30 Mar 2018: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis


A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
1. Cabinet approves education reforms
1. A third of top 500 firms lack a woman director
1. Seychelles says no to India’s proposal for naval base
C. GS3 Related
1. Pesticide-free poly-houses
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
1. Aadhaar’s benefits for financial inclusion
2. Should gambling be legalized?
F. Prelims Fact
G. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions 

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

B. GS2 Related


1. Cabinet approves education reforms

  • Minister of Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar on Thursday announced that the Cabinet has approved a slew of reforms for school education in the country, in what could be considered as the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan-2 project.
  • The SSA, the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan and teacher training would be integrated into a single scheme from Classes 1 to 12.
  • The integrated scheme will be in place from April 1, 2018, to March 31, 2020, with an estimated allocation of Rs. 75,000 crore over the period, a 20% increase over the current allocation.
  • It aims to support the States in universalising access to school education from pre-nursery to Class 12 across the country.
  • Javadekar said the government would focus on educationally backward districts, disabled students and women.
  • There would be a shift to digital blackboards from Class 9 to college education in the next five years.
  • The government will provide a 20% incentive to the States for a learning-outcome based education.
  • Javadekar said that skill courses — which are now functional from Class 9 to Class 12 — would begin from Class 6 in future. This was aimed at enhancing the employability of students.
  • The Centre has also approved an increase in the outlay for making educational loans interest-free for students with modest financial means for studying in universities and colleges charging high fees. The interest subsidy will last till one year of their passing out of college.
  • Javadekar said that while this was a 2009 scheme, the allocation of Rs. 6, 600-crore over the next three years marked nearly a three-fold jump over the allocations made from 2009 to 2014.


1. A third of top 500 firms lack a woman director

  • India’s listed corporates will have to initiate quick action to get on board more directors, including a woman if they to ensure compliance with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI)’s new corporate governance norms.
  • While SEBI has given companies time to comply with the latest rules many firms are currently non-compliant and would need to act fast to conform including ensuring that the role of a chairperson and managing director is separated within the next one year.
  • There are a total of 65 companies that will have to increase the number of independent directors by April 1, 2019, while as many as 165 companies of the top 500 entities will have to separate the role of MD or chief executive officer from that of the chairman, according to data from Prime Database.
  • Further, there are at least 155 companies among the top 500 listed ones that would have to appoint a woman director by April 1, 2019, and if the universe of companies is expanded to the top 1,000 then 336 companies will have to include a woman director in the board by April 1, 2020.
  • The capital markets regulator approved most of the recommendations of the Uday Kotak Committee that was formed to suggest ways to strengthen corporate governance at listed entities.
  • The market watchdog decided to reduce the maximum number of directorships for individuals from 10 to seven in a phased manner while expanding the eligibility criteria for such directors.
  • The new norms also require at least one woman independent director in the top 500 listed entities by market capitalisation by April 1, 2019, and in the top 1,000 listed entities, by April 1, 2020.
  • The list of companies that will have to induct a woman director within the next one year include Ambuja Cements, Avenue Supermarts, Bharti Airtel, Castrol India, DLF, Fortis Healthcare, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, Godrej Industries, HDFC, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance and Reliance Industries along with most of the banking entities like State Bank of India, Andhra Bank, Bank of India, Canara Bank and Central Bank of India.
  • All decisions have been taken with a view to enhancing corporate governance but governance cannot improve only on the basis of law. One needs to ensure that the implementation is done religiously.
  • Meanwhile, companies that currently have no segregation between MD/CEO and chairperson include Adani Ports, BPCL, BHEL, Coal India, General Insurance Corp., Wipro, Hero Motocorp, HPCL, TV Today Network, RIL and PVR among others.
  • The three-tier structure of a company that includes shareholders, board and the management need to be separate and independent of each other and hence SEBI has segregated the roles of MD/CEO with that of the chairman.

Audit panel’s role

  • SEBI has also enhanced the roles of a company’s audit committee, nomination & remuneration committee and risk management committee.
  • The Kotak panel had recommended enhanced disclosures on auditor’s credentials, audit fees and reasons for the resignation of auditors.
  • The government recently notified norms for appointment of chairperson and members of National Financial Reporting Authority.
  • SEBI’s decision to make mandatory disclosure of auditor credentials, audit fee, reasons for the resignation of auditors, seem to be in sync with the government’s efforts of increasing governance in the audit profession.



1. Seychelles says no to India’s proposal for naval base

  • India’s plans to get a foothold in the Indian Ocean islands of Seychelles received a setback after its President Danny Faure told Parliament that he will not take up the Assomption island project deal with India for ratification.
  • This announcement came after Wavell John Charles Ramkalawan, the leader of the Opposition of Seychelles, said that he would oppose the deal.
  • Significantly, the leader of the Opposition was hosted here in January as India tried to get him on board for the key project, which was rejected by the Indian Ocean country earlier this week.

Outreach failed

  • The outreach evidently did not succeed as Mr. Ramkalawan remained a staunch opponent of the maritime project of India in the Assomption island, which oversees the main energy route between the major Asian economies and the Gulf region.
  • Ramkalawan declared that the Assomption island project, which was expected to host a naval facility, would not take off.
  • Ramkalawan visited India in the second week of January and participated in the PIO Parliamentary Conference which was addressed by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • The aim of the conference was to firm up ties with individuals of Indian origin who are spread across the world and are playing important role in their host societies.
  • He also met President Ram Nath Kovind on January 9, when Mr. Kovind said that his visit would help strengthen India-Seychelles ties. Mr. Ramkalawan, who is an ethnic Indian, was earlier in the race to occupy the post of the President of the country.
  • Ramkalawan’s statement came a week after the Minister of State for External Affairs General (Retd.) V.K. Singh informed Parliament that the project in the Assomption island was coming up as a joint project.
  • “The agreement covers within its purview our shared efforts in anti-piracy operations, and enhanced EEZ surveillance to prevent intrusions by potential economic offenders including those indulging in illegal fishing, poaching, drug and human trafficking,” Mr. Singh had told Lok Sabha on March 21.



C. GS3 Related


1. Pesticide-free poly-houses

  • At a time when all things “organic” is the buzzword, poly-houses are becoming a cause for concern due to high pesticide residues in the produce following indiscriminate use of chemicals.
  • In fact, the sustainability of poly-house cultivation is facing a threat as a sizeable number of them have closed due to soil degradation and attack by nematodes — harmful soil bacteria — and fungi, which have resulted in massive devastation of crops.
  • The Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR) has now come out with a series of technologies and practices to reduce the use of chemicals in poly-house cultivation.
  • The main focus is to turn the high-end poly-house cultivation into a sustainable farm and economic activity.
  • This will result in not only production of pesticide-free produce, but it will go a long way in improving the financial health of poly-houses ,while closing down poly-houses would result in a loss of Rs. 900 crore.
  • What has come as a shot in the arm for the IIHR is that a 24-year-old farmer Raju in Doddaballapur taluk near Bengaluru has used this technology showing it is possible to grow broccoli, a crop highly susceptible to various pests and diseases, without pesticides.
  • It is the first time in the country that broccoli has been grown in a chemical-free manner in a poly-house.
  • Of course, the experiment is not completely organic as the farmer has used a certain amount of fertilizers. But, the produce has been selling like hot cakes to exporters at a premium price since it is pesticide-free.
  • Raju, who migrated to Karnataka from Andhra Pradesh, took up poly-house cultivation on about one acre of land in Doddaballapur, of which broccoli is grown on half an acre.
  • What has enthused scientists is that he has trounced the general perception that chemical-free farming and reduction in fertilizers would lead to drop in yield.
  • The farmer’s yield has not only increased by about 30% by using the natural plant growth promoters as well as bio-fertilisers and bio-pesticides of IIHR, but the cost of cultivation too has dropped by about 30% as he has not used chemicals and pesticides. He was able to earn about Rs. 4.18 lakh in 90 days.
  • Rao said the farmer used bio fungicide, bio nematicide, bio bactericide, bio fertilizers, neem and pongamia soaps as well as plant growth promoters developed by the IIHR. It has helped improve soil fertility and reduce soil-borne pathogens.
  • If a farmer uses these chemical-free and cost-effective applications for two to three years, there is no need for soil enrichment for the next five years, he said.
  • Biotechnologist-turned entrepreneur J. Gavaskar, who has taken licences from the IIHR to mass produce and also sell some of its biotechnologies, says the awareness among farmers is slowly increasing about such bioapplications.
  • Big farmers and some Farmer Producers’ Organisations from Pune, some cities in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala are trying out these chemical-free applications.

Other successes

  • Rao said ICAR-IIHR has demonstrated similar success stories in capsicum, European cucumber, tomato, gerbera, carnations grown under protected conditions in various poly-houses and guava, pomegranate, tomato, okra, brinjal, tuberose grown under open field conditions in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Maharashtra, and Bengal.

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Editorials


1. Aadhaar’s benefits for financial inclusion

  • The PILs documented before the SC against obligatory connecting of Aadhaar to financial balances raise issues about the privilege to security, worries of being dealt with keeping pace with tax criminals, and the privilege to be not denied of property because of hindering of ledgers
  • Almost one of every three Indians don’t approach a ledger and one out of seven don’t approach credit
  • These proportions would be substantially poorer for the eastern and north-eastern parts of the nation
  • Rules for setting up Business journalists (BCs) were presented by the RBI in 2006 to guarantee accessibility of managing an account administrations at a reasonable cost
  • How it functions: An organization, going about as a business journalist for a bank, chooses specialists to run the physical client touch focuses
  • At first propelled with a biometric-based verification framework oversaw by singular banks, these specialists have forcefully moved to Aadhaar-empowered installment framework (AEPS) to give a system to conveyance of managing an account benefits in far-flung regions
  • An operator runs an ease task which opens “little” bank accounts, gives store and withdrawal administrations and offers items like miniaturized scale protection and Atal Pension Yojana
  • Focal and state government coordinate advantage exchanges are additionally steered through these records
  • RBI information: According to the RBI Annual Report, 646,000 specialists did 1,159 million exchanges worth Rs2.65 trillion in FY 2016-17
  • Accessibility of little investment accounts in far-flung territories has empowered countless Indians to encounter formal saving money frameworks without precedent for their lives

How can the Aadhar system help?

  • A concentrated database and validation framework, as Aadhaar, is superior to anything a dispersed framework where each bank constructs and keeps up the biometric database of its own clients
  • Gathering the biometric data of a client is a long and costly process
  • The high passage costs related with a dispersed framework make moving one’s record between banks a lumbering procedure
  • A Centralized framework, as AEPS, makes it simple for another money related administrations supplier to connect to and dispatch its administrations

Should it be mandatory to link Aadhaar to bank accounts?

  • An obligatory linkage would assemble economies of scale and enhance the system of AEPS empowered purpose of offer gadgets and biometric ATMs
  • This would profit the clients of little records as well as the wealthier classes with numerous PINs for credit and platinum cards

2. Should gambling be legalized?

  • Gambling and betting is a State subject, the primary law on which States have framed their gambling legislation is an archaic, British-era law called the Public Gambling Act, 1867.
  • Ironically, while India follows a British-era prohibitionist statute, the U.K. legalised and regulated various forms of gambling and betting many decades ago.


According to Bombay Prevention of Gambling Act, 1887

  • Gambling as defined in the Act includes gaming and betting.
  • Generally, gambling is referred to as card games where high stakes are involved and betting is referred to as casino games and putting a bet on an event such as a match.
  • From the various provisions of the Central and State Act, one can infer that while gambling is prohibited in public or public gaming houses, there is no prohibition on such activities in a private house.

Law Commission

  • The panel is of the opinion that lawful but strict regulation of gambling and betting would help curb illegal practices that generate black money. It would also shore up revenues of the government and generate employment.
  • The commission suggested gambling be categorized as “proper gambling” and “small gambling”. The former would involve high stakes and be feasible only for the rich. Poorer groups would be permitted “small gambling”

Different States and its laws

  • Goa and Sikkim are the only exceptions which have allowed gambling and betting in their state, subject to regulation of their respective state Governments.
    • The state of Goa has allowed gambling by enacting the Goa, Daman and Diu Public Gambling Act, 1976
  • Sikkim has the most liberal gaming laws in the country.
    • The state government allows casinos in five-star hotels (two are operational), online and paper lotteries and now even online gaming and betting.
    • The state of Sikkim has legalised gambling by enacting Sikkim Regulation of Gambling (Amendment) 2005.
    • The State of Sikkim is the only state in India which has enacted a law for online gambling and sports betting. The Sikkim ‘Online Gaming (Regulation) Act, 2008’

Games of Skill outside the Purview of Gambling

  • The Gambling Legislations provide that the restrictions would not apply to games of “mere skill”.
    • ‘Games of skill’ refers to games which involve the use of a person’s skill. For example, the uses of mental acumen or physical skill in games like chess and billiards.
    • ‘Games of chance’, on the other hand, refers to games where winning is purely a matter of chance, or luck, such as the card game of ‘Teen Patti’.
  • In the case of State of Andhra Pradesh v. K. Satyanarayana & Ors. 11 (“Satyanarayana Judgment”), the SC specifically tested the game of rummy on the principle of skill versus chance and held that Rummy was not a game entirely based on chance like the ‘three-card’ game (i.e. ‘flush’, ‘brag’ etc.) which were games of pure chance. It was held that Rummy was a game involving a preponderance of skill rather than chance.
  • In Dr. K.R. Lakshmanan v. State of Tamil Nadu, it was held that horse racing was a game of skill, and playing it for money will not be illegal.
  • But if an objection is expressed by a state, online gaming will have to be stopped. For example, the Supreme Court recently upheld a ban by the Kerala Government on online lotteries conducted from Sikkim.

Why legalize gambling?

  • First, gambling is already happening in a massive way. Law enforcement authorities are not able to stop it.
    • Gambling and betting is mostly done surreptitiously, and is said to be controlled by underworld syndicates who use the unaccounted money earned from gambling activities for nefarious activities like terror financing. Legalising the activity will not only help curtail an important source of black money that is used by criminal syndicates
    • It will also bring massive revenue to the state exchequer, which can be used for various constructive social schemes.
      • A 2010 KPMG report suggesting that it could be $60 billion, while other, more recent, studies peg the value at a higher number. Even a conservative estimate suggests that the government could earn tens of thousands of crores as tax revenue by legalising sports betting.
  • A legal and regulated gambling sector will also help in creating large-scale employment opportunities.
    • the regulated gambling industry in the U.S. employs over 2.5 lakh people
    • While over 1 lakh individuals are employed in this sector in the U.K.
  • Naysayers say that gambling is not morally correct in the Indian context. They suggest that it is responsible for addiction, loss of livelihoods and bankruptcy.
    • There are numerous instances of people losing their livelihoods and committing suicide due to unchecked gambling even today

What should be done?

  • A robust regulatory framework governing the gaming sector will ensure that people do not fall prey to the excesses of gambling.
  • Awareness campaigns should educate people about the perils of excessive gambling; minors, habitual gamblers and vulnerable sections should be excluded from having access to gaming facilities; and
  • Limits must be imposed on the amounts that can be wagered, based on a person’s financial capabilities.

It should not be legalized?

  • A majority of people still live on a meagre meal or two after toiling hard.
    • They cannot afford to send their children to school or take care of their basic health needs.
    • With Laws against betting there is a psychological edge which prevents them from gambling but with laws removed they will have free hand to betting. So the laws here are preventing them from losing their hard earned money.
  • Companies will start host betting apps, tempting poor people to try their luck.
  • What is the guarantee that legalizing betting will generate revenue as projected?


  • If Parliament wishes to legislate on the subject, it will be difficult to do so, as the subject of gambling figures in the State List.
    • As a result, the Constitution will have to amended first so that gambling can figure in the Concurrent List.
    • Necessary infrastructure — police machinery, prosecutors, etc. — will have to be put in place.
  • The problem of online gaming cannot be curbed by merely amending the Information Technology Act where it finds a mention.
    • There has been a steep rise in online gambling of late and governments are trying to find ways of curbing the menace. Relevant provisos will have to be made in the new Act if gambling is to be regulated.



F. Prelims Fact

Nothing here for today!!!

G. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Consider the following statements:
  1. GSAT-6A, which will provide mobile communication to India through multi beam coverage facility
  2. ISRO’s GSLV-F08 rocket launched the satellite, marking its 12th flight sixth flight with indigenous Cryogenic upper stage.

Which of the statements are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. None of the above




Question 2. Consider the following statements:
  1. High-thrust Vikas engine and electromechanical actuation system will be inducted into GSAT 6.
  2. The high-thrust Vikas engine and other systems would be eventually used in the future missions, including India’s second moon mission, Chandrayaan-II.

Which of the statements are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. None of the above


Question 3. Consider the following statements:
  1. ISRO’s second mission to the moon, Chandrayaan-II, will be launched in the year 2020.
  2. GSAT-6A is a high-power S-band communication satellite.

Which of the statements are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. None of the above



H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

General Studies II


  1. Should gambling be legalized? Explain in detail the pros and cons of gambling and also its legal backing.


  1. People of Seychelles have been opposing the move of setting up Indian military base. What were the objectives and also comment on possible implications?
Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

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