The Pavagada solar park is expected to produce 2,000 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 700,000 households — and the latest milestone in India's transition to generating more green energy.
Long regarded as a laggard in the fight against climate change, India is building massive solar stations at a furious clip, helping to drive a global revolution in renewable energy and reduce its dependence on coal and other carbon-spewing fossil fuels blamed for warming the planet.
While the Trump administration abandons the Paris agreement on fighting climate change and pledges to revive the U.S. coal industry, India this month hosted the inaugural conference of the International Solar Alliance, an organization launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the aim of raising $1 trillion to promote solar generation and technology in 121 countries.
Thanks to low-cost solar panels and government incentives for renewable energy, India surged past Japan last year to become the world's third-biggest market for solar power, after China and the United States. Modi has called for generating 100 gigawatts of solar capacity by 2022 — nearly 30 times what it had three years ago, and equivalent to the entire energy output of Spain.
India's need for green energy is obvious. With an economy expanding at roughly 7% annually, and ambitions to bring electricity to hundreds of millions of people who still lack it, India must pump up solar and wind power dramatically in order to meet its commitments under the Paris agreement. Air pollution has worsened in its cities, partly because of emissions thrown up by old power plants.
Prices of solar panels, which were falling for years, have risen slightly with the introduction of a complicated new national sales tax. And as Trump did in January, Modi is considering levying heavy tariffs on imported solar panels in an effort to boost struggling domestic manufacturers. More than 80% of India's solar modules come from China, Taiwan and Malaysia.
Further jeopardizing Modi's 100-gigawatt target are questions over the government's ability to secure land for additional large-scale parks. In some areas, villagers have argued that solar farms might harm the environment because of the huge amounts of water required to keep panels clean.
In its effort to make 'housing for all by 2022' a reality, the Centre has proposed to ease green norms for the building and construction sector where projects up to 50,000 sq metres will not require prior 'environmental clearance
The environment ministry had last week issued a draft notification in this regard, increasing the threshold of built up area for getting this relief from 20,000 sq metres to 50,000 sq metres. Such projects will, however, have to fulfil "environmental conditions" through self declaration and certification while seeking building\construction permission from local authorities.
Though the ministry argued that the proposed move would streamline the permissions for building and construction sector to fulfil its objective to make available "affordable housing to weaker sections in urban areas", environmentalists said it would, give a free pass to builders who could easily misuse the norms for constructing shopping malls and multiplexes.
Once the final order is notified after 60 days, the new rules will replace the existing one under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) notification, 2006 which asks for EC to any project of more than 20,000 sq metres. The stakeholders, in the meantime, can send their objections or suggestions to the ministry.
Under the proposal, the 'environmental conditions' will be integrated in building bye-laws of all the states and Union Territories (UTs). As part of fulfilling those conditions, the projects will have to use water efficient appliances, rainwater harvesting, waste management system, energy efficient systems, renewable power and maintain air quality and noise standards.
Besides, they'll also have to maintain green cover within stipulated area. It will be the responsibility of local authorities to see whether the projects adhere to those conditions.
Article 30 of the Indian Constitution gives “all minorities, whether based on religion or language,... the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice”. In effect, this means that minority educational institutions are immune from intervention, and takeover, from the state.
Today, Lingayats run numerous educational institutions. And since they are not classified as a minority, all their institutions are, in theory, vulnerable to intervention from the state.
However, that they have managed to establish a network of educational institutions without being classified as a minority is by itself a strong argument for the abolition of Article 30 altogether.
Communities would rather be classified as non-Hindu than suffer the “93rd Amendment” - Nothing in this article or in sub-clause (g) of clause (1) of article 19 shall prevent the State from making any special provision, by law, for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes in so far as such special provisions relate to their admission to educational institutions including private educational institutions, whether aided or unaided by the State, other than the minority educational institutions referred to in clause (1) of article 30.
Put simply, any Hindu-run educational institution can be “taken over to any percent along any social justice axes in any aspect of management”. The Lingayats, with their numerous educational institutions, naturally wish to protect themselves from this draconian law. And the only way to save yourself from the Ninety-third Amendment is to have yourself declared a minority.
India’s right to education law, officially titled as the right of children to free and compulsory education act, 2009 (henceforth RTE), doesn’t necessarily give children the right to education. It rather guarantees them the right to lottery and if they are lucky enough, they might get admitted in a school of their choice.
The RTE act mandates that 25 per cent of the seats in private unaided non-minority schools are reserved for free for children from a) economically weaker sections (children of parents with income less than X where X varies from state to state and (b) disadvantaged groups such as Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes or other groups so defined by the respective state governments
The numbers of applications are increasing at a much higher rate than the private schools’ capacity to accommodate them. In some cities like Pune and Nagpur, the problem is becoming critical as a number of applications are more than two or three times the available seats.
The cheerleaders of the RTE have been telling us how it guarantees the right to education for every child in the 6-14 age group irrespective of their social and economic status. It is now becoming clear that the act only gives the children the right to lottery which may or may not help them eventually get a seat in a private school.
Once your child is admitted, he will study in the school for free till he completes elementary education. If he misses out due to fate, then too bad. A child usually gets two to three shots at lottery and once he is more than six years old, he becomes ineligible even to apply for the lottery. That’s why the stakes are so high. Many parents even falsify age data out of desperation as they understand how important good education is for upward mobility.
There are two possible tweaks that can solve the current crisis and transform the RTE into truly a right to education, not just a right to lottery.
First is by instantly increasing the available seats. This can be done by making RTE applicable to minority-run schools as well, which are currently exempted from the ambit of the act. Incidentally, the problem of oversubscribing of RTE seats is happening mostly in major metros where minority schools are big players. If these are also thrown open to students from poor backgrounds, it will go a long way in solving problem of seat crunch. However, it is only a temporary solution.
Second is by doing away with this arbitrary limit of 25 per cent altogether and move to a system of education vouchers. Any needy student can then approach the school of his choice, get admission and pay by vouchers given by the government. Schools in turn can submit the vouchers with the government and get reimbursed. However, they should be able to get their dues before the end of each academic year failing which the child wouldn’t be allowed to continue in the school. This would also act as a pragmatic political pressure point for governments so that they behave and pay in time unlike in the current system where many haven’t paid dues to private schools for years.
22nd March World water day - Theme is nature for water
Meghalaya: At over 24,000 metres in length, world’s longest sandstone cave found
The world’s longest sandstone cave at 24,583 metres in length has been discovered in Meghalaya, the northeastern state known for its complex cave systems hidden under its undulating hills.
This underground cavern is more than 6,000 metres longer than the world record-holder, the Cueva Del Saman in Edo Zulia, Venezuela — a quartzite sandstone cave measuring 18,200 metres
This sandstone cave has also become India’s second longest cave in the general category after the limestone Krem Liat Prah-Umim-Labit system measuring a little over 31km in Jaintia Hills in Meghalaya,” said Kharpran, a recipient of the Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award in 2002.
The anatomy of the UPSC interview round explained
The UPSC Interview round is a test of personality, rather than of knowledge, says Israel Jebasingh, of Officers IAS Academy. Civil Services aspirants who have successfully cleared the first two stages of the UPSC Civil Services Examination (CSE) — Prelims and Mains — in 2017, are eagerly waiting to clear the third and most important and challenging stage: the Personality Test, also known as the Interview round.
A UPSC Civil Services interview lasts for about 30 minutes. The purpose of the interview is to check whether the candidate is suitable for a career in the civil services. That is, whether the candidate has the potential to demonstrate good administrative skills. The interview carries 275 marks out of the total 2025. The candidate’s score in the Mains examination does not play any role in deciding the course of the interview, though the marks of both Mains and Personality Test are considered for ranking.
The interview panel just observes how a candidate approaches a question. The panel doesn’t check the knowledge of the candidates. Rather, it assesses a few personality traits of the candidates. Another misconception is that the panel awards marks subjectively. Candidates who score low marks usually have a tendency to blame the interview board or luck. The members of the panel are highly objective. I strongly believe that it is the candidate who decides the marks based on his/her performance/personality traits.
This is not an English proficiency test to recruit English teachers for various central universities. Rather, the panel is selecting candidates who possess the basic personality traits a civil servant is expected to have.
The panel asks questions from the detailed application form of the candidates. The questions will be on the candidate’s place of birth, hobbies, issues of the home state, current national issues, and more. The members of the panel observe how the candidate responds to each question. There is no one definite answer for any question. For example, if a question is related to the Cauvery water issue, a candidate from Tamil Nadu is expected to consider the problems faced by the farmers of Karnataka and a candidate from Karnataka is expected to consider the problems faced by the farmers of Tamil Nadu. The panel assesses whether the candidate answers like an Indian national or with a regional mindset. Candidates are selected for IAS, IFS, IPS, IRS, and more, where the ‘I’ stands for Indian. The panel checks whether a candidate has an Indian or regional attitude.
In my view, the interview panel assesses whether the candidates are politically neutral, honest and patriotic. A successful candidate is broad-minded, sensitive to the needs of others and has concern towards weaker sections of the society.
Final tips : Be confident. Be honest. Be polite. Smile. Most importantly, answer every question like an Indian. Use the phrases ‘our country’ or ‘our nation’ in your answers. Remember, the interview panel checks whether you have a national outlook or a regional mindset.
In a landmark decision, the Minister of Human Resource Development, Prakash Javadekar, yesterday (20 March) announced the decision of the University Grants Commission (UGC) to grant autonomy to 60 higher educational institutes – 52 universities and eight colleges
These are institutes that have maintained good academic standards in terms of the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) score or a corresponding score from a reputed accreditation agency empaneled by the UGC, or reputed world rankings
Announcing the grant of autonomy to these institutes, Javadekar said the government was striving to introduce a liberalised regime in the education sector and the emphasis was on linking autonomy with quality.
He also said: “Although these universities will remain within the UGC’s ambit, they will have the freedom to launch new courses, off-campus centres, skill development courses, research parks and new academic programmes. They will also have the freedom to hire foreign faculty members, enrol foreign students, give incentive-based emoluments to faculty members, enter into academic collaborations and run open-distance learning programmes.”
In India, death remains a painful experience as reported in Economic & Political Weekly dated February 10, 2018: “India is one of the worst countries to die in, especially for those suffering from terminal illnesses”.
Hon'ble Supreme court’s judgment on Passive Euthanasia and Advance Medical Directive have opened doors of discussion about personal choices in life and death. For the first time, we will begin talking in our drawing rooms and offices and workplaces and to legal counselors about the possibilities and choices at the time of terminal suffering and death, talks that were until now limited to hushed conversations with a family doctor or a life partner.
Hon'ble SC Judges have emphasized that “a failure to legally recognize advance medical directives may amount to non-facilitation of the right to smoothen the dying process and thus the right to live with dignity”, all of which is now recognized to fall in the ambit of Right to life and liberty as envisaged under Article 21 of the Constitution.
Firstly, the procedure set out for the implementation of the Advanced Directive is long drawn and multilayered one.
It involves the treating physician verification of authenticity of the directive and the patient’s understanding of its implications, to be followed by a preliminary opinion by the hospital constituted a medical board of experts.
This opinion must then be communicated to the jurisdictional Collector, who then constitutes a Medical Board comprising the Chief District Medical Officer and Medical board of 3 experts who will need to endorse the certificate of the previous Medical board to carry out the directive after due diligence.
The Chief District Medical Officer shall convey the decision of the Board to the jurisdictional JMFC (Judicial magistrate of first class) appointed by the district judge, before giving effect to the decision to withdraw the medical treatment administered to the patient. The JMFC shall visit the patient at the earliest and, after examining all aspects, authorize the implementation of the decision of the Board.
If this process could be simplified into a time-bound and a realistic number of steps, it may seem achievable and feasible. Worldwide such safeguards and principles have been clearly spelt out.
Minister of Communications Shri Manoj Sinha today launched a Pan India scholarship program for school children called Deen Dayal SPARSH Yojana to increase the reach of Philately. Under the scheme of SPARSH (Scholarship for Promotion of Aptitude & Research in Stamps as a Hobby), it is proposed to award annual scholarships to children of Standard VI to IX having good academic record and also pursuing Philately as a hobby through a competitive selection process in all postal circles
Every Postal Circle will select a maximum of 40 scholarships representing 10 students each from Standard VI, VII, VIII & IX. The amount of Scholarship will be Rs. 6000/- per annum @ Rs. 500/- per month.
The Minister said that to avail this scholarship, a child must be a student of a recognized school within India and the concerned school should have a Philately Club and the candidate should be a member of the Club. In case the school Philately Club hasn’t been established a student having his own Philately Deposit Account will also be considered
Every prospective school, which participates in the competition, would be assigned a Philately mentor to be chosen from amongst the renowned Philatelists. The Philately mentor would help in formation of the School level Philately Club, providing guidance to young and aspiring Philatelists on how to pursue the hobby and also helping the aspiring Philatelists on their Philately Projects etc.
The Observer of London and the New York Times cited former Cambridge employees, associates, and documents to say that the firm harvested private information from the Facebook profiles of more than 50 million users without their permission.
Facebook says it learnt in 2015 that the data had been misused, but it was only on Friday - a day before the reports were published - Facebook said it was suspending the data analytics firm. Facebook said it had earlier asked the company to delete the user data it had collected, but it had recently learnt that it had failed to do so.
Cambridge allegedly got this data from Aleksandr Kogan, a University of Cambridge psychologist, who had requested and gained access to information from 270,000 Facebook members after they chose to download his personality prediction app, a Facebook-based quiz app.
The Facebook members gave their consent for Kogan to access information such as the city they set on their profile, the content they had liked, as well as some limited information about friend groups and contacts. In passing this information to Cambridge, Kogan broke Facebook’s policies, and Facebook has suspended his account as well.
A former Cambridge Analytica employee said the app would have given Cambridge access to information on the friends of each of those people, a number that media reports said reached 50 million. As of now, there’s no way of finding out if your Facebook data was involved.
The data was used by Cambridge to target the delivery of political messages in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, according to a whistleblower. A source told The Observer and the New York Times that at leat part of the data Cambridge collected has still not been deleted.
Cambridge Analytica is a data analytics firm with political and marketing divisions, and offices in New York, Washington, London, Brazil, and Malaysia. In a video sting broadcast by UK’s Channel 4 News, Cambridge CEO Alexander Nix is seen boasting that his data-mining firm played a major role in securing Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential elections.
The Union Cabinet approved on Wednesday the government’s ambitious “Modicare” health insurance that targets nearly 11 crore poor families and will be a portable scheme which can be availed of anywhere in India. There will be no cap on family size and age while payments will be on package rates. The scheme, announced in the Budget earlier this year, will provide Rs 5 lakh insurance cover per family and is intended to be extended over time into a universal programme for all citizens.
Preexisting conditions will be covered and there will also be a defined transport allowance per hospitalisation. As the benefits of the scheme are portable, a beneficiary covered under the scheme will be allowed to take cashless benefits from public or private empanelled hospitals across the country.
According to an official release, the urban and rural inclusion criteria will look at deprivation and categories like families with no adult members between the ages of 16 and 59 years; female-headed households; SC, ST and landless labour; families without shelter; and destitutes.
The premium amount to be paid by the Centre and states has not been stated either, though it was estimated at about Rs 1,200 per family. “To control costs, payments for treatment will be done on package rate (to be defined by the government).
The massive health outreach, a key political initiative of the Modi government ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, will be overseen at the central level by an Ayushman Bharat National Health Protection Mission governing board chaired by the Union health minister. States will have a health agency and can implement the scheme through an existing trust, society or non-profit state agency
Central funds will be transferred through an escrow account and expenditure on premium will be shared between states and the Centre in specified ratio, expected to be 60:40. The programme will target about 10.7 crore households or around 40% of the population. The scheme was considered necessary as in-patient hospitalisation expenditure has risen nearly 300% in the last 10 years and more than 80% of the costs are met by out of pocket funds. Rural as well as urban households are increasingly dependent on income and borrowings to meet the expenses.
With 700 million people worldwide at risk of being displaced by intense water scarcity by 2030, water infrastructure investment must be at least doubled over the next five years, a panel set up by the United Nations and the World Bank recommended on Wednesday.
Making Every Drop Count: An Agenda for Water Action, released by a panel of 11 Heads of State and a Special Advisor, calls for a fundamental shift in the way the world manages water so that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Goal 6 on ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, can be achieved.
The report says women and girls suffer disproportionately when water and sanitation are lacking, affecting health and often restricting work and education opportunities. Some 80 per cent of wastewater is discharged untreated into the environment and water-related disasters account for 90 per cent of the 1,000 most devastating natural disasters since 1990.
He said that water-related natural disasters are occurring more frequently and becoming more and more dangerous everywhere, which means “water is indeed a matter of life and death” and “must be an absolute priority in everything we do.”
In Sri Lanka, the relationship between the Sinhala Buddhist majority and the Muslim minority has steadily deteriorated since the end of the civil war. When Mahinda Rajapaksa was in power, much damage was caused when violence was unleashed on Muslims by Buddhist mobs, in Aluthgama in 2014.
The new government, which was elected in 2015 with the support of the minorities, promised an end to such violence. However, the recent attacks in the Kandy district, where well over 200 homes and 14 mosques were destroyed, resulting in a state of emergency being imposed and social media platforms being blocked
The state of emergency has been lifted. But the continuing nature of the struggle between the two communities calls for a dispassionate assessment of the many complexities undergirding their relationship. This involves the need to problematise certain popular assumptions about the character of the Sinhala Buddhist mindset, the nature of the accusations being levelled against Muslims, and about ending the crisis.
The Sinhala Buddhist majority, just as any other majority community, is keen on preserving its identity and dominance. And for various historical and geographical reasons, Sinhala Buddhists are a majority with a minority complex, existentially fearful of losing majority status in Sri Lanka either to Tamil Hindus or to Muslims.
The majority often sees Muslims as a growing, united and economically persevering group, having an unshakeable faith in Islam, and asserting the Islamic identity. In contrast, the Sinhala-Buddhists are seen to be lacking unity — unlike Muslims, they are relaxed and liberal about religious practices/observances.
The allegations against muslims are many and varied. First, there are those that have a direct impact on the security of the people and state relating to such matters as the rise in radicalisation of Muslims in the Eastern province (Islamic State inspired) and the alleged promotion of anti-Buddhist propaganda by fundamentalist forces. Second, there are allegations against Muslim politicians of being engaged in land acquisitions and the illegal resettlement of Muslims. Third, there are concerns which are meant to promote fear and hatred. These range from the absurd accusations about Muslim promotion of birth control pills and concerns about the growth in the Muslim population, expansion of Muslim-owned businesses, and Sinhala families being driven away from villages by Muslims.
However, to avoid a catastrophe, Sri Lanka needs to evolve into a strong but secular-minded state. This involves, in principal, a radical alteration of how the Sinhala Buddhist community, the state apparatus, and the community of Buddhist monks think about the majority-minority relationship and equal citizenship. Without such an alteration, the island nation is destined to suffer long years of political and economic stagnation.
The farmers have called for the liberalization of agriculture, the end of government intervention in the farm economy, scrapping of the National Food Security Act, direct benefit transfers to the poor, free trade in farm products and the removal of restrictions of rural land markets.
These demands deserve attention when the limitations of the recent cycle of higher procurement prices as well as farm loan waivers are evident. Joshi often said that the internal terms of trade discriminated against farmers, who were not allowed to export and had to operate under tight controls in the domestic market.
The first problem is the subservience of the farmer to the licensed trader in the mandi system. These traders collude to determine the purchasing price in a non-transparent fashion, virtually dictating terms to the farmer. This was apparent in Madhya Pradesh recently, where the price of commodities covered by the Bhavantar Bhugtan Yojana was depressed by the traders as the farmers were promised compensation for the shortfall by the government
This hegemony can be broken by allowing private mandis and delisting farm products from the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act, but there has been little progress on this front. For example, while many states have amended the APMC to delist fruits and vegetables, the rules are still to be notified and several entry barriers remain.
The government has established e-NAM (electronic national agriculture market) to create a national market and price discovery by trading. But the platform has not been successful as there is limited intra-state and negligible interstate trade. Given the massive disparity between producer and consumer prices, one would imagine that arbitrage would be highly profitable. But the slew of permits someone in Madhya Pradesh would have to furnish in order to bring a truck of tomatoes to Delhi would prevent any such attempt.
The second reason for the farmer’s plight is the excessive risk he has to bear in order to do business. Government policy, through the Essential Commodities Act, restricts farmers and traders from transporting and storing their produce, in order to prevent alleged hoarding and profiteering in times of shortages. The stock-holding limits preclude investments in supply-chain as the food processing and retail companies need stocks in order to shield themselves from price shocks.
Third, given the monsoon-dependent nature of farming, farmers are at a constant risk of falling into poverty and a number of measures can distribute this risk between peasants and traders. Futures markets, for example, would allow traders to incorporate information about seed purchase volumes, area under harvest, weather forecast, etc., to predict future shortages or glut and enter into pre-purchase agreements with farmers.
Low futures prices will allow farmers to foresee a glut and shift production to substitute crops, preventing the yo-yo-ing of crop prices every alternate year. Contract farming and land lease laws will similarly allow farmers to share the risks associated with farming, and allow them access to cheaper credit and farm inputs.
Today, while the industrial policy remains stable in promoting exports, farmers are not free to do so. There is a need for foreign direct investment to integrate our farmers in the global supply chain and availability of latest seeds and farm technology, arguing that these would improve productivity. Alas, state land laws prevent the transfer of land to non-farmers, prevent formal land lease arrangements and enforce land ceiling.
Hate speeches and rumours on social media can be controlled by Technical cell having surveillance over social media
Fixing responsibility of those indulging in hate speeches , getting audio or video speeches recorded and prosecution of them for spreading hatred in caste, community, religion, language, gender, racial basis. Those TV channels or intermediaries also you can fix for abatement.
Technical cell should take up matter with administrator of social media to remove those hate speeches immediately. Also spread counter narrative to those rumours and hate speeches.
Under cable TV regulations act District Magistrate and commissioner of Police can have advisory committee to study hate speeches videos and on their report those channels can be prosecuted in high courts.
PRO system always help in clarification on rumours and give authentic information .
The Chatham House Rule is a system for holding debates and discussion panels on controversial issues, named after the headquarters of the UK Royal Institute of International Affairs, based in Chatham House, London, where the rule originated in June 1927.
At a meeting held under the Chatham House Rule, anyone who comes to the meeting is free to use information from the discussion, but is not allowed to reveal who made any comment. It is designed to increase openness of discussion.
The rule is designed to increase openness of discussion of public policy and current affairs, as it allows people to express and discuss controversial opinions and arguments without suffering the risk of stalling their career or even dismissal from their job, and with a clear separation from the opinion and the view of their employer
The National Commission on Agriculture in India classified three types of drought: meteorological, agricultural and hydrological.
Meteorological drought is defined as a situation when there is significant decrease from normal precipitation over an area (i.e. more than 10 %).
Hydrological drought results from prolonged meteorological drought resulting in depletion of surface and sub-surface water resources.
Agricultural drought is a situation when soil moisture and rainfall are inadequate to support healthy crop growth.
UK based Global partnership of Conservation organisations. Identify : Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas. Each BirdLife Partner is an independent environmental not-for-profit, or NGO.
Publishes a quarterly magazine, World Birdwatch. Manage Red List of Birds for IUCN.
The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, March 21 approved amending the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016 to provide for rights of a child born through surrogacy equal to those of a natural or biological child, and mandate the registration of surrogacy clinics with the appropriate state authorities.
The amendments also seek 16 months of extended insurance coverage for surrogate mothers to cover all complications, as well as a strict clause to safeguard the surrogate mother from exploitation, the Union Health Ministry said. Assisted Reproductive Technology has been kept out of the Bill’s purview
The proposed legislation ensures effective regulation of surrogacy, prohibits commercial surrogacy and allows altruistic surrogacy to infertile Indian couples, as per an official statement.
Once it becomes an Act, it will regulate surrogacy services throughout the country, control unethical practices in surrogacy and prevent the commercialization of surrogacy. It will also prohibit potential exploitation of surrogate mothers and children born through surrogacy.
While commercial surrogacy will be prohibited, including sale and purchase of human embryo and gametes, ethical surrogacy to the needy infertile couples will be allowed on fulfillment of certain conditions and for specific purposes,"
The bill, applicable to the whole of India except Jammu and Kashmir, proposes to regulate surrogacy in India by establishing the National Surrogacy Board at the central level, State Surrogacy Boards and appropriate authorities in the states and union territories
Maharashtra is set to become the 18th state in India. Once the ban is implemented, it will cover polythene carry bags of all sizes and thicknesses, as well as thermocol, disposable plastic plates, bowls, cups, straws, cutlery, and pouches. If the ban is violated, both manufacturers and users could be fined a minimum of Rs 5,000.
The only plastic items exempt from the ban are milk pouches, wrappers for processed food, dustbin liners, packs for medicines, solid waste and agricultural products, and polyethylene terephthalate or PET bottles. The government wants milk pouches and PET bottles to be sold at an added cost of 50 paise and one rupee respectively, to be refunded when consumers return them for recycling.
Maharashtra is India’s biggest generator of plastic waste, producing more than 4.6 lakh tonnes of waste every year. A large proportion of the waste comprises polythene bags below 50 microns in thickness, which the Union government had banned across the country in 2016 because of the threat they pose to the ecology. Despite this nationwide ban, these thin plastic bags that cannot be disposed of or recycled continue to choke drains and waste management systems across India.
The implementation of plastic bans in other parts of the country has also been difficult because of the structure of imposing fines. “In states where all plastic bags are banned, the structure authorises very few officials to fine violators, which makes enforcement difficult.
Closure Motion : Closure is one of the means by which a debate may be brought to an end by a majority decision of the House, even though all Members wishing to speak have not done so.
Closure versus Guillotine : Guillotine refers to putting by the Speaker of outstanding question or questions relating to the business in hand on expiry of the time allotted for its discussion. While closure is preceded by a motion, guillotine is not preceded by any motion. On the last of the allotted days at the appointed time, the Speaker puts every question necessary to dispose of all the outstanding matters in connection with the demands for grants. During budget, guillotine concludes the discussion on demands for grants.
Privilege Motion : A privilege motion is moved against breach of parliamentary privileges. Parliamentary privileges are certain rights and immunities enjoyed by MPs, MLAs and MLCs, individually and collectively, so that they can effectively discharge their functions. When any of these rights and immunities is disregarded, the offence is called a breach of privilege and is punishable under law of Parliament or the state legislature. Each House also claims the right to punish as contempt actions which, while not breach of any specific privilege, are offences against its authority and dignity.
Calling Attention : Calling attention is a type of motion introduced by a member to call the attention of a minister to a matter of urgent public importance. The minister is expected to make authoritative statement from him on that matter. It can be introduced in any house of the parliament.
Motion of Thanks : Motion of thanks is moved and voted in both houses parliament after the inaugural speech of the president at the beginning of first session of new Lok Sabha or first session of New Year. The speech of president is generally drafted by ruling party and its contents outline the vision of the central government. The discussion on motion of thanks generally allows the opposition to critically discuss the government’s vision, scope and policies. This motion must be passed in both of the houses. A failure to get motion of thanks passed (which may happen rarely) amounts to defeat of government and leads to collapse of government.
Dilatory motions : Dilatory motions refer to the motions that seek adjournment / delay / retard of the debate on Bills, motions or resolutions etc.
Bharat Stage emission standards, introduced in 2000, are emission standards that have been set up the Central government to regulate the output of air pollutants from internal combustion engine equipment, including motor vehicles. The different norms are brought into force in accordance with the timeline and standards set up by the Central Pollution Control Board which comes under the Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change.
The Bharat Stage norms are based on European regulations. In 13 major cities, Bharat Stage IV emission standards were put in place in April 2010. BS-IV norms were supposed to come into effect nationwide from April 2017.
The BS norms have been similar to Euro norms till now, and with norms after BS-IV not defined yet, we compare the existing BS-III and BS-IV norms in India with the Euro 6 norms on which India's emission norms have been set.
CO emissions are Carbon Monoxide emissions are are more evident in Petrol engines. Long Term exposure can prevent oxygen transfer and increase headaches/nausea. HC emissions are Hydrocarbons which are again more prevalent in Petrol engines. Short term exposure can cause headaches, vomiting and disorientation.
NOx emissions are Nitrogen Oxide emissions which are more prevalent in Diesel engines. Long Term exposure can cause Nose and eye irritation and damage lung tissue. PM is Particulate matter, again more prevalent in a Diesel engine. Long Term exposure can harm the respiratory tract and reduce lung function.
There are two major industries which now face problems: first is the oil refineries that will need a substantial investment to upgrade. These upgrades will allow the refineries to supply fuel types that can match the BS-V and BS-VI standards. Second, the automobile manufacturers also need to progress gradually and skipping a step like BS-V might put extra pressure on the manufacturers to produce compliant vehicles. The shift of technology from BS-IV to BS-VI is likely to cost anything between Rs 50,000 crore to Rs 80,000 crore to petroleum companies.
Technically, there is no difference between BS-V and BS-VI norms. Since there is hardly any difference between BS-V and BS-VI refiners are better off in moving to BS-VI from BS-IV.
RBI Governor Urjit Patel, in a rare and landmark speech, pointed out that under the Banking Companies Act, the regulator does not have the power to supercede the board of a PSB for lack of performance, or even sack key management personnel like the managing director or board members.
Effectively, the governor was arguing that the governance problems of public sector banks emanate from the constitution of their boards. The boards of PSBs are packed with the government’s handpicked nominees who have to only answer to the government. Their loyalty is not even to the bank on whose board they sit, and they really don’t have to bother about the regulator.
Vinod Rai, chairman of the government-appointed Banks Board Bureau, put in the public domain a compendium of the BBB’s recommendations, most of which are yet to be acknowledged by the department of financial services. These include To send their recommendations directly to the appointments committee. To appoint non-executive members of boards of PSU banks. To develop the roadmap for the transition of the government’s stake in banks into a holding company (as advised by the Nayak Committee). A specific mandate on stressed asset resolution.
The heart of PSU banks’ problems is the lack of independent and high-quality board members.
Earth Hour is a worldwide movement organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). The event is held annually encouraging individuals, communities, and businesses to turn off non-essential electric lights for one hour, from 8:30 to 9:30 pm on a specific day towards the end of March, as a symbol of commitment to the planet. It was started as a lights-off event in Sydney, Australia, in 2007.
Centre: Denied the demands citing the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission –
Did the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014, have provisions for special category status to Andhra Pradesh?
Special Category Status (SCS)
Granted by: National Development Council (NDC), a NITI Aayog body
To: States that are disadvantaged as compared to the others
1st State to be granted the status: Jammu and Kashmir
Other States having the SCS status: Assam, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Sikkim, Tripura, and Uttarakhand
Set of parameters that determine the decision:
Assistance provided to the States with Special Category Status:
Gadgil-Mukherjee formula (1990)
Why the Demands?
Lost their Gold mine named Hyderabad
When the state was divided, Andhra not only lost a capital but also an important industry hub, which was in and around Hyderabad. This led to
Whereas Hyderabad has become an important growth engine and revenue source for Telangana – the per capita income for Telangana is at par with states like Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, and many see this as largely on account of Hyderabad (High level of Industrialisation + a rising IT hub with about 80-90 per cent of jobs)
Other aspects of the Bifurcation Act and the Special Package promised in lieu of the special status remain unfulfilled:
The Way Ahead:
There is an urgent need for Andhra Pradesh to solve issues that are burning and have been paid little to no attention –
Background : Why World TB Day is celebrated on this Date? : World TB Day commemorates the date in 1882 when Dr. Robert Kochannounced his discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria that causes TB. This year’s World TB Day theme “Wanted: Leaders for a TB-Free World. We can make history. End TB” highlights the importance of engaging and empowering leaders in public health, government, medicine, and communities in efforts to eliminate TB.
The theme: "Wanted: Leaders for a TB-free world" : The theme of World TB Day 2018 - “Wanted: Leaders for a TB-free world”- focuses on building commitment to end TB, not only at the political level with Heads of State and Ministers of Health, but at all levels from Mayors, Governors, parliamentarians and community leaders, to people affected with TB, civil society advocates, health workers, doctors or nurses, NGOs and other partners. All can be leaders of efforts to end TB in their own work or terrain.
World TB Day provides the opportunity to shine the spotlight on the disease and mobilize political and social commitment for accelerate progress to end TB
In 1973, villagers in Uttar Pradesh’s Chamoli district (now Uttarakhand) took to hugging trees to prevent their felling at the hands of contractors and to protect trees from the deforestation that accompanied rapid industrialisation in the years following independence.
The word 'chipko', which means to hug, soon became the name of the eponymous movement, and the catchphrase for environmentalists the world over. However, the practice of embracing trees, both literally and figuratively, predate the Chipko movement. The Bishnoi community in Rajasthan were the pioneers in protecting forest resources. In the 18th century, a group of people from 84 villages in Rajasthan united under a woman called Amrita Devi, and laid down their lives to protest a royal decree that commanded the felling of trees. Taken aback by the self-sacrifice of his subjects, the Maharaja of Jodhpur went on to rescind his order preventing the felling of trees in all Bishnoi villages.
By putting their bodies on the line, many trees were saved by the heroics of the women who formed human chains around them. They ensured that the forest would remain inviolable unless the men resorted to bloodletting. Since the leaders and proponents of the Chipko movement were mainly rural women, it came to be identified with eco-feminism.
This instance of successful grassroots activism soon spilled over into other parts of the country, and became a means of in influencing natural resource policy. Other notable green warriors include Sunderlal Bahuguna, a Gandhian activist and philosopher, who was instrumental in garnering the support of Indira Gandhi, then Prime Minister of India, in enacting a law to ban the felling of trees in ecologically sensitive forest lands. He also coined the Chipko slogan: 'ecology is permanent economy'.
After half a decade of stoic protest, the Chipko movement bore fruit in 1980, with the government banning the felling of trees in the Himalayan forests of Uttar Pradesh for a period of 15 years. Subsequently, the green-felling ban was extended to forests in the Western Ghats and the Vindhyas. In addition to meeting the objective of ensuring the sanctity of endangered foretse for the years to come, the Chipko movement's biggest triumph was in opening the eyes of the people to their rights to forests, and how grassroots activism can influence policymaking regarding shared natural resources
According to the biennial State of Forests Report 2017, India registered a marginal increase in forest cover between 2015 and 2017. It was found that the land under forest cover amounted to 7,08,273 square kilometres, which is 21.53% of the geographical area of the country (32,87,569 sq. km).
"I firmly believe that privatisation of all PSBs except perhaps the State Bank of India should be on the election manifestos of all parties who wish to present themselves as serious candidates to form the government in 2019
The eminent economist further argued that efficiency and productivity too demand that the government relinquish its control of the large number of banks whose market valuation has dwindled despite the fact that they hold the bulk of the deposits. Panagariya noted that it is disingenuous to argue, as many advocates of PSBs do, that achieving social goals of lending requires two-dozen banks in the public sector
The fact of the matter is that private sector banks have often performed better than public sector banks in delivering on their priority-sector-lending obligations," he pointed out.
A US-based think tank, ranked Tamil Nadu as one of the top nine markets in the world for acquiring a high percentage of net energy needs from renewable energy sources
“Tamil Nadu also leads India in installed renewable energy capacity. Of the total 30 GW of installed capacity across the state as of March 2017, variable wind and solar power accounted for 9.6 GW or 32% of the total. Firm hydroelectricity added another 2.2 GW or 7%, nuclear 8% and biomass and run of river, 3%. As such, zero emissions capacity represents a leading 50% of Tamil Nadu’s total installed renewable energy.
Total installed renewable energy capacity for Tamil Nadu stands at approximately 10,800 megawatts (MW), of which 7870 MW comes from wind and 1,697 MW solar, while the rest comes from biomass and small hydro projects. Although it comes third in solar energy capacity behind Andhra Pradesh (2,010 MW) and Rajasthan (1,961 MW), the state tops the charts in wind power capacity ahead of Gujarat (5429 MW) and Maharashtra (4,752 MW). Tamil Nadu generates more wind energy than Sweden (6.7 GW) and Denmark (5.5 GW), the birthplace of wind energy.
The natural conditions in the state favour the growth and development of solar and wind energy. The Tamil Nadu coast receives high wind density and velocity. For six months it receives heavy wind flows, while four months see moderate flows. Also, the state receives 300 or more days of sunshine.
The biggest concern is the dire financial condition of the state power utility. In 2016-17, the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Limited (TANGEDCO) posted a loss of Rs 3,783 crore, besides year-long delays in the payment of dues to power-generating units. As a result, these power generation units are unable to repay loans they had taken from the banks to install all the necessary equipment. The poor state of regulation in the state’s power sector is a real concern.
Even though Bollgard 2, or BG-2, Monsanto’s second generation insecticidal technology for cotton, was supposed to protect crops against the pink bollworm, the pest has grown resistant to the toxins produced by this trait. As a result, farmers now spend more on pesticides to control infestations. This, along with the high cost of Bt seeds, is driving farmers to indigence.
One solution suggested by the National Seed Association of India is for the government to encourage a move back to Bollgard, the first iteration of Bt cotton, as Monsanto hasn’t patented BG in India. Both BG, which has a single bacterial gene called CryA1C, and BG-2, which has CryA1C and Cry2AB2, are designed to protect against pink bollworm. BG began failing against the pest in 2009, while BG-2 began failing in 2014.
Interestingly, none of the other 14 Bt cotton-growing countries have seen this resistance. China still successfully controls pink bollworm with first-generation Bt cotton. The U.S. and Australia are moving on to third-generation BG-3 without having faced this problem. Why did India suffer this unique misfortune?
Cotton researchers broadly agree on the reason: the pink bollworm grew resistant because India restricted itself to cultivating long-duration hybrids since the introduction of Bt cotton in 2002. Hybrids are crosses between two crops that often see higher yields than their parents, in a genetic phenomenon called heterosis. All other Bt cotton-growing countries mainly grow open-pollinated cotton varieties rather than hybrids.
A couple of factors led to India’s unique trajectory. First, when Monsanto licensed its BG and BG-2 traits to Indian seed companies, the agreement restricted the introduction of these traits to hybrids only. Second, hybrids are financially more attractive to Indian seed companies because they offer a “value capture mechanism”
The introduction of the Bt gene into only one parent of Indian hybrids, as is the practice, is itself a problem. The resulting hybrids are hemizygous, which means that they express only one copy of the Bt gene. So, they produce cotton bolls that have some seeds toxic to the pink bollworm and some that are not.
When all these factors combine with the pink bollworm’s biology, this creates a perfect storm of conditions for resistance. The pest does its most damage in the latter half of the cotton-growing season and does not consume any other crop that grows then. So, the long duration of Indian cotton crops, between 160 and 300 days, allows this pest to thrive and evolve resistance more quickly than it can for short-duration crops. Contrast this with other cotton-growing countries which strictly terminate the crop within 160 days.
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi today has approved the launch of a new Centrally Sponsored Ayushman Bharat -National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM) having central sector component under Ayushman Bharat Mission anchored in the MoHFW. The scheme has the benefit cover of Rs. 5 lakh per family per year. The target beneficiaries of the proposed scheme will be more than 10 crore families belonging to poor and vulnerable population based on SECC database. AB-NHPM will subsume the on-going centrally sponsored schemes -Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) and the Senior Citizen Health Insurance Scheme (SCHIS),
This cover will take care of almost all secondary care and most of tertiary care procedures. To ensure that nobody is left out (especially women, children and elderly) there will be no cap on family size and age in the scheme. The benefit cover will also include pre and post-hospitalisation expenses. All pre-existing conditions will be covered from day one of the policy. A defined transport allowance per hospitalization will also be paid to the beneficiary.
AB-NHPM will be an entitlement based scheme with entitlement decided on the basis of deprivation criteria in the SECC database,
The beneficiaries can avail benefits in both public and empanelled private facilities. All public hospitals in the States implementing AB-NHPM, will be deemed empanelled for the Scheme. Hospitals belonging to Employee State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) may also be empanelled based on the bed occupancy ratio parameter. As for private hospitals, they will be empanelled online based on defined criteria
To control costs, the payments for treatment will be done on package rate (to be defined by the Government in advance) basis. The package rates will include all the costs associated with treatment. For beneficiaries, it will be a cashless, paper less transaction. Keeping in view the State specific requirements, States/ UTs will have the flexibility to modify these rates within a limited bandwidth.
One of the core principles of AB-NHPM is to co-operative federalism and flexibility to states. There is provision to partner the States through co-alliance. This will ensure appropriate integration with the existing health insurance/ protection schemes of various Central Ministries/Departments and State Governments (at their own cost), State Governments will be allowed to expand AB-NHPM both horizontally and vertically. States will be free to choose the modalities for implementation. They can implement through insurance company or directly through Trust/ Society or a mixed model
Objective : To make people aware about cashless economic system
VISAKA aims to create awareness among people about digital economy and cashless modes of transactions
It was launched on line with Prime Minister’s appeal to youth in ‘Mann Ki Baat’ for creating awareness for making India digital and cashless economy. Under it, young students and faculty members will be roped to encourage and motivate people to use a digitally enabled cashless economic system for transfer of fund.
For active participation of youth and faculty, HRD Minister also launched a webpage where students can register themselves. On this website, students and faculty members also can provide their feedback and suggestions on the initiative as well as upload the progress of their work.
It is a statutory, advisory body established in 1972 via the North Eastern Council Act, 1971.The Council operates under the administrative control of the Union Ministry of Development of the North Eastern Region. It is the nodal agency for the economic and social development of the North Eastern Region.
North Eastern Region consists of the eight States of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura. The Headquarters of the Council is located at Shillong, Meghalaya.
Subspecies of Elk native to India (endemic to Jammu and Kashmir). Habitat — Dense Riverine forests in the high valleys and mountains of the Kashmir Valley and northern Chamba district in Himachal Pradesh. Protected in *Dachigam* National Park (stands for ‘ten villages’). Zabarwan Range of the Western Himalayas
Most of this coniferous forestconsists of broad leaf species. Interspersed between these are alpine pastures, meadows, waterfalls and scrub vegetation with deep gullies, locally known as Nars. River — Dagwan river known for trout fish. National Park occupies almost half of the catchment zone of the famous *Dal Lake* and still plays a crucial role is supplying clean drinking water to the inhabitants of Srinagar
Wildlife — Leopard, Common Palm Civet, Jackal, Red Fox, Yellow-throated Marten and Himalayan Weasel.
In an “unlimited direction” to parents, society and khap panchayats (community groups), the Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that interference, harm or insult caused to consenting adults who fall in love and choose to marry is absolutely illegal. With this judgment, the court has filled the vacuum caused by the lack of a specific penal law against honour killings.
The court said the fundamental right of two people who wish to get married to each other and live peacefully is absolute. In previous hearings on a petition filed by NGO Shakti Vahini, a Bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra had repeatedly emphasised that no one has any individual, group or collective right to harass a couple.
The proposed law against honour killing — The Prohibition of Interference with Freedom of Matrimonial Alliance Bill — is still under circulation among the States. The Centre recommended that the State governments should take responsibility for the lives of couples who fear retaliation. They should be housed in special protection homes, away from danger.
The government said special cells should be formed in every district to receive complaints from couples who feared for their lives. The Centre said the apex court, due to the pendency of the proposed Bill, should categorically issue directions that “no person or assembly of persons shall harass, torture, subject to violence, threaten, intimidate or cause harm to any couple wishing to get married by their own choice or couple who have got married
A two-judge Bench of the Supreme Court this month flagged “rampant misuse” of The Scheduled Castes And The Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (POA Act), “as an instrument to blackmail or to wreak personal vengeance”, and allowed anticipatory bail for the accused in certain cases. The court mandated prior sanction by a superior officer before the arrest of an accused, and brought in a provision for a preliminary inquiry — all of which have been criticised as potentially diluting the scope for justice for the victims of atrocities.
An analysis of the number of cases under The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (POA Act) that have come for trial between 2010 and 2016, shows a massive spike in pendency, a steady decline in the number of cases that complete trial, and a fall in conviction rates.
If conviction rates are taken as a proportion of the total cases that came up for trial in each year (and not as a proportion of the total cases that completed trial), the figures are even more dismal. For instance, in 2016, only 1.4% of all crimes against SCs that came up for trial ended in convictions; for STs, the percentage was 0.8%. It is important to note that amendments brought in 2015 actually made the original 1989 Act even more stringent on paper.
Section 14 of the POA Act, 1989, mandated, “for the purpose of providing for speedy trial”, a Special Court in every district to try cases under the Act. According to the latest report on the implementation of the Act by the Ministry of Social Justice in 2015, there are only 194 such exclusive courts, fewer than a third of the number of districts in India.
There are socio-economic boycotts, threats and intimidation, and pressure to compromise, leading to witnesses and victims changing their stand, and many cases are withdrawn or termed false by police after investigations. These lead to poor implementation of the Act.
To begin with, ties between New Delhi and Beijing have deteriorated over the past few years for a number of reasons unconnected to the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan population in India: border incursions, including the standoff at the part of Doklam claimed by Bhutan; India’s strategic shift in line with the U.S.’s Indo-Pacific pivot that targets China; China’s ‘deep-pocket’ inroads into South Asia; and differences on the international stage, including over the Nuclear Suppliers Group membership and terror designations to Masood Azhar.
While Indian strategists have handed down the idea of a Tibet card for decades, it is time to revise this policy with a thorough evaluation of the ground, from New Delhi to Beijing and Lhasa to Dharamshala.
For starters, the landscape of Tibet, now crisscrossed with railway lines, super-speed highways, tunnels and airports, has changed drastically in the past two decades. While many have written about the Beijing-Lhasa railway line, the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) now sees many more such engineering marvels (albeit at the cost of its environment), and downtown Lhasa has all the trappings of a modern city. All of this has made Tibet more self-reliant, with more jobs for the next generation. There’s an ongoing demographic shift in Tibet, with Beijing populating areas with majority ‘Han’ Chinese workers, encouraging mixed marriages, and mainstreaming Chinese culture into the region. At the same time, the outflow of refugees from Tibet has been curtailed by the Chinese authorities over the last decade, mainly by convincing Nepal to close a popular route.
The new reality means that India’s population of the 100,000 or so registered Tibetan refugees are more cut off from developments in their homeland than ever before. New generations of Tibetans born in India are brought up as exiles, without a real sense of what Tibet may actually be like, should they ever return. As most live separately in about 40 settlements around India, they also have a tenuous link to the host country itself.
The government’s attitude towards giving them citizenship has been stern, although it lost its case in the Delhi High Court (Namgyal Dolkar v. Government of India) and must give citizenship to all Tibetan refugees born between 1950 and 1987, the cut-off year. It will be equally important to devise a mechanism for those born after 1987, many now in their twenties, living in this limbo.
The bigger question that looms over the community is that of its future leadership. During his lifetime, the Dalai Lama has been a unifying force, guiding the community through their struggle in a peaceful manner, while accepting an autonomous Tibet as a part of China. While his spiritual incarnation will be chosen through a religious process, his political successor presents a more difficult task — he or she needs to be both groomed and publicly presented to the community at the earliest.
The idea that India holds the “Tibet card” is out of step with all the shifts on the ground, and the government needs a proactive policy that takes into account these new realities. There is an urgent need for community outreach, surveys and a referendum, if necessary, to map what the Tibetan community in India wants in its future.
Climate change has hit farmers and governments hard as drought, hailstorms and floods become more frequent. Most Indian farmers are not covered by insurance and all do not receive relief for crop damage. Yet on an average these payouts averaged about Rs 24,000 crore per year between 2014-15 and 2016-17. The total economic loss to agriculture could be many times higher — last year’s Economic Survey noted that India incurs losses of about $9-10 billion annually (Rs 62,000 crore) due to extreme weather events
Rs71,124 crores farmers received as insurance payouts and relief for crop loss due to climate events like drought, floods and hailstorms in just three years between 2014-15 and 2016-1
Maharashtra was The most vulnerable state in India where farmers received Rs 16,330 crore in relief and insurance payouts
2016-17 was An overall normal monsoon year when farmers received a staggering Rs 18,512 crore in payouts and relief due to erratic rainfall distribution