Current Affairs Analysis

25th August 2017 Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

Right to privacy; NITI Aayog’ Three year action agenda; Farm Price Forecasting Model; UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) Scheme; New cadre policy of IAS, IPS and IFoS; Air pollution at crisis level in Northern India; India, Nepal sign 8 MoUs; Hurricane Harvey; etc.
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
August 25, 2017


Polity & Governance

  • NITI Aayog suggests Three-Year Action Plan for social sectors
  • Right to privacy is “intrinsic to life and liberty,” rules SC
  • Karnataka signs MoU with Microsoft to develop farm price forecasting model

Government Schemes & Policies

  • Govt eases norms under UDAN 2
  • New cadre policy of IAS, IPS and IFoS

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

  • Air pollution has reached crisis level in Northern India, NITI Aayog

Bilateral & International Relations

  • India, Nepal sign 8 MoUs

Key Facts for Prelims

  • Hurricane Harvey

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Polity & Governance

NITI Aayog suggests Three-Year Action Plan for social sectors

NITI Aayog has come out with a detailed plan for reforms in the economy, judiciary, regulatory structure and social sectors, in the three-year document to be implemented from 2017-18 to 2019-20.


  • NITI Aayog’s three year action agenda has set stiff economic targets and meeting those would benefit the economy.
  • According to the ‘Three-Year Action Agenda’ India has good prospects of achieving over 8% growth within 2-3 years. Therefore, the chances of massive cut in the poverty rate in the upcoming decade are excellent.


In May 2017 NITI Aayog was advised by Prime Minister’s Office to prepare

  • Fifteen Year Vision,
  • Seven Year Strategy and
  • Three Year Action Agenda

Vision & Strategy are in progress spanning from 2017-18 to 2031-32.

How does Vision, Strategy & Action Agenda differs from Five Years Plan?

  • Five Year Plan (12th Five year plan was the last one ended on March 31), is not sought to be more relevant with increased open and liberalised economy.
  • With new realities of global economy, a highly diversified country like India needed to rethink the approach and tools for the developmental process.
  • The Vision, Strategy and Action Agenda framework will allow us to better align the development strategy with the changed reality of India.

Reforms suggested in Three year action agenda:

  • Link central government expenditure to future priorities, shifting additional allocations to high-priority sectors which are more likely to promote development.
  • Expand expenditures by 2019-20 on education, health, agriculture, rural development, defence, railways, roads and other categories of capital expenditure.
  • Facilitate urbanisation in the country and deal with key challenges like affordable housing, infrastructure development, public transport and promotion of Swachh Bharat.
  • Eliminate corruption and black money, and increase tax base besides reforms in civil services and electoral process.
  • Reform the judicial system by streamlining human resource availability and performance, increasing and strengthening avenues for dispute resolution and extensive use of ICT to improve efficiency.
  • On the social sector, bring in changes in segments like education, skill development, health and issues facing specific groups, such as scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and women.
  • Strengthen and streamline regulatory structure governing sustainability of environment.
[Ref: PIB]


Right to privacy is “intrinsic to life and liberty,” rules SC

In a landmark unanimous decision, the nine-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court has ruled that right to privacy is “intrinsic to life and liberty” and is inherently protected under the various fundamental freedoms enshrined under Part III of the Indian Constitution.


  • With this, the apex court overruled its own previous judgments delivered in 1954 and 1961, both of which had pronounced that the right to privacy is not protected under the constitution.
  • The judgment finally reconciles Indian laws with the spirit of Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), 1966, which legally protects persons against the arbitrary interference with one’s privacy, honour and reputation, family, home and correspondence.

What’ the present Supreme Court Judgment?

  • The apex court ruled that right to privacy is an intrinsic part of Right to Life and Personal Liberty under Article 21 and entire Part III of the Constitution.
  • The apex court also had voiced concern over the possible misuse of personal information in the public domain.
  • The question whether Aadhaar violates right to privacy will be dealt with by the five-judge bench which has been hearing the petitions since 2015.

Significance of the judgement:

  • The Supreme Court of India’s judgment gains international significance as privacy enjoys a robust legal framework internationally, though India had earlier remained circumspect.
  • The judgment will have a crucial bearing on the government’s Aadhaar scheme that collects personal details, biometrics to identify beneficiaries for accessing social benefits and government welfare scheme.
[Ref: The Hindu]


Karnataka signs MoU with Microsoft to develop farm price forecasting model

The Agriculture Department of Karnataka has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with software giant Microsoft India to develop a unique ‘farm price forecasting model’.


Key facts:

  • The first-of-its-kind initiative will use the latest IT tools to aid farmers, administrators and other stakeholders to understand the market behaviour in advance.
  • The main aim behind the project is to achieve a sense of predictability as well as stability in farm incomes.
  • The initiative will be a “multi-variate” platform that will take into consideration various factors beyond conventional supply-demand equation while forecasting prices of crops.
  • It will examine a number of related factors including weather, rainfall and external factors, which impact market behaviour.
  • It would also provide real-time market data and help analyse its implications on the farm sector.
  • The project is being supervised by the Karnataka Agriculture Prices Commission (KAPC).


  • The move will enable the farmers of Karnataka, who struggle with the market’s unpredictability, to be more prepared.
  • Knowing the market situation in advance would help farmers, policy makers and industry make informed decisions.
  • It would also help the government be prepared for market intervention if there is any indication of price crash.
[Ref: The Hindu]


Government Schemes & Policies

Govt eases norms under UDAN 2

The Union Civil Aviation Ministry has eased several norms of Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN), a flagship regional flying scheme to attract more airlines and helicopter operators to participate in regional connectivity scheme (RCS).

ias toppers 2UDAN

  • The new norms were announced when the process for second round of bidding for the RCS were announced.

Key Facts:

  • The relaxations of the norms include dilution of the exclusivity clause mandating that only one airline may fly on one route in the initial years. It will allow selected airline operator of a particular route may issue no-objection certificate (NOC) to other airlines who want to operate on the selected RCS route.
  • The norms restricting two airports in close proximity from participating in the bidding also has been relaxed. It will allow routes with a stage length less than 150 km for operations through fixed wing aircraft.

About UDAN:


  • The ‘Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik’ RCS (Regional Connectivity Scheme) was launched in October 2016.
  • The key objective of the UDAN scheme is to provide regional connectivity so that persons in regional towns are able to take affordable flights.
  • It is considered as a vital component of the National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP) which was released on June 15, 2016.
  • The scheme has been launched to provide connectivity to un-served and under-served airports of the country through revival of existing air-strips and airports.
  • This is first of its kind scheme and will be implemented for a period of 10 years. As of now, 128 routes have been identified and declared in the RCS map of India.

If the scheme is successfully implemented, the air connectivity to difficult terrains of Jammu and Kashmir, northeast India, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep will get a major push. The ministry has marked these regions under priority areas.

[Ref: The Hindu]


New cadre policy of IAS, IPS and IFoS

The government has finalized a new cadre policy of IAS, IPS and Indian Forest Service officers aimed at ensuring national integration in the country’s top bureaucracy.


  • The new policy would help in upholding the rationale behind the all-India services.

What’s the new policy?

  • Officers of all-India services – the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS) and Indian Forest Service (IFoS) – will have to choose cadres from a set of zones instead of states.
  • Under the new policy, candidates can only select one state or cadre from a zone as their first choice. Their second, third, fourth and fifth choices have to be from the different zones.
[Ref: Live Mint]


Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

Air pollution has reached crisis level in Northern India, NITI Aayog

Noting that air pollution has reached crisis level in northern India, government think-tank Niti Aayog has recommended a slew of measures in its ‘Three Year Action Agenda’ to be implemented till 2019-20.

ias toppers Air pollution in Northern India

What are the concerns?

  • NITI Aayog has identified coal power plants, brick kilns, vehicles, cooking and heating fires which burn biomass, rubbish burning and burning of crop residue and dust from construction as the “major” source of air pollution.
  • It noted that air pollution has reached crisis levels in Northern India and though it is much publicised in Delhi, it is also widespread in many other cities and as many as ten of the top 20 most polluted cities in the world are in India.

Measures suggested by NITI Aayog:

  • NITI Aayog suggested switching to cleaner technologies to reduce pollution from brick kilns considerably within three years.
  • A number of complementary steps can be taken (to reduce in-city-vehicle pollution). First making public transportation faster and more comfortable will discourage the use of private vehicles.
  • It also suggested installation of Flue-gas De-sulphurizers on all coal power plants in or close to densely populated areas except those less than 5 MW capacity and those older than 25 years by 2020.
  • The older power plants should be shut down and retired in a phased manner, it said while adding that this will cut emissions of Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) gas that becomes sulphate particles in the atmosphere. It will also reduce particulate (smoke) emissions directly.
  • Higher taxes on petrol in and around more polluted cities would encourage commuters to share cars and take public transportation. Higher parking fees and park and ride facilities will have similar effects.
  • As far finding alternatives to crop residue burning was concerned, the document noted that ‘Happy Seeder’, a machine developed CSIRO Australia and Punjab Agricultural University, allows planting of wheat through the residue. The machine was introduced about five years ago and has been shown to reduce field preparation costs marginally and maintain yields and profits of wheat, which has led some farmers to adopt it.
[Ref: All India Radio, Live Mint]


Bilateral & International Relations

India, Nepal sign 8 MoUs

India and Nepal have signed eight Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) in various fields, including Housing grant, prevention of drugs, post-earthquake reconstruction packages in health and education sectors.


Signed MoUs are:

  1. Agreement on Cooperation in the field of standardization and conformity assessment.
  2. MoU between Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nepal (ICAN).
  3. MoU on Modalities for Utilization of India’s Housing Grant Component to support Reconstruction of 50,000 Houses.
  4. Three MoUs on Implementation of the Grant Component of India’s Post-Earthquake Reconstruction Package in the Education Sector, Cultural Heritage Sector and Health Sector in Nepal.
  5. MoU for Implementation Arrangement for Construction of Mechi Bridge under ADB’s SASEC Road Connectivity Programme (Tranche 2), Funded by India.
  6. MoU on Drug Demand Reduction and Prevention of Illicit Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Precursor Chemical and Related Matters.
[Ref: PIB]


Key Facts for Prelims

Hurricane Harvey

IASToppers Current Affairs -hurricane-harvey-path

  • Texas, USA was hit by “catastrophic and life-threatening flooding” as Tropical Storm Harvey moves inland.
  • Harvey battered the coast as a category four hurricane – the biggest to strike the US mainland in 13 years. It has now been downgraded.


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