Minister has said that a panel will be formed to examine the issue of ‘One
Country, One Election’. The panel will come up with the suggestions in a
Country, One Election is the method of holding single elections for both
Lok Sabha and States instead of separate and continuous elections.
elections are not new to India. They were the norm until 1967.But
following dissolution of some Legislative Assemblies in 1968 and 1969 and
that of the Lok Sabha in December 1970, elections to State Assemblies and
Parliament have been held separately.
idea of reverting to simultaneous polls was mooted in the annual report of
the Election Commission in 1983.The Law Commission’s Report also referred
to it in 1999.
polls are needed as it (a) will reduce the enormous costs involved in
separate elections (b) It will help ruling parties focus on governance
instead of being constantly in election mode (c) boost voter turnout and
(d) Frees up security forces for deployment in their core areas.
arguments against the simultaneous polls are (a) National and state issues
are different and holding simultaneous elections is likely to affect the
judgment of voters (b) Since elections will be held once in five years, it
will reduce the government’s accountability to the people.
when an election in a State is postponed until the synchronised phase, President’s
rule will have to be imposed in the interim period in that state. This
will be a blow to democracy and federalism.
Nation One Poll’ is a good idea for Indian polity but its feasibility
needs to be thoroughly examined by involving all the stakeholders in
debate and discussion.
World Health Organization (WHO) has launched a global campaign that urges
countries to adopt its new online tool known as ‘AWaRe’.
tool is aimed at guiding policy-makers and health workers to use
antibiotics safely and more effectively. It’s another objective is to
limit drugs that are at risk of resistance.
tool ‘AWaRe’ classifies antibiotics into three groups (a)
Access— antibiotics used to treat the most common and serious infections
(b) Watch— antibiotics available at all times in the healthcare system and
(c)Reserve— antibiotics to be used sparingly or preserved and used only as
a last resort.
campaign aims to achieve a 60% increase in the use of antibiotics under
the Access group which are cheap drugs that target a specific
microorganism rather than several.
access group will also lower the risk of resistance and also reduce the
use of the antibiotics most at risk of resistance from the Watch and
to British government’s Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, antibiotic
resistance is already one of the biggest health risks and is estimated to
kill 50 million by 2050 worldwide.
threat continues to escalate globally because more than 50% of antibiotics
in many countries are used inappropriately, such as for treatment of
viruses when they only treat bacterial infections or use of the wrong
broader spectrum antibiotic.
Indian Coast Guard (ICG) will be co-hosting an international workshop that
aims to deepen knowledge on issues related to piracy and armed robbery.
workshop has been organised in cooperation with the Regional Cooperation
Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia
(ReCAAP) Information Sharing Centre (ISC).
ReCAAP is the first
regional government-to-government agreement to promote and enhance
cooperation against piracy and armed robbery in Asia.
Agreement entered into force on 4 September 2006.Till now,20 States (14
Asian countries,4 European countries, Australia, the USA) have become
Contracting Parties to ReCAAP.
Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, China, Japan, South Korea, ASEAN countries except
Malaysia and Indonesia are the 14 Asian countries.
the four European countries are Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands and the
ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre (ISC) was established for exchanging
information among Contracting Parties on incidents of piracy and armed
robbery, supports capacity building efforts of Contracting Parties, and
for cooperative arrangements.
Indian Coast Guard was established in 1978 by the Coast Guard Act,1978 of
as an independent armed force of India. The organization is headed by the
Director General Indian Coast Guard (DGICG).
Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) has challenged former chief economic
advisor (CEA) claim that India’s gross domestic product (GDP) was
overestimated for most of this decade.
former 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%.
said this because India had changed its data sources and methodology for
estimating real gross domestic product (GDP) for the period since 2011-12.
problems with the new methodology was that the growth numbers no longer
correlated with other indicators of economic growth such as (a) electricity
consumption (b) two-wheeler sales (c) airline passenger traffic (d) index
of industrial production and (e) export figures.
the EAC asserted that India’s GDP estimation methodology is on par with
its global standing while highlighting that former CEC used 17
high-frequency indicators but ignored the representation of the services
sector (60% in GDP) and the agriculture sector (18%) in the analysis.
EAC also said that former CEC chose to overlook tax data. They said that
tax data is not collected through surveys or by agencies but through
arcane techniques. These are hard numbers and should be an important
indicator of growth.
EAC said that there was an institutional bias against the Central
Statistical Organisation (CSO) as majority of the 17 indicators have been
taken directly from Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy(CMIE) which is a
private agency that is not a primary source of information but collects it
from different sources.
is a non-constitutional, non-permanent and independent body constituted to
give economic advice to the Government of India, specifically the Prime
council serves to highlight key economic issues facing the country to the
government of India from a neutral viewpoint. It advises the Prime
Minister on economic issues like inflation, microfinance, and industrial
Minister has reviewed the state of the economy at the meeting of the
Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC).
meeting reviewed the current global and domestic economic situation and
financial stability issues including those concerning banking and NBFCs.
Council was also apprised of the progress made towards setting up of the
Financial Data Management Centre to facilitate integrated data aggregation
and analysis and also a Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-Fin) towards
strengthening the cyber security framework for the financial sector.
Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) was set up by the
Government as the apex level forum in December 2010.
objective of FSDC is to strengthen and institutionalize the mechanism for
maintaining financial stability, enhancing inter-regulatory coordination
and promoting financial sector development.
Chairman of the Council is the Finance Minister and its members include
the heads of all Financial Sector Regulators (RBI, SEBI, PFRDA &
IRDA), Finance Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs (DEA),Secretary,
Department of Financial Services (DFS) and Chief Economic Adviser.
US State Department has reacted to India’s announcement of retaliatory
tariffs on certain U.S. imports by reiterating U.S. President message of
reciprocal trade and the strength of U.S.-India ties.
the United States Trade Representative
(USTR) had said that there will be not be a trade action against
India but US will continue to raise market access concerns with India.
U.S Secretary of State is expected to visit India next week for
discussions prior to the G20 meeting in Osaka, Japan.
discussions could take place on (a) US decision to withdraw generalized
system of preferences (GSP) scheme (b) 5G network infrastructure and (c) data
is a preferential tariff system extended by developed countries to
developing countries. It is a preferential arrangement in the sense that
it allows concessional low/zero tariff imports from developing countries.
US has terminated India’s designation as a beneficiary under GSP
highlighting concerns over India not allowing equitable and reasonable
access to its markets.
US and India is also expected to discuss India’s data localisation rules
which had forced foreign companies to store their data locally.
US will also discuss with India the 5G network technology issue where US
has been insisting countries to block access to the Chinese telecom giant
Huawei to their next generation(5G) telecommunication networking markets.
Andhra Pradesh Government has constituted a seven-member committee for
fulfilment of norms required for proposing the Godavari Mangroves (Mada
forests) at Coringa as a World Heritage Site.
State government eyes heritage site tag for the mangroves so that it would
get UNESCO funding to protect and preserve the wildlife sanctuary and
attract international tourists.
Mangroves at the Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary (CWLS) are touted to be the
second largest mangroves in India. The largest mangrove forest in the
world is Sundar bans, West Bengal.
CWLS also has an 18-km-long sand pit where olive ridley sea turtles nest
from January to March every year.
wide variety of birds nest in Coringa sanctuary due to huge quantity of
feed available in the backwaters in the forests. Some endangered species
such as long billed vulture and spot billed pelican, white ibis and other
birds are nesting in the sanctuary.
are shrubs or small trees that grow in coastal saline or brackish water. They
are salt tolerant trees also called halophytes and are adapted to harsh
occur worldwide in the tropics and subtropics mainly between latitudes 25°
N and 25° S.
World Heritage Site is a landmark or area which is selected by the United
Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as
having cultural, historical, scientific or other form of significance, and
is legally protected by international treaties. The sites are judged
important to the collective interests of humanity.
have finally given a unique bush tomato species a name which is native to
the Australia. They named the plant Solanum plastisexum.
species name ‘Solanum Plastisexum’ comes from the Greek root meaning
‘moldable’ or ‘changeble’ combined with the Latin word for sex.
bush tomato species was first discovered by botanists in the 1970s.For
decades,the plant remained unnamed and no scientists could understand the
functionality of the plant.The sex of its flowers kept changing every time
it was studied.
the new species provides a compelling example of the fact that sexuality
among Earth’s living creatures is far more diverse and interesting than
what is expected.
organisms including plants and animals often exhibit diverse sexual forms
such as an all-female lizard species whose eggs have all the genetic
material needed to reproduce and clown fish which are born male and can
transform into females later in life.
are especially fluid and might have flowers with only male or only female
parts or both or reproductive systems that function differently from the
way they appear.
and industry minister has said that the government would not allow
multi-brand retail trade by foreign e-commerce companies.
2018,Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) had
tightened the foreign direct investment (FDI) rules for ecommerce companies
new rules were (a)If an entity is owned by an e-commerce
marketplace(ECM),it cannot sell its products on the platform run by the
same ECM (b)A single vendor can’t account for more than 25% of sales in an
ECM or platform and (c)The rules puts curbs on exclusive partnerships with
brands or providing favorable services to a few vendors.
2016, the government had permitted 100% FDI in the marketplace model of
e-commerce, but not in the inventory-based model. In a marketplace model, ECMs
act as platform for vendors to sell their products. In the inventory-based
model, ECMs own and sell products.
rules was directed at protecting small vendors on e-commerce websites. It
seeks to ensure small players selling on the portals are not discriminated
against in favour of vendors in which e-commerce companies have a stake. It
will also ensure a level playing field for all vendors looking to sell on
the e-commerce portals.
Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has permitted stock
exchanges with commodity derivative segment to introduce futures on
stock exchanges willing to start trading in futures on commodity indices
are required to take prior approval for launching such contracts.
has also directed the stock exchanges to submit proposal with contract
specifications and risk management framework for approval before launching
any futures contract on an index.
derivatives are financial instruments whose value is based on underlying
commodities such as oil, gas, metals, agricultural products and minerals.
commodity futures contract is an agreement to buy or sell a predetermined
amount of a commodity at a specific price on a specific date in the
use such contracts to avoid the risks associated with the price
fluctuations of a futures underlying product or raw material. Sellers use
futures contracts to lock in guaranteed prices for their products.
first Indian grey wolf which was seen in Bangladesh in the eight decades
has been beaten to death by farmers after preying on their livestock.
Indian wolf (Canis lupus pallipes) is a subspecies of grey wolf that
ranges from Southwest Asia to the Indian Subcontinent.
is intermediate in size between the Tibetan and Arabian wolf and lacks the
former’s luxuriant winter coat due to it living in warmer conditions.
is considered that in Bangladesh, the grey wolf had existed until the
1940s in the northwest and southwest. But the Indian grey wolf has
declined as a result of conflict with farmers on livestock predation.
they still has a wide distribution range that extends from the Indian
subcontinent to Israel. There are about 3,000 of the animals in India, some
IUCN Red list considering the wide distribution range of the subspecies
has listed it as a species of least concern.
World Refugee Day is observed on 20th June every year. The
day seeks to draw the public’s attention to the millions of refugees and
internally displaced persons worldwide.
2000, the United Nations General Assembly decided that, from 2000, 20 June
would be celebrated as World Refugee Day.
1951 UN’s Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol sets out the rights of
refugees and also highlights the obligations of refugees towards their
host country. India is not a party to the Refugee Convention.
cornerstone of the 1951 Convention is the principle of non-refoulement.
According to this principle, a refugee should not be returned to a country
where he or she faces serious threats to his or her life or freedom.
to the Refugee Convention, A refugee is someone who fled his or her home
and country owing to a well-founded fear of persecution because of his/her
race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or
Displaced Persons (IDPs) are people who have not crossed an international
border but have moved to a different region than the one they call home
within their own country.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, established in 1950 is
mandated to lead and coordinate international action to protect refugees
and resolve refugee problems worldwide
to Asian Development Bank (ADB), Bangladesh has emerged as the fastest
growing economy among the 45 countries of the Asia-Pacific region.
the financial year 2018-19 Bangladesh attained growth rate of 7.9 % which
is its fastest rate since 1974.
key factors of the high growth performance of Bangladesh are: a) higher
public sector investment, b) stronger consumption demand, c) revival in
exports, d) improved power supply and e) higher growth in private sector
Asian Development Bank (ADB) is a regional development bank established on
19 December 1966.ADB is headquartered in Manila, Philippines. It aims to
promote social and economic development in Asia.
has 67 members, of which 48 are from within Asia and the Pacific and 19
outside. Japan and US holds the largest proportion of shares in ADB
followed by China, India and Australia. ADB is also an official United
Lanka’s first satellite, ‘Ravana-1’, was successfully launched into orbit
from the International Space Station (ISS). The satellite has been
developed by two Sri Lankan engineers.
satellite is a low orbit cube research satellite. It measures around 11.3
cm x 10 cm x 10 cm, and weighing around 1.05 kg. The lifespan of the
satellite is minimum one and half years but is expected to be active for 5
satellite is a type of miniaturized satellite for space research that is
made up of multiples of 10 cm × 10 cm × 11.35 cm cubic units.
1 is expected to fulfil five missions which include: a) capturing of pictures
of Sri Lanka and surrounding regions, b) active attitude stabilization
Earth Magnetic Field measurement, c)Glue Mission: to find COTS alternative
to expensive space glue d) Provide ciphered short messages in its beacon
in the 437 MHz band and e)Remote Data Collection
A report titled “Ericsson Mobility Report” by Swedish telecom equipment maker Ericsson has said that India has the world’s highest data usage per smartphone at an average of 9.8GB per month.
The second highest data usage is in North-east Asia. West Asia and Africa region has the lowest data usage at 3GB per month
The report has further added that the data usage in India will double to 18GB by 2024. This will be fuelled by rich video content.
The report has predicted that total mobile data traffic per month will grow at a CAGR of 23% from 4.6 exabytes in 2018 to 16 exabytes in 2024.
The factors which are driving this growth are a) improved device penetration, b) affordable data tariff plans, and c) increase in data-intensive content like videos.
According to the report, Smartphone user base in India will reach 1.1 billion by 2024. Further, mobile broadband subscriptions are expected to grow from about 610 million in 2018 to 1.25 billion in 2024.
The report has also claimed that Indian smartphone users are willing to pay more than 66% premium for futuristic 5G services.
The findings of the report come at a time when the Indian government is in the process of finalising a road-map for the roll-out of 5G services.
Recently, the Digital Communications Commission, the highest decision-making body in the Department of Telecommunications has asked the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India to ensure competition, sale of all spectrum and bringing the benefits of 5G to social sectors.
The Commission has also approved a one-year trial period and a one-time fee of ₹5,000 for entities seeking experimental spectrum to conduct 5G trials.
Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO)
has recently released, a Joint Monitoring Programme report titled,
“Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene: 2000-2017: Special
focus on inequalities”.
to the report, India has made significant progress in providing basic
sanitation facilities since 2000. India accounts for two thirds of the 650
million people globally who stopped practising open defecation between
2000 and 2017.
Swachh Bharat mission has been an example and inspiration to other
countries. Swachh Bharat Mission is a massive mass movement that seeks to
achieve Clean and Open Defecation Free (ODF) India by 2019. Currently, it
is under the Ministry of Jal Shakti.
India has increased the percentage of its population with access to a
protected drinking water source less than 30 minutes away, from 79% in
2000 to 93% in 2017.
the percentage of households getting piped water has remained stagnant at
44% between 2000 and 2017.
report further notes that 2.2 billion people around the world do not have
safely-managed drinking water, while 4.2 billion go without safe
sanitation services and three billion lack basic hand washing facilities.
Sinauli, located in Baraut tehsil, Baghpat district could be declared a
site of national importance by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
to ASI, Sinauli was the largest necropolis of the late Harappan period of
the early 2nd millennium BCE.
has conducted excavations in Sinauli in 2005-06 and in mid-2018. The
excavations have so far brought to light a number of burials all in north-south
orientation; most of them are primary burials.
in 2018, chariots, copper swords, and helmets have been found. The
artefacts are supposed to belong to a period between 2000-1800 BCE. The
ASI has also approved second phase of excavation at Sinauli.
Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (AMASR) Act, 1958
defines archaeological site and remains as any area which contains or is
reasonably believed to contain ruins or relics of historical or
archaeological importance which have been in existence for not less than
any archaeological site and remains is declared to be of national
importance it is called protected area under AMASR Act.