Current Affair Analysis

23rd & 24th July 2019 Current Affairs Analysis -IASToppers

Non-Aligned Movement (NAM); Ban on cryptocurrency; Simla Agreement; Kala-azar; Demographic Dividend; Total Fertility Rate (TFR); Data Localisation; ‘JATAN: Virtual Museum software’; Scaly-foot snail species; PENCIL (Platform for Effective Enforcement for No Child Labour) portal; National Child Labour Project (NCLP); Project Sampark; Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2015; Gharial; etc.
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
July 24, 2019


Government Schemes & Policies

  • PENCIL receives just 34 complaints; not a single child rescued
  • PayPal mulls data localisation for India, sets up tech centre
  • Govt committee recommends ban on cryptocurrency in India
  • When a juvenile is tried as an adult, when not

Issues related to Health & Education

  • Study warns Kala azar patients can infect others even after treatment


  • India enters 37-year period of demographic dividend

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

  • Scaly-foot snail species may be first victim of deep-sea mining
  • Odisha renews effort to revive gharial population

Bilateral & International Relations

  • US on back foot as India denies Kashmir talk between Trump & Modi
  • Coordinating Bureau of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)

Key Facts for Prelims

  • Digitization of Archaeological Museum done through a special software
  • Project Sampark

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Government Schemes & Policies

PENCIL receives just 34 complaints; not a single child rescued

The national portal for reporting child labour — PENCIL (Platform for Effective Enforcement for No Child Labour), in the two years of its operation, has received only 34 complaints from different parts of the State. Of these 34, not a single child has been rescued till date.


What is PENCIL portal?


  • The PENCIL portal is an electronic platform that aims at involving Centre, State, District, Governments, civil society and general public in achieving the target of child labour free society.
  • PENCIL portal has five components — Child Tracking System, Complaint Corner, State Government, National Child Labour Project and Convergence.


Key facts:

  • Each district will nominate District Nodal Officers (DNOs) who will receive the complaints.
  • Within 48 hours of receiving complaints, DNOs will check genuineness of complaint and take rescue measures in coordination with police, if complaint is genuine.
  • So far, 7 states have appointed DNOs.

About National Child Labour Project (NCLP):


  • NCLP is central sector scheme launched in in 1988 for rehabilitation of child labour.
  • Under it, special schools/rehabilitation centres for rehabilitation of child labourers are opened so that they can be mainstreamed into formal schooling system.
  • These centres also provide non-formal education, vocational training, supplementary nutrition and stipend to children withdrawn from employment.


Revised NCPL:

  • NCLP has been revised expanded and aligned to the new legislative provisions.
  • The legislative changes have been accompanied by creation of additional institutional mechanisms at the district, state and national level for identification and rescue, along with revamping the rehabilitation scheme and a centralized database for case to case monitoring and accountability.
[Ref: Indian Express]


PayPal mulls data localisation for India, sets up tech centre

American digital payments player PayPal is working with its partners on localisation of data as mandated by the Reserve Bank of India.

Data Localization 2 IASToppers

What is Data localization?

Data localization IASToppers

  • Data localization is the act of storing data on any device that is physically present within the borders of a specific country where the data was generated.
  • It is a concept that the personal data of a country’s residents should be processed and stored in that country.


  • To protect the personal and financial information of the country’s citizens and residents from foreign surveillance
  • To give local governments and regulators the jurisdiction to call for the data when required.
  • To help law-enforcement agencies to access information that is needed for the detection of a crime or to gather evidence
  • To create domestic jobs and skills in data storage and analytics
  • To get free form the dependency of mutual legal assistance treaties (MLATs) to obtain data access resulting delayed investigations.

Why is Indian Government in favour of Data Localisation?

Data Localization 3 IASToppers

  • According to the Indian government, localisation will help Indian law enforcement access data. The advent of cloud computing raises important questions on accountability of service providers who store Indian users’ data outside of the country’s boundaries, leading to a conflict of jurisdiction in case of any dispute.
  • The extensive data collection by technology companies has allowed them to freely process and monetise Indian users’ data outside the country.
  • The government attributes the need for data localisation to various factors like: securing citizen’s data, data privacy, data sovereignty, national security, and economic development of the country. Proponents of Data Localisation also highlight security against foreign attacks and surveillance.
  • The government also intends to enact data localisation as India is also aspiring to be a global hub in terms of cloud computing data hosting and international data centres, which will accelerate its economic growth specially in digital sphere.
  • “Data is the new oil” also provides a backbone to much of the localisation drive. India is home of the largest open Internet market in the world, thus according to some proponents of Data localization, national wealth creation relies on in-house data storage.

Disadvantages of Data Localisation:

  • Critics not only caution against state misuse and surveillance of personal data, but also argue that security and government access is not achieved by localisation.
  • Even if the data is stored in the country, the encryption keys may still remain out of the reach of national agencies.
  • Widespread localisation norms will mean that businesses and other users – both domestic and foreign – will no longer have the flexibility to choose the most cost-effective or task-specific location to store their data.
  • These efficiency losses will ultimately be passed onto consumers in the form of higher costs of service.
  • The possibility of triggering a vicious cycle of data localisation requirements by other countries as a response to India’s possible data localisation mandate will be detrimental for the global data economy.


  • Adequate attention needs to be given to the interests of India’s Information Technology Enabled Services (ITeS) and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industries, which are thriving on cross-border data flow.
  • Policy makers should be cautious before they prepare adequate ground through holistic analysis, before mandating data localisation, especially on devising an optimal regulatory and legislative framework for data processors and data centres operating in the country.
  • Promoting confidence in users without sacrificing expectations of privacy, security, and safety must also be worked upon. Promoting confidence in users without sacrificing expectations of privacy, security, and safety must also be worked upon.
  • Adequate infrastructure in terms of energy, real estate, and internet connectivity also needs to be made available for India to become a global hub for data centres.


  • In 2018, The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued a directive imposing stringent data localisation requirements which requires all payment system providers and their suppliers and intermediaries to store the entire data related to payment transactions only in India.
  • In 2018, Justice B.N Srikrishna was tasked with the responsibility of proposing a new data protection framework for India (Srikrishna Committee, 2018).
  • The Srikrishna Committee submitted its report and a draft Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018 to the government in 2018. After the release of the Srikrishna Committee’s recommendations, reports about the draft e-commerce policy set up by the government also came to light.

 [Ref: Economic Times, The Hindu]

Govt committee recommends ban on cryptocurrency in India

An inter-ministerial committee headed by Subhash Chandra Garg on virtual currencies has proposed banning of private cryptocurrencies in India by enacting a law and imposing penalties for carrying on activities related to such cryptocurrencies.

Inter-ministerial group suggests banning of private cryptocurrencies in India IASToppers 1

Recommendation of the report:

  • Banned all private cryptocurrencies except those issue by the state
  • Suggested introduction of an official digital currency (ODC) which can be provided the status of a legal tender regulated by the Reserve Bank of India.
  • Separating cryptocurrency from digital rupee and digital foreign currencies.

Inter-ministerial group suggests banning of private cryptocurrencies in India IASToppers 2

  • All exchanges, people, traders and other financial system participants should be prohibited from dealing with cryptocurrencies.
  • Department of Economic Affairs should take necessary measures to facilitate use of distributed-ledger technology (DLT) in the entire financial field. It also proposed a specific legislation to promote and regulate use of DLT in the financial and associated fields.
  • Suggested the use of DLT to reduce compliance costs for Know your customer (KYC) requirements.
  • Various state governments should examine the feasibility of using DLT for land-records management.
  • DLT should be leveraged to improve the existing e-stamping system for the purposes of collection of stamp duty.
  • Data localisation requirements should be applied carefully to ensure that there is no adverse impact on Indian firms who may stand to benefit from DLT-based services.
  • Government should keep an open mind on issuing an official government-backed digital currency in India, to function like bank notes, through the RBI.
  • Government should consider establishing a Standing Committee to take into account the technological developments globally and within the country.

What is cryptocurrency?

  • A cryptocurrency is a form of digital asset that relies on a peer-to-peer network of users.
  • Cryptocurrencies rely on distributed ledger technology which enables the authentication of transactions without them needing to be handled by a central authority.
  • For that reason, they are outside the control of governments and are unregulated.

How are Cryptocurrencies used?

  • Cryptocurrency is fundamentally a decentralised digital currency transferred directly between peers and the transactions are confirmed in a public ledger, accessible to all the users.

Cryptocurrencies IASToppers Current Affairs Analysis

  • The process of maintaining this ledger and validating the transactions, better known as mining, is carried out in a decentralised manner.
  • The underlying principle of the authenticity of the present to historical transactions is cryptographic proof, instead of trust; different from how it happens in the case of traditional banking systems.

Reasons behind the ban on Cryptocurrency:

  • All the cryptocurrencies have been created by non- sovereigns and are in this sense entirely private enterprises.
  • There is no underlying intrinsic value of these cryptocurrencies as earlier they lack all the attributes of a currency.
  • There is no fixed nominal value of these private cryptocurrencies i.e. neither act as any store of value nor they are a medium of exchange.
  • Since their inceptions, cryptocurrencies have demonstrated extreme fluctuations in their prices.
  • These cryptocurrencies cannot serve the purpose of a currency. The private cryptocurrencies are inconsistent with the essential functions of money/currency; hence private cryptocurrencies cannot replace fiat currencies.
  • A review of global practices show that they have not been recognised as a legal tender in any jurisdiction.
[Ref: The Hindu, Live Mint, India Today]


When a juvenile is tried as an adult, when not

In 2016, a 17-year-old was booked for the murder of his three-year-old neighbour in Mumbai. The Mumbai city Juvenile Justice Board as well as a children’s court directed that he be tried as an adult under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2015.


  • Last week, the Bombay High Court set aside these orders and directed that the accused be tried as a minor, saying the Act is reformative and not retributive.

When is a child tried as an adult?

  • The Juvenile Justice Act of 2000 was amended in 2015 with a provision allowing for Children in Conflict with Law (CCL) to be tried as adults under certain circumstances.
  • The Act defines a child as someone who is under age 18. For a CCL, age on the date of the offence is the basis for determining whether he or she was a child or an adult.
  • The amended Act distinguishes children in the age group 16-18 as a category which can be tried as adults if they are alleged to have committed a heinous offence — one that attracts a minimum punishment of seven years. The Act does not, however, make it mandatory for all children in this age group to be tried as adults.

Why was this distinction made?

  • The amendment was proposed by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in 2014. This was in the backdrop of the gang-rape of a woman inside a bus in Delhi in 2012, leading to her death. One of the offenders was a 17-year-old, which led to the Ministry proposing the amendment (although it could not have retrospectively applied to him).
  • The then Minister, Maneka Gandhi, cited an increase in cases of offenders in that age group; child rights activists objected to the amendment.
  • The J S Verma Committee constituted to recommend amendments also stated that it was not inclined to reduce the age of a juvenile from 18 to 16. The amendment was made in 2015.

When can a child be tried as an adult?

As per Section 15 of the JJ Act, there are three criteria that the Juvenile Justice Board in the concerned district should consider while conducting a preliminary assessment to determine whether the child should be tried as an adult or under the juvenile justice system, which prescribes a maximum term of three years in a special home.

The criteria are:

  1. Whether the child has the mental and physical capacity to commit such an offence.
  2. Whether the child has the ability to understand its consequences.
  3. The circumstances in which the offence was committed.

If the Board finds that the child can be tried as an adult, the case is transferred to a designated children’s court, which again decides whether the Board’s decision is correct.

[Ref: Indian Express]


Issues related to Health & Education

Study warns Kala azar patients can infect others even after treatment

A study has highlighted the need to keep track of patients even after they are treated successfully to see whether they develop a skin condition called post-kala azar dermal leishmaniasis (PKDL) in future.

Kala Azar 1 IASToppers

  • This disease is the second-largest parasitic killer in the world.
  • Elimination is defined as reducing the annual incidence of Kala Azar (KA) to less than 1 case per 10,000 people at the sub-district level.

About the study:

  • Due to the fact that post-kala azar dermal leishmaniasis develops as skin lesions in the form of rashes only and is not fatal like kala azar, public health programmes normally ignore the condition of post-kala azar dermal leishmaniasis.
  • However, a research study shows that the patients with the post-kala azar dermal leishmaniasis can be a source of infection of kala azar disease for others in their community.
  • The study was conducted by the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative and the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research,

Kala Azar word IASToppers

What is kala-azar?

  • Kala-azar, also known as black fever and Dumdum fever, is a slow progressing indigenous disease caused by a protozoan parasite of genus Leishmania.


  • The parasite primarily infects reticuloendothelial system and may be found in abundance in bone marrow, spleen and liver.
  • It is zoonotic (or parasatic) infection transmitted by sand fly (Leishmania donovani), a blood-sucking pest, which is one-third size of mosquitoes and found in moist (humid) mud and sand and in close proximity to livestock.
  • Kala-azar is a vector borne disease.
  • Kala-azar belongs to Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) family of diseases which affect poorest populations.
  • It is second-largest parasitic killer in world after Malaria.
  • It is endemic to Indian subcontinent in 119 districts in four countries (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal).
  • It signs and symptoms include fever, weight loss, fatigue, anemia, and substantial swelling of liver and spleen.
  • It is treatable and requires a medical diagnosis. If untreated, kala-azar can kill within two years of onset of ailment.

Kala-azar in India:

Kala Azar 2 IASToppers

  • India accounts for half the global burden of Kala-azar disease.
  • In India, Leishmania donovani is the only parasite causing this disease.
  • Sandfly of genus Phlebotomus argentipes are the only known vectors (carrier) of kala-azar in India.
  • Indian Kala-azar has a unique epidemiological feature of being Anthroponotic (an infectious disease in which a disease causing agent carried by humans is transferred to other animals); human is the only known reservoir of infection.

What is Post Kala-Azar Dermal Leishmaniasis (PKDL)?

  • Post Kala-azar Dermal Leishmaniasis is a condition in which Leishmania donovani parasites are found in skin.
  • PKDL develops in some of the Indian kala-azar patients usually 1-2 years or more following recovery of Kala-azar; less commonly without suffering from Kala-azar.

Kala-azar Control Efforts in India

  • An organized centrally sponsored Control Programme launched in endemic areas in 1990-91.
  • Government of India provided kala-azar medicines, insecticides and the State governments implemented the programme through primary health care system and State malaria control organizations.
[Ref: Down To Earth]



India enters 37-year period of demographic dividend

Since 2018, India’s working-age population (people between 15 and 64 years of age) has grown larger than the dependant population. This bulge in the working-age population is going to last till 2055 or 37 years from its beginning.

India enters 37-year period of demographic dividend IASToppers

Demographic dividend across Asia:

  • Japan was among the first major economies to experience rapid growth because of changing population structure. It’s demographic dividend phase lasted from 1964 to 2004. In the first 10 years of this phase, Japan marked tremendous growth.
  • China entered demographic dividend phase 16 years after china’s economic reforms started in 1978. Although its growth accelerated immediately after the reforms, the years of demographic dividend helped sustain this rate for a very long period.
  • In Singapore, the dividend years started in 1979 and in the next 10 years there were only two years when its economy grew at less than 7%.
  • South Korea entered this phase in 1987 and Hong Kong in 1979, both have also achieved accelerated economic growth.

Challenges and suggestions for India to harness the benefits of Demographic Dividend:

  • India’s formal trained workforce is only 4.7 percent of the total workforce.
  • 65-75% of youngsters entering the workforce are not job ready or are unemployable and 40 percent of India’s total workforce needs be reskilled.
  • Government must formulate policies to take care of higher medical costs as the population ages and productivity shrinks.
  • As more people live away from their parents, India will also need to have an affordable social security system that provides pension to the elderly and takes care of their daily needs and medical expenses.

What is Demographic Dividend?

  • As per United Nations Population Fund (UNFP), ‘Demographic Dividend’ is the economic growth potential that can result from shifts in a population’s age structure, mainly when the share of the working-age population (15 to 64) is larger than the non-working-age share of the population (14 and younger, and 65 and older).
  • It occurs when the proportion of working population out of the total population is high as it indicates that more people have the potential to be productive and contribute to growth of the economy.
  • It refers to the growth in an economy that is the resultant effect of a change in the age structure of a country’s population, that is typically brought on by a decline in fertility and mortality rates.
  • A country is expected to reap the demographic dividend when the share of its working population is larger than the share of its non-working population.
  • It can increase economic growth through the swelling of the labour forcethe increased fiscal space, the rise in women’s workforce that results in declining fertilitythe increase in savings rate and a massive shift towards a middle-class society.
  • The benefit of a demographic dividend depends on whether the bulge in working population can be trained, and enough jobs created.
  • Growth, education, home ownership, better economic security, and a desire for more durable goods are the cause and consequence of young demographics.
  • Dependency ratio will remain high due to factors like; Ageing population, Low birth rate, High Life expectancy, Low death rate.
  • To reap the benefits of the demographic dividend, a country must take some special measures that are aimed at economic development and better living standards.
  • However, Demographic dividend alone cannot push growth. In the late 20th century, demographic dividend in Asia resulted in a seven-fold increase in the GDP of many countries. In Latin America the growth was only two-fold. Countries can only harness the economic potential of the youth bulge if they are able to provide good health, quality education and decent employment.

About total fertility rate (TFR)

  • TFR indicates the average number of children expected to be born to a woman during her reproductive span of 15-49 years.
  • The replacement level is the number of children needed to replace the parents, after accounting for fatalities, skewed sex ratio, infant mortality, etc. Population starts falling below this level.
  • India’s TFR is currently 2.2 per woman nearing the replacement rate of 2.1.
  • Higher education, increased mobility, late marriage, financially independent women and overall prosperity are the causes of falling TFR.

How does TFR vary in India?

  • The total fertility rate has more than halved in both urban and rural areas falling even below the replacement level in the urban where it is 1.7 from 4.1 in 1971. In rural areas, TFR has fallen from 5.4 to 2.4 during the same period.
  • Bihar, with the highest TFR of 3.2, had the maximum percentage of illiterate women while Kerala, where the literacy rate among women is 99.3%, had the lowest fertility rates.
  • TFR is below 2 in both urban and rural areas, where girls complete schooling and reduces further as they pass college.

How does fertility vary between age groups?

  • The 25-29 age is the most fertile, except in Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, where it peaked between 20 and 24. Only J&K hits the peak after 30.
[Ref: Economic Times, Live Mint]


Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

Scaly-foot snail species may be first victim of deep-sea mining

A rare snail named scaly-foot snail found at only three spots in the Indian Ocean has become the first species to be officially declared threatened due to deep-sea mining.

Chrysomallon squamiferum IASToppers

How does Sea mining affect scaly-foot snail?

  • Deep sea mining is a mineral retrieval process that takes place on the ocean floor.
  • From the hydrothermal vent, which is a long narrow opening on the seafloor from which geothermally heated water issues, the hot water mixes with the cold seawater. This will deposits minerals such as copper and manganese on the ocean floor.
  • In the past, extracting such minerals was cumbersome and expensive. But now, with technological advances, it has become much easier. Two of the vents where the scaly-foot snail is found could be mined in the near future for precious minerals.
  • Currently, there is a ban on all global ocean-floor mining activities. The International Seabed Authority, a United Nations agency, is currently formulating guidelines on how to conduct ocean-floor mining.

About the scaly-foot snail

  • The scaly-foot snail or scaly-foot gastropod is found at three hydrothermal vents in the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar.
  • It was added by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to its updated Red List of Endangered Species in 2019.
  • Its shell is of a unique construction with three layers.
  • This species is considered to be one of the most peculiar deep-sea hydrothermal-vent gastropods, and it is the only known extant animal that incorporates iron sulfide into its skeleton.
[Ref: Down To Earth]


Odisha renews effort to revive gharial population

Odisha renews effort to revive gharial population by releasing 5 reptiles, fitted with radio transmitters, into Satkosia gorge of Mahanadi river which is the southernmost limit of gharials’ home range in India.

About Gharial:


  • Gharial derives its name from ghara, an Indian word for pot because of a bulbous knob (narial excrescence) present at the end of their snout.
  • It is a river dwelling fish-eater, but usually harmless to humans. It lives in deep fast-flowing rivers.
  • Gharial is listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ in the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species.
  • It is Schedule 1 species under Indian wildlife act, 1972.

Where is gharial found?

  • Gharials are endemic to the Indian sub-continent. Once found abundantly in all the major river systems of South Asia, the Gharial is now extinct in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Burma and Bhutan. Nepal has only a remnant breeding population.
  • Gharials once inhabited all the major river systems of the Indian Subcontinent, from the Irrawaddy River in the east to the Indus River in the west. Their distribution is now limited to only 2% of their former range.
  • In India too, the major breeding populations are confined to two rivers only, Girwa and the Chambal. The two rivers run along the borders of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. It is also found in Ken River, Son River, Mahanadi River, Ramganga River.
  • In Nepal, it is found in Rapti-Narayani River.

Threats to Gharial:

  • Habitat alteration and destruction: A combination of land-use changes and exploitation such as sand-mining, riverside agriculture, livestock grazing, and hydrological modifications such as building of dams for water diversion.
  • Prey depletion: Over harvesting of fish stocks. Construction of dams and barrages obstructing dispersal and migration of fish.
  • Direct mortality: Drowning of Gharial in fishing nets. Its nest destruction and local egg collection.
  • Pollution and siltation: Pollution and siltation of rivers damage fish stocks, and are also believed to be the direct cause of the catastrophic dieoff of 2007-2008 in the Chambal.
  • Hunting: In the past, Gharial was hunted for skin, trophies and use in indigenous medicine.

Conservation efforts:

  • Project Crocodile began in 1975 (Government of India+ United Nations Development Fund + Food and Agriculture Organization) — intensive captive breeding and rearing program.
[Ref: The Hindu]


Bilateral & International Relations

US on back foot as India denies Kashmir talk between Trump & Modi

The US went on the defensive after India refuted US president’s claim that Indian Prime Minister had asked him to mediate in the Kashmir dispute.

Simla Agreement and How it is Relevant Amid Trump’s Kashmir Mediation Gaffe IASToppers

What is the issue?

  • Recently, the Ministry of External Affairs of India said that the India did not make any request to US to assist India in resolving India-Pakistan conflict.
  • The Ministry said that all issues with Pakistan will be discussed only bilaterally and no third party will be involved in mediation.

Why India insists on bilateralism with Pakistan

India insists on bilateralism with Pakistan mainly for three reasons:

  • India had previous mistrust experience of outsiders meddling in its internal affairs. In 1947, India went to UN for the Pakistan’s invasion in India. UN missions, including the Dixon Mission which led to the Dixon Plan of 1950 for partition of some areas of Jammu & Kashmir between India and Pakistan, strengthened India’s determination to not allow international mediation.
  • The strongly felt need to protect its secular nationhood project
  • Suspicion that mediators viewed Kashmir in favour of Pakistan.

Previous US interventions in resolving Kashmir issue:

  • During 1993, US asserted that it is ready to begin a serious attempt to resolve the Kashmir dispute.
  • However, due to Pakistan’s nuisance in Kashmir and as and cross-border terrorism became apparent in 1990s, India sought outside help to resolve Kashmir conflict.
  • After 1996, US administration welcomed the Indian stand on bilateralism.
  • In 1999, the US intervention brought the Kargil crisis to an end.
  • However, US denied to help the Pakistan for the ‘US-guaranteed settlement on Kashmir’ during Kargil war and reaffirmed that the bilateral Lahore Declaration signed is the best way to resolve Kashmir issue.
  • US defused tensions and persuaded India away from a war with Pakistan after the 2001 Terrorist attack on Indian Parliament.

Other countries efforts to resolve Kashmir issue:

  • The United Kingdom, which has a large Pakistani population, has also shown interest in being a mediator.
  • In 2018, the UN Human Rights Council’s report on Kashmir highlighted the details human rights violations and abuses on both sides of the Line of Control.
  • The former Norwegian Prime Minister also visited Kashmir and met with the separatist leadership. However, India later clarified that it was a personal visit and had nothing to do with Kashmir issue.

What is Simla Agreement?

Simla Agreement and How it is Relevant Amid Trump’s Kashmir Mediation Gaffe 1IASToppers

  • The Simla Agreement was signed by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Pakistani President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in July 1972, following a war between India and Pakistan in 1971.
  • The Simla Agreement seeks to reverse the consequences of the 1971 war (i.e. to bring about withdrawals of troops and an exchange of Prisoner of war).

Provisions of the treaty:

  • Under this agreement, both countries decided to stop the conflict and to work towards the establishment of durable peace, friendship and cooperation.
  • Both the governments agreed that that the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations would govern bilateral relations and differences would be resolved by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations.
  • Regarding Jammu and Kashmir, the two sides had agreed that the line of control resulting from the cease-fire of December 1971 shall be respected by both sides without prejudice to the recognized position of either side.
  • Both governments had also agreed that their respective Heads would meet again to discuss the questions of repatriation of prisoners of war and civilian internees, a final settlement of Jammu and Kashmir and the resumption of diplomatic relations.
[Ref: Indian Express, MEA, Economic Times] 

Coordinating Bureau of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)

A ministerial meeting of the Coordinating Bureau of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) began in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas under the theme of “Promotion and Consolidation of Peace through Respect for International Law.”


About the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)

  • The NAM was established in 1961 to unite developing states that are not part of any collective defense pacts in interest of any major power.
  • It is the second largest international organization after the United Nations with 120 member states.
  • It was created and founded during the collapse of the colonial system and the independence struggles of the peoples of Africa, Asia, Latin America and other regions of the world and at the height of the Cold War.
  • It did not seek to formally align themselves with either the United States or the Soviet Union but sought to remain independent or neutral.
  • NAM does not have a formal constitution or permanent secretariat and its administration is non-hierarchical and rotational.

Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) 2 IASToppers

Key features of the NAM policy:

  • The policy of non-alignment was based on the five principles of Panchasheel, which directed international conduct. These principles which were envisaged and formulated in 1954, were mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty; non-interference in each other’s military and internal affairs; mutual non-aggression; equality and mutual benefit and finally, peaceful coexistence and economic cooperation
  • The policy of non-alignment meant the acceptance of the inevitability of warbut on the conviction that it could be avoided.
  • The non-aligned movement emerged from India’s initiative for formulating an independent foreign policy.
  • This independent foreign policy was based on a solid moral and sound political foundation.
  • The non-alignment was a strategy designed to maximise newly independent India’s gains from the world system. Nonalignment did not mean to choose to become a hermit kingdom.


  • The basic concept for the group originated in 1955 during discussions that took place at the Asia-Africa Bandung Conference held in Indonesia. ‘Ten Principles of Bandung’ were proclaimed at that Conference which were adopted later as the main goals and objectives of the policy of non-alignment.
  • Six years after Bandung, the movement of Non-Aligned Countries was founded on a wider geographical basis at the First Summit Conference of Belgrade, Yugoslavia which was held in September 1961.

Relevance of NAM for India:

Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) IASToppers

  • NAM played an important role during the Cold War years in furthering many of the causes that India advocated such as decolonisation, end to apartheid, global nuclear disarmament etc.
  • However, NAM was more or less irrelevant for India in terms of helping to promote its security and interests.
  • NAM’s lack of utility is clearly demonstrated by the diplomatic positions adopted by member countries during the various wars in which India has been involved that were not favourable towards
  • For example, during the 1962 War with China, Ghana and Indonesia, two of the co-founders of NAM, adopted explicitly pro-China positions.
  • Moreover, during the vote on the UN General Assembly Resolution of 1971 calling for a ceasefire during India Pakistan war, most NAM members stood completely opposed to India.
  • Further, since the end of the Cold War, India has become a key member of various multilateral groupings: BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India and China), G20, BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) etc. to enhance economic coordination with countries that are similarly placed.
  • These engagements have made the Non-Aligned Movement largely incidental to India’s pursuit of its national interest since the end of the Cold War.

How did NAM helped India?

  • The only use NAM had for India was during the 1970s and 1980s where NAM served as a forum to channel India’s dissatisfaction with the international order.
  • It was through NAM that India articulated the call for a new international economic order that would cater for the special needs of the developing countries.
  • Similarly, through NAM, India articulated the call for a new world information and communication order to provide a greater voice for developing countries in global communications.
  • NAM also served as a forum for India to articulate its views on global nuclear disarmament and the discriminatory nature of the global nuclear order at the centre of which stood the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
[Ref: The Hindu, IDSA]


Key Facts for Prelims

Digitization of Archaeological Museum done through a special software

  • Human Centres Design and Computing Group, C-DAC developed ‘JATAN: Virtual Museum software’.

jatan IAStoppers

Key facts:

  • The software is used for creating the digital collections in various museums and digital archival tools that are used in background for managing the National Portal and Digital Repository for Indian Museums.
  • The C-DAC (located in Pune) hosted the National Portal and Digital Repository for Indian Museums.
  • There are 48 Archaeological Site Museums under Archaeological Survey of India out of which two Archaeological Site Museums, namely – Velha Goa; and Nagarjunakonda, have been digitised during the first phase.
[Ref: PIB]


Project Sampark


  • The Project Sampark was raised by Border Roads Organisation (BRO) in 1975 with its Headquarters at Jammu.
  • It has an area of responsibility from Pir Panjal Range (in north) to Pathankot (in south) and from Poonch (in west) to Dalhousie (in east), covering about 2200 km of road network.
  • The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has been rendering its services via construction and maintenance of roads and bridges in border areas thereby fulfilling strategic needs of Defence Forces.

Why in news?

  • Recently, the BRO has constructed 1-km long bridge UJH bridge in Kathua district and Basantar bridge in Samba district of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • These bridges have been constructed under 69 RCC/ 13 BRTF of ‘Project Sampark’.


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