Table of Contents:
A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:
C. GS3 Related:
D. GS4 Related
a) Labour pain
Useful News Articles
A. GS1 Related
- More than half of the total disabled population in India are now literate, new numbers released from Census 2011 show. The literacy rate among the disabled has increased from 49.3 per cent in 2001 to 54.5 per cent in 2011. However, this is significantly lower than the overall literacy level of India which stands at 74 per cent
- Both rural and urban areas saw an increase of around four percentage points in literacy rate of the disabled
- Among the urban disabled, 68 per cent are literate while the number stands at 49 per cent for disabled in the rural areas
- The difference between literacy rate of males and females is wider in rural areas — 72 per cent of disabled males and 61 per cent of disabled females in urban areas are literate, a difference of nine percentage points
- But in rural areas, the difference stands at 20 percentage points, as 58 per cent of disabled males and only 38 per cent of disabled females are literate
B. GS2 Related
Topic: Federal Relations
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi will interact with the Chief Ministers of all the States at a meeting of the Inter-State Council on Saturday
- The Inter-State Council, which is meeting after 10 years, will discuss internal security, economic and social planning, and inter-State relations among other issues
- Other issues include the recommendations of the Punchhi Commission on Centre-State relations, the use of Aadhaar as an identifier and the use of Direct Benefit Transfer for providing subsidies and benefits, and improving the quality of school education with focus on improving learning outcomes and incentivising better performance
Topic: India and U.S
Category: International Relations
- The U.S. has been in touch with both India and Pakistan on the volatile situation in Jammu and Kashmir this week, a State Department spokesperson said, adding that the death of protestors in the State was a matter of “grave concern” for Washington
- A direct response to the question of whether the U.S. considered Kashmir an “internal matter of India” was avoided and the statement stopped short of “condemning” the death of protesters at the hands of Indian forces
- The statement also said that U.S has been very clear with the Government of Pakistan that they must target and root out these extremist groups, all militant groups and Taliban
Topic: South Sudan
Category: International Affairs
- At least 300 people were killed and 42,000 fled their homes this month during four days of intense gun battles in the capital of South Sudan, the UN said
- Neighbouring Uganda and Sudan have begun to evacuate their nationals, while Ethiopia has offered to send additional troops to the UN peacekeeping there
- The violence marks a fresh blow to last year’s peace deal to end a civil war that began in December 2013 when President SalvaKiir accused Riek Machar of plotting a coup
Category: International Affairs
- Turkey’s armed forces said on Friday they had taken power in the country to protect the democratic order and to maintain human rights.Turkish military declared martial law and curfew in Turkey. Turkish presidential source said statement made on behalf of armed forces was not authorised by military command
- Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that nation must gather in squares to give response to attempted uprising, vows will not leave Turkey to ‘occupiers’
- Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said the situation in Turkey was “largely under control”
- Turkish Justice Minister said members of movement loyal to US-based Cleric Gulen in the army attempted coup
C. GS3 Related
- India’s merchandise exports rose 1.27 per cent year-on-year in June to $22.57 billion, reversing a trend that started in December 2014 due to weak global demand and a fall in commodity prices, government data showed
- Meanwhile, imports during June 2016 slid 7.33 per cent to $30.69 billion. Gold imports fell 38.5 per cent to $1.2 billion, while oil imports contracted 16.4 per cent to $7.2 billion. A growth in exports combined with a contraction in imports helped narrow the trade deficit in June to $8.1 billion from $10.8 billion in June 2015
- India’s goods exports returning to the positive growth territory comes at a time when the World Trade Organisation (WTO) had on July 8 said it introduced a new World Trade Outlook Indicator (WTOI) to provide “real time” information on trends in global trade
- At present WTOI reading suggests that trade growth will remain weak into the third quarter of 2016
Topic: State of Indian Economy
- India slipped to the third position on the scale of global business optimism, during April-June, after remaining on top globally for the two preceding quarters
- According to the Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR), companies were concerned about the delays in key reforms like the goods and services tax, non-resolution of tax disputes and the banking sector’s performance
- However, India continues to top the chart on expectations of revenue increases with 96 per cent of the respondents having voted in favour of increasing revenue as prices are seen witnessing an upsurge
- “Growth in employment expectations dropped to the second position during this period from top rank in the previous quarter (Q1 2016). The rank on optimism further slipped to fourth in terms of profitability expectations,” according to the survey of 2,500 businesses across 36 economies
D. GS4 Related
E. Important Editorials: A Quick Glance
- Festivities in France to celebrate Bastille Day were brutally cut short when a truck careened through a packed crowd in the French Riviera town of Nice. The driver, identified as a French national of Tunisian origin, was shot dead by the police, but not before he had killed 84 people
- President François Hollande quickly termed it a terror attack, extended the ongoing state of emergency for three months and called for intensifying air strikes in Syria and Iraq
- The attack is the third major one in France in less than 18 months, following last November’s siege of Paris that claimed 130 lives, and the January 2015 attack on the office of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo that left 12 persons dead. Although social media channels of the Islamic State were flooded with messages acknowledging the Nice attack, no group had officially taken responsibility for it in its immediate aftermath
- There are two broad lines of analysis that the attack calls for. The first is the tactical question of how to deal with the “lone wolf”, the solitary potential terrorist motivated by everything from bigotry and mental illness to a genuine belief in the ultra-violent, nihilistic philosophy of the IS. Lone wolves are committed to carrying out suicide missions and taking as many innocent lives as possible, sometimes drawing direct inspiration from the words of IS leaders. A case in point here is of IS spokesman Muhammad al-Adnani who has called upon the faithful to “run over [American and French disbelievers] with your car”
- How can they be stopped in any part of the world? In the post-Mumbai attacks scenario, Indian intelligence agencies cannot afford to be complacent about this, even as a growing number of alleged IS sympathisers are reported in different parts of the country
- Secondly, a question that countries such as France must ask themselves is a strategic one. For instance, how could the French leadership do more to re-examine the roots of the social alienation and economic misery that engulf so many among its almost five million Muslims and leave them vulnerable to radicalisation? Such introspection could potentially reset deep-seated ethno-religious dissonance and, over the longer term, take the edge off the recruitment drives of extremists lurking in the shadows of Syria, Iraq, and the Internet
- The Maharashtra government’s decision to promulgate an ordinance this week to exempt farmers from having to mandatorily sell their fruit and vegetable crop at mandis governed by a 1963 law on marketing farm produce, is a bold and laudable step
- That the Chief Minister has stood his ground against the powerful lobby of middlemen, who shut shop in protest, is even more commendable
- The problem with the present regime, under which produce has to be sold through Agricultural Produce Market Committees, is that farmers seldom benefit from price movements; traders rake in the upside that consumers are forced to shell out. When onion prices soar, for instance, it is usually traceable to APMC mandis in Nashik. This reform could help check household food expenditure by cutting out high intermediary costs to an extent
- But an even more critical objective is to make Indian agriculture a sustainable economic activity. Maharashtra’s move is pertinent as acute indebtedness among farmers in the State has become almost systemic over the past decade. If the Central government wants to double farmers’ incomes in five years (not an easy task even over a decade, going by official data from 2003 to 2013), several interventions are necessary, including better irrigation facilities, and the freedom to sell output where farmers get the best price. Fruits and vegetables are a good place to start dismantling monopolies of the sort that Indian industry was freed from 25 years ago. Despite a substantially lower acreage than crops such as cereals and pulses, they contribute a quarter of farm sector incomes. Estimates vary, but there is no denying that a significant chunk of horticultural produce just rots. That wouldn’t be the case if farmers could sell easily to food processing units, or even directly to consumers via e-commerce channels
- Breaking the stranglehold of APMCs must be accompanied with easier access to credit and market information services, for which farmers often rely on their captive buyers; there also needs to be a greater push for cooperative groups so that marginal and small farmers have adequate negotiating heft in a free market. Healthy competition among private traders and processing units, government procurement agencies and cooperative farmer-producer groups would improve price discovery from farm to fork
- Going ahead, Maharashtra and other States also need to back the Centre’s ambitious plan unveiled this April to create an e-National Agriculture Market for 25 major crops
- States must wrestle with vested interests and create more choices for the farmer and the consumer
- Though seven States had already implemented the Centre’s June 2014 advisory to allow farmers to sell their horticultural produce anywhere instead of through APMCs, Maharashtra’s initiative is crucial as it has a larger agrarian economy with a greater impact on national food market dynamics
Topic: Federal Relations
- Tapping into local resentment at the heavy presence of Indian troops which he termed as “occupation”, Burhan, in a span of only six years, managed to cultivate a fan base through social media with his clarion call for “freedom” — a fan base that translated into a sudden upsurge in the numbers of local militants last year
- The HizbulMujahideen of which Wani was a commander was created in 1989 with an aim to shift the focus of insurgency from the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), which fought to make Kashmir independent of both India and Pakistan. Affiliated to the Jamaat-e-Islami, the Hizb managed to recruit local fighters faster than the JKLF, and it decisively steered the separatist movement to an Islamist, pro-Pakistan ideology. But by 2000, security forces had weakened the outfit to such an extent that its numbers came down from several thousand fighters to a few dozen
- The emergence of Burhan, however, brought the Hizb out of the shadows of the Lashkar-e-Taiba. The two groups have always maintained operational distance in public but, says a senior Jammu and Kashmir police officer, share a “good working relationship” on the ground
- Burhan’s generation was born in the mid-nineties, when gun-toting militants were no longer a common sight. At the turn of the millennium, as they entered their school age, the signs of normality were visible in Kashmir. The thaw in India-Pakistan relations had paved the way for a healthy-looking dialogue process. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the then Prime Minister, was taking significant strides towards striking a peace deal with Pakistan’s Pervez Musharraf. And Kashmir was on top of their agenda
- But as Burhan and his generation entered their early teens, the peace process began unravelling. In 2008, a series of protests erupted against the transfer of land to the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board, which quickly morphed into a pro-independence agitation, claiming the lives of 60 protesters. Two years later, the killing of a Class XII student named TufailMattoo triggered another wave of mass protest that killed about 120 people
- This was when the younger generation was exposed to state brutalities. The images of severely injured men, many of them teenagers, exposed the younger generation to the violent reaction of the state, forcing them to make a choice between separatism and mainstream politics. Many chose the former
- But this time, like the protesters of north and south Kashmir, they were out on the street for a reason many political experts and analysts find hard to fathom. They were out to mourn Burhan, a militant with a bounty of Rs.10 lakh, and pay ‘homage’ to him by hitting and injuring as many policemen as possible. The emotional response took the local government by surprise. The government forces responded to the unrest with bullets, pellets and smoke bombs, killing at least 39 people until July 15
- In the last decade or so, several hundred foreign militants have been killed by the police, Army and paramilitary forces. However, the display of public resentment was largely confined to the places where they were gunned down
- Between 2000 and 2010, the police handing over the body bags to gravediggers at midnight was commonplace. A neighbourhood imam would quietly offer funeral prayers, sometimes for several unidentified bodies lowered in one grave, and life would move on
- Burhan’s death continues to have the Valley in its grip, triggering a rage that refuses to die. After speaking to 20 stone-pelters in various parts of Srinagar, it emerged that the thought of replacing stones with guns does cross their minds. Half of them have lost faith in Indian democracy and are on the verge of crossing the Line of Control (LoC) to the other side, where they expect to acquire arms training, but the lack of guidance and logistical support is holding them back. The other half is still holding on to a glimmer of hope — that perhaps the government of India might take certain people-friendly measures: Quashing the FIRs against stone-pelters, scrapping the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, demilitarising the civilian areas and making the security apparatus accountable to the people
- Recent terror attacks in the month of Ramzan in Dhaka, Baghdad and Medina by Islamist extremists have again brought to light the question of vilification of the entire Muslim community in social media and in a section of mainstream media. Though we do not have firm evidence of the hand of Islamists in the July 14 attack in Nice in France, Islam might still be blamed for the carnage. There is an increasing trend to blame Islam for producing “jihadi” terrorists. However, the Muslim ulema’s critique of terrorism as antithetical to Islam (which, like many religions, spreads the message of peace) is rarely highlighted by the media. Is this a new trend of Islamophobia in the media?
- The global phenomenon of Islamophobia is a product of hundreds of years of Orientalist discourses constructed by the Western colonial education system. The dominance of many parts of the medieval world by Islamic cultures is described as “dark ages” in such discourses. Such discourses produced the phenomenon of “Islamophobia” that was reproduced in media caricatures and stereotyped political cartoons. Political caricatures of Muslims and Islam in the Western media are as old as the Suez Canal crisis of 1956-1958.
- They made an appearance during the 1974 oil crisis, the revolution, the hostage crisis of 1979-1980 and Gulf war of 1990. The 9/11 incident followed by the Afghanistan war in 2001 and the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003 saw such imagery acquire a sharper edge. The prejudicial view of Islam and Muslims as backward and fanatical and not compatible with modernity slots Muslims — and Islam — into a homogenous, essentialist and unitary category without acknowledging the multiplicity of Islamic groups and the heterogeneity of the Muslim world
- Popular cinema in Hollywood and, to an extent, Bollywood, have also contributed in reinforcing stereotypical images of Muslims as terrorists. Many Bollywood films make a direct connection between Muslims and terrorism, and stir up sentiments against Islam and Muslims. The community is rarely shown as a victim of terrorism, which threatens lives of both Muslims and non-Muslims. The profile of the victims of terrorist attacks in Dhaka, Baghdad and Medina shows that terrorism makes no distinction between Muslims and non-Muslims
- It is well-known that numerous terrorist groups have organisational bases among non-Muslims. According to the Forbes’ latest list of the world’s top ten richest terrorist organisations, two are non-Islamic outfits — the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Real Irish Republican Army. The AumShinrikyo in Japan and Democratic Karen Buddhist Army in Myanmar claim to be inspired by Buddhism. The Maronites in Lebanon and Syria, Orange Volunteers, Loyalist Volunteer Force and Red Hand Defenders in Northern Ireland, the anti-abortion Army of God in the United States, the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda and various neo-Nazi groups in Europe claim to follow Christianity
- In 2011, Anders Behring Brieivik, a neo-Nazi, carried out the horrendous attacks that killed 77 and injured 319 in Oslo in Norway. Not many decades ago, Zionist groups like Jewish Underground, Brit Hakanaim and Kingdom of Israel, as well as certain anti-communist outfits, took part in terrorist activities. Some left-wing groups, including the Maoists in India, have been designated as terrorist outfits. Hindutva activists are alleged to have organised the Malegaon, Nanded, and Hyderabad’s Mecca Masjid blasts
- However, it is noteworthy that there is an increasing trend of Arabisation and Wahabisation among South Asian Muslims. Changing dress codes and changing mannerisms reflect the growing Arabisation of Muslims. This tendencyis detrimental to the otherwise plural character of South Asian Muslims. Islamic theology needs to address the coreproblems of the religion; these pertain to gender inequality, unequal property rights for women, discrimination against women after divorce and the right to use contraception. This is only possible through democratic movements in the Muslim community: Moderate Muslims should take charge and not become passive spectators and victims of Islamist extremism
Topic: Gender Issues
- The government’s recommendation to extend maternity leave benefits from 12 to 26 weeks in the private sector will catapult India into a small group of countries that mandate long paid leave for new mothers. This is laudable. Yet, when asked about paternity leave and benefits for new fathers,the Labour Minister said, “The bill is about mothers and children. It is not about the men.”
- The minister was responding to specifics of the bill but what he said reflects a cultural mindset ingrained in societies around the world: Childcare is a women’s issue. Could we hope to make it gender neutral?
- In today’s societal setup, a man would find it difficult to take time off to nurture and bond with his child. The social stigma attached is huge, even in organisations that offer some form of paternal leave benefits.
- Developed economies like the US also lag when it comes to men sharing the burden of childcare and housework. It is not that men don’t step up to help. In the instances where they ask for time off to tend to family issues, studies point to long term income hits and lost promotion opportunities. Such men are viewed as lacking in ambition and drive
- The Indian context can’t be compared to that of the West. Here, extended families offer a support structure. But such access doesn’t mean that men carry on as ever before. One transformative step could involve helping around the house more
- Various studies, including those by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), demonstrate that Indian men spend less than an hour-a-day on housework, compared to at least four to six hours spent by women
- It is no secret that women feel the pressure to manage home even as they are expected to perform professionally. Traditional values in India run deep. McKinsey Global Institute’s “The Power of Parity” report showed that a majority of men and women agreed with the statement: “If a mother works for pay, her children suffer.” A survey by the Confederation of Indian Industry’s Indian woman network (Maharashtra chapter) found that 37 per cent of women opt out of their job due to maternity/childcare issues. Their re-entry into the workforce was hindered by their maternal obligations. Is it therefore surprising that those mothers who can afford to work outside home often elect not to? We have one of the lowest rates of female participation in the workforce, ranking 11th from the bottom of 131 countries, according to the International LabourOrganisation. At the very least, this statistic could be improved if we stem the leaking pipeline of educated, urban women dropping out due to care obligations
- After all, there is enough evidence to support the positive economic benefits of having more women work. Last year, IMF chief Christine Lagarde noted that having an equal number of women as men in the workforce could boost India’s GDP by 27 per cent. McKinsey also observed a significant bump to the GDP if more Indian women had paying jobs
- The beauty of India is our ability to adapt. A disproportionately young working age population can embrace change faster than an older one. The private sector can lead the way. Many companies are recognised for their progressive, “women friendly” HR policies. Can these eventually become gender agnostic? Could raising a family be viewed as a joint effort by mothers and fathers? Accelerating the long journey towards parity at the workplace can happen when we stop thinking of childcare and domestic chores as primarily a woman’s job
“The Excavated Remains at Nalanda” got included in the Tentative List of World Heritage on 09.01.2009. The nomination dossier for ‘Excavated Remains of Nalanda Mahavihara’ was prepared by the ASI and submitted in January 2015 to the World Heritage Committee for the purpose of its inscription in the year 2016 and on 15 July 2016 it has got inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The “Excavated remains of NalandaMahavihara”, the great monastic-cum-scholastic establishment are located around 88 km away from Patna, state capital of Bihar in India. It presents a key archaeological evidence of a truly international centre for organised learning. NalandaMahavihara was founded by Kumargupta I of the Gupta dynasty in 5th century CE. It was patronized by various rulers including King Harshavardhana of Kannauj (7th century CE) and the Pala rulers (8th – 12th century CE) as well as various scholars. Later, number of factors spread over centuries caused the decline of this famed institution. The same region, later, saw emergence of a number of reputed educational institutions like Vikramshila and Odantpuri but the eminence of Nalanda remains unrivaled. About six centuries after Nalanda’s decline, the site was first discovered and reported by Sir Francis Buchanan. The site was systematically excavated and consolidated by Archaeological Survey of India from 1915 to 1937 and again from 1974 to 1982.
Nalanda is a rare combination of outstanding achievements in institution-building, site-planning, art and architecture. Nalanda symbolized the multiplicity of knowledge production, the innovative processes of the organized transmission of ideas through education, and a shared heritage of people living in multiple regions of Asia.
Built ensembles in Nalanda are physical manifestation of influence of ancient Indian pedagogy where planning, architecture and artistic traditions of Indian sub-continent and beyond developed into subsequent architectural and artistic prototypes. Nalanda distinguished itself as the earliest planned university of the Indian subcontinent. Thematic and iconographic assimilation of features from major art-centres of the sub-continent with local practices is evident in art of Nalanda. While Nalanda stucco influenced practices in Thailand, its metal art influenced art of the Malayan archipelago, Nepal, Myanmar and Tibet travelling out through scholars.
Nalanda attracted scholars from the Indian subcontinent and beyond and received patronage of local rulers and foreign kings for unbroken period of 800 years. Students were admitted after rigorous evaluation only. Apart from teaching of topics related to Buddhism, contemporary texts and philosophies, logic, grammar, science, and medicine were also part of the knowledge imparted at Nalanda. Earning the title of ‘Medieval School of Discussion and Logic’, Nalanda`s scholars mastered the art and science of debate developing it into a critical tool for higher learning. Today, the continuity of its systems is also evident in contemporary monasteries in Sri Lanka, Tibet and Nepal. In fact, the term Nalanda has become synonymous with aspired standard of education as evidenced in several 21st century namesake institutions all over the world.
All surviving remains of NalandaMahavihara in the proposed property area demonstrate amply the attributes of the property such as its planning and layout, its architectural manifestation and extant building materials and applied ornamental embellishments. Preserved in-situ is structural remains of viharas (residential-cum-scholastic structure) and chaityas (temple-like structure) whose layers of construction show evolution of the respective forms. The positioning of these structures over the length of the site shows the planned layout unique to Nalanda. The viharas retain infrastructure for residential-cum-scholastic functions. The quincuxial or five-fold plan-form characteristic of a Nalanda chaitya is evident in the temple within the property. The site also retains a corpus of moveable and immoveable artefacts and artistic embellishment that shows iconographic development reflecting changes in Buddhist belief system. While stucco and engraved art are conserved in-situ, metal and stone objects are exhibited today at the adjoining Site Museum.
“India is moving ahead, at a rapid pace. Indians are marching together, like never before Towards Peace, Progress & Prosperity”-He Says
The Union Minister of Electronics and Information Technology and Law & Justice today formally launched new Transforming India website –www.transformingindia.mygov.in – in New Delhi.
‘Transforming India’ website is a repository for sharing the impact of various governance initiatives with citizens in real-time. This website provides information in a user-friendly format enabling citizens to view the content in the form of Infographics, e-books, performance dashboard, videos, daily news corner, etc. and engage with the content by comments and sharing the content through Social Media.
In a demonstration of India’s ‘Act East’ policy and Indian Navy’s increasing footprint and operational reach, Indian Naval Ships Sahyadri, Shakti and Kirch under the Command of the Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet have arrived at Port Kelang, Malaysia today 15 Jul 16 on a four day visit, as part of deployment of the Eastern Fleet to the South China Sea and Western Pacific.
The Department of Expenditure is administering the Public Financial Management System (PFMS), which is an end-to-end solution for processing payments, tracking, monitoring, accounting, reconciliation and reporting. It provides the scheme managers a unified platform for tracking releases and monitoring their last mile utilization.
Government has decided to universalise the use of PFMS to cover all transactions/payments under the Central Sector Schemes. The complete monitoring of these schemes will require mandatory registration of all Implementing Agencies (IAs) on PFMS and mandatory use of Expenditure, Advance & Transfer (EAT) module of the PFMS by all IAs.
- From Satyam to Kingfisher, most examples of corporate fraud have shown up the auditor as either unequal to the task or even complicit—and this applies not to small fly-by-night auditors, but many of the big audit firms. In the most recent case involving United Spirits Limited (USL) and Vijay Mallya where a forensic audit has thrown up clear evidence of Rs 1,225 crore of funds being diverted, top audit firms had been associated with USL—Deloitte did the due diligence for Diageo before it bought into USL, and USL’s auditors have included, from FY11 onwards, Price Waterhouse, Walker Chandiok and KPMG associate BSR & Co
- When it comes to disciplining auditors, however, the regulatory body Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has been found wanting, and not surprisingly since its members are the very people/firms it is supposed to be regulating. The same thing applies to other bodies such as the Medical Council of India and the Institute of Company Secretaries of India
- Given this backdrop, the commerce ministry’s proposal to strip ICAI and other such professional bodies of their regulatory powers is a good idea since it prevents a conflict of interest. All of this is part of a plan to improve India’s regulation of the services sector and bring it on par with the global best practices
- The biggest advantage of the independent regulators handling the affairs of these services on the lines of Sebi, Trai, or the Competition Commission of India, would be the plugging of the possibilities of delay and reluctance in taking action against members of their own fraternity
- Certainly, it is true that professional bodies are the best judges in terms of standards and good practice, but there are ways to get around this issue—in some cases, professionals hired on the regulatory side could be asked to give up their licenses for even up to five years after they leave the regulatory body; in other cases, these bodies could still be asked to set codes and standards which can then be implemented by an independent regulator. The exact model needs to be evolved, but the need for it is not in dispute
Topic: Financial Inclusion
- While over Rs22.37 crore accounts and Rs1.26 lakh bank mitras were added under the Jan DhanYojana (JDY), some gaps are undermining India’s financial inclusion efforts
- A National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) review found that the failure rate for interbank transactions—for JDY accounts—was a whopping 80%. Unlike in urban areas, where one can withdraw cash from ATMs, account-holders in rural areas rely on a network of bank mitras and customer-service points (CSPs) to open accounts, make deposits and even withdraw cash
- But, with the CSPs being associated with different banks, they may not always be able to successfully carry out transactions made with RuPay or ATM cards from other banks—this was the case in this instance. The current fiasco will raise concerns over the plan to introduce more point-of-sale devices to reduce reliance on cash
- The NPCI has now initiated an audit of the financial inclusion tech of banks and aims to bring down the rate to 20%. The government cannot afford such failures, especially when it aims to reduce the cash-use and mobilise JDY accounts via schemes like Direct Benefit Transfer
- While the government has issued over Rs18 crore RuPay cards and linked almost half of the accounts with Aadhaar, the success of its transfer schemes, the Aadhaar-enabled payment systems and RuPay cards will depend on its ability to allow seamless transactions
Topic: Labour Issues
- The world of work is changing with unprecedented rapidity. This has brought both great uncertainty and fear of change. Therefore, as the International Labour Organization (ILO) approaches its centenary, it is embarking on an important reflection, on the future of work
- The future of work is very much dependent upon India. India is the world’s fastest growing major economy, with a large youth population. Future of Work’ debate is structured around four ‘conversations’
- First, work and society. We make an error of economic reductionism if we believe that the significance of work is limited to its capacity for material provision. Certainly with Decent Work, there is a notion of self-realisation, of being part of society
- The next conversation is about where the jobs will come from. 10 million young people are entering India’s labour market every year. Where are those jobs coming from? And what will they look like?
- The third conversation is around the organisation of production. There is a lot of talk about the increase in global supply chains, the cross-border fragmentation of production, and the organisation of production in ways not seen before. The fourth conversation is about what we do about all of this? How do we govern the world of work?
- I see four mega-drivers of change emerging. The first is technology. It is said we are on the cusp of the fourth industrial revolution. If you look at the past three industrial revolutions, whatever turbulence they brought, they created more jobs than they destroyed. Will it be the same this time?
- The second mega-driver of change is demography. India has the largest youth population in the world, but this has both pros and cons. There is no more destabilising factor in society that I know of than large-scale youth unemployment
- The third element is climate change. The future of work will be green or it won’t be sustainable
- The fourth mega-driver of change is the growing defensiveness towards globalisation, a pulling back of countries, sometimes with a defensive, nationalistic-sort of sentiment. Globalisation, in its current form, is being questioned
- In the face of these trends India seems to be set upon shaping its own future with determination and confidence. However there are domestic challenges that should not be forgotten. The first is gender. It is a source of worry that of the G20 countries only Saudi Arabia has a lower level of women’s labour force participation than India. More alarming is that labour participation is going down, not up
- Secondly, issues related to formalisation of the economy should be addressed. 93 per cent of the workforce in the informal sector is a dramatic statistic
- Finally, poverty. Last year the UN membership adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, with the objective of eliminating extreme poverty by 2030. Rightly, criteria related to creating Decent Work are woven into the SDG’s and their indicators
- But despite enormous progress, one of every four poor people in the world lives in India. So, it’s no exaggeration to say India’s success in tackling poverty will define the 2030 agenda’s success, and the success of 2030 agenda will be India’s success
Topic: Energy Sector
- India must gear up to accept and utilise a big increase in the global supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG). Now, the current capacity of LNG import terminals nationally is about 16.5 mmtpa, while those under construction add up to thrice as much. And the way ahead is to fast-forward overhaul of power distribution and attendant tariff reform, so that power utilities are able to levy and transparently collect dearer charges for gas-fuelled peak-load power
- Reportedly, as many as ten gas liquefaction trains are expected to come on stream in North America and Australia, which would rev up LNG supply to the Asian including Indian markets
- And as prices of commodities remain subdued, LNG contracts are expected to remain easier in the medium term and well beyond. Note that the nation-wide gas pipeline network is set to increase by 11,000 km from just over 16,000 km, which would further boost supply. Meanwhile, the estimate is that anticipated (mostly unmet) demand for natural gas for 2016-17 is about 350 mmscmd and is projected to go up to 490 mms cmd in 2021-22, with usage for power being by far the single biggest demand
- It is entirely possible that LNG imports double and even treble over the next decade and it would make strategic sense to better allocate more resources for LNG infrastructure including shipping, so as to reduce the overall costs of energy sourcing and logistics
- In tandem, stepping up usage of natural gas, the cleanest fossil fuel, also requires that our power utilities are in a position to adopt promising thermal power-generation technologies like Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle. It would then be possible for even base-load thermal stations to switch to gas to meet peak load. An integrated policy for LNG would make ample sense
Nothing here today folks!
F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
- Inter- state council
- Jan Dhan Yojana
- Sustainable Development Goals
G. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
Question 1: Which of the following statements is/are correct?
- Nalanda was a large Buddhist monastery in the ancient kingdom of Magadha
- Gupta emperor, Kumaragupta I is credited to be the founder of Nalanda
- The ruins of Nalanda University in Bihar were declared a World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO
a) 1 only
b) 2 only
c) 1 and 2 only
d) All the Above
Question 2: Which of the following is/are correct?
- Inter State council is a constitutional body
- Prime Minister is the Chairman of the Inter-state Council
- Chief Ministers of all the States and Union Territories having Legislative Assemblies, Administrators of Union Territories not having Legislative Assemblies, Governors of States under President’s rule and six Ministers of Cabinet rank in the Union Council of Ministers, nominated by the Chairman of the Council, are members of the Inter-state Council
a) 1 and 2 only
b) 2 and 3 only
c) 1 and 3 only
d) All the Above
Question 3: Which of the following is/are correct?
- The WTO has launched a new World Trade Outlook Indicator (WTOI) designed to provide “real time” information on trends in global trade
- The WTOI gives a headline figure to show performance against trend. A reading of 100 would indicate trade growth in line with recent trends, a reading greater than 100 would suggest above trend growth, while a reading below 100 indicates below trend growth
a) 1 only
b) 2 only
c) Both 1 and 2
d) Neither 1 nor 2
Question 4: Which of the following statements is/are correct about integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC)?
- An integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) is a technology that uses a high pressure gasifier to turn coal and other carbon based fuels into pressurized gas
- It can remove impurities from the pressurized gas prior to the power generation cycle
a) 1 only
b) 2 only
c) Both 1 and 2
d) Neither 1 nor 2
Question 5: Which of the following is/arepolicy(ies) included in the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work adopted by the ILO in 1998?
- The right of workers to associate freely and bargain collectively
- The end of forced and compulsory labour
- The end of child labour
- The end of unfair discrimination among workers
a) 1 and 2 only
b) 2 and 3 only
c) 1 and 4 only
d)All the Above
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