Document 189704
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India and World
Science and Technology
Sports & Awards and Honours
Social issues & Development
Political issues, Human Rights & Governance
Monthly Special Focus
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*I&B Ministry Institutes New Centenary Award to
*India Declared Free from Bird FLU: "India has
honour personalities for contribution to Indian
declared itself free from notifiable Avian Influenza
Cinema: The Centenary award would be given every
(H5N1), commonly called bird flu, and notified it to the
year to an outstanding Indian film personality “A
World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). This
Film Icon” for his/her contribution to Indian Cinema at
could help in boosting exports and business for the
IFFI. The award is the second in the series instituted
country's poultry sector.
by the Government to commemorate the centenary
Traders are expecting to begin exports of poultry
products to overseas markets after this declaration as
the outbreak of bird flu in certain parts of the country
*Lifetime achievement award to JIRI MENZEL at
had led many countries to impose ban on imports of
44TH Goa Film Festival: One of the best known
such consumable items from India three months ago.
representatives of the ‘New Wave Czech Cinema’, Jiri
The disease is said to spread from infected birds to
Menzel will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award
other winged creatures through contact with nasal
at the 44th edition of IFFI.
Jiri Menzel has made his mark on the cultural
contamination of feed and water.
history of his native Czech Republic as a film
auteur, theatre director and actor. His films are
*National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP)
cherished for their lyrical realism and stylistic
2020: The plan has been approved by the National
Council for Electric Mobility (NCEM) for increasing
the use and production of electric vehicles (including
His first movie, "Closely Observed Trains", was
made when he was just 28.
The 44th International Film Festival of India will
hybrid cars).
Electric vehicles and Hybrid cars are energy
efficient and environment friendly.
open on November 20 in Goa with the screening of
‘Don Juans’, the latest film by Jiri Menzel.
The NCEM is the apex body dealing with electric
The National Museum for Indian Cinema is being
vehicles and its chairman is the Minister of Heavy
set up in Mumbai and National Film Heritage
Industries and Public Enterprises.
Mission (NFHM) will come up in Pune. This was
A hybrid vehicle is a vehicle that uses two or more
distinct power sources to move the vehicle.
Broadcasting during the event.
The primary power in a Hybrid Vehicle comes
from the Gasoline engine, while it uses the electric
The Electric Motor does not need an external
power supply for recharging its batteries.
Japan was the country in focus at the 44th
International Film Festival in Goa.
Art Exhibition ‘Soul in Art” was inaugurated for
motor while accelerating.
announced by the Minister of Information and
the first time at the IFFI. The showcasing of art
forms painting and photography during the film
festival was conceived for the first time to enrich the
from the forward momentum is captured during
braking and used for recharging.)
*Justice AP Shah takes over as Chairman of the 20th
Law Commission: The 20th Law Commission was
constituted in September 2012.
is celebrated each year from 1st till 7th in the month of
Law Commission is an EXECUTIVE BODY, and
December. The festival takes place at Kisama Heritage
not a statutory one, appointed by the GoI to look
into the existed laws and legal system and suggest
The Festival is named after the large and colorful
suitable recommendations.
It is appointed for a 3 year period. The first
commission was appointed in 1955.
The body has a Chairperson, 4 full time members
and 5 part-time members.
Hornbill bird which is displayed in folklore in
majority of Naga tribes.
The Hornbill Festival is one of the biggest
celebrations of the native tribes of Nagaland and
encourages inter-tribal relations and promotes
the cultural heritage of Nagaland. The festival is
organized by the State Tourism and the Art &
*CZECH Castles Exhibition Begins in New Delhi:
The Exhibition “Czech Castles” has been organized for
the first time in India in collaboration with the
Culture Departments.
The main attraction is the Hornbill National Rock
Concert in the evenings.
Archaeological Survey of India and the Ministry of
Culture, Government of India by the National
*e-BRC project wins 2013 eASIA Award: The
Museum of the Czech Republic and the Embassy of the
Directorate General of Foreign Trade’s electronic Bank
Czech Republic, New Delhi.
Realization Certificate (e-BRC) project has won the
The Exhibition presents a selection of 37 most
2013 eASIA Award under Trade Facilitation category.
interesting castles and chateaux of Bohemia and
Moravia, two of the historic areas that make up
discharge of export obligation and to claim
the Czech state.
incentives under Foreign Trade Policy. Earlier
this certificate was issued by banks manually. BRC
*Health Ministry worried SC verdict will affect AIDS
is also used by state government departments for
control: The Health and Family Welfare Ministry has
refund of VAT.
expressed concern over the Supreme Court order that
e-BRC project launched on June 5, 2012 created an
gay sex is illegal, saying the ruling will prevent
integrated platform for receipt, processing and
vulnerable communities from accessing health facilities
subsequent use of all Bank Realization related
for fear of discrimination and stigma.
information by exporters, banks, central and state
The LGBT community is a high-risk community
government departments. It was made mandatory
according the department of AIDS control.
with effect from August 17, 2012.
HIV prevalence is the highest among the drug
users, followed by MSM (Men having Sex with
*Manipur’s ritual act to be world cultural heritage:
Men) and the male migrant workers.
Manipur’s famous tradition of singing, dancing and
Ironically, HIV prevalence rate among the female
drumming, called the SANKIRTANA, is set to be
sex workers have shown progressive decline over
declared as an intangible cultural heritage.
tha last few years.
The tradition is widely followed by the Vaishnava
community in Manipur. Lord Krishna is the central
theme for the Sankirtana performance.
*Hornbill festival of Nagaland: The Hornbill Festival
* Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Meet to have Focus on
NRI Youth: The 12 edition of the Pravasi Bharatiya
embassies across the world, send nominations. If
Divas (PBD) Convention to be held in Delhi from 7th to
a person won this award previously, he can
9th January 2014 will have ‘Engaging Diaspora:
nominate one person.
Connecting Across Generations’ as its theme.
One of the focus areas of the PBD this year is a
Youth PBD on 7th January 2014 to open new
All nominations go to the five-member jury.
(Appointed by PM.) Jury decides who’ll get award.
Award is presented by the President of India.
horizons of a strong network of young overseas
Indian. Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) is celebrated
Eco-Driving initiative: It is a Unique initiative
on 9th January every year to mark the contribution
of Overseas Indian community to the development
PCRA(Petroleum Conservation and Research
of India.
Association) of India and Energy Conservation
January 9 was chosen since it was on this day in
Centre of Japan.
1915 that Mahatma Gandhi, the greatest Pravasi,
The Rajiv Gandhi Manav Seva Award has
returned to India from South Africa to lead India’s
been given to 6 individuals who have made
freedom struggle and to change the lives of Indians
outstanding contribution towards service for
forever. PBD is the flagship event of the Ministry
children, including children with various kinds of
of Overseas Indian Affairs.
Spiti valley, is
Overview of Indian Diaspora:
Indian Diaspora is second largest in the world after
located in Himachal Pradesh.
Sham valley in Spiti is entirely inhabited by pure
homogenous Tibeto-Mongoloid tribe used to
But the remittances received from Indian diaspora
living keeping their houses unlocked.
is more than that of the Chinese diaspora for their
respective countries.
*Waheeda Rehman to receive First Centanary
Nobel Winner Indian Diaspora
Award at 44th IFFI: An icon for the film lovers and
iconoclast for the professionals, Waheeda Rehman will
Dr. Hargobind Khorana
be honoured with the first Centanary Award for the
S. Chandrashekar
Indian Film personality at the 44th International Film
Venkatrama Ramakrishnan
Festival of India (IFFI).
Highlights of the 11th PBD:
The award has been introduced this year and the
Loccation: Kochi
veteran actor will receive the trophy on the opening
Theme: Engaging Diaspora - The Indian growth
day of the festival. It consists of a cash component
of Rs. 10 lakh and a citation.
Chief guest:
Rajakeshwar Purryag (President of
Rs.5 Ghadar stamp was released to commemorate
The ‘Quintessential Beauty of Bollywood’ is
known as much for her performance as for her
choice of roles.
the 100 years of formation of the Ghadar party.
Pravasi Baharatiya Samman Award:
Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards given to
* Egypt's 3-month state of emergency ends after
court ruling: Egypt's army-backed authorities
announced the nightly curfew on August 14, when
security forces forcibly ended the two main sit-ins
by supporters of ousted Islamist President
Mohamed Morsi in Cairo, prompting waves of
violence in which hundreds of people have been
The state of the emergency allowed the
authorities to make arrests without warrants and
gave security officials the right to search people's
The government's decision, the security source
said, came after a court ruling that the state of
emergency expired.
Hundreds of pro-Morsi supporters have been
staging almost daily protests against the army
since they deposed him in July. Egyptian
authorities have arrested thousands of Islamist
activists and Morsi supporters in the past three
The state of emergency and curfew had been due
to last a month from August 14, but the
government extended it for two more months on
September 12.
* Gambia leaves Commonwealth of Nations with
Immediate Effect: The West African nation The
Gambia is leaving the Commonwealth of Nations,
putting behind it, part of Africa´s colonial past, and
setting a signal with regards to contemporary or
The government of The Gambia has announced
the country´s immediate withdrawal from the
Commonwealth of Nations, which is a remnant
of the British Empire´s colonialist past.
The Commonwealth consists of 50 nations, most
of which are former colonies of the British
* Russian rocket takes three astronauts and
Sochi Olympic torch to space: Russia has sent the
Olympic torch into space with a three-man crew
that blasted off to the International Space Station
three months before the 2014 Winter Games in
The torch, unlit for safety reasons, was part of
the payload of a Soyuz spacecraft that lifted off
from the Russian-leased Baikonur launch
facility in Kazakhstan.
* U.N. court rules on Cambodia-Thailand row:
The U.N.’s top court, the ICJ, ruled on Monday
that the area around the ancient Hindu temple of
Preah-Vihar on the Thai border belongs to
Cambodia and that any Thai security forces should
In 1962 the court awarded the temple to
Cambodia, but allowed Thailand to retain the
ownership of the land around the temple.
Preah-Vihar is an ancient Hindu temple built
during the reign of Khmer Empire and is a
UNESCO world heritage site.
* US, ISRAEL lose UNESCO voting right over
Palestine dispute: The US and Israel automatically
lost their voting rights at UNESCO, after missing a
deadline to repay their debt to the UN cultural
Neither country has paid their dues in protest
over the decision by world governments to make
Palestine a member in 2011.
Under UNESCO rules the US and Israel to
resume funding, explain why funding was not
forthcoming, or automatically lose their voting
The suspension of US contributions was a
serious blow for UNESCO as they account for
$80 million a year or 22 percent of the
organization’s total budget. Since October 2011
the withdrawal of US funding has already
amounted to a loss in UNESCO funding of $240
million. Israel donated a more modest $2
million a year.
The loss of US cash has forced it to scale back a
number of US led initiatives such as Tsunami
research and Holocaust education.
In October 2012, the Director General of
UNESCO Irina Bokovo announced that
UNESCO was facing a severe cash shortage due
mainly to the loss of US funding.
*6th Asian and Pacific Population Conference
(APPC): The third draft outcome document of
Asian and Pacific ministerial Declaration on
population and development was discussed in Sixth
Asian and Pacific Population Conference in
Bangkok, from 16-20 September, 2013.
After a week of intense and passionate debate
and negotiation the region overwhelmingly
voted to adopt, support and promote progressive
language on Sexual and reproductive rights,
comprehensive sexuality education, the first
time it has been mentioned in such a document,
and the need to address discrimination,
including on the basis of sexual orientation and
gender identity.
*Algeria announces major oil discovery: The
discovery near the large oil fields in the southern
region of Hassi Messaoud is one of the most
important in the last 20 years.
Algeria, an energy giant in Africa that already is
one of the largest natural gas suppliers to
Europe, had been concerned about declining oil
*Bangladesh court disqualifies largest Islamic
party from election: A Bangladesh court has
disqualified the country's largest Islamic party from
taking part in the next general election, saying it
opposes secularism.
The ruling comes four years after a group of
citizens filed a petition seeking to cancel
Jamaat's registration with the Election
Commission, saying the party wants to
introduce Islamic Shariah law in the Muslimmajority country.
independence war against Pakistan. It has been
under pressure since 2010, when the
government put its top leaders on trial on
charges of crimes against humanity during the
*Britain's Queen Elizabeth II signs bill
legalizing same-sex marriage: The bill enables
gay couples to get married in both civil and
religious ceremonies in England and Wales. It also
will allow couples who had previously entered into
a civil partnership to convert their relationship to a
France became the 14th country to legalize
same-sex marriage in May, joining The
Netherlands, Spain, Canada, South Africa,
Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina,
Denmark, Uruguay, Belgium, and New
Gay couples can marry in 13 US states, as well
as in the capital Washington DC, while parts of
Mexico also allow same-sex marriage.
*EU and China reach deal in solar panel
dispute: The European Commission says it has
reached "an amicable solution" with Beijing in a
row over imports of Chinese solar panels. Both
sides have agreed a minimum price for the panels.
China is the world's largest producer of solar
panels. Its exports to Europe totalled 21bn euros
($27bn; £18bn) in 2011.
The anti-dumping case was the biggest ever
undertaken by the Commission.
In June, the EU accused China of "dumping"
solar panels in Europe - selling them at below
cost to steal market share - and then said it
would impose import tariffs of up to 47.6% on
China said EU farm subsidies had resulted in
European countries "dumping" wine on China.
*EU to push ahead on data protection despite
UK opposition: The European Commission is set
to ignore attempts to delay the implementation of a
proposed new data protection regulation (DPR).
*India-born Mamnoon Hussain sworn in as
Pakistan`s new President: India-born Mamnoon
Hussain, a close aide of Prime Minister Nawaz
Sharif, was today sworn in as the President of
Pakistan, marking the culmination of the country’s
first democratic transition.
Zardari was the first elected President to
complete his constitutional tenure and to be
replaced by an elected individual in Pakistan’s
66-year history that has been haunted by
numerous military coups. Hussain will be the
country's 12th President.
*Iran signs major deal to export gas to Iraq: Iran
has finalized a major contract to export gas to
neighboring Iraq, worth 3.7 billion dollars a year.
Under the terms of the contract signed in Baghdad
on Sunday, Iran will eventually feed Iraqi refineries
with 25 million cubic metres of gas per day.
This is Iran's largest reported gas deal to date.
It has a $7.5 billion gas pipeline project with
Pakistan, to export 21 million cubic metres (742
million cubic feet) per day, but the plan has
repeatedly run into trouble amid US opposition
to the deal agreed in 2010.
Iran sits on the world's second largest natural
gas reserves and currently produces some 600
million cubic metres a day, almost all of which
is consumed domestically due to lack of exports
*Iran unveils drone “FOTROS” which can
reach Israel: Iran unveiled a missile-equipped
drone with a range of 2,000 kilometres (1,200
In recent years, Iran has launched an ambitious
drone programme, causing worry in the United
States and the West.
In late September, the elite Revolutionary
Guards announced the mass production of the
"Shahed 129" drone, which it said has a range of
1,700 kilometres, is capable of carrying eight
missiles and can fly for 24 hours.
In the same month, Iran unveiled a
reconnaissance drone named "Yasseer," which
was said to be capable of flying for eight hours
with a range of 200 kilometres and at an altitude
of 4,500 meters.
Yasseer was based on the US ScanEagle drone,
a model of which Tehran claimed to have
captured in December 2012 and reproduced
since then.
The Iranian army also recently boasted that it
was producing a series of drones called Rad-85.
*Italy ex-PM Silvio Berlusconi jail term
confirmed: Italy's highest court has upheld a prison
sentence given to former PM Silvio Berlusconi for
tax evasion.
The court also ordered a further judicial review
on whether he should be banned from holding
public office.
*Japan Unveils the IZUMO, Its Largest
Warship Since WWII, Amid Tensions With
China: On Aug. 6, Japan launched its largest
warship since World War II in a fresh
demonstration of Tokyo’s steadily expanding naval
capabilities. The unveiling of the destroyer — with
a conspicuously large flight deck — has drawn
longstanding regional rival China, which in the past
decade has embarked on a massive program of
military modernization.
*Malawi president sacks cabinet over
corruption scandal: Blantyre - Malawi's president
has sacked her Cabinet in the wake of reports of
worsening corruption in her government.
Corruption is endemic in Malawi, which ranks
among Africa's poorest countries.
The former director of public prosecution,
Fahad Assani, has said over 30% of the national
budget is lost through corruption.
*Mulatu Teshome elected Ethiopian president:
The Ethiopian Parliament Monday elected Mulatu
Teshome new president of the country. He replaces
Girma Wolde-Giorgis who served two six-year
Mulatu, who used to be the East African
country’s ambassador to Turkey, was elected at
a joint session of the House of Peoples
Representatives (HPR) and the House of
Federation (HoF) to serve the next term of six
*Philippe becomes new Belgian king as Albert II
abdicates: Crown Prince Philippe has been sworn
in as the new Belgian king after the emotional
abdication of his father Albert II.
MONARCHY in which the king plays a largely
ceremonial role. One of the duties the monarch
does have is trying to resolve constitutional
*Syria polio outbreak traced to Pakistan: The
recent polio outbreak in Syria has originated from
Pakistan, according to the World Health
Organisation (WHO).
The WHO’s Disease Outbreak News on
Monday said 13 cases of wild poliovirus type 1
(WPV1) have been confirmed in the Syrian
Arab Republic.
Closely related wild poliovirus strains have also
been detected in environmental samples in
Israel, West Bank and Gaza Strip since February
Wild poliovirus had not been detected in the
Syrian Arab Republic since 1999, the WHO.
Poliovirus is composed of an RNA genome and
a protein capsid. The genome is a single-stranded
positive-sense RNA genome. Hence Polio virus is
an entero virus like the Rhino virus.
Polio (poliomyelitis) mainly affects children
under five years of age.
One in 200 infections leads to irreversible
paralysis. Among those paralysed, 5% to 10%
die when their breathing muscles become
In 2012, only three countries (Afghanistan,
Nigeria and Pakistan) remain polio-endemic,
down from more than 125 in 1988.
As long as a single child remains infected,
children in all countries are at risk of contracting
Polio and its symptoms:
Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by a
It invades the nervous system, and can cause
total Acute Flaccid paralysis in a matter of
The virus enters the body through the mouth and
multiplies in the intestine.
Prevention: There is no cure for polio, it can only
be prevented. Polio vaccine, given multiple times,
can protect a child for life. An estimated more than
1.5 million childhood deaths have been prevented,
through the systematic administration of Vitamin A
during polio immunization activities.
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative
In 1988, the forty-first World Health Assembly
adopted a resolution for the worldwide eradication
of polio. It marked the launch of th:e Global Polio
Eradication Initiative (GPEI), spearheaded by
national governments, WHO, Rotary International,
the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC), UNICEF, and supported by key partners
including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Of the three types of wild poliovirus (type 1, type 2
and type 3), type 2 wild poliovirus transmission
has been successfully stopped (since 1999).
Flaccid paralysis is a clinical manifestation
characterized by weakness or paralysis and
reduced muscle tone.
If the somatic nerves to a skeletal muscle are
severed, then the muscle will exhibit flaccid
Causes of flaccid paralysis are: polio,
botulism and curare, guillain bare syndrome,
Reyes syndrome, nerve lesions, transverse
myelitis, enteroviral encephalopathy.
*UN chooses five new non-permanent Security
Council members: The United Nations has chosen
five new non-permanent members of the Security
Council, including Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Chad.
The humanitarian records of those new members
drew criticism from human rights advocates.
Chad and Nigeria are to replace Morocco and
Togo as African representatives on the body.
Meanwhile, Lithuania takes the East European
seat, which is currently held by Azerbaijan.
Saudi Arabia takes over from Pakistan as a
representative for the Asia-Pacific region, while
Chile was elected from the Latin American
region to replace Guatemala.
Chad, Nigeria and Lithuania have never before
held a place on the 15-member council, while
Nigeria and Chile have each been members four
times in the past.
Each country must obtain support of two-thirds
of all members present to gain a place. With
balloting held in secret, candidates lobby
intensely to ensure they garner the required
amount, even where the vote is uncontested.
There were initially two candidates for a West
African seat, but Gambia dropped out in favor
of Nigeria.
Despite the lack of a contest, there was
disapproval from human rights proponents for
some of the choices.
5 countries have permanent seats on the
Security Council - the United States, Britain,
France, Russia and China. The other 10 seats are
awarded for periods of two years by the General
Assembly. A vote is held each year for five of
the seats.
Seats in the Security Council are allocated by
region, with regional groups nominating
*US and Vietnam sign nuclear technology deal:
The US and Vietnam have signed a deal allowing
the US to transfer nuclear technology to the southeast Asian country. The move paves the way for
future US investment in the industry boosting
America’s strategic presence in the region.
The US-Vietnam Civil Nuclear Co-operation
Agreement, otherwise known as the ‘123
Agreement’, will allow US industries to tap into
Vietnam’s nuclear power market as part of the
US push to strengthen both economic and
security ties with Vietnam in the face of China’s
growing influence.
“This agreement will create numerous
opportunities for our businesses,” US Secretary
of State, John Kerry told Vietnam's Foreign
Minister Pham Binh Minh while attending the
ASEAN summit in Brunei. “Obviously our
nuclear cooperation is quite significant.”
Annual growth in the country currently stands at
5 per cent and, after China, the country has the
second-largest market for nuclear power in the
region. Vietnam has also been working
alongside Russia to build its first nuclear plant
in 2014 in the south-central province of Ninh
Thuan, aiming to finish it by 2020.
Ninh Thuan will also be the site of a proposed
second plant as the country has signed an
agreement with Japan. Two reactors will likely
become functional in 2014-2015.
Under the terms of the agreement, Vietnam will
not be permitted to either enrich or reprocess
nuclear materials of US origin, according to the
US State Department.
China’s claims over the South China Sea have
contributed to heightened tensions with
Vietnam, and the US hopes to forge strategic
ties with the country to readdress the power
balance in the region and act as a counterweight
to China.
However, the US has also expressed concern at
Vietnam’s human rights record on account of
harsh worker conditions and treatment of
government critics.
*Venezuela creates Social Happiness ministry:
A new Vice Ministry of Supreme Social Happiness
has been created by Nicolas Maduro, the
Venezuelan president, in an attempt to coordinate
all the "mission" programmes created by Hugo
Chavez to alleviate poverty.
The country has inflation of almost 50% and
suffers from chronic shortages of basic goods
such as staple foods and toilet roll.
*World Toilet Day observed on 19 November:
The World Toilet Day (WTD) was observed across
the world on 19 November 2013. In the world
about a third of the world’s people don’t have an
access to a decent toilet.
As per the United Nations about 2.5 billion
people do not have an access to adequate sanitation
and about 1 billion people practice open defecation,
which contributes many diseases. Each year, more
than 800000 children under 5 die from diarrhea,
many due to poor sanitation.
World Toilet Day
In 2001 WTO declared 19 November World
Toilet Day (WTD). It is celebrated in over 19
countries with over 51 events being hosted by
various water and sanitation advocates on this day.
The World Toilet Organization created World
Toilet Day to raise global awareness of the struggle
2.5 billion face every day without access to proper,
clean sanitation. World Toilet Day also brings to
the forefront the health, emotional and
psychological consequences the poor endure as a
result of inadequate sanitation.
World Toilet Day popularity is gaining
momentum, and in 2010 there were 51 events
spanning 19 countries. The Big Squat campaign of
the World Toilet Organization has generated 24 Big
Squats globally and in Singapore over 600 squatters
joined the cause in six locations island-wide.
World Toilet Summit
Earlier the World Toilet Summit in 2013 was
observed from 2 to 4 October 2013 in Central Java,
Indonesia. The 13th session of the World Toilet
Summit was held in support of the World Toilet
Organization and the Indonesia Toilet Association
(ATI), and supported by the Ministry of Tourism
and Creative Economy of the Republic of Indonesia
and the Ministry of Public Works and the
Government of Surakarta.
The World Toilet Summit is an annual event,
which is organized by the World Toilet
Organization in partnership with a host
government, since 2001. The summit has been held
in 10 countries across the world namely Singapore,
South Korea, Taiwan, China, Ireland, Russia,
Thailand, India, USA and South Africa. The
inaugural World Toilet Summit was held in
Singapore in 2001.
*Imomali Rakhmon re-elected Tajikistan
Rakhmon has won re-election by a landslide,
extending his 20-year-long rule by another seven
The only credible challenger, rights activist
Oinihol Bobonazarova, was disqualified for
failing to collect the signatures of 5 per cent of
the nation's eligible voters.
Mr Rakhmon has ruled Tajikistan since 1992
and is credited with winning a five-year civil
war against Islamic militants relying on Russia’s
support. Mr Rakhmon’s new presidential term
must be his last under the Constitution, which
has been changed twice to enable him to prolong
his stay in power.
Tajikistan is one of the poorest states in the
former Soviet Union, with more than one
million Tajiks earning a living in Russia.
In the run-up to recent’s election Tajikistan
signed an agreement with Russia on a 30-year
extension of the Soviet-era 201 military base,
which Moscow considers as a bulwark against
Islamist insurgency and drug trafficking from
Afghanistan. The Tajik Parliament ratified the
deal after Russia’s President Vladimir Putin
promised to support Mr Rakhmon’s re-election
for another presidential term. Moscow has also
allowed Tajik migrant workers to stay in Russia
for three years running, against one year for the
citizens of other former Soviet states.
India helped Tajikistan refurbish an air base
at AYNI in the past decade in the hope of
securing a bridgehead in the strategically located
*Yaameen elected Maldivian President by a
narrow margin: Abdulla Yaameen, half-brother of
former Maldivian President Maumoon Abdul
Gayoom — who ruled the country for about three
decades — will be the new President of the
archipelago nation. He won the run-off round of
election narrowly, by polling about three per cent
votes higher than his rival, Maldivian
Democratic Party’s Mohamed Nasheed.
The results, in some ways, signify a setback for
India, which was seen as backing Mr. Nasheed.
Though India had made it clear that it was
ready to do business with anyone who was
elected, Mr. Nasheed seeking refuge in the
Indian High Commission in Male, fearing arrest;
and the GMR airport fiasco, had turned PPM
and many other political parties against India.
The person who was most vocal in throwing out
the Indian airport operator from Maldives,
Mohamed Jameel, will be the new VicePresident.
India has welcomed the victory of Abdulla
Yameen and taking the cue from his interactions
with the Indian leadership, said, ``we saw he
would bring about peace in the country…he
had ideas that would contribute to Maldives’
stability and prosperity.’’
*Chinese ADIZ in East China Sea: Posers for
India: In the third week of November, China
suddenly announced the creation of an Air Defence
Senkakau/Diayou islands in East China Sea.
What is an ADIZ?
Air Defence Identification Zones are defined
zones in the international airspace within
which countries monitor the aircrafts heading
towards their territorial airspace.
ADIZ is not a territorial claim.
ADIZ has no basis in international law, nor is it
administered by any international organization.
The Chinese announcement has raised the
tensions in the already tense East China Sea
where there is a raging dispute between China
and Japan over the sovereignty of the
Diayou/Senkaku islands.( The Chinese call the
islands Diaoyudao. The Japanese call them
China claims sovereignty over the uninhabited
islands, while Japan has the administrative
control over them.
The South Koreans have also been affected
because the Chinese ADIZ overlaps with a
South Korean ADIZ in the area.
US has also been extremely critical to this
unilateral and assertive move of China. They
feel that such a move of the Chinese would
disrupt the status quo in the region and would
alter the regional stability and balance.
Chinese Defence:
The Chinese have also pointed out that the
Japanese and the US response to the Chinese
ADIZ is hypocritical. The US, Japan and South
Korea already have air defence zones in the
region. These countries had never consulted
China before setting up their own ADIZs.
What’s the problem with China declaring an
The problem is that China’s ADIZ overlaps with
the ADIZ that was created by the U.S. after
World War-II and transferred to Japan in 1969.
Japan sees this as an affront to its sovereignty.
The bigger problem is that China’s ADIZ
encompasses the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands
claimed by both China and Japan. This is the first
time an overlapping ADIZ has been declared
in an area where there is a sovereignty dispute.
What could have been China’s Motive behind
the move?
By declaring an ADIZ, they have strengthened
their sovereignty claims over the disputed
Also, it could be seen as a step towards keeping
the US out of the region. They are conveying by
their action that the US should keep off.
Third, China is also largely testing the efficacy of
the US’ Asia Pivot strategy. Presently Japan and
the US are carrying out joint naval exercises near
Okinawa. This move of China could be a counter
to the US’ China-Contain policy in the Asia
There is now little doubt that China is displaying
a muscular and assertive foreign policy. Most
countries in Asia would be wary of a hard
military response because of the growing
dependence of their economies on the Chinese
economy. The third party plenum of the Chinese
communist party indicted that China is setting the
stage for the next round of ambitious economic
reforms. The new reforms now under
consideration will benefit the Asian countries
Poser for India:
The poser for India is how would deal with the
situation if the Chinese declared an ADIZ
somewhere along the disputed border? Indian
policy makers must be mulling over this
The growing assertiveness of China could be a
boon for India as it will bring the other Asian
countries closer to New Delhi in order to counter
Beijing. However, New Delhi must be cautious in
the sense that its growing closeness with the
ASEAN and the US vis-à-vis the Asia-Pacific
region does not in anyway hamper the border
talks or the economic
cooperation with China. India should
maintain its STRATEGIC AUTONOMY as
it does now.
The lessons for the neighbours are that when it
comes to sovereignty issues, China is unlikely
to compromise. China reacted adversely to the
recent visit of the Indian president to Arunachal
Pradesh which it claims to be disputed
territory. What if tomorrow the Chinese declare
an ADIZ over Arunachal Pradesh? India would
need to formulate its strategies taking into
consideration the insights of the Chinese
behaviour in East China Sea.
Socotra Rock is a submerged rock located in the
Yellow Sea. International maritime law stipulates
that a submerged rock outside of a nation's
territorial sea (generally 12 nautical miles) cannot
be claimed as territory by any nation. However,
the rock is the subject of a maritime dispute
between South Korea, which considers it to lie
within its exclusive economic zone, referring to it
as Leodo and China, which considers it to lie
within its exclusive economic zone and refers to
it as Suyan Rock. The rock serves as the
foundation for Korean Ieodo Ocean Research
*Hamid Karzai Asks India For Defense
Assistance: In the wake of the Strategic
Partnership agreement signed between India and
Afghanistan in 2012, Kabul is keen on deepening
the defence relationship with NewDelhi. It has
towards this end, citing domestic and geo-political
situations, sought lethal defence equipments,
battle tanks and artillaries, from India.
India has traditionally been hesitant to provide
lethal equipment of the sort being requested by
Karzai, but is likely to provide additional nonlethal assistance in the form of transport aircraft
and other supplies.
Why is India reluctant?
It does not want to get itself entrenched in the
ongoing struggle against the Taliban. India has
faced attacks from the Taliban in Kabul — its
embassy has been bombed twice, and its
consulate near the Pakistani border once. Instead,
it wishes to train the Afghan Security forces in
counter- terrorism efforts and also focus on
economic and developmental assistance to
A deeper defence ties with Kabul, as is being
advocated by Mr,Karzai, may raise eyebrows in
Pakistan, which is already suspicious of India’s
engagement with Afghanistan. Pakistan’s
cooperation and engagement is extremely
important for ensuring a stable Afghanistan and
so India’s does wants to create a sense of
suspicion in Islamabad.
India also does not wish to interfere in other
countries internal affairs, as this is one of its
core Foreign policy. The wounds of interference
in SriLanka in the 1980’s, and the price that
India paid for it, is still fresh in memory. India
wants the peace- process in Afghanistan to be
Afghan-lead, Afghan-owned, without any
interference from other countries.
* 1st Ministerial Level Talk held for BCIM
Trade Corridor: India, China, Bangladesh and
Myanmar held the first ever official-level
discussions on the ambitious BCIM economic
corridor to link India and China with Bangladesh
and Myanmar. The economic advantages of the
BCIM trade corridor are:Approach to numerous markets in Southeast
Improvement of transportation infrastructure and
Creation of industrial zones
Currently, the four nations raised an ambitious
proposal that included developing multi-modal
transport, such as road, rail, waterways and
airways, joint power projects, telecommunication
networks, etc. As a first step, they will identify
realistic and achievable infrastructure projects to
boost physical connectivity.
Over the next six months, each country will come
up with a joint study report proposing concrete
projects and financing modalities, before the next
meeting of the four nations in June 2014, hosted
by Bangladesh.
The linking of all four countries by road has
strengthen the belief that this corridor would
subsequently open up the whole of the
northeastern region of India to Southeast Asia
and China and turn it into a significant channel of
BCIM Trade Corridor
The Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM)
economic corridor is a test case for cooperation
between India and China in regional development
as well as addressing common challenges. It aims
to connect Kolkata with China’s Kunming city
with a highway running through Bangladesh and
*NSA leaker Snowden granted asylum in
Russia: U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden has
been granted asylum in Russia and left the transit
zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport for an
undisclosed “safe location”.
*Iran signs landmark nuclear deal with West:
Iran has struck a historic agreement with the U.S.
and five other world powers, accepting strict
constraints on its nuclear programme for the first
time in a decade in exchange for partial relief from
sanctions. The deal, signed at 4.30 a.m. on 24th
November 2013, marks arguably the most
significant foreign policy achievement of Barack
Obama’s presidency, amounting to the most
significant agreement between Washington and
Tehran since the 1979 Iranian revolution.
The move is intended as the first step in a sixmonth process aimed at a permanent resolution to
the decade-old global impasse over Iran’s nuclear
programme, and heading off the threat of a new
war in West Asia. “While today’s announcement
is just a first step, it achieves a great deal,”
President Obama said in an address from the
White House. “For the first time in nearly a
decade, we have halted the progress of the Iranian
nuclear programme, and key parts of the
programme will be rolled back.”
The Geneva deal releases just over $4 billion in
Iranian oil sales revenue from frozen accounts,
and suspends restrictions on the country’s trade in
gold, petrochemicals, car and plane parts. In
return, Iran undertakes to restrict its nuclear
activities. Over the next six months it has agreed
to:• Stop enriching uranium above 5 per cent, reactorgrade, and dilute its stock of 20 percent enriched
uranium or convert it to oxide, which makes it
harder to enrich further. The medium-enriched
uranium, in its hexafluoride gas form, is
relatively easy to turn into weapons-grade
material, so it is a major proliferation concern.
• Not to increase its stockpile of low-enrichment
• Freeze its enrichment capacity by not installing
any more centrifuges, leaving more than half of
its existing 16,000 centrifuges inoperable.
• Not to fuel or to commission the heavy-water
reactor it is building in Arak or build a
reprocessing plant that could produce plutonium
from the spent fuel.
• Accept more intrusive nuclear inspections by the
International Atomic Energy Agency, including
daily visits to some facilities.
*Typhoon Haiyan kills at least 100, flattens
Philippine city: Typhoon Haiyan, possibly the
strongest storm ever to hit land, has devastated the
central Philippine city of Tacloban, killing at
least 100 people and destroying most houses in a
surge of flood water and high winds.
Haiyan was the second Category 5 typhoon to
hit the Philippines this year after Typhoon Usagi
in September. An average of 20 typhoons strike
every year, and Haiyan was the 24th in 2013.
Last year, Typhoon Bopha flattened three towns
in southern Mindanao, killing 1,100 people and
causing damage of more than $1 billion.
* 20-year US-Russian nonproliferation program
ends: A 20-year program to convert highly
enriched uranium from dismantled Russian nuclear
weapons into fuel for U.S. power plants ended,
with the final shipment loaded onto a vessel in St.
Petersburg's port.
The U.S. Energy Department described the
program, commonly known as Megatons to
Megawatts, as one of the most successful nuclear
nonproliferation partnerships ever undertaken.
The agreement, signed in 1993 shortly after the
collapse of the Soviet Union and always
scheduled to end in 2013, gave Russia the
financial incentive to dismantle thousands of
nuclear weapons. The initial aim was to help keep
the vast stockpiles of weapons-grade uranium out
of the hands of terrorists and to make sure
Russia's nuclear workers got paid at a time when
the country was nearly bankrupt.
Under the program, 500 metric tons of highly
enriched uranium, the equivalent of about 20,000
nuclear weapons, was converted into fuel for U.S.
nuclear reactors. During the past 15 years, the
fuel has generated 10 percent of U.S. electricity,
or nearly half of all commercial nuclear energy.
* Angela Merkel sworn in as German chancellor
for 3rd time: German Chancellor Angela Merkel
sworn in for a third term after being reelected in a
vote in the lower house of parliament. The event
marks the beginning of the third so-called grand
coalition in the Germany’s post-war history.
• Merkel’s conservative Union bloc – The
Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Bavarian
Christian Social Union (CSU) won 41.5% of
vote. To gain absolute majority they formed
coalition with their rivals Social Democrats
(SPD). By this coalition, for the next four years,
Europe’s biggest economy will be ruled by the
Germany’s two biggest parties.
• The new government faces a host of challenges,
from bedding down European reforms aimed at
shielding the bloc from future crises, to seeing
through Merkel’s costly switch from nuclear to
renewable energy, etc.
• Angela Merkel is a former research scientist who
has been the Chancellor of Germany since 2005,
and the leader of the Christian Democratic Union
(CDU) since 2000. She is the first woman to hold
either office.
* China, Russia among 14 nations elected to
UNHRC: China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Cuba
today won an election to the UN Human Rights
Council amid protests by various rights groups that
these nations "systematically violate" the human
rights of their own citizens and should not be
allowed to serve on the body.
The UN General Assembly voted here through a
secret ballot to elect 14 new members to the 47member Geneva-based Council for a three-year
term. The other countries that won the election
are Algeria, Britain, France, the Maldives,
Macedonia, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, South
Africa and Vietnam.
* Israel, Jordan, and Palestinians signed Water
sharing Deal: Mid-East governments (Israel,
Jordan and the Palestinians) signed a historic
trilateral agreement at the World Bank in
Washington, which outlines regional water-sharing
initiatives from the Red Sea to Dead Sea to relieve
shortages in the waterless lands.
• The Dead Sea has unique water properties like
humans can float naturally on the surface, etc.
Owing to human intervention, the sea is depleting
1m (3.3ft) a year. Thus, in order to save the Dead
Sea, a pipeline will built on the Jordanian side of
the Aqaba Gulf to carry sea water from a
desalination plant at the Red Sea to the Dead Sea,
while providing drinking water to the region.
• The plan attributes the development of a
desalination plant in Aqaba that will produce
water to be shared with Israel, increased water
quotas to Jordan from Israel’s Sea of Galilee and
the sale of waters made potable and salt-free from
Israel to the Palestinians.
• The deal is an outcome of the cooperation since
2005 among Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian
Authority on the Red Sea-Dead Sea Water
Conveyance Study Program. Expected cost of the
project is $250m-$400m.
• The Red Sea-Dead Sea Water Conveyance Study
Program will help to save the Dead Sea; supply
water and develop hydro-electricity; and bring
out strategic, political and economic cooperation.
Agreement: The BSA is a key document that will
permit the United States to retain some military
forces in Afghanistan after 2014.
The significance of the document is that in the
event of it not signed, there would not be any
US forces in Afghanistan, as also other western
forces, after 2014. This would result in a
security vaccum being created in Kabul,
where the Afghan National Forces are not yet
equipped, both logistically and technically,
to handle the mighty Taliban.
Security and Stability of Afghanistan is the key
to both the regional and the Non-regional
The world is still far from eliminating the
Taliban. In the event of them getting control of
the local territories in Afghanistan in the future,
it would eventually provide new safe-havens
for militant terrorist groups, a scenario the
United States is keen to avoid.
*Koreas hold 5th round of Kaesong talks: North
and South Korea have begun a fifth round of talks
on reopening a joint industrial complex, after
previous meetings failed to agree on a framework
for resuming operations.
Production at the Kaesong estate has been
suspended since North Korea withdrew its
53,000 workers from the complex in April at the
height of soaring military tensions with the
Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of
The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of
1963 is an international treaty that defines a
framework for consular relations between
independent countries. A consul normally operates
out of an embassy in another country, and performs
two functions:
protecting in the host country the interests of
their countrymen, and
furthering the commercial and economic
relations between the two countries.
• While a consul is not a diplomat, they work out
of the same premises, and under this treaty they
are afforded most of the same privileges,
including a variation of diplomatic immunity
called consular immunity. The treaty has been
ratified by 176 countries.
2014 TEST
starts from
January 19, 2014
. Online test available
. Classroom test @ Chennai.
. Highly Potential questions
Prelims Paper 1 based on our
tests and books and class
Maintaining same trends
since 2007
*India, Vietnam sign prisoner exchange treaty: The
Government of India has so far signed such Agreements
with the Governments of U.K., Mauritius, Bulgaria,
Cambodia, Egypt, France, Bangladesh, Korea, Saudi
Arabia, Iran, Sri Lanka, UAE, Maldives, Thailand,
Turkey, Italy, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Israel and
Negotiations have also been concluded with the
Government of Canada, Hong Kong, Brazil, and
Spain. These treaties have helped in repatriation of
43 Indian prisoners from Sri Lanka, Mauritius and
UK. Similarly 7 prisoners of UK and France where
repatriated to their respective countries.
The 7th United Nations Congress on the Prevention
of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders adopted the
Model Agreement on the Transfer of Foreign
Prisoners in 1985 and since then many countries have
arrived at bilateral and multilateral treaties.
The Repatriation of Prisoners Act, 2003 was enacted
for achieving the above purpose. For achieving the
objectives of the Act, a treaty is required to be signed
with countries having mutual interest on this matter.
*11th ASEM meeting in New Delhi: The Asia–Europe
Meeting (ASEM) was officially established in 1996 at
the first summit in Bangkok, Thailand.
Members: ASEM is an interregional forum which
consists of 27 members of the European Union (EU),
the European Commission, the 10 members of
ASEAN, the ASEAN Secretariat, China, Japan,the
Republic of Korea, India, Mongolia, and Pakistan,
Australia, Russia, New Zealand Bangladesh,
Norway, and Switzerland. NOTE: Nepal, Bhutan,
Srilanka, Afghanistan and Maldives are not
members from Asia.
The main components of the ASEM process are the
following so-called three pillars:
Political Pillar
Economical Pillar
Social, Cultural and Educational Pillar
*Fishermen issue between India and Srilanka:
Both Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen have been
fishing into Palk Bay area for centuries. Problem
emerged only after a maritime agreement was
signed by India and Sri Lanka in 1974. In fact,
initially the 1974 border agreement did not affect
fishing on either sides of the border. In 1976 both
India and Sri Lanka agreed to stop fishing in each
other’s waters. However, the agreement could not
stop the fishermen from fishing in these waters, as
fishermen know no boundary. They go wherever
they can get maximum number of catch. They,
knowingly or unknowingly, often violate the
International Maritime Boundary Lines in search
of a good catch, at times at great personal risk.
However, cases of arrest of Sri Lankan fishermen
by Indian authorities are comparatively less since
they mostly fish in the high seas by using multi-day
On the other hand, due to the dearth of multi-day
fishing capability, Indian fishermen cannot shift
their fishing effort from the Palk Bay area to the
offshore areas of the Indian waters or way beyond
the continental shelf. Therefore, Indian fishermen
have no other option but to fish into the Sri
Lankan waters.
While for the Sri Lankan authorities protecting
their maritime boundary is important, for the
Indian fishermen the priority is of securing their
It is noteworthy that despite the signing of maritime
boundary agreements, fishermen communities of
both the countries continued their fishing in the Palk
Bay area peacefully until the Eelam war broke out in
1983. Nonetheless, after the end of War in 2009,
the Sri Lankan fishermen have been raising their
objection to Indian fishermen fishing in their
According to an estimate, more than 500 trawlers
from Tamil Nadu cross the International Maritime
Boundary Line and fish in the Sri Lankan side of the
Palk Bay, depleting the fishstocks and threatening
the livelihoods of the fishermen in the north of Sri
Lanka, who have just commenced fishing after the
end of war in 2009.
The Indian fishermen, on the other hand, argue that,
in the post-LTTE scenario they could not be
mistaken for acting as LTTE agents and hence should
not be treated harshly.
India wants the cases to be handled under the
2008 agreement that allows Indian fishermen with
valid licences to fish in the Srilankan waters. But
Srilanka argues that the agreement is out-dated and
needs a fresh revision.
*India hopes new Maldives President Abdulla
India & World - News
Yameen will nurture democracy: India hopes that the
new Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen would try to
achieve consensus in the politically fragmented nation
and his government would refrain from persecution of
political opponents.
*Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Suraksha Yojana in
Dubai: The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affair launched
a scheme named Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Suraksha
Yojana in Dubai. The scheme is a pension and life
insurance fund scheme for blue-collar Indian workers in
MGPSY is a special social security scheme for
overseas Indian workers who are on temporary work
permit in 17 Emigration Check Required (ECR)
Aim: To help the overseas workers to save money for
their retirement, their return to India and resettlement
and provides life insurance cover against natural
death during the period of coverage.
Features of MGPSY:
The subscribers of this scheme will be provided
home and a life insurance cover for Rs. 1 lakh during
their work overseas.
Government of India will contribute up to Rs. 2000
every year for male workers and Rs. 3000 every year
to women workers for up to either five years or until
the worker returns home, whichever is earlier. It will
be added to the Pension and Life Insurance (PLIF)
account of each eligible subscriber.
The workers have to contribute between Rs. 1000
and Rs. 12000 per annum towards the pension fund
and Rs. 4000 towards the return and resettlement
fund. They will derive corresponding benefits when
they go back home and during their old age.
Bank of Baroda is the official banking partner of the
scheme to enroll the workers while the Indian
Workers Resource Centre (IWRC) is the support
center for Indian workers in UAE.
The scheme targets to cover 5 million overseas blue
collar Indian workers who have the Emigration
Clearance Required (ECR) category passports in 17
Emigration Clearance Required (ECR) category
Emigration Clearance Required (ECR) category
passports are issued to those workers who have not
passed Grade 10. Around 65% of more than 2 million
Indians in the UAE are blue collar workers and most
of them are in the ECR category.
Blue collar jobs
Blue collar is a term which is used to refer to wageearning workers who wear work clothes or other
specialized clothing on the job, as miners, mechanics
and longshoremen.
*New Delhi Declaration on South-South Cooperation
for Children's Rights: A New Delhi Declaration,
renewing governments’ commitments to the rights of
children and pledging to support each other in the
achievement of those rights, was adopted unanimously
today by Asian and Pacific States attending the Second
High Level Meeting on South-South Cooperation for
Child Rights in Asia and the Pacific.
The New Delhi Declaration reaffirms States’
commitments to children’s rights and sets out a series
of recommendations that will serve as a roadmap for
future cooperation. This includes collaboration on
ways to improve the collection of data on children,
and multi-country research into children’s issues and
the best means to address them.
The Declaration addresses the need for adequate
investments in education, job creation and social
participation to address the different threats and
challenges faced by adolescents, and to eliminate
violence against children and adolescents.
It also recommends that governments seek
meaningful participation by adolescents in decisionmaking, and improve access, quality, and relevance
of lower secondary education and vocational
training, in order to strengthen the job prospects of
adolescents, including girls.
The Declaration recommends enhancement of
national and regional coordination on early childhood
development, to advance exclusive breastfeeding,
full immunization, and children’s access to clean
water and hygienic sanitation.
The New Delhi Declaration calls for better access to
data about children in urban areas, and particularly
about children in slums and peri-urban areas. It
recommends information sharing and cooperation
between cities in the region so they can meet their
potential as places that promote child rights.
It recommends efforts to ensure equitable access to
services and livelihood options for the most
marginalized and excluded urban children, such as
those living in slums, as well as examination of the
service issues facing rural populations, to allow for a
more holistic approach to rural to urban migration.
*OPCW and India: The Organisation for the
India & World - News
Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is the
implementing body of the Chemical Weapons
Convention (CWC), which entered into force in
Headquartered at Hague,the OPCW has 190
Member States, who are working together to
achieve a world free from chemical weapons.
The OPCW is an independent, autonomous
international organisation with a WORKING
The Convention contains four key provisions:
destroying all existing chemical weapons under
international verification by the OPCW;
monitoring chemical industry to prevent new
weapons from re-emerging;
providing assistance and protection to States
Parties against chemical threats; and
fostering international cooperation to strengthen
implementation of the Convention and promote
the peaceful use of chemistry.
Recent Developments:
OPCW is currently working in Syria to destroy
the chemical weapons of the country. This is the
first time the international organization is working
in a country where a conflict is ongoing.
In 2013, the OPCW was awarded the Nobel
Peace Prize award to recognize its efforts in
achieving a Chemical-free world.
India and OPCW:
India is a founder member of the OPCW and it
India has successfully destroyed all the
Chemical weapons in its possession and has
stood by its ideal of achieving a Chemical
weapon-free world.
The percentage of Indians in the OPCW
inspection panel has always been high and its
Indian Laboratories, especially the one at
Gwalior, is recognized worldover.
India has offered $1million towards the cause of
destroying the weapons in Syria to the OPCW.
would have forfeited the money if they overstayed.
The plan had prompted an outcry from government and
business leaders in India, with which Britain has been
trying to foster a closer trade relationship.
*India, Senegal sign cultural treaty: Exchanges in
theatre, heritage and archaeology are some of the aspects
of a cultural treaty signed between India and Senegal.
The two countries signed the Executive Programme
for Cultural Cooperation for 2013-2015.
The agreement was signed by Culture Minister
Chandresh Kumari Katoch and Adboul Aziz Mbaye,
minister of culture of Senegal.
The agreement is valid for three years. The
programme seeks to exchange experts in theatre,
encourage training in artistic heritage, creative
activities, audio visual, music, dance, theatre and
puppetry and exchange publications on cultural
There would also be exchanges on canvas works and
prehistoric archaeology.
The agreement also envisages organising a cultural
week featuring on the cultures of both the countries.
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)
*UK scraps the Visa-bond plan: Britain is scrapping a
plan to force visitors from six "high risk" countries to
pay a cash bond of £3,000. The government had been
preparing to pilot a scheme requiring visitors from
India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Ghana and
Nigeria to pay the deposit for a six-month visa. They
India & World - News
In optional Subjects – Political Science, Public
Administration & Sociology we have 100%
India & World - News
Science & Technology
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*Commissioning of Inshore Patrol Vessel
(IPV)ICGS Rajdhwaj: The Indian Coast Guard Ship
Rajdhwaj, 50 meter long Inshore Patrol Vessel (IPV),
the 8th in the series of eight IPVs designed and built
by M/s Garden Reach Shipbuilders Engineers,
Kolkata was commissioned on 11th December 2013 at
Chennai by Shri GK Vasan.
The special features of the ship include an
Integrated Bridge System (IBS), Integrated
Machinery Control System (IMCS), and an
indigenously built 30 mm Gun Mount with Fire
Control System. The ship is designed to carry one
Rigid Inflatable Boat and two Geminis for Search
and Rescue, Law Enforcement and Maritime
*Coldest temperature ever recorded on Earth in
Antarctica: -94.7C (-135.8F): The old record had
been -89.2C (-128.6F). Ice scientist Ted Scambos at
the National Snow and Ice Data Centre announced the
cold facts at the American Geophysical Union
scientific meeting in San Francisco.
*Advanced light Helicopter ‘DHRUV’: Dhruv is
the first indigenously designed and manufactured
Advance Light Helicopter at Hindustan
Aeronautics Limited.
It has multi role capabilities has proven her mettle
in all the three services of the Armed Forces,
Indian Coast Guard, and BSF and in the inventory
of foreign countries.
Recently, the Navy commissioned the First
Advanced Light Helicopter Squadron named,
the Indian Naval Air Squadron (INAS) 322.
*Bharat Ratna for scientist Prof. C.N.R.Rao:
C.N.R. Rao, the man behind India’s maiden Mars
mission, to be conferred with the prestigious Bharat
Ratna Award, India’s highest civilian award.
First Indian scientist to reach the h-index of 100.
One of the earliest to synthesize two-dimensional
oxide materials such as La2CuO4.
Rao’s findings have resulted into a systematic
study of compositionally controlled
insulator transitions. Such findings have
emmensely helpes in fields such as colossal
magneto resistance and high temperature
superconductivity. Oxide semiconductors have
uncommon promise.
Made good contribution to nano materials, apart
from his work on hybrid materials.
What is h-index (also called the Hirsch index or
Hirsch number)?
H-INDEX (also called the Hirsch index or Hirsch
number) is a tool that measures the productivity
and impact of the published work of a scientist or
Based on the set of the scientist’s most cited
papers and the number of citations that the
individual has received in other publications.
Physicist Jorge Hirsch was the first one to coin it
in 2005.
George Whitesides of Harvard University has an
h-index of 169, which makes him the highest
ranked living chemist.
*Bt brinjal gets Bangladesh nod for commercial
cultivation: Bangladesh has approved the
commercial cultivation of transgenic Bt brinjal,
becoming the first country in South Asia to
cultivate the genetically modified food crop.
As per Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute
(BARI), the government has approved four Bt
brinjal varieties (Bt begun-1, 2, 3 and 4) for
limited scale cultivation with some caveats. These
varieties had been developed by BARI using
Indian firm Mahyco’s proprietary gene construct
technology. Mahyco had transferred its Bt brinjal
technology to BARI in 2005-06 through a USAIDfunded
‘Agricultural Biotechnology Support Project’.
Bt brinjal
Bt brinjal is a genetically modified transgenic
variety of brinjal. It contains a foreign ‘Cry1Ac’
gene derived from a soil bacterium, Bacillus
thuringiensis (Bt). This gene synthesises a protein
toxic to the fruit and shoot borer (FSB), a
damaging pest. The gene endows the crop a “builtin” resistance to FSB, reducing dependence on
spraying pesticides.
India’s concerns over Bt Brinjal
environmentalists in India who fear that, given the
porosity of Indo-Bangladesh border, the transgenic
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crop could leak into India’s environment. They
have requested the Government to take all
measures to safeguard food and seed supply, apart
from bio-diversity. Requests have also been sent to
Environment Ministry to take all steps to prohibit
any illegal or unintentional transfer of Bt brinjal or
seeds through the border with Bangladesh.
Environmentalists have written to the Ministry
urging the Indian government to explore all
options under the Cartagena Protocol to ensure that
Bangladesh takes all measures to ensure that our
diversity here is safeguarded from any transboundary movement of this GM food crop.
*CRISPR- a breakthrough to tweak genes?:
CRISPR is a newly discovered, extremely precise
gene-editing technique.
Under this new technique, scientists can engineer
or edit any part of the human gene, down to the
individual chemical building-blocks or nucloetides
that make up the genetic alphabet, without
introducing mutations or flaws.
The technique could soon be used in gene therapy
trials on humans to treat incurable viruses (eg.
HIV) and inherited genetic disorders (Sickle cell
anaemia, down syndrome, Huntigton’s disease).
Until now, gene therapy has had largely to rely
on the inaccurate methods of editing the genome,
often involving modified viruses that insert DNA
at random into the genome. The new gene-editing
technique could address many of the safety
concerns because it is so accurate.
The new technique could help cut gene defects in
IVF embryos and could provide a
breakthrough in molecular genetics.
Huntington's disease (HD) is an inherited
neurodegenerative genetic disorder that
affects muscle coordination and leads to
cognitive decline and psychiatric problems. It
typically becomes noticeable in mid-adult life.
HD is the most common genetic cause of
abnormal involuntary writhing movements
called chorea, which is why the disease used
to be called Huntington's chorea.
Down syndrome, also called Trisomy 21, is a
genetic disorder in which a person is born with
an extra copy of chromosome 21. People with
Down syndrome can have physical problems,
as well as intellectual disabilities. Every
person born with Down syndrome is different.
*Dolphin virus outbreak in Atlantic is deadliest
ever: The deadliest known outbreak of a marine
mammal measles-like virus, the morbilli virus, in
bottlenose dolphins has killed a record number of
the animals along the US Atlantic coast since July.
The cause of death is morbillivirus, a form of
marine mammal measles that is similar to canine
distemper and can cause pneumonia, suppressed
immune function and brain infections that are
usually fatal.
The virus spreads among dolphins in close contact.
*European Space Agency's Goce satellite falls to
Earth: The Gravity Field and Steady-State Ocean
Circulation Explorer (GOCE) is an ESA’s satellite
to map the Earth’s gravitational field and to study the
ocean circulation behavior. It was launched in 2009.
It has mapped the variations in earth’s gravity with
utmost precision. The result is the most accurate
shape of the geroid- a hypothetical global ocean at
rest- which is being used to understand ocean
circulation, sea level and Earth’s interior.
It is dubbed the ‘Ferrari of Space’ because of its
sleek looks.
The mission was operating in an extremely low
orbit - at 224km altitude, the lowest of any
scientific satellite.
Recently its reserves of xenon fuel were
After running out of propellant, the satellite began
dropping out of orbit and made an uncontrolled
re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere on 11
November 2013.
*Google launches Wallet debit card in US: Internet
search engine giant Google launched Wallet Card in
the US. It is a prepaid debit card that will facilitate
consumers to buy goods at stores and to withdraw
cash from ATM machines.
What does Google Wallet Card offer?
The card allows consumers access the funds stored
in their Google Wallet accounts. Consumers can
use this facility to purchasing goods at stores and
to withdraw cash from ATM machines. Consumers
add money to the new Wallet Card by linking it to
a bank account or when another person transfers
money to their Google Wallet account. The card
can be ordered online from Wednesday, and
typically takes 10 to 12 days to arrive. The card is
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free and the company will not charge cardholders
any monthly or annual fees.
What is Google Wallet?
Google Wallet is a smartphone app and online
payment service that allows consumers buy goods
and transfer money to each other.
*Green detector for building material: In what
could be a boon to the construction and building
industry in the country, the Centre for Advanced
Research in Building Science and Energy (CARBSE)
at Cept University has developed a 'U-Factor
calculator' that will prove beneficial in selecting
building material, help in analysis and building
energy modeling.
U-Factor, in simple terms, means 'rate of heat
transfer'. So, lower the U-factor, lesser the heat
transfer through walls, roof and windows of any
*India creates 60 – 170 km Pragati – Surface to
Surface Tactical Missile System: India has
developed a new tactical surface-to-surface missile
'Pragati' with a range between 60-170 km and will
offer it to friendly countries.
The new missile, now on display at a defence
exhibition in South Korea, is based on the Prahaar
missile developed by the DRDO for the Army and
can be termed as its export variant with minor
*India may take 3-4 years to adopt VoLTE,
telecom's next big thing: Voice over the technology
will lead global growth for the next 10 to 12 years but
it will take India three-four years to adopt the nascent
technology that improves carrying capacity of
airwaves and provides data at nearly 10 times the
speed offered on 3G.
The US will shortly see the deployment of voice
over the LTE technology (VoLTE) by some of its
mobile phone companies, becoming among a few
markets in the world to offer such 4G services.
Telecom companies and analysts in India however
belie any hopes that this development in the US widely considered the world's benchmark market would act as a catalyst for Indian mobile phone
companies like Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. to
speed up starting 4G LTE services in the country.
India is unique in the sense that hardly any other
operator globally offers LTE over the less efficient
2300 Mhz band that carriers in the country are
saddled with.
This has resulted in domestic operators choosing a
4G standard adopted only in China - a key point
which many say is delaying Reliance Jio's plans.
The company has had the necessary license and
bandwidth for over three years now.
’Voice Over LTE’ technology
‘Voice Over LTE’ technology is a technology for
providing a unified format of voice traffic on LTE,
and other systems including CSFB (Circuit
Switched FallBack ), and SV-LTE (Simultaneous
voice and LTE). It empowers 4G LTE operators to
offer rich voice, video and messaging services as a
core offering.
LTE stands for ‘Long Term Evolution’.
LTE technology marketed as 4G LTE is a GSMA
VoLTE IR.92 specification, based on global 3GPP
(3rd Generation Partnership Project) standards, for
wireless communication of high-speed data for
mobile phones and data terminals.
LTE is
optimized for data transfer and designed as a
packet switched all-IP system only; it does not
include any circuit switched domain currently used
for regular voice and SMS services.
Dissimilar to former cellular telecommunications
standards including GSM, LTE doesn’t have
devoted channels for circuit switched telephony.
Rather LTE is an all-IP system allowing for an
end-to-end IP connection from the mobile
equipment to the core network and out again.
Significance of Voice Over LTE (VOLTE)?
The Voice over LTE (VoLTE) is a result of
operators seeking a standardized system for
transferring voice traffic over LTE. Initially LTE
was seen as a totally IP cellular system just for
carrying data, and operators would be able to carry
voice either by reverting to 2G / 3G systems or by
using VoIP. Operators, nevertheless saw the fact
that a voice format was not defined as a key
omission for the system. It was seen that the lack
of standardization may provide problems with
scenarios including roaming. SMS is a key
necessity. As mobile operators receive much of
their revenues from voice and SMS traffic, it is
essential to have a feasible and standardized
scheme to render these services and guard this
Problem for India in implementing Voice Over
LTE (VOLTE) technology
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Once VoLTE is implemented in USA, the
technology will move faster to other countries viz.
India but there are some basic issues with
implementing the technology in India: Albeit software can be adapted in India but the
underlying hardware for the 2300 MHz band is the
key issue. The spectrum in the 2300 MHz band
which Reliance Jio infocomm and Bharati Airtel
won in order to offer 4G services emits weaks
signals, which implies poor service quality. This
issue is increased when it comes to transmitting
In Europe, however the LTE operated in the 700
MHz band.
India and China both have opted for TD-LTE
(Time-Division Long-Term Evolution) standard
which owing to lack of global scale, makes
necessary hardware costly.
*INS Vikramaditya Commissioned in Indian
Navy: The newly refurbished Soviet-era carrier,
Admiral Gorshkov, has been commissioned into the
Indian navy as INS Vikramaditya. It is India’s second
aircraft carrier after INS Viraat, which India procured
from the US way back in the 60’s.
India’s economic development is dependent on
the seas and safeguarding the nation’s maritime
interests is central to our national policy. Aircraft
carriers have been part of the Indian Navy’s force
structure since our independence and have
effectively served the country over the past five
decades or so.
The induction of ‘Vikramaditya’ with its integral
MiG29K fighters and Kamov-31 helicopters, not
only reinforces this central policy, but also adds
a new dimension to our Navy’s operational
The meaning of ‘Vikramaditya’, which literally
translates into “Strong as the Sun” is
complemented by the Ship’s motto –“Strike Far,
Strike Sure.
The successful culmination of Project 11430 truly
symbolizes the time-tested Special and
Privileged Strategic Partnership between India
and Russia.
The MiG 29K swing role fighter is the main
offensive platform and provides a quantum jump
for the Indian Navy’s maritime strike capability. It
is also fitted with the ALH-Dhruv and the
Chetak helicopters.
The carrier would enhance the capabilities of the
Indian Navy in the Indian Ocean region, an area
where China is trying to expand its geostrategic footprint.
*MAKO: The newly developed artificial
intelligence robot that can do anything and
everything on your PC. It can navigate through
almost any computer programs and across the
internet. It has voice recognition and responds to even
the slightest command with super speed.
successfully launched on PSLVC-25: It is a 450cr
ISRO’s mission to explore MARS. It is India’s first
inter-planetary spacecraft.
It carried five experimental payloads with a total
weight of 15kg. The payloads include: Methane
sensor, Composition analyser, a Photometer,
colour camera and an Imaging spectrometer.
ISRO’s trusted warhorse rocket PSLV-XL is
launched the mission.
The Mars mission will propel India to the elite
club of five nations comprising the U.S., Russia,
Europe and Japan which have launched similar
The mission period will be for 300 days.
Earth and Mars come closer to each other once
in every 26 months. So ISRO wishes to launch it
by this October failing which the mission could
only be launched in 2015.
The project director is S.Arunan and the
programme director is Mylswamy Annadurai.
United Nation observed on 11th December 2013 as
International Mountain Day, an opportunity to
promote the conservation and sustainable use of
increasingly scarce resources from mountain areas.
*Mars refreshes asteroids: Scientists:- Scientists at
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have
found that Mars causes “refreshing” of some nearEarth asteroids, causing the space rocks to appear
redder than meteorites.
What is “refreshing” in terms of asteroids?
Scientists have long been puzzled over why
asteroids appear redder than meteorites – the
remnants of asteroids that have crashed to Earth.
Later, it was thought to occur due to the effect of
the Earth’s gravity on the asteroids passing closer
to its orbit which causes the surface material to
Science & Technology + Defence & Environment + Health Issues - News
shift, exposing fresh material, causing it to appear
redder. This surface material shift phenomenon is
called Refreshing.
How Mars refreshes asteroids?
In the latest findings, scientists have calculated
that the gravity of Mars can also cause these
phenomena. Scientists calculated the orbits of 60
refreshed asteroids, and found that 10% of these
never cross Earth’s orbit. Instead, these asteroids
only come close to Mars, suggesting that the Red
Planet can refresh the surfaces of these asteroids.
These findings show that Earth is not the only
major factor behind the refreshing of asteroids.
The finding is also a surprising one as the Red
Planet is one-third the size of Earth, and one-tenth
as massive - and therefore exerts a far weaker
gravitational pull on surrounding objects. But
Mars’ position in the solar system places the planet
in close proximity with the asteroid belt,
increasing the chance of close asteroid encounters.
*NASA discovers granite on Mars: As per a
research team from the US space agency NASA,
granite – an igneous rock common on Earth— could
be found in abundance on Mars. The research backed
by the NASA Mars Data Analysis Program
strengthens the evidence for granite on Mars by using
remote sensing techniques with infrared spectroscopy
to survey a large volcano on Mars that was active for
billions of years.
The ancient Martian volcano has large amounts of
a mineral found in granite called feldspar.
Minerals that are common in basalts rich in iron
and magnesium are nearly completely absent here.
For a long time Mars was understood to be
geologically simplistic consisting mostly of one
type of rock as opposed to the complex geology of
Earth. Most of the surface of Mars is covered by
dark-coloured volcanic rocks called basalt.
How the granite could have formed on Mars?
The location of the feldspar near the volcano can
explain the formation of granite Mars. It occurs by
a process called fractionation in which the magma
slowly cools in the subsurface and low density
melt separates from dense crystals. The cycle is
repeated again and again for millennia until granite
is formed. Granite or its eruptive equivalent
rhyolite is often found on Earth in tectonically
active regions. Though this is improbable on Mars
but the scientists concluded that extended
magmatic activity on Mars can also produce it on a
large scale.
*NASA’s Maven Mars mission set for launch:
NASA is sending Mars Atmosphere and Volatile
Evolution (Maven) to Mars to study its upper
atmosphere. Scientists want to know why Mars went
from being warm and wet during its first billion years,
to the cold and dry place it is today.
The early Martian atmosphere was thick enough to
hold water and possibly support microbial life. But
much of that atmosphere may have been lost to
space, eroded by the sun.
Maven bearing eight science instruments will take
10 months to reach Mars, entering into orbit
around the red planet in September 2014. The
mission costs $671 million.
Fourteen of the previous 20 missions have
succeeded, the most recent being the Curiosity
rover that was launched in 2011 and landed in
*Smart-phone controlled toy robots developed:
Engineers have developed the magnetic robot
construction kits, called MOSS that enables the user
to build their own smart-phone controlled toy robots
that can drive and wiggle.
By attaching a Bluetooth module, players can
control the robots remotely using a smartphone or
a tablet.
*Sukhoi-30 chosen to mount BrahMos: IAF: The
Indian Air Force (IAF) has decided to make its deep
penetration Sukhoi-30 fighter jets a platform to mount
the air version of supersonic BrahMos missiles,
whose first test-launch will be conducted by the end
of 2014.
Sukhoi-30 is being manufactured at Hindustan
Aeronautics Limited’s Nashik facility in
collaboration with the Russians. The air version of
the BrahMos missile is ready, but it will take a
year more for testing, simulations and aircraft
BrahMos Aerospace is bound to deliver the
supersonic cruise missile to the IAF starting 2015.
It has also slashed the weight of the missile to 2.5
tonne from the normal 3 tonne as demanded by the
IAF as the launch at high speeds requires lesser
components on propulsion.
The BrahMos has already been inducted by the
Science & Technology + Defence & Environment + Health Issues - News
Army and the Navy. However, an air platform has
not been provided yet.
*Sun to swap its polarity within weeks: NASA:
According to the US space agency NASA, the Sun’s
magnetic field will reverse its polarity within weeks.
Although the event is normal and not catastrophic, it
will send ripple effects throughout the solar system.
Why the Sun switches its polarity?
The sun swaps its polarity, flipping its magnetic
north and south, once every 11 years through an
internal mechanism about which little is known.
The polarity change is built up throughout the eleven
year cycle through areas of intense magnetic activity
known as sunspots which gradually move towards the
poles, eroding the existing opposite polarity. Finally,
the magnetic field reduces to zero, and is swapped
with the opposite polarity.
How the reversion of Sun’s polarity could affect
This event will not cause any catastrophe.
However, the swap could cause intergalactic
weather fronts such as geomagnetic storms, which
can interfere with satellites and cause radio
blackouts. The impact of the transfer will be
extensive as the sun’s magnetic field wields
influence well beyond Pluto, past Nasa’s Voyager
probes positioned near the edge of interstellar
*World Bank releases new report on climate
change, global warming: World Bank has released a
new report -- On Thin Ice: How Cutting Pollution
can Slow Warming and Save Lives. The report that
talks about ways to mitigate the effects of climate
change says fast action to cut common pollutants
like soot (also known as black carbon) and
methane will not only slow global warming, but save
millions of lives.
Reductions of these so-called short-lived climate
pollutants (SLCPs) would slow rapid melting in
mountain regions with glaciers, like the Himalayas
and the Arctic.
More than one million premature deaths could be
avoided annually in the Himalayan region from
reducing emissions of black carbon and methane.
It would also bring multiple health, crop and
ecosystem benefits, and decrease risks to
development from flooding and water shortages
says a new scientific study.
The Himalayan Mountain ranges extending
2,400 km through six nations (India, Pakistan,
Afghanistan, China, Bhutan, and Nepal) make up
the largest cryosphere region. Rapid climate
induced changes in the region will directly affect
the water resources of more than 1.5 billion lives,
as well as services such as electricity, and the food
supplies of 3 billion people.
* DRDO develops heavy drop system improving
Army's para-dropping capacity: Defence scientists
have enhanced India’s capabilities in para dropping
key military equipment and supplies from heavy lift
aircraft like the IL76 to beef up the Army’s strike
A total of 16 tonnes that could include military
vehicles, ammunition trolleys and parachute subsystems, can now be airdropped by the heavy drop
system (HDS). Three prototypes of the system
have been designed and developed by the Aerial
laboratory of the Defence Research and
Development Organisation (DRDO).
The laboratory has also conducted two successful
drops meeting performance parameters, according
to a DRDO spokesperson.
The system is an extension of technology
developed by DRDO for the ‘P-7 HDS’, the 7tonne capacity Heavy Drop System developed
earlier and already accepted by the Indian Army
for induction.
The bulk production of 146 numbers is being
initiated at L&T for the mechanical platform and
OPF Kanpur for the parachute systems
respectively, at an approximate total cost of Rs 180
The P-7 HDS, paradropped as a composite unit
termed ‘Load’, has been developed for paradropping military stores/equipments such as
military vehicles and ammunition trolleys from the
IL-76 aircraft and comprises two main subsystems, namely, platform sub-system and
parachute sub-system.
The Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister and
Secretary, Department of Defence R&D, Avinash
Chander, said the system offered ‘drop and drive’
capability and once inducted, the system, a force
multiplier, would enhance the capabilities of
armed forces.
Science & Technology + Defence & Environment + Health Issues - News
The organization has developed a wide range of
parachute systems for applications covering
‘delivery of military stores and human beings to
the battlefield and remote locations’, to ‘recovery
(from spin) parachute systems for Light Combat
Aircraft’, to recovery systems for the Space
Recovery Experiment.
* Newly discovered greenhouse gas '7,000 times
more powerful than CO2: A new greenhouse gas
that is 7,000 times more powerful than carbon dioxide
at warming the Earth has been discovered by
researchers in Toronto.
The newly discovered gas, perfluorotributylamine
(PFTBA), has been in use by the electrical industry
since the mid-20th century. The chemical, that does
not occur naturally, breaks all records for potential
impacts on the climate.
Concentrations of PFTBA in the atmosphere are
low – 0.18 parts per trillion in the Toronto area –
compared to 400 parts per million for carbon
dioxide. So PFTBA does not in any way displace
the burning of fossil fuels such as oil and coal as
the main drivers of climate change.
It remains in the air for 500 years.
PFTBA has been in use since the mid-20th century
for various applications in electrical equipment,
such as transistors and capacitors. The researchers
said it was unclear how widespread its use was
It belongs to an entire class of chemicals used for
industrial applications whose effects on the
atmosphere remain unknown.
* Western Ghats: Nod for farming activities by
Ministry of Environment & Forests: The
Environment Ministry, following the ‘in principle’
acceptance of the Kasturirangan panel report, issued a
fresh order on easing norms on activities related to
plantations and agriculture in Ecologically Sensitive
Areas (ESA).
The Ministry elucidated that the recommendations
made by the Kasturirangan panel, neither put any
fresh restrictions on land use in the ESA nor do
they in any way impact the continued occupation
of land in possession of the local people and affect
their day to day activities or normal livelihood.
The new order cleared that the boundary of the
ESA and the regulatory regime — an emotive
issue in some of the affected states — would be
finalized after the draft notification for the same is
placed in the public domain and comments on it
from all stakeholders including state governments
are received.
Key suggestions made by the K. Kasturirangan
Promotion of Ecotourism; economically empower
the local population, Incentives green growth in
the Western Ghats, etc.
Ban on mining, quarrying, sand mining, thermal
power plants, building and construction projects on
areas that are 20,000 sq m or more, township and
area development projects with an area of 50ha
and above and red category of industries in ESA.
Defined 37% of the Western Ghats landscape as
ecologically sensitive.
* First human artificial heart transplant executed
in France: An artificial heart that can give patients up
to five years of extra life has been successfully
implanted for the first time, at Georges Pompidou
Hospital in Paris, France. The equipment designed to
overcome the worldwide shortage of transplant
donors was produce by French Biomedical firm
Carmat, a start-up funded by the Dutch-based
European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company
About Artificial Heart
Powered by external, wearable Lithium-ion
Inside the heart, surfaces that come into contact
with human blood are made partly from bovine
tissue instead of synthetic materials such as plastic
that can cause blood clots.
Uses a range of “biomaterials”, including bovine
tissue, to reduce the likelihood of the body
rejecting it.
Weighs about 900g (around 2 lb) – nearly three
times more than an average healthy human heart. It
is expected to cost 140,000 to 180,000 euros in
It mimics heart muscle contractions and contains
sensors that adapt the blood flow to the patient’s
Intended to replace a real heart for as many as five
years, unlike previous artificial hearts that were
created mainly for temporary use.
* Mobile makers should install “SoS” button for
women safety: Finance Minister: On the first
anniversary of December 16 brutal act that jolted the
country, the Centre approved several proposals for
Science & Technology + Defence & Environment + Health Issues - News
improving women’s safety under the Nirbhaya Fund.
phrases like “save our ship“, “save our souls” and
Finance Minister P. Chidambaram announced that “send out succour” were popularly associated with
mobile handset makers will have to introduce an SoS SOS, these may be regarded as mnemonics.
alert button to ensure that women in distress can be
reached by the police in the minimum possible time.
* Mr. Mikhail Kalashnikov: Designer of AK-47 (
Proposal from the Ministries of Home Affairs and ”Avtomat Kalashnikova 1947″) passed away:
Officially known as “Avtomat Kalashnikova 1947″. It
Information Technology:
The police administration will be integrated with is a selective-fire, gas-operated 7.62×39mm assault
the mobile phone network to rapidly respond to rifle and has a rate of fire of 600 rounds-a-minute.
distress calls. The scheme will be launched in 157 The AK-47 has only eight moving parts can be
cities in two phases (55 in phase I and 102 in phase broken down and reassembled in 30 seconds and
will work in conditions that would render many other
small arms inoperable. Invented by Mikhail
Proposal from the Road Transport Ministry:
A programme ‘Security of women in road Kalashnikov, who received numerous honors
transport in the country’ will be launched in 32 including the Hero of Socialist Labor and Order of
towns, each with a population of over 1 million. Lenin and Stalin Prize.
The expected cost is about Rs. 1,700 crore. Under
this scheme, public transport vehicles will have * World's first talking humanoid robot chats with
GPS for easy tracking, CCTVs and more women astronaut on ISS: The first humanoid robot in space
made small talk with a Japanese astronaut and said it
drivers and conductors, among others measures.
had no problem with zero gravity on the International
Proposal from the Railway Ministry:
It proposes to start a public scheme for Space Station.
establishing an SoS alert system in trains in select Kirobo is programmed to process questions and
zones. The facility will cover all service providers
select words from its vocabulary to construct an
from all telecom circles. It will have a call
answer, instead of giving pre-programmed
responses to specific questions.
recording facility and a call centre.
The creator of the robot, Tomotaka Takahashi, said
What is Nirbhaya Fund?
Nirbhaya Fund is a Rs. 1000 crore fund was
the autonomous functions meant nobody knew
announced by Finance Minister P Chidambaram in
how well Kirobo would be able to answer
Budget 2013-14. The fund is aimed at enhancing the
Wakata's questions.
safety and for empowerment of women. It was named
after Nirbhaya- the pseudonym given to the victim of *Australian school introduces world’s first
the incident to hide her identity.
standing classroom to combat childhood obesity:
As part of a novel experiment, Mont Albert Primary
What is SoS?
SOS is the widely used description for the School in Australia has launched the world’s first
International Morse Code distress signal. Earlier, SOS standing classroom which aims to combat the menace
was used as the maritime radio distress signal but of childhood obesity. In this experiment being
from 1999 it was replaced by the Global Maritime conducted by the researchers of Baker IDI Heart and
Distress Safety System. SOS is still recognized as a Diabetes Institute, a grade six class at this school has
visual distress signal.
been fitted with height-adjustable desks to allow the
student to sit or stand.
What is the composition of SOS?
The SOS distress signal is a continuous sequence of The researchers will monitor the standing students
three dits, three dahs, and three dits, all run together
with an objective to know if being upright can
without letter spacing. The three dits form the letter S,
improve their health, fitness, learning and memory.
and three dahs make the letter O, so “SOS” became an
Pupils will also be fitted with devices to measure
easy way to remember the order of the dits and dahs.
how long they spend sitting, with lesson plans
SOS is the only 9-element signal in Morse code,
revised to reduce the time students are idle.
making it more easily identifiable, as no other symbol Why this experiment?
uses more than 8 elements.
As per scientists, prolonged sitting during the
school hours poses health risk by contributing to
What is the full form of SOS?
obesity in students as during these hours children
It must be noted that SOS is not an abbreviation and
perform less physical activity. Earlier studies have
there it does not stand for anything. Although some
Science & Technology + Defence & Environment + Health Issues - News
shown students spent two-thirds of a school day
sitting, and long hours of childhood sitting can
contribute to the onset of such diseases such as
Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and
In this experiment in which students are required
to attend school hours standing they will engage
more muscles that are likely to be of great benefit
for keeping the blood flowing throughout their
body and reducing the level of fatigue. If
researchers find this exercise beneficial for the
cardiovascular health, learning and memory of the
standing students compared to a traditional class,
this pilot study would be expanded to a much
larger trial to find if it can make an impact on
lessons across Australia.
*Beidou Satellite Navigation System (BDS): Beidou
Satellite Navigation System (BDS) is a Chinese
satellite navigation system. It consists of two separate
satellite constellations:
Beidou-1: A limited test system that has been
operating since 2000
Beidou-2 : A full-scale global navigation system
which is also known as COMPASS and is
currently under construction as of January 2013 .
Beidou-2 will have 35 satellites in its network.
Objective of Beidou Satellite Navigation System
(BDS): Initially, when the BDS was launched in
2011, it was serving only the government and
military. However, over the past year the navigation
system is being widely used for civilian purposes
domestically. In China, around 80% of passenger
buses and trucks use the BDS. Now China intends to
expand its satellite navigation services to Asia-Pacific
and to South and South-East Asia regions.
*China makes 'giant leap' with Jade Rabbit moon
rover landing: China's Jade Rabbit rover vehicle
drove onto the moon's surface on Sunday after the
first lunar soft landing in nearly four decades, a huge
advance in the country's ambitious space programme.
China is the 3rd country to complete a lunar rover
mission after the United States and the then-Soviet
Union -- a decade after it first sent an astronaut
into space.
enclosed body structure with hard top and doors.
After integrating suggestions and objections, transport
minister Oscar Fernandes approved the proposal that
under this category, battery-powered or electric fourwheelers will also be considered.
Quadricycle Vehicle
It is a four-wheel vehicle with a small engine to be
positioned between a three-wheeler and a
passenger car which does not meet the same safety
and emission norms of regular passenger cars and
have their own set of regulations.
The vehicle will be of two types – passenger
carriers and goods carriers – with different
maximum kerb weights and length.
It will be allowed to ply only on city roads as
transport vehicles and not as personal vehicles.
Passenger carriers will have a maximum weight of
450kg and a max length of 3 metres, while goods
carriers will have a maximum weight of 500kg and
a length of 3.7 metres.
It will be permitted to carry a maximum of four
passengers or a maximum weight of up to 500kg.
Note: Kerb (Curb) weight is the total weight of an
automobile with standard equipment, all necessary
operating consumables (e.g., motor oil and coolant),
and a full tank of fuel, while not loaded with either
passengers or cargo.
*MiG-21 FL to be officially replaced by Teja:
India’s first indigenous fighter aircraft test fired, off
the coast of Goa, an infrared seeking air-to-air missile
on December 7, which hit the target in a direct hit
with precision and destroyed it.
Revealing that Tejas will be battle ready by end of
*World Pneumonia Day: 12 November 2013 is
World Pneumonia Day. Pneumonia is the single
largest cause of death in children under five last year
alone, 1.1 million children under five died from
pneumonia, the bulk of whom were less than 2 years
*Ocean centre creates sea cages to breed fish: If
National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) has
its way, fishermen along the Tamil Nadu coast can
sail just a few kilometres into the sea once in a few
months and return with a catch of 10 tonnes.
The institute has come up with technology to
breed fish in huge cages.
Having done pilot studies using cages of 9m
diameter that yield up to 10 tonnes of fish, NIOT is
ready with cages of up to 20m diameter.
Plans are afoot to tie up with National Bank for
*Government sanctioned Quadricycle as a new
vehicle: The road transport and highways ministry
sanctioned “Quadricycle” as a new category of
vehicle on Indian roads. These vehicles are safer than
three-wheelers as they have four wheels with fully
Science & Technology + Defence & Environment + Health Issues - News
Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard)
and nationalised banks for fishing communities
and cooperative societies to take care of the
*37% of Western Ghats now no-go zone for
industry: The ministry of environment and forests
(MoEF) has finally notified nearly 60,000 sq km area
of the Western Ghats across six states as
Ecologically Sensitive Area (ESA), making it a nogo zone where activities like mining, quarrying and
setting up thermal power plants and other high
polluting industries will be banned with immediate
Hydro-electric power projects and windmills
will, however, be allowed in the ESA under strict
green norms and monitoring.
The ESA - roughly 37% (59,940 sq km) of the
Western Ghats — has been earmarked on the basis
of the recommendation of a committee, under
the chairmanship of K Kasturirangan.
The panel had identified the more or less
contiguous area — roughly 37% of the Western
Ghats — as natural landscape having high
biological richness, low forest fragmentation
and low population density.
It also found that this area also has World Heritage
sites and tiger and elephant corridors, making it
to be a fit case for earmarked as ecologically
sensitive area.Besides being a global biodiversity
hotspot and treasure trove of varieties of flora
and fauna, the Western Ghats, which extends over
1,500 km and traverses through six states, is the
origin of Godavari, Krishna, Cauvery and a
number of other rivers.
*Michiaki Takahasi: Developer of chickenpox
vaccine passed away: Dr. Michiaki Takahashi (85),
a Japanese virologist, who developed a vaccine for the
chicken pox virus passed away. Dr. Takahashi
developed his vaccine by growing live but weakened
versions of the virus in animal and human cells. The
disease was not sourced by the vaccine, but the
vaccine encouraged immune system to create
antibodies. Thus, it fools the immune system into
thinking that it has seen this disease before.
Chickenpox is caused by the varicella-zoster virus,
a form of herpes. If a person contracts the virus,
has an active infection and then recovers, the virus
is not actually gone from the body. It can hide in
nerve cells for years or decades, then emerge again
to cause shingles, a painful condition that causes a
skin rash and occurs mostly in adults.
Chicken Pox
Caused by the Varicella-Zoster Virus (VZV)
which is a form of herpes.
Highly contagious disease that is spread via
contact with infected person.
Symptoms: rashes in the body, fever, loss of
appetite, headache and tiredness.
It’s most common in kids under age 12, but
anyone can get chickenpox.
Batch From
January 18,
• Wide Extensive coverage.
• Special Focus on Science & Tech –
Current and Applications.
• Socio-Economic Issues.
• Free Entry to Test Batch.
• Focused attention.
• Exam oriented syllabus coverage.
• Highly potential questions to be
• More than 70 questions in GS
Science & Technology + Defence & Environment + Health Issues - News
* CCEA allowed RIL Higher Gas Prices in Lieu of
Bank Guarantee: The Cabinet Committee on
Economic Affairs (CCEA) allowed Reliance
Industries Ltd (RIL) to sell natural gas at the revised
doubled price from April, 2014 provided the firm gave
a bank guarantee.
The contractor would be allowed to sell D1 and
D3 (fields) gas at revised prices from April 1,
2014. The sale would be permitted on the basis of
a bank guarantee by RIL in favor of the
The bank guarantee (around $9 billion )will be
encashed if it is proved that the company stored
gas or deliberately put down production at the
main Dhirubhai-1 and 3 (D1 and D3) fields in the
eastern offshore KG-D6 block.
The new gas pricing formula will be applicable
to all producers and all forms of gas including
Coal-Bed Methane (CBM) and shale gas.
* e-Pramaan would make SMSs a valid
documentary proof: Soon, SMSs will be acceptable
as “documentary proof” for a variety of citizenservices ranging from making payments to
The Department of electronics and information
technologY (DeitY), a part of the ministry of
Communication and Information Technology, is
all set to flag off a new online authentication
The Central Government launched a platform with
about 241 applications for the public after
completing pilot project of mobile governance
with about 100 departments and testing proof of
SMS authentication is part of the e-Pramaan
project which has an overall outlay of Rs 23 crore;
it will become reality by June 2014.
The online authentication project of the Union
government would enable SMSs to be used as
documentary proof for various registrations and
The applications relate to services will cover areas
viz. Right to Information (RTI), health, Aadhaar,
education, directory services, etc.
* EU bestows “GSP-Plus” status on Pakistan: The
European Union (EU) has given GSP-Plus status to
Pakistan, a move that is likely to encourage the textile
and other industries as it grants exporters duty-free
access to 28 member nations of the EU group.
Pakistan was in talks with several EU member
countries to get the status.
November 2013
Under this, 75 Pakistani products would have
duty-free access to European markets.
The status will facilitate Pakistan to export
products worth over $ 1 billion to international
markets and the textile industry alone is expected
to earn profits of more than Rs 1 trillion a year.
Experts are of the view that the EU trade
concessions will benefit Pakistan’s textile and
clothing industry, mainly by enabling its products
to compete with those of regional competitors like
Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, which already have
duty-free access to the bloc’s markets. Currently,
of Pakistan’s total exports to the EU, textile and
clothing makes over 50% which is worth $ 9.5
EU’s GSP system
The EU’s “Generalised Scheme of Preferences”
(GSP) allows developing country exporters to pay
lower duties on their exports to the EU. This gives
them vital access to EU markets and contributes to
their economic growth. The “GSP+” enhanced
preferences mean full removal of tariffs on
essentially the same product categories as those
covered by the general arrangement. These are
granted to countries which ratify and implement
international conventions relating to human and
labour rights, environment and good governance.
The EU has modified its GSP system which will
come into effect from January 1, 2014.
3 key arrangements GSP scheme
The standard GSP scheme, which offers generous
tariff cuts to developing nations. Practically, this
means partial or entire removal of tariffs on 2/3rd
of all product categories.
The “GSP+” enhanced preferences mean full
removal of tariffs on essentially the same product
categories as those covered by the general
arrangement. These are granted to nations which
ratify and implement international conventions
relating to human and labour rights, environment
and good governance.
“Everything but Arms” (EBA) scheme for Least
Developed Nations (LDCs), which grants dutyfree quota-free access to all products, except for
arms and ammunitions.
* Govt allowed CIL to pump gas from CBM mines:
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA)
allowed state-owned Coal India Ltd (CIL) to pump
methane gas trapped in coal beds of its existing mines.
This move will open a new revenue stream for the
world’s largest coal miner and help unlock several
mines that have remained out of bounds because
of the presence of the explosive gas that make
mining unsafe.
Presently, rules and regulations prohibit mining
firms from extracting Coal Bed Methane (CBM)
during mining as the policy does not allow for
simultaneous extraction of methane (CBM) and
Only those companies that successfully bid for
mines with CBM are allowed to explore and
produce such gas. The government auctioned 33
CBM blocks since 2001.
CIL holds at least 20% of the estimated 60 billion
tonnes of coal resources in India. It has many coal
mines in eight States that are estimated to have
CBM reserves of 3.5-4 trillion cubic feet.
* RBI outlines action plan to tackle NPAs;
discussion paper open for public comments: The
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) outlined a corrective
action plan to minimize rising Non-performing assets
(NPAs). The plan include three steps: To motivate early identification of problem cases.
To restructure the accounts timely , which are
considered to be viable, and
Banks must take prompt actions for recovery or
sale of unviable accounts.
As per the RBI discussion paper, “Early
recognition of Financial Distress, Prompt Steps for
Resolution and Fair Recovery for Lenders:
Framework for Revitalizing Distressed Assets in
the Economy”, which is open for public comments
till January 1, 2014, it would set up a Central
Repository of Information on Large Credits
(CRILC) to collect, store, and disseminate credit
data to lenders. The credit information will include
all types of exposures as defined under RBI
Circular on exposure norms, and will also include
data on lenders’ investments in bonds/debentures
issued by the borrower/obligor.
Banks will have to furnish credit information to
CRILC on all their borrowers having aggregate
fund-based and non-fund based exposure of Rs.5
crore and above.
On the asset sales front, the RBI has shown
readiness in allowing a lender to spread any loss
over two years provided the loss is fully disclosed
and allowing leverage buyouts by specialized
financing/refinancing possible over a longer
period and not construing it as restructuring. RBI
also proposed more expensive future borrowings
for borrowers who do not cooperate with lenders
in resolution.
Non-performing Assets (NPA)
Any asset, including a leasePDFd asset, becomes a
non performing when it ceases to generate income
for the bank are called Non Performing Assets or
Bad loans.
RBI proposed these rules to help banks to recover
bad debts in an effort to ease the financial stress
on banks as the economy slows. This discussion
November 2013
comes as there is fear of bad loans to gain a record
high of around Rs. 2.9 trillion by the end of the
fiscal or 4.5 per cent of the total banking assets.
* RBI: Inflation linked bonds for sale from
December 23, 2013: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI)
will issue Inflation Indexed National Savings
Securities Cumulative (IINSS-C) bonds (or inflation
linked bonds) for retail investors by opening the
subscription on December 23, 2013 and close it on
December 31, 2013.
Objective: The move will help to protect retail
investors from price rise.
The IINSS-C bonds will offer investors a return
i.e. 1.5% more than inflation based on the
consumer price index. Interest will be
compounded half yearly, enhancing effective yield
on investments.
Inflation linked bonds
The limit for investment per applicant per annum:
Rs 5,000 – Rs 5 lakh.
Eligibility for subscription: Individuals, Hindu
Undivided Family, charitable institutions and
The interest rate on these bonds would be linked to
the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
The interest rate would comprise two parts — a
fixed rate of 1.5% per annum and inflation rate
based on CPI with a lag of three months. It would
be compounded on the principal on half-yearly
basis and paid at the time of maturity.
For senior citizens (65 years and above of age),
early repurchase will be allowed after one year
from date of issue and other investors can redeem
them after three years but with penalty of 50 per
cent of the last coupon paid.
RBI will act as a central depository, as these
securities will be issued in the form of Bonds
Ledger Account (BLA) and held with RBI.
Distribution or sale of bonds would be through
banks: SBI, nationalized banks and three private
banks HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank
and Stock Holding Corporation of India.
*Apple is world's most valuable brand: Global
technology major Apple is the world's most valuable
brand followed by Microsoft, Coca-Cola, IBM and
Google, according to Forbes. Apple has topped the
'World's Most Valuable List' compiled by 'Forbes'
magazine with a brand value of $104.3 billion, nearly
double than the other technology major Microsoft
which has a brand value of $56.7 billion.
*Implementation of MGNREGA, 2005: The
Standing Committee on Rural Development (Chair:
Sumitra Mahajan) submitted its report on the
implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National
(MGNREGA) on August 14, 2013.
The MGNREGA was enacted in 2005 to guarantee
100 days of employment per year to rural
The Committee highlighted several achievements of
the MGNREGA in the seven years of its
implementation; especially
ensuring livelihoods for people in rural areas,
large scale participation of women, SCs/STs and
other traditionally marginalised sections of
increasing the wage rate in rural areas,
strengthening the rural economy through the
creation of assets,
facilitating sustainable development and
strengthening Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs)
like the gram sabha by involving them in planning
and monitoring of the scheme.
However, the Committee found several issues with
the implementation of the scheme including
fabrication of job cards,
delay in payment of wages,
non payment of unemployment allowances,
a large number of incomplete works,
poor quality of assets created,
several instances of malpractices and corruption,
insufficient involvement of PRIs.
The Committee made the following
recommendations, based on its findings:
Fabrication of Job cards: Offences such as
missing entries in the job cards and unlawful
possession of job cards with elected PRI
representatives and MGNREGA functionaries
should be made a punishable offence under the Act.
Increase awareness among Women: Since
studies have shown that the income of female
workers raises the standard of living of their
households to a greater extent than their male
counterparts, the participation of women must be
increased through raising awareness and
forming self help groups.
Needs of Disabled: Special works must be
identified, meeting the specific needs of disabled
people. Special job cards must be issued and
personnel must be employed to ensure the
participation of persons with disabilities.
Issues related to finance: The Department of
Rural Development must analyse poor utilisation
of funds and take steps to bridge the gap between
outcome and outlay. In addition, it should initiate
action against officers found guilty of
misappropriating funds under MGNREGA.
Dated receipts for demanded work should be
issued so that workers can claim unemployment
allowance. Funds for unemployment allowance
November 2013
should be met by the central government.
Increase the role of States and PRI’s: Since
states are at various stages of socio-economic
development, they may have varied requirements
for development and therefore, state governments
should be allowed to undertake works that are
pertinent to their context.
Training and capacity building of elected
representatives and other functionaries of PRIs
must be done regularly.
Address the quality of work: There should be
more emphasis on skilled and semi-skilled work
under MGNREGA, possibly through greater
coordination with the National Rural Livelihoods
convergence with other schemes such as the
National Literacy Mission and Mid Day Meal
and Accountability: Frequency of
monitoring by National Level Monitors should
increase and appropriate measures should be taken
based on their recommendations. Additionally, social
audits must mandatorily be held every 6 months. A
nodal officer should be designated to ensure this.
*Mr. Sidharth Birla took charge as President of
FICCI: Mr. Sidharth Birla, Chairman of Xpro India
Limited took the charge as the President of Federation
of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry
(FICCI) on December 21, 2013. He succeeded the
HSBC India Country Head Naina Lal Kidwai.
Chairperson and MD of Bharat Hotels, Jyotsna
Suri elected as Senior Vice-President.
Harshavardhan Neotia elected as Vice-President of
*Nation gets its first All-Women bank- BMB:As
promised in the Budget 2013-2014,the Bharathiya
Mahila Bank was inaugurated in India recently. The
All-Women bank has been established to cater to the
needs of the women.
Only 26% of Women in India have a bank
account and the percapita credit they obtain
from bank is also 80% less than Men. This is
because they are not able to produce collateral to
loans as the property is invariably held in the name
of the father, husband or son. This leads to gender
bias in banking.
The BMB will have its branches initially at:
Ahmedabad, Lucknow,and Guwahati. It will be
headquartered in New Delhi and would be headed
by Usha Ananthasubramanian.
The bank is set to open 25 branches this fiscal.
*Rs. 852.57 Crore Allocated for North-East States
under RKVY: Rs. 852.57 crore allocated for North
East States under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana.
Assam (Rs. 440.03 crore) has been allocated highest
amount followed by Mizoram (Rs. 132.01 crore). The
state wise fund allocation to the north eastern States is
given below:
S. No.
Name of State
Arunachal Pradesh
Allocation (201314) Rs. crore
Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) aims
at achieving 4% annual growth in agriculture
sector by ensuring holistic development of
agriculture and allied sectors. To achieve this
end, the States have been given complete
flexibility to choose projects for achieving the
desired growth in these sectors. Under this scheme
Government of India does not fix targets, rather
gives complete autonomy to state to customize
interventions as per their requirements.
*SBI to act as lead bank for four newly-formed
Meghalaya districts: The Reserve Bank of India
(RBI) designated SBI to act as the lead bank in four
newly constructed districts in Meghalaya. The central
bank also assigned State Bank of India (SBI), the
district working codes for the purpose of Basic
Statistical Returns (BSR) reporting. The four new
districts of Meghalaya are North Garo Hills, East
Jaintia Hills, South West Khasi Hills and South West
Garo Hills.
Lead Bank Scheme (LBS)
The RBI introduced ‘Lead Bank Scheme’ in 1969,
based on the recommendations of the Gadgil Study
The basic idea was to have an “area approach” for
targeted and focused banking.
Under the Scheme, each district had been assigned
to different banks (public and private) to act as a
consortium leader to coordinate the efforts of banks
in the district particularly in matters like branch
expansion and credit planning.
The Lead Bank was to act as a consortium leader
for coordinating the efforts of all credit institutions
in each of the allotted districts for expansion of
branch banking facilities and for meeting the credit
needs of the rural economy.
*SEBI made fund-raising easier for corporate
India and tightened noose on fraudsters: In order to
raise funds easier for companies through genuine
November 2013
equity or debt offers, the market regulator SEBI
approved new norms for its search and seizure
operations, settlement proceedings, refund to investors
and crackdown on illicit money-pooling schemes. The
measures of new norms: To consider the Financial Portfolio Investors
(FPIs) similar to Foreign Institutional Investors
(FIIs) on tax purposes.
To raise funds through Initial Public Offer (IPO)
of equity shares and allowed companies to file
shelf prospectus for debt offers that would be valid
for multiple offers within a year.
To ensure faster refund of money to investors,
essential checks are put in place to avoid any
misuse of its newly granted powers with regard to
conduct of search and seizure of fraudsters and
market manipulators.
And detailed regulations have also been put in
place for settlement of administrative and civil
proceedings in a transparent manner, while
ensuring that serious offences like insider trading
are kept out of settlement window.
These decisions are related to the promulgation of an
ordinance by the government for grant of greater
powers to SEBI to check mushrooming of illegal
money-pooling schemes across the country and to take
strict actions against fraudsters and market
*SEBI: Foreign portfolio investors will be treated
on par with FIIs on tax issues: In consultation with
the Finance Ministry, Securities and Exchange Board
of India (SEBI) decided to treat the three categories of
Financial Portfolio Investors (FPIs) uniformly for tax
purposes. In other words, the new rule aims to bring
all foreign investors under a common framework
called the SEBI (Foreign Portfolio Investors)
Regulations, 2013.
The Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs), their
sub-accounts and Qualified Foreign Investors
(QFIs) will soon be merged into a single and new
investor class, called FPIs. As per their risk
profiles, FPIs are divided into three categories.
These are as follows: Category I- the lowest risk entities comprises
foreign government and government-related
foreign investors.
Category II – regulated entities such as university
funds, university-related endowments and pension
funds, etc.
Category III – other entities viz. Qualified Foreign
Investors (QFIs), etc.
Stock market regulator SEBI received a clear note
from the Department of Economic Affairs in the
Finance Ministry to consider the FPIs similar to
Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) on tax
purposes. The proposal was made by the K M
Chandrashekhar panel that reviewed various
classes of foreign investors and suggested to unify
foreign investment norms met for the first time.
The clarity on tax treatment of FPIs is aimed at
encouraging inflows into the domestic equity and
debt markets.
The Government of India appointed MS USHA
SANGWAN as the first woman managing director
of Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) and
Vijay Kumar Sharma as an MD and chief
executive officer of LIC Housing Finance.
Other than uniform tax zone for FPIs, the SEBI
Made grading of Initial Public Offering (IPO)
voluntary to boost the dormant primary market.
Allowed companies to issue debt through a shelf
filing, along with regulations empowered it to
monitor investors’ call records and conduct
searches at companies suspected of wrongdoing.
Note: Under the former system, tax treatment for
FIIs was different from that for sub-accounts and
QFIs. Beneath the new FPI norms, all categories of
FPIs would be given similar tax treatment as
currently available to FIIs.
*Service Tax revenue grew over 300 times in past
two decades: As per official data, the finance ministry
has earned revenue of about Rs 1.32 lakh crore in
2012-13 (provisional figures) compared to Rs 407
crore in 1994-95.
Voluntary Compliance Encouragement Scheme
The Finance Ministry is implementing VCES
which allows a service tax defaulter to pay dues
without any penalty or late payment charges.
Under VCES, an individual may make a
declaration to the designated authority on or before
December 31, 2013.
It has come to the notice of the government that of
the 17 lakh people who voluntarily registered
themselves as service tax providers only 7 lakh
actually paid service tax, the remaining 10 lakh did
not. Though these people have charged the service
tax from their customers but have not These nonpayers are classified as no-filers or stop-filers. Nofilers are those who have never filed service tax
whereas stop- filers are those who have paid for a
year or two but later stopped filing service tax. In
order to make these evaders pay the due service tax
the government has chosen VCES path rather than
forcing them through punitive action.
The ministry has set an indirect tax collection target
of Rs 5.65 lakh crore for 2013-14, through
customs, excise and service tax. That figure is up
from the Rs 4.73 lakh crore collected in the fiscal
November 2013
2014 TEST
SERIES starts
January 19, 2014
. Online test available
. Classroom test @ Chennai.
. Highly Potential questions
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Paper 1 based on our tests and
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Maintaining same trends since
*PM condoles the passing away of Sri Lankan
economist Gamani Corea: Gamani Corea was a Sri
Lankan economist, civil servant and diplomat.He
was also the Secretary-General of the United Nations
Conference on Trade and Development and UnderSecretary-General of the United Nations from 1974 to
*Pakistani folk singer Reshma: Legendary Pakistani
folk singer Reshma of the Lumbi Judai fame died in
Lahore recently. She was also very popular in India.
In January 2006, she was one of the passengers on the
inaugural Lahore-Amritsar bus, the first such
service linking both parts of the Punjab since 1947.
*Raj Mukherjee, young Indian-American, wins
New Jersey State Assembly election: Raj
Mukherjee, 29 year old Indian- American and a
democratic nominee, won the State Assembly polls
in New Jersey, becoming one of the youngest to be
elected to the house.
*Rajasthani author Detha dead: Vijaydan Detha,
also known as Bijji, was a noted Rajasthani folk
writer. He was also the recipient of the Padma Shri
award and the Sahitya academy award.
*Prestigious India Pride Award for IRCON:
International Limited, the country’s largest
construction, Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) of
Ministry of Railways, has been awarded the
prestigious India Pride Awards for Excellence in
Central PSUs in India Image Enhancement. The
Award was received by Shri Mohan Tiwari, CMD,
IRCON, from Dr. M.M. Pallam Raju, Union Minister
for Human Resources Development.
The Award was instituted by Dainik Bhaskar
group in 2009 to honour the PSUs in their areas of
*Javed Akthar, Mridula Garg chosen for Sahitya
Akademi Awards: Bollywood lyricist-scriptwriter
Javed Akhtar, Hindi novelist Mridula Garg and
renowned Bengali poet Subodh Sarkar are among
those selected for this year's Sahitya Akademi Award.
Akhtar has been chosen for "Lava", his compilation of
55 Urdu poems. Mridula Garg for (Hindi- Miljul
Man) and Subodh Sarkar for (Bengali- Dwaipayan
Hrader Dhare) novel.
*Ashwin to get Polly Umrigar Award at BCCI
awards function: Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin
will receive the Polly Umrigar Award from the BCCI
for being India’s best international cricketer of the
year 2012-13.
*Indian Railways Bags Highest Ever 22 National
Energy Conservation Awards for the Year 2013:
The President Shri Pranab Mukherjee gave away
National Energy Conservation Awards-2013 at a
function in New Delhi today. Indian Railways bagged
22 National Energy Conservation awards out of total
awards of 112 during 2013 from 829 applicants which
is the highest by any organisation. Ministry of Power
has instituted “National Energy Conservation Award”
which is given on “National Energy Conservation
Day” on 14th December every year.
*India win Women's Kabaddi World Cup: India
clinched the women's Kabaddi World Cup
championship for the third time in a row, defeating
debutant New Zealand 49-21 in the summit clash
played at Guru Gobind Singh sports complex in
*Malala awarded 2013 UN Human Rights Prize:
Pakistani teenage activist Malala Yousafzai, who
survived a Taliban assassination attempt last year, has
been awarded the 2013 UN Human Rights Prize, an
honour previously given to icons like late Nelson
Mandela in recognition of outstanding achievement in
human rights.
The prize is awarded every five years and has
previously been
International and former US president Jimmy
*‘Beatriz’s War’ from East Timor bags ‘Golden
Peacock’ at IFFI 2013: East Timor film ‘Beatriz’s
War’ bagged Golden Peacock award for Best Film at
the closing ceremony of 44th International Film
Festival of India. The film, directed by Bety Reis and
Luigi Acquisto, is a passionate story of one woman’s
conviction to remain true to the man she loves. The
award carries a Golden Peacock, a certificate and a
Cash Prize of Rs. 40 lakh.
*Malala Yousafzai declared Britain's most
influential Asian: Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani
teenager shot in the head by the Taliban for
campaigning for girls' education, has been named as
Britain's most influential Asian by a weekly
At the 'GG2 (Garavi Gujarat2) Leadership Awards
2013' on 27th November 2013, Malala, along
Kainat Riaz and Shazia Ramzan, who were shot
and wounded by the Taliban in Swat Valley last
year, were chosen for the GG2 Hammer Award,
for their bravery.
*Sachin Tendulkar becomes UNICEF's brand
ambassador for South Asia: Indian batting legend
Sachin Tendulkar today became UNICEF's first brand
ambassador for South Asia and is all set to work in
promoting hygiene and sanitation in the region.
*Mexico to give equality prize to Pakistan's
Malala: Mexico will award its 2013 International
Prize for Equality and Non-Discrimination to Malala
Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager shot by the Taliban
for championing girls' rights to education.
*Lifetime achievement award to JIRI Menzel at
44TH Goa Film Festival: One of the best known
representatives of the 'New Wave Czech Cinema', Jiri
Menzel will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award
at the 44th edition of IFFI. Jiri Menzel has made his
mark on the cultural history of his native Czech
Republic as a film auteur, theatre director and actor.
His films are cherished for their lyrical realism and
stylistic boldness. The genteel humanism and comic
tone of his work has earned him love and acclaim of
film aficionados across the globe.
*Angela Merkel to get 2013 Indira Gandhi Prize
for Peace: German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be
awarded the coveted Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace,
Disarmament and Development for 2013 with an
international jury headed by Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh choosing her.
The announcement was made by the Indira Gandhi
Memorial Trust which said that the award was
being given to 59-year-old Merkel for her
exemplary leadership in Europe and the world
during the financial crisis and her stewardship of
German economic growth.
The trust said the prize was being given to the
German leader because of the work done by her
for promotion of global economic stability, her
commitment to universal peace and disarmament
and her leadership role in strengthening productive
and mutually beneficial relations with India and
other developing countries.
*Ratan Tata elected to board of US think tank:
Top Indian industrialist Ratan Tata has returned as a
board member of East West Centre, a prominent
American think tank. Tata, 75, is returning to the
board and has worked with the organisation several
times between 1993 and 2004. East West Centre also
elected Takeshi Niinami, the CEO of Japan's
Lawson Inc.
*Waheeda Rehman to be Honoured with
Centenary Award for Indian Film Personality of
the Year at IFFI 2013: Renowned actress Waheeda
Rehman was conferred with the Centenary Award for
Indian Film Personality of the Year at the
International Film Festival of India 2013 in Panjim,
*Abdulla Yameen won the Maldives presidential
election: Abdulla Yameen won the Maldives
presidential election run-off on 16th November 2013,
the spokesman for the outgoing leader said, beating
favourite Mohamed Nasheed in a close-run contest
that voters hope will end nearly two years of political
*Bharat Ratna for Prof CNR Rao and Sachin
Tendulkar: The Government has decided to confer,
the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award on
eminent scientist Prof C.N.R.Rao and cricket icon
Sachin Tendulkar.
Prof. C.N.R. Rao is an eminent scientist and a well
recognized international authority on solid state
and materials chemistry. He has published over
1,400 research papers and 45 books. Prof. Rao`s
contributions have been recognized by most major
scientific academies around the world through
conferment of memberships and fellowships. He
has been honoured with several national and
international awards.
*CSIR Scientist Bags Infosys Prize 2013: The
Infosys Prize 2013 in Life Sciences is awarded to Dr.
Rajesh S. Gokhale, Director, CSIR-Institute of
Genomics & Integrative Biology, for his work in the
field of lipid metabolism in tubercle bacilli. Each year
two million people are infected and die of
tuberculosis (TB) and there will be 10 million new
patients every year. Dr. Gokhale discovered
biochemical networks and new paradigms
necessary for the synthesis of Mycobacterium
tuberculosis (Mtb) cell envelope coat that makes
these bacteria escape host immune systems.
*Ms Universe: Ms Gabriela Isler: Ms Gabriela Isler,
a 25-year-old television presenter and accomplished
flamenco dancer from Venezuela, has been crowned
Miss Universe 2013 at a grand finale after beating 85
*India to host 2018 hockey World Cup: India has
been awarded the 2018 men’s hockey World Cup, the
second time in a span of eight years the country will
be hosting the event having successfully organised the
previous edition three years ago.
*Polio worker from India honoured with UN
award: A polio worker from Bihar has been honoured
with a prestigious UN Foundation award for her work
in protecting children from the disease.
Martha Dodray, a front-line polio worker who is
"performing heroic work in protecting children
from this crippling disease" was honoured at the
GlobalLeadership Awards Dinner 2013 in New
York on Thursday hosted by the UN Foundation
and the United Nations Association of the USA
Besides Dodray,those honoured for advancing UN
causes are Pakistan girls' education activist Malala
Yousafzai, US Ambassador to the UN Samantha
Powerfor her fierce commitment to human rights,
front-line polio workers like Dodray, GE Africa,
which is a leader in improving health care for
women and children through the SecretaryGeneral's Every Woman Every Child movement
and '10x10', the filmmakers who created 'Girl
Rising' and are trailblazers in raising awareness of
the importance of girls' education.
Dodray, who hails from Darbhanga, said she was
delighted and felt honoured to receive the award at
such a global stage.
*Heena Sidhu wins pistol gold in World Cup
shooting: Woman shooter Heena Sidhu created
history by becoming the first pistol exponent from
India to win a gold medal at the ISSF World Cup
finals in Munich, Germany.
*Deepika Kumari clinches 34th National Archery
Championship: Screenshot_2Ace archer Deepika
Kumari created history by clinching her sixth
consecutive title at the 34th National Archery
Championships held at JRD Tata Stadium,
Jamshedpur. With this achievement, Deepika now
holds more individual titles at the national meet than
Dola Banerjee, who won 5 national titles. However,
the record of winning most individual titles is still
held by Bengal archer Krishna Ghatak, with seven
consecutive titles between 1975 and 1982.
*Andhra Pradesh High Court directs 2 Telugu
actors to return Padma Shri: The Andhra Pradesh
High Court directed to Telugu actors Mohan Babu
and Brahmanandam Kanneganti to surrender Padam
Shri to the President of India, as they allegedly
misused it. The HC gave its decision on the petition
filed by the BJP senior leader N Indraseena Reddy.
Why High Court directed Telgu actors to return
Padam Shri?
Tollywood actor-producer Mohan Babu bestowed
the award in 2007 and comedian Brahmanandam
in 2009, in acknowledgment of their services to the
Telugu film industry.
They both used the title ‘Padma Shri’ before their
names for promoting the Telugu feature film
“Denikaina Ready” (‘Ready for Anything’,
produced by Mr. Mohan Babu and starring his son
The petitioner argued that as per the Article 18(1)
of the Constitution, the national awards does not
amount to a title and cannot be used as suffixes or
Aftermath, the Court took the serious note of the
actors for prefixing the name of the award to their
names in the credits of the Telugu movie that was
released in 2012.
And raised objection for using ‘Padma Shri’ in
title cards in a wrong way (as if it was their
surname) and delivered judgment in the
petitioner’s favour. This will be a lesson for the
actors who misuse the honorary award.
Padma Awards
Padma Awards, the country’s highest civilian
awards, are conferred in three Categories viz.
Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma
Shri. The Awards are given in all disciplines/
fields of activities, viz. art, social work, Public
affairs, science and engineering, trade and
industry, medicine, literature And education,
sports, civil service, etc.
‘Padma Vibhushan’ is awarded for exceptional
and distinguished service;
‘Padma Bhushan’ for distinguished service of high
order and
‘Padma Shri’ for distinguished service in any field.
The awards are announced on the occasion of
Republic Day every year. The Awards are
conferred by the President of India at a function
held at Rashtrapati Bhawan sometime around
March/ April.
* SANDEEP ACHARYA, who won the second
season of Indian Idol in 2006, passed away at
Gurgaon. He was suffering from jaundice and is
survived by his wife and a one-month-old daughter.
The playback singer belonged to Bikaner, Rajasthan.
* “Unbreakable”: The autobiography of Mary
Kom unveiled: Mary Kom, the legendary boxer from
North East wrote her autobiography titled
“Unbreakable”. The book was inaugurated by
Bollywood Megastar Amitabh Bachchan at Mumbai.
Mary decided to pen down her life’s battles, so that
she could inspire and motivate others to never loose
hope and fight for their dream. The autobiography
details her rise to the top from a modest background;
the book beautifully brings out her long lasting spirit
and is an inspirational story for everyone, especially
for women.
About Mary Kom
Five-time World Boxing champion, and the only
woman boxer to have won a medal in each one of
the six world championships.
First Indian women boxer to qualify and win a
bronze medal at the London Olympics in the
flyweight (51 kg) category.
Won lots of awards like Padma Bhushan (2013),
Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award (2009), Padma
Shree (2006), Arjuna Award (2003), etc.
Appointed the International Boxing Association’s
Ambassador for Women’s Boxing in 2009.
*Norwegian prodigy Magnus Carlsen is new chess
champion: Norwegian chess prodigy Magnus
Carlsen has become the world champion, beating
Indian title holder Viswanathan Anand.
*Vettel registers record eighth win in a row: Red
Bull’s quadruple World champion Sebastian Vettel
won the US Grand Prix on Sunday to become the first
Formula One driver to take eight consecutive victories
in a single season.
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(Department of Pharmaceuticals), Government of
India in November, 2008, in collaboration with the
*International day for elimination of violence
against women: The United Nations General
Assembly has designated November 25 as the
International Day for the Elimination of Violence
Against Women. The premise of the day is to raise
awareness of the fact that women around the world
are subject to rape, domestic violence and other forms
of violence; furthermore, one of the aims of the day is
to highlight that the scale and true nature of the issue
State Governments, as a direct market intervention
November 2013 inaugurated the first women
commercial bank of the country, the Bharatiya
Mahila Bank. It's headquarter will be at Delhi. Dr.
Singh also simultaneously inaugurated branches of
the bank in Chennai, Bangalore, Guwahati,
Kolkata, Lucknow and Ahmedabad.
The medicines for the campaign are supplied by
is often hidden.
the Central Pharma PSU (CPSUs) under the
*PMRDF will address the challenge of Poverty
Department of Pharmaceuticals.
head on-Jairam: The Prime Minister’s Rural
Under this campaign, it was proposed to open,
Development Fellowship (PMRDF) is an initiative of
initially, at least one store in each district of the
the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) where
the focus is to reduce poverty and improve the lives
of people in rural India. PMRD Fellowship is being
*Vatsalya mela 2013: The Mela is an outreach
programme which is intended to give necessary boost
to the existing schemes and programmes of the
Ministry of Women to enhance the awareness to
opportunity for young women and men who
the common people.
already possess academic and/or professional
The focus of the Vatsalya Mela-2013 is on three
themes- Ahimsa Messenger, Protection of
PMRD Fellowship was launched in September
2011 and the first batch of Fellows joined in
Children from Sexual Offence (POCSO) and
Declining Child Sex Ratio.
June 2012. Fellows were selected through a highly
competitive process conducted by Tata Institute of
*CCEA approves continuation of National Scheme
Social Sciences (TISS).
of Welfare for fishermen in 12th Plan: The Cabinet
Committee on Economic Affairs ( CCEA) on
*Jan Aushadi campaign: In order to provide relief
Thursday approved the central sector
to the common man in the area of healthcare, a
"National Scheme of Welfare of Fishermen" during
countrywide campaign for ensuring availability of
the 12th Plan.
generic medicines at affordable prices to all, in the
The scheme has been formulated by the Department
name of “Jan Aushadi Campaign” was launched
of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries,
by the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers
Ministry of Agriculture and is an ongoing scheme.
service delivery at the doorstep of citizens.
The objectives of the scheme are:
Provision of basic amenities like drinking water
Initially around 45 thousand people will be trained
under the program.
and sanitation in fishers' villages
Better living standards for fishers and their
Beneath the project, economically weaker sections
of the society including rural SC, ST and women
Social security for active fishers and their
will receive IT training.
It will make at least one individual in every
dependants, and
Economic Security.
household e-literate.
During the Twelfth Plan period, the following
The project will improve the quality of life of
benefits have been targeted for the fisherman
people, especially those living in rural India and
across the country: (i) additional 4600 houses per
will allow them to actively participate in
year, (ii) coverage of 3.5 lakh fishers under
knowledge based activities and also access
Saving-cum-Relief every year; (iii) an additional
financial, social and government services by using
coverage of 3 lakh fishermen under Group
Accident Insurance has been set; (iv) covering
6400 fishermen per year under Training and
The scheme will be implemented within an outlay
of Rs 640 crore including a Central outlay of Rs.
320 crore for the remaining part of the 12th Plan.
The scheme has following components:1) Group Accident Insurance for active fishermen
2) Development of model fishermen village
3) III)Saving-cum-Relief &Training and Extension.
*e-Inclusion: IT Training for Rural Sc/St/Women
Beneficiaries’ Project Launched: The Government
of India launched e-inclusion project to make people
Communication & IT, Mr. Kabil Sibal released the
handbook titled ‘e-Literacy: Towards Empowering
Rural India’ bearing profiles of 50 beneficiaries who
have successfully undertaken the basic IT training
programme under the E-Inclusion project.
e-Inclusion project
It’s the initiative under the National e-Governance
Plan (NeGP) for creating a transparent and
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*Chief Justice inaugurates National Lok Adalat:In
a mammoth exercise to settle 39 lakh pending cases,
Supreme Court Chief Justice P Sathasivam
RECENTLY inaugurated a day-long National Lok
Adalat where for the first time cases are being taken
up simultaneously all over the country for settlement.
The Lok Adalats are taking place in the Supreme
Court, 24 high courts and all the district courts of
the country.
Inaugurating the National Lok Adalat, Chief
Justice Sathasivam said that the main object of the
adalat was to ensure speedy justice to the litigants
and to make sure that there were no further
Resolution of disputes through the Lok Adalat is
cost-effective and providing easy access to justice.
What is ‘utmost good faith’ or ‘uberrimae fidei’
Under the newly accepted principle, a person filing a
PIL to question the credentials of another- a public
authority or a politicial- must first prove his own and
demonstrate before the court that he has no ulterior
motives and trust can be reposed on the petitioner.
Shri Justice Ajit Prakash Shah has taken over as
the new Chairman of the 20th Law Commission of
* Principle of ‘utmost good faith’ to be litmus test
for PIL- SC: The principle of "utmost good faith" —
a litmus test in insurance business and trust
jurisprudence — will be the first point of scrutiny of
the credentials of those who file public interest
litigations (PILs), the SC has ruled. The move is a
measure to curb the proliferation of petitions with
vested interests.
* Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill passed - Highlights:
Following are some important features of the Lokpal
and Lokayuktas Bill, 2011, passed by Parliament.
Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayukta at the level of
the states.
Lokpal will consist of a chairperson and a
maximum of eight members, of which 50 per cent
shall be judicial members.
50 per cent of members of Lokpal shall be from
SC/ST/OBCs, minorities and women.
The selection of chairperson and members of
Lokpal shall be through a selection committee
consisting of Prime Minister, Speaker of Lok
Sabha, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha,
Chief Justice of India or a sitting Supreme Court
judge nominated by CJI, eminent jurist to be
nominated by the President of India on the basis of
recommendations of the first four members of the
selection committee.
Prime Minister has been brought under the
purview of the Lokpal.
Lokpal’s jurisdiction will cover all categories of
public servants.
All entities receiving donations from foreign
source in the context of the Foreign Contribution
Regulation Act (FCRA) in excess of Rs 10 lakh
per year are brought under the jurisdiction of
Provides adequate protection for honest and
upright public servants.
Lokpal will have power of superintendence and
direction over any investigation agency including
CBI for cases referred to them by Lokpal.
A high powered committee chaired by the Prime
Minister will recommend selection of the Director,
Directorate of Prosecution headed by a Director of
Prosecution under the overall control of Director.
The appointment of the Director of Prosecution,
CBI on the recommendation of the Central
Vigilance Commission.
Transfer of officers of CBI investigating cases
referred by Lokpal with the approval of Lokpal.
The bill also incorporates provisions for
attachment and confiscation of property acquired
by corrupt means, even while prosecution is
The bill lays down clear time lines for preliminary
enquiry and investigation and trial and towards this
end, the bill provides for setting up of special
A mandate for setting up of the institution of
Lokayukta through enactment of a law by the State
Legislature within a period of 365 days from the
date of commencement of the Act.
Just over 100 years after the advent of trans fats, the FDA has announced that it's taking the first
steps toward banning them outright, removing them from the "generally safe to eat list" and out of
the American food supply. It's about time.
Trans-fats seemed like such a good idea at the time. Better tasting, better looking, less greasy
foods that would last far longer on store shelves, all thanks to the miracle process of hydrogenation
and the delicious little trans fats that it produced. At the time, though, we had no clue about the
deleterious effects this wonder-ingredient would have on our arteries and cholesterol levels.
So what exactly is trans fat?
Trans fat is most commonly found in partially hydrogenated oils.
They're the result of the hydrogenation process-bubbling hydrogen through hot vegetable oil to
it into a solid at room temperature.
The hydrogenation process essentially adds hydrogen to "saturate" unsaturated fat, and break
apart its double carbon bonds.
Trans fat has been used in a wide variety of packaged food products including margarine, canned
frosting, packaged cookies and cakes, frozen dinners. Since the hydrogenation process made the oil
less likely to spoil, trans fats were added to anything that needed to sit on a store shelf for more
than three weeks and still be edible.
How is it different from saturated and unsaturated fat?
Let's take it from the top. You have two types of cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and lowdensity lipoprotein (LDL).
LDL is the "bad cholesterol" because it promotes the formation of plaque on your arterial
Conversely, HDL is considered the "good cholesterol" because as it floats merrily through your
blood stream, it scrapes LDL and plaque off of the walls of your arteries, lowering your risk of
heart disease.
Both saturated and unsaturated fat occur naturally in almost every food we eat. Unsaturated fat is
typically found in vegetables, avocado, and nuts and are easily identifiable by the presence of
double chemical bonds between the carbon atoms. It makes your good cholesterol go up!
Saturated fats, on the other hand, are found primarily in meat, dairy, and processed foods,
and are held together solely by single bonds. They raise your bad cholesterol, which is why
you're so often encouraged to enjoy that bacon and bacon sandwich in moderation.
Saturated fat is bad, yes. But trans fat is even worse. Not only does it increase your LDL
cholesterol levels at a far higher rate than either saturated or unsaturated fat, it simultaneously lowers
your HDL.
The United nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is an international
environmental treaty, under the auspices of the United nations Environmental
It was the outcome of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development,
informally known as the Earth Summit, held in Rio Di Janeiro in 1992.
The objective of the convention is to stabilize greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to a level
that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interferences with the climate system.
The UNFCCC is a legally non-binding convention. But it sets legally binding protocols with
mandatory emission limits.
Conference of Parties (COP) to the Convention:
The 194 parties to the convention are classified into 3 groups:
Annex 1 countries: They are the industrialised countries and the economies in transition that
have ratified the protocol and have agreed to reduce the GHG to that of the pre-1990 level.
Annex 2 countries: They are a sub-group of annex 1 countries and pay for the costs for
development of the developing countries. The OECD members come under this group.
Non-Annex 1 countries: These are the developing countries, who need not take mandatory
emission targets. They get funding and tech from the developed countries to ensure cleaner
economic development. India comes under this group.
KYOTO PROTOCOL: It is a legally binding, GHG emission-reduction protocol, under the
UNFCCC, adopted in 1997 and came into force in 2005.
The objective of the protocol is to reduce the 6 GHG – carbon- dioxide, sulphur hexafluoride,
methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluro carbon and perfluro carbon- to 5.2% from that of the
1990 level within the first commitment period of 2008-2012.. The limits do not include the
emissions from international aviation and shipping.
The protocol allows for several flexible mechanisms or emissions reduction like- Clean
development mechanism, Joint Implementation and Emissions trading.
India has ratified the Kyoto protocol.
Cancun summit in 2010(COP 16):
To establish a fund called Green Climate Fund (GCF) of 100bn$ by 2020 for funding the
developing countries to address the climate change.
Parties agreed to reduce the rise in temperature by 2 degree Celsius.
Durban Summit in 2011(COP 17):
Discussed the ways and means to operationalize the GCF.
Quantitative Emission Limitation and Reduction Objectives (QELRO) set for the developed
NAMA portal – Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions- launched. It is a web-based portal to
upload the Mitigation actions taken at the national level for seeking international support.
Durban platform launched for discussing the new global treaty after post-2020.
Doha summit in 2012(COP 18):
Second commitment (2013-2020) period for Kyoto protocol agreed upon. During the second
commitment period, individual nations will select their own target for emissions reductions.
Russia, Canada and Japan pull of the Kyoto protocol demanding the developing countries –
particularly India and China- to take binding emission cuts.
Countries decided to sign a new global climate change treaty by 2015 so that it will enter into
force by 2020.
What are Bali pillars? The 4 pillars that were discussed in the climate negotiations held in Bali,
Indonesia. They include: Finance, Adaptation, Mitigation and Technology transfer.
Issue of ‘Loss and Damage’: It refers to demands of poorest countries that they must be
compensated for inevitable losses caused by the existing level of greenhouse gas emissions, which
are due to the historical emissions of the developed and the industrialised countries, which any
amount of reduction of future emissions will not stop.
The two key blocs of countries, Association of Small Island States (AOSIS) and the Least
Developed Countries (LDCs) have been at the forefront demanding an arrangement under the
U.N. climate convention from the developed countries to support and compensate for such “loss
and damage”. India is also working with the Like Minded Developing countries on this issue.
Issue of Finance: The developing countries have also asked for clarity on how the rich world will
provide the $100 billion annually it had promised to deliver, starting 2020.
India, along with other countries in the BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) group, has
also demanded that the talks bring out a clear timeline of how the funds would be ratcheted
up to reach the target amount by 2020.
Developed countries want that the funding for loss and damage too should be provided through
the market route. In contrast the poor countries require a clear public funded system where the
funds are adequate and predictable.
Issue of targets: The developing countries feel that the current emission-reduction targets for the
developed countries are very much lower than that required. The targets, they feel, are not
commensurate to the level of Climate change that has been caused by their industrialized
The Developed countries, on the other hand, feel that the developing economies, in particular China,
India and Brazil, must start taking mandatory emission-reduction targets to fight the climate change
Warsaw summit in 2013(COP 19):
The developing countries, including India, oppose the idea of the developed countries that the talks
must deliver a new carbon market mechanism even before they make their emission reduction
Carbon markets help developed countries take credit for reduction of emissions carried out
by poor countries by paying for their actions. The costs of paying the developing countries
works out much lower for the rich nations in comparison with undertaking such actions in their
highly developed economies.
Japan dials back climate change emissions target: The new target approved by the Cabinet on
Friday calls for reducing emissions by 3.8 percent from their 2005 level by 2020. The new target
represents a 3 percent increase over 1990 emissions. Given Japan's status as the world's third
largest economy, the decision to back away from the earlier, more ambitious target could be a
significant setback for efforts to reach a new agreement at world climate talks now underway in
Warsaw, Poland. Japan had sought to take the initiative on working to prevent climate change but
has had to rely more on fossil fuels as all its nuclear plants are offline for safety checks
following the disaster at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant.
Recently the Election Commission of India issued a proposal to the political parties seeking a
ban on the pre-poll opinion polls. While the Congress welcomed the move of the ECI on the grounds
that opinion polls are not scientific and transparent, the other political parties had reservations against
this. Should opinion polls be banned or should they be regulated?
Why are opinion polls required?:
First of all, we must recognise that systematic collection of public opinion is a must in modern
democracies. Since elections are not a private act, citizens wish to, and need to, know how others
are making up their mind. Survey based tracking of the mood of the electorate performs that crucial
Scientific sample surveys of public opinions are one of the few ways in which the voice of the
poor and the disadvantaged gets registered.
This is a better method to monitor the popular mood than anything else that exists. This creates
a widespread need for this information among politicians, the media and people at large. That is
why opinion polls and their use to track the electoral race are here to stay.
What impact do opinion polls create on the voters and the elections?
One does not win elections by leading in opinion polls; nor does a negative election forecast seal
one’s electoral fate. But it does influence the race in small and, possibly, crucial ways.
Available evidence suggests that there is a small degree of ‘bandwagon effect’ of opinion polls. A
party that is seen to be leading in the polls gets some additional support from fence-sitters.
This small difference could be decisive in a close contest.
More than the voters, opinion poll-based forecasts do affect the morale of party workers and
supporters. This makes a big difference during the campaign.
Problems with the Opinion polls conducted in India:
The problem is not that opinion poll-based forecast has been inaccurate. On balance, the record
of Indian polls has been quite impressive.
The real problem with Indian opinion polls, barring some honourable exceptions, lies with their
non-transparency,non-professionalism and lack integrity.
A general unwillingness on the part of polling agencies and the media to share even basic
methodological details about their polls compounds the problem.
In the last few years, the proportion of rogue polls has increased.
Why it should not be banned completely?
Banning pre-election opinion polls is a remedy worse than the disease it seeks to cure. There
already exists a ban on publishing the findings of polls beginning 48 hours before polling and till the
last voter has cast her vote. This is a reasonable restriction, enough to safeguard against manipulations.
A full ban for the entire duration of campaign may not stand judicial scrutiny. It is hard to see
how such a ban could be presented as a “reasonable restriction” of freedom of expression
guaranteed under the Constitution.
Besides, it would be very hard to implement. It could either exist only on paper, like the ban on
smoking in public places.
Or, worse, it could drive all the credible and law-abiding agencies out and leave the field open
for rogue polls of fly-by-night operators. In all likelihood, it would open a black market of
information where confidential polls and rumours will replace transparent and accountable
Besides, a ban is only a measure of last resort, when all other methods have been tried and
found wanting. The amazing thing about the Indian debate on opinion polls is that there has been
little effort to explore alternatives to a ban, alternatives that have been successfully used all over the
Needed intervention:
Opinion polls need to be regulated, rather than banned completely. Every election-related
poll, or any opinion poll for that matter, must be required to make the following disclosures: the
ownership and track record of the organisation carrying out the survey, details of the sponsor;
sampling frame, sample size and the exact technique used to draw the sample; the social profile of the
achieved sample; where, when and how were the interviews conducted; the exact wording of the
question and sequence of questions asked; raw vote shares reported in the survey and how they were
converted into vote estimates and seats forecast.
Once in place, such a mechanism would help the public tell the difference between a
genuine and rogue poll and incentivize transparent practices. That would be a significant step
forward in democratic public culture.
“When you have to shoot, shoot, don’t talk”, is a line that has stayed over the years from the
classic The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. That’s the kind of scenario unfolding in Nagaland. Shooting
has been rampant, with little room for talk, and inter-tribal feud and tension between the civilian Naga
population and the National Socialist Council of Nagalim led by Isak Chisi Swu and Thuingaleng
Muivah (NSCN-IM) is high.
It all started on December 21, 2013 when two Sumi women were allegedly molested by four
NSCN (IM) cadres near Aghuito town as they were travelling towards Zunheboto. The NSCN (IM)
cadres stopped the vehicle in the early hours of that morning, and allegedly stripped searched the
women and injured the two male passengers who were accompanying them. This led to a large rally
the next day organized by the powerful Sumi Hoho who demanded that the four cadres must be
handed over to the District Administration by December 25. When the NSCN (IM) refused to oblige
and instead stated that it would carry out its own internal review, the Sumi Hoho along with thousands
of Sumi villagers marched towards the nearby NSCN (IM) designated camp at Mukali in Zunheboto
district. This has resulted in a cross-fire between the outfit and the villagers leading to approximately
eight deaths (two NSCN –IM cadres and five civilians) and a few injured.
This kind of protest by local Nagas against the NSCN (IM) designated camps is the first of its
kind. While there have been incidences of NSCN (IM) cadre misbehavior, it is usually reported to the
NSCN (IM) leadership at the top level like Muivah or Swu who looks into the matter. In fact, Swu, the
Chairman of the outfit, has held numerous meetings in the past with cadres who have misbehaved
warning them of the strictest punishment possible. This time around, what is significantly new is that
local Naga population has asserted their unwillingness to be dictated by the armed group’s diktat.
Tension between the NSCN (IM) and the Sumi Hoho is not new. In 2007, Azheto Chophy, a
low rung leader of the NSCN (IM) along with 100 or more NSCN (IM) cadres deserted the outfit and
formed the NSCN (Unification). The NSCN (IM)’s hold on Naga society was questioned at that time
after civil society bodies like the Western Sumi Hoho, which had earlier supported the outfit, shifted
their loyalty to the NSCN (U). This was an alignment along tribal lines as Chophy is a Sumi Naga.
This rift got reflected in the NSCN (IM)’s inner workings when there were indications then that there
was a difference of opinion between the two main leaders of the NSCN (IM), Muivah (a Tangkhul)
and Swu (a Sumi), on this split but matters seems to have settled down between the two leaders.
Going beyond the particular, the broader implications of the recent violence is that local people
are now openly challenging the NSCN (IM)’s methods of collecting so called “taxes” from vehicles
plying on roads in Nagaland. This must have miffed the outfit as it amplifies its decreasing hold on the
imagination of the Naga population. The deeper social impact of this trend is that if NSCN (IM) cadres
have been asked to behave tough on those who refuse to cede to their monetary demands, they may
end up misusing their ill-begotten power and visibly indulge in more coercive methods.
The second significant implication is that the cease-fire framework between the NSCN (IM)
and the Union government is under threat of breaking down if the cadres have indulged in fire-power.
It also shows that the cease-fire ground rules have not been followed by the outfit. Cadres of the
NSCN (IM) and NSCN (K) have admitted to the national media that they often broke cease-fire rules.
For instance, according to cease-fire rules, both the NSCN (IM) and NSCN (K) cadres are to be
confined to designated camps and carrying of arms in civilian areas is banned. No one follows these
rules and armed insurgent cadres are found moving in civilian areas. The recent violence indicates that
armed groups have not disarmed and that state forces are simply unable to keep “extortion” networks
in check. Neither are they capable of enforcing the cease-fire with the outfits.
The third implication of the recent violence is on the Naga peace talks. Both Muivah and Swu
are in New Delhi for the next round of peace talks. While the cease-fire agreement signed in 1997 has
been the harbinger of the subsequent peace talks, blatant violations of the agreement by the outfit with
extortions, inter-factional killings, and the recent violence against civilians render the framework of
the talks weak and question its effectiveness and legitimacy.
Such violent incidences between the NSCN (IM) who will want to maintain its dominance in
Naga areas and the local population, starting to challenge the outfit openly, will recur. The only
mechanism by which the negative consequences of such incidences are limited is a robust and
effective police presence to maintain law and order. A viable programme of disarming the outfit
should also be worked out soon, and be made a condition for continuance of peace talks.
The crisis in Greece, which began five years ago with its economy collapsing, is now reaching
a stage where the spectre of a civil war is no longer a patently preposterous idea. In fact, as the
political battle between neo-fascists and anti-fascists in the country grows fiercer day by day in the
backdrop of a massive unemployment rate and high inflation, some predictions speak of the
availability of a six-month grace period at the most before a conflagration erupts.
During his recent brief tour of the country, this writer saw ample evidences of a very serious
socio-economic-political situation in Greece with the centrist-rightist government led by Prime
Minister Antonis Samaras clearly unable to find its moorings in the myriad crises-ridden country. The
crisis is multi-dimensional; on the economic plane, it is similar to what has been happening in the
developed world since 2008 with banks eating away their assets by reckless and mala fide investments
and risk-taking, industry increasingly unable to protect and expand its markets as demands began to
dry up, leading to uncontrollable unemployment, and governments deliberately moving away from the
already shrinking social welfare measures like pensions, low-cost and free health care and inexpensive
Greece’s woes have, however, been multiplied by the equally complex socio-political
problems. The principal problem is the fierce struggle between a rising tide of neo-fascism and the
traditional anti-fascism, inherited from the pre-Second World War period. The experiences under the
German occupation in the 1940s have left an indelible mark on the Greeks and continue to shape the
country’s politics. At the same time, extreme Rightist thoughts culminating in neo-fascism have also
crystallised into a strong political movement as in several other European countries.
In Greece’s case, however, the success of neo-fascist forces has been quite spectacular, and
this factor is primarily responsible for the fierceness of the current struggle with anti-fascists. The
fascist Golden Dawn party has eighteen members in the 300-member-strong Parliament and won as
much as 8.8 percent of the total votes cast in the last general election. Apart from the fact that the
Samaras Govern-ment has on occasions betrayed more than a sympathy for the party, its precarious
position in a typically unstable coalition obliges it to be more than mindful of the negative
potentialities of the fascist party.
There is yet another political element in Greece, also present in several other southern
European countries, which has also contributed to the complications. It is the substantive presence of
anarchists, a strange left-over from the 19th century when fighting the monarchy was the principal
occupation of liberal forces Anarchists continue to be active in Greece, and public manifestations of
demands for the release of various such activists from captivity are not unusual.
It is essentially this combination of the continuing economic crisis in its myriad forms and the
passionate and disparate political disharmonies— accentuated by the country’s inability to help itself
that in turn forces it to continue to take orders from the European Union (EU)—that highlights the
crisis of capitalism in Greece. Thus, the hapless government finds itself at the mercy of a continually
faltering economy, trying desperately to faithfully implement the EU-dictated measures hoping that
therein lies the way to recovery while the rising popular discontent over joblessness, reduced
(government employees have largely been subjected to a 25 per cent cut for eight months and
thereafter to opt between pre-arranged transfers or voluntary retirements) and low salaries, vanishing
pensions and accompanying privations are accentuating an increasingly volatile situation.
It is against this background that certain specific developments have come to assume ominous
implications. The first and foremost of these was the assassination of prominent rapper and anti-fascist
activist Pavlos Fissas on September 18. The very next day Athens woke up to feverish police
patrolling by the black-clothed police zipping past neighbourhoods on fast motor-cycles, and the days
since have continued to witness demonstrations and counter-demonstrations, apart of course from a
revenge spate of assassinations by anti-fascists as Fissas’s assassin was soon identified as a member of
the Golden Dawn party.
The uproar over Fissas’s death was so serious that the government was forced to act and
arrested the Golden Dawn leader Nikos Michaloliakos and fifteen others, all of them MPs, against
whom a trial has started. It was on November 1 that anti-fascists struck. Two men on a motorcycle
approached a local office of the Golden Dawn party and fired indiscriminately at the building. Two
members of the party were killed and a third member was severely wounded. The police suspected
that extremist Left elements were behind the shoot-out. All this was in due course followed by strong
police action against suspected anti-fascists. However, the people did not appear to have been
surprised by the apparent diligence with which the police embarked upon hunting down extreme Left
elements following the assassinations of Golden Dawn members.
In another manifestation of the struggle between neo-fascists and anti-fascists, the Golden
Dawn has recently sought to send to prison one of the most prominent anti-fascists in the country,
Savvas Michael-Matsas, who is better known internationally as a highly respected writer on
philosophy and literature. The neo-fascist party’s move against Michael-Matsas, however, appears to
have been welcomed by the government which is probably hoping to use this development as a useful
means to bring Leftists, liberals and anti-fascists under some kind of a check.
A major demonstration of the determination of anti-fascists in the country to effectively
counter the rising might of neo-fascists occurred on November 17 at the 40th anniversary of what is
popularly known as the Athens Polytechnic Uprising. It was this historic revolt by students and
citizens that triggered the eventual end of the brutal military dictatorship in 1973. The impressively
massive commemoration of that day forty years ago is believed to have conveyed the message that as
in the past, this time too the government of the day, weighed down by the accumulated burden of a
collapsed economy and highly unpopular austerity measures imposed by foreign governments for the
last five years, must go.
The authorities must have been disturbed by a side-show to the commemoration of the Athens
Polytechnic Uprising. A previously unknown group of Leftists, calling itself The Militant People’s
Revolutionary Forces, announced in an 18-page proclamation that it “assumes responsibility for the
political executions of the neo-Nazis. The armed attack-response is the starting point of the people’s
campaign to send the neo-Nazi scum of (the) Golden Dawn where they belong, the dustbin of history.
The revolutionary movement has to proceed with the material destruction of the infrastructure of (the)
Golden Dawn and in a coordinated (fashion) attack those who belong to it.”
Commenting on the massive scale and palpably angry mood of the commemoration of the
Uprising, the Guardian newspaper wrote that for a nation that had become increasingly polarised in the
midst of (an) economic crisis, the event is a defining moment, hallowed in the minds of many as the
catalyst of the collapse of seven years of military rule only decades after a brutal Left-Right civil war.
The newspaper quoted Panos Garganas, a prominent Leftist and editor of the newspaper Workers
Solidarity, as saying, “The mood this year is very similar to 1973 when there was a feeling that the
junta was disintegrating and (the) people were full of expectation. After five years of worsening levels
of austerity and poverty, there is a sense that things are coming to an end, and that the situation cannot
continue. We give the government six months at the most.”
Greece is thus set to stumble into 2014 on a sombre note just as neighbouring Italy
continues to erupt in a rapidly spreading popular upsurge, both signalling the continuing crisis of the
efficacy of unbridled capitalism.
Imagine a technician in a war zone sending an e-mail along with a digital scan of an
unserviceable part of an armoured fighting vehicle which then gets printed at the nearest available 3D
printer and delivered to him in no time. This can possibly minimize the need of carrying and
maintaining large inventories in battle zone. This revolution is taking place in a very silent manner and
is likely to have far reaching implications for supply chain and logistics management of the armed
forces. In a 3D printing technology, an object is created layer by layer through a specially designed
printer using plastic or other materials.
The history of 3D printing dates back to 1984 when commercial 3D printing was based on
‘stereolithography’ technique in which ultraviolet beams were used to trace a slice of an object on the
surface of liquid ‘photopolymer’ resulting in the hardening of the ‘photopolymer’. The process is
repeated over several layers depending upon the shape and size of the object, till the complete object is
As mentioned, 3D printing is likely to alter the ways in which supply chains and logistics are
maintained in defence forces. For any supply chain the key elements are the manufacturer,
goods/supply carrier and the end user. Considering the range and depth of the inventory maintained by
defence forces, the supply chain and logistic lines of control stretches from one end of the country to
remote border areas as also several hundred nautical miles into the sea carrying millions of tons of
stores comprising of ammunition, spares and components, minor and major assemblies etc. Some of
these stores are sensitive and a large number of them have limited shelf life.
Operational readiness of defence forces largely depend upon the serviceability state of
equipment in the hands of the troops. Often, non-availability of critical spares and components leads to
non-availability of equipments and weapons to the troops, seriously hampering their war-fighting
capability and especially when it comes to vintage foreign origin equipments. Once the digital scan or
drawing is made available, the component can be straightway printed by a suitable 3D printer and raw
material made available close to the site of breakdown in repair workshops. To start with, critical
components of armoured fighting vehicles, small arms, field guns, UAVs, aircraft components etc. can
be identified for printing onsite or close to the deployment of equipment which will drastically reduce
the downtime of the equipment. Logistic tails thus will get reduced, reducing security risk with
favorable economy of scales. The advantage of 3D printing also lies in its efficiency. The waste
generated during traditional manufacturing is drastically reduced by 3D printing. The labour can also
be reduced by 3D printing.
The most striking thing about 3D printing is the way it can convert the digital inventory into
physical objects thereby reducing the requirement of critical storage space drastically. Navy is in an
advantageous position since it allows digital inventory to be carried onboard ships and submarines.
Disaster relief is also one area where 3D printing can aid the relief operation. Shelters can be
printed onsite as per the requirement. Walls of these shelters are printed using special blend of cement
and there strength is found to much higher than traditional walls due to layer by layer printing.
Another area where defence forces have its utility is healthcare. There is a possibility in the near future
of bio-printing drugs and vaccines. Instead of keeping the sensitive drugs and vaccines close to
battlefield, they can be simply printed through 3D printer to avert any pandemic or provide defence
against a possible biological or chemical attack. Bio printing machines are able to recreate heart
tissues, lungs, jaw bones and other prosthetics limbs which will prove to be very useful for military
hospitals for onsite treatment when removal of patient is not possible.
The US Army has started experimenting with logistics based on 3D printing. Its Rapid
Equipping Force (REF) has been assigned with 3D printers and have been deployed in war zones of
West Asia. The US government has launched a 30 million dollar pilot programme for research on 3D
printing and NASA is likely to launch its first 3D printer in space sometime in 2014. China is also not
far behind and is likely to expand its 3D printing capabilities many folds in next 3 years. In May 2013,
China showcased the world’s largest titanium aircraft critical component produced using 3D Laser
Direct Manufacturing technology.
This technology if adopted by Indian defence forces will have a broad effect on the long supply
chains being maintained thus reducing the cost of its maintenance substantially. Components which
are critical to functioning of any vehicle or combat equipment can be identified by each of the three
services and by placing the 3D printers along with raw material and digital designs at key locations
these components can be churned out as and when needed. This will save the exchequer on
maintaining the storage space, shelf life and manpower needed to maintain the long supply chains.
3D printing technology is going through a phase of evolution but at the same time there are
certain flip sides which also need to be taken into consideration before its mass utilization by defence
forces. First, replacement parts which in war fighting machines are very critical have to be ensured for
their safety standards since quality of 3D printer, the material used and the environment in which they
are created has serious bearing. Therefore, standards are needed which are virtually non-existent world
over. Secondly, printing of parts also requires purchasing intellectual property rights from original
equipment manufacturer (OEM) which may cost a substantial amount to exchequer. Thirdly, the ease
with which parts can be printed does raise serious questions. Anyone holding digital designs with
printing capability can churn out critical parts which have serious implications for national security.
Digital designs of weapons falling into the hands terrorist organizations can result in disastrous
situation. Further, if an adversary lays his hands on digital files of proprietary designs, there is a
possibility of altering the designs by hacking into the digital repository. Therefore, cyber security will
assume greater importance.
3D printing technology is still in nascent stage. However, it is not difficult to imagine as to
how it will drastically enhance the capabilities of defence forces.
Kerala, a tiny strip of land in the extreme south-west of the Indian subcontinent, became a state
on October 1, 1956 following the dictates of the States Reorganisation Commission. This area,
renowned for the spices grown there, especially pepper, was known in countries, East and West. Its
fame increased when the very next year, that is, in 1957 the people voted to power a Communist
Government, the first in India. This attracted lots of people, from other States and outside the country,
as they were keen to see the place and meet with the people. In due course the State‘s other attributes,
which included women outnumbering men in census, high literacy rate, political awareness, high life
expectancy, low infant mortality rate also became noted and known. In all these, Kerala stood at a
much higher plane than the rest of India. In some cases, Kerala was nearer to the developed countries.
Even before the formation of the new State, the region, particularly the princely states, were advanced
in sectors like literacy and education, primarily for women, primary health care etc.
A place which could attain all the above without significant economic growth naturally got
much publicity. Curious researchers and academics, politicians and tourists came to see this
“wonderland”. Small girls and boys walking towards schools very early in the morning even in
faraway villages, men sitting on benches sipping tea and reading newspapers or listening to what is
read aloud and engaging in discussion —all became big news. These were photographed and written
about. The term “Kerala Model” emerged and received wide publicity. Such personalities like Prof.
Amartya Sen’s approval raised it to a higher level. These gave the educated Keralites, including the
political elite class, a sense of achievement. The ordinary people by and large did not hear about it.
The first Communist Government was thrown out by the vested interests mainly because of
their attempt to bring about “radical” reforms in education and land relations. Over the years the
political situation in the State got changed and assumed a pattern. The Communist Party was split and
the major national party, the Indian National Congress, also faced changes. Many groups were formed.
Still they remained with the Congress. They together formed the United Democratic Front (UDF). The
others formed the Left Democratic Front (LDF). The history of these formations and functioning are
not dwelt here. But these impacted on the socio-political process more deeply than is recognised. The
integration of the State within the federal system of the Republic of India has also to be understood.
This brought many Central Government offices to the State. A number of women and men, who had
college education and degrees, were absorbed in them. At the same time, the number of job-seekers,
with and without much education, went on increasing.
Something which has not been seen as part of the Kerala Model was the poor women’s
acceptance of the small family norms sponsored by the government. In most other parts of India
women favoured a large number of children as they saw in them a support to their life and livelihood.
Kerala women’s hope was that some amount of education would help their children in their upward
mobility. A serious development of the same period was the dwindling of the traditional occupations
including agriculture. The young girls and boys in these families also developed aversion to their
parents’ attitude and hopes.
All these coincided with major changes in the Central Government’s vision of development
itself. The category called Class IV workers was converted to contract workers. That meant that they
lost even the minimum security which they had hitherto. The little self-esteem they had was also lost.
The government had, even earlier, started sending out ideas on self-employment in a big way. At the
same time eradication of poverty and reduction in income and wealth which were seen together and
given high priority from the beginning of the Five Year Plans were given a back seat. Today, I am not
sure whether anyone remembers all this.
All these coincided with India entering the “neo-liberal” world. Though we did not write a new
Constitution or delete the word Socialism from it, reduction in inequality ceased to be our goal.
Visible inequality and all that it displays got acceptability and even respect. How did these affect
Kerala? Educated people, including some employed, began to go outside Kerala and outside India in a
big way. While the educated went mainly to the developed capitalist countries, the less educated,
skilled and even non-skilled, went primarily to the Gulf countries. The State Government, whoever
ruled, I don’t think, was overly concerned. It is now when the Gulf countries have created strict rules
regarding foreign workers and are sending them back in large numbers that our politicians and rulers
are waking up. Money coming into the State from these people—all of them did not have a decent life
or high enough income—was welcome. The authorities have not spent time, even at this stage, to find
out ways and means to find jobs which will provide sufficient income and a tolerably satisfying life
for these people.
We have to link the above with the growth of a rich upper class whose demands and
affordability set the norms for development. Footpaths became highways. Public transport gave way to
private cars. Every government began acquiring newer brand cars. Construction of multistoreyed
buildings, shopping complexes, resorts and tourist centres—seldom keeping with the topography,
climate, and traditional simplicity—came up everywhere. Often paddy fields and other cultivating
land were used for these. It is said that most of the flats are owned by people who are not living there
or even in the State. There is a big tug-of-war going on in the State between environmentalists
supported by local people and a group which wants to build a private airport in a very sensitive area.
The latter, is said to have the support at least of a section of the ruling party. It has to be remembered
that this tiny State already has four international airports.
Kerala, seen as a mini-tropical forest, is slowly becoming a forest of ultra-modern buildings, a
large section of these being private educational buildings, private hospitals, centres of religious
groups, bars and restaurants, apart from those mentioned earlier. Trees are cut and many poor people
evicted from their dwellings for the above purpose. Already many places are suffocated with jewellery
shops, stuffed with gold and diamond. Every month a newer silk shop is opened by a popular film
star. These inaugurations and thereafter what materials are available in the shops are telecast several
times a day over a large number of TV channels. Gold and silk are not the only items for sale. Dress
materials, cosmetics, furniture, household goods, electronics goods, ...list goes on endlessly. An everbuying consumer class has emerged.
What about those who cannot afford to buy all these? There has emerged mafias in all
spheres—water, sand, trees, illegal mining and quarrying and several other fields. This year will
remain etched in the history of Kerala as a time of fraudulent ways of acquiring wealth by cheating
innocent people, the clever ways used to hook people in authority to promote the above games and the
lack of earnestness on the part of the government in tackling the above developments. Innocent people
may mistake the above “stories” as the script for a thriller movie.
Coming to the health scene, doctors in Kerala talk about life-style diseases. People are in a
rush. No regularity in anything including food, sleep, rest or exercise. Diabetes, heart problems etc.
are becoming quits common, Cancer is a big killer. True, despite all this the number of the elderly is
increasing. There are senior citizens’ associations, but I doubt whether that reduces their loneliness.
Violence in the society has increased enormously. It is there inside the house and outside, women and
children being the principal victims.
The society is in turmoil. The people are distressed. The average person, well-to-do and
educated as well as the poor and ill-educated, says: “Times have changed, we cannot do anything, One
or two cannot change anything .....:” I cannot say how the political class views all this. Of course,
there are individuals and groups who are concerned and active.
From the Kerala Model to the present turmoil needs a thorough, perhaps difficult and painful,
inquiry. The Kerala Model emerged out of a series of developments, mainly social and political. An
atmosphere filled with genuine concern to create a fair, equal, honest, caring society was there. We
should dare to bring back the lost values. If that becomes possible, others will follow.
The wave of poplar protests called ‘Arab Spring’ started in Tunisia in December 2010 when
the people protested against their ruler Ben Ali who then fled to Saudi Arabia. This raised hopes
among millions of other citizens in the neighbouring Arab countries. Thus, within a short span of time
the protests spread to other countries like Algeria, Libya, Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain, Yemen
and some other Gulf countries. The demands of the protesters varied from country to country but in
general it included demands for political freedom, social freedom, press freedom, improved human
rights conditions, economic betterment etc. The demands reflect a desire among the masses,
particularly the new generation of young and educated, to be liberated from the reins of the old and
authoritarian leadership and play a role in the decision making process of the state. Till date, the
protests have overthrown four long serving dictators — Ben Ali of Tunisia, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt,
Muammar Gaddafi of Libya and Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen. While the Bashar Al Assad regime in
Syria is struggling for its survival, other countries have successfully managed to suppress the protests
against the regimes either by crackdown by the security forces or by promising economic and political
This has brought the region a new contour – a wave of protests for democratic reforms in an
otherwise authoritarian Arab world. The regime change also carries with it the potentials of change in
policies towards the neighbourhood and beyond. Throughout the uprisings, the major regional
countries have fought political and diplomatic wars among themselves trying to assert their influence
over the region. The Shia-Sunni war of words has come to the fore during the protests. The outside
powers have taken the opportunity to strengthen their interests by intervening in the conflicts. On the
whole, the regional security scenario in West Asia has worsened with the arrival of the Arab Spring.
But the prospect of democracy in the region has receded. Most regimes have been able to keep
at bay, at least for the time being, the calls for change. The expectations from the Arab Spring turned
out to be overambitious. The old order has reasserted itself and managed to survive for the time being.
Arab spring is now commonly referred to as Arab winter, reflecting the failure of protests movements
to bring about change in the region. Democracy may not have come to these countries as expected, yet
the region has nevertheless changed dramatically in the last three years. The regimes have survived,
but there is no surety how long will they survive. The internal and external environment has changed.
What is now clear is that the change will be unpredictable and nonlinear and violence ridden. The old
order will have to find new ways of surviving. Repression, inducement and cajolement seem to be the
The major characteristics of the Arab spring have been:
A great deal of violence has erupted and is likely to continue. There is no early prospect of
democracy taking hold in the region. The new regimes are likely to be even more repressive. They will
use repression and inducements to subdue protests and perpetuate themselves.
A fall of Syrian regime will change the balance of power. The so called Shia “axis of
resistance” consisting of Iran, Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon will be weakened. Extremism will
grow exponentially, affecting not only the region but globally. The historic sectarian fault lines have
become wide open and the region could be torn apart if the sectarian tensions continue unchecked.
Amidst the protests and violence in the Arab streets, Iran has risen as a major regional power.
Iran-Saudi rivalry for supremacy will be the defining feature of the evolving situation.
Religious extremism has become pronounced. Al Qaeda had got a second wind. Salafists are
on the rise and becoming prominent in the political arena. Muslim Brotherhood has tasted power in
Egypt but later has been thrown out of power and subsequently banned by the Egyptian government.
The behaviour and future action of the Muslim Brotherhood will, to large extend, determine the
security and democratic transition in Egypt.
GCC counties like Qatar are involved in carving out a new balance of power. Qatar, though
small but extremely rich, is playing an aggressive role in the new balance of power. Likewise, Turkey,
which led the call for Assad regime to reform, has become an important player in the region. The
regime is sympathetic to Muslim Brotherhood. But, the role of Turkey and Qatar is controversial and
may lead to unintended consequences.
The rise of Iran has deeply upset the Sunni regimes. Its alleged quest for nuclear weapons has
alarmed the GCC countries and Israel. If Iran acquires a nuclear weapon, Saudi Arabia will almost
certainly do so, possibly with the help of Pakistan.
Chemical weapons have been used in Syria. Russia has brokered a deal under which Syria is
set to hand over its pile of chemical weapons for destruction. Syrian regime has got a reprieve. In this
process, the US has been seen as weak and not in control of the situation.
The US policies may undergo change. The US has already started talk to Iran on nuclear issue
and was forced to take Russian help in the Syrian case. The shale gas revolution in the US will reduce
its dependence upon the oil from the region although its strategic objective of controlling Iran still
remains. Saudi Arabia is extremely upset with the US on the Syrian deal and the US talks with Iran. It
showed its displeasure by not accepting a seat in the UNSC, an unprecedented step.
Implications for India
India has longstanding historical and cultural relations with the West Asian region. For India,
in particular, West Asia is a significantly important region. People-to-people contacts have existed
between India and West Asia for centuries. India has been a supporter of the Palestinian cause and has
demanded a comprehensive relationship with the Palestinian state and the people. Any development in
the region has direct implications for India. There are nearly 6.5 million Indians living and working in
the West Asian region. According to a World Bank report India received US $ 70 billion in
remittances during 2012 and a majority of the remittances came from the region. In addition, India’s
total trade with West Asia in the year 2012-13 stands at US$ 205.71 billion. The region is also vital for
India's energy security. Nearly two-thirds of our hydrocarbon imports are from this region.
India has two choices: be passive and reactive as the region takes new shape, or, be proactive
and help shape the region keeping its own interests in mind. Most countries in the region want India to
play a more proactive role in keeping with its rising global profile. India’s substantial interests in the
region would compel India to be proactive and not be a mere bystander. India will have to carve out a
well thought out strategy towards the region.
Declare a clearly articulated “Look West Policy”: As India–Gulf relationship is taking an
upward trajectory, and India’s stakes and interests are growing with time, it is time for India to adopt a
formally articulated “Look West Policy” in line with the successful “Look East Policy”. The sheer
volume of India’s engagement with the region and its critical importance India’s security means that
standing aloof is no option. A “Look West Policy” should focus on strengthening bilateral political,
economic and security ties with the countries of the Gulf region. As the countries of the region have
adopted a Look East Policy to targeting the Asian powers, it is an opportune time for India to adopt
and pursue a policy solely focusing on the region. Institutionalising the exchange of regular high-level
visits and setting reasonably high targets with specific time lines will be necessary. Regular interaction
at the highest levels will infuse further confidence in the relationship. Thus, India must articulate its
interests in the region clearly through a Look West Policy backed by road maps and resources.
Appoint a special envoy for West Asia: It may be useful for India to resume the practice of
appointing a special envoy for West Asia who keeps in regular touch with the leaders of the region on
a regular basis. It would help in understanding the changing political dynamics in the region and help
shape India’s policy towards them.
Upgrade bilateral relationships: India has excellent bilateral relations with most countries in the
region such as Iran, Iraq and the GCC countries. Egypt is reaching out to India to which India must
respond favourably. With Palestine India has had historically friendly relations and India supports the
Palestinian cause. India’s relationship with Israel has strengthened since the establishment of the
diplomatic ties in 1992. Israel has emerged as a major source of defence technology and equipments
and also as a supplier of agricultural technologies to India. It is also keen to expand its ties with India
at political level. These relationships are valuable and need to be solidified and India must strengthen
the bilateral relationship by engaging them in multiple fronts.
Cooperate on multilateral formats: Along with strengthening bilateral ties with the countries of
the region India must deal with these countries in multilateral forums like the GCC and Arab League.
GCC is one such important and influential regional organisation in the region India has been trying to
engage deeply with. India has links with GCC which must be continuously stimulated. Despite their
internal differences on some matters, the countries of the GCC follow a similar policies on several
political, economic, security and strategic matters. Most recently, their unity was reflected during the
uprising in Bahrain where the member countries not only gave political support but also economic aid
and military support to deal with the crisis. The shared challenges in the region have gradually made
the organisation stronger and they have been taking steps to further strengthen their links and discover
new areas of cooperation among themselves. Thus, it may be easier to deal with the organisation as a
whole on matters on which all members of GCC have a common position.
Follow a balanced approach between countries: India will have to do some fine balancing acts:
between Iran and GCC; between Israel and the Arabs; between Israel and the Palestinians. The
situation can be handled by taking principled positions, by expanding the basis of bilateral relations,
by focussing on the economic and people to people content of the ties. India should also strengthen
ties on human security issues, particularly, counter-terrorism. Given the complex nature of the politics
in the region, it would be wise for India to continue with the policy of balancing its relationship with
major players in the region. As India has stakes transcending the GCC, Iran and Iraq, taking sides will
be detrimental to India’s interests. Rather, India should try to engage with the countries and work
together on the mutual areas of interest.
Forging new cooperative security architecture: The present security architecture in West Asia
is US-centric. With the rise of new actors the balance of power in the region is being altered. India, on
account of its considerable security interests should be alive to the emergence of new developments in
the security arena and be proactive in the region. India’s recent initiatives with the region reflect its
growing desire to strengthen defence and security ties with the Gulf countries, though this has been
taking place at a slow pace. There are several issues such as terrorism, piracy, criminal activities,
money laundering and small arms smuggling which call for increasing security cooperation between
India and the Gulf countries, but security being a very sensitive issue, these countries usually adopt
caution in moving forward. However, as the security challenges continue to grow not only for India
but also for the Gulf countries, increased cooperation in this field is required in the future regional
security architecture. We should expand and strengthen our missions by posting new Defence Attaches
in the region.
Build out of area capabilities: During the protests as the security situation deteriorated in some
countries, India took up the rescue efforts to evacuate citizens. India has successfully evacuated
citizens from countries like Egypt and Libya. Keeping in view the fluid political and security situation
in the region, such contingencies may be expected to arise in future. India should pay special
importance to building out of area capacities. This will require building diplomatic capabilities, naval
capacities and a dialogue with partners in West Asia.
Be prepared for a fundamentalist backlash: The rise of extremism in the region will have
unpleasant consequences for India. There are reports that extremists from Afghanistan, Pakistan and
Bangladesh are fighting in Syria. India must be prepared to deal with the fundamentalist blow back
from the region by strengthening its internal security systems, by raising awareness about the looming
threat and by involving our moderate populations in bilateral and multilateral contacts. In the past,
there have been reports of some extremist elements in India being ideologically motivated by some
groups in the region and also of receiving money through hawala channel. Thus, India should remain
prepared for any such backlash coming from the region.
Diversifying India’s trade relations: India’s trade with West Asian countries is highly skewed
and trade balance is mostly in favour of the regional countries except the UAE. India’s bilateral trade
is heavily dominated by the energy supply from the region. Also, a large chunk of the India’s total
trade is exchanged with big trading partners like the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Thus, there is a need to
diversify trade with other countries of the region which needs special attention by India.
Need for enhancing investment: The GCC’s investments into India have increased in recent
years (from US$ 223 million in 2005 to US$ 2639.5 million in January 2012), however, it remains
much below their potential. India need to take tangible steps to attract foreign investments by further
relaxing some trade rules including regulatory restrictions and inviting West Asian investors in general
and GCC investors in particular to actively participate in India’s robust growth story for mutual
benefit. It is equally important to identify specific areas for cooperation such as export of engineering
goods and textiles, and also a huge scope for increase in consultancy, including turnkey projects in the
infrastructure sector in the Gulf region.
Cooperation in small and medium enterprise (SME): India has built its expertise in the SME
business model worldwide; though, this talent has still not been used in West Asian countries
appropriately. India could influence this potential and the desire of West Asian countries to diversify
their economies to build a mutually beneficial relationship. Trade and investment cooperation between
India and the West Asian region must be based on a long-term strategy and an effective mechanism so
as to achieve the desired objectives of the two sides. The mechanism should be a multistage setup
involving both official and non-official agencies like trade organisations, financial institutions and
shipping corporations.
Energy Cooperation: The current buyer–seller relationship needs to change into a partnership
of criss-cross investments in India and the West Asian oil-exporting countries. This policy will
facilitate greater interdependence and also help address the general criticism that India’s policy
towards the region needs to go beyond energy considerations.
India should look for opportunities for joint ventures in West Asia not only with international
companies but also with local companies. Priority should be accorded to projects like LNG
liquefaction, fertiliser and desalination plants and other such ventures which will be beneficial for both
sides. For attracting investments from the sovereign funds of these countries, India should engage in
high-level diplomacy with countries like Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar.
Through a mutually agreed upon mechanism, a share of the oil and gas revenues earned from
India should be earmarked for investment in India. The purchase of a minimum fixed volume of oil
and/or gas at average monthly prices could be worked out and agreed upon bilaterally.
Iran and Iraq need to be factored in a big way while formulating India's energy policy towards
the region. Although Iraq is a high-risk proposition and Iran a problematic one, to ensure its future
stable energy supply, India should work on long-term plans to expand its energy cooperation with Iraq
and Iran.
Food security is a big issue in the West Asian region. Therefore, an energy and food trade-off
can be looked upon as a policy option to strengthen India’s energy ties with the regional countries.
Surplus refining capacity is India’s strength, which should be leveraged through contractual
arrangements involving the purchase of crude oil and sale of refined products with as many countries
as possible. Some oil-exporting countries may want refining capacities to be created on their soil.
India could enter into joint ventures for establishing refineries on their soil.
There could be a structured India–GCC energy cooperation dialogue every year to enhance the
energy cooperation between India and the GCC countries. Such a dialogue could cover upstream and
downstream hydrocarbon cooperation, energy efficiency, renewable energy, clean technologies and
civil nuclear cooperation.
Soft power
Establishing India Chairs in the West Asian countries would further promote their
understanding of India. It is important for us to create awareness about India’s foreign policy and the
role that India can play in the establishment of peace and stability not only in the south or West Asia
but also the in the world. India’s capability and enthusiasm to play the role of a responsible world
power should be emphasised and spread in the intellectual discourse and among the policy makers in
the region. In this regard, establishing India chairs would be an important step in right direction.
Indian educational, technical and vocational institutions should be encouraged to open their branches
in West Asia, much the way the Western institutions are doing.
Similarly, to give a further boost to the diplomatic presence in the region and spread Indian
culture among the West Asian countries, India should seriously consider establishing India Culture
Centres throughout the region. Culture Centres would facilitate understanding and exchange of each
other’s culture, people and promote understandings between the people. India needs to use its soft
power such as cultural exchange, holding inter-faith dialogues and developing language skills.
An annual India-West Asia dialogue should be established to discuss the developments in the
region and to promote mutual bilateral relations between the two. Such a dialogue would provide an
avenue for discussion of scholarly and policy related issues. Scholars and representatives from both
India and the West Asian countries can gather to freely discuss and deliberate on the issues of mutual
concern and interest. Premier Indian security think tanks could anchor such dialogues. India must
devote substantial diplomatic and intellectual resources to understand the evolving trends in this
highly complex region. Contacts must be maintained at official and non-official levels. MEA’s public
diplomacy division should be active in explaining India’s links with the region and stressing India’s
Building academic linkages: India should devote significant scholarly and academic interests
in studying the region. One dynamic step in this regard would be to bolster the teaching of Arabic and
Persian languages and produce a crop of youngsters who can engage with the region at a level beyond
that of skilled workers.
3D printing or additive manufacturing is a process of making three dimensional solid objects
from a digital file. The creation of a 3D printed object is achieved using additive processes. In an
additive process an object is created by laying down successive layers of material until the entire
object is created. Each of these layers can be seen as a thinly sliced horizontal cross-section of the
eventual object.
How it works
It all starts with making a virtual design of the object you want to create. This virtual design is
made in a CAD (Computer Aided Design) file using a 3D modeling program (for the creation of a
totally new object) ór with the use of a 3D scanner (to copy an existing object). This scanner makes a
3D digital copy of an object and puts it into a 3D modeling program.
To prepare the digital file created in a 3D modeling program for printing, the software slices
the final model into hundreds or thousands of horizontal layers. When this prepared file is uploaded in
the 3D printer, the printer creates the object layer by layer. The 3D printer reads every slice (or 2D
image) and proceeds to create the object blending each layer together with no sign of the layering
visible, resulting in one three dimensional object.
Methods and technologies
Not all 3D printers use the same technology to realize their objects. There are several ways to
do it and all those available as of 2012 were additive, differing mainly in the way layers are build to
create the final object. Some methods use melting or softening material to produce the layers.
Selective laser sintering (SLS) and fused deposition modeling (FDM) are the most common
technologies using this way of printing. Another method of printing is to lay liquid materials that are
cured with different technologies. The most common technology using this method is called
stereolithography (SLA).
Selective laser sintering (SLS)
This technology uses a high power laser to fuse small particles of plastic, metal, ceramic or
glass powders into a mass that has the desired three dimensional shape. The laser selectively fuses the
powdered material by scanning the cross-sections (or layers) generated by the 3D modeling program
on the surface of a powder bed. After each cross-section is scanned, the powder bed is lowered by one
layer thickness. Then a new layer of material is applied on top and the process is repeated until the
object is completed.
All untouched powder remains as it is and becomes a support structure for the object.
Therefore there is no need for any support structure which is an advantage over SLS and SLA. All
unused powder can be used for the next printing. SLS was developed and patented by Dr. Carl
Deckard at the University of Texas in the mid-1980s, under sponsorship of DARPA.
Fused deposition modeling (FDM)
The FDM technology works using a plastic filament or metal wire which is unwound from a
coil and supplies material to an extrusion nozzle which can turn the flow on and off. The nozzle is
heated to melt the material and can be moved in both horizontal and vertical directions by a
numerically controlled mechanism, directly controlled by a computer-aided manufacturing (CAM)
software package. The object is produced by extruding melted material to form layers as the material
hardens immediately after extrusion from the nozzle.
FDM was invented by Scott Crump in the late 80’s. After patenting this technology he started
the company Stratasys in 1988. The software that comes with this technology automatically generates
support structures if required. The machine dispenses two materials, one for the model and one form a
disposable support structure.
The term fused deposition modeling and its abbreviation to FDM are trademarked by Stratasys
Inc. The exactly equivalent term, fused filament fabrication (FFF), was coined by the members of the
RepRap project to give a phrase that would be legally unconstrained in its use.
Stereolithography (SLA)
The main technology in which photopolymerization is used to produce a solid part from a
liquid is SLA. This technology employs a vat of liquid ultraviolet curable photopolymer resin and an
ultraviolet laser to build the object’s layers one at a time. For each layer, the laser beam traces a crosssection of the part pattern on the surface of the liquid resin. Exposure to the ultraviolet laser light cures
and solidifies the pattern traced on the resin and joins it to the layer below.
After the pattern has been traced, the SLA’s elevator platform descends by a distance equal to
the thickness of a single layer, typically 0.05 mm to 0.15 mm (0.002″ to 0.006″). Then, a resin-filled
blade sweeps across the cross section of the part, re-coating it with fresh material. On this new liquid
surface, the subsequent layer pattern is traced, joining the previous layer. The complete three
dimensional object is formed by this project. Stereolithography requires the use of supporting
structures which serve to attach the part to the elevator platform.
This technique was invented in 1986 by Charles Hull, who also at the time founded the
company, 3D Systems.
Applications include design visualization, prototyping/CAD, metal casting, architecture,
education, geospatial, healthcare and entertainment/retail.
Other applications would include reconstructing fossils in paleontology, replicating ancient and
priceless artifacts in archaeology, reconstructing bones and body parts in forensic pathology and
reconstructing heavily damaged evidence acquired from crime scene investigations.
In 2007 the use of 3D printing technology for artistic expression was suggested. Artists have
been using 3D printers in various ways.
As of 2010 3D printing technology was being studied by biotechnology firms and academia for
possible use in tissue engineering applications where organs and body parts are built using inkjet
techniques. Layers of living cells are deposited onto a gel medium and slowly built up to form three
dimensional structures. Several terms have been used to refer to this field of research like: organ
printing, bio-printing, and computer-aided tissue engineering.
Industrial printing
In the last couple of years the term 3D printing has become more known and the technology
has reached a broader public. Still most people haven’t even heard of the term, while the technology
has been in use for decades. Especially manufacturers have long used these printers in their design
process to create prototypes for traditional manufacturing and research purposes. Using 3D printers for
these purposes is called rapid prototyping.
Why use 3D printers in this process you might ask yourself. Now, fast 3D printers can be had
for tens of thousands of dollars and end up saving the companies many times that amount of money in
the prototyping process. For example, Nike uses 3D printers to create multi-colored prototypes of
shoes. They used to spend thousands of dollars on a prototype and wait weeks for it. Now, the cost is
only in the hundreds of dollars, and changes can be made instantly on the computer and the prototype
reprinted on the same day.
Besides rapid prototyping, 3D printing is also used for rapid manufacturing. Rapid
manufacturing is a new method of manufacturing where companies are using 3D printers for short run
custom manufacturing. In this way of manufacturing the printed objects are not prototypes but the
actual end user product. Here you can expect more availability of personally customized products.
Personal printing
Personal 3D printing or domestic 3D printing is mainly for hobbyists and enthusiasts and really
started growing in 2011. Because of rapid development within this new market printers are getting
cheaper and cheaper, with prices typically in the range of $250 – $2,500. This puts 3D printers into
more and more hands.
The RepRap open source project really ignited this hobbyist market. For about a thousand
dollars people have been able to buy the RepRap kit and put together their own personal 3D printer,
complete with any customizations they were capable of making. What really speeds the development
is the open source idea. Everybody working on the RepRap shares their knowledge so other people
can use it and improve it again.
This rapid development of open source 3D printers is gaining interest in both the developed as
well as the developing world and it enables both hyper-customization and the use of designs in the
public domain to fabricate open source appropriate technology through conduits such as Thingiverse
and Cubify. This technology can also assist insustainable development as such technologies are easily
and economically made from readily available resources by local communities to meet their needs.
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