IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 11th September 2019
(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)
Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – India and its neighbourhood
- PM Modi and his Nepalese counterpart K P Sharma Oli inaugurated the Motihari-Amalekhgunj petroleum pipeline through video conferencing.
- The Motihari-Amlekhganj petroleum product pipeline is the first ever cross-border petroleum products pipeline in South Asia.
- The 69-km pipeline will transport fuel from Barauni refinery in Bihar’s Begusarai district to Amalekhgunj in southeastern Nepal, situated across the border from Raxaul in East Champaran district.
- The project was first proposed in 1996, but progress was slow.
- The pipeline will help in tackling the oil storage problem in Nepal. The Amalekhgunj fuel depot will have the capacity to store up to 16,000 kilolitres of petroleum products.
- It will drastically reduce the cost of transporting fuel to landlocked Nepal from India by doing away with transportation of petroleum products through tankers (as part of an arrangement which is in place since 1973).
- In 2017, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) signed a petroleum trade agreement to supply about 1.3 million tonnes of fuel annually to Nepal with a promise to double the volume by 2020.
Sanjay Mitra Committee
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains GS-II- Governance
- Centre has set up a 3-member panel to oversee the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories.
- On 5th of August, the Centre had announced the abrogation of the special status given to J&K under Article 370 and bifurcation of the state into the two UTs.
- The committee will look into the distribution of assets and liabilities of Jammu and Kashmir between two successor Union territories, which will come into existence on 31st of October this year.
- The committee will be headed by Former Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra. It will have Retired IAS officer Arun Goyal and Retired Indian Civil Accounts Service officer Giriraj Prasad Gupta as members.
Five Star Movement (M5S)
Part of: GS Prelims and GS Mains II – International Affairs
- M5S is a political party in Italy.
- It was founded in 2009 due to frustration with the political establishment in a country with a stagnant economy and widespread corruption at the highest echelons.
- The “five stars” are a reference to five key issues for the party: (1) public water, (2) sustainable transport, (3) sustainable development, (4) right to Internet access, and (5) environmentalism.
- The M5S is variously considered populist, anti-establishment, environmentalist, anti-globalist and
- Since June 2018 M5S was in coalition with Right-wing League party, but the League party leader withdraws from the government in August 2019 in the hope of triggering early elections.
- However, recently M5S members have voted (through its online website) in favour of forming a coalition government with the centre-left Democratic party (PD), who is considered as its traditional rival.
TOPIC: General Studies 3:
- Bank merger and issues related to it.
- Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
PSB Bank merger – an idea for better policy governance
On 30th August 2019, finance minister Mrs. Nirmala Sitaraman announced the merging of 10 public sector banks into 4 major banks. The following are the details of the bank mergers.
- Punjab National Bank + Oriental Bank of Commerce + United Bank of India
- Canara Bank + Syndicate Bank
- Union Bank + Andhra Bank + Corporation Bank
- Indian Bank + Allahabad Bank
These banks are merged based on the operating efficiencies, better usage of equity and their technological platforms. The bank merger aims at improving the financial health and increasing their lending capacity to support the economic growth.
There are two kinds of mergers – Merging larger banks together and merging smaller regional banks with their regional banks.
Merging of banks has been under discussion from past decade but now the decision was taken and implemented to focus more on improving economic stability and growth of our country.
Benefits of bank merging:
- Although our Indian banks are economically small compared to the international banks, merging banks can create risk diversification and creates competitiveness among the banks.
- Combining weaker banks (based on their balance sheets) with the stronger ones helps to reduce the risk that weak ones are going through.
- Merging with the strong banks will help to transfer better management practices with the weak banks so that these banks run successfully.
Although the merging of the banks have positive impact on the economy, care must be taken that the weak banks does not drag the stronger ones. Also care has to be taken that the weaker banks are able to cope up with the acquiring management practices as they are already facing problem dealing with under performing loans.
But this can be overcome by hiring management experts to implement the merger which requires merging all kinds of organizational structure and technical systems to run the banks smoother.
Do you know?
- In India, private sector banks line ICICI, HDFC etc., run successfully compared to public sector banks.
- The fact being, the public sector banks are operating more in the favor of politicians and financially sound people.
- On the contrary, private sector banks choose their customers wisely and make different lending strategies to maximize their profit margins.
- Even the private sector banks are influenced by political and familial connections, they run successfully compared the public sector banks.
- So in order maximize the profits in public sector banks, they must get less distorted from political pressures and familial connections.
What needs to be done?
- Implementation of the bank merger should constantly work on fixing the problems of nonperforming loans in the weaker ones along with fixing their organizational lacuna in loan recovery at first step.
- Another problem that needs attention among the traditional banking is the lack of digitalization.
- Government and RBI must focus on bringing digital modification in financial implementation, savings and investment needs.
- The digital modification/regulation must be well designed and properly implemented which reduces any moral hazards at work space.
Although the bank mergers have taken a huge attention from the media, policy makers and economists, continuous analysis has to be done after implementation. The issues for non performing loans has to be addressed at the grass root level and work together to achieve overall economic growth.
Connecting the dots
- What are the major benefits of bank merger? Discuss.
- Examine what changes are to be bought in the banks to achieve maximum economic success after merger?
TOPIC: General Studies 1 and 2:
- Social empowerment
- Education and Human Resource Management
- Social Justice – Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population
- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors
Language Subtitling – Remarkable benchmark for the TV channels
- Starting from August 15th 2019, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) made it mandatory to all 800 Indian TV channels to start language based sub titling.
- Their target is to grow 10% every year so that they can achieve 50% of the channels having sub titles by the end of 2025.
Do you know?
- India has taken this approach from USA who started sub titling in their channels to help the deaf and aurally challenged population.
- The policy has come from Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 which made captioning (Sub-titling) is a mandatory for all TV channels.
- Now the major challenge with the ministry is to ensure that all the state and private channels are bound to this and abide the same rule.
Even though USA has started captioning well ahead of India, our country has two significant reasons behind sub-titling –
- Apart from Brazil, India is one of the major countries in Global South to start sub-titling for the media coverage.
- India is the first country to establish Same Language Subtitling (SLS) for mass reading education.
- SLS in India will play a crucial role in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which in turn will contribute to providing quality education thereby improving good reading skills among the viewers.
- According to 2019 FICCI-EY Media and Entertainment report, Film and general Entertainment contribute to 24% and 53% of viewers respectively and now it is mandatory to have SLS in regional languages for all these contents.
SLS in India is going to serve these major goals:
- Providing daily reading practices for over a billion viewers.
- Benefiting 500 million weak readers to improve their reading skills.
- Providing media access to 65 million deaf and aurally challenged population.
- Improving the local/regional language proficiency among the viewers.
Advantages of Sub-titling:
- According to a recent study, English sub-titling has proved to improve English literacy skills among the viewers compared to dubbing.
- English channels in India has started adding English sub-titles which has increased the viewership by making ear to grasp unfamiliar English accent.
- Continuous exposure to SLS among the viewers has proved to improve their English reading skills that were barely able to understand few letters.
- Continuous and frequent exposures to SLS content to people will eventually increase the readability and understanding of the regional language.
United Kingdom has started Turn-On-The-Sub titles (TOTS) program to all the child programs inspired by our country. While we are following US model of sub titling to increase the media access, UK is using our footprints to increase the reading skills among people. India on the contrary is trying to focus on both the aspects – media access along with reading literacy.
In India, according to Annual Status of Education Reports (ASER), the standard 5th grade children in rural areas fail to read even 2nd grade texts. So, India must focus on improving the quality education at grass root level with the collective efforts from government, civil population, education institutions and industries.
The ministry of Information and Broadcasting along with Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has to mandate SLS in all the digital Over-The-Top (OTT) platforms. Although there is English sub-tilting in many of the channels, the regional language sub-titling has to be made mandatory like Kannada sub-titles for Kannada channels and so on. Academic institutions have showed strong evidences how SLS can be used and implemented to achieve media access, reading literacy and language learning. Now the entertainment industries must play a crucial role in adapting SLS for all the audio-visual contents in all Indian regional languages.
Connecting the dots:
- Recently, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) made it mandatory to all 800 Indian TV channels to start language based sub titling. Discuss the benefits of sub-titling especially for India.
(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)
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Q.1) Consider the following statements Motihari-Amlekhganj petroleum pipeline
- It is transnational pipeline between India and Bhutan
- The pipeline is the first ever cross-border petroleum products pipeline in South Asia.
- It will drastically reduce the cost of transporting fuel from India, by doing away with transportation of petroleum products through tankers
Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?
- 1 and 2 only
- 2 and 3 only
- 1 and 3 only
- 1,2 and 3
Q.2) Sanjay Mitra Committee often seen in the news is related to which of the following area?
- Disinvestment of Air India
- Military reforms
- Bifurcation of Jammu & Kashmir into two UT
- None of the above
Q.3) M5S (Five Star Movement) often seen in news in related to which of the following area?
- Movement in France against exorbitant prices in Five Star hotels
- Hongkong protests
- Italy anti-establishment political party
- None of the above
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