Friday, 31 August 2012

Economic Survey 2012

Dear All,
I just wanted to bring to your attention that there are quite a few posts which contain relevant extracts from the Economic Survey 2012. Please look under the label "Economy" to access them.
- Spurthi

Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act

Extract from Economic Survey 2012, pp 83

Agriculture markets are regulated in India through the APMC Acts. According to the provisions of the APMC Acts of the states, every APMC is authorized to collect market fees from the buyers/traders in the prescribed manner on the sale of the notified agricultural produce. The relatively high incidence of commission charges on agricultural / horticultural produce renders their marketing cost high, an undesirable outcome.

Marginal Standing Facility

What is the marginal standing facility?
The Reserve Bank of India in its monetary policy for 2011-12, introduced the marginal standing facility (MSF), under which banks could borrow funds overnight from RBI against pledging government securities. Banks can borrow funds through MSF when there is a considerable shortfall of liquidity. This measure has been introduced by RBI to regulate short-term asset liability mismatches more effectively.
Under the MSF scheme the banks can borrow overnight upto 1 per cent of their net demand and time liabilities (NDTL) i.e. 1 per cent of the aggregate deposits and other liabilities of the banks. The MSF rate is pegged 100 basis points or a percentage point above the repo rate. 
In the annual policy statement, RBI says: "The stance of monetary policy is, among other things, to manage liquidity to ensure that it remains broadly in balance, with neither a large surplus diluting monetary transmission nor a large deficit choking off fund flows."

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Priority Sector Lending

Extract from Economic Survey 2012, Chapter 5 "Financial Intermediation and Markets", pgs 108- 109.

A target of 40 per cent of adjusted net bank credit (ANBC) or credit-equivalent amount of offbalance
sheet exposures (OBE)( whichever is higher as on 31 March of the previous year), has been stipulated for lending to the priority sector by domestic SCBs in the public and private sectors. Bank loans to MFIs have also been included in priroty-sector lending. Within this, sub-targets of 18 per cent and 10 per have been stipulated for lending to agriculture and the weaker sections respectively.

A target of 32 per cent (of ANBC or credit equivalent amount of OBE, whichever is higher), has been stipulated for lending to the priority sector by foreign banks having offices in India.

Although public-sector banks as a group had achieved the overall priority-sector lending target in 2010 fiscal yr, seven out of 27 banks could not individually achieve the target

Private sector banks as a group had achieved the overall lending target in 2010 fiscal yr, and only one of the 21 could not individually achieve the target.

Foreign banks as a group also achieved the overall priority sector lending target on the last reporting Friday of March 2011. However, three of the 30 foreign banks did not individually achieve the target.

External Commercial Borrowings Policy

Extract from Economic Survey 2012, Chapter 5 "Financial Intermediation and Markets", pg.125.

The borrowings raised by an Indian corporate from confirmed banking sources outside India are called External Commercial Borrowings(ECBs).ECBs are permitted by the Government of India as a source of finance for Indian corporates for expansion of existing capacity as well as for fresh investment. 2

ECBs are defined to include:
  • Commercial bank loans
  • Syndicated loans [A syndicated loan is one that is provided by a group of lenders and is structured, arranged, and administered by one or several commercial banks or investment banks known as arrangers. The syndicated loan market is the dominant way for corporations in the U.S. and Europe to tap banks and other institutional financial capital providers for loans. At the most basic level, arrangers serve the investment-banking role of raising investor funding for an issuer in need of capital. The issuer pays the arranger a fee for this service, and this fee increases with the complexity and risk factors of the loan. 3]
  • Buyers' credit and suppliers' credit
  • Securitised instruments such as Floating Rate Notes and Fixed Rate Bonds etc.
  • Credit from official export credit agencies
  • Commercial borrowings from the private sector window of Multilateral Financial Institutions such as IFC, ADB, AFIC, CDC, etc.
Benefits of ECBs: 
  • It provides the foreign currency funds that may not be available in India.
  • The cost of funds at times works out to be cheaper as compared to the cost of Rupee funds.
  • ECBs help in diversification of the investor base.
  • The international market is a better option in case of large requirements, as the availability of the funds is huge when compared to domestic market.
  • Corporates can raise ECBs from internationally recognised sources such as banks, export credit agencies, suppliers of equipment, foreign collaborators, foreign equity holders, international capital markets etc.2

A prospective borrower can access ECBs under two routes, namely the automatic route and approval route. ECBs not covered under the automatic route are considered on case-by-case basis by the RBI under the approval route. The High Level Committee on ECB took a number of steps in September 2011 to expand the scope of ECBs. These include:

Infrastructure Development: Credit Default Swap

Extract from Economic Survey 2012, Chapter 5 "Financial Intermediation and Markets" pg. 119, 129

Infrastructure development is the key to longterm sustainable growth of the economy. However, infrastructure finance remains a constraining factor with heavy dependence on bank financing.

Development of the corporate bond market therefore is the key to infrastructure development. While, the introduction of CDS is expected to help in the process, innovative steps are needed to bring the corporate bond market centre stage of infrastructure financing.

Financial Inclusion

Extract from Economic Survey 2012, Chapter 5 "Financial Inter-mediation and Markets" pg 114-15, 130

The objective of Financial Inclusion is:
  • To extend financial services to the large hitherto unserved population of the country to unlock its growth potential. 
  • In addition, it strives towards a more inclusive growth by making financing available to the poor in particular. 

GoI is achieving Financial Inclusion with key interventions in four groups, viz.
  1. expanding banking infrastructure, 
  2. offering appropriate financial products, 
  3. making extensive and intensive use of technology and 
  4. through advocacy and stakeholder participation.


Extract from Economic Survey, Chapter 5 "Financial Intermediation and Markets", pgs 127-130.

A healthy and developing insurance sector is of vital importance to every modern economy. Benefits of a healthy insurance sector are:
  1. it encourages the savings habit, 
  2. it provides a safety net to rural and urban enterprises and productive individuals, and 
  3. generates long-term funds for infrastructure development. 
  4. protect enterprises against risks such as fire and natural disasters. 
  5. Individuals require insurance services in such areas as health care, life, property and pension. 
  6. Social security system and pension reforms also benefit from a mature insurance industry.
Development of insurance is therefore necessary to support continued economic transformation.

Balance of Payments (BoP) situation in India

Relevant extracts  from Economic Survey 2012, Chapter 6 "Balance of Payments".

Balance of Payments comprises:
  1. Current account: Under current account of the BoP, transactions are classified into:
    • Merchandise (exports and imports) and 
    • Invisibles- invisible transactions are further classified into three categories. 
      • Services comprising travel, transportation, insurance, government not included elsewhere (GNIE), and miscellaneous. Miscellaneous services include communication, construction, financial, software, news agency, royalties, management, and business services. 
      • Income. 
      • Transfers (grants, gifts, remittances, etc.) which do not have any quid pro quo form the third category of invisibles.
      • During 2011-12 all broad categories of invisibles, namely services, transfers, and income, 
        showed increase
      • The invisibles account of the BoP reflects the combined effect of transactions relating to international trade in services, income associated with non-resident assets and liabilities, labour and property, and cross-border transfers, mainly workers’ remittances.

Corporate Debt Restructuring

There are occasions when corporates find themselves in financial difficulties because of factors beyond their control and also due to certain internal reasons. For the revival of such corporates as well as for the safety of the money lent by the banks and financial institutions, timely support through restructuring of genuine cases is called for. However, delay in agreement amongst different lending institutions often comes in the way of such endeavors. Based on the experience in countries like the UK, Thailand, Korea, Malaysia, etc. of putting in place an institutional mechanism for restructuring of corporate debt and need for a similar mechanism in India, a Corporate Debt Restructuring System was evolved and detailed guidelines were issued by Reserve bank of India on August 23, 2001 for implementation by financial institutions and banks.

Dumping and Anti-Dumping

Dumping is said to have taken place when an exporter sells a product to India at a price less than the price prevailing in its domestic market. However dumping per se is not condemnable and actionable. 
Anti-dumping action is taken when there is sufficient evidence that dumped imports are causing or are threatening to cause material injury to the Indian industry producing like articles or are materially retarding the establishment of industry.

The designated authority in India which investigates dumping and imposes duties is the Directorate General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties (Ministry of Commerce, GoI). The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade lays down the principles to be followed by the member countries for imposition of anti-dumping duties, countervailing duties and safeguard measures. The legal framework invoked in this regard include:
  • Based on Article VI of GATT 1994
  • Customs Tariff Act, 1975 - Sec 9A, 9B (as amended in 1995)
  • Anti-Dumping Rules [Customs Tariff (Identification, Assessment and Collection of Anti Dumping Duty on Dumped Articles and for Determination of Injury) Rules, 1995]
  • Investigations and Recommendations by Designated Authority, Ministry of Commerce
  • Imposition and Collection by Ministry of Finance
The uncertainty in the international economic environment could lead to a rise in anti- dumping measures by countries in the coming months. India has been getting a lot of undue flak internationally for the highest anti-dumping initiations, especially with respect to China. [Read India-China Trade]

Economic Survey 2012, pg 172

National Sports Awards 2012

Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award — is India’s highest honour given for achievement in sports. It contains a medal, ceremonial dress, a certificate and a cash prize of Rs. 7.5 lakh : Vijay Kumar (shooting), Yogeshwar Dutt (wrestling)., 'Reach for the Stars' ("will I am") is an American rapper, musician, songwriter. He was a member of the music band 'Black Eyed Peas'. He is a Grammy awardee as well. made history by becoming the first artist whose song formed the first ever planet-to-planet music broadcast when NASA’s rover Curiosity beamed a new song by Black Eyed Peas rapper from Mars.  The song is  ‘Reach for the Stars’. This was part of an effort to inspire young people to get interested in science.

Raghuram Rajan

Raghuram G. Rajan, former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), on Wednesday, assumed charge as the Chief Economic Advisor (CEA) in the Ministry of Finance. He takes over charge from Kaushik Basu.

Rajan was globally acclaimed in recent years as being one of the very few to have correctly predicted the 2008 financial crisis. 

Iran Task Force

The U.N. nuclear agency has created a special Iran Task Force of nuclear weapons experts, intelligence analysts and other specialists focused on probing allegations that Tehran has been or is secretly working on developing atomic arms.

But the force will have no more power regarding inspections of Iran’s known or suspected nuclear sites than previous IAEA inspectors did.
Iran has stonewalled an IAEA probe into its alleged weapons work for more than four years, increasing concerns it has something to hide.
Creating a unit focused on only one country is an unusual move for the IAEA, reflecting the urgency the U.N. nuclear watchdog is attaching to Iran amid fears that it is moving closer to the ability to make nuclear weapons, despite its denial.

Polonium 210

Polonium-210 is a radioactive material that emits highly hazardous alpha particles. It was first discovered by Madam Curie in 1898. It occurs naturally in the environment, but an amount large enough to kill a person can only be generated in a reactor.
This element is in the news because it is suspected that the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat died due to radioactive poisoning by  polonium 210.

Source: The Hindu, 30th August 2012.

Fernando Lugo

Fernando Lugo was the President of Paraguay from 2008 to 2012. Mr Lugo's 2008 election ended 61 years of rule by the right-wing Colorado party.  In June 2012, he was impeached and removed from office,  over his handling of clashes between farmers and police last week in which at least 17 people died. He has likened the move to a 'coup' by the right-wing controlled Parliament. Lugo was a leftist. 
Vice-President Federico Franco has already been sworn in as president. But several South American countries, including neighbouring Argentina and Bolivia, have said they do not recognise the new government.


Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict

The landlocked mountainous region of Nagorno-Karabakh is the subject of an unresolved dispute between Azerbaijan, in which it lies, and its ethnic Armenian majority, backed by neighbouring Armenia.
Map of Nagorno-KarabakhIn 1988, towards the end of Soviet rule, Azerbaijani troops and Armenian secessionists began a bloody war which left the de facto independent state in the hands of ethnic Armenians when a truce was signed in 1994.
Negotiations have so far failed to produce a permanent peace agreement, and the dispute remains one of post-Soviet Europe's "frozen conflicts."
In News because this was one of the tricky issues before the Tehran NAM Summit in August 2012. In May 2012, NAM adopted a final document, which reaffirms the importance of resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict  based on three internationally recognized principles - through negotiations, respect for Azerbaijan's territorial integrity and non-use of force.


The P5+1 is a group of countries which in 2006 joined the diplomatic efforts with Iran in regard to its nuclear program. 
The term refers to the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, namely ChinaFrance, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. 1
India supported the P5+1 dialogue process on the Iranian nuclear programme. India "underlined that this (P5+1 talks) would contribute positively to peace and security in the region." India has opposed Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions.2

In August 2012, the P5+1 (in Moscow) made Iran a very modest offer, including help with nuclear safety and a medical research reactor, in exchange for the bottom-line demand that Iran stop enriching fuel to 20 percent purity. The Iranians spurned the deal. A number of U.S. diplomats with long experience in Iran, including Nicholas Burns and Dennis Ross (of the George W. Bush and Obama administration, respectively) argue that negotiators must test Iran's bona fides by offering the country what it claims to want -- the right to enrich uranium for civilian purposes.3


Atomic Energy Regulatory Board and CAG reccos

Atomic Energy Regulatory Board was constituted in 1983 to carry out certain regulatory and safety functions under the Atomic Energy Act, and  the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
The mission of the Board is to ensure that the use of ionizing radiation and nuclear energy in India does not cause undue risk to health and the environment.
A committee was set up in 1987 with Shri V.N. Meckoni as Chairman to review the functions and responsibilities of AERB. The functions and responsibilities of AERB were broadened considerably. 

In August 2012, the CAG reviewed AERB and noted many shortcomings. Given below are the functions of the AERB and the related criticisms of the CAG. Criticisms given in red

Brainstorming 2012: Health

Please refer to other posts under the label "Brainstorming 2012" dealing with other sections.

Please refer to for all posts on health.

There are three components of Health that are specified in the syllabus. They are highlighted in red. Looking forward to all your inputs.

Management of Public Health
- any epidemics that have occurred over the past year.
-Nodding Disease (not India but still relevant)
- Vaccination and Immunisation: programmes and policies
- Zero new-incidence of Polio- what that means, and what are the new challenges for public health
-availability of healthcare: stats on nos of doctors per persons etc.
- insurance route to healthcare- RSBY, Rajiv Arogyashree (AP)
- Reccos of the Srinath Reddy committee on healthcare
- organ donation

Health Education
- separate degree for rural doctors
- compulsory assignment in rural areas
- problem of few MD seats
- need to integrate medical education with societal needs
- 'medical humanities'- reintroducing humanity subjects in curricula to address the emotional and psychological aspects of medical training, which is not taken care of by the science subjects. This will address the deteriorating quality of patient-care. Sypathising with patients is critical to the healing process, especially in long-term illnesses.

Ethical concerns regarding healthcare, medical research and pharmaceuticals
- clinical trials and controversies around them [Refer Clinical trials]
- Surrogacy- legal gaps and exploitation.

Health terms (basically any new element that is being touted in advertisements :))- This is not mentioned but noting it from experience-Spurthi
- Flavanoids
-Omega3 Fatty Acids
-Free Radicals and Anti oxidants


Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are fatty acids that contain more than one double bond in their backbone. This class includes many important compounds, such as essential fatty acids and those that give drying oils their characteristic property. Omega3 fatty acids are a kind of PUFA.
In biochemistry and nutrition, monounsaturated fats or MUFA (MonoUnsaturated Fatty Acid) are fatty acids that have one double bond in the fatty acid chain and all of the remainder of the carbon atoms in the chain are single-bonded. By contrast, polyunsaturated fatty acids have more than one double bond.
Monounsaturated fats are found in natural foods such as red meat, whole milk products, nuts and high fat fruits such as olives and avocadosOlive oil is about 75% monounsaturated fat.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Controller General of Accounts

Controller General of Accounts is the principal Accounts Adviser to the Government of India and is responsible for establishing and maintaining a technically sound management accounting system. 
He prepares a critical analysis of expenditures, revenues, borrowings and the deficit for the Finance Minister every month.
He also prepares annual Appropriation Accounts and Union Finance Accounts for presentation to the parliament.

The following duties and functions are performed by CGA:

PubAd Questions: Financial Administration + Financial Management

1. Comment on the following in 200 words 20x3=60mks
a. Deficit Finance is useful for development. If it is used in excess it creates flaws in the economy. How to handle it properly depends upon the limitations imposed.
b. Public debts are both developmental and anti-developmental.
c. Fiscal Policy influenced the direction of economy through changes in government taxes and expenditure method.

2. a. How far is it true that there is a concentration of powers with the finance ministry in the regulation of fiscal policy and monetary policy. 30mks.
b. What are the deficiencies in the Indian accounting system? What are the recommendations made by ARCII to overcome them? 30mks.

3. a. Explain the role of CGA (Controller General of Accounts). What is the difference between a CGA and CAG? 30mks
b. How is outcome budgeting an improvement over other budgetary practices in India? Is it suitable to fulfill the requirements of the current financial situation in India. 30mks

4. a. What are the new initiatives of the finance ministry to revive economic growth? Explain how the concept of 'fiscal consolidation' is a useful mechanism in this connection. 30mks
b. What are the ways in which the parliament can ensure financial accountability of the executive? 30mks.

PubAd Questions: Rural Development + Urban Governments

1. Answer the following in not more than 200 words. 20x3=60mks
a. NRLM is the new beginning in the rural development strategies. Comment. [Refer NRLM post]
b. How far is Glocalisation a useful method for development of urban areas?
c. New Localism is the implementation of NPM at the local level. Explain.

2. a. What are the recent policies of the Ministry of Urban development for Urban development? 30mks
b. What are the major recommendations of the ARCII on Municipal Governance? 30mks

3 a. For Indian cities to become growth-oriented and productive, it is essential to achieve a world-class urban system. This in turn depends on attaining efficiency and equity in the delivery and financing of urban infrastructure. How will this be done?  30mks
[Refer Ishar Ahluwalia's report on financing urbanisation &  Need to develop small and medium cities]
b. Nothing has been achieved with 33% reservation for women in local bodies. What is the rationale of increasing the reservation from 33% to 50%? 30mks.

4. Write short notes on the following: 20x3=60mks.
a. Common provisions of 73rd and 74th Amedments.
b. ARCII on the structure of PRIs
c. Imrpoving local planning.

PubAd Questions: Techniques of Administrative Improvement + Administrative Reforms in India

1. Comment on the following in 200 words. 20x3=60mks
a. Work Study (WS) involved organizational analysis of office management.
b. Managing information resources requires a careful consideration of all the conditions in a given situation.
c. Knowledge Management is an organized method of utilizing the collective wisdom of the organization.

2. a. CPM and PERT are the tow important techniques of network analysis. Comment. 30mks
b. The time-event network analysis is a system of planning and controlling technique. Comment. 30mks.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Manual Scavenging

Manual scavenging refers to the removal of animal or human waste/excreta (night soil) using brooms, tin plates and baskets from dry latrine and carrying it to disposal grounds some distance away. The system of building employing people for public sanitation was introduced during the British rule in India perhaps in the late 19th century when municipalities were organized. The toilets often used a container that needed to be emptied daily.

Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Bill, 2012

Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)

Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) came into force on December 8, 1994, and now has 19 members.  COMESA is Africa’s largest economic community with a total population of around 430 million and an estimated combined GDP of US$ 447 billion. 

The main goals of COMESA are to eliminate the structural and institutional weaknesses of member states and to promote political stability and sustained  economic development.

India is one of the cooperating partners of COMESA. The deeper integration among the COMESA states will enable the Indian companies to participate in  infrastructure related projects being promoted by COMESA and set up facilities to manufacture items such as agricultural  equipment, textiles, pharmaceuticals, telecom equipment, processed foods in these countries and export to the COMESA and other Sub-Saharan African states.  
India today said it has set up a joint study group to examine the possibility of a free trade pact with the 19-nation Common Market For Eastern and Southern Africa  (COMESA).

The DRC, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Seychelles, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe are also members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).]


Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC)

The  Community of Latin American and Caribbean States called CELAC, is  a regional bloc of 33 sovereign countries in the Latin American and Caribbean with a total of about  600 million people, land area 6 times bigger  than India  with GDP of US$ 3trillion. 
It was  created on February 23, 2012. The bloc forms a political dialogue to deepen Latin American integration.  CELAC  is the successor of the Rio Group and the  Latin American and Caribbean Summit on Integration and Development (CALC). Chile holds the pro-tempore presidency of the CELAC and Cuba will take over in January 2013.

CELAC chose India as its first dialogue partner because of: 
  • its size
  • similar political positions on most issues and 
  • New Delhi’s affinity with the causes of the developing countries. 
  • India’s close association with the Non Aligned Movement (NAM), 
  • its proactive diplomacy.
CELAC gives India a platform to interact directly with these 33 sovereign countries  of this region. Most of the countries are positively disposed towards India. India-CELAC share common democratic values and developmental aspirations; and have common commitment to strengthening South-South Cooperation in the interest of developing countries. Our cooperation with the UN and other multilateral fora has been close and 
determined by common interests. 


The India-CELAC meeting indicates a window of opportunity for both India and Latin America. First, we must explore Latin America’s changing geopolitical priorities over the past few years.
The very nature of the CELAC grouping is reflective of this shift: it was formed in defiance of the Organization of American States to leave out the United States from its political confabulations. Latin America now looks less to its traditional trade partners—Europe and the U.S.—which are preoccupied with their debt crises and political transitions, and the region also no longer sees them as a model they can emulate.
As a result, China is a dominant player in Latin America, with an annual trade of $240 billion. The Chinese presence there is maintained by two pillars: primarily, by a massive exchange of commodities and natural resources, and secondly, by a large Chinese diaspora totaling upwards of 2 million people. This will continue to sustain China’s relationship with Latin America, though more recently there has been a subtle change of policy positioning toward Beijing. Some perceive the flooding of Chinese goods into their markets as a risk; others simply want to engage with new markets.
This is where India comes in. It presents Latin America with an opportunity to diversify and opens the door to a large and promising market. The key points from the India-CELAC Joint Statement—to set up a Business Council, a CEO Forum, an Energy Forum, a Science Forum and an Agricultural Experts group—indicate that there are indeed commonalities to build on. More significant, though, is that the groundwork for these mechanisms has already been laid.
Energy is the starting point. It is the biggest trade component in the India-Latin America relationship, accounting for more than $10 billion in annual trade and contributing to roughly 10 percent of India’s total oil imports. The increasing instability in the Middle East and frequent sanctions on Iran have compelled Indians to look to new markets like Latin America. Private oil players like Reliance and Essar have taken the lead here. The Energy Forum that India and CELAC plan to set up may provide a platform for increased energy cooperation. However, if India is to abate its massive energy woes, what is required is a conscious national policy decision to diversify into new oil markets like Latin America.
Agriculture also constitutes a large part of India-CELAC trade—with edible oil and sugars forming the majority of this category. A network of agricultural research institutions, farmers and traders, farm equipment manufacturers, (e.g. Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd, which has a large presence in Latin America) and fertilizer organizations can fast-track collaboration in this sector.
Despite all this, CELAC should not be expected to be the driver in India-Latin America relations—at least not yet. After all, India already has 17 embassies in Latin America, and Indian companies—especially in information technology—have a commanding presence in the region. R. Viswanathan, former Indian Ambassador to several countries in Latin America and an expert on the region, maintains that, rather than providing economic focus, CELAC provides a political platform and may ensure a sustained political dialogue. He adds that the grouping will only complement India’s existing bilateral engagements with countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, and also with regional alliances like Mercosur (Southern Common Market), with which India already has trade agreements.
Whether CELAC will be transient or long-lasting will depend on political and economic will from both sides. Other countries and regions will continue to maintain their greater engagement with Latin America as a whole; what India must do is fill in the gaps, engage in economic diplomacy and play to its strengths.


Pacific Island countries

The Pacific Island countries are small islands, located west of Australia in the Pacific Ocean, having limited economic resources and small populations. Our interaction with them so far has been limited. They have been supportive of our initiatives at the U.N. and other multilateral fora, including our bid for the Permanent seat at the UNSC

Our interaction with Pacific Island countries (PICs) may be seen in the context of an extension of our Look East Policy, and our growing role in international affairs, as well as the importance of these countries in climate change negotiations, and their traditional support to India in U.N. and Commonwealth elections and on most issues. In some of the countries, there is an Indian origin 
community and in some viable business opportunities exist,’’ added the official note.

The Pacific Islands Forum is an inter-governmental organization that aims to enhance cooperation between the independent countries of the Pacific Ocean. It was founded in 1971. 

India and Pacific Island countries
India has increased its annual Grant-in-Aid to US$125,000 to each of the Pacific Island Countries for their economic development.  (Aug 2012)
Assistance includes supply of equipment and materials for social and economic programmes and for sustainable development initiatives; capacity building courses on Small and Medium Enterprise promotion, training courses for diplomats by Foreign Service Institute of India and scholarships for higher studies in different centres of academic excellence in India. 
India also offers wide ranging technical expertise in non-conventional energy sources, especially wind and solar energy, software and tele-communications. 


Tour de France

The Tour de France is an annual multiple stage bicycle race primarily held in France, while also occasionally making passes through nearby countries. It is run in 21 stages, over 23 days, over 3200kms.

Lance Armstrong's success made this event popular too.

The Hindu, Editorial, 28th August 2012.

Statewise destination of FDI

Services, telecommunications, construction, computers (software and hardware), real estate and housing, chemicals, drugs and pharmaceuticals, power, automobiles and metallurgical industries are the sectors attracting FDI inflows across India. 
ASSOCHAM has reported on which states have attracted FDI.

  1. Odisha, 
  2. Andhra Pradesh 
  3. Gujarat
  4. Chhattisgarh
  5. Karnataka
  6. Maharashtra
...the rear-ends
14. West Bengal

ASP files four cases against SP

In Andhra Pradesh, an ASP has filed cases against his own SP. The charges included attempt to murder, criminal intimidation, obstructing duties of public servant and misuse of official position. The ASP focused on curbing illegal transportation of ganja, and he alleged that the SP was putting pressure on him to release the accused. 

Just flagging it for use as example.

Mobile base-station radiation limit

The issue of mobile tower radiations causing cancer has been a cause for concern to people across the country. There is a common perception that there is radiation from mobile towers. In reality, radiation is emitted from base stations atop mobile towers and is called radio frequency field (base station emissions). 

The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) guidelines of April 1998 say that epidemiological studies have shown no major health effects associated with typical exposure environments. 

The Department of Telecommunications adopted the International Electric and Magnetic Field (EMF) norms in 2008 in respect of mobile towers prescribed by the ICNIRP. But in August 2012, the Union government has told Parliament that the exposure limit of radio frequency fields (base station emissions) will be brought down to one-tenth of the existing level from September 1.

In India, GSM services are being operated at 900 MHz and 1800 MHz frequency band as well as 2100 MHz. For 900 MHz, the permissible power density is 4.5 W/Sqm. In the case of 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz, it is 9 W/Sqm and 10.5 W/Sqm respectively.

Please read to know about the Specific Absorption Rate which is the frequency energy absorbed by body when using mobile phone.

India- China Trade

India-China trade touched US$ 74 billion in 2011, and there are hopes that it would reach 100 billion USD by 2015.  In 2011 China became India's biggest trade partner, and India too has become one of the principal trade partners for India. To take this potential forward, it is necessary to address the concerns that both sides have. Let us examine this.

The bilateral trade registered a $12.2 billion increase in 2011, taking the total to $73.9 billion as against $61.7 billion in 2010, according to official trade figures for the last year.
The trade deficit in 2011, however, piled up to $27.07 billion even though Indian exports to China went up to $23.4 billion registering a growth of almost 12.26 per cent compared to the same period in year 2010. 3

PubAd Questions: Organizations + Public Undertakings + Plans and Priorities


1. Comment in 200 words. 20x3=60mks
a. All organizations must deal with uncertainty. The uncertainty may spring from internal or external sources
b. Obviously being able to change, innovate and alter or adapt is vital to any form of life and organizations are no exception.
c. Corporation form of public enterprises/organizations are an innovation of the 20th century in the field of administrative institutions.

Brainstorming for Mains 2012: Geography and Environment

Heylo All,

Following Anil's excellent suggestion, am inviting inputs on relevant topics that we should prepare for the Mains in GS specifically.

Please find below the 'Areas' and relevant topics I could identify. [Not all of them may be important, I just noted whatever came to mind]. This is a collaborative effort and I invite all of you to please pitch in with your suggestions. Specifically I would like to highlight any test-series question papers that you may have- so topics mentioned therein should definitely be added to our list. Please give your suggestions in the comments section- i will keep updating the main post to include them.

So here goes...

In this post I will be mentioning topics relevant to Geography and Environment. The sub-topic headings have been taken from NCERT Geography books and ICSE Environment books. They have been highlighted in red- just so that we have a reference along which we can think questions and issues. As you read the list you will find overlap of many topics with economy.

- Spurthi

Mains Timetable change Alert

Dear Friends,

I wish to bring to your notice that the Mains timetable has been changed. Although the compulsories are on the same dates, the optionals have some changes: for eg: now, there is only a one day gap between pubad and socio. Please check the timetable on the upsc website for any changes with respect to your optionals.

Best Wishes

Pub Ad Questions: Administrative Behaviour and Law and Order

Krishna Pradeep Test-series 2012

1. Comment on the following
a. Messiest forms of decision-making - that is judgemental, compromising, inspirational, and authoritarian decision-making - all associate with organizations that are characterized as organized anarchies.
b. Barriers to effective communication are behavioural. There is also a cultural context of communications.
c. Emotional Intelligence is one trait that distinguishes a succesful leader from an unsuccessful leader.

2. a. What is the relevance of  the theories of Maslow and Herzberg to contemporary managers. 30 mks
b. Why do people want to become administrators in the public and non-profit sectors instead of the private sector? Do they have different motivations that people who enter the private sector? 30mks

Monday, 27 August 2012

Public Administration Questions: Administrative Thought and Public Policy

Heylo All,
Am sorry for being so utterly lazy in uploading these test questions. Actually taking photos of the answer keys and then compressing the pics and pasting it into a word doc was kinda boring. Sorry.
Well, but am posting  the questions. Check out the 'Quiz and Test' label for other question-papers.

Krishna Pradeep (Hyderabad) Test Questions 2012

a. Scientific Management was criticized by the workers for being exploitative. But Taylor was infact developing a socialist order.
b. (i) The administrative management theory was criticized for ignoring the human element in the organization.
    (ii) Classical theory was not oblivious of the human factor in the organization.
c. Follet's depersonalization of orders is not different from Taylor's mechanistic approach and Weber's idea of detached bureaucratic spirit.

Olympic Spirit, Olympic Movement, Olympic Truce

Generally, the term "Olympic spirit" is an oft-referred to but perhaps vaguely-defined concept associated with the Olympic Games. Some equate it with Pierre de Coubertin's statement that  
“The important thing in life is not the triumph, but the fight; the essential thing is not to have won, but to have fought well”. [Coubertin' is founder of the Modern Olympic Games. He founded the Olympic Movement and the International Olympic Committee]. 
Perhaps it means embodying Olympism (the three values of Olympics): Excellence, Respect, Friendship. And the aim is to build a better world through Sports. 

Olympic Spirit is an officially sanctioned programme of the International Olympic CommitteeIts mission is:
  • to build a peaceful and better world in the Olympic Spirit which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play
  • to inspire and motivate the youth of the world to be the best they can be through educational and entertaining interactive challenges. 
  • to instill and develop the values and ideals of Olympism in those who visit and to promote tolerance and understanding in these increasingly troubled time in which we live, to make our world a more peaceful place.


The Rohingya are Muslim people who live in the Arakan region in western Myanmar (Burma). As of 2012, 800,000 Rohingya live in Myanmar. According to the Burmese government they are classified as 'stateless Bengali Muslims from Bangladesh' since 1982,  are not included in the Burmese Govt list of 130 ethnic races and have no claim to Myanmar citizenship. According to the UN, they are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world. Waves of ethnic violence since 1991, some of it state-sponsoredhave pushed more than 250,000 Rohingyas into Bangladesh, where they live in squalid, makeshift camps with little or no access to healthcare or education.

The Rohingya have not fared much better on the Bangladesh side of the border. The government in Dhaka has refused to allow the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to register Rohingya arrivals since 1992. This means all but 30,000 of the Rohingyas are denied refugee status. The unregistered Rohingyas – more than 200,000 by some estimates – are officially considered illegal migrants and cannot get food rations provided by the World Food Programme. They are also denied access to basic healthcare and education provided by the UNHCR and its partner organisations. The Bangladesh government is determined to keep services to a bare minimum to avoid creating a "pull factor" – conditions that will attract more refugees