Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 26th July 2019

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  • July 26, 2019
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 26th July 2019



Drug Menace

Part of: Mains GS-I – Population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues

In News

  • Northern States decided to set up joint working group to effectively combat drug menace in the region
  • The joint group would undertake joint operations at inter-state borders, strengthen information sharing on drugs and drug dealers for effective crackdown against them
  • Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu & Kashmir, Delhi and UT of Chandigarh are part of this group
  • The joint group would initiate a major awareness program and strive to make eradication of drugs a people’s movement

Issues/Impact of Drug Abuse

  • India is in close proximity to the Golden Crescent (Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan) as well as the Golden Triangle (Myanmar, Laos and Thailand) makes it vulnerable to drug trafficking.
  • Wastage of economic potential/productivity of young population as drug abuse leads to physical, psychological, moral and intellectual decay
  • Increase in crime and violence rates – leading to domestic violence against women and child abuse
  • Increase in health burden of State – Increase in incidences of HIV, hepatitis B and C and tuberculosis due to narcotics addiction

BRICS Foreign ministers meet

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains GS-II -Important International institutions.

In News

  • Foreign Ministers of BRICS meeting to take place in Rio de Janerio
  • The goal is to prepare for the summit of the BRICS leaders, scheduled in November at  Brasilia, Brazil’s capital city
  • Digital economy – 5G and data localisation- will dominate the BRICS foreign ministers meeting

 Do you know? 

  • US has banned Chinese telecom company Huawei (forerunner in 5G technology) on allegations of theft of Intellectual property, financial fraud and National security risk
  • India is yet to clarify whether it will include Huawei in its trials of 5G equipment scheduled to start in September
  • Data localisation – RBI has passed guidelines that financial data pertaining to Indians is stored only in Indian servers
  • BRICS is an informal grouping of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa formed in 2006
  • BRICS countries represent 41% of global population and together contribute nearly 23% of gross world product

Overseas Sovereign bonds

Part of: Mains GS-II – Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources

In News

  • PMO has asked the Finance Ministry to conduct a detailed survey on the issuance of overseas sovereign bonds in light of criticism raised by experts
  • The government had announced in the 2019-20 budget to raise a portion of gross borrowing by issuing overseas sovereign bond

What is Overseas foreign bond?

  • A sovereign bond is a specific debt instrument issued by the government.
  • It promises to pay the buyer a certain amount of interest for a stipulated number of years and repay the face value on maturity.
  • When sovereign bonds are denominated in foreign currency and can be settled in foreign markets, it is generally referred to as Foreign sovereign bonds

Criticism of Foreign Sovereign bonds

  • A government bond issued in foreign currency (mostly in US dollars) shifts the currency risk (exchange rate risk) from investor to issuer (in this case, the government)
  • It makes the nation reliant on foreign inflows and vulnerable to global uncertainties

Merits of Foreign Sovereign Bonds

  • Indian government’s debt to GDP ratio (~68%) is not very high, the exchange rate is stable, and foreign exchange reserves are high – Thus, there is Macro-economic stability to absorb any global shocks
  • Also, foreign investors’ holdings in Indian debt has been low (3.6% of outstanding government securities) – thus scope for expansion of foreign debt
  • Indian government’s domestic borrowing is crowding out private investment, thus tapping into foreign funds frees up credit space for domestic private investors
  • It may facilitate the inclusion of India’s government bonds in the global debt indices which would also improve the attractiveness of rupee-denominated sovereign bonds.
  • The rates at which the government borrows overseas will act as a yardstick for pricing of other corporate bonds, helping India Inc to raise money overseas

Miscellaneous News

Dracaena cambodiana : India’s first dragon blood-oozing tree

  • Researchers have discovered Dracaena cambodiana, a dragon tree species in West Karbi Anglong, Assam.
  • The plant yields dragon’s blood — a bright red resin used since ancient times as medicine, body oil, varnish, incense and dye
  • Several antifungal and antibacterial compounds, antioxidants, flavonoids, etc., have been extracted from various parts of the plant.



TOPIC: General studies 2

  • 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.
  • Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.

Single tribunal to settle inter-state water disputes


  • The Inter-State River Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which seeks to amend the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956, proposes setting up of a Central tribunal.


  • Setting up a tribunal, and awarding of the case, can take anything between six and 20 years
  • There are nine tribunals. Four tribunals took 10-28 years to deliver their awards. There is no time-frame to adjudicate disputes, and tribunals are extended indefinitely.

Inter- state river water disputes:

The Inter-State River Water Disputes are one of the most contiguous issues in the Indian federalism today. In extreme cases, it may hamper the relationship between the different states.

India’s Federal Water Institutions

The relevant provisions of the Indian Constitution are

  • Entry 17 of State Listdeals with water i.e. water supply, irrigation, canal, drainage, embankments, water storage and water power.
  • Entry 56 of Union List empowers the Union Government for the regulation and development of inter-state rivers and river valleys to the extent declared by Parliament to be expedient in the public interest.

According to Article 262, in case of disputes relating to waters:

  • Parliament may by law provide for the adjudication of any dispute or complaint with respect to the use, distribution or control of the waters of, or in, any inter-State river or river valley.
  • Parliament may, by law provide that neither the Supreme Court nor any other court shall exercise jurisdiction in respect of any such dispute or complaint as mentioned above.

Parliament has enacted two laws according to Article 262:

1) River Board Act, 1956

  • The purpose of this Act was to enable the Union Government to create Boards for Interstate Rivers and river valleys in consultation with State Governments. The objective of Boards is to advise on the inter-state basin to prepare development scheme and to prevent the emergence of conflicts.

Note: Till date, no river board as per above Act has been created.

2) Inter-State Water Dispute Act, 1956

  • Provisions of the Act: In case, if a particular state or states approach to Union Government for the constitution of the tribunal:
  • Central Government should try to resolve the matter by consultation among the aggrieved states.
  • In case, if it does not work, then it may constitute the tribunal.

Note: Supreme Court shall not question the Award or formula given by tribunal but it can question the working of the tribunal

Mechanism of Inter-State River Water Disputes Resolution

The resolution of water dispute is governed by the Inter-State Water Disputes Act, 1956.

  • According to its provisions, if a State Government makes a request regarding any water dispute and the Central Government is of opinion that the water dispute cannot be settled by negotiations, then a Water Disputes Tribunal is constituted for the adjudication of the water dispute.
  • The act was amended in 2002, to include the major recommendations of the Sarkaria Commission.
  • The amendments mandated a one year time frame to setup the water disputes tribunal and also a 3 year time frame to give a decision

Major interstate river water disputes

River (s) States
Ravi and Beas Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan
Narmada Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan
Krishna Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana
Vamsadhara Andhra Pradesh & Odisha
Cauvery Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry
Godavari Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha
Mahanadi Chhattisgarh, Odisha
Mahadayi Goa, Maharashtra, Karnataka
Periyar Tamil Nadu, Kerala

Issues with the Inter State River Water Dispute Act, 1956

  • Under this Act, a separate Tribunal has to be established for each dispute. There are eight inter-state water dispute tribunals, including the Ravi and Beas Waters Tribunal and Krishna River Water Dispute Tribunal.
  • Currently there is no time limit for adjudication or publication of reports.
  • Only three of the eight tribunals have actually given awards accepted by the states.
  • Tribunals like those on the Cauvery and Ravi Beas have been in existence for over 26 and 30 years respectively without any award.
  • There is no upper age limit for the chairman or the members.
  • The disputes’ resolution generally has not been effective- Disputes have recurred, there have been long delays in adjudication and States have not complied with verdicts of tribunals.

Delays in resolving the water disputes

Extreme delays have been a very costly feature of the process of resolving inter-state water disputes in India. There have been three components or dimensions of delay.

  • There has been extreme delay in constituting tribunals .For example: In the case of Cauvery dispute, two of the basin states, Tamil Nadu and Kerala had asked for reference to a tribunal back in the 1970s. The tribunal was constituted only in 1990, after the Supreme Court mediated
  • Tribunals have taken long periods of time to give their awards. For example :It took nine years from reference in the case of the Narmada Tribunal, four years in the case of the Krishna Tribunal and ten years in the case of the Godavari Tribunal.
  • There have been delays in notifying the orders of tribunals in the Government of India’s official gazette; this has resulted in delays and uncertainty in enforcement. For example: The process took three years in the case of the Krishna Award and one year in the case of the Godavari Award. These delays naturally tend to complicate the dispute settlement process

Provisions of the Inter-State River Water Disputes(amendment bill)2019:

  • The new Bill proposes to reduce the time it takes to constitute a tribunal by forming a permanent agency, comprising benches that will be permitted to hear more than one dispute.
  • The total time period for adjudication of a water dispute by the Tribunal has been fixed at a maximum of four-and-a-half years.
  • The decision of the Bench of the Tribunal shall be final and binding on the states with no requirement of the publication in the Official Gazette.


  • Current Indian water-dispute settlement mechanisms are ambiguous and opaque.
  • A cooperative bargaining framework suggests that water can be shared efficiently, with compensating transfers as necessary, if initial water rights are well-defined, and if institutions to facilitate and implement cooperative agreements are in place.
  • Delay in the dimension of agreement over water can encourage inefficient, non-cooperative investments in dams, irrigation, etc.

Connecting the dots:

  • Can the setting up of a single tribunal help in resolving river water sharing issues? Discuss.
  • Inter-state river water disputes have remained a contentious issue post-independence. Can you suggest few measures to address those?
  • Is politicisation of inter-state water disputes contributing to change in tribunals’ functioning? Give your opinions
  • Inter-State River Water Disputes in India: Is it time for a new mechanism rather than tribunals? elucidate.


TOPIC: General studies 1

  • Population and associated issues

General studies 2

  • Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources. 

Population control


  • On July 11, World Population Day, a Union Minister expressed alarm, in a Tweet, over what he called the “population explosion” in the country, wanting all political parties to enact population control laws and annulling the voting rights of those having more than two children


  • A large and growing population is at the root of a nation’s problems as more and more people chase fewer and fewer resources
  • The damage done when mishandling issues of population growth is long lasting.

What does Economic survey 2018-19 says about population control?

  • The Survey notes that India is set to witness a “sharp slowdown in population growth in the next two decades”.
  • States with high population growth are also the ones with the lowest per capita availability of hospital beds.

What’s the fact?

  • The fact is that by the 2030s, some States will start transitioning to an ageing society as part of a well-studied process of “demographic transition” which sees nations slowly move toward a stable population as fertility rates fall with an improvement in social and economic development indices over time.

Dangers of population explosion:

  • A large and growing population is at the root of a nation’s problems as more and more people chase fewer and fewer resources.
  • It does not take much to whip up public sentiment which in turn can quickly degenerate into a deep class or religious conflict that pits the poor, the weak, the downtrodden and the minorities against the more privileged sections.

Population policies:

  • Population Policies formulated to address the unmet needs for contraception, health care infrastructure, and health personnel, and to provide integrated service delivery for basic reproductive and child health care.
  • The main objective is to achieve a stable population at a level consistent with the requirements of sustainable economic growth, social development, and environmental protection.
  • India is the first country in the world to begin a population control programme in 1952. It emphasized the use of natural devices for family planning.
  • The National Population Policy (NPP) 2000 provides a policy framework of achieving goals and prioritizing strategies during the next decade to meet the reproductive and child health needs of the people of India along with the target to achieve the net replacement levels (Total Fertility Rate). It aims at stable population by 2045.
  • It was forward-looking National Population Policy (NPP)which was introduced in 2000 when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister.

The following national socio-demographic goals were formulated to be achieved by 2010:

  • The ‘total fertility rate’ to be reduced to 2.1.
  • The high class birth control services had to be made available publically so that the standard of two children could be adopted.
  • The infant mortality rate had to be reduced to 30 per thousand.
  • The mother mortality rate had also to be reduced to below 100 per one lakh.
  • The late marriage of girls had to be encouraged.

The essence of NPP(2000)

  • Voluntary and informed choice and consent of citizens while availing of reproductive health care services”
  • Target free approach in administering family planning services

Argument of NPP

The lifecycle framework” which looks to the health and nutrition needs of mother and child not merely during pregnancy and child birth but “right from the time of conception till the child grows and carrying on till the adolescent stage and further

This argument is not about denying services but about offering choices and a range of services to mother and child on the clear understanding that the demographic dividend can work to support growth and drive opportunity for ordinary people only when the population is healthy.

Crucial connections

  • Family health, child survival and the number of children a woman has are closely tied to the levels of health and education of the parents, and in particular the woman
  • So the poorer the couple, the more the children they tend to have.
  • The poor tend to have more children because child survival is low, son preference remains high, children lend a helping hand in economic activity for poorer households and so support the economic as well as emotional needs of the family.

What does National Family Health Survey-4 (2015-16) says in this context?

  • It says that there is depth of the connections between health, education and inequality
  • women in the lowest wealth quintile have an average of 1.6 more children than women in the highest wealth quintile
  • wealthiest total fertility rate is 1.5 compare to that of the poorest which was 3.2 children
  • Women with no schooling have an average 3.1 children, compared with 1.7 children for women with 12 or more years of schooling.


  • Turning this into a problem that needs to be controlled is exactly the kind of phraseology, mind set and possibly action that will spell doom for the nation.
  • It will undo all the good work that has been done and set the stage for a weaker and poorer health delivery system — exactly the opposite of what a scheme such as Ayushman Bharat seeks to achieve.
  • Today, as many as 23 States and Union Territories, including all the States in the south region, already have fertility below the replacement level of 2.1 children per woman. So, support rather than control works.

Connecting the dots

  • Population truly becomes a thriving resource; the life blood of a growing economy. Elucidate
  • Does India have a population policy? What are its objectives? What is the need of having a population policy? Elucidate.


Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)


  • Featured Comments and comments Up-voted by IASbaba are the “correct answers”.
  • IASbaba App users – Team IASbaba will provide correct answers in comment section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers.

Q.1) Golden crescent and Golden Triangle often seen in news is related to which context

  1. Astronomy and Constellations
  2. International geo-politics
  3. Quantum Physics
  4. Drug Menace

Q.2) Arrange the following international institutions/groupings in the chronological order of their founding year

  1. SAARC
  2. BRICS
  4. ASEAN
  5. IBSA

Select the correct answer from the codes given below

  1. 4-1-3-2-5
  2. 4-1-3-5-2
  3. 1-4-2-5-3
  4. 4-3-1-5-2

Q.3) Justice BN Srikrishna committee recently seen in news deals with which of the following?

  1. Data protection
  2. Surplus reserves of RBI
  3. Surplus reserves of SEBI
  4. Foreign Sovereign Bonds

Q.4) Consider the following with respect to Masala Bonds

  1. Masala bonds are bonds issued outside India but denominated in Indian Rupees, rather than the local currency
  2. The currency risk/exchange rate risk lies with the issuer of the bonds

Which of the following statements is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2


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