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Editorial for January 2, 2017

Go for Revision by KSG

Islamabad has asked the World Bank to honour the Indus Water Treaty executed between India and Pakistan in 1960. This is in response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's remark that India is free to use the water which flows into the sea. This is not correct because according to the treaty, India cannot use more than 20% of the Indus water.  

The World Bank spent many years to persuade New Delhi and Islamabad to reach an agreement. I recall that after Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Martial Law Administrator General Mohammad Ayub travelled in the same car, Mian Iftakharuddin of Muslim League suggested if they could sign an agreement on Kashmir in the same spirit. Both the leaders remained silent. 

According to the treaty, India could draw water from the Ravi, the Beas and the Sutlej while Pakistan from the Indus, the Chenab and Jehlum. Even though both counties felt that they could utilise the water which was flowing through their country, they refrained from doing so because of the treaty. In fact, the Indus Water Treaty is an example before the world that it held the ground even when the two countries went to war.  

Modi's off-the-cuff remark has created consternation in Pakistan, forcing it to appeal to the World Bank to "fulfil its obligation" relating to the treaty. In a letter to World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, Pakistan Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has said the treaty did not provide for a situation wherein a party can 'pause' performance of its obligations and this attitude of the World Bank would prejudice Pakistan's interests and rights under the treaty.   The fear of Pakistan is exaggerated. The country does not want any alteration in the treaty. In its reaction, the World Bank has said that it has paused its arbitration in the water dispute between India and Pakistan, saying it is doing so to protect the Indus Water Treaty. India would take no unilateral step to stop the water going unused into the Arabian Sea.   

However, there is a case where the two countries should sit and hammer out another treaty because the old one is outdated. Then it was thought that the water given to Rajasthan would be utilised by the rest of the country because the state, part of the desert, would not be able to do so. But this has turned out to be wrong. The state has utilised the water allotted to it and wants more.   When Modi wants to have good relations with Pakistan and has wished his counterpart Nawaz Sharif on this birthday last week, the former would not take any step which would harm Pakistan. 

There were enough of provocations from Islamabad like the attacks on Pathankot and Uri that killed many civilians to act unilaterally. Even otherwise, it is in the interest of both countries that peace should prevail in the region. Both would benefit.  

Kashmir is the problem which divides the two countries. Representatives of both countries should sit across the table sort it out. Sharif unnecessarily harangued Kashmir on the Pakistan television networks that Kashmir belonged to Pakistan and there would be no peace in the region until it became part of his country.   This irresponsible statement, coming as it does from a country's prime minister, has affected the tourist season in the valley. So much so that even Syed Shah Geelani, the pro-Pakistan Hurriyat leader, joined a procession to appeal to the tourists to return to the valley. Both he and Yasin Malik, who wants the valley to be independent, were part of the procession. They were particular that the message should reach New Delhi so that it takes steps to see that the tourists return to Kashmir.   

The separatists in the valley do not realise that the tourists flock to the valley as if they were visiting any part of India. The demand of independence or the threat of disturbance has scared them. It is in the interest of Kashmiris not to disturb the status quo until they can have something better. This is possible if the three parties, India, Pakistan and the people in Kashmir, come together for a dialogue. New Delhi is not prepared for that because Islamabad has gone back on its promise not to allow its territory to be used by terrorists.  

Aborted Agra pact   

This was also agreed upon when Pakistan was under General Musharraf's rule. He went to Agra and almost signed an agreement with then prime minster A B Vajpayee, until news had leaked that India's then I&B minister Sushma Swaraj changed the draft agreement omitting Kashmir from the text. Since then, the two countries have stayed distant. Musharraf's misadventure in Kargil only aggravated the matter further.   It must be said to the credit of Vajpayee that he took a bus to Lahore. I was sitting behind him when he showed me New Delhi's telegram which said that several Hindus had been killed near Jammu. He said he did not know how the country would react about his trip to Lahore but he was determined to pick up the thread with Nawaz Sharif. The rest is history.   

The Indus Water Treaty can be replaced with another treaty but the consent of Pakistan is necessary. When it has not been willing to allow getting electricity from the run of the river it is difficult to imagine that it would agree to the use of rivers in the Indus system even though water from them is pouring into the Arabian Sea without being used for either irrigation or hydroelectric projects

There is a tendency in Pakistan to link everything with Kashmir, which is a complicated problem and it would take many years to solve. The revision of Indus Water Treaty, which can satisfy both the countries, would add to the peace prospects. Let the treaty be discussed separately. The rest can follow. The only point to be taken into account is how the two countries can come closer to each other.

India and Pakistan exchanged for the 26th consecutive year a list of their nuclear installations under a bilateral agreement that prohibits them from attacking each other’s atomic facilities.  


  1. The agreement, which was signed on December 31, 1988 and entered into force on January 27, 1991, says the two countries inform each other of nuclear installations and facilities to be covered under the agreement on January 1 of every calendar year
  2. This is the 26th consecutive exchange of such list between the two countries, the first one having taken place on January 1, 1992.
  3. The two countries also exchanged, through diplomatic channels simultaneously at New Delhi and Islamabad, the lists of nationals (including civil prisoners and fishermen) of each country lodged in their respective jails as per provisions of the Agreement on Consular Access. 
  4. The agreement on consular access, signed between the two countries on May 21, 2008, provides for exchanging a comprehensive list of nationals of each country lodged in their jails twice each year–on January 1 and July 1.
  5. Pakistan has so far turned down India’s request for consular access to Jadhav whom Pakistan claimed to be a RAW spy. 
  6. Ansari had crossed over illegally to Pakistan from Afghanistan in 2012 reportedly to meet a girl he had befriended online and then went missing. He was later arrested and tried by a Pakistani military court which pronounced him guilty of espionage.

Hindi Editorial 

बड़े बदलाव का साल स्रोत: द्वारा हर्ष वी. पंत: दैनिक जागरण साल 2016 को प्रधानमंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी द्वारा नोटबंदी के साहसिक निर्णय के लिए भारत में लंबे समय तक याद किया जाएगा। यह शायद हाल के वर्षों में किसी भी भारत सरकार द्वारा लिया गया सबसे दूरगामी नीतिगत निर्णय है। हालांकि देश इस फैसले से अभी जूझ रहा है, लेकिन आने वाले दिनों में भारत के आर्थिक विकास पर इसका महत्वपूर्ण प्रभाव देखने को मिलेगा। 2016 में आर्थिक सुधारक के रूप में मोदी कई बार लीक तोड़ते हुए नजर आए। ऐसा ही एक अवसर तब आया था जब उनकी सरकार संसद में युगांतकारी वस्तु एवं सेवा कर यानी जीएसटी बिल को पास कराने में सफल रही थी। इसके कानून बन जाने से पूरे देश में एक ही अप्रत्यक्ष कर लागू होगा, जिससे पूरा भारत एकीकृत बाजार में तब्दील हो जाएगा। 25 साल पहले जब भारत में उदारीकरण का दौर शुरू हुआ था तब से यह भारत के अप्रत्यक्ष कर ढांचे में बड़ा सुधार है और 2017 में इसके लागू होने की संभावना है।2016 में भारत ने स्वयं को दुनिया में सबसे तेज गति से बढ़ती अर्थव्यस्था की सूची में शीर्ष पर बरकरार रखा और इसके कारण वह अंतरराष्ट्रीय मंच पर अपनी मौजूदगी दर्ज कराने में भी सफल रहा। साथ ही मोदी ने विदेश नीति के मोर्चे पर सबसे सशक्त नेता के रूप में अपनी छवि कायम रखी और इस प्रकार विश्व राजनीति में उनकी धाक पहले की तरह ही बनी हुई है। हालांकि मोदी सरकार धीरे-धीरेभारतीय विदेश नीति के मूल में तब्दीली ला रही है। वेनेजुएला के बार-बार आग्रह करने के बावजूद 17वें गुटनिरपेक्ष सम्मेलन में हिस्सेदारी नहीं कर मोदी ने बड़ा प्रतीकात्मक कदम उठाया। 1979 में चौधरी चरण सिंह के बाद सम्मेलन से दूर रहने वाले वह दूसरे प्रधानमंत्री हैं,जबकि भारत गुटनिरपेक्ष आंदोलन का सह-संस्थापक है। जाहिर है कि मोदी के प्रथम प्रधानमंत्री जवाहरलाल नेहरू की विरासत से दूर जाने का मतलब है कि नई दिल्ली विदेश नीति पर अपने परंपरागत दृष्टिकोण को छोड़ रही है। भारतीय नीति निर्माताओं का गुटनिरपेक्ष आंदोलन से जुड़ाव विश्व राजनीति में भारतीय पहचान का एक प्रमुख घटक रहा है। यद्यपि भारत शीतयुद्ध के दौरान दो प्रमुख विश्व शक्तियों से मदद प्राप्त करता रहा था-जैसे कि 1962 में चीन के खिलाफ अमेरिका से और 1971 में पाकिस्तान के खिलाफ सोवियत संघ से समर्थन मिला था, इसके बावजूद उसने कम से कम कागजों में गुटनिरपेक्ष आंदोलन के विचारों को सुरक्षित रखा है। अब हालात बदल रहे हैं और भारत विश्व पटल पर अपनी अलग भूमिका के लिए प्रयासरत है।दरअसल हाल के वर्षों में भारत के सामने खासकर चीन के उत्थान के चलते नई तरह की चुनौतियां सामने आई हैं। इसे देखते हुए भारतीय नीति निर्माता समान सोच वाले पड़ोसियों और अन्य देशों का नेटवर्क खड़ा करने के लाभ-हानि की गणना कर रहे हैं। मोदी नेहरू से इतर भारतीय विदेश नीति की दिशा को धीरे-धीरे और निर्णायक रूप से बदल रहे हैं, पहले कुछ लोगों ने ही ऐसा करने की हिम्मत की है। हालांकि भारतीय बौद्धिक प्रतिष्ठान का एक हिस्सा अभी अमेरिका का विरोधी बना हुआ है, लेकिन मोदी सरकार ने अपने निर्णायक बहुमत के बल पर घरेलू विकास के एजेंडे के लिए जरूरी पूंजी और तकनीक हासिल करने के लिए अमेरिका के साथ नया सहयोग कायम किया है। अर्थात वह चीन की बढ़ती क्षेत्रीय ताकत और आक्रामकता से पैदा हुई चुनौतियों से आंखें मूंदे हुए नहीं हैं। इसके साथ ही वह क्षेत्र में अमेरिका के अन्य सहयोगी देशों जैसे जापान, आस्टे्रलिया और वियतनाम के साथ भी मजबूत संबंध बनाने में रुचि ले रहे हैं। शायद यही वजह है कि उन्होंने दक्षिण चीन सागर विवाद में वियतनाम और फिलीपींस का पक्ष लिया है।उड़ी में सेना के मुख्यालय पर हुए पाकिस्तान समर्थित आतंकी हमले के बाद भारतीय सेना द्वारा नियंत्रण रेखा के उस पार पाकिस्तान अधिकृत कश्मीर में आतंकी शिविरों पर सर्जिकल स्ट्राइक के बाद दक्षिण एशिया में एक और बड़ा बदलाव आया है। उस कदम को मोदी सरकार द्वारा पाकिस्तान पर दबाव बढ़ाने के तौर पर देखा गया। भारत ने राजनयिक तौर पर पाकिस्तान को घेरने का विकल्प भी खुला रखा है। एक भाषण के दौरान मोदी ने सीधे पाकिस्तान के लोगों से आतंकवाद के खिलाफ स्वर बुलंद करने की अपील की। क्षेत्रीय स्तर पर भी मोदी सरकार पाकिस्तान को दबाव में लाने के लिए इस्लामाबाद में दक्षिण एशियाई सहयोग संगठन (दक्षेस) के सम्मेलन को स्थगित कराने में सफल रही। तब सहयोगी देशों ने भारत के रुख का समर्थन किया और सम्मेलन का बहिष्कार किया। यह एक ऐसा दुर्लभ अवसर था, जब क्षेत्रीय देश एक सुर में आतंकवाद को सरकारी नीति की तरह इस्तेमाल करने पर पाकिस्तान के खिलाफ बोल रहे थे।पाकिस्तान उस वक्त भी दबाव में दिखा जब मोदी सरकार ने सैन्य शक्ति को एक साधन के रूप में इस्तेमाल करने का फैसला किया। इसकी नई दिल्ली लंबे समय से अनदेखी करती आ रही थी। सीमा पार भारत ने क्या किया, यह सवाल नहीं है। महत्वपूर्ण बात यह है कि भारत ने सर्जिकल स्ट्राइक जैसे मुद्दे को पहली बार प्रचारित करने का फैसला किया। पाकिस्तान को लेकर मोदी सरकार की नीतियों का पूर्वानुमान नहीं लगाया जा सकता है। दरअसल यह सरकार की एक बड़ी रणनीति का हिस्सा ही है। नई दिल्ली पाकिस्तान को उसके दुस्साहस की सजा देने के प्रति प्रतिबद्ध है और उसने यह सुनिश्चित किया है कि लश्कर-ए-तैयबा, जैश-ए-मोहम्मद जैसे आतंकी संगठनों के सहारे भारत का खून बहाने की कीमत पाकिस्तान को निश्चित ही चुकानी पड़े। इसी तरह बलूच लोगों की दुर्दशा की तरफ दुनिया का ध्यान आकर्षित करने का मोदी सरकार का फैसला भी महत्वपूर्ण रहा, जहां वे पाकिस्तान की पंजाबी वर्चस्व वाली सेना के अत्याचार का सामना कर रहे हैं। भारत ने पाकिस्तान को चेतावनी दी है कि यदि वह आतंक और हिंसा के जरिये कश्मीर में दखल देता है तो वह बलूचिस्तान में पाकिस्तान के अत्याचारों को उजागर कर देगा। पाकिस्तान को अलग-थलग करने की मांग के साथ ही भारत अपने पड़ोसियों बांग्लादेश और अफगानिस्तान के साथ संबंधों को मजबूत बनाने में पूरे दमखम से जुटा हुआ है। इसमें काबुल के साथ सैन्य सहयोग स्थापित करना और ढाका के साथ सीमा विवाद को खत्म करना शामिल है, लेकिन चीन लगातार पाकिस्तान का समर्थन कर रहा है। पाकिस्तान के रणनीतिक रूप से अहम ग्वादर बंदरगाह पर चीन ने अपने नौ सैनिक पोत तैनात कर रखे हैं। बीजिंग ने इसे चीन-पाकिस्तान आर्थिक कोरिडोर के तौर पर विकसित किया है। इससे चीन की दिलचस्पी इस क्षेत्र में बढ़ेगी, जो भारत के लिए चिंता की बात होगी। आने वाले दिनों में पाकिस्तान और अमेरिका के बीच रिश्ते तंग होने के आसार हैं। अब अमेरिका ने दशकों पुरानी नीति को बदलते हुए भारत को तरजीह देनी शुरू कर दी है। इसका असर यह है कि दक्षिण एशिया में अब पुराने नियम लागू नहीं हो रहे हैं। 

 Long-term steps to boost agriculture growth 

Agriculture was at the centre-stage of priority sectors for the government in 2016, upstaged only at the fag-end of the year by the demonetisation drive of the government. Significantly two consecutive droughts did not dampen the indomitable spirit of Indian farmers who, as per the fourth advance estimates for 2015-16 crop year, produced 252.22 million tonnes of foodgrains as against the output of 252.02 million tonnes last year.

There was a marginal dip in the output of rice, coarse cereals, oilseeds, pulses and cotton due to monsoon deficiency that hit kharif crops in parts of the country this year.  Although rabi wheat yield was projected to be higher at 93.5 million tonnes in 2015-16 as against 86.53 million tonnes the previous year, procurement this year was lower than the set target, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Radha Mohan Singh said at a press conference in New Delhi on 29th December. To augment supplies and keep prices under check, it was decided to allow wheat import at zero per cent duty on private account. The government has assured farmers that it will procure more foodgrains for the Public Distribution System and swiftly intervene in the market to ensure that wheat growers get the minimum support price, which is set at Rs. 1625 per quintal for 2016-17 marketing season.  

Needless to say, the government is closely monitoring the situation. In a way, the year 2016 saw digitisation of the agriculture sector in a big way with mobile apps being launched in quick succession. The Agriculture Ministry launched Kisan Suvidha for weather information, market prices and crop diseases; PUSA Agriculture that gave information about new variety of seeds and latest techniques; Agri Market that gives news about mandi prices in a radius of 50 kms from the location of a farmer; Crop Insurance relating to all information about fasal bima; Crop Cutting Experiments for asking for crop cutting experiments. Lakhs of farmers have benefitted from downloading these apps. 

This year, not only was the limit for farm sector lending by formal banking system raised to an all-time high of Rs. 900,000 crore, initiatives were taken—post-demonetisation—to encourage farmers to move towards cashless transactions and Direct Benefit Transfer of payments. If this happens it will be a big step towards easing out of middle-men/commission agents from mandi operations and a tiny measure to ensure that farmers get at least the minimum support price for the produce they bring to the market place. Be that as it may, the year 2016 saw the government give high priority to the agriculture sector in order to address the major fundamental concerns about imbalanced use of fertilizers affecting soil health (issuance of soil health cards, neem-coated urea and organic farming)  ill-effects of climate change hitting farmers’ income (fasal bima yojna) creating an electronic-platform market for seamless trade (National Agriculture e-Market) and bringing more land under irrigated farming (PM’s Krishi Sinchai Yojna). Related sectors of pulses, oilseeds, horticulture, fishery, livestock, milk, agro-forestry, bee-keeping, agriculture education, research and extension were also given focussed attention. 

Pledging the government’s commitment to doubling farmers income by 2021, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced long-term measures and raised the agriculture outlay to Rs. 39894 crore from Rs. 15809 crore in the 2015-16 budget. In the interim, the sector is set to receive additional Rs 5000 crore from the Krishi Kalyan cess in supplementary budgets. Apart from this, a Rs. 20,000 crore corpus fund has been created in collaboration with NABARD for the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojna which is dedicated to bringing water to every field (Har Khet Ko Paani) through completion of last-mile projects and drip and micro-irrigation. An area of 76.03 lakh hectare is proposed to be brought under irrigation by 2019. One of the ambitious programme launched during the year was the weather-based Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna (PM’s Crop Insurance Scheme) for which Rs. 5500 crore were set aside. Under the scheme there will be no cap on who can be covered and the states and central government pick up 90 per cent of the premium. In this year’s kharif, 366.64 lakh farmers were covered under the scheme in 21 states.  

Marketing of their produce and to get remunerative prices is the biggest concern of farmers for which over 250 mandis in 10 states have been integrated under the e-NAM (National Agriculture Market) portal for better price recovery and wider access. Till last week farm produce worth Rs. 7131.21 crore were transacted on this electronic platform bringing a never-before transparency in marketing. 


To keep prices of pulses under check, the government set up a 2-million tonne buffer stock of pulses and augmented availability through imports as well as domestic supplies. At the same time, under the National Food Security Mission, the highest allocation was made for pulses and steps were taken to enhance production which had a cooling effect on prices. The production target for pulses next year is 20.75 million tonnes as against output of 16.47 million tonnes last year. 

Likewise, efforts were made to clear the bulk of the pending arrears of sugarcane farmer. With effects of climate change threatening to adversely affect the farm sector, the government took a major initiative to revise the norms for compensation for damaged crop as a result of drought, floods and hail etc. Instead of 33 per cent, farmers who suffer 50 per cent crop damage shall be eligible for compensation. The outgo of funds to states under the National Disaster Relief Fund in the last two years has been Rs. 24,556 crore. Using modern technology, smart phones can be used for uploading pictures of damaged crop and drones will be used to assess damage. 

The year also saw focus with renewed vigour on the second green revolution in eastern and north eastern states for meeting food security needs of a growing population. The growth of this sector is crucial to the overall economy. Expectations are that the farm growth rate this year will be higher than 1.1 per cent last year.    

About the Author Gargi Parsai—the author is an award-winning, senior journalist based in New Delhi.


Feature Article on Cultivating Rural Technology for Development - http://pib.nic.in/newsite/efeatures.aspx

Hello Puys,

Here are the important current affairs for January 1, 2, 2017 https://www.pagalguy.com/news/current-affairs-for-competitive-exams-january-1-2-2017-5022545902305280 

New regimen of Drugs launched for HIV/TB

A new daily regimen of Fixed Dose Combinations (FDC) for TB/HIV patients was launched at the Indira Gandhi Medical College, Kathirkamam. This follows the Central TB Division deciding to adopt FDC with daily regimen wherein all the four ATT drugs are combined and packed in a single tablet to reduce the number of pills intake and to improve the patient compliance.Major challenge

  • Tuberculosis was the most common opportunistic infection among HIV positives in India with about 25 per cent of deaths in HIV due to TB.
  • With about 5 per cent of diagnosed TB patients found to be HIV positive in India, the situation posed a major public health challenge.
  • Aiming to control this menace, the Central TB Division and National AIDS Control Organisation have started collaboration since 2001. All the clients attending Integrated Counselling and Testing Centre (ICTC), the Facility Integrated ICTC and the anti-retroviral therapy centres were screened for TB with four symptoms complex and the diagnosis are made swiftly with a newer technology called CBNAAT wherein the results are obtained within the same day. At present, the DOTS treatment (intermittent regimen) was the standard for the diagnosed TBHIV co-infected patients.
  • The FDC regimen adopted by the Central TB Division was launched at the antiretroviral therapy centre at the IGMCRI by Dr. K.V. Raman, Director (Health and Family Welfare Services).

Credit Gurantee for MSME increasedPrime Minister Narendra Modi while addressing the nation on the eve of the New Year announced an increase in credit guarantees for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) from Rs.1 crore to Rs.2 crores. He added that Non Banking Financial Company (NBFC) loans will also be covered under this scheme. Banks should give loans, we take guarantee, he said adding that the government has told banks that cash credit limit for small enterprises be increased to 25 percent from 20 percent.Highlights:

  • Reiterating the government’s decision to give tax relief to small businessmen on cashless will be calculated on six percent of their income (which was earlier calculated on eight percent).”tax transaction, Prime Minister Modi said, “Now on their (small businessmen) digital transactions,
  • Announcing a new scheme for pregnant women, the Prime Minister said, “Rs. 6000 will be credited to (pregnant) women’s accounts for registration, delivery, vaccination, nutrition.” However, the scheme will only be launched in 53 districts in the initial phase and only Rs 4000 will be given.

Important Supreme Court Verdict

The Supreme Court of India uphold the secular ethos of the Indian Constitution by stating that the politicians can’t use religion, caste, creed or language for seeking votes. In a 4:3 verdict in the controversial Hindutva case, the apex court said election in the country is a secular exercise and thereby its way and processes should be followed. The top court said no politician can seek votes in the name of caste, creed, or religion. 


  1. The court said that the relationship between man and God is an individual choice and the state is forbidden to interfere in such an activities. 
  2. A seven-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court passed the judgement in the Hindutva case after hearing in detail arguments from various petitioners.
  3. The majority view of the Supreme Court upheld that elections will be void if a politician makes an appeal for vote on the basis of his religion or his voters and agents.
  4. The seven-judge bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur passed this order while revisiting its two-decade-old ‘Hindutva’ judgement for an authoritative pronouncement on electoral law categorising misuse of religion for electoral gains as “corrupt practice”.
  5. The bench had also ignored the request of some parties to involve Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi for his assistance.
  6. Religion can’t affect the purity of the electoral process. Appeal by anyone in names of religion, race, caste, language and community will hold the poll bad, the top court ruled.
  7. Apart from CHI Thakur, the bench comprised justices Madan B Lokur, S A Bobde, A K Goel, U U Lalit, D Y Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao.


The waters of our discontent 

Let the last word, then, belong to the river. Recall the names that ribbon out like a litany of discontent—Cauvery, Indus, Sutlej, Yamuna, Brahmaputra, Teesta. Every name a mantra, and every mantra vitiated, its potency hijacked by the din of fratricidal war. 

Imagine a pastoral idyll comprised of two farmers. Reflect that the word “rival” comes from the Latin rivalis, which means those who share the waters of a river, and be prepared for trouble in paradise. 

There are only two units of water to be distributed. The total surplus is maximized when the upstream farmer uses one unit, watering the most fertile portion of his land, and the downstream farmer uses the remaining one unit on her most fertile acreage. However, the upstream farmer may well use his positional advantage to grab both units of water. From the point of view of efficiency, this is not ideal. If the second farmer is relatively poor, then there is a further issue of inequity. 

Governmental intervention to settle “riparian rights” (the rights of those owning land on the borders of a river) often involves laying down rules on the quantity of water that can be used by each user. On occasion, the adjudication involves not merely private parties but different governmental jurisdictions. 

For instance, the Cauvery agreement prescribes the quantity of water that accrues to Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Kerala. Such agreements are susceptible to delays and opacity in decision making, and the challenges of monitoring. To reduce problems, some agreements divide the rivers in a basin between upstream and downstream users instead of dividing the water of a single river. The Indus Water Treaty between India and Pakistan is an example where India gets the waters of the Sutlej, Ravi and Beas, and Pakistan gets the waters of the Indus, Jhelum and Chenab with limited rights for India on the upstream portion. 

An important factor affecting the agreements reached is the relative power of the negotiating parties. The Cauvery agreement was struck in 1924 between a powerful Madras Presidency under British rule and the Mysore state under the Wodeyars. As a result, it is believed, the terms were skewed in favour of Madras. The agreement has been revisited frequently after a tribunal was constituted in 1990 but implementation in a situation when the Central government, and the two main state governments involved, are governed by different parties becomes difficult.

The sharing of waters between Haryana and Punjab was decided at the time of the formation of Haryana in 1966, when the Central government and both the state governments were under Congress rule. Construction of the Sutlej-Yamuna link canal was officially started in 1982 to operationalize the agreement under the same configuration of governments. Today even though one party is involved at the Centre as well as in the state governments, it is not in a position to openly support the transfer of water from Punjab to Haryana. 

Indeed, the sabre rattling of the Prime Minister on the Indus Waters Treaty in the run-up to the Punjab election can partly be construed as a cover-up for the fact that the Central government cannot openly oppose the Sutlej-Yamuna link canal. This is a reflection not just of political and legal realities, but also of the far greater stress on water resources after close to 50 years of over-exploitation. 

The utilization of common property resources is subject to the “tragedy of the commons” a concept popularized by the ecologist Garrett Hardin. Each user of the resource fails to take into account the effect of his usage on the depletion of the common property resource for other users. 

As a result, the resource is overused. The problem of the commons becomes amplified when the total stock of the resource is depleting every year. In the alluvial aquifers of northern Gujarat, the reserves, and therefore the tube wells, are evenly spread out. This allowed the cohesive Patidar community to cleverly use the groundwater for a time. 

However, in the hard rock aquifers of the Deccan plateau, tube wells are often situated in close proximity due to the spatial concentration of suitable reserves. As a result, each user is quite cognizant that their access to water becomes reduced by the water extraction activities of their neighbour. A race to the bottom ensues as each user aims to maximize the cash per drop. 

The cultivation of high water intensity crops like sugar cane, paddy, mulberry and vanilla abounds in areas of maximum water scarcity, precisely where it is most unsustainable. The depletion of groundwater reduces the flow in rivers in two ways: It reduces the recharge of rivers from groundwater, and it occasions the demand for dams and canals from communities that have become powerful in the groundwater economy—for instance, the demand for the Sardar Sarovar dam by the Patidars.

This further reduces the flow and quality of surface water and puts river agreements at risk.When the exploitation of groundwater becomes unviable due to receding levels, when dams are delayed, and when exit options in the form of government jobs or migration to other countries dry out, there is unrest as powerful agricultural communities hit the streets

The Patidar, Maratha and Jat agitations are symptoms of agricultural distress that can be traced back to the drying up of water resources and the lack of viable alternatives. The clear and present danger of a water emergency stares us in the face. A radical revision of our relationship with natural resources is urgently needed lest the rumblings of disaster turn into a full-blown catastrophe. 

@priyank.pamkar  really nice work bro..... i have a request.... can you please share all about rose valley scam..... i m not getting sufficient details about it over net....

Electoral determinants

The Constitution has, under Article 326, adopted universal adult suffrage. Since Independence, the governments, both at the Centre and in the states, have been formed through the secret ballots of the adult populace. The electorate has, voted for liberty, unity, peace and security. But, though the election per se is a political phenomenon, some extraneous factors have unfortunately dominated the people’s electoral behaviour. 

Therefore, any study of matters electoral calls for an analysis of the various aspects of the lives and mindset of the electorate. Indeed, Indians are deeply committed to political democracy based on the British system. But they are largely motivated by various sentiments and the political leaders clearly utilise their emotions for their own electoral benefits. Thus, elections have witnessed the ugly activities of the politicians seeking votes on grounds of religion, caste, regionalism, money and so on.

It is necessary to discuss the role of these factors. First, religion is a dominating factor in elections. The country, since the ancient era, has been home to people of various religious beliefs. As often as not, communal frenzy and riots have resulted in bloodshed. Though we have expressly adopted the secular principle, the people, by and large, have nurtured a feeling of religious separatism. It is a feeling that is manifest in the election of the candidates. So, no political party can ignore the religious sentiments and prejudices. Often, the people of a particular religion go to the polling booths after carefully considering the religious structure of the particular constituency. 

SL Sikri has observed ‘taking advantage of this communal thinking, the political parties operate on the basis of religion’. Thus, religion and politics have been unethically blended and this peculiar “compound” is now playing havoc. Second, caste is also an ugly aspect of our electoral politics. However, in the big cities casteism is not much effective; but in rural areas, it plays a dominant role in choosing the candidates. As G. Roson has pointed out, it is naive to expect that casteism will not play a more significant part in the elections to come

In fact, the majority of voters choose the candidate of a certain caste even if his opponents are candidates of better calibre. As WH Morris Jones puts it, “politics is more important to caste and castes are more important in politics than ever before”. In the same way, VM Sirsikar has observed that ‘it assumes a new role of regulating political behaviour’ (Caste and Politics).

Third, regionalism is another determinant in electoral politics. As M Brecher has pointed out, there are some problems which are regional in nature and most of the voters feel that none but the local candidates can deal with them effectively. Localism has thus gained ground in our elections. So, a candidate of a distant locality is often rejected as an ‘outsider’ in the local polls. This sentiment is so touchy that it has even led to the break-up of some provinces on linguistic lines. 

Fourth, the economic class has also determined election results in different areas. In Mumbai, Kanpur, Ahmedabad and other industrial regions, the results have largely been settled by the Marxist voters. Similarly, in the rich and capitalist areas, the votes of the upper class have helped the rightist parties. Clearly, class politics in India has come to assume a critical role in elections.

Fifth, language also plays an important part in the electoral choice. This is such a strong sentiment that people of the same language seek to live in the same locality and, as a stark reality; some provinces have been split on the linguistic issue. So, most of the voters pick the candidates who speak the same language. Thus, often the election largely becomes a linguistic issue. 

Money is no less a factor that determines dividend at the hustings. Crores are spent by the political parties in their frantic attempt to secure votes and assume power. The major parties are often funded by industrialists who, in turn, are eager to seek advantage in their own economic activity.

There is thus an unholy nexus on the basis of a give-and-take policy. It has been pointed out by ND Palmer that these profit-earners had provided a fair amount of money to the Congress during the early years of Independence. The party was able to capture power in the whole country. But, with the break-up of the Congress monolith, a multy-party system has eventually come up and, hence, some other big parties have similarly become financial beneficiaries of the electoral system. 

In a sense, votes are purchased by the enriched parties.Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Jayaprakash Narayan, for instance, had largely influenced the voters to stand behind their parties and a large number of people were almost mesmerised by their charm. They were hardly bothered with the ideology of such leaders ~ they voted for them only with a feeling of hero-worship. Even now, Lalu Prasad, Mulayam Singh Yadav and some others similarly play a charismatic role in the elections in their respective states. Thus, by dint of their popularity, some leaders often rule the roost.

Gender also plays an important role in electoral politics. This had helped Indira Gandhi and Jayalalitha. Similarly, the male voters generally choose their brethren in the polls, ignoring the female aspirants. Family tradition is also a dominant factor. In fact, many families are traditionally devoted to a particular party and the elders are so influential, even overbearing, that the younger generation can scarcely think independently on matters political, still less alter the family’s political preference and prejudice. Clearly, various non-political factors actually determine electoral politics in different ways. In fact, there has been no election in which such factors as religion, caste, language, sex etc. have not played a significant role

By Nirmalendu Bikash Rakshit: The Statesman

Hello Puys, 

the Current Affairs Monthly bullet for January 2017 has been published- https://www.pagalguy.com/news/january-2017-current-affairs-monthly-bullet-for-competitive-examinations-5393504308035584

Important Headlines for January 4, 2016

Election Commission announces dates for assembly election in 5 statesThe Election Commission of India (ECI) has announced the dates for the assembly elections in five states– Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa. 

  • Elections in Uttarakhand, Goa and Punjab will consist of a single phase.
  • Goa (40 Seats) and Punjab (117 Seats) will go to polls on February 4, 2017 while polling in Uttarakhand will be for 70 seats and will be held on February 15, 2017.
  • Uttar Pradesh will go to polls in seven phases for 403 seats from  February 11, 2017.
  • Manipur will go to polls for 60 seats in two phases on March 4 and 8, 2017.

Supreme Court limits government's power to issue ordinancesThe Supreme Court placed restrictions on the powers of the government to legislate through ordinances, ruling that ordinances cannot be promulgated repeatedly without being placed before the legislature. “The question of whether any rights, liabilities, obligations would survive an ordinance which had ceased to exist, would have to be tested against public interest and constitutional necessity,” the court said. Highlights:

  • A seven-judge bench comprising Chief Justice T.S. Thakur, justices Madan B. Lokur, S.A. Bobde, Adarsh Kumar Goel, U.U. Lalit, D.Y. Chandrachud and L. Nageswara Rao heard a case seeking a definitive ruling on the legality of ordinances that do not have parliamentary sanction even after several years.
  • The satisfaction of the President would not be immune from judicial review and the court in this exercise would not have to determine the sufficiency or adequacy of the material,” the SC said.
  • Under Article 123 of the Constitution, the president is granted legislative powers to issue an ordinance when Parliament is not in session.
  • The law, however, requires that an ordinance be approved by the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha within 6 months of its promulgation. Similar powers are granted to governors of states.
  • Lokur said there was no mandatory requirement for an ordinance to be laid before the legislative assembly on its reassembly and that the power of the executive, once an ordinance had been promulgated, was limited to withdrawal by the governor of the state.
  • The case being heard related to a 1989 Bihar law for taking control of the management of Sanskrit schools in the state through an ordinance.
  • The ordinance finally lapsed in 1992 after it was repromulgated several times. Sanskrit schools in the state, however, continued to be governed by the state even after the ordinance lapsed.
  • The apex court held that Bihar’s ordinance and the subsequent repromulgation are “a fraud on the constitutional power.”

Swachh Bharat survey to begin todayThe government will kick started on January 4, 2017,  to rank 500 cities across the country on cleanliness, in a bid to encourage competition to improve sanitation standards. To be conducted by Quality Council of India (QCI), the ‘Swachh Survekshan-2017’ will judge cities on the basis of data provided by Municipal bodies which will carry 900 marks, data collected through direct observations and independent assessment (500 marks) and citizen feedbacks (600 marks). Highlights:

  • Areas of evaluations include ‘waste collection, sweeping and transportation’ with 40 per cent marks, ‘Open defecation free (ODF) and toilets’ (30 per cent), ‘Municipal Solid Waste-processing and disposal’ (20 per cent) and ‘Information, education and behavior change’ and ‘Capacity building-Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) e-learning portal’ (5 per cent each).
  • The citizens can give their feedback by either giving a missed call at 1969 to record their response or by filling up a feedback form on the Swachh Survekshan website, an official release said. Last year, ‘Swachh Survekshan-2016’ ranked 73 cities across the country and 1-lakh citizens participated and gave their feedback.

Here is a list of last few articles on Current Affairs and the Monthly Bullet on Current Affairs for SSC, Banking, UPSC and other competitive examsMonthly Bullet Pdf for January 2017Current Affairs for January 3 

Hindi Editorial for December 5

 सर्जरी के बाद बेहतर इलाज की दरकार स्रोत: द्वारा डॉ. भरत झुनझुनवाला: दैनिक जागरण नोटबंदी के बाद अर्थव्यवस्था कुछ मंद पड़ रही है। इससे घबराने की जरूरत नहीं है। सरकार का यह साहसिक कदम लाभप्रद सिद्ध होगा यदि आगे की नीतियां सही हों, जैसे सर्जरी के बाद मरीज को सही खुराक देने से वह स्वस्थ हो जाता है। पहला मुद्दा सरकारी खर्चों की गुणवत्ता का है। नोटबंदी से डिजिटल क्षेत्र में व्यापार बढ़ेगा। जो माल पूर्व में बिना टैक्स अदा किए बाजार में पहुंचता था उस पर अब टैक्स अदा किया जाएगा। यह बोझ अंतत: उपभोक्ता पर पड़ेगा। दुकानदार टैक्स के बोझ के अनुरूप दाम में वृद्धि करेगा। उपभोक्ता की क्रय शक्ति का ह्रास होगा, लेकिन यह तात्कालिक प्रभाव है।अंतिम प्रभाव इस बात पर निर्भर करेगा कि सरकार द्वारा वसूले गए अतिरिक्त टैक्स का उपयोग किस दिशा में किया जाता है। यह समाज के लिए किया जाता है अथवा सरकारी खपत के लिए? जैसे गृहणी के खर्च में कटौती की जाए तो परिवार का जीवन स्तर गिरेगा, परंतु यदि उस रकम से फ्रिज खरीदा जाए तो अंत में परिवार का जीवन स्तर उठेगा। इसी प्रकार अतिरिक्त टैक्स का प्रयोग यदि सरकार छोटे शहरों में सड़क, पानी, बिजली, वाई-फाई अथवा अन्य सुविधाओं के लिए करती है तो नोटबंदी का अंतिम प्रभाव सुखद हो जाएगा। इसके विपरीत यदि सरकार इस रकम का उपयोग राफेल लड़ाकू विमानों अथवा सरकारी कर्मियों का वेतन बढ़ाने में करती है तो अंतिम प्रभाव दुखद हो जाएगा। अत: सरकार को अपने खर्चों को जनपरक बुनियादी संरचना में लगाना चाहिए।छोटे उद्योग की उत्पादन लागत बड़ी कंपनियों की तुलना में ऊंची होती है। कारण यह कि इनके द्वारा कम कुशल श्रमिक और पुरानी मशीनों का प्रयोग होता है, परंतु टैक्स न देने के कारण ये जीवित थे। जैसे खेल में कमजोर खिलाड़ी को हैंडीकैप दिया जाता है वैसे ही छोटे उद्यमियों को नगद लेन-देन का हैंडीकैप उपलब्ध था। बैंक के मार्फत लेन-देन से ये टैक्स के दायरे में आ जाएंगे। इनकी लागत बढ़ेगी और ये बड़े उद्योगों का सामना नहीं कर पाएंगे। इस संकट से बचने के लिए छोटे उद्यमियों को उपलब्ध एक्साइज ड्यूटी की छूट को वर्तमान 1.5 करोड़ रुपये से बढ़ाकर 10 करोड़ रुपये कर देना चाहिए जिससे ये टैक्स के बोझ से न दबें। इसके साथ-साथ सभी स्वरोजगारियों, जिनमें मैं भी शामिल हूं, को इनकम टैक्स में स्वरोजगार छूट देनी चाहिए। वर्तमान में 2.5 लाख रुपये के ऊपर इनकम टैक्स देय होता है। वेतनभोगियों के लिए इसे बरकरार रखा जाए, क्योंकि इन्हें माल के दाम में गिरावट से लाभ यूं ही हो रहा है। परंतु स्वरोजगारियों को कम से कम 7.5 लाख रुपये की स्वरोजगार छूट देनी चाहिए, क्योंकि आर्थिक विकास इन्हीं के द्वारा किया जाता है।ईंधन तेल के वैश्विक मूल्य बढ़ रहे हैं। ये 45 डॉलर प्रति बैरल से बढ़कर 55 डॉलर प्रति बैरल हो गए हैं। इनके और बढ़ने की संभावना है। फलस्वरूप हमें तेल के आयात के लिए और अधिक मात्रा में भुगतान करना पड़ेगा। इसका प्रभाव शरीर से खून निकालने जैसा होगा। इस संकट का सामना करने के लिए वित्त मंत्री को तेल पर आयात कर बढ़ाने चाहिए। डीजल तथा पेट्रोल का दाम देश में 100 रुपये अथवा125 रुपये हो जाने दें। इससे ऊर्जा का अधिक उपयोग करने वाले मैन्युफैक्चरिंग क्षेत्र दबाव में आएगा। इनकी उत्पादन लागत बढ़ेगी। इस बोझ से अर्थव्यवस्था को उबारने के लिए सेवा क्षेत्र को प्रोत्साहन देना चाहिए जैसे मेडिकल ट्रांसक्रिप्शन, ट्रांसलेशन, स्वास्थ्य पर्यटनइत्यादि को। मैन्युफैक्चरिंग की तुलना में सेवा क्षेत्र में ऊर्जा का दसवां हिस्सा लगता है। तेल पर टैक्स बढ़ाने से वसूल की गई रकम से सर्विस टैक्स में भारी छूट दें। गुड्स एवं सर्विस टैक्स में सेवाओं के लिए न्यून टैक्स दर की व्यवस्था करें। ऐसा करने से तेल के दाम में वृद्धि के बावजूद हमारा सेवा क्षेत्र द्रुत गति से बढ़ेगा और आर्थिक विकास जारी रहेगा। तेल के आयात के लिए अर्थव्यवस्था से खून बहना कम हो जाएगा।देश और दुनिया की अर्थव्यवस्था को प्रभावित करने वाला एक और कारक अमेरिका में सत्ता परिवर्तन भी हो सकता है। अगले कुछ दिनों में डोनाल्ड ट्रंप अमेरिका की सत्ता संभाल लेंगे। यह तय है कि वह अपने हिसाब से आर्थिक नीतियां बनाएंगे। माना जा रहा है कि ट्रंप सरकार के आने पर अमेरिकी बहुराष्ट्रीय कंपनियों द्वारा भारत से वापसी हो सकती है। साथ-साथ अमेरिकी केंद्रीय बैंक ‘फेड’ ने ब्याज दरों में वृद्धि की है। इससे विदेशी निवेशकों की प्रवृत्ति भारत में बिकवाली करके अपनी रकम को अमेरिका में निवेश करने की बनेगी। इन दोनों कारणों से भारत से विदेशी निवेश के पलायन होने की संभावना है। बीते दो माह से हमारे शेयर बाजार तथा रुपये के मूल्य में गिरावट आने का यह प्रमुख कारण है।ऐसी स्थिति में मेक इन इंडिया जैसे कार्यक्रमों के तहत बड़ी मात्रा में विदेशी निवेश को आकर्षित करना संभव नहीं होगा। इनके पीछे भागने के स्थान पर अपनी पूंजी के पलायन को रोकने पर ध्यान देना होगा। डूबते बैंक के पास ऋण का आवेदन देना व्यर्थ होता है। अथवा बीमार व्यक्ति से गाड़ी को धक्का लगाने की अपेक्षा करना व्यर्थ होता है। वित्त मंत्री को चाहिए कि अपनी पूंजी का संरक्षण और सम्मान करें। एक प्रमुख बैंक के कॉरपोरेट लोन देखने वाली अधिकारी ने बताया पिछले तीन वर्षों से कंपनियों द्वारा निवेश बंद हैं। केवल वर्किंग कैपिटल के लिए छिटपुट ऋण दिए जा रहे हैं। इस हताशा के वातावरण को तोड़ने के लिए घरेलू उत्पादन कर (एक्साइज ड्यूटी) में कटौती तथा आयात कर (कस्टम ड्यूटी) में वृद्धि करनी चाहिए। तब देश में निवेश बढ़ेगा।नोटबंदी के तूफान में नौकरशाही ने व्यापारी को चोर के रूप में प्रस्तुत किया है। व्यापारी का मनोबल टूटा है। इस तूफान पर ब्रेक लगाना चाहिए। वर्तमान वातावरण में भारतीय पूंजी तेजी से बाहर जाएगी। व्यापारियों को डर है कि टैक्स अधिकारियों द्वारा उन पर अनायास ही कार्रवाई की जाएगी। पहले नोटिस जारी की जाएगी फिर घूस लेकर उसे निरस्त किया जाएगा। ईमानदार घबरा रहा है, क्योंकि वह घूस देने में असमर्थ है। कहा जाता है कि ताले शरीफों के लिए लगाए जाते हैं, न कि चोरों के लिए। इसी प्रकार नोटबंदी ने शरीफों का जीवन कठिन बना दिया है। चोर बेफिक्र हैं। इस समस्या का समाधान बैंक अधिकारियों के भ्रष्टाचार पर नियंत्रण करने से निकलेगा। किसी ने बताया कि गुजरात में नरेंद्र मोदी के शासनकाल में सरकारी कर्मियों के भ्रष्टाचार पर सीधे मोदी की नजर रहती थी। ऐसा ही राष्ट्रीय स्तर पर करना चाहिए। टैक्स कर्मियों के भ्रष्टाचार का गोपनीय मूल्यांकन व्यापारियों से कराना चाहिए। कौटिल्य ने कहा था कि सरकारी कर्मियों के भ्रष्टाचार पर नियंत्रण को एक जासूस व्यवस्था बनानी चाहिए जो कि स्वयं पहल करके भ्रष्ट कर्मियों को ट्रैप करे। फिर इस जासूस व्यवस्था पर निगरानी को दूसरी जासूस व्यवस्था बनानी चाहिए। व्यापारियों को टैक्स कर्मियों के आतंक से बचाना चाहिए। इन कदमों को उठाएंगे तो नोटबंदी परिणाम सुखद होगा।  

Editorial for January 6

Reading street lights 

Has India's economic development led to convergence or divergence? One answer can be obtained from inequality. The Gini coefficient of per capita expenditure was 0.35 in 1951 and 0.34 in 2010 — hardly any change in inequality. We have no personal income statistics, so we have to make do with these figures. Atkinson and Morelli give the share of the richest 1 per cent in income — presumably, taxed income, which is a fraction of total personal income. 

From 12.7 per cent in 1922, it rose to 17.8 per cent in 1938. High taxes in the War led it to fall to 10.3 per cent in 1942; then it rose to reach 14.4 per cent in 1955. It fell to 4.4 per cent in 1981; then it rose again till it reached 8.9 per cent in 1999. Distribution of wealth is more unequal in India than in, say, the United States of America, Brazil and China. Recently, however, I came across a novel attempt to assess inequality, from the intensity of lighting of cities at night, in a paper published by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate. 

If one looks at the earth at night from a satellite, most of it appears dark; but there are patches of light where there are cities. A satellite picture taken in 1992 showed most of India dark except for faint patches of light on the southern tip, in Gujarat and western Maharashtra, Andhra, Punjab, Haryana and West Bengal

A 2013 map shows the same lighted locations, but the lighted areas are much larger, and the degree of lighting more intense. Meenu Tiwari and her colleagues did something more. They identified four types of districts: initially better lighted districts that regressed, poorly lighted districts that got lighted up, well lighted districts that continued to improve lighting, and poorly lighted districts that stayed behind. They called them slowdowns, catchups, leaders and laggards respectively. 

Only 13.5 per cent of the districts were leaders; they were mostly in or next to the old metros of Delhi, Bombay, Madras, Calcutta, Bangalore and Hyderabad. Laggards were even fewer — 11.6 per cent. Slowdowns were 38 per cent and catchups were 37 per cent. In other words, three quarters of the cities were either doing better or worse than average. There was considerable redistribution of lights. Catchups were mostly in two corridors: one ran from Karnataka through Andhra, Jharkhand, Orissa, Bihar and Bengal to Assam and the Northeast; the other covered most of Rajasthan, Himachal, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir. Laggards were strung in the middle between these two corridors. 

The predominance of catchups and slowdowns implies more even distribution of lights as time passes. This pattern is common across countries. But the pace of equalization is slower in India than in the US or China. Growth in lights could be in previously lighted areas, in areas newly added to cities, or in new cities; 48 per cent of the growth was in old areas, 44 per cent in newly added ones, and 8 per cent in areas unconnected to old cities. Thus, most of the electrification was through better lighting or geographical expansion of existing cities. This is not surprising, for new cities emerge only exceptionally. 

A city is essentially a piece of land served by infrastructure services such as power, water and transport; and in a densely populated country like India, it is unusual for a large rural piece of land to urbanize. The prominent examples are New Delhi, Chandigarh, Gandhinagar and Amaravati. All four are capitals; all were created by governments by requisitioning land. This is a common pattern across the world. It goes back millennia to the Greeks at least; the Romans were experts and were planning cities with straight roads and round- the- clock water supply. 

Many modern European cities have an inner city that was planned by a king many centuries ago. The coming of the motor vehicle and the metro changed the scale of ambition; lately created cities like Brasilia are much larger in area. But few of them have succeeded in the sense of having a vibrant social and economic life; Islamabad is a good instance of failure. Meenu Tiwari and her colleagues also estimated the time it took in 1996 and 2011 to travel between major cities, and found that it had come down by 20- 30 per cent. Beginning with Atal Bihari Vajpayee's east- west and north- south corridors, many roads were built; they reduced travel time, and implicitly, the fuel cost of inter- city travel. Better road connections must also reduce the time and cost of goods travelling to markets. Tiwari and associates calculated an index of market access — distances between cities weighted by their size. 

Then they regressed this index on the growth of those cities; they found that a 10 per cent improvement in market access was associated with a 2- 5 per cent increase in a city's growth. The correlation between the intensity of nocturnal electric lights and prosperity is only approximate; and as time goes, it will weaken. It would be zero in richer countries where everyone has electricity. So Meenu Tiwari's method must cease to be relevant at some point in the future. The government claims to have delivered electricity to all villages bar a handful; so her method may no longer apply even to villages except insofar as power supply is erratic. But meanwhile, it has dealt with the geography of economic development, a largely neglected subject in India. 

It shows that development, which a quarter century ago was confined to areas around the ports ( except Punjab and Haryana, homes of the green revolution), has now spread all along the periphery, leaving only the northern peninsula and the Gangetic plain relatively less developed. It also shows the close correlation between development and the road network. Vajpayee's initiative on major cross- country highways has worked. But more can be done. 

The next step should be to upgrade the quality of roads — improve the surface, standardize width, and create paved parking space along them so that there is no obstruction from vehicles parked on the road. Accommodation along the roads should be improved, so that drivers get adequate sleep and rest and are fitter to drive. It may not be possible to build highways in India like those in North America; there may not be enough land. But we can certainly aspire to European standards. Driving today is such a lowly profession; that is because longdistance driving is a terrible drudge. 

It was a lot better even in my youth; the long- distance highways were well surfaced, traffic was light, and there were dak bungalows where one could eat and stay overnight. We should think in terms of a new generation of facilities on highways that would make driving a pleasure. 

That is when the millions of middle- class drivers who are confined today to the cities will begin to travel across the country and get to know its architectural and cultural riches.I have no regrets that the new government abolished the planning commission; it was just a venue for interminable meetings. But it cannot abolish the need for planning; the transport network is one instance. And it should plan it intelligently. 

 Source: By Ashok V. Desai: The Telegraph 

Sample Letter for SSC CGL Tier 3

Hello Puys,

We will be discussing the content build up for formal letters today for SSC CGL Tier III so that you ace your SSC CGL Descriptive Exam

We have picked up ‘letter to the editor’ for today. Assume the question to be: As a concerned resident of your city, write a letter to the editor of a newspaper daily expressing your concern about the rising noise pollution in your city.H.No. 46,ABC Colony Mumbai -4000XX

The EditorThe Times of India

XYZ StreetNew Delhi-1100XX 

January 6, 2017 

Subject: Increasing noise pollution in the city 

Respected Sir,

With reference to the article published in your newspaper on 8 December 2016 regarding health problems resulting from noise pollution I, ABCXYZ resident of ABC Colony, would like to draw the attention of people to the same. The fact that noise pollution causes both physical as well as mental harm is known to all but still fails to grab public efforts in reducing the same.

Noise levels exceeding 90 db. are believed to constitute to noise pollution. Persistent exposure to noise pollution leads to hypertension, cardiac problems, high stress levels, sleep disturbance, irritation, lack of patience along with other psychological disorders.

It can even lead to hearing loss, temporary as well as permanent. It is very disheartening to see the elderly suffer in this quagmire.Honking horns continuously will not lead to lesser traffic jams but only aggravate the irritation caused by the same. Blaring music in cars, events etc. is sure to fetch you merry times but as responsible citizens we must ensure that it doesn’t become gloomy for others. Owing to the detrimental effects noise causes to our health it becomes our duty to join hands for a better environment.

Through the esteemed column of your newspaper I would like to reach out to the authorities concerned so that an action plan can be drawn out and appropriate measures can be adopted. The need of the hour is the formulation of laws and their strict implementation. At the end of the day, what matters is to evoke efforts among public and develop a civic sense.

Thanking You

Yours trulyABCXYZ(A concerned citizen)

It is just a sample of how you can go about expressing your views. You can even suggest some ways of minimizing noise like banning loudspeakers after a time or near residential areas or hospitals, shifting of factories, etc.Important points to keep in mind:

  1. Remember the format which we have discussed earlier.
  2. Start the content referring to some recent issue related with the subject you are writing for.
  3. Since it is a detailed letter, divide your content wisely into paragraphs.
  4. The body is to be divided per the relevant subheads.
  • 1st paragraph: reveal your identity and the purpose of writing.
  • 2nd paragraph: details of the problem/ issue/ topic.
  • 3rd paragraph: what you would expect the reader to do.
  • 4th paragraph: closing of your letter.
  1. Do not give solutions to the editor. He is just a medium of conveying your views.
  2. State suggestions for the reader and your target authorities.
  3. Yours will always take a capital  and no apostrophe.
  4. Remember the key connectors: with reference to, through the esteemed column of your newspaper, etc.

Hope this helps! Keep reading and practicing. 

 The Overseas Indians have come a long way


The 15th edition of PravasiBharatiya Divas convention will be heldin Bengaluru, Karnataka from January 7 to 9, 2017. The first annual convention was held between January 9 and 11, 2003. January 9 was adopted as the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas or Overseas Indian Day based on the recommendations of a High Level Committee constituted in August, 2000.The then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was keenly interested in the issue of overseas Indians. The oversubscription of the Resurgent India Bonds in 1998, when India was battling sanctions post-Pokhran II, showed their strong faith in an emerging India. In a post-Liberalization environment the Indian Diaspora was willing to engage back with their country of origin. India becoming an IT power hub, fast growing economy and atomic power gave the Diaspora much needed confidence. It was on display at various places – from sports field to trade conferences and international meets.The concerns of the overseas Indians had been on the mind of the Indian leadership for long.The House of Commons in Britain was forced to investigate, as early as 1841, into the pitiable condition Indian indentured workers in Mauritius. This was within a few years of beginning of the indentured system following the abolition of slavery in British Empire (1833). Way back in 1894, the Madras session of Congress had adopted a resolution against disenfranchisement of the Indians in South African colonies. The Congress adopted similar resolutions at Poona (1895), Calcutta (1896), Madras (1898), Lahore (1900), Calcutta (1901) and Ahmedabad (1902) sessions. In those days the question of overseas Indians pertained mostly to Indians in South and Eastern Africa. It is they who had launched numerous struggles against encroachment on their rights by the local British government. The Gandhi-Smuts Agreement, 1914 signified a major victory for them.But there were overseas Indians in South East Asia viz. Burma, Singapore, Malaya, Thailand etc. Many of them contributed towards India’s freedom movement in the 1940s by volunteering in or funding the Azad Hind Fauz of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. Of particular interest could be the stories of those teenaged Tamil girls, born in rubber plantations of Malaya, who decided to shoulder guns for the independence of India, a country they had never actually seen. The PravasiBharatiya Divas memorializes the arrival of Mahatma Gandhi to India on January 9, 1915. He had spent 21 years in South Africa fighting for the rights of Indian community. His technique of Passive Resistance, which he named Satyagraha, was developed in South Africa before being implemented in India. In the colonial world that Gandhi inhabited the profile, status and condition of the overseas Indians were markedly different from today. Those were the days when one could not have been starry-eyed about ‘going abroad’ and ‘settling abroad’. A bulk of those who migrated abroad went for toiling in plantations or factories under Indenture System (to Africa, West Indies, Fiji etc), Kangany System (to Sri Lanka) and Maistry System (Burma). But they deserve credit as the pioneers who reversed the religious prohibition on seafaring that had fallen upon the Hindu society in the medieval ages. 

In colonial times racial discrimination was instituted as a state policy by the colonial government. But the de-colonization brought in its wake another set of problems. In Gandhi’s lifetime itself the Indians in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and Burma (Myanmar) entered a critical phase with Ceylonese and Burmese population respectively wanting to get rid of them. The first two legislations passed by the D.S. Senanayake government in independent Ceylon deprived almost a million people of Indian origin of their citizenship. While Indians might have captured power in Mauritius, they have been reduced to a miniscule minority in Myanmar. Thus Indians face a new kind of racialism in those erstwhile colonies.The age of colonialism was an age of maritime empires. Till late 1950s, steamships were the most dependable mode of inter-continental travels. In early 1960s, the air plane replaced ship as the most preferred mode for long distance travels. It reflected upon the pattern of migration in terms of reach, human resource quality and connectivity with India. Coincidentally around the same time the passage of Immigration and Nationality Act, 1965 in the USA paved path for immigration of highly skilled professionals and students. This historic piece of legislation changed the size and profile of the Indian immigrant community. From a meager 12,000 in 1960 the number of Indian immigrants has risen to 2.5 million now. Such educated and successful immigrants are providing sinews to the Indian Diaspora.But there is another side of the coin. When during the years of ‘Socialism’ India remained trapped in poor economic growth rate, the immigrants to the West were somewhat apologetic about their Indian identity. In India also the Non Residents Indians were perceived as escapers. But faster economic growth rate post-Liberalization, India’s emergence as IT power hub and the advent of Vajpayee government etc boosted the morale of the overseas Indians. The advent of satellite television, Internet and rising tele-density in the 1990s meant overseas Indians could be in regular touch with India. It was now possible for an overseas Indian to spend time thinking the interests of his mother country. Indians, resident and overseas, could commonly exercise opinion on bolstering India’s position in the world stage. This gave rise to the concept of ‘New Global Indian’ as the title of magazine launched from Boston in 2008 by Kanchan Banerjee stated.But overseas Indian community, in several parts, continues to face severe challenges of racism, religious fanaticism and legislative disabilities. As against popular misconception not everyone is successful. Thus it is not yet time to lower the baton raised by Gandhi in South Africa in the 1890s.

******The writer is a columnist and independent researcher based in New Delhi. The opinionsexpressed above are his personal. 

Source: pib.nic.in

Demonetisation and welfare Source

By Shruti Rajagopalan: Mint  

In their recent defence of the Narendra Modi government’s demonetisation and subsequent remonetisation programme, Jagdish Bhagwati, Vivek Dehejia, and Pravin Krishna (hereafter BDK) rebut many of the smaller criticisms levelled against the programme. We agree with BDK that demonetisation by itself cannot be expected to remedy counterfeiting, corruption, and future flows of black money. Other reforms will be needed. Disappointingly, however, BDK disregard the short-term and long-terms costs of the programme. 

A more balanced evaluation is called for. BDK regard demonetisation as “a policy designed, in effect, as a one-time tax on black money” and propose that it’s “success has to be measured by the sum of tax revenue generated and black money destroyed”. They arrive at a back-of-the-envelope calculation of “the net gain” to the government as “Rs1 trillion of black money destroyed” which will generate government revenue to the extent that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issues replacement currency, plus “Rs1 trillion in tax revenue” from the 50% tax on black-money deposits. They add: “The government could reasonably claim this (Rs2 trillion in revenue) as a successful outcome.” We have no objection to the arithmetic of the BDK revenue guesstimate, only to its economic interpretation. Revenue gained is a very peculiar criterion for “success”. The standard economic approach is to evaluate the economic success of a programme not just by summing up its estimated benefits, but by summing up its benefits and then subtracting its costs. 

This is well known to BDK, who have written admirably on the benefits and costs of trade policies. The efficiency of a tax is evaluated by comparing its revenue to its “deadweight cost” or “excess burden”, the sum of economic activity discouraged by the tax plus the costs of tax collection. The most successful or “efficient” tax is one with the least cost per rupee of revenue raised. BDK, however, judge the success of demonetisation as a government revenue programme without accounting for any associated economic losses to the public (we put aside any tally of its injustices). BDK reject an accounting of the costs of demonetisation as “premature” and “without evidence”. But the facts are on the ground. The Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), an independent think tank, has estimated the total costs accumulated during the 50-day transition from old to new notes at Rs1.28 trillion. This figure represents a 64% deadweight cost of collecting the Rs2 trillion revenue estimated by BDK, making demonetisation a very high-cost tax. The CMIE estimate includes the Rs168 billion spent in printing, transporting, and circulating the new currency. About Rs150 billion in wages were foregone by households waiting in queues to get new notes. 

An estimated Rs351 billion in costs has been incurred by banks, putting other business aside to exchange notes. The greatest losses fell on business enterprises hit by the sharp curtailment of currency transactions, estimated at Rs615 billion. The widely cited CMIE report offers a conservative cost estimate, limited to the 50-day window that ended on 30 December. Various other non-partisan forecasters have estimated that demonetisation will cost the economy between 0.4 and 3.3 percentage points of growth. On an estimated gross domestic product of Rs145 trillion, one percentage point of lost growth equals Rs1.45 trillion. BDK may want to quibble with the various cost estimates, but assigning zero to the costs will not do. 

These estimates don’t include the cost of auditing, collecting, and enforcing taxes on unaccounted money that has entered the formal system via banks. These costs may be substantial, given India’s complex tax code and the Prime Minister’s promise to prosecute every single tax evader. BDK treat the matter of whether the “economic impact post 8 November will be contractionary” as a hypothetical question. 

They point out that a demonetizing government might prevent a currency shortage by immediately issuing new currency to replace the old. It might, undeniably, but it has not. The government did not have the new currency ready to prevent a currency shortage. Even economists in the government, like Arvind Panagariya, vice-chairman of NITI Aayog, have acknowledged this: “In the short run, you have a liquidity crunch. It is going to impact economic activity and it is also happening.” Although the shortage is easing, the stock of currency may not be fully replenished before May 2017. The next two quarters may continue to experience a slowdown. 

The effects of the disruption in cash-dependent sectors like construction and informal manufacturing may last still longer. Finally, challenging the claim that the botched remonetisation “has damaged trust in the monetary system,” BDK reassure us that the situation is not as bad as a hyperinflation. 

While trust in the rupee has indeed not been completely destroyed, it has eroded. The rupee has become less attractive as a currency in which to invest or hold wealth. Perhaps the worst casualty is the loss in the credibility of the Reserve Bank of India, which has tweaked rules more than once a day (roughly 60 notifications in 50 days) to deal with the currency shortage.

We need to count both costs and benefits to evaluate intelligently whether this was the best available method of taxing black money, or if the goal could have been pursued by less costly means. 

Editorial for January 9, 2017

Respecting the rights of homeless people  

Source: By Bharat Dogra: The Statesman 

When working hard at our workplace or travelling in difficult conditions, we comfort ourselves with the thought of resting after reaching home, but what if there is no home to go to? This is the cruel reality for millions of homeless people in our country. The precise number is difficult to provide as homeless people are most likely to be left out in census counts. Indications are that their number is well in excess of 3 million. 

This number is likely to go up significantly if those on the verge of homelessness or very precariously housed people are also included. Homeless people are most exposed to all weather extremes, cold waves as well as torrential rains, and this is just one of the reasons which expose them more to illness and disease. Most homeless people also suffer from varying levels of hunger and malnutrition as assured or adequate income to meet basic minimum needs is not available to the overwhelming majority of them. While suffering the most from hunger they are the ones who are least likely to get subsidised food from ration shops due to lack of residence proof. Another reason is the denial of essential sanitation facilities and sometimes even cleans drinking water. 

Vulnerability to mental health problems is also very high. The homeless are also most exposed to road accident injuries as well as workplace accidents. They are also the ones who are least likely to be able to access proper medical treatment—many of them do not have the basic identity papers for obtaining care in government hospitals. The homeless face high levels of insecurity. This insecurity comes on the one hand from goons and criminals who exploit and terrorise them in various ways. On the other hand, some insecurity also comes ironically from policemen who often beat them indiscriminately or pick them up to send them forcibly to beggars’ homes. These problems are particularly acute for homeless women and children. 

Given the increasing insecurity generally of women in many cities, one shudders to think of what homeless women have to endure. They as well as homeless children are very vulnerable to sexual exploitation. Children are vulnerable also to substance abuse. The problems of homeless people have been generally discussed in the context of big cities such as Delhi and Mumbai, while the problems of homeless people living in smaller urban agglomerations have been almost completely neglected. However, as I found during a recent visit to Sumerpur town of Pali district (Rajasthan), migrant tribal workers from remote villages were spending their night in a most inhabitable part of the town, plunged in darkness, denied any facilities, exposed not just to mosquitos but even scorpions and snakes. 

With the accentuation of the livelihood crisis as well as increasing social disintegration, the number of homeless people in India is increasing. In some places the slum dwellers pushed to the outskirts of cities and far away from previous livelihoods as a part of slum demolition drives have been forced to start living as homeless people near their employment places. To give an example, a community engaged in the highly creative work of collecting used clothes in exchange for new utensils and then selling clothes after mending and cleaning them was based in Raghubir Nagar area of West Delhi where they had their huts as well as work sheds. Their huts were demolished creating a livelihoods crisis as they were sent far away. 

Finally, to save their work several of them had to stay back at night in the open as homeless people. Government efforts to help homeless people are confined mainly to providing those shelters at night, and even these efforts pick up mainly during the winter months. But when other government policies, sharp inequalities and social disintegration are causing an increase in the number of homeless people these efforts can have only a limited impact. 

Despite this limitation, however, a shelter-based approach can also give some good results if these shelters become a hub for integrating several needs of homeless people, combining safety, nutrition, health and information with shelter. Good results can be realised if volunteers from within the homeless people can be given important responsibilities and their close involvement is assured. 

They will need some training and motivational support, and with such modest help they can play a very important role in taking forward the programmes for helping the homeless.Giving such responsibility to carefully selected representatives of the homeless along with adequate budgetary support is possible once there is recognition of and respect for their rights. Most homeless work in very adverse conditions to not only support themselves but also to send badly needed economic support to elderly people, children and women in remote villages. 

These include villages affected by various disasters. Initiatives that help homeless people in cities also help their dependents in villages. Hence the needs of homeless people should get high priority in urban planning and governance.