IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


18th April, 2020



1. RBI to ensure adequate liquidity in system; cuts reverse repo rate by 25 basis points


—In a move to ease financial stress and to maintain adequate liquidity in the system, the Reserve Bank of India has announced several steps including targeted long-term repo operations and providing special refinance to financial institutions like NABARD, SIDBI and National Housing Bank.

—It has been decided to conduct targeted long-term repo operations (TLTRO 2.0) for an aggregate amount of ₹50,000 crores, to begin with, in tranches of appropriate sizes.

—Banks should deploy these funds by investing in investment grade bonds, commercial paper, and non-convertible debentures of NBFC with at least 50% of the total amount availed going to small and mid-sized NBFCs and MFIs.

—RBI has also decided to provide special refinance facilities for a total amount of ₹50,000 crores to NABARD, SIDBI and NHB to enable them to meet sectoral credit needs.

—RBI has also increased the ways and means advances limit further for states. It has decided to increase the WMA limit of states by 60 per cent over and above the level as on March 31. The increased limit will be available until September 30, 2020.

—The banking regulator has also provided some asset quality relief. For all accounts, which lenders decided to grant moratorium, there would be an asset classification standstill for all such accounts from March 1, 2020 to May 31, 2020.

—The regulator has also brought down the liquidity coverage ratio requirement for Commercial Banks from 100 per cent to 80 per cent with immediate effect.

—Regional offices of the RBI have supplied fresh currency of ₹1.2 lakh crores from March1 until April 14, 2020 to currency chests across the country to meet increased demand for currency in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Banks have risen to the occasion by refilling ATMs regularly, despite logistical challenges.


About NBFC

—A Non Banking Financial Company (NBFC) is a company registered under the Companies Act, 2013 of India, engaged in the business of loans and advances, acquisition of shares, stock, bonds, hire-purchase insurance business or chit-fund business, but does not include any institution whose principal business is that of agriculture, industrial activity, purchase or sale of any goods (other than securities) or providing any services and sale/purchase/construction of immovable property.

—The working and operations of NBFCs are regulated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) within the framework of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 (Chapter III-B) and the directions issued by it.

— On November 9, 2017, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued a notification outlining norms for outsourcing of functions/services by Non-Bank Financial Institution (NBFCs).

— As per the new norms, NBFCs cannot outsource core management functions like internal audit, management of investment portfolio, strategic and compliance functions for know your customer (KYC) norms and sanction of loans.


About MFI

—Micro finance Institutions, also known as MFIs, a microfinance institution is an organization that offers financial services to low income populations. Almost all give loans to their members, and many offer insurance, deposit and other services.

—A great scale of organizations are regarded as microfinance institutes. They are those that offer credits and other financial services to the representatives of poor strata of population (except for extremely poor strata).


About LTRO

—In the last monetary policy, instead of cutting the policy rates, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) introduced a tool called long-term repo operation (LTRO) to inject liquidity in the system, as well as to ensure transmission of rates.

—Under LTRO, RBI provides longer-term (one- to three-year) loans to banks at the prevailing repo rate. As banks, get long-term funds at lower rates, their cost of funds falls. In turn, they reduce interest rates for borrowers.

—LTRO helped RBI ensure that banks reduce their marginal cost of funds-based lending rate, without reducing policy rates.

—LTRO also showed the market that RBI would not only rely on revising repo rates and conducting open market operations for its monetary policy, but also use new tools to achieve its intended objectives.



—National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) is an Apex Development Financial Institution in India.

—The Bank has been entrusted with "matters concerning Policy Planning and Operations in the field of credit for Agriculture and other Economic activities in rural areas in India". NABARD is active in developing Financial Inclusion policy.

—NABARD was established on the recommendations of B.Sivaramman Committee, (by Act 61, 1981 of Parliament) on 12 July 1982 to implement the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development Act 1981.

—It replaced the Agricultural Credit Department (ACD) and Rural Planning and Credit Cell (RPCC) of Reserve Bank of India, and Agricultural Refinance and Development Corporation (ARDC). It is one of the premier agencies providing developmental credit in rural areas.

—NABARD is India's specialised bank for Agriculture and Rural Development in India.


About NHB

National Housing Bank (NHB), a Government of India owned entity, was set up on 9 July 1988 under the National Housing Bank Act, 1987. NHB is an apex financial institution for housing.

— NHB has been established with an objective to operate as a principal agency to promote housing finance institutions both at local and regional levels and to provide financial and other support incidental to such institutions and for matters connected therewith.

—The Finance Act, 2019 has amended National Housing Bank Act, 1987. The amendment confers the powers of regulation of housing finance companies to Reserve Bank of India.

—NHB registers and supervises Housing Finance Company (HFCs), keeps surveillance through On-site & Off-site Mechanisms and co-ordinates with other Regulators.


Repo vs. Reverse Repo: An Overview

-Repurchase agreements or repos, are a form of short-term borrowing used in the money markets, involving the purchase of securities with the agreement to sell them back at a specific date, usually for a higher price.

-Repos and reverse repos represent the same transaction, but are titled differently depending on which side of the transaction you are on. For the party originally selling the security (and agreeing to repurchase it in the future), it is a repurchase agreement (RP). For the party originally buying the security (and agreeing to sell in the future), it is a reverse repurchase agreement (RRP) or reverse repo.

-Although it is considered a loan, the repurchase agreement involves the sale of an asset that is held as collateral until it the seller repurchases it at a premium.


Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/business/Economy/rbi-to-ensure-adequate-liquidity-in-system-cuts-reverse-repo-rate-by-25-basis-points/article31362687.ece


2. India says IMF liquidity boost may be costly


—Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the country could not support a general allocation of new Special Drawing Rights (SDR) by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) because it might not be effective in easing COVID­19­ driven financial pressures.


About IMF

—The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an international organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world while periodically depending on the World Bank for its resources.

-Formed in 1944 at the Bretton Woods Conference primarily by the ideas of Harry Dexter White and John Maynard Keynes, it came into formal existence in 1945 with 29 member countries and the goal of reconstructing the international payment system.

- It now plays a central role in the management of balance of payments difficulties and international financial crises.

-Countries contribute funds to a pool through a quota system from which countries experiencing balance of payments problems can borrow money.


About SDRs

—Special drawing rights are supplementary foreign exchange reserve assets defined and maintained by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

—SDRs are units of account for the IMF and not a currency per se. They instead represent a claim to currency held by IMF member countries for which they may be exchanged.

— SDRs were created in 1969 to supplement a shortfall of preferred foreign exchange reserve assets, namely gold and U.S. dollars.

—The value of a SDR is based on a basket of key international currencies reviewed by IMF every five years. The weights assigned to each currency in the XDR basket are adjusted to take into account their current prominence in terms of international trade and national foreign exchange reserves.

—SDR basket now consists of the following five currencies: U.S. dollar 41.73%, euro 30.93%, renminbi (Chinese Yuan) 10.92%, Japanese yen 8.33%, British pound 8.09%.





1. Coronavirus lockdown | Minor forest produce in exemption list


—In the latest set of lockdown relaxations, the Ministry of Home Affairs has added the collection, harvesting and processing of minor forest produce to the list of activities that will be permitted.


What are minor forest produce?

—Minor forest produce includes non-timber items such as bamboo and other grasses, edible or useful roots, seeds, fruits, flowers and plants.

—A number of people from scheduled tribes and other forest dwelling communities depend on the collection and sale of such items for their livelihood.

—Reports from some forest areas show that police personnel have been preventing forest dwellers from leaving their homes to collect minor forest produce due to the restrictions.


Plantations included

—The new MHA guidelines have also expanded the types of plantations that will be permitted to resume activities with half their workforce from April 20 onwards.

—Earlier, tea, coffee and rubber plantations were given exemptions from the lockdown.

—Now, bamboo, cocoa, areca nut, and spices plantations — most of which are clustered in the southern States — will be added to the list, along with their harvesting, processing, packaging, sale and marketing.


Credit societies

—Cooperative credit societies, which are crucial to provide crop loans to farmers, will be exempted. —Non- banking financial institutions, including housing finance companies and microfinance institutions, will also be allowed to function with a bare minimum of staff, the guidelines said.


Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/minor-forest-produce-harvest-exempted-from-coronavirus-lockdown/article31363813.ece


2. Coronavirus lockdown | Rajasthan tribals using indigenous practices to sustain during lockdown


—Faced with the challenge of sustaining themselves, tribal communities in southern Rajasthan are utilising their indigenous practices of food and agricultural management to tide over the difficult period of nationwide lockdown enforced to control the COVID-19 pandemic.

—Tribals have adopted a number of micronutrient-rich plant foods as their daily dietary intake.

—The Banswara district, situated at the tri-junction of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, is rich in natural resources and has abundant edible materials, which are nutritious for the local population.

—Turmeric, which is one of the items produced in kitchen gardens, has been especially helpful for the tribal communities during the crisis when the shops are closed.

— Besides the daily usage of turmeric, several tribal families have converted it into the powdered form for use in the food preparation and other essential tasks.

—The region's commonly consumed food grains and vegetables, such as rajan, dhimda, kodra, bati, baota, kang, cheena, hama, hamli and gujro, are rich in iron and dietary fibre content.


About Rabi crops

—The rabi crops are sown around mid-November, preferably after the monsoon rains are over, and harvesting begins in April / May.

—The crops are grown either with rainwater that has percolated into the ground, or using irrigation. A good rain in winter spoils the rabi crops but is good for kharif crops.

—The major rabi crop in India is wheat, followed by barley, mustard, sesame and peas. Peas are harvested early, as they are ready early: Indian markets are flooded with green peas from January to March, peaking in February.


Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/tribals-using-indigenous-practices-to-sustain-during-lockdown/article31370901.ece


3. Coronavirus | Screen Rohingya and their contacts who attended the Tablighi Jamaat event, Home Ministry tells States


—The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has informed States that “Rohingya Muslims” and their contacts may need to be screened for COVID-19 infection as some of them in Telengana, Delhi, Punjab and Jammu attended the Tablighi Jamaat event at Nizamuddin in March.


About Rohingya

—Rohingya belong to Rakhine in Myanmar and more than a million have taken refuge in Bangladesh and some in India following an ethnic campaign against them.

—On February 11, Government informed the Parliament that the exact number of Rohingyas living in India is not known “since illegal migrants enter into the country without valid travel documents in clandestine and surreptitious manner.”

—But according to an estimate by MHA, there are around 40,000 Rohingya in India, of which around 5,700 are in Jammu. Of the total, only 16,000 are said to be registered with the United Nations.


Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/coronavirus-screen-rohingya-and-their-contacts-for-infection-home-affair-ministry-tells-states/article31370444.ece


4. Kisan Rath to link farmers to transport options


—In a bid to ease the disruption of agricultural supply chains, especially for perishable produce, the Agriculture Ministry has launched a Kisan Rath mobile application, which will connect farmers and traders to a network of more than 5 lakh trucks and 20,000 tractors.


Reducing farm distress during a pandemic

—The application, developed by the National Informatics Centre, is meant to help farmers and traders who are searching for vehicles to move produce.

—This includes primary transport from the farm to the mandis, local warehouses or the collection centres of farmer producer organisations, as well as the secondary transport from the local mandis to intra-and inter-State mandis, processing units, railway stations, warehouses or wholesalers.

—The application will lead to on boarding of over 5 lakh trucks through transport aggregators as well as 20,000 tractors from the custom hiring centres run by farmer groups. Refrigerated vehicles will also be available.


About NIC

—National Informatics Centre (NIC) is an attached office under Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Government of India.

— NIC provides infrastructure to help support delivery of Government IT services and delivery of some of the initiatives of Digital India.


Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/agriculture/kisan-rath-to-link-farmers-to-transport-options/article31370226.ece


5. ‘Food supply chain disruption a concern’


—Disruptions in domestic food supply chains are a pressing issue as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds-World Bank President.

—Labour shortages are impacting logistics and loss of jobs and income has impacted people’s ability to afford food.

—The Bank would have pandemic-related programmes in 100 countries by the end of April, with $160 billion of financing over the next 15 months, $50 billion of which will be on grant and highly concessional terms.

—India had received a $1 billion health sector emergency loan from the World Bank earlier in April.

—The World Bank had recently projected a 1.5%-2.8% growth rate in this fiscal year.

—Commercial creditors of governments should not free ride and need to help sovereign debt reduction efforts.

—He expected governments that are part of the International Development Association (a group of 76 of the poorest World Bank Group member countries — India is not a member) to get credit on similar terms from commercial creditors, he said.


Bilateral loans

—Days ago, the G-20 group of countries agreed to freeze bilateral loan repayments from 76 countries that are eligible for IDA assistance.


About World Bank

—The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans and grants to the governments of poorer countries for the purpose of pursuing capital projects.

—It comprises two institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), and the International Development Association (IDA). The World Bank is a component of the World Bank Group.


About IDA

—The International Development Association (IDA) is an international financial institution, which offers concessional loans and grants to the world's poorest developing countries. The IDA is a member of the World Bank Group and is headquartered in Washington, D.C. in the United States.

— It was established in 1960 to complement the existing International Bank for Reconstruction and Development by lending to developing countries, which suffer from the lowest gross national income, from troubled creditworthiness, or from the lowest per capita income.

—Together, the International Development Association and International Bank for Reconstruction and Development are collectively generally known as the World Bank, as they follow the same executive leadership and operate with the same staff.


About G20

—The G20 (or Group of Twenty) is an international forum for the governments and central bank governors from 19 countries and the European Union (EU).

— Founded in 1999 with the aim to discuss policy pertaining to the promotion of international financial stability, the G20 has expanded its agenda since 2008 and heads of government or heads of state, as well as finance ministers and foreign ministers, have periodically conferred at summits ever since. It seeks to address issues that go beyond the responsibilities of any one organization.

—Membership of the G20 consists of 19 individual countries plus the European Union. The EU is represented by the European Commission and by the European Central Bank. Collectively, the G20 economies account for around 90% of the gross world product (GWP), 80% of world trade (or, if excluding EU intra-trade, 75%), two-thirds of the world population, and approximately half of the world land area.


Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/food-supply-chain-disruption-a-concern/article31370252.ece






1. New indigenous kit may soon accelerate testing


—A research laboratory funded by the Department of Science and Technology has developed a rapid diagnostic test that can potentially speed up the testing of a batch of suspected COVID-19 samples by 15 times and cut costs by two-thirds.

—The Chitra GeneLAMP-N, made by scientists at the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST), Thiruvananthapuram, has already been licensed to Agappe Diagnostics Ltd., an Ernakulam-based company. If approvals come through, about 20,000 kits could be made by the month-end.

—Though qualified by the National Institute of Virology’s sister organisation — NIV Alappuzha — as fit to be offered as a diagnostic, the kit awaits formal approval by the Indian Council for Medical Research and its manufacturers, and a licence from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation.


Rapid-Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) tests are considered the gold standard for detecting the virus.

—It involves extracting RNA from a swab, collected from the throat or nose, converting it into DNA, magnifying the quantity of DNA and using chemical probes to bind target genes that distinguish SARS-CoV2 from other viruses.

—While it takes two hours to extract RNA from a given batch of samples, the analysis can take two-and-a-half hours to detect the presence (or absence) of virus in a given batch.


‘Analyse in 10 minutes’

—By employing its in-house technology called reverse transcriptase loop-mediated amplification of viral nucleic acid (RT-LAMP), it zooms in on regions of the virus’ nucleocaspid (N) gene and can analyse a batch in 10 minutes.

—Most RT-PCR kits focus on two different genes, the E (envelope) gene and the RdRP (RNA dependent RNA polymerase) gene.

—The WHO recommends an E and RdRP test, while the U.S.’s Centres for Disease Control requires an N Gene test.

—“The N-Gene test is a confirmatory test and widely employed in Germany and China among other countries. However, the design of it is complicated and can be expensive. However, we’ve managed to develop it satisfactorily while keeping costs low,”.

—The CDC protocol says three regions of the N gene must be analysed but the Chitra-model tests two to confirm the identity of the virus.

—Tests conducted at the NIV Alappuzha showed that it detected 100% of all reference COVID samples and successfully detected 100% of non-COVID samples.

—While some kits approved by the ICMR and currently in use for diagnosing the infection have a similar 100% profile, some do not.

— In the spirit of accelerating testing, the scale of the pandemic has moved regulatory agencies around the world to ease standards and facilitate the availability of more kits.

—A total of 30 samples can be tested in a single batch and the unit consists of an RNA extraction machine, which too is locally developed.

— Probes, a critical aspect of PCR testing and frequently imported, for this test can be procured from several places in India.


2. A season of change: On IMD forecast system


—In the season of the abnormal, the IMD has announced that the monsoon this year would likely be normal.

—The agency follows a two-stage forecast system: indicating in April whether there are chances of drought or any other anomaly and then a second update, in late June, with a more granular look at how the monsoon will likely distribute over the country and whether danger signs are imminent.

—‘Normal’ means India will get 100% of its long period average, with a potential 5% error margin.

—The IMD’s April forecast, experience suggests, is not much to go by especially if the agency declares it ‘normal’ as rarely, if ever, do weather models catch signs of an impending shortfall or a large excess in April. Also being a part of a hierarchical government set-up, the agency defaults to being conservative.

—The April forecast is a vestige of the agency’s reliance on the ‘statistical forecast system’ where values of selected meteorological parameters are recorded until March 31 and permutations of these are computed and compared to the IMD’s archive of weather data.

—Climate, as well as technological change, allows new weather variables — such as surface temperatures from as remote as the southern Indian Ocean and regular updates from the Pacific Ocean — to be mapped.

—Powerful computers mathematically simulate the weather based on these variables and extrapolate onto desired time frames.

—Using these dynamical models is a change the IMD has incorporated and experimented with for years.

—It made two key changes this year: reducing the definition of ‘normal’ rainfall by 1 cm, to 88 cm and, officially updating monsoon onset and arrival dates for many States.

—This was long due and constituted acknowledgement of the accumulated impact that global warming has been having on monsoon patterns, particularly for cities and States.

—The monsoon was arriving later in many places, had long weak spells, and lingered longer. This has already heralded thinking, in the agency, on whether India should move to a new monsoon-accounting calendar instead of the century-long tradition of June-September.

—This would signal a truly momentous break from the past. Just as COVID-19 is forcing introspection on the links that tie people, trade and ecology, it is also time for the IMD to incorporate the lessons from the new normals.


Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/a-season-of-change-the-hindu-editorial-on-the-india-meteorological-departments-forecast-system/article31370340.ece


3. India removes export curbs on formulations from Paracetamol


—The Centre has permitted the export of formulations made from Paracetamol.

—The government has, however, decided to continue with the restriction on export of Paracetamol APIs that were placed, along with that on export of the formulations, on March 3.

—A common fever medication globally, Paracetamol is the most sought after and widely used drug ever since the COVID-19 outbreak.

—According to sources, India is among the leading manufacturers of Paracetamol globally.

—Some of the major producers are Farmson Pharmaceuticals, Granules, Sri Krishna Pharma and Bharat Chemicals.

—The production capacity is estimated to be 5,000 tonnes a month.

—From an export perspective, it is a low value, high volume product.

—The decision allowing export of formulations made from Paracetamol come close on the heels of another permitting shipment of anti-malarial drug Hydroxychroloquine (HCQ) to the US and several other countries.

—Though the efficacy of HCQ to treat corona virus is not yet clinically proven, it shot to prominence in the wake of US President Donald Trump recently describing the product as a “game changer.”


About Paracetamol

—Paracetamol, also known as acetaminophen and APAP, is a medication used to treat pain and fever.

—It is typically used for mild to moderate pain relief. There is mixed evidence for its use to relieve fever in children.

—It is often sold in combination with other medications, such as in many cold medications.

—Paracetamol is also used for severe pain, such as cancer pain and pain after surgery, in combination with opioid pain medication.

—It is typically used either by mouth or rectally, but is also available by injection into a vein. Effects last between two and four hours.


About Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ)

—Sold under the brand name Plaquenil among others, is a medication used to prevent and treat malaria in areas where malaria remains sensitive to chloroquine.

—Other uses include treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and porphyria cutanea tarda. It is taken by mouth.

—It is also being studied as a treatment for corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19)


Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/india-removes-export-curbs-on-formulations-from-paracetamol/article31364068.ece





1.Institutional fixes and the need for ethical politics


—Late night on March 23, while the nation was vexed with the corona virus crisis, Shivraj Singh Chouhan of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh in a small ceremony at the Raj Bhavan.

—Much of India was already in a lockdown when Mr. Chouhan took oath. Since no other Minister was sworn in, Madhya Pradesh does not presently have a cabinet or a dedicated Health Minister at this time of a health emergency.


New method of bypass

—The political skulduggery in Madhya Pradesh represents a new method of bypassing the anti-defection law and toppling elected governments.

—The H.D. Kumaraswamy-led Congress-JD(S) government was brought down in July last year in a similar manner with 17 MLAs of the ruling coalition resigning and joining the BJP.

— Under this novel method, a set of legislators of the party in power is made to resign from the Assembly to reduce the total strength of the House enough for the BJP to cross the halfway mark to form government.

— In the ensuing by-elections, the members who resigned were then fielded as BJP candidates (most of whom have been re-elected in the case of Karnataka). The same practice is likely to be repeated in Madhya Pradesh soon.


—This method of mass defection circumvents the provisions of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution (better known as the anti-defection law) that prescribes the grounds for disqualification of legislators: voluntarily giving up party membership and voting or abstaining to vote against party directions.

Though resignation is not mentioned as a ground for disqualification, the Speaker in Karnataka disqualified them for the rest of the Assembly’s term, thereby barring them from contesting the by-polls.

—While the Supreme Court upheld the disqualification, it stuck down the bar from contesting by-polls.

—In Madhya Pradesh, since the Speaker has accepted the resignation of the MLAs, the defectors can in any case contest the by-polls.


—The recurrence of this model of defection signals the exploitation of the inherent weaknesses of the anti-defection law.

—While solo legislators jumping ship might have reduced now, “horse-trading” seems to have gone from retail to wholesale. This threatens the underpinnings of India’s electoral democracy since such surreptitious capture of power essentially betrays the people’s mandate in a general election.

—Further, as the by-polls are held after the alternate political formation has assumed office, the turncoats now have an upper hand in the election as members of the ruling dispensation.


Rethinking the law

—In this context, it is important to examine whether the anti-defection law fulfils any purpose.

—This law raises fundamental concerns regarding the role of a legislator in a parliamentary democracy.

—It denies the legislator the right to take a principled position on a policy matter and reduces her to an involuntary supporter of the whims of party bosses.

—The constitutionality of the Tenth Schedule was challenged for violating the Basic Structure of Constitution with regard to parliamentary democracy and free speech, but the Supreme Court in Kihoto Hollohan v. Zachillhu (1992) in a 3-2 verdict upheld the law while reserving the right of judicial review of the Speaker’s decision.

—Hence, the anti-defection law, on the one hand, severely restricts the freedom of a legislator and makes her a slave of party whips. On the other hand, it has not been able to meet its primary objective of preventing horse-trading and continues to be circumvented to bring down elected governments.

—This calls for reforms that address concerns at both ends of the spectrum.


—For addressing the first issue, as the Dinesh Goswami Committee also suggested, the scope of the binding whip should be restricted to a vote of confidence.

—For addressing the second issue, it is best to institutionalise the Karnataka Speaker’s decision to bar the defected members from contesting in the ensuing by-poll, if not for a longer period, and thereby disincentivise MLAs from jumping ship.


—These reforms would require a constitutional amendment to the Tenth Schedule, an uphill task under the current circumstances. Even if these measures are introduced, our politics might come up with other ingenious ways to circumvent them.

—As the orders in the Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh cases show, the courts also cannot be relied on much to curb defections.

—We are facing a deeper challenge of the corrosion of India’s parliamentary system, for even in jurisdictions without such anti-defection laws, we do not see “horse trading” and “resort politics”.

—Hence, beyond institutional fixes, we also need a popular articulation of an ethical politics that causes the public to shun such political manoeuvres.






1.Pit viper in Arunachal has Harry Potter link

-A new species of green pit viper found in Arunachal Pradesh has a Harry Potter link.

-The scientific name Trimeresurus salazar has been inspired by Salazar Slytherin, co-founder of J.K. Rowling’s fictional Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

-The discovery by Zeeshan A. Ayaz Mirza of Bengaluru’s National Centre for Biological Sciences, Harshal S. Bhosale of Bombay Natural History Society and four others was published in the April issue of Zoosystematics and Evolution.

-The new species is the fifth variety of reptile to have been discovered in the State in a little more than year, beginning with the crying keelback followed by the impressive tortoise, so named because of the striking pattern on its back.


National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) in Bangalore, Karnataka, is a research centre specialising in biological research. It is a part of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) under the Department of Atomic Energy of the Government of India. The mandate of NCBS is basic and interdisciplinary research in the frontier areas of biology. The research interests of the faculty are in four broad areas ranging from the study of single molecules to systems biology.


Bombay Natural History Society, founded on 15 September 1883, is one of the largest non-governmental organisations in India engaged in conservation and biodiversity research. It supports many research efforts through grants and publishes the Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society. Many prominent naturalists, including the ornithologists Sálim Ali and S. Dillon Ripley, have been associated with it. The society is commonly known by its initials, BNHS.


2. Anand is ambassador for WWF India

-Five-time World chess champion Viswanathan Anand is the new Ambassador for World Wide Fund for Nature-India’s Environment Education programme.

World Wide Fund for Nature:

-The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is an international non-governmental organization founded in 1961, working in the field of wilderness preservation, and the reduction of human impact on the environment.

- It was formerly named the World Wildlife Fund, which remains its official name in Canada and the United States.

-WWF aims to "stop the degradation of the planet's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature."

-The Living Planet Report has been published every two years by WWF since 1998; it is based on a Living Planet Index and ecological footprint calculation.

-In addition, WWF has launched several notable worldwide campaigns including Earth Hour and Debt-for-Nature Swap, and its current work is organized around these six areas: food, climate, freshwater, wildlife, forests, and oceans.