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The Hindu 4 August 2019

UPSC - Daily Current Affair







Why is India pulled to deep-sea mining?



Lower rates the growth key?



What are the guidelines on migrant camps?



Tigers in India face lurking threat from virus



Islands on the wing ( Magazine)



Activists in Assam slam NGT for nod to 2000 MW dam




  1. Why is India pulled to deep-sea mining? (The Hindu, Page – 14)


Mains: GS Paper III : Science & Technology


Deep sea Mining


Deep Ocean Mission 

Ministry of Earth Sciences has announced that it is all set to launch the deep ocean mission this year. It will be a Rs 8000 crore Plan. 



  • The main aim of the mission is to explore and extract polymetallic nodules. 

  • These are small potato-like rounded balls composed of minerals such as manganese, nickel, cobalt, copper and iron hydroxide. 

  • They lie scattered on the Ocean floor at depths of about 6,000 m and the size can vary from a few millimetres to centimetres. 

  • These metals can be extracted and used in electronic devices, smartphones, batteries and even for solar panels.


Who allots the area for deep sea mining?

  • The International Seabed Authority (ISA), an autonomous international organisation established under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea


India’s involvement 

  • India was the first country to receive the status of a ‘Pioneer Investor ‘ in 1987 and was given an area of about 1.5 lakh sq. km in the Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB) for nodule exploration. 

  • In 2002, India signed a contract with the ISA and after complete resource analysis of the seabed 50% was surrendered and the country retained an area of 75,000 sq. km.


Other areas where PMN are found

  • Polymetallic nodules have been identified from the central Pacific Ocean. 

  • It is known as the Clarion-Clipperton Zone.


Environmental Impact 

  • According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), these deep remote locations can be home to unique species that have adapted themselves to conditions such as poor oxygen and sunlight, high pressure and extremely low temperatures. 

  • Such mining expeditions can make them go extinct even before they are known to science.

  • Additional concerns have been raised about the noise and light pollution and oil spills.


Economic viability of deep sea mining 

The ISA says it will be commercially viable only if about three million tonnes are mined per year. 



  1. Lower rates the growth key?– (The Hindu, Page-14)

Area of interest

Mains: GS Paper III: Indian Economy and various Issues


Monetary Policy Transmission in India 



In response to the economic slowdown, the RBI has lowered the repo rate to 9 year low of 5.75% in the Monetary Policy Review in June. However, despite the policy cuts, the economic growth has failed to pick up due to poor monetary policy transmission.

In this regard, the article seeks to analyse the reason for poor monetary policy transmission and also highlights that low interest rates alone may not be sufficient to boost the economic growth in India.


Understanding Monetary policy transmission in India

  • The RBI uses monetary policy tools such as Repo and Reverse Repo to control the money supply in the economy. The Monetary policy transmission refers to commensurate changes in the rate of interest on the loans with the changes in the policy rates such as Repo rate.

  • Repo Rate reduces--> Banks avail loans from RBI at lower interest rates--> Reduction in rate of interest on loans--> Increase in the investment and consumption expenditure--> Increase in the GDP Growth Rate.

  • Repo Rate increases--? Banks avail loans from RBI at higher interest rates--> Increase in rate of interest on loans--> Decrease in money supply--> Control of Inflation.

  • Thus, as the Repo rate changes, the rate of interest on the loans also change accordingly leading to efficient monetary policy transmission.


Inefficient Monetary policy transmission in India

  • The monetary policy transmission in India is said to be inefficient as the Banks have failed to transmit the rate cut on to the consumers. For example, 

  • despite three rate cuts aggregating to 75 basis points since February 2019, only 21 basis points have been passed on to borrowers by banks in this cycle.

  • Deposits from the public form a chunk of funds that commercial banks use to lend to borrowers and hence the higher deposit rates have been cited by the article as the main reason for the poor monetary policy transmission.

  • Deposit rates have remained high for two reasons:

  • Interest rates in the government’s small savings schemes (such as PPF and NSC)  have remained high and hence the Banks have been forced to maintain higher interest rates to attract the customers.

  • Liquidity crunch in the economy as evident in the recent NBFC crisis has forced the banks to maintain higher interest rates on the deposits.


Tussle between Central Bank and Government

Across the world, there is constant tussle between Central Bank and Government over the optimum interest rates in the economy. The Government normally takes a short term view of the economy and constantly pressurises the Central Bank to lower the interest rates so as to spur investment and boost GDP. However, Central Banks take long term view of economy and hence rightly believes that lower interest rates in the long run may lead to increase in the money supply and inflation, which could hamper growth in the long term.

Apart from that, the ability of the Central Bank to reduce the interest rates is also dependent upon the ability of the Government to maintain fiscal discipline and reduce the Fiscal Deficit.


Will lower rates spur economic growth?

Economic growth and development required all the factors of production such as land, capital and labour to be in favourable conditions. Injection of capital through maintenance of lower interest rates alone may not be sufficient to boost the economy. Unless the land acquisition is simplified and necessary skills imparted to the workforce, it would be difficult to spur economic growth in India.


  1. What are the guidelines on migrant camps? (The Hindu, Page-14)


Mains: GS Paper 2: Polity & Governance


Guidelines on Detention Centres



This article analyses the January 2019 guidelines issued by the Union Home Ministry to the states/UTs for setting up detention centres in India.


What are detention centres?

Detention centres are set up to house illegal migrants or foreigners who have completed their jail sentence but their deportation process to the country concerned has not been initiated or completed. These centres have been set up  to restrict the movement of foreigners staying back illegally and thereby ensure that they are physically available at all times for expeditious repatriation or deportation.

At present, there are six detention centres in Assam, the highest among the States. At least 10 more are set to come up before the final publication of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) on August 31.


Legal Framework for setting up detention centres

Under the Foreigners Act, 1946, the Central Government has the powers to deport foreign nationals staying illegally in the country. These powers have also been entrusted to State governments under Article 258(1) of the Constitution and under Article 239(1) for administrators of Union Territories.


Why the Union Home Ministry issued Guidelines for setting up Detention Centres?

  • In September 2018, a PIL was filed before the SC which highlighted the poor conditions prevailing in the Detention centres in Assam. The PIL highlighted that 

  • members of the families who were declared foreigners were put in camps separated from each other. Further, it highlighted that in absence of guidelines governing the detention centres, Assam Government has failed to distinguish between jails and detention centres and detainees have been treated as convicts.

  • It was in the context of this petition, the Centre informed the Supreme Court that it would frame new guidelines for keeping foreign nationals in detention centres across the country.


Salient features of the Guidelines:

  • States do not require specific approval from the Home Ministry to set up detention centres 

  • Centres should be set up outside the jail premises and their numbers and size should be decided by the States keeping in view the actual number of foreigners to be housed as well as the progress in deportation proceedings.

  • detention centres should be designed for inmates to maintain standards of living in consonance with “human dignity”. Well-lit, airy rooms adhering to basic hygiene standards and equipped with electricity, water and communication facilities are to be provided at the centre. 

  • On completion of the sentence of the foreigner, the jail authorities concerned may hand over the foreign national to the authority in charge of the detention centre.

  • It should be ensured that members of the same family are not separated and all family members are housed in same detention centre.


4. Tigers in India face lurking threat from virus (The Hindu, Page-15)


Prelims: Environment & Biodiversity


About Canine Distemper Virus


Canine Distemper Virus 

  • A potential virus — Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) — that can be transmitted from CDV-infected dogs living in and around wildlife sanctuaries into Tigers has started to raise concern among wildlife biologists.

  • Canine distemper is a contagious and serious disease caused by a virus that attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems of puppies and dogs.


5. Islands on the wing ( Magazine) (The Hindu, Page-14)


Prelims: Environment and Biodiversity


About Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary


Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary

  • It is located in the State of Karnataka 

  • It comprises six islets on the banks of the Kaveri River.

  • Roughly 170 bird species have been recorded here.

  • It is an important destination for migratory birds from Siberia and Latin America.



6. Activists in Assam slam NGT for nod to 2000 MW dam (The Hindu, Page-07)


Prelims: Indian Geography


About Brahmaputra River System


  • The Brahmaputra, one of the largest rivers of the world, has its origin in the Chemayungdung glacier of the Kailash range near the Mansarovar lake. From here, it traverses eastward longitudinally for a distance of nearly 1,200 km in a dry and flat region of southern Tibet, where it is known as the Tsangpo, which means ‘the purifier.’ 

  • The Rango Tsangpo is the major right bank tributary of this river in Tibet. It emerges as a turbulent and dynamic river after carving out a deep gorge in the Central Himalayas near Namcha Barwa (7,755 m). The river emerges from the foothills under the name of Siang or Dihang. It enters India west of Sadiya town in Arunachal Pradesh. 

  • Flowing southwest, it receives its main left bank tributaries, viz., Dibang or Sikang and Lohit; thereafter, it is known as the Brahmaputra. The Brahmaputra receives numerous tributaries in its 750 km long journey through the Assam valley. Its major left bank tributaries are the Burhi Dihing, Dhansari (South) and Kalang whereas the important right bank tributaries are the Subansiri, Kameng, Manas and Sankosh. The Subansiri which has its origin in Tibet, is an antecedent river. 

  • The Brahmaputra enters into Bangladesh near Dhubri and flows southward. In Bangladesh, the Tista joins it on its right bank from where the river is known as the Yamuna. It finally merges with the river Padma, which falls in the Bay of Bengal. The Brahmaputra is well-known for floods, channel shifting and bank erosion. This is due to the fact that most of its tributaries are large, and bring large quantity of sediments