Saturday, 29 September 2012

Bon Chance!

Hello Friends,

Writing in to wish you all good luck and the rest...:) Have a great exam.

There will be a few surprises, so dont be fazed by them. Enjoy the writing process-but take care not to get emotional about certain questions and devote unwanted time on it :)

GS paper: no matter how well you prepare, its never enough, so take the questions you dont know anything about in your stride. Try and write something intelligible about most questions that you can make sense of. But dont irritate the examiner. I did 100mark ka hawabazi last time- didnt work for me :( But the plan stays the same this year, just hope to be more sensible.

Stats: agar abhi bhi taiyari shuru nahi ki hai, to kar lo ji. High scores in GS depends on performing well in Stats and it isnt too difficult. Dont forget to take a calculator (and practice on it before-hand), also protractor for making Pie-diagrams if required etc.

Also, for Indian language paper, I always find myself short of time- so if that is the case with you, plan your paper well. I think the english-to-language translation takes a lot of time and is only for 20mks. The precis writing is for 60mks. So, last time I decided to finish precis writing first, and didnt mind not completing the translation. I am writing this from memory, so just refer to the language question paper once. Also you will have to do 2 translations, and precis writing has to be done in separate sheets , wherein one word has to be inserted in one box (for first timers :)). Baaki most people with english-medium find it tough, so dont be too troubled by the paper. But still devote some time to prepare for it.

Hmm...those with sufficient break between optionals- you are lucky blokes- good luck to you and the rest of us too. Aur baaki badhiya...have a productive last 5 days.

And see you all after the exams.



Thursday, 27 September 2012

Bijolia Movement

It was a pioneer agrarian movement in the Mewar State in present Udaipur District.

The Jagirdar of Bijolia was a Parmar Rajput having 96 villages in his jagir. There were 86 different taxes on peasants against which peasants revolted in 1905. The initial leadership was provided by Sitaram Das. The movement got linked to national movement. Vijay (Bijoy) Singh Pathik and Manik Lal Verma (future Chief Minister of Rajasthan) led a no tax movement in 1916. It was called Bijolia movement. The peasants refused to do begar and held back the taxes. The movement continued through 1920s and spread over to other States of Rajputana.

Important note: The no tax movement at Bijolia took place before the Champaran Indigo Satyagraha of Gandhi. Secondly, it was started in Princely States. 

Sec. 124A of Indian Penal Code: Sedition

Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code deals with Sedition.

Sedition is defined as:

Bringing hatred of contempt (or attempt to bring hatred or contempt) for the lawful Government in India, through words, signs, visual representation or otherwise.
Such person can be punished with a imprisonment for life and/or fines. The offence of sedition is non-bailable and cognizable.


1.- The expression" disaffection" includes disloyalty and all feelings of enmity. 
2.- Comments expressing disapprobation of the measures of the Government with a view to obtain their alteration by lawful means, but without exciting or attempting to excite hatred, contempt or disaffection, do not constitute an offence under this section
3.- Comments expressing disapprobation of the administrative or other action of the Government without exciting or attempting to excite hatred, contempt or disaffection, do not constitute an offence under this section.1

  • disapprobation: expressing strong disapproval, expecially on moral grounds.  
  • cognizable offence is a criminal offence in which thepolice is empowered to register an FIR, investigate, and arrest an accused without a court issued warrant.[1]
  • non-cognizable offence is an offence in which police can neither register an FIR, investigate, nor effect arrest without the express permission or directions from the court. 

Recent Instances of use:

  • Mr. Aseem Trivedi- cartoonist with India Against Corruption. Charged with sedition which led to widespread condemnation of the police and government. Subsequently the charges were removed. 2012
  • Dr. Binayak Sen, a health and human rights activist, was sentenced to a life-term under this law for 'waging war against the state'.  Served 2010.
  • Arundhati Roy was sought to be charged with sedition for advocating independence for the disputed Kashmir region. 2010.

Ahmedabad Trial of 1922

The Ahmedabad Trial of 1922 of Gandhi concerned, the writing of two articles in his paper 'Young India'. The prosecution alleged that he had incited violence in the articles, and was responsible for the violence that occurred in Chauri Chaura (Feb 1922) and at the visit of 
Prince of Wales to India in 1921. 

Gandhi was tried under Sec 124A of the Indian Penal Code which relates to Sedition. It is the same article under which Bal Ganagadhar Tilak was sentenced in 1916 (for speeches which were said to incite disaffection against the Government). 

Mahatma Gandhi said during the famous Ahmedabad trial in 1922: Section 124 A under which I am happily charged is perhaps the prince among the   political sections of the IPC designed to suppress the liberty of the citizen. Affection cannot be manufactured or regulated by the law. He also asserted that What in law is a deliberate crime appears to me to be the highest duty of a citizen,” and finally, to preach disaffection towards the existing system of Government has become almost a passion with me.” 

For details on the proceedings of the 1922 trial read below, else not required for exam.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Eurasian Union and Eurasian Commission

The Eurasian Union (EAUis a proposed economic and political union of BelarusKazakhstanKyrgyzstan, the Russian FederationTajikistan  and other Eurasian countries, in particular the post-Soviet statesThe idea, based on the European Union's integration, was brought to attention in October 2011 by the Prime Minister of RussiaVladimir Putin, but was first proposed as a concept by the President of KazakhstanNursultan Nazarbayev in 1994. 
The Eurasian Union is said to be a continuation of the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia, which has already brought partial economic unity between the three states. 
On 18 November 2011, the presidents of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia signed an agreement, setting a target of establishing the Eurasian Union by 2015.The agreement included the roadmap for the future integration and established the: (i) Eurasian Commission (modelled on the European Commission) and (ii) the Eurasian Economic Spacewhich started work on 1 January 2012.[6][7]
The Eurasian Union is said to be the brainchild of Vladimir Putin in the wake of his planned third term as the President of Russia. If realised, it would comprise a number of states which were part of the formerSoviet Union. However critics claim that this drive towards integration aims to restore the Soviet Empire.

Eurasian Commission The Eurasian Economic Commission is the supranational governing body of the Eurasian Economic Space, which started work on 1 January 2012. 
The headquarters of the commission will be in Moscow, and the expenses of the infrastructure and accommodation of commission workers will be financed by Russia, while in general the commission budget will be financed by all three countries and dependent on taxation shares received from the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia
The Eurasian Commission will be eligible to make decisions with regard to:customs policies, macroeconomics, regulation of economic competitionenergy policy, and financial policy. The Commission will also be involved in government procurement and labour migration control.The agreement on the Commission contains stringent anti-corruption regulations. 1


The ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting (ADMM) is the highest defence mechanism within ASEAN. The annual ADMM facilitates the ASEAN defence ministers to discuss and exchange views on current defence and security issues and challenges faced in the region. The ADMM aims to promote mutual trust and confidence through greater understanding of defence and security challenges as well as enhancement of transparency and openness.

The ADMM-Plus process is a tool to engage ASEAN Dialogue Partners in dialogue and cooperation on defence and security matters. At the Inaugural ADMM-Plus meeting in 2010, the Defence Ministers agreed on five areas of practical cooperation to pursue under this new mechanism. These areas are:
maritime security, 
disaster management, 
peacekeeping operations and 
military medicine. 
To facilitate cooperation on these areas, five Experts' Working Groups (EWGs) are established.  Practical cooperation is now moving apace on the five priority areas. 2
Addressing the first ADMM-Plus Defence Minister AK Antony today called for adoption of 'cooperative approaches' for ensuring the security of sea-lanes in the Asia-Pacific Region. 3
The 2nd ADMM-Plus will be convened in Brunei Darussalam in October 2013. 2

Issues in US-China relationship

  1. Yuan exchange rate
  2. Human rights in China: Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng sought refuge in US embassy
  3. How to deal with N.Korean nuclear ambitions
  4. China's claims on South-China Sea and freedom to use waters for navigation etc. Other territorial disputes in the area, and US involvement. The US has military facilities located in Singapore and the Philippines and its army has a good working relationship with the Malay and Thai military forces. Coupled with US Navy regular patrols in the South China Sea, which Beijing considers to be under its jurisdiction, the stage could be set for military conflict between the US and China. A clash between the USNS Impeccable and five Chinese ships in March 2009 seems to confirm this assertion.[]   
  5. US' 'Asian Pivot' strategy and concerns in China []

Anything else I am forgetting? 

Mighty Eagle

The Mighty Eagle is a Robotic Prototype Lander being developed by NASA at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.[1]
The vehicle with its guidance, navigation and control software could aid in the capture of orbiting space debris, in-space docking with a fuel depot, docking of a robotic lander with an orbiting command module and the rendezvous of multiple unmanned stages for deep space human exploration of the solar system.

IBM Sequoia

IBM's Sequoia is the world's fastest supercomputer. 

It achieved 16.32 petaflops – trillions of floating-point calculations per second – using more than 1.5m processor cores.
Sequoia is also one of the most energy-efficient systems 

Ashoke Sen, Atul Khare, Mario Miranda, Khurshid Khan, Qieyang Shenjie

Ashoke SenIndian theoretical physicist  won the $3 million Fundamental Physics Prize — more than double of what the Nobel Prize brings with it — for his research on string theory. Sen works at Allahabad’s Harish-Chandra Research Institute, which is funded by the Department of Atomic Energy.

Atul Khare: IFS 1984 batch officer. On June 1, 2011 UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Atul Khare of India to spearhead efforts to implement a reform agenda aimed at streamlining and improving the efficiency of the world body.[2][3] Khare, will lead the Change Management Team (CMT) at the UN, working with both departments and offices within the Secretariat and with other bodies in the UN system and the 193 member states. The CMT is tasked with guiding the implementation of a reform agenda at the UN that starts with the devising of a wide-ranging plan to streamline activities, increase accountability and ensure the organization is more effective and efficient in delivering its many mandates.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Kerala Architecture

Kerala architecture is a kind of architectural style that is mostly found in Indianstate of Kerala. Kerala's style of architecture is unique in India, in its striking contrast to Dravidian architecture which is normally practiced in other parts of South India
The architectural style has evolved from Kerala’s peculiar climate and long history of influences of its major maritime trading partners like Chinese, Arabs and Europeans.

The most distinctive visual form of Kerala architecture is the long, steep sloping roof built to protect the house’s walls and to withstand the heavy monsoon, normally laid with tiles or thatched labyrinth of palm leaves, supported on a roof frame made of hard wood and timber. Structurally the roof frame was supported on the pillars on walls erected on a plinth raised from the ground for protection against dampness and insects in the tropical climate. Often the walls were also of timbers abundantly available in Kerala. Gable windows were evolved at the two ends to provide attic ventilation when ceiling was incorporated for the room spaces.
Most of Kerala buildings appears to low height visually, due to over-sloping of roofs, which are meant to protect walls from rains and direct sun shine
The science of Vastu plays a very important role in developing architecture styles. 

Madden-Julian Oscillation

The Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) is the largest element of the intraseasonal (30–90 days) variability in the tropical atmosphere. It is a large-scale coupling between atmospheric circulation and tropical deep convection.[1][2] Rather than being a standing pattern (like ENSO) it is a traveling pattern, propagating eastwards at approximately 4 to 8 m/s, through the atmosphere above the warm parts of the Indian and Pacific oceans. This overall circulation pattern manifests itself in various ways, most clearly as anomalousrainfall. This was discovered by Roland Madden and Paul Julian.

The MJO affects the intra-seasonal variations in Indian summer monsoon and is very important area of study. 

This MJO was mentioned in Yojana issue on 'Monsoon'.

Sex education in India

Sex education is instruction on issues relating to:

  1. human sexuality
  2. human sexual anatomy,
  3. sexual reproduction
  4. sexual intercourse
  5. reproductive health
  6. emotional relations, 
  7. reproductive rights and responsibilities, 
  8. abstinence
  9. birth control, and 
  10. other aspects of human sexual behavior

Common avenues for sex education are parents or caregivers, formal school programs, and public health campaigns.

World Chess Champioship Formats and Vishwanathan Anand

World Chess Championsip Formats:
1. Tournament chess: chess tournament is a series of chess games played competitively to determine a winning individual or team. Since the first international chess tournament inLondon, 1851, chess tournaments have become the standard form of chess competition among serious players.
2. Match  chess: A competition between two individuals or two teams. A match may be the entire competition, or it may be a round in a knockout tournament or team tournament. Unlike in some sports where the word match is sometimes used to describe a single game, a chess match always consists of at least two games (and often many more).
3. Rapid chess: Fast chess, also known as blitz chesslightning chesssudden deathspeed chessbullet chess and rapid chess, is a type of chess game in which each side is given less time to make their moves than under the normal tournament time controls of 60 to 180 minutes per player.
4. Knockout Chess: single-elimination tournament, also called a knockoutcup or sudden death tournament, is a type of elimination tournament where the loser of each match or bracket is immediately eliminated from winning the championship or first prize in the event.

Anand is the only player to have won the world chess championships in many formats including TournamentMatchRapid, and Knockout chess. 

In 2012, Anand won his fourth World Chess Championship. Previous wins were in 2007, 2008, and 2010.

Anand became India's first grandmaster in 1987.[4] He was also the first recipient of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in 1991–92, India's highest sporting honor. In 2007, he was awarded India's second highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan, making him the first sportsperson to receive the award in Indian history. Anand has won the Chess Oscar 6 times


Forecasting of Agriculture outputs through Satellite, Agrometeorology and Land based observations (FASAL)
FASAL is a countrywide project funded by the Ministry of Agriculture. 
Crop production forecasting of major crops in the country namely wheat, rice, cotton, sugarcane, mustard, groundnut and sorghum has been done

Rajasthan Right to Hearing Act, 2012

With the aim of providing a time-bound hearing and disposal of complaints, Rajasthan government implemented the Right to Hearing Act. The desert state is the first one to ensure a right to hearing for the common man.
The act in itself is unique and aims to ensure that all complaints of the common man with regard to governance are addressed and disposed in a time-bound manner. This Act would further strengthen the Rajasthan Guaranteed Delivery of Public Services Act
Under the Right to Hearing Act the state government has:
  1. Appointed Public Hearing Officers and Appellate Authority at gram panchayat, tehsil, and sub-block, district and division levels for hearing the complaints within a stipulated time limit of 15 days
  2. The act also has provision of first and second appellate authority along with the revision authority.
  3. The complainant can appeal to the first appellate authority against the decision of public hearing officer if he is not satisfied.
  4. Provision of penalty from Rs 500 to 5,000 has been made in the Act
  5. The Act also provisions for establishment of information and facilitation centre including citizen care centre and help desk for effective implementation.

Aditi Mukherjee, Dr. AA Manavalan, PV Sindhu

Aditi Mukherji, a social scientist with the International Water Management Institute, New Delhi, has just won the first Norman Borlaug Award for field research and application, given by the World Food Prize Foundation, for her work on usage of groundwater in agriculture. Her research has led to policy changes in West Bengal, benefiting thousands of farmers. 

Dr. A.A. Manavalan: Tamil writer, awarded Saraswati Samman in 2012, for his book on the Ramayana. The award-winning book is a comparative study of 48 Ramayanas in the languages of Pali, Sanskrit, Prakrit, Tibetan, Tamil, Old Javenese, Japanese, Telugu, Assamese, Thai and Kashmiri.The Saraswati Samman carries award money of Rs 7.5 lakh, a citation and a plaque. 

Pusarala Venkata Sindhu (PV Sindhu): Badminton player from Hyderbad. She b (20th) in the Badminton World Federation ranking which were released on 21st September 2012. In July 2012, she won Asia Youth Under 19 ChampionshipIn the Li Ning China Masters Super Series badminton tournament 2012 she defeated London 2012 Olympics gold medallist Li Xuerui of China and entered semifinals. Her achievement was hailed by all.

Need to know: International Relations

  • - Proposal of a Eurasian Union
  • - Kuala Lampur War crimes Tribunal - convicted Tony Blair, George W. Bush and others for crimes against peace, due to the 'unlawful' invasion of Iraq. It also convicted Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld of 'conspiracy to commit war, especially torture'. (
  • - Coup in Mali and its aftermath ( Amadou Toure, Taureg Rebels- declaration of independence of Azawad region, destruction of Sufi shrines in Timbuktu'%C3%A9tat )
  • - UN agencies stand on Palestine (UNESCO, ICC)
  • - 2012 Nuclear Summit, Seoul: The "2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit", is the largest summit in the security field that discusses international cooperative measures to protect nuclear materials and facilities from terrorist groups, with participation from more than 53 heads of state and international organizations. 
  • - Indian Diaspora in US administration
  • International Seabed Authority
  • Agent Orange Cleanup:

International Seabed Authority and related events

The International Seabed Authority is an autonomous international organization established under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the SeaThe Authority is the organization through which States Parties organize and control activities in the International seabed Area (i.e.outside of national jurisdictions), particularly with a view to administering the resources of the Area.  

Recently China bid for mining rights in the international seabed of the Indian Ocean. This was granted by the Authority. Many in India have seen this as a loss for India which should have spearheaded such efforts to maintain its control over the Indian Ocean Region. China and Japan are also vying for exploration rights for possible rare earth metals in the Pacific Ocean. 

2012 Global Nuclear Summit, Seoul & Seoul Communique

The "2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit", is the largest summit in the security field that discusses international cooperative measures to protect nuclear materials and facilities from terrorist groups, with participation from more than 53 heads of state and international organizations. 

Monday, 24 September 2012

Ethics in Governance: Introduction

Extract from ARCII. 

Ethics is a set of standards that society places on itself and which helps guide behaviour, choices and actions.
Corruption is an important manifestation of the failure of ethics. The word ‘corrupt’ is derived from the Latin word ‘corruptus’, meaning ‘to break or destroy’. The word ‘ethics’ is from the original Greek term ethikos, meaning ‘arising from habit’.

There are two, somewhat contrary, approaches in dealing with corruption and abuse of office:
The first is overemphasis on values and character. Many people lament the decline in  values and the consequent rise in corruption.
The second approach is based on the belief that most human beings are fundamentally decent but there is always a small proportion of people who cannot reconcile individual goals with the good of society. Such deviant people tend to pursue personal gain at the cost of public good and the purpose of organized government is to punish such deviant behaviour. 
In the real world, both values and institutions matter. Values are needed to serve as guiding stars. But values need to be sustained by institutions to be durable and to serve as an example to others. Institutions provide the container, which gives shape and content to values. This is the basis of all statecraft and laws and institutions.

Bureaucracy/Civil Service in Indian History

Extract from ARCII, Report 10, "Refurbishing of Personnel Administration in India",Preface.

Mauryan Period
Kautilya’s Arthasastra stipulates seven basic elements of the administrative apparatus. These elements are embodied in the doctrine of the Prakrits. They are: Swamin (the ruler), Amatya (the bureaucracy), Janapada (territory), Durga (the fortified capital), Kosa (the treasury), Danda (the army), and Mitra (the ally). According to Arthasastra, the higher bureaucracy consisted of the mantrins and the amatyas. While the mantrins were the highest advisors to the King, the amatyas were the civil servants. There were three kinds of amatyas: the highest, the intermediate and the lowest, based on the qualifications possessed by the
civil servants. The key civil servant was the samahartr, who prepared the annual budget, kept accounts and fixed the revenue to be collected. The other key civil servant was the samnidhatr who kept records of the body of taxes realised and was in charge of the stores.

International Experience in Personnel Administration


  1. A legally enforceable code of conduct setting out the standards of behaviour expected of those working in the public service.
  2. Specific provisions to affirm the merit principle, prohibiting patronage and favouritism.
  3. Giving all the rights, duties and powers of an employer to the heads of the agencies, with authority to engage, terminate and determine the employment terms in respect of their APS (Australia Public Service) personnel.
  4. The public service values underline the requirement of the APS to be responsive to the government-of-the-day in providing frank, honest, comprehensive, accurate and timely advice and in implementing the government’s policies.
  5. A Senior Executive Service (SES), the leadership cadre of the APS, was created in 1984 to make the civil service at senior levels more open, mobile and competitive, and to achieve a greater degree of management leadership in development and placement of senior staff .All SES vacancies are open to applicants from outside the civil service as well as to serving civil servants.

In case of recurring under-performance, the agencies terminate the employment of these employees, reduce their classification or assign them to other duties.

Source: ARCII- Report on Refurbishing Personnel Administration.

Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India Bill, 2012

Biotechnology Regulatory Authority 

  1. BRAI will regulate the research, transport, import, manufacture and use of organisms and products of modern bio-technology (genetically modified (GM) products) in the country.

  2. Look at impacts on human and animal health as well as the environment.

  3. The government wants to set up the BRAI in place of the Genetic Engineering Approvals Committee (GEAC). The BRAI will be the apex regulatory body with representation from several ministries, is a three-member regulator that will act as single-window clearing house for all GM commercial applications.

  4. The bill takes away from state governments the power to reject a biotechnology product; it overrides the constitutional right of states on agriculture and health by making the proposed authority solely responsible for releasing and controlling GM organisms in the country.

  5. The bill envisages only an advisory role for states in the form of state biotechnology regulatory advisory committee; the committee will have no decision-making powers.
  6. The Bill provides for setting up of Inter- ministerial Governing Board to oversee the performance of the Authority and a National Biotechnology Advisory Council of stakeholders to provide feedback on use of organisms and products of biotechnology in society. 

1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Accord and Present Unrest in Sinai

1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Accord
The peace treaty between Egypt and Israel was signed in 1979 after months of intense negotiation. The main features of the treaty were:
  1. mutual recognition, 
  2. cessation of the state of war that had existed since the 1948 Arab–Israeli Warnormalization of relations and 
  3. the complete withdrawal by Israel of its armed forces and civilians from the Sinai Peninsula which Israel had captured during the Six-Day War in 1967. 
  4. Egypt agreed to leave the area (Sinai peninsula) demilitarized. 
  5. The agreement also provided for the free passage of Israeli ships through the Suez Canal, and recognition of the Strait of Tiran and the Gulf of Aqaba as international waterways.

The agreement notably made Egypt the first Arab state to officially recognize Israel.
As part of the agreement, the US began economic and military aid to Egypt, and political backing for its subsequent governments. From the Camp David Accords in 1978 until 2000, the United States has subsidized Egypt's armed forces with over $38 billion worth of aid. Egypt receives about $1.3 billion annually.1

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Mains 2012: Online Admit Card

Heylo All,

Just bringing to your notice that the admit card for 2012 Mains is available online. This year they are not issuing paper admit cards. We need to just take a printout and carry valid ID cards.

So good luck again.

Need to know


Please read the following articles for Mains. Due to paucity of time I cannot write posts on the same.

Uzbekistan's withdrawal from CSTO:
Controversies in Ukraine over giving regional language status to Russian:
US 'Anti-Prostitution Pledge' and impact on HIV/AIDS funding for sex-workers:


Gupta Temples

Reproduced from:

At the end of the 4th century, the rise of the Gupta rulers coincided with a revival of Hinduism, after almost 700 years of dominance of Buddhism and Jainism. Although many elements of this new religion were common with the religion of the Aryans (e.g. the importance of the Vedas) there were fundamental differences in rituals and dieties. In particular, the Aryan element gods (such as Indra and Agni) were replaced by two main dieties, Shiva and Vishnu each of whom had a multitude of forms or incarnations as well as consorts (these allowed local dieties and cults to be appropriated into the Hindu pantheon). The preferred method of worship also changed from open-air sacrificial altars to viewing the diety (darshana) in a confined sanctum. The Guptas patronized this religion and sponsored temples to Vishnu and Shiva from the beginning of the 5th century AD. These temples marked the beginning of an architecture that drew on earlier Buddhist sculptural techniques, but initiated a new movement, ultimately leading to the great and elaborate Hindu temples of the 8th century onward.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Eurozone Crisis: Dimensions and Implications

Reproduced from the Finance Ministry (GoI) Working Papers: "The Eurozone Crisis: Dimensions and Implications", by Anand, Gupta & Dash, January 2012.
If you want to look at associated figures and tables please refer to the document directly.

What is the Eurozone?
On January 1, 1999 eleven European  countries decided to denominate their currencies into a single currency. The  European monetary union (EMU) was conceived earlier in 1988–89 by a committee
consisting mainly of central bankers which led to the Maastricht Treaty in 1991. The treaty established budgetary and monetary rules for countries wishing to join the EMU  - called the "convergence criteria". The criterion were designed to be a basis for qualifying for the EMU and pertained to the size of budget deficits, national debt, inflation, interest rates, and exchange rates. Denmark, Sweden, and the United Kingdom chose not to join from the inception.

The "Euro system" comprised the European Central Bank (ECB),with 11 central banks of participating States assuming the  responsibility for monetary  policy.  A large part of Europe came to have the same currency, but members continued to have their own tax systems.The ‗Euro‘ took the form of notes and coins in 2002, and replaced the domestic currencies. From eleven  euro zone members in 1999, the number increased to 17 in 2011.

European Financial Stability Facility

The European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) was created in May 2010 by the European Union as a special purpose vehicle to help preserve financial stability in Europe by providing financial assistance to euro
zone states in difficulty.
The EFSF was empowered to sell bonds and use the money to make loans up to a maximum of € 440 billion to euro zone nations. The bonds were to be backed by guarantees given by the European Commission representing the whole EU, the euro zone member states, and the IMF. The EFSF combined the € 60 billion loan coming from the European financial stabilization mechanism (reliant on guarantees given by the European Commission using the EU budget as collateral) and a € 250 billion loan backed by the IMF in order to obtain a financial safety net up to € 750 billion. The agreement allowed the ECB to start buying government debt which  was expected to reduce bond yields.

Reproduced from:

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Finance Ministry Working Papers

Heylo All,

Just came across the Finance Ministry Working Papers: . Its a useful and credible resource- some relevant topics are on fiscal policy, Green Climate Fund, Eurozone crisis etc. Might be a little heavy reading for those writing the mains next month, but maybe useful for Eco optional people to have a glance at the material available.

15 days to go...


Tuesday, 18 September 2012


For a comprehensive article on politics in Nepal, please read:


International Telecommunications Union, World Conference on International Telecommunications and International Telecom Regulations

Must Read because this event is going to take place in December this year, and UPSC has asked questions about upcoming events too. - Spurthi

International Telecommunications Union
International Telecommunications Union is the United Nations specialized agency with leading responsibility for information and communication technologies (ICTs). It has three main Sectors: Radiocommunication, Telecommunication Standardization, and Telecommunication Development. 

 Set up in 1869, it is an inter-governmental body that has 193 countries as members, along with more than 750 private-sector companies, organizations and academic institutions.  It is important to distinguish between ITU, which is comprised of its membership, and the ITU Secretariat (mainly located in Geneva). All substantive decisions are taken by the ITU membership, usually by consensus, in a bottom-up process based on members’ written contributions and subsequent discussions. The role of the Secretariat is to facilitate that process, in particular by organizing meetings, providing advice as requested, and making documents available to the membership.

ITU secretariat is responsible for organizing conferences that deal with regional or global matters within its remit. In this respect it is convening the World Conference on International Telecommunications 2012 
in December 2012. 

Glycemic Index

The glycemic indexglycaemic index, or GI is the measurement of glucose (blood sugar) level increase from carbohydrate consumption. Different foods raise glucose to varying levels. The GI estimates how much each gram of available carbohydrate (total carbohydrate minus fiber) in a particular food raises a person's blood glucose level following consumption of the food, relative to consumption of pure glucose. Glucose has a glycemic index of 100, and by definition, other foods have a lower glycemic index.
Glycemic index is defined for each type of food, independent of the amount of food consumed. 
A low-GI food will release glucose more slowly and steadily, which leads to more suitable postprandial (after meal) blood glucose readings. A high-GI food causes a more rapid rise in blood glucose levels and is suitable for energy recovery after exercise or for a person experiencing hypoglycemia.
Fruits and vegetables tend to have a low glycemic index. White bread, white rice have a high GI.