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Why in News?


The Madras High Court directed the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to issue advertisements in all leading newspapers in the country stating that the court had banned homework for Class I and II students and that stringent action would be taken against affiliated schools if complaints were received with regard to violation of the court order.


·        The court issued the directive after observing that the CBSE’s circular about the ban imposed by the court on May 29, may not serve any purpose unless the general public and NGOs were made aware of the court order and encouraged to lodge complaints.

·        The court said the advertisement should also publicise the court order that no subject other than mathematics and language should be taught in Classes I and II and that students of Classes III to V could be taught environmental science as an additional subject.

·        Schools that do not comply with the order will lose their affiliation.




Acting on a case filed by advocate M. Purushothaman, Madras High Court  had on May 29,2018 ordered that none of the schools in the country, irrespective of the board to which they were affiliated, could prescribe homework for Classes I and II and teach more subjects than what had been recommended by NCERT.


Key Words: Homework, Children, School education, NCERT





Why in News?


Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) suffers from a “lack of visibility” in the region, said the envoys of the seven member grouping and called for the speedy conclusion of a Free Trade Agreement within the group.


·        Initially FTA which was negotiated in 2004.

·        BIMSTEC FTA will boost intra-regional trade from its present level of 7% to 21%.


The envoys also spoke about the need for the upcoming summit to promote security issues including “terrorism and violent extremism” in the region.


Key Words: BIMSTEC-FTA, Regional trade



Why in News?


Rajya Sabha Chairman and Lok Sabha Speaker urged Members of Parliament to generously contribute from their MPLADS funds for relief and rehabilitation works in flood affected Kerala.


The Guidelines of Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme has provision that in the event of ‘Calamity of severe nature’ in any part of the country, an MP can recommend works up to a maximum of Rs. 1 cr. for the affected district.

·        The guidelines further say that from the day an MP makes such contribution, concerned authorities have to identify relief works in one month time and the same should be implemented within eight months.


Key Words: MPLADS, Natural disaster

Taliban rejects Ghani’s truce offer

Why in News?

The Taliban rejected an Afghan government offer of a ceasefire and it would persist with their attacks, while insurgents ambushed three buses and kidnapped nearly 200 passengers travelling for a holiday.

The Taliban commanders said their supreme leader rejected President Ashraf Ghani’s Sunday offer of a three-month ceasefire, beginning with this week’s Id al-Adha Muslim holiday.

In June, the Taliban observed a government ceasefire over the three-day Id ul-Fitr festival, leading to unprecedented scenes of government soldiers and militants embracing on front lines, and raising hopes for talks.

But the Taliban said the June ceasefire had only helped U.S. forces, who the Taliban are trying to drive out of the country.

Taliban leader Sheikh Haibatullah Akhunzada rejected the new offer on the grounds it would only help the U.S.-led mission.

An official in Mr. Ghani's office said the three-month-long ceasefire declared by the government was conditional, and if the Taliban did not respect it, the government would maintain military operation.

Keywords – Afghanistan, Taliban, ceasefire.

Russia invites Taliban to Sept. talks

Why in News?

Russia said it was preparing international peace talks on Afghanistan on September 4 and has invited the Taliban.

The talks were “in the framework of launching a process of national reconciliation in Afghanistan”.

In April 2017, Moscow hosted an international conference on Afghanistan with representatives from Afghanistan, India, Iran, China, Pakistan, and five former Soviet republics in Central Asia.

Keywords – Russia, Afghanistan, Taliban, peace talks.

Greece and the Eurozone bailout

Why in News?

Greece emerged from the biggest bailout in economic history after nine years of creditor-mandated austerity, with European institutions hailing the exit a success.

The milestone weans the debt-burdened eurozone member off financial lifelines offered on three occasions by creditors over the best part of a decade, and the country will now need to support itself.

Athens will rely on bond markets to refinance its debt, officially leaving behind a crisis that shrank its economy by a quarter and pushed many into poverty.

Since early 2010, Greece has relied on more than €260 billion ($300 billion) lent by its eurozone partners and the International Monetary Fund.

Keywords – Greece, Eurozone, bailout.

Govt., judiciary too responsible for NPAs’

Why in News?

State Bank of India Chairman Rajnish Kumar has held everyone including the government and the judiciary responsible in their own way for the sharp rise in non-performing assets (NPAs) in recent years.

·        He cited the retrospective cancellation of coal mine allocations as an example and asked how an industrialist who had taken an investment decision could have foreseen such an event.

·        According to ratings agency Crisil, gross NPAs rose to about ₹10.3 lakh crore, or 11.2% of advances, as of March 2018, compared with ₹8 lakh crore, or 9.5% of advances, in the year-earlier period.

·        According to Mr. Kumar, a major factor for the surge in NPAs had been consortium lending, which often led to inordinate delays in loan appraisal.

·        Multiple banking, the successor to consortium banking, too had not helped speed up decision-making but had only led to more NPAs, he opined.

·        It would be crucial in future to ensure that the promised equity was very much available in the business while evaluating a financing proposal.

Keywords – NPAs, SBI Chairman, Rajnish Kumar.

Credit registry and RBI Act

Why in News?

The Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934, may need to be amended to facilitate the setting of a public credit registry (PCR), RBI Deputy Governor Viral Acharya said.

The PCR is planned as an extensive database of credit information for all credit products in the country from point of origination of credit to its termination.

Its main benefit would be to provide lenders with a 360 degree view of the borrower’s outstanding credits and past performance. This would allow better screening at the time of providing credit and superior monitoring during the life of the borrowing.

Legal issues around setting up the PCR-

While the PCR is initially being set up within the existing RBI infrastructure, the fact that the RBI as a statutory corporation can only engage in those activities that are permitted by the RBI Act, or other relevant legislation, creates complications.

In addition to its core central banking functions, RBI also performs certain promotional functions which is only limited to ‘financial institutions’.

Since no financing activity is contemplated for the proposed PCR, it might be difficult to label PCR as a ‘financial institution’.

This takes it out of the purview of a promotion under the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934.


Other options

Another option, would be to promote an organisation for a matter incidental to the functions of RBI — as part of the RBI Act or Banking Regulation Act, 1949.

Collection of information, including credit information, from regulated entities is an important aspect of the RBI’s regulatory and supervisory functions and hence such an activity could be done by setting up a subsidiary or a department.

Otherwise, the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934, can be suitably amended conferring the Reserve Bank powers to conduct the business of PCR.

In October 2017, RBI had set up a high-level task force (HTF) chaired by Y.M. Deosthalee to review the availability of information on credit and assess the gaps.

The HTF submitted its report on April 4, 2018, recommending that a PCR should be set up by the RBI in a phased and modular manner.

With such an infrastructure in place “we expect the costs for onboarding those users who are currently excluded by formal credit to nosedive.”

Keywords – Public Credit Registry, RBI Act, 1934.

Southern States outshine rest of India in mobile banking’

Why in News?

Southern States are outshining the rest of India in mobile banking adoption in savings accounts, according to a report by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

The report was prepared in association with FICCI and Indian Banks’ Association.

Telangana tops the table with 10% of savings bank accounts having at least one mobile banking transaction in the last six months of FY18, according to the report.

This is followed by Andhra Pradesh (6.30%), Karnataka (5.50%), Puducherry (5.80%), Tamil Nadu (5%) and Kerala (4.70%). The all-India average is 3.40%.

Mobile banking activation stood at 21% for private banks and 3% for PSU banks for FY18, the consulting firm said in the report.

BCG also said that eastern and southern States were leading the charge as India continued on the digital journey.

More than 20% of the active savings banks accounts in Telangana, Manipur and Mizoram had at least one Internet banking financial transaction in the last six months of FY18 compared with the national average of 11.30%.

Other southern States too topped the national average on the metric.

The theme of the report is “Providing financial services to SMEs in an increasingly digital ecosystem.”

Keywords – Mobile banking, digital India, BCG report.










Telangana State Renewable Energy Development Corporation (TSREDCO) plans to add 45 MW of roof-top solar energy capacity this year (2018-19) by encouraging individuals and institutions to set up photo voltaic (PV) solar panels to meet their energy needs as well as to supply excess generation to the grid.


·        The State has about 60 MW of on-grid and off-grid roof-top photo-voltaic solar energy capacity including 7 MW capacity adding during the last year (2017-18).


·        Of the planned capacity for the current year, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has already cleared the proposals for 13 MW and also released funds for the subsidy component. The Centre offers 30% subsidy for the roof-top solar systems.


A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) with the nodal agency, TSREDCO, for establishing 5 MW solar PV energy capacity.


·        The public transport institution has plans to set up roof-top solar energy systems on its installations in Hyderabad and elsewhere in the State.


Several urban local bodies (ULBs) were also coming forward to set up roof-top solar energy systems in the on-grid method.


·        Besides, 72 ULBs and gram panchayats had also come forward to go for solar PV energy LED street lighting systems.


As part of TSREDCO’s efforts to conserve energy, about 25 lakh LED bulbs had been distributed to households across the State and they had plans for distribution of another 40 lakh in the coming months


Key Words: Solar Power, Telangana, Roof top solar power


Wolbachia to control dengue

Why in News?

The State government has launched an experimental project to control the spread of dengue fever through genetically modified mosquitoes.

·        It launched the project in Paderu in Visakhapatnam, where the vector-borne diseases, including dengue, are being reported every year.

·        As part of the 18-month project, researchers will infect Aedes aegypti mosquito with Wolbachia, a bacteria. The mosquitoes will be released into the wild where they breed with local mosquitoes and pass the bacteria to their offspring.

·        The Wolbachia controls the multiplication of the virus in its host — Aedes aegypti, which is primarily responsible for the cause of dengue fevers.

·        It is necessary to infect the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in a laboratory with bacteria of the genus Wolbachia, which naturally infect many insects but not mosquitoes that cause dengue. The bacteria can inhibit the growth of other microbes in its hosts.

·        The department plans to release a batch of 50,000 mosquitoes by September 20 into the wild.

·        According to information, the bacteria is passed onto the offsprings if the infected Aedes aegypti mates with the non-infected/infected mosquito.

·        The viruses like dengue can’t replicate when mosquitoes are infected with the bacterium. The mosquitoes with Wolbachia have a reduced ability to transmit viruses and help in decreasing the risk of dengue outbreaks.

·        The dengue is one of the notified diseases in the country. The government has been relying on methods like killing off adult mosquitoes by aerial spraying to combat dengue.

·        Over years, it has been a consistent practice to release Gambusia fish in stagnant waters and water bodies, fogging to kill adult the mosquitoes.

Keywords- Wolbachia bacteria, dengue, Andhra Pradesh

Industrial Tourism

Why in News?

Moving beyond scenic beauty, the Tourism Department in the state is now exploring tourism potential in the industrial sector.

·        Sri City, the integrated business city (township) in Chittoor and Nellore districts and the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota in Nellore are some of the places they have figured out to cater to their new plans of industrial tourism.

·        The objective behind exploring this sector is also to kindle interest in students and young entrepreneurs and help them enhance their awareness levels on industrial progress.

·        These visits could be of immense use for the youth as they showcased expertise from the past, present and future.

·        Main industries across the State such as the Visakhapatnam steel plant, Visakhapatnam port trust, Vijayawada thermal power station, Rajahmundry paper mill and a few other units would be brought under Industrial Tourism.

·        Initially, the Tourism Department intends to implement the programme but once streamlined, it would hand it over to adequately trained tour operators.

Keywords – Tourism, industrial tourism, Andhra Pradesh.




1. Which of the following statements are True with regard to MPLADS

a. An MP can recommend for works in any state in the event of any Natural Disaster.

b. Only Lok Sabha MPs are allowed to do so.

A. a only

B. b only

C. Both a and b

D. Neither a nor b



Under Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme  in the event of ‘Calamity of severe nature’ in any part of the country, an MP can recommend works up to a maximum of Rs. 1 cr. for the affected district.


The guidelines further say that from the day an MP makes such contribution, concerned authorities have to identify relief works in one month time and the same should be implemented within eight months.


2. Which of the following statements are True with regard to BIMSTEC

a. There is no permanent Secretariat.

b. It comprises of countries from South Asia only

A. a only

B. b only

C. Both a and b

D. Neither a nor b



The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is an international organisation of seven nations of South Asia and South East Asia, housing 1.5 billion people and having a combined gross domestic product of $2.5 trillion

The BIMSTEC member states—Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan, and Nepal—are among the countries dependent on the Bay of Bengal.

Fourteen priority sectors of cooperation have been identified and several BIMSTEC centres have been established to focus on those sectors.

Leadership is rotated in alphabetical order of country names. The permanent secretariat is in Dhaka.


Which of the following country is not part of Quadrilateral Coordination Group?

A)     China

B)     USA

C)     Pakistan

D)    India

Explanation - The QCG comprises Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, and the United States. It was set up in January 2016 to find a political solution to the Afghan conflict.