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07 May, 2020

66 Min Read

159th birth anniversary of Gurudev -All about Rabindranath Tagore

GS-I : Modern History Modern India

159th birth anniversary of Gurudev -All about Rabindranath Tagore


National Gallery of Modern Artwill organise the Virtual Tour titled “Gurudev – Journey of the Maestro through his visual vocabulary” from 7th May 2020 to commemorate the 159th birth anniversary of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore

Modern art of the Gurudev

  • Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), popularly known as ‘Gurudev’, was born in an affluent Family. The maestro was fascinated by the worlds of literature, art, music and dance at an early age. In 1913, he became the first Indian to receive a Nobel Prize in Literature for his novel 'Geetanjali'.
  • He also wrote the National Anthems of India and Bangladesh. He left his imprint on art and played a role in transforming its practices and ushering into modernism.
  • Rabindranath Tagore was primarily known as a writer, poet, playwright, philosopher and aesthetician, music composer and choreographer, founder of a unique educational institution - Visva- Bharati and a painter. Tagore's emergence as a painter began in 1928 when he was 67 years old.
  • For him, it was as an extension to his poetic consciousness. Beginning with scratching and erasures on the pages of his manuscripts during the mid-20s of the 20th Century, he slowly moved to portraying independent images.
  • Between 1928 and 1940, Rabindranath painted more than 2000 images. He never gave any title to his paintings. Fed by memories and the subconscious, Rabindranath's art was spontaneous and dramatic. His images did not represent the phenomenal world but an interior reality.
  • His work of art were first exhibited in Paris in 1930 and then across Europe and America. Henceforth they gained international recognition. Rabindranath veered towards abstraction in his figuration. His works depict a great sense of fantasy, rhythm and vitality.
  • A powerful imagination added an enigmatic strangeness and a sense of depth to his works. One is overwhelmed by the awe-inspiring figures of birds and humans and semi-abstract forms. The energy of his works is counterbalanced by a cool precision and lyricism.
  • Tagore celebrated creative freedom in his technique; he never hesitated to daub coloured ink on paper to give life to his subjects. His drawings and ink paintings are freely executed with brushes, rags, cotton-wool and even his fingers.
  • For Tagore, art was the bridge that connected the individual with the world. Being the modernist he was; Tagore completely belonged to the world of his time particularly in the realm of art. Expressionism in European art and the primitive art of ancient cultures inspired him. Fantasy, wild imagination and an innate feel for the absurd gave a distinctive character to his visual language. His works have been an inspiration to the artists in India as well as across the world.

Rabindranath Tagore’s role in the freedom struggle

India’s National Movement for freedom was accompanied by a large wave of social, educational and economic awareness throughout the nation. Tagore, one of the foremost thinkers in the country at the time spent time in building educational infrastructure. A man of true talent, his contribution to the freedom movement is significant.

Following are the events that are evident in showing his contributions to the freedom struggle;

His role during Bengal partition:

In 1904, the Viceroy of India Lord Curzon announced that the Bengal providence would be divided into two parts. The British government was worried about the social integrity among different communities in Bengal and wanted to divide and rule.

During this time Rabindranath Tagore wrote the song Banglar Mati Banglar Jol (Soil of Bengal, Water of Bengal) to unite the Bengali population. He started the Rakhi Utsav where people from Hindu and Muslim communities tied colourful threads on each other’s wrists. In 1911, the two parts of Bengal were reunited.

Literary works as weapons:

Tagore, unlike most of the other freedom fighters of his time, exposed the depravity of the British rule by chronicling all his adversities with British imperialism through poetry and literary works. He wrote most of his pieces in his mother tongue, Bengali, to be later translated to cater to his vast audience. He used his literature as mobilization for political and social reform, hence allowing other nations to be aware and further apply international pressure to Britain to be accountable for its actions. He documented everything that would expose Britain’s true intentions in India.

Role in Jalianawalabagh:

The Jallianwala Bagh massacre even in its centenary year brings out the same vivid experience of trauma felt on April 13, 1919. The incident completely altered the political scenario and composition of India fighting against the British government. The event caused many moderate Indians loyal to the British rule to abandon their loyalty to embrace nationalist values and grow distrustful of British. Many freedom fighters and political leaders were influenced by the incident too. Tagore’s actions against the cruel act also awakened the non-violent stand against the colonial rule.

Tagore during the time of the massacre was ‘Sir’ Rabindranath Tagore (knighthood conferred in 1915) and had been a Nobel Laureate for six years. On receiving the news about Jallianwala Bagh, he tried to arrange a protest in Calcutta (now Kolkata) and finally denounced the knighthood as an act of protest with a repudiation letter to Viceroy Lord Chelmsford dated May 30, 1919.

His views on education

  • As one of the earliest educators to think in terms of the global village, Rabindranath Tagore’s educational model has a unique sensitivity and aptness for education within multi-racial, multi-lingual and multi-cultural situations, amidst conditions of acknowledged economic discrepancy and political imbalance.
  • Rabindranath did not write a central educational treatise, and his ideas must be gleaned through his various writings and educational experiments at Santiniketan In general, he envisioned an education that was deeply rooted in one’s immediate surroundings but connected to the cultures of the wider world, predicated upon pleasurable learning and individualized to the personality of the child.
  • He felt that a curriculum should revolve organically around nature with classes held in the open air under the trees to provide for a spontaneous appreciation of the fluidity of the plant and animal kingdoms, and seasonal changes.
  • In Tagore’s philosophy of education, the aesthetic development of the senses was as important as the intellectual–if not more so–and music, literature, art, dance and drama were given great prominence in the daily life of the school.
  • In keeping with his theory of subconscious learning, Rabindranath never talked or wrote down to the students, but rather involved them with whatever he was writing or composing
  • In terms of curriculum, he advocated a different emphasis in teaching. Rather than studying national cultures for the wars won and cultural dominance imposed, he advocated a teaching system that analyzed history and culture for the progress that had been made in breaking down social and religious barriers.
  • Tagore’s educational efforts were ground-breaking in many areas. He was one of the first in India to argue for a humane educational system that was in touch with the environment and aimed at the overall development of the personality. Santiniketan became a model for vernacular instruction and the development of Bengali textbooks; as well, it offered one of the earliest coeducational programs in South Asia.
  • One characteristic that sets Rabindranath’s educational theory apart is his approach to education as a poet. At Santiniketan, he stated, his goal was to create a poem ‘in a medium other than words.

Source: PIB/WEB

Buddha Purnima-All about Buddhism

GS-I : Modern History Ancient History

Buddha Purnima-All about Buddhism


President’s Greetings on The Eve of Buddha Purnima on May 6th

Vesak Day

Vesak Day, spelt “Wesak Day” until the 1970s, commemorates the birth, enlightenment and attainment of nirvana of Siddharta Gautama Shakyamuni (Sakyamuni) Buddha.The day falls on the full moon of the fourth lunar month. It falls on 7th May,2020.

About Buddhism

  • The religion is based upon the teachings, life experiences of its founder Siddhartha Gautam, born in circa 563 BCE.
  • He was born into royal family of Sakya clan who ruled from Kapilvastu, in Lumbini which is situated near the Indo-Nepal Border.
  • At the age of 29, Gautama left home and rejected his life of riches and embraced a lifestyle of asceticism, or extreme self-discipline.
  • After 49 consecutive days of meditation, Gautama attained Bodhi (enlightenment) under a pipal tree at Bodhgaya a village in Bihar.
  • Buddha gave his first sermon in the village of Sarnath, near the city of Benares in UP. This event is known as Dharma-Chakra-Pravartana (turning of the wheel of law).
  • He died at the age of 80 in 483 BCE at a place called Kushinagara a town in UP. The event is known as Mahaparinibban.

Tenets of Buddhism

  • Buddha asked his followers to avoid the two extremes of indulgence in worldly pleasure and the practice of strict abstinence and asceticism.
  • He ascribed instead the 'Madhyam Marg' or the middle path which was to be followed.
  • According to him everyone was responsible for their own happiness in life, stressing upon the individualistic component of Buddhism.
  • The main teachings of Buddhism are encapsulated in the basic concept of four noble truths or ariya-sachchani and eightfold path or astangika marg.

Four noble truths:

Suffering (dukkha) is the essence of the world.

Every suffering has a cause – Samudya.

Suffering could be extinguished – Nirodha.

It can be achieved by following the Atthanga Magga (Eight Fold Path).

Eight Fold Paths: the path consists of various interconnected activities related to knowledge, conduct, and meditative practices.

  1. Right view
  2. Right intention
  3. Right speech
  4. Right action
  5. Right livelihood
  6. Right mindfulness
  7. Right effort
  8. Right concentration

Dukkha and its extinction are central to the Buddha’s doctrine. Suffering is not limited to the actual pain but also to the potential to experience these things.

The essence of Buddhism is the attainment of enlightenment. It points to a way of life that avoids self-indulgence and self-denial. There is no supreme god or deity in Buddhism.

The ultimate goal of Buddha’s teaching was the attainment of nibbana which was not a place but an experience, and could be attained in this life.

Buddha also established code of conduct both for the monastic order and the laymen to follow which are also known as the Five Precepts or Pancasil and refrain from them.

  1. Violence
  2. stealing
  3. sexual misconduct
  4. lying or gossip
  5. taking intoxicating substances e.g. drugs or drink

Major Buddhist Texts

  • The Buddha's teaching was oral. He taught for 45 years, adapting the teaching to suit the group he was addressing.
  • The Sangha memorized the teachings, and there were group recitations at festivals and special occasions.
  • The teachings were rehearsed and authenticated at the First Council and were divided in Three Pitakas in 483 BC.
  • His teachings were written down around 25 B.C.E. in Pali.

Buddhist Councils

Buddhist Councils marked important turning points in the early Buddhism.

These councils resulted in sectarian clashes and the eventual Great Schism that resulted in the two major schools, Theravada and Mahayana.

In total, 4 major Buddhist councils were convened:

First Council

It was held soon after the Mahaparinirvan of the Buddha, around 483 BC under the patronage of King Ajatshatru and was presided by Mahakasyapa, a monk.

The council was held in the Sattapani cave at Rajgriha.

The council was held with the purpose of preserving Buddha’s teachings (Sutta) and rules for disciples. During this council, the teachings of Buddha were divided into three Pitakas.

Second Council

It was held in Vaishali, a village in Bihar under the patronage of the king Kalasoka in 383 BC. It was presided by Sabakami.

Third Council

It was held in 250 BC in Patliputra under the patronage of Ashoka and was presided by Moggaliputta Tissa.

Forth Council

It was held in 72 AD at Kundalvana, Kashmir. It was presided by Vasumitra, while Asvaghosa was his deputy under the patronage of King Kanishka of Kushan Empire.

Buddhism was divided into two sects namely Mahayan and Hinayan.

Schools of Buddhism


  • It is one of the two main schools of Buddhism.
  • The term Mahayana is a Sanskrit word which literally means "Great Vehicle".
  • It believes in the heavenliness of Buddha and Idol worship of Buddha and Bodhisattvas embodying Buddha Nature.
  • It originated in northern India and Kashmir and then spread east into Central Asia, East Asia and some areas of Southeast Asia.
  • Buddhist schools embedded in China, Korea, Tibet and Japan belong to the Mahayana tradition.


  • Literally Lesser vehicle, also known as Abandoned Vehicle or Defective vehicle. It believes in the original teaching of Buddha or Doctrine of elders.
  • It does not believe in Idol worship and tries to attain individual salvation through self discipline and meditation.
  • Theravada is a Hinayana sect.


  • It is the most ancient branch of extant Buddhism today.
  • It remains closest to the original teachings of the Buddha.
  • Theravada Buddhism developed in Sri Lanka and subsequently spread to the rest of Southeast Asia. It is the dominant form of religion in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.


  • Vajrayana means “The Vehicle of the Thunderbolt”, also known as tantric Buddhism.
  • This Buddhist school developed in India around 900 CE.
  • It is grounded on esoteric elements and very complex set of rituals compared with the rest of the Buddhist schools.


  • It is a school of Mahayana Buddhism that originated in China during the Tang dynasty as the Chan school of Chinese Buddhism in and later developed into various schools.
  • It spread to Japan in 7th century C.E.
  • Meditation is the most distinctive feature of this Buddhist tradition.

UNESCO’s heritage sites related to Buddhism:

  • Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara at Nalanda, Bihar
  • Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi, MP
  • Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya, Bihar
  • Ajanta Caves Aurangabad, Maharashtra

Source: PIB/WEB

Drone Regulation in India

GS-II : Governance Policies and Programmes

Drone Regulation in India


The guidelines (Drone Regulations 1.0) issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for the commercial use of drones or remotely operated aircraft came into force on December 1, 2018.

Drone Regulation 1.0

Under this regulation, the Digital Sky Platform will enable online registration of pilots, devices, service providers, and NPNT (no permission, no take-off). The Digital Sky Platform is a unique unmanned traffic management (UTM) system which is expected to facilitate the registration and licensing of drones and operators in addition to giving instant (online) clearances to operators for every flight.

The airspace has been partitioned into Red Zone (flying not permitted), Yellow Zone (controlled airspace), and Green Zone (automatic permission). The restricted locations are airports, near the international border, near the coast line, state secretariat complexes strategic locations, and military installations.


The drone is a layman's terminology for Unmanned Aircraft (UA). There are three subsets of Unmanned Aircraft- Remotely Piloted Aircraft, Autonomous Aircraft and Model Aircraft. Remotely Piloted Aircraft consists of remote pilot station(s), the required command and control links and any other components, as specified in the type design.

  • Remotely piloted aircraft have been divided into five categories-
    • Nano: Less than or equal to 250 grams.
    • Micro: From 250 grams to 2kg.
    • Small: From 2 kg to 25kg.
    • Medium : From 25kg to 150kg.
    • Large: Greater than 150kg.

All civilian drone operations will be restricted to only during daytime and at a maximum of 400 feet altitude.

  • There can’t be any human or animal payloads, or anything hazardous.
  • It cannot in any manner cause danger to people or property and insurance will be mandatory to cover third-party damage.
  • Except for nano drones and those owned by National Technical Research Organisation and the central agencies, the rest would be registered and issued a Unique Identification Number.

Drone Regulations 2.0

Meanwhile, the government is already working on drone regulations 2.0, focussing on three thresholds:

    • BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight),
    • Delivery of payloads, and
    • Automate air traffic management to the extent possible.

The current policy allows one drone pilot for each drone whereas, in the next set of regulations, one pilot can operate any number of drones. Under drone regulations 2.0, the drones will be tracked by computers through artificial intelligence. However, the delivery of products by e-commerce players like Amazon and flying taxis like Uber Elevate are likely to be part of drone regulations 3.0.


  • Agriculture- Gather data and automate redundant processes to maximize efficiency, spray medicines, In a process of planting by distributing seeds on the land, etc.
  • Healthcare- Delivering quick access to drugs, blood, and medical technology in remote areas, transportation of harvested organs to recipients (through drones corridor), etc.
  • Disaster Management- Surveillance of disaster-affected areas to assess the damage, locate victims, and deliver aid.
  • Urban Planning- Instant mapping and survey of the land which has to be developed to avoid congestion and increasing green cover. E.g.: Recently, the Greater Chennai Municipal Corporation (GCMC) became the first Municipal Corporation to map Chennai using drones.
  • Conservation of Endangered Species- Monitor and track the number of animals.
  • Weather Forecasting- Drones can physically follow weather patterns as they develop to understand the environment and imminent weather trends in a better way.
  • Waste Management- Identify where the garbage is so that it can be picked up by the garbage picking vans. Drones can be used to clean ocean waste as well. UAV like Roomba by RanMarine operates at the vanguard of these initiatives and has helped to clean oceans in past.
  • Mining- Drones in mining can be used in volumetric data capturing of ore, rock and minerals storage which is extremely difficult to measure manually.


Drones have immense potential apart from the few mentioned above. This new policy initiative will open up many new and exciting applications that can propel India's economy forward. It can provide a strong impetus to all players in the drone ecosystem and place India among the global leaders.

Although drone-enabled deliveries, air taxis, and many other innovations will not be widely available for years, when available they could be as disruptive as the advent of automobiles. That gives all industry stakeholders impetus to identify roadblocks and realistically consider potential applications now.

Source: TH

India hands over 3 tranche of emergency medical assistance to Bangladesh

GS-II : International Relations India and its neighborhood

India hands over 3 tranches of emergency medical assistance to Bangladesh

The third tranche consists of RT-PCR COVID-19 kits capable of running 30 thousand tests. After being received in Dhaka, the RT-PCR test kits were dispatched to the Institute of Epidemiological Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), Bangladesh.

These test kits are domestically manufactured in India and they are being widely used for COVID-19 detection. Bangladesh is the first country to receive these test kits on priority which reflects the importance India attaches to Bangladesh. The release said that the assistance is in line with India’s Neighbourhood first policy and reaffirms India’s commitment to take a collaborative regional approach to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Foreign Minister of Bangladesh Dr. A.K.Abdul Momen appreciated India’s help in providing medical assistance through three tranches following the outbreak of the Corona pandemic.
The assistance is covered under the SAARC COVID-19 emergency fund which was set up with an initial contribution of 10 million dollars by India on the initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi after his video conferencing with leaders of SAARC nations on March 15.

The first tranche of emergency medical assistance under this fund containing 30,000 surgical masks and 15 thousand head caps was handed over to Bangladesh on 25 March. The second tranche consisting of 50 thousand sterile surgical gloves and 1 lakh Hydroxychloroquine tablets was handed over on 26th April.

India has also conducted online courses for medical professionals of SAARC countries under its Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) framework programme. Two such courses have been conducted by AIIMS, Raipur and Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh in April and May. Another programme designed by AIIMS, Bhubaneshwar specifically for Bangladesh in the Bangla language will be held on 12-13 May.

Source: PIB

Bureau of Energy Efficiency-BEE


The energy efficiency initiatives by BEE leads to savings worth Rs. 89,122 Cr.


Union Minister of State (IC), Power and New & Renewable Energy & Minister of State, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship,today released a Report on “Impact of energy efficiency measures for the year 2018-19” through Video conference.

Report Findings

  • The findings of the report reflect that implementation of various energy efficiency schemes have led to total electricity savings to the tune of 113.16 Billion Units in 2018-19, which is 9.39% of the net electricity consumption.
  • Energy savings (electrical + thermal), achieved in the energy consuming sectors (i.e. Demand Side sectors) is to the tune of 16.54 Mtoe, which is 2.84% of the net total energy consumption (approx..581.60 Mtoe) in 2018-19.
  • The total energy savings achieved in 2018-19 is 23.73 Mtoe (million Tonne of Oil Equivalent), which is 2.69% of the total primary energy supply (estimated to be 879.23 Mtoe in India) during 2018-19.
  • This includes both Supply Side and Demand Side sectors of the economy. Overall, this study has estimated that various energy efficiency measures have translated into savings worth INR 89,122 crores (approximately)against last year’s (2017-18) savings of INR 53,627 crore. These efforts have also contributed in reducing 151.74 Million Tonnes of CO2 emissions, whereas last year this number was 108 MTCO2.

About BEE

The Government of India set up Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE). on 1st March 2002 under the provisions of the Energy Conservation Act, 2001. The mission of the Bureau of Energy Efficiency is to assist in developing policies and strategies with a thrust on self-regulation and market principles, within the overall framework of the Energy Conservation Act, 2001 with the primary objective of reducing energy intensity of the Indian economy.

Role of BEE

BEE co-ordinates with designated consumers, designated agencies and other organizations and recognize, identify and utilize the existing resources and infrastructure, in performing the functions assigned to it under the Energy Conservation Act. The Energy Conservation Act provides for regulatory and promotional functions.

The Major Promotional Functions of BEE include:

  • Create awareness and disseminate information on energy efficiency and conservation
  • Arrange and organize training of personnel and specialists in the techniques for efficient use of energy and its conservation
  • Strengthen consultancy services in the field of energy conservation
  • Promote research and development
  • Develop testing and certification procedures and promote testing facilities
  • Formulate and facilitate implementation of pilot projects and demonstration projects
  • Promote use of energy efficient processes, equipment, devices and systems
  • Take steps to encourage preferential treatment for use of energy efficient equipment or appliances
  • Promote innovative financing of energy efficiency projects
  • Give financial assistance to institutions for promoting efficient use of energy and its conservation
  • Prepare educational curriculum on efficient use of energy and its conservation
  • Implement international co-operation programmes relating to efficient use of energy and its conservation

The Standards & Labelling Programme

  • The Standards & Labeling Programme is one of the major thrust areas of BEE.
  • A key objective of this scheme is to provide the consumer an informed choice about the energy saving and thereby the cost saving potential of the relevant marketed product.
  • The scheme targets display of energy performance labels on high energy end use equipment & appliances and lays down minimum energy performance standards.

Star Labelling Programme

BEE expanded the coverage of its star labelling programme by including energy efficient Deep freezer and Light Commercial Air Conditioners (LCAC).

  • With this inclusion BEE will cover 26 appliances.
  • Deep freezer and Light Commercial Air Conditioners (LCAC) are major energy guzzlers in commercial space.
  • The program will be initially launched in voluntary mode from 2nd March, 2020 to 31st December, 2021. Thereafter, it will be made mandatory after reviewing the degree of market transformation in this particular segment of appliances.
  • Through this initiative, it is expected to save around 2.8 Billion Units by FY2030, which is equivalent to GreenHouse Gas (GHG) reduction of 2.4-million-ton Carbon Dioxide.

The Star Labeling Programme has been formulated by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency, under the Energy Conservation Act, 2001.

During the event, a database on energy efficiency named Urja Dakshata Information Tool (UDIT) was also launched. This initiative has been taken by the BEE with the World Resources Institute (WRI).

  • It is a user-friendly platform that explains the energy efficiency landscape of India across industry, appliances, building, transport, municipal and agriculture sectors.
  • It will also showcase the capacity building and new initiatives taken up by the Government across the sectors in the increase energy efficiency domain.

World Resources Institute (WRI)

  • The World Resources Institute (WRI) is a global research non-profit organization established in 1982 with funding from the MacArthur Foundation under the leadership of James Gustave Speth WRI's activities are focused on seven areas: food, forests, water, energy, cities, climate and ocean.
  • The organization's mission is to promote environmental sustainability, economic opportunity, and human health and well-being.
  • It is headquartered at Washington.D.C.

Source: PIB

Soil Health Card Scheme

GS-III : Economic Issues Agriculture

Soil Health Card Scheme


The Union Minister for Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar has called for making integrated soil nutrient management a farmers’ movement. Reviewing the progress of the Soil Health Programme here today, he directed running mission mode awareness campaigns on increasing use of bio and organic fertilisers and reducing chemical fertilisers strictly based on recommendations of Soil Health Card.

About Soil Health Card

Soil Health Card (SHC) is a Government of India’s scheme promoted by the Department of Agriculture & Co-operation under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare. It is being implemented through the Department of Agriculture of all the State and Union Territory Governments. A SHC is meant to give each farmer soil nutrient status of his/her holding and advice him/her on the dosage of fertilizers and also the needed soil amendments, that s/he should apply to maintain soil health in the long run.

What is a Soil Health Card?

SHC is a printed report that a farmer will be handed over for each of his holdings. It will contain the status of his soil with respect to 12 parameters, namely N,P,K (Macro-nutrients) ; S (Secondary- nutrient) ; Zn, Fe, Cu, Mn, Bo (Micronutrients) ; and pH, EC, OC (Physical parameters). Based on this, the SHC will also indicate fertilizer recommendations and soil amendments required for the farm.

How can a farmer use a SHC?

The card will contain an advisory based on the soil nutrient status of a farmer’s holding. It will show recommendations on the dosage of different nutrients needed. Further, it will advise the farmer on the fertilizers and their quantities he should apply, and also the soil amendments that he should undertake, so as to realize optimal yields.

Will the farmer get a card every year and for every crop?

It will be made available once in a cycle of 2 years, which will indicate the status of soil health of a farmer’s holding for that particular period. The SHC given in the next cycle of 2 years will be able to record the changes in the soil health for that subsequent period.

What are the norms of sampling?

Soil samples will be drawn in a grid of 2.5 ha in irrigated area and 10 ha in rain- fed area with the help of GPS tools and revenue maps.

Who will draw the soil sample?

The State Government will collect samples through the staff of their Department of Agriculture or through the staff of an outsourced agency. The State Government may also involve the students of local Agriculture / Science Colleges.

What is the ideal time for soil sampling?

Soil Samples are taken generally two times in a year, after harvesting of Rabi and Kharif Crop respectively or when there is no standing crop in the field.

What is a soil test laboratory?

It is a facility for testing the soil sample for 12 parameters. This facility can be static or mobile or it can even be portable to be used in remote areas.

What is the payment per sample?

A sum of Rs. 190 per soil sample is provided to State Governments. This covers the cost of collection of the soil sample, its test, generation and distribution of soil health card to the farmer.

A 2017 study by the National Productivity Council (NPC) found that the SHC scheme has promoted sustainable farming and led to a decrease in the use of chemical fertilizer applications in the range of 8-10%. Besides, the overall increase in the yield of crops to the tune of 5-6% was reported due to the application of fertilizer and micronutrients as per recommendations available in the Soil Health Cards.


RBI Cancels Licence of CKP-Cooperative Bank

GS-III : Economic Issues Banking

RBI Cancels Licence of CKP


Recently, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) cancelled the licence of Mumbai-based CKP Co-operative Bank.

RBI has cancelled the licence of the bank as the financial position of the bank was highly adverse and unsustainable. The bank is not in a position to pay its present and future depositors. The bank failed to meet the regulatory requirement of maintaining a minimum capital adequacy ratio of 9% (PT) and reserves.

RBI has asked the Registrar of Co-operative Societies, Maharashtra to start the process of winding up operations of CKP Co-operative bank and appoint a liquidator. On liquidation, every depositor of the bank is entitled to get up to Rs 5 lakh from the Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation.

In September last year, RBI imposed restrictions on Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank not to do any business for six months after it found major irregularities, which included financial irregularities, complete failure of internal control and systems, and wrongdoing and under-reporting of its lending exposure.

Capital Adequacy Ratio

  • Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) is the ratio of a bank’s capital in relation to its risk weighted assets and current liabilities. It is also known as Capital-to-Risk Weighted Asset Ratio (CRAR).
  • It is decided by central banks to prevent commercial banks from taking excess leverage and becoming insolvent in the process.
  • The Basel III norms stipulated a capital to risk weighted assets of 8%.
  • However, as per RBI norms, Indian scheduled commercial banks are required to maintain a CAR of 9%.

Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (PT)

DICGC came into existence in 1978 after the merger of Deposit Insurance Corporation (DIC) and Credit Guarantee Corporation of India Ltd. (CGCI) under the Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation Act, 1961.

It serves as a deposit insurance and credit guarantee for banks in India. It is a fully owned subsidiary of and is governed by the Reserve Bank of India. DICGC charges 10 paise per ?100 of deposits held by a bank. The premium paid by the insured banks to the Corporation is paid by the banks and is not to be passed on to depositors.

DICGC last revised the deposit insurance cover to ?5 lakh in Feb, 2020, raising it from ? 1 lakh since 1993. The protection cover of deposits in Indian banks through insurance is among the lowest in the world. The Damodaran Committee on ‘Customer Services in Banks’ (2011-PT) had recommended a five-time increase in the cap to ?5 lakh due to rising income levels and increasing size of individual bank deposits. Banks, including regional rural banks, local area banks, foreign banks with branches in India, and cooperative banks, are mandated to take deposit insurance cover with the DICGC.

Co-operative Banking

A Cooperative bank is a financial entity which belongs to its members, who are at the same time the owners and the customers of their bank. It is distinct from commercial banks. Co-operative banks in India are registered under the States Cooperative Societies Act. The Co-operative banks are regulated by both Registrar of Co-operative Societies and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and governed by the
Banking Regulations Act 1949.

Banking Laws (Co-operative Societies) Act, 1955.

Features of Cooperative Banks:

    • Customer Owned Entities: Co-operative bank members are both customers and owners of the bank.
    • Democratic Member Control: Co-operative banks are owned and controlled by the members, who democratically elect a board of directors. Members usually have equal voting rights, according to the cooperative principle of “one person, one vote”.
    • Profit Allocation: A significant part of the yearly profit, benefits or surplus is usually allocated to constitute reserves and a part of this profit can also be distributed to the co-operative members, with legal and statutory limitations.
    • Financial Inclusion: They have played a significant role in the financial inclusion of unbanked rural masses.
  • Co-operative Banks are broadly classified into Urban and Rural co-operative banks based on their region of operation.

Difference between UCBs and Commercial Banks

  • Regulation: Unlike commercial banks, UCBs are only partly regulated by the RBI. Their banking operations are regulated by the RBI, which lays down their capital adequacy, risk control and lending norms. However, their management and resolution in the case of distress is regulated by the Registrar of Co-operative Societies either under the State or Central government.
  • The borrower can be a Shareholder: In general, for a commercial bank, there is a clear distinction between its shareholders and its borrowers whereas in a UCB, borrowers can even double up as shareholders.

Source: TH

Drop in FPI

GS-III : Economic Issues Foreign investment

Drop in FPI


According to recent data from Central Depository Services Limited (CDSL), the Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) have significantly reduced the pace of outflows from the equity and debt market in April, 2020, after a record net outflow of Rs 1,18,203 crore in March 2020.

FPIs sold a net of Rs 6,883 crore from the equities market and net holdings worth Rs 12,551 crore from the debt market in April.

    • In the equity market shares are issued and traded, either through exchanges or over-the-counter markets (i.e directly). It is also known as the stock market.
    • The debt market is the market where debt instruments are traded.
    • Debt instruments are instruments that require a fixed payment to the holder, usually with interest. E.g. bonds (government or corporate) and mortgages.

However, they invested a net of Rs 4,032 crore in the debt Voluntary Retention Route (VRR) scheme. VRR scheme allows FPIs to participate in repo transactions and also invest in exchange-traded funds that invest in debt instruments.

  • Outflows have continued due to uncertainty surrounding economic conditions caused by the Covid-19 lockdown and investors are cautious. However, pessimism also continues to grip the markets.
  • So far, India has been able to contain the Covid-19 pandemic from spreading aggressively. The measures announced by the government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) periodically to revitalize the sagging economy have also resonated well with investors.
  • With selective relaxation in the lockdown and gradual opening up of economic activity in the country, foreign investors will be closely watching the developments on this front.
  • A success on developing medicine and vaccines will lead to a V-shaped recovery in the economy and markets.

Voluntary Retention Route (VRR) scheme

  • The VRR scheme is aimed at attracting long-term and stable FPI investments into debt markets.
  • Investments through the route will be free of the regulatory norms applicable to FPI investments in debt markets, provided investors maintain a minimum share of their investments for a fixed period.
  • VRR Scheme has a minimum retention period of three years and investors need to maintain a minimum of 75% of their investments in India.
  • FPIs registered with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) are eligible to voluntarily invest through the route in government and corporate bonds.

V-Shaped Recovery

  • A V-shaped recovery is characterized by a sharp economic decline followed by a quick and sustained recovery.
  • The recession of 1953 is an example of a V-shaped recovery.
  • A V-shaped recovery is different from an L-shaped recovery, in which the economy stays in a slump for a prolonged period of time.

Foreign Portfolio Investment

  • Foreign portfolio investment (FPI) consists of securities and other financial assets passively held by foreign investors.
    • It does not provide the investor with direct ownership of financial assets and is relatively liquid depending on the volatility of the market.
    • Foreign portfolio investment is part of a country’s capital account and is shown on its Balance of Payments (BOP).
    • The BOP measures the amount of money flowing from one country to other countries over one monetary year.
  • The investor does not actively manage the investments through FPIs, he does not have control over the securities or the business.
  • The investor’s goal is to create a quick return on his money.
  • FPI is more liquid and less risky than Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). A Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is an investment made by a firm or individual in one country into business interests located in another country. FDI lets an investor purchase a direct business interest in a foreign country.
  • FPI is often referred to as “hot money” because of its tendency to flee at the first signs of trouble in an economy.
  • FPI and FDI are both important sources of funding for most economies. Foreign capital can be used to develop infrastructure, set up manufacturing facilities and service hubs, and invest in other productive assets such as machinery and equipment, which contributes to economic growth and stimulates employment.

Source: IE

Nsafe mask


Nsafe mask

IIT-Delhi start-up ‘Nanosafe Solutions’ has launched an antimicrobial and washable face

mask ‘NSafe’. The said mask is reusable up to 50 launderings, thus greatly cutting down the cost of use.

IIT-Delhi said that the ‘NSafe’ mask is a triple-layered product consisting of :

1.inner hydrophilic layer for comfort,

2.middle layer having antimicrobial activity and

3.outer most layer having water and oil repellent behaviour.

“NSafe mask has 99.2% bacterial filtration efficiency [at 3 microns] along with breathability and splash resistance.

IIT-Delhi startup Nanosafe Solutions plans to launch the mask at MRP of ?299 (Pack of 2) and ?589 (Pack of 4)

Source: TH

Vande Bharat Mission one of the largest evacuation mission

GS-II : International Relations West Asia

Vande Bharat Mission is one of the largest evacuation mission

In one of the largest evacuation exercises named Vande Bharat Mission, the government will operate 64 flights between the 7th and 13th of May to bring home nearly 14,800 Indian nationals stranded abroad due to the Coronavirus lockdown. Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar said that preparations for the operation have commenced and also urged the stranded individuals to stay in touch with the Indian embassies in their countries.

The 64 flights which will be operated include ten flights from UAE, seven each from Bangladesh, Malaysia, the United Kingdom and the United States, five each from Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Philippines and Kuwait along with two each from Qatar, Bahrain and Oman.

Meanwhile, the Navy has confirmed that three of its ships are on the mission to get back stranded citizens from Maldives and UAE. INS Jalashwa and INS Magar (Operation Sagar setu) will get back Indians from the Maldives while INS Shardul has been diverted to Dubai to get back the expatriates.

Source: PIB

Microwave  Oven as Sterilisation unit-COVID-19


Microwave Oven as Sterilisation unit-COVID-19

Rajat Kumar Panigrahy, Principal of the Government Industrial Training Institute (ITI) in Odisha’s Berhampur, has started transforming discarded microwave ovens into Ultraviolet (UV) sanitisation chambers for the disinfection of mobile phones, pens and other small objects carried by medical staff working in COVID-19 hospitals.

Transformation of a thrown-away microwave oven into a UV sanitisation chamber costs only 1,200. Any equipment has to be placed in it for 15 minutes for disinfection and there is a timer for the purpose.

It id similar to the UV steriliser tower manufactured by the DRDO.

There is an urgent need for UV sanitisers at COVID-19 hospitals. Cleaning mobile phones using chemical sanitisers at times damage the touch-screen of smartphones.

Earlier, faculty from the Berhampur ITI had also designed and manufactured highly affordable ‘Aerosol face shields’ that could be used by front-line personnel involved in containing the pandemic.

Source: TH

Israel isolates Coronavirus antibody


Israel isolates Coronavirus antibody

The “monoclonal neutralising antibody” developed at the Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) “can neutralise it (the disease-causing coronavirus) inside carriers’ bodies

The IIBR has been leading Israeli efforts to develop a treatment and vaccine for the coronavirus, including the testing of blood from those who recovered from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus.

Antibodies in such samples - immune-system proteins that are residues of successfully overcoming the coronavirus - are widely seen as a key to developing a possible cure.

The antibody reported as having been isolated at the IIBR is monoclonal, meaning it was derived from a single recovered cell and is thus potentially of more potent value in yielding a treatment.
Elsewhere, there have been coronavirus treatments developed from antibodies that are polyclonal or derived from two or more cells of different ancestry

Source: TH

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