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Paper: General Studies 2

Topic: issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure

Why in the news?

The President of India transferred and appointed new Governors for various states.

Appointment of the Governor

  • The role of the Governor is quite similar to that of the President of India. The Governor performs the same duties as of President, but for the State. Governor stands as executive head of a State and the working remains the same as of the office of President of India. Under the Constitution of India, the governing machinery is the same as that of the Central Government.
  • The appointment and powers of government can be derived from Part VI of the Indian constitution. Article 153 says that there shall be a Governor for each State. One person can be appointed as Governor for two or more States.
  • The governor acts in ‘Dual Capacity’ as the Constitutional head of the state and as the representative. He is the part of the federal system of Indian polity and acts as a bridge between the union and state governments.
  • He holds office at the pleasure of the President and can be removed by the President without any formal impeachment process or dismissal process.

Electronically Transmitted Postal ballot System (ETPBS)

Paper: General Studies 2

Topic: Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.

Why in the news?

  • Among the many milestones recorded by Election Commission of India during the recently concluded Lok Sabha Election 2019, Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS) is one of its kind. Compared to 13,27,627 number of registered Service Electors of last General Election in 2014, a record highest number of 18,02,646 were enrolled as Service Electors in 2019 in the world’s largest democratic election process. 
  • For the first time enabled through the dedicated portal https://www.servicevoter.eci.nic.in  online registration, the service voters were sent postal ballots electronically one way to save processing time, resources and avoid human errors. 
  • 10,84,266 e-postal ballots were received indicating 60.14% turnout. 

What is the Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System?

  • ETPBS is a fully secured system, having two security layers. Secrecy of voting is maintained through the use of OTP and PIN and no duplication of casted ETPB is possible due to the unique QR Code in the portal https://www. etpbs.in. 
  • Through this system the service voters cast their vote on an electronically received postal ballot, from anywhere outside their constituency, thus reducing the chances of losing the voting opportunity. 
  • The purpose of the online system was to create convenient and easy-to-use online system for Defense Personnel to become Service Voters. Service Voter turnout in 2014 was only 4%.

Who is a service voter?

Service voter is a voter having service qualification. According to the provisions of sub – section (8) of Section 20 of Representation of People Act, 1950, service qualification means –

  • Being a member of the armed Forces of the Union ; or
  • Being a member of a force to which provisions of the Army Act, 1950 (46 of 1950), have been made applicable whether with or without modification ;
  • Being a member of an Armed Police Force of a State, and serving outside that state; or
  • Being a person who is employed under the Government of India, in a post outside India.


Persons working in Central Forces under Army Act and Government officials deployed in Embassies outside the country are classified as Service Voters and are provisioned for online enrolment. Out of the total number of Service Electors in 2019 General Elections, 10,16,245 were from Ministry of Defence; 7,82,595 from Ministry of Home Affairs (Central Armed Police Forces); 3539 of Ministry of External Affairs and State Police 267

Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN)

Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

Why in the news?

  • Giving further fillip to  Regional Connectivity in the country, 8 more routes (including 2 DoNER Routes) became functional Under Regional Connectivity Scheme/Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik- UDAN scheme of the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
  • With this, the totalUDAN  routes Operational as on date increased to 194 routes

What is the UDAN scheme?

  • UDAN seeks to boost air connectivity by linking up un-served and under-served airports in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities with the big cities and also with each other. This is done by offering cheap tickets to passengers and the Central and State governments paying a subsidy to the airlines to enable them to offer cheap tickets. It is also known as Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS)
  • The scheme will run for 10 years.
  • UDAN has a unique market-based model to develop regional connectivity. Interested airline and helicopter operators can start operations on hitherto un-connected routes by submitting proposals to the Implementing Agency. 
  • The operators could seek a Viability Gap Funding (VGF) apart from getting various concessions. 
  • All such route proposals would then be offered for competitive bidding through a reverse bidding mechanism and the route would be awarded to the participant quoting the lowest VGF per Seat. The operator submitting the original proposal would have the Right of First Refusal on matching the lowest bid in case his original bid is within 10% of the lowest bid. The successful bidder would then have exclusive rights to operate the route for a period of three years. Such support would be withdrawn after a three year period, as by that time, the route is expected to become self-sustainable. 
  • The selected airline operator would have to provide a minimum of 9 and a maximum of 40 UDAN Seats ( subsidized rates )on the UDAN Flights for operations through fixed wing aircraft and a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 13 Seats on the Flights for operations through helicopters. On each such route, the minimum frequency would be three and maximum of seven departures per week. Route networks would also be encouraged under the scheme to achieve economies of scale and optimal usage of aircraft. 
  • The fare for a one hour journey of appx. 500 km on a fixed wing aircraft or for a 30 minute journey on a helicopter would now be capped at Rs. 2,500, with proportionate pricing for routes of different stage lengths / flight duration. 
  • This would be achieved through (1) a financial stimulus in the form of concessions from Central and State governments and airport operators and (2) a Viability Gap Funding to the interested airlines to kick-off operations from such airports so that the passenger fares are kept affordable. 
  • Central Government would provide concessions in the form of reduced excise duty, service tax, permission to trade ASKMs for Non-RCS (UDAN) Seats and flexibility of code sharing at the RCS (UDAN) airports. 
  • State governments will have to lower the VAT on ATF to 1% or less, besides providing security and fire services free of cost and electricity, water and other utilities at substantially concessional rates. 
  • Airport operators shall not impose Landing and Parking charge and Terminal Navigation Landing Charges in addition to discounts on Route Navigation Facility Charges. 
  • A Regional Connectivity Fund would be created to meet the viability gap funding requirements under the scheme. The RCF levy per departure will be applied to certain domestic flights. 
  • The partner State Governments (other than North Eastern States and Union Territories where contribution will be 10 %) would contribute a 20% share to this fund. For balanced regional growth, the allocations under the scheme would be equitably spread across the five geographical regions of the country viz. North, West, South, East and North-east. 

Prelims Specific

  • The 11th biennial edition of DefExpo India- 2020 is scheduled to be held for the first time in Uttar Pradesh capital Lucknow.  Main theme of the DefExpo India- 2020 will be ‘India: The Emerging Defence Manufacturing Hub’ and focus will be on ‘Digital Transformation of Defence’.
  • Ujh and Basantpur bridges inaugurated by the Rakshamantri are located in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. One Km long Ujh bridge is the longest bridge constructed by BRO and also has the distinction where technology of Precast Segmental bar with 60 m spans was used. It has been constructed at a cost of approxRs 50 crore and was completed within  the scheduled time. The bridge is located on Parole-Korepannu-Rajpura road over Ujh Nallah. Basantar bridge has been constructed at a total cost of approxRs 41.7 crore. The bridge is located on Rajpura–Madwal–Pangadur–Phulpur road over BasantarNallah. Both these bridges have been constructed under 69 RCC/13 BRTF of Project Sampark. These bridges will provide smooth connectivity and are vital for the Army for deployment on border areas. These bridges will be a big relief for the local people of border villages of Kathua and Samba sector as road connectivity used to get disrupted during Monsoon.
  • Thirty Metre Telescope (TMT) is a proposed large astronomical observatory on Mauna Kea, a peak in Hawaii state of the USA.