Current Affair





The creation of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in 2005, prompted by the 1999 Odisha super cyclone and the 2004 tsunami, was a timely decision. Over the years, the NDMA has done commendable work in disaster mitigation, risk assessment and reduction, and post-disaster response, rescue, and relief


  • The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is India's apex statutory body for disaster management.
  • The NDMA was formally constituted on 27th September 2006, by the Disaster Management Act, 2005.


  • The Prime Minister is its chairperson and it has nine other members. One of the nine members is designated as Vice-Chairperson.
Disaster Management Act also envisaged the creation of State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMAs) headed by respective Cheif Ministers and the District Disaster Management Authorities (DDMA) headed by the District Collectors/District Magistrate and co-chaired by Chairpersons of the local bodies.
  • The primary responsibility for the management of disaster rests with the State Government concerned.
    However, the National Policy on Disaster Management puts in place an enabling environment for all i.e. the Centre, State and District.
  • India is also a signatory to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR) which sets targets for disaster management.

3.Evolution of NDMA

NDMA has also gone through the same stages. The Government of India (GOI), in recognition of the importance of Disaster Management as a national priority, set up a High-Powered Committee (HPC) in August 1999 and a National Committee after the Gujarat Earthquake, for making recommendations on the preparation of Disaster Management plans and suggesting effective mitigation mechanisms.
The tenth Five-Year Plan document also had, for the first time, a detailed chapter on Disaster Management.
The Twelfth Finance Commission was also mandated to review the financial arrangements for Disaster Management.
On December 23, 2005, the Government of India enacted the Disaster Management Act, which envisaged the creation of the NDMA, headed by the Prime Minister and State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMAs) headed by respective Cheif Ministers to spearhead and implement a holistic and integrated approach to Disaster Management in India.


To build a safer and disaster-resilient India through a holistic, proactive, technology-driven and sustainable development strategy that involves all stakeholders and fosters a culture of prevention, preparedness and mitigation.
  • According to the NDMA website, India envisions the development of an ethos of Prevention, Mitigation and Preparedness.
  • The Indian government strives to promote a national resolve to mitigate the damage and destruction caused by Natural and man-made disasters, through sustained and collective efforts of all government agencies, Non-Governmental Organizations and People.
  • This is planned to be accomplished by adopting a Technology-Driven, Pro-Active, Multi-Hazard and Multi-Sectoral strategy for building a Safer, Disaster Resilient and Dynamic India.

5.Functions and responsibilities 

NDMA, as the apex body, is mandated to lay down the policies, plans and guidelines for Disaster Management to ensure a timely and effective response to disasters.
  1. Lay down policies on disaster management.
  2. Approve the National Plan.
  3. Approve plans prepared by the Ministries or Departments of the Government of India by the National Plan.
  4. Lay down guidelines to be followed by the State Authorities in drawing up the State Plan.
  5. Lay down guidelines to be followed by the different Ministries or Departments of the Government of India to integrate the measures for the prevention of disaster or the mitigation of its effects in their development plans and projects.
  6. Coordinate the enforcement and implementation of the policy and plans for disaster management.
  7. Recommend provision of funds for mitigation.
  8. Provide such support to other countries affected by major disasters as may be determined by the Central Government.
  9. Take other measures for the prevention of disaster or the mitigation or preparedness and capacity building for dealing with threatening disaster situations or disasters as it may consider necessary.
  10. Lay down broad policies and guidelines for the functioning of the National Institute of Disaster Management.

6.Aapda Mitra

  • NDMA started a scheme to train community volunteers in disaster response in selected flood-prone districts of India.
  • It has implemented a Scheme of Aapda Mitra on a pilot basis to train 6000 community volunteers (200 Per district) in 30 flood-prone districts of 25 States/UTs in disaster response with a focus on floods so that they can respond to the community's immediate needs in the aftermath of a disaster.
  • More than 5500 volunteers have been trained under the pilot scheme.
  • Based on the success of the pilot scheme and requests from the States/ UTs, the Government of India has approved the UP-Scaling of Aapda Mitra Scheme, covering 350 districts prone to flood, landslide, cyclones and earthquakes to train 1, 00, 000 community volunteers in disaster response.
  • "Sewa, Samarpan and Paropakar" are the identities of Aapda Mitras.
7.National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) 
  • The NDRF conducts community awareness programmes for the capacity building of the community in disaster management.
  • In the year 2021, NDRF has trained 1380 community volunteers in disaster management.
  • NDRF is also conducting School Safety Programme (SSP) and imparting basic training to school children as well as teachers to evacuate themselves during an earthquake.
  • In 2021, NDRF has conducted 81 SSPs covering 18, 057 beneficiaries.
  • To inform, educate and make the people aware, NDMA runs awareness generation campaigns through electronic and print media, including social media, on various disasters, from time to time.
  • These campaigns include Do's and Don'ts, Audio-Visual films and messages containing preparedness before, during and after disaster events.
8.Need for the scheme
  • When a disaster happens, volunteers from the affected community are normally the first to act.
  • In any disaster, however quick the government machinery may be external help takes time to reach the affected people and this time lag is very crucial in saving lives and livelihood.
  • The impact of volunteers in disaster response can be tremendous, as the extent of damage in terms of economic and human loss is greatly influenced by the initial response to a disaster.
  • There lies a critical need to train these volunteers in certain basic skills in disaster management so that they can respond in an informed and prompt manner as well as assist the concerned agencies in rescue and relief operations.
9.Volunteerism in Disaster Management
Case study Kerala Floods in 2018
  • A team of 30 volunteers, comprising journalists, lawyers and IT workers, Managed several operations besides supplying food to over 30, 000 people following distress calls they received on the 1077 helpline number.
  • They took control of the Rescue Operation Centre at Eranakulam of the district disaster management authority.
  • They managed these operations with the help of hundreds of fishermen and also coordinated with several choppers through personal contacts in Air Force and NDRF.
  • The 30-member team eventually split into multiple teams as the volume of distress calls went up. It was something never anticipated.
  • The team was split to handle the huge number of distress calls.
  • One group of nine attended calls and noted down details.
  • Another team of nine engaged in data entry, while the others made calls and used social media to coordinate rescue efforts in several cases and reached out to personal contacts.
  • Aluva, Chalakkudi and Paravur areas witnessed massive flooding, the 30-member team connected to several WhatApp groups with over 1200 volunteers in all, including celebrity radio jockeys, IT employees, lawyers to fishermen.
For Prelims: NDMA, NDRF, Apada Mitra Scheme, SDMs, Volunteerism in Disaster Management
For Mains:
  1. What is NDMA and Explain its composition, Evolution and Vision (250 words)
  2. What is Apada Mitra Scheme and discuss its need (250 words)
  3. Critically evaluate the Functions and responsibilities of the NDMA (250 words)
  4. Discuss Volunteerism in Disaster Management (250 Words)
  5. Differentiate between the NDRF Community awareness and NDMA's Apada Mitra  (250 Words)
Source: The Indian Express 


1. Context
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Wednesday imposed business restrictions on two Edelweiss group companies — Edelweiss Asset Reconstruction Company (EARCL) and ECL Finance Ltd (ECL) on material concerns observed during the course of supervisory examinations
2. What is a Non-Performing Asset (NPA)?

A Non-Performing Asset (NPA) refers to a classification used by financial institutions, primarily banks, to categorize loans or advances that are in default or are in arrears on scheduled payments of principal or interest. In simpler terms, when a borrower fails to make interest or principal payments for a certain period of time, typically 90 days or more past the due date, the loan is classified as a non-performing asset.

NPAs are detrimental to banks and financial institutions as they indicate a risk of default and can lead to financial losses. These assets can hamper the lender's ability to generate income through interest and can also impact their capital adequacy and liquidity.

Financial institutions employ various strategies to manage and recover NPAs, such as restructuring loans, loan recovery processes, selling off bad debts to asset reconstruction companies, or writing off the non-recoverable amount from their books

3. NPA (Non-Performing Assets) –Classifications

Non-performing assets (NPAs) are classified based on the period for which the loan remains overdue and the likelihood of recovery. The classifications typically involve three categories:

  1. Substandard Assets: These are assets that have remained non-performing for less than or equal to 12 months. They are characterized by the bank or financial institution experiencing a potential loss if full repayment occurs. Substandard assets have a higher risk of turning into bad loans.

  2. Doubtful Assets: These assets have remained in the non-performing category for more than 12 months. There is a significant risk associated with these assets, where the full repayment of the loan is highly uncertain. However, there might still be some potential, albeit remote, for recovery.

  3. Loss Assets: When the assets' loss has been identified by the bank or financial institution or an external auditor, and these assets have very little chance of recovery, they are classified as loss assets. These assets are considered uncollectible and of such little value that their continuance as assets is not warranted, and the entire outstanding balance is written off.

These classifications are crucial for banks and financial institutions to assess the health of their loan portfolios and take appropriate measures to manage and mitigate risks associated with NPAs

4. What is the difference between Bank fraud and Non-Performing Assets (NPA’s)?

Bank fraud and Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) are two distinct issues in the banking sector, although they can sometimes be interconnected.

Bank Fraud: Bank fraud involves deliberate deception or dishonest actions carried out by individuals or groups, intending to gain an unfair or unlawful advantage, causing financial loss to the bank or its customers. Fraud can take various forms, such as embezzlement, forgery, loan fraud, identity theft, money laundering, or manipulating financial statements. It's essentially a criminal act involving deceit, misrepresentation, or illegal activities that lead to financial losses for the bank.

Non-Performing Assets (NPAs): NPAs refer to loans or advances that have stopped generating income for the bank because the borrower has defaulted on repayment. When a borrower fails to pay interest or principal for a specified period, typically 90 days or more, the loan is classified as an NPA. NPAs can arise due to various reasons such as economic downturns, borrower insolvency, mismanagement, or inadequate risk assessment by the lending institution.

While these issues are distinct, there can be situations where bank fraud contributes to the creation of NPAs. For instance, if a fraudulent loan is issued based on false documents or misrepresented information, it might result in the borrower defaulting on payments, eventually turning the loan into an NPA

5. What are the impacts of Non-Performing Assets (NPA)

Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) can have significant impacts on banks, the economy, and the overall financial ecosystem.

Here are some of the key effects:

  • NPAs erode a bank's profitability as they stop generating income through interest payments. This affects the bank's ability to lend further and impacts its overall financial health. A high level of NPAs can weaken a bank's capital base, affecting its ability to absorb losses and maintain stability
  • Banks with high NPAs become cautious about lending, especially to risky sectors or borrowers, leading to a credit crunch. This restricted lending can hamper economic growth as businesses and individuals find it challenging to secure credit for expansion or investment
  • High NPAs can dent depositor and investor confidence in the banking system. Customers might withdraw deposits or shift to more stable institutions, causing liquidity issues for the affected bank
  • NPAs can have broader economic repercussions. When banks face financial strain due to NPAs, their ability to support economic growth through lending diminishes. This can affect employment, investments, and overall economic development
  • Regulators monitor and impose stricter norms on banks with high levels of NPAs to ensure financial stability. Banks might face regulatory penalties or restrictions, impacting their operations and growth prospects
  • Banks might need additional capital infusion to cover the losses arising from NPAs. This can strain the bank's resources or necessitate seeking external funding, impacting shareholders and overall financial planning
6. Measures to control Non-Performing Assets (NPA)

Controlling Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) is crucial for the financial health of banks and the stability of the financial system. Several measures can be implemented to manage and control NPAs effectively:

Prudent Lending Practices: Implementing robust credit appraisal and risk assessment mechanisms before disbursing loans can prevent potential NPAs. Thoroughly evaluating borrower creditworthiness, financial stability, and collateral can mitigate risks.

Early Detection and Monitoring: Early identification of potential NPAs is crucial. Banks should closely monitor repayment schedules and intervene at the first signs of distress. Timely action can prevent assets from slipping into the NPA category.

Loan Restructuring and Rescheduling: Offering viable borrowers alternative repayment structures can help them meet their obligations. Loan restructuring involves altering repayment terms, interest rates, or extending the tenure to make repayments more manageable.

Asset Quality Review (AQR): Conducting regular asset quality reviews helps in identifying stressed assets early on. This enables banks to take proactive measures to prevent assets from turning into NPAs.

Asset Reconstruction Companies (ARCs): Collaborating with ARCs allows banks to transfer NPAs to specialized entities that focus on recovering these assets. It helps banks clean up their balance sheets and concentrate on core operations.

Strengthening Recovery Mechanisms: Banks should have robust recovery mechanisms in place, including legal recourse and debt recovery tribunals, to expedite the recovery of NPAs. Effective recovery minimizes losses for the bank.

Loan Recovery through Securitization and Asset Sale: Selling NPAs to other entities or securitizing them can provide liquidity and reduce the burden on banks. However, this should be balanced with ensuring fair value realization.

Prudential Norms and Regulatory Compliance: Adhering to prudential norms set by regulatory authorities helps in maintaining healthy asset quality. Compliance with regulations ensures timely recognition and provisioning for NPAs.

Debt Recovery Tribunals (DRTs) and SARFAESI Act: Utilizing legal mechanisms like DRTs and the Securitization and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest (SARFAESI) Act expedites the recovery process and acts as a deterrent against defaulting borrowers

7. Way forward

Implementing these measures collectively and consistently can aid in controlling NPAs, maintaining a healthy loan portfolio, and preserving the stability of the banking sector.


For Prelims: Current events of Economy in Indian Scenario, RBI measurement to Control Non Performing Assets (NPAs)

For Mains: General Studies III: Non Performing Asset (NPAs), Bad Bank


Previous Year Questions

1.Consider the following statements: Non-performing assets (NPAs) decline in value when (UPSC ESE 2018)

1. Demand revives in the economy.

2. Capacity utilization increases.

3. Capacity utilization, though substantive, is yet sub-optimal.

4. Capacity utilization decreases consequently upon merger of unit.

Which of the above statements are correct?

A.1, 3 and 4 only

B.1, 2 and 4 only

C.1, 2 and 3 only

D.1, 2, 3 and 4

Answer (C)

Source: Indianexpress




1. Context

The global unemployment rate is expected to fall slightly to 4.9% this year from 5.0% in 2023, even as inequalities in labour markets persist

2. Labour Force

The labor force, also known as the workforce or labor pool, refers to the total number of people who are employed or seeking employment in a particular country, region, or economic sector. It includes both employed individuals and those who are actively seeking job opportunities.

The labor force consists of two main components:

  • Employed: These are individuals who are currently working, either as full-time or part-time employees, in self-employment, or as casual laborers. They are actively engaged in economic activities and are contributing to the production of goods and services.
  • Unemployed: These are individuals who are not currently employed but are actively seeking employment opportunities. They are willing and available to work but have not yet found suitable job opportunities.

3. What is LFPR (Labour Force Participation Rate)?

  • LFPR stands for Labor Force Participation Rate. It is a key labor market indicator that measures the proportion of the working-age population that is actively engaged in the labor force, either by being employed or actively seeking employment.
  • The labor force participation rate provides insights into the extent of labor market involvement among individuals who are of working age and capable of working.
  • Labor Force: The total number of individuals who are either employed or actively seeking employment (i.e., the number of employed + the number of unemployed).
  • Working-Age Population: The total number of individuals within a specific age group considered to be of working age, typically defined as those aged 15 to 64 years (the age range may vary in different countries).
  • The LFPR is expressed as a percentage and provides valuable information about the proportion of the population that is contributing to the labor market.
  • A high LFPR indicates a larger share of the working-age population is actively participating in the labor force, while a low LFPR suggests that a significant portion of the population is not actively involved in the labor market, which can have implications for economic growth and development.
  • Changes in the LFPR over time can be influenced by various factors, including demographic trends, social norms, economic conditions, and government policies.
  • Monitoring LFPR is essential for understanding labor market dynamics and making informed decisions related to employment policies and workforce development initiatives.

4. Significance of LFPR in India

The Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) holds significant importance in India for several reasons:

  • Employment Analysis: LFPR helps in understanding the level of workforce engagement and the proportion of the working-age population that is actively participating in the labor market. It provides insights into the employment situation in the country.
  • Unemployment Assessment: LFPR is an essential component in calculating the unemployment rate. By comparing the LFPR with the actual employment figures, one can determine the extent of unemployment in the economy.
  • Demographic Trends: LFPR can highlight demographic patterns and changes in labor force behavior. For example, a rising LFPR may indicate greater economic opportunities for women, while a declining LFPR could suggest challenges in attracting youth to the workforce.
  • Economic Growth: A higher LFPR can positively impact economic growth as it implies a larger workforce actively contributing to the production of goods and services. A productive workforce can boost overall economic output and development.
  • Policy Formulation: LFPR data assists policymakers in devising appropriate strategies to address employment challenges. Understanding the labor market dynamics can aid in formulating policies to enhance job creation and workforce participation.
  • Skill Development: Analyzing LFPR by education level or skill set can help identify skill gaps in the workforce. This information is crucial for designing skill development programs to align workforce capabilities with industry demands.

5. Importance of Employment Rate (ER) in Evaluating Labor Market Stress

  • LFPR vs. ER: When LFPR is falling sharply, it's essential to consider the Employment Rate (ER) as an alternative indicator to understand labor market stress better.
  • ER Definition: ER is the percentage of employed people in the working-age population, providing insights into the proportion of people with jobs.
  • Capturing Labor Market Stress: ER considers the base of the working-age population and focuses on the number of employed individuals, offering a clearer picture of labor market stress during declining LFPR.
  • ER Data Analysis: By examining ER data, it becomes evident that India's working-age population has been increasing. However, the number of employed individuals has decreased over time.
  • Absolute Numbers: In December 2021, India's working-age population was 107.9 crore, of which only 40.4 crore had jobs (ER of 37.4%). Comparing this to December 2016, with 95.9 crore in the working-age group and 41.2 crore employed (ER 43%), a concerning trend emerges.
  • Long-Term Impact: Over five years, while the working-age population increased by 12 crores, the number of employed individuals declined by 80 lahks, highlighting the severity of the employment challenge.

6. Why is India’s LFPR so low?

  • The main reason for India’s LFPR being low is the abysmally low level of female LFPR.
  • According to CMIE data, as of December 2021, while the male LFPR was 67.4%, the female LFPR was as low as 9.4%. In other words, less than one in 10 working-age women in India are even demanding work.
  • Even if one sources data from the World Bank, India’s female labour force participation rate is around 25% when the global average is 47%. 

7. Reasons for Low Female Labor Force Participation in India

  • Working Conditions: Women face challenges in seeking work due to unfavorable working conditions, including concerns about law and order, lack of efficient public transportation, violence against women, and societal norms that discourage women from working outside their homes.
  • Measurement Issues: Capturing women's economic contribution is complex, as many women in India are primarily involved in household duties and caregiving for their families. Traditional economic measurements may not fully account for their significant contributions within their households.
  • Job Opportunities: A lack of adequate job opportunities is another significant factor contributing to low female labor force participation. Limited access to suitable employment options hinders women from joining the workforce.
For Prelims: Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR), Employment Rate (ER), Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), and Labour Force.
For Mains: 1. Discuss the significance of the Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) as a critical labor market indicator in the context of economic development and policy formulation. (250 words).

Previous year Question

1. In India, which one of the following compiles information on industrial disputes, closures, retrenchments, and lay-offs in factories employing workers? (UPSC 2022)
A. Central Statistics Office
B. Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade
C. Labour Bureau
D. National Technical Manpower Information System
Answer: C
2. Which of the following brings out the 'Consumer Price Index Number for Industrial Workers'? (UPSC 2015)
A. The Reserve Bank of India
B. The Department of Economic Affairs
C. The Labour Bureau
D. The Department of Personnel and Training
Answer: C
3. International Labour Organization's Conventions 138 and 182 are related to (UPSC 2018)
A. Child labour
B. Adaptation of agricultural practices to global climate change
C. Regulation of food prices and food
D. Security
Answer: A
4. Which of the following statements about the employment situation in India according to the periodic Labour Force Survey 2017-18 is/are correct? (UPSC CAPF 2020)
1. Construction sector gave employment to nearly one-tenth of the urban male workforce in India.
2. Nearly one-fourth of urban female workers in India were working in the manufacturing sector.
3. One-fourth of rural female workers in India were engaged in the agriculture sector.
Select the correct answer using the code given below:
A. 2 only
B. 1 and 2 only
C. 1 and 3 only
D. 1, 2 and 3
Answer: B
Source: The Indian Express


1. Context
Approximately 36% of India’s population currently resides in cities, and this figure is expected to exceed 50% by 2047. According to World Bank estimates, around $840 billion will be needed to fund the essential urban infrastructure over the next 15 years. The AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation) scheme, a flagship program initiated by the government in June 2015, had its 2.0 version launched on October 1, 2021.
2. AMRUT Scheme

The Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) is a Government of India initiative launched in June 2015 to improve basic civic amenities in urban areas. This mission aimed to address critical infrastructure challenges in water, mobility, and pollution through a combination of central financial assistance and resource mobilization by states and cities.

Key Objectives of AMRUT

  • Ensure every household has access to a tap with a guaranteed water supply and a sewerage connection.
  • Increase the amenity value of cities by developing well-maintained parks and green spaces.
  • Reduce pollution by promoting public transport and infrastructure for non-motorized transport like cycling and walking.

AMRUT 1.0 (2015-2020)

  • Focused on 500 cities and towns with over one lakh population.
  • Total outlay of ₹50,000 crore for five years (FY 2015-16 to FY 2019-20).
  • Shared funding between central government, states, and cities.

AMRUT 2.0 (2021-2026)

  • Aims to make cities "water secure" by providing functional water tap connections to all households in all statutory towns.
  • Ambitious targets include 100% sewage management in the original 500 AMRUT cities.
  • Increased total outlay of ₹2,99,000 crore for five years.
  • Central government outlay of ₹76,760 crore with the remaining amount to be mobilized by states and cities.


3. Funds Utilized Under AMRUT Scheme


As of May 19, 2024, the AMRUT dashboard reports a total of ₹83,357 crore disbursed for various urban development projects. This investment has yielded significant progress

  • 58,66,237 tap connections have been provided to households.
  • 37,49,467 sewerage connections have been established.
  • 2,411 new parks have been developed, enhancing urban green spaces.
  • 62,78,571 LED lights have been installed, contributing to reduced energy consumption.
4. The Reality of Urban Infrastructure and Public Health in India

Despite the efforts and funding directed towards urban infrastructure development under the AMRUT scheme, significant challenges persist. It is estimated that about 200,000 people die each year due to inadequate water, sanitation, and hygiene. In 2016, the disease burden per person due to unsafe water and sanitation in India was 40 times higher than in China, and this situation has seen little improvement.

Water and Sanitation Challenges

  • Poor treatment of vast amounts of wastewater increases the vulnerability and incidence of diseases.
  • The 150 reservoirs monitored by the central government, which supply water for drinking, irrigation, and hydroelectricity, were filled to just 40% of their capacity a few weeks ago.
  • Around 21 major cities are projected to run out of groundwater.
  • A NITI Aayog report states that 40% of India’s population will have no access to drinking water by 2030.
  • Nearly 31% of urban Indian households lack piped water, 67.3% are not connected to a piped sewerage system, and the average water supply per person in urban India is 69.25 litres per day, far below the required 135 litres.

Air Quality Concerns

Air quality in AMRUT cities and other large urban settlements continues to deteriorate. The National Clean Air Programme, launched by the central government in 2019, aimed to address these concerns, as AMRUT 2.0 focused solely on water and sewerage, leaving air quality issues from AMRUT 1.0 largely unaddressed.


5. Analyzing the Shortcomings of the AMRUT Scheme


The AMRUT scheme's fundamental flaws stem from its project-oriented approach rather than a holistic one. This scheme was designed for cities but lacked meaningful participation from city residents and elected officials. Instead, it was driven by bureaucrats, parastatals, and large technology-based companies, sidelining the organic involvement of city governments.

Governance and Participation Issues

  • The scheme's design was overly mechanical, with minimal organic participation from elected city governments. Bureaucrats and private interests primarily managed it.
  • The apex committee overseeing the scheme is headed by the Secretary of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MOHUA) and includes only non-elected members. At the state level, the high-powered committee is led by the chief secretary, with significant involvement from consultants and professionals, but no representation from elected officials. This structure violates the 74th constitutional amendment, which mandates the involvement of local representatives.

Misaligned Priorities and Poor Urban Planning

  • The involvement of large private players and builders has led to real estate development becoming a proxy for urban planning. This has resulted in the disappearance of water bodies and lakes, disrupted stormwater flows, and inadequate stormwater drainage systems.
  • Many sewage treatment plants are poorly designed, with the travel distance for faecal matter often exceeding the average commute of a worker. This inefficiency highlights the scheme's failure to account for the practicalities of urban infrastructure.
  • Effective water management must consider the climate, rainfall patterns, and existing infrastructure. The AMRUT scheme's failure to do so has exacerbated urban water management issues.

Need for a Comprehensive, People-Centric Approach

The AMRUT scheme requires a shift towards nature-based solutions and a comprehensive methodology that empowers local bodies and prioritises the needs of the people. This would involve greater participation from local communities and elected officials, ensuring that urban development is both sustainable and inclusive.


6. Way Forward
By adopting a more holistic and people-centric approach, AMRUT 2.0 and future urban development initiatives can create sustainable and healthy cities for all residents. The key lies in empowering local governance, fostering community engagement, and prioritizing long-term environmental and social well-being alongside infrastructure development.
For Prelims: AMRUT Scheme, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, 
For Mains: 
1. What are the environmental concerns associated with the current model of urban development in India, as highlighted by the shortcomings of AMRUT? Suggest measures for promoting sustainable urban infrastructure. (250 Words)
Source: The Hindu


1. Context

Elections, in the truest sense, are a celebration of democracy. There's a palpable anticipation for the announcement of dates, the beginning of the nomination process, and the commencement of the election campaign. In a phased election like the current one, the first and last days of voting become significant events. However, for many in India, the most eagerly awaited event is when the exit polls are released.

2. Importance of Exit Polls

Exit polls provide estimates on how people voted in an election. They are based on interviews with voters immediately after they exit the polling stations, combined with other calculations related to voter data.

Public Interest in Exit Polls

A large number of Indians place as much importance on exit polls as they do on the actual results. Typically, exit polls are released on the last day of voting because agencies conducting these polls are mandated by the Election Commission of India (ECI) to wait until polling has been completed in all phases. This rule exists to prevent influencing voters who have not yet cast their ballots.

Release and Public Perception

When exit polls are finally released, pollsters often present varying estimates. People tend to show interest in those exit polls that align with their political preferences. They generally disregard the vote share estimates and methodologies. More often than not, the accuracy of exit polls is judged by personal opinions on political parties.

Upcoming Exit Poll Release

When exit polls for the ongoing Lok Sabha elections are released on the evening of June 1, this phenomenon is likely to be repeated. Many television channels will rush to air the polls. Unfortunately, there is more competition to be the ‘first’ to show the exit poll numbers than to ensure superior data quality.

Recent Inaccuracies

In recent years, many exit polls have proven erratic, often showing conflicting results. Last year, many polls incorrectly predicted winners in the Legislative Assembly elections for Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, while some were way off the mark in Rajasthan.

No Predictable Pattern

There is no consistent pattern in the accuracy of exit polls. An agency may have accurately predicted the results for Madhya Pradesh but made errors in Rajasthan. There were states where all exit polls were accurate (Telangana) and others where none were correct (Chhattisgarh).

Factors Influencing Accuracy

Today, some people judge the accuracy of an exit poll by the survey agency that conducted it or the television channel that commissioned it. Others consider the sample size, believing that a larger sample size indicates a more reliable poll. In reality, these should not be the sole indicators for judging the accuracy of an exit poll, which depends on many different factors.

3. The Basis of an Exit Poll
  • The science of surveys, including exit polls, operates on the premise that data are collected from many respondents using a structured questionnaire, whether conducted over the telephone or face-to-face.
  • This method is not new; it began in 1957 during the second Lok Sabha elections when the Indian Institute of Public Opinion conducted a poll.
  • However, no guesswork or estimation can replace the necessary methodology. Without a structured questionnaire, data cannot be collected coherently or analyzed systematically.
4. How Sample Size and Representativeness Matter

Since the inception of exit polls in 1957, there has been significant improvement, particularly in sample size. Gone are the days when a national sample of 20,000 to 30,000 respondents was considered large. Today, survey agencies conduct exit polls with samples as large as 1 million, and samples of a few hundred thousand have become commonplace.

Historical Context and Methodological Advances

Though the Lokniti-Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) typically does not conduct exit polls, it has done so occasionally. For instance, in the 1996 Lok Sabha elections, Lokniti-CSDS used a sample size of 17,604 to conduct its first exit poll, resulting in a very accurate national projection of both vote share and seats.

Importance of Representativeness Over Sample Size

Lokniti-CSDS has continued studying voting behaviour through post-poll surveys. The 2019 Lok Sabha election post-poll survey had a sample size of just over 25,000. While seat projections sometimes missed the mark, the vote share estimates were very close to actual results.

Although a large sample size is important, representativeness ensuring the sample reflects various voter profiles is more crucial. Recently, television channels, often the sponsors of these exit polls, have pressured for larger samples, resulting in increasingly bigger exit polls.

Accuracy and Challenges

For example, Lokniti-CSDS’s predictions for the Chhattisgarh Assembly Elections were incorrect in both 2018 and 2023, despite being based on post-poll surveys. In the 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, while the winner was predicted correctly, the final tallies for different parties were off the mark. Increasing the sample size would not necessarily have improved accuracy, suggesting other issues, such as potential fake interviews, may have affected the results.

Technological Solutions and Remaining Challenges

Technological advancements such as call-backs to respondents, images of interviews, field phone calls, WhatsApp groups, and similar tools have helped mitigate some issues. However, there is no foolproof method for ensuring accurate predictions.

5. Swing Model and Its Complexities
Challenges in Predicting Seats

The prediction of seats in an election is based on a swing model, which estimates vote shares for different parties and alliances by interviewing selected respondents. The seat forecast is then made based on the results of the previous election.

Estimating Vote Share in a Diverse Context

Estimating vote share in India is particularly challenging due to the country's vast diversities in location, caste, religion, language, education levels, and economic class, all of which influence voting behaviour. Over- or under-representation of any of these diverse voter sections can significantly impact the accuracy of the estimates.

Additional Difficulties

Beyond these challenges, there are other complexities. The swing model relies on previous vote shares, so changes in alliances, or the splitting or merging of parties between elections, complicate the predictions. For example, the alliance dynamics between BJP and JD(U) in Bihar can pose difficulties.

Complexity of Swings with Multiple Parties

Measuring swing and electoral change is more straightforward when the contest is limited to two parties. However, the complexity of swings increases as more political players enter the fray, adding layers of difficulty to accurate predictions.

6.  The Count Method

The count method for estimating election results is both time-consuming and labour-intensive, requiring an estimate for each seat. When agencies claim to have made seat-wise estimates, it is often presented as the most comprehensive poll, especially when the sample size is several hundred thousand respondents.

Innovations in the Count Method

Some agencies have introduced innovations in the count method, maximizing efficiency by spending less time and resources. While an exit poll might claim to cover all constituencies, in practice, polls are not necessary in certain seats. For example, it may be unnecessary to conduct a poll in Varanasi where the Prime Minister is contesting, or in Gandhinagar where the BJP president is contesting. By carefully eliminating such constituencies, accurate estimates can still be achieved.

Focus on Swing Constituencies

After applying the elimination method alongside the count method, surveys are required only in a limited number of critical constituencies, often referred to as swing constituencies. Innovative exit polls focusing on these areas can be more accurate than those using traditional methodologies.

Limitations of the Count Method

While traditional methodology estimates vote share and analyzes voting behaviour based on various socioeconomic backgrounds, the count method has limitations. It can hardly provide an estimate of vote shares, and any systematic analysis of voting behaviour remains elusive.

7. Distinguishing Between Real Exit Polls and Estimate Polls
  • Many exit polls merely present several seats without providing vote share or methodological details. Should these even be considered exit polls? It is time to distinguish between real exit polls and estimate polls.
  • A vote share estimate is mandatory for any poll. If a poll does not estimate the vote share, we must question the poll's purpose and methodology.
  • What innovative method was applied that predicts seats without estimating votes? Without vote share estimates, the credibility and accuracy of the poll are highly questionable.
8. Way Forward
By emphasizing methodological transparency, ensuring representativeness, incorporating technological innovations, and mandating vote share estimates, the credibility and accuracy of exit polls can be significantly improved. Distinguishing between real exit polls and estimate polls is crucial for maintaining public trust and providing meaningful insights into electoral outcomes.
For Prelims: Exit Polls, Election Commission of India
For Mains: 
1. Public interest in exit polls is often high, even though their accuracy can be questionable. Discuss the ethical implications of misleading exit polls on voters and the electoral process. (250 Words)
Previous Year Questions

1 Consider the following statements: (2017)

1. The Election Commission of India is a five-member body.
2. Union Ministry of Home Affairs decides the election schedule for the conduct of both general elections and bye-elections.
3. Election Commission resolves the disputes relating to splits/mergers of recognised political parties.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only   (b) 2 only   (c) 2 and 3 only    (d) 3 only

Answer: D


1. In the light of recent controversy regarding the use of Electronic Voting Machines(EVM), what are the challenges before the Election Commission of India to ensure the trustworthiness of elections in India? (UPSC 2018)
2.  To enhance the quality of democracy in India the Election Commission of India has proposed electoral reforms in 2016. What are the suggested reforms and how far are they significant to make democracy successful? (UPSC 2017)
Source: The Indian Express


1. Context
The global unemployment rate is expected to fall slightly to 4.9% this year from 5.0% in 2023, even as inequalities in labour markets persist, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said on 29/05/2024
2. What is the International Labour Organisation (ILO)?
  • The International Labour Organization (ILO) is a United Nations agency whose mandate is to advance social and economic justice by setting international labour standards. Founded in October 1919 under the League of Nations, it is one of the first and oldest specialised agencies of the UN
  • The ILO has 187 member states: 186 out of 193 UN member states plus the Cook Islands. It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, with around 40 field offices around the world, and employs some 3,381 staff across 107 nations, of whom 1,698 work in technical cooperation programmes and project
  • Unlike other United Nations specialized agencies, the International Labour Organization (ILO) has a tripartite governing structure that brings together governments, employers, and workers of 187 member States, to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all women and men.
  • The structure is intended to ensure the views of all three groups are reflected in ILO labour standards, policies, and programmes, though governments have twice as many representatives as the other two groups
3. What is the History behind the Establishment?
The establishment of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in 1919 is rooted in the historical context of the early 20th century, marked by significant social, economic, and political changes.
Here is a detailed overview of the history behind its establishment:
  • The late 18th and 19th centuries saw the rise of the Industrial Revolution, which brought about profound changes in the nature of work. While industrialization led to economic growth, it also resulted in poor working conditions, long hours, child labor, and inadequate wages for workers. The social consequences of these changes highlighted the need for labor reform.
  • By the late 19th century, labor movements and social reformers across Europe and North America were advocating for better working conditions, workers' rights, and social justice. These movements were influential in shaping public opinion and policy towards labor issues.
  •  Before the ILO's establishment, there were several international congresses and conferences focused on labor issues. For instance, the International Association for Labour Legislation was founded in 1900, aiming to harmonize labor laws across countries. These early efforts demonstrated a growing recognition of the need for international cooperation on labor standards.
  • The First World War (1914-1918) had devastating social and economic effects, exacerbating labor issues and highlighting the interconnectedness of nations. The war underscored the importance of international cooperation in promoting peace and social stability.
  • Following the end of World War I, the Versailles Peace Conference was convened in 1919 to negotiate the terms of peace and to address the causes of conflict. One of the key issues recognized was the need for improved labor conditions to ensure lasting peace.
  • Treaty of Versailles: The ILO was established as part of the Treaty of Versailles, which formally ended World War I. The inclusion of labor provisions in the treaty reflected the recognition that social justice and decent working conditions were essential for international peace and stability.

  • Founding Principles: The ILO's Constitution, included in the Treaty of Versailles, was based on the belief that universal peace can only be established if it is based on social justice. It set forth several key principles:

    • Labor should not be regarded merely as a commodity or article of commerce.
    • The right to association and the right to collective bargaining should be recognized.
    • Working conditions should be humane, ensuring adequate living wages, reasonable hours, and protection against sickness, disease, and injury.
    • Special protection should be afforded to children, young persons, and women.
4. What is the Organisational Structure of ILO?

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has a distinctive organizational structure designed to ensure representation and participation from governments, employers, and workers. This tripartite structure is central to its functioning and decision-making processes. Here's a detailed overview of the ILO's organizational structure:

International Labour Conference (ILC)

  • Role: The ILC is the ILO's supreme decision-making body, often referred to as the "world parliament of labour."
  • Functions: It meets annually to set the broad policies of the ILO, adopt international labor standards (Conventions and Recommendations), and approve the ILO's work program and budget.
  • Composition: The ILC is composed of representatives from each member state, with a tripartite delegation:
    • Government Delegates: Two representatives per member state.
    • Employer Delegates: One representative per member state.
    • Worker Delegates: One representative per member state.
5. What are the Functions of the ILO?
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) performs a wide range of functions aimed at promoting social justice and internationally recognized human and labour rights.
Here are the key functions of the ILO:
  • The ILO develops and adopts international labour standards in the form of Conventions and Recommendations. These standards cover a wide array of labour issues, including workers' rights, working conditions, social protection, and occupational safety and health.
  • Member states can ratify these Conventions, committing themselves to adhere to the standards. The ILO monitors compliance and provides guidance on implementation.
  • The ILO promotes fundamental principles and rights at work, such as freedom of association, the right to collective bargaining, the elimination of forced and child labour, and the elimination of discrimination in employment.
  • It provides technical assistance to countries to help them create and enforce laws and policies that uphold these rights.
  • The ILO supports initiatives aimed at creating more and better jobs, especially for vulnerable groups such as youth, women, and persons with disabilities
  • It promotes vocational training and skills development to enhance employability and adaptability in the labor market
  • Encourages entrepreneurship and the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as a means to generate employment.
6.What are the Core Conventions of the ILO?

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has identified eight Conventions as "fundamental" or "core" Conventions. These Conventions cover fundamental principles and rights at work and are considered crucial for ensuring decent work and social justice. The ILO's core Conventions are:

Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948 (No. 87)

  • Adoption: 1948
  • Purpose: Protects the right of workers and employers to form and join organizations of their own choosing without prior authorization.
  • Key Provisions: Ensures that workers and employers can organize freely and prohibits interference by public authorities.

2Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949 (No. 98)

  • Adoption: 1949
  • Purpose: Provides protection against anti-union discrimination and promotes collective bargaining.
  • Key Provisions: Protects workers from dismissal or prejudice due to union membership and activities, and promotes voluntary negotiation between employers and workers' organizations.

Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29)

  • Adoption: 1930
  • Purpose: Aims to suppress the use of forced or compulsory labor in all its forms.
  • Key Provisions: Requires the abolition of all forms of forced or compulsory labor, with exceptions for military service, normal civic obligations, and certain emergencies.

Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957 (No. 105)

  • Adoption: 1957
  • Purpose: Complements Convention No. 29 by prohibiting the use of any form of forced labor as a means of political coercion, labor discipline, punishment for participation in strikes, or discrimination.
  • Key Provisions: Mandates the elimination of forced labor for political purposes, economic development, labor discipline, punishment for strikes, and racial, social, national, or religious discrimination.

Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138)

  • Adoption: 1973
  • Purpose: Establishes a minimum age for admission to employment to ensure that children are not employed in work that is harmful to their health or development.
  • Key Provisions: Sets the general minimum age for employment at not less than the age of completion of compulsory schooling and, in any case, not less than 15 years (13 for light work, 18 for hazardous work).

Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182)

  • Adoption: 1999
  • Purpose: Urges immediate and effective measures to prohibit and eliminate the worst forms of child labor.
  • Key Provisions: Defines the worst forms of child labor, including slavery, trafficking, forced labor, prostitution, and involvement in armed conflict. Calls for urgent action to eliminate these practices.

Equal Remuneration Convention, 1951 (No. 100)

  • Adoption: 1951
  • Purpose: Promotes equal remuneration for men and women workers for work of equal value.
  • Key Provisions: Mandates the principle of equal pay for equal work, requiring member states to ensure that wage discrimination based on sex is eliminated.

Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958 (No. 111)

  • Adoption: 1958
  • Purpose: Aims to eliminate discrimination in employment and occupation.
  • Key Provisions: Prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, political opinion, national extraction, or social origin, and promotes equal opportunity and treatment in employment.
For Prelims: GS III- Economy, ILO
For Mains: GS-III: Economy
Source: Indianexpress

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