9 PM Daily NEWS Brief

9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – 27 March 2017

Front Page / NATIONAL [The Hindu]

[1]. Indo-U.S. civil nuclear pact likely to miss June deadline

[2]. India eyes Dhruv’s foreign market

Editorial/OPINION [The Hindu]

[1]. Poor vote-getters blame the tools

[2]. Revisiting India’s nuclear doctrine 

Economy [The Hindu]

[1]. Infrastructure clouds connectivity

Indian Express

[1]. The twin pit solution

Live Mint

[1]. Building a legal ecosystem for Aadhaar

Front Page / NATIONAL

[1]. Indo-U.S. civil nuclear pact likely to miss June deadline


The Hindu



Bankruptcy of reactor maker Westinghouse clouds operationalisation of the deal


June timeline

  • According to the agreement over liability issues and the negotiations that followed former U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to India in January 2015 and Indian PM’s visit to Washington in June 2016, the two sides had agreed to “work toward finalising the contractual arrangements by June 2017” for six reactors to be built in Andhra Pradesh by Toshiba-owned Westinghouse and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL)
  • When completed, this was to be the first operationalisation of the India-U.S. civil nuclear deal, which was announced in 2008, and proof that both sides had effectively sorted out all their issues, including over the liability that suppliers must accept in the event of an accident
  • However, recent developments have led to uncertainty over the June 2017 timeline


Reason for concern

The reason for the concern is that the nuclear arrangement hinged on two major factors,

  • The completion of the India-Japan Nuclear Cooperation Agreement (NCA), as Toshiba and other suppliers for reactor parts are bound by Japanese laws
    • Still not ratified: While the NCA was signed in Tokyo in November 2016, it is yet to be ratified by Diet (Japanese Parliament)
    • The NCA was expected to have been ratified in early March during the current session, but proceedings in Japanese parliament have been derailed by a controversy over accusations against PM Shinzo Abe his wife and the Defence Minister Tomomi Inada of alleged favors a school in Osaka
  • The actual contract to be negotiated by the U.S.-based Westinghouse
    • Westinghouse has filed for bankruptcy under US Laws due to cost over-runs. This means that commercial contract with Westinghouse would be “delayed”


[2]. India eyes Dhruv’s foreign market


The Hindu



In talks with Sri Lanka and Southeast Asian nations; emphasis on maintenance



As part of efforts to enhance defence cooperation and boost exports with friendly countries, India is in discussions with Sri Lanka and several Southeast Asian nations for the supply of Dhruv, the indigenously developed advanced light helicopter (ALH).


New mainstay of India’s regional defence cooperation

  • Supplying defence equipment
  • Providing assistance in setting up domestic manufacturing capability


Treading carefully: Ecuador story

This time, India is putting specific emphasis on maintenance and training in view of its experience of Dhruv sales to Ecuador, which got embroiled in legal issues.

  • Amid much fanfare in 2009, India bagged a deal to supply seven of these helicopters to Ecuador worth $45.2 million after defeating several global platforms. However, the euphoria was short-lived as four of them crashed
  • In October 2015, Ecuador unilaterally terminated the contract and in 2016, put the three helicopters on sale. Following this, HAL had moved a local court there. Of the four crashes, two had been attributed to pilot error and one to mechanical failure



Dhruv, designed and developed by the HAL, is powered by the Shakti engine jointly developed by it and Turbomeca of France. Over 200 helicopters are in service with the Indian military


[1]. Poor vote-getters blame the tools


The Hindu



Criticisms of the reliability of the Indian electronic voting machine are unwarranted


What has happened?

Various political parties have raised allegations against the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) after their defeat the recently conducted assembly elections in 5 Indian states


Why EVMs cannot be blamed here?

  • Cannot be influence via signals: EVMs are standalone machines and are not networked either by wire or by wireless to any other machine or system. Hence, they cannot be influenced or manipulated by signals from mobile phones or any other source
  • Software of an EVM cannot be tampered with:The software in the machine is burnt into a one-time programmable chip or masked chip and can never be altered or tampered with.
  • Source code not shared:The source code of the software is not handed over to any outsider


Prescription of steps

ECI has prescribed a series of steps to in its standard operating procedures to enhance transparency and provide an opportunity for political parties and candidates to participate in testing the reliability of the machines

  • First level of testing: During the first-level of testing before the machines are allotted to various constituencies from storage points, party representatives are invited. They can select at random 5% of the machines in which up to 1,000 votes will be polled to demonstrate the reliability and fidelity of the machines. A computer programme allocates, at random, machines to constituencies
  • Second level of testing: The second-level of testing is done when, from the constituency headquarters, machines are allocated — again at random, using a computer programme — to polling stations. At this juncture, the candidates — who by now come on the scene — are allowed to test the machines at random. The serial number of the machine sent to each polling station is shared with the candidates, who can pass on this information to their representatives in the respective polling stations
  • The final testing: Finally, before the start of the polling process on the day of the election, each presiding officer conducts a mock poll to demonstrate the “correctness” the machine in recording votes


Rebuffing the global examples

Author now tries to rebuff the global examples often cited to counter the usage of EVMs in India. Two countries that are often named are Netherlands and Germany where the use of EVMs has been given up without divulging a key fact.

  • Netherlands: In this case, it was a networkable PC-type of machine running on Operating System (OS)
  • Germany: Germany’s Supreme Court had disallowed electronic voting because their law did not have the enabling provision


Rebuffing the Trojan horse theory

Some people have floated the theory that an EVM has a Trojan horse inbuilt into the programming of the chip itself. Nothing could be more far away from the truth because the software, once fused into the EVM chip is unalterable, and the machine cannot be manipulated by sending messages from external sources.


[2]. Revisiting India’s nuclear doctrine 


The Hindu



No First Use as a nuclear deterrent should work without additional caveats


What has happened?

Recently, the Kim Jong Nam, the brother of Kim Jong-Un was apparently assassinated in Malaysia by the use of chemical agent VX


In the first few paragraphs author contends that the 1992 Chemical Weapons Convention has succeeded in only partly. He states that while the global norm against the usage of nuclear weapons has developed but the view around the usage of chemical and biological weapons is still evolving


India’s nuclear doctrine

India’s nuclear doctrine is guided by no-first use policy but in the event of a major attack against India, or Indian forces anywhere, by biological or chemical weapons, it reserves the right to retaliate


Author’s asks

If a roughly similar attack, as carried out against Kim Jong Nam, were to be carried out against Indians, whether military personnel, politicians or indeed civilians, how would New Delhi define “major”?


Rest of the article pertains to the American policy against Syrian use of Sarin nerve agent in the city of Damascus in 2013.


She ends the article by concluding that nuclear weapons are a credible deterrence but the deterrent factor should be employed as a last resort and should be used carefully


[1]. Infrastructure clouds connectivity

The Hindu



Study finds only 14% of regional airports identified for subsidised connectivity are equipped


What has happened?

A study by Crisil Research has found that only about 60 out of the more than 414 identified un-served and underserved regional airports, under Regional Connectivity Scheme, have the necessary infrastructure to support flight operations

  • In other words, only 14% of the airports and airstrips listed under the scheme are equipped to handle small aircraft, that is up to ATR 42


What is Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS)

  • Under RCS, the airlines will connect to small towns with flights of about 1 hour capped at Rs 2500
  • The centre will compensate for the losses by subsidising the airlines flying on regional routes so that they can charge Rs 2500 to passengers for one hour flight. This is also known as viability gap funding (VGF)
  • The ratio between centre to state of this VGF will be 80:20


Major challenges to operator participation in RCS

  • Concentration in metros: Though domestic passenger traffic in India has grown 10% a year in the five fiscal years ended 2016, to 85 million annually, it is concentrated in the 6 metro airports, which account for about 65% of the total domestic passenger traffic, leaving the rest to the remaining 73 airports
  • Lack of infrastructure: Only up to 60 airports / airstrips including 12 underserved ones are infrastructure-ready. They have the required runway length of up to 1,600 metres that can handle an ATR 42 operation and the terminal buildings
    • As of January 2017, 19 states had consented to the implementation of the scheme. Of these 11 — Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Puducherry, Uttarakhand and West Bengal — have signed memoranda of understanding. Together, these states have about 8 underserved and 173 unserved airports but only 23 of these have the requisite infrastructure

Indian Express

[1]. The twin pit solution


Indian Express



Rural India is woefully under-informed of how it can both transform sanitation and earn money


Issue: Open Defecation Free (ODF) rural India


What has happened?

PM of India has set October 2, 2019 as the target date for rural India to be Open Defecation Free (ODF)


Remarkable progress has been achieved, but there is still a very long way to go


Two differing approaches

Rural people and government have different sets of approaches as far as sanitation if concerned.


Rural people’s approach

  • Preference to large septic tanks: Rural people favor to construct a septic tank, a large, sealed underground chamber, the larger the better
  • The cost of such tanks range from Rs 20000 to Rs 70000 which is too expensive for many poor people
  • Masons also recommend septic tanks because they can make more money from construction


Government’s approach

  • Smaller twin pit: The government recommendation is the much smaller and cheaper twin pit. This has two leach pits, with a ‘Y’ junction, so that one pit can be filled at a time
  • Turning waste to asset:The practice is to fill one, which may take the average family five to eight years, cover it over when nearly full, and leave it to stand while the second pit is used.
    • After about a year, the contents of the first pit have turned into harmless— and valuable — fertiliser: A family’s waste turns from being a liability in a septic tank to a growing asset
    • Each visit to the loo is an investment; the more it is used, the quicker will be the return. The pit can be emptied safely and its contents used or sold


What is actually happening at the ground level?

Rural people who already have twin pits are getting septic tanks installed.


So, what might be the reason that people with twin pits are installing septic tanks?

Author states that it seems a lack of awareness & complete ignorance about the perceived benefits of the twin pits is leading to this situation. The Information, Education and Awareness (IEC) campaigns have not focussed on informing rural people about the benefits of twin pits.


Note: Aspirants can quote the recent incident in the exam where led by ParameshwaranIyer, the secretary in charge of the Swachh Bharat Mission, principal secretaries from almost all states set a splendid example by themselves getting down into pits, digging out fertiliser and being photographed handling it.


Can understanding about twin pits and fertiliser solve the problem of partial usage?

Not at once. But if the principal secretaries inspire their staff to empty pits, and if this filters down the hierarchy to field workers, perhaps this could become transformative, and support efforts in changing norms and practices

Live Mint

[1]. Building a legal ecosystem for Aadhaar


Live Mint



There is an untenable tension between the approaches of the executive and the judiciary to Aadhaar


What has happened?

Recently, the present government made Aadhaar mandatory for an individual for filing tax returns or obtaining and retaining a PAN card

  • Expansion of coverage: It should be noted that government has also notified the expansion of Aadhaar to cover over 30 schemes. An Aadhaar number will now be mandatory for ex-gratia payments to Bhopal gas leak victims, the SarvaShiksha Abhiyan, Bonded Labour Rehabilitation Scheme, National Action Plan for Skill Training of Persons with Disabilities and National Health Mission etc

Author’s contention: Issues remain

Author states that there are still some issues remaining with the Aadhaar

  • Conflicting position of Judiciary vis-à-vis executive: While SC had allowed the usage of Aadhaar for various government schemes but it also stated that the use of Aadhaar must be voluntary &could not be made mandatory until such time as the matter was finally decided
  • In August 2015, a three-judge Supreme Court bench allowed the government to use Aadhaar for the public distribution system and for distributing liquefied petroleum gas cylinders
  • In October 2015, the Supreme Court also allowed the government to use Aadhaar for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and the Prime Minister’s Jan Dhan Yojana, among a handful of schemes


Two different approaches on the use of Aadhaar has given rise to needless tension. Until the matter is fully decided upon in the SC, government should restrain itself from making the Aadhaar mandatory as it can lead to litigation

  • Absence of any legal environment: With Aadhaar there is an ensuing need for legal framework to protect the rights of the citizens. Legal checks and balances are essential here
    • No right to privacy: At a hearing in July 2015 pertaining to various petitions challenging the validity of the Aadhaar project, attorney general MukulRohatgi asserted that the Indian Constitution does not guarantee a right to privacy. He is correct. In 1954 and then in 1964, benches of eight and seven judges, respectively, ruled that there was no fundamental right to privacy. The government has said that it is drafting a privacy Bill to address the issue—but its failure to provide a timeline or show any urgency points to its disinterest



Author concludes by stating that a legal ecosystem for Aadhaar that is grounded in constitutionality is essential and the Aadhaar Bill was a good first step but neither the government nor the Supreme Court have followed up adequately

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Daily Quiz

Daily Quiz : UPSC Prelims Marathon – March 27

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Daily Editorials for UPSC IAS Exam Preparation

Aadhar- Legal Debate – Part 1




NDA government has been recently made moves make an Aadhaar number mandatory for filing tax returns, midday meals, MNREGA jobs and several other schemes despite Supreme Court judgement that Aadhar can’t be made mandatory.

Let us have a look at different aspects of the debate.

Advantages of the Aadhar Card

  • Govt. can save Rs 50,000 crore per year by using Aadhaar Card for distributing social welfare schemes to the poor by better targeting as most of schemes are marred by leakages. In the form of DBT scheme for LPG, government has saved Rs 10,000 crore in two years.
  • As per Nandan Nilekani, Government of India can now claim to be paper-less, presence-less and cash-less by using Aadhaar Card extensively which can further save about 2000 crore of papers approximately.
  • 600 million hours would be saved by 300 million+ people who seek Govt. services daily
  • Jan Dhan, Aadhaar, Mobile trinity can be the greatest beneficiary for the poor who didn’t have any identity till date, helps in financial inclusion and reduce exclusion errors.
  • Aadhar Card shall also help in ensuring Net Neutrality, as digital identity of all Aadhar Card users would be stored within India.

Disadvantages or Concerns with using Aadhar

  • Advocators of privacy and information protection are arguing that Aadhar Card can be grossly misused by both Govt. agencies and via unauthorized access.
  • Intimate and highly sensitive data like that of Iris Scans and finger prints of a billion Indians are being saved at two locations: Bangalore and Manesar (Haryana), and even if one location is compromised, it can prove to be disastrous for the common man.
  • The biometric data of Indians would give Indian Govt. more intrusive and surveillance power than America’s National Security Agency.
  • Now that all other schemes, PAN and Bank related data are also being integrated with Aadhar, it makes it much more risky than in its original form by putting on every Indian a threat of mass surveillance which is preferred by dictatorial government and not democratically elected ones.

Are there any inbuilt security mechanisms?

Nandan Nilekani, the chief architect of the UIDAI and Aadhar wrote on his blog that there are several inbuilt security mechanism in the whole system of UIDAI platform, which will make such deep rooted surveillance a tough nut to crack.

  • Use Limitation: Any person or entity can only extract that information for which the user has given consent. A provision of fine and imprisonment exists in case any information is extracted without consent.
  • Collection Limitation: Only that information can be extracted, which is fed into the system. Unlike NSA’s artificial intelligent computers, UIDAI cannot extract other vital details about the user or persons associated with the user.
  • As per the said rules, no information provided under UIDAI can be displayed publicly by any entity (Government or 3rd party)

Supreme Court’s Judgement on Aadhar

  • SC in a 2015 judgement said that the Aadhaar card Scheme is purely voluntary and it cannot be made mandatory till the matter is finally decided by the Court one way or the other but this directive has been flouted by the Government time and again.
  • Supreme Court has repeated the same thing even today that it cannot make the Aadhaar card mandatory to extend the benefits of its welfare schemes in an urgent hearing of the plea citing privacy concern.
  • Supreme Court also said today that Govt, however, cannot be stopped from using Aadhar in other schemes like opening of bank accounts and for filing tax returns.

As a move to bypass the earlier Supreme Court order, government brought about a Bill to give Aadhar a legal backing.

The Aadhar Act, 2016

You can read the original Bill here.

  • The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016 was introduced and passed as a money bill, on the grounds that subsidies and other benefits will be drawn from the Consolidated Fund of India to resolve the contention of the lack of a legislation backing Aadhaar with a provision for more schemes to be attached to Aadhaar in future.
  • It established the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) as the authority for the functionality of the Aadhaar process, to provide for an Aadhaar number, to every resident who submits his/her identity information (Biometric + Demographic).
  • Biometric information includes photograph, finger print, Iris scan, or such other biological attribute of an individual as may be specified by regulations.
  • The demographic information includes information relating to name, date of birth, address and other relevant information of an individual specified by regulations but significantly excludes information about race, religion, caste, tribe, ethnicity, language, records of entitlement, income or medical history.
  • Aadhaar number shall not confer or be a proof of, citizenship or domicile
  • It also carries a provision which may require Aadhaar holders to update their biometric and geographic information the objective of the provision is to have the continued accuracy of the information in the repository
  • UIDAI has been established as a corporate body, consisting of a Chairperson, a CEO and two part-time members. The CEO of the Authority will not be below the rank of Additional Secretary to the Government and will be appointed by the Central Government.
  • Central Identities Data Repository has been created which will be the centralized database containing all Aadhaar numbers and details. It will also be responsible for authentication and verification of the information provided by Aadhaar holders, at the time of enrolment.

Privacy Provisions in the Act:

  • It imposes a restriction on sharing information and bars the use of core biometric information for any purpose other than for the generation of Aadhaar numbers and authentication.
  • It makes it mandatory for the entity requesting authentication to obtain consent from the person whose information is to be collected for such authentication
  • It provides that disclosure of information, including identity information or authentication records is permissible if made in pursuance of an order of a Court (at least District judge), or in the interest of National Security by an officer of the level of Joint Secretary or above.

Criticism of Aadhar Act

Principles endorsed by 15 global organisations, including the United Nations Development Programme, World Bank group and Asian Development Bank for the ‘maximization of benefits’ for identification systems like Aadhaar, have emphasised the need for establishing strong legal and regulatory frameworks, upholding user rights and establishing mechanisms for independent oversight to ensure their proper use.

A deeper glance shows that several regulations are yet to be prescribed and have been left open-ended.

  • It does not define national security and the term in itself is vague and overbroad.
  • The penalty for unauthorized access to the repository for tampering with data on the repository is too minimal.
  • It does not envisage the creation of an independent regulatory body armed with appropriate powers to ensure that citizens’ rights are protected.
  • There was a recent incident of ‘misuse of biometrics reported in the media, the government neglected it as an ‘isolated case’ of an errant employee of ‘a bank’s Business Correspondent’s company’ misusing the system. There is no way public can seek Redressal in such cases, because by the Act, the cognizance of offence can be taken only when UIDAI files the case in the Court.
  • Aadhaar Bill does not also incorporate a categorical clause on opt-in and opt-out.
  • It lacks provisions on giving notice to a person in case of breach of information, in case of third party use of data, or change in purpose of use of data – which were among provisions recommended by the Justice AP Shah Committee on Privacy in 2012.
  • Authentication factors [biometrics in the case of Aadhaar], commonly known as passwords, should always be revocable. If the password is compromised, you should be able to change the password or at least say that this password is no longer valid.” In its current form, the Aadhaar Act gives users no such rights.

Disputes regarding identification and the use of personal data that are not satisfactorily resolved by the providers should be subject to rapid and low-cost review by independent administrative and judicial authorities with authority to provide suitable redress.

Apart from all these, there is another debate whether the government and speaker have acted in malafide to pass the Aadhar Bill as a Money bill which we shall look at tomorrow. Stay tuned.

[su_box title=”Practice Questions” style=”bubbles” box_color=”#99bb41″ title_color=”#000000″ radius=”20″] Questions

  1. How big a threat Aadhar can be for the concerns of privacy of a citizen? Critically Analyse.
  2. What are the lacunae in the way Aadhar has been implemented?


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UPSC Preparation Strategy

UPSC Prelims Strategy: How to Score 150+ marks?

upsc ias prelims strategy

The post is contributed by Aishwarya Raj, AIR 28, Indian Forest Service


I wanted to convey my heart-felt thanks to ForumIAS for making such an amazing platform that has been extremely helpful for clearing all types of doubt-clearing for aspirants.
I have been a regular Test Taker at ForumIAS and have appeared for nearly all the Open Tests.

While I have gained a lot from the discussions and daily current news sections, I would want to contribute my bit by sharing my strategy/booklist for UPSC CSE/IFoS Prelims since could score a fairly decent 150+ in CSE Pre 2016.

Following is the Strategy to Score high marks in UPSC Prelims Exam:

Here is the strategy and book-list for UPSC Preliminary stage  (1st round) of the UPSC / IFS examination ( will come up with next stages soon).  I am sharing this as beginning contours for you since I could score in the range of 150-160 out of 200 in GS paper 1 (Cutoff range expected 110-115 for CSE , 132-138 for IFS ). But eventually you will have to end up having your own unique plan, depending upon your strengths and weaknesses (post taking atleast 10-15 Mock tests). I had devoted 3 months fully to Prelims last year , and with June 18 being the date of exam this time, you should be up to speed already by now. Remember here you are competing with close to a million folks, so stakes are much, much higher than Mains and Interview. In prelims, UPSC will brutally reject candidates, reducing them from 1000000 to 15000 , so get the drift that daily Mains answer writing can wait a bit for now . While Prelims is more knowledge-based and Mains focuses on testing your critical and social-thinking, that doesn’t mean UPSC will always keep it that way ;). So be prepared for any scenario, is what say the wise !

After analyzing the past few years’ papers (if not please do so, atleast from 2010 onward), you would have realized that current-affairs based questions have spread to even “Static topics” like History and Geography. So smart study and Googling would be of great help while preparation. eg. if you read an article on drought, connect it to historical, indigenous water-related solutions basis harvesting, baolis, tankas etc.

Remember these key ideas all the time:

  1. Minimum sources, maximum revisions. To give an idea, revising THRICE whatever you have read is essential for retention and assimilation. So minimize the sources, else it will be chaos at the end. And PLEASE don’t fall prey to the millions of “Must Read” Booklets in the markets that are released 20 days before exam to scare aspirants all over ! Trust yourself.
  2. Spending more time analyzing the mock tests than the actual time spent on taking  tests !
  3. Critical thinking and ‘joining the dots’ . Try to enjoy the learning process. In my case, making fortnightly visits to National Museum / National Gallery of Modern Art / Humayun Tomb / Old Delhi/ nearby sanctuaries etc were welcome and refreshing learning tours .I credit National Museum majorly for understanding and completing substantial portion of Art and Culture + Ancient India syllabus !
  4. Coaching dilemma ? Well , to each his own. I didn’t do any coaching for GS or optional subjects, but registered for Online Test Series.

My Booklist for each topic :

I) Current events of national and international importance.

  1. The Hindu, Indian Express ( pick up only those things which are not covered in Hindu). Also, I avoided note making for papers,
  2. If you end up being lazy some days, fret not ! Just put those backlog papers aside and read ForumIAS Daily Current Affairs summary online.

II) History of India and Indian National Movement.

  1. Ancient India – Old 11th NCERT + BBC Documentary on Story of India 
  2. Medieval India – Old 11th NCERT . Would suggest don’t fret much here. Remember concept of ROI ?
  3. Art and Culture – 11th Fine Arts book is a treasure trove. But don’t make the mistake of reading it just once or twice. Each word is crucial. To be read 4-5 times and related aspects googled (esp the monuments, and it is interesting too) .
  4. Art and Culture – Nitin Singhania old notes ; New one is a lot more bulky, so I avoided it. Also , a visit to National Museum if in Delhi would be useful .
  5. Indian National Movement – Bipin Chandra’s Struggle for Independence + Spectrum for Revision. Gave “Plassey to Partition” a reading but can easily say you may avoid it.

III) Indian and World Geography – Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World.

  1. Class 11th and 12th New NCERTS (old ones seemed very depressing, I skipped completely)
  2. GC Leong for Physical Geography
  3. Your wall should typically resemble this:
  4. wp-1490364235512.jpg

Consolidate trivial information into one or two pages maximum ! Sample below – Rivers of India and their tributaries ( This helped me get 2 questions right )


IV) Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.

  1. Laxmikanth as the primary source
  2. DD Basu for specific topics like local governance, scheduled areas, salient features etc.
  3. Download any Constitution app on your phone. Glance through in metro rides or with relatives around !

V) Economic and Social Development Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector initiatives, etc.

  1. Economic Survey. But please do read it once fully before using any XYZ summary notes .
  2. Budget 2017-18 Summary ( I preferred listening to Mr. Jaitely’s speech and taking down notes :D)
  3. Class 12th NCERT for Macroeconomics basics . If not, refer to ppts
  4.  Investopedia/Arthpedia for understanding any economic term you have issues with
  5. Yojana – 1 to 2 chapters from each month’s copy. Others get repetitive.
  6. Other books Kurukshetra etc etc  AVOID.

VI) General issues on Environmental Ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate Change –

  1. Google “Environmental organizations” and open the Wikipedia page. The list there from A-Z should be casually read over a period of 2 weeks . Be curious. But don’t go overboard.
  2. Ministry of Environment Website. It has crazy amount of information. But quite useful. Be wise and have an eye on previous year questions to know your limits of searching !

VII) General Science

Google Alerts on Science, Physics, Chemistry, Biology ! Rest don’t waste much time here. Trust your common sense.

That’s that viz book-list .

I think what works for anyone has to be a blend of hardwork, smartwork, presence of mind and some calm.

The 2016 UPSC Prelims paper was highly current affairs based but had covered most of the subjects. Consider a question which asked the meaning of eripatti about which I had no clue. But it clicked that since eri as a water management structure in TN was mentioned in a Yojana piece, and patti relates to land, the statement given was correct. Many questions also required basic common sense even if we had no clue before. Eg the inland port question, AP and Karnataka were easy to eliminate as they are coastal states, while Chattisgarh’s topography would make it tough to have a navigation connected to sea, therefore answer should be Rajasthan (which was correct) ! And yeah, even movie review buffs were gifted 2 marks with the question on Hollywood flick based on Ramanujan !

Some General Observations and Suggestions:

1) Integrative study has to be the way forward, since no silos exist between subjects now as well as current affairs.
2) For basics, ‘N’ number of materials won’t work. Same holds true for current affairs.
3) Economic survey is compulsory beyond doubt. Neem-coat statement was a direct ripoff. And almost all economy questions found a basis in this survey . All schemes asked in the exam (the objectives i.e) were mentioned as one liners here which were asked.
4) Meditation helped. And it always does help. Waking up on 7th August with a 15 minute meditation/yoga had the highest ROI. Not to forget picking tenets of being a Karma Yogi through Bhagwad Gita ?
5) Test series are a must, but again unless atleast 15-20 papers revised, wont really stick on. Here , I maintained a diary of errors, wherein all my errors/ doubtful questions were jotted down.  Last one week before exam, my work was only to revise that one diary ! Sample below:

6) Structured Timetable-making is necessary. But even more important is “Mid policy reviews” of the same ? ; I had 7 iterations for July 2016. Because I missed out something or the other in the first 6 each time !
7) Having faith in your efforts. Somewhere, someone is watching your efforts ! I had zilch previously and struggled at 100. This time scored >150 !

Finally, make sure the people who care for you are given their due importance even when you are studying. Avoid the naysayers and those ‘suggestion-based’ people who love to make off-the-tangent remarks, but make sure meeting close family and friends does not stop. They will be your support and strength while sailing through this long-arduous journey ?

Run, laugh, smile and be happy. It will all be fine someday , if not today ! And that is when the sweet smell of success will be truly of worth. Public Servants ought to have the quality of patience after all ?

Note: UPSC Prelims Recommended Booklist


Interview Preparation

Interview Transcript: B.S. Bassi Board, 20th March 2017

Interview date: 20th March
Interview board: B. S Bassi
Background: Graduate in Agril. Engg., MBA from MDI
Employment and work-ex: Worked for a shipping company for 13 months
Domicile: Haryana
Hobbies: Jogging, Reading Autobiographies, Fiction & Journal writing

1. What brings you here today?
2. Working with a big brand, why do you want to leave?
3. Don’t you think you are overqualified to become an IAS?
4. Why civil services, what difference will you make?

1. What is Brexit? It’s causes? Ramifications for Britain, EU & India?
2. Why is Germany allowing immigration while other countries aren’t?
3. What do you understand by the quote – “Demography is destiny”?
4. Compare the demographies of India & Japan?
5. Enlist major moments in the history of our nation in past 70 years?

1. Grilled me on why I am leaving a well paying job to join civil services?
2. Why not join an NGO to serve people?
3. How will you address the problem of impoverished children?
4. Steps taken by govt. to address poverty?
5. How will I use my management skills in public administration?

1. What are smart cities? Why so much focus on them?
2. How will you make your district a smart city?
3. How to ensure proper waste disposal?
4. How will you address the problem of land mafia?
5. How to check the growing problem of air pollution?

1. What is agriculture’s share in our economy?
2. Proportion of people employed in agriculture?
3. What are govt.’s present debt levels? What it should be ideally?
4. What is fiscal deficit expected for 2017-18? What is target level in long term?
5. What are NPAs?
6. What is the difference between NPA & stressed assets?
7. After how much time stressed assets become NPAs?
8. What is Kaizen?
9. What are present NPA levels for Public sector banks & overall banking sector?
10. Your profile seems very diverse, justify it.
11. Why is so much population is involved in agriculture, still it’s share in economy so low?

Overall: Panel seemed satisfied.
Couldn’t answer only one question – related to Kaizen, it just skipped my mind at that moment.
Rest of the questions I handled fine.
This was my first attempt. So I don’t know what should I expect. But I am satisfied with my effort.
All the best people. :)

We will post UPSC Interview Transcripts regularly under the Interview Preparation Initiative.

Why Interview Transcripts?

  • These transcripts are just a collection of UPSC Interview experiences from different candidates.
  • The purpose of these transcripts is to provide individual experience and how they faced the board.
  • In a way, it affects the way candidates are understood, the information they share, and the conclusions drawn.
  • You’ll be able to identify the constraints and opportunities before you when facing the interview board.
  • Though providing transcripts, which is a behind a scene task, the aim is to provide a valuable input that you are looking for that you are hesitant to ask someone.
  • It might help to re-evaluate your approach , and take a look at what really needs to be done.
Daily Quiz

Daily Quiz 2.0 : UPSC Prelims Marathon – March 27

free upsc prelims questions and answers by forumias

Subject of the week – Science & Technology (Questions will be based on current affairs)

[WpProQuiz 81]


Interview Preparation

UPSC Interview Transcript: Chhatar Singh Board, 20th March 2017

Interview date: 20 March Afternoon
Interview board: Chhatar Singh
Background: ECE, BTECH
Employment and work-ex 1.5 Year in Intellectual Property Research as Research Analyst.
Currently Working in Income Tax Department as an Inspector
Domicile: Haryana
Hobbies: Jogging Watching serials

CM: What is keeping you engaged these Days?
Sir I am working in IT Department, my work is keeping me busy.
CM: where are you posted?
CM: What is oldest form of Communication?
Said many things but did not say language
CM: No, No Hint: We are still using it
Sir letters with big smile
CM: no, no, What we are doing right now, isn’t it oldest form of communication
Yes sir
CM: okay I can understand you are an engineer you look everything from technological perspective okay tell me apart from technical skills what values u learned from engineering.
Sir most important was empathy
CM: What is empathy, other values?
Said discipline. Team work, leadership but interrupted by CM no other values like empathy, then I was blank for some time. Then CM: How u developed empathy
CM: How are we able to talk on phones without interference from each other?
Explained TDMA, FDMA, Switching but chairmen wanted to hear cells are separated so continuously gave me hints. Explained other technological stuff
CM: No, repeated same question, gave Hint what is cell phone
I again got blank could not remember said sorry sir I don’t know and it was very hot in his room I was sweating and using my handkerchief.
CM: said don’t be nervous cool down, I said sir it is very hot today with big smile, then gave hint Cellular for cellphone
Finally I explained
CM: How u developed watching serials as a hobby,
Said: to improve communication skill.
CM: You don’t watch Hindi serials, are they not good
No sir, they are equally good.

M1 diff between jogging and walking
M1: What is race walking?
M1: If I am running in a way that one foot is always at the ground then it will be walking or running
M1: Why we are not taxing agriculture (grilled for few minutes) Still why a trader have to pay taxes not a farmer even if he is earning crores
After explaining some time that poor farmer, crop failure, 85% are marginal , 17% GDP etc etc when M1 asked same why not tax the rest 15%, I said sorry sir I don’t know the another reason.

M2: Lady
M2: Who regulates electronic media?
Sorry mam I am not able to remember
M2: Who regulate telecommunication?
Mam, Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of India
M2: TRAI also regulates Media
Okay, mam
M2: You worked in IP field, what are IP rights?
They are the legal rights given to an individual or association or companies for property of their intellect (creation of mind which is unique)
M2: What are the international bodies which are related to IP rights?
M2: How WTO is related to Intellectual property
TRIPS, these provisions provide conditions related to IP in trade
M2: What was the body before WTO
M2: Name some subsidies
MSP, Fertilizer, PDS
M2: Are they reaching beneficiaries?
Mam Due to leakage, corruption, Fake beneficiaries they are not reaching intended group.
M2: Should we stop then, because there is more wastage of money
Mam we are a socialistic country, for welfare of poor and weaker section we have to provide subsidies. Instead of stopping them we can use technology to reduce leakages (was about to give JAM ex but she asked another question)
M2: What subsidy govt asked to give up?
Mam LPG subsidy
M2: Name of 3 PUBLIC and 3 Private sector Banks
SBI, UBI, Bank of Baroda, HDFC, ICICIC, AXIS

M3: Don’t u think watching serials is more of a time pass rather to be called a hobby. Usually housewives does that.
M3: Does it help you in some way or it’s just a time pass?
Sir I am from a rural background I started watching serials to improve my communication skills. I helps me to release my stress and anxiety, get my mind off the things. It makes me happy and efficient.
M3: you are an athlete, you won gold medals at university level are you still participating in sports events?
No sir
M3: We have performed very poor in Olympics, why is so
M3: What can be done to improve?
Apart from basic things said promote local sports ex athletics in noth east, Martial arts in Kerala, Maharashtra, Promote role models etc
M3: How can you use your ECE knowledge in making Income Tax Department Better?
Explained few things and recent initiatives but was interrupted by M3 :No tell me new solutions we are already using these things
I explained use of big data and coordination with Banking, Indirect Taxation, and investigation agencies
M3: What were your responsibilities AS THE head of Security Committee of your college?
M3: What technological and other initiatives you took or was it the same old affair in your tenure?
Sir, we were already using technological platform but other initiative I took was related to providing equal representation of girls in security committee and it really helped us in better management of situation.

M4: In oldest form of communication you forget to mention pigeons (smiling). Okay tell me when the telegram was started in India and when we stopped using it.
Sorry sir, I don’t know when it was started but it was closed recently(M4 interrupted and explained)
M4: What u did as a research analyst?
Sir I was a infringement analyst and explained my work responsibilities.

M4: Any important case you worked on
Sir our clients were from USA, Most important case was SAMSUNG, APPLE case, explained the case with patent technology example

M4: What was your biggest achievement in your Intellectual property job?
During my term, we have become number one in the infringement analysis in the world.
M4: How it was your achievement, what you did?
Sir when I joined there was no proper team, I was given the task of training the new recruits along with routine work. I helped in building the team and provided leadership and direction.

M4: You know about smart cities, how ECE will help you in smart city concept
Explained the most of components with examples focused on waste management and clean environment
M4: Suppose there is one criminal, how will you stop that person to enter in a smart city?
Sir first we need to have a database, If he is registered in database we can catch him
M4: Yes we have the database
Yes sir, then we can use his biological signature ex Finger print, IRIS scan, and face detection
M4: You can use CCTV cameras for face detection there is no need to use biometric systems.
Yes sir
M4: How the face detection will be done by CCTV
Sir Image processing using algorithms etc etc
M4: What is Image Processing?
Could not remember the definition but I said sir we process images to convert raw data into meaningful form(M4 interrupted and explained before I could complete my answer)
M4: What is the difference between Innovation, research and Investigation?
M4: What are Start UP and Stand UP INDIA?
M4: Won’t they promote innovation?
Yes Sir
M4: How?
Sir RND and incubation centers etc etc
M4: Government started some policies to promote innovation name some
Hint: They will promote innovation at school college level
Sir IMPRINT India (after answering I realized that he expecting me to answer National IP policy but my interview was over)
M4: to CM, Okay sir
CM thank you your interview is over

Overall good experience, I was very happy at the end, was nervous in starting and was fumbling in some questions.thoda angreji bhi upar neeche ho gyi thi.. But after 2 3 questions interview went smoothly. It took 40 45 minutes in total.

We will post UPSC Interview Transcripts regularly under the Interview Preparation Initiative.

Why Interview Transcripts?

  • These transcripts are just a collection of UPSC Interview experiences from different candidates.
  • The purpose of these transcripts is to provide individual experience and how they faced the board.
  • In a way, it affects the way candidates are understood, the information they share, and the conclusions drawn.
  • You’ll be able to identify the constraints and opportunities before you when facing the interview board.
  • Though providing transcripts, which is a behind a scene task, the aim is to provide a valuable input that you are looking for that you are hesitant to ask someone.
  • It might help to re-evaluate your approach , and take a look at what really needs to be done.

Mains Marathon

UPSC Current Affairs Questions and Answer Writing – Mains Marathon – March 27

Hello Friends! Find the Mains Marathon Exercise below:

Read the following questions and answer them by clicking on the links in not more than 200 words

Time: 30 Minutes

Kindly review each others answers.

1.“Morality is the basis of things and truth is the substance of all morality.” Discuss. (GS 4)

“नैतिकता चीजों का आधार है और सच्चाई सभी नैतिकता का तत्व है।” चर्चा करें।

2.What do you mean by “Sea control” and “Sea denial”? Examine the importance of naval power for India. (GS 1)

“सागर नियंत्रण” और “सागर अस्वीकार” का क्या मतलब है? भारत के लिए नौसैनिक शक्ति के महत्व की जांच करें।

Live MInt

3.Why are FIIs considered so important for Indian equity market? Analyze the reasons for FIIs being so bearish last year? (GS 3)

भारतीय इक्विटी बाजार के लिए एफआईआई इतनी महत्वपूर्ण क्यों हैं? पिछले साल एफआईआई में इतनी मंदी के कारणों का विश्लेषण करें?

The Hindu



Must Read News Articles – March 27

The Hindu

Front Page / NATIONAL

Indo-U.S. civil nuclear pact likely to miss June deadline: Bankruptcy of reactor maker Westinghouse clouds operationalisation of the deal.

India eyes Dhruv’s foreign market: In talks with Sri Lanka and Southeast Asian nations; emphasis on maintenance.


Poor vote-getters blame the tools: Criticisms of the reliability of the Indian electronic voting machine are unwarranted.

Revisiting India’s nuclear doctrine: No First Use as a nuclear deterrent should work without additional caveats.


Infrastructure clouds connectivity: Study finds only 14% of regional airports identified for subsidised connectivity are equipped.

Indian Express

The twin pit solution: Rural India is woefully under-informed of how it can both transform sanitation and earn money.

Live Mint

Building a legal ecosystem for Aadhaar: There is an untenable tension between the approaches of the executive and the judiciary to Aadhaar.

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