Ministry has planned to closely monitor Public sector banks (PSBs)
achievements on 16 key performance indicators (KPIs) at the branch,
region, State and national level.
step was taken in the backdrop of PSBs market share declining while that
of private banks is rising. PSBs accounted for 63% of the outstanding
credit of scheduled commercial banks against 67% as of June-end 2017.
fall comes in the backdrop of these banks facing asset quality issues
since 2015.Further,Non-Banking Financial Companies(NBFCs) are also
borrowing from banks and are able to attract customers in spite of higher
16 KPIs includes indicators such as Credit for infrastructure, Farm
sector, Blue economy, Housing, MSMEs, Stand-Up India scheme, Education,
Exports, Green economy, Cleanliness activities, Financial inclusion and
women’s empowerment among others.
banks will then be benchmarked against the 18 PSBs’ average. If found
lagging, specific action will be taken after consultation at various
levels to improve their performance.
States President has announced new immigration rules.The rules will apply
to immigrants who enter the country legally and then apply for Green Card.
Card is an identification card which gives one the status of a permanent
resident along with legal rights to work in the USA.
rules change a 1999 law which defines a criteria the U.S. Citizenship and
Immigration Services officials have been using to decide which immigrants
qualify for green cards.
rules require those seeking green cards to prove they will not be a burden
to the United States or what’s called a public charge.
criteria will now be expanded to include restrictions on using public
assistance including food stamps, Medicaid and subsidized housing. Other
factors are also considered for the first time including credit
scores,debt and English proficiency among other things.
rules will be applied from October,2019.They don’t apply to U.S. citizens
even if the U.S. citizen is related to an immigrant who is subject to
rules are part of US President efforts to curb both legal and illegal
immigration and is derived from the Immigration Act of 1882 that allows
the US government to deny a visa to anyone likely to become a public
to the global analysis of nematodes published in Nature,there are about 57
billion nematodes for every human being on Earth.
researchers have said that Sub-Arctic regions have the highest abundance
of nematodes followed by temperate regions and tropical regions.
prefers colder region as soil organic matter content is the key driver for
low temperature and high moisture in the sub-Arctic regions reduces the
decomposition rate of organic matter.This leads to accumulation of organic
matter and the nematodes happily thrive on them.
worm shaped nearly microscopic animals,many of which are virtually
invisible to the unaided eye when they are in the soil or within plant
are roundworms and their size can vary from a tiny 0.2 millimetre to a few
metres.They are responsible for around 2.2% of the total carbon emission
nematodes play a crucial role in the environment as they are responsible
for production of ammonia of the soil and also a bioindicator of soil
Elephant Day is observed every year on August 12.The goal of Elephant Day
is to create awareness of the urgent plight of African and Asian
day also aims to share knowledge and positive solutions for the better
care and management of captive and wild elephants.
African elephants are listed as Vulnerable and Asian elephants as
Endangered on the IUCN Red List of threatened species.
various threats faced by elephants are (a)Poaching (b) Human elephant
conflict (c)Mistreatment in captivity and (d)Habitat loss
solutions for the threats are (b) work towards better protection for wild
animals (b)improve enforcement policies to prevent illegal poaching
(c)Conserve the habitats of elephants and (d)provide better treatment for
to the data by the Ministry of Environment,Forest and Climate Change,a
quarter of India’s geographical area which is 24.49% is under forest and
lowest forest and tree cover in the country is in Haryana at 6.79 % of its
geographical area.Punjab follows with 6.87 %.Further,Rajasthan’s forest
and tree cover is over 7.26 % of its geographical area.
highest forest and tree cover in terms of % is at Lakshadweep at 97
%.Among the six states with the highest forest and tree cover,four are in
the Northeast which are Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Meghalaya.
highest forest and tree cover in terms of geographical area is in Madhya
Pradesh with 85,487 sq km.Further,Goa and Kerala are two other states with
more than 50 % of their geographical area under forest and tree cover.
talks between the Taliban and the United States has ended without any
peace deal for Afghanistan.Both sides have said that they would talk to
their leaders about the next move.
two sides have been discussing an agreement under which US forces would
withdraw from Afghanistan and the Taliban would guarantee that the country
would not be used to launch terrorist attacks.
US is also pushing for a Taliban agreement on two other, more far-reaching
elements namely (a)power-sharing talks with Afghanistan’s US-backed
government and (b)ceasefire agreement.
Taliban has refused to engage with Afghan government as it considers the
Afghan government illegitimate.
Taliban now control roughly half of Afghanistan and are at their strongest
since 2001 when the U.S.-led invasion had toppled their government after
it gave protection to al-Qaeda.
U.S and NATO formally concluded their combat mission in 2014 but the US
and allied troops continue to train and build the Afghan military.
However,US President has often expressed his wish to end the war in
Afghanistan and bring back US troops.
to the data,there is growing concern about the slowdown in India’s
economic growth.Recently,RBI had also cut repo rates by 35 basis points,
which was the sharpest cut in nine years.
macroeconomy,there are two components.One is the structural or the
permanent component which is largely determined in the long term by
factors such as institutions, productivity,human capital among others.
second is a cyclical or temporary component which refers to short-term
India,both the components seem to be in a slowdown phase and the
projection is that it will slow down further.If the slowdown was there,the
government should have gone for a countercyclical measure at least to
address the short-term fluctuation.
are two major policy instruments which is the fiscal policy and the other
is monetary (interest rate) policy.
cyclical downturn,it is the fiscal policy that should have been ahead,
followed by the monetary policy.But the government did the opposite to
such an extent that monetary policy appears to be fighting a lonely
government can take several steps to address the economic
slowdown,Firstly,it should increase household savings.Given the declining
deposit rates,the banking system is actually recovering its losses at the
cost of household savings.
government needs to correct a structural policy misstep introduced by the
Finance Bill of 2018.The Bill did away with targeting revenue deficit and
compromised on the public capital expenditure.
government needs to quickly recapitalise public sector banks (PSBs).There
could be resistance for this but unlike private banks,public sector banks
have large social obligations.
Central Vigilance Commission(CVC) is awaiting sanction from different
wings of the government organisations to prosecute 83 government
The CVC was
set up by the Government in 1964 on the recommendation of the Santhanam
Committee.In 2003,the Parliament enacted CVC Act conferring statutory
status on the CVC.
CVC is not controlled by any Ministry or Department.It is an independent
body which is only responsible to the Parliament.CVC receives complaints
on corruption or misuse of office and recommend appropriate action.
is not an investigating agency.The CVC either gets the investigation done
by the CBI or through chief vigilance officer(CVO) in government offices.
is also empowered to inquire into offences alleged to have been committed
under the Prevention of Corruption Act,1988 by certain categories of
annual report gives the details of the work done by the commission and
points to systemic failures which lead to corruption in government
government is planning a set of measures to reverse an economic slowdown
that is going through losses, layoffs and an investment freeze.
measures include (a)steps to boost infrastructure investments (b)goods and
services tax(GST) relief to specific sectors (c)ways to further cut red
tape on cross-border trade and (d)steps to improve ease of doing business.
government is also working on a new World Trade Organization (WTO)
compliant duty reimbursement scheme.
responsibility and budget management(FRBM) Act constrained the government
from providing a fiscal push in the Union budget.
the government is considering the use of escape clause in the FRBM Act for
deviation in the fiscal deficit up to 50 basis points.
may give the government leeway to spend an additional ₹1.15 trillion in
the current fiscal.The package will have concrete steps to implement the
government’s ambitious plans for ₹100 trillion infrastructure investment
over the next five years.
panel led by N.K. Singh to review the FRBM Act had suggested an escape
clause allowing deviations up to 0.5 percentage points of Gross Domestic
Product based on triggers including far-reaching structural reforms in the
economy with unanticipated fiscal implications,acts of war and farm
external affairs minister is on a visit to China.During the visit,India
and China has agreed on a host of initiatives to improve their relations.
of the visit,China had objected to the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation
Bill 2019.It said that the creation of the Union Territory of Ladakh has
undermined its sovereignty.
has reassured China that its decision to exercise greater administrative
control over Ladakh would have no implications for India’s external
boundaries or the Line of Actual Control with China.
has also said that legislative measures were aimed at better governance
and socio-economic development.
the meeting,China has also raised the rising tensions between India and
Pakistan as a result of these changes.But India has reiterated that it was
an internal matter that had no bearing on Pakistan.
two countries also discussed India’s trade deficit with China.
Besides,four bilateral pacts were signed on (a)culture (b)traditional
medicine (c)sports and (d)museum management.
foreign minister also co-chaired the second meeting of the High Level
Mechanism(HLM) on Cultural and People-to-People Exchanges. The HLM was
established during the first informal summit in Wuhan in April 2018.
army has planned to reduce its manpower by about 27,000 soldiers as well
as restructure them for better efficiency and effectiveness.
proposed reduction is part of the larger reforms to transform the Army
into a lean, mean, rapidly-deployable and operationally versatile
army has planned to reduce the manpower by around 1.5 lakh personnel over
the next six-seven years to save around Rs 6,000-7,000 crore annually in
army has initiated four studies to undertake overall transformation of the
include (a)restructuring of Army Headquarters (b)creation of Integrated
Battle Groups(IBG) (c)the cadre review of officers and (d)review of the
terms and conditions of Junior Commissioned Officers and Other
Integrated Battle Groups(IBGs) which the Army plans to create as part of
overall force transformation is close to implementation.
Battle Groups(IBGs) are brigade-sized, agile, self-sufficient combat
formations which can swiftly launch strikes against adversary in case of
Researchers and academicians have raised doubts about the new methodology employed by the Central Statistics Office(CSO) to estimate India’s gross domestic product(GDP).
In 2015,CSO had introduced a new series of National Account Statistics. The new series made several changes to estimate India’s gross domestic product(GDP).In particular,it revised the base year from 2004-05 to 2011-12.
However,the debate intensified when CSO released two back-series data which means recalibrating the GDP data for past years based on the new methodology.But the released data contradicted each other.
The first back-series presented by the National Statistical Commission (NSC) in July 2018 found that the average economic growth between 2005-06 and 2011-12 was 8.6% instead of the 8.3%.
The second back-series calculated by CSO and published in November 2018 found this average to be just 7%.
Further,former chief economic advisor(CEA) had said that India’s GDP growth in the period 2011-12 to 2016-17 is likely to have been overestimated.He said that the growth during that period was actually 4.5% rather than the 7%.
However,several experts have countered former CEA.They have said that India’s nominal GDP growth rate has not changed under the old and new series data.Further,there was no consolidated Consumer Price inflation(CPI) before 2011.
They have also said that GDP methodology is on par with its global standing while highlighting that former CEC had used 17 high-frequency indicators but ignored the representation of the services sector (60% in GDP) and the agriculture sector (18%) in the analysis.
National Health Authority is planning to include all types of cancer and
its treatments under Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana
to the WHO, the rate of mortality due to cancer in India is high. It is
the second-most common disease in India and is responsible for maximum
mortality (0.3 million deaths per year).
estimated number of people living with cancer is around 2.25 million.
Further, over 11 lakh new cancer patients are registered each year
cancer is the most common type of cancer in India, followed by breast
cancer and oral cancers.
Bharat Yojana- Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) is the Central
Government’s health insurance scheme. It aims to give medical cover to
over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families of approximately 50 crore
provides a coverage of up to ₹5 lakh per family per year for secondary and
tertiary care hospitalisation. The benefit cover includes pre and post
Health Authority is the implementing body of PM-JAY health insurance