IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


14th December, 2019


Targets missed, Accessible India campaign’s deadline extended

The deadline for government’s Accessible India campaign has been extended due to slow progress.

The original deadlines under the Accessible India campaign were July 2016 for conducting an accessibility audit of 25-50 of the most important government buildings in 50 cities and making them completely accessible.

About Accessible India Campaign:

-       Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) of the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment had launched it.

-       It was a campaign for achieving universal accessibility for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs).

-       It is in line with Article 9 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; to which India is a signatory since 2007.

-       According to the 2011 Census of India, 2.21 percent of the population or approximately 26.8 million Indians suffer from a disability.

-       The scheme also comes under Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995 under section 44, 45 and 46 for equal opportunities and protection of rights which provides non-discrimination in Transport to Persons with Disabilities.

-       It will seek the cooperation of all Central Government Departments/Ministries and State Governments to seek “accessible police stations”, “accessible hospitals”, “accessible tourism”, and “accessible digital India” etc.

Need of the Campaign:

-       The physical, social, structural and attitudinal barriers prevent People with Disabilities from participating equally in the socio-cultural and economic activities.

-       A barrier-free environment facilitates equal participation in all the activities and promotes an independent and dignified way of life.

Provisions of the Scheme:

The campaign has been divided into three verticals: Built Environment; Transport and Information & Communication Technology (ICT) ecosystem.

Built Environment:

-       Completing accessibility audit of at least 25-50 most important government buildings in 50 cities and making them fully accessible by the end of 2016.

-       Making 50% of all the government buildings of NCT and all the State capitals fully accessible by December 2018.

-       Completing accessibility audit of 50% of government buildings and making them fully accessible in 10 most important cities/towns of States not covered in targets (i) and (ii) by December 2019.

Transport Accessibility Component:

-       It aims to make all international airports fully accessible immediately and domestic airports by March 2018.

-       In order to make one of the biggest rail-networks in the world accessible, all A1, A & B categories of railway stations are to be made fully accessible.

-       10% of government owned public transport carriers to be made fully accessible by March 2018.

Accessibility of Information and Communication System:

-       Make at least 50% of Central and State Government websites accessible by March 2017.


-       Completed the accessibility audit of 1653 buildings, which were identified by state governments through empaneled “Access Auditors”.

-       Funds have been released for making buildings accessible.

-       Out of 32 international airports 25 have been provided with accessibility features namelyramps, accessible toilets, lifts with braille symbols and auditory signals.

-       Issued instructions to States and Executive Directors of State Undertakings to ensure that 10% of Government owned Public Transport is made fully accessible to the PwDs by March 2018.

-       The work-order has already been issued for making 917 state government websites accessible.

-       Department launched ‘Sugamya Pustakalaya’- an online library for Persons with Print Disabilities centered on achieving ‘Universal Accessibility’.

Disability in India:

-       The population with disabilities is around 26.8 million, constituting 2.21% of India’s total population according to Census2011.

-       The main problem lies in the psyche of general mass, which considers persons with disabilities are liability on society.

-       It leads to discrimination and harassment against them and their isolation from the mainstream.

-       Disability results from the interaction between persons with impairments and attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinders their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.

-       Persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.

Reasons behind disability:

-       Disability is generally classified into two types. One is when a person is born with a disability, while the other is when a person acquires a disability during his/her life.

-       In the first case, the reason is often the lack of good and accessible medical facilities leading to birth of unfit child.

-       Lack of care given to pregnant mothers during pregnancy also cause disability.

-       A large number of people with disabilities are born in to poor households. 

-       Acquired disability  happen due to various reasons including accidents, disasters, wars, violence and other factors.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/targets-missed-accessible-india-campaigns-deadline-extended/article30300230.ece


‘Centre in talks with J&K, Ladakh on special status’

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is holding consultations with the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and Ladakh to grant them “special status” on the lines of Article 371 of the Constitution.


-       Article 371 provisionsare applicable in the States of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Nagaland, Assam, Manipur, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Karnataka to protect their unique cultural identity and economic interest.

-       In Maharashtra and Gujarat, the provisions enableseparate ‘boards’ in certain areas for “equitable allocation of funds for developmental work” and “adequate opportunity for employment in service under the control of the State government.”

-       There have been demands that the UT of Ladakh be brought under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution to provide it protection as a tribal area.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/centre-in-talks-with-jk-ladakh-on-special-status/article30301547.ece



RBI Central Board meet: Regulation of cooperative banks, NBFCs taken up


-       The RBI Central Board reviewed the functioning of the urban cooperative banks and enforcement framework in the backdrop of scam in the Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) Bank affecting lakhs of depositors.

-       The Board’s discussions focused on issues related to urban cooperative banks, the extension of the enforcement policy and framework to cooperative banks and NBFCs (non-banking financial companies).

Cooperative Banks:

Co-operative banks, which are distinct from commercial banks, were born out of the concept of co-operative credit societies, where members from a community come together to extend loans to each other at favourable terms.

-       There are three key points of difference between scheduled commercial banks and co-operative banks.

-       Unlike commercial banks, UCBs are only partly regulated by the RBI. While their banking operations are regulated by the RBI, which lays down their capital adequacy, risk controland lending norms, their management and resolution in the case of distress is regulated by the Registrar of Co-operative Societies either under the State or Central government.

-       Unlike commercial banks that are structured as joint-stock companies, UCBs are structured as co-operatives, with their members carrying unlimited liability.

-       There is a clear distinction between a commercial bank’s shareholders and its borrowers. Whereas in UCB, borrowers can double up as shareholders.

-       In the event UCBs fail, deposits with them are covered by the Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation of India up to a sum of Rs.1 lakh per depositor, the same as for a commercial bank.

Need of Cooperative banks:

-       UCBs are attractive for retail savers and small businessesbecause they offer attractive interest rates on deposits, far higher than commercial banks.

-       UCBs in 2018 managed Rs.4.56 lakh crore in depositshad advances of Rs.2.80 lakh crore and managed total assets of Rs.5.63 lakh crore. It constitutes a large proportion of credit in India.

Reference: https://indianexpress.com/article/business/banking-and-finance/rbi-central-board-meet-regulation-of-cooperative-banks-nbfcs-taken-up-6065084/

No talks yet in Finance Ministry on GST hike: FM Nirmala Sitharaman

The Finance Ministry has not yet discussed proposingto the Goods and Services Tax Councilan increase in tax rates.

Moves to revive the economy:

-       The government’s continuous liberalizingreforms had resulted in record foreign direct investments of $35 billion in the first half of 2019-20, up from $31 billion in the first half of the previous year.

-       The government has already undertaken 66% of the budgeted capital expenditure of Rs.3.38 lakh crore for the current fiscal year.

-       Following the Reserve Bank of India’s guidelines mandating banks to link their lending rates to external benchmarks, all public sector banks had introduced repo rate-linked loan products.

-       The composition of employment in the country was gradually changing. While casual workers made up 30% of the workforce in 2011-12, they made up 25% in 2017-18.

-       The proportion of workers in agriculture had decreased to 44% from 49%. The proportion in services had increased to 31% from 27% and in manufacturing to 25% from 24%.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/business/no-talks-yet-in-finmin-on-gst-hike-fm/article30300283.ece


Need community-driven, de-centralised solutions to water crisis’

Ramon Magsaysay awardee Rajendra Singh, better known as ‘The Waterman of India’, said that ccommunity-drive and de-centralised water management solutions are answers to the country’s water crisis.

Water Crisis in India:

-       190 districts were flooded, while 365 districts across 17 states faced drought. 72% of India faced high to extremely high water stress.

-       Water in 2.65 lakh villages across the country was not fit for drinking.


-       There is an urgent need for a “water literacy” movement in India and especially in urban areas to create awareness of the problem.

-       There is the need for a national water-policy which must be people-centric.

-       Solution to the water crisis does not lie in the linking of the rivers, but in water harvesting.

-       In metro cities such as Delhi, Gurugram, Faridabadand Meerut; where the problem of depleting groundwater was even more severe, rainwater should be harvested and not allowed to be mixed with sewage.

-       There is a need for congruity between the crop and the rain patterns since around 80% of the water is used in agriculture.

-       It is high time to talk about the “river rights” and not just human rights. 

Case Study:

Referring to the community-based efforts in water harvesting in Rajasthan for more than four decades, Dr. Singh said that around 12,000 waterbodies were built leading to recharge of 2.5 lakh tube wells and reverse migration of around 17 lakh people.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/need-community-driven-de-centralised-solutions-to-water-crisis/article30301515.ece