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30 January, 2020

23 Min Read

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Paper Topics Subject
GS-I Nagoba jatara Modern History
GS-II North-Eastern Council (NEC)
Anticipatory bail
Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010
Global Forum on Childhood Pneumonia
GS-III Trends in Credit Growth in India Economic Issues
Yellow rust disease
GS-I : Modern History
Nagoba jatara

Syllabus subtopic: Indian Culture - Salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

 

Prelims and Mains focus: about Nagoba jatara and the rituals associated with it

 

News: The month-long Nagoba jatara recently concluded in Telangana’s Adilabad district.

 

Key highlights

  • The Betal puja involved display of martial art, in this case sword wielding, by the Adivasi Raj Gond and Pardhans from the Mesram clan near the Govad. The practised exercise has the ‘warrior’ jumping into the air wielding a thin bamboo stick like a sword.

 

  • According to elders, the Adivasis were familiar with martial arts, having been from the once ruling clans. The Mesram exited Keslapur village to proceed towards Shampur in Utnoor mandal for the Budumdev jatara.

 

About Nagoba jatara

  • Nagoba Jatara is a tribal festival held in Keslapur village, Inderavelly Mandal Adilabad district, Telangana, India.

 

  • It is the second biggest tribal carnival and celebrated by Mesaram clan of Gond tribes. Tribal people from Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh belonging to the Mesram clan offer prayers at the festival.

 

  • Thousands of Tribal people from Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Karnataka, jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh belonging to the Mesaram clan offer prayers at the festival Nagoba.

 

  • It's starts in pushya masam (December-January). A ceremony of 'bheting' is it's integral part where the new brides are introduced to the clan god during first jatra afer their marriage.

 

Nagoba Jatara Celebrations:

  1. Rituals performed at Keslapur Nagoba Jatara begin in the morning, the Mesram elders will place the sacred ‘jhari’, a 1,400-year-old water container before performing its puja.

 

  1. The group of Gond and Pradhan elders who had fetched holy water with pots from Hastina Madugu of river Godavari in Jannaram Mandal was given a traditional welcome under the old banyan tree.

 

  1. Before the start of the pujas, the Gonds continue to ‘purify’ the temple with Ganga Jal or water from the Godavari drawn at a spot called ‘Hastina Madugu’ where Nagoba is believed to have quenched his thirst after partaking the ‘naivedyam’.

 

  1. The event also includes a ceremony called ‘bheting’, which incorporates new brides into the clan. The Raj Gond Adivasis of Adilabad follow an elaborate ritual called Bheting, one of their many regalistic ceremonies, through which new daughters in law are formally introduced to the clan. All those who are married into the clan during the last year need to ‘meet’ clan deities through Bheting so that they become eligible to enter the deity’s temple.

 

  1. The women clad in white saris are the Bheti Koriad or daughters in law to be introduced to goddess Jangubai and belong to the eight clans which have Jangubai as the clan deity.

 

  1. The naivedyam carried in the bamboo baskets is made of freshly harvested food grains. The bamboo denotes the connection of the Gonds with the jungles while the naivedyam offering is a matter of thanksgiving for the crop harvested.

 

  1. Adivasi celebrates with music and more than 15 types of dances.

 

  1. The Gusadi Dance performance by dancers from the Gond tribe is a major special attraction of the event.

 

  1. Gonds pilgrims and priests will play traditional folk music at the entrance of the Jangubai cave temple located in the hilly forest of Kota-Parandoli gram panchayat in Kerameri Revenue Mandal.

 

  1. Later Gond women carry on with their daily grind, including grinding grain, with a smile on their face.

 

  1. The women in the given group coming on pilgrimage to Jangubai caves prepare food at the spot, a small shed having been earmarked for the purpose.

 

  1. In the night, the Gonds performed the Mahapuja of Nagoba, also known as Persa Pen or great god, which marks the actual beginning of the annual tribal fair.
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GS-II :
North-Eastern Council (NEC)

Syllabus subtopic: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation.

 

Prelims and Mains focus: about the move and its significance; about NEC; SASEC; North east gas grid project

 

News: The Union cabinet on Wednesday allocated 30% of the North-Eastern Council’s (NEC’s) budget for developing deprived areas and integrating them with the mainstream.

 

  • The government believes a portion of the funds can be utilized for building roads in remote hill regions and for addressing climate change challenges in the North-east.

 

  • The balance allocation shall be bifurcated in the existing two components—state component 60% and central component 40%.

 

  • The move, seen as part of the government’s Act East policy, will benefit marginalized and vulnerable groups of people in backward and neglected areas of North-eastern states.

 

Background

  • The special allocation issue was discussed in September when Union home ministry officials had met with governors and chief ministers of the eight North-eastern states as part of the North Eastern Council in Guwahati. Home minister had then described the region as pivotal to India’s growth story.

 

  • The Union cabinet’s decision comes close on the heels of the Centre stepping up its initiative to consolidate and integrate North- East India with the heartland. On Monday, the Centre signed the tripartite Bodo agreement with the banned National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) and Assam government, ending a decades-old standoff with separatist groups and clearing the decks for further development of the Bodo regions of Assam.

 

  • The agreement with NDFB highlights the Centre’s attempts to pump greater infrastructure and economic support into the region and comes just days after the Centre signed a pact to permit the settlement of 30,000 Bru tribal refugees in Tripura.

 

  • Earlier in January, the Centre had announced the earmarking of ?5,559 crore towards the construction of the North East Gas Grid project across the eight states, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura.

 

 

Other initiatives taken by the government for improving regional connectivity:

  • With an eye on China, India is also working on a number of road and bridge projects to improve connectivity with Bangladesh, Nepal, and Myanmar. These include road networks connecting Aizawl in Mizoram with Kaladan in Myanmar and Imphal in Manipur with Tamu, also in Myanmar.

 

  • India is also expediting the South Asian Sub-Regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) road connectivity programme. Japan, too, has joined hands with India to develop infrastructure projects in the region with the setting up of the India-Japan Coordination Forum for Development of Northeast.

 

 

About North-Eastern Council’s (NEC)

  • NEC was established under the North Eastern Council Act, 1971as an apex level body for securing balanced and coordinated development and facilitating coordination with the States.

 

  • Subsequent to the Amendment of 2002, NEC has been mandated to function as a regional planning body for the North Eastern Area and while formulating a regional plan for this area, shall give priority to the schemes and projects benefiting two or more states provided that in the case of Sikkim, the Council shall formulate specific projects and schemes for that State.

 

  • The Union Cabinet, in June 2018, approved the proposal of Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) for the nomination of the Union Home Minister as ex-officio Chairman of North Eastern Council (NEC). The Cabinet also approved that Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ministry of DoNER would serve as Vice Chairman of the Council.

 

  • All the Governors and Chief Ministers of North Eastern States will be its members.

 

 

About South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC)

  • It is a subregional program, set up in 2001
  • Headquarters : Manila, Philippines
  • Members: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, and Sri Lanka (BBIN-MMS)
  • Objective : promote regional prosperity by improving cross-border connectivity, boosting trade among member countries, and strengthening regional economic cooperation
  • SASEC priority areas of cooperation
  1. Transport
  2. trade facilitation
  3. energy
  4. economic corridor development (ECD)

 

  • In 2016, the SASEC countries approved the SASEC Operational Plan 2016-2025, a 10-year strategic roadmap.

 

  • SASEC Secretariat — ADB serves as the SASEC Secretariat
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GS-II :
Anticipatory bail

Syllabus subtopic: Indian Constitution—Historical Underpinnings, Evolution, Features, Amendments, Significant Provisions and Basic Structure.

 

Prelims and Mains focus: about the SC judgement on anticipatory bail and its significance; about types of bail

 

News: The protection of anticipatory or pre-­arrest bail cannot be limited to any time frame or “fixed period” as denial of bail amounts to deprivation of the fundamental right to personal liberty in a free and democratic country, a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday.

 

Context: The questions referred to the Constitution Bench were two-fold:

  1. whether the protection granted to a person under Section 438 should be limited to a fixed period till the accused surrenders in court, and
  2. whether the life of anticipatory bail should end when the accused is summoned by the court.

 

What is Section 438?

Section 438 (anticipatory bail) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) protects people from the ignominy of detention in jail for days on end and disgrace to their reputation.

 

 

What did the SC say in its judgement?

  • The court acknowledged that anticipatory bail helps thwart influential powers from implicating their rivals in false cases.

 

  • It said that the life or duration of an anticipatory bail order does not normally end at the time and stage when the accused is summoned by the court, or when charges are framed, but can continue till the end of the trial.

 

  • The history of our Republic — and indeed, the freedom movement — has shown how the likelihood of arbitrary arrest and indefinite detention and the lack of safeguards played an important role in rallying the people to demand independence.

 

  • The spectre of arbitrary and heavy­handed arrests: too often, to harass and humiliate citizens, and often times, at the interest of powerful individuals (and not to further any meaningful investigation into offences) led to the enactment of Section 438.

 

  • The court held that protection against arrest should inure in favour of the accused. Restricting the protection would prove unfavourable for the accused.

 

  • However, it is open for a court to impose appropriate conditions for grant of anticipatory bail if the specific facts or the features of the offence involved demands it. Courts have to consider the nature of the offence, the role of the person, the likelihood of his influencing the course of investigation or tampering of evidence, including intimidating witnesses and fleeing justice. But restrictions/conditions can be imposed only on a case­to­case basis.

 

  • An application for anticipatory bail should be based on concrete facts and not vague or general allegations. The application should also contain bare essential facts relating to the offence and why the applicant reasonably apprehends arrest. It should also have “his side of the story”.

 

  • The court held that a plea for anticipatory bail can be filed even before the registration of FIR as long as there is reasonable basis for apprehension of arrest and clarity of facts.

 

  • Nothing in Section 438 of the CrPC compels or obliges courts to impose conditions limiting the relief in terms of time or upon filing of FIR or recording of statement of witnesses by the police during investigation or inquiry, etc.

 

  • Courts, depending on the seriousness of the threat of arrest, need not wait to hear the prosecution’s version before granting anticipatory bail. Issuance of notice to the prosecutor can be done simultaneously while granting protection from arrest to the accused.

 

  • The grant of protection should not be “blanket” but confined to specific offence or incident for which relief from arrest is sought. It is open for the police to move court for arrest of the accused if there is any violation of bail conditions.

 

What is bail?

  • Bail means temporary release of an accused person awaiting trial, sometimes on condition that a sum of money is lodged to guarantee their appearance in court. In other words release or secure the release of a prisoner on payment of bail.
  • It may be defined as Security such as cash, a bond, or property, pledged or given to a court by or on behalf of one accused of committing a crime, to obtain release from incarceration and to ensure the person's future appearance in court when required during the criminal proceeding.

 

Types of Bail

  1. Interim Bail- is for certain period of time granted before hearing to the prosecution.

 

  1. Permanent Bail- permanent in nature and granted only after hearing to the petitioner a well as the prosecution.

 

  1. Bail Before Arrest- it is granted when the court feels that the accused is falsely involved in the case and an arrest would affect his honor and dignity badly.

 

  1. Bail On Arrest under Section 497 of Cr. Pc. Bail can be granted for both bail able as well as non bail able offences after the accused is arrested against a charge.

 

  1. Protective Bail- A bail granted so that the accused can approach the provincial court for getting a pre-arrest bail without touching its merit.

 

  1. Directly Approaching Superior Court- the Superior Courts can grant pre-arrest bail in some appropriate cases directly if the accused has been deprived or prevented of approaching lower courts.

 

  1. Bail For The Convict- Once convicted, bail is granted to the accused even if the appeal for the same is accepted if court finds that there are considerable grounds for his/her release.

 

  • Anticipatory Bail: The concept of Anticipatory Bail comes into place when the accused may rightfully fear arrest in cases of cognizable offences. Bail is a legal relief that a person may be entitled to in order to get temporary freedom until his case is disposed of. Depending on the gravity of the allegations, a person may be able to avoid arrest altogether. However, there are cases in which arrest is made and the accused is set free as per the provisions of the bail as given under the Criminal Procedure Code. In cases of Criminal cases, especially those pertaining to dowry, anticipatory bail comes as a relief to many accused person. It is literally applied for in anticipation of arrest.
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GS-II :
Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010

Syllabus subtopic: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation.

Prelims and Mains focus: about FCRA and its objectives

News: The Open Society Foundations (OSF), an international grant­making network promoted by billionaire philanthropist George Soros, has moved the Delhi High Court against the Centre’s decision to place it under a “watch list” for funding NGOs and associations that are not registered under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).

 

Background

  • The foreign donor was put under the watch list or “prior permission” category in 2016, but it moved the High Court only this month. Through its plea, the OSF sought to know the reasons for which it was placed under the list and why no prior notice was served to them.

 

  • There are more than 20 foreign donors under the government’s scanner right now.

 

  • Of these, eight were put under the prior­permission category during the UPA government and 13 after the NDA government came to power in 2014.

 

  • As of now there are around 20,000 NGOs registered under the FCRA.

 

What is the condition for receiving foreign funds?

Any NGO that expects to receive foreign funds has to mandatorily register under the FCRA.

 

About FCRA:

  • The Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 and rules framed under it (the “FCRA” or “Act”) regulate the receipt and usage of foreign contribution by nongovernmental organisations (“NGOs”) in India.

 

  • Since the Act is internal security legislation, despite being a law related to financial legislation, it falls into the purview of Home Ministry and not the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

 

To whom FCRA, 2010 is applicable?

As per Section 1(2) of FCRA, 2010, the provisions of the act shall apply to:

  1. Whole of India
  2. Citizens of India outside India; and
  3. Associate Branches or subsidiaries, outside India, of companies or bodies corporate, registered or incorporated in India

Who can receive foreign contribution?

Any “Person” can receive foreign contribution subject to following conditions:-

  1. It must have a definite cultural, economic, educational, religious or social programme.
  2. It must obtain the FCRA registration / prior permission from the Central Government
  3. It must not be prohibited under Section 3 of FCRA, 2010.

 

Who cannot receive foreign contribution?

As defined in Section 3(1) of FCRA, 2010, the following are prohibited to receive foreign contribution:

  1. candidate for election;
  2. correspondent, columnist, cartoonist, editor, owner, printer or publisher of a registered newspaper;
  3. Judge, Government servant or employee of any corporation or any other body controlled or owned by the Government;
  4. member of any legislature;
  5. political party or office bearer thereof;
  6. organization of a political nature as may be specified under sub-section (1) of Section 5 by the Central Government.
  7. association or company engaged in the production or broadcast of audio news or audio visual news or current affairs programmes through any electronic mode, or any other electronic form as defined in clause (r) of sub-section (1) of Section 2 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 or any other mode of mass communication;
  8. correspondent or columnist, cartoonist, editor, owner of the association or company referred to in point (g).
  9. Individuals or associations who have been prohibited from receiving foreign contribution.

 

Scope and objective of FCRA:

  1. The intent of the Act is to prevent use of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality for any activity detrimental to the national interest.

 

  1. It has a very wide scope and is applicable to a natural person, body corporate, all other types of Indian entities (whether incorporated or not) as well as NRIs and overseas branches/subsidiaries of Indian companies and other entities formed or registered in India. It is implemented by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.

 

In order to achieve the above objective, the Act:

  1. Prohibits acceptance and use of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality by a certain specified category of persons such as a candidate for election, judge, journalist, columnist, newspaper publication, cartoonist and others.

 

  1. Regulates the inflow to and usage of foreign contribution by NGOs by prescribing a mechanism to accept, use and report usage of the same.

 

  1. It defines the term ‘foreign contribution’ to include currency, article other than gift for personal use and securities received from foreign source. While foreign hospitality refers to any offer from a foreign source to provide foreign travel, boarding, lodging, transportation or medical treatment cost.

 

  1. The Act permits only NGOs having a definite cultural, economic, educational, religious or social programme to accept foreign contribution, that too after such NGOs either obtain a certificate of registration or prior permission under the Act.

 

Registration and prior approval under FCRA:

  1. In order to be registered under the FCRA, an NGO must be in existence for at least three years and must have undertaken reasonable activity in its field for which the foreign contribution is proposed to be utilised. Further, it must have spent at least INR 1,000,000 over three years preceding the date of its application on its activities.

 

  1. The registration certificate is valid for a period of five years and must be thereafter renewed in the prescribed manner.

 

  1. NGOs not eligible for registration can seek prior approval from FCRA for receiving foreign funding. This permission is granted only for a specific amount of foreign funding from a specified foreign source for a specific purpose. It remains valid till receipt and full utilisation of such amount.

 

 

The Act imposes various conditions on the use of foreign funds:

  1. All funds received by an NGO must be used only for the purpose for which they were received.

 

  1. Such funds must not be used in speculative activities identified under the Act.

 

  1. Except with the prior approval of the Authority, such funds must not be given or transferred to any entity not registered under the Act or having prior approval under the Act.

 

  1. Every asset purchased with such fund must be in the name of the NGO and not its office bearers or members.

 

Reporting requirement:

Every NGO registered or having prior approval under the Act must file an annual report with the Authority in the prescribed form. This report must be accompanied by an income and expenditure statement, receipt and payment account, and balance sheet for the relevant financial year. For financial years where no foreign contribution is received, a ‘NIL’ report must be furnished with the Authority.

 

Ensuring transparency

A National Accreditation Council consisting of academicians, activist, retired bureaucrats should be made to ensure compliance by NGOs. There should be better coordination between Ministries of Home Affairs and Finance in terms of monitoring and regulating illicit and unaccounted funds

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GS-II :
Global Forum on Childhood Pneumonia

Syllabus subtopic: Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

 

Prelims and Mains focus: about the report and its findings; about the global forum on childhood pneumonia, about Pneumonia

 

News: A report on under-five mortality was released ahead of the first-ever global forum on childhood pneumonia in Barcelona from January 29 to 31.

 

Background

  • Deprived and marginalized children in the world’s poorest countries are most affected by the killer disease.

 

  • Current trends forecast that 6.3 million children under- five could die from the infection between 2020 and 2030 with the highest number of deaths predicted to be in Nigeria, with 1.4 million; India 880,000; the Democratic Republic of Congo 350,000; and Ethiopia 280,000.

 

Key findings of the report

  • Fourteen per cent of under-five deaths in India — approximately 1,27,000 deaths annually — happen due to pneumonia. In 2013, this figure was about 1,78,000.

 

  • It is estimated that half of these deaths are in the northern belt of the country. The current pneumonia mortality rate is five per 1,000 live births and the target is to reduce this to less than three by 2025.

 

  • Outdoor air pollution contributes to 17.5 per cent — or nearly one in five —pneumonia deaths among children under five worldwide, according to a study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

 

  • Household pollution from the indoor use of solid cooking fuels contributes to an additional 1,95,000 (29.4 per cent) deaths.

 

Tackling Pneumonia

  • According to a new scientific model produced by Johns Hopkins University, in the United States, scaling up pneumonia treatment and prevention services can save the lives of 3.2 million children under the age of five the world over.

 

  • It would also create ‘a ripple effect’ that would prevent 5.7 million extra child deaths from other major childhood diseases at the same time, underscoring need for integrated health services.

 

  • As the current coronavirus outbreak shows, tackling pneumonia means improving timely detection and prevention. It means making the right diagnosis and prescribing the right treatment. It also means addressing the major causes of pneumonia deaths like malnutrition, lack of access to vaccines and antibiotics, and tackling the more difficult challenge of air pollution.

 

  • According to World Health Organisation (WHO), the benefits of implementing key reduction-risk measures – such as improving nutrition, providing antibiotics and increasing vaccine coverage – would be many, including preventing the deaths of 2.1 million children from diarrhoea, 1.3 million from sepsis and another 280,000 from measles.

 

About Pneumonia

  • Pneumonia is caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi, and leaves children fighting for breath as their lungs fill with puss and fluid.

 

  • The current coronavirus epidemic which began in China, causes pneumonia and other respiratory diseases in patients.

 

  • Pneumonia is the biggest single killer of children worldwide and claimed 800,000 last year, or one child every 39 seconds.

 

  • Although some types of pneumonia can be easily prevented with vaccines and treated with low-cost antibiotics, tens of millions of children remain unvaccinated and one-in-three children with symptoms do not receive medical care.

 

About the Global Forum on Childhood Pneumonia

  • The first-ever global forum on childhood pneumonia kicked off on Wednesday in Barcelona, Spain, and will include discussions on a more affordable pneumonia vaccine and political commitments from governments in high-burden countries to develop national strategies to reduce pneumonia deaths.

 

  • The forum is a major opportunity to ensure that pneumonia is at the forefront of national and global health agendas; galvanise national action, and mobilise the donor community to increase awareness of the scale of the pneumonia challenge.

 

  • The Forum sets out to agree practical pathways that governments and their partners can take to meet the Sustainable Development Goal on child survival and the Global Action Plan for Pneumonia and Diarrhoea (GAPPD) target of three child pneumonia deaths per 1,000 live births.

 

  • This is not a forum for reflection, but a call to action to deliver concrete measures with the potential to save hundreds of thousands of children’s lives.
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GS-III : Economic Issues
Trends in Credit Growth in India

Syllabus subtopic: Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development and Employment.

 

Prelims and Mains focus: about the credit growth trend in the banking sector and its implications

 

News: India’s banking crisis, driven by high NPAs, has persisted for 6-7 years. During this time banks shifted to giving unsecured credit for personal loans, away from asset-backed secured lending. Many fear a bulk of these loans could be to subprime borrowers.

 

Credit situation trend

Personal loans offered by banks have increased over the years, peaking in the aftermath of the non-bank crisis in Sep 2018, while credit to industry has slowed.

 

 

What is a subprime borrower?

  • A subprime borrower has a higher chance of defaulting on a loan. Typically, subprime borrowers have lower credit ratings and may have delinquencies in their credit record. A lower credit score does not automatically imply that a subprime borrower would be unable to source credit.

 

  • At the same time, lower the credit score, higher the interest rate charged by the bank to accommodate for the default risk. Many suspect that the recent saturation of the credit card market combined with severe competition in consumer lending businesses has resulted in extension of significant credit to subprime borrowers.

 

Why are subprime borrowers preferred?

  • Even as corporate lending and mortgages are backed by a collateral, delay in securing those assets and recovering money through insolvency proceedings have led to risk aversion. Lenders are thus focusing on personal loans and credit cards as discretionary spending on clothes, ordering food, entertainment, travel and commuting rises.

 

  • Developments in technology and the recent availability of data due to the integration of Aadhaar, PAN and bank accounts have lowered the costs of processing loans for banks. This has helped them lend small amounts as unsecured loans for personal consumption.

 

What has been the recent trend in credit extension?

A TransUnion CIBIL report for the June quarter showed that 32% of the credit cards were issued to subprime borrowers. This coincides with a sluggish extension of credit to industry at 2.3% in the September quarter, while lending to the farm sector grew 3.7% and personal loans rose 8.9%. Bankers are preferring to give personal loans and there is demand for the same.

 

Is there any link with the non-bank crisis?

While a major part of the NPA crisis may be behind us, fresh vulnerabilities have emerged due to a prolonged slowdown in the real estate sector. Non-banks (NBFCs) were often the front runners in providing last-mile availability of credit and the recent liquidity crisis has provided an opportunity for banks to try and get a share of the personal loan space. This can have positive implications for the sector and the economy as it can deepen the financial services industry, thereby benefiting the financial system.

 

What does it mean for the future of banking?

While financial services and banking would continue to grow in India as per capita income rises, much of the next stage of growth would come from servicing last- mile consumers. It could even be in financing of smaller size, short- duration loans. The policies seem conducive for the securitization industry. While a clean-up of the banking system was necessary, stiff competition could lead to some banks taking unmanageable risks on their balance sheets.

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GS-III :
Yellow rust disease

Syllabus subtopic:  Major Crops - Cropping Patterns in various parts of the country.

 

Prelims and Mains focus: about the yellow rust disease and its impact on the crop productivity; remedial measures to be taken to contain it

 

News: The detection of yellow rust disease in the wheat crop in sub mountainous parts of Punjab and Haryana has raised anxiety among farmers about drop in the crop's yield even as respective agriculture departments are leaving nothing to chance to ensure the spread of the disease doesn't go beyond control.

  • Wheat, the main rabi (winter) crop, is sown between late October till December while the harvesting of the crop will start from April onwards.

 

What is Yellow rust disease?

  • Yellow rust is a fungal disease which turns the crop's leaves into a yellowish colour and stops photosynthesis activity, which eventually could result in a drop of wheat crop productivity.

 

  • The ideal growth conditions for yellow rust are temperatures of between 8-13 degree C for spore germination and penetration, and 12-15 degree C for further development and with free water. This makes yellow rust more of a spring disease. It should be noted, however, that whilst young plants can be susceptible, as they mature, they can develop “adult plant resistance”.

 

  • The optimum lifecycle for yellow rust is seven days, although symptom expression is more explosive than with brown rust, since the yellow rust fungus takes less time to build colonies of a size to support sporulation.

 

  • Yellow rust survives on late green tillers, volunteers and early sown crops. It originates as distinct ‘foci’ in crops and is spread long distances by wind.

 

What climatic conditions in Punjab and Haryana led to it ?

  • The recent rains in the region coupled with slight increase in the temperature and humid conditions are favourable for yellow rust.

 

  • The minimum temperature have been hovering around 1.6 to 3.0 degree Celsius above normal at many places in parts of Punjab during the past few days.

 

  • After rain in the past few days, the minimum temperature had risen a bit, coupled with slightly humid conditions. However, in the next 3­4 days the minimum temperature is likely to dip.

 

 

Level of threat and remedial measures to be taken

  • It's in a very limited area that the crop has been affected as of now, but the team of experts has hit the fields to monitor the situation. However, at this stage it's not threatening.

 

  • It can't be ignored as it can spread quickly and can cause severe losses in crop yield if not checked in time.

 

  • Farmers should spray their crop with insecticides as per the advisory to contain the attack.

 

  • Yellow rust is easier to control than brown rust with fungicides. This is because it forms its “looser” elongated pustules closer to the leaf surface, whereas brown rust forms very waxy dense pustules in the middle of the leaf, making it trickier for fungicides to access.

 

  • Yellow rust is eight times less efficient at penetrating the wheat leaf than brown rust, because it doesn’t build specialised infection structures (appressoria). This renders it an easier target for fungicides with long-lasting protectant activity.
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