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Table of Contents:


GS Paper 2:

1. Pulse Polio Programme.

2. China’s one-child policy.

3. UAE has been declared ‘reciprocating territory’ by India.

4. Global social mobility report.

5. Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).


GS Paper 3:

1. National Agriculture Market.


GS Paper  : 2


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

Pulse Polio Programme

What to study?

For Prelims: What is IPV and its significance, about polio.

For Mains: Pulse Polio Programme- significance and the need.

 Context: January 18 marked the beginning of this year’s Pulse Polio Programme. The Union health ministry has launched the campaign to check the disease that affects children at a young age.

What is Polio?

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines polio or poliomyelitis as “a highly infectious viral disease, which mainly affects young children.”

Transmission: The virus is transmitted by person-to-person, spread mainly through the faecal-oral route or, less frequently, by a common vehicle (e.g. contaminated water or food) and multiplies in the intestine, from where it can invade the nervous system and can cause paralysis.

Initial symptoms of polio include fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness in the neck, and pain in the limbs. In a small proportion of cases, the disease causes paralysis, which is often permanent. There is no cure for polio, it can only be prevented by immunization.”

What is the Pulse Polio Programme?

India launched the Pulse Polio immunisation programme in 1995, after a resolution for a global initiative of polio eradication was adopted by the World Health Assembly (WHA) in 1988.


Children in the age group of 0-5 years are administered polio drops during national and sub-national immunisation rounds (in high-risk areas) every year.

Polio in India:

The WHO on February 24, 2012, removed India from the list of countries with active endemic wild polio virus transmission.

Two years later, the South-East Asia Region of the WHO, of which India is a part, was certified as polio-free.

To prevent the virus from coming to India, the government has since March 2014 made the Oral Polio Vaccination (OPV) mandatory for those travelling between India and polio-affected countries, such as Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Syria and Cameroon.

Sources: the Hindu.


Topics covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

China’s one-child policy

What to study?

For Prelims: What is one child policy? Malthusian theory- overview.

For Mains: Significance and overview of the policy.

Context: The birth rate in China has fallen to the lowest in 70 years.


  1. Birth rate in 2019 was at 10.48 per 1,000, the lowest since 1949.
  2. The number of babies born in 2019 fell by over 580,000 to 14.65 million.
  3. This fall in birth rate can be largely attributed to China’s one-child policy, which came into force in 1979 under then leader Deng Xiaoping.

Why One Child Policy was adopted by China?

It was adopted out of the Malthusian fears that unchecked population growth would lead to economic and environmental catastrophe. It was also a response to concerns about food shortages.

What is Malthusian theory all about?

Thomas Robert Malthus was the first economist to propose a systematic theory of population. He articulated his views regarding population in his famous book, Essay on the Principle of Population (1798), for which he collected empirical data to support his thesis.

  • He argued that if left unchecked, a population will outgrow its resources, leading to a host of problems.

Was the Policy Effective?

In essence, it did bring down the population by 400 million, according to Chinese officials.

  • But, it failed to spark a baby boom. When the announcement was made, 11 million couples were eligible to have a second child. As such, officials were expecting around two million births in 2014.
  • That figure never came into fruition as only 700,000 couples applied for the new dispensation and only 620,000 were given a permit. In other words, China is facing a huge demographic issue in the next years to come. They have a rapidly aging population where a quarter will be over 60 by 2030.

What’s good about One Child Policy?

  1. Helps to ease the over population problems.
  2. It is seen as practical by some families.
  3. Lowers the poverty rate.

Why it isn’t a good idea?

  1. The enforcement is unequal.
  2. It is a human rights violation.
  3. Shrinking work population.
  4. Gender imbalance due to the strong cultural preference of boys for labor and work.
  5. Increase in abortions and female infanticide.
  6. Extra babies end up being illegal and never becoming a citizen, due to fines.
  7. Intrudes on people’s personal values and opinions.

Why such policies are not suitable for India?

  1. The implications of such a policy being enforced in India would surely have been more disastrous than it did in China.
  2. India is way behind China in basic development indicators like life expectancy, IMR and maternal mortality rate. The preference of a male child, the regional disparities in development, and the growing intolerance against minorities in the present milieu would be further magnified with the state entering homes and enforcing such strict norms.
  3. The fact that women are at the receiving end of such policies in a patriarchal society is another story in itself. The burden of limiting family size falls on the woman, and most often female sterilisations are promoted rather than giving the couple the choice of contraception.
  4. Limiting family size cannot be an end in itself at the neglect of basic needs and services like food security, housing, education, and health.

Sources: the Hindu.


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

UAE has been declared ‘reciprocating territory’ by India

What to study?

For Prelims: reciprocating territory and superior courts.

For Mains: Significance and implications.

Context: Last week, the Ministry of Law and Justice issued an Extraordinary Gazette Notification, declaring the United Arab Emirates to be a “reciprocating territory” under Section 44A of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908.

  • The notification also declared a list of courts in the UAE to be “superior Courts” under the same section.

Apart from UAE, the other countries declared to be “reciprocating territories” are: United Kingdom, Singapore, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Trinidad & Tobago, New Zealand, the Cook Islands (including Niue) and the Trust Territories of Western Samoa, Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Aden.

What is a ‘reciprocating territory’ and what are superior courts?

“Reciprocating territory” means any country or territory outside India which the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, declare to be a reciprocating territory; and “superior Courts”, with reference to any such territory, means such Courts as may be specified in the said notification.”

  • Essentially, orders passed by certain designated courts from a ‘reciprocating territory’ can be implemented in India, by filing a copy of the decree concerned in a District Court here.
  • The courts so designated are called ‘superior Courts’.

What does Section 44 of the CPC say?

Section 44A, titled “Execution of decrees passed by Courts in reciprocating territory”, provides the law on the subject of execution of decrees of Courts in India by foreign Courts and vice versa.

Section 44A (1) provides that a decree passed by “a superior Court” in any “reciprocating territory” can be executed in India by filing a certified copy of the decree in a District Court, which will treat the decree as if it has been passed by itself.


The scope of the Section is restricted to decrees for payment of money, not being sums payable “in respect of taxes or other charges of a like nature or in respect of a fine or other penalty”.

It also cannot be based on an arbitration award, even if such an award is enforceable as a decree or judgment.

Why is the move significant?

The decision is believed to help bring down the time required for executing decrees between the two countries.

Indian expatriates in the UAE would no longer be able to seek safe haven in their home country if they are convicted in a civil case in the UAE.

Sources: Indian Express.


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

Global social mobility report

What to study?

For Prelims: Overview and key findings.

For Mains: Concerns and challenges highlighted, measures to address them.

Context: World Economic Forum has come out with its first-ever Global Social Mobility Report.

Performance of India:

  1. The report has ranked India a lowly 76 out of the 82 countries profiled.
  2. It lists India among the five countries that stand to gain the most from a better social mobility score.
  3. It ranks 41st in lifelong learning and 53rd in working conditions.
  4. The Areas of improvement for India include social protection (76th) and fair wage distribution (79th).

Global performance:

  1. The Nordic nations hold the top five spots, led by Denmark in the first place (scoring 85 points), followed by Norway, Finland and Sweden (all above 83 points) and Iceland (82 points).
  2. Among the G7 economies, Germany is the most socially mobile, ranking 11th with 78 points.

What is social mobility?

It can be understood as the movement in personal circumstances either “upwards” or “downwards” of an individual in relation to those of their parents.

  • In absolute terms, it is the ability of a child to experience a better life than their parents.
  • On the other hand, relative social mobility is an assessment of the impact of socio-economic background on an individual’s outcomes in life. 
  • It can be measured against a number of outcomes ranging from health to educational achievement and income.

Why does social mobility matter?

Research has shown that in high-income countries, since the 1990s, there is stagnation at both the bottom and the top end of the income distribution—a phenomenon which social mobility experts describe as ‘sticky floors’ and ‘sticky ceilings’.

  • In other words, how far an individual can move up in the society determines a lot whether one is closer to the income “floor” (or poor) or “ceiling” (or rich).
  • Social mobility levels, then, can help us understand both the speed – that is, how long it takes for individuals at the bottom of the scale to catch up with those at the top – and the intensity – that is, how many steps it takes for an individual to move up the ladder in a given period – of social mobility.

Why the need for a new index?

  • Social mobility has become the pressing issue of modern life, and as the index highlights, while major improvements have been made in some areas, notably extreme poverty, in others, the situation is deteriorating.
  • Globalization and technology are frequently blamed for this, but as the report highlights, there are a plethora of reasons – not least of which is poor policy-making – and it is the responsibility of a range of stakeholders to redress these.

What does it do that other indices don’t?

The index considers what a country can do holistically to foster relative social mobility for all citizens, which is markedly different from other methodologies.

  • The Global Social Mobility Index, focuses on drivers of relative social mobility instead of outcomes. It looks at policies, practices and institutions. This allows it to enable effective comparisons throughout regions and generations.
  • It uses 10 pillars, which in turn are broken down into five determinants of social mobility – health, education, technology access, work opportunities, working conditions and fair wages and finally, social protection and inclusive institutions.

Key findings:

  • The Global Social Mobility Index reveals that there are only a handful of nations with the right conditions to foster social mobility.
  • Most countries underperform in four areas: fair wages, social protection, working conditions and lifelong learning.
  • The index also reveals that achieving higher levels of social mobility needs to be perceived as an important element of a wider move towards a stakeholder-based model of capitalism.
  • Looking at all economies and average income levels, those children who are born into less affluent families typically experience greater barriers to success than their more affluently born counterparts.
  • Furthermore, inequalities are rising even in countries that have experienced rapid growth.
  • In most countries, individuals from certain groups have become historically disadvantaged and poor social mobility perpetuates and exacerbates such inequalities. In turn, these types of inequalities can undermine the cohesiveness of economies and societies.

Way ahead- suggestions:

  1. Creating a new financing model for social mobility: improving tax progressivity on personal income, policies that address wealth concentration and broadly re-balancing the sources of taxation can support the social mobility agenda. Most importantly though, the mix of public spending and policy incentives must change to put greater emphasis on the factors of social spending.
  2. More support for education and lifelong learning: targeted at improvements in the availability, quality and distribution of education programmes as well as a new agenda for promoting skills development throughout an individual’s working life. This includes a new approach to jointly financing such efforts between the public and private sector.
  3. Developing a new social protection contract: this would offer holistic protection to all workers irrespective of their employment status, particularly in a context of technological change and industry transitions, requiring greater support for job transitions in the coming decade.

Sources: the Hindu.


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

Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)

What to study?

For Prelims: Objectives of the treaty.

For Mains: Significance and implications of the treaty.

Context: Iran has warned to withdraw from the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) if the European Nations refer the dispute over its atomic programme to the United Nation Security Council.

What’s the issue?

Britain, France and Germany launched a process last week charging Iran with failing to observe the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal.

This move could eventually see the Security Council reimpose international sanctions on the country.

Iran has accused the three EU member states of inaction over sanctions the United States reimposed on it after unilaterally withdrawing from the landmark accord in 2018.


The landmark 2015 deal reached with Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States gave Iran relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear programme. Since the U.S. pullout, Iran has progressively rolled back its commitments to the accord in retaliation.

What is NPT?

  • The NPT is a multilateral treaty aimed at limiting the spread of nuclear weapons including three elements: (1) non-proliferation, (2) disarmament, and (3) peaceful use of nuclear energy. These elements constitute a “grand bargain” between the five nuclear weapon states and the non-nuclear weapon states.
  • The treaty was signed in 1968 and entered into force in 1970. Presently, it has 190 member states.


  1. States without nuclear weapons will not acquire them.
  2. States with nuclear weapons will pursue disarmament.
  3. All states can access nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, under safeguards.

Key provisions:

  1. The Treaty defines nuclear weapon states (NWS) as those that had manufactured and detonated a nuclear explosive device prior to 1 January 1967. All the other states are therefore considered non-nuclear weapon states (NNWS).
  2. The five nuclear weapon states are China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
  3. The Treaty does not affect the right of state parties to develop, produce, and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

Role of states:

  1. Nuclear weapon states are not to transfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons and not to assist, encourage, or induce any NNWS to manufacture or otherwise acquire them.
  2. Non-nuclear weapons states are not to receive nuclear weapons from any transferor, and are not to manufacture or acquire them.
  3. NNWS must accept the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards on all nuclear materials on their territories or under their control.

Sources: the Hindu.


GS Paper  : 3


Topics Covered: e-technology in the aid of farmers.

National Agriculture Market

What to study?

For Prelims: NAM- features.

For Mains: Need for and significance.

 Context: Punjab Mandi Board (PMB) had recently organised awareness camps, training programmes and seminars on the National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) across mandis in the state.

What is e-NAM?

E-NAM (National Agriculture Market) is an online trading platform for agriculture produce aiming to help farmers, traders, and buyers with online trading and getting a better price by smooth marketing.

It was launched by the Centre in 2015 and the government had to extend it in a phased manner across the 585 mandis of the country by December 31, 2019.

NAM has the following advantages:

  1. For the farmers, NAM promises more options for sale. It would increase his access to markets through warehouse based sales and thus obviate the need to transport his produce to the mandi.
  2. For the local trader in the mandi / market, NAM offers the opportunity to access a larger national market for secondary trading.
  3. Bulk buyers, processors, exporters etc. benefit from being able to participate directly in trading at the local mandi / market level through the NAM platform, thereby reducing their intermediation costs.
  4. The gradual integration of all the major mandis in the States into NAM will ensure common procedures for issue of licences, levy of fee and movement of produce.
  5. The NAM will also facilitate the emergence of value chains in major agricultural commodities across the country and help to promote scientific storage and movement of agri goods.

Need for:

  1. Fragmentation of state into multiple market areas.
  2. Poor quality of infrastructure and low use of technology.
  3. In the traditional mandi system, farmers generally procured very less price for their crops as they had to pass through various intermediaries at the physical marketplace. This not only adds costs but also handling costs.
  4. In addition, the farmer has to face obstacles in form of multiple tax levies and licenses and weak logistics and infrastructure in India.

Sources: the Hindu.