Monday, 8 September 2014

Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana

Jan Dhan Yojana

Why this scheme?

India has very low banking penetration. Crores of our citizens do not have a bank account. There are plenty of reasons for this.

The banks do not find it economically feasible to operate full fledged in rural area. (Money is needed to bank!)

The rural population in many places sees it out of their league( accessibility, awareness)

The informal systems have deep route and people rely on them.( Leads to loads of black money in predatory lenders)

 What is scheme about?

Universal access to banking facilities (key word)

The citizens can open zero account bank account in any bank. The private and public players are roped in for this. It provides for overdraft facility as well as both life and accident insurance with every account.

The scheme has very easy Know the customer rules.  Aadhaar card, NREGA cards, voters’ ID card etc are accepted as documentary proofs.

Providing Basic Banking Accounts with overdraft facility of Rs.5000 after six months and RuPay Debit card with inbuilt accident insurance cover of Rs. 1 lakh and RuPay Kisan Card

Financial Literacy Programme

In second phase, the micro insurance, credit guarantee etc will be included.

Bottle necks/ views

Like every scheme there will be bottlenecks and concerns about this scheme also. The main thoughts from various quarters are
1.        Will the accounts created generate enough ‘dhan’.
2.       Problem of fake accounts.
3.       Will full coverage be possible as many persons may not have an id card
4.       The insurance part lacks clarity

Your thoughts on aspects of the scheme and its bottle necks (as well as solutions) needed for exam.


It is a payment gateway platform created by National Payment Corporation of India. India is the fourth country in the world after the US, Japan and China to have its own national payment gateway, in RuPay.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Clinical trials in India

India has been in focus as a hub of clinical trials. Many Indian cities and villages have centres which do clinical trials. There are two questions :

1) Do India need to allow the clinical trial
2)ethical issues
3) Is there heavy exploitation in name of clinical trial.

The clinical trials are done by mostly big pharma companies. It is difficult for these companies to get permission in their respective nations for the trials. The pharma companies have a great oppurtunity to have their trials in India due to high population/ lesser activism against trails/ more persons willing to take trials (lack of alternative)

The heavy exploitation where the middle men in India ( agencies/doctors/outsourced companies) bag the money while the person who takes the trial getting a pittance is another sad side. There are complaints that people are brought into the trial through half-truths about the interventions they are to undergo.

Why india is a favoured destination?

India has diversity in population and also all diseases. The poor people and easy access to people due to lack of proper health care. All diseases – communicable and non communicable are present in large numbers in india. India has lot of patients who cannot afford medical care. They are lured into the drug trials since they have no other option for treatment.

How is clinical trial conducted in India?

The company has to get the clearance from DGCI and the clinical trial is conducted under scheduleY of drug and cosmetic rules. The pharmaceutical companies deploys CROs(contract research organisations) for conducting researches. The permission of local ethics committee has be acquired before conducting clinical trial.

Is the present system sufficient?

The DGCI's monitoring system is flawed. There is not enough staff or enough expertise to check the plan design or the impact of clinical trial.

Time and over again NGO's/ journalists/ social media have questioned the ease with which many companies got permission for the trials. The incidence where 5 persons undergoing trials at Khamman Andhrapradesh died turned focus on the safeguards of the trials. The SC had also come heavily against the unethical trials. (click here).

The Ranjit Roy report has recommendations for betterment of the system.

Download Ranjit Roy Report (only the recommendations part needed). Read the action taken by government regarding the report.

The links to the recent updates can be found here (click here)

The Action taken report (Click here)

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Urband Heat Island

Urban heat Islands

The temperature in urban area is higher than the surrounding lesser urbanised area. This leads to formation of an island of heat (urban area) in sea of cooler region (surrounding lesser urbanised area).
source: EPA 2008,

Why is heat island formed?
When an area gets urbanised the normal cover of vegetation is replaced by human built constructions. The human built constructions absorb and retain greater heat than the normal vegetation which earlier covered that area. This leads to rise in temperature. The human constructions/buildings cool off slowly, as a result the night temperature of urban area remains very much higher than surroundings.

Other causes:
  • The vehicles emitting heat trapping gases.
  • Increased release of body heat due to higher population. (minor)
  • Disappearance of water bodies as they get covered during urbanisation.

Impact of Urban Island

The incoming air may rise up rapidly and can lead to higher precipitation.
The heat island may lead to formation of outgoing air waves which repeal incoming moisture laden air leading to lower precipitation.
 In short, the precipitation pattern is affected and it becomes irregular.

The high heat in urban area increases cooling needs leading to higher consumption of energy as more air conditioners, fans will be operated. The increased energy needs will in turn cause pollution as more fossil fuels will be utilized in power plants for meeting the energy needs.
Human health and well being is adversely affected. The higher night temperature causes discomfort leading to reduction of sleep. The high temperature in most cities leads to irritation and dissatisfaction.

Friday, 20 June 2014

UPSC Topper Gaurav Aggarwal's Notes

The superman returns

The topper Gaurav Aggarwal has been generous to upload tonnes of meticulously prepared notes in his personal blog. He has uploaded his marks, study methodology and his email id in his blog “The Superman Returns”.

Mural Painting in India

Mural paintings in India

Murals are large art work paintings typically done in walls. It showcases some of the earliest efforts of painting in India. The earliest mural works can be seen in ancient and early medieval times eg: Ajanta and Ellora cave paintings.

Nature of art work

The religious themes can be seen in many mural works. The temple murals in Brihadeshwara temple, ekambareshwar temple etc showcases the religious murals. The mural works in eastern india has both Buddhist and non buddist themes eg:mural paintings in arunachal Pradesh. The murals in many places also covers courtlife, family life, scenes from tales, animals etc.

Colors used

Murals are drawn using natural matierials like chalk, terracotta, volcanic rocks etc. The animal, vegetable gum was used as glue.


They showcase the richness of Indian art. It established that art was very developed in India at very early stage in India. The pan-Indian presence of such paintings is another curious phenomenon. Murals are can be seen in Himachal (north), Kerala(south),Arunachal(East). The large paintings reflect the life and times, beliefs, tales of the ancient and medieval period. Innovative methods were used to illustrate ideas in mural paintings. 

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Goods Services Tax India

GST – It is a type of value added tax, which will replace the indirect taxes levied on goods and services.

Value added tax is a multi-stage tax, here tax is levied at each stage of value addition. Eg: - When wood is converted to paper, there is value addition. Similarly when this paper is converted to a greeting card, there is value addition. In VAT, the tax will be levied only to the value added at each stage.

Why GST?

India presently has multitude of indirect taxes. This creates confusion, tax evasion and inefficiency. To reform the present system to create a unified tax collection, GST is being introduced.

GST will :
  • ·         Simplify the tax structure (the multitude of the indirect taxes will be abolished after GST)
  • ·         Broaden tax base and rationalise tax collection.
  • ·         To create a common tax base across states. (States and centre will implement GST)
  • ·         Increase growth by increasing export and import

What is objection regarding GST?

States fear loss of revenue and fiscal autonomy.

Solution: Compensation formula after consultation with states.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Gravitational Waves

What are gravitational waves?

They are ripples that carry energy across the universe (ripples in the curvature of space-time continuum). The existence of the gravitational waves was made by Albert Einstein in his general theory of relativity. Till now there was no direct evidence as these waves are hard to be detected.
 How proved?
By BICEP2 (Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization) - a telescope at South Pole

Why important?
In proving big bang theory and cosmic inflation.

What is cosmic inflation?
A theory by Alan Ruth that universe expanded very rapidly during its initial formation time. 

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