golbal warming.
P Only Camel is the state animal of Rajasthan. Now State government has passed the law- slaughter / cruelty to camel Punishable up to 5 years jail and fine.
P Only Polyhouse cultivation in tunnel-dome shaped greenhouse like structures. Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) has developed a seedless hybrid cucumber that is ideal for polyhouse cultivation. Till now we were dependent on MNCs from Asian country to provide us such cultivars.
P Only WWF celebrates earth hour on 28 March 2015, asking people to switch off light for 60 minutes after 8:30PM. 170+ countries, ~40 UNESCO world heritage sites participated
P Only To stop the nuisance of >8500 Monkeys in Delhi, municipal corporation will install ‘power fencing’ or ‘simian tape’ around Government buildings. The fence will give a very low voltage shock to the animal, so it doesn’t die but just gets scarred off.
P+M Roads, trains and power lines are called Linear infrastructure projects. Under Modi-raj, environment ministry diluted clearance norms for cutting trees for such projects under the Forest Conservation Act of 1980. Pro (1) Roads and power lines vital for economic growth, mobility and delivery of services. Anti (1) Habitat fragmentation (2) wildlife deaths in road accidents and poaching (3) landslides and erosion (4) artificial plantation to compensate the forestloss, cannot compensate for #1,2,3. Therefore, National Green Tribunal has ordered that no linear project or any other non-forest activity be carried out in a forest area unless a final order has been passed by the State government.
P+M Karnataka’s Bandipur Tiger reserve to use drone to moniter movement of animals, poachers and forest fire. A private company keyfalcon has given drone on monthly rent, along with android app “Hejje” (Pugmark) to coordinate movement of forest guards and tigers. It flies at a low level, local people fear getting caught by it, thus drone deters poachers and jungle-mafia. Simultaneously, sensor based camera installed at key places to track movement of men and animals. Price of drone ~2 lakh rupees. Factoids:⇒ 1973- Project Tiger began, Total 47 tiger reserves in 18 states covering ~2% geographical area, 60% of world Tigers in India.⇒ Tiger reserves have (1) buffer area where forest + non-forest land (2) core area- exclusively for tiger only.
P+M Disaster: J&K devastated by another flood in Jelum.
P+M In MarchW1, President approved Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Bill, 1995 to ban slaughter of cattle. Beef selling punishable upto 5 years. North Eastern states don’t prohibit it. remaining states either completely prohibit or selectively permit with ‘certificates’ to slaughter cattle other than cow. Pro slaughter Points:⇒ What about 1 crore people’s livelihood directly in beef industry and indirectly in leather industry.⇒ cheap source of protein for poors. Livelihood to millions.⇒ No point in wasting grassfodder to useless or aged  animal.⇒ Lions, tigers and other carnivores in Mumbai zoos now get chicken as their primary feed. Keepers worry about the animals losing strength due to lack of beef || Anti-slaughter points:⇒ The weak and meek need more protection and compassion.⇒ Ex-Union Environment minister Jairam Ramesh had said meat and beef industry responsible for huge amount of methane emission harming the environment.
P+M Under the National Green Tribunal act, NGT can deliver justice only in matters pertaining to following acts- Water Act, The Water Cess Act, The Forest Conservation Act, The Air Pollution Act, Environment Protection Act, Public Liability Insurance Act and The Biological Diversity Act. Forest ministry contends that NGT can’t deliver any Verdict on matters related to climate change. Because climate change subject is covered under international conventions and protocols.
P+M China planning to install a mega solar power plant in geosynchronous orbit. It will transfer the electricity using microwave or lasers to a collector on earth. Space-based solar panels can generate 10 times more electricity than ground-based panels per unit area. Entire idea inspired from American science fiction writer Issac Asimov’s short story “Reason”. Challenges: ⇒ commercially viable space power plant will require 10,000 tonnes of material. Need very cheap Satellite launch vehicle to send it in space.⇒ solar panels need to be very lightweight
OLF Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project (JNPP). Capacity 9900 MW. Partners Areva (France) and NPCIL (India). It’ll be the largest power generating station in the world upon completion. However, since 2005, Government begun issuing compensation cheques to affected families but 60% of them ended up in litigation because multiple family members claiming right over the same farms due to outdated land records.
OLF NGT calls Railways the “biggest open toilet”, and orders fine of Rs.5000 to anyone found littering or defecating on tracks or platforms.
OLF Given the high air pollution and smog problem, Paris Mayor comes up with novel solution. For a week- only vehicles with odd numbered plates can drive. Remaining will have to use public transport- free of cost. Rule exempted for taxis, electric cars, ambulance and other public vehicles. This move is expected to reduce no. of cars on street by 50%, thereby easing congestion and airpllution.  Paris had imposed similar rule in 2014 too. Factoid: Planet’s most polluted city was Ahvaz in Iran. Says WHO.
OLF CFL lamps contain mercury, which if not recycled, can create variety of diseases. But every year, Delhi alone generate ~75 kilos of Mercury due to broken /thrownaway CFLs.
OLF In March 2015, RBI had brought renewable energy under priority sector lending norms. Subsequently, public sector banks have set target to loan 1.7 lakh crore rupees to this area, to develop~35,000 MW renewable energy. SBI being highest- 75k crores. Simultaneously, Government permits Power Grid Corporation Ltd (Page CIL) to get soft loan from ADB and begin 20k MW green corridor.
Ignored Assam’s Kanziranga National Park’s latest survey says rhino population has increased to 2400.
Ignored Delhi university to setup its own weather station for monitoring microclimate of Delhi.
Ignored Tigers and leopards do not drink blood. These carnivores do not have any mechanism to suck blood when they kill their prey.
Ignored Mithi Virdi, Bhavnagar district 6000MW nuke powerplant planned. Villagers allege CRZ permission given without inspection.
Ignored British scientists find a new amphibian species in the age of dinosaurs, named “Metoposarus Algarvensis”, it was a large salamander, with legs like crocodile, head like a toilet seat and size like a car. It seems the reporter in charge of Hindu’s “weekly-dino-discoveries” section, has shifted to Indianexpress.

Science Tech, Defense

March W1 & W2
Defense P Only The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) clears (1) buying Pilatus basic trainer aircraft from Switzerland (2) building Mine Countermeasure Vessels (MCMV) @Goa Shipyard (3) HTT-40 trainer aircraft from HAL.
Defense OLF Home Ministry has given in-principle approval for recruitment of women officers in the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP). So from next round of CAPF exam, UPSC will notify vacancies accordingly. ITBP guards ~3500 km India-China border at high altitudes along the Himalayan ranges.
Defense OLF One Rank One pension to be implemented from 1/4/2015.
Defense Ignored Minesweeper vessel INS Alleppey (bought from Russia in 70s) got decommissioned. Now we’re left with only 5 minesweeper vessels.
Defense P Only Pakistan developing indigenous Drone named Barraq (flying horse) and laser guided missile for that drone, named “Barq” (lightening)
Defense P Only Largest defence importers of 2014. number 1 is S.Arabia. Then India, China, UAE, Taiwan etc. in the previous year, India was 1st largest importer.
IT/electronics P Only Under national numbering plan 2003, the Department of telecom has reserved 111 to 115 numbers as spares. But Vodafone using 111. TRAI orders vodafone to stop this.
IT/electronics OLF Cloud Self-Organised Learning Environment (SOLE) facility in India and US. In SOLE method, children are put into self-organized groups and self study with help of computers, with minimal rules.
IT/electronics OLF American engineers wired mini-computers into cockroach’s nervous system, to control its movements. Such live insect-bots can (1) go into small places, detect environment 2) escape predators and move through debris better than human design mechanical robots. Although controlling biological organisms through artificial means, raises ‘ethical’ concerns.
IT/electronics OLF After Facebook acquired Oculus Virtual reality for $2 billion, Google deploys a team to build Android Operating system for Virtual reality applications, and it will be distributed free of cost. Google hopes this move will help to capture the market just like it did in android powered smartphones.
Medical Ignored Consumer affairs ministry requires even cosmetic products to put red / green dot label to notify whether they’re vegetarian or non-veg. One pharma giant Reckitt Benckiser goes to court saying this goes against drug and cosmetic act provisions.
Medical OLF Even children from well to do Indian families are shorter and smaller than Sub Saharan kids because Indian mothers have less body mass during pregnancy. India needs to come out with national guidelines for healthy weight gain during pregnancy.
Medical Ignored Peshawar police arrests over 450 parents for not allowing polio workers to vaccinate their children.
Medical P Only Gilead Science blockbuster Hepatitis-C drug “Sovaldi” sells for $1,000 a pill. Hence unaffordable by many in the developing countries. Finally NATCO Natco Pharma signed deal with Gilead to sell generic copies of this drug to 91 developing nations and pay 7% royalty to Gilead
Medical OLF New data from Census 2011: childbirth declining every year and as a result child sex ratio also declining because (1) people stop having more babies as soon as they got a son and (2) sex-selective abortion.
Medical Ignored Sun Pharmaceutical’s Dilip Shanghvi becomes richest Indian ($21.5 billion). Forbes wealthiest people in world: Dilip rank 37, Mukesh Ambani ranks 43rd. Azim Premji 48th.
Medical Ignored Researcher working on Oral swab technique to detect TB. Although no “final product” or funky abbreviation yet launched. Hence ignored.
Medical Ignored Researchers working on a chikungunya vaccine that is based on a measles vaccine virus. Final product yet to be launched.
Medical OLF Health Ministry to celebrate International Women’s Day as ‘Safe Motherhood Day’: free check-ups from 8th to 10th March 2015. 40-60 years women will get breast cancer test, 30-60 years women will get cervical cancer tests. Pregnant women will get Mother and Child Protection (MCP) cards. Family planning services and nutritional advice free of cost to all.
Medical OLF Country with largest open defecation (1) India of course (2) Indonesia (3) Pakistan. UNICEF says over 40 million Pakistani don’t have access to toilet, therefore stunted growth & low Human development.
Medical OLF France’s Parliament working on a bill, that’ll allow Terminally ill patients to opt for heavy sedatives to undergo “deep sleep” until they die. Critics say this amounts to euthanasia in disguise.
Medical P+M Modi launches “3-dose ROTAVAC” vaccine. This is India’s first indigenously developed and manufactured rotavirus vaccine for children under 5, with help of US. Rotavirus kills ~80k kids every year in India. We’ll even supply this Vaccine to other low income countries for $1 a dose, It will also promote “make in India”.
Medical P Only People with “A” bloodgroup are more vulnerable to malaria because plasmodium parasite damages their protein, makes these red blood cells clump (Rosettes) to vessel walls and thereby obstructing blood flow and even causing death- says a new report.
Medical P Only Mutation is a permanent change of the nucleotide sequence of the genome of an organism. MIT researchers say the H1N1 Swine flu virus has undergone mutation in India, thus it has become easier to spread, more deadly, difficult to cure.
Medical OLF Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Amendment Draft Bill proposes to allow ayurvedacharyas, homoeopaths and nurses to conduct abortions. Indian Medical Association (IMA) is against this move, saying it’ll put womens’ lives in danger.
Medical P+M Pharma Jan Samadhan: an online portal where public can file complaint about (1) overpriced medicines (2) shortage of medicines (3) sale of medicine without approval of NPPA. National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) will begin action with 48 hours. Overall, matter falls under chemical-fertilizer ministry.
Sci-Tech Ignored IIT-Jodhpur analyzed big data about Indian cuisine, and revealed that Western recipes work on “positive pairing” i.e. combining similar tasting ingredients while Indian recipes rely on negative food pairings where dissimilarly flavoured ingredients are combined in a recipe.
Sci-Tech P Only Fulgurites are glassy products formed in rocks and sediments. They are made up of volcanic ash melted by lightning.
Sci-Tech P Only 2.8-million-year old jawbone of a Homo habilis (Handy Man) found in Ethiopia. Researchers Believe over the years, H.Habilis species split further into H. erectus and Homo-sapiens (modern Man)
Sci-Tech P+M Bhavani- Women safety portable device designed by Dr. Pavan Kohli and launched by Nirbhaya’s parents. Feature: 2 foot collapsible batton, non-lethal stun gun, 10-foot range pepper spray, panic-button with GPS locator that’ll SMS to 5 relatives and police.
Sci-Tech P Only Relative Humidity is the ratio between amount of water vapour present in air vs. the amount of water vapour the air can hold. During high temperature high relative humidity scenario, human body tries to control temperature by evaporating moisture as per commands from hypothalamus. But since outside air already has high relative humidity, it cannot hold any more moisture, hence sweat doesn’t evaporate quickly, therefore it appears as if we are sweating more profusely during high humid climate.
Space-tech Ignored ISRO postpones launching of IRNSS-1D navigation satellite due to technical snag.
Space-tech Ignored ~13.8 billion years ago, universe originated after a big bang. But New theory says there was no there was no Big Bang and the universe existed all along, without beginning or end.
Space-tech OLF America is worried by satellite-jamming capabilities and anti-satellite missiles being developed by China. Americans will raise this matter during 1st India-US space security dialogue and perhaps try for a global code/treaty on use of outer space in a safe manner.
Space-tech Ignored ISRO to carry out a test flight of Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV-TD) by mid-2015. It uses solid boosters to launch spacecraft and later detaches and falls into sea where it can be recovered for future use. This will help reducing cost of space missions.Topic Ignored till something concrete happens.
space-tech P Only Space-X falcon 9 rocket launches world’s first 2 all electric satellites into orbit for private companies Euteslsat and ABS. Conventional satellites use chemical propulsion system, while these two were all electric, hence need much less energy, thereby reducing cost of operation. But downside is, they take much longer time to reach orbid.

 

Mar-W3W4-Sci-Tech, Defense, IT, Healthcare
Defense P Only Astra: Indigenously developed Beyond Visual Range air-to-air missile. It can be launched from Sukhoi-30 MkI fighter aircraft. This is the smallest of the missiles developed by DRDO – just 3.8-metre long, uses solid propellant, can carry a 15kg warhead. It can chase enemy aircraft at supersonic speeds . Has high Single-Shot Kill Probability (SSKP) and smokeless propulsion.  It can be launched from different altitudes with different speed modes. It can be launched from Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) as well.
Defense P Only World’s top arms exporters (1) China (2) USA (3) Russia.
Defense P Only Home ministry aims to setup India’s first counter terrorism school in Rajasthan.
Defense OLF Home minister aims for 33% participation of women in  CRPF, the BSF, the CISF, the ITBP, the SSB and the NSG, while Defense minister says 38 nations send their defense personnel for training in India, and soon enough we’ll even export our defense equipment to these countries.
Defense P Only HAL to finish developing Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) by 2017. This Twin engine armed heli will be used by Army and Airforce. Cheetahs and the Chetaks are single engine, unarmed and outdated. But LCH is not meant as their replacement.
Defense P+M Assam Rifles completes 180 years on 24/03/2015. Considered India’s oldest paramilitary force. Participated in WW1, WW2, Indo-China war, Indo-Pak wars, Op. Pawan (Sri Lanka), Op. Rakshak (Sri Lanka), and combating insurgency in North East ast. nicknamed Friends of the NE people, because it also implements Border area Development program,education, vocational skills and healthcare. DG: RK Rana
Defense OLF Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994 updated by I&B ministry. TV channels are now forbidden from doing live coverage of anti-terror operations. They can only report what is briefed by authorized Government official.
Defense P Only French company Dassault gives upgraded Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft to the Indian Air Force. The deal was signed in 2011. These upgraded planes are almost new, with shelf life of 10-15 years, helmet  mounted display and electronic warfare suites and other fancy things included
Defense P Only Defence Acquisition Council (chairman: Defense minister) approved following:⇒ Maitri project to co-develo Short Range Surface-to-Air Missile (SR-SAM) using DRDO (India) and MBDA (France). As such MoU signed in 2013, but no process because DRDO was developing Akash missile system. But now realized Akash only good for Army and Airforce, but not for Navy.⇒ Kamov-28 antisubmarine helicopters for Navy. ⇒   DRDO to develop indigenous Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS). Aircraft with AWACS radars can give seamless 360-degree coverage of the airspace. At present we have 3 such systems bought from Israel.⇒ Harpoon anti-ship missiles for Navy’s HDW Submarines.
Defense P Only DRDO tests a new interceptor missile. It’ll becom part of India’s 2-tier Ballistic Missile Defence system to protect important cities from enemy missile. So far testing Successful for endo-atmosphere (below 40 km altitude) and three in exo-atmosphere (above 80 km).
IT/electronics OLF The Uttar Pradesh government has asked teachers not to befriend their students on social media such as Facebook and WhatsApp to prevent incidents sexual harassment.
IT/electronics OLF (1) Among all the nations that ask Facebook to block content, India ranks the highest. 6000 information pieces blocked on facebook, by request of Indian govt. last year.
IT/electronics OLF Bina48: It’s a cyber-clone of a lady named Bina Aspen. Created after interviewing the person for over 20 hours to understand her mental makeup. Robot version has only face and torso, made up of “frubber” skin. She can carry conversation, tweet and express ideas. Benefit: allows a person’s conscious to live forever, even after the death of real person.
IT/electronics P+M Periscope is the name of Twitter application to stream live videos via your mobile phone’s camera. It can instantly turn any civilian into global reporter. This app is meant to compete against another app called Meerkat.
IT/electronics P+M Net neutrality principle requires ISPs not to give advantage to one type of traffic over the other. Violation cases (1) Airtel’s decision to charge extra money on its mobile-internet users IF they use skype to make free calls over internet. Although later decision taken back. (2) Facebook launches internet.org initiative in India with help of Anil Ambani’s Reliance communication. We are 6th country in the world to be covered under facebook’s ‘free-internet’ scheme. Basic idea is- every  reliance phone subscribe will get free internet access to facebook, wikipedia etc selected sites. Criticism: Neutrality principle is violated because other similar social networking sites / and knowledge sites will not get visitors. Because junta given ‘free internet’ only for a selected group of sites allied with Facebook. So in a way, facebook misusing its dominant position via this “zero-rating” business strategy. Net Neutrality developments so far: Government setsup AK Bhargava Committee for examine “Net Neutrality” Jan-W4. Report awaited.⇒ TRAI sought views from companies (March-W4).⇒ 18% decline in SMS usage due to Over the top (OTT) services such as Whatsapp and Viber. Although mobile companies making money through increased income in mobile internet data plans. Although OTTS so far not affecting voice service because our call rates are relatively cheaper.
IT/electronics P+M A hyderabad start-up company working on world’s first interactive haptic footwear called “Lechal”. (hindi- take me along). Just like the wearable smart watch track movement, this footware will contain a smartchip to collect data and help you move towards destination. This will greatly help blind people.
Medical M+I Group of first world scientists want voluntary moratorium that no scientist will indulge in wanton editing of human genome. Because only then we can guard against eugenics and designer babies. Otherwise, it is possible to create superior humans for rich people- with blue eyes, Athletic build and other physical abilities by editing the genomes of Human embryos. Although Same Genome-editing technology can correct disease-genes to cure  HIV/AIDS, haemophilia, sickle-cell anaemia and many forms of cancer
Medical P Only Dengue virus is spread through Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. Australian researchers tied Wolbachia bacteria in these mosquitoes. Result? It decreases dengue virus’s ability to pass from mosquito gut-saliva to human body.
Medical P Only As such human immune system can stop breathed TB bacteria from multiplying. Such people are called “TB infected” However, they don’t feel sick or show symptops or spread TB. But if person suffering HIV, diabetes mellitus, malnutrition  or taking anti-cancer, corticosteroid and other immunosuppressant drugs, then it can’t fight against TB infection. Such people are called TB diseased patients, each of them capable of infecting 10 more.
Medical P Only WHO celebrates 7th April as World Heath Day. This year’s theme “Food safety”. Unsafe food and water kills ~7 lakh children per year in South-East Asia Region because most these countries don’t enforce food safety laws due to rampant corruption.
Medical OLF Delhi HC junks a PIL wanting to screen all visitors to Delhi. Reasons (1) impractical (2) man-money constrains on administration. (3) impractical to hold the persons till test results arrive. Court criticizes such PIL-wallas for living in Utopian world.
Medical OLF Alexander Fleming first discovered peniciline antibiotic and won Nobel in 1945. But indiscriminate use of antibiotic makes the bacteria resistant to them. researchers found⇒ highly corrupt countries have more drug resistant bacteria and deaths because lax implementation of food and drug laws. ⇒ growing demand of meat from developing country = more antibiotics given to animals to quickly fatten them up. Result- more drug resistance.
Medical P Only Jeevan Dhara is Rajasthan’s first State-run human milk bank. Will collect excess breast milk from lactating mothers and provide it to needy infants. Such facilities already opened in USA, and even online sale is done. But unregulated sector means HIV, Hep.C, Syphillis etc disease can creep in. State run bank will ensure quality checks.
Medical P+M Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY). Launched in 2010. By Women Child ministry. Provides partial wage compensation to pregnant and lactating women. 6,000 x 3 installments, and  entitlements food security act- for first 2 children. Except for women working in Government / PSU  jobs. But a survey suggest less than 30% eligible women got benefit. reasons (1) junta unaware of misinformed. (2) requires no-frills zero balance account, which many women don’t have in tribal areas. End result, IMR=40/1k and MMR=167/1 lakh live births. We can’t meet the MDG goal of reducing MMR by 75% or IMR by 66%.
Medical OLF Earlier Government aimed to increase pictographic warning on cigarette covers- from present 40% to 85%. This was to be implemented from 1st April 2015, but health ministry did not notify the guidelines yet. Reason given; Parliamentary Committee on subordinate legislation for tobacco products, has asked them not to publish it till all the stakeholders consulted for amendments. Anti-arguments⇒ MPs giving bogus arguments like no scientific evidence to prove that smoking causes cancer, and bidi contains too low nicotine to cause cancer!⇒ Vote bank politics for bidi-tobacco farmers who can’t cultivate any other crops ⇒ Tobacco corporate industry’s election funding. Anti-Tobacco drive⇒ Maharashtra makes gutkha selling a non-bailable offense.⇒ Delhi also bans gutkha selling but no implementation on ground.
Medical OLF Kerala HC says state Government’s decision to limit the sale of liquor only to 5 star hotels is right. State Government aims to gradually put prohibition, otherwise Kerala is the most drunk state of India. Ignored because basics already covered in old article under polity section.
Medical P+M BRCA1 and BRCA2 human genes used for diagnosing breast and ovarian cancers. (BRCA= BReast CAncer). If a woman has mutation (fault) in BRCA 1 or 2= higher risk of breast/ovarian cancer. Angelina Jolie detected positive, so she earlier removed her breasts via double mastectomy (2013). Now she removed her ovaries and fallopian tubes (2015), saying she doesn’t want to die of cancer. Side angles⇒ in mid 90s, Myriad Genetics got pantent for this test. Later US court rejected patent saying human genes can’t be patents. Then Myriad got it patented in Australia. (2014)⇒ Jolie’s media coverage =more women opt for this expensive test and get their organs removed even if there is no real and present danger.
Medical OLF March 24: World TB day.⇒ India got highest TB burden- 1000 dead per dead, 3 lakh dead per year, 23 crore new cases added per year. 1 lakh+ Multidrug resistant TB cases. Yet we spend ~28$ per patient- lowest among BRICS.⇒ Women most hurt because can’t get quality treatment.⇒ Overcrowding, malnutrition catalyze the spread. Many patients undocumented, untreated; {—New development—} Indian Medical Association (IMA) aims following⇒ private doctors must immediately notify TB patients to concerned officials.⇒ TB patients should be simultaneously tested for HIV free of cost.
Medical P+M Health minister launches Mission ‘Indradhanush: for vaccination against 7 preventable disease by 2020. This diseases are diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, measles and hepatitis B. plus our universal immunization program to include 3 more vaccines against rotavirus, rubella and polio. Every year 5% more kids will be covered. First phase main focus on most bogus districts in four states of UP, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Cold storage and constant surveillance on vaccines.
Sci-Tech P Only In insects gaseous exchange takes place by diffusion. O2 and Co2 get circulated via muscular contractions and relaxations. So, when insect larva is planted inside plant / animal, they breathe through the skin.
Sci-Tech OLF CSIR develops a biodegradable dispersing agent that can help in chrome tanning of lather. This technique uses 50% less water than traditional method
Space-tech P Only ISRO Mars Orbitor Mission (MOM)’s planned lifespan was 6 month. It was to end on 24rd March 2015. In June 2015, ISRO’s Mars orbiter will be in 15 day “blackout” because Sun will block the communication between Mars and Earth. During this period, the orbiter will take autonomous decision, thus will consume more fuel. Depending on how much fuel is left, MOM will be operational for some more weeks. Factoids:⇒ MOM survived Van Allen belt 39 times. It’s world first spacecraft to enter Mars orbit in first attempt. MOM won Space pioneer award for 2015, by US National Space agency while ISRO won Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development.
Space-tech P Only US scientists want to send robotic submarine to Saturn’s moon titan. To explore oily season Titan, which are filled liquid form of methane and ethane, instead of water. Titan resembles a deep frozen version of Earth, hence such hydrocarbons exist in liquid form..
Space-tech Ignored To setup the desi-Desi (IRSNSS) ,ISRO launches 4th satellite IRNSS 1-D using PSLV C-27 (XL) launch vehicle from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota. Total 7 satellite needed for this desi-GPS to function in full capacity. This was 4th one. Ignored because basics already done in old article.
Space-tech P Only Oscar winning movie “The theory of Everything” was made on British physicist Stephen Hawking. He suffers from Motor neuron disease. Now Dr. Hawking aim to get his name trademarked just like J.K.  Rowling and David Beckham, so if any Company uses his name on commercial products, he gets money and even after his death- his children/foundation keeps getting the money
Space-tech P+M 1995: Gandhi Peace Prize setup for social, economic and political transformation through non-violence means. 1 crore rupees given. ISRO given this prize for 2014 for its work on space technology that has helped in education, healthcare, communication, agriculture, disaster management, telemedicine and many other things.

History and Culture

March W1 & W2
P Only Parrot lady is a scuplture of a Naayika (Heroine) with her Parrot Pet-friend (sakha). Such scupltures associated with medieval temples in central and south India. Topic in new because one such stolen sculpture from Belur temple, found its way to Canada.
P Only Buddha attained Enlightenment under Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya. 288BC, Ashok’s daughter Princess Sanghamitra brings southern branch of this tree to Anuradhapura, the first capital of Sri Lanka till 8th BC. Later it grows into Mahabodhi tree. Modi offered prayers here during Sri Lanka visit.
P Only Jaitley unveils Mahatma Gandhi bronze statue in London’s Parliament Square. Designer: Philip Jackson. Status commemorates 100th anniversary of Gandhiji’s return to India from South Africa to launch the Independence Movement.
P Only 2014: Project ‘Mausam’ launched at World Heritage Committee meeting at Doha, Quatar. Now Government of India will setup cross cultural linkages with 39 Indian ocean nations.
P Only Images of Jagannath puri gods are made up of Margosa tree wood. But wood decays after a period of time. Last time images replaced in 1996. So, 2015 will be observed as Nava Kalevara festival- the ceremony to replacement of Jagannath image. And this year’s Rath yatra has been named Nabakalebar Rath Yatra as this comes after 19 years. It’ll be promoted as an international tourism event.
P+M S. Chandnibi, noted Historian on Chola-empire says (1) Cholas gave land grants to Kashmiri brahmin “Bhattas” for giving Vedic education and mid-day meals to children in Tamilnadu. They were even given the official title “Rayan” (2) during 6 to 13th CE, south Indian kings gave land grants to officials but with specific instruction of using the said land for public purpose. So North Indian type feudalism is non-existent in South. (3) Pandhya and Chera kings measured land as ‘grain capacity’, but Chola kings measured land with units like like ‘ma’, ‘veli’ and ‘Kuzhi’.
P+M Sahitya Akademi completes 60 years on March 12. Its origin, function, jurisdiction becomes import for prelims.
P+M March 10-14, India will commemorate the centenary of WW1, where ~75k Indian soldiers died fighting in Asia, Africa and Europe.
Ignored HRD ministry replaces the members of Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) with RSS-backed historians.
Ignored Brazil capital Rio De Janeiro was founded on March 1, 1565 by Portuguese explorer Estacio de Sa. 2015 marks its 450th anniversary.
Ignored Mysore King Tipu Sultan’s arms and armour will go for auction in London.

 

Mar-W3W4-History & Culture
P Only On 21-22 March 1783, Sikh forces conquest Lal Qila under leadership ip of Baba Baghel Singh against the Mughal. So, Sikhs of Delhi demand this day to be celebrate this “fateh diwas” as a national event.
P Only 16th century Lodhi prince Lad Khan ruled over eastern Uttar Pradesh. Kalyana Malla was his poet, who wrote “Suleiman Charitra”- a sanskrit version of Hebraic and Arabic tales. Topic in news because an ex-diplomat A.N.D. Haksar has translated this Sanskrit book to English.
P Only Delhi’s Humayun Tomb was built in 16th cent., is a UNESCO world heritage site. But In 2014 May, due to thunderstorm its ornamental crown top was damaged. Now ASI has restored it with a replica containing 99.5% pure copper.
P Only Under Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014, Hyderabad was given to Telangana. Andhra Pradesh to setup new capital Amaravathi. Name inspired from Amreshwar Temple located 35 km away from Guntur at Krishna river banks. This area was once the Satvahan seat of power (2-3 BC). Since then, it continued as the capital of many Andhra dynasties. Largest Andhra stupa was built here (150-200 AD).   Union Government will give Rs.1500 to Andhra to develop to new capital. MoU signed with Singapore for designing this capital, city  will take ~10 years to develop fully. Criticism: this Guntur region very fertile, 3-4 crops taken a year and now Government will acquire such fertile land= food security hurt and urban heat islands created.
P Only Lion Capital of Rampurva- a Mauryan sculpture- unearthed by Dayaram Sahni in early 1900. It was damaged in Indian Museum in Kolkata due to callous handling by ASI staff.
P Only TheHindu launches book on Guruvayur Sreekrishna Temple at Thrissur, Kerala. It has survived fires and plundering by Dutch, Zamorin and Tipu Sultan.
P Only Haryana government will begin excavation to find mythical Saraswati river. It is believed to be originated from Shivalik Foothills in Adi Badri area. Pro- more water the better for agro and drinking. Anti- excavation without any scientific study, just for vote bank purpose.
P+M Biography of Pt. Madan Mohan Malviya (1861-1946).⇒ Practiced law in Allahabad HC, and a journalist⇒ Four times president of the INC⇒ Helping founding  Banaras Hindu University (1916),  and Hindu Mahasabha ⇒   Wanted simultaneous ICS (Civil service) exam in India and England. Supported Gokhale’s motion on Education⇒ Member of provincial legislative council in 1903.⇒ wanted rapid education, industrial and agricultural development. Opposed Indian Industrial Commission report.⇒ Pleaded that imperial council to abolish indentured Labour, saying it was just another form of slavery.⇒ opposed Press Bill, Seditious meeting Act, and some of the disappointing passages in Morley-Minto Reforms.⇒ Said that If Hindu/muslim/christians try to put other communities under their domination, then such hindu/muslim/christians are not “Patriots”. Because Patriotism demands that we should desire equally the good of all our countrymen alike.”⇒ Bharat Ratna in 2014. Recieved by family members in March 2015. Ref: Book review published in Hindu on ” Pt. Madan Mohan Malviya and the formative years of Indian nationalism by Vishwanath Pandey”.
P+M 1914: Canadian Authorities prevent Kamaghata Maru ship from unloading Passengers At Vancouver port. The ship comes back to Baj Baj port of Calcutta on 29-Sep-1914, where British authorities killed 19 Punjabis and imprisoned with the remaining people. Now Punjab State assembly demands an apology from Canada for its role in this Unfortunate event, because earlier Canada has apologized to China and Japan.
OLF Under 1840’s agreement, the British took over New Zealand from the Maori tribes, and assured them rights over forest and fisheries. But later many conflicted with white settlers killed tribes. Since then Maori tribes lagging behind in all socio-economies parameters and even indulging in criminal activities for living. Now the NZ government has officially apologized past atrocities and gave ~$130 million for tribal development.
OLF 1937: Chamberlain became PM of UK. 1938: Nazi Germany captures Austria. Then Hitler moved towards Czechoslovakia. To appease Hitler, Munich Agreement (1938) — signed by Germany, Italy, United Kingdom and France to allow Nazi Germany to annex certain portion of Czechoslovakia.  But still Hitler annexed entire country. Winston Churchill criticized Chamberlain for his lack of foresight.
Ignored President Pranab gives Bharat Ratna on Atal Bihari Vajpayee at Vajpayee’s residence. Ignored because his biography and medal details already covered in old PIN article. Same for Malviya.
Ignored Delhi had applied for heritage city tag to UNESCO. To ensure easy verification, Delhi Development authority will rename Walled City of Delhi, Shahjahanabad as “Imperial City of Shahjahanabad” and  Lutyens’ Bungalow Zone (LBZ) as “Imperial City of New Delhi.”
Ignored UP lawyers file PIL to get Taj Mahal declared as “Shiva Temple” and remove tombs of mughals from the premise.
Ignored Parliament condemns the statements made by Former SC judge turned blogger Justice Markandey Katju against Gandhi and Bose. But Kajtu says principle of natural justice violated because he was not given a fair chance to justify his opinion, so instead he demands Parliament to apologise to him! Katju maintains that⇒ Gandhi helped the British by injecting Hindu religion into politics, thereby alienating muslims towards Jinnah. ⇒   while Gandhi was made the father of nation, freedom fighters like Bhagat Singh, Azad, Bose, Bismil et al. were portrayed as mavericks and deviants.⇒ Satyagraha was nonsense.⇒ India attained independence because after Second World War, British Empire was weakened and America pressured them to free all colonies. So Gandhi’s role is unnecessarily exaggerated.⇒ Subhashchandra Bose was brave but he had become a Japanese agent. If Japan had won the Second World War, they would have exploited India just like they did in China and other Asian countries.
Ignored Modi planning memorial for Narasimha Rao in Delhi.

Download Excel File: December to March List

 

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