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Insights Daily Current Events, 26 August 2015

Insights Daily Current Events, 26 August 2015



Paper 1 Topic: Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.

Muslim population growth slows

Recently released Census data show that India’s Muslim population is growing slower than it had in the previous decades, and its growth rate has slowed more sharply than that of the Hindu population.

  • The data on Population by Religious Communities of Census 2011 was released by the Registrar-General and Census Commissioner.

Important findings:

  • The decadal Muslim rate of growth is the lowest it has ever been in India’s history, as it is for all religions. However, the Muslim population still grows at a faster rate than the Hindu population, but the gap between the two growth rates is narrowing fast.
  • India now has 966.3 million Hindus, who make up 79.8% of its population, and 172.2 million Muslims, who make up 14.23%. Among the other minorities, Christians make up 2.3% of the population and Sikhs 2.16%.
  • Muslims are the only community to register a growth in their share of the population. The growth rate of Muslims is the highest at 24.6%. Hindus follow with a 16.8% growth rate; Christians come next with 15.5%. The growth rates of Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains are less than 10%.
  • The sex ratio among Muslims now stands at 951 females for every 1,000 males, substantially better than 936 in 2001, while among Hindus, it is 939 females for every 1,000 males, a slight improvement over the 2001 value of 931.
  • Assam remains the State with the largest Muslim population as a proportion (34.22%) and saw the largest increase in the Muslim proportion between 2001 and 2011, followed by Uttarakhand and Kerala.

Sources: The Hindu, NDTV.


Paper 2 and 3 Topics: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation and Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

Special category status: PM puts ball in Niti Aayog’s court

The Niti Aayog has been entrusted with the task of taking a final view on the issue of granting Special Category status to Andhra Pradesh. This decision was announced following a recent meeting between Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Further implementation of all the commitments made in the AP Reorganisation Act was the agenda of the meeting.

  • Now, the Niti Aayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya would hold discussions on this matter with Andhra Pradesh State Government officials to reconcile it with the Finance Commission’s recommendations ruling out special category status for any state.
  • The Union Government had recently said that special status for states cannot be granted as the 14th Finance Commission is against it. However, only special development packages will be considered.
  • The 14th Finance Commission has not made any distinction between special and general category States in the recommendation of horizontal distribution among the States.

Special category states in India:

The decision to grant special category status to States lie with the National Development Council.

The bases on the basis of which NDC decides whether a State should be accorded special status or not includes:

  • hilly and difficult terrain.
  • low population density and or sizeable share of tribal population.
  • strategic location along borders with neighboring countries.
  • economic and infrastructure backwardness and non-viable nature of state finances.

Other details:

  • In order to achieve the status of a special category state, a state has to project itself as socioeconomically or strategically vulnerable state.
  • The Finance Commission is entrusted with the work of distribution of central tax revenues among states. The Finance Commission also recommends the principles governing non-plan grants and loans to states.
  • The special category states get 30% of the total assistance for all states while the other states share the remaining 70%.
  • The nature of the assistance also varies for special category states. Normal Central Assistance (NCA) is split into 90% grants and 10% loans for special category states, while the ratio between grants and loans is 30:70 for other states.

Sources: The Hindu, prsindia.


Paper 3 Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

Yettinahole work more than just preliminary: residents

Activists and residents opposed to the Yettinahole project have questioned the ignorance of Karnataka state Minister for Forests, Environment and Ecology B. Ramanath Rai about works that have already been taken up related to the project. The works are contrary to the prevailing norms related to environment protection.

Other major allegations against the project:

  • The government has taken up the works by violating Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act, 1976.
  • Before the work was taken up, land acquisition process wasn’t taken up, land losers were not given compensation, and environmental hearing was not conducted.
  • The project would dry the Nethravathi, the lifeline of Dakshina Kannada, in the coming days.
  • The state government is following a dual policy, as in one hand it is stating that forest should be preserved for elephant corridor and on the other hand it is ravaging the forest for diversion of a water source.

About Yettinahole project:

  • The Yettinahole project envisages to pump about 24 tmc ft of water from Yettinahole, a tributary of River Netravathi.
  • It involves construction of dams and reservoir, pumping of water, flowing of water with gravitational force and finally filling of lakes.
  • As per the project, 24 tmc ft of water from Ettinahole and a couple of other tributaries of Netravathi River will be drawn by constructing minor dams.
  • The project envisages diverting the water to drought prone Chikkaballapur, Kolur, Tumkur and Bangalore rural districts.
  • The total cost of the project is Rs 8,323 crore.

The Project has come in for very strong opposition from environmental groups, who argue that the diversion of river basins from their natural course of opposite direction is fundamentally unscientific and would greatly disturb the very pattern of landscape ecology. This will result in problems like uneven percolation pattern, seepage problems, opening up of ground water sources in higher altitudes etc.

Sources: The Hindu, TOI.


Paper 3 Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

Fix call drop problem urgently, PM tells officials

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed serious concern over the issue of call drops and has asked officials to explain the steps being taken to address the problem, which directly affects the common man.

  • The Prime Minister has directed that steps be taken urgently to resolve the problem, and also to ensure that the problems in voice connectivity do not extend to data connectivity in the future.
  • During the meeting, the Prime Minister also reviewed the progress of digital infrastructure, rural infrastructure, and connectivity sectors at the meeting with the officials.
  • He has directed officials to explore the possibility of leveraging existing resources, including railway and other communication infrastructure, to provide mobile connectivity in remote, unconnected areas. He has emphasised that the targets for digital infrastructure should be synchronised with the targets for the Digital India initiative.

What is a Call Drop?

  • There is no standard definition of a dropped call. In telecommunications, it referes to the telephone calls which, due to technical reasons, were cut off before the speaking parties had finished their conversation and before one of them had hung up (dropped calls).

Why a call drops? – telecom services providers’ arguments:

There are many reasons why a call drops, including network infrastructure, spectrum allocation, traffic, as well as the handsets that consumers use. However, telecom service providers give the following reasons:

  • Inadequate number of cell sites directly impact quality of services.
  • Limited number of towers is leading to inferior customer experience and growing customer inconvenience.
  • Several challenges are being faced by the industry during installation of sites, including State bodies’ actions against towers without prior notices, restrictions by municipalities, sealing orders, power supply issues and difficulties in getting clearances for installing sites.
  • The service providers have also said that over 10,000 cell sites have been made non-operational due to some trivial reasons across major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Patna and Jaip

Various demands by the telecom companies to improve the quality of services:

  • need of additional spectrum.
  • harmonisation of airwaves to improve capacity.
  • they be allowed to install towers on government buildings.
  • alignment of State policies with the Telecom Department’s advisory of mobile tower installation.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.


Paper 3 Topic: Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management.

Sachin may captain ‘Green Army’ of Maharashtra

Master blaster Sachin Tendulkar is all set to become Maharashtra’s ‘Green Army chief.’ Mr. Tendulkar will promote the cause of environment in Maharashtra by being part of the Green Army, a State government initiative for schoolchildren.

What is Green Army Initiative?

  • It is an initiative for schoolchildren by the State Government of Maharashtra.
  • Under the Green Army initiative, every school nominates minimum 10 students each to undertake or work in various projects for environment conservation in their respective areas.
  • As per the State government estimate, 10 lakh students are part of this Green Army.

Sources: The Hindu.


Paper 2 Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

IAEA seeks more money for Iran nuclear work

The U.N. nuclear watchdog recently said that it is running out of money to monitor implementation of nuclear accords with Tehran and has asked countries to increase funding the costs of its Iran work, which will rise to $10 million a year.

  • Under the agreement reached between Tehran and six world powers in July 14, 2015, sanctions relief for Iran hinges on IAEA reports on its past and present nuclear programme. So far, costs for the IAEA’s activities on Iran have been met through extra-budgetary contributions from member states.
  • IAEA receives €800,000 ($924,000) a month to verify current Iran nuclear agreements and it would be exhausted by the end September, 2015.
  • The IAEA will need an additional €160,000 a month in the run-up to the implementation of the agreement which could happen in the first half of next year. Once it is implemented, the agency will need an annual €9.2 million ($10.6 million) to ensure verification of the deal.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA):

The IAEA is the world’s centre of cooperation in the nuclear field. It was set up as the world´s “Atoms for Peace” organization in 1957 within the United Nations family. It also seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons.

  • It is not under direct control of the UN. Though established independently of the United Nations through its own international treaty, the IAEA Statute, the IAEA reports to both the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council.
  • The Agency works with its Member States and multiple partners worldwide to promote safe, secure and peaceful nuclear technologies.
  • The IAEA Secretariat is headquartered at the Vienna International Centre in Vienna, Austria.
  • The IAEA serves as an intergovernmental forum for scientific and technical cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear technology and nuclear power worldwide.
  • The IAEA has 164 member states.

IAEA Mission & Programmes

  • The IAEA’s mission is guided by the interests and needs of Member States, strategic plans and the vision embodied in the IAEA Statute.
  • Three main pillars/areas of work – underpin the IAEA’s mission: Safety and Security; Science and Technology; and Safeguards and Verification.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Safeguards is a system of inspection and verification of the peaceful uses of nuclear materials as part of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), supervised by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki,, UN.


Anchor babies: The term refers to the U.S. policy granting automatic citizenship to children born in the country to foreign nationals, and these U.S.-born children can sponsor their parents for citizenship after they reach 21 years of age. The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution grants citizenship to any child born on U.S. soil, regardless of parentage. Immigration critics sometimes use “anchor babies” to describe U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants, usually from Latin America. Immigration groups say the phrase is offensive. The term is generally used as a derogatory reference to the supposed role of the child, who automatically qualifies as an American citizen and can later act as a sponsor for other family members.


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