Q.1 Consider the following statements about Indian Coastal Plains
- Western Coastal Plains are submerged plains while eastern coastal plains are emergent one
- Western Coastal Plains do not provide natural condition for harbours.
Select the correct option given below
- 1 only
- 2 only
- 1 and 2 only
- Neither 1 nor 2
Q.2 Which of the following is correctly matched
- Banihal Pass- Pir Panjal Range
- Photu La Pass- Zaskar Range
- Khardunga La Pass- Ladakh Range
- Zojila Pass- Great Himalayas
Select the correct option given below
- 1 only
- 1,2,3 and 4
- 1 and 3 only
- 1,2 and 3 only
Q.3 Arrange the following events in the chronological order
- August Offer
- Cripps Mission
- Cabinet Mission
- Quit India Movement
Select the correct options given
- 1,2 3 ,4
- 1,3,2 ,4
- 4,1,3 ,2
PROTESTERS TO PAY
The Railways, which have suffered ₹80 crore in losses due to the damage to their property during the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), plan to recover the amount from those involved in these incidents, a top official said here on Monday.
“Railway property suffered damage worth ₹80 crore across the country. Of this, the Eastern Railway suffered damage worth ₹70 crore and the Northeast Frontier Railway ₹10 crore. These, however, are initial estimates, and the figure could go up,” Railway Board Chairman V.K. Yadav said at a press conference.
In 2007, the Supreme Court took note of instances of mass violence and resultant damage to public property across the country. It formed two committees under former judge KT Thomas and jurist Fali S Nariman to recommend legal changes that could help handle such situations.
Based on the recommendations of the two committees, the Supreme Court in 2009 issued guidelines. It said in the absence of state legislation to cover such violence, the High Court may take cognisance of incidents of mass damage to public property on its own and set up a machinery to investigate and award compensation.
The guidelines said a sitting or a retired High Court judge or a district judge may be appointed as the claims commissioner to estimate damages and probe liability. Such a commissioner can summon evidence on instructions of the High Court. Once the liability is assessed, it will be borne by the perpetrators of the violence and the organisers of the event.
Given these guidelines, it is clear the Supreme Court attached a crucial role for the High Courts, and in case the violence was inter-state, to itself in the assessment of damages and recovery for compensation. The whole process, as per this judgement, was supposed to be monitored by the High Court or the Supreme Court itself. “The Claims Commissioner will make a report to the High Court or Supreme Court which will determine the liability after hearing the parties,” the court stated.
The weatherman has predicted severe cold spell/dense fog to continue in Delhi on December 31. Due to an approaching western disturbance, one or two spells of light rain/drizzle accompanied with thunderstorm are likely between the night of January 1 and January 3.
NO SMART PHONES AND NAVY AT ESTABLISHMENTS
The Navy has banned the use of smartphones and Facebook by its personnel within naval establishments and platforms, after the recent busting of a racket where seven of its personnel were found leaking sensitive information through social media platforms, including Facebook.
The new instructions on smartphones are that they cannot be used within the naval establishments and platforms. Use of social media such as Facebook is banned for all naval personnel.
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS
Kerala tops the States in progress towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), while Bihar is at the bottom of the NITI Aayog’s SDG Index, released on Monday.
Himachal Pradesh and Sikkim have joined the four southern States among the front-runners, which scored over 65 points out of a possible 100.
Ending hunger and achieving gender equality are the areas where most States fall far short, with the all-India scores at a dismal 35 and 42 points respectively. On the other hand, the NITI Aayog has given India an overall score of 60 points, driven mostly by progress in clean energy and sanitation (88); peace, justice and strong institutions (72); and affordable and clean energy (70).
WHAT IS SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
“Sustainable development is the development that meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.
ABOUT SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were born at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro in 2012.
The SDGs are a set of 17 broad-based global goals adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015, and intended to be achieved by 2030. With one-sixth of the world’s population, India is key to the achievement of the goals.
The UN has developed 232 indicators to measure compliance by member nations. The NITI Aayog has adapted the monitoring approach to the Indian context, with 100 indicators of its own for the Index.
INDIAN HISTORY CONGRESS
The 80th Indian History Congress, which concluded here, passed a resolution deploring the detention of four delegates during the inaugural function and suggested that the Kerala government better train the police to manage security.
The executive committee, headed by IHC president Amiya Kumar Bagchi, said students who protested peacefully during the inaugural function were dragged out by the police, which it termed unacceptable. The delegates protested and shouted slogans when the police dragged the students out despite an initial request of Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan to allow them to protest.
ABOUT INDIAN HISTORY CONGRESS
Indian History Congress is the largest professional and academic body of Indian historians with over 10,000 members.
It was established in 1935.
The lead to establish an all-India national congress of historians was taken by Poona historians during the period of British colonial rule. The first session took place in Bharat Itihas Sanshodhak Mandal, Poona, in 1935.
80th session of Indian History Congress was held in Kannur, Kerala.
INDIAN STATE OF FOREST REPORT
NEWS: The forest cover in the country increased by 3,976 square kilometres (sqkm) but with the sharpest declines in the northeastern States of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Mizoram, according to the 2019 edition of the India State of Forest Report (ISFR) that was made public on Monday.
At 7,12,249 sqkm, the forest cover constituted 21.67% of the nation’s geographical area or 0.12% more than last year.
The ISFR, a biennial exercise, assesses the forest and tree cover, bamboo resources, carbon stock and forest fires. The top three States showing an increase in forest cover are Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.
Tree cover, defined as patches of trees less than 1 hectare and occurring outside the recorded forest area, grew by 1,212 sqkm. Tree and forest cover together made up 25.56% of India’s area. In the last assessment it was 24.39%.
The forest cover within the Recorded Forest Area, or that which has been officially classified by States or the Centre as ‘forest,’ showed a 330 sqkm decrease, but ‘forest’ outside such recorded area increased by 4,306 sqkm. Tree outside forest was found to comprise nearly 29.38 million hectares, which was 36.4% of the total tree and forest cover in the country. Maharashtra had the largest extent of such tree outside forest.
The nation’s tree and forest cover has largely hovered from 21-25% and is short of the National Forest Policy, 1988, which envisages 33% to be under such cover.
INDIAN STATE OF FOREST REPORT is prepared by Forest Survey of India
Forest Survey of India (FSI), is a premier national organization under the union Ministry of Environment and Forests, responsible for assessment and monitoring of the forest resources of the country regularly. In addition, it is also engaged in providing the services of training, research and extension. Established on June 1,1981, the Forest Survey of India succeeded the “Preinvestment Survey of Forest Resources” (PISFR), a project initiated in 1965 by Government of India with the sponsorship of FAO and UNDP.
PM UJJAWLA YOJANA
The Union Environment Ministry has credited the Ujjwala scheme, which provides free cooking gas to extremely poor families, with ‘possibly’ reducing the demand for fuelwood.
The India State of Forest Report, 2019, — that biannually also assesses the tree cover — also surveyed 1,110 villages, which are on the fringes of forests, to assess how much fuelwood, fodder, small timber and bamboo villagers use.
The maximum fuelwood was removed in Maharashtra — 95,39000 tonnes — followed by Odisha and Rajasthan.
The highest removal, per person, was in Nagaland followed by Himachal Pradesh and Tripura.
ABOUT PRADHAN MANTRI UJJAWALA YOJANA
Ministry/Department : Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas
Objective: To reduce health hazards of indoor pollution by providing free LPG connections to Women from BPL Households
Tagline : Swachh Indhan, Behtar Jeevan
- 8 Crore (Earlier target was 5 Crore) LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) connections topoor households will be provided
- The scheme provides free LPG connection with financial assistance of Rs. 1600/- per connection to an adult woman member of all poor families. (Earlier only BPL family identified through Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) data were eligible)
- With the expansion of the PMUY scheme, all the poor households can avail the benefit from PMUY and it will not be mandatory to be part of the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) list or the seven identified categories under the programme to be eligible for the scheme.
- Eligible households will be identified in consultation with state governments and Union territories.
- The scheme will be implemented by 2020. (Older target was to be achieved by 2019).
- Consumers will have the option to purchase gas stove and refills on EMI
FIRST EDITORIAL: CHALLENGE IN JHARKHAND
WHY IN NEWS?
New Chief Minister Hemant Soren has taken oath of Chief Minister on Sunday.
It is noteworthy that the first decision of Mr. Soren’s cabinet was to drop all cases registered against those who were involved in protests in 2017 — termed the Pathalgadi movement — over these pieces of legislation. This was clearly a nod to those voters who had registered their dissent with the previous regime by voting against it.
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES FOR JHARKHAND GOVERNMENT?
Mr. Soren and his cabinet face a humongous task in addressing socio-economic concerns in the State which suffers from high rates of poverty and unemployment.
Jharkhand has the dubious distinction of registering starvation deaths in recent years, with food production and scarcity a major concern.
The failure in welfare delivery by the previous regime was largely due to its focus on streamlining welfare by weeding out fake beneficiaries through the flawed use of the Aadhaar biometrics rather than universalising and expanding the Public Distribution System and ensuring that schemes such as the Integrated Child Development Services and mid-day meals for children are better implemented.
Its other challenge is that the State is among those in the country which have low GSDP growth (especially in employment-intensive sectors) and high government debt ratios. With a rich mineral base, governments have been tempted in the past to utilise this for development but have ended up being wracked by corruption, rent seeking and poor resource capacities.
The JMM-led coalition should reorient itself to the original premise of the movement that led to the formation of Jharkhand in the first place — bringing in a sustainable development model that benefits the people rather than being saddled by the resource curse.
ISSUE: LONG TERM STRATEGY BEHIND CITIZENSHIP AMENDMENT ACT
Author highlights that to make sense of the protester’s point of view, one needs to look beyond the list of those included, which is indeed the benign half of the picture. The other half is the list of those excluded.
Why does the list of minorities include only those from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan? Why not from other neighbours such as Sri Lanka, China and Myanmar? Could it be because the ruling powers in these countries are not officially Muslim? I can think of only one reason why a government pledged to Hindutva would exclude ‘persecuted Hindu’, such as the Tamils of Sri Lanka, from the list — because their oppressor does not claim to be an official representative of Islam.
Here is one clue to the logic that informs the CAA: the legislation intends to present the perpetrator as Muslim, and only Muslim.
For a second clue as to the kind of reasoning that informs this double process of exclusion and inclusion, let us focus on the exclusion of the most persecuted minorities in the region, such as the Rohingya of Myanmar or the Uighurs of China. Just as the legislation recognises only Muslim perpetrators, it recognises no Muslim victim.
Whether intended or not, it is these reasons that make the CAA a demonic rather than a benign legislation. More than helping out persecuted minorities, its effect will be to demonise and isolate one group, Muslims, as exclusively a group of perpetrators. The official discourse thus seeks to present Muslims as a politically and morally legitimate target for persecution by a government-mobilised majority.
It is this stratagem that student protesters have exposed.
Author has PRAISED THE STUDENT PROTESTERS.
Rather than look to representative democracy as the guarantor of people’s rights, they are in search of new and popular ways of defining and defending these rights.
In pointing to new possibilities, they seem to follow a trend that can be discerned at a global level, in places such as Lebanon, Sudan, Algeria, France, Chile, Hong Kong, and so on, in what we may define as the contemporary post-Arab Spring era.
LEAD ARTICLE: FOR A PERSONAL HEALING TOUCH
ISSUE: HEALTH CARE SYSTEM IN INDIA
The NITI Aayog’s proposed 15-year plan for Indian healthcare entitled “Health Systems for a New India: Building Blocks — Potential Pathways to Reform” outlines prospects of such an infelicitous turn in Indian healthcare where hospitals will be more like super markets and destitute of traits like empathy, regard and loyalty.
While the report makes otherwise commendable proposals for health system strengthening — including elimination of informality, merging of fragmented risk pools, and reduction of out-of-pocket health spending — the proposal to consolidate small practices into larger business-like organisations appears problematic on multiple fronts.
Widespread commercialisation of care over the past few decades has entailed that the family physician is a dying breed in India today.
WHY FAMILY PHYSICIAN IS IMPORTANT?
Apart from providing comprehensive care and coordinating referrals, a family physician’s longitudinal relationship with their patient helps in a better understanding of the patient’s needs and expectations and in avoiding unnecessary clinical hassles and encounters — which in turn reflects in better outcomes and increased patient satisfaction.
WHY SMALL CLINICS ARE BETTER?
Studies have demonstrated that healthcare received in small clinics indeed scores higher in terms of patient satisfaction than that received in larger institutions. This increased satisfaction manifests as better compliance with the treatment regimen and regular follow-ups, culminating in improved clinical outcomes.
The NITI Aayog’s long-term plan provides a good opportunity to envisage such long-called-for reforms, but that would require not the U.S. model but the U.K. model to be kept at the forefront for emulation. We have already taken a minor, yet encouraging, step of sorts by introducing Attitude, Ethics, and Communication (AETCOM) in the revised undergraduate medical curriculum.
SECOND ARTICLE: GUARANTEE INTERNET RIGHTS
WHY SUCH A DEMAND?
The Software Freedom Law Centre data says there have been more than a 100 Internet shutdowns in different parts of India in 2019 alone. In Kashmir, the government imposed a complete Internet shutdown on August 4, which still continues. The enactment of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act led to protests all over the country and State governments responded by suspending the Internet.
Assam witnessed a suspension of mobile and broadband Internet services in many places, including in Guwahati for 10 days. There were Internet bans in Mangaluru, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.
IMPORTANCE OF INTERNET
. Internet broadband and mobile Internet services are a lifeline to people in India from all walks of life. While the Internet is certainly a main source of information and communication and access to social media, it is so much more than that.
People working in the technology-based gig economy — like the thousands of delivery workers for Swiggy, Dunzo and Amazon and the cab drivers of Uber and Ola — depend on the Internet for their livelihoods. It is a mode of access to education for students who do courses and take exams online. Access to the Internet is important to facilitate the promotion and enjoyment of the right to education.
The Internet provides access to transport for millions of urban and rural people; it is also a mode to access to health care for those who avail of health services online. More than anything, it is a means for business and occupation for thousands of small and individual-owned enterprises which sell their products and services online, especially those staffed by women and home-based workers.
WHY RIGHT TO INTERNET SHOULD BE INCLUDED IN FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS?
It is a right that is located through all our fundamental rights and freedoms — the right to freedom of speech and expression; freedom of peaceful assembly and association; freedom of trade and occupation and the right to life under Article 21 which includes within its ambit the right to education, health, the right to livelihood, the right to dignity and the right to privacy.
As the Kerala case of Faheema Shirin R.K. v. State of Kerala & Others notes, mobile and broadband Internet shutdowns impact women, girls and marginalised communities more disproportionately than others.
It is time that we recognise that the right to access to the Internet is indeed a fundamental right within our constitutional guarantees.
THIRD ARTICLE: POOR HDI OF INDIA
Author highlights that no matter what politicians and bureaucrats claim about India reality, India is desperately poor; it is a country where malnutrition is rife, where children continue to drop out of school in alarming numbers every year and where millions of untrained young people enter the workforce unfit for anything more than manual labour of the hardest kind. In a brake-less hurtle, India’s potential demographic dividend is morphing into a nightmare.
Human Development Index (HDI) ranking of India is a lowly 129th out of 189 countries. China, by contrast, occupies the 85th spot and Sri Lanka an even better 71st position.
India’s GDP (PPP) is 43% that of China and only 59% that of Indonesia. It is only slightly higher than that of Vietnam, a surprising star in education, which will get past India sooner than expected. At 118th place, the country is already ahead of India in HDI.
WHAT COULD BE DONE?
As highlighted by former Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Raghuram Rajan government , “instead of building gigantic statues to national or religious heroes,” should be building “more modern schools and universities that will open its children’s minds, making them more tolerant and respectful of one another, and helping them hold their own in the competitive globalised world of tomorrow.”
The Human Development Index (HDI) is a statistic composite index of life expectancy, education, and per capita income indicators, which are used to rank countries into four tiers of human development. A country scores a higher HDI when the lifespan is higher, the education level is higher, and the gross national income GNI (PPP) per capita is higher. It was developed by Pakistani economist Mahbub ul Haq and was further used to measure a country’s development by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s Human Development Report Office.
ARMED FORCES SPECIAL POWERS ACT
NEWS: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has declared the entire State of Nagaland as a “disturbed area” for six more months, under the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) which empowers security forces to conduct operations anywhere and arrest anyone without prior notice. The AFSPA has been in force in the Northeast since 1958. Nagaland got statehood in 1963.
The notification declaring Manipur and Assam as “Disturbed Areas’ has been issued by the State governments. For Nagaland, the notification is issued by the MHA. The Act has not been withdrawn despite a a framework agreement being signed on August 3, 2015 between Naga insurgent group NSCN-IM general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah and government interlocutor R.N. Ravi in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In simple terms, AFSPA gives armed forces the power to maintain public order in “disturbed areas”.
They have the authority to prohibit a gathering of five or more persons in an area, can use force or even open fire after giving due warning if they feel a person is in contravention of the law.
If reasonable suspicion exists, the army can also arrest a person without a warrant; enter or search a premises without a warrant; and ban the possession of firearms.
Any person arrested or taken into custody may be handed over to the officer in charge of the nearest police station along with a report detailing the circumstances that led to the arrest.
What is a “disturbed area” and who has the power to declare it?
A disturbed area is one which is declared by notification under Section 3 of the AFSPA. An area can be disturbed due to differences or disputes between members of different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities. The Central Government, or the Governor of the State or administrator of the Union Territory can declare the whole or part of the State or Union Territory as a disturbed area. A suitable notification would have to be made in the Official Gazette. As per Section 3 , it can be invoked in places where “the use of armed forces in aid of the civil power is necessary”.
The Ministry of Home Affairs would usually enforce this Act where necessary, but there have been exceptions where the Centre decided to forego its power and leave the decision to the State governments.
What’s the origin of AFSPA?
The Act came into force in the context of increasing violence in the Northeastern States decades ago, which the State governments found difficult to control. The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Bill was passed by both the Houses of Parliament and it was approved by the President on September 11, 1958. It became known as the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958.
Which States are, or had come under this Act?
It is effective in the whole of Nagaland, Assam, Manipur (excluding seven assembly constituencies of Imphal) and parts of Arunachal Pradesh. The Centre revoked it in Meghalaya on April 1, 2018. Earlier, the AFSPA was effective in a 20 km area along the Assam-Meghalaya border. In Arunachal Pradesh, the impact of AFSPA was reduced to eight police stations instead of 16 police stations and in Tirap, Longding and Changlang districts bordering Assam.
Tripura withdrew the AFSPA in 2015. Jammu and Kashmir too has a similar Act.
Justice B P Jeevan Reddy committee had recommended scrapping of the Act from the State.
CHIEF OF DEFENSE STAFF
Gen. Rawat is set to retire as the Army chief on December 31 on completing three years of tenure and will assume charge as the CDS.
Vice-Chief of Army Lt. Gen. Manoj Mukund Naravane is scheduled to take over as the 28th Chief of Army Staff.
According to an official gazette dated December 28, the upper age limit for the CDS has been fixed at 65 years.
However, the tenure of CDS has not been fixed. Service chiefs have a tenure of three years or 62 years, whichever is earlier, and it remains unchanged.
As Gen. Rawat has not reached 62 years of age, his tenure as CDS could be longer than his tenure as the COAS unless the government fixes the tenure of CDS at a later stage.
CDS will be the single-point military adviser to the government as suggested by the Kargil Review Committee in 1999. CDS will head the department of military affairs with salary equivalent to Service Chiefs.
The broad mandate of theCDS includes bringing about jointness in “operations, logistics, transport, training,support services, communications, repairs and maintenance of the three Services,within three years of the first CDS assuming office.”
“He will act as the Principal Military Adviser to Defence Minister on all triServices matters. However, the three Chiefs will continue to advise the Minister on matters exclusively concerning their respective Services.
Interestingly, the sources said the CDS would also evaluate plans “for ‘Out ofArea Contingencies’, as well other contingencies such as Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR).”
The government also recently informed Parliament that the CDS would come in the ambit of ‘Right to Information Act’, in accordance with the provisions of theRTI Act, 2005
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office has proposed waiving a tax on coal to help finance pollution-curbing equipment, according to documents, but the move would also make coal more competitive in price with solar and wind energy.
Mr. Modi’s office has proposed waiving the carbon tax of ₹400 per tonne that was levied on the production and import of coal, according to the documents reviewed by Reuters.
The documents say the savings would improve the financial health of utilities and distribution companies, and help power producers to install pollution-curbing equipment. The PMO and the Power Ministry did not respond to requests seeking comment on the proposal.
Despite struggling with some of the world’s worst air pollution levels, India has already pushed back a deadline to cut emission levels to up to 2022.
Over half of India’s coal-fired plants are already set to miss a phased deadline starting December 2019 to cut emissions of sulphur oxides, which have been proven to contribute to lung disease.
ABOUT CARBON TAX
Carbon tax is a form of pollution tax. It levies a fee on the production, distribution or use of fossil fuels based on how much carbon their combustion emits.
The government sets a price per ton on carbon, and then translates it into a tax on electricity, natural gas or oil.
Because the tax makes using dirty fuels more expensive, it encourages utilities, businesses and individuals to reduce consumption and increase energy efficiency.
Carbon tax also makes alternative energy more cost-competitive with cheaper, polluting fuels like coal, natural gas and oil. Carbon tax offers social and economic benefits.
The first country to implement a carbon tax was Finland, in 1990. That levy currently stands at $24.39 dollars per ton of carbon.
The Finns were quickly followed by other Nordic countries — Sweden and Norway both implemented their own carbon taxes in 1991.
MERCHANT DISCOUNT RATE
Waiver on MDR charges for transactions through RuPay cards and UPI payments would kill the digital payments industry, the Payments Council of India stated on Monday, while criticising the Union government’s move.
After a meeting with bankers on Saturday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had asked them not to charge MDR on payments via RuPay and UPI from January 1 with a view to driving digital payments. The move will apply to all companies with a turnover of ₹50 crore or more.
- Simply put, it is a charge to a merchant by a bank for accepting payment from their customers in credit and debit cards every time a card gets swiped in their stores.
- Similarly, MDR also includes the processing charges that a payments aggregator has to pay to online or mobile wallets or indeed to banks for their service.
OPEN MARKET OPERATIONS
In its second special open market operation (OMO), the Reserve Bank of India on Monday bought ₹10,000 crore of long-term government securities and sold ₹8,501 crore of three short-term bonds.
Last week, the RBI had said it would buy and sell government securities under OMO for ₹10,000 crore each, simultaneously.
ABOUT OPEN MARKET OPERATIONS
Open market operations is the sale and purchase of government securities and treasury bills by RBI or the central bank of the country.
The objective of OMO is to regulate the money supply in the economy.
When the RBI wants to increase the money supply in the economy, it purchases the government securities from the market and it sells government securities to suck out liquidity from the system.
RBI carries out the OMO through commercial banks and does not directly deal with the public.
OMO is one of the tools that RBI uses to smoothen the liquidity conditions through the year and minimise its impact on the interest rate and inflation rate levels.