29 Nov 2018


Look into our MANIFEST – 2019 TAB for more.



In news

100 years of World War 1

Placing it in syllabus

History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.- their forms and effect on the society.


  1. Causes for outbreak of the war.
  2. War as a total war.
  3. Consequences of war.
  4. Contribution of colonies (especially India).
  5. Its impact on Indian national movement.


First World War is a war of monumental proportions with nearly 8 million casualties and large scale destruction of property. The causes of this manmade disaster can be seen in the international relations and imperial rivalries starting from 1870.

  1. The system of Secret alliances which made the international relations anarchical.
  2. Arms race between countries particularly the naval race between Britain and Germany.
  3. Competitive mobilizations which lead to the outbreak of war which were generated out of fear. This set of the war machine without any control over its consequences.
  4. New imperialism and competitive rivalries among countries to acquire colonies.
  5. Protectionism – Economic and Trade wars
  6. Nationalism as an aggressive force emerged in Europe guided and helped by the propaganda machines. The best example of which are Nationalism of France for re-conquest of Alsace and Lorraine and slavish nationalism in Balkan Peninsula.
  7. Welt Politick of Kaiser Wilhelm which is based on world dominance.
  8. The process of unification of Germany lead to a thorough reordering of the balance of power in Europe.
  9. The final trigger for the war is the murder of Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand by a Serbian extremist organization which sparked off the accumulated rivalries into a great war.

Thus the First World War is a product of the underlying intentions which festered for nearly 4 decades and tensions between the countries which lead to the immediate outbreak of war.

War as a total war

Total War is when the entire resources and population are mobilized towards the war effort, which takes priority over everything else. Further, Total War also involves prosecuting the war against the entire population of the enemy, not just against its military.

Nature of total war

  1. Conscription into the military for all countries involved.
  2. Women working in munitions factories, heavy industry, and many other jobs they hadn’t done before.
  3. A War Economy where manufacture of weapons, munitions, and other war materiel was prioritized.
  4. German U-boats attacked and sank civilian merchant shipping and liners.
  5. Advancements in technology made the war to be fought on all domains of Air, land, sea.
  6. Rationing was enforced on the civilian population.
  7. Because of mobilization of industry, factories and the workforce, civilian facilities were made targets as they were supporting the war efforts leading to strategic bombing.
  8. The instruments of nationalism and the newly emerged mass media based propaganda was effectively used by the nations to mobilize the masses for war effort. The society started working in a disciplined fashion with military ethos.
  9. The state powers enormously increased as a war measure laying the foundation for the further emergence of totalitarian states and ideologies like Nazism and Fascism.
  • It also involved the resources both of men and material of the colonies for the cause of the imperial powers.

Consequences of total war

  1. The need to organize masses of men and material for years of combat led to increased centralization of government powers, economic regimentation, and manipulation of public opinion to keep the war effort going.
  2. Free market capitalistic systems were temporarily shelved as governments experimented with price, wage, and rent controls; the rationing of food supplies and materials; the regulation of imports and exports; and the nationalization of transportation systems and industries. This finally led to the conception of planned model of development.
  3. The overproduction in the economy during the war lead to the glut in post war situation which finally lead on to the great economic depression of 1929.
  4. As the war dragged on for quite long the morale of the population was replaced by disillusionment and a general trend of anti-war sentiments as the atrocities of the war were made clear in the post war situation.
  5. The war also created new roles for women. Because so many men went off to fight at the front, women were called on to take over jobs and responsibilities that had not been available to them before. This lead to rise of feminist movements.
  6. The role of ideological differences between countries and their effective usage to mobilize masses during war was further perfected and used in the post war phase.
  7. The strategies of total war lead to breakdown of a familiar world order and its replacement by an efficient national war machine which lead to emergence of states based on new ideologies like socialism and fascism which provided succor to people who are adversely affected by war.

Thus the strategy of total war has deep seated and long lasting consequences both during and the post war phase. And the monstrosity of the total war led to a commitment to global peace but this commitment in the form of League of Nations wavered in post war phase leading to outbreak of Second World War.

India’s role in First World War and its impact:

  1. Men and material

1.5 million Indians participated directly in the war as soldiers and carriers. As the nature of the war is a total war, the entire resources of the empire were put at the disposal of war effort turning it in to a global conflict.  The total Indian military casualties were 75,000 soldiers.

  1. Fronts fought

India dispatched 7 expeditionary forces overseas during the war. Indian soldiers participates in all the theaters of the war like German East Africa (Burundi, Ruanda), Gallipoli campaign (Turkey), French trench warfare, Mesopotamian front in Middle East.

  1. Princely states contribution

Indian princes contributed to the British War effort with money, resources and army. Many princely states rulers were recruited into the British army in honorary positions.

  1. Contribution of nationalist leadership

Gandhi ji participated actively in recruiting the volunteer forces to support the British war effort. Most of the moderate leadership led by the Grand old man Dadabhai Naoroji gave unconditional support to British War effort. Gandhi was awarded the Kaiser-i-Hind medal.

  1. Economic support of India

Many Indians were forced to prescribe to the war bonds and Indians faced higher taxes and material shortages.  The total Indian contribution to the British war effort is a loan of 2 billion dollar equivalent according to modern estimates.

  1. Contribution of women

Queen Alexandria’s imperial military nursing service was established and Indian women were recruited for tending to the wounded and maimed in the war.

Effect on India


  1. Attempts at using British weakness for Indian advantage: Ghadar Movement

The war years were also witness to increased political turbulence with intensifying revolutionary activity. Particularly on the part of the revolutionary Ghadar Movement which aimed to gain India’s independence, by violence if necessary. The war had drained India of troops and at one point a mere 15,000 soldiers were physically present in the subcontinent. For revolutionaries, like the Ghadar, this weakness was ripe for exploiting and their violent activities flourished – particularly in Punjab and Bengal.

  1. Attempts by revolutionary terrorists to take help of enemies of British like Germany

The Provisional Government of India was a provisional government-in-exile established in Kabul, Afghanistan on December 1, 1915 by Indian nationalists, during World War I with support from the Central Powers, the provisional government was composed of Mahendra Pratap as President, Maulana Barkatullah as Prime Minister.


  1. Price rise

During the war prices of food grains rose by 93%, Indian made goods 60% & Imported goods 190%.
These rise in prices were caused by the disruption of war to normal trading patterns, exchange rate problems, and diversion of food to the war effort and the demands of the military.

  1. Industrial expansion

A group of entrepreneurs who bagged war supply contracts, however, made windfall profits in a short time. Britain understood the need for an independent industrial base in India and its strategic advantage. This created opportunities for Indian industrialists to set up war goods oriented industries in the country. As a result, a good number of factories sprang up in centers like Bombay. This created employment and benefited the economy. First World War gave the newly established and ailing Tata steel plant a shot in the arm.

  1. Political suppression

The British imposed the repressive Rowlatt Act, which vested the Viceroy’s government with extraordinary powers to quell “sedition” against the Empire by silencing and censoring the press, detaining political activists without trial, and arresting without a warrant any individuals suspected of treason against the Empire.

Public protests against this draconian legislation were quelled ruthlessly. The worst incident was the Jallianwallah Bagh Massacre of April 1919, when Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer ordered his troops to fire without warning on 15,000 unarmed and non-violent men, women and children demonstrating peacefully in an enclosed garden in Amritsar, killing as many as 1,499 and wounding up to 1,137.

  1. National disillusion

Sir Rabindranath Tagore returned his knighthood to the British in protest against “the helplessness of our position as British subjects in India” because of the Jallianwallah Bagh Massacare.

  1. British policies

The principle of self-government to India in the future was promised by the Montagu declaration.

  1. Indian Muslim sentiments

The harsh terms imposed by Treaty of Severs on Ottoman Turkey and the taking away the control of holy places from the Caliph led to a disillusion among Indian Muslims leading to the khilafat movement.

  1. Monument commemorating dead soldiers (India gate)

The India Gate was originally named All-India War Memorial and it was built to pay homage to the soldiers of the Indian Army who lost their lives fighting for the British Empire in World War I and the Third Anglo-Afghan War. India Gate was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and is at New Delhi’s Raj Path.

  • Transition from responsive co-operation to non-cooperation

The excesses post war converted Gandhi from responsive Cooperation to non-Cooperation. As it would be impossible to handle an intransigent enemy who responds to cooperation by repression, leading to the non-cooperation movement.

  • The aura and glory of western civilization was lost beyond redemption

As the advancements in west which earlier evoked awe and inspiration of Indians, now evoked in them a sense of revulsion looking at the enormity of the casualties brought about by modern warfare.

Manifest pedagogy

UPSC is regularly targeting areas in history where there is a centenary or 50 years or 25 years of occurrence of an event in the year of the exam or the one preceding it. And it is 100 years of the conclusion of the First World War so the topic becomes automatically important.  Looking at this issue from alternative perspectives gives us new dimensions like:

  1. The impact of important international events on the origin and growth of the Indian nationalist consciousness.
  2. How did this war change the nature of nationalist response during Second World War?
  3. Why did India grow economically during the three great catastrophes of the modern world?

Test Yourself: Mould Your Thoughts

  1. World War 1 was a fight for colonies and also involved colonies as parties in it. In the context of this statement discuss the role played by India in World War 1.


In news

Inauguration of the statue of Unity of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Narmada district

In syllabus

  • Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.
  • Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.


  1. His role during the national movement.
  2. His role post-independence.
  3. His political ideology and economic vision.
  4. Patel Nehru differences in vision for an independent India.


Pre-independence Role

In 1918, Vallabhbhai took the responsibility of leading the farmers of Gujarat. He started the Kheda/ Kaira satyagraha that demanded the suspension of the revenue collection from farmers as there was a drought.

In 1920, the Congress started the non-cooperation struggle and Vallabhbhai gave up his practice. He setup the Gujarat Vidyapeeth where children could study instead of attending Government schools.

In 1928 he successfully organized the landowners of Bardoli against British tax increases. It was after this that Vallabhbhai was given the title of Sardar (Leader).

In 1931 he served as President of the Indian National Congress in its Karachi session which changed the nature of movement from a political struggle and added to it new socio-economic dimensions.

He was the chief organizer of the congress party and had complete control over its organizational structure. He was the chief proponent of the congress right wing and an important influence over the congress working committee.

As part of congress right he is part of the No changers faction and emphasized on the crucial role of constructive work in village regeneration and carrying the message of nationalism to the masses.

He was also the chairman of the congress parliamentary sub-committee which had complete control over congress ministries during 28 months of their rule under 1935 act.

He played a crucial role in the torturous negotiations with the British for freedom and Partition of the country.

Post-independence Role

In 1947 when India got freedom, Sardar Patel became the Deputy Prime Minister. He was in charge of Home Affairs, Information and Broadcasting and the Ministry of States.

He was given the task of integrating the 562 Princely States into the union. He skilfully used patriotism, concessions in the form of privy purses and popular movement’s and military pressure to achieve this. He took strong steps like sending the army to Junagadh and Hyderabad to force them to align with free India. It is because of these strong steps he is called Iron Man of India

He played an active role as the Chairman of the Committees for Fundamental Rights, Minorities and Provincial Constitution and provisions like the Right to Private Property, Privy purses for Princes and Constitutional guarantees for the Civil Services were incorporated.

As a member of the Partition committee, he helped the allocation of the liabilities and dividends between India and Pakistan.

It was Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel‘s vision that the Civil Service should strengthen cohesion and national unity. He wanted a strong and vibrant federal administrative system in which the All India Services would play an important role. Sardar Patel viewed the All India Services as a group of professionals who would take a long- term view of the nation‘s needs and priorities. While the state and local administration would focus on day-to-day issues of governance, the All India Services were charged with the responsibility of thinking ahead and into the future.

Political and Economic Ideology

His political value system was a fine synthesis of liberalism, conservatism and welfarism.

He was a staunch follower of Gandhi ji and his vision was in sync with Gandhian ideology of non-violence, spirituality, discipline, moral strength. He also belonged to the congress right which had alternative approaches to national movement and alternative visions for post independent India.

  1. His political vision is driven by the Gandhian ideal of Ram Rajya. He envisaged a democratic state which will lead India on path of progress. He had a deep respect for individual rights and liberty which made him think in the line of a liberal economic model. He considered nationalism and patriotism to be two important binders of society.
  2. His Economic vision is driven by ideas of national self-sufficiency. For this he proposed the path of higher production, savings and investment cycle based production. He did not agree with the nationalized industrial model as the state administration did not have enough capacity to manage them. He visualized an industrial growth lead by private players in a liberalized economic setting.
  3. Sardar Patel advocated for education of farmer and better management of farming sector. Patel was very much concerned about the small farmer and their economic plight. He said that the income of small farmers can increase by increasing the productivity and organizing market. He was against the concept of middlemen in commodity sale.
  4. He advocated formation of cooperatives to increase the income of peasants and milk producers. He provided the vision for creation of Kheda district co-operative milk producers union which went on to become India’s most successful experiment in co-operatives i.e., Amul.
  5. He not only criticized the arbitrary policies of confiscation of movable and immovable properties, but also insisted on guarded regulations on land reforms and nationalization of key industries. Which clearly shows his political leaning to maintenance of private property which is a liberal ideal.
  6. His vision of State was in tune with the pattern of his political values. In his concept, the State was founded and held together by a high sense of nationalism and patriotism.
  7. His efforts to reform the Hindu religion and protect the people of other faiths reflected his longing for the right to religion. His active participation in the reconstruction of the Somnath temple makes him a conservative in his outlook.
  8. He pressed for the emancipation of backward communities and women and bring about Hindu-Muslim unity through the Gandhian constructive program which makes him a welfarist.
  9. Liberal-democratic ideology with due emphasis upon conservatism, pragmatism, welfarism and nationalism seems to characterize the mindset of Vallabhbhai Patel.

Manifest Pedagogy

Alternative Thinking

UPSC is interested in those areas where the market is not. “Vallabhai Patel” as a personality may not be asked directly (That does not mean you should not prepare). The alternative perspectives on the same topic like, National Development or Nationalism vs Tribal Development (as tribal protested against the statue of unity) or issue of use of public money on such areas when it should be done in developmental sectors could be asked. What if these alternative perspectives also get publicized- no need to worry! Solution is to develop multidimensional cognitive abilities to handle any question on the spot.

Test Yourself: Mould Your Thoughts

  1. Write a short note on politico-economic vision of Vallabhai Patel for India. How relevant is it today? Explain.


In news

The recent amateur explorations in Ratnagiri district of Maharastra have yielded numerous Petroglyphs. The difference from other petroglyphs of India is these are made in laterite rocks. Here we can find enormous petroglyphs like the 50 ft elephant petroglyph which was made to look from an aerial view maybe a symbolic offering to a god in the skies.

In syllabus

Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.


  1. What are petroglyphs?
  2. Where are they found?
  3. How are they made?
  4. What is their significance?


Petroglyphs are images created by removing part of rock surface by incising, picking, carving, or abrading as a form of rock art.

Examples in India:

Bhimbetka, kupgal, sindhudurg, rajapur and ratnagiri, edakkal caves of kerala, unakoti (Tripura), perumukkal and kollur in Tamil Nadu. In Tamil Nadu the petroglyphs are found on Dolemens which are part of the Megalithic burial sites.

Made by:

Late Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic and megalithic people.

Techniques and base material:

They are typically made on granite, sand stone and laterite rocks. The early man typically chose rock facets coated with patina which is a dark mineral accumulation on rock surfaces. In making the picture the outer patina is removed exposing the contrasting lighter rock interior. They are made by using stone chisel and hammer stone.

What do they represent?

  • Some of them depict real life events like hunting and flora and fauna of the time.
  • There were some abstract petroglyphs which represent religious or ceremonial purposes.
  • They might be used for symbolic communication as a form of pre writing.
  • Some of them represent geometrical patterns.
  • Some depict the tools used by early man.
  • A significant factor in Indian petroglyphs is presence of rock gongs which were used to generate music.
  • Some represented abstract and fertility symbols.
  • Some of them have religious-magical functions where simplistic magic is thought to ensure a certainty in life.
  • Some of them also represent aquatic life.

Manifest Pedagogy


Petroglyphs discovery in Ratnagiri was extensively covered in ground zero page in the Hindu. Manifest Pedagogy puts it under those issues where a beginner who has just started his/her static portions may not find this issue important. (Beginners Myopia or lack of foresight) but such issues are important and will be covered and will put beginners on par with experienced candidates. As questions like Mesolithic rock paintings have been targeted by UPSC.

Test Yourself: Mould Your Thoughts

  1. Petroglyphs in India are artistic expressions of pre historic life. Critically examine the statement in the context of recent discovery of petroglyphs in Ratnagiri.


In news

Death of Karunanidhi, the Most Prominent Dravida.

Placing it in syllabus

Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present – Significant events, personalities, issues.


  1. Origins of Dravidian identity
  2. The establishment, reforms and limitations of Justice party
  3. Rama swami Naicker life and ideas
  4. Activism and role of Dravida parties post-independence.


Origins of Dravidian identity

The British divide and rule policies found their expression in the Aryan invasion theory and giving credence to the idea that Dravidian language speakers are the original inhabitants of India.

Bishop Robert Caldwell was a missionary and linguist, who academically established the Dravidian family of languages. Robert Caldwell used the term Dravidian to separate the languages spoken in South India from other, more Sanskrit-affiliated languages of India.

Caldwell asserted that the Tamil speakers were “indigenous Dravidian” people, distinct ethnically and, most critically for him, religiously, from their high-caste oppressors, whom he referred to as “Brahmanical Aryans”.

The historical research and the dating of Sangam Age and its contrast with the Vedic literature was also used in arousing a consciousness of difference and parity with the Sanskritic culture of north.

Communal division between Brahmins and non-Brahmins began in the presidency during the late-19th and early-20th century, mainly due to caste prejudices and disproportionate Brahminical representation in government jobs.

The Dravidian movement also claimed that Brahmins were originally from the north and that they had imposed Sanskrit, religion, and their heritage on the people of South India.

Justice party


The Justice Party was a political party in the Madras Presidency of British India. It was established in 1917 by T. M. Nair and P. Theagaraya Chetty and was the first backward class mobilization which created social change and political empowerment.

Political ideology

  1. It opposed Brahmins in civil service and politics, and this anti-Brahmin attitude shaped many of its ideas and policies.
  2. It opposed Annie Besant and her Home rule movement, because it believed home rule would benefit the Brahmins.
  3. The party also campaigned against the non-cooperation movement in the presidency. It was at odds with M. K. Gandhi, primarily due to his praise for Brahminism.
  4. Its mistrust of the Brahmin dominated Congress led it to adopt a hostile stance toward the Indian independence movement.
  5. By petitioning the imperial administration which was more than willing to oblige they got reservations for the non-Brahmins through the Government of India act of 1919.
  6. This attitude of justice party gave it a pro colonial tinge.
  7. It did not send representatives to the Central Legislative Assembly, the national parliamentary body. After it won the provincial elections under government of India act of 1919. Because of its ideological tropes of anti-Hindi and anti-Aryan ideology.


Empowerment of lower classes:

  • Gave reservations to various communities in government jobs.
  • Legislation that allowed Dalits to use all the public space without discrimination.
  • Temple entries to non-Brahmins were allowed.
  • Marriages without Brahmin priests and increased acceptance of inter-caste marriages called self-respect marriages.
  • The abolition of Devadasi system.
  • The party also played a vital role in allowing women to contest elections paving way for Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy to become the first woman legislator in India.
  • Initiating the mid-day meal scheme.

But the movement declined because of

  • Abuse of power and corruption.
  • The image of the Justice Party as the organization of rich landlords and Western-educated upper-caste non-Brahman intellectuals of Tamilnadu and Telugu country contributed, to a certain extent, to its downfall.
  • The Dalits of the region were not given due representation.
  • The rising popularity of the congress party under the effective leadership of c. Rajagopalachari the lost in electoral politics in 1926 to Swarajya Party.

Ramaswami Naicker

The Self-Respect Movement or Dravidian Movement was founded in 1925 by E. V. Ramasamy with the aim of achieving a society where backward sections have equal human rights, and encouraging backward sections to have self-respect. His ideas of self-respect were propagated through the Tamil weekly Kudi Arasu. Periyar wrote several articles on women’s rights, on atheism and against the caste system.

He represented alternative political traditions in the age when Indian national congress was attempting to establish a unitary ideal of nationalism against colonialism.

Periyar’s movement was based on ideals of self-respect and social empowerment

  1. Deep faith in rationalism and a critical attitude.
  2. Trenchant criticism of all religions and a deep faith in atheism.
  3. Dismantling of Brahmin hegemony which he considered the worst enemy of individual self-respect.
  4. Revitalization of the “Dravidian Languages” (that include Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, and Tamil) which have greater antiquity and separate identity when compared to the Sanskritic languages of north.
  5. He launched a Tamil cultural offensive of a reinterpreted Ramayana a version transposing hero and villain, in which the Sri Lankan king Ravana becomes a heroic Dravidian of ‘excellent character’, and the Aryan prince Rama a conniving, “despicable character” .
  6. He participated in Vaikom Satyagraha of 1924, a mass movement to demand that lower caste persons be given the right to use a public path in front of the famous Vaikom temple.
  7. Social reform by the abolition of existing caste systems, religious practices for which he advocated inter-caste self-respect marriages without the need for Brahmin priest.
  8. Equality with stress on economic and social equality formed the central theme of the Self-Respect Movement and was due to Periyar’s determination to fight the inequalities.
  9. He argued that women needed to be independent, not mere child-bearers, and insisted that they be allowed an equal share in employment. He considered birth control to be important for women’s freedom. The Self Respect Movement sanctioned property as well as divorce rights for women.
  • He appealed to people to give up the caste suffix in their names, and to not mention caste. He instituted inter-dining with food cooked by Dalits in public conferences in the 1930s.
  • He aimed for every human being to act according to reason, and shall not be subject to slavery of any kind or manner.
  • A sense of pride and valorization of Dravidian and Tamil antiquity.
  • Periyar also propagated the positive identity of non-Brahmans as members of a ‘Dravidian nation’ entitled to sovereign independence from the Indian union and strengthened an exclusionary regional nationalism.

Periyar declared that the Self-Respect Movement alone could be the genuine freedom movement, and political freedom would not be fruitful without individual self-respect. He demanded that self-respect should precede Swaraj.  He took over the justice party and renamed it as Dravida Kazhagam.

Post-independence role

The DMK was formed in 1949 by some of the ambitious followers of Periyar under the leadership of C N Annadurai. Unlike Periyar this group had deep seated political ambitions.

The DK and DMK movement, started initially as a protest against the domination of the Brahmans in Tamilnadu, was given a new dimension after India’s Independence when the attack was directed against the alleged domination of North India.

Main demand of the DMK was establishment of a separate Dravida Nadu / Dravidistan consisting of the four southern states.

The passing of the 16th constitutional amendment in 1962 which made the advocacy of secessionism a crime made DMK change its constitution and drop the demand for secession.

The party stance changed from the demand for secessionism to greater state autonomy while limiting the powers of center making Indian federalism into a bargaining federalism.

Efforts by the Indian Government to make Hindi the sole official language after 1965 were not acceptable to many non-Hindi Indian states, who wanted the continued use of English. The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), a descendant of Dravidar Kazhagam, led the opposition to Hindi.

To allay their fears, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru enacted the Official Languages Act in 1963 to ensure the continuing use of English beyond 1965.

The text of the Act did not satisfy the DMK and increased their skepticism that his assurances might not be honoured by future administrations. As the word “English may” did not give any guarantee of continued future usage.

As the day of switching over to Hindi as sole official language approached, the anti-Hindi movement gained momentum in Madras State with increased support from college students.

On 25 January, a full-scale riot broke out in the southern city of Madurai the Congress Government of the Madras State, called in paramilitary forces to quell the agitation; their involvement resulted in the deaths of about seventy persons (by official estimates) including two policemen.

The agitations of 1965 led to major political changes in the state. The DMK won the 1967 assembly election and the Congress Party never managed to recapture power in the state since then.

The Official Languages Act was eventually amended in 1967 by the Congress Government headed by Indira Gandhi to guarantee the indefinite use of Hindi and English as official languages. This effectively ensured the current “virtual indefinite policy of bilingualism” of the Indian Republic.

As there is no real contradiction between regional and national identity and as Indian national integration is based on respect to cultural pluralism and the guiding ideal of Indian constitution being unity in diversity the nation was able to absorb these pressures without any violence.

Manifest Pedagogy

Personality based tangential topics

Usually when we study personalities, we focus on prelims aspects and at the most mains question on the personality itself if it can be fitted in the syllabus. But recent times UPSC has been asking issues in the syllabus surrounding the personality. For example, the world history question in CSE 2018 on indentured labor was asked because of the death of V.S.Naipul, A Nobel laureate and Indian origin writer whose writings deals with cultural alienation, identity dilemmas of colonial migrants. Hence we have taken Dravidian movement as an issue because of death of Karunanidhi.

Test yourself: Mould your thoughts

Justice Party and Self-Respect Movement exhibited alternative political traditions with distinct proclivity to empowerment of lower classes. Elucidate.


In news

Smuggling of Indian antiquities and Preservation of historical monuments and cultural heritage often make headlines.

Placing it in syllabus

Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of following from ancient to modern times.

Art forms, Literature and Architecture


  1. Constitutional provisions
  2. International conventions
  3. Legal provisions
  4. New missions
  5. Analysis of the limitations of legal framework.
  6. Private efforts in conservation


Global Financial Integrity (GFI) Report says that Illegal trade of artifacts and antiquities is one of the world’s most Profitable Criminal Enterprises worth 6 billion dollars. Of this Indian artifacts contribute more than 30%.  This huge loss of antiquities and cultural heritage presents itself as a double jeopardy as most of the money earned from art smuggling goes into the hands of terrorists or money launderers which undermines the security and economic integrity of the country.

Constitutional provisions

  1. States are obliged under Article 49 of the Indian Constitution to protect monuments and places and objects of national importance. It is part of directive principles of state policy.
  2. It is the duty of every citizen of India under Article 51A (f) of Indian Constitution to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture.

International conventions

  1. Protection under Hague Convention (1954)

It provides for protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict

Convention defines a Protective Sign (“Blue Shield”) to facilitate the Identification of protected cultural property during an armed conflict

  1. Protection under Geneva Convention on War

Establishes the standards of international law for the humanitarian treatment of war.

Under Article 53 of Protection of Cultural Objects and of Places of Worship in the Event of Armed Conflict– it provides for protection of UNESCO world heritage sites

  1. Protection under UNESCO Convention (1970) on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. It is also called World Heritage Convention.

Indian legal system for conservation and protection

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), as an attached office under the Department of Culture, Ministry of Tourism and Culture, is the premier organization for the archaeological researches and protection of the cultural heritage of the nation.

Besides it regulate all archaeological activities in the country as per the provisions of the

  1. Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958.
  2. It also regulates Antiquities and Art Treasure Act, 1972.
  3. Indian Treasure Trove Act (1949)

The antiquities and art treasures act contains provisions for regulation of export trade, licensing for the internal trade of antiquities and sets up registering office for registering private antiquities and also provide powers to central government to compulsorily acquire art treasures with minimal compensation.

Objectives of NMMA (National Mission on Monuments and Antiquities)

  • Documentation and creation of suitable database on built heritage and sites for information and dissemination to planners, researchers etc. and for better management of such cultural resources.
  • Promote awareness and sensitize people concerning the benefits of preserving the historical and cultural aspects of built heritage, sites and antiquities.
  • Extend training facility and capacity building to the concerned State Departments, Local bodies, NGOs, Universities, Museums, Local communities etc.
  • Help in developing synergy between institutions like Archaeological Survey of India, State Departments, concerned Institutions and NGOs to generate close interaction.
  • Publication and Research

Analysis of the legal framework and enforcement record   

  • In 2013, a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report found that at least 92 centrally protected monuments of historical importance across the country which have gone missing without a trace.
  • The CAG report said that the ASI did not have reliable information on the exact number of monuments under its protection.
  • The CAG recommended that periodic inspection of each protected monument should be done by a suitably ranked officer.
  • CAG said that since the ASI is unable to protect the country’s museums and monuments so they should be professionally maintained by private companies or through the public-private-partnership (PPP) model.
  • The treasure trove act is too obsolete because any object worth more than Rs.10 found hidden in soil is regarded as “Treasure”!
  • The act does not prescribe for enforcement division. Lack of legal framework hinders ASI from engaging with foreign agencies to retrieve the foreign treasures.
  • In what is seen as a blatantly unfair clause, the Act also empowers the State to compulsorily acquire an art object from its owner without any reliable assessment of a fair price.
  • According to the National Mission for Monument and Antiquities, there are approximately 7 million antiquities in India. But by March this year, only 1.3 million had been documented.
  • Art also gets smuggled abroad rather than being kept at home because the present laws are drafted in a way that deters people from building private collections.
  • India needs a larger cadres of art historians, conservators and archaeologists to man important sites and museums to safeguard and maintain heritage.
  • There is a need to incentivize art fairs, auctions, and art dealers will help solve the problem by creating a thriving domestic market.
  • Our laws inhibit Community Participation in conservation.

Best practices and ideas

  1. Community Participation will help in better conservation and preservation.
  2. Enhanced And Dedicated Policing.
  3. India should learn from USA’s Operation Hidden Idol. In 2015, Operation Hidden Idol was launched by USA’s Homeland Securities Investigation Department to recover and repatriate looted Artifacts and Antiquities numbering 2600 by Subhash Kapoor worth an estimated Rs.650 Crores ($100 million).
  4. India should work on a mission mode to recover theft of its own artifacts by launching a policy for management of Antiquities and make ASI accountable for it.
  5. It includes checking catalogues at international auction houses, posting news of such theft on websites, posting information about theft in the International Art Loss Registry, sending photographs of stolen objects electronically to dealers and auction houses and scholars in the field.

Private participation in conservation of antiquities

Adopt a Heritage scheme by the Ministry of Tourism in partnership with the Ministry of Culture, Archaeological Survey of India and a fourth party called Monument Mitra (in the form of private entities).

  • The project plans to entrust heritage sites/monuments and other tourist sites to private sector companies, public sector companies and individuals for the development of tourist amenities. They would become ‘Monument Mitras’ and adopt the sites. The basic and advanced amenities of the tourist destinations would be provided by them. They would also look after the operations and the maintenance of the amenities.
  • The project would begin with 93 ASI ticketed monuments and would be expanded to other natural and cultural sites across India. The heritage sites are classified into various categories. The ‘Monument Mitras’ would take up the sites of varied visibility and footfall as a package.
  • The ‘Monument Mitras’ would associate pride with their CSR activities. They would also get visibility in the monument premises and in the Incredible India website. The project aims to develop synergy among all partners.
  • But far more importantly, it could bring in the much-needed professionalism and funds required to make glorious stones and structures of India’s past speak to us again.

INTACH model

  • The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) is a non-profit charitable organization registered under the Societies’ Registration Act, 1860.
  • INTACH was founded in 1984 in New Delhi with the vision to create a member organization to stimulate and spearhead heritage awareness and conservation in India.
  • Since 1984, INTACH has pioneered the conservation and protection of India’s natural and cultural heritage and is today the largest member organization in the country dedicated to conservation.
  • The role of INTACH is to institutionalize the conservation of the unprotected architectural heritage all over India. It should accomplish this objective by establishing Local Chapters.
  • Among the tasks undertaken by INTACH are restoration of monuments and their management; advocacy for heritage property conservation; public awareness through heritage walks and buses;[6] establishment of heritage clubs in schools; and holding of awareness workshop for teachers of schools and colleges and heritage walks to various unprotected sites.
  • After developing Raghurajpur, Orissa, a place famous for its master ‘Pattachitra’ artists and ‘Gotipua’ dance troupes as a heritage village, which has now become a major rural tourist destination.

Manifest pedagogy

Questions related to culture have been common in UPSC, but issues related to heritage were not much focused on.  There is a possibility of exploring issues related to heritage like tangible and intangible heritage.  Factors which have played a role in preserving the culture and transferring it as heritage to the next generation which may include social factors like caste, family, etc. Or Governmental initiatives post-independence. The holistic way to handle culture and heritage is to study aesthetics behind the culture (literature, paintings, etc.) and the governance aspects (constitutional, legal and institutional measures to preserve them) related to it.

Test yourself: Mould your thoughts

Safeguarding the Indian art heritage is the need of the moment. Discuss the statement suggesting innovative measures to safeguard Indian heritage.


In news

125 years of swami Vivekananda’s speech at world parliament of religions

Placing it in syllabus

  1. Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues
  2. The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country.


  1. His religious philosophy influence of Sri Ramakrishna.
  2. His social reform measures.
  3. Contribution to rise of nationalism.
  4. His speech at world parliament of religions in Chicago.



Ramakrishna Paramahansa is a priest at the Kali Temple in Dakshineshwar in whose teachings the troubled Bengali mind found a solace from the overarching influence of western materialism. His philosophy of religion is based on

  1. Sakta Tantra.
  2. Vaishnava Bhakti.
  3. Advaita Vedanta.
  4. Complete rejection of western value system.
  5. Solutions to life problems presented in terms of simple Bhakti and the traditional Hindu way of life.
  6. According to him as all religions emanated from God and had God as the common subject, differences between them were only apparent and superficial. Universalism a belief in the unity of godhead and an emphasis on religions being essentially the same.
  7. For Ramakrishna, God-realization was the end of human life and knowing the Creator alone amounted to knowing His creation.
  8. His path is one of Bhakti Marga.
  9. He also instilled in his disciples the conception of Daridra-Narayana from which emerged the conception of service to man is service to god.

Swami Vivekananda

  1. He is initially a western educated Brahmo Samajist in his young age. But the Brahmo movement failed to provide solutions to his spiritual quests.
  2. He became the disciple of Sri Ramakrishna whose Bhakti appealed to him more than the high intellectualism of Brahmos.
  3. He is a proponent of Practical Vedanta which he considered as a religion most suited to the needs of modern man. He believed in the essential unity of man and god (Advaita).
  4. He believed that it was only in selflessness and in consciously trying to serve the larger humanity that one truly gained a perspective on religion and God. This thought laid emphasis on the Karma Marga of Bhagavad-Gita.
  5. He reoriented the traditional Advaita of world renunciation to a new world affirmation ideal. He searched for salvation in selflessness.
  6. Many rivers flow by many ways but they fall into the same sea. This is the basis of Swamijis religious universalism and eclecticism.
Social reformer
  1. In the first place he did not think man’s thought could truly turn to God unless his basic social needs had been reasonably met. He also considered it a sin to teach spirituality to a starving man.
  2. God is everywhere but he is most manifest in man. So serve man as God. That is as good as worshipping God. He joined together the ideals of one’s own salvation and welfare of the world.
  3. There is infinite moral and spiritual potential in man. To develop that potential is man’s foremost duty in life. He declared education to be the manifestation of divinity inherent to man.
  4. The members of the Math, while striving to advance their own spiritual lives, also nursed cholera-stricken patients and labored to provide some relief to victims of floods and famines.
  5. Arch critic of: Idolatry Polytheism Religious superstitions, Exploitation by priests in the religious sphere.
  6. He envisaged an equal role to women in society and promoted women emancipation and empowerment.
  7. He wanted a new man to emerge from the confluence of the spiritualism of the east and materialism of west.
Contribution to nationalism
  1. Swami Vivekananda contributed enormously to the strengthening of Hindu self-pride and cultural nationalism.
  2. Vedanta was all about man-making. Manliness and activism are the gospels of swamiji for the resurgence of India.
  3. Young men and women, in his vision, were to be the building blocks of a resurgent, Vedantic India.
  4. He gave the call of self-sufficiency and self-help which he considered necessary for national regeneration.
  5. He inspired a whole generation of patriots and revolutionaries. He is considered a patron prophet by the revolutionaries of Bengal.
  6. He declared the spiritual superiority of the east at world parliament of religions regaining the spiritual essences and self-confidence of Indians.
  7. He declared that India needs muscles of iron and nerves of steel to retain its lost glory and pride.
  8. Subhash Chandra Bose once commented that without swami Vivekananda there is no scope for the emergence of nationalism in Bengal as he is the one who shook the indolent Hindu in to action and self-sacrifice.

Manifest pedagogy

Vivekanada as a personality is not just important as part of history his ideas and thoughts vary from religion to ethics. Keeping in mind the recent pattern of questions where there has been dominant emphasis on Indian culture specifically religion as a topic. This issue has been selected for the article. His ideas on Ethics is a tangential dimension and is not easily available as part of your readings. Something which is not easily available can be expected as a question.

Test yourself: Mould your thoughts

Swami Vivekananda’s approach to the problems of India are a unique admixture of spiritualism, Social reform and national regeneration. Comment.



In news

In recent times there have been movements for opening the public places of worship for women like Sabarimala temple, Haji Ali Dargah and Shani Signapur.

Placing it in syllabus


  1. Diversity
  2. Social Empowerment



  1. Social justice
  2. State and religion-specifically Judiciary and religion
  3. Fundamental Rights- Concepts + secularism

Static dimensions

  1. Concept of secularism in India-positive secularism and its importance
  2. Article 25-28 and their interpretation
  3. Social Movements in India- specific to the issue of women movements

Current dimensions

  1. Women’s movement for opening of places of worship
  2. Indian state and its role in religion (positive secularism)
  3. Concepts of Essential Religious Practices
  4. Judiciary and Religion
  5. State interference in religion and threat to diversity


Places of worship are ‘public’ and hence must be accessible to all without disturbing the essentials of the religion which are determined case by case basis by the judiciary to preserve both an integrated religion and an integrated society.

Social reform as a project shall remain incomplete if it stops at being caste inclusive and not gender inclusive. Recently there have been movements in this regard demanding women entry at various worship places like Haji Ali Dargah, Shani Shignapur and Sabarimala Temple along with a petition with respect to the latter being taken up by the Supreme Court.

Arguments for the ban on entry

  • Ban on the entry is part of the age long tradition, culture and belief systems which will get disturbed.
  • It is in consonance with the nature of deity as Ayappa is a ‘Naishtik Brahmin’ hence only menstruating women in the age between 10 and 50 are barred.
  • It is protected under laws, like rule 3(b) of the Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorization of Entry) Rules 1965, allows a ‘religious denomination’ to ban women in the menstruating age group.
  • State intervention to change anything in this regard would be too much of an intrusion.
  • It is an Essential Religious Practice and hence any attempt to change will affect the fundamentals of the religion.
  • Women themselves who believe in these customs do not want the revocation.

Counter Arguments

  • Traditions, culture and belief system need to be based on principles of humanism and gender parity is the basic principle of humanism.
  • Nature of deity being argued goes against the fundamental understanding of God as an entity who is all encompassing and universal.
  • Women being allowed in other temples of the same deity and not this temple is basing too much on the physical form and not the essential oneness.
  • Laws are subject to judicial scrutiny, which determines their validity on the basis of ‘reasonableness’ which is further informed by human progress and modernity and laws violating Fundamental Rights, in this case Article 15, are subject to judicial scrutiny.
  • India follows the model of positive secularism and under Article 25(2)(b), State can make laws with respect to religion and temples for ‘social reform’.
  • Allowing women won’t stop the cult of deity but will rather reinforce it and hence it cannot be an Essential Religious Practice.
  • Women who believe in this practice are a product of social conditioning of patriarchy which makes them believe that it is for their good.



Need of the Hour:

With the petition lying with the judiciary it can take two stands:

  1. A conservative reading, where in it might test the constitutionality of the laws like Rule 3(b) and read it down.
  2. A progressive reading where in along with constitutionality of laws, it deals with questions of Religion, patriarchy and Role of State.What is required is the second reading which will take the movement beyond symbolic importance.

Essential Religious Practices (ERP)

Concept of ERP has been in news for months. SC’ decision that “Tandava” dance is not an essential religious Practice of Anand Margis, issues like whether Female Genital Mutilation constitutes an ERP. Mosques are part of ERP of Islam, as ban on women entry into public places is an ERP has made ERP an important issue.

ERP- these are practices followed by a religion which are considered essential for the existence of the religion.

There is no agreement as to who determines what ERP of a particular religion is. The religious heads say it is decided by the people who follow it. But, recent SC judgments have proved that it is the state or specifically Judiciary which determines what is ERP. And when the SC is determining what constitutes ERP, it is basing its decisions on constitutional principles and values which is termed the “constitutional morality” by Dr. Ambedkar. So in all the above issues it is basically a tussle between Constitutional Morality and Customary Morality (Hence the essay on this topic!)

If a practice violates constitutional morality it is struck down.

State or Judiciary in such case has the constitutional mandate to intervene.

  1. Article 25(2) (b)
  2. Judiciary as the guardian of the constitution

There are criticisms that state intervention in issues like temple entry are harming the diversity of India. But, diversity has value when it is based on principles of equality and liberty. When equal opportunities are denied to a group it may lead to violent social movements. Hence, diversity becomes a strength if it is managed well and it is the responsibility of State and Judiciary. The recent SC judgment on Sabarimala sends a message that though we are diverse groups in terms of culture, we are united by a document of consensus called the Constitution of India.

Manifest Pedagogy

Inductive Learning

Inductive learning is the clubbing of similar issue, finding common themes and generalizing them to make a broad topic. Religion as an issue has made its presence in many issues like Sabarimala, Anand Marg Sect, Female Genital Mutilation and section 377. All can be clubbed together as all issues have one common theme Societal Morality Vs Constitutional Morality and hence it was asked as an essay topic in Mains-2018, Customary Morality cannot be guide to modern life.

Test Yourself: Mould Your Thoughts

  1. What is an Essential Religious Practice? Do you think it strengthens diversity of India? Substantiate your argument with recent issues in news.


In news

After the issue of sexual harassment was raised in Hollywood with the Weinstein Scandal, the Indian version of #Metoo kicked off with the allegations of sexual harassment against Nana Patekar.

Placing it in syllabus

  1. Role of women and women organizations
  2. Social empowerment
  3. Social justice
  4. Social history of India
  5. Gender Ethics

Static dimensions

  1. Women movements in India
  2. Sexual violence as a topic in general
  3. Constitutional provisions, policies, acts and schemes against sexual harassment

Current Dimensions

  1. #MeToo origins
  2. Nature of the movement
  3. #MeToo – criticisms
  4. #MeToo as new social movement
  5. #MeToo as 4th wave of feminism
  6. #MeToo as an elitist movement
  7. What is the future of #MeToo


#Metoo as fourth wave of feminism

Feminist movements around the world have been classified in 4 waves and #Metoo is considered as part of fourth wave. 4th wave of feminism began in 2008 and continues till date. Its main focus is on sexual harassment, misogyny and assault against women.

What are the other 3 waves of feminism?

1st wave: 1900-1950
  1. Its focus was on women suffrage, political candidacy and to an extent on property rights.
  2. Its main focus was inequality in public life.
  3. Rights demanded were, first political and later economic
  4. Private life like family was kept out of its ambit.
2nd wave: 1960-80s
  1. The focus moves to private institutions like family.
  2. The famous call given under this is personal is political which means that personal arena like family is also considered a political area for struggle.
  3. Issues of patriarchy are brought up.
  4. Reducing inequalities in sex, family, work place and reproductive rights are considered it priority areas.
3rd wave: 1990-2008
  1. The focus here is on individualism and diversity
  2. Individualism issues deals with question of what it means to be a Feminist.
  3. Diversity issue deals with making feminist movement more inclusive like less Eurocentric bringing post-colonial perspectives through issues of race and colour.
  4. Lack of cohesion was a major criticism against the movement.

#MeToo as a Social Movement

Social movement are sudden abrupt social changes. Social changes are gradual. Social movements have been classified as old and new social movements.

New Social Movements began in 1960s in USA when students across USA and Europe protested US hegemony and actions in Vietnam War.

Is #MeToo a New Social Movement?

It has certain features of a new social movement.

  1. Women irrespective of race, religion, caste and country subscribe to the idea hence it is based on an identity- identity of being a women.
  2. It focuses on post material issues like dignity of women and not on material rights like property rights.
  3. The techniques of protest are new like naming and shaming on digital media.
  4. It is led by intellectuals and not attached to any parties, classes or caste.
  5. It is based on the idea of new left and existentialism which valorizes the spirit of liberty.

But it is not a movement in the complete sense as it is not inclusive and the social base is limited.

It is not an inclusive movement

It is not an inclusive movement as the social issues and groups included are not broad based

  1. It is dominated by the urban women
  2. Among the urban women it is restricted to upper and middle classes
  3. Even among these sections it is further restricted to tech savvy groups
  4. It excludes relatively deprived groups with in women groups like Dalit and tribal women
  5. It focuses only on cis-genders and terminologies which are heteronormative. It leaves out transsexuals and homosexuals.
  6. It deals with specifically one issue of women i.e., sexual harassment. It leaves out many other issues faced by women out of its narrative.

What next?

#Metoo movement though non inclusive has been revolutionary and progressive. But what after this?

We will get the answer once we look at the central drawbacks of the entire movement. The movement does not follow the due process. And if this is analyzed we will get what is to be done next.

Due process in this case is the extent to which state intervention is required to address sexual harassment issues. For example issues like staring at women, though by definition definitely constitutes sexual harassment, does it really need state intervention? If yes what kind of punishment should be given? Rather than inviting state intervention (which is not to deny that staring is sexual harassment) in such cases a different narrative is to be built by society a narrative based on gender parities, gender sensitivity and gender inclusivity and this in all constitutes the due process and the future of the #Metoo movement.

Manifest pedagogy

Thematic study questions on issues related to women are omnipresent in UPSC papers. Though explicitly mentioned in society under the topic “role of women and women organizations” questions related to women are asked in all four papers ranging from history (role of women in freedom movement as part of dormant history) to ethics (gender ethics). The right way to prepare for such topics is to ignore paper wise classification and study issues related to women linking with all disciplines. This saves your time and your time is precious.

Test Yourself: Mould your thoughts

Social movements unlike social change do not necessarily follow the due process. Critically analyze the statement in the context of recent #MeToo movement and suggest measures to bring due process in #MeToo movement.


In news

Government of India’s actions against Naxalism in recent times

Placing in Syllabus

Paper 1:

Poverty and Developmental Issues

Paper 2:

Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States.

Issues relating to development

Centre – State Relations

Paper 3:

Linkages between development and spread of extremism.

Various security forces and agencies and their mandate.

Static Dimensions

  1. Naxalism, ideological basis, comparison with other terms
  2. History and spread of Naxalism in India
  3. Initiatives by earlier government against Naxalism
  4. Various provisions made by the government for tribal
  5. Naxalism is a social problem
  6. Naxalism as a security issue
  7. Naxalism and international linkages

Current dimension

Initiatives by the present government to tackle Naxalism


Definitions of Naxalism and other related terms:


Naxalism signifies a particular kind of militant and violent armed struggle by the peasants and tribal who accept Maoist ideology.


It is a violent struggle of a group of people who refuse to accept their government’s power or it is an occasion when a group of people attempt to take control of their country by force.


Terrorism is, in the broadest sense, the use of intentionally indiscriminate violence as a means to create terror among masses of people; or fear to achieve a religious or political aim. It is used in this regard primarily to refer to violence against peacetime targets or in war against non-combatants.



  • History has seen many instances of violence and appraisals of labours, peasant classes, etc. against the elite ruling class.
  • The ideological basis is being works of Marx and Engels which is commonly known as Communism/Marxism.
  • Later supported by Lenin and Mao Zedong
  • Revolutionary struggle of the downtrodden classes against the exploitative ruling/capitalist class
  • Naxalism can be equated to Maoism creating fear, denying democracy and development of tribal people.
Evolution of Naxalism in 4 phases:

Phase 1: Pre 1967 – CPI and Maoists

  • 1920s: CPI introduced communist revolution in India.
  • By 1940s they took control of All Indian Trade Union Congress.
  • Early 1940s: Politically cornered because of their oppositions to Quit India Movements.
  • 1962: Indo – Sino war: CPI’s difference on whom to support: India (Pro-USSR) & China (Socialist).
  • 1964 : Hence, it resulted in a split into
  • Parent faction renamed as Pro-Soviet.
  • Other faction – CPI (Marxist)/CPI (M).

Phase 2

  • 1967 : Naxalite Movement began in 3 police areas – Naxalbari, Khoribari and Phansidewa (Darjeeling district, WB)
  • Late 1967 : Left wing Extremism (LWE) from the whole country founded “All India Coordinated Committee” in Kolkata
  • 1968 : Committee renamed as “All India Coordinated Committee of Communist Revolutionaries” (AICCCR)

4 ideological aims of AICCCR:

  • Protracted people’s war in line with Mao’s teachings.
  • Adapting guerrilla warfare techniques.
  • Establishment of rural revolutionary base areas.
  • Encircling cities and abstaining from parliamentary elections.
  • 1969: CPI Marxist – Leninist (ML) was founded by AICCCR.
  • It followed Maoist ideology.
  • Soon, Naxalites spread into West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh.
  • Main followers were peasants and adivasis (tribals) who were being exploited and discriminated. From state authorities and unemployed youth.
  • 1970 to mid-1971: Peak of violent Naxal activities.
  • 1971: Joint Operation of Police and Army in West Bengal, Bihar and Odisha.
  • 1972: Charu Mazumdar death in custody
  • 1975: Emergency: Serious blow to Naxal movement.

Phase 3:  Post emergency, the movement rose again in more violent form and wider base was created. The strategy of ‘protracted war’ was updated.

  • 1980: CPI (ML) was converted into People’s War Group (PWG)
  • Base in AP
  • Heavy casualties to police personnel
  • 1992: PWG banned in AP (but continued its activities)
  • Simultaneously, Maoist Communist Centre of India (MCCI) started operating in Bihar.
  • It resulted in the movement to grow at a steady pace across many parts in India.

Phase 4:

  • 2004:
  • Significant development: Merger of PWG and MCCI into CPI (M).
  • Over 13 LWE groups were operating in India.
  • CPI (M), a major LWE outfit, after its emergence, Naxal violence was on the rise.

Hence, PM’s declaration

  • 2005:
  • PM declares Naxalism as the biggest internal security challenge in India.
  • Naxalite activities in “Red Corridor” (mineral rich region – East India) – Narrow contiguous strip of Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and Odisha
  • Peak of Maoist movement in Nepal: Naxal influence was seen from “Tirupati to Pashupati”.


  • Biggest incident – In Dantewada (Chattisgarh), 76 CRPF armed personnel were killed. It exhibited the extent of strategic planning, skills and armament of Naxalites.


  • LWE made International headlines killing 27 (Including politicians) in Sukma (Chattisgarh).

 Spread today :

  • 1/3rd geographical spread of India; Approximately 20 states (7 states worst affected – West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Maharshtra).
  • Mostly in Dandakaranya region (Chattisgarh, Odisha, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh).
  • Golden Corridor stretch (Pune to Ahmedabad) i.e. ideological spread to Bhils and Gonds.
  • Also present in Upper Assam + Arunachal Pradesh (Along River Lohit).
  • CPI (M) is a major LWE outfit in India today and is the reason for violence, deaths of civilians and security forces. It is included in Schedule of Terrorist Organisations and outfits under UAPA (1967).


Spread of Naxalism:

Maoists spread their ideology very systematically and in a phased manner as follows:

  1. Preparatory phase: Detailed survey of new areas identifying important people, public issues on which masses can be mobilised.
  2. Perspective phase: Mobilisation through frontal organizations staging demonstration against Government or administration based on local public grievances.
  3. Guerrilla phase: converting the public movement into violent guerrilla warfare.
  4. Base phase: Establishment of their base and change the guerrilla zone into a liberated zone.
  5. Liberated phase: Establishment of people’s Government.


Naxalism as a Challenge to India

  1. Administrative hurdles in dealing with LWE.
  2. Poor infrastructure, lack of communication and shortage of trained manpower are key problem to fight Maoists.
  3. Absence of administration in these areas causing Maoists to virtually run a parallel Government – Local panchayat leaders are forced to resign and Maoists hold regular Jan Adalat.
  4. Poor coordination among Central and State Police Forces and lack of professionalism.
  5. Inter-state boundaries are fissures which are exploited by Maoists.
  6. Differences in policies among states with respect to surrender, talks and capture etc.

Eg: Operation Greyhound (AP) – Naxalism is almost eliminated in the state but they escaped to neighbouring state – Chattisgarh, Maharashtra and Odisha.

If the Operation was co-ordinated with all states (support), then the escape could have been prevented.

  1. Recruited tribals have built-in advantage over the police forces. They possess more resources and greater mobility in the region.
  2. State Police Forces are poorly equipped and trained while Central Forces lack commitment and motivation.


Government’s actions:

Post 2006, after PM’s declaration of Naxalism as India’s biggest Internal Security threat, many new steps were taken:

  • Creation “Naxal Management division” – a separate division in Home Ministry.
  • Deal in areas of security, development, administration and public perception in a holistic manner
  • Public awareness etc.

 Expert committee headed by D. Bandopadhyay by Planning Commission in 2006

  • It underscored the Political, Economic, Social and Cultural discrimination faced by SC/ST across the country.
  • Lack of empowerment of local communities is the main reason for spread of Naxalism.
  • State bureaucracy failed miserably with respect to governance in affected areas.
  • Recommended tribal friendly land acquisition and rehabilitation policy.

 Security related Expenditure (SRE) Scheme :

  • Funds for expenditure related to insurance, training, operational needs of security forces, rehabilitation of surrendered LWE cadres, infra for village defence committee and publicity material.

Special Infrastructure Scheme (SIS) :

  • Approved in 11th Plan – Rs. 500Cr for special infrastructure in affected areas – mobility, road, weapons, etc.
  • To cater to critical infrastructure gaps, which can’t be covered under existing schemes.

Central Scheme for assistance to civilian victims/family of victims of terrorists, communal and Naxal violence, 2009: It earmarked Rs.3 lakh as relief amount.

 Integrated Action Plan (IAP) :

  • By Planning Commission
  • Accelerated development in 88 selected tribal and backward districts.
  • Its aim was to provide public infrastructure and services.
  • 30Cr to each district through District level committee, comprising
    • District Magistrate – The head
    • SP
    • District Forest Officer
  • Construction of schools, Anganwadis, drinking water facilities, minor irrigation projects, health care centres, etc.

 Road Requirement Plan for extremist affected areas Phase 1: 2009

  • For improvement of road connectivity in 8 extremely affected states = Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
  • 7300 Cr project

 Scheme of Fortified Police Stations

  • Sanctioned 400 police stations in 9 affected states.
  • 2 Cr per police station.

 Civic Action Program (CAP)

  • Financial grants sanctioned to CAPs
  • In development affected states
  • It is a successful scheme – building bridge between local population and security forces
  • It is a program Ministry of Home Affairs, focussing on “individual-oriented” approach over “Project-oriented” approach.
  • Central Reserve Police force and BSF are responsible for development projects costing 20Cr per annum on welfare schemes.

  Roshni Scheme

  • Under Ministry of Rural Development
  • It focusses on Skill Development.
  • It targets nearly 50,000 rural men and women, mostly tribal.
  • It covers Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG) on priority basis.
  • It is operational in 24 worst affected LWE districts.

 ARC Recommendations

Capacity building of security forces :
  • Protection to personnel responsible for implementation of development programmes, public institutions such as schools, transport, stations etc.
  • Training, reorientation and sensitizing police and paramilitary personnel to the root causes of the disturbances to tackle in with sensitivity.
  • Special trained task forces on the pattern of the Greyhounds in Andhra Pradesh.
  • Strengthening the local police station in terms of being more cost effective.
 Capacity building of administrative institutions :
  • Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006.
  • Land Rights to the extent of 4 hectares per Forest Dwelling Scheduled Tribe (FDST) nuclear family.
  • Flexibility in administrative and judicial dispute settlement and grievance redressal at the earliest.
 Capacity building of Government  Personnel :
  • Incentive and reward to performing officers, better emoluments, recognition of their service and retention of residential accommodation and education of their children in the State headquarters, if so desired.
  • Better training on empathy and conflict resolution programs with tribal facets and tribal culture study as its primary.
Capacity buildingof Local Bodies :
  • PESA, 1996 – welcome initiative for ensuring grass-roots management of community affairs.
 Capacity building of Civil society :
  • In some cases, the ‘NGO’ may even be a ‘front’ for the extremists themselves.
  • While there may be some ‘black sheep’ among these organisations, there is little doubt that they have the potential to act as a bridge between the extremists and the government and in educating the people about the futility of violence and preventing aggravation of the situation by ventilating public grievances within the legal-democratic framework
 Cutting the source of finance of Naxalites :
  • Naxalite raise their fund through extortion, illegal mining operation etc. and there exist a vast nexus of contractor-transporter-extremist .This has to be curtailed
  • One way to ensure that development funds do not reach the extremists is by entrusting these works temporarily to organisations like the BRO and other governmental agencies which can execute these works directly. This is recommended as a purely temporary measure and not to stifle local private entrepreneurship.

Manifest Pedagogy

Naxalism as a topic has both security and social dimensions. It has international linkages as well so the questions could be interlink age of all three sections for the holistic coverage of the topic Naxalism should be studied as a Social problem along with all the initiatives by the government to tackle Naxalism. Some tangential aspects like constitutional provisions for the tribals to tackle Naxalism could also be expected in the exam.

Test yourself: Mould your thoughts

Briefly outline various provisions made for tribals and tribal areas in the Constitution of India. Do you think they provide adequate governance frame work to tackle Naxalism in India? Substantiate.


Andaman and Nicobar Islands

In News

The government has chosen 10 islands in Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar for their holistic development in the first phase of work being done by newly constituted Island Development Agency (IDA).

Placing it in Syllabus

  • Salient features of Indian physical Geography and distribution of Key natural resources
  • Environment and disaster management
  • Security Issues

Andaman and Nicobar profile


The Andaman and Nicobar Islands lie between 6“ 45’ N and 13° 30’ N latitudes and 90° 20’ E and 93° 56’ E longitudes.


A total area of landmass of these islands is approximately 8249 Sq. Km. and coastline is about 2000 km. The land area of the Andaman Islands is 6340 sq km and that of Nicobar is 1953 sq km.


Andaman and Nicobar Islands constitute the physiographic continuation of the mountain ranges of Naga and Lushai Hills and Arakan Yoma of Burma through Cape Negrais to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and South-east of Sumatra (Achin Head). The chains of these islands are summits of submerged mountain ranges projecting above the sea level running north to south.

The Andaman and Nicobar archipelago lie in a crescent shape that stretches from cape Negrais of Myanmar to Banda Arc of Sumatra (Indonesia) about 1200 km away from east coast of Indian mainland and situated in the southernmost portion of the Bay of Bengal of the Indian Ocean.

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are broadly divided into two groups, separated by the Ten Degree Channel.

The Andaman group consists of 324 islands of which 20 are inhabited. The Main part of the group is collectively known as the Great Andamans comprising of five closely adjoining Islands, North Andaman, Middle Andaman, South Andaman, Baratang and Rutland Island, all separated by narrow channels. The southernmost island of the Andaman group is the Little Andaman which is separated by a strait called Duncan passage. The highest peak in the whole of the archipelago is Saddle Peak (732.12 m) in North Andaman.

The Nicobar group comprises 24 islands of which 13 are inhabited. The Indira Point is the southernmost boundary of India and is about 144 km from Achin Head of Sumatra. Great Nicobar is the longest of the Nicobar group. Other notable islands of the group are Car Nicobar, Choura, Camorta, Trinket, Nancowry and Little Nicobar. Car Nicobar is the Capital of the Nicobar group of islands. It is a coral island and has a shape more or less like that of Australia with a land area of 127 sq. km.

Volcanism in Andamans

Barren Island volcano is an active andesitic volcano located 135 km ENE of Port Blair, the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar islands. It is the northern most volcano in the Indonesian arc. The volcano is associated with the subduction of the Indian Plate beneath the Burmese Plate along the Andaman Trench.

As per Geological Survey of India (GSI), Narcondum islands are dormant andesitic volcanoes in the Andaman group.

Baratang island eruption is considered as the mud volcanic eruption (mud volcano).

Corals of Andaman and Nicobar:

Much of the coral reefs of Andaman and Nicobar islands are fringing reefs. Important regions where corals are distributed in Andaman and Nicobar islands- North Reef Island, Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park, Rani Jhansi Marine National Park, Smith island, Ross island, Avis island, Lamia Bay, Harmindar Bay, Campbell island, Cinque Island, Nancowry group of Islands


Geologically, the rock types in the Andaman and Nicobar group of Islands include metamorphic rocks, sedimentaries and an igneous suite of rocks called ophiolites. Metamorphic rocks include quartzite, schist, amphibiolite of pre-cambrian era. Sedimentary rocks include sandstone, shale, and limestone. And also the coralline rocks.


The climate is monsoon tropical climate. Because of its latitudinal location and maritime effects the extremes of the climate are unknown. The average temperature varies between 23°c to 32°c. The average annual rainfall recorded is around 318 cm. The islands receive rainfall both from south-west and north-east monsoon with dry seasons extending from Jan to April.


Nearly 86.93% of total area is forested. Important types of forest include Tropical Evergreen vegetation, Moist Deciduous vegetation and mangrove vegetation. Shoal Bay in South Andaman, Austrin Creek in Mayabunder, Yerrata and Rangat Bay in Middle Andamans etc. are important mangrove sites.


Paddy is the most important crop especially cultivated in Andaman Islands. Apart from rice, cashew nut, areca nut, coconut, banana, sweet potato, vegetables, rabi pulses etc. are other important crops


As such the island has deposits of limestone. Some deposits of iron-ore can be found and is considered as potential for hydrocarbons.

Island Development Agency

Constituted: 2017

Chairman: Home Minister

Other Members: Cabinet secretary, Home Secretary, Secretary (MoEF- Environment, Forest and Climate change), Secretary (Tourism) and Secretary(Tribal Welfare)

Areas: Holistic development in the project islands after giving due consideration to unique maritime and territorial biodiversity of the islands.


IDA discusses and decides the policies and programmes for the integrated development of the Islands, and reviews the progress of implementation and impact of the programmes of the development.

The recent and second meeting of IDA was held in November 2017. It reviewed concept development plans and detailed master plans for holistic development of 10 islands, 5 in Andaman & Nicobar islands (Smith, Ross, Aves, Long and Little Andaman) and 5 in Lakshwadeep ( Minicoy, Bangaram, Suheli, Cherium and Tinnakara ).

Prominent conservation sites include:

Tribes of Andaman and Nicobar:

Manifest Pedagogy

Why was this topic chosen?

Andaman and Nicobar islands was in news for different reasons.

  1. Island development authority was formed in 2017 (Governance)
  2. Issue of invasive species on the islands was a prominent (Environment)
  3. India for the first time has invited a foreign country (Japan) to invest on the islands. This was a break from the earlier stand of non-interference in the region (International Relations)
  4. Centre relaxes Andaman’s Restricted Area Permit conditions specified for foreign tourists (Economy Tourism)


Zipping into our solar system from above, an interstellar now known as Oumuamua, or 1I/2017 U1 swung around the Sun and shot away again.

Placing it in syllabus

  1. Geography: Origin of universe and various space phenomena
  2. Awareness in the fields of Space

Static dimensions

  1. Celestial bodies esp. Comets and Asteroids
  2. Space observation

Current dimensions

  1. Telescopes in space observation
  2. Alien probe speculation


‘Oumuamua means “scout” or “messenger” in Hawaiian.

Astronomers used the Spitzer Space Telescope for over 30 hours of observations of ‘Oumuamua in the infrared.

Some observations and inferences on Oumuamua

  • The object known as 1I/2017 U1 (and nicknamed ‘Oumuamua) was traveling too fast (54 miles per second) to have originated in our solar system. Comets and asteroids from within our solar system move at a slower speed, typically an average of 12 miles per second.
  • ‘Oumuamua entered our solar system from the rough direction of the constellation Lyra, but it’s impossible to tell where it originally came from. Thousands of years ago, when ‘Oumuamua started to wander from its parent planetary system, the stars were in a different position so it’s impossible to pinpoint its point of origin. It could have been wandering the galaxy for billions of years.
  • ‘Oumuamua is headed back out of our solar system and won’t be coming back. It’s rapidly headed in the direction of the constellation Pegasus and will cross the orbit of Neptune in about four years and cover one light year’s distance in about 11,000 years.
  • It is seen as a speck of light through a telescope, but its unique rotation leads us to believe that it’s elongated like a cigar, about 10 times longer than it is wide.
  • A rapid response observing campaign allowed us to watch as ‘Oumuamua got an unexpected boost in speed. The acceleration slightly changed its course from earlier predictions.
  • Unusual variations in the comet’s brightness suggest it is rotating on more than one axis.
  • Comets in our solar system kick off lots of dust and gas when they get close to the sun, but ‘Oumuamua did not, which led observers to consider defining it as an asteroid. It could be giving off gases that are harder to see than dust, but it’s impossible to know at this point.
  • The discovery of an interstellar object has been anticipated for decades. The space between the stars probably has billions and billions of asteroids and comets roaming around independently. Scientists understood that, inevitably, some of these small bodies would enter our own solar system. This interstellar visit by ‘Oumuamua reinforces our models of how planetary systems form.
  • After January 2018, ‘Oumuamua’ was no longer visible to telescopes, even in space. But scientists continue to analyze the data gathered during the international observing campaign and crack open more mysteries about this unique interstellar visitor.
  • Because ‘Oumuamua’ is the first interstellar object ever observed in our solar system, researchers caution that it’s difficult to draw general conclusions about this newly-discovered class of celestial bodies. Observations point to the possibility that other star systems regularly eject small comet-like objects and there should be more of them drifting among the stars.

Manifest Pedagogy


The studies on origin of universe, space phenomena, celestial bodies and their observations are of prime importance for Prelims. Usually these are studied under Science & Technology, but there has been an inter-disciplining trend like IR or even economic issues being asked in geography. For eg., Indus Water Treaty, an IR topic was asked in geography. The above topic was chosen to give a peek to the students into this inter-disciplinary trend.

Regional Connectivity Scheme (UDAN)

In News

UDAN phase 3

Placing it in Syllabus

Paper 2: Economic Geography (Not mentioned exclusively in syllabus)

Paper 3: Infrastructure – Airports

Static Dimensions

  1. Role of transport
  2. Role of airways
  3. Regional Development

Current Dimensions

  1. UDAN scheme as an enabler of regional development
  2. Tourism and trade
  3. Urbanization and industrialization


Role of Transport

Transportation is a non-separable part of any society. It exhibits a very close relation to the style of life, the range and location of activities and the goods and services which will be available for consumption. Advances in transportation has made possible changes in the way of living and the way in which societies are organized and therefore have a great influence in the development of civilizations.

Transport plays an important role in the development of industry and agriculture. The aim of all economic activities involving movement of goods and men is to transform things in their present forms/ places and time to more highly desired forms, places and time preferences.

It is the function of transport to bridge the gap between producers and consumers so that goods and services may be exchanged in time for their mutual benefit. A developed transport system helps large-scale production and mass distribution with accompanying regional specialization and division of labor. The economic utilization of different types of resource would completely be impossible to carry of one place to another place without transport system.  Exchanges of goods that which we call trade, is totally dependent on the availability of transport networks.

Role of airways in India

In big country as India where major industrial and commercial centers are scattered and far apart and where transport services must contend with a variety of terrain and climatic conditions, air transport has a big role to play. It offers savings in time that cannot be matched by any other mode of transport over long distances. The role played by the air-transport in the development of international trade and tourism is becoming increasingly important. Besides this contribution, aviation is a must for a country’s national defence and political security. It is in the interest of a nation to possess excellent civil fleets which can serve their commerce and industry during peace time and at the same time remain available for immediate conversion to defence purposes during the time of national emergency.

Regional Connectivity Scheme

As the Indian economy grows, consumption-led growth in populated metros is expected to spill over to hinterland areas. This is also expected to be on account of factors of production (land, labor, etc.) becoming costlier in the densely populated metro cities. In this scenario, air connectivity can provide required impetus to the economic growth of regional centers (towns / cities).

The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), Government of India released the National Civil Aviation Policy 2016 (NCAP 2016).

One of the key objectives of NCAP 2016 is to “establish an integrated eco-system which will lead to significant growth of civil aviation sector, which in turn would promote tourism, increase employment and lead to a balanced regional growth”.

The scheme provides a unique opportunity to take flying to the masses by way of fiscal incentives, infrastructure support, procedural simplifications and monetary subsidies.

The scheme has been launched to provide connectivity to un-served and underserved airports of the country through revival of existing air-strips and airports. This is the first of its kind scheme and will be implemented for a period of 10 years.

UDAN (“Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik”) scheme will make flying easier and affordable for the common man. It aims to stimulate regional connectivity through a market-based mechanism. UDAN network will cover the whole country. Accordingly, 24 airports in the western region, 17 airports in the northern region, 11 in the southern region, 12 in east and 6 in north-eastern parts of the country are proposed to be connected under UDAN.

The scheme is expected to have positive effects on the economy in terms of employment and investment. The scheme will also promote tourism and balanced regional growth.

The Regional Air Connectivity Scheme, or UDAN (“Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik”) attempts to reduce the financial burden on operators by:

  1. Having central or state bodies grant concessions in taxes and tariffs
  2. Introducing a Viability Gap Funding (VGF) corpus to bridge the gap between expenditure and revenue
  3. Revival of un-served or under-served airports/ routes, including routes connecting Agatti and Leh
  4. Cost-effective security solutions by Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) and State Governments

The potential RCS airports have been identified on the basis of the following parameters:

  1. At least 150 km distance from the nearest operational airport (with a few exceptions)
  2. Demographic profile, industrial profile, likely passenger demand and market potential
  3. Tourism potential of the airport and its hinterland
  4. Quality of existing runway and terminal
  5. Need for additional land acquisition and capital investments
  6. Connectivity with and competition from other modes of transport like highways and railways

UDAN scheme will help in better regional development by integrating and connecting the hilly and mountainous regions of North-east and Western Himalayan states. Airways are preferred mode for connecting areas of difficult terrain. Promotion of tourism in these states will help in generating employment opportunities and economic development. UDAN will help in growth of tier 2 and tier 3 cities by saving the issues of congestion of class 1 cities. Tier 2 cities will emerge as attractive destinations for investment. Integrated mode of transportation where each mode is complementary to each other will help in better regional development.

UDAN scheme has been divided into:

Phase 1 of the scheme was launched in 2017. Six airports of North-east will be opened under UDAN the airports of North-east include- Shillong, Dimarpur, Imphal, Silchar, Aizawl and Agartala were connected. 128 new regional fixed-wing routes from 70 airports, including 27 currently well served metro airports and 43 regional were awarded to 5 fixed-wing airlines on 27 April 2017. Five airlines are Air Odisha, Air Deccan, Turbo Megha Airways, Alliance Air and SpiceJet.

UDAN 2 (Phase 2) will connect 43 airports and helipads with priority to the North-East and the hill states. States with maximum number of airports and helipads which will see activation under UDAN 2 scheme. These states are Uttarakhand (15 airports), Uttar Pradesh (9 airports), Arunachal Pradesh (8 airports), Himachal Pradesh (6 airports), Assam (5 airports) and Manipur (5 airports).Some of the cities that would now be connected include Kargil, Darbhanga, Kasauli, Bokaro, Dumka, Hubli, Kannur and Pakyong, among others.

Udan 3 – The bidding process for phase 3 is underway. The priority in this phase is connecting tourist destinations. Routes for auction in this phase will include popular tourist destinations such as Mahabodhi temple in Bihar, Ajanta and Ellora in Aurangabad and Hampi in Karnataka and others. The Ministry of Tourism has identified 12 tourist hotspots to connect under the scheme. The centre also intends to operate seaplanes in the phase. The government porposes to connect recently unveiled Statue Of Unity at Sardar Sarovar Dam, Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad, Tehri Dam in Uttarakhand and  Nagarjuna sagar In Telangana through seaplanes.

 Manifest Pedagogy

Geography has been one section which has seen highly dynamic questions in recent times. Even Geography optional has seen path breaking questions. In general studies topics like Indus Water Treaty (IR), IRNSS (S&T) have been asked in Geography which could never be visualized in Geography earlier. Keeping pace with this changing pattern Manifest 11 has picked regional Connectivity scheme, traditionally a topic of Economy, as part of Geography.

Even though the features of the topic remain the same, the answer should be written from regional dimension. Geography is centered on the study of a region, hence impact of a scheme on different parts of country should be stressed upon. Other infrastructural initiatives such as Sagarmala, Bharatmala, Railway Freight Corridors etc. are also important in this regard.

Test Yourself: Mould your thoughts

Transport infrastructure and its impact on regional development is paramount. In light of this statement examine the impact of UDAN scheme?

Manifest IAS – Who Are We?

By now you might have understood that our approach towards UPSC is different from the traditional market way of preparing. This approach has been developed and perfected by our team of esteemed faculty with diverse backgrounds ranging from Delhi University to BITS Pilani. This approach has emerged by closely observing the UPSC way for over a decade both as aspirants then as the faculty members of institutes such as Insights on India and M.Puri IAS. And this approach has now developed as our Vision and Mission at Manifest IAS.

Vision and Mission

Our Vision is to facilitate Civil Services Preparation the Civil Service Way. In this mad rush of institutions, mentors and test series somewhere aspirants have lost the UPSC aspects in preparation and it has become “the institute’s way of preparing “which is inherently faulty. We aim to change this and bring the UPSC way.

Our Missions

1.      CONCEPT BASED LEARNING AND TEACHING: Learn the concepts first and answer the questions. Do not discover concepts through questions.

2.      DECODING: Decode UPSC syllabus for aspirants

3.      CUSTOMISATION: Readings according to syllabus and not books standardized by market

4.      ACCULTURIZATION: Sculpt the thought process of aspirants to develop “Civil Services Discretion”

Civil Service Discretion in preparation is

  • Read and understand the readings the “UPSC way”
  • Consolidating them into notes for quick reference
  1. MOULDING: Using your notes to answer questions. Not writing what you know but what UPSC demands.
  2. INTERLINKING AND INTERDISCIPLINING: This is the last stage of linking subjects like international relations with geography, geography with economy and so on according to the demands of UPSC.



In news

Allegations of corruption against Special Director, Rakesh Asthana by a whistleblower Satish Sana, subsequent removal of CBI Director, Alok Verma by CVC and issues related to it.

Placing it in syllabus

  1. Statutory, regulatory and quasi-judicial bodies
  2. Governance – transparency and accountability
  3. Ethics – institutions and integrity

Static dimensions

  1. CBI- formation, composition, appointment, powers and functions.
  2. Its role in transparency and accountability.
  3. Declining role of CBI.

Current dimensions

  1. Legal framework governing CBI and issues related to it.
  2. Independence and autonomy of CBI.
  3. POCA issue of prior consent in CBI.
  4. Institutions and their importance in Indian political system.
  5. Whistle blowers Act.


Establishment of CBI

CBI was set up in 1963 by a resolution of Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) under the Prime Ministership of Lal Bahadur Shastri. Delhi special police establishment (DPSE), set up in 1941, is merged with CBI. It was later transferred to Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions (MoPPP). It is not a statutory body. It derives its powers from DSPE Act, 1946.

The CBI is the main investigating agency of the Central Government. It plays an important role in preventing corruption and maintaining integrity in administration. It also provides assistance to the Central Vigilance Commission.


  • The CBI is headed by a Director, an IPS officer with a rank of Director General of Police. The director is selected based on the CVC Act 2003, and has a two-year term.
  • He is assisted by a special director or an additional director.
  • Additionally, it has a number of Joint Directors, Deputy Inspector Generals, Superintendents of Police and all other usual ranks of police personnel.


The amended DPSE Act empowers a committee to appoint the director of CBI. The committee consists the following people:

  • Prime Minister – chairperson
  • Leader of Opposition – member
  • Chief Justice of India or a Supreme Court Judge recommended by the Chief Justice – member

Jurisdiction, powers and restrictions

The legal powers of investigation of the CBI are derived from the DSPE Act 1946, which confers powers, duties, privileges and liabilities on the Delhi Special Police Establishment (CBI) and officers of the Union Territories.

The central government may extend to any area (except Union Territories) the powers and jurisdiction of the CBI for investigation, subject to the consent of the government of the concerned state. Under the act, the CBI can investigate only with notification by the central government.


  • The CBI being a Union subject may investigate:
  • Cases of corruption, bribery and misconduct of the Central government employees.
  • Cases relating to infringement of fiscal and economic laws.

However, such cases are taken up either in consultation with or at the request of the department concerned.

  • Serious crimes committed by organized gangs of professional criminals, having national and international ramifications.
  • Coordinates the activities of the anti-corruption agencies and the various state police forces.
  • Takes up, on the request of a state government, any case of public importance for investigation.
  • Maintains crime statistics and disseminating criminal information.

Provision of Prior Permission

The CBI is required to obtain the prior approval of Central Government before conducting any enquiry or investigation into an offence committed by officers of rank of Joint Secretary and above in Central Government and its authorities.

State’s Consent

The High Courts and the Supreme Court have the jurisdiction to order a CBI investigation into an offence alleged to have been committed in a state without the state’s consent.

The court clarified this is an extraordinary power which must be exercised sparingly, cautiously and only in exceptional situations.

POCA issue of prior consent in CBI

The power of superintendence over the CBI lies with the central government save for the cases of corruption under POCA 1988 in which the superintendence rests with the CVC.

The CBI had acquired a high reputation and won the confidence of the people for its motto: Industry, Impartiality and Integrity. But never before has any major rift — this time between the top two in the agency, the Director and the Special Director — played out in the open.

And never before has the agency registered a serious case of corruption against its own Special Director, for allegedly accepting bribes amounting to crores from someone under investigation.

A gradual decline

  1. The CBI’s decline has been gradual. The first setback came in the Rajiv Gandhi era, with the single directive requiring the CBI to take prior permission of the government before initiating an inquiry against “decision-making-level officers”.
  2. The Supreme Court, in Vineet Narain and Others v. Union of India (1997), apart from passing several orders to uphold the integrity of the CBI, the CVC and the Enforcement Directorate, quashed the Single Directive as unconstitutional.
  3. But the political class brought the directive back in the CVC Act of 2003, which was again set aside by the court.
  4. The government got the corruption law amended in the last monsoon session of Parliament, requiring the CBI to take prior approval for initiating investigation against all categories of government servants.

Whistle Blowers Act, 2011

This issue is dealt here because of the act of whistleblowing by Satish Sana against Asthana.

Features of the act:

  • The Act seeks to protect whistle blowers, i.e. persons making a public interest disclosure related to an act of corruption, misuse of power, or criminal offense by a public servant.
  • Any public servant or any other person including a non-governmental organization may make such a disclosure to the Central or State Vigilance Commission.
  • Every complaint has to include the identity of the complainant.
  • The Vigilance Commission shall not disclose the identity of the complainant except to the head of the department if he deems it necessary. The Act penalizes any person who has disclosed the identity of the complainant.
  • The Act prescribes penalties for knowingly making false complaints.

 Need of the hour

  1. The CBI came into existence through a Government of India resolution. Even today, the agency continues to function under the archaic Delhi Special Police Establishment Act of 1946, for its powers of investigation and jurisdiction.
  2. In pursuance of the orders passed by the court in the Vineet Narain case, the CVC Act of 2003 was passed, and later, the Lokpal Act. Both these Acts partly deal with the powers and functions of the CBI, including providing some much-needed safeguards.
  3. But till date, the CBI does not have an Act of its own, although the need for a Comprehensive Act has been felt for a long time now.
  4. The Estimates Committee of Parliament, under Jaswant Singh, had recommended that the CBI should be given statutory status and have legal powers to investigate cases with inter-State ramifications.
  5. Implementation of Santhanam Committee recommendation: Amendment of Article 311 of the Constitution in such a manner that the judicial process in corruption cases could be simplified and expedited.
  6. Implementation of Lokapal Act and Lokayuktas Act in right spirit.

Yet, while providing some safeguards to the CBI, the CVC Act also created impediments. It vested in the CVC the “superintendence” of the DPSE (and thus the CBI) in relation to investigation under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

For the remaining areas, the act left the “superintendence” to the government. So, the “superintendence” over the CBI is something which is shared today between the CVC and the government.

Thus, while the answerability for the CBI’s functioning is with the government, the power of “superintendence” in corruption cases lies with the CVC. The present crisis owes a lot to this diarchic arrangement in the CVC Act.

Manifest pedagogy

It is a highly politicized issue. Political issues are not asked in UPSC as bureaucracy is expected to be neutral. But in these politicized issues, analytical issues related to Constitution, Policy, Ethics etc. are deduced and asked as question. For example, the tussle between the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi and the Chief Minister though a highly politicized one had Constitutional (Constitutional Amendment 69 and Federalism) aspects to which were asked twice in the exam. So such issues required perspicacity to look beyond the issues.

In the issue of CBI, Corruption and lack of ethics is an immediate issue. When we look beyond the issue, we can deduce the topic of Institutions and their importance in India as these are institutions time and again that their institutional autonomy (RBI, Judiciary, ECI, and now CBI) is under threat in India.

Some Food for Thought on the topic of Institutions

Institutions are systems functioning on the basis of rules, regulations and principles. These rules are confined to prevent confusion and misuse. Personalities on the other hand work within these framework. They run them, they add value to it. They have to follow the rules, regulations and principles.

Human beings are falliable. They can make mistakes. They may become authoritative. The rules of institutions moderate the arbitrary expressions of power of human beings.

Indian Political System made of Institutions like Parliament, Judiciary, and President etc. The importance of Institutions in India:

  1. a) Check authoritative rule of personalities.
  2. b) Bring about the rule of law and avoid rule of human
  3. c) Bring about procedural correctness in achieving an action.
  4. d) Establish checks and balances system for effective diffusion of power.
  5. e) Institutions are integrated systems which function of principles of autonomy and independence

The drawbacks of too many institutions are Institutional inertia, red-tapism effectively lead to slow development.

Test Yourself: Mould Your Thoughts

A separate law is required to restore the credibility of CBI, which is in limbo due to multiple interpretations about the legal framework governing it. Critically comment.

Higher education reforms under the new regime

In news

Many reforms in Higher Education in India are recommended and are being implemented. Also, new bodies are constituted in the sector.

Placing it in syllabus

Development and management of social sector / service relating to health, education and human resources

Static dimensions

Higher education in India: Problems and Solutions

  1. Governance related issues
  2. Autonomy issues
  3. Funding, infrastructure and international collaboration

Current dimensions

Reforms in higher education in the new regime and their effectiveness

  1. Higher Education Commission of India (HECI)
  2. Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA)
  3. Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN)
  4. Institutions of Eminence (IOE)
  5. Impact of globalization on Higher Education in India


Higher Education Commission of India

(Repeal of University Grants Commission) Act 2018

This Act is applicable for all higher educational institutions established, under any Act of the Parliament excluding Institutions of National Importance so notified by the Government, Act of State Legislature and to all Institutions Deemed to be Universities so notified by the Government.

The Commission has many functions inter alia to promote the quality of academic instruction, maintenance of academic standards and the autonomy of higher educational institutions. It ensure maintenance of academic standards in the Higher Education system in the Country and for pursuance of which it specifies learning outcomes, laydown standards of teaching, assessment and research, evaluate the yearly academic performance.

Here are the key differences between the proposed Higher Education Commission of India from the present University Grants Commission:

Financial It disburses grants to Central institutions out of its funds. It will not have any financial powers.
Academic Promotes and coordinates university education and determine and maintain standards of teaching, examination and research.


It will specify standards for grant of authorization to a university of higher educational institution to commence its academic operations.




UGC conducts periodic inspections.


No inspections.
Action on bogus institutions It terminates affiliations or withholds grants to universities for violations of its regulations. It will be empowered to penalize or even shut down sub-standard institutions.


Has a Chairman, a Vice-Chairman, and 10 members. It shall comprise a Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson, and 12 members.
Regular staff


The UGC appoints its own staff. The same will apply to the HECI as well. The present staff of UGC will be re-trained to work on fully digital mode — without physical files — at HECI.

 Rashtriya Uchhchatra Shiksha Abhiyan

  • Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS), launched in 2013 aims at providing strategic funding to eligible state higher educational institutions.
  • The central funding (in the ratio of 60:40 for general category States, 90:10 for special category states and 100% for union territories) would be norm based and outcome dependent.
  • The funding to states would be made on the basis of critical appraisal of State Higher Education Plans, describing equity, access and excellence in higher education.
  • To improve the overall quality of state institutions
  • To create a facilitating institutional structure for planning and monitoring at the state level, promoting autonomy in State Universities and improving governance in institutions.
  • To ensure adequate availability of quality faculty in all higher educational institutions
  • To create an enabling atmosphere for research and innovations.
  • To correct regional imbalances in access to higher education
  • To improve equity and inclusion in higher education by including minorities, SC/ST and women.

Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN)

Govt. of India approved a new program titled Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN) in Higher Education

  • To tap the talent pool of scientists and entrepreneurs internationally.
  • To encourage their engagement with the institutes of Higher Education in India.
  • To augment the country’s existing academic resources, accelerate the pace of quality reform.
  • To evaluate India’s scientific and technological capacity to global excellence.

It facilitates participation of high quality international academicians for delivering short-term courses and programs in Indian institutions.

Initially 500 international faculties will be engaged in conducting courses and later in subsequent years 1000 faculties would be engaged under GIAN throughout India.

The courses under GIAN will vary in duration from one to three weeks depending on the subject and will be free for students of the host institution and available at nominal fee for others.

These courses will be webcasted live for students across the country through web portal of IIT Kharagpur.

Institutes of Eminence (IoE)


Only higher education institutions, currently placed in the top 500 of global rankings or top 50 of National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), are eligible to apply for eminence tag. The private Institutions of Eminence can also come up as Greenfield ventures provided sponsoring organization submits convincing perspective plan for 15 years.

The scheme of IoE was rolled out by University Grants Commission (UGC). It aims to help 20 higher education (10 public and 10 private) institutions from country break into top 500 global rankings in 10 years, and then eventually break into top 100 over time.

UGC (Declaration of Government Educational institutions as Institutions of Eminence) Guidelines, 2017 are:

  1. Multi-disciplinary and have both teaching and research.
  2. Reasonably good mix of domestic and foreign students.
  3. Good proportion of foreign or foreign qualified faculty.
  4. Student amenities comparable with that of globally reputed institutions.
  5. Reasonably large owned campus with adequate space for expansion.

Attributes of IOEs that will separate them from other universities:

  1. Free from most UGC regulations which are binding on other universities.
  2. Free to fix their own curriculum.
  3. Can admit 30 per cent of foreign students on merit
  4. They can recruit foreign faculty up to 25 per cent of its faculty strength

They shall be free to enter into academic collaborations with other institutions of India. The ultimate objective is for these Institutions of Eminence to acquire global standing in a few years. However, institutions based on a list of negative countries prepared by the External Affairs and Home ministries will be exceptions.

Manifest pedagogy


Education is one topic on which every year there have been questions. Such topics require comprehensive preparation by consolidating all issues at one place because inter disciplinary questions might be asked. Below is an example along with the answer for such questions. The answer given is a model to mould your answer writing skills.

Test yourself: Mould your thought

Critically examine the impact of Globalization on Higher Education in India. Do you think Institutions of Eminence (IoE) initiative addresses these issues?

 Globalization is a meta-event which has impacted every sector and every region of the world, which came officially as a phenomenon post 1991. Education as a sector has been impacted both positively and negatively.

Positive impacts of globalization on the higher education

  • Eased the entry of foreign institutions and promoted integration with local institutions.
  • Knowledge sharing through integrated networks of communication among universities facilitated by incoming technology.
  • Teachers are exposed to new techniques and technologies of study

Negative impacts of globalization on new education

  • Huge privatization of higher education and education losing social focus.
  • Universities focusing on subject which are market-driven and which support the industries.
  • Commercialization of education by private players reduces the opportunities for poor.
  • The percentage of people pursuing higher education is abysmally low, which is deteriorated further by commercialization.
  • A desperate attempt to meet market needs has taken the focus away from research and development, which is one of the prime reasons that Indian universities do not find a place in top global rankings.
  • Commercialization of education has had worse effects on vulnerable groups like women, differently abled, SCs and STs.
  • Lack of good universities locally has led moving of talent pruned by schools to outside countries which sets the foundation for brain drain.
  • Market driven approach has impacted humanities subjects in general.

Institutions of Eminence (IoE) scheme:
The scheme under the union human resource development ministry aims to project Indian institutes to global recognition. How the scheme addresses adverse effects of globalization?

  • Promotion of 10 ‘Public Institutions’ under it through financial assistance and greater autonomy will bring social focus back to higher education.
  • Greater autonomy, less political interference provides right academic environment.
  • Academic collaborations being allowed in such institutions with top 500 in the world ranking institutions without permission of UGC which shall promote Research and Development.
  • Quality improvement will reverse students drain.
  • Making them world class institutions will in turn attract students from various countries

To address the issues of globalization in higher education, institute of eminence scheme is a right but first step, which should be accompanied by comprehensive reforms in higher education is to include institutional reforms.

Judiciary, Constitution and recent judgements

In news

The role of judiciary with respect to interpreting Constitution has made news in the recent times in issues like Section 377, Section 497, Sabarimala Temple entry, Prohibition of bursting of crackers.

Placing it in syllabus

1) Indian Constitution

2) Judiciary

Static dimensions

1) Concept of Judicial Review

2) Judiciary and Federalism

3) Judiciary and Religion

4) Judiciary and Constitution

5) Contempt of Court

Current dimensions

1) Judiciary-Governance of Elites and Populism

2) Judicial decrees and the issue of their implementation

3) Originalist Vs Evolutionary/Living tree views and the concept of Transformative Constitution


SC in giving its decisions on issues like Sabarimala temple entry, sec 497, sec 377 and prohibition of bursting of crackers has taken on an active role. The judgements and its impacts are covered almost everywhere. But out of these issues there are certain tangential issues which are given in the current dimensions above.

In all the above issues there are aspects like

1) Role of Judiciary in interpreting Constitution

2) Originalist Vs Evolutionary view

By the Constitution of India, Judiciary generally, specifically SC is considered the guardian of the Constitution. It is given the power of judicial review, one of the functions of which is to examine the Constitutionality of laws made. In interpreting the Constitution judges at times follow certain doctrines and at the times their discretion based on their experiences and expertise.

Through their discretion judges can take an Originalist or an evolutionary view of a particular issue or an article or a particular clause in an article.

Originalist view

1) Here the judge interprets the article or clause as it was intended by the Constitutional makers

2) For such a judge, Originality of the Constitution matters

For instance, an Originalist view would view Article 17 as abolition of Untouchability only under the confines of caste and not gender as it was not intended by the Constitutional makers.

Advantages of Originalist views

Preserve’s the sanctity of the Constitution

Checks the arbitrary discretionary powers of the judges


It makes the Constitution stagnant and impervious to change with changing times.

Citizens may become discontented with the Constitution and it may lead to social movements and revolutions.

Evolutionary/Living Tree view

1) In this case the judge interprets the clause as it means today

2) It goes beyond the meaning intended by the framers

For instance, an evolutionary interpreter would view “Untouchability in a broader sense which may also include discrimination or seclusion of women during the period of menstruation. Hence Sabarimala issue under such a reading finds place not only under articles like 14, 15, 25 – 28 but also under article 17.

Such a view expands the scope of article 17 and opens the door for further reforms which may traditionally be not considered as part of article 17.Such a Constitution is called Transformative Constitution.

Transformative Constitution has two meanings:

1) The Constitution changes with time, according to rising aspirations

2) Social change in the country is led by the Constitution. That is Constitution is responsible for the transformation of the society.

The idea of transformative constitution got a huge fillip in Navtej Singh Johar vs UOI case of 2018 (section 377) in which two doctrines were used.

Doctrine of progressive realization of rights – certain rights cannot be given at a point of time and can only be progressively realized like economic rights under DPSP. Under the above case sexual orientation as a right though not visualized by constitutional framers but is included today as the constitution is considered a progressive document.

Doctrine of Non-retrogression or Non-regression

According to this a right given cannot be taken back or reversed.  The decision of Section 377 being declared unconstitutional cannot be reversed. This ensures that the progress of the constitution as a document cannot be challenged.

These two doctrines make constitution of India truly transformative.

Advantages of Evolutionary/Living Tree view/ Transformative Constitution

1) Constitution will be a living document

2) It gets more inclusive over time

3) Constitution-the fundamental law of the land becomes harbinger of change

4) Transformative Constitution, acts as a safety valve by bringing peaceful change and preventing violence.


1) Discretionary powers of judges may be used to alter the Constitution completely.

2) It may lead to Judicial Despotism.

3) Constitutional change may not necessarily lead to transformation in the society .For instance, though parts of sec 377 were struck down and now it may guarantee State protection but the attitude of people may need not necessarily change.

Judiciary, Intellectual Elitism and Populist issues

Judiciary is an institution of the learned who are trained in the specifics of law. Parliament and executive on the other hand are representatives of the people. The nature of the institutions being different, their decision making and factors determining them are different.

Parliament and executive who are answerable to public in their Constituency (vote bank) do not usually take any decision which does not appeal to the popular imagination. This takes an ugly form when the popular imagination is anti-legal, anti-institutional and anti-minority.

Example: Ban on women entry into Sabarimala, sec 377 etc. We hardly see Parliament taking any initiatives on these issues.

Judiciary on the other hand is not bound by the popular opinion and is accountable to the Constitution. So in recent times, Judiciary has taken a strong stand over the above issues. At times the decisions may not be acceptable to the popular imagination like the removal of ban on temple entry for women, the sudden ban on bursting of crackers which did not go well with the manufacturers as livelihood was not given sufficient time to be addressed. Judiciary is today accused of being elitist and removed from popular will. This has opened up the debate of Populisms Vs Judiciary, which may be asked in different ways in the exam.

In the above issues the lack of implementation mechanism for court orders as a topic crops up which can be linked to Contempt of Court.

Contempt of Court has a base in the constitution of India in Article 129 (Court of Record) and Article 142 (enforcement of court decrees). It also has a statutory backing through Contempt of Court Act of 1971.

Civil contempt: Under the Contempt of Courts Act of 1971, civil contempt has been defined as wilful disobedience to any judgment, decree, direction, order, writ or other process of a court or wilful breach of an undertaking given to a court.

Criminal contempt: Under the Contempt of Courts Act of 1971, criminal contempt has been defined as the publication (whether by words, spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise) of any matter or the doing of any other act whatsoever which:

Scandalises or tends to scandalise, or lowers or tends to lower the authority of, any court, or Prejudices, or interferes or tends to interfere with the due course of any judicial proceeding, or Interferes or tends to interfere with, or obstructs or tends to obstruct, the administration of justice in any other manner.

Sometimes it is a wilful disobedience like the disobedience of the people to court order in Sabarimala issue and at times it is out of ignorance like the decision of striking down of section 66A of IT Act 2008 in Shreya Singhal Vs UOI case of 2015 which has not been sufficiently publicized. Some of the factors for the latter are

There exists no official method for sharing information about important decisions, even those of constitutional import with the lower branches of administration.

Even the statute with regard to the decision like the Indian penal code is not immediately changed.

This lack of effective communication with the executive branch of the state hinders effective implementation of a judicial decisions.

The bureaucrats who are not legal experts will not integrate a court decision immediately in their administration leading to injustice to the public.

Judiciary and Federalism

Judiciary under its Original Jurisdiction (Article 13), is given the function to manage federalism as it has the Original and Exclusive power to deal with Central-State disputes. It uses various doctrines to manage federalism.

Recently this issue was in news when Tamil Nadu demanded different timings to burn crackers owing to different culture in South and respecting Federalism, Judiciary allowed it. It can be read in the context of importance of role of judiciary in managing federalism.

Manifest Pedagogy

Tangential aspects of popular issues

Questions in UPSC on polity have mostly focused on polity and governance and less on constitution as a document in itself. The issue dealt above has brought these often neglected aspects like importance of constitution, constitutionalism role of Judiciary in maintaining the constitution and the readiness of general public to accept constitution as a fundamental document by derecognizing diversities, to the fore. Questions could be expected on these tangential issues.

Test yourself: Mould your thoughts

Constitutionalism and populism need not necessarily go hand in hand. Discuss the statement in the context of recent judgement on Sabarimala temple entry for women by the Supreme Court. Do you think India is ready for Constitutional Theocracy?


India – Japan Relations

In news

Tokyo Summit (13th India-Japan Summit): Modi’s visit to Japan

Placing it in syllabus

International relations – Bilateral

Static dimensions

  1. India-Japan relationship – Summit diplomacy
  2. Strategic co-operation since 1991.

Current dimensions

Increasing strategic co-operation between India and Japan under the new regime


History of the Annual Summit

Manmohan Singh Visited Japan in 2006 during which Indo-Japan Global and Strategic Partnership was signed. It has 5 pillars of cooperation:

  1. Political
  2. Defence and security
  3. CEPA
  4. Science and tech initiatives
  5. People to people, multilateral and Regional Cooperation

After this visit, Annual Summit Level Dialogue was initiated.

It makes the meetings between two countries regular. After the first summit in 2006, Strategic cooperation gets a solid footing which began in 2000 under A.B.Vajpayee government as part of Look East Policy-2.

Recent initiatives under the new regime

  1. Indo-Japan Civil Nuclear Agreement
  2. Japan’s involvement in many infrastructural projects (Industrial and Transport corridors)
  3. Japan is the First country to be invited to invest in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It has made a modest beginning with 15 MW diesel Power Plant.
  4. Both countries are cooperating in ASIA-AFRICA growth Corridor which is considered to an alternative to OBOR.
  5. Malabar Exercises
  6. Formation of QUADRILATERAL
  7. 2+2 Dialogue

Initiatives under the recent 13th Annual Summit

  1. The countries announces the start of negotiations on an Acquisition and Cross-servicing Agreement, a logistics-sharing pact that would allow Japanese ships to get fuel and servicing at Indian naval bases. Once signed, Japan’s Maritime Self-Defence Force will be able to secure access to Indian naval facilities in the Andaman and Nicobar islands, which are strategically located close to the western Malacca Straits, a choke point for much of Japan and China’s trade and fuel imports.
  2. A new Foreign and Defence Ministerial Dialogue, termed 2+2, was also announced to supplement an already formidable array of bilateral dialogue mechanisms that include the Annual Defence Ministerial Dialogue, Defence Policy Dialogue and the National Security Advisers Dialogue.
  1. The two countries have agreed to a Bilateral Swap Arrangement that would allow their central banks to exchange local currencies for up to $75 billion. This is substantially more than the $30 billion currency swap arrangement announced between China and Japan.
  2. 57 Japanese companies have committed to investing 320 billion yen in India, which is expected to create at least 3,000 new jobs.
Importance of the Currency Swap Agreement
  1. Currency swap typically involves the exchange of interest and sometimes of principle in one currency for the same in another currency. Interest rates are exchanged at fixed rates through the life of the contract.
  2. It was an important measure in improving the confidence in Indian Market.
  3. It would enable the availability of agreed amount of capital to India
  4. It would also bring down the cost of capital for Indian entities while accessing the foreign capital markets.
  5. It would also give a boost to the internationalization of Indian Rupee.
Reasons for increasing cooperation between India and Japan
  1. Rise of China as a threat to Japan
  2. US is no longer a reliable partner after the coming of Trump
  3. India’s rising economic status post 1991
  4. India’s clean record with respect to nuclear proliferation
  5. India as a rising regional power
  6. Compatibility between the two countries with respect to Demographics- rising skilled professionals in India and falling population in Japan.

Manifest Pedagogy

The issue of Indo-Japan has to be analysed as part of Act East policy of the present regime, which is a continuation of Look East policy. Active initiatives towards ASEAN, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, APEC must be studied under Act East. Also, comparison of India and East Asian relations with respect to China may be the other angle which could be explored. Moreover, growing protectionism after Trump also aligns India’s relations with other important powers. In this context, US role in East Asia and India’s response to it could be asked.

We will be covering the bilateral and multilateral issues comprehensively by updating the same articles to avoid multiple readings. One has to refer the updated sections. The updated document will be an add-on in the same link.

Test Yourself: Mould your thoughts

There has been a steep rise in Strategic Cooperation between India and Japan. Do you agree? Substantiate. Also account for such a rise in strategic areas. Also account for such a rise in strategic co-operation.

China-Pakistan relations

In news

15 new agreements signed between China and Pakistan

Placing it in syllabus

India and its bilateral relations.

Static dimensions

China- Pakistan relations since independence and its impact on India

Current dimensions

  1. Recent China-Pak relations and its impact on India
  2. Policy of hyphenation (India-Pakistan relation hyphenated with china)


China and Pakistan recently signed 15 agreements and memorandum of understandings (MoUs) for co-operation in diverse fields, including poverty alleviation, agriculture and transfer of electronics. China would also help Pakistan to modernize the metrological department in the country while both countries would also extend cooperation in the field of higher education.

China-Pak relations: a brief history

China-Pak relations is an all-weather friendship which has been growing over years.

1965- China supports Pakistan and calls India the aggressor

1970’s development of USA-China-Pakistan axis

1980’s onwards china support to nuclear developments in Pakistan.


The most overt friendship overture between china and Pakistan is the development of CPEC (china Pakistan economic corridor) as part of OBOR (one belt one road).  The $64 billion project, which is the part of Beijing’s most ambitious foreign economic initiative — One Belt One Road — aims to connect northwest China (kashghar) to Pakistan’s south-western Gwadar port through a network of roads, railways, optical fibres and pipelines to transport cargo, oil and gas.

There are a total of three corridors in the project the western corridor, central corridor and eastern corridor.


Advantages to China
  • Economic opportunities
  • Gets shortest route to Indian Ocean.
  • It’s a gateway to Central Asia and West Asia.
  • Facilitate quicker movement of Chinese worker and machinery to Africa.
  • Development of Xinjiang to curtail ethnic conflict.
Interest of Pakistan
  • Economic development
  • Power deficit could be reduced
  • Gwadar up-gradation projects like developments of airport and connecting it to interior of Pakistan.
  • Strategic advantages – Integration of POK
Concerns (China-Pakistan)
  • Possible ethnic tensions between Han Chinese and Ughirs of Xinjiang and The Baluchis and Punjabis of Pakistan.
  • The threat of extremism in POK, Gilgit-Baltistan and Xinjiang
Indian Concerns
  • Issue of sovereignty (POK)
  • Chinese presence as a security threat
  • Possible infiltration in the guise of labour movement and employment

India has three options

  • To join the project
  • Not to join the project
  • Develop alternatives

In light of above concerns India decided not to join CPEC and explore alternative options like project MAUSAM, project Spice Route, Asia Africa growth corridor with Japan.

The most pragmatic stance would be to in the project as developing alternatives at this stage for India is not feasible and not joining would not stop the project as part of the project has already been initiated.

Following are the concerns if India joins the project:

  • Compromise with sovereignty
  • Fear of the possible implications of this on other disputed territories of India

But joining it has the following advantages

  • India being part of the growth process and part of Globalisation 2.0 (china’s OBOR)
  • India can regulate movement of Non state actors with its presence in the region
  • China as a strategic threat in the region could be nullified through Co-operation and eternal Vigilance in the region.
  • Economic prosperity in the region will have Collateral effect in neighbouring Jammu and Kashmir and will facilitate people to people contact realising the concept of “soft border” (de regulated border as propounded by Man Mohan Singh)
  • India even after joining can still maintain its position on POK as an integral part of India.

Manifest Pedagogy

Hyphenated Countries

India’s relationship with certain countries has been affected by a third country called the hyphenated country like Indo – US by Pakistan. Indo – South Asia by China. Questions of these kinds are tougher to answer as it requires overall understanding of global politics. This topic was chosen to give a peek into how such topics should be handled.

Test yourself: Mould your thoughts

China and Pakistan have entered into an agreement for development of an economic corridor. What threat does this pose for India’s security? Critically examine. (UPSC CSE Mains 2014 Paper 3).


Regulation of payments and settlements in India

In news

Payments Regulator & RBI autonomy and section 7

Placing in the syllabus


Static Dimensions

  1. Payments and settlements systems Act ,2007
  2. Instruments-UPI,QR codes, mobile wallets etc
  3. Cashless Economy or Digital Economy
  4. Functions of RBI
  5. Regulatory bodies in Financial Sector-SEBI,FSLRC etc
  6. Vision for Payments ecosystem by RBI

Current Dimensions

  1. Payment regulation
  2. RBI vs Government
  • Autonomy of RBI with respect to Payments
  • Contingency Reserves of RBI
  • Section 7
  1. Prompt Corrective action
  2. Issue of RBI autonomy in General


The major issues of debate which emerged in the recent times with respect to RBI are

The finance ministry sent three different letters to the RBI in the past few weeks on issues of

  1. Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) dilution in general and withdrawal of PCA for Public Sector Banks (PSB)
  2. The second point of friction is governments insistence that RBI go soft on power companies defaulting on loan repayments
  3. The governor’s opinion on RBI’s capital reserves for providing liquidity (siegniorage)

Payments Regulation

The Payment and Settlement Systems Act 2007, set up by the RBI, provides for the regulation and supervision of payment systems in India and designates the apex institution (RBI) as the authority for that purpose and all related matters. To exercise its powers and perform its functions and discharge its duties, the RBI is authorized under the Act to constitute a committee of its central board, which is known as the Board for Regulation and Supervision of Payment and Settlement Systems (BPSS).

RBI Vision for Payments

 Vision-2018 focuses on four strategic initiatives viz., responsive regulation, robust infrastructure, effective supervision and customer centricity.

  • Responsive Regulation
  • Robust Infrastructure
  • Effective Supervision.
  • Customer Centricity

 The broad contours of Vision-2018 revolve around the 5 Cs:

  • Coverage – by enabling wider access to a variety of electronic payment services
  • Convenience – by enhancing user experience through ease of use and of products and processes
  • Confidence – by promoting integrity of systems, security of operations and customer protection
  • Convergence – by ensuring interoperability across service providers
  • Cost – by making services cost effective for users as well as service providers

Payments Regulation:  RBI Vs Government

Case against RBI
  • Regulation must maintain a level playing field within the payments industry between the public sector and the private sector, and between bank and non-bank players.
  • Regulation should encourage independent payment system providers, which are not linked to payment participants, thereby minimising moral hazard through conflict of interest. It is important that the payments regulator does not run any payment systems. Presently, RBI runs real time gross settlement (RTGS) and National Electronic Fund Transfer (NEFT), which are payment systems. It is therefore necessary that RTGS and NEFT be spun off from RBI.
  • Encourage innovation in payments regulation and supervision, by recognising that this is a fast-changing technology enabled business. Bring in relevant expertise into the regulatory body in order to improve the regulation and supervision of this industry. Instead, it would be desirable to draw the majority membership of the Board from people who have had direct familiarity with payment processes or allied businesses such as BPOs, technology companies or banks.
  • RBI representation on this Board should be confined to the Governor (as Chairman) and the Deputy Governor in charge of Payments.
  • The Payments Regulator would need actively to sponsor the constitution of a Payments Council, a body which would be representative of payment system providers and users of payment systems. Regulations would be issued by the Payments Regulator which would define the role which the Council would play in advising the payments regulator on industry standards and other related matters.

For example, the UK government formed the UK Payments Council in 2007, which represents payment systems providers and user groups. The Council thereby constitutes a consultative mechanism engaging all stakeholders with an interest in payment systems. The European Payments Council operates in a similar manner.

  • All payment system providers should be governed by one consistent legislative framework. (Stock exchanges and clearing houses are presently outside the ambit of Payments in India).
  • A system of ‘proportionate regulation’ would be helpful, allowing nascent businesses to adapt technology solutions without undue regulatory intervention, while requiring systemically important businesses to submit to stronger regulatory oversight.
Case for RBI

Payments should remain with RBI. As the very nature of payments is completely integrated with money market and payments being:


  • Sub-set of currency
  • Underlying bank account for payment systems
  • Dual regulation over such instruments will not be desirable.
  • Payment system is bank-dominated

The Payments Regulatory Board (PRB) must remain with the Reserve Bank and headed by the Governor, Reserve Bank of India. It may comprise 3 members nominated by the Government and RBI respectively, with a casting vote for the Governor to ensure smooth operations of the Board.

Debates on RBI Autonomy

Traditionally, it is quite natural for the government and the central bank to be at loggerheads with each other. This can be explained by the inflation growth dynamics. Here, the former is concerned with high growth and the latter is concerned with controlling inflation.

However, in India these issues took an ugly turn with the government demanding certain privileges from the RBI over and above its mandate:

1)  Request for higher dividend from RBI to cover up fiscal deficit will lead to balance sheet maintenance concerns.

2)  Governments insist that public sector banks lend more to NBFCs to manage their liquidity crisis.

3)  Dilution demand for the current framework of Prompt Corrective Action standards for recovery of NAPs.

4)  The lack of regulatory mechanism for Public Sector Banks and Powers vested with RBI in this regard including appointment decisions of board members and chairpersons.

5)   Leaving out key aspects of financial intermediation such as payments ecosystem outside the ambit of the RBI.

6)  Dictating orders to RBI as under section 7 which is over bearing on the inference of the RBI.

Contingency reserves

The RBI keeps a large reserve of cash in its money jar (contingency reserves and surplus with RBI), which the government is looking to dip its fingers into, financial analysts and economists say. The government may be of the view that the RBI’s large reserve cash, if it is sitting idle, may be put into use. But the RBI is called the “lender of last resort” for a reason — it may need its reserves to step in if a crisis threatens to bring down the entire financial system.



The central government for the first time in 83 years have issued RBI Section 7 Act, 1934.

  1. Section 7(1) of the RBI Act says: “The Central Government may from time to time give such directions to the Bank as it may, after consultation with the Governor of the Bank, consider necessary in the public interest.”
  2. Section 7(2) gives the government powers to entrust the running of the RBI to its board of directors.

Recently the government has issued statements on section 7 of RBI act showing that it has the power of veto over RBI decisions. Thus underlining that the RBI’s autonomy is tempered by its accountability to government. Section 7 is certainly available to the more powerful side; but just as the weapon is a deterrent never to be used, so is Section 7. The need of the hour is to settle the differences through deliberation.

Manifest pedagogy

In prelims UPSC may focus on conceptual issues such as Contingency Reserves, dividend payments to government, Section 7, Prompt Corrective Action and functions of RBI in general. In Mains, questions regarding autonomy and independence of the institutions and desired changes which are a cause of conflict may be touched upon.

Test yourself: Mould your thoughts

Briefly explain the rise of alternative payment instruments in India. Also, highlight the key issues involved in governing the Payments Regulation in India.

Exporter Woes

In news

A combination of higher input costs, tariff uncertainty, IGST refund woes leads to export contraction in September, the first time in six months.

Placing in Syllabus

Paper 3: Government Budgeting & Export Import Policy under Liberalisation

Static Dimensions

  1. Generalised system of Preferences
  2. Relation between depreciation and exports
  3. Effect of capital goods on exports
  4. GST

Current Dimensions

  1. Exporters’ speculation on GSP
  2. Deprecating rupee
  3. Lack of government support
  4. New protectionism


What is Generalized System of Preferences (GSP)?

The Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) is a U.S. trade program designed to promote economic growth in the developing world by providing preferential duty-free entry for up to 4,800 products from 129 designated beneficiary countries and territories. GSP was instituted on January 1, 1976, by the Trade Act of 1974.

US withdraws GSP benefits:

  1. Withdrawal of benefits is part of the 94 products on which the US has revoked GSP benefits for all countries and is not a major portion of India’s $5.6 billion exports through duty-free entry of 1,937 products to the US under GSP.
  2. Indian government further deferred by 45 days tit-for-tat retaliatory tariffs against 29 American products to counter the US move to unilaterally raise import duties on Indian steel and aluminium products
  3. US President Donald Trump issued a presidential proclamation on Tuesday, leading to the removal of these products from the privilege beginning 1 November. These are products that have gained competitiveness as their imports under GSP are more than 50% of the total import of the product by the US.
  4. Trade relationships between India and the US have soured under the current US administration, with Trump unilaterally raising tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from India and challenging its export subsidy regime at the World Trade Organization (WTO). India has also dragged the US to the WTO on higher steel and aluminium tariffs and has threatened to impose retaliatory tariffs worth $240 million on US imports.


The growing protectionist policies have led to deeper cooperation between India and China. The products covered aren’t cover agricultural goods and dairy. The Chinese also hit out with punitive tariffs on soya meal imports from US. This has given opportunity for China and India to come closer and open up their respective markets.

India has also after a gap of 7 years gained access to China’s rice, rapeseed oil and soya bean markets.

Although, the latest negotiations with the USTR (Trade Representative) has suggested that India could be successful to get a waiver for continuing Oil imports from Iran as a result of its significant progress made to curb imports thus far.

 Lack of Government Support

  1. Lack of coordination between Ministry of Commerce and exporters, where the ministry insists that India is still eligible for GSP benefits but exporters claim that these have not been received since December 2017.
  2. Lost Orders- as uncertainties over tariffs and India’s continuing status under special treatment GSP of USA have resulted in shifting of orders to Sri Lanka and other south East Asian nations.

IGST Refunds

Under GST, IGST is a tax levied on all Inter-State supplies of goods and/or services and will be governed by the IGST Act. IGST will be applicable on any supply of goods and/or services in both cases of import into India and export from India.

Note: Under IGST,

  • Exports would be zero-rated.
  • Tax will be shared between the Central and State Government.

Here zero rated is denoting goods or services that are taxable for VAT, but with a tax rate of zero.

Hence, exporters would be eligible for full refund of IGST for the value of exports.

IGST refunds have not been taken into consideration for exporters having verticals across different states. The center is of the view that such entities are receiving input tax credit whereas exporters are feeling let down by comparison to those companies which are located in the same states.

 Rupee Depreciation

Traditionally, exports should increase with depreciation of the Rupee as exports would be incentivized. However, there are various issues with respect to deemed net benefits for exporters:

  1. Increase In Input Costs
  2. Higher costs of capital goods i.e. Machinery and Oil which negates the gains from depreciating rupee
  3. Higher cost of inputs as most goods are processed using global supply chains.

For Ex: Mobile exports from India would need capital inputs as well as modular parts such as silicon mother boards which are often imported.

Exporters are also facing pressure from clients demanding discounts because of the fall in value of currencies in Africa and Asia vis-a-vis to US dollar.

Manifest pedagogy

Practical linkages with theory

In the above issue concepts like depreciation, protectionism etc. need to be clear before applying it to Indian scenario. The right ways of studying the discipline would be basic theoretic concepts first and then applying it to India. In this way even if the aspirant doesn’t know the current news, concepts could be used to frame a general answer.

Test yourself: Mould your Thoughts

What has been India’s approach to encourage exports in era of protectionist policies in USA? Do you think the current delay in Exporter Refunds is hampering these initiatives?

Ease of Doing Business

In news

India climbs 23 places in World Bank Rankings to 77 out of 190 countries.

Placing it in syllabus

Paper 2:

Important International Institutions

Paper 3:

Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

Static Dimensions

  1. Ease of Doing Business Index- World bank
  2. Ease of Doing Business as part of LPG Reforms

Current Dimensions

  1. Recent report and India’s Ranking and its impact
  2. Improvements in Various indicators and areas where improvement is required


World Bank publishes annually the rankings of 190 countries on the basis of the following indicators.


  1. Dealing with construction permits
  2. Starting a business
  3. Enforcing Contracts
  4. Trading across borders
  5. Getting credit
  6. Getting electricity connection
  7. Registering property
  8. Paying taxes
  9. Resolving insolvency
  • Protecting minority investors
  • Labour market regulation

India saw a massive jump in the parameter “dealing with Construction Permits” to 52nd position from 181 last year. This was due to:

(a)   Reducing time for processing permit applications

(b)   Streamlining procedures

(c)    Improving transparency

(d)    Passing of Real Estate Regulation Authority Act by the parliament etc…

India saw a similar improvement in the “Trading across borders” section to 80th position from 146 largely due to:

(a)    Reducing the time and cost to export and import through various initiatives

(b)   Implementation of electronic sealing of containers

(c)    Upgrading of port infrastructure

(d)   Allowing electronic submission of supporting documents with digital signatures under its NATIONAL TRADE FACILITATION ACTION PLAN 2017-2020.

(e) Agreeing to the World trade organizations Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).

  • India became the top ranked country in South Asia for the first time and also was 3rd among BRICS nations.
  • India has jumped 53 places in the last 2 years (A performance only matched by Bhutan and Djibouti). With 13 reforms between them, China and India are among the top 10 improvers. Djibouti and India are the only economies to make the list of top 10 improvers for the second consecutive year in the 190 country ranking.
  • India is seeking to reach the 30th position by 2020 according to an “OUTPUT-OUTCOME FRAMEWORK DOCUMENT” prepared by the government.

Manifest Pedagogy

Rather than focusing on the specific report, UPSC may ask it as part of overall reforms in the post liberalisation era and also ask you to comment upon their recent impact on attracting FDI, business sentiments. Also, for prelims, UPSC may ask about the indicators or publisher of the report.

Test Yourself: Mould your thoughts

Briefly outline the success of reforms mentioned in the recent Ease of Doing Business report of the World Bank about India. Do you think it substantively represents India’s progress? Give reasons

Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Package

In news

 A series of measures designed to help small businesses by giving them access to quick finance and sparing them the rigours of complying with some labour laws.

Placing in Syllabus

  • Industrial Development Policies
  • LPG reforms and their impact on MSMEs

Static Dimensions

  1. MSMEs and their contribution to Indian Economy
  2. Priority Sector Lending
  3. MUDRA Yojana

Current Dimensions

  1. Package for MSMEs credit- Loan up to 1 Cr in 59 Min.
  2. Changes in Labour Laws
  3. Demonetisation and GST
  4. Competition from large players (Ex: Walmart-Flip kart)


MSMEs form a significant base of Industrial Output (40%) and contribute roughly 40% to total exports. They are critical for regional development and are drivers of job creation in Manufacturing and services sector.

 What is an MSME?

The Micro Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are defined in India under the MSMED Act 2006 on the basis of capital investment made in plant and machinery, excluding investments in land and building.

Recently the Cabinet has approved a draft which proposes to change the definition of MSMEs. The highlights of the proposal are:

  OLD (Investment in Plant & Machinery) Proposal (Revenue)
MICRO <25 lakhs < 5 cr.
SMALL 25 lakhs – 5 cr. 5cr. – 75 cr.
MEDIUM 5 cr. – 10 cr. 75 cr. – 250 cr.
  • It does away with investment criterion and instead proposes to define MSMEs on the basis of annual sales turnover
  • There is no distinction between manufacturing and service unit.

What was the need to redefine MSMEs?

  • The definition was frozen in 2006. After 12 years, with continued erosion of value of Rupee, the thresholds have become impractical. Adjusting for inflation would have required to enhance the limit by 2-3 times. Many sectors where MSMEs have substantial share such as Pharmaceuticals, Auto-component, and Food processing among others have been demanding a many-fold increase in the investment limit needed to be compliant of the new mandatory and industrial standards. The de-minimis investment exceeded at least five crore even if one had low turnover.
  • The investment based definition creates an uneven field for older enterprises vis-a-vis new enterprises. Setting up a unit to produce a product today would require several times more investment than the one set-up ten or twenty years ago to produce the same product with similar quantity. What could be a micro unit because of historical investment figures, would become medium or large if set up today. It becomes a barrier for new entrants. To prove that a unit fell in a specific category, the MSMEs ran around CAs to certify the value of plant and machinery. It is alleged that many large enterprises also under-reported the investment, got CA certificate and partook in the Public Procurement ear-marked for MSMEs.

Therefore, change in criterion of defining MSMEs has been considered using Turnover as the basis.

The advantages of having such a definition could be:

  • The Turn-over based criterion resolves many of the ills of earlier regime. It is transparent, as authorities could always cross check the turnover through platforms such as GSTN. No CA certificate would be required.
  • Levels the field for new and old enterprises as the comparison is not between historical investments and current investments but between current turnovers.
  • After inflation adjustment the definition of small enterprise on the basis of investment would have been Rs.15Cr today. Keeping turnover five times the investment, a very conservative figure, we have Rs.75 Cr as a threshold which is what is proposed in the new definition.


  • There are few sectors where investment is low but turnover is high for example gems and jewellery units, units producing Aluminum conductor steel-reinforced cable (ACSR) among others. Many of the units have been under small category owing to investment criteria but having high turnover ranging from Rs.100 Cr to Rs.30 Cr They enjoyed benefits under Public Procurement Policy for MSMEs which mandates 20% set-aside for Micro and Small Units in all central government purchases. Suddenly, the reserved pie of the cake is out of their reach. The PPP for MSE would not be available for units having more than Rs.75 Cr annual turnover.
  • Another criticism about the new definition is that India still does not take into account the number of people employed. Globally, the two most important elements used to define MSMEs remain turnover and employment. The practice of underreporting number of people employed is widespread especially in smaller units to remain below the threshold of 10 employees to save on very high social security and compliance costs. Lack of labour reforms has exacerbated the situation. Adding such a criteria would have led to more paper work and corruption.

Impact of Package

For nearly two years, the MSME sector has borne the brunt of the government’s policy measures. With demonetisation first and then the haphazard implementation of the goods and services tax (GST), the MSME sector had been left cash-strapped.

This year has been particularly bad for the sector with loans being tough to come by. This is because 11 of the 21 public sector banks are facing lending restrictions as they are under the Reserve Bank of India’s prompt corrective action (PCA) framework. With a financing requirement of nearly Rs.4.5 lakh crore over the next two year, it was assumed that the non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) will step up into the space left vacant. However, in the aftermath of the meltdown of the biggest NBFC in the country, Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS), the entire industry is strapped for cash.

Key Highlights of the package:

  • Loans up to 1 Cr in under an Hour: These loans can be accessed through a link on the GST portal.
  • Further, all GST-registered MSMEs would get a 2% interest subvention for fresh and incremental loans. And for exporters who receive loans in the pre-shipment and post-shipment period, there would be an increase in interest rebate to 5% from the existing 3%.
  • MSMEs with a turnover above Rs.500Cr would be brought on to the Trade Receivables e-Discounting System(TReDS) where entrepreneurs would be able to access credit from banks based on their upcoming receivables.
  • Public sector companies have been asked to procure 25% of their total purchases from MSMEs and of this 3% should be from MSMEs promoted by women entrepreneurs.
  • To improve the ease of doing business for MSMEs, clusters would be formed, initially for pharmaceutical sector MSMEs.
  • Regulations with regard to labour laws have been relaxed; inspections would be done through a computerised random allotment.
  • Environmental clearance has been simplified.

However, creditworthiness and market linkage of MSMEs is still a concern and outright approval without adequate due diligence could open a Pandora’s Box for future health of banking sector in India.

Manifest pedagogy

As MSME is a key focus area for Central and State governments especially after demonetisation and GST, it has particular relevance. Moreover, the recent proposals with respect to definition, and their concerns after key events such as entry of Amazon and Flipkart and online sale of medicines etc. may be focused upon.

Test yourself: Mould your Thoughts

Highlight the benefits and drawbacks of the recent changes in policies for the MSMEs sector in India? Do you think the recent package for MSMEs will address these challenges?

Health Insurance

In news

All health conditions arising after the inception of a health insurance policy should be covered and cannot be permanently excluded

Placing in Syllabus

Paper 2: Poverty and Health

Paper 3: Planning and mobilisation of Resources

Static Dimensions

  1. Health infrastructure in India
  2. Relationship between poverty and healthcare
  3. Health Insurance penetration in India
  4. Lifestyle changes and health

Current Dimensions

  1. Increase in incidence of Lifestyle diseases
  2. Launch of Ayushman Bharat
  3. Health Insurance committee recommendations


In India, the increased medical costs are the biggest concerns among the individuals. Moreover, the kind of lifestyles people prefer nowadays can ultimately lead to several health issues and turnout in augmented expenditure on hospital bills. Opting for an optimum health insurance plan helps in maintaining the uncertainties and instabilities by offering a financial steadiness that’s difficult to find anywhere else. Also, it’s always a wise choice to have you and your family covered for any medical emergencies that may knock your door anytime in the future.

What is Health Insurance?

Health Insurance is basically a contract between the insurer and the policyholder wherein the insurance company pays for the medical expenses incurred by the life insured. In this case, the policyholder is either eligible for the cashless treatment or the insurer provides a reimbursement for the medical expenses under the policy at one of the selective network hospitals. One additional pros of opting to health insurance are that you can also get tax deductions on the premiums paid towards the health insurance under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act, 1961.

What are the options for Health Insurance Plans in India?

Medical insurance plans can be categorized broadly into different types. The various types of Health Insurance Plans include individual plans, maternity insurance plans, family floater health plans, personal accident covers, plans for senior citizens, critical illness insurance plans and group or insurance plans.

One of the best things about health insurance plan in India is that it can be personalized as per the individual’s requirement. Here, the insured person can make the choice whether he or she wants to go with a plan that covers critical illnesses, maternity expenses, accident-related expenses, outpatient expenses or a combination of all.

The Ayushman Bharat National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM) – It will give ₹5 lakh of health cover to 500 million people for free.

  • Forty per cent of India’s population will be insured immediately. The quality of healthcare that has been assured is excellent. Typically, schemes for the poor are watered-down versions of what paying customers get. In this case, though, the cover being offered is substantially superior to regular mediclaim insurance. The sum assured is more than what most have. The cover includes many items typically excluded in standard mediclaim: pre-existing diseases, mental health conditions, food and internal congenital diseases, among others.
  • Eligible persons can walk into a hospital with their Aadhaar card number and be treated. The network of hospitals being created will be larger than what insurers have today. There are stringent service-level agreements: a pre-approval is required for all non-emergency cases but if the request is not addressed within 12 hours, then the treatment is considered approved. The treatment is cashless, which means that patients do not need to pay and can opt to be treated anywhere in the country.
  • Implementation of such scale and benefit is bound to face obstacles, the most substantial of which is for it to be economically sustainable. At the moment, hospitals are unhappy because, in their view, package rates fixed by the government are loss-making. For example, the proposed cost of a coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) is about ₹90,000. The Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) rates for this in Delhi are above ₹1.1 lakh and private hospitals routinely charge above ₹3 lakh.
  • The scheme encourages hospitals to maintain certain minimum standards. The compensation to hospitals is 10% higher if they are NABH accredited and a minimum technology standard has been specified for hospitals to be eligible for this scheme.
  • The most meaningful impact, though, will be on the confidence of the poor and lower income groups that have this insurance.

Concerns and Recommendations

All health conditions acquired after policy inception, other than those that are not covered under the policy contract (such as infertility and maternity), should be covered under the policy and cannot be permanently excluded. This is among the key recommendations of a committee appointed to look into standardisation of exclusions under health insurance policies. The panel has submitted its report to the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India.

Thus, exclusion of diseases contracted after taking the policy such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, AIDs/HIV infection, morbid obesity, etc., cannot be permitted. Exclusions for specific disease conditions are incorporated as permanent exclusions in the policy wordings. This result in many claims becoming not payable for diseases being contracted even after the policy has been incepted. Specific cases were highlighted where claims were repudiated when the policy has been in force for 6-7 years.

Manifest pedagogy

Health as a subject need to be studied from two perspectives,

  1. Health as science
  2. Health governance

The above issue dealt comes under health governance which includes all initiatives made by the government in health sector. Health insurance is one of the initiatives. Comparative questions like, whether Ayushman Bharat is an improvement over RSBY could be expected.

Test yourself: Mould your Thoughts

Is health insurance alone a panacea for health management in India? Do you think Ayushman Bharat is an adequate scheme for public healthcare in India?


Chandrayaan – 2

In news

Scale down test for lander of Chandrayaan-2.

Placing it in syllabus

  1. Awareness in the fields of Space
  2. Indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

Static dimensions

  1. Chandrayaan – 1
  2. Technology and payloads of Chandrayaan 1 and 2.

Current dimensions

  1. Indigenization of technology
  2. India’s space prowess through recent missions


What is scale down test?

The Lander Actuator Performance Test (LAPT) is one of the crucial tests required to be demonstrated for a successful soft and safe landing of Vikram (Chandrayaan-2 Lander). To carry out this test, an LAPT module which is a scaled down version of Vikram with all the required hardware was realised for testing in Earth environment. The reason for the scaling down is to compensate the effect of Earth’s gravity as compared to Moon’s gravity. To carry out this test, a special test facility was erected at ISRO Propulsion Complex, Mahendragiri.

Chandrayaan – 1

Chandrayaan-1, India’s first mission to Moon, was launched successfully on October 22, 2008 from SDSC SHAR, Sriharikota. The spacecraft was orbiting around the Moon for chemical, mineralogical and photo-geologic mapping of the Moon.

Information received from Moon:

  1. Its morphology
  2. Its surface age
  3. Composition of Lunar Surface
  4. Magmatic and exogenic water

There are many events which are running up to the launch of chandrayaan-2. Even the cryogenic engine test was done for its launch.

Chandrayaan – 2

Chandrayaan-2, India’s second mission to the Moon is a totally indigenous mission comprising of an Orbiter, Lander and Rover. After reaching the 100 km lunar orbit, the Lander housing the Rover will separate from the Orbiter. After a controlled descent, the Lander (Vikram) will soft land on the lunar surface at a specified site and deploy a Rover.

The instruments on the rover will observe the lunar surface and send back data, which will be useful for analysis of the lunar soil.

The other payloads will collect scientific information on lunar topography, mineralogy, elemental abundance, lunar exosphere and signatures of hydroxyl and water-ice.

What prompted indigenous mission comprising of an Orbiter, Lander and Rover?

Initially, ISRO planned to partner with Russia to perform Chandrayaan-2. The two agencies signed an agreement in 2007 to launch the orbiter and lander in 2013. Russia later pulled out of the agreement. The Russian lander’s construction was delayed after the December 2011 failure of Roscosmos’ Phobos-Grunt mission to the Martian moon of Phobos.

Other events in the recent past:

ISRO successfully tests Cryogenic Engine (CE-20) for GSLV Mk-III / Chandrayaan-2 Mission.

The upper stage of GSLV MK-III vehicle is powered by Cryogenic Engine (CE)-20, which operates on gas generator cycle using LOX (Liquid Oxygen) / LH2 (Liquid Hydrogen) propellants combination.

Manifest Pedagogy

The launch being planned in 2019, the questions may appear in both Prelims and Mains. In prelims UPSC may ask the place of launch, type of engine and fuel, name of the lander of Chandrayaan – 2 and its payloads or the names of important Exploration Missions around the world.

Test Yourself: Mould your thoughts

What are the objectives of Chandrayaan – 2? How this mission will enhance India’s position in global space capabilities?

5G Technology

In news

A variety of operators across globe have announced 5G trials and network launches.

Placing it in syllabus

  1. Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.
  2. Awareness in the field of IT
  3. Physical Infrastructure

Static dimensions

  1. Electromagnetic spectrum
  2. Generations of Mobile communications

Current dimensions

  1. Technology in 5G
  2. Advantages and risks involved in 5G
  3. India’s readiness to 5G


5G is put on trial in UK in October, 2018. Vodafone has made the first 5G holographic call. In 2018, US telecoms giant Verizon and Korean Telecom (KT) held what they said was the world’s first live hologram international call over the two companies’ trial 5G networks.

What is 5G holographic call?

High-speed 5G networks could lead to big changes, through applications like holographic call, in how we use our mobile phones, allowing us to enjoy virtual reality on-the-go, interactive live broadcasts, and even project holograms from our handsets.

Through hologram calling, one can meet a person in a remote area in a real size in real time virtually.


5G is the fifth generation of cellular mobile communications.

5G can include lower frequencies, from 600 MHz to 6 GHz. However, the speeds in these lower frequencies are only modestly higher than new 4G systems, estimated at 15% to 50% faster.

It succeeds the 4G (LTE/WiMax), 3G (UMTS) and 2G (GSM) systems.




Comparison from 1G to 5G:



1G 2G 3G 4G 5G
Evolution Year 1970-1984 1980-1999 1990-2002 2000-2010 2010-onwards


Bandwidth 2Kbps 14.4- 64kbps 2 – 200Mbps 1Gbps 1Gbps and higher
Standards AMPS/NMT/TACS TDMA/CDMA/GSM WCDMA/CDM A-2000 Single Unified Standard Single Unified Standard
Multiplexing Techniques FDMA TDMA /CDMA WCDMA CDMA CDMA
Switching Techniques Circuit Circuit Packet except circuit for air interface Packet Packet
Handoff Techniques Horizontal Horizontal Horizontal Horizontal and Vertical Horizontal and Vertical

 Advantages of 5G:

  1. 5G performance targets include high data rate (100 times the speed of 4G), reduced latency, energy saving, cost reduction, higher system capacity and massive device connectivity.
  2. In addition to simply providing faster speeds, they predict that 5G networks will also need to meet the needs of new use-cases such as the Internet of Things as well as broadcast-like services and lifeline communications in times of disaster.
  3. It will be used for training and simulations in sectors like engineering and healthcare.


  1. 5G will also bring a cost to consumers. It requires a compatible handset, and the first 5G-enabled smartphones are expected in 2019. Much more investment will be needed in mobile phone towers and antennae.
  2. With the slow pace of network rollout so far, it is likely consumers will end up upgrading to a new 5G phone well before 5G becomes widely available in the next couple of years.
  3. Media companies delay investing in new applications or simply charge us extra to access the latest 5G content.
  4. Many people may not be able to afford the first 5G-ready handsets or accompanying equipment like VR glasses. There is a risk it could widen the digital divide in the short term.
  5. It is sceptical that everyone will start wearing VR headsets in the street.

Scenario in India:

Premium smartphones capable of delivering 5G speeds will be available in India by late 2019 or early 2020, in line with global availability, making their way faster to the country than any previous generation.

Considering the readiness of India in terms of Technology Transfer, economic viability and affordability for research on 5G, we may have to wait and see the positives and negatives of it. With the encouraging factors like demand, demography and entrepreneurship opportunities India may have to bite the bullet at early stages to achieve long term benefits of the technology.

 Manifest Pedagogy

The topic can lead to prelims questions on the new terms like ‘Holographic call’. The question is not just expected because of events around the world, but also governmental focus on 5G under the ‘New Digital Communications Policy – 2018’. The applications in governance and the question on digital divide are the focus areas in this issue.

Test Yourself: Mould Your Thoughts

What are the features of 5G technology? Compare 5G with its predecessors. How will 5G technology widen or bridge the digital divide across the world and in India?

Parker Solar Probe

In news

Parker solar probe becomes closest-yet spacecraft to sun on October 29, 2018.

Placing it in syllabus

Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.

Awareness in the fields of Space

Static Dimensions

  1. Solar Probe missions
  2. Science of Sun
  3. Effect of solar winds on Earth’s space environment

Current Dimensions

  1. ISRO, NASA and other space agencies’ launches.
  2. Exploration of planets and stars


Parker Solar Probe was launched on August 12, 2018.

Parker Solar Probe is alive and well after skimming by the Sun at just 15 million miles from the sun’s surface. This is far closer than any spacecraft has ever gone. The spacecraft will repeatedly break its own records, with a final close approach of 3.83 million miles (6.2 million km) from the sun’s surface, well within the orbit of Mercury, expected in 2024.

The previous record was set by Helios B in 1976 which held the record of 26.55 million miles (43 million km) from the sun’s surface.

This has exposed the spacecraft to intense heat and solar radiation in a complex solar wind environment. The spacecraft is shielded by carbon-composite shield, which will need to withstand temperatures outside the spacecraft that reach nearly 2,500 F (1,377 C).

It will provide close-up observations of the sun and helping us understand phenomena that have puzzled scientists for decades.

Flying into the outermost part of the Sun’s atmosphere, known as the corona, for the first time, Parker Solar Probe will

  • Revolutionize our understanding of the corona.
  • Expand our knowledge of the origin and evolution of the solar wind.
  • Enhance our ability to forecast changes in Earth’s space environment that affect life and technology on Earth.

Parker Solar Probe will carry instrument suites designed

  • To study
  • Magnetic fields
  • Plasma
  • Energetic particles
  • And to image the solar wind.

Parker Solar Probe was designed to take care of itself and its precious payload during this close approach, with no control from Earth.

The Parker Solar Probe team periodically measures the spacecraft’s precise speed and position using NASA’s Deep Space Network, or DSN.

Why do we study Sun?

To learn more about stars, which have liveable planets like Earth throughout the universe.

To understand how life on Earth developed.

To learn about less familiar ways like solar winds, which affect Earth. Disturbances in the solar wind shake Earth’s magnetic field and pump energy into the radiation belts, part of a set of changes in near-Earth space known as space weather.

To learn more about causes of space weather – and how to predict it and protect our satellites.

The solar wind also fills up much of the solar system, dominating the space environment far past Earth.  As we send spacecraft and astronauts further and further from home, we must understand this space environment just as early seafarers needed to understand the ocean.

India’s Probe – Aditya-L1 mission

The Aditya-1 mission was conceived as a 400kg class satellite carrying one payload, the Visible Emission Line Coronagraph (VELC) and was planned to launch in an 800 km low earth orbit.

A Satellite placed in the halo orbit around the Lagrangian point 1 (L1) of the Sun-Earth system. Therefore, the Aditya-1 mission has now been revised to “Aditya-L1 mission”.

The project is approved and the satellite will be launched during 2019 – 2020 timeframe by PSLV-XL from Sriharikota.

Aditya-1 was meant to observe only the solar corona – outer layers of the Sun, extending to thousands of km above the disc (photosphere).

Aditya-L1 with additional experiments can now provide observations of Sun’s Photosphere (soft and hard X-ray), Chromosphere (UV) and corona (Visible and NIR).

Manifest Pedagogy

Along with the missions of ISRO, one has to keep track of launches of NASA, SpaceX etc. Comparisons between the missions with same objectives are the fodder for Prelims. The mission details are of significance importance for Mains. The facts and findings of the mission are to be noted and revised often.

Exploration missions and their names corresponding to the countries have been traditionally asked in Prelims but importance of exploration missions, their relevance to the society and importance for the country has rarely been explored in Mains. It is only in recent times such questions have been asked (Juno Mission). The best way to handle such topics would be to look at both geographical and technological aspects of the mission.

Test yourself: Mould your thoughts

What are exploration missions? Discuss the importance of Parker Solar Probe as an exploration mission?


In news

The new space station — ‘Tiangong-2’ or ‘Heavenly Palace’ in Chinese — was unveiled.

Placing it in syllabus

  1. Science and Technology- developments
  2. Awareness in the fields of Space

Static dimensions

  1. International Space Station (ISS)
  2. Tiangong – 1

Current dimensions

  1. China’s dominance in space
  2. Deep space exploration


The first elements of the International Space Station (ISS) were sent up to Earth’s orbit 20 years ago, and the station has been occupied by humans every day for 18 of those years.

Currently, the ISS is the only operating station for space crafts in orbit. But that could change very soon.

China revealed some life-sized replicas of components going into a space station of its own making. The new station — ‘Tiangong-2’ or ‘Heavenly Palace’ in Chinese — was unveiled.

The 60-tonne orbiting lab will feature a 17-meter (55 foot) core module, which forms the station’s backbone and hub.

The core module for the Chinese station is expected to launch as early as 2020. This module is much smaller than that of the International Space Station (ISS), which is the size of a football field counting its solar panels. The

Chinese station is also roughly one-fifth the mass of the ISS. While the space station will technically belong to China, it would be open to astronauts from any UN countries, unlike the ISS today.

China is not one of the international partners in the ISS project, and no Chinese astronauts have been aboard it. The country sent up a prototype space station in 2011, the Tiangong-1, which ended with more than a few scientific takeaways for this second attempt.

China’s second run at having a space station in orbit could have implications for space agencies worldwide. The ISS is set to be retired in 2024, after which Tiangong-2 will likely be the only space station in orbit.

Assembly is expected to be completed around 2022, with a 10 year lifespan.

Three astronauts will be permanently stationed to run scientific experiments.

It will act as a stepping-stone for deep-space exploration.


The Tiangong-1 was launched in September 2011, with an intended service span of two years. After the last crew departed the module in June 2013, it was put into sleep mode. It was intended that it would remain in orbit for some time, allowing China to collect data on the longevity of key components before being commanded to gradually re-enter the atmosphere. Finally it burned up in the Earth’s atmosphere during an uncontrolled re-entry, but it orbited until 2nd April, 2018.

International Space Station (ISS)

The International Space Station — a collaboration between the United States, Russia, Canada, Europe and Japan – has been in operation since 1998 but is due to be retired in 2024.

The International Space Station is a unique scientific platform that enables researchers from all over the world to put their talents to work on innovative experiments in the microgravity environment which could not be done anywhere else. Although each space station partner has distinct agency goals for station research, each partner shares a unified goal to extend the resulting knowledge for the betterment of humanity. We may not know yet what will be the most important discovery gained from the space station, but we already have some amazing breakthroughs.

Manifest Pedagogy

The details of ISS, Tiangong – 1 and 2 are of significance for both Prelims and Mains.

Space station is an indicator of the dominance in the outer space. After ISS, Tiangong – 2 is such an instrument to showcase the dominance. It will consequences on global politics too. Issues of space weaponization have been in news. UPSC may inter-discipline IR and Science and Technology and ask questions related to it. Below is an example.

Test yourself: Mould your thoughts

What is the significance of unveiling of Chinese Tiangong-2? Discuss its impact on global politics?

India’s first indigenous ballistic missile submarine

In news:

India’s first indigenous ballistic missile submarine (SSBN), the INS Arihant, had completed its first deterrent patrol.

Placing it in syllabus:

  1. Science and Technology- developments.
  2. Indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

Static dimensions:

  1. Nuclear Triad
  2. Nuclear Security Doctrine
  3. Nuclear Command Authority
  4. Stealth Technology

Current dimensions:

  1. INS Arihant
  2. India’s defence/naval/submarine capabilities


After the successful patrol by India’s first indigenous ballistic missile submarine (SSBN), the INS Arihant, India has officially entered the triad of its nuclear capabilities – on land, air, and sea.

Features of INS Arihant:

Feature Details
Displacement 6000 tonne
Speed Submerged: 24 knots

Surfaced: 15 knots

Test depth 350m
Men Capacity 95-100 officers and men
Sensors used USHUS sonar Panchendriya (The first indigenously developed sonar system for submarines)

 The submarine’s exterior is uneven and the hull is placed on a mat covered with tiles. The tiles help in absorbing sound waves and provide stealth capability to the submarine.

A strategic deterrent patrol is one where an SSBN with a full complement of nuclear-tipped missiles sails towards its intended area of deployment and within range of an adversary’s targets.

In case of an attack by a nuclear-armed adversary, India’s Nuclear Command Authority (NCA) can order the submarine to launch its weapons.

Deterrent patrols are meant to dissuade a potential nuclear-armed adversary from launching a nuclear first strike. Once a submarine sails out into the deep ocean, it is extremely difficult to detect, track and destroy, making it the most survivable platform of the nuclear triad that consists of aircraft-dropped and ground-fired nuclear missiles.

All five permanent members of the UN Security Council deploy their SSBNs on deterrent patrols. The robustness of the deterrent is decided by missile ranges, number of weapons and, most critically, the ability to have one platform on continuous patrol. China was the last entrant into this club with its SSBN making its first deterrent patrol as recently as December 2015.

The Nuclear Command Authority (NCA)

The NCA comprises of an Executive Council and a Political Council. The Chairman of the Political Council is the Prime Minister. The Executive Council is chaired by the National Security Advisor (NSA).

It is the sole body which can authorise the use of nuclear weapons.

The order will be passed via a sophisticated Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) communication system.

Nuclear Triad

nuclear triad is a three-pronged military force structure that consists of land-launched nuclear missiles, nuclear-missile-armed submarines and strategic aircraft with nuclear bombs and missiles.

The triad becomes effective when you have a submarine operational at all times, and that would require a fleet of four such vessels at the very least.

INS Arihant was inducted into service in August 2016.

Three other SSBNs are being built under the Defence Research and Development Organisation’s Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) project in Vizag.

Stealth technology

To understand stealth technology, we need to know about the basic working principle of a radar. A radar sends out electromagnetic waves, which reflect on an obstruction and return. This signal is processed in order to determine the exact position, size and direction of target. This spoils the element of surprise of the attacking party.

Stealth technology works on the principle of eliminating radar reflections. This can be done by either

  • Absorbing radio waves (RAM coatings)
  • Deflecting radio waves (Shaping of the surfaces)

The radio waves are electromagnetic waves of varying frequencies. The methods of deflection and absorption of EM waves complement each other in order to create a stealth aircraft/ship.

Naval Stealth:

The most widely spread misconception of stealth warships is that they are invisible to radar and are as stealthy as stealth aircraft. Stealth ships are in fact very much visible on radar. But the difference is that the ships would be detected at the same distance, but will appear with a much smaller blip on the radar and the enemy will not know the difference between these warships and smaller merchant ships. Naval stealth is mainly to appear smaller and blend in with other ships and boats.

Nuclear Security Doctrine

The essential purpose of any nuclear doctrine is to codify a country’s beliefs and principles to guide action and ensure uniformity of “thought and action” during peace and war. In other words, the nuclear doctrine conveys the underlying conditions about nuclear weapons use to the adversary in an unambiguous manner.

India had made its Nuclear Doctrine in 2003 and the characteristics of India’s Nuclear Doctrine are as follows;

  1. The basic principle of India’s nuclear doctrine is “No First Use”. According to this policy, nuclear weapons will only be used in retaliation against a nuclear attack on Indian Territory or on Indian forces anywhere.
  2. India needs to build and maintain a Credible Minimum Deterrent. This includes;
  3. Sufficient and survivable nuclear forces to inflict unacceptable damage to the enemy.
  4. Nuclear Forces must be operationally prepared at all times.

Effective Intelligence and Early Warning Capabilities.

  1. Communication of Deterrence Capability to the enemy.
  2. If a country invades India by nuclear missile, its retaliation will be this much massive and terrible that the enemy experience an unacceptable damage and would not be able to recover easily.
  3. The right to take nuclear action against the enemy will only be taken by the elected representatives of the people, i.e. the political leadership of the country, although the cooperation of the Nuclear Command Authority will be necessary.
  4. Nuclear weapons will not be used against non-nuclear state.
  5. If there is any chemical or biological attack against India or Indian security forces, then India will keep the option of nuclear attack open in its response.
  6. A continuance of strict controls on export of nuclear and missile related materials and technologies, participation in the fissile material Cut-off Treaty negotiations and continued observance of the moratorium on nuclear tests.
  7. India will continue to support the global initiative to create a nuclear free world and will push forward the idea of discrimination free nuclear disarmament.

Manifest pedagogy

The questions on the defence carriers, warheads, weapons and equipment appear in the Prelims. In mains, the questions on defence capabilities, doctrines and policies appear. One can list all facts separately and revise for prelims and the write-ups can be used for comprehensive mains coverage.

Test Yourself: Mould your thoughts

What is a nuclear triad? Do you think with this India is moving towards Credible Minimum Deterrence? Explain.


Green Crackers

In news

Ban on sale of crackers except green crackers. The debates and discussions are going on what is a green cracker, the research on that and the laws governing the explosives.

Placing it in the syllabus

Paper 2:


Paper 3:

Environmental pollution and degradation

What is a Green Cracker?

According to an affidavit filed by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) in the Supreme Court on August 21 this year, ‘green crackers’ are less polluting, with lower emission levels.

Static dimensions:

  1. Science behind crackers
  2. Supreme Court’s role in environmental activism

Current dimensions:

  1. Science behind green crackers.
  2. Child labour in firecracker industry.
  3. Judiciary – Intellectual elitism Vs. Populist issues
  4. Right to religion and the reasonable restrictions.
  5. Judicial decrees, Diversity of India (Festivals) and its effect on federalism


Green crackers operate on a technology called Safe Water and Air Sprinklers (SWAS). When a material absorbs water, it generates heat, which aids the bursting of crackers. In a green cracker, a reactant such as aluminium absorbs the water, generating a lot of heat, which enables the explosion. Then the same water also acts as a dust suppressant.

Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) is the licensing body for firecracker industry.

Research on green crackers:

The MoEF&CC had commissioned a team from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (CSIR-NEERI), Nagpur, to conduct research on ‘green crackers’. The study began around June-July this year. There is one team working on the chemical formulation for ‘green crackers’, and another on sound monitoring.

Supreme Court’s Ruling:

There are no definitive pollution standards for the industry to adhere to. The Supreme Court asked the MoEF&CC and affiliated bodies to come up with solutions. The court also ordered a ban on the use of barium salts in cracker manufacturing, and also a ban on using series or joint crackers (garlands/laris) on the ground that these caused noise pollution and generated way too much garbage. These decisions by the court were based on suggestions from the MoEF&CC.

Apprehensions about the research:

  1. Some chemicals available at laboratory grade cannot be replicated at the industry grade.
  2. Whether a cracker is ‘green’ or not is determined by its emission levels. Theoretically, magnesium has lower emission levels but NEERI has not yet shared the actual figures with the industry.
  3. MoEF&CC suggested the use of ‘green crackers’ or SWAS, but without mentioning either the status of the research or a timeline.
  4. 60% of the firecrackers need barium but the court has banned it considering the MoEF&CC’s assertion that barium nitrate only gives an attractive colour to the crackers. Anything that emits light needs barium, while something that only explodes does not need barium. Barium added to aluminium gives off white light. When PVC [polyvinyl chloride] powder is added to barium, it lends a green colour to that light. A ban on barium effectively means a ban on flower pots, chakraas, pencils, sparklers, and aerial fireworks.
  5. The funding issues and IPR issues.

Manifest Pedagogy

The questions on chemicals may appear in the CSE Prelims. As far as the mains linkage is concerned, the topic can be clubbed with environmental degradation, environmental governance, role of judiciary in it and its impact on popular imagination and federalism. These issues will be taken in the upcoming weeks.

Test Yourself: Mould Your Thoughts

What are green crackers? How do they differ from other crackers? Will the green crackers address the environmental concerns holistically?


Directorate of Enforcement

In news

The ED made it to the headlines for its continuous actions against politicians and scam accused.

Placing in the syllabus

Paper 3: Money laundering and its prevention.

Static Dimensions

  1. Role and mandate of Enforcement Directorate
  2. Key features of Money Laundering
  3. Features of FEMA
  4. International Treaties against Terror Financing

Current Dimensions

  1. Fugitive Economic offenders Act, 2018
  2. Activism of ED


 Directorate of Enforcement is a specialized financial investigation agency under the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance, Government of India, which enforces the following laws: –

  • Foreign Exchange Management Act,1999 (FEMA)
  • Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA)
  • Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018
  • Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act, 1974(COFEPOSA)
  • Cooperation to foreign countries

Organisational Setup

The Directorate of Enforcement, with its Headquarters at New Delhi is headed by the Director of Enforcement. There are five Regional offices at Mumbai, Chennai, Chandigarh, Kolkata and Delhi headed by Special Directors of Enforcement.

Key Terms

Money laundering

Money laundering is essential for criminal organizations who wish to use illegally earned money effectively. Dealing in large amounts of illegal cash is inefficient and dangerous. The criminals need a way to deposit the money financial institutions, yet they can only do so if the money appears to come from legitimate sources.

There are three steps involved in the process of laundering money: placement, layering and integration. Placement refers to the act of introducing “dirty money” (money obtained through illegitimate, criminal means) into the financial system in some way. Layering is the act of concealing the source of that money by way of a series of complex transactions and bookkeeping tricks. Integration refers to the act of acquiring that money in purportedly legitimate means.

FEMA: The main objective of Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) is to facilitate external trade and payments and for promoting the orderly development and maintenance of foreign exchange market in India. FEMA deals with provisions relating to procedures, formalities, dealings, etc. of foreign exchange transactions in India. The transactions relating to foreign exchange have been classified under FEMA into two main categories, viz., (1) Current Account Transaction, (2) Capital Account Transaction.

PMLA: The Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 [PMLA] mandates that the investigation of the offence of money laundering be linked to the Scheduled Offences investigated by the concerned Central or State Law Enforcement Agencies. The scheme of PMLA thus necessitates inter-agency coordination to take effective action against persons who are found by the Law Enforcement Agencies to be involved in criminal activity. Such action under PMLA entails attaching and confiscating tainted assets, and prosecuting persons/entities for the offence of money laundering.

Financial Intelligence Unit – India (FIU-IND) under the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance is the central national agency responsible for receiving, processing, analysing and disseminating information relating to suspect financial transactions to enforcement agencies and foreign FIUs.

Fugitive Economic Offenders: A fugitive economic offender is an individual who has committed some specified offence(s) involving an amount of one hundred crore rupees or more and has absconded from India or refused to come back to India to avoid or face criminal prosecution in India.

A Fugitive Economic Offender is a person declared so by a ‘Special Court’ set up under the Prevention of Money-laundering Act (PMLA), 2002, against whom an arrest warrant has been issued in respect of any of the economic offences provided in the schedule to Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018 and who has left India so as to avoid criminal prosecution, or being abroad, refuses to return to India to face criminal prosecution.

Other provisions under the Act:

  1. making an application before the special court for a declaration that an individual is a fugitive economic offender;
  2. attachment of the property of a fugitive economic offender and proceeds of crime;
  3. issue of a notice by the special court to the individual alleged to be a fugitive economic offender;
  4. confiscation of the property of an individual declared as a fugitive economic offender or even the proceeds of crime;
  5. disentitlement of the fugitive economic offender from defending any civil claim; and
  6. appointment of an administrator to manage and dispose of the confiscated property under the act.


  1. The act bars an FEO from filing and defending civil claims before it. This might compromise with article 21 where right to life also includes the right to access justice.
  2. The confiscation of property particularly the property collectively owned by shareholders or creditors (secured and unsecured) and whether the central government will share the sale proceeds to these shareholders is a matter of concern.
  3. The act does not require the authorities to obtain search warrants, this is not in line with the provisions of CRPC 1973. It might lead to planting of evidence and harassment.
  4. The act leads to immediate confiscation of property which is different from all other earlier provisions which have two year time gap after proclamation as absconder. Leading to punishment without proper trail in few cases.

 COFEPOSA: In the era of 1970 to 1980 , when smuggling activities were at the top and the Foreign Exchange of India was at the lowest position, the Government of India passed “ COFEPOSA, 1974”. But in this liberalized era the Act has lost its significance.

The Act gives wide powers to the executive to detain a person on mere suspicion of smuggling. This Act has been criticized by various Human Right activists and organizations for being draconian. The Act has given special protection by including the same in the 9th schedule to the Constitution of India.

International Co-Operation: In response to mounting concern over money laundering, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Money Laundering was established by the G-7 Summit in Paris in 1989 to develop a co-ordinated international response. One of the first tasks of the FATF was to develop Recommendations, which set out the measures national governments should take to implement effective anti-money laundering programmes. India is an active member of the FATF.

Government of India is committed to tackle the menace of Money Laundering and has always been part of the global efforts in this direction. India is signatory to the following UN Conventions, which deal with Anti Money Laundering / Countering the Financing of Terrorism:

  1. International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism (1999)
  2. UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (2000)c
  3. UN Convention against Corruption (2003).

Manifest Pedagogy

National Herald case, the Vijay Mallya scam, PNB scam involving diamantaire Nirav Modi and his uncle, Mehul Choksi etc are in news which have brought up the issue of redefining the role of security agencies and their mandate both in India and International arena (Interpol). UPSC may directly ask the role and implementing agencies in mains and issues like Red Corner Notice by Interpol may be focused on in prelims.

Test yourself: Mould your thoughts

Money laundering and foreign exchange regulation would be futile without international cooperation. Critically examine the statement highlighting various Agreements and Conventions on these issues.


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