Current Affairs 14th January, 2019


Topics Covered

1.  Art and Culture – From Ancient India to Modern Times – Festivals of India

Lohri festival

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What to read?

Prelims – All about Lohri Festival

Mains – Significance of the festival

The people of Punjab celebrate Lohri with utmost zest every year on 13th January. It is believed that the festival is celebrated on the day when days start becoming shorter and the nights start becoming longer.

The people of Sindhi community observe this festival as “Lal Loi”. Punjabi people living in various corners of the world also celebrate Lohri with the same fervour.

  • Lohri is considered to have been derived from the word “Loi”, who was the wife of Kabir, the great saint.

  • While some people believe that it originated from the word “Loh” which is a device used for making chapattis.

The Lohri is celebrated in different states

In Andhra Pradesh, it is celebrated with the name Bhogi. Similarly, in Assam, Tamil Nadu and Kerala the festival is celebrated with the names Magha Bihu, Pongal and Tai Pongal respectively.

On the other hand, people of UP and Bihar call it the celebration of Makar Sankranti


Topics Covered

1. Society

2. Governmental Intervention to protect the vulnerable and weaker sections of the society

Regional Centre of National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development (NIPCCD)

Image result for national institute of public cooperation and child development

What to read?

Prelims – National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development

The Union Minister of Women and Child Development stressed upon the need for training and development of elected women representatives of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs. She was addressing the function after inaugurating the 5thRegional Centre of National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development (NIPCCD) at SahibzadaAjitSingh  Nagar (Mohali), Punjab  


  • NIPCCD is a premier organisation devoted to promotion of voluntary action, research, training, and documentation in the overall domain of women and children development.

  • NIPCCD already has  four such Regional Centres one each at Bangalore, Guwahati, Indore and Lucknow besides the Headquarters at New Delhi.

Paper 2:

Topics Covered:

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

  • Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.

  • Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources, issues relating to poverty and hunger.

Right to Disconnect Bill 2018

Image result for Right to Disconnect Bill 2018

 What to read?

Prelims: Features and significance of the Bill, Private Member’s bill- key facts.

Mains: Significance and the need for the bill, issues related and potential of private members’ bills.

 To help employees strike a better work-life balance and reduce stress, NCP MP Supriya Sule has introduced the Right to Disconnect Bill 2018, a Private Member’s Bill, in the Lok Sabha.

 Key features and highlights of the Bill:

  • Aim: The Right to Disconnect Bill aims at “reducing stress and ease tension between an employee’s personal and professional life.”

  • The Bill gives employees the right to not respond to calls or any kind of communications from the employers after office hours.

  • The Bill requires the setting up of an Employee Welfare Authority, which will publish reports related to the impact employees have from prolonged use of digital tools beyond office hours and it will also create a charter defining employee-employer negotiation.

  • According to the Bill, “Companies with more than 10 employees would periodically negotiate specific terms with their workers, publish their own charter, and create an Employee Welfare Committee consisting of representatives of the company’s workforce.”

Concerns and challenges faced by workers:

  • With dynamic business demands in an evolving corporate landscape, striking a work-life balance has become difficult but also a priority. The imbalance leads to stress, anxiety and sleep deprivation—notable trends in studies on employee health.

  • The traditional service sector has to often deal with unreasonable work hours, working overtime without extra compensation, or carrying their work home.

  • The insidious impact of ‘always on’ organizational culture is often unaccounted for or disguised as a benefit – increased convenience, for example, or higher autonomy and control over work-life boundaries.

Need and significance of the Bill:

Image result for Right to Disconnect Bill 2018

After being in the workplace for eight hours or more, it might be very stressful for a person to respond to office-related calls after work. According to experts, work-related stress can often lead to a lot of physical and mental ailments including depression, which might go undiagnosed. As a result of which, a person might face a lot of problem in his professional and personal life as well. The Right to Disconnect Bill 2018, if passed, will help people strike work-life balance and lead a better life.

 Efforts in this regard

Countries like France and Germany have already adopted the right to disconnect laws, with the French government setting the example first in 2004, when it clarified that an employee unreachable on a smartphone outside of work hours will not be tagged for misconduct.

The European Union had voted in 2015 to regard the time spent in commute (to and from work) as workIn India, a Kolkata-based firm became the third in the country to sanction menstruation leave (of two days per month) to its female employees starting New Year’s Day.

Way ahead:

The bill is yet to be discussed in the Lok Sabha. The odds however are stacked against the bill’s discussion. Data reveals that fewer than 5% of private bills are even debated in Lok Sabha. According to research from PRS Legislative published in 2015, the 13th Lok Sabha discussed barely 5% of private bills, the 14th Lok Sabha discussed 3%, while the 16th Lok Sabha discussed only 2.85% of private bills.

According to Parliamentary rules, a private bill has an expectancy of 6 years to be discussed, before lapse.

Paper 2 and 3:

Topics Covered:

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

  • Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.

  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

  • Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

Banks to review mudra loan book

Image result for Banks to review mudra loan book

What to read?

Prelims - PMMY- key features.

Mains: Significance of the scheme and concerns raised over loans disbursed under the scheme, how can these loans be prevented from turning into NPAs.

 The finance ministry has asked the banks to review all loans sanctioned under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY or Mudra loan scheme), as the non-performing assets (NPA) have crossed Rs 11,000 crore within three years of the launch of the scheme.


The rising NPAs under the scheme are a matter of concern. It is already three years and there is a need to review how the banks are sanctioning the loans. The RBI has already flagged its concerns regarding the bad loans to the government.

What went wrong?

In order to push the scheme, there had been an overemphasis on banks to meet loan disbursal targets. In the race to meet the target, the credentials of loan-seekers were not being properly verified and in many instances, loans were being given without any collateral or security, making it difficult for the banks to go after defaulters.

Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY) scheme:

The PMMY Scheme was launched in April, 2015. The scheme’s objective is to refinance collateral-free loans given by the lenders to small borrowers.

  • The scheme, which has a corpus of Rs 20,000 crore, can lend between Rs 50,000 and Rs 10 lakh to small entrepreneurs.

  • Banks and MFIs can draw refinance under the MUDRA Scheme after becoming member-lending institutions of MUDRA.

  • Mudra Loans are available for non-agricultural activities upto Rs. 10 lakh and activities allied to agriculture such as Dairy, Poultry, Bee Keeping etc, are also covered.

  • Mudra’s unique features include a Mudra Card which permits access to Working Capital through ATMs and Card Machines.

There are three types of loans under PMMY:

  • Shishu (up to Rs.50,000).

  • Kishore (from Rs.50,001 to Rs.5 lakh).

  • Tarun (from Rs.500,001 to Rs.10,00,000).

Objectives of the scheme:

Image result for Banks to review mudra loan book

Fund the unfunded: Those who have a business plan to generate income from a non-farm activity like manufacturing, processing, trading or service sector but don’t have enough capital to invest can take loans up to Rs 10 lakh.

Micro finance institutions (MFI) monitoring and regulation: With the help of MUDRA bank, the network of microfinance institutions will be monitored. New registration will also be done.

Promote financial inclusion: With the aim to reach Last mile credit delivery to micro businesses taking help of technology solutions, it further adds to the vision of financial inclusion.

Reduce jobless economic growth: Providing micro enterprises with credit facility will help generate employment sources and an overall increase in GDP.

Integration of Informal economy into Formal sector: It will help India also grow its tax base as incomes from the informal sector are non-taxed.

Probable Mains Question

It has been cautioned that the next crisis in India’s banking sector could come from MUDRA loans, and credit extended through the Kisan credit card scheme. Critically examine.