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Daily Current affairs 20 June 2019

UPSC - Daily Current Affair






CyPAD struggles with limited staff, data



What a $5 trillion economy would look like (Lead Article)



The forgotten funds (Article)



Game of Chicken in the Gulf (Article)



Banks association tweaks inter creditor agreement



UP site expected to get ‘national importance’ tag




1. CyPAD struggles with limited staff, data (The Hindu, Page 10)     


Prelims: Governance, Internal Security, Science & Technology

Mains: GS Paper II – Governance, GS Paper III – Internal Security, Science & Technology


Cyber Prevention Awareness and Detection Centre, Delhi    


What is the news?   

The Cyber Prevention Awareness and Detection (CyPAD) Centre of the Delhi Police is facing challenges due to

  • lack of information sharing on time by tech giants and

  • because of manpower crunch

The Cyber Prevention Awareness and Detection   

  • The CyPAD was inaugurated by former Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in February, 2019 to tackle the threats posed from growing cyber crime like online financial frauds, stalking, crypto-currency frauds and international tech-supported frauds. 

  • Earlier Cyber crime unit was earlier under the Economic Offences Wing and the cases taken up by the unit mostly pertained to financial irregularities. However, CyPAD has a wider ambit to deal with all sort of online frauds affecting public at large.    

Social Media and VoIP not sharing information

  • Social Media like Twitter, Facebook and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service providers do not share information easily with law enforcement agencies.     

  • WhatsApp has recently submitted an affidavit in a city court that its encryption software does not allow them to share information.

  • As per law enforcement agencies, there are websites, applications and service providers that give VoIP numbers and they do not share information.

Voice over Internet Protocol  

  • Voice over Internet Protocol is a technology that allows you to make voice calls using a broadband Internet connection instead of a regular phone line.    

  • VoIP is a software which enables people to use Internet as transmission medium wherein the caller can use an Indian number but it will show as an international number.  

  • VoIP services convert your voice into a digital signal that travels over the Internet. If you are calling a regular phone number, the signal is converted to a regular telephone signal before it reaches the destination.

  • VoIP can allow you to make a call directly from a computer, a special VoIP phone, or a traditional phone connected to a special adapter.

  • In addition, wireless "hot spots" in locations such as airports, parks and cafes allow you to connect to the Internet and may enable you to use VoIP service wirelessly.    

Compliance hurdles

  • Formal procedure to get the information is through Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) and other provisions under Information Technology Act is time consuming and does not help in solving crime in time due to delay.

  • Further police tries to gather information from such tech companies more on mutual co-operation basis rather than as a strict compliance of the law.

  • Compliance team of most of the social media companies are based abroad. So replying to notices send by law enforcement agencies from India consumes much time.

Manpower Crunch & its solution

  • Further, even manpower crunch at CyPAD delays solving of a case.

  • Under the IT Act, only an inspector-rank officer can investigate such cases and we have about 12-13 inspectors who have about 15 cases each. So, there is a need to incorporate more officers at inspector rank who has the power to investigate such cyber crimes.

  • However, 50 constables are recently deployed in the unit and are being trained in cyber technology. Further, the unit has a strong technical team of about 10 officers headed by an inspector who conducts in-house training sessions for such constables.

  • The unit has access to some of the latest technology including retrieving data from a damaged hard disk or mobile phone. They are also being trained to tackle sophisticated software for social media analysis.      

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2. What a $5 trillion economy would look like (The Hindu, Page 10)   


Prelims: Economy

Mains: GS Paper III – Economy   


Prime Minister announced the target of a $5 trillion economy for India by 2024  


Main focus of the editorial

  • India intends to become a $5 trillion dollar economy by 2024. According to the author, apart from measuring the economy in quantitative terms, it should also be measured in terms of how much it contributes towards betterment of ease of living of Indian citizens.  

  • According to the author, to achieve a $5 trillion economy, India will require design, funding and governance. However, currently the economic growth rate is not at the desired level to achieve this target by 2024.   

  • One of the major problems is finding means of funding to ensure the required economic growth. 

  • Private investment in India is currently weak especially within the manufacturing sector and public investment has also not been increased to sufficient levels to ensure required economic growth.

  • Apart from this, various qualitative measures are also required that should be complimentary to the $5 trillion economy. They are -
    1. Indians should feel empowered by the economy, with a sense of well-being and being able to undertake the functioning we value. 
    2. Access to quality health and education for all.
    3. Equality of opportunity, both in terms of equal distribution of income across various sections of society and of Gender inequality 
    4. Preservation of natural capital in terms of environmental protection and conservation with access to cleaner air and water.   

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3. The forgotten funds (The Hindu Page 10)


Prelims: Economy

Mains: GS Paper III – Economy  


Proceeds of Education Cess  



This article highlights that there needs to be greater transparency and accountability of the Government with respect to its utilization of the proceeds from the Education cess.


What is Cess?

  • A cess is considered to be "Tax on tax". It is levied by the government for a specific purpose. Cess collected for a particular reason has to go towards the purpose for which it was charged. It cannot be used for, or diverted, to other purposes.

  • For example - Health and Education Cess is imposed at 4% on major central taxes such as Corporate Tax and Income Tax.

  • It is to be noted that Krishi Kalyan Cess, Clean Environment Cess, Swachh Bharat Cess, Infrastructure cess have been subsumed under the GST  through Taxation Laws Amendment Act 2017.


How is it different from Tax?

  • Any tax collected goes into Consolidated Fund of India (CFI) which can be allocated for any purpose.

  • However, Cess is a different form of tax and may initially get credited to the CFI but has to be ultimately used for the purpose for which it is imposed.

  • In order to utilise the cess proceedings, the government has to create a dedicated fund. The proceeds of such funds are non-lapsable. Example: Prarambhik Shiksha kosh (Primary Education), Madhyamik and Uchchtar Shiksha kosh (Secondary and Higher Education),

  • Further, unlike the normal taxes, Cess fund need not be shared by the Central Government with State Governments. Government also resorts to Cess as it is easy to introduce, modify and abolish compared to normal taxes as any change in normal tax need to go through a lot of procedure. 

 Concerns raised in the article

  • Delay in setting up of dedicated Fund leading to its non-utilisation: The Government set up Madhyamik and Uchchtar Shiksha kosh in 2017, 10 years after the introduction of Secondary and Higher Education Cess leading to its non-utilisation.

  • Non-Utilisation of Cess Proceeds: According to CAG's Audit Reports, the SHEC proceeds worth Rs 94,000 crores is lying in Madhyamik and Uchchtar Shiksha kosh is lying unutilised. This is much higher than the public expenditure on school and higher education in 2018, which was estimated to be Rs 80,000 crores.

Way Forward - The Government should begin utilising the cess proceeds and also publish an annual account of the manner in which they have been utilised.



4. Game of Chicken in the Gulf (Article) (The Hindu Page 11)   


Prelims: Current event of international importance

Mains: GS Paper II – International Relations  


Iran-U.S. conflict is becoming more likely 


Why is US-Iran conflict getting murkier?
Iran & the US are currently engaged in a 'Game of Chicken', in which to avoid a physical clash, one of conflicting participant has to back down. However currently, neither Iran nor the US are backing down and continue to engage in actions that would lead to a clash between both countries.      
Actions by US   
US under Donald Trump had begun the maximum pressure approach in 2018.

US withdrew from the Iranian nuclear deal.

Imposed sanctions on Iran that has severely damaged its economy.

Reduced global export of Iranian oil by putting pressure on India and others to reduce their imports. 

Termed the Iranian revolutionary guards a terrorist group. Increased number of troops and naval presence around Iran.

Supportive Iranian rivals- Saudi Arabia and Israel.
However, none of these measures have ensured a “behaviour change” in Iran, meaning a change to a behaviour US want, which mainly are:
Withdrawal of support to Houthis in Yemen war whom are against Saudis
Withdrawal of support to terrorist organisation Hamas which is against Israel
Withdrawal of support to Shia groups in Syria and Iraq which allows greater control to Saudi bavked Sunni groups in both countries
Renegotiation of Iranian nuclear deal with complete halting of sections of Iranian nuclear program which threatens Israel and Saudi Arabia
Iranian actions:
Currently, there are four options for Iran:
1. Agree to US demands and thereby accept Saudi and Israeli control over West Asia.   However this would severely weaken the Ayatollah govt of Iran in front of the Iranian people.
2. Wait for the 2020 US elections and hope for Donald Trump to be defeated in US elections and then negotiate with the Democratic party which is much more favourable towards Iranian nuclear deal and thereby reduce Iranian sanctions. 
3. Work with other major powers such as EU countries, Russia, China, India and others to ensure US sanctions do not become effective and Iranian nuclear deal continues. However, what has been seen is that EU has been unable to functionlise INSTEX, a SPV that is meant bypass US sanctions and allow EU companies to conduct trade with Iran. Similarly, India has also reduced import of oil from Iran and Russia and China have maintained a balanced approach between US and Iran.
4. The last approach which Iran has adopted in Maximum resistance with counter-escalation. Iran continues to maintain resistance against US sanctions and of Iranian presence in Yemen, Syria and other parts of West Asia. Apart from this, it is also indulging in counter-counter-escalation whereby it is at the brink of Uranium enrichment. So if US attacks, it can quickly develop nuclear weapons, it doesn't, then it is still maintaining the JCPOA enrichment limit. 

News is in transition and it is yet to be seen whether US would attack Iran or not, and US does not attack than can Iran ensure its ability for maximum resistance till US elections or till EU finds a solution.  


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5. Banks association tweaks inter creditor agreement (The Hindu Page 15)     


Prelims: Economy

Mains: GS Paper III – Economy  


Inter creditor agreement


Context - Earlier, the SC had stuck down the RBI's February 12 Circular for the resolution of stressed Assets. In response, the RBI has recently come out with the new Prudential Framework for the Resolution of Stressed Assets. Accordingly, the Indian Banks Association (IBA) has come out with new guidelines to realign the Inter-creditor agreement with the RBI's new circular.


Changes from the old norms:

12 February 2018 circular

New Prudential Framework for resolution of stressed assets   

1. Banks had to refer borrower to NCLT if  it failed to resolve the account within 180 days

1. Lenders given the choice to initiate legal proceedings for insolvency or recovery

2. Applicable only to banks

2. Applicable for banks, small finance banks as well as NBFCs

3. Default of even one day had to be reported and acted upon

3. Lenders given 30 days to start working on resolution plan from day of default

4. Agreement of all lenders was required on the resolution plan

4. Inter-Creditor Agreement regime where agreement of 75% by debt value and 60% lenders by number is needed  


Inter Creditor Agreement (ICA)

  • The ICA is part of the Project Sashakt recommended by Sunil Mehta Committee. The objective is to use this ICA for faster facilitation of resolution of stressed assets.  It is aimed at the resolution of loan accounts with a size of Rs. 50 crore and above that are under the control of a group of lenders.

  • ICA Framework is part of project ‘Sashakt’. Under it, lead lender (having highest exposure) will be authorised to formulate resolution plan.

  • It will be applicable to all corporate borrowers who have availed loans and financial assistance for amount of Rs. 50 crore or more under consortium lending or multiple banking arrangements.

  • The decision making under ICA framework will be by way of approval of majority lenders i.e. agreement of 75% by debt value and 60% lenders by number is needed .

  • Once resolution plan is approved by majority lenders, it will be binding on all lenders that are party to ICA.  

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6. UP site expected to get ‘national importance’ tag (The Hindu Page 9)     


Prelims: History & Culture

Mains: GS Paper I - History & Culture


Sanauli in Baghpat district of UP has discoveries from Harappan period


  • An ancient site with chariots, swords and other objects pointing to the presence of a warrior class around 4,000 years ago in Uttar Pradesh's Baghpat district could be declared a site of national importance soon.

  • The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has started the process of declaring the site at Sadikpur Sinauli, which is spread over 28 hectares, of national importance and has issued a notification in this regard.

  • Sanauli in Baghpat district in western Uttar Pradesh is located about 80 km from New Delhi.              

  • Spectacular discoveries relating to Harappan period such as Chariot, helmet, shield, sword and dagger from a grave dating to 2000 BCE have been made here.

  • The discovery points towards the existence of a 'warrior class in the area around 2,000 BCE' and this would challenge some of the basic premises of the Aryan invasion theory that claim that horses were brought in by the invading Aryan army around 1500 to 1000 BC.    

  • It is the largest necropolis of late Harappan age (Necropolis, in archaeology, is an extensive and elaborate burial place of an ancient city.)

  • The early Harappan phase lasted from 3300 BCE to 2600 BCE, the mature phase from 2600 BCE to 1900 BCE and the late phase from 1900 BCE to 1600 BCE.

  • Uttar Pradesh has several Harappan sites, including Sanauli, Mandi and Alamgirpur.

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Paper 2:

Topics Covered:

  1. Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.


President’s address to both Houses of Parliament


What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: President’s address- what, when and how? Significance and other key features.


Context: President Ramnath Kovind recently addressed joint sitting of Parliament outlining the govt’s goals for next five years.


What does the Constitution say about this?

Article 87(1) says: “At the commencement of the first session after each general election to the House of the People and at the commencement of the first session of each year the President shall address both Houses of Parliament assembled together and inform Parliament of the causes of its summons.”

First Constitutional Amendment: Originally, the Constitution required the President to address both Houses of Parliament at the commencement of “every session”. This requirement was changed by the First Amendment to the Constitution.


President’s address:

The President’s speech essentially highlights the government’s policy priorities and plans for the upcoming year. It is drafted by the Cabinet, and provides a broad framework of the government’s agenda and direction.

Paper 3:

Topics Covered:

  1. Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.


Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC)


What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Composition, role, objectives and significance of FSDC.


Context: FSDC meeting held recently was chaired by the Union Finance Minister.


About FSDC:

The Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) was constituted in December, 2010. The FSDC was set up to strengthen and institutionalise the mechanism for maintaining financial stability, enhancing inter-regulatory coordination and promoting financial sector development.

An apex-level FSDC is not a statutory body.



The Council is chaired by the Union Finance Minister and its members are Governor, Reserve Bank of India; Finance Secretary and/or Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs; Secretary, Department of Financial Services; Chief Economic Adviser, Ministry of Finance; Chairman, Securities and Exchange Board of India; Chairman, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority and Chairman, Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority. It also includes the chairman of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board (IBBI).

Recently, the government through a gazette notification, had included ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY) secretary in the FSDC in view of the increased focus of the government on digital economy.


What it does?

The Council deals, inter-alia, with issues relating to financial stability, financial sector development, inter–regulatory coordination, financial literacy, financial inclusion and macro prudential supervision of the economy including the functioning of large financial conglomerates. No funds are separately allocated to the Council for undertaking its activities.

Paper 2:

Topics covered:

  1. Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.


Dispute Resolution Mechanism for solar/wind sector 


What to study?

For prelims and mains: DRM- need, significance, composition and functions.


Context: In a major decision to facilitate the solar and wind energy projects, the government has approved a proposal to set up a Dispute Resolution Committee to consider the unforeseen disputes between solar/wind power developers and SECI/NTPC, beyond contractual agreement. 

Significance: The move will give further fillip to the smooth implementation of solar/wind energy projects in India. It fulfils a long pending demand of the industry to resolve expeditiously, unforeseen disputes that may arise beyond the scope of Contractual Agreements. 



  • The Solar and Wind Industry have been demanding setting up of Dispute Resolution Mechanism by MNRE for quite some time, to resolve expeditiously, unforeseen disputes that may arise beyond the scope of Contractual Agreements between solar power developers / wind power developers and SECI/ NTPC.
  • The issue was considered and it was felt that there is need to erect a transparent, unbiased Dispute Resolution Mechanism, consisting of an independent, transparent and unbiased Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC), for resolving the unforeseen disputes that may arise in implementation of contractual agreements and also for dealing with issues which are beyond the scope of Contractual Agreements between solar power developers/ wind power developers and SECI / NTPC.


Composition and eligibility:

  • three member Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC) will be set up with the approval of Hon’ble Minister (NRE), consisting of eminent persons of impeccable integrity.
  • The upper age for the DRC members shall be 70 years.
  • The Committee members of DRC shall be chosen from the eminent persons located in NCR of Delhi so as to avoid expenditure on Air Travel & accommodation.


The mechanism of Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC) will be applicable for all solar/ wind Schemes/ Programmes/ Projects being implemented through/ by SECI/ NTPC.


The DRC will consider following kinds of cases:

  • All cases of appeal against decisions given by SECI on Extension of Time requests based on terms of contract:
  • All requests of Extension of Time not covered under the terms of contract.
  • All such cases referred to it, including the cases where the developer is not satisfied with the decision of SECI/NTPC and it decides to appeal after paying the required fee.


Final decision:

The recommendations of the ‘Dispute Resolution Committee’ (DRC) along with MNRE’s observations, will be placed before Hon’ble Minister (NRE) for final decision. The Ministry shall examine and put up such recommendations to Minister (NRE) with the comments of IFD within twenty one (21) days of receipt of recommendation from the DRC.

To arrive at any decision, Committee will be free to interact with the relevant parties of the case and shall record their views. For presenting the case before the DRC, no lawyers shall be permitted.


Relevant articles from various news sources:

Paper 1:

Topics covered:

  1. Issues related to education.


World Best Universities Ranking


What to study?

For Prelims: QS World University Rankings and India’s top performers.

For Mains: Reforms in higher education.


ContextQS World University Rankings for 2020 has been released.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is at the top of the global list for the eighth consecutive year.



QS World University Rankings is an annual publication of university rankings by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS).

QS evaluates universities and institutions on parameters such as academic and employer reputation, faculty-student ratio, citations per faculty and international students and faculty on campuses.


Top institutions from India:

  • IIT-Bombay has been ranked India’s best university for the second year in a row.
  • Two other Indian universities — IIT Delhi (182) and the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru (184) — have also cracked the top 200.
  • There are a total of 23 Indian institutions in the top 1,000. While most are government-funded universities, five are privately funded.
  • The Manipal Academy of Higher Education, which falls within the 701-750 ranking band, is the top private university in the country. The O.P. Jindal Global University, founded in 2009, is the only new entrant in the list this year, ranking in the 751-800 band.
  • Indian science and technology institutions funded by the government scored high in terms of citations per faculty, with the IISc, Bengaluru, achieving a perfect 100 in that indicator.
  • For private institutions on the list, on the other hand, it was other indicators such as teacher-student ratio, and international faculty and student populations that propelled them to the top.


Sources: Indian Express.

Paper 2:

Topics Covered:

  1. Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.


African Union (AU)


What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: AU- objectives, composition, functions and significance.


Context: India has for the first time extended $15 Million financial support to Niger as a support for organising African Union (AU) summit scheduled to be held in Niger. This will be the 1st time that Niger will be hosting an AU summit.


About AU:

  • The African Union (AU) is a continental union consisting of 55 countries of the continent of Africa, with exception of various territories of European possessions located in Africa.
  • The bloc was founded on 26 May 2001 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and launched on 9 July 2002 in South Africa.
  • The intention of the AU is to replace the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), established on 25 May 1963 in Addis Ababa by 32 signatory governments.
  • The most important decisions of the AU are made by the Assembly of the African Union, a semi-annual meeting of the heads of state and government of its member states.
  • The AU’s secretariat, the African Union Commission, is based in Addis Ababa.


Key objectives: To achieve greater unity and solidarity between the African countries and Africans. To defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of its Member States. To accelerate the political and social-economic integration of the continent.


Sources: the Hindu.

Paper 2:

Topics covered:

  1. Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.


Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)


What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: ccNSO, ICANN and its key features.


Context: Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and NASSCOM (National Association of Software and Services Companies) have announced collaboration for working in developing standards and identifier technology that will feed into the global consultation for managing Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices and infrastructure using internet.


What is the ICANN?

The Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is a non profit organization that was set up in 1998 to oversee the administration of domain names. ICANN coordinates and ensures the smooth and secure functioning of the cybernetic framework.


What it does?

The global nature of the Web today means that there are constantly increasing numbers of Domain Names, Host Names, IP addresses and web sites that are emerging on a daily basis. ICANN oversees this interconnected network and ensures that computers across the internet can find one another through defined unique pathways and identifiers.


ICANN performs four major functions namely:

  • Approval of companies that can become accredited registrars for domain names.
  • Decision making regarding the addition of new Top Level Domains (TLDs) to the Root system.
  • Coordinating technical parameters to maintain universal connectivity.
  • Creating a Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) for competing domain names.


Sources: the hindu.

Paper 2:

Topics covered:

  1. Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.


Climate change can trip small island states enroute SDGs: UN


What to study?

For prelims: about SIDS and its members.

For mains: Impact of climate change on SIDS, concerns and measures needed.


Context: Many small island developing states (SIDS) may fail to achieve several Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 because of increasing population and climate change risks, according to the United Nation’s report on World Population Prospects 2019.


Key findings:

  • While population growth is keeping all least developing nations from meeting the goals, the problem is compounded by climate change in SIDS.
  • Several SIDS, including Comoros, Guinea-Bissau, Sao Tome and Principe, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, are experiencing a sharper population growth than they can handle.
  • The challenge is bigger for these small countries because of their vulnerability to climate change, climate variability and sea-level rise.
  • They have higher population growth rate than the global average
  • The total population of these countries is only 71 million, but growing fast: said to increase to 78 million by 2030 and 87 million by 2050. 


About SIDS:

SIDS are a group of small island countries that tend to share similar sustainable development challenges, including small but growing populations, limited resources, remoteness, susceptibility to natural disasters, vulnerability to external shocks, excessive dependence on international trade, and fragile environments.



  • Climate change affects the development of all nations, regardless of location or size of economy. Yet, no other group of nations is as vulnerable to its devastating effects as the SIDS, according to the United Nations Development Programme.
  • One-third of the entire population of SIDS lives on lands that are less than five metres below the sea level. This makes them highly vulnerable to sea-level rise, storm surge and coastal destruction.
  • These countries contribute to only 1 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and yet are among the first to experience the worst impacts of climate change.
  • Agricultural production, fisheries, and related sectors are declining as the climate changes, threatening livelihoods and economic growth. In addition, extreme weather spawned by climate change is destroying SIDS land, real estate and infrastructure, with economically catastrophic effects.
  • Tourism forms the foundation of many SIDS economies, and the impact that climate change is having and will have on the tourism industry is undeniable. Tourists are also discouraged from travelling to SIDS in the fear of violent and life-threatening storms.


Sources: down to earth.


Facts for prelims:


Compulsory retirement:

Context: Fifteen senior Finance Ministry officials of Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) have been sent into compulsory retirement, as a part of the action aimed at cleaning up the government service. Orders issued by the Finance Ministry have quoted clause J of rule 56 of the Fundamental Rules.

Provisions in this regard:

Clause (J) of Rule 56 of the Fundamental Rules says: “The Appropriate Authority shall, if it is of the opinion that it is in the public interest to do so, have the absolute right to retire any government servant by giving him notice of not less than three months in writing or three months’ pay and allowances in lieu of such notice.”

Based on the above said rule, the President has retired these officials in public interest with immediate effect on completing 50 years of age.


Hidden hunger:

What is it? In many countries, in both the global North and South, malnutrition and obesity frequently co-exist in the same people. This is a condition known as “hidden hunger”.

Hidden hunger is a result of various factors. These include poverty, inequality, urbanisation and industrialisation of the food system. The interplay of these factors leaves low income households with very limited access to fresh, healthy foods. Instead, many South Africans — and other people living in similar conditions — subsist on diets high in sugar and processed starch. These diets contribute to increasing levels of obesity.


What is reciprocal trade agreements?

Countries use bilateral/regional trade agreements to increase market access and expand trade in foreign markets. These agreements are called reciprocal trade agreements (RTAs) because members grant special advantages to each other.

RTAs include many types of agreements, such as preferential arrangements, free trade agreements, customs unions, and common markets, in which members agree to open their markets to each other’s exports by lowering trade barriers.

Need: They have become an increasingly prominent feature of the multilateral trading system in recent years, in part, because of stalled global negotiations taking place under the auspices of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Many observers believe that RTAs deepen market integration and complement efforts by the WTO to liberalize international markets. While acknowledging that RTAs can open up markets, other observers contend that these agreements also distort trade and discriminate against nonmember countries.


Summaries of important Editorials:


A law to protect doctors:

Context: Recent attack on a junior doctor in West Bengal had sparked the agitation, which spread to other parts of the country when it appeared that the State government was reluctant to negotiate with the striking doctors.


Challenges faced by the doctors:

  • Reprisal attacks on doctors by agitated relatives of patients.
  • Such violence is invariably the result of systemic problems that adversely affect optimal attention to patients, such as infrastructural and manpower constraints.


Protection to doctors:

Doctors work in stressful environments, sometimes under political pressure with regard to admissions. Several States have enacted laws to protect doctors and other health-care personnel from violence.


Need of the hour:

Need for stringent action against anyone who assaults doctors.

Focus should be on addressing the deficiencies afflicting the health-care system as a whole. 


Way ahead:

It is clear that having a law alone does not prevent such incidents from recurring. The real solution may lie in improving health infrastructure, counselling patients about possible adverse treatment outcomes, and providing basic security in medical institutions.