Today’s important articles/news in various newspapers (19th June)

Dear aspirants, following are the links of various articles taken from various newspapers. Click the link to read further. To get notification, follow the blog. Thank you!

1- New playground for non-state actors

Hidden terror was, till now, believed to be confined mainly to the less developed regions of the world — the 9/11 attack in the U.S. was seen as an aberration, or exception, rather than the rule in this respect.

Q- The Internet has become a dangerous ‘plaything’ in the hands of the many of the new-era terror outfits. Comment

Link it with GS Paper 3 (Internal security)

2- A quantum step to a great wall for encryption

Quantum mechanics (QM) is the dark arts of physics. Though physics — in the Newtonian mould — tells us how every object will precisely behave when pushed and hurled, QM deals with the invisible world of subatomic particles, where counter-intuitive rules apply.

Q- What are quantum mechanics’ cardinal principles ? Mention some applications of quantum mechanics in daily life.

Link it with GS Paper 3 (S&T)

3- Contest vs. consensus

The latter should be the default approachfor selecting a presidential candidate.

4- Why you don’t feel the record-low inflation

A CPI inflation rate below 2.5% is a once-in-a-blue-moon occurrence in India. Looking back at the history of the CPI – Industrial Workers (the older avatar of the index which has a longer history), we find that India has registered CPI inflation of less than 2.5% only in 12 months in 20 years.

5- Success, the ‘ZED’ way

While the ‘Make in India’ program has been incessantly analysed by economic commentators, the relatively less talked about the initiative is the effort to align with “zero defect, zero effect” (ZED). The ZED focus of the program is not only the most arduous to achieve but also most durable in its impact on overall competitiveness.

6- China includes CPEC in Tibet expedition

China has included the controversial $50 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor in its second scientific expedition to the 4,000-metre-high Qinghai-Tibet plateau to study changes in climate and environment over the past decades in the region.

7- Modi comes out of the closet with Israel

As the first Indian prime minister to visit Israel, Modi shows he is ready to break with the past and de-hyphenate the relationship with Palestine

Link it with GS Paper 2 (IR)

8- From Plate to plough: Why bumper harvests spell doom

With a glut in agricultural production, prices have fallen below MSPs. The government needs to get the agri-market right to address the farm crisis.

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GS-3, Science & Tech, Uncategorized

What is the difference between GSLV and PSLV?

Both PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) and GSLV (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle) are the satellite-launch vehicles (rockets) developed by ISRO. PSLV is designed mainly to deliver the “earth-observation” or “remote-sensing” satellites with lift-off mass of up to about 1750 Kg to Sun-Synchronous circular polar orbits of 600-900 Km altitude.

The remote sensing satellites orbit the earth from pole-to-pole (at about 98 deg orbital-plane inclination). An orbit is called sun-synchronous when the angle between the line joining the centre of the Earth and the satellite and the Sun is constant throughout the orbit.

Due to their sun-synchronism nature, these orbits are also referred to as “Low Earth Orbit (LEO)” which enables the on-board camera to take images of the earth under the same sun-illumination conditions during each of the repeated visits, the satellite makes over the same area on ground thus making the satellite useful for earth resources monitoring.

Apart from launching the remote sensing satellites to Sun-synchronous polar orbits, the PSLV is also used to launch the satellites of lower lift-off mass of up to about 1400 Kg to the elliptical Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).

PSLV is a four-staged launch vehicle with first and third stage using solid rocket motors and second and fourth stages using liquid rocket engines. It also uses strap-on motors to augment the thrust provided by the first stage, and depending on the number of these strap-on boosters, the PSLV is classified into its various versions like core-alone version (PSLV-CA), PSLV-G or PSLV-XL variants.

The GSLV is designed mainly to deliver the communication-satellites to the highly elliptical (typically 250 x 36000 Km) Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO). The satellite in GTO is further raised to its final destination, viz., Geo-synchronous Earth orbit (GEO) of about 36000 Km altitude (and zero deg inclination on equatorial plane) by firing its in-built on-board engines.

Due to their geo-synchronous nature, the satellites in these orbits appear to remain permanently fixed in the same position in the sky, as viewed from a particular location on Earth, thus avoiding the need of a tracking ground antenna and hence are useful for the communication applications.

Two versions of the GSLV are being developed by ISRO. The first version, GSLV Mk-II, has the capability to launch satellites of lift-off mass of up to 2,500 kg to the GTO and satellites of up to 5,000 kg lift-off mass to the LEO. GSLV MK-II is a three-staged vehicle with first stage using solid rocket motor, second stage using Liquid fuel and the third stage, called Cryogenic Upper Stage, using cryogenic engine.

GS-3, Science & Tech, Uncategorized

10 facts you about ISRO’s GSLV-Mk III

The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV-Mk III), the heaviest rocket ever made by India and capable of carrying large payloads, is set for launch from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota on June 5, 2017.

Here are a few facts you need to know about the rocket.

1. GSKV-Mk III is capable of launching four-tonne satellites in the Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).

2. The rocket is also capable of placing up to eight tonnes in a Low Earth Orbit (LEO), enough to carry a manned module.

3. GSLV-Mk III’s first developmental flight, D1, will carry on June 5 the GSAT-19 satellite — developed to help improve telecommunication and broadcasting areas.

4. This is India’s first fully functional rocket to be tested with a cryogenic engine that uses liquid propellants — liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen.

5. It took about 25 years, 11 flights and over 200 tests on different components of the rocket for it to be fully realised.

6. The 640-tonne rocket, equal to the weight of 200 fully-grown Asian elephants, is the country’s heaviest but shortest rocket with a height of 43 metre.

7. GSLV-Mk III is a three-stage vehicle with two solid motor strap-ons (S200), a liquid propellant core stage (L110) and a cryogenic stage (C-25).

8. ISRO successfully conducted the static test of its largest solid booster S200 at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), Sriharikota on January 24, 2010. The successful test of S200, which forms the strap-on stage for the GSLV, makes it the third largest solid booster in the world. The static test of liquid core stage (L110) of GSLV-Mk III launch vehicle was done at ISRO’s Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre test facility as early as March 2010.

9. C-25, the large cryogenic upper stage of the GSLV, is the most difficult component of the launch vehicle to be developed. ISRO successfully ground-tested the indigenously developed C-25 on February 18, 2017.

10. If successful, the GSLV-Mk III — earlier named as Launch Vehicle Mark-3 or LVM-3 — could be India’s vehicle of choice to launch people into space.

Editorials, GS-2, Uncategorized

Civil Service Reforms: Few ‘Innovations’ By NITI Aayog, If One Can Call Them So

As civil service reforms go, the Niti Aayog’s Three Year Action Agenda: 2017-18 to 2019-2020, released recently, contains little that is new or innovative. The idea that policy making is a specialized activity and needs lateral entrant of specialists on fixed-term contracts to bring in competition into established career bureaucracy has been talked about for years and is a tautology today. The same goes for making the goals and progress available publicly to incentivize delivery and measure performance objectively, with high performance rewarded and poor performance reprimanded. Likewise, E-governance is no new beer, as is outsourcing of services; they’re old wine in new bottles.

The only innovation, if one can call it so, seems the plea for longer tenure of Secretaries. It creates two important inefficiencies. One, with a time horizon shorter than two years, the officer is hesitant to take any major initiatives. Two, and more importantly, to the extent that any misstep may become the cause for charges of favouritism or corruption post retirement, the officer hesitates to take decisions on any major project. This causes an inordinate amount of delay in decision-making. The inefficiencies are two-fold: (a) hesitation to take any major initiative; and (b) fear of misstep to take decisions on any major project.

It’s bemusing how these two inefficiencies can be overcome with longer tenures. For one, empirically, officers with tenures of more than 2 and going up to 3/4 years haven’t fared any better than the ones with shorter tenures. Lack of foresight and initiative aside, to be fair, they have been moved around to more than 2-3 departments/ministries, thereby not granting them the time needed to settle down and make salutary contributions. But it’s not fair to blame the system entirely for there are departments/ministries that are low/high in the mandarin’s perception/weight indices and with the long window available to them, there is the human urge for upward pecking mobility. Lobbying, jostling, networking (see the work-hours wasted here!), nepotism, and favouring the powers-that-be through subtle sleight of hand are rife. One has with growing frustration seen how people with no little knowledge/experience, but with the right “connect” and “networking”, go up and up the proverbial totem pole only because the new post figures high in the perception-cum-weighty index and is a better springboard for post-retirement sinecures. This is the nub.

Like statistics, the Niti Aayog’s eggheads conceal more than what they reveal; its platitudinous recipe is less relevant than what it shrouds: post-retirement sinecures. The heart of the problem is that no bureaucrat (apart from one-odd outliers) ever wants to retire. In a feudal mindset, retirement sucks: identity-loss after a lifetime of humongous ego-trips and condescension, vanishing into the woodwork is the hardest ask; retirement is sudden cold-blooded cremation. Hence exists the the intense urge to stay on somehow. It is also the reason why senior officers close to R-Days take calculated and “desperate” gambles to “oblige” political masters at the cost of their much vaunted “professional ethics”. In effect, the two “inefficiencies” stay. One wishes the Niti Aayog had provided answer to this endemic nettlesome syndrome that defeats every sanguine public motivation.

One wonders how practical and efficacious Niti Aayog’s suggestion for specialization and induction of lateral recruits for a fixed tenure is. No questions are asked on the need for specialists and domain experts in public policy, but the issue is: Given the bureaucratic construct, will this behemoth of bureaucracy easily admit and acknowledge the role and contribution of the newbie, especially when their own unimaginative low-performance and lassitude hitherto unquestioned will (inevitably) be shown in poor light in comparison. Though a fixed tenure might help shielding the laterals from being junked midway, will frustration not creep into their day-to-day efficiency, thereby nullifying the cross-pollination and cross-fertilization of their ideas? Will they be accorded their due for the contribution made to improve public policy and the same acted upon without bureaucratic machinations and legerdemain? Or will the ear of political masters earned by mandarins negate any such noble impulses making it a zero-sum game?Public policy issues are roiled – apart from the much-maligned and putative red-tape-worm – in time-worn vested interest, personal advancement, colonial baggage and mindset. Holistically, the answer is in tightening governance’s value system. Financial malfeasance is bad, but worse is intellectual dishonesty, subtly crafted under the guise of amnesic mnemonics, poor data analysis and obfuscating interstitial interpretation kept under wraps in grimy official records. Financial misgivings no matter how convoluted they are, still palpate; intellectual dishonesty covertly hemorrhages.

For a feudal society with a bespoke traditional mindset of grand reparative gestures to espouse and promote the biradiri cause and where the state is seen as omnipotent and where few realize power is but abuse of power, it is imperative to have an arm’s-length system.

But is that enough? Maybe not. There could be a need to actualize implication of Robert Klitgaard’s formula on dishonesty: Corruption = Monopoly + Discretion – Accountability (C=M+D-A). Even that too may not be enough. Proactive disclosure provided under Section 4 of the RTI Act 2005 will need to be sculpted into the e-governance platform. In this our Indian Gilded Age, the atmosphere is agog with ideas and impulses despite the consistent stonewalling of the established order. Citizen rants against diminishing public value are getting louder by the day.

True, in today’s battle of dialectics opacity wins, but then for how long? Over time and amid battling dialectics, society’s voice will inexorably tilt in transparency’s favour. The USA too went through the Gilded Age and the trauma of the robber barons. They came out of it triumphant through laws crafted in the teeth of opposition. For us the battle may be long and hard too but it’s time we had better see the future. I wish the Niti Aayog had the vision to sense a Eureka moment here and suggested measures to move in that direction.


Must read topics before Prelims 2017 Exam

Dear aspirants, I hope you are prepared well for upcoming UPSC Prelims Exam 2017. Many of you must be feeling afraid due to lack of revision or completion of topics. I am assuring you, this happened with everyone (including toppers).

At this moment don’t try to read anything new stuff, no matter what someone are suggesting. No one can predict the UPSC.

But there are some topics that must be covered no matter what before prelims exam.

Before consuming any more time, I am going to list following important topics for UPSC Prelims Exam-

1- From world atlas, cover rivers and its tributaries (more concentrate on southern and North eastern rivers), mountain ranges and national parks, biosphere reserves (again southern and north eastern).

2- International organisations related with environment and their objectives like IUCN, UNDP, CITES, WWF, Bird International etc

3- International organisation like WB, WTO, IMF, WEF, IUCN, OECD, OPEC, SCO, APEC, ASEAN, EAS etc along with their reports published.

4- Constitutional bodies along with necessary article numbers like UPSC, EC, CAG.

5- Economics-  Monetary policy and tools, GST with constitutional position, Inflation, GDP/GNP/NNP etc at factor/market cost, Economic survey, inflation, Forex topics

6- Government flagship schemes: Read about their objectives, target audience and concern ministries

7- In art and culture- Temple architecture, Folk dance, Folk music

8- For Modern Indian history, go through spectrum only at this moment.

9- Environment- Pollution chapter, Biodiversity, Climate change, Ozone, GHGs (refer current issues)

10- Must go through Preamble, Fundamental rights, DPSP and Fundamental duties

11- Parliamentary committees- Only few

12- Solve mock tests based on current affairs.

Read with completed optimism. Don’t lose hope. If you are feeling that you are forgetting everything…dont worry. If you read even once, it will click during exam time after looking into the given options.

After reading questions, don’t look into options. First try to answer without looking answers and then look options. If any option is matching with your answer that will be correct answer without iota of doubt.

Try to solve at least 85 questions but don’t go after to attempt all. if you will be having enough time to complete your GS Prelims Paper 1 so always recheck your answer 2-3 times before marking the circle in your OMR sheet to avoid silly mistakes.

Good luck!

Mr Pavan K.
Director, Shiksha IAS Academy


Today’s important articles/news in various newspapers (5th June)

Dear aspirants, following are the links of various articles taken from various newspapers. Click the link to read further. To get notification, follow the blog. Thank you!

1- The economy in the time of Narendra Modi

Read it only for overall understanding of last 3 years of economy.

2- GST countdown

The Goods and Services Tax Council has finalised the rates at which tax will be levied for almost all products and services under the tax regime, just four weeks before the July 1 deadline for rollout.

Link it with GS Paper 3 (Indian economy- Taxation reform)

3- European variation

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Germany, Spain, Russia and France brings into sharp focus the shared dilemma India and Europe face with America’s shifting policies, and the resultant flux on the world stage. Mr. Modi’s first stop in Germany came a day after Chancellor Angela Merkel’s strong comments aimed at President Donald Trump, that Europe could no longer ‘depend’ on traditional partners.

Link it with GS Paper 2 (International issues)

4- From plate to plough: Farm and the tax

A smooth GST regime can break inter-state barriers on movement and facilitate direct linkages between processors and farmers.

Q- What is GST and how is it going to help in increasing the agricultural income?

5- Cryogenic rocket engine has been developed from scratch: Isro chief

Q- What is cryogenic engine? Write about scramjet engine and how is it different from commercial jet engine.

Link it with GS Paper 3 (Science and tech)

6- India, Israel, and a natural ideological affinity

This year marks a quarter-century since India and Israel established formal diplomatic relations, and, in July, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will become the first Indian leader to visit Israel.

Q- Write about India and Israel relationship and Israel’s contribution in India’s agriculture sector.

Link it with GS Paper 2 (Indo-Israel relations)

7- Opec can still do what it takes to prop up oil

Read about OPEC organization.



Today's news, Uncategorized

Today’s important articles/news in various newspapers (4th June)

Dear aspirants, following are the links of various articles taken from various newspapers. Click the link to read further. To get notification, follow the blog. Thank you!

1- Cryptocurrency: An idea whose time has come

A spectre is haunting global capitalism: the spectre of cryptocurrencies. Three distinct forces of our modern age have come together to breathe life into this strange and wondrous monetary artifice. One, the rise of computational power that allows algorithms to programmatically issue currencies; two, a distrust towards governments that can idiosyncratically debase currency or even demonetise at will; and three, a scarcity of safe assets to store wealth over the long term. The birth of the first cryptocurrency — bitcoin — was announced to the world in 2008 by still unidentified inventor(s) who goes by the name ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’.

Q- What is cryptocurrency and enumerate the advantage and disadvantage of its if this idea of cryptocurrency is applied in Indian banking system.

2- When a peasant revolts

Link it with GS Paper 3 and Essay

Q- The state needs to find holistic solutions to India’s chronic agrarian distress. List out probable solutions.

3- For burning problem in Jharia’s coalfields, a difficult solution

Link it with GS Paper 3 (pollution)


Write an essay in 1200 words on following topic

“Climate change: A phenomenon to increase inequality”

Today's news, Uncategorized

Today’s important articles/news in various newspapers (3rd June)

Dear aspirants, following are the links of various articles taken from various newspapers. Click the link to read further. To get notification, follow the blog. Thank you!

1- ‘India has 31% of world’s poor kids’

About 31% of the world’s “multidimensionally poor” children live in India, according to a new report by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), a poverty reduction project grounded in economist Amartya Sen’s ‘capability approach’.

Collect data from here.
Link it with GS Paper 2 (Health)

2- Why abolishing triple talaq is critical to creating a New India

Link it with GS Paper 1 (Women’s right) and Essay paper

3- Trump targets India, China as U.S. exits climate pact

Link it with GS Paper 3 (Climate change)

Click more links- Trumping the climactic exit

The U.S. strikes a blow to the climate pact, but the rest of the world must step up the efforts

Q-  Every successive year is becoming hotter than the previous one, and the ice sheets in West Antarctica and Greenland, which hold the key to sea levels, have recorded a steady loss in mass. Enumerate solutions to bring down climate issue.

4- The importance of privatizing Air India

Everything that could possibly go wrong with a public sector company has gone wrong with Air India. It is operationally inefficient and unable to compete with private sector operators. The airline has been grossly mismanaged over the years and now controversial decisions taken at the time of the United Progressive Alliance government are being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

Q- Privatization is normally seen as a politically difficult decision but many times government needs to take decision in overall economic interest. Examine it.

Link it with GS Paper 3 (Privatization)

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Today's news, Uncategorized

Today’s news, Uncategorized Today’s important articles/news in various newspapers (2nd June)

Dear aspirants, following are the links of various articles taken from various newspapers. Click the link to read further. To get notification, follow the blog. Thank you!

  1. Jaitley blames services slump for drop in GDP

The GDP growth rate has seen a drop, presumably due to a lukewarm service sector

Link with GS paper 3(economy, demonetization)

Q- Demonetization has had a disruptive effect on the growth rate in the shorter run. However, services sector has also been blamed for the slump. Do you agree? Justify

2. India, Russia ink nuclear plant pact

Indo-Russian friendship goes way back in decades. There has been a renewed interest in refurbishing the ties after Russia made overtures to pakistan

Link with GS paper 2(International relations)

Q- Despite growing closeness between Russia and Pakistan in the recent past, India need not be worried. Comment

3. Third gravitational wave merger detected

LIGO project has been in news for a while now

Link with GS paper 3 (Science and tech)

Q- What are Gravitational waves mergers? And what is the LIGO experiment trying to understand?

4. Are we a nation of hyper-nationalists?

Hyper-nationalism does not allow critical engagement; it shows anything critical of ruling party as anti-national

Link with GS paper 2 (Governance issues)

Q- Is hyper-nationalism the same as patriotism? What are the possible outcomes of treading such a path for our nation?

5. Pharma lobby strikes

Pharmacies protest as they increasingly feel the heat of competition and regulation

Link with GS paper 2 (Governance issues)

Q- what necessitated the Pharma Sector to go on a strike recently? What is the significance of Government’s regulation?

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Today's news, Uncategorized

Today’s important articles/news in various newspapers (1st June)

Dear aspirants, following are the links of various articles taken from various newspapers. Click the link to read further. To get notification, follow the blog. Thank you!

1- This time for Africa

India-Africa engagement is getting stronger with the active involvement of political and business leaders of both sides. This was reflected in deliberations at the annual meeting of the African Development Bank (AfDB) recently.

Q- China’s substantial success needs to be matched by sustained India-Japan cooperation in Africa. Comment (200 words)

2- Cow slaughter and the Constitution

Here student needs to read some details regarding the discussion carried out during constituent assembly about the religious freedoms granted under Fundamental rights

For click Directive principle, not right: How cow protection became part of Constitution

Q- The government recently charted new rules on cow slaughter. Discuss these rules in the context of our constitution.

3. In good faith?

Good administration involves recognising the distinction between errors, maladministration and graft.

Q- Good public administration does not just happen, and an essential element involves recognising the distinction between honest mistakes, maladministration and corruption. Discuss with examples.

Link with GS Paper 4 (corruption)

4- Liquidation made easier

The bankruptcy code could improve the business climate

Q-  Insolvency and Bankruptcy code implementation has been delayed. Explain what this code is and delineate the reasons for the delay?

Link with GS paper 3(NPA)

5. ‘Afghanistan needs a political settlement’

Q- The US has been using Pakistan to mediate the talks for peace in Afghanistan. This hasn’t yielded results. Critically analyze

Link with GS paper 2(International affairs)

6. Non-cash transactions in May slide back to near Nov. levels

The dream of making India a less cash economy seem to have been dashed

Q- The RBI’s and Centre’s push for policies to make Indian economy a less cash economy have not worked. What might be the reasons for such a lukewarm response?

Link with GS paper 3(Demonetisation)

7- From providing minute digital records to seeding out fake claims, the targeted public distribution system is visibly

Read about various reforms taken.

Link it with GS Paper 2

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