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Table of Contents:


GS Paper 2:

1. Gram Nyayalayas.

2. Recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission.

3. Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY).


GS Paper 3:

1. Locust attacks.

2. Global Go To Think Tank Index.

3. Sophisticated Analytical & Technical Help Institutes(SATHI).

4. REIT and InvIT.


Facts for Prelims:

1. Ujh Multipurpose (National) Project.


GS Paper  : 2


Topics Covered: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.

Gram Nyayalayas

What to study?

For Prelims: What are they, how are they function?

For Mains: Need for and significance.

Context: The Supreme Court has directed the states, which are yet to come out with notifications for establishing ‘Gram Nyayalayas’, to do so within four weeks, and asked the high courts to expedite the process of consultation with state governments on this issue.

What’s the issue?

So far only 11 states have taken steps to notify Gram Nyayalayas. Several states have issued notifications for establishing ‘Gram Nyayalayas’ but all of them were not functioning except in Kerala, Maharashtra and Rajasthan.

Only 208 ‘Gram Nyayalayas’ are functioning in the country as against 2,500 estimated to be required by the 12th five-year plan.

About Gram Nyayalayas:

Gram Nyayalayas or village courts are established under the Gram Nyayalayas Act, 2008 for speedy and easy access to justice system in the rural areas of India.

The Act came into force from 2 October 2009.

The Gram Nyayalayas are presided over by a Nyayadhikari, who will have the same power, enjoy same salary and benefits of a Judicial Magistrate of First Class. Such Nyayadhikari are to be appointed by the State Government in consultation with the respective High Court.

  • A Gram Nyayalaya have jurisdiction over an area specified by a notification by the State Government in consultation with the respective High Court.
  • The Court can function as a mobile court at any place within the jurisdiction of such Gram Nyayalaya, after giving wide publicity to that regards.
  • They have both civil and criminal jurisdiction over the offences.
  • The pecuniary jurisdiction of the Nyayalayas are fixed by the respective High Courts.
  • Gram Nyayalayas has been given power to accept certain evidences which would otherwise not be acceptable under Indian Evidence Act.

Procedure to be followed:

Gram Nyayalayas can follow special procedures in civil matters, in a manner it deem just and reasonable in the interest of justice.

Gram Nyayalayas allow for conciliation of the dispute and settlement of the same in the first instance.


Appeal in criminal cases shall lie to the Court of Session, which shall be heard and disposed of within a period of six months from the date of filing of such appeal.

Appeal in civil cases shall lie to the District Court, which shall be heard and disposed of within a period of six months from the date of filing of the appeal.


The setting up of Gram Nyayalayas is considered as an important measure to reduce arrears and is a part of the judicial reforms. It is estimated that Gram Nyayalayas can reduce around 50% of the pendency of cases in subordinate courts and can take care of the new litigations which will be disposed within six months.

Sources: the Hindu.


Topics Covered: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

Recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission

What to study?

For Prelims: About FC- composition, functions and objectives, key recommendations.

For Mains: Significance and the need for a permanent status.

Context: The report of the Fifteenth Finance Commission, along with an Action Taken Report, was recently tabled in Parliament.

How revenue has been divided?

  • FC has considered the 2011 population along with forest cover, tax effort, area of the state, and “demographic performance” to arrive at the states’ share in the divisible pool of taxes.
  • In order to reward population control efforts by states, the Commission developed a criterion for demographic effort — which is essentially the ratio of the state’s population in 1971 to its fertility rate in 2011 — with a weight of 12.5%.
  • The total area of states, area under forest cover, and “income distance” were also used by the FC to arrive at the tax-sharing formula.

Key recommendations:

  • The Commission has reduced the vertical devolution — the share of tax revenues that the Centre shares with the states — from 42% to 41%.
  • The Commission has said that it intends to set up an expert group to initiate a non-lapsable fund for defence expenditure.

State- wise distribution:

  • Shares of the southern states, except Tamil Nadu, have fallen — with Karnataka losing the most.
  • Shares of states like Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab, along with Tamil Nadu, all of which have fertility rates below the replacement level, have increased slightly.
  • On the other hand, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, and West Bengal’s shares have fallen, even though their fertility rates are also low.
  • Incidentally, Karnataka, the biggest loser in this exercise, also had the highest tax-GSDP ratio in 2017-18, as per an RBI report on state finances.


  • The population parameter used by the Commission has been criticised by the governments of the southern states.
  • The previous FC used both the 1971 and the 2011 populations to calculate the states’ shares, giving greater weight to the 1971 population (17.5%) as compared to the 2011 population (10%).
  • The use of 2011 population figures has resulted in states with larger populations like UP and Bihar getting larger shares, while smaller states with lower fertility rates have lost out.
  • The combined population of the Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Jharkhand is 47.8 crore.
  • This is over 39.48% of India’s total population, and is spread over 32.4% of the country’s area, as per the 2011 Census.
  • On the other hand, the southern states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and undivided Andhra Pradesh are home to only 20.75% of the population living in 19.34% of the area, with a 13.89% share of the taxes.
  • This means that the terms decided by the Commission are loaded against the more progressive (and prosperous) southern states.

Sources: the Hindu.


Topics covered: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY)

What to study?

For Prelims and mains: Key Highlights of the PMMVY, funding and beneficiaries, challenges present and ways to address them.

Context: States/UTs and districts awarded for best performance under PMMVY.

Key performers:

  1. In the category of best performance since inception of the Scheme to States/UTs having population of more than 1 crore the first position was awarded to the state of Madhya Pradesh, followed by Andhra Pradesh and Haryana in the third position.
  2. In the same category among States/UTs having population of less than 1 crore, Dadra & Nagar Haveli is in the first position. Himachal stood second and Chandigarh is at the third position.
  3. In the District level awards for States/UTs with population of more than 1 crore, the first position went to Indore in Madhya Pradesh. In the same category for States/UTs with population under than 1 crore, the first position went to Serchhip in Mizoram.

About PMMVY:

Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) is a maternity benefit rechristened from erstwhile Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY).

The scheme is a conditional cash transfer scheme for pregnant and lactating women.

It provides a partial wage compensation to women for wage-loss during childbirth and childcare and to provide conditions for safe delivery and good nutrition and feeding practices.


  1. Promoting appropriate practice, care and institutional service utilization during pregnancy, delivery and lactation.
  2. Encouraging the women to follow (optimal) nutrition and feeding practices, including early and Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months.
  3. Providing cash incentives for improved health and nutrition to pregnant and lactating mothers.

 Sources: the Hindu.


GS Paper  : 3


Topics Covered: Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage.

Locust attacks

What to study?

For Prelims: What are locusts, how they affect crops? Affected countries.

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

Context: During the past few weeks, major locust attacks have been observed in several countries in western and southern Asia and in eastern Africa.

 Which countries are affected?

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations has currently identified three hotspots of threatening locust activity, where the situation has been called “extremely alarming” — the Horn of Africa, the Red Sea area, and southwest Asia.

  1. The Horn of Africa has been called the worst-affected area, where the FAO has said there is “an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods”.
  2. Locust swarms from Ethiopia and Somalia have travelled south to Kenya and 14 other countries in the continent.
  3. In the Red Sea area, locusts have struck in Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Yemen.
  4. In southwest Asia, locusts swarms have caused damage in Iran, India, and Pakistan.
  5. Pakistan and Somalia have recently declared locust emergencies.

What are locusts?

Locusts are a group of short-horned grasshoppers that multiply in numbers as they migrate long distances in destructive swarms (up to 150km in one day).

Four species of locusts are found in India: Desert locust (Schistocerca gregaria), Migratory locust (Locusta migratoria), Bombay Locust (Nomadacris succincta) and Tree locust (Anacridium sp.).

How do they inflict damage?

  • The swarms devour leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds, bark and growing points, and also destroy plants by their sheer weight as they descend on them in massive numbers.
  • The desert locust is regarded as the most destructive pest in India as well as internationally, with a small swarm covering one square kilometre being able to consume the same amount of food in one day as 35,000 people.

Sources: Indian Express.


Topics Covered: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

Global Go To Think Tank Index

What to study?

For Prelims: All about the index.

For Mains: Key findings and significance, ways and means to improve.

Context: Global Go To Think Tank Index has been released.

About the index:

  • The Index is released by University of Pennsylvania each year since 2008.
  • It evaluates public-policy research analysis and engagement organisations that generate policy-oriented research, analysis, and advice on domestic and international issues.
  • It claims to enable policy makers and the public to make informed decisions on public policy.

Definition of think- tanks:

The report defined ”think tanks” as public-policy research analysis and engagement organisations that generate policy-oriented research, analysis, and advice on domestic and international issues, thereby enabling policymakers and the public to make informed decisions about public policy.

How are they ranked?

Nomination and Ranking Criteria included think tank”s leadership, staff reputation, quality and reputation of the research and analysis produced, ability to recruit and retain elite scholars, analysts, academic performance, reputation, the impact of a think-tank”s research and programs on policymakers and reputation with policymakers.

Top players:

  • The list was topped by Carnegie Endowment for International Peace of US, followed by Belgium”s Bruegel and French Institute of International Relations (IFRI).
  • UK”s Chatham House was ranked 6th on the list.

Performance of institutions in India:

  1. Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has been placed at No. 16. CSE climbed up two notches in the 14th version of the report.
  2. The organisation also moved up three places among ‘best independent think tanks’ to be at No.123 in the world and sixth among Indian think tanks.
  3. Globally, it was ranked 41 of 60 organisations committed to energy and resource policy.
  4. India’s Observer Research Foundation (ORF) has jumped more than 90 places to 27th position among 176 global think tanks.
  5. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation was the highest-ranked Indian think tank with a political party affiliation in the world, getting a rank of 31st, among 38 such institutions.
  6. India Foundation and Vivekananda International Foundation were ranked 36th and 37th on that list.

Way ahead:

The 2020 report raised some critical threats and opportunities that think tanks across the globe face.

It called upon such organisations to develop national, regional, and global partnerships and create new, innovative platforms to deliver for an ever-expanding audience of citizens, policy makers and businesses.


India has the second-largest number of think tanks at 509. The US has the highest number at 1,871.

Sources: the Hindu.


Topics Covered: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

Sophisticated Analytical & Technical Help Institutes(SATHI)

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: SATHI- key features, need for and significance.

Context: The Department of Science & Technology has launched a unique scheme called “Sophisticated Analytical & Technical Help Institutes(SATHI)”.

 About the scheme:

Aim: To address the need for building shared, professionally managed and strong S&T infrastructure in the country which is readily accessible to academia, start-ups, manufacturing, industry and R&D labs etc.


  • These Centres are expected to house major analytical instruments to provide common services of high-end analytical testing, thus avoiding duplication and reduced dependency on foreign sources.
  • These would be operated with a transparent, open access policy.
  • DST has already set up three such centres in the country, one each at IIT Kharagpur, IIT Delhi and BHU.

Objectives of the Scheme:

  • To address the problems of accessibility, maintenance, redundancy and duplication of expensive equipment in the institutions.
  • This will also foster a strong culture of collaboration between institutions and across disciplines to take advantage of developments, innovations and expertise in diverse areas.

Sources: the Hindu.


Topics Covered: Infrastructure.

REIT and InvIT

What to study?

For Prelims: Features of InvIT and REIT.

For Mains: Need for and significance of InvIT and REIT.

Context: The proposal in the Union Budget to tax dividend in the hands of unit holders/ investors would hurt future InvITs and REITs, say real estate and infrastructure industry officials and analysts.

Why and how?

  • Such a decision is contrary to the government’s move to encourage InvITs and REITs to provide tax stability to long-term infrastructure investors.
  • Uncertainty in the tax regime would hurt the sentiment of foreign investors who are already wary of the stability of tax regime in India, they added.
  • The resultant tax burden on the part of investors will put at risk plans for raising about $100 billion with regard to INVITs and REITs.

What are Infrastructure Investment Trusts (InvIT)?

It is like a mutual fund, which enables direct investment of small amounts of money from possible individual/institutional investors in infrastructure to earn a small portion of the income as return.

  1. InvITs can be treated as the modified version of REITs designed to suit the specific circumstances of the infrastructure sector.
  2. They are similar to REIT but invest in infrastructure projects such as roads or highways which take some time to generate steady cash flows.

What are Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT)?

A REIT is roughly like a mutual fund that invests in real estate although the similarity doesn’t go much further.

  1. The basic deal on REITs is that you own a share of property, and so an appropriate share of the income from it will come to you, after deducting an appropriate share of expenses.
  2. Essentially, it’s like a group of people pooling their money together and buying real estate except that it’s on a large scale and is regulated.

Why need InvITs and REITs?

  1. Infrastructure and real estate are the two most critical sectors in any developing economy.
  2. A well-developed infrastructural set-up propels the overall development of a country.
  3. It also facilitates a steady inflow of private and foreign investments, and thereby augments the capital base available for the growth of key sectors in an economy, as well as its own growth, in a sustained manner.
  4. Given the importance of these two sectors in the country, and the paucity of public funds available to stimulate their growth, it is imperative that additional channels of financing are put in place.

Sources: the Hindu.


Facts for Prelims


Ujh Multipurpose (National) Project:

The project is planned to be constructed in Kathua District of J&K on the River Ujh which is a major tributary of River Ravi.

The project, after completion, will enhance the utilization of waters of Eastern Rivers allotted to India as per the Indus Water Treaty.

The Ujh river originates in Kailash mountains (near Bhaderwah hills, part of the Pir Panjal Range) at an altitude of 4,300 metres (14,100 ft).

Four streams, Bhini, Sutar, Dunarki and Talan join Ujh at Panjtirthi.