Home » Current Affairs » Indian Indian polity News

Indian polity Current affairs 2019

Following the current events and news in the area of Indian polity is very important for the general studies paper in the UPSC exam. In recent times questions are set on only those topics that have made news. Regular study of Indian polity from NCERT books or otherwise is no longer required. The idea is to follow the current affairs news related to Indian polity and understand the Indian polity behind those issues. This is true for all levels of teh IAS exam - prelims, mains and also the interview.




Current Affairs Quiz

Current Affairs in Indian polity - September 2019

  • Article 371: It is a law providing special status to six North East states. The 68th Plenary session of the North Eastern Council (NEC) was held in Guwahati on September 8 and 9. At a meeting with governors and chief ministers of the eight northeastern states as part of the North Eastern Council in Guwahati, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday upheld the fact that the region was pivotal to India's growth story and that the Centre would not tamper with Article 371, dispelling fears that the special status of the north-eastern states would be scrapped, following the abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir, last month. Shah also reviewed the situation in the state in the wake of the publication of the final National Register of Citizens (NRC).
  • NEC: North Eastern Council(NEC) was constituted as a statutory advisory body under the NEC Act,1971. The eight States of Northeast India are members of the council with their respective Chief Ministers and Governors representing them. The council functions under the Ministry of Home Affairs of the Government of India. Union Home Minister is ex-officio Chairman of the Council and the Vice Chairman is the Minister of State (Independent Charge),Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region(DoNER). The Council was initially set up as an advisory body but now sanctioned as a Regional planning body since 2002.The council while formulating a regional plan for North Eastern states shall give priority to the schemes and projects benefiting two or more states provided that in the case of Sikkim, the Council shall formulate specific projects and schemes for that State.
  • The two Union Territories:Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh will have a common high court, Jammu and Kashmir High Court. The information was shared by the State Judicial Academy's Director Rajeev Gupta on September 8, 2019. He said that 108 Central Laws would be applicable for the Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh. He also said that 164 state laws would be repealed and 166 state laws will continue to be applicable. Under the centre’s announcement after revoking of Article 370, the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir will have a legislative Assembly, while the Union Territory of Ladakh will come under the direct control of the Union Government. Some laws will change, the existing law procedure for practice in the high court will remain the same.
  • The two Union Territories:Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh will have a common high court, Jammu and Kashmir High Court. The information was shared by the State Judicial Academy's Director Rajeev Gupta on September 8, 2019. He said that 108 Central Laws would be applicable for the Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh. He also said that 164 state laws would be repealed and 166 state laws will continue to be applicable.
  • 5 new governors appointed, Kalraj Mishra goes to Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu BJP chief is Telangana governor: President Ram Nath Kovind today appointed four new Governors and shifted Kalraj Mishra from Himachal Pradesh to Rajasthan. Mishra, 78, will succeed former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Kalyan Singh, who completed his five-year tenure as the Governor of Rajasthan. Former Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya, 72, has been appointed Governor of Himachal Pradesh, replacing Kalraj Mishra. Former Union Minister Arif Mohammed Khan will be the Kerala Governor in place of former Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam. BJP’s Tamil Nadu state chief Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan will be the Governor of Telangana, a post currently held by ESL Narasimhan. Former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Bhagat Singh Koshyari will be the new Governor of Maharashtra in place of Vidyasagar Rao. The appointments will take place from the dates they assume charge.
  • 01 September 2019: The West Bengal State Assembly passed West Bengal (Prevention of Lynching) Bill, 2019. The Bill aims to prevent and punish mob assaults and lynching. The state government mentioned that the Bill was passed as the Centre has failed to take the initiative. The Bill was passed by a voice vote. The Bill aims to prevent the spreading of hatred or incidents of mob lynching. The State describes lynching as social malice. The State also urged the Centre and other State governments to bring similar legislation.
  • Provisions of the Bill:The bill was passed after several cases in which the people were beaten to death over rumors of cattle smuggling and child theft. This offense will carry the punishment of a jail term for three years to life imprisonment. In case of assault leading to injury, the penalty includes a fine of a minimum of Rs.1 lakh to a maximum of Rs.3 lakh. The Bill defined terms such as lynching and mob. The Bill said that the West Bengal Lynching Compensation Scheme may be framed under this Act.
  • ‘Jai Bheem Mukhyamantri Yojana’:Ahead of assembly elections, the Delhi government on Tuesday extended the benefits under its 'Jai Bhim Mukhyamantri Yojana', which provides financial aid for coaching to students from Scheduled Castes (SC), to Other Backward Classes (OBC) and economically weaker sections It includes other backward class and general category students in its ‘Jai Bheem Mukhyamantri Yojana’, and enhance financial assistance from ₹40,000 to ₹1 lakh for coaching for various competitive exams. This scheme is only for the scheduled caste category students under which financial assistance of up to ₹40,000 would be provided.The move comes at a time when only a few months are left for the scheduled Delhi Assembly elections to be held early next year.According to Mr. Kejriwal, a civil service aspirant will be provided financial assistance upto ₹1 lakh for 12-month coaching.An applicant whose annual family income is less than ₹8 lakh will be able to avail the scheme, he added.
  • Aayush Centres :The Central government has set a target of setting up 12,500 Ayush centres across India. The announcement was made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Yoga Award Ceremony held in New Delhi. He also said that the Centre will open 1.5 lakh health, wellness centres. The prime minister also pitched for linking technology with tradition in the practise of Ayush medicine. In its first, 4000 Ayush centres will be set up in 2019. Government is also making efforts to bring in more professionals in the field of Ayush and necessary steps are being taken to that effect. Centre also plans to create a homogenous system by creating an Ayush grid on the lines of one nation, one tax, and one nation, one mobility card.
  • International Relations :Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami signed three agreements for collaboration in the healthcare sector on his first day of his UK tour. The Chief Minister is on the first leg of his three-nation tour which he set out for on Wednesday. According to reports, of the three agreements, two were Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) and one was Statement of Intent. While one MoU was signed between the government of Tamil Nadu and International Skills Development Corporation, to develop the skills of the healthcare staff in the state, another MoU was between the government of Tamil Nadu and the King’s College London. King’s College London is looking to establish a branch of the college in Tamil Nadu. The Chief Minister, flanked by Tamil Nadu’s Health Minister C Vijayabaskar and Health Secretary Dr Beela Rajesh, also signed a Statement of Intent with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to improve the standards to control the spread of communicable diseases like malaria and dengue. The delegation also visited the Emergency Operations Centre of the London ambulance service, NHS and its call centres to study the model of emergency response and dispatch of ambulances in London. The aim is to replicate the model in Tamil Nadu.
  • Rajya Sabha passes National Institute of Design (Amendment) Bill, 2019:Rajya Sabha has passed National Institute of Design (Amendment) Bill, 2019. Now it has to be passed by Lok Sabha. The Bill seeks to amend National Institute of Design Act, 2014, which declares National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad as an institution of national importance. It seeks to declare four National Institutes of Design (NID) in Andhra Pradesh (Amaravati), Assam (Jorhat), Madhya Pradesh (Bhopal) and Haryana (Kurukshera) as institutions of national importance as these institutes are registered as Societies under Societies Registration Act, 1860 and do not have power to grant degrees or diplomas. Once these four institutions are declared of national importance, they will be granted the power to grant degrees and diplomas. This step taken by the Government will not only help to produce highly skilled manpower in design sector but also create job opportunities, both direct and indirect. It will also provide sustainable design interventions for handloom, crafts, rural technology, small, medium (SMEs) and large scale enterprises (LSEs) nd outreach programmes for capacity, capability and institution building.
  • Lok Sabha passes Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019:Lok Sabha passed Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019 which seeks to prohibit discrimination against transgender persons, including in matters of employment. This bill that lays emphasis on educating, skilling and making transgenders employable was moved by Union Minister for State for Social Justice and Empowerment Kishan Pal Gurjar. This bill prohibits discrimination on the grounds of education, healthcare, employment, access to, or enjoyment of goods, facilities opportunities available to public. A transgender person can make an appliction to District Magistrate (DM) for a certificate of identity, indicating gender as ‘transgender’. National Council for Transgender persons (NCT): NCT chaired by Union Minister for Social Justice, apart from redressing grievances of transgender person, will advise central government as well as monitor impact of policies with respect to transgender persons. A transgender, ss a person or individual whose gender does not match gender assigned at birth. It includes trans-men and trans-women, persons with intersex variation (means a person who at birth shows variation in his/her primary sexual characteristics, external genitalia, chromosomes, or hormones from normative standard of male/female body), gender-queers, and persons with socio-cultural identities, such as kinnar and hijra. Though maximaum demands of the transgender community have been included in the Bill but the prejudice of the people regarding transgender have to be changed then only the Bills passed for them will be effective.
  • Indian Policy :The Sagarmala is a series of projects to leverage the country’s coastline and inland waterways to drive industrial development. It was originally mooted by the Vajpayee government in 2003 as the waterways equivalent of the Golden Quadrilateral. Sagarmala, integrated with the development of inland waterways, is expected to reduce cost and time for transporting goods, benefiting industries and export/import trade. The Sagarmala Programme is an initiative by the government of India to enhance the performance of the country's logistics sector. The programme envisages unlocking the potential of waterways and the coastline to minimize infrastructural investments required to meet these targets. It entails investing ₹8.5 trillion (equivalent to ₹8.9 trillion, US$130 billion or €120 billion in 2018) to set up new mega ports, modernizing India's existing ports, developing of 14 Coastal Economic Zones (CEZs) and Coastal Employment Units, enhancing port connectivity via road, rail, multi-modal logistics parks, pipelines & waterways and promoting coastal community development, with the aim of boosting merchandise exports by US$110 billion and generating around 10,000,000 direct and indirect jobs. The Sagarmala Programme is the flagship programme of the Ministry of Shipping to promote port-led development in the country by exploiting India’s 7,500 km long coastline, 14,500 km of potentially navigable waterways and its strategic location on key international maritime trade routes. Sagarmala aims to modernize India's Ports so that port-led development can be augmented and coastlines can be developed to contribute to India's growth. It also aims at "transforming the existing Ports into modern world-class Ports and integrate the development of the Ports, the Industrial clusters and hinterland and efficient evacuation systems through road, rail, inland and coastal waterways resulting in Ports becoming the drivers of economic activity in coastal areas. To implement this, State governments would set up State Sagarmala committees, headed by the chief minister or the minister in charge of ports. At the central level, a Sagarmala Development Company (SDC) will be set upto provide equity support to assist various special purpose vehicles (SPVs) set up for various projects.

Current Affairs in Indian polity - July 2019

  • Bharatmala Project: It relates to HighWay construction. Bharatmala Project is the second largest highways construction project in the country since NHDP, under which almost 50,000 km of highway roads were targeted across the country. Bharatmala will look to improve connectivity particularly on economic corridors, border areas and far flung areas with an aim of quicker movement of cargo and boosting exports.The Government of India recently approved Phase-I of Bharatmala Pariyojana with financial outlay of Rs 5,35,000 crore to develop 24,800 km Highways along with 10,000 km residual NHDP stretches over a period of five years.
  • 15th July 2019: It is the day on which commemorating World Youth Skills Day and celebrating 4th Anniversary of the Skill India Mission, the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship announced launch of “Kaushal Yuva Samwaad” (A Youth Dialogue). Kaushal Yuva Samwaad is aimed at creating an open dialogue with the youth across all skill training centres to hear their views, ideas, opportunities and recommendations which could help the Ministry in scaling the existing programs and improve overall efficiency of its projects. Kaushal Yuva Samwaad is being organized across all Skill India training centres, namely, Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras (PMKK), Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs), Polytechnics, Institutes under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), Jan Shikshan Sansthans, DDU-GKY Centres and other fee-based training centres across the country.
  • The Union Budget 2019 Highlights related to Rural India are: Electricity and clean cooking facility to all willing rural families by 2022. A robust fisheries management framework through Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) to be established by the Department of Fisheries. Target of connecting the eligible and feasible habitations advanced from 2022 to 2019 with 97% of such habitations already being provided with all weather connectivity. 1,25,000 kilometers of road length to be upgraded over the next five years under PMGSY III. Scheme for Promotion of Innovation, Rural Industry and Entrepreneurship’ (ASPIRE) consolidated. 10,000 new Farmer Producer Organizations to be formed, to ensure economies of scale for farmers. Zero Budget Farming in which few states’ farmers are already being trained to be replicated in other states. Jal Jeevan Mission to achieve Har Ghar Jal (piped water supply) to all rural households by 2024. Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) fund can be used Jal Shakti Abhiyan. Universal Obligation Fund under a PPP arrangement to be utilized for speeding up Bharat-Net.
  • Central Welfare Database of citizens: It will be created by merging different data maintained by separate Ministries and departments — which can be tapped for enhancing ease of living for citizens, particularly the poor. Governments can create data as a public good within the legal framework of data privacy. Care must also be taken not to impose the “elite’s preference of privacy on the poor, who care for a better quality of living the most.” Private sector may be granted access to select database for a fee. The datasets talked about include administrative data such as birth and death records, pensions, tax records, marriage records; survey data such as census data, national sample survey data; transactions data such as e-national agriculture market data, UPI data, institutional data and public hospital data on patients. The governments already has a rich repository of administrative, survey, institutional and transactions data about citizens, but these data were scattered across numerous government bodies. Merging these distinct datasets would generate multiple benefits with the applications being limitless. The government could utilise the information embedded in these distinct datasets to enhance ease of living for citizens, enable truly evidence-based policy, improve targeting in welfare schemes, uncover unmet needs, integrate fragmented markets, bring greater accountability in public services and generate greater citizen participation in governance, etc.
  • Water: Is the commodity for which the Finance Minister recently promised a blueprint this year for developing “water grids” on the line of power grids in the country to push the government’s ‘One Nation, One Grid’ concept. National Grid is the high-voltage electric power transmission network in mainland India, connecting power stations and major substations and ensuring that electricity generated anywhere in mainland India can be used to satisfy demand elsewhere.
  • 12:The number of members will be there in the government-appointed Board of Governors (BoG) which will monitor the medical education of India after the Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2019. It will replace the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Second Ordinance, 2019. The bill will safeguard transparency, accountability, and quality in the governance of medical education in the country. The Bill supersedes the Medical Council of India (MCI) for a period of 2 years with effect from September 26, 2018 and vests its powers in a government-appointed Board of Governors (BoG), which would have 12 members instead of 7.
  • Building Team India with Jan Bhagidari: Minimum Government Maximum Governance. Achieving green Mother Earth and Blue Skies through a pollution-free India. Making Digital India reach every sector of the economy. Launching Gaganyan, Chandrayan, other Space and Satellite programmes. Building physical and social infrastructure. These are the major points of the 10-point Vision for the decade as per the Union Budget 2019-20.
  • Major points of the 10-point Vision for the decade as per the Union Budget 2019-20:Water, water management, clean rivers. Blue Economy.Self-sufficiency and export of food-grains, pulses, oilseeds, fruits and vegetables. Achieving a healthy society via Ayushman Bharat, well-nourished women & children, safety of citizens. Emphasis on MSMEs, Start-ups, defence manufacturing, automobiles, electronics, fabs and batteries, and medical devices under Make in India. These are the major points of the 10-point Vision for the decade as per the Union Budget 2019-20.
  • Achievements during 2014-19 as per the Union Budget 2019:1 trillion dollar added to Indian economy over last 5 years (compared to over 55 years taken to reach the first trillion dollar).India is now the 6th largest economy in the world, compared to 11th largest five years ago. Indian economy is globally the 3rd largest in Purchasing Power Parity (PPP).Strident commitment to fiscal discipline and a rejuvenated Centre-State dynamic provided during 2014-19.Structural reforms in indirect taxation, bankruptcy and real estate carried out. Average amount spent on food security per year almost doubled during 2014-19 compared to 2009-14.Patents issued more than trebled in 2017-18 as against the number in 2014.
  • Steps for Women Empowerment announced in the Union Budget 2019:Women SHG interest subvention program proposed to be expanded to all districts; Overdraft of Rs. 5,000 to be allowed for every verified women SHG member having a Jan Dhan Bank Account; One woman per SHG to be eligible for a loan up to Rs. 1 lakh under MUDRA Scheme.
  • PM-SYM:It stands for Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-Dhan Yojana PM-SYM is a voluntary and contributory pension scheme that will engage as many as 42 crore workers in the unorganised sector. Benefits: Minimum Assured Pension: Each subscriber under the scheme will receive minimum assured pension of Rs 3000 per month after attaining the age of 60 years. In case of death during receipt of pension: If the subscriber dies during the receipt of pension, his or her spouse will be entitled to receive 50 percent of the pension as family pension. This family pension is applicable only to spouse. In case of death before the age of 60 years: If a beneficiary has given regular contribution and dies before attaining the age of 60 years, his or her spouse will be entitled to continue the scheme subsequently by payment of regular contribution or may even exit the scheme. The subscriber is required to contribute the prescribed contribution amount from the age of joining the scheme till the age of 60 years. The subscriber can contribute to the PM-SYM through ‘auto-debit’ facility from his or her savings bank account or from his or her Jan- Dhan account.Under the PM-SYM, the prescribed age-specific contribution by the beneficiary and the matching contribution by the Central Government will be made on a ‘50:50 basis’.
  • Seva Bhoj Yojana: It is the name of the scheme launched by Union Ministry of Culture – a scheme to reimburse central share of CGST and IGST on food, prasad, langar or bhandara offered by religious and charitable institutions. Eligibility: The charitable religious institutions including temples, gurudwara, mosque, church, dharmik ashram, dargah, monasteries, which fulfill the following criteria are eligible for the grant: The institutions that have been in existence for at least five years before applying for financial assistance/grant. The institutions that serve free food to at least 5000 people in a month. The institutions covered under Section 10(23BBA) of the Income Tax Act or those registered as Society under Societies Registration Act (XXI of 1860) or as a Public Trust under any law for the time being in force of statuary religious bodies constituted under any Act or institutions registered under Section 12AA of Income Tax Act.
  • Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga:It is a gas pipeline project which aims to provide piped cooking gas to residents of Varanasi and later to millions of people in states like Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha. According to GAIL, with the Urja Ganga project, 20 lakh households will get PNG connections. GAIL has built a network of trunk pipelines covering the length of around 11,000 km. With Urja Ganga project, this number will further increase by 2540 km.
  • NSAP: It stands for National Social Assistance Programme is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme under the Ministry of Rural Development. It came into effect from 15th August,1995. It represents a significant step towards the fulfilment of the DPSP in Article 41 of the Constitution. In particular, Article 41 of the Constitution of India directs the State to provide public assistance to its citizens in case of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement and in other cases of undeserved want within the limit of its economic capacity and development. It aims to provide financial assistance to the elderly, widows and persons with disabilities in the form of social pensions. It currently covers more than three crore people who are below the poverty line (BPL), including about 80 lakh widows, 10 lakh disabled and 2.2 crore elderly.
  • Atal Bimit Vyakti Kalyan Yojna:It aims to financially support those who lost their jobs or rendered jobless for whatsoever reasons due to changing employment pattern. The Employee’s State Insurance (ESI) has approved this scheme for Insured Persons (IP) covered under the Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948. Its beneficiaries will be insured persons covered under Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948 for period of two years continuously. Under the scheme, relief will be payable in cash directly to bank account of insured persons in case of unemployment. This financial assistance will be given to insured persons even while they search for new engagement. Beneficiary insured workers will be paid money, from their own contribution towards ESI scheme, in cash through bank account transfer. Under this scheme, workers will be able to draw 47% of their total contributions towards ESIC after remaining unemployed for at least three months from date of leaving their previous jobs. They can choose to receive the cash at one go or in instalments. It will be applicable to all factories and establishments employing at least 10 workers.
  • PMRPY:It stands for Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojana is to promote employment generation. The scheme was announced in the Budget for 2016-17. The scheme is being implemented by the Ministry of Labour and Employment. Under the scheme employers would be provided an incentive for enhancing employment by reimbursement of the 8.33% EPS contribution made by the employer in respect of new employment. The PMRPY scheme is targeted for workers earning wages up to Rs. 15,000/- per month.
  • The Lok Sabha has passed the National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill 2019. Key features of the Bill: The Bill amends the NIA Act, 2008 and provides for a national-level agency to investigate and prosecute offences listed in a schedule (scheduled offences). It allows for the creation of Special Courts for the trial of scheduled offences which include offences under Acts such as the Atomic Energy Act, 1962, and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967. As per the Bill, the NIA will now have the power to investigate the following offences, in addition: (i) human trafficking, (ii) offences related to counterfeit currency or bank notes, (iii) manufacture or sale of prohibited arms, (iv) cyber-terrorism, and (v) offences under the Explosive Substances Act, 1908. Jurisdiction: The officers of the NIA have the same powers as other police officers in relation to the investigation of such offences, across India. In addition, officers of the NIA will have the power to investigate scheduled offences committed outside India, subject to international treaties and domestic laws of other countries.
  • Rajasthan High Court:It resolved to censure the salutations “My Lord” and “Your Lordship” from courtroom protocol – a practice that has been inherited from British rule. As the words “My Lord” and “Your Lordship” are relics of a Colonial past, it is proposed to incorporate the above rule showing respectful attitude to the Court.
  • 12:The number of beaches in India which have been selected by the Union Environment Ministry to vie for a ‘Blue Flag’ certification, an international recognition conferred on beaches that meet certain criteria of cleanliness and environmental propriety. These beaches are at Shivrajpur (Gujarat), Bhogave (Maharashtra), Ghoghla (Diu), Miramar (Goa), Kasarkod and Padubidri (Karnataka), Kappad (Kerala), Eden (Puducherry), Mahabalipuram (Tamil Nadu), Rushikonda (Andhra Pradesh), Golden (Odisha), and Radhanagar (Andaman & Nicobar Islands). The Blue Flag Programme for beaches and marinas is run by the international, non-governmental, non-profit organisation FEE (the Foundation for Environmental Education).It started in France in 1985 and has been implemented in Europe since 1987, and in areas outside Europe since 2001, when South Africa joined. Japan and South Korea are the only countries in South and south-eastern Asia to have Blue Flag beaches. Spain tops the list with 566 such beaches; Greece and France follow with 515 and 395, respectively. There are nearly 33 criteria that must be met to qualify for a Blue Flag certification, such as the water meeting certain quality standards, having waste disposal facilities, being disabled- friendly, have first aid equipment, and no access to pets in the main areas of the beach. Some criteria are voluntary and some compulsory.
  • The 10th Schedule of the Constitution:This is also known as the Anti-defection Act. The Tenth Schedule was inserted in the Constitution in 1985 by the 52nd Amendment Act. It lays down the process by which legislators may be disqualified on grounds of defection by the Presiding Officer of a legislature based on a petition by any other member of the House. The decision on question as to disqualification on ground of defection is referred to the Chairman or the Speaker of such House, and his decision is final. The law applies to both Parliament and state assemblies.
  • NSDF:It stands for National Skill Development Fund was incorporated on 23rd December, 2008 as a trust under the Indian Trust Act, 1882. It is fully owned by the Government, to act as a receptacle for financial contributions from Governmental sources, bilateral/ multilateral and other agencies and other private sector donors who would prefer to provide funds through the Government. Its main objective is to enhance, stimulate and develop the skills of Indian youth force by various sector specific programmes.
  • Six:The number of Public Libraries which are there under administrative control of Ministry of Culture namely National Library, Kolkata, Central Reference Library, Kolkata, Central Secretariat Library, New Delhi, Delhi Public Library, Delhi, Khuda Bakhsh Oriental Public Library, Patna and Rampur Raza Library, Rampur.Public libraries function under the administrative control of the respective State/UT library authority.
  • PMBJP:Stands for Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana’ is a campaign launched by the Department of Pharmaceuticals, Govt. Of India, to provide quality medicines at affordable prices to the masses through special kendra’s known as Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi Kendra. Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India (BPPI) is the implementing agency of PMBJP. BPPI (Bureau of Pharma Public Sector Undertakings of India) has been established under the Department of Pharmaceuticals, Govt. of India, with the support of all the CPSUs.
  • Lashay:It stands for Labour room Quality improvement Initiative which is an initiative of Government of India to improve quality of care in labour room and maternity operation theatres in public health facilities. Lashya is a multipronged approach focused at Intrapartum and immediate postpartum period. The aim is to reduce preventable maternal and new-born mortality, morbidity and stillbirths associated with the care around delivery in Labour room and Maternity Operation Theatre and ensure respectful maternity care.
  • A whip:In parliamentary parlance is a written order that party members be present for an important vote, or that they vote only in a particular way A one-line whip, underlined once, is usually issued to inform party members of a vote, and allows them to abstain in case they decide not to follow the party line. A two-line whip directs them to be present during the vote. A three-line whip is the strongest, employed on important occasions such as the second reading of a Bill or a no-confidence motion, and places an obligation on members to toe the party line. A whip in parliamentary parlance is a written order that party members be present for an important vote, or that they vote only in a particular way. The term is derived from the old British practice of “whipping in” lawmakers to follow the party line. In India all parties can issue a whip to their members. Parties appoint a senior member from among their House contingents to issue whips — this member is called a Chief Whip, and he/she is assisted by additional Whips.
  • Parliament:It recently passed the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019 criminalising triple talaq. This will replace the 1986 Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act. Key provisions of the Bill: The Bill makes all declaration of talaq, including in written or electronic form, to be void (i.e. not enforceable in law) and illegal. It defines talaq as talaq-e-biddat or any other similar form of talaq pronounced by a Muslim man resulting in instant and irrevocable divorce. The Bill makes declaration of talaq a cognizable offence, attracting up to three years’ imprisonment with a fine.
  • The Lok Sabha:It has passed the Consumer Protection Bill 2019, which seeks to give enhanced protection to interests of consumers and timely settlement of their grievances. A consumer is defined as a person who buys any good or avails a service for a consideration. It does not include a person who obtains a good for resale or a good or service for commercial purpose. It covers transactions through all modes including offline, and online through electronic means, teleshopping, multi-level marketing or direct selling. Rights of consumers: Six consumer rights have been defined in the Bill, including the right to: (i) be protected against marketing of goods and services which are hazardous to life and property; (ii) be informed of the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods or services; (iii) be assured of access to a variety of goods or services at competitive prices; and (iv) seek redressal against unfair or restrictive trade practices.
  • Didi Ke Bolo:This campaign has been launched in West Bengal to address the public grievances and other social issues. Under the initiative, every citizen of West Bengal can directly contact chief minister. People can reach out to her by calling on a specific number. Main objective of this campaign is to improve citizen’s participation and engagement by providing a platform. By this campaign every citizen can share suggestion and problems for required actions.

Current Affairs in Indian polity - June 2019

  • 14 days: It is the period in which one candidate if elected to 2 parliamentary seat has to vacate one seat. Under Sec 33(7) of RPA, 1951, an individual can contest from two parliamentary constituencies but, if elected from both, he has to resign one seat within 14 days of the declaration of the result, failing which both his seats shall fall vacant. [Sec 70, RPA, 1951 read with Rule 91 of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961]. Under Article 101(2) of the Constitution (read with Rule 2 of the Prohibition of Simultaneous Membership Rules, 1950, made by the President under this Article) members of state legislatures who have been elected to Lok Sabha must resign their seats within 14 days “from the date of publication in the Gazette of India or in the Official Gazette of the State, whichever is later, of the declaration that he has been so chosen”, failing which their seats in Lok Sabha shall automatically fall vacant.
  • CBI Raids:Consent of the state is required for raids in State by CBI. Unlike the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is governed by its own NIA Act and has jurisdiction across the country, the CBI is governed by the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act that makes consent of a state government mandatory for conducting investigation in that state. There are two kinds of consent: case-specific and general. It was in the news recently when reversing his predecessor’s orders, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy has allowed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to go ahead with investigations and raids in the State without prior permission of the State government. The Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal governments, had last year, withdrawn “general consent” to the CBI for investigating cases in their respective states. The state governments said they had lost faith in the CBI in the backdrop of its internal turmoil marked by the open war among the agency’s top officers. They had also alleged that the Centre is using the CBI to unfairly target Opposition parties.
  • Hawa Aane De:It is the name of song launched by Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on air pollution. The song was launched in the national capital recently. The main aim is to spread awareness regarding protecting the environment. Secretary of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change launched the song in the presence of actor Shekhar Suman and singer Shaan. World Environment Day is celebrated on June 05.
  • Union Environment Ministry:They on the eve of World Environment Day, has launched a people’s campaign called #SelfiewithSapling, urging people to advocate the cause on social media. Under the campaign, people have been urged to plant a sapling and post selfie with the planted sapling on social media. Every June 5th is World Environment Day. The World Environment Day is a part of the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) for creating awareness and action worldwide for the environment. The first World Environment Day was celebrated in 1973. The theme for 45th World Environment Day is Beat Air Pollution. It is the call for action to combat the global crisis for ‘fresh air’.
  • The Government of India, Government of Tamil Nadu (GoTN) and the World Bank:They recently signed a $287 million loan agreement for the Tamil Nadu Health System Reform Programme. The programme aims to improve the quality of health care, reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and fill equity gaps in reproductive and child health services in Tamil Nadu. The programme supports interventions to strengthen institutional and state capacity to achieve results. The programme will promote population-based screening, treatment and follow-up for NCDs, and improve monitoring and evaluation. Patients will be equipped with knowledge and skills to self-manage their conditions. Another key aim of this programme is to reduce the equity gaps in reproductive and child health. Tamil Nadu ranks third among all Indian states in the NITI Aayog Health Index which is reflected in vastly improved health outcomes.
  • JSS:Which stands for Jan Shikshan Sansthans is the name of the scheme under which the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship has decided to waive off fee for SC/ST candidates who join vocational training under this scheme. Formerly under the Ministry of Human Resources Development, Jan Shikshan Sansthan was transferred to the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship in 2018. Jan Shikshan Sansthans (JSS) were established to provide vocational training to non-literate, neo-literate, as well as school dropouts by identifying skills as would have a market in the region of their establishment. They were formerly known as Shramik Vidyapeeth.
  • PRC:Which stands for Population Research Centre has been established by The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) with the mandate to provide, inter alia, critical research-based inputs related to the Health and Family Welfare Programs and Policies at the national and state levels. Their main role is to undertake research projects relating to family planning, demographic research and biological studies & qualitative aspect of population control, with a view to gainfully utilize the feedback from these research studies for plan formulation, strategies and modifications of on- going schemes. Autonomous in their functioning, these PRCs are provided 100 per cent central assistance in the form of grant-in-aid on a year-to year basis.
  • Small Retailers Benefits:The Union Cabinet has approved a monthly pension scheme for small retail traders and shopkeepers. The scheme that offers pension coverage to the trading community will cover 3 crore small retail traders and shop keepers. Under the scheme all small shopkeepers, retail traders and self-employed persons are assured a minimum of Rs.3,000 monthly pension after attaining 60 years of age. All small shopkeepers, self-employed persons and retail traders aged between 18-40 years and with Goods and Service Tax (GST) turnover below Rs.1.5 crore can enrol for pension scheme. The scheme is based on self-declaration as no documents are required except bank account and Aadhaar Card. The Central Government will make matching contribution (same amount as subscriber contribution) i.e. equal amount as subsidy into subscriber’s pension account every month.
  • Jal Shakti :It is the name of the new Ministry created by Centre. It has been created by merger of Ministries of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation along with Drinking Water and Sanitation. The ministry will roll out government’s ambitious plans to provide piped water connections to every household in India by 2024. It will also address international and inter-states water disputes and the Namami Gange project which is the flagship initiative to clean the River Ganga, its tributaries and sub-tributaries. ‘Nal se Jal’ scheme to provide piped drinking water to every household will be a component of government’s Jal Jivan Mission.
  • Features of revised PM-KISAN scheme are:The revised Scheme is expected to cover around 2 crore more farmers, The coverage of PM-KISAN extended to around 14.5 crore beneficiaries, Vulnerable landholding farmer families, having cultivable land upto 2 hectares covered, Eligible farmers will be provided direct income support at the rate of Rs. 6,000 per year. This income support will be transferred directly into the bank accounts of beneficiary farmers, in three equal installments of Rs. 2,000 each.The complete expenditure of Rs 75000 crore for the scheme will borne by the Union Government in 2019-20. For the purpose of the calculation of the benefit, the Centre has defined a small and marginal landholder family as the one comprising of husband, wife and minor children up to 18 years of age, who collectively own cultivable land up to two hectare as per the land records of the concerned states.
  • Farmer’s benefit Schemes :Bhavantar Bhugtan Yojana in Madhya Pradesh is sought to provide relief to farmers by providing the differential between MSPs and market prices. The Rythu Bandhu scheme of the Telangana government provides ₹4,000 per acre for every season to all the farmers of the state. Similar initiatives have also been framed in Jharkhand and Odisha. In December 2018, Odisha launched the Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income augmentation (KALIA). KALIA is more complicated in design and implementation. It commits to give Rs 5,000 per SMF, twice a year, that is Rs 10,000 a year.
  • FICCI's :(Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry) economic outlook survey projected India's median GDP (Gross Domestic Product) 7.1% for FY20 and 7.2% for FY21. The survey was conducted among economists belonging to the industry, banking and financial services sectors of Survey for 2019-20: Minimum and maximum growth estimate stood at 6.8 per cent and 7.3 per cent. Wholesale Price Index (WPI) based inflation rate is projected at 3.1% in 2019-20.
  • Solar Capacity Targets :The Government had set a target of installing 100 GW of solar capacity by 2022 in the country. The Government had set a target of installing 60 GW of wind power capacity by 2022 in the country. A target of installing 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by the year 2022 has been set, which includes 100 GW from solar, 60 GW from wind, 10 GW from bio-power and 5 GW from small hydro power.
  • 5 : It is the number of Deputy Chief Ministers who have been appointed in Andhra Pradesh by Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy in a full 25-member Cabinet,one each from Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST), Backward Classes (BC), Minority and Kapu communities. The 5 Deputy CMs- Pamula Pushpa Sreevani, Pilli Subhash Chandra Bose, Alla Kali Krishna Srinivas, L Narayana Swamy and AmzathBashatook oath at a ceremony held near the State Secretariat in Velagapudi, Amravati on June 8, 2019.
  • 3rd June- 7th June 2019 :it is the period which was celebrated as The Financial Literacy Week 2019 by the Reserve Bank of India. It is an annual initiative by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to promote awareness on key topics through a focused campaign. The theme of Financial Literacy Week 2019 was ‘Farmers’ which focuses on how they can benefit by being a part of the formal banking system. The aim of initiative is to create awareness about financial products and services, good financial practices, going digital and consumer protection.
  • DSRO:it is the name of the new agency which will develop sophisticated weapon systems and technologies. It will enhance the capabilities of the armed forces to fight wars in space. The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently approved to set up the DSRO.The agency will consist of a team of scientists. They will work in close coordination with the tri-services integrated defence staff officers. It will provide research and development support to Defence Space Agency (DSA).
  • Union Environment Ministry:They on the eve of World Environment Day, has launched a people’s campaign called #SelfiewithSapling, urging people to advocate the cause on social media. Under the campaign, people have been urged to plant a sapling and post selfie with the planted sapling on social media. Every June 5th is World Environment Day. The World Environment Day is a part of the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) for creating awareness and action worldwide for the environment. The first World Environment Day was celebrated in 1973. The theme for 45th World Environment Day is Beat Air Pollution. It is the call for action to combat the global crisis for ‘fresh air’.
  • The Government of India, Government of Tamil Nadu (GoTN) and the World Bank:They recently signed a $287 million loan agreement for the Tamil Nadu Health System Reform Programme. The programme aims to improve the quality of health care, reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and fill equity gaps in reproductive and child health services in Tamil Nadu. The programme supports interventions to strengthen institutional and state capacity to achieve results. The programme will promote population-based screening, treatment and follow-up for NCDs, and improve monitoring and evaluation. Patients will be equipped with knowledge and skills to self-manage their conditions. Another key aim of this programme is to reduce the equity gaps in reproductive and child health. Tamil Nadu ranks third among all Indian states in the NITI Aayog Health Index which is reflected in vastly improved health outcomes.
  • JSS:Which stands for Jan Shikshan Sansthans is the name of the scheme under which the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship has decided to waive off fee for SC/ST candidates who join vocational training under this scheme. Formerly under the Ministry of Human Resources Development, Jan Shikshan Sansthan was transferred to the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship in 2018. Jan Shikshan Sansthans (JSS) were established to provide vocational training to non-literate, neo-literate, as well as school dropouts by identifying skills as would have a market in the region of their establishment. They were formerly known as Shramik Vidyapeeth.
  • PRC:Which stands for Population Research Centre has been established by The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) with the mandate to provide, inter alia, critical research-based inputs related to the Health and Family Welfare Programs and Policies at the national and state levels. Their main role is to undertake research projects relating to family planning, demographic research and biological studies & qualitative aspect of population control, with a view to gainfully utilize the feedback from these research studies for plan formulation, strategies and modifications of on- going schemes. Autonomous in their functioning, these PRCs are provided 100 per cent central assistance in the form of grant-in-aid on a year-to year basis.
  • Small Retailers Benefits:The Union Cabinet has approved a monthly pension scheme for small retail traders and shopkeepers. The scheme that offers pension coverage to the trading community will cover 3 crore small retail traders and shop keepers. Under the scheme all small shopkeepers, retail traders and self-employed persons are assured a minimum of Rs.3,000 monthly pension after attaining 60 years of age. All small shopkeepers, self-employed persons and retail traders aged between 18-40 years and with Goods and Service Tax (GST) turnover below Rs.1.5 crore can enrol for pension scheme. The scheme is based on self-declaration as no documents are required except bank account and Aadhaar Card. The Central Government will make matching contribution (same amount as subscriber contribution) i.e. equal amount as subsidy into subscriber’s pension account every month.
  • Jal Shakti :It is the name of the new Ministry created by Centre. It has been created by merger of Ministries of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation along with Drinking Water and Sanitation. The ministry will roll out government’s ambitious plans to provide piped water connections to every household in India by 2024. It will also address international and inter-states water disputes and the Namami Gange project which is the flagship initiative to clean the River Ganga, its tributaries and sub-tributaries. ‘Nal se Jal’ scheme to provide piped drinking water to every household will be a component of government’s Jal Jivan Mission.
  • Features of revised PM-KISAN scheme are:The revised Scheme is expected to cover around 2 crore more farmers, The coverage of PM-KISAN extended to around 14.5 crore beneficiaries, Vulnerable landholding farmer families, having cultivable land upto 2 hectares covered, Eligible farmers will be provided direct income support at the rate of Rs. 6,000 per year. This income support will be transferred directly into the bank accounts of beneficiary farmers, in three equal installments of Rs. 2,000 each.The complete expenditure of Rs 75000 crore for the scheme will borne by the Union Government in 2019-20. For the purpose of the calculation of the benefit, the Centre has defined a small and marginal landholder family as the one comprising of husband, wife and minor children up to 18 years of age, who collectively own cultivable land up to two hectare as per the land records of the concerned states.
  • Farmer’s benefit Schemes :Bhavantar Bhugtan Yojana in Madhya Pradesh is sought to provide relief to farmers by providing the differential between MSPs and market prices. The Rythu Bandhu scheme of the Telangana government provides ₹4,000 per acre for every season to all the farmers of the state. Similar initiatives have also been framed in Jharkhand and Odisha. In December 2018, Odisha launched the Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income augmentation (KALIA). KALIA is more complicated in design and implementation. It commits to give Rs 5,000 per SMF, twice a year, that is Rs 10,000 a year.
  • FICCI's :(Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry) economic outlook survey projected India's median GDP (Gross Domestic Product) 7.1% for FY20 and 7.2% for FY21. The survey was conducted among economists belonging to the industry, banking and financial services sectors of Survey for 2019-20: Minimum and maximum growth estimate stood at 6.8 per cent and 7.3 per cent. Wholesale Price Index (WPI) based inflation rate is projected at 3.1% in 2019-20.
  • Solar Capacity Targets :The Government had set a target of installing 100 GW of solar capacity by 2022 in the country. The Government had set a target of installing 60 GW of wind power capacity by 2022 in the country. A target of installing 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by the year 2022 has been set, which includes 100 GW from solar, 60 GW from wind, 10 GW from bio-power and 5 GW from small hydro power.
  • Dispute Resolution Committee : In a major decision to facilitate the solar and wind energy projects, the government has approved a proposal to set up a Dispute Resolution Committee to consider the unforeseen disputes between solar/wind power developers and SECI/NTPC, beyond contractual agreement. The move will give further fillip to the smooth implementation of solar/wind energy projects in India. It fulfils a long pending demand of the industry to resolve expeditiously, unforeseen disputes that may arise beyond the scope of Contractual Agreements. Solar and Wind Industry have been demanding setting up of Dispute Resolution Mechanism by MNRE for quite some time, to resolve expeditiously, unforeseen disputes that may arise beyond the scope of Contractual Agreements between solar power developers / wind power developers and SECI/ NTPC. A three-member Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC) will be set up with the approval of Hon’ble Minister (NRE), consisting of eminent persons of impeccable integrity. The upper age for the DRC members shall be 70 years.
  • Speaker of Lok Sabha :Is basically the head of the house and presides over the sittings of Parliament and controls it’s working. The salary of the Speaker is charged on the consolidated Fund of India and the same is not subject to vote of Parliament. While debating or during general discussion on a bill, the members of the parliament have to address only to the Speaker. Whenever there is a joint sitting of both houses of Parliament (Lok Sabha & Rajya Sabha) the Speaker of the Lok Sabha presides over this meeting. These are some of the Functions and Powers of Lok Sabha Speaker. The Speaker of Lok Sabha comes at sixth position in the Order of Precedence of Government of India. In the normal circumstances the Speaker does not casts his vote over any matter in Lok Sabha. But whenever there is a tie-on vote between the ruling party and opposition, the Speaker at that time can exercise his vote. The Speaker decides whether a bill brought to the house is a money bill or not. In the case Speaker decides some bill as a money bill, this decision cannot be challenged. Speaker is the final and sole authority to allow different types of motions and resolutions such as No Confidence Motion, Motion of Adjournment, Censure Motion etc.
  • PMBJP:It stands for Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana is a campaign launched by the Department of Pharmaceuticals, Govt. Of India, to provide quality medicines at affordable prices to the masses through special Kendra’s known as Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi Kendra. Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi Kendra (PMBJK) have been set up to provide generic drugs, which are available at lesser prices but are equivalent in quality and efficacy as expensive branded drugs. Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India (BPPI) is the implementing agency of PMBJP.

Current Affairs in Indian polity - May 2019

  • UAPA: It stands for the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. It was in the news recently after Bangladesh-based terror outfit — the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) — was banned by the Centre under this anti-terror law. This law is aimed at effective prevention of unlawful activities associations in India. Its main objective is to make powers available for dealing with activities directed against the integrity and sovereignty of India. The UAPA, framed in 1967, has been amended twice since: first in 2008 and then in 2012.
  • Article 83(2) of the Constitution: It is the Article under which completion of five years from the first day of its meeting amounts to dissolution of the Lower House. It was in the news recently after the Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi gave its approval to the Resolution advising the President to dissolve the Sixteenth Lok Sabha, which was constituted on 18.05. 2014.The Lower House can also be dissolved earlier by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister. It can also be dissolved if the President feels that no viable government can be formed after the resignation or fall of a regime.
  • SKM: Which stands for Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) President Prem Singh Tamang (Golay) was sworn in as the sixth chief minister of Sikkim during a public function at Paljor Stadium recently. Governor Ganga Prasad administered the oath of office and secrecy to Golay and his cabinet members. SKM had won 17 of the 32 seats in the recently-concluded assembly polls. It ended the 25 year-long rule of SDF led by five-term CM Pawan Chamling
  • PM-AASHA: Which stands for Annadata Aay Sanrakshan Abhiyan is the government’s flagship price support scheme.Greaves Cotton -it is the company which recently launched high-speed electric scooter Ampere Zeal that meets the specifications of the FAME-II policy of the government. Zeal will have a top speed of 55kmph and a range of 75km with charge time of 5.5 hours. Under FAME (Faster Adoption and manufacturing of Electric Vehicles in India) II benefit, Zeal would attract Rs. 18,000 subsidy per scooter.
  • NSIC: It recently signed MOU with Ministry of MSME which envisages provision of enhanced services by NSIC under its marketing, financial, technology and other support services schemes for MSMEs in the country. Under the scheme of National SC-ST Hub being implemented by NSIC on behalf of the Ministry of MSME, it will be a continued endeavour to provide assistance to SC/ST entrepreneurs through different interventions and various outreach activities with the overall objectives to increase their participation in public procurement. The National SC/ST Hub has been set up to provide professional support to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Entrepreneurs to fulfil the obligations under the Central Government Public Procurement Policy for Micro and Small Enterprises Order 2012, adopt applicable business practices and leverage the Stand-Up India initiative.
  • Operation Safed Sagar:It was undertaken by the Air Force jointly to flush out infiltrators in the Kargil sector along the Line of Control.
  • BJD: Which stands for Biju Janata Dal is the party whose President Naveen Patnaik took oath as the chief minister of Odisha for a fifth consecutive term, in Bhubaneswar recently. Odisha governor Ganeshi Lal administered the oath of office and secrecy to Patnaik. The BJD, which won 112 seats in the 147-member assembly in the recently concluded elections, held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha polls, has been in power in Odisha since 2000.
  • BIMSTEC: Which stands for Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation is the group whose leaders have been invited for the swearing-in ceremony on May 30, 2019 of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. With this move India has made a carefully calibrated diplomatic move that signals a major outreach to India’s neighbourhood from the Bay of Bengal to Central Asia, as well as the Indian diaspora across the world. BIMSTEC was formed in 1997, originally with Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand, and later included Myanmar, Nepal and Bhutan. BIMSTEC, which now includes five countries from South Asia and two from ASEAN, is a bridge between South Asia and Southeast Asia. It includes all the major countries of South Asia, except Maldives, Afghanistan and Pakistan.