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Table of Contents:

GS Paper 2:

1. Mental disorders high in South India.

2. Rohingya Crisis.

3. FATF’s another 150 questions for Pakistan.


GS Paper 3:

1. Quick Reaction Surface-to-Air missiles (QRSAM).

2. National Green Corps ‘Ecoclub’.

3. Detention centres for illegal migrants.


Facts for Prelims:

1. What are open market operations?

2. What are Microdots?


GS Paper  : 2

Topics Covered: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Mental disorders high in South India

What to study?

For Prelims: Key findings.

For Mains: Concerns and challenges, ways to address them.

Context: Highlights of the study titled ‘burden of mental disorders across the States of India: Global Burden of Disease Study 1990-2017’.

It has been conducted by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI).

Key findings:

  1. Mental disorders of various kinds are adversely affecting a large population of Indians, especially in South Indian States.
  2. One in every seven Indians were affected by mental disorders of varying severity in 2017.
  3. Back in 2017, there were 19.73 crore people with mental disorders, which comprises of 14.3 per cent of the total population of the country.
  4. The proportional contribution of mental disorders to the total disease burden in India has almost doubled from 1990 to 2017.
  5. Prevalence of depressive disorders was highest in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Goa and Telangana in the high Socio- demographic index (SDI) State group and Andhra Pradesh in the middle SDI State group.

Why depression and anxiety high in South India?

The higher prevalence of depressive and anxiety disorders in southern States could be related to the higher levels of modernisation and urbanisation in these States and to many other factors that are not yet well understood.

The study found positive relationship between depression and suicide death rates at the State level, with suicide death rates also being higher in the southern States than in the northern ones.

What other mental health disorders?

Other notable mental health disorders in South Indian States were schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, idiopathic developmental intellectual disability (IDID), conduct disorder, autism spectrum disorders, eating disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD).

North-South Divide:

Interestingly, mental health issues that manifest among adults were generally higher in the more developed Southern Indian States than in less developed Northern Indian States. Prevalence of mental disorders with onset of predominantly in childhood and adolescence was generally higher in the less developed Northern States than in developed Southern States.

Lessons from the study:

There is poor coverage of mental health services, lack of awareness, and the stigma attached to mental disorders in the Country. There is a need to invest heavily in mental health services to facilitate prevention where possible and to provide affordable treatment, care, and rehabilitation, as well as to attempt integration of mental and physical health services.

Sources: the Hindu.

Topics Covered: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

Rohingya Crisis

What to study?

For Prelims: Who are Rohingya? Where is Rakhine?

For Mains: About the alleged genocide, concerns and what’s the way ahead?

Context: Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi is defending Myanmar in ICJ against accusations of genocide.

What’s the issue?

According to a case brought by the country of Gambia at the United Nations’ International Court of Justice, the Myanmar military in August 2017 carried out a systematic, targeted campaign of terror, rape and murder against its Muslim population.


UN investigators say as many as 10,000 Rohingya – a Muslim minority in this Buddhist-majority nation – were killed. Another 730,000 Rohingya fled the massacre for Bangladesh, joining 300,000 Rohingya who had previously fled oppression in Myanmar.

Who are the Rohingya?

  1. The Rohingya, who numbered around one million in Myanmar at the start of 2017, are one of the many ethnic minorities in the country.
  2. Rohingya Muslims represent the largest percentage of Muslims in Myanmar, with the majority living in Rakhine state.
  3. They have their own language and culture and say they are descendants of Arab traders and other groups who have been in the region for generations.
  4. But the government of Myanmar, a predominantly Buddhist country, denies the Rohingya citizenship and even excluded them from the 2014 census, refusing to recognise them as a people. It sees them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

What does the Myanmar government say? 

Despite mounting evidence and international pressure, Myanmar continues to deny it all. It says, it is just countering violent insurgent groups.

Sources: the Hindu.

Topics Covered: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

FATF’s another 150 questions for Pakistan

What to study?

For Prelims: FATF, Grey list, Dark Grey list, G7, About APG.

For Mains: What is Grey list and Black list, how are countries in the list affected? How does FATF’s latest move affects Pakistan?

Context: Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has asked Pakistan more questions on the action it has taken against madrassas run by proscribed outfits.

Key facts:

  • The FATF has kept Pakistan on the Grey List until February 2020.
  • In October, it had warned that Pakistan would be put on the Black List if it did not comply with the remaining 22 points in a list of 27 questions.
  • Pakistan is required to show effective implementation of targeted financial sanctions against all UN designated terrorists like Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed, Jaish-e-Muhammad founder Masood Azhar, and those acting for or on their behalf.

For Mains:

What is the issue and why is Pakistan under FATF’s scanner?

FATF and its partners such as the Asia Pacific Group (APG) are reviewing Pakistan’s processes, systems, and weaknesses on the basis of a standard matrix for anti-money laundering (AML) and combating the financing of terrorism (CFT) regime.

Pakistan has been under the FATF’s scanner since June 2018, when it was put on the Grey List for terror financing and money laundering risks, after an assessment of its financial system and law enforcement mechanisms.

The timeline:

  1. In June 2018, Pakistan gave a high-level political commitment to work with the FATF and APG to strengthen its AML/CFT regime, and to address its strategic counter-terrorism financing-related deficiencies.
  2. Pakistan and the FATF then agreed on the monitoring of 27 indicators under a 10-point action plan, with specific deadlines. The understanding was that the successful implementation of the action plan, and its physical verification by the APG, would lead the FATF to move Pakistan out of the Grey List.
  3. However, Islamabad managed to satisfy the global watchdog over just five of them.
  4. After an extension of the deadline for compliance, on December 6, Pakistan submitted a report to the FATF containing answers to the remaining 22 questions.
  5. In response, the FATF’s Joint Group has now sent 150 questions to Pakistan, asking for clarifications, updates, and actions taken against the madrassas.

What next for Pakistan?

  • As of now, Pakistan must respond by January 8, 2020. And at the next FATF meeting in Beijing, Pakistan will have an opportunity to defend the points in the report.
  • Pakistan will likely ask for another relaxation of the deadline to ensure compliance with the remaining 22 action plans.
  • If Pakistan is actually moved out of the Grey List, it will be placed on the Black List with Iran and North Korea.

For Prelims:

About FATF:

What is it? The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 on the initiative of the G7.  It is a “policy-making body” which works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in various areas. The FATF Secretariat is housed at the OECD headquarters in Paris.

Objectives: The objectives of the FATF are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.

What is blacklist and grey list?

FATF maintains two different lists of countries: those that have deficiencies in their AML/CTF regimes, but they commit to an action plan to address these loopholes, and those that do not end up doing enough. The former is commonly known as grey list and latter as blacklist.

Implications: Once a country is blacklisted, FATF calls on other countries to apply enhanced due diligence and counter measures, increasing the cost of doing business with the country and in some cases severing it altogether. As of now there are only two countries in the blacklist — Iran and North Korea — and seven on the grey list, including Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Syria and Yemen.

What is Dark Grey list?

According to FATF rules there is one essential stage between ‘Grey’ and ‘Black’ lists, referred to as ‘Dark Grey’.

  • ‘Dark Grey’ means issuance of a strong warning, so that the country concerned gets one last chance to improve.
  • ‘Dark Grey’ was the term used for warning upto 3rd Phase. Now it’s just called warning — that is the 4th phase.

Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG):

FATF Asia-Pacific Group is one of the regional affiliates of the Financial Action Task Force.

  • The Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering works to ensure that all the countries adopt and implement the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing standards that are set out in the FATF’s 40 Recommendations and Eight Special Recommendations.
  • APG assists countries in implementing laws to deal with crime, assistance, punishment, investigations; provides guidance in setting proper reporting systems and helps in establishing financial intelligence units.
  • At present, there are 41 members of APG. Of these, 11 countries are also the members of the head FATF – India, China, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand Singapore and the United States.

Sources: the Hindu.

GS Paper  : 3

Topics Covered: Indigenization of technology.

Quick Reaction Surface-to-Air missiles (QRSAM)

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: QRSAM- key features, significance and potential.

Context: DRDO has successfully test-fired indigenously developed Quick Reaction Surface-to-Air missiles (QRSAM) from a test range off the Odisha coast.

About QRSAM:

  1. It has been developed to replace the ‘Akash’ missile defence system, and has 360-degree coverage.
  2. It uses solid fuel propellant and has a strike range of 25-30 km with capability of hitting multiple targets.
  3. It is capable of hitting the low flying objects.

Sources: the Hindu.

Topics Covered: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

National Green Corps ‘Ecoclub’

What to study?

For Prelims and mains: NGP- objectives, ecoclubs and significance.

What is it?

Launched under the Environment Education Awareness and Training (EEAT), the National Green Corps (NGC) popularly known as “a programme of Ecoclubs” is a nationwide initiative of the Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India (now Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change).


  • To impart knowledge to school children, through hands-on experience, about their immediate environment, interactions within it and the problems therein.
  • To develop requisite skills of observation, experimentation, survey, recording, analysis and reasoning for conserving the environment through various activities.
  • To inculcate the proper attitude towards the environment and its conservation through community interactions.
  • To sensitize children to issues related to environment and development through field visits and demonstrations.
  • To promote logical and independent thinking among children so that they are able to make the right choices in a spirit of scientific inquiry.
  • To motivate and stimulate young minds by involving them in action projects related to environmental conservation.


  1. The scheme is being operated through Eco-clubs of 50-60 students having interest in environment related issues, formed in member schools.
  2. Eco clubs are supervised by a Teacher In-charge, who is selected from among the teachers of the member school.
  3. There is District Implementation and Monitoring Committee to supervise, organise training for In-charge teachers, and monitor periodically the implementation of scheme at the District level.
  4. There is a State Steering Committee for guidance, direction and to oversee the implementation of the scheme.
  5. The State Nodal Agency coordinates the implementation of the scheme in the State and organize related activities like training to Master Trainers.
  6. The National Steering Committee will give overall direction to the programme and ensure linkages at all levels.

Sources: pib.

Topics Covered: Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism.

Detention centres for illegal migrants

What to study?

For Prelims: What are detention centres? How they are setup?

For Mains: Concerns related to overcrowding, measures needed.

Context: Detention Centres for illegal migrants have been at the centre of a political debate as the government and the opposition parties trade charges over the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Registry for Citizens.

What are detention centres?
They are places designated to keep illegal migrants (people who have entered a country without necessary documents) once they are detected by the authorities till the time their nationality is confirmed and they are deported to the country of their origin.

Does India have detention centres?
Yes, there are 6 detention centres in Assam. The combined capacity of these temporary centres is 1000, but the centres are overcrowded.

How were the detention centres set up in Assam?
Detention centres were set up in Assam after the Union government authorized the state to do so under the provisions of Section 3(2)(e) of the Foreigners’ Act, 1946 and Para 11(2) of the Foreigners Order, 1948.

A detailed manual on ‘model detention centres’ has been circulated to all the states.

As per the manual:

  1. States require no specific approval from the Centre to set up these centres.
  2. These centres should be setup outside the jail premises.
  3. Their numbers and size should be decided by the states keeping in view the actual number of foreigners to be housed as well as the progress in deportation proceedings.

Why are detention camps in focus now?
The issue has come into focus amid talks of a nation-wide NRC, especially after the process in Assam identified a little over 19 lakh people without proper citizenship documents in the state.

Sources: the Hindu.

Facts for Prelims:

What are open market operations?

They are conducted by the RBI by way of sale or purchase of government securities (g-secs) to adjust money supply conditions.

  • The central bank sells g-secs to suck out liquidity from the system and buys back g-secs to infuse liquidity into the system.
  • These operations are often conducted on a day-to-day basis in a manner that balances inflation while helping banks continue to lend.
  • The RBI uses OMO along with other monetary policy tools such as repo rate, cash reserve ratio and statutory liquidity ratio to adjust the quantum and price of money in the system.
  • When the RBI wants to increase the money supply in the economy, it purchases the government securities from the market and it sells government securities to suck out liquidity from the system.
  • RBI carries out the OMO through commercial banks and does not directly deal with the public. 

What are Microdots?

Context: Govt notifies rules for fixation of microdots identifiers on vehicles.

What are microdots?

  • Microdot technology involves spraying the body and parts of the vehicle or any other machine with microscopic dots, which give a unique identification.
  • These microdot can be read physically with a microscope and identified with ultra violet light source.
  • The microdots and adhesive will become permanent fixtures/affixation which cannot be removed without damaging the asset, that is the vehicle itself.
  • Benefits: Use of this technology will help check theft of vehicles and also use of fake spare parts.