25 November, 2019

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NSO survey debunks Swachh Bharat ODF claims

Syllabus subtopic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections

News: The latest National Statistical Office (NSO) survey on sanitation debunked the claims of an open defecation free or ODF India made by the Centre’s flagship Swachh Bharat scheme, although it did record great progress in toilet access and use in rural areas.

Prelims focus: about NSO, its findings on ODF status in India

Mains focus: about Swachh Bharat Abhiyan , challenges and achievements so far

What did the results show?

  • The results, released on Saturday, showed that about 71% of rural households had access to toilets at a time when the Centre was claiming 95% had access. On October 2, 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared that the whole country was ODF with complete access to toilets.
  • The survey was carried out between July and December 2018, with a refeence date of October 1.
  • Large States which had been declared ODF — that is, 100% access to toilets and 100% usage — even before the survey began included Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan. Others which were declared ODF during the survey included Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

State wise results:

  • According to the NSO, almost 42% of the rural households in Jharkhand had no access to a toilet at that time. In Tamil Nadu, the gap was 37%, followed by 34% in Rajasthan.
  • In Gujarat, which was one of the earliest States declared ODF, back in October 2017, almost a quarter of all rural households had no toilet access, the NSO data showed.
  • The other major States listed also had significant gaps: Karnataka (30%), Madhya Pradesh (29%), Andhra Pradesh (22%) and Maharashtra(22%).


  • In the first week of October 2018, the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Grameen) said 25 States and Union Territories had been declared ODF, while toilet access across the country touched 95%.
  • In reality, the NSO said 28.7% of rural households had no toilet access at the time. With regard to this data, the NSO noted, “There may be respondent bias in the reporting of access to latrine as question on benefits received by the households from government schemes was asked prior to the question on access of households to latrine.”

Way forward

The 71% access to toilets was still a significant improvement over the situation during the last survey period in 2012, when only 40% of the rural households had access to toilets.

The NSO’s statistics on toilet usage were also encouraging. It said 95% of people with access to toilets in rural India used them regularly, indicating that the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’s efforts to change behaviour had borne fruit. Only 3.5% of those with toilet access in rural India said they never used them.

About Swachh Bharat Abhiyan

  • It is a national level campaign by the Government of India, officially launched on 2 October 2014 at Rajghat, New Delhi on 150 birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. The 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyan' is a massive mass movement that seeks to fulfill Mahatma Gandhi's vision of Clean India.
  • It aims to cover 4,041 statutory towns to clean the streets, roads and infrastructure of the country. This campaign is India's biggest ever cleanliness drive/event wherein 3 million government employees and schools and colleges students of India participated. The mission was started by PM Modi nominating nine famous personalities for this campaign, and further, they take up the challenge and nominate nine more people and so on(like the branching of a tree). It has been carried forward since then with famous people from all walks of life joining it.

National Statistical Office (NSO) (under Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation)

  • The National Statistical Office (NSO) headed by a Director General is responsible for conduct of large scale sample surveys in diverse fields on All India basis. Primarily data are collected through nation-wide household surveys on various socio-economic subjects, Annual Survey of Industries (ASI), etc. Besides these surveys, NSO collects data on rural and urban prices and plays a significant role in the improvement of crop statistics through supervision of the area enumeration and crop estimation surveys of the State agencies. It also maintains a frame of urban area units for use in sample surveys in urban areas.

The NSO has four Divisions:

  • Survey Design and Research Division (SDRD): This Division, located at Kolkata, is responsible for technical planning of surveys, formulation of concepts and definitions, sampling design, designing of inquiry schedules, drawing up of tabulation plan, analysis and presentation of survey results.
  • Field Operations Division (FOD): The Division, with its headquarters at Delhi/Faridabad and a network of six Zonal Offices, 52 Regional Offices and 117 Sub-Regional Offices spread throughout the country, is responsible for the collection of primary data for the surveys undertaken by NSO.
  • Data Processing Division (DPD): The Division, with its headquarters at Kolkata and 5 other Data Processing Centers at various places, is responsible for sample selection, software development, processing, validation and tabulation of the data collected through surveys. Price and Wages in Rural India collected through schedule 3.01(R) is being processed at DPC Giridih. In addition, DPD is also processing the data of Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS). Industrial Statistics Wing (IS Wing), DPD, NSO, Kolkata is responsible for sample selection, data processing, validation and tabulation of the Annual Survey of Industries(ASI) data collected through a dedicated web-portal.
  • Survey Coordination Division (SCD): This Division, located at New Delhi, coordinates all the activities of different Divisions of NSO. It also brings out the bi-annual journal of NSO, titled “Sarvekshana”, and organizes National Seminars on the results of various Socio-economic surveys undertaken by NSO.

Source: The Hindu

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Arunachal seeks new officer cadre

Syllabus subtopic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

News: Arunachal Pradesh, India’s eastern­most State, wants a separate cadre of bureaucrats because of its cultural and topographical diversity.

Prelims and Mains focus: Tribes of Arunachal Pradesh, Problems faced by the region in governance, challenges and ways to address them


  • Officials and police officers posted in the State belong to the Arunachal Pradesh­Goa­Mizoram and Union Territory (AGMUT) cadre, and are deputed for a minimum of two years and above.
  • The State has 27 major tribes and more than 100 sub­tribes.
  • “Sometimes it becomes difficult to understand the pulse of the people, even for an Arunachali like me. Think of bureaucrats of the AGMUT cadre who come here for two years...,” Mr. Khandu, Arunachal Pradesh CM said.

Frequent transfers affecting governance

  • Arunachal Pradesh became a State in 1987, and since then the dynamics had changed. There is no institutional memory as officers are transferred frequently.
  • This affects governance, and benefits do not reach people. Political parties enter office and go out, but a dedicated bureaucracy is essential for the State’s welfare.
  • According to the Union Home Ministry, the cadre controlling authority of the AGMUT, the sanctioned strength of IAS officers to be posted in Arunachal Pradesh is 42 and of IPS officers is 35.

Source: The Hindu

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Uttarakhand Cabinet meetings to go digital soon, save 20,000 sheets of paper per sitting

Syllabus subtopic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

News: Very soon, Cabinet meetings in Uttarakhand government will go “green” as no paper will be used for the meeting; even confidential documents of the Cabinet will be circulated to the Chief Minister, the chief secretary, and the concerned departmental heads through email only.

Prelims and Mains focus: about the recent move by UK govt, e-governance and its benefits, challenges and achievements so far


  • The Gopan department, which looks after affairs of the state Cabinet, has been working on “e-cabinet” project on a war footing so that the next Cabinet meeting could be so.
  • According to an estimate of the Gopan department, around 20,000 sheets of papers are used for each Cabinet meeting. On average, more than 15 matters are put up for discussion in every meeting. Each such proposal takes up more than 10-15 pages,and more than 20 sets of each proposal are prepared for distribution. After the meeting, a Cabinet note of each agenda is sent out. E-Cabinet meeting of the future will save this waste of paper.
  • A secure Local Area Network (LAN) is being developed and laying of cables is underway to connect the Cabinet room with a section of Gopan department from where Cabinet notes will be circulated.

Present scenario:

At present, copies of the agenda are delivered at a minister’s office or residence a day before the meeting and often they are not able to study it in advance , especially if they are out of town. But this will soon change.

How will the process go through?

  • Every minister will be provided with a screen-touch laptop with certain specifications. Agenda of the meeting will be sent to each minister via a virtual private network (VPN) and a message will be sent on their mobile phone informing them about the delivery of the agenda. Ministers- who will also be provided individual login and password- will be able to study the agenda any place any time. During Cabinet meet too, they will read the agenda on laptop only.
  • After the meeting, minutes of the meeting and the Cabinet note will be sent to the concerned persons through the same network via e-mail and an SMS will also be sent for information.
  • Training of ministers and their private secretaries and other concerned officials has already been done.

Source: Indian Express

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GS-III : Economic Issues Banking
RBI push to de-risk banking sector chokes flow of funds to large PSUs

Syllabus subtopic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

News: Lenders seek exemption from RBI to relax the large exposure framework requirements for state-run firms

Prelims and Mains focus: about the recent disinvestments made by the govt and its impact on the credit flow and growth

What is the issue?

  • A Reserve Bank of India (RBI) regulation meant to reduce concentration risk for banks is gradually choking the flow of funds to some large public sector enterprises, especially the oil marketing companies (OMCs) that have substantial debt requirements to meet capital expansion commitments.
  • Lenders have sought an exemption from the central bank to relax the large exposure framework requirements for public sector companies.
  • There are cases where funds have been sanctioned but the company is unable to draw it because of the regulations. As the exposure limit is based on 20% of a bank’s capital base, a possible solution seems to be for banks to raise more funds or wait for the upcoming mergers of state-run banks to grow their capital base.
  • The large exposure framework, effective 1 April 2019, seeks to reduce concentration risk in the banking industry, already saddled with bad loans. It aims to align with the standards on supervisory framework for measuring and controlling large exposures issued by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision(BCBS).
  • As of September, gross non-performing assets (NPAs) of all banks was more than ?9.5 trillion. What has worsened the issue is the merger of ONGC and HPCL last year, resulting in exposures in two separate entities being clubbed as one.

What the RBI said:

All these entities are exceptions and only a few such companies are there with such large requirements and RBI’s objective is to de-risk large exposures of banks, said former RBI deputy governor R. Gandhi. “These entities are to raise capital and debt directly from the market. They have good ratings and can raise funds at competitive terms. Further, the merger of banks into international size can also help take care of these large requirements. These merged banks will have higher net-worth and, therefore, would be able to sanction larger limits to these entities,” he said.

Does disinvestment really helps?

  • RBI had last October allowed OMCs to raise up to $10 billion through the external commercial borrowing (ECB) route for working capital needs. However, this does not cover loans required for capital expenditure or capex. Companies did not avail much of the ECB facility as lending rates are better domestically.
  • Recent stake sales by the government as a part of the disinvestment programme has resulted in some central public sector undertakings (CPSUs) becoming a part of connected counterparties and hence there might be little headroom for bank lending to individual CPSUs.
  • In fact, even if such lending were to happen it would result in additional bank capital or higher risk weights resulting in elevated rates.
  • It is, however, pertinent to add that public sector companies are not alone in their struggle for funds. Outstanding bank loans to industries grew by only 2.7% on a year-on-year basis in September to ?27.74 trillion. On a year-to-date basis, these loans were 3.8% lower than March 2019.

Way ahead

Credit has to flow and move and while there is ?2 trillion in the system, banks and the financial sector are sitting on extra credit. It is important that they get diverted. NPAs are part and parcel of any credit delivery system but that cannot be allowed to paralyse the flow of money.

About Basel Committee on Banking Supervision(BCBS)

The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) is an international committee formed to develop standards for banking regulation; as of 2019, it is made up of Central Banks and other banking regulatory authorities from 28 jurisdictions. It has 45 members.

Formed without a founding treaty, the BCBS is not a multilateral organization. Instead, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision seeks to provide a forum in which banking regulatory and supervisory authorities can cooperate to enhance the quality of banking supervision around the world, and improve understanding of important issues in the banking supervisory sphere. The BCBS was formed to address the problems presented by globalization of financial and banking markets in an era in which banking regulation remains largely under the purview of national regulatory bodies.

Primarily, the BCBS serves to help national banking and financial markets supervisory bodies move toward a more unified, globalized approach to solving regulatory issues.

Source: Livemint

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Manipur, J&K top UAPA cases list

Syllabus subtopic: Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism

News: More than 35% of the cases registered under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) were recorded in Manipur, show the National Crime Records Data (NCRB) provided by the Home Ministry in the Rajya Sabha last week.

Prelims Focus: about UAPA, NCRB

Mains focus: about the recent NCRB data, implications for internal security of India

Key figures in the data:

  • Manipur registered 330 cases in 2017 in which 352 persons were arrested.
  • With 156 cases, Jammu and Kashmir ( J&K) recorded 17% of such cases, followed by Assam (133) which reported 14% of all cases registered under it in 2017 in the entire country. Uttar Pradesh (109 cases) recorded 12% and Bihar (52) accounted for 5%.

About UAPA

Under the UAPA, the investigating agency can file a chargesheet in maximum180 days after the arrests and the duration can be extended further after intimating the court. The anti­terror Act has death penalty and life imprisonment as maximum punishment.

The NCRB is yet to publish the crime report for 2018. The data reveal that though U.P. has recorded only 12% of the cases, it topped the states in the number of arrests made.

According to rules, the competent authority in the Home Ministry or the State government has to give sanction to file a chargesheet in seven days after being approached by the investigating agency.

Source: The Hindu

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