Look into our MANIFEST – VLOG TAB for more.
- The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 and protests against it
- National Citizen Registry
Placing it in Syllabus
- Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.
- Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.
- Security challenges and their management in border areas
- Immigration during Pre-British period
- Immigration during British rule
- Immigration during Partition
- Immigration Post Partition
- Immigration during Bangladesh liberation war of 1971
- Consequences of Immigration.
- Protest movements against immigration.
- Assam accord.
- Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016
- National Registry of Citizens
Immigration before British rule
Northeast India has over 220 ethnic groups and the equal number of dialects in which Bodo form the largest indigenous ethnic group. The hills states in the region like Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Nagaland are predominantly inhabited by tribal people with a degree of diversity even within the tribal groups. The region’s population results from ancient and continuous flows of migrations from Tibet, Indo-Gangetic India, the Himalayas, present Bangladesh, and Myanmar.
The first group of migrants to settle in this part of the country is perhaps the Austro-Asiatic language speaking people who came here from South-East Asia a few millennia before Christ. The second group of migrants came to Assam from the north, north-east, and east. They are mostly the Tibeto-Burman language speaking people. From about the fifth century before Christ, there started a trickle of migration of the people speaking Indo-Aryan language from the Gangetic plain.
Almost all groups inhabiting the region have come from different places at different periods of history and most of the early settlers claim their origin from various places of East and Southeast Asia. Infact , the entire region can be called a ‘museum of races’.
Immigration during British rule
Most of the population groups in the Northeast either have their roots outsideIndia or have migrated to the region from different parts of the Indian heartland.In the pre-British era, major population vows were from east of the region, from Southwest China and Upper Burma. During and after the colonial rule, there was a large-scale inux of Bengali-speaking people, followed by Nepalese and the tribal people from central India.Most of the population groups in the Northeast either have their roots outside.India or have migrated to the region from different parts of the Indian heartland.In the pre-British era, major population ows were from east of the region, from Southwest China and Upper Burma. During and after the colonial rule, therewas a large-scale inux of Bengali-speaking people, followed by Nepalese and the tribal people from central India.Most of the population groups in the Northeast either have their roots outside India or have migrated to the region from different parts of the Indian heartland. In the pre-British era, major population ows were from east of the region, from Southwest China and Upper Burma. During and after the colonial rule, there was a large-scale inux of Bengali-speaking people, followed by Nepalese and the tribal people from central India.Most of the population groups in the Northeast either have their roots outside India or have migrated to the region from different parts of the Indian heartland. In the pre-British era, major population ows were from east of the region, from Southwest China and Upper Burma. During and after the colonial rule, there was a large-scale inux of Bengali-speaking people, followed by Nepalese and the tribal people from central India. Most of the population groups in the Northeast either have their roots outside India or have migrated to the region from different parts of the Indian heartland. In the pre-British era, major population ows were from east of the region, from Southwest China and Upper Burma. During and after the colonial rule, there was a large-scale inux of Bengali-speaking people, followed by Nepalese and the tribal people from central India.
The element of insularity and sense of marginalization is the fallout of colonial legacy. Expansion of British rule to the Northeastern part of India following the signing of the Treaty of Yandaboo in 1826 had led to the demarcation of the region for the first time on the basis of fixed and rigid territorial jurisdiction.
The introduction of Inner Line Regulation in 1873 and the declaration of most of the hill areas as “Excluded Areas” under the provision of Government of India Act of 1935, isolated the tribal communities from social, political and economic developments taking place elsewhere and further curbed the flexible and fluid social tribal settings that existed in the pre-colonial era, allowing inter-mingling of diverse streams of people.
In the pretext of local people’s perceived inability to become the mainstay of its economic initiatives, several historians opine that the colonisers started importing tribal and backward caste Hindus from regions such as Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and other parts of British India to work as indentured labourers (Tea Plantations).
Further, to run the administration the British also brought with them officers, lawyers and clerks from Bengal, thus sowing the seeds of antagonism between the Ahom nobility and British bureaucracy represented at the grassroots by Bengali officials mostly from Sylhet, which was tagged to Assam after the latter was separated from the Bengal Presidency in 1874.
To feed the burgeoning population, the British also encouraged Muslim peasants from the erstwhile East Bengal to settle in the fallow and wasteland areas of Assam in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Immigration associated with partition
In 1947, Bengal was partitioned into the Indian state of West Bengal and the Pakistani province of East Bengal. East Bengal was later renamed East Pakistan. The majority of East Bengali refugees settled in the city of Kolkata (Calcutta) and various other towns and rural areas of West Bengal, but a significant number also moved to the Barak Valley of Assam and the princely state of Tripura which eventually joined India in 1949. Indian government estimates suggest around 2.6 million migrants leaving East Bengal for India and 0.7 million migrants coming to East Pakistan from India.
Unlike the case of Partition in Western India the partition in eastern India is a long drawn out one. There was no complete transfer of population as in Western India and there were no refugee properties to be occupied by the inbound migrants as in Punjab. The migrant population saw a continuous flow over the next decades with the rise of communal violence in East Pakistan.
In 1950, it is estimated that a further one million refugees crossed into West Bengal, particularly in the aftermath of 1950 Barisal riots and Noakhali riots. The 1951 Census of India recorded that 27% of Kolkata’s population was East Bengali refugees mainly Hindu Bengalis.
Migration continued, primarily from East Pakistan to India, right up to the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971, both on an ongoing basis and with spikes during periods of particular communal unrest such as the 1964 East Pakistan riots and the 1965 India-Pakistan War, when it is estimated that 600,000 refugees left for India. Estimates of the number of refugees up to 1970 are over 5 million to West Bengal alone. This includes around 4.1 million coming between 1946 and 1958 and 1.2 million coming between 1959 and 1971.
Another major influx into India came in 1971 during the Bangladesh Liberation War, when Hindu refugees escaped systematic mass killings, rapes, lootings and arson. It is estimated that around 10 million East Bengali refugees entered India during the early months of the war, of whom 1.5 million may have stayed back after Bangladesh became independent. These refugees remain in India and became the citizens of India and never went back to independent Bangladesh due to economic, fear of insecurity for being a minority there.
Immigration of Tribal’s of Bangladesh
Along with Bengali Hindus, minority Chakmas and Hajongs too fled the erstwhile East Pakistan to take shelter in the Northeast during that period. The existence of Chakmas and Hajongs in their native place was further imperiled by the construction of the Kaptai dam on the river Karnaphuli in 1962.They entered India through what was then the Lushai Hills district of Assam (today’s Mizoram). While some stayed back with the Chakmas who were already living in the Lushai Hills, the Indian government gave settlement to a majority of the refugees in the sparsely populated North East Frontier Agency (NEFA), present-day Arunachal Pradesh.
Immigration from Burma
Again, the military coup of 1962 forced many Burmese Indians to flee the country and take shelter in the Northeast. Many of the descendants of the uprooted Tamil migrants are now settled in Moreh in Manipur. Significantly, in the decade following 1960, Manipur recorded marginal increase in the number of net in-migrants. Otherwise, the rate of migration in the state was never very high. Widespread and persistent ethnic, political, and religious persecution by the Burmese military regime subsequently compelled thousands from the Chin community to take refuge in neighbouring Mizoram. Most Chins came to Mizoram between 1988 and the mid 1990s.
The Tibetans were yet another group of people to cross over to the Northeast from a neighbouring country, fleeing persecution. They came when Dalai Lama fled China in 1959. Most of them settled in Arunachal Pradesh.
Inter-state migrants of India
Besides, inter-state migration to Northeast from Bihar, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Odisha too was unabated in the first few decades since Independence. And unlike the colonial period, the post-partition migrants did not restrict themselves mainly to Tripura and the plains of Assam. They fanned out over the entire region.
Most of the population groups in the Northeast either have their roots outside India or have migrated to the region from different parts of the Indian heartland.
Social consequences of illegal migration
- Crisis of identity: The influx of immigrants created a crisis of identity among the indigenous populations. Their cultural survival was in jeopardy, their political control was weakened and their employment opportunities were undermined by such illegal migration.
- Environmental degradation: Large areas of forest land were encroached upon by the immigrants for settlement and cultivation. The state of Assam experienced declining percent of land area under forest from 39% in 1951-52 to about 30% now.
- Difficult to identify the illegal migrants: Due to the similar language spoken by illegal migrants from Bangladesh and the indigenous Bengali speaking Muslim of Assam, it becomes difficult to identify and deport the illegal migration from North East.
- Increase financial burden: Immigration has increased pressure on the part of state government, as the government has to increase the expenditure on education and health facilities to the immigrants.
- Displacing native workers: There is a fear particularly during a recession that immigrants take jobs which would otherwise be taken by local people; in particular place and circumstances there can be competition and conflict.
- Decreases wage level with the increase of population: Illegal immigrants in every year have been adding a good number of people. It is one of the main reasons of population explosion. Due to this there is a possibility of decreasing wage level.
- Illegal voters: Most of the Bangladeshi immigrants have got their names enlisted in the voting list illegally, thereby claiming themselves as citizens of the state. The immigrant’s population act as a vote bank for the political parties in Assam.
- Issue of terrorism: Pakistan’s ISI has been active in Bangladesh supporting militant movements in North East. It is alleged that among the illegal migrants there are also militants, who enter into India to carry out the terrorist activities.
- Movement against outsiders: The large scale migration into the northeast gave rise to a special kind of problem that pitted the ‘local’ communities against people who were seen as ‘outsiders’ or migrants. These latecomers, either from India or abroad, are seen as encroachers on scarce resources like land and potential competitors to employment opportunities and political power. This issue has taken political and sometimes violent form in many states of the northeast. The Assam movement from 1975 to 1985 is the best example of such movement against ‘outsiders’.
Assam: Protest movements against “Outsiders”
The Assamese suspected that there were huge numbers of illegal Bengali Muslim settlers from Bangladesh. They felt that unless these foreign nationals are detected and deported they would reduce the indigenous Assamese into a minority.
There were other economic issues as well. There was widespread poverty and unemployment in Assam despite the existence of natural resources like oil, tea and coal. It was felt that these were drained out of the State without any commensurate benefit to the people.
In 1979, the All Assam Students Union (AASU) a student’s group not affiliated to any party, led an anti-foreign movement against illegal migrants, domination of Bengalis and faulty voters registered that included lakhs of immigrants. The movement demanded that all outsiders who had entered the state after 1951 should be sent back.
The failure of government to respond the issue of illegal migration led to the agitation by the Assamese under the leadership of All Assam Gana Sangram Parishad (AAGSP) and All Assam Student’s Union (AASU). Assam witnessed governmental instability, sustained civil disobedience campaigns and worst cases of ethnic violence.
The agitation followed many new methods and mobilised all sections of Assamese people, drawing support across the state. It also involved many tragic and violent incidents leading of loss of property and human lives. The movement also tried to blockade the movement of trains and the supply of oil from Assam to refineries in Bihar.
Eventually after 6 years of turmoil, the Rajiv Gandhi-led government entered into negotiations with the AASU leaders, leading to the signing of an accord in 1985.
With the successful completion of this movement, the AASU and the Asom Gana Sangram Parishad organized themselves into a regional political party called Asom Gana Parishad (AGP). It came to power in 1985 with the promise of resolving of foreign national problem as well as to build a ‘Golden Assam’.
It has also been argued that there have been several contributing factors for the youth to join the cadres of ULFA such as unemployment, corruption in Government machinery, influx of illegal migrants, dominance of non-Assamese in the business sector, perception of exploitation of Assam’s natural resources by the Centre and alleged human right violation by the Security Forces.
It became active from the 1980s and till the late 1990s, enjoyed considerable public support due to a perception that ‘insurgency is causing secessions’ from Assam and that if only the Assamese had launched a violent counter-agitation, the situation would have been different. The average Assamese also regarded the six years of largely non-violent agitation for ‘expulsion of foreigners’ as having achieved very little ‘success’. With large scale criminalisation of ULFA cadres in the 1990s there was a rapid loss of public support particularly among the urban middle classes. Another factor for its decline was ULFA’s known links with the ‘agencies’ of certain foreign countries with interest in subverting the distinctive culture of the State and in causing unrest in the country.
It also appears that repeated volte-face by ULFA during several abortive negotiations with the Government, affected its credibility. After the crackdown by the Bhutanese Army, ULFA has not recovered its past strength though the organisation tries to make its presence felt through kidnappings, bomb blasts and selective murder of migrant workers.
The State is fortunately free from violence of the intensity that prevails in many other parts of the region. Except violence against ‘outsiders’ particularly the Bengali speaking linguistic minority. Emerging tensions about infiltration from Bangladesh particularly in the Garo Hills is a cause of concern.
The State’s demographic profile was altered since 1947 when mass migrations from the newly emerged East Pakistan converted it from a largely tribal area to one with a majority of Bengali speaking plainsmen. Tribals were deprived of their agricultural lands at throw-away prices and driven to the forests. The resultant tensions caused major violence and widespread terror with the tribal dominated Tripura National Volunteers (TNV) emerging as one of the most violent extremist outfits in the North East.
Proximity to Mizoram exposed the State to the ‘side effects’ of that insurgency. However, effective decentralisation in the ‘non-scheduled areas’, bringing tribal areas within the purview of an autonomous ‘Sixth Schedule’ Council, successful land reforms and systematic promotion of agriculture have contributed to considerable conflict reduction. There is growing resentment among the tribals due to the restrictions on their ‘freedom to use’ the forests and their nominal participation in district development.
The Usage of Inner Line Permit to Stop Migration
Inner Line Permit (ILP) is an official travel document issued by the Government of India to allow inward travel of an Indian citizen into a protected area for a limited period. It is obligatory for Indian citizens from outside those states to obtain a permit for entering into the protected state. The document is an effort by the government to regulate movement to certain areas located near the international border of India.
Despite the fact that the ILP was originally created by the British to safeguard their commercial interests, it continues to be used in India, officially to protect tribal cultures in northeastern India. There are different kinds of ILP’s, one for tourists and others for people who intend to stay for long-term periods, often for employment purposes.
The states which require the permit are:
- Arunachal Pradesh
Demands by the Government of Manipur for the introduction of the provision of an Inner Line Permit system to restrict entry of outsiders into the state were refused recently which lead to protests by Meitei’s.
In this light of continuous migration from the various parts of India and Neighboring countries the demography of North East is continuously changing. In this context the paranoia of a demographic invasion and the realities of Vote bank politics is leading to numerous protests. The legal changes by the provisions of The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 and the National Registry of Citizens is causing a new level of anxiety and fear both among the indigenous population and the migrants.
The issue of illegal immigrants of North East and the protests against legal measures to both legitimize (Citizenship Bill) and delegitimize (NRC) them is a major challenge in India polity. This triggers the issue of History of the migrants and the history of protest movements against them. This is a current inspired dimension of History and as many questions in history are being asked in this format Manifest pedagogy targets these areas.
106 th Indian Science Congress (ISC) was held in Phagwara, Jalandhar, in January 4-7, 2019.
Placing it in syllabus
Prelims: History of India and Indian National Movement
Mains: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
- Science in Ancient India.
- Science and technology in Medieval period.
- Comparative study of European and Indian sciences before Advent of Europeans.
- Pseudo Science and its ill effects.
The recent Indian Science Congress became infamous because of the claims that ancient Indians have mastered the Science of Test tube babies, Puspak Vimanas etc. Beneath this superfluous and extraordinary claims the real contributions of Indians to science are being forgotten. This article tries to explore some of the contributions by Ancient Indians to Pure Science and Mathematics.
Aryabhatta was born in 476 A.D. Kusumpur or Pataliputra, India. He was the first in the line of great mathematicians from the classical age of Indian Mathematics and Astronomy.
His famous work are the” Aryabhatiya “and the”Arya‐siddhanta”.The Mathematical part of the Aryabhatiya covers arithmetic. algebra, plane and spherical trigonometry.The Arya‐siddhanta is a work on astronomical computation.
His contributions to Astronomy
- In some texts, he seems to ascribe the apparent motions of the heavens to the Earth’s rotation. He may have believed that the planet’s orbits as elliptical rather than circular.
- Motions of the solar system: Aryabhata correctly insisted that the earth rotates about its axis daily and that the apparent movement of the stars is a relative motion caused by the rotation of the earth, contrary to the then-prevailing view, that the sky rotated. This is indicated in the first chapter of the Aryabhatiya, where he gives the number of rotations of the earth in a yuga, and made more explicit in his gola chapter.
- Aryabhata described a geocentric model of the solar system, in which the Sun and Moon are each carried by epicycles.
- Eclipses: Solar and lunar eclipses were scientifically explained by Aryabhata. He states that the Moon and planets shine by reflected sunlight. Instead of the prevailing cosmogony in which eclipses were caused by Rahu and Ketu (identified as the pseudo-planetary lunar nodes), he explains eclipses in terms of shadows cast by and falling on Earth. He discusses at length the size and extent of the Earth’s shadow (verses gola.38–48) and then provides the computation and the size of the eclipsed part during an eclipse.
- Sidereal periods: Considered in modern English units of time, Aryabhata calculated the sidereal rotation (the rotation of the earth referencing the fixed stars) as 23 hours, 56 minutes, and 4.1 seconds; the modern value is 23:56:4.091. Similarly, his value for the length of the sidereal year at 365 days, 6 hours, 12 minutes, and 30 seconds (365.25858 days) the modern value is 23:56:4.091. Similarly, his value for the length of the sidereal year at 365 days, 6 hours, 12 minutes, and 30 seconds (365.25858 days).
- Aryabhata advocated an astronomical model in which the Earth turns on its own axis. His model also gave corrections (the śīgra anomaly) for the speeds of the planets in the sky in terms of the mean speed of the Sun.
The text consists of the 108 verses and 13 introductory verses, and is divided into four pādas or chapters:
- Gitikapada: : large units of time—kalpa, manvantra, and yuga—which present a cosmology different from earlier texts such as Lagadha’s Vedanga Jyotisha (c. 1st century BCE). There is also a table of sines (jya), given in a single verse. The duration of the planetary revolutions during a mahayuga is given as 4.32 million years.
- Ganitapada : covering mensuration (kṣetra vyāvahāra), arithmetic and geometric progressions, gnomon / shadows (shanku–chhAyA), simple, quadratic, simultaneous, and indeterminate equations (kuṭṭaka).
- Kalakriyapada : different units of time and a method for determining the positions of planets for a given day, calculations concerning the intercalary month (adhikamAsa), kShaya-tithis, and a seven-day week with names for the days of week.
- Golapada : Geometric/trigonometric aspects of the celestial sphere, features of the ecliptic, celestial equator, node, shape of the earth, cause of day and night, rising of zodiacal signs on horizon, etc. In addition, some versions cite a few colophons added at the end, extolling the virtues of the work, etc.
The Aryabhatiya presented a number of innovations in mathematics and astronomy in verse form, which were influential for many centuries.
His contributions to Mathematics
- Approximation of Pi: Aryabhata work on the approximation for pi (π) and may have come to the conclusion that π is an irrational number.In the 2nd part of Aryabhatiya, he writes the ratio of circumference to diameter is 3.1416.
- Aryabhata given the formula for area of a triangle .He also discussed the concept of sine in his work by the name of ardhajya. His alphabetic code is commonly known as the Aryabhata cipher.
- Place value system and zero: The place-value system, first seen in the 3rd-century Bakhshali Manuscript, was clearly in place in his work. While he did not use a symbol for zero, the French mathematician Georges Ifrah argues that knowledge of zero was implicit in Aryabhata’s place-value system as a place holder for the powers of ten with null coefficients.
- Algebra: In Aryabhatiya, Aryabhata provided elegant results for the summation of series of squares and cubes.
The great 7th Century Indian mathematician and astronomer Brahmagupta wrote some important works on both mathematics and astronomy. He was from the state of Rajasthan of northwest India (he is often referred to as Bhillamalacarya, the teacher from Bhillamala), and later became the head of the astronomical observatory at Ujjain in central India. Most of his works are composed in elliptic verse, a common practice in Indian mathematics at the time, and consequently have something of a poetic ring to them. His famous books are Brahmasiddanta and Khanda Khadyaka.
His contributions to Mathematics
- Algebra: Brahmagupta gave the solution of the general linear equation in chapter eighteen of Brahmasphutasiddhanta.
- In his work on arithmetic, Brahmagupta explained how to find the cube and cube-root of an integer and gave rules facilitating the computation of squares and square roots. He also gave rules for dealing with five types of combinations of fractions.
- Brahmagupta’s Brahmasphuṭasiddhanta is the first book that provides rules for arithmetic manipulations that apply to zero and to negative numbers. He was the first to use zero as a number.
- He gave four methods of multiplication.
- Pythagorean triples: In chapter twelve of his Brahmasphutasiddhanta, Brahmagupta provides a formula useful for generating Pythagorean triples.
- Triangles: Brahmagupta dedicated a substantial portion of his work to geometry. One theorem gives the lengths of the two segments a triangle’s base is divided into by its altitude.
- Geometry: Brahmagupta’s most famous result in geometry is his formula for cyclic quadrilaterals. Given the lengths of the sides of any cyclic quadrilateral, Brahmagupta gave an approximate and an exact formula for the figure’s area.
- Measurements and constructions: In some of the verses , Brahmagupta gives constructions of various figures with arbitrary sides. He essentially manipulated right triangles to produce isosceles triangles, scalene triangles, rectangles, isosceles trapezoids, isosceles trapezoids with three equal sides, and a scalene cyclic quadrilateral.
- He proposed in some of his verses “Perpetual Motion Machines of First Kind” (Swayam Vahana Yantras). Some of his Verses clearly speculated on the concepts of Gravity and Relativity. This is the reasons why he is called Indian Newton.
Varahamihira was born in 499 A.D. into a family of Brahmins settled at Kapittha, a village near Ujjain. His father, Adityadasa was a worshipper of the Sun god and it was he who taught Varahamihira astrology. On a visit to Kusumapura (Patna) young Varahamihira met the great astronomer and mathematician, Aryabhata. The meeting inspired him so much the he decided to take up astrology and astronomy as a lifetime pursuit. He was one of the nine gems of the court of Gupta king Vikramaditya Chandragupta ii. Varahamihira was learned in the Vedas, but he was not a blind believer in the supernatural. He was a scientist.
- Like Aryabhata before him, he declared that the earth was spherical.
- In the history of science he was the first to claim that some “force” might be keeping bodies stuck to the round earth. The force is now called gravity.
- Varahamihira’s main work is the book Pancha Siddhantika (“Treatise on the five Astronomical Canons gives us information about older Indian texts which are now lost). The work it seems is a treatise on mathematical astronomy and it summarises five earlier astronomical treatises, namely, the Surya Siddhanta, Romaka Siddhanta, Paulisa Siddhanta, Vasishtha Siddhanta and Paitama Siddhanta.
- Panch Siddhanta holds a prominent place in the realms of astronomy. He proposed that the Moon and planets are lustrous not because of their own light but due to sunlight.
- Another important contribution of Varahamihira is the encyclopaedic Brihat-Samhita. It covers wide ranging subjects of human interest, including astrology, planetary movements, eclipses, rainfall, rainfall, clouds even domestic relations, gems, pearls and rituals. The volume expounds on gemstone evaluation criterion found in the Garuda Purana, and elaborates on the sacred Nine Pearls from the same text. It contains 106 chapters and is known as the “great compilation”.
- Being an Astrologer he wrote on all the three main branches of Jyotisha astrology. It covered Brihat Jataka which is considered as one of the five main treatises on Hindu astrology on Horoscopy.
- Varahamihira’s mathematical work included the discovery of the trigonometric formulas. He improved the accuracy of the sine tables of Aryabhata l. He defined the algebraic properties of zero as well as of negative numbers. Furthermore, He was among the first mathematicians to discover a version of what is now known as the Pascal’s triangle. He used it to calculate the binomial coefficients.
Born in 300 BC Acharya Charak was one of the principal contributors to the ancient art and science of Ayurveda, a system of medicine and lifestyle developed in Ancient India. Acharya Charak has been crowned as the Father of Medicine. His renowned work, the “Charak Samhita“, is considered as an encyclopedia of Ayurveda. His principles, diagoneses, and cures retain their potency and truth even after a couple of millennia.
- He was one of the principal contributors to Ayurveda, a system of medicine and lifestyle developed in Ancient India. He is known for authoring the medical treatise, the Charaka Samhita. The Charaka Samhita is one of the two foundational text of Ayurveda, the other being the Sushruta Samhita.
- The term Charaka is a label said to apply to “wandering scholars” or “wandering physicians”. According to Charaka’s translations, health and disease are not predetermined and life may be prolonged by human effort and attention to lifestyle. Charaka seems to have been an early proponent of “prevention is better than cure” doctrine.
- Charaka contributions to the fields of physiology, etiology and embryology have been recognised.
- Charaka is generally considered as the first physician to present the concept of digestion, metabolism, and immunity. A body functions because it contains three dosha or principles, namely movement (vata), transformation (pitta) and lubrication and stability (kapha). The doshas correspond to the Western classification of humors, wind, bile, and phlegm. These doshas are produced when dhatus (blood, flesh and marrow) act upon the food eaten.
- Further, he stressed, illness is caused when the balance among the three doshas in a human body are disturbed. To restore the balance he prescribed medicinal drugs. Although he was aware of germs in the body, he did not give them primary importance.
Agnivesa, under the guidance of the ancient physician Atreya, had written an encyclopedic treatise in the 8th century B.C. However, it was only when Charaka revised this treatise that it gained popularity and came to be known as Charaka Samhita.
According to the Charaka tradition, there existed six schools of medicine, founded by the disciples of the sage Punarvasu Ātreya. Each of his disciples, Agnivesha, Bhela, Jatūkarna, Parāshara, Hārīta, and Kshārapāni, composed a Samhitā. Of these, the one composed by Agnivesha was considered the best. The Agnivesha Samhitā was later revised by Charaka and it came to be known as Charaka Samhitā. The Charaka Samhitā was revised by Dridhbala.
There had been 120 sub chapters of which they all in total had 12,000 shlokas and description of 2,000 medicines. There were cures for diseases related to almost every body part of human body and all medicines had natural elements to cure the diseases.
Sushruta was an ancient Indian surgeon and is the author of the book Suśruta Saṃhitā, in which he describes over 300 surgical procedures, 120 surgical instruments and classifies human surgery in eight categories. He lived, taught and practiced his art on the banks of the Ganges in the area that corresponds to the present day city of Varanasi in North India.
Because of his seminal and numerous contributions to the science and art of surgery he is known by the title “Father of Surgery.” Much of what is known about this inventive surgeon is contained in a series of volumes he authored, which are collectively known as the Sushruta Samhita.
SuSruta learned medicine at Varanasi under the guidance of famous teacher Divodasa Dhanvantari. He learnt how the human body works and what are types of diseases which causes pain and its eradication. He became famous as surgeon not merely as general physician. He practiced and became famous with his techniques
- He mainly contributed in the department of ophthalmology and there are evidences that he treated eye diseases and conducted eye operations with his instruments.
- He wrote a medical text Susruta Samhīta which is the most representative work of Ayurveda. It contained chapters dealing with medical problems and its solutions.
- He was the most intelligent Indian surgeons and became famous as father of Indian surgery. He was expert in plastic surgery and also ophthalmic surgery and had done many successful operations.
- There are numerous contributions made by Sushruta to the field of surgery.
- Surgical demonstration of techniques of making incisions,
- Extraction of foreign bodies, alkali and thermal cauterization,
- Tooth extraction,
- Trocars for draining abscess draining hydrocele and ascitic fluid.
- Described removal of the prostate gland, urethral stricture dilatation, vesicolithotomy, hernia surgery, cesarean section, management of haemorrhoids, fistulae, laparotomy and management of intestinal obstruction, perforated intestines, accidental perforation of the abdomen with protrusion of omentum.
These great contributions did not find continuity as Science became a close preserve of some sections of society. As most of the texts were written in Sanskrit leading to elitism. Though very profound as individual contributions there is no further research on their ideas or works. These texts took on a sacred colour leading to uncritical acceptance of their content rather than empirical evidence based understanding. Lack of Secular universities to support and further science lead to statis in Indian society.
These contributions are definitely worthy of praise and pride but what is passing on as Ancient Science in Indian Science Congress is mythical and fantastic fancies of human mind.
Though the Indian Science Congress is too Politicised a question for UPSC to directly ask. It can trigger some associated topics like the real contributions of Indians to Science. Manifest 11 targets these usually left out areas.
ILO’s centenary celebrations this year
Placing it in the syllabus
- Indian Society – Social empowerment
- International Organisations (ILO)
- Indian Economy (Issues related to Labour)
- ILO : History, formation, functions and success
- Labour issues and Labour reforms since Independence
- Growth of Trade Unions in India
- Trade Union Act, 1926
- Centenary celebrations of ILO and Future of Work Report
- Labour reforms under present government
- Amendments proposed to Trade Union Act, 1926 and controversies surrounding them
Important points of the report
The world of work is undergoing a major process of change. There are several forces transforming it, from the onward march of technology and the impact of climate change on the changing character of production and employment, to name a few. In order to understand and to respond effectively to these new challenges, ILO Director-General Guy Ryder has launched a Future of Work initiative.
The Commission on the Future of Work has produced an independent report on how to achieve a future of work that provides decent and sustainable work opportunities for all.
The Global Commission was set up to undertake an in-depth examination of the future of work and make recommendations on how to achieve social justice in the 21st century. It is made up of eminent individuals with outstanding personal achievements and vision. They represent a balance of geographical regions and experience.
The work of the Commission has been organized around 4 “centenary conversations”:
- Work and society
- Decent jobs for all
- The organization of work and production
- The governance of work
The key issues considered by the Commission are new forms of work, the institutional ramifications of the changing nature of work, lifelong learning, greater inclusivity and gender equality, the measurement of work and human well-being, and the role of universal social protection in a stable and just future of work.
Global commission on future of work proposes following recommendations:
- A human-centered agenda for the future of work that strengthens the social contract by placing people and the work they do at the center of economic and social policy and business practice.This agenda consists of three pillars of action, which in combination would drive growth, equity and sustainability for present and future generations:
- Increasing investment in people’s capabilities
- Increasing investment in the institutions of work
- Increasing investment in decent and sustainable work
- Taking responsibility : It calls on all stakeholders to take responsibility for building a just and equitable future of work.
- Lifelong learning for all : It calls for formal recognition of a universal entitlement to lifelong learning and the establishment of an effective lifelong learning system
- A transformative agenda for gender equality : It also call for a transformative and measurable agenda for gender equality for the future of work.
- Strengthening social protection : It recommends for guaranteed universal social protection from birth to old age.
- Establishing a Universal Labour Guarantee– It calls for a Universal Labour Guarantee including fundamental workers’ rights, an “adequate living wage”, limits on hours of work and ensuring safe and healthy workplaces.
- Expanding time sovereignty : It also calls for measures that create working time autonomy that meets the needs of both workers and enterprises.
- Revitalizing collective representation : It calls for public policies that promote collective representation and social dialogue
- Technology for decent work : It calls for the use of technology in support of decent work and a “human-in-command” approach to technology.
- Transforming economies to promote decent and sustainable work : It calls for incentives to promote investments in key areas that promote decent and sustainable work
About the ILO
- The ILO was founded in 1919, in the wake of a destructive war, to pursue a vision based on the premise that universal, lasting peace can be established only if it is based on social justice. The ILO became the first specialized agency of the UN in 1946.
- It was created in 1919, as part of the Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I, to reflect the belief that universal and lasting peace can be accomplished only if it is based on social justice.
- It is the only tripartite U.N. agency since 1919 the ILO brings together governments, employers and workers of 187 members, to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all women and men.
The main aims of the ILO are to promote rights at work, encourage decent employment opportunities, enhance social protection and strengthen dialogue on work-related issues.
- The International Labour Conference (ILC) is the ILO superior body convened at least once a year. The Conference deals with examining and adopting the international norms in the social and labour sphere, and with discussing universally important questions.
- The Governing Body is the ILO executive body which directs the Organization’s activities in the period between the ILC sessions and defines the order of the Conference decisions’ implementation. The Governing Body meets three times a year.
- The International Labour Office is the ILO permanent secretariat.
Achievements of ILO
Following are some achievements of the ILO:
- The ILO was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1969.
- The Code of Practice on HIV and the World of Work (2001) was printed and distributed in 30 languages.
- The establishment of Decent Work Country Programmes to provide support to member nations. DWCPs facilitate decent work as a major element for national development strategies.
- The implementation of the International Labor Code (revised in June 2008) for setting standards. One of the principal achievements of the ILO has been the formulation of an extensive international labor code through the drafting and adoption of various standard-setting conventions and recommendations. The first international convention adopted was the 1919 Hours of Work Convention, establishing the 8-hour day and the 6-day week in industry.
- At first, the effort to build up minimum labor and social standards that would be internationally valid was considered by many as utopian. In these fields, international action used to be virtually unknown. But the freely accepted conventions and recommendations and the ILO machinery of mutual supervision have helped to improve working conditions and management labor relations, protect the fundamental rights of labor, promote social security, and lessen the frequency and intensity of labor conflicts.
The main functions of the ILO are:
- Creation of coordinated policies and programs directed at solving social and labour issues.
- Adoption of international labour standards in the form of conventions and recommendations and control over their implementation.
- Assistance to member-states in solving social and labour problems.
- Human rights protection (the right to work, freedom of association, collective negotiations, protection against forced labour, protection against discrimination, etc.).
- Research and publication of works on social and labour issues.
Problems of labourers in India
- Illiteracy -as compared to other countries, the percentage of educated workers is very low.
- Problem of absenteeism and migration- most of the Indian labours are restless and does tedious towards frequent migration because life in the town does not provide for their needs.
- Low level of Health, Nutrition and Healthy Recreation as compared to most of the European countries.
- Extreme poverty and lack of training
- Unfair recruitment process
- Lack of predefined wage structure
- Less exposure to Information and Technology
- Limited security
Various measures under the new government
Various legislative, administrative and e-governance initiatives have been taken by the Central Government to generate employment and to facilitate ease of doing business. The various initiatives taken by the Central Government are as follows:
- In the first two years itself, the government partially removed the arbitrary inspection system (the so-called Inspector Raj), allowed firms to file one self-certified return for a clutch of laws, implemented employees provident fund (EPF) number portability, and initiated moves to make EPF and National Pension System alternative social security schemes for organized sector employees.
- The ministry also included the category of ‘Fixed Term Employment Workman’ for all sectors in the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946 and rules made there. The objective of fixed term employment on one hand is to provide flexibility to the employers in order to meet the challenges of globalization, new practices and methods of doing businesses while on the other, this would be beneficial for workers as it gives the ‘FTE Workman’ the same statutory benefits as that of regular workers in a proportionate manner.
- EPF number portability.
- Companies allowed filing one self-certified return for a clutch of labour laws.
- In line with the recommendations of the Second National Commission on Labour, the ministry has taken steps for formulating four labour codes on wages; industrial relations; social security and welfare; and occupational safety, health and working conditions by amalgamating, simplifying, and rationalizing the relevant provisions of the existing central labour laws.
- Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017 which came into force from April 1, 2017 – increased paid maternity leave from 12 weeks to 26 weeks and benefited 18 lakh women employees.
- The Industrial Disputes Act could have been amended to improve ease of doing business.
- The ministry had also sought comments on the Code on Occupational Safety Health and Working Conditions in March 2018. After tripartite consultations, the draft Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Bill, 2018 has been circulated for inter-ministerial consultation recently.
- The Labour ministry also got the Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill, 2018 passed by Parliament which provides for a hike in the upper ceiling on tax-free gratuity amount from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 20 lakh.
- The government also approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) among Brazil, Russian Federation, India, China, South Africa, regarding Cooperation in the Social and Labour Sphere. The MoU was signed in August 2018 during BRICS Labour and Employment Ministers (LEM) Meeting. The pact provides a mechanism for cooperation, collaboration and maximum synergy amongst BRICS member countries with the common objective of inclusive growth and shared prosperity in the new industrial revolution.
- Another Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between India and Italy for training and education in the fields of labour and employment.
- Considering the change in employment pattern and the current scenario of employment in India which has transformed from long-term employment to short-term engagement in form of contract and tempting, the ESI Corporation has approved a Scheme named “ATAL BIMIT VYAKTI KALYAN YOJANA” for insured persons covered under the ESI Act, 1948.
- This scheme is a relief payable in cash directly to insured persons’ bank accounts in case of unemployment and while they search for new engagement.
Amendments to Trade Union Act and its criticisms :
- The Bill seeks to provide for recognition of trade unions or a federation of trade unions at the central and state level by the central and state government, respectively. Such trade unions or the federation of trade unions will be recognized as Central Trade Unions or State Trade Unions, as the case may be.
- These amendments will facilitate recognition of trade unions at central and state level; ensure true representation of workers in tripartite bodies; check on the arbitrary nomination of workers’ representatives by the government, and reduce litigations and industrial unrest.
- The proposed Bill will ensure that the nomination of workers’ representatives in tripartite bodies by the government will become more transparent. The trade unions so recognized will be accountable in maintaining industrial harmony.
- The recognition of trade unions at the central/state level will reduce duplicacy of such exercise by different departments. Recognized trade unions may be assigned specific roles at the central or state level.
- Recognized trade unions will be accountable in maintaining industrial harmony. It will ensure true representation of workers in the tripartite bodies and put a check on the arbitrary nomination of workers’ representatives by the government. Besides, it will reduce litigations and industrial unrest.
- A recent decision by the Union Cabinet to amend certain provisions of the Indian Trade Union Act, 1926 has evoked protests from most of the central trade unions. While the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) and the Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS) have been categorical in their criticism of the proposed amendments and the manner in which the announcement was made without due consultations.
- The proposal to reduce the percentage of outsiders was also discriminatory as eventually it would result in keeping out of unions any retired, retrenched and victimized workers who would not come under the category of regular workers.
- The latest move to amend the Trade Union Act is seen as the first step in the direction of effecting more legislative changes in the area of labour. Most of the trade unions have little doubt that such changes will prove detrimental to labour.
Labour as an issue should be studied from 3 dimensions :
- Role of International Organisations on them
The issue become relevant because of the Centenary celebrations of ILO.
Activism of NIA in recent times
Placing it in the syllabus
Indian Society – Social Problems (not explicitly mentioned)
Terrorism – Concept, History and Evolution
Causes and Measures
UAPA and NIA
What is terrorism?
Terrorism is the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government or its citizens to further certain political or social objectives.
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 during peacetime or in war against non-combatants.
History of terrorism and how it became a global problem
- The history of terrorism is a history of well-known and historically significant individuals, entities, and incidents associated, whether rightly or wrongly, with terrorism. Scholars agree that terrorism is a disputed term, and very few of those labeled terrorists describe themselves as such.
- Depending on how broadly the term is defined, the roots and practice of terrorism can be traced at least to the 1st-century AD Sicarii Zealots, though some dispute whether the group, which assassinated collaborators with Roman rule in the province of Judea, was in fact terrorist.
- The first use in English of the term ‘terrorism’ occurred during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror, when the Jacobins, who ruled the revolutionary state, employed violence, including mass executions by guillotine, to compel obedience to the state and intimidate regime enemies.
- The association of the term only with state violence and intimidation lasted until the mid-19th century, when it began to be associated with non-governmental groups. Anarchism, often in league with rising nationalism and anti-monarchism, was the most prominent ideology linked with terrorism.
- Near the end of the 19th century, anarchist groups or individuals committed assassinations of a Russian Tsar and a U.S. President.
- In the 20th century, terrorism continued to be associated with a vast array of anarchist, socialist, fascist and nationalist groups, many of them engaged in ‘third world’ anti-colonial struggles. Some scholars also labeled as terrorist the systematic internal violence and intimidation practiced by states such as the Stalinist Soviet Union and Nazi Germany.
- The 21st century saw the dawn of the war on terrorism, as the 9/11 attacks and the Boston Marathon bombing dramatically changed society. Economic issues also moved to the forefront during the Great Recession as awareness of social inequality grew. The first decade of the 21st century was dominated by terror and terrorists. No one man was responsible although the pre-eminent face was that of Osama bin Laden. The global jihad of terror struck from New York to New Delhi. The centre of the storm was South Asia, and the epicenter of the storm Pakistan. India was often ground zero.
Main causes of terrorism may vary from place to place but its effect is the same that is antinational, anti humanity and anti ethics. folllowing are some of the causes of terrorism.
- Religious fundamentalism has been found to be the most important and dangerous reason for terrorism. Some terrorist groups are being trained and prepared for religious causes. Such as all alameda, Jaish-E-Mohammed, Harkal-ul-Mujahidin, SIMI and Taliban.
- Social: Social different, racial unrest or ethnical divisions have some times lead to violent activities, that can be categorized as terrorism. A group may turn to arms for their social justice and causes terror in an area-such as.
- Political: Lack of equality, freedom, demands of autonomy etc are the most important among main political causes. Suppressing a community, political exploitation and rule without representation etc. may give rise to armed struggle, resulting into terrorist activities.
- Economic: Economic disadvantage, exploitation or suppression can be a reason for un satisfaction and this leads to terrorist activities.
- Technological advances has helped terrorist group to arm themselves with advanced weapons.
- Social media: Fast access to social media has made it a pltform to to influence the young mind and attract them to get into terrorist activities.
- Unemployment pushes the young minds to earn overnight and fall pray to terrorist activities.
- Strategic: Saying that a group has a strategic cause for using terrorism is another way of saying that terrorism isn’t a random or crazy choice, but is chosen as a tactic in service of a larger goal. Hamas, for example, uses terrorist tactics, but not out of a random desire to fire rockets at Israeli Jewish civilians. Instead, they seek to leverage violence (and cease fires) in order to gain specific concessions related to their goals vis-a-vis Israel and Fatah. Terrorism is typically described as a strategy of the weak seeking to gain advantage against stronger armies or political powers.
National Level – Laws and institutions
National Investigation Agency(NIA)
- National Investigation Agency (NIA) is a central agency established to combat terror and act as Central Counter terrorism Law Enforcement Agency. It was established after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks with the enactment of National Investigation Agency Act, 2008.
- At present, NIA is functioning as the Central Counter-Terrorism Law Enforcement Agency in India.
Vision of NIA
The National Investigation Agency aims to be a thoroughly professional investigative agency matching the best international standards. The NIA aims to set the standards of excellence in counter terrorism and other national security related investigations at the national level by developing into a highly trained, partnership oriented workforce. NIA aims at creating deterrence for existing and potential terrorist groups/individuals. It aims to develop as a storehouse of all terrorist related information.
The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967
Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act is an Indian law aimed at effective prevention of unlawful activities associations in India.
Its main objective was to make powers available for dealing with activities directed against the integrity and sovereignty of India.
The National Integration Council appointed a Committee on National Integration and Regionalisation to look into, the aspect of putting reasonable restrictions in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India. Pursuant to the acceptance of recommendations of the Committee, the Constitution (Sixteenth Amendment) Act, 1963 was enacted to impose, by law, reasonable restrictions in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, on the:
- Freedom of Speech and Expression;
- Right to Assemble peaceably and without arms; and
- Right to Form Associations or Unions.
India’s Resolution in the UN against International Terrorism
In 1996 India had moved a Resolution in the UN by the name of Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (UN CCIT). After 19 year, it still remains inconclusive. Recently during the visit of the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to China, India finally got the support of both China and Russia for this very significant resolution. At the 13th Russia, India, China (RIC) summit the three foreign ministers called for early conclusion of negotiations on the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.
Global bodies working on terrorism
- The Security Council has taken the leading role, introducing the Counter-Terrorism Committee – established in 2001, based on Resolution 1373 (2001) – which oversees the implementation of counter-terrorism policy.
- In 2005, the UN Secretary General proceeded to the introduction of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task force for the combating of Terrorism, an organ which oversees the involvement of all the services of the UN. In September 2005, Resolution 1624 was adopted by the Security Council, condemning every form of terrorist action, regardless of origin, and calling on states to take the necessary measures to prohibit any incitement to the commission terrorist attacks.
- In September 2006, the General Assembly passed the United Nations Global Counter Terrorism Strategy. This strategy is the central political instrument of the UN and is the basis for shaping anti-terrorism policy on individual issues. The Strategy text has been revised four times (2008, 2010, 2012, 2014).
- Under the auspices of the UN, the international community, continuing a process initiated prior to Security Council Resolution 1373 (2001), has adopted 16 international legal instruments on terrorism. These instruments set out the obligations undertaken by states within the framework of terrorism, cover a broad range of actions characterized as terrorism, and contain the general guidelines and overall policy outlook against terrorism.
- To confront the new challenges that have arisen recently on the terrorist front – including the Islamic State (ISIL), the phenomenon of foreign fighters, and the financing of terrorism – in 2014 the Security Council adopted Resolutions 2170 and 2178, followed, in 2015, by Resolutions 2199 and 2214, which call on states to work together to deal with these threats.
Terrorism as an issue is not new but today has acquired newer dimensions in various forms. It is expected of the student to cover it from three disciplines
- International Relations
- Internal Security
States demand for drought relief
Placing it in the syllabus
Important Geophysical phenomena, geographical features and their location- changes in critical geographical features (including waterbodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.
- History of Drought
- Drought preparedness in India
- The new classification of drought
- Manual for Drought Management, December 2016
Drought is generally considered as a deficiency in rainfall /precipitation over an extended period, usually a season or more, resulting in a water shortage causing adverse impacts on vegetation, animals, and/or people.
It a prolonged period of abnormally low rainfall, leading to a shortage of water.
Earlier classification of drought and the new classification of drought as per IMD
Earlier classification of drought
The 2009 Manual of Drought Management issued by Ministry of Agriculture, Union of India (prepared for Ministry by National Institute of Disaster Management) classifies droughts into three categories based on the existing literature on the subject:-meteorological, agricultural and hydrological. The manual also specifies the India specific features for each type of these droughts.
- Meteorological drought is defined as the deficiency of precipitation from expected or normal levels over an extended period of time (i.e. normal levels accommodate upto 10% deviation from long term average). Meteorological drought usually precedes other kinds of drought and is said to occur when the seasonal rainfall received over an area is less than 25% of its long-term average value. It is classified as moderate drought if the rainfall deficit is 26-50% and severe drought when the deficit exceeds 50% of the normal.
- Hydrological drought is best defined as deficiencies in surface and sub-surface water supplies leading to a lack of water for normal and specific needs. Such conditions arise, even in times of average (or above average) precipitation when increased usage of water diminishes the existing reserves.
- Agricultural drought is usually triggered by meteorological and hydrological droughts and occurs when soil moisture and rainfall are inadequate during the crop growing season causing extreme crop stress and wilting. The relationship of agricultural drought to meteorological and hydrological drought is shown in the graph. Plant water demand depends on prevailing weather conditions, biological characteristics of the specific plant, its stage of growth and the physical and biological properties of the soil.
Agricultural drought arises from variable susceptibility of crops during different stages of crop development, from emergence to maturity. In India, it is defined as a period of four consecutive weeks (of severe meteorological drought) with a rainfall deficiency of more than 50 % of the long-term average or with a weekly rainfall of 5 cm or less from mid-May to mid-October (the kharif season) when 80% of India’s total crop is planted or six such consecutive weeks during the rest of the year.
The new classification of drought
Manual for Drought Management, December 2016
A Manual for Drought Management was published by the DAC & FW in November 2009, which has been revised and updated in December 2016. The revised manual has come into effect from Kharif season of 2017. It’s revised norms include;
- The various indices and parameters appropriate for the declaration of drought revisited and new indices like Standardised Precipitation Index, Vegetation Condition Index, Percentage Available Soil Moisture, and Hydrology Indices like Reservoir Storage Index, Stream-flow Drought Index, and Ground Water Drought Index have been added.
- Limitations of each of these indices/parameters have been specified, wherever required. The magnitude of the drought event has been graded on a scale of values as “Moderate” and “Severe”.
- Other factors such as the extent of fodder supply, scarcity of drinking water supplies, demand for employment and migration of labour, wage trends, food grains supply position etc. have been touched upon with the suggestion that State Governments may frame guidelines for objective evaluation based on monitoring mechanisms and baseline data.
- Rainfall related indices have been recommended as the first trigger in the assessment of drought. In the event of rainfall inadequacy of a certain magnitude, the first trigger is set off which would then obligate State Governments to consider other impact indicators related to agriculture (crop sowing coverage), remote sensing, soil moisture, and hydrology.
- The level of severity of drought will be based on the recorded values against the impact indicators and accordingly, the second drought trigger is set off.
- In case the second drought trigger is set off, the Manual prescribes field level verification of ground truthing of crop damage through sample field survey in 10% of the villages selected randomly.
- The drought and the intensity of the calamity will be declared on the basis of findings from the field survey.
- Time-lines have been indicated for the declaration of drought, namely, 30 October for Kharif and 31 March for Rabi. States will declare a drought and carry out relief operations. They can submit Memorandum for Financial Assistance to Govt of India if the drought was found to be of a severe nature.
- The Manual for Drought Management is a guide for governments and agencies engaged in the prevention, mitigation, and management of drought.
India Meteorological Department (IMD) has replaced the word “drought” to describe poor rainfall with “deficient year” and “large deficient year”.
|New Terminology||Old Terminology|
|Normal||Normal||Percentage departure of realized rainfall is within +/- 10% of the Long Period Average|
|Below Normal||Below Normal||Percentage departure of realized rainfall is<10% of the Long Period Average|
|Above Normal||Above Normal||Percentage departure of realized rainfall is >10% of the Long Period Average|
|Deficient Year||All India Drought year||When the rainfall deficiency is more than 10% and 20-40% area of the country is under drought conditions|
|Large Deficient Year||All India Drought year||When the rainfall deficiency is more than 10% and when the spatial coverage of drought is more than 40%|
According to a circular issued by the department, the move was part of a decision to do away with or re-define terms that are not scientifically precise.
History of Drought and Drought preparedness in India
- Droughts during the colonial period tended to degenerate into severe famines causing massive human losses. According to one estimate, in the latter half of the 19th century, there were approximately 25 major famines across India, which killed 30-40 million people. The first Bengal famine of 1770 is estimated to have wiped out nearly one-third of the population. The famines continued until Independence in 1947, with the Bengal famine of 1943–44 which affected 3-4 million people, is among the most devastating.
- The situation improved remarkably in post-independent India. Investment in irrigation works, promotion and availability of quality inputs, focus on research & extension led to increased agricultural productivity and greater resilience among the farming communities. This development did not only render the country self-sufficient in food production but to a considerable extent, famine proof. Though population quadrupled since Independence, the country did not witness a famine in the past 69 years and in fact, India has become a major exporter of agricultural produce in the world.
- After independence droughts have received much more attention of policymakers than before. One observes an evolution in the drought policy over the past few decades. Famines have been eradicated and starvation deaths are rare if not nil. The government has adopted a three pronged strategy to face droughts:
- Providing relief to drought-hit population under scarcity relief programmes
- Designing special area development programme for drought-prone areas and desert areas (DPAP – drought-prone area programme and DDP – desert development programme) and
- Promoting dry farming agriculture as a part of agricultural policy.
- With the liberalization of the Indian economy in the 1990s, accelerated growth in industry and services saw the share of agriculture in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) shrink to less than 15% (half its share from a few decades ago), yet the country continued to be largely self-sufficient in food and agri-commodities, gained greater resiliences in absorbing the impact of drought.
Preparedness through Programs
Some Programs and Schemes
- Seeing watershed as key biophysical unit for drought proofing & resilience: integrating lessons from SLEM
- The Green India Mission– aims to restore 10 Mha in 10 Years with a project cost of about US$ 8 billion; focus on restoration of ecosystem services, using landscapes and watershed units.
- Integrated Watershed Management Programme – targeted development of 75 million hectares of rainfed/degraded area in a phased manner during 2007-2027.
- The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme – strong focus on land, water and afforestation activities
- The mission for Sustainable Agriculture – including climate-smart agriculture, National Food Security Mission, National Mission on Micro Irrigation among others.
- Making use of Traditional Knowledge Systems in programs /Missions
This year most parts of the country are reeling under drought conditions. Parameters for declaration of droughts and preparedness are important aspect of study. Droughts and disaster management is other dimension where the question could be asked.
EVMs and controversies surrounding them
Placing it in syllabus
Indian Polity – Representation of People’s Act
- Electoral reforms history
- EVMs and their history
- Electoral reforms under the new government
- Controversies surrounding EVMs and solutions
What are EVMs?
An EVM is simple, reliable, tamper-proof, error-free equipment that allows a voter to choose one from among several candidates. The EVM is designed to collect, record, store, count and display polling data with cent per cent accuracy.
An EVM is designed with two units: the control unit and the balloting unit. These units are joined together by a cable. The control unit of the EVM is kept with the presiding officer or the polling officer. The balloting unit is kept within the voting compartment for electors to cast their votes. This is done to ensure that the polling officer verifies your identity.
- Standalone Machines
- No Radio Frequency transmission or reception possible – no wireless communication possible
- One Time Programmable (OTP) chip
- Dynamic coding of key press
- Real time clock for time and date stamping key press
Who devised them?
The EVM has been designed by the Election Commission in collaboration with two public sector undertakings — Bharat Electronics Ltd, Bangalore, and Electronics Corporation of India Ltd, Hyderabad after a series of meetings, prototypes, and extensive field trials. The EVMs are now manufactured by these two undertakings.
History / Background of EVMs
- With a view to overcome certain problems associated with use of ballot papers and taking advantage of development of technology so that voters cast their votes correctly without any resultant ambiguity and removing the possibilities of invalid votes totally, the Commission in December, 1977 mooted the idea of EVM. The law was amended by the Parliament in December, 1988 and a new section 61A was inserted in the Representation of the People Act, 1951 empowering the Commission to use voting machines. The amended provision came into force w.e.f. 15th March, 1989.
- As an engineer, Sujatha Rangarajan supervised the design and production of the electronic voting machine (EVM) during his tenure at Bharat Electronics Limited, a machine which is currently used in elections throughout India, gazetted “Electronically operated vote the counting machine”. His original design was exhibited to the public in Government Exhibitions held in six cities. The EVMs were commissioned in 1989 by Election Commission of India collaboration with Bharat Electronics Limited and Electronics Corporations of India Limited. The Industrial designers of the EVMs were faculty members at the Industrial Design Centre, IIT Bombay.
- The EVM were first used in India almost two decades ago in the North Paravur assembly by-election in Kerala.
- EVMs manufactured in 1989-1990 were used on an experimental basis in 16 assembly constituencies in the states of Madhya Pradesh (5) and Rajasthan (5) and the National Capital Territory of Delhi (6) during the elections to the respective legislative assemblies in November 1998.
- The incorporation of machines, technology and automation for electoral voting goes back to at least 1892, when the first “lever voting machine” was used in New York, after decades of relying on paper ballots. Punch-card voting machines were introduced in the US in the 1960s, and were still in use in Florida four decades later, when their malfunctioning helped make the 2000 presidential election controversial. The US also saw the first EVMs introduced in 1975.
- EVMs ensure the principle of ‘one person, one vote’: As a citizen presses a voting button on the Ballot Unit, the vote is recorded and the machine gets locked. Even if one presses that or any other button again, no vote will be recorded.
- Difficult to rewrite: No one can rewrite a program without damaging the sealed microchip in EVM. So EVM programming cannot be changed to facilitate a particular candidate or part, EVMs can be taken away and damaged while capturing booths.
- For glitches, an officer, in charge of 10 polling stations, carries spare EVMs to replace out-of order machines.
- This is a state-of-the-art election process, simple to install and operate.
- There is no scope for invalid votes and assures total secrecy of polling data.
- It facilitates quick and accurate counting, making it possible to declare the results the same evening.
- The machine can be reused by simply resetting it. It puts an end to the huge expenditure on printing, storing, and transporting ballot papers.
- It is also environment-friendly because it eliminates paperwork.
Disadvantages and controversies surround them
- In a collaborative study, a team of Indian and international experts have revealed that the electronic voting machines used in Indian elections are vulnerable to fraud. Even brief access to the machines, known in India as EVMs, could allow criminals to alter election results.
- There are around 1.4 million of the machines in use, all of the controversial “Direct Recording Electronic” (DRE) variety. Such machines record the votes only to internal memory and provide no paper records for later inspection or recount. With DREs, absolute trust is placed in the hardware and software of the voting machines.
- The researchers were also surprised to find that the vote-counting software in the EVMs is programmed into so-called “mask programmed microcontrollers,” which do not allow the software to be read out and verified. Because these chips are made in the US and Japan, this has led to a situation in which nobody in India knows for sure what software is in these machines or whether it counts votes accurately.
- The paperless class of voting systems has intrinsic security problems.
- All machines invented by human beings are designed to be manipulated. There is always an input window and an output window through which we interact with a machine. The computer and internet era have made it possible for any one to manipulate a piece of electronic gadgetry sitting in any corner of the globe without revealing his or her identity.
- Any one who challenges the security of an EVM starts from an inherent disadvantage. He or she will not have easy access to EVMs, their source code or will not be allowed to test their method in a real election.
- It is often argued that only those who lose the election raise the issue, when the same people win they remain silent.
What needs to be done
Using of Voter- Verified Paper Audit Trail(VVPAT) along with EVMs, though VVPAT is not foolproof but it gives both the voters and political parties an assurance. If the inherent lacunae are solved, VVPAT can be an effective alternative.
Electoral reforms as a topic has been in news for the past 3 years. EVM as a topic was also asked in Mains exam this year. It is relevant topic since it is mentioned in the syllabus as well through the topic- Representation of Peoples Act. Hence static and current linkages on this topic is must.
Sabarimala review hearing
Placing it in the syllabus
- Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.
- Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.
- Review Petition as a concept and its importance
- Original judgement on Sabarimala
- Open and Closed hearing
What Is review hearing?
A reconsideration; second view or examination; revision; consideration for purposes of correction. Review is to be filed by the aggrieved in the same court where the order or decree is passed. It is a discretionary right of the court and not statutory right.
In India, a binding decision of the Supreme Court/ High Court can be reviewed in Review Petition. The parties aggrieved on any order of the Supreme Court on any apparent error can file a review petition. Taking into consideration the principle of stare decisis, courts generally do not unsettle a decision, without a strong case. This provision regarding review is an exemption to the legal principle of stare decisis
Rules followed in the review petition
- The Court may review its judgment or order, but no application for review will be entertained in a civil proceeding except on the ground mentioned in Order XLVII, rule I of the Code, and in a criminal proceeding except on the ground of an error apparent on the face of the record.
- An application for review shall be by a petition, and shall be filed within thirty days from the date of the judgment or order sought to be reviewed. It shall set out clearly the grounds for review. It is also recommended that the petition should be circulated without oral arguments to the same bench of judges that delivered the judgment (or order) sought to be reviewed.
- Unless otherwise ordered by the Court an application for review shall be disposed of by circulation without any oral arguments, but the petitioner may supplement his petition by additional written arguments. The Court may either dismiss the petition or direct notice to the opposite party. An application for review shall as far as practicable be circulated to the same Judge or Bench of Judges that delivered the judgment or order sought to be reviewed.
- Where on an application for review the Court reverses or modifies its former decision in the case on the ground of mistake of law or fact, the Court, may, if it thinks fit in the interests of justice to do so, direct the refund to the petitioner of the court-fee paid on the application in whole or in part, as it may think fit.
- Where an application for review of any judgment and order has been made and disposed of, no further application for review shall be entertained in the same matter.
- Furthermore, even after dismissal of a review petition, the SC may consider a curative petition in order to prevent abuse of its process and to cure gross miscarriage of justice.
- Under the Supreme Court rules, review petitions against the main judgment are usually decided by the judges sitting in their chambers during the lunch break between 1Pm and 2Pm.
- Article 137 of the constitution enables the Supreme Court to review its own judgments, subject to the provisions of any law made by Parliament. This power is exercisable under rules made by the court under article 145. The review will lie in the Supreme Court on the following grounds:
- Discovery of new important matters of evidence;
- Mistake or error on the face of the record; and
- Any other sufficient reason.
- Article 137 of the Constitution is a special power with the Supreme Court to review any judgment pronounced or order made by it. An order passed in a criminal case can be reviewed and set aside only if there are errors apparent on the record.
What is open court hearing?
Common law requires a trial in open court; “open court” means a court to which the public has a right to be admitted. This term may mean either a court that has been formally convened and declared open for the transaction of its proper judicial business or a court that is freely open to spectators.
Advantages of open court Hearing:
- It helps the lawyer concerned to put across the points in a more effective manner.
- An open court hearing furthers the interest of justice and it would assist the judges in their decision-making in a given case.
- Allowing review petitions to be heard in open court signifies that the court wants to give sufficient opportunity to the petitioners to make out their case before the fate of the matter is eventually decided.
- It would allow the lawyers to make oral arguments and this would be especially beneficial for the review petitioners who were not parties in the earlier case.
Some important cases in which open hearing was held:
- Recently Supreme Court allowed open court hearing of Review Petitions.
- Aarushi’s murder case.
Judiciary as a topic is highly relevant this year with its activism and some very important judgements it gave this year. Triple Talaq, Adultery , Sabarimala temple entry etc.. The article written above is based on the terms and procedures in the working of Judiciary.
National Security Act was slapped on two in Madhya Pradesh
Placing it the syllabus
- Indian Polity : Fundamental Rights
- Internal Security
- History of Preventive Detention Laws in India
- Constitutional provisions on Preventive Detention
- National Security Act provisions
- Misuse of Preventive Detention Laws and need for changes
What is NSA?
The National Security Act is a stringent law that allows preventive detention for months, if authorities are satisfied that a person is a threat to national security or law and order. The person does not need to be charged during this period of detention. The goal is to prevent the individual from committing a crime.
The NSA was introduced by Indira Gandhi after she came to power in 1980. The Act replaced the National Security Ordinance which too had been promulgated by the Indira Gandhi government three months earlier. The NSA was amended in 1984, 1985 and 1988 to consolidate some of the government’s powers, besides increasing the possible periods of detention in Punjab and Chandigarh.
Provisions of NSA
- Applicability: It applies to the entirety of India, except Jammu and Kashmir
- As per the National Security Act, the grounds for preventive detention of a person include:
- Acting in any manner prejudicial to the defence of India, the relations of India with foreign powers, or the security of India.
- Regulating the continued presence of any foreigner in India or with a view to making arrangements for his expulsion from India.
- Preventing them from acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the State or from acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order or from acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the community it is necessary so to do.
- Under the National Security Act, an individual can be detained without a charge for up to 12 months; the state government needs to be intimated that a person has been detained under the NSA.
- A person detained under the National Security Act can be held for 10 days without being told the charges against them. The detained person can appeal before a high court advisory board but they are not allowed a lawyer during the trial.
- Grounds of detention severable: Where a person has been detained in pursuance of an order of detention [whether made before or after the commencement of the National Security (Second Amendment) Act, 1984] which has been made on two or more grounds, such order of detention shall be deemed to have been made separately on each of such grounds
- Execution of detention orders-A detention order may be executed any place in India in the manner provided for the execution of warrants of arrest under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973
- Power to regulate place and conditions of detention, Every person in respect of whom a detention order has been made shall be liable:
- To be detained in such place and under such conditions, including conditions as to maintenance, discipline and punishment for breaches of discipline, as the appropriate Government may, by general or special order, specify; and
- To be removed from one place of detention to another place of detention, whether within the same State or in another State, by order of the appropriate Government:
- Detention orders not to be invalid or inoperative on certain grounds. No detention order shall be invalid or inoperative merely by reason-
- that the person to be detained thereunder is outside the limits of the territorial jurisdiction of the Government or officer making the order, or
- that the place of detention of such person is outside the said limit.
- Grounds of order of detention to be disclosed to persons affected by the order:
- It can be disclosed not later than five days and in exceptional circumstances and for reasons to be recorded in writing, not later than ten days from the date of detention, communicate to him the grounds on which the order has been made and shall afford him the earliest opportunity of making a representation against the order to the appropriate Government.
- Under the act it is required for the authority to disclose facts which it considers to be against the public interest to disclose.
- Constitution of Advisory Boards:
- The Central Government and each state Government, shall, whenever necessary, constitute one or more Advisory Boards for the purposes of this Act.
- Every such Board shall consist of three persons who are, or have been or are qualified to be appointed as, Judges of a High Court and such persons shall be appointed by the appropriate Government.
- The appropriate Government shall appoint one of the members of the Advisory Board who is, or has been, Judge of a High Court to be its Chairman, and in the case of a Union territory the appointment to the Advisory Board of any person who is a Judge of the High Court of a State shall be with the previous approval of the State Government concerned.
- Reference to Advisory Boards: As provided in this Act, in every case where a detention order has been made under this Act, the appropriate Government shall, within 3 weeks from the date of detention of a person under the order, place before the Advisory Board constituted by it, the grounds on which the order has been made and the representation if any made by the person affected by the order and in case where the order has been made by an officer.
- Action upon the report of the Advisory Board:
- In any case where the Advisory Board has reported that there is, in its opinion, sufficient causes for the detention of a person, the appropriate Government may confirm the detention order and continue the detention of the person concerned for such period as it thinks fit.
- In any case where the Advisory Board has reported that there is in its opinion, no sufficient cause for the detention of a person, the appropriate Government shall revoke the detention order and cause the person concerned to be released forthwith.
- Protection of action: No suit or other legal proceeding shall lie against the Central Government or a State Government, and no suit, prosecution or 8 taken in good faith. Government or a State Government, and no suit, prosecution or other legal proceeding shall lie against any person, for anything in good faith done or intended to be done in pursuance of this Act.
- The maximum period of detention is 12 months, but the detention should be reported to the State Government along with the grounds on which the order has been made. No such order shall remain in force for more than 12 days unless approved by the State Government.
Detention as an idea has been in news because of many issues like sedition, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and the most recent one being National Security Act. Detention as a concept should be done in detail for mains and minute provisions of the Act may be asked in prelims.
The issue of Contempt Notice against Prashant Bhushan
Placing it in the syllabus
- Indian Polity :
- Indian Judiciary
- Fundamental Rights
- Constitutional provisions related to Contempt of Court
- Contempt of Court Act, 1971
- Frequent and arbitrary use of Contempt powers and need for changes
Contempt of court
Anything that curtails or impairs the freedom of the limits of judicial proceedings and results in hampering of the administration of Law and is interfering with the due course of justice , necessarily constitutes Contempt of Court.
Oswald defines contempt to be constituted by any conduct that tends to bring the authority and administration of Law into disrespect or disregard or to interfere with or prejudice parties or their witnesses during litigation.
Halsbury defines contempt as consisting of words spoken or written which obstruct or tend to obstruct the administration of justice.
Article 129 and 215 of the Constitution of India empowers the Supreme Court and High Court respectively to punish people for their respective contempt.
Power to punish for contempt of court under Articles 129 and 215 is not subject to Article 19(1)(a).
Contempt of Court Act 1971 : Provisions
Types of contempt in India
- Civil Contempt
Under Act, 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 Act, 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 scandalize, 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.
Under the act innocent publication and distribution of matter, not contempt:
- According to the Act, which deals with certain exceptions, a person shall not be guilty of contempt of court on the ground that he has published any matter which interferes or tends to interfere with, or obstructs or tends to obstruct, the course of justice in connection with any civil or criminal proceeding pending at the time of publication, if at the time he had no reasonable grounds for believing that the proceeding was pending.
- Further, a person shall be guilty of contempt of court on the ground that he has distributed a publication containing any such matter as is mentioned, if at the time of distribution he had no reasonable grounds for believing that it contained or was likely to contain any such matter as aforesaid.
Provided that this provision shall not apply in respect of the distribution of :
- Any publication which is a book or paper printed or published otherwise than in conformity with the rules contained in Section 3 of the Press and Registration of Book Act, 1867.
- Any publication which is a newspaper published otherwise than in conformity with the rules contained in section 5 of the said Act
Fair and accurate report of judicial proceeding not contempt: According to the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 a person shall not be guilty of contempt of court for publishing a fair and accurate report of the judicial proceeding or any stage thereof. The words “judicial proceeding” means day-to-day proceedings of the court.
Fair criticism of judicial act not contempt: A person shall not be guilty of contempt of Court for publishing any fair comment on the merits of any case which has been heard and finally decided.
Complaint against presiding officers of subordinate Courts when not contempt:
A person shall not be guilty of contempt of court in respect of any statement made by him in good faith concerning the presiding officer or any subordinate court to:
- Any other subordinate court, or
- The High court to which it is subordinate.
Another section of the act deals with the situation where a person publishes a fair and accurate report of a judicial proceeding before any court sitting in chambers or in camera it shall not be contempt of court except under the following cases:
- Where the publication is contrary to the provisions of any enactment for the time being in force.
- Where the court on ground of public policy or in exercise of any power vested in it, expressly prohibits the publication of all information relating to the proceeding or of information of the description which is published.
- Where the Court sits in chambers or in camera for reason connected with public order or the security of the State.
Punishment for the contempt of court: A contempt of Court may be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to two thousand rupees, or with both. Provided that the accused may be discharged or the punishment awarded may be remitted on apology being made to the satisfaction of the Court.
Power of High Court to punish contempts of subordinate Courts: Every High Court shall have and exercise the same jurisdiction, powers and authority, in accordance with the same procedure and practice, in respect of contempts of Courts subordinate to it and it has and exercise in respect of contempts of itself. Provided that no High Court shall take cognisance of a contempt alleged to have been committed in respect of a Court subordinate to it where such contempt is an offence punishable under the Indian Penal Code.
Power of High Court to try offences committed or offenders found outside jurisdiction: A High Court shall have jurisdiction to inquire into or try a contempt of itself or of any Court subordinate to it, whether the contempt is alleged to have been committed within or outside the local limits of its jurisdiction, and whether the person alleged to be guilty of contempt is within or outside such limits.
Contempts not punishable in certain cases: Notwithstanding anything contained in any law for the time being in force, no Court shall impose a sentence under this Act for a contempt of Court unless it is satisfied that the contempt is of such a nature that it substantially interferes, or tends substantially to interfere with the due course of justice.
Contempt by judge, magistrate or other person acting judicially: . It is not only that an outsider or a third person is to be held liable for contempt of court. The Presiding Judge of the Court can also be held liable for contempt under the contempt law. To establish contempt it would depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case.
Limitation for actions for contempt: No Court shall initiate any proceedings if contempt, either on its own motion or otherwise, after the expiry of a period of one year from the date on which the contempt is alleged to have been committed.
Act not to apply to Nyaya Panchayats or other Village Courts: Nothing contained in this Act shall apply in relation to contempt of Nyaya Panchayats or other village Courts, by whatever name known, for the administration of justice, established under any law.
Power of the Supreme Court and High Court to make rules: The Supreme Court or, a case may be, any High Court, may make rules, not inconsistent with the provisions of this Act, providing for any matter relating to its procedure.
Defenses allowed in a Contempt proceeding
Under Contempt of Court Act, 1971 that was introduced recently by 2006 amendment, it allows the accused to raise the defense of justification by truth of such contempt, if the court is satisfied that it is in public interest and the request for invoking the said defence is bona fide.
Issue related to Prashant Bhushan
Recently the Supreme Court issued notice to lawyer Prashant Bhushan in two separate contempt petitions moved against him by Attorney General KK Venugopal and the Union government.
The petitions relate to comments Bhushan made on Twitter on February 1, in which he accused the Union government of misleading the Supreme Court regarding the appointment of M Nageswara Rao as the interim director of the Central Bureau of Investigation on January 11. Bhushan had moved the court on January 14, challenging Rao’s appointment.
Powers of the Judiciary have been in news owing to activism in various fields. Contempt powers are usually neglected by aspirants, even if studied, excessive focus is given only on SC powers. Usually the procedure and contempt powers of HC and Subordinate Judiciary are left out. Prelims questions on these topics are a possibility.
The possibility of withdrawal of Generalized System of Preferences
Placing it in the syllabus
- Bilateral relations of India
- International Institutions : WTO and UNCTAD
- Indian Economy : World Trade (not explicitly mentioned)
- Generalised System of Preferences
- India US Trade Relations
- Role of WTO in promoting interests of developing countries
- Threat of US withdrawal of GSP and possible impact on India
- US’s “America First” policy and its impact on Multilateralism
Overview of Indo-U.S. Relations
India-U.S. bilateral relations have developed into a “global strategic partnership”, based on shared democratic values and increasing convergence of interests on bilateral, regional and global issues.
The emphasis placed by the Government of India on development and good governance has created opportunity to reinvigorate bilateral ties and enhance cooperation under the motto “Chalein Saath Saath: Forward Together We Go”, and “Sanjha Prayas, Sab ka Vikas” (Shared Effort, Progress for All) adopted during the first 2 summits of PM Modi and President Obama in September 2014 and January 2015 respectively. The summit level joint statement issued in June 2016 referred the India-U.S. relationship as : “Enduring Global Partners in the 21st Century”.
Indo-U. S Trade and Economic Relations
- India-US bilateral trade in goods and services increased from $104 billion in 2014 to $114 billion in 2016. Two-way merchandise trade stood at $66.7 billion. Of this, India’s exports of goods to the US were valued at $46 billion and India’s imports of goods from US were valued at $21.7 billion.
- India-US trade in services stood at $47.2 billion. Of this, India’s exports of services to the US were valued at greater extent as compared to India’s imports of services from US. Both countries have made a commitment to facilitate actions necessary for increasing the bilateral trade to $500 billion.
- The bilateral merchandise trade is showing an encouraging growth trajectory in 2017.
- The trade deficit in 2017 also declined as compared to 2016.
- According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, US direct investments in India stood at $ 28.33 billion in 2015. As per Indian official statistics, the cumulative FDI inflows from the US from April 2000 to December 2015 amounted to about $ 17.94 billion constituting nearly 6% of the total FDI into India, making the U.S. the 5th largest source of FDI in India.
In recent years, growing Indian investments into the US, has been a novel feature of bilateral ties.
- There are several dialogue mechanisms to strengthen bilateral engagement on economic and trade issues, including a Ministerial level Economic and Financial Partnership and a Ministerial Trade Policy Forum.
- For greater involvement of private sector in discussion on issues involving trade and investment, there is a bilateral India-U.S. CEO’s Forum, which held its last meeting in August 2016 in New Delhi coinciding with the Strategic & Commercial Dialogue.
- India and the US have set up a Bilateral Investment Initiative in 2014, with a special focus on facilitating FDI, portfolio investment, capital market development and financing of infrastructure.
- U.S.-India Infrastructure Collaboration Platform has also been set up to deploy cutting edge U.S technologies to meet India’s infrastructure needs. Both these dialogues have held meetings in 2015. U.S. firms will be lead partners in developing Allahabad, Ajmer and Visakhapatnam as Smart Cities.
- Aggregate worth of defence acquisition from U.S. Defence has crossed over US$ 13 billion. India and the United States have launched a Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) aimed at simplifying technology transfer policies and exploring possibilities of co-development and co-production to invest the defence relationship with strategic value.
What is Generalized System of Preference?
The Generalized System of Preferences, or GSP, is a preferential tariff system which provides for a formal system of exemption from the more general rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO), (formerly, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade or GATT).
Specifically, it is a system of exemptions from the most favored nation principle (MFN) that obliges WTO member countries to treat the imports of all other WTO member countries no worse than they treat the imports of their “most favored” trading partner. In essence, MFN requires WTO member countries to treat imports coming from all other WTO member countries equally, that is, by imposing equal tariffs on them.
GSP exempts WTO member countries from MFN for the purpose of lowering tariffs for the least developed countries, without lowering tariffs for rich countries.
GSP of USA
The 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 in January 1976, by the Trade Act of 1974.
Impact on India if it is withdrawn
- The withdrawal of the GSP by the US on imports from developing countries is an important trade development.
- The advantage of is that it allows a preferential rate of zero/low concessional tariff on imports from developing countries.
- Withdrawal of the GSP benefit is expected to adversely affect Indian exports.
- India exports nearly 50 products of the 94 products on which GSP benefits are stopped. The GSP removal will leave a reasonable impact on India as the country enjoyed preferential tariff on exports worth of nearly $ 5. 6 billion under the GSP route out of the total exports of $48 bn in 2017-18.
- Removal of GSP indicate a tough trade position by the US; especially for countries like India who benefited much from the scheme. The US was insisting India to reduce its trade surplus. India is the 11th largest trade surplus country for the US and India enjoyed an annual trade surplus of $ 21 bn in 2017-18.
The above topic, GSP has many linkages to it. It is related to :
- Bilateral relations of India
- Role of WTO
- Trade relations and economic impacts
Questions on the same topic can be asked in different sections for which relevance in answers according to the demand of the subject is necessary.
India and South Africa signed the strategic partnership
Placing it in the syllabus
Bilateral relations of India
India-South Africa relations since Independence
India-South Africa Strategic partnership
History of relations
- India’s relations with South Africa go back centuries and have a powerful emotional component. It is here that Mahatma Gandhi began his political career, and over the decades of the 20th century, India stood solidly behind the ANC’s struggle against apartheid.
- India was at the forefront of the international community in its support to the anti-apartheid movement; it was the first country to sever trade relations with the apartheid Government (in 1946) and subsequently imposed a complete – diplomatic, commercial, cultural and sports – embargo on South Africa. For history of apartheid refer to article on Gandhi- Marx- Mandela.
- India worked consistently to put the issue of apartheid on the agenda of the UN, NAM, and other multilateral organizations and for the imposition of comprehensive international sanctions against South Africa.
- The ANC maintained a representative office in New Delhi from the 1960s onwards.
- India actively worked for the AFRICA Fund to help sustain the struggle through support to the frontline states.
- India’s relations with South Africa were restored after a gap of over four decades with the opening of a Cultural Centre in Johannesburg in May 1993. Diplomatic and consular relations with South Africa were restored in November 1993 during the visit of the then South African Foreign Minister Pik Botha to India. A Consulate General was thereafter established in Johannesburg.
- The Indian High Commission in Pretoria was opened in May 1994, followed by the opening of the Consulate General in Durban the same month. Since Parliament in South Africa meets in Cape Town, a permanent office of the High Commission was opened there in 1996, which has been re-designated as Consulate General of India with effect from January 2011. In addition to its High Commission in Delhi, South Africa has a Consulate General in Mumbai.
- The Strategic Partnership between India and South Africa called the Red Fort Declaration was signed in March 1997 by the then South African President Nelson Mandela and former PM H.D. Deve Gowda.
Relation under new government
- The year 2017 marks the 20 years of signing of the Red Fort Declaration for Strategic Partnership between India and South Africa.
- The Declaration was signed in March 1997 by the Prime Minister of India Shri Deva Gowda and President of South Africa Nelson Mandela in New Delhi.
- To commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the signing of the Red Fort Declaration of Strategic Partnership between India and South Africa an India-South Africa Cultural Extravaganza comprising of a music and dance show, a curtain raiser event was organized by High Commission of India, Pretoria in Pretoria on April 9, 2017.
IBSA & BRICS Initiative
- 16 Sectoral Working Groups have been established in areas such as health, agriculture, education, human settlements, S&T and defence.
- More recently, the 8th Trilateral Commission Meeting was held in Durban on 17 October 2017. Minister of State for External Affairs General (Dr.) V.K. Singh (Retd) attended the meeting.
Commercial & Economic Relations
- Commercial relations have flourished since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1993.
- There is substantial potential for trade growth between the two countries. Exports from India to South Africa include vehicles and components thereof, transport equipment, drugs and pharmaceuticals, engineering goods, footwear, dyes and intermediates, chemicals, textiles, rice, gems and jewellery, etc. Import from South Africa to India include gold, steam coal, copper ores & concentrates, phosphoric acid, manganese ore, aluminum ingots & other minerals.
- A Festival of India in South Africa was jointly organized by High Commission in Pretoria and Department of Arts and Culture of South Africa during July-August 2014 commemorating 20 years of our diplomatic relations and also 100 years of Gandhiji’s return to India from South Africa.
- With the help of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), an intensive programme of cultural exchanges is organised throughout South Africa including scholarships for South African nationals. In addition to such cultural programming, a ‘Shared Histories’ Festival organized as a public-private partnership is also held, which held its 10th edition in 2016.
- The Department of Arts and Culture sent cultural troupe to India to participate in the International Dance and Music Festival held January 2016.
- International Yoga Day is celebrated on 21 June by the Mission/Posts in collaboration/association with local organisations in cities across South Africa. The 3rd International Day of Yoga (IDY) was celebrated across South Africa in various cities from 14 June to 25 June 2017 by the Mission and three Consulates in collaboration/assistance with local associations and organisations.
- Yoga performance was organised on board INS Tarkash by the crew in Cape Town on 21 June 2017.
Visit of South African president recently and important agreements signed including strategic partnership
- PM Narendra Modi and President Ramaphosa discussed a wide range of issues about cooperation in defense and security, Trade and investment, Skill development, S&T, Education, and technical cooperation and multilateral forums.
- President Ramaphosa is the second President of South Africa after President Nelson Mandela to be the Chief Guest at the Republic Day.
- During the visit delegation level talks were held between the Prime Minister of India and President of South Africa. The delegation level talks highlighted enhanced engagement with South Africa and the African Continent.
- It was also mentioned that India and South Africa have agreed to take the relationship to a newer level.
- During the visit, South African President said, “India is a strategic partner for South Africa. South Africa attaches the highest importance to its relations with India and considerable scope exists to deepen bilateral relations at an economic level.”
- The 3-Year Strategic Programme of Cooperation:
- South Africa and India 2019-2022, a comprehensive document was signed during the visit. This document is an outline of a roadmap for cooperation between both the countries.
- The strategic programme will facilitate expansion of ties in several key areas such as defence, maritime security and trade and investment.
- The ‘strategic programme of cooperation’ is aimed at deepening the bilateral engagement and ensuring that a “result-oriented” partnership benefits people of both the countries.
- The two leaders emphasised on concerted global action to deal with terrorism and called for adoption of the UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism as well as the implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in a balanced and integrated manner.
- President Ramaphosa delivered the Gandhi-Mandela Freedom Lecture organized by Indian Council of World Affairs under IBSA framework as a part of the celebrations of the 15th Anniversary of IBSA.
- In their talks, the two sides also agreed to conclude an agreement on simplification of visa requirements and expressed intent to explore avenues to resume direct air connectivity between South Africa and India.
- The two leaders reiterated their commitment to working together on strengthening cooperation to address fugitive economic offenders, including through international organisations and institutions such as G20, Financial Action Task Force and others.
- Both sides also emphasised on the need for keeping the sea lanes in the Indian Ocean secure against illegal actors, holding that it was key to ensure prosperity of the region.
- During the visit The South African president listed agro-processing, defence procurement and mining equipment and technology as the future areas of cooperation and said the two countries wanted to work together in these sectors.
Both the leaders underlined the need for jointly working towards reform in the global governance architecture such as WTO, international financial systems etc. in order to promote inclusive growth.
The two sides also agreed to enhance cooperation in the field of the ocean economy.
Indian diaspora in South Africa
- The major part of the Indian origin community came to South Africa from 1860 onwards as farm labour to serve as field hands and mill operatives in the sugar and other agricultural plantations of Natal (which was then a British colony). Most of these initial migrants were from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh with some from eastern UP and Bihar.
- A second wave of Indians came after 1880. These were the “passenger Indians” – so-called because they paid their fares as passengers on board a steamship bound for South Africa. This was the community of traders who mainly hailed from Gujarat.
- The South African Indian origin community numbers around 1.5 million and constitutes about 3% of South Africa’s total population. About 80% of the Indian community lives in the province of KwaZulu Natal, about 15% in the Gauteng (previously Transvaal) area and the remaining 5% in Cape Town.
- South Africans of Indian origin are well-represented in Government, business, media, legal and other professions. The year 2010 marked the 150th anniversary of the first arrival of Indians in South Africa. 2014 marked 100 years of Gandhi ji’s final departure to India from South Africa; he reached India on 9th Jan 1915; this date is now commemorated annually as Pravasi Bhartiya Divas.
India’s relations with Africa is generally neglected by students as the focus of many books and newspapers is mostly on the great powers. Africa as continent has been focused in many times by UPSC as it believes that in focusing on marginal on tangential things more. In this context South Africa as a country is relevant more importantly it was the guest for our our Republic Day.
Government eases Angel tax for Startups
Placing it in the syllabus
- Start Up India
- Angel fund, venture capital fund etc.
- Series A and Series B..
- Ease of Doing Business
- DIPP And IT department notification
- Angel Tax
- Valuation concerns
Angel funds refers to a money pool created by high networth individuals or companies (generally called as angel investors), for investing in business start ups. They are a sub-category of venture capital funds with strict focus on startups, while venture capital funds generally invest at a later stage of development of the investee company.
Angel funds refers to a money pool created by high networth individuals or companies (generally called as angel investors), for investing in business start ups. They are a sub-category of venture capital funds with strict focus on startups, while venture capital funds generally invest at a later stage of development of the investee company. These investments are generally characterized as high-risk/high-return opportunities.
Private equity funds
A Private Equity Fund, also known as Private Equity, is equity capital which comprises of investors who invest directly in private companies. This equity capital is not listed on the stock exchange and usually follows a general investment criteria of investing in varied industries or follow a industry specific criteria.
Series A, B, C funding
- Series A round of financing is the first round of financing that a startup receives from a venture capital firm i.e. the first time when company ownership is offered to external investors. This is generally done by allotting preferred stock. Series A round of financing is generally done when a company is generating some revenue, though it might not be net profit. The risk involved is at the highest in this round of funding.
- Series B: At this stage, the product/ service is already being sold in the market. Series B round of funding is required by the company to scale up, to face competitors and have a market share. The goal of this round of funding is not only to break even but to also have the net profit. At this stage, investment risk is lower and the amount of funding is more than Series A round of funding.
- Series C: venture capital firm goes for this round of funding when the company has proved its mettle and is a success in the market. The company goes for Series C round of funding when it looks for greater market share, acquisitions, or to develop more products and services. Series C round of funding can also take place to prepare the company for an acquisition. It is the last stage in a company’s growth cycle before an Initial Public offer (IPO). Valuation of the company at this juncture is done on the basis of hard data points. This round of funding is more of an exit strategy of the venture capital firm.
Angel tax is a term used to refer to the income tax payable on capital raised by unlisted companies via issue of shares where the share price is seen in excess of the fair market value of the shares sold. The excess realisation is treated as income and taxed accordingly.
Valuation, definition of Start Up and Rules for Start Up
As per the revised notification published in May 2017, an entity shall be considered as a Startup:
- If it is incorporated as a private limited company (as defined in the Companies Act, 2013) or registered as a partnership firm (registered under section 59 of the Partnership Act, 1932) or a limited liability partnership (under the Limited Liability Partnership Act, 2008) in India; and
- Up to seven years from the date of its incorporation/ registration; however, in the case of Startups in the biotechnology sector, the period shall be up to ten years from the date of its incorporation/ registration; and
- If its turnover for any of the financial years since incorporation/ registration has not exceeded Rupees 25 crores; and
- If it is working towards innovation, development or improvement of products or processes or services, or if it is a scalable business model with a high potential of employment generation or wealth creation. Provided that any such entity formed by splitting up or reconstruction of a business already in existence shall not be considered a ‘Startup’.
A startup is a newly established business, usually small, started by 1 or a group of individuals. What differentiates it from other new businesses is that a startup offers a new product or service that is not being given elsewhere in the same way. The keyword is innovation. The business either develops a new product/ service or redevelops a current product/service into something better.
Startup India scheme
Startup India is a flagship initiative of the Government of India, intended to build a strong ecosystem that is conducive for the growth of startup businesses, to drive sustainable economic growth and generate large scale employment opportunities. The Government through this initiative aims to empower startups to grow through innovation and design.
Benefits under the Scheme
- Self-certification and compliance under 9 environmental & labour laws
- IPR Support: Government to bear facilitation cost & 50% rebate on trademark filing
- INR 10,000 Crore Fund: Funds for investment into startups through Alternate Investment Funds
- Public procurement norms: Central Ministries/Departments to relax condition of prior turnover & prior experience for Startups
- Startup patent application: Fast track & up to 80% rebate in filing patents
- Public procurement norms: Exemption from requirement of Earnest Money Deposit in government tenders
- Tax Exemptions:Income Tax exemption for a period of 3 consecutive years.
- Tax Exemptions: On capital gains & on Investments above Fair Market Value
Rules for Angel tax (New)
- Under the new rules, a startup will first need to be recognized by the department for Promotion of Industries and Internal Trade (DPIIT) to be eligible for concessions for shares that have been issued or are proposed to be issued. The startups will then have to seek tax breaks, for which DPIIT will approach the I-T department.
- The earlier requirement of startups to submit a report from a merchant banker specifying the fair market value of shares has also been done away with.
- At the same time, cases where the tax department has issued an assessment will not be eligible for tax breaks.
- Only startups with paid-up capital, share premium upto RS 25 crore will get relief. (Rs. 50 Crore proposed)
- DPIIT acrediation will be required for relief from the tax.
- Startups, whose aggregate amount of paid up share capital and share premium does not exceed Rs 10 crore after the proposed issue of shares, are eligible for angel tax exemption.
- The relief will not cover tax notices issued under other provisions
- Unexplained fund receipts will continue to be taxed as income.
Start Ups are the backbone for economic system today with deepening use of tech tools and new age inventions combined with industrial revolution 4.0. UPSC might focus on key terms such as angel funds in prelims whereas the success of start up Initiatives and ease of doing business could be in focus fr Mains.
Placing it in the syllabus
Paper 3: Role of allied activities in Agriculture
- Agriculture extension program
- Operation Flood and White revolution
- Cow protection (Kamdhenu Ayog)
- Gobar Dhan scheme
- Livestock census
Agriculture extension program
- It is important to disseminate information about new technologies so that the farmer is able to make use of the latest agricultural developments. There also exists a gap between research findings and the needs of farmers. For technology to be successful, it is important that it should serve a useful purpose to the end user. The institution that bridges the gap between farmers and agricultural research scientists is the Agricultural Extension Service. This service works through an Agricultural Research System in the States.
- The main objective of Agriculture Extension Services or AES’s is to transmit latest technical know-how to farmers. Besides this, the AESs also focuses on enhancing farmers’ knowledge about crop techniques and helping them to increase productivity. This is done through training courses, farm visits, on farm trials, kisan melas, kisan clubs, advisory bulletins and the like.
- The National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management is an apex national institute set under the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India. It assists the State Governments, the Government of India and other public sector organizations in effective management of their agricultural extension and other agricultural management systems.
Operation Flood and White revolution
Operation Flood was a rural development programme started by India’s National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) in 1970. One of the largest of its kind, the programme objective was to create a nationwide milk grid.It resulted in making India one of the largest producers of milk and milk products, and hence is also called the White Revolution of India. It also helped reduce malpractices by milk traders and merchants.
Varghese Kurien (chairman of NDDB at that time), then 33, gave the professional management skills and necessary thrust to the cooperative, and is considered the architect of India’s White Revolution (Operation Flood).
The bedrock of Operation Flood has been village milk producers’ cooperatives, which procure milk and provide inputs and services, making modern management and technology available to members.
Operation Flood’s objectives included:
- Increase milk production (“a flood of milk”)
- Augment rural incomes
- Fair prices for consumers
Cow protection (Kamdhenu Ayog)
Recently the Union Cabinet approved the setting up of a national cow commission for conservation, protection and development of cows and their progeny.
What is Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog?
In 2014 the Union Government launched the Rashtriya Gokul Mission, The Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog is an addition to this mission, which aims to conserve indigenous breeds of cows.
Working of the commision
- The commission will collaborate with other government institutions working on research in fields such as breeding and rearing of cows, organic manure and biogas.
- The commission will be tasked with providing a framework for cow conservation and development programmes.
- The Aayog will aim to conserve, protect and develop cows and their progeny and include the development and conservation of native breeds.
- The commission will also provide policy framework and direction to the cow conservation and development programmes in the country.
Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources Dhan (GOBAR-DHAN) scheme
- The scheme aims to positively impact village cleanliness and generate wealth and energy from cattle and organic waste. The scheme also aims at creating new rural livelihood opportunities and enhancing income for farmers and other rural people.
- The scheme is being implemented as part of the Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin).
Livestock census: Key Highlights
- It was the 20th livestock census, first livestock census conducted in India was 1919 and previous livestock census was conducted in 2012.
- Animals being covered: Cattle, buffaloes, mithun, yaks, sheep,goats, pigs, horses, ponies, mules, donkeys, camels, pigs, dogs, rabbits, elephants.
- India and its Livestocks: Cattle-37.28%, Goats-26.40%, Buffaloes-21.23%, Sheeps-12.71%, Pigs- 2.01%,and others(horses,donkeys, etc)-0.37%
- Birds being covered: Fowl, ducks, turkeys, emuls, quails, guinea fowls, ostriches, geese.
- Delayed by two years, the livestock census, conducted in five years, is likely to be published this year.
- Unlike the 2012 census, the latest one is collecting details of breeds of select animals and birds.
- Livestock population is 51.2 crore, according to 2012 livestock census.
Given the huge increase in dairy and agriculture extension programmes in India, The livestock census will give a true picture of status of farmers in India. Also, the recently launched fisheries and Dairy development fund would be leveraged as a scheme to further the cause of agriculture diversification in line with the strategy for doubling farmers income by 2022.
UPSC would focus on agriculture in Both Prelims and Mains in line with important plans and programmes being rolled out for farmers in the budget.
Budget-2019 says about Blockchain Technology for use of Government
Placing it in the syllabus
Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nanotechnology, bio-technology and
issues relating to intellectual property rights.
- Technology behind blockchain
Debates on positive utility of Blockchain Technology
About Blockchain Technology
The Blockchain is an encrypted, distributed database that records data, or in other words it is a digital ledger of any transactions, contracts – that needs to be independently recorded. One of the key features of Blockchain is that this digital ledger is accessible across several hundreds and thousands of computers and is not bound to be kept in a single place.
With Blockchain technology in financial sector, the participants can interact directly and can make transactions across the internet without the interference of a third party. Such transactions through Blockchain will not share any personal information regarding the participants and it creates a transaction record by encrypting the identifying information.
The most exciting feature of Blockchain is that it greatly reduces the possibilities of a data breach. In contrast with the traditional processes, in Blockchain there are multiple shared copies of the same database which makes it challenging to wage a data breach attack or cyber attack . With all the fraud resistant features, the Blockchain Technology holds the potential to revolutionize various business sectors and make processes smarter, secure, transparent, and more efficient compared to the traditional business processes.
- Increased time effectiveness due to the real-time transactions.
- Direct Transactions eliminate the overheads and intermediary costs.
- Reduced risks related to cybercrimes, frauds and tampering.
- More transparent processes with a proper record creation and tracking.
- Highly secure due to cryptographic and decentralized Blockchain protocols.
- Accuracy: Transactions on the blockchain network are approved by a network of thousands or millions of computers. This removes almost all human involvement in the verification process, resulting in less human error and a more accurate record of information.
- Decentralization: Blockchain does not store any of its information in a central location. Instead, the blockchain is copied and spread across a network of computers.
- Privacy: Many blockchain networks operate as public databases, meaning that anyone with an internet connection can view a list of the network’s transaction history. Although users can access details about transactions, they cannot access identifying information about the users making those transactions.
Applications of Blockchain Technology In Various Industries
Blockchain technology can be utilized in multiple industries including Financial Services, Healthcare, Government, Travel and Hospitality, Retail and CPG.
- Financial Services: In the financial services sector, Blockchain technology has already been implemented in many innovative ways. Blockchain technology simplifies and streamlines the entire process associated with asset management and payments by providing an automated trade lifecycle where all participants would have access to the exact same data about a transaction. This removes the need for brokers or intermediaries and ensures transparency and effective management of transactional data.
- Healthcare: Blockchain can play a key role in the healthcare sector by increasing the privacy, security and interoperability of the healthcare data. It holds the potential to address many interoperability challenges in the sector and enable secure sharing of healthcare data among the various entities and people involved in the process. It eliminates the interference of a third-party and also avoids the overhead costs. With Blockchains, the healthcare records can be stored in distributed databases by encrypting it and implementing digital signatures to ensure privacy and authenticity.
- Government: Blockchain technology holds the power to transform Government’s operations and services. It can play a key role in improving the data transactional challenges in the Government sector. The proper linking and sharing of data with Blockchain enable better management of data between multiple departments. It improves the transparency and provides a better way to monitor and audit the transactions.
- Consumer packaged goods (CPG) and Retail: There is a huge opportunity for Blockchain technology to be applied in the retail sector. This includes everything from ensuring the authenticity of high value goods, preventing, fraudulent transactions, locating stolen items, enabling virtual warranties, managing loyalty points and streamlining supply chain operations.
- Travel and Hospitality: The application of Blockchain can radically change the travel and hospitality industry. It can be applied in money transactions, storing important documents like passports/ other identification cards, reservations and managing travel insurance, loyalty and rewards.
Problems with blockchain/ Ill-effects
- The main negative impact on current implementations of blockchain relates to energy usage and consequential environmental and other impacts. Blockchains require a lot of computing power, which in turn requires a lot of electricity and cooling power.
- While blockchain-based solutions – or crypto governance in general – has been offered as a way to alleviate some environmental problems by increasing traceability and ensuring ownership, the negative impact of these solutions to the environment should not be ignored.
- The current architecture of the blockchain is high on energy consumption, and also has problems with scaling. The root problem is that all transactions in the blockchain have to be processed by basically everyone and everyone must have a copy of the global ledger.
- As the blockchain grows, more and more computing power and bandwidth are required and there is a risk of centralisation of decision making and validation power in the blockchain as only a few want to devote their efforts to keeping the blockchain running.
- Along with problems of scaling, the issue of governance in blockchains is an unsolved challenge. Since there is no central actor, there needs to be mechanisms for solving disputes.
- Network size: Blockchains (like all distributed systems) are not so much resistant to bad actors as they are ‘antifragile’ – that is, they respond to attacks and grow stronger.
- Unavoidable security flaw:There is one notable security flaw in bitcoin and other blockchains: if more than half of the computers working as nodes to service the network tell a lie, the lie will become the truth. This is called a ‘51% attack’ and was highlighted by Satoshi Nakamoto when he launched bitcoin.For this reason, bitcoin mining pools are monitored closely by the community, ensuring no one unknowingly gains such network influence.
Associated topic with Blockchain Technology
What is it?
A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency designed to work as a medium of exchange. It uses cryptography to secure and verify transactions as well as to control the creation of new units of a particular cryptocurrency. Essentially, cryptocurrencies are limited entries in a database that no one can change unless specific conditions are fulfilled. Following are the examples of crypto currency:
Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, NEM, Lite coin, IOTA, NEO, Dash, Qtum, Monero, Ethereum Classic, Cardano, Stellar, etc
The cryptocurrency and the technology used in cryptocurrency is making news since many years. Now, the applications of that technology are being explored. Hence, the technology has to be understood thoroughly. One can expect the questions on it in mains especially.
Fall Armyworm attack on maize crops
Placing it in the syllabus
Important Pests attacks
What is it?
Fall Armyworm (FAW), or Spodoptera frugiperda, is an insect that is native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas. In the absence of natural control or good management, it can cause significant damage to crops.
It prefers maize, but can feed on more than 80 additional species of crops, including rice, sorghum, millet, sugarcane, vegetable crops and cotton.
FAW was first detected in Central and Western Africa in early 2016 and has quickly spread across virtually all of Sub-Saharan Africa. In July 2018 it was confirmed in India and Yemen. Because of trade and the moth’s strong flying ability, it has the potential to spread further.
Fall Armyworm in India
Scientists from the College of Agriculture, University of Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences (UAHS) confirmed the arrival of the pest in maize fields within campus grounds in Shivamogga, in the state of Karnataka, southern India. Both morphological and molecular techniques confirmed the identity as FAW.
A pest alert published on July 30 by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)—National Bureau of Agricultural Insect Resources (NBAIR) further confirmed a greater than 70% prevalence of fall armyworm in a maize field in Chikkaballapur, Karnataka. Unofficial reports of incidence of FAW are rapidly emerging from several states in India, including Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.
Effects of Fall Armyworm
- It affects the maize, rice and other crops in a great extent and that would lead to food chain crisis.
- Because of trade and the moth’s strong flying ability, it has the potential to spread further.
Other Pests attack
- Brown Plant Hopper(paddy).
- The pink bollworm(cotton).
- Whitefly(typically feed on the undersides of plant leaves).
- Lawn armyworm or swarming caterpillar (paddy) etc
How to tackle pest attack?
Following aspects can be considered in tackling the FAW;
Natural Enemies can be used : The predators of fall armyworm are general predators that attack many other caterpillars . Among the predators noted as important are various ground beetles, the striped earwig etc, Vertebrates such as birds, skunks, and rodents also consume larvae and pupae readily.
Sampling: Moth populations can be sampled with blacklight traps and pheromone traps; the latter are more efficient.
Insecticides: Insecticides can applied on corn to protect against damage by fall armyworm, sometimes as frequently as daily during the silking stage.
Cultural techniques: The most important cultural practice, it is early planting and/or early maturing varieties.
Global level efforts
FAO and the Fall Armyworm
FAO has proposed a five-year programme of action to help smallholder farmers, their organizations, their public institutions, national governments and development partners quickly respond to the challenges of FAW infestation. FAO is taking an active role in coordinating partners’ activities, plans and approaches to provide sustainable solutions to the FAW challenge.
Some of the agriculture related questions can be asked as a part environmental issues in prelims. Basics of agriculture with emphasis on issues in news, would help in preparing for prelims.