“Do something every day to move toward your goal. Get going and keep going. Just do it.”  



Australia to return 3 idols


Australia to return 3 idols to India in January

       WHY IN NEWS?  

Return of artefacts underscores the world’s debt to India’s magnificent culture, history and legacy, says Australian PM

GS 1:Culture


For PRELIMS 1970 UNESCO convention is very important with Dwarapala and Nagaraja in this context.Go through the article

For MAINS  breifly analyse the covenant mentioned this step by step.



Three culturally significant artefacts — a pair of ‘Dwarapala’ (door guardians) from Tamil Nadu and one ‘Nagaraja’ (serpent king) from either Rajasthan or Madhya Pradesh, purchased from idol smuggler Subhash Kapoor — will be returned to India by the Australian government during Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s visit to India in January 2020.


PIC:Historic links: Three artefacts, a pair of ‘Dwarapala’ and a ‘Nagaraja’, will be returned to India.


Who had these artefacts?

  •  “The artefacts which were held by the National Gallery of Australia (Gallery), were purchased in good faith, but extensive research undertaken by the gallery has led to its decision to voluntarily return these artefacts to India.”

How old are they ?

  • While the Dwarapalas from Tamil Nadu are said to be from the 15th century, the Nagaraja, dated 6th to 8th century, is from Rajasthan or Madhya Pradesh.

Who are Dvarapalas?

  • Definition: A Dvarapala or Dvarapalaka (Sanskrit, “door guard”;is a door or gate guardian) often portrayed as a warrior or fearsome giant, usually armed with a weapon – the most common being the gada (mace).
  • Origin: Dvarapalas as an architectural feature have their origin in tutelary deities, like Yaksha and warrior figures, such as Acala, of the local popular religion.
  • Today some dvarapalas are even figures of policemen or soldiers standing guard.

These statues were traditionally placed outside Buddhist or Hindu temples, as well as other structures like royal palaces, to protect the holy places inside.

Who is Nagaraja ?

  • Nagaraja : “King of the naga” is a figure commonly appearing in Indian religions.
  • Temples : An ancient temple of Nagraj or snake god Vasuki is in Gujarat’s surendranagar district’s “Thangadh” town. Thangadh’s land is also known as land of snake. People do worship Vasuki nag as the rustic god of Thangadh.
  • At Nagercoil in Kanniyakumari district of Tamil Nadu, a temple dedicated to Nagaraja exists.

Why this return ?

Both India and Australia are party to the UNESCO 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transport of Ownership of Cultural Property.

1970 UNESCO convention:

  • Before the 1970 UNESCO convention, the illegal trade of antique objects and cultural items was prevalent among the trade of drugs and weapons.
  • Therefore, several sovereign states set about to preserve important historical and culturally significant objects. These actions were a prelude to UNESCO’s wide-scale attempt on the manners of preserving cultural objects.

Aim and objective:

  • The conception of the treaty began in April 1964, when UNESCO appointed a Committee of Experts from thirty states in April 1964.
  • In 1968, UNESCO adopted Resolution 3.334 authorizing the creation of a committee to draft a convention.
  • The UNESCO Director-General appointed a principal expert and four consultants to draft the text on the convention, for later review by each member state.

Features :

  • The Convention recommends the enforcement of the protection of cultural property in “three main pillars”, each being preventive measuresrestitution provisions, and international cooperation.
  • The first pillar, preventive measures, states that those signed to the treaty are to enforce the security and safety of cultural property, such as taking inventory, exportation certifications, monitoring of trade, and imposition of penal sanctions.
  • The second pillar, restitution provisions, states that each sovereign state is to assist one another in the recuperation of stolen cultural property.
  • The third pillar, international cooperation, is an attempt by the convention to strengthen international ties between signatories, and to provide assistance and cooperation with one another.
       IASbhai Windup:  
Strong ties’
“The strong ties Australian and Indian institutions have made in recent years have helped develop important professional relationships. The return of these artefacts also underscores the world’s debt to India’s magnificent culture, history and legacy.”






India’s Cartosat-3 plus 13 nano satellites put in orbit


India’s Cartosat-3 plus 13 nano satellites put in orbit

       WHY IN NEWS?  

ISRO places the ‘sharpest eye’ in the sky using PSLV C-47

GS 3:Space technology:Satellite communication


For PRELIMS factual merits of cartosat 3 are very important.Note them down with the aim and contributions.

For MAINS this issue can be asked just like what this mission is all about ! 


The ‘sharpest eye in the sky’, India’s Cartosat-3, and 13 other nano satellites belonging to two companies in the U.S. lifted off successfully from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota, at 9.28 a.m on Wednesday, offering only a very brief glimpse of the PSLV C-47 before vanishing into the low-hanging clouds.





  • The Cartosat-3 is a high-resolution imaging satellite that will help large-scale urban planning, infrastructure development, and coastal land use, among others.
  • The satellite is also likely to have a military use since it provides the highest-ever spatial resolution of about a foot.
  • The Cartosat-3 was separated about 18 minutes after lift-off and the customer satellites were injected into their orbits one by one and the mission was completed 27 minutes after launch.
       IASbhai Windup:  
  • “This is India’s highest resolution civilian satellite and most advanced earth observation satellite built by the ISRO so far”.





Assam tribunals wreak havoc


Assam tribunals wreak havoc, says rights group

       WHY IN NEWS?  

‘They are dismissive, use derogatory language, control their own procedures, apply them in arbitrary ways’


GS 2: Citizensip: Foreigners Tribunal(FT)


For PRELIMS its important to know how FT’s are doing.What is the progress.

For MAINS  the drawbacks of FT and their regulations have to be noted.



The Supreme Court and the Gauhati High Court have enabled the Foreigners’ Tribunals to create a statelessness crisis in Assam: Amnesty International India .


PIC:Women in Assam enquiring about their names in the draft NRC.


Amnesty International India Opinions:

  • ‘Designed to Exclude’, as it called for a review of the existing legislative regime governing the determination of nationality in India.
  • Dissent : The FTs that determine the paramount right to citizenship in Assam are often dismissive, use derogatory language, control their own procedures and apply them in arbitrary ways, .
  • Not fair trial’: Assam currently has 300 FTs, with 200 of these set up after the Centre approved the State’s proposal to set up 1,000 new tribunals primarily for trying those excluded from the National Register of Citizens that was published on August 31.
  • “This includes reversal of the burden of proof on the person of the right to a fair investigation, protection from multiple references, and a bar on the extension of deprivation of nationality from one family member to another family member,” it said.
  • Along with the FTs, the Gauhati HC has failed to consider the vulnerabilities of these people.
  • The burden of proof on the person suspected of doubtful nationality is absolutely divorced from the reality of documentation in India, the rights body said.
       IASbhai Windup:  
Alleging that the FTs have created havoc in Assam, Mr. Patel said they have not been held accountable by the courts, the Centre and the State government.






Govt. extends 15th finance panel term


Govt. extends 15th finance panel term

       WHY IN NEWS?  

Commission to submit two reports; recommendations will be applicable for six years



For PRELIMS revise the chapter FC ! #Laxmikant 

For MAINS  reasons why n when should be the term of FC be increased or decreased have to be collected.



This will effectively mean the 15th Finance Commission’s recommendations will be applicable for six years and not the conventional five-year period.

  • The extension will help the N.K. Singh-led panel to examine comparable estimates for financial projections.

What is Finance commission?

  • Establishment: The Finance Commission was established by the President of India in 1951 under Article 280 of the Indian Constitution.
  • Definition : It was formed to define the financial relations between the central government of India and the individual state governments.
  • Aim : The current Finance Commission has been accused on working on the idea that the state that produces more taxes must be rewarded and support the states that produce less revenue.
  • This was interpreted as commission’s sole duty is to not help South Indian states.
  • The Finance Commission (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1951 additionally defines the terms of qualification, appointment and disqualification, the term, eligibility and powers of the Finance Commission.
  •  Appointment : As per the Constitution, the Commission is appointed every five years and consists of a chairman and four other members.

Since the institution of the First Finance Commission, stark changes in the macroeconomic situation of the Indian economy have led to major changes in the Finance Commission’s recommendations over the years.

There have been fifteen commissions to date. The most recent was constituted in 2017 and is chaired by N. K.Singh, a former member of the Planning Commission.

Lets come back to news:

  • The term had been extended till October 30. The first report, for financial year 2020-21, will be submitted in the coming months before the Union Budget, and the second report for the period 2021-26 will be presented by October 30, 2020.
  • “The extension of the term will enable the Commission to examine various comparable estimates for financial projections in view of reforms and the new realities to finalise its recommendations for the period 2020-2026.
  • “The Commission, on account of the restrictions imposed by the model code of conduct, completed its visit to States only recently.
  • According to a former chairman of a previous Finance Commission, it is not unprecedented for the term of a Commission to be extended when there is a restructuring of States, or if the terms of reference for the Commission have been significantly expanded.
  • “This Commission has seen its terms of reference expanded and the reorganisation of J&K, and so, an extension of the term is not unusual,” the former chairman said. “It happened before in the 14th Finance Commission when Andhra Pradesh and Telangana were split.”
  • In a situation where the number of States has changed, the former chairman explained, the Commission then has to alter its calculations for every State and this takes time.
  • “The report for the year 2020-21 will be submitted soon, before the presentation of the Budget,” the office of 15th Finance Commission Chairman N.K. Singh told The Hindu.
       IASbhai Windup:  

The 9th Finance Commission under the chairmanship of N.K.P. Salve also saw its recommendation period extended to six years from the conventional five.

“The proposed increase in coverage of the period for which the Commission’s recommendations are applicable will help medium-term resource planning for the State governments and the Central government,” the government release said






India losing its trading edge to smaller nations


India losing its trading edge to smaller nations

       WHY IN NEWS?  

India’s exports are contracting.

GS 3:Inland trade:International trade


For PRELIMS you dont need to concentrate on numbers here .Just go with the trends.

For MAINS  observe carefully the changing patterns of trade and reasons for the downfall.



  • India losing its trading edge to smaller nations
  • India’s exports are contracting. In the export of garments, countries such as Bangladesh and Vietnam are beating India. Mint explains why trade tensions between the US and China, and the global economic slowdown do not fully explain the poor exports story.



How have exports fared this fiscal?

  • During the first seven months of FY20, both export and import growth fell in contrast with fairly high double-digit growth rates during the corresponding period of the previous fiscal.
  • Exports contracted 2.2% and imports 8.8%.
  • Significantly, even crude oil imports declined during April to October compared with those of preceding years because of lower prices and demand.
  • In FY19, exports grew 12.8% and imports 17.9%.

Is the decline in line with global trends?

  • India’s exports growth has slipped significantly more relative to 60 comparable economies.
  • During 2003-2011 when world exports and GDP were growing well, India ranked sixth in the growth of services exports.
  • During the slow growth period of 2012-2017, India slipped to the 23rd spot.
  • In the growth of manufacturing exports, India slipped from the 16th to the 25th position, in merchandise from the 10th to the 38th, and in agriculture from the 11th to the 30th spot.

Is the contraction in exports due to trade tensions?

  • In 2017, China’s garment exports fell to $158 billion from $187 billion in 2014, according to the HLAG report.
  • India’s garment exports fell by 4% in 2017-18, while those of Bangladesh and Vietnam increased by 8% and 10%, respectively.
  • This shows India’s exports are getting beaten by competitive exports from smaller economies.

What’s the reason for the export slowdown?

  • RBI’s real effective exchange rate shows a rupee depreciation of 15% from FY05 to FY17, while inflation was more than 4% higher per year on average than in the US.
  • The overvalued exchange rate could have handicapped export competitiveness.
  • Pharmaceutical and biotech industries suffer from excessive and complicated regulation.Restrictive labour laws prevent larger scale of operations.
  • Poor logistics result in turnaround time in India being over four times that in China or Turkey.


       IASbhai Windup:  

What is India’s story in terms of imports?

Shares of electronic items and engineering goods in total imports have grown. Domestic production indicators show a fall in capital goods production. This means imports are substituting domestic machinery. Even though imports of oil are lower than those of last year, its share in total imports has risen from 23.8% in the first six months of FY16 to 26.3% during the corresponding period of FY20.

This means other imports are falling at a faster rate






New Irdai draft


Motor policies may soon reward careful drivingNew Irdai draft proposes technology to monitor driving that may help customize cost

       WHY IN NEWS?  

In its latest draft guidelines the regulator has revisited the own-damage cover of a motor insurance policy and has recommended the adoption of telematics




For PRELIMS know the Draft IT rules for an instance.Details will be out in JAN 2020.

For MAINS know the loopholes of draft IT rules.




Motor policies may soon reward careful drivingNew Irdai draft proposes technology to monitor driving that may help customize cost
  • When it comes to motor insurance, there’s little incentive for you to be a careful driver because the premiums that you pay to insure your car does not depend on your credentials as a driver.
  • Unlike most developed countries where good driving behaviour is rewarded through differential pricing, the trend is yet to catch up in India.
  • In its latest draft guidelines the regulator has revisited the own-damage cover of a motor insurance policy and has recommended the adoption of telematics—a technology that helps monitor on-road conditions, speed of the car and others— which will pave the way for customized pricing.

The draft also redefines the insured declared value (IDV)—the value the insurer will pay after deducting depreciation cost if a vehicle is completely damaged or stolen—for the benefit of policyholders and has clarified how no-claims bonus (NCB) will be calculated for long-term motor policies.

Details :



  • In its report, Irdai said a central repository of telematics can be created where data from various sources flows to create a pool.
  • “Telematics enables insurers to offer discounts based on good driving habits.
  • The Insurance Information Bureau of India (IIBI), which acts as the data repository for insurance companies, will manage the data and its protection.
  • For telematics to be used in a country like India, there will be some challenges such as who will bear the cost; the device costs ₹2,000-3,000.
  • But this is the right way to capture driver data because the device is always attached to the car.
  • But I am not sure if this is feasible because the average size of motor premiums in India is about ₹10,000.


  • Currently, IDV is equivalent to the sum insured and is calculated based on the ex-showroom price of the vehicle, which doesn’t include the cost of registration, taxes and other fittings.
  • “There was a slab for every year on the basis of which the ex-showroom price was reduced to arrive at IDV.


  • Currently, NCB has a different structure, where policyholders get 20%, 25%, 35%, 45% and 50% of the premium for every subsequent no-claim year in a regular one-year policy.
  • The draft cuts this down to four slabs of 20%, 30%, 40% and 50% for every subsequent no-claim year.
  • This means policyholders will get a 50% NCB for filing no claims within four years versus five years currently.
       IASbhai Windup:  
Irdai has also recommended cancellation of registration certificate of vehicles in all cases of total loss and theft claims. Insurers are advised to settle claims only after the insured surrenders the cancelled RC.





Rapid warming in Indo-Pacific behind change in global rainfall pattern


Rapid warming in Indo-Pacific behind change in global rainfall pattern

       WHY IN NEWS?  

Rapid warming in Indo-Pacific behind change in global rainfall pattern

GS 1:Rainfall pattern


For PRELIMS the concept of MJO stands very important.

For MAINS  see how this issue will affect the coastal belt region.



As the threat of climate change looms large, a new study shows that the Indo-Pacific Ocean is warming at a rapid rate and the changes are impacting rainfall patterns across the globe.

Who conducted this study ?
  • The study was conducted as part of Indo-US collaboration, between the ministry of earth sciences (India) and the US national oceanic and atmospheric administration (NOAA) and published in peer-reviewed journal Nature.


  • In India, it could lead to reduced rainfall over northern parts of the country from November to April and trigger cyclone activity in the North Indian Ocean during post-monsoon period.
  • The findings show that the Indo-Pacific warm pool, a region of warm ocean between the western Pacific Ocean and eastern Indian Ocean has expanded two-fold between 1981 and 2018, due to consistent warming.
  • It has expanded on average by 2.3 × 105 km2, equivalent to the size of Washington State every year during 1900–2018 and at an accelerated average rate of 4 × 105 km2 per year during 1981–2018, which is an area equal to the size of California.
  • This rapid warming has altered a major mode of weather system called the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), which is responsible for 55% of the weather variability over the tropics. The phase and strength of MJO at a given location impacts activity of tropical cyclones, the monsoons, and the El Niño cycle and triggers extreme weather events.

What is Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO)?

  • “Most cyclones in the pre- or post- monsoon period over Bay of Bengal are triggered by MJO activity in the Indian Ocean.
  • Even when MJO occurs in the West Pacific, the remnants of those systems can pass over to Bay of Bengal and get activated.
       IASbhai Windup:  

The findings raise concern over increased vulnerability of the coastal population, which faces the impact of extreme weather events. “While changes in MJO impact rainfall patterns across the globe, the impact is more keenly felt in the tropics, which consist of mostly low- and middle-income countries, which are in need of a strong early-earning weather system,” he said.

India with its vast coastline has been facing increased cyclone activity and intensity over the North Indian Ocean in recent times. In 2019 so far, seven cyclones have impacted the country, with the latest being Cyclone Bulbul .

Suggested reading : https://www.climate.gov/news-features/blogs/enso/what-mjo-and-why-do-we-care






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