29 November 2013


The bureaucracy can never be immune to political interference as long as bureaucrats are willing to twist and bend before politicians to get the postings of their choice

The Supreme Court’s recent move to set up a Civil Services Board for the management of babu promotions and emoluments, granting fixed tenure to them, and freeing them of the obligation to obey oral orders from the executive — though a boon to honest bureaucrats who are transferred frequently — has the potential to bring within its wake more harm than good. The Supreme Court has replaced the increasingly erratic and unresponsive executive power with the rule of the judiciary.


Serious issues with this judgment challenge the very core of democracy and that of Parliament’s legislative authority. The UPA government — which through incessant corruption has destroyed executive institutions — is to share the blame for this judicial enthusiasm. A society which evades its responsibility by thrusting upon the courts the nurture of its spirit will eventually cause its spirit to perish. By creating a governance vacuum, the UPA has voluntarily ceded its turf to the judiciary. It implies that an administrative policy paralysis suffered by the country in the hands of the present government has compelled the judiciary to go into matters pertaining to administrative reforms.

First, the Supreme Court has assumed itself to be superior to Parliament and is directing Parliament to enact new laws which seems to be violative of the fundamental principle of Separation of Powers. Although the court has used this power very rarely, it is not a valid argument for using it even once, because assuming another democratic wing’s characteristic power has serious consequences.

There is no clarity on how this petition was maintainable under Article 32. Article 32 is a judicial safeguard for the enforcement of fundamental rights. Administrative reforms, though abundantly desirable, cannot be classified as “fundamental rights” of a citizen, in a very basic application of constitutional law.

The petitioners — former Union Cabinet Secretary T.S.R. Subramanian, former Chief Election Commissioners T.S. Krishnamurthy and N. Gopalaswami, former Indian Ambassador to the U.S., Abid Hussain, former CBI Director Joginder Singh, former Manipur Governor Ved Prakash Marwah and 77 others — are a few individuals who claimed to know the exact mechanics that are most suitable for the functioning of the executive, in accordance with “public interest,” and asked the court to issue binding orders to the legislature to control the executive. So, fewer than 100 citizens — not legislative experts — essentially asked the judiciary to overreach into the domain of the executive. Are the four legs of a democracy not needed to be independent of one another any more? With due respect to the Supreme Court, by directing Parliament to make laws it is clearly undermining the legislative authority of Parliament.

On legal reasoning, the court has been ambiguous at the very least. The Bench has relied heavily on various Administrative Commission reports — the 2004 Hota Commitee on Civil Service Reforms, the 2008 Second Administrative Reforms Commission, the 1997 Conference of Chief Ministers on Effective and Responsive Administration and the 1968 All-India Service Conduct Rules. By merely reiterating the reports of government-appointed bodies and directing Parliament to enact a new law, the judiciary has essentially ignored the limited scope of its power, that is, not to encroach upon the constitutional authority of the legislature.

The order in passing refers to the 2006 judgment in Prakash Singh and Others v. Union of India to establish its jurisdiction to issue orders of this nature according to Article 32 read with Article 142. Article 142 deals with procedural aspects and the two words “complete justice” cannot enlarge its scope. In construing the expression, “complete justice,” the scheme of the Article should be looked into. It is not right to construe words in a vacuum and then insert the meaning into an Article, explains Dr. R. Prakash in the treatise “Complete justice under Article 142” published in 2001.


Now, we come to the question of implementation. Where the UPA has methodically thwarted systems, what could be better than a multi-member independent Civil Services Board in theory? One in practice! In Prakash Singh and Others v. Union of India, the Supreme Court gave similar orders on police reforms, directing State governments to implement the order in six months from its passage, but seven years hence none of the States has actually implemented the order. State politicians can challenge its establishment on the ground of intrusion into State rights. Even in States where Civil Service Boards have already been constituted — as in Uttar Pradesh — arbitrary transfers and postings are the prevalent norms. Since 2008, Uttar Pradesh has also had a transfer policy. But random transfers — often to punish “erring” officers — are the norm. The case of Durga Shakti Nagpal is the most recent example of the fact that even established boards have little force when facing political will.

Some of what the court suggests as safeguards are already available to civil servants but they have been used rarely. For instance, an officer can record any minister’s oral instructions to him and send them to the minister for confirmation. One cannot really say if it is more the threat of transfer or the incentive of a patron-client relationship fairly early in their bureaucratic career that stops officers from using this provision. It is not certain that governments will do what the court has ordered. If the legislation asked for is not passed in three months, whom will the court haul up? The Chief Minister or the Speaker? That could provoke a constitutional crisis. Assuming that power comes with responsibility and accountability, should orders that are not enforceable be issued?

The Supreme Court order is not going to change the nature of the senior bureaucracy. The Cabinet, instead of the Civil Services Board, continues to have control over appointments made at the highest level. As long as bureaucrats are willing to twist and bend before politicians to get their choice of top postings at the end of a 25-year-long career, the bureaucracy can never be immune to political interference, and let’s not forget post-retirement incentives. Not only incentives, there is fear too. If civil servants begin to believe that even years after retiring, they can be criminally prosecuted for a mistake made in good faith or for a bona fide decision taken on the basis of the data that was available, there will be serious repercussions on the morale of serving officers.

Also, fixed tenure takes away the privilege of Ministers to work with the best officers of their choosing. No system should prevent a Chief Minister from choosing his own Secretary and the Chief Secretary of the State. When there can be alternative procedural safeguards to save honest officers from arbitrary transfers, why impose less-able officers on Ministers? Take the example of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who replaced his Finance Secretary and Chief Economic Adviser, and put together his team. Is that flexibility to be always denied to a Minister?

While it is necessary to stay the hand of politicians, so is it important to reform the bureaucracy. For instance, one-third of the All-India Service officers are “conferred IAS officers” promoted from the State services to key positions such as District Collectors, Secretaries to government and heads of departments. The three to five year security of tenure in key assignments enjoyed by conferred IAS officers is absolute — an almost sure-shot recipe for dishonesty and lack of integrity.

Can you consider the perils of a politically weak future government where every Minister would be answerable to the bureaucrats for the transfers he orders to ensure better administration? The danger of a country that is ruled by the judiciary is bested only by that which is ruled by the bureaucracy — voters cannot end their tenure in office every five years!

ias topper

S. Divyadharshini (AIR- 1, 2010)

"Being confident, dedicated and consistent will help crack the exam"

What were the basic mantras of your success?

Ans: I had put in hard work and was confident that I could clear the exam. So, hard work, dedication and confidence paved way for my success.

What were your strategies for the lengthy syllabus of General Studies for both Prelims and Mains?

Ans: For prelims, I studied extensively concentrating basically on facts. For the mains it was a more intensive study with subject knowledge. Further, internet as a source helped me enormously in my preparation.

What should be the basis of selecting optionals?

Ans: One's interest in the subject should be the prime consideration. Apart from this, availability of guidance and materials of study and the vastness of the syllabus would also form the basis.

How did you plan your optional strategy?

Ans: First, I took Public Administration as my first optional since it was a new subject and covered all sections as per syllabus. Second, I opted for Law, since I had done my graduation in Law, no extra effort was needed, but merely a different strategy to go about the preparation for civil services.

Did you follow the myth that only so called popular optional should be opted?

Ans: No, I felt comfortable with law as an optional though many tried to dissuade me. I felt the syllabus comfortable and interesting so I went about it. Also Public Administration was an interesting subject and had many parts of polity in it so I took it as another option.

What were the sources of information for general reading? How did you come to know that which sources of reading materials are standard?

Ans: My basic source of reading had been the public library. Apart from this, I also had internet as a source but was also cautious to cull out genuine and reliable information there from.

Tell us something about preparation of essay paper.

Ans: I did not prepare separately for essay paper. My GS preparation and my optional papers helped me answer the essay better.

How much time one should devote for this exam?

Ans: To give this exam a fair chance, it needs one and a half years of comprehensive preparation.

Prelims-1 year

Mains- depend upon the optional chosen. But it would take at least 6 months.

Interview- it would take few weeks to a month as it includes preparing of own profile and updating with current affairs.

Which is the most difficult part of this exam and why? What was your strategy to tackle this difficult part?

Ans: I feel, Prelims is the most difficult part, not just because it is tough but because it is highly competitive. I think being cautious in answering the prelims exam with taking few calculated risks would help one clear the exam. But overall this dedication towards the exam and consistent preparation would also help.

Did you integrate your Prelims or Mains preparation or was it separate?

Ans: I built my mains preparation by further building on my prelims preparation. But initially when I started, I had concentrated only on my prelims preparation.

How helpful are the notes? What is your advice on notes-making?

Ans: It had also been my strategy to make my personal notes for each topic that I considered important. It leaves your impression on the answer and further note-making proved important during my refresher, before the prelims exam. So it helped me in a big way towards saving a lot of time.

What are your suggestions for fresher’s ?

Ans: The exam is extremely competitive. So, fresher’s have to work towards that end. Being confident, dedicated and consistent will help crack the exam.

Civil Services Exam process is quite strenuous. It requires long hours of constant study. How did you maintain your tempo and what did you do to break the monotony of preparation?

Ans: I would prepare my notes and then study. It is one laborious exam that goes around for almost a year. I was consistent in my preparation and whenever I would feel burnt out I would take a short break and rejuvenate myself with things that interest me.

The trend suggests that Professionals are more successful in this exam. Does this exam prove difficult for Humanities and Social Science background candidates?

Ans: I don't think that it plays a part in the result. Being a professional cannot be a consideration when you have done your exam well. So it ultimately comes down to the individual preparation.

What should be the best strategy to tackle negative marking?

Ans: Negative marking requires a person to take calculated risks. It makes a person think objectively and not go about taking / relying completely on chances.

How did you prepare for interview?

Ans: My preparation for the interview was profile based and I also concentrated on my background subject Law and my other optional subject Public Administration. Also I was keeping myself prepared on the current hot topics of discussion.

Which type of questions were asked in the interview? Did you answer all?

Ans: The interview was very spontaneous. It depends on the way the candidate answers. I observed that most questions were built upon the answers that I had given.'' I had some questions on travel, law, current topics, RTI, Lokpal, why civil service and a couple of situational questions.

What is your advice to the candidates who have failed in this exam?

Ans: Please don't give up. You would have surely learnt from your unsuccessful attempt. Please correct it and you can surely clear this exam.

samveg ias dehradun

China would replace US as world's largest oil importer: report

China, world's second largest economy, will be the main contributor to the increase in global energy use over the coming decade, after that India will replace it as the world's biggest driving force for energy demand in the 2020s, International Energy Agency (IEA) said here yesterday. Reuters file photo for representation purpose only

Energy-hungry China would replace the US as the world's largest oil importer by the 2020s followed by India, according to a report that said emerging economies are poised to claim most of the global energy supplies.

China, world's second largest economy, will be the main contributor to the increase in global energy use over the coming decade, after that India will replace it as the world's biggest driving force for energy demand in the 2020s, International Energy Agency (IEA) said here yesterday.

China's crude oil imports for 2013 are estimated at 289 million metric tonnes, up 7.3 per cent year-on-year, according to the China National Petroleum Corp Economics and Technology Research Institute in Beijing.

Maria van der Hoeven, executive director of the Paris-based IEA, said the global energy industry is developing to become a more efficient and low-carbon industry.

This is taking place as progress in technology along with high prices are helping to open up new resources, state-run China Daily quoted her as saying.

However, this does not mean the world is on the verge of an era of oil abundance, Van der Hoeven said.

The report said emerging economies would claim most of the global energy supplies over the coming decades.

IEA is an arm of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, an inter-governmental economic think tank among elite economies.

The IEA and six emerging economies — China, India, Russia, South Africa, Brazil and Indonesia — have signed a joint declaration involving closer cooperation with regard to global energy challenges.

"As the global energy map is redrawn, the IEA's 28 member countries face many of the same energy challenges as key emerging economies, and we all share a common interest in building a secure, sustainable energy future," Van der Hoeven said.

samveg ias

Global summit on illegal wildlife trade

The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, will host the highest level global summit to date on combating the illegal wildlife trade in London.

The summit next February, to which 50 heads of state have been invited, aims to tackle the $19 billion-a-year illegal trade in endangered animals, such as elephants and rhinos, by delivering an unprecedented political commitment along with an action plan and the mobilisation of resources. The Prince of Wales and his son, the Duke of Cambridge, who will both attend the summit, have previously highlighted the strong links between wildlife poaching, international criminal syndicates and terrorism and threats to national security. “We face one of the most serious threats to wildlife ever, and we must treat it as a battle — because it is precisely that,” said Prince Charles in May.

Elephant ivory and rhino horn are worth more than illegal diamonds or gold, and the proceeds have been used by rebel groups in African countries, such as al-Shabaab in Somalia and the Lords Resistance Army in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Heads of state from many African countries are expected to attend and the countries where the products are sold, including China and Vietnam, will be represented, though the level of representation is not yet finalised.

The summit will be chaired by Foreign Secretary William Hague and Environment Secretary Owen Paterson. In September, Mr. Hague called the illegal trade “absolutely shocking” and said it was an “issue that affects us all.” Mr. Paterson visited Kenya this month and saw elephants killed by poachers. He will visit China with Mr. Cameron next month.

The level of wildlife crime has soared in recent years, driven by demand form the rapidly expanding middle classes in Asia who value tiger, elephant and rhino products as status symbols. In South Africa 13 rhinos were killed in 2007, but the tally to date in 2013 is 860. 2012 was the worst year for ivory seizures, with the equivalent of the tusks of 30,000 elephants confiscated.

There have also been efforts to tackle the popularity of shark fin soup in Asia, which is one of the reasons that around 100 million sharks are killed annually. Wildaid, a group that uses donated advertising to change public attitudes, has run a campaign on state TV in China featuring movie star Jackie Chan and basketball legend Yao Ming, against shark fin soup.

Prince Charles and William also visited London Zoo on November 26 for a meeting with the conservation alliance United for Wildlife, whose seven member organisations include the zoo, WWF and the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The royals discussed how new technology, such as drones, is being used to fight poaching.

mass ignorance

mass ignorance

One of the worst- kept secrets of the human resource development ministry is the fact that education in India is in a mess. Explosive expansion over the last two decades has failed to mask appalling standards of quality: in this, indeed, we are now at the very bottom of the global ladder.

In 2011, India first participated in world- wide tests of the reading and arithmetical ability of school children. In every test, in every grade tested, India competed desperately with Kyrgyzstan for the last two places. These tests confirmed the results obtained earlier by another organization: in schoollearning outcomes, in 2003, India was among the five worst countries in the world. In the eight years between the tests, we had only deteriorated.

The reactions of the government were entirely predictable. It did nothing about the facts revealed. Claiming that the tests were biased against us, it withdrew India from future world- wide testing. Unfortunately for the government, a very Indian NGO, Pratham, was also testing educational outcomes.

Its revelations were every bit as shocking. To cite just one, less than 20 per cent of Vadodara fourth graders could do sums required for average first- grade competency. We had flunked at the primary level. Our performance at the other end of the spectrum was reflected in the recent QS rankings of universities world- wide. No Indian university figured in the top 200. Some IITs appeared in the 200- 350 range, but the only other Indian institutions in the top 800 were the Universities of Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta and Pune, which sneaked in near the bottom of the distribution. The rankings done by the Times Higher Education Supplement, the US News and World Report and the Shanghai- based Centre for World Class Universities were similar. Our ranks were abysmal — not because these rankings were dominated by the affluent West or Japan or the ' tiger economies'. Kazakhstan alone had 9 universities in the top 800. We were outranked by dozens of universities from China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, South Africa and — yes — Pakistan. Nor did our predicament reflect the overwhelming pressure of numbers.

Jawaharlal Nehru University ranked among the top 50 universities of the world in faculty- student ratio ( the inverse of overcrowding), yet had little else to show for it. In academic accomplishment, as in sports, India, for all its 1.2 billion people, was a cipher.

But while in sports the reasons are in part genetic, there is no genetic explanation of our pathetic scholastic achievements. Children of Indian ( and Chinese) immigrants are the highest performers in American schools. And while immigrants naturally constitute a biased sample, a genetically handicapped group cannot possibly register such spectacular success. The problem lies not in us but in our educational system. Innumerable deficiencies of the latter have been highlighted — from mass teacher absenteeism to lack of infrastructure and of teaching and study materials.

Pratham's studies, however, suggest that, while absenteeism certainly affects outcomes, infrastructural expenditure does not. The crucial factor is the match between the student's absorptive capacity and the level at which he or she is taught. Pratham's tests conclusively establish that when weaker students are taught separately ( as in Pratham's Balsakhi programme), their scores improve dramatically.

Teaching needs to be tailored to the ability of the specific student. A heterogeneous class needs to be stratified according to ability levels with those at each level being taught separately.

This elementary educational principle has eluded the authors of the Right to Education Act and its judicial interpreters. If resource constraints preclude several teachers teaching at different levels in each class, the class must itself be homogenized. The only way of doing so is to deny promotion from lower classes to those who have not attained the minimum standard required.

Instead, the act mandates automatic promotion up to Class VIII. In consequence, laggards learn nothing at all: they fall further and further behind the general level with each successive promotion and reach Class VIII with an educational backlog of many wasted years. En route , they enact shockers like the Vadodara drama that Pratham recorded. Teachers who are sensitive to the plight of laggards have to reduce their teaching standards; the better students are then no longer intellectually stimulated so that their intellectual potential is undermined.

Our passion for political correctness, for the symbols, not the substance, of equal opportunity perpetuates mass ignorance under the garb of the right to education. We establish our egalitarian credentials by giving educationally backward children access to an educational process that, we have ensured (again in the name of equality), is completely opaque to them.

Precisely the same problem bedevils our universities. The gradual expansion of reservations has increased diversity in each class, not only in student backgrounds but also in their academic preparedness — with no provision however for parallel teaching at different levels.

The teacher therefore faces an invidious choice: he can teach at a level commensurate with proclaimed course content and confront the blank, uncomprehending stares of half the class or pitch his teaching several levels lower, inducing boredom in the other half and ensuring that they cannot compete with students of their own age educated in university systems less pseudo- egalitarian than ours. The politician's solution: dilute standards of evaluation and admission everywhere, turning universities into factories for mass production of degrees not worth the paper they are written on. Meanwhile, as education expands, semi- literate degree- holders become teachers, transmitting their ignorance to posterity.

Israel, with its inflow of Jewish immigrants from quite incredibly diversified backgrounds, not only the affluent US and western Europe, but regions like Yemen, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and Mizoram, has heterogeneity problems as complex, though not as numerous, as ours. Unlike us, however, Israel has a solution. Students below minimum general standards are allowed an additional year for their degrees.

This is a preliminary year of compulsory intensive preparation to catch up with the general average. At year- end, they take next year's admission tests and join the general stream if they reach the minimum standards required — and 95 per cent of them do. Could we, for the sake of the future of our education, implement such a scheme? One doubts that the politicians in government and in education will permit it: it offers no electoral dividend.

24 November 2013

samveg ias

Child Marriages in India

Child Marriage in India is a matter of serious concern. Child Marriage denies a child the basic right to good health, nutrition and education. It is widely acknowledged that early marriage makes girls more vulnerable to violence, abuse and exploitation. For both girls and boys, marriage has a strong physical, intellectual, psychological and emotional impact, cutting off educational opportunities and chances of personal growth. While boys are also affected by child marriage, this is an issue that impacts upon girls in far larger numbers and with more intensity, so much so that nearly half of women age 18-29 (46 percent) and more than one-quarter of men age 21-29 (27 percent) are estimated to have married before reaching the legal minimum age at marriage (NFHS III). It is believed that the main reasons for early marriage are cultural factors, social practices and economic pressures interacting with poverty and inequality. Thus, the issue of child marriage is steeped in several multi-dimensional social, economic, cultural and community related aspects. Legislation forbidding child marriage in pre-independent India was put in place in 1929. The child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929 primarily focussed on restraining the solemnization of child marriages.

The Union Government has endeavoured to curb the practice in recent years through repealing Child Marriage Restraint Act of 1929 and bringing in a more progressive Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 that includes punitive measures against those who perform, permit and promote child marriage. Under this Act, child marriage is defined as the marriage of males below the age of 21 years, and females below 18 years. It also provides for annulment of a child marriage and gives a separated female the right to maintenance and residence from her husband if he is above 18 or in-laws if he is a minor until she is remarried. This Act came into effect in November 2007. The States are vested with powers to formulate rules for implementation of this legislation and carrying out the provisions. As per information provided by the States/UTs, so far 24 UTs/ States have framed rules and 20 States/UTs have appointed Child Marriage Prohibition Officers. The Central Government is regularly pursuing with the State Governments for appointment of Child Marriage Prohibition Officers and notification of state Rules.

The National Plan of Action for children 2005 also includes goals on eradicating child marriage. One of the notable initiatives taken by India towards protection of children including the girl child has been the establishment of a National Commission for Protection of Child Rights in 2007 for proper enforcement of children’s rights and effective implementation of laws and programs relating to children. Several National level policies formulated since 2000, including the National Population Policy 2000,the National Youth Policy 2003 and the National Adolescent Reproductive and Sexual Health Strategy have advocated delaying the age at marriage and the age of conceiving the first child.

The Women and Child Development Ministry has taken a number of steps to enhance the status of girl child and to address the problem of child marriage:

• To promote sensitization and awareness on the girl child, the Government has declared January 24 of every year as ‘National Girl Child Day’.

• Every year, State Governments are requested to take special initiative to delay marriage on AkhaTeej—the traditional day for such marriages, by coordinated efforts.

• Workshops, seminars and legal awareness camps are organized to bring attitudinal changes to prevent child marriage.

• SABLA, a Scheme for empowering adolescent girls, has been launched in 200 districts of the country from 19th November 2010. The Scheme aims at empowering adolescent girls (11-18 years) by improving their nutritional and health status and upgrading various skills like home skills, life skills and vocational skills etc. and building awareness on various issues. They would also be sensitized towards the importance marriage at the right age. By empowering adolescent girls, who can say no to early marriage, the Scheme would also address the issue of child marriage.

• A National Consultation on Prevention of Child Marriage was organized on 25th May 2012 in New Delhi. The discussions in the consultation primarily centred on legislative and implementation aspects of Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (PCMA) 2006 and other related laws. It was agreed in the consultation that Information, Education and Communication (IEC) measures and advocacy particularly, after vulnerability mapping was the way forward for addressing social attitude that perpetrates child marriage. Convergence between various Central Departments and Ministries, and a coordinated inter-departmental action for effective implementation of the relevant schemes and programmes of the Centre and State Government on child marriage was also emphasized.

• A National Strategy on Child Marriage prevention focusing on law enforcement, access to quality education and other opportunities, changing mind sets and social norms, empowerment of adolescents etc. was prepared in December 2012.

• Based on the strategy, a draft National Plan of Action on prevention of Child Marriage was prepared with the following main objectives:

i) To enforce PCMA 2006 and related laws and policies to protect children and adolescents against child marriage and promote gender equality.

ii) To promote the right to quality education at all levels with a special emphasis on girls.

iii) To generate a change in social norms and attitudes regarding child marriage and the role and status of girls in society.

iv) To empower and build capacities of adolescent boys and girls to access services and make informed decisions in matters affecting their lives.

v) To generate knowledge and data to inform programmes and policies.

vi) To develop and establish monitoring and evaluation systems to measure outcomes.

vii) To enhance convergence across line Ministries, departments and other stakeholders.

The draft Plan of Action was discussed in a Regional Consultation at Lucknow on 8th July 2013 and in a National Consultation at New Delhi on 18th July 2013.Based on the deliberations, the National Plan of Action is being finalized .The National Plan of Action defines goals, objectives, and strategies besides delineating roles of different stakeholder. It adopts strategic interventions which will be implemented by various stake holders viz. Central Government, State Governments, local self governments, Civil Society, and NGOs using convergent and multi-dimensional approaches

22 November 2013

Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM) -INFORMATION

Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM) is a massive city-modernisation scheme launched by the Government of India under Ministry of Urban Development
It envisages a total investment of over $20 billion over seven years. Named after Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, the scheme was officially inaugurated by prime minister Manmohan Singh on 3 December 2005 as a programme meant to improve the quality of life and infrastructure in the cities. It was launched in 2005 for a seven-year period (up to March 2012) to encourage cities to initiate steps for bringing phased improvements in their civic service levels. The government has extended the tenure of the mission for two years, i.e., from April 2012 to March 31, 2014.
JnNURM is a huge mission which relates primarily to development in the context of urban conglomerates focusing to the Indian cities. JnNURM aims at creating ‘economically productive, efficient, equitable and responsive Cities’ by a strategy of upgrading the social and economic infrastructure in cities, provision of Basic Services to Urban Poor (BSUP)[2] and wide-ranging urban sector reforms to strengthen municipal governance in accordance with the 74th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1992.

JnNURM is a unique project dedicated to the redevelopment of India's cities, as India has traditionally primarily focused on the development of rural areas, especially its underdeveloped villages.
As per the 2011 census, India is home to about 1.21 billion people, making it one of the most densely populated areas of the world. However, it was also estimated that 68.9% of India's population lies in rural areas. Urban India is fast growing but sometimes in unplanned ways.
India is benchmarked to be the next superpower that held a steady growth rate during the recent recession. But unplanned growth has taken a toll on urban India, especially due to problems in the rural agricultural sector. The rising population due to migration from rural to urban areas and other factors have contributed to the increase of slums and degradation of cities due to lack of planning.
Inadequate infrastructure, rising population rates as well as rising urban poverty are major causes to the degradation of the cities. Hence, the government of India has taken up the initiative to redevelop urban towns and cities by developing infrastructure, municipal reforms and providing aid to the state governments and the urban local bodies (ULBs). As per the information in the JnNURM mission brochure as launched by the authorities, cities and towns account for 30 percent of the country's population, contributing 50–55 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). The degrading conditions in cities have forced the government to rethink their strategies to adhere to the socio-economic objectives of the country.


  • Focused attention relating to infrastructural services in the context of integrated development is to be covered under the mission.
  • Make efficient and increase self-sustaining capabilities of cities as per the sector proving infrastructural services by securing the linkages between asset creation and asset management
  • Ensure adequate investment of funds to fulfill deficiencies in the urban infrastructural services.
  • Planned development of identified cities including peri-urban areas, out growths, urban corridors, so that urbanization takes place in a dispersed manner.
  • Scale up delivery of civic amenities and provision of utilities with emphasis on universal access to urban poor.
  • To take up urban renewal programme, i.e., re-development of inner (old) cities area to reduce congestion


    JnNURM primarily incorporates two sub-missions into its program:
    • The Sub-Mission for Urban Infrastructure and Governance administered by the Ministry of Urban Development, with a focus on water supply and sanitation, solid waste management, road network, urban transport and redevelopment of old city areas.
    • The Sub-Mission for Basic Services to the Urban Poor (BSUP)administered by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation with a focus on integrated development of slums.
    In addition to this, it has two further components:
    • The Sub-Mission for Urban Infrastructure Development of Small & Medium Towns (UIDSSMT) administered by the Ministry of Urban Development, with a focus on subsuming the schemes of Integrated Development of Small and Medium Towns (IDSMT) and Accelerated Urban Water Supply Programme (AUWSP) which aim at planned urban infrastructural improvement in towns and cities under its purview.
    • The Sub-Mission for Integrated Housing and Slum Development Programme (IHSDP) administered by Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (MHUPA) was envisaged and brought into effect in 1993–94 in accordance with providing the entire population with safe and adequate water supply facilities. 
    • The program is mainly implemented in towns with populations less than 20,000 as per the 1991 census.ACities/UAs with 4 million plus population as per 2001 census07BCities/UAs with 1 million plus but less than 4 million population as per 2001 census28CSelected cities/UAs (state capitals and other cities/UAs of religious/historic and touristic importance)28

Samveg IAS

53 p.c. of Indian households defecate in open: World Bank
As World Toilet Day was marked on Tuesday, India’s sanitation and toilet statistics continue to raise a stink. The World Health Organization and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimate that there are more than 620 million people practising open defecation in the country; over 50 per cent of the population.

Moreover, the latest Census data reveals that the percentage of households having access to television and telephones in rural India exceeds the percentage of households with access to toilet facilities. The economic impact of inadequate sanitation is about Rs. 2.4 trillion ($38.4 million), or 6.4 percent of India’s gross domestic product, according to the Water and Sanitation Programme.

According to a World Bank Report, released on Monday, access to improved sanitation can increase cognition among children. Further, Indian households defecating in the open, absence of toilet or latrine is one of the important contributors to malnutrition.

“Our research showed that six-year-olds, who had been exposed to India’s sanitation programme during their first year of life, were more likely to recognise letters and simple numbers on learning tests than those who were not,” said Dean Spears, lead author of the paper ‘Effects of Early - Life Exposure to Sanitation on Childhood Cognitive Skills.’

The paper studies the effects on childhood cognitive achievement of early life exposure to India’s Total Sanitation Campaign, a national scale government programme that encouraged local governments to build and promote use of inexpensive pit latrines.

“This is important news - the study suggests that low-cost rural sanitation strategies such as India’s Total Sanitation Campaign can support children’s cognitive development,” Ms. Spears said.

Threat to human capital

The results also suggest that open defecation is an important threat to human capital of developing countries and that a program accessible to countries where sanitation development capacity is lower could improve average cognitive skills.

According to UNICEF, hand washing with soap particularly after contact with excreta, can reduce diarrhoeal diseases by over 40 per cent and respiratory infections by 30 per cent. Diarrhoea and respiratory infections are the number one cause for child deaths in India.

With 638 million people defecating in the open and 44 per cent mothers disposing their children’s faeces in the open, there is a very high risk of microbial contamination (bacteria, viruses, amoeba) of water which causes diarrhoea in children.

Children weakened by frequent diarrhoea episodes are more vulnerable to malnutrition and opportunistic infections such as pneumonia. About 48 per cent of children are suffering from some degree of malnutrition.

According to Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan, government’s programme to solve ‘toilet crisis’ in India, by 2017 the country will be declared as free from open defecation.

Frederick Sanger, double Nobel winner, dies at 95

Frederick Sanger, double Nobel winner, dies at 95

British biochemist Frederick Sanger, who twice won the Nobel Prize in chemistry and was a pioneer of genome sequencing, has died at the age of 95.

The laboratory praised Sanger, who died in his sleep Tuesday at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, as an “extremely modest and self—effacing man whose contributions have made an extraordinary impact on molecular biology.”

Sanger was one of just four individuals to have been awarded two Nobel Prizes; the others being Marie Curie, Linus Pauling and John Bardeen.

Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, called Sanger “the father of the genomic era.”

Sanger first won the Nobel Prize in 1958 at the age of 40 for his work on the structure of proteins. He had determined the sequence of the amino acids in insulin and showed how they are linked together.

That work led to Sanger’s second Nobel Prize, awarded jointly in 1980 with Stanford University’s Paul Berg and Harvard University’s Walter Gilbert, for their work determining base sequences in nucleic acids.

Venki Ramakrishnan, deputy director of the MRC Laboratory, said it would be “impossible to overestimate the impact” Sanger had on modern genetics and molecular biology.

Sanger was born on Aug. 13, 1918, in Gloucestershire, southwestern England. While he initially planned to study medicine like his father, he switched fields and earned a degree in natural sciences from Cambridge University 1939. A conscientious objector in World War II, he went on to earn a PhD working on protein metabolism from the same university.

In addition to the Nobel Prizes, Sanger was made a fellow of the Royal Society in 1954, Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1963 and the Order of Merit in 1986.

Sanger declined a knighthood, however, because he preferred not to be called “sir,” according to the laboratory he helped found.

According to The Sanger Institute, when he was asked if he would mind an institute being named after him, Sanger agreed but said “It had better be good.”

Sanger is survived by three children Robin, Peter and Sally.


Criminality in the Indian political system

Criminality in the Indian political system

In their own long-term interest, all political parties must jointly agree to stop sponsoring criminal candidates

Criminality in politics, or more pointedly, criminals sitting in our Parliament and legislatures, is an issue that has for long been debated in many forums and has also been at the forefront of reform proposals sent by the Election Commission of India (ECI) to the government. With elections to five States under way, and the 16th General Election due to be completed before May 31, 2014, India is now gripped by that special fever that besets us every five years. Unexpectedly, part of the backdrop already stands influenced by a few recent decisions of the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court has importantly passed three orders that relate directly to the conduct of elections. The first relates to the distribution of “freebies”, wherein the ECI has been asked to frame guidelines in consultation with political parties. The second is directing the installation of the None-of-The-Above (NOTA) button in the Electronic Voting Machines, which has already been implemented in the current round of Assembly elections. The third is the court’s order of July 10, 2013 in the Lily Thomas vs Union of India matter, wherein the Supreme Court has declared unconstitutional Section 8 (4) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. The importance of this order cannot be overemphasised. The position that prevailed before this order was enacted was that all convicted MPs and MLAs enjoyed a three-month period in which to appeal against their conviction, and during this period they crucially retained their memberships in Parliament or legislatures respectively. What has changed is that while they still have the right to appeal, now they immediately cease to be members the House. While previously they were able to file appeals within the stipulated three months without giving up their membership, they managed, in effect, to remain MPs or MLAs often for long years after their terms had expired. Not only have these orders already impacted the elections under way but they will continue to have a profound impact on cleansing our political system.

The Lily Thomas matter was applied by the court prospectively and not retrospectively. The court would have had many reasons not to apply its order retrospectively, not the least of which is that it would possibly have thrown our current polity into disarray. Be that as it may, in the present and future, every parliamentarian or legislator who stands convicted for an offence that leads to a sentence of imprisonment for two years and more, will also be debarred from contesting an election for six years after his or her prison term ends. Moreover and equally importantly, there are offences which are already on the statute book and where conviction (even without sentence of imprisonment) leads to disqualification. These include conviction for rape, for promoting enmity and hatred between and among different classes or groups, conviction relating to bribery, and conviction under the Prevention of Corruption Act, the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA) and The Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002 (POTA). Once again, since the grace period for remaining an MP or MLA has ended, this in effect means that the six year axe of debarment comes immediately into operation in these categories of cases as well.

Criminals among MPs, MLAs

Close on the heels of this order, the nation witnessed the jailing of Lalu Prasad, the president of a once nationally recognised political party, the RJD, as well as Rasheed Masood, a former Minister and sitting MP of the Rajya Sabha. While both stand debarred from contesting elections for six years after their jail terms are completed, in effect such a long banishment might well put an end to their political careers. For, as is well known, politics abhors a vacuum.

The abhorrence of criminality in politics is a common thread running through practically every student audience I have addressed across India in the last seven years. They are well aware of the figures compiled by non-governmental organisations such as NEW and ADR from the affidavits submitted to the ECI by contestants. Two vital orders of the Supreme Court in 2002 and 2003 made it compulsory for all candidates to file information regarding any and all criminal cases pending against them, as well as figures of the combined wealth or assets of the candidates and their spouses, and indeed their educational qualifications. With this information, the court hoped that voters could make informed choices about whom to vote for or not. Most of my student audiences knew the statistics; that in the present Parliament as many as 30 per cent of sitting Lok Sabha MPs and 31 per cent of Rajya Sabha MPs have criminal cases pending against them, that the Bihar Assembly (2010) has a high of 58 per cent criminals among its MLAs, while the Uttar Pradesh Assembly (2012) has 41 per cent. The Congress has 21 per cent declared criminals; the Bharatiya Janata Party has 31 per cent. At the other extreme, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha has 82 per cent criminals among its MPs and MLAs.

Is it any surprise then that student audiences inevitably ask what is the point of clean election processes if the end result is to elect tainted men and women?

When the government decided to rush headlong into enacting an Ordinance to counter the July 10, 2013 Order of the Supreme Court, this resulted in a surge of public sentiment bordering on revulsion, against what would arguably have been a very regressive step in the development of our democratic institutions. The dramatic demise of the proposed Ordinance ironically became a critically important milestone in the strengthening of our democratic edifice, which I think many of us realise is still a work in progress.

Three issues

In the rash of commentaries that followed the Supreme Court Order of July 10, followed in turn by the legislative proposals sought to be placed before the winter session of Parliament and finally by the Ordinance that the Cabinet cleared, I would like to comment on three issues. First, it is no secret that many politicians have their own criminal elements to protect and whom they need to use in elections to round up voters. They spend clandestinely and sometimes devise mafia-like strategies to reinforce the “winnability” concept that has now come to be the “mantra” which has displaced any truly democratic relationship between candidates and the public whom they seek to represent. Hence the political establishment quickly closed ranks in favour of the Ordinance.

The second issue to my mind was whether the President (who called in senior Ministers for consultation to raise questions and seek clarifications), would have signed this Ordinance, or whether he would have just let it asphyxiate itself.

The third issue is that it took Rahul Gandhi to speak out and publicly criticise the Ordinance. In the aftermath of his intervention, the cacophony of opinions on our news channels reached a crescendo. One of the few voices that I managed to hear over the din of panellists and anchors, was that of The Hindu’s N. Ram, who cut aside all rhetoric on the non-use of parliamentary language by saying, “Rahul Gandhi single-handedly killed the wretched Ordinance. Instead of acknowledging that, do we need to make a fuss about the words he used?”

For what we must also recognise is that if this Ordinance had been passed, it would have officially endorsed that criminality in parliamentary ranks was perfectly acceptable. It would also have rendered our elected representatives even more distant from our people. Not only that, it would almost certainly have put the Executive and the Supreme Court on a collision course, leading to unnecessarily troubled relations between vital institutions. We have only to look in our own neighbourhood to understand how such conflicts have in varying measure stunted the growth of democratic structures.

I read in the press with increasing disappointment that many political leaders and parties including the Congress and the BJP have since given the ticket in these elections to either criminals or to their family members as proxies. This, sadly, concedes the “winnability” factor over “clean” politics.

Surely the time is finally here for all political parties to jointly agree to step away from sponsoring criminal candidates. It would be in their long-term interest to do so, because now some ground realities have changed, for upon conviction such candidates would have to resign anyway and make way for by-elections. In the short-term, they may win an election, but in the longer term they will, once again, strike a blow to the development of a healthy, wholesome and robust democracy that our freedom fighters fought for, and our constitutional framers had envisaged.


Shuchita Kishore, IAS Topper 2010: You are all alone at some point during the struggle

Young woman from Lucknow, Shuchita Kishore, who got 39th position in the Civil Services Exam 2010, spoke to Gulshan Sharma of jagranjosh.com

Shuchita’s is the story of an ordinary but determined girl. Drawing her inspiration from the interviews of IAS toppers and closely following their advice, this young woman from Lucknow finally realised her dream of becoming a civil servant in her third attempt. Shuchita means pure, simple and honest. That’s exactly how this slim and tall young woman of 27 comes across as she makes an effort to smile in front of the camera. Thoughtful and composed in her Salwar Kurta, the 39th ranker in the UPSC Civil Services exam 2010 opines that diplomacy must precede military action as she hopes to become an IFS officer.

One of the four daughters of retired UP government official Mr RK Srivastava, Shuchita could not clear the Prelims in her first attempt at the UPSC due to lack of proper guidance. The second attempt was encouraging as she managed to reach the interview stage. Finally in 2011, Shuchita’s efforts paid off as she secured 39th rank in the Civil Services exam 2010. The hard work clearly reflects in her eyes as she recalls, “It was not that easy to go in for three consecutive attempts but I derived strength from my belief in God.”

As she pursues her PhD in English Literature from Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, Shuchita takes pride in showing the copies of IAS interviews that she read way back in 2004 in Jagran Josh. The young diplomat in the making first decided to be a civil servant when she was in class 7 and considers 1996 UPSC topper Mr Iqbal Singh Dhaliwal and 2005 UPSC topper Mona Pruthi her role models. Shuchita loves reading literature and quizzing is her favourite hobby.

Shuchita Kishore went through schooling in Lucknow where she scored 89% and 86% in her class 10 and 12 exams. She then joined Lucknow University from where she completed her BA in Political Science and English Literature with 67%. On graduating from the Lucknow University, she moved to New Delhi to do her Masters in English Literature from JNU. She is currently pursuing her PhD from the JNU itself, the library of which is popularly known as the UPSC hall. Shuchita recognises the importance of educational institutions known for excellence but does not shy away from saying, “It’s not the institutions that make individuals. It’s the people who make institutions.”

Advice to IAS aspirants

Quoting Rig-Veda, Shuchita says, “Let noble thoughts come to us from all sides.” She also identifies with Gandhi’s talisman as she understands the importance of a civil servant whose decisions can affect the entire nation in some way or the other. Shuchita has a word of advice for IAS aspirants as she suggests, “Think about the nation. Try to develop a vision. Never lose hope and with strong determination and hard work, there is nothing that will stop you from succeeding in UPSC exam and life.” She further adds, “You could well be the first person from your school or college to crack the Civil Services exam.”
If you find this Story Inspirational then please share it with Others

samveg IAS


1 November 2013




Diwali is the festival of lights, but we end up adding waste and pollution to our environs. Other than lighting of lamps, drawing rangolis and feasting on sweetmeats, festivities involve bursting of crackers and playing with sparklers during the entire span of 3-5 days, usually between mid-October and mid-November.

Wide range of chemicals right from cellulose nitrate, charcoal, sulphur and potassium nitrate present as ingredients in the fire-crackers and sparklers, give off a range of pollutants when they are burnt. Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM), Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM), Oxides of Nitrogen and Sulphur Dioxide levels in the atmosphere which indicate air quality almost double and sometimes treble during Diwali. Added to this, falling temperature and wind velocity during these days slows down pollutant dispersal and further ups the levels of pollutants. This in turn is enough to cause respiratory distress to even otherwise healthy individuals, forget the asthmatics who usually suffer the most when air pollution increases. Heavy smog hangs low in the air on Diwalinight and a few days after that.

In the long run, air pollution can lead to lung cancer, cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, and allergies in adults. It can also cause acute respiratory infections in children.
·         Suspended particulate matter can cause asthma, bronchitis, and other respiratory disease.
·         Sulfur dioxide can damage lungs and lead to lung disorders like wheezing and shortness of breath.
·         Oxides of Nitrogen can cause skin problems, eye irritation, and cause respiratory problems in children.
·         Chemicals used in crackers like lead, magnesium, cadmium, nitrate, sodium, and others can have various harmful effects.
·         Heavy metals remain in the atmosphere for long and then get oxidised before entering the food chain through vegetables

It’s not just atmospheric pollutants, but the noise levels of the bursting crackers also deserve special mention. Human ears can only tolerate sounds upto 85 decibels but the sounds of crackers exceed 140 decibels.  The number of noisy crackers is usually more in Diwali which causes a lot of discomfort to heart patients and the elderly. Noise pollution can cause hearing loss, high blood pressure, heart attack and sleep disturbances. Hence, Crackers should not be burst outside hospitals, old age homes and residences of heart patients. The Union Environment and Forest Ministry had issued notification on October 5, 1999, besides; the Supreme Court had also issued instructions for the prevention of pollution from loudspeakers and other instruments making high sound and firecrackers. In these instructions, it is stipulated to ban firecrackers having more than 145 decibel sound.
The amount of garbage released on the day after Diwali is phenomenal. Approximately 4,000-8000 additional metric tonnes of garbage are released in each metropolis during Diwali celebrations. And this garbage is extremely hazardous for the environment as it comprises of chemicals like phosphorous, sulphur and potassium chlorate, and tonnes of burnt paper.  Many people get injured in fire accidents caused by the crackers every year. Most of the victims are children in the age group of 8-16.  
However, Diwali can be made safer and happier if certain precautions are taken during celebrations. To mention few, crackers producing noise should not be burst between 10 PM. and 6 A.M; crackers which bear the Supreme Court instructions and noise pollution levels alone should be purchased; prohibit use of crackers in areas within 100 meters of hospitals, educational institutions, courts and religious places);spread awareness about the noise and air pollution that they cause; protect your children by avoiding loud noise. Minor damage at a young age can lead to major hearing loss and refrain from buying fire crackers which exceed prescribed noise limit.
Crackers cause tremendous air and noise pollution, trouble animals and infants, old and cause fatal accidents. There are other ways like lighting Diyas, distributing sweets, gifts, through which we can celebrate our festivals.Diwali is a festival to enjoy and celebrate, but we should not celebrate it at the cost of someone else’s ill-health and discomfort. No doubt, these days awareness with regards to pollution is on the rise and cracker sales are coming down,  but let’s pledge “cracker-free Diwali” and motivate friends and relatives to promote ‘No Crackers’ campaign. This will help save environment and also make this literally a festival of lights than a festival of noisy fire-crackers!

Happy, colourful, bright Diwali!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


From 179th to IAS topper: Haritha Kumar's amazing story

'One of my friends called to say I had topped the exam. I thought it was a prank. Later, he brought me a printout of the UPSC Web site displaying the results. My name was right on top!'
Kerala's first UPSC topper in 22 years shares her awesome story.
Haritha Kumar created history last week by standing first in India's elite civil services examination.
Thiruvananthapuram-born Kumar became the first person from Kerala to have topped the Union Public Service Commission, UPSC, examination in 22 years.
"It was my childhood dream to become an IAS officer," the 26 year old told Rediff.comover the telephone from her home in Thycaud, Thiruvananthapuram. "And now it is finally coming true."
Over the weekend, Dr Shashi Tharoor, the Lok Sabha MP from Thiruvananthapuram, called on her to congratulate her and her family.
"I am happy, tired and busy," says Kumar of the cheerful chaos surrounding her at the moment.
This was her fourth attempt -- she has been appearing for the civil services exam every year since 2009. "I did not qualify the first time. I reappeared the next year and secured 179th rank. The following year my rank slipped to 294. In my last attempt in 2011, I missed being selected for the IAS because I was short of 18 marks. So I chose the IRS (the Indian Revenue Service), but I did not want to give up on my IAS dream. I tried again this year," she explains.
She is currently undergoing training for the IRS in Faridabad, Haryana, and that's where she was when the UPSC results were announced on Friday.
She can now give up the IRS for the elite IAS.
Her father Vijay Kumar runs a construction business while mother Chitra is a homemaker. Her twin brothers, Safdheerth and Sasdharsh, are proud of her achievement; Sasdharsh is busy preparing for the civil services exam this year.
In the following pages, the UPSC topper takes us through the moments that led to achieving her dream.
Please click NEXT to continue reading...
'My name was right on top! I simply could not believe it!'

upsc schedule 2013/2014- Be prepared

Featured post


    Heartfelt congratulations to all my dear student .this was outstanding performance .this was possible due to ...