Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Current Affairs – 4th July 2023



Today Topics List:

  1. Chloride levels – risk to housing in NCR

  2. Disability and NFHS – 6

  3. Older Children in Care homes

  4. Split in the Party – nationalist Congress Party

  5. Kerala Government -Governor on Bills

  6. China , India ramp up Infrastructure on North bank of Pangong lake

  7. India, Myanmar, Thailand highway.

  8. Banks – Asset Quality




Chloride levels – risk to housing in NCR

    • Why is it important: In February 2022, two women were killed when a sixth-floor apartment in an 18-storey tower in Gurugram collapsed and debris fell down to the first floor.
    • A report published by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) has raised concerns over the standard of water used in the National Capital region.
      • The report points to the presence of Chloride in concrete. Chloride when in contact with water, leads to initiation of corrosion of embedded steel reinforcement.
      • Hence, experts called for a review of the existing norms as well as the need for periodic testing and monitoring of groundwater used for construction.
    • Though high levels of chloride in water may lead to corrosion of reinforced steel in concrete structures, the maximum allowable chloride content varies depending on the specific application and local standards.
      • The quality of water might impact various aspects of the project, to ensure the best construction outcomes, it is important to use water that meets the specified quality standards and requirements.
    • The committee set up by the district administration in its report found that the affected tower in the above incident was unsafe for inhabitation and unfeasible for any repair due to high chloride levels in the concrete.

Brief:   The administration and bureaucracy needs to be vigilant in the building policies and measures, incorporating scientific knowledge in implementation will only help in saving lives  and does no harm.



Disability and NFHS – 6

    • After years of campaigning, activists rejoiced when the government added one question related to disability in NFHS – 5 (National Family health Survey) but the recent decision of Government to drop the disability specific question from NFHS 6 has puzzled them.
      • As per the census 2011, about 2.68 crore i.e., 2.21 % of the total population.

Ministry’s response:

  • The Ministry of Health and family welfare’s response was that disability specific questions were asked as a part of the Sample Registration Survey (SRS) 76th round conducted between July and December of 2018.
    • Hence, any specific information can be tabulated from the raw data available in the public domain and that disability data will not change fast.
    • Ministry also claims that the sole NFHS question on disability too resulted in under reporting.

Why question on Disability should be included in NFHS 6:

  • While Gross data on disability will change marginally, the count of 6.1 lakh sample households that the NFHS relies on will make the data set truly representative.
  • The elaborate question asked by NFHS will provide valuable specifics on the lives of the disabled.



The Sample registration Survey collects,

The prevalence   and incidence of disability, education level, living arrangements,

care givers, certificate of disability, accessibility and unemployment rate accessibility and unemployment rate


NFHS asks more comprehensive questions

It seeks answers on health schemes, insurance, sexual behaviour, availability of family planning, use of contraception, domestic violence, household amenities and possessions, life style indicators, and access to drinking water and toilets.

  • Hence, there is no doubt that the latter will yield better, more robust data on disability sector.
    • And, with regarding to the claim of under reporting, that might actually be a function of training for field staff who ask the questions.
    • Hence, the state must add questions related to disability, train field staff. Because, the significance of data in influencing policy constructs and thereon, decisions, is non contestable and nothing really justifies any attempt to keep a significant section out of a massive scale count of the Indian population.

Older Children in Care homes


  • Union Minister for women and Child Development, while addressing a regional symposium on “Child Protection, Safety and Child Welfare” said that Child care homes have helped seven lakh children across the country in the past 9 years.
    • She also emphasised on the need for looking into the infrastructural gaps present in their respective areas.
    • She also asked the Child welfare committees to visit child care homes and review the cases of older Children who could be made free for adoption at the earliest.

Status of Child Protection, adoption in the Country

  • According to Official data, nearly 60,000 children reside in Child care homes across the country. But less than 3000 of them are legally free for adoption.
    • Ministry has till now reviewed two states and 9000 such cases of older children and identified 164 such children who could be made legally free for adoption.
    • In the past 9 years, nearly three lakh children, who were declared missing, had been reunited with their parents
  • Under Child Protection Services, Rs. 2000 a month was used to be offered for non – institutional Child care. This has now been increased to Rs. 4000 a month under Mission vatsalya.



Split in the Party – nationalist Congress Party


  • Nationalist Congress party leader Ajit Pawar led a Split in the party and joined hands with the Nationalist Democratic Alliance (NDA).
    • He took oath as a deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra for the fifth time.
    • For Sharad Pawar, the party Supremo, it was a repeat of scene of 1980 where excep for six of his 58 MLAs, all had deserted the party.

Understanding Split in a political party:

  • The 52nd Constitutional Amendment act of 1985 provides for the disqualification the members of the Parliament and the state legislatures on the ground of defection from one political party to another.
    • For this purpose a new schedule (10th) was added to the constitution which was called anti defection law.
    • It provides for the disqualification of members of a political party if he disobeys the directions of the party on whose ticket he contested and won the election.
    • It also provides for the disqualification on Independent members, if he/she joins any political party and Nominated members if he/she joins a political party after the expiry of six months from the date on which he takes his seat in the house.
  • The law also provides for exemptions such as,
    • Merger: If a member goes out of his party as a result of a merger of the party with another party i.e., two thirds of the members have agreed to such merger.
    • Speaker/ presiding officer, after being elected can voluntarily give up his/her membership of the party and rejoins it after he ceases to hold the office. This is given in the view of the dignity and impartiality of the office.
    • Split: It must be noted here that the provision of the 10th schedule, pertaining to exemption from disqualification in case of split by one third members of legislature party has been deleted by 91st Constitutional Amendment Act, 2003. It means that defectors have no more protection on the grounds of Splits.


Kerala Government -Governor on Bills


  • Kerala Governor has sat on 9 bills passed by the state legislative assembly and the Government is planning to approach Supreme Court.
    • Given the unusual situation, the government is left with no potion but to move the court.
  • Recently, in a petition that was filed by the Telangana Government, Supreme court ordered that the Governor shall return the bills as soon as possible.
    • The State Government argues that the Governor holding the Bills indefinitely would lead to the collapse of the Parliamentary democracy system and derail the constitutional framework laid down for the Governments to function.
    • The Government also feels that the Governor’s action went against Article 200 of the constitution.
  • It provides him with the option of giving assent to the bill, or
  • Withholding assent to the Bill, or
  • Reserving the Bill for the consideration of President.
    • The Constitution also provides that the Governor may, as soon as possible after the presentation of the Bill to him for assent, return it together with a message requesting that the house reconsider the Bill itself or any of its specified provisions.




China , India ramp up Infrastructure on North bank of Pangong lake:

    • Pangong Tso is a lake spanning eastern Ladakh and western Tibet, and there is a hectic activity in the area where both China and India were involved in developing infrastructure.
      • While China is rushing to complete a bridge across the Pangong Tso, connecting the north and south, India is also building a black topped road on its side on the north bank.
    • Three years since the Standoff which permanently altered the status quo on the ground in easter Ladakh, both sides await the 19th round of Corps Commander level talks to find a resolution to their dispute in the region.

Indian Construction:

  • The Budgetary allocation for Border Roads Organisation(BRO) has increased sharply over the past few years.
    • In 2023-24, BRO’s capital budget was Rs.5000 crore, 43% higher than the Rs.3,500 crore allocated in 2022-23, much of that has been spent on India- China Border Roads (ICBR) plan.
  • Construction of black topped road towards Finger 4 on Indian side is expected to be completed by 2025, with a major impetus on infrastructure, road networks, advanced landing grounds etc.,
  • In addition to this, Construction work is at an advanced stage on the alternative axis to the crucial Darbuk-Skyok-Daulat Beg Oldie road through the Saser La.

Chinese Construction:

  • Work is now underway on the main bridge, while the secondary bridge has been completed, with large scale construction activity observed in north bank.
  • Work on road connectivity along the south bank towards Shandong village is also under progress.
    • A Chines air defence site is located east of Khurnak fort.
  • A 22 km tunnel is under construction along G-0177 expressway at Yuli, connecting the very important G 216 highway in Tibet.

Present Status of Standoff

  • Over one lakh troops continue to be deployed on either side of the lake since 2020, corps commander level talks remain gridlocked over two remaining friction points – Depsang and Demchok.
  • At both locations, Chinese side has been blocking Indian patrols and there has been a climb down on Chinese position during the talks.


India, Myanmar, Thailand highway.

    • The 1360 kms long India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway is an initiative pertaining to India, Myanmar, and Thailand.India is undertaking construction of two sections of the Trilateral Highway in Myanmar namely,
      • Construction of 120.74 km Kalewa-Yagyi road section, and
      • Construction of 69 bridges along with the approach road on the 149.70 km Tamu-Kyigone-Kalewa (TKK) road section.
    • Around 70% of the work on the Trilateral Highway has been completed.
      • It is stated to link India with South east Asia by land to give boost to trade, business, health, education and tourism ties among three countries.
      • The Highway will connect Moreh in Manipur, India with Mae Sot in Thailand via Myanmar.



Banks – Asset Quality

    • As per the Reserve Bank of India’s latest financial stability report, banks gross non-performing assets have fallen to a 10 year low of 3.9% in March 2023.
      • This improvement has been seen across the board with bad loans falling in both public and private sector banks, and in major sectors of the economy.
      • Alongside, there also has been a steady improvement across key financial parameters of the corporate sector.
      • As per the report, Private non financial companies have managed to bring down their debt to equity ratios further, and have seen an improvement in their debt servicing capacity.
    • Therefore, unlike in the past where there was a ‘Twin Balance sheet Problem’, which was a major impediment to the investment activity, they are now “engendering a twin balance sheet advantage for growth”.
      • However, this trend could be disrupted if the macroeconomic environment worsens.
    • But, Banks have managed to sustain the momentum in their profitability as their net interest margins continue to grow, their provisioning coverage ratio is high, and their capital position is healthy.
      • The capital to risk weighted asset ratio has touched a high implying that banks are well capitalised and can absorb macro economic shocks.
      • Hence, they will be able to comply with the minimum capital requirements even under adverse stress scenarios.

Areas of Concern:

  • In retail loan category. Even though NPAs are low, loans where the principal the principal or the interest payments or any other amounts wholly or partly overdue has remained outstanding for a specified time (Special mention accounts) have been high at 7.4%
    • They are higher for public sector banks in both secured and unsecured loan category. Amounting to almost 1/10th of their retail portfolio.
  • For public sector banks, 6.1% of education loans have turned bad, as have 18% of credit card receivables.
    • The share of unsecured retail loans has also raisen from 22.9% to 25.2%.
  • Under, Emergency credit line guarantee scheme, 1/6th of the accounts have turned non performing, with the distress being majorly seen in micro enterprises, in the services and trade sector.
  • In case of Industry, while the bad loans have fallen, they remain high in segments such as gems and jewellery, construction, food processing and textiles.

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