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General election to the Legislative Assembly of Jharkhand, 2019 – Ban on Exit Poll.


Exit Polls in India


  • An election exit poll is a poll of voters taken soon after a voter walks out after casting his or her vote.
  • It is considered as an indicator to which party forms the government.
  • Unlike an opinion poll, which asks for whom the voter plans to vote, an exit poll asks for whom the voter actually voted.
  • Exit polls are conducted by a number of organisations.
  • This method is not new; it began back in 1957 during the second Lok Sabha elections when the Indian Institute of Public Opinion conducted a poll.
Regulating exit polls


  • Seeking an amendment to the RP Act to provide for a ban on both exit and opinion polls during a period specified by the EC in 2004 had approached the Law Ministry along with the endorsement of six national parties and 18 state parties.
  • The recommendation was accepted in part, and in February 2010, restrictions were imposed only on exit polls through the introduction of Section 126(A) in the Act.
  • The EC advises electronic and print media not to publish or publicise any article or programme related to the dissemination of results of exit polls during the prohibited period.
What does ECI advisory say about rules for predicting results?


  • The ECI is of the view that prediction of results of elections in any form or manner by way of predictions etc by astrologers, political analysts or by any persons during the prohibited period is violation of the spirit of Section 126A (of the RP Act).
  • It aims to prevent the electors of constituencies still going to polls from being influenced in their voting by such predictions about the prospects of the various political parties.
  • ECI, in exercise of the powers under sub-section (1) of Section 126A of the RP Act, 1951 has notifies the period during which conducting any exit poll is prohibited
Issue with exit polls


  • Both exit and opinion polls can be controversial if the agency conducting them is perceived to be biased.
  • As per critics, the projections of these surveys can be influenced by the choice, wording and timing of the questions, and by the nature of the sample drawn.
  • Political parties often allege that many opinion and exit polls are motivated and sponsored by their rivals.
  • They could have a distorting effect on the choices voters make in a protracted election, rather than simply reflecting public sentiment or views.


MoU signed between India and Myanmar on bilateral cooperation for Prevention of Trafficking in Persons


Strategic Significance


  • India and Myanmar share a long 1,643 km geographical land border and maritime boundary in the Bay of Bengal. Myanmar shares borders with 4 Indian states – Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh in Northeast India.
  • Myanmar is India’s gateway to South-East Asia.
  • India – Myanmar border is highly porous, poorly guarded and located along a remote, underdeveloped, insurgency-prone region and proximate to opium producing area.
  • The border is also vulnerable to the activities of insurgents and drugs and arms traffickers.
  • Myanmar is also important from the security point of view as the influx of sizable numbers of Rohingya from Myanmar’s Rakhine state continues.
  • India–Myanmar border poses a challenge to India’s security.

Trade and Economy


  • The success of India’s Act East Policy, Neighbourhood first policy largely depend on its relations with Myanmar.
  • Bilateral trade has grown from $12.4 million in 1980-81 to $2.18 billion in 2016-17.
  • Myanmar is also the beneficiary of a duty-free tariff preference scheme for least developed countries (LDCs).
  • Some of the Indian companies such as Essar, GAIL, and ONGC Videsh Ltd. have invested in Myanmar’s energy sector.
  • Cooperation in theahead steadily. United Bank of India and EXIM Bank have representative offices banking sector, which is crucial for investment and trade, is moving in Myanmar.
  • Indian firms engage in manufacturing, services (banking, insurance, dry port), power sector etc.


  • India is building the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport, a road-river-port cargo transport project, to link Kolkata to Sittwe in Myanmar and then from Myanmar’s Kaladan river to India’s north-east.
  • India, Myanmar, and Thailand are building the Asian Trilateral Highway, which will connect India to ASEAN. The road is expected to boost trade and commerce in the ASEAN–India Free Trade Area, as well as with the rest of Southeast Asia.

Development Assistance


  • India has already extended $2 billion in soft loans. It has offered to help Myanmar developmental assistance in the areas it wants rather than be prescriptive.
  • India is also providing assistance in setting up institutions for higher learning and research, namely Myanmar Institute of Information Technology, Advanced Centre for Agricultural Research and Education, Myanmar-India Centre for Enhancement of IT Skills, India-Myanmar Industrial Training Centres.
  • A new Indian proposal suggests the setting up of infrastructure and socio-economic projects jointly with Myanmar in the restive Rakhine state—in the areas of education, health, agriculture, agro-processing, upgradation of roads, small power projects and livelihood activity.
Defence Cooperation


  • India-Myanmar Bilateral Army Exercise (IMBAX) is aimed at building and promoting closer relations with armies.
  • Myanmar is a key partner in the fight to end insurgency in India’s northeast.
Cultural Significance


  • India and Myanmar share cultural ties in terms of Buddhist heritage and shared history of colonialism.
  • Building on this shared heritage, India is undertaking some key initiatives in the restoration of the Ananda Temple in Bagan and the repair and conservation of a large number of damaged pagodas.
Humanitarian Assistance


  • India has responded promptly and effectively in rendering assistance following natural calamities in Myanmar like Cyclone Mora (2017), Komen (2015), earthquake in Shan State (2010).
  • India also offered to provide support in capacity building in disaster risk mitigation as well as in strengthening Myanmar’s National Disaster Response Mechanism.
Indian Community


There are varying estimates of 1.5-2 million people of Indian origin living and working in various parts of Myanmar.

Multilateral Partnership


  • Myanmar is also a key component of India’s strategy to bridge South and South-East Asia through BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation).
  • Myanmar’s membership of ASEAN, BIMSTEC and Mekong Ganga Cooperation has introduced a regional/sub-regional dimension to bilateral relations and imparted added significance in the context of our “Act East” policy.
  • Myanmar has generally been supportive of India’s stand in various international organisations. For our part, we have supported Myanmar’s association with SAARC as an observer, a status Myanmar formally acquired in 2008.

The Rohingya Issue


India does not directly engage with the issue of Myanmar’s treatment of its Rohingya Muslim minority. But India has condemned the recent terrorist attacks in northern Rakhine State. This can be considered as a measure of support to Myanmar.



  • Internal Security is a major concern for India; Indo-Myanmar border is porous and lightly policed which is exploited by terrorist outfits and insurgent groups from North Eastern part of India eg. supply of trained cadres, arms trafficking.
  • Bilateral trade between India and Myanmar still falls short of expectations.
  • Overtime trust deficit has widened between India-Myanmar because of the Indian reputation for delaying implementation of various projects.
  • China has asserted itself through its soft power as well as through its trade and economic relations with Myanmar by taking up large infrastructure projects.
  • As China’s growing influence in the region is a potential threat to India, New Delhi would like to enhance India’s presence by developing infrastructure and connectivity projects in the country.

India has found it difficult to counter Chinese influence in Myanmar.

Way Forward


  • Both the countries are affected due to the misuse of open border by internal and external forces, the responsibility of border management and regulation depends on both.
  • It is also the only country that can act as a link between India and ASEAN.
  • Myanmar is India’s gateway to Southeast Asia and could be the required impetus to realize India’s Act East Policy.
  • Myanmar itself is an emerging consumer market of 60 million people who have demands for products ranging from personal care to beverages to smart phones. India should leverage these export opportunities.
  • There are a few sectors where India can extend its presence in Myanmar. These include manufacturing high-end smart phones, exporting cement, furniture, FMCG, energy, telecommunications, healthcare, creating townships, low cost housing development, ports and logistics, rural electrification etc.
  • Agriculture is another sector where India can substantially augment its cooperation with Myanmar in rice research activities, post-harvest technology, agriculture financing and articulating policies.
  • India’s Kaladan Multimodal Transit and Transport project and India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway have seen much delay over the past couple of years. Hence, it can be said that the success of India’s Act East Policy will now depend on India’s prompt action and pragmatic approach for completion of projects.
  • Enhancing economic partnership with Myanmar needs to be a priority in India’s Act East Policy which will benefit New Delhi in enhancing ties with Southeast Asia.


Global Competitiveness Index


The World Economic Forum (WEF) has released the 2019 edition of the Global Competitiveness Report which features the Global Competitiveness Index 4.0 (GCI 4.0).

  • The World Economic Forum introduced the new Global Competitiveness Index 4.0 in 2018. GCI 4.0 provides a detailed map of the factors and attributes that drive productivity, growth and human development in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
  • The GCI 4.0 covers 141 economies, which account for 99% of the world’s GDP.
  • The GCI 4.0 of 2019 reveal that, on average, most economies continue to be far from the competitiveness “frontier”—the aggregate ideal across all factors of competitiveness.
  • A country’s performance on the overall GCI is reported as a ‘progress score’ on a 0-to-100 scale, where 100 represents the ‘frontier’, an ideal state where an issue ceases to be a constraint to productivity growth.
  • This edition of the report focuses on building shared prosperity (addressing inequality) and managing the transition to a sustainable economy (addressing environmental issues) along with competitiveness and growth.
  • The report is based on 12 set of factors (pillars) that determine productivity. These are: Institutions; Infrastructure; ICT adoption; Macroeconomic stability; Health; Skills; Product market; Labour market; Financial system; Market size; Business dynamism; and Innovation capability.
  • The index has been an annual edition since 1979.
Key Findings


India has moved down 10 places to the rank of 68th compared to the 58th rank of 2018 primarily because of faster improvements of several countries previously ranked lower.

Positives for India:


India ranks high on macroeconomic stability (90, 43rd) and market size (93.7, 3rd),

India performs well when it comes to innovation (50.9, 35th), well ahead of most emerging economies and on par with several advanced economies.

Its financial sector (69.5, 40th) is relatively deep and stable.

Challenges for India:


  • India ranks beyond 100th on five pillars and features in the top 50 of just four pillars.
  • Major shortcomings in some of the basic enablers of competitiveness, like ICT adoption is limited (31.1, 120th) but has improved sharply (+8 since the 2017 edition).
  • Health conditions remain poor, as reflected in low healthy life expectancy (59.4 years, 109th), which is one of the shortest outside Africa and significantly below the South Asian average.
  • Weak banking system (60.4, 89th).
  • India must also grow its skills base (50.5, 107th).
  • Product market efficiency (50.4, 101st) is undermined by a lack of trade openness (43.9, 131st).
  • The labour market is characterized by a lack of worker rights’ protections, insufficiently developed active labour market policies and critically low participation of women (ratio of female workers to male workers of 0.26, 128th)

In South Asia, Sri Lanka is the most improved country in the region at 84th, Bangladesh (105th), Nepal (108th) and Pakistan (110th).

China (28th) is the best performer among the BRICS countries.

The Russian Federation ranks 43rd, South Africa is 60th, India is 68th and Brazil is ranked 71st.

Singapore has become the world’s most competitive economy in 2019, pushing the US to second place.

Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) is ranked 3rd, the Netherlands is 4th and Switzerland is ranked 5th in the index.

Vietnam (67th) registered the highest improvement across the globe.


Exercise Mitra Shakti-VII: 2019


India and Sri Lanka have collaborated on counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations over the years. The two sides have a long history of military cooperation. Exercise MITRA SHAKTI – 2019 is aimed at sending a strong message to all the member nations of the United Nations of the intent, commitment and capability of the militaries of both India & Sri Lanka towards maintaining world peace and upholding the mandate of United Nations

National Organic Festival of Women Entrepreneurs


The Women of India Organic Festival is organised by the Ministry of Women and Child Development  to celebrate and promote women farmers and entrepreneurs in the organic sector from the remotest parts of India.

About the Festival


  • The objectives of the Women of India Organic Festival are:
  1. To encourage Indian women entrepreneurs and farmers to connect with more buyers and thus, empower them through financial inclusion, while promoting organic culture in India.
  2. To educate people about its various initiatives and schemes relating to women and children.
  3. To provide a platform to showcase the varied products of women farmers and entrepreneurs.
  4. The festival would provide an opportunity to showcase over 1,000 varied organic products, including fabric, wellness, grains, seeds, jewellery, bakery items and a lot more.


1st International Conference on “Landslides Risk Reduction and Resilience”


What are landslides?


There are wide varieties of the names given to the denudation process whereby soil or rocks are displaced along the slope by mainly gravitational forces and landslides are one them. Landslides refer to the movement of mass of rock, debris or earth down the slope, when the shear stress exceeds the shear strength of the material.


What causes landslides?

It occurs when the consequence of a complex field of forces (stress is a force per unit area) active on a mass of rock or soil on the slope. It happens due to geological causes, morphological causes, physical causes and human causes. There are two parameters that determine the landslides are as follows:


  1. Increase of shear stress: It happen due to the removal of lateral and underlying support; increase of lateral forces as well as load; transitory stresses like blasting, earthquakes etc.; and geological movement.


  1. Decrease of material strength: It happens due to the weathering, pore water pressure and changes in structure.


The incidents of landslides increasing day by day due to the over urbanization, massive deforestation, construction and development work in landslide prone areas.


Do you know the reason of daily variation of temperature



Types of landslides


  1. Falls: It happen due to the abrupt movements of masses of geologic materials, such as rocks and boulders that become detached from steep slopes or cliffs.


  1. Topples: It happens due to the forward rotation of a unit or units about some pivotal point, below or low in the unit, under the actions of gravity and forces exerted by adjacent units or by fluids in cracks


  1. Slides: In this types, rocks, debris or soil slide through slope forming material.


  1. Spread: It usually occur on very gentle slopes or flat terrain.


How landslides can mitigate?


  1. By restricting or even removing population from landslides prone areas.


  1. By restricting certain types of land use where slopes are vulnerable.


  1. By installing early warning systems based on the monitoring of ground conditions such as strain in rocks and soils, slope displacement, and groundwater levels.


Remedial steps for landslides


  1. Modification of Slope Geometry: In order to improve the stability of the unstable or potentially unstable slopes, the profile of the slope is sometimes changed by excavation or by filling at the toe of the slope.


  1. Drainage Control: The presence of water in joints or in soil slope has a fundamental influence on the slope stability.


  1. Internal Slope Reinforcement Systems: The aim of rock slope stabilization with structural elements is to help the rock mass to support itself by applying external structures which are not part of the rock mass but support it externally.


  1. Retaining Walls: Construction of wall along the problematic slopes area.