“In the late eighteenth century, Calcutta, Bombay and Madras rose in importance as Presidency cities. They became the centres of British power in the different regions of India. At the same time, a host of smaller cities declined. Many towns manufacturing specialised goods declined due to a drop in the demand for what they produced. Old trading centres and ports could not survive when the flow of trade moved to new centres. Similarly, earlier centres of regional power collapsed when local rulers were defeated by the British and new centres of administration emerged. This process is often described as de-urbanisation. Cities such as Machlipatnam, Surat and Seringapatam were de-urbanised during the nineteenth century. By the early twentieth century, only 11 per cent of Indians were living in cities.”
National Population Policy 2002
long term objective of achieving a stable population by 2045
To address the unmet needs for contraception, health care infrastructure, and health personnel
To provide integrated service delivery for basic reproductive and child health care.
Maternal Mortality Rate: below 100 per lakh birth.
Infant Mortality Rate: 30 per 1000 live birth.
Total Fertility rate: 2.1 (Replacement Level of 2010).
Achieve 80% institutionalized deliveries, to reduce MMR
Achieve universal immunization of children.
Promote delayed marriage for girls, not earlier than age 18 and preferably after 20 years of age.
Compulsory school education, reduce dropout rate.
Promote small family norm to achieve replacement levels of TFR.
Convergence in implementation of related social sector programs.
Feature of Sunderbans
It is classified as a moist tropical forest.
It is a UNESCO world heritage site.
Recognised under Ramsar wetland site
Dominated by “ Sundri tree”
Largest single block of halophytic mangrove forest in the world.
It has common features of the both estuarine and mangrove ecosystem.
Agent of carbon Sequestration
It area lies both in India and Bangladesh (Largest in Bangladesh).
It acts as shelter belt to protect the people from storms, cyclones, tidal surges, sea water seepage and intrusion.
Livelihoods for millions of people such as woodcutters, fisherman, honey gatherers, leaves and grass gatherers.
- Haj is one of the most complex organizational tasks undertaken by Government of India outside its borders.
- It is a five day religious congregation and a virtually a year-long managerial exercise.
- Indian Haj pilgrims who constitute one of the largest national group perform Haj through two streams:
- The Haj Committee of India (HCOI)
- Registered Private Tour Operators (PTOs)
- HCOI established under the Haj Committee Act 2002 is responsible for making the arrangements for pilgrims performing Haj through them. All arrangements for the HCoI pilgrims in Saudi Arabia are coordinated by the Consulate General of India, Jeddah.
- The Haj quota for India is fixed by the Saudi Arabian Government.
New Haj Policy
- The 2018 Haj pilgrimage will be in line with the new Haj policy.
- The committee for the New Haj policy was headed by former Parliamentary Affairs Secretary Afzal Amanullah and it submitted its recommendations to Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.
- Women Haj pilgrims are required to be accompanied by a mehram – a male relative who she cannot marry, such as father, brother or son. However, the rule may not be insisted upon if they are over 45 but do not have a male mehram, and their “school of thought permits” them to do so, the committee said.
Its other major recommendations include:
- The Saudi Arabian government should be consulted regarding the possibility of Haj travel by ship, which would be cheaper than air travel.
- The quota for mehram travellers may be increased from 200 to 500.
- The special quota for pilgrims from Jammu and Kashmir may be increased from 1,500 to 2,000.
- A “robust portal” to be developed for the processing of applications for private tour operators.
- The quota for pilgrims travelling under the ambit of Haj Committee and those through private tour operators be allocated at 70:30.
Railway Zones of India and Their Divisions
- The journey of railways in Indian sub-continent started in 1853 with 34 kilometers (kms).
- First rail ran on 16th April, 1853 and covered the 21-mile distance in about 75 minutes from Bombay to Thane.
- The Railway Board in 1950 decided for the regrouping of the Indian Railways into six zonal systems, namely:
- North Eastern
- Western Railways.
- At Present, there are 17 railway zone.
- The Metro Railway of Kolkata became the country’s 17th Railway Zone in 2010.
Security forces are no longer reactive.
Example of Gariaband region in Chhattisgarh:
- When the Maoists decided to deepen their roots into Gariaband, the State government notified this division as a new district (in 2012). This gave a fillip to development work.
- Many new police stations and security camps were set up to prevent any major Maoist attack.
- The cadre strength of the Maoists has consequently reduced.
Example of Raigarh:
- Police action in Raigarh district eventually forced the Maoists to abandon their plan of expansion.
- The Ministry of Home Affairs, too, subsequently removed Raigarh from its Security Related Expenditure (SRE) scheme.
Example of central India:
- When the Maoists decided to create a new zone in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh, the target districts were immediately put on alert, so as not to allow them to gain ground.
- Security forces were redeployed to ensure better territorial command.
Better Inter-State coordination:
- As the Chhattisgarh police have experience in tackling Maoists in Bastar, they are now coordinating with the bordering States to strengthen intelligence and ground presence.
- Such coordinated proactive policing will dampen the Maoists’ plans.
2. Holistic Approach:
- The Maoist problem is not merely a law and order issue.
- A permanent solution lies in eliminating the root cause of the problem that led to the alienation of tribals in this area.
- Improved connectivity and communication: The focus now is to build roads and install communication towers to increase administrative and political access of the tribals, and improve the reach of government schemes.
- Enhanced income: The government has enhanced the support price of minor forest produce like imli (tamarind).
- Financial inclusion: More bank branches have been opened to ensure financial inclusion.
- Entertainment: All India Radio stations in the three southern districts of Bastar will now broadcast regional programmes to increase entertainment options.
- Improved trade: And a new rail service in Bastar is set to throw open a new market for wooden artefacts and bell metal.
Engaging youth through education and employment:
Weaning away children from Maoists and towards education:
- Maoists are providing combat training to children in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.
- Despite the Maoists not wanting their children to study and get government jobs, remarkable work has been done in the field of school education and skill development.
- An educational hub and a livelihood centre in Dantewada district sprang up. Earlier, the hostel of the Ramakrishna Mission in Narainpur was the only place where children could get quality education.
- Seeing its success, the government has now opened up livelihood centres, known as Livelihood Colleges, in all the districts.
- If the youth are constructively engaged by the government, the recruitment of youth by the Maoists will slowly stop.
Role of civil society
- The government’s rehabilitation policies have helped the surrendered cadres turn their lives around.
- Indian democracy is strong enough to absorb even its adversaries if they abjure violence.
- Loopholes in implementing government schemes must not be used as a tool to strengthen the hands of the Maoists.
- Civil society must join hands with the government in realising the villagers’ right to development.
- The two-pronged policy of direct action by the security forces combined with development is showing results.
- The government has already made a dent in most of the affected districts and is determined to check the expansion of Maoists.
- The paradigm of proactive policing and holistic development should ensure more such significant results in the future.
• It is an embodiment of the synthesis of ancient Indian and modern western cultures.
• Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (1836-86) was the founder of this socio-religious movement.
• Formally, the Mission was founded in May 1897 by Paramahamsa’s disciple, Narendranath Dutta, who was later on known as Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902).
Objectives of the Mission
• To bring into existence a band of monks dedicated to a life of renunciation and practical spirituality, from among whom teachers and workers would be sent out to spread the universal message of Vedanta, as illustrated in the life of Ramakrishna.
• In conjunction with lay disciples, to carry on preaching, philanthropic and charitable works, looking upon all men, women and children, irrespective of caste, creed or colour, as veritable manifestations of the Divine.
• Paramahamsa himself founded the Ramakrishna Math with his young monastic disciples as a nucleus to fulfill the first objective.
• The second objective was taken up by Swami Vivekananda after Ramakrishna’s death. Vivekananda carried the message of Ramakrishna all over India.
• The headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission are at Belur, near Kolkata.
• This centre was established in 1898 by Swami Vivekananda.
• The Math is a religious trust dedicated to the nursing of the inner spiritual life of the members of the monastery.
• The Mission is a charitable society dedicated to the expression of inner spiritual life in outward collective action in the service of men.
• The Belur Math is the headquarters of both the Math and the Mission.
Religious and social reforms
• The Mission has given top priority to the idea of social service, both in terms of philanthropic work and upliftment of religious and spiritual life.
• It has been successful in propagating the universal principle of Vedanta and giving a true picture of India to the western world.
• The Mission has opened many schools and dispensaries, and helped the victims of natural calamities.
About Steel sector
• In 2016-17, India’s total ‘Finished Steel Production’ for sale was around 100 MT with an apparent consumption of about 85 MT. Thus production of finished steel was sufficient to meet its present demand in the country and also for exports.
• The domestic steel sector contributes around 2% of the country’s GDP and employs over 6 lakh people.
• As per The World Steel Association (worldsteel) report-2017, India ranked third with 95.6 Million Tonnes (MT) in world total steel production of 1630 MT. China with 808 MT and Japan with 105 MT are ahead of India.
• India has very low per capita steel consumption i.e. 65 kg, (US-750; China-400+; World-216), hence steel sector has huge potential.
• Over the last few years, the Steel sector has been adversely impacted by the global steel glut which resulted in predatory pricing and a surge in steel imports into the country.
• Because of which, various projects failed and steel sector accounts for almost 30% of the non-performing assets of the banking industry.
• However, on account of timely intervention by the Government and industry through various trade related measures like anti-dumping and safeguards as well as other policy initiatives, the impact of the global glut were significantly mitigated.
Government Initiatives for Steel sector
• Steel being a de-regulated sector, the role of Government is that of a facilitator only.
• Government lays down the policy guidelines and establishes the institutional mechanism/structure for creating conducive environment for improving efficiency and performance of the steel sector.
• The Government has been proactive in ensuring adequate raw material availability at reasonable prices and explored ways of reducing input, logistic and infrastructure cost of Steel production.
• In order to provide level playing field to domestic steel sector, Government has taken various measures which are as under:
• In 2015, an Anti-Dumping Duty and a provisional safeguard duty was levied on imports of certain variety of products.
• In 2016, Government imposed Minimum Import Price (MIP) on many steel products. Government hiked import duty on various finished and semi-finished steel products.
• This year too, the government safeguarded the interests of domestic players by imposing a 4% additional dumping duty and a 1% countervailing duty.
• The Government has released the National Steel Policy 2017, which has laid down the broad roadmap for encouraging long-term growth for the Indian steel industry.
The National Steel Policy 2017
• Policy was rolled out to enable the domestic steel industry to reach a capacity of 300 million tonnes (mt) by 2030-31 (against 126 mt now) through concept of Special Purpose Vehicle(SPV) while setting global benchmarks in terms of quality and technology.
• The policy on preference to Domestically Manufactured Iron and Steel Products aims at facilitating consumption of domestic value-added steel in government procurement in sectors such as oil & gas, shipping, ports and airports.
• The policy mandates value addition of 15% on imported steel to qualify for bidding in government projects.
• Four mineral rich states namely Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Karnataka and Jharkhand have been identified for setting up of Integrated Steel Plants with the collaboration of Central and State PSUs through SPV route.
Steel sector: Year-2017
• The commencement of a long overdue restructuring of the Indian steel industry may be seen as one of the sectoral milestones of 2017.
• The year also saw two policy interventions by the government:
• aimed at boosting domestic production and
• consumption of value-added steel in government projects.
• Several steel companies, including some promoted by big corporate houses, were referred to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.
• These happened at a time when the domestic industry regained its fundamentals amid strong export demand and a revival of the domestic market.
• Increase in production: Production of finished steel grew by 8.5% over previous financial year whereas consumption grew by 2.6% in 2016-17.
• Higher margins: In financial performance, steel firms have started realising higher operating margins on the back of improved domestic and international steel prices.
• Domestic factor: Domestic prices improved significantly during the year. Value addition and increased branding saw a thrust from all major firm.
• Increase in export: Exports amounted to 8.9 million tonnes in the first 10 months of calendar 2017, against imports of 6.6 million tonnes of finished steel. Indian exporters got a bigger export market at a time when overall sentiment was good. India was net exporter of steel in 2016-17.
• Improvement in quality: Indian steelmakers also became more competitive during the year on grounds of quality and their deliveries. Many manufacturers harnessed advanced technology to augment quality.