JUNE 2013
JUNE 2013
Compiled by:
India and World
Science and Technology
Sports & Awards and Honours
Social issues & Development
Political issues, Human Rights & Governance
Monthly Special Focus
 Civil War in Syria
 Coup in Egypt
 Shale gas shakes up International Geopolitics
 The Arctic Council: Is There a Case for India?
 UN Report on Global Climate
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* Indian Railways Launch SMS Based Ticket
Booking System: The Minister of Railways Shri
Mallikarjun Kharge launched SMS based ticketing
 While addressing a gathering on the occasion, Shri
Kharge said that this user-friendly service which will
be effective from today i.e 28th June 2013, is being
introduced in order to further improve the customer
convenience and empower the common man who
does not have access to internet and cannot afford to
buy smart phones.
 Since the mobile penetration in India has increased
rapidly and more than 80 per cent people have
mobile phones, this new system will be helpful in
enabling booking of tickets by masses themselves.
 Ticket booking through non-internet based mobile,
introduced as a pilot project by Indian Railways
Catering & Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), a Public
Sector Undertaking of the Ministry of Railways, will
also help Railways in overcoming the menace of
touting whereby unsuspecting people are fleeced by
such elements.
 This will particularly be useful for labourers and
workers staying away from their home and who have
to book tickets for travel to their native place.
 The key features of ticket booking on mobile:
 Ticket can be booked within minutes;
 basic mobile phones are sufficient; no internet
connection is required;
 The user will get ticket details on SMS instantly.
 SMS along with valid ID in original can be used for
travel, no printout is required.
* New Areas Included in National Capital Region:
The National Capital Region Planning Board has
approved the inclusion of Bhiwani and Mahendragarh
districts of Haryana and Bharatpur district of Rajasthan
in the National Capital Region.
 Board also approved the Rajasthan Government
request for identification of Jaipur as Counter
Magnet Area.
 The Board also approved the Sub-Regional plan for
UP sub-region.
 The Minister stated that the Expenditure Finance
Committee (EFC) has recommended setting up of the
National Capital Region Transport Corporation
(NCRTC) for implementation of RRTS which in
Phase-I will connect Delhi-Panipat (111 km), DelhiAlwar (180 km) and Delhi-Meerut (90 km). The
matter will be taken up by the Cabinet shortly. The
work on the three corridors would start soon and
would be completed by 2016. NCRPB would
contribute Rs. 200 crore to begin the work on one of
the lines.
 The Board is a unique example of inter-State and
inter-agency coordination spread over four federal
states and 108 cities & towns.
JUNE 2013
 62% urbanisation level of NCR is expected to reach
about 73% by 2021 as per the revised Regional Plan2021.
*‘GI’ Tag Granted To Toda Embroidery: The
Geographical Indication (GI) certificate for unique Toda
embroidery of hilly Nilgiris District in Tamilnadu has
been handed over to a representative of the tribal
 The GI accorded in March would insulate the
embroidery from being duplicated besides ensuring
uniform pricing for the products.
 Nearly 400 Toda tribals are actively involved in the
embroidery business and produce a wide range of
products like shawl, table mat, wall hangings, bags
and shopping bags and the certificate allowed the
products to display the specific geographical location
or origin.
*Cabinet approves Gandhi Heritage Sites Mission:
The union cabinet recently approved the establishment
of the Gandhi Heritage Sites Mission to conserve and
restore the sites associated with the Father of the Nation.
 The mission will aim at preserving for posterity 39
core sites as well as other 2,000 important sites
earlier identified by the panel under the chairmanship
of Gopalkrishna Gandhi, a former governor of West
Bengal, and a grandson of the Mahatma.
*Hill Forts of Rajasthan Included In World Heritage
List: The World Heritage Committee of UNESCO in its
37thSession has approved for inscribing 6 hill forts of
Rajasthan on the World Heritage List. The 6 forts are as
follows:Name of Fort
 Chittaurgarh Fort
 KumbhalgarhFort
 RanthambhoreFort
 JaisalmerFort
 Amber Fort
 Gagron Fort
 The Hill Forts of Rajasthan is a serial nomination
consisting of six sites located on rocky outcrops of
the Aravalli mountain range.
 They represent Rajput military hill architecture,
which are exceptional examples of centres of Rajput
power and control, are reflections of courtly culture
and patronage of arts and music, their mercantile
business, etc.
 The structural remains/ruins range from 8th to 19th
century A.D. and comprises multi-gated approaches
through massive and high fortification walls, palaces,
temples, memorials and water reservoirs.
 The extensive fortifications – up to 20 kilometres in
circumference – exploit the contours of the hills, and
specifically the river at Gagron, the dense forest at
Ranthambhore, and the desert at Jaisalmer.
 The nomination dossier on Hill Forts of Rajasthan
JUNE 2013
comprising five forts namely Chittaurgarh Fort,
Kumbhalgarh Fort, Ranthambhore Fort, Amber Fort
and Gagron Fort was prepared by State Government
of Rajasthan and was sent to World Heritage Centre
in January, 2011.
Feel the
* Nicaragua Congress approves ocean-to-ocean canal
plan: The Nicaraguan Congress has approved a proposal
to have a canal built linking the Pacific and the Atlantic
 A Hong Kong-based company has been granted a 50year concession to build the waterway, which will
rival the Panama Canal.
 The $40bn (£25bn) plan has been criticised by
environmentalists, who say cargo ships will create a
permanent risk to Lake Nicaragua.
 The challenges for Nicaraguan canal planners have
always been enormous, and the current project is
nothing if not ambitious. It would entail slashing
through around 180 miles of thick tropical terrain —
roughly triple the length of the Panama Canal — and
then pumping a virtual sea through a series of locks
deep enough for massive cargo ships.
 The law approved recently granting a 50-year
concession to the HK Nicaragua Canal Development
Investment Co., owned by a Beijing-based
entrepreneur, does not include details on a location. It
was introduced into the Nicaraguan Congress only
last week, and supporters there have provided more
enthusiasm than details.
 But in past proposals for transoceanic canals, most
recently in 2006, Nicaragua has laid out two possible
sites: along the San Juan River, near the border with
Costa Rica, and through several large drainage areas
that support much of the country‘s agriculture.
 Several international treaties have held that a canal
JUNE 2013
near Costa Rica would require its approval, which is
unlikely given recent land disputes with Nicaragua.
 A canal through the drainage areas would be more
expensive and raise environmental concerns and
disputes over water. Some of those concerns are
already emerging.
 As has been the case for centuries — since around
the time of the first proposal for a Nicaraguan canal,
in 1825 — Panama also appears to be several steps
 Its recent expansion effort to accommodate larger
―supermax‖ cargo ships makes it a more appealing
option now and in the future. Many experts say
Nicaragua is going to have a hard time convincing
investors that there are enough ships to support a
second Central American canal.
* UN adopts treaty to expand access to books for
visually impaired: United Nations has adopted a
landmark copyright treaty to enhance access to books for
millions of people who are blind or visually impaired.
 According to the World Health Organization (WHO),
there are more than 314 million blind and visually
impaired persons in the world, 90 per cent of whom
live in developing countries.
 However, the World Blind Union estimates that of
the million or so books published worldwide every
year, less than five per cent are made available in
formats accessible to visually impaired persons.
 The treaty, called the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate
Access to Published Works for Persons who are
Blind, Visually Impaired, or otherwise Print
Disabled, requires parties to adopt national law
provisions that permit the reproduction, distribution
and making available published works in accessible
formats without having to seek permission from
copyright holders in each case.
 It also allows the exchange of accessible format
works across borders by organizations that serve
people who are blind, visually impaired, and print
disabled. This will increase the availability of
accessible works as different countries will be able to
each produce accessible versions of materials, which
can then be shared with each other instead of
duplicating efforts by adapting the same work.
 The treaty also ensures authors and publishers that
the system will not expose their published works to
misuse or distribution to anyone other than the
intended beneficiaries.
* UN takes over from African troops in Mali: The
international assistance force for Mali has been
transformed into a peacekeeping mission.
 The transfer of authority from the forces of the
African-led International Support Mission in Mali
(AFISMA) to the UN Multidimensional Integrated
Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) took
place during a ceremony in Bamako, capital of the
West African country, the entire north of which was
occupied by radical Islamists for nearly a year.
 The conflict, which began in early 2012 with a
rebellion of ethnic Tuareg groups, displaced
hundreds of thousands of people and prompted the
Government to request assistance from France to halt
the southward march of the extremists, as AFISMA
gradually built strength.
 In April, the Security Council approved the 12,600strong MINUSMA to take over from the African-led
force, authorizing the blue helmets ―to use all
necessary means‖ to carry out security-related
stabilization tasks, protect civilians, UN staff and
cultural artefacts and create the conditions for
provision of humanitarian aid.
 With its launch, MINUSMA becomes the third
largest peacekeeping operation of the UN among
the 16 currently deployed across the world, according
to its authorized force levels.
* US Senate Passes Landmark Immigration Bill: The
United States Senate has passed the comprehensive
immigration reform bill that will provide a pathway to
citizenship to some 11 million illegal immigrants,
including over 240,000 Indians.
 The landmark legislation of the Obama
administration received bipartisan support as it
passed with 68 votes for and 32 votes against it.
 Bill is called as “The Border Security, Economic
Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization
Act of 2013″.
 It was introduced into the United States Senate of the
113th United States Congress on April 16, 2013.
 Illegal immigration is a controversial issue in the
United States.
 The bill now moves to the House of Representatives
before it can be sent to US President Barack Obama
to sign it into law.
 The bill would allow the nation‘s unauthorized
immigrants to get temporary legal status after they
passed a criminal background check, paid a fine and
paid whatever back taxes they had outstanding. If
they successfully maintained a clean record and held
a job, they could apply for a green card in 10 years
and U.S. citizenship three years later.
 The bill would revamp the legal immigration system
to increase the number of temporary work visas for
foreigners trained in science, technology, engineering
and mathematics.
 There would also be an increase in work visas for
foreigners who work in the agricultural industry, and
a new class of visa would be created to bring in
people to work lower-skilled jobs in construction,
retail, hospitality and insurance.
 The bill backed by President Barack Obama, would
invest $46bn in new funding to increase border
security and revamp the US visa system.
 The measure also requires 20,000 new Border Patrol
agents, the completion of 1,226km of fencing and the
deployment of an array of high-tech devices along
the US-Mexico border.
JUNE 2013
 On January 28, 2013, a bi-partisan group of eight
Senators also called ―Gang of Eight‖ announced
principles for comprehensive immigration reform
*‘Free Medicine Scheme’ launched by centre: Union
Health Ministry launched the initiative called ‗Free Drug
Service‘ and ‗Free Diagnostics Service‘ aimed at
providing free generic drugs at government health care
 The scheme was one of the government‘s keystone
projects of the 12th Five Year Plan.
 The free generic drugs scheme was proposed after a
2011 report of the High Level Expert Group which
stated that 76 per cent of the out-of-pocket
expenditure on health is on drugs.
 Now public can avail free drugs and free diagnostics
services at the government health centres and
 However it requires on the part of States to adopt the
scheme. To access the funds under the scheme, the
states have to follow certain guidelines given by the
 The directions for accessing the funds make it
mandatory for a state to have a clearly notified policy
of providing free essential drugs and diagnostics to
all patients coming to public sector facilities at least
up to district hospital level.
 The state should have adopted Standard Treatment
Guidelines and provide for prescription audits to
ensure rational use of drugs and it should name the
initiative as ‗National Health Mission-Free Drug
Service‘ or ‗National Health Mission-Free
Diagnostic Service‘ or its translation in Hindi or
regional language.
 The state should have a robust procurement, logistics
and supply chain system that is backed by
Information technology.
 It must have differential facility-wise Essential Drug
list/diagnostics list depending on the nature of the
facility and a sound drug regulatory and quality
assurance system.
*‘Friends Of Syria Group’ To Give Support To
Rebels: Ministers from the 11 members of the Friends
of Syria group recently agreed to provide urgently all the
necessary materiel and equipment to the rebels fighting
against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The meeting
was held in Qatar was attended by - France, Germany,
Egypt, Italy, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey,
United Arab Emirates, Britain and the United States.
The Group of Friends of the Syrian People (also called
Friends of Syria Group) is an association of Western and
Arab countries, opposed to President Bashar Assad.
 They agreed at talks in Qatar to give urgent military
support to Syrian rebels fighting for his overthrow,
and to channel it through a Western-backed rebel
military command.
 They also condemned the intervention of Hezbollah
militias and fighters from Iran and Iraq, demanding
that they withdraw immediately.
 They said that the growing sectarian nature of the
conflict and the foreign interventions ―threaten the
unity of Syria (and) broaden the conflict‖ across the
 They also expressed strong concern at the increasing
presence of ―terrorist elements‖ and growing
radicalization in Syria.
*‘World Day to Combat Desertification and
Drought‘: UN on World Day to Combat Desertification
and Drought, (17 June) urged the countries that they
must work collectively to build resilience and prepare
themselves against drought.
 This year‘s theme was ‗Don‘t let our future dry up,‘
which highlighted water scarcity.
 Recently, Namibia declared a national drought
emergency as 14 per cent of the population
became food insecure. Last year, the United States
experienced its worst drought since the 1950s,
affecting 80 per cent of agricultural land.
*African Union suspends Egypt over Morsi's ouster:
The African Union suspended Egypt's membership in
the organization in response to the overthrow of
President Mohamed Morsi by the Egyptian military.
 AU decides to suspend the participation of Egypt in
AU activities until the restoration of constitutional
African Union - AU
 The African Union is a union consisting of 54
African states.
 The only all-African state not in the AU is
 The AU was established on 26 May 2001 in Addis
Ababa and launched on 9 July 2002 in South
Africa to replace the Organisation of African
Unity (OAU).
 The AU‘s secretariat, the African Union
JUNE 2013
Commission, is based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
 It said in a statement ―The overthrow of the
democratically elected president does not conform to
the relevant provisions of Egypt‘s constitution, and
therefore falls under the definition of an
unconstitutional change of government.‖
 It Calls on all Egyptian stakeholders to embrace the
spirit of dialogue and mutual accommodation and to
refrain from any acts of violence and retribution.
 AU stresses the obligation of all Egyptian
stakeholders to work towards the fulfillment of the
legitimate aspirations of the Egyptian people as
embodied in the February 2011 Revolution.
 AU said in statement that it encourages the Egyptian
political actors to persevere on the path of national
reconciliation that will contribute to a smooth
preparation for elections leading to a return to
constitutional order. In this regard, Council urges the
new Egyptian authorities to engage, without delay, in
inclusive consultations towards the adoption of a
consensual time frame for the organization of free,
fair and transparent elections;
 Earlier, in March it suspended the Central African
Republic after rebels overthrew the government.
*Barak Obama Unveils Action Plan To Combat
Climate Change: The 21-page plan would expand
production of solar and wind energy and includes
billions of dollars in loan guarantees to develop cleaner
fossil-fuel and other energy technologies. It lists the
following actions;
 Cuts Carbon Pollution in America: In 2012, U.S.
carbon pollution from the energy sector fell to the
lowest level in two decades even as the economy
continued to grow. To build on this progress, the
Obama Administration is putting in place tough new
rules to cut carbon pollution—just like we have for
other toxins like mercury and arsenic —so we protect
the health of our children and move our economy
toward American-made clean energy sources that
will create good jobs and lower home energy bills.
For example, the plan:
 Directs EPA to work closely with states, industry and
other stakeholder to establish carbon pollution
standards for both new and existing power plants;
 Makes up to $8 billion in loan guarantee authority
available for a wide array of advanced fossil energy
and efficiency projects to support investments in
innovative technologies;
 Directs DOI to permit enough renewables project—
like wind and solar – on public lands by 2020 to
power more than 6 million homes; designates the
first-ever hydropower project for priority permitting;
and sets a new goal to install 100 megawatts of
renewables on federally assisted housing by 2020;
while maintaining the commitment to deploy
renewables on military installations;
 Expands the President‘s Better Building Challenge,
focusing on helping commercial, industrial, and
multi-family buildings cut waste and become at least
20 percent more energy efficient by 2020;
 Sets a goal to reduce carbon pollution by at least 3
billion metric tons cumulatively by 2030 – more than
half of the annual carbon pollution from the U.S.
energy sector – through efficiency standards set over
the course of the Administration for appliances and
federal buildings;
 Commits to partnering with industry and
stakeholders to develop fuel economy standards for
heavy-duty vehicles to save families money at the
pump and further reduce reliance on foreign oil and
fuel consumption post-2018; and
 Leverages new opportunities to reduce pollution of
highly-potent greenhouse gases known as
hydrofluorocarbons; directs agencies to develop a
comprehensive methane strategy; and commits to
protect our forests and critical landscapes.
 Prepares the United States for the Impacts of
Climate Change. Even as we take new steps to cut
carbon pollution, we must also prepare for the
impacts of a changing climate that are already being
felt across the country. Building on progress over the
last four years, the plan:
 Directs agencies to support local climate-resilient
programs; and establishes a short-term task force of
state, local, and tribal officials to advise on key
actions the Federal government can take to help
strengthen communities on the ground;
 Pilots innovative strategies in the Hurricane Sandyaffected region to strengthen communities against
future extreme weather and other climate impacts;
and building on a new, consistent flood risk
reduction standard established for the Sandy-affected
region, agencies will update flood-risk reduction
standards for all federally funded projects;
 Launches an effort to create sustainable and resilient
hospitals in the face of climate change through a
public-private partnership with the healthcare
 Maintains agricultural productivity by delivering
tailored, science-based knowledge to farmers,
ranchers, and landowners; and helps communities
prepare for drought and wildfire by launching a
National Drought Resilience Partnership and by
expanding and prioritizing forest- and rangelandrestoration efforts to make areas less vulnerable to
catastrophic fire; and
 Provides climate preparedness tools and information
needed by state, local, and private-sector leaders
through a centralized ―toolkit‖ and a new Climate
Data Initiative.
 Lead International Efforts to Address Global
Climate Change. Just as no country is immune from
the impacts of climate change, no country can meet
this challenge alone. That is why it is imperative for
the United States to couple action at home with
leadership internationally. America must help forge a
truly global solution to this global challenge by
JUNE 2013
galvanizing international action to significantly
reduce emissions, prepare for climate impacts, and
drive progress through the international negotiations.
For example, the plan:
 Commits to expand major new and existing
international initiatives, including bilateral initiatives
with China, India, and other major emitting
 Leads global sector public financing towards cleaner
energy by calling for the end of U.S. government
support for public financing of new coal-fired powers
plants overseas, except for the most efficient coal
technology available in the world‘s poorest countries,
or facilities deploying carbon capture and
sequestration technologies; and
 Strengthens global resilience to climate change by
expanding government and local community
planning and response capacities.
*Chandigarh-born "trailblazer" Indian-American legal
luminary Srikanth 'Sri' Srinivasan has made history
with the US Senate unanimously confirming him as the
first South Asian judge on the powerful appeals court
for the American capital.
(Each Test will be of three hours duration
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TEST SERIES. We have planned to provide
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Bring out the salient
PCPNDT Act, 1994,
and the Implications of
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sequence of events in
Cracking IAS ―IAS
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the popular revolt that
took place in February
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‗Royal Indian Navy‘
and bring out its
significance in the
freedom struggle. Do
you agree with the
view that the sailors
who took part in this
revolt were some of
the unsung heroes of
the freedom struggle?.
(20 MARKS)
Book‖. + Mains
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JUNE 2013
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Fahimuddin Cracking IAS ―IAS
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India & World - News
* 5th IBSA Women's Forum Resolution was
approved by India, Brazil and South Africa: India,
Brazil and South Africa approved the fifth India
Brazil South Africa (IBSA) Women‟s Forum
Resolution, in New Delhi on 16 May 2013. The main
points of the resolution are as following:
o The joint resolution stated that the three countries
are committed to recognizing the key role of
government with the support of civil society to
ensure and accelerate all efforts towards achieving
gender equality and empowerment of women.
o It also acknowledges the Forum‟s shared
commitment to various international conventions
on rights of women and girls.
o The resolution recommends the following- to end
violence against women and girls; to work towards
economic empowerment of women, especially
rural and marginalized women; to promote gender
responsive budgeting, and equitable and
sustainable development.
 Through this Resolution the three countries
commit to working for women‟s empowerment
and for fighting gender-based discrimination and
violence against women in all forms. The platform
of the IBSA is for enhanced efforts for
continuously engendering the policies and
programmes of the three countries and for
mainstreaming the marginalized sections. The
violence perpetuates discrimination against
women, and there are increasing instances of
growing violence against women, which
strengthens the need for concerted efforts to fight
such discrimination and injustice.
 IBSA platform has the three largest democracies
from the southern continent and their joint efforts
through this forum will go a long way in
mainstreaming the debate of women‟s issues.
* 8th India-Seychelles Joint Commission Meeting:
The Joint Commission exchanged views on bilateral,
regional and international matters of mutual interest
during the meet.
 Review of the ongoing cooperation between the
two nations in different fields was also done and
views were exchanged for expanding and
strengthening the perimeter of the cooperation
between the two sides.
*7 airports put on terror alert after intelligence
warning: With intelligence sleuths sounding alert
over possibility of terrorists penetrating the country
through sea route, police stepped up security in 49
villages, along the coast of Bay of Bengal in Krishna
 Seven island villages are located in Nagayalanka,
JUNE 2013
Challapalli and Kaikalur Rural mandals. The
marine police station set up in Gilakaladindi,
Varlagondi and Palakayatippa hamlets have
intensified patrolling up to 20 nautical miles in the
*Bodhgaya blasts in Bihar: Timers used to explode
ammonium nitrate packed bombs: The bombs that
targeted the world renowned pilgrimage town of
Bodhgaya and Mahabodhi temple complex had a mix
of ammonium nitrate and sulphur and were neatly
packed in small cylinders, a preliminary report has
 A team of the National Security Guard (NSG),
which picked up samples from the area, has sent a
report to the Union Home Ministry, saying the
low-intensity bombs worked like improvised
explosive devices (IEDs) and were triggered
through analog clock timers.
*India & Germany Sign Agreement on
Development Cooperation: India and Germany
signed an agreement on financial and technical
cooperation in the field of;
 energy,
 environment and
 management of natural resources.
*India & Iraq Sign Pact to Enhance Cooperation
in Energy Sector: India and Iraq are set to enhance
co-operation in energy security, bilateral trade
commerce the infrastructure development among
 An agreement to this effect was signed by the
Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily with his Iraqi
counterpart Abdul Karim Luaibi in Baghdad at the
end the India-Iraq Joint Commission on technical
co-operation in Baghdad recently.
 In the energy sector, Iraq will supply more crude
oil to India to meet its growing energy needs.
 Iraq is the second largest supplier of crude oil to
 Countries emphasized the need for further
strengthening the relationship between the two
countries by increasing economic cooperation.
 Indian companies have the expertise to participate
in many projects which were coming up in Iraq,
especially in areas such as refineries,
petrochemicals, fertilizers, etc.
 India will also be interested in gas based projects
and importing LNG from Iraq besides India can
share its knowledge and expertise in agriculture,
infrastructure technology, pharmaceuticals, etc.
 India also offered to train Iraqi personnel in oil and
gas sector in the training institutes in India.
 India also offered to work with Iraqi Public Sector
India & World - News
Undertaking in order to exchange ideas and
expertise that could help them in becoming more
efficient and profitable.
*India finishes phase I of Sri Lanka railway
project: The Indian Railways have completed phase I
of a 43-km rail link from Medawachchiya to Madhu
Road in Sri Lanka at a cost of $81 million.
 According to IRCON, a subsidiary of the Indian
Railway, train services on the line resumed on
May 14 after a gap of 23 years.
 The train from Medawachhiya will take 30
minutes to cover the distance. The tracks on the
section were completely destroyed during the
devastating civil war in the region. The
reconstructed track is designed for a speed
potential of up to 120 kmph.
 India will construct around 252 km of railway
lines in the Northern Province of the island nation
to be executed by IRCON.
*India gets observer status in Arctic Council: India
recently signed up to the Arctic Council as an
observer, a step that gives it a foothold in the future of
the resources-rich Arctic Ocean as the ice melts and
everything from navigation to oil and gas may be up
for grabs. India joined China, Italy, South Korea,
Japan and Singapore in the council.
 The council comprises eight Arctic nations:
Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway,
Russia, Sweden and the US.
 India has lobbied assiduously for a place in this
body for some time. In November, at the ASEM
meeting in Laos, the government lobbied hard with
the Nordic countries.
 India's research station in the Arctic, Himadri, is
operated by the National Centre for Antarctic and
Ocean Research. It was set up in 2008.
 The Arctic region is estimated to hold 13 percent
of the world‟s undiscovered oil reserves and 30%
of undiscovered gas deposits.
 Norway is the third largest exporter of oil after
Saudi Arabia and Russia and it also has expertise
in deep sea oil extraction.
 The eight Arctic nations are: Canada, Denmark,
Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the
United States. India along with China, Italy, Japan,
South Korea and Singapore were granted observer
status by the Arctic Council on May 15.
 Norway is also pushing India to conclude the trade
agreement with the four-nation European Free
Trade Association (EFTA). The EFTA members
are Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway and
*India joins worldwide community of C-17
operators: The Indian Air Force today flew its first
JUNE 2013
heavy-lift strategic transport aircraft Boeing C-17
GLOBEMASTER III to home, becoming the newest
operator of the leading airlifter.
 This first aircraft was transferred today after
completion of a flight test programme at Edwards
Air Force Base in Palmdale, California, that began
following the January 22 delivery.
 Noting that nations turn to the C-17 for the
capability to perform a wide range of operations,
from peacekeeping and disaster relief to troop
Dunehew said this aircraft will provide the Indian
Air Force with the versatility to augment airlift
 With this, Boeing has now delivered 254 C-17s,
including 222 to the US Air Force and a total of 32
C-17s to Australia, Canada, India, Qatar, the
United Arab Emirates, the UK and the 12-member
Strategic Airlift Capability initiative of NATO and
Partnership for Peace nations.
*India restores subsidy on LPG, kerosene to
Bhutan: Two days after Bhutan's future prime
minister reiterated his support to India, New Delhi has
decided to restore the subsidy on cooking gas and
kerosene for the tiny Himalayan kingdom.
 The diesel subsidy, amounting to Rs 150 crore per
annum, is borne by Indian Oil as part of its underrecoveries reported to the petroleum ministry.
 IOC cut the subsidy on kerosene and LPG on July
1, a fortnight before Bhutan went to polls,
following an advice from the MEA to revise prices
because it would not reimburse the subsidy
component on the two fuels.
*India turns down Afghanistan’s arms plea: India
has turned down Afghanistan‟s request for supply of
lethal weapons, saying it was neither in a position nor
willing to contribute lethal weapons right now, days
after Afghan President Hamid Karzai raised the issue
with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
*India, Albania sign agreement for avoidance of
double taxation: The DTAA provides that business
profits will be taxable in the source state if the
activities of an enterprise constitute a Permanent
Establishment (PE) in the source state. The agreement
provides for fixed place for permanent establishment
building site, construction and installation the
permanent establishment, service and agency
permanent establishment.
 The agreement incorporates para 2 in Article 9
concerning Associated Enterprises. This would
enhance recourse to Mutual Agreement Procedure
to relieve double taxation in cases involving
transfer pricing adjustments.
 Dividends, interest and royalties and fees for
India & World - News
technical services income will be taxed both in the
country of residence and in the country of source.
The low level of withholding rates of taxation for
dividend (10 percent), interest (10 percent) and
royalties and fees for technical services (10
percent) will promote greater investments, flow of
technology and technical services between the two
 The agreement further incorporates provisions for
effective exchange of information between tax
authorities of the two countries in line with latest
international standard, including exchange of
banking information and supplying of information
without recourse to domestic interest.
 The agreement also contains an Article on
Assistance in Collection of Taxes. This article also
includes provision for taking measure of
conservancy. The agreement incorporates antiabuse (limitation of benefits) provisions to ensure
that the benefits of the agreement are availed of by
the genuine residents of the two countries.
 The agreement will provide tax stability to the
residents of India and Albania and will facilitate
mutual economic cooperation between the two
countries. It will also stimulate the flow of
investment, technology and services between India
and Albania.
JUNE 2013
TEST SERIES. We have planned to provide
complete model solutions also for GS
Nobody else PROVIDES such a set of
potential questions with proper evaluation.
Now with model solutions too. & Many from
our class notes. (In total 500+ marks based
on our guidance).
Few illustrations (The same trend we have
been maintaining since 2007 Mains)
Bring out the salient Cracking IAS “IAS
the EXPRESS” – May
PCPNDT Act, 1994, 2011.” +
and the Implications of Mains 2011 Test
its amendment in no.1
2003. (20 MARKS)
of III + Discussion.
salient Cracking
sequence of events in “Indian
the popular revolt that Book”. + Mains
took place in February 2011 Test no.11
1946 in the then question. No. (b) of
„Royal Indian Navy‟ I + Discussion.
and bring out its
significance in the
freedom struggle. Do
you agree with the
view that the sailors
who took part in this
revolt were some of
the unsung heroes of
the freedom struggle?.
(20 MARKS)
(2 Cracking IAS “IAS
no. 1 question
no.12 of III..
Fahimuddin Cracking IAS “IAS
Dagar (2 MARKS)
2011 Mains special”
+ Test no. 10
question no.(b) of
(2 Cracking IAS “IAS
Express” + Test
of III
India & World - News
Science & Technology
Defence & Environment - News
* CSIR To Launch Its Fastest Supercomputer in
Bangalore: The supercomputer will have a speed of
360 tera flops, making it the fourth fastest machine in
the country and will be housed in the CSIR Fourth
Paradigm Institute (CSIR-4PI).
The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research
(CSIR) has decided to re-position its Bangalorebased Centre for Mathematical Modelling and
Computer Simulation (CMMACS) to deal with data
intensive scientific discovery, which has emerged as
the fourth paradigm of science.
The supercomputer based in the Bangalore-based
4PI will form the backbone of the new venture
which will connect CSIR laboratories located in
Delhi, Hyderabad, Pune, Srinagar, Chennai,
Chandigarh, and Nagpur.
Each of the laboratories will have computing
facilities between 10 and 50 tera flop capacity will
be linked to the supercomputer using the National
Knowledge Network thus connecting 200 scientists
and over 1,000 students in the identified domain
CSIR has identified five domain areas —
 earth system sciences,
 medical informatics,
 biomedical informatics,
 chemical sciences and
 Physical sciences.
has been discovered in the eye. Till now it was
thought that cornea, the transparent, circular part at
the front of the eye, has five layers. But it has now
been found that a sixth one, named Dua’s layer after
the scientist who found it, exists at the back of the
cornea. The new-found body part is a skinny but
tough structure of 15 microns. Researchers believe
that a tear in this layer is the cause of keratoconus, an
eye disease where the cornea bulges and becomes
cone-shaped. The finding would help advance
understanding of a number of diseases of the cornea.
* Indian ‘IPv6 Test Lab’ Got Approval From
International IPv6 Committee: Internet Protocol
Version 6 (IPv6) Lab setup by Telecommunication
Engineering Centre (TEC), technical arm of
Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of
Communications & IT, has earned a unique
distinction of being approved by the IPv6 Ready Logo
Committee under IPv6 Forum, an International body.
 This achievement is significant for TEC and the
country as only five other labs in the world have
JUNE 2013
achieved this milestone.
 India has thus joined Europe and a select group of
countries which include USA, Japan, China and
Taiwan having IPv6 Ready Logo test lab facilities.
 The announcement to this effect was made on 25th
 TEC has setup the IPv6 Ready Logo test lab as per
standards prescribed by IPv6 Ready Logo
Committee and addresses Conformance as well as
Interoperability testing for various equipment with
IPv6 implementation.
 The internet and the internet facing devices are
moving to new addressing scheme IPv6 since IPv4
addresses are no longer available.
 The Government has taken several policy
initiatives so that the service providers, content
providers and the customer premises equipment
vendors are encouraged to move to IPv6 address
 Setting up testing infrastructure is one of the
objectives of NTP-2012.
 Establishment and designation of TEC lab as IPv6
Ready Logo lab is one such step which shall
enable indigenous vendors/developers to avail the
facility of internationally recognized test lab in
 Availability of approved TEST BED shall promote
end-user confidence in using IPv6 Ready Logo
approved products.
 TEC will play an instrumental role in the
Interoperability and testing of IPv6 products as a
major piece of the India IPv6 Strategy roadmap
announced by the India Government in building
the New Internet infrastructure as interoperability
creates genuine end-user confidence in new
 Mr.Latif Ladid is IPv6 Forum President.
 Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is the latest
revision of the Internet Protocol (IP), the
communications protocol that provides an
identification and location system for computers
on networks and routes traffic across the Internet.
 IPv6 was developed by the Internet Engineering
Task Force (IETF) to deal with the longanticipated problem of IPv4 address exhaustion.
 IPv6 is intended to replace IPv4, which still carries
the vast majority of Internet traffic as of 2013.
 As of late November 2012, IPv6 traffic share was
reported to be approaching 1%.
*Chandra Observatory Discovers Blackholes In
Andromeda Galaxy: According to NASA,
astronomers while using data from NASA’s Chandra
X-ray Observatory, discovered an unprecedented
Science & Technology + Defence & Environment + Health Issues - News
bonanza of black holes in the Andromeda Galaxy, one
of the nearest galaxies to the Milky Way.
 Using more than 150 Chandra observations, spread
over 13 years, researchers identified 26 black hole
candidates, the largest number to date, in a galaxy
outside our own.
 Many consider Andromeda to be a sister galaxy to
the Milky Way. The two ultimately will collide,
several billion years from now.
 The black hole candidates belong to the stellar mass
category, meaning they formed in the death throes
of very massive stars and typically have masses five
to 10 times that of our sun.
 Seven of these black hole candidates are within
1,000 light-years of the Andromeda Galaxy’s center.
That is more than the number of black hole
candidates with similar properties located near the
center of our own galaxy. This is not a surprise to
astronomers because the bulge of stars in the middle
of Andromeda is bigger, allowing more black holes
to form.
 This new work confirms predictions made earlier in
the Chandra mission about the properties of X-ray
sources near the center of M31.
 Many of the Andromeda observations were made
within Chandra’s Guaranteed Time Observer
* Japan’s Green Signal To First ‘iPS Cell’ Based
Trial: Japan has given the green light to the world’s
first clinical trial using stem cells harvested from a
patient’s own body. Japan’s Health Ministry has
given a preliminary approval for the first-ever human
study of a treatment that reprograms the patient’s own
cells to regenerate damaged tissue. It would be the
world’s first clinical research for induced
pluripotent stem cells, known as iPS cells. The
study would focus on the cells’ use in eye disease.
 The proposed iPS study would focus on people
suffering from a form of age-related macular
degeneration, a disease of the eye where the retina
degenerates, causing loss of vision.
 The research team would reprogram patients’ skin
cells to become iPS cells, which would be induced
to develop into retinal cells. The retinal cells would
then be implanted in the patients’ eyes.
 The study will concentrate on making sure the
treatment doesn’t cause serious safety risks for
patients. The initial group of patients will be those
for whom existing medical treatment has failed.
 The research team will start preparing for implants
as soon as the health ministry authorizes the study.
The team is aiming to perform the first human
implant as early as the next fiscal year, beginning
April 2014.
 Following the government approval, the Riken
JUNE 2013
Center for Developmental Biology will start the
world’s first clinical trial using iPS cells as soon as
next summer.
 iPS technology is a relatively new process whereby
mature cells are reprogrammed to develop, like
embryonic cells, into other kinds of tissue—on a fast
track for development.
 iPSCs were first produced in 2006 from mouse cells
and in 2007 from human cells in a series of
experiments by Shinya Yamanaka’s team at Kyoto
University, Japan.
 For her iPSC research, Dr. Nancy Bachman, of
Oneonta, NY, was awarded the Wolf Prize in
Medicine in 2012 (along with John B. Gurdon).
 iPSCs are an important advance in stem cell
research, as they may allow researchers to obtain
pluripotent stem cells, which are important in
research and potentially have therapeutic uses,
without the controversial use of embryos.
 Because iPSCs are developed from a patient’s own
somatic cells, it was believed that treatment of
iPSCs would avoid any immunogenic responses.
Science & Technology + Defence & Environment + Health Issues - News
JUNE 2013
 There are still many unknowns and concerns about
the process (that is going to start in Japan) in
particular that the transformed cells will keep on
multiplying, producing cancerous growths in
* NASA Launched ‘IRIS’ Spacecraft To Study
Sun: NASA has launched Interface Region Imaging
Spectrograph (IRIS) spacecraft from Vandenberg Air
Force Base, California.
 It was placed in orbit by an Orbital Sciences
Corporation Pegasus XL rocket.
 The aim of the mission is to study the solar
 IRIS will help scientists understand the mysterious
and energetic interface between the surface and
corona of the sun.
 IRIS will observe how solar material moves,
gathers energy and heats up as it travels through a
little-understood region in the sun’s lower
 This interface region between the sun’s
photosphere and corona powers its dynamic
million-degree atmosphere and drives the solar
wind. The interface region also is where most of
the sun’s ultraviolet emission is generated.
 These emissions impact the near-Earth space
environment and Earth’s climate.
* NASA Launched ‘IRIS’ Spacecraft To Study
Sun: NASA has launched Interface Region Imaging
Spectrograph (IRIS) spacecraft from Vandenberg Air
Force Base, California. It was placed in orbit by an
Orbital Sciences Corporation Pegasus XL rocket. The
aim of the mission is to study the solar atmosphere.
 IRIS will help scientists understand the mysterious
and energetic interface between the surface and
corona of the sun.
 IRIS will observe how solar material moves, gathers
energy and heats up as it travels through a littleunderstood region in the sun’s lower atmosphere.
 This interface region between the sun’s photosphere
and corona powers its dynamic million-degree
atmosphere and drives the solar wind. The interface
region also is where most of the sun’s ultraviolet
emission is generated.
 These emissions impact the near-Earth space
environment and Earth’s climate.
*Carbon capture technique produces hydrogen
fuel, offsets ocean acidification: Scientists Scientists
from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have
discovered a new technique to remove and store
atmospheric carbon dioxide.
 The team displayed a system that utilizes the acidity
normally produced in saline water electrolysis to
advance silicate mineral dissolution while
generating hydrogen fuel and other gases.
 The resulting electrolyte solution was demonstrated
to have a much higher hydroxide concentration that
showed itself to be extremely absorbent and
retentive of atmospheric CO2.
 Carbon sequestration is the process of capture and
long-term storage of atmospheric carbon dioxide
(CO2) and may refer specifically to
 The process of removing carbon from the
atmosphere and depositing it in a reservoir.
 When carried out deliberately, this may also be
Science & Technology + Defence & Environment + Health Issues - News
referred to as carbon dioxide removal, which is a
form of geoengineering.
 The scientists believe that the carbonate and
bicarbonate generated in the newly discovered
process could be utilized to moderate ongoing ocean
*Even with Defects, Graphene Is Strongest
Material in the World: Columbia Engineering
researchers demonstrate that graphene, even if
stitched together from many small crystalline grains,
is almost as strong as graphene in its perfect
crystalline form. This work resolves a contradiction
between theoretical simulations, which predicted that
grain boundaries can be strong, and earlier
experiments, which indicated that they were much
weaker than the perfect lattice.
 Graphene is an allotrope of carbon.
 In this material, carbon atoms are arranged in a
regular hexagonal pattern.
 Graphene can be described as a one-atom thick
layer of the mineral graphite, (many layers of
graphene stacked together effectively form
crystalline flake graphite).
 Amongst its other well-publicised superlative
properties, it is very light, with a 1-square-meter
sheet weighing only 0.77 milligrams.
 The Nobel Prize in Physics for 2010 was
awarded to Andre Geim and Konstantin
Novoselov at the University of Manchester ―for
groundbreaking experiments regarding the twodimensional material graphene‖.
 Graphene consists of a single atomic layer of
carbon, arranged in a honeycomb lattice. In its
perfect crystalline form, graphene (a one-atom-thick
carbon layer) is the strongest material ever
 For all it's strength, a perfect sample is graphene is
impractical as it is laborious to create and too small
to be of any great use. To create larger samples of
graphene, scientists can use a technique called
chemical vapor deposition (CVD), in which single
layers of graphene are grown on copper substrates in
a high-temperature furnace. Currently, sheets of
graphene as large as a television screen can be
grown using CVD.
 The potential commercial and industrial uses for
graphene are futuristic and include a television
screen that can roll up like a map or, the researchers
speculate, an elevator into space connecting an
object in orbit to Earth with a long cord of ultrastrong graphene.
 Graphene is strong, lightweight, conducts
electricity and resists rust.
JUNE 2013
 Graphene repels water and when mixed with
polymer works as a rust-proofing coating.
Graphene repels water and is highly conductive, a
combination that keeps steel from coming into
contact with water and slows down the
electrochemical reactions that oxidize iron. At
SUNY Buffalo chemists designed a polymer coating
containing this exotic form of carbon. They painted
steel with the coating and then dipped the coated
metal in a brine to see if it would stay rust-free. It
did -- for an entire month. Such a coating could
eliminate rusted cars forever.
 Graphene transmits the heat energy from an
electrical current to make sound. At the University
of Texas researchers put a layer of graphene less
than a single nanometer thick onto glass and two
different types of plastic. Next, they ran an
alternating current through the layers, which
produced sound. The GRAPHENE SPEAKERS
are thin and because they transmit the heat energy
from the electrical current to make sound, rather
than vibrating a diaphragm, they can be made into
any shape.
 Computer chips with graphene super capacitors
could make batteries obsolete. A capacitor stores
charge between two plates, and discharges quickly;
they are common in electronics and used to power
camera flashes. Capacitors can store a lot of charge,
and supercapacitors, which are typically made with
layers of ordinary carbon, can store more. But
capacitors still can't hold much power per unit of
weight. That is why batteries are used for
 Microscopic bits of graphene oxide bind to
radioactive contaminants and could make cleaning
up nuclear waste safe and cheap.
 The first integrated circuit made of graphene was
made by researchers at IBM. Silicon semiconductor
chips give computers their brainpower. They
process the 1s and 0s of binary code that are the
fundamental building blocks of digital information.
But graphene has the potential to process those 1s
and 0s much faster than silicon because it conducts
electricity better, all while using less power and
generating less heat. That means a laptop could
operate 50 times faster and need no cooling fans.
 Sheets of graphene can crumple up like paper, but
they are difficult to flatten out. At Duke University
scientists recently attached graphene to a prestretched rubber sheet and found that when the sheet
was relaxed, the graphene still adhered to the rubber
even though it was crumpled up. That led them to
layer the graphene with polymer, which expanded
and contracted when a current was run through it – a
key component in building artificial muscle.
 Graphene foam can pick up small concentrations of
Science & Technology + Defence & Environment + Health Issues - News
the nitrates and ammonia found in explosives. A
sensor developed at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
the size of a postage stamp could one day be a
regular part of the kit carried by bomb squads.
 By controlling the size of pores in graphene, it's
possible to make it into a kind of "filter" that sorts
DNA molecules by size. That capability could allow
researchers to sequence DNA at a lower cost than
current techniques – to about $1,000 per person.
Currently, sequencing a person's genome costs three
to five times that, according to San Francisco-based
Life Technologies, which rolled out a machine last
year that does the job. Unfortunately, the machine
itself is $149,000.
 Australian researchers found a way to make fibers
from a composite material made of graphene that's
stronger than Kevlar. Adding an equal amount of
graphene and carbon nanotubes to a polymer
produced a super-strong fiber that could be spun
into the fabric used to make bulletproof vests. The
fibers could also be used to strengthen other
 Photodetectors are computer chips that convert
photons from light into electrical signals. Every
digital camera has one and they are made of silicon.
Frank Koppens and his colleagues at the Institute of
Photonic Sciences in Barcelona dotted a layer of
graphene with lead sulfide and created an ultrasensitive and flexible photodector that could lead to
thinner cameras and more lightweight night vision
JUNE 2013
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*Special cell set up for speedy implementation of
projects: Ethiopia’s 547-member parliament has
ratified the new Nile River Cooperative Framework
Agreement treaty. It strips Egypt and Sudan of its
rights over the major share in the Nile river waters.
 Ethiopian parliament unanimously endorsed an
accord which is already signed by five other Nilebasin countries – Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda,
Kenya and Burundi.
 However the move comes amid a rising tension
between Ethiopia and Egypt after Ethiopia last
month started to divert Nile waters for a massive
$4.2 billion hydro-electric dam dubbed the Grand
Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.
 Egypt fears that the dam will reduce its share of
the Nile water that provides almost all of water
needs this desert nation.
 Earlier, 10 member Experts panel concluded that
the dam will not “significantly affect” water flow
to Egypt and Sudan.
 Egypt has dismissed the study’s findings and has
called for further assessments.
 Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam has been under
construction for two years on the Blue Nile River
in Ethiopia’s Benishangul-Gumuz region near
 The first phase of the Grand Renaissance Dam is
expected to be completed in 2016 and will
generate 700MW of electricity, making it Africa’s
largest hydroelectric dam scheme. Ethiopia plans
to export electricity from the dam to Sudan,
Djibouti and Kenya.
 The Blue Nile joins the White Nile in the Sudanese
capital, Khartoum, to form the Nile, which then
flows through Egypt.
 Egypt says its “historic rights” to the Nile are
guaranteed by two treaties from 1929 and 1959,
which allow it 87% of the Nile’s flow and give it
veto power over upstream projects.
*Special cell set up for speedy implementation of
projects: Recently a meeting was chaired by Prime
Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, to discuss an
institutional mechanism to track stalled investment
projects, both in the public and private sectors and to
remove the implementation bottlenecks in these
projects on a fast-track basis.
 On the direction of the Prime Minister, a Special
Cell has been created in the Cabinet Secretariat.
 This Cell would be in the nature of a Project
Monitoring Group for all large projects, both
public and private and would pro-actively pursue
them so that these investment projects are
commissioned on time.
 Suitable officers may be identified at the earliest
JUNE 2013
and priority projects may be quickly identified to
be taken for tracking.
 The Administrative Ministries, in consultation
with the Finance Ministry, and the Finance
Ministry on its own also were tasked with the
identification of such priority projects.
 The Cabinet Secretariat was directed to hold a
meeting with Chief Secretaries of States to have
State Governments on board with this new
Don’t Miss it.
*Telecom Commission endorses 100% FDI in
telecom sector: The Telecom Commission, the
highest decision-making body of the department of
telecom (DoT), approved 100% foreign direct
investment in the telecom sector. Once ratified, the
new policy will allow foreign telecom operators to
buy out existing Indian partners, as they will no
longer need to have a minority shareholder in the
 Telecom Commission approved to hike foreign
direct investment limit for telecom sector to 100
percent from 74 percent currently.
 The Department of Telecommunication (DoT) is
likely to soon move a cabinet note for 100 percent
FDI in telecom services.
 At present, FDI limit in the sector is 74 percent
and 49 percent can be invested through
automatic route.
 But to take it upto 74 percent, Foreign Investment
Permission Board (FIPB) nod is required. In case
100 percent FDI is approved, 49 percent
investment would still be allowed through
automatic route.
 Telecom Commission is the highest decisionmaking body in the telecom ministry.
 All eyes are now on the cabinet, which has to
approve this as well.
 Allowing full foreign ownership will ease the huge
burden on the telecom sector, which was sitting on
a debt of Rs1, 85,720 crore in 2011-12. It will
ensure that fresh funds flow in.
 The Commission also discussed creation of
Telecom Finance Corporation (TFC) to address
the sector’s funding challenges and “sought a
detailed project report on it”.
 The TFC is proposed to be set up on the lines of
sectoral finance bodies such as Power Finance
Corporation and Tourism Finance Corporation of
 The proposed TFC is targeting financing Rs
38,000 crore in a five-year period.
*USA clears sale of shale gas to India: The U.S.
Department of Energy recently granted conditional
authorisation to domestic producers of America to
export liquefied natural gas (LNG) to countries that
do not have a free trade agreement (FTA) with the
US. This is a significant development as it opens up
the prospects of export of shale gas to energy-starved
Indian viewpoint
 The Department of Energy (DoE)’s conditional
authorization has been given to Freeport LNG
Expansion, LP and FLNG Liquefaction, LLC
(Freeport) to export domestically-produced LNG
to non-FTA countries from the Freeport Terminal
on Quintana Island in Texas. The Freeport facility
in Texas is conditionally authorised to export at a
rate of up to 1.4 billion cubic feet of natural gas a
day (Bcf/d) for 20 years. The commencement of
supply is expected to start from 2017-18.
 However, companies from countries such as
China, Japan and Britain have already large stake
in this Texas based company. Therefore, in the
immediate term, India is unlikely to benefit
immediately from this grant of licence.
 The decision nonetheless paves the way for India
to get its companies seek similar licences for
import of the much-needed gas from the U.S. in
large quantities from other terminals. It may be
recalled here that India does not have a free trade
agreement with the U.S.
 The DEA granted the first authorisation for the
Sabine Pass LNG Terminal in Cameron Parish,
Louisiana, to export LNG to non-FTA countries in
May, 2011 at a rate of up to 2.2 Bcf/d. GAIL
(India) has executed an LNG off-take agreement
with Sabine Pass Liquefaction LLC, for import of
3.5 million metric tonnes (mmtpa) per annum
LNG from the U.S.A.
Future prospects
 The U.S. Department of Energy is now processing
several other applications in this regard.
 Through diplomatic channels, India is pushing for
U.S. export of shale gas to India. The demandsupply gap of natural gas in India, estimated at
around 2.2 trillion cubic feet (tcf) per annum at
present, is likely to go up to nearly 4 tcf per annum
by 2016-17. The demand of natural gas is expected
JUNE 2013
to be about 8 tcf per annum by the year 2030.
 Adequate supply of natural gas would result in
cheaper electricity, lower subsidies on urea and
other nitrogenous fertilizers, and a more
economical fuel for a variety of industrial and
consumptive gas usages.
 Indian companies have already made some large
investment in the U.S. in this regard. Recently,
GAIL booked 2. 3 mmtpa capacity in the Cove
Point LNG Terminal proposed to be commissioned
by Dominion Cove Point LNG LP in 2017. Indian
companies are scouting for more tie-ups and
ownership stakes.
 Besides, other Indian companies, including
Reliance Industries in the private sector, had
bought stakes in oil and gas exploration and
production companies. This trend would receive a
huge boost if export of natural gas was permitted
to India. According to another study, roughly 20
per cent of the $133.7 billion invested in U.S. tight
oil and shale gas from 2008 to 2012 has come
from abroad, with Indian companies accounting
for a total investment of nearly $4 billion so far.
24th August 2013
 BTB Study materials
JUNE 2013
* Parimarjan Negi Won Continental Chess
* Brazil Won ‘Confederation Cup’ Football Title:
Neymar (Brazil) was voted the player of the Association Open: Indian young Grand Master
Parimarjan Negi has won the Continental Chess
 Brazil won the its first Confederations Cup title in Association Open title in Washington.
Saudi Arabia in 1997, then again in Germany in 2005  Negi has earlier won the Spring open International
chess tournament in Dallas, Texas, in March and he
and in South Africa in 2009.
was Joint winner at the Cappelle de Grande in France,
 Spain was trying to win the tournament for the first
where nearly 85 Grand Masters participated in
 The FIFA Confederations Cup is an international
association football tournament for national teams,
* Vandana Gandhi Won Emirates Women Award
currently held every four years by FIFA.
 It is contested by the holders of each of the six FIFA 2013: Vandana Gandhi, Founder and CEO of Middle
confederation championships (UEFA, CONMEBOL, East's only ISO certified nursery chain, British Orchard
CONCACAF, CAF, AFC, OFC), along with the FIFA Nursery, made India proud recently by becoming the
World Cup holder and the host nation, to bring the first ever Indian woman to receive Dubai Government's
coveted "Emirates Woman Award" for business
number of teams up to eight.
 Since 2005, the tournament has been held in the nation excellence.
that will host the FIFA World Cup in the following  Started in 2003, Emirates Woman Awards is an
initiative by Dubai Quality Group (DQG) to encourage
year, acting as a rehearsal for the larger tournament.
women, both UAE nationals and residents, to be
 Brazil hosted the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup
actively involved in social and economic development
from 15 to 30 June.
initiatives in the country.
* Hornbill conservator Aparajita Datta gets Whitley  British Orchard Nursery is the first nursery chain to be
ISO 9001:2008 quality certified.
Award: Conservator Aparajita Datta has won the
Whitley Award, also called "Green Oscar", for her work
to save threatened hornbills in the forests of Arunachal *20-year-old Indian badminton player K Srikanth
(from Guntur, Andhra Pradesh) won men’s singles
 Datta leads a programme to conserve hornbills in the title at the Thailand Open Grand Prix Gold.
Eastern Himalaya at the Nature Conservation
Foundation (NCF), an NGO set up in 1996 to *Legendary Bollywood actor Pran was today honoured
promote science-based wildlife conservation in India. with the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke award.
 Princess Anne, daughter of Queen Elizabeth II,
presented the award at a ceremony at the Royal *President Presents National Youth Awards: It is for
the first time the National Youth awards have been given
Geographical Society in London.
by the President of India.
National Youth Awards, instituted in the year 1985 are
* India to host T-20 world cup 2016 & ODI world
conferred on youth each year who have demonstrably
cup in 2023: The International Cricket Council in its
excelled in youth work in different fields of youth
annual conference in London has announced that India
developmental activities and social service.
will host:
The award carries a pure silver medal, a certificate and
 T-20 World Cup in 2016,
a cash prize of Rs. 40,000/- in case of individual
 The new ICC World Test Championship in February
awardee and Rs. 2.00 lakhs for voluntary organization.
and March 2021,
The selected young individuals are expected to possess
 The 50-over World Cup in 2023.
leadership qualities and use them in successfully
 The three competitions were allotted to India by ICC at
carrying out voluntary activities in the field of Youth
its annual conference which finalised its global events
from 2015 to 2023.
Bhavishya Educational and Charitable Society,
 According to an ICC, the first edition of the World
West Bengal won award in organisational category.
Test Championship will be staged in 2017 by England
and Wales in June-July 2017 while the second edition
will be held in India in February-March 2021.
 Sri Lanka hosted the last World T20 in SeptemberOctober 2012, losing to the West Indies in the final.
 Bangladesh is due to hold the tournament next year,
though doubts have been raised over its readiness.
 After India hosts in 2016, the World T20 will go into a
four-year cycle, with Australia lined up for the event in
- News
* Cabinet Approves „Mental Health Care Bill
2012′: The Union Cabinet cleared the Mental Health
Care Bill, 2013 that makes access to mental health
care a right of all persons.
 The new Bill, when passed by Parliament will
repeal the Mental Health Act, 1987, which had
vested extraordinary power in the hands of the
treating psychiatrists.
 There was enough evidence of misuse and
psychiatrists in addition to badly functional or nonfunctional Central and Mental Health Authorities
primarily because of lack of funds.
 Bill provides for setting up Central and State
Mental Health Authorities, which would act as
administrative bodies, while the Mental Health
Review Commission would be a quasi-judicial
body to oversee the functioning of mental health
facilities and protect the rights of persons with
mental illness in mental health facilities.
 Appeals can be made to the Mental Health Review
Commission, which will also review all admission
beyond 30 days and free care for all homeless,
destitute and poor people suffering from mental
 The Bill provides right to confidentiality and
protection from cruel, inhuman and degrading
treatment, in addition to right to live in a
community and legal aid. It bans the electricconvulsive therapy without anaesthesia and
restricts psychosurgery.
 Under the proposed new law, there is provision for
voluntary admission with supported admission
limited to specific circumstances.
 The Bill tries to address the needs of the families
and caregivers, and the needs of the homeless
mentally ill.
 Bill also has a provision wherein a person with
mental illness can appoint a nominated
representative to take decisions for him or her.
 Under the provisions of the Bill, government has
an obligation to provide half way homes,
community caring centres and other shelters for
mentally ill people. This has been planned under
the District Mental Health Programme in the 12th
* Nutrition Summit in London a 'Historic
Breakthrough': Leaders from around the world have
signed an agreement “Global Nutrition for Growth
Compact” at the recently concluded Nutrition for
Growth summit, held in London.
The Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement
hailed world leaders signing the Compact. Since
JUNE 2013
launching in 2010, the SUN Movement has
expanded to 40 countries that together are home to
80 million stunted children equivalent to about half
of all stunted children in the world.
 This was done with a purpose to fight the malice
of malnutrition in children and reduce the number
of child deaths.
 During summit, world leaders made commitments
worth USD 4.15 billion, to tackle under nutrition
by 2020.
* President signs Food Security Ordinance:
President Pranab Mukherjee today signed Food
Security Ordinance, paving way for implementation
of the controversial Food Security Bill.
 On June3, Cabinet decided to promulgate an
ordinance to give nation's two-third population the
right to 5 kgs of foodgrain every month at highly
subsidised rates of Rs 1-3 per kg.
 With this, India will join select league of countries
in the world that guarantee majority of its
population foodgrains. At Rs 125,000 crore of
government support, the food security
programme will be the largest in the world.
 The Ordinance comes just weeks before the
scheduled Monsoon session of Parliament and
political parties demanding that the Food Security
Bill be debated in both Houses before being
 The Ordinance will have to be approved by both
the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha within six
months of promulgation.
 The National Food Security Ordinance gives Right
to the people to receive adequate quantity of
foodgrains at affordable prices.
 The Food Security Bill has special focus on the
needs of poorest of the poor, women and children.
 In case of non-supply of foodgrains now people
will get Food Security Allowance.
 The bill provides for grievance redressal
mechanism and penalty for non-compliance by
public servant or authority.
Features Of The Ordinance
 Upto 75% of the rural population and upto 50% of
the urban population will have uniform entitlement
of 5 kg foodgrains per month at highly subsidized
prices ofRs. 3, Rs. 2, Rs. 1 per kg. for rice, wheat,
coarse grains respectively .
 It will entitle about two thirds of our 1.2 billion
population to subsidised foodgrains under the
Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS).
 The poorest of poor households would continue to
receive 35 Kgfoodgrains per household per month
under Antyodaya Anna Yajna at subsidized
prices of Rs 3, Rs 2 and Rs 1.
 It is also proposed to protect the existing allocation
of foodgrains to the States/Uts, subject to it being
restricted to average annual offtake during last
three years.
Corresponding to the coverage of 75% rural and
50 % of urban population at all India level, State
wise coverage will be determined by the Central
The work of identification of eligible households is
left to the States/UTs, which may frame their own
criteria or use Social Economic and Caste Census
data, if they so desire.
There is a special focus on nutritional support to
women and children. Pregnant women and
lactating mothers, besides being entitled to
nutritious meals as per the prescribed nutritional
norms will also receive maternity benefit of at
least of Rs. 6000/-.
Children in the age group of 6 months to 14 years
will be entitled to take home ration or hot cooked
food as per prescribed nutritional norms.
The Central Government will provide funds to
States/UTs in case of short supply of food grains
from Central pool, In case of non-supply of food
grains or meals to entitled persons, the concerned
State/UT Governments will be required to provide
such food security allowance as may be prescribed
by the Central Government to the beneficiaries.
In order to address the concern of the States
regarding additional financial burden, Central
Government will provide assistance to the States
towards cost of intra-State transportation, handling
of foodgrainsand FPS dealers‟ margin, for which
norms will be developed. This will ensure timely
transportation and efficient handling of foodgrains.
The Bill also contains provisions for reforms in
PDS through doorstep delivery of foodgrains,
application of information and communication
technology (ICT) including end to end
computerisation, leveraging „Aadhaar‟ for unique
identification of beneficiaries, diversification of
commodities under TPDS etc for effective
implementation of the FoodSecurity Act.
Eldest woman of 18 years of age or above will be
head of the household for issue of ration card, and
if not available, the eldest male member is to be
the head of the household.
There will be state and district level redressal
mechanism with designated officers. The States
will be allowed to use the existing machinery for
District Grievance Redressal Officer (DGRO),
State Food Commission, if they so desire, to save
expenditure on establishment of new redressal set
up. Redressal mechanism may also include call
centers, helpline etc.
Provisions have also been made for disclosure of
records relating to PDS, social audits and setting
up of Vigilance Committees in order to ensure
JUNE 2013
transparency and accountability.
 The Bill provides for penalty to be imposed on
public servants or authority, if found guilty of
failing to comply with the relief recommended by
the District Grievance Redressal Officer (DGRO).
 At the proposed coverage of entitlement, total
estimated annual foodgrainsrequirement is 612.3
lakh tons and corresponding estimated food
subsidy for 2013-14 costs is about Rs.1,24,724
*„Committee On Agricultural Marketing‟ Submits
Report: The Committee of State Ministers In-charge
of Agriculture Marketing to Promote Marketing
Reforms has submitted final report to the Agriculture
Minister, Shri Sharad Pawar.
 It has called for an effective implementation of
Model APMC Act in all the states.
 This committee was constituted in March, 2010
under the Chairmanship of Shri Harshvardhan
Patil, Minister for Cooperation and Parliamentary
Affairs, Govt. of Maharashtra.
The mandate of the committee was to
 Persuade various State Governments/Administration
of Union Territories to implement the reforms in
agriculture marketing through adoption of Model
APMC Act and Rules;
 Suggest further reforms necessary to provide a
barrier free national market;
 Suggest measures to effectively disseminate market
standardization, packaging and quality certification
of agricultural produce.
The committee has also recommended:
 the setting up of multiple and competitive
marketing channels;
 independent regulatory authority to encourage
private investors;
 need for viability gap funding to attract private
sector investment;
 higher investment in marketing infrastructure
under RKVY;
 waiver of market fee on fruit and vegetables;
 setting up of independent district level authority
for registration and dispute settlement; and
 setting up grading units with trained manpower in
the market.
*“Priyadarshni Awaas Yojna” Launched In
Haryana: Haryana Chief Minister Bhupender Singh
Hooda launched “Priyadarshni Awaas Yojna” in the
state at Karnal to provide affordable housing facility
to the people living in rural areas. On the launch of
this scheme, 28 families belonging to scheduled
castes and two of backward class were given the
benefit of the scheme. People eligible under Indira
Awaas Yojna and those who get 100 square yard plot
under Mahatma Gandhi Gramin Basti Yojna would
also be included in the scheme.
*1st Meeting of National Steering Group of
Reconstructed ICDS Held: Designated as the Nodal
Platform for Nutrition Coordination linked to the
PM‟s National Council on India‟s Nutrition
Challenges, the National ICDS Mission Steering
Group re-affirmed the highest priority towards
presenting and reducing maternal and child nutrition.
Outcomes Of Meeting:
 The Mission Steering Group approved the increase
in the honoraria of Anganwadi Workers of Mini
Anganwadi Centers from Rs. 1500/- to Rs. 2250/-.
This will benefit the workers of a total 1,16,000
sanctioned mini- AWCs in the country.
 The Mission Steering group also endorsed a major
village contact initiative under ICDS restructuring
to reposition AWC as a vibrant child- friendly
ECD Centre belonging to women and the
 For this, fixed monthly Village ECCE days will
now be observed in all AWCs across the country
from 19th August, 2013. This will also take the
proposed National ECCE policy to the village
 Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS)
Scheme is a flagship programme of Government
of India for the holistic development of the
children which was launched in 1975 to address
health, nutrition and development needs of
young children and pregnant and lactating
mothers (P&L).
 Over the years the scheme has been expanded
with a view to universalize the programme so as
to reach the benefits to the door steps of
children in small clusters.
 However, universalization of the scheme has
also brought with it huge challenges in terms of
resources as well as challenges of management,
delivery of services with quality and standards.
 NMSG appreciated the unique convergence
initiative with MNREGA for AWC construction
and provision of Crèches and Ministry of Health
and Family Welfare such as the Mother and Child
Protection Card (MCPC).
 In the view of the imminent promulgation of
National Food Security Ordinance, NMSG was
exhorted to step up efforts to universalize
maternity benefits especially to reach those of the
most deprived communities through scaling up of
the Indira Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY)
linked to better health care.
 Besides, it also committed itself to intensify
nutritional support to young children and pregnant
and lactating mothers as per stipulations.
JUNE 2013
 NMSG also approved the action plan for Japanese
Encephalitis/ Acquired Encephalitis (ES/AES) for
60 affected districts. This includes improved
monitoring of feeding of children at the
Anganwadi centers, special training to sensitise
AWWs and their supervisers regarding the
ES/AES and to provide additional THR to the
under-nourished in the affected districts.
*Government set up Committee On Indecent
Portrayal of Women in Media: The Ministry of
Women and Child Development has constituted a
Committee to finalize modalities for media campaign
against indecent portray of women in mass media.
 The Committee will be headed by Additional
Secretary, M/o WCD, Smt. K. Ratna Prabha.
The terms of reference of the Committee are as
follows: Finalize modalities of a media campaign, through
print and electronic media, to instill a sense of
respect for women in all spheres of life.
 Suggest innovative campaign/ strategy to project
women in a more positive, proactive and
empowered manner, which can have maximum
impact on the society and bring about an
attitudinal/ behavioural change of people towards
 Draw up national campaign to sensitize families
regarding the values of girls, through depicting
women achievers, abhor civil practices like female
foeticide, dowry, child marriages, etc.
 Identify areas of corporation between M/o WCD
and M/O I&B on all such issues that demand
sustained public interest campaigns in print,
electronic as well as social media.
* Cabinet approves electronic services bill: The
government approved a bill that aims to provide access
to all central and state government services such as
passport, ration card and driving licences electronically,
especially the Internet, within eight years.
 The ESD bill was brought before the Cabinet to bring
it in sync with Citizens Charter Bill or The Right of
Citizens for Time-Bound Delivery of Goods and
Services and Redressal of their Grievances Bill, 2011,
which was approved by Union Cabinet on March 7.
 The Citizens Charter Bill envisages penalty of up to
Rs 50,000 against a government official failing to
perform his or her duties.
* Constitutional Amendment finalized For IndiaBangladesh Boundary Pact: Government has approved
a Constitutional Amendment Bill which will facilitate
the implementation of the India-Bangladesh boundary
agreement signed in 2011.
 Additional protocols for 1974 Land Boundary
Agreement, signed during Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh‟s visit to Dhaka in September 2011, require a
constitutional amendment for ratification as these
involve exchange of land in 111 Indian enclaves in
Bangladesh and 51 Bangladeshi enclaves on Indian
 Bangladesh has already ratified the pact.
 Indian enclaves in Bangladesh are spread over 17,149
acres, while Bangladesh enclaves in India are located
in 7,110 acres of land.
*Ministry of I&B Reconstituted the Central Press
Accreditation Committee: The Ministry of Information
& Broadcasting reconstituted the Central Press
Accreditation Committee (CPAC) on 4 April 2013. The
function of CPAC is to approve the applications for
accreditation from the media, which is India as well as
foreign. The tenure of Central Press Accreditation
Committee will be two years from the first meeting
* Odisha Legislative Assembly adopted a Resolution
for Special Category Status: The Odisha Legislative
Assembly on 4 April 2013 unanimously adopted a
resolution requesting the Centre to award special
category status to the state. It has also urged the Centre
to provide additional grants and fiscal incentives for
Odisha's development. Odisha Assembly for the second
time adopted unanimous resolution seeking special
category status. The first such resolution was passed on
18 November 1997.
 The special-category states get significant excise
duty concessions and it helps these states attract large
number of industrial units to set up manufacturing
facilities within their territory. States like Arunachal
Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Assam, Jammu and
Kashmir, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland
etc. have been given special category status so far.
JUNE 2013
* SC upholds 51% FDI in multi-brand retail:
Supreme Court upheld the constitutional validity of
government‟s decision allowing 51% foreign direct
investment in the multi-brand retail sector.
 A bench of Justices R M Lodha, Madan B Lokur and
Kurian Joseph gave the ruling.
 The bench observed that there was no harm in giving
the policy a chance. It saw merit in the policy that it
would eliminate middlemen and help provide farmers
a better price for their produce. It dismissed the
petition filed against the 51 percent FDI in multibrand retail. As per the court, the policy will affect
the lives of only 13.3% of the country's population
living in 53 cities.
*$84m WB Loan For Bihar Panchayat Strengthening
Project: An agreement for credit of US$ 84 million
from World Bank for the Bihar Panchayat Strengthening
Project was signed today at New Delhi.
 Mr. Nilaya Mitash, Joint Secretary, Department of
Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance signed on
behalf of Government of India and Mr. Michael
Haney, Operations Advisor, World Bank, India on
behalf of the World Bank.
 On behalf of Government of Bihar, Mr. Amitabh
Verma, Principal Secretary, Department of Panchayati
Raj signed the documents.
 Gram Panchayat in action in Bihar
 The Objective of the project is to support the State
Government in promoting inclusive, responsive and
accountable gram panchayats in six districts, namely
Patna, Nalanda, Bhojpur, Saharsa, Supaul and
 Successful experimentation and learning in these six
districts can be scaled up to other districts under other
Government programmes.
 The project now consists of the following
 Component 1: Gram Panchayat Sarkar Bhawan.
 Component 2: Capacity Building for Gram
 Component
Government Capacity to Manage a Gradual
Decentralization and Empowerment Process.
 Component 4: Panchayat Performance Grant.
 Component 5: Project Management and
 With the goal to improve the autonomy, capacity and
accountability of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs),
the Bihar Panchayat Strengthening Project shall invest
on building systems and institutions of local selfgovernance and helping the state government design
and implement new inter-governmental fiscal and
administrative systems that allow more autonomy and
demand accountability of the PRIs.
*Committee on leveraging panchayat raj institutions
calls on president: Recently on the occasion of
Panchayat Raj day i.e. 24th April 2013, Ministry of
panchayati Raj has unveiled the “20th Anniversary report
of the Expert Committee on leveraging panchayats for
efficient delivery of public goods and services”. The
Expert Committee is chaired by Former Union Minster
of Panchayati Raj, Sh Mani Shankar Ayer. We are
pleased to share the highlights of the report. The major
observations and recommendations of the expert
committee are:
1) The mandatory provisions of Part IX of the
constitution i.e. panchayat elections under the aegis of
State Election Commissions, constitution of State
Finance Commissions and District Planning
Committees has been undertaken across the states.
2) The
devolution of Functions, Finances and
Functionaries (3Fs) has been far from the letter and
spirit of the constitution amendments.
3) The preparation of decentralised district plans as per
Article 243G read with Article 243ZD of the
constitution have not been progressed except few
states. It is observed that the Manual of Integrated
District Planning prepared by Planning Commission
also didn‟t have much impact on the planning process.
4) The completion of 11th five year plan and the launch
of 12th plan have not seen the blossoming of district
planning without which panchayati raj institutions will
remain an empty shell. It is only triggered initially with
the support of BRGF but loses its pace subsequently.
5) Referring to various studies and reports committee
observed that the inequality has been increased in the
country over the period. The rich become richer and
poor become poorer. Thus committee questions the
rationality of the commitment of the government for
„inclusive growth‟. Committee observed that
alleviation of poverty and growing inequalities remain
unaffected because establishment of panchayat raj is
not followed by structured, scientific, consistent and
sustained process of devolution.
6) 12 Plan does not delve in any significant measure on
how key requirements of inclusion are to be achieved.
Twelfth plan also fails to prioritise the role of
panchayats and their representatives in achieving
inclusive growth. Committee pointed out that 25 core
indicators listed by the twelfth plan to reflect the vision
of rapid, sustainable and more inclusive growth,
panchayati raj institutions find no place at all.
7) Despite the increase in outlays in social sector over the
period, India‟s progress on the HDI is not very
encouraging. This is mainly because „institutional
reforms‟ lagged behind the „economic reforms‟ began
in 1992.
8) The committee also tried to establish the correlation
between Human Development Index (HDI) and
Devolution index & India protection index. The
analyses revealed that though correlation is positive
but weak. It is inferred that given the weak devolution,
panchayats are unable to influence the human
development outcomes.
9) Committee concluded that devolution is an essential
condition for human development. But it must be
supported by factors such as accountable service
delivery mechanism, clear delineation of roles and
responsibilities of officials and functionaries, stringent
monitoring mechanisms, increasing public awareness
and capacity building of public functionaries at all
10) The committee strongly opposed the observations
JUNE 2013
made about the PRIs in the Annual Economic Survey
2012-13. The committee recommends that in all the
future Annual Economic Surveys, there must be a
separate chapter devoted to Panchayat Raj.
Referring to the number of panchayati raj institutions
and elected representatives including women, SCs,
STs and OBCs. Committee observed that this is a
great achievement in political empowerment, but it
has made little impression on political circles, media
perceptions, society as a whole and above all on the
rural economy.
Committee observed that it is not an absence of
political will that is making panchayat raj stumble so
much as the unevenness of panchayat raj outcomes
that is stalling the evolution of required political will.
Deficiencies in the capacity building also contribute
to the poor performance. Much of the training
imparted to panchayat functionaries bears little
resemblance to the tasks they allowed to undertake in
the absence of effective devolution.
There is a little integration between departments and
panchayats. Most of panchayat representatives get
little opportunity for hand-on learning. Atmosphere
in most line departments discourages evolution of
working relationship with ERs, except at „sarpanch‟
(panchayat president) level. The consequence of this
is distortion of panchayat raj in many parts of
country into „sarpanch raj‟.
In the absence of real devolution there is no
responsibility of elected representatives towards
Gram Sabhas leading to poor attendance in the gram
sabha and ward sabha meetings.
To improve and strengthen the participation of gram
sabha, committee recommends the centre must draft
a „model gram sabha law‟ and urge states to bring
appropriate legislations on the basis of this law.
Committee also recommends that the reservation in
PRIs for all categories (women, SC, ST, OBC)
should be frozen for a minimum of at least two terms
and preferably for three terms.
Committee recommends that the 14th Finance
Commission should change the pattern of untied
grants from „basic and performance‟ grants to grants
for incentivising states to devolve and grants for PRIs
to be rendered transparent and accountable.
JUNE 2013
The National Capital Region (NCR) in India is a name for the metropolitan area which
encompasses the entire Delhi as well as urban areas surrounding it in neighbouring states of Haryana,
Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan.
Delhi has been experiencing
population since 1951 recording
decennial growth rate of 52.44%,
52.91%, 52.98%, 51.45% and
47.03% during 1951-61, 196171, 1971-81 and 1991-01
decades respectively.
 One of the main causes for
this spurt in the growth of
population is migration into
the city not only from the
adjacent states but also from
others such as Bihar, AP etc.
 The growth of population of
Delhi has contributed to
increasing congestion and
shortages of civic amenities.
It has been felt that as Delhi
grows, its problems of land,
housing, transportation and
management of essential
infrastructure like water
supply and sewerage would
become more acute.
It was with this concern that the need for planning Delhi in the regional context was felt:
 1956 Interim General Plan suggested that ‗serious consideration should be given for a planned
decentralization to outer areas & even outside the Delhi region‘.
 1961 High Powered Board set up under Union Minister for Home Affairs
 1962 Master Plan for Delhi emphasized Planning of Delhi in regional context
 1973 High Powered Board reconstituted under Union Minister for Works & Housing
 1985 Enactment of the National Capital Region Planning Board Act by the Union Parliament, with
the concurrence of the participating States of Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh,NCR Planning
Board was constituted.
 The Haryana Sub-Region comprises of nine districts, that is, Faridabad, Gurgaon, Mewat, Rohtak,
Sonepat, Rewari, Jhajjhar, Panipat and Palwal together constituting about 40% (13,413 sq. kms.) of
the Region;
 The Uttar Pradesh Sub-Region comprises of five districts, that is, Meerut, Ghaziabad, Gautam
Budha Nagar, Bulandshahr, and Baghpat together constituting about 32% ( 10,853 sq. kms.) of the
 The Rajasthan Sub-Region comprises of Alwar district constituting about 23% (7,829 sq. kms.) of
the Region ; &
 The NCT of Delhi constituting about 5% (1,483 sq. kms.) of the Region.
JUNE 2013
Civil War in Syria
 The United Nations on 13 June announced that the death toll in Syria is nearly 93,000, with more
than 5,000 people killed a month as the situation in the country has “deteriorated
drastically” over the past year.
 The Syrian civil war is an ongoing armed conflict in Syria between forces loyal to the
Syrian Ba’ath
government and those
seeking to oust it.
 The conflict began on 15 March 2011, with
popular demonstrations that grew nationwide by
April 2011.
 These demonstrations were part of the wider
Middle Eastern protest movement known as the
Arab Spring.
 Protesters demanded the resignation of
President Bashar al-Assad, whose family has held
the presidency in Syria since 1971, as well as
the end of Ba’ath Party rule.
 The war degenerated into a stalemate in early 2013,
with both sides making limited advances in
different places.
 According to the UN, the conflict was becoming “overtly sectarian in nature―, though both the
opposition forces and the Syrian government deny that sectarianism plays any key role in the
 According to the UN, about 4 million Syrians have been displaced within the country. To escape
the violence, as many as 1.5 million Syrian refugees have fled to neighboring countries.
 In addition, tens of thousands of protesters have been imprisoned and there were reports of
widespread torture and psychological terror in state prisons.
 International organizations have accused both government and opposition forces of severe
human rights violations.
 However, human rights groups report that the majority of abuses have been committed by the
Syrian government’s forces, and UN investigations have concluded that the government‘s abuses
are the greatest in both gravity and scale.
 A U.N. report stated that there are ―reasonable grounds‖ to believe that limited amounts of
chemical weapons have been used in attacks in the civil war, but more evidence is needed to
determine the exact chemical agents used or who was responsible.
 Thermobaric weapons may have been used by the government side during the Syrian Civil War.
 Since 2012, rebels have claimed that the Syrian Air Force (government forces) is
using thermobaric weapons, also known as ―fuel-air bombs” against residentialareas occupied by
the rebel fighters, such as during the Battle of Aleppo and also in Kafr Batna.
 The unrest began on 15 March (2011) in Damascus, in Aleppo, and in the southern city of Daraa,
sometimes called the ―Cradle of the Revolution”.
 Daraa had been straining under the influx of internal refugees who were forced to leave their
northeastern lands, due to a drought exacerbated by the government‘s lack of provision.
 The protests were triggered by the incarceration and torture of several young students, who
were arrested for writing anti-government graffiti in the city.
 Demonstrators clashed with local police, and confrontations escalated on 18 March after Friday
prayers. With thousands protesting, the clashes resulted in several civilian deaths.
 On 20 March, a mob burned down the Ba’ath Party headquarters and other public buildings.
 Security forces quickly responded, firing live ammunition at crowds, and attacking the focal points
of the demonstrations. The two-day assault resulted in the deaths of fifteen protestors.
JUNE 2013
 Turkey, once an ally of Syria, has condemned Assad over the violent crackdown and has requested
his departure from office. In October 2011, Turkey began sheltering the Free Syrian
Army, offering the group a safe zone and a base of operation.
 In 2012, the United States, United Kingdom and France provided opposition forces with nonlethal military aid, including communications equipment and medical supplies.
 A crucial line of support began in spring 2012 as Saudi Arabia and Qatarannounced they would
begin arming and bankrolling the opposition.
 On 22 April 2013 the European Union lifted its embargo on Syrian oil to importbarrels directly
from rebel groups.
 In the western Sunni-majority provinces of Iraq, soldiers and war supplies have been crossing from
Anbar Province into Syria.Armed groups inside Iraq have formed a Free Iraqi Army and have been
supportive of the Syrian uprising against the Assad regime.
 Some countries have cut ties with the Assad government including: the Gulf States, Libya,
Tunisia, Britain, Spain, Turkey, Canada, the United States and Belgium.
 Russia has supplied the Syrian government with arms as part of a business contract signed
before the uprising began. Most Syrian military equipment, including tanks, missiles, and artillery,
was acquired from Russia, which continues sales and technical support.
 Western diplomats have frequently criticized Russia‘s behavior, but Russia denied its actions
have violated any international law. Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed that Russia
does not support either side.
 Iran, which sees Syria as a key regional ally, has not only provided the Assad regime with arms
and technical support, but has also sent combat troops,specifically the Revolutionary Guards, to
support Syrian military operations.
 Technical support has reportedly included unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) to guide
Syrian military planes and gunners in their bombarding of rebel positions.
Coup in Egypt
Military in Egypt ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, Egypt‘s first freely elected leader.
The military overthrew the nation‘s democratically elected Islamist president, tanks remained in the
streets and scattered clashes left 10 people dead. The army said he had ―failed to meet the demands of
the people‖.
Mohammed Morsi became Egypt‘s first Islamist president on 30 June 2012, after winning an
election considered free and fair following the 2011 revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak. However
his term in office was marred by constant political unrest and a sinking economy. The chaos, including
open sexual assaults on women in Egypt‘s streets, has driven away tourists and investors, while
opponents say Morsy‘s rule was increasingly authoritarian. The upheaval comes after days of mass
rallies against Mr Morsi and the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood movement he comes from. Officials
said 300 arrest warrants have been issued for Muslim Brotherhood members.
Protesters accused them of pursuing an Islamist agenda and of failing to tackle Egypt‘s economic
problems. Morsi was in custody and under criminal investigation for insulting the judiciary over
comments he made against judges during his final address to the nation. Prosecutors arrested
Mohamed Badie, the Brotherhood‘s supreme guide, and issued a warrant for his deputy, Khairat
Shater, the group‘s chief strategist and financier. Both are accused of inciting the deadly clashes this
week between anti-government demonstrators and Morsi supporters that the military cited as the
reason for deposing the president. The turning point in Mr. Morsi‘s presidency came on Nov. 22,
when he asserted unchecked executive authority through a constitutional declaration and, weeks later,
rammed an Islamist constitution through to ratification. When mass protests erupted in response, Mr.
Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood colleagues dispatched Brotherhood cadres to attack the protesters,
and seven people were killed in the fighting.
The army‘s roadmap for the post-Morsi era includes:
 Suspension of the constitution
JUNE 2013
 A civilian, transitional technocratic government
 Supreme Constitutional Court to prepare for presidential and parliamentary elections
 A ―charter of honour‖ to be drawn up and followed by national media
The Egyptian military dominated the country for six decades and took direct power for a year and a
half after Mubarak‘s ouster. The top judge of Egypt‘s Constitutional Court, Adly Mahmud Mansour,
has been sworn in as interim leader, a day after the army ousted President Mohammed Morsi and put
him under house arrest.
 The Muslim Brotherhood, is the Arab world‘s most influential and one of the largest Islamic
movements, and is the largest political opposition organization in many Arab states.
 Founded in Egypt in 1928 as a Pan-Islamic, religious, political, and social movement by the Islamic
scholar and schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna, by the end of World War II the Muslim Brotherhood
had an estimated two million members.
 The Muslim Brotherhood is founded on the belief that Islam is not simply a religion, but a way of
life. It advocates a move away from secularism, and a return to the rules of the Quran as a basis for
healthy families, communities, and states.
 The movement officially rejects the use of violent means to secure its goals. However, offshoots of
the group have been linked to attacks in the past, and critics blame the Brotherhood for sparking
troubles elsewhere in the Middle East.
 Many consider it the forerunner of modern militant Islamism.
 Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates welcomed the change in leadership.
 Turkey cautioned that it was ―not a result of the will of the people‖.
 US President Barack Obama said he was ―deeply concerned‖ by the events, and called for a swift
return to civilian rule.
 UK Prime Minister David Cameron said a ―democratic transition‖ must take place soon.
 Germany described the ousting as ―a serious setback for democracy‖ and called on all sides to
refrain from ―violence and arbitrariness‖.
 UN chief Ban Ki-moon noted the ―legitimate concerns‖ of protesters, but said military inference
was always ―of concern‖.
 India has urged all political forces in Egypt to abjure violence, respect democratic principles and
engage in a conciliatory dialogue to address the situation after suspension of constitution by the
 India is closely monitoring the evolving situation in Egypt, the external affairs ministry said in a
 ―As the world‘s largest democracy, India was amongst the first countries to welcome the Jan 25
revolution and the promise of genuine democracy in a large and important country like Egypt with
which we have traditionally enjoyed close and friendly ties.
 According to external affairs ministry, about 3,000 Indian nationals are in Egypt.
Shale gas shakes up International Geopolitics
Shale is a common SEDIMENTARY ROCK found in most countries, so shale gas can hugely
reduce the dependence of most countries (including India) on imported energy. The geopolitical clout
of major gas exporters — Russia, Iran, Algeria, Bolivia — will fall dramatically. Some countries may
start converting their transport fleets into gas-based ones, hitting the demand for and prices of petrol
and diesel.
The shale revolution is claimed to bring multiple benefits to the world community; it is
expected to enhance global energy security, reduce import dependency and potentially lower the cost
and energy price volatility. Besides reducing greenhouse gas emissions, it would create millions of
employment opportunities as well as economic dividends to the key producing countries.
However, major topic of discussion among public is regarding the shale‘s alleged
JUNE 2013
environmental dangers of fracking or regarding shale‘s effect on the market price of natural gas.
The major concerns emerge from the fact that it will affect the international oil market as Shale
gas offers the means to vastly increase the supply of fossil fuels for transportation, which will cut the
rising demand for oil which was accelerated by China‘s economic growth, dominating the policy
decisions for a decade now.
American side view
 Shale has long been known to contain natural gas, but this was not worth extracting with
conventional technology. Now a new technology, ‗fracking‘ , plus horizontal drilling, have greatly
increased shale gas productivity, so extraction is now viable at $3-4 /mmbtu. The new technology
has been pioneered in the US so successfully that the US has overtaken Russia as the world‘s
biggest gas producer. US gas reserves have increased from 30 years consumption to 100 years
consumption. Port terminals to import LNG (liquefied natural gas) into the US will instead export
LNG to Japan.
 The same shale extraction technology of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing can be
employed whether the rocks are oil-bearing or gas-bearing. For example, half a million barrels of
oil a day from the Bakken field in North Dakota. According to the Harvard-based Belfer Center
report ―Oil: The Next Revolution‖ – suggests that shale oil could be providing America with as
much as six million barrels a day by 2020. The United States imported only 11 million barrels of
crude oil a day in 2011. Given the potential for offshore and conventional domestic oil
production, it is strongly indicated that by 2020, America could achieve near energy independence
in oil.
 The major geopolitical impact of shale extraction technology doesn‘t lie in the fact that America
will be more energy self-sufficient but the fact that it will drastically affect the international oil
markets because of USA‘s sharp reduction in oil imports. This development will most likely
reinforce the development of shale oil resources in China, Argentina, Ukraine and other places,
which will put additional pressure on global oil prices.
 There is the potential of using natural gas for transportation, suggesting a realistic possibility for
fleet and long-haul road transportation. But there is a possibility that the immense advantage of
natural gas as a transportation fuel in America and Europe, both of which have developed a
natural gas infrastructure in urban areas that takes piped natural gas into homes, offices and
supermarkets, might get overlooked. Gradually the problem of providing connections to the
remote places can be solved by home refuelling kits so consumers can fill up natural-gas powered
cars in their own garages. Even though there are immense advantages to the shale oil and natural
gas, so far, only US has experienced the first stage of low natural-gas prices while attracting the
energy intensive industries such as chemicals and steel because of low gas prices.
In the next stage of the shale revolution because of lower oil prices, it will grant the United
States a greater range of options in dealing with foreign states.
European States
A greater variety of gas supplies from liquefied natural gas (LNG) originally destined for the
United States has been dumped in European markets because of reduction in US import bill for the
same. But by 2020, shale gas in the form of LNG is likely to begin arriving in Europe in significant
quantities, and there is also the possibility that some domestic shale gas production. Europe will also
benefit from the second stage of the shale revolution as oil prices come under pressure. This will have
overall positive impact on European states which are dependent on Gulf countries for the oil and
natural gas energy.
But geopolitically, European Union (EU) is concerned regarding the energy independence of
America, because there is the danger is that the United States will no longer have any direct interest in
ensuring supply flows out of the Gulf and US will likely demand greater European investment in its
own energy security. But EU can utilize this discomfortable position to its advantage by developing
natural gas transportation as an energy security hedge. This would definitely increase pricing pressure
on oil producers.
China’s position
JUNE 2013
According to the U.S. Energy Department‘s Energy Information Administration, China‘s
recoverable resources are larger than those of the United States at 36 trillion cubic meters.
The main geostrategic advantage for China to produce shale gas for transportation is that the
U.S. Navy controls the Pacific and most Chinese oil arrives by tanker. So the large-scale use of natural
gas for transportation would protect China from much of the effect of a U.S. blockade. So, China has
even greater incentives to develop its shale gas resources.
India’s position
India has large shale deposits, with good prospects in the Gangetic plain, Punjab, Rajasthan,
Gujarat. Tamil Nadu, Andhra and the north-east. India must get cracking on seismic surveys followed
by allotment of exploratory blocks. Companies should be able to acquire blocks any time based on a
predetermined revenue-sharing formula. Mukesh Ambani will probably be the first to start
exploration, but others will follow quickly, including Anil Ambani (who is already in unconventional
gas through coal-bed methane).
Large shale gas discoveries should embolden India to convert transport fleets in all cities from
petrol and diesel to CNG. That will reduce not only energy dependence but pollution too.
Reliance has considered converting some KG gas into oil. Now that gas has become cheap
relative to oil, it should go ahead. Other refiners — Essar, IOC, BPCL and HPCL — should consider
this option too.
For decades India has kowtowed to Gulf countries, notably Iran. It can now afford to act much
tougher. Iran supported Pakistan in Indo-Pak wars, and blasted India for Pokharan-II , and demanded
that India sign the NPT. Iran nationalised the Rostam and Raksh oilfields in which the ONGC had a
stake. It reneged on a contract to supply cheap LNG top India after Ahmedinejad came to power.
Despite this India has been deferential to this potentially powerful energy supplier.
That must now change. India must tell all Gulf producers that it will pay gas prices linked not
to oil but to the Henry Hub price. The best starting point is not Iran but Qatar, which has just
completed a gigantic expansion to become the world‘s largest LNG supplier. This is now in surplus.
Qatar wants $10/ mmbtu. India must offer just $4. Once Qatar gives way, so will other LNG exporters,
including Australia.
Impact on Major Oil Producers
Unfortunately, the development of Shale gas technology will have negative impact on major
oil exporting countries in the Central and middle East Asian countries like Saudi Arabia and of course
on Russia. The major reason behind this reasoning is that as the decade progresses, shale will be
developed worldwide and natural gas infrastructures will be constructed. Under these circumstances it
is difficult to see how the markets will avoid dropping oil prices.
Geopolitically, the emerging scenario is likely to reposit more power to the U.S. The U.S.
would be wielding energy as an additional strategic ‗resource-weapon‘, besides military, to squeeze
the adversarial powers. Both, China and Russia may not be able to influence the energy market either
by being the largest producer or the largest importer. But China might reduce its energy dependence.
The fulcrum of future energy market is likely to shift to the North America; even the Middle East,
which has 48 percent oil and 38 percent gas deposits, would not be in a position to leverage the
dynamics of the global energy. This revolution might also generate a major global stimulus, which
takes the Western economies off the fiscal deficits, while potentially destabilizing both the Russian
Federation and Saudi Arabia.
But overall, since there are only a few countries which have shale gas technology, doubts are
raised whether those countries would develop their own ‗cartel‘ and dictate the energy market on their
terms. Would shale gas really reduce pressure from the energy market is another genuine concern.
Nevertheless, whatever consequences of shale gas, it should be hoped that its development is not at the
cost of other two vital dimensions of human needs i.e. water and food security.
JUNE 2013
Cells that are able to (1) self-renew (can create
more stem cells indefinitely) and (2) differentiate into
(become) specialized, mature cell types.
Stem cells are cells found in all multi cellular
organisms. Stem cells are the 'building blocks' of life.
They have the remarkable potential to regenerate into
different cell types in the body during early life and
growth. Additionally, in many tissues they serve as an
internal repair system, dividing limitlessly to replenish other cells over a lifetime. When a stem cell
divides, each new cell has the potential either to remain
undifferentiated or become another differentiated type of cell
with a more specialised function such as a muscle cell, a red
blood cell or a brain cell.
Stem cells can replicate any tissue in the human body.
This feature makes them particularly critical in the
regeneration of diseased and damaged tissues and organs
They are found in various sources in the body including
umbilical cord, bone marrow, peripheral blood and skin
among many.
Although most cells in the body, such as heart cells or
skin cells are committed to conduct a specific function, stem
cells are uncommitted and remain uncommitted, until they
receive a signal to develop into a specialised cell. Their
proliferative and self-renewal capacity, combined with their
ability to become specialised, makes stem cells unique.
Types of stem cells
 Unlimited stem cells (also known as embryonic stem cells)
 Limited stem cells (also known as adult stem cells).
Unlimited stem cells are currently obtained with patients' permission from leftover three-day
old embryos that would otherwise be discarded from fertility clinics. These embryos are created and
exist entirely outside the body. Unlimited stem cells can develop into any kind of cell type or tissue in
the body.
Although a patient may need only a few embryos, in the process of creating them, several more
are made. The ones which are not implanted in the uterus are eventually discarded. Each year it is
estimated that couples undergo 120,000 cycles of fertility treatment using in vitro (outside the body)
fertilization (IVF), and from these cycles 7,500 embryos are discarded. Each of these embryos can be
used to create a large number of unlimited stem cells.
Limited stem cells are rare cells that can be found in only some developed organs or tissues.
Limited stem cells have been successfully used for some time now in bone marrow transplants (either
with bone marrow stem cells or umbilical cord blood stem cells) and skin and hair transplants.
There is also another potential way to get embryonic stem cells using an unfertilized egg and
an adult cell from the patient. However, this is still being studied (known as somatic cell nuclear
transfer or therapeutic cloning).
The Difference Matters
Unlimited stem cells offer significantly more promise in curing diseases and injuries than
many limited stem cells can.
Unlimited stem cells can develop into any kind of cell type or tissue and therefore have the
potential to reverse numerous diseases and injuries. In addition, they can give scientists clues that will
help them develop drugs that may help reverse or stop certain diseases.
Limited stem cells have been successfully used for some time now and still have great further
therapeutic potential. However, limited stem cells can only be used to repair the types of organs or
JUNE 2013
tissues from where they came, and not every organ has been shown to contain them (and they are often
difficult to obtain.)
Also, unlimited stem cells can be replicated outside the body in a lab, so that they can
ultimately help many patients, whereas limited stem cells cannot grow outside the body and have to be
immediately frozen or transplanted into the patient.
iPS Cells
Recent publications have described the derivation of ES-like induced pluripotent stem (iPS)
cells from adult mouse and human cells (Nakagawa et al., 2008; Takahashi et al., 2007; Yu et al.,
2007). These researchers introduced specific sets of genes encoding transcription factors which are
normally expressed in undifferentiated ES cells. The expression of these genes resulted in the
―reprogramming‖ of the adult cells to a more ES-like or pluripotent state. While the initial studies
indicate that these cells share characteristics of ―true‖ ES cells, more detailed work is needed to
determine how closely they resemble ES cells. In addition, the reintroduction of these genes can have
adverse consequences. For instance, the use of retroviruses and the potential for reactivation of
introduced genes such as c-myc and Oct-4 can increase the risk of cancer. These issues will need to be
addressed if iPS technology will have clinical applications.
Types of Stem Cells
Derivation Method
 Removal of cells
from ICM of
blastocyst embryo
from IVF.
iPS Cells
 Reprogramming of
somatic cells by
introduction of
specific regulatory
factor genes.
 Isolation from
adult tissues.
 Differentiate into
all cell types.
 Excess of IVF
embryos exist.
 Somatic Cell
Nuclear Transfer.
Transfer of somatic
cell nucleus to
enucleated egg,
development to
blastocyst, removal
of ICM.
 Differentiate into
all cell types.
 Stem cells can be
matched to patient
 Limited number of
lines available for
 Risk of tumors
(teratomas) from
 ―ES cell – like‖
 Stem cells can be
matched to patient
 Doesn't require
 Unknown if cells
can differentiate
 Successful
 Stem cells can
be matched to
 Cells not found
in all tissues.
Adult Stem Cells
federally funded
 Immune rejection
 Risk of tumors
(teratomas) from
 Requires use of
 Eggs difficult to
into all cell types.
 Risk of tumors
(teratomas) from
cells and from
expression of
introduced genes.
JUNE 2013
 Produce a
limited number
of cell types.
 Difficult to
identify, isolate
and grow.
Types of Pluripotent Stem Cells
1) Embryonic stem cells from fertilized eggs are good models for research, but they have ethical
issues, and will have tissue rejection problems (similar to bone marrow and kidney transplants).
2) Parthenote stem cells (derived from unfertilized eggs, "activated eggs") may be as pluripotent as
embryonic stem cells, and have been the focus of BSCRF scientists for several years. Studies using
monkey parthenote stem cells to treat Parkinson‘s disease have been very promising.
Parthenotes do not have the potential tissue rejection problems faced by stem cells derived from
fertilized eggs.
Unlike adult stem cells, parthenotes can potentially become any cell in the body.
 Less controversial than stem cells
 that are derived from fertilized eggs.
3) Induced Pluripotent stem cells (derived by adding proteins that reprogram adults cells,
reverting them to their embryonic state) "These new cells are expected to live for a very long time
while retaining the ability to form all of the different tissues found in a human body.
Stem Cell Discoveries Snag Nobel Prize in Medicine 2012
Two scientists who discovered the developmental clock could be turned back in mature cells,
transforming them into immature cells with the ability to become any tissue in the body — pluripotent
stem cells — are being honored with the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
The Nobel Prize honoring Sir John B. Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka was announced by the
Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
ThE duo's work revealed what scientists had thought impossible. Just after conception, an
embryo contains immature cells that can give rise to any cell type — such as nerve, muscle and liver
cells - in the adult organism; these are called pluripotent stem cells, and scientists believed once these
stem cells become specialized to carry out a specific body task there was no turning back.
JUNE 2013
The Arctic Council: Is There a Case for India?
It is an acknowledged fact that the melting of the Arctic sea-ice is offering both opportunities
and challenges for the international community. The opportunities accrue in the form of new found oil
and gas deposits, unexploited marine living resources and shorter shipping routes connecting the
Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans. The challenges arise from the adversarial impacts of the melting ice
on the livelihoods of the peoples and communities of the Arctic, disturbance in the delicate marine
biodiversity of the region and the shrinking of the permafrost (permanently frozen soil) that would
release large volumes of greenhouse gases which could further aggravate global warming. The
challenges also arise from competing territorial claims by the littoral states over the Arctic sea-ice,
safety of shipping routes, restructuring of militaries to defend Arctic territory which have a major
geopolitical and geostrategic focus. At another level, several non-littoral states are exploring
opportunities to get engaged into the evolving politico-economic-strategic dynamics of the Arctic
The Arctic Council
Established in 1996, the Arctic Council is an intergovernmental group of Arctic states i.e.
Canada, Denmark (Greenland and Faroe Islands), Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, the US
and the Arctic Indigenous communities and other Arctic inhabitants. The Council ‗promotes
cooperation, coordination and interaction among the Arctic States, on common Arctic issues, in
particular issues of sustainable development and environmental protection in the Arctic‘. The Council
members meet biannually, and the Chairmanship of the Arctic Council rotates every two years.
However, it has no regulatory powers for compliance and enforcement mechanisms.
There are six working groups (a) Arctic Contaminants Action Program (ACAP); (b)Arctic
Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP); (c) Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna
(CAFF);(d) Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response (EPPR); (e)Protection of the Arctic
Marine Environment (PAME); and (f) Sustainable Development Working Group(SDWG).
The Council has provision for observer status for states and is open to (a) Non-arctic states; (b)
inter-governmental and inter-parliamentary organizations, global and regional; and (c) nongovernmental organizations.
The five permanent observers are: Britain, France, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain. There
are four ad hoc observers i.e. China, Italy, the EU and South Korea whose presence at each meeting
must be approved by member states. In 2009, the Arctic Council had rejected a bid by the ad hoc
members to become permanent observers at the Council meetings but‖ decided to continue discussing
the role of observers in the Arctic Council.‖ The next full ministerial meeting of the Arctic Council is
due in 2011 in Denmark.
The Arctic littorals have established research stations for scientific studies on climate, weather,
geology and atmospheric sciences. Besides, non-littorals such as China, India, Japan, and South Korea
have also set up scientific research stations at Ny-Alesund, Norway.
The Arctic littorals through the Arctic Council, have engaged in bilateral and multilateral
discussions to devise strategies to mitigate the adversarial impact of the Arctic ice melt and develop
framework for cooperation. At a recent meeting on March 30, 2010, the Foreign Ministers from the
Council member countries met and discussed issues relating to shipping regulations, maritime
boundaries, search and rescue responsibilities, and negotiating territorial disputes in the Beaufort Sea
and the Barents Sea.
Ad hoc Observers Take the Lead
China has engaged in Arctic studies since 2000 and Chinese scientists, scholars, policymakers
and legal experts have participated in international seminars and conferences focusing on commercial,
legal and geopolitical issues relating to the Arctic. Some Chinese scholars have openly advocated that
the government must adopt proactive policies to understand the politico-strategic impact of the Arctic
sea-ice melt and prepare for the ‗commercial and strategic‘ opportunities that would arise. In one such
articulation it has been argued that ―any country that lacks comprehensive research on Polar politics
will be excluded from being a decisive power in the management of the Arctic and therefore be forced
into a passive position.‖
JUNE 2013
Professor Guo Peiqing of the Ocean University of China has observed that ‗Circumpolar
nations have to understand that Arctic affairs are not only regional issues but also international ones.‘
In essence China is actively participating in Arctic affairs and thus attempting to establish its strategic
position. It has successfully managed to engage Canada and Norway in a formal bilateral dialogue on
Arctic issues.
The EU has watched with interest the scramble for the Arctic resources and the possibility of
commercial transport. It has so far exhibited a low profile on current territorial disputes. Since 2008,
EU has been striving to obtain permanent observer status in the Arctic Council. However, it has faced
stiff opposition from Canada due to EU policy of banning seal products.
In 2002, Republic of Korea established a research station Dasan at the Ny Alesund and has
been actively engaged in research on issues relating to climate and marine species ecology. A South
Korean ministry official has observed ―`Being an observer of the Arctic Council will help us enter the
discussion among the Arctic nations over preservation and development of the area. That will also
help our government brainstorm policies on development of marine transportation,‖
Japan filed for Arctic Council membership in April 2009. An official at the Foreign Ministry‘s
Ocean Division has stated that ―If Japan is admitted as an observer of the council, we‘ll have the
advantage of being able to collect information on matters of concern to each country related to the
utilization of the Arctic Circle…We aim to join the council [with observer status] at its ministerial
meeting in two years‘ time.‖
Indian Initiatives
India‘s engagement in the Arctic dates back to nearly nine decades when it signed the ‗Treaty
between Norway, the United States of America, Denmark, France, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Great
Britain and Ireland and the British overseas Dominions and Sweden concerning Spitsbergen‘ on
February 9, 1920 in Paris which entered into force on August 14,1925. The Treaty is also referred to
as the ‗Treaty concerning the Archipelago of Spitsbergen‘ or the ‗Svalbard Treaty‘. At that time, India
was part of the British overseas dominions and The Right Honourable the Earl of Derby, K.G.,
G.C.V.O., C.B., Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United Kingdom had signed the
treaty at Paris.
India has watched with interest the evolving climate change induced developments in the
Arctic region. On July 30, 2007, India established a scientific research station Himadri at Ny Alesund
which conducts its operations under the guidance of the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean
Research (NCAOR), under the Ministry of Earth Sciences. So far India has undertaken seven
expeditions to the Arctic. It has also placed orders for a dedicated vessel for polar expedition which is
expected to join the NCAOR in 2012.
Policy Options
The world is looking towards the Arctic as an arena of great opportunity. Further, the effects of
ice-melt showcase the beginning of new politics in the Arctic region pivoting on resources and routes.
The claimant states are beginning to take hardened positions due economic and strategic interests.
Non-Arctic states too are devising proactive policies for the Arctic by establishing scientific research
stations, resource assessment and exploitation studies, acquisition of ice capable ships, northern sea
route transportation planning, and studies in Arctic politics, law and diplomacy.
The Arctic cannot be at the margins of India‘s mental map and New Delhi must find its way to
the center of the evolving Arctic order and issues which will challenge and define the High North
politics in the 21st Century: oil and gas to ensure energy security, marine living and non-living wealth
for resource security, new shipping routes shaping global trade patterns, great power competition and
above all climate change, global warming and its consequences that will result in melting of sea ice
and permafrost and impact on people and ecosystems even in thetropics.
By virtue of the Svalbard Treaty, India is a ‗stakeholder‘ in the region. It will be prudent for
New Delhi to:
(a) Forge relationships with the Arctic Council members and argue for a
permanentmembership of the Council by virtue of the 1920 Svalbard Treaty.
(b) Broaden cooperation with Nordic countries and establish bilateral dialogues anddiscussions
JUNE 2013
to understand the evolving politico-strategic developments in the Arctic region.
(c) Engage in policy related research on the politics of the ‗High North‘ andformulate an
‗Arctic Strategy‘.
(d) Undertake Arctic resource assessment and exploitation studies.
(e) Regular expeditions to the Arctic and consolidate scientific research.
(f) Develop technological capability to exploit Arctic living and non-living resources.
(g) India is a strong advocate of global nuclear disarmament and can play a vital rolein
promoting the idea of a nuclear free Arctic.
UN Report on Global Climate Released
UN recently launched a ‗The Global Climate 2001-2010, A Decade of Extremes‘ Report
prepared by World Meteorological Organization. According to report, the world experienced
―unprecedented high-impact climate extremes‖ between 2001 and 2010 and more national temperature
records were broken during that period than in any other decade.
 Report says the first decade of the 21st century was the warmest for both hemispheres and for both
land and ocean temperatures since measurements began in 1850.
 High temperatures were accompanied by a rapid decline in Arctic sea ice, and an accelerating loss
of the ice sheets of the world‘s glaciers.
 Rising concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases are changing our climate, with far
reaching implications for our environment and our oceans, which are absorbing both carbon
dioxide and heat.
 Extreme Floods, droughts and tropical cyclones were all experienced across the world throughout
the decade, and more than 370,000 people died as a result of these, representing a 20 per cent
increase in casualties from the previous decade.
 FLOODS were the most frequently experienced extreme events over the course of the decade.
Eastern Europe, India, Africa, and Australia were particularly affected, as well as Pakistan, where
2,000 people died and 20 million were affected by floods in 2010.
 DROUGHTS however, affected more people than any other kind of natural disaster due to their
large scale and long-lasting nature. Some of the highest-impact and long-term droughts struck
Australia, East Africa, and the Amazon Basin, with negative environmental impacts.
 TROPICAL CYCLONES were also prominent throughout the decade, with more than 500
cyclone-related disaster events killing nearly 170,000 people, affecting over 250 million, and
caused estimated damages of $380 billion.
 The report incorporates findings from a survey of 139 national meteorological and hydrological
services and socio-economic data and analysis from several UN agencies and partners.
 The release of the report coincides with the first session of the Intergovernmental Board on Climate
Services, which oversees the implementation of the Global Framework for Climate Services – an
international initiative to improve and expand scientifically-based climate information to help
society cope with the climate and human induced climate change.
JUNE 2013
1. Distinguish between Bioaccumulation and biomagnifications.
The term bioaccumulation refers to the net accumulation over time of metals within an organism from both
biotic (other organisms) and abiotic (soil, air, and water) sources.
The term biomagnification refers to the progressive build up of some heavy metals (and some other
persistent substances) by successive trophic levels – meaning that it relates to the concentration ratio in a tissue
of a predator organism as compared to that in its prey.
2. Short notes on “Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI)”.
GPOI was launched as the U.S. contribution to the broader G8 Action Plan for Expanding Global
Capability for Peace Support Operations, adopted at the 2004 G8 Sea Island Summit. Initially proposed as a
five-year program (fiscal years 2005-2009), GPOI’s mandate was renewed for a second five-year period (fiscal
years 2010-2014). The primary objectives for the program’s first five years (Phase I) included training 75,000
peacekeepers and building regional capacity to conduct peacekeeping operations. In Phase II, program
emphasis has shifted from the direct training of peacekeepers to assisting partner country efforts to build
sustainable, indigenous peacekeeping training capacity.
GPOI is funded through the Peacekeeping Operations (PKO) account, which is managed by the U.S.
Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs.
3. Short notes on Pinaka rockets.
Pinaka is a MULTI BARREL ROCKET LAUNCHER produced in India and developed by the
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for the Indian Army.
The Pinaka system has a maximum range of 39–40 km and can fire a salvo of 12 HE rockets in 44
seconds, neutralizing a target area of 3.9 km2.
The system is mounted on a Tatra truck for mobility.
Pinaka was in service and in large use during the Kargil War, where it was successful in
neutralizing enemy positions on the mountain tops. It has since been inducted into the Indian Army in
large numbers.
4. Short notes on Space Vison India 2025.
1.Satellite based communication and navigation systems for rural connectivity, security needs and mobile
2.Enhanced imaging capability for natural resource management, weather and climate change studies
3.Space science missions for better understanding of solar system and universe
4.Planetary exploration
5.Development of Heavy lift launcher
6.Reusable Launch Vehicles - Technology demonstrator missions leading to Two Stage To Orbit (TSTO)
7.Human Space Flight
5. Short notes on „OPEN SKY POLICY‟ IN INDIA.
 Open skies is an international policy concept which calls for the liberalization of rules and regulations on
international aviation industry most specially commercial aviation – opening a free market for the airline
 In April 1990, the Government adopted open-sky policy and allowed air taxi- operators to operate flights
from any airport, both on a charter and a non charter basis and to decide their own flight schedules, cargo
and passenger fares.
6. Write a brief notes on “Indus Water Treaty”.
 The Indus Waters Treaty is a water-sharing treaty between India and Pakistan, brokered by the World Bank
(then the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development).
 The treaty was signed in Karachi on September 19, 1960 by Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal
Nehru and President of Pakistan Mohammad Ayub Khan.
 The treaty was a result of Pakistani fear that since the source rivers of the Indus basin were in India, it
could potentially create droughts and famines in Pakistan, especially at times of war.
Monthly Questions
JUNE 2013
 The Indus System of Rivers comprises three Western Rivers the Indus, the Jhelum and Chenab
and three Eastern Rivers – the Sutlej, the Beas and the Ravi.
 The treaty gives India excluive use of all of the waters of the Eastern Rivers and their tributaries before
the point where the rivers enter Pakistan.
 Similarly, Pakistan has exclusive use of the Western Rivers. Pakistan also received one-time
financial compensation for the loss of water from the Eastern Rivers.
The countries agree to exchange data and co-operate in matters related to the treaty. For this purpose,
treaty creates the Permanent Indus Commission, with a commissioner appointed by each country.
7. Short notes on Babu Jagjivan Ram National Foundation.
It is an autonomous organization that is functional under the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment. Babu
Jagjivan Ram National Foundation was established on 14th March, 2008 as an autonomous body under the
Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, with the main aim of propagating the ideals of the late Babu
Jagjivan Ram, on social reform as well as his ideology, philosophy of life, mission and vision to create a
casteless and classless society. It works for uplifting the unprivileged class and scheduled castes and bring
attitudinal change in the society to abolish caste based prejudice and untouchability.
8. Short notes on “Composite Leading Indicators (CLI)”.
The OECD system of Composite Leading Indicators (CLIs) is designed to provide early signals of turning
points in business cycles - fluctuation in the output gap, i.e. fluctuation of the economic activity around its long
term potential level. This approach, focusing on turning points (peaks and troughs), results in CLIs that provide
qualitative rather than quantitative information on short-term economic movements.
GI is a name on goods to indicate their specific geographical location or origin. Geographical Indications
of Goods are defined as that aspect of industrial property which refers to the geographical indication referring
to a country or to a place situated therein as being the country or place of origin of that product.
 Typically, such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness which is essentially attributable
to the fact of its origin in that defined geographical locality, region or country.
 Under Articles 1 (2) and 10 of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, geographical
indications are covered as an element of IPRs.
 They are also covered under Articles 22 to 24 of the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights
(TRIPS) Agreement, which was part of the Agreements concluding the Uruguay Round of GATT
 India, as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), enacted the Geographical Indications of Goods
(Registration & Protection) Act, 1999 has come into force with effect from 15th September 2003.
Benefits of Geographical Indications
 It confers legal protection to Geographical Indications in India.
 Prevents unauthorised use of a Registered Geographical Indication by others
 It provides legal protection to Indian Geographical Indications which in turn boost exports.
 It promotes economic prosperity of producers of goods produced in a geographical territory.
10. Short notes on “Infrastructure Debt Fund (IDF)”.
 IDFs are investment vehicles which can be sponsored by commercial banks and NBFCs in India in which
domestic/offshore institutional investors, specially insurance and pension funds can invest through units and
bonds issued by the IDFs.
 IDFs would essentially act as vehicles for refinancing existing debt of infrastructure companies, thereby
creating fresh headroom for banks to lend to fresh infrastructure projects.
 IDF-NBFCs would take over loans extended to infrastructure projects which are created through the Public
Private Partnership (PPP) route and have successfully completed one year of commercial production.
 Such take-over of loans from banks would be covered by a Tripartite Agreement between the IDF,
Concessionaire and the Project Authority for ensuring a compulsory buyout with termination payment in the
event of default in repayment by the Concessionaire.
11. Short notes on “Multi-Sectoral Development Programme”.
MsDP which is an area development programme, is a Centrally Sponsored flagship scheme launched in
the 2008-09 in the 90 identified MCDs falling in 20 States/UTs. The programme aims to address development
Monthly Questions
JUNE 2013
deficit in MCDs by creating socio-economic infrastructure and providing basic amenities. The restructuring
has been done to make the programme more effective and focused for the upliftment of the minorities.
12. What are the environmental risks associated with Hydraulic Fracturing?.
Natural gas is in many respects a clear and efficient burning fuel and has the potential to lower carbon
emissions with fuel switching plays. However, risks remain since shale gas development around the world has
met with fierce opposition from local residents and environmental groups due to environmental concerns over
the hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, process. Fracking involves drilling a well bore into the reservoir rock
formation and then forcing water, sand and chemicals into the well at high pressure to create fractures or
fissures in the rock.
Once the fracture is open, the released gas flows out of the fractures and into the well bore. In addition to
shale gas, the process has recently been applied to extract gas from coal seam and tight sand deposits. With the
impact of fracking operations still under study, the jury is out on the extent to which the process may be
harmful to the environment. Some specific concerns being raised by environmental groups, media, and
regulated companies are as follows:Groundwater Contamination
Some have asserted that fracking chemicals used in the process could leak into underground rivers and
reservoirs and ultimately into drinking water supplies. The health effects of long-term exposure to chemicals
commonly used in fracking are being evaluated by regulatory agencies.
When gas migrates into groundwater, the build-up of pressure due to gasification may lead to tremors or
explosions. Aquifer gasification due to shale gas development has been cited as a potential cause for recent
minor seismic activity in the United Kingdom, though these claims are largely uncertain at this point and being
Water Usage Risks
Fracking can be water intensive depending on the water management methods used. This may pose risks in
water restricted areas.
Surface Water and Soil Risks
Risks may also arise from the volume of chemicals that need to be stored at the drilling site and from the liquid
and solid waste produced during drilling and fracking.
Spills and Blow-outs
Well blow-outs can cause spills that could spread into the surrounding soil and into wetlands, streams and
waterways. There are also concerns that wastewater kept in storage ponds could overflow in high rains.
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Monthly Questions
JUNE 2013
*Vedantam Satyanarayana Sarma: Eminent
Kuchipudi dancer Vedantam Satyanarayana Sarma
died. Sarma, a famous male exponent of female roles
in the Kuchipudi dance tradition, was known for his
acts as Satyabhama and Usha.
 He established the Kuchipudi Kalakshetra and was
awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship in
1961, Padma Shri award in 1970 and Kalidas
Samman in 1981. He also acted in a few Telugu
films as a dancer.
* Padma Shri Awardee Professor Bratindra Nath
Mukherjee, the renowned historian and an epigraphy
expert died at his residence in Kolkata on 4 April
* Roger Ebert, the Pulitzer Prize-winning critic for
the Chicago Sun-Times as well as the film critic, died.
*Actor Richard Griffiths, the Vernon Dursley of
Harry Potter died on 28 March 2013 at University
Hospital in Coventry, central England.
*Anthony Lewis: Two-time Pulitzer winner
Anthony Lewis, whose New York Times column
championed liberal causes for three decades died.
Note: The Pulitzer Prize is a U.S. award which is
given to Journalists for their achievements in
newspaper and online journalism, literature and
musical composition. The award was established in
1917 by provisions in the will of American
(Hungarian-born) publisher Joseph Pulitzer, and is
administered by Columbia University in New York
*B Ashok Reddy, the Infotech Enterprises President
was elected as the new chairman of Confederation of
Indian Industry (CII), Andhra Pradesh, for 2013-14.
*BABA KALYANI, chairman and managing
director, Bharat Forge Limited, has been nominated
by the government to be the chairman chairman of the
India-Japan Business Leader’s Forum (IJBLF).
 The forum will leverage the developing trade and
investment between the two countries for greater
cooperation between their businesses.
*Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi was sworn-in as the
new Prime Minister of Nepal on 14 March 2013. Khil
Raj Regmi will be the head of interim government
which will have its elections by 21 June 2013. He
took over the office from Baburam Bhattarai.
*Harmanpreet Kaur: Harmanpreet Kaur was named
as the Captain of the Indian women's Cricket team for
the limited-overs series against Bangladesh, on 28
March 2013. Harmanpreet Kaur began her
international cricket career with the ODI against
Pakistan in 2009. She is the middle-order batswoman
of the Indian women's Cricket team.
*Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi resigned on
26 March 2013 in the wake of a dispute with India
over the 2012 killing of two Indian fishermen by two
marines while there are on anti-piracy duty.
*Justice Retd. Mir Hazar Khan Khoso: Justice
Retd. Mir Hazar Khan Khoso took oath as the sixth
caretaker Prime Minister of Pakistan on 25 March
2013 in Islamabad. The oath was administered by
President Asif Ali Zardari at the ceremony which was
held at Aiwan-e-Sadr. Justice Retd. Mir Hazar Khan
Khoso is the sixth caretaker PM of Pakistan. He
will lead Pakistan in the general elections
scheduled on 11 May 2013.
*Kallam Anji Reddy, the main behind Dr Reddy's
Laboratories Ltd, the second-largest drugmaker of
India died on 15 March 2013 at Hyderabad’s Apollo
*Kartar Lalvani: NRI entrepreneur Kartar Lalvani
has been conferred with the Healthcare Businessman
of the Year Award 2013 at the Asian Business
Awards ceremony.
 The founder-chairman of Vitabiotics, UK's
largest supplier of minerals and vitamin
supplements to the retail trade, received the
 AMIT BHATIA, chief of the Swordfish group of
companies and son-in-law of steel tycoon Lakshmi
Mittal, was declared the Young Entrepreneur of
the Year 2013.
 The Lifetime Achievement Award 2013 went to
*Lebanon's Prime Minister Najib Mikati
announced his government's resignation after a
cabinet dispute with Shi'ite group Hezbollah over
preparations for a parliamentary election and
extending the term of a senior security official.
 Mikati became premier in 2011 after Hezbollah
and its partners brought down the unity
government of Saad al-Hariri. Tensions over Syria
have put him at odds with the militant group which
brought him to power and which strongly backs
President Bashar al-Assad's battle against rebels
and protesters.
*Malala Yousafzai, signed 3-Million Dollar deal
for Publishing her Life Story: The Book which is
titled I am Malala is supposed to Publish later in this
year. It is going to be published by Weidenfeld &
Nicholson in the UK and Commonwealth and by
Little, Brown in the rest of the world.
*Navneet Kaur Dhillon: was crowned Pond’s
Femina Miss India 2013 on 24 March 2013 in the
grand finale of 50th edition of the beauty pageant in
Mumbai. 20-year-old Navneet Kaur belongs to Punjab
and is a media student at present. Navneet Kaur was
also given the title Miss Glowing Skin.
*PIETRO MENNEA, the Italian athletics died in
Rome on 21 March 2013. He was 60 years of age.
Pietro Mennea was also called ARROW OF THE
*Rahi Sarnobat clinched the first gold for India in
International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World
Cup in Korea on 5 April 2013. She defeated
Kyeongae Kim 8-6 in 25m pistol final. She is the first
pistol shooter from India who won the Gold in World
24th August 2013
 BTB Study materials
JUNE 2013
succeeding Adi Godrej, Chairman of the Godrej
*The new leader of the Communist Party of China
(CPC), Xi Jinping on 14 March 2013 was appointed
as the President of China.
*The President of Bangladesh, Zillur Rahman
passed away on 20 March 2013 at Mount Elizabeth
Hospital in Singapore.
How to get IAS
You can make payment by depositing
requisite fees ` 900 FOR ONE YEAR SOFT COPY
ONLY in our ICICI Bank account through any of the
ICICI bank branches anywhere in India. (You need
not be an ICICI A/c holder to deposit cash in any of
the ICICI Bank Branches.)
Bank Account Details:
Name of the account: King Institute of Talent
Excellency (KITE)
Current A/c No. : 602705500527.
Code: ICIC0006027 (Chennai, Anna Nagar
Demand draft:
The DD is to be made in favour of: King Institute of
Talent Excellency, Payable at Chennai.
The DD is to be sent to:
Cracking IAS Study Circle, Y-Block 3020, First
13th Main Road. Anna Nagar. Chennai-40.
Landmark - Behind Natesan institute of co-op
management on Shanti Colony Road.
E mail:[email protected]
After remitting the payment, Send us an e-mail to
:[email protected] or
TO 09884554654 clearly specifying your:
1. Name :
2. Mailing address with correct pin code : 3.
Mobile/phone numbers :
Month from which the subscription is
Mention time, date and Bank Branch. For Faster
Processing you may also send the scanned
copy of the Deposit Slip through email.
*S Gopalakrishnan, the co-founder and Executive
Co-Chairman of Infosys, on 5 April 2013 was elected
as the President of the industry body Confederation of
Indian Industry (CII) for the year 2013-14. He is
Tit Bits
* A panel headed by the Department of Personnel &
Training secretary PK Misra has cleared the name of
SK ROY for the post of the chairman of the LIC. Mr.
Roy is currently the zonal manager in LIC for East.
Roy joined the LIC in 1981. On May 31, 2013, he
assumed charge as Managing Director of LIC along
with Thomas Mathew and Sarkar.
* John W Ashe of Antigua and Barbuda was
elected by United Nations General Assembly as
President of its upcoming 68th session.
Ashe is presently Antigua and Barbuda‟s Permanent
Representative to the United Nations in New York.
Made up of all the 193 Member States of the United
Nations, the General Assembly provides a forum for
multilateral discussion of the full spectrum of
international issues covered by the UN Charter.
68th session is significant as the world body would
launch an agenda for sustainable development for
Looking forward to bring to fruition many outcomes
of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development
(Rio+20), he said the theme he has chosen for the
68th session will be the Post-2015 Development
Agenda: Setting the Stage.
* Norway has become the first European and first
NATO country to make military service compulsory
for both genders.
* The Indira Gandhi Delhi Technical University
(IGDTU) has become the country‟s first-ever
technical university for women after it was upgraded
in May 2013 from the previous Indira Gandhi Institute
of Technology which was set up in 1998. On 12 June
the Norway celebrated a century since Norwegian
women won the right to vote.
* The Reserve Bank of India has imposed fine on
three private sector banks - Axis Bank, HDFC
Bank and ICICI Bank – for violation of KYC
(know your customer) norms. Penalty of Rs.5 crore on Axis Bank, Rs.4.5 crore - on HDFC Bank and Rs.1
crore on — ICICI Bank imposed by RBI.
In April this year, a web portal “Cobra Post” had
sent its undercover reporters to banks posing as
persons connected to politicians and seeking to
launder large amounts of black money.
Although no transactions were conducted, the
clandestinely shot videos revealed that bank
officials were willing to be accomplices in the
process of money laundering.
*5th June was declared as the “World Environment
Day” on the recommendations made by UN
Conference on Human Environment in 1972.
*According to latest UN Report India is expected to
become the world‟s largest country, passing China
JUNE 2013
around 2028, when both countries will have
populations of 1.45 billion. After that, India‟s
population will continue to grow and China‟s is
expected to start decreasing. Meanwhile, Nigeria‟s
population is expected to surpass that of the United
States before 2050. The 49 least developed countries
are projected to double in size in 2050.
*At the 2013 Global India Business Meeting,
currently being held at Belfast UK, Mr Sanjiv
Goenka was honoured with the coveted “2013
Indian Business Leader of the Year” award.
*Australia has been ranked the world's happiest
nation among developed economies for the third
year running.
Top position went to Australia, because of the
overall strength of its economy, in the Better Life
Index compiled by the Organisation for Economic
Co-operation and Development.
Sweden, Canada, Norway and Switzerland were also
in the top five.
*AVINASH CHANDER was appointed as the new
Director-General of Defence Research and
Development Organization (DRDO).
*China launched its 5th manned space mission
Shenzhou-10 (Divine Craft) with three astronauts,
including a woman. Wang Yaping, 35, is the second
Chinese woman to go into space after Liu Yang last
At present, the US and Russia are the other two
nations to send independently maintained space
stations into orbit.
This is the second such mission to build China‟s
first Spacelab which was expected to be fully ready
by 2020 by which time Mir, which currently
orbiting was expected to complete its mission.
This would make the Chinese Spacelab the only
such station in the space.
*China 'launches' satellite destroyer in new space
race as Pentagon claims rocket was highest for
forty years: A Chinese rocket launched on Monday
has raised concerns in the United States over the
possibility of an anti-satellite missile test. While
China claims the launch carried a sciences payload to
study our planet‟s magnetosphere.
The rocket, launched from the Xichang Satellite
Launch Center in western China, reached an
altitude of 6,250 miles above Earth, making it the
highest suborbital launch worldwide since 1979,
according to reports; the vehicle then re-entered the
atmosphere above the Indian Ocean.
U.S. intelligence fears the rocket could be used in
the future to carry anti-satellite payload. This
concern began in 2007 when China launched a
missile that destroyed one of its own defunct
satellites in orbit. The event created an important
amount of orbital debris, risking other satellites
circling the Earth.
*Dr Laxman Singh Rathore, Director General of
Meteorology & Permanent Representative of India
with World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has
Intergovernmental Board of Climate Services
(IBCS) during its first meeting held at Geneva during
1st to 5th July 2013.
Dr. Rathore was recently elected as member of the
Executive Council of the WMO and has earlier
served a term as Vice President of Commission of
Agriculture Meteorology.
With the appointment of Rathore, India is poised to
play a crucial role in implementation of Global
Framework of Climate Service (GFCS).
WMO launched GFCS as key outcome of World
Climate Conference (WCC)-3 aiming to enables
better management of the risks of climate variability
and change and adaptation to climate change,
through the development and incorporation of
science-based climate information and prediction
into planning, policy and practice on the global,
regional and national scale.
The four priority areas of the GFCS are Agriculture
and Food Security, Disaster Risk Reduction, Health
and Water.
As is known that Intergovernmental Panel for
Climate Change (IPCC) was the principal outcome
of WCC-2 and it won the nobel prize for
distinguished services in understanding climate
change and creating awareness on the subject.
*Government gives nod for two major ports in
West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh: The new port in
West Bengal, which will have a capacity of 54 million
tonnes per annum (MTPA), requires an investment of
around Rs. 7,820 crore.
The other new port in Andhra Pradesh, whose
projected capacity is around 50 MTPA, will entail
an investment of about Rs. 8,000 crore, the Minister
The new ports will be notified as Major Ports under
the Indian Ports Act, 1908. Major ports come under
the central government, while minor ports are
operated by state governments as well as by the
private sector.
There are at present 12 Major ports -- KolkataHalida, Paradip, Visakhapatnam, Ennore, Chennai,
V O Chidambaranar (formerly Tuticorin), Kochi,
New Mangalore, Mormugao, Mumbai, Jawaharlal
Nehru (JNPT) and Kandla.
The move to set up new ports comes after several
The need for a port at Sagar in West Bengal was felt
as the existing ports at Kolkata and Haldia were
facing capacity constraints.
The location for port in Andhra Pradesh has not yet
been finalized and the state government has
identified three locations - Nakkapalli in
Visakhapatnam, Ramayyapatnam in Prakasam and
Dugarajapatnam in Nellore.
The new major ports are likely to be set up on
JUNE 2013
public-private partnership (PPP) mode and will cater
to increased imports of coal and oil besides boosting
the local economy and generating jobs.
*HASAN ROWHANI was declared the winner of
Iran‟s presidential elections. Present President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was in power for a second
and final term. He is barred from seeking a third
consecutive term. Reformist President Mohammad
Khatami appointed Rowhani as the country‟s first
nuclear envoy.
*Hugo Chavez, former President of Venezuela, was
posthumously awarded the Simon Bolivar National
Award of Journalism 2013. The National Journalism
Prize Foundation said that its jury voted unanimously
to give Chavez the prize because he gave voice to “the
oppressed of the world” and fought a “constant battle
against media lies.”
*India‟s highest Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) will
be set up at Nyoma, Leh district of Jammu & Kashmir
at a height of about 14000 feet. This region is
extremely cold and dry and therefore, it is a challenge
to promote stable agriculture there. The KVK will
seek to improve fodder production, provide health
care to the roaming animals, introduce vegetable
production under protected environment and impart
training to women on animal care, etc.
*Indian telecom network becomes the 2nd largest in
the world (after China) with total subscriber base of
over 670 million at the end of July 2010 Indian
telecommunications sector is the second largest
wireless network in the world. With this overall
teledensity in the country has reached over 58% mark.
In last five years not only urban tele-density has risen
from 26% to more than 125%, but rural tele-density
has also increased phenomenally from 1.73% to over
The telecom sector is also the second highest FDI
attracting sectors in India, attracting 8.53% of the
total FDI inflows into India during Apr 2000 to July
2011. The amount of FDI attracted by
telecommunications sector during this period was
US$ 12.3 billion, according to DIPP (Department of
Industrial Policy & Promotion) statistics.
*June 12 is World Day Against Child Labour. The
theme this year is, „No to Child Labour in Domestic
Work„. The United Nation‟s action plan has proposed
that the ILO and its member states continue to pursue
the goal of effective abolition of child labour by
committing themselves to eliminate all its worst forms
by 2016.
*MARYLAND becomes the 18th US state in the
union to abolish the death penalty and the sixth state
in as many years to do so. Maryland has become the
first southern US state to abolish the death penalty.
*Pilatus, PC 7 Mk II aircraft was formally inducted
into the IAF. A total of 75 aircraft have been
contracted from Pilatus, Switzerland.
*Prof. Satish Dhawan Endowed Fellowship Started
In USA: The Department of Space/Indian Space
Research Organisation has established an endowed
fellowship at the Graduate Aerospace Laboratories of
the California Institute of Technology, California,
USA. This fellowship is established in honor of Prof.
Satish Dhawan, who was the former Chairman of
Indian Space Research Organisation during its
formative period 1972-1984.
*The emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa alThani has transferred the throne to his 33 year old
son Sheikh Tamin.
*The Indian Air Force (IAF) is at the helm of relief
and rescue operations following Uttarakhand's floods.
Air Commodore Rajesh Isser is Task Force
Commander of OPERATION RAHAT, designed to
aid those affected. This is the biggest civilian rescue
operation carried out by any air force using helicopters
across the globe.
*The Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh dedicated
the newly constructed railway line between Banihal
(Jammu region)-Qazigund (Kashmir valley)
section to the nation by flagging off the first DEMU
train from Banihal through the Pir Panjal tunnel- the
longest transportation tunnel of India, from Banihal
Railway station in Jammu & Kashmir recently.
The Kashmir Valley railway ( Qazigund-Baramulla
section) is a 119 km long modern railway line that
became completely operational in October 2009. So
far it is an island railway, not yet connected to the
Indian Railway network.
It connects Baramula in the western part of Kashmir
to Qazigund at the other end of the Valley, via
With this challenging project which is dedicated to
the nation, the extension of this railway line beyond
the Pir Panjal Mountains in to the Jammu region has
been achieved with trains running on the new
railway section of Qazigund-Banihal.
The 17.7 km long rail link paves way for the future
railway connectivity of Kashmir region with the
national railway network.
On 28th December, 2012, the first trial run train was
operated on this section of Qazigund-Banihal which
is 17.7 kms long, of this 6.5 km is on cutting and
embankment including bridges.
JUNE 2013
*The US President Barak Obama has appointed highprofile Washington, D.C. attorney Cliff Sloan as the
special envoy for closure of Guantanamo Bay
terrorist detention centre. The Guantanamo Bay
detention camp is a detainment and interrogation
facility of the United States military located within
Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba.
24th August 2013
 BTB Study materials
*The Vice President of India Shri M. Hamid Ansari
released Dr. Yoginder K. Alagh‟s book „The Future
of Indian Agriculture‟ at Delhi.
*Tomas Brunegard, chairman of Sweden‟s Stampen
Media Group, is the new president of the World
Association of Newspapers and News Publishers.
*World Oceans Day has been celebrated every 8
June since its original proposal in 1992 by Canada at
the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
*The union cabinet revived two railway locomotive
projects in Bihar by starting new bidding process. The
proposals for an electric locomotive factory at
Madhepura and a diesel locomotive factory at
Marhaura in Saran district were revived as the
request for bids for these two projects had lapsed.