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Table of Contents:

GS Paper 1:

1. Indian harvest festivals.

2. World’s fastest-growing cities.


GS Paper 2:

1. What is the commissionerate system?

2. Integrated Road Accident Database (IRAD).

3. ‘8 Wonders of SCO’.

4. Hormuz peace initiative.

5. Raisina Dialogue.


Facts for Prelims:

1. Island Development Agency (IDA).


GS Paper  : 1


Topics Covered:Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

Indian harvest festivals

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Harvest festivals celebrated across various parts of the country and their significance.

Context: The Harvest season is on and festivities have gripped the nation from the north to down south.

Various festivals being celebrated across the Nations:

Makar Sankranti: The festival of Makar Sankranti will be celebrated in Karnataka when the Sun enters the Makar zodiac and the days begin to lengthen compared to nights.

Pongal: In South India and particularly in Tamil Nadu, it’s the festival of Pongal which is being celebrated over 4 days at harvest time.

Magha Bihu: In Assam and many parts of the North East, the festival of Magha Bihu is celebrated. It sees the first harvest of the season being offered to the gods along with prayers for peace and prosperity.

Uttarayan: Gujarat celebrates it in the form of the convivial kite festival of Uttarayan.

Maghi: In Punjab, Makar Sankranti is celebrated as Maghi. Bathing in a river in the early hours on Maghi is important.

Saaji: In Shimla District of Himachal Pradesh, Makara Sankranti is known as Magha Saaji. Saaji is the Pahari word for Sankranti, start of the new month. Hence this day marks the start of the month of Magha.

Kicheri: The festival is known as Kicheri in Uttar Pradesh and involves ritual bathing.

Outside India:

Shakrain is an annual celebration of winter in Bangladesh, observed with the flying of kites.

Maghe Sankranti is a Nepalese festival observed on the first of Magh in the Bikram Samwat Hindu Solar Nepali calendar (about 14 January).

Sources: The Hindu.


Topics Covered: Population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

World’s fastest-growing cities

What to study?

For Prelims: About the survey and top performers.

For Mains: Fastest growing urban areas- meaning, challenges and ways to address them.

Context: Three Indian cities have been listed as the world’s fastest-growing urban areas, a survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) revealed.

 How are the cities ranked?

Cities are ranked based on “Total % change, 2015-20 forecast”.

The list is based on data from the United Nations Population Division.

The Economist has listed the rate at which the populations of the “urban agglomerations” (UA) are expected to increase between 2015 and 2020.

 Key facts:

  • Malappuram, Kozhikode and Kollam were the only three cities to make it to the top 10 of the world’s fastest-growing cities.
  • Malappuram was ranked No. 1 in the world rankings with a 44.1 per cent change between 2015 and 2020.
  • While Kozhikode was ranked fourth with 34.5 per cent change and Kollam was at number 10 with 31.1 per cent.

Why then are Malappuram (44%), Kozhikode (34.5%), and Kollam (31%) growing so fast?

These cities are seeing rapid urbanisation, and the main reason is the inclusion of new areas in the UA’s limits.

  1. In 2001, there were two municipal corporations within the UA of Malappuram. In 2011, the number of municipal corporations had doubled to four, and an additional 37 CTs were included within Malappuram. The population of the UA (excluding the residents of the outgrowths) increased almost 10 times in the same period — from 1,70,409 to 16,99,060 — obviously because of the inclusion of existing urban areas in the town.
  2. Similarly, Kollam UA grew from one municipal corporation in 2001 to 23 CTs, one municipal corporation, and one municipal council in 2011. Its population increased by 130%, even though the population of the original ST of Kollam actually decreased by 4%.

Sources: The Hindu.


GS Paper  : 2


Topics Covered: Role of civil services in a democracy.

What is the commissionerate system?

What to study?

For Prelims: Meaning, need for and significance.

Context: The Uttar Pradesh has approved the commissionerate system of policing for state capital Lucknow, and Noida.

What is Commissionerate system? What are the benefits?

  1. In the commissionerate system, the Commissioner of Police (CP) is the head of a unified police command structure, is responsible for the force in the city, and is accountable to the state government.
  2. The office also has magisterial powers, including those related to regulation, control, and licensing.
  3. The CP is drawn from the Deputy Inspector General rank or above, and is assisted by Special/Joint/Additional/Deputy Commissioners.
  4. It is supposed to allow for faster decision-making to solve complex urban-centric issues.

How and who can implement this?

Under the 7th Schedule of the Constitution, ‘Police’ is under the State list, meaning individual states typically legislate and exercise control over this subject. 

Where is the system in force?

Previously, only four cities had the system: Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Chennai.

However, with rapid urbanisation, states felt an increasing need to replicate the system in more places.

The sixth National Police Commission report, which was released in 1983, recommended the introduction of a police commissionerate system in cities with a population of 5 lakh and above, as well as in places having special conditions.

Over the years, it has been extended to numerous cities, including Delhi, Pune, Bangalore and Ahmedabad. By January 2016, 53 cities had this system.

Sources: The Hindu.


Topics Covered: e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential.

Integrated Road Accident Database (IRAD)

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: the database- need for and significance.

Context: The database has been launched by the government.

Key facts:

Developed by the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M).

It will be implemented by the National Informatics Centre.

The project costs ₹258 crore and is being supported by the World Bank.

The system will be first piloted in the six States with highest fatalities from road crashes — Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.

How it works?

  1. The IRAD mobile application will enable police personnel to enter details about a road accident, along with photos and videos, following which a unique ID will be created for the incident.
  2. Subsequently, an engineer from the Public Works Department or the local body will receive an alert on his mobile device.
  3. He or she will then visit the accident site, examine it, and feed the required details, such as the road design.
  4. Data thus collected will be analysed by a team at IIT-M, which will then suggest if corrective measures in road design need to be taken.
  5. Road users will also be able to upload data on road accidents on a separate mobile application, which is expected to go live from April 1.

Significance and benefits:

It will help in analysing causes of road crashes and in devising safety interventions to reduce such accidents in the country.

Need for this data:

India sees the largest number of road fatalities in the world. More than 1.5 lakh people lost their lives in road crashes in the country in 2018, according to government data. Of the total people killed in road crashes in 2018, 48% were between 18 years and 35 years old, and more than 60% of such fatalities were due to overspeeding.

Sources: The Hindu.


Topics Covered: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

‘8 Wonders of SCO’

What to study?

For Prelims: About SCO and the eight wonders.

For Mains: Significance and potential of SCO, challenges ahead.

Context: The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) has included the Statue of Unity among the ‘Eight Wonders of the SCO.

Key facts:

  1. At 182 metre, the statue is 23 metre taller than China’s Spring Temple Buddha statue and almost double the height of the Statue of Liberty (93 metre tall) in US.
  2. Located on the Sadhu Bet island, near Rajpipla on the Narmada river, the Statue of Unity is located between the Satpura and the Vindhya mountain ranges.

 The Eight Wonders of the SCO are:

  1. India — the Statue of Unity.
  2. Kazakhstan — the Archaeological Landscape of Tamgaly.
  3. China — The Daming imperial palace complex.
  4. Kyrgyzstan — Lake Issyk-Kul.
  5. Pakistan — The Great Mughals’ heritage at Lahore.
  6. Russia — The Golden Ring cities.
  7. Tajikistan — The Palace of Nowruz.
  8. Uzbekistan — the Poi Kalon complex.

About the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO):

It is a permanent intergovernmental international organisation.

It’s creation was announced on 15 June 2001 in Shanghai (China) by the Republic of Kazakhstan, the People’s Republic of China, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan, and the Republic of Uzbekistan.

It was preceded by the Shanghai Five mechanism.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Charter was signed during the St.Petersburg SCO Heads of State meeting in June 2002, and entered into force on 19 September 2003.

The SCO’s main goals are as follows:

Strengthening mutual trust and neighbourliness among the member states; promoting their effective cooperation in politics, trade, the economy, research, technology and culture, as well as in education, energy, transport, tourism, environmental protection, and other areas; making joint efforts to maintain and ensure peace, security and stability in the region; and moving towards the establishment of a democratic, fair and rational new international political and economic order.

The SCO’s official languages are Russian and Chinese.

Bodies under SCO:

Heads of State Council (HSC) is the supreme decision-making body in the SCO. It meets once a year and adopts decisions and guidelines on all important matters of the organisation.

SCO Heads of Government Council (HGC) meets once a year to discuss the organisation’s multilateral cooperation strategy and priority areas, to resolve current important economic and other cooperation issues, and also to approve the organisation’s annual budget.

The organisation has two permanent bodies — the SCO Secretariat based in Beijing and the Executive Committee of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) based in Tashkent.

The SCO Secretary-General and the Director of the Executive Committee of the SCO RATS are appointed by the Council of Heads of State for a term of three years.


SCO comprises eight member states, namely the Republic of India, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the People’s Republic of China, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan, and the Republic of Uzbekistan;

SCO counts four observer states, namely the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Republic of Belarus, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Mongolia;

SCO has six dialogue partners, namely the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic of Armenia, the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, the Republic of Turkey, and the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.

Sources: The Hindu.


Topics Covered: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

Hormuz peace initiative

What to study?

For Prelims: About the Starit of Hormuz and peace initiative.

For Mains: Significance and need for stability in the region.

Context: The meeting of Hormuz Peace Initiative was recently held in Iran.

The meeting saw participation from key regional players including Oman and India besides Afghanistan and China.

About the Initiative:

The initiative is led by Iran.

It aims to stabilise the Strait of Hormuz, the gateway for a significant amount of global oil supplies.

What is the Strait of Hormuz?

It is the waterway separates Iran and Oman, linking the Gulf to the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea.

  • On the north coast lies Iran, and on the south are the UAE and Musandam, an enclave of Oman.
  • The Strait is 21 miles (33 km) wide at its narrowest point, but the shipping lane is just two miles (three km) wide in either direction.

Why does Strait of Hormuz matter?

  • The Strait of Hormuz is one of the world’s most strategically important choke points.
  • Two-thirds of the oil and half the liquefied natural gas India imports come through the strait between Iran and Oman.
  • As much as 18 million barrels of oil pass through the Strait of Hormuz every day, accounting for one-third of the global oil trade. A third of the world’s LNG trade also passes through the strait.

Sources: The Hindu.


Topics Covered: India and its neighbourhood- relations. Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests. Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

Raisina Dialogue

What to Study?

For Prelims and Mains: Raisina Dialogue- key facts.

Context: Fifth edition of the Raisina Dialogue is being held in New Delhi.

  • More than 700 international participants, including 80 from African countries, are attending the meet.

This years Dialogue is titled <strong><em>Navigating the Alpha Century`.

About the Raisina Dialogue:

This is an annual geo-political event, organised by the Ministry of External Affairs and Observer Research Foundation (ORF).

It is designed to explore prospects and opportunities for Asian integration as well as Asia’s integration with the larger world.

It is predicated on India’s vital role in the Indian Ocean Region and how India along with its partners can build a stable regional and world order.


The conference is a multi-stakeholder, cross-sectoral meeting involving policy and decision-makers, including but not limited to Foreign, Defence and Finance Ministers of different countries, high-level government officials and policy practitioners, leading personalities from business and industry, and members of the strategic community, media and academia.

Significance of the event:

The Raisina Dialogue was born in 2016, in the belief that the Asian century that the world was talking about was not about any exclusive geographical region. It was rather about the engagement of global actors with Asia and of Asia with the world. So this dialogue took birth as a platform, where the old and the new could work together, to discover their connections, their inter-dependence.

Sources: the Hindu.


Facts for Prelims:


Island Development Agency (IDA):

What is it? The IDA was set up on June 1, 2017 for the development of islands. The meetings of the agency are chaired by the Union Home Minister.

Composition: Members of the IDA include cabinet secretary, home secretary, secretary (environment, forests and climate change), secretary (tourism) and secretary (tribal welfare).