August 17, 2012

The functions of the Estimates Committee - for UPSC & APPSC Group 1 Mains - paper 3

(a) to report what economies, improvements in organisation, efficiency or administrative reform, consistent with the policy underlying the estimates may be effected;

(b) to suggest alternative policies in order to bring about efficiency and economy in administration;

(c) to examine whether the money is well laid out within the limits of the policy implied in the estimates; and

(d) to suggest the form in which the estimates shall be presented to Parliament.


Major Recommendations of 13th Finance Commission - UPSC and APPSC Group 1 Mains - paper 3 - Indian Economy

  1. The share of states in the net proceeds of the shareable Central taxes should be 32%.This is 1.5% higher than the recommendation of 12th Finance Commission.
  2. Revenue deficit to be progressively reduced and eliminated, followed by revenue surplus by 2013-14.
  3. Fiscal deficit to be reduced to 3% of the GDP by 2014-15.
  4. A target of 68% of GDP for the combined debt of centre and states.
  5. The Medium Term Fiscal Plan(MTFP)should be reformed and made the statement of commitment rather than a statement of intent.
  6. FRBM Act need to be amended to mention the nature of shocks which shall require targets relaxation.
  7. Both centre and states should conclude 'Grand Bargain' to implement the model Goods and Services Act(GST).To incentivise the states, the commission recommended a sanction of the grant of Rs 50000 crore.
  8. Initiatives to reduce the number of Central Sponsored Schemes(CSS)and to restore the predominance of formula based plan grants.
  9. States need to address the problem of losses in the power sector in time bound manner.


August 14, 2012

Uses of Forests - Paper 4 - APPSC Group 1 Mains

Indirect Uses

  • Prevention and control of soil erosion: Forests play a significant role in the prevention and control of soil erosion by water and wind. The destruction of forest cover leads to increased runoff of rain water and its diminished seepage and storage in soil. The structure of the soil suffers, runoff increases and loosens the soil, which is carried away to other regions. The fertility of the soil is thus lost, and it becomes barren and unproductive.
  • Flood control: Roots of the trees absorb much of the rain water and use it slowly during the dry season. Thus they regulate the flow of water and help in controlling the floods. Trees also check the flow of water. With the increased rate of deforestation, the frequency and the intensity of floods in the area also increases.
  • Checks on spread of deserts: Sand particles are blown away by strong winds in the deserts and are carried over long distances, thus resulting in the spread of deserts. The roots of trees and plants bind the sand particles and do not permit their easy transportation by winds. In long run, the forests add humidity to the atmosphere and further help in checking the spread of deserts.
  • Increase in soil fertility: The fallen leaves of trees add humus to soil after their decomposition. Thus, forests help in increasing the fertility of soil.
  • Effect on temperature: Forests have a far reaching effect on climate. They ameliorate the extremes of climate by reducing the heat in summers and cold in winter. They also influence the amount of rainfall by lowering the temperature of moisture laden winds and increase the relative humidity of the air through the process of transpiration. They reduce the surface velocity of winds and retard the process of evaporation.


August 11, 2012

Non Tax Revenue of India - APPSC Group 1 Mains - Indian Economy - Paper 3 - Section 1

The revenue obtained by the government from sources other then tax is called Non-Tax Revenue. The sources of non-tax revenue are :-

1. Fees

Fees are another important source of revenue for the government. A fee is charged by public authorities for rendering a service to the citizens. Unlike tax, there is no compulsion involved in case of fees. The government provides certain services and charges certain fees for them. For example, fees are charged for issuing of passports, driving licenses, etc.

2. Fines or Penalties

Fines or penalties are imposed as a form of punishment for breach of law or non fulfillment or certain conditions or for failure to observe some regulations. Like taxes, fines are compulsory payments without quid pro quo. But while taxes are generally imposed to collect revenue. Fines are imposed as a form of punishment or to prevent people from breaking the law. They are not expected to be a major source of revenue to the government.

3. Surplus from Public Enterprises

The Government also gets revenue by way of surplus from public enterprises. In India, the Government has set up several public sector enterprises to provide public goods and services. Some of the public sector enterprises do make a good amount of profits. The profits or dividends which the government gets can be utilized for public expenditure. There is some sort of quid-pro-quo in the case of surplus from public enterprises. This is because, the public gets goods and services, and the government gets prices, and consequently profits from selling such goods and services.

4. Special assessment of betterment levy

It is a kind of special charge levied on certain members of the community who are beneficiaries of certain government activities or public projects. For example, due to a public park in a locality or due to the construction of a road, people in that locality may experience an appreciation in the value of their property or land. Thus, due to public expenditure, some people may experience 'unearned increments' in their asset holding. Betterment levy is like a tax because it is a compulsory payment, but unlike a tax, in case of betterment levy there is some element of quid pro quo.

5. Grants and Gifts

Gifts are Voluntary contributions by individuals or institutions to the government. Gifts are significant source of revenue during war and emergency.

A grant from one government to another is an important sources of revenue in the modern days. The government at the Centre provides grants to State governments and the State governments provide grants to the local government to carry out their functions.

Grants from foreign countries are known as Foreign Aid. Developing countries receive military aid, food aid, technological aid, etc. from developed countries.

6. Deficit Financing

Deficit means an excess of public expenditure over public revenue.

This excess may be met by borrowings from the market, borrowings from abroad, by the central bank creating currency. In case of borrowing from abroad, there cannot be compulsion for the lenders, but in case of internal borrowings there may be compulsion. The government may force various individuals, firms and institutions to lend to it at a much lower rate than the market would have offered.


August 5, 2012

All-Indian Kisan Sabha - Indian History - APPSC Group 1 Mains and Prelims

• United Provinces of Kisan Sabha, founded in 1918.

• The Andhra Provincial Ryots Association was started in 1928.

• Bihar Kisan Sabha in 1929 by Swami Sahajanand Saraswathi.

• The formation of the Congress Socialist Party in 1934.

• The All-India Kisan Sabha was formed in April 1936 at Lucknow with Swami Shajanand as President and N.G. Ranga as General-Secretary.

• The first session of the All-India Kisan Sabha was addressed by Jawaharlal Nehru. Others participants included Ram Manohar Lohia, Sohan Singh Josh, Indulal Yagnik, Jaya Prakash Narayan, Acharya Narendra Deva, Kamal Sarkar.

• A Kisan Sabha manifesto was finalized and this was adopted by the Congress at Faizabad session.

• The Kisan Sabha held its 2nd session along with the Faizpur Congress Session in 1936.

Peasant Movements during Indian National Congress Ministries (1937-39)

• In Bengal, Kisan Sabha activities included a successful agitation against Canal Tax in Burdwan, and the Hat Tola movement in North Bengal.

• This was against a levy collected by the landlords from peasants at hat (weekly market).

• In Punjab, Kisan Sabhas emerged in the early 1930s through the efforts of Naujawan Bharat Sabha, Kirti Kisan, the Congress and Akali acitivists.

• 2 Major issues were resettlement of land revenue and increase in canal tax or water rate.

• Major struggles broke out, especially after the Haripur session of the Congress in 1938, in Jaipur, Kashmir, Rajkot, Patiala, Hyderabad, Mysore, Travancore etc.


August 3, 2012

Poisonous Plants To Avoid - APPSC Group 1 Mains - Paper 4

  • Honeysuckle - Berries can cause vomiting
  • Laburnum - Seeds and Pods can cause vomiting, headache, drowsiness, a rapid pulse, fits, breathing problems
  • Cotoneaster - Berries can cause vomiting
  • Yew Tree - All parts of this Tree are Poisonous and can cause Vomiting, Diarrhoea, diziness, breathing problems, fits, and a coma
  • Deadly Nightshade - The Berries can cause a dry mouth, blurred vision, hallucination, fever and confusion
  • Pyracantha - Berries can cause Vomiting and Diarrhoea
  • Holly - Berries and Leaves van cause vomiting diarrhea and drowsiness
  • Mistletoe - The berries. Leaves and stem can cause Stomach ache and diarrhoea
  • Fushsia - This can cause Vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Woody Nightshade - The Berrries can cause Vomiting, diarrhoea, sore throat, headache, dizziness and fever.