Skip to main content


Showing posts from July, 2014

CSAT : To be or Not to be

Last few months there has been increasing incident of protest in Delhi against CSAT . People who are protesting wants CSAT to be scrapped completely along with demand that the change should be implemented from this year onward. The short term demand is to postpone the CSAT exam which is slated to be held on 24th August. There are two issues which are being raised , first it is biased towards English medium students and second that it gives unfair advantage to people with engineering background because of nature of question being asked CSAT paper. The CSAT paper consists of comprehension question based on English paragraph along with some other comprehension question. Now since this paper is of objective type and needs to be done in time bound manner , the English paragraph consumes more time for vernacular students giving away advantage to English medium students.This advantage can be seen from the number of selected candidates of non English medium getting decreased after intr

Section 3(D) of the Indian Patent Act

Section 3(d) of the Indian Patent Act 1970 (as amended in 2005) does not allow patent to be granted to inventions involving new forms of a known substance unless it differs significantly in properties with regard to efficacy. Thus, the Indian Patent Act does not allow evergreening of patents. This is a cause of concern to the US pharma companies. The United States of America has on 30th April, 2014 brought out the Special 301 Report for the year 2014 which classified India as a “Priority watch list country”. The concerns identified in the report are based on the inputs provided by the US industry on their perception of the level of protection provided by India to Intellectual Property. Issues that have been flagged in the report include, inter-alia, concerns over the provision of section 3(d) of the Patent Act which relates to non-patentability of inventions involving chemical forms that do not show increased efficacy, issue of Compulsory License by the Controller General of Patent, De

National Skill Development Agency (NSDA)

The National Skill Development Agency (NSDA) was notified on 6 June 2013 and has been functional ever since. The NSDA is an autonomous body, with functions which inter alia include taking all possible steps to meet skilling targets as envisaged in the 12th Five Year Plan and beyond; coordinating and harmonizing the approach to skill development in the country; anchoring and operationalizing the National Skills Qualification Framework to ensure that quality and standards meet sector specific requirements; being the nodal agency for State Skill Development Missions; evaluating existing skill development schemes with a view to assessing their efficacy and suggesting corrective action to make them more effective; creating and maintaining a national database relating to skill development including development of a dynamic labour market information system; and ensuring that the skilling needs of the disadvantaged and the marginalized groups like SCs, STs, OBCs, minorities, women and differe

Anti Defection Law

The Constitution (Fifty-second Amendment) Act, 1985 popularly known as the anti-defection law came into force w.e.f. 1 March 1985. It amended articles 101, 102, 190 and 191 of the Constitution regarding vacation of seats and disqualification from membership of Parliament and the State Legislatures and added a new schedule i.e. the Tenth Schedule to the Constitution setting out certain provisions as to disqualification on ground of defection. Articles 102 (2) and 191 (2) read as follows “(2) a person shall be disqualified for being a member of either House of Parliament if he is sodisqualified under the Tenth Schedule.” The main provisions of Tenth Schedule are as follow : The grounds on which disqualification can be incurred are as under: (i) Members belonging to political parties A member of a House belonging to any political party shall be disqualified for being a member of House— (a) if he has voluntarily given up his membership of such political party; or (b) if he votes or ab

Kamalnathan Committee

The Central Government has constituted an Advisory Committee under the Chairmanship of Shri CR. Kamalanathan for State Government employees other than All India Services, in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 80 of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act, 2014, with effect from 29.3.2014. The terms of reference of the Advisory Committee are as under: (i) To delineate objective and transparent criteria for the allocation / distribution of personnel belonging to the State Government employees borne on the existing cadres of different services of Andhra Pradesh between the two successor States namely Andhra Pradesh and Telangana; (ii) To determine the cadre strength and further subdivide it into various categories for different services under the State Government i.e. Direct Recruitment Quota and Promotion Quota wise; Unreserved, OBC, SC and ST for the two successor States namely Andhra Pradesh and Telangana arising out of the existing State of Andhra Pradesh; The recommendation of

Countervailing Duties

Countervailing duties (CVDs), also known as anti-subsidy duties, are trade import duties imposed under World Trade Organization(WTO) rules to neutralize the negative effects of subsidies. They are imposed after an investigation finds that a foreign country subsidizes its exports, injuring domestic producers in the importing country. According to World Trade Organization rules, a country can launch its own investigation and decide to charge extra duties, provided such additional duties are in accordance with the GATT Article VI and the GATT Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures. In cases foreign producers attempt to subsidize the goods being exported by them so that it causes domestic production to suffer because of a shift in domestic demand towards cheaper imported goods, the government makes mandatory the payment of a countervailing duty on the import of such goods to the domestic economy. Recently WTO Dispute Panel Report Finds Countervailing Duty (CVD) imposed by US o

Gandhi Peace Prize 2013

The President of India on 15/7/2014 conferred the Gandhi Peace Prize 2013 on eminent Gandhian and environmentalist Shri Chandi Prasad Bhatt . Launched in 1995, the Gandhi Peace Prize, named after Mahatma Gandhi, is awarded annually by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India. This award is given to individuals and institutions for their contributions towards social, economic and political transformation through non-violence and other Gandhian methods. The Award carries an amount of Rs. 1 crore in cash, convertible in any currency in the world, a plaque and a citation. A Gandhian environmentalist and social activist, Shri Chandi Prasad Bhatt is one of the founders of India’s environment movement. True to Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of Peace and Non-violence, Shri Bhatt is one of the leaders of the Chipko movement, adopting non-violent means in preventing deforestation in the Garhwal Himalayas by hugging trees to prevent them from being felled during the early 1970s. Shri Bhatt, at t

Indian Public Health Standards

Indian Public Health Standards (IPHS) have been developed for Sub-centres, Primary Health Centres (PHCs), Community Health Centres (CHCs), Sub-District and District Hospitals. IPHS are a set of uniform standards envisaged to improve the quality of health care delivery in the country and have been used as the reference point for public health care infrastructure planning and up-gradation in the States and UTs. As per IPHS guidelines, the services that different levels of facilities are expected to provide are grouped under two categories i.e. “Minimum Assured Services” or Essential Services and ‘Desirable Services’. Essential Services should be available at the facility which includes promotive, preventive, curative, referral services and all the national health programmes. The services which are indicated as ‘Desirable’ are for the purpose that States should aspire to achieve for the particular level of the facility. IPHS guidelines are recommendatory in nature and not mandatory. Healt

Exercise Indra 2014

Indra is an Indo-Russian bilateral naval exercise, of which The first Indo-Russian bilateral naval exercise was conducted in May 2003 on both the Western and Eastern seaboards of India. This year in this exercise INS Ranjivey destroyer, INS Shivalik frigate and the Shakti supply vessel will take part in the manoeuvres from the Indian side. From the RF Navy taking part in the manoeuvres will be the Guards’ missile cruiser Varyag, Admiral Vinogradov large anti-submarine ship, Peresvet major amphibious ship and support vessels. Naval and carrier aviation of the RF Pacific Fleet and Indian Navy will be involved in the manoeuvres. Training and improvement of mutual maritime operations are the main aims of the exercise. The exercise will be spread over six days and will comprise harbour and sea phases. From 14 to 17 July, during mooring of the ships at Vladivostok, leadership of the two navies will undertake planning and training for joint operations. The sea phase of the exercise will be h

Shale gas

Shale gas refers to natural gas that is found trapped within shale formations. Shales are fine-grained sedimentary rocks that can be rich resources of petroleum and natural gas. Sedimentary rocks are rocks formed by the accumulation of sediments at the Earth's surface and within bodies of water. Common sedimentary rocks include sandstone, limestone, and shale. Shale gas exploration is the new focus area in the US, Canada and China as an alternative to conventional oil and gas for meeting growing energy needs.United States of America and Canada are the two major , which have commercially exploited Shale Gas resources. Indian Government has already initiated actions to formulate a policy on Shale Gas. Detailed studies are being taken up to identify the prospective basins/areas and estimation of Shale Gas resources in the country. As per available data, six basins - Cambay (in Gujarat), Assam-Arakan (in the North-East), Gondawana (in central India), KG onshore (in Andhra Pradesh), Ca

Sindhu Sadhana

Sindhu Sadhna is the first ever indigenously built Research Vessel (Ship) acquired recently by the CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography.R V Sindhu Sadhana is a multi-disciplinary research vessel equipped with a number of laboratories for data collection, echo sounders, acoustic doppler, profiler, autonomous weather station, air quality monitors and a host of other world-class latest equipments in the field of ocean technology and ocean research. The new multi-disciplinary oceanographic research vessel will have capabilities to undertake basin scale observations and will enable Indian oceanographers to take up studies not only in the seas around India, but also in any part of the Indian Ocean. It is aimed to serve as a stable platform allowing operation of sensible equipment and underway data acquisition. This ship will greatly enhance the capabilities of Indian oceanographers to make multi-disciplinary observations with a capability to predict the future changes in oceanograph

Challenges of Population Explosion

India is predicted to have overtaken China as the world's most populous nation by 2050. In an already overcrowded world, richer countries are being asked to share responsibility for the problem of this population explosion, which to a large extent is due to poverty. The growth rate of population is a function of migration, birth rate and death rate in a country. The difference between the birth rate and the death rate measures the growth rate of population. According to estimates, Indian population has risen 1,270,272,105 (1.27 billion) out of which female constitute 614,397,079 (614.4 million), male 655,875,026 (655.8 million) and tribal 104,281,034. The high population growth rates are due to high birth rate and fast declining death rates due to better sanitation and health facilities. However, the capacities to absorb increasing manpower are much weaker. Furthermore, the process of economic development tends to be more capital intensive under modern technological conditions, an

National Mission on Agricultural Extension and Technology (NMAET)

The National Mission on Agricultural Extension and Technology (NMAET) which encompasses extension, Information Communication Technology (ICT), Seeds, Agricultural Mechanization and Plant Protection aims to restructure & strengthen agricultural extension to enable delivery of appropriate technology and improved agronomic practices to the farmers through interactive methods of information dissemination, use of ICT, capacity building & institution strengthening; to improve reach of farm mechanization to small and marginal farmers by various means including promotion of custom hiring centers; to make available quality seeds and increase Seed Replacement Ratio and to promote Integrated Pest Management and plant protection measures. Methods of Implementation: Most components of the Mission are implemented through State Governments. However, some regulatory and administrative components like pesticide registration & quarantine regulation; national institutes, Mass Media, Kisan

Highlights of Budget 2014-2015

The government has put target of achieving fiscal deficit of 4.15% by the end of this financial year. Road map for fiscal consolidation outlines fiscal deficit of 3.6 % for 2015-16 and 3 % for 2016-17. Budget has raised the personal income-tax exemption limit by Rs. 50,000/- that is, from Rs. 2 lakh to Rs. 2.5 lakh in the case of individual taxpayers, below the age of 60 years. Exemption limit raised from Rs. 2.5 lakh to Rs. 3 lakh in the case of senior citizens. However there is no change in the rate of surcharge either for the corporates or the individuals, HUFs, firms etc. The budget proposes to continue education cess at 3 percent.  Investment limit under section 80C of the Income-tax Act has also been raised from Rs. 1 lakh to Rs. 1.5 lakh and Deduction limit on account of interest on loan in respect of self occupied house property raised from Rs.1.5 lakh to Rs.2 lakh. To incentivize small entrepreneurs an Investment allowance at the rate of 15 percent to a manufacturing compa

Programmes and Schemes for Indian Diaspora Abroad

Government have taken several initiatives for engaging the Indian Diaspora around the world. The major initiative is the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas, which is one of the largest diaspora engagements in the world. The Ministry of OIA does not organise programmes based on region, caste or creed. Besides Pravasi Bhartiya Divas, this Ministry organizes various other engagement programmes namely Regional Pravasi Bhartiya Divas, Know India Programme, Study India Programme, Scholarship Programme for Diaspora Children, Tracing the Roots and issues Overseas Citizen of India(OCI) cards for eligible applicants from the Indian diaspora abroad irrespective of their region, caste or creed. In addition Pravasi Bhartiya Samman Awards are also given to distinguished NRIs/PIOs for excellence in various fields. New programmes for the Indian Diaspora abroad are formulated by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs from time to time taking into account the various needs for engaging the Indian Diaspora. The M

Impact of Iraq Crisis on Import Oil

The Minister of State (I/C) in the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas Shri Dharmendra Pradhan informed the Rajya Sabha in a written reply on 09th July 2014 that currently, there is no impact on import of crude oil from Iraq due to the prevailing crisis in that country. Indian oil companies import Iraqi crude oil from the Basrah terminal located in southern Iraq and the export facilities at Basrah are operational and the loading of crude oil are going on normally. In order to deal with any contingency arising out of further deepening in crisis in Iraq, the Indian oil companies have formulated their short and medium term contingency plans. The contingency plans, inter-alia, include the following measure: i) The oil companies will approach other term suppliers i.e. National Oil Companies of countries with whom they presently have crude oil term contracts for additional volume, over and above the existing planned term lifting, so as to compensate for any reduction in imports from Iraq

Highlights of Economic Survey 2013-14

Chapter 1: State of the Economy and Prospects Economy to grow in the range of 5.4 – 5.9 per cent in 2014-15 overcoming sub-5 percent growth. Growth slowdown was broad based, affecting in particular the industry sector. Aided by favourable monsoons, agricultural and allied sector registered a growth of 4.7 per cent in 2013-14. Industry and Service sectors also witnessed slowdown. Chapter 2: Issues and Priorities Reforms needed for long term-growth prospects on 3 fronts- low and stable inflation regime, tax and expenditure reform and regulatory framework. Survey suggests removal of restriction on farmers to buy, sell and store their produce to customers across the country and the world. Rationalisation of subsidies on inputs such as fertilizer and food is essential. Government needs to eventually move towards income support for farmers and poor households. The Economic Survey 2013-14 mentions that the next wave of reforms will be through strengthening the institutional foundat

State Ministers’ Committee on Agricultural Marketing Reforms

A Committee of State Ministers, In-charge of Agricultural Marketing constituted by Ministry of Agriculture, on marketing reforms submitted its report on 2nd July, 2013 to the Government. The Committee recommended reforms of the agri marketing sector in the country including amendment of the State Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) Acts on lines of Model Act. The onus for bringing relevant amendments in the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) Acts lies with the Governments of States and Union Territories as agri marketing is a State subject. Recommendations of the Committee A. Reforms to Agriculture Markets (i) The States should amend their APMC Acts on the lines of Model Act and the reforming States may also notify Rules, and States may complete the process early. In order to derive full benefits of reforms by small and marginal farmers, States may promote formation of Self Help Groups, Farmers/Commodity Interest Groups, etc; (ii)

Schemes for Educational Empowerment of the minority communities

For the Educational Empowerment of the minority communities, the Ministry of Minority Affairs is implementing Pre-matric, Post-matric and Merit-cum-Means based scholarship schemes. Under Post-matric scholarship scheme, students are encouraged to pursue Technical and Vocational Courses in Industrial Training Institutes/ Industrial Training Centres by granting higher amount of scholarships. Under Merit-cum-Means based scholarship scheme, students are encouraged to pursue Professional and Technical courses. Under this scheme, students getting admissions in reputed listed institutes are re-imbursed full course fee. Fellowship is provided to minority scholars to pursue higher and professional courses at M.Phil and Ph.D levels through the Maulana Azad National Fellowship. Under Multi-Sectoral Development Programme (MsDP), necessary infrastructure for education and skill development are created in the identified minority concentration areas. So far 117 ITIs, 44 Polytechnics, 645 Hostels, 1092

Highlights of Rail Budget 2014

Increased passenger amenities, more safety measures, timely completion of projects and increased financial discipline are the main highlights of the Railway Budget 2014-15 presented by the Minister of Railways in Parliament today. The Budget seeks course correction in the light of mismanagement, apathy, populism in starting projects and severe fund crunch that have inflicted the railways over the years, the Minister averred. Railways will set up  Project Management Group  at the level of Railway Board to overcome delays in project execution.    For this, structural reforms will be introduced and resources will be mobilized through PSU surplus, FDI and PPP. The Budget proposes multi-pronged approach to make Railway journey safe and secure and comfortable for passengers. More thrust has been placed on passenger amenities, cleanliness and efficient station management. Now all major stations will have foot-over bridges, escalators, lifts etc . On safety and security, the Budget has