Categories
Prelims Capsule

PIB articles important for prelims


Portable Kit to Check Water Contamination


  • National Centre for Compositional Characterization of Materials (NCCCM), Chemistry Group, BARC, located at Hyderabad has developed a portable visual detection kit for detection of hexavalent chromium [Cr.(VI)].
  • Its range is between 5 to 500 ng/ml(ppb) in water and it can detect the same within 5 minutes.
  • Chromium exists in the environment primarily in two valence states, trivalent chromium (Cr III) and hexavalent chromium (Cr VI).
  • Cr (III) is biologically important element and needed for glucose and lipid metabolism.
  • Cr (VI), however, is considered toxic and IARC (International Agency for Research in Cancer, WHO) has classified it as a group 1 agent, defined as carcinogenic to humans.
  • According to the method developed, three reagents kept inside different bottles are to be added to the clear water sample.
  • Reagent 1 and Reagent 2 are added and mixed for two minutes.
  • The third reagent is then added and mixed thoroughly (shaken for 1-2 minutes).
  • Within 5 minutes, a pink color develops in the top layer and the intensity of this is compared by visual inspection to obtain the Cr(VI) range in water.
  • By this method Cr(VI) can be detected in drinking water sources such as ground water, lake water, river water, etc.
  • According to Indian standard IS10500, maximum permissible limit for Cr (VI) in drinking water is 50 ng/mL and as per United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) it is 10 ng/mL and the kit meets the requirements of both the standards.
  • The technology of this kit has been transferred to M/S LTek Systems, Nagpur for commercialization of the product for societal benefit.

The Belmont Forum


  • The Belmont Forum, created in 2009, is a high level group of the world’s major and emerging funders of global environmental change research and international science councils.
  • It provides an opportunity to identify study and deliver international environmental research priorities, for the society, in an accelerated way through trans­national research collaboration between natural and social scientists and alignment of international resources.
  • India is a member of Belmont Forum, besides Australia, Brazil, Canada, European Commission, France, Germany, Japan, Netherland, South Africa, UK and USA etc.
  • Ministry of Earth Science (MoES), represents India in the Belmont Forum since 2012.
  • In order to coordinate the activities of the Belmont, a Secretariat is hosted by one of the Belmont forum member on rotational basis.

Impact:

  • The Agreement will help to maintain a certain degree of continuity in the operations of the Forum and also help in smooth coordination of the activities of Belmont Forum.
  • As India is already participating in 4 Collaborative Research Actions (CRAs) and Secretariat will be coordinating the activities of Belmont Forum, Indian scientific community will ultimately benefit from this agreement.

Background: 

  • Since the inception of Belmont Forum in 2009, its operations were being handled by a part-time secretariat associated with the respective Chairs of the Belmont Forum.
  • As the Co-chairs are rotational, the Secretariat also rotates and some time co-chairs are from different Continents with different time zone.

In order to maintain a certain degree of continuity in the operations of the Forum, establishment of a Full-time Secretariat was agreed upon by Belmont Forum members, on rotational basis.


Unnat Bharat Abhiyan


  • The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) along with the Ministries of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj has agreed to link all Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) with rural development processes under Unnat Bharat Abhiyan (UBA).
  • In this regard, a Tripartite Agreement between MHRD, Ministry of Rural Development and Ministry of Panchayati Raj was also signed as an attempt to bring about substantial improvements in the formulation and delivery of developmental schemes in the rural areas.
  • It is envisaged that representatives of Higher Education Institutions interact with local bodies and community in selected village clusters and provide knowledge inputs into the Gram Panchayat Development Plans.
  • MHRD, Department of Higher Education has formulated this scheme and first phase is under implementation in several parts of the country.
  • Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi has been designated as the Coordinating Institute.

The MHRD has advised all the HEIs, to adopt clusters of backward Gram Panchayats / villages in their vicinity and apply their knowledge and expertise to improve the infrastructure in the Gram Panchayats (GPs). HEIs in the districts are expected to:-

  • carry out detailed field study,
  • participate in conceptualising& preparation of community-level development plans
  • along with the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj personnel
  • by providing technical, managerial inputs and by suggesting innovative solutions to the issues faced in the day-to-day lives of the households therein,
  • in the areas of livelihoods,
  • energy security, environment and basic living amenities.
  • The institutions have been advised to continue their engagement with chosen Panchayats and offer assistance to the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj personnel.
  • The program is to be implemented over the next two years, with additional clusters.

Introduction of GST


  • Tax on sale or purchase of goods within a State as per Entry List II of Seventh Schedule of the Constitution is a State subject.
  • Accordingly, VAT was been introduced by the concerned States, in place of turnover taxes.
  • The introduction of VAT ensured that credit of taxes paid on the inputs were available to a tax payer while discharging his output tax liability.
  • This helped in minimizing cascading of taxes at the State level and in increasing compliance because of the in-built mechanism of transfer of input tax credit.
  • VAT led to a simplification of taxes at the State level.
  • Presently, the Constitution empowers the Central Government to levy excise duty on manufacturing and service tax on the supply of services.
  • Similarly, it empowers the State Governments to levy sales tax or value added tax (VAT) on the sale of goods.
  • This exclusive division of fiscal powers has led to a multiplicity of indirect taxes in the country.
  • Further, central sales tax (CST) is levied on intra-State sale of goods by the Central Government, but collected and retained by the exporting States.
  • In addition, many States also levy an entry tax on the entry of goods in local areas.
  • This multiplicity of taxes at the State and Central levels has resulted in a complex indirect tax structure in the country that is ridden with hidden costs for the trade and industry.
  • Firstly, there is no uniformity of tax rates and structure across States.
  • Secondly, there is cascading of taxes due to ‘tax on tax’.
  • No credit of excise duty and service tax paid at the stage of manufacture is available to the traders while paying the State level sales tax or VAT, and vice-versa.
  • Further, no credit of State taxes paid in one State can be availed in other States.
  • Hence, the prices of goods and services get artificially inflated to the extent of this ‘tax on tax’.
  • The introduction of GST would mark a clear departure from the scheme of distribution of fiscal powers envisaged in the Constitution.
  • The proposed dual GST envisages taxation of the same taxable event, i.e., supply of goods and services, simultaneously by both the Centre and the States.
  • Therefore, both Centre and States will be empowered to levy GST across the value chain from the stage of manufacture to consumption.
  • The credit of GST paid on inputs at every stage of value addition would be available for the discharge of GST liability on the output.
  • Thereby ensuring GST is charged only on the component of value addition at each stage. This would ensure that there is no ‘tax on tax’ in the country.
  • It is expected to reduce cost of production and inflation in the economy, thereby making the Indian trade and industry more competitive, domestically as well as internationally.
  • It is also expected that introduction of GST will foster a common or seamless Indian market and contribute significantly to the growth of the economy.
  • Further, GST will broaden the tax base, and result in better tax compliance due to a robust IT infrastructure.

Due to the seamless transfer of input tax credit from one stage to another in the chain of value addition, there is an in-built mechanism in the design of GST that would incentivize tax compliance by traders.


100% FDI in White Label ATM operations


Government has allowed Foreign Investment upto 100% in White Label ATM (WLA) operations, subject to the following conditions

  • Any non-bank entity intending to set up WLA should have minimum net worth of Rs. 100 crore as per latest financial year’s audited balance sheet, which is to be maintained at all times.
  • In case the entity is also engaged in any other 18 Non-Banking Finance Company (NBFC) activities, then the foreign investment in the company setting up WLA, shall also comply with the minimum capitalization norms for foreign investment in NBFC activities.

Types of ATMs

  • White label ATMs-
    • White Label ATMs are those ATMs which set up, owned and operated by non-bank entities incorporated under Companies Act 1956.
  • Brown label ATMs-
    • Brown label ATMs are owned and maintained by service provider whereas bank whose brand is used on ATM takes care of cash management and network connectivity.
  • Green label ATMs-
    • These ATMs are provided specifically for Agricultural transactions.
  • Orange Label ATMs-
    • ATMs provided for Share Transactions.
  • Yellow Label ATMs-
    • ATMs provided for E-commerce
  • Pink label ATM-
    • ATM provided for women banking

 

Categories
Prelims Capsule

Ministry of UD to push dense urban growth along mass transit corridors for better living experience

  • To effectively address the emerging urbanization challenges, the Ministry of Urban Development has come out with a multi-pronged policy framework to promote living close to mass urban transit corridors.

Transit Oriented Development (TOD)

  • This new initiatives seeks to promote ‘Transit Oriented Development (TOD)’ which enables people to live within walking or cycling distance from transit corridors like the Metros, Monorail and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridors, currently being taken up on a large scale.

‘National Transit Oriented Development Policy’

  • The Ministry has formulated a ‘National Transit Oriented Development Policy’ which will be  discussed with the States and Union Territories at a National Workshop on Urban Development.
  • This policy seeks to enhance the depth of understanding of States and UTs on TOD as a viable solution to many of the challenges like haphazard urban growth and sprawl, mobility, rapidly rising private vehicles on roads,  pollution, housing choices etc.
  • This new urban design and planning in the form of TOD, is being incentivesed by the Ministry under two more initiatives viz., Metro Policy and Green Urban Mobility Scheme which also will be discussed with States and UTS for taking them on board.
  • Under TOD, city densification will be promoted along mass transit corridors through vertical construction by substantially enhancing  FARs (Floor Area Ratio) backed by  promotion of Non-motorised Transport Infrastructure for walking and cycling to transport stations.
  • Development of street networks in the influence zone of transit corridors, multi-modal integration, effective first and last mile connectivity through feeder services to enable people access public transit in 5 to 10 minutes  from home and work places.
  • Dense living along transit corridors besides resulting in enhanced living and travel experience, will also improve ridership of mass transit systems.
  • If properly executed, TOD could emerge as a means of financing mass transit project, for which the demand is growing.
  • TOD promotes integration of land use planning with transportation and infrastructure development to avoid long distance travel in cities through compact development as against the present pattern of unplanned and haphazard urban growth.
  • Under the new Metro Policy, TOD has been mandatory while under Green Urban Mobility  Scheme, TOD has been made an essential reform  and  is given priority for receiving central assistance.
  • The Ministry’s initiative comes in the context of over 300 km of Metro lines being operational in seven cities, another 600 kms of metro line projects under construction in 12 cities and over 500 km projects under consideration.
  • The Ministry has supported BRTS projects in 12 cities which are under different stages of progress and eight more cities are set to take up BRT projects.
  • Mass Rail Transit System of 380 km length is being taken up in Delhi.

Financing of TOD

  • Transit Oriented Development will be financed by channelizing a part of increases in property values resulting from investments in transit corridors through Betterment Levies and Value Capture Financing tools.
  • Increased private sector participation will result in economic development and employment generation.
  • TOD Policy also aims at inclusive development by ensuring mixed neighborhood development in the form of a range of housing choices including affordable housing and ensuring spaces for street vendors.
  • States and UTs will be required to incorporate TOD in the Master Plans and Development Plans of cities besides identifying ‘Influence Zones’ from transit corridors for tapping revenue streams.

TOD is being taken up Ahmedabad, Delhi (kakardooma), Naya Raipur, Nagpur and Navi Mumbai and the Ministry would like this to be expanded to other cities as well.

Categories
Prelims Capsule

Some important topics of environment

These are excepts from our environment magazine, to download full magazine click here


River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection and Management) Authorities Order, 2016


Cabinet approves the River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection and Management) Authorities Order, 2016.

Salient Features:

  • Order will provide for Creation of the National Council for River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection and Management), as an Authority for overall responsibility for superintendence of pollution prevention and rejuvenation of river Ganga Basin.

Setting up of an Empowered Task Force

  • Creation of National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), as an Authority with powers to issue directions and also to exercise the powers under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and to enable it to carry out efficiently its mandate.
  • At the State level, it is proposed to create the State Ganga Committees in each of the defined States
  • At District Ganga Committees in each of the Ganga Bank Districts will carry out the assigned tasks as an Authority at the district level

Other main features

  • NMCG will take action only in the event when required action is not taken by CPCB.
  • A special focus of the revamped structure would be to maintain required ecological flows in the river Ganga with the aim of ensuring water quality and environmentally sustainable development.
  • For taking up fast track creation of sewerage treatment infrastructure in Ganga basin, an innovative model based on Hybrid Annuity has also been approved.
  • In order to ensure transparency and cost effectiveness, a provision for concurrent audit, safety audits, research institutions and financial framework has been made.

Ganga Action Plan

The Ganga Action Plan (GAP) Phase-I was launched in 1985.

Later GAP Phase-II was initiated in 1993 with the objective of improving the water quality of river Ganga

In May, 2015, the Government approved the Namami Gange programme as a comprehensive mechanism to take up initiatives for rejuvenation of river Ganga and its tributaries as a Central Sector Scheme with hundred per cent funding.


Government Declares BS-VI Rollout From 2020


The Union transport ministry will notify the introduction of BSVI emission norms for all vehicles from April 2020, overriding a demand from auto manufacturers to push its rollout by five years.

Prelims related Facts

About BS-VI

  • Standards are set by the Central Pollution Control Board under the Ministry of Environment & Forests and climate change
  • Objective is to regulate the output of air pollutants from internal combustion engines and Spark ignition engines equipment, including motor vehicles.
  • Standards are based on European regulations (Euro norms).
  • Current norms in India are BS IV in 33 cities and BS III in the remaining country
  • These norms specify the maximum permissible emission limit for carbon monoxide (CO), Hydrocarbons (HC), Nitrous oxides (NOx) and Particulate matter (PM)

Technologies to be introduced to make vehicles BS IV compliant:-

  • SCR (selective catalytic reduction) module to reduce oxides of nitrogen
  • Vehicles must be fitted with DPF (diesel particulate filter) for Particulate Matter (PM) reduction

Environment Ministry to Allow Hydropower Projects In Bhagirathi ESZ


Despite being termed as “destructive” for water resources by the union ministry, the Uttarakhand government has stuck to its zonal master plan of the Bhagirathi eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) that proposes to open up the fragile area for hydropower projects above 2 MW, mining, and roads.

This decision is important considering the 2012 notification of the government

2012 notification

In 2012, Centre declared the 100-kilometre stretch along the river Bagirathi, from Gaumukh to Uttarkashi, an ESZ (Eco-sensitive Zone).

Notification prohibited new hydro-electric power plants and expansion of existing plants on this stretch, except micro or mini-hydel power projects up to 2 megawatts (MW),

It also banned all types of mining of minerals except for the domestic needs of residents

Eco-Sensitive Zones

  • Eco-Sensitive Zones are areas notified by the MoEFCC around Protected Areas , National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries.
  • Purpose of declaring ESZs is to create some kind of “shock absorbers” to the protected areas.
  • They also act as a transition zone from areas of high protection to areas involving lesser protection
  • Government is empowered to declare Eco-Sensitive Zones are declared undersection 3(2)(v) of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
  • The width of the ESZ could go up to 10 kms around the protected area.
  • Prohibited activities includes:-
    • Commercial mining,
    • Setting of saw mills and industries causing pollution,
    • Commercial use of firewood
    • And major hydro-power projects
    • tourism activities like flying over protected areas in an aircraft or hot air balloon,
    • Discharge of effluents and solid waste in natural water bodies or terrestrial area
  • Regulated activities includes:-
    • Felling of trees,
    • Drastic change in agriculture systems
    • Commercial use of natural water resource
  • Permitted activities includes:-
    • Ongoing agriculture and horticulture practices by local communities,
    • Rainwater harvesting, organic farming,
    • Adoption of green technology
    • Use of renewable energy sources

Amendment to 1987 Montreal Protocol


In Kigali agreement, nearly 200 countries secured a deal to phase down global climate-warming hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) by amendments to Montreal Protocols.

About Kigali agreement

  • Countries that ratify the Kigali Amendment, commit to cut the production and consumption of HFCs by more than 80 percent over the next 30 years
  • Most developed countries will start reducing HFCs as early as 2019.
  • The move could prevent up to 0.5 degrees Celsius in global warming above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century

HFCs

  • HFCs  although pose no harm to the ozone layer because, unlike CFCs and HCFCs, they do not contain chlorine but are thousands of times more dangerous than carbon dioxide in causing global warming.
  • HFCs could warm the world by an additional half a degree Celsius by the end of the century.
  • These gases were once identified as a suitable alternative to replace ozone-depleting hydrochloroflurocarbons (HCFCs) that the Montreal Protocol targets for elimination.

Montreal Protocol treaty

  • Montreal Protocol treaty was first signed on Sept. 16, 1987
  • Aim was to reduce the production and consumption of ozone depleting substances in order to reduce their abundance in the atmosphere.
  • It has undergone eight revisions, in 1990 (London), 1991 (Nairobi), 1992 (Copenhagen), 1993 (Bangkok), 1995 (Vienna), 1997 (Montreal), 1998 (Australia), 1999 (Beijing) and 2016 (Kigali, adopted, but not in force).

India’s first ‘Green corridor’ inaugurated


The 114-km-long Manamadurai– Rameswaram stretch of Southern Railway became India’s first ‘Green corridor’.

Train would have bio-toilets and there would be zero discharge of human waste on tracks in the section.

Last year, Indian Railway had developed the environment friendly ‘IR-DRDO Bio-toilets’, in association with Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

How does bio-toilet work?

  • Anaerobic digestion process is applied for the digestion of human excreta in the bio-toilets.
  • A collection of anaerobic bacteria that has been adapted to work at temperatures as low as -5°C and as high as 50°C act as inocula (seed material).
  • Regenerative type anaerobic bacteria in liquid form poured into the retention tanks in the bio-toilets and the bacteria will help in disintegrating human waste into liquid and bio-gases (mainly Methane CH4 & Carbon Dioxide CO2).
  • The liquid would be chlorinated and discharged with no harm to the environment.
Categories
Prelims Capsule

Some important schemes and programs

These are excerpts from the upcoming ForumIAS magazine on Schemes and Programs

India launched Mission Parivar Vikas to improve family planning services in seven states where the total fertility rate (TFR) is high and constitutes 44% of the country’s population.

About

  • It will cover 145 high focus districts having the highest total fertility rates (TFR) (3.0) in the country. The seven high focus, high TFR states are UP, Bihar, Rajasthan, MP, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Assam.
  • These districts also suffer substantially on maternal and child health indicators as about 25-30% of maternal deaths and 50% of infant deaths occur in these districts.
  • The main objective of ‘Mission Parivas Vikas’ will be to accelerate access to high quality family planning choices based on information, reliable services and supplies within a rights-based framework.
  • These 145 districts have been identified based on total fertility rate and service delivery (PPIUCD and Sterilization performance) for immediate, special and accelerated efforts to reach the replacement level fertility goals of 2.1 by 2025.
  • The key strategic focus of this initiative will be on improving access to contraceptives through delivering assured services, dovetailing with new promotional schemes, ensuring commodity security, building capacity (service providers), creating an enabling environment along with close monitoring and implementation.

Other prelims related facts

  • Total Fertility Rate(TFR) is the average number of children expected to be born per woman during her entire span of reproductive period. In India the Total Fertility Rate is 2.4.

Project SAKSHAM


The government has approved Rs 2,256 crore outlays for Project Saksham to bolster the information technology network for the new GST regime.

About

Project Saksham is the name given to (Central Board of Excise and Customs)CBEC’s IT Infrastructure Project, It will help in: 

  1. Implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST)
  2. Extension of the Indian Customs Single Window Interface for Facilitating Trade (SWIFT) and
  3. Other taxpayer-friendly initiatives under Digital India and Ease of Doing Business of Central Board of Excise and Customs. 

Under the project, the CBEC’s existing IT systems will be integrated with the GST Network. This is required for processing of registration, payment and returns data sent by GSTN systems to CBEC, as well as act as a front-end for other modules such as audit, appeals, investigation.

  • The exercise is also expected to help the indirect tax department cater to the larger number of taxpayers when GST rolls out. The number of taxpayers under various indirect tax laws administered by CBEC is about 36 lakh at present, and will nearly double to 65 lakh after the introduction of GST.
  • It will integrate with other government initiatives such as E-Nivesh, E-Taal, e-Sign

Other Prelims related facts

  • Goods and Services Tax (GST), the country’s biggest tax reform, is scheduled to be rolled out from July with the Parliament passing all the crucial laws on April 6.
  • GST will herald not only a new tax but also a 100% digital system to file returns and payments.

Gas4India campaign

Gas4India campaign

Union Minister of State (I/C) for Petroleum and Natural Gas Shri Dharmendra Pradhan launched Gas4India campaign, aimed at promoting the use of gas in the country.

About

  • Gas4India is a unified cross-country, multimedia, multi-event campaign to communicate the national, social, economic and ecological benefits of using natural gas as the fuel of choice to every citizen who uses, or will use in the near future, gas in any way- cook, travel, light their homes, and power their business.
  • The campaign includes social media engagements, as well as hyper local, offline events to directly connect with consumers through discussions, workshops and cultural events.
  • Public and private sector companies working in the sector have joined hands to promote the natural gas sector.
  • The country is expected to be moving towards the gas-based economy, and to increase the share of gas in the country’s energy basket from the present 6.5%.
  • To enhance gas production, the Government is promoting nationwide gas grid and setting up gas infrastructure.
  • Government is going to take steps to harness synthetic gas from Coal Bed Methane, and also promoting Bio-CNG and Bio-PNG. 3 New LNG terminals are also coming up. India has entered into long term contracts and acquired assets abroad to ensure unhindered supply of gas at reasonable prices.
  • GAIL has already finished the tendering process for gas grid and actual process of laying pipelines will begin soon.

 

Prelims facts

  • Natural gasis a naturally occurring hydrocarbon gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, but commonly including varying amounts of other higher alkanes, and sometimes a small percentage of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, hydrogen sulfide, or helium.
  • It is formed when layers of decomposing plant and animal matter are exposed to intense heat and pressure under the surface of the Earth over millions of years. The energy that the plants originally obtained from the sun is stored in the form of chemical bonds in the gas.
  • Natural gas is found in deep underground rock formations or associated with other hydrocarbon reservoirs in coal beds and as methane clathrates. Petroleum is another resource and fossil fuel found in close proximity to and with natural gas.

 Difference between CNG, PNG and LPG


LNG is Liquefied Natural gas and CNG is Compressed Natural Gas. Both are Natural gas in two physical forms.

The drawback of natural gas is its availability is restricted to certain regions or countries. In its natural form it is an inconvenient fuel source for portability or shipping.

LNG

To overcome the transportation drawback, natural gas shipping takes place from available regions to other countries in liquid form. This is Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). LNG has volume that is 1/600th of its original volume.

Processes required in the LNG

  • Liquefaction and transport of natural gas is at -162 Deg C.
  • Removal of all impurities like sulphur, water and other elements is necessary for liquefaction
  • The receiving side also should have an LNG terminal for re-vapourising the LNG to its gaseous form.

CNG

CNG is Compressed Natural Gas and another physical form of natural gas to make it convenient to handle. Natural gas is compressed to 200 bar pressure so that the volume is almost 1% of the original.

Unlike LNG, the plant, machinery, and investment required for CNG production is considerably less.

LPG

  • LPG is Liquefied Petroleum Gas.
  • LPG production happens during the refining of crude oil. The composition is predominantly propane, butane, or a mix of these and other gases.
  • In addition, extraction of LPG takes place directly from some of the oil wells.
  • The calorific value is higher than the Natural gas in the range of 95 MJ /kg.
  • LPG can be in liquid form at a relatively low pressure of 2 to 5 bar at atmospheric temperature. This makes it convenient to handle in small cylinders.

Global Hunger Index Report 2016


India continues to have serious levels of widespread hunger forcing it to be ranked a lowly 97 among 118 developing countries for which the Global Hunger Index (GHI) was calculated this year. Countries worse than India include extremely poor African countries such as Niger, Chad, Ethiopia and Sierra Leone besides two of India’s neighbours: Afghanistan and Pakistan. Other neighbours Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and China are all ranked above India.

 About

  • The global community is not on course to end hunger by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) deadline of 2030.
  • India’s global hunger index or GHI score of 28.5 is worse than the developing
    country average score of 21.3
  • According to the report, India has a “serious” hunger problem with2% of its citizens undernourished and 38.7% of under-five children stunted.

Prelims related facts

  • Global Hunger Index report is released by the Washington based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  • GHI score is a multidimensional index composed of four indicators- proportion of undernourished in the population, and prevalence of child  mortality, child stunting, and child wasting.
  • As per the World Bank Report titled ‘Nutrition in India’, India loses over 12 billion U.S. Dollar in Gross Domestic Product due to vitamin and mineral deficiencies in Indian population.

India’s steps to fight malnutrition

  • The Government has accorded high priority to the issue of malnutrition in the country and is implementing several schemes/programmes under different Ministries/Departments through State Governments/UT Administrations.

The schemes/programmes include the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), National Health Mission (NHM), Mid-Day Meal Scheme, Rajiv Gandhi Schemes for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls (RGSEAG) namely SABLA,  Indira Gandhi MatritvaSahyogYojna (IGMSY) as direct targeted interventions. Besides, indirect Multi-sectoral interventions include Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS), National Horticulture Mission, National Food Security Mission, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, National Rural Drinking Water Programme etc.


 

Categories
Prelims Capsule

Prelims Capsule: Profiles of Personalities- Raja Ram Mohan Roy (1772-1833)

 


He was an influential socio-religious reformer whose works influenced the contemporary politics, administration, education and religion of India during pre-independence.

Ram Mohan early in his life went to Patna to study Persian and Arabic in a Madrasa at the behest of his father. Persian and Arabic were in high demand at that time as it was still the court language of the Mughal Emperors. He studied the Quran and other Islamic scriptures. Post completion of his studies in Patna, he went to Benares (Kashi) to learn Sanskrit. He mastered the language in no time and began studying scriptures, including the Vedas and Upanishads. He learnt English language at the age of 22.

  1. He established Atmiya Sabha in 1815, which is seen as precursor for socio-religious reforms in Bengal and thereby in India. Through Atmiya Sabha, he campaigned for the rights of women; he started opposing Sati System and Polygamy in Hindus, demanded property inheritance rights for Women.
  2. In 1817, he founded Maha Patshala which came be to known as Hindu College at Calcutta. This was re-named as Presidency College in 1855. He paved the way to revolutionizing education system in India in this college along with David Hare which later went on to become one of the best educational institutions in the country producing some of the best minds in India.
  3. In 1821, he established Sambad Kaumudi, through which he advocated for freedom of Press, induction of Indians into High ranks and separation of executive and judiciary. He also published a Persian news Magazine the following year named Mirat-ul-Akbar
  4. His efforts to combine true to the roots theological doctrines along with modern rational lessons saw him establish the Anglo-Vedic School in 1822 followed by the Vedanta College in 1826.
  5. In 1828, he established Brahmo Sabhaalong with Dwarkanath Tagore which later became Brahmo Samaj and was influential in bringing various social reforms in India; with the efforts of this Sabha in 1829 Lord William Bentinck abolished Sati through Regulation XVII. By this time he became a well-known figure in India.
  6. It was then, Akbar-II gave him the title of “Raja”, and Akbar-II sent him to England to persuade them for the cause of Mughal Emperor, in Bristol, England, he died of meningitis in the year 1833.
  7. Recently, the British government has named a street in Bristol as ‘Raja Rammohan Way’ in the memory of Raja Ram Mohan Roy.
  8. His ‘Gaudiya Byakaran’ in Bengali is the best of his prose works. Rabindranath Tagore and Bankim Chandra also followed the footsteps of Ram Mohan Roy.

Some of his Publications are as follows:


  • Tuhfat-ul-Muwahhidinor A Gift to Monotheists (1805),
  • Vedanta (1815), Ishopanishad (1816),
  • Kathopanishad (1817), Moonduk Upanishad (1819),
  • The Precepts of Jesus – Guide to Peace and Happiness (1820),
  • Sambad Kaumudi – a Bengali newspaper (1821),
  • Mirat-ul-Akbar – Persian journal (1822),
  • Gaudiya Byakaran (1826),
  • Brahmapasona (1828) and Brahmasangeet (1829) and
  • The Universal Religion (1829).

 

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Categories
Prelims Capsule

Prelims Capsule – Profiles of Personalities: Lala Lajpat Rai

 


Of the triumvirate – Lal-Bal-Pal ( Lala Lajpat Rai, Bal  Gangadhar  Tilak and  Bipin Chandra  Pal)  of  India’s freedom movement against the British colonial rule, Lala Lajpat Rai was a multi-faceted personality and led a life of ceaseless activity dedicated to a selfless service to the nation.

  • He was drawn into one of the most creative movements of the revitalization of 19th century India, Arya Samaj, founded and led by Swami Dayanand Saraswati. Later on, he set up a Dayanand Anglo-Vedic school in Lahore.
  • As early as 1897, he had founded the Hindu Relief Movement to provide help to the famine -stricken people and thus preventing them falling into the clutches of the missionaries.
  • In the two articles he wrote for the Kayastha Samachar (1901), he called for technical education and industrial self-help. In the wake of the Swadeshi movement (anti-partition of Bengal. 1905-8), when “the idea of a national education caught the imagination of the whole of India”, it was Lajpat Rai and Bal Gangadhar Tilak, who “propagated the idea”.
  • He went to set up the National College in Lahore, where Bhagat Singh studied.
  • When the agitation against increased irrigation rates and higher land-revenue began in Punjab, it was led by the Indian Patriots Association led by Ajit Singh (uncle of Bhagat Singh) and Lajpat Rai would often address their meetings.
  • For his growing involvement in the freedom movement, he was given the toughest prison sentences in Mandalay (now Myanmar) in 1907 without trial.
  • He also led the protest against the horrendous massacre of Jalianwalla Bagh.
  • He visited USA and Japan where he kept in touch with the Indian revolutionaries. In England, he also became a member of the British Labour party.
  • In recognition of his outstanding role in the freedom movement, he was elected President of the Indian National Congress at the Calcutta session (1920).
  • As he took much interest in the condition of the working class people, he was also elected as the President of the All India Trade Union Congress.
  • Gifted with a perceptive mind, he was a prolific writer and authored several works like
    • “Unhappy India”,
    • “Young India: An Interpretation”,
    • “History of Arya Samaj”,
    • “England’s Debt to India” and
    • a series of popular biographies on Mazzini, Garibaldi and Swami Dayanand.
  • As a visionary and man with a mission, he founded the Punjab National Bank, the Lakshmi Insurance Company and the Servants of the Peoples Society at Lahore.
  • A mass leader, he led from the front. While leading a protest march against the all-White Simon Commission in Lahore, he was brutally assaulted by the British authorities and was seriously injured which caused the untimely death of this towering freedom fighter in Lahore on 17 November 1928. 
  • It was to avenge this brutality Bhagat Singh took up arms along with and paid the ultimate price.

 

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Prelims Capsule

Legislation in British India – Part 1

 


  • Robert Clive, often referred to as “Clive of India” amassed so much illegal wealth after the Battle of Plassey and Buxar that people back in England started to call him and his associates “nabobs”, the anglicised version of Nawabs. When he returned back to England in 1769, people were astounded with the fortune he acquired.
  • In 1771 he was charged of corruption, bribe and maladministration in India; trials and enquiry were held on his conduct. Though he was exonerated in 1773 after a vote, British parliament was wary of the kind of administration carried out by the company officials as the company was in dire financial straits but these officers were becoming rich.
  • The company was important for British Parliament because of the investors of the company were the big shots of Britain. The buckled up and wanted to supervise the Company to make sure the company coffers filled again.

In this background, they introduced “The Regulating Act of 1773” to regulate the activities of Company officials and overhaul the administration system.

Note: There is something we need to keep in mind, legislation is a process and one Act cannot solve all the problems at once. A new legislation is brought about to correct the previous one or to introduce new rules. This tip will set the tone for further reading.


Provisions of the Regulating Act


The act provided for the “Court of Directors” with a strength of 24 members who were to be elected by “Court of Proprietors”, the Court of Directors (CoD) would hold office for four years. They were required to submit all the dispatches of communication in the British Parliament coming from India.

  • The act prohibited the company officials from taking the bribes and doing private trade, which was also a bone of contention between the Nawab of Bengal and EIC. (Remember the allegations made on Robert Clive)
  • Governor of Bengal was made Governor General of Bengal; Bombay and Madras were made subordinate to Bengal. Warren Hastings became the first Governor General of Bengal.
  • A “Council of Four” was created to assist Governor General of Bengal in administrative decisions which included Commander in Chief as a default member.
  • A Supreme Court was established at Fort William Calcutta in 1774, and judges from Britain were sent to administer British legal system in India. The first judge being Elijah Impey.

If you observe the above provisions, they are vague, the role of the council was not defined, the jurisdiction of Supreme Court was not demarcated, and the laws to be applied to Indians were not mentioned. In a case of forgery the Ex-Diwan of Murshidabad, Nand Kumar was sentenced to death, which wasn’t allowed according to Indian law; it led to a huge public outburst. There was also constant quarrel between the Governor General of Bengal and his Council; the act enacted to regulate the company affairs was a failure, and therefore the next legislation was brought in to correct the mistakes of the previous legislation.


Pitt’s India Act


It was brought under the young Prime Minister of Britain, William Pitt and hence the act came to be called Pitt’s India Act.

Provisions of Pitt’s India Act

  1. A Board of Control with 6 members of whom two were from British Parliament and four from the Monarch’s Privy Council and was set up in Britain to manage the India affairs exclusively, through which the British Parliament could finally control the civil, military and revenue affairs in India. However, Company still retained the monopoly over trade and enjoyed its rights to appoint and dismiss officials at its will. Thus, a system of Dual Government was established. Court of Directors for Commercial affairs, and Board of Directors for Political affairs.
  2. The Council size was reduced to three, and Governor General of Bengal was a crown appointee got the veto power to override the advice of the council.
  3. The members of the Governor General of Bengal’s executive council were to be appointed from the Indian Covenanted Services.

Additional reading:


1) The 6 members of Board of Control were

  • Finance minister of British Parliament (called the Chancellor of Exchequer)
  • Any cabinet minister.
  • Rest of the four members were from the Private council of the monarch.

2) ICS members were given the executive functions, and they were patronage of Court of Directors.

The Pitt’s India Act came to be the Constitution of India till 1858 and acted as the base, not many changes were made to the structure of government. The acts that followed after this were more or less concerned with the trading monopoly of the company and number of members in the Governor General’s executive council and strengthening the powers of Governor General.

Hence the nomenclature of the acts that followed was “Charter Acts”, Charter here meant – a permission or grant to trade.

There were four charter acts one after every 20 years in total.

Note: Look for the pattern in these charters.


 Provisions of “The Charter Act of 1793”


  1. This Charter extended the trading monopoly of the Company for 20 more years.
  2. Governor General, who had got the overriding powers on his executive council, now got overriding powers over Governors of other two presidencies.
  3. The Commander in Chief who was ipso facto (by default) member of executive council, wouldn’t be anymore. If wished could be appointed but not by default.
  4. The salaries of the Board of Control in Britain were to be paid by the revenues earned in India.
  5. The laws made in India were now to be translated to Indian languages.
  6. The EIC was empowered to grant licenses to Company officials or individuals to carry out the trade. This was done to enable to send shipments of Opium to China.

  The Charter Act of 1813


The act expressly asserted the Crown’s sovereignty over British India.

Provisions:

  1. The trading monopoly extended for 20 more years but only in trade in tea and trade with China and all other trades were open for all.
  2. Christian Missionaries were allowed to operate in India, subject to the approval of Court of Directors or Board of Control.
  3. Act also provided for 1,00,000 rupees per annum to be spent on education in India

The Charter Act of 1833


This Act was also called the Government of India Act 1833, or Saint Helena Act 1833, and is of paramount importance, for, it brought about a number of changes.

Provisions of the act:

  1. The Governor General of Bengal was re-designated as the Governor General of India. And whatever legislative powers the Governors of Bombay and Madras were repealed and they were made total subordinates of the Governor General of India. William Bentinck became the first the Governor General of India.
  2. The legislative powers were now vested with Governor General’s Executive Council. A provision for new member called Law member was introduced, and when the Law member of council the same council would be called Legislative Council. The Law member would act as a legal advisor in making laws who later constituted Law Commission to codify all the laws for India. The first law member being Thomas Babington Macaulay.
  3. The Act also ended EIC as a commercial body and it solely became the administrative body.
  4. The Act also introduced a system of open exam for the selection of civil servants, but this was opposed by Court of Directors and they continued to hold the privilege to appoint the civil servants.  This proposal was enacted in 1853
  5. The Act also provided that, there shouldn’t be any discrimination in the services of the Company on the basis of religion, caste, gender, race, colour etc. However, this only remained on paper and never practised.

Note: Government of India was supposed to take steps to improve the conditions of Slaves in India. In this regard 10 years later Indian Slavery Act or Act V of 1843 was passed and abolished slavery system and made it a penal offence.


The Charter Act of 1853


  • The Act provided for Company to retain its territorial positions but not for any definite period, unlike previous charters which extended for 20 years at once.
  • The membership of Court of Directors was reduced from 24 to 18 and out of which 6 nominations were to be made by British Crown’s Privy Council.
  • The number of members in Legislative Council was increased to 6 and Executive council to 4
  • Civil services were finally opened for Indians and an open competitive examination was held in London for the selection.
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Prelims Capsule

Prelims Capsule: The Blue Rebellion of 1859

 


  • March 1859, the ryots (peasants) of Bengal, frustrated with coercive actions of Indigo planters and their lathiyals (lathi-wielding strong men of Planters), as the payment they offered to the ryots did no good to them and they couldn’t grow rice after cultivating indigo on the same land, the ryots took to arms and refused to grow Indigo (a blue dye).
  • The agents of the planters were beaten up, and ryots refused to pay the rent. Few local zamindars came to support these poor ryots and soon the rebellion spread to the nearby areas.
  • When the British Govt heard the news, they were worried of another popular revolt; they were yet to recover from the shock of 1857 episode. Queen directed Magistrate of Barasat (Ashley Eden) to issue a notice stating ryots not to be compelled to accept Indigo contracts.
  • An Indigo commission was appointed, which upon enquiry found planters to be guilty, for employing oppressive methods and they realised the misery that ryots had to suffer. The decision was declared in favour of ryots, they were asked to complete their present contracts and they could refuse to produce indigo in future if they wanted.
  • Production soon collapsed in Bengal. But the planters now shifted the base to Bihar, but it was less intensive as an artificial dye was invented by late nineteenth century.

Bonus content:

The indigo cultivation totally stopped in 1917 after the intervention of Mahatma Gandhi at Champaran when a peasant from Bihar persuaded Gandhi to visit them and see their plight.

Gandhi’s was already a star by then, he started a peaceful protest there and this incident came to be famously known as “Champaran Satyagraha.”
(Not to be confused with Blue rebellion, it is for additional reference)

 

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Public Finance/ Fiscal Policy – Part 2



Public Finance/ Fiscal Policy 


In this series we started with the –

This post we shall discuss- Deficits, Concept of Fiscal Consolidation, FRBM Act and related reforms.

What is a ‘Deficit’?

  • Simply said, if I had Rs 9 and I wanted a pen worth Rs 10. I am on a deficit of Re. 1. A deficit is the amount by which a resource falls short of a mark, mostly used to describe a difference between cash inflows and outflows. Deficit is synonymous with shortfall or loss.
  • The term deficit is generally prefixed by another term to refer to a specific situation like income deficit, budget deficit or trade deficit.
  • We can simply use Budget Deficit to define the financial situation wherein the government’s expenditures are more than its revenues.
  • But since Budget itself has so many components we can’t simply explain all policy implications just by budget deficit using excess of public expenditure over public revenue

For the point of view of exam there are 5 types of deficits that are important for us to learn.Each type of deficit has a unique policy relevance to help us improve the outcomes and there is no single measure which may be universally preferred over all others for all time to come.

Revenue Deficit

  • Budget is divided into Revenue Account and Capital Accounts as discussed in the previous post, if there is a shortfall on the revenue account. Such a deficit is called the Revenue deficit i.e., the excess of expenditure on revenue account over the receipts on revenue account measures revenue deficit.
  • Revenue deficit = Total Revenue expenditure – Total Revenue receipts
  • Revenue deficit means the government is using the savings of other sectors of the economy to finance a part of the consumption expenditure of the government.
  • Revenue deficit signifies that government’s own earning is insufficient to meet normal functioning of government departments and provision of services. Revenue deficit results in borrowing
  • The aim of the fiscal policy should always be to ensure surplus in the revenue budget so that the government also contributes to raising the rate of saving in the economy.
  • Currently, the revenue deficit is envisaged to reduce from 2.1 percent of GDP in 2016-17 to 1.9 percent of GDP in 2017-18.

Policy Implications

  • A high revenue deficit warns the government either to curtail its expenditure or increase its tax and non-tax receipts. Thus, main remedies are:
    1. Government should raise rate of taxes especially on rich people and any new taxes where possible
    2. Government should try to reduce its expenditure and avoid unnecessary expenditure. (Austerity Measures) Having a minimum government.
Additional Information:

·         Remember we had said in the previous post as Note that Union Grantsto states are treated as revenue expenditure, even though some of the grants may be used for creation of assets while the loans to the States are Capital. Since such grants are included as revenue expenditure, we don’t get a clear picture of Revenue deficit. Therefore we have a measure called “Effective Revenue Deficit” – which isthe difference between revenue deficit and grants for creation of capital assets.

·         Effective Revenue deficit is a new term introduced in the Union Budget 2011-12.

·         Grants for creation of capital assets, as a concept, was introduced in the FRBM Act through the amendment in 2012.

·         However, the 14th Finance Commission observed that the artificial carving out of the revenue account deficit into effective revenue deficit to bring out that portion of grants which is intended to create capital asset at the recipient level leads to an accounting problem and raises the moral hazard issue of creative budgeting. The Commission recommend that the Union Government should consider making an amendment to the FRBM Act to omit the definition of effective revenue deficit from 1 April 2015.

·         But Government hasn’t done away with it. The Effective revenue deficit is estimated at 0.7 per cent, in contrast to the FRBM Act that has called for eliminating it by 2017-18.

 

 

Capital Deficit

  • The excess of capital expenditure over capital receipts measures the capital deficit.
  • Capital Deficit = Expenditure on Capital Account – Capital Receipts
  • Capital Expenditure include: Central Plan and Assistance for States and Union Territories, defence expenditure on Capital account, loans to public enterprises, States and Union Territory Governments, foreign governments and others;
  • The items of capital receipts include recoveries of loans extended by the centre itself, but only net receipts of loans raised by it.

Note: Receipts on account of sale of 91 days treasury bills and drawing down of cash balances do not form a part of capital receipts. However, net receipts on account of sale of 182 days and 364 days treasury bills and sales proceeds of government assets are included in capital receipts.

Fiscal Deficit

  • The difference between total expenditure (along with loans net of repayments) and revenue receipts plus certain non-debt capital receipts is called Fiscal Deficit.
  • Fiscal Deficit = Total Expenditure – (Revenue Receipts + Non-debt Capital Receipts)
  • Non debt creating capital receipts are those which do not give rise to debt, as the name itself suggests. For instance, loan recovery and proceeds from disinvestment in the PSUs
  • Fiscal deficit indicates the total borrowing requirements of the government from all sources. This may also be called Gross Fiscal Deficit (GFD).
  • It measures that portion of government expenditure which is financed by borrowing and drawing down of cash balances.

Note: Revenue deficit is a part of fiscal deficit. It can also be expressed as

  • Fiscal Deficit = revenue deficit + Capital expenditure – Non debt creating capital receipts).
  • Fiscal Deficit = Total Expenditure – Total Receipts Excluding Borrowings

From these equations: The fiscal deficit can occur even if the revenue deficit is not there if the following conditions prevail:

  • Revenue budget is balanced, but the capital budget is in deficit.
  • Revenue budget is in the surplus, and the capital budget is in deficit, and the deficit is more than the surplus.

Policy implications of Fiscal Deficit

  1. Debt Trap:
  • The fiscal deficit could be financed only through borrowings and with more and more borrowings the debt obligations increases.
  • The government has to repay the loan amount along with the interest which results into the increase in the revenue expenditure and as a result, the revenue deficit increases. Thus, this compels the government to resort to the external borrowings.
  1. Wasteful Expenditure + Inflation:
  • The deficit often leads to the wasteful expenditure of the government that ultimately results in the inflationary pressures in the economy.
  • As government borrows from RBI which meets this demand by printing of more currency notes (called deficit financing), it results in circulation of more money. This may cause inflationary pressure in the economy.
  1. Affects Sustainability of the growth:
  • Borrowing is in fact financial burden on future generation to pay loan and interest amount which retards growth of economy

The servicing of this debt has become a serious problem. Public debt in India is mostly subscribed to by commercial banks and financial institutions. A judicious macro-management of the economy requires a progressive reduction in the fiscal deficit and revenue deficit of the government.

Note 1: For 2017-18, the Budget has pegged the fiscal deficit at 3.2 per cent of the GDP. The FRBM Act mandates that the fiscal deficit should be lowered to 3 per cent in the next financial year

Note 2: A little reflection on the explanation will show that fiscal deficit is actually equal to borrowings. Thus, fiscal deficit gives the borrowing requirement of the government.

Fiscal Deficit Financing

  1. Borrowing within the country:

Fiscal deficit can be met by borrowing from domestic sources, e.g., public and commercial banks. It also includes tapping of money deposits in provident fund and small saving schems. Borrowing from public to deal with deficit is considered better than deficit financing because it does not increase the money supply which is regarded as the main cause of rising prices.

  1. Borrowing from external sources: Borrowing from outside India that is from sources like multilateral institutions such as IMF, World Bank, BRICS Bank, AIIB, ADB or the foreign banks.
  2. Borrowing from RBI

Government issues treasury bills which RBI buys in return for cash from the government. This cash is created by RBI by printing new currency notes against government securities. Thus, it is an easy way to raise funds but it carries with it adverse effects also. Its implication is that money supply increases in the economy creating inflationary trends and other ills that result from deficit financing. Therefore, this way of the fiscal deficit financing is avoided.

Fiscal Consolidation

The policies adopted by the Governments (national and sub-national levels) to reduce their deficits and decrease the accumulation of debt are together called Fiscal Consolidation.

The path adopted for fiscal consolidation in India is enumerated in the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act, 2003.

FRBM Act, 2003

  • According to FRBM, the government should eliminate revenue deficit and reduce fiscal deficit to 3% (medium term) of the GDP.
  • FRBM Act provides a legal institutional framework for fiscal consolidation. It is now mandatory for the Central government to take measures to reduce fiscal deficit, to eliminate revenue deficit and to generate revenue surplus in the subsequent years.
  • The Act binds not only the present government but also the future Government to adhere to the path of fiscal consolidation. The Government can move away from the path of fiscal consolidation only in case of natural calamity, national security and other exceptional grounds which Central Government may specify.
  • Further, the Act prohibits borrowing by the government from the Reserve Bank of India, thereby, making monetary policy independent of fiscal policy. The Act bans the purchase of primary issues of the Central Government securities by the RBI after 2006, preventing monetization of government deficit.
  • The Act also requires the government to lay before the parliament three policy statements in each financial year namely Medium Term Fiscal Policy Statement; Fiscal Policy Strategy Statement and Macroeconomic Framework Policy Statement.
  • To impart fiscal discipline at the state level, the Twelfth Finance Commission gave incentives to states through conditional debt restructuring and interest rate relief for introducing Fiscal Responsibility Legislations (FRLs). All the states have implemented their own FRLs.

Other Measures

  • Improved tax revenue realization: For this, increasing efficiency of tax administration by reducing tax avoidance, eliminating tax evasion, enhancing tax compliance etc. are to be made.
  • Enhancing tax GDP ratio by widening the tax base and minimizing tax concessions and exemptions also improves tax revenues.
  • Better targeting of government subsidies and extending Direct Benefit Transfer scheme for more subsidies.
  • Introduction of GST, even the Demonetization could be considered as a move for Fiscal consolidation which increases the tax base and tax revenues and helps in reducing the fiscal deficit.
  • The introduction measures for speedy disposal mechanism to reduce tax arrears. Tax
  • Rationalization tax treaties to minimize tax evasion and avoidance through tax havens by renegotiating the DTAA Agreements.

Why is Fiscal Consolidation important?

  • Fiscal consolidation efforts are considered by the sovereign-rating agencies as it an indicator of the country’s seriousness commitment towards servicing the debt it raises.
  • Even though an economy grows well, and its other indicators, such as external sector strength, it does not get a good rating only on the ground of poor efforts at fiscal consolidation.

Primary Deficit

  • Primary deficit is fiscal deficit minus interest payments on previous borrowings
  • Primary deficit = Fiscal deficit – Interest payments
  • It shows how much government borrowing is going to meet expenses other than Interest payments.
  • A zero primary deficit means that government has to resort to borrowing only to make interest payments that is fiscal deficit is equal to interest payment. Then government is not adding to the existing loan.
  • Primary Deficit also helps the governments convey the measures being taken by the current government to the electorate over previous governments’ bad performance.

Monetised Deficit

  • The Monetised Deficit is the amount RBI helps the central government in its borrowing programme.
  • The monetized deficit results in the increase in the net holdings of treasury bills by the RBI and also the RBI contribution towards the government’s market borrowings increases. With the issue of more money to the government, the money supply in the economy increases, as a result of which the inflationary pressure prevails. Hence, we can say that monetised deficits are the part of a fiscal deficit that leads to the inflation in the economy.
  • Thus, it can be concluded that monetised deficit occurs when the government takes a monetary support from the RBI to finance its debt obligations and try to reduce its unnecessary expenditures.

 

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Prelims Capsule

Prelims Capsule: Writs in the Indian Constitution



Welcome to Prelims Capsule! Today is Polity Special 🙂


The Constitution of India allows Supreme Court and High Courts under Articles 32 and 226 respectively to issue writs to enforce the Fundamental Rights made available by the Part III of the Constitution.


What is a Writ?


A Writ is a formal written order issued by the Court in the name of the sovereign power.Any warrant, orders, directions, and so on, issued by the Supreme Court or the High court are called writs.


What is a Writ Petition?


  • If any of your Fundamental Rights are violated a writ petition can be filed in the High Court (Article 226) or the Supreme Court (Article 32) of India.

Imp Note: The writ jurisdiction of the High Courts (Article 226) on a writ petition is wider as it extends to the constitutional rights too.


Who can file the Writ Petitions?


  • All the writ petitions can only be filed by Aggrieved individual except for Quo Warranto which can be filed by any individual irrespective of whether he/she is aggrieved or not.
  • In case of Habeas Corpus the any other individual on behalf of the aggrieved person can file the writ petition.

Public Interest Litigation and Judicial Activism:


  • The traditional rule of “Locus Standi” that a person, whose right is infringed alone can file a petition, has been considerably relaxed by the Supreme Court in its recent decisions.
  • Now, the court permits public interest litigation at the instance of public spirited citizens for the enforcement of constitutional o- legal rights. Now, any public spirited citizen can move/approach the court for the public cause (in the interests of the public or public welfare) by filing a petition:
    • in Supreme Court under Art.32 of the Constitution;
    • in High Court under Art.226 of the Constitution;

Writs available in India


  • Both the Articles 32 and 226 provide five types of writs namely writ of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, certiorari and quo-warranto. These are known as prerogative writs in English Law because they had originated in the King’s prerogative power of superintendence over the due observance of law by his officers and tribunals.
  • The prerogative writs are extra-ordinary remedies intended to be applied in exceptional or rare cases in which ordinary legal remedies are not adequate.

Various Writs available in the Constitution of India for Supreme Court and High Court are as Summarized in the table below:


Different Writs in the Constitution of India
Name of the Writ Meaning Use of the Writ Issued Against
Habeas Corpus You may have the body To release a person who has been detained unlawfully whether in prison or in private custody. Public Officials as well as Private Persons
Mandamus(also called ‘Writ of Justice’) We Command To secure the performance of public duties by lower court, tribunal or public authority.  public authority, judicial bodies, quasi-public authority to perform the  legal duty
Certiorari To be certified or to be fully informed of To quash the order already passed by an inferior court, tribunal or quasi-judicial authority. inferior court, tribunal
Prohibition To Prohibit To prohibit an inferior court from continuing the proceedings in a particular case where it has no jurisdiction to try. Judicial authorities,administrative authorities,quasi- judicial authorities.
Quo Warranto What is your authority? To restrain a person from holding a public office which he is not entitled. Substantive Public Authority only