IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs 25th Oct, 2017

  • IASbaba
  • October 25, 2017
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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs – 25th Oct 2017




General Studies 1:

  • Urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

General Studies 2:

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

Solving the problem of garbage in India

In news:

Garbage slide: Ghazipur case study

In East Delhi’s garbage dump at Ghazipur last September, a garbage slide from the steep mountain of mixed solid waste (50 metres high, about the height of a 16 storey building and more than twice the permissible height for landfills) killed 2 people, as heaps of garbage full of slippery wet plastic slid into the canal, creating giant waves which hit the road, disrupted traffic and caused damage to life and property.

A massive fire broke out at the same place in Ghazipur from where the garbage had collapsed, adding to the air pollution woes of the city. Minor and major fires in these dumpsites occur because of the methane trapped in the accumulated heaps and combustibles in the mixed waste.

The NGT directive:

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) issued an order to reduce the mound height by at least 10 feet and use the material for highway construction. The NGT directed the NHAI (National Highway Authority of India) to lay a trial 2-km stretch of NH-24 using the Ghazipur waste for its widening.

Usage of technology: Plastic roads

Bringing down the height of tall garbage hills is not difficult, but it requires careful bio-remediation and bio-mining before the recovered material can be put to productive use.

  • The first step is to reduce the volume of waste and to dry it out through bio-remediation using composting bio-cultures.
  • Then comes the second step of screening the waste, which is called bio-mining.

The different fractions obtained from the stabilised waste (bio-remediated and bio-mined) after it is bio-mined, and the light thin plastics which are collected are useful material for compost, road building, refuse derived fuel (RDF).
Thin-film plastics including metallised multifilms are finely shredded to 2-4 mm size (like tea leaves) and used in hot-mix plants that supply ready asphalt/bitumen mixes which are spread and compacted for road-making.
In such plants, stone aggregates of various sizes are blended and sent by conveyor into a heating chamber, where tar is poured onto the hot stones and mixed for three to four minutes before loading onto a vehicle for transport to the road laying site.

Benefits of plastic roads:

  • The bitumen adheres so much more strongly to these coated stones that potholes do not form during rains and road edges remain straight and firm.
  • Such “plastic roads” withstand breakup in snowy regions and far outlast normal roads.
  • With their capacity to handle tanks and heavy vehicle traffic, such roads are ideal for border roads.
  • Plastic roads will not only withstand future monsoon damage but will also solve the city’s problem of disposing of non-recyclable plastic.

States on forefront:

The good news is that Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh and some other states are regularly laying plastic roads. In Tamil Nadu, 1,400 km of rural tar roads used plastic in 2003-2004 alone.
The Central Pollution Control Board has put out guidelines for making such roads (PROBES/101/2005-06) and the results of comparative testing (PROBES/122/2008-09) after three years of laying. The results have been so good that on November 9, 2015 the Central Road Research Institute mandated plastic roads for all National Highways up to 50 km from cities that have a population over five lakh.
Bengaluru has resolved to spend Rs 2,220 crore for fixing rain-battered roads in the next four months.

Way ahead:

The Ghazipur crisis should be seen as an opportunity to urgently implement a sustainable strategy of solid waste management. We should not be looking for more land to create a new “landfill”. This is not just a bad idea; it is an idea that will not work.

  • Building awareness at the household level for not mixing biodegradable waste with dry waste, and to enable the recycling of dry waste like paper, plastic, glass, and metal. Communicating to all citizens the reasons why a sustainable strategy of waste management is crucial for their own health and safety.
  • There is a need to increase the capacity of waste to energy plants. Since the Solid Waste Rules clearly mandate the use of high calorie non-recyclables for waste to energy plants, these plants cannot use mixed waste without pre-sorting


If salvaged waste from dumpsite hills can be thus consumed nationwide at the bottoms and tops of our highways, that will be a wonderful way to usefully manage waste and save scarce land. We do not need rocket science to correct the issue of mounting garbage, nor too much additional finance, but only civic engagement, better governance and a diligent search for least-cost technical solutions, which do exist.

Connecting the dots:

  • The issue of mounting garbage can be solved only by civic engagement, better governance and a diligent search for least-cost technical solutions. Discuss.
  • What do you mean by plastic roads? What are its benefits?



General Studies 3:

  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

General Studies 2:

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

“Ease of doing business” rankings: Critical analysis


The World Bank’s annual “Doing Business” indicators attempts to quantitatively capture the regulation that small- and medium-sized firms encounter in 190 countries around the world.
Established in 2002, the annual exercise has arguably become the single most influential measure of a country’s investment climate.

Indian context:

Clocking in at 130th on last year’s rankings, India had the worst business environment of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) economies.
Even by Indian standards, the anticipation for this year’s edition of the report is remarkable, since there is an expectation that India’s rating will improve significantly thanks to recent reforms.

Doing Business: De facto vs de jure

  • By the World Bank’s own admission, the Doing Business rankings do not “measure all aspects of the business environment that matter to firms or investors”.
    They provide an assessment of red tape and administrative hurdles across 11 areas of business regulation.
    To determine their rankings, the World Bank relies on four sources of information: the laws and regulations on the books, experts well-versed in local business practices, national governments, and World Bank staff.
  • The insights the World Bank compiles are extremely useful, but they are not necessarily representative of what firms experience in real life.
    Where the informal economy thrives and regulations are poorly enforced, the de jure regulations measured by the World Bank are often only tangentially related to the de facto processes that businesses encounter.
  • The challenges are even more profound in large countries such as India, since the World Bank has traditionally assessed just the largest business city in each country, only incorporating a second major city for the 11 most populous economies as of the 2015 report.
    In India, the relevant cities are Mumbai and Delhi. One should consider the representativeness of the data with caution and bear in mind that the methodology incentivizes reforms in a few cities rather than improvements to the investment climate of the country as a whole.
  • Comparing surveys- The IDFC Institute in Mumbai conducted its own survey (in 2015-16) of manufacturing firms in conjunction with NITI Aayog, the results of which were published last month.
    Data from this survey and from that conducted by World Bank differs a lot.


Following points must be noted while analysing ease of doing business rankings:

  • First, the Doing Business indicators provide a snapshot of a country’s red tape; they have no pretension of providing a comprehensive picture of the investment climate.
    As the World Bank makes clear, the indicators are not designed to comment on macroeconomic indicators or prospects for growth.
  • Second, there exists a wide divergence between de jure and de facto realities in most economies.
    What firms actually encounter “on the ground” is perhaps more important, but there are limitations to our ability to measure and interpret those experiences without bias.

Way ahead:

  • The Doing Business reports’ de jure indicators offer a snapshot of a country’s regulatory cholesterol, but likewise should not be viewed in isolation.
    Rather, by using the two types of data in tandem, one can develop a more holistic picture of the business environment. Furthermore, by examining the differences between the data sets, one can gain insights into issues of governance and the rule of law.
  • One aspect of the Doing Business report which should be focused is how India rates on the so-called “Distance to Frontier” (DTF) measures, which capture the ease of doing business compared to the highest score any country has ever received in a given category (say, registering property).
    This metric is useful because a country can make absolute progress but fail to climb in the relative rankings because other countries have also reformed.
  • The World Bank, to its credit, has tried to account for various limitations through another undertaking: firm-level enterprise surveys.
    These are explicitly designed to capture the de facto realities that the Doing Business indicators might miss, shedding light on what firms actually experience, as opposed to what experts estimate or formal rules demand.


The Ease of doing business rankings thus, should not be seen as the ultimate marker of the ruling party’s reform success. Likewise, investors who are considering the prospects for investment in India should recognize what the rankings do and do not tell us.

Connecting the dots:

  • The ease of doing business rankings provided by World Bank suffers from various shortcomings. Discuss.


Complicated terms of engagement

The Hindu

We can’t let India Pakistan relationship to be hostage to dispute

The Hindu

Shedding light on saubhagya

The Hindu

Promises to keep

Indian Express

Mahatama Macaulay

Indian Express

For the sake of the Indo-Pacific

Indian Express

Rex Tillerson goes long on India-US relationship


Aadhaar push heightens privacy concerns

Business Line

Think global act local

Business Line


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