Monday, February 29, 2016

[Editorial # 74] For a green economy that is also just: The Hindu

[Following editorial has been published in The Hindu on 29th February 2016. Read through it and try to answer the questions that follow. Please do not copy and paste answers. The objective of this exercise is to get you in the groove of answer-writing. Try to write in your own words. Don't hesitate to write in a bulleted-format, if you are uncomfortable in writing in paragraph form.]

India’s solar power programme has come under intense scrutiny by global political and business leaders, especially given its aggressive intent and extensive trade opportunities. The programme, a part of the National Solar Mission, envisages an addition of 100,000 megawatts of solar power capacity by 2022. This initiative is also seen as a critical sub-component of the global effort to limit the extent of climate change. The recent ruling by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) against India must be read against this background. The WTO has ruled that the domestic content requirement (DCR) imposed by New Delhi on the production of solar cells and modules under the National Solar Mission violates global trade rules. According to the dispute settlement panel of the WTO, “These are inconsistent with both Article III:4 of the GATT [General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade] 1994 and Article 2.1 of the TRIMS [Trade-Related Investment Measures].’’ It has gone on to say that the DCR measures “do accord less favourable treatment’’ within the meaning of the provision under Article III:4 of the GATT 1994. The WTO ruling comes three years after the U.S. raised a dispute against India, and following the inability of the two countries to agree on the changes suggested by New Delhi to its solar programme. India is convinced that the DCR is a mechanism to facilitate sustainable development. It has even indicated that it is willing to apply the DCR only for buying solar panels used for government sector consumption, and has assured the U.S. that power generated from such subsidised panels will not be sold for commercial use. Coming as it does in the midst of a presidential election year, the WTO order in this instance is a significant victory for the U.S. Hailing the ruling, President Barack Obama said: “The U.S. can’t have other countries engaged in practices that disadvantage American workers and American businesses.’’ Given the potential for positive social and economic outcomes from the ambitious solar power programme, India will be compelled, as some other countries have done, to contest the WTO ruling before the appellate body.

The WTO ruling also comes soon after the Paris climate change agreement, and is bound to open up a wider debate across nations over whether initiatives such as the solar mission, with its social relevance and significant implications for a green economy, must be viewed only from the prism of a pure business opportunity. Given India’s size and also the need to provide meaningful job opportunities for millions of people, it is imprudent to conceive of a framework that either disadvantages or discourages domestic endeavour. The fight against climate change is not an exclusive cause; it has to move in tandem with the provision of jobs and the creation of an environment that facilitates a green economy. The onus for this lies not just on the developing countries. It is time the big economies realised their responsibility in building a greener world.


1. How is Solar Power converted into electricity?

2. What are various advantages and disadvantages of Solar Power?

3. What is the total solar power potential of India? What is the share of installed solar power capacity to total installed capacity of renewable power sources in India? Which states in India have built solar power capacities? 

4. What is National Solar Mission? What are its salient features?

5. What is WTO? Who heads it? What is its role?

6. What is GATT? 

7. What is meant by Domestic Content Requirement? What is the dispute between India and USA with regards to solar panels?

8. What are the features of Paris Climate Change Agreement?

9. How are green initiatives coming in conflict with the rules and philosophy of WTO? 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

[Editorial # 73] Restoring goodwill with Kathmandu : The Hindu

[Following editorial has been published in The Hindu on 25th February 2016. Read through it and try to answer the questions that follow. Please do not copy and paste answers. The objective of this exercise is to get you in the groove of answer-writing. Try to write in your own words. Don't hesitate to write in a bulleted-format, if you are uncomfortable in writing in paragraph form.]

Nepal Prime Minister K.P. Oli’s just-concluded six-day visit to India has come at an important juncture. The visit came after months of turmoil in the Madhes, or plains, region of Nepal following protests demanding a more federal framework in the new Constitution. India had tacitly backed the agitations, which resulted in a virtual blockade and a shortage of essential supplies in Nepal. After a prolonged period of vacillation, Mr. Oli committed to amendments in the Constitution that would satisfy some of the demands made by the Madhesis. This yielded an easing of the blockade after the protestors called off their stir. The net result of the Indian hand in the unrest, and of New Delhi’s perceived partisanship, had been a resurgence of jingoism in Kathmandu. It was also damaging for India, as the stand-off drained the goodwill gained from its commitment to supporting Nepal’s reconstruction after the devastating earthquake in 2015. The two countries clearly needed to recalibrate their positions, and this is a good start. Nepal has to maintain cordial relations with India; its economic dependence, especially as a landlocked state, is well understood and was, in fact, reinforced during the economic blockade. India too needs a friendly Nepal, whose geopolitical importance due to the open border between the two countries cannot be overstated. It is also in India’s interest that there be political stability in Nepal, to prevent the spillover effect any turmoil can have for the bordering States of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and to secure the republican consensus needed to pull millions of Nepalis out of poverty.

'To that extent, Prime Minister Oli’s visit has helped reset some priorities. The emphasis by both sides was on taking forward the reconstruction assistance that India has promised. A memorandum of understanding in this regard was signed. Other MoUs covered economic aid for road projects, enhancing power transmission, and easing travel and transit of goods. As regards the question of the Constitution, the Indian government had not budged much from its earlier position on the need for a consensus through dialogue with the dissenting Madhesis to take their concerns on federalism on board. But Prime Minister Narendra Modi did acknowledge that the conclusion of the Constitution-writing process is an “important achievement”. The onus is now on Mr. Oli, his Cabinet and his party, the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist). They could still project the halt in the economic embargo and return to normalcy in the Madhes as a sign of victory and resist any further concessions towards a truly federal Nepal. But that would only amount to further brinkmanship, which could prove detrimental again in the longer run. New Delhi too should dwell on the lessons from the recent deterioration in ties and on the need for a calibrated position that supports inclusive democracy in Nepal yet does not amount to interference. Mr. Oli’s visit has demonstrated the importance of high-level ownership of bilateral engagement to return relations to a mutually beneficial equilibrium.


1. What has been the history of India-Nepal relations? 

2. Which all Indian states share a boundary with Nepal? How long is Indo-Nepal Border? How can one go to Nepal from India?

3. What is meant by an open border? Under which treaty did India and Nepal accept to open the borders for smooth passage of people and goods? What are the other features of that treaty?

4. What is the current constitutional crisis in Nepal?

5. Who are Madhes people? What are their demands?

6. Why should India be bothered about the crisis going on in Nepal?

7. How is Nepal's development on India's cooperation and support?

8. What is an MoU? How is it different from agreement?

9. Nepal could be a significant partner to India in her endeavours to establish peace, security and prosperity in South Asia region. Comment (200 words)

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

[Editorial # 72] Keeping it parliamentary : The Hindu

[Following editorial has been published in The Hindu on 24th February 2016. Read through it and try to answer the questions that follow. Please do not copy and paste answers. The objective of this exercise is to get you in the groove of answer-writing. Try to write in your own words. Don't hesitate to write in a bulleted-format, if you are uncomfortable in writing in paragraph form.]

Parliament’s Budget session opened on Tuesday against a turbulent backdrop of unrest on university campuses, the Jat agitation in Haryana, an agrarian crisis, terrorist strikes and attacks on freedoms. In a bid, therefore, to blunt an anticipated attack by the Opposition, the Modi government has adopted a strategy to confront its critics directly by making the JNU “sedition” controversy the centrepiece of this session. MPs from the Bharatiya Janata Party, rather than those from the Opposition, have already given notice for a discussion on the subject ahead of the presentation of the Union Budget. By presenting itself as the flag-bearer of nationalism, the BJP believes it will be able to seize the advantage from the Opposition while detracting attention from economic and governance issues. Already, the BJP and the Sangh Parivar are building public opinion for the “nationalist” cause through various programmes, including vigilante activity by RSS sympathisers. In presenting the majority community as being under siege, the BJP and the Parivar have shifted the discourse to anxiety about the country being threatened by “anti-national” elements.

President Pranab Mukherjee’s customary address to Parliament has, in fact, set the tone. It ended with a reference to Subhas Chandra Bose, one of the many heroes of the freedom struggle whom the BJP has appropriated as an icon, and quoted him as saying, “Nationalism is inspired by the highest ideals of the human race.” The President also impressed on MPs that the “democratic temper calls for debate and discussion, and not disruption or obstruction”. For his part, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed the hope that Parliament would be utilised for “constructive debates”. The opening days of the Budget session traditionally leave little space for the Opposition. The sittings in the session’s first half, in any case, will be dominated by the President’s Address and the debate on it, the introduction of and discussion on the Union and Railway budgets and private members’ business. The government has also prioritised the passage of the Enemy Property (Amendment & Validation) Bill to replace an ordinance, and the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill that provides for delimitation of constituencies in West Bengal following the exchange of territories with Bangladesh. By proposing a discussion on Rohith Vemula and the JNU crisis, the BJP has further eroded space for the Opposition to seize the initiative. With elections to five Assemblies expected to be notified soon, the debate will obviously be framed in a surcharged context and political parties will be especially keen to play to the gallery. Indeed, given that the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance is not bound by lack of numbers in the Rajya Sabha in getting money bills passed, the government may be tempted to resist the parliamentary etiquette of letting the Opposition shape the session. This would be a mistake. The government has not yet completed its second year in office, but Parliament is already stuck in deadlock. Unyielding postures during this session on either side could stall all forward movement.


1. How many sessions does the Parliament have? What is the basis of only those many number of sessions? Why can't they have more or less number of sessions?

2. What do the Parliamentarians do between two sessions?

3. What are different types of Parliamentary Sessions? How many sessions does the British Parliament have? Does the US Congress also function in sessions? 

4. What is RSS? When, why and by whom was it established?

5. What are the various activities during the first half of the Budget Session of the Parliament? What are the activities in the second half? What happens between the two halves?

6. Why is Railways Budget presented separately from the Union Budget? Do you think its necessary?

7. What is an ordinance? How and when is it promulgated?

8. What is meant by delimitation of constituencies? 

9. Which five states are going to have their assembly elections soon? Who is responsible for notifying and conducting the assembly elections?

10. What is a money bill? How is it different from an ordinary bill?

11. “Democratic temper calls for debate and discussion, and not disruption or obstruction”. Explain (200 words)

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

[Editorial # 71] Pro-manufacturing laws need of the hour : Business Standard

[Following editorial has been published in Business Standard on 21st February 2016. Read through it and try to answer the questions that follow. Please do not copy and paste answers. The objective of this exercise is to get you in the groove of answer-writing. Try to write in your own words. Don't hesitate to write in a bulleted-format, if you are uncomfortable in writing in paragraph form.]

The 'Make in India' Week in Mumbai, which ended last Thursday, served as a welcome platform for states to make their cases for being business-friendly destinations to investors. Seventeen states had pavilions at the exposition centre in the Bandra-Kurla Complex, and several had special seminars. Chief ministers of states including Gujarat, Odisha, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand were present. It is unfortunate perhaps that most of the chief ministers from states not ruled by parties in the National Democratic Alliance did not turn up - the leaders of Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka, all large states seeking investment, were not present. However, most states that were present did indeed make many ambitious announcements - there was news of several new collaborations and plans for manufacturing projects. This spurt of activity should certainly help in reviving a sector that had slowed considerably. The states subsequently issued statements adding up the notional value of promised investments. The total investment promised, if these promises are taken seriously, would amount to Rs 15.2 lakh crore, with the host state of Maharashtra accounting for Rs 8 lakh crore out of that. However, the proportion of such promises that fructify depends crucially on whether investors believe that a genuinely business-friendly environment has been created. In the past, only a small fraction of such memoranda of understanding has turned into actual investments. Indeed, as this newspaper has reported, even as the number of industrial investment proposals made in 2015 went up by eight per cent over that in 2014, the value of such investment proposals has declined by 23 per cent in the same period.

It is unfortunate, therefore, that in spite of assurances given to investors at the 'Make in India' Week that a stable business-friendly environment has indeed been created, the tax office chose the precise time of this important exposition to send a threatening notice to Vodafone about a tax demand that is currently in arbitration. This action, coming as it did at a time when senior leaders of the government were assuring investors that "tax terrorism" was a thing of the past, should serve to remind all concerned that no amount of assurances can take away the need for genuine and deep-seated reforms to institutions and governance. The overall impact of the 'Make in India' Week will be positive going forward if it also provides a similar energy to the governments deregulation and reform efforts. Both states and Centre need to do more in this respect.

There is an entire gamut of manufacturing-friendly policies that states and Centre need to work on. The Centre has unfortunately put labour market reforms on the back burner, although some states have been freed to move forward. However, a patchwork of state-level laws is not the same for manufacturers as simplified national regulations. Other factor markets too need to be reformed. Land availability is in many places a genuine problem. The Centre has abandoned its amendment to the land acquisition law that was meant to make acquisition for public purpose easier. However, it should at least work - as should states - towards a functional free market for land perhaps through relaxations in land leasing laws. The focus on infrastructure is welcome, but should be accompanied by deregulation that allows infrastructure to be properly used. New highways are not that useful if outdated laws keep trucks waiting at inter-state border; new ports will not help if turnaround times remain slow thanks to excessive red tape. And, finally, as the Vodafone issue shows, reform of the tax department and making it less arbitrary and confrontational is long overdue.


1. Which are the top 5 and bottom 5 states in terms of their State GDPs? Do you see a pattern in  the regional disparities if any?

2. What is understood by the phrase "tax terrorism"? What is the Vodafone case all about?

3. What is the share of manufacturing sector in India's GDP? How does it fare vis a vis other major developing and developed economies?

4. What are the factors for a relatively lesser contribution of manufacturing sector in India's GDP?

5. It is said that unlike other economies which saw a transition from agriculture-based to industry-based and finally to service-based economy, India jumped to service sector-based economy directly form agriculture based one. Do you agree? Justify.

6. What are the various reforms which the government must initiate in order to make programs like Make in India successful?

7. It was observed that during the Make in India week, those states did not send their representatives which are being governed by political parties having different colours than that of the central government. Do you think this partisan behaviour impacts the growth and development of the people? Explain with a few examples.

Monday, February 22, 2016

[Editorial # 70] Unreasonable demands

[Following editorial has been published in The Hindu on 22nd February 2016. Read through it and try to answer the questions that follow. Please do not copy and paste answers. The objective of this exercise is to get you in the groove of answer-writing. Try to write in your own words. Don't hesitate to write in a bulleted-format, if you are uncomfortable in writing in paragraph form.]

The recurrence of violent protests led by relatively well-off communities demanding reservation, be it Patidars in Gujarat last year or Jats in Haryana this year, is perplexing. The Jats are a relatively prosperous land-owning community in Haryana and are regarded as being high on the “social ladder” in the region. Their political and social might is even more evident in the influence they wield in rural areas and in the leadership of the dominant political parties in the State. The National Commission for Backward Classes had in the past come out with specific reasons against the inclusion of the Jats in Haryana in the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) list. This was overruled by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre through a notification in March 2014, promising a special quota for Jats over and beyond the 27 per cent reservation for OBCs in jobs and higher education. It was left to the Supreme Court in March 2015 to reiterate the reality and to quash the decision of the UPA to include Jats in nine States among OBCs, stating that “caste” alone could not be the criterion for determining socio-economic backwardness. Clearly, even if the demands do not make any constitutional or legal sense, the bipartisan consensus over extending reservations has emboldened protestors among the Jat community. After all, the Bharatiya Janata Party in power too had voiced support for the implementation of the March 2014 notification.

Yet, the demands for reservations from these powerful communities is also a consequence of the success of the system of reservations that formed the most significant component of the Mandal Commission recommendations, implemented for the past 25 years, apart from the 65 years of reservations for Dalits and Adivasis. The larger goal went beyond the uplift of the underprivileged and the historically backward; the purpose was to reduce the gap between the “upper” and the “lower” strata in the social hierarchy. That communities which have identified themselves with the upper strata of society also seek “backward” status suggests that through public sector representation and expansion in access to higher education the “economic gap” has been narrowed, or is at least seen to be narrowing. Specifically in the case of Jats, despite higher economic and social standing, there has been a reduction in landholding owing to distribution over generations and a squeezing of rural incomes due to the persisting sluggishness in the agrarian economy. It is a combination of these structural issues over time, besides the relative success of the reservation programme, that has fuelled the unreasonable demands made by Jats. In the case of the more prosperous and diverse Patidars in Gujarat, the demands for reservation were a thin pretext to do away with the system of reservation itself. The agitations, in a way, point to the need to review the list of castes counted as OBCs and to deepen the definition of creamy layer. An opportunity for this was provided through the Socio-Economic and Caste Census, but it was missed.


What is meant by affirmative action? Why is it required? Which countries have adopted the mechanism of affirmative action?

What are the criteria for reservations in India? Where all is the facility of reservation available in India?

What does the constitution of India say about reservations?

What is National Commission of Backward Classes? What is its composition? What are its roles?

When was Mandal Commission constituted?What were its recommendations? When and by whom were those recommendations implemented?

Mention a few recent movements demanding reservations? What are the reasons behind such demands?

What is understood by Creamy Layer? What has been the stand of the Supreme Court on the issue of Creamy Layer? Why has this been not extended to SCs and STs?

Why is the editor considering the demands of Jats for reservations as unreasonable?

Who are Jats? In which region of India do they have a concentrated population?

What is Socio-Economic and Caste Census? When was it done? What were its findings?

Saturday, February 20, 2016

[Editorial # 69] Farm solutions : The Indian Express

[Following editorial has been published in The Indian Express on 20th February 2016. Read through it and try to answer the questions that follow. Please do not copy and paste answers. The objective of this exercise is to get you in the groove of answer-writing. Try to write in your own words. Don't hesitate to write in a bulleted-format, if you are uncomfortable in writing in paragraph form.]

Farm distress resulting from back-to-back monsoon failures and falling price realisations in most crops has arguably posed the biggest challenge, economically and politically, for the BJP-led Centre. It has prompted initiatives that may not have received official priority in the normal course — which is always the case with agriculture. On Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the operational guidelines for a new crop insurance scheme, the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), at a farmers’ rally in Madhya Pradesh. He also announced the creation of a National Agriculture Market (NAM), a digital platform for farmers to sell their produce to buyers anywhere in India, from April 14. Whatever may be the political calculations behind their launch and timing, both are potentially game-changing.
Currently, insurance penetration extends to hardly a fifth of the country’s cropped area. This is only to be expected when policy claims cannot cover even half of the value of produce in the event of crop failure. The PMFBY not only keeps the premiums low at 1.5-2 per cent for seasonal and 5 per cent for annual horticultural crops, but also removes any artificial capping of the sums insured that result in low claims being paid to farmers. That makes it more attractive for farmers to take insurance protection. True, such low premiums and allowing farmers to claim the full value of a crop linked to its normal threshold yields and MSP could entail additional fiscal costs. But subsidy on crop insurance is any day preferable to that on electricity, water or fertiliser. The former encourages farmers to invest in productivity improvements and new technologies; the latter promotes inefficient resource use. Also, with more farmers joining in, the actuarial premiums would come down through increased spreading of risks, thereby helping to contain the government’s subsidy burden.

Equally welcome is the move to expand the farmer’s universe of buyers beyond traders/ commission agents licensed to operate in the designated mandis of his area. Giving farmers the choice to accept the bids of local traders or those of online buyers can lead to higher price realisations, just as a robust crop insurance system is the best way to deal with weather and disease risks that are intrinsic to agriculture. India’s farmers need more such long-term solutions, as opposed to populist loan waivers and distortionary subsidies.


1. What factors are responsible for generation of monsoon winds? Is India the only country to receive monsoon? If yes then why does this phenomenon not occur anywhere else? If yes then where else on the globe does monsoon exist?

2. What is meant by crop insurance? What are various crop insurance schemes available in India? 
What is the penetration of crop insurance in India?

3. Highlight the features of Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY)? 

4. What is meant by National Agricultural Market? How is it different from APMC Mandis?

5. What are the risks faced by farmers against which insurance is required?

6. What is horticulture? Mention the names of horticultural crops produced in India? What is the share of horticulture in Indian agricultural?

7. What is MSP? What is the purpose behind MSP mechanism ? Which agency/authority decided MSP?

8. What are various types of subsidies being offered to farmers today? How much subsidy does Indian government provide for various such subsidies?

9. How is farm insurance a better tool of for improving farm productivity vis a vis farm subsidies?

10. Why are subsidies being called distortionary? 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

[Editorial # 68] No small gain : The Indian Express

[Following editorial has been published in The Indian Express on 18th February 2016. Read through it and try to answer the questions that follow. Please do not copy and paste answers. The objective of this exercise is to get you in the groove of answer-writing. Try to write in your own words. Don't hesitate to write in a bulleted-format, if you are uncomfortable in writing in paragraph form.]

The finance ministry’s decision to cut the short-term small savings rates signals an intent to reform by the government on the eve of the budget session. On Tuesday, the ministry cut the interest rate paid on post office savings of one, two and three-year terms, Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP) as well as five-year recurring deposits, by 25 basis points. The ministry has also announced that the rates on such small savings schemes would, henceforth, be revised every quarter. Interest paid on small savings instruments, fixed arbitrarily by the government, has been higher than the interest rates prevailing in the markets. This has been cited as one of the key reasons for poor monetary policy transmission in the economy. Banks were unwilling to cut the interest rates they paid on deposits, and in turn, the rates they charged on loans, even when the Reserve Bank cut interest rates repeatedly. Since the start of 2015, the RBI has cut interest rates by 125 basis points, yet the effective reduction passed on by the banks was just about 60 basis points.

The key benefit from the move would be the improvement of investor sentiment and activity through better policy transmission. The persistently high lending rates have been a dampener for an investment-starved economy. There is a flip side too: Small savers will not get as good a return. However, it is expected that the overall gains to the economy from lower interest rates will outweigh the benefits to small savings deposit holders. Actually, that is the reason why this policy move has always been difficult to undertake. It also explains why the government did not reduce interest rates across all small savings instruments.

To be sure, the government left unchanged the interest rate paid on the long-term small savings instruments, such as the public provident fund (PPF), the national saving certificate or the new Sukanya Samriddhi Account Scheme (SSAS), which are politically more sensitive. At present, there’s a significant gap between the rates paid on these — ranging from 8.7 per cent for the PPF and 9.2 per cent for the SSAS — and the 7.8 per cent yields on 10-year government bonds, a proxy for market rates. In fact, the Employees’ Provident Fund rate has been increased by 0.05 per cent. The non-inclusion of these schemes will certainly hold back transmission. Yet, the government has started the process of aligning the interest rates in the market, which is crucial to reviving investment.


1. Explain the following terms:
  • Budget Session
  • Post Office Savings
  • Recurring Deposits
  • Kisan Vikas Patra
  • Monetary Policy
  • Basis Points
  • Public Provident Fund
  • Sukanya Samriddhi Account Scheme (SSAS)
  • Government Bonds
  • Employees’ Provident Fund 

2. What is meant by short-term small savings rate? Who regulates it?

3. How is short-term small savings rate impacting the interest rates on loans offered by the Commercial Banks?

4. What is the role of Reserve Bank of India? How and why does it control the interest rates offered by Commercial Banks?

5. What would be the advantages and disadvantages of reducing the short-term small savings rate?

6. Why was the government reluctant to reduce the short-term small savings rate? How has it managed to take care of the anticipated opposition from the general public?

7. What is understood by Monetary Policy Transmission? Why does the editor think that the government has been unable in achieving an effective monetary policy transmission so far?

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

[Editorial # 67] Making cities clean and sustainable: The Hindu

[Following editorial has been published in The Hindu on 17th February 2016. Read through it and try to answer the questions that follow. Please do not copy and paste answers. The objective of this exercise is to get you in the groove of answer-writing. Try to write in your own words. Don't hesitate to write in a bulleted-format, if you are uncomfortable in writing in paragraph form.]

A century ago, Mahatma Gandhi lamented that the Indian city was mostly a stinking den, and Indians as a people were not used to city life. The squalid urban landscapes of the 21st century, with mountains of garbage merely relocated to the suburbs to maintain “clean cities”, would seem to prove that not much has changed since then. The quest for clean cities has only grown more complicated, as steady urbanisation is putting pressure on a poorly prepared municipal administration system, and the more affluent consumers produce ever-higher volumes of trash. The neglect of social housing, sanitation and water supply has ensured that there is nothing like a truly clean, green and sustainable city. It would not be fair, of course, to dismiss the efforts of cities such as Mysuru, Chandigarh and Tiruchirapalli, which have scored the top three ranks in the competition organised by the Swachh Bharat Mission of the Ministry of Urban Development to choose the cleanest cities for 2015. In fact, with the high level of political will now being shown to address the problem of waste and filth, there has never been a better time for State governments to act. Beyond the cosmetic solution of removing waste to landfills or releasing untreated sewage into hidden waterways, however, the challenge is staggering — even with the 1.04 crore household toilets and five lakh community and public toilets to be built, the sewage treatment capacity in cities would have to be expanded by 63 per cent. The scenario is equally depressing for solid waste, since only 20 per cent of it can be treated scientifically at present.

The Centre’s decision, against this background, to ask fertilizer companies to sell municipal compost is among the more promising initiatives to stem the rising pile of trash. Cities can take a leaf out of international best practices, and encourage communities to create food gardens in every area possible using this resource. At the very least, reduction of garbage can be achieved if residents start segregating their waste at home, and municipalities acquire the systems to manage it. But there is a major policy disconnect here, since tonnage-based contracts issued by cities have created a vested interest in transporting waste to landfills, rather than to reduce it through rules that require segregation, composting and recycling. The imagery of the Swachh Bharat Mission, which currently dwells on citizen behaviour and the visual appeal of clean cities, needs to extend to waste reduction and recycling. Building the necessary infrastructure is easier today, since a variety of financial instruments are available, including Central funds, corporate sponsorship and the Swachh Bharat cess on services that alone will garner an estimated Rs.3,700 crore during 2015-16. Achieving sustainable clean cities will ultimately depend on the attention devoted to human development and environmental governance. Without inclusive city planning, affordable housing, water and sanitation, the trend of urbanisation can only add to the squalor that depressed Gandhiji in Varanasi. This is the bulwark on which cities can achieve cleanliness and good health.


1. Do you agree that Indian cities are not clean? What makes you think so? What are the factors responsible for such state of affairs ?

2. Who are the people/authorities entrusted with the job of keeping the cities clean? What is the role of general public in keeping the cities clean?

3. What are the impacts of poor waste management in cities?

4. How have cities like Mysuru, Chandigarh and Tiruchirapalli been able to maintain high levels of cleanliness? 

5. What is Swachcha Bharat Mission? Why is this program being given so much of primacy? 

6. What steps should the government and the general public take to maintain cleanliness and hygiene in cities?

7. What do you understand by waste management? What are various ways of doing it?

8. What is the average daily volume of waste generated in the city you currently reside?

9. What is Swachcha Bharat Cess? How is it collected and routed to cleanliness drives?

10. What was the stand of Gandhiji on cleanliness? How did he practice and propagate cleanliness in his life?

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

[Editorial #66] Abu Dhabi calling : The Indian Express

[Following editorial has been published in The Indian Express on 16th February 2016. Read through it and try to answer the questions that follow. Please do not copy and paste answers. The objective of this exercise is to get you in the groove of answer-writing. Try to write in your own words. Don't hesitate to write in a bulleted-format, if you are uncomfortable in writing in paragraph form.]

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) have turned into India’s gateway to West Asia, focusing New Delhi’s attention on an important region long neglected by Indian foreign policy, which now appears to be acquiring the geoeconomic and strategic priority it deserves. Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s visit last week built on the achievements of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trip to the UAE last August — the first by an Indian PM in over three decades, which had demonstrated India’s break from the past and recognition of the changed dynamics of the Middle East. The region’s altered security and politico-economic reality, not least because of threats like the Islamic State (IS) or the falling price of oil, necessitates new partnerships.

Although bilateral trade fell from its $73 billion peak in 2013 to $59bn in 2014-15, the UAE — which accounts for about 9 per cent of India’s crude imports — remains India’s third-largest trading partner and second-largest export destination, and has pledged to invest $75bn in India. Its $800bn sovereign wealth fund is a large resource pool from which investments can be made in infrastructure development in India — progress on these lines can be seen in Abu Dhabi’s interest in Indian highway projects. The joint production of defence equipment under the Make in India programme is another important area of focus. Mohamed bin Zayed’s visit also saw agreements, among other things, on cyberspace and cybercrime cooperation, space research, as well as collaboration on renewable energy. The MoU on currency swap between the RBI and Central Bank of UAE should ease bilateral financial transactions.

A significant aspect of bilateral ties today is the closer convergence on security and counter-terrorism. Notwithstanding a security agreement in place since 2011, progress on counter-terror and maritime security had been slow. But with the rise of the IS, the UAE took a strong stand against terror — and has, till date, deported about a dozen Indian citizens suspected of IS links. While enhanced security cooperation also ties in partly with the affairs of India’s 2.6 million large diaspora in the UAE, their problems had traditionally not received attention in Delhi. India’s six million workers in the Gulf contribute $50bn in annual remittances, but their work and living conditions need urgent redress. The PM had directly reached out to this community on his trip. Now, closer all-round bilateral cooperation should help address their concerns.


1. Where is UAE located? Mark the location on a world map. How far is UAE from India? How can you go to UAE from India?

2. What makes UAE an important country to have healthy diplomatic relations with?

3. How can UAE help India in addressing the issue of terrorism?

4. What are major exports to and imports from UAE?

5. What has been the history of migration of Indians to UAE? What are the contributions of Indian diaspora residing in UAE?

6. What is understood by cyber security? What is the machinery set up by India to ensure cyber security?

7. What are renewable sources of energy? Why are they becoming increasingly significant? What are the challenges in harnessing renewable energy?

8. "The United Arab Emirates (UAE) have turned into India’s gateway to West Asia, focusing New Delhi’s attention on an important region long neglected by Indian foreign policy, which now appears to be acquiring the geo-economic and strategic priority it deserves". Analyse (200 words)

Saturday, February 13, 2016

[Editorial # 65] A wave of awe and opportunity : The Hindu

[Following editorial has been published in The Hindu on 13th February 2016. Read through it and try to answer the questions that follow. Please do not copy and paste answers. The objective of this exercise is to get you in the groove of answer-writing. Try to write in your own words. Don't hesitate to write in a bulleted-format, if you are uncomfortable in writing in paragraph form.]

The detection of ripples in space-time, known as gravitational waves, here on Earth marks a watershed moment for astronomy and for science as a whole. The detection at once improves our understanding of the workings of the universe and, more important, throws open a big opportunity to study it from completely new angles. It opens the way to get information about the evolution of galaxies and black holes. There is also a symmetry to the timing of the discovery: it comes a century after Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity held that acceleration of massive bodies should produce gravitational waves, which travel through the universe at the speed of light. The gravitational waves detected, and announced to the world on Thursday, were produced more than a billion years ago by a cataclysmic collision of two black holes, one of them with a mass 36 times that of the Sun and the other slightly smaller at 29 times, into one black hole. The gravitational waves give scientists insights into the final moments before the merger. The signals of gravitational waves were detected on September 14, 2015 by twin Laser Interferometric Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors located about 3,000 km apart at Hanford, Washington and in Livingston, Louisiana, in the United States. Though the observatory is capable of picking up gravitational waves produced by binary neutron stars colliding and merging, signals from such a collision from the same distance would have been extremely weak for LIGO to pick up; neutron stars are much smaller in size than black holes and produce weaker signals. The successful capture of gravitational waves by LIGO is a testimony to humankind’s scientific and engineering expertise to build extraordinarily sensitive instrumentation capable of detecting variations of the order of a thousandth of the diameter of a proton.

Fittingly, this giant step for science is the result of truly global cooperation. About 60 researchers from more than a dozen institutions in India were part of the over-1,000-strong army of scientists in the collaboration. Nearly 35 Indian scientists are co-authors of the landmark scientific paper that describes the results. The way to find the signal buried in the noise came from an Indian scientist. Similarly, the oscillation of cosmic bodies after a collision was predicted by an Indian scientist back in 1971. Several observatories widely separated from one another will help in determining the direction of any event with greater accuracy and also confirm the genuineness of the signal. Quick approval to construct the proposed Rs.1,260-crore gravitational wave observatory in India could help obtain unique information about the universe; unlike light, gravitational waves can pass through the universe unobstructed and hence carry otherwise unobtainable information. The facility would also provide a much-needed technological boost and immensely benefit researchers based in India. And for years to come, we will continue to listen to the ‘chirp’ sound produced by the gravitational waves, and marvel at science’s capacity to detail ever more minutely the place of humankind in the vastness of space and time.


1. Write a short note on (50 words)
Black Holes
General Theory of Relativity
Binary Neutron Stars

2. What are gravitational waves? What is the relevance of studies related to such waves?

3. What is LIGO? Where is it located? Is there any specific reason for setting up the LIGO there?

4. What has been the role of Indians in detecting gravitational waves? 

5. How are gravitational waves different from electromagnetic waves like light? How can these differences be used to get more information about the universe?

6. What efforts are being made in India to study gravitational waves? Do you think despite being unable to feed its teeming millions India should invest in such projects? Why or why not?

7. What makes humans pursue subjects like astronomy? Do you think such fields of enquiry help in sustaining and improving the standard of life on the planet earth? Justify. 

8. Mention a few such scientific projects which have helped humans fathom the depth and breath of  the infinite universe? Do such projects empower humans? How? 

Friday, February 12, 2016

[Editorial # 64] NITI Aayog's purpose is still unclear: Business-Standard

[Following editorial has been published in Business-Standard on 12th February 2016. Read through it and try to answer the questions that follow. Please do not copy and paste answers. The objective of this exercise is to get you in the groove of answer-writing. Try to write in your own words. Don't hesitate to write in a bulleted-format, if you are uncomfortable in writing in paragraph form.]

A visible sign of change in the nature of policymaking under the Narendra Modi government was seen on January 1, 2015 when the 64-year-old Planning Commission was replaced with the ambitiously named National Institution for Transforming India (or NITI) Aayog. The hope then was that it would be a leaner outfit with more sector experts. It was also expected to perform the role of a think tank and advisor on social and economic policies for the prime minister. The appointment of the well-known trade economist, Arvind Panagariya, as vice-chairman, and two respected academics and a scientist as members - plus the sharp reduction of staff - suggested that Mr Modi was on the right track. Replacing a secretary for planning with a CEO for the organisation indicated a new direction in institution building. Yet, over a year on, NITI Aayog's usefulness and purpose remain unfortunately unclear.

On current evidence, NITI Aayog can best be described as a poor relation to the Planning Commission rather than a brave new initiative. As yet, no significant policy prescriptions have emerged from its pink-and-grey portals, nor does the political establishment - although it includes many first-timers in government - appear to access it for advice, even on matters such as trade negotiations regarding which NITI's experts are world-renowned. Then the usual problems that beset government institutions are already surfacing. Some in it argue for more members to distribute the workload. There also appears to be some variance over the responsibility of the office bearers. Are they supposed to be policy advisors, as their expertise suggests, or quasi-political liaisons with state governments?

Certainly, it was common knowledge that the Planning Commission had outlived its utility in that form once controls were relaxed and the states came to play a bigger role in economic decision making. In the last years of the United Progressive Alliance, the chief ministers of some of India's better-run states - Mr Modi in Gujarat and J Jayalalithaa in Tamil Nadu notable among them - were vocal in their objections to spending priorities being dictated by a centralised body. In addition, over the past few years several decisions devolved far greater decision-making powers to the states in terms of how they choose to spend central grants and funds for welfare schemes. This diminishes one of the Planning Commission's major roles. Another function, that of resource allocation, has been shifted to the finance ministry. Clearly, NITI Aayog should have been freed up to find an alternative role. But it is unfortunate that the political leadership has not adequately empowered it to do so, or structured it to fulfil its initial promise.

NITI Aayog would have been in an ideal position to provide the government, which suffers the lack of a sound advisory establishment, with the crucial research heft and intellectual underpinning for its many policy initiatives, making it a genuine and powerful agent of transformation. There is still time - many bemoan the lack of new ideas emerging from stultified Union ministries. The NITI Aayog could be freshly empowered to serve as an advocate for progressive, market-friendly reform, so the political leadership has additional input on whatever policy proposals may emerge from the traditional bureaucracy.


1. Trace out the history of Planning in India.

2. Why did India choose a path of Economic Planning? Which countries in the world have adopted Economic Planning?

3. What is Planning Commission? When, why and how was it constituted?

4. What were the contributions of Planning Commission towards economic growth of India?

5. It is often alleged that Planning Commission is a direct evidence of quasi federal nature of Indian polity. Do you agree? Justify.

6. Do you think that Planning Commission had outlived its utility? Explain with examples.

7. Why was Planning Commission abolished? 

8. Which organisation replaced Planning Commission? What was the objective behind setting up such an organisation?

9. It is being said that NITI Ayog has not been able to do justice to its mandate. What are the factors behind its not meeting the intended objectives? 

10. Do you think economic planning has any place in a free-market economy? Does India still need to follow a path of economic planning? 

11. Write a note on the composition of NITI Ayog? How is it different from that of Planning Commission?

Thursday, February 11, 2016

[Editorial # 63] Doubly damaging : The Indian Express

[Following editorial has been published in The Indian Express on 11th February 2016. Read through it and try to answer the questions that follow. Please do not copy and paste answers. The objective of this exercise is to get you in the groove of answer-writing. Try to write in your own words. Don't hesitate to write in a bulleted-format, if you are uncomfortable in writing in paragraph form.]

On the face of it, no major bank, state-owned or private, has escaped the non-performing assets crisis unfolding in the country. The latest addition to the list is the public-sector giant, Punjab National Bank. On Tuesday, the bank announced that its gross NPAs in the third quarter of the current fiscal increased to Rs 34,338 crore, a sharp rise from Rs 22,211 crore last year. As a result, the PNB had to increase provisioning towards NPAs to Rs 3,775 crore for Q3, up from Rs 1,467 crore in the same quarter a year ago. Eventually, the slippage due to NPAs resulted in the PNB’s net profits falling 93.4 per cent to Rs 51 crore in the October-December quarter. But the PNB was not alone. Two more public-sector banks — Allahabad Bank and Dena Bank — reported a combined loss of Rs 1,100 crore just for the December quarter. Even private-sector banks are getting hit due to increasing NPAs but there is a difference between how the NPA-induced pain in the banking sector affects public-sector and private-sector banks.

According to an analysis by the P.J. Nayak Committee report on the governance of bank boards in 2014, the market share of PSBs in India has fallen from 80.2 per cent in 2000 to 73 per cent in 2013. It calculated that, given this trend, PSBs will further relinquish market share and be reduced to just 63.2 per cent by 2025. This, the committee found, is due to several reasons. Irrespective of which variable one looks at — return on assets, average net interest margin, net profit per employee or the ratio of staff costs to operating expenses — PSBs massively lag behind private-sector banks. This is evident in the scale of the NPA crisis, too.

In its bid to give primacy to the goal of financial inclusion, the Modi government unveiled a flurry of schemes such as the Jan Dhan Yojana, the Atal Pension Yojana and the Suraksha Bima Yojana — PSBs were expected to be the main vehicles to drive this change. At first, the hurried pace at which many of these schemes were pushed was a cause for concern. But now, as PSBs declare the true extent of stressed assets on their balance-sheets, it is becoming clear that they will find it difficult to push financial inclusion, which requires banks to put up with significant costs upfront. This underlines the urgency to reform PSBs and ensure they follow prudential norms. Failure to do so will adversely affect the goal of financial inclusion.


1. What is Non Performing Asset?

2. What are Public Sector Banks? How are they different from Private Sector Banks?

3. Why was P J Nayak Committee constituted? What were its major recommendations?

4. What factors are attributed to high NPAs on the balance sheets of PSBs? How are Private Sector Banks performing vis-a-vis PSBs?

5. What is meant by Financial Inclusion? What are various steps taken by the Govt. of India to achieve Financial Inclusion in India?

6. How are higher NPAs affecting various programs of Financial Inclusion?

7. What steps should be taken by the Government to address theNPA crisis?

8. What is Jan Dhan Yojna? Evaluate its performance since inception.

9. What are Atal Pension Yojana and Suraksha Bima Yojana? Highlight their features.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

[Editorial # 62] Time for pharma course correction : The Hindu

[Following editorial has been published in The Hindu on 10th February 2016. Read through it and try to answer the questions that follow. Please do not copy and paste answers. The objective of this exercise is to get you in the groove of answer-writing. Try to write in your own words. Don't hesitate to write in a bulleted-format, if you are uncomfortable in writing in paragraph form.]

The Finance Ministry’s decision to withdraw customs duty exemptions for 76 life-saving drugs will at once make them more expensive and impact patients who are already paying a high price for such medical treatment. It is important to keep in mind that a majority of Indians meet health care costs through out-of-pocket expenditure, and any increase is bound to adversely affect them. It is true that the customs duty waiver is an interim measure, and that the list has to be revised periodically. Certain drugs now removed from the list are either no longer used by patients or are being manufactured in India at a lower cost than the imported ones, and therefore should be removed from it anyway. However, it is not clear what “public interest” is served by removing certain essential medicines that are either not manufactured in India or whose demand currently exceeds local manufacturing capacity. While the government has been enthusiastic about withdrawing the exemption for 76 drugs, it has failed to include certain life-saving or essential drugs that have been launched recently and are under patent protection. This indicates that consultations have not been broad-based; this has to be corrected as the patient’s interest should be the priority. Unlike in the case of other commodities where the consumer is the decision-maker, doctors’ prescription preferences, sometimes based on partisan considerations, dictate whether a patient ends up buying imported drugs even when locally manufactured options are available at a lower price. It is for this reason that the withdrawal of 22 per cent customs duty exemption on imported drugs could have an impact on a patient’s budget; imported active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) will also increase the cost of generics made locally.

Since the late 1990s, India has lost out to China in the API market. Active as well as enabling support from the government in various forms helped the Chinese industry flood the Indian market with cheap APIs. While the product patent regime that came into full force since 2005 and the flooding of the market with Chinese APIs may appear to be genuine reasons for giving the Indian industry cover to catch up, any protection cannot be long-lasting. The only way for the Indian drug industry to grow is by investing in research and development and in producing novel drugs that enjoy patent protection. India is the pharmacy of the South, but that dominance is restricted to generics. This has to change, and the government has to extend support in larger measure. As is the case in the U.S., many drugs that go on to become commercially profitable have their origins in academic and government institutions. Unfortunately, the recent decision to cut research funding will not help the industry. The earlier the government realises this and changes its priorities, the better it would be for the country.


1. What are life-saving drugs? Explain with examples?

2. Which department/ministry is responsible for formulation of policies related to pharmaceutical industry?

3. What is Custom Duty? Why is it levied?

4. What is understood by patents? What are various domestic and international laws and agreement providing patent protection?

5. What is meant by Intellectual Property Rights? What are various types of IP which have been given protection under various laws?

6. What are Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients? What are their use?

7. What is meant by generic drugs? Why is it important to have generic drugs?

8. What are the factors responsible for India losing out in API market? How did govt. support the pharma industry to regain its market share?

9. What all measures should be taken by the government to encourage pharma industry's growth?

10. Assignment: Take any medicine strip and find out the information which is printed on it. Also find out the relevance of all such information.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

[Editoria # 61] Why Siachen must be demilitarised : The Hindu

[Following editorial has been published in The Hindu on 6th February 2016. Read through it and try to answer the questions that follow. Please do not copy and paste answers. The objective of this exercise is to get you in the groove of answer-writing. Try to write in your own words. Don't hesitate to write in a bulleted-format, if you are uncomfortable in writing in paragraph form.]

The February 3 avalanche on the Siachen glacier that buried 10 Indian Army soldiers is a stark reminder to both India and Pakistan about the cost of military deployment in such inhospitable territory. The bodies of most soldiers of the 19 Madras Regiment are yet to be recovered from the post on the northern part of the glacier, at a height of 19,600 feet. This was not an isolated incident but part of a growing trend in that region, as global warming dramatically affects the glacier. Last month, four soldiers of 3 Ladakh Scouts were killed when an avalanche hit a patrol party in the Ladakh region, not very far from the site of the present tragedy. Avalanches are a threat not just to Indian soldiers, but also to the Pakistani troops. In April 2012, in the Gayari sector, 129 soldiers of the 6th Northern Light Infantry of the Pakistani military and 11 civilian contractors were buried by a massive avalanche. It is not just avalanches; the challenging terrain of the glacier and its surroundings as a whole have been regularly claiming lives. According to reliable estimates, over 2,000 soldiers from both sides have died on the Siachen glacier since 1984, when India beat Pakistan by a few days to occupy many of the strategic locations on the glacier.

Ever since the two militaries began a costly engagement on the glacier, there have been numerous efforts by both countries to find a way to demilitarise the glacier. In June 1989, they came very close to clinching a final deal. The two sides had agreed to “work towards a comprehensive settlement, based on redeployment of forces to reduce the chance of conflict, avoidance of the use of force and the determination of future positions on the ground so as to conform with the Shimla Agreement and to ensure durable peace in the Siachen area”. Ever since then, India and Pakistan have tried diplomatically to find away to demilitarise the region. However, a lack of political will on both sides has meant that the status quo holds, and soldiers continue to pay a very high price in that remote snowy outpost. India has in the past suggested delineation of the Line of Control north of NJ 9842, redeployment of troops on both sides to agreed positions after demarcating their existing positions, a zone of disengagement, and a monitoring mechanism to maintain the peace. Given Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s personal initiative to visit Lahore on Christmas day and to push forward peace with Pakistan, it would only be the next logical step to look at the low-hanging fruits in bilateral issues to build trust. The demilitarisation of Siachen is definitely doable. This is not only because it is diplomatically possible, but also because there is a critical mass of opinion in both India and Pakistan that neither can sacrifice, or put in harm’s way, so many lives on the inhospitable glacier. If the initiative is not seized by both sides now, the vagaries of nature will continue to exact a toll on forces deployed in Siachen, even if peace holds.


1. What is a glacier? What percentage of total fresh water available on earth is in the form of glaciers?

2. What is an avalanche? What factors are responsible for avalanche?

3. Trace out Siachen Glacier on a map of India? What is the dispute related to Siachen Glacier? 

4. How is Siachen Glacier strategically important for India?

5. What is Shimla Agreement? When and why was it signed? Who were the parties involved in the agreement?

6. What is Line of Control? What is its history? Trace out the same on the map of India?

7. Locate Ladakh on the map of India? What are some special attributes of Ladakh?

8. Do you think India should make efforts towards de-militarisation of Siachen Glacier? Why or why not?

9. Do you think technology can facilitate de-militarisation in Siachen Glacier? Suggest a few measures.

Monday, February 8, 2016

[Editorial # 60] Nuclear ambiguities

[Following editorial has been published in The Hindu on 6th February 2016. Read through it and try to answer the questions that follow. Please do not copy and paste answers. The objective of this exercise is to get you in the groove of answer-writing. Try to write in your own words. Don't hesitate to write in a bulleted-format, if you are uncomfortable in writing in paragraph form.]

India’s nuclear politics was in the limelight again last week, and not for the best of reasons. More than five years after it signed the Convention on Supplementary Compensation (CSC), India ratified the insurance pooling agreement, which pertains to civil liability in the event of a nuclear accident in any of the acceding countries. Prima facie, this was a good move, bringing to an end a game of will-they-or-won’t-they, which had cast India in poor light internationally and which sat uncomfortably beside three hard-fought nuclear landmarks — the India-U.S. Civil Nuclear Agreement (CNA) and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) waiver, both passed in 2008, and India’s Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act (CLNDA), which became law in 2010. However, India’s CSC ratification does not clear the air so far as an important stumbling block to bilateral nuclear commerce is concerned: is CLNDA truly in conformity with the CSC, as Indian officials have repeatedly claimed, or does it cast a shadow of doubt on supplier liability, which is a matter of critical importance to U.S. nuclear corporations? The ambiguity stems from two clauses of CLNDA, Sections 17(b) and 46. Under Section 17(b), liability for a nuclear accident can be channelled from the operator, which is the Nuclear Power Corporation of India, to suppliers of nuclear material, specifically if the accident is due to an act of the supplier or his employee, which includes supply of equipment or material with patent or latent defects or sub-standard services. Section 46 permits victims of a nuclear incident to sue the operator or the supplier for damages applying tort law, even though such proceedings would be beyond the scope of CLNDA and its liability cap, and thus exposing suppliers to unlimited liability. Both clauses are likely to raise suppliers’ cost of insurance cover, possibly beyond what is feasible commercially and within the confines of competitive energy pricing.

India’s CSC ratification is a reminder of the steep fall from the heady days of the announcement of the CNA a decade ago to the weak and unconvincing efforts by the Narendra Modi administration, following U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to India, to persuade corporations such as General Electric-Hitachi and Westinghouse that they would not be liable in the event of an accident. India’s reliance on contractual rules and parliamentary debates to explain away supplier concerns has been greeted with scepticism by representatives of U.S. nuclear corporations — first on the grounds that no rule can supersede constitutional statute, and second, as there are other, on-record views in Parliament that contradict those cited by the MEA. While the liability morass has stymied U.S. investment in Indian reactors, Russia, France and Japan have moved forward with their respective bilateral agreements for nuclear commerce. This suggests that the recognition of India as a responsible nuclear power by the international community — the U.S. and the other NSG states — has allowed for windows of opportunity for nuclear commerce in India, even in the post-Fukushima world.


1. What is Convention on Supplementary Compensation (CSC)?

2. What is the difference between signing and ratification of an agreement? Mention few examples of agreements or treaties
a) Not signed by India
b) Signed but not ratified yet. 
c) Both Signed and Ratified

3. What is insurance pooling agreement? Why is insurance required in setting up of Nuclear Plants?

4. What is Nuclear power? How is electricity generated at a Nuclear Power Station?

5. How many and where all does India has Nuclear Power Plants?

6. What is the total installed capacity of Nuclear Power in India/World?

7. Which country depends on Nuclear power for its energy needs the most?

8. Why is India putting so much of emphasis on Nuclear Power? 

9. What are the various challenges in increasing the installed capacity of Nuclear Power in India?

10. Does India have sufficient input material required for Nuclear Power generation? Where from does India meet it requirements of those input materials?

11. On a map of India plot the various locations from where input material for Nuclear power plants is sourced.

12. Nuclear energy though a clean energy source in terms of its carbon footprint, has got many disadvantages which make it unfit to replace the conventional energy sources completely. Comment (200 words)