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25 Oct, 2019

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GS-I : Modern History Ancient History

Vishwa Shanti Stupa (World peace pagoda)

Constructed atop the Ratnagiri Hill, it is the world’s highest peace pagoda.

Conceptualised by renowned Buddhist monk Nipponzan Myohoji and built by Japanese monk Fujii Guruji.

Built completely with marble, the stupa comprises four golden statues of Lord Buddha with each representing his life periods of birth, enlightenment, preaching and death.

There are 7 Peace Pagoda or Shanti Stupas in India, other Stupas are Global Vipassana Pagoda Mumbai, Deekshabhoomi Stupa Nagpur and Buddha Smriti Park Stupa Patna.


The first Buddhist Council, immediately after the Mahaparinirvana of Lord Buddha, was convened at this place which presently is called Rajgir.

It was at the Gridhakuta, the hill of the vultures, where Buddha made Mauryan king Bimbisara convert to Buddhism.

Rajgir is also known as Panchpahari as it is surrounded by five holy hills.

The legend has it that the ancient city Rajagrihaexisted even before Lord Buddha attained enlightenment. It was the ancient capital city of the Magadh rulers until the 5th century BC when Ajatashatru moved the capital to Pataliputra (which is now known as Patna).

Lord Mahavira too spent 14 years of his life at Rajgir and nearby areas.

Source: PIB


GS-II : International Relations Pakistan


Context :

India and Pakistan signed the agreement on the Kartarpur corridor.

The agreement relates to the modalities for operationalisation of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor at Zero Point, International Boundary, Dera Baba Nanak.

Indian pilgrims of all faiths and persons of Indian origin can use the corridor and the travel will be Visa Free

Pilgrims need to carry only a valid passport and the Corridor is open from dawn to dusk

Pilgrims travelling in the morning will have to return on the same day.


Currently, pilgrims from India have to take a bus to Lahore to get to Kartarpur, which is a 125 km journey although people on the Indian side of the border can physically see Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur on the Pakistani side.

An elevated platform has also been constructed for the same on the Indian side, where people use binoculars to get a good view


Under the agreement, Pakistan will charge a very nominal USD 20 from every Indian Sikh pilgrim for a single trip

India continues to urge this issue with the Government of Pakistan to reconsider its insistence on levying the fee.

Indian pilgrims who enter Pakistan through the Kartarpur corridor will not be allowed to visit other gurdwaras in the Punjab province of that country. They would have to go via the normal route, after applying for a visa, and paying the requisite fees.

Concerns about the pilgrims being exposed to the propaganda of pro-Khalistan elements.

Why does Pakistan charge $20 per pilgrim?

Pakistan has spent about Rs 1,000 crore on the Kartarpur corridor infrastructure. It would be providing langar to the pilgrims who visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib.

It would also be providing e-rickshaws to ferry the pilgrims from Dera Baba Nanak on the Indian side.

The fee has triggered a political controversy within India, and Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh has called the fee a “jizya” tax on pilgrims.

Gurdwara in Kartarpur

The gurdwara in Kartarpur is located on the bank of river Ravi in Pakistan

It is about four km from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine, and about 120 km northeast of Lahore

It was here that Guru Nanak assembled a Sikh community and lived for 18 years until his death in 1539

The shrine is visible from the Indian side, as Pakistani authorities generally trim the elephant grass that would otherwise obstruct the view

Indian Sikhs gather in large numbers for darshan from the Indian side, and binoculars are installed at Gurdwara Dera Baba Nanak

The gurdwara was opened to pilgrims after repairs and restoration in 1999, and Sikh jathas have been visiting the shrine regularly ever since

Sikh jathas from India travel to Pakistan on four occasions every year- for Baishakhi, the martyrdom day of Guru Arjan Dev, the death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, and the birthday of Guru Nanak Dev.

Significance :

First proposed in 1999 by the prime ministers of India and Pakistan, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Nawaz Sharif, respectively, as part of the Delhi–Lahore Bus diplomacy

Implemented as an integrated development project with Government of India funding.

The development comes ahead of the 550th Prakash Purab or 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak in 2019.

Until now, most Indian devotees have had to contend with a darshan using binoculars installed at Dera Baba Nanak Sahib.

This can be considered a big development since despite the India-Pakistan deadlock in talks, both India and Pakistan have been able to form a consensus on the issue.

Way forward:

India must work to secure its border from the threat even as it opens the gates for thousands of pilgrims to travel to Pakistan.

National security must get priority

there must be an effort by all stakeholders in India — the Centre, the State government and the leadership of the BJP, the Akalis and the Congress — to resist scoring political points against one another.

Modalities and technical issues, such as on the numbers, eligibility and identity proof required for the trip to Kartarpur Sahib, should be ironed out by both governments.

India must negotiate with the Government of Pakistan to reconsider its insistence on levying the fee.


It will be unfortunate if Pakistan uses the Kartarpur Corridor to fish in troubled waters and cause instability for its political ends


World Bank’s ease of doing business ranking (India 63rd Rank)

GS-III : Economic Issues Financial Market

World Bank’s ease of doing business ranking (India 63rd Rank)


India hiked 14 places to the 63rd position on the World Bank’s ease of doing business ranking

India is among the top 10 performers on the list for the third time in a row

New Zealand, Singapore and Hong Kong topped

World Bank applauded the reform efforts undertaken by the India in its report

India is the first country of its type to jump this year by 14 position.

From 140 to 63:

140th position in 2014.

100th position in 2018

77th position in 2019

63rd now

Reasons :

‘Make in India’ campaign focused on attracting foreign investment, boosting the private sector (manufacturing in particular) and increasing the country’s overall competitiveness

In 2015, the government’s goal was to join the 50 top Rank in the ease of doing business ranking by 2020.

Successful implementation of the Insolvency And Bankruptcy Code(Before the implementation of the reform, it was very burdensome for secured creditors to seize companies in default of their loans)

Improvements were registered in starting business(start up India scheme), dealing with construction permits and trading across borders.

Govt made starting a business easier by abolishing filing fees for the SPICe (Simplified Proforma for Incorporating a Company Electronically) company incorporation form, electronic memorandum of association, and articles of association

Trading across borders is made easier by enabling post-clearance audits, integrating trade stakeholders in a single electronic platform, upgrading port infrastructures, and enhancing the electronic submission of documents.

Ease of doing business report:

The report was introduced in 2003 by world bank to provide an assessment of objective measures of business regulations and their enforcement across 190 economies on ten parameters affecting a business through its life cycle. It includes 10 parameters like:

1.Starting a business

2.Dealing with construction permits

3.Getting electricity

4.Registering property

5.Getting credit

6.Protecting investors

7.Paying taxes

8.Trading across borders

9.Enforcing contracts

10.Resolving insolvency


First, the Doing Business indicators provide a snapshot of a country’s red tape; they have no pretension of providing a comprehensive picture of the investment climate.
As the World Bank makes clear, the indicators are not designed to comment on macroeconomic indicators or prospects for growth.

Second, there exists a wide divergence between de jure and de facto realities in most economies.
What firms actually encounter “on the ground” is perhaps more important, but there are limitations to our ability to measure and interpret those experiences without bias.

Way forward:

While we can truly be proud of the extent of India’s macro-policy reforms, it is time we started to focus on the micro-policies of enforcement. Top down macro reforms can only be effective if they are twinned with bottom-up micro reforms. Unless the day-to-day experience of doing business improves, we will continue to under-perform relative to our true potential.

To secure changes in the remaining areas will require not just new laws and online systems but deepening the ongoing investment in the capacity of states and their institutions to implement change and transform the framework of incentives and regulation facing the private sector. India’s focus on ‘doing business’ at the state level may well be the platform that sustains the country’s reform trajectory for the future


The Ease of doing business rankings thus, should not be seen as the ultimate marker of the ruling party’s reform success. Likewise, investors who are considering the prospects for investment in India should recognize what the rankings do and do not tell us.

While India has made tremendous progress in various categories, it is the depth of these reforms which needs to be worked in the next few years to bring up India into the Top 50 ranking.


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