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25th June – Editorials/Opinions Analyses


  1. India needs a new rural-centric development model
  2. Watch out for the China hand in cyberattacks
  3. India mulls bilateral air bubbles
  4. India needs enhanced manufacturing capabilities


Focus: GS-II Governance


  • India has the second-largest migrant worker population in the world, second only to China.
  • The lack of authentic data on their numbers, their living and working conditions and perpetual uncertainty in their livelihood prospects have been brought in to sharp focus with the coronavirus pandemic.

Gandhian model

  • The aspiration for self-reliant development at the village level began with the Gandhian model of swaraj.
  • He visualised a comprehensive programme of constructive work, which included economic self-reliance, social equality and a decentralised political system at the village level.
  • For Gandhi, the model of self-reliant villages was the basis of a free democracy.
  • Gandhiji said that his idea of village swaraj is that it is a complete republic, independent of its neighbours for its own vital wants, and yet interdependent for many others in which dependence is a necessity.
  • His was not a model of a closed economy and a village economy perpetuating itself at the lower levels of income, but one in which local populations could be employed locally but with rising incomes and higher productivity.

Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam’s model

  • Kalam, the missile man, had his own model called Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas (PURA).
  • His vision was to develop rural India through a cluster development system where 50-100 villages with common competencies and/or mutual markets could be horizontally or vertically integrated as PURA complexes.
  • These villages would be linked through “four connectivities” — physical, electronic, knowledge and economic.
  • The goal was to provide income and quality of life opportunities to all within PURA complex.
  • While some rural-rural migration would be acceptable, rural to urban migration would be minimised.

Nanaji Deshmukh’s call

  • Deshmukh called for self-reliant villages based on a model of integral humanism where harmony was also a pivotal force.
  • The successful implementation of the model called not just for zero unemployment and no one below the poverty line, but also zero internal legal disputes and no widow being denied remarriage.
  • In Deshmukh’s model, the collective social consciousness that promoted collective well-being was considered to be a cornerstone to next-generation rural development.

Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Rurban Mission (SPMRM)

  • Undertaken by the Union Ministry of Rural Development, the Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Rurban Mission (SPMRM) focuses on cluster-based integrated development through Spatial Planning.
  • SPMRM is a scheme launched by the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) in 2016
  • The Mission leads to convergence of the schemes of Union Government and the State Governments which leads to overall development of the region in a planned and organized manner.
  • The State Government identifies the clusters in accordance with the Framework for Implementation prepared by the MoRD.
  • SPMRM is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS).
  • The mission aims at stimulating local economic development and create well planned Rurban Regions.
  • The mission aims to develop 300 Rurban clusters. The Niti Aayog has proposed that these clusters are to be extended to 1000 in 3 years.
  • The Mission plans to develop Rurban clusters contiguously with the Gram Panchayats with a population of 25,000 to 50,000 in plains and 5,000 to 15,000 in desert and hilly areas.
  • The Mission provides good employment opportunities, basic as well as urban facilities to rural India such as waste management, smart classrooms, piped water supply, Roads, Agro processing and value addition to primary produce etc., and therefore is critical for holistic development.

A predecessor to SPMRM was the Provision of Urban Amenities to Rural Areas (PURA), announced in 2003.

Rurban Clusters

  • There are 2 categories of clusters: Non-Tribal and Tribal.
  • Rurban clusters are identified across the country’s rural areas showing increasing signs of urbanization – i.e. increase in population density, high levels of non-farm employment, presence of growing economic activities and other socioeconomic parameters.
  • For the purposes of SPMRM, Rurban areas refer to a cluster of 15-20 villages having about 30 to 40 lakh population. The clusters will be geographically contiguous Gram Panchayats with a population of about 25000 to 50000 in plain and coastal areas and a population of 5000 to 15000 in desert, hilly or tribal areas.

-Source: Hindustan Times


Focus: GS-III Internal Security Challenges

Why in news?

  • India’s nodal agency on cybersecurity: CERT-In (Computer Emergency Response Team – India), issued an advisory on a massive phishing attack on India.
  • The adoption of digital services has put India high up on the hit list of hacker groups, many linked to neighbouring countries.

Are the cyberattacks against India growing?

  • Post-lockdown which encouraged people to work from home, attacks targeting many Indian companies also increased.
  • Indian organizations saw a 100% increase in cyberattacks in last week of March.
  • A May report by Kaspersky shows a 37% increase in cyberattacks against Indian companies in Q1 2020 compared to Q4 in 2019.
  • Phishing attacks offering information on covid-19 and equipment, or free testing with the intention to steal personal information has also been on the rise in India in the last few months.

Who are the people or nations targeting India?

According to Subex, a telecom analytics firm, India was the most targeted nation between April and June 2019.

Most cyberattacks targeting India originated in:

  1. Slovenia (74,998),
  2. Ukraine (55,772),
  3. Czech Republic (53,609),
  4. China (50,000),
  5. Mexico (35,201).

Pakistan linked hacker groups have also intensified their attacks on the Indian government and individuals.

China is believed to be behind the conspiracy to target government agencies, telecom and pharma firms, media houses. Two hacker groups who are behind these attacks, have strong links with the People’s Liberation Army of China.

Who among the ones being targeted is most vulnerable?

  • Any organization which has been forced to move its operations online on short notice is vulnerable.
  • Individuals who are not fully aware of the best security practices and are using digital payments solutions or tools for the first time are prone too.

What can be the impact of Cyberattacks?

  • Cyberattacks and data breaches have cost organizations in India more than crores INR on an average between July 2018 and April 2019.
  • Besides losses incurred due to disruption, a cyberattack can cause loss of brand value.
  • It can also result in lawsuits and heavy penalties levied by the government or regulator of land.

What’s the aim behind targeting India?

  • Most cyberattacks are motivated by financial gain. Hackers exploit vulnerabilities to gain access to company network and then block them out of their systems, forcing them to pay a ransom.
  • However, in the last few years, state-backed attacks against India have grown.
  • The motive behind these is to send a warning to India or firms that have been critical of adversarial neighbours such as China and Pakistan.
  • Many of the large-scale hacker groups are after intellectual property critical for any firm, so they can sell them on Dark Web.

Computer Emergency Response Team – India (CERT-IN)

  • It is an organisation of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India, with the objective of securing Indian cyberspace.
  • It is the nodal agency which deals with cybersecurity threats like hacking and phishing.
  • It collects, analyses and disseminates information on cyber incidents, and also issues alert on cybersecurity incidents.
  • CERT-IN provides Incident Prevention and Response Services as well as Security Quality Management Services.

-Source: Livemint


Focus: GS-II Social Justice

Why in news?

  • India has proposed establishing air travel “bubbles” with several countries including the United States, Germany, and France on the lines of “air bridges” or “Covid-safe travel zones” that have been conceptualised by countries that have managed to fully or partially contain the outbreak.
  • The Ministry of Civil Aviation is negotiating the setting up of travel bubbles to restart scheduled international passenger flights.

What are travel bubbles?

  • While quarantining and testing of passengers have universal appeal, some jurisdictions are talking of “bubbles” or “air bridges” joining states that have largely eliminated the virus, and who trust in each other’s testing and case numbers.
  • For example: The Baltic countries of Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia too have created a bubble allowing free travel among themselves, while restricting outsiders.
  • The concept of a travel bubble, or an air bridge, is reciprocal in nature, which means that both sides — the departure point and the arrival point — have to be on board.
  • It also means that travel restrictions such as quarantining or testing of passengers have to be discarded among the countries in the bubble.

What is India’s proposal and what are the hurdles?

  • Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation said that it was looking at the possibility of establishing bilateral arrangements, on account of moving away from controlled and managed aviation evacuation of Indian citizens in different parts of the world and foreign nationals from India.
  • The finalising of travel bubbles could be a huge step in the direction of resuming scheduled international air travel, which has been suspended for three months now.
  • But a lot depends on the destination country’s perception of India in terms of being a Covid threat.
  • Also, the Indian government’s move to allow outbound commercial travel on flights meant to repatriate Indian citizens without allowing reciprocal benefits to some countries like the US and France could have resulted in sentiments turning sour in these countries.

-Source: Indian Express


Focus: GS-III Indian Economy


The Centre’s decision to make it mandatory for vendors on the Government e-Marketplace (GeM) procurement platform to specify the country of origin of new products listed by them is on the face of it unexceptionable, aimed as it is at promoting India-made goods.

Double Edged Sword

  • India’s reliance on imports from China now extend̥s beyond smartphones and low-cost electronics to heavy machinery and active pharmaceutical ingredients.
  • The Weaponization of trade ties with countries like China is a double-edged sword and fraught with risks for the Indian economy as well. India’s drug makers, who are seeking to entrench themselves as a pharmacy to the world amid the pandemic and accompanying rush for affordable generic treatments, depend on the northern neighbour for about 70% of their requirements of bulk drugs and intermediates.

What is required?

  • The fact is that enhancing manufacturing capacities with improved efficiency and reduced cost would require an overhaul of bureaucratic processes.
  • Attaining genuine self-reliance is a long and capital intensive process that would require far greater investment in education, skill-building and infrastructure.
  • Toning down any trade-linked rhetoric and giving diplomats and military negotiators the room to smoothen ties could be apt for the current situation.

GeM (Government e-Marketplace) portal

  • GeM is a one-stop portal to facilitate online procurement of common use Goods & Services required by various Government Departments / Organizations / PSUs.
  • GeM aims to enhance transparency, efficiency, and speed in public procurement.
  • It provides the tools of e-bidding, reverse e-auction and demand aggregation to facilitate the government users to achieve the best value for their money.
  • GeM is a completely paperless, cashless and system driven e-marketplace that enables the procurement of common use goods and services with minimal human interface.
  • Directorate General of Supplies and Disposals (DGS&D)  with technical support of the National eGovernance Division (Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology) has developed GeM portal for procurement of both Products & Services.

-Source: The Hindu

December 2023